There has been a lot of talk over the past few years about the need for dairy farmers to engage with consumers through social media. Social media is about having conversations but it’s also about telling stories, your story, the story of how you care for animals and manage natural resources. Your story is the true story of agriculture not the one being told by PETA.
Stories are being told online using text, pictures, video, and audio. The delivery mechanisms have names like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube. With all these different places to post your story and have a conversation, it can become a daunting task to handle it all. How are we as producers supposed to manage a business, spend time with family, volunteer locally, and participate in all these online conversations?
One of the solutions is a tool like Tumblr.
Tumblr is a short-form blogging site and mobile app that lets you post a variety of message formats to Tumblr.com, Facebook and Twitter all at once. Think if it as an all-in-one social media app.
From the Tumblr mobile app you can post video, pictures, text, quotes, and links, and you can hosts chats. The Android app comes with a desktop widget that gives you one-click access to each of these features.
Once you have composed a message or snapped some pictures or video, Tumblr lets you customize the Facebook and Twitter posts individually. This is a good feature because you don’t want Twitter #hashtags showing up in Facebook, and you want to make sure your Twitter post doesn’t exceed the 140-character maximum.
On Tumblr.com your posts are listed in reverse chronological order and people can follow your story and watch it unfold as it happens. You can also schedule posts for future deliveries. This is a handy feature if, for example, you want to profile a different cow each week and call it “Moo-Cow Monday”. You could take a picture of ol’ Bessie on Saturday, write a bit about her and have it automatically post for you Monday at noon. Don’t forget “Tractor Tuesday”, “Weed-Whacker Wednesday”… you get the drift!
Signing up for Tumblr is easy and free and only takes a few minutes to download the app and connect up with your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Tumblr is one of many multi-platform blogging tools, and the big social media sites have useful mobile apps as well. The trick is to try a few out and stick with the ones that fit you best.
While engaging in social media provides many benefits to your business and the dairy industry in general, I have found the best reasons for participating are the things you learn and the friends you make along the way. If you are participating in social media via Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter or others, I’d like to hear how you do it, so why not drop me a line @dairydino so I can learn something from you too?
The word “Blog” is short for Web Log, and a blog is your place on the Internet to share whatever information you see fit. Consider it an online magazine where you are the editor. Blogging comes in different flavors. Twitter is considered micro-blogging because it limits you to posting no more than 140 characters at a time. Websites like WordPress.com are full-featured blog sites with lots of customizable options. Short-form blog platforms like Tumblr are meant for frequent posting of short to medium length content.
Some examples of how you might use each of these blog formats:
Twitter is great for posting links to news articles, blogs, and other areas of interest to you and people who might be following you. Something simple like, “Chocolate Milk is a great recovery drink for athletes” with a link to an article makes a useful Tweet.
Tumbler is a good place for posting photos or short videos of things happening on the farm, sharing family recipes, or a short note on your feelings about the Farm Bill.
WordPress.com could be used to make a website for your farm or business. You could include the history of your multi-generational family business, information about your efforts to protect the environment, and links to dairy resources. You could also post longer form blogs with embedded photos and videos.
Of course you can link all these things to each other and advertise them through Facebook and Twitter.