Posts Tagged: business

First Thoughts on Facebook Timeline For Business

Facebook Timeline for Business switched on for me today. Usually what I do is evaluate it then give clients recommendations after I’ve used it for a while, but frankly I thought it would be more fun to take a quick video of me futzing around with it for the first time, just like y’all might. This video is what a quick mental assessment of a tool for my own business looks like on the first time I see a change. Be rest assured, however, that while this video is a (very) casual look at what it looks like for anyone on day one, there will be more advice coming from me on this, because it radically changes the strategy of most businesses on Facebook.

Initial Takeaways:

1) Be Visual – This is graphics heavy. Your cover photo is your best place to make a sale now and the wall is simply there to reinforce it with customer engagement.

2) Try out different page views to see what works best – it seems to me on first look that different types of business are going to see differing successes with Highlights, Friend Only, Other, etc. For example, in a vertical where customer engagement and reviews are key, the tab highlighting the posts of others might be a great choice.

3) This puts the emphasis on your admin tools and your metrics/insights, which should solve some of the on-ramp and learning curve issues Facebook has faced in the past. This is also good because not enough people have been utilizing insights – a powerful tool for business – now you have no excuse. They are front and center in the admin panel.

4) This is supposed to create a history of a business but it doesn’t really. Too many businesses out there had special circumstances caused by Facebook’s own on-ramp issues and lack of certain features. Take Magnitude Media, for example. Once upon a time we focused on wine and were named Uptown Uncorked. Then we branched out, and have a few years where we helped more folks but still had our old name. When we rebranded, Facebook wasn’t allowing merging of pages – this means we had to start fresh. So did a lot of other businesses. Therefore, M2 looks like it started last year but in reality it just lost the previous page because of another FB issue – not being able to rename pages if you have more than 100 fans. Even Coke, world famous soft drink, had to buy a page that was started by fans – if they had not been able to do that as a major brand, they wouldn’t have a history either since they didn’t get on board early. So, Facebook wants to show the story of a business, but through their own faults with a lack of features (edit, page renaming or merging if more than 100 fans, etc), these stories aren’t complete.

What are your thoughts? Put them in the comments!

Double click to play, single click to pause:

(If the player below doesn’t play well with your browser, or you don’t have QuickTime, you can also view this video on SlideShare)

[qt: http://magnitudemedia.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/TimelinePreview.mov 540 300]

 

UPDATED to include this post by friend Cappy Popp from ThoughtLabs (he literally wrote the book on Facebook). He agrees with some of the assessments I made, and takes it a bit deeper for you. Enjoy!

UPDATED to include this from Jay Baer – a spot-on post about the detriments this has for small business. “14 Ways New Facebook Betrays Small Business – Smarts on the unfortunate evolution of Facebook from @JayBaer http://ar.gy/02vA “

No Personal Account Required To Have A Facebook Page: How To

For those of you who have struggled to have a personal presence on Facebook that you didn’t want just so you could have the business page you do want, there is a feature being discovered on Facebook as of a few weeks ago that you will love (and thanks to ReadWriteWeb for pointing it out). That feature is the ability to have a Facebook business or place page without attaching it to a personal profile. Fabulous news, right!?

There are a number of ways to achieve this that do not require nuking the personal and business profiles you have, which you can read at RWW. However, if you are a small to medium business who just wants a clean slate, fresh start reboot who has under 50 fans, here are the steps for you:

First, delete your business page now (make sure you have copies of the photos, etc you have on there – you will need to put these back up again). Please note: if you like your vanity URL on Facebook, stop now. Once you lose it you can’t get it back. To keep it you’ll need to go through the more complex process detailed on RWW. If you don’t care or have no idea what I’m talking about, proceed.

Second, delete your personal page (I am assuming you still don’t want to have a personal page in the first place, if that has changed, there are many more steps needed to make this change happen, so please stop right here and ask for help in the comments or visit RWW for more detail).

You are now not a Facebook user and your business does not have a page, enabling you to start from a clean slate and take advantage of this new feature.

To continue, you will need an email address that you have not used on Facebook before. Once you have that ready, do these steps:

1) Go to this link http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php

2) Click the option for “Local Business or Place”

3) Choose the category that reflects what your business does the best – for some there is no exact match, so pick something close to it

4) Enter your business name, location, and phone number (this is key if you want to use features like “Facebook Place” or “Facebook Deals”

5) Click to select “I agree to Facebook Pages Terms” and then click to select “Get Started”

6) You’ll be taken to another screen. Choose “I do not have a Facebook account” and enter your email address (use one you’ve never used on Facebook before!). Pick a password, enter your D.O.B. and enter the captcha code. Then click “Sign Up Now!”

7) You’ll get an email from a @facebook.com address asking you to verify your account. Once you verify it, you are up and running on Facebook for Business with no personal account

8 ) Optimize your page for search engines

9) Re-add your content if you had a prior page you nuked, add new content to populate the page if you are starting from scratch. (Content is stuff like photos, wall posts, Notes, etc)

10) Go to your Twitter, your Email Newlsetter and your Blog and alert people to the new page, and ask for “Likes”

11) Once you get 25 Likes, name your page – choose wisely: Facebook has become ever more strict on not allowing users to change URLs unless there is a direct trademark violation

12) To name your page, go to http://facebook.com/username

13) To make your new page wall updates post out to your Twitter account, go to http://facebook.com/twitter

14) Happy Facebooking!

See more Business tips from Facebook on their new Facebook for Business help page

Twitter for Business Radio Spot

If you missed Online Marketing with RSS Ray on WS Radio this week, I did a segment on Twitter for Business. Listen now at:

1) The RSSRay site: Part One and Part Two

2) On iTunes

If you ever needed a clear example of how fast social media evolves, note that on the Wednesday we recorded the show, Twitter was still feeding Google the full firehose. Two days later, Twitter pulled the firehose access to immediate tweet indexing by allowing the Google deal to expire, meaning that Google search results for tweets are now just as useless as, well, Twitter searches for tweets or Bing searches for… well, anything.

It wouldn’t be such a big deal for Twitter to kill the access (I’m betting in either  bid for more money from Google’s deep pockets or as a preemptive strike against the very slick Google +), if Twitter’s own search worked well. But it really doesn’t, and hasn’t for some time.  It will certainly be interesting to see how this plays out, especially in light of some of out other favorite tools, like Twellow, also revamping themselves to be less useful lately.

 

 

Businesses and Employees: Boundaries in Social Media

This week I’ve been watching a favorite restaurant do their own social media. Normally I love seeing people at least try these tools on their own, even if they do it wrong, but in this case it is making me cringe. What are they doing wrong, you ask?

1) Forcing their employees to get personal accounts on a variety of social media services such as Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, and more.  This is uncool for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that social media use is a very personal choice for people, and not the right choice for everyone.

2) Forcing these employees to then a) give the account info to customers for connecting in addition to the company account info, instead of just giving folks access to the company accounts and b) to use their personal accounts to promote the company.  No, no, no. This is all kinds of not ok!

3) Requiring password access to the employee accounts. Employees – do not give your employer access to your personal account this way. Stand your ground. By giving the employer or employer’s representative this kind of access you essentially allow them to impersonate you at will on social networks, if they are especially evil, and to see your private interactions and info if they are somewhat less evil. Even if they have it and never use it, really – how can you think this is ever ok? Defend your space and your right to a personal life separate from your workplace.

Companies, you have no right to require your employees to use social media, much less to use it in their own name then to promote you.  That crosses a line.  It violates boundaries, breaks laws, and in some cases enables cheating on social networks, among other things.

Personal accounts are none of the business of the… business as long as the employee doesn’t defame them, and it should be the employee’s choice to represent the company in that venue and not be required to be used for the company.

Instead, simple employee guidelines should be in place as part of the company employee manual for those who do have personal social accounts how to represent the company should they CHOOSE to do so and how to handle disgruntled ex employees and other issues, and employees should be given posting access to the main company profiles and instructed to post using their initials under the company umbrella instead.

Companies if you’d like help navigating the tricky waters of bringing employees online and having them help man the official company accounts, reach out for it.  But for pete sake don’t invade your employees’ lives just to make a buck.  It’s actually worse than automating social using tools like PAL, and you all know how I (and your customers) feel about soulless automation.

 

 

 

SMBNH Portsmouth: Local Business Tech

Register for Social Media Breakfast NH: Local Business Tech in Portsmouth, NH  on Eventbrite

We hope to see you at our next SMBNH on May 20, 2011! Online signup closes on May 19, 2011.

You can read what Social Media Breakfast NH is all about, how Leslie started it many moons ago and who the awesome people on the SMBNH team are who make these breakfasts possible, like co-organizers Kevin, Nik, Karen, Diane, Matt, Susan and Melanie by heading over to the official blog and reading our About SMBNH page. There is also a mailing list in the side bar there – signing up means you will hear about these events first!

Leslie and Kevin would like to thank Melanie Burger, without whom we couldn’t have pulled off SMBNH this month. Thank you!

The Theme for May 2011’s Social Media Breakfast NH is Local Business Tech

We’ll be discussing how customers and businesses are using social media to go local, buy local, eat local and more, and how companies, employees and customers can use these tools to their advantage.

Agenda

8:30 – 8:58 AM Networking and Breakfast

8:58 – 9:00 Opening Remarks by SMBNH Founder Leslie Poston and Co-Organizer Melanie Burger

9:00 – 9:05 Sponsor Remarks by Roundabout Diner

9:05 – 9:25 Sarah Diment, The Beachmere Inn

9:25 – 9:45 Walter Elly, MicroArts, Location Based Services in our community businesses

9:45 – 10:05 Stephen Bobbett: Illustrator and Designer, STREET Server and Social Media Liaison

10:05 – 10:30 Group Q&A with all speakers at the front to field questions

We’d like to thank our venue sponsor, the locally owned and operated and social media active Roundabout Diner.

We’d like to thank our food and beverage sponsor: Roundabout Diner

Roundabout Diner is a locally owned restaurant with fabulous food and service, centrally located on the Portsmouth Traffic Circle to serve you.

Follow Roundabout Diner on Twitter

We’re looking forward to having these sponsors involved in May!

Note: There is plenty of parking at the diner

Tell your fellow NH VIPs that we’re looking for YOU to help make SMBNH 2011 amazing:

We’re looking for your help to direct the topics of the next year’s Social Media Breakfast NH! Won’t you fill out this quick form letting us know what you want to hear about for SMBNH 2011?

We’re also adding to our speaking roster for 2011 – have you always wanted your 15 minutes to share your knowledge with your SMBNH peers? Now is your chance! Tell us all about you and how you can help us increase our brain power at an SMBNH in 2011 on this form.

STALK US:

On Twitter

On Facebook

On LinkedIn

On The Web

By Email (Leslie)

Updates and changes to this event, including confirmed speakers not yet listed, can be found on the blog.


If You Build It, They [May Not] Come

The common misperception with these new social media and emerging media tools is that if you build it (site, app, event, etc) they will come. This is good in theory, but is far from true. Half the battle is preparing for the possibility that your big idea might fizzle out before it even has a chance to draw a crowd, much like many of our favorite smart television shows or films do lately.

How have you prepared to win through failure? Every business owner and freelancer needs a healthy combination of future thinking and an ability to bounce back from failures and missteps. Failures make us stronger. To never fail is to never learn new skills, new ways of handling things.

How can you adjust after a failure?

• End on a positive note

Whenever possible, preserve relationships forged in the fire of a failure. Your staff, your clients, your peers all saw how hard you were working (assuming you were working hard – sometimes this isn’t the case) to bring a dream to life. They were rooting for your success, invested in your future. They may bring value to your next venture, so nurture those relationships. Resist any urge toward sour grapes.

• Take stock

Take stock of the good ideas you had, the parts of your venture that succeeded. You can use these as the foundation to make your next idea down the road work better and be stronger than your first attempt.

• Harvest good ideas

Keep an Evernote, DropBox or other type of list of your good ideas. Use mind maps to flesh out which ones are worth developing. Use your connections and former tactics to help make the new idea grow. Seeing your ideas in writing and on the screen will help you chart a visual course to success. This road mapping can create a backbone for a business or idea that will nurture it and keep it from struggling when speed bumps pop up on your way to success.

• Invest in Your Own Success

Gone are the days where a founder could expect to hire outside help immediately for all aspects of a project or new venture. Now a founder needs to be a business polymath, able to wear many hats in the beginning of their new business. This means you may have to learn to code, do accounting and much more. Roll up your sleeves and dig in, because if you wont invest in you, who else can you expect to do so?

It’s nice to be a winner, but know that the real winners are mentally prepared to bounce back from whatever life and business throw at them, dust themselves off, and take the reigns to start more big ideas and get people enthusiastic about coming on board to be part of their successes.

Welcome 2010 PodCampers!

We are so excited to see you starting to sign up to attend, sponsor or lead a session for this year’s PodCamp NH! We can’t even begin to fully express how phenomenal this event is going to be, especially with the added element of dorm life to foster even closer bonds and extended learning and teaching and creating for those who can stay. We also hope that the availability of the dorms at a low rate makes it easier for our friends from PodCamps all over the world to come and be part of this unique experience with us.

PodCamp NH 2010 is the second PodCamp here in NH, and most assuredly the most unique. We are opening our arms to everyone, not just social media types, because social media is simply part of the lexicon now. We want the techies, the coders, the creatives (film, music, photography, art, design, etc), the comedians, the marketers, the psychologists… the list goes on. We want to help everyone add these tools to what they do, learn new things, and grow.

This is YOUR PodCamp. You can sign up for sessions and see proposed sessions on the sessions tab (above), to sponsor on the sponsor tab. If you don’t want dorm life, there is a list of hotels under travel (though none have offered to match the spectacular dorm rate yet!). Registration is open over on Eventbrite.  Of note, we know it’s on Father’s Day weekend, and we encourage you to bring your children and parents during the day by using the Day Pass option. We have limited dorm accommodations so those overnight tickets are reserved for the adults. There is plenty of room at this one for everyone to grab one of the types of tickets and be part of it, and we even hope that some of the younger and older generations might want to lead sessions as well.

Meanwhile, here is a taste of what’s already on deck for this fabulous event:

  • Battledecks
  • Quidditch on the lush school grounds
  • Live music to inspire and entertain
  • Improv on a live stage
  • Education + Technology, Social and New Media
  • Government + Technology, Social and New Media
  • Health + Technology, Social and New Media
  • Blogging, All Levels of Expertise
  • PodCasting, All Levels of Expertise
  • Music + Technology, Social and New Media
  • Film + Technology, Social and New Media
  • Video for the Web
  • Collaborative Economies
  • Adaptive Media for Small and Medium Business
  • What can YOU teach? What do YOU want to learn?
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    Are You Listening, Or Just Hearing?

    If you study the effect of music on the brain at all, then the concept of listening and hearing being different is not a new one. This theory holds true in the study of psychology as well. Listening and hearing are two very different things, one active (listening) and one passive (hearing).

    What’s the difference? You hear everything. Everything around you, every conversation, every bit of white noise – it all goes into your ears unfiltered. Half of the things you hear you don’t even notice unless they disappear, such as a sudden blanket of silence being the first thing you notice about a daytime power outage as all appliances and machines stop in unison. To listen, really listen, takes talent. It takes the ability to filter out all of the white noise around you and hone in on what’s important. It takes an ability to retain and filter information, to generate an appropriate response.

    The best business people are great listeners. I was talking to a relatively new business person the other day, giving advice and assistance, and I realized what an exercise in futility it was becoming, as I’d had this same conversation with this person every month for the last several. That was a red flag to me that the person should not be their own boss – an inability to listen, absorb and apply information; but it also meant I hadn’t been using my full listening potential in that ongoing conversation either – I’d allowed the hum of a busy schedule to tune out the finer points of global listening, and had missed the cues that would have kept me from wasting more time repeating valuable advice no one was absorbing.

    Global listening is a concept that takes listening beyond the ear. Once you master the art of active listening in conversations, being able to put it in practice by absorbing all of the information available to us, filtering it according to your active listening and apply it to your business and relationships, your business will soar (and so will you). Don’t get me wrong – active listening is hard, and global listening is even harder. I know few people who have truly “mastered” either, but there are many who do it well, practice daily and constantly strive to be better.

    In the online world where these adaptive media tools are changing and expanding by the minute, and where boundaries are nonexistent, you listen or hear as well. This becomes part of the global listening technique, being able to filter your information fire hose in such a way that it enhances your off line listening. Everyone talks about engagement techniques, and “joining the conversation”, but that is only scratching the surface – the way you listen is, in the end, much more important for your success. Your competitors and clients and colleagues are out there giving away encyclopedias full of information, needs, and more. Be the one who listens.

    Treat every day like a symphony, and take time to listen to every part.

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    Social Media Curves

    While on a call with members of The Community Roundtable recently, I spoke about the concept of social media curves, or social media arcs. This is something I encourage my clients to consider as they embark on their first social media forays, or revamp an existing social media presence. It requires a shift in thinking that encourages patience – something in short supply in this always-on world.

    What I mean by a social media curve is the time frame from when you first start to create and nurture your social media efforts and when you see your first success. In working with clients in all industries, the time frames I tend to see average out to 3 month and 6 month curves of time. This is strictly “anecdata”, as they say, based on the work I’ve done – I’d love to see the information compiled from others in the industry to see if this curve holds true across the board.

    We’ve already covered the need for businesses, filmmakers, musicians, artists, etc. to have purposeful engagement on social media platforms. We’ve covered the need for being human, balancing personal and professional and other basics. So now that you’ve been in the social media trenches for a while and established your basic identity, presence and reason for being there (or re-established, if you are repairing a poorly done campaign or repopulating a social media ghost town), what comes next?

    Once you’ve laid a foundation, it’s time to work from goals on the front end and set appropriate expectations on the back end. Map out what you hope to achieve through social media, then break it down into reasonable, bite sized goals. Each of these goals will become part of a social media curve. Prioritize the goals, then associate them with concrete offline benchmarks (after all, the “ROI” of social media is not an arbitrary number of followers or fans, but actual offline results: sales, referrals, leads, foot traffic, event attendance, restaurant bookings, collaborators on projects, better customer service, etc).

    What do I mean by appropriate expectations? This is really where the social media curve idea comes in. Depending on the size of your goal, and how long and how well you’ve been maintaining your social identity and engagement, you will see results on a social media curve. A shallow response, followed by an arc of positive results and more attention and engagement from others, tapering off and becoming steady as the weeks go by. This means that for a small goal, you should see measurable and steady results after about 3 months, and for a larger goal, expect 6 months. (And keep in mind that “I want more business” is not a goal, it’s a hope – and hope is not a business model. A goal would be “I want to increase restaurant bookings by x% a week”)

    Many are disappointed that the results are not immediate, since the internet seems to move so quickly. If you have built an outstanding (and I do mean outstanding as in extraordinary, fully engaged, interesting, interested, helpful and aware) social presence and have the social leverage that comes from that, you can achieve a slightly faster response, but too many think outstanding presence means numbers on a page. It does not. Take Chris Brogan for example. People do not listen to Chris because he has a gazillion followers, great hair and a huge blog following. People listen to Chris because he listens to them, and has spent years being helpful, aware, interesting, interested, and otherwise fully engaged. In the beginning of his social media curve, he could not have released Trust Agents and gotten it to reach the sales levels it did simply by using his social leverage to let people know he had a book out. At this point in his curve, he can (and did), and he can do it much more quickly than the average person, thanks to years of time and investment in his social media “family”.

    For the average person or business online, however – expect 3 – 6 months before you see real results. Take your time and really cultivate your own social media family. Measure your success by how your offline goals are met, not by whether you have as much of a following as someone else. And above all else, slow down and handle your online presence with care.

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    Ten Tips On Balance

    If you read my personal blog you may know that each year since I was ten I’ve chosen two words to meditate on and use to be better overall instead of having a traditional resolution. This year the words were “global” and “balance”. I’m doing pretty well on taking my company and myself and making it more global, both literally and in concept. Balance, on the other hand, is another story. It is a continual “work in progress”.

    Balance is something my clients struggle with often, and something I struggle with as well. For me it boils down to what is often referred to as the maker vs manager dilemma. I’ve talked a bit about that before, but it’s something that still comes up – after all I am in a business that has a vast need for the creative as well as the managerial, and I own my businesses, putting me in a manager role often, even when it’s time to be creative.

    I must say this dilemma is a problem I’m happy to have – I love what I do! To that end, I’ve tried a number of ways to scale this in my search for balance this year. The advice I give my clients works well if you are one business, no matter how large it is or how many people you manage, but how do you scale if you do what I do (three businesses, several monthly events, two yearly events and a variety of clients)?

    1) Be The Gatekeeper Of Your Own Time

    Set aside time when you aren’t available for meetings or calls. You don’t have to explain to anyone why you aren’t available at a certain time, but you do have to be your own enforcer. Even if you have a secretary or virtual assistant keeping your schedule, you need to help them enforce your blocks of time and set a precedent about this. This is the hardest thing to do – with a global economy, time differences, and the varying schedules of other businesses and people you may work with on projects, you will have some clashes. I can not stress enough how important it is to stand firm. Trust me, when you don’t you cause yourself stress that is far worse than the slight disgruntlement that may occur when someone finds they can’t speak to you right away about something.

    2) Don’t Be Afraid To Go After Your Schedule With A Scalpel

    A) Recently, I was slated to speak at SXSW. I had a brief solo presentation in the Future 15 block. I was honored to be included, but as the event drew closer, I found myself stretched thin for time, with new client deadlines looming, and no way to make a week of travel fit into the schedule without making my client projects pay for it. About three weeks before the event I politely bowed out and suggested some names of people who were more than qualified to give my talk (never, ever leave a conference planner in the lurch by canceling too close to the date or by not finding your own replacement – it’s just rude). How did I make the tough call? Several factors came into play, but the biggest factor was “How will attending this event affect the quality of work I am providing for my client?” followed closely by “How will this tip the scale on my time and to do list and how long would it take to recover?”

    B) On the flip side, it sometimes isn’t your outside engagements like speaking gigs that need to be trimmed, but your client deliverables. I see so many bids for work on projects I’m doing that I have to reject or send back because the person did not include a time line at all, or did not follow the time line set out in the RFP when structuring their bid. If you give the client unreasonable expectations of turn around on facets of the project or result windows, you are going to set yourself, and your client, up for disappointment. This does you both a disservice. Every client would like things to go as quickly as possible, but personally – I’d rather have it go well. Don’t be afraid to be realistic and blunt in your estimates of time – in the end it will work better for everyone, and on some occasions, you’ll still deliver early.

    3) Figure Out What Distracts You, And Boot It

    In this case, for me, you’d think it was social media being on, like Twitter, when I have to write or create something for a client. Nope, social media isn’t distracting at all – it’s like background noise to me (this may not be the case for you – everyone is different!). For me, it’s the phone. I try to schedule all of my calls on two days in a week. I prefer these days to be Monday and Friday but sometimes it works out to be two other days. Either way, I stick to it – otherwise my deadlines get thrown off balance. I turn the ringer off, the phone face down, and send everything to voice mail, only checking a couple of times in a day, on the other days. That’s what works for me, and it took me a good bit of time to figure that out. Once I did, it made my working life much, much easier to manage.

    4) Sleep

    Those who know I sleep about 5 hours a night may find this one a bit odd, coming from me, but I assure you it is essential. I don’t do well sleeping more than 5 – 6 hours a night, but others need as much as 14 hours. Figure out your sleep “sweet spot” and make sure you get it. I can tell when I pull several short nights in a row for a deadline that my work product is falling short of my own high expectations (not to mention the client’s), that my decisions are not as sharp as they could be, and that I need to put the brakes on and evaluate my time management to get back on track. Don’t burn the midnight oil because the “cool kids” seem to be up that late if it doesn’t work for you! Most often, those “cool kids” are just night owls and they still catch the sleep they need, just at different times of the day than you might. Learn your body clock, your sleep needs, and manage your time well so you take care of yourself.

    5) One Day Blocks

    These are not the same as a day off. In my office I call it “going to my garrett” because I do it most often when I need to write. One Day Blocks are days where you simply mark off your calendar, leave your extra gadgets behind and turned off, take only what you need, and go to a quiet place to be creative. No phone calls, no emails, no social media, no surfing the net – just you and your creativity. If you are trying to balance a maker/manager schedule, this will prove to be your hardest step to success. You will find that no one, client or staff, likes for you to be unavailable to them on their schedule for a whole day. I say TOUGH. Don’t defend it, don’t explain it, just stand firm about doing it, once a week or once a month – whenever you need to. Trust me, you’ll thank me for this one if you create.

    6) No More Mobile Scheduling

    Your calendar is your best resource for keeping yourself in balance and getting things done. In this mobile world, the temptation is huge to schedule things on the fly – everything we do it on our smart phones now, after all. No. Just no. The best advice I ever got on scheduling was from Michelle Wolverton, my VA, when she insisted that I never schedule anything unless I was seated at my desk, in my office, with my main calendar and computer in front of me. And she was right – making that a hard and fast rule was the best thing I’ve ever done for my business and my sanity. That way, you never have a forgotten appointment, you never go to two cities hours apart in one day (trust me, I’ve done that to myself, and once, 4 – don’t ask…), you don’t have calendar to phone synching issues, and you can visualize your entire week or month at a time, unlike trying to look at a tiny phone screen and figure it out.

    7) Say No

    With everyone chanting the “be helpful” mantra, especially in social media, it’s easy to take it too far. Learn to say no. You can not take on every project. It may look like I do every project, but I assure you, I turn down quite a few. Protect your time and your sanity and don’t be afraid to stand firm with a polite but finite and distancing “What a good idea, but I simply can’t fit that in.” Then stop. Don’t justify, don’t people please, don’t waffle, don’t waiver – say your no and then change the subject or excuse yourself. In the end how many plates you spin (or drop) is entirely up to you.

    8 ) Keep Your Offline World Healthy

    It’s tempting to have a fully online life for many, but that just isn’t healthy. It can be really difficult to balance work, play and home. Especially if you do this social media thing, and do it well, your offline friends may not understand. I do my best to bring the two worlds together whenever possible. I host wine dinners at my house for those that have become true friends online so they can meet my offline friends, and vice versa. I include and inform the significant other in my life (secrets are unhealthy, transparency begins at home). If your offline friends and family begin telling you they don’t see you often enough, they aren’t just being difficult – they really aren’t. Turn off the computer and go be with them if that happens, immediately, because a strong family and friends are gold. If they want to be online too, show them how – even if having your mom on your Facebook is hard (and it is). Do what it takes to give yourself time with the ones who matter most. No amount of perceived “rock star” online status or temporary internet pseudo fame is worth losing the people who helped get you there.

    9) Don’t Leash Yourself To One System

    To do lists, Get It Done, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (or whatever that book was called), white boards, segmented time… the list systems we come up with to keep track of ourselves span miles. I recommend having two systems. Why? Because I guarantee that in spite of your best intentions, life happens, and you’ll get off track. If you only have one system, you will only browbeat yourself for not keeping up and not be able to recover. If you have two in place, you can simply say, “Oh shoot, I missed xx on the GTD system, let me go over to my simple tasks in Gmail and see where I need to pick it back up”. It takes the pressure off, and acts as a backup plan. Rigidity kills.

    10) Go Ahead: Drop The Ball

    I say this with all seriousness – even if you follow every management tip you’ve ever heard to the letter, you will occasionally drop the ball. There will be days when you get frustrated, feel overwhelmed, miss deadlines, get swamped and feel like you are drowning. Trust me, I know. I have some days, maybe twice a year, where I get so frustrated with myself for being off track (yes, I get off track, too) that I look longingly at senior level social media jobs for established companies, because that day it seems like it might be easier to work for someone else. It happens. When it does, do not climb on board the self flagellation train, do not attempt to reboot your to-do list, stop treading water. Take a deep breath, close the computer, and go do something else all day. I am not kidding. Don’t even send an email explaining your absence or making excuses – it isn’t going to bring your project back on track and it is going to distract you from the reboot you obviously need. Go walk in some grass, play on a beach, take your kids to the zoo, hit a few golf balls – whatever. When you return to work the next day, you will find that magically, your reboot has given you an idea enabling you to catch up, and you’ve gotten some much needed time to de stress, because often, stress it what is throwing you off your game.

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