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Getting to My Turn

Walking

Second installment in the #YourTurnChallenge in which I answer “What is important to you?”

Disclaimer – As this is a website about building online presence, and about my professional work, and often, about my dog – please know that it is to be assumed that my family, friends and memories are of utmost importance to me.  They are just not what I discuss on this blog.

When I answer this Your Turn Challenge question this way today, it is because the Challenge has already started to make me think more clearly about my professional persona.  Yesterday, I wrote about my intention to work as who I absolutely am. I mentioned that talking things over with friends and strangers seemed to help clarify that intent.  But here’s where the deal was sealed.

It was Friday.  It had been over 3 weeks since I had spent any time at all on the trails with Kenai.  She had just experienced 3 weeks of a house full of visitors and of being tortured by rompings, teasing and razor-sharp teeth of her new puppy-sister, Stella, a 4 month old bloodhound pup. I had been thinking long and hard about which direction to take with my business. We were both overdue for a good long hike.

As we entered Borderland State Park at West Side Trail, I was thinking about the Your Turn Challenge I had just committed myself to do.  I had put it out there on Twitter, so I guess I was committed.

And there it was – My Turn.My Turn - #yourturnchallenge

This is the beginning of the path where I look up and realize how wise I was to lace up my Keen hiking boots, don the gloves and ear-warmers, grab the leash and head outside with Kenai. This is where I turn toward the next hour of clarity.

My Turn – where I realized that being who I absolutely am – where I can let go of others’ expectations and simply focus on what it is I do best and enjoy the most.

What is important to me?

It is important to me to keep a keen sense of self in which I am providing service, insight and wisdom to those with whom I partner.

kenai, black german shepherd dog, gsd. helping me on my challenge.It is very important to me to take walks in the woods with my dog.

 

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Transition and Intention

Transition.

First installment in the #YourTurnChallenge in which I answer “Why am I doing the Your Turn Challenge?”.

I have always asserted that transition is a very subtle, but extremely compelling state of being.  I am not even referring to big transitions like buying a house or starting a new job. I think that even the small transitions are worthy of our attention.

At my house, December was a month filled with transitions.  I was blessed with so much household activity and energy.  Our annual latke making party resulted in 2 nights filled with family, friends and oniony, oily aromas. I was thrilled ( and I truly mean this when I say this) to have over 20 house guests stay over on the second latke eve.  My kids’ friends bring wonderful energy and creativity to Buttonwood Farm. A last-minute change of plans brought my eldest home from California to spend the last week of December with us. My home was full of energy and light.

As January approached, life settled back to normal. This was not necessarily a bad thing. Having the time to catch up on my professional reading, webinars, etc would seem like it was the right thing to do.  But I found that I was becoming more anxious.  I had feelings of self-doubt. I thought that, perhaps, I should be doing more – pushing more.  Comparing my self to others began to weaken my self-esteem and my own resolve.

I spent the first week or two in January talking with old friends, as well as folks I had just met, about this particular sense of coming to a path in my profession that was asking me to go one way or another. I found that by voicing my ideas, my concerns, my fears, I was able to gain a bit of clarity in to the direction that would guide me to the place where I am able to live, work and play as the person I truly am.  I was putting pressure on myself to do what others in the social media marketing field are doing in the form of self-promotion. I have come to the realization that the services that I offer as a personalized guide for increasing online presence are the essence of my professional self. I have made it my intention to be a teacher, a guide, for those small business owners who are passionate about their own work and would like to communicate their range of products and services on the internet. Teaching these folks to be a resource, to be able to identify and communicate their own personal brand, to share and engage

 I have made it my intention...

I will continue to create those symbiotic relationships with my clients in which we learn more about each other’s area of expertise and work within that knowledge to build up their empowerment while increasing their presence. In addition, once I have learned a good amount about their business, I will be better able to identify their challenges, and at that point have the insight as to which social media tasks they might consider outsourcing in order to continue their online growth while focusing on their own strengths and talents. I am committed to meeting my clients where they are, and sharing the next part of the path together.

Why am I doing the Your Turn Challenge?

I am doing the Your Turn Challenge as a week-long exercise to help me find clarity in my professional path, as well as to become more comfortable and prolific in my blogging.

 

 

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Social Media Checklist

social media checklist

Looking for a roadmap?  Where to begin on social media?  Which channels to spend time on?  Which ones to ignore for now?

This checklist (below) from The Whole Brain Group is a great place to begin.

Follow the easy suggestions to create a consistent social media internet marketing presence on multiple channels.

  • Helpful and useful tips for Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and YouTube.
  • Make sure that you are targeting your own audience.
  • Set smart goals for posting content & updating statuses.
  • Monitor a few strategic metrics.
  • Printable for easy reference!

Use this checklist once you have identified your marketing objectives and your social media strategy. It will help you maintain consistency and branding.

Contact me if you have any questions or would like some help identifying your own strategy.

Stumped at the prospect of using social media marketing to promote your business?

social media checklist

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Which Holiday Ornament Are You?

dreidel - balancing dreidel-3

If you could be any holiday ornament, which would you be? Why?

Seriously – that was the question posted at a recent networking group activity. Read more

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Would You Mind Leaving Me a Review?

Not the easiest thing to ask – but it could just be one of the most useful tools you can implement when building online presence.  Think about it.  How often have you hired a service provider without obtaining at least one person’s opinion?  My guess is that you have not hired even one service provider without finding out a bit more about that person either through people you actually know, or through online reviews. It only makes sense that we want to know ahead of time if the person we intend to hire is easy to work with, knowledgeable in their field, reliable, shows up on time, completes the job at hand, provides value.online reviews build online presence

Asking clients for a review or a testimonial can be considered an integral part of your customer workflow.  You will find that your happiest clients will be only too happy to recommend you and your services, they might just need to be reminded to actually go ahead and write one.

It would be prudent to ask your client for the review shortly after finishing a project for them, or having completed a lengthy session. You will want the quality and the details of the care and expertise that you put into the experience to still resonate with the client. This will help them design the recommendation with pertinent details.

I, personally, would not recommend the use of a third-party tool to gather your reviews. How incredibly annoying it is to receive a ‘bot’ generated request for review from someone you have barely dealt with.  And it is even more annoying to keep getting reminders to send someone a recommendation.  Agh!  Turn that off!

So, what is the best way to request an online review of your product or service? Read more

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Is there a simple way to get more people to read your content?

It’s the first thing I will tell someone who wants to increase their online presence: “You need to create content!”  In my opinion, content on a website is the foundation to every other avenue of online existence.  Once the content is there, you can proceed to utilize it in unlimited ways. You will be able to extract the ‘yummy nuggets” to use on Facebook, Pinterest, Google +, LinkedIn, Twitter, and more.  Each blog post or website landing page can provide you with any number of posts.  Add images and you are well on your way to being able to make the content freely available to your audience.

But – this won’t necessarily make your audience actually read the content.  And, you can be very sure they will absolutely not read it if the content is boring, ordinary, too dense. Not only will they not read this content, they will likely avoid clicking through to your content in the future, as well.

content people will read

A recent article on the Copyblogger, 8 Incredibly Simple Ways to Get More People to Read Your Content, addresses exactly that challenge.  In this article, Pamela Wilson empathizes with those of us who spend hours agonizing over every phrase, every word…. working so hard to try to be clever, insightful, snarky, smart.  After all of that attention to detail, we do finally publish our article only to find that nobody reads them.  We receive no comments, no shares, no applause.  Pamela suggests that we could be writing less, but styling our text to make it easier to read.

In this age of the 2.7 second attention span, we need to get our readers to move out of ‘scan’ mode and into ‘read and interact’ mode.  We will need to structure our posts to be easily digested by breaking them up in to bite-sized portions.  Try constructing your paragraphs with the conclusion stated first, with the supporting comments following. Help your readers decide at which point they will want to get in close to learn more.

Here are some of the design elements outlined in the Copyblogger article: Read more

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Personal Branding – Be Better at Teaching

Have I ever mentioned Marcus Sheridan to you?

One day, I was hiking Split Rock Trail at Borderland State Park while listening to one of my favorite podcasts from The Social Media Examiner. This day, Michael Stelzner was interviewing Marcus Sheridan of Rock River Pools and The Sales Lion.

Marcus Sheridan passionately asserts that blogging is essentially about teaching the people about your self and your industry. He says that it is important for your business to be better at teaching than anyone else in the world. All we had to do was to answer every question that our clients had ever asked!  We had to have searchable content that answered the exact query that a user might type into Google. Brilliant! Listen to the podcast.

personal branding

Honestly, I had to stop at the top of one of the trails to email my clients to tell them about this revelation!

Last month, I had the amazing good fortune to sit in on Marcus Sheridan’s presentation at Inbound 2014. The energy in the room was a cross between an evangelistic revival meeting and a rock concert. He had us all drinking the Inbound Marketing Kool-Aid!

The number one question he wanted us to answer on our website?

How much?  

So I did.

I came directly home and wrote a blog that outlines the many variables which will affect how much social media services cost.  Then, I added my own pricing structure on my “what I do” page.  The process was strangely liberating.

Marcus Sheridan and me

As you may already realize, I am passionate about helping my connections create their authentic online presence and their personal branding strategy.  Helping folks who are in my ‘tribe’, my ‘circles’, my ‘network’, learn about and use the tools available to them ultimately strengthens the reach for all of us.

I am very excited to start offering group social media sessions to be able to teach new skills and resources to local entrepreneurs.  Social media, contact relationship management, e-newsletters, website upkeep will be among the topics covered in these group sessions.  Learn more.

More on Social Media and Personal Branding

 

 

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Content Curation and Sharing

Using the Power of You.
As I mentioned in my previous blog, Social Media and Personal Branding, there are loads of folks who want to learn what you have to share. Your followers are interested in watching you follow your passion for your area of expertise. By sharing interesting articles (including your own, as much as possible) you are establishing yourself as a resource for others who want to learn more about you and your business

Content Curation – What is That All About?
Content curation is the process of making your way through the vast amounts of content available on the web to then be able sift, sort, arrange and present it in a meaningful and organized way.  You will want to be choosy to pick the best content that is important and relevant to your own community. Often, curated content may be organized around a particular theme.

personal brandingCurating great content can help you as a  small business owner establish yourself as a thought leader, a valuable resource within your spheres of online presence, thus strengthening your personal brand.  You essentially become the “go-to” authority for issues or topics related to your industry.

By curating relevant content, you develop the ability to serve up frequent content which then increases your opportunities for interaction, which can help exposure over time as you strengthen your online personal branding.

This means that you will need a number of reliable sources to turn to for access to interesting and appropriate articles.

There are many tools and personal favorite methods for collecting articles that are relevant to you and your business.

Here are my current top 6 content curation sources and tools. Read more

personal-branding-resource
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Social Media and Personal Branding

Where to begin?  You have started your own business.  You’ve invested in a website to highlight your product or service.  You may have even begun to add content to your website to help visitors learn more about your product or service. How will you develop a social media online presence for your personal brand?

As I mentioned in the previous blog, Personal Branding for the Small Business Owner, personal branding is about identifying and then communicating what makes you unique and relevant and allows you to differentiate yourself to your target audience. Your online relationships will grow through the sharing, liking, and commenting on posts from people you have identified as influencers and/or evangelists. But what will you bring to the party?

Be the source!

personal-branding-resource

Be constantly on the lookout for great pieces to share that relate to your area of expertise.  Find websites that relate to your industry and bookmark them, or follow them on social media, or sign up to receive their newsletter.  When experts in your industry, or related industries, share their great content and you think that folks who follow you on your platforms might be interested in it as well, share it with an insightful comment of your own. Let your audience know what you liked (or disliked) about the article.  Let them know where in the article they might find the information that will help them with whatever challenge they may be faced with.

Schedule your posts out. Read more

personal branding
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Personal Branding for the Small Business Owner

Most of the people in my networking circles are solo-preneurs, small business owners. Realizing that a strong online presence will benefit their business, they often ask which social media and networking platforms would be the most benefit to their goals. Although they have just used those exact words, “Social Media Networking”, many remain hesitant, almost adverse, to actually putting themselves out there to be “Social” in order to “Network” on the “Media”. Often I hear these words: “I don’t want any of my personal stuff out there” or “I don’t think what I have to say matters online”. As a small business owner, your personal brand and business brand overlap on social media, whether you want them to or not.

personal branding

For a small business owner, the single most important part of building a personal brand is to be exactly who you are. Be authentic. Be genuine. (But Better!)
I say “But Better” because the online persona that you will build for your professional self gets to benefit from planning. It gives you time to edit your thoughts and offerings. Read more

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Reflections on 10 Years with the Women’s Business Network

In the 10 years that I have been with WBN I have been an artisan, a birthday party entertainer, a multi-level marketer, a quilter, a database manager, a graphic artist, a technical support staff-person, a computer files organizer, an electronic e-newsletter designer, a social media manager, an event planner, a website project manager, and a 6-foot tall monkey mascot.

Women can do that.  

Of course, men can do it, too.

But this piece focuses on women as a reflection of my 10 years of having the great honor to collaborate with an outstanding group of women.  These women work together in a variety of platforms to inspire, educate and motivate each other to be the very best they can be in their personal and professional lives. Read more

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Women Just Do Stuff Differently

do betterI recently shared an article with the members of the Women’s Business Network of SE MA.   In this article, “‘Leaning In’ Isn’t the Answer”, published by the Business Insider, Sabrina Parsons of Palo Alto Software explains that she is not an average CEO.  On occasion, she brings her 3 kids with her to work and encourages her employees to do the same.

In her article, Ms. Parsons opines about the much talked-about book by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” . Although she agrees with Sandberg’s opinion that we need to continue to fight the leadership role gender gap in corporate America, she does not necessarily agree with the contention that women need to play into ‘traditional’ workplace norms – to do all that it takes to move ahead and succeed, often at the expense of their personal lives.

Ms. Parsons acknowledges all of the efforts and gains by the feminist movement of the 70s and 80’s.  She points out, however, that what they worked so hard for may have molded norms that forced women to behave like men in that setting.  Often, they were faced with impossible circumstances of working incredibly long hours, give everything they had, often to the detriment of their personal lives. She states, “I think that driven women always go beyond the call of duty, and certainly working moms know how to work as hard as anyone.”   She goes on to make the point that what needs to change is how and when women work.

Here is the part that really resonated with me – and gives me hope that the future for my daughters in the workplace will, hopefully, be more conducive to a full-life experience than when I started in my career. Ms. Parsons has made it a priority at her company to encourage her employees to do what they may need in order to succeed at work while raising their family.  Children are welcome in the workplace. Parents are allowed to leave to take their kids to the doctor if necessary.  Dads may need to work from home.  Others may need to have freedom to take care of aging parents.  The employees at Palo Alto Software are happier and more productive because of this culture.

I don’t know…..It just seems so very HUMAN.   This is good stuff.