Chanda Temple, Mitzi Eaker, and Jennifer Warren shared their web wisdom
at the See Jane Write social media panel discussion, I Tweet, Therefore I Am. 

On Tuesday, Oct. 29 See Jane Write Birmingham and See Jane Write Magazine hosted I Tweet, Therefore I Am, a panel discussion on social media featuring public relations pro Chanda Temple, Mitzi Eaker of the social media consulting firm Mitzi Jane Media, and Jennifer Warren of Alabama Social Media Association (ALsocme).

The evening’s conversation ran the gamut as we discussed Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Google + and LinkedIn. We discussed blogging as well. The focus of the panel was how people can better use social media to promote their projects including their books, blogs, and businesses.

Ironically, the major takeaway from the night was that the best way to sell yourself on social media is to not focus so much on selling. Instead focus on building relationships.

Don’t treat social media like traditional advertising, Eaker advised. Build relationships with people and they will sell your product or service for you, she said.

Eaker used an apt analogy to further explain her point. If you’re going to a party and you’re wearing a great dress you snagged at a great price, you don’t walk through the door and immediately announce where you found your dress and how much you paid. Instead you mingle and work the room, and as you do people begin to comment on your fabulous frock. And then you share where you bought it and for how much. Approach social media the same way: network and mingle and as you do people will comment on how inspiring, entertaining, or informative your tweets, posts, and status updates are. Then you let them know there’s more where that came from on your blog, in your book, or through your business.

While all three panelists agreed that scheduling tweets and posts through tools like TweetDeck and HootSuite can be a great way to manage your time, they also all agreed that live tweeting is essential. Authentic engagement is a must. Thank people for retweets. Respond when someone asks you a question.

Temple declared during the discussion, “I work HootSuite to death,” but she also shares plenty of live tweets especially when she’s attending events. Pay attention, listen, and then tweet out little nuggets that interest you, she said. Temple is known for her inspirational and informational tweets about business and Birmingham. On Facebook you can also expect amusing posts about ABC’s hit TV show Scandal on Thursday nights.

At events like Tuesday’s panel discussion it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, to feel as if you need to run home, sign up for an account on every social media platform that exists and devote hours each day working on your online presence. Temple’s advice, however, was simple: pick one or two social media outlets and strive to excel there. And later, if you choose to, you can move on to trying other tools. Eaker added that when choosing the platforms on which to focus be mindful of where your audience is. For example, if you’re trying to reach people who love fashion and food, Pinterest may be a great place for you to invest your time.

All three panelists said they find value in having a presence on LinkedIn. Keep this profile very professional, they said. In your headline explain what you do instead of simply giving a title. Use a professional headshot. Be sure your information is current and complete. Warren also advised checking your LinkedIn profile regularly looking for ways to improve it. You want your profile to present your best self, she added.

Warren also urged the audience to step away from the computer sometimes. Face-to-face networking is still important, she said. ALsocme, for which Warren serves as a board member, provides excellent IRL networking opportunities. And, of course, so does See Jane Write!

Be sure to visit SeeJaneWriteMagazine.com on Monday for an article by novelist Stephanie Naman on social media tips for authors.

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