According to a Samsung study, the average Brit will spend more than three years updating social media, one year in the pub and 235 days queueing during their lifetime.
Social Media Today, an online community of marketing professionals, says the amount of time people spend on social media is constantly increasing. Teens now spend up to nine hours a day on these platforms and 30 per cent of time spent online is through social media. Most of this time – 60 per cent – is on mobile phones.
For farmers, the rise of social media represents an opportunity and a challenge. Some landworkers are more than au fait with these new channels of communication. Herdwick Shepherd, @herdyshepherd1 on Twitter, tweets photos of land, livestock and wildlife, and thoughts on everything from local dialect to current affairs, and has gathered almost 100,000 followers.
On the other hand, many farmers suffer from a technology aversion which means the benefits of social media are simply passing them by. On August 10, 2017, members of the agricultural community, including a few social media newbies, will come together online for 24 Hours in Farming.
They will take to Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat and other social media platforms to share their stories, as well as holding talks and events to show the public what they do face-to-face. Last year the #Farm24 hashtag reached 112 million people and trended in the top five on Twitter all day. This year it is expected to be even bigger.
It represents an ideal opportunity to ride a wave of social media activity, for experienced tweeters and newbies alike. For those who have never tweeted or used Facebook before, this is your chance to have a go. For those already active on social media, using the #Farm24 hashtag will give you an extra boost as farming takes centre stage in the run up to, during and after the big day.
If you didn’t get involved last year why not try it in 2017? Only by being active can you be part of what promises to be a massive celebration of everything which is great about British farming.
Enlist a guide
Even toddlers can swipe smartphones. For those who did not grow up with this technology, breaking new ground can be challenging. Do not be afraid to ask for guidance from people for whom social media is second nature. It may seem bewildering at first but stick with it and it can easily become second nature to you too.
Start by exploring
The best way to get to know social media is to spend some time with it. People use social media in different ways. For some it is a way of getting news across. For others it is about exploring ideas and connecting with like minds. Some use it to stay in touch with friends. Others employ it as a marketing tool or to contact customers. For some it is a soap box or an outlet for creativity.
Find friends and heroes
Use the search function to look up people you know or admire and topics which interest you. See where it takes you. On social media one thing inevitably leads to another. Exploring can be time-consuming, and even addictive, but social media has something for everyone. It is just a matter of finding how it could work for you.
Create your profile
Once you are familiar with your preferred social media platform or platforms, it’s time to dip your toe in the water. First create an account. It is usually free to sign up. Spend a bit of time creating a profile including an explanation of what you do, a link to your website if you have one and a photo. If you are camera shy do not worry. Use an image of what or where you farm, something beautiful or something which means a lot to you.
An easy way to build your page is to share posts you like or agree with. On Twitter this means retweeting. On Facebook use the share button. It is usually fine to share other people’s posts, in fact it is seen as a compliment. You can also post your original photos, videos and thoughts or links to interesting articles or websites. Mix it all up to create the most compelling feeds.
Hashtags such as #Farm24 are a brilliant way of connecting. They make searching for a hot topic easy; simply put the hashtag into the search box on platforms like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and see what comes up. If enough people use the hashtag it will ‘trend’ and be seen by people who are not connected to you. Help promote #Farm24 by using it in posts and tweets and by sharing content which includes the hashtag.
Build up friends and followers
There are lots of strategies for increasing the number of connections you have. On Facebook make friend requests. On Twitter or Instagram follow people or organisations and they will often follow you back. Using hashtags, asking questions, making comments and sharing interesting content, especially if it is topical, can help gain attention and make connections.
Video speaks volumes
It is amazing how easy it is to create and publish a video online. You need a smartphone, tablet or laptop, connectivity to the internet and an account with a social media platform like YouTube, Facebook or Twitter. Maximise your impact by adding titles or subtitles, enabling viewers to get the message without sound.
Take a photo a day
A picture is worth a thousand words, and three of the newest social networks, Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat, are based on images. Make a habit of using your smartphone as a camera. To concentrate your mind, try setting yourself a target, for example to take a photo every day. On social media you can post your photo with text or links or let it speak for itself.
● For more detailed hints and tips on using the various social media platforms, visit: www.24hoursinfarming. co.uk/get-involved/how-to-take-part/