Tag Archives: social media

Sharing is Caring

4 Apr

The age-old phrase “sharing is caring” has had both positive and negative connotations associated with it. In this instance, however, I’m using the words exactly as they are – sharing IS caring. In social media, it’s easy to fan a company, like a page, or follow a celebrity. On the surface, this is great – lots of likes, high numbers and positive analytics means someone’s doing something right. But digging deeper, it doesn’t always mean something great. Take for instance the multitude of Facebook posts you see asking users to like a page so my sister will see she’s beautiful, or how many likes can this veteran get, or even like this post, type the word cool and you’ll have 7 years of good luck. Now,  a lot of times these posts are real – but a lot of times they aren’t. Case in point – the recent article by the NY Times on how Facebook scammers are getting more and more information about you  – and what you can do about it.

I click on posts just like everyone else, but these days if something has 15,000 likes and I keep seeing it over and over again, I’m much less likely to click on it, because it’s probably not real. There are exceptions to that, however, like last week’s Supreme Court debate on gay marriage. My news feed lit up like a Christmas tree with photos of the red equality sign, the Human Rights Campaign’s visual support icon of gay marriage. Obviously, this was no scam – I was hearing about it on the news, around my neighborhood, the radio – everywhere. I jumped on the bandwagon because it was something I was passionate about, and knew was legit. I also shared a few pictures via the Human Rights Campaign.

Interestingly enough, I shared photos and messages even though I’m not a fan of the organization (on Facebook that is). This leads me to my next point – sharing things on Facebook is a much more powerful tool that actually liking a page. And I don’t mean sharing photo after photo of your kids (though I am guilty as charged) or what you had for dinner. Ad Week talks about it in an article this week – Brands Favor Social Shares Over Likes. Putting yourself out there to the world that you too are a fan of X, or love this ad campaign, news article or photo is bold and risky. You’re friend might not like it, you may get flack from your family, and/or your post could blow up in support. Alternative, nothing can happen. But, it takes much more effort to share a company’s post than it does to like their page.

What does that really mean? It means that the more people who promote a brand within their own social spheres are much more involved, supportive and invested in said company. And that is worth more than any amount of likes you can garner. It means that someone cares enough about your company, your message, your brand, and/or your cause to let other people know about it. There’s nothing stronger than a personal reference, and sharing online is as close to word of mouth as you can get without actually talking with someone. The more shares, the bigger the buzz, and the bigger the payoff.

Got a customer service problem? Social media can help

30 Sep

It’s interesting to think that in today’s day and age one of the main methods for dealing with problems comes from a technology that didn’t even exist 15 years ago. Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and email have become the go-to places when one has a problem. Whether its a personal or professional issue, the internet is full of ways to help us deal with them.

For me personally, my social networks have become a second life of sorts. An online version of me without the 3D effects. And with that version comes the ability to get things done that I ordinarily wouldn’t have time for, wouldn’t know how to address or wouldn’t care to fix. But social media helps the world interact so much more efficiently that anything is possible.

Take Twitter and Facebook for example: there are a ton of companies on Twitter now and more people are joining each day. Facebook recently hit 500 million users and if it were a country, would be the fourth largest in the world. So now that I know where the people are, its a safe bet that many companies will have a presence there too. Go where the customers are – you don’t want people to be conversing about you, and not have any input when the option is there. That’s just bad business. Not to say that you should do it just to do it – that line of thinking doesn’t work whether we’re talking about business or life. You should engage because there’s a need – a need to connect with the world and have a conversation.

Earlier this month, I had 3 different interactions with 3 separate companies. The first one was with Sears. I bought a black grill cover earlier this summer and now its grey, bordering on white. Since I bought a black one, I was not happy that it was no longer this color. So I hopped online, found their account on Twitter and tweeted my disappointment. I wasn’t mean, out of turn or anything like that, just a simple not happy message. At the very least it made me feel better, and I figured at the very best, I’d get a coupon or something. One thing to note – I did make sure the Sears account was active before I engaged. Who wants to tweets to a dead account? So I tweeted, they responded, and we started a conversation – then the unthinkable happened – it moved offline. Sears customer service actually called me (on the phone!), and I talked to a REAL person. I was super impressed. The lady was extremely helpful, very nice and at the end of our talk sent me a gift card for the price of the cover. Just like that. It arrived a week later, and then Sears called me and tweeted at me to make sure everything was ok. Great customer service.

The second and third interactions were with Tiny Prints and Shutterfly. I had bought things from each of them previously so every once in a while I’m offered discounts and coupons. I hadn’t purchased anything from Tiny Prints since before Baby R, and the email I got was enticing me to stay in touch and I’d get a $25 coupon code. I signed up for the newsletter but no code came. I signed up again, and no code. So I tweeted at Tiny Prints about my experience, and a day or so later I had the $25 sitting in my Tiny Prints account. Perfect. I wanted to order Baby R some stationary but was holding off because it was rather pricey. Now with my code, she’s got her stationary, I saved some money, and Tiny Prints still has a loyal (and happy!) customer.

Lastly, Shutterfly makes great photo albums that you can design yourself (or have them do it) and then they print and ship to you. Unfortuantely it was taking FOREVER to load some pictures to their site, and I missed a free book deal by a few hours. Again, I took to Twitter, tweeted about it, and the next day ordered my free book because they extended the promo for a few more days.

Now I’m not saying every company works this way or engages their customers using social media. Some just tweet deals, press releases or offer tips without interacting with others. But the ones that do interact, and do work with their customers are doing so very effectively. Social media can work to help connect customers with businesses, and it doesn’t always have to be asking for something. Tiny Prints frequently retweets positive messages, Shutterfly responds to Facebook posts, and Petunia Pickle Bottom regularly chats with fans on their Facebook page.

Using social media to interact with customers is a smart, simple and economical way to strengthen relationships. It’s also a great way to make a customer feel good, and want to patronize a business next time they’re in the market for said product. And you know what, I’ve told my stories to a lot of people recently, and nothing is more valuable than friendly referrals.

No speaking required

11 Aug

Modern technology amazes me. Hubby and I had a little spat this morning and left the house grumbling to ourselves about what a turkey the other one was. 2 hours later, bzzzz, the cell phone vibrated with a text message from Hubby saying “I’m sorry” etc. I proceeded to text him back (after I let him stew of course!) and we had a rather involved discussion without ever uttering a word. Now, if we had been at home, we obviously would have been actually speaking to each other, but because of SMS, we could have a fight, make up and continue talking without even speaking to each other.

On one hand, I find it disturbing that I find this cool – I am a communications guru – I LIVE for talking, speaking, interacting and hanging out with people – IN PERSON. I should be all about face-to-face conversations. But on the other hand, I think its great. Really great. I can handle personal business at work without ever uttering a word – thereby not only not bugging my podmates, but also not spouting my personal life into my office environment. I love the people I work with, but they don’t need (or want I’m sure) to know about my personal life. In this instance, because of texting, they didn’t have to.

Hubby recently pointed out that I have an entire life online that he knows little to nothing about. Not because I hide it from him – if anything I try to force him to read this blog (he really doesn’t care) – but because its almost a silent life, in that I’m not physically speaking to people. Technology allows for me to be able to express myself and promote those expressions even though I’m just a regular person. I’m not famous, I’m not on TV, and I don’t have a publicist. Yet, I can reach people I don’t even know exist just by blogging, tweeting or particpating in discussion on the web. So there’s me as a person, and me as an online person. I can be anyone I want to be online, and best of all, for me at least, its the real me. These are MY thoughts, opinions, and views that I can discuss and chat about without involving people who aren’t interested. If you want to read my blog, talk on Twitter or post a comment great – if you don’t – you can click on another post, visit a different site, or – in my husband’s case – ignore the internet completely.

Job hunting is the new black

29 Jun

Today’s job market is a challenge – perhaps more so now than any other time in recent memory. Old rules still apply, news ones are being made, and frankly, social media has changed the game – at least in the world of communications. 7 years ago when I graduated college – or is it 8– yikes – social media was in its infancy. AOL Instant Messenger was one of the hottest things on the planet, Blackberries were for powerbrokers, and Wi-Fi access was considered the golden egg. If you had Wi-Fi you were living large. 

In those past 8 years, I’ve been lucky enough (cursed?) to dive into the job market 3 times. Twice willingly, once not so willingly. One thing that has changed more than anything else is the process. The questions, the etiquette, attire, actions, etc. are the same but how I went looking for a job changed dramatically. In 2003 most of my applications were emailed, but some were printed out on –gasp – paper and either mailed or faxed – I know, I sound like I fart dust talking like this. But it’s true.

Last time around however, everything was different. There wasn’t one time where I mailed or faxed my resume to a company. But there were multiple tweets, an online CV, LinkedIn, emails and a strategy I had to find not only a job, but a job I loved. I did my research, found the companies/industries I liked and got into a rhythm. One thing that really helped me narrow down where I wanted to be was The Conversation Prism

Brian Solis & Jess3 created The Conversation Prism to graphically represent all that social media has to offer. Each “petal” defines tools to be used for a specific goal. I used the petals to ID the branches of social media that best fit my overall goal – finding a job. Below are the petals I focused on:

• Blog Platforms
• Social Networks
• Micromedia
• Twitter Ecosystems

Obviously, not all petals/websites are created equal – certain areas carry more weight with employers or industries than others. Most websites specialize in one aspect of social media – blogs can be an informative way to stay in touch with job trends, Twitter can provide real time employment opportunities, and still others allow you to network with peers.

I also used LinkedIn, VisualCV.com, and Twitter (I followed NMS for example!) to support my search efforts – I was looking for a job, and these sites helped promote ME to the world.

The more I used social media, the more social media used me – I had a blog, a Twitter feed, my resume on VisualCV and I reached out to my network on LinkedIn. By creating profiles on each of these sites, I knew exactly who I was connected to, and, more importantly, who they were connected with.

Note, that while I obviously went by my real name in my job search, I’ve branded myself as “sassing me”. Having a husband in the security business does make one think twice about safety, hence I created my brand around “sassing me” – a little play on words since I can sometimes (always?) be sassy, as well as a quote from a favorite movie of mine, The American President. So think of yourself as a “brand” and keep all of your profiles, usernames, and handles consistent. If you are not comfortable using your real name (like me) create an identity specific to you and use it as your brand.

Get into the habit of engaging your social media tactics every day. It was so much easier for me to set goals in my search because I knew what was happening with every tactic I used. Many of the sites I mentioned above have an RSS feeder that allows you to aggregate materials in one spot – much easier than searching 25 websites each day. This was my secret weapon for keeping all the research I was doing in one place, and making sure I remembered where I had been looking. Looking for a job can be like hunting for a needle in a haystack, and every little trick helps.

Finally, because social media is so versatile, it can easily be construed as informal. Your job search, however, is anything but informal. Make smart decisions about when to follow up. Joshua Wachs at internet strategy firm Echo Ditto believes this is five business days. Any sooner and I may have seemed desperate (a big no no – would you date a desperate person? Probably not, so why hire a desperate person) and any later I might have seemed lazy or uninterested – a very big no no. Follow up with a phone call and chase it with an email or vice versa. Be formal, polite, and above all make sure the employer knows you are serious about the position.

Good luck, and happy hunting!

Extra Post #2

3 Mar

Response to Prissy Perceptions Bill of Rights Post

First of all, I find it very amusing that two people can have the same exact reasons (almost) for supporting or not supporting the same thing. In today’s day and age it’s rare to find two statements whose owners’ don’t jump down each others throats for disagreeing. For example, after reading Prissy Perceptions post about social media I had to laugh. I felt the exact opposite for pretty much the same reasons. In an age of digital media, pop culture, wars on terrorism, a new administration and a population obsessed with keeping up the Joneses, it still amazes me that people can think so much alike while still having differing opinions. And, quite frankly, I think it’s great. Not to sound cliche, but isn’t that why we live in America? Why we are able to contribute to social media? Have freedom of the internet and our first amendment rights? It’s not often anymore that two individuals can have such differing views for the same reasons. In my earlier post about an internet Bill of Rights, I said that absolutely, there should be one. It’sworked well enough for the USA for the last 200 + years, and I think a virtual Bill of Rights would be a great thing for internet users. It could protect our basics rights to the things we post to the internet – usually for friends, family or colleagues to see – and allow us the freedom to delve deeper into social media without being frightened we will be taken advantage of. Prissy Perceptions feels the same way – only her reasons support her opinion that a Bill of Rights would not be a good thing for the world wide web. She feels that (for my same reasons) our ability to go forth and conquer the internet should be kept undiluted. No Bill of Rights – because rules go against social media and its creations. While I may not agree with her end opinion – how many of us can honestly say we feel a certain way about something and can respect our “rival” when he or she feels the other way for the same reasons?

Response Post #5

24 Feb

The Long of the Short of It

So, when I first heard the phrase “long tail” I immediately visualized a pheasant. I mean, I married a hunter who grew up in Iowa – all he ever talks about is hunting pheasant when we head back to his parents – what do you expect me think when I hear “long tail!” However, that image quickly went “poof” because pheasants don’t exist in social media, at least, none that I know of.  However, after really getting into Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail (both the book, and the article) the phrase long tail became much clearer and much more applicable to everyday things. Anderson’s example of Amazon really solidified the concept for me. At first, selling less of a lot more was a bit confusing, but applying it to Amazon and Apple’s iTunes was like turning on a light bulb for me. Not only is Amazon an amazing example of social media at work – without even trying to be a social networking site – Amazon sells a lot of stuff, but it’s a lot of little things made bigger by the customers who visit Amazon to buy something! So there is an explanation of the business model Amazon has adapted – the long tail. Now, obviously the long tail makes much more sense when you see it in graph form – for the simple reason that it shows a long tail and a short body. But it also helps to convey the message that the long tail theory has solid roots in just about every activity out there – isn’t math the universal language? And the long tail theory has it’s roots in math. Now, math certainly is not my favorite subject, but it is something I can get behind when it helps me to understand social theories and the world around me. Which is exactly what the long tail chart did when reading Anderson’s book. Not only did Anderson describe long tail in detail, he also showed it to me so that I had both the examples he used, and a visual chart to drive the point home. Given all the information Anderson presented, I’m starting to see the long tail in a lot of my daily activities and how it’s all around us – whether it’s Amazon selling things, iTunes offering a variety of media, or Facebook bringing together millions of users from around the world – long tail can be found just about anywhere.

Response #2

3 Feb

To Vlog or Not to Vlog? Podcast or No Cast?

While I’m sure many of you out there are comfortable writing and posting to a blog, taping and posting a vlog or podcast is a different story. Knowing that my thoughts are out there for all the world to see is one thing, but to put a face/voice to my thoughts – that’s another thing all together. Not to mention, who would be interested in me? It’s bad enough thinking about who wants to read my blog, but who wants to see my face talking about what I think? Campbell Brown I am not. However, when I think about what vlogging and podcasting has done for advocacy campaigns, presidential politics, gossip sites and others, the power of the internet – and the first amendment is undeniable.

Take President Barack Obama for example, his campaign website offered blogs, podcasts, vlogs, Facebook  links, Twitter updates, and many other digital media. While not everything has transitioned to the White House, his blog and vlog have – albeit in a scaled down, alert security for each comment kind of way- but he has tried to transition technology with him. Fans (or not) can log on to www.whitehouse.govand view his speeches, read about his daily policy battles and even sign up to get updates from the administration. None of that was possible before President Barack Obama. Not to mention his highly controversial Blackberry and much coveted email address.

While President Obama’s campaign is a great example of using cutting edge social media tools, other campaigns have not been as lucky. HCAN, and it’s Health Care for America Now! website has tried to utilize tools, creating a blog, podcasts, vlogs, etc. but their site is so incredibly busy it’s hard to read the pages, let alone navigate to a specific blog, or podcast. HCAN has however, embraced other social media with great success – it’s Facebook pages, Flickr and YouTube sites are heavily populated and well read. It’s not a perfect social media campaign, but they are trying.

BTW – if you haven’t seen this HCAN website you need to check it out. It is by far one of the funniest, tongue in cheek, yet serious information sites out there. Also check out their ad insurance company rules for some big laughs.  It’s too bad HCAN doesn’t use its insurance company rules website as the basis for their campaign, it’s laid out better, offers more of a targeted message, and it’s hilarious. Always a bonus when you’re discussing serious issues where everyone has a story to tell.

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