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Social Media Engagement And Conversation Through The Eyes Of A Homeless Guy

How can I possibly have any impact or voice when my pocketbook margin is so thin? I wish my resources equaled _________ dollars so I can start a movement that matters. Why aren’t my videos and posts going viral so I can make mega bucks off of advertising? If Google got there start in a garage, why does it feel as if I’m never going to get away from the oil puddles and have a ‘real’ company?

Are questions like these beating up on your self confidence? Have you grown jealous of social media buzz centered around people who have made it big through viral content, who have the advantage of constantly being in the public eye, or have cashed in on a previous venture allowing them to “coast.”

To help with wrestling with this painful issue, a short film entitled Change for a Dollar (watch below), depicts a homeless man who turns heads by taking his donated change to impact others. He “provides” for them in unsuspecting and well thought out ways (planting a coin before a help wanted sign, hands exact change to a young woman so she can make that one call home, etc.).

Here are four insights from the point of view of the homeless man depicted in the film:

1. He was observant and from the way the film plays out, he appeared to be well-connected with most of the persons he assisted.

2. He began his day like any other, however, at a certain point he put his available strength and resources into selfless action by meeting the needs of others at crucial junctions in their lives.

3. Limited resources do not and should not stifle creativity, but rather empower it. He could have helped each person by simply handing them money. He did not, but operated from a thought-out plan to provide for a need and awaken a sense of mystery in each recipient.

4. He returned to the spot he began, not expecting a major change to his situation but content to serve others from what was entrusted to him.

In today’s economy, more and more people can relate to feeling “impoverished” compared to what was enjoyed yesterday. But, this does not have to bring paralysis. In fact, new ideas are best birthed out of pain.

Relationships today are complex, with many being started and even sustained via social media. How can these principles be applied to social networking conversations and even to blog posts?

Get to know the audience. The time invested to shows care, drawing them out on what is important to them will enable to know how to best meet their needs.

Resisting the temptation to “blanket” communication. In other words, being very careful of the campaigns performed to build followers or to snag the interest of current followers. It’s not the form itself that will build a trusted audience, but how to deliver value with the campaign being used simply as a tool in the long-term relationship.

Courageously engaging friends of friends. Just as the homeless man set out the coin, knowing it would gain the attention of the boy, his intention was to get the mother to notice the “Help Wanted” sign in the window. He used an indirect approach through trusted relationships of that friend.

Losing the sense of entitlement that these friends will build business (and a portfolio). The homeless man did not go back to each of these individuals and later ask for money as a payback. He merely went to his post and waited to see what would come his way.

Many more lessons can be drawn from this ten minute film. What impressions would you add?

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Social Networking: Is It Conversation Or Curation; What About Conversion?

The onset of social media has brought a revolution of content. What many had buried in their minds, stored in their pockets or recorded on tape is now able to be broadcast in real time. With today’s powerful social networking tools in hand, how can you know the best way to promote yourself, your business’ ideas? And to what end?

For the sake of this post we’ll focus in on two processes (conversation and curation) and one “end product” (conversion) used within social media.

Conversation, in its purest sense, is interacting with others so as to share and gain ideas and experiences resulting in a more harmonious and congruent relationship. Conversation can take many forms and is exercised by all of us everyday. When it comes to online interaction, it is no different.

Three walls have been broken down with communication over social networks (especially on Twitter and Google Plus): geography, demographics and economic status. The playing field is leveled when it comes to interactions. For example, a low income citizen can build an impressive online reputation, getting the attention of high-profile executives and celebrities. For example, look at Daniel Starkov from Ruse, Bulgaria. He is a college student living in a small city along the Danube River. He now has over 40,000 followers on Twitter and offers a great platform for guest blogging.

Curation is best illustrated by observing entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki. The guy’s (no pun intended) a virtual fire hose. And with his creation of Alltop, it’s one of the supreme sources to discover what’s being talked about.

You may not be able to tweet interesting or bizarre links every few seconds like Kawasaki, but if you know your niche it’s possible to deliver good, trustworthy references to a growing captive audience.

Conversion, for businesses, non profit organizations, and individuals alike, is the pinnacle of social media. Whether it’s the sale of your coffee, a visit to your site resulting in revenue, or a link being passed along by many people—everyone has a goal to bring their followers into deeper engagement.

Whether you choose conversation or curation for building a reputation on social media, you can be sure that you’re efforts will be rewarded. However, the most effective, in my opinion, is to apply both methods and play with the balance between them. Watch how your audience responds to both and make the necessary adjustments to either converse or curate more. In short, allow your customers to be your gauge for how your virtual reputation is shaping up.

Even though we all desire to have that one tweet, Facebook post or blog entry to go viral, it is more the exception than the rule. Faithful interaction with your followers and friendly recruiting of newer audiences will guarantee a group of humans who not only follow your branding but will eagerly promote it among their circles.

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Five Secrets To A Balanced Business and Personal Social Media Presence

When you operate as a social media ghostwriter, it can be difficult to keep up your own social networking. Days will come where you feel as though you’ll pull your hair out over it. What are effective methods to deal with this constant tension? Well, here are five secrets that I’ve learned from my own experience:

  1. Don’t feel too pressured to maintain the same barrage of updates as with your paying clients – If you’re a freelancer like me, when you’re posting social updates ‘off the clock’ it almost feels like a waste of time. Remember, you’re still growing your visibility and networking even with one to three quality updates per day.
  2. Spending time on your own social media updates can be therapeutic (and strategic) – Writing a personal update via Twitter about your hectic workday or even the fact that you’re falling behind on freelance work can not only feel like an emotional weight lifted, but may reward you with sympathy or timely advice from the social community. Not only will it bring your blood pressure down, but you may generate new connections over your honesty and emotional approach.
  3. Be intentional to carve out time for updating your own social profiles – I find that if I wait until other work is completed before I tweet or post a link on Facebook that it never happens. Force yourself to put up an update before beginning your freelance or other business-related marketing.
  4. Turn it into a conversation by asking the community – Tweet or post about your dilemma and wait for the social media community to offer their collective wisdom. And, as mentioned above, you might be surprised at the growth of followers who have either been afraid to publicize their emotions or are ready to branch out from their own group of confidantes.
  5. Some of your social connections could benefit the company you work for – It’s very possible, as has happened to me, that a person or two in your social circles could benefit your client. Whether it’s website design, legal services, financial advice or the like, it could prove to be a powerful and natural networking technique.

If you’re new to social media marketing, realize it will take time to adjust to the intensity and breadth of growing followers around the particular branding of the company you represent. Even though it may feel like you’re emotional energy is being sapped by building their business, it doesn’t have to detract from your own presence on the web.

Finally, it is possible that some of the links (a cool viral video) you’re using for work could be very useful and relevant for your own social network; content that you otherwise would have never discovered on your own.

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Three Concrete Ways To Engage With Tech

Today, it’s easy to get inundated by everything tech. How do you filter through the clutter? Where do you start? How do you navigate the ever-growing URL pool? Some have resorted to staying with desktop software alone. Others, merely taking suggestions from family and friends. Still others have given up altogether and resorted to pen and pencil thinking.

What way is best? If the power grid were to collapse, I suppose the latter thinking could prove the viable option. However, nobody knows the outcome of tomorrow.

How do you stay up on what is affecting you and your business (or organization) without defaulting to extremes? Obviously, each person should test the waters and see where their threshold lies, but here are three tips for engaging with tech:

1. Don’t assume the way you use the web today will define the way you use it tomorrow – A term that comes to mind for this tip is ‘Social Media.’ Who would have thought, even five years ago, how much this medium would define our lives. With over 700 million Facebook users and an ever-growing Google Plus crowd, people from children to grandparents have an insatiable appetite for relationship and sharing. If we were using the computer and the web exclusively circa 2000, much would be missed from news to the latest dog grooming styles.

2. You learned to ride a bicycle, didn’t you? – Childhood is defined by new experiences and a constant intaking of new information, experiences and relationships. I just have to watch my own children to be reminded of tireless exploration. What happens as we get older? Why do so many resort to habitual lifestyles that refuse to engage outside a certain structure? I’m not here to get into the psychcology of the matter, but to remind that we need to be proactive at learning once out of college. There is so much to explore and experience, and the Internet brings it to our lap (literally).

3. Watch the younger generation – If you’re older, especially over fifty, tech can be more of a challenge because you didn’t grow up with it. It was introduced when in your thirties and became an adjunct, not integral part of your life. Tips for your generation: watch your kids and others in the younger demographic for how they use the web in everyday life. You may feel exhausted at all the uses (and the gadgets they carry), but you can glean some ideas from the ‘fire hose’ examples. For example, you may not have realized that you can utilize Twitter as a notepad to keep track of thoughts. Need to locate a group of people fast? Use Facebook to organize a group and search for names to connect with. Need to keep track of time on some projects? Use Toggl for time and project management. The list goes on and on…

Let this be a catalyst for action, not a post for paralysis.

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