Recently there was an article written about the California Ag Secretary Karen Barrett Ross where she said, “My dream is to make farmers the rock stars.”
She’s basing this how in recent years we’ve seen wine makers (who are usually farmers as well) and chefs become media darlings.
She goes on to say that “farmers are fabulous characters. Our young people, especially, are looking for authenticity….We have to stop just telling our story to each other.”
According to the article by Lori Potter, she said a media series has been started that pairs California farmers and chefs. I’m so happy about this. We need more of this.
But you don’t need a media series out of CA to become a rock star.
You just need to commit some of your precious time and energy to talk directly to your customers.
So how does one become a rock star?
I’m going to juxtapose a musician and a farmer. And I’m also going to assume you know how to play/farm. Because if you don’t then you need a ton of practice before you become a rock star.
1. Play lots of gigs.
You get up in front of people and show them what you can do. Since you normally don’t have an audience out on the farm (unless you consider the cows and barn cats fans), this means you pull out your smart phone and start taking videos and pictures of what is happening on the farm.
After you take a few pics and videos, you upload them to your social networks and make sure you describe what you are doing. You may think people don’t care or probably think it’s a boring as you think it is, but you are wrong. They want to see this stuff and they love how you describe it. They don’t see this everyday.
A couple of farmers that I think play a lot of gigs is Laura Daniels at Heartwood Farms and Karen Bohnert from kjerseykids.
2. You take control of your image.
You are brand. Just like Motley Crue or Jay Z. Whether you think you have one or not, you do. And you can control it, just like you control what you wear and what you say. I have a how class on personal branding and I suggest you read through it.
You want to be a farmer in overalls with the red barn, great. You want to be farmer showing off your brand new technology and how advanced your processes are, awesome. But start thinking of how you want others to perceive you and then start acting that way. But don’t be fake. People can see right through the BS.
A couple of farmers that I think understand how to control their image is Krista Stauffer at The Farmer’s Wifee and Brenda Hastings at The Dairy Mom.
3. Expose yourself.
In a good way. What I mean is you need to be open to people seeing inside your farm life. Think about Maroon 5 or Miranda Lambert – they are on the road all the time and yet they still have time to do interviews, put fan content into all the social networks and still have to deal with tabloids stalking them every minute of the day. You would think with all their money and lifestyle they could let others just do it for them. But people don’t want that, they want you.
You don’t have to document everything that is bad or everything that ticks you off. Remember your brand – don’t brand yourself as a Debbie Downer. You need to be open to people asking questions, giving thoughtful answers. This isn’t a “build it and they will come” sort of thing either.
You need to be putting your pics and videos in places where people will find them (not just on your website) but using things like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and even places like Reddit. How many of you guys have done a “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit. Celebrities and rock stars know they have to do it because they need the exposure.
A couple of farmers that I think understand a lot about exposure and having a wide digital presence are Carrie Mess at DairyCarrie and Carla Shelley atT ruth Or Dairy.
4. Make a plan and stick to it.
Rock stars are busy as heck – creating music, touring, album releases, interviews, etc… They couldn’t do all of this willy-nillly. They have a plan and they stick to it. If you are not releasing new stuff then the audience goes away.
You need to do this as well and having a plan can help you accomplish this without it taking all your free time. With the advances in smart phones and technology, I’m betting you could do a lot of this in just 20 minutes a day – occasionally a little more time for something that you really want to do like a podcast or a video series. Adding consistent content will make sure the audience sticks around.
Did you know you can use the same tools the rock stars use. And I’ll even give you the “how to” set ups with each one.
- Twitter – meet almost anyone in the world especially your customers. Like Clay Aiken. Here’s how to set it up Twitter.
- Facebook – while I’m not a fan of Facebook pages, you can certainly spread a lot of good messages from dairy good. Here’s how to set it up Facebook Pages.
- Instagram – meet a lot of new people using hashtags. Cowsofinstagram, farm365 are good stuff. Here’s how to set up Instagram.
- YouTube – where the world finds video. We need more of our animal care videos out here. Here’s how to set up YouTube for your farm.
- LinkedIn – you are a business people, right? So why stay out of the social network that helps build business relationships? Get on it. Here’s how to set up LinkedIn for yourself.
- Google+ – Ha. Just kidding. Nobody is really using this anymore except for SEO purposes.
The other thing I really, really need you to do is join mydairy.dairy.org to get the myDairy email updates. This is great place to get notified when something needs your attention.
Are you ready to be a farmer rock star?
If you need more help, just hit me. I’m always available.