Social Media Muse

Infusing Social Media with Spiritual Chocolate

Posts Tagged ‘social media

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

Nonprofit & Social Media: a Match Made in Cyber Space

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There is no perceived difference between the two terms nonprofit and not-for-profit (only the IRS makes a distinction). Note here that nonprofit does not necessarily mean “charitable.” In this posting I intend to talk about organizations established for purposes other than profit-making, this includes entities like local government.

The online technologies and practices used to share information, knowledge, opinions, ideas, experiences, perspectives, and insights with other people; Social Media is changing the way we learn, teach, and interact with other people worldwide. People everywhere are having conversations online. There is a new on-line wave of influencers out there, and it is powerful.

Many nonprofits are limited in resources — money and time as well as staff and technical expertise. The biggest challenge is to apply the technologies that are useful to a certain audience. Most businesses have focused exclusively on using Social Media as a marketing tool. Many employers see it as simply a workplace distraction. But Social Media has the potential to revolutionize service networks and workplace learning.

In order to engage with citizens today, it is important to communicate in new ways, keep the message clear, and make information easy to get. However, technology is only an enabler and not the solution. Integration of the various online tools for access to services and information is needed to make the most out of the web. Active promotion and an integrated approach to managing digital channels are key to effective communication and engagement.

The new socially informed generation calls for two-way dialogs as nonprofits and governments are shifting their view of citizens as consumers, and allowing citizens to become contributors in the development of their materials. Social Media provides the ultimate platform to reach out and strengthen and build communities. Social networks contribute to raising awareness and increasing engagement, by inspiring people to join others to create a community that embraces certain norms and values.

How to reduce communications costs while giving citizens the information they want, when they want it? A skillfully created Social Media strategy can drastically improve online presence, increase traffic and enhance search engine results, in a very cost-effective way. The correct and timely use of on-line technologies will enhance organizational efficiency and effectiveness. People like to have the option to subscribe to certain information. More subscribers amount to more information “pulled” by citizens; this can increase website usage by 20% to 50%! People have always learned best from one another—Social Media enables this to happen unrestricted by physical location and in all kinds of extraordinarily creative ways.

Update October 15: Found this article today

“The primary benefits of Gov 2.0 that IT professionals cite include improved e-services to the public, resident participation in government, and collaboration between agencies.”

Written by Monique DiCarlo

August 30, 2010 at 10:41 pm

10 Social Media Muses

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10 Social Media Muses by Monique DiCarlo (and others)

  1. New Media is focused on being found by customers. Most companies focus on finding customers.
  2. Social Media cannot succeed without a genuine focus on your customers. Social media is about listening, engaging, and responding to your customers. If you are not truly focused on your customer, you will not succeed — period.
  3. Social media cannot be a one-off project. It is a conversation not a broadcast. A successful social media initiative is not a one-and-done deal. From a marketing perspective, you can certainly integrate a promotion to ignite participation, engage more customers, and so forth, but it does not end there. This tool is there for clients to hear their own voices, to be heard by others, and to hear what the crowd thinks.
  4. Social media cannot work without organization alignment. Even if your social media efforts are focused on marketing objectives, you are opening up your brand to the world. Anyone anywhere can say anything. The purpose and objective strategy and guidelines must be shared across disciplines to respond appropriately to the “what if?” scenario. In addition, regardless of the message platform, it is rare for some customer service issues or questions not to arise, so you need to know and have a process in place to get the information you need in a timely matter to respond appropriately. The same applies if your brand is using social media as a customer service platform or any other purpose; there needs to be an understood process for communication when “stuff” happens, as well as consistency in messaging. HR, legal, PR, marketing, and other areas in the organization must be aligned.
  5. Whatever it is that you communicate it needs to be an authentic story. When customers are making a decision that matters to them, the often rely on the truth as they receive it from the community, not the story the marketer manufactured. Control what you say and when you say it.
  6. Social media and blogs are essential inbound marketing tools. The most successful blog posts are the ones that provide some kind of hard-to-find data or breaking news. Convert your Press releases into blog posts and increase views and traffic. Businesses that blog have 192% more Twitter followers.
  7. Do not only include news about your organization but also “your industry news”. Your company is in a better position than anyone else to unearth breaking news stories about your industry. What may not seem like news to you may be news to your prospective customer.
  8. Measure your link popularity and find the roads that lead to Rome.
  9. “When I’m asked about the ROI of social media sometimes an appropriate response is… What’s the ROI of your phone?” Erik Qualman
  10. People are not buying what you have they are buying WHO you are!

Written by Monique DiCarlo

August 15, 2010 at 1:21 am

On-line Marketing is not an option

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During the early days of the Internet I heard the same kind of negative noise about on-line presence as I do now about Social Media. In 1998 I worked for an Internet provider who created and hosted some of the first businesses in town and often companies were very reluctant with creating a website, they had been in business for years without it, so why would they need it now? Believe it or not but there are still companies without a website or one that has been under construction for a while (not to mention the badly designed sites.) Maybe for some very small niche markets this is possible, but knowing that a vast amount of  people around the world are living their life on-line…

I am usually not a “numbers” person, but while doing a little research about how much time people spend on the Internet and use Social Media I came upon some interesting data. Let’s start with the most current data from facebook:

  • More than 500 million active users
  • 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day
  • Average user has 130 friends
  • People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook
  • There are over 900 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups, events and community pages)
  • Average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events
  • Average user creates 90 pieces of content each month
  • More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month.
  • About 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States (!)

The Nielsen Company recently came out with this current Internet Time table.

New Media is focused on being found by customers. Most companies still focus on finding customers. Key in your current marketing actions is to shift to on-line marketing and the communities where “your people” spend most of their time.

Selling =OUT Communicating=IN

People know what they want, when they want it and how much they want to spend on it, so why are they selecting your product or service? When people make a decision that matters to them, they rely on the truth as they receive it from the community, not the story the marketer writes. Whatever it is that you communicate, BE AUTHENTIC and BE WHERE YOUR AUDIENCE LIKES TO BE.

“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 set up 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

The Instant Magic of Social Media

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Seven Oaks Lavender Farm is located about 50 miles West of Washington DC, near the Shenandoah mountains. There are only a few lavender farms in Virginia and not all are open to the public. Lavender only blooms for one month and that’s when the farm is open to the public and people can visit the field and cut their own lavender.

The owner Deborah Williamson has a natural talent for PR and Seven Oaks has been featured in several publications and on TV. She has built a solid e-mail list, and used it to announce the beginning of the season and all the special events during the weekend. However this year she really wanted to generate more “real traffic” to the farm. I created a facebook page and Twitter account and within a few days the followers and friends started to gather.

Soon friends told friends and the lavender crowd was growing, our Social Media efforts started to pay off and more and more people visited the farm telling us they had seen us on facebook…As it happens Deb invited me to live at her farm for a while and one morning I watched several families gathering under an Oak tree, preparing a picnic, while their children were playing in the lavender field.

A customer pointed at this little boy sitting next to a lavender bush and within seconds I ran inside and grabbed my Flip camera and started to film him. I asked his parents for permission and moments later the movie went live on our Facebook page. The next morning, only minutes after the farm opened a family with several kids arrived, while chatting with the parents as we walked to the field they said: “Yes we saw an awesome video on your Facebook page of this cute little boy and we were looking for a child friendly place for a little field trip so we thought: This is it!”

Written by Monique DiCarlo

August 5, 2010 at 12:40 am

Are you sure you don’t want to change your mind?

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“Gillian: Are you sure you won’t change your mind? Spock: Is there something wrong with the one I have?”~ The Voyage Home

I just changed my mind, even though I think there is nothing wrong with the one I have! I deleted my Foursquare account. And it felt so good!

The reason why I deleted my account is because someone checked in at a business location which also happens to be a residential place. I have never seen this person visiting the location, so why would he check in several times and become the mayor?

I became alarmed, could I be stalked? Who is this person and why did he do this? What is going to happen next? Privacy is a fragile thing and in this Social Media age it needs to be guarded carefully.

I thought about the advantage for me (personally) to use Foursquare, and I could not come up with one. It is good for the businesses who are being visited. I like to support local businesses and I don’t mind giving them some free publicity, but not at the cost of my own safety and privacy.

This applies to all Social Media tools, ask yourself: Is this the tool that I should use and am I able to use it well enough to accomplish my strategic marketing goals?

Written by Monique DiCarlo

July 27, 2010 at 9:29 pm

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