When Droopy, the cartoon dog, delivered his famous line, “you know what? I’m happy,” nearly 70 years ago, he surely didn’t imagine that he’d be reproduced and shared so many times… It is exactly what I say everyday as I discover the huge potential of social media websites, like Twitter, Facebook, business directory website Viadeo, professional networking website LinkedIn, online research tool Zotero and so on.

Of course, when you’re no longer a teenager, these social media websites may seem like another world: too fast, too diverse and too difficult to manage. But, near the beginning of March, a social media specialist spoke on agriculture in Le Mans, France (near the famous car race circuit of Les 24 Heures du Mans).

Maguette Mbow is the founder and community manager of Agrilink. He addressed 50 feed manufacturers at a workshop organized by the Association Française des Techniciens de l’Alimentation Animale, saying they could, or rather, that they should use social media to build their brand and positive contacts with their clients.

“It is less manageable, of course, than an ad, but it is much more efficient to promote ethic and humanity,” said consultant Philippe Cazes. “You have to stop being afraid. You can go there first to look at what your competitors and partners are doing there and learn. Then build your strategy afterward. But remember, social [media] will never forgive you any error or false information”

So, I’m happy to discover that the importance of marketing is coming back, just as agronomy is returning to the use of fewer pesticides, or as formulation is becoming more important since raw material supply is not as simple as before. Marketing is no longer just a course for students; it is about building positive connections and brand image. It is not only reserved for business-to-consumer retailers, but also can be used for business-to-business companies.

Farmers are becoming more active in their social media use, too, because it connects them with others outside of the isolation of their farms. Of course, not all farmers worldwide have the technology to be connected, but I’ve seen a lot of smartphones in Indonesia and India, for example. We can be sure that the use of social media will spread more and more widely.

So, like Droopy, I’m very happy for the feed industry’s future.