It’s no secret that we are heavy users of social media as a business tool on the farm at Blue Sky Produce.
We used YouTube to tell us “How to Drive a Tractor” when we first arrived three-and-a-half years ago, straight from the city; and we’ve been fortunate to have a tweet on Twitter about a ‘whopper’ mango found in the orchard go viral and see us make the front cover of the regional newspaper.
We’ve sold tonnes of reject fruit via Facebook. Last year a Facebook post selling our ‘seconds’ avocados reached over 104,000 people, was shared 874 times, over 400 orders were received and more than six tonnes of fruit was sold, translating into thousands of dollars we would otherwise missed out on.
We’ve made top connections with other farmers via Instagram who have provided timely and helpful advice on numerous occasions over the last few years and we’ve been able to receive emails with photos of our fruit sent from customers who made a purchase of a Blue Sky mango in Malaysia.
So yep - safe to say in our book, social media is not just for sharing what you ate for tea last night or stalking old flames.
Last year, 2016 saw two highly successful social media campaigns, the ‘backpacker tax’ and the ‘buy branded milk’ consumer reaction, highlight just how powerful digital media can be on a national scale for the agricultural industry.
In 2017, social media is a business tool for farming that must be taken seriously.
Today our highly digital world provides an instantaneous way for the population to communicate, connect, educate and gather – on a global scale – from their mobile phone.
This is also a time of much change, innovation and disruption in the worldwide economy.
People react to this instability by seeking greater connection and purpose in their lives.
Consumers no longer buy just on price; they buy from people they know, trust and can relate to.
People do business with people, rarely with businesses. Purpose in a business is now the tiebreaker in helping a customer to make a choice.
This means your business purpose enables a customer to decide if your milk, mangoes or wheat, is worthy of them parting with their money and branding themselves alongside you.
Failing to express your business purpose today, is like farming many years ago and failing to implement mechanisation in the form of tractors.
It is no longer enough to sell our agricultural commodities for a competitive price. That’s the entry point for farming business.
So now that’s out, what else do we have that actually provides significance and meaning to our customers? What can set us apart from our competitors?
How then do we share our purpose from the farm gate in rural Australia, with our consumers who are potentially located all over the world? Well, that’s where social media really comes into its own.
The agricultural industry must get online and get engaged. We must continue to tell our stories, join the conversations that impact our industries and share why we do what we do.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the plethora of other social media platforms are here to stay, and the impacts they can have on a global scale, are real.
- Jess Fealy, Blue Sky Produce and Country to Canberra blogger.