Rememberances, Connections & The Power of Social Media

On April 21st of this year, I attended the funeral of a friend and former co-worker Tommy Hall. A man that I had the enjoyment of knowing and learning from and the person I credit for my life long Apple Computer addiction. When Tommy and I worked together several years ago, he sold me his Mac PowerBook; that was the first stage of my addiction. Fast forward to today; I own a MacBook Pro, an iPhone and an iPad; with more purchases planned!Tommy left behind an incredible wife and two beautiful daughters. The funeral was hard, as all funerals are, but it also taught me about how we grieve more publicly now than ever before. Many of us that knew Tommy posted remembrances on his Facebook profile as well as on our own walls. I was touched and humbled by the number of my friends that offered love and condolences on this day; many of these people never knew Tommy, but they knew me, and I am very thankful for their friendships.I posted this photo that I sent to Tommy after a trip back home to West Virginia; we all smiled at the fact that he had a road “named” after him in WV.

Media_httpjohnlusherc_ahqzw

       Tommy, you will be missed my friend.It just so happened that on the same day as Tommy’s funeral, our local Meetup 2.0 Group hatched a new Group of professionals to discuss and promote social media.  The Floyd Meetup Group‘s inaugural meeting was both exciting and bittersweet for me due to the events earlier in the day; however as a founding member of our Roanoke Meetup 2.0 Group, I was committed to attending.  Once again being the social person that I am, I posted on Facebook and Twitter  that I would be attending the meeting, and I was genuinely excited to be there and meet new people.When it came time to pay, the waitress asked my Meetup partner, Patsy Stewart who John Lusher was.  Patsy laughed and introduced me, thinking the waitress had heard of me.  The waitress proceeded to inform us that some jewelry lady had called and provided a credit card to pay for my dinner!  It took us a few minutes to figure out that it was my dear friend, Julianne Paulsen or @YrJewelryGal on Twitter.  Julianne owns a jewelry store in Minnesota and is Founder and CEO of Viaggio Bracelets.  Julianne had noticed my posts throughout the day, including the information about Tommy’s funeral as well as the location of our Floyd Meetup meeting; she then found the number of the restaurant and left information to pay for my dinner.  Talk about a humbling experience.On the drive home, my friends tweeted about the woman that bought John’s dinner and I called Julianne to thank her.  Julianne answered the phone laughing because she knew what had happened.  I thanked her profusely and related the story to her about the waitress; but also discovered she has done this to friends before just to surprise them.  She did this for me just to give me a smile and pick-me-up due to the events of the day.  I have not yet had the pleasure to meeting Julianne in person, but I will one day and I will buy her dinner and supply the cigars!  Although we have not met yet, I consider Julianne a dear friend and trusted professional.My reason for this post is to shine the light on how we live now:  socially.  More so than ever before, if we choose to. Whether we are grieving or celebrating; we do so publicly with our extended friends and followers.Thank you Tommy for all you taught me, and thank you Julianne for everything you are to me; I am most certainly blessed with the best friends in the world. 

Promoting Others More Than Yourself

Media_httpjohnlusherc_eevcs

How often do you promote yourself?  How often do you promote others?

Lately, especially on Twitter, but on Facebook as well; self-promotion has not only reached a fever pitch, but I think it’s reached a point that  people are being turned off.

I see “social media consultants” doing it; and as I shake my head, I also wonder why.  Does this person and others not have a strong enough network to promote  their posts, their tweets and important activities?  Or do they think “this is how social media” is done?  Maybe they don’t believe their network is strong enough. My next question is, wouldn’t their time be better spent building a network and then activating it to promote on their behalf?

In their book Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation and Earn Trust, Julien Smith and Chris Brogan presented what I believe is a powerful idea: promote others 12 times more than you promote yourself. What a concept…promoting others!

We all know that promoting others ultimately contributes to our own material getting promoted; but personally that is not why I do it!  Promoting others builds trust in what you have to say, but only if you build your network; and you do this by genuinely working to help others!

So, if you are seriously interested in helping others, here are some ideas on how to do it properly.  And remember the most important rule: You promote without expecting anything in return.

1. Spotlight Someone You Believe In: Shine the spotlight on a colleague or business partner through a Facebook post, a genuine Tweet,  your blog or newsletter. If you have many followers or subscribers, it’s as good for the person or brand you’re featuring as landing a cover story. Even if you do not have many followers, it provides them with exposure to your network! The value is that someone in your network could be beneficial to that person!

2. Face-to-face Conversations: Make a connection or like what someone is doing?  Sit down and talk with them.  Interview them for your blog, or just talk with them about how you can help their business or how they became successful!

3. Ask the Expert: If you want to tackle a topic you’re not familiar with or have been asked a question you don’t know how to answer, bring in a friend who can answer that question for you on your blog or e-mail newsletter and invite them to promote their services.

4. Lend a Local (Foursquare) Hand: Become the biggest cheerleader in your community by checking in and writing positive reviews of local restaurants, shops and other businesses you frequent.  Use services such as Foursquare to check in and promote these businesses!

5. Advance and Retweet: If you can’t think of anything nice to say, spread what someone else is saying by retweeting . Do it the old-fashioned “RT” way so that you can add a few words of praise. Just don’t get carried away, retweeting everything you see. That’s annoying.

6. Like It: As with retweeting, the “Like” button on Facebook allows you to approve of others’ messages without a second thought.  Spread the love around!

7. Show Up: Simply stated, there is NO substitute for actually attending someone’s event. Be there for the people you care about. And once you’re there, start tweeting and Facebooking to encourage others to come out. Oh, and bring a friend or two!

How do you promote others? Share it with us all in the comments.

Why Not Leave A Comment?

Media_httpjohnlusherc_ulydj

Our social media group, Meetup 2.0 had a discussion recently on blog posts; more specifically  how it seems to be getting harder to obtain comments on posts. This discussion was started by Patsy Stewart with The Social BUZZ Lab. Patsy pointed out that even popular blogs posts will enjoy several Re-tweets and even posts on various social communities, the amount of comments left on these posts are minimal compared to their popularity.Why is that?  Why do we, as consumers of this information, as practitioners, promoters and users of social media not comment as much or as often as we should? Is it because we are too busy?  Do we think that sharing a blog post on Facebook or LinkedIn or Re-tweeting it on Twitter takes the place of commenting on the actual blog post?Trust me, it’s not!Comments on blog posts serve several purposes:

  • It lets the blog or post author know how the post is received. In other words, it let’s the author know whether they are doing a good job or not.
  • If the post is on a controversial topic, which is a good way to encourage comments, you can take the pulse of your readers.
  • Feedback on a topic that may be misunderstood or that may need further clarification.
  • Encouragement for the author to keep blogging or to expand on a topic.

So, why do we not comment as often as we should?  You tell me!If you want to increase the amount of comments on your own blog, here are some useful tips:

  • Comment on other blogs; it get’s your name and your blogs name out there.
  • Write a controversial post.
  • Write well thought out blog posts.
  • Have a colleague or a professional review your blog posts to ensure they are grammatically correct.
  • Strive to continue to write until you are well known or until you have a network to support you by adding comments.  The more comments that are on your blog, the more comments that will be left on your blog.
  • Build a small network of colleagues or professionals that will help you by commenting on your posts. Do the same for their blogs by supporting each other with comments, re-posts and re-tweets.

Those are some of my thoughts; what are your thoughts on this topic?

Build Your Alliance: Online & Offline

Media_httpjohnlusherc_bthsb

I believe most of us have confidence and faith in our own abilities.  We believe we can accomplish quite a bit on our own, and traditionally, we don’t like to ask for help.  In life, as well as in the business world; we need to get past this outdated way of thinking and build an alliance. This alliance can and should consist of both online connections and offline, or real life connections.

More simply stated, we cannot do it alone.  It takes the help and support of others to reach our goals in business, in life, in everything we strive to accomplish.  I admit that I need help in certain areas and thankfully I am part incredible alliances that I have built over the years.My network is strong and it is growing each day; but make no mistake, it takes time, energy and effort to build and maintain these alliances.  How do you build an alliance?  Here are some simple steps:

Online

  • Consistently Connect – the proliferation of social media profiles and platforms have made this easier than ever.  Whether your preference is Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or others, you must consistently connect and provide valuable content for your alliance members.
  • Promote Others – spend considerable time online promoting others in your alliance or network.  Open up your network to the people that you trust, respect and recommend.  We all have different alliances & networks and promoting others to your alliance is beneficial to all.
  • Respect Your Alliance –  if your alliance doesn’t want to promote someone you believe in, respect their wishes.  If they do not want to take part in a project you are involved with, it’s okay. It just  may not be for them or their network; so respect your alliance and do not take advantage of them!

Offline

  • Meet Regularly –  this can be accomplished by meeting for coffee, lunch or a business meeting at their place of business.  This will enable you to see their environment and what is important to them. For valuable members of your alliance, scheduled regular meetings;  do not leave this to chance!
  • Make Connections – much like promoting others, you can work to make connections for your alliance members.  Who do they need to meet? What itch of theirs can you scratch by making introductions?
  • Never Assume – just as your time is valuable, so is the time for your alliance members.  Never assume that they have time to just chat by stopping by their office.  Respect their time and what they do and never assume!

Notice how the tips are similar for both online and offline?  That’s because they apply to any type of relationship, alliance or professional partnership.  In building an alliance of people that will help you, you must FIRST help them. If you approach building an alliance by seeing who you can help; you will have one of the strongest alliances possible.Those are my thoughts; what say you?  

Meetup 2.0 – Roanoke

Meetup 2.0 – Roanoke: Join Us Thursday’s at 9:00 AM, at the Best Western Inn, Valley View Mall location.Meetup 2.0 is a weekly opportunity to gather and discuss Digital and Social Media as well as how we use it. Participants at our Meetups include Digital & Social Media veterans as well as newbie’s; we all learn from each other and start developing lasting relationships, so you should join us!If you are on LinkedIn, you can join our Meetup 2.0 Group and help us promote our weekly meetings!How about Facebook? You can find more information about us on Facebook too!I encourage you to join us Thursday @ 9:00 AM at Best Western Inn at Valley View Mall. If you cannot join us this week, there is always next week. Help us by spreading the word and bringing a guest!Special thanks to Lori Womack the Manager at the Best Western Inn for hosting our Meetings!Thank you!

TweetVA

We all know that Twitter is worldwide and that it’s not just a site, it is a communication method. But do you know how many people, local to you, are on Twitter?

One of the recently created tools that I would encourage you to check out is TweetVA. This tool is a Virginia Twitter Directory that is expanding rapidly. Additional Virginia cities and locations are added daily and the method to add your Twitter name to the list is very easy; just tweet @TweetVA with your location and it will be added! What could be easier?The site will also include an expanded directory soon, so bookmark it and use it often.If you would like to meet the person behind TweetVA and you live in or around Roanoke, join us at our Thursday morning Meetup 2.0. What is Meetup 2.0? It is a weekly opportunity to gather and discuss Digital & Social Media and how we use it. Participants at our Meetups include Digital & Social Media veterans as well as newbie’s; we all learn from each other and start developing lasting relationships, so you should join us!I encourage you to join us Thursday @ 9:00 AM at Panera Bread, Valley View Mall. If you cannot join us this week, there is always next week. Help us by spreading the word!

Our First Roanoke Meetup 2.0 Was A Success!

Our first Roanoke Meetup 2.0 happened last week and we are proclaiming it a success! Nine professionals came together to discuss Digital & Social Media and how we use it. Participants at our first Meetup included Digital & Social Media veterans as well as newbie’s, but we all learned from each other and started developing lasting relationships.Here is a photo from our event, I am the handsome guy in the striped shirt with the iPhone in front of him :-)

Roanoke Meetup 2.0

We truly did have people from all walks of life, including:John Lusher, aka yours truly, Business Development for PNS and President of John Lusher, Digital and Social Media Consultants, @JohnLusher.Patsy Stewart, Marketing and Branding Strategist with Optimized Strategies,@Stewartb2b.Janeson Keeley, Website Consultant with JTKWeb, @JTKWEB_SEO.Betsy Parkins, Marketing and Communications Consultant, @BetsyParkins.Bonnie Cramer, A local Green expert working to improve our community, @bgreen.Suzanne Ashley, an outstanding Roanoke Realtor, @cometoroanoke.Patricia Blevins, Social Media fan, good friend, coffee fanatic, our photographer and Office Executive at Jefferson Surgical Clinic, @patriciablevins.Brian Duvall, CEO at Duvall Consulting, Web Video Production and Internet Marketer, @brianduvall.Mike Hoal, An Independent Software Agent with uFirst, @2bdebtfreenow.We hope you will join us Thursday at 9:00 AM at Famous Anthony’s on Williamson Road in Roanoke, or Friday at 9:00 AM at The Good Cherry in Forest, @thegoodcherry.

Meetup 2.0

Social Media is about the relationship, we all know that, but I think too often we keep Social Media online and miss the face-to-face opportunities to connect and to strengthen the relationships.Hear me when I say this: Social Media is about RELATIONSHIPS, both online and offline!In order to help to promote Social Media and more importantly the In Real Life or Face-to-Face aspect of it, we have launched Meetup 2.0. I have been working with Jennifer Mills from Expressions-Lab and Marketing Helper as well as Nannette Saunders, Lynchburg Realtor Extraordinaire on our weekly Social Media meetings, Meetup 2.0.In the Lynchburg area we meet each Friday at 9:00 AM at The Good Cherry in Forest to discuss Social Media and our most recent success involving this media.We are very pleased to announce that beginning Thursday, February 26th, we will have our first Roanoke Meetup 2.0 at Famous Anthony’s on Williamson Road/Brookside. If you love Social Media or just want to learn more about it, please join us on 2/26 at 9:00 AM at Famous Anthony’s!We will meet you there!