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Published March 16th 2016

Report: Agriculture and Food Production Brands on Social Media

Our social media report for agriculture brands shows early adopters are already harvesting social insights, while others are at risk of being left behind.

We are now far enough into the social media revolution that it would be easy to assume the majority of brands have a social media presence.

In reality, while business-to-consumer companies were quick to implement comprehensive social media strategies, business-to-business (B2B) brands have been far slower in adopting a similar approach.

This range of social maturity is reflected across B2B companies, as we uncovered in our B2B social media report.

Certain B2B companies have led the way, as innovators and early adopters have realized the potential of social media beyond merely having a presence. This disparity means the later adopters are at risk of being left behind.

Agriculture brands and social media

Within B2B organizations, agriculture is one of the least mature industries in its use of social media.

The chart below, taken from Brandwatch data, shows that of the 200 B2B companies spread across 10 verticals, agriculture takes only 6% of the share of voice.

B2B brands on social media

We’ve examined this further in our social media report for agriculture brands, which examines how the industry is taking advantage of social media – or missing out on the opportunity.

There is a wide disparity between brands in this sector.

Over two months, mentions on social media for leading agriculture brands ranged from 1.8m for Monsanto, to 768 for Meadow Foods.

Increased scrutiny on food production

Environmental and humanitarian factors are increasingly important topics in food production.

Consumers are increasingly concerned and confused about their effects. This anxiety from consumers means a growing potential for negative news stories, and potential for those stories to develop into a PR crisis.

Research shows that the speed of modern communication means the first two hours are critical in limiting the damage to a brand’s reputation.

Despite this, 35% of agriculture brands have no social presence on Facebook and 50% of brands post less than once per fortnight on Twitter and Facebook.


Our social media report for agriculture brands shows that the industry generates over two million brand mentions each year, but even the organizations with some sort of social media presence are not optimizing their communications effectively.

Brand tweets make up only 6% of the conversation, and brand activity does not align with audience activity during hours of the day, or days of the week.

An absence from social media does not prevent brand conversations from happening. Rather, there may be undiscovered threats, as well as missed opportunities in market research, customer service, marketing, and sales.

GMOs: A potential crisis?

To illustrate this we segmented people voicing their concerns over genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

While GMOs are approved for use in the US, there is no requirement to indicate the presence of GMO ingredients on food labels or in restaurants.

GMO conversation

There were over 32k mentions of GMOs in a four month period, with labeling the most talked about topic within the conversation.

Categorizing further shows that this concern is most keenly felt when discussing dairy products.

There is an opportunity here for agriculture brands to step in and own the conversation, informing consumers, answering questions and heading off any potential crisis.

Any brand involved in dairy production should view this data as an opportunity to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

How agriculture brands can adopt social analytics

The one advantage in adopting social analytics later is that there is now a wealth of content that can inform and inspire strategy.

The uses of social analytics continues to grow more varied and complex, but the early use cases are well trodden and can be adopted easily.

Each brand needs to work out how social analytics can be best used for their particular circumstances and needs, but the first use cases to be adopted can add immediate value.

  • Marketing and sales

Only 30% of B2B marketers rate their organization’s content marketing as effective.

However, with 80% of business decision makers preferring to get company information by accessing their content rather than being exposed to an advert, there is no reason why they cannot increase their effectiveness.

Decision makers want this content, and social media is an effective way of distributing it: 55% of B2B buyers search for information on social media.

  • Customer Service

More and more customer service is undertaken online, and B2B companies are no exception to this rule.

A new Gallup research study shows that B2B customers often have a higher expectation for customer service. When issues do occur, B2B brands have more to lose than B2C brands, but this means those who can reduce problems gain a competitive advantage.

An agriculture brand’s social media team will also be part of the frontline of answering questions from the general public in addition, serving a public relations function as well as a customer service one.

  • PR/Crisis Management

The role food production can play in tackling climate change and the rising popularity of organic food has left the general public better informed about food production and the companies behind it.

Agricultural brands are facing more public scrutiny than ever. This negative conversation can be happening whether brands chose to embrace social media or not.

Download the full report for free to discover how leading agriculture and food production brands are taking advantage of social analytics.

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