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Today I’d like to toot someone’s horn. This woman is amazing. Why do I say that? Because she gets “it”. She gets what Twitter is all about. She gets the value of Facebook. And most importantly, she understands the overall big picture of social marketing. Her name is Donna Kozik.

Donna runs a business called My Big Business Card. She helps small businesses use a book to establish credibility. She provides this by promoting her “Write a Book in a Weekend” event in which she coaches via phone and the internet and provides the tools to actually write that book that will be your “business card”.

The most important lesson I have learned from Donna is this: make connections, provide information and establish relationships with potential customers. She has given away her expertise free of charge via Twitter, emails, teleconference calls, webinars and even Facebook posts. I’ve learned so much from her and I haven’t plopped down one cent. It’s not that I don’t want to, but right now I have other priorities (a daughter getting married). But as soon as I can manage it (and the more she gives, the more I want to make it happen), I’ll be signing up for her weekend event and utilizing her expertise to write my book.

Here’s the bottom line. Donna gives freely and shares what she has learned knowing full well that she might not get anything back in return. And by doing that, she underscores the beauty of the new business model: share what you know and people will want to do business with you.

If you build it, they will come (Field of Dreams)

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One of my Facebook and Twitter friends (@mickswampole) posted a link to a great blog about social networking. It was written by a pastor, applying Biblical admonitions. And while many of you might not adhere to Biblical principles, he made some very valid points that should apply to ALL of us as we communicate:

THINK before Communicating
Is it True?
Is it Helpful
?
Is it Inspiring
?
Is it Necessary
?
Is it Kind
?

This goes along with the business principles of social networking: contribute valuable content and engage your readers and followers. If you ask yourself these 5 questions as you communicate, it might change your content and increase your followers. And increased followers can mean profitable business connections.

If you are so inclined, here is the original blog link.

What do you think? Are these valid questions to ask yourself? Are there some others that you might add to the list?

I was speaking on the phone today with @galtime and @juliegoodale (that’s how you know you’re addicted to Twitter–you use Twitter names) about GALTIME and the  new website launch. In the course of the conversation, the topic of Twitter came up (since that’s where we all met) and how addicting it can become. My husband is constantly belittling my Twitter fascination and my Twitter friends. In his defense, he simply does not understand the benefits. Besides, we all know we can’t go a day without a good rationalization and mine today is: Twitter is good for business, therefore it’s a positive addiction. Moving on…

I forsee in the future counselor specific articles helping people cure addictions to social marketing. It’s easy to fall into the trap of living on the computer 24/7, so much so it affects your personal life and your work life. I just read an article by @paulwilson about tweets that can get you fired–comical with an underlying warning of truth. I can envision people who are so attached to their Facebook page that they rarely venture out of their home. The reality is that social websites can replace real-life relationships if you’re not careful. But, on the other hand they can foster real-life relationships if used properly.

Here’s how I look at it. In any area of our lives, we need to maintain a balance. Addictions are possible when you cross that line from balance to obsession. But I guarantee you that there will be social marketing addicts abounding in the near future. I’m just not one of them (as I’m heading back to Twitter to tweet about this article).

What about you? Have social websites replaced your real-life relationships? Are you trapped online by your “addiction”? Or do you have it all under control?

2ee0This weekend my little world of “fan friends” was all abuzz because it appeared that Barry Manilow had actually joined Twitter and was tweeting. The first few tweets were exciting, as he was actually replying to fan comments and answers about how to use Twitter. But as the weekend progressed we all began to wonder if it was really him or just someone impersonating him. The excitement faded but not until tons of fans flocked to sign up and join in the celebrity fun.

I asked myself, after reading an article in PC Magazine: are celebrities ruining Twitter? But to answer this you have to have an idea of what you expect Twitter to be. For me, it’s a communication tool–a place where I connect with like-minded people and talk about my passion in life. I can choose who I follow and who I connect with. I control what I say and how I respond. In my opinion, the celebrities and their followers have little or no affect on my Twitter experience.

I do wonder however if the gazillion fans dumping into the Twitter frey are slowing the system down. But, all systems experience growing pains; and I’m sure that eventually the excitement will die off, the memerized fans will disappear, and the remaining twitterers will be there because they find actual value in the Twitter social space.

What about you? Do you follow celebrities? I’d love to know your feelings on the subject, as would my readers.

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. My LEAST favorite Hallmark holiday. I’ve always dreaded it since my mother passed away over 20 years ago. The holiday always seemed so empty, even though my wonderful children always tried to make it special. Once your own mother is gone, there’s just a HUGE hole left in your heart. Those hugs are gone. Those long, late night talks are no more. Those wondeful surprise packages she used to send stopped arriving.

This year, I’m feeling a bit less melancholy; thanks to all the Twitter Love from so many Dads and other Moms encouraging one another. I’ve tried to explain Twitter to my family who refuses to embrace it. They roll their eyes every time I bring the subject up. But it truly is a community of some great people dishing out encouraging words on a daily basis.

Last night I got involved in a Moms Night Out(#MNO-09) sponsored by NewBaby.com and MomTV.com that surprisingly lifted my spirits. They were giving away TONS of prizes and making an exorbitant amount of moms happy: spa retreats, purses, educational tools for kids, and even website designs.  It wasn’t so much the giveaway that was refreshing. It was the fact that so many moms were joining together and pumping each other up.

Since my kids are grown, out of college and living away from me, I miss the commaraderie of other moms. I miss sharing parenting stories and getting some much needed advice from those who have walked the parenthood path before me. I miss giving advice to younger moms who are struggling with all kinds of dilemmas like potty training (@YBA) and teaching their daughters to drive (@MarsVA).

Feeling the Twitter love today that I’m sure will carry over to Mother’s Day. Thanks everyone for the early mood boost and for the great fun on Twitter!

What about you? Have you found some great Twitter moms? If so, share them with all of us here. I’m sure my readers would LOVE to feel the love as well!

Lately, I’ve realized that the Twitterverse is populated with a great number of parents. These parents are there for various reasons: to socialize, to promote their businesses, to vent, to gather information for their families, and to contribute parenting tips. They are a friendly bunch who have found a place to congregate beyond their four walls and find solice and comfort in the company of other parents facing the same trials and tribulations of parenthood.

The marketer should jump with joy at this niche market-all eyes and ears open for anything that might make their parenting easier. The parent should breathe a sigh of relief that there is a vast pool of experience out there at their disposal all hours of the day AND night. This exceptionally large pool of novices and experts is ready to be engaged and wants only to receive acknowledgment in return.

Here are three of my favorite Twitter parents:

@ConfessionsMom This lovely lady offers the most entertaining tweets and her website (Confessions of a Mom) is packed full of all kinds of motherly advice. And..her Twitter background ROCKS!

@peasandbananas This is a Dad’s view of life and he will always engage you in conversation if you engage him. I enjoy his simple approach to parenthood and his website (Peas and Bananas) offers a unique perspective from his point of view, contests, ramblings, polls and a forum for you to connect with other parents. And…I love his name!

@twittermoms Last night, Megan hosted a party on Twitter for Cinco DeMayo and all moms who attended had great fun. The tweets are engaging, informative and fun. Her website (TwitterMoms) is billed as an influential mom network that can be easily joined and offers you a home page that you can design to your own preferences. Here, even more interaction occurs and relationships (both personal and business) are formed.

Another great reason why Twitter is the place to go for all forms of connections. And as a parent and a business owner myself, I can appreciate the benefits. Add these three to your follow list and you too will make some lasting connections!

On Twitter, when Ashton speaks, people listen. Whether you like him or not, you’ve got to give him props for getting the Twitter word out there. He’s their #1 Fan and speaks Twitter praises wherever he goes. He makes some interesting comparisons in a recent Time article, many of which I don’t necessarily agree with, but this statement rings true for me:

For someone like me who lives in a construct of filtered communication — packaged and polished by the industry that employs me — Twitter has become a new instrument for expressing myself and accessing cultural trends, opinions and information. Twitter is my front door to the Internet and my medium for sharing the content I create while advocating for the causes close to my heart and investing in the connections I want to have with people from all walks of life.

It just reinforces what I’ve been discussing recently. Twitter is a place for people to engage first and foremost. You can say what you want about Ashton Kutcher, but he GETS Twitter and he uses it as it was meant to be used.

What do you think about Ashton and his use of Twitter? Has Twitter become a place for celebrity stalking? Do people follow him because they are drawn to celebrities or is he truly engaging?