5 Misguided Reasons Why Ag Retailers Are Not Using Social Media

Let’s be clear. There are many ag retailers making social media work for their business. Take Mid Kansas Cooperative (MKC), for example. The organization’s leaders have taken the position that if they’re not telling MKC’s story on social media, then someone else will. MKC has formed a social media committee, developed a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blogger and LinkedIn, and further enhanced its brand thanks to social media, says Director of Communications Kerry Watson.

“We just completed a Brand Valuation in which our MKC brand was valued at $23.1 million,” she says. “We believe our social media efforts have played a role in creating our brand awareness.”

But for every social media savvy retailer like MKC, there are dozens of others that haven’t embraced online communities yet. The biggest question is, why not? I have asked ag retailers this question many times over the past several years, and their responses are as widespread as Bt hybrids in the Corn Belt — all over the place. But the following five reasons are given more than others as to why retailers are not using social media (and why they should strongly reconsider):

1. No perceived ROI/Value. There are a lot of companies that are still skeptical about the return on investment (ROI) of social media. Like most ag professionals, ag retailers need to see value in something before they’ll invest in it. “If I can’t measure it, I won’t do it.” Sound familiar? This is a valid point to address, particularly if you’re unsure how social media can benefit your organization. Fortunately, there are many studies that display the value social media could bring to your marketing practices. Consider nearly 60% of marketers who have been using social media for more than three years report it has helped them improve sales, according to the Social Media Examiner. While this is just one fact supporting social media, I encourage you to do more research. You just might find that perception is not reality.

2. Uncertain of customer usage. “I’m not sure my customers are using it.” That’s a claim I’m constantly hearing from retailers. But that’s just it, they’re “not sure.” I’m here to tell you that they are using it. According to the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, farmers use social media “to put a face on how food is grown.” They share photos and stories about how their farms are operated, making personal connections with consumers, suppliers and their communities. Farmers are also using social media to inform people about agricultural issues that matter to them. Your customers, or potential customers, are using social media more than you think. It’s at least worth looking into to find out “for sure.”

3. Think it’s a waste of time. We live in a microwave society. If we don’t see immediate results, then we move on to something else. That’s how many ag retailers view social media. One of my favorite comments from a recent survey on social media summed it up best: “It’s a colossal waste of time and resources.” But social networking takes time to build a loyal fan base. Start small. Block out a little time every week to tweet, post updates to Facebook, blog or create YouTube videos. Conversely, when it’s time to visit growers or do custom application work, shut down these sites and concentrate on the rest of your business.

4. Not sure how to use it. Social media use is ubiquitous, yet many businesses still aren’t sure what to do with it. Some have found out the hard way that simply being present on social media isn’t enough. If you want to raise awareness for your brand on social media, it’s absolutely critical that you form a content strategy in advance. Which networking sites do we start with? Who will be the person(s) responsible for the company’s social media? How often will we use it? What do we hope to get out of it? These are all valid questions that should be answered in your social media plan. Above all else, keep it simple and chances are your strategy will be effective.

5. Concerns about negative publicity. Social media can be a double-edged sword. One of the downfalls is that companies have no control of the dialogue about their brand. “The risk of unwanted publicity is not worth the potential value,” said one retailer in a recent survey. While I empathize with this thinking, I can’t justify it. While you may choose not to use social media because of concerns about bad publicity, you can’t stop your customers, neighbors or competitors from doing so. What better way to counter bad press than through social media channels and tell your story on social media before someone else does.

Leave a Reply

Matt Hopkins Stories

Farmers on Tablet
Matt Hopkins6 Mobile App Trends Worth Watching In Agriculture
May 9, 2016
The agricultural industry is being transformed by the use of data. It is everywhere, and over the next several years, Read More
Social media
Matt Hopkins7 Social Media Trends Shaping Ag Retail In 2016
April 22, 2016
After writing my last column on why social media is a must for ag retailers, I heard from several readers Read More
Farmer on social media
Matt Hopkins6 Compelling Reasons Why Social Media Is A Must For Ag Retailers
March 17, 2016
The evolution and growth of social media use among ag retailers since 2010 has been nothing less than astonishing. In Read More
Wheat Growers
Matt Hopkins16 Most Diversified Ag Retailers In 2016
January 8, 2016
Diversification. It’s the battle cry for financial planners everywhere. Many will preach that spreading your investments across market sectors, industries, and Read More
Trending Articles
Soybean Plant closeup
Industry NewsMonsanto Rejects Bayer Bid; Open To More Talks
May 25, 2016
Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, turned down Bayer AG’s $62 billion acquisition bid as “incomplete and financially inadequate” Read More
Eric SfiligojPity The Monsanto Haters
May 23, 2016
An old saying goes thus: “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.” Given current events, there Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Crop InputsReport: Bayer Eyeing Monsanto For Possible Mega-Merger
May 16, 2016
Bayer AG is exploring a potential bid for U.S. competitor Monsanto Co. in a deal that would create the world’s Read More
Aerial Drone
Precision AgA Deeper Dive Into The Future Of Precision Ag
May 9, 2016
For about two decades now, through the good and the bad times, the ups and the downs inherent in agriculture, Read More
Palmer amaranth in soybean stubble
HerbicidesWSSA: Billions In Potential Economic Losses From Uncontrolled Weeds
May 4, 2016
What losses would corn and soybean growers experience if they were forced to eliminate herbicides and other control techniques from Read More
Eric SfiligojReasons For Hope In Commodity Prices
May 2, 2016
For many months now, the doomsayers have ruled the day in agriculture. Too much supply with too little demand would Read More
Latest News
Fertilizer Dealer Supply
UncategorizedFertilizer Dealer Supply Joins GVM
May 31, 2016
GVM has added Fertilizer Dealer Supply (FDS) to its growing network of Mako dealers. “I met Mark Anderson some 20 years Read More
Crop InputsRepar Registers New Biopesticide With U.S. EPA
May 31, 2016
Repar Corp., with headquarters in Silver Spring, MD, has developed Homobrassinolide 0.1%, a new generation plant growth promoter containing homobrassinolide, Read More
Industry NewsAligned Ag Distributors Names New VP Market Development
May 31, 2016
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC announced this morning the appointment of Tim Krueger to the position of VP Market Development. Krueger Read More
FertilizerCreating The Proper Environment For Yield Increases Wit…
May 31, 2016
Finely tuned nutrient management plans are helping farmers throughout the U.S. improve nutrient use efficiency, increase return on investment (ROI) Read More
Industry NewsJ.R. Simplot Names New Wholesale Agriculture Sales Vice…
May 31, 2016
Doug Stone will be joining the J. R. Simplot Co. as vice president, Wholesale Agricultural Sales within the Simplot AgriBusiness Read More
Adjuvants loading
AdjuvantsISAA 2016 Highlights Adjuvant Trends
May 31, 2016
Adjuvants can significantly improve the performance of crop protection products. Farmers and formulators enhance the efficacy of sprays by using Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Eric SfiligojWhat’s Next For Monsanto?
May 31, 2016
For the folks at Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, MO, it has been an eventful few weeks. Back on May Read More
Craig Houin Sunrise Cooperative iPad
Precision AgState Of Precision Ag 2016: Gut Check Time For Value
May 31, 2016
There’s no denying that precision technologies and practices are more vibrant than ever. Equipment manufacturers have fine-tuned the hardware for Read More
ManagementWashington Visit and Bayer/Monsanto Deal Update
May 26, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discusses a recent trip to DC and the latest news on the proposed pairing Read More
Fertilizer closeup in hand
Industry NewsVerdesian: Striking A Balance Between Yield & ROI
May 26, 2016
Finely tuned nutrient management plans are helping farmers throughout the U.S. improve nutrient use efficiency, increase return on investment (ROI) Read More
Crop InputsLand O’Lakes Announces Minnesota Water Quality Pa…
May 25, 2016
Governor Mark Dayton and Land O’Lakes, Inc. President and CEO Chris Policinski today announced a new public-private partnership to protect Read More
Soybean Plant closeup
Industry NewsMonsanto Rejects Bayer Bid; Open To More Talks
May 25, 2016
Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, turned down Bayer AG’s $62 billion acquisition bid as “incomplete and financially inadequate” Read More
Corn close up
Crop InputsArysta LifeScience Establishes Global Headquarters In R…
May 25, 2016
Arysta LifeScience has announced plans to relocate its global headquarters from West Palm Beach, FL, to Cary, NC, over the Read More
fertilizer blending and storage, Top 100
BlendersCHS Dakota Expansion Features AGCO’s GSI InterSys…
May 25, 2016
The continued growth of precision agriculture has increased farmer use of customized fertilizer blends best-suited for their soil conditions. Several Read More
ManagementAgriculture 3.5: A Bumpy Road Ahead
May 24, 2016
You may have read my article a few years ago on Agriculture 3.0, which is a term I coined to Read More
Topcon’s X30 display with CropSpec sensors
EquipmentGPS Autosteer Systems: Product Updates From Precision A…
May 24, 2016
Throughout 2015 GPS Steering solutions continued to evolve from what was once an after-market add on, to today’s cab where Read More
Trimble TMX-2050 In-Cab Display
Eric SfiligojThe Precision Ag Revolution Continues
May 24, 2016
It’s funny how much “the first time” tends to mean to someone as they get older. I sometimes can’t recall Read More
Eric Wintemute, AMVAC
Precision AgAMVAC Ups The Ante With New Precision Ag Technology
May 24, 2016
A potentially industry-changing at-plant soil treatment system from American Vanguard Corp., or AMVAC, is coming soon to large growers in Read More