WASHINGTON — The following commentary is provided by Polly Ruhland, Cattlemen’s Beef Board CEO
Last month, I shared how the checkoff gets the right messages to consumers within a complex digital ecosystem. But what about beef producers? How do they get information about their checkoff investments?
When thinking about your multi-faceted Beef Checkoff Program, would you consider yourself just aware that it exists? Are you supportive of it? Have you moved to the point where you engage and advocate for the program?
We recognize that the “producer journey” as it relates to producers’ understanding and attitudes about the checkoff is different for everyone. Our producers enter the checkoff conversation at different points; some may have high interest and strong support while others may be completely unaware of the real value and purpose of the checkoff. Let’s take a look.
A Sample Journey of Understanding
Meet “Brad Morgan,” a 55-year-old Texas cattle feeder. Here’s what we know: He checks his phone several times a day looking at markets, weather and industry news, and he’s aware of the checkoff. The next step in his journey is when he becomes interested in the checkoff. At this stage, he wants to make a difference and time spent with others is socially rewarding. Later in his journey, we may find him at the “consideration” stage, meaning he’s considering having a louder voice because he knows people who can inform his checkoff support, and he wants to ensure the feedlot can be owned and managed by the next generation.
Being more involved leads to more support: It’s clear he sees that the checkoff ROI can be instrumental in keeping his business in the family, and he understands the ROI stays strong when misinformation about the beef industry is set straight by facts.
If Brad enters his journey of understanding at the advocacy stage, that means he’s ready to speak out and address misinformation, whether about beef or about the beef checkoff. And because of his time constraints, he appreciates and will use tools that help him share information easily.
Using Social Media
Let’s take a look at social media, just one channel we use in a communications plan that includes many options. Just like consumers, producers are on information overload. That’s why we aim to create content and information that is easy for producers to share with fellow producers. What we know is that beef producers under 45 are on social media more often than their over-45 counterparts. What surprises me is that those over 45 engage more on social media and their mobile usage is increasing.
By using short videos (under :30) on Facebook, our producer communications efforts reach more Facebook users. Facebook algorithms favor video, and prioritize its delivery to users’ newsfeeds. During the first half of June, short videos on the My Beef Checkoff Facebook page reached 28,212 users. The demographic was under 45 for this specific promoted video. During May, two video posts helped us reach 48,800 beef producers. Because of this success, video will continue to be part of our social media efforts in the coming months.
So, what do we do with all this information? Utilizing this producer journey to guide and inform our efforts enables our producer communication program — everything from social to paid and earned media, and “owned” media such as our website — to deliver more relevant messaging to the right audience at the right time through appropriate channels.
For more information about your beef checkoff investment, visit MyBeefCheckoff.com.
–Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion & Research Board
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