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Social Media | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother
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Bad Apps and Bad Tags in Facebook

Two different types of spam attacks are increasing right now on Facebook. All users need to know how to spot and prevent them – and to fix them if they happen.

Bad Apps

A bad app will appear in your newsfeed as a story that someone “likes” something that looks like a video or a link to a news story. However, if you click on it, it can take you through menu steps to actually install an “app,” or application or program in your Facebook which can collect your data. If you accidentally click on this and it hits your wall, you need to do the following to fix it. You can spot it because under the story, the link will say apps.facebook….

  1. Post on your news feed not to like the application you liked.
  2. Go to your applications and remove the application with that name. (Account, Privacy Settings, Applications – in lower left corner)
  3. Delete the news story that you “liked” the app from your wall. (Hover on “x” and click.)

Bad Tags

Check your profile daily and watch your photo strip – if you have been tagged in a new photo, it will appear on your filmstrip. Monitor your notifications. If you are tagged in any type of photo about stalkers or odd topic, it could be a spam attack. Do the following:

  1. Click on your photos on the left. There may be a link embedded in the photo you need to avoid at all costs.  Do NOT click the link! Several names may be tagged in the photo. You will need to find your name and remove the tag. (Hint – if you want to quickly find your name, press CTRL-F and type your name to find it faster.) Do NOT click the embedded link. All you are doing here is removing the tag.
  2. Delete the news story from your news feed. (Hover on “x” and click.)
  3. Message the person who tagged you they have been spammed. Tell the person to go to this blog and also my blog, 8 Steps to Stop and Fix Facebook Hacks.
  4. Post on your news feed not to click on a photo or video with the caption that was included.
  5. Continue to monitor your photo strip and notifications. The person who got spammed may get hit again if they don’t take appropriate preventative measures. Further, if you have mutual friends, your mutual friends may get hit with it as well.

What other recent Facebook hack attacks have you seen and how would you fix them?

Yep, Robin’s the Real YaYa

Dear Facebook administrators,

Robin is the Real Deal.

I fully support your Terms of Service, have blogged about them, and often urge people to follow them more carefully. If a business uses a profile instead of a page or if a person has multiple profiles, is too young, or tries to conduct business on Facebook, I warn them they risk having their account disabled.

Recently, a friend of mine’s account was mistakenly disabled because it was determined she wasn’t a real person. Robin Kling Lax IS a real person! As she’s struggled to have her account reinstated, I offered to blog to assure you she’s not just a real person but is the real deal. The picture with this blog shows Robin with her sister, daughter, and niece, cheering runners in a local half marathon after they had spent the morning serving them water during the race. Robin’s the one in the grass skirt – you gotta have a lot of heart to wear a grass skirt on a hot day just to encourage runners.

When George Bailey  suddenly didn’t exist in It’s a Wonderful Life, all of Bedford Falls suffered. The same thing would happen in Evansville without Robin. Here are some of the ways Robin impacts our community:

  • Wife and mom of two
  • Schoolteacher
  • Founder and president of the YaYa Extension Homemaker Club, where she helps moms come together to have fun together while we help our community and learn new skills. And she’s nice enough to welcome a mom like me who sews with a staple gun and still does it badly.

I don’t know how you make your decisions on who’s real and who’s not. Please reconsider and reinstate Robin.

She spent her Sunday morning as a volunteer serving water and cheering runners in a marathon. In the marathon of life, I treasure the people who encourage and help others. The world and Facebook would be better served with more encouragers and helpers.

Thanks,

Mary Biever

P.S. You’re welcome to share this blog on your Facebook wall.

What’s Your Social Media Curb Appeal?

For Salephoto © 2010 Aparna E. | more info (via: Wylio)
Last weekend, Terry Haas of HGTV’s show Designed to Sell spoke at the Evansville Home Show, thanks to sponsorship by F. C. Tucker Emge Realtors.  Besides being a dynamic and terribly funny speaker, Terry had great ideas to build the curb appeal of your home. “Potential buyers have 7 to 10 seconds to decide whether or not to get out of the car at your house and go in. It won’t matter what your bathroom looks like if they won’t walk in the front door.” Great point.

In social media, you have 1-2 seconds for people to decide if they like you enough to friend, follow, network, or hire you. Build your social media curb appeal so you stand out from the crowd and brand yourself well.

Home stagers like Terry help home buyers package their homes so buyers will see the value of the home.  It’s better for a home on the market to be remembered for the smell of freshly baked cookies than the aroma of a barely cleaned cat litter box.

So what impacts social media curb appeal?

  1. Pictures. A real, recognizable and flattering photo of you works best. If you post lots of party pictures where you’re about to pass out, I worry that if I friend you, you’ll be hammered at a party and pass around your smartphone to all your drunken friends so they too might see my private information. Your dog might be cute, but I hope you don’t look like it. Posting photos of kids or families as a profile photo scares me because of privacy issues. It’s like leaving out family photos of your kids before you open your home to show to strangers.
  2. Words. How do you describe yourself? What are your really like? This is like the handbook of information home sellers leave out for potential buyers. Can I see not only who you are but what activities and interests you have that make you unique?
  3. Network. Who are your friends and followers? This is like who are the neighbors on your block when your house sells. If I have a privacy setting of friends of friends, I want to see who those friends are and what they are like.
  4. Conversation. Do you talk online? Do your friends view you as a problem solver or a trouble maker? Do you respond when people comment or ask questions, or do you ignore them? Do you add value and share knowledge (that’s not a commercial blast pushing your products)?

Designed to Sell helps home sellers package their home so it’s more likely to sell. Good social media strategists can help you package your social media presence so you’re more likely to build your business, develop more clients, or find your dream job.

If you need professional help for a Designed to be Social makeover, I can help you.

Strategies for Special Needs & Social Media

Matthewphoto © 2008 Rebecca Wilson | more info (via: Wylio)
As I networked via LinkedIn, I discovered that a friend’s son had created a LinkedIn profile. The catch? He has Down Syndrome.  He had his profile and place of employment right. But I still called his mother to alert her.

What happens with special needs teens and adults on social media? If they choose to get involved, what strategies can their families employ to help them?

As a mother who lost an anencephalic baby who happened to have Down Syndrome, this topic is close to my heart.  Many of my friends have special needs children. Each time one of their Down Syndrome kids, some now adults, gives me a hug, I feel a tug for my Down Syndrome daughter who would be almost 18 had she survived.

When I have coached and led public speaking classes for teens, my students included highly gifted students, along with special needs. My goal was the same: empower special needs students to develop their voices so they became better public speakers.  One autistic boy gave an effective persuasive speech why video games benefited learning and were good for kids. My favorite, a girl with Down Syndrome, moved an audience of 200 to tears when she gave an oral interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer, sharing the prayer with speech and sign language at the same time.

Isn’t interacting on social media an extension of public speaking – as in public communication and networking? We all have a unique voice. What strategies can we implement to involve special needs teens and adults in the social media conversation and still keep them safe?

Strategies for Families of Special Needs

  1. Education for Caregivers. Parents and caregivers need to learn to use social media well so they can be better friends and mentors for their special needs loved ones. If possible, they need passwords to accounts so they can monitor better. The best monitoring happens from a distance, intervening in problem situations – too much rigid control often backfires.
  2. Education for Family Members. Teach concrete, specific points to target safety in social media. Potential problem areas to cover: selecting friends, posting photographs, chatting, messaging, and clicking on links.
  3. Backup Network. Ask mature, compassionate, trustworthy friends to friend your family member so they too can be aware of their social media presence and help you monitor.
  4. Privacy Settings. Set a schedule, first of each month, to review the privacy settings of your special needs loved one. Settings sometimes change, and this is imperative for obvious safety reasons.

Strategies for The Rest of Us

  1. Mentor. If you have friends with special needs teens or adults who opt to be in social media, be willing to mentor and friend them.
  2. Encourage. Some of my friends in social media have special needs. I encourage them. If they engage in conversations on my wall, I expect others to treat them with respect. If you see a conversation thread on a friend’s wall where someone you don’t know has an outside the box perspective, respond respectfully. Maybe it’s a special needs person, learning to engage with the outside world.
  3. Watch our words. Avoid using the “N” words of our decade, which happen to start with “R” – as in “retard” or “retarded.”  Remove those words from your vocabulary.  When I hear someone use those words in a pejorative sense, my first response is righteous anger, in defense of all those I love who have special needs. Though I may not always tell the person, I will mentally assign a “B” word to them – the nicest of which is “Bigot.” That “B” word then extends to my reducing “B”usiness ties as well.  There are too many good people in business for me to spend my money with those who ridicule others.

If you work with special needs adults or teens or have other suggestions, please share them in the comments.

People, Profits, and Facebook

My social Network on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and MyblogLogphoto © 2007 Luc Legay | more info (via: Wylio)
The new business owner walks into the biggest social hour party of the year. Everyone has told him – “You’ll get business if you attend.” So he goes to the party, sits, waits for customers to hire him, and none come. They are too busy talking to people to notice him. He leaves the party in disgust, saying he won’t go back and they offered him false hopes.

The party wasn’t wrong, but his approach to it was. You can’t show up and business will come to your doorstep.

Ditto for Facebook. You can’t build your Facebook business page and wait for the customers to buy your product.

You, or if you’re big enough to have employees, will need to talk with your friends, customers, and potential customers to get to know each other better. Build real relationships with real people, and profits are more likely to happen.

The following are ways I have found Facebook to help me boost profits by building relationships:

  1. Referrals - my friends who know what I do introduce me to their friends or people who might one day hire me. They also recommend our services – computer coaching, social media training, and digital graphics. And I refer my friends.
  2. New Potentials – when friends learn what our business is, they hire us for jobs. As I meet new people, I also hire them.
  3. Reconnections with Past Friends – when I meet friends from the past and we connect, it can result in business opportunities for us both.
  4. Current clients – as I get to know our clients better, we become better friends and find new ways to work together.

Nowhere in this list is there a hard sell. Let’s go back to the party.

An entrepreneur is also at that party, talking with friends and meeting new people. Some conversations are more substantive than others. People talk of family, vacations, homes, and upcoming events – not business deals. They aren’t waving their business cards and shouting their sales like a carney at the fair. Those who do scream business, buy me are ignored and not invited back.

After the party is over, the smart entrepreneur reviews those relationships, seeks some strategic partnerships, and thinks of ways to build business with others. The call to action must be savvy and well timed.

Facebook is no more of a quick fix than that party. It’s a place to meet and talk with people to build stronger relationships. Facebook is a perpetual hotseat where your friends get to know you better and see who you really are. And you do the same with them.

Real relationships build real networks – online or in real life –  that with effort can result in business profit over time.

I Don’t Know Nearly As Much As I Think I Do

My Feature Friday Guest Blogger today is Erik Deckers, a professional blogger,  social media consultant, writer, newspaper humor columnist, and public speaker.

As someone who works with technology every single day, I pride myself on knowing a lot about it. I manage blogs for other people, I give talks about social networking, and I’m always reading up or playing with the latest gadget.

Whether it’s an Android smart phone, a digital camera, or rigging up said camera to my computer and using it for a video conference, I try to stay up with most of the latest consumer technology developments, so I can answer questions for friends.

I recently won an Apple TV, the little black box that uses your home’s wifi connection to stream TV shows, movies, and YouTube videos over the Internet. Although we watch NetFlix over our Nintendo Wii, I thought I would try the new device out.

Our TV uses an HDMI (high definition multimedia interface) cable, which produces an ultra-sharp picture that’s almost more vivid and clear than real life. When I pulled out the Apple TV — which is as big as stack of 10 CDs — I saw that it only had a plug for an HDMI cable.

Problem was, it had a smaller HDMI plug than I expected. It was actually a mini-HDMI plug, and I didn’t have the appropriate cables. I had a regular HDMI cable, which had standard-sized plugs on both ends, but nothing to fit a smaller HDMI socket.

I headed to Fry’s Electronics (think Wal-Mart for the geek set) because they have reasonably-priced HDMI cables. I found a guy in the TV section, and explained what I needed.

“Seriously? I didn’t think the Apple TV had a mini HDMI plug.”

“No, it does. I looked at it last night.”

“Huh,” the guy said, staring into the distance, trying to wrap his head around the idea I had just presented to him. I waited patiently for the little hamster to get up to full speed on the wheel.

I always have various degrees of success at Fry’s. It’s not that they don’t have what I need, it’s that they’re not always as knowledgeable about what I’m looking for

For example, a year ago, my wife and I went to Fry’s to get her a netbook, a very small laptop that’s more suited to surfing the web than storing anything on it. Two different salespeople tried to steer her toward a laptop, saying the netbook would get slower as time went by, and couldn’t store photos and music. I explained that she needed it primarily for web use, not photos and music, but they were undeterred We ended up buying a netbook from another store for the principle of it.

My guy finally clicked into gear and said, “let’s just go ask the Apple guys which cable we need. They’ll know.”

We walked to the Apple section, and he explained the situation.

“I didn’t know the Apple TV needed a mini HDMI,” said the Apple guy. “Does it have the standard RCA plugs on the back too, or just the HDMI?”

“Just the HDMI,” I said. “It’s the new version.”

“I didn’t know the new Apple TV came with the mini HDMI,” he repeated, trying to wrap his own brain around the idea. “I mean, I’ve got one, and it needed the regular HDMI cable.”

I was getting a little impatient, because my family was waiting out in the car for me. “Look, I know it’s the mini HDMI because I checked it out last night.”

“I’m not saying you’re wrong. I’m just surprised.” He pointed me to the right aisle, and I found the right cable for $14. When I got to the car, I told my wife why it had taken so long. She rolled her eyes at the memory of the netbook debacle. When we got home, I opened the package, and plugged it in.

“Uh oh,” I said.

“What’s wrong?” asked my wife.

“It’s too small. It needs a regular plug,” I said, my face turning red, little beads of embarrassed sweat popping out on my forehead.

I stared at the Apple TV that had betrayed me. Do I take the cable back and risk embarrassment, or do I just keep it and learn a $14 lesson that I’m not nearly as smart as I thought.

I decided to keep it, because I actually will need a cable with a mini HDMI plug. Also, I didn’t want to go back and admit defeat. A man has to keep what shreds of dignity he has left. But I thought I should send Fry’s an apology for my impatience and questioning their product knowledge.

Or at least I would have, but my daughter was using my laptop, and my wife’s computer is too slow to be much use.

My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on Amazon.com, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.

Don’t Forget the Special Touches

Today’s Feature Friday blog is a guest post by a good friend I’ve made this year by way of social media:

by Nancy Myrland of Myrland Marketing/Strategic Social Media in Indianapolis

Today I ran across a post I sent to the LMA, or Legal Marketing Association, listserve on December 5, 2008 in response to a post my friend and colleague Ross Fishman posted.

Ross was talking about how special it made him feel, in the midst of what was then an overflowing inbox, when a Partner at his former firm sent him a hand-written note saying “Congratulations Ross!”

He still had that note a decade later because it meant so much to him that the Partner took the time to hand-write the note.

I replied to Ross and the listserve that I had to smile when I read his post because it reminded me of a dear former colleague in the Customer Service department at Time Warner where I worked for just short of 10 years in the 80s and 90s.

My response to Ross continued:

“At Time Warner, we were given anniversaries and birthdays in the monthly newsletter, so I tried (I wasn’t always successful, but I tried) to write an anniversary note to employees on their anniversary.  I can’t tell you how touched (humbled really) I was when years later, John, my dear Time Warner friend, told me he still had my note!   I think that meant more to me than to him, but I’m not sure.”

I found it interesting that in December of 2008, I shared:

“I believe we were entering an age when it is rare to communicate by the written hand, or even by mail.   This can be a time when a person, company or firm has the opportunity to stand out from the crowd, to really differentiate itself by adding a written and/or mailed component to its marketing strategy.

I’m not discounting new media, and think it can also be incredibly powerful if given careful thought, but the marketing mix is just that, a mix, not a single shot marketing tactic we hope will accomplish everything we’d like. When the crowd all seems to be going one way, think about where they aren’t going, and see if it might make sense to go there all by yourself.

Bottom Line: You might call it “old media,” but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be included in your marketing mix.”

Whether 2008 or 2011, my feelings have not changed.  We are living in an incredible time when we have so many options and tools with which to communicate.  Even so, don’t forget the special touches, those methods you can use to reach out and really touch someone, and try to do it in a way that your recipient might just find pretty rare these days.

3 Terms of Facebook Endearment

Many who use Facebook forget or unaware of their Terms of Service.  They try to do Facebook “their” way, breaking the rules Facebook has in place.

Bad things happen when Facebook learns you’ve violated their terms. They will disable your account(s) without notice. You can appeal or request reconsideration, but it is not an easy process. The most common ways I see people violate Facebook’s terms of service:

  • Multiple identities. It’s called Facebook, not Peoplebook, because the rule is 1 profile per person. Some try to maintain a personal profile with a separate professional profile. 
  • Business or not for profit as a person. A business tries to run itself as a profile instead of as a page. If Facebook finds out you are not a real person, they will disable your account. Take that a step further. Sometimes, a business creates a separate profile and then uses that profile to create its business page. Now imagine Facebook discovers it’s a phony profile and disables it. Imagine what happens to the Facebook page of an administrator who loses rights to Facebook. Then imagine what that does to your business if it happens. Facebook is equally unforgiving of people who try to market their businesses by way of their personal profiles. You can get reported for spam and have your account disabled.
  • Under age. I know of 9 and 10 year olds who are on Facebook. Federal statute forbids websites from collecting personal data of anyone under age 13. That is why Facebook asks your birthdate when you first sign on. In order for a youth under age 13 to sign up for Facebook, it is necessary to lie about a birth year. Encouraging and allowing children to lie about birthdates at the age of 10 through 12 can plant ideas of engaging in other under-age activities later. Bad idea. Another new feature of Facebook is if you are under age 18, you can’t change the year of your birth. If you attempt to change it too many times, it might result in a red flag with Facebook.

Facebook is a lot easier to use if you start off using it right.

If you need help fixing your Facebook so you follow their terms of service, contact me.  Or if you would like to start off right or improve your Facebook strategy, I can help.

Global is the New Local

The world wide web has made the other side of the planet a little bit closer place to connect. With the Internet, global is increasingly our new local.

When we started Copper Lion, Inc.’s digital retouching and illustration services to photographers and ad agencies 10 years ago, we found Copper Lion, Inc. could quickly service clients, whether they were in Dallas, Los Angeles, Boston, or Cincinnati. Our home based operation meant we could be available to clients when they needed us in their time zone, regardless of the time in our own. Our high-speed Internet access costs less now than it did then.

We have lived the work state of mind for the past decade.

This week, I taught a Facebook class in Henderson, Kentucky. Before the class, I posted a status, inviting my friends to say hi to my class. They did – from Evansville, Florida, Texas, and Australia. In real-time, during my class. Their chat was a real conversation, like I would have across the fence with my next-door neighbor.

Later, I demonstrated to the class how I can use Facebook places to check into locations.  Again, friends commented. This time, they talked to my class from Evansville, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati.

I grew up in a small town of 6,000 people, with a high school graduating class of 88 students. It was so refreshing when I first left home for a bigger world, where everyone didn’t know my name.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to appreciate the best parts of small town living: friendly people who say hi, who talk with you, who take interest in your life.

You know what? With social media, we can still enjoy that part of small town living, with people around the planet.

So here’s the business angle to that: is your business positioned to meet the needs of a global backyard? If not, can you?

Let’s talk!

1 Month, 40 Twitter Action Items

Guest blog by Marjorie Clayman

Moreso than in blogging, the first month of Twitter can be really frustrating and discouraging. In blogging, the principles are pretty easy to figure out, though it can be hard to achieve your objectives. You write a post, you promote post, you hope people respond the way you want them to. In Twitter, you sign up and your page looks like somebody spilled alphabet soup with hashtags all over your computer. People are talking to each other in ways that don’t make sense, and you don’t even know where to begin.

With that in mind, I’ve put together 40 action items that will help you (I hope) get through that first month. If you’ve been on Twitter for awhile but still feel like you’re struggling with it, take a look at these recommended action items and see if some of them might help you out.

One quick note – the action items for week 1 will almost certainly take longer than a week to get done, especially if you need to figure out answers with other people in your company. However, knowing what I know now, I highly recommend solidifying some of the things listed for week one before you jump in. Plan accordingly

Week One – Decisions, Decisions

1. Decide if you will be tweeting as an individual, as a company/brand, or a hybrid of the two

2. Decide what you will use as your username. This sounds easy, but it’s harder than you may think, especially if you and the other folks in your company want to come up with a naming convention. Also, and I say this from personal experience, don’t try to be “cute” with your choice. For example, my choice of using “RealLifeMadMan” when I first started was totally confusing and really long. Bad combo!

3. Decide what you will use for your user picture or avatar. If you are blogging on behalf of your company, this will likely be a heavily discussed subject. A lot of companies like to use a product picture or a company logo but factually, people respond better if they can see a human face.

4. Decide what you will put in your Twitter bio. You don’t have a lot of room, and if you want to get your company’s website in there, you have even less room. However, this is super duper important! Get the most important information in there first.

5. Decide what you will do for your background. This background is not something that your followers will see on a daily basis, perhaps – people only see it when they click to view your profile. However, once you’ve been on Twitter for awhile, you know what the default backgrounds look like. Showing some effort to customize your background can show that you’re really trying hard to engage and be engaging.

6. Pin down how you will talk on Twitter. I started out on Twitter trying to blog as our company. I found that it was extremely awkward saying “We just read a post.” I worried people thought I had multiple personality disorder. On the other hand, if you are partaking in a company-wide initiative, that kind of tweet may be 100% logical. Work it out before you dive in!

7. Define what your “follow” methodology will be. I can tell you that almost instantly upon signing up for Twitter, you’ll probably get 2-3 followers. There are some accounts on Twitter that have thousands of followers and no recorded tweets. What this means is that there are a lot of accounts out there who just follow people so that they can get followed back. How will you deal with situations like that?

8. Watch a few people for a few days before you start engaging. See if you can figure out how people who might be similar to you use Twitter. Are they promoting themselves a lot, or are they talking to people casually, or both? See what the expectations are in your space.

9. Avoid the temptation of starting out of the gate following 575 people. When you first sign up for Twitter, you get all kinds of categories with big names to follow. It’s super easy to follow hundreds of people right away. However, the folks that Twitter starts out recommending are people like Yoko Ono, Michael Ian Black, and the President of the United States. I know you’re a lovely person, but these folks probably will not engage with you. Hand-pick a few, but know that this will not be your base of operations.

10. Search for words that are important to you and follow people who seem to have interesting things to say about them.

Week Two – Twitter Speak!

Twitter has very peculiar shortcut words that make following conversation pretty hard when you’re first starting out. In week two, the goal is to learn about some of these and then practice using them. If you have a hard time figuring these out, feel free to ask me either here or @margieclayman.

1. Learn what a DM is

2. Learn what an RT is

3. Learn what #ff is

4. Make sure you are clear in your head about the difference between a DM and a regular tweet

5. Watch how people RT. People have their own ways of doing this and there are good reasons behind each methodology. Find out which way makes you feel most comfortable.

6. As a piggy back to number 5 (hint hint) learn how to use URL shorteners so that you can link to things on Twitter. For example, check out goo.gl or bit.ly. Watch how people use those and see if you can practice using them yourself.

7. Decide how you will thank people if someone RTs you (or says something else nice). Some people will RT any nice thing sent their way. Other people will respond in other ways out of the Twitter stream, while other people (like yours truly) usually simply say “Thanks!”

8. Observe how people do #ff (Hint, this will happen on your first Friday). There are 2 schools to this: 1 is to mention tons of people, and 1 is to mention just 1 or 2 people but explain why you are mentioning them. I prefer the latter myself.

9. Observe how people use the # symbol. Not only is this a really important thing to learn in order to use Twitter, but you are also likely to jump into some pretty good conversations by following that little symbol. *Hint: “trending topics” will give you a hint on this one.

10. Make sure you know how to talk to people on Twitter. Remember, after the @ you need to type their name exactly as it is in their handle. Otherwise, they won’t see it. To make sure you have this down, tweet out a hi to me and let me know how your action items are going so far. You’re halfway there!

Week Three: Jump into the pool

1. Introduce yourself to five people this week. If they don’t answer right away, that’s okay. Practice pushing yourself into the stream.

2. Practice promoting someone else’s blog post this week – this is very important to a lot of people who use Twitter. This will introduce you to people and will also help you practice linking to things using URL shorteners.

3. RT something someone says – and make sure you know now what RT stands for

4. Try to come up with a question that would be pertinent to other people learning Twitter or relevant to your  business niche. Questions are a great way to start conversations and meet people. Again, don’t be discouraged if you don’t get any answers – just focus on learning how to engage.

5. Try to find another person who is learning the ropes – help each other out as you go along. It’s great to have a buddy!

6. If you have someone to mention for #ff, give it a go. I have to warn you that a lot of the big names don’t like being included in those kinds of mentions just because they get absolutely flooded with them. If you do mention them, don’t be sad if you don’t get a huge thank you

7. Tweet something out that is of interest to you, whether it’s one of your own blog posts, an article you read that’s interesting, or something you learned at a webinar. If you do the latter, see if the webinar has a # so that you can tie your comment to other people doing the same thing (there, I gave you more of a hint for your week 2 homework!)

8. On Saturday night at 9 PM EST, search for #tweetdiner. This is a Twitter chat that my friend Stanford Smith (@pushingsocial) and I started. Its goal is to help people new to Twitter talk with people who are new or who have been on Twitter for awhile, and it’s also a place where you can ask questions and be assured of getting lots of help.

9. Look for a question mark and see if you can find a question you can answer. Now you can help someone else and maybe meet someone new at the same time.

10. Take stock of where you are. Do you feel like you are moving in a good direction? Send me a tweet and let me know how you are doing!

Week Four – Start building your Twitter house

1. Learn how to use lists on Twitter – you may be listed on a few already. Some are automated, some are created by other users. See if you can tell the difference. Are you ready to create your own lists yet?

2. Begin to watch the content of your tweets. The golden rule is to make sure you are promoting other people more than yourself. The unspoken rule is that interacting with people person to person is a lot more interesting than just tweeting out links. Now that you’re getting the mechanics down, learn how to translate your personality into 120 characters.

3. Try to find and join a new chat that interests you. There are tons of chats every day and night of the week. Jump in, introduce yourself, and meet some new people!

4. Try to meet 10 new people this week, either by answering questions, via chats, or through searching for terms that are important to you and seeing who is talking about them.

5. Turn your attention to beginning to build relationships now that you’re getting used to the wacky world of Twitter. If you see someone talking about a movie you love, jump in and talk to them about it. Get your humanity involved!

6. Check your “following” list. Are you staying true to what your follow-back policy was? Why or why not?

7. Take stock of the kinds of reactions you’re getting. If you are not getting a lot of traction yet, is it possible that you are not engaging enough? Does your profile not say enough about you? If things are going really well, try to isolate things that are working well for you and keep those going!

8. Try to introduce two people to each other this week. If you don’t know enough people yet, that’s okay. Keep this one in mind though. Introducing people is a great way to start building a community.

9. Try to find a person who is newer than you are now to the world of Twitter. Try to help them out.

10. Let me know (if you could) how this program worked for you! Are you feeling okay about Twitter after your first month or are you still kind of unsure? I’d love to get your feedback.

-Marjorie Clayman works for Clayman Advertising, Inc., a 3rd generation Akron, Ohio, marketing firm.

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