The new consumer-facing website ‘Making meat better’ is starting to make an impact on conversations about the production and consumption of beef and lamb.
We launched the site on 30 March and already we’ve had great feedback from companies about the how the site can help their marketing efforts overseas, we’ve attracted some influential followers to our social media channels and awareness is building.
Ultimately the site is about changing conversations – moving away from reliance on the global research on the health, nutritional and environmental aspects of red meat, which is based on grain-finished, intensive farming systems, and that isn’t relevant to New Zealand. It will take a long time to raise awareness of this, for people to understand the differences and for their attitudes to change as a result.
We therefore weren’t expecting things to change overnight – we’re in it for the long haul – but there have been some encouraging signs.
‘Making meat better’ will support the marketing of New Zealand beef and lamb globally, underpinning the promises made by the Taste Pure Nature brand – the information on the site is currently being incorporated into our messaging in the US. Some of the processing companies are also looking at how they can include the statistics on the site in their marketing in other countries.
Measuring the site’s usage, and the engagement we’re getting on social media and from our online advertising, is a major focus and will help us refine what we do over time. So far the numbers are building slowly but surely, as we expected.
To date (one month from launch), the website has been visited over 9,000 times by 6,000 different users. Considering this has been from a standing start, we can take a lot of confidence that the information on the website is being sought out by the public.
Facebook has been the most successful way of driving people to the new site and for disseminating information, and is one of our biggest focuses for promotion.
So far, the information on Facebook has been seen nearly a million times, by over 140,000 individual users. We’ve also generated just shy of 20,000 likes, shares, comments and other interactions on our posts. This has exceeded our initial targets and we’re excited to continue to develop content that is engaging and appealing to users.
If you’ve been on the ‘Making meat better’ Facebook page you might have seen some negative pushback. We expected this and it was intended to spark engagement. What’s encouraging is the way our supporters have responded to comments, providing balance and genuine stories about farming to back up the statistics on the ‘Making meat better’ website. If you’re one of those supporters, thank you – it really makes a difference.
We’ll keep asking farmers and others in the industry to join the conversation and get involved through social media. If you’re a bit unsure about the way some of the social media posts have been framed, that’s ok – you can pick the ones that work for you.
We know farmers have urban friends and family and the more we can do to spread the word about our more natural farming systems, the better.
Similarly, if you’re not sure about other aspects of ‘Making meat better’, that’s ok too. There have been some questions about the ‘Making meat better’ name.
The website and social media accounts are primarily aimed at consumers so we needed a name that shows we’re proud of the fact we’re already world-leading in the way we farm, but it’s also really important to show consumers we recognise there’s still work to be done. Consumers and decision-makers are immediately turned off if they think farmers are claiming it’s ‘job done’.
We’ve also been heartened by some of the followers our social media channels have attracted. There are respected thought leaders following us and sharing our content, and our aim is to increase this support over time.
‘Making meat better’ is a joint initiative between B+LNZ Ltd, B+LNZ Inc and the Meat Industry Association.