Rachel Discovers Happiness

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Archive for the tag “facebook”

Creative Longing

If you follow me on Pinterest you may have noticed that I have been on a pinning kick lately. I don’t know what it is, but recently my creative side has been fighting to get out. I want to go do crafts! Try a new recipe! Have some creative fun!

Unfortunately, finding the time to do these things is difficult, especially now that I have a full time job (which I’m still super stoked about).

The location of the office doesn’t help though – it is positioned right around the Academy of Art University. That means that every time I leave the office I am surrounded by creative types. Today, as I walked to grab lunch, I noticed something glorious – an art store right around the corner from the office, complete with all sorts of supplies AND an up to 70% off sale. It took everything in my power not to go inside, poke around and spend all the money I haven’t made yet.

Side note:Ā I desperately want to take classes at the Academy of Art but don’t have the financial stability nor the time to do so. Such a bummer.

When I was on Facebook today I noticed a friend had shared a photo on her timeline that made me feel even more creatively deprived:

Even just looking at it now it is nagging me to be creative – mainly to redesign the list and make it look a bit more attractive šŸ˜‰ Maybe, instead, I’ll make my own creativity list sometime when I have time and motivation (which will probably be never).

That being said, who wants to be creative with me? We could scrap book, decorate, have a Pinterest party, bake, cook, go on a photo shoot, anything our hearts desire!

Doesn’t that sound lovely?

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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 forĀ 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 areĀ interestedĀ 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 upĀ 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!

Facebook buys Instagram for $1 billion… wait, what?!

The big talk around the office within the past ten minutes has been that Facebook has purchased Instagram for $1 billion.

What?!

Yes, that’s right, Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement this morning… by posting it to his Facebook Timeline.

For years, we’ve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family. Now, we’ll be able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests.

This is an important milestone for Facebook because it’s the first time we’ve ever acquired a product and company with so many users. We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all. But providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.

That in itself is big news – the fact that a $1 billion acquisition was made is news, AND that it was announced on Facebook? That is unreal.

Seriously, when Kris saw that John Swartz posted about it on his Twitter, we were all incredulous.

A $1 billion business deal? That’s crazy, no matter what the companies are!

This announcement comes on the heels of the April 3 announcement that Instagram was now available to Android users.

Now we are all wondering, what does this mean for Instagram? Why is this mobile app worth $1 billion? What plans does Facebook have for it moving forward?

We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience. We plan on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagrams on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook.

And what does the way this news was broken mean for the future of tech company announcements… especially in the social media space?

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.

ā€œWeā€™re entering the third wave of media,ā€ Kamangar said […]Ā ā€œThe first wave was the broadcast networks. The second wave was cable networks. Now itā€™s about giving people exactly what they want to watch today,ā€

People have specific interests in a variety of topics ā€” say, yoga and stand-up surfing ā€” but itā€™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?

Why Social Media? Because I Said So.

If you are reading this blog it probably means that you are relatively well versed in the world of social media. You may have a Facebook account that you use to keep in touch with friends, a Twitter account that you use to follow your favorite celebrities, and a LinkedIn account for connecting to colleagues. Even if it does not play a key role in your profession, you still use it for personal reasons.

my Mac wireless keyboard

Because of your use of social media, you have most likely heard people complain each time Facebook or Twitter changes the appearance of the site. You have heard comments about how stupid, pointless, and time-consuming social media is. You’ve probably even thought of those things yourself once or twice. Well, unfortunately for everybody who complains about social media (but fortunately for me, somebody who makes a living partially from knowing the ins and outs of social media), it isn’t going anywhere.

The two jobs that I have now are both centered around social media. For one of them I am a Media Specialist and helped develop the entire social media campaign for the brand. For the other, Sustainable Danville Area*, I was hired, with grant money designated specifically for social media development for local businesses, in order to help develop the social media platform for SDA, and its participating businesses. More accurately, actually, the grant was for the Danville Area Sustainable Business program, but that’s neither here nor there.

The reason I am telling you all this is because, up until last night, I never realized how difficult it is to describe the importance, rather, theĀ imperativeness of social media.

Last night, as I stood in front of 20 sustainable local business owners and explained how I was going to help them increase their use and effectiveness of social media, I was greeted by two types of looks:

  1. Half of them looked at me as though they had never heard terms “Facebook,” “Twitter,” and “Hashtag” in their lives
  2. The other half looked at me with recognition of the terms, but no idea how to put a “hashtag” into effect

Oy vey. I had my work cut out for me.

Without assistance from an overhead projector to show what I was talking about so everybody could see, my words just seemed empty. They had no idea what a Twitter handle was. They didn’t understand that every time you put “#” and then a word, it turns into a link to a page that shows you everybody else who is talking about that same topic. They didn’t get why that was even important.

I know it’s kinda ridiculous for me to getĀ frustratedĀ with them, after all, the fact that not everybody knows the ins and outs of social media is what keeps me in business, but it was very hard for me to fight the urge to take the parent-child question stance and answer every “Why does it do that?” and “Why is that important?” and “How will that help me with my brand?” question with “Because it just does.” “Because it just is.” and “Because it just will.”Ā It was exhausting to explain everything so many times without having a computer in front of me. Try explaining the internet to your aunt or uncle who still sends you Pokemon cards for your birthday, still hasn’t switched over to MP3s fromĀ cassetteĀ tapes, and still uses a typewriter instead of a computer. It’s extremely difficult.

my dad's old typewriter

I’m kind of kidding about that. But in all honesty, I will never try to explain anything having to do with the internet unless myself or the person I am talking to or both of us are in front of a computer.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoy teaching people what I know about social media. It means that my skills are relevant and despite the widespread knowledge about how to use the internet (especially with people my own age), not everybody knows how to use it.

After the presentations were over I had the opportunity to speak to a few local business owners one-on-one. This gave me an opportunity to use my laptop and show them my personal twitter account. Once I showed them what I meant by hashtags, followers, and user names, they perked up a bit. Once I told them that there are applications they can use to schedule posts so they didn’t have to be online all day every day, they were ecstatic. They got so excited that they all wanted to schedule one-on-one social media tutoring sessions with me. It was so nice to see their enthusiasm once they could see what I was talking about.

Although I am so happy to help them with their small businesses, I’m not going to lie and say that it wasn’t a relief to wake up this morning and connect to the social media world full of people who actually understand the platforms they are using (that means you!). I’m thrilled that so many local businesses want to receive help with their social media, but I didn’t realize how difficult it was going to be to explain the purpose and importance of social media in layman’s terms.

Okay, now that I’ve vented a bit I am feeling a little bit better about my presentation last night (I got emails from a few of the businesses who were in attendance – yay!)

Have you ever tried to explain the uses of social media to somebody who didn’t quite understand the purpose? How did you handle it? What have you found to be the best tactics for explaining platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and even Pinterest?

*Don’t judge our website. I haven’t had time yet, but I am planning on taking a good hard look at the functionality of the website and make changes so that it is more organized.

Friday Links 2012: Week 1

Welcome to the first Friday Links of 2012! I have just started using BufferApp which helps me schedule Tweets throughout the day, even if I’m not signed on to Twitter. That way, my Tweets aren’t all posted at the same time – in the morning when I do my big daily news binge.

Because I am now posting on Twitter a lot more, I will try to limit myself to 10-15 of my favorite links for the week, that way my readers aren’tĀ inundatedĀ with every single post I put on Twitter. That would defeat the purpose, now wouldn’t it? Plus, if you want to see all of my Twitter posts, you can just follow me šŸ™‚

P.S. If you like my Friday Links posts on this blog, you might want to check out my Picture-A-Day posts on my other blog: Rachel Discovers Happiness.

A Lowe(‘s) Blow

As a PR professional, I know that it is not necessarily a good idea to speak out about things that could later get you in trouble. PR is all about image and following the mission of the organization/person being represented. Maintaining the image of a company is a tricky thing – you don’t want to upset your consumers, investors, or the general image of your company because that may affect sales/perception. On that note, I think it is important for people to remember that their actions do affect others.

That’s why I am (sort) shedding my PR role right now in order to give you my opinion on a big PR issue going on at the moment. What happened is this:

The TV channel TLC, known for it’s controversial shows such as 19 Kids and Counting, Sister Wives, Toddlers & Tiaras, and My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, came up with an all new show this season – All American Muslim. The creation of this show caused a major advertiser – Lowe’s – to pull its advertising from the program. Needless to say, this caused an uproar from liberals, conservatives, progressives, Christians, Muslims, Lowe’s shoppers, TLC watchers, and many more. Many comments, lettersĀ (and here), and opinions have chastised Lowe’s for its discrimination of Muslims and their heritage; however many have also come out in support of Lowe’s decision to remove advertising from the show. Since the announcement of the removal of its advertising, Lowe’s has posted an apology on Facebook which wasĀ subsequentlyĀ taken down due to disrespectful and harshly worded comments. Lowe’s then posted a follow-up comment that can be seen below:

self-taken screen shot from Lowe's Facebook page

Anyway, the purpose of this post is not to chastise Lowe’s for making a (what I believe to be poor) business decision. This post was sparked by an article I read earlier today (or yesterday?) about the 25 Dumbest Comments on Lowe’s Facebook Page and wasĀ infuriatedĀ by what people said and how ignorant they are, the purpose is to call out the people who are supporting Lowe’s decision with the argument that it is in “America’s best interest” and that Muslims are not “true Americans.” My questions for them is: what, exactly, is a “true American”? Is it somebody who is born in the United States? Does it depend on the color of your skin? Your religion? How long your family has been in the States? The amount of education you have? I’m serious, what exactly is a “true American”?! Would you consider me a true American? I am white, Christian, and pay American taxes. What if I told you that I was second generation American? That my grandparents came from Germany and England – one leaving Germany out of fear for his family with Jewish roots. Am I still a true American in your eyes?

I know we have all heard this before but I will say it again: this country was founded, amongst other things, on the freedom of religion. In case you forgot, here are the words written on the Declaration ofĀ IndependenceĀ – a document written by our Founding Fathers after white christians left Europe and fought against the British for their freedom of religion and independence from prejudice. They wanted to create a country where people could practice the religion they wanted – without beingĀ persecuted. Just to refresh your memory, here are the first words written on the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, thatĀ all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these areĀ Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Now, I’m not going to give you a lecture (anymore than I have) on what theĀ ConstitutionĀ and Declaration of Independence have to say about the American people’s right to freedom. What I am going to say is that sometimes I am sorely disappointed by the people I call neighbors and fellow Americans. All of us came here from somewhere, at some point. Just because you have lived in the United States longer than others does not make you any more or less patriotic than somebody who moved here ten or twenty years ago.

Perhaps I will be labeled as the “classic liberal,” but I think that there is something to be said about being open minded and listening to other people’s opinions. Before you argue with me, I do realize that being open minded also includes understanding that not everybody is as open minded as me and that other people will have different opinions, but that doesn’t mean that those people have to impart their opinions on me and others. Just because you think you are right, doesn’t mean you are. Yes, I know, that means that I could be wrong. I am willing to risk it.

Here is a little insight on the roots of my beliefs:

The other day I got into a conversation with my dad about what I was like when I was little. The first thing he said was that I was sensitive (surprise, surprise – the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree). The second thing he said was that I didn’t see color, religion, or sexual orientation. I didn’t care whether someone was black, white, green, Christian, Jewish,Ā atheist, straight, or gay. As long as they treated others well, everybody was the same to me. In fact, when I was 3 and attending preschool in El Cerrito, CA, I was exposed to a lot of ethnicity: the main preschool teacher was Sikh, another teacher was white, and another was black. My dad said I didn’t pay attention to their skin color – instead of saying “my white teacher” or “my black teacher,” I said “the teacher with the light hair” (meaning my white teacher) and “the teacher with the dark hair” (meaning my black teacher).

As I thought about that story, I gotĀ wistfulĀ for those days of innocence, for the days when no prejudice based on color or religion clouded my opinions of people. I try to keep myself from pre-judging people, but sometimes it is hard. Sometimes I find myself thinking about other races and applying stereotypes to them, or looking at other Christians and judging them for their extremist views, or vegetarians for their judgmental comments. At those times I have to step back and remind myself that everybody has a right to be who they are and believe what they think is true. It is not my right to get in their way.

I suppose the best I can hope for is that, by the time I have grandchildren, they will live in a world (or at least an America) where people aren’t persecuted for their beliefs. An America where the ConstitutionĀ and Declaration of Independence are actually followed.

Finally, I will leave you with a quotation from Nazi opposer Martin Niemƶller:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out —Ā Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out —Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

And now that I’m done with my (not-so) mini rant, have a wonderful night.

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