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Girl Scouts Go Social, Celebrate First National Girl Scout Cookie Day

national_gs_cookiedayThe Girl Scouts are celebrating their first National Girl Scout Cookie Day today. As a marketer, I am glad to see that they are embracing social media as part of their strategy.

Highlights include a #onemorebox contest with winners announced the day of, and live coverage of the day’s events. @GirlScouts will even be tweeting the location of The National Girl Scout Cookie Day Truck as it makes its way through New York City, staffed with Girl Scouts selling cookies.

The girl scouts also have a new app that helps you locate thin mints pronto. After you download the app on Android or iPhone, put in the ZIP Code and it will ask if you are looking for sales going on today, the weekend or the next seven days. You can also sign up to receive an alert when there is a sale in your area!

We can even accept credit card payments at our cookie sale booth. Did you know you can donate cookies to the troops?

The cookies have a new package design and as a food allergy mom, ingredients are listed and “may contain” statements are included so kids with food allergies will know if the cookie is safe to eat (the may contain statement is not mandatory and that is where cross contamination occurs.)

My family was in the girl scouts – my mom was a leader, my sister was a Junior and I was a Brownie. My daughter is in her third year of girl scouts and is a Junior. She has learned leadership skills from cookie sales and project work. She has gained compassion through community service. She has gone outside of her comfort zone at camp and in a canoe and emerged a stronger, more confident girl.

I have already seen changes in my daughter. She has cleaned up our street on her own as a result of one community service clean up project and started a side business selling bracelets. The sky is the limit in her eyes and it is exciting to see her grow into an active, responsible citizen and future entrepreneur.

I am thankful for organizations such as Girl Scouts that give our children the life skills they need to succeed that they might not get otherwise, in the classroom or elsewhere.

February 8 is National Girl Scout Cookie Day!

Join in on the fun and festivities on National Girl Scout Cookie Day, when we’ll celebrate the world’s largest girl-led business and make it easy for you to buy or order cookies from your local Girl Scout Cookie Professional. Here’s how you can stay in touch throughout the day:

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Facebook for Timeline Business Pages – 21 Key Points.

If you have a Facebook fan page, you are probably aware that your page will automatically convert to the new Timeline design on March 30, 2012.

Mari Smith, a social media speaker and author, has put together an informative post which covers the majority of basic settings and features you need to know. She has also included a great infographic that highlights all the key elements of the new layout. [Facebook Timeline for Business Pages – 21 Key Points To Know]

Facebook timeline for pages guide

PR and Social Media – Great Resources from Sarah Evans

If you are researching PR and social media, you will need to bookmark this white paper from Sarah Evans as well as her articles, bookmarks and chats on the topics of journalism, PR and social media. Here is a link to it on slideshare.

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30 Day Social Media Challenge for B2B Companies Looking to Make the Plunge

Not sure if social media is right for your business?
Don’t know where to start or what to do?

Take this challenge. In 30 days, you will determine if your company is cut out for social media.

You may find yourself asking What is social media all about?

Social Media Surrounds Us

Social media is a hot topic these days. Your friends are using it, your employees are using it, even some of your competitors are using it.

CNN and ESPN broadcasters ask you to become a fan on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Business associates are sending you LinkedIn requests. People are rating movies on Netflix and products on Amazon. Even small businesses list their Facebook fan pages on their signs as you drive through town.

Social media seems to be everywhere.

Do you at times wonder “everyone else is doing it, but why should we?”

Good question.

It might not make sense for your company to utilize social media as part of your integrated marketing strategy. It all depends on many things.

What are your goals? Who do you sell to and where do they seek out your kind of products or services?

Social media does not cost a lot of money, but the time commitment and resources that it takes to build a social media program can be demanding.

Here is a 30 day test to see if you can successfully incorporate social media into your marketing and PR mix.

Week 1 – Fish Where the Fish Are

Chris Brogan, a social media expert, say to Fish Where the Fish Are. And he’s right. Where did your customers find you? Do you know? If not, ask them.

Your customers can give you a wealth of information with a simple survey. Offer a free giveaway or chance to win a larger prize and ask them a few questions.

Do they belong to associations? Do they go online to forums, message boards and industry blogs? Which search engines do they use? Do they still use the yellow pages or do they go online? Put together a list of 5 – 10 questions for your customers. Send out a free survey and analyze their responses.

Have your sales and customer service teams ask where call-ins heard about you (if they don’t already.) Put together a list of these responses and the survey answers and you should be getting a good idea where your customers are finding you.

Week 2 & 3 – Listen

Start slow. Listen. Go where your customers are online. If you don’t know, ask them.

Start a spreadsheet of forums, message boards, industry blogs, etc.

Take time to set up some listening posts about your company and industry.

Set up news alerts for your brand and industry keywords on Google, Yahoo
and Bing.

Look up your brand and keywords on Social Mention and Twitter Search. Set up alerts – Social Mention has different tabs, so you can set up an alert for each category.

Search blogs through Technorati and Google Blog Search.

Bookmark LinkedIn Answers under the appropriate categories or set up the RSS feed in a Reader and check daily. 

Look up any blog comments about your company or industry through BackType.


Yacktrack lets you search for comments on your content from various sources, such as Blogger, Digg, FriendFeed, Stumbleupon, and WordPress blogs.


Use boardtracker.com to get instant alerts from threads citing your name. Boardreader and Big Boards are other tools that work similar to this one.

Use iGoogle or Netvibes to set up a dashboard with these sites and RSS feeds.

Now that you have set up your listening posts, check them in an RSS feed a few times a week.

This will help you get an idea about what people are saying about you, your competitors, your industry.

You will be able to track trends and hot topics and will be ready to take the next step in social media.

Week 4 – Comment

Once you set up your listening posts, schedule 1-2 hours a week to monitor and comment on any relevant blogs, articles, etc.

Answer at least one LinkedIn question in each of the categories that applies to your business. Make sure you have a free company page set up in LinkedIn.

If people are talking about your brand in a good or bad way, respond directly to them and offer your help.

Build trust and relationships. You may be surprised how helpful the social media community can be.

End of the Month

By now you should have an idea of what social media is about.

Hopefully by doing this challenge you will learn more about your business, your customers and yourself. Social media does not cost a lot of money, but it sure involves lots of time.

In 30 days, if you find that you do not have the time or resources to do these basic monitoring tasks, you might not be ready for a full social media strategy.

If you are able to do these monitoring tasks, then you are ready to take the next steps in social media which will be covered in the next post.


Free Social Media Tools to Build Your Online Profile and Start Networking

Every day it seems there are more tools, widgets and apps to keep up with. Technology is changing at a faster pace than we have ever witnessed in the past. Social media is now a part of our professional and personal lives. It gives us insight into the way customers and friends live their lives and shares their views much more than any focus group could gather.

Have you googled yourself lately? How you appear online has become as important as writing a solid resume. Human resource professionals and universities are looking at social media profiles for job and college applicants. There are many other reasons for having an online profile, but you get the picture. You need to be there, and be sure what appears is the real you.

As you build your online profile, here are a few neat tools to share your social media contact information and build your presence online.

Have a blog? If not, start a free one with WordPress.com. This is the best way to show up in the search engines. Fresh content is king and you can blog about your industry, expertise, hobbies, whatever you would like to write about.

If you aren’t ready to blog, create a Google Profile. It is a one page profile that lists your social media contact information and a brief profile and picture if you want to post it.

Join Linkedin for business and discover a networking community waiting to help you with industry and work related questions. Set up your online resume and ask fellow colleagues for references. Add a picture and join some industry groups. Join in the conversation and answer questions in the Q&A section. Build your network every day.

Join Facebook for finding long lost friends and keeping up with new ones. Share photos of your family and send status updates on what is going on in your life (once a day is a good amount.) Share links and videos to your friends in one post instead of emailing your entire address book. Be sure to set your privacy settings to friends only.

Twitter is a microblogging platform. In 140 characters or less, you can converse with other people on any type of topics. Find and follow people with like interests using Twitter search. Create a full profile and use a photo of yourself – closeups work best. Include keywords in your bio so people can find you. Learn the lingo and how to retweet, send direct messages and @ messages. Hashtags (#+word) help you find other people discussing a current event like the Olympics as they occur. Tweetgrid can help you monitor keywords and topics. Use Twhirl on the desktop to track conversations (tweets.)

Delicious is a social bookmarking service where you can bookmark and tag articles for later review. It a great place to store research, reference information, statistics, anything that you might need to reference later in your personal or professional life. Create one for your business and one for personal bookmarking. Share the business link on your web site and in your emails. Add industry links and interesting articles for your customers and prospects.

When you have your profiles set up, add a Wisestamp signature to your web mail address. It contains links to your social media profiles and blog if you have one.

If you like to comment on other blogs, set up a Gravatar to enhance your profile and it will add a picture and even a link to your last blog post with your comments.

Building your online presence is something only you can do. And it can only help you – whether you want to contact old friends or find a new job. More adults are using social media sites as part of their internet experience. Social media is here to stay. And who knows what future the internet will bring.

Join the conversation and meet new friends and colleagues online today!

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Laid off? Job looking shaky? Now what do you do? 5 Tips to Build Your Network Right Now.

If you are reading this, then I am very sorry for what you are going through. Allow yourself time to mourn being laid off and feeling bad. It is part of the process. Just know that it will get better.

I have been laid off twice in my thirtysomething life. It sucks, and no matter what anyone says, you take it personally. Here are some things that will help you build your network if you are laid off or think you might lose your job in the near future. (Everyone should already be building their network a little bit each day, even if you don’t need one right now.)

1) Create accounts (if you do not already have them) on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. Post your profile and mention in your status that you are on the job hunt and for what particular job/industry you are in. Your network is anyone and everyone that you know and making these connections can be valuable in many ways. Search for friends and previous coworkers on LinkedIn & FB, join relevant industry groups, ask and answer questions and get references on LinkedIn, follow industry leaders and people in your profession on Twitter and join in on the conversation.

2) List your resume on job boards – Monster, Careerbuilder, JobFox.com, Craigslist, etc.. Don’t just list what tasks you did at previous jobs. Think benefits. What skills can you offer an employer? Think if you were hiring someone, what qualities, experience and strengths would you look for? What do you want in your next job? Is it a good time to make a switch to another career or do you want to stay in the same role? Do some soul searching and talk to friends for advice.

3) Search indeed.com for jobs on multiple web sites. Create email alerts with it and other job search sites. Create Twitter and Google keyword alerts. Search blogs on Technorati about jobs in your industry.

4) Create a blog. Identify and follow/read the leaders in your industry. Read the local newspaper. Start reading and learning all that you can about your industry and write in your blog about it. Share your thoughts and expertise. Link to your profiles on Twitter/Facebook/Linkedin/JobFox listings. Read other blogs and comment on them and link back to your blog. WordPress offers free blogs.

5) Face time. Utilize the resources at the unemployment office, local churches and if your former employer offers job assistance/outreach. Go to local networking meetings and talk to people. Don’t just rely on the computer and internet. You need face to face time as well. Ask around for a local recruiter in your industry and make a connection. Check the newspaper for local networking meetings, find tweetups and check meetup.com for local groups of interest. Get a personalized business card at MOO to hand out while networking.

There are so many things you can do. Remember, most jobs are found through networking. Get connected and get going! Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

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I’m 37 years old and I use Facebook.

It seemed crazy. I thought FaceBook was for college kids so I waited awhile before investigating. As part of my social media self-education, I joined Facebook this year.

I thought that FB was for college kids and that MySpace was for teenagers. Well now it looks as if the GenXers have found a place to have a reunion online. Yes a lot of FB is silly – I have about 126 notifications, of which I have no idea what a poke is, but I just like to see what everyone is up to and to have conversations. It has been cool to reunite with long lost friends from high school and college and see what they are up to in their day to day lives. I have my 20 year high school reunion next year and instead of awkward conversation, I will have lots of questions based on what I am learning about friends beforehand. I will ask about their kids and where they live and we’ll share more on a personal level.

It’s amazing that classmates.com didn’t grow into FB – they really missed a great opportunity. And now companies are finding ways to market to fans through FB. PR people are pitching journalists through FB. Incoming college freshman are meeting each other before getting to college. One woman found her son she gave up for adoption through FB! The possibilities are endless.

I found this article regarding GenX on Facebook. It is an interesting study of GenX and I feel like she knows me personally!
37 years old and on Facebook? It’s a GenX thing.
http://www.istrategylabs.com/37-year-olds-in-facebook-it’s-a-genx-thing