Picture Twitter’s more prolific users, where they live, how they use the social network and what they do for a living.
Did you picture a farmer taking a break from tending his crops to post a tweet giving commodity traders a sneak peek at his yield? Probably not, yet this is becoming a reality across North America; farmers and farm organizations are using Twitter to connect with customers, suppliers and even traders.
Jason Holthaus, a market analyst for commodity brokerage Country Hedging, recently told Twitter that because of the social network, “traders are getting information faster.” His insight was part of a story Twitter published on the 2012 Midwest farm belt drought, the worst the area had seen in 56 years.
Some analysts had calculated damages, yet tweets from a farming event showed that the crop would be far worse than expected. Almost immediately, traders at the Chicago Board of Trade reacted, resulting in fluctuations in the market based solely on information coming from tweeting farmers, according to Reuters.
Farmers are also using Twitter as many others do, to communicate with and, in some cases, educate others. Wayne Black, a farmer from Ontario, Canada, tweets tips on cash crop farming, feeding, and farm politics, as seen above. Black calls himself an “Agvocate,” an advocate for agriculture and beginning farmers, in his Twitter profile description.
He connects with Twitter users like WheatPete, who is highly active in social media so long as the wheat is growing. Peter Johnson actually works for the government’s ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. His presence on Twitter is also helping to bridge the gap between farmers, traders, and consumers.
WheatPete posts advice for farmers, explains weather phenomenon as it applies to crops and regularly interacts with those who pose questions through the social network. In one tweet, he uploads a picture of a split soybean and explains that a long period of dryness followed by a significant rain caused the seeds to germinate, damaging the crop. In another, he shares statistics and what they mean for farmers.
It’s like a Sunday afternoon gathering in a small community, after the church bells have rung but before the potluck dinner. The farmers take their day of rest and together, mull over the latest economic and weather conditions affecting their yield. Except now, it’s happening every day, in real-time, connecting people who otherwise might never have had access to the collective wisdom of the others.
One of those others is Mark Rohrich, a North Dakota farmer and agricultural business owner. It’s not uncommon to see Rohrich tweet an Instagram picture of his crop loaded in wagons, headed off the farm, or trucks loading his silos with seed soybeans, as above.
Organizations like Farms.com are even publishing complete Twitter for Farmers resources to help them get started, though Rohrich, Black and Johnson seem to have Twitter well under control. Vancouver Farmers Markets uses Twitter year-round to promote local farmers and connect consumers directly with the people responsible for the food on their tables.
Together, farmers and agricultural organizations are revolutionizing the human food chain, with the help of real-time conversation tool Twitter. Their use demonstrates the power to discover, engage and connect with consumers passionate about learning more about the products they purchase and the opportunity to network with others in an industry otherwise considered fairly traditional.
How are you harnessing the power of Twitter to promote your business and connect with your target audience? Share your experience in the comments!
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