Friday, June 26, 2009

Social Media and all my friends, followers and fans

Friday Night Commentary:

I broke down this week and finally joined the ranks of the "Twitter heads"...or is that "Tweeters"---I know it isn't "Twitterers".... because even for a made up word, that would be bad English...

I digress.

I had not signed up for Twitter before, not because I didn't see the value, or the appeal -- no, I did not think I had the extra hour in the day to check my incoming "tweets," update my outgoing "tweets" and collect followers. I had already spent significant time becoming a fan and collecting friends on Facebook. Updating my status has become near automatic, albeit still time consuming. But yet, I am a social introvert and therefore drawn to these methods of communication without the complicated and awkard face-to-face interaction.

Let me talk about that concept of "updating my status" - similar to tweeting, Facebook allows me to share with all my Facebook friends what I am doing or thinking at any given moment. Day, night, in the bathroom... wherever I have access to the Internet (and don't joke, people do update their status while doing #2.... weird, but that is just how attached we have become to The Matrix... ) AND who cares any way that "I am working", or "enjoying a cup of tea", or "on my way to the mall"? Funny thing is, they do, and we have become obsessed with being voyeuristic. AND for some reason uber sharing! We are oddlly compelled to open previously private aspects of our lives with everyone - or at least anyone who may be a friend, fan, or follower....

AND about that, "friend" thing. For some reason, we seem to have lowered our criteria for what makes a friend. Why is that? A Facebook friend for example need not be anyone you have ever met, or spoken with - you just have to ask, they have to accept, or vice-versa. Then there are those formerly known as acquaintances - there is no tag for "that guy I went to high school with who sat next to me in AP English, but I never really talked to" -- he is now a "Friend" too, same as mom, same as your best friend, same as your old babysitter, same as your grandma... and yes, all these people are on Facebook and Twitter too. The great equalizer...

Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining. It is super handy to be able to type a message into the little iPhone and let all 854 people on your Friends/Followers list that you have landed safely in DC and you are headed for the baggage claim. Although really only mom and the friend---real friend--- picking you up really care. But that is how we are now, unafraid to open our lives up in 140 character blurbs, making friends with the single click of a mouse and hearing the collective heartbreaking sigh of the world when it finds out that an icon and idol has left this mortal coil--all in bursts of blurbs and updates so loud we end up temporarily breaking our binding, cutting off the ability to reach out and share, and learn and pry and tweet.

Ironic.


Meghan Wier
Author Writer Web Consultant

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Why You Should Blog... and how Meg will present a presentation she wishes not to present but if for the oodles of business presenting garnishes

Don't get me wrong -- I like it when you read my blog too... but what I would like you to know is that there is significent value in writing a business blog instead of just reading them.

On Thursday, I am giving a 10-minute presentation on business blogging at my BNI chapter in Ballantyne (Charlotte, NC). Each week we meet and another member tells the group a little about what they do. This time, I am speaking specifically on blogging and why it is valuable for businesses. Here is a little preview:

BNI Presentation June 11, 2009

First I will talk about me -- and dazzle the audience with a few quick facts like the fact that I have a Bachelor's Degree in Theatrical Production Arts... and some of these other bullets:

· Toured once w/ Pop Cover Band: Nik and the Nice Guys
· Have held positions as a Master Carpenter, Statistical Analyst, Sales person for a sporting goods store, professional artist, event planner and fundraiser.
· Relocated to the Carolinas 2 years ago
· Wrote a book about business networking for Introverts
· In 2001 began work at a software company where I wrote proposals, white papers, requirements documents, and website content, business & marketing plans – sparking my love of business writing, then became VP of Marketing Web & SEO firm where I did sales
· I began writing more instructional (how-to) articles on SEO and web
· Wrote for the local Business Journal and Daily Newspaper Blog on community, networking and technology, did radio & TV as tech expert
· Gained recognition for my “Geek Speak” (translating nerd-talk into understandable terms for the less tech-savvy) Articles published in a local business magazine
· Currently I write e-newsletters, manage websites, do search engine consulting, copywriting and powerpoint presentations in addition to business blogging.

...all of which I am sure will get tons of "oos and ahs..." as clearly I am very interesting and have experienced a diverse set of experiences which make me uniquely qualified to blog...

Then I will dive right into the beauty of business Blogs... and will probably read the following paragraph, feel awkward about reading it and then try to make it sound like I am being extemporaneous and fail miserably. At which point I will make a self-deprecating remark and laughter will ensue.

...here is that paragraph:

Thanks to the internet and free (or inexpensive blogging tools), any individual business owner or small company can have the same technological impact as the Charlotte Observer or the New York Times, CNN or Oprah. Through your blog you can become known as an expert in your field, and become sought after as a vendor, speaker, partner and resource. Having a blog is the strongest and best platform for sharing your ideas, best practices and expertise with the world.

"Whoa... Awesome" I will say, tying to pep up the crowd I am starting to lose... and then quickly and ungracefully, as I stumble around the ill-placed tables I will hand out 10 index cards--well 11 actually as the first one will be labeled:

"Reasons you need to blog"

Then I will ask 10 lucky people to read these cleverly worded, and fantastic reasons to blog. Some of which were parceled from other sites and re-worded slightly, something I hope will be considered more a complement to the original authors, than seen as plageristic - for that is never my intent... oh yes... back to the reading of the cards:


1. Blogging demonstrates your true commitment and passion for your industry—and you really have to show your commitment over the long-haul. Most people won’t be able to maintain a business blog over long periods of time, but those who do so are rewarded in recognition and credibility. Posting often and consistency is the key!

2. More than 147 million Americans use the Internet

3. Increase your reach beyond your company, town, and industry with a blog since it can be read from multiple places through syndication. Links and email blasts.

4. Your work should be working for you, building your reputation—not just a bullet point on a resume. (A blog is proof of your brilliance and expertise!)

5. Even your old blog entries are valuable and will be read years later—your work will live on and bring you new business for years to come.

6. A blog can increase your website traffic with links in and traffic driven your site will gain ranking and popularity with the search engines. Even if no one ever reads it!

7. You can influence your industry by being a thought-leader and demonstrating positive, actionable ways to make change all while carving out a name for yourself.

8. A blog can help build your personal network, and enable incredible connections with the world around you, (something not possible prior to wide-spread use of the Internet)

9. Your job is changing, and you might want to be involved in the process of what your new job will include—at your current company, or beyond. What do you want to be?

10. Over time, your blog will contain an increasingly rich and relevant wealth of information that will be a Google magnet. Thus, you will become more and more available to the customers you need to attract.

Then I will add in a couple witty and well written reasons that Blogs are great. I will also read these, but I will notice my time is getting short so I will paraphrase, smartly pointing the audience to this blog for the actual original paragraphs:

1 You can be a ROCK STAR by providing an unlimited amount of vital information in a single location. Because Web visitors are desperately seeking answers to their most pressing questions, you have the opportunity to provide just the right answers for your ideal target customers.

2 Blogs enable you to organize your information almost effortlessly to the benefit of your visitors by putting them into ‘categories.’

3 Unlike other social media tools, such as Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn, your blog is open to the entire world.

4 You can request visitors to register and offer them enticements such as a free e-book or eNewsletter – growing your prospect list while offering them beneficial information, (and positioning yourself as a subject-matter expert).

Then quickly I will point out the reasons to hire a Business Blogger... of course indicating that I would be an awesome choice for this...

Keeping up on writing your blogs and making sure that they are linked properly is a lot of work—often sometimes the internal marketing staff or small business owner is unable to do this while focusing on what they do best… run their business.

I provide a low-cost way to maintain a blog by:

· Creating all new content and posting regularly
· By supplementing your entries with keyword-rich and relevant posts
· By editing what you have written or modifying found articles in you voice.

Business Blogging has is a powerful tool for increasing traffic to a corporate site, informing the public, connecting with customers and sharing information in a casual and informative way. By utilizing a business blog writer, you can capture a pool or prospecting clients and fans, all while focusing on what you do best: Your Business.

Bow, smile, exit stage left.

Meghan Wier
Author Writer Web Consultant