As agvocate bloggers and social media gurus, sometimes we feel we are standing on a soapbox shouting at consumers. We are saying all of these wonderful things about agriculture, but are consumers actually listening to what we have to say? Are they actually trusting the words and phrases we type to them.
When talking to consumers about agriculture, trust is the most important feeling the consumer needs to have towards you (the agvocate). It is that trust that will stop these consumers from picking up propaganda from other sources and believing it without asking questions (How Ag Will Defeat PETA).
Below are five ideas you can use to gain trust from the consumers that read your agvocate blog.
1. Use pictures and video
Whenever you write about a topic, use pictures and video from your life depicting your topic. While the words you are saying may be confusing or lead to questions, pictures and video will help answer those questions. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words.
2. Tell them everything
Don’t leave something out because you think it will make agriculture look bad. Telling them even the hairy specifics in agriculture will lead to them trusting you more. You just need to make sure you have a good reason for doing what you are doing and be able to explain that.
3. Provide the other side
You may remember in high school when you had to write an argumentative paper. In this paper, you needed to not only provide your opinions, but also the opinions of the other side. It is important to include this other side in your blogs posts because it allows the reader to make their own educated opinion. Plus, when you include the other sides opinions, it is a great way to talk about the topic at hand and disagree with what they are saying.
4. Provide citations
Whenever possible, provide other blog posts or even news stories that also talk about what you are saying. Including other people’s work will help consumers trust you. People trust news, so use it to your advantage.
5. Answer questions thoughtfully and accurately
Whenever someone has a question, there are several things you need to think about. This is why it is important to be thoughtful. Don’t get caught up in the anger that question has caused you (it is more important to be the calm one). While answering the question calmly, make sure it is accurate. If it is a controversial question string, your opposition will be sitting there ready to pounce on anything that could be inaccurate (leading to a loss of trust).
As these five ideas show you, trust is an important feeling for consumers to have towards you. We need to constantly be aware that every opportunity can be used to gain trust or lose it.