More than 2.3 billion active social media accounts are being used across the globe, according to Brandwatch.com. A lot of people are having conversations online, and some of those people want to learn more about what happens on today’s pig farms.
The Pork Checkoff’s social media outreach program, #RealPigFarming, helps pig farmers, veterinarians, academics, youth and allied industry members share stories about today’s pig farming. The hashtag (#) is how people can search social media posts with the same phrase.
“Telling the story of #RealPigFarming through social networks brings consumers and the pork industry together in a way not possible just a few years ago,” said Jarrod Bakker, a pig farmer from Dike, Iowa, who posts about his farm on social media. “Through images and videos, we can tell our story many different ways.”
Since the start of the Checkoff’s social media program in mid-2014, nearly 60,000 positive posts have used #RealPigFarming. Bakker encourages everyone involved in the pork industry to join the conversation.
“I’ve enjoyed sharing my #RealPigFarming story online,” Bakker said. “I’ve made connections and had real conversations about what goes on in barns today, and that is important for the future of the pork industry.
5 Tips on How to Get Started
Join the conversation by sharing your #RealPigFarming story online. Here are five tips from the Pork Checkoff.
- Start with one social media platform. With so many choices, sharing your story online can quickly become overwhelming. Pick one platform and get comfortable sharing your #RealPigFarming story on that channel. Once you’ve mastered that, you can add new platforms if you want.
- Have a conversation. People trust another person more than facts. To get people to trust you, they need to know who you are by having a conversation with you. Learn who they are and what food production concerns they have. Get to know them by listening to them, and then share your #RealPigFarming story with them.
- A photo is worth a thousand words. Photos and videos from your farms virtually open the barn doors on social media. It is not always possible to host farm tours in every barn, but good photos and videos from your farm can show consumers how pigs are raised and what farm life looks like.
- Think before you post. People without a pig farming background might not always understand standard industry practices, so sometimes a well-intentioned post could have negative consequences. Think before you post. For example, dry off a newly born piglet before posting a selfie of you holding it. And if you see a post from someone that could be misinterpreted by someone outside the industry, let them know.
- Stay above the fray. When someone online says something negative about the pork industry, it can be hard not to take it as a personal attack. If that happens, state what you know to be true and then kindly excuse yourself from the conversation. You might not be able to change someone’s mind, but other people are watching how you react to the post. If you remain positive, those watching are more likely to trust what you say rather than the negative posts.