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Social Media and Agriculture: From Experimentation to Real ROI


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This is a presentation that I adapted from my Trends in Agriculture presentation from November 2009. The audience was comprised of state-level representatives to the U.S. Wheat Associates Communications Working Group and was delivered on Saturday, January 24, 2010.

Many thanks to Steve Mercer (Director of Communications for the national U.S. Wheat Associates), with whom I have now worked on a number of ag / social media communications presentations since first being acquainted in 2009.

Published in: Self Improvement, Technology
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Social Media and Agriculture: From Experimentation to Real ROI

  1. 1. Prepared for: The U.S. Wheat Associates Communications Working Group | Winter 2010 Meeting Washington, DC | January 23, 2010 Developed by: Leslie Bradshaw Principal | Bradshaw Vineyards (Willamette Valley, OR) President & Director of Operations | JESS3 (McLean, VA) Director of Engagement | New Media Strategies (Arlington, VA) From Experimenting to Getting Real ROI Tips, Tricks and Insights to Evolve Your Approach to and Results from Social Media
  2. 2. Why I am Passionate about Agriculture
  3. 3. <ul><li>My Ancestors: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I am a 5 th generation Oregon Trail survivor – Baskett Family, mom’s side, homesteaded in Idaho and Oregon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>My grandfather was an agronomist for the State Department and World Bank – he was a soil and rice specialist </li></ul></ul><ul><li>My Parents: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Managed a walnut ranch in Ione, CA in the 1970s </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have instilled an ethos of hard work , respect for nature and love of homegrown produce in my sister and me </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>My dad is a farmer , engineer , mechanic , Ferrier and viticulturist ; so is my mom and, add to that, she’s also an equestrian </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Me: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Born in Carson City, NV – not much growing there, save sage brush </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lived in Northern California (Lake Tahoe) – I grew carrots and lettuce in our backyard </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Helped found our family vineyard in Oregon (1987 – present) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Raised sheep for 4H; helped raise Polled Hereford herd with my dad </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attended UC Davis (transferred after 1 year to UChicago) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pioneer with / for tech and media companies in Washington DC (today) </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. So, Basically, I’ve Been Traversing the Oregon Trail… in Reverse 1982 - 1993 1993 – 2000 2001 – 2004 2000 – 2001 2005 – present 1843
  5. 5. Carpe Diem Literally Means “ Harvest the Day”
  6. 6. <ul><li>“ I don't dwell on Facebook or Twitter at all because I just don't need to get into that area of someone's life. I've got so much going on in my own. ... So I'm looking for weather reports and market reports mostly .” </li></ul><ul><li>– Scotty Herriman </li></ul><ul><li>Commissioner on the Oklahoma Soybean Board </li></ul><ul><li>The Oklahoma City Journal Record | August 21, 2009 </li></ul>! ALERT: YOU ARE LIMITING YOUR POTENTIAL DIGITAL YIELD!
  7. 7. <ul><li>“ I leverage Facebook, Twitter and other social media because the future of my family’s business is tied to the demand for and connection to our [grape] crop. Social media is expediting connections, raising awareness and helping my family tell the Bradshaw Vineyards story.” </li></ul><ul><li>– Leslie Bradshaw </li></ul><ul><li>Strategy | Entrepreneurship | Terroir </li></ul><ul><li>NAMA Trends in Agriculture | November 11, 2009 </li></ul>
  8. 8. 1 – Read, Enjoy 2 – (Re)Search 3 – Identify, Authenticate 4 – Share, Praise, Store 5 – Connect, Reinforce For Example (True Story)
  9. 9. The Four Stages of Social Media Adoption
  10. 10. Concept Credit : @EkaterinaWalter (social media strategies @Intel) most organizations are here most organizations are trying to figure this out the promised land organizations that are here “get it” and are ahead of the curve (but not for long) Stage 1: Chaos, Pioneers, Experimentation Stage 2: Test, Measure, ROI Calculation Stage 3: Resource / Operational Assignment Stage 4: Mass Adoption
  11. 11. Taking Twitter to the Next Level
  12. 12. <ul><li>“ People out in the cities aren't familiar with agriculture like it used to be 100 years ago. They may not have an appreciation or an understanding of what goes on out in the rural side of things…. I just try to be an information source for whoever may be listening.” </li></ul><ul><li>– Steve Tucker </li></ul><ul><li>Twittering farmer from Venango, Nebraska </li></ul><ul><li> | July 3, 2009 </li></ul>
  13. 13. Content Credit:; Steve Tucker (@Tykerman1) FACT : Twitter posts are helping bridge the urban-rural divide. FACT : Phones and social media are connecting eaters with sources of food.
  14. 14. FACT : Twitter has helped my family connect, as a grower, with the winery that buys our grapes (King Estate). (as wheat growers, I know you feel me on this)
  15. 15. <ul><li>Strategy and Tactics </li></ul><ul><li>What is your objective? Connecting with consumers, media, others in the industry? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it your voice? Your produce’s voice? If multiple contributors, then sign tweets with a carrot (^leslie) </li></ul><ul><li>Mix up content with photos, videos, articles; keep <120 characters to be re-tweeted (“RT”) </li></ul><ul><li>Participate in weekly “ag chats” 8 – 10 PM ET (use hashtag #AgChat; message the master account by posting @AgChat) </li></ul><ul><li>Applications </li></ul><ul><li>BlackBerry : UberTwitter, TwitterBerry </li></ul><ul><li>iPhone : Tweetie, TwitterFON, Twitterrific </li></ul><ul><li>Monitoring : TweetDeck, TweetGrid,, TweetBeep, Hootsuite, Nutshell Mail </li></ul><ul><li>Photo : TweetPhoto, Twitpic, Utterli (+ audio), Flickr, yfrog, Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>RSS : Facebook, FriendFeed </li></ul>What You Need (to Consider)
  16. 16. Taking Blogging to the Next Level
  17. 17. <ul><li>Strategy and Tactics </li></ul><ul><li>What is your objective? Connecting with consumers, media, others in the industry? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you have time to maintain a blog? What about starting out as a guest poster on an existing blog? </li></ul><ul><li>If you have a website, then it should have a blog component; great for creating dynamic, relevant content for SEO. </li></ul><ul><li>Link to others, embed photos and videos. </li></ul><ul><li>Include links to social media profiles, contact information. </li></ul><ul><li>Promote through tweets, cross-posts and even Facebook ads. </li></ul><ul><li>HOST and / or ATTEND BLOGGER EVENTS! </li></ul>What You Need (to Consider) Recommended Platform: WordPress, over Blogger, over Typepad
  18. 18. FACT : A blog can serve as a digital version of your farm journal; publishing your crop data allows you to access and share it for years to come. FACT : If you are working on building a website, in the meantime, setting up a blog and free social media profiles can help you still make an impact online (trust me, I know).
  19. 19. FACT : I will be launching this site in the coming weeks; let me know if you’d like to be involved. FACT : I will be opening the site up to small and large farms alike; communicators, producers and policy makers will be included.
  20. 20. Taking Video to the Next Level
  21. 22. What You Need (to Consider) <ul><li>Platform Selection </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>YouTube: Universal choice; #2 search engine </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Vimeo: Aesthetically awesome </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Viddler: Interaction through in-line comments </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Qik: Real-time streaming for live reporting </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Flickr: Efficiencies to be had when uploading pics + vids </li></ul></ul></ul>Tag and Name for SEO Device, Director, Producer (nothing special, promise)
  22. 23. Taking Photos to the Next Level
  23. 24. A picture is worth a thousand words. It brings to life the people, the process, the produce. My family has hay, grapes and humor; we use photos and videos to tell our story .
  24. 25. FACT : Facebook allows you to create albums and tag people, which notifies them via email and hyperlinks their profiles.
  25. 26. FACT : Flickr is the largest photo-sharing community online; 4 billion photos and counting (as of October 2009). FACT : Flickr allows you to upload photos and videos all at once. FACT : Uploading and tagging your content on Flickr can impact Google searches for key words in your industry.
  26. 27. FACT : Grapes are sticky. Fair warning for those picking and TwitPic’ing. FACT : Taking photos with your mobile brings Harvest to life in real-time. FACT : TwitPic can automatically publish your photos to Twitter.
  27. 28. Tweet: “6 bins full so far. Hands sticky. @bradshawpinot #harvest” Device: BlackBerry Publishing Platforms : TwitPic + Twitter Total views: 96
  28. 29. Tweet: Captioned above Device: BlackBerry Publishing Platforms : TwitPic + Twitter Total views: 77
  29. 30. Taking Measurement to the Next Level
  30. 31. <ul><li>Employees / stakeholders go “tweet, TWEET, TwEeT” </li></ul><ul><li>Company accounts go “tWeEt, tweet, TWEet” </li></ul><ul><li>Organizationpages go “feed, feed, feed” </li></ul><ul><li>Analytics often go unanalyzed </li></ul><ul><li>Learnings often go unapplied </li></ul><ul><li>Images often left out all together </li></ul><ul><li>If included, often left unlabeled / un-optimized </li></ul><ul><li>Organization-driven content </li></ul><ul><li>Analytics often go unanalyzed </li></ul><ul><li>Learnings often go unapplied </li></ul>Now “ Twitter? Yeah, we’ve got the intern on that.” “ Facebook? Yeah, we’ve got a feed from our blog set up.” “ Video? Yeah, let me get back to you on that.” You’re likely saying this… … and probably doing this… <ul><li>Chaos: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Tactical Enthusiasm” </li></ul><ul><li>There, but scattered </li></ul><ul><li>Uneven content, participation </li></ul><ul><li>Missing trends, opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Some still apprehensive </li></ul>
  31. 32. <ul><li>Measurement & Resource Allocation: </li></ul><ul><li>Match strategy with objectives; what are your KPIs? </li></ul><ul><li>Work from an editorial calendar </li></ul><ul><li>Review analytics weekly; recalibrate accordingly </li></ul><ul><li>Establish aspirational goals & guidelines </li></ul>Facebook Insights What level of engagement (or negative actions) take place when you post? Twitter Counter Benchmark your own growth & compare against consistent universe of similar / competitive accounts; learn, adopt, recalibrate Hootsuite Nutshellmail
  32. 33. Social media is not just a “nice to have” Social media is not just “for the kids” Social media is expediting our media & legislative goals Social media is helping us better connect & inform Social media is saving / making us money Social media is [your desired verb] [your desired outcome] <ul><li>Mass Adoption: </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrate that it effects every level of the organization </li></ul><ul><li>Develop internal case studies and control / experiment results </li></ul><ul><li>Research industry past / present / future; look to other leading industries </li></ul><ul><li>Make it real and appropriate for your audiences </li></ul>
  33. 34. Contact & Resources
  34. 35. <ul><li>Leslie A. Bradshaw </li></ul><ul><li>Email: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Longer form writings, thoughts: </li></ul><ul><li>In the moment: </li></ul><ul><li>Friends, family, colleagues: </li></ul><ul><li>Digital CV: </li></ul><ul><li>Industry PowerPoints: & </li></ul>Let’s Stay in Touch
  35. 36. Bradshaw Vineyards on the Web Web (re-launching 2010): Twitter : Blog (launching 2010): Interim Blog Content :
  36. 37. Recommended Social Media Profiles: Recommended Video / Photo / Audio Sites: Social Media Resources: Great Employee Guidelines (Intel’s): http:// Search Twitter: Multi-Term Search: Monitor Twitter: Social Media Digest Report: / Twitter Growth: / Blog Resources: Blog Search: Blog Authority: Blog Directory: Largest Community of Women: Ag Wired: Traveling Wine Maker: CNN : The Okalahoma City Journal Record : Oregon Wine Press : Twitterers / Bloggers Mentioned: Bradshaw Pinot : King Estate: Steve Tucker: Ag Chat: Ag Wired: / Videos Featured: Taking a Tour on the John Deere &quot;Green Hornet” Baby Sister Takes on Bradshaw Bins Oregon Moss in Action Frontline Digital Nation Interviews Leslie Bradshaw (includes Chewbacca sound describing rural Internet dial-up) Social Media / New Media Resources Content Cited