Understanding Social Media Etiquette with Real-World Scenarios

Google social media etiquette, and you’ll retrieve over 4,000,000 results (at the time of this writing). Clearly, it’s a topic that resonates with people, and in the ever-changing, real-time realm of social media, it’s easy to understand why people are confused on what’s appropriate and what’s not. Throw in trying to balance personal and business accounts on a variety of platforms, and we have a free-for-all on our hands.

Not sure if something is appropriate online? Translate it into a real-world scenario.

What can you do? When you find yourself facing a social media conundrum, translate it to a real-world scenario. For example, it’s popular nowadays to send new connections an automated sales pitch, er message, asking for favors left and right: retweet my pinned tweet, buy my book, follow me on a plethora of other platforms (where, coincidentally, your new connection blasts out the same exact content at the same exact time). You may find yourself wondering, ‘should I do this too?’

OK, let’s translate this behavior into real life. You stop in a coffee shop to get your fix, and strike up a conversation with a guy behind you in line. (It’s amazing the people you meet in coffee shops!) When you get to the counter, you ask the nice gentleman you just connected with to buy your latte. Of course! Who doesn’t do that, right?

If you think that’s nuts, I’m with you. You wouldn’t do that, and chances are, neither would anyone else. However, people do this every day in the digital world and think it’s not only acceptable, but expected.

Social Media’s Nice, But It’s Not IRL

But, here’s the thing. It blows people away online too, and not in a good way. Trying to become a thought leader in your field or connect with experienced industry professionals to learn from them? Don’t immediately hit them up for favors upon connecting, or you’ll be viewed as just another leach.

That may sound harsh, but it applies to networking in person or online. Connections aren’t things waiting to be used, they’re people to build relationships with. When you approach someone or make a new connection, look at how you can bring value to the relationship — not what you can get out of it. Eventually, this person may be able to help you, but not if you approach him or her immediately asking for favors.

Don’t Ask To Pick My Brain. (And 11 other tips for building a strong professional network)

Talk to influencers in any industry, and they’ll share tale after tale of people constantly hitting them up for favors. They usually want to help others, because people helped them get where they are today. But they’re people, and they don’t like being used.

So the next time you’re thinking about doing something online, remember to translate it into real-world (or offline) behavior. Does it sound crazy? Then move on. It’s easy to forget that we’re still dealing with human beings in our fast-paced, digital world. (Unless you’re talking to a chat bot, but that’s a subject for another blog post.)

Share Your Thoughts

Do you agree with this post, or is our online world a different place with different social norms?

What are your thoughts on sending automated messages to new connections?

What’s your best coffee shop story?

Straddling the offline and online worlds,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about social media etiquette, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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Turn Small Talk Into Big Opportunities

Does the thought of small talk make your blood pressure rise? Whether it’s from annoyance or fear, this is a common reaction. However, mastering the art of polite conversation about unimportant or uncontroversial matters (as defined by Oxford Dictionaries) is an important part of succeeding in the business world.

The author enjoying small talk at a conference.

Small talk can lead to big opportunities if you smile and play your cards right.

How can you turn small talk into big opportunities?

  • Pay Attention to Your Surroundings: Does your company’s CEO have memorabilia from a baseball team in his office? He’s probably a fan. When you share an elevator ride with him, that’s a good topic to bring up. Note what your co-workers display in their work areas; these items are usually important to them and make excellent conversation starters.
  • Listen: We’ve talked before about the importance of listening, but we can’t stress its benefits enough. Be present in a conversation. Don’t spend the time someone else is talking forming your response; listen to what she’s saying. It could be interesting, it could be useful and it could even lead to an opportunity. Perhaps Sally in accounting or a fellow business professional at an event has a connection to a job opportunity you’re eyeing or with a company you’d like to bring on as a customer.
  • Have a Conversation, Don’t Pitch: You’re heading out after a long day, and the CEO happens to be heading out at the same time. Be friendly, say hello and put your aforementioned knowledge of his favorite baseball team to use. Don’t spring your great idea on him as he’s heading to the parking lot. Use chance meetings or opportunities to say hello and build rapport. You’re more likely to be given a platform for your ideas if the right people know who you are and what value you bring to the company. Aggressively cornering them at the Holiday party isn’t the right way to make that happen.
  • Help Others First: Influential people, online or in real life, are used to being asked for favors by people they don’t even know. Be different: offer to help people in your network when you can. Be genuine, show interest and care about other people. Don’t offer to help someone only to expect something in return, or only offer assistance to those in a position to help you. We live in a global, mobile world today, so you never know when you’ll need someone’s help later on — like Sally in accounting.

Related reading: How to turn small talk into smart conversation

Start viewing small talk as an opportunity to get to know others around you instead of a waste of time, and you may be surprised at the results. Remember to pay attention to your surroundings, listen, be conversational and help others first. Your efforts will pay off in the long run in business and in life.

What small talk tips would you add?

Do you enjoy networking events?

A converted networker,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about small talk, your communication needs or otherwise):
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Awesome Marketing Concepts Your Small Business Shouldn’t Overlook

Cleary Conveyed Communications business card

Marketing a new company can be tough. You don’t know the best ways of reaching your audience in the beginning, and discovering the best promotional ideas involves a process of trial and error. While the digital landscape is a hot property, traditional marketing vehicles can still work in today’s high-tech world.

Business Cards

As the infographic below shows, business cards are (still) effective marketing tools. They help you make a good first impression, and ensure you stay top of mind with clients and prospects. Most people keep business cards they receive for future needs. While it’s tempting to go all digital, a well designed business card printed on quality stock can open up a world of possibilities.

Billboard Advertising

Admit it; we all look at billboards on the side of the road. Most people think advertising on one is expensive, but billboards (or outdoor advertising) is surprisingly affordable. In fact, you can usually get one for a few hundred dollars or less. Thousands of drivers could encounter your brand who otherwise would not, and it’s a great way to expand your local reach.

TV Advertising

Ten years ago, only the largest companies could afford to pay for TV ads, but changes in the industry have forced networks to lower their prices. Businesses can now advertise on TV for less than $5,000, depending on your market. The drop in price, additional time slots and regional availability have opened the door for small businesses to compete with larger companies in this popular arena.

These marketing concepts could provide a boost for your company if you give them a shot. If your business serves a niche market, remember to target your marketing campaigns accordingly. Think big, and your company will do amazing things.

Enjoy this Business Card Must-Haves for Effective Networking infographic, and feel free to share with your clients, co-workers and fellow business professionals.

Do you carry physical business cards?

What traditional (or old school) marketing technique has worked for you?

What’s your favorite way to network?

A (business) card carrying small business owner,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about marketing, business cards or otherwise):
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Infographic Designed By http://www.allbusinesscards.com/

Social Media’s Nice, But It’s Not IRL

Last night, I had the pleasure of meeting up with professional friends for a fun night out. Despite the frigid temperatures, I was actually looking forward to bundling up and heading North for the occasion. These are people that I’ve worked long hours with, learned so much from and are just plain fun to be around. Plus, it’s always a wonderful networking opportunity for future endeavors when you hang out with well-connected people.

Yours truly with Dana Zezzo

Hanging out with Dana Zezzo, inventor of the Zoint & “Get Social” king, at a tweet-up at the House of Blues in Vegas.

You don’t need to convince me of the benefits of social media, both personal and professional. I preach them every day. But some people mistake ‘getting social’ on social media for real life socializing, which it’s not. We all need interaction with other human beings (some more than others), and there’s something about face-to-face communication that just can’t be duplicated in other communication channels.

You may also like: Enough with the Email… Pick up the Phone!

To illustrate my point, you may have come across this popular acronym during your social travels: IRL. It stands for In Real Life, as in “I finally met Lars Ulrich IRL at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame yesterday. What a cool dude!”

The author with reps from Driving Impressions

Enjoying the Scottsdale weather with the guys from Driving Impressions.

So here’s my point: at some point, stop getting social online and actually meet up with some people IRL. You’ll be glad you did.

Your Turn

Agree or disagree?

Is your social calendar conducted entirely online?

When’s the last time you met someone ‘in real life?’

Where’s your favorite hangout (and I don’t mean Google+)?

Living large IRL,
Jaime

Let’s connect on social media (and IRL)…
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Should You Work For Free?

Anyone who’s ever owned a business (or freelanced or done work on the side) has come across this issue. I’m talking about working for free, whether for ‘exposure,’ often vague potential future business promises or for a worthy cause. Should you do it?

Should I work for free?

Screenshot of shouldiworkforfree.com
Site created by Jessica Hische

I’ve run into this issue numerous times since starting my business, Clearly Conveyed Communications, last year. It’s amazing how many people want to help you by asking you to work for free. Of course, they usually don’t come right out and ask you to work for free. They’ll talk about how limited their budget is, or how they wish they could afford this type of marketing project or that social media management program. Then they may even come out and say, “I don’t expect you to do this for free. I’m just trying to figure out how to fit this in the budget.” And then they’ll randomly talk about all of the future potential business this could lead to from themselves, or more often from others, via the tremendous amount of ‘exposure’ your work will receive.

I’m a fan of the Say Yes to the Dress shows where consultants help brides find the wedding dress of their dreams. Why is this relevant? The #1 rule is that you never put a bride in a dress she can’t afford. It only leads to trouble. That’s why I’m willing to work with prospects and clients to find something within their budget that will still help them achieve their objectives. If they absolutely cannot afford anything that will help their business, I would rather walk away than take any amount of money from them for projects that won’t make a difference. That rarely happens.

Work for free or a full price but never work for cheap

Do you follow this mantra?
Pic credit: Nataniel J. Rosa

But I have walked away from situations where I was asked to work for free, either outright or not so directly. I always look at the big picture, but sometimes it’s just not worth it. It seems to me like working for free for people who don’t value what you do only leads to more offers to work for free — not paying work.

I came across a great quote on this subject while reading a post entitled, Giving it away just don’t pay, on one of my favorite blogs, Campari & Sofa.

“[My parents] also put my sister the pulmonologist through medical school, and as far as I know nobody ever asks her to perform a quick lobectomy — doesn’t have to be anything fancy, maybe just in her spare time, whatever she can do would be great — because it’ll help get her name out there.”     –Tim Krieder

Should you work for free? I would love to hear your thoughts and personal experiences on this hot topic.

Have you ever worked for free and benefited from it? Or regretted it?

How do you handle it when people ask you to work for free — either directly or indirectly?

Always affordable but never cheap–
Jaime

Connect  with me on social media (It’s not free but worthwhile when done right!): 
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My 2013 Bucket List: Six Months In

“Some people create a bucket list because they are dying; I created one because I want to live.”     –Lesley Carter

Earlier this year, I came across Lesley Carter’s 2013 bucket list and was inspired to create my own. (Ed. Note: If you haven’t checked out Lesley’s Bucket List Publications, please do so. What an inspiration!)

Related reading: My 2013 Bucket List: What’s On Yours?

It struck me a few days ago that we’re already half way through the year. Crazy, isn’t it?! So I wanted to post an update and see how I’m doing so far.

Without further ado… (items crossed out have been accomplished:

  • Attend a Kent State University basketball game (my alma mater!)
  • Go ice skating
  • Watch a hockey game live
  • Attend a professional networking event
  • Go for a twilight hike
Lake Erie Monsters hockey

I love Zambonis! Watching the Lake Erie Monsters

  • Enter a trail running event
  • Register for my first triathlon
  • Get together with my family at least monthly <So far, so good!>
  • Celebrate special occasions with family & friends <Just celebrated my sister-in-law’s birthday and Father’s Day this past week! Next up, my brother’s birthday.>
  • Watch the inauguration festivities for the first time
Valentine's Day wreath

A slightly different take on a Valentine’s Day wreath…

  • Bring on 5 new dream clients <On pace, lots of activity right now…>
  • Read 100 books! (Yep, full fledged book worm here.) <I need to start counting!>
  • Write the first chapter of my novel
  • Make time for me 🙂
  • Jump out of another airplane!
Dark Tower Series

Finished 6 of 7 Dark Tower books by Stephen King… along with a few others.

  • Go to the theatre
  • Pay It Forward
  • Learn a new skill
  • Take advanced coding classes
  • Attend a NASCAR race
KSU + Haven of Rest = Pay It Forward

Proud to join the KSU Alumni crew at Haven of Rest for National Day of Service 2013

  • Spa day 🙂
  • Finally bring home a furry friend
  • Travel, travel, travel — across town & across the world
  • Watch the sunrise
  • Watch the sunset
sunset at Canal Park

Watching the sunset at Canal Park

  • Step outside of my comfort zone
  • Watch the fireworks at an Aeros game
  • Book a spontaneous getaway
  • Unplug & connect with nature for a day
  • Laugh often
  • Create with my hands
Mother Nature's beauty

Enjoying the serene Alder Pond at Gorge Metro Park

  • Swim in the ocean
  • Walk on water again –> paddle boarding 🙂
  • Get up close & personal to the octagon at a UFC event
  • Be ready for my next great opportunity & pounce on it
  • Get muddy often

How about you? How are you doing on your 2013 bucket list? It’s not too late to create one! Leave your thoughts in the comments below or hit me up on social media.

Dark Tower books photo courtesy of The Dark Tower Official Website
All other photos from my personal collection 

Smiling in the sunshine,
Jaime

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What’s in a social media profile? Everything.

Social media is still all the rage, even as it has moved from a trend to a more mainstream marketing activity. (Of course, there’s still those who snub their nose, but they’ll come around.) But many people still overlook one of the most important aspects — the profile.

What’s in a social media profile? Everything.

 First of all, the profile picture. This is your first step to legitimacy. It’s hard to take an egg head (Twitter) or empty silhouette (LinkedIn) seriously. Not photogenic? Neither am I, but you need a good head shot. With today’s technology that’s easier to obtain than ever. Some will disagree, but I see nothing wrong with cropping a candid shot or using a personal picture if it projects the image you want to project. Yes, you can use your company’s logo, but it’s nice to put a face with a name and help humanize the cold, digital world.

@jaimeshine Twitter bio

Contact information. It amazes me how often people leave contact information blank. Aren’t we on social media to be social? That means people need to be able to contact you to continue conversations, discuss projects or  partner on an initiative. Plus, there’s other benefits. Fully completed contact information helps give your brand legitimacy (there’s that word again!) and addresses allow users to check in at (and promote) your business.

pinterest.com/jaimeshine

The profile. This is your chance to shine. Think of it as your elevator speech in 160 characters or less. OK, that rule applies to Twitter, but keep it in mind for all of your social networks. Our attention spans aren’t much these days, so you need to be able to capture someone’s attention (in a positive way) before they jump to another profile or task.

Who are you? What do you do? Show your personality. Unless you just invented something that no one else on Earth has, you have competition. Why should a user follow, become a fan or connect with you (or your business)?

This is where the magic happens. Show people who you are. Intrigue them enough to follow, like, connect, befriend. Spark an interest that makes them want to reach out and say hello. Your profile can be a great conversation starter if done right.

@jaimeshine on Instagram

Update: My Instagram handle is now @jaimeshine for consistency.

While I do strive for some consistency across platforms, I also recognize the unique traits of each platform. I want my personality to shine. As a small business owner, I want clients, prospects, fans and followers to know who’s behind the Clearly Conveyed Communications banner, so they can connect with a real person. That’s why I’ve made the decision to keep some accounts under my name and utilize them for work and play. I believe in transparency, and this is the best way for me to maximize my resources.

Yes, my personality’s a little offbeat. Hence, my not hesitating to use my current profile picture on Pinterest (and Google+) in a plaid fedora or my favorite one, which is on Instagram (yes, that’s me after a cold weather run).

Clearly Conveyed Communications on FacebookLast but not least, the cover photo. More social networks have followed Facebook’s lead and maximized the cover photo on your profile. This is a chance to powerfully convey your or your company’s brand visually. Ask impartial friends or family members to take a look at your photo. What does it portray to them? Make sure you utilize a photo that displays well in the frame provided and follows the platform’s policies. The last thing you want is to have your profile or page pulled down because you’re violating terms. (Remember, it may be your content, but you don’t own your Facebook page. Facebook does.)

Your turn…

What do you focus on in a profile?

Do your profiles accurately represent you or your company?

Do you use the same pictures and profiles across your social network or different ones?

The pictures above link to some of my profiles, and you can see the remaining ones below. I’d love your feedback! Let me know what you like and what you don’t. (No worries, I’m not easily offended.) Seriously, I would love to hear your input.

In exchange, I’d be happy to take a look at your profiles too. Leave them in the comments below or say hi on a social network.

Let’s get social!
Jaime

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My 2013 Bucket List: What’s On Yours?

What’s on your bucket list?

I was thinking about adding another (overdue) 50 Things I’m Grateful For.. post when I came across Lesley Carter’s entry about entering a contest to fulfill a bucket list trip. Lesley’s Bucket List Publications is one of the blogs I follow, because her updates about checking items off her always evolving bucket list inspire me. As she notes, “Some people create a bucket list because they are dying; I created one because I want to live.” That’s exactly how I feel about life.

Without further ado, my 2013 bucket list:

  • Attend a Kent State University basketball game (my alma mater!)
  • Go ice skating
  • Watch a hockey game live
  • Attend a professional networking event
  • Go for a twilight hike
  • Enter a trail running event
  • Register for my first triathlon
Akron Marathon 2012 "Blue line, blue toes"

Celebrating hitting my goal in my 3rd — and final — half-marathon in Sept 2012

  • Get together with my family at least monthly
  • Celebrate special occasions with family & friends
  • Watch the inauguration festivities for the first time
  • Bring on 5 new dream clients
  • Read 100 books! (Yep, full fledged book worm here.)
  • Write the first chapter of my novel
  • Make time for me 🙂
  • Jump out of another airplane!
skydiving crew!

The skydiving crew — Sean, Steven, Yours Truly & Greg (celebrating his bday!)

  • Go to the theatre
  • Pay It Forward
  • Learn a new skill
  • Take advanced coding classes
  • Attend a NASCAR race
  • Spa day 🙂
  • Finally bring home a furry friend
  • Travel, travel, travel — across town & across the world
Hilton Head

Lounging on the beach in Hilton Head listening to the ocean

  • Watch the sunrise
  • Watch the sunset
  • Step outside of my comfort zone
  • Watch the fireworks at an Aeros game
  • Book a spontaneous getaway
  • Unplug & connect with nature for a day
  • Laugh often
Laugh often

Having a ball at my brother’s wedding

  • Create with my hands
  • Swim in the ocean
  • Walk on water again –> paddle boarding 🙂
  • Get up close & personal to the octagon at a UFC event
  • Be ready for my next great opportunity & pounce on it
  • Get muddy often
trail running

I love trail running — and mud.

Because it’s February, I’ve already crossed a few of these off my list.

How about you? What’s on your 2013 bucket list? Leave your list in the comments below or hit me up on social media.

Watching the snow fly-
Jaime

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