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Now is the time to lean into agricultural advocacy

TAGS: Management
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Despite the political division on social media, it’s more important than ever before to be a strong storyteller and advocate online.

I don’t know if you have noticed lately, but social media is becoming a volatile place to interact with folks.

The political division, conflicting information regarding the coronavirus and the election uncertainty is creating an environment on popular places like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube that can be detrimental to your mental health.

The anger and hostility between friends, neighbors, colleagues and strangers is at a heightened place that I haven’t seen before, and I have had many thoughts recently about how advocacy and talking about the beef industry fits into the larger picture given the current dynamics.

Yet, despite the changes we are seeing to these platforms, I think positive, uplifting, informative and non-political posts are welcome right now and would be readily received by a listening audience.

So, what can we do to be a kind, factual, transparent and authentic resource for consumers to reach out to during these crazy times we are living in?

It all goes back to storytelling.

I recently had the opportunity to present my thoughts on this topic during a virtual training workshop with the Wisconsin Beef Council. In that presentation, and on this blog, I want to reinforce the message that sharing your story doesn’t have to be rocket science. We simply need to meet our consumers right where they are and connect with them on shared experiences.

Right now, we know that many Americans are working from home and helping their kids with virtual learning, so what might they need? How about easy-to-make, kid-friendly recipes that they can enjoy at home?

We also know that with the recent news reports alerting Americans about a second wave of the virus, many consumers are stockpiling essentials and preparing to lay low for awhile. In addition to toilet paper, they are going to want to fill their freezers with meat, so how can we help them feel confident in choosing beef cuts and knowing which recipe works best for the cuts they purchase?

How about sharing a positive story about beef by-products? Or about how cattle improve the landscape when they graze by aerating the soil with their hooves or fertilizing the land with their manure? Don’t forget the upcycling piece! It’s the untold story in our industry (more on that in an upcoming blog).

Maybe share your favorite beef recipes for the holidays. People love to see what you’re putting on the table and enjoying with your family!

I guess what I’m trying to say is that even in these difficult, uncertain and downright ugly times we are currently living in, there’s absolutely no reason we need to abandon our advocacy efforts. Be a positive light, a friendly voice, a nice distraction or just a breath of fresh air on social media with your stories, photos, videos and perspectives. The world will welcome it!

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.

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