Hashtag your story to build consumer awareness

View From the Paddock


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Growing internet access is giving rural people the means to tell their story, and now they need to take advantage, according to out View From the Paddock columnist.

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Central and North West 2016 Miss Showgirl, Tiffany Davey.

Central and North West 2016 Miss Showgirl, Tiffany Davey.

For the first time I can submit this column from the verandah of the Yaraka Hotel because the latest news from my part of the world is that Yaraka now has signal, meaning internet for many.

In old news, internet means opportunity – for existing businesses to reach their full potential, for diversification, for communities to grow, and for more people within the agricultural industry to delve into the world of social media to 'share their story'.

The women of the west are leading the way when it comes to diversification on the land.

It was the first lesson I learnt at Ag college – don’t put all your eggs in the same basket.

There has been an increase in businesses being based on isolated properties from swim wear to sweat shirts, and this inclination is only going to rise, thanks to the internet.

I see online businesses thriving all around the world thanks to tech savvy young people and trust me, despite what a lot of the generation above us believe, the land of social media isn't a bad thing.

It's not just about sending a Snapchat to my mates and uploading pictures from the weekend to instagram. These things mean I look at a town with 11 people and instead of seeing a dying community I see opportunity.

The internet allows us to connect with growers, markets and make connections with like-minded people from all over the world.

My clientele grows from the 11 people within the town to the whole of Australia. So using the right hash tag and uploading the right #felfie has its advantages.

The Yaraka B&S committee is now based over four different states, and it relies on social media to market our event and teleconferences to plan it.

In under 12 months we formed a committee of 21 young people, generated the most money out of all community events in our region and most importantly, were able to give back to RFDS and 'Tie up the Black Dog'.

If we had tried to run our committee like any other this wouldn't have happened. Instead of looking at a little town of 11, I asked myself what was missing, I saw opportunity and then got five of my mates on board. The rest is history.

This is a key message I've been delivering to our 2017 showgirls – that the young people in the rosettes and sashes our the future of regional Australia.

So embrace it and make sure you’re embracing technology. You'll overcome some obstacles, people in your community not liking the idea of something different being one of them.

Don't get me wrong - most of the time community support is fantastic. But break a few rules.

A politician from Western Australia told me recently the most she is ever intimidated is when she walks into community forums with a bunch of 60-something-year-olds.

I've been told any number of times my vision for regional Australia is 'sweet' from a demographic very similar.

But like it or not, Gen Y is the future of this industry and the future of regional Australia, so if there isn't opportunities for youth development within your towns then make them.

And on the topic of #felfies, it's time outback Queensland got on board with sharing the story behind our food because it's a good one.

This is also where those young people in rosettes and sashes come into play. As ambassadors of the agriculture industry and our shows, use this time to spark conversation and make connections.

In a world where we are constantly surrounded by people it seems harder to make those connections.

But hashtag away because you don't have to be from Byron Bay to have a story behind your food.

The consumer has been getting their food from a packet for long enough and now they want to know the real story, our story.

This is education within the ag industry without the arrogance of the past because consumer awareness shouldn't be an issue we have to be faced with.

 – Central and North West 2016 Miss Showgirl, Tiffany Davey.

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