Connections

Short rant;

For those of you in need of someone to manage your social media accounts, I have a tip. Let the person who is handling your accounts know what you are doing. If you are updating them yourself, it is easy to add pictures from your day, dull or dazzling. If someone else is doing the updating though, unless they are on hand, keep them in the loop! Upload them pictures. Send them short accounts of interesting happenings. Advise them of changes in scheduled events. Give them notice of upcoming affairs. Let them know about things your audience might find interesting.

It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering. More often than not, your customers just want to see you in action. They want to see the faces of the people they know and have interacted with. Candid photos always get more likes, shares, and followers. You can be unpacking a box, wiping a counter, or counting an order. This is what your business looks like. It isn’t always hanging high up in a tree, participating in a fun run, or receiving an award. And that’s business! There are plenty of mundane days when you need to get stuff done, but that is what keeps your business running. And it’s okay to show that side of your company too. A decent social media manager can create a picture of your company from all the pieces. That’s what you pay them for after all. When they don’t know what’s going on though, they cannot share.

So do yourself a favour. Whether it is once a week, month or day, think about what you want from your social media manager and ultimately your online presence. When you know what you want that to look like, get on the same page with your content curator and work something out. A good social media platform is a great base for customers to find you. And that’s just good business sense.

Rant off…

Take the time to connect with your social media manager so that you are all on the same page as far as your social media presence goes
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Set Sail

Ontario Place harbour
Set sail for summer adventure

I claim to be a freelance writer, and I am, yet far too many days I find myself scouring other people’s words to share with others. It is called content curation. And as I understand the power of social media and how to wield it, people turn to me for help in that avenue.

Content curation is about sharing, but not necessarily always your own content; you can share any interesting articles, pictures, videos, graphs, or anything that relates to your brand. As it takes skill, creativity, and time to create new content, sometimes it is easier to share what other people or companies have already put out there. Finding it can take valuable resources though—again, that precious commodity time—which many small businesses have in short demand.

time
How many hours do you have in a day?

While I don’t have any more hours in the day than anyone else does, what I do have is the know-how of how social media works. I take the time to find content which fits with a company’s image and consider when best to share it. I spend enough hours on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, not to mention Pinterest and LinkedIn, to know what kinds of content is popular and what isn’t.

At least I do my best. People have been known to surprise me though.

Useful info from Clovermead
Useful info from Clovermead

I have to admit though that some days, I feel like a liar when I say I am a writer. Today I wrote up invoices. Not exactly fine literature, but it pays my bills (once my clients pay theirs). I spent most of the day either scouring for articles to share with clients or editing old blog posts to ensure links aren’t broken and images still exist. I took a break to collect a library book my daughter left at a friend’s house and stopped at the grocery store to pick up buns for dinner. No short stories were written or started. I didn’t dash off any witty poetry or even a haiku to stun the Twitterverse.

Sigh…

Set for Stratford Festival's "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe"
Set for Stratford Festival’s “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe”

Not very writerly. BUT, it is summertime! School is out and the children are home daily. Some days I spend in front of the computer all day, but many more are spent with friends and family doing whatever fun things come along. We have camped, swam, gone to the theatre, drive-in, and beach. Festivals have filled plenty of days and campfires have lit many nights. So what if reams of writing hasn’t chained me to my desk? Sometimes there is more in the living, than there is in the imagination.

Perhaps tomorrow we will set sail on a new adventure to spur creativity later. I think that sounds like the perfect plan.

Sharing is Caring

Surfing the net
Browsing for content to share is just one part of what I do

I have a confession to make. There are days when I feel like a sham when I call myself a writer.

Yes, I spend an inordinate amount of time at the computer. And yes, I am actually working. BUT, I am not always actively writing.

What I am doing while I sit at my laptop is browsing the web. You might think that is another word for wasting time, but in actuality I am surfing the net (yup, that includes everyone’s favourite time-waster Facebook) for content to share. This even has a fancy title nowadays—Content Curation.

I have several clients whom I do this for. They have Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, Google+ sites, Pinterest boards and LinkedIn accounts and they all need fresh content on them. As I have noted before, when you have fresh content to share, people come to visit. More importantly, web crawlers and search engines take note and stop by too. The more content you publish, the more interesting you are.

In theory anyway. That content still has to be quality, or else your esteem drops in everyone’s eyes, from your clients, to their customers, to search engines, which drop you to the bottom of the pile if they feel you are plagiarizing or just re-posting the same thing ad nauseam.

So my job is to constantly be on the lookout for fresh content that will attract new visitors and keep existing ones coming back. And boy, that is sometimes a tricky task! Can I share that I love holidays, local events, pictures of clients in action and yes, sometimes even cute cat photos? They just make my job easier.

And so do my friends who share things on their Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, Google+ accounts, Pinterest boards and more. The things you find cool, other people find cool too. And if lots of people are interested and sharing them, then my clients just might share them too. It pays to be on the cutting edge, in the know of what’s going on in the world, funny or just plain current. So keep on sharing and don’t get offended if you see your next event shared on a small, local businesses page. It’s good to get the word out and sharing helps do that.

Now, back to surfing the web…

Believe

Scarlet cup
~Sometimes we have to look a little harder to find the beauty in life~

 

So my coffee date got rescheduled. Right after I got all excited and wrote my last post about it. Sigh… ☹

But I am not going to let that get me down. As writers, we are slaves to deadlines and I completely respect that. So I used the setback to push me a little in other directions. Meeting new writers is great, but I happen to already know some great writers and it’s high time I reconnected with them too.  So today I will be meeting with the lovely and talented Suzanne for a cup of conversation in the village.

Working from home is great, but the routine needs to be shaken up a bit every once in a while with human interaction. And I am due. I am looking forward to hearing about her life, her writing, and the teaching she does. I just might share a bit of my journey too. Our paths have had a similar bend that somehow drew us together and I value sharing those stories to benefit each other.

And I have to share that Suzanne inspires me. She faces the hurdles life throws at her and keeps going. Even better, she writes about them. I know she writes to understand, to process and to pull strength from those around her. We all have challenges and hers have been monumental in the last few years. Writing has been a way for her to weather her storms. While she might not always see her strength, I do, and I suspect she will emerge larger than life when she least expects it.

Why? I believe.

I believe in the power of hurt to transform. I believe in the power of self to fall on your knees, but continue to crawl. I believe in opening your eyes in the morning, even when you don’t know what the day will hold. I believe that tomorrow holds magic. And promise. And that we can all access that if only we believe.

Optimist? Sounds like it. But without the power of positive thought I wouldn’t have kept going when life threw storms my way. I wouldn’t have started writing my pains, sorrows and questions in journals even when those words wouldn’t change the outcome of the day. And I certainly would have put the idea of writing a book out of my head long ago. Those stories aren’t dead though. They still want to be told. And they will be. Because writing is sharing, and sharing helps to lighten many loads. And sometimes all it takes is a little inspiration from friends to keep those words alive.

So today I look forward to sharing a few words with an amazing person and basking in the inspiration I know she will fill me with, whether she realizes it or not.

Critique

Feeling nervous. Taking a step today. It might amount to nothing, but it is still a leap in my life as a writer.

I am meeting with the Writer-in-Residence for the London Public Library and Western University today. I sent him an excerpt from my travel memoir about my journey through Africa. Today I get the critique. Will it break me, inspire me or help me grow a thicker skin? We shall see.

What steps have you taken to become a better writer?