Editor’s Note: To be an “agvocate,” Katie suggests you first “be social,” which means connecting on a personal level with your audience. Next, be a star in a controllable setting – in other words, don’t spread yourself too thin in terms of social media. In this post, she talks about the importance of building trust.

Your social media profiles are often people’s first impressions of your voice or brand, as well. Let me ask you this: if a non-ag consumer sees a tweet supporting GMOs, and then clicks on the profile and sees a big green tractor, what does that tell them? What if they see a tweet supporting GMOs and the profile picture is a mom with her kids? Or grandpa with his grandkids? Which one is more effective at building trust? I suggest you balance your social media profiles, including some farm related pictures and descriptions with non-ag related interests and photos, as well.

Jenny Rohrich and Claire Masker do a good job of this in their Twitter profiles. Although both often tweet about agriculture, their profiles show that they are real people, not just a mouthpiece for “Big Ag” like so many people accuse us of being.

Same thing applies to blogs. A quick glance at the homepage should give a reader an idea of what you’re about, and it should be more than farming. Cristen Clark’s blog, Food and Swine, does just that. Her blog is about pigs, obviously, but it’s also about food and family. And that is clear right away.

Giving a first impression showing that you are more than just agriculture builds trust with consumers.