Tag Archives: How to Facebook

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Build Your Brand With Social Media” was created for those of us who were born before faxes were invented, much less outdated.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.


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The Cliff Notes of Social Media for Old Folks: Webinar One

EB&JBWebinarThis afternoon, we sat on the couch in my office and took about six or seven small business owners through an overview of what social media can do for them. My business partner Jennifer and I were presenting to a creative director, a literary agent, a strategic marketing person, a sales rep, an account planner, an expert on world poverty and an accupuncturist — all of whom were sitting in their own offices in front of their own computers.

Social Media for Old Folks is our five-part Webinar, covering everything from blogging to linking to friending to tweeting. We’re not social media experts, by any means, but we have learned a great deal about using social media in the last year or so. We’ve also discovered that we’re quite passionate about sharing that knowledge with others.

If you’re in a business that involves sharing what we call Odd Knowledge, social media is the most powerful way out there to build your business. Whether you’re a financial advisor or a large animal vet or an event planner or a Pilates trainer — or a world poverty expert or accupuncturist — you offer an expertise in a specific niche.

If your business depends on clients trusting you to be the one with the right answers, then social media is a powerful way to establish that trust. It’s also a place for you to share your unique perspective on your particular field of expertise.

Here are a few highlights from our Webinar today:

1. Social media can connect you with the whole world — but make it feel like you’re doing business in a small town. Despite the fact that it depends on technology, it can be an extremely human and personal form of contact.

2. The two most important things social media can do for your business are to A) promote your expertise and B) build your connections (which can become a following). This creates a beautiful dynamic: Instead of you always reaching out for new customers, you’ll find them seeking you out instead.

3. The model we recommend is this: a blog to showcase your expertise and social networks to drive traffic to that blog. Your blog is your content; the social networks are ways to start conversations about that content.

4. Your website and your blog are two different things. The website is your company talking, and is a destination for background information and evergreen materials. Your blog is you talking, is more fluid because it’s updated more often, and gives you a venue to share your expertise in a narrow niche, usually more narrow than your actual business. We recommend keeping your website and your blog separate, although each would include links to the other.

Next week we cover Facebook in more depth, and in the following weeks we’ll talk about LinkedIn, Twitter, and how to develop your own blog. If you’re interested in  more details, you could go to the Seminars page on the Starter Cards site.

Social Media for Old Folks, in Five Easy Pieces

SM FrontPlenty of reasonably (or even exceptionally) intelligent people still resist social media. Some don’t see the value in it; others just can’t quite figure out how to jump on that escalator. Social media keeps moving and changing every day, so it’s not easy to figure out where to start.

One problem is that there’s so much information out there on how to use social media. Try Googling “Using LinkedIn,”  “How to Facebook,” or “Learning Twitter,” and you’ll find yourself millions of links to explore. Not hundreds of links, not thousands, but really — millions. Most reasonably busy people will decide they don’t have time for that.

What you need is someone to break it down into simple, actionable steps. You don’t have all day, but maybe you could spend an hour a week. If you didn’t have to go anywhere. Like while you’re sitting at your desk.

That’s where the Social Media for Old Folks Webinars come in. If you’re young enough that you grew up with a mouse in your hand, then a lot of this material will be too basic for you. But if you’re one of those who remember when a fax was the new cool thing, then this might be right up your alley.

We break it down into five one-hour webinars, each Wednesday for five weeks. We’ll walk you through how to build your brand with social media, from a basic overview of the landscape and etiquette to specific, actionable steps to get yourself set up on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and finally, to start your own blog. (You’ll also learn why you really do need your own blog.)

You’ll be sitting at your computer and be able to see and hear us in real time. As we’re talking about various steps, you can complete many of them right then and there. When you have questions along the way, we’ll stop and answer them.

We’ll show you how to use social media for two important goals: to build your connections and to showcase your expertise. Think it would be presumptuous to consider yourself an expert? We’re not talking about having a Ph.D. in something; Your expertise is the narrow niche about which you’re passionate, the area of your deep experience, the problems friends come to you to help solve. It’s not about bragging, it’s about what you have to give.

If  you run your own business, or are in a corporate job and want to increase your visibility in your industry, then social media can be a powerful tool for you. It doesn’t have to be that hard. But it does take some effort. The Social Media for Old Folks Webinar is the easiest way we know to get you up and running. By Thanksgiving, you could be blogging and linking and friending and tweeting like someone half your age.

For more details, just click here. Or feel free to email (elizabeth@tribeinc.com) or call me (404-256-5858) with questions. (If you register today -Wednesday, Oct 7 – you can use the promo code EARLYBIRD for a $50 discount.)

Participate in the Slow Movement – via Social Media

snail“The best way to survive and thrive in the fast-paced modern world is not to speed up but to slow down,” says Carl Honoré, author of “In Praise of Slowness,” and key instigator of the revolutionary Slow Movement. Honoré  believes we’ve become addicted to speed. The tell-tale symptoms of this addiction are  “when you feel tired all the time and like you’re just going through the motions, getting through the many things on your To-Do list but not engaging with them deeply or enjoying them very much. You feel like you’re racing through your life instead of actually living it.”

What’s wrong with speed? Nothing, according to Honoré, who admits he actually loves speed. The trick, he says, is to blend fast and slow, to do whatever you’re doing at the right speed. That, he says, is where you’ll find yourself more deeply engaged and enjoying your days more.

Are social media and the slow movement mutually exclusive? Honoré mentions that social networks can tempt us to rush relationships and that when people claim to have thousands of friends on Facebook, it devalues the concept of friendship. True, but social media can also help us be more engaged with our friends, industry peers and the world at large.

Consider the many authentic and meaningful moments you share with others each day on social networks. The technology is fast, but the interactions can be slow, in the sense that, for those few moments, we are completely focused on the person or people we’re addressing online. We’re as engaged as if we were sitting across the table looking each other in the eye.

To keep your social media slow, think quality over quantity. Instead of following thousands of people on Twitter (or trying to get thousands to follow you), narrow it down to a smaller number of people with whom you truly share interests (or sense of humor. For instance, I always want to know what @Shitmydadsays is up to.) On Facebook, after the first few months of catching up with people you haven’t heard from in years, you might hide the updates of many you know less well, so you can better keep up with the core group of people who are most important to you. And on LinkedIn, although it’s nice to have tons of contacts in a wide variety of industries and roles, it helps if they’re people you truly consider trusted contacts. Before you invite someone to connect, ask yourself, “Is this someone I’d feel comfortable picking up the phone to ask, “Do you know someone who such-and-such?'” Also, think about participating more fully in LinkedIn groups that are good fits with your particular niche topics.

That doesn’t mean social media can take the place of face-to-face. Admittedly, it’s not the same as making time to take someone to lunch, or stopping by the house to visit. But social media is a tool, just like the telephone. We’ve all learned to get off the phone fast when it’s a telemarketer, and have all had long, relaxed conversations with people we love. In and of itself, social media is not fast or slow; it’s how you use it.

Can Facebook make you happier?

FB logoq1063123023_8294This is what I love about Facebook: getting little tidbits of news each day from a wide collection of friends, family, and people I kind of remember from high school. And that, according to research by social scientists Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler, could be a key factor in my happiness.

Christakis and Fowler’s study used data from the Framingham Heart Study, which has tracked data on the same 15,000 people for over 50 years. (Clive Thompson’s article in The New York Times Magazine this Sunday tells the whole story.) The short version is that their research supports the idea that obesity, drinking, smoking and even happiness are contagious, and can spread through three degrees of influence. In other words, you affect not only your friends, but your friends’ friends’ friends.

“If you want to be happy, what’s most important is to have lots of friends,” Thompson reports. “Historically, we have often thought that having a small cluster of tight, long-term friends is crucial to being happy. But Christakis and Fowler found that the happiest people in Framingham were those who had the most connections, even if the relationships weren’t necessarily deep ones. The reason these people were the happiest, the duo theorize, is that happiness doesn’t come only from having deep, heart-to-heart talks. It also comes from having daily exposure to many small moments of contagious happiness.”

This is exactly what you get on Facebook. I relish knowing that my dear friend Janneke is “soaking in the hot tube with a glass of wine after a good workout,” and that my sister Amanda has “located the girls’ red slider turtle that escaped from the tank and has been missing all day.” But it’s not just the easy, day-to-day connections with those you’re closest to. It’s also knowing that my client Betsy and her daughter Julia “just made a blueberry-peach pie,” and that a photographer friend who grew up in South Georgia is spending a Saturday “with his 97-year-old grandfather, who’s considering the purchase of a new tractor.” It makes me glad to see that my high school classmate Rebekah is “thankful for many things about my 88 yr young father in law: he comes to my kitchen everyday for lunch and always leaves it much cleaner than I did,” especially knowing she recently lost her own father (which I would never have known if it weren’t for Facebook updates).

Facebook updates are not always happy news. Sometimes updates are about my childhood friend John Scott ending up in the ER after getting “my clock cleaned by the goal keeper in geezer soccer,” or that Scott Fullager, the nicest guy in the world,  is stuck in an airport on his birthday because it “looks like no flights home — weather, weather. Great!”

But according to Christakis and Fowler, “happiness is more contagious than unhappiness.” Each happy friend can increase your happiness by 9 percent, but the grouches only pull you down by 7 percent. So by maximizing your number of contacts, the happy and unhappy moods net out for a positive on the happy side.

The three degree factor may be why it’s so fascinating to see what people are writing on your friends’ walls, when you don’t even know those people at all. I’ve never met my friend Janneke’s neighbor, but I like knowing that her neighbors’ dog groomer also works for Janneke’s parents. (I especially like Janneke’s response about being glad to know who’s been keeping her parents so well-groomed.)

LinkedIn and Twitter don’t provide the same material for happiness, in my experience. LinkedIn is too dry. A useful network, but a little like sifting through a big stack of resumes. Twitter is such a fast-flowing river that it’s tough to keep up with any one person. What you find on Facebook is a small town, although a small town with no geographical boundaries. For many of us, Facebook is the new Framingham.

One year later, Kagan says social media is still f**king important

images-3If you missed Marta Kagan’s viral sensation titled “What the F**k is Social Media?” from a few years ago, or even if you did see it, you owe it to your business to take a look at her recent sequel. This one is called, appropriately enough, “What the F**k is Social Media: One Year Later.” The presentation includes some interesting numbers, such as Forrester’s finding that three out of four Americans use social technology, as well as statistics on the sheer amount of media being uploaded to Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and others.

But some of the best bits are when she quotes thinkers like analytics evangelist Avinash Kaushik and influential author Seth Godin. According to Kaushik, “Social media is like teen sex. Everyone wants to do it. Nobody knows how. When it’s finally done there is surprise it’s not better.”

On the topic of blogs, Godin says, “The word blog is irrelevant. What’s important is that it is now common, and will soon be expected, that every intelligent person (and quite a few unintelligent ones) will have a media platform where they share what they care about with the world.”

The nugget of this presentation that’s most important to small business owners (as well as those who manage large national and global brands) is that social marketing is different from regular old marketing. Kagan quotes a social media study that found  93% of social media users think a company should have a presence in social media, but she goes on to say, “Believe it or not, that doesn’t mean that 93% of social media users think companies should treat social media as yet another channel for broadcasting bullsh*t.”

While in regular old marketing, companies are accustomed to telling customers what the company wants them to hear, social marketing requires listening as well as talking. It’s a conversation. A two-way street. A street with lots of traffic, where consumers are doing a lot of the driving. 

When you talk to your customers and they talk back, it’s nearly impossible not to listen. And when you listen to what they have to say, you will probably feel the urge to respond to what your customers want.

The great news is that as a small company, you have an advantage over large companies in your ability to move quickly. You can respond more easily to what your customers are telling  you. Large companies have a much bigger ship to turn around, and any significant change will require a zillion meetings for ideas to be vetted and consensus created. Your agility allows you to make sweeping changes on the turn of a dime. 

If you are an entrepreneur and you’re not blogging or not joining social networks, it’s time to start. If you’ve joined the networks but never really figured out who to friend or what to tweet, it’s time to learn. And if you’ve already got a blog, and you post something new every few months whether you need to or not, it’s time to take it seriously and blog as a regular part of your daily or weekly routine. 

If you have no idea how to start, get some help. A new Starter Cards deck called “Build Your Brand With Social Media” can walk you through the process one step at a time. Or get online and find what you need to know for free. 

The important thing is that you get in there and start talking. And even more importantly, start listening.

Social Media for Old Folks

SocialMeCardsI graduated from college before some of my most accomplished employees were even born. I’m headed back to Chapel Hill this weekend for my 30-year high school reunion. I’ve been noticing that a whole bunch of friends and business acquaintances my age seem to be flummoxed by this whole social media thing. 

In the past week, I’ve had two phone calls from friends asking if they could take me to lunch so I could teach them all about social media. They know they ought to get on board, but they can’t figure out where to start or how. It’s kind of like getting on an escalator as a kid, when the steps are moving away from you faster than you can figure out where to hop on. 

One of these friends is a serial entrepreneur who recently sold her specialty medical equipment company for several million. Kim’s now launching a change management company specializing in nursing homes. The other is a well-connected fundraiser in the area of world poverty. Carol spent  many years at CARE, and now works with a foundation at Emory University, our alma mater where we met as sorority sisters. (Kappa Kappa Gamma. Secret handshake, anyone?)

Both of these people are naturals for social media. Kim is people person in the extreme. She talks to people wherever she goes, and leaves them laughing, every time. The governor appointed her to the board of public health, so now she hob knobs with everyone down at the capitol, sharing yucks with politicos from all over Georgia. Carol knows every influential person in Atlanta and can work a cocktail party like nobody’s business.

But she’s been reluctant to even fill out a LinkedIn profile. Carol seems a little suspicious of social media, like maybe there’s a big brother factor that kind of gives her the creeps. Or maybe she’s worried she just can’t parse it, despite her astronomically high I.Q. 

Coincidentally, these two friends called when I was in the middle of developing a new Starter Cards deck titled “Build Your Brand with Social Media.” Two other titles we halfway seriously considered were “Social Media for People Over 30” and “Blogging for Boomers.” The deck breaks down the basics of social media into 52 manageable steps, one step per card, from joining social networks to promoting your own blog.

As I’ve been writing these cards, I’ve imagined that I’m explaining the process to these two friends. Not Millennials, no spring chickens. But smart, interesting people who could power their success by making connections and sharing their expertise. 

Both lunches have had to be rescheduled, thanks to the various scheduling conflicts of busy people. I’m thinking that by the time we actually get together, this deck of Starter Cards SocialMeCardswill be back from the printer and already in their hands. And then we can spend our lunch dates just sharing personal news and telling funny stories. Anything, that is, that we haven’t already shared on Facebook.