Tag: social media

30
Aug

3 Things I Learned from My Recent Failure

Every failure feels like a crushing defeat that makes me question my self-worth and purpose. While I desired to wear multiple hats, meet every request, and bring a success, my toolset is incomplete and my skill across all disciplines is far from mastery. I can be chef and sous chef and wait tables, but that dilutes my genius. Attempting to focus on my strengths, I was asked to “stretch” and I agreed. In this effort, I could not reach far enough fast enough—though I gave my all in every attempt.

The course-corrections taken did not lead to smooth sailing. Resources were slim to none and new demands came on so strong, it was like drinking from a fire hose. I kept trying … and I will continue to seek the most productive outcome in every endeavor… still, I have not met with the delight of complete satisfaction.

Sometimes when you try to be and do everything, you become nothing, or a lot less than all.

However, when asked to step up to the plate, you gotta give it all ya got! Especially with a startup gig. The rush to get on base often requires concurrent planning and execution. Stutter steps happen along the way as the path becomes clarified and players come in and out of the game.

My “lane” is the strategic development. I create the brand plan—and the client team implements it. Areas for possible trip-ups include that there isn’t complete buy-in and there aren’t resources for implementation. Both of these bumps were present on this path, along with other challenges.

Still, when working for the vision, it is tough to realize disappointment. The victories drive action while defeat deflates momentum. I can only own my role — the few ways I could make a stronger player.

There were moments of victory. The joy of accomplishment fed my spirit till the next shoe fell behind in the race to forge ahead. When the brand plan was embraced and approved, things looked promising. And then there were the “squirrels” and distractions. Clients often desire to refresh the look before it takes hold. They want variety for the sake of amusement—not for the efficacy of impression. And, in the end, the client is always right. I can only create the plan, get approval, and remind them to stay on plan. When it is insisted to veer, I can only attempt to redirect traffic. And, often, I did.

I dared and I fell short of desired results. It would be tempting to come up with a single reason that things didn’t work out. But it isn’t that simple. And I must wrestle with, scrutinize, and learn from every misstep—as well as the few successes along the way. Perhaps I shall awaken to a new calling—all I know is that I’m trying to find my way. Here are the key takeaways from this unanswered prayer.

FIRST, make sure there is a PLAN.

If there is no plan, then there are only two choices. One is to create a plan and two is to walk away. I accepted an invitation to assist with marketing and branding projects for a startup in transition. There was a website, there was a business structure that was being revised for multiple entities — The Icon, The NonProfit Organization, The ForProfit Organization.

There was no plan. No vision. No mission. No strategy. At least, nothing in writing. Nothing shared. Here I offered to craft a short-term solution but the priority was set otherwise. I should have insisted on that being created or established in writing before proceeding. Instead, I took the carrot and ran with the project and its evolving particulars.

Thus, when I agreed to create a brand strategy for The Icon, it was an effort that stood alone and actually would be expected to lead all other actions. However, I was not in a position to be a leader in the developing organization structure, and there was no staff on board in the organization(s) to lead.

This leads to, SECOND, make sure there is staff or PERSONNEL to assist with execution. 

After attempting to bring in colleagues to flesh out the talent pool, and realizing personality conflicts with the client, I made the mistake of attempting to fly solo and find resources along the way. I was in charge of developing the overall strategy for The Icon brand, however, it became clear that there was no implementation team. While there was an intention to assemble and hire a team, there was not a network in place.  

Wanting to bring my “superpowers” and to realize success for the project, I took on the tasks of implementation across platforms that, strategically, required being revised, updated, or created. I spread myself too thin and I employed my adequate but not masterful skills of design, webmaster, leader, and etc to attempt translating the brand strategy across marketing efforts. I called for help and called out the gaps. Some were filled. Others remained gaping.

It was a disaster at best. The issues were many-fold. Time ticked away at its unforgiving pace and I was losing efficiency bouncing from one last-minute priority to another as deadlines flew in my face like pixels in a video game. People came in the fold for a while — for instance, a woman stepped up to take charge of social media — and the relief of assistance was further taxed by the need to train and align them. 

For this, I created a plan — the Social Media Strategy was developed to assist brand presentation across Facebook and YouTube. From distinguishing a Profile from a Page and then concurrently creating a Celebrity Page on top of the existing NonProfit Organization Page plus planning for an eCommerce Page for exquisite items in the warehouse, this effort quickly scaled beyond reach. And, then the social media manager left the building.

With my hands full, I failed to pick up the threads and weave them into place, and I realized there was no clear path for reconciling all the loose ends. There was nowhere to turn.

So my last major key lesson is, THIRD, make sure there is a PROCESS—or that there are many processes—in place to support success. 

Key processes include Defining, Supporting, and Reporting. The reporting structure needs clear definition so that attention can be brought to the weaknesses and shortfalls in order to thwart disaster. In the changing business structures, the Board of Directors members revolved in and out of the organization, and then disappeared. The one consistent Director traveled for work and was not a businessman so had little efficacy in leading the pack, though he took responsibility for funding all.

Expectations were often unclear and the scope of work changed during each project. I created and executed a series of Social Media posts that were determined to be off-brand after the fact — so I deleted all of them. Getting aligned was difficult and getting approvals was even more difficult. All input and feedback came from The Icon, who really should not have been bothered with such detail, and yet there was nowhere else to turn.

A process for defining the details including deadlines and every duty would assist progress to the plan. And a system of support is critical. Weekly meetings would veer off agenda so effective review didn’t happen and next steps were not certainly determined. I failed to create a place to give shared visibility to all so that changing dates and demands would be communicated undeniably and in a timely fashion. 

I failed to uphold “no” when demands grew beyond my ability to stretch. I failed to “stop” and regroup to ensure alignment and support. I failed to find a way to voice requirements for success in a way that would capture attention and yield success that was better than haphazard. “Step up!” it was commanded. Get ‘er done! Then, even the victories got lost in the fog of let down.

I couldn’t dissuade the escalation of activity so disappointment was the way. This won’t be my experience next time, not at the next opportunity.

And a bonus key comes to mind; FOURTH, make sure you are a fit, PERSONALLY.

Camaraderie and cohesion aid accomplishment. While I met weekly with The Icon, I rarely felt heard. While I respect and revere the position of The Icon, I worked to remain objective. I did not find a way to drink the kool-aid and still serve in my hired role. Keeping out of the grey area meant keeping out of the cultural current. I attended a couple events to get to know the energy of The Icon’s work, as direct experience assists understanding and the ability to message it. Still, I felt it important to serve in my role rather than be served by The Icon. I stayed on the sidelines, in my lane of hired hand.

So again, perhaps I am not a fit in this as I see the newly hired full-time staff immerse themselves in the flow while taking on challenges full force. Or perhaps this is the plight of a contractor vs an employee — always on the outside looking in.

While I am drawn to The Icon and the work, I have a perspective of an observer and I keep my personal boundaries with great care. It is, perhaps, not the best alignment for this particular client. With full-time staff on board, there is a new direction emerging. So be it. I will hang on to the glimpses of achievement in the sea of simultaneous engineering this startup went through. Growing pains. Awkward like adolescence. Now taking off to experience the next stage of expansion.

My goal is to learn from this adventure in failure. To hone my strengths and shore up my weaknesses. And, one day, the people who doubt me will be the ones who talk about the one day when they met me. I might even be one of them.

I should have declined projects when we discussed that I was the wrong person for the detail work. It was out of alignment with my skill set. When asked to step up, I did. I should have said no. Still, some things went well. Overall it was disappointing. In trying to be everything, I was reduced to nothing.

15
May

5 Point Outline for How to Write A Blog Post

— A Basic Outline With Insightful David Ogilvy Quotes

Content is an important marketing tool for all businesses. It takes your message from advertising to advertorial — making the customer the star of your story. There are so many ways to show and sell with storytelling. So, get started. Here is an outline to guide you.

Topic & Working Title or Headline

Start with intention. Build a working headline to focus your efforts, and perhaps, provide a theme. Ultimately you will revise this to make sure it grabs attention and get readers interest.

On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy; when you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. — David Ogilvy

Introduction

What’s the big idea? Summarize the net takeaway(s) to be addressed in your article. Write the key idea(s) you want readers to get out of reading it. Consider posing a question to engage your audience. Or make a compelling statement to pique curiosity. This is where you set the stage for your tale.

It takes a big idea to attract the attention of consumers and get them to buy your product. — David Ogilvy

Key Insights

Brainstorm all the things you want to deliver in the post and list them. Organize them, then group them into main idea(s). Break up your insights into sections so that thoughts are lumped together by theme. As a benchmark, create three to four sections. Expand on these. Beef up sections with some or all of the following:

  • examples
  • quotes
  • how-to or directions
  • easy-to-implement advice
  • benefits
  • personal experience
  • what worked, what didn’t work
  • supporting or helpful information or statistics

Then read it. Revise it. Reorganize information until it makes sense and tells the whole story in the most captivating way.

The more informative your advertising, the more persuasive it will be. — David Ogilvy

Wrap up

In the end, summarize the post with an actionable takeaway, promise, or benefit of the lesson or experience. Leave the reader with results they could expect. And include a call to action: do this … now.

What you say in advertising is more important than how you say it. — David Ogilvy

Extras

Include hyperlinks that would lead to more information expanding on ideas, people, or features mentioned in the blog. And, always include an image when you can. A picture is worth a thousand words.

I do not regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information. — David Ogilvy

Enjoy the journey as you write your way to success. Share your self, your style, your vision in a way that attracts your tribe, one reader at a time. Create the spin to win.

15
Feb

Set Up Social Media Success in 6 Simple Steps

Social media doesn’t have to be daunting. In fact, it can be your best sales associate and your favorite marketing tactic. The key is to focus so you don’t get overwhelmed. It all begins with your message. Here are five steps to go from strategy to scheduled for social media success.

#1 Create Your Social Media Strategy.

For your Brand, you have a strategy. Now, align that with Social Media. Determine your niche—your target audience. Consider pain points and interests; and your solution for them. People seek solutions and benefits!

Brand strategy is a long-term plan for development to achieve specific goals. It is your playbook. Goals, strategies and tactics are outlined to give you a game plan.

Your brand is not your product, your logo, your website, or your name. It is much more than that. It is tangible and intagible, purpose driven, mission focused attributes that are your reason for being. It’s a feeling that separates powerful versus mediocre brands.

Your brand strategy considers:

1. Your industry & design trends
2. Your ideal client’s desires
3. Your brand personality

Distinguish your brand — how do you differentiate yourself and speak to your audience in a way that attracts them? There are many ways to give your brand a personality. From your logo and colors to tone of voice, messaging must align with your audience while remaining consistent in delivery style. Imagine your brand talking with one customer. And then, replicate that conversation consistently in the marketplace. This is where the social media strategy comes in.

Now, create a plan for social media that addresses your target audience where they are. Design a communication and messaging strategy to deliver information that is helpful to them and of interest. Relate to other topics that they are engaging with across platforms.

Check out this article of interest — Perfecting the four P’s.

HOMEWORK:

  1. Know what makes you different from your competition.
  2. Define your target audience and the solution you provide.
  3. Translate this to your Social Media strategy.

#2 Choose Your Social Media Platform(s).

You aren’t required to be on every Social Media platform to be successful. Pick one, possibly two to start. Avoid overwhelm!

In the beginning, fewer and BETTER is the focus. Facebook is the logical first choice for most brands. Twitter, LinkedIn, and/or YouTube are strong second choices, depending on your niche.

With Facebook, create your personal Profile then set up your Business Page. From quotes to images to video, you can dominate presence in your niche. Facebook Live amplifies the possibilites. You can benefit from low cost, highly targeted Facebook Ads to generate leads and build your list.

Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest along with LinkedIn and YouTube are great online real estate for your message. Your strategy will assit you in selecting the one or two places to start so that you speak to your tribe and align with your message.

To get a feel for the social media channels, check out this article of interest — Social Media at a Glance.

HOMEWORK:

  1. Set your goals — what you aim to accomplish.
  2. Select the Platforms you will use to START.
  3. Set up your social media sites.

#3 Curate and Create Your Content.

Develop an Editorial Plan to guide your content with purpose. And then you can repurpose the information across your social media channels. This reinforces your presence.

Create a calendar — three, six, nine, or 12 months out. For each month, brainstorm themes and then topics within that theme that would be of interest to your audience. Look at information that will establish you as the “Go To” person in your arena.

Choose themes and topics so you can weave information from one post to another. Look at the map of content so you know what you are sharing each and every day. Content can easily be “re-purposed” and used in a variety of ways, and across multiple platforms.

For more insights, check out this article — Repurpose Key Twitter Posts.

HOMEWORK:

  1. Brainstorm content theme ideas.
  2. Outline topics of interest to your niche.
  3. Create a 30 day content editorial calendar.

#4 Create a Series of Messages.

Now comes all the write stuff. Tailor the words to fit the channel. A blog post can be pulled apart for fodder you can upload to Twitter or Facebook. Specific messages can be developed for each channel and your audience there. If you desire assistance with this, let me know.

Now, get going. Check out this article of interest — Pretty Perfect.

HOMEWORK:

  1. Write your message(s).
  2. Develop content tailored to each channel.
  3. Consider quotes that align with your message.

#5 Select Message Visuals.

There are a number of ways to deliver information—your brand strategy will assist you in selecting the style(s) best suited to your message.

Photos; Infographics; Videos (Live and Native); Blog Posts and Original Articles by you; White Papers; Blogs and Useful Articles by other thought leaders in your niche who do not compete. Make Video a priority as it gets the MOST engagement!

Once you determine the style of information delivery, create your content. Outline it. Find photos and images to add impact. Consider using Piktochart or Canva to create images and infographs. Look at Notegraphy for creating impact with your words. And, find free photos and images at Pixabay.

Check out this article of interest — A Picture Worth 1000 Words.

HOMEWORK:

  1. Consider your brand image and align visuals with that.
  2. Create your message visuals.
  3. Develop content across visual media.

#6 Schedule It.

Effective Social Media Marketing can be done in 30 minutes a day when you have a plan and you WORK that plan.

You can use tools such as Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule your posts in advance. This puts your social media presence on autopilot.

Check out this article of interest — Storytelling and the 3 T’s.

HOMEWORK:

  1. Schedule posts for 30 days—consider Hootsuite or Buffer.
  2. Check in every day for 30 minutes to boost activity and interact with your tribe.
  3. Share posts from others who attract your niche.

Define your brand strategy and your message. Choose which delivery method will be best for your message. Make a list of themes and topics of interest. Create your content. And schedule it.

Congratulations! You now have the steps required to command Social Media and dominate your niche for business awareness, lead generation, client contact, and nutured relationships that lead to SALES! For assistance in creating your content, get in touch with me.

13
Mar

Come to the party! Social Media at a glance.

social-media-microphones

So many venues. So little time. Marshall McLuhan once put forth that the form of a medium embeds itself in the message, creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is perceived. So, the brand of the channel has a halo affect on your message. Lets take a quick peek at some of the main social media haunts, and some possible associations.

LinkedIn: This is your resume and c.v. channel. Here, it’s like saying: “I’m on an interview and this is what I wish to project of myself professionally and personally.” Post an article to showcase your experience and expertise. Share an article of interest — and add a comment to give it your perspective. And, you could share these to Twitter, too.

LinkedIn Company Page: This is like offering up the annual report. Or, perhaps a billboard along with content that leads back to our website, or to a site of interest.

Twitter: It’s like a work-related party where you’re feeling rather chatty… “I’m in a conference room at the office with colleagues and clients, and this is what I wish to share because it is of interest, informative, or appropriately entertaining.”
There are many Twitter post options that you can share.

  • Text: These are the most basic — simply a 140-character or less message.
  • Link: Add a link to your own or other website that users can click through to visit.
  • Image: Include an image with your messages — you know, it’s worth a thousand words that help to expand on your 140 characters.
  • Video Posts: Upload a video or a GIF with your post — here is where you can include your talents via VINE (see more below)
  • Replies: start your message with the @HANDLE of customer or fan or other who posted or reached out to you on Twitter to further the engagement.

Snapchat: You had to be there! (or Wish You Were Here) and this is a glimpse of what is so special. Like an inside joke, you can do a variety of things to personalize the moment, including video slo-mo or speeded up for effect! While the snap won’t last, the impression(s) likely will. So make them add up to an image you wish to uphold. And, you could share an appropriate saved snap on Twitter or Instagram…

Instagram: Sharing interesting moments thematically for business or personal memories. There is a great opportunity to portray an image … or bounce all around like life does. These could be featured on Twitter if for business, or on Facebook if personal.

Facebook: Connecting to family and friends … can be like the high school hallway or a kind of reunion. Here is everything from breakfast to politics and a few happy birthday shout-outs.

Facebook Page: Like ‘bring-your-family-to-work’ day, show off all that’s cool about what you do. These could be repurposed on Twitter (but not vise-verse because Twitter posts are more frequent and could be spam-like on your Facebook Page).

Vine: Here we go loop de loop. Vine is intended to create short videos that repeat themselves. Over. And over. In six seconds.

Periscope: Use Twitter’s live video streaming app in the moment to keep Twitter connections up-to-date … experiential opportunity to share a presentation or a walk in the park — in real time. Make sure to turn on Twitter sharing so your broadcast is shared in a tweet that follows the formula: LIVE on #Periscope: [Video Title] [Link to Video]. Like with Snapchat, the broadcast expires after 24 hours.

YouTube: Everything that’s fit to film … and then some. Here is where you can share your story or webcast or data visualization. Storytelling with sight and sound that you can create and upload with ease. Or embed on your website. Create a landing page for each video. Tweet ’em. Show them on LinkedIn and Facebook. Lots of mileage from the footage.

Google +: Articles and posts relative to all the search terms you want associated with your brand. And, running around in circles.

Medium: So, you want to be a writer. This is a great place to blog and tell your stories — or repeat them.

Tumblr: Tumblr is useful in many ways—inspiration, scrapbooking, communication, portfolio… an overall blogging platform, create original content or curate (re-blog) posts—great venue for bloggers, brands, trendsetters, and tastemakers.

Ello: Share art and inspiration, connect with creators around the world, all ad-free. This one is still in nascent stages for me. Here I post things in black & white.

And so, again, like Marshall McLuhan says, “The medium is the message.” The medium affects the society in which it plays a role not only by the content delivered over the medium, but also by the characteristics of the medium itself. Well, sometimes those characteristics demand traits of the content. Hmmm. In any case, whether you create something specifically for one venue or the other, there are many ways to share. Edit. Share. Edit. Share. Etc. Have fun. Be interesting.

originally posted via LinkedIn, here

2
Nov

GRAMMAR: ME vs I

It is important to use language correctly so not to diminish credibility of your content. Here is a tool to help guide the use of I (noun) versus ME (pronoun). Keep it handy till it becomes a habit.

Guide for the proper use of I vs ME.

Guide for the proper use of I vs ME.

“I” is the noun—refers to oneself as speaker or writer.  “ME” is the pronoun—refers to self as object of a verb or preposition.

RULE: If you can’t replace the “YOU and I” with “WE,” you’ve got it wrong. If you can’t replace “YOU and ME” with “US,” you’ve got it wrong. Tweet: RULE: If you can't replace YOU & I with WE—you've got it wrong. If you can't replace YOU & ME with US—you've got it wrong. @tamaraparisio

Thanks for meeting with HIM AND ME. (Thanks for meeting with ME. Thanks for meeting with HIM. Thanks for meeting with US.) vs HE AND I appreciate your time. (I appreciate your time. HE appreciates your time. WE appreciate your time.)

It is bigger than YOU AND ME combined. (It is bigger than ME. It is bigger than YOU.) vs YOU AND I are smaller than this idea. (I am smaller than this idea. YOU are smaller than this idea. WE are smaller than this idea.)

To YOU AND ME, this idea is big. (To ME, this idea is big. To YOU, this idea is big. To US this idea is big.) vs When YOU AND I succeed (When I succeed … When YOU succeed… When WE succeed…)

They will praise YOU AND ME for this. (They will praise ME for this. They will praise YOU for this. They will praise US for this.) vs The praise YOU AND I receive will be stellar (The praise I receive will be stellar. The praise YOU receive will be stellar. The praise WE receive will be stellar.)

Between HIM AND ME there is chemistry. (Between US there is chemistry. Between HIM & ME. Between ME & YOU. Between ME & HIM.) vs HE AND I share an office. (HE shares an office with me. I share an office with him. She shares and office with HIM AND ME. WE share an office.)

He took a photo of HIMself AND ME. (He took a photo of US. He took a photo of HIMSELF. He took a photo of ME. He took a photo of US.) vs HE AND I posed for a photo. (HE posed for a photo. I posed for a photo. WE posed for a photo.)

26
May

A Bit About Twitter

Social media is on the rise, and it can be daunting. Here are a few tips to help build twitteraderie.

SET UP
Present your brand image consistently. Include images that are indicative of your business.

Header. The measurements of the Twitter header is at least 1500px x 500px and Twitter seems to render png files better with less loss of image quality, so create it as PNG.

Profile. Your profile image should be at least 210px square.

Be sure to include your website and a brief brand message.

THE MEDIUM THE MESSAGE

The primary Twitter audience is young adults. They are interested in news, text updates and links to information. Twitter is good for sharing original and curated content including links to interesting articles or blogs; quotes, industry news, announcements or newsletters, Vine or YouTube videos and event updates. Comments, shares and retweets are a good indication of efficacy.

For twitter, it is good to post daily and as often as hourly. It is reported that 22 tweets per day is optimal.

TWEET FODDER

Here are some idea starters for your twitter feed:

  • Post an event. Share a link to a conference, a webinar, a program of interest.
  • Created content. Link to your recent blog article with an attractive headline.
  • Reflection. Report on a lesson learned or Seen-&-Heard incident.
  • Imagery. Upload a photo worth 1000 words in this arena of 140 characters.
  • Curated content. Post a link to an article you find of interest.
  • Interact. A direct tweet using the @ sign can be a good conversation starter.
  • Retweet. Share tweets from others that you find of interest.

Images. It is good to include an image with your post. The optimal size for a photo uploaded to twitter post is 506px wide by 260px high.

Links. Place links about a quarter of the way through your tweet message for the highest click through rate.

While the length of a tweet is limited to 140 characters for easy consumption across mobile and text, it is best to keep your post between 70-100 characters. A report by Buddy Media revealed that Tweets shorter than 100 characters get a 17% higher engagement rate.

Be chipper. Be chirpy. Be choosy.