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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
I started our social media breakfasts in North Iowa in June of 2013. And in one years time I think it’s fair to say that all attendees, including myself, have learned a lot. It’s no secret that social media is continually changing, so there is always something new to learn! Just when you think you understand a particular social media platform there is an announcement with changes coming.
We met yesterday, July 15, 2014, and it was fun to reflect on where one year has taken this group. I love heading out of my driveway and going to Social Media Breakfast in North Iowa!
Bestlaminate flooring company was our sponsor yesterday (we can’t wait to show you our social media creativity, in regards to Bestlaminate, at our next meeting). We have had more than 60 people attend throughout the course of the year. The neatest thing about this group of people is that many are working together because they met at social media breakfast. Had they not stepped out of their comfort zone to attend, they would not be working on these amazing projects.
Yesterday we discussed paid posts and boosting posts on Facebook. To summarize, it’s worth trying a paid or boost post for your business. You will not know if the fans of your business will respond until you try. It was interesting to hear the success stories that several in North Iowa are having when they do opt to boost a post.
We also discussed online etiquette and touched on cyberbullying. I personally see several Facebook groups on a daily basis that I would consider groups that are bullying others. Two pages that stick out in my mind are pages that were started as Business Facebook pages and they are not actually businesses. Groups like this should have a “secret” group when it comes to engaging through Facebook. Problem being, we live in a transparent society where everyone thinks they have the so called “right” to know everything about everyone. Not the case! The best example I can come up with, is that it’s not my business when it comes to how the President of the United States is handling a specific foreign affair; as there are parts of his job that should remain private. That is no different than 99% of businesses and organizations across the United States.
And to top yesterday’s meeting off- We made a video! The folks of Udderly Smooth sponsored our June 2014 social media breakfast. And it’s fair to say that attendees are enjoying their Udderly Smooth Hand Cream!
Yes, our meetings are in North Iowa, but we have attendees that drive two or more hours to attend. So, if you have ever wanted to meet new people and learn how to use social media. Join us at Social Media Breakfast in August (date/time to be announced). Like Social Connections, LLC, on Facebook to stay in the loop in regards to meeting times and upcoming events!
Did I mention that there is no cost to attend? Bestlaminate will sponsor our breakfast in August- there will be fresh fruit, rolls, coffee, and a cold drink! Beautiful flooring samples will also be available and some fun door prizes. If Social Media Breakfast Club interests you, we’d love to have you as a part of this group!
North Iowa will be buzzing with all types of Social Media on Tuesday, September 9, 2014. Social Media is changing how we all interact and we want to help you be safer and smarter online. Join us from 1-4 P.M. on this afternoon to be challenged and inspired. We have a lineup that we think you will find fun and exciting- check it out!
Where: 9 North Federal Regional Commerce Center When: September 9, 2014 from 1-4 P.M.
Cost: $30 Per Attendee (Payable at the door)
Melody Jones is the CEO of Melody Jones/Social Media Management Services and resides in Parker, Colorado. Melody is a connector and she’s going to offer tips on how to make new connections and maintain them. She has worked with clients in several industries, which includes several authors. We are excited to bring Melody to North Iowa, as she will get your wheels turning and inspire you to dig your heels into Social Media.
Pat Palmer is the CEO of The Computer Guy from Hampton, Iowa. Being safe and smart online is something that we are all concerned about. Pat will share the latest when it comes to internet scams and bogus offers you find on the internet. He will also give you some tips on how to keep your computer safe from some of the latest viruses and malware that are circulating. Pat is an expert when it comes to keeping you and your computer safe while online.
Katy Flint is the store manager of Cell Tech, Inc.- Verizon of Hampton, Iowa. Katy is an expert when it comes to using your cellular devices. Katy is going to be sharing tips on using your cellular device and more. Have you ever wondered how to silence your phone in a second? Katy will show you how and show you some tricks of the trade! Connect with Katy on Facebook through Cell Tech, Inc- Hampton, Iowa.
Sara Broers of Social Connections, LLC has worked with several large and small companies when it comes to utilizing social media. Sara is going to show you why you and your company should invest in a blog. Sara has been blogging for more than five years. She will show you how a company blog can be a part of your business. With a little creativity and a desire to succeed, a blog will help you grow your business.
An opportunity to meet Iowa author, Joy Brown, author of My Face To The World will have books available for purchase and to sign!
Joy Brown shares her story of her battle with cancer. Her story is “real” and it’s quite evident that your faith will guide you through anything. Joy is always willing and ready to help others, her passion for life and her family are shown through her book. I have read her book and she is a genuine friend. Meet Joy and have her sign a book for you!
Hope to see you on September 9, 2014! It’s an exciting time for in North Iowa for Social Media and businesses.
*If you and your business would like to be a sponsor of this event. Sponsorships are available for $200. Your business name with your company logo will appear on a banner across the front of the room for the event and you will receive three tickets to the event.
Facebook is a social media platform that people of all ages are embracing. Do not think for one moment that so called, “old people” do not use Facebook. Head on over to your local coffee shop and I can guarantee you that you will see people of all ages using the Facebook app on their smart phone.
The definition of old age has changed with the times, as I can recall when I thought 60 was old. Hello?! 60 is a number and that’s about it. For many folks, 60 is the time of their lives when they have the time and energy to embrace new things. With social media being so popular right now, Facebook is often one social media platform that recently retired folks hop on. Don’t ever say that you will never use Facebook, as that word never may come back to haunt you.
Facebook is a great tool to use when it comes to finding places to travel. All you have to do is type in a destination and several Facebook pages will pop up.
If you want to be more specific, key in a specific word by using a Hashtag (#) with a specific word. Example: #Florida #Iowa
There are several groups that you can join on Facebook. If you happen to be an auctioneer, there are several auctioneer groups you can join. Maybe gardening is a passion of yours. There are several great groups you can join where you can talk all things gardening. The best part of all of these Facebook groups is the fact that you will connect with like minded people. It’s fun to belong to a group where people are passionate about the same things as you are. If you have an interest, there’s probably a Facebook group for you. It’s important to remember that it’s never a good idea to join every Facebook group out there, this is the time to choose wisely.
Another great reason why folks of all ages should be on Facebook is the fact that it’s a great way to keep up with what your relatives are doing. If your family has a Facebook group, that’s a great way to connect. Your family group can be set to private or public. It’s up to you and your family members to decide how open you want your family happenings to be on Facebook.
Old age means nothings when it comes to Facebook and it appears that seniors are also changing how marketing companies are using social media. There’s a whole new market out there when it comes to seniors and social media. Were you reluctant to start a Facebook page? If so, how did you overcome that hurdle? I’d love to hear about your experience.
All because of blogging, Social Connections, LLC came about. My passion for connecting others and helping businesses grow is what I love to do. After all, who doesn’t like to be a part of something grand, right? I know I sure do!
I have met many leaders in the blogging industry over the past five years and it’s through their dedication that I was able to see myself in a leadership role. North Iowa is where I reside and I love that local folks are embracing social media and are grasping the idea that social media does matter. There is a lot of work to be done and I look forward to being a part of the positive changes that social media can bring to North Iowa. Social media reaches far beyond North Iowa, as it allows us to connect with folks all around the world.
Businesses and bloggers are working together 24/7. It’s through these partnerships that amazing things can happen! I am continually asked, “Where can I learn more about social media?” I can tell you that Social Connections, LLC, is planning several events that will help business owners understand and better utilize social media. There are also several events all around the world where you can meet industry leaders and learn a lot of information!
Pat Palmer, of The Computer Guy, recently attended EntreFest in Iowa City, Iowa, and this is what he had to say about this Iowa event. “It was a great time for entrepreneurs to get together to exchange ideas, learn from experts and to pick up valuable nuggets from the many guest speakers they had at the conference. This was my 7th time and I’m going back next year as well!” This is just one, of several, social media events where you can learn more about the industry.
Donna Hup, of DonnaHup.com, attended an event that Social Connections, LLC, hosted in Mason City on May 20th and she had this to say, “It was so great to see local North Iowa businesses come together to better themselves and our region.”
Bloggers often ask me, “What blog conferences are out there?” Here are a few that are out there and I might add, I have attended most of these or known bloggers that have, and highly recommended these conferences. These are the places where you meet fellow leaders in the blogging industry, connect with brands, and learn about social media.
It is true, when you step out of your comfort zone to learn new things and meet new people, exciting things will happen in your life. The people that I have met while networking at conferences have literally changed my life. The connections I have made, have helped me grow a successful business. If it can happen to me, it can also happen to you.
I challenge you to attend a social media event in the near future. Locally, nationally, or internationally- you will be grateful that you did!
I look forward to seeing you at one of the events that Social Connections, LLC, will be hosting in the near future!
Contests are a popular way for businesses to bring awareness to their products. Facebook and other social media platforms have rules that many do not know exist. It’s important to be smart when you use social media to promote your business.
On June 17, 2014, you have the opportunity to learn more about using social media to engage with contests. Attendees will learn how to run contests through Facebook that meet Facebook’s current (TOS) Terms of Service. Other platforms will be discussed, but not in as much depth as Facebook. We are offering a HANDS ON class at the North Iowa Regional Commerce Center at 9 North Federal, Downtown Mason City.
Donna Hup will be our lead presenter! Here’s the expertise that Donna brings to this class:
Donna Hup blogs at donnahup.com. She blogs about giveaways, recipes, reviews and much more. She has 2 years experience of running daily giveaways on and with Facebook as well as other social media channels. She has worked with numerous companies including Disney, Staples, Build a Bear, Suave, Hasbro, P&G, Hickory Farms and more. She has run more than 3,000 giveaways and all have been Facebook and FTC compliant. She builds bridges between companies and their consumers. She is able to increase both fan base and interaction through giveaways on multiple social media platforms.
Sara Broers of Travel With Sara and All In An Iowa Mom’s Day will also present at this session. Sara has worked with several companies to help them grow their social media presence by hosting giveaways through social media. From Universal Studios Orlando, Cedar Point Amusement Park, to U.S. Cellular, Sara has participated in several social media promotions to help promote several businesses. Jane Fischer Century 21 and Hoover’s Hatchery are two local businesses she continues to work with.
Social Media promotions are a fun way to grow your business and even a better way when you do them the right way! Be smart and your presence through social media will continue to grow!
What: Creating The “Buzz” In North Iowa: How To Run A Successful Facebook Contest & More
When: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 2:30- 3:45 p.m.
Where: North Iowa Regional Commerce Center 9 North Federal Mason City, Iowa
Cost: $35 per attendee, payable at the door (cash or checks made out to Social Connections, LLC)
To get the most out of this hands on session, it is recommended that you bring your laptop with you.
Once you attend this class you will understand why it’s important to understand the rules of contests through social media. You will also be inspired with new ideas on how to make your next Facebook Contest a successful one!
If you are like me, you often find yourself in a Facebook group and wonder why you are there. Well, take a glance through the last five threads and analyze the status updates. If you find relevant information there, you need to stay in the group. If you don’t, you will want to ask yourself, “Why am I in this group?” If you get to that point, it’s time to remove yourself from the group. But it’s not all bad- here are some reasons Facebook groups work and why you should connect with others in them. I’ve never been much of a gamer, so for me, interacting in groups is much more engaging than pushing a button and “farming” on line.
If you are launching into a new career or a new business, Facebook can give you the opportunity to grow your business through social media. The connections you will find in a group of like minded people can really give you a boost. Did you know there are groups for auctioneers? Imagine the ideas auctioneers can bounce off of each other, and the opportunity to help each other out along the way.
Are you navigating through your life with a troubled teen in the house? There are even Facebook groups for parents dealing with those issues. Facebook provides an opportunity for families to support each other and offer assistance in ways that many never dreamed were possible. And again, if you do not find a group that meets your needs, start one! You will surprise yourself at the connections you will make through a Facebook group.
If you are a homeschooling family there are several homeschooling groups on Facebook to support you. Several localized homeschooling families have their own Facebook groups. If you don’t see one for your area, why not start one? Through a homeschooling Facebook group you could help each other out with curriculum, p.e., crafts, and again, the information goes as far as the mind will take you.
Are you a roller coaster enthusiast? There’s even a Facebook group for National Rollercoaster Day. If you don’t see something being discussed in a group and you are interested in the topic, bring it up. Chances are that someone else in the group has the same interest you do.
Facebook groups are just one small place online for you to connect. They are an important place for you when you take the time to indulge in a positive manner. As with anything related to social media, if it’s not informative, fun, and educational- it’s time to move on to a new place online. Connect with people you enjoy, that’s what matters in social media. It’s all about being social and meeting new people!
Relationships matter and it’s no secret that it’s through these relationships you will grow as a business and as a a person. Facebook groups also matter and they can help you move forward in the next phase of your life. I have personally witnessed people in groups find jobs and help each other out in these Facebook groups. It’s a win-win!
So, tell me. What are your favorite Facebook groups and why? Do you ever find yourself involved in too many groups? If so, how do you handle the over load?
Twitter seems to be where people are flocking to, when it comes to social media platforms. It’s also interesting how Twitter has evolved. Four or five years ago people rolled their eyes when I said I was on Twitter. Today they are saying, “Will you show me how to use Twitter?” It’s a good thing, but thinking back; I guess I hopped on the social media train before many people realized what it had to offer.
I know many of you are new to Twitter and several of you have asked for an explanation of some of the symbols and abbreviations that are on Twitter.
# HASHTAGS – Hashtags are used when you want to identify a specific word. For example: Many farmers will be using #plant14 this Spring season. When you type in #plant14 in the search box on Twitter, you will see all tweets that are tagged with #plant14.If there’s a specific topic you are interested in, type in a hashtag with the word you would like to search in the search box on Twitter, and boom, there you have information about what you are searching for. I recently participated in Blog Chat which is held on Sunday evenings. Everyone that participates in the chat tags #blogchat in each tweet, so folks can easily follow the chat.
When you show folks you know your product and offer great customer service- the sales will come. #blogchat
@USERNAME- Tag @Username when you want to interact with someone. When you find a tweet that you want to share, be sure to give the person credit with their username. You can use “via” or “by” and then place their username in the tweet. Social media is all about sharing, this gives everyone credit where credit is due. Keep in mind if you type in the username before anything else in the tweet, only the recipient will see the tweet.
Here is an example of a blog post that I shared through Twitter from a local North Iowa blogger. One person favorited the tweet and the person who wrote the article will receive notification that I shared her content on Twitter.
RETWEETS- There is a simple Re-Tweet button that you can use. It’s fine to use it occasionally, but not all the time. The Re-Tweet button is the middle symbol in the above tweet. It is between the arrow and star. All you need to do is click on the button and hit send. A nice variety to sharing a tweet is to notify the original Tweeter that you are sharing their tweet by sharing. You can use RT @USERNAME and then add your comment. Find a style that works for you. Here is an example of my interaction during #blogchat.
Some common courtesy tips when tweeting:
Do not use more than two hashtags per tweet. One is ideal.
Social media is not a selling platform, do not use it to sell merchandise. Social media is for interaction and engagement with your friends and customers. The quickest way to kill your Twitter following is to constantly try to sell people something.
Be present. If you are using Twitter for business and cannot commit, remove the twitter account, as it makes you look lazy.
Hands on is by far the best way to learn Twitter. I jumped in and immediately found Twitter to be a great platform for meeting new people and developing relationships. Several of my closest friends today are people that I met on Twitter.
I recently spent a week-end in St. Augustine, Florida, surrounded with some of the best of the best when it comes to keeping all of us safe online. The community of St. Augustine is blessed to be home to CES (Community Empowerment Series). I wondered if I would come home thinking, ” Should I go offline?” Well, of course not. What it boils down to is being smarter online. When we take the time to educate ourselves, it makes our online experience a whole lot safer.
I am proud to call each of these presenters my friends. These folks are truly the best of the best and they are making a positive difference in the lives of many 24/7.
Stacey Honowitz shared about her passion in keeping kids safe as she addresses stranger danger and sex crimes. Stacey offered great tips for parents on how to address “tough” issues with their kids. These sex crimes can happen on and off line. Stacey Honotwitz works hard 24/7 to educate families on awareness of a topic that many are afraid to address. Stacey’s books are designed to guide parents as they talk to their kids about sex crimes. Child sexual abuse is the fastest growing crime in the country, which makes child sex crimes a huge national problem.
Theresa Payton, author of Privacy In The Age of Big Data.Theresa embraced a nice sized group of people, as they had several questions for her. Theresa is a cyber security expert as she works to keep individuals and businesses safe online. Theresa engaged with folks and answered several questions in regards to being smarter online.
It’s important to remember to change your passwords on a regular basis. Never share your password with anyone. You would be surprised at how many folks share their passwords on a daily basis. There’s a reason they are called passwords, so make sure you own them, not someone else. Be careful about what you share through social media. If it’s not positive, helpful information ask yourself, “Do I really need to put this out in social media?”
The day moved right along and the topics really flowed together nicely. Dr. Sameer Hinduja, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University, spoke on a popular topic, Cyber-bullying.
Sarah is a positive role model for young girls and moms looking for advice on the tween/teen years. Sarah is the “dear sarah” advice columnist for the ABC Family Network and is a regular contributor to many major media organizations.
Mothers and daughters appreciated the information that Sarah Burningham brought to St. Augustine. I told you that this event had the best of the best…. the day just got better all day long!
Dr. Michele Borba rounded the day out. Her message in regards to bullying is one that everyone should hear. Bully prevention programs are not working and she is on a mission to help communities change their attitudes about bullying. Take a listen!
Some statistics I took away from Dr. Michele Borba’s session.
85% of students witness bullying when adults are not present
Bullies want an audience, it is not ok for bystanders to stand and watch
Zero tolerance is not working- empathy is not taught
Can you say wow? Then toss in the online activity and we’ve got ourselves into a mess. One big change that’s happening in our culture is the fact that narcissism is up and empathy is down. We all need to work on empathy, as that’s a HUGE contributor to success in everything we do!
Michele Borba is the author of several parenting books. Take a swing over to Michele Borba’s website to view her books, upcoming events, and learn more from her.
This is just a small glimpse of my day at CES in St. Augustine, Florida. I wish every community in the United States had the opportunity to learn from these amazing people, under one roof, in one day! I am glad I made the trek to Florida to get to know all of these folks a little better. I learned so much and am much more educated on these serious topics thanks to the folks that put CES together and made it happen!
A special shout-out to my friend, Sue Scheff. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to your community. You are making a difference in the lives of thousands of people! Sue knows all about the good and the bad when it comes to being online. Read Sue’s book Google Bomb for insight into the untold story of the internet.