Webinar series to help ag entrepreneurs use social media

September 13, 2010

University Park, Pa. -- Facebook, Twitter, foursquare. For some people, these words may sound like they're part of a foreign language. Others may be familiar with the words and use these applications for fun but are not sure how they can be applied to their farms or food businesses.

The use of social media for networking, marketing and other business-management purposes is on the rise. Farm businesses and organizations -- from farm markets to Farm Bureau -- are joining the social media world through their use of applications such as Facebook and Twitter, according to a farm-business specialist in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

"Many already have websites that integrate blogs or podcasts and see these new platforms as another tool with which to reach a larger and more diverse audience," said Sarah Cornelisse, senior extension associate in agricultural economics and rural sociology. "Whether to share information and news, engage in conversations, answer questions, market products or publicize events, every social media application offers a use for the entrepreneurial farm business owner or manager."

To help farm-related enterprises reap the benefits of social networking tools, Penn State Cooperative Extension's Ag Entrepreneurship program will sponsor a series of Web-based seminars this fall. Each webinar will address at least one social networking tool and how it can be used by operators of farms and other ag businesses.

"We'll cover such topics as how Twitter and Facebook can allow you to stay connected to your customers, and how blogs, podcasts and YouTube can help you share your farm's story and market your business and products," said Cornelisse.

The series will feature four webinars, each held twice over seven weeks. The final webinar will highlight real examples from a farm that has successfully integrated the use of several social networking tools. The schedule:

Week 1

-- 10 a.m., Oct. 6: Introduction to social networking and Twitter

Week 2

-- 2 p.m., Oct. 12: Introduction to social networking and Twitter

-- 10 a.m., Oct. 14: Facebook

Week 3:

-- 2 p.m., Oct. 21: Facebook

Week 4

-- 10 a.m., Oct. 26: YouTube, foursquare, blogs and podcasts

Week 5

-- 2 p.m., Nov. 2: YouTube, foursquare, blogs and podcasts

Week 6

-- 2 p.m., Nov. 8: Putting it all together

Week 7

-- 10 a.m. Nov. 18: Putting it all together

To participate in the webinars, go to https://breeze.psu.edu/socialmedia/. A Penn State User ID is required. Those who do not have one can register for a "Friends of Penn State" account at https://fps.psu.edu/, which takes less than five minutes.

For more information, see the "Upcoming Events" page at http://farmbusiness.psu.edu or contact Katie Reid at ker5088@psu.edu.

  • IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated November 18, 2010