Writer, Christian, SEO/Social Media Marketer, Book Reviewer, Deaf and Loud.

Tag Archives: Twitter

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Image Credits: Slice Communications 

Hey guys! Happy Independence Day weekend! For those of you who are not from the US, well, happy weekend. :).

Today I am going to take a short break from the 30 day writing challenge to write about Social Media Day Philadelphia. I attended this convention held at the Franklin Institute on Thursday, June 30th with 3 of my co-workers from Penn Medicine. All of them work as web content coordinators while I work as as a Web./Social Media Monitoring Specialist. Together, we work on creating engaging and informative content for the Penn Medicine website, newsletters, social media pages, and more.

This is actually the first social media convention I’ve ever been to, so it’s safe to say I was pretty pumped about having the opportunity to attend. I made a few rookie mistakes including being one of the most over-dressed people there (at least I was dressed to impress, right?), not bringing my laptop (it wouldn’t have helped much as it needs a new battery though), and not having an extra power bank or means of charging my phone on-hand (I live tweeted a majority of the convention, so it didn’t take long for my battery to shoot down to 0%. Despite these rookie mistakes, I still had a really good time and learned a lot. I think my first social media convention was definitely a success.

Here’s a breakdown of my day:

9:00am: Slice Communications gave a welcoming speech. This was a great way to kick things off. I always loved Slice Communications ever since my former coworker and friend introduced me to them about a year ago. They are doing so many great things in the world of digital marketing. They were great hosts for the event. Cassandra Bailey, President and CEO, has so much energy and is so well organized for the event. I really love her bright yellow dress, too. I don’t even like the color yellow, but it fits her bright personality and shows that she is from Slice (Slice’s logo is yellow) which I think is great.

9:10am: Erin Dress, Brand Marketing Specialist and CPG at Twitter delivers opening keynote. I was so excited to hear Erin Dress speak, mainly because she is from Twitter. I definitely agreed with her points on how Twitter is where people go to gain information and that it’s one of the most trustworthy social networks (I think LinkedIn is more so though, but Twitter is broader).The facts about Twitter’s advertising vs. Facebook’s intrigued me. I never realized that Facebook targets users based on demographics while Twitter targets more specific interests. In general, Twitter’s advertising options are more focused. Perhaps this is why the CPC is generally much higher for Twitter ads than they are for Facebook ads. I also agreed that your brand’s message needs to be personalized. The example of using emojis and how Dove created one with curly hair was amazing. I always liked emojis,but I realize they can be tricky to incorporate into marketing. The idea of creating a whole new emoji strictly for your brand is brilliant.

10:00am: Break. During this first break I spotted Nick Walz! Nick and I worked together for a few years at WebiMax. He left in March of 2015 while I left in April of 2016. We talk to each other on a semi-frequent basis, but we haven’t actually seen each other since his last day at WebiMax. It was so nice to see him and catch up on everything. Nick is pretty awesome and a bit of a social media guru. He taught me pretty much everything I know about social media. I really enjoyed working with him in the past and being mentored by him and I’m sure he’s doing great things as a media strategist for Harmelin Media now. Remember his name, Philly.

10:10am: My co-workers and I decided to attend the Healthcare Digital Darwinism panel since we all work in Healthcare (obvious choice). This panel made me feel really good about myself and the business I represent because I felt we were doing many things right. Many of the speakers stressed the importance of responding to messages on Facebook and other platforms, especially if they were negative, within 20 minutes or less and to have a social media emergency response plan in effect. We do have an emergency response ready to go when needed and always answer ASAP. I liked how some of the speakers mentioned using Facebook messenger to talk directly with users/patients. I know a lot of brands shy away from that direct interaction, but I think in the healthcare industry, it’s really important. I enjoyed this panel overall. My only criticisms are that a lot of the points made were things I already knew and not all of the speakers worked much with social media, which considering it’s social media day, was weird to me.

10:50AM: Break. My co-workers knew some of the speakers and wanted to catch up with them after the panel.I think it was Daniel Moise, Social Media Strategist at Virtua Health, that we spoke to. He seemed very smart and friendly.

10:55am: CMO Roundtable. Choosing to attend this panel was not an easy decision. We were torn between this and the other option, Social is the New Digital Currency, but in the end my coworkers and I decided to go with the CMO Roundtable since we don’t have a CMO (it became a little bit of an inside joke for us). Plus, we were already in the room that this chat was being held at and after spending our whole break talking with the speakers from the healthcare panel, we were cutting it close on time. The CMO Roundtable was actually pretty good. The CMOs expressed the importance of using Facebook to show a fun side of their brand and the importance of being authentic on social media. I loved how they said that if something isn’t working in your social strategy, you need to change it quickly. I spent nearly 3 years working for an agency and sometimes this could be a tough decision to make when trying something new. Do you keep waiting it out, or do you change it before it’s too late? Hearing their advice to change it before it’s too late was a bit of a game changer for me and will certainly affect how I view future campaign when experimenting with new strategies. Of all of the CMO’s speaking for this panel, Carolina Lobo was by far my favorite. She was very polished and professional, but completely real and hilarious when you least expected her to be so. “Authenticity” was one of the words of the day for Social Media Day Philadelphia 2016, 2nd only to “influencer”, but Carolina was one of the few who not only spoke about the importance of being authentic, but she actually WAS authentic. Quote Of The Day: “No one gives a crap about the awards the CMOs win.” – Carolina Lobo. CMO’s, take note.

11:35am: Break. My coworkers knew the speaker Drew Diskin, CMO of WizeHive, so they wanted to speak with him for a few minutes. I never met Drew, let alone worked with him in the past, but I was vaguely familiar with WizeHive so I was curious to see what he had to say. Drew is a very bold and confident man. He didn’t talk much about how work with WizeHive, but gave us a little bit of leadership advice from the perspective of a CMO.

11:40am: Building a Data-Driven Company: Lessons From The Front Line. My coworkers and I chose to attend this talk over hearing the guy from Comcast talk about his work because we wanted to hear things that could benefit or effect us, not just hear others success stories. This talk was given by Robert J. Moore from RJ Metrics. I have been following them online for awhile and was familiar with the brand. I knew that the people behind the brand were very smart and always produced great content. The downside? I work as a content creator. I’m more for the writing and creative side of things. Data and numbers and statistics make my head spin. I didn’t really process or understand anything Robert said during the first half of his presentation. However, during part 2 I was extremely engaged. In part 2 he explained the great RJ Metrics logo fail story. I love how he saw this as an opportunity to further explore his own company, his audience, and do what RJ Metrics does best: use data to analyze and pull it all together. They did a great job of honing up to their mistake and more than that, they took pride in it. They wrote blog posts and talked with the media about their logo fail. They never once tried to run away or hide from it. They embraced it. They became masters at turning a negative into a positive. The results? RJ Metrics gained trust and authenticity within their audience. I think everyone in some shape or form can kind of relate to this honest mistake. It is a funny story that made RJ Metrics more memorable. In the end, this mistake worked wonders for them.

12:20pm: (The Most Philadelphian) Lunch Time! The organizers of the event were nice enough to provide lunch for everyone. It was a grab and go boxed lunch with plenty of varieties of sandwiches for everyone to choose from. I grabbed a turkey one and my coworkers and I headed to the cafeteria to eat. When we opened our boxes we were surprised by how much food they gave us. We all had a hoagie/sandwich/or wrap, a bag of Herr’s (Philadelphia company) chips, a small container of fruit salad, a Tastykake (another Philadelphia company), and a soft pretzel (Philadelphian snack). We joked that it felt like being back in elementary school. Once we were all finished eating we headed to the giant heart and the brain exhibits to get a few pictures for the Heart and Vascular and Neuroscience service lines and to just kind of play around with some things.

1:30 Flash Talk With Cecily Kellogg of Double Good Media. The flash talk with Cecily Kellogg of Double Good Media was probably my most favorite talk of the day. Cecily may not have been a keynote speaker and she may have only had 15 minutes, but those 15 minutes were powerful. Even though she is a hardcore liberal and I’m a hardcore conservative and personally, we probably don’t have all that much in common, I still felt deeply connected to her and could relate. She talked about the mistakes she made in the past as a mommy blogger and her regrets over sharing her every thought and how she branded herself in all of the wrong ways. This had some very dire consequences on herself, her family, and her reputation. In the end, Cecily decided her best option was to quit being a mommy blogger and start over from scratch. Cecily is the pure definition of what it means to be authentic. She is more careful about how she presents herself online now, but she still has the same attitude and personality. When she speaks, you know she’s the real deal. I’ve always been pretty open online and had an “everything goes” mindset like Cecily. Her talk inspired me to be a little more careful about what I post online and to think before posting.

1:45pm: Flash  Talk With Jen Leary of Red Paw Emergency Relief Team. The flash talk with Jen Leary from the Red Paw Emergency Relief Team was another one of my favorite talks. Jen isn’t known as being a social media guru and she doesn’t claim to be one — she is a firefighter to the core and I really appreciated her honesty. There are many people that will brag about being a social media guru especially at these kinds of events, so it’s refreshing to hear stories like this coming from people who flat out admit “I had no idea what I was doing and I’m still working to figure things out.” Jen seems to be doing a great job figuring it all out! It was inspiring to hear about how much money she and her team were able to raise through Facebook. I’m looking into doing some fundraising on my own in the near future to support Aid the Silent, so this gave me a lot of hope. I also totally agree with her points on the power of a good image and working a little to play on people’s sympathy especially when it comes time to ask for donations. Images can and often are more effective than text alone.

2:00pm:Flash Talk With Teresa Lopez from Seer Interactive: My phone was completely dead by this point so I couldn’t live tweet and that made me inherently sad because there was SO MUCH good information here. I have become OBSESSED with Pinterest marketing over the last 6 months because I know that it holds many SEO benefits and I love the advertising options. I was excited about this one too because I have heard so much about Seer Interactive and know quite a few very talented individuals who have or currently do work for Seer and do an amazing job. I already knew about the importance of performing keyword research and adding keywords into Pinterest board titles and descriptions. I didn’t realize how little weight the actual pins have on SEO though. I’ll definitely spend less time on the individual pins and more time on the boards and the actual account optimizations moving forward.

2:15pm: Flash Talk With Susan Poulton from The Franklin Institute. Susan Poulton has a bit of sass that comes with her, which representing the Franklin Institute, was a little unexpected. In her words, she’s “definitely shaking things up at The Franklin Institute”, and with her language and word choice, it’s easy to see why. I liked her though. I liked hearing about how her mission goes beyond just getting people to buy tickets to the museum. One thing that really stood out as being interesting to me was how she is working with her team to market The Franklin Institute globally. I always saw it as being a “Philadelphia” thing and if I were in her position I would probably market it locally, but now that I’m thinking about it, her strategy makes perfect sense. There are many tourists that visit Philadelphia and The Franklin Institute from all over the country that she needs to target and reach, not to mention the general science nerds interested in the science content. Susan made me realize the importance of marketing in a way that can reach everyone, not just those local to your business.

2:45pm: Feature Talk with Pam Didner: How to Maximize The Synergy of Your Social Media & Content Marketing Efforts. My coworkers and I chose this talk with Pam Didner over the one given by/about Curalate, because once again, we wanted to hear about general social media topics, not people’s personal success stories or what they do at their jobs. I had a bit of trouble hearing Pam due to her accent, but when I did hear her, I enjoyed her presentation. She doesn’t look like it at first glance, but she is actually really funny which made her talk even better. I especially enjoyed the templates she provided on how to identify your audience vs. your target user persona and what the difference is. Your audience is general but the persona is more specific, and while the audience may help you to spread your message, the persona is really the one who will follow your brand, use your services, or buy your products. This is why it’s so important not only to identify your audience, but the persona you want to target as well.

3:30pm: What’s Next in Social Media Panel. I got nothing from this panel. It went off topic a lot and was really hard to follow. The moderator asked a question at one point about ROI and someone’s answer was “What’s the ROI of your mom?” My jaw almost hit the floor. I know the tone of the convention was all lighthearted and funny, but that seemed like a little much to me. Judging by the rest of the audience’s reactions, no one else was feeling this panel too much, either. I found an electrical outlet in the floor I was using to charge my phone with, so I began to play around with that and look at all of the other #SMDayPHL tweets. No one was really tweeting much about this panel. Everyone else was just on their phones and laptops and looked like they were waiting for this panel to end.

After that last panel, my co-workers and I decided to call it a day. We still had to travel back home and preferred to do it before it got dark and before it got too late/crowded. Many other attendees followed suit. I do have a few small regrets for skipping the closing keynote given by Kristina Neher though. I read the highlights of it and saw the live tweets come in and it sounds like it was a great presentation on the power of visuals in marketing. I was surprised to hear from the highlights how much higher Instagram engagement is than Facebook. I feel like Facebook is the most powerful social platform that can work for pretty much any business whereas Instagram requires more work and I feel like Instagram is for a younger audience and geared more towards personal use. It looks like it’s time for me to change my attitude towards Instagram! I was also surprised to learn than emails with the word “video” in the subject have a 19% higher open rate…that is definitely something I’m looking to experiment more with in the near future. I liked the idea of using your audience and having them do your marketing for you. If someone from your audience takes a picture of your product for instance, sharing that image can be more powerful and credible than posting your own professional image. I wish this talk would’ve been the opening keynote…it sounds like they really did save the best for last and I’m sorry I missed out on it. :-/

Overall, my first social media convention was a success. I had a really great time and I learned a lot. I look forward to attending it again next year. Who knows, maybe one of these years I’ll even have the opportunity to speak!

Did you attend Social Media Day Philadelphia? If so, what was your favorite part?


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Image Credits: Careers Galaxy

Hi everyone and Happy May Day! It’s the start of a fresh new month filled with new writing possibilities! May has always been one of my favorite months because there are so many exciting things happening. My birthday is in exactly one week (yes, it’s Mother’s Day), the second draft of my novel, God Granted Me Hearing is almost complete, and there are several other projects in the works for me right now, some of which I currently have to stay mum on but I’ll discuss when the time is right.

For now, I’d like to kick off the month by doing a 30-day writing challenge I found posted on Facebook. Here’s the challenge for anyone else who is interested:

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Image Credits: The Writer’s Circle

As you can see, the first prompt is to write about 5 problems with social media. This is a little bit of a challenge for me since I make a living off of social media. However, while I love working with social media, even I am not immune to the fact that social media comes with several problems and drawbacks, too. Here are 5 problems with social media.

  1. It’s making us anti-social. It’s so easy to “like” things on Facebook and to comment on someone’s post or send them a message. When we have a screen separating us from people, we feel like we have protection and that makes us fearless. But what happens when we take away the screen? We lose our communication skills. Communicating online isn’t the same as communicating in real life. We as a society have gotten so good at communicating on social media that we forgot how to talk to each other in person. When we are alone with a group of our “friends” we often don’t know what to say, so we pull out our cell phones and talk to each other on Facebook or Twitter or send photos on SnapChat or Instagram instead. It’s pretty sad and well, depressing, which brings me to my next point…
  2. It depresses us. Thanks to social media, we are constantly made aware of what is going on in everyone else’s lives. We don’t really know these people or what their story really is. We probably don’t even ever talk to them. But we see the things that they post. We see the picture of their new expensive designer handbag. We hear about their new home, job promotion, new car. We see their engagement announcements and baby announcements. These are such happy, exciting times for those people, so why aren’t we happy for them? We are depressed instead of happy because rather than being happy for these people, we are forced to compare ourselves with them. We look at their lives and see how they compare to our own. Are we happy in love? Are we engaged or married and/or expecting a baby? Are we making the same amount of money? Are we as happy and successful as they are? While these people are often not on the same level as us (often times they are actually below us), we aren’t capable of seeing it that way. We only focus on what they have that we don’t have and then we devalue our own feelings of self worth and become depressed. Before social media, we didn’t have the ability to know so much about the people in our lives. We were happier before social media.

    3. It distorts the truth. On social media it is so easy to connect with anyone from any place in the world. This also means it is easy to become anyone in the world. How would anyone know? That random person you met online could actually be a terrorist. That 25 year old might be 55. The 18 year old could be 12. You don’t always know what’s true and what’s not.

    I learned this lesson the hard way. When I was in my early 20s, I met a man online through my work with Bit Rebels. He was in his early 30s. He was everything I ever wanted in a man and I loved him very much. He lived in Florida and I lived in NJ, which naturally posed some challenges for our relationship, but I did end up getting to meet him in person once when he came to NJ for a few days. We had a great time together. He really was the 32 year old Puerto Rican man from Florida that he said he was. However, personality and personal life wise, there were many things he hid from me. He was a con artist. He met many different women over the years just like me and he made himself the person that woman wanted. Then he would come home and break up with them and go on to the next one. He was also a failed businessman that has gone bankrupt multiple times and been fired from many jobs over the years. I never quite found out the truth about him, but I did learn a very important lesson; you can’t trust anyone online. No one is what they appear to be.

    4. It is being taken over by businesses.When is the last time you used social media without seeing a post or advertisement from a business? I can’t remember the last time I did. Even back in the last days of MySpace, businesses were starting to realize that if they wanted to reach people, they needed to be active on social media.

    I must admit I feel kind of guilty writing about this because I am part of the problem. I work in marketing and I market to people online such as through social media. I am fortunate and blessed that social media has had such a huge role in marketing because without it, I may not have a job. But at the same time, sometimes all of that marketing and all of those ads from businesses on social media gets really annoying and I yearn for the days when social media didn’t exist and I couldn’t be as easily marketed to.

    5. It’s highly addictive.I will be the first one to admit that I am highly addicted to social media. It’s so easy to become addicted because it’s always there. I have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest LinkedIn, and SnapChat all installed on my smart phone. My phone is constantly going off with notifications about someone on social media. I can and have on multiple occasions wasted an entire day doing nothing more than posting on Facebook. That’s no way of living life.

    I am getting much better with my social media addiction though. I realized there is more to life than social media and so much more that I want to do. I always say I don’t do things I enjoy because I don’t have time for them. Actually, that’s not always true. The truth is that I don’t do things I enjoy because I waste all of my time on social media.

    For the past couple of weeks I have been really limiting myself to how much time I spend on social media (with the exception of work related usage). Instead of constantly being on social media, when I’m not at work I try to abide by the following schedule: Read a chapter or two of a book, read the latest industry-relevant news posted on LinkedIn or Twitter (in this case social media is different, I’m not using it recreationally but for my career), color a picture (I love to color in adult coloring books – it relaxes me), read your bible, pray, clean the house, go for a walk or go to the gym, edit your book, write a blog post, watch TV.By the time I get all of these things done (It’s very rare that I have time in the day to do ALL of them), I don’t have time to waste on social media, and I’m more than okay with that. I have been much more productive as of late and I’ve also been much happier.


Is the internet still free?

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It seems like ever since the internet was invented, there’s been a belief that using it comes at a high cost. Sure, you may have to pay a monthly fee of around $70 a month, but considering the high frequency that we use the internet and our extreme dependency on it, $70 a month is a price that most don’t mind spending. It sure beats being charged for every search query and website visit, right? For these reasons many individuals still see the internet as being relatively “free.”

But is it really free? It seems like users are paying more and more to use the internet, especially marketers. Gone are the days where $70 a month for hosting was all a marketer would have to pay to be present on the web.  Now it’s becoming more costly to stand out online.

Paying to be social

No digital marketer would refute the importance of having a presence on social media in 2016. But that is no longer enough. Now marketers must invest in a variety of Facebook Ads if they want to be seen on the network. Just when we started to accept that we’ll have to pay if we want to see any website clicks or conversions or gain any new followers, Facebook dropped yet another bomb on us. They began to show organic content less and less in news feeds. The way around this? Boosting posts. Simply put, if you want to be seen, you better pay up.

Facebook isn’t stupid. It knows that it has become a powerhouse for marketers looking to advertise their businesses, and that they will jump through all kinds of hoops to get results for their business even if it means coughing up some dough. Now, after seeing Facebook make billions of dollars (last quarter alone Facebook reportedly made over $5 billion thanks in a large part to ads) off of its paid advertising platform, other social networks are jumping on the bandwagon.

Twitter and LinkedIn have been offering sponsored posts and other ads for years. While their organic reach isn’t nearly as terrible as Facebook’s, many marketers and users are catching on to the fact that paid advertising will allow them to reach a larger audience at a quicker pace. For many, it has been a worthwhile investment. And it doesn’t stop there.

Pinterest launched its Promoted Pins platform a few years ago. While still in limited release (you have to apply and be approved for them first), they have quickly grown on users looking to receive maximum engagements. I have personally observed that my organic Pinterest pins typically go unnoticed and receive little to no engagements, but when I invest even just $20 in a promoted pin, I’m guaranteed to get hit with a number of repins, comments, and likes. With over 50 million pins cluttering Pinterest, Promoted Pins seem one of the most effective ways for growing your Pinterest presence and increasing engagement.”

Instagram also jumped on the advertising bandwagon this past summer by allowing users to invest in paid ads in the form of website clicks, video ads, engagement ads, app install ads, and more recently, promoted posts. This is not at all surprising being that Instagram is owned by the champ of social media paid advertising: Facebook. In fact, many of the Instagram ads are only available if used in correlation with a Facebook ad. This just further drills in the point that effective social media marketing is no longer free.

Going beyond social media

If you think the answer to avoid paying to use the internet is to simply cut all ties with social media, think again. Social media may be the front-runner in internet marketing expenses, but they aren’t alone. SEO marketing comes with a slew of hard costs now, too.

Simple tasks that used to be free like guest blogging or creating business listings for SEO purposes are beginning to come at a high cost. Many blogs refuse to publish guest contributions (especially if it contains an affiliate link) unless you’re willing to pay. The average cost is usually around $100-$150, with some of the more popular and well-known bloggers charging as much as $500 or more for a single guest post. As for local directories, while some are still free, the most effective ones seem to be a part of Yext, and a subscription will cost you a minimum of $500 a year.

Some marketers are choosing to abandon SEO marketing altogether now since it takes a lot of time and effort and doesn’t always guarantee results. Why bother wasting time and effort on something that is essentially a gamble when marketers can simply pay Google for pay-per-click advertising and have their ads displayed at the top of search results? This seems like a much more efficient means of marketing, and naturally, Google agrees.

In fact, Google is now making pay per click advertising even more expensive. More recently, Google decided to remove pay per click listings from the right side of search results, meaning that they now only display at the top of the results. This means that pay per click advertising is more competitive than ever before. If you want your PPC campaign to be successful, you may need to reconsider your keywords and ad bids, which could mean paying more.

Where do we go from here?

Why are we paying such a high cost to use the internet these days? The answer is simple: because we want to be found. We invest a lot of time and effort into our businesses, blog posts, and social media pages. If nobody sees it, it all goes to waste. The only way to guarantee that our content is easily visible to our target audience is to pay to have it promoted and made visible. And because we keep paying for it, people keep charging for it.

If we want to make the internet free and eliminate all of the hard costs that are now associated with using it, then we need to stop paying into the ideology that the only way to advertise a  business is to pay for social media advertising, pay-per-click, and other paid promotions.

We need to get back to the way things once were – back to engaging with users organically on social media by responding to their content and making a genuine effort to connect with them. We need to stop advertising and marketing to people, and instead build relationships with them. There is no price that can be put on the foundation of relationships. It is the most time-consuming form of marketing, but also the most effective and rewarding.

The internet is no longer the “free” service we always thought it was. It’s getting more expensive by the day and we have no one to blame but ourselves. However, we do have more power to stop it than we think. It is up to us to determine the fate (or the expense) of using the internet in the future.


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For those of you who may not know, I blog at Confessions of a Def Deaf Girl on a regular basis. This is a blog that I started up over a year ago when I first started to seriously consider getting my first cochlear implant. This blog is something that’s become very important to me over the last year as it is my way of documenting my story, connecting and sharing my story with others in the Deaf community that may be going through the same thing(s), and also using it a a tool to express my emotions and a times, vent a little. I’m actually in the process of transforming my blog into a full-fledged novel now, with the first draft recently completed.

Around 8 months – a year after launching Confessions of a Def Deaf Girl, I realized I should take my blog to social media so that I can reach even more of my target audience. I remembered how big of a role social media played in my decision to get my first cochlear implant. If it wasn’t for all of the Facebook groups I joined and people I talked to in those groups and the people I connected with on Instagram, I may never have went through with getting my cochlear implant.

I have a lot of experience with social media marketing. I currently work as a Digital Marketing Manager – SMO at WebiMax, where social media is my specialty. Prior to my employment at WebiMax, I also managed Rowan University’s social accounts. However, that doesn’t mean I know everything there is to know about social media. I do know this: there’s always room to learn more when it comes to social media. Marketing my blog on social media has taught me quite a few things. Here are 7 lessons I learned by marketing my blog on social media.

1. Don’t Be Afraid to Be Unique. Let’s be real, there are way more people in the world that don’t have a cochlear implant and/or aren’t deaf than people who are. There isn’t exactly an  overwhelming amount of Facebook pages or Twitter accounts out there dedicated to cochlear implants and/or the Deaf/HOH community. However, this has worked as an advantage to me. I knew from my own personal experience that there is a demand for these kinds of pages on social media. I can’t be the only Deaf girl looking for a fun, informative, and positive social pages to connect with. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for on social media, create it. You’ll be at more of an advantage than a disadvantage for being unique. It just means less competition!

2. Be Generous. You know what one of my biggest pet peeves is on social media? Selfish people/brands. I can’t stand when a person or brand never takes to the time to reply to comments or messages. I hate when people or brands never share or comment on other posts or otherwise engage with their audience.

With my own social pages I am always connecting with other users and sharing their content. I noticed some of my best posts that receive the highest engagements are ones that I shared from others. And it also encourages those pages to like my page and engage with my posts, too! It’s a win-win all around.

3. Be Helpful. Why should people visit your page? What do they want to know? In my case, there’s an endless list of questions that people have. What do cochlear implants sound like? What can people expect after activation? What kind of training can they do with their cochlear implant? I share my own personal blog posts that contain helpful information, news articles, and other resources to help people out.

I also take things a step further and answer any questions people may have on a regular basis. One woman even sent me a surgery to answer for her Speech Language Pathologist certification. It was a long list of questions that took me awhile to answer, but I still made a point to answer her in a PM and she couldn’t have been more appreciate of it. I love helping others on Facebook because I remember how everyone came and helped me when I was at the beginning of my cochlear implant process in November of 2014.

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4. Know Your Audience. One of the most important parts of effective Facebook marketing lies in knowing your audience. I know my audience very well, because this is my life – the community that I live in. I am a direct member of my audience. My audience is a wide age range (although I purposely try to target young adults/teens since I know there is a huge lack of online resources/social pages available for them that deal with the Deaf community) of individuals who have some form of hearing loss or who work or live with someone that has hearing loss. My posts are geared for this audience and questions they have, challenges they face, and products they may be interested in.

If I one day started posting about seeing dogs, LASIK surgery, braille, and the blind community I may see a decrease in my level of engagement and even lose some followers because those topics are not relevant to my audience. My audience is predominately Deaf/HOH, not blind. Know your audience and know that your content caters specifically for their needs and interests.

5. Organic Marketing Isn’t “Dead”. It’s common knowledge that it has been increasingly difficult to achieve a social following organically these days, especially on Facebook. However  the idea that organic marketing is “dead” is merely a myth. Organic marketing is difficult, but far from “dead”.

I personally cannot afford paid advertising on social media to promote my blog at this time, but I am more than happy with my organic results thus far. I have 56 Likes on Facebook. To some that may not seem like a lot, but considering I have never run an Ad for Likes and the page is just a few months old, I feel like I am making good progress. I’ve gotten 18 Likes alone just in the last 30 days. That’s more than a quarter of my overall likes!

And my engagement? It’s been even better than what I see some people getting from paid advertising. Take for instance a post I shared this morning about a doll with a cochlear implant:

good fb engagement

It’s been up for only a few hours and already gained 2 shares 6 Likes, and reached 801 people. I also gained 2 more Page Likes shortly after posting this. Not bad for an all-organic post! I can only imagine how well my page will do when the time comes that I can afford to invest in paid advertising!

6. Don’t Be Overly Promotional. One thing that I love about promoting my blog on social media that I’m sure everyone else appreciates is this: I’m not trying to sell anything. I’m sure that everyone hates constantly having their News Feed or Twitter Feed flooded with brands and businesses trying to sell their products. It definitely gets annoying and at times makes me want to unlike or unfollow the account. I do of course promote my blog, but that’s not the *ONLY* thing I do. I make sure I only post about my blog 2-3 times a month on average. The other posts are industry-relevant news, quotes, images, questions, and more fun, social, and engaging content. I imagine if all I did on social media was ask people to read my blog, I wouldn’t have as many followers or as much engagement.

When you don’t constantly shove your products or services down people’s throats, they’ll be more inclined to go to it on their own, too. Case in point? One of my followers chose to visit my blog through my Facebook page on their own today as seen through my CTA button analytics:

learn more cta FB

Instead of worrying about promoting all of your products and your business on social media, focus more on creating great content that will make people want to learn more about your business/brand and purchase your products or utilize your services.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Recycle Old Content. I share old blog posts on social media all the time. I know a lot of my earlier posts from when I was going through the process of getting my cochlear implant for the first time are some of my strongest, most helpful pieces of content I have and my audience loves them. I make a note of when I share my blog posts and where I share them though so that I can be sure I’m not sharing the same post continuously. I also like to vary between which ones I share on Facebook and which I share on Twitter to keep things fresh at all. Remember, great content is timeless and deserves to be shared more than once. You’re bound to come across some new audience members who haven’t seen it yet that will be sure to enjoy it just as much as they enjoy your newer content.

The best way to learn about social media marketing and what does or doesn’t work is by doing it. Even though my social campaign for my blog is entirely organic and done for fun, I have still learned quite a bit. Once my book is complete I’d like to invest in paid advertising to promote my blog and my book and I’m sure I’ll be learning even more about social media marketing through that experience as well.

 


So it’s New Year’s Eve. I’m about to close another chapter of my life and begin a new one. I already wrote what my New Year’s resolutions are and about what I hope to accomplish in 2014. Now I’d like to look back on my best moments of the past year. 2013 was a pretty crazy year. It’s definitely had its ups and downs, but overall it was pretty cool and if 2014 follows a similar path I’d be quite alright with that. Here are my Top 10 Moments From 2013.
10. Meeting Casey In Real Life. 

Casey-Fraites-and-I-Rowan

This was my 2nd day with Casey, May 9, 2013.I took this picture outside of the student center by my favorite bridge. I loved showing him around and he really seemed to like the campus.

I think this can go on two lists: top 10 best moments and top 10 worst moments. Casey and I were randomly brought together in 2012 after  meeting online through my writing for Bit Rebels. We became very quick friends and I ultimately ended up falling in love with him. For awhile we dismissed having a real relationship since he’s 34 and I’m 23 and he lives in Florida and I live in NJ. However, the more we talked the more our friendship grew and we just wanted more. It started to seem possible and like it was meant to be. We made our relationship official on April 1, 2013.

We started planning when we would meet for the first time in real life. We knew it was something we had to do it was just a matter of when. Casey was an avid traveller and used to these things so the plan was he’d visit me. Originally we planned to meet for his birthday which was in July. However, when he learned that my birthday was in May he quickly changed his plans.

Casey and I met for the first time on my 23rd birthday which was May 8, 2013. We spent the next 3 days together hanging out at the mall, seeing movies, going out to eat, and I even took him to Rowan for a book signing event. We had a great time and even though we broke up a month later, it’s something I will always remember.
9. Valentine’s Day

For those of you who don’t know Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday. In 2012 I was dating a real jerk that made things really bad for Valentine’s Day. I was single for it in 2013 and couldn’t have been happier. I had off of work and I treated myself to an iPhone. I previously only had a crappy Cricket phone that couldn’t really do anything. I fell in love with my iPhone instantly. I don’t know how I ever went without it…this phone is amazing!

Here’s the first picture I took with my iPhone…notice my candy heart earrings and heart headband…I get really into Valentine’s Day!

first-picture-taken-with-iPhone

8. Grounds for Sculpture. My mom always has off on Wednesdays and weekends. When I worked at Walmart I had off every Thursday and that was about it. One week I got lucky and had off on a Wednesday. We wanted to do something fun and different together as a family so we gave Grounds for Sculpture a try. It was such a fun day! I can’t wait to go back sometime. There’s so much to see! Here’s a few of our pictures:

mom-and-dad-grounds-for-sculpture

dad-and-i-grounds-for-sculpture

mom-pushing-wall-grounds-for-sculpture

mom-in-hammock-grounds-for-sculpture

parents-and-farmers-grounds-for-sculpture

mom-and-i-grounds-for-sculpture

Honestly one of the things I like the most about this picture is that I had to throw that shirt out because it no longer fits…it’s way too big! That’s a problem I don’t mind having… 😉

7.Yellowcard Concert Yellowcard has been one of my favorite bands for years and their Ocean Avenue album was practically revolutionary for me. I listened to that album thousands of time. Pretty much every single song on it is very important and meaningful for me. When I found out that they were doing a 10 year acoustic anniversary tour for the album I just had to go. I definitely wasn’t disappointed.  You can check out my full review of the Yellowcard Ocean Avenue Acoustic Tour Here. Here’s some videos from the show:

6. Commencement. I actually graduated in December of 2012, but my commencement wasn’t until May of 2013. I’ll be honest, Commencement was a little disappointing to me and I thought my community college graduation was 1000x’s better,but it was still a nice final “hoorah!”. I achieved something no one else in my family has — not just one, but two bachelor’s degrees.

Rowan-prof-commencement

This is Rowan’s mascot The Prof…we’re just too cool to call ourselves the Rowan Owls…

graduating-with-college-of-communication-and-creative-arts

I recieved a bachelor’s in English and a Bachelor’s in Writing Arts. I chose to participate in the Writing Arts ceremony with the College of Communication & Creative Arts

rowan-commencement

The red and white cords represent my membership with the Lambda Pi Eta Communications Honor Society.

thumbs-up-i-made-it

 

carpe-diem-rowan-grad-cap

I spent way too much time trying to decide how to decorate my cap. This was perfect. It’s a line from Dead Poets Society (my favorite movie and a movie that fits in well with both of my majors) that means “Seize the Day”.

5. Christmas  This was the best Christmas my family and I had for a long time. It was the first Christmas in our new home and we were all happy and well. The past few years have been rough with losing family members and financial struggles. We were very financially stable this year which definitely helped, but at the same time we always remember the true meaning of Christmas. Just having a nice day together was one of the things that made this year’s Christmas so special.
4. Working at Webimax I started 2013 still working at Walmart and it made me completely miserable. I hated it. I worked very hard and pretty much all I ever got was a hard time from everyone and taken advantage of by co-workers and management. I constantly applied for “real” jobs but the job market is no joke these days. Seriously, if you’re looking for a job good luck at getting so much as an interview. My job search lead me some interesting places…such as hundreds of miles from home in the middle of nowhere also known as State College PA:

state-college-pa

I interviewed for a digital journalist position at Accuweather. I was really late because apparently it’s really easy to get lost in the middle of nowhere. They didn’t like me and I didn’t like them much either. No surprise I didn’t get this job. I’m quite thankful for that…I was less than enthused about the idea of moving to State College.

I applied to Webimax several times over the course of 2013. The first being about two days before my trip to State College actually. I applied again when they announced they were hiring over the summer. I never gave up on them because in my heart I knew that was my dream job and where I really wanted to be.

I was interviewed for an Inbound Marketer position around the beginning of July. The interview went extremely well, but unfortunately they were unable to hire me at that time. So my job search continued as I remained a cashier at Walmart.

webimax-interview-pink-blazer

I took this picture right before my interview at Webimax. It took me forever to decide what to wear. I loved the pink blazer because I thought it would help me to stand out and be more memorable.

Then everything began to fall in place. I had an interview set up with The Christian Post. It sounded promising except for one thing…the interview was to take place in NYC on 9/11…not a time when you want to go to the city. It was also a 100+ degree day…not ideal for wearing a business suit and walking around the city…

God works in funny ways. As I was stressing over my Christian Post interview I got an email from human resources at Webimax with a job offer. I accepted immediately.

Now I have been working at Webimax since September. I love it so much. I have learned so much about the world of SEO and I always look forward to coming into work each day. My boss and co-workers are amazing. Everyone is so smart, creative, and fun. I definitely made the right choice accepting this offer and I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for me at Webimax.
3. Reconnecting with Old Friends I lost touch with a lot of friends during college especially when I transferred into Rowan. This year I started to reconnect with some and it’s been wonderful. I definitely need to give a shout out to Pam here. Pam, you’ve been a wonderful friend to me always. I always enjoy having tea with you and learning all about the cow apocalypse.
2. Moving to Washington Township I lived in Woodbury for about 9 years. It was supposed to just be a temporary thing but it didn’t quite work out that way. Woodbury’s been good for me over the years. The high school was amazing and I have many great friends from Woodbury. I love the diner, too. It’s my happy place. However, our house really sucked. Everything was broken. See:

broken-bedroom-wall

Just one of the many broken walls in my bedroom in my old house…

 

broken-sink

Believe it or not this was actually the only “working” sink in the old house…

 

The condo we moved to in Washington Township is much nicer. Nothing’s broken, we have counter space in the kitchen, we have a dishwasher, washer and dryer, and even a sunroom! The area is much more quiet, peaceful, and safe as well. I frequently go for walks around town and morning runs. Here’s some pictures of the new house:

cabinet-space-new-home

dishwasher-new-home

my-bathroom-new-home

We have two bathrooms now. This one is mine.

 

parents-bathroom-new-home

And this is the main bathroom/my parent’s bathroom.

 

my-new-room

My new room is just a tad bit nicer than my old room…

 

 

new-home-washington-township

This is the view outside of my new home in Washington Township

 

the-red-room

This is “the red room” also known as the sunroom but for some reason everything is red…

 
1. Meeting Sean Forbes Seriously though, did you expect anything else to be #1? Sean Forbes is absolutely amazing and meeting him was everything I hoped it would be. I love all that Sean is doing for the deaf community. He has so much talent and is just amazing. I saw his show at The Rotunda in Philly back in October and it was just amazing. I loved the vibrating stage and how he signs and everything it was just great. I got to talk to him before and after the show and he was such a sweet heart. He actually remembered me by name through Twitter! I was amazed that he remembered! He definitely cares about his fans!

Sean-Forbes-And-I

Sean Forbes and I after his show in Philly! I was so excited to meet him!

 

2013 was a pretty cool year. I’m really looking forward to what 2014 brings!


find-beauty-in-tragedy

Image credits: Tulip Driven Life

Let’s face the facts: if you’re a writer you’re going to write about your own personal real-life experiences, even if what you are writing is fiction. It’s only natural and something that all good writers must do. Sometimes things in our life can be defined as tragedies. Tragedies are events in which have the ability to leave many permanent emotional scars on us. They change us, for better or for worse and are not things that easy to just simply “get over” or even come to terms with or make peace with. This is part of what makes tragedies great for writing inspiration. When we write about our experiences dealing with tragedies we are allowing ourselves to free our souls of things that may have been buried deep within us for some time. In a way it can be like searching for our own sense of inner peace, understanding, or acceptance of the situation. It can also be a way to solicit advice to others that may be dealing with a similar tragedy in their life, or even just a message that they are not alone.

fitzgerald-writes-heroic-tragedies

Image Credits: izquotes.com 

Unfortunately, in order to get to that point of inner peace or soliciting of advice, we must recall and un-bury the tragedies we have dealt with. This can be a very emotional and difficult task, as I saw for myself as I was working on my young adult novel dealing with themes such as teenage depression and suicide. Writing the first draft of my novel hasn’t been very difficult, until I got to chapter 9. Chapter 9 is the novel’s climax and most emotional chapter. In this chapter one of the character commits suicide.

My young adult novel is fiction, but it is largely based on real life experiences. A close friend and former classmate of mine committed suicide when I was 12 years old. Even though it happened about 9 and half year ago, it is a tragedy that has forever changed me. My goal with writing my novel is to inspire others to get help, speak up about mental illnesses, and prevent them from having to experience the same tragedy I myself have experienced.

coping-with-crying-over-suicide

Image Credits: Pichu318 ‘s DeviantArt

In writing chapter 9 I was forced to recall the suicide of my friend. Every little detail from what happened before his suicide, when I found out about it, and the aftermath.I procrastinated a lot while working on this chapter because at times it was just too painful to deal with. I try to block out the pain I felt when he first committed suicide, but for my novel I needed to remember it all.

One thing I did to help free me of my procrastination and to help me get chapter 9 done was I live-tweeted the events to the best of my knowledge. I recalled what my day was like at school on the day of my friend’s suicide. I tweeted about what happened after school, how I found out about his suicide,his viewing, what went on after that. I tried to write down every single detail I could remember. It took me three hours and over 100 tweets. I did it consecutively without stopping. I felt that it was the only way for me to “get it all out”. I was afraid that if I took a break I’d never finish it.

live-tweet-your-tragedy

Image Credits: Press Index

I understand that some tragedies may be too deeply personal for an author to live-tweet about or post on any form of social media, but social media isn’t the important thing to worry about. The important thing is that you’re writing. Even if it’s just in a personal diary…WRITE! Write everything you remember about the tragedy. What happened before? What happened as the tragedy took place? What happened afterwards? What were you thinking? What were you feeling? Do you remember who you were with? What was said?

When you write about the tragedy try to recall every single detail as accurately as possible. This will help you to reflect on the tragedy and how you handled it along with how others handled it. You don’t have to include it all in your novel. Feel free to use bits and pieces and fictionalize it as much as your heart desires. Once you have the tragedy written out scene by scene, fictionalizing it will be easy. The hard, emotionally challenging party of writing it all out is already done with.

Don’t be afraid to write about tragedies. Many of the greatest works of literature are tragedies (Shakespeare, anyone?). If you’re writing fiction there’s no need to worry about the truth, either. Tragedies help people connect and relate not only to your story, but to each other. By writing about tragedies you will be doing someone a favor, someone who may feel alone in their situation will read your work and say, “No, I’m not alone. This person went through the exact same thing.”

you-are-not-alone

Image Credits: Chasing Death: Losing A Child To Suicide

In sum, my advice to you in dealing with tragedies as a writer is this: cry. write. cry. and write some more and don’t stop until you’re finished.


As an intern for CloudItGuru.com, my current assignment has been to work on creating the first ever Cloud It Guru E-book. One of the sections I have been focusing on for the past few weeks has been devoted exclusively to various forms of digital marketing. In order to learn how small businesses can benefit from marketing on Pinterest I have been reading Hub Spot’s E-book, How to Use Pinterest For Business. As I was reading some of the suggested Pinterest marketing strategies I was reminded of the ways that individuals market themselves online. I really liked many of Hub Spot’s ideas on how to best use Pinterest for business marketing and I believe that many of their ideas can be applied to how we market ourselves and strive to create our own personal web presence. Here are 5 things we can learn from Pinterest about building an online web presence and marketing ourselves online:

1. Show, don’t tell. Pinterest operates largely with visuals. Yes, there is some text, but look at this screen shot of my Pinterest dashboard:

Screen-Shot-Of-Pinterest-Dashboard

 

While there is certainly some text, the pictures are what catches your eye first. It is important for Pinterest users to “pin” visually appealing content. In terms of our website and general web presence, it is important for us to show what we can do rather than say it all in text. On my website’s index page I have three “feature” articles, showcasing some of the actual articles I have written rather than simply saying “I have written this and this…”.

 

2. Create content for a target audience. On Pinterest users can create various “boards” featuring a variety of topics. HubSpot’s E-book suggests that businesses create boards that reflect their company’s values, beliefs, or motto. When we market ourselves online it is important that we keep our target audience in mind and write or post content for them. For example, on Twitter I follow many people involved with both social media and creative writing. They post information relating to these fields and I do the same. This information includes where I am in my progress with social media and my creative works, links to interesting articles, and other general related comments.

 

3. Don’t be  just a “self-follower” or “self-promoter” — be engaging! It is important to engage with others. On Pinterest, Hub Spot warns against companies that strictly post their own products/company info as Pinterest boards. One example they give is of a shoe company. While it may be beneficial for shoe companies to have boards featuring their own shoes and related products, they should also create boards that can engage their users such as a board for places to wear said shoes, activities to participate in wearing certain shoes, etc. Instead of merely talking about the work we have done online, we should engage with others about it and ask what they are doing, gain feedback on our work, swap advice, and comment on where we are now or hope to be in the future. Our online presence isn’t a one way street; in order to work most effectively we should be willing to engage with others who cross our path.

 

4. Give people a reason to follow you. Keep the content you post online fresh and new. Give people a reason to keep coming back to your website or social media pages. Be fun, informative, and approachable. On Pinterest many companies have chosen to hold contests to engage with other users and to give them a reason to follow them and stay engaged. You don’t have to have a contest, but you do have to be interesting and engaging in order to gain an online following.

 

5. Build Connections both with individuals and the web. Link your social media pages together. Posting on Twitter? That’s fine, but don’t be afraid to include a link to Pinterest or your website or another online channel that you’ve built a web presence for. Connect with other individuals, too. Comment not only on their tweets and Facebook posts, but their actual blogs as well. Remember to include links to your website and social media pages whenever applicable. By doing this you will not only build connections, but help to build up your overall web presence which will make it easier for others to find you online through search engines.

 

What is your strategy when it comes to marketing yourself online and building a web presence? Have you tried any of these tips?



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