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Mary Biever | One Writing Mother | Tag Archive | Social Media
Tag Archive - Social Media

The Flinstone Car or the Hummer?

Hummer H3photo © 2009 Anatoli Axelrod | more info (via: Wylio)
Does your new web marketing plan look more like a Flinstone Car or a Hummer? Which will better drive business success?

The Flinstone Car can move from Point A to Point B. It’s cobbled together, with a website engine from Bedrock and a marketing chassis from Rockville. The social media steering wheel is strapped to the car with a dinosaur bone that doesn’t quite fit right but works just well enough to let the steering wheel turn the stone wheels.  The website engine is really a couple of guys running under the car, and they have trouble when they get into search engine gravel pits. Barely reaching Point B from Point A gets the job done.

The Hummer was custom designed so its parts work together. The website engine is up to whatever tasks are needed, and the Hummer glides across search engine gravel pits, beating all its competitors to the finish line. The social media steering wheel is finely tuned to help the car shift directions whenever needed. Equipped with the latest technology, the Hummer can go mobile or video whenever needed. Getting from Point A to Point B is never a problem – if you don’t watch out, the Hummer will venture to Point Z and find you business on the other side of the planet.

Will the Flinstone Car or the Hummer carry your business further?

Do you know someone who’s getting Flinstone Car quality work and paying Hummer prices for it? I do.

Maybe you know someone who knows the Flinstone Car won’t work and the Hummer is too expensive. Guess what – there’s a budget-minded smart car that can also get your business further than the Flinstone Car.

If your business marketing feels like a cobbled Flinstone car and you would like to get a smoother vehicle for the 21st century, let me know. I can refer you to a great team that can meet your needs to better drive your businesses’ marketing – with web design, smartphone apps, blogs, video, social media, and more so you can best reach your customers and grow your business.

Google+ Joins the Social Media Playground

playgroundphoto © 2006 Azfar Ismail | more info (via: Wylio)

What do businesses need to know and do right now with Google+?

Keep your backyard Social Media Playground flexible enough to adjust the layout when a new toy gets introduced to the market.

Early reports look good. With its invitation only roll-out, social media obsessives like me were pumping Twitter networks yesterday to angle invites from friends already there. We liked what we saw. All it took was an invite and a gmail account to get me hooked.

What do Businesses Need to Know:

I hope you didn’t fall so in love with your Facebook page that you made it the inground pool centerpiece of your social media strategy. Facebook owns the platform and loves to change its rules. Arguing with Facebook is as effective as negotiating with the Borg in Star Trek.

If you built the inground Facebook pool, get ready to make adjustments in your other backyard space. Facebook grew too confident and comfortable with its market dominance because there was no viable competitor. In recent months, and especially in recent weeks, I’ve heard varied frustrations from people sick of Facebook. Why?

  • Teens don’t want to hang out on the same block Grandma and Grandpa do.
  • Facebook games lost their luster.
  • Recent spam attacks that showed pornographic images put wavering users over the edge.
  • More people are frustrated at how difficult it is to negotiate with Facebook if they delete your account.

Real competition will force Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to all up their game. This morning, Facebook added sorting and reputation features to comments.

What do Businesses Need to Do:

  • Get an invite to Google+ for at least one person on your social media team. Start playing.
  • Vary the toys on your social media playground. If all you’ve had is the Facebook pool, it’s time to try the Twitter trampoline and the LinkedIn Playhouse.
  • Get thee to WordPress and Youtube. Go blogging with written and video channels. (The Youtube/Google+ connection could become much bigger.)
  • Go mobile. Design your website for mobile. Value added apps your customer uses can make your sales boom.
  • If you choose to stay Facebook only social media marketing, prepare yourself for the day your Facebook pool becomes as relevant as a backyard museum designed for Pet Rocks.

If you need help getting started with Twitter or LinkedIn, I can help. If you don’t know who to go to to create an app, design your website, or set up your blog so you not only win search but make more money, ask me for recommendations.

I know some super talented pros in each of those areas who can help – WordPress design, web design, blogging, video, and app development and would be glad to give you a referral.

The Socializer

“I can do this!” one of my clients exclaimed after I helped her create a social media schedule that would fit with her business day.

Afterwards, she told people I had “Socialized” her. That inspired this ad campaign, The Socializer. I joked about copy for the ad. Then my husband and daughter of The Copper Lion took my idea of The Socializer last night and created the graphic.

Learning to leverage technology is frustrating. What I do is help you help yourself and find how to make it work for you. We will most likely laugh along the way because a dose of laughter helps the lesson go down.

I wish I could put the theme song to The Equalizer with the graphic. Back in the day, the Equalizer helped equalize the odds of regular people facing tough challenges. I do the same today, as The Socializer.

Frustrated and want to hire some help to make social media (or Excel or Word or Outlook) easier to unravel? Give me a call! Write on my wall! Tweet me! Email me! I’ll be there, ready to help.

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?

Breadmaking and Social Marketing

Breadmaking can teach us a lot about social media and marketing.

I bake bread, and I’m a wheat snob. We have a tabletop wheat grinder, and I buy my wheat in bulk, from Montana, in 50 pound buckets. Wheat isn’t ground until just before I make bread, to ensure the highest nutrition content and best flavor.

My personal favorite bread is a mix of freshly ground Prairie Gold and Bronze Chief wheats, with olive oil and local honey.  Sometimes, my recipe varies. Occasionally, I mix the good wheat with processed white flour, vegetable oil, and white sugar. When I have plenty of time, I’ll add in sourdough for an extra zing.

When I make my bread, I use my Kitchenaid to mix it, making enough for 3 loaves at a time. (Teen-aged sons have huge appetites.) I don’t follow an exact recipe. Humidity impacts whether I use more or less flour, and I pour it in by the 1/3 cup and finally tablespoon at the end until it looks right. Pizza dough and dinner rolls have their own variations as well. When the dough “looks right” and bounces back, I often dust it with flour for a final knead by hand.

Lots of lessons apply to social media and marketing:

  • Know your audience. Choose the ingredient mix your audience likes best.
  • Select your end product before you begin. My dinner rolls use milk and butter. My bread uses water. My pizza dough has a mix of bread, all-purpose, and fresh wheat flours. Knowing what you want to make helps you efficiently gather your materials with the least waste.
  • Technology helps. I used to knead all bread by hand. My Kitchenaid helps me multitask and uniformly blends the yeast into the dough. High-tech tools can save you time with social media for a better end product.
  • The personal touch still matters. I tweak each batch’s ingredients according to climate, and I always knead by hand at the end. Social media still requires a human personal touch. Your gut instinct on what feels right and works well improves with time and experience.
  • Blend old school and new school according to needs. If it were up to me, I would be a purist with fresh, local ingredients. There is still a place for the white flour and white sugar, used in the right amounts at the right times in the right products. With social media, don’t throw out all old school marketing tools and techniques; they can still fill a role when used well.
  • Rising takes time. Don’t rush your bread. My dough rises once on its own and a second time once I put it into pans. The sourdough that can take twice as long to rise will give a zing that can’t be matched. The same holds true of some marketing campaigns.
  • Keep watch and baby it while it bakes. If you want an extra shine, brush an egg, milk, or butter wash on your bread just before baking or brush a butter wash on it just after baking. That sourdough crust might have a better texture if you put a pan of water in the oven while it bakes. All marketing requires that same watchful eye for adjustments and tweaking.
  • Timing while baking matters. Don’t bake it enough, and it’s gooey in the middle. Bake it too long, and it’s burned. Remove it from the pan after it’s done to cool, or the sides get too soft.  Make sure you end your marketing campaign at the right time.
  • Leave them wanting more. Don’t oversaturate your market but always give them just enough to fill the appetite but want more next time.

Businesses that master the perfect mix of old school, new technology, a personal touch, and timing by way of social media will enjoy the same sweet success I savor when a great loaf of bread comes out of my oven.

Great Pictures Matter More Than Ever

Graphic example by Mystfren Designs

Add an image to your social media event or product, and you’ll double your clicks. Remember that double number is an average.

How do we calculate an average for double clicks? Not all pictures are created equally.

  • Some are downright awful.
  • Most are boring.
  • few are extraordinary. 

So the extraordinary pictures will generate the most additional clicks. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a little investment in a great picture could be worth several thousand more clicks. That translates into dollars which become profits.

What makes an image great on social media?

  • Remarkability. Does the image grab attention such that people look at it twice and click on the content to see a larger version of it? The more time they spend with the picture, the more likely they are to read about your event or special offer.
  • Scalability. Does the image look as good small as it does large?
  • Visibility. Less is more, and a simple design with bright colors will stand out better. A true artist can take a simple palette of primary colors and create a striking image.
  • Memorability. Your image brands you. Make sure that image reflects the essence of who and what you are.
  • Technique. Resolution, file size, and image size make a difference in your web graphic too.

My opinion on web graphics is biased; my husband owns the Copper Lion, a digital illustration and retouching business (one of his pieces is in the most recent edition of Communication Arts), and my daughter is making her own mark in a smaller scale digital graphics business, Mystfren Designs. I see on a daily basis what a difference a great graphic makes in a promotion.

There is a demand and a need for “good enough” graphics just to attach a picture with a product.

Some companies produce extraordinary products and use graphic images to distinguish themselves from the “good enough” pack of their competitors.

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.

Top 4 Tips to More Class Engagement

michele blanchfield helping studentphoto © 2011 RTLibrary | more info (via: Wylio)
When you teach a group of students, how do you help them engage in the subject matter so they will use it after the class is ended? For 14 years, I’ve taught adults how to better use computers, teaching subjects from Excel to mail merges to email management to social media.

I’ve learned the more I facilitate instead of teach, the more they learn and more likely they are to use it after the fact. How can I help them engage more in class?

  1. Ask an icebreaker. Ask your audience a question related to the subject matter, often, what’s the most important thing they want to learn in this area or what they already do in this area. This begins the process of audience ownership – they will own what they learn. It helps me gauge what we cover so they get what they want, and it begins building my relationship with them.
  2. Ask simple questions and get tougher. Whenever possible, ask the audience questions and pull from them. If you start with simple questions they can answer, they will grow in confidence and attempt to answer the tougher ones. This helps you gauge what they know so you can modify the class to the real level of what they need. It also begins the good habit of more audience participation.
  3. Expect different learning styles. People learn by listening, seeing, and working hands on – at different levels. Give them the flexibility to do what helps them learn best, whether it’s fidgeting with a pen or tuning you out while they work ahead. Make sure your content is available in auditory, visual, and kinesthetic forms so they can do what’s needed to learn the most from your time together.
  4. Watch the whites of their eyes.  When I started teaching, I was determined to cover A-Z in every class session, no matter what. Sometimes, we raced through tough stuff so I could say we hit everything. Now, I watch their eyes. With tough tech topics, subject saturation sometimes hits. When the glazed look falls over their eyes, it’s time to shift gears and slow down.  Take a break, tell a story, or begin a hands on exercise. The shift in gears will give their brains a chance to absorb what’s already been covered. It might be time to stop and figure out a different way to approach what’s already covered. Students who get lost or confused begin to build a wall with me. If I don’t reconnect with them and re-inspire their confidence, they will leave the class convinced the material is so over their head they won’t try to use it.

Good teachers give their students lots of quality information. Great teachers inspire them to use it. Empowering your audience so they leave a class feeling excited and inspired to try new things yields better long-term results.

If you teach, what helps you engage better with students? If you’ve taken classes, what can teachers do to help you engage and learn more in class time?

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.

Whole Hog Biz Errors

“I’m going to have a bachelor party and want it to be a hog roast,” the caller on the radio show began.

“We’re trying to locate a pig and drive 5 hours with it so we can roast it while we spend a weekend in a cabin. Any suggestions?” He continued.

The radio host encouraged him to hire outside help because of potential pitfalls with his plan. I agree.

Our county’s 4-H leaders volunteer to carve a hog at a roast each year after it is auctioned off to benefit our 4-H Center. A local farmer donates the hog, a local barbecue restaurant roasts the hog, a food supplier donates the side dishes, a DJ donates his services, and we carve Porky.

I’ve helped with the carving of 2 hogs. The second time I did it, I was going to have to be in charge, so I recruited a friend of mine, a retired meat inspector, to help. We carved the hog in time to tunes like “Stayin Alive” and “Another One Bites the Dust.”

Even though I have carved a couple of hogs, hold a Serv-safe food safety certification, and have helped cater dinners of up to 400 people for 4-H fundraisers, there is no way I would ever consider roasting a hog. I do what I know best and rely on other experts in other fields to do the same.

This applies to many small business owners, especially in an Internet age.  We don’t have to roast the whole hog but can rely on experts to do the parts we’re not comfortable doing. That could include hiring:

  1. An accountant to check Quickbook account setups.
  2. A blog designer to design our WordPress website and then train us so we can write timely updates.
  3. An SEO expert to ensure our website wins search.
  4. Marketers who use varied media well so we can integrate our marketing strategy with video and social media components.
  5. A social media expert to help us set up our presence in social media and train us to do timely updates with an integrated marketing strategy.
  6. Graphic designers and artists to create great graphics for our landing pages and other electronic promotions.
  7. Video pros to help us create fantastic, short videos.

If you need help finding an expert in any of the above areas, let me know. If I can’t help, I know pros who can.

Hiring professionals is an investment well worth making.

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