Category Archives: Social media

Checklist: 7 quick ways to promote your blog after every post

If a tree falls in the blogosphere, is anyone there to hear it? Unless you already have all the readers you want for your blog, you’re going to want to promote your new posts. One of the best ways is to develop a standard system of the things you do each time you publish something new.

Here’s a handy checklist of the steps I take:

1. Ping it: Ping-o-matic is a free service that updates search engines so you don’t have to. Visit pingomatic.com, and go ahead and bookmark it. Then every time you post something new, just click on that, and it will do the pinging for you.

2. Tiny it: Next thing I do is make a shortened version of the URL for the blog page where my new post appears. I  use bit.ly, but there are plenty of other options.

3. Tweet it: Then I send out one tweet to let my followers know there’s some new content they might be interested in. Some people like to do several tweets about one post, or even many tweets a day promoting an inventory of past posts. In the tweet, I’ll include the shortened URL to take them straight to the post. (If you use WordPress, you can also set it to auto-tweet your new posts.)

4. Digg it: To use this content sharing service, you’ll first need to register at digg.com. Then every time you post, you can go to their Add New Content page and submit your post. Check the box for news article if it’s a text post and the video box for a vlog, of course. You also might want to poke around Digg to see what other people have posted and give the ones you like a thumbs up, just for good karma.

5. Stumble it: Stumble Upon leads visitors directly to websites that match their interests, out of a list of nearly 500 possible topics. So it helps more like-minded people discover your blog. Again, you’ll need to first register as a member and download the toolbar into your browser. Then you can give your blog posts a thumbs up and submit them for other people to find.

6. Contribute it: You might find a few websites out there that allow you to post content, usually as an article or a blog. These will generally be sites that focus on a specific audience, like working mothers or budding entrepreneurs. Depending on the topic of each of my posts, I may or may not contribute it as content somewhere. When you do contribute content, you generally are allowed to tag the post with a brief description of who you are and what you write about, along with a link back to your own blog site.

7. Link it: This last one is so easy, you only have to set it up one time and then your blog becomes part of your LinkedIn account. Install the free BlogLink application and then it will automatically add your new posts to your profile page, and also let your contacts know every time you post something new.

Online or in person: Don’t make it all about you.

When we talk about social media at Tribe, one of our strongest recommendations is to make sure you don’t talk about yourself too much. We encourage people to make comments on other people’s updates and blogs, to retweet or post about others’ work, to spend some time promoting others. If it’s all about you all the time, you’ll wear people out. Even more importantly, you’ll be missing an opportunity to create a connection and build a relationship.

Same thing applies to actual face-to-face networking. I had lunch today with someone referred to me by an old neighbor. He recently moved from San Francisco to Atlanta and his work has some overlap with ours, so she thought I might be able to connect him with some people in town he’d like to know. (I’m not naming any names, but Michael, you know who you are.)

This guy is filled with energy and ideas and plans. Over our Flip burgers and Cokes, he talked about innovation and change and shaking things up. He talked about a major conference he’s planning. He talked about his speaking career. He talked and talked and talked.

At the end of our lunch, I told him I was going to give him some unsolicited advice. (My business partner said, fairly loudly, she claims, “Don’t do it.” I didn’t hear her, but I’m not sure that would have stopped me anyway.)

I will introduce you to a few people I think you’d enjoy knowing, I told him, but you have to promise to let them talk about themselves a little. I pointed out that we’d been at lunch for over an hour and he had not asked either of us one question. Not about our company, not about either of us personally, not even about where we managed to find a parking place.

Easy mistake. One I’m sure I’ve made myself. But driving back to the office, it struck me once again. Courtesy is courtesy, whether you’re online or sitting across the table from someone. You have to flip the focus back to the other person once in awhile. Like your mother always told you, it’s important to be a good listener.

Beyond Social Networks: Making Connections That Cross Centuries

Eunice Cogswell early 20s*

Eunice Shepard Cogswell

The Internet makes it possible to create relationships beyond time and space. At Tribe, we often say that social media allows human connections without physical proximity. We can build relationships with people all over the world who share our same interests and passions. Geography — or space — is not an issue.

But how about bridging both space and time? In the past few weeks, I’ve been completely sucked into ancestry.com. The amount of information available online about people long dead and gone is amazing. Do a little digging, and you’ll find a treasure trove of WWI draft registrations, turn-the-century census reports, and even photos.

It’s one thing to picture your grandparents as they were when you were a kid (in other words, as old people) and another thing entirely to begin to flesh out the story of their lives. To see a federal census report from 1920, handwritten in fountain pen, listing my grandmother’s mother, Elizabeth Dezell Shepard, as head of household and a widow, her eldest Herschel as a secretary for a rubber tire company, other son Clinton as an accountant in an automobile company, daughter Grace as an accountant for the express company and my grandmother herself as a stenographer opens up a part of her history I’d never considered, before she was married to my grandfather and posed for portraits like the one pictured here.

Go back further and you find ancestors who came to the New World on ships, or fought in the Revolution, or were teenagers on the North Carolina Outer Banks in the years that Blackbeard and other pirates made those waters their home. Instead of names and dates, they become connections, even if part of their existence is extrapolated from the bare bones of facts and imagined in ways that might not be accurate, strictly speaking.

It reminds me that a friend who was a shrink once mentioned to me that human existence is a dance between the desire for intimacy and autonomy. For connections and independence. In a time when few of us live in small towns where we know everyone on the street, the Internet provides the sort of daily interactions that simulate those connections. We also live in a time when few of us have the continuity of several generations in one place. The Internet can provide richer connections with the ones who came before, as well.

Bloggers Are Forgiven Errors That Advertising Is Not

Range RoverBlogging is a forgiving medium. I couldn’t care less if a blogger stumbles over his or her grammar, as long as I’m interested in what they’re saying. In some cases, I’d say it’s actually a good thing for blog posts to be slightly imperfect. Kind of like the old women who sew a mistake into their quilt tops because “only God can create something perfect.”  It reminds us that bloggers are human beings. It helps our impression of their authenticity.

In advertising, not so. Any sort of mistake in a published ad is a major fail. When a brand is talking, rather than a person, there’s really no room for error. It’s like the difference in someone stumbling over their words in conversation and misspelling the name when you’re chiseling a headstone.

Get a load of the headline on this Land Rover ad, which ran on the inside back cover of New Yorker magazine this week. (Full disclosure: I drive a Range Rover myself.) It bugs me when people mix up “its” and “it’s” but it really bugs me when a brand that’s already a little too pompous for its own good makes that mistake. A British brand, at that. If those folks can’t get the Queen’s English right, I guess the pressure’s off for the rest of us.

Six Tips For The Care and Feeding Of Your LinkedIn Account

Webinar2Today’s  “Social Media for Old Folks” webinar topic was LinkedIn. Here are six recommendations we made that may be useful for you too:

1. Make invitations personal. The form-letter invitation generated by LinkedIn is not all that friendly. “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” just doesn’t strike the same tone as “Hey, Joe. Great to see you today. Want to link?” In the same vein, when you accept an invitation to connect, take two seconds to send a message back that acknowledges you’re both human beings. It takes two seconds to type “Thanks for the invitation. Hope you’re doing great.”

2. Don’t make your personal update too personal. LinkedIn is not Facebook. Let your LinkedIn update be some fairly major business milestone or at the very least, business related. Also, you don’t need to update this one as often as you might on other networks. It’s perfectly acceptable to leave the same update up there for a month or so. (As long as it doesn’t say something like “Two days before the Christmas rush is over!”

3. Skip asking for recommendations. If you’re a high-level professional, we don’t recommend having recommendations on your profile. If you’re still in the early years of your career, or job hunting, they’re fine. But everyone knows how those recommendations get there (a message from you asking your contacts for a recommendation) and that they’re sort of a command performance of glowing praise.

4. Participate in the Answers discussions. If you see a question that you can answer, take a minute to do so. It’s good to invest in helping others, so you’re not using LinkedIn exclusively for getting what you need. Besides, it’s nice exposure to be the guy who knows what’s what. Also, when you need to know something, use this Answers feature. You can access some legitimately useful expertise on just about anything you need to  know, and it gives other people a chance to be an expert on something.

5. Join groups. Your group memberships offer a quick snapshot of your interests and affiliations. If a friend or contact invites you to join their group, it’s showing support for them to join, as long as it really is a topic appropriate for you. Then, participate in the discussions. Making comments there is a good way to be involved in the LinkedIn community.

6. Start your own group. This is an excellent way to claim your area of expertise, particularly if you can narrow the scope of the group to a small niche or audience. You can begin to own that niche (or at least to be recognized as one of the players) by starting and maintaining an active group.

Social Media for Old Folks, in an Old Media Format: the 52-Card Deck

smcardpileThey’re back from the printer! Our Starter Cards deck called “Build Your Brand With Social Media” is hot off the press, literally.

If you’re one of those people who’s got a LinkedIn account but you don’t really get how to use it; if you’re using Facebook, but mostly to spy on your kids, if you’re just  plain confused by the 140-character hullaballoo of Twitter, then this is the tool for you.

Build Your Brand With Social Media” was created for those of us who were born before faxes were invented, much less outdated. This is a way to easily get up to speed and be linking and friending and tweeting like people half your age.

Here’s the idea. There is no shortage of information out there about social media. In fact, there’s so much information, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

Can’t somebody break it down into a series of manageable steps? Isn’t there anywhere you can get all the basics of LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and blogging, all in one place?

As a matter of fact, that’s exactly what this “Build Your Brand With Social Media” deck does. It walks you through the whole process, one step per card, with simple directions for that step on the back of each card. It’s as close as possible to having me sitting there with you, taking you step by step.

Want to give it  a whirl? You can find the cards on the Starter Cards website.


Friday Afternoon Feng Shui Ritual

photoHow do you like to end the work week? I have this thing about clearing everything off my desk and either filing or tossing all the stuff stacked on my credenza. Then I wipe it all down to remove the week’s accumulated coffee circles and other debris.

Our Feng Shui consultant got me started on this, years ago. She said it was important to clear out all the old energy of the week, to make things ready for a fresh week to come. She advocated the use of Clorox Wipes, and suggested leaving a blank pad of paper square in the center of your work space to signal to the universe that you’re open to receive more business.

I swear, I think this weekly ritual helps. I love coming back to my office Monday morning and seeing that wide-open expanse of uncluttered desk space. And somehow, it lets me leave Friday afternoon feeling like I’ve got everything squared away, with no loose ends hanging.

Lately though, I’ve started to notice  how action-packed that 4:00 to 5:00 PM hour is in the social media world. Tweets are flying back and forth, Follow Friday is in full force, people are posting on Facebook, checking their LinkedIn account. Twitter, particularly, is like a weekly 60-minute cocktail party you don’t want to miss. Maybe it’s people killing that last hour of the week when they feel like they should be at their desk, even though they’re not about to start something new that close to the weekend bell.

So either I’ve got to start my little OCD clutter-clearing ritual a little earlier, or I’ll miss some of the fun online. What do you guys do to close out the work week? And what’s your must-click time of the day or week on social media?