Image: My Clever Agency

Image: My Clever Agency

Are you a perfectionist like me? (Hey, I’m a Virgo, what can I say.) Well, I ran across this excellent infographic from “my clever agency” (don’t you love that name?) that tells us how to create a perfect social media post. Thanks to Mark Ragan at PR Daily for drawing my attention to it. I thought it was really terrific and would be worthwhile for my readers.

mycleveragency Social Media Perfect Post Infographic
Social Media Perfect Posts Infographic is an infographic that was produced by mycleveragency

Read more from How To Create The Perfect Pinterest, Google+, Facebook & Twitter Posts [Infographic] – mycleveragency – Full Service Social http://www.mycleveragency.com/2013/06/how-to-create-the-perfect-social-media-posts/#ixzz2a4zIdXKI

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Editor’s note: The following is a guest blog post by attorney, friend (and former colleague from my law firm marketing days) Laura Steel Woods. She wrote this article in response to several well publicized social media identity theft cases.

Anyone remember prank phone calls?

Remember these?

Many years ago, before phones were used to update your Facebook status and check-in on Foursquare, they were used to call people. Sometimes, those calls included prank calls, which were intended to be a joke, for the most part. The thought that it might be “stealing” someone’s identity probably never crossed a prank caller’s mind. Now, with ready-made access to accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+, or creation of a Facebook fan page, the implications of what used to amount to prank calling have ramped up significantly.

Think about it—most phone calls are directed to one person/location, where you consciously select a contact from your electronic phone book or pull the number from your head and individually enter the digits. Deliberate. Calculated. Intentional. Controlled.

Social media is different. The reach is intended to be broad. Control is relinquished, while not always thoughtful at least knowingly, once you post your status update. As with so many other parts of our lives, social media has certainly changed the landscape, or at least raised the stakes, of identity theft. Consider the mass in which we communicate. The “victims” in the SM setting, just like a prank call, go beyond the person whose identity was compromised and can include those who relied upon the prank information. The breadth of victims in the SM setting is vastly different. Whose identity is stolen does, in part, determine whether there are legal consequences, just like IRL (example: impersonating a police officer versus impersonating me. One will get you jail time, the other will get you a lot of student loan debt.).

The legal system faces a huge challenge as it attempts to keep up with a medium that can’t even keep up with itself. How do you handcuff wireless communications, the internet, the Web or avatars? The remarkable resiliency of the justice system will probably find a solution, just like it has in all other advances along the timeline of history. Another interesting watch will be how much push-back the legal system receives given how protective the public is over the “right” to do anything and everything it wants with social media.

What I’m pretty confident won’t change is the need for us to be ever-conscious of our social media presence. It may seem like a small inconvenience or, at worst, momentary embarrassment if your identity is pranked on social media. The speed at which information travels, though, can cause the fallout to balloon beyond your world before you know it.

Laura Steel Woods

Laura Steel Woods


Laura Woods is Vice President of Legal Affairs for a local consulting company. In a previous life, she was a labor/employment partner with a regional law firm where she started the firm’s social media program with a Twitter account and a blog. You can find her on Twitter as @LauraSWoods.

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If you’re trying to find a job in today’s job market take time to Google yourself! This advice was given on CNN Monday morning after an NFL referee found himself set to ref. a New Orleans Saints game when whoops! There were New Orleans Saints photos all over his Facebook page. (Wonder which way the close calls would have gone in that game?) CNN Anchorwoman Christine Romans talks about someone who lost out on a $200,000 per year job because he wasn’t aware of his personal brand. Don’t get caught losing out on great employment opportunities because you’re not aware of your personal brand!

Coincidentally, this is the *exact* advice Maria Peagler of SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com and I recommended to our Personal Branding webinar listeners during two live sessions last week. The action item, “Google Yourself” is one of 15 bricks in a pyramid of action steps we created with advice on polishing personal brands. You can still watch our free personal branding webinar here. You can also join those who’ve tried and loved our personal branding  toolkit that Maria and I have created.  Just Monday I used one of the tools in the tool kit in a brainstorming session with a client and he loved it!  Follow our easy steps to personal branding success so you don’t miss out on a $200,000 job opportunity!

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Flickr: Museum of Hartlepool

Recently, Maria Peagler of SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com and I were rehearsing for our upcoming PersonalBrandingHowTo.com webinar with a live audience of four people on the call. They were trusted clients/friends who  provided us with their honest feedback so we could make the “real” webinar on September 13 even better. One of the women wanted to know more about my slide on “getting featured in the media.” She was very interested in getting an article about her products featured in a magazine and then she found out I was a former magazine editor! I invited her to follow up with me “offline” and that is what led me to write the following tips on how to publish an article in a magazine. She found them helpful and I hope that you will find them useful as well.

  1. Use your “personal branding” skills to position yourself as the_____ expert (fill in your profession). Be sure the magazine goes out to your target audience.
  2. Magazine editors love to know about trends so tell them what’s hot for _____ in time for whatever their deadline is. Hint: It’s probably spring right now.
  3. Magazines generally work months in advance. Holidays may still be a possibility if you got it to them immediately and depending on the publication. Do your research and know their deadlines and word counts.
  4. Identify the types of magazines you want to be in (find out who the editors are) See if they are on social media and start connecting with them there. See how the conversation goes (don’t push.)
  5. Muck Rack is a good site to learn more what journalists in general are thinking and talking about.
  6. If you are a good writer, offer to write an article for the magazines you’re approaching. They need good content and even if they don’t pay you, you will gain credibility from being published.
  7.  If you really want to be the one featured, be sure you point out what is unique and different about your products that will be of interest to their readers.
  8.  If the magazine is based near you perhaps you could visit with the editor directly or find out when he/she is speaking on a panel etc. and attend that event.
  9. Be sure you are familiar with the writing style of the publication. Make sure you’ve targeted the correct publications.
  10. Sending free stuff to an editor is often a way to simply fill their trash can. However, when it comes to writing about a travel location you will generally see writers and photographers given free room and board in B&B locations in exchange for the good P.R. Again I would stress knowing the publication that you are pitching and their rules!

If you’ve had a great success story with magazines please share it with us.


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Editor’s note: I am now a regular monthly columnist for Out N’ About Magazine, writing on the topic of social networking for business.  The following is excerpted from my May 2012 post.

Image by Martin Canchola

One of the first tips that anyone, with even a small amount of experience in social networking learns, is the karma effect of it. The more you give the more that comes back around to you.  I’ve come to the conclusion that personalities and true colors really shine when people are online.

When I give my social networking for business talks I always compare social media to a cocktail party. Everyone has seen the loud, obnoxious guy who shows up at every after-hours event.  You know the one wearing too much cologne and talks in your face? A thought comes to mind:  Your posts have the same look and feel you do. If you’re loud, obnoxious and pushy….well, enough said. Contrast that with the helpful guy. When you ask a question, need a referral or some other assistance, that guy is always there. We all know folks like this too.

Just last week I was chatting with a friend “IRL” (in real life ) at our church café about that pit we get in our stomach when we allow someone in to be our “friend” on Facebook or other channels only to instantly be asked to take part in their fundraisers, event, survey, etc. Ugh. I’m thinking, “I’ve just been used to get your numbers up!”  To make that old baseball/dating analogy I haven’t walked over to home plate and you’re envisioning a home run!  Hold your horses friend. I’m still on deck!

Is there a lesson to be learned?  When it comes to social networking, please, oh please engage the person and connect with them as a human being. Don’t make them feel used. Be sure to chat with them a bit and show them that you care about them. The business will come later. On Facebook make comments on their photos and videos and show them you are interested in what they have to say. After all, you have cared enough about them to ask them to be your friend, so be one! Be sure to @ reply to people on twitter in order to speak directly to them and to gain their attention. (For more twitter tips including my one-minute twitter tutorial videos, enter search phrase “Twitter 101” at www.marketingmel.com.)

Last year I had the occasion to create a vlog (video blog) for my friend Maria Peagler of Social Media Online Classes. She asked me to help out her audience comprised of camera-shy small business owners who were mostly women. As a former TV anchorwoman it was easy for me to come up with some simple tips to help folks out on camera now that we live in more of a visual and video oriented society. My topic was: Ten Tips to Feel Comfortable on Camera. Well that video first appeared on her vlog but then “took off” after it was picked up by PR Daily and others.  Later, I entered that video in the Tri-Cities Public Relations Society Awards and it ended up taking top prize in its category. It won an “Award of Excellence” in the Audio Visual category.  Kudos to videographer/producer Kyle Long for his work on the video. We started out trying to provide a helpful service to others who are camera shy and through “social media karma” ended up with an award. Sometimes extending a hand to care about others whether it’s “IRL” or online has its rewards. Ten Tips to Feel Comfortable on Camera may be found at https://www.marketingmel.com/2011/07/06/ten-tips-to-feel-comfortable-on-camera/

By the way, I have already created a follow up video on Finding a Job In Public Relations. Stay tuned!

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Just recently I had the pleasure of meeting Erik Proulx, the creator of Lemonade on a Google Hang-out. Lemonade was a 35 minute documentary that came out three years ago. With its theme “is it a pink slip or a blank page?” the film featured creatives who had lost their jobs and gone on to far greater things. I loved the movie and thrived on its message. It was just what my late father, an entrepreneur himself, always taught me: “When life gives you lemons, honey, make lemonade.” Now Erik is shooting a new documentary called Lemonade Detroit and I am celebrating three years as a marketing entrepreneur. In reflecting on the past three years, things have changed quite a bit. Now we have iPads and Pinterest  and I get to “meet” cool people like Erik in a Google hang-out. My once indispensable Blackberry has been replaced with an iPhone. And, I find the general public doesn’t find my fondness for twitter quite so odd anymore. It’s been a journey.

This is my lemonade story.

Three years ago my former co-worker Tim Story and I sat at Panera Bread sipping coffee and planning our futures. Both of us had recently been laid off from an interactive agency that was hit hard by the recession. I did not even own my own laptop yet and Tim was using a borrowed one. Tim knew I was an entrepreneur at heart who wanted to start my own marketing and public relations firm, so he volunteered to register my domain name. In betweeen sips, he looked up from his machine and asked for the name of my new company. I said without hesitating, “MarketingMel.” I had already established the name on twitter and when you googled “MarketingMel” it soared to the top of the page, far ahead of a well known actor whose first name I share. Who could argue with that? A company was born.

Tim has gone onto success in his new career and he has helped me as a freelancer with SEO work for some of my clients. For three years I’ve had the privilege of working with fantastic business professionals, guiding them with their communications and awareness efforts including marketing, public relations and social media strategies. Together with my “virtual ad agency team” we’ve collaborated to create award winning web sites, logos,videos and more.

When I tell people I’ve been in business three years they generally congratulate me and comment that many entrepreneurs don’t make it past the first year.  Shortly after that groundbreaking cup of coffee I attended two workshops at the Tennessee Small Business Development Center at ETSU including one on writing a business plan.  For those of you who may be thinking of starting your own business, here are some pitfalls to avoid and tips on starting a small business. Chief among those, writing and then working your business plan.  I would add to that be sure to have an annual strategic planning session for your company (even if you’re a solo) and refer back to it often throughout the year. And as for your business’ name, well, I recommend something with staying power. I am MarketingMel and I’ve been in business three years. Let’s have some lemonade to celebrate!

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Photo: BryceCanyon.com

Sunday our minister referenced that breathtaking financial company ad where the woman climbs a summit and a gigantic panorama unfolds in front of her. His sermon analogy was that the year 2012 lies before each of us as a panaroma right now.

With that in mind, this is the year to create or work on your personal brand. Tom Peters pioneered the concept with “The Brand Called You”. The points he makes in the article still ring some 15 years later (only the brand names have changed!)  As we move into another New Year let’s each take a quick assessment of our own personal brand and what we can do to better ourselves in 2012. Here are some tips I’ve provided to my clients in customized one-on-one sessions and am glad to share here with you.

  1. Google yourself– What do you find? Is it fresh? Is it negative? Does it need a PR boost?
  2. Does your image/Web site transfer to mobile? The growth of smart phones and other mobile devices will continue to explode in 2012.
  3. Who is your target audience? What communications channels are they using? Be sure you are present on them. Example: My clients are business professionals. Most all of them are on LinkedIn and there is an excellent LinkedIn Personal Branding group.
  4. Do you have an elevator speech? The next time you bump into Future Big Client X do you have a quick description ready for the business you have and the products and services your provide?
  5. How do you plan to promote your brand in 2012? How are you using your social media channels? Do they show you constantly complaining about life’s mundane things? Remember, it’s your image that’s coming through (as if you were broadcasting!) Do you have guest media appearances and public speaking engagements planned? Do you have a blog? (It’s one of the best ways to kick start your web site’s SEO!) How about podcasts? Your e-mail signature? Videos?
  6. Do you have an editorial calendar planned for 2012? Remember, you are a publisher. Now is the time to think seasonal and timely in your future writing and publishing.
  7. Are you building your brand on twitter? I’ve formed so many great relationships thanks to the magic of twitter. It’s hard for me to believe that some people still think twitter is just about celebrities and what you had for lunch. If you haven’t done so already, try a twitter chat (look for the hashtags) for a field of your interest. Neal Schaeffer provides this excellent tutorial on twitter chats. Your positive contributions on tweetchats will help build your brand in your industry group or field of interest.
  8. Dive in! Experiment with some new social media channel and meet some new friends along the way! In 2011 it was Google+ and Pinterest for me. What were some of your favorite new social media channels?

With an 8.6 percent nationwide unemployment rate more people than ever need to be sure they are building their personal brand both at in-person networking events and online.  The business atmosphere is in a state of constant change (just look at what’s happened to some of the stalwart brands.) These tips will help you be in control of the message broadcast by your personal brand, no matter what hand economic conditions may deal to you. All the best of luck to you in 2012 and remember, your personal brand is always with you!



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