'The Best Defense is a Good Offense' to Address Online Misinformation about the Dairy IndustrySharing positive messages and photos is the most effective way to combat negative commentary about the dairy industry in traditional media and on social media.

“Dairy farmers have a great story to tell, and while reading inaccurate and negative information about the dairy industry is frustrating, the ‘best defense is a good offense,” said American Dairy Association Director of Consumer Confidence Beth Meyer. “If we are sharing positive messaging with interesting photos and clear examples of what’s happening on farms, we can beat the nay-sayers at their own game.”

Meyer cautioned, “Don’t re-share negative information. Remember, posts with more engagement from readers — positive or negative — get seen by more people, so if you share a negative post, you’re actually exposing it to more readers to it than may have seen it originally.”

She recommends sharing a positive response about the good practices you do on your farm, rather than sharing the negative post with your response.

“People have short attention spans and quickly forget information, so don’t make them work too hard to find the good news about the dairy industry,” Meyer said. “Let’s share what we want them to know, while addressing what consumers care about.”

Meyer offered a few tips to sharing positive messages:

  • Use fun, interesting photos — people love cute calves and kids.
  • Explain regular farming practices in terms people can relate to — like foot monitors are like fitness trackers to analyze a cow’s physical activity and behavior.
  • Describe what farmers are doing to preserve water and land resources — consumers really care about these issues.
  • Always remind readers that the end goal is to produce a safe, high-quality product for them to enjoy, while taking the best care of the cows that produce it.

american dairy engaged logoCheck out our new social media resource, American DairyENGAGED, to find quick, accurate and science-based information and visuals about modern dairy farming,” added Meyer. “We do all the work for you — you can send what we’ve already prepared, or you can personalize the information to share with your followers.”

American DairyENGAGED provides ready-to-share timely and relevant content, facts, stories and infographics, along with providing workshops and helpful tips. Monthly virtual live events include trainings, Twitter parties, and how-to’s aimed to motivate farmers to expand their engagement with consumers online.

While geared to dairy farmers, dairy industry professionals are also invited to join the community to help positively tell the dairy story. To join, click on this Facebook link.