The Livestock Collective uses social media for positive messaging

By Brooke Littlewood
March 16 2022 - 10:00am
The Livestock Collective has harnessed the power of social media including TikTok to debunk agricultural myths.

THE Livestock Collective has harnessed the power of social media to debunk agricultural myths and transparently show farm life - one post at a time.

Taking advantage of the average persons' two-hour per day screen time, the collective has used a number of channels - including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok - as avenues for advocacy and correcting misinformation.

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In the past month, TikTok content in particular has taken off for the organisation, with each video reaching tens of thousands of users.

One video on the platform, of sheep being drenched, hit a massive 2.2 million views last week - and counting.

Other short videos follow sheep and cattle being loaded onto purpose-built live export ships, feeding time at feedlots, shearing and ram selling season.

"If you want to share what really happens in the livestock industry and you are not on social media then you are missing out," said The Livestock Collective communications manager Chantelle Kerwin.

Ms Kerwin said social media had become a crucial part of the organisation's success in showing what really happens within the industry.

A video The Livestock Collective shared to TikTok, of sheep being drenched by a V machine, hit 2.2 million views and counting last week.

She said TikTok had also helped reach their targeted audience in the younger demographic and age range of 16-24-year-olds.

"Our vision is for every person to have a connection and shared understanding of agriculture," Ms Kerwin said.

"All it takes to get this started is a conversation - whether this is in person or online.

"We aim to reach the wider urban community so they can make an informed decision about the livestock industry and agriculture in general.

"This is why we choose to put content out there that will help our audience form a better understanding of why this industry exists."

Through smaller clips, the collective has been able to grab the attention of - or at least spark some curiosity in - the viewer.

Viewers are also given the opportunity to approach the organisation for more information or do their own research and form their own opinion.

Links to The Livestock Collective's social media channels:

  • www.instagram.com/ thelivestockcollective/
  • www.linkedin.com/ company/the-livestock-collective/
  • www.facebook.com/ thelivestockcollective

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  • www.twitter.com/livestock_the

Ms Kerwin said people were fascinated about anything sheep production related.

She said The Livestock Collective's most popular videos was of a truck driver talking about what the live export trade meant to him and his business,

While there has been the odd comment from people against agricultural practices, the support has so far outweighed the negativity.

Ms Kerwin found most people were simply curious and hadn't had time to stop and think about it, which was why content could be shocking at first.

"In saying this, it can be challenging or confronting for people to understand livestock practices with no prior knowledge," she said.

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"We encourage our audience to ask us questions because we want them to consider the video or specific circumstances."

Ms Kerwin added that some of the biggest misconceptions often were in what looked like "animal cruelty" but was in fact "the correct way to handle an animal".

She said as the viewer was unfamiliar with the process it could be misinterpreted.

"Another misconception we commonly come across is the perception that people in the industry don't care about livestock, which is simply not true," Ms Kerwin said.

"So some of our messaging has been as simple as people saying, 'I care about my animals'.

"We have had many positive conversations that started out this way and ended with the viewer satisfied with the information provided."

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Does Ms Kerwin believe social media could play a larger part in promoting the positive stories agriculture has to tell?

Absolutely.

She said showing real stories about what happened in the livestock supply chain via social media was an important step to foster engagement and connection.

"Teaching people how to do this in a meaningful way, and who are interested in advocating for the livestock industry is something we include in our capacity building Livestock Leaders workshops.

"We are helping the next generation of agricultural advocates to grow personally and professionally by learning how to share their stories from within their part of the supply chain - whether they are a farmer, a shearer, a truck driver or a supplier - via social and traditional media.

"This is empowering them to trust that they are the experts in their field and the Australian community can trust that the supply chain is doing the right thing."

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Ms Kerwin said it was important to remember quoting facts and figures would not generally "sway people".

She reminded people to show they care and there are valid reasons some practices are undertaken.

"Showing you are a real person too with experience and/or qualifications can go a long way to helping build trust in rural industries," Ms Kerwin said.

"If it helps refer them to The Livestock Collective."

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