Regional Australia embraces social media

Regional Australia embraces social media

Grain growers to benefit from a Commonwealth outreach program.

Connections @ the farm

Connections @ the farm

The Commonwealth’s Grains Research and Development Corporation is expanding its social media program for rural and regional communities. This outreach offers agribusiness information and knowledge-sharing in real-time.

This access is critical for grain growers or farmers and enables them to track information using smarts phones, mobile devices or online news feeds, according to the corporation’s manager for online communities, Prudence Cook.

Cook told CIO Government these pervasive channels enable remote businesses to stay up-to-date with industry information, advice and the sharing of community knowledge. Social media is transforming the way information is accessed across rural and regional areas.

“Grain growers have much to gain from using social media,” said Cook. “Users can source on-the-spot agronomic information. This includes the latest research, for example, around diseases, pests, resistance to herbicides or information around weed control.”

Agribusinesses can also track details around rotation cycles, crops, farming systems, planning for a coming season and what to sow. “They can source production advice from other growers, industry bodies, respected advisers and researchers,” noted Cook.

Clarifying the concepts

While social media is a powerful tool, people often start off without a clear understanding around the information they need, or who they want to talk to. “There are misconceptions around social media and people may be overwhelmed,” added Cook.

“To be a successful social media user, it’s important to clarify what you want, at the outset. Ensure you get the information that’s most relevant to your farm business.”

More broadly, the uptake is on the rise. “We’re tracking new accounts coming up daily. For example, our followers stand at 2,750 and it’s the quality of followers we’re aiming for.”

Bang for the buck

As a primer, Cook is hosting a social media presentation at the GRDC Grains Research Updates in Coonabarabran on February 25 and 26 and Goondiwindi on March 3 and 4. Details can be found at the corporation web site.

Topics explore the evolution of social media for agriculture. This presentation highlights how social media can be used more successfully across the grains industry.

Some common myths are tracked, including using Twitter, where the conversations occur, and ways to build the more niche and trusted connections.

Grain growers can learn “how to get the best bang for the buck,” and source some troubleshooting tips. Among the basis, participants are shown how to set up a Twitter account, find key followers, and build the branding or loyalty. Social media terminology and the use of analytics to track trends is also explored.

Follow Shahida Sweeney on Twitter: @ShahidaSweeney

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