My 3 Words for 2013

3 Words for 2013Why 3 Words

It’s Jan 1, 2013. New Years Day. One of the busiest days in gyms all across the world. Resolutions are fresh and exciting, and intact. And while having some specific goals, resolutions, or whatever you want to call them are great ways to help you grow in those specific areas, I have been challenged with taking a larger perspective for 2013.  I first heard about  the idea of 3 words from Chris Brogan a couple years ago. The idea is to pick 3 words that serve as icons, symbols and reminders, of your larger vision for the year. Words to keep coming back to in order to evaluate, guide, measure your day-to-day actions. They should be big words that apply to multiple roles in your life instead of specific, niche ideas. Think of them as broad themes instead of narrow story lines. (Chris does a great job explaining this in his post on his 3 Words.)

My 3 Words for 2013

Story – In 2013 I want to focus on living a story that is worth telling, and even more importantly, I want to help other people and organizations tell their story more effectively. Over the past couple years, I’ve come to realize how important story is in our lives. The stories we tell ourselves, and the stories we tell others. Our world is shaped by those who tell and live the best stories.

Explore – In 2013 I want to dive into the world. I tend to like the familiar. This year I want to be intentional about exploring new places and ideas and developing new relationships. Part of this is to expand my world, and part of this is because I have two teenagers and I want to expose them to the limitless possibilities that lie before them.

Now – Context is one of my strengths. Looking to the past to see how we got where we are today. And in our business we do a lot of thinking about and planning for the future with our clients. And while both of those are important, I can tend to lose sight of the present. But now is important. It is what you do today that will actually change things. So in 2013 I will focus on being present in life. On living in the moment, on being with the people that are present, and working on the task that is at hand. Now is the only time you can do anything.

There is some overlap in those three words – on purpose. These are the three words that will go on my screen saver, on note cards, and other places to remind me, encourage me, challenge me to make 2013 a great year.

Julie’s Word

Julie doesn’t like the 3 word idea. She says she is to ADD for 3 words, and instead choses 1 word for each year. This year her word is Determined

What are your 3 words (or 1 word) for 2013? We’d love for you to share them in the comments or link to your blog?

 

 

Who’s Faking It? (Infographic)

Who’s Faking It?

Buying fake Twitter followers has been in the news a lot lately, mostly thanks to the election process and a new app from Status People that let’s you find out who’s faking it.  We actually first posted about the fake follower issue here on the blog back on Aug. 15. This week we found this interesting infographic and decided to make it our Friday Infographic here on the blog.

You Might Be Surprised by Who’s Faking It

  • The earliest fake account dates back to Jan 15, 2007Over 11,000 Twitter users have purchased more than 72,000 fake followers
  • Those celebrities with huge Twitter followings, probably padded with fake accounts
  • Politicians are right behind the celebrities when it comes to fake followers
  • Surprisingly, some of the top social networks have hug fake followings on Twitter
  • It can cost anywhere from $2-$55 for 1000 fake followers

Who's Faking it on Twitter?

The Real Cost of Fake Followers

While many people are buying fake followers to boost their numbers for various reasons, they are obviously missing the point of social media. Fake followers aren’t sharing your idea or buying your product. And the level of trust your customer or client has in you will almost certainly suffer when thy find out you’re a fake. So play it smart. Build your following the old fashioned way, with a great product, excellent customer service that gives your real fans something to talk about.

Would you buy fake followers if you though it would boost your online image?

A Very Cool Opportunity From Jeep

 

Jeep at Yankee Boy Basin

Yankee Boy Basin in our Jeep

A Very Cool Opportunity

A couple of weeks ago I received a tweet about a very cool opportunity from Jeep that involves two of my passions. At first I was a little skeptical, but after a follow-up tweet it was clear that this wasn’t a friend messing with me, it was for real.



That’s right, Jeep invited me to attend the Laurel Highlands Jeep Jamobree in Pensylvania, all expenses covered, because they consider me a brand advocate. I quickly called Julie to tell her and when she logged in to Twitter she had received the same message.

Jeeps ‘R Us

If you know Julie and me, you know we love our Jeep, it’s part of our personal brand. We tweet about it, post pics on Facebook and Instagram and I even have a YouTube channel dedicated to our Jeeping adventures. I guess you could call us brand advocates, fanatics, cult members, whatever you prefer. Jeep was pretty excited when they found out we were married, they got two for the price of one. As we began to tell our friends, the typical response was “of course Jeep wants you to do this.” [Read more…]

That Rocky Mountain Thing

Mt. Bierstadt View

It’s Monday and maybe you stopped by the the Rocky Mountain Media Group site or checked your RSS reader looking for an new post with some helpful tips on how to get the most out of your social media efforts this week. If that’s the case, I apologize. We took a break this weekend and did that Rocky Mountain thing. Sunday we stepped away from our computers, did some social networking in person, and headed up into the mountains. Actually, up the mountain would be more accurate. Mt. Bierstadt at 14,060 feet to be more precise.   [Read more…]

Personal Branding – the Back To School Exercise

Personal Branding - Back To School

“All About Me”

Today was my daughter’s first day of Jr High and just like her first day of kindergarden she had to complete an “All About Me” exercise for her teachers. Her answers to simple questions will be the first impressions her teachers have and will influence their opinions of just who Jessa Abel is as she enters those wonderful, awkward years.

Who Are You?

The “All About Me” form consists of pretty simple and straight-forward questions about who you are. Here are a few of Jessa’s answers.

First and Last Name: Jessa Abel
My sister/brother: is annoying, fun and a friend
My friends: are everywhere
My dad: is super cool (no money was exchanged, I promise)
My greatest worry: is getting lost
I secretly: I have no secrets. Really
I am usually afraid: of nothing
My best sport: rock climbing
I dream: wild and crazy dreams
I would really like to: go to London and visit the Dr. Who museum

These short, honest answers provide an accurate picture of who Jessa is. She loves people, has a challenged sense of direction, isn’t shy, really has no fear about trying anything new and is a dreamer. And the fact that at almost 13, she thinks dad is even a little cool, encourages me that at least I’ve done a few things right.

Your About Me Page

Like it or not, you have produced an about me page that lives all over the internet. From your social media profiles to the photos you post via Instagram, and the things you pin on Pinterest, you are constantly writing and re-writing your about me page. And this page isn’t for your teacher, but for your future employers, landlords, business partners, a potential spouse or anyone else with a computer and internet access.

You Control Your Personal Brand

When it comes to personal branding, unless there are some major skeletons in your closet, you have control of how you are presented online. How you answer “the questions” shapes what others think of you. The key, be honest. Sure, Jessa could have made up answers that made her seem to be something other than what she is. And you can too. But she would have been busted as a fraud as soon as her teachers got to know her in real life. The key to personal branding online it to be yourself. Nothing is worse than meeting someone in real life and realizing they are nothing like who they appeared to be online. Trust lost. Opportunity lost.

Take a few minutes and look at your online presence and see if it is an accurate representation of the real you.

How To Change Your Facebook Custom URL

Until recently Facebook only allowed you to set a custom URL for your personal profile and a page once, after you selected it there was no way to change your Facebook custom URL. There were stories of some successfully contacting a sympathetic soul at Facebook and getting the URL changed, but it was a long shot.

All that has changed, at least a little. Facebook has allowed you one more chance to get your custom URL right, both for your Facebook Page and for your personal profile. This one-time change can be made right from your account, no need to try to contact the powers that be at Facebook. So if you aren’t happy with your original choice, or if your brand has changed, follow these step-by-step instructions to make the change. [Read more…]

Personal Branding and Social Media

If you aren’t thinking about personal branding and social media it’s time to start. Social media has the power to connect  you with thousands of people daily, and each interaction is an impression about who you are — what your personal brand is. Knowing how all of your social activity works together, and what your brand message is is important in presenting a clear personal brand to potential clients, partners, employers or employees.

Some of the highlights of today’s infogrpahic on personal branding and social media are:

  • Facebook – Add milestones and experiences that futther enchace your image
  • LinkedIn – Keep your profile current
  • Twitter – Search for your interests and join conversations in real time
  • Google+ – Content shared in Google+ shows up in Google search results, so make sure it is positive
  • Klout – Tells you areas where it thinks you are influential in the social space
  • About.me – Create a personal landing page [Read more…]

Personal Branding and Your Blog – Your Space and Style

On Monday I presented you with the idea of thinking about your blog as your online home. Today I’m going to provide you with some creative ways to start thinking about taking your offline personal branding and translating that to your blog.

Your Space

When you walk into the Abel home, you have entered into my space. I am an expert at where things are and how they relate to our family. Begin to think about your blog themes and topics in the same way. Most people who are thinking about personal branding have some idea of subject matter they want to blog about, but that isn’t always the case. Some blogs are focused on a single topic, while others tackle a wide range of material. As you think about what it is you want to blog about, or what you want your personal brand to be known for, answer this question. What is it that you just can’t stop talking about? As you are talking to your friends, what is the one topic that they might get frustrated with because you weave it into every conversation?  That topic might must be the subject of your blog. You’ve already established that as part of your personal brand offline, and maybe it is time to get serious about it online.

Also, I want you to think about your long-term goals as you develop your brand. For example, I have seen some bloggers build their platform around a new baby and the challenges of being a new mom. Well, soon they wake up to a child that is in middle school.  Building a platform around a situation that is a state of flux is okay, but you have to have a plan for taking your readers on that journey. You also need to go around your home and update your style every once in a while. Remember avocado green appliances?  If you need to transition your subject due to life-change, employment or educational shifts,this is also a good time to look at what changes need to happen on your blog. Think strategically about how you are going to rearrange the “rooms” of your blog home.

Your Style

We live in a world where people are obsessed with sharing what they love. Hello Pinterest? In the blog world sometimes the owner’s online style doesn’t match up with their personalities, and something always seems off. This is hard to explain, but trust me, you know it when you see it. When developing your online style, really hone into things that you love. Look at your style online in terms of design. Are you artsy or structured? Do you like bold color or are you more into sensible and classic?

One exercise you can do is take pictures of your “stuff”. Grab your phone or a camera and walk around and take pictures of your home. Snap photos of  your favorite items, fabrics, textures, whatever you see and like. Your style will start to emerge.  I want to also give a word of caution. You know how I joked about Pinterest earlier? It is a great way to capture and organize style ideas, but just be careful if you use this platform to do this exercise. Sometimes what you pin there is not a true sense of you, because you are capturing wants and wishes rather than reality. It can also become a huge time suck — not that I speak from experience or anything.

In a few words describe your personal style? Do you see the overlap between your home and blog? Leave your comments below and link to your blog so we can all check out your style.

 

 

 

Personal Branding and Your Blog – Your Home

 

Your Home

Your home is a place of comfort, community and hospitality. If your desire is to develop a memorable online presence, your “blog home” is essential. In the same way that developing your personal home style takes time and effort, the same is true for your blog. One thing I recommend to clients, based on personal experience,  is to spend a good bit of time thinking this through. I have mentioned before how I have gotten wild-hair ideas about things that I wanted to talk about, and how I have abandoned not one, but two personal blogs. I am learning, and the next go round will be more strategic. So don’t feel like you have to do this all in one day, take some time and plan.

While you need to spend some time on social media spaces (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.), your blog is where you and your content lives. It is your space. A place where you invite others in for a cup of coffee (or in my case some sweet tea) and conversation. As you are developing your personal brand, spend some time making sure the space fits you well. In future posts I will be talking about very specific ways to do this.

If you are developing a personal brand, having your own domain is essential.  Using a WordPress.com or blogger site to get started blogging is fine, but if you are thinking about personal branding, it’s time to take it up a notch. Find a domain name that fits you and your brand. Later on in this series I will be giving more specific ways things to think about concerning this. It is important. Stay tuned.

After you have your domain, you need to think about design. The design of your blog needs to fit your personal style, but it also need to have a layout that is functional. Spend some time looking at other blogs and at some templates. Make note of what elements you like and want to incorporate into your blog. You may have to spend a little more money here if you want something that is truly unique, or you can go with an off the shelf theme if you are looking for something clean and simple. Functionally, either option will work and it just depends on how personal you want the space to look.

Developing a blog that is a reflection of who you are and what you want to say is important. Sometimes it can also be overwhelming. Just like those times you have to hire an interior designer or professional organizer, sometimes you need to hire a professional social media consultant to get you strategically started. At Rocky Mountain Media Group, we love bloggers. You have made the web interesting and personal. What you have to say is important. We would love to assist  you on your journey to developing a meaningful and memorable space on the web that is your home.

If you are currently blogging, leave a comment and a link to your “home” below.

 

 

Why Email Is Still Important In The Social Media Age

Today we are excited to have our first guest post on the rm2g blog.  Amanda Baker is a Liberty University and Focus Leadership Institute graduate. She resides in Spokane, Wash., and works for the Journal of Business.  You can connect with her on her blog and on Twitter at @futuremrsjarvis.

 

 

I remember when email was the big man on campus. Everyone had a witty phrase before the obligatory “@hotmail”, like “princessgurl1987” or “soccerstud4ever.”

Those monikers stayed cool until I hit college. That’s when Facebook took over, and instead of saying, “Email me!” it was, “Facebook me!”  Searching someone’s name in a database created by some guy from Harvard was a lot easier – and less embarrassing – than exchanging email addresses created in the eighth grade.

Once I graduated from college, potential employers neither wanted my eighth grade email nor to get in contact with me via Facebook. I needed to have a more professional way to encourage my future boss to get in touch with me.

It’s best to use discretion concerning which medium to use in a professional environment, and email is the best form of communication when it comes to communicating with employers, co-workers, and clients.

Reason No. 1

The workplace is often hostile to the use of Facebook. A potential employer may or may not have a Facebook account, and even if they do, it’s going to be a point against you if you tell him, “I don’t really check my email. You can just Facebook me!”

Also, if Facebook is your primary source of communication, keep in mind that a lot of workplaces block social networking sites.  If you are sending a time-sensitive message, email is your best bet.

“According to a report from last year by DNS service OpenDNS, Facebook was the second most commonly blocked website on the Internet, second to MySpace. You won’t find an email provider among that top 10 list. That doesn’t mean that every workplace blocks Facebook or that no workplaces block Gmail, but the prerequisite to communication is access, and a lot of people who can’t access Facebook from work can still access their email accounts,” says Adam Pash, of lifehacker.com. [Read more…]