The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has a big remit: to help get scientific research on land and livestock management into the hands of farmers, landowners and land managers.

The Department’s audience are often older, technologically-unsavvy, time-poor and not natural social media users.

However, as the use of social media only continues to increase across all platforms, the FutureBeef team within the Department chose to upskill themselves to gain maximum exposure for the benefit of their target audience by utilising social video through Facebook and YouTube.

FutureBeef’s target audiences are beef producers and land managers of the three northern states of Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland with government officers from each state contributing content to a central website. The aim of the content is to help land managers and beef producers to maximise productivity while communicating smart land management practices, including drought preparedness and recovery, floods and other calamities.

The FutureBeef team hired me to train their small team on social video in their Brisbane office.

Working closely with Extension Officer Jodie Ward, I developed a custom two-day training presentation that covered the essentials of effective social media and social video, how to brainstorm, storyboard and create videos using only mobile phones, video editing, social media posting and scheduling, engagement and metrics.

Says Jodie Ward, “we engaged Brook because our social videos to date had primarily focused on only one style – informative webinars – and we knew we needed to use more variety and to make our informative content as engaging as possible.”

Practical projects converting learning into doing

workplace social media trainingEach training participant was asked to bring along a key message that they personally believed needed to be communicated so that they could use this real life project to put the lessons into practice through developing and editing a video.

“Ultimately, we’re seeking to influence behaviours and practices of people managing livestock and land, however capturing how many hectares or number of animals the recommendations we have made have had an impact on is difficult. What is easier to capture, is our social media engagement. We have a remit to increase our reach and to improve our user satisfaction.”

The audience for this information can sometimes be skeptical, inhibited or uncomfortable with technology, with limited or slow internet connectivity. While receptive to the idea of maximizing productivity through good times and hard, including extended periods of drought, flooding and fluctuating market prices, they also have their fair share of inhibitions, including a reluctance to move away from familiar practices towards new scientifically-validated approaches.

“Brook trained us on the technology and best practices of social media and, more particularly, social video, but also got us thinking creatively on who exactly our target audience was and what they needed,” says Jodie.

On the second day of training, we focused on co-creating a social media strategy and policy for the teams. The team had already dealt with experiences of criticism on social media, negative postings by interest groups, and extreme weather events necessitating a quick, united response. Together, we talked through a social media crisis management plan and best practices for dealing with an escalating crisis.

“We’re all feeling far more focused and energized by what we’re doing on social media thanks to Brook’s training,” says Jodie. “She’s helped us develop new skills and shifted our focus and priorities, while helping us recommit to our bigger, broader mission.”

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