How To Start A Social Media Breakfast Club

Are you someone that enjoys being a connector? A fun way to help connect people in your home town is to start a social media breakfast club. Here in my hometown of Mason City, Iowa we have been gathering to talk about social media for 3 1/2 years now. Our meetings are very simple and they bring people together. Each meeting is different an it’s not uncommon for us to focus on doing something good through social media for our community, as well.

Social Media Thrivent

Let’s face it, everyone is going this way and that way. Nobody wants to take the time to slow down and talk to their neighbors. Our North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club is just that. We talk to each other, we share stories and we also talk about social media. Some of us do have our smartphones out and others have a notepad and paper. But, the best part out of the day is that people are making new business connections.

When people connect with others, they have more self confidence and their communities begin to thrive. The most rewarding part of leading our social media group in North Iowa has been the fact that businesses are growing, out of the contacts that they are making at these monthly meetings. It’s not uncommon for an attendee to walk away with a “paid” gig in their pocket and a new friend or two.

My phone started ringing a year ago and it was then that I started to write my experience down. Several communities are now hosting their own social media breakfast clubs, as many started based out of the model we have in North Iowa. If you would like to start a social media breakfast club in your area, here you go How To Start A Social Media Breakfast Club is available for purchase at$2.99.

SM Breakfast Book Cover

As an entreprenuer, I have found that this is a great way to meet other people that are also working in their homes. Those that work from home are often longing for the opportunity to meet new people that think like they do, and this is the perfect opportunity. Go ahead, start your social media breakfast club and update me as to how it is going. I’d love to hear about it!

Social Media Breakfast Group With Jody

Social Media Has Changed Christmas- Time To Embrace Social Media For Good

The Christmas season is upon us and today I was reflecting how social media has changed our lives. It’s true, our lives have been changed all year long, yet Christmas is a little more unique. I was thinking back to the day when our boys were young. They are now 21 and 25. There was no social media when they were young and excited for Santa. Oh yeah, and then somewhere along the line the Elf on the Shelf entered the scene. Thankfully I never had to deal with it. Those that choose to participate in the Elf on the Shelf, more power to you, enjoy the season!

The season of giving

Here are some things to remember as we celebrate Christmas this coming week.

PERFECTION IS NOT NECESSARY

Let’s face it, kids will be kids. How often have you tried to get that perfect family photo to post to Facebook? I have, many times. And I honestly kick myself afterwards and wonder why I do that to myself. Sometimes the photos that are the best for social media are the “real” life experiences. Now, that does not mean it’s OK to post those photos of your kids in the bathtub or on the potty chair, but it’s OK to show your kids in real life. Maybe your son and your dog enjoy ripping open a Christmas package or two, now that would be something fun and less stressful to share on social media.

OVER SHARING

Make time to enjoy Christmas, not your Facebook account. Your kids will not care to remember that all Mom did was  to worry about what to post on Facebook on Christmas morning. Your kids will want to remember how you joined in the celebration of Christmas! It’s not necessary to share every single present your kids get for Christmas through social media. In my opinion, that sends the message that the more presents you get, the more “likable” you are. Think before you post and don’t be that over sharing parent come Christmas morning.

START A FAMILY TRADITION

Does your community participate in a food or clothing drive over the holidays? Gather some items and take your kids with you when you make your donations. Often times your local food pantry will ask if it’s ok to take a photo for social media use. This is when you say, “Yes, please do!”

Social Media For Good

Your family tradition is now something that is shared through social media. You can share it from your personal Facebook account and let others know that your family is using social media for good. This also demonstrates to your kiddos a positive way to use social media.

If you would like to learn more about social media for good, join us at the North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club on December 28th. We meet in the Heritage Room at First Citizens Bank, 2601 4th SW, in Mason City from 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. Attendees are invited to bring items for the Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank. Specifically: Toilet paper and soap are in high need. Any and all food contributions are also welcome. Let’s load up a truck!

Thank you to Warren Torkelson for bringing this event to our social media breakfast and to Shannon Latham of Enchanted Acres for preparing a catered breakfast!

Shannon Latham

Come hungry and come ready to learn. A special shout out to Thrivent Financial for giving us the opportunity to host this event in North Iowa.

 

Cupcake Bakers

The 1st Annual North Iowa Cupcake Throwdown Was A Smashing Success

The North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club was recently home to the 1st Annual North Iowa Cupcake Throwdown. Several cupcake makers from all across North Iowa brought their cupcakes to share, and social media breakfast club attendees learned how online reviews work. This event came to fruition after a few of our attendees noticed that North Iowans were flocking to the out of town cupcake truck that comes to North Iowa. We thought this would be a great way to showcase what our North Iowa Cupcake bakers have to offer.

I would personally like to give a shout out to Sweet Tooth Cupcakes, Cupcakes By Ivy, Nameless Gourmet and taste by Unc’s Cheesecakes, Inc. and Happy Sweets Cupcakes.

cupcakes

Without these participants this event would not have been held. Pat Palmer of The Computer Guy put a program together that shared how online reviews impact businesses. He also hosted a Facebook for Business Class that was held a couple days before the event.

The North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club is a group of people that meet monthly to learn how to be smarter and safer online. From online safety to building your business through social media, several topics are covered throughout the year. Meetings are held in the Heritage Room at First Citizens Bank, 2601 4th SW Mason City, on the fourth Wed. of every month from 8:30-10:00 a.m.

If you have an interest in social media, you will enjoy these meetings. The group is casual and eager to learn more in regards to social media.

Congratulations to Kim of Sweet Tooth~ Kim was the winner of the North Iowa Cupcake Throwdown.

Kim of Sweet Tooth

Online reviews are important when it comes to your business. If you are a business owner, are you paying attention to what people are saying online about your business? It’s important to remember that it’s up to you, the business owner, to share your story. The fact of the matter is, if you don’t, someone else will share it for you and it may not be in the way you would like it shared.

If you are a cupcake baker we would love to see you participate in our 2017 event. Follow Social Connections, LLC Facebook page for business and social media tips, as well as information about the North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club.

Angie and Andy

My Three Biggest Takeaways From The Global Leadership Summit 2016

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Global Leadership Summit in Clear Lake, Iowa. It was a couple days filled with excitement and “my people.” Have you ever felt like you needed time to be with the people that really understand you? If your answer is yes, make it happen today or tomorrow! I always feel re energized when I am surrounded by like minded people. There were three big things from these two days that stood out for me and I thought I would share them with all of you.

ADD VALUE TO PEOPLE

This one really hit home with me, as I find that it’s easy to fall into a trap of thinking “that” person doesn’t need anything. Fact of the matter is, we all need friends, support and people that believe in us. When we add value to people, we all win.

DON’T TALK ABOUT DOING SOMETHING- DO IT

Ever have a brilliant idea? We all do at different times and we often talk about it and fail to act. When we do something we actually have an opportunity to be a ripple and make positive changes in the lives of those around us. Sounds pretty simple, right? The next time I find myself talking about doing something I am going to take a long hard look at how I can bring it to fruition.

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH DREAMERS

When I surround myself with people that want to dream with me, I find that lots of amazing things begin to happen. Bishop T.D. Jakes said, “If you can accomplish your dream on your own, your dream is too small.” Boy, those words hit home with me. I hope the fellow dreamers in my community are ready to dream big, because my mind is spinning with lots of awesome things.

Global Leadership Summit

If you want to connect with like minded people I would encourage you to attend the North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club. We meet the fourth Wednesday of every month in the Heritage Room of First Citizens National Bank in Mason City from 8:30- 10:00 a.m.. There are many dreamers and connectors in attendance that will help move you and your business to the next level. If you have an interest in social media, you will find value in attending. And if you are reading this post, you are interested in social media; so plan now to attend. Blogs are a part of social media and help people make new daily online connections.

I would encourage you to plan to attend the Global Leadership Summit in 2017 at a host site near you. Stay tuned to the website for speakers and be ready to be inspired to make a difference in the lives of those around you. If you attended the 2016 Global Leadership Summit, I’d love to hear what your biggest takeaways were.

*Thank you for Clear Lake sponsors for providing me with a Media Pass.

Michele on stage

Dr. Michele Borba, Best Selling Author, Parenting & Bullying Expert Is Coming To North Iowa

Dr. Michele Borba is coming to Mason City, Iowa on September 28, 2016. Best selling author Dr. Michele Borba offers nine proven habits to help nurture empathy in children- from birth to young adulthood- and explains why developing empathy is a key predictor of which kids will thrive and succeed in the new global, digital driven world.

Dr. Michele Borba

Caring about others isn’t just about playing nice; it’s a skill that’s vital for children’s mental health, leadership skills, and continued well-being, today and tomorrow. Dr. Borba’s nine-step plan for raising successful, happy kids who also are kind, moral, courageous, and resilient provides a revolutionary new framework for learning empathy and is culled from 30 years of research and traveling the world to find the best solutions. Her findings show that empathetic kids will thrive in the future, but the seeds of success can be planted today- one habit at a time.

Best selling author, Dr. Michele Borba’s book Unselfie, offers a 9-step program to help parents cultivate empathy in children, from birth to young adulthood—and explains why developing a healthy sense of empathy is a key predictor of which kids will thrive and succeed in the future.

 

Unselfie book

 

Dr. Borba is an internationally recognized educational psychologist and parenting, bullying and character expert whose aim is to strengthen children’s empathy and resilience, and create safe, compassionate school cultures. She has spoken to parents and teachers on five continents and delivered keynotes to over one million participants including Harvard, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, USA-FA, Common Ground, Character.org, Kaiser Permanente, Johnson & Johnson, Girl Scouts of America, Wal Mart, McDonalds, Santa Clara University, and at a recent TEDx talk. She is a regular NBC contributor appearing 135 times on the Today Show, featured on three Dateline specials as well as Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, Dr. Drew, The View, NBC Nightly News, The Doctors, Fox News, The Early Show, CNN and others. A best- selling author of 24 books and former classroom teacher, she is a wife and proud mom of three sons.

Social Connections, LLC has partnered with the Mason City Community School District and the Mason City Police Department to bring you this event. I firmly believe that when a community learns to embrace empathy, the culture changes. Dr. Michele Borba is an excellent presenter and I guarantee you, that you will change how you think about others when you attend this event.

There will be more information to come, as this event gets closer. If you would like to be a financial sponsor of this event, please email socialmediasara@yahoo.com and we will figure out how you can best contribute. Thank you to everyone for helping bring Dr. Michele Borba to North Iowa.

Financial Contributors:

Mason City High School 7-12 PTO

Laura Weers Cattaleswithlaura.com

SM Breakfast February 2015

Tips For Networking At The North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club

Networking is a word that I get excited about. Did you know that the 4th Wednesday of every month, you can network at the North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club? We meet from 8:30-10:00 a.m. in the Heritage Room at First Citizens Bank in Mason City. Businesses sponsor the room and breakfast, waiting for YOU to show up and network! Do you want to sponsor this event? Message me, and I will get you connected with a month that works best to promote your business. Here are some networking tips to help you get more out of your 1 1/2 hours at the North Iowa Social Media Breakfast.

December North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club

 

BUSINESS CARDS

Business cards are often an ice breaker when it comes to meeting a new face. Make sure you have your business name, name, email address, website, and social media channels on your business cards. If you want to take phone calls, add your phone number to your business card, as well. Telephone calls do still work! This makes it easy to stay connected after the meeting.

SMART PHONE

Your smart phone can be your best friend at the North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club. When you meet someone new, ask them if they have a Facebook Business Page. If they do, get out your smart phone and like their Facebook Business Page. Are they on Twitter? If your new acquaintance is, open the Twitter App on your smart phone and follow them. This makes networking at North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club super easy!

LEARN SOMETHING NEW

You will learn something new at every meeting with the North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club, so come and be ready to learn! Our speakers are all open to your questions and want to help you grow your business, and as a person. Make it a point to learn something new, on top of all the new people you will meet. This will help you grow and you will be so glad you got up early to attend the North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club.

Be sure to join the North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club Facebook Group, as this is where you can connect with attendees that also have an interest in social media. It’s up to you to follow up with the people you meet at social media breakfast, not anyone else. When you make the time to go the extra mile, your hard work will pay off. It’s been pure joy to watch all of the amazing business connections that have been made out of this 1 1/2 hours every month.

Want to stay up to date with what’s happening in the world of social media and the business world? Be sure to follow Social Connections, LLC on Facebook.

 

 

 

Tony Halsted

What To Expect At The Midwest Social Media Summit

Marketing Midwest Logo

The Midwest Social Media Summit is slated for October 24, 2015 at the Muse Norris Center at NIACC in Mason City, Iowa. You may be wondering what this day is all about. Here’s a quick run down of what you can expect and what you can do to prepare for the day. It’s also important to note that lunch is included in your ticket price.

First of all, the Midwest Social Media Summit is being organized by Social Connections, LLC, NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce and the Webster City Chamber of Commerce. We want folks in North Iowa to understand how to market their businesses when it comes to social media. Marketing today is much different than it was 15-20 years ago.

Just yesterday I read a quote that said that the seven most expensive words in business are- “We have always done it that way”. Can you relate? Like it, love it, hate it- Change is a part of our daily lives. When social media is used as part of your marketing program, your business can grow. Notice I said the word part. Social media cannot be all of your marketing, it’s a small slice, yet extremely important part of your marketing program.

If you think your community is to small for social media, think again.

Tony Halsted

Speaker Tony Halsted runs Hoover’s Hatchery in Rudd, Iowa (population 360) and his topic is: How we used social media to reinvigorate a 70-year old family business to multiple year-over-year sales growth greater than 30%. This is just one example of what you will learn while attending the Midwest Social Media Summit.

Attendees that want hands on help in setting up a Facebook Business Page, the North Iowa Bloggers will be on hand to assist. They will also offer tips on how you can be successful using your Facebook Business Page.

Want to learn more about Twitter and Instagram? We’ve also got that covered.  Lori Lite of Stress Free Kids  met with the sharks on Shark Tank during Season #1. Lori has used Twitter to grow and evolve with her business.

Lori Lite

Social media gives business owners the chance to have daily conversations with their customers. Come and learn how to begin the conversation and grow your business. We want to see you at NIACC on October 24th.

What to bring:

Business Cards

Laptop or tablet (especially if you would like some one on one assistance)

Notebook/writing utensil

A willingness to learn

There you have it! Be ready to have fun and learn. Social media is a fun and exciting topic and I look forward to meeting all of you on October 24th.

Marketing MidWest Logo

Twitter Chat Talking #MarketingMidWest On Monday, September 14, 2015

We are gearing up for an exciting social media event in North Iowa and we would love to have you participate. Marketing in the midwest is a topic that Social Connections, LLC, the Webster City Chamber of Commerce, the Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce and the NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center are passionate about. We have partnered to bring you a full day of learning and fun on marketing in the midwest at NIACC in Mason City on October 24, 2015.

Marketing Midwest Logo

On Monday, September 14, 2015, you can hop on Twitter to learn more about this event and even have the opportunity to win a ticket to attend. Laura of Life on Skyview is offering a ticket to attend the Midwest Social Media Summit on October 24, 2015.

This full day event brings national speakers and regional social media practitioners and information technology experts together with business owners, operators and entrepreneurs. Learn and apply the new tools to help customers beat a path to your door.

Check out the amazing speaker list here!

We can’t wait to share more with you! Learn about what North Iowa has to offer, connect with other business owners and we will see you Twitter on Monday, September 14, 2015 at 7 pm.

Here’s what you need to know to participate:

New to Twitter? Here’s a handy step by step guide on how to participate in the chat.

Follow on Twitter: @Socialsarab, @WebCityChamber, @ClearLakeArea, and @Life on Skyview to participate.

The Hashtag is #MarketingMidwest

Time: 7:00 pm (cst)

Prize: One attendee will win one ticket to attend the Midwest Social Media Summit on October 24, 2015 in Mason City. Thank you to Laura of Life on Skyview for offering this giveaway. The ticket is non-transferable and not valid for cash.

We look forward to chatting with you on Twitter on Monday, September 14, 2015 as we learn how to be smarter with our marketing in the midwest.

Social Media

Four MidWest Social Media Events To Consider Attending Fall of 2015

Fall is a busy time of year when it comes to blog and social media conferences. There are several right here in the Midwest, which is where I call home. I’d like to introduce you to four conferences that I think you should consider attending. You don’t have to attend all of them, but why not consider attending one of them? Keep in mind, this is just four of several that are available in the Midwest.

Social Media

 

Midwest Influencers Conference

Chicago is home to the first of its kind- Midwest Influencers Conference, which is focusing on bloggers that call the Midwest home. Oct. 2-4, 2015 is its first appearance and I am delighted to be speaking at this event. Being a Midwesterner myself, I hope to inspire others to make local connections, as they do matter. Interested in going to the Windy City? Here’s were to register and what you can expect to learn.

Social Media Summit Midwest

Are you a small business owners in the Midwest? NIACC in Mason City, Iowa, is where you will find The Social Media Summit Midwest, on Oct. 24, 2015.                                                                      Marketing MidWest LogoThis may be the conference that is just perfect for you and your small business. As a co-sponsor of this event, I can tell you that you will be inspired and ready to turn up your marketing game. Our speaker line up is a nice variety and our goal is to give you tools that you can use immediately after the conference. How often do you leave a conference and have no idea how to use the tools you have been given? We hope to take care of that issue. Co-sponsors/organizers along with Social Connections, LLC are Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center and the Webster City Area Chamber of Commerce. Register here to attend the Social Media Summit Midwest on Oct. 24, 2015. One day packed with information to help you turn up your marketing game in the Midwest.

Bloggy Conference

Bloggy Conference is held in Sandusky, Ohio on September 18-20, 2015. If you want to learn more about stepping up your blogging game in a smaller setting, this is your go to conference in the Midwest. This is the fifth year that I have attended this event and I have made valuable connections every single year. Myself, Jennifer Flaa and Donna Hup of the North Iowa Bloggers, are speaking on a panel and talking about how you can be successful blogging anywhere. It doesn’t matter if you live in a big city, rural America or a farm- bloggers can have success. And another cool thing about this conference, is the fact that it is family friendly.

Bloggy Conference 2015 Preview Video from Bloggy Moms on Vimeo.

While you are attending a conference, your kids can have fun at Cedar Point– the roller coaster capital of the world! Tickets are still available- register here!

Social Media Rockstar Event

Southwestern Minnesota is home to the Social Media Rockstar Event. This conference is held on September 16,2015 and offers a nice variety of sessions on social media. Pat Palmer, a local North Iowan, owns a computer repair business (The Computer Guy) has attended this conference and recommends it to folks that attend the North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club. He states, “The Social Media Rockstar Event is something I go to so I can gain a different perspective of Social Media. Their conference is fast paced, but has 2 different tracts so that no matter if you are just a beginner or a bit more advanced, you will get something out of the event. This will be my third year going to the event and it looks better than ever. Jason Falls is once again the headline speaker and always provides technical, but practical advice for those who dabble in social media! Sarah and her staff deserve a bit pat on the back for the work they put into the event.” Want to be a Social Media Rockstar in your business? Buy your ticket here.

The Midwest offers several opportunities for all of us to step up our marketing game this Fall. It’s truly up to each of you to make the plunge and jump in and attend. It is an investment of time and money, but in the long run, you and your business will be the winners. I hope to see you at some of these events this Fall.

Blog Buttons

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.

Blog Buttons

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

Facebook

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.

Twitter

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.