Blogging is more than just SEO & “Thought-leadership”

I have been really enjoying the conversations lately on #blogchat, hosted by Mack Collier (@mackcollier) on Twitter. The weekly Sunday night chat is wrapped around blogging, and this past week was specifically geared towards monetizing your blog. Why do we blog? Seriously.

Businesses and organizations use blogs for many reasons, but I think it is specifically to position themselves as thought leaders in a specific discipline or arena. It is a great way to have an immediate position on a topic or ideal and generate traffic when audiences are looking to consume information. The ulitmate goal, drive traffic to your “mothership” in the hopes to gain some monetary goal or position a viewpoint to raise some awareness.

My wife has been blogging for over two years. She has no reason what-so-ever to gain any type of moentary position from her posts. She used it as an outlet when dealing with the loss of her mother and our two children. It has become her outlet to articulate thoughts, connect with others, and theraputically sooth the soul.

So why do we blog? I honestly think…we as humans just want to be heard and we want to connect with like minded individuals. Whether it be gaining business from our thoughts or connecting with loved ones, we use it as an outlet to organize thoughts.

So why do we as business owners blog? This is why I am writing this post. It is more than just the SEO perspective. It is more than gaining business from blog posts…even though we will not admit it. Blogs are a place to articulate our thoughts and help us keep focused in our business. This iterative process requires time and thought to critically think, “why are we dedicating time to an outlet in the hopes to generate cash?”

Blogging takes focus! It requires us as business leaders to write a mission statement for the blog. The blog is our sounding board for business, our credibility platform to justify to the world we know what the hell we are talking about. It requires us to define a goal for each post and justify whether it warrants a post, then focus it to specific key words that closely align with our business objectives.

Blogging is our creative outlet to work through creative ideas. Through this online discourse, we find ourselves creating an argument for a great project, a great proposal, a great business plan, or even just get some responses on an idea.

Some of the smartest marketing gurus and most successful business people have successfully found a focused voice in their blog. They have a community of followers, a one stop focus group (or usability testing facility) for ideas and thoughts. They have used their blog as a platform to successfully write their business plan. We should learn from them…because it has probably taken them lots of time and diligence to refine their blog, their online business plan.

Big-box business have a hard time wrapping their heads around how to “monetize” a blog because the voice is way to big. They are having to go micro and use individuals within the organization to focus the objectives. But…they use other marketing platforms to generate their own equitable “SEO”.

Our thoughts are our voice, if focused they will engage those with like minds. When you hear the heavy blogging gurus talk about focus…it is more that just focusing the blog, it is focusing the business of writing the blog.

Am I “Mayor” of my own Social Media message?

With the awareness and interest raised for location based Social Media platforms/technologies like Foursquare and Gowalla, I have jotted down and exploration of thoughts. These thoughts and questions I have to think through myself; I have to answer these questions critically before moving forward with the use of these new location based platforms.

Some Thoughts I have been pondering and synthesizing:

  • Social Media outlets added to the “open source” movement that gives “small” people and organizations a voice.
  • Social Media transformed us (small people/organizations) as “thought leaders” to drive Internet traffic to our “motherships” for information.
  • Social Media platforms provided the “small” people/organizations an opportunity to create robust web properties competing with “big box” organizations.
  • Social Media platforms provided the awareness necessary to create a “mothership” portal where the majority of the marketing messages “flow” through driving traffic to engage with a consistent message.
  • Social Media technology and open source platforms allowed and empowered “small” people/organizations to compete in the messaging landscape with “big box” organizations.
  • Social Media has allowed those to use technologies to build “Tribes” creating movements to distribute a message around a community.

Some questions in my head personally and professionally:

  1. Why must “small” people/organizations be willing to use Social Media technologies to disclose locations?
  2. Does Social Media technologies disclosing locations hurt/degrade the value of the brand of the “small” people and organizations…or reinforce the brand of the “big box” organizations.
  3. Does location based Social Media technologies reinforce the “small” people/organizations as “thought leaders” empowering the reinforcement of the “big box” organization?
  4. Does location based Social Media technology reinforce the small individual people and organization “thought leaders” as “thought leaders” since they are proportionally the influencers for “bog box” brands?
  5. Have small people and organizations using Social Media platforms and location based technologies created a paradigm shift in perception transitioning those “small” people/organizations onto the same platform as “big box” organizations. Where does the influence lie and where will it lie in 10 years?


Who are the thought leaders?

Who really maximizes the true benefit of these location based platforms? Is it the groups publishing where they are located or is the organizations that are being recognized where this constituency base has chosen to locate and ultimately publicize? Some organizations are providing “rewards” for those soliciting their location using these technologies, but who is the thought leader here? Or do we care? Or is it just fun to say we are going to a movie and then to another place for a milkshake?

Organizations like hospitals might frame the benefit from these platforms with their marketing support staff providing their location especially for small doctors offices that lie under the umbrella of services. This is where organizations, “big box” organizations could benefit from internal staff providing location based advertising and raise awareness both from a public (business to consumer) and internal (business to business) position, informing other internal groups where and what is offered internally.

So what is the story behind these location based platforms? How are you using them? Are you doing more that just adding to the fad of saying what you are doing and where? Have you thought about the true marketing implications of these technologies and platforms? Are you telling your story or helping others with a bigger message? What are your thoughts? And will this become another place like Twitter where people get excited and then the honeymoon stage drops off like a bad relationship?

How do we listen, really listen? Creating a knowledge economy!

I received an email today that challenged a remark I made during a meeting. The question asked about the importance of listening and asked for tips/thoughts/advice. This made me think, what makes us good listeners and how can we become better listeners in-order to engage with our audiences.

Here are some thoughts that I used in response to my friend!

  1. To know your audience, to effectively communicate…we must listen so that we may adjust/address our discourse.
  2. To listen, we must ask. We must be willing to empower our audience and engage their conversation. So we ask questions to learn about our audience.
  3. We are observant, we look at our surroundings where we communicate so that the visual cues provide context to the conversation.
  4. We find a connection point. People exchange in conversation because of some common ground. We look for these commonalities and use them to form reflective conversation.
  5. We bite our tongues. When we listen, we do not try to complete others’ sentences but provide simple gestures so that the audience feels us engaged.
  6. We provide emotional reinforcement. It is okay to laugh, cry, and even get mad during a conversation. Emotion is the result of a successful conversation.
  7. We make our audience feel important, we make them feel like they are the thought leader. This requires us to do a little homework and understand who will engage in conversation; so that we can be prepared with questions about that person so we can make them feel important.
  8. We create a silence so that the audience feels the need to fill the void. Sometimes we ask questions or even prompt discussions, but we are not willing to let the person answer. Create a silence in the discussion that provides a rigid opportunity for the audience to feel the need to remove the silence.
  9. Most importantly, be genuine and honest with the ones you are communicating. Honesty provides connection and builds credibility.
  10. Lastly, tell stories, good stories. People connect with stories, rich stories with layers. When you tell a story, people want to share their stories. Then just sit back, listen and enjoy the moment.

Listening is one of the toughest things to do. It is a skill that can be refined during an interview process. When I worked as a journalist, I learned the hard way. I would have to go into households of families who had lost a loved one with cameras and equipment to get an interview.  I learned to make them feel comfortable enough to share their deepest moment of lose with the camera recording. I learned to find something in common so that the conversation was not empty and provided context, plus I wanted to earn their trust. I would look around the room and find a picture, book, something that I could identify so we could establish some common ground. Then, I was honest in my intentions, and allowed them to make the decisions how the interview/conversation would continue. I made them feel like the gatekeeper, empowering them as the dominant in the conversation.

Listening can be fun, learning from listening is powerful. If we looked at engaging in conversation as an opportunity to learn from those whom we converse with daily, we could create a bigger knowledge economy.

How to add a Fan Page to Hootsuite

OK…I figured it out after chatting with the people from Hootsuite how to add the a Fan Page to Hootsuite.

  • Open Hootsuite (log in)
  • Go to the bottom and click the Settings tab
  • Go right under the update/status bar and click Social Networks
  • Go to the right hand side of the screen, right under your Avatar and click +Add Social Network
  • A pop-up menu will appear and right under Facebook, you will see Pages (You probably need to add your personal Facebook profile to Hootsuite first)
  • Click Pages and then select Connect with Facebook
  • It will ask you again to Connect with Facebook, click it again when prompted
  • Another pop-up window will appear to ask you to log into Facebook, provide username & password and click Connect
  • Another pop-up window will appear listing all of the Fan Pages your are a part of, select the Fan Page you want to add to Hootsuite
  • Another pop-up window will appear that asks you if you want to allow publishing for Fan Page you want to add to Hootsuite, click Allow Publishing
  • It will then take you back to the pop-up window that lists all your Fan Pages with the one you want to add to Hootsuite selected, click Add to Hootsuite
  • You are done!!!

I hope this helps?

Update your Facebook Fan Page from TweetDeck

So I was searching around for this option and could not figure this out. But thanks to a search and a comment in a post from Andreas Stephan, I was able to figure this out!

Andreas Stephan’s Comment:

“TweetDeck supports this natively. Took me a while to figure that out: Go to you FB account in Tweet Deck, you can add pages at the bottom of the account settings. You wil then be able to post to your fan page directly from TweetDeck. Hope this helps some people.”

Here is a step-by-step process for integrating the ability to update your Facebook Fan Page via TweetDeck. FYI, you need to be an administrator of this Fan Page to make this an option.

First, you have to add your Facebook Account to TweetDeck:

  • Open TweetDeck
  • Go to the upper right hand corner and look for the wrench – CLICK
  • Select Accounts
  • Click Add New Account
  • Select Add a Facebook Account
  • Provide the necessary information to add your Facebook Account
  • Save

Add the Fan Page to TweetDeck to update in the status bar:

  • Open TweetDeck
  • Go to the upper right hand corner and look for the wrench – CLICK
  • Select Accounts
  • Select Facebook in the center of the screen
  • Below Click Add Pages
  • Log Into Facebook from TweetDeck
  • Select your relevant Fan Page

Thanks so much Andreas for your help!

Congressman Bob Inglis talks about “Why Social Media?”

Congressman Bob Inglis spoke with me a few weeks ago after his January presentation to the Social Media Club in Greenville, SC. In his presentation, he admitted not engaging on a regular basis with his audiences using tools like Twitter and Facebook. He also admitted that it was not to long ago, he was learning to become more technologically savy.
It is political representatives like Congressman Bob Inglis that are finding the value in using Social Media Technologies to engage with audiences, but he does not was to engage with those nay sayers. It is this issue that I think is starting to transcend many of the politicos because of a few different barriers: technological ignorance, time management, and not understanding the context of those who are trying to connect using Social Media Technologies.
Social Media provides technologies to connect but does it really break down the walls of communication? We all know it is easier to connect and conversate when we are face-to-face, it provides the opportunity to understand tone, delivery, and read facial expressions. Politicos might have a hard time communicating with the nay sayers because it is hard to communicate through such a marginalized method. There are only words and information can be lost in translation. The nay sayers might be interpreted as having not so positive connotation, but in actuality they might be just trying to ask a question or have a concern; and they have a hard time translating that concern via Twitter or Facebook.

Congressman Bob Inglis spoke with me a few weeks ago after his January presentation to the Social Media Club in Greenville, SC. In his presentation, he admitted not engaging on a regular basis with his audiences using tools like Twitter and Facebook. He also admitted that it was not to long ago, he was learning to become more technologically savy. This conversation was great and exploratory, where I gained knowledge of individuals like Congressman Bob Inglis…like many busy decision makers that have a hard enough time managing their day and now Social Media.

It is political representatives like Congressman Bob Inglis that are finding the value in using Social Media Technologies to engage with audiences, but admits does not want to engage with those “nay sayers”. It is this issue that I think is starting to transcend many of the politicos because of a few different barriers: technological ignorance, time management, and not understanding the context of those who are trying to connect using Social Media Technologies.

Social Media provides technologies to connect but does it really break down the walls of communication? We all know it is easier to connect and conversate when we are face-to-face, because it provides the opportunity to understand tone, delivery, and read facial expressions. Politicos might have a hard time communicating with the nay sayers because it is hard to communicate through such a marginalized method. There are words and information that can be lost in translation. The “nay sayers” might be interpreted as having a “not so positive” connotation, but in actuality they might be just trying to ask a question or have a concern; and they have a hard time translating that concern via Twitter or Facebook.

Click Here to follow Congressman Bob Inglis on Twitter!

Part 1: Interview w/ Bob Inglis: Creating Jobs via Energy

Bob Inglis was willing to leave it all at the door and get on stage and chat about the transparent use of Social Media tools as a political leader in Washington. After the session, he was able to spend a few minutes with me chatting about various topics, each of which will be released one at a time over the next few weeks.

Today’s short sound-bite  is centered around the tremendous opportunity of “Energy” and how South Carolina can become a leader in this conversation. South Carolina has a chance to “repower our lives” and it can be done right here in the upstate. He specifically talked economic development in terms of what is in store for tomorrow and the opportunity of creating jobs.

smcGreenville-webTo listen to the the complete presentation and conversation between Congressman Bob Inglis and Trey Pennington, go to SMCGreenville.com.

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