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It’s OFFICIAL. My first article on GalTime has hit the FRONT page and I’m incredibly excited to be a part of this amazing network of women.

Head over there to check it out. Join the network and get involved in the forums. There’s some awesome advice from some savvy women and tips on how to save money as well.

You can read my article (College Sticker Shock) and get some helpful tips on how to save money on rising college tuition and expenses.

If you’re a parent of a college-bound teen, you might want to pre-order my Parents Countdown to College Toolkit and save 30% if you order EARLY. You will also find FREE college advice on my blog and website as well.

Congrats to the founders of GalTime and to every woman who is contributing and joining the wonderful network!

facebook-fan-page

I borrowed this title from a new “fan” friend. I apologize for not remembering who it was or what exactly she said on Sunday night, but the gest is here. (If you are that person, please comment so I can give you credit!)

Sunday night, where do I begin?

After working hard all weekend to garner the 25 fans necessary to get my unique username for my fan page on Facebook , they changed the rules. They upped the limit to 100. I was close, with 15 fans by Sunday afternoon, but I knew getting 100 fans would be an impossibility. But as my mother said, NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE if you just believe (or was that a movie line???).

At any rate, about 8pm Sunday evening I read a post by Mari Smith (the Facebook all knowing expert) about a social chat going on at the moment to help small businesses get their fan counts. It was set up by Hazel of SocialBees and the place was buzzing (literally) with traffic. The concept? Post your Facebook fan page link and other small businesses would “fan” you. I liked to call it, “Paying It Forward on Facebook”. Mari was there pumping up the troops, as was Hazel and it was an amazing night of fun. I started with 15 fans and by the end of the long evening, I had 98. At 4:00am I called it a night, with only 2 fans to go to reach that unattainable 100 count.

I learned something that night. People are basically generous. They want to help and share and connect with other business owners. I also got to know many small business owners and got introduced to their businesses by “fanning” them as well. It was a marvelous night of co-sharing and learning, as well as seeing the basic generosity of others.

The next morning, I woke up (late I might add) to 8 more fans, pushing me over the top and enabling me to secure my username: ParentCollegeCoach. But as far as I’m concerned, I gained so much more by connecting with other small business owners like myself, paying it forward on Facebook!

Here is Mari’s Facebook page link (http://www.facebook.com/marismith)

Here is Hazel’s SocialBees Facebook page link (http://www.facebook.com/socialbees)

Here is my Facebook Fan page (Parents Countdown to College Coach) link (http://www.facebook.com/parentcollegecoach)

Today, I received an email from Starbucks:

starbucksYou’re welcome. But…it would be nice if you expressed your appreciation by giving me a coupon for a FREE cup of coffee. Don’t get me wrong. I love Starbucks. And I’m already a fan. But, in my humble opinion, if they want me to become a RAVING FAN, they need to apply the “plus one” attitude. Give me MORE than a simple “thank you”.

What do you think? Did Starbucks miss the mark here?

With all the talk of social marketing in the news today and utilizing it as a tool to market your business in a unique way, I got to thinking “when did it all begin?” Did this just appear in the last few years or has it morphed from traditional marketing?

Marketing experts agree that social marketing first emerged in the healthcare field in the 70’s. It was first used to communicate health issues related to contraception, heart disease, drug abuse and organ donation. According to Nedra Weinreich of Weinriech Communications:

Social marketing was “born” as a discipline in the 1970s, when Philip Kotler and Gerald Zaltman realized that the same marketing principles that were being used to sell products to consumers could be used to “sell” ideas, attitudes and behaviors. Kotler and Andreasen define social marketing as “differing from other areas of marketing only with respect to the objectives of the marketer and his or her organization. Social marketing seeks to influence social behaviors not to benefit the marketer, but to benefit the target audience and the general society.” Like commercial marketing, the primary focus is on the consumer–on learning what people want and need rather than trying to persuade them to buy what we happen to be producing. Marketing talks to the consumer, not about the product.

Why is social marketing so appealing to businesses and to consumers? Because, as everyone knows, we are much more likely to do business with someone we know and trust. Social marketing addresses that issue and allows both to develop those relationships that benefit not only the business, but ultimately the consumer. Instead of dehumanizing the business relationship, it brings back personalization and reminds me of the old “mom and pop” business model we loved in the 50’s and 60’s.

Click here to read the entire article: What is Social Marketing?

Do you use social marketing in your business? What have you found to be the most difficult to learn: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube? What is your favorite social marketing tool?

Today I realized, after posting all my links to blogs and websites, that I’m everywhere. Literally. Keeping up with the massive amount of presence online has begun to overwhelm even this multi-tasker. Since I’m a mom, and a small business owner, and a wife I know all about multi-tasking. If my kids were still at home I have no idea how I would find the time to keep up with it all. I admire so many cybermoms that are indeed “Power Moms” in my book; juggling their online presence with their real life presence and their business presence. It’s truly remarkable.

I had a conversation one night with a Twitter mom about outsourcing. That’s got to be the key. Delegate those tasks that you do everyday that take you away from your passion to someone else. But, here’s the clincher. In today’s economy, you have to balance the outsourcing with your bank account. For many small businesses, who are trying to build their business capital, outsourcing ends up turning into “do-it-yourself”. It’s not a very good use of your time, but sometimes it’s a necessary evil.

But, all is not lost. I had this MARVELOUS brainstorm yesterday about offering an internship to a college student over the summer. And, while many internships are unpaid, the students would be gaining valuable business experience and building their resume in the process. I know that my daughter worked at several “unpaid” internships in college. But, those internships provided her with experience when she graduated and added a great deal to her viability as a hands-on marketing professional.

If you know of a college student that might me interested PLEASE pass this link along. I need someone who is familiar with Twitter, Facebook and WordPress. They can contact me via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or email here. Plus, the great thing about the internship…you don’t have to BE in my office. It can all be done in cyberspace. At the end of the summer you’ll have a great resume boost and if it works out for both of us, perhaps a job at graduation!

See you in cyberspace!

galtime logo

Since I’ve been talking about women in business, I thought I’d take this opportunity to mention two talented businesswomen, Charlene Bert and Susan Krivelow. They are veteran broadcast journalists with twenty years of experience in the video business, having worked in major market television newsrooms as well as national news syndication on-air and online. They have partnered together to bring us a “different type of site–for women, by women”, GalTime. They are gathering a network of leading experts in various fields and also women online to bring us information that women need on health, money, career, beauty/fashion, social networking, cooking and all kinds of do-it-yourself topics. Since I’m a DIYer myself, I am excited to hear they are adding the DIY topics as a valuable component.

The great news about this site is that it’s bringing together so many women from all walks of life to become a part of this huge network. And these two ladies are breaking down walls by partnering with women in so many different areas of expertise. Here’s a clip from their “temporary” site:

We believe the GalTime.com community itself has a lot to offer. You’ll get your chance to chat, share your ideas and weigh in on the topics of the day. It’s an empowering community, both for visitors/members and contributors. There’s no better time for women to help each other out!

We’ll be announcing our partners and how to become a member soon …so STAY TUNED…Giveaways? OF COURSE!

You can find them on Twitter (@galtime). Follow their tweets and keep abreast of the latest announcements re: the site launch and partners. As a “power mom” myself I am extremely excited about this new online meeting place and avenue for much needed information.

I just read an article on Marketing Vox about the “Power Moms” online. According to the article:

Power Moms – women between the ages of 25 and 54 with at least one child and who participate regularly in online activities – represent 19.2% of the active internet population in the US, wielding a record level of online influence that continues to grow, according to (pdf) a report from Nielsen Online.

The article goes on to elaborate and talks about the TOP 50 Power Moms:

The list segments Power Mom bloggers into the following categories, based upon their blog content and content initiatives:

  • Queen Bees: Mom bloggers who anchor their writing around parenting, nesting, décor, and food.
  • Savvy Spenders: Mom bloggers who share money saving tips, coupons, freebies and other deals.
  • Mom Approved: Mom bloggers who trial, sample and review product (often brand-sponsored).
  • Mamastes: Mom bloggers who stretch beyond their spheres to explore going green, travel and spirituality.
  • Tech Moms: Mom bloggers who are also PDA-toting, digital enthusiasts that love to stay connected.
  • CEO Moms: Mom bloggers who juggle work and mommyhood.

It’s been my experience over the last few months that the world wide web is jampacked with some amazing Moms. These women are charting their own course in today’s new marketplace online and are establishing a presence that busts up the “old men network” of the past. My congratulations to all “Power Moms” out there who are blazing the trails for the daughters of the next generation!

What about you? Have you noticed the influence of women online? Have you seen the overwhelming presence of Moms on Twitter and Facebook?

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