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

When the Orchestra Plays Instead of a Solo

Music solos can grab your heart and show you the most intense, beautiful parts of your soul.

So can an orchestra. 

Imagine an orchestra used to listening to a soloist who slowly discover they can play music.  The more they practice, the better they sound.  Suddenly, the violins reach for some Vivaldi while the French horns go for the Mozart. The bassoons go for Tchaikovsky. When the conductor brings them together, great music that fills a concert hall is played.

Orchestral music is different from a soloist.  The varied instruments bring their unique sounds and ranges to the music stand and form music more profound than any performer can do alone. The audience is delighted with the mix of lilting flutes, the mellow cellos, and punctuation from the percussion section.

What’s your company’s social media presence? Is it a one person wonder or an orchestra all working together, following the conductor?

Shift that to a different question:

What if the orchestra learns to play the music, and the soloist ignores them? It’s a lot easier to stay on melody without other instruments, and he wants to keep it that way.

What if the orchestra discovers its voice and its music and is unable to share it on stage with the soloist? Will the orchestra stop playing, or will they pack their instruments into cases and find a different stage on which to make their music?

Sure, you can hire new musicians. But that takes time and money. You invested time and money into the orchestral members you already have. Leverage it.

If your company has a social media presence, you probably already have team members who use their social media voice well.  Have you invited them to the concert hall to play a corporate symphony with you?  Are you coaching the musial talents of several on your bench, so you can make beautiful music together?

Give the team members you already have on your bench the opportunity to use their musical voices. You would be amazed at what happens when they realize you believe in them and want to make music together.

What if Columbus Just Sat on the Pot?

Columbus was convinced he could find a better route to the other side of the world. He struggled for years to get funding to pursue his dream. Many thought he was wrong.

What if Columbus had stayed in Europe, talking about his route and never going? In my grandma’s terms, what if he sat on the pot and never did his business?

This is where social media is right now. We know we have a more direct route for business. We’re not sure where the voyage will take us, but we know the possibilities it will open are endless. So all sorts of social media experts are trying to convince the rest of the planet’s businesses this can help them long term.

We have the broadband. We have the connections. Some businesses get it and are ready to join our adventure. Others would rather stay at home and do what’s always worked. Let them choose. They will live with the consequences.

It’s time to set sail with the businesses that do get it and work with them to do social media better. That’s a little more walking and a little less talking – about our craft in trade.

Remember Columbus didn’t just sail blindly towards the west.  He used tools to measure his progress. Each night, he charted his position with the stars.  He made use of ocean currents and winds, which pushed him better than if he had started out with a rowboat.

In our new social media adventure, all manners of boats are trying to get to the new world. Some are sounder than others, just as some early attempts at flying machines worked better than others.

Make sure your social media presence uses not just the wind but also the ocean current.  The quick gimmick tactic may work now, when the wind blows, but it doesn’t take best advantage of the currents. Smart strategists use both the wind and the currents to reach the new world faster, with less effort. Eventually in the Old World, the trailing edgers ventured west too. The same will happen with social media.

My resolution – spend less time reading in the social media bathroom and more time actually using it. 

Grandma’s right. It’s time to get off the pot.

My Spinach Stuck in Teeth Test

I didn’t know I had spinach stuck between my 2 front teeth at a business lunch.  Thank God I had a friend who told me.

Friends have helped me a lot over the years with almost embarrassing moments.  Juggling family, a business,  and a job means I have done some stupid things. Ranking near the top in the years when I struggled to get out the door without baby spitup on my blouse:

  1. Wearing a shirt backwards to a cookout
  2. Wearing moccasins with my business suit into McDonald’s because I forgot to slip on my dress shoes

I’m grateful for trusted friends who save my bacon before I accidentally fry it. Wouldn’t it have been awful if they hadn’t told me?

The same thing happens on social media. Years ago, my first month on Facebook, I sent an “I love you!” card to my husband.  Except I clicked the wrong box and posted it on all 60 of my friends’ walls. One of them told me what I had done, and I spent an afternoon removing it from every single wall.

If you are my friend on Facebook, and it looks like I’ve been hacked, or if I posted something in bad taste or with a spelling/grammar error, tell me privately.  I would rather know I have spinach between my teeth on my Facebook wall than walk around smiling at everyone where they notice it and I don’t realize it.

My social media footprint is my brand. I’ve slowly figured out what my brand is – learning by doing badly at times. I learned my social media is a place to build and encourage – not incite debate.  I’m a teacher & encourager, not an arguer.

If you’re my friend, and I see that you’ve been hacked or have a potential problem on social media, I’ll most likely call you – if your phone number is listed in the Facebook phone book.  If you post a status with the words my,stupid, boss, I’ll probably warn you before it appears on the “My Stupid Boss” community FB page.

I have known people who have lost scholarships, jobs, and clients because of posting something stupid on social media. College is expensive. A good job is hard to find.

You can “let it all hang out” without letting the spinach dangle between your two front teeth. 

So show those pearly whites and smile! You’re on candid social media!

5 Steps to Avoid the Death of a Salesman

Willy Loman made it in sales in the 1950’s. By the 1970’s, his “charm”  failed in Arthur Miller’s tragedy, Death of a Salesman. When Willy realized he couldn’t sell in a new world, he killed himself. 

We’re in a tough economy of salespeople who want a happy ending. What once worked doesn’t.  Everything is different. We don’t know the end of the story or how the new economy will look. How do we change and survive?

  1. Listen – Willy’s boss, family, and friends tried to discuss problems with him. He would not listen.  Find your customers, potential customers, competitors, vendors, friends, and peers. What are they saying and where? 
  2. Learn – Willy discouraged his sons from studying new things. Do better. Learn to use new tools like Facebook, blogs, videos, and Twitter.  Make the time to learn to use them well. Your ROI in learning today could be that your business survives tomorrow.
  3. Position – Willy got so involved selling gizmos he didn’t think position. Then his boss fired him to position the business. Don’t be a pawn in chess – position your pieces across the board. Think strategy, not mere tactics. Anticipate; global is the new local. Find peers and potential customers around the planet. Surround yourself with great pros who will raise your game.
  4. Brand – Willy’s brand was full of sound and bluster, signifying nothing. The new brand shows who you and your company really are.  If you don’t build your brand, you won’t have a voice in what your brand becomes.  Your every move, online and in real life, reflects your brand. So be smart, be good, and be branded the same.
  5. Build – Willy only spoke of himself and his illusions of greatness. No one listened.  They didn’t think he cared, so they didn’t. If you build relationships, communities, and others, they will see that you care and will then pay attention to what you have to say.

Businesses survive when they listen to their customers’ needs, they provide the product to meet that need, their customers buy it, and their customers tell their friends. Purpose driven, not product driven, thrives.

Arthur Miller understood desperation in changing times. He captured how awful it feels.

I met him at a reading years ago, as he shared a new play.  Though his voice cracked and he was frail, he moved me to tears.  Unlike Willy, Arthur never gave up.

We can do the same.

A Tale of 3 Audiences and a Hammer

Last week, I spoke to 170 high school students about how they can brand themselves better with social media. Message: what happens on Facebook can help or hurt you in the job market. Add good content.

This week, I showed over 50 somethings how to use Facebook. Message: use it to build relationships and promote your community.

And I attended RE Barcamp in Indianapolis, honing my own social media skills for business. Message: leverage it to add content to build your business.

3 audiences, different demographics, different reasons for using social media.  All still had the same message:

  • Be honest
  • Be positive
  • Teach
  • Delight or amuse
  • Share your toys
  • Help your friends

In each audience, I heard a few negative comments:

  • Students won’t learn anything with social media.
  • People are selfish and stupid in social media and in real life.
  • Facebook is stupid, but I have to learn to use it to see pictures of my grandkids.

I disagree with all of the above:

  • College classrooms can use Twitter as a backchannel for life conversation. Three business owners from Evansville IN and two business consultants from Washington, D.C., talked to our high school groups live, while we were presenting. Live classroom conversation with pros around the world excited students more than a traditional lecture.
  • People on social media want to do good things. They just need to see how. This month, I saw strangers offer a guitar for a paraplegic student who wanted to try to learn to play. Strangers donated meals for an anonymous family facing a medical emergency. When a young mother faced a 14 hour surgery, prayer requests spread via social media around the planet. When a local shelter for the poor needed funds, an active social media user posted requests and personally collected over $1,200 in 3 hours.
  • The older man who said he thought Facebook was stupid left my class two hours later, ready to promote community events in his own hometown.

Social media is a tool, like a hammer.  If I have a hammer, I can choose how to use it.  I can tear things down or I can build them up.

If I have a hammer, I would rather use it build a home, a tribe, a village, and a better world.

Whatever I do with that hammer will show in social media.

Will the social media mirror show you using your hammer to build a town or tear one down?

Social Media Savvy = the New Survival Skill

“Kids have to have the skills for this century,” I told a mother about social media.

“Yes, I know. That’s why my kids study robotics,” was her answer.

Robotics has as much to do with social media as an electric weedeater does with cars. Operating one has nothing whatsoever to do with the other.

Sometimes parents tell me that letting their kids use social media is a privilege.  I’ll add to that: it’s a parent’s responsibility to ensure their teens know how to use social media. 

Not just to post

  • “I’m booooorreeed. Text me at xxxxx.” on FB. 
  • photos of girls gone wild on spring break on Myspace
  • videos of boys busting out all over on Youtube
  • status lines like “I hate my job cause my boss is stupid and our customers are a royal pain.”
  • joining groups celebrating flatulence with four letter words.

Parents must encourage their kids to add content and value to the social media conversation.  Teach by example is the best way.

This is a survival skill. Watch Socialnomics on Youtube.  Already more people search Facebook for info than Google.  Employers evaluate social media in their hiring decisions. Scholarship committees background check before giving money.

As parents, we pay for SAT/ACT prep classes.  We seek tutors, drive kids to sports, and work to help them get ready for college. Shouldn’t we also help them develop social media skills to distinguish themselves from the pack?

Legally, teens can begin to use most media outlets at age 13. Don’t start them early; not everything on social media is G rated. Do start them as a younger teen so you can observe their use of social media and they can learn to handle tough situations. This is like driving lessons – you want to coach your kids through their first experience driving on ice to help them learn to handle the slick spots.

Basic ways teens can use social media well and benchmarks they need:

  • Post information on Facebook. Know how to discern friends and how to post appropriately.
  • Discern who to add as friends and who to refuse. Understand privacy settings and how to adjust them.
  • Upload photos and videos directly to Facebook and have the wisdom to know the difference between a photo to post and 1 to delete.
  • Upload a video to Youtube by age 16.
  • Create and maintain a written blog by age 17. I use WordPress. Let your kids write their blog on their passion. When they write about what excites them, it will develop their knowledge base, their interest, and their writing skills.
  • Search Twitter by age 17 and set up a  Twitter account by age 18. (Under 18 Twitter account could be under a pseudonym with a non-face photo for security purposes.)
  • Use Twitter well by age 18 – to engage in conversations and real time chats. College textbooks are often dated as soon as they are printed. Twitter is the fastest way to keep up with tech changes and opportunities in every field and to meet the industry thought leaders.
  • Create a LinkedIn profile before leaving for college and begin to collect references and network contacts.
  • Know how to audit their social media footprint and make sure they are branding themselves well.

Bad things can happen when teens drive cars. So we teach them to drive well & pray they stay safe.

Ditto for social media.

Caveman Skool

Caveman Skool was the ultimate place for ambitious cavemen.  Their graduates were heavy lifters and great hunters.  As word spread from fire to fire, they expanded to two classes.

One day, something new rolled towards the school fire: a wheel.

Alpha class cavemen had a new toy! They rolled it between each other.  One smashed rocks with it.  They raced it.  Instead of listening in Grunting While Lifting, they painted their wheel.  

Alpha Class Teacher roared and banged his stick: “No more wheels in my class! Back to basics!” He rolled the wheel down the hill and demand his students listen to him.  They did, except when his back was turned and they had farting contests.  Followed by burping contests.  But they were heavy lifters.

Beta class cavemen got a new toy too.  After they played with it awhile, Beta Class teacher looked at what captured the class attention.  He played with it.  Then he asked the class: “How can we use this? What happens if we take 2 wheels and put a stick between them?”

As the students played, they built the first cart.  Their Grunting While Lifting class became the first Mechanical Design class – how to design the best wheeled cart to do the heavy lifting while you push.  Students got more excited, worked together, and honed their design.  Alpha students watched them in between their grunting contests.

After graduation, the Alpha class could lift heavier weights.  But the Beta graduates got all the business because they used wheeled carts.  In time, the Alpha cavemen went to work for those Beta grads who played in class with that wheel.  In their time off, Alpha cavemen still had their farting, grunting, and burping contests.

In the Beta grads’ time off, they still kept playing with that distracting wheel.  They invented better carts, then levers, then pulleys, and changed the world.

If you’re a teacher today, how do you use laptops, the Internet, and Social Media?

Are they a distraction, or are they a tool by which your students are preparing to harness new opportunities in our Information Revolution?

Are you training them to be lifters or thinkers? Or both?

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