Social Media

Using Social Media to Build Meaningful Professional Relationships

Sponsor Spotlight: Brian Cauble of Appsolute Genius

Brian Cauble, co-founder of the Birmingham-based mobile applications developer Appsolute Geniushas about 1,200 connections on LinkedIn. He has had face-to-face meetings with nearly all of them. 

If you’re looking for someone to offer advice on how to use social media to build meaningful relationships on and offline, Brian is clearly your guy. And chances are, he’ll actually make time to meet you for coffee to discuss this. 

That’s just one of the reasons we’re so glad that Appsolute Genius is one of the sponsors for the July issue of See Jane Write Magazine and our magazine launch party

Appsolute Genius co-founder Brian Cauble

Brian was the guest speaker at a recent luncheon presented by the Alabama Social Media Association (ALsocme)

He began his talk with a scenario to which we can all relate. You go to networking event or a conference. You shake hands.  You chat with people you find interesting. You leave with a stack of business cards. Those business cards then sit on your desk collecting dust until you eventually accidentally knock them into your trash can and don’t bother digging them out. 

One of the first tips Brian offered was to simply follow up. When you met someone at an event send them an email or a connection request on LinkedIn (But don’t send a generic one. You should actually write a message reminding the person where you two met.) Follow them on Twitter. Friend them on Facebook. Likewise, if there’s someone you know only online, don’t be afraid to try to arrange a meeting IRL, or in real life. 

Effectively using social media can be tough, but Brian gave the crowd five guidelines that made the process feel a lot less daunting. 

1. Be interesting. Tweet and post Facebook status updates on the things you find interesting, the things you’re passionate about. Believe it or not, there are plenty of other people out there who will find those things interesting too. 

2. Be humble. Brian explained this in what I considered the best quote of the afternoon: “Nobody likes a jackass.” Don’t use your online platforms as an opportunity to be a jerk or to tell people how they should live their lives. 

3. Be engaged. Check-in on Facebook and Foursquare when you go to an event. Comment on people’s status updates. Reply to interesting tweets. Being engaged on social media, however, should not feel like work. It should feel natural. Once you find your groove, Brian said, it will just become what you do.

4. Be authentic. Be yourself. Don’t try to be someone else online. Talk about things you actually care about, not just things you think will get people’s attention. Later in his talk, Brian also added that we shouldn’t be afraid to use social media to reveal pieces of lives to others, even the pieces that aren’t so great. Brian shared that he used social media to help cope with his father’s death. You don’t want your posts to be perpetual rants, but don’t think you have to pretend your life is perfect. “Life sucks sometimes,” Brian said.

5. Be helpful. So often when we think of social media we’re focused on what we can get out of it. Shift your focus and look for ways to help people. Start helping people get connected with folks they need to know. Eventually, this will help you too because people will start to see you as a must-have connection. 

Learn more about Brian and his company at

Tell Me a Story – A Recap of Bloggers Who Brunch: The Power of Storytelling

What story are you trying to tell with your blog? 

Can you explain that story in one sentence?

Can you explain it in one word? 

These are the questions Wade Kwon posed to us at Friday’s Bloggers Who Brunch event on the art of digital storytelling. We had about 30 people gather in the side room of Nabeel’s for an afternoon of lunching and learning.

Wade Kwon speaking on the art of digital storytelling

“You’re telling a story with your blog,” Wade told us. “As storytellers you’re not just dealing with story or narrative, you’re dealing with a theme.”

If you’re having trouble determining the theme of your blog, summing up your site with one word or one sentence will help.

“The one word or one sentence can help you when you get stuck,” Wade said.

Your one sentence, your one word, can help you through writer’s block and help you make important decisions about your blog such as what to include and what to exclude and the different ways you will share your story. These days we have so many channels outside of our blogging and writing with which to tell our story — such as Twitter,  Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Vine.

The theme could also help you decide if your audience will help tell the story. Will they be part of the narrative? Will they help shape it? You can include your readers in a number of ways from allowing them to leave comments to asking them to share stories of their own.

One thing that’s important to remember, Wade reminded us, is that with digital storytelling your audience is not experiencing your story from start to finish the way we experience books or films.  In digital storytelling there is no clear beginning, middle, and end.

“It’s all middle,” Wade said. Therefore your theme has to permeate every post because that post might be the only chapter a person reads of your story.

We had over two dozen bloggers attend this lunch event. 

In addition to theme, it’s important to determine voice and brand. Do you want your blog to be serious? Authoritative? Warm? Collaborative? If your site has a number of contributors how will you include diverse voices while maintaining a distinct brand? Your theme can help you do that.

If you’re sitting there staring at the screen thinking you have no idea how to describe your voice or brand, and if you’re thinking you have no idea what story you’re striving to tell with your blog, that’s OK. The answers to these question will become clearer in time. But you must keep writing.

Being persistent and consistent are key, Wade advised. Keep blogging and eventually your voice will be stronger and your fan base will grow larger, too.

During his talk Wade shared a story about the great success Birmingham blogger Tanya Sylvan had with a recent post. In her post Birmingham — I Run This Town, Tanya composed a photo essay of her favorite sites to see when she runs through downtown Birmingham. Tanya’s blog tells the story of her running adventures and in this post she included her love for Birmingham and her love for photography as well. The post went viral and her readership increased by 300 percent. But Tanya, who attended Friday’s lunch, stressed that this was not her goal when she wrote this post. She just wanted to show why she loves running downtown.

The point is simple: be authentic. Whatever the story of your blog may be, tell it with passion and sincerity. That’s a story people are going to want to read.

Today is the last day to register for the Y’all Connect social media conference, where you can learn even more about digital storytelling. Use SJW89 to receive a $30 discount. Click here for more details. 

The Power of Digital Storytelling

Wade Kwon
Photo Credit: Sean Kelley

As writers we understand the power and the value of storytelling. However, far too many of us fail to realize that we can and should use these storytelling skills we possess in the digital realm through blogging and social media. 

Whether you’re a small business owner seeking new customers or a writer seeking to grab the attention of readers or editors, you need to blog and you need to use social media. If there’s anyone who can help you do this well, it’s Wade Kwon — who will be the speaker at See Jane Write’s next Bloggers Who Brunch event. 

Kwon is a well-known communications consultant based in Birmingham and the director of the upcoming blogging and social media conference Y’all Connect. Kwon will be speaking at the Bloggers Who Brunch event set for 11:30 a.m. on Friday, June 21 at Nabeel’s (1706 Oxmoor Road, Homewood). He’ll be discussing the upcoming conference and the power of storytelling. 

Kwon believes that all businesses — whether a gigantic corporation or a small mom & pop shop — should be using blogging and social media as these are prime ways to reach consumers. And the same goes for writers, too.

“If you’re trying to get the attention of editors, publishers, or readers, blogging should be a part of what you do on a regular basis,” Kwon said.

Just as social media and blogging can be used to help businesses get the attention of potential customers, these tools can help an author find new fans, a freelance writer snag new gigs, or an aspiring novelist land a book deal. 

“Don’t think that networking opportunities only happen at conferences and workshops,” Kwon said. “They can happen every day around your writing,” that is if you’re blogging and effectively using social media. 

And when it comes to social media, Kwon knows his stuff. The Poynter Institute selected him as one of 35 Influential People in Social Media. Birmingham Magazine readers selected him as Best Tweeter in the Best of B’ham 2010 and 2011 online polls.

But Kwon didn’t organize the Y’all Connect conference to show off his own talent, but to show off his hometown of Birmingham. 

“Birmingham is too talented and too rich of an environment to keep quiet any longer,” Kwon said. 

Y’all Connect, which is taking place July 23 in Birmingham, is designed to help you master the art of digital storytelling and thus boost your business and/or writing career. 

Mack Collier, author of Think Like a Rockstar, will be at the conference speaking on how you can create content that is more relevant and exciting to your customers or readers. 

Peter Shankman, author, entrepreneur, and founder of Help a Reporter Out, will teach you at least six actions you should implement so you can start seeing immediate growth in your company or career. 

Top metereologist and Twitter superstar James Spann will also be speaking, along with several other social media gurus. 

Kwon has created a special discount code for See Jane Write. Our special promo code is: SJW89.

Visit and enter the code above for $30 off your ticket. That makes your ticket just $99 and that includes the full conference, two meals, one snack and two parties. And register soon because the first 100 ticket buyers receive a free copy of  Collier’s book, Think Like a Rock Star.

And if you’re eager to learn more about blogging and social media before Y’all Connect don’t miss June’s Bloggers Who Brunch event. You can sign up at http://bloggerswhobrunch3.eventbrite.comSpace is limited so register today!

And the winner is…

The winner of the free all-access pass to the Strength Mitzi Jane Media Social Media Conference is “Katie – Hems for Her.” Please email me so I can get you set up with your prize. 
If you didn’t win remember you can still get a $20 discount on the full conference rate until 10 p.m. tomorrow by using the code jane. Click here (affiliate link) to register. 
*I used Random Number Generator to select the winner. “Katie- Hems for Her” was the fourth person to enter.
True Random Number Generator  4Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Win a Free Pass to the STRENGTH Social Media Conference

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We writers may like to believe that wise and witty words are enough to bring readers to our books and blogs, but sadly, that’s just not true. We must market our work as well, and these days one of the best ways to do so is through social media.

“Social media, partnered with blogging, is a tool to strengthen your personal brand, connect with current and future readers, network with other writers, and share stories,” said Mitzi Eaker of the social media consulting group Mitzi Jane Media. “For writers, blogging highlights their talents and gives them a platform to share their writing.”

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Mitzi Eaker of Mitzi Jane Media

Next month you’ll have a chance to learn how to improve your social media skills at STRENGTH, a Mitzi Jane Media social media conference for small businesses. If you think this conference isn’t for you because you’re a writer, not a business owner, think again.

“I think all the sessions are beneficial to writers, especially if they want to create a business as a writer, monetize a blog, or market a book,” Eaker said.

Eaker believes so strongly that this conference is beneficial for writers and bloggers that she is offering a discount to See Jane Write members and giving away an all-access pass to one lucky Jane.

Workshops will be held every Monday evening during the month of April from 5:30 to 9 p.m. The conference takes place at Danberry at Inverness, 235 Inverness Center Drive.

During the first session Eaker will give a broad introduction to social media and later author and blogger Teri Lynne Underwood will share how she used social media to promote her blog and sell her books.

For the second week Eaker will share the steps to building a social media strategy and veteran blogger and designer Karla Archer will share how to create strong social media content and a blogging calendar.

The third week will cover Google Analytics and SEO. Week four will delve into branding. In the final session Emily Lowrey of Magic City Post will help attendees learn how to be more productive with their time online.

Other things you can expect to learn include: how to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest strategically; steps to ebook publishing and how to connect with small businesses for marketing promotions.

Early bird registration for the full conference is $129.99 and available through March 8. After March 8 the full conference rate is $169. The cost per night is $39.99.

Click here (affiliate link) to register.
To receive $20 off registration for the full conference use the code – jane. This code will expire Saturday at 10 p.m.

To enter the giveaway for the free full conference pass leave a comment telling us what your greatest social media training needs are. Also, to be eligible to win you must follow See Jane Write and Mitzi Jane Media on Twitter or Facebook. The contest will end Friday at 5 p.m. and the winner announced shortly after.

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