SMM Countdown – Audio And Visual Options

Tomorrow I’ll be doing my workshop on social media marketing locally with my friend Renée Scherer of Presentations Plus. Once again, instead of talking about it, I’m going to link to yesterday’s post on LinkedIn, which will link to the previous day’s post, and I’m also going to link to my post from last week talking about the third phase of my social media marketing methods for this workshop, since something that’s there is something I’m going to talk about here.

A Heap of Televisions
by Morgan Howarth

Something that’s generally easier to do today is to create a social media marketing strategy using audio and visual media options to help get your message across. Just six years ago visual media didn’t really exist for the masses, and even when it went live in February 2005, I doubt anyone expected that YouTube could be used for the types of things it’s used for now. Back in 2004 we could create MP3 files as sound files that we could then somehow get to other people, but they were large files and we didn’t have the download speeds we do today, so it took awhile before people could listen to your media.

These days, getting a video online takes creating an account on YouTube or Vimeo or one of the other sites, uploading the video from your computer or flash drive, which will only take a few minutes depending on the speed of your connection, and not only are you set with your video being online but it creates both a link to the video and code for your video that can be embedded into yours or anyone else’s site that takes a liking to it. That’s what I did last week with the above link to Phase III, where I posted a video of Renée talking about both our event and the place it was being held. It literally took her a couple of hours to film the video (multiple takes), get it to someone who cleaned it up in a couple of hours, then get it to me and have me take about 20 minutes to create the account and get the video uploaded. Then the next day it took me a minute to embed the video into the post; just amazing stuff.

With audio, there are many options, free and paid. Free options include popping an MP3 file online, which I’ve done with the numerous times I’ve been interviewed on both this blog and my business blog. Because download speeds are faster now and MP3 files are more compressed, this isn’t as bad a deal as it was in the past. There are also ways to create podcasts, such as hooking up with a site like Blog Talk Radio or a podcasting service that lets you record a file and convert it to something where people can listen to it easily enough without worrying about the time or having to deal with large files. A great example of that is my friend Tim Dodge’s site where he uploads podcasts of books he’s written one chapter at a time, since he’s also reading them. You should check out one of his books, Acts of Desperation, which I actually got to read and critique before he recorded it. If you look at the page, you’ll see multiple ways you can listen to it. Start at the bottom then move up, then go to the first page to listen to the rest of it.

No matter which way you go, it’s good to know that there are these social media marketing options, whether you decide to create them yourself or have someone else do it for you. One of these days, I’m going to finally purchase a camera, and then watch me go!

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SMM Countdown – Why LinkedIn Is Essential If You Want Business Or Work

I’m two days away from my social media workshop, and I’m spending this week talking about social media aspects. Instead of linking to my sticky post about the workshop, I’ll link to yesterday’s post where I asked how social are you ready for.

Today I’d like to talk a bit about LinkedIn. I realized in looking back that I’ve never talked about it all that much before, and I think it’s time to rectify that one. After all, I’m of the opinion that if you’re either someone who works for themselves, are looking for work, or already are working and hope to work for some time to come, that it’s essential for you to be on LinkedIn.

Why? Because LinkedIn is the place where true connections can be made with business people from around the world. It’s another opportunity to post something about your business, about your background, no matter what you do. It’s another opportunity for both advertising and networking. It’s another opportunity to talk to business people about topics local and international, talk to people within your industry or people who shares the same interests as you just like direct networking.

It didn’t use to be like that. In the beginning, it was just a place to try to get business links, but it wasn’t overly friendly an application. So I connected to a few people; then what? Then they added things like groups and applications and suddenly it was a more vibrant place.

For instance, something I do at least once a week, if not more often, is to go on LinkedIn and, in the area where I have 120 characters, mention something I’m doing or did earlier in the day. Those messages get out to people who either check in on you from time to time, or through the weekly email that goes out to every person on LinkedIn, but most specifically the people who you’re connected with have the opportunity to see what it is you’re doing. I also belong to a few groups, one for my local chamber of commerce, a couple for consultants in general, and the others having something to do with some of the business ventures I presently do. I have the opportunity to comment on what others have written, as well as create my own topics of discussion.

The best thing, though, are the connections. You can find local people you know and if you know their email address you can connect directly to them if they approve. If you don’t know their email addresses, or those of other people you might seek out for whatever reason, you see people in your network who might be connected to those people, and you can ask for an introduction, of sorts. For instance, according to the site, I have 237 direct connections, which means I have almost 22,000 people I can connect to in within reach via one person, and just under 7.5 million people I could potentially connect with if I branched out to try to meet more people. That’s phenomenal!

The other side of that, however, is that you need balance. That seems to be a theme of mine lately, so let me explain. One, you really only want to connect with people who you either know or who are in industries you’re in; at least initially. That’s because those are the people who will do you the most good. Trying to connect to everyone “just because” not only wastes your time, but if people you try to connect to visit your site and don’t see you connected to enough people who could potentially benefit them later on, they’re going to ignore your request. Like networking in person, you only get one chance to make a good first impression.

And two, even though you can do some minor advertising, you have to watch that you don’t go to far. Not only will people on this site object to being sold to, and trust me they will call you out (I haven’t been called out because I know the game, but others have been lambasted and reported for doing it), but you can get kicked out by LinkedIn for doing it. Since this is business and not pleasure, and it’s the best one around, you don’t want that occurring either.

Of course there are other sites which say they’re all about business, and they probably are, but if you remember yesterday’s post (did you follow the link?), to be effective you shouldn’t overdo it because there’s just not enough time to do it all. Of course, if you’re on LinkedIn, you can hook up with me there; just let me know how I know you if we don’t know each other all that well.

No matter what, if you work in some capacity, you need to be on LinkedIn.

Sea Grass Magazine Tote by Household Essentialss

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How Social Are You Ready For?

How social are you really ready for? Whether you’re into social media for marketing or pleasure, you have to be careful when determining just what it is you want to do and how you want to do it. Social media can be overwhelming; if you don’t believe me, remember the first time you were in a live chat room, if you ever did that, and how difficult it was holding multiple conversations at once.

Yoel Ben-Avraham via Compfight

I only did that a few times before I realized how overwhelming it could be. One night I kept up 16 conversations for 2 hours, and I think I rarely blinked; I couldn’t even get to the bathroom! It was fun, but I couldn’t get to anything else I wanted to do.

That’s how social media can be for some people when they overextend. Sometimes one can overextend with just one thing, such as spending hours upon hours on Twitter or Facebook or whatever social media option you’ve chosen. Sometimes you can overextend yourself by trying to get into too many things, then trying to find the time to do them all.

I see that when I read some people’s Twitter posts. Do you know there are over 100 different ways to track Twitter posts now, and that’s not including mobile phone apps? Who has the time to try all these things out? Definitely not me, but some of the younger set does because they seem to be hard to please; yeah, I said it! lol Not that it’s a bad thing, because out of those things they want come new platforms, but it’s a never-ending search for perfection that just isn’t going to happen.

Then there are people looking for new ways to meet people in places other than Twitter or Facebook. That’s not a bad thing except some people sign up for everything, and once they’re there they send requests to all the people they talk to in other places, trying to get them over there as well.

It’s the programs and websites that ask them to do this, but sometimes it’s overwhelming. I get probably 5 or 6 new requests a week for sites and applications I’ve never heard of from someone I may or may not know all that well. I also get repeat requests that I’m not sure the people know are being sent to me because I refuse to join.

The thing is that I’ve figured out my limits, and I’ve figured out my time and strategy for both business and personal use. I’m already pushing those limits while still trying to do other things. Introducing more things into my life that essentially are the same as what I already have isn’t in my best interest.

What do you feel is in your best interest when it comes to social media? Are you satisfied with what you’re doing now? Are you always on the lookout for a better way to do things? And do you feel stressed or satisfied with the amount of time you’re putting into your social media projects, which by the way includes blogging?

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The Problem With Editing

As y’all know, I fancy myself as a writer. I think at this point I can qualify that statement with all the different types of things I write and have written. I thought about recounting all the things I write, but then decided it was easier to link you back to a previous post on how much I write. Actually, I’m writing more than what was in this post at the time, which is scary.

However, I wanted to talk about editing for a little bit. There’s always problems with editing, especially when you’re editing something that someone else wrote. Editing really comes down to the issue of what you like and are looking for versus what someone else has said. I find that it’s a fine line sometimes between editing to help someone fix typographical or grammatical errors and changing the entire tenor of what someone has written.

About six weeks ago I helped a friend edit her book. She’d had some other people look at it and I guess they’d made some suggestions here and there. I went at it with a critical eye, first looking for typing errors, then looking for grammatical errors, and finally what I consider errors of omission. Let’s take these in order, because they’re quite different.

Typing errors are more than just misspellings. A typographical error could mean things that are capitalized that shouldn’t be and vice versa. They could mean words that are spelled correctly but not the right word for the sentence, such as when we see people always getting wrong the concept of ‘there’, ‘they’re’, and ‘their’. This is actually the easiest thing to fix because most often the rules are cut and dry.

Grammatical errors are in a way the hardest edits to make. One of the issues with grammatical errors is that you have to take into account the fact that people speak differently depending on where they live, and of course where you live. For instance, most places I’ve lived in, when you went outside to throw the ball around, you were ‘playing catch.’ In downstate New York, and it appears areas of Pennsylvania, they call that ‘having a catch.’ Another example is that when I was younger we would ‘go to lunch’, and now people ‘do lunch’.

Those are small examples, but they become important when you need to make sure a person’s home voice is heard instead of the voice of the editor. There are words I often use when writing something that someone will say “I’d have used this word instead.” My general thought is that “You might have used that word, but I wrote it”, so I tend to stick to my guns. However, if someone used the same word four times in one sentence, suddenly it’s a different issue because the readability of the sentence is in question, whether the writer understood what he or she meant to say. There’s also the issue of writing for your audience to understand you, yet, because it’s how you talk, suddenly throwing in a word like ‘perspicacious’ because it hits your fancy, and now you’re sending people scrambling to look it up because you didn’t think of writing ‘using good judgment’ at the time. If it’s honest and how someone speaks, every once in awhile you just have to leave it alone.

Errors of omission are either difficult or hard, depending on the reader and the types of things they’re used to looking for. At my writer’s group, one of the participants is always looking for more detailed descriptions of people and what they look like, little touches in rooms to help her see it in her mind, and other thing such as what foods smelled like, did mouths water, what kind of sound a car made, etc. That kind of thing doesn’t always enter my mind. What I look for are things that don’t explain something that a writer has put into a story. For instance, a character’s name being mentioned without any explanation before or afterwards as to who that person is or was. Or a tale being told that’s missing so much detail that you wonder why it’s there in the first place.

Something I don’t do all that often on this blog is edit. When I write here, I’m kind of in my own Mozart zone; what I say is what I say, and when I’m done saying it I move on. I do look for typos, but as Sire has shown, every once in awhile I miss a word. This blog is freestyle, and I enjoy it for that reason. I edit much more thoroughly on both my business blog and my finance blog, because the audience for those blogs is much different than this one, and the topics always more serious. When I wrote my first book I edited it 7 times, and I asked a few other people to edit portions of it as well. Remember I helped Guy Kawasaki edit his book Reality Check back in 2008, one of many people he asked for help (talk about feeling honored!). That was one time I didn’t speed read.

Editing is a very important component of writing, but its importance devolves depending on what it is you’re doing and your audience. While no one wants to read a lot of stuff that’s missing simple words over and over so that it gets in the way of easy reading, studies have found that most of us will insert words here and there that are missing so that it’s not a big deal. If you’re writing your own blog, do the best you can with some effort, but don’t hurt yourself. If you’re writing for others, or hoping to make money, that’s a different story altogether. Remember the three critical areas of editing, whether it’s for yourself or for someone else.

Godinger 25335 21 Inch Crystal Fish Bowl

Godinger 21-Inch Crystal Fish Bowl

Price – $118.46

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Social Media Marketing Strategy, Phase III

If you’ve been following along, you know that I’m going to be doing this social media marketing workshop on July 22nd locally, which is next Thursday. My friend Renée Scherer of Presentations Plus! and I have been working this thing both online and offline, although she’s much better offline than I am either online or offline. I initially brought up this subject in a post talking about my social media marketing goal, which was to put bodies in the seats at Hope Lake Lodge in Cortland, and wrote a follow up post on how I was applying the social media strategy early on. I’d like to progress from that point to tell you where things are now as far as the marketing efforts.

Hope Lake Lodge

You might want to know why I’m talking about it. Whether it’s a great success or not, when I do the workshop next week, I’d like to talk about the online strategy I undertook in trying to promote this event. My goal, of course, is to put bodies in seats. My other goal, however, is to make sure that there’s not a single local person who I’m in contact with online who can say that they didn’t know I was doing this thing. If people can’t come, that’s one thing; after all, it’s summer, vacations and the like. It’s another if someone who would have wanted to come said “You were doing that; man, I’d have loved to come to that.”

How have we progressed since the last post on the subject? First, I finally went down to see the place, and I have to admit that I was amazed. You know, you get impressions about places, and knowing that it’s originally a ski lodge, and I don’t ski, my imagination was running wild. It’s an amazing facility overall, and it’s much bigger and more spread out than I’d known it would be. The lodge is pretty big also and they’ve laid it out so that you can get either basic accommodations, which are fairly nice, or really soup it up and go luxury, which will include kitchens, multiple bathrooms, fireplaces… the works! The indoor water park wasn’t what I was expecting either, and it’s neat because the outdoor pool actually works like a hot tub when it’s cold, and a regular pool when it’s warm, as it’s always 84 degrees. Just an amazing place overall.

That visit ended up prompting this video that Renée shot, though she shot it up this way in front of the sign highlighting the Greater Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, which we’re both members of, since they’re helping us promote by sending an email blast in support of our putting this thing on. Here’s the video:

Not bad, eh? Anyway, this allowed us to add the link to the video in the latest email blast, and of course to pop the video link on both Twitter and Facebook. I’m going to pop it on LinkedIn as well, and in my last email blast I’ll make sure it goes out. This was actually pretty important because I now know how to help people set up a YouTube account, although for whatever reason it wouldn’t let us upload an image last night; these things can be hinky sometimes.

Of course email blasts are important for us to do, and Renée has been using Constant Contact to sign up for your Free trial, which is offering a free trial, to send her email out. She’s going to be teaching that portion of the workshop, as it’s something I still haven’t tried out, but I really need to one of these days.

indoor water park

Meanwhile, you’ve probably seen the sticky post, and for others who come into the blog they’ll see it as well. I’m going to be leaving it up after next week, but changing the date to August 19th, as that’s the date of our second presentation. I also finally wrote about it on my other two blogs, so that made it a 3-pronged attack on Twitter, since every blog post shows up there.

The rest? I’m making sure I post the link to the registration page at least once a day on Twitter. I’m probably going to step that up over this last week, since I seem to always be up, to make sure I hit both the morning crowd and the evening crowd. I have a lot of local folks following me, so I’m taking no chances. One more email from me and that’ll be that. And get this; we were able to get the people at Hope Lake Lodge to send an email blast to their mailing list, which was around 20,000 people; neat! Renée can talk people into doing some very interesting things, I must say.

Also, I realized that I needed to create an event on my Facebook business page. I was under the initial assumption that creating an event the normal way would move over to my business page since I was the guy creating it, but it doesn’t work that way. So I created the event and popped it onto my business page there, and I helped Renée pop a link on her Facebook page as well. I didn’t have her create a new event because it would have read the same way as mine, and I figured that since we have many of the same people on both of our pages that would be a bit redundant.

Right now, I can say that we have enough bodies so that we can do this thing, and that was the initial goal. Of course we want more bodies, so it’s time for the final push. How will it all end up? Stay tuned!

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