Social Timing is Everything

Have you heard the saying, “Timing is everything” and while on some level you understand but the explanation is not quite clear. Today, this saying could not be more true and applicable with how we operate our business in the demanding digital world. Capturing your audience is even more important where the message has to be clear, concise, to the point and timed just right. Continue reading “Social Timing is Everything”

Tips For New Bloggers

 

 

There is a whole host of things that irritate me when it comes to veteran bloggers speaking down to new bloggers.  People forget they were once new too.  Some of the things I’ve seen/heard can be summed up below with of course my thoughtful opinion of it.

 

1.  If you have 500 Facebook followers and you have a reach of 50 you’re obviously doing something wrong.

This is not true.  It takes a bit of experience and a bit of practice to get those numbers up.  A few tips?  Don’t just post your reviews, giveaways, and articles, share other bloggers posts too.  Don’t be afraid to post on your page something that you’re not posting on your blog.  Post something fun or funny.  It’s going to take time to build your audience and sometimes people are just pricks.

 

2.  I’m not going to help you because no one helped me when I was starting out.

Gee someone sounds like a poor sport and a jerk.  Obviously the people that fall into this category are not the “love thy neighbor type”.  If you need help keep asking in Facebook groups or via personal email.  Someone will be kind enough to help.  Sometimes bloggers don’t have the time but that doesn’t mean they have to be rude.

 

3.  I’m not going to help anyone because it increases competition in the blogging world.  

What these people are REALLY saying is I’m not helping anyone else because I don’t have faith in my blog and writing abilities and I’m afraid you’ll leave me in your dust.  These are usually the people whose blog is here today and gone tomorrow.

 

4.  I have SO my pitches in my email that I can’t keep up with them.

Uhhhh, no they don’t.  This is just another bragging comment set up to say, “I’m a veteran blogger and you’re a newbie.”  Don’t sweat it.  Yes we get pitches, but we don’t get 100 a day.  Obviously the people complaining about so many pitches haven’t checked their email in ages.

 

5.  Newbie bloggers are hurting the blogging world.

NO, NO, NO!  This is not true.  We were all new once and some of the best writers and best reviewers I’ve met are new.  What is hurting the blogging world are veteran bloggers that learned to use the system and are dishonest, cheating and NOT actually doing their job.  A giveaway or review doesn’t end at a post.  No, you have to follow through and continually hit up companies and pr that haven’t sent product.  We are working for both sponsors and the entrants.

 

These are just a few that grind my nerves and make me want to reach through the screen and shake people.  There is no reason to be mean to people that are new.  Each of us has a unique blog and bring something different to the table.  No one is going to corner all of the traffic online, because as individuals different things interest us.

Joie

3 Tips on Proper Use of Images and Photos

free photo, using photos from net, creative commons, flickr, free photos

The other day while minding my own business at my desk I overheard a fascinating conversation. One of the leaders in our organization was looking to utilize a highly recognizable trademarked and copyright protected image and logo. I could hear the uncertainty in his voice as he was curious to the proper use of the photo. He was asking another department head regarding his experience in use of this material. I heard more uncertainty in both of the parties discussion, one was a coordinator for programming and the other is a web designer, marketer. Of the two, I would have thought they would have erred on the side of caution when wanting to use this image for a blog post. Their decision was anything if not scary; they opted to use the photo because they indicated our organization was “too small to be considered for a lawsuit.” Suddenly my adrenaline was pumping with anxiety at their lack of caution to the proper use of images, photos and pictures in blog posts, public material and advertising.

Google images has made seeking out photo’s one of the easiest tools we can use today. Google, no less, has  replaced encyclopedia’s, basic knowledge and higher learning. However, the evolution of Google and the easy access to various images posted on the web does not give anyone and everyone carte blanche to utilize photos so readily and easily for Facebook posts, blog posts and other media shares. These photos belong to someone, some company and or organization that owns the intellectual rights.

Imagine if someone hacked your hard-drive or decided to help themselves to your Facebook photos, took those photos and shared them as marketing material to make money. Imagine your fury that someone took your family photos and used them as a black and white still for a picture frame cover in a large box store. All the while, you are not reaping the rewards for rights to the photo. You would consider this theft.

Even though large corporations, organizations and conglomerations exist to have an endless supply of money, resources and they might never miss the photo, the principle of the fact remains that improper use could be considered theft. Even if you think your blog is small, unnoticed and imaginary in the sea of sites, blogs and landing pages in the world, someone, somewhere might notice. Are you willing to risk being sued for improper use and attribution for a photo?

attribution, creative commonsHere are some tips to keep in mind when using photos from the web:

  • Did you create the graphic and or take the photo?

If you did, then make sure that you protect your works and credits. Slap on a copyright for your works. The process is far from difficult and most photo services when you upload your works (like Google Picasa, Flickr, etc) have an attribution option where you can add notations such as a copyright. Photo editing software such as PhotoShop and GIMP also offer watermark options where you can place your copyright. While this is not a guaranteed protection, this does ensure you did your due diligence to protect your works, especially when you register them as such.

  • Is the photo copyright protected? Is the photo public domain? Is the photo protected under attribution license?

While this is a lot to take in, the larger photo sites (Flickr, Picasa, Wikimedia Commons) fully detail and explain the differences in all these types of available photos. As mentioned in my scenario above, my co-workers were looking to use a Marvel Avengers logo. This was a huge NO NO without proper consent, permission and attribution. I sent them an email and advised them that in order to use the logo and trademark of Marvel Comics for the logo they would need to contact the organization to ask for use, credit and attribute the photo that they have permission from Marvel for use. By not doing so creates the opportunity for unnecessary risks and lawsuits that could have been avoided if handled properly.

  • Do you need to use a specific photo or can you get your message across with a free domain photo?

Sometimes we purely want to use the photo because of aesthetics, but really we can say the same thing or put across the same message with a photo that requires no attribution. If you have the funds in your budget to purchase a photo, do so and be sure you use the same attribution and crediting process as outlined in the purchase agreement. Purchasing photos from organizations like ShutterStock allow you use of royalty free photos that reduce your risk by just taking photos directly from Google images. Right click and save through Google images can open a can of worms for lawsuits and DMCA notices. Know what the symbols means with each photo, see where the photo originated and who owns the rights if any.

Images are a great way to portray our image, our brand and to tell a story. We all want that advantage when marketing ourselves, our brand, our blog. We take great pride in the effort and work we put into the fruits of our labor; all artists feel this way and should be respected as such. When putting forth that effort take the extra time to do the job right. Protect your investment and your asset. Protect your images, your blog and your reputation. Respect the rights of others who also share in the same endeavor.

Next time you are thinking of using a photo and one you fell in love with on Google images, think about the artist and owner of that image and or work. Think about the proper use of their image and if you have the right to reproduce that work even if you think your blog is only a speck in the pixelated world of the internet. Do your research, be respectful, and understand how using photos can greatly impact your reputational risk and or infringe on someone’s intellectual rights as an artist.

*Written by Karie Herring, Owner and Author of The Five Fish.

You can find her on Facebook and on Twitter as Kariewithak.

Twitter Tips for Beginners

Written By: Kerri Hale
Blog: Momma of 4 Cutiez
Feel Free to contact via Facebook & Twitter
Use your real name. Some people may disagree with me on this one and that’s ok. This has been a long debate with bloggers whether to use your business name or your real name. When someone speaks –or even types your name– it makes you feel good and gives you a more real connection with that other person. People get to know the person behind the blog.
“Hatch out of your egg.” If you haven’t taken the time to “hatch out of your egg” I’m not following you. I take Twitter users more seriously when they actually have a profile picture instead of an egg.
Use hash tags when you tweet but not too many. You might be familiar with Facebook’s newsfeeds but Twitter’s newsfeeds go by so quickly that often times they get lost in a sea of tweets in a matter of minutes. Using the correct hashtags helps people to find your tweet. Don’t use more than three hashtags in a single tweet though. It looks spammy.
Make a bio. This is another really important thing. A bio is a simple glance at who you are in a limited amount of words. Why is this important? I decide in less than 5 seconds whether or not I’m going to follow you based on your bio. You don’t have to have an extraordinary bio, just write…..something. Tell me who you are!
Follow people in your niche or people you already know first. You can search for them by using their name or hashtags. This is another reason why your real name and hash tags are so important. Don’t follow more than 50 people at a time and wait until some of them follow you back until you add more. Twitter limits the amount of people you can follow within a certain time frame.
Don’t “over follow”. If only 100 people are following you and you are following more than 1,000 that doesn’t speak good for you. Try and stick with a more even ratio. It makes you look more interesting and more people are apt to want to learn more about you.

Networking Perks is Looking for Guest Posters

Networking Perks is looking for Guest Posters. We would like you to cover something about blogging. Make it positive. It can be about working with PR or large companies. How to take great photos, or even how to interact with your readers. In return we will have at the top your name and your blog with link to it and at the bottom your button linked to your site. We are open to suggestions! Sign up here http://bit.ly/1CaeL9o

Spring Means Less Time Online For Everyone

 

 

I like many others have been swamped and pushed for time.  Spring has spring and everyone has projects, events, and wants to be out in the fresh air.  Which leads me to….. we as bloggers are going to see less traffic.  I have spoken to a few bloggers ready to throw in the towel but “slow and steady” wins the race.

 

Now is a great time to keep a notebook in your car, purse or diaper bag and take notes.  Maybe while you’re out you’ll find inspiration for content posts to add to your daily blogging posts.  Post that people will read on their phone or tablet while they’re out and about.

 

This is also a great time to boost your media.  Become more engaging with Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.  All of us have taken a hit via Facebook and their new rules and how we can’t even keep a simple “like” any more.  Build your content and work on engaging your readers.  When many of us are in the car pool line, at the park or beach we’re also checking our Facebook, favoriting a photo on Instagram, or seeing what our favorite blogs are up to on Twitter!

 

 

The Importance Of Owning Your Own Site

 

 

When I first started to blog the biggest question we had is what blogging platform to go with.  Blogger, WordPress, or then Xanga.  Since 2009 I have seen a lot of changes in the online world take place, Xanga which I loved is gone, but they promoted bloggers and blogging content and I had several of my articles featured.

 

Blogger/Blogspot, owned by Google is rather unfriendly to blog with.  At first my partner and I really liked that we could both be logged into Blogger or Blogspot at the same time and working with out issue.  We also liked the fact that we could change templates, themes etc on a regular basis with little effect on us as individuals.  In reality Blogger much like Google doesn’t work with all blogs and hasn’t stayed up to date with times.  That said even though, as bloggers we’re judged by Google, I think Google looks down upon bloggers of all types.  While they pushed and shoved to be the top search engine/everything internet, they kind of picked the wrong partners to sleep with so to speak.  Which is why the slow and steady Yahoo, is starting to re-emerge on top (But I digress and that is for another post!).

 

I fought for WordPress.  At the time blogging wasn’t the big deal it is today, 6 years later.  Wordpress just seemed more programming friendly.  It also was supported by many of the hosting companies we checked out.  Sadly we started with the free version of WordPress and then within months were struggling to transfer everything over to the self-hosted WordPress.

 

Lately, I’ve noticed many PR companies and clients asking me if I own my own site.  If I am self hosted, and which blogging platform I use.  I always knew that WordPress  was well liked and that it offered widgets that helped improve blogging for us all, as individuals.  Now more than ever I think it’s important to have your own .com or .net to show that you are a serious blogger.  People using the free platforms are not supposed to accept paid opportunities and many who have skirted the issue have had their blogs deleted.

 

With all the work that goes into creating your blog and blog content you need to take charge of its destiny and not allow yourself to fall victim of terms of use that you may have been unaware of.

 

 

 

 

Mommy Bloggers Are Not Free Publicity For PR

Every now and then I see a mom or blogger send a lightning bolt post through about PR Companies or people thinking that the bloggers time, effort, and money soaked into the blog is free.  Today, I was hit with not 1, not 2, but 3 of them.  It’s put me in a sour mood.

Let me make this perfectly clear, MOST PR Companies are a treat to work with.  MANY, we do extra things for them with nothing received because they are nice.  Speak nicely and don’t speak to us as though we’re a flunky.  Even some who may be new and we have to explain things over and over to, I don’t mind because they are NICE.

<Insert Dripping Sarcasm Here>  When we say NO we will not do something we mean it.  Don’t say ok and think we’re going to change our mind later.  Do NOT ask us to do things that are not allowed or could get us or you in trouble *cough* <Facebook>.

Seriously I’m working with 3 hair splitters today and their giveaways are over and done with.  One wants to change the rules and not send the promised item.  One wants me to post for a major brand for free.  The other I’m not going in to because it’s too long, but my point is this here is what you get for a review/giveaway or advertisement.

A Giveaway written by me, with information YOU want included.  Key words, phrases and links.  The item actually sampled or tested.  Your write up being tweeted, going on our Facebook, and listed on contest boards.  Your post goes into our daily newsletter, oh and I almost forgot, I have a butt load of Facebook and Twitter Friends so when we post it’s seen by a lot of people.

A review or giveaway posting takes me about an hour, sometimes more and sometimes less.  It just depends.  I was paid more in the work force.  I’m not a moron and have a college degree.  Not only that I was the bread winner and sacrificed that for my family.  Do not talk down to me.

So listen up Jeffery, Mike, and  Sarah, we are people and deserve to be treated like people.  We are cheaper than tv, newspapers and magazines or you wouldn’t be using us, and there have been companies made and broken by MOMS!   I will be sharing information with my friends.  My readers come first!

Anti Social Media

A friend of mine posted the other day about how Facebook has turned into a feed of others posting videos they have seen and no longer a forum for conversation. His comment was profound to say the least.

“Do people still actually post things here or is just a forum to share videos you found on the internet?”

Our social media venues have become more of the anti social media as we fail to engage one another. Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) seem to have transformed into venues of mental masturbation to help pass the minutes as we exercise, exercise bowel movements and or exercise our lack of effort into our careers and selves.

Many a late nights I used to delve into Twitter and Facebook. Twitter especially, as I engaged on many a conversations, albeit some superficial “mom talk,” as my twins were much younger and I found an online community of other women who had the same subscription of life. Bantering, high level disagreements and even some catty non-sense. However, the result was all the same. Conversation.

Today I see Twitter as a monologue, at best. Almost like a telemarketing convention where all of the sellers are dialing out to potential consumers with their tweets in hopes someone will buy their sales pitch. I was saddened to see my own church guilty of the same actions. Services were provided with a hashtag to “join the conversation.” Really? Who would we be conversing with? Other members I suppose, but I found that to be very anti social as well with other members tweeting, never actually engaging in a dialogue.

Facebook has transformed itself into much of the same fashion…coupled with the sisterhood of Instagram. Timelines are littered with selfies and no longer original and or beautiful content. I have watched these two venues turn into a cesspool of narcissism interlaced into being “social.” Social would be how many likes you received for your newest photo and nothing really ever of a conversation.

Have we let our new technology and new forms of communication dilute, if not totally eliminate, any true forms of communication or dialogue? Or is this the way we communicate now these days with pictures, videos, selfies and emoticons? How do we begin to converse with one another again?

With advancements of technology and forms of communication have we catapulted ourselves into the age of anti social media? Recalling an email I received from my dad about 10 years ago, he provided me his new phone number when he was living in Iowa and said, “text me if you want to talk.” I replied and guffawed at such a request, “I don’t text Dad.” Was I flippant, naive, optimistic that communication would remain status-quo? Maybe a combination of all three, never in my wildest dreams would I consider communicating with my parents, let alone my friends in such a fashion. Never would I have imagined creating a blog when just six months pregnant to detail the chronology of my twins in utero, their lives thereafter, our lives in their entirety as a collective over the past eight years.

I suppose since our lives are so busy, social media helps to keep us abreast of all of friends goings-on. Maybe we help show them our interests with the different shares and social likes through Facebook and Twitter. Social media has helped us connect with one another instantly and receive updates on breaking events in the blink of an eye as opposed to waiting for the following day or the late evening newscast. Yet, we seem to be more anti social because we have updates so frequently, so immediate that we can even sever friendships with the click of a button, block the information we receive, filter our lives to seem, feel and look perfect.

Have these “social” venues created an opportunity of anti social behavior?

Social media has allowed us to avoid having meaningful and legitimate dialogues with the click of a button, removing people from our lives when conversations become crucial. While we can connect immediately, we can disconnect just as easily. As opposed to having a healthy dialogue, we just shut the conversation down with block, delete, un-follow, unlike. We can avoid sharing how our lives are imperfect by sharing some of the best photos of the day when the picture behind the camera would suggest normal humanity, beautifully broken. Suddenly we have keyboard muscles that we exert as our form of exercise, because to exercise our mental capacity to accept diversity that something is less than perfect or a comment is less than favorable we remove the threat. Our behavior on social media is dramatically different that in person, acting as if we lack any inhibition to hurting another because we may not actually have real life interaction with people.

Have you found yourself in the vortex of anti social media? Have you found you are only sharing videos and other posts and never really engaging in real, healthy conversations or dialogues? Has your social media become a monologue and not a dialogue?

Keeping Our Blogs Post Fresh and New

I’m probably not the one who should write this but here it goes anyway.  Knowing and doing are 2 different things.  I tend to lack the time to do what ought to be done but I do KNOW what should be done.  On a blogging trip not too long ago the question arose, “If you died today, how long would your blog still be publishing?”.  Answers varied but mine was about 30 days or so.

 

While I’m not a great planner and I don’t (but should) keep a calendar, I do schedule posts in advance.  Many times one company will send me a shipment of multiple items and I will spread the posts out over 30 days or so and send them the scheduled links and when they will go live.

 

Lately, I’ve been spread thin between Networking Witches and Networking Perks but I try to post recipes with photos at least once a week and may get motivated to do a lot of cooking in a week.  In this case I will time the posts to spread out a bit.  Humanitarian posts at least monthly if not more.  This being said I’m a lifestyle blogger which means almost everything goes.  I don’t dabble much in couponing and deals because that is a whole ‘nother beast of blogging.

 

I’m not well versed in being super green, gluten free, or homeschooling, but there are times that something does spark in my brain and I may post about them.   I admire homeschoolers, their time and dedication.  I’m in awe of those that can repurpose almost anything and are totally green.  While gluten free rules elude me I do enjoy many recipes I’ve found surfing other blogs.  The people who blog about specific subjects on a regular basis are to be commended because it’s not easy and keeping your information fresh and new isn’t easy.  Many times these posts are accompanied by personal photos.  The editing alone can take hours, but the rewards to us readers is great.

 

Adding guests posts can also be advantageous.  I’m not referring to the paid kind.  I’m talking about the blogger helping blogger kind.  So as Spring is blooming think about what you can add to your blog to nourish it and help it grow.