Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Today was an exciting day as I coordinated with Jill Salzman, founder of a growing network of meet-ups, to become the newest host in the Momtrepreneur Exchange network — a national network that has literally blossomed by Word of Mouth and with the aid of Social Media.  Requests to start groups came to her in a stream she had not anticipated and deservedly so, in my opinion. For her heart and mind were in the right place when she created the Network based on her own personal experiences as a “momtrepreneur” running a pair of businesses and oh yes, taking care of family…

And here is the WOW factor… 26 groups in 17 states have formed in the last five months!

Sounds like she recognized a need and filled it! A need she wanted for herself and others…

Sounds like her authentic vision to build a network of support in a way that is easy and affordable to the participants is on fire for good reason.

Are you both an entrepreneur and parent? How’s it going? I have been since 2007 and it’s one of the best choices I ever made. Another best choice I made was to say yes to motherhood.

Seriously though, isn’t it fun balancing growing a business and raising a family? (For me the ” musical sound of 2:25″ is a gentle reminder via my cell phone the school bus lands in 10 minutes!)

Support Benefits Everyone Involved

So ask yourself, gentle reader and business professional (be you a small business or a solo-preneur) Would a community of support that provides gentle accountability, business education and creative masterminding and inspiration help your new and developing business or re-energize your established business?

October 14th I am pleased to be facilitating the Inaugural Gathering of the Momtrepreneur Exchange in Bellevue, WA.  I join a network of 25 other meet-ups in 16 other states.

Each meeting (except the inaugural) will offer a brief speaker on a topic of interest and ALWAYS  leave ample time for connecting and dialogue.

My favorite style of events these days are those that allow ample time for a real conversation. That kind of conversation that we have to tear ourselves away from! You know what I am talking about!

I’m so excited to be launching the newest city and hub of the Momtrepreneur Exchange Network! Funny thing was it took no time at all to get things organized and rolling today, ONCE, Jill Salzman, Founder, and I connected. We played phone tag for a week  or more first and that was fun in its way (smile.)

You could say that she and I were both equally, pleasantly persistent. And that persistence made all the difference.

What Jill created based on an elegantly simple model is a great vehicle for building community, developing one’s business, and sparking prosperity and creativity! It takes a village I say.

My own monthly group will meet the 2nd Thursday monthly from 1-3 at Friends, Philosophy and Tea in Bellevue, my personal center of the Universe (smile). I am SO excited!

Yes, I chose my favorite place to congregate and a time convenient for me BUT I have luck with this place and this time slot for a weekly event I host for Writers and Bloggers, that is typically attended by 12+ regulars and new faces week after week. We have come to depend on each other for gentle accountability (or “friendly harassment”) and sparking our creative minds back into action. New people come and are immediately “absorbed” as they want to be. It’s mighty magical every week

That blogging and writing is getting more consistently and joyfully done each week by group members in between meetings tells me something is working. It’s working. The support and encouragement is working!

I read decades ago in San Francisco Focus that Amy Tan credited her writer’s group for the fact that the Kitchen God’s Wife got completed. This remark of hers has stuck with me for a long, long time.

Are you a Lone Wolf when doing business? Writing? Blogging? If it works for you, more power to you. And through the years  I have heard it said time and again, how it really helps to have true and unconditional support. I know I come to life with a pinkie’s worth of support.

We are living in wonderfully collaborative and innovative times. Technology makes it simpler to start a movement and get the word out.

Why do some movements and ideas go viral quickly and grow like mushrooms after the rain? I propose the AUTHENTICITY at the inception and in the core makes it just that much more attractive to people.

How would you create a network of meaningful support around you and for others?

“What prompts a person to be writing on their blog on a quiet Sunday afternoon?”, this person asks herself…

This fresh post is inspired by a friend who attended a conference in Seattle: Chris Pirillo hosted his 10th and “final” Gnomedex Conference in Seattle this weekend apparently? While I did not attend myself, a close friend did and shared this initial report that I find noteworthy:

Gnomedex exceeded my expectations. The diversity of subject matter, where the Geek stuff was actually pretty toned down, was fascinating. A couple speakers pushed into the transcendent spheres, speaking of trust and integrity. What one forgets is that Geeks are generally bright in many areas besides their core technical expertise. The more seasoned people are taking a careful look at their entire lives, and asking a lot of tough questions about the world.

The main theme I took away, as did many others, was, “Don’t delay that thing you’ve been wanting to do. Just DO it.”

There were two presentations by people who just decided to make films, despite the fact they’d never done it before. Check out http://lifeinperpetualbeta.com for one fabulous example.

Much more to share when we get together.

Metrics aside for a moment (yes, I know they are dear to your heart where ROI in your business is concerned) I find the phenomena of Social Media as it exists now fascinating.

Why? I think about  the possibility of what can be created between people on opposite sides of the physical world, the huge “personal webwork” we can construct of connections we may have throughout the Globe – as well as in our local backyards and communities.

And current technology for communication via Social Media Channels (abundant as they are)  is to me like having a “fairy godmother.”

Introductions to new and wonderful people can happen naturally and quickly if we choose to blog or read blogs and comment in meaningful ways. If we choose to author articles or to blog (that I use this as a verb makes me chuckle) means we will attract new contacts into our lives.

By what and how we share of ourselves on the web, we create the possibility that like-minded people or those in need of our expertise can find us intentionally through a Google Search, or organically, or by accident, or by recommendation.  Being found by any of these means works for me.

Big into communication as I am, I observe the duality of outcomes via Social Media and Being Social: Social Media fosters connections between people and their businesses and companies and hobbies and causes globally. Connections that stick and some that never have a chance.

Social Media adds to the “noise” in the world at large that we must filter and discern for ourselves. And among that “extra noise” is some really valuable information that has changed my life for the better.

Social Media can feel like intelligence in action. And it can feel like the exact opposite at other times.

And… I have also been considering another by-product of my ability to connect through infinite Social Media Channels which I will call a False Sense of Connection vs. a Truer Felt Sense of Connection.

I can split my focus so much that I ultimately feel “out of touch” with what matters most, while attempting to stay connected to everything and all.

I find I cannot always aggregate all the information found or sent, or at least do so well and with consistency.

Again, I am put in a position to choose HOW and WHERE I spend my time and energy (in any given space of time). And even though technology is a tool that helps organize my information and input and output, and works to keep me organized; I must learn it to use it well or hire someone who knows it, to set me up to use it well.

I am continuously fascinated by the evolving and exciting applications for all of communication technologies at large, and I am seeing a fascinating pattern…when I step way back to observe from a bird’s eye view.

First there was “the Maverick” one great new idea…that as first to market and well executed gained a monopoly on marketshare. It takes time for it to be adopted, integrated and made a part of the average user’s daily life.

At which point IT becomes regarded as something we must have to exist comfortably and be effective.

Then come “the Contenders,” the other options for the same or a similar application and I must CHOOSE to stay with my first choice, or investigate and move on to another “brand” or possibly use both “brands.”

And more choice and innovation keeps being born…that I am using or passing on using or maybe even unaware of?

These days we seem inundated with so many choices.  Some must have and others cause me to ask, is that even necessary?

Can I manage these days doing things in a truly LUDDITE way? Or must I take part in all of the technology at work and play in the world to strike it really rich and fully realize my potential? Like a pioneer, be first to the new land and take full advantage of the new landscape.

I’m as happy as the next person that email exists, that the WWW is used so openly and freely and I wish the lines of local and global communication to remain open.  I champion having a blog and actually have multiples myself.

I am a power user of Social Media Channels; until I occasionally crash and say, I need to unplug a while.  And I did for some part of the Summer, by choice.

Bottomline for me today, is that as much as I appreciate the abundance of technology and our ability to analyze, capture metrics, make wise choices and uses of the applications, and see it favorably impact my business ventures and in time my bottomline monetarily…

NOTHING replaces a face to face connection over tea or coffee or a meal or a shared face to face activity… Handwritten cards are so rare,  getting them is special to me at least…

I’m LOYAL to “brands” that are good to me, even if they raise prices fairly…

I’m more likely to attend an event I was truly personally invited to as opposed to a series of email broadcasts…

I’m into relating with people I like, feel  I know and can trust…

…and there are many other things I could say, but I am trusting you get the trend of my observations…

I’ll be a power user of technology for I am wired that way…to be able to communicate freely with the world at large is exciting. I enjoy it. I feel good at it too. My network is truly global and that makes me want to TRAVEL far and wide. Too bad no one has invented a Transporter that works yet, but for now I will selectively pay the price and go by plane, train or automobile.

And how do I cook you a homecooked meal? Or take a walk with you? Or sit in a dark movie theater and share a viewing of Eat, Pray, Love and then go out afterwards to talk about it face to face? I guess we’ll have to plan ahead for this local activity.

The Duality I embrace: I’ll take my immediate world as low tech as it is and appreciate it as much as the high tech world I “cannot live without.”

Last week a “new kid” on the block showed up at Biznik.  Sean Earley who it turns out is originally from Ohio, most recently lived in Seattle, before moving to Germany.  And he is savvy and friendly and enthusiastic about his newfound community at Biznik, from the way he is posting on forums and commenting. All in the spirit of getting to know his global neighbors.

Love it when people are friendly and curious and smart!

Funny/ironic that he lived in Seattle but only discovered Biznik once in Germany? Is that True Sean?  And now we connect as the fellow Social Media enthusiasts and writers we are? I surrender…and will just be GLAD we connected thanks to the Wonderful World Wide Web and a homegrown Social Network that has members worldwide.

And about this post that I “reprint” (thanks Sean!): I really appreciate the succinct clarity of the suggested logic (from the book Groundswell) for using Social Media as the tool it is. Being strategic and on purpose while being also authentic are core values I live out EVERY TIME I write.

Except for those early morning pages of stream of consciousness that clear the cobwebs from my head…

I second, enthusiastically,  the suggested rationale and process that Sean spotlights. In fact I am curious as to how y’all make the best and the most of time spent within Social Networks? Or do you even begin?

Curious minds await your nickel on this evolving “reality” and be mindful reader, that Social Media Marketing is now part of the mix. Yes, you can put your head in the sand a while longer if you must, but really is that wise?

As it makes sense for your business–Integrate.Integrate. Integrate. In time may you feel about Web 2.0 (aka Social Media Marketing) similarly as you did about email auto responders; which is they are here to stay and just like learning to ride that first bike, there is a learning curve but once confident, we ride the bike, not the other way around.

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Before you make the decision to use any social media platform as a marketing tool, you need to evaluate it first and ask yourself how it best serves a specific purpose, otherwise there is the potential to just waste a lot of valuable time, energy and resources without gauging the results.

How, why and even if you use it can and will directly effect the bottom line.

So, before you go tearing into Twitter, or any social platform for that matter, first ask yourself a few, basic, key questions, make some decisions based on these questions and set some goals.

Basically, “how will this tool or platform help me?”

In order to do so, I suggest following the P.O.S.T acronym (originally put out by Forrester)

POST stands for: People, Objectives, Strategy, Technology.

1. People: Who are the people you want to be targeting and how do you identify them? Who is your demographic and where can you find them?

Is Twitter the best place to find them? Is Facebook? Is linkedIn? Or maybe SprouterBuzz, Etsy, Ning, Xbiz, Foursquare? Or…

Are there other platforms that might be better? Maybe there is a forum based on your niche that would be much more effective instead? Maybe a group? Does this demographic even use social networks?

2. Objectives: What are your objectives and what are you hoping to achieve?

Are you broadcasting a message or researching and gathering information? Are you trying to build a mailing list, or get more traffic to your website? Is it for education, communication, relationship building, or customer service? Is it a tool to generating leads, or to build upon existing leads?

Do you want to use it for input or output? Or both?

3. Strategy: What is your strategy? What is the ultimate goal of your efforts? How will you be using this tool to achieve your objectives?

How much time can you afford to spend with these tools in order to positively effect your ROI? How much time is too much time? Will you be in charge of this process or will you outsource?

4. Technology: Based on your plans, which platform is best suited to serve up these goals?

Once you decide on a platform, do you have a good understanding of how to use it? Are you comfortable using it or do you need training? Do you need tools or additional software?

So to summarize, Social media can be a powerful marketing tool, but it can also be an incredible time suck. Following this basic process and asking yourself some very important key questions first will ultimately define success or failure.

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And after all that is it now time push that publish button? Here is to fun and productive blogging be it micro or otherwise.

About this guest blogger: Sean Earley is a professional designer, online marketing and social media consultant, recently transplanted and currently living in Weisbaden, Germany and thanks to Biznik, For more by Sean visit his blog and comment if you are compelled! I for one appreciate his

A Note from Deborah:

I believe, I have many things in common with Krysta Gibson, who these days publishes the New Spirit Journal and consults on publishing and businesss and more. And as a happy subscriber to her newsletter, I was struck by this recent “essay” and offering. And thank you Krysta for granting me the go ahead to post to my blog; the place I evangelize about Authentic Writing and My Personal Marketing Manifesto (yes, I have one!)

First and foremost I love Effective Communication that furthers Human Relations. I love reading, writing, speaking, writing, communicating ideas in what ever “language” is your natural form of expression. And I champion people in business and in life confidently expressing themselves be it for their business or their relationships, in the name of having a Purposeful Life Experience, while of this Earth.

(more…)

For the past few weeks I’ve been pondering all the reasons it’s good to have so much choice in the world, as well as what makes it challenging. Have you ever stopped to count how many choices of everyday commodities there are? Be it bread or shampoo or a professional service provider?

As a loyal shopper at Trader Joe’s honestly I find just the right amount of variety for myself. Stopping by a larger grocery chain quite frankly can overwhelm me. And I’ve had the same end result of overwhelm when I go shopping online for anything.

Say you are trying to pick for yourself a marketing specialist to support you. And there are just too many great looking options to cull through as you search for possible partners.

How does one choose when a friend’s referral doesn’t come to fruition or you want to do a little of your own footwork to confirm for yourself?

How do you decide who to call and talk to as a next step?

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I’m about to take a break from expressing my healthy and respectful fascination with Social Networking, media darling that it is. But just tomorrow!

In fact, I realized just how much attention and focus I was giving soaking up all things social media, reading more and more articles and unearthing new blogs to scan, comment upon and digging deep into new divine web finds (as I call them) bookmarked for later examination.

So occasionally I make myself stop and unplug for a day–and it’s challenging; voracious reader that I am.

All the time spent, soaking up unending content, has been affecting my sleep and quite frankly, my productivity. Can you relate? Are you ever a bit obsessed with new shiny objects like me? And in some ways history repeats itself.

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Ok, it’s late and I am up too (again) late but before I sign off for the night: I “gotta” share this story that ran in the San Francisco Business Times for a couple of reasons that have me beaming and I hope you can feel my enthusiasm leap off your screen:

September 25, 2009 — The San Francisco Business Times featured How Fast Time Flies as its Startup Spotlight (read the story!) Web site helps weave memories into digital scrapbooks .

A pleasantly surprised How Fast Times Flies founder recently shared it with her Facebook circle (of which I am gratefully part of.)

#1 Cathy Biddy Bennett was once upon a time a high school classmate of mine and well I don’t think any of us of the Santa Catalina class of 1983 figured back then (as we headed off to college) that for some, our fortunes would be made via the internet. Were we even conscious of it as we chose Liberal Arts degrees and pursued careers in medicine, finance, law, teaching and other fine fields?

#2 Real Relationships and Strategic Alliances played a significant role in catalyzing this success story. And trust and collaboration paid off big time.

#3 Utilizing Facebook successfully helped build a brand and generate interest that became sales and more sales:

“Ecom also built Bennett a Facebook presence in January 2009, and the business took off.

Prior to Facebook, How Fast Time Flies had about 11,000 members. Membership more than doubled within six months. Bennett now advertises on Facebook, has a Facebook application and a dedicated fan page.

“That medium is so, so powerful,” Bennett said. “I didn’t get into it at first because I didn’t think my customers were there; I didn’t think moms were there. And, yeah, they are.”

Cathy very gently, genuinely and tactfully used first her personal page and later her business page to showcase some of the cool things that customers had created. I watched as time passed that she got a little bolder, but remained understated as well, in her posts to share wins and wows. And her way “of being” herself, clearly attracted even more interest and customers.

No hype, just honest and genuine enthusiasm from Cathy the person (and the proud business owner), sharing customer creations month after month and contest winners as voted upon by the community. I recall one time months back, she unknowingly double posted only then to apologize for the duplicate posting. I suspect no one minded the double take. For her authenticity always shines through for me.

Using social networks like Facebook or perhaps one that is more targeted, such as Greenwala, a newer network established to champion all things Green will increase awareness of you as individual or cause or company over time. Facebook is for everyone AND within the entire population are the tribes we identify with also.

More specialized social networks may be easier to locate by online searches and they may have fewer members BUT at least you know they are more than likely receptive to you and your values and offering. The question may be how many active profiles in different communities can you consistently cultivate and participate and contribute to? A dormant profile within a community could send a mixed message, so being discerning about where you spend your energy seems a valuable dialogue to have.

Now, I don’t think it’s necessary to “over think” a Social Media Strategy. In fact, over thinking it could backfire sometimes. Authenticity trumps strategy time and again and good finds are naturally shared through friends and family and groups and now, social networks. So imagine that you have a good thing that simply needs to be more easily found. God bless the entrepreneurial cheerleaders” who created first newsletters, then websites, and now populate their blogs with the great exciting things they have found as they journey the web or the physical world.

Social networks allow for you to reach out, as yourself, be yourself, and be more easily discovered (if you are ready to be). Planning your involvement professionally and tactically is important, like the foundation of a home is. And genuineness rings true and clear where posts and pitches are concerned. And responsiveness when one can be, builds rapport naturally.

One of my favorite phrases is “Social Media is Straight Up Honesty.” –Francisco Rosales, of SocialMouths.com

And for as long as I have seen Cathy posting on Facebook as the mom and friend and business woman she is, I have felt her gentle spirit in every post and comment and share. Inspiring in me a desire to use her company’s fun service (aka patronize her) and let my circles know about this cool way to digitally beautify and share photos with others.

Good Product/Service I need/want + Generous/Gracious Leadership + Values that Align with Mine = Gets My Attention and Business!

I celebrate this former classmate’s enterpreneurial success and again gently encourage all you who are waiting to join in Social Networking, as the meaningful channel it is to grow personally and professionally and organically over six months, one Facebook post at a time, with some strategic and well-timed ads to attract new followers (per the article).

CONGRATULATIONS Cathy.

How Fast Time Flies for those who enjoy digital scrapbooking what a concept!