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 12Seconds.tv 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 12Seconds.tv 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 12Seconds.tv may you REST IN PEACE!

@GinaSchreck

SOMETHINGS GOTTA GIVE: Making time for social media

Time for social media, social media for business, making time for social media, social media training

Time Squeeze

Yesterday someone sent me a question that really got me thinking.  It doesn’t take much to send my brain off on a 2-hour tangent, but this was a question we all struggle with.  Her comment and question was this:

“I am marginally involved in social media, but, like most of us these days, I’m so busy taking care of the “have-to’s” that there is little time to devote to keeping things current on Facebook and LinkedIn.  I recognize, however, that I always manage to make time for the really important things.  How important is social media? “

Now I am no life coach or productivity expert (that made me laugh just typing it!) but when it comes to prioritizing activities around social media here are some questions you must FIRST ask yourself:

  1. What are my goals?  What am I trying to achieve in my work and personal life (if they are separate?)
  2. What activities must I be engaged in to get me to these goals? If your goal is to move into a leadership position (which hers was) then personal and professional development are essential activities.  If your goal is to start your own business, then networking, learning to market and sell become essential.  So we must first identify the activities.
  3. NOW- what are the best ways to perform these activities? What tools can I use to do these activities better, faster, BIGGER?  If your goal is to learn management skills, take a class, but also find and connect with other top leading managers and leaders on Twitter to learn from the best (go beyond the book).  Network with others in management classes on Facebook or LinkedIn to share knowledge and accelerate our learning.  Through social media you can create your own mastermind group of experts where you can listen, ask questions, and grow faster than you could on your own.  You are also putting your name and expertise out there creating more opportunities for yourself.  My oldest daughter is a zoology major up at CSU and I have encouraged her to connect with and learn from others in her field on Twitter.
  4. Lastly, what are those other “HAVE TO” activities that I am filling my day with and how can I re-prioritize or become more efficient while doing those?
    If you are spending 2-3 hours attending meetings that are not productive…ask for agendas, call in instead of attending live, etc.  If you are spending too much time on email, commit to becoming more efficient with that by creating rules and telling people to send you messages only when necessary- no FYI messages.   And at home how are you spending your time?  If you are spending time watching television at home, well then….. YOU HAVE TIME!

Social media tools are just that…TOOLS.  They can help you perform some of these activities on a much bigger scale and less myopic than other activities (ie- going to Chamber lunches or Association meetings)  (Yes, I am anticipating the hate mail on that comment), but the bottom line is you have to start with the end in mind.  What are your goals and how can social media tools help you reach those goals?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this~ What are YOU doing to make time for social media? Is it working for you?

Let us help you set those goals and find the right tools to get there FAST!  We help organizations use today’s technology to connect in meaningful ways with their communities.

SPINNING SOCIAL PLATES: Using Facebook LISTS to manage personal & professional connections

Gina Schreck, Social Media for Business, Technology expert, technology speaker

Spinning Social Plates

We want to stay in touch with family and friends, but is it wise to use one social site to manage all of our connections? We have our professional contacts sharing business tips and our best friend from junior high school posting photos of herself on her boat. This can’t be good for our professional image.  Many people create two accounts on Facebook to try and separate the two groups but find it starts getting confusing when they have friends that become business contacts or or vice versa. What’s a person to do?

Relax. Although you do have one life to live, social sites like Facebook allow you to segment that life into LISTS for easy brand management as well as time management.  Aside from the fact that creating two accounts goes against Facebook’s terms of Agreement, this is just too hard to manage.

You can take all of your contacts on Facebook and place them into LISTS like FAMILY, SCHOOL FRIENDS, BIZ CONTACTS, CHURCH. You can get even more segmented by breaking your professional contacts into LISTS such as, ASSOCIATION CONTACTS, WORK CONTACTS, perhaps even TOPICAL EXPERTS. This allows you to then go in and customize your privacy settings to ensure everyone does NOT see everything.

I can place photos into albums and have some albums set to only be seen by FAMILY list members. I can customize my settings to ensure anything that gets written on my public wall (Your main profile page on Facebook) on my wall is only seen by ME. It’s also good to remember that the newsfeed or status updates you receive are only seen by those who are connected to the person sending the update. So if my business client is NOT friends with my daughter, the post I read about her homecoming dance is not seen by my client.

Lists will also help you save time when checking in and reading the updates. You can log into Facebook and choose to only read the updates of those in a particular list.

To place your Facebook contacts into lists, simply go up to the ACCOUNT link at the top right, select EDIT FRIENDS and then you will see a CREATE A LIST button at the top. Setting up the lists and adding friends to them does take some time, especially if you have lots of connections already. The key to maintaining this, is to add people to a list right when you connect.

Before long, your plates will be spinning smoothly…at least until Facebook changes the setting again 🙂

Share how you keep your lists organized or how you have set your privacy settings to manage this double life we all live–Me, Myself & I are all interested in hearing your ideas!

@GinaSchreck

Let us help you connect to your community! Our team is AMAZING & TALENTED.

GRAB YOUR KIDS & SMALL PETS: Smart Phones Take Over the World

Last night as I drove home from the airport, I got to thinking how many gizmos and gadgets I had sitting in a pile (my new tech museum) in my office that were now rendered useless because of my phone!  Just eight short months ago, the new Google phone entered my life and at the time I had no idea it would reek so much havoc among my other gadgets.

Gina Schreck, gadgets, technology speaker, technology business, conference speaker

Gadget Graveyard

I used to bring my TomTom GPS wherever I went not only to talk me through directions to my destination, but to tell me what time I was expected to arrive (which became a sort of game to see how many minutes I could shave from the initial projection).  I had grown quite close to my GPS, even naming her Gloria Petunia Schreck.  But now, Gloria has been replaced, or RIGHTSIZED, by my phone’s navigational system.  My Nexus One (Nexie for short) pulls up the location, gives me turn-by-turn directions, with a slightly more robotic voice than the old Gloria, but it gets me there all the same.  It even allows me to play the “shave the minutes” game.

I have a fabulous 10 megapixel Nikon DX camera that I would somehow fit into my purse whenever we went on trips, or I would carry around in my car, because you just never know when you might see something picture-worthy.  Now, Nexie is snapping pics and videos that are almost as good with the built in 5 mega-pixel camera everywhere I go.  My big Nikon camera has not moved from my dresser top in months.

I have just about every iPod version Apple has put out: The original fat white one, a tiny green nano that clips on your shirt, a yellow bigger nano with a video screen, a metallic Shrek green wider bodied model and more. They sit in my office museum. Nexie has music downloaded onto it and with a sync application that brings songs from my iTunes library right in.

Videos no longer need a DVD player, we don’t need to carry a digital voice recorder, video games don’t have to be played on a dedicated device like DS players, no separate calculators, flashlights, pedometers, or travel alarm clocks are needed, and even webcams are not really needed with the new iPhone 4’s forward-facing camera.

Last night I was reading in USA Today’s travel section about Holiday Inn rolling out its Mobile Key, that allows guests to bypass stopping by the front desk when they check in.  After making your reservations, you are sent a code that tells you your room number and then opens your door.  Check out the video demonstration here:

Now as Tom Bodet would ask, “Will it leave the light on?”

With so many mobile apps being developed and our devices doing so much more more than make and receive phone calls, it’s no wonder we call them MOBILE DEVICES instead of just CELL PHONES.  What does all this mean? Is it like iRobot, where our phone will rise up and take over the world? Well if it will cook dinner for me, I may not mind.  But what it does mean is that the trend is not stopping any time soon.  Our devices will get smarter and do more, but how will you use this trend and the power it has to reach new audiences, in your business?  What services can you provide through these devices?

Gina Schreck, Technology speaker, social connecting, social media for business, mobile technology, trends

I’d like to make a hotel reservation please.

I know one thing for sure, those who learn how to develop the applications and programs that we continue to load, will be in greater demand than ever before.  Sign that kindergardener up for app development classes NOW!

Will we still carry these devices around in our purses and pockets or will we soon wear them? Let your imagination run for a moment and share your creative ideas on what else can be replaced by these SUPER SMART gadget killers.

@Gina Schreck

Let us help you use today’s technology to connect and engage YOUR community!

Your Face- Your Brand! Tips for Great Social Media Head Shots

tips for social media headshots

I suggest that people take new headshots every couple years or more often if your look dramatically changes.  It’s always awkward when a conference speakers or someone you have known through online sites walks through the door and not only do you not recognize them but you wonder if their son or daughter is who you have been engaged with online.  How many times have you met someone, looked at their picture on their business card or social media site and said, “WHOA- they need to update that photo?”

I took my own advice and scheduled a photo shoot with marketing expert AND photographer, Neil McKenzie for some fun new Geeky Girl shots!  After our shoot, we sat down and I asked him what makes for a great pic.  We talked for almost 30 minutes but I got it down to 10 (YouTube may not have time limits for content anymore but your attention span may only keep you engaged for a few minutes.)  Here is a recap of what we discussed, a few of the pics and the video of our chat:

Gina Schreck, Technology Social Media Speaker, Technology in Education

Basic Headshot

    1. Know the brand you are trying to convey BEFORE you begin.

      Is your brand about serious leadership or green resources?  Fun family activities or corporate innovation?  What message should your customers or contacts get when they see your picture?  Make a list of messages you want people to get just by looking at your picture.  This can help you focus your photo shoot time and ensure your picture is congruent with your messaging.

    2. Take time to get to know each other.

      The more your photographer knows about what you do and how you will use the pictures, the better he or she can snap the right shots.  You want your personality to shine through in the pictures, so be sure to show a little of that before the shoot begins.

    3. Bring a bit of your environment with you.

      If you use gadgets or have props that will add to your photos, bring them along.  If you’re a realtor, perhaps you want a SOLD sign with you.  If you’re a professional organizer, have some of your tools with you, and as you will see with Neil, if you’re a photographer, perhaps you want your camera with you!

    4. Aim for the eyes!

      Neil explains the importance of capturing the sparkle in the eyes.  Make sure your headshot is close enough that you can see your eyes.  Some people crop the picture to really allow others in (I think with HD technology there should be a warning sign similar to your car’s side mirror, “WRINKLES ARE SMALLER THAN THEY APPEAR!” -HA!)

    5. Create a series of shots.

      If you end up with 4 or 5 different shots and poses you will be able to use them more creatively.  Perhaps you have one standing or jumping in the air (one I forgot to do!), one close up for a good basic headshot, one laughing or a bit more relaxed, and one with some of your props. You will be able to sprinkle them from websites, blogs, social sites with different pictures and yet same look and feel.   This creates a consistent branding message while allowing for a bit of personality of the particular site.

    6. Lastly…have FUN!

      This should not be the old Sears photography studio shot where you sit and give that cheesy smile while holding your glasses under your chin (Is that supposed to make you look smarter?).  Let go of those negative thoughts of hating every picture you are in and allow your great personality come through and be captured.

Gina Schreck, Technology Speaker, Social Media, Learning, Synapse

Fun with props

Do you have other tips for great photo shoots as it applies to branding and social media use?  What do you love to see in pictures?

If you or your organization need help getting your message out, contact me or one of our brilliant SocialKNX team members! We LOVE helping organizations manage their brand and magnify their messaging for BIG business success!

If you want tips on crafting better bios, download your free copy of our free resource guide HOW TO CREATE GREAT BIOS THAT ATTRACT

@GinaSchreck

5 TV Habits to Apply to Social Media to Prevent Overload

social media overload, social media management, social marketing

“I can’t manage the information overload that comes with participating in social media.  How can I possibly read all of the tweets, LinkedIn, and Facebook posts from people I am connected with?”

I hear these statements all the time.

Just because the information is flowing  doesn’t mean we have to read it ALL!  When you are experiencing INFORMATION OVERLOAD, it is due to FILTER FAILURE.  Trying to read every social post is like trying to watch every television show that is broadcast across the airwaves.

Try applying these 5 TV habits for a little more sanity:

  1. Subscribe to your favorite channels: When you sign up for cable or satellite service, you typically do not pay for the sports tier if you are not a sports fan and the, so-called, premier movie channels are left for the movie buff.  Don’t connect with every person that connects with you on social sites.  If they only post information about sports, and you are not a sports fan, they are not adding value to your stream.  If they only tell you how to save money on weight loss products and you would never buy a fat-pill online, get them out of your channel line up!
  2. Record your favorite shows with your DVR: Just like being able to record every episode of GLEE or the OFFICE, so you can watch them when you want, you can do the same thing with tools like Sprout Social or Hootsuite (two of my favorite social management tools).  You create columns for your favorite topics or people on Twitter and on Facebook you create LISTS for favorites, and you read those specific posts and tweets when you are ready to sit down with that bowl of popcorn and watch back to back episodes.
  3. Fast forward through commercials: The beauty of today’s television tools is the ability to pause, rewind and fast forward…especially through commercials.  Let’s admit it, even your favorite peeps can get a bit self-promoting at times, and that’s okay,  just scan through and move on.
  4. Only scan mindlessly through every channel when you have time to kill. Sure there are those days when you need to just turn your brain off and sit in a vegetative state for an hour, or perhaps you are stuck waiting an extra 40-minutes in the high school parking lot when basketball coaches forget that parents have lives too (Oh sorry, I’m venting…).  This is when you can go channel surfing through Twitter and Facebook posts that are not on any of your lists (especially when you are using your mobile device) and look for new favorites.  I actually try and do this a couple times a week to find new treasures I may have been overlooking.
  5. Occasionally turn the television off & go for a WALK! There are times when you need to UNPLUG and let the information flow move on a bit without you.  You can catch up later.  Step outside and take a deep breath in.  Do some social research at the park.

What other tips do you have for managing the massive flow of information? Please share them here…we need more information!

@GinaSchreck How to build business with Twitter