Come on, ride the train.

  • Thanks Leesamaree

I know I have not been riding the successful blogger train. In fact, I just realized the train is long gone and I am running down the tracks huffing, puffing, sprinting to jump on. To put it simply, this project, not to mention my use of social media, hasn’t gone well since I committed to it.

Not to make excuses for myself because there really aren’t any, but it’s really challenging trying to be good at social media. Did you know there is an art to being GOOD at social media?

Since beginning my wonderful and enlightening internship at Fahlgren Mortine my motivation to engage in professional related past times (i.e. social media) outside of work has equaled zero. It’s not that I don’t love social media, I do. The truth is I am struggling in time management for the real world – that should be a college course. Social media is a big responsibility and I want to ensure I am understanding and using it to its full potential.

The silver lining is I am aware of my short comings in this area, so I sought help.  I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to engage with and learn from successful PR pros on a daily basis. Lara Kretler is one of those people. Besides being a social media superstar, Lara has incredible hobbies and passions that she is not afraid to blog, tweet, tell the world about. I’ve dabbled in this, but merging my passions and my profession is something I still haven’t quite figured out how to do seamlessly.

I emailed Lara a few weeks ago asking her to coffee so I could learn about her path to becoming the VP and Social Media Lead @FahlgrenMortine and how she manages her personal/professional time. We chatted about our dogs, her stellar skull shoes (these are not exact replicas) and strategies for a successful social media presence. Some lessons I learned:

 

1.) Utilize social media tools to your advantage. It sparks the creative process.

Despite enjoying to write, I always have trouble coming up with topics to write about. I spend a good amount of time each day scouring Twitter and other blogs for a good idea, but it is not time efficient and I often don’t have a hankering to bust out a blog post afterward. Bright light bulb over the head! RSS! There are so many excellent tools available to help organize news, blogs, social networks that I use for work but never considered to use personally. I know this is not a new concept, but I felt the need to share my AH-HA moment with you. This week I set up my own Netvibes account and am having a ball personalizing it.

2.) Link, link, link. Comment, comment, comment.

I noticed on her personal blog that Lara is a crazy linker and an an excellent commenter. Even in her “About” section she hyperlinks key words to give readers a better idea of who she is by reading more. She also replies to every comment she receives. Despite taking time to reply to readers, this can help immensely in coming up with topics for posts and keeps your blog active. I have heard this is a great way to promote your own blog and grow your readership a number of times, but never really knew how to do it well. All I can say is I will make my best effort to adopt these practices.

3.) Have one blog or multiple, but stick to your topic of interest and make sure readers know what they’re in for.

Frankly, I can’t imaging trying to manage another personal blog right now. But, if I did, it would be absolutely necessary to prepare readers for what they are going to read. If you are a social media expert and you typically blog solely on that topic, then it needs to be clear that your new personal interest blog about tropical fish is not affiliated to your work blog. Not doing this has the potential to push readers away because you are wasting their time (and yours) writing about topics they have no interest in. Also, different blog services are good for different things (i.e. Tumblr is great for photos and short posts while WordPress allows you to expand on your thoughts). And finally, blog clients are very useful.

4.) Keep a surplus of posts.

There are going to be weeks it is impossible to blog even if I carve out special time to do so. For those times, have a surplus of posts written that can be updated and edited quickly to be posted. This way you are keeping your blog up to date.

 

These little tips inspired and helped me to catch up with my runaway train, maybe they will help you too. Plus, I have some great ideas to share this week. Do you have any ideas or good tips for me?

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5 Comments

Filed under public relations, social media, time management

5 responses to “Come on, ride the train.

  1. Tiffany, from the look of it I’d say you are doing a heck of a job with the blog. This is the first post I’ve read admittedly, but it solid.

    I saw a photo earlier today that said “You are already lapping everyone that’s still on the couch.”. No doubt you are lapping 99% of most people, but we can’t help but compare ourselves to the .001% of the top bloggers we see.

    A few thoughts to think about, maybee they are worth something, but probably not much.

    1. Everyone should focus on what they can be the best at the world at. Just because Chris Brogan is a blogging/tweeting maniac, doesn’t mean you have to be.

    Michael Jordan was the worlds best basketball player and one of the greatest athletes of all time. However one year he gave baseball a shot and couldn’t even make it in the minor league…

    My point being you (and everyone else) has a special gift to bring to the world. Find and focus on your gift, rather than trying to attain other peoples success.

    2. Just because someone is “popular” in social media doesn’t mean they are worth a damn more to their clients or agency. One guy I know spends a few hours everyday working on his Klout score to improve his influence. Tell me, as an external consultant what’s the value to the client in that? Although there are obviously a ton of benefits participating in social media I think it’s more important that you (and others) “get it” rather than spending your time trying to be the next social media celebrity.

    3. I’ve rambled far too long, but my last point is that different personalities have different ways of sharing and interacting online. Similar to point one, some people like having their work be their life and vice-versa while others prefer a healthy separation. Some people live to organize some to analyze and others to build new ideas. Some traits make great bloggers and others make great project managers etc.

    Bottom line, you rock Tiffany. Don’t let the social media echo chamber (and the accompanying hype/bubble) keep you from being the best you.

    • Thanks for the excellent advice, Brandon.

      You’re right, it’s tough to remember that I am adding value to the social media space when the giant shadow of more experienced professionals looms over me. Though I know I have the potential to flourish in this area, the learning experience in itself – the never ending road to “getting good”- is what is most important. I appreciate the boost of confidence.

  2. I saw this post today from one of my favorite bloggers, Mark Schaefer.

    It might not be directly relevant to your post, but it might be worth a read.

    http://www.businessesgrow.com/2011/03/27/why-are-the-social-media-elite-ignoring-us/

    • I love the recommendation to social media beginners to find other “babies” and grow together. I’m trying my darndest to be authentic and unique, but that is also a skill that takes time to learn.

      Thanks for sharing!

  3. Tiffany, I am honored to be mentioned – and so glad we took the time to have coffee. I got just as many great ideas from you, believe me! My Tumblog (for pure random silliness) is http://larak.tumblr.com/ – it’s good to remember that social media doesn’t have to be all serious, all the time, even when we do it for a living.
    Keep up the great work! Love your blog.

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