Social Media How-Tos

Social Media Club – Higher Standards for a Growing Industry

Posted on April 1, 2009. Filed under: Social Media How-Tos, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

socialmediaclublogoLast night, I had the honour of being the speaker at the first meeting of the Social Media Club, Victoria Chapter.  I gave a short talk about how the Internet is really coming full circle, from collaborative groups on Usenets, through the static, brochure-type pages that every business put onto their websites in the rush to “go online”, and now back toward more open networks and interactivity.  Only with a price tag at the end of it, perhaps.  I hope people liked it – it’s easy enough to be the speaker when you helped organize the event!  Regardless, I didn’t start this post to toot my own horn.

I want to point out how useful and important it is to have a forum like Social Media Club for discussing strategies, tactics, “best practices”, smart solutions, slimy ones, product reviews, integration, aggregation, filtering and so on.

Go West, Young Marketer!
We’re at a juncture, it seems, in the social media “industry”.  The early adopters have cut a nice trail through the wilderness, and now the gold rush is on, with all the carpet-baggers, snake-oil salesmen, gurus, wide-eyed disciples and “best-kept secret” sellers jumping right in.    Or at least, that’s how the early adopters see many of the marketers that have appeared overnight on the major sites, especially Facebook and Twitter.

I’m a marketer, or a “connector” anyway, and my entry into this world was, frankly, because I followed the lead of other marketers.  In California, where Social Media Club started, the marketers were some of the first people to say “Hey, let’s meet and figure out some standards for how we work in helping our clients reach their customers using social media.”  They’ve been big advocates of the Social Media Club purpose.  And I am truly thankful, because the coder-ific early adopters are – to a certain extent – right.

LIONs and Tigers and Magpies?
Almost as soon as I landed in Twitter’s birdbath, I was asked if I wanted to “be a magpie” and sell 10% of my tweets (posts, or updates to the uninitiated) to people who want to pitch my followers.  Not long after that, I was told that I could get up to 20,000 “instant” followers by participating in some chain-letter-style Tweetergetter scheme,  if only I retweeted a certain little phrase.

For me, that crosses the boundary into unethical or ill-advised practice.  So does handing over your identity to a ghostwriting tweet – at least without disclosure that you are doing so.  But surely there are 100 wonderful, ethical ways to connect with people who want to buy stuff.  That’s why I’m excited about the Social Media Club.  I want a place to hash through these issues.  I want it to be local, as well as global.  I want the conversations to happen online and in person.   I want to learn, share, and connect.  And I want to take everything I learn and share it with business people, who are desperate to find better ways to listen to and serve their clients, more efficiently and cost-effectively than in traditional media.  (OK, the business people I want to work with are, anyway.  The rest won’t stay in business long anyway.)

So Kristie Wells and Chris Heuer, thank you for a great idea,  and for putting an excellent international framework together.  Rebecca Grant, thanks for being a terrific hostess and point-and-click facilitator.   Paul Holmes, thanks for grabbing my hand in this crazy crack-the-whip game of social media marketing.   Let’s all hold on tight and skate faster!

More Marketers Welcome
Oh, and if you are in communications, marketing, PR, social media, technology or just like this stuff, please join us in the David Strong building (room tba) the fourth Tuesday of each month.  We start promptly at 7 pm.  The coffee’s great.  The conversation even better.  And I really want the industry as a whole to get better, which means I don’t want to be the only marketer in the room.

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Help for busy social media days

Posted on February 24, 2009. Filed under: Social Media How-Tos | Tags: , , , , , |

BIC040I’m starting the day with a list of “to-do’s” that fills a whole page in my notebook.  On one hand, it’s overwhelming, but it is also very exciting, because it’s clear from my list that people are looking for information and help when it comes to marketing and social media. In response, I’ve been saying “yes” whenever people ask for help, and staying open to whatever comes as a result.  Here’s what it looks like:

  1. Send follow-up social media package proposal, as requested, to client who won my Facebook Fan Page service
  2. Finish communications plan for local client.
  3. Email strategic partner about social media strategies for local tourism campaign
  4. Make follow-up phone calls from networking meeting (there are around 6 of them!)
  5. Talk to another strategic partner about writing services for his established internet marketing business
  6. Publicize local “pilot” workshop on social media
  7. Work some more on my own website
  8. Publish first e-newsletter

There’s a mix of preparation, implementation and communication in all of that work, and it’s important to get the balance right.  I also hope to pass on the results of some of the research I’ve been doing in the off-hours.  So what can I do to stay productive and on top of the “social media” scene at the same time?  I can use some cool tools.  Here are a few of my favourites:

Mozilla Firefox Browser: This is one powerful browser, and I’ve customized it with some helpful plug-ins, including Shareaholic, which lets me bookmark, tweet, or post some of my findings to Facebook, as I find them.  Now I’m researching and communicating at the same time!

TweetDeck: Frankly, I couldn’t manage Twitter without this incredibly useful tool from Adobe.  Now that I’ve got a Twitter community of hundreds – and that’s actually modest compared to some users who have been around longer and working it harder – I need a way to sort my “tweeple” into groups, keep track of important conversations and keywords that have my attention, and basically see what I need to see all on one screen.

Ping.fm: When I really don’t have time to get sucked into the social media vortex, but still want to touch base with my networks, Ping is incredibly helpful.  Add all your social media sites here.  Write your status update once, and show up all over the place.

TweetLater: I’m still in “courtship” mode with this service – I tend to be an “in the moment” type of person when it comes to Twitter, but I can completely understand the usefulness of planning ahead.  You can share some of your favourite resources with the Twitter community while you are offline, and be seen by a broader range of people than your usual “early morning” crowd, if that’s when you tend to be online.  Heck, people have parcelled out their little nuggets of wisdom many days and weeks in advance.  If you’ve got good content, and people are giving you positive feedback, then it’s a good idea.

Another feature of TweetLater, and one I am still toying with, is it can automate your follow-backs – that is, when someone follows you, you can add them to your own “following” list.  The advantage of this function is that Twitter rewards reciprocity.  The more people you follow, the more they let follow you. (Some people say there’s a 2000 follower limit – in fact, that doesn’t apply if you’ve got no more than a 10% gap between who you follow and who is following you. ) My worry with this function, though, is that it does leave you open to some spammers and ‘bots who are increasingly present on the system.  I may have to eventually block some of these people, and much prefer manually following (good feeling!) to manually unfollowing (bad feeling!)

Those are four that I like – in fact, there are dozens – no, hundreds – of tools on the Web that help you optimize your time using social media. Another time I’ll look in my “favourites” file on TweetDeck and post some of the articles that list more of them.

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Social Media – my “Christmas Project” run amok

Posted on January 29, 2009. Filed under: Social Media How-Tos, Where Work meets Life | Tags: , , , , , , , |

social media logos

social media logos

It started innocently enough – having written my way down to part-time status with my main client, I found myself with some time on my hands, and a burning desire to “get good at something specific” in marketing. And I’d learn it over Christmas.

Diving into the social media pool
I decided that something should be social media.  After all, here I am – a marketer that spends considerable time writing web copy.  Why not check what all the fuss is about concerning using Facebook for business, Twitter and LinkedIn?

Freshening my Facebook
Facebook was easy – sort of.  I’d been on for a year and a half, collected way too many silly applications and a whole bunch of friends (ok, a hundred or so) representing a lifetime of moving around and trying to keep in touch.   First thing I did was grab Facebook by the scruff of the neck, turn off all sorts of notifications, and get it to stop bossing me around… at least long enough to invite a few more friends and make a page for my business.

Blogging for branding
Next, I took a look at my baby blog – started so that I could muse about ADHD, but named for my business.  OK, so I was having an identity crisis.  ADHD is still an abiding interest, but I’d have to blog about it elsewhere.  I’m still too swamped in the social media learning curve to have started that blog up, but if you joined me then and are wondering when I’m going to get around to blogging about coming “out of the fog” again, well, bear with me.

So the blog has made a right turn, and now it’s my repository for social media thoughts, especially for people who are new to it.  Because really, most people are new to it!  (I mean, if I can become the top of the Twitter elite for Victoria BC in less than a month, then you know that we’re still in the infancy stages of this stuff!)

Taking on Twitter
Then I cranked up Twitter, attached it to Facebook and Facebook to my blog, and badda boom badda bing, we have social media visibility!  Except that still, nothing looks quite the way I want it to.   I’ve just found a theme that I like on my free WordPress blog, so the upgrades are coming.  Once that’s done, can embedded YouTube videos and Flickr photo galleries be far behind?  They’re all complementary ways to connect…

LinkedIn, too…
Oh, and I fired up my LinkedIn account too, because after all, I am a business woman, and this site has wonderful connecting functions for people in business.

Learning from the Pros
As all this was happening, I was finding interesting, savvy social media people to follow on Twitter, and they’ve been educating me every single day about the best ways to connect with mentors, with potential clients, and with people who are just worth knowing.  Checking on TwitterGrader, I went from a fair-to-middling-for-a-newbie score of 54 (out of 100) in mid-December to over 96 a couple of days ago.  And 435 people think I’m interesting and relevant enough to follow.  Imagine!

Racing up the learning curve!
The thing is, my head is still spinning from jumping onto this merry-go-round so quickly.  Clients are starting to ask how they can use social media effectively, and I’m putting together proposals that will help them take advantage of the relationship-marketing heart of social media… without causing them to lose sleep or productive working hours.  I’ll do that for them!

And to be sure, there are wonderful tools to help sort all the posts on all the sites – like Ping.fm, TweetLater, TwitterFeed, Tweetdeck, and so on.  As well, I’d like to thank some amazing social media professionals, pro bloggers and simply fine people I met on-line who are my role models, like Mari Smith, Nancy Marmolejo, Sherman Hu, Chris Brogan, Maria Reyes McDavis, and Michele Price.

Do I feel ready to pass along what I’ve learned to the 99 percent of Victoria business owners who know social media is “out there” but don’t know how to make it work for them?  As ready as I’ll ever be…

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3Rs of Social Media #3 – be Relevant

Posted on January 20, 2009. Filed under: Social Media How-Tos | Tags: , , , , , , |

OK, so in the big wide world of the Internet, where there is a following for everything under the sun, what can I possibily mean by “Be relevant”?

Well, when it comes to business, be relevant to the people you want to do business with.  Who are those people, and what do you want them to know about both you and your business?  It’s ok to take a big-picture view of this – the answer can be both personal and professional.  In fact, it’s best if it’s both.

Going back to our previous “received wisdom” that people do business with people they know, like and trust, social media like blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter give you a platform for others to get to know you, your family, your hobbies and interests, even some of your daily activities.  Add to that some of your specialized information from your field of expertise, and you have a powerful combination that gives your potential customers an insight into you and how you do your work.

Does it matter what you had for breakfast?  Perhaps not.  Then again, if you are a fitness trainer, your morning menu might provide both ideas and information.  Your musical tastes could be important information if you run a nightclub.  The websites and blogs that you follow may also provide excellent info for your clients – feel free to quote and even to provide links to the places where you get your information.  This won’t make you any less of an expert – on the contrary, it shows your customers that you are actively staying current in your area of expertise.  And they will still be looking to you for excellent advice.  After all, it’s you they are building the relationship with!

Each time you post, use this simple question as a guide: “What am I telling the world about myself and my business?” If you can answer it with some simple, positive statement, go ahead and post it.

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