Communication: The Key to Social Media

One of my clients is a local tree services company. As much as I handle most of their social media and write all of their blog posts, I couldn’t do it without help. This week’s blog for them is a great example of that. It has received lots of positive feedback already, which I appreciate, but much of the content in the post itself came directly from them. And that is what a good working relationship looks like.

I can wrangle words til the cow comes home (Watch out, this be cliché country!), but the process is always far more productive and positive when I get support, suggestions and feedback from clients. What do they want to see written? Did one article work better for them than another? Have I missed the mark on the message I am trying to put across or is it just not in their tone? Tell me! I try to do my best, but always encourage guidance, so that what I put out there is reflective of my clients. If they don’t like it, or their audience doesn’t like it, then I am wasting all of our time.

Thank you to Pam, for taking the time to answer my questions and provide me with pictures on a regular basis. When I can catch you Calvin, you are a wonderful fount of information and the person I want to please most. Curt, you have been the voice in my head for years inspiring many blog posts. Your encouraging words mean a lot to me Christine. And if Mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy. Your smile tells me I’m doing alright Anna Marie. There are plenty of other people at CLC Tree Services who keep their fabulous company hopping. I hope you know what a great company you have chosen to work for!

I will be forever grateful to you all for putting your trust in me. And for helping me put more trust in myself. I look to your company as proof that social media marketing works and that with communication all around, it can do wonders, especially for a small business.

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I might not have planted any of these trees, but I have seen more than one go into the ground at the side of CLC. They love their trees & their passion is contagious.

 

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Blogging: Is It Still Relevant?

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BLOGGING |

I have been blogging since 2009. That might sound like a long time, but in the early days, my blog was more akin to a journal entry; I recorded daily happenings, thoughts, lists, and whatever else struck me. Many of the entries didn’t have pictures and visitors to my page were rare. Such was my start, but also a reflection on the still-morphing existence of weblogs.

While Justin Hall is noted as the first person to ‘blog’ back in 1994, many more have come after him. Hall’s early ‘personal homepage’, begat many blogging platforms within a few short years, and the growth of this new phenomenon has only grown from there. Blogger and LiveJournal launched hosted web tools in 1999, and WordPress, arguably one of the most popular blogging platforms today, joined the fray in 2003.

I happen to have blogs on both Blogger and WordPress, but there are plenty more sites you can turn to today, from Medium to Squarespace, Tumblr to Drupal, Type Pad to Weebly, and so many more. The platform might change, but the concept remains the same—sharing content with others in a setting where it can be commented upon and shared at will. It is a great medium for writers, people with hobbies or specific interests, and businesses who want to establish a voice for themselves on the web.

Changing Face of Blogging

Like anything though, the face of blogging is changing. Where people once shared stories of their personal days and challenges—Mommy bloggers are still a huge part of the blogging world—topics have exploded from there. Whether it be politics, journalism, art critique, travel, dating, or food prep, you can find a blog for that. But where some people avidly read many blogs a few years ago, nowadays the average person’s attention span is so torn by the constant influx of social media content, that the influence of blogging is changing.

No longer will your take on Grannie’s home remedies be relevant, when your humble blog goes up against trusted big-name websites. You have to have something relevant and unique to say, and it has to be presented in a visually appealing way, not to mention that it be well written. If you are touching on current events, they have to be timely too, not to mention accurate in detail. And even if you write a fantastic post that draws in readers, that’s still not enough. Today’s bloggers need to consistently create good content on a regular basis, promote it to the hilt, and interact with readers to make sure they are a part of the experience.

Tall order? Maybe, but that’s the name of the game, especially if you are a small business who is trying to get your voice heard in the echo-chamber that is today’s social media world. I have talked to people in person, discussed the relevance of blogs with folks on Twitter, read umpteen numbers of articles across the web (yes, I still read blogs), and pondered how best to get the biggest bang for your buck with blogging.

  • regular posting
  • quality content
  • maximize shareability
  • vary the style of posts (graphics, words, pictures, videos, lists, long posts, short posts, podcasts, etc.)

Are blogs still relevant? You bet they are. How you make yours relevant is the key though. It can be a lot of work, but still worth the effort, especially for small businesses looking for more people to find them amongst all the online chatter. Think smarter and reach out to those in the know. Ask questions, talk to experts, and don’t forget the darn SEO, headings, keywords and alt tags while you’re at it.

While this go viral? Probably not, but it doesn’t matter. It helps me to write it down in a cohesive manner and understand it better myself. It also adds content to my stream. And hopefully it will strike a chord with my readers. Do you have anything to add?

I wish you good writing and longevity in your blogging endeavours!

(Re)Published Content

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Content is king. That has been drummed into writers and anyone contemplating social media marketing for years. You need to constantly  create quality content to engage your readers.

Is that entirely true though?

As of late, I have been reminded that there is plenty of fodder in my archives to potentially revisit. I have been blogging since 2009 on various sites. That amounts to thousands of posts I could republish, many of which might not have been seen by present audiences. While it might not be new to me, it is new to someone who has never seen it before. And as such, it worthy of being republished.

(Re)Published Content

Before you just republish old articles though, there are a few things to consider.

Check for;

  • broken links – linking to other websites is good practice, but not if the links are broken. Before republishing a blog article, make sure your links are still active and link to the correct content.
  • dated images – sometimes a picture that was good enough back then, no longer fits the bill now. Consider updating images to freshen up the post.
  • missing images – if the original picture has been taken down from a site you shared it from, you might find a broken image in your archives. Using your own images prevents this
  • changes in viewpoint – our idea and viewpoints are constantly changing. You might want to make sure you still believe the views you are expressing before you republish old content
  • changes in formatting – updates to websites offer a fresh new look. Sometimes that affects how previously published articles look though
  • quality of post – the more you write, the better a writer you become. Hence, it makes sense that sometimes old content is just not worthy to share. It doesn’t hurt to delete old posts that aren’t up to present standards, or at the very least sliding them out of published status to give them a thorough going over before you republish them.

Republishing old content is a great idea. It gets your words in front of a potentially wider audience. It saves you time writing new posts. It allows readers to revisit old articles they might not remember. And it just might inspire new words in the future. It helped inspire this post for me today!

Do you ever republish old content? Have you gone back and edited/updated old posts?

Spring Cleaning

Birds twitter outside my window. Delicate flowers blossom in the yard. As the temperatures warm, I venture outdoors to soak it all in and sigh. Time to get my hands dirty!

But alas, the yard work has to wait for the weekend. Right now my spring cleaning involves poking through the old detritus in my blogs and other social media accounts. If you haven’t tended your social image for a while, it might be time for you to tackle some spring cleaning too!

Spring Cleaning your Social Media Platforms

Blog

  • Go through old blog posts and check for faulty grammar, accurate meta tags, broken links, poor or broken images, or whether the post is worthwhile being published on your blog at all. Get in there and weed out old posts which are no longer applicable or add value to your overall image.
  • Cluttered pages do nothing, but confuse and deter potential clients and readers. You want people to return, so put your best foot forward. Thin out your widgets. Streamline your sidebars. Simplify your theme and make it congruent with the rest of your online image.
  • Update Gravatar photos, header and background images
  • Ensure your sharing tools are up to date and add missing platforms as necessary
  • Revisit your About Me page and update your profile, making sure you reflect the current image you want to project

Facebook

  • Update your cover image and profile picture
  • Review your About page and ensure your profile is up to date
  • Add links to other social media platforms you are on
  • Review pages you like and add to or purge as necessary
  • Invite friends to like your page
  • Review insights and consider changing up what, when, or how often you post
  • Review your call to action button and edit as necessary

Twitter

  • Update your cover image and profile picture
  • Pin a tweet that draws followers in & reflects your business image
  • Review your profile and ensure it is up to date
  • Review your insights and consider changing what, when and how often you tweet

Google+

  • Update your cover image and profile picture
  • Review your profile and ensure it is up to date
  • Add links to other social media platforms you are on
  • Start a new collection or add to existing collections

Try something new! Is it time you checked out Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine or some other social platform? Would it add anything to your online presence? Do you have time to learn and tend to it, if you do?

Spring is a great time to cut the clutter, get rid of what no longer serves you, and start fresh habits that add to your image and enjoyment of life. When it comes to social, you may not be able to do it all, but if you do it well and enjoy yourself in the process, people will be able to tell. And that should equate to interest, likes, followers, shares, and whatever else you are aiming for. Authenticity is key. Be who you are and be the best you you can be.

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Time for renewal of you and your social image

 

 

Season of Change

Embrace the season of change

As the season’s change, I am reminded that a little shakeup can be a good thing sometimes. It can be boring to look at the same old thing day in and day out. Mother Nature knows that. She dazzles us with beautiful fall displays of crimson, gold, burnt orange and more this time of year. We cannot have growth without a little change on occasion. No matter how much angst it might bring me, I too need to go through a little change every once in a while.

My inspiration started by finally ripping down a border in my bedroom, but I realized that the change I needed was more than that. Aesthetic changes need to happen in more than the colour of our homes (although I am still working on that one too). We need to keep up with the times and reflect that in our social media sites as well. Have you read your “About Me” section on your blog in a while? Perhaps it needs a refresh. When was the last time you updated your Twitter profile? Maybe a new picture would remind people that a real person exists behind the image. Don’t forget that while Facebook is all about the updates, we often overlook our own descriptions there too. Setting up an account is only half the battle of social media. We need to keep fresh and current in the ever-changing world of the web, and that means reflecting on where we came from in the beginning. If you haven’t inspected your LinkedIn page in a while, now is the time to do it.

Embrace the season of change in your (social Media) life today!