Coming off an amazing week at the Royal that culminated in one of the greatest moments I have ever seen at a cattle show (Read – The 2012 Royal Winter Fair Holstein Show – One of the Greatest Stories Ever Told) the feedback from our readers has been off the charts. While we get much-appreciated compliments from our readers all the time, the feedback we got face to face during the many events at the Royal was extremely humbling.
One of the comments that seemed to come up more often that I thought it would was “Man I loved your article about X, Y and Z, but I am surprised that more people didn’t comment about it”. As the person who looks after monitoring the comments on our website, as well as on Facebook and Twitter, this caught me totally by surprise.
To me it seems that I am nonstop replying to comments, or answering people’s questions, so that is why these comments surprised me. But then I got to thinking and realized the reason why it seems that there are not many comments…..Facebook. (Check out our Facebook page here)
Yep. It really is that simple. While we do allow any comments on our site by anyone who doesn’t leave their real name, about 99% of the discussion is happening on Facebook. Take our recent article about The Perfect Holstein Cow (Read – The Perfect Holstein Cow). It would appear to have a limited numbers of comments
In reality it could not have been farther from the truth. The big thing is that breeders are taking to Facebook to share their comments. Check out the social sharing stats from this article (Right) you will notice that more than 178 people liked this post on Facebook, which is great. However, of even greater interest is that over 355 people not only liked this article, but also actually shared it on Facebook with their friends. They often add their comments to it and start discussions on their own Facebook walls, where they can have great conversation with their friends and, in this case, about exactly what the perfect cow looks like.
The reason for this is that instead of wanting to put the comments on our website, many of our readers like to share our articles with their friends, which we greatly appreciate, and then the conversation continues on Facebook instead of on our website.
The big reason why this is dramatically different from most other dairy magazine websites is the whole perspective on what we are trying to do. Instead of using Facebook as a teaser to try to drive traffic to our website, so we can put bigger stats in front of our advertisers and drive up our own ad revenue, we actually see it the other way around. We see our website as a platform to stimulate conversation wherever breeders want to talk. Since we are not posting articles to drive ad sales but rather posting our articles to inspire conversation, we will go wherever breeders want to talk, and the breeders are talking on Facebook in a big way. If that means that we spend 90% of our time joining the conversation on Facebook, so be it.
Another great example of this is when we run competitions like The Golden Dam, The 8 Greatest North American Show Cows of All-Time , The 12 Greatest North American Colored Breed Show Cattle of All-Time or The Top 10 Most Influential Holstein Breeders of All-Time. The conversation about who ranked where and which animal should have been on the list that wasn’t happened on Facebook as opposed to our website. If you really want to see some interesting discussion, check out the ripple effect when we make mating recommendations like The 7 Sires to Use In Order to Breed the Next World Dairy Expo Champion or The Top 12 Holstein Genomic Young Sires To Use for Maximum Genetic Gain.
Of course nothing, and I mean nothing, compares to the stir that gets going after we do a “little edgier” article such as Select Sires vs. Semex – A contrast in co-operatives or $750 Dollar Semen! Are you Crazy. The back-and-forth that these articles started on Facebook was insane. Talk about stirring the hornets’ nest.
The Bullvine Bottom Line
The big thing I have learned from managing accounts in many different industries is that the conversation is already happening. It isn’t necessary to control what is being said but rather to join it. Oftentimes people think that I deliberately provoke conversation about touchy issues. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The conversation is already out there. The real question is, “Are you part of it?”
To learn how to get your farm on Facebook download this free guide.