Old McDonald Has A Smartphone
You might believe that most of the people who use social media live in an urban area where they can Tweet-up, Chat and locate their friends, family and co-workers who are all within walking distance. The reality however is that social media is no less effective in rural areas than it is in urban areas. Some would people would tell you it is even more important in rural areas where it is sometimes harder to get a message out than it is in an urban area where it is relatively easy to get noticed.
Farmers across American have begun turning to social media to better connect with their end-users; the people who buy their home grown agricultural products such as corn, beans, pumpkins and more. They once could only connect at the local farmer’s market, but now you can find your local farmer on Facebook or Twitter (or both.) For farmers the added benefit of connecting with end-users (shoppers, buyers whatever you want to call them) is something they haven’t had since the days when they sold everything they grew in their hometown. As family farms have gradually been replaced with larger industrial operations, this disconnect has resulted in a sense that what we buy in the grocery store has no impact on our local community. Unfortunately, this is wrong-headed thinking.
Today, if you have a question about what is growing in your community or where your tomatoes came from, chances are you can find it online. For farmers who want to let people know where they can buy fresh produce, social media is the best thing since John Deer started making tractors.
Chances are the same success farmers have had with social media can help your business, too. The things that make social media work for farmers can also work for the local ice cream shop, clothing store or even the major national and international brands. Communication is almost always a good thing, especially when you have a product or service to sell, or a message you want to share with a large audience. And when it comes to communication there is no better tool than social media.
“People have moved their lives online,” she said. “They have different expectations about how they receive information, how they interact with information and how they engage with online communities. Individuals expect their voices to be considered an important part of the dialogue.”
As someone highly involved in social media on a professional and personal level, Powers has seen the evolution and adoption of emerging technologies in rural communities from Mississippi to India.
“People use their smart phones to get information delivered straight to them,” Powers said. “Areas without broadband are still connected to social networks, and like their urban peers, rural residents increasingly expect information and the people generating content to be available to them.”
Social media gives agribusiness owners ways to connect with audiences eager for information about food and how it is grown.
“Producers can interact one-on-one with their clients,” she said. “Eating is a personal experience, and people want to understand the process of getting food from the farm to the table.”
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