Farmers are turning to social media as a way to promote their business and boost profits, a survey has revealed.


More than half (53%) said they used social media, mainly to communicate with customers and to flag-up farming-related issues, according the survey of 1000 farmers by JCB Workwear.

A smaller number use it as a ‘direct line’ to policy makers and politicians, as the industry faces an economic downturn and rising costs.

An “astonishing” 87% described social media as an “effective” tool, with just 13% disagreeing.

“Far from the traditional image of the industry, increasing numbers of media-savvy farmers across the UK are using the likes of Twitter and Facebook to get advice, share ideas and keep up-to-date with developments,” says Howard Topham, managing director of JCB Workwear.

More and more farmers see social-media as key to the success of their business, with the top reason given for using such sites being to flag-up farming-related issues (41%).
 
Another 14% use social media to tackle rural isolation, 28% to communicate with customers, 8% as a direct line to politicians and policy makers, and 9% for other purposes.
 
The survey suggests that social media is seen as increasingly important tool, as farmers face up to the biggest issues affecting them: feed costs (33%), staffing costs (8%), inflation (19%), fear of new technology (7%) and other (6%).
 
“The results show that many farmers see social media as way of promoting their business and products and staying ahead of the competition,” adds Mr Topham.

* Do you use social media? Does it present opportunities for farmers to communicate with customers or to help win the PR battle? Have your say – and see what others are saying – on our website forums.

* Read a transcript of FW’s recent web chat on social media.