Marketing your livestock project on social media – Part 2: Visual storytelling

Visual storytelling tips to assist you in developing a virtual marketing strategy on social media for marketing your livestock project.

“Today, I spent some time frolicking with a few friends.”

Visual storytelling is the key to successfully marketing your livestock project on social media. It can be done with pictures or videos. Creating a social media account for your project and then telling the story is a great way to capture new audiences. Remember to keep it short and make it compelling. The average attention span for most social media users is about 8 seconds, so you need to develop a strategy that can grab their attention right away. To learn more about the psychology of posting on social media, view Part 1 of this series, “Marketing your livestock project on social media – Part 1: The psychology of using pictures.”

Some ideas to think about when looking to capture an audience for your market livestock project include the following.

Pose your animal in a different place or with different props. Dress it up and get creative. See what kind of story you can tell. Think about adventures or scenarios you could create for your animal. Some ideas might be:

  • Unique places it might be this week
  • Different situations it may find itself in
  • Hat of the week
  • Career of the week
  • An accounting of places that your animals may have visited

Capture your animal’s personality or create a personality. Highlight some of the things your animal does, such as:

  • Enjoying long walks in the field
  • Enjoying high protein feed and the occasional donut
  • Getting belly rubs

Give your animal qualities or abilities that humans have. These could include:

  • Hanging out with their friends (other animals in the barn, your pet or even you)
  • Sleeping
  • Smelling the flowers
  • Texting or watching popular TV shows or “mooovies”
  • Sunbathing
  • Engaging in hobbies or sports activities
  • Eating special things

The great thing about social media is you can continually market to broad populations. A social media strategy should tell a compelling story and have all the components that a buyer’s letter would include, only in small segments over time.

  • Be sure to tell the story of your project—how you chose it, what care or feeding choices you have made.
  • Be sure you include information about you—how many years in 4-H, what club you belong to, what skills you have gained as a result of being involved in 4-H, what you plan to do with the profits from the sale of your animal.
  • If you are an experienced member, you can talk about previous projects and how you have improved over time.

When employing a social marketing strategy, be sure you consistently publish captivating content on your social media channel about your market livestock project.

Quality, creativity and consistency are the keys to any successful social media marketing strategy. Start out with something that will grab your audience’s attention. As sale day gets closer, include posts with information about how your potential buyers can be involved in the auction. When sale day comes along, think about creating and posting an informational poster containing some of the pictures and poses of your animal that you have highlighted to spark your audience’s memory.

Please remember, if you are under the age of 13, you should work with an older club member or parent/guardian due to the fact that the minimum age to open an account on most social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok or Snapchat is 13. YouTube requires account holders to be 18, however a 13-year-old can sign up with a parent's permission. Make sure to check the platform’s age restrictions and get parent/guardian permission before registering for a new account. For more information about staying safe on social media, view the series of Michigan State University Extension articles on “Considerations for youth and social networking” by Christine Heverley.

Not sure how to motivate your audience to follow, share and engage with your livestock project on social media? MSU Extension’s Youth Business Guide to Success Marketing Resource page has multiple resources to assist you including a video featuring Michigan 4-H livestock participants sharing ideas to assist you in marketing your livestock project through social media outlets.

Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development help to prepare young people for successful futures. As a result of career exploration and workforce preparation activities, thousands of Michigan youth are better equipped to make important decisions about their professional future, ready to contribute to the workforce and able to take fiscal responsibility in their personal lives. For more information or resources on career exploration, workforce preparation, financial education, or entrepreneurship, contact

Did you find this article useful?