The current networking and social media boom has made communication boundless and available at our fingertips. So often in agriculture, we are asked to “tell our story,” either in an attempt to market or promote our way of life or to advocate and educate about industry practices. Sharing your story is often the easy part. Getting started, finding an audience and effectively sharing is much more difficult.

Kelly Marshall, blogger of Daddy’s Tractor spoke during a track at the AFBF Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference in Kansas City, Missouri last month. In her session titled Farm Wife Advocacy, Marshall shared her personal experience getting started as a blogger and tips to help balance advocating efforts a long with a busy farm and ranch lifestyle.

Getting Started // Find your 'tribe'

The first piece of advice Marshall offered is to “find your tribe”. Your tribe, are others using the same social media platforms to advocate for agriculture. They can often provide back up for posts, phrases, facts and scientific insight. Another benefit of following others and making connections with an online “tribe” is utilizing and sharing their infographics and images that they may have created. Don’t reinvent the wheel, as long as you are crediting the original creator- sharing their content helps boost visibility for both of you.

Getting Started // Find your content

After finding your tribe and where you fit in on the social media scene, it’s important to decide what kind of content you want to share. What is your personality and what makes you unique? Deciding these things will help you find an audience and make a connection with them. Marshall’s rule of thumb for social media content is:

  • One post that is hard hitting or fact driven along

  • Two softer posts with more personality

She also encourages leaving mistakes in photos instead of editing prior to posting so that your audience can see the transparency you are trying to provide into your world of agriculture.

Getting Started // Find a way to be visible

In order to maintain a social media presence, Marshall suggests keeping a steady pace according to which social media platform you utilize. Set realistic goals for yourself when it comes to publishing social media content.

For instance, posting a video to YouTube is more time consuming than writing a 140 character tweet. She suggests a pace of one video per month on YouTube and tweeting often as long as it is relevant.

Marshall warns against using farm jargon on social media. While it may make sense to you and your friends within the industry, there is a chance it could be incorrectly perceived by someone else.  Some examples that may confuse your readers are combine, operation, grower or producer. When discussing these terms it’s much simpler to readers if you refer to them as farm machinery, farms, farmers and ranchers.

The last piece of advice Marshall shared was Teddy Roosevelt’s famous quote, “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”  No one can tell your story and share your values the way you can. Social media provides a platform to connect with people from all over the world. Take the time to share your passion and tell your story.