Egg farming needs a new brand, and social media is the place to promote it, according to Hinda Mitchell of Inspire PR Group, who spoke Thursday at the Egg Industry Center Issues Forum in Columbus, Ohio.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and LinkedIn are the most important social media networks for companies to use because of their popularity and the level of engagement available on them.
“Social media creates conversation and community,” Mitchell said. “If you’re not already doing it, it’s time.”
Mitchell said consumers and industry allies are using social networks, but so are those opposed to farming, as well as elected officials and regulators, so it is important for egg companies to have a digital presence.
“Rebranding egg farming starts with mobilizing the brand of each individual egg farmer,” Mitchell said. “What are your brand attributes? What makes you unique? What benefit do you deliver that no one else does? How do you connect what matters to you to what matters to your customer?”
In order for companies to harness their digital presence, Mitchell offered some tips:
- Look for opportunities to engage on social media.
- Don’t just push information, but converse with your audience.
- Let the online conversation shape your content development and messaging.
- Create relevant, compelling content, keeping in mind that visual content performs best.
“It doesn’t have to be hard, and it can be fun,” Mitchell said.
Responding to issues, criticism
Because so many consumers get their information and news around the clock on social media, egg companies must be present online, telling their own stories and responding when issues arise.
“Responding to an issue in real time is a requirement,” Mitchell said.
And while companies can do their best to promote the positive things about their industry, there will always be criticism. Mitchell said it’s OK to respond to criticism online, using a three-step approach:
- Answer a question or criticism.
- Clarify with a follow-up response if necessary.
- Take the conversation offline to avoid an argument online, but realize it is OK to agree to disagree with criticism.
“What (consumers) imagine happens inside those great big barns is so much worse than what actually happens,” Mitchell said, so it is important for the industry to invite the public in and show the reality.