Social Media Strategy, Social Media Marketing

Tweeting from the Tractor – 7 Secrets to Successful Social Media Farming

social media strategy tractor 300x191 Tweeting from the Tractor   7 Secrets to Successful Social Media FarmingFarming may very well be the second-oldest profession. This will not come as a surprise, but I’ve never farmed personally. However, my family is from Nebraska (Go Big Red) and both sets of grandparents owned farms. So, I’ve spent more than my share of time in a corn field (terrible Wi-Fi).

And while farming has been around so long it’s literally bibical, social media – all post-modern and zeitgeisty – shares several core elements.

Are you a successful social media farmer?

1. Pick Your Crops

You don’t just cultivate whatever grows naturally on your land. That’s called weeding, not farming. Farmers determine what to grow based on expertise, market conditions, and topography.

In social media, it’s important to interact with customers and prospects in real-time when relevant, but if you’re going to create brand communities to facilitate those exchanges, you can’t be everywhere. What’s right for your organization? Facebook? Linkedin? Twitter? A corporate blog? YouTube? Ning? You have to make a clear-headed decision about where you’re going to deploy your social media resources, and that decision is best made with a heavy dose of strategic thinking, and a “tools last, not first” mentality.

2. Plant Seeds

Those crops don’t just spring up magically, you know.

Unlike traditional marketing and advertising, one of the huge advantages of social media is that the content you create pays dividends over time. Every blog post, photo, video, Webinar and other content seed made by your organization and/or your fans will continue to generate page views and awareness into the future.

The immediate impact of most social media campaigns isn’t nearly as high as a major print ad, TV commercial, or PR hit in a daily newspaper. But over time, the seeds of social media continue to grow, while the one-shot-deal of traditional marketing is forgotten.

3. Give it Time

The growing cycle is measured in months, not days.

Those expecting instant social media success will be disappointed in nearly every instance. First, you have to listen to your community to determine norms, best practices, and current attitudes. Then, you have to pick your crops and plant your seeds. And only then do you begin to see incremental results.

The good news is that social media results are typically compounding. What you did well yesterday makes today more successful.

4. It Takes a Village

At harvest, the community comes together to help the farmer during his time of acute need.

The Golden Rule of Social Media = Be Helpful. Help your customers. Help your fans. Help your competitors. Help everyone that asks, and even those that don’t ask.

Social media (both personally and corporately) rewards those that give more than they take. (which of course is a philosophical sea change for many companies that are accustomed to a more linear and inward-facing approach)

5. Go to Market

The farmer’s life is ruled by the market, and planting decisions are usually governed by how the farmer believes he can sell the successful crop.

The same should be true in social media, but often isn’t. Not to put an entirely capitalist spin on this, but at some level social media engagement needs to save companies money, make them money, or both. Yes, it’s terrific that social media rewards (if not requires) a customer-centric mindset that can be transformative for companies. But that transformation is not going to happen if it doesn’t pay off at the end. Comcast provides killer Twitter customer support because it works and it’s cost-effective, not because it feels good.

Companies – with help from their agencies – need to start developing a much better sense of why they are engaging in social media before jumping into the middle of the fray. What’s the go to market strategy?

6. Rotate Your Crops

Farmers don’t grow the same crops on the same parcel of land every season. The land can’t support it, so crops are rotated around the farm.

Smart social media practitioners are beginning to recognize the same phenomenon. The crops you’re growing today may not even exist tomorrow. How many corporate Twitter accounts were there WAAAAAY back in 2007? Pre-2006 you had to be in college to be on Facebook.

Further, if your social media efforts are TOO concentrated in one area, you can end up preaching to the choir, reducing your overall impact. I advocate companies participating in ~ 3 social media outposts in earnest, but emphasizing a different one every quarter. The varying levels of effort will keep it fresh for fans and your internal team.

7. Don’t Count on Control

Is there a more frustrating business than farming? You do everything right and WHAM – freak hailstorm wipes out your whole crop. No wonder farmers are religious.

Social media has many of the same risks. It’s unlikely that you’ll get burned in a Domino’s-style imbroglio, fueled by social media. But you might.

Consequently, you’d be well-served to put together a social media crisis communication plan that dictates who would respond in your organization (and how) if a crisis ever occurs. Don’t forget that social media isn’t 9-5, so figure out your protocol for nights and weekends, too.

(photo by Ajagendorf25)

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  • http://www.offmadisonave.com/ William Smith

    Great blog, Jason ;)

  • http://www.offmadisonave.com/ William Smith

    Great blog, Jason ;)

  • http://www.offmadisonave.com William Smith

    Great blog, Jason ;)

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  • http://thelostjacket.com/ Stuart Foster

    Like the message here. The analogies are dead on and I left with a renewed sense of optimism from the post. Kudos Jason :)

  • http://thelostjacket.com/ Stuart Foster

    Like the message here. The analogies are dead on and I left with a renewed sense of optimism from the post. Kudos Jason :)

  • http://thelostjacket.com Stuart Foster

    Like the message here. The analogies are dead on and I left with a renewed sense of optimism from the post. Kudos Jason :)

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  • http://www.themurr.com/ DaveMurr

    Tools last not first mentality – I like this a lot. When talking w/ people about social media, its is always a pleasure to see the relief when they learn that the toys and applications aren’t what makes social media work. It’s interesting to watch companies struggle with the customer-centric mindset. Makes one wonder if they ever had the customer first to begin with.

  • http://www.themurr.com/ DaveMurr

    Tools last not first mentality – I like this a lot. When talking w/ people about social media, its is always a pleasure to see the relief when they learn that the toys and applications aren’t what makes social media work. It’s interesting to watch companies struggle with the customer-centric mindset. Makes one wonder if they ever had the customer first to begin with.

  • http://www.themurr.com DaveMurr

    Tools last not first mentality – I like this a lot. When talking w/ people about social media, its is always a pleasure to see the relief when they learn that the toys and applications aren’t what makes social media work. It’s interesting to watch companies struggle with the customer-centric mindset. Makes one wonder if they ever had the customer first to begin with.

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  • http://www.brandonchesnutt.com/ Brandon Chesnutt

    Great advice, Jay.

    I’m especially big fan of #5. I think if we can showcase why digital tools can either create revenue or save money, a lot of naysayers may just jump on board.

    Brandon Chesnutt’s last blog post..Social Media Strategy at the Third Annual Walsh College Small Business Conference

  • http://www.brandonchesnutt.com/ Brandon Chesnutt

    Great advice, Jay.

    I’m especially big fan of #5. I think if we can showcase why digital tools can either create revenue or save money, a lot of naysayers may just jump on board.

    Brandon Chesnutt’s last blog post..Social Media Strategy at the Third Annual Walsh College Small Business Conference

  • http://www.brandonchesnutt.com Brandon Chesnutt

    Great advice, Jay.

    I’m especially big fan of #5. I think if we can showcase why digital tools can either create revenue or save money, a lot of naysayers may just jump on board.

    Brandon Chesnutt’s last blog post..Social Media Strategy at the Third Annual Walsh College Small Business Conference

  • http://semiproblog.blogspot.com/ Paul Waltz

    Excellent article! Very useful information. Thanks a lot Jason.

    Paul Waltz’s last blog post..Tweeting from the Tractor – 7 Secrets to Successful Social Media Farming

  • http://semiproblog.blogspot.com/ Paul Waltz

    Excellent article! Very useful information. Thanks a lot Jason.

    Paul Waltz’s last blog post..Tweeting from the Tractor – 7 Secrets to Successful Social Media Farming

  • http://semiproblog.blogspot.com Paul Waltz

    Excellent article! Very useful information. Thanks a lot Jason.

    Paul Waltz’s last blog post..Tweeting from the Tractor – 7 Secrets to Successful Social Media Farming

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  • http://conceptfarm.com/ Hank Wasiak

    Your Message

    Great advice. You would fit right in at The Concept Farm.

    Hank

  • http://conceptfarm.com/ Hank Wasiak

    Your Message

    Great advice. You would fit right in at The Concept Farm.

    Hank

  • http://conceptfarm.com Hank Wasiak

    Your Message

    Great advice. You would fit right in at The Concept Farm.

    Hank

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  • http://twitter.com/7_secrets/status/2154302366 $7 Secrets

    RT: @CMEGroup Tweeting from the Tractor – 7 Secrets to Successful Social Media Like a Farmer http://adjix.com/4nnf #farm #socialmedia

  • http://twitter.com/pmarshalljones/status/2676910248 Paul Jones

    Reading about social media farming and then calling it a day. http://idek.net/J_X

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  • http://blog.fastline.com/ Sabrina

    Great insight into social media basics and tactics. The company I work for, Fastline, is ag publication that has just recently gotten into social media. The ag industry as a whole has just recently really embraced social media and it has been great to see Ag get a voice. Tips like this really are helpful to those just getting started, as well as those looking to advance.
    .-= Sabrina´s last blog ..12 Facts About Cattle Care Everyone Must Know =-.

  • http://blog.fastline.com/ Sabrina

    Great insight into social media basics and tactics. The company I work for, Fastline, is ag publication that has just recently gotten into social media. The ag industry as a whole has just recently really embraced social media and it has been great to see Ag get a voice. Tips like this really are helpful to those just getting started, as well as those looking to advance.
    .-= Sabrina´s last blog ..12 Facts About Cattle Care Everyone Must Know =-.

  • http://blog.fastline.com Sabrina

    Great insight into social media basics and tactics. The company I work for, Fastline, is ag publication that has just recently gotten into social media. The ag industry as a whole has just recently really embraced social media and it has been great to see Ag get a voice. Tips like this really are helpful to those just getting started, as well as those looking to advance.
    .-= Sabrina´s last blog ..12 Facts About Cattle Care Everyone Must Know =-.

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  • http://twitter.com/fastline/status/2739029181 Fastline

    RT @tweetmeme 7 Secrets to Successful Social Media Farming | Social Media Marketing | Social Media Consulting – Conv… http://bit.ly/1593LL

  • http://twitter.com/raylindairy/status/2739206015 Ray Prock

    RT @KarlieJ: Love the analogy: Tweeting from the Tractor – 7 Secrets to Successful Social Media Farming http://idek.net/J_X

  • http://twitter.com/jackmonger/status/2739372335 jack dean

    RT @SimpleAsDirt: RT @RayLinDairy: RT @KarlieJ: Tweeting from the Tractor – 7 Secrets to Successful Social Media Farming http://idek.net/J_X

  • http://twitter.com/pbhoss/status/2739589726 Justin M. Iverson
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    RT @Fastline: RT @tweetmeme 7 Secrets to Successful Social Media Farming | Social Media Marketing http://bit.ly/1593LL

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    RT @tweetmeme 7 Secrets to Successful Social Media Farming | Social Media Marketing | Social Media Consulting – Conv… http://bit.ly/1593LL

  • http://twitter.com/sjo13/status/5078182550 Sandy Osterday

    RT @jaybaer 7 Secrets to Successful Social Media Farming | Social Media Marketing | Social Media Consulting – Convin… http://bit.ly/1593LL

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  • http://twitter.com/elisemitch/statuses/6454009023 elisemitch (Elise Mitchell)

    Twitter Comment


    Speaking of farming. and in an entirely different context, tx to @jaybaer: 7 Secrets to Successful Social Media Farming [link to post] – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • http://twitter.com/elisemitch/statuses/6454009023 elisemitch (Elise Mitchell)

    Twitter Comment


    Speaking of farming. and in an entirely different context, tx to @jaybaer: 7 Secrets to Successful Social Media Farming [link to post] – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • http://twitter.com/elisemitch/statuses/6454009023 elisemitch (Elise Mitchell)

    Twitter Comment


    Speaking of farming. and in an entirely different context, tx to @jaybaer: 7 Secrets to Successful Social Media Farming [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  • http://twitter.com/elisemitch/status/6454009023 Elise Mitchell

    Speaking of farming. and in an entirely different context, tx to @jaybaer: 7 Secrets to Successful Social Media Farming http://bit.ly/10sHVi

  • http://www.farmconnect.net/ Mike Murphy

    A new social media site was just created by farmers for farmers at http://www.FarmConnect.net

    Sign up for your own blog, create groups and discussion forums to easily connect farms and communities and tell the important stories of farming.
    .-= Mike Murphy´s last blog ..admin wrote on the wire of the group Murphy Family Farm: =-.

  • http://www.farmconnect.net/ Mike Murphy

    A new social media site was just created by farmers for farmers at http://www.FarmConnect.net

    Sign up for your own blog, create groups and discussion forums to easily connect farms and communities and tell the important stories of farming.
    .-= Mike Murphy´s last blog ..admin wrote on the wire of the group Murphy Family Farm: =-.

  • http://www.farmconnect.net Mike Murphy

    A new social media site was just created by farmers for farmers at http://www.FarmConnect.net

    Sign up for your own blog, create groups and discussion forums to easily connect farms and communities and tell the important stories of farming.
    .-= Mike Murphy´s last blog ..admin wrote on the wire of the group Murphy Family Farm: =-.

  • http://twitter.com/jenna84/status/11763724245 jenna84

    RT @jaybaer: Tweeting from the Tractor – 7 Secrets to Successful Social Media Farming http://bit.ly/a6scl

  • http://twitter.com/jenna84/status/11763724245 jenna pettinato

    RT @jaybaer: Tweeting from the Tractor – 7 Secrets to Successful Social Media Farming http://bit.ly/a6scl

  • http://twitter.com/thekimschneider/status/19866668646 Kim Schneider

    Love the metaphor for social media success as farming. http://ow.ly/2izRb

  • Larry

    Jay, great post! With your permission, I’d like to use it as a handout as a presentation I’m doing this coming week on social media for business. Of course, I’ll include proper attribution! Let me know if this works for you. Thanks!

    BTW, I know you through John Coomer, who has informed me that I MUST read your blog regularly.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Fantastic. Thanks to John. Feel free to use it. Thanks for asking.

  • http://www.fertilitypartnership.com Mistie Thompson

    Such helpful tips. Working with a doctor who’s…well, a doctor and not really up on social media, posts like these help him understand quickly and easily why we’re doing what we’re doing with our social media strategy. Keep ‘em coming!

  • http://twitter.com/PowerhouseMktg Powerhouse Marketing

    Excellent tips for companies just getting into the social media arena, as well as great reminders for seasoned pros.

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