STOP the Social Media Insanity!

Do you remember the Stop the Insanity weight loss program from Susan Powter?   In the 90’s, you couldn’t turn on television without hearing her infomercial with that famous catch phrase, “Stop the Insanity!”

insanity

Do you ever feel the need to scream, STOP the Social Media Insanity?  Websites, Blogs, RSS feeds, Emails, Email newsletters, Facbook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, FourSquare, Yelp, and on, and on, and on!  Do you get overwhelmed as you try to keep up with reading information, posting or joining various social platforms for yourself or your business? If so, I have a few suggestions that may help you stop your own insanity.

[Read more…]

California in Photos

While I am in California for the Orange County Social Media Summit, I plan to take and publish tons of photos. We are a visual society :)

You can keep up and check out my photos here, on my Facebook profile as well as with my Instagram account. Enjoy seeing California through my eyes!

Everyone knows that I’m an Apple fan and geek; so it shouldn’t surprise you that I was excited to have my phone select the Cupertino, CA time zone upon my arrival :))

Landing at the Orange County/Santa Ana John Wayne Airport (SNA) was great! Very cool statue and plaque of the Duke.

First palm tree sighting outside of the airport and the hillside behind my hotel.

More photos to come….enjoy!

Be BOLD!

When was the last time that you did something bold?  Something completely unexpected and out of your comfort zone?  If it’s been a while, or if you cannot remember the last time you made a bold decision, now is the time to make it happen!I have recently made two bold steps myself, and I can tell you that I have no regrets surrounding either of these actions.  The first bold step I am referring to was my decision to be a full-time, self-employed consultant. I had previously handled marketing duties for a local restoration company in addition to my consulting business, but  now I am all in working for myself.  This has been the second best decision I have ever made.  I do set my own schedule; I am responsible for finding my own clients, booking my own speaking opportunities, and managing my own business.  I love what I do and I wake up every day excited to get started! Can you say that about your career?  If not, maybe it’s time for a bold decision of your own.

Media_httpjohnlusherc_pwzak

The second bold step is the decision to fire my hair!  You read it correctly, I have fired my hair!  It had been abandoning my head and retreating for years, so I as the owner of the head, I decided to fire it!  The hair gene came from the Lusher side of my family, and let’s just say we are not known for old age and a head full of hair :)  This again, was a great decision for me.  I feel better about myself and my appearance and everyone has accepted the new, bold look.  I have even received compliments on the shape of my head!  That is a new one! I also removed the goatee, so the grey hair is gone from my head.  Bonus:  looking younger!What does firing my hair have to do with business or more specifically the industry in which I work?  Simple: as a small business owner, making the decision to incorporate a social media plan into your business is a bold step.   For many business owners, it requires a leap of faith into a medium they are not familiar with.  But, as with my career move and my hair, taking bold actions can and will be rewarding if you approach it with careful planning and implementation as well as partnering with the right consultant or team.So, how can you be bold today, this week, this month, or this year?  What bold steps can you take?  Let me know, and let me know what you think of my healthy scalp!

Insignificant? Not at all!

I was blessed today to have another morning on this earth, and to be able to enjoy a cup of coffee on my deck as the sun started it’s journey across the sky.  I snapped this photo of the moon agains the backdrop of the blue sky and clouds and started pondering our significance in the universe.

Media_httpjohnlusherc_omehk

         Watching the final Space Shuttle mission and the landing of Atlantis took me back to my childhood; like most boys, I wanted to be an astronaut!  I still want to fly into space and look down upon the earth.  That would be so cool! Alas, that is not an option at this point, so I will just keep looking towards the Heaven’s and keep that dream alive!Looking to the stars and the vastness of the universe, or even our own lives, it is easy to feel insignificant, but that is not the case. We all touch countless lives as we live our life.  The people we see each day and interact with, our family, friends, co-workers, we impact them all.  Are you impacting those lives in a positive manner?  Am I?  That is the constant question.Working in and spending a considerable amount of time in social media, I communicate with thousands of people. I am always aware of this and strive to make a positive impact in those lives.  I hope I do.  If you spend time in social media or social networking, you have a similar opportunity.  You have the opportunity to  make a significant impact or difference in the lives of others. Before you send that next Tweet or post something to one of your profiles, think about that.  Think about how it will impact your friends and followers, as well as your own reputation.  Will it be positive and supportive or negative?  However you choose to impact others, just know you do, and treat those “virtual” relationships with care; these are real people on the other side of the screen.How do you make a significant difference in the lives of others? 

Facebook Changes: Improvements?

Facebook announced exciting changes during their live video conference today.  Do you believe these are improvements?Announced today:

  1. Video Calling with Skype
  2. New Chat Design, complete with Buddy Lists
  3. Group Chatting

The partnership with Skype was something necessary and a natural next step for the two companies.  It solidifies Skype’s place in the social environment and it helps Facebook to continue to grow in the wake of Google + 1.Do you see these changes as improvements?  For businesses that use Facebook to connect and stay in communication with their client and potential clients; this is HUGE!  Imagine interfacing with fans and clients directly off of your Facebook Business Page!  Holding a Group Chat Session with employees in other locations!  It’s all about being connected, being responsive and humanizing business.How will these compete with Google + 1 ?  Too soon to tell; and in reality, it is two different situations; but it does raise the bar for both Facebook and Skype in our social environment.

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. 

Mother’s Day 2011

Media_httpjohnlusherc_cdyly

Taking a few minutes today to say Happy Mother’s to all of the mom’s of the world, and especially to my mother, Vivian C. Lusher.  Mom had to finish raising the three of us after our father died at an early age; more on dad and how my mom raised us on her own in future posts.I have often said that if I become half the person my mother is, I will consider myself a success.  Most of what I know about treating other people, about how to build and maintain relationships, about being fair and honest and approaching each day with gratitude and a positive outlook; I learned from her. I often tell her; I also got my bad knees and gray hair from her too.  :)She is loved by all who know her, and her cooking is second to none!  My friends from school can vouch for that, she was a school cafeteria employee for a number of years.So to the mom’s of the world and to my mom, Happy Mother’s Day!  Relax and enjoy!

Never Underestimate

I posted on Facbook this morning that you never know where a connection can lead.  My dear friend, referral partner and all around incredible soul, Suni Heflin, re-posted and added to my comments.  As you can see from the comment flow below, many people believe in connecting, building relationships with integrity and the power of networking; especially in a smaller community.This got me to thinking; how many times do we underestimate the potential power of a connection.

  • Do we overlook someone due to the way they dress or look?
  • Do we miss a potential connection because we are too wrapped up in our own world?  Or our smart phone?
  • Do we avoid connecting with someone because we didn’t agree with a Tweet or a Post or a Blog Article?
  • Do we realize the potential power of others network?

Every person we meet could be a potential connection, an opportunity to assist or help or a business opportunity.If I hadn’t connected with Suni, I would have missed an incredible friendship and the opportunity to watch her write the next chapter of her life and career!  Stay tuned for more on that!Put yourself out there; in person, and online.  Make a connection; never underestimate where it can lead.Those are my thoughts.  What about you?  How have you seen the power of connections enrich your life?

                       

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.