Wednesday, February 22, 2012

6 Ways Good Social Media is Like the Art of Packing

If you've ever packed a bag for an upcoming trip, you know that just like anything else, there's an art to it. And the art is worth learning, because you don't want to be stuck with too much or too little, and consequently, you want to have what you need at the right time.

Social media is much the same way. You want to express who you are (brand), succinctly and in a balanced way. Here are some parallels I thought of recently, while in the middle of...what else? Packing.

  1. The right suitcase= the right social media platform. Choose carefully, as you want to make the best decision for the long-haul. Don't just go with what's popular, or what looked good in the store. You want practicality, with some flair as well.
  2. Mix and match = variety. You wouldn't pack a suitcase with ten of the same color shirts, or three of the same style shoes--you want to mix it up. Same with social media. Go for various types of content in your blog posts and social media updates, including videos, podcasts, screencasts, and infographics.
  3. Anticipate needs=have backup content. Just like you'd toss a rainjacket or extra pair of socks into your bag, write a few extra blog posts so you have them handy if your schedule gets busy, and take advantage of Buffer or Hootsuite for advance scheduling options.
  4. Organize your stuff=channel your thoughts. The more cohesive you are online, the stronger your brand and personality. Just as you would fold your shirts or pack your accessories together, so can you organize your online presence. Publishing a blog series with a specific theme, tweeting keywords for your niche area, and sticking to your tagline and mission, are all ways of organizing your social brand. Pinterest is the latest online platform that reflects how you organize your thoughts and ideas, through pins and boards.
  5. Gifting = rewarding your community. You wouldn't travel hundreds of miles, only to show up empty handed on arrival. Learn the art of gifting your community, whether it's a free download, a discounted service or offer, or a unique promotion.
  6. Guard your valuables=don't give everything away. Know what your most valuable assets are, and release them sparingly. A great landing page will ensure that you receive important information about your community members that you can use for marketing and promotions later.

So, that's my extended analogy, for now. What did I miss? Post here any observations you've had about how social media is like packing a suitcase!





Wednesday, February 08, 2012

It's All About Pinterest: 5 Great Resources to Keep Handy

Oh my goodness...lately, it seems like Pinterest is everywhere! Instructions on how to use Pinterest, tips for bookmarking and iPading on Pinterest, Pinterest for authors, chefs, designers, travelers, architects, name it, there's a bulletin board and a pin for it. 

So, you can crawl into a social media hole and pretend Pinterest doesn't exist, or you can jump into the fray and start pinning away. I'll admit that while I ignored Pinterest at first, dismissing it as the latest platform du jour that would be replaced soon enough, I stand corrected. Pinterest is now rated as one of the top 5 social media platforms, right up there with some company that started out as a book about Faces, and another that has something to do with a turquoise bird. 

Of course, once I got invited to start an account and began exploring, I immediately found it addictive, and naturally started posting boards and pins on all my favorite topics--books, writing, travel, social media, nonprofits, etc. Pinterest also has great applications for marketing and networking, discovering new interests, and rediscovering old connections. Since starting my account, I've been amazed at the number of new and older followers I've gained in such a short time, and it's been feeling a little like a social media reunion! 

One of the great advantages of Pinterest I noticed right away is that it's a visual form of microblogging, with images and captions taking the place of blog posts, tweets, and updates. If you're in anyway visual, or love photos and graphics, you'll love Pinterest, especially once you get the hang of it. 

I invite you to follow me, look forward to following you, and in the meantime, onto favorite blog posts.

1. The Marketer's Guide To Pinterest - Neil Patel

Provides an in-depth overview on everything Pinterest, including how to pin, 10 tools to help you find great content, 9 reasons why marketers should use Pinterest, (re-pinning is the new retweet), and a list of 21 brands currently active on Pinterest, such as SFMOMA, Etsy, Martha Stewart Living, Mashable, Gap, and others. If you're waiting for the next mini book on Pinterest, this is it.

2. 13 Tips and Tricks for Cutting Edge Users - Mashable

Features an excellent and detailed pop up slideshow on some of the finer points of Pinterest, including its mobile application, integration with Chrome, and adding pricing to your pins.

3. Socialmouths-Everything You Need to Know...

Francisco Rosales features some interesting graphs and stats in his post, including the fact that 80% of Pinterest users are women; the biggest age groups are between 25 to 44;  60% of its users have some college; and largest percentage of household income is between $25 to $75k.

 4. WTF Is Pinterest-Remarkablogger

Michael Martine provides a thorough and entertaining screen tutorial on Pinterest, that explains its features quickly and easily. I've chatted with Michael before and subscribed to his blog for years, and he's definitely a trusted authority on social media and all things online.

5. My Interest in Pinterest - Forbes

Forbes contributor Gene Marks offers up a bouncy overview, pointing out how small businesses are always chasing after the social media ROI rainbow, and yet never finding it. But it's human nature to get excited about new stuff, and so be it. "How about SFgirlbybay (almost 476,000 followers)," he writes.  She’s hip.  She’s cool.  She’s a self described  “photographer, photo stylist, design junkie and bona fide flea market queen” from the Bay area.  And she’s got a place to display all of her cool ideas.  Pinterest.  I love her site."

So, what say you? Is Pinterest the next great social media platform? What do you like ir not like about it? Is this the future of social media--images replacing words? What will replace images? Food for thought. (I'll be sure not to "pin" you down on anything...ha!)

-by Carrie Jaffe-Pickett


Monday, February 06, 2012

The Good Wife School of Brilliant Revelations

One of my favorite characters on the hit show "The Good Wife," is Elsbeth Tascioni, played brilliantly by Carrie Preston. Always stealing the scene, Elsbeth is one of those unlikely heroes that miraculously saves the day, no matter what the situation. She's once too clever, and it works. In the most recent episode that aired last week, she comes up with a brilliant strategy to help out Will in his Grand Jury trial, while last season she helped Alicia out of a sticky government situation. 
Whenever I watch an episode where Elsbeth is featured, I find myself thinking about how I haven't met too many Elsbeths, and how her "techniques" might work in everyday life, business, entrepreneurship, etc. 
Here are just a few "Elsbethisms" to consider:
  • Be humble. Elsbeth never acts like a know-it-all, she just does her job and does it well. 
  • Listen and pay attention. Elsbeth always gets all the information first, before taking action. She also takes notice of the little things, such as people's clothing and jewelry, which can help catch them off guard.
  • Allow yourself the brilliant revelation. Elsbeth has these cathartic moments when she achieves a key revelation that ends up winning her case. It can happen anywhere --in an elevator, or a hallway. She stays flexible and open to the moment.
  • Strategy Strategy Strategy. As a lawyer, it's Elsbeth's job to come up with a brilliant plan to save her clients. She usually does this by getting into people's heads, to figure out what they'll do next. That's how she predicts future behavior, and how she deduced ahead  of time that Alicia would be called to testify during Will's Grand Jury trial.
  • Mindful fumbling. Just like Columbo in the seventies, Elsbeth has moments when she's all over the place. I'm not saying to act confused in real life, but when you admit you've made mistakes, or you can't find your phone, it can endear you to others, who might identify with you and see that you're human.
  • Be ethical. At one point when she sees Will and Kalinda whispering, she states: you're not doing anything bad, right? I mean, like illegal...Elsbeth may have tricks up her sleeve, but she's always ethical.
  • Be Persistent. Elsbeth isn't shy about directly approaching her opponents while they are going about their daily lives, and she doesn't go away just because they ask her to. She gets what she needs, and then moves on.
So, how about you? Do you like Elsbeth's character, and do you see any parallels in her style, for your business or life?