NZ Farmers Weekly‘s editor Rebecca Harper covered the subject of social media in an excellent editorial earlier this week. She believes “Definitely yes” social media can actually effect meaningful change and cited a number of examples in agriculture where it is helping change.
From my perspective, it’s been interesting to note the rise of the grassroots movement of Meat Industry Excellence. Its momentum and organisation has no doubt been aided by the modern usage of smartphones, Twitter and Facebook.
As meat exporters know only too well, social media is applying a new level of transparency and openness to everything, not least this current debate. Indeed, looking to customers all around the world, many have shifted their marketing and PR strategies to social media in those overseas markets and also to Kiwi consumers. But, if they haven’t already, exporters need to enter the debate here at home in New Zealand to connect with suppliers and the wider audience watching the debate.
What are the on-ramps to get into it?
Personally, I think the most useful is LinkedIn, the business networking tool, which most people in the business world are already on. Many in the industry have profiles, collect contacts, join networking groups and some even find jobs. However, it is amazing how few people harness it’s power to communicate with their business audience.
Because they’re out and about, many farmers, scientists, government officials and politicians are in the Twitter “stream of consciousness” sharing ideas, thoughts and contacts outreaching not only to immediate contacts but also wider, including overseas. Beef + Lamb NZ use it very successfully for farm extension work and levy-payer communication. While it’s not a media for entering into lengthy debates and complicated discussions as you’re limited to only 120 characters (making for some interesting grammatical choices when you run out of space!), it is useful for sharing pithy comments and making sure the correct information is out and about.
Also useful, depending on the audience, are Facebook, Pluk and Pinterest, but these are mainly consumer-orientated.
MeatExportNZ has a closed LinkedIn group for those working in or for the New Zealand meat processing or exporting sector and can also be followed on Twitter.
Join in the conversation, don’t be shy!
What are your thoughts?