Don Schindler

Digital Strategy & Executive Social Media Trainer

Can your online presence feed future generations?

What? Are you crazy? You can’t feed people with digital bits. You need real food like what the farmers I work with produce.

Yes, you are right in the literal sense. But what I’m talking about is how you will feed the right information to the generation you are raising but then generations beyond them.

schindler-family-50s

Les, Iva Lee, Jim, Dale and Mary Ann. My dad, Leslie, had the gun in his mouth.

You see, we are really the first generation to have a substantial digital life – posts, pictures, videos and soon to be 3D, 360 and virtual reality. Facebook just told me that today was the day I first joined Facebook 9 years ago. That’s a lot of me online.

But I also have a blog and a Twitter feed and Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and everything else you could think of. I’m on almost every platform.

There are digital bits of me everywhere and they’ll soon be brought together in a cohesive story that will be read by generations of my kin – people I’ll never know in real life. Am I ok with this?

Yes, because it’s part of me. And I’m excited that they will know a lot more of me than I know of my relatives.

I only wish that I had this type of correspondence with the past. I would love to see how my grandfather handled life as a young man working the farm.

Grandpa Les Schindler 1938-1939

Grandpa “Les” Schindler on the farm around 1938-39

Or my other grandfather who had a ton of kids and the family farm.

What were they thinking back then? How did they deal with the pressures? What did they share and laugh about?

I would go back every day to see. But alas there’s nothing online about them. I only have memories and very few pictures and video.

grandma-grandpa-don

Grandpa and Grandma Schindler with me in late 80s (I was in the Navy)

So yes, you could see social media as yet something else you have to do – like putting out good dairy farming messages and sharing your modern farm practices so your current urban customers can see all the good work you do.

But you could also see it as a way to communicate with your future kin – to share your life as you see it with all the ups and downs and know that people you will never ever meet in this world will honor it by reading it, learning from it and knowing where they came from.

If you think about it, all of your urban customers have kin that were most likely farmers – and if they could go back and see how farming was then, they might think differently about how you farm now – knowing the ups and downs that their great great grandparents experienced life.

So what’s it going to be to you? Is social media going to be a burden to communicate or a legacy you leave for your future generations?

How to stop the trolls – dealing with negative comments on the internet index

stop trolling

Trolls are definitely part of the dark side of sharing online

Recently I’ve noticed that extremists have kicked up their online bashing and trolling of some farmer pages. I really hate that – it’s a crappy tactic. But it does really show how the extremists are not interested in people having a  choice, they are interested in  people subscribing to only their choice. It makes them look like a crazy cult and that’s fine with me.

But because this is happening, I decided to re-release some of my past posts that deal with how to handle negative comments. Consider this kind of a quick index of negative links.

I will say though that you don’t have to read all of these to understand what I’m getting at. When handling negative comments or an online bashing by trolls, it’s pretty simple.

  1. If they aren’t attacking you in an obvious way, make sure to check their profile so you know they are a person and they seem normal. Usually extremists can’t hide the fact that they dislike your way of life and animal agriculture.
  2. If they are attacking – don’t answer them. Just delete the comment and block the person. Don’t feel bad about this. This is exactly the way they handle us when we question their logic or facts (at least what they consider facts).
  3. Answer only people who are asking questions in a normal way – respectful of opinions, curious, find the common ground, share your story kind of stuff, etc…

Here’s a bunch of pass posts dealing with negative comments.

You just received a negative comment online, now what do you do? – This post goes through the steps and also provides a quick social media response flowchart.

How To Handle Negative Comments On Your Facebook Profile – How to hide and unfriend people.

How To Handle Negative Comments On Your Facebook Page – How to  respond, block, delete, hide and just deal with the  trolls on your page.

How To Handle Negative Comments On Your Twitter Profile – How to respond and block if need be.

How Should You React to Cyberbullying – When Negative Comments Turn Ugly – How to dig in and find an attacker if things get real ugly. Also I never  recommend handling it yourself – there are law enforcement that handles these types of things. Let them deal with it.

If you  need help, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’ll do what I can.

 

Facebook Live: How do you livestream on Facebook?

Facebook has just released a new feature for the most people on Facebook. It’s called Facebook Live or Livestream. Basically, it allows you to live stream a video in the moment from wherever you are.

Facebook Live: How to live stream your videos

Facebook Live: How to live stream your videos

Is this something that dairy farmers or people in ag should be doing? I believe so.

Facebook video and live videos are going to get more playing time (in other words, Facebook will let more people see your streaming video than a status update). Plus it’s a great way to interact with the audience. You can see their comments on your video as you are filming (but remember that your audience cannot see the comments of other people right now on the video – I believe they do show up in the comment section.

So how do you livestream on Facebook?

1. It’s only on mobile so you must use Facebook’s mobile application.

facebook-live-status-update

Touch status update like you would normally.

Continue reading

Are you an Obi-Wan for good farming? What Star Wars can show us about how to connect with dairy customers.

Are you the Obi-Wan for farming

How Obi-Wan talks to Luke is important

One of the things that I love doing is working directly with the farmers. They are great people: humble, hard-working, independent, and proud of the care they give the land and their animals.

Almost all farms are family-run businesses (97%) and I believe they are this way because you need to have the passion of a family to get through the ups and downs they experience. It’s definitely not the easiest life but they didn’t choose it because it’s easy – they choose it because it’s work they can feel great about.

One of the ways I work with the farmers is to get them connected directly with their customers via digital channels like social media. I believe that when people have a direct connection one-on-one; they can get to know each other, understand each other and start to trust one another – even if it’s just through social media.

In fact, I have many farmer friends and social media marketing friends online that I’ve never met in person but I definitely trust them. If you want to know a few of them, just check out my lists on Twitter .

When a farmer wants to join social media and connect with their customers, I like to take them through a process of not only setting up the right tools to connect like Facebook pages or Instagram accounts but also make them aware of some marketing techniques like branding themselves and the farm as well as how to talk through these channels.

Today I’m going to chat about branding – something that I believe needs to be done before you launch any platforms. I would like the farmer to be able to write down who they are and why they do what they do. Because when you have an understanding of who and why, the how you talk to others becomes a lot easier and you’ll build trust a lot faster.

So what is a brand?

Continue reading

How should you advocate for dairy farming in 2016? Check out how other dairy farmers did it in 2015.

In the most recent MyDairy newsletter, we asked dairy farmers to share how they advocated for dairy farming. The feedback back and comments were great and I’ve decided to share a few below.

 

danielle-mzyk-feeding-calf

Danielle Mzyk feeding calf at local Chik-Fil-A Family Night

Students Bring Dairy Farm Life to Chik-Fil-A

Danielle A. Mzyk, DVM/PhD Candidate at NC State, and several dairy  medicine focused students, a dairy science undergraduate  and a CVM veterinarian hosted a “Dairy  Day  at Chik-Fil-A” outreach event.

As a member of the 9th class of the Young Dairy Leaders Institute, I was charged with hosting an outreach event in our community. With the support of several CVM alumni, faculty, house officers and students, as well as the leaders of the Howling Cow  Dairy  Enterprise and Lake Wheeler  Dairy  Research and Teaching Farm, I brought two jersey calves to meet with the public and answer any and all questions they had about the dairy industry.

Over 100 people stopped by our booth to come take a look at the calves and talk with the future leaders of the dairy industry. We also had carnival games set up and prizes for the kids to win, as well as information, gifts and milk fact pamphlets donated from the Southeast  Dairy Association.

We have been asked by the management at several Chik-fil-a to continue this project and make it a regular occurrence! Continue reading

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