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Learning to be thankful leads to a joyful life.

Learning to be thankful leads to a joy.

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a day-log session at The Cove in Asheville, North Carolina with Author Stormie Omartian. Hearing Stormie and her testimony was truly spellbinding. As a gift to all attendees The Cove gave everyone the book, “Choosing Gratitude, Your Journey to Joy” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

To summarize, the book emphasizes the importance of keeping an attitude of thankfulness in our hearts no matter what we are facing. DeMoss, a Christian author, asks the question: “Are you more prone to focus on what you wish you had (or didn’t have) or on the blessings you do have that are far greater than you deserve?”

For several months at the beginning of 2014  I wrote down something each day that I was thankful for about my husband, Danny. Then I shared it with him each morning. You would be amazed how that one act of kindness and gratitude lifts the spirits of your spouse. I highly recommend it to all married persons.

At this season of Thanksgiving I would challenge you to write down 10 things you are grateful for TODAY and share them with your loved ones as you’re passing the pumpkin pie! As for me, I’m grateful to you for faithfully reading this blog and commenting throughout the year. Furthermore, I’m extremely grateful to my clients and referral sources for providing me with work for over five years.

What’s something you are grateful for this Thanksgiving?

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REMOVEEditor’s Note: The following is a guest blog post by the very talented and always amusing MarketingMel associate Sarah Kinsler.

1. It’s a status, not a soapbox.

When emotions are running high, step away from the keyboard. The last thing anyone wants to see in their news feed is a public rant. Hey, maybe you should create a blog? 😉  But seriously, social media is not the place to advertise your political views or other controversial topics.

2.TMI!

Oh you have had awful diarrhea for the past three days? Thanks, thanks for sharing. Some things are better left unsaid. Remember content posted on the internet is forever.  If you wouldn’t mention it on a first date, you shouldn’t mention it on Facebook.

3. Fishing for Compliments.

If you are sharing a photo on your social sites, you obviously approve of the image. Posting a “selfie” then hash-tagging it #SoUgly or #awfulPhoto is just silly. We all know you like the photo, or you would not have posted it.

4. Game Invites

It really doesn’t matter how many requests you send, NEVER have I, nor will I ever play Farmville.

5. Vague Updates

Nothing screams, “I want attention!” like a vague status that hints something awful. “I can’t believe that happened,” or, “I received really awful news today.” What’s worse than posting one of these? Posting, then automatically ignoring your Facebook while your friends comment/freak out over your “situation. ” If it was a big deal, you would have told us what happened. If it was something you need to keep private, you wouldn’t have posted it.

And there you have it folks. These are my top five Social Media Pet Peeves. What are some of yours?

MarketingMel Associate Sarah Kinsler

MarketingMel Associate Sarah Kinsler

Sarah Kinsler is a 2012 ETSU  Public Relations graduate and  an associate with MarketingMel. She helps MarketingMel’s clients build their social media and public relations strategies. She is a former champion cheerleader and still coaches cheerleading in her spare time. 

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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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Maria Peagler

Maria Peagler

Editor’s note: The following is a guest blog post from my friend entrepreneur Maria Peagler. Maria will be a guest speaker on social media at  Tory Johnson’s Spark and Hustle small business boot camp in Atlanta this summer.

Business blogs are filled with case studies of how social media helps businesses flourish and compete in an online marketing age. Today I’m offering a personal story of how and why I used social media, really as a last resort, to promote my business to an international stage.

September 2008: 3,000 copies of my indie-published book arrived in my warehouse after I had invested $25,000 on its production and printing. Color Mastery was a four-color softcover book, with over 200 illustrations and photographs, on museum-quality paper. It was my eighth title, but my first in the quilt market, so I was unknown and needed a big way to promote the book. I had plans for trade shows (another investment of thousands), advertising, and marketing materials. But something changed that forever.

The recession.

It hit my family with a devastating blow, as my husband is a luxury home builder, and his business halted overnight. It was as if someone had unplugged the phone from the wall, because it just stopped ringing. American consumers slapped their wallets shut, and I was in trouble, as my marketing budget was now necessary to keep my husband’s business afloat.

How was I going to sell those books?

I was forced to get creative with almost no money for marketing and promotion. I already had a blog, but I knew that wasn’t enough, on its own, to move 3,000 books. I had to do something big. I decided on a blog tour, which was almost unknown at the time. I liked it because it was an online version of a book tour, allowed me to reach an international audience, and I could conduct it over a concentrated period of time for sustained interest and demand. The result?

Color Mastery skyrocketed to #10 on Amazon’s top ten list for Quilting books, and it consistently made appearances in that top ten list over the next two years. My blog traffic increased 1,000%, sales tripled, my social network subscriptions all increased, and I received bookings for interviews, lectures, and book signings. I continued to keep up my social media efforts for those two years, selling 8,000 copies of Color Mastery, and was so successful I created a start-up helping other small businesses with their social media. SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com is an online course site where I coupled my 20 years of training experience with my social media success to teach others how to enjoy those same results.

My top three tips for any small business wanting to use social media to promote?

Be willing to make mistakes. I tried many different social media campaigns and promotions, and not all worked. You have to be willing to fail before you hit it big, so don’t quit on social media if your first experience isn’t successful. It’s often the offbeat promotions that will surprise you. Before I had the confidence to shoot YouTube videos, I made a primitive slideshow on Slideshare that continues to garner more hits than any slick video I’ve ever done. I’m almost embarrassed by its simplicity now, but it works.

Realize results take time. My blog tour was a two-week affair, but it took two months of solid preparation and planning to develop, and years of blogging to understand the medium before that. Even a short five-minute YouTube video takes time to do well and get results. Viral is an outlier, and not something you should count on. Ashton Kutcher may have millions of Twitter followers, but the rest of us build those networks everyday, one contact at a time.

Collaborate for maximum impact. The best results I’ve gotten in social media are when I collaborate with others for a true win-win. This blog post is a collaboration between Mary Ellen and me, as she has generously provided me with a guest spot. My blog tour was a collaboration of ten bloggers who promoted my book in exchange for exclusive content. My “Color-of-the-Month” shows were collaborations between quilt designers and me, and those shows continued to sell my book and keep it in Amazon’s top ten list.

Social media wasn’t in my original plans, but when I saw its results, it soon became my primary promotional tool. What’s your story of how social media has helped you and your business?

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"Super Heroes know their personal brand"

What's your personal brand?

Recently I had the opportunity to conduct video “man-on-the-street” interviews asking people about their New Year’s resolutions. This was a project to help one of our church ministers with his upcoming sermon. I learned several things:

1- Generally people do not like to talk about resolutions. Most likely it’s because they remind them of broken promises.

2- Unless they think they look good they don’t want to talk on camera. People obsess about their clothes, hair, make-up, etc. (This goes for men as well as women although the men I met weren’t worried about make-up.)

Ultimately resolutions reflect on our personal brand. As we move into the New Year let’s each take a quick assessment of our own personal brand and what we can do to better ourselves in 2011. Here are some tips I recently provided to two of 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 transfer to mobile? People will be on their phones more than ever in 2011.
  3. Who is your target audience? What communications channels are they using? Do you have your elevator speech planned for the next time you bump into Future Big Client X?
  4. How do you plan to promote your brand in 2011? Through guest media appearances? Your blog? Podcasts? Social media? Your e-mail signature? Video?
  5. Do you have an editorial calendar planned for 2011? Remember, you are a publisher. Now is the time to think seasonal and timely in your future writing and publishing.

All the best of luck to you in 2011 and remember, your personal brand is always with you!

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