social media tips

Who’s Listening?

By Social Media

Today’s guest post is from Ken Mueller of Inkling Media.

Social Media platforms can be incredibly personal. For those of us who spend a good part of our day communicating via Twitter, it is not only personal, but has become second nature. So much so that we really do need to stop and think from time to time before we Tweet.

If you’re anything like me, you use Twitter for both personal and business reasons. You might even have two separate accounts, but we need to remember, it’s hard to separate the two. I’m a sole proprietor; I AM my business. People associate me with Inkling Media. Anything I say on my personal account will affect how people view me. That includes clients and prospective clients. Even if you are one of those people whose Twitter bio reads, “I also tweet for @[businessname] but my tweets here are mine alone and not those of my employer,” you need to think before you tweet. You can throw down all the caveats and disclaimers in the world, but if you annoy or alienate me on your personal Twitter account, and I know that you work for Joe’s Taco Shack, there’s a good chance I’ll go elsewhere when I’m jonesing for a taco.

It basically comes down to whether or not you have a filter. This can either be your own internal filter, or an external filter, or both. I normally have a pretty good internal filter. I find that in both the personal and professional realms, there are certain topics I’ll avoid. Those include politics and religion. Oh I have very distinct opinions on both of those topics, and I might make the occasional mention, but I also know that Twitter might not be the best realm for discussing them in any meaningful way. 140 characters of text can certainly limit understanding and cause confusion.

Additionally, I also tend to avoid any sort of profanity or off-color humor. I don’t really speak like that in my real life, so why should I talk like that on Twitter or Facebook? I know that there are some people I follow that I would NEVER want to work with based on their “sense of humor”. Often, I might even unfollow them if it gets out of hand. Some folks seem to wear their brashness like a badge of honor. Sorry, I’m not buying.

I also have at least two external filters in place. Very often you’ll hear someone say, “Don’t put anything online you wouldn’t want your mother to see.” Well, my 77-year old mom is one of my filters. She subscribes to my blog via email, and while she doesn’t understand most of what I blog about, just knowing that she’s reading my blog does have an effect on what I write. For instance, while I don’t use profanity, my mom’s definition of profanity and mine, are decidedly different, mostly based on being from different generations. I remember my mom making a big deal about one of her grandchildren using the “F-word” once. I was shocked that one of them would use it, and then discovered that to her, the “F-word” is “fart”. Yup. That’s my mom. Needless to say, the word “fart” won’t appear in my blog (but I’m more than OK using it here on Marijean’s blog! Hope your mom doesn’t mind, MJ!)

My second external filter is my 21-year old daughter. She recently joined Twitter as a way of being a part of the Tony Awards. But, now she’s there. And she follows me. She’s a great kid and we get along really well, but knowing that she is reading my tweets does make me pause from time to time. She’s kinda nosy and won’t hesitate to question me on things. So I’m now learning to put my tweets through an “Elizabeth Filter.”

Do you have a good filter in place? External, internal or both? What rules do you have in place for yourself? Are there certain types of language, behavior, or content that you don’t like seeing on Twitter, Facebook, or other social platforms?



Five Ways Print Can Do Online Better

By Social Media

Case Study: Ladue News in St. Louis, Mo.

It is only because I am featured in a current article in the Ladue News that the publication’s use of its online presence caught my attention. I worked in PR in St. Louis for more than 12 years; I have worked with the staff at the Ladue News on behalf of clients and employers. They didn’t ask for it, but I’m providing some advice to help them maximize their use of their website and their presence in social media. The advice applies to any small newspapers or primarily print publications that have incorporated an online version.

1. Don’t simply use the print version of an article in the Web version of the same article. Use hyperlinks in the content and in the print version, supply the URLs. For the article about mom bloggers, I supplied several links for the reporter to use, and it was disappointing to see key blog posts referenced without a link to them for readers to easily follow.

2. If you’re mentioning a local business, provide the URL in print and link to the company’s website online. In the current article, my employer was mentioned only as a St. Louis-based PR firm — an interesting approach for a publication with a St. Louis readership. Leaving out the name Standing Partnership was disappointing, and a missed opportunity for the publication to continue to develop relationships with local PR firms and their clients. As a blogger, it’s also true that I write quite a bit for Where Do You Stand?, my firm’s corporate blog, but again there was no link to that blog supplied.

3. Reformat page links. The URL for the article is: http://www.laduenews.com/articles/2010/04/22/living/special_features/doc4bd0b4deae4b9669028191.txt – this is not an optimized link. As an example of a properly formatted link/URL, take a look at my buddy Jay Baer’s link: http://www.convinceandconvert.com/integrated-marketing-and-media/information-as-theater-the-power-of-humanized-description/ Jay (an expert in social media and public relations) does his the right way.

4. Make it easy for people to share articles. Currently the Ladue News has the option to e-mail an article to a contact. But since the publication has a presence on Twitter and Facebook, and so do many of their readers, it would be beneficial to offer a Share This option. With this tool, readers are encouraged to share what they like on social networks, exponentially increasing the reach of your content.

5. If you have a social network, respect it and use it. Now Ladue News is doing a pretty good job with their Facebook presence; it’s fairly new but has more than 600 “fans” or “people who like them” as is the current structure on the site. On Twitter however, the publication’s presence is weak. There are very few followers and LN is only following one user (as of this writing). It’s clear that no one’s managing the Twitter presence or responding to @ replies. This is something I hate to see in companies or publications using social media tools — an account that’s been set up, then left to languish and die. It’s like setting up an 800 number for customers, then never answering it or responding to voicemails. That’s just bad business.