5 Social Media Trends Shaping Ag Retail

Follow. Hashtags. Likes. Retweets. Timelines. Wall. The social media landscape is ever-changing and dotted with strange terms to the uninitiated. It’s also becoming an important part of business communications — whether you like it or not.

The same holds true for ag retailers. CropLife Media Group’s 2013 Ag Retailer Social Media Survey set out to gain better insight into how our readers are using social media for work purposes. While a number of respondents admit it has a place in the industry, they’re just not sure how to use it. Others, however, remain steadfast against social media (46%). “It’s a colossal waste of time and resources,” said one retailer. “Social media is a poor excuse for good face-to-face contact with customers,” said another.

Despite some uncertainty and negativity directed toward social media, the majority of retailers are using it for business to some degree. In fact, 55% are using it one to six hours per week for work purposes. But how is social media impacting the way retailers work? Here are five key findings that have emerged from the study that help answer this question:

1. Slow to adopt social media. Ag retailers have been slow to use social media compared to other digital platforms. Social media adoption was at approximately the same level (54%) in 2013 as it was last year. Meanwhile, technologies such as Webinars (79%) and mobile apps (64%) have been firmly embraced by retailers. Furthermore, 62% said they are using social media for work purposes “about the same amount” as last year. The biggest reason ag retailers do not use social media more for work is “My growers-customers don’t use social media” (41%), followed by “Do not have enough time to use it” (38%) and “Already communicate enough with my grower-customers” (34%).

2. Social network preferences vary. Wikipedia currently lists 200 major active social networking Websites. With so many to choose from, it’s not surprising ag retailers’ preferences vary across the board. Overall, retailers favor Facebook (31%) among social network sites. It was closely followed by LinkedIn (30%), YouTube (28%) and Twitter (26%). Of those four main sites, “Management” likes to use LinkedIn (41%), while “Sales/Marketing” (46%) and “Agronomy/Consulting” (29%) prefer Twitter, according to our survey.

3. Formal social media policies not catching on. While the explosion of social media has made it one of the hottest topics in the business world, it doesn’t mean organizations are quick to create social media policies. That’s certainly the case in ag retail. Most retailers (71%) do not have a formal policy regarding employee use of social networking sites. On the flip side, businesses that do have policies in place often cite reasons such as “protecting their company’s reputation” and “don’t want to create a productivity-killing distraction.”

4. Retailers recognize value in social media. A growing number of retailers (45%) are finding value in using social media to interact with customers, especially the younger generation of farmers. “It is becoming more and more important to engage in social media,” said one retailer. “You have to be where your customers are.” Other notable comments on social media’s value included “powerful marketing tool,” “a great way to distribute valuable information,” “excellent for sharing agriculture’s story from our perspective” and “another employee recruiting tool.”

5. Service tops the list of social media conversations. If successful retailers recognize the power that comes from being the farmer’s “trusted adviser,” than they’ll likely recognize the potential that social media has in fulfilling that moniker. That’s why it’s not surprising that “Agronomic tips/education/advice” (60%) was the most typical kind of social media post by retailers. As one retailer simply stated: “It’s part of serving the customer.” Other notable types of posts included “market information” (42%) and “weather updates” (39%).

If you wish to receive an Executive Summary of the “2013 Ag Retailer Social Media Survey,” please e-mail me at [email protected].

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
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To Explore IT Solutions
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries 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
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
Latest News
Allen Summers Asmark Institute PSM Training
EmployeesAsmark Institute Sponsors 25 ResponsibleAg Auditor Trai…
June 21, 2016
The Asmark Institute has announced plans to provide 25 scholarships through their affiliated State fertilizer and agrichemical associations to help encourage Read More
Kennebec Elevator
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Celebrates Kennebec Elevator Grand Openin…
June 21, 2016
Over 250 patrons and guests were on hand to celebrate Wheat Growers’ Kennebec Elevator grand opening. South Dakota Secretary of Read More
Land O Lakes
Industry NewsLand O’Lakes To Acquire Ceres
June 20, 2016
Land O’ Lakes, Inc. and Ceres, Inc. have announced that they have signed a definitive merger agreement under which Land O’Lakes Read More
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To …
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries Read More
LegislationVilsack Christens WinField Crop Adventure, Talks Monsan…
June 17, 2016
The WinField Crop Adventure grand opening ceremonies at Fair Oaks Farms (near Winemac, IN) welcomed USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Read More
Crop InputsFields of the Future: WinField Doubles Down with Agri-E…
June 16, 2016
Land O’Lakes, Inc., joined by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, today will host Fields of the Future, a live broadcast about Read More
Bayer sign
Crop InputsMonsanto Turns Back Bayer Again
June 14, 2016
Bayer AG’s bid to buy Monsanto Co. for more than $60 billion has hit an impasse that could pose a Read More
Young Corn Field
Crop NutritionNext Generation Of Nitrogen Efficiency Technology Conve…
June 13, 2016
Commodity price projections indicate farmers will continue to face tight margins again this year. Delivering higher yields and more bushels Read More
Industry NewsLa Crosse Seed Acquires Cover Crop Solutions Brand
June 10, 2016
La Crosse Seed announces that it is the new and exclusive owner of the entire family of brands of Cover Read More
ManagementTravel Plans and EU Rejection of Glyphosate, Biotech Cr…
June 9, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about upcoming trips and the latest in the European Union’s moves against glyphosate Read More
Aspire with Boron
Crop InputsStudy: Aspire with Boron Ups Alfalfa Yields
June 8, 2016
Alfalfa growers are successfully improving yields through the cutting season by applying an important micronutrient. In a recent study, The Read More
Industry NewsAGCO Announces Tragic Death of Longtime Employee
June 8, 2016
It is with deepest regret that we announce the passing of our dear friend, colleague and customer advocate-in-chief Kevin W. Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
Industry NewsBASF Inks Northern Seed for Clearfield Wheat R&D Li…
June 6, 2016
BASF has licensed Northern Seed LLC to perform research and development of BASF’s proprietary and patented Clearfield technology in wheat. Read More
ManagementBayer/Monsanto, EU/Glyphosate, Corn/Soybeans
June 2, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the latest regarding industry mergers, the glyphosate debate in Europe, and an update Read More
Growers looking at soybeans
Industry NewsKoch Licenses 2 Marrone Products For North American Dis…
June 2, 2016
Koch Agronomic Services (Koch), with support from its affiliate, Koch Biological Solutions, has secured exclusive rights to sell REGALIA Rx Read More
Gypsum
Industry NewsBeneficial Reuse Management Launches GYPSOIL BLENDABLE
June 2, 2016
Beneficial Reuse Management (BRM) has introduced GYPSOIL BLENDABLE, a new high-quality pelleted gypsum fertilizer that supplies 17% sulfate sulfur and Read More
StewardshipAgrible Joins Field To Market To Pursue Sustainable Sou…
June 1, 2016
Agrible, Inc. has joined Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture as an associate member. As a leading multi-stakeholder Read More