Flight Out

Flight Out

Originally uploaded by Mason Media

Flying out to a trade show yesterday. I’m blogging pics, videos, and more for a client’s blog and social media all this week. During the flight, my client spilled his water all over me (which almost doused the laptop I was holding, which would’ve have ended my blogging, but disaster was averted). The flight attendant brought a replacement drink for him, but this one had a lid and straw. LOL!

Twitter del.icio.us Digg Facebook linked-in Yahoo Buzz StumbleUpon

Adventures in Blogging

Next week I will be posting content from what was the 13th largest trade show in America last year. It’s the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show and Conference, aka S.H.O.T. Show, in Las Vegas, NV with over 50,000 in attendance.

One of Mason Media’s clients is a Law Enforcement/Military distributor and has contracted out to Mason Media to cover the trade show for their blog and social media. So now, Mason Media has broadcast level media access to over 1500 exhibitors over 5 days (Jan 17-21).

I’ve already lined up an appointment with the winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor,  Sgt. Sammy Davis who will be at the show. I will be chasing and hounding other guest celebrities and nationally known figures for special interviews to share on the blog here.

It’s fun traveling and covering an event like this because you really get to test and stretch all the capabilities of your blog, social media, and mobile tools. We did this type of coverage for this company at last year’s event and they received a surge in web traffic for the next six months as well as a surge in sales. Being able to bring real time updates and coverage via these communication methods creates huge value to your audience.

What kind of events in your own industry can use social media and blogging to inform  and add value to your audience?

Twitter del.icio.us Digg Facebook linked-in Yahoo Buzz StumbleUpon

Socialnomics Video

Saw this video and wanted to share it here on the blog. Some interesting stats and facts definitely pop-out. As I share this video with you, I want to reinforce what I have posted in the past: I believe social media is a great tool that compliments and enhances a business’s marketing strategy. I do not believe social media is the new one-stop shop for marketing. With that said, enjoy…

Twitter del.icio.us Digg Facebook linked-in Yahoo Buzz StumbleUpon

What do you think about QUESTIONS?

Do you think it is valuable to ask questions when it comes to your Social Media content?

Most social media content is informative. It adds value to the online community with knowledge, tips, and data. Asking a question doesn’t necessarily fall within that spectrum of content.

I mean, if you’re doing social media for your business, you want to come across as an authority/expert in your niche, right? Won’t asking questions make it look like you don’t know anything and need help?

What about asking questions for the purpose of creating a dialogue and interaction? Is it worth asking a question just for those reasons? Why or why not?

What about asking your followers what they think of you and your brand? Do you think it makes you too vulnerable for negative feedback?

If you believe asking questions is a good practice for one’s social media content, what different types of questions should you think about asking?

Please let me know what you think…

Twitter del.icio.us Digg Facebook linked-in Yahoo Buzz StumbleUpon

ESP Options

ESP is short for “Email Service Provider.” If you have a blog that you’re looking to drive traffic to, email is key component. Using a blog combined with an email and integrated social networking strategy is an effective and practical plan for bloggers just starting out

Bloggers that are in the habit of bookmarking and web surfing will come back for return visits to your page to see what your latest content is. Non-bloggers aren’t always in the habit of returning to blogs of their own volition. This is why email is such a powerful component: It reminds people of your blog and provides links for them to click on and see your latest content. For the cost, it is one of the best forms of internet marketing out there.

When it comes to choosing an ESP, it really depends on what you’re trying to do. Here are three options I would consider depending on what you’re doing (of course this is not a comprehensive list of options):

1. AWeber

I like Aweber for two reasons: They provide effective Hover Forms for email capture and they work great with blogs with virtually no time input.

The Aweber Hover Form automatically appears when a user brings up your site. It emphasizes the option visitors have to sign up for your email list. You can customize the form in regards to appearance, how it appears, and how often it appears. I recommend setting it to appear once, so return visitors don’t have be interrupted by it on future visits. The other feature I like about Aweber is that you can design emails that are created automatically around new posts on your blog. For me, I designed an email that goes out once-a-week to subscribers with all the latest blog posts from the previous week. The only time investment with Aweber hover forms and emails is on the front-end of the process.

2. Constant Contact

I like Constant Contact because of their user friendly email template design system. If you want emails that are visually appealing and easy to design, I would recommend Constant Contact. They’ve also recently added social media integration features with their email templates as well.

3. Google Feedburner

Google Feedburner is the only option of these three that is free. Google Feedburner is a free Google App. It allows people to sign-up and receive an email version of each of your articles when they are posted. I recommend Google Feedburner because it’s free. Personally, I don’t like the idea of clogging up peoples’ email inbox on a daily basis (because I write articles on a daily basis), but there are a lot of people who don’t mind it. If you only blog 2-3 times a week or less, this would be something I would definitely recommend looking into.

Either way you go, it’s important to implement an email component along with social media if you’re looking to drive traffic to your blog and disseminate your information effectively.

Twitter del.icio.us Digg Facebook linked-in Yahoo Buzz StumbleUpon

Customer Evangelists

Through retweets on Twitter, you have the opportunity to cultivate and inspire customer evangelists for your particular niche. Customer Evangelists share your information and their opinions about it with their circle of influence, thus multiplying your broadcasting ability.

Retweeting is where a Twitter user takes ones of your Twitter posts and shares it on their own Twitter page while also giving you the credit. When your mouse pointer is held over a single Twitter update, an option appears beneath it to “Retweet” it. Your followers are simply one small click away from being your brand evangelist now. Retweets demonstrate your influence. Retweets distribute your content beyond your own following. Retweets indirectly advertise your Twitter page and grow your following. Retweets can drive more traffic to a page if they have a URL link in them.

You need to have an intentional strategy to encourage and affirm retweeting. So what are some ways to inspire customer evangelists? I’m glad you asked…

1.  Say Thank You

In the “Home” section of your Twitter profile it’s real easy to spot your retweets. Just go to the “Retweets” drop-down menu and click on “Your Tweets, retweeted.” You’ll see a list of your tweets that have been retweeted and when you click on each you’ll see who it was that retweed it.

Click on their icon to bring up their account and send a quick @mention saying thank you. On Twitter, “RT” is short-hand for ‘Retweet.” How long does it take to type in: Thanks for the RT? Not very long, especially if you consider the free advertising.

2. Retweet List

“Lists” are a great and often under-used tool on Twitter. With “Lists,” I can follow a few even though I’m following thousands on my overall account. Each person that retweets one of my tweets gets added to my “Retweeters List.” This way I can pay closer attention to these loyal supporters and give them more interaction which leads me into my next point…

3. Give Back

If someone has retweeted your tweet, go to their page and see if you can retweet one of their tweets. One of the reasons I use the list feature is that I can click on the list and see my “Retweeters” latest tweets. If I find a tweet that seems relevant for my audience, I Retweet it! This is Participation and The Law of Reciprocity at work.

Another way to retweet is using the @mention. Let’s say JohnDoe tweeted: “Have a great weekend!” You could simply retweet it, or you could copy the text and paste it into an @mention like this: “RT @JohnDoe Have a great weekend!” If you wanted to share a reply with the retweet you could do this: “RT @JohnDoe Have a great weekend! | You too John!” The vertical line acts a separator between the retweet and your reply.

These are just a few simple strategies to inspire customer evangelists on Twitter. If you have any more feel free to share them with us below in the comments section.

Twitter del.icio.us Digg Facebook linked-in Yahoo Buzz StumbleUpon

Content Is King – Part 2

Here are the last 4 Keys to Valuable Content for your social media and /or blog. All together there are 7 Keys which I began discussing in the previous post, “Content Is King.”

4. Diverse

Make sure to change-up the context of your content from time-to-time. Obviously, the majority of the time you want to add value to your readers regarding your specific niche, but it’s okay to sporadically mix-in content about your personal life, what’s happening with your business, or a customer testimony. These types of posts help to build the relational connection with your audience. You can also post links to other articles or invite another blogger to write an article for your site.

5. English

I’m not going to present this principle like I’m a professional writer, because I is not : ) I have definitely posted content with misspellings and incorrect grammar. I do take the time to proofread my posts before I publish them. A couple hours after I publish them, I return to read it once more just to make sure (and “yes,” I still miss things). All I am encouraging you to do here is to commit yourself to do your best to make your content easy to understand. Use spell check tools available to you and be disciplined to proofread.

6. Oldy But Goody

It’s okay, from time to time, to pull out a popular article or quote from the past and re-post it. Don’t do this too much, or your audience will feel like you’re wasting their time, especially if you’re just starting out. As long as it is still relevant and beneficial, emphasize it’s importance with a second edition.

7. Your Passion

You must be interested in what your sharing. If you’re not interested, it will show between the lines. You’re level of interest and passion will create a tractor beam of energy (Stars Wars reference) that will pull in and grab your audience’s attention.

If you’re only blogging for money, you will eventually run out of passion. If you’re blogging because you enjoy talking about your topic and/or you enjoy helping people with your knowledge and experience, you’ll have a fire that is easily fanned. Interested readers follow interested authors.

In review, valuable content will be Relevant, Consistent, Opinionated, Diverse, English, an Oldy But Goody, and last but not least, it will be Your Passion.

Click Here For Part 1 of CONTENT IS KING

Twitter del.icio.us Digg Facebook linked-in Yahoo Buzz StumbleUpon

Content Is King

Posting something stupid like, “Eating an egg salad sandwich,” isn’t going to grow your electronic influence. What is the highest priority when it comes to social media and blogging? Content. Why? Because Content is King. Content is the information you publish in your status updates, blog articles, photos and videos. Your content determines the value (or lack of value) you create for your online audience. Your content keeps your readers coming back to your pages/blog OR it leaves them realizing they’ll never get those two minutes of their life back. Let’s look at 7 Keys to Valuable Content:

1. Relevant

Hopefully you’ve already defined your niche. Once you’ve defined your niche it’s important to know your audience. What are they interested in? What are the main questions they’re asking? What is the information they don’t know about, that you do know about it?

As long as your content is relevant to you’re audience, you will always have an audience.

Staying relevant is like the blade of a knife; just because you were sharp yesterday doesn’t mean you won’t be dull today. Make sure you take notice of the content you publish that creates interaction and make sure you take notice of the content you publish that doesn’t create any interaction. It’s also valuable to visit popular sites to see what’s being talked about and learn as much as you can.

2. Consistent

You’re content needs to be consistent. By consistent, I mean there needs to be a pattern to your frequency of posting. Posting once every three or four months isn’t going to build a community around your content. I hate to break this to you, but if you only post every 3 or 4 months, YOUR PAGE IS DEAD! The least I would recommend is once a week. The ideal is once a day. I currently hold myself to blogging Monday thru Friday once a day and if I feel like it, Saturday and/or Sunday too.

Decide what amount of content you can publish and commit yourself to a schedule. Maybe you can only post 3 times a week…fine. Post an article/update every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The point is, your audience will become familiar with your frequency and learn how often they can return to your site/pages to see what’s new.

3. Opinionated

What will make your content unique is your opinion. Your opinion is your brand. You may post certain information that has been posted before, but it’s your opinion about it that will make it stick out. I’m not recommending you provoke people into a flame war, but if it’s your page/blog it should be your personality that comes across. In the words of a great philosopher, “Express yourself.”

I will share the remaining “Keys” tomorrow…

Click Here For Part 2 of CONTENT IS KING

Twitter del.icio.us Digg Facebook linked-in Yahoo Buzz StumbleUpon

The Perfect Twitter Page

Today I would like to give you 7 Tips on Setting Up the Perfect Twitter Page. It is possible to miss out on potential followers because your profile isn’t setup right. Some people will dismiss your Twitter account as a viable page to follow if it doesn’t have the right feel and look to it. So let’s dig in:

1. Your Twitter URL – Be strategic with your Twitter URL and remember that simplicity is ideal. I always recommend to customers that are designing a brand new site to not only check the URL against the world wide web, but check it against Twitter as well. For example, if you wanted your site to be coolshirts.com and it was available, also check and see if there is a twitter.com/coolshirts. If you really want to be strategic, see is there’s a facebook.com/coolshirts too. This just makes it easy to not only find you but also remember for future return visits.

2. Profile Pic – Remember that social media is supposed to be a place for people to connect. This is why it’s ideal to use a pic of your face for your Twitter image rather than a logo. People are much more likely to follow a person compared to a cold entity.

3. Bio – When you fill out your bio, make sure to use keywords that would be common for people search with when researching your niche and/or industry context. As of Fall of 2010, Google began indexing Twitter as it does with other websites.  If you currently do not have a website, just use your Twitter page for the URL field (if you have a professional Facebook page you can use that instead).

4. Background – Make sure to create a custom background image for your Twitter page. This is relatively easy with a couple options to consider. If you are a graphics type of person, have at it! If not, you can upload an image of your logo and make your background a “Tile” format. If you want more customization and information to be displayed you can go to twitbacks.com to create a more specialized theme for free.

5. Follow Others – When creating a page, Twitter leads you to a page where they share other Twitter users of similar interest/context. It’s good to start out and pick a good 10-15 influential people within your context so you look to be somewhat active. Unless you’re a celebrity, following 0-5 people makes you look very disengaged and most won’t follow you. Also take advantage of contacting people in your email database and invite them to follow you on Twitter too.

6. Content – The next thing you want to do is fill-up your page with tweets aka content. Do not leave one tweet on your page saying, “Trying to figure out Twitter.” Fill-up your page with 8-10 tweets consisting of quotes, links to beneficial articles, and interesting retweets from other relevant Twitter pages. It doesn’t matter that the tweets are minutes apart or even seconds, the important thing is, your page doesn’t look empty.

7. Schedule Tweets – The last thing you want to do is register with cotweet.com. Co-tweet is a very efficient platform to manage Twitter and it’s free (they do offer a paid version). One of the things you can do with co-tweet is schedule-out tweets in advance. It’s very important when starting out, to have a steady flow of consistent tweets on a daily and weekly basis. This shows you are active and engaged with Twitter and worth following.

Doing these seven items when setting up your Twitter page will lay the foundation for social media success. If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to also read my article entitled, “Social Oomph.” You’ll also want to take advantage of the features mentioned in that article when launching your Twitter page.

Hope you found this helpful, and thanks for stopping by!

Twitter del.icio.us Digg Facebook linked-in Yahoo Buzz StumbleUpon

Social Oomph

For your Twitter account, I highly recommend using the Twitter tool/service called Social Oomph. It helps you setup your Twitter page in two specific and strategic ways: Automatically Following Those Who Follow You and Sending Out Auto-DM’s. I will breakdown the importance of these functions as well as how to use them appropriately. Social Oomph does have a “Professional” version you can purchase that comes with multiple bells and whistles. The “Free” version, however, allows you to do the following items outlined below at no cost.

The first task you will have to undertake is registering with Social Oomph and adding your Twitter account. Once you’ve registered and logged in, go to “Social Accounts,” “Add New Account,” “Add Twitter.” There you will have a simple one-click button to authorize access to your Twitter account.

Once you’ve done this, you can go to “Edit Welcome DM” under the “Social Account” menu extension. The page that comes up will look something like this:

Social Oomph

First off, check the box that gives you the option to automatically follow those who follow you. Why? This is good social etiquette on Twitter. It’s a way to say thank you to those that follow you. Celebrities take pride in following no one and having everyone follow them. Why? Because nobody is as important to follow as the celebrity themselves. Don’t try to be a or look like a celebrity.  The other reason this is good is that many people will unfollow those that don’t follow them back after a while. By following everyone who follows you back, you increase the odds of retaining your followers. Social Oomph was one of the first free services to provide this option.

Secondly, check the box to automatically send a welcome message to new followers. Then in the box below you can type in your welcome message. Social Oomph also gives you the option to have multiple welcome messages that randomly rotate, but I don’t currently see the need for this.

Most people use this auto-welcome message to put links to their site or Facebook page. DO NOT DO THIS! This makes you just as annoying as everyone out there that fills up everyone’s Twitter inbox with spam. Most of the time I see a link in my DM’s, I delete it without reading it.

I choose to use this auto-DM as a way to serve my followers. Since I am in the social media niche of the online community, I ask my new followers if they “have any questions regarding social media?” This auto-DM accomplishes several things for me. It communicates my niche in the world wide web to my new followers and creates a relevant context for me regarding all future dialogue with them. It helps me to initiate the relationship building process by asking a question and possibly helping them versus just spamming them. It saves me time since I don’t have to manually contact each of my followers. Lastly, it creates a mechanism in my social media strategy to generate warm leads that could potentially turn into paying customers!

After setting this up and following targeted users, simply filter all the DM’s with links from your inbox (by deleting them) and you should be left with genuine responses from real people that you can begin to engage with.

So as you can see, when setup properly, Social Oomph’s free Twitter services can be a valuable tool for, not only your Twitter page, but your business as well.

Twitter del.icio.us Digg Facebook linked-in Yahoo Buzz StumbleUpon