Something I have been thinking a lot about lately is bridging gaps, whether its with politics, agriculture or social media, I am inherently interested in ways to bring people together rather than separate them. Some think this is too hopeful, but the only thing you can do is try, right? When I think about bridging the gap between consumers and farmers, I am excited to see projects like Farm Journal’s Trust in Food building conversations around the mistrust in our food system and ways to bring farmers, consumers and industry giants together for an honest conversation. I have tried to do the social side of building trust for consumers in brands and in practices like grain bagging or bale wrapping by using some of these traits that I believe consumers want to see in their products, practices and food.
2. Real statistics on environmental affects: Consumers with food and farmers with machines are both looking for real evidence that buying this or eating that is the right decision. Today anyone with an opinion can “be an expert” on a topic because they can create their own blog, stream a video of themselves or state ideas without evidence. This doesn’t cut it for building a reputation for yourself. Customers rightly deserve real numbers, real statistics about animal welfare, run off, ag recycling, sustainable practices and more. Ways to start doing this are doing your research from actual peered reviewed journals and experts in the field with real credentials, not merely an opinion. Below is an a company who is doing this, Indigo Ag. If you haven’t heard of them, its worth checking out.
3. Real family farms: some people have never been to a farm. I know many people who have tons of opinions on food, but have never sat foot on a farm. But they still deserve to know where their food comes from. With social media there is no reason that they cant get a glimpse of what life on the farm is like. So its up to us to give them quality, truthful video and images where we can begin to talk about the practices of farming and animal raising. People want to see real people, not correspondents dictating the show, real farmers and real days in the life of the farmers. Check out this video from How Farms Work below. They are a great resource for people not familiar with farming and shoot real videos, show real problems they face and have fun while they're at it.
4. Machines not running perfectly: if you sell machines you know that even the best finely tuned machine will have problems, sometimes it’s the operator, sometimes it’s the machine. Farmers want to see real demos of machines, not 20 minute videos of shiny machines running perfectly in a field that looks nothing like theirs, they want to see realness. And they want to know about service, and parts, and if the person selling it to them is available when needed and will take care of them. So get someone to take videos of your demos on real farms, it will go a long way.
At the end of the day customers, consumers and farmers all want the same thing. They just want the truth, and they want their brands and what info is given to them to be genuine, transparent and real.
There is no secret formula to using social media for business, but there are some ways that I have found from A/B testing that just work better than others, and its mainly about what real people want from brands. In the world of social media, ROI, stats, analytics and video views its sometimes hard to remember that there are real faces and people behind their phones, and those are the people you need to be talking to. So here are some suggestions on what type of content to distribute on each social media platform.
Facebook has been helping businesses grow their reach and market for a long time now, but what are brands that are succeeding doing differently on social? Some things I have learned about posting on facebook as a business is 80% giving, and 20% asking. I think I got this from Gary Vaynerchuks book “jab, jab, jab, right hook." You can stay true to your brand by posting short, vibrant videos that catch your audience in the first 3 seconds, that show maybe how your product works or provides how tos and inspiration for using your product, you can also share relevant articles that might be helpful to your followers. If you own a flower shop, maybe you want to post a timelapse of an employee building a beautiful arrangement, and share articles from others about seasonal succulent arrangements and how to build them at home. Once you have a good following, keep posting to Facebook regularly so they stay engaged and can rely on cool videos and helpful tips being in their news feed. You should post to Facebook no more than 3 times per day, and time of day is also important, look here for a good article on posting. You can also go live on facebook which automatically sends all your followers a notification to watch your live feed, a great way to stay at the top of their newsfeed if you have something exciting to share live.
(Pepsi, Facebook) (Gary Vaynerchuk, Facebook.)
Snapchat is live, or its intended to be. So this is a great place to film some behind the scenes at your company or your clients company. Funny (but not inappropriate) filters are great ways for your potential customers to see the lighter side of your company and realize that you are real people too. Some examples might be: company holiday parties, demonstrations of new products, a look around an event you are at.
Instagram is a great place to showcase products and ideas in a beautiful picture format. People on Instagram are looking for pictures that catch their eye, for example if you sell clothing, post engaging photos of arrangements of outfits and use cool filters. You can set up an Instagram shop where clients can then click on products and see pricing without having to leave the Instagram app.
Instagram Stories is a great platform that I feel a lot of brands aren’t using yet. Much like snapchat, Instagram stories is intended to be for live video and pictures with cool filters you can use. A great story about your companies adventures that day can be a great way to keep your followers engaged. So for this, much like snapchat, you can video a day in the life of an employee, or an event you are at or still shots some products with fun filters.
(Taco Bell, Snapchat)
Blog- everyone with a blog thinks they’re an expert all of a sudden. So be genuine, be kind, and most importantly be informative. Followers want value, and that’s what they demand of products now. Blogs are a great way to build organic SEO, the way that you can put rich keywords (that are relevant and not just saying words to say words) and they great titles, and links out and in from the blog make it a great way to start a conversation about topics that your company is interested in, teach your audience something of value and build trust within your online community.
Twitter- I have found with twitter, it is expected that people and brands will post frequently, so you can post up to 10 times a day without annoying people. With 280 (previously 140) character limits, it doesn’t get annoying when people post more than on other platforms. Tweet content could include pictures, video, quotes, or thoughts and helpful tips. If you are in the farming business, you could post daily grain pricing, photos of the farm and retweet relevant farming articles and blogs.
(John Deere, Twitter)
For this platform I have found that longer, in depth videos work best. So if you have a video that maybe you edited for a short eye catching video on facebook, maybe post the long version on YouTube. Also a lot of product how tos and instructional videos work well on youtube. Also if you are looking into doing a vlog (a video blog) youtube is a great place to start. You can also make playlists on your youtube channel that categorize and organize photos by similar theme or product which makes it easy for people to watch videos that are similar.
Linked In has a deep network of brands, companies and employees who, I have found, are always looking to provide feedback and encouragement. As a business, keep the business linked in page more structured and share curated videos and great blog posts. As for the personal side, it’s a great connecting resource and good for B2B (business to business) sellers. I have found it to be less social media-ish with far less memes and funny content, and more strictly business oriented, so keep that in mind with the type of content you share.
Podcasts are a platform that brands are using to their advantage. With the ease of use in apps like Anchor, anyone can create a podcast for free and upload it to itunes for listeners to hear. Or you can go all out and get microphone and computer editing software to make your podcast sound more professional. Pick a topic relevant to your industry and pick a general theme that you will talk about and bring in people to give expert opinions on. There are podcasts for comedy, farming, politics, fashion, and everything in between. Here are some of the podcasts I listen to below.
Farm to Table Podcast
Gary Vee Audio Experience
This is just one more way to provide value to your customer and build trust in your brand. You aren’t on your podcast promoting your products, people don’t want that- you are there to give insights and opinions about your industry that are fresh and new.
Instagram is owned by Facebook, and Instagram alone has an estimated 800 million monthly active users as of September 2017 (Statista). Since early last year, Instagram has started allowing anyone with a business account to advertise in the Stories section of Instagram. These ads are shown in the middle of users watching the people or brands they follows stories. These are short ads (no longer than 15 seconds), often include great visuals and music, and are great for introducing a new product, catching attention and staying top of mind with potential customers and your current followers.
Adstage, Prater. 2018.
The way you create ads in through your current facebook ads channel, then when choosing a placement you would select Instagram stories. The dimensions for these ads are as follows:
-video ratios 16:9 to 4:5 and 9:16
-video file size: 4GB max
-video length: 1-15 seconds
-video sound: optional
So if you want to expand your social arsenal of ads, consider Instagram stories by talking to your advertiser or trying it out for yourself!
If you haven’t noticed, video has been on the rise across all forms of content on the internet. It doesn’t matter if you are on social media, browsing huff post, searching for something on google or watching another streaming video form like hulu, video ads are being shown to you and you are in some way engaging with them.
Here are some reasons you should be using video now.
According to socialitysquared , 53% of consumers interact with their favorite brands on Facebook. Pew Research Center states that “three quarters of facebook users and half of Instagram users use the site every day.” Over 135 minutes per day are spent by the average person. Per day! Facebook alone has 2.2 billion monthly active users. (Statista). Social Media Today reports that by 2020, 80% of all content consumed online will be video, and over 8 billion videos or 100 milion hours of videos are watched every day on facebook. Every. Day.
Bottom line is, your customers are online watching videos and interacting with brands- so in order to reach them you need to have videos online too.
You can stay top of mind.
Whether it means your customers are actually watching your video, clicking on it, or merely keep scrolling, assuming you did your job right with a short, to the point video, they saw your branding whether they actually sat and watched your video or not. And you need to stay top of mind or you will be forgotten, considering that it is estimated by 2020 50% of all online searches will be done by voice search- so you need to stay ahead of the curve on all fronts and optimize for the future : which will be mobile, voice search, AI, and video.
You can tell your story.
What makes your business different or special? Get creative and let your viewers take an inside look at your business, please are more likely to buy from companies they trust. Social media has made it very important to be transparent as companies. What does transparency mean to todays consumers? It means replying to questions on social media within an hour, letting them catch a glimpse inside your business, the people who work for your company, having engaging content that they can relate to- no one wants to feel like they are being marketed to, so it needs to be free of buy now! and for a limited time only! wording. Check this Link for some great examples of branded media videos that really nailed it and watch a few examples of great short video ads below.
Whether you want to start using a different website service or simply make major updates to your websites look and feel, but you are worried about losing all your hard-fought SEO rankings, keep reading. Here are the steps we have taken with websites that, if done properly, will allow you to keep your great SEO ranking and still update or move your website.
1. Make sure your permalinks remain the same. Your website address should not be changed at all costs, because this will start over your SEO efforts. Furthermore, your permalinks also need to remain the same on the majority of your high-ranking pages. Your permalink is the permanent static hyperlink to a particular page on your website, for example : https://www.bagyourgrain.com/grain-baggers.html the permalink in this is everything after the .com/ When you create a whole new website that is hosted elsewhere you might find that as you are building the page the permalinks are atomically being created with default hyperlinks, for example, if I was recreating the website listed above and the page grain-baggers.html , it might default to just grainbaggers , which when published would prompt search engines to see this as a completely different site, thus losing your SEO ranking because you are essentially “starting over” with a new website. So, keep this in mind and make sure those permalinks stay the same.
2. Make sure your metadata stays the same. Meta data is the page title, description and keywords about each page of your website. If you have a good SEO ranking, changes are good that you have good metadata. So make sure that you keep your descriptions, keywords and page titles the same as your last website. Using a spreadsheet can sometimes be helpful for keeping information the same. If you are simply making updates to your website to increase your SEO ranking, then adding good descriptions and keywords you want to rank for are necessary for each page of your site.
(adobe muse help center)
3. Paste your Google Analytics code in the header of each page of your website. This helps google recognize your new site and will help with not only tracking your new site, but keeping it searchable and SEO friendly with google.
(weebly help center)
4. Keep alt tags on your pictures. This one isn’t a complete necessity, but good alt tags on pictures are always a good idea. This is just another way that can help you when google crawls your page and finds whether your page is relevant to the search a potential customer has just made. If you have pictures that you can add relevant keyword alt tags to, you will be ahead of the game.
Click below for more resources on updating your site without losing your SEO ranking. Happy Building!
You hear a lot of people talk about content, your content marketing strategy and how it can help your business.
But what is content marketing and why is it important for your marketing strategy?
Content marketing is any form of information you (or an agency helping you) create related to your field. So this can be blog posts, videos, graphics or tips that is generated by you with the intention of bringing value to your potential customers. It does not necessarily promote your specific brand, but it solves burning questions, gives tips and provides information that customers in your field would be interested in learning about.
Why is it important? Content marketing is important because it has been proven to create brand awareness and overall help your business be seen as an expert in the field, something that customers respond to more, especially online, versus blasting them with buy now and stats on why your product is better than the competition. Consider these stats on content marketing:
“Small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than small businesses without.”
(McCoy, 2017. http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2017/10/stats-invest-content-marketing/)
“Content marketing rakes in conversion rates six times higher than other methods.”
(McCoy, 2017. http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2017/10/stats-invest-content-marketing/)
Consumers want their brands to provide them value online, not simply give them a sales pitch on every post.
A good rule can be 80/20, meaning 80% of your content should be content marketing and 20% actual promotion of your specific product.
How can you accomplish it? There are a couple of ways of going about this. If you have unlimited time to dedicate to your businesses marketing effort, then you can create content on your own, across all digital media platforms, including videos, graphics, blog posts and full on articles. If not, this is where digital marketers can help your business. With your direction, they can create quality pieces of content and distribute them at the appropriate times across the appropriate platforms like facebook, your website, blog platforms like Medium, twitter, Instagram, snapchat and youtube to name a few. Having a robust tool box of content, a content calendar stating when each piece will be published where and what other types of marketing might be helpful like shooting customer video testimonials or seminars you might be speaking at, will help to keep your content fresh and provide the most value to your customers and potential customers.
When you are starting out, social media can seem overwhelming- there’s so many different platforms, so much content and everything seems different. Here are 3 things that helped me out when I got started.
1. Get a mentor. Whether this is a person you know and admire who has succeeded in social media or someone you do not know but can consume their information online, get a mentor. I have a mentor inside the ag advertising community but I also found a mentor that I have never met. I started watching a lot of YouTube videos and came across Gary Vaynerchuk. He is an entrepreneur and has a digital agency that services fortune 500 companies. He has built himself as a brand and expert in digital and social media. He is an author and motivator. I love his attitude which is focused on not making excuses and just putting the work in. I continue to read his books, watch his talks and listen to his podcasts as well as monitor what he does on social media because he is so successful and I think he provides a lot of value to his audience. This is one of the main lessons I was able to learn from watching him talk: provide value to your audience. Don’t try to sell, sell, sell, or just promote sales. Give your customers something they want like solving a problem in their community. For example, instead of posting about a blowout sale, perhaps share a “how to” blog post you wrote about a problem that faces your business industry. For example, grain storage is an issue for the agriculture community I am in, so I wrote this blog post.
2. Snoop others pages. Another thing I did was dive deep into what other brands were doing on social. I looked at products I personally follow, products that I buy, and looked at what they were doing on social. I looked at our competitors to get a grasp of what others in the industry were doing. And I decided whether they were succeeding or failing, and I drew out what I wanted to ditch and what I wanted to mimic.
3.Keep Learning. Never stop learning about the new digital trends. Take online classes, Facebook offers BluePrint, free courses to help you grow your knowledge of running Facebook and Instagram ads, listen to webinars, attend digital marketing conferences, talk to others in the industry. Absorb as much knowledge as you can because its ever changing. What worked for you last year might not work this year. Things that are working right this second like video streaming, mobile video and live video might change tomorrow (which it probably won't, video is by far the most consumed content and is projected to stay throughout 2018) but the point is, keep up to date and don’t get stuck in doing the same thing and forget to learn about what is coming up the line.