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Don Schindler

Executive Reputation Coach & Digital Marketer

Tag: Linkedin (page 1 of 2)

Are You Ready To Join The Social Media Revolution at the 2014 Joint Annual Meeting?


Don Schindler and Jamie Vander Molen are DMI Communication Trainers

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest are places where your customers are taking about their experiences with dairy. DMI is excited to bring you customized social media training just for the dairy industry.

On Oct. 29, Jamie and I will be teaching social media and digital communications from 2:15 – 5 pm at Partners in Progress, The 2014 Joint Annual Meeting of National Dairy Board, National Milk Producers Federation and United Dairy Industry Association.

Classes are free and first come, first serve (classrooms hold about 25 people). Laptops are encouraged but you can also bring your tablet or smart phone. You can sign up by visiting the Registration Desk or just come to the classroom.

Starting With Twitter – 2:15-3 pm (Jamie)
If you’ve ever wondered what this twitter thing is all about and want to use it, this workshop is for you. You will learn how to set up a profile, how to follow other people, what it means when you are followed, how to put people into lists andwhat the terms/language of Twitter means (i.e., hashtags, @, and DM).

Interested in Pinterest? – 3:15-4 pm (Jamie)
Have you looked through Pinterest but aren’t for sure how to get involved. This workshop is for those who want to set up and create a Pinterest profile to help them engage dairy advocates and promote dairy products. We will go over how Pinterest works, how to pin images and videos, how to set up boards and how to share across your other social media networks.

Picture Yourself Using Instagram – 4:15-5 pm (Jamie)
Have you ever wondered what your kids were doing on Instagram besides staying off of Facebook? Instagram is the social network that is built on the photos you take. This workshop is for those who want to set up a profile, learn how to take good photos and share them, and get the basics on hashtagging.

Cultivating Your Farm Online – 2:15-3 pm (Don)
Have you ever “googled” your farm name? Is it what you want people to see? Did you know you can change what comes up? You’ll get the answers from this workshop on how to control how your farm looks online as well as your personal information.

Advanced Twitter Conversations – 3:15-4 pm (Don)
This advanced workshop is for those who have already using twitter to advocate and protect dairy and their farms and you want to go to the next level. You will learn how to use other third party applications (Hootsuite, FollowerWonk, Twtrland, Bufferapp, etc…) to grow your twitter following, to schedule your tweets, to use trends to get found and retweeted.

Building A Facebook Farm Page – 4:15-5 pm (Don)
This workshop is for those who want to start and manage a Facebook Page for their farm. We’ll go over Facebook Page tips and tricks to gain more “likes”, engagement and how to handle negative feedback. We’ll also touch on analytics and proper set-up.

After attending our sessions, we guarantee you’ll feel more comfortable advocating for your products and farm online. Sign up at Registration Desk or just come to the classroom.

Why should you be using LinkedIn as an executive?

Most people would probably question me about why I’m so passionate about technologies that many people would consider old-fashioned in the digital age. Like LinkedIn and blogging.

But let me explain why I believe that Linkedin still has a lot going for it. Even more than many other networks (looking at you Facebook and Twitter).

Relationships are everything in business and digital relationships count now.

Back in the day, you had to look someone in the eye and shake their hand to make a deal. That was before the lawyers decided that it was better to have a signed contract in case someone didn’t hold up their end of the deal.

Now I would say that I’m more trusting of a person who I can observe digitally – if I can see what they’ve done and who they’ve done it with.

The business world has shifted slowly into the digital realm (definitely not as quickly as consumers) and I now trust the relationships I have on LinkedIn even when I haven’t met the person face to face – why? Because over time, I’ve made a lot of handshake deals and heard about a lot of deals done through Linkedin. It’s a relationship I can count on even if it is digital.

Your rolodex needs to be in the cloud.

When I was first in business, I couldn’t wait to get my new business card. I passed them out like candy. Here I am – make sure I get in your rolodex – I’m a legitimate part of the business world.

Now I can never find my own business cards. I feel bad to when someone asks for my card. Why? Why do you need it? Isn’t this just an obligation now? You are just going to forget it in your bag when you get back to the office. Just Google me and you’ll find my information (on LinkedIn). But as a marketer I understand that the business card is a takeaway and a reminder to connect with me via LinkedIn.

Nowadays I try and link up on Linkedin with everyone I’m going to meet ahead of time if I can. Why? Well, I can see their face and be forever connected to them; therefore, it doesn’t matter if I don’t get their card.


Dairy Foods Magazine has a Linkedin Group

Food production conversations are happening, where is the dairy industry?

When it comes to finding the dairy industry on Linkedin, it’s pretty easy. Just do a search on the company you are looking for and you’ll discover new connections through your network.

Why so few? I’m not really sure here. Maybe the industry is just slower to adopt new technologies (hmmmm…that’s not really true when you look at how dairy is processed today – they love technology for making the product safer and easier to process).

The dairy industry is full of wonderful leaders with category breaking ideas. By joining Linkedin and connecting with the Dairy and Food Groups that are out there, you can meet up with others in the industry, to share ideas and learn new things about the future of the dairy industry.

But you have to be there first. Signing up is free – dedicating a small portion of your time (like 20 minutes a week) to LinkedIn could get you a partnership or product. You just never know. But what will happen if you don’t join? Nothing. Simply nothing.


What happens when someone Googles you?

When someone Googles you, where is your professional bio?

So who have you Googled recently? A speaker for a conference? An ex? A celebrity who just did something racy?

What happens when someone Googles you? You need to logout of Chrome or Firefox first. Or even pick a different browser before Googling yourself.

What comes up? Anything? What does that say about you?

LinkedIn is a powerful website and if you put content into it about you there’s a good chance that it will show up on the first page.

And if that person Googling you is looking for your business acumen, then you can guarantee they are going to research your profile. Here’s a chance to put your best foot forward and also have some control over what Google says about you.


Recommendations can make or break your reputation.

Others vouch for your reputation.

Getting recommendations isn’t the easiest thing to ask for but LinkedIn makes it about as easy as it can get. By just clicking a few links, you can send a recommendation email (they even halfway write it for you).

Then once you have your recommendation, anyone visiting your profile can see. Your recommendations are always there and they are tied to the other person so they can be asked about the recommendation they gave.

If you want recommendations, the best thing to do is give a few out. There are people you’ve worked with that have done some extraordinary things for your career. Let them know and you are likely to receive in return.

You can meet others outside your industry.

When you go to industry conferences, it’s doubtful you are meeting with a lot of people outside your industry (you know, besides vendors who have very different intentions meeting you).

LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to meet people over topics (I really like the Marketing Over Coffee LinkedIn Group and my Notre Dame Alumni Group). And since it is on Linkedin, the conversations are geared more to business than groups on Facebook or Google+.

Smart job searches start with connections not search engines.

Jobs of the future don’t have much to do with résumés. A résumé is still a requirement but many HR departments will head straight to your LinkedIn profile to get a more thorough look at your career as well as check to see who you are connected with.

Don’t you see how this will be the same for our kids – in fact, your connections might be the ones that get them a job.


Personalized business news from Linkedin Pulse

This is where business news is shared.

Tired of digging through various newspapers to find good business articles? Use LinkedIn Pulse and you’ll see business news that is focused on your tastes – not on the general business public. Mine centers on technology and communications business – imagine that.


Every thought leader is judged against TED.

How can you call yourself a thought leader and not be digital?

This seems like a no-brainer but if you want to be a mover-and-shaker in the dairy industry and you aren’t using your social tools to communicate, I believe you are making it more difficult for yourself to be trusted as an industry leader.

LinkedIn is the first step and probably the easiest one to take.

Mentoring happens both in person and on the web.

You can teach the next generation of leaders how to be leaders – via the web.

Many leaders I know say they don’t have time to use things like LinkedIn yet they usually want to mentor the younger generations on how to be better leaders.

If you use LinkedIn and connect with these younger leaders you can mentor many of them at once. Your updates can be tidbits of how you do leadership, sharing articles, and engaging with them.  You can mentor them on how to interact with people both online and offline via the tool.

We need your professionalism and opinion on these networks so younger leaders have someone to follow beyond their peers.

So how do you get started using LinkedIn, here’s a how to set up a Linkedin profile.

Do you need help with your personal branding, I can do that. Just hit me and we’ll go through the process of setting up your brand.

Five Simple Steps on How to Set Up a Linkedin Profile


Connect with me on Linkedin

Originally,I put together six reasons why I believe you should in using Linkedin.

  • This is a business social network
  • Farmers are missing from Linkedin
  • Your network can benefit your family, friends and the industry
  • Your rolodex will automatically be updated
  • It becomes a strong part of your digital profile
  • Meet new people via groups and interest

You can check it out the post here (why you should be using linkedin) but now it’s time to get started using Linkedin. Things that you will need to prepare before you go over to Linkedin.

  • Résumé – do you still have that document lying around?
  • A good photo or headshot – this doesn’t have to be entirely professional. I use one that draws on one of my hobbies (my motorcycle) and people love it.
  • Any certifications or classes you’ve taken outside of normal education

1. Head over to Linkedin.com


You’ll have to enter your name, email address, and a password. Try using an email address you use with colleagues. With your permission, LinkedIn will access contacts from that account and find them for you on LinkedIn. You don’t have to do this right away if you don’t want to – they will keep asking you.

2. Create a profile by adding your name, title and company


Remember that all of this is visible to search engines. Some people add their certifications like RD to their name, etc… Linkedin will send you a confirmation email link to verify you are who you say you are via the email you gave them.

3. Click through the email confirmation link


Once you click through, Linkedin will use your email contacts to find colleagues from your past and present job positions. Simply check the boxes next to their name and they will be invited to connect to your profile.



It will also encourage you to invite others to linkedin as well to help build your network. You can skip this step if you want.


4. Select the basic account


You probably won’t need the upgrade – this is more for people are starting companies or trying to sell through their network.

5. Adding your résumé


Linkedin is going to use simple fill-ins to get your profile in place. This is where your résumé will help you out with dates and companies.

They will start with your experience.

Followed by Education, your Photo, Skills & Expertise and Details.

This will take some time but remember a lot of this stuff you only have to do once and then it’s on the web forever.

The more information you can add the better it will look and more chances that someone will find you and network with you.

Be clear and concise but don’t be boring or use vague terms – industry terms can be fine but will limit your chances to be found. In future blog posts, I’ll show you how to use search and groups to network more effectively as well as adding a company page for your farm.

Did I miss anything on your profile? Is there anything you would like to see me add?

Here’s what mine looks like below. You can connect to me at http://linkedin.com/in/donschindler


Six Reasons on Why You Should be Using Linkedin for Yourself and Your Farm


Linkedin Chocolates courtesy of Nan Palmero

With over 259 million members and growing at rate of two new members per second, Linkedin is the premier business social network and there are many reasons that I believe it is in your best interest to set up a profile and get a company page for your farm and/or business.  If you want to link up with me, here’s my Linkedin Profile.


1. This social network is all about business

Most complaints I get about social networking is that most of the content seems silly like on Facebook (I don’t care what my high school classmate is doing right now) or on Twitter (I don’t care what you had for lunch or that Justin Beiber said).

Linkedin is mostly straight business talk – current headlines are issues effecting the economy or an article about how to retain employees.


2. Where are all the farmers?

There is a serious lack of farmers on Linkedin. Many thought leaders and business influencers are talking back and forth on the network but not with farmers. If you want to join their conversations, Linkedin is a great place to do it.


3. Your network can benefit your family, friends and the industry

You have your personal network of business associates but I’ll bet that no one besides yourself really knows who those people are. If you connect with them on Linkedin, you might open the door to someone you know to connect. For example: Linkedin is a great place for people to search for jobs. Maybe your son or daughter is looking to work at a business and has no idea that you know people that work there. But if you were connected in Linkedin, they would know for sure and would be able to work through you to get connected to the right people in that business.


4. Your rolodex will automatically be updated

Don’t you hate it when you go to find someone’s number off a business card and that number is no good anymore? If you connect with them on Linkedin, then they update their profile information and you can always be connected with them.


5. It becomes a strong part of your digital profile

When it comes to someone searching for your name or farm, you want the good stuff about you to show up first. When you set up a profile for yourself and your farm/business page, there’s a good chance it will pop up on the first page of your search results. This is a good way to control what people see when they look for you.


6. Meet people you don’t know via groups and interest

Sometimes you get busy doing work and don’t have the time to meet new business acquaintances – Linkedin is a great place to meet legitimate business people with likeminded interests. You can do this through joining groups and being a part of their conversations. You can even tailor your news settings and Linkedin will send you business news set up strictly to your tastes.

For example, you could connect to local chefs, foodies, registered dietitians, food industry researchers, Ag equipment providers, bankers, etc…

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to grow your influence and strengthen your business connections for the benefit of your business and your family. With my next post, I’ve gone through the step by step instructions on how to set up your Linkedin profile and company page.

Are there any reasons that you joined Linkedin that I missed? Let me know and I’ll add them.

How social media savvy are your employees? How to do a social media audit of your team.


Have you ever measured yourself on Klout?

“How experienced is my staff at using social media?”

I get this a lot from senior marketers and communication folks. They want to know how experienced the staff is at using social media tools.

It’s tough for senior staff to gauge this because they don’t use social media as much as the younger staff. So they just have to trust the staff when they say they know how to use it.

But do they really know how to use it?

I built this questionnaire after running into an issue with a communications person (previous job a long time ago) who swore they were experienced at using Facebook. They were adamant that they knew exactly what they were doing and didn’t need any training.

So I set up a Facebook page and gave them access to the admin.

Then the first question came almost immediately:

“I accidentally put up the wrong link in a post. How do I change it?”

“I can’t post anymore because I want to keep this post at the top of our page.” – This was before Facebook had pinned posts.

“How do I friend other people with our page?”

Needless to say, that was when I really checked out the new admin’s profile. She had less than 30 friends, she was very active but didn’t even understand how to write on another person’s wall to wish them a happy birthday. So that was when I decided I’m done “trusting” people when they say they understand how to use social media.  Now I make sure to visit their digital profiles and read their posts.

I created these social media survey questions for employees. I would ask these questions in order to determine how strong an employee is at using social media and if they have any influence in the social media realm.

Now these are just base questions for generic social media. While some people may be very good and deep on one platform, they may not use or understand how another platform works.  If that is the case,  then I would not consider them to be at an advanced level.

I use these questions to also help with social media training – to see what level people are at so I can base the training by their needs. I normally drop the questions into a survey using surveymonkey.com and go through the results – one by one.

Here are some of the questions I use:

1. How comfortable are you using social media for personal use?

Very comfortable
Not comfortable
Very uncomfortable

If they answer with “Not comfortable” or “Very uncomfortable”, I recommend that they don’t take the class. If their position requires it, (they are in communications or marketing) then they may want to think of a new career path because this social media stuff isn’t going away and if anything is becoming the way we all communicate both internal and external.

2. How comfortable would you be using social media for a business?

Very comfortable
Not comfortable
Very uncomfortable

Any answer here is fine. You can teach people who are on the “uncomfortable” side of the equation as long as they are willing to learn (see question one). It just may take them longer. But you also need to be careful of the “very comfortable” people, because they may think they know everything and set in their ways.

3. Which social networks are you on?


If they check:

– All 16 – whoa.
– 10-16 – they get it.
– 5-10 – much better than the average bear.
– 2-5 – they probably have the standard networks.
– Less than two – they are probably uncomfortable about the digital lifestyle.

4. If you have Facebook, how many friends do you have?

100 or less

The average person has about 200 or so friends on Facebook. And recently I’ve noticed many people have been deleting “friends” that were just acquaintances (instead of using friend’s lists). I would say the more savvy people have between 500-1000 friends.

5. If you have Facebook, how often do you visit the site or mobile application?

Multiple times a day
Once a day
A couple of times a week
Once or twice a month

A couple of times a week or less is a pattern of someone who is not really engaged in social media. They can be trained and right now just don’t get the benefit of using social media for business.

6. If you have Facebook, how often do you post, share, comment or like?

Multiple times a day
Once a day
A couple of times a week
Once or twice a month

Again, less than once a day shows lack of engagement and that’s fine. More training will help move it along.

7. If you have Linkedin, how many connections do you have?

100 or less

Most professionals still don’t understand the strength of a highly networked Linkedin profile so less than 400 is pretty normal. More training about the reasons to use it is needed but once they get it, they can usually add people quickly.

8. If you have Linkedin, how often do you update your profile/resume?

Once a month
Once in a while
Once a year
I don’t remember the last time I visited

Updating your profile once a month is someone that really gets the benefits of Linkedin. Most people are not like this. The answer “I don’t remember the last time I visited” means I’m going to have to work harder to convince them of the benefits – and see if it matches to the “uncomfortable” position from the first survey question.

9. If you have Twitter, how often do you visit the site or a mobile application for Twitter?

Multiple times a day
Once a day
A couple of times a week
Once or twice a month

Twitter really requires you to be engaged at a high level to get the most out of it so anything less shows me that they are beginners.

10. If you have Twitter, how often do you tweet?

Multiple times a day
Once a day
A couple of times a week
Once or twice a month

Again, less than once a day shows lack of engagement and that’s fine. More training will help move it along.

11. Are you a blogger?

I have a blog but I haven’t posted to it in a while.

If you answered yes, then please put in your website URL.

If you ask someone if they are a blogger and they say “yes” then I’m pretty certain they blog. Most bloggers are happy to let you know they blog and will give you their URL at the drop of a hat.  That’s a good thing.

12. Have you read the social media policy that your company has in place? Do you understand what it says?

I did but I don’t remember the specifics.

This just lets me know if they even know about their being a social media policy with the company. Part of training should be going over the current social media policy.

If you don’t want to ask any questions, you can just level your employees yourself if you have access to their profiles.

With each person in training, check their digital profile or footprint for the following stats.

Social Media Beginner:
– 300 or less friends on Facebook
– 1000 or less tweets on Twitter
– 200 or less connections on Linkedin

Beginners might be on the network a lot but if you haven’t built a large network then you are probably not using it like an Intermediate and definitely not like a professional.

– Have a blog or at least set one up at one time
– Manages at least one facebook page (not just a profile)
– More than 300 friends on Facebook (more like 800-1200 range)
– 500+ connections on Linkedin
– 1001-5000 tweets / 1000-5000 followers
– Google+ profile
– Is on other networks like Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, etc…

Intermediates are usually pretty social savvy but aren’t fully engaged all the time in social media. They are off and on the networks and don’t need a lot of assistance in setting up profiles or pages. They need more help when it comes to managing their professional brand and how to link the networks together.  I would also use other tools like Klout and Peerindex to see if where they fall on the influence scale.

– Weekly blogger
– Advanced applications to manage multiple social profiles
– Manages a community / comments regularly
– More than 1500 friends and probably have many subscribers
– More than 5000 tweets and 5000 followers
– Manages company pages and profiles on different networks
– Is hyper connected 24/7

So what questions do you ask your staff when it comes to understanding how well they know social media and how they use it?

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