Dude, Don’t Post That to Social Media!

It’s not pretty, but one of my favorite things to share with people when I teach social media workshops is this -

Trying to remove something you’ve posted to the Internet is like trying to remove pee from a swimming pool. It isn’t going to happen.

I remember speaking to soon-t0-be college graduates not too long ago. When I suggested they clean up their social profiles before they job hunt because guess what? Your employers are checking! I saw way too many eyes grow wide.

I really dig the infographic below. It acts as your devil’s advocate during the “Post or Not to Post” process.

Do you check yourself before posting or hit ‘click’ too often without thinking?

 Infographic courtesy of Onlineclasses.org
120820FlowchartFINAL Dude, Dont Post That to Social Media!

 Dude, Dont Post That to Social Media!
Pin It

6 Tips for Using Social Media to Grow Your Blog and Business

I originally wrote this post for Alissa over on Rags to Stitches. I’m re-sharing it here as I think there’s a great deal of value for bloggers and businesses seeking quick tips for using social media to grow their online presence.

building community online 6 Tips for Using Social Media to Grow Your Blog and Business

One of my passions is helping businesses build and grow their online social media.

Whether you’re running your own business or building your personal brand, each of these tips will help you better align your goals and make the best use of your time.

In addition to the tips below, I invite you to read my post about SEO for bloggers. If your site isn’t coming up in organic search, how will new users find you?

  1. Research. Let me start by saying you don’t need to be on every single social network. Every decision you make should be based upon research and data. As a blogger you already know the only way to have a community is to be a part of it. Figure out where your readers like to hang out. Are they active on Facebook? Twitter? Read some of their favorite blogs and engage  - comment, “Like”, repost, etc.
  2. Analytics. Once you’ve done your homework, spend some time getting to know your website’s analytics. If you don’t have Google Analytics installed on your site, do it NOW. It’s a free service with incredibly robust data that can tell you where your readers are coming from, which content is most popular and what keywords are driving traffic. I also like to use GetClicky. That’ll tell you down to the IP address who is on your site and how they got there.
  3. Measure. Create a monthly report to track your growth or decline over time. Set a reminder in your calendar to pull data on the 1st of every month. Track page views, visitors, referral sites, top content etc. (If you want to see a sample report, I’d be happy to email it to you). DON’T GET CONSUMED BY THE #S. Do not obsess over how many visitors you have. Quality is way more important than quantity in social media. Use the data to discover what your readers like to see, but don’t write because you think it’ll bring you more traffic. Write because you can’t wait to share with the world!
  4. Twitter is my favorite social media platform. It’s a great way to get information quickly and connect with people you might not otherwise have access to. A few tips – before you write a Tweet, always research to see if the person you’re writing about is on Twitter (include their handle); research to see if a hashtag about that topic exists (#parenting, #sewing, etc.) this will increase visibility of your message; DO NOT AUTOMATE YOUR TWEETS TO YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE! Stick to 140 characters and use bit.ly to shorten your URLs. Also, use Hootsuite to monitor keywords related to your brand or business.
  5. Facebook. I’ll say it again. QUALITY is more important than QUANTITY. Don’t get hung up over how many followers you have, instead focus on making those followers your brand ambassadors. Be a good host – engage with anyone who comments or posts. Engage with other pages by ‘Liking” them or commenting as your brand, and update regularly. Include a picture with your post every chance you get [videos do best on Facebook] and ALWAYS include a call to action. For example, “Please ‘Like’ this post if you dig it.”
  6. Pinterest. Add a “Pin It” button to every post. In your analytics you’ll be able to track how much traffic Pinterest is driving to your site. It’s incredible.
The most important take-away about building community online is learning how to strike a balance between how much you share about your own brand and how supportive you are of other companies.
If you have any questions, or want to discuss any of these platforms in more detail, I would love to hear from you!
 6 Tips for Using Social Media to Grow Your Blog and Business

Create Your Own Digital Infographic

WhatAboutMe 629x1024 Create Your Own Digital Infographic

I originally saw this post on one of my favorite blogger’s website, The Baochi Banter.

Intel just launched an online tool that enables you to create your own infographic about your online activity and behavior.

You plug in to your Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and it spits out an image of your digital life, including topics you post on the most and what time of day you’re most active.

Intel believes I’m most interested in fashion, since according to this, my favorite words  are:

  • dresser
  • pretty
  • sale
  • store
  • deal

The insights aren’t incredibly robust, but it’s a neat tool for exploring your personal brand and looking at your social activity.

Head here to create your own!

 Create Your Own Digital Infographic
Pin It

Are We Creating a Socially Inept Generation?

Left out Are We Creating a Socially Inept Generation?

source

I’ve spent the last few months “cleaning up” my Facebook account, deleting about 100 people. Initially I was going to use my girlfriend’s approach and only keep people whose phone numbers I own, but I soon realized I have a few travel-related contacts  that I enjoy getting updates from.

I also realized I was connected to people I was never truly friends with (high school anyone?), who I’ve never once communicated with via Facebook, or who I’d rather connect with via LinkedIn for professional communication.

I sent personal messages to everyone I removed and included my email address and phone number as preferred ways to stay in touch. Surprisingly, when I told close friends and colleagues I was focusing my “social” energy elsewhere, the response I received was “Me too!” or “I’d love to quit Facebook, but I can’t.”

Don’t get me wrong. I think there’s great value in social networking . I personally love connecting with brands online.

The neat thing about Facebook is it allows you to stay in touch very easily with close friends and acquaintances, but it also keeps you close to people you might not be as connected to in real life.

I recently read a report by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, Washington D.C. that explored how the use of social networks relates to trust, tolerance and community engagement.

Findings | Facebook on an average day:

  • 15% of users update their own status
  • 22% comment on another post or status
  • 20% comment on another user’s photo
  • 26% “Like” other user’s content
  • 10% send a private message

Another interesting factoid is that frequent Facebook users tend to be more trusting of other people.

I suppose if you’re open to sharing your life online, you’re generally more trusting than the average yahoo. 

Also, the number of people using social networking sites has doubled since 2008. 

Does this mean we’re more socially connected?

I believe we are definitely more connected - I get most of my news updates via Facebook and Twitter  - but socially, I’m hesitant to agree.

Most of us have become so dependent on social updates that we can’t remember the last time we actually picked up the phone to catch up with a friend or sent a card… just because.

As I watch my 2.5 year old daughter navigate my iPhone without any issue, I worry that her generation may never learn how to live without technology nor learn proper social etiquette, like sending a hand-written thank you card or the importance of eye contact.

Are we creating a socially inept society? Is technology bringing us closer or pushing us further apart?

Pin It

How Social Media is Like Gardening

IMG 3975 300x200 How Social Media is Like Gardening

Judging solely on size and abundance, you might look at my garden and say, “She sure knows what she’s doing.”

The truth is this is my my third attempt at gardening. While fruitful, it isn’t exactly an organized ordeal, and I don’t consider a bucket full of tomatoes and zucchinis a complete success. Partial success – yes. After all, it’s edible and organic, but most of the time I don’t know what I’m getting because more than half of the garden is made up of volunteers.

The left, more robust side of the vegetable garden was a complete surprise. The right side I actually planted on my own, separating seeds and building troughs. I clearly have a lot to learn.

The other night as I heaved buckets of water to my garden because the hose doesn’t reach, I got to thinking – this is a lot like social media. A bit ridiculous, but I’m so consumed  by social media that this actually crossed my mind.

So, I give you the similarities between gardening and social media.

  1. Deep rooted relationships. A garden or social media community doesn’t spring up overnight. It takes a lot of work and time. Sure the seeds I planted produced small, somewhat fruitful plants, but the left side of the garden flourished because the seeds were a  result of composting; vegetables and foods that broke down over time, became a part of the dirt and had time to grow. If your business or brand has an existing, strong relationship with its customers prior to implementing a social media strategy, they will be your strongest and loudest ambassadors when you do launch because of that deep-rooted bond you’ve already created.
  2. You must iterate. Apparently for me, the third time isn’t the charm. My gardens  have become better organized, but they’re not quite perfect. Your social media strategy will never be perfect. It is an ongoing, organic process that requires revisions along the way. Be willing to adapt and weed out what isn’t working for you.
  3. Celebrate! Celebrate milestones and fans, no matter how small or large they may be! Social media (and gardening) should be fun. You may never hit a million fans, and I may never successfully grow cucumbers, but I’m going to celebrate the 20 tomato plants that came up on their own, just as you should celebrate the five new fans you earned last week.
  4. It takes a community. I can’t claim a solo victory in my gardening skills. It was a collective effort between Manfriend and the compost pile. While social media is technically free, it takes time, money and resources. Be prepared to crowdsource for advice (and be willing to take it) and staff appropriately.
IMG 3976 300x200 How Social Media is Like Gardening