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Don Schindler

Executive Reputation Coach & Digital Marketer

Tag: twitter (page 1 of 3)

Is dairy farming a one-sided conversation?

Do you ever feel that you are already on defense when you talk to someone about where their food comes from?

I do. And I’m not a farmer. But I work for dairy farmers and I’m passionate about making sure that their customers know they work hard, take care of their animals and produce a great product, which is made into some of the finest foods they can feast on like cheese, ice cream, yogurt, butter and just plain milk.

But when I get into conversations about what I do and who I work for, many new acquaintances and friends have a very different view of how their food is produced. Especially young people.

Why is that?

Well, I have a few thoughts on this and maybe you do too but I believe the biggest one is that they don’t normally go to farms.

You see, I was raised on one and my brother still farms back in Missouri so I know what happens on a farm. I’ve been there and seen that.

But many people haven’t.

Most of their knowledge of farms comes from other sources like the media. And they see most of that through the lens of the Internet via social media and search.

And if you’ve been out there on the web – searching and scanning through popular social feeds – you’ll notice that it’s pretty much a one-sided conversation.

But it doesn’t have to be.

In fact one of the most trusted voices is farmer, according to Pew Research. The unfortunate thing is that there isn’t a whole lot of farmers working the land like there used to be (less than 2% of Americans directly involved in farming) and even less spending much time talking to their customers about how they farm.

But it doesn’t need to be this way. And it doesn’t need to take up all your free time.

In fact, that little device (aka smartphone) you carry around with you to help connect you back to the house, to put in your data about the animals you are caring for, and as well as lets you play some pretty fun games like Candy Crush (everyone plays) can help you have a conversation with some of your favorite people – your customers.

I know you are on social networks (67% of rural areas are using social networks) and I know you chat with other farmers online (I follow your feeds).

But maybe you’re worried about the conversation or maybe even having a confrontation online with someone you don’t know.

Well, I’m not going to lie to you – it will probably happen. But there’s lots of help out here as well on how to handle it. I’ve written a blog post about arguing online.

In fact, I’m going to list a bunch of farmers and advocates below who you can depend on and reach out to if you need help myself included.

If we continue down a path of not joining the conversation then it’s going to keep going this way – one-sided and we’ll always be on the defense. Trust is built on relationships. Relationships are built through conversations.

We need you to help join us in the conversation. Will you?

ask-the-farmers

Ask The Farmers

 

Dairy Carrie

Dairy Carrie

 

Will Gilmer

Will Gilmer

 

Trent Bown

Trent Bown

 

Ray Prock

Ray Prock

 

Tim Zweber

Tim Zweber

 

Emily Zweber

Emily Zweber

 

jenni-tilton-flood

Jenni Tilton-Flood – Flood Brothers Farm

 

carla-shelley

Carla Shelley

 

krista-stauffer

Krista Stauffer

 

Shannon Seifert

Shannon Seifert

 

Annie Link

Annie Link

 

Patty Leonard

Patty Leonard

 

Sarah Leonard

Sarah Leonard

 

Susan Anglin

Susan Anglin

 

Janet Bremer

Janet Bremer

 

Chris Heins

Chris Heins

 

Brenda Hastings

Brenda Hastings

 

Karen Rohnert

Karen Bohnert

 

Sutton Rucks

Sutton Rucks

 

LuAnn Trowel

LuAnn Troxel

 

Mary Mackinson Faber

Mary Mackinson Faber

 

Becky Bode

Becky Bode

 

Seena Glessing

Seena Glessing

 

Jennifer Lewis

Jennifer Lewis

 

Sun-Ton Farms

Sun-Ton Farms

 

Postmodern Farmer

Postmodern Farmer

 

Joanna Lidback

Joanna Lidback

 

These are a great bunch of guys and gals who are always happy to help the conversation continue – that are making the extra effort (by the way, if I missed you and you want to be added to the group – just email me) and are willing to put themselves out there so their customers can chat directly with them.

It’s really the only way to communicate anymore and it’s really the way it should be. I love talking directly with the person I’ve buying from – that I’m trusting with my food – and everyone expects it.

Are you ready to join the conversation?

 

 

 

 

How do you get more followers on Twitter?

don-schindler-twitter-profile-2014

Follow Me On Twitter!

After you’ve been using twitter for a while, you tend to slow down in follower gains. You usually get a burst of attention, gain 100 or so followers and then it drops off and you’ll only gain a few followers every week if that.

So how do you get more people to follow you?

The main thing is being an active member of the larger Twitter community. Here are my slides from my Twitter 201 class that I’m teaching during National Dairy Board’s Joint Annual Meeting at the Gaylord Hotel.

 

 

 

Active members add more content – contributing to the conversations online.

I recommend adding video and images if you can – farmers have the best pictures (there’s so much to see on the farm) and your consumers definitely love to check it out.

Video and images don’t need to be perfect but they do need to be real. Posing is ok for stock photos but showing the nitty-gritty of life on the farm is where it’s at.

@gilmerdairy (Will Gilmer) has really mastered the art of sharing videos and pictures of his farm geared for his customer (not other farmers). He answers all the questions that pop up in the comments as well.

Active members join twitter chats – they get involved instead of just stalking, retweeting or favoriting.

While this can get you noticed, you’ll gain more followers by having an opinion (a respectful opinion, mind you) and be open to having a conversation about your opinion.

@dairycarrie (Carrie Mess) offers her thoughts and opinions and it’s really worked to gain her a following.

Active members know the trends that are happening – you don’t need to jump into Justin Bieber’s antics but if the trend matches, why not jump into the conversation. This isn’t about Newsjacking – it’s about relevant insights to the trends.

Use Trends24 to see what’s going on or Trendsmap to find out what’s happening in your area.

Hashtagify will help you once you have entered in a popular hashtag to see what other hashtags people are using as well. It’s also got a pretty cool interface to play with.

Active members frequently engage with their twitter followers – when it comes to engaging with Twitter, I don’t use Twitter.com anymore. While I think the Twitter app for iPhone isn’t bad, I normally use other apps as well to engage. Here are a few of my favorites.

Hootsuite – this website is how I engage with my Twitter Lists (What’s a Twitter List? It’s the only way to manage who you are following and here’s how to set them up).

Hootsuite also allows you to send content to Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks. This just makes it easier sometimes when you want to share and don’t want to jump to other applications.

Tweetdeck is another favorite of mine. This is actually an application so you don’t need a browser window open. Much like Hootsuite you can manage lists and conversations.

Tweetcaster, Hootsuite and Twitter mobile applications are what I use on my iPhone. Each serve a different purpose and all are free. I really like how Tweetcaster is set up but it’s your choice on how you want to engage.

Within Hootsuite, I’ve also set up a separate list for just questions people might be tweeting. If you add a “stream” and then select “search” and put in terms like “chocolate milk” or “dairy farming” and then add a ?, you’ll start seeing questions from people about these topics. What a great way to jump into a conversation with someone as the expert (which you are).

Another way to gain more followers is to get yourself out on some Twitter directories. Let’s face it – the search on Twitter isn’t that great but you can set yourself up to be found by getting your profile on these lists.

A couple of prominent lists are Twellow and WeFollow. Add yourself the categories and you’ll see more followers headed your way – especially for farmers. There are so few categories and farmers out there.

Another tip is to use Twiangulate to see who is following other people that you might want to follow. I dropped Ray Prock and Dairy Carrie into Triangulate to see who was following both of them. Not as many as you would think but you can then see who it is and follow them.

Once you are following a lot of people (you can follow up to 2000 without having any followers – after that it is a certain percentage that you need to have following you back to be able to follow more – this keeps the spam down), you’ll want to use a third party website to analyze your followers/following and then clean it up from time to time. No need to follow people who aren’t tweeting anymore. Manageflitter and Tweepi are a couple of my favorites as well as tweet.

Analyzing your content is also a great thing and will help you learn what works and what doesn’t on Twitter. I really like Twitter Ads – just click on the analytics tab to see how you are doing. There’s also Twtrland (which can also help you find people to follow) and Twitonomy.

Tweetreach is a fun tool as well to see how many people have seen the hashtags you are using.

Finally, using hashtag aggregator tools like Tagboard and Hashtagr can help you pull all the content around a hashtag to see if it’s something you want to amplify or just see what’s popular and give you ideas about what to be posting.

So what are your favorite ways of getting more followers on Twitter? I’d be happy to share them here.

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

don-schindler-jamie-vander-molen

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.

Taking Google Glass and #Dairychat to the 2013 Joint Annual Meeting of NDB, NMPF and UDIA

I got my Google Glass on Friday and was able to take it to the Joint Annual Meeting on Monday, Nov 11 and spend the next three days teaching social media and talking with dairy farmers.  It was an awesome experience (my first time at Annual Meeting and hanging at the Arizona Biltmore) but the best time was letting the farmers try out Google Glass.

Most people were amazed at the ability to take photos just by talking to glass.  I have 111 photos from the event and most are me looking at them while they are taking photos of me.  So silly.  Now I know to pull out my phone and take shots of them.

photos-from-annual-meeting-google-glass

The classes I taught were well attended and I got a lot of great feedback of what I should be covering in the future.  Special thanks to all those farmers that signed up for the training and then started using the tools. Many used the hashtag #dairychat for the meeting. Check out the dairychat tagboard below.

dairychat-tagboard

Can’t wait for next annual meeting.  Gonna be a lot of fun.

How to set up Twitter for your family farm in 6 simple steps

Now I’ve gone through the five reasons why I think you should be using twitter for your farm business and I promised to show you how to set up a Twitter account in just a few simple steps.

1.  Go to Twitter and create an account.

twitter-sign-up

You don’t have to worry about creating the username just yet.  Just fill in your name, email and password. I would recommend getting some photos and/or logo of your farm for the profile photo section right now.

2.  Choose your username.

twitter-sign-up-page

This name can be changed down the road but it’s a real hassle so choose your name wisely.

If you are doing this as a farm business account, I would suggest using your farm name like I did here with SchindlerFarms (there can be on spaces and I would avoid underscores or dashes.)  If you have to change your twitter handle, you can change it via Twitter.

If you are setting up a Twitter handle for a personal account, I would recommend using your name. It’s tough to build other names or brands that would represent you and in the long run, most anonymous accounts will be forced to be more transparent. You don’t have to do this, it’s just a recommendation.

Then click Create My Account.

Your account is now live and twitter is showing you a sample tweet from The Twitter Teacher.

twitter-preview-page

3. Twitter will prompt you to start following other Twitterers.

twitter-timeline-following

These will most likely be people who are popular celebrities or entertainment brands who have paid to be here.  You are more than welcome to follow them if you wish. You would do this by clicking Follow next to their names.  The blue checkmarks mean that these accounts have been verified by Twitter to be real.  Not everyone on Twitter is verified.

I would suggest skipping this and using the search box to find people you want to follow.

For instance, I put in the term “dairygood” into the search field and got back a few people.

twitter-search-following

As you can see, there is Dairy Good, me and Mollie Wallers (chief communications officer for Dairy Management Inc.).

Of course, they would like you to follow more (when you click Next) so I put “dairy farmer” in the search box and up comes some more people to follow.

twitter-following-more

As you follow more people, they get added to your timeline in the center of the screen. You will see everything they tweet (this isn’t like Facebook where the algorithm decides who you see).

If you are looking for dairy farmers to follow, I recommend @rayprock, @_sdmaddox@dairycarrie, @gilmerdairy, @ezweber, @zweberfarms@nyfarmer and @TrentBown. There are many, many more and you can follow my whole list of farmers is getting big out there on twitter.

When you start following people, you need to use the Twitter Lists function to help divide people into separate listening streams.  I will do a follow up posts on using Lists and other tips and tricks to make the most use of Twitter.

Click the Next button to most pass the search and follow feature.

4.  Twitter will want you to connect your email to find them on . I don’t recommend this.

twitter-contact-email

There’s a small light “Skip” link in the bottom left. I would click that and move along.

5.  Add your profile pic and your biography information.

twitter-profile-upload-bio-text

Now this is very important because this is one of the ways people will find you.  The image will help people see who you are.  I recommend a farm shot or your logo – make sure the logo is already in a square image.  I matched the profile pic to my profile pic on Facebook for branding.

UPDATE NOTE: Tim Zweber of @zweberfarms recommends using people profile for farm photos and I agree.  People like socializing on Twitter with people.  Put a face on your farm.

You also have room to put in your biography text of 160 characters.  I put in the name and basic keywords if people would be looking for a farm in southeast Missouri.  I would recommend putting in your websites and other social links.

You can also hashtag things here as well if you want Twitter to pull in your profile into hashtag searches.  I didn’t do that here but you can.

If this is a personal Twitter account, I recommend using “Views are my own.” to help protect yourself from issues with FTC and advertising.  It helps people understand that you are not intentionally tweeting information that could be misconstrued as advertising for your business or farm.

All your employees, especially if they share information over Twitter about your business, should have that on their profiles.  They should also mention that they work for you like my profile example.

“SVP, Digital Initiatives at #Dairy Management, Inc. I work for farmers! http://dairygood.org  http://donschindler.com  #dairygood Opinions are my own. :)”

6.  According to Twitter, you are all done.  But not me. Let’s make sure our Profile looks nice and add some more information.

twitter-timeline-finish

Let’s click on the “Make Your Profile Beautiful” or if you closed it, just click on the little gear icon on the top right by the search bar and go to Settings.

Once on Settings, click Profile.

Here you can add a header photo, your location, and your website again.

Do NOT click Facebook Connect.  You don’t want your tweets automatically going to Facebook.   If you want to control both profiles from one application, I recommend Hootsuite and you can set that up using this my post, Top Reasons Why You Should Be Using Hootsuite For Your Farm.

Now I know I didn’t get into how to communicate on Twitter, that will be a post coming up along with the tips and tricks.

Did I miss any steps that you would add for the initial set-up?

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