Social Media and Other Neat Online Marketing Tools —Training for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

Frequently Asked Questions



What is Beyond the Farm Gate?

The program funded in Georgia, Colorado and Texas equips beginning farmers and ranchers (BFRs) with the knowledge to utilize online marketing tools necessary to make informed marketing decisions to promote their agricultural operations. The program encourages farmers and ranchers to utilize social media sites that include but are not limited to, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, blogs, wikis, and photo sharing sites.


How does this Beyond the Farm Gate project work?

The program provides seminars in each host state that discuss the benefits of utilizing social media. These seminars provide producers with tips about navigating social media as well as how to get the most out of their experience with any sort of social media site.


Why should I become involved?

Beyond the Farm Gate provides newly established producers with the tools necessary to market their products through social media outlets. The popularity of social media has grown rapidly in the last few years and has the potential to serve as an outlet for producers to promote their products.


Who benefits from the Beyond the Farm Gate project?

Producers are the direct beneficiaries of the information that Beyond the Farm Gate can provide. Social media requires little- to-no cost, information can be published instantaneously, and there are no editors, publishers, or news directors to block the information. Many agricultural producers are using social media to promote agriculture, showcase their businesses, market products, or educate the public about the rural/agricultural lifestyle, but there are still many producers that need guidance with the technology.


Do I need to bring a laptop to participate in the workshops?

This will depend on the location in which your state’s workshops are being offered. Consult the events page or contact the representative in your state.


What is the advantage to attending the face-to-face, daylong workshops?

Workshop participants will gain hands-on, guided training by a university faculty member who specializes in teaching online communication tools and strategies for agricultural information and purposes. In these interactive workshops, you will walk away with your online media presence set up effectively, practice in using/updating these media, and the framework for a plan that will help you efficiently manage, monitor, and measure your efforts.


What is the cost to participants?

All workshops are free of charge to registrants. Online materials are also free to any who are interested. Additionally, most social media tools can be accessed free of charge through any Internet connection, though some do charge a usage fee or offer a more premium account for an additional cost.


What is the difference between the face-to-face, daylong workshops and the online training?

The face-to-face, daylong workshops are an intensive and exciting introduction to using online communication and social media tools for your operation. You will leave the workshop with your social media and website established and the knowledge and skills to better achieve the goals you have set for communicating online. The goal is to help you customize your online presence for your particular agribusiness. These workshops also allow you to connect with other beginning farmers and ranchers to share your challenges and successes.


The online training materials are designed to supplement the topics in the daylong workshops. If there is a particular topic you wish you knew more about (such as using videos, engaging customers, or writing a blog), the videos will provide more detailed information.


I hear these tools change often, how will I stay up-to-date once I complete the training?

This website will be updated throughout the life of the project (through 2014). You will also be provided a list of trustworthy and continually updated resources that will provide you this information as well, even beyond the life of this project.


Workshop participants will gain access to a private Facebook group that will reference any updates to these tools and keep you connected with other farmers who have participated in the workshops who can also serve as a support system for continued feedback and learning.


Social Media

Why should I learn how to use social media or other online media for my farm business?

Consumers trust farmers more than most types of people when it comes to learning about their food. Farmers and consumers have typically been unable to connect directly, but with online media, that connection is possible.


Social media tools are a free way for a young business to promote their product, share insights into their farming practices, expand into new markets, sustain relationships with customers, and help others –whether they be other farms, organizations, friends, or customers—promote your farm and/or products through their social networks that now exist online.


In the past few years, several social media sites have grown rapidly and provide an excellent resource for business aiming to connect to local publics and consumers for little-to-no-cost.


What are the top social media tools you suggest I use?

Below is a list of some of the post popular tools for agricultural businesses. To learn about more social media tools and how to use them, be sure to visit our Learn page. Additionally, attending one of our workshops will allow you to get personalized information and advice for integrating these tools for use in your business.


  • Facebook – a social networking service with more than 845 million active users. Businesses can create “pages” for consumers to follow and then regularly update these followers with pertinent sales or information.
  • Twitter – a social networking and microblogging service, users are able to post messages of up to 140 characters known as “tweets.” With more than 140 million active users, Twitter has become a recognized tool for networking and connecting with other businesses and consumers.
  • YouTube – a video-sharing website where users can upload, view or share videos. Videos include movie and TV clips, as well as amateur content such as video blogging and short original videos. Recently, YouTube has become the second-most frequently used search engine, after Google.
  • Pinterest – a visual social bookmarking site where users "pin" their favorite photos of food, events, interests and hobbies. Pinterest is now the third largest social network behind Facebook and Twitter.




Social Media Marketing Success Story