You can reach a surprising number of farmers and ag professionals through LinkedIn.
Most of us use LinkedIn nearly every day in our professional lives. But did you know it is also useful in connecting your ag brand with farmers? It’s easy to do if you apply the basics of LinkedIn.
LinkedIn allows you to find members by geography, industry and other attributes. It also allows you to reach out to members through advertisements and sponsored posts.
So how can you use LinkedIn to market to farmers? And how large is LinkedIn’s ag membership?
Large, diverse and international audience
LinkedIn has grown beyond an online resume repository. It launched in May 2003 and attracted 4,500 members in the first month. LinkedIn recently surpassed 430 million users. Several major ag-producing countries have a significant number of users, including farmers and ag professionals:
- USA – 128 million+
- India – 35 million+
- Brazil – 25 million+
- UK – 20 million+
- China – 20 million+
- Canada – 12 million+
- France – 11 million+
- Mexico – 8 million+
- Germany – 8 million+
- Spain – 8 million+
- Australia – 7 million+
- Russia – 5 million+
- Argentina – 5 million+
- Chile – 3 million+
How many farmers are on LinkedIn and how can I find them?
In the United States, there are:
- 341,000+ members in the Industry of Agriculture > Farming
- 58,000+ members in the Industry of Agriculture > Fishery
- 67,000+ members in the Industry of Agriculture > Dairy
- 64,000+ members in the Industry of Agriculture > Ranching
From there, you can then target these users by state, city or town. In addition to industry, LinkedIn can also filter users by demographics, company (or perhaps farm) information, specific job details, education background and members’ skills and groups.
Using targeting attributes other than Industry, you can find U.S. farmers by:
- 244,000+ members have a field of study of “Agriculture, Agriculture Operations, and Related Sciences”
- 2,000+ work for Perdue Farms (one of many ag-centric companies offered)
- 4,000+ work for ADM Company
- 21,000+ members belong to the LinkedIn group “Agriculture”
By targeting users by geography, industry or other specific variables, your ad copy can speak directly to them.
- “Illinois farmers prefer Ford F150’s. Your best deal…”
- “We know how ranching is done in Wyoming…”
LinkedIn ads vs. sponsored posts
There are pros and cons for serving ads and using sponsored posts. Each use a pay-per-click (PPC) model. Which route you choose depends on your budget and your need to be noticed.
You can serve ads on LinkedIn that combine an image with text. These ads can include a small thumbnail, brief headline (25 characters) and description (75 characters). If this seems like farmers may not notice it, your assumption is correct. Fortunately, LinkedIn uses a PPC model, so if members don’t see it and don’t click on it, then you don’t pay for placement.
Of course, since one of the goals of advertising is to get farmers to NOTICE you, then a small ad is probably not the most effective way to reach your audience! A sponsored post has a much greater visual footprint and appears in the main newsfeed area, where most regular LinkedIn visitors are looking.
Like the ads, sponsored posts can use a PPC model, so you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. You need to have a LinkedIn page for your company to run a sponsored post campaign, but you can hide the sponsored post from your company’s followers.
While many ag marketers use LinkedIn on a regular basis in their professional lives, they often overlook it as an effective platform for reaching and engaging farmers. Using the right filters, brands can direct highly targeted messages to farmers that drive engagement, and all for a very reasonable cost.