28 Apr 2013
Sunday night and time to write the blog. Like everyone else, I sometimes have a major brain block. What do I write about? What has happened in the last week that people would be interested in knowing about social media? Well, I am sure lots is happening, but I don’t want to write about that.
As a coach and consultant, I tell my clients all the time – you are your brand. People want to know about you. Not the deep dark secrets – although I am sure some voyeuristic person would love to know all that stuff – but the things that make a difference to you personally. What are your values, what makes you tick, who is the real person behind the posts and videos and blog?
I’d like to share that this past week for me can be described in one word – empowering. I am treading into deep waters because I decided to makeover my website. And since one’s website is the social media funnel that all great information should be directed, I want a new, spiffy-looking site. Only this time, I decided not to hire a web designer. I am going to do it myself. Like I really have time to do a website – I don’t, but I have definite ideas of how I want it laid out, a new product suite and programs, and I am not going to pay a fortune to work with a web designer.
Enter The Online Empowerment Formula, led by entrepreneurs Marisa Goudy and Corinna Rake. Their program is a series of six coaching sessions and lots of work in between. But it’s good work – it has forced me to think deeply about my brand, my mission, my business and what I want to convey to others via my website, the hub of my business. Marisa and Corinna are a great team. I met them on Twitter – more proof that social media works!
Back to the website – it’s been challenging and sometimes frustrating because I am not a programmer or particularly technologically gifted. I have to work hard to learn left-brain stuff. I am way more creative than techy. Regardless, I committed to conquering my limiting belief about coding and have diligently dug in and embraced the work I need to do to have my finished product up and running.
What has resulted is a deep sense of pride and total ownership of my website. Not to mention, I am learning valuable new skills that will help me help my clients who often ask me questions about the back end of a Word Press site. I have been totally focused on accomplishing this task and will celebrate by having an extra glass of wine the day it is done! And that day is coming very, very soon.
What one word describes your week? What challenging project have you taken on recently that made you beam with pride? Would love to know, so please share.
07 Apr 2013
Do you ever feel like you are going at top speed in your business and not getting anywhere. You know the old saying, “Going nowhere fast.” It is so easy to do when you own your own business and are working alone, without a large support staff or any staff at all. Making the choice to become an entrepreneur is a risky one, albeit one with great benefits if you have tenacity and gumption. Yes, it takes guts to go it alone. And heart and soul and passion.
But, there are limits to what one person can accomplish and knowing those limits and honoring yourself and your abilities to only do so much is of utmost importance if you are going to succeed. My guest this week on The Social Networking NewsHour was Stephanie Calahan of Calahan Solutions, Inc. She is living proof that going above and beyond one’s limits can have disastrous consequences. You can listen to the entire podcast here.
We discussed the analogy of being like a hamster in a wheel, a big wheel going, going, going all the time but never getting anything accomplished. My takeaways from our show are these:
1) Recognize you have a problem and seek some guidance in the form of a business or life coach.
2) Create marketing systems that save you time and maximize your messaging.
3) Honor your personal needs because they are paramount to being productive.
4) Take a step back and know who your customer is – target the right audience for your product or service or you will be wasting valuable time and energy.
5) After identifying your challenges, accept them and be realistic about what you can accomplish.
6) Find the balance in your life, family, self, and business. Without balance, personal freedom and enjoyment is so difficult to obtain.
Having been that hamster in a big wheel several years ago, I totally related to Stephanie and her personal story. Listen this moving podcast and please share – have you ever been on the brink of feeling you are losing control? What did you do to overcome the situation?
Laurie Hurley is a social media mentor, coach and consultant who helps small business owners deal with overwhelm in regards to their social media marketing. She believes in scheduling your marketing time, just like a networking meeting.
Back in 2007 when I first began my social media journey, I signed up for LinkedIn. And, only because someone sent me an invitation to connect. I had no clue what I was doing. It seemed like a good idea at the time, so I posted a resume-like profile and never went back to visit it – for almost a year. How many of you have done that with social media sites?
Well, we won’t get into slapping hands because I know many people do the exact same thing. Until something happens – like the downturn in the economy in 2008. Or, you get laid off and find yourself having to look for work or, you decide to begin your own business and realize that social media is basically a fabulous free way to advertise so you jump on the bandwagon and dive into places like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest and eventually LinkedIn. In my opinion, LinkedIn gets a bad rap.
Often referred to as the “blue suit” of all the social media sites, many direct sales people ignore the power of LinkedIn. Many entrepreneurs also think they belong on a more exciting site, like the above-mentioned ones. Now, I am far from an expert about LinkedIn, but I do know the power of having 80 million pairs of eyeballs on my profile page. And, every second of every day someone new is joining LinkedIn. Convinced yet that you may need to reconsider giving LinkedIn a serious once-over?
One of the benefits of being the host of my internet radio show, The Social Networking NewsHour, is the opportunity I have to interview experts in the industry. And I did just that this past week when Kristina Jaramillo joined me. Kristina is a powerhouse of information and we already decided she is coming back on the air with me this summer. Not only was she knowledgeable, but she generously shared so much information with my audience that even I was furiously taking notes!
You can listen to the entire podcast here.
Some quick pointers you can implement immediately on LinkedIn:
1. Write your profile in the first person – and tell your story. People want to know about you as a person, not just read a stiff online resume.
2. The headline under your name is not set in stone; change it frequently and use descriptive words.
3. When writing your summary, brag about your achievements, show results, cite case studies.
4. Always post clickable links in your summary. You can link to your free reports, email opt-in lists, telesummits – just about anything to gain more exposure and direct people to the interesting content on your website.
5. Start a LinkedIn Group. But be sure you are involved consistently. This is a great way to attract like-minded people and show your expertise, get to know people in your industry, and attract others who may need your product or service.
Finally, Kristina was generous enough to share a link to a fabulous free report. Pick it up here: Free14LinkedInMistakesReport.com. And if you want to grab some LinkedIn Templates, visit: InstantLinkedInMarketingTemplates.com.
What are your experiences with LinkedIn? Have they been good for your business or do you focus your attention elsewhere? Please share!
Laurie Hurley is a social media mentor, consultant, coach, speaker and radio show host. You can visit and connect with her on LinkedIn.
10 Mar 2013
Before I wrote this blog, I attempted to do some research on how many apps exist for iPhones, iPads and other common devices most of us wouldn’t think of leaving our home without these days. The numbers were all different, depending on where I looked. Suffice it to say, there are thousands of apps for just about everything one can imagine. Some of them looked really cool, too and I got distracted reading about the apps for kids. Unbelievable and I have to admit I am a teeny bit envious of moms of toddlers these days. My teenagers had to deal with me entertaining them when they were little, not my phone. But, personally, I’m glad about that. And I learned a bunch of songs from Disney that still get stuck in my head.
Anyway, I am getting off track. This week on The Social Networking NewsHour, my guest was Tania Mulry of Amaze Mobile and author of The Cause: The Power of Digital Storytelling for Social Good which lays out a comprehensive, step-by-step plan for non-profit leaders, social entrepreneurs, marketing managers and cause advocates to help them find their voice and express their passion for their organization to create bigger and better results. Tania joined me for what I thought was going to be a lively discussion about all kinds of apps I didn’t know about. That is true, but we focused on her app – edRover, which totally blew me away.
edRover is an app that puts fundraising power in the palm of your hand. Every time you are out on the town, pull out your phone, open the app and find nearby locations where you can check-in to fetch donations for your school.
Anyone can shop online through edRover.com to earn 1-25% back from your purchases at over 100 top eRetailers. The funds are accumulated from all the active users in your school and distributed monthly once your school earns $25.
So, how cool is that? Social media being used for social good. When my daughters were in elementary school, I volunteered hundreds of hours to fundraise at bake sales, collected box tops like a crazy person, and went door to door selling cookie dough, magazines, wrapping paper and whatever else the PTA presented us over-achieving parents.
Tune in here to listen to everything Tania shared on the show about social entrepreneurship, branding, and more. What apps do you use or know of that raise money? Please share them here.
Laurie Hurley is the Founder of The Social Networking Navigator and is a mentor, consultant, and speaker about how to streamline your time on social media so you don’t get sucked in to being online for hours at a time.
17 Feb 2013
When I first started coaching social media, I remember very clearly one client who adamantly refused to blog. I mean she wouldn’t even try. I was shocked because this particular woman always had a lot to say about herself and her business when I would see her at networking meetings. So, I had to dig a bit deeper to find out why blogging was out of the question for her. It turns out she never graduated college because she could not pass the required classes needed in English and Composition. She was ashamed and felt her writing was so poor that no one would ever want to read anything she tried to write.
After working with her for several sessions, I convinced her to send me a sample of her writing so I could judge for myself. Imagine my surprise when her first attempt at a blog brought tears to my eyes. She was a beautiful writer and has since moved on to have a successful blog and a large following.
Blogging is something every savvy business owner should be doing to expand their reach and share their message. There are entire websites and businesses devoted to lending support to bloggers to help them to monetize their message and gain fabulous media coverage. My guest this week on The Social Networking NewsHour was Melanie Gorman, the Senior VP of YourTango.com, a website that helps brands to use the internet to draw in a more attractive, interested, and successful client base.
According to Melanie, there are two types of blogs – branded content blogs and trending blogs. A branded blog provides content that is relevant to the audience you serve, your business philosophy and opinions related to what you offer your target market. An example might be a massage therapist writing about their different types of massages, services, and product lines.
A trending blog incorporates your industry’s current events and hot topics, positioning you as a business owner that is current and on top of relevant and timely issues in your field. The massage therapist who writes about new controversial regulations as they relate to healing professionals, siting a case study that analyzes the regulations, positioning themselves as the expert would be an example. Trending blogs put you in front of your audience as a professional who is in the know about what is affecting your industry as a whole.
Being able to curate your content and have a stockpile of educational-based marketing tips, techniques, information and expertise and being able to write about them regularly in your blog is imperative for success in the social media universe.
Which kind of blog do you usually write; branded or trending? How often do you blog? Please share!
Laurie Hurley is the founder of The Social Networking Navigator and blogs every Monday. She is a social media consultant and mentor.
27 Jan 2013
One of the advantages of hosting my weekly internet radio show is having guest experts on who share their knowledge and experience. This past week, my guest was Aaron Boerger, CEO of Defined Ventures, Inc. Aaron is an organizational specialist who helps others streamline their technology to stay productive.
Being a self-professed non-geek, I was especially interested in what Aaron had to say because many of the procedures and systems that come easily to others are very difficult for me. I just can’t wrap my brain around some of the steps one needs to take to have everything synched and operating like clockwork between my iPhone, iPad and Mac.
More importantly, about two months ago, my email box was a mess. Hundreds of messages – all read – but not categorized, deleted or filed properly. Taking an hour to set up my email to attain “Inbox Zero” with Aaron’s help, was the best thing I did for myself and my business in the last quarter of 2012.
It’s easy to let things slip, even when one has the best intentions. Sometimes life just gets in the way or we become so busy we forget to attend to the small details that can save us an inordinate amount of time.
Here are the highlights of my interview with Aaron.
1) Keep your apps to a minimum otherwise they are distracting and cause a decrease in productivity.
2) Implement Inbox Zero. That doesn’t mean every message is read and deleted, it means you have a system that prioritizes each email by category – i.e. do now, do later, waiting for a response, etc.
3) Utilize a password manager so you not only have easy access to your passwords, but you have a secure place in which to store them.
4) Consider using a digital filing cabinet to keep your to-do lists, notes to yourself and other written or video content in one place.
5) Read a great article or blog and want to save it to read at your leisure? Try an app like Get Pocket to organize them in a virtual file that you can access at a click of your mouse.
Trying to manage your social media marketing and content can be overwhelming. It is imperative to have some kind of organization for all the data that comes your way. Taking the time to implement a solid system for yourself that you will utilize and maintain is paramount to saving precious time during your work week to focus on your business.
If you would like to have a heads-up on who will be on the show every week, leave your email address here on my show page. I’ll send you a brief notice every Tuesday.
What systems do you use that help you to stay organized? Please share them!
Laurie Hurley is a social media consultant, mentor, speaker and hostess of The Social Networking NewsHour. You can hear her show live on Toginet radio every Wednesday at 2pm PST or download the podcasts!
13 Jan 2013
Google + and I are finally going steady. Yes, we flirted for over a year, totally broke up once or twice and went through a phase not even speaking to each other. It got so bad that I even bad-mouthed Google + publicly. Then, one day about three weeks ago, all of that changed.
I’m not sure what it was. Hard for me to put my finger on, actually. I had been very happy with Facebook and the amount of engagement and activity in that relationship. I even spent some money and invested in a Facebook ad which brought me over 300 new targeted followers for a mere $36.00. The relationship was good, but growing stale. I was getting bored with the same old stuff. Ads running down the right-hand side of my page, lots of “likes” but no direct answers to some of my questions. Facebook was showing me its aloof side.
Meanwhile, a Google + community popped into my email. Sure, trying to lure me in with the work “community.” I fell for it. I joined the community and discovered people actually were leaving comments, not just “plus 1′ing each other.” I became intrigued.
I felt daring and strong and confident. So, I created my own Google + community to see if I should think about getting back together with G+. Lo and behold, my community is growing. People are joining and actually participating. To make it even more fun, I came up with Wisdom Wednesdays where the members can share a hot tip and Theatre Thursdays, where we all share our videos – business, no sales – and comment on at least two of them.
Our courtship is going well. Rumor has it Facebook is rolling out some other big changes this week. Since I am addicted to Facebook, I will hang in there with them, but I am cheating on the side. And it feels good. More fulfilling. Not to mention the traffic on my website has increased by more than 44% over the last twenty-one days, according to my Google analytics.
Are you and Google + tight? Or, do you have a love/hate relationship like I did? Please share.
Laurie Hurley is a social media consultant and has an active membership group, teaching basic social media to entrepreneurs. Laurie is also the hostess of The Social Networking NewsHour, which airs every Wednesday at 2pm on the Woo Hoo Radio Network.
23 Dec 2012
I walked into the room for my Mastermind session and thought I was in an Arts and Crafts class. Believe it or not, I am in my fifties and have never created a collage or, what is known in the business world as a Vision Board. Being artistic is not one of my strengths. I have trouble drawing a stick figure, but this was cut and paste, which I was fairly certain I could handle.
Our leader instructed us to flip through the large piles of magazines she had brought and find visuals that inspired us and reflect what we want to accomplish in 2013. I am a very visual person, so I thought this would be easy. And, throw in a ton of fashion magazines and gossip mags, and I was all over this!
As a began to browse the pages, I surprised myself at what jumped out at me. Words, sayings, headlines, quotes, and taglines. For me, it wasn’t so much the pictures – although I did cut out a giant scoop of chocolate ice cream and a picture of Claire Danes from Homeland. Not that I over-indulge in sweets or plan to join the CIA. When I look at those two pictures they remind me to have more fun, i.e. eat ice cream and relax more – watch Homeland, sometimes twice to analyze the plot.
Anyway, back to the vision board. Some of my favorite words from my board are:
- never settle
- please elaborate
- get more of what you love
- be in no one’s shadow
- laughing matters
When I was finished with my masterpiece, I took it home and hung it prominently in my office, somewhere that I can see it everyday. As a home-based business owner, it is important to remind myself what is important. What is the vision you forsee for yourself, as a professional, but also as a parent, friend, partner, caregiver? After one has created a small business, it is oh so easy to get caught up in work, work, work all the time. Striking a balance with some fun is important!
Gazing at my vision board reminds me to strap on my running shoes and hit the pavement even with a full in box. To laugh at myself more often, to let my needs be heard, to forge ahead after a client turns down my proposal, to not be tempted to be a follower, but to continue being the leader of my own destiny, embracing my goals even when I set the bar high.
I recommend every small business owner grab some scissors and glue sticks and document your vision for yourself and your business. You may be surprised at what speaks to you from the pages of a dog-eared magazine.
Have you ever created a vision board? Did a theme emerge? Was it dominated by pictures or words? Please share!