(Posted Thu. Nov 17th, 2011)

Social MediaNov. 17: The National Corn Growers Association hosted a webinar today that helped agvocates already using social media explore new strategies and tools to maximize the impact of their efforts. This session, the eleventh in a year-long series co-sponsored by Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont Business, presented attendees with the latest research data on what makes some social media users more effective than others and offered simple tips that yield real results.


The session began with remarks from NCGA Grower Services Action Team Chair Brandon Hunnicutt, an active social media user and advocate. Noting the importance of reaching consumers where they feel comfortable, Hunnicutt highlighted both the importance of fostering an active community of farmers with a noticeable social media presence and the noticeable effect that incorporating even a few new strategies into a routine can have.


“For me, using social media to talk about what I do on my farm was as natural as it would be for anyone with a job and young family,” Hunnicutt, a Nebraska farmer, said. “This year though, I have tried out some of the tips that I picked up from the webinar series and have really seen an increase in the depth of my online conversations about agriculture, the number of people that I am reaching and the closeness of the online community in which I participate. I haven’t invested more time or effort, but I am seeing great results.”


After reviewing the basic importance of listening, sharing, supporting an online community and measuring the success of social media efforts, the webinar offered many suggestions which may not be as obvious, even to avid users. Drawing on the results of extensive research, the webinar suggested that social media users should consider the length of their postings in comparison with the medium. Specifically, it suggested that, while Facebook posts longer than five lines receive 60 percent more comments and likes, Tweets of 80 characters or less earn more retweets.


Continuing to address tips specific to medium, attendees learned how to maximize their impact on Twitter by increasing their human interaction. Suggestions included eschewing the use of automatic tweeting programs, adding context to retweets, thanking those who connect and responding to individual posts.


Facebook tips also emphasized the idea that social media use should foster human interaction instead of working as a broadcast medium. Here, tips included explaining why a certain post or link is shared and responding to comments, among others.


With additional information on interesting topics, such as the timing and frequency that result in successful posts, this presentation offers ways in which anyone can improve their social media footprint. View it, and other previous episodes, in NCGA’s private Facebook group, Corn Conversations. On Facebook, just search for “Corn Conversations” to join and then watch videos and post comments. The final webinar in the series is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 15.