Managing Social Media to Influence Public Opinion

by 5m Editor
16 March 2011, at 12:00am

There are big opportunities to use social media to influence public opinion, but like any other opportunity it works best if it is managed properly. That was the core message that Lilian Schaer of Agri-Food Projects Services had for a breakout session at the 2011 Banff Pork Seminar.

It may surprise people to know that time spent on social networking increased from three hours to 5.5 hours a month in the past year, Ms Schaer said. The majority of Twitter users are over 35 years of age. Approximately 60 per cent of Facebook users are over 26 years old. And people 45 to 65 are the fastest growing demographic of Facebook users.

"It's important not to forget that many anti-agriculture groups are using social media as well. So it may not be ideally suited to everyone, depending on your audience, who you are trying to reach and what your comfort level is with interacting with people in a public forum."

Lilian Schaer

Here is Ms Schaer's quick list of tips:

  • Think about who you want to reach and what you want to accomplish.
  • Even though social media is personal, be sure to maintain a level of professionalism.
  • Follow others, re-tweet, comment.
  • Consistent presence brings readers to blogs, followers on Twitter, fans on Facebook.
  • Be careful what you tweet, post or blog; it's permanent.
  • If you don't tell your story, someone else will.
  • Don't be afraid: we are all 'newbies' once.

This report was prepared by Meristem Land and Science.

March 2011