The Grand Social Media Experiment. We learn by doing.

Leave a comment

Twitter Tips for All

Twitter logo

Tweet! Tweet!! A little birdie told me…

Thinking about using Twitter? Not sure why you would or if it’s even worth it? Twitter is many different things to many different people. It’s a great place for keeping in touch with friends and family, staying current with what’s happening in the world, and informing others about your business’s products and services.

Twitter is like blogging (it started as a micro-blogging service) and instant messaging combined. It is the ultimate in social messaging, as you can connect with lots of people whenever and wherever you want. It is an event coordinator, a business tool, a news reporting service, and a marketing device.

In order to effectively use Twitter, I’ve put together a list of things to keep in mind as you enter the world of Twitter and get ready to “tweet” (or post) a brief message:


  • Maximum length of username is 15 characters—the shorter the better. It will be easier for people to find you.
  • Maximum number of characters per tweet is 140. Leave at least 20 characters free as space for people to retweet you.
  • Twitter shortens links with their internal shortener, or you can use bitly.com. Each link uses up 22 or 23 characters.
  • Starting the beginning of a tweet with @username is a reply. It will only be seen by that person and people who are following both of you (it will also show up on your profile page and in Twitter search). If you tag a username anywhere but at the start of the tweet, everybody following you (including the user) will see that message. This is called a mention.
  • Images dramatically increase social media engagement. A picture on Twitter uses up 23 characters.
  • If you make an error in a tweet, to fix it, delete it first and then re-submit. You cannot edit tweets.


  • To be social, when you are mentioned (@username), you should respond to that tweet.
  • Retweet, reply to, and favorite other people’s tweets.
  • People who tweet frequently attract more followers. An active Twitter presence can help a business generate more revenue.
  • Link your tweets to interesting articles you find.
  • Hosting a creative contest or sweepstakes is a great way to improve engagement for businesses.
  • Join a worldwide public conversation by participating in Twitter trends (#hashtags). Twitter provides a daily list of trending topics near the top of your Twitter page on the lefthand side.
  • Behind-the-scenes info and photos are a great way to humanize your business.
  • You can live-tweet anything that would interest your followers and friends. Concerts, low gas prices, Elvis sightings, etc.
  • Quotes are always popular no matter what social media platform you’re on.
  • Create an original meme that fits with your company or product. Everybody loves memes and they often go viral.
  • Use one to two #hashtags per tweet for maximum engagement.
  • Become an expert: inform, talk about your company and other things your audience is interested in.
  • Use Twitter daily—search, lurk, post, retweet.


  • To grow your community, add your Twitter ID to your email signature and other content, both online and off.
  • It’s OK to schedule tweets, but don’t automate anything.
  • Don’t be a salesperson on Twitter. Instead, be informative, entertaining and social.
  • Don’t ask people to follow you. They probably won’t. Some may unfollow you.


  • Everything you say can be seen by anyone, right from the start.
  • Your tweets can be found in Twitter search and also by Google and other search engines.
  • Search your company on Twitter. See what people are saying about you. Respond whether good or bad—make things right!
  • Follow 20-30 good users.
  • Google search companies doing well on Twitter and check out what they do; follow them.

Don’t be nervous! The best way to learn is to jump right in and as Nike says, “Just do it!”


Liz Lemon saying, "What the what the?"

Leave a comment

Is Cursing Taboo, Blase or OK?

If the Internet hasn’t made our culture more profane, certainly it has diminished our collective shock by curse words. According to a study reported in digitaltrends.com, one in every 13 tweets contain profanity (nsfw, but in case you are at work and curious, you may be as surprised as I was that the C-word ranks 16th). Now, one in 13 is not a shocking figure when you consider anyone with opposable thumbs has a media platform. But for those of us who believe there is more to writing than the ability to navigate a keyboard or message chat acronyms on a smart phone, our audience and message determine the words and language we use.

The lax on the taboos of profanity goes back farther than the Internet and has been happening for decades. It’s been almost ten years since Vice President Dick Cheney told Senator Patrick Leahy to f*** himself, and even though it probably wasn’t the first time that suggestion was offered on the Senate floor, it would have been far more shocking 50 years earlier. It would be even less shocking if it happened today. Perhaps social media and the plethora of smart phones are simply revealing that we were always a culture of potty mouths. But back when a virtual conversation meant something tweeners imagined having with the latest heartthrob on the cover of Tiger Beat, profanity was considered taboo in “mixed company,” meaning when both genders were present. I’d have to try pretty hard to fain shock by the use of “naughty language” today, even though I was raised where my permissible threshold for cursing stopped after darn and before hell (outside its religious context). Mom said the use of profanity demonstrated not only a lack of cultural civility, but a lack of an abundant vocabulary. And even after I rattle off a string of profanity that would prompt Chelsea Handler and Roseanne to rise for a standing ovation (mostly when no one’s around), I remind myself that Mom was right. Words matter.

Whether defining your own voice or that of the organization you represent, the right words will always matter. Broadcasting through social media offers greater freedom but also a greater opportunity to cause damage to your brand if you don’t choose your words carefully. It pays to think before you post because no matter how fleeting your messages may be in the world-wide web of words, remember all posts are permanent and will come back to haunt you if they can. If using one of George Carlin’s famous seven curse words you can never say on television is right for your brand or the audience you want to reach, use them, But the S-word or F-word can be just as dull or jarring as using a fancy, multisyllabic word when it’s not the right word. Using the right language or even inventing new words and phrases will attract the people you want to your site. Think how popular Thirty Rock’s Liz Lemonisms, like blergh, myirt, whuck and jagweed have become.

Recently the AP stylebook, the journalist’s bible, defined “N-word” and “F-word” as the proper style rule when writing those words in print. But Jesse Sheidlower, author of  “The F-Word, The Complete History of the Word. Yes, That One,” contends that the media should reflect the real world and use the actual word when reporting. After all, everyone knows what those acronyms mean, so you could argue substitutions are silly or, at best, only there to protect the innocent. But I doubt there are many children over five who haven’t heard or seen these words many times before. Are the acronyms any less ugly than the words themselves? Would using them shine more light on their vulgarity or are they too offensive for that experiment?

Time will tell whether social media changes the bleep-word practice or other current language mores, like it seems to be changing nearly everything else. And were he alive today, Carlin would agree social media has blurred the lurid language line and he’d have a new, brilliant riff on the subject. WWCT – what would Carlin think – or tweet? SB




Leave a comment

People use the Internet and social media to find information – provide it! If it is difficult for people to easily find information, they will quickly move on to another option. A web presence has become a necessity for businesses to succeed. Today, the first thing we do to find information is not to go to the Yellow pages or the encyclopedia, but to search the Internet. If you ask a friend for a recommendation, you are likely to ask via social media and, when given a recommendation, you will be told to “check out their website.”

I know some people will disagree, but I firmly believe that if you don’t have a presence on the web, you lose credibility. Before you start engaging on other social media, make sure you have a website up and running and that it contains the information that people will look for – in a user-friendly format. Have a restaurant or café? Make sure there is at least a sample menu. People want to know (depending on the sort of business) about the company, your mission, hours, directions, contact information, prices, specials, happy hours, special events, community involvement, links to partners, where to go for help, staff, management, board members, FAQs, interesting facts, how to get involved, press releases, etc. What questions are you asked on a regular basis? What information is most requested? Unless there is a privacy concern, consider putting this info on your website.

Once you have your key information source available (your website), take your business to applicable social medias. Do your homework to determine the best options for reaching your particular audience and then add one or two channels at a time. This will allow you to keep your media responsibilities manageable. Make sure your website and media sites link to each other, making the search for information as seamless as possible. Keep your information up-to-date and post regularly.

The Internet and social media have made it possible to be almost anywhere and everywhere. Make sure your potential and current customers, clients, supporters, and fans can find you quickly and easily by using these available and affordable communication tools.

Leave a comment


Each of these is, of course, dependent on the type of business, organization, or mission.

  • What are you looking to achieve on social media?
  • Look at what channels are being used by similar businesses.
  • Create an account, then sit back and “listen”. Search for relevant keywords and follow the conversations. Get a feel for the channel before posting or commenting.
  • Decide on what “voice” you wish to use for your posts. Even if you have multiple people making posts, they should all be following the same format, goals, and tone.
  • Develop questions that support your goals and objectives.
  • Ask friends, relatives, and regular, recognizable customers for their thoughts and preferences.
  • Survey your current followers for thoughts and ideas of what they would like to see. What channels do they prefer? What are their likes and dislikes?
  • Use focus groups.
  • Listen to the responses. Each answer provides insight and can bring new perspectives.

Leave a comment

How Do You Listen?

Many people define listening as sitting quietly, while another person talks. Most are surprised to learn that listening is actually a 2-way, circular process. Effective PR experts understand the listening process, have mastered the techniques well, and employ effective listening skills in all of their communications…YES, even in SOCIAL MEDIA!

Each of us has a perlistening-social mediasonal filter through which verbal information flows. Our filters are based on our unique life experiences, education, culture, religion/spirituality, language, work/career, etc. Many people will type the way that they talk so when you are communicating with someone via social media, you should remember to listen. Don’t be so quick to respond, mainly because there are times when a person hasn’t completed their thought or they posted something without editing it, and if you have started responding without the respected pause, you could ruin a relationship, business or otherwise!

When we fail to listen effectively, the process of communication breaks down, assumptions are made and feelings are hurt. You may lose business over something as simple as NOT taking the time to listen!    -Sweetlaw

Leave a comment

Selecting The Right Channel And Making It Meaningful For YOUR Audience

The first step in choosing the right channel for any organization is to ask questions. Here is a brief sampling listed below:

Ask these questions :

1. What will be or what is the voice you want to publicly display?

2. Who do we want to connect with through Social Media?

3. What do we need or want to accomplish through Social Media?

4. What content do we as an organization want to get out?

Once you can answer those questions you are well on the way. this is a short guideline to help gauge your content going forward.

How to have your organization remain meaningful and relevant

I always have a saying that states “I come from love”meaning-I put love in everything I do. Can your organization state the same? Be ready and willing even if, only amongst your staff to take a self-inventory and know the answer to the age-old question of Why?

Listen, You know better than others that receive your message why you matter, count and remain. So connect  to that passion, look back to why you started (mission statement) then your message will remain relevant (look to your goals and objectives)

Quick Tip:  Every three months cross check your objectives, goals, mission with the messages you send. Check In! Are they in line?  Do they need a Band-Aid, Ointment or an appointment (see my other posting)



The Social Media Pool J(*V*)

The social media pool, as a topic, tends to conjure up mixed  emotions, depending on who you are talking to. Some readily embrace change, new methods, and technology by jumping, with reckless abandon, into the deep end of unknown waters to explore the possibilities with expectancy, and open-minded vim and vigor. On the other hand, others tend to, just as instantly, reject, deplore, and criticize anything new that deviates from the safe haven of the familiar. These reserved folks, from the shore, boldly proclaim their distrust among friends and family, painting a dark picture with negative scenarios and warning of the evils that will surely contaminate us all. Still there is a third group of apathetic individuals who seem to be neutral and engage in social media only as it applies to their lives directly, or as needed; wading hesitantly on the shore and perfectly content to pensively immerse one toe at a time into the waters of change. In all three groups, perception is truth.

The disparate divide in mindsets creates a unique challenge for new public relations specialists entering the job market today. Companies can be as diverse in their mindsets as individuals. Understanding the power and importance of social media today is as misunderstood as the public relations job description itself, often raising as many questions as answers. Commissioned to create a communication bridge between the attitudes of a new employer and their diverse publics will certainly require an extra measure of finesse. As new pioneers creating the bridge over choppy waters, our newly-honed communication skills will surely be put to the test.

As a sales professional, over the years, I have learned that sales is actually a transfer of beliefs. Public relations, as a field, is also about crafting beliefs. As media professionals, it is imperative that we know how to engage different attitudes, beliefs and mindsets. In a sales situation, the best way to be relevant is to tell stories that are relateable. Personal stories are the most effective because you are  conveying your own truth—and truth resonates supernaturally through all forms of communication. Deep down, all people, whether they admit it or not,  want to be persuaded and convinced. Deep down, the more they resist, the more they want you to push back.

If put in the position of presenting a social media campaign to a hesitant manager, being prepared with statistics would be important, especially when dealing with an analytic personality type. When demonstrating to a more emotional person or group, personal stories relative to the audience you are attempting to reach, along with an attractive visual presentation will reverberate. Knowing the audience, determines the message and delivery. Mirror the the attitude of the audience to earn trust and influence them with their own logic and emotion. Public relations professionals prepared with a strong personal conviction, statistics, and stories will be equipped to entice even the most reserved to swim confidently in the deep end of the social media pool.