So, You Want to be a Farmfluencer?
Tucker Greene is a young farmer who is juggling completing a business management degree while working full-time at his father’s business, ASR Grain Company near Shelby. He is a seventh-generation farmer who, along with his Dad, Steve, and Andrew White, farms nearly 4,000 acres of soybeans, corn, wheat, barley, and malting oats. As part of their grain business, they also buy and sell grain from other farmers locally and on occasion from other states.
Tucker has taken on the added responsibility of social media efforts for the company. Some call him a farmfluencer. “I wanted to close the gap between the consumer and the producer,” he says. He believes informational videos and photos can help give people a better idea of how food is produced. The platforms he currently uses are Facebook and Instagram and he is getting started with YouTube. He shares these helpful tips:
- Learn the technology to maximize your investment. Regardless of the technology you use, from the simple to the more advanced, learn the basic features and build from there. Tucker says the key to getting the most out of your devices is to practice, practice, practice. Here is what Tucker uses:
- Apple iPhone, which produces high quality photos and facilitates quick uploading to social media sites. Tucker also uses a basic DSLR camera.
- DJI 2 Pro Drone. Drones can be helpful tools in many farming applications. (Read about NC State’s drone demo day.) For Tucker, he uses it to take bird’s-eye-view videos of planting, caring for, and harvesting crops, which he posts to social media channels. (More about drones for social media.) He is also interested in using it to obtain accurate crop data.
- GoPro camera. Tucker says it’s great for time-lapsed shots or to stick to a grain bin or to planters to capture shots as the tractor moves through the field.
- Look for ways to extend your reach. Partners, customers, companies with farm equipment shown in photos, local news outlets, and others may find your photographs and videos valuable. Asheville-based Riverbend Malt House buys malting oats and barley from ASR Grain. When they wanted to show their customers what was involved in the local harvest, Tucker used his drone to shoot beautiful photos and video footage for their website. He also frequently tags equipment or seed companies when posting photos that include their products. The tags occasionally result in requests to use his photos in company blogs or posts.
- Post consistently and frequently. One of the best ways to build a brand and a following is to post consistently and frequently. Tucker acknowledges that can sometimes be difficult, but he tries to post at least twice each day. He starts the day with “The Daily Dose,” which is a Bible verse. Because the company’s Facebook and Instagram accounts are synced, anything he posts appears both places. Later in the day he will post something about one of the crops or what is going on at the grain bins. His long-term goal is to build a large following to attract sponsors to his page.
- Invest wisely. Social media can be an investment in both time and money. Tucker says that if you have an iPhone, it is worth checking out the iMovie feature, which comes pre-installed on most Apple devices. It is intuitive and allows you to add titles, music, and effects. Many phones also have a photo editing feature. Before investing in expensive drones, cameras, or editing software, make sure you will use the technology. Many farmfluencers have found that a cell phone is all that is required to meet your social media needs.
- Use Facebook and Facebook Marketplace to find employees or to reach more customers. Facebook posts for truck drivers have helped the company find employees. While FB Marketplace is not for most of ASR Grain’s product, it does work to reach customers looking for seed corn. Think about your product or need and your target audience before posting.
Just because you know your farming operation well does not mean everyone does. You don’t have to share detailed information with each post. Snippets of information, whether a photo and a sentence about planting time, or a brief video about a harvest, can give the non-farm audience a better understanding about farming.
“I would like for people across the state to know who we are and what we bring to the table and what we do to impact our community and society in a positive manner,” says Tucker.
By Leah Chester-Davis