Tag Archives: shannon paul

10 Tips to Build a Solid Online Presence


Are you using social media to expand your network and connect with new people? Maybe you’d like to increase the opportunities for your company to interact with customers. If you’re looking for ways to build your presence or your company’s presence online, keep reading.

The idea for this post came from my new friend Arik Hanson, who I’ve been getting to know recently. Arik asked me what I’ve done to start building a broader network of contacts and relationships with some incredibly smart, amazingly talented marketing/PR/social media folks.

So here’s what I did to get immersed in social media tools and build what Arik at least thinks is the start of a decent online presence. These tips can be used for individuals like yourself or for brands like your employer. I’m not claiming they are groundbreaking, but this is what I’ve found helpful.

1. Be Human – For the love of all that’s good, be yourself. People don’t want to engage with robots. They want to connect with other humans. Toss some [appropriate] personal stuff in your interactions to complement all the professional talk. On one of my first blog posts, Chris Brogan wisely commented, “I’m still a person when I’m at work.” In other words, don’t check your personality at the door.

2. Add Value – There are lots of ways to provide value to your online connections. Share great industry news stories and funny videos. Point them to other smart people with whom you think they should connect. Have a point of view on issues or trends and let them know about it. If you work for Kraft, share a great recipe daily or links to nutrition news.

3. It’s Not About You. Seriously, it’s not about you or your personal brand. It’s about everyone else. Shine the spotlight on others. Celebrate their successes. Brag about them to your connections. Use social media networks to engage your customers in ways that make them feel like the most important people on the planet. When you are a champion for others, an interesting thing happens. Others become a champion for you.

4. Engage and Interact. If you write a blog, follow up with readers by commenting on their comments. Email those who comment and thank them for their time and insights. If you’re on a social media platform, reach out and strike up conversations with people. If you’re a business, start conversations with your customers. Ask them what you could do better. Thank them for their business.

5. Don’t Broadcast. Shannon Paul would say “don’t be THAT guy.” If you or your company sets up social media outposts to broadcast messages, you won’t have much success. Your corporate blog should NOT be chock full of posts about new products and company news. You shouldn’t set up automatic direct messages on Twitter that basically say, “hey! click my junk and subscribe to everything I’m doing!” That turns people off immediately.

6. Participate Consistently. I believe consistency is key. Let’s take Arik for example. While we started chatting through Twitter only about a month ago, I not only know his name, but I also can spell it despite its unique spelling. That’s because he takes time to participate consistently and engage me regularly. The result is that he was top-of-mind for me when I wanted to point my Twitter connections to a great new person to follow. The same holds true for employees who participate in social media for their brands. Participating consistently builds a stronger online reputation for your company and boosts your presence within social media circles.

7. Don’t Focus on A-Listers. You should learn from the A-Listers by reading their blogs and following them on Twitter or YouTube. But I didn’t and still don’t spend a lot of time or effort trying to engage them online. If we’re ever in the same room, you can bet I will introduce myself. But these folks have so many people vying for their attention that they can be spread a bit too thin. I focused on creating relationships with people who were up-and-comers. Your company may want to target the biggest mom blogs on the Web. That’s fine. But I’d recommend also targeting middle-of-the-pack and new bloggers who are creating great content. It’s easier to engage them and there’s a good chance their readership will grow if they’re producing good stuff.

8. Don’t Sweat the Numbers. Spend your time focused on the content you’re producing, not the number of blog visitors or Twitter followers you have today. By participating consistently and adding value, more people will find you and begin connecting with you. The numbers will come if you’re doing the other stuff well.

9. It’s a Small World. Remember that when you’re about to write a nasty comment or blog post or Tweet or Facebook status update. Your reputation on your blog will follow you to Twitter and wherever else you hang your online hat. Not to mention the fact that Google’s spiders will index that moment of rudeness and, with your luck, it will probably be on the first page of results from a Google search of your name. As my three-year-old daughter would say, “that’s nawt good!”

10. Experiment. When you do share links to your latest blog posts on Twitter, alternate the times of day you tweet it and note which times you received the most traffic. That may give you some insight into when the majority of your followers are online and shape what time you send future tweets on behalf of yourself or your company. Use the Questions & Answers section of LinkedIn to extend the conversation of your latest blog post and see if it drives any traffic to your blog. I love experimenting in these ways and I use what I learn for both myself and my clients.

What is missing? What have you done that’s really helped build your online presence or that of your clients? Please share them with the rest of us in the comments.

*Image by Noah Sussman.

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7 Deep, Dark Secrets About Me


This is a bit off-topic for what is usually discussed on this blog, but apparently a few people want to know a bit more about me. Either that or it’s just that they know I’m a sucker and would keep the meme going.

A few weeks ago, Amybeth Hale – THE Research Goddess herself – tagged me in a post on her blog to share seven things about myself. Yesterday, one of my new favorite friends Shannon Paul did the same in a post on her blog. So, I guess that means I need to get cracking and share my stuff.

Without further ado, here are seven things you were dying to know about me. Yes, you may feel free to make fun of me for any of them.

1.  I look like I’m 18. No, that’s not a blessing. Whenever I meet a new client, I feel like they wonder if I’m the intern. My actual age? I turned the big 3-0 last month. Actually, I was very excited about turning 30.

2.  When I mention something about one of my daughters in a conversation, 90 percent of people say something along the lines of “wait, you have a kid?!” I reply that I have two. The next question is, “how old are you?!” (See first bullet above). My girls – Madelyn and Piper – are amazing kids and they’re beautiful. I’m not just saying that because I’m biased. See for yourself. I make pretty babies.


3.  I auditioned for American Idol last year. It was for the season that David Cook won (this year). I did it on a whim. I would be too old to audition the next year. The audition city was close enough to drive and I had friends there I could stay with for free. My wife and oldest daughter (Piper wasn’t around yet) were in Wisconsin at her mom and dad’s house. So I threw some stuff in the car and headed to Charleston, SC. Yes, I can carry a tune – just ask Libby Krah. No, I didn’t make it to see Randy, Paula and Simon. But I had an absolute blast. If you want to know more about the crazy audition process, just ask.

4.  I tell corny jokes and one-liners within the context of conversations. They get a good laugh about 75-80 percent of the time. That’s not a bad percentage, right? The other 20-25 percent fall flat on their faces. But that doesn’t stop me from dropping another one. Hey, laughter is good for the soul, I say. Besides, if two outta three ain’t bad, then three outta four must be good.

5.  I can dance my white, little butt off, folks. You’d be surprised how much rhythm I’ve got in this body. I was even in a hip-hop dance group for a year when I was 18. No, there is no video of such performances. This was way before the days of YouTube, Facebook and other such social web things. No one was carrying Flip Minos around back then.

6.  My favorite movie is The Shawshank Redemption because the real hero of that movie is the single most important human emotion in my opinion – hope. That and I love when Morgan Freeman’s character tells Andy Dufresne that people maybe call him “Red” because he’s Irish.

7.  I’m a ridiculously positive person.  I’ve been told my energy is contagious. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or if it can be annoying, but consider yourself warned. I wake up on the bright side.

There you have it. I guess not all of those are deep, dark secrets. But a few of them do have some potential for embarrassment.

Now, as the “rules” state, I’m tagging seven other people to participate in the next round. You were chosen because I think you’re interesting and others would enjoy knowing more about you. There are many folks I find interesting, BUT I did have to narrow it down to seven.

Sonny Gill, Beth Harte, Scott Meis, Taylor Graves,

Lara Kretler, Mark Tosczak, Lisa Hoffmann

Here are the rules I followed, as shared by Shannon and Amybeth:

  • Link your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post.
  • Share seven facts about yourself in the post.
  • Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  • Let them know they’ve been tagged

Again, sorry for the departure and I hope this hasn’t bored you silly. Look at it this way. When we meet in person, you’ve got some great fodder for conversation in the hopper.

*First image by Audrey Ahern. Image of the Mullen girls by Sarah Hahne.

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