Improve connections to promote British farming
Young Farmers were advised to interact on the same social media channels as their consumers and promote the benefits of their businesses.
The advice from top marketing professionals at NFYFC’s AGRI Forum 2017, called Making our Mark!, sponsored by Kuhn Farm Machinery UK, was delivered to a packed audience on the Saturday morning of Annual Convention.
Social media entrepreneur Simon Haley told Young Farmers to be in the same social media spaces as their customers – “if they’re on Snapchat, why aren’t you?” He also said social media was a “waste of time” without a strategy and to check settings – ensuring that personal and business accounts are separate.
When asked about protecting the industry’s reputation by employing keyboard warriors to fight back against ill-informed comments, Chief Executive of AHDB Jane King urged against it.
Instead she told Young Farmers to use platforms to put “authentic messages out there” and that whatever they were doing in terms of influencing future policy direction they should “put it on stereo and ramp it up.” King said that Young Farmers shouldn’t wait for an invite to speak to politicians, they had to elbow their way in there.
On the subject of mentoring, the general consensus from the panel was positive but felt they could come in different forms. Haley advised that a mentor didn’t have to be a major industry player, it could be someone from your peer group. Alexia Robinson said she had several mentors that had helped inspire her and referred to them as her “unofficial godparents.” While King said she had made use of mentors throughout her varied career in journalism and marketing and said farming was the industry where mentoring can really take off – “there are so many people willing to help.”
Beef, sheep and arable farmer Matt Crooke, 26, from Newton St Cyres (NFYFC’s Club of Convention) in Devon attended the Forum and picked up tips for his family business.
“I found it good for finding out ways to promote produce to the British public. I could use Facebook to promote what we are doing on our farm. If you don’t try and promote yourself then you will never know.”