Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year Goals, Not Resolutions

2011 for me personally has been a year of immense growth and change. I moved across the country, met a lot of new people, changed jobs, and completed two textbooks.

I’m looking forward to what 2012 will bring and instead of making resolutions that I will inevitably fail to stick to, I’ve decided to set goals. I don’t plan to reinvent myself overnight, nor do I want to. I’ve spent a good deal of time thinking about what these goals should be and I hope you will find something you can borrow for the New Year both online and offline.

1. Once a week, do something that pushes you out of your comfort zone.
  • Online: Join a new group on LinkedIn and post a question you’ve been dying to get the answer to. Connect with someone in your field that you’ve never met and start a dialogue.
  • Offline: Go to a social event alone. Yes, I said alone. Force yourself to interact with people you’ve never met before. It will be worth it.
    • I’m cheating. I’ve already started working on getting out of my comfort zone in 2011. I spent nearly 14 weeks living out a suite case as a vagabond of sorts traveling around the west coast. This was something that sincerely threw me for a loop as I’m the type of person that values my personal space (having a place of my own, etc.). It was frightening and liberating all at once and I recommend it.
2. Moderation.
  • Online: Be wary of jumping into every social media platform available for your business and personally. This is a quick way to spread yourself too thin and maintain only a moderate presence (at best), thus, losing out on a lot of value of these platforms.
    • Again, cheating. I’ve recently deleted a number of accounts I had on some social media platforms that I simply didn’t have the time to engage on.
  • Offline: Ask yourself, do you really need that last slice of pie? Instead of the old “I’m going to eat healthy this year! I’m going to work out every day!” do something realistic, make a point of sneaking in a little exercise and eating a little less every day.
    • I recently tried to run three miles every other day. I was exhausted all the time as a result because I pushed too hard too fast. Instead, I walk to and from work every day and try to take a walk during lunch. I’ve been in much better health and I don’t feel exhausted 24/7.
Simple, right? Two realistic goals for 2012. What are your goals for the new year?

Monday, October 10, 2011

How will I find the best Social Media Marketer available?

It has been a long while since I’ve posted a blog. A lot has happened over the course of June, July, August, and September.
Lime Kiln Point, San Juan Island
  1. We (three coauthors and I) finished the first college textbook on social media marketing. It will be available March 2012. Keep an eye out for Social Media Marketing: A Strategic Approach.
  2. Since the beginning of July I’ve been working (remotely) as the Director of Communications for Own Point of Sale.
  3. Travel. In June, I drove up and down the east coast in my visit to Cape Cod and flew to Ann Arbor, MI to meet with Own Point of Sale. Then, during July I flew from Washington DC to Spokane, WA to visit family. In August/September, I spent a couple of weeks in Los Angeles, CA, flew to Portland, OR, drove from Portland through Seattle, WA to visit the San Juan Islands, and flew to Ann Arbor, MI for work. I then flew to Washington DC (my former home) packed my things and made a cross country road trip to move back to the best coast (I mean, west coast). ;)
To say the least, it has been an adventurous couple of months but I have not forgotten about social media by any means. During this time I also attended a few small business professional meetings and had a chance to answer some questions about social media and how to hire someone to handle social media for your business.

One question and answer I felt was worth sharing:

How will I find the best Social Media Marketer available?

First, avoid “Experts” – more specifically, don’t go for the self-proclaimed expert. Look to recommendations from previous clients and employers to tell you if they have expertise in the field. It seems today that everyone with a Facebook profile or Twitter page is calling him/herself a social media expert, guru, diva, etc. The truth is, the field is so rapidly evolving that no one can legitimately claim to be a social media expert (platform specific sure, but the field is far too broad).

Instead, it is best to look for someone with prior hands on experience actually doing social media marketing for a company or client. Odds are, you’d be better off with someone who has maintained social media pages as an intern than any of the “experts” out there. I have heard from too many people how they hired an expert and came out with very little executable knowledge of how to improve their company’s social media presence.

Second, post the job listing to a social media platform like LinkedIn Jobs. Finding and applying for the job through a social media platform shows that he/she does have (at least) a base understanding of social media.

Third, conduct an online background check. Look at all the pages he/she provides you with links to and even ones that he/she doesn’t. Read the content posted through his or her blog, Twitter, and corporate pages that he/she has managed. So, what are you looking for? You’re looking to see two things: (1) is he/she using proper grammar (avoid people who use slang, that is not how you want your business portrayed) and (2) can he/she phrase things succinctly (with social media platforms like Twitter, there is a character limit and your employee has to be able to convey your message with the fewest words possible).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sharing Your Location Online - Secure?

There has been a spur of applications and social sites like Foursquare that allow and even encourage you to share your location. It seems as though many people believe, “This is totally secure, I just want to tell my friends where I am!” 

If this is your rationale, think again. Yiannis Kakavas, a graduate student at Germany’s Technischen University developed an application called “Creepy.” This application aggregates geolocation information from your tweets, Facebook check-ins, and other geolocation information that you share to create a map of where you are. Disturbing isn’t it? This application was created as a cautionary tale to posting your location online. In addition to this application, a whole website has been created to remind people of the danger of sharing your location online. This website is It simply aggregates publicly shared check-ins from various sites and applications. It’s becoming far too easy to determine where people are thanks to these check-in functions.

Someone I've never met who added me on Foursquare.
As a personal experiment, I decided to set up a Foursquare account and mention just one location I had been to (after the fact, so it didn’t register as a check-in) and see how many people would add me. Note: Adding me give me access to all of your check-ins. After just a few months, I have 29 people (two I’ve actually met) who were willing to share all of their check-ins with me. What is the benefit of sharing your location with someone you’ve never met? The answer to this question still eludes me.

I can see from a socializing standpoint how this might seem like a great service. What a convenient way to find out where your friends (the ones you know in person) are and meet up! But there can be a downside as proven by the application Creepy and The phrase “buyer beware” comes to mind here. It is really up to us as users to be weary of what we share online and who we share it with. If you’re still dead set on sharing your location, be sure to set your check-ins to private and don’t add people to your Foursquare profile (etc.) that you’ve never met.

I'll be taking a vacation soon and believe me, you won't know where or when I'm gone until I return. No check-ins for this gal. ;)

For more information on this topic, check out these articles:

Saturday, April 9, 2011

LinkedIn: Get on board or lose out!

Here is a fantastic Info Graphic that really shows the importance of getting on LinkedIn:


(Courtesy of

Monday, February 14, 2011

Why you should have been promoting this Valentine's Day

Ah yes, Valentine’s Day, a.k.a. the pseudo holiday.

It has been a while since my last post, but I thought it would be appropriate timing to discuss social media holiday promotions. Why are they so darn effective? No, this is not going to be a rant about how much I hate corporate America for over-hyping such holidays. In fact, I love corporate America.
If you are a business and NOT running a contest, discount, or giving away freebees through social media today, you are missing out. 

A few reasons your business should be doing something to celebrate the holidays:

1. Facebook, Twitter, etc. have the highest amount of traffic on holidays
-          Why is this? Working people are at home. Most companies give their workers the day off when there is holiday (not Valentine’s Day specifically). Those workers find themselves with extra time on their hands and typically spend it on the social networking sites that they are discouraged from going to during the work day.
2. People are in a good mood (the holiday spirit)
-          As a social media marketer, it is our job to cease the opportunity by giving sales, freebies, etc. to build on this ‘holiday spirit.’
3. People are looking for gift ideas
-          Provide the means to satisfy this need! Create a contest, giveaway, etc.
Starting to see a trend? No, it is not take advantage of your customers or prospective customers!

Bottom Line: Use this time of year to your advantage to build customer loyalty through catering to their mood and situation. Who knows, maybe you will help make one of your customer’s holiday just a little bit brighter.

Here are some examples of holiday promotions that I'm working on:
 What promotions are you running this Valentine's Day?