Last week in my Public Relations in Agriculture class we had a guest speaker. Lynzee Glass, who is the managing editor for Ozarks Farm & Neighbor, visited with us about their newspaper and discussed social media’s role in their business. Ozarks Farm & Neighbor was first published in September of 1998 covering only 9 counties in Missouri. Today, this newspaper goes out to 58,000 different readers in 60 counties across parts of Southwest Missouri, Northwest Arkansas, and Eastern Oklahoma. This publication, which comes out every 3 weeks, offers a variety of different benefits for today’s farmer including: educational tools and articles, neighbor stories, breaking news, community news, and classified ads that are beneficial before making a purchase. The average reader of Ozarks Farm & Neighbor in Missouri is a male between the ages of 35 and 64; surprisingly, his main income is not from a farm. On average, he runs a 329 acre cow-calf operation.
Lynzee informed us that Ozarks Farm and Neighbor utilize a few different types of social media. They joined Facebook in 2009 and now have around 1400 followers. Since their paper only comes every 3 weeks, they use Facebook to publish stories in a timely manner to keep their audience informed. Ozarks Farm and Neighbor recently joined Twitter to stay in touch with their readers and to hopefully expand their audience. Another form of social media the business utilizes is HootSuite. HootSuite is a form of social media management. It enables a business to manage multiple networks and profiles at the same time; it allows the operator to schedule status updates and tweets as well. Using these forms of social media has created a new door for Ozarks Farm and Neighbor. They are now available to reach a newer audience at a cheaper and faster way. It allows them to stay in touch with their audience every day and get as many people involved with their magazine as they can. Also, using social media has targeted a new market/audience for their newspaper.
Using social media has allowed Ozarks Farm and Neighbor to expand its audience. This is return creates more interest and business. No matter what kind of business you have, I believe any business can benefit from utilizing social media. I encourage each of you to “like” Ozarks Farm and Neighbor’s Facebook page and visit their website at http://ozarksfn.com/ as well. You can follow them at https://twitter.com/OzarksFarm.