North Carolina Farm Bureau has been an advocate for agricultural and rural families for more than 70 years. The organization now serves 500,000 member families throughout the state. Part of N.C. Farm Bureau’s success is how it adapts to change. In this Q&A, we talk to public relations director David Smith about how the bureau has added social media as another tool in its communication toolbox.
What social media do you use? Any plans for more in the future?
North Carolina Farm Bureau has a presence on Flickr, Facebook and YouTube. We started out with YouTube and gradually increased our use of social media, and we’ll likely stick with these three for now.
How do social media outlets complement your print publications?
The social media we use helps N.C. Farm Bureau with all of its outreach efforts, not just its publications. We use Facebook to promote Flickr and YouTube when new material is added. Facebook also offers an opportunity to promote the various other aspects of N.C. Farm Bureau.
N.C. Farm Bureau’s YouTube channel has great videos. How do you decide which stories to feature?
YouTube is a terrific new media tool for N.C. Farm Bureau. I believe setting up our own channel on YouTube helps us reach people we might not have reached before, and that’s always a good thing. We produce most of our videos with the agriculture community in mind, but we also produce videos focusing on rural North Carolina as well. You’ll find everything from a story on the Stokes County purple sweet potato to a 3-part series we produced on veterinary medicine in N.C. (here, here and here) to a nice piece on Seagrove pottery.
How have social media helped you reach the next generation of farmers?
In most cases, young farmers jump pretty quickly to using new technology and have moved easily into the social media arena. Right now, our Young Farmers and Ranchers group has a Facebook page.
In what ways can farmers benefit from social media?
I’ve heard it said that a toolbox contains more than one tool to get a job done and today social media can be considered yet another tool in that toolbox. In other words, social media offer farmers even more tools to help get agriculture’s message in front of consumers.