I know there are Proud To Dairy members who are very good at sharing their story with consumers through Facebook, Youtube, blogs, and other sources. I have listened to a number of speakers over the years about telling agriculture and dairy's story. Recently, I have really felt a calling to start doing this but I am not sure where to start. How often do you post? Where is a good place to start? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Hi Christina! About a year ago, I also started to feel the calling to connect with dairy consumers, but I knew nothing about blogging. So I joined Proud to Dairy to get my feet wet, so to speak. Once I was comfortable on this site, I decided to start a Facebook page for our farm. It was much easier to do than I expected and it has been very successful, I think. I started by posting a lot of photos of our farm and a few blogs about our farm's description and history. Then I have continued posting about our recent activities. I post once or twice a week, sometimes more if a lot is going on. I also try to post a picture along with the blog to highlight what I am describing. Pictures really get people's attention and they are more apt to read the blog with a picture attached. When I write a post, I try to keep it pretty simple, since I am trying to reach and educate people who don't understand farming. I try not to use farm terms that people don't understand, like "dry cow" or "mastitis" or use abreviations like "DA" or "FSA", etc. If I have to use terms that I don't think people will understand, I always explain them. I may be writing a little too simplistically, but even people who know farming seem to enjoy my posts and realize why I am explaining things in detail. I also try to write in a postive way, not negatively. Even when I am describing something bad that happened, say a broken mower that we had to replace, I try to put a good spin on it by saying that our new mower is much faster. I want people to understand that we love farming, even though things may not always go the way we would like. I want them to enjoy reading my posts, and most people don't enjoy reading something that is always negative and depressing. We have also had a few "Name the Calf" contests to engage our audience, and they have been big hits. Pictures of calves are always very popular. I probably spend 2-3 hours a week posting on our farm page and I really enjoy doing it! So I would highly recommend it. And one other suggestion that I was given when I started - just be yourself. Don't try to follow anyone else's type of blog or writing style because it won't sound natural to your audience. I don't write like a lot of other bloggers and my subject matter isn't the same, either. But everyone who knows me says that my blogs sound just like me and my enthusiam for dairy farming comes through. So be yourself and have fun with it. (And after reading your blog about the blizzard, I think you could do a great job educating the public about farm life!) The more dairy farmers we can get to share their stories on social media, the more the public will understand that we really care about our cows, our land and the environment. The more they understand our farming practices, the more they will realize that they can trust us to produce delicious, nutritious dairy products for their enjoyment and health. So pick a type of social media site that works best for your style (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc) and just get started. Good luck! Betsy
Thanks Betsy for your words of encouragement. What is your farms Facebook page? I should like it to see the things you are talking about. Will be in touch.
Hi Christina. Our farm's Facebook address is facebook.com/Fleurys.Maple.Hill.Farm. I would love to have you take a look at it. We are pretty proud of it. Have a Merry Christmas! Betsy
Hi again, Christina! I thought of something else to say about using social media to tell dairy's story. With HSUS, PETA, and all the other anti-farm organizations trying to stop animal agriculture, I'll admit that I was a little afraid to put our farm out there for all to see. I didn't know if I would get a lot of negative comments on our site, or even get someone visiting the farm once they found out about it. Luckily, that hasn't happened yet. But because of it, I am very careful about what I say and what type of pictures I post. I want to show dairy farming in a good light, so I choose my words and photos very carefully, thinking about how they will sound and look to non-farmers and, even worse, animal activists. As I said, I haven't had any negative comments or questions yet. But if I do, there are a lot of resources available from dairy organizations that I can use to help me answer them. Hopefully, by showing our farm in a postive manner in my posts and pictures, our farm's Facebook followers will realize that we really do care about our cows, land, and the environment. Then if they have questions or concerns about dairy farming, they won't hesitate to ask me and they will trust the answers I give them. If enough of us dairy farmers start telling our story, I think we really can educate the general public about dairy farming and our wonderful way of life. So happy blogging! And Happy "Moo" Year! Betsy
There are no rules. On my own blog sometimes I tell my story like I'm talking to a friend. Sometimes I tell it like I'm talking to judges in an overall exhibitor/showman interview. Sometimes I post ten things in one day. Sometimes I don't post for a few weeks (which is bad - people like to read new stuff.) You could start from the beginning (how you got into dairy.) You could just start by telling about what's going on right now. The nice thing is that you can EDIT even after you post. Check out lots of blogs. PTD has a page of their favorites (Dairy Blog Links at the top of the screen.)