Greater recognition of the role of social media within the agricultural industry is evident from the continued demand for insights into its role and commercial potential, says Guild member Simon Hayley, who recently talked about the subject on BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today programme – listen here.
In addition to his work as a farm and rural business consultant, Simon has joined social media and online marketing experts SocialB, who provide training, consultancy and management for businesses and their employees to harness the potential of social media.
“My work with farmers allows them to define their needs and objectives, and educates them in using these free platforms for infinite rewards,” says Simon. Whether it’s a northern arable farmer wanting to swap notes with his counterpart in the south, a farm shop wanting new customers, or a group of farmers who collectively seek industry advice, social media has a role to play.”
One astounding example he gives is the #forageaid campaign on Twitter which, since 2013, has connected those who are in need of animal feed and bedding due to extreme weather, with those who have a surplus.
Projects with SocialB include a practical guide to Twitter for the agricultural sector – a free and downloadable resource covering the fundamentals of the network – and video interviews with people using social media within the farming and agriculture industry – including Guild member and Farmers Weekly columnist David Richardson, and Georgina Park from the Red Tractor assured farm standards organisation.
SocialB has worked with a number of clients in agriculture, including the NFU, Brown & Co, the Department of Environment & Primary Industries in Australia, Taste of Anglia and Dow AgroSciences.
“Having Simon Haley on board means we can further our services in a sector that both Simon and I are very passionate about,” says Lynsey Sweales, SocialB chief executive.
Simon is speaking at 1pm in the first day seminar programme at the Livestock Event and is presenting at a meeting of the Food, Drink & Agriculture group of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) on September 24 in London.
He is also involved in the social media Professional Development workshop for delegates at the IFAJ Congress 2014 in September.