Benefits Of Creating Content: 5 Reasons To Get Busy!

Benefits Of Creating Content: 5 Reasons To Get Busy!

You hear it over and over again. Content is KING. Content is the key to increase reach and make impressions. But you’re still waffling about blogging – or creating other types of content, like videos, images or even podcasts. You just can’t seem to make the time to create content on a regular basis. Why?

Maybe you’re busy? Running your own business takes time. A lot of time. But …

Content Creates Opportunity!

Here’s hoping that one, or more, of these five content creation benefits will sway you to add creating content to your busy schedule!

1. Unique content (what you write, record or design – rather than what you share) gets visits to YOUR site. Your website! The hub and hallmark of your digital real estate. And visits to your site might lead to someone taking action (you know, via a Call to Action), which just might land you a prospect or solid lead!

In the end we’re all in business to make money, in order to sustain our lifestyle. Prospects and leads are crucial to finalizing a sale and bringing in the paycheck!

2. You want people to add themselves to your lists, right? Of course. Your list is something you own and it won’t go away unless you do something really stupid.

But, in order to get them on your list, you have to – YES – get them to your site. Content you’ve created is a big draw when it comes to creating clicks that land eyes on your site.

If the content you’ve created is compelling, they’ll want to see more. This just might prompt site visitors to sign up for regular updates.

3. Social media shares generally don’t get as much reach and response as unique content, be it an image or a link to an article or video. Social media marketing and smart sharing is valuable to your overall marketing efforts. Creating content for your social media platforms, content that drives prospects back to your site, your calls to action and your list building efforts is crucial.

Even Twitter allows for visuals and video.

4. Content creates conversations. Taking a stand on an issue, sharing your unique perspective or taking on the devil’s advocate role can create a conversation or discussion. Discussions and the further sharing of ideas can often spark interest in other things you have to say and share.

5. Content creates influence.

What’s influence? It’s that special something that comes when the content you share strikes a chord, is highly valuable and generates trust.

Sharing the content of others is great, and shows you’re generous and on top of your industry. But creating content that inspires is one of the best ways to gain an influential position and credibility in your target market.

Hopefully one of these five content creation benefits will strike with the AHA moment needed to make creating content one of your main marketing pursuits!

Connection Confession: You’re Really NOT All That!

Connection Confession: You're Really NOT All That!

I can already feel it. This could be it. This article just might be the one that lands me in more than a little trouble!

With a title like the one above, this article could go in so many different directions. But, in order to keep on topic, I’m going to focus on one key issue that I see far too often on Google+ and Twitter.

I got the idea for this article ages ago, after seeing Jimmie Lanley’s fantastic 12 Most article, 12 Most Crippling Mindset Hurdles on Google+. When I read the 12th mindset hurdle I wanted to clap out loud and pat Jimmie on the back for saying something I’d been thinking for quite some time.

But, since I don’t always flesh out my article ideas right away, I stewed on this one for a while. And the more I thought about it, the more I pondered several disturbing conversations from my past, on Twitter chats and in Facebook groups. And I knew I had to take it a step further.

Weird People Are Circling You?

So, someone new wants to make a connection with you? Great, that’s the basic premise behind having a presence on social media platforms. Connections that hopefully build and grow into relationships that provide the means for collaborative efforts or more.

But that newest connection? He’s weird and you just don’t like it.

What makes him weird? His name? The color of his skin? His native language. The very fact that it’s a him, as you’ll note I haven’t once mentioned a her?

I’m calling out bullshit!

Ever consider that the white bread American name you find so normal might be “weird” to him?

This is not something I see only amidst my digital marketing peers (just some of them, thankfully), although – sadly, I’ve seen way too many threads that discuss how horrible it is that weird men are trying to follow them or make a connection on Google+ or Twitter. When the same topic started cropping up from clients, especially those just starting out and trying to build connections and following, I knew I couldn’t let this article idea sit fallow any longer.

So, here’s the simple truth …

Ladies, You’re Not All That!

The Asian, Arab and African men trying to make a connection with you on Google+, Twitter, even Linkedin? They aren’t all bedazzled by your online charms. They aren’t all hoping to make you their beautiful American brides!

Shockingly enough, many of them have some of the same business interests that you do. You know, interests like marketing, social media, SEO, tech tools, start-ups, etc.

And while their connection attempts might not be perfect, that’s not an issue solely attributed to their sex and nationality. I’ve seen plenty of white, middle-America men and women send out generic connection requests on Linkedin, haven’t you?

Creepy isn’t defined by any race, nationality, creed or gender. Creepy is just creepy. And, being completely honest, the only creepy come-on I’ve ever received on Google+, or any other platform, came from a good old boy, straight out of America’s heartland. It was icky. GACK!

It’s Just A Connection!

As Jimmie so smartly stated in the article I linked above, you don’t have to return the connection if it feels off. You don’t have to add him to any of your circles and you don’t have to follow back on Twitter. You can easily ignore his connection request on Linkedin.

But consider why you’re doing it before you decide that the connection isn’t a good one. Does he share content you find relevant? Does he take part in some of the same groups and communities that you do? Could it be that he’s just a dude that shares some of your business and marketing interests? More often than not, I think, you’ll find that to be the case.

Are you really SO vain that you think that every male of a certain ethnicity wants to ask you out on a date? Honey, you’re really NOT all that and a bag of chips.

If You Don’t ASK, There’s No Yes or No!

At some point in your social media or digital marketing career, you’re going to face a time when you need to ask a bigger name in your industry to help you.

It can be scary to ask, for anything. We get that. Being told NO is never nice.

But if we spend too much time prevaricating and pausing because we’re worried we’ll get a negative response, we just might miss out on some fabulous and, hopefully, mutually beneficial opportunities.

If I Don’t Ask, I’ll Have No Guests To Interview!

After a less than well-planned first outing as a podcaster I’m settling into a partnership with Brooke Ballard of B Squared Media to launch a new podcast. Part of any such endeavor involves asking our peers and colleagues if they’ll take part in an interview.

Brooke and I spent almost an hour making an initial “ask” list. And while the making of the list was exciting and almost intoxicating, we’re not fool enough to think we’re going to “land” everyone we ask.

There are many reasons someone might say no to your interview request (or any other request, but we’re attaching this to our podcast launch, so we’re talking interview requests). Those reasons might include:

  • He or she has a full plate at the time of your request.
  • He or she would like to see if the venture proves successful before they sign on.
  • He or she isn’t sure your audience is their audience.
  • He or she isn’t sure your audience is big enough at the time of your request.
  • He or she may feel that your connection isn’t deep enough to grant the request.

I think the final reason happens more often than we’d like to believe. Why? Because far too many social media users consider the simple act of clicking follow to equal an actual connection. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Connections Take Time. Relationships Take Even Longer!

Clicking the follow, friend or like button is just the first step. The road to creating real connections that last and have the potential to become even longer lasting relationships is a long one.

That initial click is only the beginning of the connection. Trust and respect are earned over time, never with a simple click of a mouse or quick send of a less than well planned DM.

It’s important that you take the time to converse, share and get to know your connections before you presume to ask them for anything. Otherwise they’re rightly going to assume that your reason for connection was simply personal gain.

Want a YES the next time you ask?

Any and all requests will have more merit have a better chance at an affirmative answer if you take the time to create a real connection.

Of course you have to ask the question before you have any chance at any response at all, be it yes or no. And yes, as we already shared, the act of asking can be a little bit daunting. But it shouldn’t be.

Why not? Because you’re a smart and savvy user of social platforms who understands that it’s about the relationship and the respect long before it’s about the request!

What do you think? Have anything to add to this conversation? We’d love to chat it out in the comments section!

Take Back Twitter: Ditch The Dumb DM!

A while back I wrote an article about the kinds of responses I’d love to send to ridiculous automated direct messages sent on Twitter. It was, of course, written in my regular tongue-in-cheek, snarky fashion, but I hope it offered up a few truths.

Yet the dumb DMs keep on coming. Not that I really thought one article was going to put a stop to the practice.

Let’s Take Back Twitter!

Maybe if we band together and share some more ridiculous examples, we can slowly turn at least a few of these challenged souls away from making this their response to any new Twitter connection.

Some “stellar” examples from my feed and my responses:

Thanks for the follow. Due to spam/viruses on DMs, I prefer mentions. I don’t reply here. Cheers!

Yet sent to me via, you guessed it, DM!

Welcome & Thanks for Follow. Please Retweet my tweet at: http://twitter.com/reallyannoyingploytohelpmesellyourcrap
Thanks in Advance

Yeah, we just connected. Do you think we could actually say hello and get to know one another before you try to drag me into retweeting your crappy service to my followers. It’s not going to happen, EVER, but at least ease into it. Sheesh!

Welcome to our design world! Let me know if you’d like a website. Send me a message here, or email.

Perhaps you could have taken the 2.5 seconds necessary to verify that we, indeed, are web designers!

Thanks for following. I will surprise you with interesting tweets!

As if everyone else in my feed is an utter moron throwing the same old uninteresting and craptastic tweets my way!

Hi gotweetsgo, Thanks for Connecting, Hope you are doing great. I do website designs for €99. Need one get in touch

Not only couldn’t you take the time to suss out that I’m a web designer, but you also want to undercut my pricing so that you win all of the cheap bastard business! Have at it!

Thanks for following me! I greatly appreciate your support! Have a look at my books at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/BADJUJUSPAMSALE -via @justunfollow

Wow. We haven’t even exchanged names and I don’t know your sign, but you’re already hawking your latest book? Smooth!

Hi Go Creative Go!, Could we partner on gear reviews? https://twitter.com/LamePRCo/statuses/399466066570510336 … or 555-555-5555

Guessing this fellow thinks that because we provide social media services for a bicycle components company, we’re also ready to review all sorts of sports gear. Not so much.

Hi Go, We’ve succumb to G+, mind giving a follow and +1? https://plus.google.com/u/0/+LamePRcopr/posts … Tks!

I’m not impressed that you think I’ll be impressed that you’ve “succumbed” to Google+. Perhaps you should have asked me what I thought about the platform (I’m a fan) before you put the kaibash on me connecting with you there, or anywhere else. Unfollow! Oh, and spell out thanks for pity’s sake. We’re not 13.

Have any stellar examples of stunningly stupid DMs arrived in your Twitter inbox lately? We’d love for you to share with us. And, of course, include the snarky reply you wish you could send in response!

Dear Leading SEO Service Provider …

Dear Jay Smith,

You recently sent me an email describing yourself as the digital marketing and SEO expert at a leading SEO service provider. I’m writing back, in the form of a blog post, questioning the idea that you work for a reputable and, thus, leading agency.

Why am I questioning the authenticity of your expertise, the expertise of your agency?

1. Your email was delivered via Gmail address.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Google gal and I love me some Gmail. However, even though I’m a devotee, I manage to write and respond with an email that showcases the domain of my company, Go Creative Go.

Kudos for using Gmail and not Yahoo or AOL. Still? The failure to write me from a domain leads me to think your ‘leading” provider status might live only in your own mind.

2. No link to your site, EVER!

Jay, I’m shaking my head in wonder. You never, not once, link to your site. Therefore, I have no way of visiting your website and no way to verify your leading provider status. I can’t check where your site ranks in the SERPs, as you never share where exactly your company resides online. What gives?

Just saying, Jay – any SEO company worth their salt has a smart presence online. Know what else? They share it with their prospects!

3. You promised me first page rank on Google, Yahoo and Bing.

If there’s one thing I know, and one thing that I’m sure ALL of my audience knows, it’s this: No reputable SEO company promises first page rankings. Why? Because there’s no way to guarantee delivery. You didn’t ask me which keywords or key phrases I’d like to be found under, so how can you guarantee success?

4. You called my links poor and unauthorized.

Since I pick and choose any sites to which I link quite carefully, and because I carefully monitor sites linking to me, I’m going to have to call you out on this charge, Jay. I may not be the SEO expert you claim to be, but as a web designer I take a very hands on approach with all parts of my website, including the links going out and coming in.

So, sadly, going to have to channel Dr. Sheldon Cooper and call out your email’s assertion as pure hokum!

5. You dissed my content, calling it “not high standard.”

First of all, ouch! I generally don’t appreciate constructive criticism from those sending me an unasked for sales pitch. Secondly, I rarely take content marketing or writing advice from people who can’t manage to create a grammatically correct sentence.

That’s right! Don’t diss my content when your writing leaves a little something something to be desired!

6. You tried to convince me your spam email is NOT, in fact, spam!

You ended your leading SEO service provider sales pitch by telling me you’re NOT spamming me. I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree on what spamming actually entails.

You stated:

Disclaimer:- “Note: – We are not spammer. We found your email through manually efforts.We are sorry if you get email 2 or 3 times.You can simply reply with “remove” so we will delete your email from our list.Thanks again.“The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003”.

My rebuttal to your spam-free disclaimer:

  1. I don’t know you from Adam, and I certainly never signed up for your list. So, asking me to remove myself from something to which I’ve never subscribed pretty much points the finger at you as the spammer!
  2. Sending me the same unsolicited email more than once, two-three times, screams spam!
  3. You say you’ll delete me from your list. A list I never asked to join. Once again, this screams out spam, Jay. You either scraped my email address off my site after a keyword search OR bought my email address from a less than credible source. Final time I’ll say it, SPAMtastic!
  4. And, in closing, what the heck are “manually efforts” and why would you think that gives you permission?

Jay, I’m really sorry to say that I seriously doubt you’re a leading expert in anything related to SEO. In fact, I believe your only expertise lies in less than stellar spam email tactics. Going to have to give your offer a pass.

Anyone else heard from Jay or his ilk of late? Have you ever responded to spamtastic email with a blog post? If so, I’d love to read it. Please do leave me a link in the comments.

Conversation: It Makes Social Sharing Even Better!

Conversation: It Makes Social Sharing Even Better!

You see it every day. Screen after screen after screen. A Twitter feed full of nothing but retweets. Kinda boring. Some might consider it over-automated. General consensus? Meh.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a well-intended and well-researched retweet. It can’t be said enough, caring is ABSOLUTELY sharing.

But you can’t let the character limit fool you. Twitter is a prime place for conversation. Conversations that deepen and increase connection are what social is all about. Yet, conversations appear to be on the decline. Especially on Twitter. Instead I’m seeing firehosing, blast posting activity – blasting retweets out one per minute in rapid succession, with little consideration to creating conversation around the content being shared. Conversation that leads to real connection!

We already know it’s common sense and sound social etiquette to thank someone when they share your content. But you can take one easy extra step to effectively build a better connection. And it’s so simple. Start a conversation along with the thank you. With only 140 characters total, including the @handle and your thank you, you have to keep it short and sweet. But it absolutely can be done!

How? So many ways:

  • Ask what struck a chord and caused the share
  • Ask the sharing handle if he/she is having a good week
  • Comment on the handle’s name or avatar
  • Ask a follow-up question that complements the shared post topic
  • If the account shows a location, ask a pertinent question – weather, festivals, etc.
  • Many profiles list hobbies? Share an interest in one? Start a conversation.
  • If you’re a caffeine addict like me, you can easily swap some coffee talk with other parties who share a love for beverage.

That’s only a VERY small sample of the numerous ways you can further the conversation. Spread your wings a bit and get creative!

I recently received a new follow notification from this handle: @PrksRecSocMedia. I immediately shot back a reply and asked if they were Ron Swanson fans. It will make sense if you watch Parks & Rec on NBC. The point? There’s no limit to the ways you can start and continue a conversation on Twitter.

Remember, if you start the conversation you have to monitor it for a response. Conversations are two way. If you make the effort to start a conversation, you must be prepped to engage in the conversation. These digital chats can lead the way to deeper connections, real engagement and even opportunities to collaborate!

All from something as simple as asking about the weather? You bet!

How often do you engage in back and forth conversation on Twitter? What’s stopping you?

Conversational Social By Design: Get Rid Of The Geek Speak!

Conversational Social By Design: Get Rid Of The Geek Speak!

Ditch the Dweeb Discourse!

When you’re a geek you have a language all your own (OK, the other geeks understand – sometimes). As a self-professed geek (card carrying frequent ThinkGeek shopper who casually peppers conversation with Star Wars, Marvel Movie and Princess Bride quotes), I work hard to keep my social voice just that. SOCIAL.

Ever been cornered by the enthusiastic web developer at a Business After Hours event? The horrors! While his/her enthusiasm is initially charming, the egregious elocution soon becomes an assault on your ability to show even the minimum of polite interest. Sure, you know that CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets, but you never know they were a topic on which you’d be expected to feign interest for fifteen minutes or more. You poor soul. Go get yourself that martini – and treat yourself to extra olives!

At least at the BAH event you can hope a friend or colleague will notice your glassy, unfocused eyes and come to our rescue. When this type of activity occurs online it can be hard to “step away”, as our choices are limited to unfollowing or muting. Which is sad, because we geeks have a lot of wonderful and valuable information to share. We just have to sort out how to do it without boring or bombarding our audience.

I’ve chosen to detail three types of geek speak today, but know there are dozens of geeky sub-dialects.

Jargon Dropping:

Every industry and niche within that industry has a language of its own. It’s part of business culture, we strive to differentiate ourselves from our competitors and it’s easy to do so with language. However, the propensity to make things more difficult than they need to be is a growing concern among the brotherhood of geeks. We can differentiate and still be easily and readily understood. Word choice is a key part of communication best practice. The way you choose to express yourself, the words you choose to share can make a difference – good or bad – when it comes to making that connection, taking it up a notch to a real relationship and even a future sale.

There are several types of jargon to avoid:

  • Acronyms: Sure. Cute little three letter abbreviations make it easy to get our point across, especially on Twitter. But, too many can clutter the conversation requiring those with whom you are speaking to search their brain bank to equate those letters with real meaning. While they’re doing that they aren’t listening and nothing you’re saying has any real impact.
  • Buzzwords: While we understand the meaning, they’re so often repeated and so often misused that they no longer have value, i.e. “engagement”. When buzz words pepper your conversation you’ll find your audience tuning out and taking no note of what you have to offer.
  • Niche/Industry Specific Verbiage:

ver·bi·age

/ˈvərbē-ij/

Noun
Speech or writing that uses too many words or excessively technical expressions.
Synonyms
verbosity

 

Name Dropping: A.K.A. (Wanna Be) Geek Chic Clique

I’ve seen a real rise in this of late, and it takes me careening back to high school. Yes, HIGH SCHOOL. Remember that second-tier group of wanna-be popular kids? The ones that hung on every word of the reigning cool kids, the popular crowd? Instead of finding ways to stand out on their own, through sport, drama, or extracurricular activities, they made sure that the group of students they deemed third-tier heard them name and event dropping in an elusive bid to appear popular and cool. The funny thing was, that supposed third-tier were the real cool kids. The ones that were secure in their own skin, pleased to be part of a circle of friends – no matter the size, with shared interests and ideals.

Now, look to social business and social media marketing. There’s certainly a list of cool kids – and just like high school some stay for the long haul and some drop off into oblivion, forgotten and even frowned upon. And there’s definitely that second-tier eagerly waiting in the wings, name dropping and link sharing with no intent except to get notice, offering no unique value-added ideas or opinions to the discussion. As with high school, with the benefit of hindsight, it’s that third tier that makes the biggest impression. Comfortable in their own skin, able to share and discuss ideas and differing opinions, striving to add to and benefit the conversation.

Of course I share links from bigger names. Names like Jeff Bullas, Jon Loomer, Mari Smith, etc. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with sharing and discussing great content and ideas. But I do not engage in tagging volleys and comments for commenting’s sake in order to ensure the cool kids take notice. If they do take notice, great. Wonderful even. But it’s not the end goal, it’s not my intent and purpose. That intent and purpose is to create discussions with those who want to learn, laugh, lead and launch their own initiatives. It’s a cool place to be!

Platform Dropping:

You know what I’m talking about. These are the people that tell you that Twitter is the greatest thing since sliced bread and is going to out-American apple pie, but never seem to do anything except share articles from the same ten sources. It’s the people who wax rhapsodic about Facebook while at the same time wondering why they are getting less response to the same tired inspirational quotes layered over sunset images.

No matter how much we prefer a certain social business platform over another, we know two things:

A one-trick pony isn’t going to win first prize

AND

Almost everything that provides value can also put us in debt

Rose colored glasses create a pretty pink hue, but they also obscure the fact that if we want change, we have to ask for it, even clamor for it. If we get moored too deep into platform lovin’, no matter the reason, we miss the opportunity to help shape the platforms for the greater good – creating real relationships and valuable discussions.

In closing, geek speak is often used as a crutch when we can’t engage in real interactive conversation. As stated by many of my industry peers and friends, we all want to converse and connect with real people. Lose the geek speak and get to the good stuff. Real conversation!

Have I missed a particularly nefarious or heinous type of geek speak? If so, please share via a comment below. Only together can we create the kinds of conversation that educate, entertain and enlighten.

Social Media Marketing IS ABOUT Y-O-U

Social Media Marketing IS ABOUT Y-O-U

I know this flies in the face of much of what we hear touted by the experts. We’re so often told that everything about social media marketing should be endeavored with your ideal client in mind. I realize you’re possibly scratching your head and wondering if I’ve gone round the bend and completely off track. But give me a minute and I think I’ll get you on board and we can all round the bend to a better place where social actually IS about us.

Social media marketing “IS” absolutely about Y-O-U:

It’s about you taking the time to read and form your own opinions before you retweet an article or infographic.

Why? Because you’re in the process of building trust as an expert. And experts don’t share random crap, or worse – ideas and articles that are incompetent or irresponsible.

It’s about taking the time to read industry articles and share relevant information that benefits your audience.

Expertise isn’t gained in a silo. Social media isn’t possible solo, as we certainly can’t pretend that every idea, tip and tool is generated by us alone. It takes a village to stay up to date and on track with all of the changes to the platforms and more. Maintaining a smart and savvy peer group is a must.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Expertise isn’t gained in a silo. #Socialmedia isn’t possible solo!” quote=”Expertise isn’t gained in a silo. Social media isn’t possible solo!”]

It’s about you sharing the lessons you’ve learned during your own business journeys and travails with those about to embark on their own journeys.

We all make mistakes and we all celebrate triumphs. The highs and lows of business and entrepreneurship are the stories that help us appear human across social channels. While it might be painful to share some of these stories, it’s also freeing to share mistakes and keep your potential clients from setting down the same wrong path.

It’s about you actively engaging in conversations with others via social platforms.

While you certainly can schedule your posts in a relatively small amount of time, you can’t schedule the actual engagement. You never know when a conversations will arise and you have to be ready to actively converse, even in 140 characters or less per post.

It’s about you choosing to share of your real self and coming across like a human being, rather than an automaton.

It all goes back to that idea that you can’t schedule engagement. Social media marketing involves conversations, sometimes off the cuff and unexpected. You have to be willing to put in the time and effort. Canned, cut and paste or obviously scheduled responses aren’t social.

It’s about you sharing your ideas or your take on an idea so you can add something new to the discussion.

It takes knowledge and understanding to look at both sides of an idea or issue. That knowledge and understanding comes from being well read, sure, but it also means you’re willing to discuss differing ideas and interesting concepts with an open mind.

It’s about you choosing to share the other side of the story if you feel that a discussion has become a little one-sided.

If we all liked the exact same things the world would be a very boring place. There are two sides to every story, especially when it comes to social media marketing, where there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. There are many ways to converse and share with your audience and your peers. Looking at both sides of an issue shows you care enough to dig in and really seek answers that will help both you and your audience.

It’s about you making the effort.

There are no short cuts to social media marketing success. You’ve got to put in the time and effort. From reading to reaching out to peers and influencers, your task list will sometimes be long and the to-do items will be diverse. But that’s part of what makes it so exciting and fulfilling.

I think you’ve probably sussed out where I’m going with this, right? Social media marketing IS about Y-O-U sharing what your carefully cultivated audience actually wants. It involves Y-O-U making an effort, investing time and energy and actively tapping into your creativity to ensure your shares stand out from the steady stream of posts.

How do you ensure the real Y-O-U shines in your social media shares and conversations?

Careful Complaints Might Actually Create Connections!

 

Careful Complaints Might Actually Create Connections!

I recently saw this tweet and it immediately got my “devil’s advocate” juices flowing. I often like to look at the flip side of an idea, even when I agree with it, as it often creates content worthy of discussion.

While I actually agree, for the most part, with the message and premise of the tweet, it got me thinking, and prompted this article! This is in no way a “slam” on the tweet. It stirred up an idea – and that’s exactly what items shared via social media are meant to do! No ideas = no discussion, meaning there’s no reason to post and share at all.

Back on topic. Consider that one of the main concepts behind smart and savvy social media connection and conversation is “being human.” As humans, things irk us. Irritate is. Makes us go for the “SMH” acronym.

Most of the time these irritations are pretty little in the scheme of things. But they’re part of what makes us human. Part of what drives the emotions and thought processes that make us sentient beings.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t smile and laugh 24-7-365. Mistakes are made, glitches and outages arise and irritations of many sizes are part of the daily running of our business. Sometimes apps or social media platforms go down, your computer crashes before you’ve saved your work, or your business partner bugs the crap out of you.

Clients, too, can create irritations. As I’m not a mind reader, I know it’s a little frustrating when I get vague design direction from a client. Deadlines sometimes pass through no fault of our own when clients don’t deliver content or other needed items. And sometimes clients are slow to pay, for whatever reason. Those situations don’t normally bring a smile to my face. How about yours?

If we consider that it’s often the little things, the daily details that help flesh out our personality – what make us uniquely us, then it stands to reason that those little things make those around us their unique and special selves, too … right? And each day we all face our own unique tasks, issues, celebrations and more.

Consider the oft-used phrase, “Caring IS Sharing.” If we dig a little deeper into that, beyond the sharing of an article link to the sharing of an idea, it stands to reason that, when we’ve made a real connection, built a real relationship, we care about those things good and bad, big and small, complaints and celebrations.

It’s social to commiserate or sympathize when someone in our circle shares a complaint that resonates with us. We have likely felt the same irritations, voiced the same complaints. You can take anything too far, and you NEVER want to come across as someone who constantly complains and finds no joy in life or business. But, life and business aren’t pretty, pink and perfect all of the time. Shades of gray and blocks of black sometimes cloud the more positive color of our activities and interactions. We’re not alone. Sometimes the act of commiserating and empathizing creates even deeper connection.

Of course our minor daily foibles might not gel with someone facing a serious life crisis. I think it really depends on how you share that complaint. There’s a reason that the article title uses the phrase “careful complaints,” as, when carefully crafted, our posts can often add humor and understanding to the things that are only human.

What do you think? Can you share a complaint carefully in a way that generates conversations and build connections. Or do complaints always drive people away?

Social Design: Your Brand Presence On Social Media

Social Design: Your Brand Presence On Social Media

When we think about design, numerous phrases come to mind: interior, graphic, web, etc. But when I say the words “social design”, I often get quizzical looks. Then the questions start.

Oh, you mean my logo?

Oh, are you talking about my Facebook cover?

Oh, okay! We’re discussing my blog header, right?

Yes, but there’s so much more! Sure, your colors, fonts, taglines, avatars and identity images (logos and headshots) play a huge role in social design. Of course you want your brand to be represented. But your brand is a whole lot more than the tangible, visual elements I just listed.

Your brand also has a personality and tone. This personality and tone must be reinforced in a variety of post types across a multitude of social media platforms. Your brand must shine in short form bursts on Twitter, as well as the  longer posts, questions and discussion – often with images – you share on Facebook,  AND the still longer discussions and sharing of ideas  when you publish via your blog.

The content your create and share (because we all know we can’t create it all) is also part of your well designed social business presence. Carefully reading and vetting the content of the authors with whom we are connected, we then must carefully choose the articles and ideas based on ideas, outlooks and concepts that are similar to our own. The connections we make and build with others influence the future connections we will make, and, thus, the future content we’ll share.

So, social design has to be fluid – as we will all continue to connect and build new relationships as we grow our own presence.

How does one maintain a focused brand identity with the constant change and flux that is social business? It’s a topic we’ll be digging into in future articles and discussions. While there are purely visual elements of your brand, and it’s very important to keep them focused and cohesive across platforms, as we stated above there’s much, much more.

Your brand is the foundation, the bricks and mortar behind your business. It’s made up of so very many elements, from your logo to the people you hire or with whom you choose to collaborate. We look forward to digging a little deeper and sharing many thoughts and ideas that will help you solidify and strengthen your brand across your varied digital marketing hubs.

Please share what comes to mind when you hear the phrase “social design.”