Guest Blogger: Mark Morrow

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I love bringing new ideas to share with you about social media through some very special connections. Mark Morrow is a very talented photographer that I daresay I was stalking a bit…ha ha on Instagram.  I saw some of his pictures which evolved into me engaging him in a bit of conversation. His beautiful photographs of our city and the surrounding mountains are breathtaking.  He reached out to me via Facebook where we were able to continue conversations in a little more depth.

I would encourage you to check out Mark’s work. Use this blog as a tool to share with others who would be interested in photography.

What social media platforms are you on?  And how do you use social media?

At the current time, I’m located on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google + as well as my personal Blog hosted via WordPress.com.

What platforms do you feel are the best to engage your audience or ideal client?

As a photographer and visual media producer, I’m finding a quality interaction on both Facebook and Instagram in terms of ‘Likes’ and comments that provide a lot of useful feedback in regard to the images and information I tend to share. While I used to send these works out over the Twitter feed, I find they generally garner the most traction in the visually-motivated Facebook and Instagram sphere and, in my case generally worth the effort of further social media outreach.

As a writer, podcaster and one who enjoys passing along any creative inspiration and technical information from the photography arena, I’m finding the use of my personal blog and the platform graciously availed to me by Photofocus.com to be the most effective framework for sharing podcast links, reviews and tutorial-based material as the WordPress interface provides an automated method of sharing out the SM platforms of our choosing immediately as a work is published. I find these link-based works are more easily scheduled and more frequently accessed via the Twitter and LinkedIn audience (as opposed to the visual-based) Facebook and Google + follower, as they can be liked, shared and conveniently revisited at a later time due to the lengthier nature of the educational information therein.

In terms of an immediate outreach approach, I’m finding the best outlet for visually-inspired (photo-video) efforts to be within Instagram. While it is a pain at times to be limited solely to a mobile perspective in terms of sharing, the tag-oriented interface allows for a more precise targeting of potential clientele and those with whom I’d like to work with down the road. While Facebook and Google + do allow for this approach as well, I’m still personally inclined to avoid any over-tagging in that arena (due to the friend and family-based atmosphere) and defer instead to an Instagram outreach for maximum impact. Either way can be a potential time-sucker, so it’s best to do a little research up-front to locate the proper tags in order for the most effective results.

Though somewhat new to the platform, I’m finding the ‘revolving-resume’ approach of LinkedIn can be quite beneficial in terms of connecting with those who can bring the added benefit of reference to the professional table. It’s always a plus to have someone we’ve worked with stop by and endorse a certain skill from a first-hand perspective, and I enjoy doing the same as well. In fact, I’ve become accustomed to taking a little time every day (or whenever possible) to visit former co-workers pages and endorse the skills I know them to excel in first-hand. When it comes to success, everyone needs a good reference. LinkedIn provides a powerful, legitimate avenue to give a good report for those who well-deserve one at the hands-on level.

Share one or a few things that have surprised you about using social media.

The biggest surprise thus far, for myself in using social media has been the interaction not on a business level, but rather in reconnecting with friends and family whom I have become disconnected with over the years in the bustle of everyday life. Having been pressed by a fellow local business person a few year back, they were most insistent that to succeed in any way I must open a Facebook account. Admittedly frustrated at this notion initially, I had no idea the re-connection to so many great friends and family ties now residing in all parts of the world were waiting just around the corner. I simply could not have been more wrong, and more pleased at the decision to make the leap. This is by far the most unexpected reward – business or no business – that I could have hoped to receive. As a result, my life has been enriched and business efforts have benefited in due turn as well. So far, it’s been a true win-win.

About Mark

Mark Morrow is a practicing Virginia-based photographer specializing in real estate, fine art landscape and architectural projects as well as commercial product and portraiture. Always an avid student of the craft, Mark enjoys sharing insight and inspiration on his personal blog, podcast (Image in Transit) and as a contributing author with Photofocus.com. Click here to read more of Mark’s articles. To view more of Mark’s work, please click here.

Connect with Mark

Gallery – http://www.markmorrowphotography.com/

Social media links:
Facebook / Page
Instagram
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google +

I am thrilled to be able to bring you people who are using social media in so many different ways to promote their businesses.  I am a big believer that sharing keeps the creative juices flowing and allows us to move in directions we couldn’t begin to imagine.  Thank you Mark for sharing your knowledge with us.

Mary Lu Saylor

Connect with Mary Lu:  

Email: marylusaylor@outlook.com

Blog : https://socialmediamarylu.wordpress.com/

Facebookwww.facebook.com/mary.l.saylor

Twitter: @marylusaylor

Instagram: @marylusaylor

Mary Lu Saylor is an Emmy-award winning journalist who spent 30 years in the television news business. Her experience includes work as a videographer, newscast video editor, and ultimately as the newsroom Assignment Manager at WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, SC. Mary Lu is currently pursuing her passion of social media, which began during her years at WSPA-TV. She is a Social Media and Personal Strategist with GrowGreatCompanies.com

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Guest Blogger: Marvae Eikanas

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I’m excited to introduce you this week to my friend Marvae Eikanas. We “met” several years ago in a Facebook group started by Jeff Goins called the “Slow Down Challenge.” We began interacting and found we both lived in the Southeast and shared similar interests. Check out how Marvae uses social media to power her business!

My Social Media Adventure

Those who know me well would say that I am a late adopter when it comes to technology. When I was growing up, computers were not a fixture in everyone’s home like they are today. And if you wanted to have a phone conversation, your choices were in the kitchen or my parent’s bedroom. Most of my lengthy, going-to-be-grounded, phone calls as a teenager took place in my parent’s bedroom on a phone with a cord. Truth be told, my smart phone is only a few months old! I realize that I have simultaneously dated myself, and stereotyped myself in the first paragraph. Perhaps for some, it gives you a glimmer of hope that you too can use social media to advance your business. After all, if I can, you certainly can!

My Platforms of Choice

When it comes to social media there are oodles of options out there. I have restricted myself to four:  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn so that I can be consistent and not spread myself too thin. So far, I have been able to successfully connect with my target audience: leaders at home, work, or in ministry.

Why Social Media?

As a Certified Christian Life Coach at Lead Life Well, social media allows me to accomplish the following:

  1. Reach people all over the world that I might not otherwise connect with
  2. Encourage, motivate, and challenge my target audience
  3. Make it possible for people to get a glimpse into my heart and what I am all about
  4. Spread the word about what I do, events, etc.
  5. Build relationships that lead to clients
  6. Have a place to interact with my target audience
  7. Increase traffic to my website
  8. Expand my platform

How to Best Engage with my Ideal Client

In the early stages of my coaching business, I relied heavily on social media to get the word out. There are a plethora of coaches out there so it was important to me to be persistent and consistent. Don’t let the fact that the social media world might seem like an overcrowded sea of information hold you back. You will connect with the right people if you are consistent, patient, and keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Be authentic – let your true self shine
  2. The quality of your posts and tweets matter – provide great images and positive, helpful info
  3. Be consistent about posting or tweeting daily
  4. Devote time to interacting with others – social media is not a one way street
  5. Be sincere when connecting with others
  6. Too much promoting and not enough valuable content will turn people off.
  7. Schedule the bulk of your posts using Hootsuite or another scheduling tool to save time, but occasionally post directly to each of your social media accounts

What’s Worked

The bulk of my clients have come from my efforts on Facebook. I will confess that it is the social network I am most comfortable with. The downside to Facebook is that it is more difficult to interact with people who have not liked your page. That is one advantage Twitter offers. It is easy to reach out to people in your target audience and build relationships.

As a professional, LinkedIn just makes sense even though I have not yet taken full advantage of what it has to offer. Up to this point I have primarily used Pinterest as a place for people to access helpful resources. There are so many more possibilities to explore!

There is always room to expand your efforts when it comes to social media. You don’t have to have it all together when you start. In fact, starting small and gaining momentum is a great way to ease into the process. Even a consistent post or a tweet or two a day is better than nothing. You can always increase the number of posts and tweets later.

To launch my website back in the beginning, I posted my first video. It was a hassle! Last week I posted my second video using my smart phone. Even though I am still mastering that process (remember I am technically challenged) it was significantly easier and encouraged more engagement. There will definitely be more videos in my future! My next goal: using social media to promote my webinars. What better way to spread the word?

What’s Surprised Me

Perhaps what’s surprised me most about my social media adventure is the friends I’ve made and the clients I have connected with as a result of my efforts. Most of my coaching is done over the phone, so clients don’t need to live in awesome Chattanooga! I have had the joy of getting together face to face with two fabulous ladies that I met through social media and who have been an encouragement to me in my business. There have numerous guest blog opportunities and referrals as well. You just never know what opportunities will arise through social media. One thing is for sure – if you don’t use social media you will never know!

Starting a business? Promoting a blog? Social media is worth the investment!

Meet Marvae

Got big dreams? Ready to take your life and leadership to the next level? Marvae is a passionate Certified Christian Life Coach eager to partner with her clients and support them through the process of change so they can embrace all that God has created them to be.

She has 24 years of leadership experience and is a Certified DiSC Consultant (DiSC is a four temperament model to access human behavior or personality).  She is the creator, author, and illustrator of The Building Blocks Learning Program – Bible curriculum for preschool and elementary age children.

Marvae has three adult children whom she had the joy of homeschooling through high school. Two are married and the third plans to get married next summer. She also has one delightfully chunky grandson who makes her smile! In her free time she enjoys time with friends, reading books, getting creative with paint or other media, traveling, and taking walks.

Marvae’s Connection Points:

Website: leadlifewell.com/

facebook.com/LeadLifeWell

twitter.com/MarvaeEikanas

pinterest.com/leadlifewell/

pinterest.com/leadlifewell/

cantamarpublishing.com/

facebook.com/CantamarPublishing

Big Thank You! 

Thank you Marvae for lending your expertise to the readers of this blog!   Do you have a question for her or want to chat about social media?  Comment below!

Stay tuned for next week’s guest!  Make sure you follow my blog so it will come right to your inbox!

Blessings,

Mary Lu

Connect with me:  

Email: marylusaylor@outlook.com

Blog : https://socialmediamarylu.wordpress.com/

Facebookwww.facebook.com/mary.l.saylor

Twitter: @marylusaylor

Instagram: @marylusaylor

Mary Lu Saylor is an Emmy-award winning journalist who spent 30 years in the television news business. Her experience includes work as a videographer, newscast video editor, and ultimately as the newsroom Assignment Manager at WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, SC. Mary Lu is currently pursuing her passion of social media, which began during her years at WSPA-TV. She is a Social Media Specialist with FindGreatCompanies.com

Instagram Is Insta-FUN!

Instagram is a hugely popular social media platform.  My son signed me up for an account a couple of years ago but I didn’t really use it. After taking Dr. Jennifer Bennett’s Social Media Manager’s class last fall she really opened our eyes to the possibilities with this creative tool.

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All about those images

Instagram’s driver is PICTURES!  This is one of my favorite things to do.  I take pictures all the time.  When I’m out for walks, shopping, or capturing family events.  More than 300 MILLION people are using Instagram!! Scrolling through an Instagram feed you will see all of the users posting pictures and messages with hashtags.  On your personal feed you will see the users you have connected with.

This is my friend Bobby Rettew’s daughter…isn’t she cute?

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My favorites are all of the food pictures!  I love seeing creations coming out of some famous and ordinary folks kitchens.

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Videos are Insta-Fun too!

You also have the option of uploading short :15 videos. Which is really neat to watch some of them from places like Bon Appetit and King Arthur Flour.  In that :15 seconds the sites will show a total recipe being made. If you have questions about videos check out this handy link that should answer most of your questions.

What do I use it for?

I have a personal Instagram account and I use it to show off some of my graphic creations, post pictures from my walks in the #OutdoorGym, and share information.

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I am in the midst of participating in my first Instagram Challenge.  This was issued by Dr. Jen Bennett from iBloom.

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Each day we take a picture of an item on the list and add the custom hashtags she designed for the campaign.  The thing I have noticed the most is that I have gained more Instagram connections and comments.  Which in the Social Media business is the name of the game.  I’m dreaming up my own Instagram challenge. 🙂

Instagram for business

Instagram isn’t all about fun and games it is a serious business tool.  It is next in line to Facebook in popularity in usage by consumers.  Shoppers like to see the latest out from their favorite stores and products from their favorite companies. Check out this article from the Social Media Examiner that explains how Instagram use translates into traffic to your website and in turn money in your pocket for businesses.

Get on the train!

If you aren’t an Instagram user give it a try!  It is one of the easiest social media platforms to navigate.  One key tool for business is to make sure that you have a link to your business in your bio.  And tell people in your picture caption where to find it.  You can’t put links in your caption but you can be very creative.  Crowdfire has a great read on the “Art of Long Captioning” for Instagram.  Definitely take time to read this!

Please connect with me on Instagram @marylusaylor.  I can’t wait to meet you there!

Blessings to you,

Mary Lu

Connect with me:  

Email: marylusaylor@outlook.com

Blog : https://socialmediamarylu.wordpress.com/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mary.l.saylor

Twitter: @marylusaylor

Instagram: @marylusaylor

Mary Lu Saylor is an Emmy-award winning journalist who spent 30 years in the television news business. Her experience includes work as a videographer, newscast video editor, and ultimately as the newsroom Assignment Manager at WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, SC. Mary Lu is currently pursuing her passion of social media, which began during her years at WSPA-TV. She is a Social Media Specialist with FindGreatCompanies.com

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The Benefit of Having Custom Graphics Made For Your Business

Everyone is bombarded with hundreds, if not thousands of images on a daily basis as we scroll through our social media feeds.  What makes you stop and look?  Is it a pretty picture?  The unique font or message in the text? What are those things that catch your eye?

Graphics that are “customized” give the client a platform that says “HERE WE ARE!” The Merriam Webster online dictionary has a great definition of customized: made or performed according to personal order.  It’s just like having a wedding dress made….the gown is tailored to the bride.   You want that extra touch that showcases your brand.

We love our members Valentine's Day Couples Workshop (1)Wednesday graphic

Ways that make graphics special!

Working with clients it is important that graphic creators invest time learning about the message that is to be conveyed.  Use logos and colors that are already part of their brand/marketing theme. Or maybe it’s time to freshen up what has been done before? Great, high quality pictures of products or services offered help to showcase the uniqueness of the business.

Creating a series of graphics for a campaign is a great way to make your custom message show up on social media platforms.   Check out the graphics below I created for FindGreatCompanies.com’s Inner Circle:

Share your questions-3DShare a tip simple -3DShare your heart-3D

 

 

 

 

 

 

These colors are identifiable with Coach Cindy Taylor’s theme from her website.  She brings her expertise into our Inner Circle. We noticed when these were put online immediately she began to get responses.  They stand out because they are unique.  I was able to replicate the colors and just slightly change the graphic in the middle and the wording.   We kept the background, logo, and font style the same.

Help is here!

FindGreatCompanies.com is all about catering to our members and creating an experience to enhance their businesses through marketing and social media.

Contact us and together we can help create a message that will solidify your presence on social media.

If you are interested in making your own graphics try out tools like PicMonkey or Canva.   I am working on learning Photoshop Elements…the less intense version of Photoshop. There are lots of extra tools to learn and you can layer many elements together to make some fantastic graphics.

I’d love to chat with you about graphics feel free to comment on my blog or use the connection links below!

Blessings to you,

Mary Lu

Connect with me:  

Email: marylusaylor@outlook.com

Blog : https://socialmediamarylu.wordpress.com/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mary.l.saylor

Twitter: @marylusaylor

Instagram: marylusaylor

Mary Lu Saylor is an Emmy-award winning journalist who spent 30 years in the television news business. Her experience includes work as a videographer, newscast video editor, and ultimately as the newsroom Assignment Manager at WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, SC. Mary Lu is currently pursuing her passion of social media, which began during her years at WSPA-TV. She is a Social Media Specialist with FindGreatCompanies.com

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Don’t Judge Your Promotion By It’s Cover

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I was asked by the folks at Ambassador International to provide a little insight for authors to promote their books. I’ve added some additional information and resources to the original post.

I have a background in television journalism and have been on the receiving end of all sorts of information from organizations, businesses, and even publishing houses touting their latest offerings. That is why I understand what those folks need to know so they can promote your event, cause, or business.

Quick tips to promote your message:

  • Make connections with your local TV stations and offer to do a live interview (it really isn’t as scary as you think!) They may have a day time talk show or slots open during their morning, noon, or weekend newscasts.
  • See if your local newspaper will do a feature on you.
  • Local radio stations occasionally will feature people who are doing unique things in the community.

In your pitch to these outlets either via telephone, email, or snail mail make sure the information you provide is short and concise.   Give them the who, what, when, where, and why.  Most importantly, make sure you tell them you are available.

Also, if the media promotes or covers your event make sure you use that within your social media platforms.   Nothing is better than a ready made story that you can link to your own Facebook and Twitter pages.  If it is an article in the newspaper, post a link or if it isn’t available online….take a picture of the printed article.  Find unique ways to keep the momentum going.

Insight from authors

I reached out to two authors that I know and they have this advice for you:

Author and speaker Margaret Feinberg has published numerous books that inspire and encourage the audience to dig deeper into God’s Word:

“As far as promoting books, we think it’s important for authors to know they are the plan. They are the editing plan. The marketing plan. The design plan. Everything. Authors shouldn’t think that if they sign with a traditional house everything will be taken care of. They need to intentional about building and maintaining a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and others. They are the marketing plan. Great content is everything. “

Author Dwayne Morris self-published his first book “The Outrageous Life”:

“My greatest promotional tool was guest-posting on other people’s blogs. I connected with several people who have big platforms and they allowed me to speak into the lives of their audience. They also posted links to my book. (These include Michael Hyatt and Michael Nichols.) The bottom line…make connections with people and serve them and their audience. If you help enough people get what they want, you’ll eventually get what you want.”

I would love to connect with you through this blog.  Do you have suggestions or questions? Also, feel free to email me for a free tip sheet with more detail on some of the items I’ve outlined above.

P.S. Margaret Feinberg is one my favorite authors.   She has a new book “Fighting Back with Joy” you can pre-order (and she’s offering some cool incentives right now!).  Margaret has battled cancer over the past couple of years and is using this book to share her journey with us.   I encourage you to buy this and all her books.  I’ve already ordered and can’t wait for it to arrive in 2015!  If you have a chance to hear her speak….GO!  You will not be disappointed!

I must not leave Dwayne Morris out.  He and I met many years ago at a First Baptist North Spartanburg.  I don’t remember our first meeting, but I do know that he has been a huge encourager for me.   He would listen to me go on and on saying, “I know God wants me to do something but I can’t figure it out.”  He never judged.  Dwayne provided the support I needed and encouraged me to be patient and watch what God had in store for me.   I never could have imagined even a year ago all that has happened in just the past few months. “The Outrageous Life” is the theme of my life now!

Love how God puts people in our paths to enlighten and encourage!

Blessings on your day,

Mary Lu 🙂

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