Is Yours a Luke-Warm Sea?

img_1061What breaks my heart are brands (authors & others) who don’t succeed, not because they have no support, but because they drown in a sea of luke-warm support. An army of people who sign on in order to “be kind“, to “boost their numbers“, to “see what it’s like” and who all assume someone else is doing the beta reading, the reviews, or standing on a soapbox down on the corner. And when every single one of those people assume that everyone else is at the epicentre of the campaign… no one is!

We, therefore, need to have some committed Brand Ambassadors who volunteer, hold those posts, and do so proudly! Some people who totally get that they are “it”. That the buck stops with them. The rest of the crowd are great because a portion of them, either intentionally or otherwise, will still do bits and pieces here and there, and that is vitally important as well. But the people in the middle, those who have your back, can make or break us. They are the dozen or so disciples who will pass a word on, tell a friend, chat about our brand with passion, and it is them who will be our greatest allies.

They are the dozen or so disciples who will pass a word on, tell a friend, chat about our brand with passion, and it is they who will be our greatest allies. These people, are our Tribes. Our Brand Ambassadors. Our Heroes. Our Village.

I am building a tribe. We are about a dozen and we all believe in each other. Our purpose is not to review. Our purpose is to build a tribe and have each other’s backs. When each of us launches, the rest of us shout about it. We multiply the voices, we speak on each other’s behaves. We point to the one in the spotlight.

Who is your Tribe?

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith

Tribe Talk 001

Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.15.18 AMIn case you’ve missed it, I’m passionate about tribes, and working within and through them. So I thought I’d do a series on how they work for me, and with November being Author Blitz month for me, I think it’s a great place to start.

So I spent this morning explaining a little bit about social media, how I use it, and its role in tribes and villages.

You can watch the video HERE.

In a nutshell, it explains the following:

•It explains villages and tribes…

•How we are just millions of dots randomly spread everywhere. Nowhere near the highways.

•That there are virtual highways, and if we organize ourselves well, we can place ourselves along them.

•If we jostle, shout & push, we will get nowhere, but if we collaborate we will more likely find a place.

•But we tend to congregate now in bunches of our own, selling to each other and getting nowhere.

•Instead of a butcher, a baker & a seamstress, we are a row of authors, or a row of bloggers/fitness instructors/artist/etc. Our numbers aren’t putting us on the highways!

•Tribes, villages & Shopping centers work for a reason and we need to go back to them… But lets first look at the shop itself.

•Here is what they look like:

◦Home

◦Back of House

◦Back doorstep

◦Front of house

◦Shop Window

◦Lamppost

•They are slightly different depending on what kind of shop they are. Coffee shops are all front and barely any back. Dry Cleaners are all back and hardly any front. This is more than just space, it is also atmosphere and wanting to be there. Compare Starbucks front where it is all about the experience to dry cleaners who are notoriously grumpy.

•Do you simply provide a service regardless of how grumpy you are or do you need to draw customers in?

•This can feel overwhelming, but it needn’t be. This is what works for me:

◦I understand how these different parts work and why. I don’t waste time trying to make any of them be something they aren’t.

◦I have a strategy so that as I am working on each piece of the puzzle I am not stressing about the rest!

◦The pieces speak to each other! (e.g.: IG automatically posts to Fb, Blogs to Twitter and Fb etc)

◦Context is something you’ll hear me talk about a lot. I don’t try to do all things all the time. I spend time in each context and set it up well. No one puts posters on lamp posts every day, but now and then they pop out and check/replace them …. etc.

•We all belong to a number of villages. In the olden days we belonged to one and one only. It was physical, but it was also spiritual, educational, emotional, everything. But then people started moving to the city where they could choose their village and belong to a few. Study in one, live in another, work in a third and even worship in a fourth. It is a good thing for the most part but can also be lonely, fickle, & unreliable. The option of leaving means these villages can be unstable.

•A baker does not set up shop in a town of bakers. He sets up shop in a town with NO bakers… and lots of hungry people! In the olden days a bad baker who was the only baker still thrived. Now one has to be the best baker or people move on. And setting up against other bakers is asking for disaster.

•People in villages walk past our shops if they are shopping in other places. We need to belong to communities or tribes that will see our shop windows or our lamp posts when they are “surfing” their High Street. The villages/tribes that I belong to are:

◦My health community

◦Church

◦Expat

◦Neighbours

◦Old school buddies

◦Art associates

•But I need to reach beyond them. I need to have those in my community share my stuff so that their tribes can also see my stuff. And people hitting “like” through their newsfeed is not support that goes beyond them-and-me. Just last week I tagged a friend to show her a post she really needed to see as it was about her. She “liked” my comment but still did not take the action she needed to take (she didn’t even read it!). Click farms and Like farms have killed “like” as a support measure. We need “Comment Ambassadors” who aren’t bakers, to comment and share our content so that their tribes see it, more of my tribes see it, and those people passing by can see that it has a level of earthly worth.

•I’ll do another video on what this looks like and how to get it as soon as I can, as this is getting a bit long… so comment below as many questions as you like….

——————

•THERE ARE SOME BASICS HOWEVER:

•1: If people can’t find me at all, or they do and I have nothing to show, they will keep on walking past. You can’t change that fact.

•2: I need my shop fronts & windows to be active, clean, inviting, inspirational, warm, welcoming, and interesting.

◦IG

◦Fb

◦Website

◦Pinterest

◦YouTube

◦Goodreads

◦Amazon

◦The Mighty

•3: We cannot expect a place on the internet highways unless we collaborate, share, interact, and earn our place.

•4: Product/content is King!! Unless our products are brilliant, no formula in the world can make it a success.

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith

Infiltrate or Collaborate?

screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-12-42-17-pmTwo completely different words, with completely different meanings, and yet some people get them totally mixed up! As you know, I am all about collaboration, “paying it forward”, and being a genuine part of a community. If an author wants to sell their books they need to build a launch team and if they want people to join them then they need to be a part of a community (a few of actually). And if you want to be a part of a community then you need to contribute. It is as simple as that.

But I need to make it abundantly clear so that you know where I stand. Joining a community that you aren’t prepared to genuinely participate in, congruently contribute to, and stay in for the long haul, is not collaboration! If your sole purpose is to use members for your gain, then you are simply infiltrating, and that is worse than doing nothing at all.

Many years ago I had the privilege of mentoring a young woman who’s husband struggled with addiction. I won’t go into any more detail than that, but as we sat in a coffee shop in the middle of a New York City winter, a couple of weeks before Christmas, she poured her heart to me. You see, the movie “Thanks for Sharing” had recently hit the big screen, and the main actor had done a brilliant job in one sense, of showing what sexual addiction was actually about (it is nothing like it is commonly portrayed I can assure you!). Her problem wasn’t just that this poor woman was dealing with a husband just like the character in the movie, she was now dealing with worse.

It turns out that the accuracy of the movie wasn’t a coincidence. The actor had joined her husband’s addiction group and as there are loads of other actors and famous people in many addiction groups, especially in places like LA and New York, no one thought anything of it, and the confidences were respected at every level. But it reality, the actor wasn’t a sex addict at all, he just wanted to experience being in an addiction group so that he could do his movie realistically! All the secrets he told were lies, all the hours over weeks and months, that he poured into those relationships were all fake. He betrayed the other members of the group at such a deep level that many of them, like this woman’s husband, stopped going.

Some of these men had only been going in the first place because it was part of their treatment and because they were assured of secrecy. No one broke the secrecy, no one did anything “wrong”, but this small group of broken, struggling men, were betrayed at one of the deepest levels. Over a period of months, the actor learned, got what he wanted, and then he left. He heard the others bare their souls, but he only pretended to bare his.

I know that that is an extreme example, but the point that I want to make is that joining a community needs to be real if you ever want them to support your stage, your writing, your blog. So don’t be an asshole like Mark Ruffalo and screw people over just so that you can make your million!

Where Jennifer hangs out:

Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith

“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Hosting a Stage.

IMG_3536Yesterday I talked about the concept of building a stage instead of a platform but mentioned that one option is to still build your own stage but maybe invite others to use it for a while. This is both to draw people in using already established talent while at the same time still marketing yourself as the “owner” of said stage. This sounds like a great idea but what if no talent wants to come? What if I am so much of a nobody that I can’t even invite talent to come, never mind have any chance of them saying yes!

But here is a thought; in this day and age, we don’t need to have people actually come onto our stage. We can just place them there electronically! What do I mean? Well, this is also where humility comes in. What kind of stage would each of us be REALLY good at creating if we were put our egos aside?

It is easy to forget that you are an expert at something. We all want to be a writer or a dancer or a cook or a movie star. But let’s be honest, few of us are expert enough to be famous in any of those fields. Or are we? I will use cooking as an example, mostly because I hate cooking, I can’t cook, I hate that I have no choice but to cook sometimes, and I have too many bad experiences with family members who used cooking as an excuse to hide in the kitchen so as to avoid contact or intimacy with anyone else in the family. So worse than I hate it, it is also a trigger for me. But just say for a moment that I LOVE to cook, and I want to be a famous cook one day. I cook, I talk about cooking, I watch all the shows on cooking, but for one reason or another, I would never be able to go on Masterchef, I don’t have any famous contacts, and I simply don’t know how to get myself out there. I can’t even take a decent photo of the fabulous things that I cook.

But I am humble enough to recognize that I am pretty good at finding simply GORGEOUS cooking photos on the internet. I drool over them, I bookmark them, I dream of them. So I start a blog. A simple blog, with few words like myself, but every morning I spend an hour on the internet, searching in all the deepest, darkest corners where nobody else can find them, and I share the best that I find that day. Each blog post includes the links to the sites where the photos come from and a few snippets of information about what I love most about the picture. I also write to the author of the cooking site that I have highlighted, to let them know that I have shared them. This is both a courtesy, but it is also because I know that anyone with a site wants it to be shared and that they will be thrilled. They will likely share my blog post about them on their site or at least their social media, and they might even like my Facebook Page and start following to see who they share my space with. As my blogs all have an automatic link to my Twitter feed and to my Cooking Photos Facebook page, without having to do anything, my Twitter and Facebook feeds start to become filled with stunning cooking photos.

People start to notice, and soon I gather a small following, which over time grows bigger and bigger. I know that I am not showing off MY cooking skills yet, but I am building both a following and a stage that people start aiming to be included in. Depending on how hard I work, how good I am at it, and a bunch of other factors, eventually I gain these things:

  • Confidence in what it feels like to actually have a stage…
  • A huge insight into what people are looking for and all the gaps that I could potentially fill in…
  • A following of people who look at my blog, my Facebook and my Twitter, every single day. My photo is in the corner of everything and I engage with my followers where ever possible. They see me as a very real, imperfect person…
  • I become known and followed.

This is that middle space that I was talking about, between the tools of sharing and the stage we want to create. What I love most about this space is it isn’t hard work, it is actually enjoyable, it contributes, and you meet great people along the way. This is the perfect stage for me to launch a book from. The audience is there, it is all about me … even though they came in the first place, many years before, because of my stunning pictures that came from other people!

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Where I hang out: Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon
@JPeaSmith
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

 

ScampinChips Blogs!

img_5280-1I couple of months ago I found ScampinChips. She is a great blogger on so many levels and her wisdom and kindness in sharing everything that she learns, so freely and so honestly, is an inspiration to me. I have to confess that when I read her blogs I feel embarrassed of mine. I won’t stop of course but I thought that instead of writing nothing on starting out on Social Media this week, I would share this post on her blog.

Please don’t just close this down and without reading it. It is a really easy read I promise and it is a fabulous list of the 9 things that she wished she knew before she started blogging. If you are so new that you are following me on this series then her post is a must read! Truly! Even if there are a couple of things that don’t make sense to you yet, most of it will, and you will be thankful for these tips I promise.

I myself am keeping it open as a checklist because there are a couple of things that I missed as well and so now is the time to change/fix them…

Social Media Etiquette:

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Sorry that this is a long one but I don’t want to repeat myself for each platform, as all of this applies to all of them. But here are some basic Social Media Etiquette “Rules”:

I am not one for “rules of society” other than respect respect and respect. I think that if each and every one of us is thoughtful, aware and respectful, then most things in social life will go smoothly. But that is not the reality that we live in and there are a bunch of extra rules which need to be taken into consideration when launching into social media. Of course the basics of respect apply, but here are also a bunch of other somewhat random basic rules that also apply and why.

1: Try and be discreet when “Tagging” people. We tag people to either get their attention or the attention of their friends and followers. Which is great if you already have an appropriate relationship with them, or at a pinch you have something that you are 100% sure they will actually appreciate. However, tagging them in our post to promote ourselves is not a cool thing to do and is a bit like taking advantage of someone or worse, invading their personal space. It is considered rude to simply tag someone as advertising and I have been bowled away by how many people do it even though it is written all over the place that one shouldn’t. The other day someone who I have never met tagged me in their post saying “look at my blog, you will love it”. That is not cool. It is taking advantage of my following to promote themselves. If you tag me because you are reading these blogs and setting up accounts because of it, then go for it, but go for it because I am specifically inviting you to as you learn, and I encourage it too as I have offered to help. But if you then keep tagging me every day from then on in order to promote your puppy pictures then that is a whole new board game. It is an easy rookie mistake but not worth making. Be thoughtful (and respectful) about who you tag and how often.

2: Direct Messaging or sending people or pages private messages. Again this is a great tool but people either intentionally or unintentionally use this in ways that are considered totally not cool by the general social media population. When I got my first DM after following someone I was super excited. To then learn that they send the same message to every follower, automatically at that, left me feeling a little negative (anything stronger than that is pushing it but it wasn’t a cool feeling for sure). It didn’t hugely bother me until I kept reading over and over how much the big guys detest it and how upset some people do get by it. That first DM for me at least appeared to be genuine the way that it was phrased, but since then I have received hundreds of them that are not even vaguely attempting to sound genuine. They ask for things, tell me how much I will be blown away by their product, blog or company, and often send long lists of everything that they are connected to. I just ignore them as I have decided to give them the benefit of the doubt that they don’t “know any better”, but I have read many articles where people will block anyone who sends them a DM. I think that that is a bit strong but I don’t want to be that person sending DMs all over the show either.

3: How often to post. This one is a really tough one but as a general rule of thumb:

  • If you don’t post very often then there isn’t a lot of point in trying to get a following outside of the community of people like family and friends that you already have.
  • If you post too often then even the most forgiving don’t like their entire feed to contain nothing but you, so you will lose followers.

So you need to find some balance and middle ground. Most people try and have some kind of post 2-3 times each day. Many post more than that which can be great if you actually have that much to say that people love.

4: Repeated posts on Twitter and Facebook are a good idea because they are such a “point in time” platform that anything you say has all but disappeared by tomorrow or the next day. But if you have nothing but the same repeat going on then your followers who do see you will get sick of the same thing over and over. Imagine that you post 3 times a day but it is all the same things, your profile will simply be a long long list of the exact same thing. Even rotating 2 or 3 different things is not much better. So have some variety. Share your blog posts as you write them but in between share other things too. This is where Instagram comes in handy for me, it allows me to quickly and easily add colour, pics and memes to my Facebook Page automatically and in doing so I am covering two social media platforms in one, plus adding diversity to my posts.

5: What to post. Don’t just talk about yourself or your product. One of my personal favourite things about all the social media sites is the community and connectedness that I have found there. It is clearly obvious very quickly that the more you build up others the more they will build you up. If you post nothing but your own things and don’t contribute to discussions, share other’s posts, or encourage others, then why should they do all that for you? Stats vary but from all the articles that I have read, if you share, “like”, comment etc on other people’s pages at least two or three times for every time you promote yourself you can’t go wrong. More is even better. Some days I am tired and don’t feel that I have much to say, so I simply scroll through my feed and like share and comment on other people’s things. It brings diversity to my own profile, and people see that I promote and encourage other. I need followers and I often get more followers on those days. So don’t feel that you have to come up with all your own stuff.

6: Be genuine. Think about what you share, either of your own or of others. As you click away, share away and comment away, your personality will shine through. If you think you have that angry streak well hidden, it is likely to show in the general flow of what you do. And that is OK. If it is real then show it, and you will connect with like minded people. If you try to be false, too sweet, or too anything that you are not, it will show. For the most part people want to follow genuine people and aren’t interested in fake. Having said that, some of the biggest social media people are completely fake and yet they are followed anyway. Unless you have that gift of being “on” 24/7 and can push some crazy fake agenda, then don’t even try.

Why Have Social Media?

img_7836(Repost from my old blog from when I started Twitter):

All of us have different reasons to having any kind of social media and for me it is to promote my writing (blogging and upcoming books on my personal growth/abuse story) and my art that I do for therapy and enjoyment.

A lot of people have asked me since last week why they should bother with Social Media. The simple answers are that they are the way that people are communicating out there these days. If you don’t want to live under a rock forever, then at some level these can truly add to your life if you do them well and simply. Secondly, they create what is known as your “online presence” and if you write, blog, create, build, have your own business of any kind, then any forum that you are publicly a part of, can be your greatest advertising tool; for free. Now that I am on Twitter and Instagram I rarely pass a shop, a cafe, a plumber or a restaurant without seeing their social media connections posted in a corner somewhere. Like it or not, it is the way of the future.

It can also be a lot of fun. I was in a cafe a month or so ago when the heaven’s opened up and not only was there a huge and sudden downpour, but a massive gust of wind. The whole thing lasted less than ten minutes but people raced in from outside and even inside water was pouring in through air vents and we were all desperately trying to get out of the way of water blowing in. It was quite fun even though it was a hassle and when I posted a pic on Instagram the next day it was fun seeing the pics that others had taken too, all tagging this little cafe. It was a good moment for them and the whole atmosphere of the stories and photos made a good show of community and I am sure was a free bit of advertising for that establishment.

screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-2-29-21-pmOne of the biggest questions that I get asked about WordPress is how to get our blogs out there to be read and heard and talked about. Simply put, social media is the way to go. If you open your WordPress account and hover over the top left corner, a black box will pop down like this.

Right down near the bottom is the word “Sharing”. If you click on that you will open your sharing options. These sharing options are a “once off” effort that you don’t have to think about again. At the bottom of my post here you can see buttons that people can share this on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. This allows others to share your post even if you don’t have any social media. Here you can very quickly and easily add buttons to your blogs

 

screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-2-33-41-pmOn the other hand, if you want to automatically share your blog post with others, then when you are writing your post, you simply click on the downward arrow to the right of “Sharing”. This is a a different kind sharing. This is your connection to automatically share your post on which ever social media YOU want to share it with.

So for example, when I press “Publish” when I have finished writing this post, I have connected to both my Facebook Page and my Twitter accounts (both). So I don’t even have to open either platform and nor do I have to click anything. This box has a button to connect (or disconnect) any social media you have which from then whenever I blog, I Tweet and Facebook at the same time! There is even a box to include a few words of your choice, and if you don’t customise the message that is fine too because it will just use your blog heading🙂

Sometimes you might write a post that you don’t want to share on Twitter, you just click on the box and as it shows up everything that it is going to do, all you have to do is un”tick” the box you don’t want it to go to, and next time it will revert to sending to all your social media platforms.