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Meet The North Iowa Bloggers On May 5th, 2015

North Iowa Bloggers Tweeting
Photo Credit: Applebee’s Hostess

The North Iowa Bloggers are hosting a Meet & Greet on May 5, 2015 from 8:30-10:30 a.m. in the Band Festival Room at the North Iowa Regional Commerce Center ( 9 North Federal) in Downtown Mason City. Anyone that would like to get to know the North Iowa Bloggers better is invited to stop in anytime between 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. in the Band Festival Room. There are several ways that businesses can work with bloggers and this is a fun way to learn how you can work with them.

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Here are a few tips on how you can work with a North Iowa Blogger.


You can connect with the North Iowa Bloggers through Facebook. Here you can see what the bloggers are up to. You will see where they are traveling to, what local businesses they are visiting and see what their latest blog posts are. With more than 30 active bloggers in the group, there are several varieties of writing styles and personalities to learn from.


You can Tweet with the North Iowa Bloggers through Twitter. Here you can see what they are up to, in 140 characters or less.

Invite The Bloggers To Visit Your Business

If you would like to share a special event with the North Iowa Bloggers, invite them to attend! The bloggers will share your event and your business all throughout social media while visiting. It’s a nice gesture to offer the bloggers coupons, a goodie bag, and product to try. And of course, they will share their experience through a blog post at a later date.

Keep in mind, that bloggers are entrepreneurs and are business minded individuals. Bloggers should not be expected to work for free and their “reach” should be respected. The North Iowa Bloggers are an easy way to help spread the word about your business here in North Iowa.

And in case you wonder what kind of reach the North Iowa Bloggers have, I think this says it all! This was from a recent meet up at Applebee’s in Mason City at a #BeesMeetUp. This all took place within a couple hours.

#BeesMeetUp Hashtracking

The North Iowa Bloggers hope to meet you on May 5th. It’s an exciting time to be a blogger and even more exciting to be blogging with local businesses in North Iowa.

Marketing With Hashtags In North Iowa

Hashtags are a fairly new term and folks in North Iowa are learning how to embrace them through social media. If you are a business owner or social media enthusiast you may be wondering if hashtags are something you should be using.


Social Connections, LLC will be offering a class on Marketing With Hashtags In North Iowa. Here is what you can expect to learn:

  • When to use a hashtag
  • How to use hashtags on different social media platforms
  • How to use hashtags in your marketing plan
  • Examples of successful marketing campaigns using hashtags

Hashtags are changing how we communicate through social media. Do you pay attention to the hastags you see scroll across your television screen? This is a new way to market a tv show and it appears to be very successful. Hashtags offer an avenue to change how we all market here in North Iowa. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s exciting when I see events around North Iowa being spread throughout the world wide web with a hashtag attached.

When: Monday, April 13, 2015

Where: Band Festival Room at the North Iowa Regional Commerce Center, 9 North Federal, Mason City, Iowa

Time: 11:30-1:00 p.m. (Lunch included)

Price: $24.95 per attendee (Payable at the door: cash, check, MC, Visa, Discover)

Please RSVP here so I have an idea of how many to plan for.

I hope to see you on April 13th! I’m looking forward to seeing North Iowans begin to market with hashtags. From promoting products, events to the quality of life we have here in North Iowa. Working together, we can all put North Iowa on the map in regards to hashtags.





North Iowa Bloggers Selfie With Amy

Social Media Breakfast Club Continues To Grow In North Iowa

Social Media Breakfast Club continues to grow here in North Iowa thanks to so many awesome people that have attended over the past 18 months. We continue to grow and I look forward to seeing what the future holds. If anyone tells you that dreams can’t come true, I’m here to tell you that they can! Social Connections, LLC is honored to gather so many folks on a monthly basis in North Iowa and give them the opportunity to grow their businesses while being smarter and safer online.

Who knew that my desire to sit around the table at Cabin Coffee in Mason City would lead to all of the amazing connections that folks are making here in North Iowa? I love how the North Iowa Bloggers have came into existence, as it’s been a true joy to find so many amazing bloggers right here in my own back yard.

North Iowa Bloggers Selfie With Amy

It’s also been fun to reconnect with co-workers from the past. Yes, those business connections throughout your lifetime do matter. Stay connected and stay in touch. You never know when you will need to partner with someone from your past.

Here’s what you need to know to attend Social Media Breakfast in North Iowa.

  • Social Media Exists
  • A Desire to Meet Someone New In North Iowa
  • A Desire to Learn
  • A willingness to get out of bed to be at breakfast at 8:30 A.M.

So, as you can see, you don’t have to know a lot about social media to attend Social Media Breakfast in North Iowa. Most importantly you have to have a willingness to tackle something new and be willing to meet a new face! And guess what? Chances are once you walk through the door to attend Social Media Breakfast in North Iowa you will probably see a familiar face or two. We have different speakers each month and you can learn who the upcoming speakers are by following Social Connections, LLC on Facebook.

We meet the fourth Wednesday of every month at the First Citizens National Bank in Mason City located at 2601 4th SW Mason City, Iowa 50401 in the Heritage Room. The entrance is on the South East side of the building. We meet from 8:30 -10:00 a.m.. We are a casual group and we love welcoming new faces.

Want to start a social media breakfast club in your hometown? Here’s how you can do it! With so many requests from others across the country, I decided it was time to write it all down.  This handy guide, How To Start A Social Media Breakfast Club in your hometown will help you be the mover and shaker in your community.

SM Breakfast Book Cover


Our room sponsors for 2015 have been and are:

January: Beth Ann Chiles, It’s Just Life

February: True Travels, LLC

March: The Computer Guy

April: Natural Plus Nursery

May: Schmitt Fitness

As you can tell, Social Media Breakfast in North Iowa is all about the people! Join us….. We’d love to see you at one of our breakfasts. If you have attended Social Media Breakfast, what has been your biggest takeaway? I’d love to hear about it!



Social Media Workshop With Melody of Melody’s Social Media Management Services

Introducing you to my friend Melody who has a super, awesome new social media workshop out with you in mind!

Melody, I know you’ve been involved with social media for a long time. What got you interested?

I started with Facebook years ago and discovered that I loved connecting with people. As time went on, I joined Twitter under a different name than I use now as part of a craft business I owned. I found myself learning everything I could about social media. People started asking my advice when they realized my passion and knowledge, and it grew from there.

What’s your favorite social media platform?

Personally, I love Pinterest as it aligns really well with my interests, so it’s hard to get off of there once I get started. I’m also well connected on Facebook and love the fun relationships I have there.

What’s the name of your business and what services do you offer?

I own Social Media Management Services LLC. I manage social media for others, getting my start working with authors, and now small business owners and entrepreneurs as well. I offer individual coaching, in person and online. I run online and offline workshops and have spoken at several functions over the last few years. I’ve come to see there is an unfilled need out there, and so I developed my online 30 day intensive Kick in the Pants Program to help people get moving on social media.

Tell me more about your Kick in the Pants Program. I love the name.

The number one issue I hear from small business people and others is that they are frustrated with how much time it takes to manage social media effectively. A close second is they often feel overwhelmed with the sheer volume of social media sites and the ever-changing landscape, and they just can’t keep up. I see too many small business owners struggle with consistency and time management, and they don’t want to pay someone else to handle it.

I developed my Kick in the Pants Program: Get Moving, Stay Moving and Start Building Your Social Media in 30 Days with the goal of helping people create and maintain an effective and consistent social media presence. It’s 30 days, every day, of intensive instruction and consistent “kicking” via daily emails, weekly online sessions with me, and a detailed workbook that teaches time management tools, social media best practices, how to “talk” on five different platforms, and other useful stuff.

Here’s the details of Melody’s session that I know you will find helpful!

Registration is open!

 KITP- logo

Begins March 9, 2015 and runs for 30 days through April 7, 2015.


Does this sound familiar?

  • You’ve started using social media, but you can’t get going and be consistent
  • You get on Facebook and get distracted by what your friends are up to
  • You take one look at Twitter and wonder how to keep up
  • You know you need a social media presence, but it just takes too much time

You need a Kick in the Pants!

Kick in the Pants Program
What happens when you invest in yourself and sign up for this social media program?

  • You’ll finally rocket past what holds you back and build productive social media habits to propel you into the social media world.
  • You get a comprehensive workbook with useful information specific to 5 social media networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+
  • Your workbook also includes tips, tricks, and simple exercises to keep you focused and help you learn time management tools so you can get on with your day.
  • You get 30 daily email reminders to help keep you on track as you develop the habits needed for a solid social media foundation.
  • You get live weekly support sessions online where I’ll address any issues or questions you have as you progress through the program.

Who Will Benefit from a Kick in the Pants?

This program is for you if…

  • You’re already on social media, but you keep forgetting to post
  • You’re a small business owner and your social media is suffering because you think it takes too much time
  • You use social media but it’s so hard to figure out what to post
  • Social media is frustrating, and you’re willing to invest in training your employee to take it on for you
  • You’re serious about finally investing in your own social media success!

What will this cost?

The total value of this 30-day intensive program designed to get you up and running and successful is $997.

Sign up right now and get Kick in the Pants for the early bird price of only $157!

Early bird expires on Tuesday, March 5, 2015 -Price goes up to $257 Register here…


Yes I Will Invest in Myself!

I’m ready to invest in myself and my social media success for the early bird price of $297.

Sign me up!


If you have been wanting to grow your business through social media, Melody offers a solution for you. Melody will challenge and inspire you along the way. If I didn’t think this program would benefit you, I would not be sharing this here with all of you.

Tips for a Twitter Chat Newbie From Guest Blogger Amy Hild

Tips for a Twitter Chat Newbie

Guest blog by Amy Hild of Modern Rural Living

Are you new to twitter chats? Well so I am!

Yes, I know you’re thinking, “why is a newbie writing about how to participate in a twitter chat?” Well, it’s because I was thrown in and had to learn rather quickly.

When I was invited to participate in the #MWTravel twitter chat, here are some of the questions I had and what I learned:

  1. How do I follow a chat?
    The first thing you want to do is find the hashtag that goes along with it the chat. For example, the hashtag for the weekly Nostalgia Chat is #NostalgiaChat. To find it, go to and enter “#NostalgiaChat” into the search bar up top.

Side Note: This hashtag is determined before a chat by the hosts. If you click on any word that has the # sign in front, it will show all of the tweets about that subject.

What is the best way to follow and participate in the chat?

My first ever chat, I had about 3 or 4 browser windows open and it really slowed things down, but it worked. But I then discovered TweetDeck. This is an application that you can install on your computer.

The way I set my TweetDeck up is that I have an @Mentions column, a column with the hashtag (#NostalgiaChat), then a column for the user leading the chat (@bekiweki).


TweetDeck isn’t the only app out there to help you can also use, or, but from the chats that I’ve joined, TweetDeck seems to be the less stressful route.

How do I reply within the chat?

Sometimes in a chat there is a predetermined topic for the week but most of the time, there will be questions asked that will start with Q1, Q2, etc. If you answer the question, it’s courtesy to tweet with A1 leading the tweet.

In every tweet that you send you want to have the appropriate hashtag in your tweet.


Those are the first major questions that I had before joined the chats, but here are a few Do’s and Don’ts that I learned along the way:


  1. First thing, say ‘hello’ and introduce yourself to the group.
  2. Let everyone know that you are a newbie to the chat. It’s really okay to say that you are new because people will help you out along the way. We have all been there so it’s nothing to be scared to admit.
  3. If someone @mentions you, reply back to them. Have a conversation.
  4. When conversing, make sure to include the chat hashtag in EACH and EVERY tweet you post so you are not just listening, but staying apart of the conversation.
  5. A (Answer) the Q (Questions) as they come along and provide value and knowledge in your A (Answers). You can reply more than once if you have another thought.
  6. Follow not only the chat leaders on Twitter, but also follow the people you interact with. You can also follow others you have an interest in.
  7. RT (Retweet) good or memorable tweets of fellow participants.
  8. Have follow up conversations after the chat.
  9. To help stay organized, put together a Twitter list with the chat participants so you know how you met them.


  1. Do not RT (=Retweet) each and every Q (question) that is being asked. It’s not necessary and becomes redundant.
  2. Do not jump into a conversation without knowing or reading what they are talking about. Look back through a conversation, then give your input.
  3. Do not link to unrelated topics and spam the group.
  4. Do not ‘hijack’ the #hashtag and start an unrelated conversation while the chat is going on. (If you start a side convo, just remove the chat hashtag in those specific tweets.)
  5. Do not use the chat to market yourself or sell products. People are there to learn. If you have a blog that pertains, do it in a conversaional manner.

I hope some of these tips and tricks have helped other newbies out there because the advice given to me from people within these chats has helped immensely! Not only have I made some new and great connections worldwide, but I have also learned a lot about the uses of twitter and being social online.


Thanks Amy for sharing! Be sure to follow Modern Rural Living on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram,  and YouTube.

Three New Year’s Success Strategies For Your Blog

Strategies for blog 2015

The New Year is upon us and it’s time to think about your blog and your goals for the New Year. I have never been much of a New Year’s resolution person, but I can tell you that it’s important to develop a strategy for success when it comes to you and your blog. Many folks blog as a hobby and several blog to make money. No matter the reason, you will feel better about things if you set some goals and try to meet them. After all, doesn’t everyone feel good when they can reflect upon a success story?


The easiest way to meet new people and be inspired is to attend a blog conference. Yes, there are conferences for bloggers. Two conferences that I would highly recommend would be Type A Conference and Bloggy Conference. This is where I have met some of my best friends and some of the most inspirational people on the planet. And you know what? Here is where you will surround yourself with people that “get'” you. How cool is that? Need a little financial help getting yourself to a blog conference? Find a sponsor and make those travel plans now!


Local does matter! Join your local Chamber of Commerce and dive in. This is one of the simplest ways to meet new people in your local business community. Volunteer for an event or two and I do think you will be pleasantly surprised. Is there a social media breakfast club in your area? If there is, attend asap! If not, start one.


Let’s face it, even bloggers need a break now and then, as bloggers are human. Never apologize to your readers. For example, if you need to take a little break from blogging, that’s your choice. Your blog is online and always available. I often see bloggers take a little break and come back with, “I am so sorry…..,” really? There is no need to apologize when in fact several of your readers may have never noticed your absence until you brought it to their attention.

Most importantly be yourself online and I can guarantee that you will have great things come to you. It’s ok to check out what other bloggers are doing and ask questions. Bloggers can be your best resource when it comes to growing your blog. Chances are good that they may have the same questions you do or have had the same question in the past. When you do your thing you will have the most success.

Make 2015 your best year yet and embrace change. Step out of your comfort zone and I think you will be pleasantly surprised as to where your blog will take you. Tell me…. What are your goals for 2015? I’d love to hear about them.


North Iowa Blogger Meet & Greet January 6, 2015: 1:30-3:30 P.M.

The North Iowa Bloggers have been very active throughout 2014 here in North Iowa. They are gearing up for an exciting 2015 and would like to meet you! On January 6, 2015, from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m., you can meet the North Iowa Bloggers in the Band Festival Room at the Regional Commerce Center Downtown Mason City. 9 North Federal is the exact location and these bloggers would love to show you what they do.


North Iowa Bloggers Sampling Oreos


Maybe you have always wondered what a blogger does and how they can help you with your business? This is an opportunity to find out more. I have personally worked with Jacqui McPhillips of Tuckaway Shores  and she has this to say, in regards to bloggers.

“In my capacity as both an owner of a small hotel management company and as a member of the marketing committee for the Florida Superior Small Lodging Assn., I have worked with travel and life style bloggers for the past 1 ½ years.  Without hesitation, I can state that I believe that working with bloggers may be one of the best ways a company can economically brand themselves.  I view exposure on a bloggers’ site and through their various social media platforms as kin to word of mouth advertising, which has always been the best forms of advertising/marketing.”

Bloggers offer a “new” way of marketing and many business owners in North Iowa are not aware of what a blogger can do for them. The North Iowa Bloggers would love to meet you! If you want to get to know the bloggers a little better, “Like” their Facebook page and see what they are all about.

Bell ringing


Take the time now to plan for January 6, 2015. The North Iowa Bloggers want to meet you and learn more about you. And you never know, you may find that new “spark” that you have been searching for you and your business. 2015 looks to be an exciting year in North Iowa and the North Iowa Bloggers are ready to help you along the way!


Educating Families On Cyberbullying And Bullying Matters In Every Community

Tonight I was part of a Cyberbullying/bullying presentation through our local YMCA. Sadly, there were no families in attendance. What I find so interesting is the fact that I see several folks complain online that schools, local organizations such as the YMCA, churches, and other places families frequent are not doing anything to assist when it comes to cyberbullying and bullying. Well, if that’s the case, where was everyone tonight?

What’s even more interesting is the fact that people are still saying, through social media, that our community does not care about cyberbullying and bullying. Sadly, these parents need to take a step back and look at what they are posting on social media. It’s true our tweens and teens don’t always post smart things, but parents are just as guilty. I have seen a teenage girl post on Facebook that she is afraid to go to school because of what her Mom has posted on Facebook.

It’s time for folks in all communities to work together, find solutions to work together so “home” is safe for everyone. With our ever connected communities through social media, online activity is a part of our homes today. Therefore, it’s of the utmost importance that we all watch how we behave online. For parents, it’s easier than ever to monitor the activity of their kids on line. There are a wide variety of apps available to parents everywhere, and yes they do cost money. Often times parents will say, “I can’t afford the app.” My response is, “If you can’t afford the app, you cannot afford the phone.”

I’m thinking back to when our boys were maybe 8 and 12. Our local police department had a program on keeping kids safe online, as My Space had came onto the scene. My boys and I attended, and at that time we were the only ones in attendance and one other parent. So, I’m thinking that I am a Mom that pays attention to online activity and others don’t. And maybe parents think smart phones are “cheap” toys to hand their kids. I guess I’m really not getting the whole picture, as to why parents don’t care about online safety. I’d love to hear where you get your information when it comes to keeping kids safe online. I’m assuming parents get it all online, as it’s harder to have a face to face conversation.

So, I’m curious. If you are a parent, are you concerned about cyberbullying/bullying? Are you open to working with others to make your community safer or do you know it all? I know, for a fact, that I have a lot to learn when it comes to cyberbullying and bullying as the apps are changing all the time. There’s always something new to learn when it comes to social media and I will continue to educate folks all across the nation on being safe online.

So, if you live in my hometown, join us on Monday, October 20th at 6:30 p.m. at our local YMCA where we will discuss cyberbullying/bullying and how we can make our community a safer place to call home.


Join In The Discussion: Cyberbullying/Bulling At The YMCA In Mason City

National Cyber Safety Awareness Month kicks off  in October. Our community here in North Iowa is not immune to cyber bullying and/or bullying. I am pleased to have partnered with the YMCA in Mason City, Iowa. We are presenting a program on cyber bullying and bullying on October 7, 2014, 6:30 p.m. in the Teen Room at the Mason City YMCA.

Cyber/Bullying Bullying


We will talk about all of the social media platforms that are out in cyberspace and discuss how families can take charge. Let’s face it, no family is immune to cyber bullying. Laptops, tablets, and smart phones are often within reach of all family members. We will talk about how we, as community members, can learn to be upstanders as opposed to bystanders.

We will discuss the privacy policies and terms of use for the social media platforms that our teens and tweens insist on using. Instagram is a particular hot hangout for young teens today. Facebook is still widely used by kids under the age of 13, because Mom and Dad think since their child’s friends are on it, it must be ok. We will address all of these issues.

This will be a start for our community here in North Iowa. Social Media has been very vibrant throughout the first six weeks of the new school year. Each of us needs to take a look at the examples we are setting for our kids and make sure our kids are safe online.

Join us…. hop in on the discussion! We are tackling cyberbullying/bullying head on, on October 7th at the YMCA in Mason City at 6:30 p.m. A brand new state of the net survey  shows that more than 1 million children were harassed, threatened, or bullied on Facebook in the past year. That, my friends, has got to stop! Our kids are our future and we have to stand our ground now. Be a part of the solution, as we strive to make North Iowa a safer place for families.

Five Tips For Meeting New Friends At A Conference

I’m personally attending a couple conferences in the next month and I’m also hosting an afternoon one in my hometown, Creating The “Buzz” In Social Media.

Creating Buzz Logo


I hope to make new friends and help others make some connections that they have not been able to make. It’s no secret that many folks that are involved in social media are introverts, so when the opportunity is placed out there to interact in person, it’s easy to freeze up. Here are five tips to help you meet new friends when attending a conference.

And if you don’t think you can meet new friends at a conference, think again! It’s been through networking events in North Iowa that Jeni of JeniEats , Beth Ann of It’s Just Life, Finding The Extraordinary In The Ordinary, myself and Donna of have became good friends!


Bloggers North Iowa

#1: Be Yourself

You are probably saying, “Of course I will be myself.” Seriously, don’t spend hours trying to change who you are. Wear clothes that you know fit and are comfortable. Chances are you have a beautiful profile picture on your social media platforms, so it’s also not the time to get a fancy new haircut. Be yourself and who you are! If you can do that, things will fall into place.

#2: Shake Hands

When you meet someone new, provided you don’t have a cold, reach out to shake their hand. A personal connection, with a hand shake and eye contact goes a long way.

#3: Introduce yourself to a stranger

A conference is one place you don’t want to think about stranger danger. The attendees have spent money and taken the time to come to this event and are probably there for the same reasons you are. If you need to practice your Elevator Pitch, do it before you leave home! BTW- An elevator pitch is a short introduction of who you are and what you do.

#4: Invent Your Own Schedule

You should stick to a schedule for an event that is only a few hours. If the event is a couple days or more, it may benefit you to step away from the conference schedule to meet face to face with someone you’ve been wanting to get to know better. Keep in mind, most conferences don’t allow the participation of passing out swag or attending off site parties- understand the rules of the conference you are attending, before you make plans. I have found some of the best networking I have done is through conversations in a hallway that have lasted a couple hours.

#5: Ask for Business Cards And/Or Social Media Connections

Hand someone your business card and ask for theirs. I personally appreciate it when someone says, “Hey, can we follow each other right now?” Both attendees take out their smart phones and connect with each other on the spot- makes the connection super easy! Business cards work, but it’s no secret that they do get misplaced.

Most importantly go to a conference with an open mind and be prepared to meet new people. If you feel like you have had to step out of your comfort zone, that means your money and time have been well invested!

So, tell me! What’s the last conference you attended and did you meet new friends?

Thank you to Bill Schickel of KCMR Studios for the picture!