Tips On How To Use Social Media To Plan Your Next Vacation

Social media is one of those things that we all use on a daily basis and we often times forget that it’s a great tool for planning vacations. Here are some tips on how you can use social media to aid in your planning.

POST A STATUS UPDATE ON FACEBOOK

Ask your friends on your personal Facebook page where their favorite vacation spot is. Chances are, you will see photos, read stories and your friends may even link you to the resort they stayed at. This does not mean that you have to disclose the dates you will be gone, all it does is gets the conversation going. And let’s face it, our friends are going to be honest with you when it comes to recommending a spot for your next vacation.

Business connections through social media

SEARCH HASHTAGS ON INSTAGRAM

Instagram is the ideal place to follow up on your vacation ideas. Key in the hashtag of where you would like to visit. If you want to visit Iowa, type in #Iowa. Here you will find several posts that others have shared that show Iowa. Maybe you want to go to California, key in the hashtag, #California. These may not be the official hashtags for these destinations, but they may be the key words that other travelers, as yourself, are using. There was that one time when my husband and I found a dream vacation spot in Florida, all due to a hashtag search on Instagram.

SEARCH HASHTAGS ON TWITTER

Type in a hashtag of a destination you would like to visit. Search #FindYourPark to find all things related to national parks. If you are looking for a particular attraction, you can often search an attraction with a hashtag in front of it. Remember that tweets are short, as they are limited to 140 characters. Twitter is a quick, simple way to search out anything.

There you have it! These three tips will easily help you plan your next vacation. When you ask your friends and search out hashtags that interest you, things will come together nicely. Have you planned a vacation through social media? If so, I’d love to hear about your vacation.

 

 

Business connections through social media

How To Grow Your Twitter Account Organically

You can grow your Twitter account organically, with patience and time. I am asked on a weekly basis, “How do I get Twitter followers?” My answer every single time is, “You need to be there.”

When I hopped on the Twitter train in 2009, I honestly had no clue what was going on. I did watch and observe and quickly learned that #FF was a thing. I know that early on, I did not use it correctly. Over time, I have learned that #FF is important and it can help you grow your following. Here are my best tips to help you grow your Twitter account organically.

Laptop and Phone Social Media

BE PRESENT

With smartphones prevalent today, it’s so easy to be present on Twitter. Many people think that when they set up a Twitter account they can schedule all their tweets. That, in my eyes, is the quickest way to not gain new followers. Make it a point to spend a minimum of 30 minutes on Twitter per day, and talk with people. Talking on Twitter is tweeting with others. It’s important to remember that social media is not designed for link dropping, it’s a place to be social.

HASHTAGS

Search hashtags that interest you and those that are related to your business. By following people with the same interests as you, you can build a nice following. Engage, retweet, love and share their content. You will quickly learn that the people using Twitter are social people.

JOIN TWITTER CHATS & PARTIES

If you are new to Twitter, here is a step by step guide on how to participate in Twitter Chats and Twitter Parties. Follow people that are attending the same chat and party that you are. Here you will find people with the same interests as you and it will be easy to connect with them. Keep in mind, most of these are an hour in length. If you can attend the full length of the chat or party, it will be to your benefit. It’s also ok to hop in for a few minutes to say hi and acknowledge the people that are attending it.

How to Use #FF

#FF stands for Follow Friday. If you have a relationship with a business or friend on Twitter that you think others need to follow, give them a shout out on Friday with the Hashtag #FF. Give your Twitter friends a reason to follow them.

I have 11,000 followers on Twitter and they did not magically appear overnight. Keep in mind, my SocialSarab account was started in 2009. That account has made it through being shut down by Twitter for suspicious activity and reinstated a few weeks later, when Twitter determined I had done nothing wrong. By being there and joining in several Twitter Chats & Parties through the years, I’ve made many genuine friendships through Twitter and to this day, it’s my favorite social media platform

I’d love for you to follow me:

SocialSarab

TravelWithSara

Are you a Twitter enthusiast? I’d love to hear about your experience and what you enjoy most about Twitter.

World Wide Web

Tips For Breaking The Boredom When You Work From Home

Working from home has many good points, as well as challenges. At some point, boredom will set in and you will be trying to dig yourself out of a hole. Your productivity level will have plummeted and it will be evident that you need to turn things up a notch or two. Having been in those shoes a time or two, here are my tips for breaking the boredom when you work from home.

LISTEN TO MUSIC

Everyone enjoys music in one way, shape or form. Tune into Pandora and make your playlist. Find music that excites you and makes you want to get moving. Chance are, this will encourage you to do what you need to do to move your productivity level to the next level.

START A NEW PROJECT

Social Media

If the idea of starting something new excites you, why not explore a new one? If blogging is your thing, start a new blog, test out a new social media platform or even start planning an event. Event planning can be exciting and it will give you a purpose. There’s no reason to be bored when you start a new project. Your reward will come once the project is completed and you can reap your rewards.

NETWORK LOCALLY

Join your local Chamber of Commerce, attend social media breakfast clubs in your area and meet up with local folks that work in the same arena that you do. If there isn’t a meet up group with your profession in your area, start one!

TAKE BREAKS

I rarely work more than three hours at a time. I make sure I drive somewhere, take a walk outdoors or attend a Twitter chat to break up the boredom. In fact, when I make it a point to not stay glued to my chair all day, I am motivated to get my work done and get out the door.

I’d love to hear if you struggle with boredom while working from home. There’s no doubt that social media can divert some of the boredom, yet in all reality, we all need face to face contact. Find a career that you love and your days of boredom will be limited. I speak from experience, as I love what I do and am rarely bored.

Tackle the boredom now and embrace your passion. The only thing standing in the way, is YOU!

Blogging

Tips For Finding A Job Online

You can find a job online. I found one, a few years ago, when I was not looking for one. Did you know that businesses have a hard time finding people that know how to behave online? I learned early on, that many do.

I hopped on the Twitter train several years ago. It was quite evident that a lot of Twitter users did not comprehend that Twitter was a doorway to the world wide web. Several people that I followed were swearing and being very rude. Now, what could be debated, is what is rude in the year 2016 and what is not. Respect goes a long way in my book!

I later had a discussion with the company that hired me. I asked them, “Why did you ask me to come work for you?” Their response was, “You were the only person that had been engaging with us that had a trail of clean Tweets”. Really? I was stunned. I do not swear on social media channels, simply because, it’s not going to get me anywhere.

Social Media

If you choose to swear on your social media channels, keep this in mind. Many reputable companies will not hire you. Business owners want people that will respect themselves and others. How you behave online shows your true colors. It’s true… look around, you will quickly see what I am referring to.  If you have an online business and are looking to work with other companies, keep in mind, your online behavior is the first thing they will be looking at.

I often hear millennials say, “It’s how we are.” OK.. I understand that. But, I can also tell you that I know several millennials that are getting some very nice jobs because of their positive behavior online. The ones that are not getting the jobs they desire, are the ones complaining that nobody will hire them.

Think about it…. I would not be where I am today had I started swearing on my Twitter account seven years ago. I was hired because of my positive online behavior on Twitter. At that point I had not hopped on Facebook, and Instagram was not even a thought in 2009.

If you are not getting the jobs that you are looking for, you may want to look at your online behavior. If it’s less than respectable, change it now. In today’s online economy, you need to be smart and safe online. If I was looking to hire someone today, the first thing I would do, would be to comb through their social media channels. Photos and words speak volumes. The Grandma rule matters! If you don’t want to share it with Grandma, why post it online?

 

Caucus

Social Media Was A Game Changer For The 2016 Caucus Season In Iowa

The Iowa Caucus was held tonight and all I can say is, WOW!

crowd at Iowa caucus

My last experience at an Iowa Caucus was much different from this year. I am sure it appeared to be more crowded as I had always went to a room or building, not a high school. At our local high school several precincts and townships checked in at a table near the entry of the school. With maybe two dozen people to check in at the last caucus, I stood in a line with hundreds this year. I did inquire as to if this was normal, and was told no, as there was typically a very short line.

So.. this got me thinking! I had 45 minutes to stand in a line and observe. Guess what? The people in line were conversing with each other OR looking at their smart phones. I could see that many were scrolling through Twitter and several were surfing Facebook status updates.

I have to believe that due to social media, there has become an increased awareness of the Iowa Caucus. Through social media, people have been able to see all of the selfies that have been taken with the candidates, and they have also been able to listen to speeches that have been given at Town Hall Meetings that were held all across the state of Iowa.

I do not share a lot of political information on my social media pages, as I choose not to go there. I do not have time to debate the topics with my friends, so I steer clear. Tonight was different. I arrived at our local high school and was greeted with break lights and a traffic jam.

traffic jam at Iowa Caucus

All of this, due to caucus goers. After sitting for five minutes, I decided to take a picture and post it on Facebook. Guess what? A lot of people near and far were very interested to see what was going to unfold in Iowa.

I arrived in my assigned room to caucus and met a gal who was working on a high school government project. Her high school teacher had given them assignment ~ to tweet at the Iowa Caucus using the hashtag #Gameday4USA. Tip: If you see any tweets with this hashtag on Twitter, please re-tweet it! 

This gentleman here was expressing his reasons for supporting his candidate of choice, as that’s what folks can do at a caucus.

Caucus

So, tell me! Did you learn about a candidate through social media for the 2016 Iowa Caucus? I truly believe that social media was a game changer in Iowa Caucus 2016!

Lori Lite Twitter

How Social Media Has Changed Me For The Better

People often share why they have opted to hop out of the social media world and it makes my brain begin to spin. I hopped on the social media wagon long before many of my friends and neighbors did in North Iowa, but that’s ok with me. I managed to find business connections when many in my local arena, were not. Social media provided that avenue for me. A few years later, I realized that I had grown a business. I did not take my pedal off the gas, I kept pushing forward, and I still keep moving forward today!

Business connections through social media

Social media has shown me that there are many good people in this world. It is through Facebook and Twitter that I have been able to stay in contact with people that inspire me on a daily basis. It may be through a status update or a Tweet that inspires me to keep chugging along. I appreciate that!

Through Twitter I quickly realized that I could follow people that had the same interests as myself. I engaged, had a conversation and woooahhh, next thing you know, I was meeting people in real life. And that my friends is where the magic happens. Build a relationship through social media and then continue to build it offline. Had it not been for Twitter, I can tell you that Lori Lite, of Stress Free Kids, and I would never have connected. We took our relationship off line and magic happened. She spoke at a conference here in North Iowa this past Fall, all because of Twitter!

Lori Lite Twitter

Social media is a place where I can share a little insight into life on an Iowa farm, which is very important to me. A wise business coach once told me, “Why would you forget about where you came from?” True… Iowa is very important to me and I will keep Tweeting about Iowa and posting those status updates. Our state is not heavily populated, but we are home to more than 3 million people. And my little voice is heard, once in a while.

I do think about others more often because of social media and that my friends, is a good thing! Any business person will tell you that it’s not because of you, the business owner, it’s the people that you do business with that help you grow. Every single one of you that is reading this has made me a better person and I thank you for that!

Keep Tweeting, posting those status updates, as you inspire me to make a difference in our sometimes crazy, chaotic world! Go out and be “that person”- the one that makes a difference in your community! If you are one of those that has opted to jump off of the social media world, I hope you will consider hopping back on. There are good people waiting to get to know you and inspire you to do good in the world.

 

SM Breakfast February 2015

Tips For Making New Business Connections In Your Community

Making new business connections in your community should be one of the simplest things you can do. With social media and local coffee shops there is really no excuse for not making new business connections. The one thing that will stop you in your tracks, is you! Social Media Breakfast Club in North Iowa is one of the easiest ways to meet new people to do business with. We meet the fourth Wednesday of every month from 8:30-10:00 a.m. at First Citizens National Bank(Heritage Room) in Mason City, Iowa. If you don’t have a Social Media Breakfast Club in your community, the best advice I can give you is to start one ASAP!

SM Breakfast February 2015

 

Fact of the matter is, if you want to get better at what you do, you will have to put yourself out there. And I mean that in a nice way. Join your local Chamber of Commerce, attend functions that fit you and your business profile and most of all, talk to people. Starting those initial conversations is easier than ever. Follow a new to you connection on Twitter and let the conversation happen. From there, take the conversation off of Twitter and meet up at the local coffee shop. Seriously, Twitter is where I have personally made more business connections than any other social media platform. By connecting online and then taking the conversation offline, magical things begin to happen.

If you are a blogger, introduce yourself to a local business. Chances are they have no clue what a blogger does. Show them your blog and offer to showcase their products on your blog. Once this local business sees that you are serious and you do have reach, you will more than likely find yourself working with this local business in some way, shape or form.

If you are still with me, you have probably picked up on the fact that this is not rocket science. It involves reaching out to people within your community and making things happen. You are your only stumbling block and once you take that first step, the doors will open up in ways you never imagined. When you take the necessary steps to put yourself out there, your business will grow through local business connections.

So, tell me- Are you involved in your community? I’d love to hear how you are meeting new people and making those business connections.

Twitter Symbol

Three Reasons Why You Should Be Using Twitter

Twitter is a social media platform that I embraced early on. I quickly began to realize that I could meet “real” people on Twitter and develop lasting friendships. I am noticing that more people are jumping on the Twitter Bandwagon, particularly in North Iowa. It’s exciting to see that people are interested and open to learning the ins and outs of Twitter. If you are dragging your feet and wondering if Twitter is where you should spend some time, I’ve put together three reasons why you should consider.

 

Twitter Symbol

140 Characters

Twitter status updates are limited to 140 characters, which means the posts on Twitter are short, sweet and to the point. You will not find 300+ word blog posts within a Tweet. You may find the link to the blog post, but not all 300+ words. Twitter is easy to read and it’s available in real time.

Smartphone Friendly

Twitter is, in my opinion, the easiest social media platform to use on your smartphone. You can get news in real time all within a view of your hand holding your smartphone.

http://socialsaraconnections.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Smart-Phone-With-Buttons.jpg

 

Again, with 140 characters and no more, you can read the news in a short period of time.

Connecting With Brands

A lot of brands are utilizing Twitter and all it has to offer. Just this past weekend we had purchased a ceiling fan and failed to inspect all of the parts before 90% of it was installed. When we reached for the glass candelabras we found one had shattered in the box. And of course it was a Sunday and all offices were closed. I went to Twitter and within five hours I had a response. I was directed to a form to fill out through a DM (Direct Message) on Twitter to get my replacement parts on the way. Yesterday I received an e-mail with the shipping information and when to expect the parts through UPS.

If you have not embraced Twitter, I honestly hope you will give it a try. Real connections can be made and the conversations you can have are real. With 140 characters, being smartphone friendly and the ability to connect with brands, it’s definitely a social media platform worth investing some time in.

So, tell me… Do you use Twitter and what do you enjoy most about it?

You can follow me on Twitter at @socialsarab and @travelwithsara and I will follow you back!

Twitter

How To Grow Your Community Through Twitter

Twitter is a great place to grow your online community. I have had great success using Twitter through the years and I know you can too. Here are some of my best tips to help you grow your community through Twitter.

 

http://socialsaraconnections.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Smart-Phone-With-Buttons.jpg

Engagement Matters

Look back at your tweets from the past 30 days. Did you have a conversation with others, or were you just dropping links? By engaging with others, you will develop respect for each other and build positive relationships. When conversations begin, that’s when the magic begins to happen.

Follow Others Back

When someone follows you that is actively using Twitter, why not follow them back? Something tells me that this Twitter account is not growing a community. Notice that they have 18,600 followers and they are only following back 533. Maybe this company purchased Twitter followers, which is a huge no in my book. But seriously, how can this company think that this will work? There is a link to a “real” website, which someone has spent a lot of money on, yet they have failed to build their community on Twitter.

Twitter

 

It’s always good to see that your new followers are someone you want to be associated with. I also make it a habit to be sure they are actively tweeting on Twitter. If this person is just looking for followers, I will not follow them back. If it appears to be someone that I am interested in building a relationship with, I will follow them back. I am also a little picky in regards to how they present themselves in their profiles. If a person has not taken the time to post a picture of themselves, I am not interested in engaging with them through social media. For me, social media is about being social, not keeping things hidden.

Join Twitter Chats And Parties

When you participate in a Twitter Chat or Party you will find like minded people. For example, The #NostalgiaChat is held Sunday evenings from 9-10 (CST) and all participants discuss something from the past. Since I am a child of the 70’s, there’s often a topic here that interests me. I really enjoy discussing how technology has changed, as do other participants. I also find new “like minded” people to follow on Twitter. 99% of the time, these people follow me back and we continue to chat on Twitter.

It’s not hard to build a community on Twitter when you make the time to engage, follow others and are an active participant in events that are held on Twitter. As with anything, if you put the time and work into it, you will reap some awesome rewards.

I’d love to hear about your experience on Twitter, as this social media platform has been a game changer in my business. It’s a platform that I will continue to use on a daily basis, as it’s a fun place to meet new people.

The Eagle has landed

Twitter And Delta Airlines Worked Magic For The North Iowa Bloggers

There is a time and a place to take to Twitter. Myself and the North Iowa Bloggers recently took to Twitter with a firestorm. Why, you may ask. Over the course of the last few months the North Iowa Bloggers had formed several great friendships as well as business partnerships. Our beloved friend and fellow blogger Amy Hild died unexpectedly in a car accident and one of our bloggers, Beth Ann of It’s Just Life was in Alabama. We were stunned to learn that Beth Ann’s flight out of Dothan, Alabama was delayed and her flight out of Atlanta was not scheduled until supper time! Amy’s visitation was scheduled from 4-7 p.m. and we knew we had to get Beth Ann back to Iowa. And where did we go? We flocked to Twitter.

I had personally never used Twitter in the form that I did on this day. I rallied all of the North Iowa Bloggers to tweet with @DeltaAssist. I knew that airlines do care about people and this was a time unlike any other that I needed to see this happen. The person behind this twitter handle was more than amazing! Not only were they tweeting with several folks, they were also sending me DM’s.

 

Tweets With Delta

 

The fact that I had a real person sending me DM’s through Twitter while tweeting with everyone else renewed my faith in Delta Airlines. We had a real person that cared about us, which was what we needed to hear in our time of need. Delta was working to get Beth Ann on the soonest flight out of Atlanta to get her back to Minneapolis for her two hour drive home to Iowa. Beth Ann and I had several conversations while Delta was working hard!

 

Text messages

This was a stressful time, but it was also good to know that there was a real person from Delta working to get Beth Ann on a flight in our time of need. I do believe that I was sweating things out during this time, as was Beth Ann.

 

Beth Ann Messages

 

 

Once Beth Ann landed, Beth Ann worked with a gate agent. And due to all of the hard work that our angel (JJ) had been doing on behalf of Delta, Beth Ann had been placed on stand by for every single flight out of Atlanta to Minneapolis. And it did appear that #AmysGift magically appeared, as Beth Ann made it in time for the visitation and we were able to celebrate Amy’s life as a team!

 

 

Delta Tweets

 

So, if you do not have faith in the use of Twitter, I am here to tell you that Twitter does work. The question has been asked, “What would you have done had Delta not been able to follow through?” You know, I can tell you that we North Iowa Bloggers would have thanked them for their efforts. It was obvious that JJ and his/her team was working hard to get her home and they understood our need. Weather was fine and there did not seem to be any travel issues across the United States, so we felt we had a good chance at succeeding.

Now, just a few days later myself and two other North Iowa Bloggers found ourselves stuck in Kansas City with Southwest Airlines. Due to weather in Nashville, TN, our flight was canceled and we were offered stand by on a flight to Nashville out of Chicago, Atlanta, Minneapolis, or Kansas City for two days later. We did not take to Twitter, as this was totally a weather related incident and there was nothing that could be done. Yes, we took a plane trip to nowhere.

The moral of this story is that the airlines are working hard to get people where they need to be in times of need. There is nothing anyone can do to control Mother Nature when it comes to air travel, so pack your patience when you travel. Myself and the North Iowa Bloggers are forever grateful for the work that Delta Assist went to when it came to getting our friend back to say our good-byes to Amy! Thank you Delta Airlines for being awesome and making sure we all could be together to celebrate our friend Amy’s life.

The Eagle has landed
Thank you to Alicia of Fit and Farm for sharing her photo: The Eagle Has Landed