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5 Things You Need to Hear About COVID-19 + Agriculture

03.30.20

COVID-19 news stories are everywhere, but are they having an impact on agriculture? We put our social listening capabilities to the test to answer this question. Through our state-of-the-art social listening tool, we scanned 150+ million websites to determine the impact.

We found there are 7.5 BILLION mentions of COVID-19 in the digital space. And of course, there are even more in print, TV and radio… Its easy to find medical, economic and political information on the topic, but how does it relate to agriculture specifically and what actions can we take? By the numbers, there were 29,800 mentions of COVID-19 + agriculture between March 15 – March 27, 2020.

We rounded up the top 5 trends to watch:

1.  Agriculture entered the conversation Friday, March 20, 2020, when agriculture was named an essential industry by the Department of Homeland Security. Since that announcement, agriculture mentions skyrocketed. Since then, agriculture continues to be discussed.

  • Political conversations surrounding agriculture are gaining traction quickly. Topics include: food supply and security, potential for farm workers to test positive and the devastating effects, migrant workers unable to enter US, thus creating a labor shortage.
  • Celebration of farmers’ work ethic as they continue to feed local and global communities.
  • How to take action: Continue to follow the story as it evolves. Share trends and news stories with your team and customers. Brainstorm best and worst outcomes for agriculture and your brand, then determine how you will act if those come to fruition.

2. Food safety and supply are concerns.

  • Consumers are concerned about the safety and cleanliness of food products. “Local food” and “Local farmers” are trending, showing customers are looking to their communities for support.
  • Demand in grocery stores is up, while restaurant demand is down.
  • Trucking of products (i.e. milk) is an issue that is forcing some farmers and processing plants to consider dumping milk, etc.
  • The future is uncertain.
  • How to take action: Empathize with producers and share your commitment to their business and wellbeing. Share how you’re ensuring food safety. Think through and share the actions your company is taking to ensure the supply chain remains strong.

3. Twitter is being used heavily to share information.

  • Month over month, Twitter use is up over 23% (via Twitter news update)
  • Twitter mentions of COVID-19 + Agriculture make up almost 80% of the conversation.
  • How to take action: Start following trending hashtags to keep a pulse on conversations and trends. If you have a Twitter account, consider Tweeting updates from your company acknowledging the situation, share action steps and appreciation for those on the frontlines.

4. Top phrases appearing in COVID-19 + agriculture conversations include:

  • Independent contractor (used in relation to trucking)
  • Small businesses
  • Federal government
  • Public health
  • Local food/farmers
  • Last week, the top phrase was “massive worry”
  • How to take action: Monitor trending phrases and read stories to understand the meaning. Then, determine if and how you should join the conversation as it relates to your brand. For instance, if your customers are concerned about food supply and safety, consider drafting messaging to share the steps you are taking to ensure stable and safe food supply.

5. There are positive stories!

  • The agriculture industry is coming together and running strong as an essential business. Businesses are coming up with creative solutions to ensure a safe and stable food supply, while farmers are continuing to produce food while opening their doors via virtual farm tours. Consumers are noticing and sharing their appreciate for agriculture.
  • How to take action: Celebrate these stories by sharing them with your team and customers. Every agriculture business has local heroes working hard today—find those stories and celebrate them.

Of course, this situation is moving rapidly and changing by the hour. If you would like to see our full social listening dashboard or chat about steps on social listening activation, let’s talk.

Interested in learning more? Watch this 30 minute webinar on leveraging social media and social listening in times of crisis.