So You Say You’re an Expert…What Does Your Community Say?

A friend, Rick Butts, sent me this video clip and asked me to comment on it from a brand or reputation management standpoint, and the timing could not have been better. The day before I had spent over an hour on the phone with a new client who had spent the last year working with two other “EXPERTS” who made a total mess of her social media accounts. (Telling her she needed a separate personal Facebook account to just use for creating her business profile.  She ended up with three accounts, two business pages and a feeling of dread when she heard the word FACEBOOK!)

What I love about this clip is that we can “work so hard” for a specific title or brand but if our community doesn’t perceive us as fitting of that title, they will not give it to us! So many right now are touting the title of expert in this or that, but ONLY when that expert provides enough value and proves their expertise, will the community call them an expert!

Indeed, we can use online tools like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to spread our message and create a brand for ourselves and our businesses, but if you are not truly providing value and EXPERTise, your community will see the snake oil seeping out of your pockets.

Thanks for letting me rant!  What’s your opinion? I’d love to know.


What the Heck is a #Hashtag & 3 Steps to Set Up Your Own

Social Media, Hashtag, Gina Schreck, Synapse, Getting Geeky, Technology Speaker


Ok so you see them all the time on Twitter and occasionally on Facebook or LinkedIn.  The Hashtag.  In online computer terminology (ie: GEEK SPEAK), A tag is a non-hierarchical keyword or term assigned to a piece of information (such as an internet bookmark, digital image, or computer file). This kind of metadata helps describe an item and allows it to be found again by browsing or searching. WHAT????!!!#$##!**&!

In English, a hashtag is simply a symbol, a pound sign, a HASH MARK, that when placed before a group of letters or a word, make it searchable, clickable or TAGGED.  Let’s say, hypothetically, I am a lover of shoes…hypothetically… and I do a search for the word “Shoes” on Twitter, I may find posts from people saying they are not wearing any shoes, or they need a new pair of shoes.  But when I search for #shoes or click on #shoes when I see it in another tweet, it will pull tweets from people all around the world who have tagged their message.  This makes the search results much more targeted because typically when someone takes the time or effort to tag a tweet, they are wanting others, who share their interest, to find it.

Hashtags are also very helpful when attending an event (live or virtual) because if the event has a tag, I can follow the tweets without following the people.  I can create a column in TweetDeck, or any social management tool, that pulls just the tweets from, say #BWE10 (BlogWorldExpo10).  A great way to single out the tweet stream of just those pertaining to an event I am following is to go to TweetChat and type in the hashtag you want to follow.  If you sign into this site with your Twitter username you can tweet here without having to remember to type in your #hashtag each  time.  It will add it to every outgoing tweet as long as you are logged into TweetChat.

Now a great strategy for finding and following people who share the same interests as you, is to find and follow the folks using a tag you are interested in.  Example: I might go to an education conference and folks are using the Hashtag #DL10 (DevLearn 2010).  I can pull up a search for #DL10 and connect to these folks since I can assume they are all interested in learning and technology (that’s what this conference is all about).

If you would like to start your own tag, follow these 3 steps to set it up:

1. Create a short code or tag that makes sense to use.  It can be anything that includes letters and numbers. Make it as short as possible since folks have to fit it into the 280 character limit on Twitter, along with whatever they have to say.

2. Do a search on Twitter or Instagram to see if it is being used.  Once you find one that is not currently being used (or hasn’t been used in the past month or so) start letting people know about it.  You don’t officially have to register it–just start adding it to tweets when discussing the event or topic.

3. Go to Hashtagify to see who is using it most often, other hashtags that are related, and the popularity of that hashtag. It’s not that no one else will use it but it will give you information on the tag you’d like to start adding to your social media posts.

Do you use hashtags in your social media posts?  Do you have a tag you’d like to start using or are you still just as confused (if not more) about hashtags?  I’d love to hear from you~


4 Rules to Avoid Driving New Facebook Group Members Crazy

Gina Schreck, Technology Expert, speaker, Social media business


Ok so it’s been a few weeks now since Facebook rolled out the new groups feature and a few of you have created or have been added to (sometimes without you really knowing how that happened) a new group.

I’m really not sure who they tested this product on, but whoever was in their 6 month, sequestured study group was obviously connected to less than 50 people. I guess if we all used Facebook the way it was intended, and only connected with close friends and family members, I would not be writing this post, but the fact is we have redefined the word “friend” and we are connecting with hundreds, if not thousands of people on this social network.

As soon as I heard about this new Facebook Groups feature, I saw some great applications.  I created a couple groups, one for a conference committee team of 4.  The threaded conversations were easy to follow. The ability to upload and work on a document collaboratively and keep it in the string of conversation was extremely helpful (like Google docs and Wave). I was thrilled.  I showed my youngest daughter (the Schrecklet, who is a freshman in high school) how to create study groups for notes and conversations.  She loved that you could then do a group chat with everyone in the group instead of one on one. (see #1)  I saw promise for the new GROUPS!

All was peacefully organized in Facebook Land UNTIL I was added to 10 other groups that had 50-150 people in each group.  Suddenly my Facebook notifications went crazy!  You see, as long as you were connected to someone, you could ADD them to a group. They did not need to approve or agree to be in the group.  If someone creates a groups called SOCIAL MEDIA WOMEN (hypothetically of course) and wants to add 150 of their closest “friends” you could be added to the group.  Now once I am in the group I can continue adding my own “friends” in (see #2) and before long this group becomes a beast of conversations with 300 people, but now each comment in the thread causes a notification to go out to you.  You can opt OUT of the groups if you choose, (see #3) which I have, on several of them.  There is great conversations, but it is just too much.

Remember our problem is not necessarily information overload, it is filter failure.  And these new groups are forcing us to put in more filters.  So here is a list of

1. Keep your groups small and focused.  This is not to be used like a LIST when wanting to broadcast something to a specific LIST or group of people.  Groups are great for projects, and meeting notes, or very niche, sharing communities.

2. Opt out of noisy groups or those that are just broadcasting.  Click on the group notification and look to the right, you will see LEAVE GROUP.  (#3 above)

3. I haven’t seen a way to remove someone from a group once you have added them in, so be sure you know this person and their posting habits before adding them.

4. Don’t create a group to market your “stuff” to them.  Because this is not an OPT IN, you will quickly lose friends if you do this.  Use your LISTS feature for targeting a specific marketing message to a targeted list of folks.

Have you played with or been added to any groups?  What are your tips for managing the conversations?


Don’t Make Me UNFRIEND You!

Unfriend, Facebook, Social Media for Business, Gina Schreck, Technology Speaker

Don’t Make Me UNFRIEND You

In most relationships there is a honeymoon phase, where we learn about each other, we are more tolerant of idiosyncrasies and we even see the best in each other…until you get on Facebook!   We are hyperconnected through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other sites with so many people that we don’t have time or patience to go through this honeymoon phase in so many relationships.

Plus people tend to expose their bad behaviors on social sites perhaps more than they would in person. They post inappropriate pictures, spray paint farm animals all over our walls, tell the world things that only a close friend should know and talk non-stop without coming up for air to allow others to chime in.

“Researchers spend a lot of time examining how people form friendships online but little is known about how these relationships end,” said a PhD student at CU Denver’s Business School, Christopher Sibona, who used Twitter to survey more than 1500 Facebook members.  He found that 57% of people will UNFRIEND because of poor online behavior, while almost 27% of folks get UNFRIENDED due to offline behavior.

His study revealed these top 3 reasons people get UNFRIENDED:

1. Frequent UNINTERESTING posts
2. Polarizing POLITICAL or RELIGIOUS views posted
3. Inappropriate, CRUDE or RACIST posts

While this study was about so-called friends calling it quits, what does it teach those of us using these tools for business?

1. You are always “ON.”  Your behavior online and off is part of your brand 24/7, so BEHAVE and play nice out there.

2. Be strategic with what you post.  Am I posting content my community would be interested in?  Is it helpful or is it just me entertaining myself? (I am guilty of engaging in a clever-fest occasionally and it is darn entertaining to me!)

3. Use LISTS on Facebook to send specific posts that may be more personal or politically slanted, to those that would be interested in that information.  Always keep your community in mind.

What are some of the reasons YOU have UNFRIENDED someone?  How are you keeping your personal and professional worlds from colliding?

Let us help you set those social goals, clarify your online strategy and be FRIENDED more often!


A 12-Second Lesson on Why You Should Start Your Own Blog

Gina Schreck, social media for business, facebook for business, technology speaker

Don’t Get Caught with Your Goods Inside

Today I got a notice that was shutting down.  If you had never used this service, it was basically Twitter on video.  You created a short (well, 12-second) video message using your webcam or mobile phone and it went out to your friends.  There were many people who spent a lot of time crafting and creating thousands of these short diddies and many people who created at least a few of them, and now… bye bye.  They are allowing folks to download or pull their videos off of the site until October 22.  I had signed up for their service when they first launched 3 years ago but never actually used it (that’s probably what did them in! They would have had WAY more traffic had I just gotten on board!)

It is sad to see an innovative company close their doors but it is a good reminder to all of us who post great juicy nuggets of our content on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and any other site other than our own… that your content is not your own unless it is on your own site.  Sure you can post to Facebook and Twitter and every other social site in the universe, but let it also have a home on your blog.  How many people thought there would never come a day when MySpace wasn’t king?  Who can imagine a time when we wouldn’t be loading all of our treasured memories and content on Facebook? Your photos…your videos…your content.  Be sure you have a back up plan just in case Mark Zuckerberg decides to pack it all up and move to Farmville!

Farewell may you REST IN PEACE!