Social Media

How to Succeed at Freelancing

Freelancing tips FB graphic2

The Alabama Media Professionals will host a a round-table discussion on freelancing tomorrow, March 12 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Homewood Public Library.  If you plan to attend please note that lunch orders will be taken up to (today) Wednesday at 5 p.m. at 205-680-6890 or

Girls Night Out


Also on Thursday, join fashion blogger Alexis Barton for a special Girls Night Out event at Belk. Hosted at the Summit location, the garden party-themed soirée will feature light bites, wine, and music from Scratch DJ.There also will be discounts (20% off with limited exclusions) and giveaways! The event is from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at Belk (the Summit location). Alexis Barton of Same Day Different Chic, who was also a keynote speaker at last year’s See Jane Write Bloganista Mini-Con, will be on hand to give fashion tips.

Post, Gram, Pin: A Social Media Workshop

post gram pin

And speaking of fashion, don’t forget to sign up for the next See Jane Write event Post, Gram, Pin: A Social Media Workshop, set for Saturday, March 21 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Fashion blogger Bertha Hidalgo of Chic in Academia will share how she grew her Instagram following to over 13,500 fans and how she’s used her Instagram influence to grow her brand and land speaking gigs.

Heather Brown

Heather Brown of My Life Well Loved will share how she developed a Facebook following of over 13,000 fans and how she uses Pinterest to drive traffic to her blog.

I will share how I’ve used social media to grow See Jane Write and land freelance writing gigs.

Get your tickets here.

If you have upcoming events you’d like featured in Jane About Town, send info to


5 Tips for Taking Instagram Food Photos


Even though I LOVE food, I am not a food blogger and never well be. You see, when I say I love food I mean I love to eat it, I love to socialize and celebrate over it, and I even like to use it as a reward for making it through a hard day. But I HATE cooking. Don’t get me wrong, I do cook. After all, hubster and I have to eat something and neither my wallet nor my waistline could handle us eating out every night. But every moment in the kitchen I’m thinking of all the other places I’d rather be.

Nonetheless, I admire food bloggers. I admire their creativity and passion and, of course, I admire their gorgeous photography.

bham bloggers brunch


Today, I attended the Birmingham Bloggers Instagram Workshop Brunch. The event featured a 4-course brunch and food photography tips from Rachel Johnson, who is currently serving as a fellow at Cooking Light magazine.

While some bloggers at the workshop, which was held at The Nest, had fancy DSLR cameras hanging around their necks, Rachel assured us that with the right light and styling you can take beautiful pictures even on an iPhone 4.

babe at brunch

1. Let your light shine. Obviously, good lighting it key, so be sure that nothing’s blocking the natural light that you could be using to illuminate your subject. If you find that the light is creating a a harsh shadow on one side of your subject, use a white book or sheet of paper to reflect the light.

2. The bird’s the word. A bird’s eye view or overhead shot is best for food, Rachel said. Get right over your food when shooting it.

3. Pile it on. If you’re shooting a bowl of granola, really pile on that granola. When photographing food in a bowl, fill up the bowl for a more interesting shot.

4. Keep it simple. Don’t photograph your food against a busy surface. Also, don’t get carried away with filters. If you do use filters adjust their intensity remembering that sometimes less is more.

5.  Hash it out. To help your food photos get more exposure on Instagram, Rachel recommended using popular hashtags like #f52grams and #eeeeeeats. A good time to post photos to Instagram is early in the morning or around 7 p.m.

Many of these tips, Rachel said, apply not just to photographing food, but can be used when photographing fashion, too.

After the tips session, Rachel had us style and photograph the first course of our brunch — yogurt parfait. It was quite entertaining and I appreciated the hands-on activity. Rachel was very sweet and said my photos looked great, but I thought they were pitiful compared to the pictures produced by most food bloggers. And obviously, I had the most fun eating the food — which was delicious!

For bad food photography and more, follow me on Instagram @writeousbabe.


What Is a Twitter Chat?

Image by Rosaura Ochoa via Flickr/Creative Commons

Today I decided to start a Twitter chat.

A Twitter chat is a public conversation on a specific that takes place on Twitter (Duh!) using a specific hashtag. Twitter chats are also called Twitter parties, which makes sense because that’s basically what a Twitter chat is — a party on Twitter. Think of the hashtag as the address for the party’s location. You follow the unique hashtag to see what everyone in the chat is saying and add the hashtag to your tweets to join the conversation. Like a party, a Twitter chat takes place on specific day, at a specific time so all the folks interested in participating can come together. And just as a party usually has a theme, Twitter chats center on a particular topic.

One of the most popular Twitter chat’s around is Mack Collier’s #blogchat, which takes place every Sunday at 8 p.m. Central and is, obviously, about blogging.

One of my favorite Twitter chats was the now defunct #BlogBrunch chat, which used to take place the first Saturday of every month.

In 2015 I plan to begin hosting #bloglikeagirl, a Twitter chat for women who blog.

I’m so excited and I hope you will join me!

To be notified of the launch date follow @ibloglikeagirl on Twitter and click here to join the #bloglikeagirl mailing list.


Each day in November for #bloglikecrazy I’ll be publishing a blog post that answers your questions about blogging, social media, writing, wellness or women’s empowerment. Send your questions to

You Need to Get “LinkedIn”


A couple of years ago I was contacted by the editor of a local news website about being a contributing features writer for her publications.

I was honored, obviously, but also curious. I wanted to know how she’d learned about me and my work. Her answer surprised me: she found me through LinkedIn.

My initial thought was, “Wait. I have a LinkedIn account?” I have to admit that while I’m very active on Facebook and Twitter, I go weeks, even months, without giving LinkedIn a thought.

After this happened, I quickly polished my profile and cringed at the thought that I probably could have landed many other freelance writing gigs had profile been up to par. And, in fact, I did receive messages from other editors shortly after.

Then I abandoned my poor LinkedIn account once again.

After redesigning the See Jane Write website, I got inspired to embark on a series of makeovers. And I’m beginning with a social media makeover, starting with LinkedIn.

For help, I turned to Shella Sylla, founder of SisterGolf, has been actively using LinkedIn to grow her business, which teaches women how to play golf and how to use the game to enhance professional relationships.

“First and foremost, make sure your profile is complete,” Sylla says.  “An incomplete profile screams unprofessionalism.”

For a profile to be considered complete it should include the following:

  • A professional headshot
  • Your current position
  • Your last 2 past positions
  • A profile summary
  • Your Education
  • At least 2 recommendations
  • A list of your areas of expertise

You should also have a strong, compelling headline, Sylla says.

In her article “Apply These Proven Techniques To Improve on LinkedIn Today”, Peg Fitzpatrick, who is the head of social strategy at Canva, recommends using keywords in your headline, profile summary, and current and past work experience.

Get recommendations from past clients and/or colleagues, Sylla says. And Fitzpatrick states that you should write a recommendation for a colleague as well.

Both Sylla and Fitzpatrick suggest adding video to your profile. This is now on my LinkedIn to-do list. I plan to produce a video of myself talking about why I started See Jane Write and my hopes for the future of the network.


Fitzpatrick also recommends adding a SlideShare presentation to your profile. “You can create a SlideShare of your latest blog post or a presentation that you’ve given recently,” she writes. This is on my LinkedIn to-do list, too.

As a writer, I felt it was imperative that I add work samples to profile. So using the LinkedIn publications feature I added a few of my favorite pieces that I’ve written.

I also plan to write original content for LinkedIn, a feature now being released to all users.

“You may have a personal blog as I do but using LinkedIn to publish content opens up a new network of people to your ideas and writing,” Fitzpatrick writes.

Once Sylla was able to publish articles on the LinkedIn network she jumped at the chance.

“I was ecstatic for the opportunity, so I published an article immediately,” Sylla says. “In one day, my article had over 3,500 views, and more than 100 people shared it with others.”

So now I’m off to revamp my LinkedIn profile. You can track my progress at If you’d like to connect on LinkedIn, leave a link to your profile in the comments.

Don’t Take the Social Out of Social Media

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 on Monday for an article by novelist Stephanie Naman on social media tips for authors.