Last week I had the opportunity to attend the AgCatalyst social media conference in Minneapolis. This was the second annual AgCatalyst conference, presented by AdFarm. This year’s theme was “It’s All About the Content” and featured various top-notch speakers from the agribusiness and food industries.
As I do after most conferences I attend, I decided to once again share my top takeaways from the event. To cut down on the length of these blog posts I’ve divided the takeaways into two parts. So here are my first five takeaways from AgCatalyst (in no particular order):
- Zero Moment of Truth: Marcus Sheridan (@TheSalesLion), author, trainer and HubSpot partner, says that 70% of the buying decision is made before the zero moment of truth. This means you better have a great website. Because now, more than ever, consumers are doing extensive online research before making a purchase decision, and when they walk into your store, they pretty much already have their mind made up (or they don’t walk into your store at all because they’ve decided to purchase from your competitor). Consumers have high expectations for websites these days. They want to find what they need quickly and easily. And if they don’t – they’ll go elsewhere. Marcus says that Frustration is the new F word of the Internet. Consumers don’t like to become frustrated while using a website. Finally, we need to be honest and transparent on our websites. As Marcus says, honest and transparent content is the greatest sales tool.
- What Matters?: Randy Frisch (@randyfrisch), chief operating officer of Uberflip, says that any company, big or small, can use content marketing to create an amazing content experience. Randy touched on three things that matter: Experience matters, Conversion matters and Integration matters. We need to think about those experiences that matter and create an engaging experience for our audience. We need to think about our conversion goals. And we need to remember that social media is part of our content so it should all be woven together.
- Embrace Micro-Influencers: Chris Baggott, chairman of Husk Farms in Indiana, talked about how the world is shifting from a few large influencers to many micro-influencers. Anyone can be a micro-influencer, and they can make or break your brand. He says we don’t need celebrities anymore to endorse our products. We can use regular contributors (micro-influencers) as advocates for our company or industry. This made me think of the Canadian agriculture industry. While our adversaries such as the Humane Societies of the world use celebrities such as Pamela Anderson to endorse their cause, we can be just as effective, if not more effective, using Canadian farmers as they’re more authentic and trustworthy.
- Listen to the Whitespace: Hannah Godfrey (@hannahgodfrey1), North American food and beverage lead for Brandwatch, talked about social listening. Hannah says we need to listen to the unbranded conversations that are taking place in what she referred to as the white space online. This is where we’ll find new ideas. We need to monitor industry chatter. And she feels that blogs and forums are a better place for insight than Twitter as they’re more detailed. I feel this is something most of us could do more of in the agriculture industry. Listen to the conversations taking place around food and farming online and engage in those conversations.
- Tell your Ag Story: Susan Beebe (@susanbeebe), manager of social media and online communities for Tyson Foods, talked about the importance of sharing #myagstory amidst the growing number of food bloggers and celebrities who are spreading fear of our farming practices and food system. Susan says it’s important to respond in real-time (immediately) to a crisis or negative criticism. She says we need to engage on issues that matter to our audience and distinguish your brand as a leader in the space. The agriculture industry needs to respond to negative criticism as soon as possible and establish ourselves as a leader in the food conversations taking place among consumers.
Don’t miss Part 2 of my Top 10 Takeaways from the AgCatalyst conference later this week. And if you’re on Twitter, check out the hashtag #AgCatalyst to read more inspirational thoughts from the event.
Thanks for reading!