Social Media Muse

Infusing Social Media with Spiritual Chocolate

Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

The Ghostwriter and the Prima Donna

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No worries, I am not writing about a romantic story, although it would be an interesting exercise. Today as I was researching the word ghostwriter I found out that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a Primo Uomo himself, was paid to ghostwrite music for wealthy patrons.

The reason I looked it up is because of a rather terse reaction I received on an inquiry about writing opportunities. I tried to understand and thought the word ghostwriter had developed a negative connotation, but non of the online information pointed that direction, in fact it is a rather common trade during this information and content famine. That left me with the idea that I might have inadvertently offended an authority.

Everybody is a writer during this Social Media era, even my 70 year old mom is posting on facebook every day and I can’t wait for her to start Tweeting! We used to have a dairy, with a lock on it. Today we share our personal ins and outs with facebook friends and the rest of the world. We text, we Tweet, we blog, we’re all looking for words, 24-7. See,  I didn’t really need a ghost, I just needed a business writer.

Do thou restrain the haughty spirit in thy breast, for better far is gentle courtesy. Homer                    

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Written by Monique DiCarlo

April 26, 2011 at 1:59 am

“Your ears will never get you in trouble.”

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  1. Recommended: no more than 10% marketing messages on any of your social channels, the rest should be useful, fun and engaging otherwise people will simply unfollow you or your client.
  2. Why writing your obituary is useful: The way to success is to begin at the end. Reverse engineer your success.
  3. Real, raw, and relevant is what your audience is looking for.
  4. “Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.” The Cluetrain Manifesto.
  5. Monitoring the conversations about your business, product, or service is just as beneficial as word of mouth advertising.
  6. “Be a good listener. Your ears will never get you in trouble.” -Frank Tyger
  7. In most large companies, IT, marketing and sales not only do not work together, they compete with each other. Until they start collaborating as a team, you will not succeed in social media. A company that has not learned to listen to its own employees, and encourage them to collaborate internally, is not likely to succeed in integrating social media tools into its marketing mix. The whole company needs to live and believe their story.
  8. Content is King. Content is the substance of any Internet Marketing campaign. It is the information or tool that attracts potential customers to your site or your business. Social media amplifies the impact of your content. People do not want facts they want context…a story. The Patagonia brand for example has a very distinct story and symbol, their connection to the environment is what automatically spreads.


Words of Wisdom and Magic Words

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Today I am preparing for a writing test, the only clue that I have is an article they suggested to read carefully. My first inclination–after taking a deep breath–is to Google ‘writing test’, and one of the search results brings a quote by Seth Godin to my attention.

“If you’re trying to hire someone who presents well to strangers, creates documents without typos, is good at seeking out interesting new opportunities, can think on her feet in an interview and can network with strangers in search of a goal, your current hiring system is probably perfect.

Unfortunately, those skills don’t apply to most jobs.

As a result, we end up hiring people who are good at self-marketing, not at what we need them to do.”

When I read the first sentence, I felt a surge of energy going trough my spine, “that is me!” The following two sentences got me several points to ponder about the hiring process I am currently involved in. The first one being rather obvious: “is this the right time to write a blog posting about it?”

I am very much aware of the fact that English is not my native tongue, I landed here in the US ten years ago, and the English we studied in The Netherlands is the British “version” of this fascinating language.

The next step is to go back to the job description, and ask myself for each item, “Can I do that?” and “How well can I do that?” I still feel confident–sigh, another deep breath–“What else is there to consider?” How about my writing style, does it go with their services, industry, and lingo?

I am even more grateful for attending that three-day training in Utah last year (Book Publishing 2.0), where we learned how to write for different audiences and wrote the same piece of text to the four main Myers-Briggs types, and exercise I highly recommend.

Grammar, syntax, and split infinitives are creating a word cocktail in my left hemisphere, or is it my frontal lobe? I need another Google! What part of my brain controls writing and spelling? Herschell Gordon Lewis told me–during a Copy Writing Master Class–to “delete 3 of the 4 words you write”, is it time for that?

“Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.”

(Linguist Noam Chomsky created this sentence–which is grammatically correct but incomprehensible–to demonstrate that the rules governing syntax are distinct from the meanings words convey.)

Wait…Let’s go back to Seth’s observation, the skills he describes do apply to this position, and they are skills I possess! I write for 4 blogs, I can express myself in 140, 420, and an infinite amount of characters. I read (books, blogs, news, and social media) and write every day, and I love it!

Which reminds me of a recent cartoon by Hugh McLeod showing a perpetual circle with the words: “I am good at what I do, because I love what I do, because I am good at what I do, because I love what I do.” When you love what you do, you are the best and most authentic you can be, which inspires and provides a natural attraction of quality and creativity.

A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.
Mark Twain

“I am comfortable to approve myself, period.”


Very excited to update this post with this genius video!

Written by Monique DiCarlo

November 17, 2010 at 4:43 pm

7 Social Media Muses

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By Metropol 21

 

1. Some people read magazines, some prefer books and others watch TV, each person has their own way of taking in information. Social Media provides all these different platforms and by measuring the “usage”, you can adjust your information stream accordingly.

2. “Marketing by interrupting people is not cost-effective anymore. You cannot afford to seek out people and send them unwanted marketing messages, in large groups, and hope that some will send you money. Instead, the future belongs to the marketers who establish a foundation and process where interested people can market to each other. Ignite consumer networks and then get out of the way and let them talk.” Seth Godin

3. “Why are we trying measure social media like a traditional channel anyway? Social Media touches every facet of business and is more an extension of good business ethics.” Erik Qualman, from his book Socialnomics.

4. 75% of the population is S types. Individuals who prefer sensing are more likely to trust information that is in the present, tangible and concrete: that is, information that can be understood by the five senses. Writing to the 4 Myers-Briggs Type Indicators increases the attention of a broader audience.

5. Social networks all function the same way, meaning that people (consumers) are sharing their opinions and experiences about every aspect of being a consumer.

6. Deliver the experience you promised.

7. Social Media Optimization (SMO) is the process of trying to get already-established content distributed more widely across many social media platforms. These optimizations include adding links to service providers such as Digg, Reddit and Del.icio.us.

Focus of a Social Media Pioneer

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This morning while enjoying a dark roast I opened an e-mail from a large on-line job board that targets the $100k+ job market. It was the Monday Newsletter from the founder Marc Cenedella, sent to 4 million people, mostly job seekers just like me.

In this newsletter he is talking about the importance of having a great elevator speech, something we had just covered a week ago in a workshop called: “Strategic Bragging for Job Hunters”. He had some valuable tips and several questions that will help you to formulate what your passions are, your motivations, and how you look at the future within your work environment. He suggested to make it sound like a conversation and test it with friends over a beer.

As I am preparing myself to re-enter the workforce I do often encounter the simple questions: “what do you do?” and “what kind of job are you looking for?” The short questionnaire from Marc really helps you to focus on who you are, what you have done, and what you would like to do.

In many recent articles about hiring Social Media staff, companies are warned for so-called or self-proclaimed Social Media Specialists. In an interview with the famous Amber MacArthur (a.k.a. Amber Mac) she also cautions businesses to do some good research and urges them to make sure that the person they hire has a visible track record and a passion for the industry, especially for the firm they wish to work for.

We all have to gain experience, and hopefully we’ll find a place and environment that allows for developing the necessary skills while receiving some guidance. I the past year I had the opportunity to gain such experience (on a volunteer basis) with 2 small businesses. With very little budget and no official marketing plan we did gain a lot of positive publicity with a mostly viral approach. We generated traffic (digital and physical), got many new members and clients, and of course followers and friends.

I am not an expert (yet), but I do learn something new every single day, I follow “my mentors” and try to help others who need basic Social Media advice. I am lucky because I started my career in 1993 in Direct Marketing research for the company called: “Who Mails What?” and gained so much insight in Customer Experience Management. The founder Yolanda Eijgenstein had one very clear mantra: Hug your clients (when communicating with them)! This early form of Social Media provided me with a strong foundation in both Branding and Communication.

I agree strongly with Amber that it is very important to have a deep affinity with the industry you’re working in and to have a passion for your particular service or product, in order to be a succesful Social Media Specialist. I would like to add that basic Marketing, (Copy) Writing, Branding, PR, Research, and Communications experience should be part of your back ground.

My elevator speech is almost ready, in the mean time I’ll share some of my answers to Marc’s questions.

  • I enjoy communication with a distinct audience, improving connections and processes, and help people improving their life in general.
  • It is very rewarding to see the results of gained knowledge and inspired actions.
  • I learn something new every day and it is such manifold and variegated content.
  • The Social Media field is rather young and has so much potential. I want to be a Social Media pioneer, exploring new grounds and working on fine tuning our communication around this planet
  • I have a passion for communication, research, writing, and refining.

“Social Media is about sociology and psychology more than technology.” – Briann Solis Principal of FutureWorks

This position is a great resume builder!

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In other words: we want you to work full-time for us, create our on-line brand, and increase our revenue, but we’re not going to pay you.  Luckily most matured companies have embraced Social Media professionally and know the added value and opportunities this huge platform may provide to them. They are also aware of the fact that this is a very new, specialized, yet comprehensive trade.

A Social Media worker needs to have communication, PR, writing, (direct) marketing, branding, on-line media, Internet applications, and Social Media networks experience, besides your particular industry and market knowledge. This is the time for the Jack or Joan of all trades to flourish!

“Jack of all trades, master of none, though ofttimes better than master of one”

A Social Media Steward should possess a polymath* quality. Above all being able to handle multiple tasks, channels, and tools! If you want to reap the benefits of a consistently implemented Social Media strategy you’ll have to invest in a very broad experienced professional to execute this multi level challenge at a very high (real-time) visibility level.

*Polymath (Greek πολυμαθής, polymathēs, “having learned much”)[1] is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas.

Written by Monique DiCarlo

August 3, 2010 at 11:05 pm

Don’t be spammy, pushy, sales-y, douchey, or scary.

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That’s how David Noël puts it, and he is right! Social Media provides the ultimate tools to create relationships, not pitches! This is one of the most significant changes in the marketing world and something many are still struggling with.

Basically you want to avoid talking about your service or product all together. The opposite of what marketing used to be. Copy writing has entered a new era. I remember the advice received during a workshop with Herschell Gordon Lewis: when you write 4 words, delete 3. A tweeter pur sang and avant la lettre (forgive me my French).

No longer do we buy a list, defined by certain metrics. No, we have to create a community our (potential) customers like to visit. Then we have to get to know them, established by a sincere dialogue, active communication, and sharing meaningful information.

Next is to show them you understand and respect them, before you share how it feels when you “help” them. Your customer needs to “like” you before he’ll buy from you, and he’ll “follow” you happily ever after.

Written by Monique DiCarlo

July 29, 2010 at 2:26 am

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