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 matt@croplife.com.

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
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100The Andersons Acquires South Dakota Plant Nutrient Manufacturer Kay-Flo
May 20, 2015
The Andersons, Inc., ranked No. 22 on the CropLife 100, has purchased Kay Flo Industries of North Sioux City, SD. “This Read More
CropLife 100North Central Farmers Elevator, Wheat Growers Unification Approved By Board, Still Awaits Member Approval
May 13, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have voted to approve the Unification Read More
CropLife 100AgGateway’s Barcoding Initiative Progressing Nicely
May 8, 2015
According to legend (or Wikipedia), the first step towards modern bar codes came back in 1948, when Bernard Silver, a Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Acquires Minnesota Retailer
April 14, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC, ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100,  has successfully acquired Liebl Ag, LLC in Ada, MN.  Read More
CropLife 100CHS, Aurora Cooperative Complete Fertilizer Storage, Grain Shuttle Loading Facility
April 13, 2015
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading cooperative and ranked No. 5 on the CropLife 100, and Aurora Cooperative (ranked No. 21) Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Acquires Missouri Refined Fuels Terminal
April 2, 2015
Bloomington, IL-based GROWMARK and Magellan Pipeline Co. have entered into an agreement in which GROWMARK will acquire the refined fuels Read More
Latest News
ManagementA New Sprayer Company & UAV Research In The Spotlig…
May 21, 2015
CropLife’s Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about a Dutch sprayer manufacturer entering the U.S. with a super-sized entry and Read More
HerbicidesFirst U.S. Sale Of Enlist Duo Herbicide Made By Dow Agr…
May 21, 2015
Dow AgroSciences has recorded the first U.S. sale of Enlist Duo herbicide with Colex-D Technology. This marks the first commercial Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Acquires South Dakota Plant Nutrient Manu…
May 20, 2015
The Andersons, Inc., ranked No. 22 on the CropLife 100, has purchased Kay Flo Industries of North Sioux City, SD. “This Read More
EquipmentNORAC Options Coming To TerraGator
May 19, 2015
Utilizing NORAC’s Standard Control technology, boom height control is now available for TerraGators with Airmax Precision 2 and Benson Booms. This Read More
Crop InputsHelena Introduces New Soil Health Product
May 19, 2015
Helena Chemical Co. is helping agricultural producers maximize yields and efficiency with the introduction of Liquid Chisel, a new product Read More
Stewardship4R Nutrient Management Planning Certification Now Avail…
May 19, 2015
The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) and the International Certified Crop Adviser (ICCA) program announce a new specialty certification in Read More
Environmental Defense Fund logo
Paul SchrimpfEnvironmental Defense Fund: Appreciating Partners
May 19, 2015
I WAS deep in the throes of preparation for the Commodity Classic meeting that took place this past February, trying Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
May 19, 2015
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
Syngenta Sign
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Responds To Lawyer’s Victory Claim In Vi…
May 18, 2015
A plaintiff’s lawyer has issued a public statement claiming that damages have been awarded in the Agrisure Viptera corn lawsuits Read More
StewardshipCould Australian Water Trading Approach Fit In Californ…
May 18, 2015
Ten years of drought isn’t a good thing. It doesn’t help the bottom line of farmers or the health of Read More
SpreadersDutch Sprayer Manufacturer To Enter U.S. Market
May 18, 2015
Dutch self-propelled sprayer manufacturer Agrifac Machinery has announced intentions to enter the U.S. market with two models of sprayers available Read More
FertilizerTFI Weighs In On Fertilizer Rail Transport Bill
May 14, 2015
With today’s House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure as a backdrop, The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) registered its support for policies Read More
ManagementA Visit To The 2015 Environmental Respect Spirit Award …
May 14, 2015
CropLife’s Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about a recent visit to the CPS Spirit winner in St. Stephen’s Church, Read More
StewardshipBayer Entomologist Issues Statement On Annual Honeybee …
May 13, 2015
Richard (Dick) Rogers, Principal Scientist / Entomologist, Bayer Bee Care Center for Bayer CropScience LP, today issued the following statement Read More
Crop InputsKansas State Researchers Announce Resistant Kochia Brea…
May 13, 2015
Kansas State University researchers say new research helps explain why an invasive weed is developing resistance to a well-known herbicide, Read More
RR2X soybeans surround untreated check (center)
HerbicidesUSDA Study: Glyphosate Application More Prevalent In So…
May 13, 2015
Glyphosate—known by many trade names, including Roundup—has been the most widely used pesticide in the United States since 2001. It Read More
AdjuvantsHelena Chemical Introduces New Drift Control Adjuvant J…
May 13, 2015
Helena Chemical Co. introduces Justified, an innovative drift control agent designed to improve the performance and precision of spray applications Read More
CropLife 100North Central Farmers Elevator, Wheat Growers Unificati…
May 13, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have voted to approve the Unification Read More