As I watch people on social media, I keep thinking how Industry holds so many answers to what those of us in education struggle with. So I attended the National Agri-Marketing Association Conference to learn more. I was refreshed to know that many of the concepts I wrote about in this post were actually addressed today-just stated in different ways.
Ultimately it all comes down to organizing all the information we have coming in from our social media efforts to better tell a compelling story for Extension.
In Extension we’re really good at forming relationships with people. We’re good at caring about the people we work with and getting to know what makes them tick. In the age of digital, it’s a challenge to get to know clientele in the same way. Yet, I appreciated Anders Sorman-Nilsson challenging us that in this digital age,
“We need to connect with digital minds and analogue hearts.”
He gave the example of his mother’s tailor shop-how she had all the measurements for her clientele for different times of the year. But that online companies were making it harder for her to compete. While she resisted it at first, she allowed her son to help her develop a marketing campaign which pushed information regarding measurements and deals to her clientele so they could purchase directly from her. She was still making the one-on-one connections and personalizing her connections with her clientele – she was just doing so in a digital format.
We have the opportunity to do the same for Extension! Social media isn’t the goal-it’s the tool for us to reach our clientele in another way-to meet them where they’re at. Our clientele still need to know we care. Our clientele still need to see the person behind the Facebook post or the tweet. The reputation and respect have to be there in order for our clientele to choose to follow or friend us…to listen to us and access our information digitally.
As Sorman-Nillson also said regarding social media, “It’s not an either/or – it’s an and/also”. We need to be connecting digitally. But while we connect digitally, let’s remember that our clientele are not just numbers-we need to care about them and do so in an analogue way.