Farm24: Educating the Public on Farming and Agriculture with Social Media
In today’s post, I'm going to be talking about #Farm24 and then giving some tips on how you, as a farmer, can share your world during this online event!
Unless you exist under a (rather large) rock, you’ll have heard of #Farm24. If you’re a farmer then #Farm24 is an opportunity to give everyone insight into your daily duties and experiences. If you’re a non-farmer it’s an opportunity to learn more about farming and agriculture.
#Farm24 is a day where social media comes alive in a celebration of all things agriculture. Where the general public (and other farmers alike) get a peek inside milking parlours, farrowing houses, sheep sheds, vegetable fields, combines and calving pens to see just where British (and Irish) products come from.
The campaign has been running since 2015 and it gets bigger and bigger each year. I was delighted to see just so many farmers and food producers ‘take the pledge’ and get involved on the day. Social media became a hive of positivity, buzzing with excitement about our agricultural industry. With folk the length and breadth of the UK and Ireland, opening up their farms and explaining (in a fantastic amount of detail) the processes that go into food production.
Giving farmers an opportunity to share their experiences
The day highlighted the passion, enthusiasm and FIRE in the bellies of all those who tirelessly rise, each and every morning, pull on their wellies and get to work. Understand however, that although #Farm24 showcases just one day, there are 364 other days in the farming calendar where exactly the same passion, enthusiasm and fire exist.
I was truly delighted to see so many new faces pop onto social media on the day, with many folk plucking up the courage to post stories of them chatting (a lot more nerve-wracking than it sounds) and so confidently explaining their side of food production.
Education is one of the most powerful weapons that we, as farmers, have against the constant niggle of negativity that faces our industry. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that, sometimes, those in the ‘high up’ positions within agriculture simply don’t do enough to educate the general public on the benefits of eating fresh and local food and produce.
Social media is our opportunity to deliver that much-needed education, directly from producer to consumer. Bridging the gap, not just for 24 hours, but every single day, between those who produce our food and those who eat it.
Tips for Growing an Online Audience for your Farm at #Farm24 and Beyond
If you’re a farmer you may be wondering how you can give insight into your experiences on the farm. The short answer is with social media! My Instagram (and now Youtube) has grown extremely well by sticking to some simple rules. Most of us carry a mobile phone with us on the farm, 99% of my content is shot on my iPhone, you don’t need any fancy equipment to get started, half the battle is just taking the first picture!
To learn more about how to share your experiences wide and far, take a look at some of my top tips here:
1. Take multiple photos at once
Use the burst mode or just take numerous clicks of the camera. I take my iPhone photos in either ‘Portrait’ Mode or ‘Live’ mode, portrait puts a slight focus on the main element of the photo whilst live allows me to choose a still from a live image (I find this good for capturing moving subjects, like livestock!). This means you have lots of different pictures/angles to work with when it comes to posting your content.
And don’t forget to wipe your lens...my phone lives in cow dung. Wiping the camera before I take any pictures or videos instantly upgrades the quality.
2. Don’t worry about editing, focus on authentic photos
You don’t have to edit anything straight away. If you’re busy doing something on the farm, snap a few quick pics and then save them to your camera roll. The next time you’re dandering from one place on the farm to the other, a passenger in the farm jeep or waiting on a slow milker, you can edit and upload then (add a timestamp if necessary for context!)
Remember, you don’t even need to edit your photos at all. This is all about sharing real life pictures.
3. Get creative with social media apps
Make use of all the features on the social media apps. Instagram has the option of GIFs, Music, Geotags, different fonts and animations on stories, use them! Develop your own recognisable style and take inspiration from other people but don’t just copy them. There’s truly nothing more annoying than seeing your stories regurgitated on someone else’s page!
4. Cater for all audiences, not just farmers
We want to create a strong community for farmers, but another important focus should be getting everyone involved - no matter what their background! Remember not everyone in your audience will be from a farming background. Keeping your posts simple, concise and easily understood means they can be enjoyed by everyone.
5. Keep posting content regularly
This is probably the most important tip for creating online content. Social media algorithms will push regular content producers to the top of social feeds, consistency is key. You can keep content fresh by asking your audience to send in questions for you to answer. The more you post, the more your audience will become familiar with you, and the more they’ll engage with you.
Continuing to Share Farming Experiences on Social Media
Again, consistency is important here. Trying new strategies which allow you to grow your connections will ensure success. I have found that just starting is the most important step. Then, you can try different strategies, build on things you learn along the way, and always keep your eyes peeled for different approaches.
I hope the above tips are useful for you. If you have any other tips you’d like to share, feel free to get in touch with me on social media!
Thanks for reading!