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    5 Ways Women Business Leaders Can Make Social Media Fun

    November 6th, 2011

    As a woman business leader and the owner of a marketing firm, I take my job very seriously, but I always welcome the unexpected laugh and am intrigued by the “unusual.” Like most people, I am drawn to humor and fun.

    I came across this great post by Vicki Flaugher that really puts online engagement in perspective. It all comes back to being authentic.

    1. Use more pictures and video
      Instead of just your blog posts, resource links and business how-to tips, add pictures and video. You can grab them from Youtube or Flickr, but it’s even better if you create them yourself. Keep it light, relevant, and real.
    2. Capture candid moments
      Taking shots while things are happening now and sharing them in real time is powerful. No more staged photos in a business suit with crossed arms. Make me want to be where you are. Make me feel something. Share your experiences with candid shots.
    3. Kids, kitties, and nature
      These emotional triggers, used responsibly, can give people time to take a deep breath in their busy day. Those breaths are when we reflect on what’s important and who matters most to us. Caring is the currency in social. Demonstrate this value by giving people respite in their day with cuteness and “ahhhh” breaks.
    4. Hobbies, philanthropy, and sports
      Letting people see the inner you gives them insight into your character and values. People will feel they know you better and subconsciously assign traits to you via association. It makes you fun to know. And fun is good. It is very, very good.
    5. Music, book clubs, travel, and fashion
      Vicarious living is a sport for most of us. The way the Internet connects us lets us explore food, exotic locales, and new experiences with a click of a button. As the world becomes flat and more global in connection, this ability to share will only become more and more valuable. So share, share, share. It will pay off.

    In being social for business, there is still a line that you don’t want to cross by being too flippant. But  humor and spontaneity are easy and compelling online tactics that you can use to bring out your personality. Here is one of my favorite blogs about staying authentic: “5 Branding Steps Women Business Leaders can Use to Remain Authentic.”

    6 Ways Women Business Leaders Can Be More “Likeable” With Social Media

    November 2nd, 2011

    Have you ever wondered why you are drawn to some people and not to others?  What are the factors that make one person more likeable than someone else? When people think about whether they “like” someone or not, most take into consideration basic compelling human characteristics such as kindness, concern, authenticity, care and compassion. As you plan your social media and interactive branding strategy, don’t forget to add these “likeable” characteristics to all of your online and social communications.

    These tips from Dave Kerpen’s article, “6 Ways to Become Likeable with Social Media,” examine the best ways to garner a positive social image.

    1. Listen first and never stop listening
      As tempting as it may be to join the conversation, keep in mind that communication is 50 percent listening and 50 percent talking. Your customers want to be heard and social media provides a channel that really allows you to listen on a large scale.
    2. Be authentic
      As organizations grow large, they develop processes and models to enhance efficiency. Social media provides an opportunity to reverse this trend and actually ‘be human’ in dealing with customers.
    3. Provide value—for free!
      The more valuable content you can share with your fans and followers, the greater the trust and reputation you’ll build with them. Share your expertise without expectation or marketing-speak, and you’ll create an even better name for yourself.
    4. Share stories
      Every brand has at least one story to tell. Social media allows you to share stories with your customers, prospects and the world. Remember, stories humanize brands and make them ‘talk-able’ online and off-line. And they can be told by anyone—customers, employees or management. They just need to be real.
    5. Admit when you screw up, and then leverage your mistakes
      Being able to say “I’m sorry” when you make a mistake goes a long way toward making up for your error. Companies are made up of people and everyone makes mistakes.
    6. Consistently deliver excitement, surprise and delight
      On social media, you’re not just competing with your real-life competitors; you’re competing with all of your customers’ friends and the brands they’re connected to. So the way to stand out is to create as many “Wow!” moments as possible.

    These are great tips to think about when starting and growing your social media presence. Here’s another blog that offers some good ideas for creating a social strategy: Jay Baer’s Social Media Integration Strategies for Women Business Leaders.

    10 Questions Women Business Leaders Should Ask Before Starting to Blog

    October 28th, 2011

    If you are reading this  — you probably know that I am a frequent blogger. I got started because I knew that my point of view as a woman business leader might provide value to others. Blogging allows me to share my passion for mentoring and my interest in finding unique ways to improve my professional life. My assumption is that others would feel the same as I do and find value in my opinions.

    After more than a year as a professional blogger, I think these “10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before you Blog,” by Joe Pulizzi, provide a great starting point.

    1. Who would the primary reader (subscriber) of your blog be?
    2. What do you want to tell them? (What’s your story?)
    3. Do you understand the key informational needs of that person?  What are their pain points?
    4. Are you hanging out online where your customers are? Do you or can you make a target hit list of blogs or sites that your customers frequent online?
    5. Are you leaving comments that add to the online conversation on the blogs you cover?
    6. Do you have a firm grasp on the types of keywords to focus on that your customers are searching for?
    7. Do you follow those keywords using Google Alerts or watch their usage on Twitter?
    8. Can you commit to blogging at least two times per week? Content consistency is key.
    9. What is your ultimate goal in starting a blog? One year from when you start blogging, how will the business be different?
    10. How will the execution process work within your company, and how will you market the blog?

    If you liked this post, you might find a few of my other blogs on blogging interesting too: “Successful Blogging Tips for Women Business Leaders” and  “Women Business leaders: 3 Tactics for a Better Business Blog.” The most valuable advice that I can give you is this: find your passion and remain authentic.

    Jay Baer’s Social Media Integration Strategies for Women Business Leaders

    October 21st, 2011

    This week my firm participated in a communications industry conference in Miami, and I was lucky enough to attend a presentation given by Jay Baer, an author and noted social media expert. He writes a popular social media blog called Convinceandconvert.com and is a well-known and respected authority on the subject, so when he says something, I pay attention. According to Baer, in the very near future social media participation by businesses will not be an option, and as the owner of a strategic marketing firm, I absolutely agree. His prediction? Within the next few years, businesses that choose not to participate will simply not survive.

    If you are a reader of my blog about women business leaders and you follow me on Twitter, Facebook or another platform, you probably consider yourself participating in social media. But, says Baer, you may merely THINK you are participating.

    According to Baer, participating in social media is much more than reading the occasional blog and posting an update on Facebook. During his phenomenal presentation, Baer took us on a journey that shifted my way of thinking – and I’m already a social media proponent. I’d like to share my take-ways with you here.

    Here are 14 “disciplines” that Baer says must be addressed when creating any organization’s communications plan:

    1. Strategy and audits
      Audits and strategies should be conducted prior to embarking on any social communications plan
    2. Social analytics
      Develop ways to measure effectiveness on all platforms
    3. Social email integration
    4. Social website integration
    5. Brand community creation
    6. Brand community management
    7. Social campaigns and promotions
    8. Social advertising
      This will grow to a $1.9 billion industry in the next 5 years
    9. Listening and social mining
    10. Real-time response and reputation management
    11. Internal social media
    12. Content marketing
      Optimize social content and create content that proactively answers questions
    13. Influencer ID and outreach
      Find people in your social media community to carry the message
    14. Mobile and Apps
      All websites will need to be mobile friendly

    Being strategic about your company’s social media involvement won’t be a luxury anymore … it will be a necessity. How prepared are you for this new aspect of your business plan?

    20 Social Media Etiquette Skills Women Business Leaders Need to Use Right Now

    October 20th, 2011

    Expanding my online presence has been a wonderful transition from in-person meetings. There have been meetings where I have been captive to talking heads and calendars that may not sync with mine — not to mention wasted time getting to and from the meeting. By conducting much of my business online, I am now able to manage my time, how I spend it and who I spend it with while developing professional relationships.

    However, while I’m enjoying the ability to work online, I have to say that there really is no better way to judge someone’s character than by looking them in the eye and observing the way they conduct themselves. Since this can’t be done online, I have wondered how to address this missing element. I was happy to discover this article by Barry Moltz, highlighting tips on social media etiquette from Patricia Rossi’s new book. I think women business leaders will find these tips useful in judging the “manners” of the people they are engaging with online.

    1. Always make an appointment to video chat someone

    2. Make sure your surroundings are presentable when video chatting

    3. Resist the temptation to multitask

    4. Do not post a YouTube video of someone else without asking them

    5. Provide captions for deaf viewers

    6. Don’t stalk anyone to subscribe to your YouTube channel

    7. Don’t view part of a video and then leave a comment

    8. Be respectful of everyone’s blog

    9. Don’t engage commenter’s who misbehave on your blog

    10. Pick your profile picture carefully

    11. Don’t tag other people in Facebook in unflattering photos

    12. Don’t alter your Facebook relationship status without letting the other person know

    13. No tweeting under the table in meetings

    14. Never tweet while drunk or incredibly upset

    15. Be neat when you tweet

    16. Only use Twitter hash tags when they are relevant

    17. Use direct messaging for private conversation, but not too private

    18. Connect business people to your LinkedIn page.

    19. Keep status updates on LinkedIn professional

    20. Always send congratulations on LinkedIn when a person gets a new job or there is a significant event in their business life

    I think we can all admit we’ve been guilty of misusing social media in some way. After reading these great tips, I know I’ll be more aware of my own social media etiquette responsibilities.

    How Women Business Leaders can Conquer the Blank Page Syndrome

    October 17th, 2011

    A blank page is always daunting, and I am confronted with this obstacle on a regular basis! As women business leaders we have an obligation to share our thoughts, observations and experience with others. Sharing can take may forms but we cannot avoid the power of the written word – whether it is a blog, an article, a report an email or other written document.

    Here are some great tips on conquering that blank page I’ve condensed from an article by Ali Luke:

    • Step #1: Understand your purpose
      What’s the point of your writing? If you’re not clear what the purpose of your writing is, then find someone who can help explain it to get a clear sense of what the goal is.
    • Step #2: Know your audience
      Who is going to read this?
      The way in which you write needs to be tailored to your readers. For instance, if you were writing a software guide for use within your IT company, you probably won’t need to spell things out too much for your colleagues. If you’re writing a guide for your company’s clients, though, you’ll need to make sure that you avoid technical jargon.
    • Step #3: Create an outline
      Talk to any professional writer and they’ll almost certainly tell you that they plan out what they’re going to write before they get started – especially on larger or more complex projects.
    • Step #4: Start writing
      For many people, this is the really tough bit! Remember that writing is just a form of communication – like speaking. And remember that you can always go back and change what you write later; you’ll have the chance to redraft.
    • Step #5: Edit your first draft
      No one’s writing comes out perfect the first time. Your draft will need some editing.

    If you can, ask someone else to read your piece too. They might be able to spot areas of confusion that you’ve missed, or mistakes that you didn’t spot.

    Writing doesn’t always come naturally to everyone, but I can say that the more you do it, the better you will become. So keep at it, and read as much as possible. You’ll see how others write and soon develop your own style.

    Women Business Leaders: Does Your Firm Have a Social Media Strategy?

    September 30th, 2011

    Approaching social media is no different than approaching any other discipline. The more deliberate and strategic your approach, the more successful the outcome. As a woman business leader and owner of a strategic communications firm, I participate in many forms of social media, but more importantly, I have a plan and a schedule (not that I always stick to it). And, although my firm has been creating and implementing social media strategies for our clients for years, I am still surprised when I meet a business owner who hasn’t embraced social media … or worse, one who embraces it without a specific, detailed and integrated plan.

    A recent article by Steven Van Belleghem offered a comprehensive plan of action for integrating social media into a company’s overall marketing strategy. I’ve condensed Steven’s list of things an organization needs to do to create a social media plan:

    1. Conduct an internal and external conversation audit
    2. Organize training and formation
    3. Adapt your HR strategy
    4. Prepare your infrastructure
    5. Create a center of excellence
    6. Choose and realize pilot projects
    7. Create a listening culture
    8. Adapt your company structure
    9. Create cooperation between collaborators and customers
    10. Develop a content strategy
    11. Use new success indicators
    12. Introduce flexible and quick marketing responses

    I participated in a communications conference in Boston recently and as I sat in the audience during the sessions, many were busy doing their social media “thing” using smartphones, tablets and laptops. But I wondered how many of the attendees’ organizations had specific and strategic social media processes in place? Does your firm have a detailed plan? Let me know what’s working and not working in your organization.

    5 Social Media Traps Women Business Leaders Need to Avoid

    September 15th, 2011

    As women business leaders and entrepreneurs, we all know that promoting our businesses via social media is a necessary component to any communications plan. However, this activity can become intense and time consuming. Let’s face it; it’s all about balance! Chris Brogan’s recent article highlighting his time-management methodology might help you unshackle yourself and remain effective in your social media efforts.

    I’ve condensed his social media tips for you here:

    1. Take back some Facebook time
      Are you maintaining a Facebook page for your business? The best use of your time there is to ask your community what they need and want, and to let them know about events and activities that might be of interest to them. Consider posting videos and photos from your events. Then close.
    2. Tweet a little lighter
      Getting into a conversation on Twitter is great. So is updating people on your business. Go ahead and comment on a few of your customers’ tweets, but spend no more than 20 minutes at a time on Twitter.
    3. Are you researching or lollygagging?
      I love reading blogs. Sometimes I’m reading to stay up on news; other times I’m reading because I’m procrastinating. The first line of defense against the latter is to eliminate subscriptions to blogs that don’t grow your business.
    4. Leave the bleeding edge to others
      New sites rarely turn into amazing sites. The new tech rarely changes the way you do business. It’s just new. Instead, focus on the core elements of doing what matters.
    5. Keep guidelines for your time
      Set two or three times a day to check your e-mail for 20 to 30 minutes, tops. If your goal is to build more business, plan how you’ll connect on the various social networks where your customers and prospects might gather, as well as how you’ll interact. Measure your efforts.

    Participating in social media can be addictive, so these tips can help you make sense of it all. If you’d like to join in the social media community or if you just need some additional tips, read my blogs: “Are You Tweeting? A Twitter Primer for Women Business Leaders,” and “7 Unwritten Rules of Social Media Women Business Leaders Need to Know.”

    5 Branding Steps Women Business Leaders Can Use to Remain Authentic

    September 15th, 2011

    As the owner of a strategic marketing firm, I advise my clients on branding, and I have written several blogs on this subject (see the links below).  The key for women — in business and in your personal life — is to remain authentic and true to yourself.

    I have a friend whose life was severely disrupted by her husband leaving her. I suggested that she have a relationship with herself. I was in a similar situation years ago and took this advice from a caring friend. During those years, I was able to define myself and become familiar with my personal brand promise. The next stage of this process is to focus on others as let your originality shine.

    Here is some great advice from a blog I read on The Hiring Hub.

    1. Follow the advertising rule, it’s not about you, it’s about what you can do for the customer.
    2. When you brand yourself, it must be actionable, real and effective.
    3. If you are networking correctly, it’s not about you, it’s about everyone else.
    4. Whatever you write/post/speak about must be relevant and useful for all.
    5. When you post online, you need to actively reach out to your audience.

    I found these tips useful as a way to start thinking about what you are saying, how you are saying it and why you are saying it. For more on branding for women business leaders, please refer to my blogs: “6 Ways Women Business Leaders can Protect their Personal Brand” and “How to Keep Your Personal Brand Intact: 10 Mistakes Women Business Leaders Should Avoid.”

    Are You Tweeting? A Twitter Primer for Women Business Leaders

    September 1st, 2011

    I’ve been Tweeting for a while, but in conversations with other women business executives and business leaders, I find there is a lot of curiosity, but not much actual Tweeting going on. If you don’t Tweet in your personal life, it’s OK. I don’t either. But for me, Tweeting has been helpful for my business and my brand. If you’d like to give it a try, I found an excellent article by Mike Johansson, “Why Are You on Twitter? A Twitter 101 Lesson,” that you can use as a Twitter primer.

    I’ve condensed his top 10 Twitter tips for you below:

    1. Make your profile public. You want to connect with people, so keep your account open because you are going to be professional on this account, right?
    2. Choose a Twitter name that is your entire name or at least your first name and last initial or a variation of your name.
    3. Fill in your location with your real location. This will connect you with others in your area with whom you can network in real life.
    4. Work on your bio so that it says something about your professional activities and aspirations but also displays a little of your personality.
    5. Choose an avatar photo that is more face than anything else. A genuine face shot is part of who you are.
    6. Choose your URL wisely. If you have a complete LinkedIn page, link to that. If you have your own name as a URL, link to that.
    7. Start following others slowly. Find relevant people in your business or with related interests and follow a few at a time.
    8. Don’t just follow anyone. Following people just because they follow you is not a requirement on Twitter.
    9. Pay attention to others’ tweets. You will learn a lot by “listening.” When the time is right send them an “@” message.
    10. Retweet judiciously. When you read something that really resonates with you or you think some of your followers might appreciate, retweet (RT) it. If there is room – add a comment to explain why you like it.

    Tweeting has given my business blog added exposure, so I have to say it works for me. For more about how Twitter can help your business, read my blog, “5 New Twitter Tools to Boost Woman Business Leaders’ Social Media Savvy.”