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Mary Biever | One Writing Mother | Tag Archive | Twitter
Tag Archive - Twitter

Sharing Our Table of Plenty!

Image courtesy of Lusi at http://www.sxc.hu/.

As the mother sat at a table in a crowded dining room, a lady accidentally touched her arm. “Oh, I’m sorry,” she said.

The mother patted her on the arm and answered, “Don’t apologize. Life is hard. We should celebrate the times people brush against each other instead of apologizing.”

What a perspective. Apply it to social networking – to Facebook, Twitter, or whatever your platform of choice it is.

Every day, you have an opportunity to listen to other people – those you know and those you don’t. You can share their joy, celebrate their wins, comfort the lonely, and console the hurting.

Global is the new local, especially in our world of social media. I can get up in the morning and Tweet with friends in China and Australia before they retire for the night. In between, as I sip my coffee, I wish good morning to my friends across the United States and beyond.

There are over 500 million Facebookers on the planet, which means one of every twelve people on earth Facebooks. 190 million Tweeters Tweet 65 million times daily. While on Facebook we talk with those we already know, Twitter provides opportunities across the planet.  Imagine the opportunities!

My dawn is another’s sunset. Share your dawns when others are struggling through the night.  Every night, there are sick and hurting people trying to make it through the night. Some turn to social networking to share their pains and fears.

I may be just a wife, mom, and business owner in Evansville, Indiana. But with social networking, I can be a mom to friends and neighbors all around the planet.

My social media challenge to you:

  • Every day, encourage at least two people who are tired, discouraged, or having a bad day.

  • Every day, celebrate at least two people’s victories by congratulating and complimenting them.

  • Every day, thank at least two people who help make your life and your world a better place.

Trust me – when you cast your bread upon the waters, you will be blessed as well. What would happen to our planet if 100 million Facebook users started doing this daily?

You’re my neighbor. I’m your neighbor. Wherever we live.  Let’s share our table of plenty.

What great times we’ll enjoy together!

Can You Hear Me Now, Walgreens?

Wow! I had an incredible experience at Walgreen’s yesterday. It had suddenly started snowing in Evansville, Indiana. I ran into the Walgreen’s on north Green River Road. As I checked out, I was blown away.

Mary, a beauty advisor helping as a cashier, listened to the concerns of the older lady checking out in front of me. The lady was scared about the snow and ice. Mary listened to her, comforted the lady, and wished her well. She took the simple job of checking someone out and made a real connection with the lady. At the same time, she did her job quickly and well.

When it was my turn, she was equally friendly to me. I was so impressed that I checked into Walgreen’s and FourSquare to tell them what a great job their employee had done.

A friend responded, asking if they answered me.

I wish I had been able to say yes. So I looked up Walgreen, saw they were on Twitter, and again told them I had complimented them.

No answer.

Their Twitter feed shows that they do post some promotional info. They have 13,000 followers.

However, at least yesterday, they were not monitoring their at mentions to see what customers were saying.

What an opportunity. Twitter is not a broadcast medium. It is a method by which to build stronger relationships with customers. 

Lesson for businesses:

  1. If you’re on Twitter, monitor your feed. Answer customer comments in real time, and you’ll build customer relationships for life.
  2. If you think you’re not on Twitter, your customers already are, and you don’t know what they are saying.
  3. If you have great employees like Mary, who already get how to listen and engage customers, train them in social media and make them part of your social networking team.
  4. If Walgreen’s ever sees this blog, or my Tweets, I truly hope someone will tell Mary that on a snowy day in Evansville, she did a great job, and customers noticed.

Thanks, Mary, for making a snowy bad day a little better. And thanks, Walgreens, for hiring great people.

Mid Life Gone Social

Date nights are rare for parents, even when the kids are teens.  While we ate dinner at Gracies, I promised not to use my phone to text, Facebook, or Twitter while we ate. And I was so good I didn’t even sneak into the bathroom just to check messages!

I loved my fortune when it came, snapped a photo and used Hootsuite to post it on Twitter. And then had to reply to the comment a friend made.

After dinner, we went grocery shopping so I could buy enough food to fix spaghetti the next night for 20 hungry adults and teens. When I tried to decide how much meat and pasta to buy, I grabbed the phone, called my favorite cooking partner, and told her, “Phone a friend time. You’re my friend.  How much do I buy?” Saved once again, by my phone!

Richard said not a word of complaint as I replied to a few messages through the evening

Then I told him I was going to go urban and wear white flannel snowflake shorts on top of my red and black plaid flannel pajamas.

“I’ll snap a photo of you wearing them and tweet it,” he offered.

I said not a word.

“Think Ashton Kucher with Demi on Twitter, with the bikini shot. This would be your flannel shot.”

I nodded.

“Then I could post it on Facebook and tag you.”

I nodded again.

“Then I’ll alter the photo and use it in a blog for Copper Lion,” he continued. (our digital retouching business)

I nodded again.

“And when you’re finished, my turn. I’ll do my first video,” I finally replied.

“Good!” he answered.

“Topic? How I Bobbitized my husband,” I concluded in the most loving tone possible.

Pause.

“I think we need to rethink our strategy,” Richard concluded.

Conclusion? I did not wear white snowflake short pajama bottoms on top of my flannel plaid pj’s. No photos were taken.

Our wedding vows included sickness and health, richer and poorer, but didn’t mention Facebook and Twitter.  Nevertheless, we’ve hung in there, through AOL, Myspace, today’s online flavor of the year, and will adapt to whatever comes next down the web.

NOTE: This blog began at 7:47 a.m. I asked on Twitter and Facebook which of a series of topics to blog today. Humor – or my attempt at it – won. This is my response.

Should I do more impromptu blogs, with YOU choosing the topics? You Tweet or Facebook me a topic, and I reply? If you think so, comment or contact me. This could be fun.

8:16 a.m. Finished 29 minutes after I began.

9 Steps to Starting Social Media

“How do I get started?” people ask when they decide to try Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn for business.  Follow the same steps you would take when planning a long distance business trip. 

  1. Plan. Before you take a business trip, you decide why you’re taking it and what you hope to accomplish. “Go somewhere and business will come” is not a sound strategy.
  2. Train. Before you drive a car on a business trip, you learn to drive the car. Riding in a car does not translate into instant driving skills. You learn the rules of the road, safety tips, and more. Driving lessons take time. Give yourself time to learn to use social media.
  3. Organize. Decide who will go. Who do you send on business trips, and how do they best represent your unique brand? What will you do when you get there?
  4. Budget. What tools will you buy, and which freebies will you leverage?
  5. Equip. Travel is mobile. So’s social media. Get a smartphone so you understand your customers better.
  6. Target. Who is your dream customer, and how can you best find that niche via social media?
  7. Converse. Listen to your target customers, respond, and ask them questions. Build a relationship.
  8. Streamline. Over time, social media takes less of your time. Tools like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, and NutshellMail can help you use social media on a schedule.
  9. Evaluate. Measure results. Experiment with various strategies and determine which work best for your customers. This will help you set short and long term goals.

The key to social media is the word “social.”  It’s about people.

If you can…

  • Balance the personal and the professional..
  • Be real and be smart while you’re being transparent…
  • Listen and respond….
  • Build your own brand indirectly as you build up the community around you….

Social media will help your business not only survive but thrive.

6 Blogging Tips for Boomers

If Charles Dickens blogged today, no one would read him.  He used too many words.

Boomers can have great ideas, but they have to relearn how to write if they want people to read them. Less is more. Long is never read. How can a boomer with great ideas learn to sift for gold and shake out the good stuff? What tools should they use?

  1. Twitter. Tweets are limited to 140 characters. Savvy tweets use 120 or fewer characters so they are more easily retweeted. The more you tweet, the better your writing will shift to the new paradigm. Overly long tweets will make you look old school and past your prime time.
  2. Main Point. What’s your main point? When I teach document layout to non-graphic business people, I tell them to print a page, hold it at arm’s length, and squint. What stands out the most is what the average consumer will see first. Design the rest of the ad around that point. This applies to writing too. Step back from your blog, squint, and determine the main point. Write around that point. If you have more than 1 point, you have more than one blog.
  3. Blog with Word Count. Don’t just blog. Keep the word count at 300 to 400 words. If you go longer, you have a blog series. Start with your premise, your thesis, and evaluate every word and sentence to assure they are essential to your thesis. Don’t repeat yourself. Cut the fat.
  4. Bullet. Bullets are like related tweets and are more likely to be read.
  5. Graphic. Include a graphic or video with your blog. Back link it to your website for better SEO.
  6. Link. Tweet your blog on Twitter. Link it on Facebook. Link it on LinkedIn. If you link properly, it will be read more often than if you just include it in a status line. When you link correctly, your graphic in your blog will show on Facebook and LinkedIn. Links with pictures get more clicks.

I blogged back in the days of 900 word limits. Today’s blog is not a 5 paragraph essay. It is not a dissertation. It is a foot in the door. Smart writers use these tools to powerpack a content rich punch that stands out from boring blogs.

PS: Have keyboard. Will blog. For hire.

Social Sober

My name is Mary, I do social media, and I don’t drink.

I don’t think there’s a Sober Social Media Anonymous group somewhere.  There are AA groups and probably social media addicts groups, but I don’t know of one that addresses both. (potential niche market?)

My husband drinks. Several of my friends do. I used to but haven’t touched the stuff since I became a mom. My kids needed a mom who spent more time changing diapers and less time dancing on tables. With a family tree loaded with alcoholic branches, I decided to stop to lower the risk of my kids developing substance abuse issues.

When I stopped, I learned I could have fun without a drink in hand. Sometimes, I still have too much fun. Every other year or so, when I’m clowning at a party, someone asks what I’ve been drinking.  Examples?

  • The last time I carved a hog at a roast, I cut the meat to the beat of the D.J.’s music. Nothing like cutting a crispy hog skin while dancing and singing to Twist and Shout.
  • When I sang Bohemian Rhapsody to Rock Band, while wearing pink mongo Elton Jane sunglasses my son bought for me for $1 and never imagined I would wear in public.
  • When I get tickled with friends and start howling with laughter. I ROFLMAO in public.  My laugh can make other people laugh too. Once you’ve heard it, you’ll know when I’m in the building.

Answer? I’ve drunk nothing stronger than a Coke or cup of coffee. If I can have this much fun sober, it’s probably a good thing I don’t drink alcohol and lower my inhibitions further than I already do.

There are advantages in life to always being able to be the designated driver.

It can also make me the designated Tweeter. If something happens in real life and a message needs to be quickly spread via social media, I can do it.  I don’t TUI. Even on a Saturday night.

When I’m sober, it’s easier for me personally to have fun and get it done.

P.S. If you do something so funny I’m laughing hard while walking, I’m trying to make it to the bathroom before I wet my pants. And I may tweet what made me laugh.

Are You a 21st Century Pioneer or Old Timer?

Not quite ready for prime time 21st century jargon? Do you wonder what terms and customs mean?

2011. Old: say two thousand eleven for the year.  Younger: twenty-eleven.

Cloud. Old: cumulus clouds in the sky. Younger: opportunities for users to share files and programs over the Internet.

Easter egg. Old: a treat-filled egg found during a hunt at Easter. Younger: hidden treat that can be found in a movie, book, video, or computer game. It includes inside jokes or special treats for those who find them.

Email. Old: trendy way to communicate. Younger: text and dm more than email. If you send them email, make it short. Less is more. More is never read.

Handle. Old: used with your old CB radio. Younger: Twitter.

Hashtag. Old: possibly an illegal substance. Younger: conversation topic used globally on Twitter.

Interruption. Old: don’t look at that phone when I’m talking to you. Younger: check phones for texts, messages and more during real life conversation. This is their normal multitasking in a connected world. They set SmartPhones on the desk or table during meetings to use as needed. 

IRL. In real life. Acronym to distinguish from virtual world.

Mobile hotspot. Old: possible title on the cover of Cosmopolitan. Younger: device that lets you create a Wifi hot spot for other Wifi capable devices.

Pandora. Old: myth. Younger: music platform where you choose what you want to hear.

Talk to someone. Old: real live conversation. Younger: in real life or by way of Skype, chat, tweet, dm, or text.

Time. Old: watches and alarm clocks. Younger: phone. 

Tweet. Old: possible continence problem for perimenopausal women. Younger: verb form of how people communicate on Twitter.

What did you watch last night? Old: TV. Younger: ustream, Netflix, or Youtube on a computer, iPod, phone or iPad.

Work Day. Old: 9 to 5. Work and personal separate. Younger: Work may not be one job; it could be 2 or 3, and one of those could be being a solopreneur. Work  and personal merge into meeting the needs of both as needed, and sometimes with interruptions on both ends.

Your wallet or your phone? If a robber mugs you and asks, your wallet or your phone, old answer, phone. Younger: wallet. 

Younger or older, if you understand what others are thinking with certain terms, it will help us all work together as teams.

What other older/younger differences in terms do YOU see? Comment below.

8 Questions for a Social Media Pro Before Hiring

If you are going to hire a social media professional, what questions should you ask?

  1. What’s your Klout? Klout measures individuals’ social media impact. Its methods may not be perfect, but social pros should have a Klout score of at least 30 (most social media pros have scores much higher than 30).  When you enter a Twitter handle (must be public), you will pull the Klout score.
  2. What are your favorite platforms? A social media pro should be familiar with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, and blogs. Pros need to understand the social media spectrum and how to best use each platform. How do they integrate Groupon offers, FourSquare, and Facebook places into campaigns?
  3. How do you build your community? Social media done well builds better communities. Do they use their Klout to bring people together? Do they share their toys? Are they involved in local, state, or national social media efforts? Do they attend or present at social media conferences or barcamps? If so, which ones, and which topics?
  4. How do you define best social media practices? How do they handle ethical issues? Do they emphasize strategy or tactic? Do they encourage open, honest dialogue?
  5. How do you have fun with social media? Good social media pros never take themselves too seriously. Fun, creative pros develop fun campaigns.
  6. How do you measure results? Your campaign strategy should have measurable goals with your specific, niche audience.
  7. What’s your time frame? Instant results from a social media campaign are as reliable as weight loss programs that promise major results in a few weeks. Do you want a quick splash or a long term gain?
  8. How do you train clients? Do they evaluate your full social media branding and train employees? If they don’t train clients, do they make referrals? Do they not only teach you how to use social media for branding but also market research?

Google your social media pro.  Evaluate their blogs, videos, and photos. Do they look like a good fit for your company and its culture? How good are they are beginning, continuing, and responding to conversations by way of Facebook, Twitter, and more?

Ask good questions. Ask the tough questions.

Better to build a strong social media presence with a solid foundation than to build one in sand that has to be fixed later.

The Person Behind the Keyboard

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” the Wizard orders Dorothy when she’s trying to leave Oz.  She ignores the voice, peeks behind the curtain, and discovers the wizard is human.

The best communicators - in real life and social media – slip through the curtain to give us a glimpse of the person behind the mask.

When we write by email or private message, remembering there’s a person on the other side of the keyboard is imperative. We’ve all gotten poison pen electronic messages. 

One recent morning, I sat down at my computer to joke with virtual friends – my family was still sleeping. I had just finished 2 of my most stressful days of the year – days full of difficult paperwork that’s worse than tax time.  My friends and family had cheered me through these hated days in person, on telephone, and via email.  I was ready for a break and a laugh before my first cup of coffee – time for Christmas to begin!

Instead, I read a terse private message that lacked nuances like please, thank you, Merry Christmas, etc. The complaint had merit, but the tone oozed anger from each sentence. Ouch. My family was all still asleep, and I didn’t want to wake them to cry on their shoulders.

So I tweeted that I was hurt by a private message and needed someone to make me get back in the Christmas spirit. Within a minute of my tweet, I got a first response from a friend sending me a joke. Then another. Then more.  I chatted w/a Facebook friend who texted me encouragement throughout the day.

As I sat in my still-dark living room, with tears rolling down my face, I was not alone. I had shared a glimpse of myself behind the social media curtain, and friends responded. They were my lifeline till my husband woke up, and I could cry on his shoulder.

We often talk of the business and educational value of social media. First and foremost for me, social media builds relationships.

When Twitter, Facebook et al are done well, they reveal to us the person behind the keyboard – good and bad.

Social media inspires me to be a better person behind the keyboard – and to help others do the same.

Oh – and thanks to @News25JordanV, @StevenWABX, @MarketingVeep, @Hsing3Kinder, @TalinaN, @DanaMNelson, and @PlanningForever – and my FB texting encourager – for answering my early a.m. Tweet for help.

Snow Day Express

We didn’t have a snow day in southern Illinois in January, 1978, when I was in the 7th grade; we had a snow month. After a 16 inch storm one week and a blizzard the next – leaving 8 foot snow drifts – the town’s lone radio station announced, “All schools in the area are canceled until further notice.”

How times of snow day notices have changed. Now we have multiple channel alerts:

  • TV and radio stations on air and web
  • Websites
  • Oncall systems to telephone and/or text families
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

When schools debate the To Close or Not to Close question, families, teachers, school corp employees, and students all discuss it online, before the world. Smart schools provide an official voice to the social media conversation. They develop social media policies that encourage conversation in a constructive manner.

Slipping into Old Geezer mode to compare the present to the Blizzard of ’78.

I was a pedestrian newspaper carrier during that winter. I walked to the newspaper office downtown and then delivered papers to every store and home on either side of Main Street. Every Monday through Saturday of that winter, I delivered the paper, even the day the wind chill hit 10 below.

Snow drifts 2-3 foot high divided the middle of Main Street. As I went from customer to customer delivering papers, I warmed up in 1 store to then venture to the next.

That newspaper, with the radio station, were our town’s lifeline. Weather radios did not exist for consumers. Our pre-cable TV news was from Evansville, Indiana.

Now, when the threat of severe weather hits, we watch the forecasts on the news and listen to them on the radio. We rely more on news online than in print. Facebook lets me see how the storm impacts my friends. Twitter gives me a view of the storm’s impact on our area and what will happen next.

If or when a comparable blizzard hits, technology will make it easier to survive.  Smart schools will leverage tech to communicate better.

Maybe, if or when a future blizzard happens, my grandchildren won’t miss a month of school and trudge a paper route. Schools will keep classes going online, sharing information instantly with students in ways not yet invented.

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