Add Spark to Your Marketing Mix

by Kathryn Rose on

Kathryn Rose Speaking at the Mass Conference for Women Event With Vanessa Wilson

In December, I attended and spoke at the The Massachusetts Conference for Women’s Spark & Hustle Small Business Boot Camp. The event was part of the larger The Massachusetts Conference for   Women’s Spark & Hustle Small Business Boot Camp organized by Tory Johnson, CEO of Women for Hire and Spark & Hustle. Tory’s Spark & Hustle events have always been on the ‘must attend’ list for women business owners, and now she has teamed up with conferences for women groups across the country to bring her message to a larger audience.

The event was well attended; over 500 women in all and some great information was shared. My panel consisted of social media rockstars Laura Fitton, Inbound Marketing Evangelist with HubSpot.com and co-author of Twitter For Dummies, as well as Vanessa Wilson, aka, “Crafty Gemini,” who has made a very successful business out of using YouTube to teach people how to sew and create crafts. Laura stressed that social media was about “being useful” and offering information, not selling. Her three rules to remember are: Get found, convert and then analyze. Vanessa said you don’t need expensive equipment to be successful on YouTube, just a concept that offers information that people want to see and share. For my part, I discussed using personas instead of general demographics to target your audience. In social media, you speak to people, not demographics. Also, the importance of limiting your time on social media sites to the business at hand. I use the “3×15″ formula with my clients – 3 times per day, 15 minutes each.

Here are my top takeaways from the other fantastic speakers:

  • Samantha Ettus - Personal branding expert and Forbes contributor, gave tips on how to tell our personal story, but leave out the gory details. Keep the highs and use the lows as achievements or stepping stones. Also, live in what she calls the ‘sunshine state.’ Stay positive and move forward. Don’t get stuck in the inevitable pitfalls of owning and running a business.
  • Marley Majcher – Author and CEO of The Party Goddess!, told us not to forget ALL of our expenses when figuring out the bottom line profits. It is easy to just focus on the “cost of goods sold” and forget about the time each task takes and what that is worth, and what she calls the “Forget Me Nots” – all of the client meeting cups of coffee, lunches, parking fees, etc. that cut into our profits. She even devised an Excel spreadsheet on which she writes down every task she performs and the amount of time so she can keep track of these expenditures, much like lawyers or consultants do

Read more at GenConnect.com

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Who Packs Your Parachute?

by Kathryn Rose on

This past Sunday, I was channel surfing looking for a show for my son to watch.  Usually I rely on PBS because they have great educational shows, and no commercials, so that is where I began my search.  Much to my dismay, at first, the only thing on our local PBS was Joel Osteen.  I am not a fan/follower of so-called motivational speakers, but I heard him telling a story and it was so compelling I felt I had to listen.

He was talking about a fighter pilot from the Vietnam War era who was in a restaurant, when a man approached him and said hello and explained that he was a sailor on the pilot’s ship.  The pilot, a Captain, didn’t recognize the man.  The man went on to explain he was not only a sailor on the ship, but he was also the one in charge of packing the Captain’s parachute.  The Captain still didn’t recognize him, but said “thank you,” and that he would like to keep in touch.

The Captain and the sailor then said their goodbyes.  Afterward, the Captain began to think about the fact that here was this sailor, who spent hours and hours making sure that the parachute was packed with precision, knowing it could save someone’s life—his life—and he didn’t even know him!  Then he thought about the hundreds, even thousands of other sailors and crewmembers who were in some part responsible for his life during the war. He also thought about how arrogant he was back then; he was a Captain, a fighter pilot, and these other people were just sailors.  He felt remorse about that and decided to speak out about those folks who “packed his parachute” back then, and even those who do it today.

I found myself glued to the story, so much so that I decided as the year of 2011 comes to a close, that I would do a blog post and acknowledge those professionally (I will acknowledge my personal parachute packers off line), who pack my parachute now and have done so for the last four-plus years of my journey into entrepreneurship, online and social media marketing.  Those people who have supported me overtly, and some who probably don’t even know they pack my parachute (but they do), because they provide inspiration through their posts/tweets and online engagement.

Many people know my story— that I refer to myself as an “accidental entrepreneur.”  A little over four years ago, I was a Wall Street Sales Executive and then boom, the mortgage meltdown happened.  I found myself barefoot, eight-and-a-half months pregnant, in the kitchen on the phone with my husband saying “What do I do now??”  He said, “You like to learn new things, go learn something new.”  So that is what I did (of course he packs my parachute daily!).

I dove into online and social media marketing determined to learn everything I could.  I was also fascinated by mobile marketing which, at the time, was a very new technology.  I made fast friends with the person who actually wrote the first book on mobile marketing, Kim Dushinski.  Kim very generously packed my parachute with great people to follow on twitter: Julie Eason, Anastacia Brice, and Mari Smith.  Each helped me without reservation and continues to pack my parachute daily with their inspiration.   Although we don’t speak personally as much as any of us would like (we’re too busy with writing, creating, launching and of course family obligations), I have Facebook and Twitter and other social sites to keep up with their great successes.  I would like to thank you ladies for packing my parachute all those years ago, and for continuing to do it with your inspiring posts, tweets and updates.

Throughout these last years I have been blessed to know a great many people who have taken the time to pack my parachute.  Some are business partners, Laura Rubinstein (Social Buzz Club) and Tamara Monosoff (Moms Helping Schools) who are wonderful to work with and learn from.  Some are support staff, current and former; great VA’s and online business managers like Kera McHugh, and Raven Howard, my designer Erika Ruggiero as well as my friend and SEO go-to guy Tisho Richardson who has worked with me for the last four years and NEVER asked for anything in return.

Others are people who believed in me and gave me a chance, even when I was new to social media marketing and had no testimonials, track record or social proof at all. They include people like Traci Long and Angela Jia Kim of Savor the Success, and still more who support my efforts, such as Mark Levy, Payson Cooper, Heather Graham, Scott Bradley, Apryl Parcher, Bryn Johnson, Hollis Gillespie and Ted Rubin—even if it’s as simple as a share of a post, a re-tweet or listening to my newest (and perhaps craziest) ideas.

Some folks probably don’t even know they pack my parachute, but their support is invaluable.  I learn so much just by watching them succeed! People like Denise Wakeman, Pam Brossman, Gina Carr, Susan Newman, Lou Bortone and Amy Porterfield–all supporters of my new initiative,  Social Buzz Club.

People who don’t know me that well at all but have stepped up to help me and my initiatives, like Neal Schaffer, Chris Treadaway, Lori Richardson and Mike Stelzner.

I’m sure there are so many more that I’m forgetting but the point is – Who Packs Your Parachute?  Don’t ever forget that none of us got here alone.  We have all had those who helped us along the way, and I, for one, will not forget!

So I’m offering a heartfelt “thank you” here to all those parachute packers who have helped me along the way. I have also found throughout my life and career that it is very rewarding to  pack others’  parachutes whether by offering a hand to someone in need, praising  someone’s success or  a kind word when they seem down.

I am looking forward to the many more thank you’s I will be giving out in the years to come.  Tell me, who packs your parachute?  Tell me here, but more importantly…tell them!

 

List of “parachute packers” and their Twitter handles/Facebook Page.  I encourage all of you to “like” and “follow” each of them! You never know when someone will be packing your parachute!

 

Twitter

Facebook
Kim Dushinski @KimDushinski MobileMarketingProfits
Julie Eason @mainecopywriter
Anastacia Brice @AnastaciaBrice AnastaciaBrice
Mari Smith @MariSmith MariSmith
Laura Rubinstein @SocialBuzzClub SocialBuzzClub
Tamara Monosoff @MomsHelpingSchools MomsHelpingSchools
Kera McHugh @keramch ItsTime4SomethingElse
Raven Howard @Raven_Howard MyVirtualSidekick
Tisho Richardson @newsfly411
Traci Long @tracilong Traci.Long
Angela Jia Kim @SavorTheSuccess SavorTheSuccess
Mark Levy @LevyInnovation
Payson Cooper @PaysonCooper PaysonFCooper
Heather Graham @BellaEast HeatherGrahamMedia
Scott Bradley @ScottBradley RapidResultsMarketer
Apryl Parcher @Apryl_Parcher AParcherCopywriting
Bryn Johnson @BrynJohnson Bryn-Johnson-Consulting
Hollis Gillespie @HollisGillespie
Ted Rubin @TedRubin CollectiveBias
Denise Wakeman @DeniseWakeman BlogSquad
Pam Brossman @PamBrossman socialmediawoman
Gina Carr @GinaCarr GinaCarrFanPage
Susan Newman @SNewmanDesign SusanNewmanDesignInc
Lou Bortone @LouBortone OnlineVideoBranding
Amy Porterfield @AmyPorterfield AmyPorterfield
Neal SchafferLori Richardson @NealSchaffer@scoremoresales ScoreMoreSales
Chris Treadaway @CTreada
Mike Stelzner @ Mike_Stelzner SMExaminer

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Last week, I was fortunate enough to be one of the social media keynote speakers at the Small Business Survival Summit with some other incredible social media experts including Chris Treadaway, Dan Zarrella, Neal Schaffer, Apryl Parcher and Heather Graham.  We all came together to share our social media knowledge with a hungry audience of  SMB’s looking for better, more effective ways to gain exposure for their businesses.  I was also thrilled to “open” for America’s Mayor Rudy Giuliani.  He appeared at the summit at what was, I’m sure, an extremely busy week–the week preceding the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks– to share his insights on small business growth and leadership with the crowd.

It was an uplifting keynote that had some great takeaways, including his insights into what makes a strong leader.  I wanted to share some of them with you:

  1. Have strong beliefs. He talked about his time working for Ronald Reagan and the fact that whether or not you agreed with him, he had strong core beliefs and he never compromised them.  Stick to your core beliefs unless there is compelling and overwhelming evidence not to, do not get swayed by public opinion or what others say you should be doing.
  2. Be an optimist. People want to follow positive people.  Be cognizant of the realities of situations, but always look for the solution.  He tells his own staff that before they knock on his door with a problem, they should have a solution in mind.  Even if it’s not the correct solution, think about how you can solve the problem and then everyone can brainstorm ideas.
  3. Have courage. You must overcome your fears of making the wrong decision, success, failure or whatever it is that you are afraid of.  True heroes are those who act in spite of their fears.
  4. Always Be Preapred. If you don’t plan you won’t know where you are going.  He talked about the day that the terrorists struck his city.  They had plans for all sorts of things, massive fires, flooding, etc. but nothing for planes flying into buildings.  But because they had plans for other disasters, he and his team were able to cobble together an evacuation and rescue and recovery plan for lower Manhattan.
  5. You need a team. He said that if a small business person thinks they can do it alone, they are kidding themselves.  You cannot possibly do everything and do it well.  He said to ask yourself “what are my weaknesses?” He says that if you can’t think of anything, then you should ask your spouse (HA). True leaders know their weaknesses and then find people that will fill the void.

He also mentioned the importance of communicating with your staff and getting real feedback from them as to your leadership, the direction of your organization, etc.  He believes that true leaders are motivators and teachers and learn through others.  You should also be sure to track and measure your success.  You don’t know if your plan is effective unless you measure results.

What are your thoughts on the qualities of great leader?

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So many clients ask, how do I create a community and engage my target audience on social media?  Then I ask, well, who are you targeting?  Most will say things like women, 25-54, 100k+ income and other old-school ways of defining markets.  I explain, in the new digital marketing arena, those kinds of target market definitions are much too broad.  To narrow it down for the client, I then ask, who do you serve?  Who, exactly, benefits from your product or service? You see, social media marketing is about serving, giving information, building communities, not selling or marketing “to” your constituents.

I first learned about using personas right out of college (oh, those many years ago) when I was working in a marketing agency.  Back then, we liked to use personas to create compelling headlines and calls to action for our target markets.   What is a persona?  Very simply, you give your target market an actual name, face and characteristics of a real person. What movies do they like? What TV shows do they watch? Do they have children? What hobbies do they enjoy? Things like that. The more detailed you can get, the better.

For example, when I wrote The Parent’s Guide to Facebook, I broke my target market into three personas:

  1. Social Sally, the soccer mom. She loves to be involved with her kids and thinks it’s funny that they post silly pictures of themselves partying and acting crazy. She doesn’t realize this is going to be part of her children’s digital footprint and can affect them later in life.
  2. Pumpkin Sweater Peggy. You know, the woman who used to dress trendy and hip but once she had a child, everything changed. She starts wearing pumpkin sweaters as soon as fall rolls around.  And she probably has no clue what her kids are doing online.
  3. Helicopter Harriet. She hovers and makes comments on every post her kids make.  She writes things like “Johnny why didn’t you get an A on that test?” on their walls. She thinks she’s very involved, but her comments are embarrassing and can affect her kids’ social life and how they make friends.

Each persona was then broken down. How old are they? Are they in the PTO? Do they watch Modern Family, Brothers and Sisters or Family Guy?

Once I had a good idea of how each persona lives her life, I knew how to talk to her. Then I created different content that spoke to each persona.

Another persona example was created for one of my clients, a well-known alcohol brand. For them we created Brad, a 30-something up-and-comer who liked to impress his friends by knowing facts about the brands he drinks. So we crafted content that spoke to Brad. We asked trivia questions like why is the bottle a certain color, what did the writing on the seal mean, things like that.

It is easy (and fun) to create personas.  From there, creating content that is compelling for your target market to interact with you or your brand becomes easier.  Trying to be everything to everyone is impossible when you are creating a viable social media marketing plan.  Targeting, niche-ing, long-tailing, however you want to define it, is proven to be the way to success.

Now it’s time for you to take action:

Right now, take some time to develop one or several personas for your own target market. You might also want to include things like where your persona shops in your local area. And then go to those shops and observe the kinds of people who are actually there. Does reality match the persona you made up?

Write down the following and answer the questions, this will help get you started creating an accurate picture of your target market.

Persona Name:

Persona Age:

Persona Income level:

Persona Education level:

What activities, TV shows, magazines and books do they like?

Where do they shop?

You can not only better target your social media content, but potentially use this to find joint venture partners, as a basis for your pay per click advertising campaigns, video script creation, and much more.  Create different calls to action for your different personas– test, test, test and analyze results.

It is easy to be overwhelmed by all the social media noise, if you block it out and speak to your personas, you will be much more successful!

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As a social media and marketing professional who has worked with joint venture partners in a variety of ways, I am always asked questions about JV’s.  What are they? Why should I use them?  How can I be successful with them?  Here are some answers to those questions:

What Are Joint Ventures?

A joint venture is when two or more parties (individuals, companies or organizations) who have complimentary strengths or resources join together to work on a project for a set period of time.

Joint ventures or “JV’s” can take-on many different forms. Some are as simple as promoting each other’s blog posts, newsletters or events, while others may be more complex partnerships with cross-promoting of complimentary products. Some JV’s even involve starting entirely new projects from scratch.

Projects can be hosting a teleseminar or an in-person event, writing a book, creating a new product, etc.  As a result of working together the parties create something new, better and bigger than what either party could on their own. The mutual benefits often include monetary gain but not always right away.  The benefit could be more subscribers to your list, or elevating you to expert status just because the JV partner, who is recognized as an expert, is recommending you or your product.

Why are Joint Ventures so important?

As a solo-entrepreneur, blogger or small business owner, you probably have very limited resources:  time, money or access to connections.  So collaborating with other people or businesses is essential to the survival and growth of your business.  With the right collaborative partners you will think bigger, achieve more, and even have more fun!  I have also learned so much from each of my JV partners over the years–knowledge that I have used and brought with me to other projects and made my business more profitable.

Joint Ventures are a powerful tool for expanding business in many areas. So, what is stopping you from using this technique to expand your business?

For many new marketers, starting a JV can be a frightening task, especially when it comes to contacting other marketers. Too often, many marketers appear to be “spamming,” when they are really just seeking other JV partners. Here are some tips that may help you along the way:

1. Get to know your potential JV partners. Give to get!

If you just start emailing, calling or online stalking everyone on your list of potential partners, chances are you will be considered a spammer. You won’t get the partners you want, or even worse, this tactic may destroy your reputation. Before you hit “send” on that email or connection request, do your homework.

You should always do some research to find out all you can about your potential partner and their business prior to reaching out. Join their newsletter, and watch their online interactions.  Tell them you think their information is valuable and why.   Attend offline events where you are sure to run into them.  Offer to assist them at an offline event they are doing or give them some good content or feedback they can use for a project they are working on.  You will be surprised at how much attention you receive by being prepared and getting to know them personally and giving first as you proceed to develop relationships with potential JV partners.

2. Make sure it is really a WIN-WIN-WIN

Most people look at partnerships as a win win, what’s in it for me?  But with many of us, the end result we are looking for is a win-win-win.  A win for us, for our partner AND for our community (or our list).  Many online marketers today get massive lists by offering something great of their own and then begin quickly to send out email after email promoting other people’s projects to raise money through affiliate commissions.  I believe this is a mistake.  Think about approaching partners that are in it for the long haul.  You will be much more successful.  So when asking someone to partner with you, it should be presented in the win-win-win formula.  This is how I can help YOU, how you can help ME and how this will help our respective communities over the long term.

Many people I have collaborated with have developed into long term relationships.

You may ask, how can it be a win-win-win if I have 1000 people on my list and they have 100,000?  Simple, it may not be a 50/50 partnership, they may ask for more compensation or for you to mail more or promote more often.  In the beginning, prepare to give a lot away to attract a top-tier partner.

3. Your financial estimates should always be realistic.

Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. Be honest with your potential partners. Explain your proposal and benefits in realistic terms, but don’t hype. Don’t say, for example, that you are getting 50% conversions if you are only seeing 15%.  Be honest, open and sincere.

4. Set goals and expectations.

You must always set goals and expectations for any joint venture project so you can measure its success and to also avoid negative feelings.  One of the fastest ways to sink a relationship is not setting expectations i.e. who is responsible for what and keeping track of the numbers.  Even if the JV doesn’t produce as much as you both would have liked, you still want to keep the relationship alive.   Sometimes even with the best intentions, things can go wrong but if you are open, honest and deliver on what you promise, you can both at least feel that you did the best you could and learn from the experience.

Getting a Joint Venture off the ground doesn’t have to be scary if you start by following the four simple steps given above.  I’ll be offering more tips on finding JV partners and collaborators  in future posts. To your success!

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Let’s face it…you can’t possibly please everyone, try as you might, there may be someone out there who doesn’t like you, your product or something else about your brand.  What do you do if someone writes a negative blog post, tweet or Facebook post?

As someone who has worked with companies who have had to respond and defend themselves against negative online press, blog posts, etc. I have some advice for those who end up on the wrong side of a tweet or post.   Because everything posted on line lives forever, you MUST have a plan of action on how to deal with any negative online comments.

I know some companies have even resisted a full out social media presence because they fear  someone may say something negative and they will then have to deal with it.  This is the stick your head in the sand approach.  Wake up folks — even if you don’t have a social media presence, you will likely have to handle negative comments and not knowing about them until the problem reaches epic proportions is not a good strategic plan.  It’s so much more efficient and better public relations to be present, be aware and resolve the issue.  It’s even better to be present and proactive so the problem never gets beyond a minor incident.

In some cases, I have witnessed brands responding directly online with the content publisher or blogger to address their concerns.  I believe that in some cases the issue should be addressed directly but perhaps an online battle is not the way.  If there is a real issue with your brand or product and it’s something that can be fixed, do so immediately and let the person or person’s who brought the issue to your attention know exactly how you plan to make good on the issue.  But there are times when a competitor or someone who doesn’t like you may simply begin to post negative things about you that are not true or clearly show that they’re trying to engage you in a public battle to increase their status by attacking you.  How would I address those kinds of negative comments?

In a word…IGNORE.  It may be really difficult especially if you are your brand.  It’s very tempting to go back at the person and state your case but the search engines LOVE new content.  The more you post, the more search engines will pick up the content, including the negative.  This is what you want to avoid.  By responding to this kind of negative criticism online, you are actually creating new negative content about your own brand.  When someone searches for your company or product on the search engines you only want information that YOU put out there, or positive information, not negative back and forth they said-you said exchange that began with a criticism.  In terms of search related content and your brand name, picking up the phone is most likely a better options for addressing this kind of issue.

If the person is not satisfied with your service, you must try to make them satisfied.  The customer is always right, right?  It is even more critical with the internet because if someone searches for your company, it’s not only a few people who may see the negative post, potentially millions will see it.  Do whatever it takes–refund their money, offer a freebie and then ask them to take the post down or at least add to it that the problem was resolved.  Do not try and contact the blog host (i.e. wordpress or blogger) or the search engines and ask them to take the post down. This kind of action rarely happens and it can backfire on you.  Even if the blogger posts a retraction, the search engines may keep ranking the post because of new content.  Your best outcome is to see a post that touts your quick response to their concern, genuine desire to fix the problem and swift resolution leading the poster to want to do business with you again.

If they simply don’t like you or something you are doing, it is a difficult thing to defend.  Emotions get away from us and what was a two post disagreement can quickly turn into hours, days and even months of negative blasts.  People are entitled to their opinion, and it’s not always going to be in your favor.  That’s ok, just mitigate the potential damage to your product by minimizing the effect it can have on searches.   If you must communicate with them, the best way is to call or private email the person.  Do NOT send a nasty email full of emotion however, they can (and probably will) just cut and paste your email into a brand new blog post.  If you decide to email them and/or post a comment to defend yourself post or email a simple, “It was nice to speak to you, I hope we can agree to disagree and move forward.  I value your opinion and will take your comments under advisement.”

Here is my advice on how to manage your online reputation:

  1. Have a plan, decide the best way to deal with this online and off.  Maybe the person has a point and you can improve your product or service? Use tools such as blogs, posts, tweets and press releases to announce the change and ask the individual to play a part.
  2. CONSTANTLY monitor the social networks and blogosphere by using tools such as hootsuite, social mention, twitter search and google alerts.
  3. If something negative does get said, calm down and remember the longer the battle the more potential damage.
  4. If possible, take it off line by giving the person your email or some kind of contact information and speak to them in person
  5. Rectify the situation as best as possible, make a quick note of it on social networks and then MOVE ON, a tweet will last a second but if you keep it going it will last a whole lot longer as it lingers on the search engines.

Finally, don’t be afraid to become part of the social conversation because with you or without you, someone is talking about your brand.  Share your own positive information consistently and keep the negative back and forth to a minimum and you will mitigate any long term damage to your or your company’s reputation.

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The Parent's Guide to Texting, Facebook and Social Media

In 1996 Adam Brandenburger of the Harvard Business School and Barry Nalebuff of the Yale School of Management, wrote a book entitled Coopetition and explained how “businesses can gain advantage by means of a judicious mixture of competition and cooperation. Cooperation with suppliers, customers and firms producing complementary or related products can lead to expansion of the market and the formation of new business relationships, perhaps even the creation of new forms of enterprise.”

Today is National Cyber Safety Awareness Day.  Many of you know I authored the original Facebook Guide for Parents, now titled The Parent’s Guide to Facebook: Tips and Strategies to Protect Your Children on the World’s Largest Social Network. A few weeks ago I was contacted by a good friend, the brilliant innovation and positioning consultant Mark Levy.  He had just met a woman who was about to release a book entitled The Parent’s Guide to Texting, Facebook, and Social Media: Understanding the Benefits and Dangers of Parenting in a Digital World. She approached him about working with her to help position her book.  I worked with Mark on a totally unrelated project but since he had worked with me, he wanted to know how I felt about him helping her with her book launch.

I immediately said “of course you should.”  You see, writing the Parent’s Guide was a labor of love for me.  I had originally started writing a business book about Facebook when I realized that, unbeknownst to them, most of my friends and family’s privacy settings were configured so their information was completely open to the public.  That is when I changed course and wrote the Facebook guide.  I did a soft online launch of the book and have benefitted both financially and professionally.  For example, I was invited to sit on a panel cyberbullying panel for our local Channel 12, with the CT Attorney General among others, I have also made many local television appearances and have had the pleasure of speaking to students and parents here in the U.S., and in Canada about the importance of protecting privacy on social networking sites.

I told Mark that I felt very strongly that the benefit of parents and children armed with as much information that can protect them online far outweighs the possible competition for my book personally and I pledged to help her as much as I could.

Mark arranged an introduction and I had the pleasure of speaking with Shawn Marie Edgington, the author of The Parent’s Guide to Texting, Facebook, and Social Media: Understanding the Benefits and Dangers of Parenting in a Digital World, whose own daughter was cyberbullied and was the reason for her passion on this subject.  She sent me an advance copy of her manuscript and if you have a child that has a cell phone or has a profile on any of the social networks, I highly recommend you pick up this book.  It is full of great information that will help parents understand this new digital world.   The book cites all sorts of statistics and studies that will make any parent’s hair stand on end.  For example:

  • 50% of teens admit to being bullied online or by text message.
  • 64% of all teens say they do things online they don’t want their parents to know about
  • 71% of teens receive messages online from strangers (National Center for Missing and
    Exploited Children)
  • 51% of teens have been asked for personal information online (McAfee Inc.).
  • 30% of teens contemplate meeting a person they met online (Teenage Research Unlimited).
  • Over HALF of bullying and cyberbully attacks go UNREPORTED to parents, educators, or authorities.
  • On average 282,000 students are physically attacked by a bully each month.

And — as a result of being bullied, 19,000 children are attempting suicide over the course of one year.

These facts are disturbing to say the least.  Shawn’s book goes on sale today and if you purchase through her site http://theparentsguidebook.com (not an affiliate link), all royalties will be donated to the Megan Meier Foundation, an organization founded to protect children from cyberbullying. Megan Meir, you may remember, was a thirteen year old girl who took her own life as a result of a neighbor who set up a fake profile online pretending to be a young boy. Megan was harassed and bullied until she could see no way out of the pain.

Also, you will receive several bonuses including, the Top 5 Things Every Parent Should Know About Facebook, written by yours truly.

Since our introduction, Shawn and I have begun to work on other projects together that will help kids and parents learn the dangers of too much online information.  In fact, she launched a fundraising initiative for school systems called The Cyber Safety Academy (http://cybersafetyacademy.com) that will feature two of my books as well as hers and other cyber safety products.

Coopetition is alive and well.  Too often people think that they can’t work together mainly out of fear.  Fear that someone will steal their idea, fear that the other person’s products will be more successful or other fears.  I have a different view, in this case the cooperation and collaboration will ultimately benefit both of us and, more importantly, impact the lives of the most precious resource, our children.  I encourage all of you to think and work collaboratively.  You never know what you cook up that will change your life and the lives of others.

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What is Social Bookmarking?

by Kathryn Rose on

Social Bookmarking Makes It Easy to Organize and Share Content

According to Wikipedia.org; “Social Bookmarking is a method for Internet users to share, organize, search, and manage bookmarks of web resources. Unlike file sharing, the resources themselves aren’t shared, merely bookmarks that reference them.”

Ok, but what does that really mean?  So many clients ask about social bookmarking that I have attempted to come up with a really simple explanation.

There are over 13 billion web pages on the internet.  To organize all of our favorite content, we need ways to pick out the best pages and save them for later.  You have choices, you can bookmark or add to favorites in our web browser but that can become a huge list (my husband used to laugh at me because I probably had 500 pages “bookmarked”), plus, these bookmarks are only associated with one computer.  If you sign in on another computer at work or while you’re away on vacation, you won’t be able to see your bookmarks.  This is how “social” bookmarking got its start.

Through social bookmarking, you can share your favorite blog posts or articles with others who may want to read the information you just saved.  Think of it as clipping a newspaper article and copying it and passing it around to others.  It is the same principle.

For instance, you are a local food blogger and socially bookmark your favorite restaurants and wine stores.  Someone who is interested in dining in your area could come across your bookmarked pages and read them.  Another example, you are a realtor who used bookmarking to save relevant real estate related articles or you bookmark your listings.  You organize things but it is public instead of private on your personal computer.

You may wonder why you would want everyone to see what websites you visit, but as a marketer this is not such a bad thing. Bookmarks are not only public and visible to other surfers; they are also visible to the search engines and are indexed quite frequently by them. Put simply, a website that may have taken weeks to be indexed by the search engines can now be indexed in a matter of days through social bookmarking.

Top social bookmarking websites:

  • del.icio.us: It allows you to easily add sites you like to your personal collection of links and to categorize those sites with keywords. Not to mention that if enough people save your site in a bookmark, it will make their popular page list and send a lot of traffic. Delicious is owned by Yahoo and is a MUST for your social media and bookmarking strategy.
  • StumbleUpon:  Owned by eBay, StumbleUpon is an amazing blend of social bookmarking, voting, networking, web surfing, search and blogging. Best of all, StumbleUpon can send major traffic with its userbase of around 3 million users.
  • Digg:  Digg is a high power authority and a listing in Digg for a site, even if it only has a couple of votes, will rank highly on Google and other search engines for certain terms. If your site is shared and voted upon on Digg, and makes the Digg homepage, you’ll get a lot of traffic and attention from other bloggers who read Digg.
  • Google: Allows users to save and create bookmarks in their Google toolbar that can be accessed anywhere online.
  • Reddit: Timely and shocking news oriented, Reddit stories are instantly voted upon and if liked by the community as a whole, can drive incredible traffic and users.
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks: This is the MOST POPULAR social bookmarking service on the internet.  A great feature of Yahoo Bookmarks is that they let users store bookmarks using their Yahoo Toolbar and access them from any computer.

Take a minute to sign up for some of these and start sharing your favorite content with others.  It’s a great way to get links for your site, get attention from the search engines and exposure for you or your company.

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Maximize Online Visibility

One of the major challenges businesses face online is to be recognized by the search engines and ranked on the first page of relevant results.  Another challenge for professionals and businesses is to be recognized for their expertise.  An easy, and fairly inexpensive way to tackle both challenges, is to utilize online press releases.

In the past, when referring to “press releases” organizations wrote and sent them to get news picked up in the physical newspaper or to be a guest on a news show — some kind of traditional press.  Today, SEO professionals use online press release sites as part of a powerful awareness tool and link building strategy.

For example, if you “Google” Kathryn Rose Social Media, for example, you will see many articles about my speaking engagements, my book releases and so on.  Each of these were press releases either sent by me or by the organization I was speaking at to create awareness and position myself as a social media expert.  When clients “Google” my name, they will see this information and perhaps feel more comfortable that they are dealing with a true professional.

In addition, each press release produces a backlink to your site.  One of the ways Google ranks websites is by popularity.  The more sites linking back to your site, makes your site more popular, therefore you will rank higher on the search engines.  When the releases get picked up on line by Google news and syndicated throughout the internet, more backlinks are created.  In addition, many sites pull these directly onto their own in the form of an RSS feed, which may provide you with a potential for a whole new audience.

Many of my clients still have trouble with what to send press releases about.  Remember, you are not pitching the “Today” show here so don’t be shy about sending them out about any milestone, no matter how small it seems.  For example, I was just asked to speak on a panel with the CT Attorney General on cyberbullying because someone saw my press release on my book The Parent’s Guide to Facebook. Of course, I will be writing an online press release announcing my appearance on the panel. This strategy works and I highly recommend you consider one free and one paid press release per month as part of an ongoing awareness and link building campaign.

Here are some ideas of what to send press releases on:

-          Announce your site and what it’s about (make sure you use keywords):

-          Announce that your business has joined the social networks, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

-          Promote a speaking engagement or an award you received or a media appearance

-          Announce the winner of a contest

Here is a list of some of the best free and paid press release sites:

Paid: PR Leap, PR Web

Free: PR log , PR Inside

Please leave your online press release tips in the comment section.

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#bizcrush — Mark Levy

by Kathryn Rose on

A few weeks ago, I began making my usual #ff or #followfriday recommendations and then I realized that “Follow Friday”, for me at least, was becoming a bit routine.  It seemed that no one was explaining why they recommended people for follow friday and it was difficult to say in 140 characters why someone was worthy of following.  So I had an idea to start a new #hashtag, the #bizcrush.  #bizcrush will allow people to highlight a person or organization that they admire for their propensity to share great content, their knowledge, all around brilliance and the like. People can offer “business crush” shoutouts in a list or, even more valuable, take the time as I am to explain why a person is the object of your professional affection.  This will add more value to the reason folks should be followed and perhaps strengthen the relationship between you and your business crush, open a door to someone who you have been trying to facilitate a dialog with or introduce others to people they hadn’t thought of following before.

Mark Levy

My first #bizcrush profile is Mark Levy @levyinnovation

I have a crush on you…Mark Levy.  Not to worry Stella (Mark’s beautiful wife of over 20 years), I’m not chasing after your husband, per se, just his brain.  Mark is one of these people who can take an ordinary person and help them find what is extraordinary about them and help them communicate this uniqueness to the world.  He is also brilliant writer who has written a bestselling book: Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate Your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content

I first met Mark when we both spoke at an event in NYC.  With great finesse, he retold a story of one of his clients,  Bill Treasurer, an author and consultant whom he helped to transform from just an “author and consultant” into the “courage-building” consulting practice he has today by capitalizing on one of Bill’s former careers– a professional theme park high diver who was known as “Captain Inferno”.  As “Captain Inferno”, Bill, for 10 years,  would jump from a 100 foot perch (the equivalent of a 10 story building) on FIRE—even though admittedly he was afraid of heights!  Well, if that isn’t someone who could teach people about risk taking and courage, who can?  They subsequently named his company, Giant Leap Consulting, the world’s first courage-building company and Bill has gone on to be an extremely successful consultant and keynote speaker.

After hearing Mark speak about Bill and other former clients, I hired Mark to help me find my true north.  I had so many ideas of what I could do but couldn’t figure out exactly what it was I wanted to do… where was my story?  Through our work together, I came to realize that one of my greatest strengths was growing businesses through the use of collaboration, networking, partnerships, joint ventures, etc.  I remembered how I had used these techniques throughout my entire career to catapult me to success.  Now I am working with organizations using these strategies to help grow their businesses, working on a new book and positioning myself as a collaboration consultant, using social media as one of the tools of the trade.   I have some speaking engagements lined up to educate people on developing the collaboration mindset and will be launching the world’s first online marketing collaboration network™ in a few weeks.

I would call him my “secret weapon” but someone already beat me to it.  And since I’m “outing” him as my business crush, I suppose he’s not a secret any longer.  If you are looking for someone to help you find your voice, your message or your story, then Mark Levy is the man.  Cheers to you Mark, my very first #bizcrush.

Readers, followers and friends–who is your #bizcrush and why?  Comment below and be sure to include the person’s name and Twitter ID.

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