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Australian Wool Innovation Limited
Emily King
Manager, Woolgrower Education & Capacity Building
ARTICLES >> Livestock Articles

Wool producers and social media

Posted by Bestprac on Oct 02 2013

By Katie Fisher from AgriHort Communications

Farming can be an isolated business but, with the advent of social media, communication in agriculture has been made easier and more enjoyable. For many producers, social media has rapidly become the preferred communication method. It facilitates connecting with like-minded individuals to discuss and share ideas around personal interests that can eventually grow into conversations.

Unlike emails, social media through the various resources such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, MySpace, Friendster, You Tube or Flickr allows conversations to start instantly. Even blogging has become a popular tool for producers eager to enter into debates or discussions on related or unrelated industry topics.

For industry organisations, such as the Australian Wool Innovation, social media offers daily communication with producers through tweets, plus the ability to share extended forms of visual information such as case studies on You Tube.

Angus Whyte and his familyNSW wool producer, Angus Whyte, who is based at Wyndham Station 80 kilometres north of Wentworth, believes social media is a “…key part of keeping in touch with fellow producers as well as industry news”.

“While I don’t see myself as isolated from others and I still use the phone to keep in touch with my peers, today, instead of subscribing to rural magazines and papers, I receive most of my daily and weekly news online,” Angus explained.

“Social media has allowed me to have a much broader perspective of my peers’ and the community’s views and opinions.”

Angus uses Twitter daily either to receive news or to discuss topical issues with other like-minded people.

“My website also directly feeds into both my Twitter and Facebook accounts which allows followers to find out more information about my business or, alternately, to visit my blog and understand some of my ‘vocal opinions’.”

Angus also enjoys using Twitter to direct people to interesting articles or websites that he believes may be of benefit.

“I even send photos through Twitter. Recently I sent a photo of a crop we had planted on our lake bed and asked my peers to comment on how it looked.”

Angus stressed that in order to keep your ‘followers’ interested and make them become part of your own ‘conversation line’, it was important  to keep your website up-to-date and for you to tweet on a daily basis.

“I try to write a blog on the website, at least once a week, that is pertinent to what we are doing on the station or topical in other areas. I want followers to be eager to come back to the website for more information.”

James WalkerQLD wool producer, James Walker from Camden Park near Longreach, views social media from a different angle.

“I see it as a way of farmers reconnecting with the general community.”

“In recent decades, the links between agriculture and urban communities has weakened. In some cases, these communities have been exposed, through media reports, to isolated detrimental farming practices that show our industry in a very poor light.

“This has led these communities to form a misguided judgement on how producers work with either their livestock or their environment.”

James believes that social media has strengthened the link between urban communities and agriculture by allowing them to see first-hand how farmers manage the land and the animals – “with a long-term vision of being sustainable for our next generation”.

“Consumers can now visit websites that directly link them to producers through either Twitter or Facebook.”

Websites such as use social media tools such as Instagram and Pinterest to visually explain to consumers the virtues of wool production as an agricultural industry and how it integrates with the fashion sector.

For his own benefit, James uses social media as an aid to engage with other producers and either asks for an opinion or has a view confirmed.

“First-hand producer views can be so important when making management decisions, especially as social media allows the instant transfer of these ideas.”

Today, it appears that progressive producers are showing how social media can be used to their advantage.

Last changed: Oct 03 2013



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