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

Matt Hopkins5 Misguided Reasons Why Ag Retailers Are Not Using Social Media
June 2, 2014
These most commonly cited reasons for not embracing social media need to be re-examined. Read More
Matt HopkinsHow iPads Are Transforming Customer Service At Dow AgroSciences
March 12, 2014
Dow AgroSciences' Tiffany Galloway discusses how iPads and mobile apps have completely changed the way the company's sales force interacts with customers. Read More
Matt HopkinsPrecision Agriculture: 6 Mobile Use Trends To Watch
March 3, 2014
The convergence of precision agriculture and mobile technology is highlighted by several key trends. Read More

Trending Articles

Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScience
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Offers New Support For Ferguson, Area Communities
October 8, 2014
Monsanto Co. has committed $1 million in new support for several collaborative efforts in Ferguson, MO, and surrounding communities in North St. Louis County. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnapproved Genetically Modified Wheat Found In Montana
October 3, 2014
USDA reports that one year after discovery of Monsanto's unapproved wheat in a single Oregon field disrupted U.S. wheat export sales, the GMO wheat has again been found in Montana. Read More
Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
The deadline to vote for the 2014 CropLife IRON Product of the Year is October 31. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More

Latest News

CropLife 100ValueAct Buys Stake In Fertilizer Dealer Agrium
October 30, 2014
ValueAct has bought 8.2 million shares in Calgary, Alberta-based Agrium, making them the second largest investor in the fertilizer dealer. Read More
InsecticidesNew Research Study Shows The Value Of Neonics
October 29, 2014
The study evaluated seed treatment, soil and foliar uses of neonicotinoid insecticides in the U.S. and Canada. Read More
StewardshipUSDA To Provide $4 Million For Honey Bee Habitat
October 29, 2014
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that more than $4 million in technical and financial assistance will be provided to Read More
Crop InputsValent Launches New Low VOC ProGibb LV Plus Plant Growt…
October 29, 2014
ProGibb LV Plus PGR is a high-potency, liquid gibberellic acid formulation designed to comply with California’s new air quality standards for high volatile organic compound agricultural products. Read More
Crop InputsBayer CropScience Acquires Certain DuPont Crop Protecti…
October 29, 2014
Bayer CropScience and DuPont Crop Protection have signed an agreement for Bayer to purchase certain DuPont Crop Protection Land Management assets in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. Read More
ManagementWest Central Names New President
October 29, 2014
West Central’s board of directors have announced their unanimous decision to name Milan Kucerak President and CEO-elect following Jeff Stroburg’s retirement at the end of the fiscal year. Read More
InsecticidesValent U.S.A., MGK Form Marketing Agreement
October 24, 2014
Valent has formed an agreement with Minneapolis-based MGK to manage the marketing and sales of MGK’s crop protection line of insect control products within the U.S. beginning April 1, 2015. Read More
StewardshipFlorida’s 4R Advocate Keeps Improving
October 24, 2014
Florida farmer Alan Jones uses the 4R principles of nutrient stewardship as the core of his fertility program, which allows him to maximize production and keep costs in check. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Named One Of The World’s Best Multinational …
October 23, 2014
Monsanto ranked No. 8 in the world’s largest annual study of workplace excellence that identifies the top 25 best multinational companies in terms of workplace culture. Read More
Crop InputsArysta Hires Former Agri-Chem, CPS Employee For Delta S…
October 23, 2014
New Territory Sales Manager Mark Peel’s primary role will focus on working with growers regarding fungicides in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Announces Appointments In Plant Food Division
October 22, 2014
GROWMARK, Inc. has announced the three key staff changes in its Plant Food Division. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Appoints New VP Of Finance And Risk Management
October 22, 2014
Wade Mittelstadt has been named GROWMARK Vice President, Financial and Risk Mangement, effective December 1, 2014. Read More
FungicidesEPA Approves BASF In-Furrow Corn Fungicide
October 22, 2014
Field trials show Xanthion In-furrow fungicide provides more rapid emergence, extended residual control and improved seedling health than untreated crops. Read More
EquipmentAgraScout App Available At No Cost To Universities
October 21, 2014
AgraScout, a fast and easy to use mobile crop scouting app, is now available at no cost to University students, Read More
LegislationNew Farm Bill Program To Provide Relief To Farmers Affe…
October 21, 2014
The USDA has implemented a new Farm Bill initiative that will provide relief to farmers affected by severe weather, including drought. Read More
ManagementGreenfield Scholars Program Aims To Sustain Agronomy Wo…
October 21, 2014
The program encourages talented students to study agronomy, crop and soil sciences while cultivating networks to develop the necessary workforce to sustain the profession. Read More
Paul SchrimpfPrecision Ag: Taking It To The Hill
October 21, 2014
A new coalition took the good news message of precision agriculture to Washington, DC, last month. Read More
ManagementUSDA Awards $18 Million In Small Business Research Gran…
October 21, 2014
The grants will provide high quality, advanced research and development that will lead to technological innovations and solutions for American agriculture. Read More