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Don Schindler

Executive Reputation Coach & Digital Marketer

Tag: social media (page 2 of 13)

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 to set up Periscope for you or your farm / ag business

Why would you want to do this? I give you five reasons you want to use Periscope for your farm or ag business in an article but here are the headlines.

  1. Your customers want to see real dairy farming.
  2. Your customers like farm animals and want to see them.
  3. Your customers have questions about dairy farming and you are the best person to answer them.
  4. Your customers don’t know everything you do.
  5. Your customers are new to Periscope, too.

So you’re convinced, let’s start live streaming using Periscope.

1. Download the app.

Get it for your iPhone or your Android phone.

2. Login with Twitter.


If you don’t have a Twitter profile, you’ll need to set one up. Here’s how to do it.

3. Enable Notifications.

This is entirely up to you but if you want to keep up with the live broadcast of the people you follow, you’ll need to enable this. Continue reading

Five reasons to use Periscope on your farm or Ag business

Periscope First thing – what is Periscope?

Periscope (winner of Apple’s 2015 app of the year) is live streaming video mobile application.

What’s live streaming video?

Live streaming video is if you want to broadcast video directly to the world live.  You know, it’s what the reporters do on sidelines of football game or weather guys in the middle of a storm. Before Periscope, you used to have do this with certain broadcasters like Ustream but now you can do it quickly through the mobile application for free.

Periscope tracks viewers and comments and if an audience member likes what they are seeing, they can send you a heart. You can talk to people in real time (they can’t talk to you but can send you messages which everyone viewing sees) and you can respond live without having to text back like Twitter.

Right now the mobile application has about 1.8 million daily viewers.

Why would you use Periscope on the farm?

1. Your customers want to see real dairy farming.

Think of this as a spontaneous farm tour. Is a calf doing something cute? How’s the milking going today? Are you moving the cows from one barn to another? These are all things that your customers would find interesting and you can show them it in real time and answer any questions they may have. It’s also a lot easier than writing everything down on Facebook.

2. Your customers like farm animals and want to see them.

I know you deal with cows all day long and when they do something funny or cute, it might not be that interesting to you. But it is to your customers. They don’t see cows very often (or ever) and to see how you interact with them or how they interact with each other is pretty cool.

3. Your customers have questions about dairy farming and you are the best person to answer them.

You are an expert at how you farm and people like to hear from experts. Even if you don’t think so, we know people trust a farmer’s opinion a lot when it comes to the health of the cows to the sustainable practices you use on the land. Be honest, be friendly and understand this is a chance to really share your knowledge on your favorite subject.

4. Your customers don’t know everything you do.

Most people familiar with ag know that farmers wear a lot of hats like (vet, mechanic, nutritionist, truck driver, heavy e equipment operator, etc…) you can show them this live. It can be tough job (even Mike Rowe says so) so let them know that you’re not doing this to get rich, you are doing this because you are passionate about your land, your animals and your family.

5. Your customers are new to Periscope, too.

This is a brand new platform (it only launched a few months ago) so you can take advantage of being on here early and probably finding new fans that are influencers in their perspective fields. Plus you could be the only farmer they know – don’t you want to be that farmer.

Next I’ll publish the “How to set up Periscope” but it’s pretty easy.

Get  Periscope on Apple or Google Play.

Have fun out there and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

How to handle tough questions on farming through social media with my secret weapon


Evernote is my digital brain

We all get tough questions about agriculture. It’s not that people are attacking what we do (though some might), it’s just that they may not understand what we are doing and they only want to know more about it or learn our point of view on it.

So whether you are talking to a crowd or one-on-one or, even online, you want to be able to answer an inquiry.

Now I’ve gone through how to handle tough questions before – this isn’t about how to handle them. This is more about prepping ahead of time and using a great tool that can help you handle questions.

And my favorite tool is also something I refer to as my digital brain. It’s the note taking application called Evernote.

I love Evernote. It’s definitely one of my favorite apps and I use it on a daily basis.

It’s available on my phone (iPhone / Android) and it also has a web-based browser and app if you are on a Mac.

Let’s set Evernote up so it can be a go-to place to help you answer questions you might get about farming. So first let’s prepare for tough questions by actually gathering them up and answering them as best you can.

1. Write down the tough questions you’ve received and answer them.

You might not be able to recall any right away and that’s ok. I’ll give you a sample one.

I hear that dairy farmers abuse their animals. Is that true? Why do they do this? Isn’t there laws against that?

As a dairy farmer, I can tell you that I do everything I can not to hurt my animals in any way. And most dairy farmers I know take excellent care of their animals.

Besides being the ethical thing to do, dairy cows must be healthy and well cared-for in order to produce wholesome milk.

We farmers depend on healthy cows for our family’s livelihood. We provide cows with a nutritious diet, good medical care and healthy living conditions.

Our dairy cows receive periodic check-ups, vaccinations, and prompt treatment of illness.

The dairy industry has worked with veterinarians and other animal care and industry experts to establish guidelines for the proper care of dairy cows.

When I hear about abuse, I get so angry. I know that dairy farmers across the country are outraged by these rare instances of abuse on dairy farms.

These actions do not reflect the animal care practices of the thousands of hard working dairy farm families across the U.S. who care for their animals every day.

I know that dairy farms and companies are committed to animal well-being, and have put in place some important initiatives reinforcing this.

National Milk Producers Federation, with support from a coalition of dairy organizations, farmers and dairy food companies, launched the National Dairy FARM Program in 2000.

FARM is a verifiable national animal well-being program that offers U.S. dairy farmers tools for practicing excellent management of their herds. You can visit nationaldairyfarm.com for more information.

Now this is a very long answer and you definitely would want to put it in your own words. These are just talking points to help you out when you want to form your own answers.

Some other questions and answers you might want to have handy are your personal experiences on

  • Animal Care
  • Food Safety
  • Nutrition
  • Sustainability
  • Antibiotics
  • Hormones
  • Emissions and Methane
  • Myths about milk/dairy

If you are looking for more answers to tough questions, feel free to reach out to me at don.schindler (at) dairy.org and I’m happy to get you more answers.

Now one thing that I will point out is that when talking in person or online, you need to be careful of the words you use in your answers.

Using terms that help people to understand without taking offense to your answers is the best way to handle tough situations. The truth about what you do doesn’t have to come across in a harsh matter – in fact, it will cause more issues not less.

You should always take the high road and try your best to listen and respond in a polite manner. You can check out my blog post on “winning an argument online” for some more tips.

If you want to open people up to your point of view or position on a topic, never say “no” but use “yes and”. People love hearing “yes” and the “and” allows you to deliver your point without causing them to get defensive and unwilling to hear anything.

Here’s some language that can help you when answering questions:

In my opinion…
I believe…
It is my belief…
I don’t doubt that and….
From my point of view or POV…
It seems to me that…
I agree with that and I also…

If you are trying to support what you say, use phrases like:

For example…
In fact…
For instance…
To support this…

If you believe you can use Cause and Effect, use terms like:

Due to…
For this reason…
Leads to…
In effect…
Brought about…
Made possible…
As might be expected…

If you have to counter, be gentle and really listen to what you are saying (in other words, say it out loud to yourself before hitting send):

I realize you…
I understand you…
Even though you…
Although you…
Some people…
It may be that you…
Your idea to or on XXXXXX deserves merit and…

But understand that if you add a “but”, this term means “no” to most people when you are countering a claim.

Sometimes it’s difficult to use these terms when things get heated. I understand that. If you need to step away from the other person, then do so. But if you keep the high road, I believe you’ll find these terms work great.

2. Go get the app for your phone or sign up through the website.

It’s pretty easy to do and you don’t need to buy anything here. We’ll be using the free service.

3. Open up the Evernote app.

Once the app is up and running, you’ll need to create an account. Just use your favorite email address and a password you can remember.




4. Set up Tough Questions Notebook.

Now if this is your first time, Evernote is going to want to walk you through the tour of the application capabilities. I suggest that you take the time to go through it because this little app can do a whole lot for you – save recipes, save links, take photos, you can handwrite into it and it can read it, add tags, etc…

It’s all great stuff.

But for this workshop, we want to get to the main menu so we can start adding content. So skip the tour if you want.

Once you pass the tour, you’ll be on the main homepage. You’ll see your settings, sync button, search (probably the best search I’ve seen) on the top row.

The next row of buttons are create buttons.

You can create a text note, photo note, set a reminder, make a list or chat with other people in Evernote.

What we are focused on is creating a Text Note in a Tough Questions Notebook so let’s set that up.

Click on Notebooks.



Then click on + New Notebook.



Then add the name – Tough Questions.



5. Add a Note to the Tough Questions Notebook.

Click on the Tough Questions Notebook.

Click on the + (plus sign) on the top right to add a note to the notebook.


You’ll then add the Title of the Note and the text of the note just by touching the areas where the text is.


And it should start to look like this.


If you want to change text fonts and sizes, there’s a menu when you are typing that pops up from the bottom of the screen (right above the keyboard). You’ll be able to adjust a lot of things on the text.

When you have all the text in, you’ll want to finish up by tagging the text. This will make it easier to search but isn’t necessary. The search is pretty amazing in Evernote.

Touch the “i” circle to bring up the tags.


Then add the words you think you’ll want to search this information by.


That’s basically it. Now if you have your phone with you, you’ll always have answers to those tough questions (in your own words).

One thing that I love to add is “third party” news sources for tough questions on nutrition and antibiotics. I add URLs to these notes by just copying the URL and pasting it at the bottom of the question.

I would also recommend that you don’t just copy and paste the answers to people. Use your judgment on where the conversation is going and then use the information out of Evernote to help craft your response.  Remember people do fact check and double check the information you give them so always make sure it is accurate and kind.

If you have any questions, you can always reach out to me.

Does Your Future Depend On Your Social Media Etiquette? The Do’s and Dont’s of Social

I recently gave a presentation at School Nutrition Association’s National Leadership Conference in San Diego. I had a great time and actually got an “I love you” out of the audience (first time for that).

I wanted to share some of my notes from the presentation because a lot of it was common sense that people need reminders on. Especially when it comes to social media. I wish I could have spoken to this Concord coach before she did this.

So here’s my do’s and dont’s on social media.

I like to start a presentation like this with a video that shows how strong of an influence that digital and social play in our lives.


Platinum Rule

Flickr CC via Nikos Koutoulas

We rarely treat another person better than we do when we are in love with them. This is the platinum rule.  Focus on them and meeting their needs.


Advertising Sucks

A big mistake is that just because you think it’s important to get your message out right away – it’s definitely not the first thing people are wanting you to do. They want you to be part of the conversation and figure out if they trust you before they decide they want to listen to your message. If you’ve earned the right, then you will be heard.




Flickr CC via toffehoff

When you help others, they tend to like that. If you highlight them and encourage them, they like that even more. You shouldn’t be worried about it coming back to you but it usually does. People don’t remember what you say or do but they’ll remember how you make them feel. Make them feel special.



Lewis Black - The King of Rants

Love Lewis Black! He’s the King of Rants

It’s hard not to rant on social. In fact my buddy Jay Baer is writing a book on Hug Your Haters, which I’m sure will be awesome. He calls it a spectator sport.  But I say don’t do it. Two reasons:

  1. You will brand yourself as a ranter and that’s negative.
  2. These social profiles are your best stuff not your worst. What will your great-great-great grandkids think when all they know you from is your social profiles (this digital stuff is gonna last way longer than you do). You don’t want them thinking you’re a jerk, do you?


Flickr CC via andrew_mc_d

Flickr CC via andrew_mc_d

You shouldn’t be a robot either on social. There’s a balance to all of this but people need to see that you are a real person. If you never mix business with pleasure then no one is going to pay any attention to what you are saying. Be real but understand who you are trying to portray with this digital life.



Flickr CC via oatsy40

Flickr CC via oatsy40

What gets done during your day? If you are like me, it’s the stuff that is scheduled in your calendar. If you don’t schedule in social media, it’s not going to get done.

I try and make time for it throughout the day but if you can’t, the first 20 minutes of your day can be prime to get some social done. Especially using cool tools like Buffer. I highly recommend this. It can make it look like you are taking the time throughout the day to be productive in social.



Be the expert

People don’t know if you are an expert or not until you prove to them you are (or not) one. But if you don’t use social media, then they won’t hear you anyway. Your title does not define your leadership – the fact that you care and are willing to put yourself out there and lead people does.

You have an audience to influence. You can try to do this one at a time via email and phone calls or you can use a blog or social profile and reach so many more. It’s up to you but I can tell you that if you aren’t out there, there are people willing to fill in the gaps. Like her below.

fraud babe

This is not HER fault.

You can blame the Food Babe all you want but she took the time to listen and then lead the charge. I can’t fault her. I could put blame on all the researchers, food experts and scientists that you should have not let her fill the gap but I won’t.

Most experts know what to do now – you need to get out there and preach the good word about good food backed by science and emotion. Most of these people are diet fads – it will fade in time but it didn’t have to be this way.



Videos win in social, photos come in second.

Videos win in social, photos come in second.

Facebook favors video. Why? Because people will stay on their site longer to view videos (common sense, right?). So what should you do? Make videos if you have a message you really want people to see/hear and upload it natively into Facebook (don’t just upload to YouTube and then share).

Video is much easier to do than in the past. One of my favorite apps for video is iMovie and it’s a lot easier to use than you think.



When people first meet, what do they do immediately afterward? Especially if they are interested in them in a business sense (sometimes romantic). They GOOGLE them. Are you happy with what Google says about you? Do you know how to change it? Tip: you can’t change what Google displays but you can fill Google with more content that hopefully pushes the bad stuff down.

Google is your homepage – not your website or social profiles. People Google you first.




You should know if Google has something new on you. Use Talkwalker Alerts (FREE) to monitor for your name. It’s not hard to set up and it works relatively well.




If you want to reach people in their social areas, then you need to know which network they hang out in. If you don’t know that then stop using social until you do. How do you find out? I don’t know.

Did you ever think to ask them? Or you can use research? The graph above displays my thoughts and experience on where young and old people are at in social and what they use it for (personal or business). Most networks blend both.




Flickr CC via Wessex Archaeology

You honestly don’t need to try and do all the social networks at once. Pick one and go deeper in your use (HINT: it should be the one your audience really likes to use).




Flickr CC via Leimenide

Personally, I love Facebook for its interaction with my friends. I seldom interact with brands there but I know I can. The problem with Facebook is that it’s not an easy place for business pages to get stuff seen UNLESS they have money. But the groups out here can be wonderful for engaging and getting your fans to see your content.



The best thing about Twitter is being able to connect with people that you had no right to in the first place – like reporters. They are all on Twitter and understand the major importance of interacting and building a following. Use this to your advantage.

Twitter can also be good at getting people organized around a rallying cry. Just be careful it because it can bite both ways.



LinkedIn is an easy network to maintain and it’s the most professional of all the networks. It’s also one that is probably going to have the least amount of engagement – unless it’s on blog posts. I’ve seen a lot of great content there. Blogging on your own place and sharing inside of LinkedIn can give you more visibility than you think. BTW, join more groups. Groups help your profile to be found.



Pinterest is such a hot network right now especially for food. But it lacks experts. You can be that expert pinning good food and answering questions. This is where people search for good food – not Google.


How To Videos on YouTube

If you want to know how to do something and you don’t know how, just YouTube it. It’s a Do-It-Yourselfer’s dream. But the videos can’t be stale and I would even say that traditional videos have a harder time being found and liked. Make every video fun and engaging.




Is it ever worth it to argue on a social network? Nope, not that I’ve seen. Is it entertaining to watch? Yep. Is it fun to participate? No way. You shouldn’t have to fight on these networks and I would discourage it.

Sometimes it will make you feel better in the short run but over time it’s going to eat away at you. Remember one of the first lessons about the “Platinum rule”. It’s hard to do that when you are flaming another person. Just step away from the keyboard until you can calm down.



If you want to persuade someone, you must elevate who they are and the position they are taking. If you think it’s worth going after, then follow the old salesman’s rules. Never let them say “no” (always give them stepping stones they can easily say “yes” too and then you can lead them where you think it will be a “win” to both you and them. If this isn’t possible, just walk away.



Well, that’s it. There’s always a ton of other stories and what-not that I throw into this presentations but you get the gist of it.

If you have any questions about anything I went over, just give me a holler online. I’ll be here like I always am.


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