Last Friday night, after wrapping up the day and making sure my newsletter hit your inboxes, I decided to take a bit of my own advice and initiated a 24 hour digital detox. In fact, I had just posted last week about feeling social media burnout and overwhelm, so a digital detox was in order.
When I reconnected my digital devices Saturday evening, my text messages, news feeds and voicemails were full of comments like, “UCSB tragedy.” I am a proud UC Santa Barbara alumna, a very proud Gaucho. I was horrified by what happened on our campus and in the UCSB community. Isla Vista is as much a part of campus as the UCen (University Center).
Even after learning that something awful had happened in Isla Vista, I didn’t turn on the news, I went through Facebook, looking up the profiles of my friends who work on campus. I learned facts and details about what was happening from insiders, and made sure the people I cared about were OK. My feelings of panic were quickly calmed, as I could easily gather information from my friends on Facebook and Twitter. It reminded me so much of the 2011 Tsunami in Japan where my friends posting on Facebook provided much-needed information as to what was really happening on the ground and that my friends were all OK. (I lived in Japan 2002-2007.)
As my feelings of shock became deep, deep sorrow and sadness for the students who were killed and injured, and for the story of how the events unfolded, I became very grateful for our ability to connect and communicate via social media. In fact, the world responded with powerful messages because of what happened in Isla Vista.
This week’s video message expresses my gratitude for social media and digital communication tools, for the opportunity to connect with anyone in the world, and for having a means to know that the people I care about are going to be all right.
UCSB Gauchos are a strong breed of people. We are UCSB, we are #GauchoStrong. And partially because we have social channels to connect through, discuss, grieve, talk, support and love, we will get through this. Go Gauchos!
Back in January, I challenged all of you (me too) to a Daily Digital Detox. With a goal to enrich our communication and in-person conversations and experiences, I also wanted to help you avoid social media burnout.
I often hear from the students I speak with, and more from the entrepreneurs and business owners, who are members at the clubs I consult with, that people feel overwhelmed with social media. We feel a need to be on all channels and participating in every conversation. Certainly, there are heaps of social media choices. Naming just the “main” platforms you have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, and Google+. That’s eight! Even with helpful social media management tools like Hootsuite, that’s a lot of conversations to manage! When you start to add other popular apps like Vine and Snapchat, consider the time to manage e-mail and texting, utilizing Skype and …. overwhelm!
Even I, a chicka who loves the opportunity social media provides to connect and communicate with just about anyone in the world, feel burn out on occasion, too.
If you want to be more effective in your personal communication, in growing your personal brand and creating meaningful connections online, this week’s video is for you. Not only do I tell you that’s it’s OK not to be on all channels, but I tell you how to pick the one or two (yes – 1 or 2) channels which are right for you. You simply have to think about your audience, about which channel suits your style of communication and where your efforts will truly pay off.
Ages ago, I gave up Google+ because I wasn’t engaging enough on the site. I wasn’t making the connections like I was on Twitter and I simply didn’t enjoy being there. So I stopped. And you know what? The effort I was putting into G+ was redirected into Twitter and LinkedIn, where I enjoy being and gain a lot more traction in my conversations and connections.
I encourage you to cut out the social media activity that feels like a chore and focus your energy and time toward the channels which reward you with great conversations, meaningful connections and greater exposure. Let me know which channels you chose!
This week in San Diego, it was hot, dry and a bit out of control. Fires started burning on Tuesday and by Wednesday there were nine separate fires burning throughout San Diego County. A shout out to San Diego and out-of-town firefighters. They have been doing an incredible job fighting multiple big fires in record heat and high Santa Ana winds, keeping life and structure loss to a minimum.
On Tuesday, the first few fires threatened a handful of golf resorts and country clubs. In San Diego’s North County, the area is sprinkled with beautiful and amazing resorts and clubs. When I saw a tweet from a local news channel that one of the country clubs was being evacuated, I thought I would check out the club’s website, Facebook and Twitter accounts to see what and how they were informing members. Much to my surprise, there were no announcements. The next day? One post of “a photo that someone took” from the club during the fires. And there has not been a post since. (Friday a.m.)
What a missed opportunity! Private club professionals all know that in the course of a day, there could be any number of events happening, from casual lunch meetings to golf tournaments, and various-sized private events. When a club is forced to evacuate, events are cancelled, roads are closed, no one is at the club to answer phones, etc. How do you let your members, guests, staff and community know? Do you have a communication plan in place?
Another club which had been threatened by fire did post to Facebook the day after, letting members know what had been cancelled, what was open/closed and that there was no damage. The only problem was that the club had not posted anything since January, so members were highly unlikely to see the post.
We have to recognize that our members are online. They access the internet via their mobile devices, and once online, they seek news and information via their favorite sites, and through social media. If the club is not communicating where the members are seeking and receiving information, we are missing the opportunity to serve as a valuable resource to our Members.
While it is understood that a club evacuation is rare, it is still essential for us to have a communication plan in place, for our monthly, weekly, daily messages and in times of crisis. The club which was evacuated was clearly unprepared, was unhelpful to members and guests, and rendered themselves irrelevant as a resource.
I’ve included a few more tips and advice in the video (above), so please have a look!
Quick note: What you can see in the screenshot is my laptop on a table. That’s what I’m looking at when I’m referencing what was happening online! I wanted to let you know because in the editing process, I realized I was looking at my computer screen often, but you can’t see my laptop!
While training my clients to use social media, I am often asked the question, “Why do people use hashtags? Are they effective?” Hashtags can seem to be an entirely different language sometimes. While the hashtag originated in Twitter, it soon migrated over to Instagram and then became active on Facebook. We seem to have picked up this habit in our spoken language, as is evident in this popular (and very funny) video by Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake: http://youtu.be/57dzaMaouXA
When used strategically, hashtags can be topic markers, mood indicators, voting tools, chat titles, campaign and event markers, product names, etc. And so with the various uses of hashtags, we need to employ strategy when we select hashtags for our content plan. Because without proper planning, you may find your results in line with #myNYPD or #AskEmmert – both examples which became bashtags this past week.
If you want to make sure you select the right hashtag for your marketing communication, then this week’s video is for you. I walk you through five, super easy steps to prevent your hashtag from becoming a hashtag. Have a look:
Some of you have asked me, “Where do you find your content?” In this week’s video, I spill the beans and share my secret. I’ll give you a hint. “Straight from the horse’s mouth.”
I also ask for your feedback, as we are passing the three month mark on my sharing the weekly video and news with you.I truly want to hear from you. What video was your favorite so far? Why? What type of content would you like me to share in the future?
I want to make sure you look forward to receiving my updates each week and that the information I share is truly helpful to you. I aim to provide the most current news from the online and social media world, and tips to build effective communication strategies.
Please know that I have received one request to do a tutorial, where I walk you through a task on the computer. I’m planning and preparing for that. Stay tuned!
These first few months have been quite an interesting ride. What for some people is their worst nightmare, public speaking, I thrive on stage in front of a live audience. I love it. Recording these videos has been a true learning experience. I thank you for watching each week and the numerous e-mail responses I’ve received. You are always welcome to contact me on e-mail, or you can leave a comment at the end of the blog post. Thank so much! I look forward to your feedback and suggestions.
BONUS: I’ve looked over my past videos, and while the production quality of this video is lacking (it was raining in SD and dark outside, so very little natural lighting), the message hits home. I also did it in one take, which is quite an achievement! For the focus of the message, this is probably my favorite video to date:
Since we celebrated the start of spring this week – so sorry to those of you who are not yet enjoying spring-like weather! – I thought I would update this post which first appeared last year around this time. The significance of this topic actually warrants an annual post.
One of the little pieces of advice I frequently give for managing social media is to make time once per month to review your social media accounts. As these platforms often change, your settings may change, along with the functions and features of the site. If you don’t make the time once per month, then I hope you will at least take a moment to “spring clean” your social media accounts, pruning and watering your network at least once this year.
6 Steps to Social Spring Cleaning
Think of these first two steps as housework. We’re inside and we have two key tasks we need to take care of before we can have a little fun tending to the spring garden:
Just as you would put on a pair of gloves to protect your hands before you use bleach, your accounts require protection, too. Let’s start with your login information. When was the last time you updated your passwords? Several social sites have had security breaches in this past year, as well as major retailers. Take a moment to change your passwords and better protect your accounts. Do not use words like “password” or “admin,” your name or your birthday in your password. Combinations of numbers and letters, upper and lower case are advised. While it is not suggested by most digital gurus, I do actually keep a written list of my passwords, as I have different passwords for each account (and my password memory isn’t that stellar). Do not use the same password for all of your accounts. You definitely do not want to use the same password for your bank account as you do on Facebook. Mercy!
Next, make sure you review the security and privacy settings. Social media sites are continually evolving and often release new features. When they do, it’s possible that some settings revert to default. This is more often the case with Facebook. Go through your account and privacy settings and make sure that you understand how the site functions. LinkedIn’s settings are also multi-layered. Are you visible to only the people you want to be visible to? Refresh your profile data and make sure it reflects you accurately. Coordinate your bio/about me/profile sections across all your sites so that you are branded across each channel where you are active.
Now it’s time to do a little gardening and improve the health of your networks:
If you don’t actually know the folks you are friends with on Facebook, not sure why you follow some of those folks on Twitter, or cannot find value in your LinkedIn connections, this is a time to unfriend, unfollow and disconnect. Be certain about who you are interacting with on any of the social sites. It is significant to recognize that you and your personal brand are associated with the people in your digital networks. You would not allow unsightly plants grow wild in your manicured garden. Don’t allow inappropriate contacts to influence your network and image. Remove the weeds.
Both Facebook and Twitter offer a list function which is amazingly helpful in organizing your contacts. I have created lists on Facebook around how I know people. On Twitter, I organize my Tweeps by category/profession or topics they tweet about. A fabulous tip for the Twitter lists – you don’t have to follow people to put them on a list. Twitter lists are still one of the most under-used and under-valued functions on Twitter. My lists really help me find valuable content and stay up-to-date with my favorite accounts. This is an older blog post, but still relatively accurate in understanding how to create your lists on FB and Twitter: Make That List!
Since you’ve already gone through your contacts and removed the weeds, you should have some empty pots to fill. Find a few key contacts that you are not yet connected to and plant those seeds! Send them a nice note on LinkedIn as to why you want to connect. Use Twitter’s suggestions of who to follow. See who’s signed up for Instagram or Snapchat and make a connection. You can even follow some big brands to learn how they are using these platforms, planting some ideas into your head as to how you will leverage these networks.
Take some time on LinkedIn to endorse your connections for their skills. It’s a nice way to let them know you’ve remembered them and might spark a beneficial reconnection. They will likely return the endorsements and help you build your profile. Tweet to someone you haven’t conversed with in awhile or send a private message to an old friend on Facebook. Social media is designed to help you stay connected to family, friends and professional contacts. Take advantage of these features to allow your garden of networks to bloom.
BONUS: Lastly, take out your calendar and schedule 30 minutes each month to go through your social media settings. (So that you don’t begin to rely on my annual reminder in spring!) A monthly check-in will allow you to stay on top of new features, keep those weeds at bay and enjoy social networks which are active, vibrant and productive.
Happy Social Spring Cleaning!