Technology has changed, especially in agriculture. So has communication, advertising, networking, customer service and socialising for farmers.

This is according to co-authors of ‘The Business of Being Social’, Michelle Cavill of Carvill Creative and David Taylor, director of 2010media, who were speaking at today’s Oxford Farming Conference in the UK.

“Technology has enabled reach and mass connection,” they noted.

According to the latest data, in the UK alone 24 million people access Facebook daily, 83 per cent from mobile devices. Some 43 per cent of businesses use social media. There are 15 million active users of Twitter, 11 million users of LinkedIn, 36 per cent of consumers use social media to interact with brands and 86 per cent of all content viewed online will soon be video.

In terms of the advantages for farmers, farm organisations and agri-businesses, the authors note brand awareness and establishment, networking, information resources, customer support and service, branding monitoring and product promotion. In addition, they cited insight and business intelligence, public relations and socialising.

“We want the Oxford Farming Conference 2014 and our wider activities to engage with the younger generation to give them ideas, contacts and information to help them rise to the challenges our industry is facing,” noted Adrian Ivory, co-chairman of OFC 2014.

The authors also outlined five social media myths.

“Social media is free. You have to do it all. Social media is for kids. It’s really simple, set up the accounts and great magic will happen. You can share absolutely anything.

“Social media is about delivering on business objectives. Plan, content objectives targets. Listen, research what’s being said by whom? Analyse, what insight do we measure/whats out conclusion? And engage, day-to-day conversations/platforms for engagement?”

In conclusion, the authors’ main advice for farm businesses was: to think about compelling content; review the benefits of social media; plan, listen, analyse before you engage; do what works for you; and measure your results.