If you don’t value yourself, no one else will – Insights from Alex J. Vasquez at WordCamp OC 2014

Alex J Vasquez at WCOC 2014

Alex J Vasquez at WCOC 2014

Value.

What comes to mind? Is it the $1 menu at your favorite quick service restaurant? Is it the cave full of jewels in Desolation of Smaug? Or is it just as simple as a fair trade: money for services rendered?

It’s true that in the service sector, as opposed to the widget sector, price and value are often used interchangeably where the two parties often have differing definitions.

At WordCamp Orange County, Carol Stephen (read her “Awesome Moments” post) and I attended Alex J. Vasquez‘ talk called: “Valuing (and Pricing) Yourself as a Team.”

By the way, you know what blows me away about ? The humility of the speakers and that was demonstrated big time by Alex.

He had a way of speaking that was humble yet experienced. He wasn’t afraid to talk about mistakes or victories. That says a lot about the confidence of a person, especially one who believes we should be just as confident.

Although, I’m not a WordPress developer or even a freelancer, as an office manager for a commercial general contractor, I could not help but see the parallels during the talk. I was encouraged by it. Continue reading

Clearing The Cache: The Joy of De-Tasking in the Age of Hyper Productivity

Windows 95 by davidak, on Flickr

Windows 95 by davidak, on Flickr

Do you sometimes know you should be more like Windows 8 but feel like a Costco-bought Dell using Windows 95 with 8 MB of RAM (and only because you went to Fry’s and bought 4 extra megs at $100 a piece and installed them yourself) running the new AOL 5.0 using a dial up modem?

Do you think you’re a Maverick but feel more like a Tiger?

Are you constantly adding apps to your phone that makes it run like a flip phone?

Am I making a point here? Yes. I may be stretching the limits of this analogy by the limitations of my knowledge of computer science but go with me on this one.

Your Brain Has a Cache

Yes. Your brain has a cache. I’d like to say it’s the background processing and may even include your subconscious. Then again, I may have abused the analogy, forgiveness is requested.

Clearing the Brain’s Cache.

Do you feel like you’re “always on?”

Do you agree to take on tasks because “it’ll just take a few minutes?”

Do you have trouble saying “no?”

A yes answer to any of these questions may mean that you need to clear your brain’s cache and delete some apps. Continue reading

Are you in a Twitter rut? Stop Digging.

Backhoe HDR“They” say that if you’re in a rut, stop digging.

Are you talking to the same people over and over and over again?

Do you only spend time on Twitter in your “mentions” column?

We all have days where we’re trying to just get by and, believe me, I’m the one who says you can maintain your account in five minutes a day, but that’s not going to help you grow.

Whenever I start to feel like I’m in a rut, I am reminded of this Tweet from Scott Stratten:

If Twitter is about relationships, then it logically follows that relationships take work. That does take time.

Continue reading

Six Tips to Gain Followers Through Engagement

Ducks

How do you gain followers?

This is the question I am often asked.

“Do I buy followers?” No. In fact, most of the time people can tell when you have bought followers, as my colleague Carol Stephen describes in her post here. This strategy sort of backfired for former Speaker of the House and Presidential Candidate, Newt Gingrich, too.

Twitter is one of the major spokes in the social media wheel. Social media, people seem to forget, is about being social.

During the question and answer period of the Digital Influence panel at ACEC California’s April Conference, I was asked what the best practice for Twitter is.

My answer:  “The most important thing for you is to be a human being.”

In fact, my social media strategy revolves around being a polite, helpful person.

That seems to do the trick.

How does this work.

1. I avoid Twitter’s Retweet button.

This is controversial and everyone has their own opinions. Read my blog post here.

2. When I do retweet, I add a comment first.

This continues the conversation the original tweeter intended, presumably, when they sent the tweet in the first place. Awkward sentence? Sure. But the point is that Twitter is a conversation. By that logic, every tweet is potentially a conversation starter.

See: Retweet Styles

Continue reading

Let Them Eat ROI – Mirror Marketing for B2C

This tweet actually produced a positive ROI both in gross receipts and word-of-mouth.

This tweet actually produced a positive ROI both in gross receipts and word-of-mouth.

It’s Saturday and The Mr and I are about to drive to Oceanside for a baby shower. It’s humid. It’s eighty-something-degrees. We are having Florida weather. I wanted caffeine, but not a Diet Coke. I thought, “I know, we’ll go to Starbucks and get a Refresher.” I was sure I had enough time, though we were running late.

As I approached my local Starbucks I was horrified that the drive through was so backed up that three cars in front of me were all out into the street, blocking the entrance to park. Personally, I don’t know how they were allowed to pass that through the City but I digress. I parked. Parched and sweating, I ran into Starbucks, already starting my Foursquare check in, with great hopes and expectations.

The store was so packed they didn’t have room to stand in line.

My check in that I tweeted now said, “Radical line! I think I better skip.”

Disappointed, I got back in the car, drove through McDonald’s for a $1 Diet Coke, and went to the shower.

This right here could have been the end of the story.

And, in most cases, it is. But because of shear awesomeness, it doesn’t end here. Continue reading

Can you fall in love with a brand? Why I always Tweet About my @ZipzShoes

Americanas at The Golden Gate Bridge - Taken by @Carol_Stephen

ZipzShoes’ Americanas at The Golden Gate Bridge – Taken by @Carol_Stephen 6/28/13

Falling in love with a brand – we hear about this a lot these days. Branding is the new black. Guy Kawasaki is known for being a “brand evangelist” for Apple back in the day, but can a brand really inspire the average person?

I say,  “yes!” 

ZipzShoes is one of those companies are just so fun that I can’t help but come up with ideas for them.

I won my first pair of Zipz from a Facebook contest (Dragonrose) and this year bought the Americana tops. They’re such a neat product and way more comfortable than converse (arch support, hello). It’s amazing how diverse of a reaction they incite.

One day I was at church and a guy knelt down at my feet and unzipped the zipper. That sparked a conversation about Roos (are you old enough to remember those?).

One time I forgot to pay a bill and was in hot water with the Boss-Man. He looked at my shoes and said, “Hey, is that a zipper?”  Talk about “saved by the bell – rather, shoe!”

Combine all of that enthusiasm with a Twitter Nerd and you get a lot of “here I am at [insert location here] with my Zipz.”  Am I paid to do this? No.  I don’t plan it normally, I just think – hey I want to help people find out about these cool shoes.  I’m converted. Continue reading

Extend a Tweet’s Life

One of the takeaways from “Can you fall in love with a brand?” is how to extend the life of a tweet.

Tweets, essentially, are public text messages with a link. If it has a link, it can be embeded into a post like this.

And so, people from the blog post, can favorite the tweet, retweet it, follow you, etc. Continue reading

A Review of SmartStream by OneQube

SmartStream Screenshot

SmartStream Screenshot – Click for a larger view.

Third party twitter tools can be really awesome but appear to have the lifespan of a blowfly. Hyperbole it may be, but you get a bit attached to your favorite tools.

There’s a graveyard of twitter tools that are no more, some would even go as far as to say that Twitter is the Destroyer of Awesomeness. To some extent I agree; and it’s a risk of all ventures as they grow.

In Rememberance:

BackupMyTweets.com, FollowFridayHelper.com, Timely.is (as a stand alone), FollowFriday.com, are among the tools I enjoyed who are now somewhere beyond the blue. And now Tweetchat.com, my favorite Twitter chat tool, is the latest to pass on. (Pass the tissue…)

It’s like mourning a death in the family (well, not really, but you do grieve).

And through the five stages of grief, you have to process your emotions from denial to acceptance. The truth is social media is anything but static. It’s quite organic and dynamic. You adapt or you die.

The show must go on.

In this June 6, 2013 blog post by Internet Media labs, we learned that TweetChat will be reincarnating as SmartStream as of June 11, 2013. Continue reading

Live Tweeting Events – A Great Event Promotion Tool (Updated 7/28/14)

mac-livetweetingLive tweeting at events is quite fun and has a lot of benefits. Most recently I tweeted during the classes I took at Orange County’s WordCamp (#wcoc), June 1, 2013.

Personally, I love it. I type fast, it’s a fun way to sort of force myself to pay attention, too.

Live tweeting a great way to pickup followers, promote an event, and engage with other attendees.

These tips are applicable whether it’s a live webcast, a class, a press event, or a class. Anytime there is a public speech, you can live tweet.

Why Tweet quotes?

Quotes grab us. It’s a great way to tweet out the same content without having the same tweet.

You can tweet from live radio interviews, tweet from archived videos, tweet from debates, etc.

How is this done?

It helps if you can type 60 wpm or more and have an actual keyboard. But you can do it on a mobile device, too.

Update 7/28/14

I was honored to be the Spotlight Guest about this subject for Women In Business Today.

Here is the Video:

  Continue reading