All posts by Dan Nedelko

Youdoneven Know

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Inspiration for start-up entrepreneurs

Hang in there. Special thanks to Gaping Void – my online psychotherapist.

Universes collide

I feel like I might be creating a black hole or something 🙂

How to create a great social media content schedule

Yeah that's right, I'm doin' that.

I often run into examples of poorly executed social media “programs”. Generally this comes from a highly undervalued view of social media, poor planning and an under-estimation of the complexity of the channels.

Quite often this will lead to an inconsistent and off-topic communication plan when it comes to talking to your fans or brand advocates through social media channels. Here are a few things I see happen all the time:

  1. You talk endlessly about yourself, your product and special offers. You’re talking at your consumers, fans, brand advocates not to them.
  2. You talk endlessly about completely off-topic content. Try to be relevant to your brand values.
  3. You are always borrowing the content of others. You have content in your business, I know you do. Now use it.
I’m going to give you some insight into a process I’ve used over the years at both Honeypot Marketing and ArtBarn Media in order to put together a simple, effective and organized social media communications program.
Step #1 – Define your company (brand) values. 
This is not a complex or overly difficult thing to do. In 3-5 simple words or basic statements describe what you stand for and what makes your company or you different. What’s it all about?
Let’s use the simple example of Bob’s Restaurant.  It’s a mid-range restaurant in a small urban center of 130,000 people, the market is competitive but Bob’s been at this for 35 years. It’s a family owned business with a loyal following, Bob is passionate about his work and the food that is produced. There is a focus on local suppliers, fresh daily specials and events which are catered and also regularly occurring weekly events.
At the most atomic and basic level, the things that make Bob’s Restaurent different are in fact: food, events, people, environment. We’re avoiding complexity and intentionally keeping it simple.
Step #2 – Expand on your values…
Now let’s dig a little bit deeper (but not too much) into what those atomic brand and company statements mean…
  • Food – the food is made fresh everyday, daily specials are always unique, the ingredients are from local suppliers, the chef puts creativity into every special and plate.
  • Events – events are unique and frequent, from daily events to special events we are always dedicated to creating amazing experiences for all of our guests.
  • People – our staff are the heart and soul of our business, we care about each other and work hard to make our workplace fun and exciting even though it can be stressful at times.
  • Environment – we’ve spent years, countless hours and invested in the ambiance of our business, we are always looking to make our restaurant feel like home, a comfortable atmosphere where our customers are comfortable and welcomed.
Step #3 – Build a content plan based on your values.
Okay, we’re getting there! Now that we’ve laid out our company in a simple and concise manner we can build out a content plan that makes sense. We’re going to build content and messaging that always supports the values above and communicates these to our fans on all of the social networks we are engaged with daily.
When building out a content plan it’s very important to plan, create and schedule. This will ensure that you’re not running around every day trying to create content in an ad-hoc and chaotic manner. We’re going to use photos, videos and small stories to communicate the points in Step #2 in a casual, fun and engaging manner.
  • Food – we’re going to take 50 pictures of all of our menu items, the chef is going to give us a brief description of each and what makes it unique.
  • Events – we know that 50% of our events are planned. We’re going to use the creative we’ve already made, take photos at the events and also re-use photos from our previous events.
  • People – we’re going to take short videos and take pictures of our staff. We want to tell their story and we also are going to take pictures of staff in their environment and show some behind the scenes peeks for our customers.
  • Environment – we’re going to take some pictures of our restaurant, the ambiance and tell our story. How did we get here? What did we do that was a challenge? We want our customers to understand and feel the same passion we feel for this business.
Step #4 – Pick a couple of days and get that content together!
Get a decent camera and video camera, plan out a couple of days and then simply build out a database of the content in Step #3. Use Flickr to store photos, load up videos on YouTube and get all of your content organized.
This is not a huge job, especially considering that we’re building out a schedule that we can then have posting to our social media profiles on a regular basis. By doing this all at once you can work it into your workflow once a month or every 6 weeks. It will be very manageable, trust me. 🙂
Step #5 – Use a social media management software package.
I prefer Hootsuite for it’s ability to tie into multiple social networks, multiple team member support, scheduling and authorizing posts. The most important thing here is the scheduling portion. Take a few hours and write your content, lay it out so that you’re posting your content at the appropriate time of day and also planning it out so you’re not flooding the channels all at once.
If you’ve never done this before then use your intuition on the most effective time of day to post content, social media isn’t magic, it’s a channel that allow you to talk directly to your customers and potential customers and allows them to talk back. Using the restaurant example above, posting food features 1 hour before lunch or dinner would be a logical and intuitive place to start.
Once you got some analytics data, you can then go back and start to see what content, what voice, what time of day and what rich media is the most engagig to your fans. You can revise all of this in fairly short order.
Step #6 – Implement your schedule and prepare for real time posting!
Congratulations! You’ve just off-loaded 60%-70% of the daily overhead of your social media program. Now you can focus on the real-time updates, cool events that happen and monitor your channels to provide responses to inquiries.
Your messaging will be on point and relevant to your business without being too blunt or being so completely off-topic that you’re simply adding to the white noise of social networks. You’ll be engaging and unique to your customers (turning them into brand advocates) and will give you the opportunity to reach into their networks naturally.
How can you prepare for real-time posting? Make sure you and/or your staff have capable smart phones and are comfortable with providing updates, photos and discussion with your customers. Be prepared, because the more successful you are with your social media program the more prepared you will have to be to respond to your networks.
Wrapping it up.
There’s alot more to your social media plan than I’ve covered here. Landing pages, contests, engagement strategies, partnership programs and more advanced content campaigns are all a part of  a highly successful social media plan that doesn’t suck.
The goal of this post is to give you a head start when implementing your own social media plan and community management. It’s an important first step as it provides the organization and foundation to move into more advanced and effective program elements.
Social media marketing will lift your business, doesn’t matter if you’re a large enterprise or a local small business. Hopefully the simple steps above give you a jump start into your social media planning.

Social Media is personal – Gary Vaynerchuk

Good old Gary Vaynerchuk does a great job of distilling the importance of social media and how it can lift your business. Watch the video below. I’m adding my own bullet points in addition to highlights from Gary’s talk.

  • The way business used to built was on the relationship.
  • Social media level sets that relationship, the new marketing is marketing to the individual.
  • Stop thinking short term, run the marathon don’t run the sprint.
  • If you like it then you better put a ring on it.
  • Don’t treat social media like it’s a one night stand. Make the commitment.
  • Everyone is acting like a teenager in social media settings – trying to close the deals without starting the conversation.
  • You don’t want to bet on the culture shift because it doesn’t happen in the next 20 minutes. Make the bet.
  • For the first time ever it’s not push, it’s a cocktail party. That’s uncomfortable for marketers.
  • Thank you economy is offense. Customer service is defense.
  • Find your clients on social media and find out what they love.
  • What you can learn is about your customer, not just his shopping habits. What are their emotional triggers, find them and thank them, be one to one.
  • It’s about lifetime value not the purchase today.
  • Say thank you. People are in sales mode, customers don’t expect to simply be thanked.
  • We are social creatures. We want to express ourselves. It’s the same in social.
  • Social media is about listening, not talking. Listen and learn.
  • Word of mouth is the currency. Now we have the infrastructure to enable word of mouth.
  • We all live in the same business. You’re in the eyeballs and ears business.
  • We’re iving through a massive cultural shift. We need to create context.
  • Companies have the opportunity to move from a non-human to a human relationship and image.
  • Create real conversation with your fans, be more than a press release.
  • Marketers turn everything into a tactic.
  • Create an emotional connection with your customers

There’s more to come here, but if you’re in business or in marketing do yourself a favour and absorb this.

Hi Danny!

Gee that’s cool 🙂


Dušan’s Dare

Dušan : youdoneven know how much of an impact you had while you were hanging out down here with us mere mortals.

Can you believe this? Too much awesome.

Background: there’s a challenge course almost ready for the kids at Camp Ruskoka. Ruskoka is a camp for new Canadian arrivals and underpriviledged children to learn leadership, mentorship and life skills – it’s a great place full of amazing people doing great stuff. Counsellor training starts this week and the kids will be using it soon.

Not enough words to thank you all for your support.

Thoughts on a Plastic Spoon

We’ve literally gone insane.


The Start-Up Drive : Startups need planning.

Creating a high level overview of your goals with details on process and goals can make a huge difference in how you grow your start-up. It will become useful for investors, business development, communication and growth. It doesn't take long and the more often you do it, the easier it gets. Samples to come...

The Start-Up DriveThe Start-Up Drive Ep 3 : Agile and Lean does not mean we won’t document plans.

In today’s daily drive I’ve been thinking about the best way to document your plans. I’m not talking about writing a 1000 page document, Gantt charts, deliverables and projections. I’m talking about a monthly or quarterly overview of key objectives. Doing this will achieve a few goals for an up and coming company that has limited resources:

  1. Keep focus on your goals over that time period.
  2. Allow for non-tech types to understand what you’re doing.
  3. Build up a library of documentation for potential investors.
  4. Create a roadmap for business goal and KPI (Key Performance Indicator) definition and refinement.
  5. Help to focus your efforts and build up definable metrics that can be used to one day forecast revenues and plans.
  6. Build a “machine” and process for actually delivering on high level things like content strategy, offers, communication schedules (email, social media), and pricing offers.

I start with either a Visio or Omnigraffle document and every 30 days or so iterate a new set of two pages. It’s close to a mind map but leans more towards a process flow and goal illustration.

The nice thing about this is it keeps things understandable, it’s a quick read, it doesn’t take days to put together and lastly (and probably most importantly) it helps to document your journey in the chaos and speed of growing business.

You need an email marketing plan.

In today's drive, my intro and outro music are pretty much awesome. Someone drive off the road on the 401, thankfully everyone was fine. Email marketing is still a very important part of your communications and marketing mix regardless of your start-up size. It costs no money to get started, it takes time.

The Startup Drive

The Start-up Drive Ep.2 : Email marketing still matters.

Start-ups, small businesses, medium sized, and companies of any size will benefit from a strategic plan for email marketing (if you heard yesterday’s podcast then you’ll get that one). Here are a few ideas for making sure that you’re not discounting the powerful and low cost addition to get your communications consistent and relevant.

Any additional thoughts, tips or experiences for those just getting an email program put in place?