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Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

“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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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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“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” the Wizard orders Dorothy when she’s trying to leave Oz.  She ignores the voice, peeks behind the curtain, and discovers the wizard is human.

The best communicators – in real life and social media – slip through the curtain to give us a glimpse of the person behind the mask.

When we write by email or private message, remembering there’s a person on the other side of the keyboard is imperative. We’ve all gotten poison pen electronic messages. 

One recent morning, I sat down at my computer to joke with virtual friends – my family was still sleeping. I had just finished 2 of my most stressful days of the year – days full of difficult paperwork that’s worse than tax time.  My friends and family had cheered me through these hated days in person, on telephone, and via email.  I was ready for a break and a laugh before my first cup of coffee – time for Christmas to begin!

Instead, I read a terse private message that lacked nuances like please, thank you, Merry Christmas, etc. The complaint had merit, but the tone oozed anger from each sentence. Ouch. My family was all still asleep, and I didn’t want to wake them to cry on their shoulders.

So I tweeted that I was hurt by a private message and needed someone to make me get back in the Christmas spirit. Within a minute of my tweet, I got a first response from a friend sending me a joke. Then another. Then more.  I chatted w/a Facebook friend who texted me encouragement throughout the day.

As I sat in my still-dark living room, with tears rolling down my face, I was not alone. I had shared a glimpse of myself behind the social media curtain, and friends responded. They were my lifeline till my husband woke up, and I could cry on his shoulder.

We often talk of the business and educational value of social media. First and foremost for me, social media builds relationships.

When Twitter, Facebook et al are done well, they reveal to us the person behind the keyboard – good and bad.

Social media inspires me to be a better person behind the keyboard – and to help others do the same.

Oh – and thanks to @News25JordanV, @StevenWABX, @MarketingVeep, @Hsing3Kinder, @TalinaN, @DanaMNelson, and @PlanningForever – and my FB texting encourager – for answering my early a.m. Tweet for help.

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Ten years ago, I turned the Y2K celebration into a geography lesson for my children, then ages 4 and 6. We labelled poster boards with each continent’s name and clipped news stories throughout December of Christmas and New Year’s celebrations around the world.  Newspapers had great color photos of cultural traditions across the continents. As we clipped a photo story to add to our collection, we found its country of origin on the world map. By January 1, 2000, we had great photos across all continents of local traditions on holidays.

Teachers and parents can take that idea, stir in some social media, and have a lively conversation the next two weeks.

On a weekly, if not daily basis, I chat on Twitter with people in Europe, Australia, and Asia.

What would happen if my friends – and your friends – posted photos and info of local traditions to share with others all around the planet? We could share them on Facebook with our good friends and then Tweet them across the planet.

How can you join in?

  1. Tweet or post on Facebook a photo or a news story of a cultural tradition in your home town, using the hashtag #GlobalHolidays.
  2. Tweet or post this blog on Facebook, asking your friends to join the fun.
  3. Search Twitter for the hashtag #GlobalHolidays.  Share interesting things you learn with others – over Facebook, RT with Twitter, or word of mouth in real life.
  4. Ask questions and thank those who participate with #GlobalHolidays.

Enterprising teachers, whether by profession or passion, could then print those pictures and create collages by which kids could learn geography. But it could work better than the static displays of 10 years ago. Now, teachers can take those images and use them as a starting point to begin global conversations to share in the classroom.

In the process of a little global awareness, we could all learn something:

Distance around the globe isn’t a big deal when you’re talking to your friends.

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We didn’t have a snow day in southern Illinois in January, 1978, when I was in the 7th grade; we had a snow month. After a 16 inch storm one week and a blizzard the next – leaving 8 foot snow drifts – the town’s lone radio station announced, “All schools in the area are canceled until further notice.”

How times of snow day notices have changed. Now we have multiple channel alerts:

  • TV and radio stations on air and web
  • Websites
  • Oncall systems to telephone and/or text families
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

When schools debate the To Close or Not to Close question, families, teachers, school corp employees, and students all discuss it online, before the world. Smart schools provide an official voice to the social media conversation. They develop social media policies that encourage conversation in a constructive manner.

Slipping into Old Geezer mode to compare the present to the Blizzard of ’78.

I was a pedestrian newspaper carrier during that winter. I walked to the newspaper office downtown and then delivered papers to every store and home on either side of Main Street. Every Monday through Saturday of that winter, I delivered the paper, even the day the wind chill hit 10 below.

Snow drifts 2-3 foot high divided the middle of Main Street. As I went from customer to customer delivering papers, I warmed up in 1 store to then venture to the next.

That newspaper, with the radio station, were our town’s lifeline. Weather radios did not exist for consumers. Our pre-cable TV news was from Evansville, Indiana.

Now, when the threat of severe weather hits, we watch the forecasts on the news and listen to them on the radio. We rely more on news online than in print. Facebook lets me see how the storm impacts my friends. Twitter gives me a view of the storm’s impact on our area and what will happen next.

If or when a comparable blizzard hits, technology will make it easier to survive.  Smart schools will leverage tech to communicate better.

Maybe, if or when a future blizzard happens, my grandchildren won’t miss a month of school and trudge a paper route. Schools will keep classes going online, sharing information instantly with students in ways not yet invented.

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RosenKlout and GuildInfluence discovered the power of Klout on their Social Media footprints and decided they needed to raise their Klout to show just how influential they really were.

G: Happy birthday!

R: Thanks. Did you Tweet that?

G: Yes. Then I got my 3 month old daughter to Retweet it.

R: I’ll Retweet it and thank you.

G: Then I’ll thank you back.

R: I’ll get my pet dog’s Twitter account to retweet you and post Bark! Bark! at the end of it.

G: Loved the birthday photo on Facebook.

R: Thank you. Did you see I tagged you?

G: Yes. Told you thanks under the picture and then shared it on my wall.

R: Good! Did you see the status I wrote of how much I appreciated everyone’s birthday wishes?

G: Yes. Last I saw, there were 10 comments under it.

R: I liked the first 5. Top News for sure.

G: Top News is good. Should double the number of comments.

R: Next month, I’ll hold a birthday contest and choose one of my friends who wishes me happy birthday and give them a gift card.

G: But your birthday is today.

R: I’ll change it tomorrow. A monthly birthday will increase my Klout 12X the rate of a birthday only once a year.

G: More influence, more Klout.

R: More Klout, more influence.

G: Amazing how our Klout scores are always the same.

R: Our Klout scores ARE nearly the same. Amazing, isn’t it?

G: Time to check in to buy your birthday cake. 4square and Facebook Places.

R: If you have a birthday and don’t Tweet/Facebook it, you have no social media life.

G: Or Klout.

R: Influence matters.

G: Stop moving so I can take a picture of your picking up your birthday cake. Then it’s time for the party.

R: I already blogged 5 Steps to the Perfect Birthday Party.

G: Funny. I blogged Excellent Parties in 5 Easy Steps and linked yours.

Unfortunately, as RosenKlout and GuildInfluence were discussing their social media strategy to maximize facetime from RosenKlout’s monthly birthday party, they walked through a red light and directly into the path of a truck.

If someone had taken a photo of the accident and Tweeted/Facebooked it, their Klout would have skyrocketed.

Unfortunately, no one did. If it isn’t on Facebook, it isn’t official.

So no one knows what happened.  Though blogs have been written….

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Humor, zest, & love

Social media essentials: humor, zest, and love

Native Americans once planted 3 sacred sisters: corn, beans, and squash. Beans grew up the corn stalks. Squash grew between the rows to keep down weeds. The 3 crops combined the best possible harvest.

Instead of Sacred Sisters, cajun cooks have a Holy Trinity of cooking: onions, pepper, and garlic.

The 3 sacred sisters, or holy trinity, of Twitter are humor, zest, and love. They are the salt, pepper, and sugar of social media. Why do they matter?

  1. Humor (salt).  When I forget to put salt in a batch of bread dough, the result is flat, and no one wants to eat bland.
  2. Zest (pepper). A little pepper zing in a recipe gets my attention.
  3. Love (sugar). Sugar can be added. When some foods caramelize (like onions), they turn sweet and have a richer flavor. I like sugar best in my morning coffee and dessert.

How do these apply to social media?

Humor – A humorless social media presence is as interesting as the flat cardboard cutouts of celebrities they sell at the mall. We look at them and keep walking cause there’s nothing to hold us there.   

Zest – we all have topics that light our fires. Sprinkle some in your tweets and you’ll enhance the overall flavor of your writing.

Love – makes the world go round. Life is hard. People struggle. Use your social media to build up and encourage others, and everyone will want your plate of cookies at the potluck.

How do we balance all 3? Look at some recipes, observe some great cooks (or people who do social media well), and try it.

Mistakes can happen. Once my kids put 2 tablespoons of salt in a pot of slow cooking oatmeal instead of 1/2 teaspoon. I got the first bite and dashed to the sink to spit it out. It was inedible. We’ve all heard of the prank of putting salt in the sugar bowl.  If you dump a whole can of pepper into soup, odds are no one will eat it cause it’s too hot.  Learning from our own mistakes and others makes us better cooks.

In the kitchen, tomorrow is another day and in the garden, there’s always next year.

If you make a mistake with social media, chalk it up like a dinner recipe that flopped and try again.

Don’t forget the humor, zest, and love.

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