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

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
Eric SfiligojThe Resurgence Of Crop Protection
August 4, 2014
Plenty of new offerings over the next few years should see a rebirth for the crop protection products category in terms of market share. Read More
LegislationUSDA Implements Key Farm Bill Crop Insurance Provision
July 30, 2014
The new Supplemental Coverage Option, available through the federal crop insurance program and set to begin with the 2015 crop year, is designed to help protect producers from yield and market volatility. Read More

Latest News

ManagementNCGA DuPont New Leaders Program Enters Sophmore Season
August 20, 2014
The National Corn Growers Association and DuPont are pleased to announce the second year of the NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program. Read More
FungicidesVerdesian Links Up With Mitsui, Hokusan
August 20, 2014
Mitsui Chemicals Agro, Inc., and Hokusan Co., announced the signing of an exclusive licensing agreement allowing Verdesian Life Sciences global access to its patented technology for suppressing mycotoxin contamination in wheat and barley. Read More
SprayersUniversity Of Illinois Introduces New Spray App
August 18, 2014
University of Illinois Extension has released a new smartphone app for making sprayer-related calculations. Pesticide Spray Calculator, or Spray Calc, Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Names New Manager Of Federal Government Relati…
August 18, 2014
Laura Wood Peterson has joined Syngenta as manager of federal government relations, based in Washington, DC. Read More
ManagementExpert To Discuss Farmland Value, Rent At Farm Science …
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
EquipmentDeere Announces Factory Layoffs
August 18, 2014
Deere & Co. has announced it will reduce the size of its manufacturing workforce at some agricultural equipment factories in response to current market demand for its products. Read More
HerbicidesNew DuPont Afforia Herbicide Gives Crops A Clean Start
August 18, 2014
DuPont Afforia is a preplant herbicide for soybeans and other field crops that provides excellent burndown and residual control of many challenging weeds, such as marestail and waterhemp. Read More
Equipment21 Products Showcased At MAGIE 2014
August 18, 2014
The annual Midwest AG Industries Exposition is upon us. Here is CropLife IRON's look at some of the products visitors can expect to see at this week's event. Read More
EquipmentAGCO Seeks Nominations For 2014 Operator Of The Year
August 15, 2014
Ag retailers throughout the U.S. and Canada are encouraged to nominate their best applicators. 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
ManagementCropLife’s Buyers’ Guide Issue Now Availabl…
August 13, 2014
One of our most read issues of the year — the August Buyers' Guide — is ready to download on the iPad. This popular issue features equipment for "In The Field," "At The Plant" and "In The Office." Read More
WebinarsWebinars On Demand
August 13, 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
HerbicidesBASF: Fall Burndown Benefits Go Beyond Weed Control
August 12, 2014
While unpredictable weather may delay application timing of spring herbicides, more growers are adding a burndown application in the fall Read More
HerbicidesScouting Key To Next Season’s Soybean Herbicide P…
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
StewardshipNitrogen Efficiency Supports Environmental Stewardship
August 12, 2014
As growers prepare for another harvest, it’s important to consider how nitrogen stabilization not only supports healthy plant growth but also fosters environmental stewardship. Read More
Seed/BiotechMycogen Seeds Introduces 19 New Corn Hybrids For 2015
August 12, 2014
Many of the new hybrids feature Mycogen's SmartStax Refuge Advanced technology for maximum protection of the genetic potential and planting convenience. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Introduces Enlist Ahead App For Enlist…
August 12, 2014
Designed for use with the Enlist Weed Control System, the app is a precision agriculture tool for maximizing weed control performance, managing weed resistance and making responsible applications of Enlist Duo herbicide with Colex-D Technology. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Announces Senior Leadership Team Changes
August 12, 2014
Current CHS strategic leadership team member Shirley Cunningham will assume a new role as executive vice president and chief operating officer, Ag Business and Enterprise Strategy. Read More