Contributed by Abigayle Huntress | Senior | Agricultural Communication
What is the Farm Bureau?
The Farm Bureau is a national organization, with many local chapters, that serves to unify farmers and allow for community discussion amongst these groups with the ultimate goal of supporting local agriculture. The organization provides opportunities for agricultural education while seeking to unite the local agriculture industry. The San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau hopes to “serve its members by leading, promoting, and advocating for the preservation of agriculture”.
Why the Farm Bureau Facebook?
The Farm Bureau Facebook serves as a great example of an organization taking advantage of new media communication. In the agriculture industry, there is a bit of lag between farmers and ranchers and the quickly advancing world of social media. Facebook serves as a middle ground between the ‘digital native’ generation and the predominantly older generation that comprises the farming population. It has been around for longer than Twitter and Instagram, and therefore has become more familiar to the general population.
Finding the Way Around
The Farm Bureau Facebook is organized in the same way as most other nonprofits pages. The “Like” button is one of the first thing that visitors to the page will see, nestled just below the “Send Message” button. The ribbon across the top of the page contains the following categories: Home, About, Events, Photos, Videos, Community, Groups, and Reviews. In this ribbon, there is also a search function that allows users to do a quick search to find any information they may need to quickly find. Beside the search bar, there is also a button that allows Facebook users to subscribe to group, save posts or share the page to their friends. The page’s design is simple and precise and makes it easy for users to navigate through the page.
Room for Growth
The San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau Facebook isn’t a perfect page, though it serves its purpose very well. The site’s “Events” tab is fairly dry. Even with COVID-19 cancelling in-person events, the Events tab lacks any information. The Farm Bureau still hosts meetings according to its other websites, but that information is evidently missing from the Facebook site.
The “Photos” portion of the page could also use a little bit of organization. While the site does feature some photos, they aren’t organized in the best manner. Upon clicking on the “Photos” button, users are sent to a page with a collage of photos from random posts. If the pictures were organized with labels and descriptions of what was taking place in the photo, it may draw in more viewers as they explore the contents of the photo albums. There are photos from events, fliers for meetings and Instagram posts, all shoved into the “Mobile Uploads” album.
The “Groups” tab was also slightly disappointing for a group that exists in such an agriculture-heavy area. This function allows the group to associate themselves with similar groups, to increase their page’s traffic from other Facebook users. By simply adding a few connections such as local FFA chapters or any of the numerous Cal Poly agriculture clubs, they’d increase the popularity of their page.
Harvesting Great Communication
The Facebook page did well with organizing their page in an easy-to-explore manner! The ribbon at the top made it simple to navigate and find exactly what the user is looking for. The header for the page is dominated by vibrant colors and a beautiful fresh strawberry, but it doesn’t take away from the rest of the information on the page. It is enough to draw Facebook users in and keep them on the page long enough to start exploring.
The “About” tab is one of the highlights of the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau’s Facebook page; it shows a map of the main location for the farm bureau, a link to the organization’s main website, multiple ways to get in contact with SLO Farm Bureau and even hours that a representative is available.
When users click on the “Video” button, their first option is to watch the January 2021 news recap. This immediately captivates the attention of visitors, and after they have to ability to scroll through more of the videos posted by the SLO Farm Bureau.
By following the “Community” link, the site will show the user if any of their friends have liked the page. It then shows public posts made by any and all page members, as opposed to posts and photos from page administrators on the initial “Home” page.
The “Reviews” tab at the end of the ribbon helps to pull the page together. The SLO Farm Bureau has a public rating of a 4.6/5 stars. The ratings are given by community members and users who have liked the page, making it feel a little more tangible than just another organization with a Facebook page.
The page as a whole is designed for ease of use and allows users to navigate on their own. It utilizes a variety of tools to bring essential information to users through new media strategies. San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau unites a predominantly older industry with the new media generation in a very effective way through their Facebook page.
Other SLO Farm Bureau Sites
The Farm Bureau also has an Instagram account (@slofarmbureau) that is extremely active and posts new updates multiple times a week. The Instagram features story highlights that include events and different images from agricultural events around San Luis Obispo County. The top ribbon of their account has easily accessible buttons to follow or message the page. The same ribbon also gives easy access to a “contact” button that shows a phone number and email for users to utilize. San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau can also be found on Twitter (@SanLuisObispoFB)! The group uses Twitter slightly less than Facebook or Instagram, but definitely still has a strong presence. The Twitter site balances out the other two sites, focusing less on encouraging users to join the group and more on informing the public. The Twitter is used to retweet news articles that are relevant to local agriculture as well as spreading information relevant to the group. The Twitter is also used to send links to forms for members as well as communicate with the organization via direct message.