The Social Plan

What does your company hope to accomplish online? Social media shows up in a lot of marketing and PR budgets, but we’re past the days of being there just because it’s the new thing. Social media marketing needs to be integrated with the rest of the marketing strategy.

I recently attended the AgChat Cultivate and Connect conference and picked up some ideas and trend information that helps us do this.

To make sure your social content is hitting the mark, it’s important to listen.

Market Intelligence

There’s a little boy named Mateo who makes this point with his mom in a popular YouTube video.

People want to be heard, even little people. Paying attention online is one way to gather info on your market. When you’re doing this, your job is to understand the reality of others – even if it fundamentally differs from yours. It’s important to be open minded in order to learn.

If you’re not getting what you need through social channels, Beck Ag is one of the few research providers in agriculture that hits the mid-sized market. Most other companies in this space are rather small or pretty big.

Moving Opinion

One conference speaker talked about being blown away by how much the right messages move opinion. If this is what you’re after, it’s important to have:

  1. Right language
  2. Right focus
  3. Right audience

Then you can watch the needle move.

Someone quoted a piece of research that 100% of farmers interviewed seek advice from other farmers. So the idea was to get successful farmers to share their stories about you online. Another great way of implementing that same “Influence” strategy is something Beck Ag does well. Before I started working on Beck Ag’s team, I was their client. Experience-sharing marketing is their core offering.

Velvet Rope Communities

One of the tricky parts of working in the social media arena is that the platforms keep changing. Keynoter Chris Penn talked about velvet rope communities and how we’re seeing less commenting on blogs and social sites now, not because people have fewer opinions, but because they’re sharing them privately. A private chat group or private Facebook community would be an example of this. One of these communities was created in connection with the conference, which is cool, because attendees get to stay connected. It allows us to keep learning.

Penn says the velvet rope trend is driven by smart phones. If you have a teenager, you might be more familiar with group chat.

If you’re feeling like an outsider now, and you work in agriculture, we’d invite you to join a large velvet rope community that’s only for agriculture. It’s There are presently almost 30,000 members who go there to talk, listen and learn about agriculture. You don’t have to have a personal invite, but you need to apply.

Personal Networking

One more nugget from AgChat was around building my personal network. A speaker suggested using social media to get to know the people you want to know to move your career forward. This would be really helpful in sales.

  • Have a list of people you want to meet.
  • Watch their tweets.
  • Understand what drives them personally.
  • Find common ground in order to connect.
  • Be authentic, personal and transparent.

Often times once you do this, the opportunities for collaboration present themselves. Many of the attendees only met for the first time at this conference, but after so many online connections – shares, likes and comments – you do get to know each other and have already built some level of trust. In many cases, it was like watching old friends get together. And we all know people like to do business with people they like.


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