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How To Become Your Own North Star On The Internet

We're all digital strategists now.

 

In fact, if you aren't thinking deeply about how and where and with whom you appear and interact on the web, you need to start.

Today. You can and should be using your online presence as a 21st century life & work skill to connect with relevant people, information you need and enriching opportunities. I'm going to help, so you can get started today. (And the resources I'm sharing with you are completely free, so if you want to buy something you'll have to go find a different post.) I've been saying all of this for years. Doing it for years. As a content and digital publishing specialist, I've been showing people how to use their own content to connect purpose and action in digital spaces, for 5 years, both in private and group coaching environments. Along with Tara Agacayak and Tanya Monsef Bunger, I built a curriculum at GlobalNiche, a social web training company that's now shifting into an empowered digital life movement, so you can do it on your own, or in groups, wherever you are and whoever you are and whatever you do. If you are a person active online, this training will ask you the strategic questions you need to be thinking about. If you're not yet active or don't love being online, this will help you figure out what makes sense for you. Our combined 25 years of experience, including major expatriate life and work challenges, forced us to tap our backgrounds in culture, info tech, media & psychology to create this network-activating system using the backbone of the social web. We've used this method to survive. No matter who or where you are, you can use it to thrive.

I'm now making that training perfectly free, so you can take advantage of all our guidance immediately.

 

Want to learn how? It's my gift to you! Start by downloading the handbook

 

  When you download this powerful free handbook you're going to start to transform what you do, how you do it and with whom. This repeatable, dynamic six-step method will help you become your own North Star on the Internet and bring you closer to the people and things you care about. You'll emerge with inspiration, direction and confidence:

    • a vision that lights you up and goals you can measure
  • a do-able plan and digital skills you need
  • and a practice and peer group you can rely on to keep going

 

 

Here's what people who've done it say:

    • "I felt I couldn’t catch up. The way GlobalNiche describes social media – it’s about using technology to communicate naturally – clicked for me." ~ paralegal
  • “Opened my eyes to my own assets. It has given me the confidence to bet on myself.” ~ work-at-home parent
  • “I doubled my Twitter presence just by learning about good Twitter etiquette.” ~ scriptwriter
  • “I’m blown away by the possibilities. I now have an action plan. I feel a huge shift in my life." ~ academic
  • "For people who are wondering if what they have to say is valuable.” ~ financial officer
  • "Helped me to recognize and own how I am being virtually “seen” and make positive and educated changes." ~ landscape contractor

 

With this non-dogmatic foundational method you'll:

    • uncover the real value you've already created: by taking inventory of what you've been doing, detecting the patterns in your activities, gaining insight into what you're drawn to
  • put your mountain of natural resources to work for you: by acknowledging all that you’ve created and use it to gain insight into who you are and who you want to be
  • show the world how you make sense: by linking what you've done in the past & are doing today with your wider goals
  • recognize that you need to become visible to meet people you want to collaborate with, work for, hire
  • combine who you are and where you want to go with the tools available to express yourself
  • make empowered, focused decisions about how to operate online
  • go beyond managing your reputation online to using social media to represent your best self
  • meet and enter conversations with your peers, mentors and customers on the web
  • get recognized by authorities & peers in your field, recruiters, the media
  • identify how to use existing materials as building blocks for future projects
  • identify new ways to use social media, which platforms work for you (and which do not), and how to use those platforms to your advantage
  • express yourself with the best social web tools available, including how to use Google+, Quora, ScoopIt and Storify to your benefit
  • gain a new understanding of the best social media and content management and strategy tools, formats, methods to try
  • establish an interactive calling card at a site like About.me
  • learn best practices for blogging frameworks like WordPress and Thesis, blogging services like Twitter and Tumblr, social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram
  • learn best uses of video and slideshow sites like Animoto, YouTube, Vimeo, Slideshare, email service providers
  • grasp a new perspective on yourself as a content creator, realize the energy you generate around your interests IS content
  • publish, record, remix, repackage, reformat your content
  • design and implement a do-able plan with small steps to get your creations into global circulation in alignment with your larger goals

 

Want more?

If you want more guidance, get the free multimedia curriculum which expands on the handbook with video coaching and other materials. You'll have lifetime access to the self-paced course, 24/7, on all your devices. I'm making that entire program perfectly free for you, so join with a friend and do it together! 4,700 people already cashed in this free coupon to get connected & effective. Did you? Let me know how you're liking it!

Curating My Influences On Entrepreneurship, Global Women Entrepreneurs, & Future Of Work

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 12.38.28 PMJust started this curation topic at Scoop.it and I've already got more 100 links of evergreen value and cutting-edge thinking.

I've been harvesting all the links I've been discovering, sharing, posting and discussing for the last couple of years in the dark social of email and private (and some now defunct) discussion settings.

That includes material I discovered and shared over the past four years at my LinkedIn GlobalNiche group, my Facebook Creative Entrepreneurs group, my Facebook GlobalNiche graduates group. I'm also posting my original comments on each of those shares.

Expect more as I pull links from more than a year's worth of postings at Basecamp, a collaborative service I've been using to discuss entrepreneurial issues with my GlobalNiche team members.

If you're interested in these topics and the thinking from around the web that has most influenced me, it's easy to subscribe to the collection in one click over at Scoop.it.

A Simple Strategy For Building A Global Network Isn't About You. Your Plan Has To Make The Network A No-Brainer For Its Users -- Not Its Builder

Which one of these is a 'simple' strategy for building a global network of people who have a range of digital abilities: a pervasive, cohesive presence with many online doors -- or one room in graveyard of the web?

Which one of these is a ‘simple’ digital strategy (true story!) of an organization that aims to build a global network from a millions-strong list of women it’s loosely associated with:

  • a pervasive, cohesive presence across multiple social networking services, a community with free flow of information -- with windows into other related rooms of your peers and corridors you can go down if and when you are ready, willing, able, that is, when are you motivated and enabled to connect and pursue what appeals to you about this gathered community,
  • OR, one room on a service known for not-loving its group functionality, a service littered with the skeletons of well-intentioned groups, a room that is 'easy' to open?

When you find yourself looking for a simple strategy to connect all your important people so they can finally get off an inert list of names and start to build closer ties, so you can ambiently be aware of your peers on a consistent basis, so you all can see each other and learn what everyone is up to, so you recognize your commonalities and your opportunities to collaborate, and so you can TAKE ACTION on your shared goals using the cost-effective, labor-saving, reach-amplifying online communication tools available in 2013, ask yourself this.

Simple for whom?

Is your plan simple for you, the community builder? Or is it simple for the community waiting to happen?

Mashable Lifestyle Features My Social Media Advice To College Students Applying To Grad School

Screen Shot 2013-09-27 at 12.47.35 PMThanks Mashable Lifestyle -- part of the Mashable news site for the connected generation, one of the largest blogs on the Internet-- for featuring my social media advice to college students in your new weekly Twitter chat on the digital life! Screen Shot 2013-09-27 at 12.52.26 PM

Other guidance for college students applying I shared during the live tweeted #mashadvice column this week:

 

  • demo via social media (activities, blogs, commentary) strengths you'd include in your application
  • besides showing interest in a topic via social, also show *engagement* (what you DO about it)
  • Twitter, LI, any service: what's findable should reflect you/path you're on, match up w/what you present in applications
  • think about using Pinterest to create portfolios of your work (actual, or imagined-future), curate your vision
  • photos can be used as complement: to create atmosphere, demo aesthetic, show history

Mapping My LinkedIn Network

Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 4.41.07 PM My network has a new branch since I last did this network map in March 2013. That maroon group on the lower lefthand side is from PJ Van Hulle's 90-day list-building challenge, Listapalooza.

The blue are Turkey and Expat Harem-related. The green are Turkish diaspora. The pink is Bryn Mawr College, the orange is social media and online marketing pros, and professional coaches. The bronze is NYC, SF, writing and travel peers. The yellow at center is Silicon Valley, startups and the VC world, while the light blue is the TED community.

Click on the image to see a larger version. Here's where to get your own.

Old School, Part 2: Would You Take Twitter Advice From Someone Who's Never Tweeted?

I wouldn't. Let's get more specific.

How about taking advice on social media best practices -- for something serious with high stakes, like looking for a job, becoming visible to recruiters, re-entering the job market after a hiatus or otherwise attempting a career change  -- from an advisor whose Twitter account is empty?

Existent in name only.

How about if it's April 2013?

How about if it's the same month that the Wall Street Journal declared The New Resume: It's 140 Characters and @WSJCareers held a Twitter chat about using social media to get a job, concluding it's all about LinkedIn & Twitter & a digital footprint that shows your best stuff.

(I participated in this blisteringly-paced and totally on-target chat that featured The Daily Muse's Kate Minshew. Some of the tweets are Storified here. Search for more with the hashtag #WSJchat.)

No?

How about expecting to get guidance on the latest advances in online career development at an event conducted by someone who thinks LinkedIn is exclusively for connecting with people you already know well rather than people you are loosely associated with professionally and want to grow closer to? Someone whose policy lets connection requests go unanswered while, creepily, LinkedIn alerts us she's reviewed our info-rich profile and decided that's a no.

Again, I wouldn't. Yet these are things I have witnessed and experienced recently.

Do you see where I'm going? This is not helpful. This is place holding.

Old-school is occupying the space where actionable help is supposed to go.

 

And, if you find yourself thinking you don't need up-to-the-minute Twitter advice from a career advisor -- you're wrong.

At TEDxBayArea Global Women Entrepreneurs, LinkedIn Headquarters - Mountain View

Happy to attend for the second time in two years this TEDxBayArea event organized by Tatyana Kanzaveli to celebrate women leaders around the world.IMG_0117IMG_0105IMG_0087IMG_0090 IMG_0081IMG_0091IMG_0099IMG_0101IMG_0094IMG_0102

As Tatyana explains, "Speakers come from diverse backgrounds in the Bay Area and beyond, spanning half way across the globe. Our goal is to highlight a broad spectrum of ideas, thought leadership and business models, addressing a select Silicon Valley audience, while providing an engaging day full of presentations, entertainment and conversation in the renowned TED style."

Joined by Dahlia Krausse Stein (who I met at the 2011 event!), Tara visiting from Istanbul, fellow San Francisco entrepreneur Pamela Day, Google expert Jeris JC Miller, the founder of Tealet at 500 Startups, and speakers Singularity University's Vivek Wadhwa, fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff, Sumaya Kazi and finally got to meet in person Whitney Johnson, president of a disruptive innovation investing firm and author of "Dare, Dream, Do."

Migrating My 2-Year Old Creative Entrepreneurs Facebook Page & LinkedIn Group To GlobalNiche

Screen Shot 2013-10-14 at 2.26.23 PMAfter two years, Tara and I are closing our Creative Entrepreneurs Facebook page. Members of this group are scattered all over the globe. We are working in a variety of areas and are hybrids of some sort. We identify with being suspended between multiple worlds and find ourselves challenged by culture, geography, language and time zone. But we believe that limbo state is our secret weapon.

We are looking forward to more discussions about how you turn disadvantages into springboards, and how you flourish in the niche you create for yourself.

What we've been doing here and at our LinkedIn group we've been taking to the next level at our GlobalNiche page for more than six months. Come join us there and keep evolving your creative enterprise...

Our mission at this page and at LinkedIn since 2009 is to aid creative entrepreneurs poised to maximize the benefits of social networks by actively connecting with each other and pooling resources and inspiration.

Creative entrepreneurs tap into their own skills, talents and circumstances to develop work tailor-made to their interests and lifestyle.

Social media provides creative professionals the ability and opportunity to leverage web technologies to build and grow their projects and businesses.

 

Thought Leadership Leads To Career Independence

A case study in the building of a thought leadership platform by Michael Margolis. I personally have enjoyed watching Michael Margolis grow his thought leadership platform for the past year since I took part in his REINVENTION SUMMIT last November.

"McGyverish", as Linda Janssen referred in the GlobalNiche LinkedIn group to Margolis's approach of leveling up internally, certainly describes the pioneering, recombinant approach we all are taking by using the practices and tools at hand, and incorporating new ones being introduced every day. Staying flexible, and iterating.

 

How Do You Support The People In Your Network?

That was a question posted by small business marketing coach Stephanie Ward, at the GlobalNiche LinkedIn group. She suggested 5 ways. Here's my answer:

I like to share job leads and pass on assignments I'm offered but can't personally pursue.

 

Also, when people approach me to collaborate somehow and I'm unable to I usually suggest an alternative for them -- whether it's access to my audience, or an intro to someone else I know who might jump at their offer. It feels like flow -- things come to me, they're right for someone else, I try to make that connection.

Stephanie also asked how we introduce ourselves to a group. (Here are mistakes she notes.)

My response:

It depends on what group you're introducing yourself to: Emphasis may be different, type of info required may differ. You may use jargon if it's an industry event, or simplify how you describe your work if you're at a more general networking affair -- or make an analogy. One intro does not fit all.

Stephanie says, " It's always smart to tailor your introduction to the crowd and event."

Stephanie also asked what we do to follow up after a networking event. "Networking is about building relationships over time."

My reply:

After a networking event, I find the people I met on multiple social media platforms, and toss their business card. If we talked about stuff in particular I send them leads and links, and introductions. Then we keep in touch *ambiently* ....

Stephanie says, "It's smart to reach out across platforms."

Name Changes of My LinkedIn Group Track With Its Evolution. Social Media Is A Given. And We're All Creative Entrepreneurs.

When Tara Agacayak and I started our LinkedIn group in 2009 we called it Creative Entrepreneurs and Social Media. We wanted a place to discuss what we were learning about using social media to build our professional platforms. Within six months it became apparent our use of social media had naturally coalesced into our creative enterprise goals. So we dropped it from our name -- social media is not a distinguishing factor, it’s a given now!

Today, as we’ve all become much more savvy in our pro use of the social web while building our platforms we think it’s time to take this group to the next level.

Soon we’ll be changing the name of this group to Global Niche to reflect the fact we are all builders of our own micro-yet-global base of operation. We look forward to having more conversations here about what it means to be (and build!) a global microbrand as a creative entrepreneur.

Please swing by http://globalniche.net to learn more about this life-work initiative for indie pros, mobile progressives and cultural creatives.

We’re looking forward to evolving with you!

On Pro Networks At Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus And Diaspora

In a discussion at the GlobalNiche LinkedIn group about BranchOut, here's what I had to say: BranchOut hopes to be the LinkedIn of Facebook -- we're getting that meta now -- but I have to say I've heard a lot of complaints about the way it works (and auto-posts things for you). I joined a while ago, did nothing with it. Not sure I'll need it either. But if it fills a gap in the way Facebook pro connections work, then it may be useful since Facebook is increasingly my contact book.

And, if it at the same time fills a gap in the way that LinkedIn works, then great. Those kind of solutions are really interesting to me.

I try things and see if they are useful. Plenty of things haven't been, other things were useful for the time I used them and then I was done. Still other apps have yet to show me what I might do with them.

In the end we have to use the networks that provide what we're looking for.

Personally, I am working on developing my weak ties and creating a diverse network that will not only help spread my content to their own groups, but also supply guidance and info and perspective that perhaps my stronger ties/morelikeminded contacts cannot. I don't know that I will spend even a minute on BranchOut, but it's not a random network (it's Facebook!) and for that reason worth it for me to be part of in whatever limited way.

I've tried other things like that open source network DIASPORA and no one was there! Great idea, maybe before its own time. Now Google has its own Facebook like network, Google+. Will eventually try that too. If it only amounts to having a profile there, not much trouble for me.

BTW, here's what's what about GOOGLE+ (for writers and publishers, but applicable to creative entrepreneurs): http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/what-publishers-authors-need-to-know-about-google_b33317

If you're on Google+ please connect with me! (So lonely...) Then we can test the group video chat HANGOUTS.

P.S. Here is Chris Brogan on 50 things about Google+ http://www.chrisbrogan.com/googleplus50/

Measuring Social Media Influence: Klout & Empire Avenue

In the GlobalNiche LinkedIn group, designer and writer Catherine Salter Bayar shared this piece from the New York Times -- "Got Twitter? What's Your Influence Score"  -- and asked the group if we've looked at Klout. I said that I took a look this week (actually checked out Klout a while back -- so now I have an OG badge there....as far as I know "OG" stands for "original gangster" so I'm not sure what they could possibly mean by it, ha)

There are strangenesses, like their claim I am influenced by @GigaOm, which is an account I don't even follow.

Most interesting to me is the STYLE matrix: Today I'm a "broadcaster", yesterday I was a "specialist" and I'd like to be a "tastemaker" like @brainpicker. The change in my score (today is 62) must be due to some large retweets I got today on topics other than the narrow ones they ascribe to me). What models do you aspire to on Twitter and where are they in the matrix of your followed accounts?

Writer and artist Rose Deniz said, "My Klout score is erratic, too, so I don't put a lot of emphasis on it in terms of influence, and I do notice that it's fluid based on your activity level - how sensitive it is to daily fluxes, I don't know."

"I've found Empire Avenue to be a better indicator (and more interesting) - it just tracks more stuff," responded global marketing strategist Kirsten Weiss.

"I think any sort of measurement system is bound to be full of flaws," said social media educator Charlene Kingston.

"At first glance, not sure I love Empire Avenue's verbiage - banking terms repel more than attract me," said Catherine Bayar.

 

 

Masterminding An Expat's Reluctant Entrepreneurism

Along with Tara Agacayak, I run a private mastermind group on LinkedIn (it’s a subgroup of my Creative Entrepreneurs & Social Media group). Each participant presents her case study and we brainstorm next steps.

Here are some of my thoughts on an expatriate writer's mention that if she weren't an expat and forced to find ways to make a living outside the norm, she wouldn't be an entrepreneur.

It reminds me of the Dialogue2010 conversations at expat+HAREM, and how our hybrid lives have *forced* us to be flexible about a lot of things most people (especially those in our 'previous lives' if we're living outside an original territory, including who we might have been if we'd stayed) never have to deal with. Our careers are one of those things.

The beauty of being a creative entrepreneur is that it's about making your work type and situation *work* for you, for the type of person you are, and the situation you face. That doesn't mean it's the easy choice, just that it has the potential to deliver much more than you'd get from being a cog in someone else's wheel.

Was also reading something the other day about how we don't have to make money from everything we produce (or even try to sell it), but if we're professionals (or hope to be, that is, we're not hobbyists) earning money for the work we do has to be part of the larger plan.

Writing ONLY for money is different type of job than writing what you want to write and receiving money for it (at some point on the journey, and maybe not directly from the writing).

If your interest in writing dries up at the prospect of selling it, or using it as a form of content marketing for something else you are selling, then maybe writing is not an element of the paid work you want to do. Maybe you want to keep it as a hobby, a special form of personal entertainment. That's totally cool.

But, if you harbor dreams of yourself as a professional writer, not only sharing your work widely but receiving compensation for it, then writing *is* an element of your livelihood. If you have the luxury of already knowing what you want to write, and already writing what you want to write (some people are on a different carousel, where they write for hire and dream of writing from the heart and soul and it's hard to get off that carousel for the very reason that it's scary and hard) then all you have to add to your picture is a strategy to get paid for what you are already doing.

Will you have to make changes in your plans, will you have to improve to be competitive, will you have to be sensitive to your readership? Will you have to be aware of the market and how it works and what the shifts are in publishing? Will you see clearly whether you have achieved your professional writing goals or not? Yes.

In fact, writing might suddenly seem like a different kind of work if all that stuff I just mentioned has previously been kept separate from your writing life. I think this might be the key for you. Integrating in small steps your writing as professional, and with a market purpose.

++

Another participant of the group points out this post by creativity coach Mark McGuinness of Lateral Action that if Shakespeare had continued to work for a patron, we may never have heard of him.

Masterminding Optimizing A Writer's Online Presence

Along with Tara Agacayak, I run a private mastermind group on LinkedIn (it’s a subgroup of my Creative Entrepreneurs & Social Media group). Each participant presents her case study and we brainstorm next steps.

Here are some of my thoughts on optimizing a writer's presence online, including consolidating her blogs and deciding on which social media services to use and how.

I changed my anastasiaashman.wordpress.com blog to my own domain and there were no posts lost. it took a hour or something, no big investment! The method is actually easy and since so many people before you have done it, there are tutorials too. do you have a domain and host ready to go? if so, i think there is even a option inside your wordpress.com dashboard to take you through the steps. If i find a tutorial i'll post it. Here we go, first returned on google: http://www.labnol.org/internet/migrate-wordpress-blog-to-own-domain/12776/ Here are more considerations but an older post: http://remarkablogger.com/2008/03/18/moving-wordpress-com-self-hosted/

Actually if you read the second post above, you'll see a good reason to consolidate your site and blogs under one URL: "search strength". Will be talking more about this soon, but it's something to consider -- bring everything under one umbrella, with a menu that sends us to different areas. And if you're not blogging often, you don't need a separate blog for those different interests. just use categories to separate them, and one blog with unlimited static pages.an idea for what to do on twitter (which i think is best SM platform for you to be active on besides your own blogs) -- focus on twitter chats for writers.

Here is a list of Twitter chats by Inkygirl. Look thru the schedule, pick the ones of interest and then show up for them. Participate. Use the hashtags, talk to the people there, follow them.

This way people will get to know you, and your time on twitter will be spent in groups of professional interest to you.

 

There are also agent chats and book seller chats and publishing world chats. Branch into them as you see fit. Talk about your work in the context of the chat, but also just be engaging with others and people will check out your profile, follow you, and see what you've got going on. Talking to other writers who have books they want to publish is a way to talk about your own...

I wouldn't spend a minute more on LinkedIn (besides this group, I mean). Facebook is nice but if you're going to put in time or drive traffic it should be to your own site. Twitter + blog/site it is!

Alexandra Samuel is a woman who knows what she's talking about: "How to sustain a social media presence in 3 hours a week." Take a look at her suggestions and see what you can do to set up a system like this.

Also, look at this "Strategic tweeting for authors: If you’re an author who isn’t active on Twitter, you’re making a huge mistake, say savvy book-marketing gurus."

If you're going to tweet add a twitter widget to your site so your more ephemeral activities and the conversation and info you share can be seen by visitors to your site. It makes it look like someone's home. Here's how.

Insights From Last Season's Mastermind Sessions

My fellow admin in the Creative Entrepreneurs & Social Media group at LinkedIn prompted us for insights from last season's private mastermind sessions. "List one thing you applied using the feedback you received and the results you witnessed after putting it into practice," writes Tara Agacayak. "If you did not have the opportunity to present your case study, you are welcome to list one thing you applied that you learned in the process of this mastermind that has brought you results."

My response:

My mastermind question was about monetizing expat+HAREM (and I got tons of great suggestions and debate from you all!). The most impactful thing that emerged was that regardless of what my people will tell me they want (when I send out the survey!), my success will hinge on the idea of partnering with people who have related yet different businesses and have high-quality, appropriate products and services to offer.

I may know something is valuable in my arena when I see it -- but that doesn't mean I have the time or energy to create it from scratch myself. I can be a conduit for that product or service, and in partnering with others I can co-brand the thing. And over time, I can grow my community based on those offerings rather than the free ones -- "a small band of givers rather than a lot of takers".

An example of where you see that impact today is in the "Build Your Global Niche" program I am creating with Tara, the mastermind demo we did this month for the International Pro Women of Istanbul and the tutorial mailing list we started. They are early steps to a larger plan for eH, which is about preparing expat+HAREM readers to be a cohesive, actualized community putting a creative entrepreneur web platform to use in their location (and monoculture?) independent lives. To solve their problems with the very tools that are solving ours. To give them access to the people who ring our bells...and in turn to give those bell-ringers access to an appropriate community for their offerings. Win-win.

+++

Among the other enlightening, and empowering results reported:

"I have integrated the main social media tools with my website and I have added posterous to the main tools to work with."  (To this I say: that's some integration that not only makes you more visible but also saves you energy in the syndication of content!)

"I re-organized my twitter, creating more strategic and useful lists. I started tweeting other things besides news." (To this I say: I felt your presence on Twitter so much more recently. Kudos for finding a Twitter third party service that lets you do things your way.)

"With your suggestions and guidance I simplified my offerings into two categories - Free and Premium."

"By creating a website for purely professional purposes I ended up getting a great deal more interest in my services on eLance. By redoing the header on my site I find that people spend more time on the website than they had been doing." (To this I say: great you're able to point to those concrete, quantifiable results from the advances you've made (email responses, view time on site).)

"I had a fairly fixed idea of how I wanted my site to be before the session. Afterwards I was questioning every single aspect of it! It really helped to have other people's input, to see where they thought I should head and how to arrange the site. That's the beauty of this group, positive criticism that can change how you approach things." (To this I say: can't wait to see how your site turns out with those added dimensions in the process of creating it!)

"My biggest win has been creating a cohesive visual hub. From that unity, I've been able to start weaving a very colorful picture in images, not just words. Using fun tools like Picasa/Picnik, Animoto (my new fav way to tell stories, which you'll be seeing with my Kickstarter relaunch this month) and taking new photos of our product on Etsy as well as new portraits of our main product - us! - have changed the site dramatically and increased Etsy sales. So, pulling together the visuals our brand projects to the world has been key, thanks to all of you!"

 

 

 

 

Masterminding How To Deal With Social Media Anxiety

Along with Tara Agacayak, I run a private mastermind group on LinkedIn (it’s a subgroup of my Creative Entrepreneurs & Social Media group). These are my thoughts on a session dealing with social media anxiety.

Successful social media use is ALL ABOUT THE FILTERS. Definitely a good topic for a mastermind because the solutions presented this week have the potential to revolutionize your experience with social media and that is major.

My first thought is *use automating tools* so you can stock your feeds at your convenience, decide when the info goes out and where to, and you don't have to visit the sites to post. Much less overwhelm. I use SOCIAL OOMPH for my twitterfeed. It's free, and dead simple. (I also post extemporaneously, but for purposes of this response on automation, that doesn't matter.) Social Oomph allows me to enter as many posts as I want, choose the time and date. Hashtags. Only thing I can't do is post the same tweet twice or "@" replies. You use Networked Blogs at Facebook, I see, great. Email mailing providers also let you post a link to FB and Twitter. You can hook up LinkedIn to Twitter to post at LI your Tweets. For Twitter if you try a third party app like HootSuite or Seesmic or Tweetdeck you can break your subscriptions into categories and only peruse one category at a time. "Friends", "Photographers". "China." That might help you dip a toe in.

Also, you can create a category based on a search term so you can easily respond to tweets on your favorite topics without having to wade through lots of material. So, my first advice is USE SOME FORM OF AUTOMATION on each platform and alternate it with spontaneous contributions, reactions to others, replies. (There is such a thing as overdoing it, and obviously not being present which makes people feel they are being pushed at by a machine.) On the Twitter site itself you can use "Lists" to group your subscriptions and only peruse what one list is tweeting. Personally I have used lists to expand who I follow without making my main stream 10,000 people strong! Here is a good list of "power twitter tips" from Chris Brogan "in five categories: intent, technical, business, integrated usage, and off-twitter. Here's a post about "How to overcome the concern that social media is a time suck" with tips on strategic following and here's a personal branding checklist for Twitter usage. Someone here mentioned to weed out tweeters who 'don't say thanks'. To me, I'd rather not read tweets solely thanking people -- empty tweets that say "thanks for the RT!" are a last case scenario. Sometimes I do it when I'm falling behind, but it's of little value.

A way to better thank someone is to look thru their stream and RT or react to something of theirs. To engage with them, then it's not about keeping score, but the fact that it becomes natural to be involved with them.

You might like this latest post from TRIBAL WRITER's Justine Musk about building an author platform with social media (whether you're an 'author' or not). She writes that the path comes partly from 'strategy' and partly from following your instinct.  Figuring out why you're driven to write (or whatever else creative thing you're doing) and sharing that "inkling, which will lead to other inklings, which lead the way. You'll promote your own work while you're at it."  Musk also she talks about how your blog is your hub, and all these other sites are spokes where you meet your network. "And those different platforms require different forms of content. But you can take your big content – long blog entries, or ebooks or whitepapers — and break it into smaller chunks and bites and tweets. You can take your small content and explode it into something more in-depth. You can transcribe your podcasts and post on your blog; you can tweet cool quotes from your video interviews; you get the idea. Your content feeds your content feeds your content." In a recent Third Tribe seminar Sonia Simone interviewed Naomi Dunsford who said "scare off the people who aren't interested". That could be by your topic alone, your attention to detail, your tone, your seriousness or flippancy, whatever. But basically, you need your people to gather, and how will they know if they're you're people if you're holding back and trying to please everyone? You mentioned not wanting to break down your blog posts. Here's a list of 40 things you can tweet that aren't derived from your blog postings. Good ideas, show the depth of experience and expertise you can demonstrate.

Masterminding A Writer, Artist & Cultural Curator Platform

Along with Tara Agacayak, I run a private mastermind group on LinkedIn (it’s a subgroup of my Creative Entrepreneurs & Social Media group). Once a week someone steps into the center with a case study and asks for feedback and suggestions on their next steps. Here are my thoughts on building out a writing and artist platform:

I use Wordpress and Tumblr (simply as a feed of my blog, microblog and Delicious activities). It seems moving to Tumblr or Posterous might make things much simpler for you as a blogger-- they seem easy/breezy as blogging platforms -- whereas Wordpress's wider capabilities will encourage building a bigger site with more going on. So, since you're talking growth and not just 'make it easier' then I'd say Wordpress.

As for platform building, where are you meeting and engaging with potential readers of your novel (besides Twitter, SheWrites, Facebook, LI, your blog)? Any communities out there specific to the topics in your novel? Taking part in reader-based litchats on Twitter would be another way to start being known as the woman behind the voice that people will be able to read when your book comes out. (Consider posting small excerpts of the book so we know what it's about and grow connected to it?)

Maybe someone here can share leads to artists, writers, cultural curators that you are aware of online -- if you know of them, they're doing something right to get your attention.

As for making the hybrid nature of your work clearer through your platform, I'm reminded of the blog convention of another multifaceted woman: Ruth Harnisch.  She breaks down the different channels of her being and lets that be the structure of her site. "The Maker of Mistakes". "The Philanthropist". "The Catalyst". "The Recovering Journalist". Perhaps something like this might allow you to indulge your interests and help a visitor to your site/blog comprehend your better?

The expatharem site has sold books through its Amazon link -- in the first couple of years of the site. The #s since I relaunched the blog are too tiny to count for anything and that may be a result of the maturity of the book or the fact that I don't push it much on the site, and/or people aren't coming to the blog to buy the book or learn more about it. However, yes, making things available to our interested parties is part of making what we do a business. We have to make the offer. It's relevant. However, I also know being on twitter has sold books. People I met there, people who found out about the book on twitter (like during #litchat on expat lit).

Also: here's a great interview with a 'unmarketing' book author about how he built both a support system and a target audience on Twitter and presold 3,000 copies of his book. Good lessons there about how to engage and when to sell. 

In response to your question about using your own name as a brand, an SEO specialist I know from ThirdTribe (@CraigFifield) just offered an impromptu SEO consult on Twitter before the end of his workday/workweek. I took the liberty to ask him for an opinion on this, in general terms. Here’re the tweets (which overlap, as Twitter does)....

CF: i have 15min before I quit for the day -- how can I help you with SEO or your Blog?

AA: wd someone's name be a better blog name for SEO than tagline about art and the creative life?

CF: in terms of SEO I would use a keyword that people are searching for. Or, I would go for branding and ignore SEO

AA: that is, are proper names SEO at all? and generally used words and phrases amount to very little in SEO world?

AA: so in researching keywords "creative life" what result would prompt good use of that phrase in blog title?

CF: depends how your audience uses those words. I would do some keyword research to decide. do you have an example?

AA: ok think i got it! (branding with a proper name means SEO considerations unnecessary)

CF: well, unless your brand will eventually be big enough to be searched on :) make your brand name unique to win there