Social Media

Country Connection

When one of your main concerns is dodging horse manure on the road, it’s hard to think about your next tweet.

Six times a year, my wife and I visit her family in Shipshewana, Indiana, a small town with one of the largest Amish populations in the country. In turn, the roads are riddled with buggies pulled by horses that leave excrement landmines to dodge.

Admittedly, this is a superficial view of the culture in rural Indiana. My new cousin by marriage drives a truck bigger than my Chicago apartment, and he often laughs at my need — yes, need — to check my Twitter feed while visiting him in Indiana.

Typical country boy, right?

Then why does his “country” wife blow up my Facebook news feed with her status updates? How is it possible that this Black Friday, she and my wife will shop, guided by the deals discovered on social media?

My in-laws are a very niche market. My new cousin is a frequent shopper at farm supply stores, he has two ferocious hunting dogs and he can look under the hood of my car and know what’s wrong with it. (The usual diagnosis: My car is old.)

He isn’t the only with these hobbies, but he also feels there isn’t anyone — ahem, any business — speaking to him.

Granted, a slew of rural-specific companies have jumped into the social media sphere, often touting deals on limited edition caliber ammo, new store openings and random holiday greetings. For example, Rural King Supply, a retail store found in some Midwestern and Southern states, recently uploaded a Facebook album offering all of its Black Friday deals.

But has he learned anything new from these companies that makes him better able to support his family? No, and that’s what he wants. That’s what he’ll make time for during his breaks on the night shift.

There is a void businesses aren’t filling with useful information for this niche (albeit-shrinking-but-diversifying) market — and it’s time to be a pioneer.


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