Rachel Discovers Happiness

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Archive for the category “Twitter”

On Managing Social Media

The other day I had the opportunity to speak with a few other people about managing social media, both personally and professionally.

There was a lot of good information that came out of the conversation so I thought I would open up the conversation here to see what you all think. See below for some questions that I’ve had or heard from other people.

Image via FinancialSocialMedia.com

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What are the best social media sites for my clients?

Social media is not one size fits all. In order to figure out which platforms are best for your clients you first must understand what the company hopes to accomplish through those channels. What is the end goal? What would the company like to achieve? Whether the purpose is to open up communication between business and consumers, share relevant stories and information about the company or stay involved in industry conversations, there is a social media site to help your client do just that. Research the demographics and purpose of each social media site and utilize the ones that fit into the consumer demographic of your company.

How often should I be posting?

That really depends on which platform you are using. For example, I wouldn’t post more than two times a day on Facebook; this site is normally used for more personal communication and longer interactions. People don’t like their Facebook news feeds to be cluttered; chances are, if you are posting too often, people will unsubscribe from your updates which means that your message won’t be reaching them at all. Twitter is a different story; it serves as a constant news feed and chances are your Tweets get buried in the pile-up. The more you Tweet, the more likely your viewers are to receive and respond to your message. I’d say that the length of the message and level of interaction you desire by your targets should have an inverse effect on how often you post: the longer the post (Blogs, Facebook, etc.) the less often you should post on that platform.

What is the best way to build a fan base on Twitter or Facebook?

The best way to build a fan base is to be open, facilitate conversation, ask questions, respond to others and be proactive about your outreach. If the company can afford it, buy ads on whichever social network you are using. You can generally add filters to your advertisements to target specific demographics based on age, sex, interests and location. Sites like Twitter and Instagram use hash tags in order to aggregate posts about the same topic, this is a good way to reach people who are interested in the same things you are. Also, live Tweeting from events like concerts and conferences are a great way to start discussions.

Hash tags don’t work on Facebook. Don’t use them there, it’s just obnoxious.

What is the best way to control multiple social media accounts?

There are tools such as TweetDeck and HootSuite which allow you to schedule Tweets, analyze traffic and manage multiple accounts. There are also tools like BufferApp which is like a queue for your Tweets letting you put a bunch of Tweets in a line and schedule when they go out. (Note: I personally use BufferApp, but I know others who use TweetDeck or HootSuite and like those platforms a lot.)

A word to the wise: don’t put your personal account and a client account on the same management app (especially on your phone or tablet) – if you aren’t paying attention you can end up inadvertently posting something to the wrong account causing problems for everyone involved.

How should I control responses on my social media accounts?

It is always important that your company or the company you’re representing has an ironclad social media policy. Make sure this policy states the company’s stance on bullying (and what this means whether it is based on race, religion, sexual preference, age, etc.) and profanity. You can set filters on many social media sites so that comments and posts that contain specific words (think offensive four letter words) won’t show up on your account, even if just for a second. Make sure you cover all your bases, and then make sure that you have the policy published somewhere available to the public in case you hit any retaliation from users whose comments get deleted.

What should I post about on my/the company’s blog?

Make sure you are writing about things that your viewers will want to read. Don’t just regurgitate information already posted on other similar blogs. Keep your posts short and to the point, about 600 words long (unlike this one which is at 774 right now). Include videos of things around the office or of important events in your industry. Conduct interviews of people in different positions throughout the company; ask the same questions of everybody, you will get different answers and readers will be able to see the different aspects of your company. If you do recap posts of concerts or events make sure that they are timely and occur within 24 hours of said event.

As far as number of posts per week, you can decide to post once a day, twice a week or any frequency you like, just make sure you stick to it. People on social media like consistency, they like to know that on Tuesdays they are going to get a blog post from you, or on the third Friday of every month your company is going to give them a drink recipe to try over the weekend. Having a backlog or edcal of posts is always a good idea, that way you can schedule your posts and you are sure that they will go out even if you don’t necessarily have time to write that day.

Is it okay to auto-post between social media platforms?

Cross posting between social media platforms is generally frowned upon. Although it isn’t the worst social media faux pas one could commit, consumers generally feel that auto generation of content is impersonal and redundant. You should have (mostly) different content on all different platforms, and even if it’s similar information, your post should be phrased differently whether it is on Twitter vs. Facebook vs. Google+.

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What do you think of these social media management tips? Are there any you disagree with? Do you have any to add? Let me know in the comments!

On Taking Risks and Making Your Own Luck

I have recently been practicing the act of spontaneity. I have been doing things that  scare me, things that I’ve never seen myself doing. I’ve been taking chances and making decisions all in an effort to make myself happier.

This guy saw me taking a picture and said "hey, take a picture of me!" so i did, begrudgingly. Turned out pretty awesome, actually. (contest photo)

I kind of like being spontaneous. It allows for me to step into somebody else’s shoes, or to be the person I could be if I didn’t have so much damn anxiety.

There’s something to be said for bravery and taking risks, embracing chances. You never know what will happen when you do something on a whim.

My photo of the Austin Sky (contest photo)

That’s how I won tickets to SXSWi. I signed up for a sweepstakes on Twitter and somehow won. I chalked it up to a fluke; I’m not a lucky person. I don’t win things. This kind of experience doesn’t happen to me.

Until it did.

Free lunch with Katie, one of my photo companions. (contest photo)

While at SXSW I decided to do a bunch of things that scared me. Simply being there was anxiety enough, but navigating Austin by myself? Well that was downright terrifying.

But I did it.

Katie's photo of me crowd surfing with Skype (contest photo)

I went to panels , listened to speakers, participated in workshops, ate free food and simply did whatever I decided to do. I didn’t really have an agenda or anywhere I had to be because anywhere I went would have been amazing.

One workshop I went to was PhotoCamp. It was all about taking quality photos with your iPhone. I met some pretty cool people in that workshop, some of which I’m still in contact with.

Photo by Katie - artists painting on canvas. She won one of their original pieces! (contest photo)

One of the great things about that session was that we took a chance and entered a contest as a group. There were four of us and the perimeters were simply that we had to use a specific app (RingReef) and collaborate on a photo project about SXSW. Our photos had to be cohesive and reflect how we viewed the event. There could only be 20 photos.

One of the most provocative marketing campaigns at SXSW (contest photo)

We were able to whittle down our submissions, although it was super difficult since we had so many good pictures, and somehow we won.

Frankie's photo - part of the Let's Get Naked campaign (contest photo)

Some of the photos included in this post are ones we won the contest with. What we won with those photos is pretty awesome – we each get a special phone cover that is magnetic and has different lenses, some other iPhone photo stuff, and last but not least, the new iPad.

Crazy, huh?

These kinds things don’t happen to me.

Ike's photo of a DJ at a party (contest photo)

I also entered a scavenger hunt contest with a company called FoundIt! which was based on Twitter. I won that too. I don’t know what the prise is, but it should arrive next week.

When I told Madeline at work the story about winning the ticket, the photo contest and the scavenger hunt and said that these kinds of things don’t happen to me, she laughed at me and said, “I don’t think you’re allowed to say that anymore.”

Another one of Ike's photos - I like the perspective. (contest photo)

And in that moment, when I said they don’t happen to me, I realized something: these kinds of things don’t happen to me because I never let them. I never enter contests because I don’t think I’ll win. I never put myself out there and take risks. I never make spontaneous decisions.

But look at what happens when I do! Maybe some people are naturally lucky. I think that, more likely, these are the people that make their own luck. They are the ones who show up and go for it, whatever “it” may be.

The Skype party

The bacon truck we rented for a client

TED Talk with Nikol, Robert and Phil - cross it off the bucket list!

a photo I took in our photo workshop

You know the Wayne Gretzkey saying, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” ? Well, as cheesy as it is, I now know what he meant.

I think I’ll start taking more risks and making more of my own luck. Apparently that’s the best way to do it.

Nerd-fest 2012: The Waiting Game

AKA South by Southwest Interactive 2012 or Southby or SXSWi from hereon out.

In case you are lame and didn’t read my previous post about this, I recently won a ticket to SXSWi on Twitter. Those tickets go for over $900, are completely sold out, and are the gateway to a wonderful week of networking, start-ups, technology, and mingling with nerds. Nerds just like me!

Looking at me you wouldn’t think I was a nerd – I like to think of myself as a closet nerd and this upcoming SXSWi experience as my Nerd Coming Out Party. (Is that a politically appropriate analogy?)

Anyway, I struggled a lot with whether to go to SXSWi or not. I was nervous for a lot of reasons – money, going out of my comfort zone, being alone, not fitting in, not being nerdy enough (weird fear, right? but totally valid!), etc. but I decided, after 99.9% support from friends, family and strangers, that I would attend. I fretted over the cost of the plane ticket, but thank goodness for Southwest airlines (fitting, isn’t it?) and its low fare calendar, because of that I was able to get tickets to Austin for a fraction of the cost from other airlines. Whew.

I talked to my mom about it a lot – she brought up the cliché “do one thing each day that scares you.” She then told me that, if I went to SXSWi like she thought I should, I would rack up about a month’s worth of “things that scare me” and hopefully get over some of my anxiety and debilitating fears (there are so many that I’m staring down right now that I’m not even going to get into all of them). But okay Mom, you’re right, I should go. I even got an e-mail from her this morning saying:

South by Southwest has been getting HUGE press in the SF Chron business pages – articles yesterday AND today.  You can google that if you are interested and/or have time before you leave today.  It should be an amazing experience.  I am so proud of you for grabbing this opportunity!

Thanks Mom. I really appreciate the support. Really. Now can you pay for the flight? Kidding. Kinda…

I have spent a lot of time this past week talking to just about everybody about what SXSWi is going to be like, what I should do while I’m there, etc. I have been actively posting on Twitter, Facebook, other people’s blogs and just about every other social media site I could think of in order to prepare myself.

I have come to the conclusion that no amount of blog posts, Twitter hash tag chats/follows or conversations about how amazing it’s going to be can prepare me for what I will experience over the next four days.

Although I don’t think all of my research can adequately prepare me for this (what I believe to be) life-changing event, here are the conclusions I’ve come to out of all of my anxious energy/excitement:

  • In going to SXSWi I am reaching so ridiculously far out of my comfort zone it isn’t even funny. I only won one ticket to the conference, which means I will be attending things, gasp!, alone! On the plus side, according to every single person I’ve talked to who has been, that’s the best way to do it! It forces you to get to know people and network. Apparently, going out of your comfort zone is what SXSWi is unofficially all about – who woulda thought!
  • I had no idea what to wear – does it matter? I’m such an over-packer and this event is definitely no exception. Also, I’ve never been to Austin, or even Texas, so I don’t know what the culture is like. If I brought my cowboy boots would people think I was a crazy poser? Since I had no idea what to wear and from convos with a good friend of mine, I just decided to pack everything I could think of. Maybe I’m stupid, but Swouthwest allows you to check one bag free of charge, so I’m golden.*
  • I have no idea what panels/presentations/events to go to because all of this happened so fast and I haven’t had time to research everything. But you know what, that is just part of the experience!
  • I’m not nerdy enough for this event. One of my major fears. Which is complete BS because I am a super nerd and technology and startups and electronics and design and HTML and CSS do interest and excite me. Maybe I’m not an expert like a lot of other people will be, but so what!
  • I never do anything spontaneous which means that this better be good. It could probably make or break my spontaneous side. Kidding (and this time I really am). I’m really excited that I’m being so spontaneous! It is a quality that I always see in other people and really admire, so I guess this is my turn to develop that same quality in myself and hopefully I’ll inspire somebody else who is scared of spontaneity and not having a plan.
  • WHERE WILL I STAY?! Okay well lucky for me, my friend Nikol over at Who’s Austin moved to Austin a few months ago (hence the blog title) and has a floor (or couch?) I can sleep on while I’m there. This means that a) I don’t have to pay for a hotel room (much less find a hotel room since they are all sold out) and b) I get to spend some quality time at presentations, networking events and parties with an old friend (Nikol and I lived on the same floor freshman year of college)
  • Similar to the previous thought, when will I sleep? I’m pretty sure those who go to SXSW don’t get very much sleep. At all. Like, maybe 3 hours a night. I barely survive when I only get 6 hours of sleep a night, so I’m basically planning on being exhausted and getting sick for 2.5 weeks after this event. But hey, that’s all part of the adventure, right? Right?!

My motto over the past few months has been “Be Brave” and that’s exactly what I’m going to be over the next few days (and beyond!)

I know I sound ridiculous, but I’m nervous! So cut me some slack.

Now, as per the title of this post, the waiting game starts. I am currently sitting in those uncomfortable airport chairs at the San Francisco airport waiting for my flight to Austin via Las Vegas (yay slot machines!) We were supposed to leave around now, but the flight was delayed. So i’m just sitting here. Hanging out. Researching SXSWi.

Life could be worse.

P.S. Thanks to Brad King (The Bradpocolypse or @TheBradKing) and everybody else who has written articles/blog posts about how to survive SXSWi – you have been the main instruments responsible for maintaining my sanity over the past 48 hours.

P.P.S. Thank you to everybody who commented on my previous post, everybody on Twitter, all my friends and everybody at work for encouraging me to go – and not really leaving me a choice 🙂

P.P.P.S. If you are going to be at SXSW, let’s meet up! Comment on here or find me on Twitter (@rockegan). Let me know what your favorite part of SXSWi has been and share any advice you have! Looking forward to meeting you 🙂

*I read in a few blogs about what I should and shouln’t pack – t-shirts were on the “no pack” list because apparently there are free t-shirts just about everywhere. I didn’t listen to this. I shamefully packed two t-shirts into my suitcase. Two t-shirts that are probably taking up space from all the other t-shirts I will receive while I’m there. Oops.

Friday Links 2012: Week 5

This week was so crazy. I hardly had time to check email and read my morning websites. In fact, I don’t think I read my normal allotment of sites a single day this week, so I apologize for the lame links.

As I said in my other blog, I’m not quite ready to share everything with Cyber Land yet, but I promise it will happen within the next few days.

Anyway, here you go:

And a picture from today just because I thought this tea was pretty.

(**Squeals!!**)

I hope your week was productive and that your February started out wonderfully!

Photo-A-Day 2012: Week 5

This week was pretty crazy! I’m still not ready to share all the news with everybody out in Cyber Land… but I promise I will fill you in this weekend or on Monday. I promise.

But before my photos and Tweets from week 5, something adorable:

And now for the photos:

January 29 - the touristy part of San Francisco

January 30 - sometimes Target has the coolest pillows

January 31 - basketball game at my high school alma mater, things sure have changed

February 1 - my dad brought my Aunt Judy's Tiffany engagement ring back from Pennsylvania. She passed away 11 years ago. (No, I'm not engaged)

February 2 - I love arm chairs. They are so stylish and comfy. At a café at Polk and Washington

February 3 - tea time at Sideboard Coffee

And finally….

**Squeals!!**

The Future of Social Media: Social Bookmarking

I’m not sure if I mentioned that a lot of big things have been happening in my life over the past few weeks. I can’t explain them here just yet because I don’t want to jinx anything, but I will write about them soon enough (cross your fingers that things work out). Because of these things, I have been all over the Bay Area within the past week which hasn’t left too much time for blogging. I’m sorry I’ve been MIA.

Although I have been busy, I have had the opportunity to speak to a lot of different people about social media and how it is used by businesses to increase their visibility in the public eye. Yesterday I had a particularly interesting conversation with somebody about what the future of social media is. It got me thinking…

When she first asked me what I though the “next big thing” was going to be in social media, I thought for half a second and then replied with “social bookmarking sites.” We talked about it for a few minutes and then moved on. But even after our conversation was over and I was on my way home, that question stuck with me. What IS the future of social media? What will be the next site everybody’s talking about? We’ve already had Facebook which connects us with our friends, Twitter which allows us to follow celebrities and industry news, and crossovers between the two. New social media sites are being developed every day; I even had to create a separate email account so that I could send all my social media update emails there instead of getting them in my regular inbox. The most recent social media site that everybody is talking about, however, is Pinterest.

I won’t get into long drawn out detail about what Pinterest is – if you don’t already know, you should go take a look at the site. Beware, it’s addicting. Basically, though, it’s a social bookmarking site. You find something online that you like (with Pinterest it’s pictures), click the handy dandy “Pin It” button that you install on your browser’s toolbar, and then everybody who follows you can see what you’ve pinned. Simple enough, right?

Anyway, there are more and more sites like Pinterest that are coming out. SnipIt is one of my other favorites. I use SnipIt for news (three of my boars are SnipIt “favorites” and are featured on the main pages covering their topics) and articles whereas I use Pinterest for all things pretty and creative. People like to be in charge of the kind of information they read about/look at on the internet and sites such as Pinterest, SnipIt, ChimeIn, Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon allow users to post links that they find amusing and share them with their followers. These platforms also give users the ability to choose their interests and find articles/information/pictures/blog posts on topics that they select, rather than topics chosen at random or “trending” topics (AKA topics that are most popular/talked about at that time).

Within the past 12 hours I have read a few articles about what the future of social media is. According to the YouTube CEO, the future of content is niche channels.

An article published today on Mashable states:

The way consumers access and consume media is changing rapidly, YouTube head Salar Kamangar believes, and YouTube is evolving to accommodate it.

“We’re entering the third wave of media,” Kamangar said […] “The first wave was the broadcast networks. The second wave was cable networks. Now it’s about giving people exactly what they want to watch today,”

People have specific interests in a variety of topics — say, yoga and stand-up surfing — but it’s difficult to find a continuous stream of video content catered to those interests, Kamangar contends.

What do you think? Do you agree with this assessment of changes in social media and news sites? How do you follow your interests online? What are your favorite social bookmarking sites?

Twitter-vention

Earlier this month, as I was curled up in bed with my beloved Glamour magazine, I came across an article entitled “Twitter DOs & DON’Ts: Your 10 Tweeting Commandments” and, naturally, I was intrigued. As I quickly breezed past the basic rules such as “DO play nice” and “DON’T bitch about work. This is not the place (and—hello!—they can see you).”

I was about to turn the page since it is all stuff I’d heard before… that is, until I reached Commandment Number 6: “DON’T exceed your tolerable four-tweets-a-day limit.” My heart stopped.

WHAT?! But BufferApp lets me schedule up to FIFTY-TWEETS-A-DAY, and you’re telling me that I can only post four times if I want to be nice to my followers?!

Once I collected myself, I decided I would hold a personal Twitter-vention and ask a few friends who are in similar industries as I what they had to say. Luckily we were already in a group Gchat so I didn’t have to look too far to get some advice.

When I announced my surprise, frustration, and yes, shame at the number of allotted Tweets per day, I was greeted with affirmation that more than four Tweets a day was a little excessive. But there was a catch: more than four Tweets a day was only excessive if the main purpose of the Tweeter in question was to inform their followers of their personal life. (See Commandment Number 2: “DON’T overshare.”)

After we established that some people share way, WAY too much on Twitter, we also agreed that it was okay for certain accounts to post more than their allotted four-tweets-a-day. These accounts include (but are not limited to):

  1. TV/Web Personalities (as long as they are entertaining) 
  2. Informative Blogs/Websites 
  3. Amusing Bloggers 
  4. News Stations 
  5. Innovative and Funny Accounts 
  6. Harry Potter Parodies (as long as they are funny) 
  7. Justin Bieber 

Whew. My anxiety subsided a little bit. I tend to use Twitter for a combination of personal and professional information – an activity that I don’t recommend since it is not easily accomplished. I never post things immensely personal to myself or my friends. I don’t post anything that I wouldn’t want my boss to read or that my parents would be shocked to see. Sometimes I post opinions, include videos, or share random thoughts, but that is very rare and definitely doesn’t exceed the four-a-day limit.

I do, however, post an average of seven professional/newsworthy Tweets a day, as well as one or two good retweets. (Note: This number is for week days – on weekends I hardly ever post professional/newsworthy things, and I tend to only post four times a day on Saturday and Sundays.)

Today I cam across the following Tweet from @BufferApp: 

After clicking through to the link and reading through the  blog post, I was put at ease. The post encourages bloggers to retweet their post four times in order to gain maximum coverage. That is 14% of your weekly Tweet allowance. If I’m writing three blog posts a week and Tweeting about those posts four times each, that takes up 42% of my allowance!! No way is that correct.

Through the research I’ve done since discovering that Glamour article, I’ve decided that the four-tweets-a-day allotment goes for personal Tweets. That does not include professional tweets, articles, retweets, or replies to followers/Tweets you find interesting.

Maybe I’m kidding myself and I’m just a Twitter addict, but either way, until I’m proven wrong, I’m going to just continue doing what I’m doing.

What do you think? How do you use Twitter? How many posts is too many on any given day? What are your favorite accounts to follow?

Friday Links 2012: Week 2

Hope you had a fantastic week!

Click here to see more friday links (the non-professional ones… the “fun” ones if you will) and my photos of the week.

And just because this is so incredibly important, I have included it on both my blogs.

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