Social Media Etiquette
A successful holiday season can mean a lot of different things, depending on who you’re talking to. For some, it’s family, friends and a mountain of cookies. For others, it’s conquering the malls and leaving a trail of glitter behind you wherever you go. Add all of that to a busy business, clients desperate for last-minute help before the year’s end and a puppy who keeps attacking the Christmas tree (Ok, that’s just me), and you can see how things can get a wee bit stressful.
My earlier article compiling the wisdom of people I admire and adore proved to be so valuable that I returned to this well-rounded and not-too-stressed-out group of experts (plus a few more) to ask them the following question:
“What is your secret for a successful holiday season?”
“My #1 holiday tip to avoid overwhelm this season is to be really clear on what makes the holidays special for you and your family, and prioritize those one or two things. It will be different for everyone, so it’s important to get input from partners, parents and kids. For example, maybe decorating the tree and making cookies is “it” for one family, while another can’t do without a ski trip or seeing “The Nutcracker.” If nothing else is decorated or done, you still had the ideal holiday and made treasured memories because you focused on what’s important.”
~ Deanne Marie, home, entertaining and lifestyle expert, www.smartsolutionsforbusypeople.com
“The holidays are my favorite time of year and I treat it like a project, albeit a FUN project. By that I mean, I have a plan. As a family we have an annual Christmas Party. We schedule the date as far in advance as we can, then start working the to-do list backwards so we don’t miss anything (kind of the same methodology of decorating a room, actually!), although I’m not just speaking of decorating. A well-planned event (or occasion or even a season) causes MUCH less stress!”
~ Pamela Sandall, interior design, www.pamelasandalldesign.com
“Don’t overcommit! I was so guilty of being the “yes” girl for so long. Now, I protect the time for my well-being, even at the cost of missing a party or two. I’ll leave a party early, or skip it altogether if I have an early workout, or if I need the time to sleep a bit and rest! There is a reason holiday season leads into “flu season”: we have a tendency to run ourselves into the ground!”
~ Sandra Robinson, actress and media coach, www.CharismaOnCamera.com
“Schedule your personal time (for shopping, enjoying a lovely holiday cocktail with friends, etc.) in your calendar as soon as possible. That way you won’t be scrambling to find the time later. Also, valet park whenever possible!”
~ Carrie Sharpshair, speaker, author, business coach, www.simplystrategicsuccess.com
“Don’t use a credit card for any purchases. There is nothing worse than starting the New Year off and that January statement arriving and not having the funds to pay the entire bill. Also, which I try and do daily anyway, take time to really be in awe of your surroundings, whether you are standing in line, wrapping presents, looking at holiday lights or decorations.”
~ Julie Merrick, athlete & mental game coach, www.merrickmentalgamecoaching.com
“A successful Holiday Season happens when you remember it is about giving. I make it all about my clients. They get treat after treat, freebie after freebie, love love love from me. It has put the fun back in Christmas since my kids have grown up.”
~ Loa Blasucci, author, fitness and beauty expert, www.gotoloa.com
“With all of the “hustle and bustle” of the holiday season (and all of the stress it can bring) the best tip is to keep perspective. Remind yourself that it’s ok to keep things simple, that time with family/friends is more important than stressing over getting the perfect gift, and, as long as loved ones are healthy and happy, all else is icing on the cake.
~ Debbie Wolpert, physical therapist and Melaleuca professional, www.debbiewolpert.com
“My best tip for a successful holiday season is to start early!! This year I am putting my Christmas lights up before Thanksgiving, having the kids make a Gingerbread house Thanksgiving weekend and ordering my Christmas greeting cards and stamps in November. Make sure you keep a mailing label list and update it so you know how many cards to order. This gets us all in the Christmas spirit and we can enjoy the holidays without feeling rushed. A cookie exchange is the best way to be prepared for gift giving. Not only do you get to have a fun party with your friends to kick off the season, but you end up with a great assortment of homemade holiday cookies! These cookies are great gifts for the postman and people who help make your everyday life easier like the babysitter, dog groomer, housekeeper, hairdresser, and gardener….anyone who helps you at work or school. A homemade gift is always more special than a store-bought one. People remember these small gestures year round and this season is about giving, showing your gratitude and connecting on a personal level to share the Joy of the season. Take time to bring a coffee and cookies to your mechanic or kids’ teacher. If you are prepared and get the busy work done ahead, you’ll have time to relax. To be able to slow down these days is a luxury!”
~ Kristina Goldberg, makeup and beauty expert, industry media expert, www.sassychicbeauty.com
“Appreciate what you have and look for the humor in everything, like the turkey’s still frozen – that’s alright gives us a good excuse to go to Denny’s and not have to do dishes. Argumentative Aunt Mable will be coming – great I can brush up on my debate skills or start drinking early…you get the picture. Just have fun and enjoy yourself, that’s what the holidays are all about.”
~ Katrina Garcia, social media expert, www.kva4u.com
“My main objective each year is to avoid the inevitable mommy meltdown that happens each December 24th at 4pm, when I realize I may not make it to the finish line. So I’ve devised a plan to eliminate that dreaded scenario by simply completing my Christmas shopping by July and hiring someone to decorate my house for the holidays in December. I’ve learned that people who love to decorate for Christmas are worth importing no matter the cost; they do a much better job than us grumps who throw everything together because we know our kids would disown us if we didn’t. “
“There are two holidays coming up that I love. Valentine’s Day & Christmas. For Valentine’s Day I never stop believing Mr. Right will appear and I enjoy juggling all the possible Mr. Right Now’s in hopes someone will be the victor. In reality I end up dating Mr. Wrong in volume! LOL. I love Christmas because I live my life waking up every morning so grateful for the many blessings God has given me. I never forget there were days I didn’t wake up in a bed or have food so life is a huge blessing! I love all the celebration of what this day represents and the joy of having family and friends celebrate together.”
~ Nancy Drew, international business sales expert & nationally-ranked fitness competitor, www.drewandassociates.com
“Plan ahead but don’t take everything too seriously. The holidays are about celebrating traditions, connecting with family and friends and for many celebrating their core religious/spiritual beliefs. Staying up late and stressing over how to decorate the house perfectly or which gifts to buy can ruin the true spirit and meaning of this joy filled time.
~ Mishele Vieira, professional organizer, www.mishelevieira.com
“Don’t forget to pack your workout. Most everyone during the holiday season will put their workouts on hold. This spells disaster. To keep energized and organized keep your workouts on top of the priority list.”
~ Kathy Kaehler, celebrity trainer, Sunday Setup Founder, www.kathykaehler.net
“My best tip to survive the holidays is to do your best and then let it go! I’m the first one to be up all night working on projects, decorating and wrapping and then I get overwhelmed because I have not taken care of myself. The holidays don’t have to be perfect, just be in the moment with your family.”
~ Sofie Sausser, graphic artist, avid recycler and DIYer extraordinaire, www.simplysofie.com
“My biggest tip for a successful holiday season is keep it simple. Everything doesn’t have to be made from scratch and it’s quite alright if you don’t put up EVERY holiday decoration. If you don’t get those cards sent out before the holidays send a Happy New Years card instead in early
January when the chaos has calmed down a bit. Remember the most important thing about the holidays is spending quality time with people you love!”
~ Tera McHugh, business coach, founder of the Association of Women Entrepreneurs, www.teramchugh.com
“My best tip for a successful holiday season is to give yourself permission to say “no.” The holidays easily double the demands placed upon you with to-do’s such as houseguests, shopping, greeting cards, gifting, baking, traveling — just to name a few! It’s easy to feel frustrated or even guilty if you don’t do what you believe is expected of you, no matter if that expectation comes from your family, friends, colleagues, or you. So … you don’t send out Christmas cards this year, will the world stop turning? Instead, send out Happy New Year’s wishes after the hustle and bustle of the season dies down. The bottom line: choose your holiday commitments and activities as carefully and mindfully as you would choose a gift for your mom!
~ Carmen Coker, organizing expert and author, www.CarmenCoker.com.
“While I never quite attain that ‘stress-free holiday’ that I dream of, I’ve learned that there are three keys for a successful season in my home and business. Be Strategic. Simplify. And in the immortal words of Frank Costanza (and the rest of the Seinfeld cast), strive for “Serenity Now!” Instead of an ambitious sit-down dinner extravaganza, I have an open house with simple food or a cookie party. When it comes to decorating, one dazzling centerpiece in a room is better than a million little baubles. And for my business, I strategically block time on my calendar for myself, remember that I have a team of people around me who I can rely on for help. I screen my ever-ringing phone so that I can remain focused on the tasks at hand. And I find my own personal brand of serenity by continually keeping myself in a place of gratitude.”
~ Dawn Mena, professional writer and editor who is good at finding out secrets of those who really rock what they do, www.getcaptivatingcopy.com
Have you ever received an invitation to connect with someone new in Facebook or LinkedIn that you’ve never met before? I have…. lots, in fact. Unfortunately, with a huge percentage of these invitations I’ve noticed one big misstep, easily fixed, that caused me to pause or just move on without accepting the invitation.
The big mistake? Not taking the very important extra step to personalize your invitation.
Let’s take LinkedIn for example. LinkedIn provides a bland, impersonal template message that you can use when inviting someone to connect with you. That’s all well and good – but when you are asking someone to CONNECT with you – to be a part of your network, to share information, referrals, connections and with the intention of building a relationship that will benefit you both – I strongly feel that the person you are reaching out to is deserving of at least a few lines and a bit more personality.
I received five invitations to connect on LinkedIn yesterday – all of them from people I have never met. One of them contained a personal message – explaining that she had heard me speak recently at a local networking event, mentioned mutual interests she felt we shared, and expressed gratitude for making the connection. I immediate accepted and replied with my own message right back. Boom! Pow! A great start to a mutually beneficial relationship. We created a positive connection from the start.
The other invitations were also from people I’ve never met. The message was the generic LinkedIn message, nothing else. They are still sitting in my mailbox; unanswered, waiting for a time when I can do some research to find out if we have mutual friends, topics of interest, etc. Which could take quite a while…
Reaching out to new connections whom you have never met in person before is OK, as far as social media etiquette goes. I do it often myself. There are many reasons why you may want to reach out: mutual friends, shared interests, just read their book, wish to meet and collaborate, saw them on the stage, etc. Just remember, when you invite someone you haven’t met in person yet, take a moment to write a personal note. You’ll be surprised at how many more acceptances you’ll receive – and the positive, beneficial connections you will create.
I use social media quite a bit for my personal life and to support my business. It is a powerful marketing tool, a wonderful relationship-building resource and a great way to reach out and easily connect with people when you’re not able to face-to-face. Instagram is one of the tools I use – I love the “a picture tells a thousand words” ease of use and I find that it’s a great way for me to create a more personal connection with my audience.
However, as a mother, I switch to an entirely different mindset. I have a “tween” daughter who is very social. I have allowed her to use Instagram with the caveat that she must follow the rules I set, absolutely, or all privileges will be withdrawn. I am aware of the horrible bullying stories, the inappropriate content, the sexual and psychological issues that are rampant, even among tweens and younger. However, I wish to allow my daughter to share photos of her softball games, school activities and Halloween costumes with our extended family, spread out across the United States.
Every child is different and you, as their parent and the one who knows them best, must make the final decision if you think that your child has the maturity, control and understanding to use social media. I was on the phone with a close friend today, sharing what I’ve learned to guide her in monitoring her 8th grade daughter’s Instagram usage. She insisted that I needed to share this information with others, so here I am. If you decide to let your child use Instagram, here are the practices and rules I’ve put in effect with my child that has allowed her to be on Instagram, without incident, for a year now.
1. It’s absolutely essential that you set your child’s account to be “private.” This is done from the Account settings mode. Halfway down that page, there is a section that says “Posts are Private” – be sure that the box next to it is checked. By having a private account, no one can see your child’s photos unless they first request and then receive permission to follow your child. I have had final say on each person my daughter allows to follow her. And I have later even unapproved or blocked users whose activity I found to be inappropriate.
2. Blocking: If there is anyone following my daughter that I think should be blocked or not allowed to post on her account for whatever reason, I simply block their access by going to that person’s profile, clicking on the three vertical dots in the upper right hand corner and choosing “Block user.”
3. Last, but not least, I have complete and total access to her account. I check it daily, see what she is posting, what her friends are posting and what they are saying/commenting. I am a daily Instagram user myself, so this is easy for me.
Having these simple rules in effect and making the effort to continually monitor my daughter’s activity has made her use of Instagram a success. She is able to share photos with her grandparents, cousins and relatives who live thousands of miles away. She has fun bonding with her softball teammates and she’s learning good practices early on in life for understanding the rules of safe social media usage. Social media is here to stay, it’s inevitable that our children will be using it at some time. I hope that by being a good example in how I use social media and how I’m teaching her, I’m setting her up for a safe future online.
You have a Facebook page and you’re ready to use it to bring in traffic, increase engagement, and generate leads and sales. Did you know that 90% of people, once they “like” your Facebook page, rarely come back? That means that your job is to content that is not only rich and engaging, but also shows up in your followers’ News Feed (you know, the first thing you see when you open your FaceBook.) Continue reading
Positivity is one of the most important values of my life. Two years ago my business mentor and I mapped out my personal values and made a chart to see how they affected my life and my business. While I always knew I was an optimistic person, it was eye-opening to see that Positivity topped the list. Once I really paid attention, though, it all made sense. The times that I’ve come from a mindset of positivity – whether in my social media, writing for magazines, blogging, ezines or speeches – my business and I literally shined. When I got ‘stuck’ or things just went wrong, that was when I let negativity in the door.
Studies have shown that positive people are more organized, healthier, productive, efficient and make a better first impression. They create a snowball effect of attracting more positive people to them and therefore enjoy more authentic friendships and relationships in business and life.
We can all benefit from the power of positivity. The next time you post to Facebook, e-mail a LinkedIn connection, write a blog post or call someone you met at a networking group, take 30 seconds to clear your mind and connect with your positivity. When you write, speak or act from a positive place, your audience will perceive you in a more attractive, positive light and want to hear more of what you are saying. A win-win situation all around.