At Foodtree we pay a lot of attention to two worlds: food and technology. As such, we feel as if we're lucky to witness a lot of really cool things happening at the intersection of technology and food, especially as it relates to the people who are actually growing and making the food we eat.
The following are six of the greatest social media technologies and communities that offer food business owners incredible ways to tell their story and connect with food lovers around the world.
We know this list isn't complete; be sure share ideas you have for using social tools to promote farmers in the comments!
Twitter For Farmers
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By now most everyone's heard of Twitter, but what you may not know is how many farmers and small food business owners have embraced twitter as a means of keeping in touch with their customers and fans.
A survey last year from the American Farm Bureau Federation showed farmers and ranchers aged 18-35 indicated that among the 92 percent that use computers, 46 percent regularly plug in to some form of social media.
We've got a working list of farms, farmers, and farmers markets on Twitter here...let us know who we've missed.
Tumblr For Farmers
Tumblr is now a community you can't ignore. As noted by Mashable, Tumblr’s pageviews in 2011 went from 2 billion to 13 billion and the 30 million blogs there now generate more than 40 million posts per day. According to Quantcast that pageviews number is pushing 15 billion in early 2012.
What's this mean for farmers? It means that setting up a website to share stories, pictures, and videos is not only easy and free, but it means that food producers have an opportunity to participate in a community that's well known for its attention to art, creativity, and wholesome causes.
Vimeo / YouTube For Farmers
The web is being eaten by video, and there's no demand shortage for stories about our food system. YouTube definitely delivers the largest audience for online video, but Vimeo is worth a look for it's vibrant community and cause-driven sentiments. Video watching are a mouthy crowd, too...YouTube users take a social action (like, comment, share) 100 million times every week.
Video is becoming the de facto medium for engaging with the web, and it doesn't matter how you do it...it just needs to be done.
Share videos of your farm, productions methods, or your thoughts on food and you'll find a ready audience of food lovers eager to engage with you and your business.
Square For Farmers
Square is a relatively new device aimed at revolutionizing payments for small businesses. The implications for farmers, farmers markets, and small food businesses are extensive...you now have a fully reliable payment system in your pocket. With an iPhone, iPad, iPod, or Android phone any business owner can accept payments on the spot.
It's so easy that by downloading the Square app, they'll send you a free card reader to facilitate payment.
We've been to hundreds of farmers markets and seen the pain of collecting payment without any access to traditional credit card payment methods...that problem is now solved.
Pinterest For Farmers
Pinterest is a rapidly exploding community centered around visual pinboards. It's the Facebook Like on steroids, and the community is ripe with food lovers. In fact, Pinterest is growing at the rate that Facebook was in its early days.
Joining Pinterest requires an invite from a current user, but once you've joined you're asked to set up Boards on which you'll pin images you found on the web, uploaded yourself, or find within the Pinterest community. It's another vibrant community of craft lovers, with most of the content focused on art, food, and culture.
Foodtree For Farmers
We'd be remiss if we didn't give ourselves a little credit here. We've built Foodtree to celebrate the greatest things happening in food.
Our mobile app and mobile website are dedicated to sharing photos of fresh local food and understanding the connections that food businesses have with one another. Farmers use the app to share pics of their early morning harvest and to let food lovers know where they can buy it later on the same day.
Farmers and business owners without an iPhone needn't worry! By claiming your profile you're given access to our web photo upload as well, so anyone can start sharing photos and insight into their relationships right away.
Do you own a food business? Head here to see all the goodies you get when you join us.