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
Matt Hopkins15 Best New Agriculture Apps Worth Downloading In 2014
December 16, 2013
These latest agriculture apps are sure to help ag professionals do their jobs more efficiently in 2014 and beyond. Read More

Trending Articles

MAGIE 2014 ShowStopper
EquipmentJohn Deere Again Wins MAGIE ShowStopper Award
August 25, 2014
For the second consecutive year, John Deere was honored at the Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) for its new R4045 sprayer. Read More
ManagementExpert To Discuss Farmland Value, Rent At Farm Science Review
August 18, 2014
While cropland values in Ohio increased in the past two years, they have remained flat in 2014, declining in some cases, according to an Ohio State University agricultural economist. Read More
EquipmentAdvance Your Technology IQ At MAGIE
August 13, 2014
The Midwest AG Industries Exposition (August 20-21) is the place you need to be to see, study and evaluate how new advances in the equipment, operations, crop protection and fertility sectors can help your business prosper. Read More
HerbicidesScouting Key To Next Season’s Soybean Herbicide Program
August 12, 2014
When growing soybeans, growers need to think ahead to stay one step ahead of weeds. That means examining weed threats and evaluating which herbicides work best. Read More
StewardshipMichigan Agriculture Leaders On Toledo Water Ban: We Want To Be Part Of The Conversation
August 8, 2014
Leaders of Michigan agricultural organizations said Thursday that the government should not have a “knee-jerk reaction” based on last weekend’s water ban in Toledo due to fertilizer run-off in Lake Erie. Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Acquires Lemon Ag Services
August 4, 2014
The acquisition of Lemon Ag fits BRANDT’s aggressive corporate strategy of providing superior agronomic advice and services for customers in central Illinois. Read More

Latest News

WebinarsWebinars On Demand
September 2, 2014
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches Performance Agriculture Brand
September 2, 2014
Performance Agriculture complements Pinnacle’s existing brands, including Sanders, the company’s flagship farm input retail brand. Read More
Webinars5 Key Benefits Of Attending A Webinar
September 2, 2014
Webinars can provide ag retailers with a convenient option for gaining knowledge on the latest industry issues and solutions. Read More
Crop InputsBASF Is Betting On A Bright Agricultural Future
September 1, 2014
The crop protection products giant is gearing up for a busy time in agriculture by investing in both product production and development over the next couple of years. Read More
Eric SfiligojAn Erie Feeling For Ag
September 1, 2014
Plenty of water issues have been in the news lately, including the continuing drought in California. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires California-Based Retailer
August 29, 2014
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings will acquire Kerman Ag Resources, Inc., which will operate under Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
Allied Cooperative Grain Plant
ManagementArcadia Co-op To Merge With Allied Cooperative
August 28, 2014
Allied Cooperative has announced that members of Arcadia Co-op voted in favor of a merger with Allied Cooperative, paving the way for the consolidation which will be effective on December 1, 2014. Read More
InsecticidesBioinsecticide VENERATE Now Registered In California
August 27, 2014
Marrone Bio Innovations' VENERATE is a new tool to help California growers control crop-damaging insect pests, fight the development of insect resistance and reduce pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables. Read More
CropLife 100Two Iowa-Based Ag Co-ops To Merge
August 27, 2014
The Board of Directors and management of United Western Coop, Missouri Valley, IA has completed a merger with Heartland Co-op, West Des Moines, IA, effective September 1, 2014. Read More
FertilizerKoch Expands AGROTAIN Nitrogen Stabilizer Portfolio
August 26, 2014
Koch Agronomic Services, LLC has added two new innovative nitrogen stabilizers to the AGROTAIN product family – AGROTAIN ADVANCED and AGROTAIN DRI-­MAXX. Read More
Seed/BiotechDuPont To Build Two Seed Treatment Centers
August 26, 2014
DuPont has announced construction on two state-of-the-art centers dedicated to developing and testing seed treatment formulations, applications and seed handling techniques in an important step toward bringing new solutions to growers. Read More
Seed/BiotechLoveland Products Acquires A Controlling Interest In Ag…
August 26, 2014
Loveland Products, a subsidiary of Agrium , has announced the company has acquired a controlling interest in Agricen, a Dallas-area agricultural biotechnology company delivering biochemical-based products for efficient and sustainable plant nutrition. Read More
StewardshipUp Close Look At The 2014 Environmental Respect Award W…
August 25, 2014
The 2014 Environmental Respect Award winners were honored recently at the 24th annual event in Wilmington, DE. Read More
Eric SfiligojAg Science Rejection Carries Consequences
August 25, 2014
As innuendo and fear dog the regulatory process, agriculture can’t get the new tools it needs to combat world hunger. Read More
LegislationFarmers Dismayed As New Farm Bill Dumps Direct Payments
August 25, 2014
The threatened end of cash subsidies to the nation’s row crop farmers dates back through at least the last two iterations of national agriculture policy legislation. Read More
MAGIE 2014 ShowStopper
EquipmentJohn Deere Again Wins MAGIE ShowStopper Award
August 25, 2014
For the second consecutive year, John Deere was honored at the Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) for its new R4045 sprayer. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK CEO To Retire
August 22, 2014
GROWMARK chief executive officer Jeff Solberg has announced his retirement effective September 15, 2014. Read More
InsecticidesDuPont’s Prevathon Approved For Dry Beans
August 22, 2014
DuPont Prevathon insect control powered by Rynaxypyr has received EPA registration for foliar use on dry bean crops, including dried shelled peas and beans. Read More