Archive for the ‘social media’ Category

Using Facebook As Your 911

Friday, November 6th, 2015

“Why Does SHE Put Everything out of Facebook??”

I hear this often from people that never have had to use Facebook to get to people, all the people that may need to know information about a change in a life’s circumstance.

Illness, Death, Change or “Situation”

Try changing your relationship status as an experiment.  You may be surprised at how many people pay attention.  Even if they don’t comment, they pay attention and you may see them in the grocery store and they ask about it.  A friend of mine did that as an April Fool’s Joke and didn’t she cause a stir!

Extended Family, People You Work With

For the good and the bad when my Dad was dying last year, I threw it out on Facebook.  Why?  Quite simply because after long hours and stress of driving to see him, sitting with him, getting the news, for weeks on end, I was just too tired to tell all my relatives by phone or even by email what was going on, play by play.  icon_facebookPLUS, I was losing my patience with those relatives that hadn’t been in my father’s life for years that all of a sudden felt entitled to every minute detail of what was happening with him.  And in the end, it didn’t matter they never bothered to make the effort to show up to the funeral or send a card anyway.  I was grateful for Facebook.

When I would show up at business meeting looking tired and sad, people had empathy and hugs, not smart comments or private whispers of judgment of what may or may not be happening in my life.  I didn’t have to tell them, Facebook did it for me.  OR if they didn’t see it on FB, then someone else did and there was another story I didn’t have to tell.

Double Edged Sword

A couple of weeks ago, I heard  someone say, “I thought everything was ok, they didn’t say anything on Facebook about it.”  So yeah, you have that too.

Struggles of Change

Monday, November 17th, 2014

You Mean I have to learn something ELSE?

If you just go down through the entries in this blog you can see there are gaps.  Some BIG ONES!  And of course for a lot of reasons:

1) I am busy with work life.

2) I am busy with home life.

3) I CAN’T THINK!

Strategy?

When you own a business or have a demanding job, it is easy to get trapped in the major task that must get done- NOW.  Then the next day there are several more things that have to be done – NOW.  Then months of things having to be done NOW.   In the meantime, family, friends or unplanned disasters occur.

It is even easier to get trapped in thinking about bailing out the boat as opposed to the best way how to bail a boat.  Sure you may have a dixie cup handy, but perhaps if you can take a minute, you may look up and see a big bucket that is within reach that really gets the job done.  The challenge is  being willing to “look up” and see something outside your peripheral vision that makes the difference between bare survival and success. Winning!

Seth Godin and Chris Brogan

Seth Godin is a famous guy with cool glasses that I listen to and read a lot. Same with Chris Brogan. (Chris doesn’t wear the Godin glasses but he is very cool.)  And each have an amazing gift in seeing things from the 20,000 foot view.  And not only do they see it, they can talk about it in a way that I can relate to-even if it takes a while.  And for me, it has, you know why?

Because I am busy bailing out the boat with a dixie cup!

Seth talks about” Tribes.”  Chris talks about “Community.”  Even before I realized how disconnected to our “Communities or Tribes, ” all this free media available to us, is making us.

10 Years Ago

There was no Facebook for Business, no Pinterest, no Twitter, websites were mostly brochure style and few blogs.  As businesses we were not competing for all the places people were hanging out online, because they weren’t mostly, Netflix and YouTube were fledglings. What hasn’t changed is people have the same 24 hours then that they have today. And they didn’t have smartphones!

Then using traditional methods was OK.  We still reached people using print, tv, radio.  Since then,  we got access, free access to all these media opportunities, kind of a “roll your own.”  And so did our customers and clients.  And in the meantime, we had to learn how to use all this free media.

Did We Get Lost?

In this struggle to learn technology and multiple platforms, while trying to run our businesses, did we lose focus on what we were ultimately trying to do?  Find and communicate with our customer?  Our existing customer, the new one? Where did they go?  Or better yet, where did WE go?

 

What Do You Think About Facebook Posts?

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Is there a Facebook YOU and a Real YOU?

There is a woman that I know from a networking group that always tells me how much she loves my Facebook posts. Almost every day that she gets on Facebook, she looks me up to see what funny thing I have to share.  Well it took me back a little.  Here is a professional woman whom I admire immensely, bothers to approach me and tell me what I post starts her day off to a good start.  Stunned.

And for me too, there are those people that I look up to see what kind of snarky, playful fun can be going on because my day isn’t necessarily going the way I wished it was.  As I have written several times in this blog, Facebook is a great escape for people at one point or another during their week.

The Old Fashioned Way

A few years ago I wrote a post about people taking what they see on Facebook at face….VALUE.  And it seems that the same people that use the excuse that they “thought” they knew your life was okay because of what you post on Facebook are probably the same people that wouldn’t call you to find out anyway.  But that is another post for another day.

NEGATIVITY

I have some people that I know in real life, like the ones I see in person often, talk on the phone thumbsupdownto often and they seem like happy normal people.  People that I drink coffee with, have over to my house.  Remember THOSE kinds of people?  Well on a particular day when I was looking for a lift and went to Facebook for my daily dose of fun, I went to one of my friends pages and it was some negative thing about some corporation, I looked again and there was something else until finally after searching for a while, there was something that had nothing to do with the government or something ELSE we have no control over.  I know this person.  I know what a positive loving person they are!  Yet to look at their page, you would think, “Why am I friends with this person?  Which one is real?”

What about the First Amendment?

Now before you get all rabid on me, you are right.  This is an individual’s page and in the spirit of free speech, that page can say whatever they want it to, right?  But I have a dilemma – do I “unfriend” the person because the politics and rampages are just driving me crazy OR do I tell I am going to do it first? And on a philosophical note,  which is my real friend?  The person that I hang out with, laugh and cry with or the person that spews anger through their Wall?

Why Do People Spend So Much Time on Facebook?

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

I thought about giving a bunch of stats on how much time people spend on Facebook, how many pages people look at, how many friends they have.  But then I thought to myself “The amount of time is staggering, who needs to see those numbers again?” Rather than griping and sniping about people being distracted or not getting their work done BECAUSE of Facebook – I say this with tongue in cheek, as humans we CHOOSE to use Facebook as a distraction.

Distraction

From work, from life – to work, to life.  Facebook has it all.  People we LOVE  we can connect to and laugh with because we are stressed or worried. Or to gripe about “that guy” that just stole our lunch again out of the company fridge or “that guy” has left his lunch IN the company fridge TOO LONG.  You can see it all on Facebook and the numbers I am not citing here prove it but you know it all ready, you do it, I do it, we all do it.

What Does This Mean?

Advertisers know about you because Facebook asks you certain questions and tracks your every move so they can make money based on your habits.  Yes. The ads you see are based on this behavior.  AND if you have a business, perhaps this is an option where you should advertise. But what does it REALLY mean in the grand scheme of things?

Connection, Caring, Love, Laughter

We all love to do the things that make us happy and often times we even love to do the things that don’t make us happy. The RUSH of it all, make us mad, fire us up, we cannot get enough of it.  Or if you are me, I cannot get enough of seeing it happen on someone else’s wall, I watch until I cannot take it anymore.  But I do it.  A distraction.  Also someone posts that their dog died, their child is sick, I reach out in support, share comfort. Makes me feel like I am doing something that matters to someone.

We Are Human

If you participate in “Buy Local” then you probably go to some stores with owners that you know.  Or people in your neighborhood at home or work that you would like to know.  Maybe you know them on Facebook, maybe not.  If the store  has stuff you like, you may go there but I find myself going to places because it is the people I like.  I like them, their stories they are part of my life.  I like the connection. I want the connection, don’t you?

Same Old Story Same Ole Song and Dance

I have written several times about using Social Media in addition to cultivating friendships and business relationships.  Not instead of “people to people” connection.  A dirtbag in real life often is a dirtbag on Facebook, it may be harder to spot but eventually the real person is revealed.  It comes down to being a member of the human race, reaching out and wanting connection.  OR DISCONNECTION.  Real life is blowing up and you can run to Facebook for help and support.

But let’s not forget we are people first and not technology.  Besides computers hug funny.

 

Why Tweet?

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Where are we going?

A while ago I wrote a post for the Sephone blog that discussed goals and various social media platforms that are free to use.  There is no right or wrong goal but of course some are better than others and they have to be yours.

When I first set up my Twitter account, it was February of 2008.  My goal at that time was to learn what this “thing” did because as we all know NOW it was part of the revolution in marketing that changed how people pass information around and keep in touch with one another.

Since then, how people behaved on Twitter, how they said things, (shortened URL’s, for example) became the norm of the Twitterverse.  Also how you can stuff the most info into 140 characters and how many external applications that can help those of us that work in this business can use and how we mixed and matched other platforms and used Twitter to spread the word.

Having a Goal is Important

It is easy to get lost in all the nitty gritty details and lose site of what you are trying to accomplish.  When I hear someone say, “I don’t need to know what you had for breakfast.”  I want to scream.  Since everything is so automated these days, scheduling tweets/posts, etc. it is easy to think that there is a live person on the other end of that message and there may not be.  Or there isn’t one right now when you read it or is there?

Examples of my Twitter Goals:

  • My Front Page News: Learn about things that I need to know that I wouldn’t be able to find by myself.
  • Share information that I find interesting or helpful.
  • Keep myself and my company “Top of Mind” with people I know personally and those I may have never met.
  • Get smiles – as a virtual worker my face to face dialogue is somewhat limited, Twitter makes me feel like I am actually talking to people instead of myself (or my dogs!)

Twitter Works for Me

I am not known for my patience.  Short bursts of information with a link to  “More”  is perfect.  I have my phone handy I can see it there easily, or on my ipad or laptop.  If I have a friend or client that has asked me a question about something I can easily pass it on. Also my clients and the media can too, if they tweet.

“Knickers in a Knot”

One of my favorite Canadian friends said once, “Don’t get your knickers in a knot” about some lofty goal that reminds you of your last nightmare strategic planning session.  Just write it down for yourself, perhaps put it in your profile to let followers know how they can help you or for them to know how you can help them.

And TWEET – have fun with it.  Find people to follow and give them something to look at when they decide if they want to follow you!

Me?  I am @ladyotrout or @sephone.  See you in the Twittersphere!

 

 

 

A Routine Doesn’t Always Mean it is ROUTINE

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

People ask me, how do you know all these people?

A Schedule

A lot of what I do each day isn’t seen by everyone at once.  But then i am pretty sure that is that same for all of us in one way or another.  When you are in the Marketing, Public Relations or Social Media fields, there is a certain “roll with the punches” attitude that comes with the territory. But there are certain things that I try really hard to do each day (even weekends) before that day gets away from me.

Challenge One:  Time?

Most of my “sleuth” work begins before many people are just rolling out of bed. (This excludes my early morning radio and TV friends).  I am a light sleeper so often I wake up in the middle of the night and rather that lie in bed with my head spinning of what I could be doing, I get up. Usually grab a water and start reading blogs or collecting information for future content needs.

I also check in of Facebook and LinkedIn and see who I haven’t been in contact for a while (many of my “friends” are business contacts) and see how they are doing.  Since so many people are of the thinking that, “Since I posted it on Facebook, everyone knows about it.”  But the algorithm that Facebook uses for news feeds there is nothing further from the truth.  Since I have recently crested 1,000″ friends” I have realized that many of those I haven’t contacted in a while aren’t in there.  Lesson:  Don’t expect Facebook to make sure you see every post you wished that you saw.

I check in on Twitter, always a helpful source for content that people share as well as what people are doing or what is going on around town/state/region.  I follow a lot of folks that are really “plugged in” and don’t mind sharing what they know.  Twitter is an easy and relatively quick way to get into the groove of things. I share, reply to folks and “retweet” as well.

I check Google+ and sometimes depending on what I have seen on Facebook or Twitter I may post a link there and comment on others information.  I am finding I am using G+ more and more as I develop my circles and share with potential and existing clients the information that I find.

Challenge Two:  Early Morning Meetings

I serve on community Boards as well as attend breakfast networking functions, some as early as 7:00am.  After my middle of the night “work session” I often go back to bed for a few hours but this is impossible on a morning when I have to be up, showered and out the door.  After the meeting or breakfast is over I find wireless someplace  and if I couldn’t get through my “TO DO” list in the wee hours then I finish it up then. Check my multitude of emails.  And sometimes this includes “the old fashioned” type of communication, writing real notes by hand or calling folks for a bit of “one on one.”

There it is in a nutshell.  I try hard to make sure I stay connected with folks, that is the most favorite part of my job.  The “virtual” part of my job has evolved over the years and having somewhat of a routine is really important to me. When no one is standing in your office doorway asking you for something makes this routine important to making sure my network is still MY NETWORK.

 

 

 

 

Forget About “Getting It”

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Over the years I have heard from business connections and friends – even old ones (because of Facebook).  That don’t “GET” some social media application.  Usually this is said in a disparaging tone and if  they  SAT down and learned about it then maybe they would.  Try taking time out of Facebook for ONE day and put that time into the application or platform that you don’t “GET.”

Any platform that is new is a bit uncomfortable at first and some of them are such “Flash In the Pans.”  They are gone before you get a chance to try it out.  In both cases this is frustrating because if you are in business you have limited time to learn new things.

Before you dive in, think of 3 things:

  1. What is my goal in using this new platform?
  2. Who is my target market?
  3. And if my business is a B2B, then who are my target market’s customers?

Let’s use Twitter, for an example:

1. Your goals can be simple.  If you are a sales or maintenance person on the road, it may be helpful for you to know if a business or plant is closing due to weather, water main break, fire or construction delays.  Perhaps your team may not hear about these things through tradition methods? 

Would you  want to communicate with the press?  Would you want the media to come interview you about a topic instead of your competitor? Make it easy on the media to keep connected with you.  We all like good publicity or stories and we don’t have to pay for it, all the better.  And if you haven’t noticed, the media uses Twitter.  So start following them, it is easy and free to do.

2.  Your Target – what are your potential and current customers using to communicate?  Go poke around and punch in a few names that you know.  If there is a customer out there that is unhappy with a product or your service are they making nasty comments about you and you aren’t listening how can you fix it?  Or if they have something going on at their business or plant, spread the word through your network.  Good Will matters.  Using Twitter especially to help someone is a lot more popular than just pushing out “BUY MY STUFF” messages.

3.  Supporting your base: If you got a phone call or text from someone saying,  “I am looking for ________  – do you know where I can buy it? ” When I get calls like that,  I think of who my customers are and go to that database in my head and recommend my customer first.  If I don’t have a customer then I refer them and often times it is someone I have been in contact through a social media platform.  Often it is Twitter.

A platform like Twitter is the new water cooler conversation, before the water cooler,  it was other conversations involving face to face meetings, church, kids activities other networking events.  Twitter is networking, connecting and getting to know a wider audience that you may never been able to reach before.

But back to a goal for a minute:  If you use Facebook then what was your goal there?  Watch out for your kids?  Are they on Twitter?

Follow Me if you like!  @LadyoTrout

What I did on my Winter Vacation

Monday, March 18th, 2013

I took a vacation.  Sort of.  Years ago I never understood the need for a 2 week vacation.  Since we started Sephone more than 11 years ago, vacations are difficult to achieve as the  “completely unplugged” kind. I think you need the first week to decompress then the second week to really enjoy yourself.  My vacation was one week as I said, “Sort of.”

Being a small business owner is a rush.  NO DOUBT about it.  Being part of a small business is too.  You feel like what you do is important and a vital part of  its’ success, because what you do IS vital.  Maine is loaded with small businesses as “Yankees,” (not to be confused with the baseball team), we like to do things our own way and we would rather buckle down and get the job done, treat people like we know they deserve to be treated and be part of their success.

What is my point?

My winter vacation is  normally in the Western Mountains of Maine – aka Sugarloaf Mountain, where I have been rooted since 1967. As I was out and about skiing, shopping and cooking, I connected with a lot of folks that know me.  So, of course I had questions from them and there was a small voice saying, “Hey it’s my vacation…”  But that is squashed down by the realization and privilege it is for people to feel comfortable in asking me questions. They trust me.  It is a great feeling when you think of it.  An honor, truly.

The next couple posts on this blog will be those that folks asked me about while on the chairlift, eating cheeseburger soup or drinking tea at my girlfriend’s kitchen table. Yeah I know, I took notes – on my cell phone actually so I wouldn’t forget. See what I mean about trying to be “unplugged?”  If there is something you would like to know, don’t hesitate to email me.

It also gives me great content for this blog, because if you want to know, chances are many others out there maybe looking for the same answer.  There are countless blogs addressing the various social media and online marketing riddles but finding them is tough and cutting through the “geek speak”  is even more challenging.

How can I help?

To Know Me is to Love Me…Would You Give Me a Chance?

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

We are all so different.  Some folks are visual (ah… that would be me), some are more analytical and if a person is one or the other than you can bet each side loves each one sometimes but is disgusted with the other most of the time.

Internet romances have been the rage but it wasn’t long ago that most people thought they were for losers, psychos or fortune hunters.  Maybe internet dating is a good thing, people talk like old friends and learn about each other without the stress of the “first date.”  I am not dumping on that at all. But we live in a world now where technology connects us as well as disconnects us.

Example #1:  Significant other finds their “beloved’s” cell phone, check through the texts and “POW!”  There are fireworks and they aren’t the good kind either. People like Tiger Woods and Brett Favre know this fate only too well and even better this is all used in lawsuits.  And in both cases, it wasn’t just the heartache that was inevitable,  it was the wallet break that went along with it.

Example #2: I saw a nice couple in a coffee shop the other day.  They held hands as they walked in and in fact one of them held the door for me and greeted me with a smile.  Left me feeling pretty good.

Every one ordered and I sat down across from them.  And there they were, one talking and one staring at his cell phone.  Now if this guy had included her in what he was reading and punching onto the phone, then fine.  But he was very distracted and she went on about a situation she was dealing with.  He had his eyes down and kept clicking away.  Finally looking up he said, “Oh sorry babe, I was texting.”  (This is not a gender thing, this is a manners thing.)

Since this smartphone held power over a human to human interaction, you have to wonder, if it wasn’t an emergency, why did this happen? Is it so hard to put down the phone, flip it upside down and look each other in the eye and talk?  When did we stop being human?  It wasn’t a point in time, it has been an evolution.

I have taken to leaving my phone in my car on customer appointments.  What’s worse than texting during a face to face encounter?  They can see they aren’t as important as whoever is in your phone. AND you are doing this in PERSON.

In 20 years, well maybe 10 – where do you think this will lead us?

Stop Beating Yourself Up!

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

This post is being written with two ideas in mind.

  1. Sometimes things don’t work.
  2. Most of the time it isn’t your fault.

At Sephone, it is no secret that I am not part of the tech geek universe.  But I live in my own marketing geek universe and often times each universe is talking about the same exact thing, only each one is speaking a different language or at the very least speaking from a different point of view.

I am also of the ancient decades when you bought something and started using it, it worked. (MOST of the time.)  So there was little or no second guessing.  It worked and then after a while it broke and it was obvious there was no fixing it, or you weren’t going to be the one doing it.  There were moving parts – physical moving parts, once they stopped moving, you could see what wasn’t working.

But computers, computer programs, web applications, cell phone applications also have moving parts but we cannot see them moving.  The tech universe can dive into the back of the code (which in our world means – going behind the iron curtain), to see what is and isn’t moving, fix it, or realize that it cannot be fixed.

This is the part that gets us non-tech types into trouble.  Applications through things like Facebook are often lightly tested and MOST often don’t work the way they were described at all.  All of a sudden you mouse over something and there you are “spamming” all your friends when you had no idea it would happen!  When you are playing Farmville in the middle of the night or answering a survey, did you really plan on what you were doing at that precise moment be posted all over the Facebook world?

Probably not.

But it isn’t just Facebook – now with a new cell phone I am learning that some of the coolest applications that I could use FOR FREE don’t always work the way I wish they would.  Then for hours, you fiddle with it and it still doesn’t work.  In conversations with some of my tech friends afterward, they say to me, “Oh yeah, I didn’t like that one, so I tried this one and it works much better.”  And they were right.

Meanwhile I look down at the floor at the pile of hair I have pulled out while I was trying to figure out what I was doing wrong.  The thing just didn’t work. Period.

I can share about 5 or 6 times in the past 30 days, where this was the case.  I wasted countless hours, trying to save time using a tool that was supposed to save me time and all it did was use it up!

Moral of the story?

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