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Posts Tagged ‘linkedin’

“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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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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“Where’s your portfolio?” Clients always ask that of commercial artists.  

Digital illustrators and retouchers like my husband, Richard Biever, gladly show their work to prospective clients. Clients then can evaluate them. One of his portfolio pieces is linked.

When you hire social media strategists, evaluate their portfolio.  How do they personally use social media? Where do you look? If someone offers to train you on social media, make sure the person uses all of the following well:

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Geolocation platforms like 4Square 
  • Blogs

Check their Twitter klout rating (the higher, the better). Do people retweet and reply to their conversations? Who is in their peer to peer network?  Who do they recommend that you follow – locally and globally?

Five Villains to Beware in Social Media World:

Paranoid Protector: The Protector only posts protected tweets. Twitter is a global conversation, and that only happens if you share what you say with the world.

Bullhorn Blowhard: They blast “What are you selling” instead of “What are you doing?”  Social media is not a billboard; it’s a conversation. 

Zombie-Tweeter: They link all Facebook and LinkedIn to Twitter.  If you follow a zombie and receive an auto-dm reply, avoid at all costs.

Undead Follower: They never speak, never reply, and no one’s really sure if they breathe. Social media requires a voice, and avoid the expert who never speaks up or out.

Vampires:  They beg for your blood but never offer to help you back.  Your blood – and how it can help them – is their only interest in you. Social media vampires may live forever, but no one cares because no one reads their tweets or their posts.

We can beat the social media villains. Unfollow them. Don’t friend them. Don’t promote them.

Because social media is transparent, given time, bad guys show their true colors. The villains get caught.

The good news Social Media World has more Superheroes than villains. Superheroes with truth, justice, and a good sense of humor, beat villains every time.

Your company has a unique spot in the social media world.

Seek out the Social Media Superheroes and soar around the planet, faster than a speeding tweet.

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Grandma’s four-room house in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains looked small outside but was huge inside.  Born into a fighting Scot-Irish farm family who plowed fields by day as they argued Shakespeare and the Bible by candlelight, Grandma fought daily battles.  A survivor of polio and rheumatic fever, Grandma walked with the aid of a walker more by will than ability.  

Her oldest sister taught her in a one-room log schoolhouse with 60 students, and Grandma was the only one of her sisters not to attend college.  She couldn’t manage the steps into the buildings and stayed home.  The only times I ever knew Grandma to leave her own home were when she went to the doctor and sometimes when she visited us.  Getting her in and out of the car, and up and down stairs, was a whole family effort.  Those were the days before scooters, ramps, and the Americans with Disability Act.

The walls of Grandma’s house contained neither her heart nor her mind.  The sharpest of her sisters, Grandma devoured books and newspapers.  She could debate theological points as well as public policy but preferred arguing with her sister about whether cranberry salad should have lemon or mixed fruit Jell-o.  Though Grandma couldn’t leave home, everyone around her knew of her baking.  Bake sale organizers asked her to make pies and cakes because whatever she made was the first sold.  Those who were homeless and hungry also knew where Grandma lived because she fed anyone who knocked on her door.

Grandma was also known for her sharp temper, wicked tongue, and crack shot.  Once in her 70’s, she was alone in her home as my grandfather hauled produce on a long distance truck route.  When Grandma heard an intruder, she balanced her shotgun on her walker, turned on the porch lights, aimed, and yelled, “Take one step closer and I’ll blow your balls off.”  The intruder left intact. 

I never knew until her funeral how many lives she touched.  People I didn’t know thanked me because Grandma had tutored them so they could pass high school or their GED.  The lady who could barely walk and only graduated from 8th grade, gave other mountain families the tools they needed for a modern world.

How I wish Grandma had had social media so we could have skyped.  She would have devoured Twitter conversations and turned the world on its end with her biting wit.  Maybe I would have mastered her flaky pie crusts through a Youtube demo.  

In my Dickensian childhood, I could always count on Grandma to stand in my corner.  She was and is a huge influence on who I am today.  Had she had social media, then more of the world would have known this incredible woman who shared her heart and her mind with her family.  The Internet would have torn down the walls of her home and the restrictions of her disabilities.

Maybe you do get to know her.  Sometimes when I write, I can almost feel her standing in a cloud, cheering me on to keep going. 

Thanks, Grandma.

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The notice that I’m due for a new cell phone is as exciting as a card to get our cat its annual rabies shot.  I hate learning a new phone.  Life’s too complicated, so I ignored the notice.

When I was given a $50 gift certificate to Verizon the week my phone started to die, I thought it had to be Divine Intervention.  

I asked on Facebook and Twitter: Droid or Blackberry?  Answers poured in.

After I tried the Blackberry and Droid, I saw the Devour.  It seemed sturdier, and I liked the keyboard.  The store was out of Devours, so I went home with news that I would be a new Devour user the next day.

When I returned home, I posted on Facebook that my next phone would be a Devour.

My 15-year-old daughter raced up the stairs, “No, Mom!  You can’t!  You have to have the Droid!”

She scolded me on my Facebook wall:

Mother! Please do not consider getting a Devour! The Droid is the Optimus Prime of the phone world. A more powerful camera, higher res and larger screen, and faster internet.

Also, consider the commercials. The Droid has this epic ad:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w83UQk…iuNZQ&feature=fvw

Therefore, I have made my argument on your phone, and shown Verizon that a Megan Fox commercial is not as effective as the add that uses the line “a stud missile duct-taped to a racehorse.”

 I answered:

I think I just got phone pwned by my daughter. Guess who’s going phone shopping with me tomorrow.

There was a disturbance in the Force.  I was the object of a Droid Pwn Intervention.  By my own daughter, whom I once taught how to keyboard with correct hand position. On MY Facebook wall, when I started FB to monitor HER!

She shopped with me today, and I did get the Droid.  When I got the phone, case, and cover, she took the parts and told me SHE would put it together because I might mess something up. 

First, she showed me how to log into my social media.  With my first Facebook update via Hootsuite, I was relieved.  

Then my daughter played with sounds and settings.  I thought of Yoda in Star Wars, “You must unlearn what you have learned” as I struggled to figure out the new settings.

Later, I realized something we forgot: “How do I answer this?”  Social media’s a higher priority than a telephone.

My kids and I are shifting roles as they pull me out of Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon and into a TIE fighter.

 I don’t know if I like my new ship.  However, like Yoda, I can adapt.

 As Yoda said, “Feel the force!”

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Thanks to Kyle Lacy for hosting a guest blog of mine today, Disco is Dead and So is the Lone Ranger. Curious? Want to read more?
Go to: http://ow.ly/1pMgQ

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