Tips to Rock Your Social Presence

Shannon Mouton leads the internal marketing and digital communications efforts for McKinney & Associates. She is a relationship marketing professional, with a passion for utilizing social technology for building business relationships, sharing information and advancing the greater good. Her 20-plus years of marketing, communications, and 12032876_10206198800663549_1037900389348578334_ocommunity-building experiences have afforded her unique opportunities to foster communities where none existed, develop and launch innovative programming and bridge generational, economic and racial divides. Shannon is a contributor to Women Grow Business and has been featured on the Digital Sisterhood Network and American Express OPEN Forum.

I asked Shannon to share some of her best social media tips with me. This is what she had to say:

1. Social media is an part of my workday as I’m responsible for the virtual marketing for the organization. We focus on social tools and platforms that allow us to showcase our expertise and experience as a strategic communications firm. Instead of spreading a little content over a lot of platforms, we do a lot of content over a few platforms. For instance, a team member will write an article, “How to Pitch to Reporters” and we post that article as a blog post and a week later we turn the article into a presentation for SlideShare. We will also post both forms of the information to Facebook and Twitter because we understand people receive and retain information differently.

2. The three social media sites the firm will probably still be using in two years are YouTube, SlideShare and Facebook. While the written word will always be important, visual communications is becoming increasingly so as a method of delivering messages to a variety of audiences. These sites focus on visual communications and lend themselves to the written (and spoken) word. We enjoy and use Pinterest, Instagram and Flickr, which are visually based platforms, but they lack the strong written or verbal component that we need for long-term strategic communications.
3. My best social media tip is also a tip for living your best life: do a few things exceptionally well, instead of being adequate at a lot of things.
This post was originally shared on All Things E

Why You Should Have A Social Media Plan AND Ten Ways To Get Started

4You know you should be active in social media. It’s good for your personal brand and your business. But you just don’t have time to do all those posts. One way to help you get organized is having a social media plan. A social media plan or mapping out what your posts will be on a weekly and even monthly basis helps you think strategically about what you should share with your audience. The social media plan includes a daily breakdown of what you should post most days of the week.

Yes, I said most day so of the week.

Consistency is the key in social media. Don’t ride the social media wave unless you can commit to a consistent schedule that your followers can depend on.

I tend to use themes to map out the days of the week on my social media plans. I am also a big fan of iteration. Below is an example of a Monday through Friday Twitter and Facebook social media plan. I developed this weekly plan for my client, AmeriCorps VISTA. It helped guide my posts throughout the week. You’ll see the days of the week divided up into five categories:

  • Mission Monday
  • Tip Tuesday
  • Webinar Wednesday
  • Throwback Thursday
  • Follow Friday

SMM Plan Image

SMM Plan Twitter JPEG

To get started on your plan, think about the content you have to share. If you are new to the social space, focus on one social media site at a time. I would recommend you consider getting starting with Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

Twitter – Without a doubt, Twitter is the best way to share and discover what is happening in the moment. To grow your audience, think about following and sharing popular hashtags and TweetChats.

Facebook – Most of your friends and colleagues are on Facebook. So are your clients and customers. Why not join Facebook Groups that support your mission and vision? Better yet start a group of your own. It’s a great way to connect and engage with the people that mean the most to you or the people you are trying to reach.

YouTube – Everyone has a story to tell. YouTube provides a forum to allow people to connect, inspire, entertain and inform. If you are comfortable in front of the camera or have a lot of video content, YouTube is a great place to start. Consider producing a web series of your most popular content. 

Here are ten tips to keep in mind once you are ready to start your social media plan:

  1. Determine which platforms you will use – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or all four
  2. Devise a daily, weekly and monthly social media schedule that incorporates each platform
  3. Monthly posts should reflect recurring dates such as holidays, celebrations or conference dates
  4. Determine who will manage your accounts and how often they will post
  5. Build upon the content you already have (photos, video, press releases)
  6. Come up with a regular posting schedule and stick to it
  7. Use a social media management tool such as Hootsuite to schedule your posts
  8. If you are cross posting from one site to another, factor in a few organic, original posts for each site
  9. Remember that it is a plan, a guide, so leave room for unexpected breaking news stories or changes
  10. Engage, engage, engage and then engage some more

 If you need help developing your social media plan, I’m here to help!

Google+ vs Facebook… Who is Winning?

Google+ is where I engage with the social media, biking, and music community. I made these Circles to specifically isolate these groups, to drown out the other “noise” of other posts, and to focus on the conversations that mean the most to me.  Facebook, however, is where I hangout with family, friends, and well, people who say there are “friends” but who are more like very casual people I barely know and may, at some point, want to engage with.  Wondering what the breakdown of Google+ vs Facebook looks like? See the Infographic below.

Should You Use Facebook As Your Website?

Many businesses ask if it is necessary to have both a website and a Facebook  page.  Also up for debate is whether you should use Facebook as your website.  One could make an argument for both and knowing your goals in advance is the real key to answering this question.  Here are some Pros and Cons to help determine if you need both and/or if you should use Facebook as your website.


• You don’t have to take on the expense and time of building a website

• Setting up a Facebook page is free

• Using third-party apps on Facebook is easy and fairy inexpensive

• Developing new pages is very easy

• You can sell products using their e-commerce platform with PayPal

• Builds relationships with customers and prospects


• You don’t own the content or the data on the page

• Not everyone uses Facebook or social media

• Other than the Insights Facebook gives you (which isn’t a lot), you can’t measure its effectiveness

• You’re always working with the Facebook terms of service and, if violated, they can remove your page

• Facebook is geared toward brand awareness and networking, not revenues or profits for your business

• If Facebook goes away tomorrow, so do your relationships

• Someone on your team (or you) needs to stay on top of changes at Facebook, which happen multiple times a month and sometimes without communication

Website design has become so easy these days, that there isn’t much of a downside of building your own site.  In addition, having a website can lead to the credibility of your business.  But you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a compelling and competitive website.  There are many services that will allow you to build your site for free.  List below are some of the top contenders to think about when looking for free website service:

Yola – Create a free website in minutes with no technical skills.

Weebly – Named one of TIME’s 50 Best Websites, Weebly has an easy, drag and drop interface to create your own website. It’s free, powerful, and professional.

Webstarts – Make a free website with Webstarts and get ranked on Google, Yahoo, Bing and MSN.

Google Sites- Create free website pages in a few easy steps and share webpages among groups.

Note, however, that while setting up your website can be free and easy, some real-time and effort should be placed into where you host your website.  The real expense with regard to websites is not necessarily in the design but in the hosting of the site.  Services such as GoDaddy, Firehost, HostGator all offer competitive pricing but you will want to do your homework before you choose a hosting site.  Of course with Facebook, you can host your page for free but you will not always have control over the content.  With their ever-changing policies, the information on your Facebook Page is at risk of being changed or even deleted at any time.

A Facebook page versus a website is really up to you, as long as you’re aware of the pros and cons, you can make the most educated decision for you and your company.

Portions of this post appeared in Pros and Cons of Facebook As Your Website from Spin Sucks on November 9, 2011.

Watch Out for the Social Media Police!


Aren’t you tired of people poking you on Facebook? Wouldn’t you like your friends to STOP tagging you in photos where it is clear you look a hot mess? What about my biggest social networking pet peeve, tagging me in a flyer, advertisement or picture that I’m not in and don’t even care to see!  How about people who only post quotes on Twitter and never engage with you at all?  If any of these social media wrongs ring true for you, order the Social Media Citation notes from and start handing giving them to offenders so we can stop social media posting abuse in all forms.  By the way, you can go ahead and over share this blog post… I wouldn’t even think of giving you a citation for that. 🙂 

How Women Really Feel About Facebook Friends

“Daily deals site Eversave talked to 400 women about their Facebook relationships. The company originally conducted the survey as market research on the social network’s influence on the daily deals ecosystem, but Eversave was surprised to uncover the love/hate relationship between women and their online friends.

For example, the majority of female respondents said they had at least one friend who was a “drama queen” on Facebook. A majority also said they had at least one obnoxiously “proud mother” as a Facebook friend.

Most women — 83% of respondents in this survey — are annoyed at one time or another by the posts from their Facebook connections. For these respondents, the most off-putting post was some kind of whine; a full 63% said complaining from Facebook friends was their number one pet peeve, with political chatter and bragging coming in a distant second and third.

The respondents also said at least one of their Facebook friends tended to:

* Share too many mundane updates too often (65%)
* “Like” too many posts (46%)
* Inappropriately or too frequently use Facebook to promote causes (40%)
* Project false information or images of a perfect life (40%)

Read more from our friends a

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I will not stalk my ex on Facebook, and other social media resolutions

A friend of mine (who I met through social media) shared this post with me and I just had to add my two cents.


I’ll admit that I stoped dating a guy because he “stalked” my Facebook page, my Tweets and my blog posts. I’m sorry but it was just creepy and he got even creepier as the days rolled on. I’ll also admit that I “unfriended” an ex when he got married… NOT because he got married… but because he admitted he kept up with my whereabouts on Facebook (uh, no you don’t buddy… you’re married now… don’t you worry about what I’m doing). Yet, I’m not one of those people who checks up on someone else’s social sites. You would think with my type A personality and my need to be controlling that I would be all over their pages but it’s really not my style. In fact, my single girlfriends who are also “power users” have a rule: If we are seriously dating someone, you cannot be their friend on Facebook, allow them to follow you on Twitter and if it gets really deep, you might even want to block them from reading your blog posts.


Here’s the rub… what if they are already your “friend” or “follower” and THEN you start dating them? Ahhhhh, dating in 2011 just got interesting didn’t it? I’ll be blogging about that very soon but if we’re dating you’ll never get a chance to see that post now will you?

I need a certain amount of freedom to be me. I need to check in on Foursquare, write about my feelings and post content without censorship. So, while some folks need help NOT stalking other people, I need help making sure other people don’t cyber stalk me! That is all…

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On Christmas day 2009, my ex defriended me on Foursquare and stopped following me on Twitter.

Fair enough, I suppose. I didn’t need to know what bars he was going to and he didn’t need to read my 140-character self-deprecations. But I noticed his unfollow immediately and I cried, really hard. Three glasses of mulled cider later and I began to meditate on the aspects of sharing our lives, our work and our love online.

For all the other modern messes out there, here are 5 New Year’s social media related resolutions:

1. I will not stalk my ex on Facebook. There are so many different reasons why Facebook makes breaking up with people exponentially harder. First, if you were in an established Facebook relationship, the ensuing broken relationship will fill up your friends’ newsfeeds, dragging your already broken heart out into the virtual highway. Second, it means you have access to his or her life, even after you are no longer a part of it. If you don’t have enough willpower to avoid viewing your ex’s photos like a slideshow, then feel free to de-friend him or her. Just realize, that chances are they won’t ask for your friendship on Facebook ever again so it could make for an awkward digital reconciliation .

2. I will be more discerning with my friend requests. On Facebook, if your News Feed looks anything like mine these days, then you need to start being more discerning with your friend requests. Ask yourself 3 questions: Have I met this person in real life? Do we have mutual friends? Do I want this person to see photos of me and status updates for the rest of my Facebook using life? If no, then hit ignore or keep them on the wait list until you can answer yes to all three of those questions, otherwise known as Facebook purgatory.

On Foursquare, this is even more important. You can’t seriously want people you don’t even know to know where you are every time you check-in. That’s downright dangerous. I receive loads of Foursquare friend requests from people I don’t even know, most of the time its because they are new to the platform and haven’t realized Foursquare is more personal in nature than other platforms. But some of the time, the requests are simply scary.

3. I will not “auto” anything on Twitter. Don’t auto-follow. Don’t auto-DM. Don’t auto-tweet. Don’t do anything that shortcuts the already less-than-personal nature of social media. Nobody likes being on the receiving end of auto-generated messages, so don’t be the person to send them. In other words, be a human.

4. I will not spam my “friends” asking them to “Like me.” So you’re an artist, a fashion designer, or a musician, or you just think you’re going to be famous because you live in L.A. and you can breathe properly. Don’t badger your entire network asking them to “Like” you. If you’re really trying to get your message out there and gain notoriety ask your Mom, Dad, your roommate, a couple close friends, your boss and your significant other, but then stop there. More importantly, do something worth notoriety. If its truly notable, people will notice. It’s already a shallow effort and chances are you’ll piss off quite a few people who would’ve “Liked you” on their own without having you request their approval. Lastly, you’re devaluing the entire “Like” process by guilting your friends into adding one more “Like” to their Facebook page.

5. I will forget about MySpace. MySpace had its day, along with Ace of Base, white washed jeans and JNCOs. There are much better ways to waste your time on the Internet.



Is Facebook About To Kill Twitpic?

I have mobile uploads all over the place. Some of my photos get posted to Twitpic, some on Flickr, some on Facebook and some… crap… I don’t even remember the names of the other sites. So, the real question isn’t whether Facebook is about to kill Twitpic… the REAL question is… will anybody care?

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twitpic LogoFacebook has been increasingly using their short URL over the past few week, however the move appears to be much less of an attack on and instead a more effective way to generate traffic from other social channels and fill feature gaps.

Right now it’s annoying, I need to determine where to publish a photo: Facebook, Twitter, and now Instagram. However if I could upload an image to a single source, such as Facebook, and then have that image distributed across all my networks it would be much better. That is exactly what Facebook appears to be doing with their new URL shortening service. Take the following tweet published by Ben Blumenfeld of Facebook earlier today:

It appears to be an automated tweet (presumably from an unreleased service) which states Ben’s Facebook activity. This is somewhat similar to Twitpic which simply links back to images published through their service. If I was able to upload mobile photos to Facebook and have them automatically published out to Twitter, there’s no doubt that it would be my primary mobile publishing tool. While this is only the initial testing, I’ve been seeing similar stories from other Facebook employees over the past couple weeks.

This would only lead me to believe that Facebook is about to move to essentially try and kill off Twitpic, Plixi, and other photo sharing services that are currently filling the gap left by Twitter, who has yet to release their own photos application.


This Is a Click to Action

In the end, we’re measured by who we reach, the experiences we create, and the actions we inspire. This is a call for a renewed focus on people and the value they seek tied to the outcomes that impact our business. A click to action is not a transaction, it is a form of currency where individuals on all sides benefit from each and every social exchange.

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Actions speak louder than words. And as such, we have the responsibility to lead desirable and mutually beneficial actions through meaningful engagement. It’s difficult to do so however, when we focus our efforts on cultivating communities where success is derived by their respective populations. From views and impressions to Likes and Retweets to the count of our Friends, Fans and Followers (3F’s), we miss sight of what’s truly important, connections, outcomes, and the experiences we define and nurture.

Focusing on numbers is only part of the story in this intricate production we call social media. In the world of storytelling and audience engagement, the audience is represented by not only the people we draw into the theater, but also those we do not. And for those we attract, we must define the intended experiences and desirable outcomes we wish to produce. Doing so will set the stage for consumers to take action and also share experiences across their social and interest graphs. We’re then introduced to important social touchpoints and the metrics that ultimately reveal the effect of our engagement and also how we can improve experiences and outcomes over time.

A Click to Action

Design the preferred outcome and experience and reverse engineer it in order to bring it to life. To do so, we have to realize that not all friends, followers, fans or views are created equally. And, we must also recognize that the prevailing cultures and supporting behaviors in each network dictate very different results. To trigger the social effect, an understanding of network performance is fundamentally essential to the architecture of discreet initiatives within each engagement strategy.

For example, let’s take a look at Facebook Likes. The average “liker” has 2.4x the amount of friends than that of a typical Facebook user, showing the tremendous opportunity to reach “trend setters” aka tastemakers who can help achieve the greatest reach and distribution of content and more importantly, your story. According to Facebook, the Likers are more engaged, active, and connected than the general population of the global social network. At the same time, they’re genuinely interested in exploring new content. As a result, they click on 5.3x the links than that of the typical Facebook user.

Social Commerce

In the world of social commerce, the connected consumer is at the center of influence. Ensuring beneficial experiences and empowering them with sharing mechanisms ensure that their reach is maximized. Again, networks and the people who populate them, engender varying results. Online ticketing provider Eventbrite released the results of a recent survey that found Facebook sharing to outperform Twitter by as much as 6x.


According to Eventbrite, Facebook shares led the pack, generating an average of $2.52 from 11 referrals. Just behind Facebook, sharing via email came in second at $2.34. However, the delta between Facebook and email and the rest of the referring sources is vast. LinkedIn shares were valued at $0.90 and Tweets were worth only $0.43.


Likers form an “always on” audience. The average Liker on a news site, for instance, is 34 whereas the media age of a newspaper subscriber is 54. If we examine the effects of Likers on the media industry, we can get a clearer picture of their influence. In fact, many publishers are reporting overwhelming results after introducing the social sharing buttons, empowering viewers to share stories across their social graph with one click.

Sample reports according to Facebook:

ABC News is up over 190% as a result of adding social plugins
Gawker claims an surge of over 200%
TypePad reports increases over 200%
Sporting News is up by 500% states that Facebook is now the number 2 referral source

Publishes also report that increased engagement is an organic byproduct of a social referral ecosystem. At, Facebook visitors are reading 92% more articles, spending 85% more time on-site, viewing 86% more videos, and generating 36% more visits than visitors from other sites.

What are the best ways to reach these people? According to Facebook, it starts with …

1. Implement social plugins, beginning with the Like button. When a person clicks Like, it (1) publishes a story to their friends with a link back to your content, (2) adds the article to the reader’s profile, and (3) makes the article discoverable through search on Facebook.

2. Optimize the Like button. By showing friends’ faces and placing the button near engaging content (but avoiding visual clutter with plenty of white space), clickthrough rates improve by 3-5x according to Facebook.

3. Publish back. Publishing engaging stories or status updates (things that are emotional, provocative, related to sporting events or even simple questions) increase on-Page engagement by 1.3-3x.

4. Integrate the Activity Feed or Recommendations plugins. Highlighting most popular content on your site leads people to view more articles. Those who click on the Activity Feed plugin in particular generate 4x as many page views as the average media site viewer. Place it above the fold on your home page and at the bottom of each article for maximum engagement.

5. Use the Live Stream to engage users during live events. The live stream box can serve as a way to reach your audience, facilitate sharing of your content, and get them involved in what you’re streaming, be it an interview, conference, or other type of event.

A Tweet to Action

One of the greatest challenges any brand will experience in Twitter is the very thing that makes it so special, the ability to earn attention in real-time. Twitter, by intention, is fleeting. We are constantly sharing, engaging, and consuming micro-sized portions at a constant pace. To connect here, requires creativity, relevance, value, and a sense of reward.

Social media analytics and monitoring service Sysomos studied over 1.2 billion tweets over the course of two months and found that Twitter is indeed a broadcast system rather than a social network. As part of its Engagement Report,


When examining the idea of triggering a click to action, Sysomos discovered that only 29% of Tweets generate a reaction, usually in the form of a reply or ReTweet, which was the overwhelming majority of all replies at 19.3% or 72 million. Of those RTs, 92.4% happen within the first hour dropping to 1.63% in the second hour and almost cease completely in the third hour with .94%. On Twitter, we are competing for the moment.


Like RTs, the bulk of replies occur within the first hour as well. In the first hour, the average replies numbered at 96.9% within hour one and only .88% in hour two.

Sysomos also reviewed the depth of conversation threads on Twitter. The data fueled the idea of Twitter serving the role of broadcast network over a conversational platform. The extent of dialog is measured at three levels deep. Of all of the Tweets that generated a reply, 85% received one reply and 10.7% witnessed a reply to the original reply. Only 1.53% of Tweets experienced a reply to the reply of an original Tweet.

Does this information from Sysomos lead us to assume that Twitter’s role in our click to action programs is less important than expected? Not at all.

Influence on decisions, actions, referrals, and referring sources are dramatically leaning toward social. When it comes to click-through rates, Twitter crushes Facebook according to SocialTwist, makers of the Tell-a-Friend widget that lets users share content through social media. The company found that click-through rates via social networks outperformed links shared in email and blogs.

As we reviewed earlier, Facebook is by far, the preferred service for sharing representing over 78% of all SocialTwist shares.

However, here’s the promise for Twitter. Of all social networks, Twitter is the most effective tool for triggering coveted click-throughs. Whether Tweets are organic or Promoted, Twitter believes that it has “cracked the code on a new form of advertising.” At the same time, it has also cracked the code on a new type of interaction and engagement. Click-through rates on Twitter averaged 1904% while Facebook yielded 287%.



Get Social, or Get Left Behind

Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, the top Silicon Valley VC firm created a new $250 million fund to invest in social applications and services — which mega-investor John Doerr calls the “third wave” of Internet disruption.

Bing Gordon, the former Electronic Arts creative director who is now a KPCB partner, will run the fund. Companies today, he said, need to have a social sensibility at their core. Those that see social as something to be slapped on afterwards will get left behind.

I love my job more and more everyday!!!

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For many companies, social media is something the marketing department uses to increase their reach. Features like Facebook Connect seem like obligatory add-ons. But part of the company’s core offering? Not so much.

That’s about to change. So says Silicon Valley mega-investor John Doerr, of Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, who today announced a $250 million fund to invest in social applications and services. Companies like Cafebots, a startup Kleiner Perkins invested in earlier this year that helps people manage their online social relationships.

Also investing in the new “sFund” are Amazon, Facebook, and Zynga, whose CEOs appeared with Doerr at an event on the Facebook campus. The three other backers are Comcast, Liberty Media, and Allen & Company. The fund kicks off today and has not made any investments yet.

Doerr said KPCB was motivated to create the fund because it believes there’s a “third wave” of “incredible and disruptive innovation” that is fundamentally changing the nature of the Web right now. The first was the creation of the Internet itself, and the second was the invention of browsers, which made it possible for everyday people to use the Web. Now, Doerr said, the Web is shifting “from an old Internet of documents and sites to a new one that’s all about people and places and relationships.” The sFund’s goal, Doerr said, is not only to invest in companies that are leading the charge into the new era, but also to inspire young entrepreneurs to take the plunge.

Kleiner Perkins, one of Sand Hill Road’s leading venture capital firms, has a history of picking winners like Google, Amazon, and Sun Microsystems, as well as Electronic Arts, Symantec, and Netscape. In 2008, Kleiner Perkins created the $100 million iFund to invest in developers making applications, services, and components for the iPhone and iPad. One of those companies, game developer Ngmoco, just got bought by Japanese mobile gaming giant DeNA Co. for $400 million.

So when Kleiner Perkins–or, in this case, Mark Zuckerberg of sFund partner Facebook–says “every industry is going to get fundamentally rethought and designed around people,” it might be worth taking a listen.