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3 open minutes with Shannon Squibb

PD Editor Emily Caldwell Published on 11 November 2010

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Dairy producer and blogger Shannon Squibb shared with Progressive Dairyman Editor Emily Caldwell how she uses social media to connect with and educate mothers about dairy.

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Q. When did #dairymom chats on Twitter begin? How did you get involved?

A. SQUIBB: I was invited, along with seven other “dairy moms” from across the Midwest, by Midwest Dairy Association to learn how to communicate with consumers (and moms) using social media.

We met in October 2009 and learned how to use Facebook and Twitter and to blog. I have been able to attend Twitter “parties” and tweet to promote dairy, using the hashtag #dairymom. It’s been a whole new experience for me, but a positive one.

Q. How many women participate in these chats?

A. SQUIBB: There havebeen more dairy women who have become involved in the last year. During the twitter parties, the time literally flies by, but there are hundreds of tweets in an hour that are talking about dairy, including recipes, nutrition, health benefits and economical benefits of dairy products.

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Q. What kind of questions do you receive from consumers?

A. SQUIBB: I get questions about the farm, where to find recipes andabout specific posts. I talk about what’s going on around the farm as well as dairy nutrition and recipes. I also directconsumers to sitesthatmay havea promotion or article of interest, such as MidwestDairy.com , DairyMakesSense.com and FarmersFeedUs.org .

Q. Do you think it’s easier or harder to connect with consumers through Twitter and other social media?

A. SQUIBB: Ifsomeone would have asked if I’d be participating in social media 18months ago, I would have said no. More and more people connect through social media, and it’sone way to reach consumers. So many people arethree, or even five, generations removed from the farm and don’t know where their food really comes from. This is a tool we can use to help connect with them. The goal is to let them know that farming is a way of life, and we work hard every day to bring them safe, wholesome and nutritious foods for them to enjoy.

Q. You recently traveled to the “I Blog Conference” in Iowa. Why did you decide to attend?

A. SQUIBB: I just started blogging this summer, andI was surprised at the number of moms who blog. Moms purchase most of the groceries, so this is another way we can reach the people who are buying our products. I’m hoping the conference will help me be more effective in reaching those consumers.

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Q. What advice do you have for dairy women who say they don’t have the time to devote to social media?

A. SQUIBB: I don’t always have time to sit in front of the computer — I’m a mom anddairy farmer, so I add it to my chore list. Don’t overwhelm yourself thinking you have to be involved in all forms of social media. Find one you’re comfortable with and branch out if you can. It’s not about the amount of posts or tweets you send out, or how big/small your farm is. It’s about being involved and telling your story so more consumers understand what we do. PD

Shannon and her husband, Rick, farm 150 acres along with their sons, Ryan and Clayton. They milk 60 Holstein cows and have a small beef herd in southwest Missouri. In addition to the farm, Shannon works part-time at a veterinary clinic. Learn more about the Squibb family farm at:
twitter.com/TopwindsDairy
topwindsdairy.blogspot.com

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