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Don Schindler

Executive Reputation Coach & Digital Marketer

Tag: Personal Branding (page 1 of 2)

Blowing Up: How to Expand Your Online Influence (Farmer Version)

I teach an advanced digital marketing and online influence class called “Blowing Up: How to Expand Your Online Influence”.

The deck below is part of this class. I’ll come back and fill in the text around the deck at a later time. I’m just trying to get it up for the farmers that attended.

 

How do you become a farmer rock star?

how-to-be-a-rockstar

If farmers are going to be rock stars, then they need to act like it.

Recently there was an article written about the California Ag Secretary Karen Barrett Ross where she said, “My dream is to make farmers the rock stars.”

She’s basing this how in recent years we’ve seen wine makers (who are usually farmers as well) and chefs become media darlings.

She goes on to say that “farmers are fabulous characters. Our young people, especially, are looking for authenticity….We have to stop just telling our story to each other.”

According to the article by Lori Potter, she said a media series has been started that pairs California farmers and chefs. I’m so happy about this. We need more of this.

But you don’t need a media series out of CA to become a rock star.

You just need to commit some of your precious time and energy to talk directly to your customers.

So how does one become a rock star?

I’m going to juxtapose a musician and a farmer. And I’m also going to assume you know how to play/farm. Because if you don’t then you need a ton of practice before you become a rock star.

1. Play lots of gigs.
You get up in front of people and show them what you can do. Since you normally don’t have an audience out on the farm (unless you consider the cows and barn cats fans), this means you pull out your smart phone and start taking videos and pictures of what is happening on the farm.

After you take a few pics and videos, you upload them to your social networks and make sure you describe what you are doing. You may think people don’t care or probably think it’s a boring as you think it is, but you are wrong. They want to see this stuff and they love how you describe it. They don’t see this everyday.

A couple of farmers that I think play a lot of gigs is Laura Daniels at Heartwood Farms and Karen Bohnert from kjerseykids.

 

2. You take control of your image.
You are brand. Just like Motley Crue or Jay Z. Whether you think you have one or not, you do. And you can control it, just like you control what you wear and what you say. I have a how class on personal branding and I suggest you read through it.

You want to be a farmer in overalls with the red barn, great. You want to be farmer showing off your brand new technology and how advanced your processes are, awesome. But start thinking of how you want others to perceive you and then start acting that way. But don’t be fake. People can see right through the BS.

A couple of farmers that I think understand how to control their image is Krista Stauffer at The Farmer’s Wifee and Brenda Hastings at The Dairy Mom.

 

3. Expose yourself.
In a good way. What I mean is you need to be open to people seeing inside your farm life. Think about Maroon 5 or Miranda Lambert – they are on the road all the time and yet they still have time to do interviews, put fan content into all the social networks and still have to deal with tabloids stalking them every minute of the day. You would think with all their money and lifestyle they could let others just do it for them. But people don’t want that, they want you.

You don’t have to document everything that is bad or everything that ticks you off. Remember your brand – don’t brand yourself as a Debbie Downer. You need to be open to people asking questions, giving thoughtful answers. This isn’t a “build it and they will come” sort of thing either.

You need to be putting your pics and videos in places where people will find them (not just on your website) but using things like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and even places like Reddit. How many of you guys have done a “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit. Celebrities and rock stars know they have to do it because they need the exposure.

A couple of farmers that I think understand a lot about exposure and having a wide digital presence are Carrie Mess at DairyCarrie and Carla Shelley atT ruth Or Dairy.

 

4. Make a plan and stick to it.
Rock stars are busy as heck – creating music, touring, album releases, interviews, etc… They couldn’t do all of this willy-nillly. They have a plan and they stick to it. If you are not releasing new stuff then the audience goes away.

You need to do this as well and having a plan can help you accomplish this without it taking all your free time. With the advances in smart phones and technology, I’m betting you could do a lot of this in just 20 minutes a day – occasionally a little more time for something that you really want to do like a podcast or a video series. Adding consistent content will make sure the audience sticks around.

Did you know you can use the same tools the rock stars use. And I’ll even give you the “how to” set ups with each one.

  • Twitter – meet almost anyone in the world especially your customers. Like Clay Aiken. Here’s how to set it up Twitter.
  • Facebook – while I’m not a fan of Facebook pages, you can certainly spread a lot of good messages from dairy good. Here’s how to set it up Facebook Pages.
  • Instagram – meet a lot of new people using hashtags. Cowsofinstagram, farm365 are good stuff. Here’s how to set up Instagram.
  • YouTube – where the world finds video. We need more of our animal care videos out here. Here’s how to set up YouTube for your farm.
  • LinkedIn – you are a business people, right? So why stay out of the social network that helps build business relationships? Get on it. Here’s how to set up LinkedIn for yourself.
  • Google+ – Ha. Just kidding. Nobody is really using this anymore except for SEO purposes.

The other thing I really, really need you to do is join mydairy.dairy.org to get the myDairy email updates. This is great place to get notified when something needs your attention.

Are you ready to be a farmer rock star?

If you need more help, just hit me. I’m always available.

How do you create and build a personal brand?

First, what is a personal brand?

Most people think of celebrities as the only people who have personal brands but the truth is that everyone has them.

It’s just that celebrities usually get paid a ton of money and have the access to endorsement platforms. We (the audience) can’t help but notice their personal brand because a company is advertising it to get their product more exposure.

But here I’m just talking about you and the personal/professional brand that you project to others. If you need a definition of personal brand, I really like this one.

A brand is a person’s perceptions of their experiences with you.

If people think you are a good listener and then you do what you say you are going to do for them, they will form a good opinion of your personal brand. If you do the opposite, then you know what happens.

I also love what Glenn Llopis says about branding in this article on Forbes, “Your personal brand should represent at the value you are able to consistently deliver to those whom you are serving.”

Consistently is the keyword there. Trust of your brand is built up over time but it can be destroyed pretty quickly if you veer off the consistent path of your brand perception.

In this day and age of hyper connectivity and massive information overload, your personal brand can help raise your profile and get people to notice who you are quickly.

if-I-had-nickel

This is how most people feel all the time.

 

In Harvey Coleman’s book, “Empowering Yourself, The Organizational Game Revealed” he talks about the PIE chart – Performance, Image and Exposure.

PIE-chart

How performance, image and exposure have changed from the past to now

Performance means your day-to-day work and results.

Image means what other people think of you and your work.

Exposure means who knows who you are and what you do.

Mr. Coleman maintains that what we are told is that our performance means everything to your career – if you do the work, keep your head down and just work a little on your image, you’ll be fine.

That may have worked in the theory but it’s not how it works now.

While your performance means the world to your brand, you have to put significant thought into your image and work on getting exposure. Here are some questions to ask yourself.

PERFORMANCE: Can you say that you know what you are doing and you can answer questions about it?

If you can’t answer this yourself, you really need to stop and question what it is that you do. This should not be confusing or vague to you because your entire brand will be built on this. It can change over time or position, but it is the essence of your brand.

IMAGE: Do you feel like others trust you with what you say you do? People have very acute sense of BS detectors when you talk about what you do.

You should have an acute sense of how they are reacting to you when you talk about what you do.

EXPOSURE: Do others come to you instinctively when they need something related to your field?

This should not be defined by your title. And don’t blame others if they aren’t coming to you, it’s your fault if they don’t know what you do. I hear that quite a bit that people should know – no, they shouldn’t just know – they should be exposed to what you do.

More importantly, do you feel that management knows what you do, is excited about what you do and would come to you if they needed help?

This can make or break your brand. If your boss and your boss’s boss don’t come to you, there’s a serious issue there.

When it comes to budget cuts, you’ll have a lot more issues defending your budget if they don’t easily understand what you do. This is branding.

 

How to build a brand

1. You need to define who you are professionally.

Every brand is a story. What’s your story? Here’s how you create your story.

What are you known for? What do you want people to think when they think of you?

Write a brand statement for yourself. Here’s a template I use.

To (target audience), (your name) is the (blank) provider/service of (blank) delivered through (blank).

Here’s mine…

To the dairy industry, Don Schindler is a thought leader for creative integrated marketing and communications solutions delivered by digital communications and educational training.

Here it is reduced to 140 characters: @donschindler is a creative marketing professional who teaches you how to use social media and digital communication tools.

2. You need to create your elevator pitch.

An elevator pitch is how you would describe what you do to someone who has an issue that you can solve. You can provide them with a solution – you should always approach knowing you have a solution to their problem.

For me, my idea clients are people who are struggling with their communications especially digital communications.

Here’s my pitch.

I can give your staff the communication skills to tell a story to your audience that will get them to act the way you want. Even if you think all your staff knows how to do is send out a press release.

Guarantee to work. If not, you’ll get your money back.

The guarantee is to form the basis of trust. I know what I’m doing and I trust it to work if you follow my steps and are willing to do the work.

Because with every interaction (whether a question or conversation), I promise to give you the best possible return for your time taken with me. And you can trust me to be honest, to have your best interest in mind, to give you a reason, to focus on you and what you are trying to accomplish, etc… Just remember that trust is very fragile.

If you go off brand or don’t deliver, it will be broken and it’s very, very hard to earn back.

3. You need to craft your stories.

Trust me, you are a storyteller.

Now that you have your elevator pitch and the image definition of yourself, you should start crafting your stories that promote your image.

How do you craft your stories that match your brand image?

  1. Be You – authentic, natural you. This is where trust is the highest.
  2. Talk to people like friends – when you are talking with friends, do you worry about the story you are telling or do you just tell it? Most people have no problems telling stories when the pressure is off – you are relating what has happened that your friends would find funny or interesting. By “being you”, you relate authentic stories – this is what captivates an audience.
  3. Use your experiences – very few storytellers can use another’s story and pass it along as their own. Again, people have a high BS meter. You have experiences that should relate to what your audience wants to know. You might have to sit down and write them down – that’s ok – but don’t be inauthentic. It will burn you in the end.
  4. Practice – use your brand stories and watch out people react. Did they laugh, did they cry, were they indifferent? Over time, you’ll know which stories to use. Remember audiences want to react – they may not trust you in the beginning – but they want you to entertain them on both an individual level and in a group setting. With practice, you’ll get better and understand when to pause and when to speed up the story.

4. Getting exposure to your personal brand

Exposure = sharing.

I’m a big proponent of sharing and I wrote an entire post on it. It’s the secret to personal branding.

I view all social media as a chance to share and get exposure.

I do not view it as a “private” me area. If you want a private me area, then I suggest using other platforms beyond social media.

Now I know I’m the digital guy but I believe in the traditional tools of the trade for personal branding. You need this foundation set before moving on to anything shiny and new like social media.

You will need these things for personal branding:

  • Business Cards – still the industry standard
  • Attending Events – going to events and meeting people face-to-face will help you the most in establishing trust
  • Join Peer Groups – masterminds, business networking, sports, etc… all can help your personal brand
  • Email Signature – you need to make sure people know who you are when you reach out or you get passed along on an email thread
  • Corporate Blog – getting on your company’s blog can give you a ton of exposure to your industry
  • Social Media Websites – passing along relevant information attached to your brand can give you exposure to people you would have never met physically

Whether you gather contacts from an event or online connection, all of them need to be housed in a central location.  This can be your company’s CRM (customer relationship management) tool or if you want to just use LinkedIn or a simple spread sheet in Google Docs (keep in the cloud so you don’t lose it if your computer dies).

Your email tool, like Outlook, is not a CRM and is difficult to transfer data back and forth between other tools.

With digital communications tools you can shape your professional brand to make it look the way you want it to. Here I’m talking about the different social media tools.

BLOG POWER
My home on the web
Can be done for free
Search engines love blogs
Easy to do and gives you personality
Comments/Feedback
Inbound links
No one can change the rules on your death star
Here’s my how to get started using a blog.

LINKEDIN POWER
It’s the easiest to maintain
More connections gives you a bigger network
Your online resume and portfolio
Public recommendations
Groups to help networking
Connected to Twitter and Facebook with a third party application
Here’s how to get started using LinkedIn.

LINKEDIN TIPS
Connections are everything – connect with everyone you meet in business.
Correct people’s profiles and summaries for advanced search.
Groups can be strong but difficult to maintain.
Tag others in updates to get their attention.
Understand there is more reading/stalking then interaction.
Use LinkedIn Pulse and share relevant content to your networks.

FACEBOOK POWER
Large network – 1.25 billion people
Professional and personal life blend the most
Share, Comment, Like, Friend
Positive messages are shared more
The use of lists is a must to control the algorithm
Your digital diary
Here’s how to get started using Facebook.

FACEBOOK TIPS
Try and use graphics or videos with links to drive back to website.
Funny stuff drives a lot of engagement along with questions.
Worry more about engagement and not numbers (straight from Facebook).
Pay for play on Facebook.
Use employee advocates to engage in company posts. (Make sure you have social media compliance)

TWITTER POWER
Fastest way to meet people you don’t know
News and rumors travel fast
Lots of noise and marketing garbage
Use lists to control\
Follow advocates and monitor detractors
Able to track conversations and trends
Here’s how to get started using Twitter.

TWITTER TIPS
Use common hashtags (creating your own is hard)
Use tools like ManageFlitter, Tweepi, or TweetAdder to add people
Use favorites to get people to follow
Do NOT auto-reply
Tweets with links in the middle
Use third party apps to control like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Tweetcaster.
Use search to answer questions

PINTEREST TIPS
Visual search (much better than traditional)
Recipes, clothes, decorations, crafts, infographics, and more…
Heavy use by women
70 million users and growing
Can drive extreme traffic to websites
Still a new network
Here’s how to get started using Pinterest.

Other Networks
Instagram – Here’s how to get started using Instagram
YouTube – Here’s how to get started using YouTube

Don’t have How To’s on these networks yet but I recommend checking them out.
Snapchat
Yelp
Flickr
Vine
Jelly

Secrets of Personal Branding Success Online

  1. Help others first. Highlight them, encourage them and in return they will be there for you.
  2. Don’t rant or be a Debbie Downer. Negative posts garner initial attention but it fades quickly.
  3. Don’t try and do all networks at once. Pick one and dig deeper.
  4. Schedule some time for it. 20 minutes a day if you can.

5. Monitor and Measure Your Brand

 

There are a couple of free tools that can help you monitor your brand.

Talkwalker Alerts – This will monitor you on the web.
Mention.com – This will monitor you via social media.

To measure your brand simply ask people who they think you are and what you do.  If they don’t know or get it wrong, then you need to adjust your message or possibly your exposure.

Make sure you are googling yourself – what does it say you are?

Make sure you sign out if you are logged into Google and delete your history so it doesn’t effect your search. It’s even better to check from an outside source or computer.

So a long blog post but I think it’s got some really good stuff in there. What would you add?

What’s the secret to creating your personal brand strategy?

Love To Share T-Shirt

Love To Share T-Shirt from Flickr’s Creative Commons

Share. It’s pretty simple, right?

When I teach Personal Brand Strategy, I get a lot of confusing looks when I talk about sharing and exposure.

I know what the class is thinking – this isn’t what we were taught in school.

In fact, I was taught that the work you do is enough. You don’t need to talk about it.

Because if you do what you do amazingly well, people will talk about what you do. You will be noticed.

Like Steve Martin said, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

But remember Steve was extraordinarily good and his job was to be on-stage in front of millions.

I’m guessing that with your job, you don’t have a stage to stand on. That makes it a little harder to be noticed.

“But, Don,” I can hear you say, “Everyone knows that the guy who is constantly talking about how awesome he is the last person that deserves the credit.”

And I completely agree with that. He’s bragging. And that’s worthless.

Why?

Because he’s not helping anyone.

And I would argue that he isn’t even coming close to helping himself as much as he thinks he is.

But this doesn’t have to be case when you talk about what you do.

Think of it from the perspective of sharing.

Share your work, share your knowledge, share your failures and what you’ve learned from them so others can learn from your mistakes.

I just listened to a podcast from James Altucher (you should definitely be listening to him) and his guest, Austin Kleon: How To Be A Creative Genius.

In the podcast, they talk a lot about sharing your work – daily if you can – will get you noticed.

When I talk about how to use professional branding to be noticed, I used to talk about exposure. Exposure is what I want you to have but sharing is what you do to get exposure.

Share. That’s it.

Help others out. Help them get to where they are going. Help them to understand not just what you do but how you can help them.

This is why I use social media, why I blog, and why I don’t care if you think I’m bragging (I don’t see it that way).

I want you to know that I’m there for you and that I care.

Right?

There’s a great saying from John Maxwell – “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

And they know you care when you are willing to share what you know. When you do this, your professional branding will take off.

It’s the secret to your personal branding success – I guarantee it and I’m sharing it right now. 🙂

What’s your secret to a successful personal brand?

What happens when someone “googles” you or your professor?

Googling Don Schindler Personal branding, I know, is a bad word in academia. I learned that over the past year. So I’ve changed the term and changed how I talk about it. My friend, JP, over at the Science of Generosity gave me a great term to us and I can’t believe how much it has helped. It’s called “Public Intellectual”.

And it works perfectly. Because all of our faculty are “intellectuals” – in fact, they all have brilliant minds and I love talking with them. That was a big draw to leaving retail and going back to my college roots here at Notre Dame. The conversations are inspiring.

But one thing they have to remember in this day and age of the internet is that the “public” part of the term is just as important. Professors are celebrities. And they are in the public whether they want to be or not. I believe most don’t even know how public they are.

I recently had a meeting with one of our more controversial professors. I won’t mention his name but he has the research to back up what he claims and I believe it’s the best thing for humanity.

But the problem he had is that he doesn’t “google” himself very much.

And a lot of interesting things came up that he didn’t know about. Which is unfortunate. Some of it was good – like a Facebook Page all about him that had over 1000 fans. Continue reading

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