Tag Archive for Last Straw Media

I can do it, why should I hire someone?

Social media is easy. Everyone is doing it. So why should I spend money to have someone run social media for my business?

As a social media expert, I can give you many reasons why you should leave your social media campaigns, posting and monitoring to someone skilled in this field. But instead, let’s talk about it from a business standpoint.

  1. Time is money. The amount of time you spend running your social media accounts and campaigns is time better spent on actually running your business. If you think you can’t afford to pay an expert, compare the amount of time you spend on social media to the amount of time you spend on more urgent income-producing business matters.
  2. Social media is always changing. It’s challenging to keep up with all of the social media changes. We all know Facebook is always changing its guidelines and new functions, plus factor in keeping up with all of the other social network sites and it’s nearly impossible to do while you’re running your business.
  3. Know the tricks of the trade. Maybe tricks is a strong word, but do you know proper social media etiquette? Can you post too frequently? Do you know the best times to post? Do you know which type of posts get the most likes and shares? Do you know how to tag on Facebook? Hashtag on Twitter? How is your monitoring being done? It’s not to say you can’t do your research, but most business owners don’t have the time or can’t afford to make this a priority.

I also often hear “I have an intern to do it.” Interns are great resources, don’t get me wrong. My intern is often a life saver. But I would never allow her to post content that hasn’t been approved. Not because she isn’t an intelligent young woman, but ultimately it’s my business. Whatever is posted is my responsibility. Who wants to have to deal with a tweet that could possibly get them sued? Or a Facebook post that violates terms of a contract or organizational guidelines of your field?

So when it comes to running your social media as professionally and effectively as you run your business, leave it to an expert.

Who’s in App Love?

The day of love is just around the corner. Help yourself prepare for the day and download some apps to your mobile devices. Use these if you need a little help coming up with gift ideas, need a little reminder that the special day is almost here, or you just want to send a little note to dote on your loved one.

Be Mine Lite – Valentine’s Day Card Creator

Iphone lovers, choose from different backgrounds, kisses, hearts, etc. and design the perfect e-card for your love.  It’s free, easy, and you can be creative while showing that you care.

Cards for Lovers

Android users, choose from over 50 different images and quotes to create the perfect free e-card.

Holiday Picture it!

You can use this app for more than just Valentine’s Day, but this is perfect to ask a special someone to be your Valentine. Take an image from your picture gallery and add some lovey dovey graphics to it and it viola, a personalized valentine!

Mixology Drink Recipes (on App Store and Android)

Want to have a romantic night at home? Use this great free app for yummy cocktail ideas. Select what alcohol you’d like to use or any other ingredient, and it’ll come up with some drink recipes for you and your love to enjoy!

 Love Quotes Wallpapers

Are you feeling extra mushy today? Keep that feeling alive until February 14 with this app. Each wallpaper image has a love quote. Set it as the background on your home or lock screen and you can think about your significant other every time you glance at it.

(For Android users: Love Quotes HD Wallpapers)

Valentine’s Day Ideas (For Android)

Use one of these apps for detailed information on gift and activity ideas, cards or poems. It will even give you instructions to make crafty, homemade cards full of love and expression.

(For iPhone: Valentine Day Ideas $0.99)

If we missed any of your favorite Valentine’s Day apps, please share them and spread the love.

How to Date a Social Media Professional

Dating can be difficult, especially if you’re stuck to your iPhone and iPad 24/7. After reading PR Daily’s “How to date a PR professional” article the other day, we got to thinking. Dating one of us may be even more challenging, because many of us have a journalism or public relations background before you even add Twitter streams, Facebook updates and geolocation-based applications.

So here are five things you need to know before dating a social media professional:

Hold on, let me tweet

The first thing you need to know when you’re going to date one of us is, well, we have to take a second to tweet, check in on Foursquare and update our status on Facebook. It doesn’t matter if the hostess is still seating us at the restaurant or our significant other is asking a question. Hey we aren’t egotistical. We don’t genuinely think everyone cares what we are doing and where we are at all times. But since are in the social media know, we feel obligated. Plus, what would our clients think if we didn’t?

We know what you are talking about

By you, we mean everyone. We will constantly surf the web, flip through our Flipboard app and check the latest trends on Twitter to keep up with the latest news. Whether it is a breaking headline or a funny article, we want to be the first to read it and share with others. We’re always looking for good content, whether it is for our personal use or for a client. Even if it is 1 a.m. and we are in bed with our iPad.

We can’t turn it off

Since we don’t really clock in and clock out for work, we find it hard to shut down completely. If a client emails us and wants something posted right away, we do it. If someone comments on a Facebook page we manage, we respond. That means that we are constantly connected. There is no set schedule, which may make it hard for us to ensure you that our dinner date will be at 7:00 p.m. sharp. On the flip side, we can usually take work wherever we go.

 We can’t believe you said that

We are avid writers by nature. We can’t stand grammatical errors. We take copy editing to a whole new level. If you use it’s instead of its or their instead of they’re, we have to use severe restraint not to comment on your post. We also won’t retweet what you said, even if it’s hysterical. We just can’t excuse those typos, and please don’t blame the 140-character limit.

We mind our manners (usually)

We may take our phones out at some of the most inappropriate times, but we’re not trying to be rude or ignore you. It’s our job. And in case you were wondering, we aren’t texting our friends while you’re talking to us, well not all the time! We are actually working. Social media doesn’t just happen by itself.#justsayin

Making the connection with Xobni

One of the first things to know about Xobni is that it is “inbox” spelled backwards. That is where the basis of this system lies. Compatible with Gmail, Outlook, Android, iPhone and Blackberry, Xobni allows you to connect with your contacts in multiple ways.

Xobni merges your contacts on your email or phone, and then connects each of your contacts to each of their social media networks. This makes it easy so you don’t have to go searching for each person individually to connect with them in each one of the many ways that currently possible. You can also view message history, common contacts as well as all of their social media updates within the contact’s profile. This system is perfect for your business if you are juggling a ton of contacts and find yourself attempting to sift through them often.

Image courtesy: xobni.com (Screenshots)

The system first started out on Outlook and has branched out to Gmail and smart phones with the Smartr contacts system. Through the use of a sidebar, it shows you the people you correspond with the most. You can also change the view so you can see the profiles in different perspectives. If you only know a little information about a contact you know you are trying to find, just type it into the search and with just a bit of info, and you should be able to find them. For example, if you are looking for someone within a particular company but don’t remember their name, type in the company name and it should bring up all of your contacts affiliated with that company. This creates an easy, efficient way for you to link with people from business, to personal.

Depending on your plan, Xobni is either free, or there are pro versions that are up to $47.95 a year (if you catch the current 50% off sale.) Check out the gadget store for a list of apps you can add to your Xobni profile including Google Translate, Dropbox or even Yelp.

Five Tips for Small Businesses in 2012

It is the first week of the New Year, and you may be trying to figure out your budget for the year or strategize your marketing plan. Something else you should take into consideration is your online presence and technology.

Image Courtesy: vichie81 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1. Go Mobile
Do you have an iPad or smart phone already? Do you have trouble trying to break yourself from it? Many seminars and meetings allow phones, computers and iPads now. Some even encourage it. Make sure you know when it is appropriate to have your iPhone out and updating, and when it is a very focused meeting.

2. Clean up
Do you have the habit of saving everything to your desktop? Do you know what important files are where? The beginning of the year is a great time to start with a clean slate and become more organized on all of your devices. While you’re at it, make sure you back up!

3. Update your profiles
Make sure that all of your social profiles are current and reflect your work correctly. Update your resume, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, etc. Often times there are certain profiles that we don’t sign on as frequently, so making it a point to update all of them now makes it easier later.

4. Give your audience what they want
Make sure that you are not just selling or promoting yourself, as we have posted about previously. Engage with your audience and customers and provide quality content. Find out what they want out of the New Year. Start up a conversation with them so that they know you are listening to their feedback.

5. Strengthen your brand 
Your brand should represent quality and consistency, as well as showcase your business’ identity and uniqueness. How long has it been since you have updated your online look? You may not need to change your logo, as it is a part of your brand, but little tweaks to your website and graphics, as well as updated content, can give you a fresh look. Make sure your efforts are consistent across all platforms including your website, blog and social media pages.

The Art of Instagram

It has been a little over a year since Instagram has come out, and if you haven’t used it yet, you probably have heard of it. iPhone users reap the benefits of this cool photo app. Before you take a photo, you can select a filter to take a picture through, or you can add the filter after you take the photo. Either way, photos automatically look retro, hip and cool. You can instantly appear to be a fantastic foodie by taking an Instagram photo of your delicious dinner, or share your travels with a stylish take, by taking filtered photo of the city skyline.

Users can follow others, like other photos and add captions to their photos that are uploaded. Share them on Tumblr, with your Instagram followers, Twitter followers and Facebook friends. Another big feature would be the fact that you can use hashtags and search new topics.

Photographers have even been drawn to the iPhone app. Many are gaining followers quickly, showing off their work and becoming well known. Companies have also taken advantage of this visually gratifying opportunity by showing off their brand. Taking pictures of new products and listing a description and where it is available makes it quite easy for purchase.

The choice of filters range from a black and white look called “Inkwell”, to a retro look called “1977.” The app has become so popular that even Facebook tried to buy them out. After a rejection, Facebook even plans to come out with its own filters. There are other apps available for Android that are similar, like RetroCam, but they haven’t caught on quite like Instagram has with millions of users. Instagram has created a new social platform based on a simple idea – photo sharing. With that and a little extra edge through the use of filters, Instagram has become quite the trend.

Check out the Instagram blog to see many beautiful photos uploaded by users: blog.instagram.com.

The Interest in Pinterest

Who would have ever thought that a virtual bulletin board would be so popular? If you haven’t already joined the popular site, Pinterest, you will probably receive an invitation soon. According to Mashable, a new study shows Pinterest will be competing with the top 10 social media networks.

From architecture to weddings, there are all kinds of categories to choose from. You select a category, browse some beautiful photos and start pinning! You can follow your friends and see their boards and make a variety of boards on different topics. The layout of Pinterest is almost similar to Tumblr, and you can “like” posts and “repin” them. So besides swallowing up a whole lot of free time gawking at things that you would love to possess, what about purchasing them? That is what many companies are thinking. Companies are making their own Pinterest accounts and adding their products so that people, or potential customers, can pin them onto their boards.

In a recent Ad Age article, the magazine Real Simple said the site even drives more traffic for them than Facebook does.

What makes Pinterest so attractive to its audience and businesses alike? With encouragements to plan weddings, redecorate and try new recipes one can see that the site’s audience consists of a lot of women. Here’s a secret you may or may not know – women love to shop.

Similar to blogging, the site creates a new channel for people to share their interests virtually. You can share your style with friends, or maybe even give others gift ideas. So when you are virtually displaying all of those “wow this looks great” moments, it also gathers your thoughts of what you may have never quite put together in your head. The online bulletin board is also very visually pleasing with amazing photographs.

Pinterest also gives businesses the opportunity to show off products. If people take the time to put together all of the things they are interested in, in one place, chances are they could buy it. Especially if you have been staring at the product for hours and the link to purchase it is right in front of you.

Which Brand Page is Best for Business?

Twitter has stepped up to the plate and launched a whole new redesign. Following shortly after its newly added Activity Tab, the new design has been announced and it will include brand pages. Google+ announced its launch of brand pages this fall hoping to bring the social network back to life. Facebook fan pages still hold strong for businesses currently. The question is… is Twitter is a contender?

Its new design has been compared to Facebook, or maybe even MySpace. In our example, we have Pepsi. Pepsi currently has about 500,000 followers on Twitter, nearly 7 million likes on Facebook, but only 20,000 have added Pepsi to their Google + circles and 2,000 have +1ed the company.

The new design allows brands to have a larger header space for logos. They also allow brands to promote certain tweets to in a separate div on the side. This can be beneficial because people often want to see other, real people and what they have to say, more than just company promotions. If social media has taught us anything, it has taught us the power of word of mouth. To break things down even more, Twitter has broken up tabs into “Home,” “@Connect” and “#Discover.” This could be a little more self-explanatory to all those who have found themselves hesitant and overwhelmed by Twitter.

It will be interesting to see that if Twitter’s new design will bring over any strictly-Facebook users. It looks as if Twitter is much more multimedia friendly, in that you can see videos and images without leaving a page, or having it slide over to an expanded view.

Which brand page will be best for business? Facebook remains in the lead, with Pepsi frequently being named one of the top brands. But it will be interesting to watch how Twitter’s brand pages unfold, not just for big companies, but eventually for small businesses too.

Battle over the Check-ins

Do you check in on Foursquare and become the mayor of the local library, or do you check in on Facebook to prove to your friends and family that yes, you do read!

It’s official Facebook’s takeover of Gowalla has begun. We know that Facebook launched a battle over check-ins after the location-based social network Foursquare gained success with about half a million active users more than a year ago. While you can post your Foursquare check-ins to Facebook, the social network giant started its own check-in feature.

But many already prefer another location-based option. Gowalla has been around since 2007, although it hasn’t been as popular as long-time competitor, Foursquare.

Of course things are about to change, as they often do in the social media world. Facebook bought out Gowalla and is already working on the integration. The features with Gowalla include adding photos and stories to your check-ins (nothing too new), but then it is stored in what is called Gowalla passport. It creates a different atmosphere for you to show off all your latest travels to your friends.

Image courtesy: Gowalla

The question is, will the Gowalla name continue on, or will it soon disappear into one of Facebook’s new added features? It is looking like Gowalla will go bye-bye. Facebook is obtaining some of Gowalla’s innovative engineers, though. This will include the co-founders of Gowalla.

According to an article in Metro.co.uk, Facebook released a statement saying, “While Facebook isn’t acquiring the Gowalla service or technology, we’re sure that the inspiration behind Gowalla will make its way into Facebook over time.”

So, there you have it. Gowalla will officially shut down in January 2012. Facebook’s Timeline will be set to debut soon enough to the rest of the public, and we might expect that Gowalla-like features will be included. Prepare yourself to see your newsfeed to blow up with all kinds of ballistic comments about the changes.

Deck Your Phone with Jolly Apps

With the holidays around the corner, we thought that a few apps might come in handy. Everyone could use a little saving on holiday shopping, Christmas-themed apps and a little extra drive when it comes to staying fit with all of the Christmas cookies tempting us.

Run, run Rudolph

Still stuffed from all that turkey day stuffing? Try the Virtual Trainer app to get you moving. Complete with cardio programs and 250 different types of exercises with instructions, this app can be just the motivation you need.

Need to save some money on all those holiday gifts? There are a few apps that can help you out with that.

Cashmere sweater? Check. Points!

Since when can you save money just by going to the store? Well, now you can. Check in at a store, scan a product and gain points. The checkpoints app will show you which products around you have the most points. As the slogan says it’s “the app that pays you back.”

Images courtesy: iTunes/Apple

Is this the best deal?

The Find helps you create your own shopping list. Scan the bar code of an item, and it will help you find the best prices available for it and the stores closest to you. Add it to your list, and you’re done. Perfect if you’re shopping for a wide range of family members including Aunt Ethel, little Johnny, Grandpa Fred and the rest of the gang.

Where can we find…?

If you’re traveling during the holidays, you may find yourself a little lost. You want to find a good restaurant, store or hotel nearby? Try the AroundMe app. You’ll be able to navigate yourself to the nearest coffee shop or Chipotle, just pick your poison.

 The Grinch

Finally, we have a holiday app for the kids. The Grinch app can bring back memories for you. Entertain your kids during a long car ride or waiting in the airport this season. The app gives you the choice of reading the book yourself, or reading it to you.

This holiday classic is sure to put a smile on both you and your loved one’s faces.


Wrap Them in Layers of Love

Many of you may already know Last Straw Media is a proud sponsor of Layers of Love: Comforting Chemotherapy Patients One Layer at a Time. And as everyone does their holiday shopping during Black Friday, Small Business Sunday and Cyber Monday, it’s also a good time to think about gifts that are priceless.

A donation of a fleece blanket (both adult and child sizes) to Layers of Love doesn’t cost much, but the comfort it brings is worth more than you can imagine. Originally, we planned on telling everyone this is was the most important thing on our Christmas wish list. But something happened during the Thanksgiving holiday that took the meaning of our sponsorship of Layers of Love to an entirely different level.

Instead of just helping promote the need to help cancer patients, I found myself on the requesting end. A very close friend of the family’s 4-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia and immediately began chemotherapy treatment just a day before Thanksgiving. I can’t even begin to explain the emotions, panic, questions, fears, etc. that raced through all of our minds. There are no answers to why this would happy to a beautiful, smart little girl who has been healthy up until now.

It’s a helpless feeling, but you want to do something to help. Immediately I thought of Layers of Love and its holiday donation requests to provide child-sized blankets to cancer patients. I knew right away this adorable little girl who knows she is “sick” needed the comfort and warmth these handmade blankets offer. Within hours of asking for a Disney Princess blanket for her, Layers of Love got to work.


The blanket has already shipped, and while I know for sure it will not only offer her warmth during her chemotherapy, I also know it will put a bright smile on her face. Priceless!

Supporting this non-profit organization was already a passion of mine, now that it’s hit closer to home, it’s time for me to step up my support. And for that I need your help. Please send Layers of Love a blanket or blankets this holiday season. For more information about the organization and donation requirements, log into www.layersoflove.net.

Did you really follow them?!?!

Twitter has made a change that many tweeps did not like… the new Activity Tab. Shortly after it went live late last week, users were quick to hashtag their rants. Just search the #activity or #activitytab hashtag, and you’ll see plenty of users complaining about the change.

Users are already comparing the change with Facebook’s news feed. With the new activity tab, it’s hard to follow a large amount of people without others noticing anymore. This can be a little aggravating if you’re trying to get your follower count up by following a lot of others. Also, if you followed the entire cast of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and you really didn’t want to ruin your intellectual reputation.

The upside of this is that you can make it a useful tool in order to find other interesting people to follow. Others can also see if you favorite a tweet. This is a plus if you never kept track to see if others were favoriting your tweets before.

On Monday night, Twitter removed the activity tab, sending users into a rejoicing, confused, yet temporary frenzy.

The activity tab has returned for some users, and they are not very happy. Some profiles have yet to see it appear again, but you should be on the look out for it. Twitter, you released the new feature to a select amount of users, then released it to everyone, then retracted, then put it back out there again? Whew.

We have a hunch, that just like with Facebook, people will eventually get over it and adapt to the change. (As long as it stays, or, comes back?) Changes in social media don’t usually receive the most positive feedback right away. Yet, changes are inevitable in this constantly adapting world of social networking platforms.

If you don’t already, you can always follow @Support in order to get the latest updates on Twitter functions.

Got Klout?

If you haven’t heard of Klout already, it is a system that gathers all of your social media interactions together and calculates a score. This score, from 1 to 100, is taken by how much you influence others.

Klout had some changes recently that have social media networkers in a flutter. Suddenly user’s scores dropped in the past two weeks. The changes to offer a “more accurate, transparent klout” have people questioning whether or not the formula actually can form your social media presence correctly. The configuration is supposed to be derived by the number of people you influence, how influential they are and how much you influence them. There seems to be a mistake in the new algorithm. The mistake lies in definition.

John McTigue, in a B2C article, explains that Klout is defining quality and quantity. Klout says that its algorithm is about quality of influence, not quantity. How do you judge that? But really, it is about quantity because you are judged by your interactions with people that are highly influential to others. It can be confusing. We know.

Here’s the best way we can think of explaining it: If you tweet Ashton Kutcher, and you just so happen to get a tweet back from him, your score should jump. This is because  of how influential he (with over 8 million followers) is to so many others. The problem is, what does that tweet say and how do you judge the quality of it?

So should you let your Klout score bother you? Some are because they think it will affect their potential job opportunities. We think that Klout had the right idea originally, wandering into a new territory that is, you can say, “influential” to the social media world. It’s certainly not something that is going to disappear, but it something that will evolve.

With so many people focusing on the numbers game in social media, we still insist offering quality content over quantity. Never ignore people who are truly interested in conversations with you (no matter what their Klout is.) And don’t worry so much about the Ashton Kutcher’s of the Twitterverse (unless of course you want to!)

Thanks for the follow, now BUY MY PRODUCT!

If you’re an active Twitter user, you should be familiar with direct messages. You may also be familiar with auto DMs. There is a setting with social media dashboards where you can send out automatic DMs when you have new followers. With this, we say to be careful. Whatever you do, DO NOT send out auto DMs with direct links to your products or any type of sales pitch.

Preferably, we say, don’t use automatic DMs at all. If you are really interested with connecting with that new follower, you should start an engaging conversation with them. Either that, or they will interact with you if they choose.

Automatic DMs generalize everyone who took the time to follow you. They may have started following you because you sent out a funny tweet. They may have seen you have the same interests, or that you’re in the same career field. Either way, if they took that time to click “follow,” you can take the time to DM them personally if you feel it’s necessary.

If you have a very active account, where there are too many followers to handle you don’t need to say “thanks for the follow” separately to each one of them. Scan your list, filter through the real, personal profiles versus the not so real. There are often “naughty” or fake profiles on Twitter that follow people at random and have zero tweets, or links to spam and viruses.

Once you have done this, choose the profiles that you find interesting. Start an interaction with them by responding to one of their tweets or retweeting them. Saying thank you is always nice, but when you’re saying thanks to everyone, it looks as if you are putting everyone in the same category. Or you could wind up filling your timeline with too many thank yous and not enough content and actual interaction that you become almost as bad as the person who auto DMs.

What to Think about Unthink…

Unthink has created a flurry of news around the country with the spotlight on Tampa Bay, considering the CEO is a Tampa resident. Natasha Dedis, has dubbed the new social media platform as the “anti-Facebook.”

Unthink, which is currently in its beta stage, promises everything on the site is completely yours– challenging highly publicized Facebook privacy concerns. The site combines Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn type features in a new way. (Is it just us, or does it look sort of like MySpace for adults?)

One of its main features is to separate social and lifestyle content from professional. With people constantly worrying about making their posts appropriate at all times, does Unthink have the right idea?

When the site first launched last week, so many people tried to sign on that the servers went down, leaving many frustrated after all the publicity online and on TV. We most certainly were. If you’re going to even make any kind of comparison to Facebook, you better be prepared for that type of response.  Just sayin’.

After a few frustrated attempts, we finally got an account set up several days later.  Here is a sneak peek of features we have seen:

  • Option to post statuses, hashtags, photos, videos and links
  • 4 separate streams including: public, social, lifestyle and professional
  • Followers and Friends
  • iEndorse Channel – Where you choose to endorse a brand
  • Apps
  • In the Loop – A feed showing your network’s actions
  • Lifestyle tree
  • iBelieve – Your “about” section

With so many features, do you think it is an asset or overwhelming? Do you think it gives you more control over your social media content? Do you think it is a threat to Facebook? If will it take a Google+ turn?

What do you THINK of UNTHINK?

An App a Day Keeps Boredom Away

If you’re as addicted to your Andriod, iPhone or iPad as we are, it’s hard to keep up with all of the apps available. Each month we want to share a few apps that are becoming a necessity or are just plain cool!

 1.     Google Navigation for Android

It may seem obvious, but if you don’t use Google Navigation, you don’t know what you’re missing. The only problem with the use of this app is that you may become totally dependent on it to get anywhere from then on. When you tap “speak destination” it will recognize your voice. You can simply say “Tropicana Field” and navigation will take you there, step-by-step.

2.     Google Sky/Star Walk

Did you ever think that by taking your cell phone and pointing at the sky it would tell you what stars were in that direction? Think no more. It sounds like a crazy futuristic feature, but it works. Google Sky for Android and Star Walk for iPhone will tell you the planets, constellations and stars that your phone is pointing to.

All images courtesy: App Store

3.     AllRecipes.com DinnerSpinner

Getting tired of whipping up the same meals every week? Need a little inspiration? With the AllRecipes.com DinnerSpinner app you just look for the type of dish you want (e.g. appetizer), then the ingredients (e.g. chicken), then select how quickly you’d like to have it ready (e.g. 20 minutes or less). Endless recipes and ideas at your fingertips!

4.     Instagram/RetroCamera

This photo-enhancing app has turned people into mobile upload fiends. Instagram for iPhone and RetroCamera for Android alters photos to give them a contrasted or retro look, depending upon which option you choose. Take artsy photos of anything!

5.     ScanBizCards Business Card Reader

Last but not least, we have a professional app for you. Have you ever lost an important business card and found yourself scrambling for the person’s contact information? ScanBizCards takes information from a business card and saves the contact information for you. You take a picture of the card and it adds the information to your contact list. It also saves the picture of the card to a gallery. A total time saver!

So what’s your favorite app right now? Leave us a comment, so we can download it too.

Did You Just Hashtag me on Facebook?

From your boss to your 14-year-old niece, almost everyone is on Facebook and/or Twitter. And since they all speak the language, the question is do you? It’s important to know the dos and don’ts of posting on social networks. And even if you think you know them, sometimes we could all use a refresher course.


Use hashtags on Facebook
There is no point to using a hashtag on Facebook. It may look “trendy,” but there is no way for friends to follow that topic via Facebook. Our suggestion would be to not connect your Twitter and Facebook updates through social media dashboards






This example brings us to another don’t.

Use social media under the influence

You may find yourself checking your notifications the next day to see that you, in fact, did post that inappropriate picture of yourself dancing on a table last night. Your boss will then know why you were late that morning.

Post a ton of useless content

By useless content we mean excessive amounts of links to your favorite YouTube videos, using your status box as a journal entry including every detail of your day, or publishing a plethora of updates about your crops in Farmville.

Spam your friends

It isn’t always in your control, but try to avoid any suspicious looking links or messages from friends on your wall. If you think it seems fishy, don’t click it. Report any suspicious messages you see or mark them as spam.

Share your personal problems

There is such a thing as too much information. Think of it this way, if you wouldn’t want it on the headline of a newspaper, you probably shouldn’t post it.


Avoid communicating with new followers or fans right away with links to buy your new product. You wouldn’t ask a new acquaintance at a social gathering to buy your product right away, so don’t do it online.


Use hashtags on Twitter

Hashtags that are related to your tweet’s topic are useful (e.g. #health). This can create a trend for others to follow. It can also be a topic that is already trending. If it is, others can find your tweet once they start following that particular subject.

Post multimedia every once in a while

No one wants to read just text all of the time. Adding mobile uploads or videos to something that you know your audience will find interesting is always a great way to get feedback.

Share your accomplishments

If you just won a prestigious award, or simply baked a beautiful cake that day, that is something that your audience will like to see.

Ask questions

Asking your audience questions gets them communicating with you and interacting with your page. Be sure if you do ask questions, respond to their answers so that your audience feels like their feedback is valued.

Share good content

This is one of the most important keys to social media. Whether it is your personal account or your business profile, sharing good content is vital. If it is your personal account, share an interesting article or a funny story. If it is your business account, share quick facts or tips about your business, how it can benefit others and related materials.

But They Ignored My Press Release!

Businesses want their events covered. Period. But what if you sent out a press release (a.k.a. news release or media release) and everyone ignored it?

Unless you’ve worked in the media or with journalists closely for a long time, you may not realize how much it’s about timing. If breaking news happens, your event turns into an afterthought, even if the media promised to cover it. But what about the things you can do to make sure your release gets noticed, or at least not deleted?

  • Can you spell? As longtime St. Pete Times columnist, journalist & friend, Ernest Hooper told my PR Writing class at the University of Tampa recently. “Spell my name right!” Will your release be ignored if you spelled the name of writer incorrectly. Quite possibly. If you can’t spell his or her name right, what other errors are in your release? That includes spelling the name of the company correctly too! With every misspelling you lose credibility.
  • Is your event really news worthy? Can the journalist tell a story about it? Some events just aren’t worthy of huge media coverage, but that shouldn’t stop you from connecting with media contacts (reporter, editor, producer, etc.) that specifically focus on the subject matter. Believe me everyone else in the newsroom will thank you from clogging up their email accounts.
  • Do you have any connections? If you don’t, you could get ignored for a long time, unless your event is so huge it can’t be ignored (think President speaking in Tampa.) Take the time to introduce yourself to journalists, get to know them personally before it’s time to ask for something. This connection doesn’t guarantee coverage, but it definitely gives you the edge over a competitor.
  •  Did you send the release out far enough in advance? If you want until the last minute, the journalist most likely has another story planned. Many plan their schedules weeks in advance, so send a release about a month in advance. Plus, you’ll want to check back in with him/her about two weeks before the event.
  • Have you tried other outlets? With social media networking, you don’t always need traditional press to create a buzz about your event. Think Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Meetup, etc. Post it on every free online resource available. Many traditional media outlets have an events section. Also, reach out to bloggers because many have loyal followers who are truly engaged which is better than a disinterested audience.
This certainly isn’t everything you need to know about writing a compelling press release, we’ll share more on that later, but it’s a great step in the right direction.
Last Straw Media wants to hear from you if you have any tips or experiences (either positive or negative) you want to share. Please leave a comment below.

Ride the Wave!

If you’ve ever started your own company or worked for a startup, you know how difficult it is to get everything you need. From a working printer to office space, it can be costly. And trying to secure the essentials is also time consuming.

Well, what if you could share the space and get the support you need to launch your company successfully? That’s exactly what TampaBayWaVE, a grassroots non-profit, is doing for young entrepreneurs of tech startups in the Tampa area.

As the owner of Last Straw Media, one year into business, I want to support this effort and help end “high tech homelessness.”

Made up of approximately 40 members with more than 70 web application ventures, Tampa Bay WaVE is currently running a Kickstarter campaign, and it doesn’t take a ton of money to help. TampaBayWaVE reached its initial goal of $3,000, but as most business owners know that’s not nearly enough to keep a co-working space running for an entire year.

The organization only has 26 days to go. If you want to help, Tampa Bay WaVE is accepting accepting ledges now until Oct. 28. Plus, there are some fun incentives for offering your support!

Facebook: A Love-Hate Relationship

I used to think I was the only one with a personal love-hate relationship with Facebook, but after reading a lot of posts about hating the new changes, I began to really think about it. I love Facebook as a free social media marketing tool for small businesses and non-profits.

It’s a great way to interact directly with your target audience, build loyalty and increase business. But sometimes have to admit I hate it as a regular person just using it to communicate with friends. Do I need to know your every movement throughout the day? Do I care if your child went to the bathroom? Gross!

A lot of people are angry about the new changes, including a new news feed that generates top stories which many of you don’t even care about. One of my friends, and fellow social media business owner, even posted how ridiculous it was she could see her own posts there. Many think Facebook will spiral downhill.

“If an organization keeps changing like this, it will create a doom loop. Facebook, to me, is becoming a doom loop. However, now that myspace has lacked prominence in social media, Facebook is capitalizing on being a captive audience. STOP the FREAKIN’ changes!” one person wrote on Last Straw Media’s Facebook page when asked how they felt.

The thing is most people were posting their angry comments on Facebook, the same site they claim to hate. So changes and all, everyone is still on Facebook. And guess what? More changes are coming.

Mashable reports, “Prepare Yourselves: Facebook to Be Profoundly Changed.” Today at its f8 conference in San Francisco, Facebook is launching changes that Mashable (which was pre-briefed on the revamp) says “The Facebook you know and (don’t) love will be forever transformed. The news that will come out of Facebook during the next few weeks will be the biggest things to come out of the company since the launch of the Facebook Platform.”

Let’s face it, Facebook already has 750,000 active users, most of whom aren’t going anywhere because Facebook is where most of their friends and family members are. While some have predicted Google+ is going to get an edge here. I for one, think Google is a little late in the game to bring down Facebook– thought I do of course keep an eye on the new social media tool.

With a big buildup like that, I can’t wait to see what Facebook has in store. Love it or hate it, I think most users aren’t going anywhere.

Small Businesses Have Chance at Free Facebook Ads

Many small businesses shirk away from advertising on Facebook because the owners simply don’t have the money, or they started a business page because it is a free marketing technique already. But Facebook ads can be particularly useful when small businesses want to target a specific audience that will be interested in its product.

“Facebook is planning to give away $50 in free advertising to as many as 200,000 small businesses in a bid to give them a taste of the social network’s marketing potential,” said Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.

Next week, Facebook will unveil a plan to offer free $50 advertising credits for up to 200,000 small businesses. When a person clicks on a Facebook ad, there’s a predetermined rate for that click through the advertiser pays, 25 cents for example. Facebook will pick up the tab for the first $50 of these ads under this offer. That amount of money may seem like small potatoes, and it definitely is to large corporations, but for small businesses it can help target people they need to target to help grow their business.

For example, a child clothing store could connect with people who list on Facebook that they are parents. This opportunity gives the store a way to make connections, where the business wasn’t necessarily before.

At first glance, this offer could be a great opportunity for small businesses and gets the owners to at least try it. As with all advertising, make sure you read the small print before taking advantage of any offer.

Sources: USA Today and Smart Brief.