I had the pleasure of being part of a panel at an event for the Fargo-based Women’s Business Exchange. To my right sat three fabulous women who have a tremendous amount of knowledge: Laura Caroon of Frozen Music Studios is a photographer with an excellent blog who uses social media to grow her business; Lynette Burgan of Suite 171 is an expert in Website design, search engine optimization and online marketing; and Libby Hall is a digital strategist Flint Interactive who could officially change her title “social media idea machine.” As we introduced ourselves, I spoke about blogging, writing newspaper columns and catering to clients for writing projects.
“To you two on the end – how often do you blog?” asked a woman at the front table. “Do you guys have lives?”
That was a great question.
It’s difficult to understand different professions, unless you ask questions. I think many people can use social media effectively in their own businesses, without abandoning their businesses to become a professional blogger.
For those of you who have been following along, you may know that I post about once a week. In my answer I talked about how it does take time and energy to keep a blog up, but for me, it’s a great way to showcase writing on different topics and it’s a great way to show potential clients who I am and what I’m all about. I’m building my brand and I’m always driving people to my blog through different social media channels, including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Blogging might be fun, but I consider it part of my job and it has definitely paid off for me.
After I left the gathering that night I thought of many things I should have told the group. Luckily, I can blog about it so I am continuing the panel right here. If you have something to add, please do!
Read Blogs – If you’re going to blog, read lots of them and see what type of “voice” you’d like to have. Are you conversational? More formal? I always like to tell people to write like they speak and then edit for grammar, etc, as needed. (Flash back to your last English class, or just Google your grammar questions).
Read Books – Barnes and Noble is a great resource, but so is the local library. I found many of my favorite marketing books available at the library and they are incredibly up to date.
“Crush It!” – This is one of my absolute favorite books and I highly recommend it to all of you. Here’s the description: “The social media revolution has changed the way we live our lives and conduct our business. Learn how Crush It will give you the tools to take advantage and WIN.” Did that get you fired up? Let me know what you think of the book. It’s a quick – and valuable – read by Gary Vaynerchuk.
Robb Sutton – learn from this master blogger who has built communities and made money through blogs. For so many tips it will make your head spin, visit his Blogging Labs site.
Mashable – Over burgers at J.L. Beers in Downtown Fargo, my friend Gia told me about the great Website Mashable. According to the site, it was founded in 2005 and is now the top source for news in social and digital media, technology and Web culture. Oh yeah, and it gets 40 million monthly pageviews. (So you know, just a few more than I do). Check it out.
Pinterest – Is Pinterest the next big craze? I don’t know, but it looks like a cool way to keep track of all of the online things that you love. Laura Caroon sent me this link and we agree – we might need an instruction manual for this one.
There are many cool tools out there allowing people to stay connected, but the thing is, the number of hours in a day has not changed. So what’s your social media strategy look like? Would it be beneficial to have a blog? To be on Facebook? Twitter? The formula is unique to your situation because your business is not like the person sitting next to you. It can be overwhelming, so find someone who is a few steps ahead of you in planning and ask for some advice. Do your research.
Have social media triumphs? Got a new client? A cool comment? Did you LOVE my book recommendation? Let me know. I would love to hear from you.