Tag: Social Media (Page 1 of 3)

10 Ways to Piss Off Your Twitter Followers

Ah, the joys of Twitter. Some days, Twitter can be a great place for information and conversation. On other days, it’s damn annoying. It’s amazing to me how so many people haven’t picked up on what works and what doesn’t work on this social network. As for what doesn’t work, well, here are 10 easy ways to piss off your Twitter followers:

  1. Auto DMs. That’s all I’m going to say.
  2. Only retweeting other people’s tweets. C’mon. Say something! Anything!
  3. Never following anyone back because you a.) don’t know how to use Twitter or b.) are a snob.
  4. Include the words “guru” or “expert” in your bio.
  5. Leave your default user picture as an egg.
  6. Tweet the same message on 6 different accounts.
  7. Make three tweets a year.
  8. Tweet only links. All day, every day.
  9. Retweet something without actually opening the link, watching the video, reading the post, etc.
  10. Only tweet about yourself, your work,  your achievements, you, you, and more you.
Now, we’re all not perfect. In fact, I bet all of us have done at least one of these things at one time or another  – especially retweeting without reading or only making time to retweet without adding to the conversation.
Forget about the Klout score and what the “experts” are telling you to do.The easiest way to succeed (and enjoy yourself) on Twitter is to not over think everything. Just be yourself, have some fun, and actually join in on the conversation. Share things of value. Respond to other people. Ask questions. Take a step into the stream.
Treat Twitter like a party. Don’t be the drunk girl that falls down stairs. Don’t be the guy that tries to sell you something as soon as the handshake is over. Don’t be the person who stands in the corner staring at the punch bowl all night long. I can’t promise that it’ll be a great experience every time, but I can promise that you’ll feel better about Twitter if you make yourself more of a party guest (or a party host) instead of someone who becomes the uninvited later on.

 

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Building The Brand: LinkedIn

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So, when I sat down to write this post on building a personal brand using LinkedIn, I had a few false starts. Over the course of the past few months, LinkedIn has played a pretty big part of my activities online, so I needed to find my focus before writing about how I actually utilize this network. First, it started with someone sending me information about a job that I should apply for. Then, a friend asked me about how to beef up her profile and another asked for help on using the LinkedIn advertising network. Finally, last week, I got a promotion at work. Needless to say, my profile needed to be spruced up.

As for what to do with your LinkedIn profile, well, therein lies the challenge. If you’re already active on Facebook and Twitter, you might not want to jump right in to being active on another network. But if you’re job searching and want an opportunity to get some attention, you should absolutely be a presence on LinkedIn. For me, LinkedIn is where I get my industry questions answered. It’s also a place for me to establish a bit of credibility because really, at the end of the day, that’s what your online reputation is all about.

So, let’s dive into the three main parts of LinkedIn that I think are critical to personal branding: your profile, LinkedIn Answers, and LinkedIn Groups.

The first thing that you should know about LinkedIn is that it allows for you to announce your skills to the world, as well as the network you’ve built on there. Skills such as public speaking, writing, and marketing are just a few of the things you can emphasize when you put together your LinkedIn profile and luckily, this is a network that is very flexible. With tons of apps to be added to your profile, searchable skill sets, a resume-like setup, and the option for people to recommend you with testimonials, LinkedIn is a job searcher and networker’s best friend.  This is where professionals find each other. 

So, if you:

  • Are looking for a job,
  • Want to expand a skill set,
  • Need to build up your network,
  • Just graduated and need to start building a personal brand,
  • Want to improve your online visibility and reputation,
  • Want to establish yourself as an industry expert,
LinkedIn is the place to be.

LinkedIn Answers

One of my absolute favorite features of LinkedIn is the answers community. It’s sort of like Yahoo! Answers, only without the teenage drama. Most of the questions are industry or professional base, so in a way, you get to use this feature to pick the brains of people in the business without having to pay for a consulting fee. In the past, I’ve asked questions about copywriting, public relations pitching, and what books I should be reading outside of school, but really, you could ask about anything. If you have a question about what you should be doing or how to handle a professional or work-related issue, then this is a wonderful and free resource to consult. Plus, it’s a great way to expand your network.

When you participate in the LinkedIn Answers, you have the option to not just ask questions – you can answer them too. Answering questions and connecting with other professionals in this community is a great way to expand your personal network and show off your expertise. If someone sees that you’re a frequent presence in the Answers, they may come to know you as an expert in a particular subject or a resource in another. If they see you asking lots of questions, they may think that you’re someone who is always learning and inquisitive – two skills that can be a great match for a variety of positions. I mean, there’s no way to really tell how you’ll be perceived, but one thing is for sure: activity on LinkedIn will keep you at the forefront of your network’s minds and if you’re looking for a job, being on someone’s mind is a good thing.

Also, people want to connect with other knowledgeable people in their industry. When you show that you’re knowledgeable, people notice and may seek you out to connect with you to pick your brain, offer you a job, or just say, “hello.” All good things.

My Profile

Now, when it comes to your LinkedIn profile, this is where the personal branding business comes in. If you look at my LinkedIn page, you’ll see that I’ve filled it out almost in its entirety. Taking advantage of the space it offers is a good thing for me, since it gives you a much more well-rounded and complete picture of someone. There’s only so much a resume can tell you. LinkedIn lets you be creative and more importantly, expand upon those resume items that you usually note in your online profiles: position name, company, dates worked.

As for best practices, here are my biggest takeaways:

  • Underneath your name, in the headline, that’s reputation gold. Most LinkedIn users will notice your headline, name, and photo in quick succession and those are the things they remember (in my ultimate geekyness, I actually read a study about this a few weeks ago). So, for that headline, make it count. Most people go with their current job title, but you can also get creative with it.
  • In your profile, I think it’s also good to list some of your responsibilities and experiences to go along with your job, just like you would a resume. Maybe put 3-5 or so points below each position held, detailing what you did as well as any significant successes (e.g. Aided in coordinating Project X; grew budget by 50%, etc.).  This gives dimension to the jobs you’ve listed and can be a great way to emphasize what you can do.
  • Don’t forget about the Skills section. Add in specific skills, like Microsoft Word, as well as more “abstract” skills, like marketing, communication, project management, organization, public speaking, etc. These are things that people look at and say, “Hey, this is someone that could really fit well with the organization.”
  • Choose a professional picture. For the love of God, this is not Facebook. A simple head shot where you can clearly make out that it’s you will do. Aside from the headline and your name, this is one of the most heavily viewed areas of your LinkedIn profile.
  • Beef up your additional information too. Don’t be afraid to share a wide array of interests. If you love cake decorating, say so! Really into yoga? Note it! Again, this is something that people can connect with you over. Plus, it gives a much more “human” side to your professional achievements.
  • Link to your Facebook, Twitter, website, etc. If content is part of what you do,  having touch points for people to find it is important.

You can also play around with different LinkedIn add-ons, like WordPress, SlideShare, Amazon Book List, etc. to add dimension as well as portfolio material. Anything that you can share to show another user who you are and how you’d fit in their network makes a difference.

Using the SlideShare LinkedIn app, I’ve added a copy of my portfolio. Granted, my portfolio is always a work in progress, but this was a great way for me to show a little bit more about the work I’ve done without cluttering up the page. My portfolio is just your basic PowerPoint presentation. I’ll get into my portfolio in more detail in another post, but the goal is to convey examples of some of my best work in a variety of media. That media option is HUGE when  you’re job searching because it eliminates that extra step for people finding your work. You put everything you want right in front of them. Convenience is a powerful thing.

Finally, get some recommendations.  People may give these to you without asking, but don’t be afraid to ask for them if you need them. You’ll want to reach out to your connections and try to get recommendations for your work personally, academically, and professionally. There’s a reason that word of mouth is so powerful. Recommendations make you more than a resume – they make you a person. They establish trust. They give a feel for what you’re like.

LinkedIn Groups

I love the groups feature. Just like Facebook Groups or Facebook Business Pages, LinkedIn groups is a place where you can connect with others, expand your network, and again, show off your industry expertise. If LinkedIn Answers is like the library, then LinkedIn Groups is like that coffee shop you really like. Conversation is the name of the game in Groups, so if you want to have some more in-depth discussion on a particular industry issue or get some thoughts or feedback on some of your recent work, a Group may be the place to do it.

Most groups are divided into categories based on geographic location, industry, interest, professional society, etc. There is no shortage of opportunity for you to connect over something you have in common with others. Groups (as well as Answers and your profile) can sometimes lead to job offers or introductions to new people. They can also result in real-life connections, speaking invitations, collaborative projects…the list really goes on and on.

I’m sometimes bad about participating in groups. I would say about 80 to 90 percent of the time, I’m a lurker. I’m observing the conversations taking place. I should really chime in more, but sometimes, it’s just nice to listen.

As for developing your LinkedIn presence, I could write about how I manage my page, how I expand my network, etc. But I’ll save those topics for other posts in the future. These are really the three core features that I feel are most important if you’re just getting started with LinkedIn or want to start making something of your page.

Thoughts? Feedback? Discussion is welcomed!

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Building My Brand: Facebook

I have your basic Facebook personal profile, like most people. On here, you’ll find my interests, favorite quotes, connections, links to my website, a short bio…basically the essentials for a social media page.

Facebook wasn’t my first social network. Before I went to college, I had a Myspace page and a LiveJournal account. At the time, it’s where all my friends were and I wanted to be part of that. I, like every other teenager, slathered on the angst and went to town with emoticons, surveys, and quiz results. It was a messy time, but looking back on it now, it was my first foray into personal branding.

I picked usernames that hid my identity but still “said” something about my personality. They were usually similar to my AIM screennames and could best be described as words mashed together. I wasn’t much of a numbers person, so I left off the customary digits at the end of my name. The way I looked at it, everyone else was using numbers and I wanted to be different. I kept it simple but lofty. Oh yes, I was quite the lofty teen. All those poetry books…

When it came to content, I was a sparse publisher. I had friends who would post to their online journals or Myspace pages daily. I was more of a weekly or whenever I would remember sort of person. As time went on, pages were abandoned and I became bored. The things I had created were basically out there in the ether and based on my comments and page hits, no one was reading.

I moved into Facebook at the start of my freshman year at Marywood. Some of my classmates talked about Facebook, saying it was a better alternative to Myspace because it was only for college students. Fewer creepers and less spam. Sounded good to me.

I signed up for an account and started adding friends. I filled out a pretty thorough bio and added a user picture. As time went on, I’d join groups, create events, and share things with my friends and professors. By this time, I had learned that Facebook was an awesome way to network and communicate with other students, teachers, community leaders, industry professionals, and yes, businesses.

I majored in Advertising & Public Relations in college, so I was no stranger to discussing social media in the classroom. Most of the time, we looked at Facebook through a lens of it being a communications tool. How did it perform in a crisis? Which brands used it well? Which ones didn’t? Who held the copyright for the photos posted? How did creativity and digital publishing come into play?

As I started using Facebook regularly, I became much more conscious of the things I posted. Maybe it was because I spent time talking about it in my classes and how my Facebook page would impact me getting a job or internship. I spent time looking at my profile, finding areas that could be tightened up to sound more interesting, or at least make me sound more interesting. I began to transition from strictly personal to more professional updates. Around this time of transition, I also started working in internet marketing. That’s when my eyes got opened.

Working with client pages gave me awesome experience in social media. I got to update statuses, post photos, and best of all, watch how those updates affected web traffic, leads generated, or conversions (TRANSLATION: YOUR ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES). It was pretty awesome for a geeky chick like me.

This experience in social media for business equipped me with a lot of tools to use when it came time to start developing my own personal brand more. As I was given more opportunity to showcase my skills and experiement with new communications tactics, I saw a need to become more noticeable. I meshed together what I learned in the classroom about public relations with what I was doing at work in the social media sphere. As for what popped out? Well, that’s what we’re discussing. Trust me. I can go on about this for days.

But to keep things simple, let’s just dive into the biggest part of my Facebook brand: my profile page.

My Facebook Profile

If you look at my Facebook profile, you’ll notice I’ve done a few things to enhance my visibility and at the same time, paint myself in the best light. We all want to look our best. It’s just the way we are. Anyways, when you look at my profile, you’ll notice some of the following things (and lessons for personal branding):

  • My Photos:Yes, I have embarrassing photos of me on Facebook. I’ve been photographed in scenes that are less than flattering, but not so much that I have to worry about my professional reputation or career. Most everyone understands that people get caught in unflattering positions from time to time. We’re human. We look like complete idiots on occasion – but that’s okay. However, there’s a fine line.A few posts back, I wrote about social media following you well after you’ve posted. When it comes to the photos, there’s definitely an argument there for keeping things clean. Teachers in particular are faced with harsh scrutiny over the kinds of pictures posted on their pages. We’ve seen photos lead to lost jobs.My perspective on photos is to keep things professional, but still show some personality.If you are covered in vomit and look like a hot mess, don’t post it. If you’re doing something illegal or if you’re somewhere you shouldn’t be, don’t post it. If you’re scantly clad doing a keg stand, don’t post it. If you’re marveling at your physique in an Anthony Weiner-esque moment, you probably shouldn’t post it. Unless you want a scandal on your hands, of course.
  • My Info: I give links to my website and list my interests, as well as my relationship status, schooling, employment, and a few other tidbits. It’s basic information that serves as my elevator pitch. Anyone who looks at my info tab can get a pretty good overview of who I am and what I may know about.So, when it comes to your info tab, say something. Anything. It drives me crazy when people leave all bio information blank. We, as human beings, thirst for more information. The more you provide, the more we’re likely to consume. So, when it comes to your personal brand, be aware that your bio is one of the first forms of information consumption, next to your photos. Take the time to put something together that’s worthwhile or in the very least, put a link to your website so people can learn more about you.
  • My Links: I give links to my other social media profiles, my work, and my website because it’s good cross promotion. I get a fair bit of traffic from Facebook, so something is telling me that it works. If you have an online presence on other sites or have good work to share, post a link – but do so in moderation. I’ve followed marketers and marketing agencies that just throw craptons of links at me. I hate it. I know all of their other connections hate it too. So don’t be that guy. Post links to your stuff and give yourself a shameless plug every once in a while – but don’t make it a habit.
  • My Status Updates:I tend to update a few times per week. When I was in college, I updated daily. No, several times per day. Now that I’m in the 9-5 world, I have less time to update my Facebook. Instead, I update other people’s Facebook pages for a living…hehehe…Back to status updates: keeping your Facebook page updated is a great way to demonstrate your humanity. The things you post can relate back to your expertise, your knowledge, your interests, or even what you’re doing that day. All posts are a gateway to connection and making an impression. If you want to brand yourself a certain way, think about posts that go along with the image you’re trying to promote.Also, be helpful. I’ve built my personal brand around being a helpful person, so you’ll usually find me answering questions, posting resources, or giving feedback when asked. I’ve seen the rewards of being helpful come in a variety of forms. Give it a try. In the meantime, focus on posting updates that reflect YOU. If you’re a writer, post a link to your latest blog post. If you’re an artist, post a photo of your latest work. If you’re a marketer, share a tip. There are plenty of ways for you to demonstrate who YOU are.
  • My Contact Information: This is where personal privacy and preference come in. You’ll have to use your judgement, but for me, I only give some social media networks and an email address to contact me. I don’t want to give other information because, well, it’s just too personal. From a branding perspective, I think giving an email address or an alternate social media profile should suffice. There should be one alternate way to contact you listed besides Facebook.
  • My Likes and Interests:My likes are pretty diverse. You’ll find that I like musical theater and blogging. But I also like Blair Candy. The brands I’ve chosen to like on Facebook are ones that I’m connected with in one way or another. Sometimes it’s a client that I’ve worked with at SC. Other times, it’s a brand I’ve purchased and was pleased with.  Like it or not, people make assumptions and judgements based on the brands you like.People who like Apple products are a great example. Apple has found a way to make their products appear cooler than all others on the planet, and because of that fact, they have troops of brand loyalists spreading iGospel. Anyways, your likes say a lot about you, so consider them when you’re building up your Facebook presence. Seeing that someone “likes” a page can be a great segue into discussion and interaction.
  • My Friends: My great-grandmother use to tell me, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you who you are.” A phrase like that sticks with you, so when it comes to my Facebook page, I’m conscious of who I connect with. If you have a friend who keeps posting things on your wall that make upset, you don’t have to be connected with that person. If you have a Facebook friend who thinks it’s funny to tag you in an obscene photo, well, have your 15 seconds of laughter and then deal with it appropriately. The friends you surround you on Facebook are just as important to your online reputation as you are. Trust me – people notice those posting around them.
This is what works for me in terms of my profile. What’s been working for you?

Why I Keep My Page PG-13

The thing about my Facebook page is that I’m connected with a variety of people. Family members. Friends. Classmates. Clients. Co-workers. Industry professionals. Friends of friends. These are people who all hold a stake in my online and offline reputation, which I think most people fail to realize. Everything you put out there on Facebook is there. It will be seen and in some cases, it will be indexed on Google. I tend to keep things light on my Facebook page and always make sure to reread what I post. Some statuses are better left unposted.

Some people may think I’m weak of opinion because I censor my comments. I do use slang and occasional profanity, but for the most part, my Facebook is PG-13. That works for me. Some people build a brand around saying whatever is on their minds, like Redhead Writing. Other people choose to stay pretty vanilla. Personal branding is all about what works for you.

When I do express my opinion, I provide an argument to back it up. When I post about things that are controversial, I make sure that I’m passionate about it first. I’d rather see my Facebook connections disagree with me over something I’m passionate about then start up a personal branding mess with a subject I’m indifferent about.

A solid reputation takes years to build and only seconds to destroy. I wouldn’t want to throw something like that away because I couldn’t control hitting the update button.

Personal Branding Takeaways

I know I just dumped a lot on Facebook and personal branding in this post (and rambled), but the key takeaways you should remember are:

  • Be careful with what you post. Every photo, status update, comment, and interaction with your connections is a direct reflection of who you are. Make sure you’re sending the right message about yourself.
  • Take time to fill out your Facebook page. Give us a picture of who you are by providing us, your connections, with information. You don’t have to give your life story, but at least write down a sentence or two about who you are.
  • Actively network. Facebook is a social network –  so get social! Most Facebook users are lurkers, using the network to check in on old classmates and ex-boyfriends. Instead, maybe make a comment or two. Wish someone a “Happy Birthday!” Like the page of your favorite TV show. You get the most out of Facebook when you actually participate.
This may have been quite the rambling post, but I’d love to get your take. What’s your experience when it comes to building your online reputation and brand with Facebook?
P.S. – You can see (and connect with) my Facebook page in action here: http://www.facebook.com/mandy.boyle
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How I Build My Personal Brand

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It’s been awhile since I’ve written about personal branding, but it seems like now is the perfect time to do so. After completing the #Trust30 Challenge and writing a few reflective posts, I’m ready to get back into marketing, social media, and branding. It’s what I know best and feel most passionate about.

In previous posts and in some of my guest posts, you may have read about ways to strengthen your presence on LinkedIn, blog successfully, or utilize social media tools like Facebook to grow your brand, either as an individual or an organization. In this next series of posts, I’m going to share a behind the scenes look at what I use to grow my own personal brand, both online and offline.

Here’s what you can expect to hear from me:

  • Why I keep things PG-13 on Facebook
  • What social network I’m still exploring
  • Why I have two Twitter accounts
  • What’s in my portfolio
  • How I pay it forward
  • How I was a guest poster even before I got into blogging
I’m not a celebrity in social media by any means. What I’m writing about isn’t gospel, but it’s what’s working for me right now. I’m just sharing my perspective. Other opinions and points of view are welcome!
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Crisis Control Should Be Part Of Your PR & Social Media Strategy

This is a guest post by Dan Cash.

Crisis management has always been something that businesses dread, however, with the right PR companies working for them it should be something which can be handled efficiently and with minimum impact to the brand and the message your company is trying to deliver. However, these days though it’s not as straightforward as it once was.

Five years ago a PR disaster would involve traditional media sources repeating news about the situation in which your company found itself, there would be chatter on the internet, discussions on forums and a number of angry emails, telephone calls and letters. Your PR firm’s responsibility would be to mitigate the message and to placate those who had the greatest grievance. Today, because of social media platforms the situation is similar but ramped up to the Nth degree.

Because having a profile on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter is an industry expectation, your company is open to comments and criticism which you host on your profile page which all your business partners and clients can then see. Your knee-jerk reaction might be to delete disparaging comments but this would probably be a mistake as censorship is something that internet users have come to feel very strongly about.

If an event occurs it’s vital that you deal with it quickly. If you make your media responses and take remedial action immediately,  you’ll nip many of your critics in the bud. Any delays can be correlated into loss of reputation and the speed at which social media works means that ‘timely’ essentially means instantly.

Rather than responding to your critics with denial and deletion of their comments, if you’ve dealt with the problem, say so and explain, calmly and reasonably what steps you took, how this event will be something you will learn from in the future and that you welcome constructive comments and suggestions for ongoing policy reviews.

If your remediation is ongoing, explain that you’re making your best efforts to resolve the situation, that you’re pouring manpower and knowhow into solving the problem. Use your social media to keep those concerned abreast of your efforts, in real time if you can. Answer critical comments honestly without being rude or patronizing where the ill informed have taken it upon themselves to join in on hating you but point out where they have been misguided.

Charlie Pownall, lead digital strategist for Burston Marsteller says that:

“The internet and social media are changing the nature and the dynamic of issue and crisis management to the extent that many corporations feel that they aren’t in control of their reputation. It is a myth that companies could control their reputations it is getting harder for them to shape perception. Organizations have to be transparent, sincere and engage with their audience.”

If you want to ensure that your crisis recovery is effective it’s necessary to have a well thought out and implementable strategy. You need to be able to talk about the worst case scenario and make sure that not only do you make contingencies for it, you need also to have media statements and expert testimony pointing out that you have already looked into what would happen in just such a situation and that you are bringing all the state of the art techniques that exist to bear on delivering the solution. Your crisis communications have to be suitable for all streams of media, including press and TV, social media, radio web content and press releases. The message has to be coherent, informative and each data stream should compliment the others.

Dan Cash is a writer specialising in social media. Humax foxsat HDRs mean that he doesn’t miss his favourite shows while he’s on Facebook and sledertone takes care of the workout. No need to leave the chair ever again!

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A Fashion Flub: The Kenneth Cole Tweet

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This week, the social media world farted. OK, well maybe not farted, but that’s how Todd Defren put it in his most recent post: “In Social Media, Everyone Can Hear You Fart.”

Todd Defren is the Principal of SHIFT Communications, a major communications firm, so he definitely knows his stuff. His blog, PRSquared, is a must-read for anyone looking to get an honest to goodness look into the communications world. However, back to the point: earlier this week, Kenneth Cole‘s official Twitter account released a tweet that was nothing short of shocking and um, graceless.

The text of the tweet was as follows: “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at [LINK].”

Tasteless, yes. Terrible, yes. But it did give communicators (like us) a good reminder. You need to THINK before you tweet. In the case of Kenneth Cole, they weren’t thinking about how their messaging (the tweet) would impact the overall perception of their brand.  When you’re crafting your messages for your company, make sure that you understand that every message you send connects back to your brand image. Once ruined, that brand image can take months, years, or possibly never to repair.

Also, it can lead to spoofed Twitter accounts that can further damage the brand, like this one: https://twitter.com/kennethcolepr

Read Todd Defren’s blog post. It gives a recap of the event as well as an analysis. Plus, it’s a good read, including the comments. http://www.pr-squared.com/index.php/2011/02/in-social-media-everyone-can-hear-you-fart

Keep this in mind if you’re planning on using Facebook, Twitter, a website, or any other type of new media in your strategy.

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Social Media Idols

When you were little, did you want to be just like someone when you grew up? Did you aspire to have his or her strength? Intelligence? Compassion? Did you think his job was the coolest? Her car the fastest? Did you decide that you were going to follow in that person’s foot steps?

I’ve heard it said that imitation is the highest form of flattery, but let’s go a step further. Let’s say you didn’t just imitate someone. You idolized and by definition, you held that person in high regard blindly.

One of the problems with the social media sphere at the moment, in my opinion, is idolatry. Instead of collaborating and pushing one’s own ideas about communication, a person will tend to gravitate toward a proclaimed “guru” and follow that person’s advice with closed eyes.

I know. You’re guilty of it at times. I’m guilty of it at times. When someone else has a great idea about something, it’s hard not to want to latch onto it. Maybe you appreciate the same thing or hold the same feelings. Maybe you’ve just been well persuaded.

Some people choose their idols wisely and end up actually learning from the experience. They worship, subscribe, and attend the idol’s webinars. They help to finance the success of the maven or rockstar.

The sad truth is that some of the idols I’ve come across aren’t actually idols at all. They’re rude and unappreciative. They’re very full of themselves and dedicated to hoarding knowledge and experience. They don’t answer questions and they’re not approachable. They simply go through the social media community living off of their reputation and from time to time, they produce something that truly is good work. It’s sad really because while you’re following the idol, you’re missing out on SO many great ideas from those lesser knowns.

For the past few months, I’ve been challenging myself to explore — to grow beyond the idols that got me to learn more about social media and its practice. I’m reading things from people I’ve never heard of. Maybe people you’ve never heard of. And it’s good. No, it’s great. These people are producing GREAT work.

I challenge you to step outside your comfortable circle of influencers and look for content of substance elsewhere. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

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Social Media: Always Worth the Time for Libraries

So on November 19, 2010, I had a really exciting opportunity. Tricia Richards of The PR Dept. LLC and Sandy Longo of the Abington Community Library invited me to speak on social media with a group of Young Adult Librarians from throughout Lackawanna county. It was such a great experience and I hope I was of some help! Anyways, for your viewing pleasure, I’ve embedded the presentation below. Feedback is always welcome and let me know if you have any questions! (the format is simple and clean – the discussion gave color to the slides!)

***Also, please note that this will be turned into a webinar as per my independent study project requirements. Stay tuned!***

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Guest Post Round Up 10/4

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More guest posting goodness from around the internetz.  Stay tuned for upcoming posts on The Next Great Generation, Search Engine People, The Communications Blog, and The Solid Cactus Blog :)

Interview with a Communications Professional: Gini Dietrich – TheCommunicationsBlog.com

Interview with a PR Pro: Deirdre Breakenridge, Part I and Part II – The CommunicationsBlog.com

5 Tips for a Better Online Portfolio – TheCommunicationsBlog.com

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Look Before You Jump In: Questions to Ask in Social Media

Cover of "Are We There Yet ?"

Cover of Are We There Yet ?

I’ve seen a lot of people – and businesses – jump into social media well before they’re ready. Instead of going in with a clear idea, strategy, or even some sense, they just decide that it’s enough to have a Facebook or Twitter profile. It’s not. The “me too!” mentality doesn’t work. You have to have a purpose.

Before starting any social media efforts on behalf of a brand, business, or even yourself, you must take a look at four important things.

Deciding to Go

First, one must ask the question, “Can I invest the time into managing social media profiles?” If so, that’s great. You can now move on to developing a strategy and setting goals. If not, then it’s best to consider your options. Businesses or non-profits can hand off social media to employees, volunteers, interns, or even an agency if the owner doesn’t have the time or ability. If you are letting someone else take the wheel on your social media presence, make sure that he or she knows the environment. Choose someone who is familiar with social media best practices. Do your research. Know who you’re trusting with your image and online persona.

Also, make it your responsibility to know social media and at least attempt to understand its function in the big picture. Remember – social media is not an end. It’s a tool. You may not need to know all of the subtle nuances, but you have to have a general idea of what it does and how it can help you.

Where Am I Going?

Then ask, “What are my goals in social media?” Setting goals is an important part of any marketing or branding strategy and social media allows for you to do both. Think about what you want and then set realistic expectations and actionable steps. Do you want to drive more traffic to your website? Do you want more reviews from customers? Do you want to solve a customer service issue? Do you want to generate leads? By identifying your goals, you enable yourself to develop a smarter social media strategy that includes action that leads to an end. You don’t want to walk into your social media presence with a “me too!” attitude. It’s not enough to just be in social media. You have to have a purpose.

How am I Getting There?

Next, ask yourself, “How will I achieve those goals?” Make a list of ideas and steps that can move you closer to that goal. For example, generate ideas for what kinds of things you’ll post and share on your profiles. Also, think about how you can differentiate yourself from your competition. Will you provide faster feedback? Will you answer more questions? Will you use a custom Twitter background to achieve your goal of better branding? Brainstorm with employees, friends, and even customers to find out ways to reach your goal. Also, during this step in the process, it’s best to start brushing up on your social media skills. Read blogs, attend webinars, and do everything you can to find out what others are doing to gain social media success. Find out what the best practices are and then relate them back to your goal. Take actions you think will work. Don’t just try a “spray and pray” strategy where you’ll try everything once.

Are We There Yet?

Finally, determine how will success be measured. Will you measure success in more traffic? More followers? More wall posts? More leads? More phone calls? Begin your foray into social media with a clear idea of what you want and think of different metrics to determine whether or not that goal is met. Everyone is different, so don’t worry about measuring your business by, let’s say,  the same standards of a major brand. Have a clear idea of what you consider a success before you start and you’ll always keep your expectations within reach – as long as you stay realistic.

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