Articles with the Social Media Tag

Promote Yourself And Your WritingAfter reading the title for this article I know what you’re all thinking. Mindy, how can you give insight on promoting yourself in the writing world when:

  • You’re unpublished
  • I never heard of you before
  • And your only twenty-two?
  • What makes you think you have enough life experience to give us tips?

All valid points and all true. However, I wanted to write these articles for one main reason; I’m learning right along side you. In order to learn with you I have to practice what I preach. So here’s what I’m preaching:

In order to become well known as a writer I have learned three very important things from other authors.

  1. Have a website. A website is incredibly useful. On your author website, readers or potential readers of your work can get to know you, the author. Consider registering your own name or at least your pen name as your own domain and create a portfolio that showcases you and your writing. Your own site also helps keep your readers up to date with any new projects, news, reviews, etc.
  2. Social media. I’ve found social media to be a powerful and useful promotion tool. I have had a Facebook account and Twitter page a while but never used them to promote anything writing related, until recently. Now I’m meeting many fellow writers and readers on Twitter and Facebook, especially with Facebook Groups. I highly recommend for those who have a Twitter account to read the conversation hundreds, if not thousands, of writers have each day through the hashtag called #amwriting.
  3. Events. Going to events based on writing can be hard if you’re shy like me. I’m slowly getting out of my shyness because I get out of my comfort zone and put myself out there. Going to events like a NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) Write In, is a great way to get to know local writers and promote yourself. As are local writing groups, conventions, and conferences. Also the good old ‘word of mouth’ is still much more useful than anything else.

Important Tip: Though promoting yourself is invaluable, remember not to go overboard. I have wasted many days by checking my Twitter account every two minutes. Anything else I wanted to get done that day, like writing, was never accomplished. Also, one of the most effective ways to promote yourself is to promote others. Share and share alike. Give back to the community and you’ll become a friend to others who will promote you too.

What other ways can we promote ourselves and our writing? How do you get the word out about what you do?

Until next time, thanks for reading!

Photo Credit: 04-15-10 © muharrem öner

8 September 2010

When a writing colleague on AbsoluteWrite.com asked, “What’s the best way for experienced writers to get writing gigs nowadays?” it sparked an interesting conversation.

The writer noted that she used to attend Chamber of Commerce meetings, collect business cards, follow up, and sign clients. I realized that many of my recent clients have come from similar means – except I rarely leave the house for networking events.

Here are three steps to land clients on the Web using time-tested networking techniques.

  • Set up an impressive website.

    By impressive, I don’t mean flash everywhere and zillions of pages of marketing copy. While I’m not thrilled with the look of it (I did it myself) my Website at www.allcotmedia.com has gotten me many clients. It contains five important elements:

    • A photo of myself
    • What I can do for clients/visitors
    • A bit about my credentials and experience and how that helps potential clients
    • Links to a diverse collection of published clips of my work
    • My contact information

    Beyond that, it’s clean, easy to navigate, and professional-looking, albeit a bit on the dull side in my opinion.

  • Promote the Website and yourself through LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media outlets

By promote, I don’t mean sending out tweets every hour that read: Need a writer? Go to www.mywebsite.com. Instead, share links to your work and your own knowledge about writing. Most importantly, be yourself. Engage others – both other writers and potential clients – in conversations.

You wouldn’t go up to someone at a Chamber of Commerce meeting, business card in hand, and say, “Hi, My name is ___ and I’m a writer. Do you need me to write copy for your business?” There’s a simple rule for Internet networking: If you wouldn’t do it in person, don’t do it on the Web.

I often send out tweets promoting the blogs I write for, but I have never tweeted asking for clients. They can figure out what I do based on my tweets, my links and my website – they come to me if my talents fit their needs.


“Always Be Networking”

To paraphrase Alec Baldwin in the movie “Glengarry Glen Ross,” writers may not “always be closing,” but they should always, always be networking.

In another post on AW, this one from last year, a new writer received advice that he should network to jumpstart his career. In a thread titled “Just Hit Send,” many of us post our goals for each month, and some even post daily to-do lists. In his next JHS post, that writer posted his schedule for the week, with time set aside Wednesday morning for networking.

While networking can be a discrete activity, performed only when you check your Twitter and Facebook accounts twice daily, it’s much better to approach it as something you’re always doing – or at least looking for opportunities to do.

If you go out to dinner and engage the waitress in a conversation about her day job – you’re networking. If you compliment the person in line behind you at the bank on her brooch – that’s a potential networking opportunity. Networking, when done correctly, is really just another way to say, “Asking people about themselves so you can find out how you can help them.”

Now, go network!

Leaving a comment here is networking too!
What are the most effective ways you network?

24 May 2010

Avoid Online Internet Distractions

“Home is where you hang your @.” ~ Author Unknown

Freelancing from home opens a whole new world. If you’ve never had time to play on the Internet, you might find it difficult to limit that play time.

Of course, I am guilty of losing myself in cyber land as well. I think it’s something a lot of us struggle with.

You may want to check the price of something you’ve been wanting to buy, email your friends, chat on IM (Instant Messenger), catch up on social media sites, or even play games on Facebook. But none of these things are going to help grow your business.

Yes, social media will help you build your brand, but you can only devote so much time to it. Don’t lose sight of your business goals in the process, okay?

I’ve decided to share a few tips to help you focus your energy – and time! – toward achieving the success you dreamed of when you first decided to reach for the sky.

5 Tips for Avoiding Internet Distractions

  1. Disconnect. That’s right. My number one tip is to unplug yourself from the Web and focus on your work. If you’re unplugged, you’ll be less inclined to Google something or chat with a friend.
  2. Unsubscribe from everything you don’t – or will never – read. It’s pointless (and very stressful!) to have a gazillion emails you need to continuously delete. Select a few subscriptions (like ours!) you value most and let the rest go.
  3. Keep your priorities straight. Surfing the Web is not a priority. If it’s research, that’s one thing, but getting lost in cyber space does not reflect work. Right?
  4. Limit blog reading until you’ve finished a certain amount of work. Use your favorite blogs as a reward to ensure you won’t get lost in the blogosphere.
  5. Don’t use social media as a procrastination tool. Yes, social media can be business-related, but if you’re just talking about what you had for lunch or what you’ll be doing over the weekend, get back to work! ;-)

Sometimes distractions can’t be avoided—especially if they’re life-related, but don’t let the Internet become a crutch for you to check out of reality or avoid your work. Surfing the Web won’t pay the bills.

The Internet is an awesome thing. It’s a valuable resource on so many levels, but it can also very easily become an escape mechanism and cause you to lose sight of your priorities. Don’t let that happen.

And remember, less is more. Enjoy the zen!

What do you find most distracting online and how do you avoid internet distractions?

Photo Credit: Salvatore Vuono

5 May 2010

Freelance Writer Love Freelancers live life behind the scenes, plugging away at a computer to craft masterful content, be it in writing or web design (or virtual assistance, PR, or marketing!) It is a solitary life, and your fellow freelancers deserve a little love, especially if they have made a difference in your life.

However, we can be so wrapped up in our own freelance career, that our dearest online friends may never know how much they mean to us! We are all rushing to meet deadlines and please our clients. How can we find time to connect with those who have supported us throughout our freelance career?

Make Yourself Available

If you want to support your fellow freelancers, you have to be present. Carve out some time each day to spend showing your freelance friends that you are there for them. Hang out on Twitter, Facebook, or Plurk and catch up on the day’s events. Socialize, laugh, and offer help when it is needed.

Don’t worry if you only have ten spare minutes at the end of your day. That is enough time to keep friendly connections kindled, as long as you make a regular effort. They will be more than happy to see you, and hear about your freelancing adventures! Camaraderie and support are the small things that keep us going, all throughout the year.

Connect The Freelance Dots

Bring together those freelancers in your online communities who need to meet each other. Have a writer friend who needs a custom website design? Introduce her to the web tech who designed your website. Do a few of your freelance friends need daily doses of inspiration and accountability? Partner them up and watch the creative sparks fly!

This step only requires paying attention to your friends’ needs and abilities. Put in a good word for each freelancer in the other’s ear, and give them a chance to get to know each other. The possibilities are endless – but don’t worry if they decide that they are not the right match for each other. Your attentive concern for their success will be noticed and appreciated.

Spread The Word

Do you know some rockstar freelancers? I bet we all do! Share their accomplishments and links with everyone in your social streams. A link love blog post or #FollowFriday tweet shows your appreciation and can bring unexpected opportunities to your friends – and you as well!

Some freelance people I couldn’t do without:

  • Rebecca Laffar-Smith: Our lovely hostess here at Writer’s Round-About! Excellent writer and web tech, filled with Aussie charm.
  • Michele Tune: Fellow WRA writer and Raw Foodie, she’s so busy writing yet takes time to help others succeed. A true freelance friend unlike any other!
  • Amy Sey Brown: A crafty gal who is on her way to help others succeed in their own artistic endeavors. Plus she can brainstorm like a madwoman!

Of course, there are so many of you wildly successful freelancers who have made my life great, I couldn’t possibly list you all. But I want to take the time now to send out a big “Thank You!” for sending encouragement and support my way exactly when I need it the most.

A little love makes all the difference!

What are your favorite ways for sharing the freelance love? Who deserves a shout out and a big hug for all of their support “above and beyond the freelance call of duty”? Bring your best freelance love ideas to the table!

Photo Credit: Jessica.Garro

15 February 2010

How important are relationships to your freelance writing business? If your business is anything like mine word-of-mouth accounts for up to 80% of your paid commissions so building relationships is vital. Meeting new people is important but it is just as, if not more, important to develop and reinforce the relationships you’ve already established. Is strengthening your working relationships one of your goals for 2010?

Writing a recommendation or testimonial is an effective way to boost morale and deepen a professional relationship. If you value the professional courtesy and service you’ve received one of the simplest ways to give back is by recommending that individual to others. A recommendation or testimonial for a job well done creates a lasting impression. People remember you for saying something encouraging and positive.

“Who are the people you most value professionally? Do they know it? More importantly, do others know? In a perfect world, we would all proactively make sure that the people who have earned our trust and respect knew it, and that others knew it as well.” ~ Adam Nash

Write A LinkedIn Recommendation

One of the reasons I love building my network of LinkedIn freelancers is because, as a community, we are encouraging and positive. No matter what level of the industry we stand on there are others around us who support our business and want us to succeed.

On LinkedIn we have an opportunity to connect with new friends or colleagues. We can create a new impression on people we’ve worked with in the past, see what our associates are doing now, find professionals to work with on new projects, and reconnect with talented minds to deepen relationships. But how many of these connections will think of you if they need to hire a writer? What sort of relationship have you developed with your connections?

Writing a LinkedIn Recommendation is easy and it’s one of the most effective ways to put your name on the lips of the person you recommend. It is important to be honest about your experience with that person but every interaction we have with another individual offers us insight into their professional atmosphere. Think about the other writer’s amongst your LinkedIn connections… Have you enjoyed a post or article they’ve written? Have you read their latest book? Have you used them as a source for something you’ve written? Have you interacted with them via social media? Have you been touched by their experience? In what way has that person affected you positively?

“Be aware that the person you’re writing the recommendation for is looking for your words to help act as leverage with a prospective new business partner.” ~ Chris Brogan

Get Started Now! I’d love to connect with you on LinkedIn and exchange recommendations in our quest to get to know each other better. A special shout-out goes to the five wonderful ladies (Michele L. Tune, Mysti Guymon-Reutlinger, Kimberlee Ferrell, Hope Wilbanks, and Jenn Greenleaf) who have recommended me in the past!

#FollowFriday on Twitter

Perhaps the quickest and easiest way to say, “This person is great” is to join the #FollowFriday trend on Twitter. Every Friday, Twitter enthusiasts offer up name after name of fellow tweeters they recommend. I suggest adding a few words about WHY you recommend a particular Twitter user because I like to know why “I” should follow them. But even if you don’t offer any detail, just taking a moment each Friday to name-drop is a rewarding way to let those you admire know they offer value in your life.

“The idea is to think of interesting people you already follow and recommend them to others.” ~ Micah Baldwin

Not only is this a great way to show your support and respect for the people you follow on Twitter but it is also an opportunity to grow your following. You recommend your friends to others and they recommend people you might be interested in getting to know. Writers are constantly recommending fellow writers on #FollowFriday and your recommendation can lead you into further Twitter discussion with your personal Twitterati.

Get Started Now! Follow me on Twitter and join the #FollowFriday craze.

Testimonials, Endorsements, and Reviews

Twitter’s #FollowFriday and LinkedIn’s Recommendations are all about WHO. But another way to build relationships is to share the WHAT. That is where testimonials, endorsements, and reviews carry the most weight. On Writer’s Round-About we have a whole category dedicated to Reviews and Reviewing. If you’ve read a fantastic book, watched an entertaining movie, used an effective tool, or purchased a quality product you can build a relationship with the creator by writing a recommendation of their product.

You can even recommend content you find online by sharing a link. Use bookmarking and sharing tools available on most blogs. Take a moment to thumbs up on your StumbleUpon Toolbar. Use your favorite social media networks to spread the word about what you’re loving online. Write reviews for blogs, send testimonials in to website owners, add your reviews to sites like Amazon, etc.

And you can do this with anything at all. People talk about the food they love to eat, the gadgets they want to buy, the brands they love to use. These simple recommendations develop relationship, not just with the creators of the products you recommend but with the people you are recommending them to. If I’m looking to buy a new game console I’ll remember how much you raved about your Wii.

Get Started Now! Have you used a product or read a book that has helped you be a better writer? I’d love to take this opportunity to invite you to submit your review to WRA. Tell others what you think and share your recommendation with WRA’s readers.

A Final Word: Recommendations in Reverse

One final thing to remember is that recommendations work in reverse. If you feel a product fails to live up to expectations, a practice is shady, or a person has falsely presented themselves you can say so. Act with integrity, be honest and forthright. A balanced review will have more weight with readers than a biased one but you should avoid sounding trite or petty.

Remember: What you say about others says a lot about you.

Writing recommendations is a fantastic way to develop relationships with others and there are lots of ways you can express your opinions. Who has added value to your life? How do you show your appreciation? What have you done today to strengthen your business relationships? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments!

4 February 2010

connected, Social Media, online, freelance, emotional, stress, break, friendship

You’re just wasting time blabbing to people you don’t know.

Get off that computer and get a life.

Why can’t you get a real job?

How much money can you make playing on the computer anyway?

These are just a few of the insults and sarcastic remarks freelancers often hear.

Add on to that the multi-job stress syndrome most freelancers endure and you’ll need more than a few natural remedies to calm you down!

Social Media = Less Stress?

Not only is Social Media an excellent way to market yourself and network your way to the top, it’s a learning process that improves with time. And during that time that you’re learning and building solid relationships, you are doing something else: de-stressing. That’s right!

By mingling on the various Social Media sites, all sorts of things can cross your virtual path. Think: inspirational quotes, new gigs, lasting friendships, encouragement, funny jokes, and so much more.

It can be so relaxing to be inspired, to inspire others, or to just have a good laugh. Social Media is more than a “waste of time” as many seem to believe, it’s a networking tool that allows you to share with the world who you are and what your business is about, while giving you a few minutes here and there to simultaneously take your mind off your work and just breathe.

It’s pretty easy to imagine that those who participate in Social Media frequently (or at least sometimes) aren’t as stressed and worn down as those who work non-stop, without a break of some sort – especially a mental one. And Social Media does provide a mental and emotional support system that surpasses anything most people could fathom.

Wind Down, Gear Up

Brain overload can happen fast. Your health is worth taking time out to regroup. You’ve heard many times through life (I’m sure) that you only have one body, one life, one mind — it’s your job to take care of yourself and cherish your time here on earth.

It may seem like nonsense, and some people may judge you for it, but I assure you that Social Media is not a waste of time!

By hopping on the Social Media circuits during “break time” you’re allowing your mind and body to wind down from work. You’re being refreshed in so many ways. And all this means that you’re mind will be gearing up to get back to work again.

New Friends, New Clients, New Sources

The bonus to your “play time” online is that you’ll (more than likely) eventually rub cyber elbows with future clients, editors, and even sources for your articles. It’s crazy to think that even though you’re taking a break from work and taking a few minutes to just enjoy life, that you’re actually continuing to represent your business. And if your Social Media following/friends grows over time (they usually always do) then your business is being exposed to hundreds, thousands, even millions of people while you sip your favorite drink and chat. I’d say that makes Social Media the perfect prescription for MJSS, wouldn’t you?

Did you enjoy this article? Feel free to visit the other articles Michele has written for Writer’s Round-About–or contact her to write for you.

Do you feel less stressed when you’re surfing the Social Media waves? Are you astounded that you can lightheartedly enjoy yourself while representing your professional services at the same time? What does Social Media mean to you? Have you gained new clients, sources, or lasting friendships? Tell us all about it!

Photo Credit: clix

24 December 2009

The dos, don'ts, and how-to of online Social Media for Freelance Business.

After you’ve read all these do’s and don’ts, you’ll probably be feeling like you’ve just received a lecture from your glaring parent. Okay, not really. I’m much more lighthearted than that!

But, seriously, there is a way to approach Social Media and there are definitely things you want to avoid as you brave the Social Media waters.

It can seem scary, but it’s not as bad as you think. Don’t worry about it so much that you don’t enjoy the experience, but do worry (in a healthy way) about presenting yourself in a professional manner.

For instance, you can share something fun, while maintaining your professionalism in every way. You don’t have to get rude, defensive, or vulgar to gain a following and become one of the “popular kids in school.”

Following are some things to consider as you mingle the online social scene, attempting to become a Social Media butterfly.

A Few Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media

Do share your personality.

Don’t share what color of underwear you’re wearing.

Do update often.

Don’t update so often that people feel overwhelmed and unfriend you.

Do be honest.

Don’t tell everything you know.

Do share tips to help others.

Don’t give away all your secrets.

Do be helpful.

Don’t help so much that you overextend yourself – you’ll burn out.

Do promote your business.

Don’t make it your primary purpose—Social Media is NOT a one-way street.

What other dos and don’ts can you think of?


Two Ways is the Right Way

And that last don’t is one I’ve seen a lot on the various Social Media sites. I’ve seen accounts where the entire time the person has been there, they’ve promoted their own articles, products, or services. Where’s the “social” part of that?

Social Media is like gift giving. It’s about giving and taking. And remember the old adage: It’s better to give than it is to receive.

I do promote my articles, reviews, blog posts, and contests often on several different Social Media sites. That’s one of the reasons I went ahead and signed up for ping.fm. But I promote others way more than I promote myself.

I share quotes and other people’s articles, blog posts, or reviews/contests because I feel they provide solid value to my followers/friends/readers and because I consider the person/business I’m promoting to be a genuine source.

It’s very easy to get caught up in the taking aspect of Social Media. Don’t be one of those people who only think of themselves. Put others before yourself and you’ll be respected for that. Don’t do it simply because I’m recommending it – do it because you genuinely understand the theory and because you have a desire to approach Social Media in the best way possible.

Do I have all the Social Media answers? No. Do I have a million followers already? No. But the followers/friends I do have at this point know that I’m real. And they know I’m not all about me.

Social Media is a two-way street. Balance out the traffic flow and remember, it’s okay to “pull over” and let someone go around you sometimes.  You’ll definitely find great pleasure in gleaning and passing on wisdom from others. I know I do.

Did you enjoy this article? Feel free to visit the other articles Michele has written for Writer’s Round-About–or contact her to write for you.

Are you active in Social Media? What’s your favorite? Do you promote others? Do you learn from the wisdom flying across the networks? Do you promote your work often, or not at all? Let’s talk!

Photo Credit: brokenarts

21 November 2009

Meet, Greet, Network - How do you meet and greet new people?

As freelance writers, a large part of our business comes from connecting with others. In fact, while many of us begin by trawling the job boards we eventually find word-of-mouth brings at least 80% of our clients hammering on our front door. It is important to socialize and be active in the community, both online and off, but how is it done?

I’m not sure if you’re aware of it, but I suffer from social phobia. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, social phobia is a fear of people, social situations, or the judgment of others. It goes beyond mearly being shy to full-out anxiety attack with all the nasty side effects. My fear of people and social situations has left me feeling like I’m at a disadvantage when networking and building my business. The truth is, I don’t KNOW what I think most would consider common social niceties. So, I’m turning to you, can you help me?

I recently read a fantastic blog post and enjoyed the voice and dynamic of the author, Jay Baer. Being web savvy and a social media expert he provided several methods to connect and keep in touch. But, what is the social etiquette when it comes to introducing yourself to a stranger?

  • How do you approach someone who has never heard of you?
  • How do you introduce yourself?
  • What do you say on first meeting someone?
  • What would be considered rude or inappropriate?
  • If you have a mutual friend should you wait, or ask, to be introduced?
  • How do you establish a footing for new friendship?
  • Do/Should you introduce yourself in blog comments?
  • Do others feel frustrated having strangers introduce themselves (like movie-stars constantly hounded for autographs)?
  • Do you introduce yourself when you follow someone on Twitter?
  • Do you beg and borrow friends from your other Plurk buddies?
  • How do you ask to connect with someone on LinkedIn?
  • Do you attach a private message to your Facebook friend request?
  • How do you build your network if you’re chronically shy?

As you can see, I have many questions and these only begin to scratch the surface. So, I’ll put them to you and I hope you can help me.

How do YOU meet and greet new people?

19 November 2009

Freelance Writers Find Expert SourcesMany writers today find everything they need on the Internet to put together an article. But expert sources add validity to your points and professionalism to your story. If I find myself stuck on beginning an article, it’s often because I don’t know enough about the topic, or I don’t have enough information in front of me to find that perfect lead or –if it’s a longer article — to outline the story from beginning to end.

How do professional freelance writers find expert sources? Several ways.

Find experts.

Social networking makes it easier than ever before to find expert sources. Peter Shankman’s popular “HARO” network connects reporters to PR people who can connect you with experts or even experts themselves. Tweeting a query on Twitter will also connect you with people, or try Facebook. Perhaps a friend of a friend is an expert in the area you need.

You can find experts on message boards and forums, but spend some time lurking on the forum, learn the rules of the land, and connect with the regulars before asking questions as people may be turned off if you just sign in announcing that you’re a writer seeking answers. How long does this take? There’s no rule. You should know when you feel comfortable enough to start approaching members with questions for your article. You might do this through private messaging or, if you feel comfortable enough, start a thread asking for comments.

Finally, you can often find experts by doing a Google search on your topic and looking over the more popular blogs. Contact experts who write blogs via e-mail if you can’t find a phone number. Again, it helps to become an active member of their community, by reading and commenting on their blog, but chances are good they will want the positive publicity a reporter can offer, so they might be more than happy to speak with you even if you are a new reader.

Collect experts.

Keep a file in your computer, listing the names of different expert sources. As this file grows, you may want to break it up into several categories—public officials, technical directors, teachers, historians, or whatever categories best suit your needs.

List the person’s name, when you first spoke to them, and regarding what, their area of expertise, and any personal details that will help jog your memory so you can connect with them on a personal level. You may want to add a JPG to their file, too, because some editors request head-shots of interview subjects.

Ping your sources.

As your writing experience grows, so will your file. Keep in touch with your expert sources on a regular basis, asking them what’s new in their industry. Soon, you’ll be the first one to hear about ground breaking news. “Pings” don’t take long. Simple notes on Twitter, Facebook or an e-mail once a month works. Some people prefer phone calls. Make a note in their file of each expert’s preferred contact method so you don’t intrude. You can also include special notes about the best times to reach them, like “always reachable by cell,” or “works from home Mondays and Wednesdays.”

HARO

Peter Shankman’s website, HelpAReporterOut.com lets you post queries that go out to thousands of PR reps and professionals. With a well-targeted question, you could get hundreds of sources all willing to help you. Or maybe just a handful with exactly the information you need. I’ve come to rely on this almost too frequently, as it’s making me lazy about using my other techniques!

Of course, these are just the basics. If you trust in synchronicity and the law of attraction, experts will come your way when you need them. These tips help that process along.

Writers: What’s the oddest way you ever found an expert source for an article?

5 November 2009

I had the incredible pleasure and opportunity to pull talented, powerhouse freelance writer Michel Tune out of her busy schedule to ask her a few questions I’d been itching to ask. Today, Michele shares with us her insights on the value of social media and social networking and how she has used the broad range of popular online networks to become THE Raw Juice Girl.

Rebecca: First, let me say, CONGRATULATIONS! In just four years you’ve taken on the world of freelance writing and created a solid niche and brand. Everyone seems to KNOW the Raw Juice Girl or Michele T and everyone I’ve talked to has wonderful things to say about you.

Rebecca: I know you’re active in Social Media. You’re a strong presence on Plurk, Twitter, Facebook, and StumbleUpon. These days, it is important to include networking for success.

What advice do you have for those who are only just beginning to get their feet wet or have yet to brave the waters of Social Media?

Michele: Think about what you’re most passionate about, what you want your brand to be (if you don’t already have one), and try to come up with a username (and avatar) that you’ll use across the various Social Media sites—a username that will stick in reader’s minds, and represent who you are as a business, and a person. People know me as MicheleT because that’s my name; they quickly came to know me as Raw Juice Girl because I’m always writing, chatting, or blogging about raw juices and how they’ve changed my life. It’s who I am—and you know it. I never dreamed my desire to share my heart openly and honestly, my passion for writing, and my enthusiasm for raw food, juice and its healing benefits would bring me to where I am today.

Michele: Also, I can’t stress enough that you just want to be yourself. You’d be surprised how well others respond to YOU as a person. Be yourself, share your heart, and success follows that—not the other way around, in my opinion. (Of course, I never said I’m always right!)

Rebecca: Wow, two fantastic tips, Michele. So many of us jump into the deep end of social networking and don’t give much thought to how we want to be seen in the online world. Choosing your personal brand first is fantastic advice and putting heart and integrity into all our online interactions is vital for lasting success.

Rebecca: Of course, social networking can take a lot of time. I know I’ve sometimes found days disappearing as I get sucked into the Twitter vortex.

How much time would you guess you spend networking each day and how has that time influenced or benefited your business?

Michele: Wow. I don’t even know how to answer this question. I mentioned above that some days I write 14-15 hours a day. During a lot of that time, I’ll have several tabs open while I’m researching online and I’ll jump back-and-forth between tabs. I’m not hanging out there all day like some people may assume. I’m actually popping in to share a link or say hi, just to give myself a mental break for a few minutes and then I pop out as quickly as I popped in and I’m back to writing or researching.

Michele: I do think it’s a huge influence and extremely beneficial because (like you mentioned in your intro to this interview), word-of-mouth is key. A lot of people have learned who I am. They know they can email or tweet and ask me something and I’ll answer as soon as I can with an honest opinion. If I don’t know, I say just that. Or, I direct them to someone or a site who does. Social Media and networking also drives a lot more traffic to your site than if you just blogged away all day without ever commenting on another blog or tweeting a link.

Michele: And the key to networking, I’ve found, is in the old saying most of us heard growing up: It’s far better to give than it is to receive. Share relevant links from other blogs or websites and quotes way more often than you share links to your own posts or articles. Throw a ton of your genuine personality into the mix and you’ll have a successful—and very fun—networking adventure, I’m sure. I know I do!

If you were forbidden from networking on all but one Social Network, which would you choose to keep and why?

Michele: First, I think you’re totally cruel for asking this question!

Michele: Well, considering I take away different things from different Social Media Networks, this is a very difficult question.

Michele: I guess I could answer it in two parts: one answer for personal reasons; one answer for the business side of things.

Michele: [Personal] If I had only one Social Media site for personal use, I’d choose to keep Plurk. Why? Because, while I enjoy Facebook and Twitter, Plurk has more of a… well, almost small town community feel to it. I love how the drop-down response system works on Plurk. It’s more like mini blog posts with a comment section, and seems more suited for warm conversation you can keep track of, than other sites.

Michele: [Business] I’m torn on this one as well because although I do receive traffic from Facebook and Plurk, it’s Twitter and StumbleUpon that bring in about the same amount of traffic for me—which is quite a bit. Sometimes traffic floods in from both these sites until it amazes me, really. But, since I’m always thinking more with my heart than anything else, I’d have to go with Twitter, even for business. Why? Because I feel like Twitter allows the business person the opportunity to continuously show their personality in the tweets. Like I mentioned above, you can share links in tweets (which will give followers an idea of your interests/what you like to read) and also quotes (which also gives followers a glimpse of who you are), and then you can also share whatever is on your mind. You can mention you’re traveling somewhere and that may result in meeting a new client at the location you mentioned. Twitter allows the business person to promote and represent their business while showing that they’re real human beings. And I have well over 1,000 followers on both my Twitter accounts (@MicheleTune and @RawJuiceGirl), my largest following of any of my Social Media accounts. So, yes, Twitter for business.

Rebecca: Wow, there is so much value in all you’ve shared with us today. I truly appreciate your time and want to thank you for spending some of it with me sharing your thoughts on social networking and how it has played a role in your continuing success.

Rebecca: I wonder if our readers have anything to add or any questions of their own?

22 September 2009