Social Media : What's it all about


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Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, Google +….  the list of social media platforms people talk about seems endless. Wading into the world of social media can seem daunting; many feel they just aren’t of the generation that “get it”.

Although getting involved with social media may seem overwhelming, there are many reasons making the leap are worthwhile.

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Your friends, family and kids are online.  By being on Facebook you will keep up to date with people you don’t have the time to keep up with regularly and know more about what is going on in the lives of people that you DO keep in touch with.

The sharing of photos, news and ability to support has never been as easy with the people you already know as they have been since Facebook has grown to what it is today. Don’t miss out on what is there, even if you don’t want to share a lot of your own personal information on the site.


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A great myth when it comes to social media is that it takes people away from real life interactions. The opposite is often true, with social media helping people to find communities that they then bring into their real lives.

Through Facebook pages and groups, Twitter, and Linked In groups, people are able to find groups of people within their own cities to get to know and then become friends with. Great examples include groups for new mothers, parents, weight loss support groups, and business groups such as Chambers of Commerce.


People now expect to be able to find a business online.

If someone looks for a business online and finds it on Facebook, they can choose to “like” the business, thereby sharing this opinion with their friends. If that business isn’t findable, the business has just lost the opportunity to reach out to new people who are likely in the same demographic as that person. This is the kind of targeted marketing that can’t be bought. The key message is that people will be looking so businesses need to be there when they do.

The opportunities from the consumer standpoint is to find out what is going on with businesses they believe in, to endorse companies they believe in and to build relationships with those businesses.

Regardless of the reason, social media is a place to build relationships and engage in a way with friends, family, businesses and potential friends in a way that has never existed before.

I challenge you to jump in and test out the waters, you may be surprised at how easy it is and how much you like it!

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She said / She said : Google +

Karen from The Media Mesh and I have decided to start a new monthly series called She said/She said.

Once a month we will cover the same topic on the same day from our individual perspectives. We will then wrap up the day with a google hangout where we hope people will join us to talk more about the topic.


What is it?

Google + is a new social network by Google.

The basic elements of it are (based on my own observations):

- You follow people and don’t need their permission to do so (like Twitter).

- Your content unfolds in your stream more similarly to Facebook, with longer posts, photos and links to other sites.

- You can sort your contacts into circles (I have ones for social media, Ottawa, and friends - to name a few) and then use those circles to filter content when you want to read about a certain topic or to send messages to only select groups of people.

- They have google hangouts which are live group video chats (we’ll be having one tonight if you’re interested in joining Karen and I to further discuss this topic).

- +1 - you may have seen this on blogs, web sites, etc.  When you +1 something it is essentially the same thing as “liking” on Facebook, but google is able to integrate it into all of their spaces easily which means you’ll see +1 all over.

- It integrates with Picasa Photos.

- In time it will surely integrate with all of Googles applications.

Why should I care?

Are you sitting there thinking:

“why on earth should I join ANOTHER social network.  I don’t even manage to find the time to use Facebook, Twitter and Linked In well!”

Here are the reasons I think Google + is worth investing some time in:

- You can follow some really interesting people and take part in some really interesting conversations.


Because you can follow people without them having to approve you (like Twitter) you can be a part of some really interesting and in depth conversations (which is very unlike Twitter).  I follow a lot of experts in Social Media (and  admittedly there are many, because they are the early adopters of a new social network) and I have learned more in areas of interest through Google + than any other network.


- Circles


When I first heard about circles I thought that the biggest value was in being able to choose who what content went to (business associates don’t need to see 50 photos of my kids at the cottage for example), but I quickly realized the real value was in being able to quickly sort the people I follow into the kind of content I’m looking for. I can visit google+ for business/learning and spend time with just the circles that are appropriate to that, or I can come and see what my friends are up to.


- Opportunities to build engagement


Because there is no character limitations in Google + there is a lot of room to play around with content and provide content to your audience that they are looking for.  There are a few great ideas in this post, including reusing old blog posts as Google + posts, or breaking up long blog posts into a google + series that people would keep coming back to.


- Circle sharing


You can share a circle, like you can share a Twitter list.  This is a great way to find lots of new people to follow quickly!


- Hangouts


The ability to easily have multi-user chats online (whether with video or not) is a great and useful tool.  I have conducted meetings in google + hangouts and they have even integrated google documents into the hangouts now (thought I haven’t tried that functionality yet). It makes the virtual meeting or the virtual online class easier than ever before.

My advice to you

-It’s still new


Google + is still a new space.  If you were on Facebook in the first year then you remember it was a lot slower paced and quieter than it is now.  Google+ moves a lot slower than Facebook or Twitter because  not that many people are actively using the tool yet.  I believe it will get better, and I think we should appreciate the calm and quiet of the space for now :)




Look for and follow lots of people in your field.  Engage, share their information, join in the conversations.


- Circles


Think about what makes sense for the circles you create.  I have some by geographic area and some by field. You don’t want to have to move people around later so think about how you’d like things organized before you start clicking and dragging


- Try it out


Even if you don’t use it a lot, check it out, follow some people (including Karen and I!) and post some content.  Share your latest blog posts, events, etc and you may be surprised by the feedback and pickup it gets.  By being in the space early you’ll be at an advantage later on.

Have you tried Google +? What do you think?

Don’t forget to visit Karen’s post to see what her point of view on Google + is, and join us at 8pm tonight (Monday October 25) for a hangout (the link will be posted on  Karen’s profile) where we can talk about all the things we like and don’t like, and answer questions about Google +!



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Engage your audience: Dos and Don'ts for brands using social media

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I love words. The dictionary is a constant companion. Even when I know a word's meaning, I'll look it up to help me form the thought I need to express. Often as I'm reading, certain words or concepts will jump out at me and trigger a response.

Today I found a common theme running through several posts. Let's go on a short blog tour:

The first post I read was by C.C. Chapman, who had some free (though very valuable) advice for a company that targeted him in a campaign. The implementation wasn't well thought out and was even insulting to the very audience that was targeted. Chris Brogan followed up with a tour of groceries tweeting examples of company accounts - the good, the bad, the ugly. Between these two posts I was shaking my head. From abandoned to spammy to RSS-feed-like to well-managed twitter accounts all in two posts. It was enough to make my brain spin.

Later, with thoughts of broadcast vs. engagement me floating through my head, I read this post from Mitch Joel and the three posts all came together for me.

The words that came to mind over and over today were:

  • Broadcast: to make something known widely; disseminate something (Dictionary.com). Synonyms - advertise, announce, annunciate, blare, blazon, circulate, communicate, declare, disseminate, distribute, proclaim, promulgate, publish, report, sow, spread, strew, troll (Thesaurus.com), and

  • Engage: to attract and hold fast/to attract and please (Dictionary.com) Synonyms - captivate, concern, consume, employ, engage, engross, fascinate, fill, hold, immerse, involve, monopolize, obsess, preoccupy, rivet (Thesaurus.com).

I look at the definitions/synonyms and engage is infinitely more appealing. But there's an epidemic lack of understanding on how to engage as a brand. Brands are big companies who have products or services to sell. Many of them are stuck in the old broadcast mindset of being cut off from their customers, constantly having a one-way conversation.

So how do they change their mindset and engage?

  1. Stop thinking like a company and start thinking like humans.

  2. Stop trying to reach the masses and start connecting with individuals.

  3. Stop promoting your product and start to interact with the people who (may) use it.

The Bottom Line: BE REAL!
Will this take more time? Absolutely.
Will it be worth it? Yes, if it's done well.

The truth is, people will be interested in brands that engage them while the ones who are broadcasting will continue to fly by unnoticed in their timeline/newsfeed.

What are some examples of brands that are doing a good job using social media?

Personal vs Personable

One of my number one tips for success in the social space is to engage with others as a person. Don’t just broadcast information, you need to interact, respond, and be friendly.

In direct response, one of the biggest reasons I hear from people about not wanting to get onto the social web is that they don’t want to share their personal information online. Here is my response:

You don’t have to be personal to be personable.

If you don’t want to give out any personal information online, you can do that and still be friendly and engaging.  You can share information you find interesting, you can give your commentary on something someone else has said, you can even say you’ve tried a certain restaurant or kind of food without ever giving out the kind of information you feel is inappropriate to have online.

You do it all the time.

Think about the countless conversations you’ve had at networking events, at work, or in line at the grocery store - people have friendly encounters regularly without really divulging anything too personal about themselves.  This is especially true in work settings.  Transfer this to the online space and you can build relationships that are professional in nature while still building that personal connection that makes networking so important in just about every industry.

Trust your gut.

There are people who share nothing and there are people who over-share - this is true offline as well as online.  Decide what feels right for you and go with it.  Some people are fine with sharing personal information about their families and pastimes and that’s ok. Some aren’t, and that’s ok too.  Being true to yourself is what’s most important online and is what will make the experience as authentic and enjoyable as possible.

Do you worry about the information you share online? Does it stop you from participating?