Author Archives: Laura-CreatingWhen

Appreciating the Anti-Social Side of Social Media Managers

If you’re taken the Myers-Briggs, what are the ABCs of your personality? Well my results always teeter totter on that first letter of those four letter results. Oddly, the others always remain the same. Today and most days, mine is INTJ – I being for introvert. In more uncomfortable moments, I play chameleon and land on E.

For those of us who do digital and social media for a living, the expectation is that we are, in fact, highly social beings. Business requires us to be extroverts, especially those of us in social business, so where does that leave introverts who need time for themselves and do businesses/companies appreciate the introverts who just need a social time out?

In my Sunday morning TED video binge ritual, I came across Susan Cain’s “The Power of Introverts.” It left me feeling a little empowered, and yet a little frustrated. Empowered because I want the change, and understand that if you want something, you must demand it and have the courage to not just believe but to act. Frustrated because it only stirs up moments of self-doubt and frankly guilt for my need for solitude.

In January, Forbes published an article entitled, “The Secret Power Of Introverts” highlighting Cain’s book – Quiet. I’ve included a video of Cain’s TED talk below. In the video, she talks about the advantages of introverts, the need for us to share our strengths and talents, and the need for a societal shift to appreciate introversion through behavior and action.

Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (TED talk)

Susan concludes her talk with these 3 Call-to-Actions:

1. Stop the madness for constant group work
When I graduated from undergrad, I remember the incessant amounts of group work. Yes, we do need to learn the skills of working together, but we also need to learn to work in solitude. As I get ready to start my MBA, I am fully aware that the program will require LOTS of group work. Ideas are often sparked by interactions, but there is supreme value in autonomy and independence – for introverts and extroverts alike.    

2. Go to the wilderness
I love her call for us to unplug. We live in a constantly connected world. I spend approximately 85+ hours of my week engaging and interacting with people, whether online or offline. So, when it comes time for the weekend, especially Sundays, I need a time out! For years, I felt shame and guilt for my need for solitude. Now, I mainly think, “Screw it! I need me-time.” And that’s perfectly okay.

3. Look inside and share what’s in your suitcase.
Many of us forget to listen to our own voice – find time for reflection and deep thought. We’re running. Running here, running there, running off somewhere. But rarely do we make the time to commit to ourselves. I may not come up with genius or innovative ideas or thoughts that I’ll share with the world, but I believe in process. And hopefully, as I process through those ideas and challenges for my company and our world, I may make some sort of lasting impact. So although I may not open my suitcase to everyone, all at once, we introverts can give little peeks.

And, what about you? Are you an introvert or extrovert? What are your thoughts on Susan Cain’s “Power of Introverts”?



Latest Reads: Week of Feb. 20

To keep it fresh, I’m going to do regular recaps of some of my favorite reads of the week. Check out this week’s Latest Reads:

User Experience The Don Draper Way (via Fast Company by @BrianSolis)
Great read from Brian Solis, plus I’ve been going through Mad Men withdrawals, and am eagerly waiting the March premiere! 

Products, pages, profiles, and entire click paths are often narcissistic by design, taking into account the needs of decision makers and stakeholders over the customers they’re designed to entice. Instead, they should be designed to evoke emotions and trigger a desired effect, regardless of platform or device.

10 Non-Profits Leveraging Pinterest for Social Good (via Mashable by @MattPetronzio)
I love the use of Pinterest for a variety of business purposes (see past post), but it’s also a great tool for nonprofits. A picture is worth a thousand words, and Pinterest allows you to use that emotional power for social good. 

Non-profits, like other companies and brands, are flocking to Pinterest and utilizing its features to gain exposure. They want to show supporters more about their missions and how their work makes a difference in the world.

Writing: How To Build A Targeted Audience Using Social Media (via @HeidiCohen)
Heidi’s blog is on my top 10 list of reads! Love her stuff. 

Social media provides writers, including book authors, journalists, bloggers and others, with an opportunity to build a targeted audience for their content. With the increased use of content marketing, don’t underestimate the usefulness of these methods for connecting with prospects for business oriented lead generation and other forms of revenue.

10 Things to Plan for When Developing a Mobile App (via Mashable by Dan Tucker, @mindmillmedia)
For the past year and a half, I hear a lot of “We should have a mobile app.” Well, in this post Dan shares a few things to plan for. 

Many companies have mobile apps at the top of their to-do lists, but while churning out a quick app is fairly straightforward, developing a strategic application or digital “solution” is considerably more complex. Smart planning is essential. Here are 10 things to consider before developing your app.

Study finds Facebook users more private than ever (via Digital Trends by Jeff Saginor)
With the request for security enhanced settings, it shouldn’t come to a huge surprise that Facebook users are becoming more and more private. Check out additional information on the study. 

In the two years since the boy-king of social networking Mark Zuckerberg famously declared the death of privacy, it seems Facebook users have actually become more private about sharing their personal details with strangers. In a new study released today by the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, researchers found that since 2010, the number of users that choose to hide their friend lists publicly has actually increased by a staggering 200 percent.

Nielsen: Yes, Generations Y and Z are more connected (USA Today)
This Nielsen study got a lot of buzz this week.  The study states that millenials, those of us between 18-34, are Generation C – digital consumers. Read more here.

 A new Nielsen study finds that those Americans – along with the Millennials (typically described as born between the early mid-1970s and late 1980s – are the most digitally active and represent a larger portion of those owning smartphones and tablets. They are also among the biggest users of online video and social networks.

Disagree with the Nielsen study? So does Alexandra Petri from the Post. Check out the commentary – No, Nielsen, we aren’t Generation C

Relationship-Building: Transitioning Online to IRL

Social media is a philosophy. It’s how we engage as human beings. It’s doing the right thing. And it’s being open, honest and transparent. But, it also has its pitfalls. At the end of the day, it’s all about relationships.

Well, Women’s Health magazine says there are 15 defining moments of a relationship. A relationship online or IRL (in real life) still has milestones we have to reach. But transitioning from online to IRL is not easy. We, as humans, crave deeper connections. Do you consider it dating someone if that relationship has only been online? Honestly, I wouldn’t. It might actually be a little creepy. So, how do you bridge to that — the IRL relationship?

I’m no expert, but here are a few tips I’ve found along the way.

Be at the right place, at the right time.
This is the hardest tenet, but it also means you have to seek out opportunities too. Sure it’s coincidence that you may be on a plane with someone you. Someone wise once told me, you never know who you’ll sit next to on that next flight. And time and time again, I’ve been amazed by just taking out my headphones.

Face to face / voice to voice.
That first phone call is a little unnerving. Reacting in real-time and in more than 140 characters. As we would online, listen first and invest in the relationship. Working with bloggers and customers, what I’ve learned is take more time listening to how their day went, what they are looking for and then working to propose a solution.

Don’t force it.
I admire the people who can just walk up to someone and talk to them. But often when I stick around, I’m turned off by the cut to the chase mentality. Don’t walk into a room thinking what can you do for me, but what can I do for you. The key here is to be genuine and a little self-less.

Be open to expanding your network. 
The key is – be open. I’ve met some incredible people through networking online – primarily Twitter. From chatting about my favorite TV show (insert plug for Fringe here), learning social media trends and best practices, or professional career coaching – I’ve been floored by the broad network of people.

Commit and invest.
You get out what you put into it. So spend the time and invest in those relationships. I know we get busy, hell – I haven’t posted for months, but when you can, carve out some time to invest. That one person you worked with on one project for a client, may end up being a lifelong friendship. Use the tools to maintain the relationship. I use Twitter and Facebook to keep in touch with both my online and IRL friendships.

Do you have tips you’d like to share?

Engagement Does Matter: Twitter

This post was originally published on March 24, 2011. 

Last night, I participated in #pr20chat and one of the questions asked was how much brands should schedule tweets? The questions sparked some great discussion, but it also got me thinking about how companies should approach Twitter, and the need for engagement and two-way dialogue.

So, what’s the perfect mix? @Andrew_ShipPR and I shared it should be a balance of 25% scheduled and 75% organic or engagement types of tweets. The 75% could include retweets, @replies and relationship-building tweets. Sometimes there might be some flux, but it shouldn’t surpass 30% of scheduled content. This enables us to build relationships, while sharing some promotional content. Rationale? There are three key things we need to remember:

There is such a thing as too much. Moderation is key. Automated tweets make you sound like a machine, and no one wants to talk to a machine. Well, maybe if you were Rosie from the Jetsons. (I loved her.) If we use scheduled tweets as a crutch, we won’t actually be on Twitter. Or worse, since we rely on scheduled tweets we also miss out on conversations that may be happening in the community or beyond. For example, you might have had a light and humorous post about your weekend plans, during the Japan earthquake. Mistakes happen, but being online and active minimizes the likelihood of an oops.

Engagement is essential. I recently read that engagement doesn’t matter in health care social media, but I have to admit that I disagree. Yes, engagement for brands is being available when customers need them, but it also means that in order to be available – people have to know what value brands bring. Engagement from a brand means sharing valuable content – content your audience will find useful or actually use. That means you have to know your audience before you can just start blasting messages. It also means you have to be listening to your community to find engagement opportunities to share resources and information (aka valuable content).

You can’t automate customer service. As more and more brands leverage Twitter as a customer service outlet and opportunity, it’s important to watch, listen and respond to members of your community. There’s no automation to this. You can’t walk away and say, “Okay, they’ll just call my 1-800 number.” Proactive customer service takes time, energy and yes, money. However, Ernan Roman, author of Voice of the Customer Marketing, reminds us that it’s 7 to 10 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to sell an existing customer. So, it’s worth the investment.

Seeing a theme here? Listen. Listening is crucial to any sort of engagement. And listening happens throughout the process. But it’s also to remember that there is a distinct different between listening and understanding (as Beth Harte shared today – check out her post here).  So, don’t just watch what’s happening, pay attention and understand the context of the conversation.

What are your thoughts on the mix of scheduled tweets versus organic ones?

An Easy New Year’s Resolution: Get Snipping

With every new year comes new year’s resolutions. Traditionally, at the top of the list each year, you’ll find losing weight (yes, it’s still on mine), saving money, and getting a better job. But this blog post isn’t about New Year’s Resolutions, it’s about lasting ones.

Image courtesy of

A few years ago, my friend Kong introduced me to vision boards and I’ve been hooked ever since. In my recent post about Pinterest, I talked about how I got my kick at boards and how Pinterest can be a nice online tool. But, if you’re looking to do one thing in the next couple of months that’s fun and inspiring, break out those old Elle and InStyle magazines and start cutting and pasting – the old fashion way!

What you’ll need:

  • Magazines, catalogs, newspapers
  • A cork board (I recommend this approach, but you can also use a poster board)
  • Scissors
  • Tape or push pins
  • Marker
  • A positive attitude of fun! (it’s all about perspective so don’t walk into this thinking it’s dumb or silly)

Visually break your vision board into a few areas that are  important to you like your home, your relationships, your career, your finances, your environment and your dreams. Dedicate a square section of your board to each of these sections.

Be intentional about what you put on your vision board as things that you want in your life. It doesn’t have to be material things but the meaning behind those things. What do the images make you feel? What do you want in your life?

Think about long-term and short-term goals. You want to include things that you can achieve in a short time frame (1 week-3 months). Celebrate those short-term wins! To celebrate that you’ve achieved something, take it off the board and celebrate that moment. Hell, have a glass of campaign and toast yourself.

Place the board somewhere you look at every day and that is private to you. The last thing you want is judgment from others for things that are important to you, so share it with people who will support you.

Keep in mind that your goals will change, and when they do, acknowledge it and remove it from the board. That’s the beauty of a bulletin board over a poster board. You can always reserve the right to chance your mind. I reassess my board every two weeks.

And the most important thing — believe! You must do good, be intentional and believe that good will return to you. Yes, cheesy I know – but it’s the mantra I have to believe and live by. So far, so good.

Hope these tips are helpful! Happy snipping!