Nov 302011
 
Social Media Blogger Warnings

This tongue-in-cheek post is about social media blogger “Pain in the Neck” warnings and not about digital identity or what I have done so far to grow my blog traffic like you probably expected.

~If English is not your first language, tongue-in-cheek means “not serious” or “in humor”.~

Unnecessary Social Media Blogger “Pain in the Neck” Warnings I Could Have Used…

Fellow social media blogger, you probably already know that blogging is hard to do WELL when we fell “UNWELL”.  Creativity is hard when we are in pain. Not impossible, I know a few bloggers who live in chronic pain.  But for pain wimps like myself, it is certainly the un-preferred way to blog.  Some injuries seem to lead to chronic pain, like back injuries or neck injuries.  Hence, some pain in the neck warnings.

Warning One:  A social media blogger should not ever ride an ATV off of a cliff.  And then crash into a tree.  Onto branches 40 feet off the ground.

That probably should go without saying. However, I ignored this common sense warning and did just this very thing summer of 2010. Yup. Slid in some mud while riding a trail down a mountain. Drove right off the precipice of a cliff and into a tree. Got my ATV stuck on some tree branches. Luckily, I held on or I would have fallen on logs and boulders below. I actually did do this. Crashing the ATV isn’t the tongue-in-cheek part.

This little activity does not do much to enhance your ability as a social media blogger superstar. I mean, sure, it gives you an interesting story to write about from time to time, and might earn you a little social media blogger sympathy, but really, as a social media blogging technique it is highly over-rated. So, no matter what advice you receive in any social media blogger marketing resources, I recommend you ignore any parts that suggest you ride an ATV off of a cliff and crash into a tree. In fact, avoid any crashing altogether. Crashing tends, as a rule, to be bad.

In case you are someone (like myself apparently) who needs to have that social media blogger “Pain in the Neck” warning spelled out for you specifically, I thought I would mention it. Hence, this post.

Warning Two: A social media blogger should take care of his or her injuries promptly.

Ever since deciding to use tree branches as an airplane runway to land my ATV on, I have had a neck injury. Minor thing. I mean, really. Does a social media blogger even actually need a neck? Other than fill out a turtleneck, what do they really do? Surprisingly, I learned from my injury that the stumpy-looking thing holding up my head should be well-cared for and is actually quite useful.

Had I taken care of my injury promptly, it probably wouldn’t have been so bad. However, I let the fact that I felt stupid override the fact that I also felt injured. Six months later, my husband got tired of hearing me complain about my neck and urged me to go in to the doctor for more than just pain medication. My doctor referred me to physical therapy.

I now know that physical therapy is much less effective if the injury isn’t fresh. Ah. That would have been good to know. Or that could have been common sense. Which, as we can see from my violation of rule one, I seemed to lack during this whole scenario.

12 weeks later, I finished physical therapy with minor improvements. For instance, I could now shrug my shoulders when indicating ”I don’t know why I thought it was a good idea to land an ATV into a tree” without screaming in pain. People cover their ears less when you tell the story this way, which improves the storytelling considerably.

I was, fortunately, able to still pull off being in too much pain to possibly push a heavy Kirby vacuum around for a few weeks before my husband caught on that I was no longer screaming when I shrugged my shoulders. He decided that I probably could vacuum. Darn physical therapy.

I bring up the need for getting injuries treated promptly because the social media blogger professional (such as most of you reading this) tends to get used to sitting in front of computers and can forget from time to time that there is a wonderful thing called reality that has “doctors” and “physical therapy”. Amazing but true. If injured, we should use these “doctors” so we can get better as quickly as possible and return to being the online social media blogger butterflies and reality recluses that we were born to be.

So don’t forget social media blogger “Pain in the Neck” warning two – take care of injuries promptly!

Warning Three: A social media blogger should avoid getting re-injured if possible.

Two weeks ago, my neck was feeling a tad stiff and sore. I took a break from my social media blogger work and decided go to the mall. My husband suggested I use one of the little kiosk “10 minute masseuse” services. If you don’t have these in your shopping area, then you probably don’t live in America where shopping is so exhausting and we are so unfit that we need to sit in a massage chair and get a personal massage to continue a shopping spree. (That is tongue-in-cheek. I have never actually seen someone get a massage from these places. Until the story I am about to tell below, I had never had one of these massages. I have often wondered how these places make any money.)

I informed the masseuse that I had a neck injury and that he needed to be delicate in how he massaged me. He said “Sure, sure” and proceeded to massage my neck as if it was his life’s mission to give my neck muscles the relaxed elasticity of melting hot taffy. I, in my social media blogger naivety, assumed he knew what he was doing.

I know now that his “Sure, sure” meant “Lady Social Media Blogger, I don’t speak English but thank you for your $10 dollars.  And now, prepare to be in excruciating pain for the next few weeks.”  

Kind of reminds me of how one of the software programmers from India that I worked with said “No problem, no problem” which actually meant, “Holy Cow! Big problem, Madame Social Media Blogger, MAYDAY! MAYDAY!”  That is why my review of his work said, “Working with you was No Problem, Prashant!”

Anyway, so my masseuse didn’t speak any English. I am not sure he was even a certified masseuse. Unless certified masseuses usually have a billy club that they beat you on the shoulders with. Since I was face down in the chair, I can’t say for sure that is what he did, but it is certainly what it felt like.

I have been in agony ever since. Stuck in bed agony. Not leaving the house agony. “Why is this pain medication bottle empty now?” agony.

Which is certainly not a productive state for a social media blogger. This is why I share this useful warning with you. If you are a social media blogger: heed this warning and avoid getting re-injured. And while we are on the subject, you might want to avoid 10-minute-kiosk-masseuses who don’t speak your language and who have billy clubs.  Just a tip from one social media blogger to another.

(In case you are wondering, yes, I did call the mall and complain.  Some very responsible sounding 17-year-old told me she would take care of it. I am sure she is taking care of it right now.)

Before I move on, just want to recap social media blogger “Pain in the Neck” warning three – “Neck injuries suck.  Neck RE-injuries RE-suck”.

Warning Four: A social media blogger should have posts already written and scheduled to run in case of injury.

Uh. Yeah. I don’t even know what to say to this except to say a social media blogger mea culpa. I should have had that set up. I even have the awesome editorial calendar plugin I love that helps to see all scheduled posts.  (Note to self – use your common sense and your awesome tools.)

Not being prepared in case of emergencies is a total pain in the neck. Different from a literal pain in the neck like crashing an ATV into a tree, but still, figuratively, it is a pain in the neck.  So this totally counts as a social media blogger “Pain in the Neck” warning.

It is very important that we have posts in the pipeline ready to go out whether we can blog or not. Again, this is a common sense warning that I should have followed like all the other ones in this post – so mostly I am preaching to myself. I am sure you are too smart to make any of these mistakes.

I hope these unnecessary social media blogger “pain in the neck” warnings will come in handy for you someday. They probably won’t as they are mostly unnecessary. Except the last one. That one is pretty good.

If you want to follow social media blogger “Pain in the Neck” warning four: always have backup posts – I do suggest the social media blogger friend: the editorial calendar plugin. It is free and you can get it from that link, but I would just go to “Add New” Plugins in your dashboard and upload it from there.  It is really handy to see when your pre-scheduled posts are going to be published.

Bonus Social Media Blogger “Pain in the Neck” Warning:

If you haven’t become a part of a social media blogger community, you may find that no one notices that you aren’t posting or that you have a pain in the neck. I am very grateful to all my fellow social media blogger friends who have expressed their well-wishes and who have continued to have my back by marketing on my behalf while I have been laid up. You all rock!! You know who you are!! Also, thank you to Ross Copping who sent me an insanely sweet get-well-soon e-card. I am blessed to have all my social media blogger buddies!

So, if you want to survive as a social media blogger with a pain in the neck – be part of a community.  They will help you hang in there!

Thanks for reading my tongue-in-cheek personal post.  The next posts will be how I am using social media so far and social media blogger experiment update 3.

If you didn’t see it, you can view social media blogger experiment update 2.

Mindy Koch
You can see my entire social media blogger presence at http://XeeMe.com/MindyKoch
 
The photo “No ATV’s” by Peter Blanchard is used by Creative Commons License. (Social Media Blogger Warnings)
Nov 152011
 

Okay, time for a little check in on how the social media experiment is going!

Overall, my blog presence and my social media presence has grown over the last 15 days.

Blog Presence

This blog is 15 days old. It has 6 posts currently.  There are 96 comments on the blog, 24 of which are my responses to comments.  72 comments are from blog visitors.  I have had 579 unique visitors and 217 returning visitors in the past 15 days.

Social Media Presence

My Twitter followers has increased by 390 followers.  I am not doing anything to game getting followers.  No “tweetadder”, no “tweetattack”, no mass follow/unfollow.

My FB friends has increased by 61 friends and my FB fans has increased by 32.

My Klout has dropped off a litte bit but my PeerIndexed has increased. Go figure.  Klout – down 1 point.  PeerIndex is up 7 points.

My XeeMe XPV has exploded but that is completely expected because XeeMe was my major promotion tool last week.  I expect that number to drop quite a bit as I a move onto other promotional strategies.

Now – are these phenomenal numbers?  No.  I could game the system and increase these numbers dramatically.  But are these real, white hat numbers? YES.  These are numbers that anyone could replicate.

So, what really have I done to increase my numbers? I will tell you all about it in my next blog post.  It will be lengthy but I think you will find it worthwhile.

Also, if you want to see the progress, you can see my progress report spreadsheet at http://goo.gl/PNTlH.

                        Nov 1   Nov 3   Nov 15
Twitter Followers	3051	3155	3545
Facebook Friends	582	608	669
Facebook Fans	        579	584	616
Unique Visitors	        0	34	579
Klout	                51.12	51.36	50.94
PeerIndex	        37	38	44
XeeMe PV	        379	470	2814

Since last measured
Followers +/-		        104	390
Friends +/-		        26	61
Fans +/-		        5	32
Visitors +/-		        34	545
Klout +/-		        0.24	-0.42
PeerIndex +/-		        1	6
XeeMe Pv +/-		        91	2344
Total
Followers +/-		        	494
Friends +/-		        	87
Fans +/-		        	37
Visitors +/-		        	579
Klout +/-		        	-0.18
PeerIndex +/-		        	7
XeeMe Pv +/-		        	2435

I haven’t yet done any guest blogging even much blog commenting so far, so I plan to start that this week.  Also, I want to create a minimally viable product over the next 15 days and see if I can start to monetize this blog.  And, I want to get over a thousand unique visitors before the month is over.  So, those are the goals!

Mindy Koch
See my entire social presence at http://XeeMe.com/MindyKoch.
See my post to know why XeeMe is a great social presence tool.
Nov 112011
 
Find Your Digital Identity

Digital Identity

In the last blog post, “Digital Identity and Search“, we discussed the fact that all the information available about you online contributes to your digital identity.  

In this post, you and I are going to visit seven tools you can use to discover the personal information and grade the professional impression that you have online.

Hopefully, you are joining me in my social media experiment and you will check these tools together with me.

So, friend, you ready to take the plunge and see what is online about you?  Let’s go take a look at your current digital identity!

Digital Identity within Google and Bing Search

Of course, we start with Google and Bing. (I am counting Google and Bing together as one tool.)

My name isn’t that common, so putting “Mindy Koch” (in quotes) is enough for me. If you have a common name, you will need to add an identifier like +Michigan or +journalist in your search to help narrow the results down to you specifically.

If you read the digital identity last post, you have already looked at Google to see the earliest mention of you, so you have a general idea of your Google digital identity.  If you haven’t checked Google lately, you may find it very interesting.

Hopefully, you are in the first few pages of results.  And hopefully, you like the current state of your digital identity in the results.

We aren’t done with Google though.

After exploring the standard search result pages for your name, it is time to search Google Images.

Now, when I search Google Images for “Mindy Koch”, I notice several interesting things.

1.  I can put a face to the other Mindy Kochs in the US.  Cool.  I have been aware of them for years as I have monitored my online reputation and now I know what they look like.

2. Pictures of me are a small percentage of the results.

3. Luckily, as I skimmed the images I didn’t find any compromising or embarrassing images of myself.

4.  The images associated with me are incredibly diverse.  Featured pictures from blog pages I have commented on show up.  Pictures of people I interact with on Facebook show up.  Images of people who recommended my Empire Avenue stock show up.  Quite a few of the results are associated with me – but are not actually me.

One last thought before we move on from discovering our digital identity in Google Images. What shows up if we turn off “Safe Search”?  I always search with “SafeSearch” on, and I can’t think of any reason that I would have anything that would show up that wouldn’t be safe.  But, I should check just in case.

Okay, let’s do a Google Video search as well.  Anyone record you slipping on a banana peel or coming home from the dentist all goofy on laughing gas? Just checking.  Nothing showed up for me that I wasn’t expecting.  Hopefully, that is true for you as well.

We are going to use Google again later, but for now, let’s move on to a digital identity search in Bing.

My Bing search results were pretty much what I expected.  They look a lot like my Google search results.  I totally dominate the first few pages that I checked, so I am happy.

And, of course, next is a quick check of Bing Image and Bing Video searches.

When I checked my digital identity in Bing Image search, I found that Bing Image Search produces far less random results than Google images did.  Nice, simple, concise results.

So, we have the OBVIOUS “discover your digital identity” tool out of the way.

Let’s have some fun and explore six more!  I hope a few of these are new to you!

A search tool I get a kick out of is Spezify.  I love the layout of the results.  The results are just very visually appealing to me.  If you go check your digital identity there; I am curious to see if you think it is as cool as I do!  There really is something about the layout of the results that just fascinates me.

Before we explore your personal digital identity specifically, there is one other search I suggest we do.  Let’s see what people are saying about us on social media.

The social media search tool I like to use is SocialMention.  Since SocialMention searches social media sites, I am testing “Mindy Koch” and “mindykoch” there.  Most of my social media mentions come in the form of @mindykoch so I may as well search it.  I suggest you check your socialmedia monikers as well.

Your Personal Digital Identity

Now, let’s get personal.

If you live in the United States, you should try Spokeo and search your name again.  Select the state you live in and see the results…

For me, Spokeo reveals way more personal information about my digital identity than I would like.

It shows the street my house  is on, my age, my religion, my income bracket, and other typical demographic stuff.  But then, check this out – it even shows my interests:

spokeo digital identity

spokeo digital identity

Not all the information Spokeo has on me is correct.  I don’t enjoy arts and crafts, I don’t drink wine, and my parents are not elderly. But still, Spokeo has definitely crawled more than my information on the Internet.  It has crawled my activities.  Amazon obviously has been crawled.  Over all, Spokeo has assembled quite a bit of information!  I hate to think what is in the package available for purchase. *Shudder*.

(If what is revealed about you concerns you, you may find this link helpful: remove your digital identity information from Spokeo.)

Another site to check to see your personal information online is 123People.  This site searches globally with extensive databases in the US, the UK, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Again, someone can pay to find out even more digital identity information about us!  Perhaps, we should buy the packages and see what is in there!

If you are not happy with the 123 People results, you can get information about how to remove information at 123 People and clearing your digital identity.

So, you have investigated some of your personal digital identity, it is time to check the status of your professional digital identity.

Your Professional Digital Identity

In this section,  we are going to get “graded” on how clearly we are communicating our digital identity as a professional brand.

First, I want you to think back to your Google Search and Bing Search. How did you show up as a PROFESSIONAL?  Were you conveying the professional digital identity you desire? I feel pretty good about how I show up as a professional.  I still want to do a bit of finessing though of the top 30 results of me.  I want to absolutely make sure that they promote the best me possible.

We need our Google search results page open to use the next tool Online ID Calculator. This isn’t a search tool, it is a rating tool.  So, let’s go grade our digital identity at Online ID Calculator.

At first, it is easy to be put off by this site because it seems to ask for a lot of information. After using it, I realized it doesn’t connect my data to me and it doesn’t pull any information about me from the internet. It just works with the data I offer.

We just simply answer the questions and Online ID Calculator will let us know if our digital identity is “digitally dissed, digitally dabbling, digitally disastrous, or digitally distinct”.

I was happy to see that I am “Digitally Distinct”. Yeah!! :D

Important tip: before we leave Google, we need to set a google alert so we can monitor our digital identity.  Set it to search the internet.  I have a search for Mindy Koch and mindykoch since I use mindykoch as my usual online moniker.

The next site we are going to use is MyWebCareer. This site grades how well our digital identity is getting our professional message across online.  To get an accurate reading, it connects to Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Quora.  Any score above 750 is excellent. The highest score is an 850.

Here is how my ratings went: Facebook alone, I scored a 555.  Adding Linkedin moved me to a 737.  Adding Twitter bumped me to a 770.  Adding Quora only bumped me to a 779.  I am happy with that but I can still do more work.  Good to know.

Hopefully, by now, you have been able to get your fingers on the pulse of your digital identity.

Before I close this article though, I have two bonus shows for you to view that feature your digital identity on Facebook!!

One is the Museum of Me and the other is Take this Lollipop.  You will need to give them permission to connect with your Facebook account to see the movies.

One of these shows is a real nice treat and lets you enjoy how well you have formed your digital identity on Facebook.  I love the Museum of Me and think it would be a super cool screensaver on my computer.

The other one, Take this Lollipop, is a bit more intense and is a reminder that there are lots of things we do want to share online and lots of things we don’t.

I urge you to watch both of them.

Next Post:

Shaping Your Digital Identity

In the next post, I will talk to you about flooding the Internet with positive information about you to influence your digital identity.

Until then, be on your best behavior, assume that everything you do can end up on the Internet, and check your teeth for spinach in case someone with a cell phone camera is around.

Mindy Koch
See my entire online presence at http://xeeme.com/mindykoch 
 
Synopsis of digital identity tools:
  1. Google/Bing Search – Image – Video
  2. Spezify
  3. Social Mention
  4. Spokeo
  5. 123People
  6. Online Id Calculator
  7. My Web Career
Bonus shows: Museum of Me and Take this Lollipop
Photo, “Search” by Jeffrey Beall, is used by creative commons license. Digital Identity.
Nov 082011
 
Digital Identity

Digital Identity

Have you checked in on your digital identity lately?  Seen how it is coming along? What it is revealing about you? You are aware of your digital identity, right?  I am pretty sure you have built it for a while.

I seriously doubt you would be reading this blog if today was your first day on the Internet, (and if so – kudos to you for discovering this blog on your very first day online.  You are a genius!) so I am going to safely assume you have been online long enough to be tracked by Google and Yahoo and Bing.

The search results someone gets when “your name” (or moniker) are searched are a key part of your digital identity.  (I will talk about other components of digital identity in another blog post.)

Everything you do online is recorded in a database somewhere (even in private forums your comments are searchable the private forum). Google and other platforms are relentless in their pursuit of data. Our online actions create results to be consumed, categorized, and analyzed for demographic, marketing, and searchable purposes.

You may not have built your digital identity INTENTIONALLY, but regardless of your intentions, you have built it.

So, how does your digital identity compare with the real life “personal brand” you try to convey?

  • You carefully craft your résumé.
  • Your digital identity captures your unguarded thoughts and feelings about your job, your boss, your career.
  • You painstakingly design your promotional materials.
  • Your business is revealed by everything you, your employees, and your customers say online about your company.
  • In real life, your professional and personal life rarely mix.
  • Online, they can blend to the point that your customers easily know what your cat looks like on Flickr or Instagram, where you like to eat dinner on Yelp or FourSquare, and which political party you support on Facebook or Twitter.

When we use social media, our digital identity grows exponentially. It is insane how social media crafts our digital identity relentlessly and unabashedly promotes who we are online 24 hours-a-day to anybody searching.

I hadn’t checked on mine lately.  Thought I would give it a gander on Google.  In fact, I got curious about the first references to myself I could find within Google.

Using a “custom range” in my search, I found this little entry from 2000.

Family Tree Maker’s Genealogy Site: User Home Pages:
Sep 6, 2000 – Mindy Lee Koch 9048-E Nathan Hale Court Wahiawa, Hawaii 96786. United States 808-624-4142 kochm001@hawaii.rr.com

None of that information except my name is still correct. But there it is. September 6, 2000. A scrap of information about my life from 11 years ago.

My first online marketing article appeared on Feb 1, 2001 – way back in the infancy of online marketing!

Being The Best In The Biz! – Franchise Mentality!
Feb 1, 2001 – By Mindy Koch. I have a cousin who just bought a Subway … Mindy Koch has been in Sales and Marketing for over 10 years. Having joined Internet…

And there it begins, the beginning of my digital identity. Genealogy. Yup. Online Marketing. Yup. Definitely me.

Sure, I did things online before 2000 but most of it was chat rooms, forums, email and static html websites that didn’t accept comments except for the few that put up guest books.  (Remember guest books?? Anyone? Anyone?  Bueller??)

Now, it is much, much harder to be online and not build a digital identity. In fact, not creating one is WORK.  Avoiding creating a digital identity requires juggling usernames, consistently being mindful of privacy settings, not connecting social media platforms in any way, and complete separation of online personas and real life interactions. (Once an online moniker becomes recognizable it has created a digital identity.  It isn’t based on a real name, but it is an identity nonetheless. If that moniker is ever attached to its’ real life digital identity counterpart, they are intertwined and the anonymity of the moniker is lost.)

For everyone else, not interested in jumping through all those hoops, creating a publicly viewable digital identity is the natural result of being online.

If you are using social media platforms, you are constantly creating a steady stream of data that builds your digital identity at an accelerated rate.

Digital Identity and Social Media Example

As far as I can tell, there are 28 people named Mindy Koch in the US. There are 12,100 results in Google for “Mindy Koch”. Of the top 100 results, 71 of the results are me. And each one of the 71 results involves social media. Each one. Granted, I have been online since 2000 (obviously, since I showed you the very first entry in Google already) but so were one or two of the other “Mindy Kochs” in the list.

If you are interested in the social media sites I showed up in the first 100 pages, they are listed at the very bottom of this article.

On top of the 71 search results that were about me specifically, there were  8 white page listing type pages that listed “Mindy Koch” across the US which I was on as well.

71 results about me plus 8 more about me and other Mindy Kochs. Total of 79.

The other 21 results not connected to me:

  • Mindy Koch FL – 3/100 (not social media)
  • Mindy Koch MI – 8/100 (1 wiki, 1 Flickr, 6 not social media)
  • Melinda Koch OH – 1/100 (not social media)
  • Mindy Koch NM – 2/100 (not social media)
  • Mindy Koch IL – 3 /100 (1 Ning, 2 directories)
  • Mindy Koch PA – 3/100 (directories)
  • Mindy Koch CA  - 1/100 – (not social media)

Am I trying to say, “Oh look, social media is ROCKING for SEO?? Look how I am in 79 of the first 100 references to me in Google just for the year 2011?”

No. That is not my point. Ranking for an uncommon name has little to do with SEO so it isn’t about that at all.  Also, I am online a great deal more than the other Mindy Kochs apparently.

What I am saying is “Look how social media puts my online activity on display!” My digital identity is very easily discovered.

Do I mind? No. To me, this isn’t a problem because I want to be found in Google and I want to have a robust digital identity. I use social media to BE SEEN online.

But, someone who isn’t mindful of what they are doing or saying when using social media, is probably not aware they are creating a digital identity that is very, very long lasting.

Don’t Be Surprised By Your Digital Identity

Anyone under 25 has grown up pretty aware of the fact that their lives are on display over the internet. They may not truly comprehend the long-lasting impact their social media actions can have on their digital identity, but they are aware that they are creating one.

For people over 25, (especially considerably older than 25) it can be a big shock to see what their digital identity is.  Many people are unaware of their digital identity hidden with in search engine results.

When my father retired as a Lt. Col of the military and was putting together his résumé, he was stunned to find that a political action group had slandered him and other people like him on numerous websites. He was given an epithetical label that no one who knows my Dad would ever attribute to him. Since my Dad only used the Internet (besides for work) to check email, buy airline tickets, and shop for a house, he was completely blindsided by the fact that he had a digital identity that he had not built in any way. It took me quite a while to clean up his digital identity and cover the slander with positive information.  The slander is still out there, but luckily, employers would have to go several pages into the search results to find it now.

Everyone needs to check their digital identity.

Social media marketers and entrepreneurs need to more than monitor their digital identity.  They need to shape it intentionally.  Businesses need to do the same.  Individuals looking for jobs need to shape their online identity purposefully so their expertise is clearly established.

My next blog posts will be about how to check and shape your digital identity using social media.

Until then, let’s see if you can find your earliest reference in Google!  Search your name in Google, from the left hand side select “More Search Tools” and from there select “Custom Range”.  Put in dates to search.  I did mine in years.  1/1/1998 – 1/1/1999 but you could do a bigger range.

If you do this, what was your earliest contribution to your digital identity in Google??

 Mindy Koch
My entire social presence -> http://xeeme.com/mindykoch
 
Digital Identity Photo, “Costume Characters” by Alaskan Dude, used by Creative Commons License
Nov 032011
 
Social Media Experiment

So, the social media experiment has run for two days.  Time for a progress report!

Current goals:

  1. Writing in Contentpalooza to create a lot of content to fill the blog.
  2. Being active in Contentpalooza and NaNoWriMo as a social media event to meet people.
  3. Looking for opportunities as a guest blogger.
  4. Working within my current networking circles to get visitors.
  5. Measuring how long it takes me to reach 200 unique visitors to my new blog only using social media.

In general, I feel good about my progress towards these goals.  My post yesterday about XeeMe was well received by XeeMe owner, Axel, and he has asked to have a copy of it on his blog.  A nice perk, there!  That is certainly a step in the right direction! My Contentpalooza activity is paying off in content more than in social buzz but it is still going well.  I feel good about my networking although I need to be more active in my various circles.  Launching the blog from scratch over the past two days has taken more of my time than I anticipated.

Beginning measurements:

  • Twitter followers = 3051
  • Facebook friends = 582
  • Facebook fans = 579
  • Unique visitors = 0
  • Klout = 51.12
  • PeerIndex = 37
  • XeeMe PV = 370

Measurements 48 hours later:

  • Twitter followers = 3155
  • Facebook friends = 608
  • Facebook fans =  584
  • Unique visitors = 34
  • Klout = 51.36
  • PeerIndex = 38
  • XeeMe PV = 470
  • You can view my progress report spreadsheet at http://goo.gl/PNTlH

Are these astounding results? Heck no!  I am happy with them overall, though.  I am not well-known.  I am just getting off the ground in launching this blog.  I think this is a good beginning.

Also for those interested in tracking:

  • My NaNoWriMo and Contentpalooza word count is 4649.
  • You can view my word-count spreadsheet at http://goo.gl/7IohK
Mindy Koch
Connect with me at http://XeeMe.com/MindyKoch
 
Social Media Experiment Photo, “Motivational Poster” by Gerry T, used by Creative Commons License.
Nov 022011
 
XeeMe - A Great Social Presence Tool

For a few days now, I have been using a great social presence tool to organize and connect all of my social media profiles: XeeMe.  Pronounced “See Me”.  I love this tool for several reasons: it organizes all my social profiles, I can easily customize it, it helps me to connect with other social networkers, and it has excellent tracking built in. Oh, and one more reason I love it.  XeeMe is the first social presence tool I have ever used that was interested in MY success.

XeeMe – A Great Social Presence Tool to Organize

As far as I can tell, and Axel will hopefully correct me if I am wrong, but XeeMe can organize an unlimited number of social profiles. Organize. Unlimited.  Awesome.

It is currently configured with nearly 200 social media platforms already. Plus, any additional platforms I need to add, can be added easily with a customizable “other” link.  The platform doesn’t limit me in any way.  I added my NaNoWriMo profile to my XeeMe even though it isn’t currently setup to work with NaNoWriMo.  It took me just a few seconds to do it. Piece of cake.

What is especially handy is that XeeMe doesn’t limit me as to the number of profiles per social media platform I can add! I have multiple blogs. No problem.  I have several Facebook fan pages. Not a big deal because I can add as many Facebook pages or groups as I need to. Whatever social profiles I need to organize, Xeeme can organize them.

In addition, XeeMe takes organizing my social profiles even further than just giving me a place to store my profiles. I can control HOW they are organized.

My social profiles don’t have to be organized alphabetically.  They aren’t stuck in a list in the order in which I entered them.  I have full control over the order they are listed.  I just move my profiles around with a simple drag and drop.  Plus, to help me organize my social profiles even further, I have three tabs I can put my profiles on.  I haven’t used all three yet – but if I wanted to, I could put just my preferred profiles on the “front tab” and the plethora of “barely used but still kind of used” social profiles that we all tend to gather on another tab. Up to me.  I can display my profiles in whatever format works for me.

I also love that if I don’t want to add all my social profiles, but just want to add a few, I can do so without it looking like I have an incomplete profile.  I have had that problem before on other social profile organizers. At the moment, I only have 14 profiles set up and I am quite content with that.  I know I will add more profile later but for now, I am happy with my current setup.

I am happy because I have been able to set up my XeeMe in a way that suits me.  I just love that XeeMe allows me to control how I organize my social presence.

XeeMe – A Great Social Presence Tool I Can Customize

I am a huge fan of how much I can do more than just organize my profile.  I am able to truly customize it.  By customizing, I am not talking about “ooh, I can choose the color of my background” or “ooh, I can use a picture in the background”.  I can do those things for sure, but those aren’t the customization capabilities that impressed me.

I can control the description of each profile. You can see in the picture at the top of this post that I have chosen to put “I Follow Back :D ” in my Twitter description.  (I am curious to see if that gets more clicks than what I did have there which was “@mindykoch”.)  I can put whatever I want there.  The description next to my Twitter button description can be blank, it can say “Twitter” or “@username” or “FOLLOW” or anything else I want it to say.  I could even say “Follow” in French or German or Hungarian if I wanted to.  Or knew how to.  It is just so handy to have full control of the verbage in my XeeMe.

But here is what REALLY knocked my socks off:  XeeMe doesn’t force me to use a specific link format. Some other social presence sites only let me input my username and then the computer code inserts my username into a pre-formatted link. While XeeMe does give me a simple version option where I could do that, I don’t HAVE to use the pre-formatted link.  If I want to, I am able to completely delete the pre-formatted link and put in whatever I choose.

I learned I can put in any url I want when I couldn’t get my Google+ link to work with the Google+ traditional format. I had to use the “gplus.to” link instead and it worked just fine. That was when I realized the possibilities. If I wanted to, I could use a trackable link. I wouldn’t really need to because XeeMe tracks things for me, but the point is – I COULD.  I could use a bit.ly link or a google analytics trackable url and my XeeMe would handle it just fine.  How is THAT for cool?

XeeMe – A Great Social Presence Tool to Connect

Something I really like about XeeMe is that I am able to focus on promoting one link to cover all of my social media connections and my XeeMe visitors can select the networks that are the most interesting to them.  I don’t control where we can connect.  My XeeMe visitors do.

Now, you can’t tell it by the XeeMe profile on this blog (because that is just a mini-XeeMe) but on my real XeeMe, my visitors can see in a glance whether I am very active on their preferred network or whether I am not very active there at all. With each profile, I can let them know – yes – I am here regularly. It really puts the key information in front of the XeeMe visitor. If they see I am active and it is one of their preferred networks, awesome.

Also, through tracking, the creators of XeeMe learned that the average XeeMe owner makes THREE social network connections when a someone views their XeeMe.  What a great tool to connect! It is like the “one tool to rule them all” of social profiles!

XeeMe – A Great Social Presence Tool to Track

XeeMe has some excellent behind the scenes applications and tracking.  So much so, that it is strongly encouraged to have people find my Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn profiles through the XeeMe interface.  That way I can track the clicks.

Plus there are some great tools in the back of my XeeMe.  I didn’t even realize these tools were there until yesterday but they allow me not only to track my links, they also allow me to track several goals and plans to connect with social media key influencers.  There is so much more to XeeMe than I realized when I signed up.

XeeMe – A Great Social Presence Tool to Reach Goals

My favorite think about XeeMe though, is the passion of its creator, Axel Schultze. Axel is what makes XeeMe special. He doesn’t just view XeeMe as his product – he views the success and happiness of the XeeMe member as his product. He promotes XeeMe member profiles. He has created a facebook group to get to know the members and to ask them what XeeMe can do to help them succeed. He is constantly updating XeeMe with new social media platforms.

He has also built-in some neat applications in the back of XeeMe to help reach goals of connecting with people through Flights and Focus apps.  It is quite cool what is back there.  I honestly don’t know what half of it does but it is pretty darn cool!

Another thing he does is create special social networking events called XBX to help a group of XeeMe members meet their personal 45 day goals. XBX stands for Xee and Be Xeen (See and Be Seen) and the purpose is to have XeeMe members network for other members. What social media platform are you a member of that does that?? That cares about your success? Your business goals? I have never seen it before.

The XeeMe members who aren’t part of the XBX event still follow along in the facebook group and learn how to move from networkers to power networkers so they can reach their business goals as well. Frankly, I think this is the next evolution of a social media platform. This is truly SOCIAL media. The platform doesn’t just help you connect with each other, the platform helps to drive your success. I have never seen that anywhere before and I am so glad that I am a part of the XeeMe family.

If you would like to have a XeeMe profile, you can get one free at: http://xeeme.com?r=Fx41EoGro0GP 
If you would like to connect with my via my XeeMe profile, you can connect with me at http://xeeme.com/mindykoch

Please connect with me on at least 3 social media platforms. I am most active on Twitter, Facebook, my FB Fan Page, and Empire Avenue but am active on many other sites as well. I look forward to being able to Xee you as well and to connecting with you! If you decide to use my XeeMe profile to discover three sites you can connect with me on, please let me know if the comments below! If you choose to get a XeeMe profile, please let me know in the comments as well!!

Nov 012011
 
Social Media and Social Media Events - NaNoWriMo

I want to take advantage of any timely social media events happening to help me gain momentum as I launch my blog. By doing this, I am able to use the momentum, word of mouth, and social camaraderie created by the event to help create some momentum, word of mouth, and social camaraderie about what I am trying to do here with Social-Drivers.

This is especially useful for me because I am a very social person.  The energy created by being part of a social media event while I am launching my blog translates into energy to stay focused and enthused about my project and helps to fuel the speed that I can attract readers.  It also helps to me to find advocates for my success who will help spread the word about what I am doing here.

It might certainly would prove useful for you to consider doing the same for your blog as well.

There are always social media events happening, it is just a matter of keeping alert to timely opportunities.  Some quick ideas for social media events to consider: twitter chats, meetups, conferences, online contests, and being a participant in a training program.  At the end of this article, I will give you a list of tools you can use to help you identify a social media event to get involved in that will help you launch your blog.

Two Social Media Events in One

One huge opportunity I am taking advantage of is National Novel Writing Month, #NaNoWriMo, which takes place every November for the entire month. It began in 1999 with a mere 28 people. Now, it is a massive global social media event that people participate in year after year.  Seriously, a ridiculous amount of people take part in this every year.  

The timing coincides PERFECTLY with what I am doing here.  I am starting this blog on November 1st and am looking for a social media event to be participate in and it is harder to find a bigger event than NaNoWRiMo.

Interestingly, it wouldn’t have even occurred to me to join NaNoWriMo, because I am not planning on writing a novel.  I am writing a blog.

Luckily, I saw a compelling tweet in my twitterfeed:

“How to Write a Year’s Worth of Posts in 30 Days http://www.problogger.net/archives/
2011/10/29/how-to-write-a-year%e2%80%99s-worth-of-posts-in-30-days/”

Well, that certainly caught my attention since I was, at that very time, thinking about launching this social media experiment blog. Thank heavens I was paying attention to my twitterfeed!

I read the post and was VERY intrigued! In the post, Kelly Kingman, a guest blogger at Problogger.net, discussed using NaNoWriMo to create 50K words worth of blog posts (instead of a novel) and participating in NaNoWriMo as a Rebel.  I loved this idea! It sounded perfect for me for several reasons.

  1. It would force me to create a lot of content for my blog.  Content is good!
  2. It would give me a social peer pressure situation to enjoy while I met my blogging goals.  Social Pressure is great for me!
  3. It would help me to invest in the success of other bloggers and for them to invest in my success as well.  Awesome!
Participating in this social media event would be an all around win-win scenario for me! Sweet!! From the minute I read the post, I knew I wanted in!

I hopped back onto Twitter and reached out to the author of the post, @KellyKingman, who I had never met, to find out more about this concept of writing 50K words worth of blog posts.  She and another cool twitter gal “@bookchiq” reached out to me, told me it was called #contentpalooza and told me how to join them.  (#Contentpalooza is niche social media event happening within the framework of a much larger social media event.)

Apparently, I could follow along with KellyKingman via her Facebook page: http://facebook.com/kellykingmanmedia or I could join the Facebook group “Contentpalooza“.  Well, of course, I wanted to join the group!  That is part of the advantage of being involved in a social media event, after all!!  To enjoy being SOCIAL!

(Just as a side-note – do you see how awesome social media is??  I saw a tweet on Twitter (one social media platform) that lead me to a blog post (another social media platform) that taught me something new that lead me back to Twitter where I conversed with the blog author and another fan about how I could join them and that lead me to a Facebook (a third social media platform) where I am joining other people interested in working together to meet a common goal. Voila! In very little time and with very little effort on my part, I am now connected to people all across the world to work on a common goal that helps me succeed.  It blows my mind how awesome social media is!)

What was truly even more awesome was that this was now TWO social media events in one!  I could participate on the official NaNoWriMo forum for the Rebels, for my home region, and on Twitter.  I could also participate on Facebook and Twitter with the Contestpalooza focused participants.

The Contentpalooza group opened on the first day of NaNoWriMo, November 1st, and already the Contentpalooza participants were buzzing with activity.  Word counts, blog sharing, tool tips, and cheering each other on.   As fellow social media event participants, complete strangers were connecting instantly over a shared challenge.  What a slice of Internet heaven for bloggers needing to create content!

My local region group, Maryland, also had a Facebook group for NaNoWriMo and I was thrilled to see lots of action there as well.  And Twitter was a buzz with participants. Some had even set the goal of writing the 50K words in one day!!  (Using the hashtags #50KKillMeNow and #50KDay)

That looked so hard that my  goals look so easy by comparison.  My goal was to write 50 posts in 30 days with each post being approximately 1000 words long.   Truthfully, to accomplish this, I will have to silence my inner critic and be content to write a post and to not get bogged down by trying to write the perfect post.  Also, if I try to make every post score an SEO Score of 100%, it may truly take forever to write all that.  If I try to make each post perfect, I won’t accomplish anything else the whole month!  So I will probably be sacrificing some quality in exchange for quantity.  I don’t love that – but I don’t hate it either.

I have learned from my  husband a valuable lesson that sometimes “Quantity is a quality all its own“.  My husband learned this during his first tour in Iraq. He worked for a Colonel there who taught him this. They worked in military intelligence and had to keep the entire division as up-to-date as possible about possible targets and possible threats. The Colonel wanted to make sure that the division commanders always had as much information and that it was as up-to-date as possible. He would often remind the team of his mantra, “Quantity is a quality all its own” and urge them to keep everyone as informed about everything as possible.

That is the mantra I am telling myself as well as I focus on my 50K words.  ”Quantity is a quality all its own.”  I can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.  I will just have to hit publish (or schedule it on my editorial calendar) and move on.  I have too much to test and to let my inner editor take over!

My bigger goal of course is to use these social media events to launch my blog and to help me reach my goal of 200 unique visitors as soon as possible.

So those are two of the social media events that I am participating in.  If you read this post soon enough, you can join the challenge and be a #contentpalooza #nanowrimo participant with me!

If not, let’s see if we can’t find the perfect social media event for you!

How To Find Social Media Events You Can Be Involved In

Lanyrd – A social media conference directory

Plancast – See what your social media friends are doing

Eventbrite - Find or plan events

Tweetchat Wiki – find twitterchats to participate in

Meetup – Find events (social media or otherwise) you can attend in your area

Mashable Social Media Events - Every week Mashable creates a list of social media events

The important thing is to view each social media event, whether you attend online or in in person, as a way to build your brand, to network, and to find advocates for what you are doing.  Also, be prepared to give back and do the same thing for the other attendees.  It is SOCIAL media after all.  The emphasis is on the social and not so much on the media part of what we are trying to do.

 

Mindy Koch
http://XeeMe.com/MindyKoch
Nov 012011
 
Social Media Experiment

Social Drivers is a social media experiment by me, Mindy Koch, about using social media to brand yourself online.

I am experimenting with social media (not SEO) strategies and tracking their results to determine which social media actions truly result in successfully building an online brand.  As I do this, I am providing step-by-step instructions along the way so you can follow along and test the results for yourself.

You will have complete transparency to everything I do. I will share my metrics with you.  Every social media strategy will be shared openly.  If I fail completely, you will know it!  If I succeed, you will know it and be able to reproduce it!  Every social media strategy or tactic that I try will be monitored and tracked for results and those results will be shared with you.

I want to be upfront about the fact that, yes, I am not well-known in the social media blogosphere, however, I am not new to online marketing or to building a brand online.  I am a local SEO online marketing consultant with my own consulting business.  I do have a modest social media foundation of a Twitter following of 3051 followers, a semi-active Facebook page with 582 friends, and a Facebook fanpage with far too little interactivity even though it has 579 fans.  I do truly hope this gives me a solid social media foundation to launch this blog.  It will be interesting to see how much this helps.

In general though, this blog is starting out like any other blog.  No subscribers.  Not written by a famous blogger.  No team of writers.  Just one person focused on creating a successful brand online using social media and doing it in my spare time.

Obviously, I have no idea if you have a Twitter or Facebook account.  I have no idea if you know how to install and use a WordPress blog.  I won’t be able to talk you through every step in detail because I will be focusing on the social media experiments.  For the basics that don’t involve the actual processes I am experimenting with, I will try to link to solid resources that you can use if you are unfamiliar with these procedures.  You will find the under the page “Resources”.

The main hub of the social media experiment is going to be this blog.  Can I launch this blog in 45 days in a significant way to build a brand online?  That truly is the goal.  Unless I have a blog to speak from, I am not creating content to share via social media. I am merely curating content created by other people.  While many people do this (and I have done this quite a bit in the past), I am quite convinced that to build a brand online, it is important to create your own content.  Hence, the necessity of the blog as the heart of my social media brand.

Launch day of the blog is November 1st, 2011.  It is 1:37 am on November first and I expect this post will be ready to publish later after I wake up and proofread it. At the time of publishing, it will be a solitary post in the vast sea of the Internet just as any other blog begins.  No one knows this is being launched.  I don’t have a team of people ready to help me launch it. I am starting from ground zero like you will be!

So, in just a few hours, this post will be published and the Social Media Experiment begins!

I will quickly summarize what I have done on “Day One” so you can follow along.

Social Media Experiment: Day One

Day one:  build the blog.  This is the the main hub of the social media branding experiment.

I strongly believe in using a self-hosted WordPress blog.  If you don’t know how to do that, there are many great tutorials and resources about how to set up a self-hosted blog on your own domain that you can find through Google or YouTube.  Actually, the instructions on WordPress are pretty darn good.

My day one was pretty easy.  I already owned the domain name and had a mostly empty blog on it.  I bought the name “Social-Drivers” in March of this year on a whim. It seemed like a good name at the time and it has been sitting in the back of my mind since then.  I put up a WordPress blog on this site a bit later and tried a few different social plugins.  I never did anything with the site as I knew that I hadn’t found my “passion” for the project yet.

So – for me – my first day consisted of:

  • Clarified the “passion” for my project.  What did I want to accomplish with this blog?
  • Removed plugins I wasn’t interested in using
  • Added a few plugins
  • Changed the theme

For you, day one would probably be a bit longer.

  • Get domain name
  • Get site hosted
  • Install WordPress blog

You also need to know the passion of your branding project.  What do you want to accomplish?  Also, will you be branding yourself by communicating to your buyers or will you be branding yourself as a voice in your industry?  For example, if you are using social media to brand yourself as a realtor, will you be writing to home buyers/home sellers on your blog or will you be writing to other realtors?

For this project, my goal is to explore social media and to brand myself as a voice of authority in social media marketing and branding.  I am not planning on using this blog to reach out to my future customers.  I have another blog for that and don’t want to mix audiences.  This is my blog to brand myself among my peers.

The plugins that I have installed and activated currently are:

  • Akismet
  • CommentLuv Premium*
  • Easy WP SEO*
  • Flickr Photo Post
  • Google Analytics for WordPress
  • JetPack
  • ManageWP Worker
  • TF Social Share
  • W3 Total Cache
  • WordPress Editorial Calendar
  • WordPress SEO
  • Yet Another Related Posts Plugin

*CommentLuv Premium and Easy WP SEO are both paid plugins.

The rest are free.  I am using W3 Total Cache in it’s default settings.  I set up WordPress SEO by Yoast according to the instructions at How to Setup and Configure the Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin

The theme I have chosen is Suffusion.  It is a free theme that I can customize easily.

Next is the first blog post.  Time to welcome my new readers (few that they may be on a first day of a blog) and to explain what this blog is about.

Which I have mostly done already so far with this first post.

I have Easy WP SEO turned on and the primary keyword I am writing for is “social media“.  The secondary term is social media experiment.  At the moment, the SEO score is 73.91% but I plan to have that number higher by the time this post is completed.

When I am done with the blog post and publish it, I will go to my Twitter and Facebook and other social media accounts and let my followers, fans, and friends know about my new blog.  I will ask them to please support my new blog.

Also, I will take advantage of CommentLuv and make 5 posts on other blogs with CommentLuv installed.

When you start your blog, you should do similarly.  Whenever possible, start with the network you currently have.  Hopefully, they will be supportive and will help to spread the word.

 Social Media Experiment: Plans

Just a heads up on a few of the different social media strategies I plan to use test during the social media experiment:

  • Being a guest blogger
  • Participating in twitter chats
  • Twitter updates
  • Facebook posts
  • A contest
  • Lots and lots of content on this blog
  • CommentLuv
  • Promoting my XeeMe profile
I am truly fascinated to measure which social media tactics create desirable results!
In order to follow along with the Social Media Experiment, PLEASE subscribe to the blog and connect with me via XeeMe/MindyKoch to connect with any other social media platforms you prefer.  Also, please share using the share buttons on this page.  I am very curious to measure the results from the share buttons on the blog!
Mindy Koch
Social Media Experiment Photo, “Blogging Readiness” by Cambodia4KidsOrg, used by Creative Commons License.