Building a Social Media Presence

By: MJ Pedone

As a professional trying to build your online brand or an entrepreneur starting or running your own business, this is what I would like to share with you about social media…you don’t need to do it all to do it well!

When marketing experts suggest brands create a presence on all the major platforms, which is somewhere around nine, and post content on them all several times a day, they’re not talking to you. There’s no way you’re going to be able to do that well.

Social media falls strongly into the “quality over quantity” category, especially if you’re a one-person shop and don’t have the resources to hire a social media manager. So if you’re trying to figure out how to stay on top of your social media game without making yourself crazy and keeping yourself relevant, here are four suggestions:

Plan First, Build Second

Many people rush to get their brands up on a bunch of social media platforms, only to find themselves completely overwhelmed with what to publish and when to publish it. To begin, pick one or two platforms and that’s it. Focus on figuring out how to grow a platform and once you’ve gotten that down, you can add more. To pick the right starter platforms, think about three things: where your audience is hanging out, which platforms you actually like using and which platforms support the kind of content you want to post. For example, if you were marketing your photography business, Pinterest would be the perfect platform to showcase your work, whereas Twitter may not be as effective.

Unless you’re already a pro on the platform, take a tutorial before you begin so you can get comfortable with creating a page, posting content, engaging followers and tracking your analytics. Having this knowledge will make the daily publishing and engaging feel less daunting.

Get Organized

I know many people out there cringe at the idea of an editorial calendar because of its rigidity, but this will help keep you on top of everything.

A well planned-out calendar will help you map out when you’ll be posting content, as well as where you’re getting that content. Are you writing it yourself? Curating it from other sites? Will you be-posting previous content? Once you have content regularly scheduled on your calendar, set reminders for yourself to post and engage throughout the day so you don’t get caught up with the rest of your day and forget to do this.

Leverage Your Content

While you don’t want to post the exact same content on every single platform, leveraging your best content across different platforms can seriously boost your social media efficiency. For example, if you write a blog every week, you can tweet the link to the blog on Twitter and post a related picture on Instagram and include a link to it in your caption. Now, instead of having to create three separate pieces of social media content, you’ve killed three birds with one stone.

Find Some Great Tools

When you’re working solo, you’re always fighting against time. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to successfully do your job and maintain an engaging presence on social media. The good news is, there are plenty of tools and apps that can help keep you on track. Inc. compiled a list of 60 of the best social media tools, like Hootsuite and Pocket. Most of the times, we look to experts and best practices to tell us how to engage with our community on social media. And while there’s a lot of great advice out there, if what they’re saying doesn’t resonate or doesn’t feel realistic to you, you’re never going to do it. People ask me all the time: How many times should I really be posting on my platforms? And my answer is: How many times can you realistically be posting on your platforms? Start there.

Social media, albeit time consuming, is a great way to garner brand awareness and potential business. Keep at it and don’t give up! As always, I welcome any and all comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

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Royal Baby Fever

By: Gina Mason

Hear ye, hear ye! Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge arrived last Saturday and as to be expected, the world is still buzzing about her grand entrance.  After much anticipation, the news of the little bundle of joy spread quickly and social media nearly exploded with the reveal that William and Kate gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.

As the #1 topic that was trending globally, people from all over the world joined in the conversation about the new princess. Here are some fun social media facts and stats about the #RoyalBaby’s arrival:

  • The tweet sent by @KensingtonRoyal announcing the birth, “Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a daughter at 8:34am” was retweeted 47,000 times and favorited 42,000 times.
  • Not only did the announcement garner over a million tweets, but the conversations peaked at 4,500 tweets per minute around 11:34am according to Twitter.
  • According to the DailyMail, “Hashtracking reveals that the majority of people posting about the baby were women (61%) and the highest proportion of tweets were surprisingly sent from the U.S. (23%).
  • The announcement of Princess Charlotte’s birth topped the arrival of her big brother as she received over 1 million #RoyalBaby tweets while Prince George’s birth generated only 900,000.
  • The tweet revealing the name, “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to announce that they have named their daughter Charlotte Elizabeth Diana” was shared and favorited more than 92,980 times.
  • More than 300,000 tweets mentioning ‘Charlotte’ were made following the name confirmation.

Not only were news outlets and people everywhere posting about the #RoyalBaby, but also a number of big brands took the opportunity to chime in the baby banter on social media.  Here are a few of my favorite tweets from big brands:

The @Disney Royal Babies gave Princess Charlotte a royal welcome with this fun video clip:

disney

@BritishAirways got creative when the Princess touched down:

BA

@Nissan got the royal chariot running:

nissan

@MLB reminded us that it has Royals babies too…

MLB

@CocaCola_GB shared the love with the Royal Family:

Coke

@PizzaHutUK even had a special delivery of its own:

Pizza Hut

I loved seeing all of the baby banter that has been going on and loved that many brands used this real-time event to engage their followers.  This is a great example of brands thinking outside of their “strictly promotional” box and coming up with creative ways to stay relevant in the conversation.

To see some additional brands that posted about the #RoyalBaby, check out this article on Buzzfeed: http://www.buzzfeed.com/tomphillips/hashtag-engagement#.anE85Vkqx

To see some brands that had a #RoyalFail, check out this Mashable article: http://mashable.com/2013/07/23/royal-baby-real-time-marketing-brands/

Did you join in the Twitter-chatter about the #RoyalBaby? What did you think of some of the brands that joined the baby conversation?

As always, if you like what you read be social and share.

We’re Still Talkin About Practice

By Dallas J. Short

May 7, 2002, a day that will forever be remembered as the greatest NBA press conference in history or least the press conference that created a timeless quotable. The date when Allen Iverson questioned “Practice? We’re talkin about practice, man.”

(Full disclosure, the Sixers are my favorite team and I believe Allen Iverson is one of the greatest players of all time.)

Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d29VsG35DQM

Thirteen years later, we’re still talking about practice. This is a quote I use on a regular basis, as recently as Monday night I used it at my kickball game. I used it in a blog a few months ago. It has taken on a whole life outside of that press conference, been parodied by comedians, referenced by other athletes, paid homage to on t-shirts and much more.

If you’re reading this, you probably have already done your Allen Iverson “practice?” impersonation out loud or replayed it in your head. So, now that we have got that out of the way, let’s talk about a few social media practices. Don’t worry, I didn’t click bait you with the Iverson story. I really wanted to talk about it, but this is, after all, a professional blog and I figured it was a good tie-in.

Here are five social media practices, which while known, often seem to slip through the cracks.

  • Questions are a great way to engage your community. It makes your fans and followers feel involved. Do not just talk at them, talk with them. Keep your questions short, simple and to the point. “Are you talking about practice?”
  • Asking for a retweet, this is a practice which I know a lot of people say they are against, but when used right, it’s effective. If you have a strong opinion or emotional photo, this could be the time to rally your troops. Use sparingly, otherwise it will be like crying wolf and will have negative effects.
  • You have a story to tell, get it out there. Make sure you sure you have options for people to share your blog posts or articles through other social media platforms. It lets your story grow outside of your own site and increases readership.
  • Your social media voice should be the voice of your company, not an employee. Define it and ride with it. If the person handling your social media ends up not working there anymore, it should not be obvious to your readers. If the ball is ever dropped, it should be able to easily and seamlessly be picked up by anyone on your team.
  • You can never take your online community for granted. You do not need to fawn over them, but you need to make sure to thank them and make them feel appreciated. They are an extension of you. Online and offline, you want them cheering on your side.

Are there any memorable sports quotes you find yourself bringing up at work? What other social media practices do you think people sometimes forget or should try to improve?

As always, I welcome your comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

Yes, practice.

Zero Dark Thirty: Step Away From Your Cell Phone

By: Dallas J. Short

The NBA Playoffs are back and I’m sure you are just as shocked as I am that my Philadelphia 76’ers somehow did not make the cut. While many are convinced this year’s champion will be from the Western Conference, that has not stopped one of the league’s best from continuing a tradition that has helped him #StriveForGreatness.

LeBron James is once again on his “Zero Dark Thirty” social shutdown. No phone, no Facebook (21.5 million), no Twitter (20.7 million), no Instagram (9.6 million), it’s radio silence from the 4-time MVP. He started this in 2012 postseason, one year after he and the Miami Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals. He says he only needs to talk to his family and his teammates. He’s locked in and focused on bringing the trophy home to Ohio.

Forbes.com has an article “30 Reasons to do a Digital Detox” and #19 “because it’s a challenge” is also one of the reasons LeBron gave. I’m sure King James’ bigger reason is to avoid distractions, trolls and negative comments, but who doesn’t love a good challenge every now and then.

Though I probably have as much chance of getting an NBA Championship ring as my Sixers do, I think a digital detox can be beneficial for anyone. That break free moment of ceremoniously throwing your phone into the ocean, taking a deep breath and inhaling the beauty of the world around you. At least, that’s how I picture it in my head. In reality, I make deals with myself. “I’ll only use my phone as an alarm clock.” “I’ll only reply to texts.” “I’ll just check it for e-mails.” “I’ll do it next weekend.” There always seems to be something that stops the disconnect. We focus on captioning the moment instead of capturing it. LeBron’s won back to back championships and continues to make the finals, so it’s definitely working for him. The super busy, super productive and super successful Arianna Huffington is also big on digital detoxes.

Here are a few other reasons Forbes listed on why to do a digital detox.

  • To give your brain a break from digital processing. Information overload is a serious issue. Recharging is healthy.
  • To see things clearly, make better decisions, and find a more productive way to do things when you return.
  • Once you switch off, time seems plentiful (compared to the version we tend to race against most days).
  • To have in-depth conversations that meander and make you think and bring up questions that aren’t answered by the Internet.
  • You’ll carve out space to think deeply, connect to yourself, and connect to the people around you.

So let’s do it this weekend. I’m in and up for the challenge.

Are you addicted to your smartphone and social media? Have you ever tried a digital detox?

As always, I welcome or comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

Bryan Price Takes on the Media

By: Gina Mason

Professional sports have changed in many ways over the last few decades. From instant-replays to pace-of-play and heads-up tacking rules, all aspects of pro sports are now under a microscope and aggressively dissected by their respective leagues, officials, media and the public. Thanks to the invention of fantasy sports and our tech-savvy culture, the way we consume and talk about sports in general has changed drastically. The media and the public now expect a lot more out of coaches and players than ever before and coaches especially are put in the hot seat all of the time and forced to provide reasoning for every decision that they make.

From my experience working with a professional baseball team, I have witnessed this firsthand and truly applaud the players and coaches (and the staff that media trains them) who have been able to maintain their composure and confidence in the spotlight. For those of you who don’t really know much about baseball, the media gets an incredible amount of access to the players and the coaches behind the scenes. There is usually a press conference before and after each game with the manager, reporters are allowed in the locker room before batting practice, allowed on the field during batting practice and back into the locker room after the game. From a media standpoint, this is fantastic and it at allows reporters to get a great deal of insight from the team and provide fans with the insider scoop that they crave. However, this constant access can also put a lot of pressure on the players and the coaches as they constantly have to be ready to face a media firestorm.

Last week, the media scrutiny became all too much for Cincinnati Reds manager, Bryan Price. During a pre-game interview, Price unleashed his welled up emotions on the media after a reporter wanted to know why All-Star catcher Devin Mesoraco was not with the team for a game in St. Louis. Price blurted out 77 “f-bombs” during the five-minute, 34-second expletive-filled tirade and he targeted the media for breaking a story about the catcher the night before. “I don’t know what the importance is for everyone to know if we have a player that’s not here,” Price said. “We don’t benefit at all from the other teams knowing we don’t have a player.”

Call it pent up frustration or a moment of insanity, Price went on questioning the way in which the media behaved and why they have to always know everything, “I don’t get why it’s got to be this way. Has it always been this way where we just tell f****** everybody everything? So every f****** opponent we have has to know exactly what we have. Which f****** relievers are available, which guys are here and which guys aren’t here, when they can play, and what they can do. It’s nobody’s f****** business. It’s certainly not the opponent’s business. We have to deal with this f****** b*******.I like to talk — and I have spoken as candidly as I can with you people, if that’s not good enough, I won’t say a f******thing. I’ll go, ‘yes sir, no sir.’ And I can do that. But f***, I’ve been as candid as I can f****** be about this team and our players, and we’ve got to deal with this s***, every f****** team that we f****** play has to know every f****** guy that’s here and what they can and can’t do? F*** me. It’s a f****** disgrace. I’m f****** sick of this s***. It’s f****** hard enough to f****** win here to have f****** every f****** opponent know exactly what the f*** we bring to the table every day. It’s f****** horse****. I don’t like it. It’s what I’m saying. To make it very clear, I don’t like the way that this s***’s going — at all. I don’t like it. I don’t think you guys need to know everything. And I certainly don’t think you need to see something and tweet it out there and make it a f****** world event. How the f*** do we benefit from them knowing we don’t have Devin Mesoraco? How do we benefit from that? They benefit from it. I just want to know how we benefit from these f****** people know we don’t have a player here. Can you answer that? How is that good for the Reds?

Price definitely struck out with his delivery and I am sure the Reds PR team stood there in horror witnessing a verbal car crash in slow motion. However, many are saying that despite his foul language, Price’s message was not that outlandish. The necessity of knowing everything at all times in real-time may be taking away from the game and is putting too much pressure on the players and coaches, not only in baseball but in all sports. While some feel that as a professional athlete or coach, you waive your right to privacy and must address your critics daily.

I tend to agree that the public doesn’t need to know every single thing that is going on with each and every player at all times and that he does have a point that it can somewhat take away from a team’s competitive edge. However, I will say that as a manager of a professional baseball team, addressing the media is part of his job and he is getting paid a lot of money to do so. I would highly suggest that he should consider a few more media training sessions after that fiasco.

What do you think of Price’s rant? Do you think it was justified?

To hear all five minutes of Price’s rant, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wROe2dzJDqY

As always, I welcome your like comments and if you what you read be social and share.

Secrets from Shark Tank’s Daymond John

By: Gina Mason

As embarrassing as it may sound, I must admit that many (most) of my Friday nights are no longer spend out at the clubs, but rather at home watching my favorite show on ABC, Shark Tank. Call it my interest in the entrepreneurial spirit (or lack of a social life), I just cannot get enough of the wheeling and dealing that goes on during the show. Outside of some of the ingenious ideas that people come up with, I am absolutely fascinated with the thought-process and negotiating skills of each “shark.”

Due to my obsession with the show, I recently read an article on Inc.com that recapped a speech that business mogul and Shark Tank star, Daymond John did during an Inc. GrowCo conference in Nashville and I wanted to share some of his wisdom. I find John’s story to be the most inspiring out of all of the sharks and applaud him for all that he has accomplished.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with John, he created a clothing empire that started with his handmade line, Fubu. John is the epitome of a rags-to-riches story as he was raised in Queens by a single mother who worked three jobs to provide for the family. Using the sewing skills his mother had taught him, he started making clothing in his mother’s apartment and selling it on the street. After a lot of hard work and hustling, sales for his hats and shirts took off and today he is worth over $250 million dollars.

Thanks to Lindsay Blakely’s recap, here are a few of the secrets for building your business that John shared at the conference:

Act bigger than you are.

“John realized early on that although he knew he wanted to be a part of hip-hop culture, he couldn’t sing, dance or produce music. But he loved fashion. Dominating the hip-hop clothing business became his one and only focus. “I couldn’t hit a target I couldn’t see,” he recalls. The only problem was that he had no money and no knowledge about how to start a fashion company. So he did what many enterprising entrepreneurs have done before him: He faked it until he made it. The first step was getting the right people to stand behind the brand.

John made 10 Fubu shirts and using his connections, showed up wherever influential rappers would be–often at music video studios or as was the case with LL Cool J, his house. He charmed them into trying on the shirts, snapped their photos and then took back the shirts. Fubu still wasn’t a real company with real merchandise, but after two years the brand looked huge, John says–or at least, it looked like all of the cool hip-hop kids wore it.”

Win on scrappiness and savvy.

“John eventually learned that anyone who is anyone in the fashion business needs to show up at the annual Magic Show in Las Vegas, a trade show for clothing manufacturers. He couldn’t afford a booth or even a ticket. So he and a few friends turned a room at the Mirage hotel into a makeshift showroom. John sneaked into the convention and persuaded buyers to make a trip over to the room. By the end of the show, he had closed $300,000 in orders. Fubu later went on to sell, with the help of a distribution deal with Samsung’s textile division, $30 million of clothing in three months.

Or there was the time that LL Cool J was slated to appear in and write the lyrics for a Gap ad. John persuaded him to show up for the shoot wearing a Fubu hat and rap about the brand. (If you listen to the lyrics closely, he mentions For Us By Us, the tag line behind Fubu). The way John tells it, Gap had wanted the rapper to help the clothing line break into the hip-hop market. But after the ad aired and then re-aired, Fubu was the real winner behind the deal–revenue climbed to $400 million. Not a coincidence, the entrepreneur says.”

Remember: You are the brand.

“If you’re an aspiring Shark Tank contestant, this tip is for you. John says one of the most important things you can do to set yourself up for success when you pitch your company is to come up with two to five words that define you as an entrepreneur. “If you don’t know what you stand for, you leave it up to us,” he says, referring to the other sharks on the show.

Speaking of those sharks, whatever you do, learn what each shark is looking for. “After six years of the show, I have no idea how people go on Shark Tank and they don’t understand what the sharks want,” he says.”

I think John not only offered some great insight, but also some incredible inspiration for the aspiring or up-and-coming entrepreneurs out there. He defied the odds and truly created his own success by following a dream, working hard and taking advantage of the right opportunities.

What did you think of his tips?

For those of you who want to catch up on the latest episodes of Shark Tank, visit: http://abc.go.com/shows/shark-tank

I welcome your comments and as always, if you like what you read be social and share.