Living Life as an Adventure

Team TLC

It’s time I share with y’all about some changes to this here blog.  I have been posting articles, tips and how to information relating to Facebook and other Social Media outlets and mixing in personal posts here and there.  Social Media will no longer be the focus.  There are so many people, experts and gurus writing about this and staying on top of it, I really don’t feel I have anything more to add to that conversation.

Now, don’t get the wrong idea, I WILL still be teaching, speaking about and training business owners how to effectively and efficiently use Social Media Marketing for their business with a heavy emphasis on Facebook.  By nature, I am a “digger”.  I thrive on sleuthing and figuring out all this Social Media jazz.  I will continue to do that, so my clients don’t have to!

Those of you who were here for Social Media tips may want to unsubscribe or remove it from your feed now.  When I feel I’ve got something to add to the conversation, I may throw in a post here and there about Social Media; but primarily this blog is about to open up and share my world with you in the hopes that it inspires those that may need it, motivate those who may want it, help some of us to think different and hopefully give you a good ole hearty laugh sometimes.

In addition, my goal is to take my Communication at Your Fingertips presentation and the Educate n Motivate Bootcamp to schools and conferences across the United States.  In addition, I will spend as much time as possible on the Turning Views Foundation, of which I am the Founder and President.

I will incorporate posts telling my story so as to qualify why one may be inspired or motivated by my and our lives.  This also means you will hear more about my daughter, Lillian Darnell, and my son, Thomas Darnell, and the roller coaster ride of being a Mom to a differently abled child (Lillian).  The thing is the three of us are a team – we call ourselves Team TLC.  We are by no means the perfect little family – how boring would that be anyway! And, yep, there are times when it’s downright not fun in this household!  We are on a journey and are darn well gonna give it our best shot at enjoying every single day and live our lives as an adventure.

I have just recently realized that my little family – Team TLC – is the core and foundation of all that I do. I must care for and nurture myself and my family in order for the structures that I, and we, build to be sound and sturdy.  My family, Team TLC, IS my business.  I hope that y’all stay along for the journey, have FUN with us and share with us too! We gonna have a ball y’all!!

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Game Players and Business Owners ~ We Need Each Other

To Us!

About a month ago I wrote a post about Social Networking sites being a waste of time.  I want to elaborate a bit on a piece of that post.

There are those of us who choose to play games on Facebook.  There are those of who choose not to play games on Facebook.  There are those of us who are business owners or entrepreneurs or founders of nonprofits even! There are those of us who are employees or students.

We have a nice balance going on here.  We all need each other! Those of who are networking online, who are business owners, need those of us who are “wasting time” on Facebook and other sites.  If one is approaching social networking properly by adding something to the online space you are occupying, giving value, sharing content and ideas that are useful and helpful then you are needed and liked by those of us who are online socializing, wasting time and/or playing games.

I believe we have a nice balance here. I’m happy there are people online just hangin out! I need them and I hope that I am providing them with some GREAT information! I could, however, do without those darn spammers!! But, I suppose there will always be spoilers and crashers!  Good thing it’s online!

What do you think?  Do we need each other?

Do I “Confirm” or Do I “Not Now”?

Facebook Friend Request

Facebook has changed the language when you receive a Friend Request to “Confirm” or “Not Now”.  What is the thought process that goes into sending a Friend Request to someone?

I use Facebook personally and also networking for my business and 501(c)3 Foundation.  I know some people who use it solely for personal reasons and some who use it solely for business reasons.  We’ve got a wide range of how and why people are using Facebook.

Since I use it for business and personal, I am “friends” with people whom I have never met.  Whenever I send a Friend Request to a person that I have never met, I ALWAYS include a message with the friend request letting them know how I know of them or mutual friends or just plain and simple why we should be facebook friends.  Actually, even if I know the person, I include a message.  I believe I’ve only sent out about 1% of request without a personal message included.  If I receive a Friend request from someone I don’t know, I always visit their profile to see whether or not we would be a good fit for becoming facebook friends.

I am curious why people send friend requests to people they don’t know without a personal message included.  Let’s take two scenarios – one to apply to the personal arena and one for business.  First, imagine you are at a wine or beer tasting or socializing over coffee or tea.  You are having a good time, laughing with friends, sharing stories and pictures.  Someone walks over to you and says, “Let’s be Friends”, Let me join your conversation, let me see your pictures; without introducing themselves or without any precursor to “Let’s Be Friends”.  Would you do that in person?  I wouldn’t.  If you wouldn’t do it in person, why do it online? Second, imagine you are at a networking event.  You are listening to what others have to say about themselves and their business, you’re exchanging business cards, you may be talking a bit about personal stuff.  Then, someones walks over and says, “Hi, my name is Jane Doe.  This is what I do and this is why you should buy from me or use my services.  Let me tell you some more about me.”  Would you do this?  I wouldn’t.  I know there are some who do this; but, this isn’t true networking.  True networking involves listening. True networking would be something like, “Hi, my name is Jane Doe.  I see  from your name tag that you do this or I overheard you say you do this, that or the other.”  “I would love to hear a bit more about that because __________ (so and so suggested we connect, I see your connected to so and so whom I do business with, etc).”

Why do (or not do) things online that you would not do (or do) in person?

What do you think?  Do you include a personal message with your Facebook friend requests?  What do you do with friend requests you receive from people you don’t personally know; especially the requests without a message?  I would love to hear your thoughts.  Thanks y’all!

10 Keys to Nonprofit Social Media Marketing Success (Part 2)

This is the second of a two-part series of “10 Keys to Nonprofit Social Media Marketing Success”.

Let’s review the first 5 Keys to Nonprofit Social Media Marketing Success from last week:

  1. Mission ~ Successes ~ Logo
  2. Social Media Marketing Goals ~ Strategy ~ Content Guide/Editorial Calendar
  3. Google: Places ~ Alerts ~ Trends/Insights ~ Google for Nonprofits
  4. Facebook: Page ~ Cause ~ Engagement
  5. Twitter:  Search ~ Texting ~ Hashtags

So, what’s the next key? Creating some buzz for those GREAT events all you nonprofits put together!

#6:  Buzz-worthy Events:  Event Pages ~ Twitter ~ Live Video Stream ~ Photo Gallery

There are several Event Management sites that are feature rich.  Eventbrite even has a nonprofit program.  These sites can take payment for you AND they integrate with social networking sites so that supporters can “share” with their community that they will be attending your event.

Twitter can be used to create scavenger hunts and/or contests leading up to the event.  As well as during the event.  Live video stream will create buzz during an event and setting up a photo gallery on a site like Flickr after the event can create buzz for the next event.

#7:  YouTube:  Nonprofit Program ~ Call to Action ~ Video Volunteers

YouTube has a nonprofit program available that gives access to a feature rich YouTube channel for your nonprofit.  You have the ability to overlay a call to action to your organization’s video.  Also, available to nonprofits are video volunteers.  If you qualify and participate in this program you will be paired with an experienced individual to assist with video creation.

#8:  Blogging:  WordPress ~ Engage ~ Expert ~ Ease of Use

WordPress is my choice and favorite for blogging (and for a website for that matter).  Your blog gives you another layer and venue to connect and engage with your supporters.

Since you are in complete control over the length of your blog posts you use your blog when you have more to share than will fit or work on social networking sties.  Your blog is THE place to establish your organization’s expertise in regards to your cause.   WordPress is user friendly and after a slight learning curve is very easy to use.

#9:  Focus: Engaging ~ Connecting ~ Creating ~ Building

Don’t lose your focus by getting caught up in the Followers, Likers, Connections count.  There are also a GREAT deal of distractions when online and on social networking sites.  If it helps create a poster to hang on the wall with your Mission and Social Media Goals as a reminder that you are there to engage, connect, create content and grow your supporters.

#10:  Analyze:  Analytics ~ Comments ~Likes ~ Shares

How will you know your Social Media Marketing efforts are working if you don’t take the time to analyze.  Install Google Analytics to your website so you track the amount and origination of traffic to your website.  Review how many comments and “likes” you are getting and on which types of posts and how many times and what type of information are your connections sharing or retweeting?

Whew! Now you’re thinking that I’m absolutely bonkers as there’s no way in heck you have the time to do all of this.  Remember that none of this is set in stone.  Use this as a generic blueprint to guide your organization to Social Media Marketing Success.  And, don’t forget this, “I choose to make the time to build our organizations brand, gain support for our cause and market our organization online.”

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear some success stories.  Please share if you have the “time” . . . .

10 Keys to Nonprofit Social Media Marketing Success (Part 1)

Are you suffering from Social Media overload? Tired of the same old line, “Your nonprofit should be doing this!”?  If so, let’s move past all that right NOW! This article will give you a blueprint from which to build your organization’s Social Media Marketing Success.

But first, let’s clear some dust before we begin piecing together our blueprint.

The Dust ~ Are Our Supporters Looking For Our Organization on Social Networking Sites?  And, I Don’t Have Time For This!

The majority of people on social networking sites are NOT there to find places to spend or donate their money.  They are there to socialize.  It just so happens that we users of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogging DO end up finding causes, products and services to which and to whom we want to give our money.

It’s not simply one or two people engaging with one or two other people.  It’s family members, experts and influential people talking together from all over the world out on the wide open world wide web!  These people trust one another and “see” when one of the others is supporting a cause, service or product.

That’s not to say that there are times when people specifically go online looking for your organization.  Most likely, they will use a search engine, like Google.  So, when supporters DO go online looking for you, you want to “SHOW” up!! Participating in the conversation on social networking sites has the added benefit of helping your organization to show up more in search engine results.

I am absolutely empathetic to the “I don’t have the time to maintain all these sites” statement.  Let’s change that statement a bit and say, “I make the time to build our organizations brand, gain support for our cause and market our organization online.” In the nonprofit setting, having a presence, engaging and sharing on social networking sites IS a marketing tool.

Let’s look at this for what it is.  As fundraising professionals and nonprofits our INTENT for being on these sites is “To Increase Donations and Support”.  There, we’ve said it.  Now, my suggestion is to reprogram our thinking on this and NOT think of our intent.  Think, plan and strategize with the GOAL of Building Relationships, Giving and Trust.

So how do we even begin to know where to start?  It all starts BEFORE creating and setting up even ONE social networking profile!

This is the first of a two-part series of “10 Keys to Nonprofit Social Media Marketing Success”.

#1:  Mission ~ Successes ~ Logo

Does your organization have a clearly defined mission?  What are the main goals of your nonprofit?  This must be determined, be solid and sound, and be embraced by your organization as it is THE first and main key before drafting the rest of your Social Media blueprint.

Do you have success stories to share and do you have permission to share them?  Your supporters and potential supporters want to see real life examples of the good that your nonprofit has accomplished.

Do you have your logo and the look and feel of your organization prepared?  This will be carried into all aspects of your online presence and your social networking sites.

#2: Social Media Marketing Goals ~ Strategy ~ Content Guide/Editorial Calendar

The social media marketing goals for XYZ Foundation are _________.  Each organization will have different goals for participating on social networking sites.  You will have a much easier time and see better results if you take the time to determine your goals before jumping into this.

Having the strategy well thought out and planned is a must.  Otherwise, it’s like throwing a handful of darts at a target and hoping some of them hits the mark!  Who in your organization will be responsible for maintaining, responding and interacting with your connections?  What’s their level of understanding regarding technology?  Have they been briefed on etiquette in regards to engaging, having conversations and customer service out in the OPEN?

The difference between approaching social media marketing with or without a  content and editorial guide is like the difference between night and day.  Have a plan for where your organization will get content and a system for how often and how much gets posted to your social networking sites.

#3:  Google: Places ~ Alerts ~Trends/Insights ~ Google for Nonprofits

Google has an entire section devoted to nonprofits ~ Google Nonprofits. Make sure to check this out and determine if any of their offerings is a right fit for your organization.  If your nonprofit has a physical location, create a Google Places account (or claim it if it’s already listed).

Create Google Alerts for your name, your organization’s name and any other relevant keywords.  Google Trends and Google Insights are used for keyword research. You need to know what people are searching for in regards to your cause so that you can build some of your updates and blog posts around those keywords.

#4:  Facebook:  Page ~ Cause ~ Engagement

Create a Facebook Page for your organization. Put a great deal of thought into who creates the account for you as the Page is tied to the original creator (original administrator) and CANNOT be changed.  You do not want an intern, temporary volunteer or an employee whose time is limited to create the Page.

Facebook created the Causes Application specifically for nonprofits.  This is a perfect way for your supporters to help spread the word about your cause as they can share it with their friends and post the Cause Badge to their personal profile.

Your Facebook Page is a venue to connect, engage, converse and share with your supporters.  Make sure to do that.  If someone takes the time to comment on the Page Wall or share a photo or video on the Wall, respond to their comment or shared information.

#5:  Twitter:  Search ~ Texting ~ Hashtags

Twitter is highly overlooked as a phenomenal research tool.  When using Twitter in conjunction with a website such as Hootsuite you can create columns for specific search terms and keywords.  You also want to use this feature for brand monitoring.  Create columns monitoring the mention of your name and organization.

Donating through text messagesin conjunction with Twitter has proven highly effective.  Twitter’s hashtag feature (and go here for more hashtag information) can be used with a fundraising campaign and with events to track the “conversation”.

Next 5 keys coming your way in a few days.  Until then, remember this, “I make the time to build our organizations brand, gain support for our cause and market our organization online.”

(Go HERE for Part 2 ~ Thanks y’all!)