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Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

THAT Mom

The only thing scarier to a teen than mom’s saying, “I wanna be your friend on Facebook” is when grandma says it.

How do we avoid becoming THAT mom? We often learn Facebook while or after our kids do, without parenting role models. I was on Facebook a year before my kids were, and I taught workshops on family Facebook safety. Here’s what we did:

  1. Stay legal. Facebook Terms of Service don’t allow users before age 13.  Teaching a kid to lie about a birthdate for faster gratification is not smart. Facebook users under 13 place Facebook in violation of federal statute. Underage kids who get caught get kicked off.
  2. Be friends. On our kids’ 13th birthdays, they started Facebook, and mom and dad were their first friends. A local prosecutor friend was their third. “Why does HE have to be next?” our kids complained. If he was their friend, they might think twice about posting something stupid. That would help protect their personal brand. Check privacy settings monthly because their settings change.
  3. See but don’t be heard. Much. Watch what’s posted, but don’t comment or like everything your kids post. The less you post, the more likely you are their friends will friend you.  Teens think adults who comment or like too much are creepy stalkers. If you have a smartphone, subscribe to their feed and photos. 
  4. Be vigilant. If another adult tells you to look at your kids’ postings, do so.  Once, I warned a parent something looked off. That’s when the family discovered their 15 year old had friended an out of state predator.
  5. Beware the games and apps. I no longer have time for games. When I first started, I accidentally sent a Valentine postcard that said “I love you” to my husband. And my friends. That posted on their walls. Including teens. I spent an afternoon deleting them.
  6. Veto if you can. If your kids post something stupid, try to get them to delete it. I told my kids if they post something on Facebook during school hours, I may correct their grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.  It works better if I tell them privately than post the correction publicly.  Any band or movie whose name includes a 4 letter word or “sex” in it cannot be mentioned.
  7. Encourage. One of my favorite role model moms – online and in real life – posts on each of her kids’ walls on Facebook at least once a month, “I love you.”

Being a mom of teens online is comparable to real life. Watch, encourage, admonish sometimes, and always, always love them to pieces.

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“How do I get started?” people ask when they decide to try Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn for business.  Follow the same steps you would take when planning a long distance business trip. 

  1. Plan. Before you take a business trip, you decide why you’re taking it and what you hope to accomplish. “Go somewhere and business will come” is not a sound strategy.
  2. Train. Before you drive a car on a business trip, you learn to drive the car. Riding in a car does not translate into instant driving skills. You learn the rules of the road, safety tips, and more. Driving lessons take time. Give yourself time to learn to use social media.
  3. Organize. Decide who will go. Who do you send on business trips, and how do they best represent your unique brand? What will you do when you get there?
  4. Budget. What tools will you buy, and which freebies will you leverage?
  5. Equip. Travel is mobile. So’s social media. Get a smartphone so you understand your customers better.
  6. Target. Who is your dream customer, and how can you best find that niche via social media?
  7. Converse. Listen to your target customers, respond, and ask them questions. Build a relationship.
  8. Streamline. Over time, social media takes less of your time. Tools like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, and NutshellMail can help you use social media on a schedule.
  9. Evaluate. Measure results. Experiment with various strategies and determine which work best for your customers. This will help you set short and long term goals.

The key to social media is the word “social.”  It’s about people.

If you can…

  • Balance the personal and the professional..
  • Be real and be smart while you’re being transparent…
  • Listen and respond….
  • Build your own brand indirectly as you build up the community around you….

Social media will help your business not only survive but thrive.

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If Charles Dickens blogged today, no one would read him.  He used too many words.

Boomers can have great ideas, but they have to relearn how to write if they want people to read them. Less is more. Long is never read. How can a boomer with great ideas learn to sift for gold and shake out the good stuff? What tools should they use?

  1. Twitter. Tweets are limited to 140 characters. Savvy tweets use 120 or fewer characters so they are more easily retweeted. The more you tweet, the better your writing will shift to the new paradigm. Overly long tweets will make you look old school and past your prime time.
  2. Main Point. What’s your main point? When I teach document layout to non-graphic business people, I tell them to print a page, hold it at arm’s length, and squint. What stands out the most is what the average consumer will see first. Design the rest of the ad around that point. This applies to writing too. Step back from your blog, squint, and determine the main point. Write around that point. If you have more than 1 point, you have more than one blog.
  3. Blog with Word Count. Don’t just blog. Keep the word count at 300 to 400 words. If you go longer, you have a blog series. Start with your premise, your thesis, and evaluate every word and sentence to assure they are essential to your thesis. Don’t repeat yourself. Cut the fat.
  4. Bullet. Bullets are like related tweets and are more likely to be read.
  5. Graphic. Include a graphic or video with your blog. Back link it to your website for better SEO.
  6. Link. Tweet your blog on Twitter. Link it on Facebook. Link it on LinkedIn. If you link properly, it will be read more often than if you just include it in a status line. When you link correctly, your graphic in your blog will show on Facebook and LinkedIn. Links with pictures get more clicks.

I blogged back in the days of 900 word limits. Today’s blog is not a 5 paragraph essay. It is not a dissertation. It is a foot in the door. Smart writers use these tools to powerpack a content rich punch that stands out from boring blogs.

PS: Have keyboard. Will blog. For hire.

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My name is Mary, I do social media, and I don’t drink.

I don’t think there’s a Sober Social Media Anonymous group somewhere.  There are AA groups and probably social media addicts groups, but I don’t know of one that addresses both. (potential niche market?)

My husband drinks. Several of my friends do. I used to but haven’t touched the stuff since I became a mom. My kids needed a mom who spent more time changing diapers and less time dancing on tables. With a family tree loaded with alcoholic branches, I decided to stop to lower the risk of my kids developing substance abuse issues.

When I stopped, I learned I could have fun without a drink in hand. Sometimes, I still have too much fun. Every other year or so, when I’m clowning at a party, someone asks what I’ve been drinking.  Examples?

  • The last time I carved a hog at a roast, I cut the meat to the beat of the D.J.’s music. Nothing like cutting a crispy hog skin while dancing and singing to Twist and Shout.
  • When I sang Bohemian Rhapsody to Rock Band, while wearing pink mongo Elton Jane sunglasses my son bought for me for $1 and never imagined I would wear in public.
  • When I get tickled with friends and start howling with laughter. I ROFLMAO in public.  My laugh can make other people laugh too. Once you’ve heard it, you’ll know when I’m in the building.

Answer? I’ve drunk nothing stronger than a Coke or cup of coffee. If I can have this much fun sober, it’s probably a good thing I don’t drink alcohol and lower my inhibitions further than I already do.

There are advantages in life to always being able to be the designated driver.

It can also make me the designated Tweeter. If something happens in real life and a message needs to be quickly spread via social media, I can do it.  I don’t TUI. Even on a Saturday night.

When I’m sober, it’s easier for me personally to have fun and get it done.

P.S. If you do something so funny I’m laughing hard while walking, I’m trying to make it to the bathroom before I wet my pants. And I may tweet what made me laugh.

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Before you read 1 word of this blog, click on the video. I wrote this listening to the King of Blues, BB play “The Thrill is Gone.”

What do you do when the thrill is gone from the words you write? 

Many talk about blogger’s block and struggling to find something to write about. Boring Blogs Syndrome, IMHO, is deadlier.   If you can’t think of anything to write, keep writing. If you’re repeating the same thing you’ve already written in new words, you run the risk of boring your readers. Just because you write it doesn’t mean you have to publish it.

Bored readers don’t die. Their eyes glaze over, they get distracted, they leave, and they don’t come back.

How to recover from Boring Blog Syndrome?

  1. Get real. Stuff is always happening, some good, some bad. What gets you excited or angry? If you pour your passion into your blog, readers realize you slit your wrists and bled all over the keyboard before publishing.
  2. Stay fresh. Listen to conversations – in real life and online. What are your friends and readers talking about on Twitter, Facebook, and blogs? If they’re passionate about it, they’ll be more likely to read it.
  3. Risk. At times, good writing feels like skydiving. You leap from the plane; sail on a wing, a prayer, and your words; pull the rip cord and land. Good writing doesn’t always make you feel safe. You may occasionally crash land or break a few bones. Unlike skydiving, however, risky writing that goes bad is seldom fatal.
  4. Listen to music. Crank up that music that seizes your soul and let it carry your words.  Good writing is like music poured into word form.
  5. Step away from the keyboard. If your writing is so blah it bores you, it bores your readers, so stop. Unless you’re a professional writer who depends on every word to pay the bills, take a break. I’ve stopped for as long as a year at a time. Now I’m back at it, a post a day. Live your life and do what you love with the people you love the most.

As you feed your heart, you feed your inner writer.

Then one morning, you’ll suddenly discover.

The thrill is BACK!

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Not quite ready for prime time 21st century jargon? Do you wonder what terms and customs mean?

2011. Old: say two thousand eleven for the year.  Younger: twenty-eleven.

Cloud. Old: cumulus clouds in the sky. Younger: opportunities for users to share files and programs over the Internet.

Easter egg. Old: a treat-filled egg found during a hunt at Easter. Younger: hidden treat that can be found in a movie, book, video, or computer game. It includes inside jokes or special treats for those who find them.

Email. Old: trendy way to communicate. Younger: text and dm more than email. If you send them email, make it short. Less is more. More is never read.

Handle. Old: used with your old CB radio. Younger: Twitter.

Hashtag. Old: possibly an illegal substance. Younger: conversation topic used globally on Twitter.

Interruption. Old: don’t look at that phone when I’m talking to you. Younger: check phones for texts, messages and more during real life conversation. This is their normal multitasking in a connected world. They set SmartPhones on the desk or table during meetings to use as needed. 

IRL. In real life. Acronym to distinguish from virtual world.

Mobile hotspot. Old: possible title on the cover of Cosmopolitan. Younger: device that lets you create a Wifi hot spot for other Wifi capable devices.

Pandora. Old: myth. Younger: music platform where you choose what you want to hear.

Talk to someone. Old: real live conversation. Younger: in real life or by way of Skype, chat, tweet, dm, or text.

Time. Old: watches and alarm clocks. Younger: phone. 

Tweet. Old: possible continence problem for perimenopausal women. Younger: verb form of how people communicate on Twitter.

What did you watch last night? Old: TV. Younger: ustream, Netflix, or Youtube on a computer, iPod, phone or iPad.

Work Day. Old: 9 to 5. Work and personal separate. Younger: Work may not be one job; it could be 2 or 3, and one of those could be being a solopreneur. Work  and personal merge into meeting the needs of both as needed, and sometimes with interruptions on both ends.

Your wallet or your phone? If a robber mugs you and asks, your wallet or your phone, old answer, phone. Younger: wallet. 

Younger or older, if you understand what others are thinking with certain terms, it will help us all work together as teams.

What other older/younger differences in terms do YOU see? Comment below.

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If you are going to hire a social media professional, what questions should you ask?

  1. What’s your Klout? Klout measures individuals’ social media impact. Its methods may not be perfect, but social pros should have a Klout score of at least 30 (most social media pros have scores much higher than 30).  When you enter a Twitter handle (must be public), you will pull the Klout score.
  2. What are your favorite platforms? A social media pro should be familiar with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, and blogs. Pros need to understand the social media spectrum and how to best use each platform. How do they integrate Groupon offers, FourSquare, and Facebook places into campaigns?
  3. How do you build your community? Social media done well builds better communities. Do they use their Klout to bring people together? Do they share their toys? Are they involved in local, state, or national social media efforts? Do they attend or present at social media conferences or barcamps? If so, which ones, and which topics?
  4. How do you define best social media practices? How do they handle ethical issues? Do they emphasize strategy or tactic? Do they encourage open, honest dialogue?
  5. How do you have fun with social media? Good social media pros never take themselves too seriously. Fun, creative pros develop fun campaigns.
  6. How do you measure results? Your campaign strategy should have measurable goals with your specific, niche audience.
  7. What’s your time frame? Instant results from a social media campaign are as reliable as weight loss programs that promise major results in a few weeks. Do you want a quick splash or a long term gain?
  8. How do you train clients? Do they evaluate your full social media branding and train employees? If they don’t train clients, do they make referrals? Do they not only teach you how to use social media for branding but also market research?

Google your social media pro.  Evaluate their blogs, videos, and photos. Do they look like a good fit for your company and its culture? How good are they are beginning, continuing, and responding to conversations by way of Facebook, Twitter, and more?

Ask good questions. Ask the tough questions.

Better to build a strong social media presence with a solid foundation than to build one in sand that has to be fixed later.

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