Social Media & Blogging: Panel Discussion (Part 2)

September 1, 2010

A Weekly Series by Teresa Morrow

I’m Teresa Morrow, Founder of Key Business Partners, LLC and I work with authors to help manage their online book promotion. As part of my job I read a lot of books (and I love to read anyway!). I am here to offer a weekly post about one book author I am working with and one book I have put on my reading list.

I am mixing things up (again! – you can read part 1 of panel discussion on blogging and social media) for my weekly blog post at Successful Blog. I thought I would ask a few of the authors I have highlighted to offer their strategies and tips regarding blogging and social media.

Panel Discussion about Blogging and Social Media

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The panel consists of the following people:

Himanshu Jhamb thrives on challenges in Software Project Management and has successfully led global teams in industries ranging from Telecommunications to eCommerce. Himanshu is Senior Project Manager for Atypon Systems and co-founder of Active Garage, where he frequently writes about Projects and Project Management. He is also the co-author of #PROJECTMANAGEMENT tweet with Guy Ralfe.

Delandy Kirk, Ph.D., SPHR is a Professor of Management with 27 years experience in teaching Employment Law, Human Resource Management, Organizational Behavior, Managing Diversity, and Operations Management. She has conducted teaching workshops at numerous academic conferences and schools including Columbia University, Duke University, University of Washington, University of Arkansas-Ft Smith, Graceland University, and Metropolitan Community College. She was the featured expert for the Chronicle of Higher Education’s online chat on classroom management on September 15, 2004, and has earned the prestigious Drake University Board of Governor’s “Excellence in Teaching” Award. Her book, Taking Back the Classroom: Tips for the College Professor on Becoming a More Effective Teacher, was re-released by Tiberius Publications in October 2008.

Janet Fouts is a social media coach, teacher and speaker. She helps individuals and corporations understand how to use social media tools and work efficiently in this emerging field, and conducts in house and virtual training sessions on social media tools and strategy.
Janet has been working with small businesses to develop their on-line presence and working with online community for 13 years. She is partner in the award winning web design and development firm Tatu Digital Media. She freely shares her knowledge on several social media platforms including her blog at JanetFouts.com. She is the author of Social Media Success and co-author of Social Media Non-Profit Tweet by publisher Happy About.

Tim Tostaa partner at Luce Forward, is recognized as one of California’s leading land use and environmental attorneys. He also is a cancer survivor, a seasoned hospice volunteer, an evocative lecturer and writer, and a certified Integral Coach, guiding executives in the legal profession and the business community to live purposeful, balanced, thriving lives.
Tim is the author of #DEATHtweet and the highly acclaimed lecture series, “Lessons for the Living,” and the emotionally compelling hospice writings, ‘Putting Things in Perspective – Stories from a Hospice Volunteer.’ Tim has a JD from UC Berkeley School of Law and a BA from Princeton University. His Twitter handle is @TTosta.

Let’s Start the Discussion


How long have you been blogging?


Himanshu
 – 18 months

Janet – I’ve been blogging since 1996. Back then they weren’t blogs of course but hand coded pages. We basically modified guest book scripts and had to build a new page for every post. We were THRILLED when Blogger came out!

Delaney – 4 and ½ years

Tim – I started blogging in earnest in the Spring of this year at CoachingCounsel.com/blog. Although I am a full-time practicing Land Use and Environmental attorney, I became a certified Integral Coach about 18 months ago. I launched the CoachingCounsel.com website concurrent with the publication of my book #DEATHtweet – A Well Lived Life Through 140 Perspectives on Death and Its Teachings.

What subjects do you cover with your blog?

Himanshu -Project Management & Leadership

Janet – I blog on a lot of topics on my blogs. the principal blogs are on social media but I also blog on wine, food, local news and events and green technology and the environment.

Delaney – Teaching tips for college professors including classroom management and the use of educational technology as a pedagogical tool.

Tim– I came upon Integral Coaching from my own work with a coach, as well as my experience as a hospice volunteer at San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital, where I serve the City’s indigent population at the end of life. The hospice experience also led to the authoring of #DEATHtweet. At its core, I blog to help people to relieve their suffering. Topics have included discovering your life’s purpose, leading a balanced life, finding happiness, finding awareness through meditation and the like. I blog at least twice a week. I provide exercises and practices to assist people on their journeys of inquiry. I use references to literature, poetry, music and the arts to engage my readers.

Why do you blog?

Himanshu – Whenever I notice something that will provide VALUE to others when faced with similar situations, I blog. Blogging on project management is for readers to GAIN from my mistakes and experience in Project Management (I share these also in the form of tweets in the book)

Janet – Because I’ve got a lot of opinions and I like to teach and communicate with other people on these various topics. I LOVE the whole idea of community online.

Delaney – I enjoy mentoring other instructors and sharing what I have learned in my 28 years of teaching.

Tim – Blogging reminds me of how we used to engage one another through written correspondence. In blogging, I convey information with informality and an open heart, making it easy for my message to be truly heard. Blogging allows me to get relatively immediate feedback on whether or not my messages are making a connection with my readers. To the extent that I receive feedback, I adjust my posts to more meaningfully serve my readers.


What is the one blogging tip you have to share with others?

Himanshu – Be Authentic. Do not blog for the sake of blogging. The blog post needs to be VALUABLE to others. For instance, my blog (www.activegarage.com) is positioned around VALUE to the reader … because all Authors are hand-picked accomplished practitioners of business.
Do not self-promote yourself in your blogs. That, in fact, is one of the requirements we make off new authors, when they begin writing on Active garage.

Janet – Think about your audience. What do they want to talk about? You can get a good idea of what they want by looking at the comments and what posts are most popular, but you can also just ASK. Why are they here? What do they want to talk about?

Be opinionated. That’s where the conversation part comes in. 

Don’t forget to leave room for discussion. If you say all there is to say you don’t leave room for anybody else’s opinion. 

Delaney – Don’t give up because you feel you are talking to yourself. There will be many people who will read your blog and never comment. That doesn’t mean they aren’t interested or benefiting from your expertise. I will sometimes get an email from someone asking me a question and always they start off by telling me they have been reading my blog for years.

 
Tim – Know your overall intention for your blog, but hold that intention lightly. I generally know the direction of the posts that I will create for many months in advance. But I am flexible in taking a new direction, if an opportunity arises. I have a map. But, I know it’s not the territory.
 
When I write a blog post, I usually either dictate it to tape for transcription or use voice transcription software. Those technologies keep my posts conversational. I find that when I write at the keyboard, my “editor/critic” always rests on my shoulder, blocking the relaxed, informal tone I want to convey.

How long have you been using social media (twitter, facebook, linkedin) for your business?

Himanshu -18 months

Janet – I built my first online community in 1994. Twitter and Facebook and what people now call social media? 2-3 years.

Delaney – Twitter and Facebook for over two years; Linkedin even longer I think.

Tim – I have been on Linkedin for almost two years. I use Linkedin to bring awareness to my law practice. Facebook, which I have been using for about the same time, is more informal but contains most of my coaching content. I have established a separate Facebook page for the book, #DEATHtweet. Twitter is my vehicle for communicating about my book #DEATHtweet and other books currently in the works.


When it comes to social media— do you prefer one platform over the others? (Faceook, Twitter or LinkedIn)

Himanshu – This is a very generic question. Each social media platform is different – it all depends on the criteria of comparison. For example, Facebook is more personal than twitter and requires a higher degree of trust whereas twitter has a larger reach than facebook. LinkedIn is more suited towards professionals in jobs.

Janet -Twitter is my favorite because it’s so rich in information. I also get most of my business from Twitter or my blog. I rank pretty high in Google for “Social Media Coach” and I’ve worked hard to keep that brand alive with social media.

Delaney – I really like Twitter. It’s a great way to build a network of professionals to share information, tips, links to articles, etc. I met Teresa Morrow through Twitter and have recommended her services to several new and aspiring authors I know.

Tim – Each social media platform offers its own distinct advantages. Linkedin serves my law practice well because it is more of a broadcast mechanism. Facebook, with its interactivity, is well suited for the coaching. Twitter inspired the #THINKaha! brand for Happy About Books. #DEATHtweet is a book in that series. My book was “designed” for tweeting.

What is one social media tip you have to share with others?

Himanshu – Again, be authentic. The more authentically you share, the more social-media love you will get back.

Remember… Give first… and you will get, then.

Janet – Every day pick a different connection or two and reach out to them. How can you help them? Read what they’re writing about and talk to them.
NEVER send automated DM’s. It’s just bad practice.
Start with 1-2 networks or tools at a time. If you try to learn them all at once you will flail around until you drown, exhausted. 
Join SocialMediaCoachingCenter.com and read Social Media Success!
Social media is all about the other guy. It’s not about you. Find ways to help other people and they will reciprocate.

Delaney – Be patient. You don’t create a network overnight. Think of it as a cocktail party-you wouldn’t go to a social event and immediately try to sell your product to someone you just met. Instead take your time, get to know others with similar interests, share information, and build trust and credibility.

Tim –
Each social media platform offers you a different way to present yourself. The culture of the platform shapes your audience and your message. Figure out the rules of each game to determine how that platform best serves you and use it accordingly.
 
Use of social media requires some study and a certain degree of discipline. But in order to be effective, you have to find a way to make it fun. Otherwise, you will make yourself crazy. I even take social media “vacations” periodically to recharge my engines, gather new ideas and seek inspiration. Sure, people will miss you. But coming back with fresh content reconnects you very quickly.

Thank you Himanshu, Delaney, Janet and Tim for contributing your valuable ideas and tips for the readers!

So, now it is your turn…share your answers to these questions about blogging and social media.