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In a world where 'smart' devices outnumber toothbrushes, the dairy community must reach customers with engaging stories, photos and videos that can be shared across social media, Jonathan Perelman, head of digital strategies for ICM Partners, told attendees of Dairy Strong 2016: Partners in Progress on Jan. 14.

The former executive at Google and Buzzfeed showed videos that went viral on social media to demonstrate the potential to hundreds of dairy farmers and agribusiness representatives at the Dairy Business Association's annual conference at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center.

'You need to get the audience talking and you need to give them something to share,' he said. 'We live in a sharing economy and content is currency. The most common gesture people make is refreshing their social media feed.'

Why we share:People share photos, stories and comments on platforms like Facebook and Instagram because they want to connect to their communities and to build personal brands. 'Before I leave Madison, I'll take a photo to say, 'Look what I'm doing and how great my life is. … 'We want to look good to others.'

Content is king:'Content is the most powerful force in culture,' Perelman said. He shared the story of DollarShaveClub.com, a company that created a humorous video and then spent $100 to market it. In less than a day, the owners had to take down the website because product demand was too high.

Making connections: Perelman said that telling a good story means being true to the teller, audience, moment and mission. 'The key to all successful stories is simplicity, surprise and specificity. The three pillars to making the best content are emotion, identity and information. If you do that, people will connect.'

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