Canadian farmers using SM, but not to promote ag

A survey released this week by Farm Credit Canada shows 54 per cent of Canadian farmers is using social media — but mostly for personal use.

54 per cent of producers use SM for personal business, while only 30 per cent use it to promote their business, connect with customers and speak out about agriculture.

“There are opportunities to incorporate social media into a number of areas — such as research, making business connections and promoting agriculture as an important part of society and the economy,” says Kellie Garrett, FCC Senior Vice-President, Strategy, Knowledge and Reputation.

Four in 10 producers who are online, or 44 per cent, state they spent more time using SM this year compared to last year, while 43 per cent of non-users say they don’t have the time or they don’t see value in using social media (30 per cent).

Age also appears to matter.

Producers under 40 are more likely to use Facebook for both personal (56 per cent) and business (11 per cent) compared to producers over 40 (34 per cent and 4 per cent respectively).

When putting SM to work for business, 44 per cent of producers are doing research and looking for information, while 19 per cent are reading up on industry news and 13 per cent are networking with other producers. Only nine per cent are advertising their products via SM and seven per cent building their network of customers. Four per cent are using SM to network with current or potential supplies and a meager three per cent are using social media to promote agriculture.

Use of social media is expected to grow among producers who are currently online and already using social media; four in ten (39 per cent) believe they will spend more time using social media in the upcoming years. Producers under 40 (45 per cent) are more likely to agree with this statement than producers over 40 (34 per cent).

43 per cent of non-users say they’re too busy to use social media and 30 per cent stated they don’t see the value of social media. Half of non-users told say they’re unlikely to start using social media for personal use.

No matter what their age, two thirds of online producers are unlikely to use social media for business use (65 per cent).

The survey was sent to 1,636 FCC Vision panelists, including both primary producers and agriculture-related businesses. Of these, 883 completed the survey, translating to a 54 per cent response rate.

Full results of the survey are at www.fccvision.ca/research.

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