Top 5 Reasons to Use LinkedIn for Agvocacy

top_5A lot of people ask why they should use LinkedIn, when they already have Twitter and Facebook. Here is my explanation for the three main social media sites.

Twitter: I have never met you, but I want to listen to you

LinkedIn: I have met you, but I don’t want to listen to your personal stuff

Facebook: I know you very well, and I want to listen to you

If this definition isn’t enough, here are five reasons to use LinkedIn.

1. Decision makers are on LinkedIn

While the consumer is the person that buys the food in the end, farmers actually sell their products to companies and organizations. If you want to connect with decision-makers in these companies to stop them from making uninformed decisions, then LinkedIn should be an important avenue to connect with these decision makers. According to a survey by CEO.com and Brandfog, nearly 26 percent of fortune 500 CEO’s are on LinkedIn, compared to only 7.6 percent using Facebook.

2. Groups

Groups are a place for people with similar interests to have conversations and meet people in the industry. Whenever I write a blog, I always put it on the LinkedIn groups that the post relates with. From my experience, if someone has taken the time to join a group, they tend to be involved in the conversations in the group.

3. Professional atmosphere

While Twitter and Facebook are where the majority of people are, the downside to this is you have to wade through a lot of people that are not very, for the lack of a better word, professional. On LinkedIn, you are more likely to have professional, well-informed conversations with people than on Twitter and Facebook.

4. Connect with your connections

LinkedIn can be a great way to connect with someone without really having to see personal information because LinkedIn is NOT a personal social media platform. Use LinkedIn as a way to make professional connections, which means you need to have professional things on your LinkedIn account, not how your day is going. Whenever I meet someone for the first time, I usually add them on LinkedIn so I can keep tabs on them.

5. Stalking

This may be scary to some, but this is really one of the greatest things about LinkedIn, it allows for stalking at a whole new level. LinkedIn allows you to see a lot of professional information, including the company they work for, job title, etc. I always use LinkedIn to find people that work for companies, something that works really well with reason number one above. Once you find the person, join the groups they are in and have conversations with them. After a while you will have a new connection with a decision-maker in a company.

While LinkedIn can seem like a big and scary place, we all thought that about Twitter and Facebook when we first started using those platforms. LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for agvocacy and is a social media platform that has mostly informed individuals. That sounds like a place agvocates should be.

Get your LinkedIn account today and connect with me so we can get you rolling on LinkedIn.

Social Media Spring Cleaning

social media, sping cleaning

Your social media spring cleaning bucket.

Now that we have finally reached spring (yes there was snow on the ground this weekend, but we will take it), I think it is time to do some spring cleaning for our social media sites. Here are five easy things you can do to give your social media presence a fresh, new look.

1. Change your bios

So we have been at this social media thing for a while and the entire time, we haven’t went back and changed any of our bios. Take the time this month to change and update your about page on your blog, change your Twitter bio and any other bio-like things you have on social media. You may find that you have changed the direction of your blog and social media since you first wrote those bios and your about page on your blog may have some drastically wrong content. Spring cleaning is the perfect time to do these necessary updates.

2. Change pictures

Now that we are out of the winter drab, take some time to change your blog and social media pictures to something more inspiring. Go out and snap a picture of your farm or the sunrise and then put it on your social media sites. You can also use this time to make all of your social media pages look consistent. This is really important to help create  your “brand” so people can recognize that they are on your social media sites no matter what site they are on.

3. Add a new page on your blog

Take the time to actually add another page to your blog. Maybe you want to add a page about  bloggers you think are doing a great job, or maybe you want to create a page about common misconceptions in agriculture and link to several blog posts that address these misconceptions. The possibilities are endless, but these pages should provide additional content to your audience that they would find useful.

4. Make sense of your categories

Blog categories tend to be a mess after a while. Some blogs may not be in a category or may not fit in the category that it is currently in. Take the time this spring to take charge of your categories so these actually work for your blog. People use these categories to find other blog posts that are similar to the one they are reading, so having categories that are effective is really important.

5. Increase efficiency

Making social media work for you, on your own time, can be important for weeks when you don’t have a lot of time to use social media (i.e. planting season). Things like Feedly, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and a smartphone are all ways to save yourself some time on social media. Feedly allows you to accumulate all of your favorite blogs and their posts into one location to make it easier to read. I usually use Feedly on my phone so I can read the posts whenever I have some down time. Feedly also lets me post straight to Twitter right from the website. Hootsuite and Tweetdeck allow you to schedule posts and see multiple streams at once (home feed, search terms, etc).  It allows you to make social media easier while also making it look like you have been on all day, when really you were only on for 20 minutes. All of these ideas are even easier when you use the smartphone applications. That way you can look at anything whenever you have some down time during the day (or when spending the entire day in the tractor).

Now that spring is finally here, make sure to make some spring cleaning changes to your social media sites. I just hope you have time to  make these changes before planting begins…

How to Get Blog Post Ideas When You Can’t Think of Any More

What to write…oh yeah, that’s a good idea…no wait I have already talked about this. Ummm…how about this…nope that won’t work either.

I think we have all been there as bloggers. We are sitting at our computer trying to think of an amazing blog post idea, but nothing comes. We can’t seem to squeeze out another idea. Below are my top five secrets to finding new blog post ideas when the ideas are not flowing.

1. Use other blogs

Using other blogs is a great way to get new ideas. Even though that person has already talked about the topic, blogging is all about getting your perspective on the issue. Don’t be afraid to disagree with the big dog social media agvocates, sometimes they will even help promote your blog if you mention them in the post.

2. Ask questions to Google

Google is one of the best ways to find new blog post ideas. All you have to do is begin asking a question, like I did in the below screenshot. I just asked “does milk” and then Google gave me different search terms. All of these search terms are great blog post ideas and, as a bonus, google is recommending these search terms because these are commonly searched terms. Can you say search engine optimization?!

google

3. Think specific

One of the biggest mistakes in blogging is trying to put too much in one blog post. Feel free to use several posts to explain one topic. For instance, don’t talk about planting in one blog post – talk about tilling the soil, waiting for the soil to thaw, why seed placement is important, how the planter works, etc. These are all great blog post ideas that allow you to spread the “planting” idea out among several weeks.

4. Look at the news and use Hollywood

I got this idea from Carrie Mess (@dairycarrie), so thanks Carrie! Using timely information from the news is one of the best ways to not only get ideas, but get ideas people are searching for (search engine optimization again!). Social media agvocates have recently used the news surrounding “ag gag” bills/Carrie Underwood and dehorning/Ryan Gosling in blog posts and have had great success. So whenever you can pair the recent news with a celebrity, the uptake is even better.

5. Not every blog post needs to be a rockstar

Every blog post does not need to be the next mega-hit wonder. It is more important to have consistent content that your readers can come to expect so you can create a following. Every time you get a small idea that may not be the best idea, just write about it. Sometimes that small idea can turn into an awesome blog post. Blogging can be full of twists and turns – sometimes my ideas before I start writing are not what the blog post ends up being.

Blogging can be a time consuming process and nothing is more frustrating than sitting at your computer without an idea. Use these simple tips the next time you are in a bind and maybe you will come away with a rockstar blog post.