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strategic communication

My Biggest Social Media Mistake

As an early adopter of social media, I have enjoyed my fair share of ups and downs, trials and tribulations. (But more so, joy and success!) I share with you best practices and strategic advice, but I don’t often share my biggest mistakes. Well, this week, you are in luck! I’m sharing with you my biggest social media mistake. Read More

Twitter List Tutorial


Last week I promised you a view of the new Twitter Profile and a tutorial for how to make Twitter lists. Please be patient with me as this is my first attempt to record activity on my computer screen!

Twitter lists are one of the most effective way to organize your followers and to find content to share across all of your social channels. Twitter lists are incredibly easy to create, but will require a bit of time to sort out if you already have a healthy following. In this week’s video I show you how I’ve built my Twitter lists and how I use them to stay on top of my contacts and Twitter.

Twitter’s newly designed profiles are available to all users (see photo below). Look at those big, beautiful header images, which can be used to brand yourself or your organization. You’ll want to apply some of the same strategies as you do with your Facebook cover and use the image to celebrate holidays, events and other news which can be visually captured.

Another great feature on the new Twitter Profile is the “Pin to Top” feature, where you can choose one pin to remain at the top of your Twitter feed, much like the feature on Facebook’s Timeline. You can cleverly use this feature to place your favorite tweet, most retweeted, an event announcement, or even a video which describes your brand.

I’ll show you the new profile design in Twitter, in addition to the Twitter list tutorial, so take a moment and enjoy this week’s video!

Social Media Strategy for Special Events


Working with the organizations that I do – Private Clubs, Athletics, Greek & Graduate Programs – I know that you all host major events throughout the year. They may be member traditions, golf tournaments, the Big Game against an arch rival or potential record-breaking game for an athlete, charity events, awards programs and alumni reunions. These are all special events which deserve extra attention in your communication strategy. It helps to plan out your social posts in advance so that you can repurpose the photos and stories into blog posts, newsletters and other communication which makes the event more interactive and increases longevity and engagement.

Today I share with you five steps to develop your social media strategy for special events. So get your calendar out, choose an upcoming event, get a pen and paper and take notes! Make sure you watch through to the end where I provide my weekly subscribers a free offer!

A brief overview of the five steps covered in the strategy lesson this week (I really want you to watch the video and take a few notes!):

1. Create Your Timeline

Create a timeline for the event. Take into account start time, meals, half time for sports, speeches and presentations, etc. You’ll use this timeline in Step 4.

2. Identify VIPs

Take a look at your RSVP list and identify your VIPs and people you want to feature in your stories. Identify their usernames on Twitter, Instagram, etc., so you can include them in posts later.

3. Understand The WHY

What is the significance of the event? What’s the story? Having a clear understanding will help you draft posts and better tell your story.

4. Build Your Strategy

Create a photo shot list so that you can plan to capture significant moments (think about those VIPs and things like presentations, awards). Draft your posts in advance. This will save you time in the moment. Build into the timeline you created in Step 1 the times you will post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

5. Delegate

This is a team effort. Figure out who’s taking pictures and video, who’s posting during the event, etc. One person cannot do everything during events of this scale.

Following these five steps will help you during the event to capture magic moments, feature your VIPs, and tell an amazing story.

Do you have a tip others can learn from? Share it in the comments and let us know what’s helped you build your social media strategy for special events.

Straight From the Horse’s Mouth

smiling horse

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:

Six Steps to Social Spring Cleaning



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:

1. Protect

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!

2. Refresh

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:

3. Weed

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.

4. Organize

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!

5. Plant

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.

6. Grow

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!

Instagram Web Profiles

Hello Instagram web profiles. It’s great to see you! Did you know that you can now view Instagram photos online? Previously, you could only browse via your mobile device. Since Facebook’s purchase of Instagram, many have wondered if we would see a web version. While it is nice to be able to view the photos in a larger format, the web version is more limiting than the mobile app, it does give us reason to review our privacy settings and re-strategize our activity.

Initially, I was excited to see Instagram online. But one much needed feature for the web profiles is a search function.  I have found myself looking at my phone and the web simultaneously to pull up usernames and view photos. The hashtag feature is not live yet on the web version, so you cannot click a hashtag to view photos tagged with that topic. Essentially, you have to know the username in order to view photos. You can click on the people who have liked or commented on your photo and view their gallery, follow them from the web, as well as like and comment on their photo. However, you cannot view the list of your followers nor who you are following. One item to note, if your account is already private, then it is private online, too. If you want to change this setting, you’ll have to go to your phone to make your account private.

I will say that it was really nice to be able to type comments on my big keyboard, versus plucking away on my iPhone. I also find it much easier to delete spam comments and report users on my phone than online. If you try to do it online, you have to enter your e-mail address as well as the username (which you will need to copy and paste) and then you will be notified after you submit the details that “Facebook will send you an e-mail shortly” (which they never do). At this point in time it appears that web profiles are simply a way to view the photos in a larger format. It does not appear that they want users to move away from their mobile devices. (And why would they after Instagram surpassed Twitter in daily active users?) It will be interesting to see how they develop the features for web profiles.

What’s significant for users (both brand and individuals) is that you can now promote your web profile and allow more fans to see your photos. This means more eyeballs looking at your strategically uploaded images. And if you had no strategy prior to this web profile launch, then it’s a good time to think about what photos (and graphics) you want people to see. Businesses can take advantage of this medium to promote product, events and services, as well as share the company culture. You can streamline your photo strategy by using Instagram to feed your Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, for example. Individuals can paint a picture of their hobbies, interests and character. This is essential for students, student-athletes and those in search of employment. When admissions officers, athletic scouts, and hiring managers stumble across your Instagram account, what will they find?

If you want to take a look at my Instagram profile, click HERE. I use this account to feed my personal website and therefore have several of my favorite travel photos uploaded. Let me know what you think of the Instagram Web Profiles. I’m curious how/if you are using the new feature. Please leave a comment below! Thanks!

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