Digital connectivity, no doubt is a leverage every business person must utilise well in the present era. Subsistence farmers as well also find themselves at the intersection of tradition and technology, beyond personal sentiments. While the agricultural landscape has undergone significant transformations, leveraging social media platforms has emerged as a powerful tool for subsistence farmers to enhance their productivity, market reach, and overall livelihoods.
Subsistence farmers stand to gain significantly from embracing the opportunities presented by social media platforms like WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook. By harnessing the unique features of each platform, farmers cannot only enhance their agricultural practices, but also build a robust online presence, connecting with a wider audience and securing sustainable futures for their endeavours. As the agricultural landscape continues to evolve, the integration of social media emerges as a transformative force, empowering subsistence farmers in their journey towards growth and prosperity.
For instance, farmers can utilise whatsApp to facilitate direct communication and knowledge sharing. This is as WhatsApp provides a direct and instant communication channel for farmers to connect with each other, agricultural experts, and potential buyers for real-time communication enables quick problem-solving, sharing of insights, and staying updated on market trends.
Farmers can also leverage on creating WhatsApp group chats for local farming communities and even fellow subsistence farmers to share experiences, discuss challenges, and exchange advice. This communal knowledge-sharing fosters a supportive ecosystem where farmers can collectively address issues unique to their region. Furthermore, farmers can have WhatsApp’s broadcast lists, to share timely market updates, weather forecasts, and important information such as available produce on their farms to their contact lists. This feature ensures that crucial information reaches a wide network without compromising the personal nature of one-to-one communication.
On the other hand, Instagram’s emphasis on visuals makes it an ideal platform for subsistence farmers to showcase their products. Farmers can share high-quality images and videos of their produce, providing potential buyers with a visually-appealing glimpse into their agricultural endeavours on and without their farms. Also, the ‘Stories’ feature on Instagram allows farmers to provide a behind-the-scenes look at their daily farming activities. This personal touch humanises the farming process, fostering a connection between consumers and the hard work that goes into producing the food they consume. In the same vein, leveraging relevant agricultural hashtags increases the discoverability of farmers’ profiles and posts, such as international day observances among others.
This strategic use of hashtags widens their reach beyond immediate followers, attracting potential customers, collaborators, and even investors. Finally, while WhatsApp and Instagram offer specific advantages, Facebook remains a versatile platform for creating farmers’ groups and pages. As a farmer, you can create a page for your brand. These spaces facilitate broader discussions, events, and the sharing of educational content among a larger audience. Meanwhile, Facebook also offers a virtual marketplace that serves as an additional avenue for subsistence farmers to directly sell their produce and by listing their products on this platform, farmers can connect with local buyers and expand their market presence.