Archives for 2012

When Social Networking Does Good

I’ve been providing social marketing services for three years now. Yet, one of the things I’ve seen a significant increase in this year has been the ability of social communities to rally together for a good cause. Whether it’s spreading news or raising funds, there is no parallel to how rapid a message can spread when shared over social networks.

In my local area, since August, lost dogs have been found, runaway children have been restored to their families, news of a long-time family friend’s passing quickly spread, a kidnapped child was returned safely to his guardians, and an online community formed to support two families whose lives were devastated by a home gas explosion.

When the tragic shootings took place in Sandy Hook (a neighboring community to where I live) on Dec. 14th, 2012, news spread like wildfire over the social networks. As always, I found Twitter to be the best source of news. Facebook couldn’t keep up with or spread the information quickly enough because of its closed nature. But with a few appropriately placed hashtags, I could find out everything I wanted to know as it was unfolding; actually, more than I wanted to know since my own children’s schools were also on lock-down until the situation was under control.
eMarketing Association logo
What I didn’t know until today was that the very next day, a colleague of mine suffered a tragedy in his own family. Robert Fleming is CEO of the eMarketing Association, an organization whose conferences I have spoken at over the past couple of years. It’s related LinkedIn group is the 4th largest group on that network, out of over 1.5 million groups!

On Dec. 15th, his 12-year-old daughter suffered an illness and was paralyzed from the neck down. Within 5 hours’ time, she went from being perfectly healthy to being completely paralyzed, unable to eat, speak or breathe on her own. She still remains in the ICU at this time. But is in good spirits. A website to chart her progress will be up and running in another day or two at rhanasjourney.com.

While the information I have is limited and the family deserves its right to privacy as it deals with these difficult circumstances, Robert is hoping to see good come out of this circumstance regardless. On LinkedIn today, he shared an announcement with the eMarketing Association Network group.

100% of all profits from conference registrations, certifications, sponsorships, memberships and ecourses will be contributed to a fund in [his daughter’s] name, for her care, now through the end of January.

With this offer, you’ll be able to hone your eMarketing skills as you prepare for 2013, and know that you are helping a little girl heal at the same time. So, why not take a moment and make an investment in both her and yourself. See what the eMarketing Association has to offer today. And, as Robert finished his announcement, “Our best wishes to you for a fantastic new year.”

Has Self-Publishing Come of Age?

Many people think of self-publishing as a new phenomenon, being resorted to by frustrated authors who haven’t been able to land a contract with a traditional publisher. However, as I point out in my eBook, autographed paperback, self-publishing is not just for unknown writers and it’s not something new.

Self-publishing is a viable option for many, and presents a variety of new marketing and publishing options that writers didn’t have access to before. While you’ll forgo the advance that traditional publishers may give you, you’ll see a greater share of the royalties. Instead of a 10-15% advance (and potentially nothing more after that), you’ll see an on-going 30-70% of royalties from a self-published book.

But, keep in mind, that as a self-publisher, you are responsible for everything related to the book. That includes, at a minimum, cover design, editing, formatting, layout, proofing, publishing, marketing and publicity.

On December 9, 2012, CBS Sunday Morning ran the following video segment about self-publishing.

Given how accessible self-publishing options are these days, how do you decide which way to go or if you should publish at all?

  1. If you want a traditional publisher, know your reasons why. I was talking about this with a friend recently who reminded me that no one ever makes a purchasing decision for a book based on who published it. So, why do you want to use a traditional publisher? You may have a very good reason, but be clear about what it is.
  2. If you are considering self-publishing, do you have what it takes to manage all the pieces that go into it? In other words, are you up for managing a large project? You’re going to have to coordinate a variety of skill-sets or provide the talent yourself in order to put out a quality book. Self-publishing is more than just writing the book and uploading it to a distribution site. There is an art to cover design that makes a book attractive to a prospective reader. And, once the book is open, you want to ensure that typos and grammatical errors don’t detract from the reader’s experience. Then, there’s ensuring that people even know the book exists. Your friends and family are only going to buy so many copies. So, how else will you get the word out about it?
  3. If you are self-publishing in the hopes of picking up a traditional publisher later, have you worked out a plan that ensures you’ll sell a minimum of 10,000 copies in the first year? The ISBN of a book enables publishers to see the sales history of a book, which they consider as part of their purchasing decisions. If you self-publish and sell only a few copies, you have made your journey to traditional publishing that much more difficult because you have, in essence, proven that you don’t have a viable audience.
  4. Whether self-publishing or going with a traditional publisher, have you spent the necessary time to build your platform (the audience who is aware of you and your work)? Major publishers want to see that you have a ready-made audience. One industry expert shared a few quick gauges she uses for this. Do you have a Klout score of 70 or higher, an available mailing list of 20,000 or more (yours or someone else’s), and at least 20 speaking engagements a year at $5K or more per engagement (or that you are already a celebrity in some other way)? If you don’t have these things, consider them as benchmarks you want to achieve as you build your audience. The bigger the platform you have, the greater success you’ll realize with your self-published material.

The ready availability of self-publishing options is attractive to many, and it’s certainly easier to get your material out there than pursuing a major publisher. But before you take the leap, recognize that self-publishing is a business, not an outlet. It’s not a magic wand to fame and fortune.

Make sure that you have laid out a solid plan to achieve your goals and have the necessary resources of time, money, connections (it doesn’t have to be costly) to implement the plan. If you don’t, you’ll be disappointed with the results.

If you need help getting started with a plan, consider buying a copy of The Plan that Launched a Thousand Books in either .pdf or Kindle format. It will get you pointed in the right direction.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve encountered in self-publishing your books?

Getting Swept Away by Holiday Madness?

Rich is not how much you haveI wrote the following note to my best friend recently, but I wanted to share it with you too, especially at this time of year. I don’t know about you, but I’m personally guilty of trying to cram too much into too little time and space. What’s really important to me though, and what I’m trying to convey through this flurry of activity and spending, is my love for the people I hold dearest. So, why do I make it so complicated?

Hmm… I’m sitting on the plane, trying to work on my intro presentation for Thursday. I’m pulling together some material that I think is pretty good. If nothing else, it’ll be entertaining while giving them a sense of who I am and what I do…

When I got to the airport and checked in, my ticket said “seat requested.” I later learned that meant that I didn’t actually have a seat on the plane, although I was confirmed to be on it. I reminded the nice lady at the gate of my request for an aisle seat, and she said she’d see what she could do. Then she cheerily handed me my new boarding pass and sent me on my way. When I saw seat 21A, I thought to myself, “that’s not an aisle seat!” But, since she hadn’t said anything, I thought maybe, somehow, it possibly could be?

As I boarded the plane, it became quickly apparent that I had a window seat. (Ugh!) The two seats next to me stayed empty for quite awhile, even as the flight crew did their best to herd everyone on the plane like cattle and get them situated as quickly as possible. I began to hope that maybe the seats were free, or at the very least that when the people did come, perhaps one of them preferred the window.

When they did finally arrive, I said absolutely nothing, grateful that I had a seat and could move freely about as I chose. The wife in the couple is ill. I don’t know if it’s MS or ALS or what, but she’s having a tough time of things, and she needs the ability to get to the lavatory as quickly as she’s able when needed. Her meds are rough on her, but her husband takes very good care of her.

Then, he decided to do the same for me, saying it makes him feel useful. 🙂 When I opened the tray to put my computer on it, it had the remnants of someone else’s meal on it. So, he cleaned it for me while I held the laptop, which I’d already gotten out and had nowhere to go with. He was also watching over my shoulder as I worked on my presentation, commenting on what he likes. When drinks were served, he situated mine on his tray since mine was occupied with the laptop.

They both settled in for a nap about 45 minutes ago. Hands tightly clasped together, arms looped. Her head on his shoulder. She periodically wakes up and runs her hand over his, feeling his chest, his heart beat, his cheek, his forearm and back to reach for his hand. Such tenderness and love. I’m ashamed of having pitied her. She is richly blessed…

As much as I’m crammed in between the window and his elbow with no room to move (and pitying sardines), I’m touched by the scene unfolding next to me and, admittedly, envious. I’m reminded of a sign I have in my office at home. It says “Rich isn’t how much you have, or where you are going, or even what you are. Rich is who you have beside you.” 

Thanks for being in my life. It certainly feels much richer because of you… Your friendship enlivens my world. Thanks for stimulating conversations, a listening ear, the freedom to be silly and all of your support. It’s special to me.

Don’t let the busyness of the season sweep you away, when what’s really important is those who stand beside you.

How are you taking time to slow down?

Our First Ever Cyber Monday Sale!

autographed paperbackI hope you’ll forgive this indulgence since I rarely use my blog for self-promotion. My goal is always to provide you with useful, actionable information to accomplish your goals online.

Even though I’m promoting my own product here, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

We’re having our first ever Cyber Monday sale. All electronic versions of The Plan that Launched a Thousand Books are 20% off today only.

It will revert back to its normal price at 9pm ET tonight.

If you’ve been thinking about getting your own copy of this do-it-yourself guide to marketing your book online (and building your platform at the same time), now’s the time!

autographed paperback

Enjoy these reviews and find others like them on Amazon.

Amazon Reviews for "The Plan that Launched a Thousand Books"

What Are You Thankful For?

Happy Thanksgiving from Aleweb Social MarketingIt’s Thanksgiving Eve, and my social newsfeeds are filled with people sharing what they are most thankful for. As I look back at where I was a year ago and contemplate all that has happened since, I find myself overwhelmed with gratitude.

This time last year, I was functioning under the crushing weight of grief that comes from losing a loved one. My fiance, Frank, had died just a few weeks earlier, and I was still trying to figure out how to get out of bed in the morning and having to remind myself to breathe whenever fresh waves of grief came crashing in.

They say that, in order to appreciate light, there must be dark; and to know good, evil must exist. I’ve learned that the same is true for joy. To know true happiness, not just contentment, but unmitigated joy, one must also be familiar with sorrow and grief.

Last year at this time, my life had shut down. I went through the motions, making Thanksgiving dinner, but soundlessly crying throughout the meal as I sat with my family; feeling fake as I tried to live a life I had no interest in participating in.

Reflecting on where I was then to where I am now is like seeing the difference between night and day. There are no similarities.

Toward the end of December, I realized that I couldn’t keep going on that way. I’d gotten through Thanksgiving, Frank’s birthday, my daughter’s birthday and Christmas, but just barely. I knew something needed to shift, and that the way I was living my life was not the way he would want me to be.

I gave myself until the end of the year, deciding that on January 1st, I would pick myself back up and begin again. It wasn’t a New Year’s resolution. It was simply a new start.

I had no idea what that would look like, but I knew it was essential. Frank had died. I had not. The one thing I would not do was waste my life. I would make however many days I had left count for something. I had no idea what that might be, but I knew it was within me. With Jeremiah 29:11 ringing in my ears, I began looking for God’s plan and purpose for me, asking Him to reveal it to me.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

One thing was clear to me going into my relationship with Frank. If I wanted a healthy and genuine relationship, I would have to keep the walls down. I’d spent most of my life erecting walls to keep the hurt, pain, disappointment and anger out. But those same walls blocked joy, peace, excitement and connection from coming in.

When Frank died, I didn’t have the strength to erect walls again. While their lack made me vulnerable to the grief I felt, it also presented me with the experiences I wanted most in life.

As I ventured into 2012 without him, I had no idea that this would be my Year Without Walls. But allowing those walls to remain down has allowed me to tap into genuine authenticity, not just in myself, but in allowing myself to remain open to others.

It has also enabled me to listen for other people’s stories more. My life became so much more real to me as I experienced such extremes of emotion that it reminded me of a passion I’ve always had. I love other people’s stories. Whether they are presented in a movie, a book, at a networking meeting, or over coffee, I love to learn what others are passionate about, what makes them unique, and to watch as their story continues to unfold.

So, what am I thankful for this year? I’m thankful for loving deeply, for my friends, family, and friends who are like family, for all the new people I met this year, and for the accomplishments of this past year as well as the new opportunities that lie ahead. And I’m thankful for having someone to share it all with.

The connections, relationships and even partnerships that I have been blessed with this year have been a direct result of living with myself authentically, accepting and acknowledging my grief, but granting myself permission to live again. The result has been a more beautiful, rich and connected life than I ever had before, and for that, I’m extremely thankful.

What are you thankful for? I’d love to hear your story.

Book Review: The Apple in the Orchard by Sonia DiMaulo

The Apple in the Orchard by Sonia DiMauloThe Apple in the Orchard  by Sonia DiMaulo is an illustrated storybook about finding the courage to emerge as a leader. I hesitate to call this a children’s book, even though many who pick it up might think of it that way. The lessons in this book are suitable for children and adults alike, though.

The story itself is about Brave Apple, who learns the importance of living with purpose. She learns to question the status quo and look beyond what’s familiar to find her place in the world.

Brave Apple grows on Pale Green, a tree on the outskirts of the Orchard that is pale and produces sickly fruit because of his disconnect from Red Harvest, the largest, strongest and healthiest tree in the Orchard.

Red Harvest nurtures the relationships among the trees in the Orchard and cultivates collaboration as they grow and produce fruit. Since Pale Green is so far from the center of the Orchard, he misses the messages of Red Harvest. As a result, Pale Green believes that he is separate and apart from the rest of the Orchard. Believing that he is completely independent, Pale Green struggles without the support and connection of the rest of the Orchard.

As Brave Apple surveys the Orchard from the branches of Pale Green, she can see Red Harvest’s glow, but not feel it. A desire to connect with Red Harvest overwhelms her. She battles fear and uncertainty as she does what no one else has ever done. She leaves the safety of her branch, and begins her pilgrimage to the center of the Orchard. Her desire to learn is overwhelming.

Brave Apple’s story is an allegory of every leader’s journey. There comes a time when we question the things we’ve always been told. Our desire to learn forces us to seek out mentors and other leaders who can help us discover the secrets to achieving our passions and realizing our goals.

It’s a wonderful story to share with children, to show them that conformity is not always the best way. It encourages the reader, showing that curiosity and a desire to learn are noble qualities.

For adults, the story is equally appealing, and will resonate with many readers as they work to become emerging leaders themselves.

But don’t just take my word for it! This story has also been endorsed by the likes of Ken Blanchard, Mike Henry Sr, Roy Saunderson, and S. Max Brown; some pretty heavy hitters in the leadership arena.

Ken Blanchard has this to say about The Apple in the Orchard:

The Apple in the Orchard by Sonia Di Maulo is a lovely little book with a profound message: To pursue greatness, aspiring leaders sometimes must dare to leave the familiar. Opportunities for growth and learning are all around you—so take the leap, and grow!

To get your copy of The Apple in the Orchard, click here.

Disclaimer: A review copy of this book was provided to me by the author. No further compensation was made or promised. Additionally, no affiliate links were used in this post.

An Interview with Jeff Goins, author of “Wrecked”

Today’s post features an interview with author, Jeff Goins. Tara Alemany, owner of Aleweb Social Marketing, had the opportunity to ask Jeff a few questions recently as part of his virtual tour for his new book, Wrecked, which came out in August 2012.

Jeff Goins, author of Wrecked, interviewed on alewebsocial.comJeff is a writer who lives outside of Nashville with his wife, son, and pup. He works for Adventures in Missions and blogs at goinswriter.com.

When you started your blog in 2010, you had some burning questions about making a living as a writer that you were trying to answer for yourself. (To see Jeff’s questions, click here.) With the recent publication and success of Wrecked, it looks like you found the answers. I’d love it if you could share part of that journey with my readers because it’s a trip they’d all like to take too!

[Read more…]

Why Would I Guest Blog?

Why Would I Guest Blog? - Aleweb Social MarketingI was asked a simple question recently.

Do you guest blog or have guest bloggers on your site?

Although my answer was rather lengthy, I want to cover the gist of it here with you. The short answer is: “Yes. I guest blog and have guest bloggers on my site. And so should you.”

If that’s all you wanted to know, you’re free to go read something else now. But if you’d like a more in-depth explanation, stick around, because here it comes.

I believe in guest blog­ging, as well as being a con­tribut­ing blog­ger because I can’t expect that every­one is going to come to my site all the time to learn about my brand. As much as I love bringing traf­fic here, I’m not a traf­fic con­duc­tor, I’m an infor­ma­tion pur­veyor.

As such, I have to be will­ing to go where my tar­get audi­ence is (on social net­works, other blogs, and online com­mu­ni­ties) and par­tic­i­pate. Oth­er­wise, it’s sim­ply hubris to expect every­one to come to me for the infor­ma­tion I feel like sharing.

So, I guest blog when invited and the audi­ence is rel­e­vant. I invite guest blog­gers on a selec­tive basis, need­ing to know that they’ll pro­vide qual­ity con­tent of inter­est to my read­ers.

My blog is syn­di­cated to other blog net­works (like Business2Community, All­Top and oth­ers), and I am a con­tribut­ing author to the Lead Change Group’s blog that is related to a sec­ondary inter­est of mine, leadership.

All of these build authen­tic­ity for my brand, mak­ing me a val­ued and trusted resource for those that do decide to fol­low me.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. Would you?

What are your thoughts about guest blogging? Do you like it when someone guest blogs on a site you follow? Do you write guest blogs yourself?

I’m Grateful for You

The Character-Based Leader - Tara Alemany http://alewebsocial.com

The Character-Based Leader is available on Amazon and on our website. For a copy autographed by me, purchase the book here.

This may seem a bit unusual for my typical posts, but indulge me for a bit if you will. It’s been an unusual past few days for me, and the things I was reminded of through them may resonate with you as well. If you can learn anything from my experiences, even better!

Last week, I was pleased to participate in a book launch that was huge and very personal for me. I had co-authored a book with 20 other authors called The Character-Based Leader: Instigating a Leadership Revolution… One Person at a Time. This book is incredible; unusual from any other book I’ve ever read because it is the collective vision of multiple authors all writing in a single voice, sharing the same message, each in their own unique way. Character counts in leadership, we say. And leadership today is sorely lacking in good character, but we each have it within ourselves to make a difference.

That’s not all that makes the book unique though. This collaboration was 100% virtual. Although I have come to know and love many of my co-authors through social networks, e-mail, video chats and phone calls, I have not met a single one of them in real life yet. Tomorrow, I will meet the first when Will Lukang joins me for a book signing event.

I tackled two distinct but related subjects in The Character-Based Leader, intentionality and perseverance. I wrote about how the choices we make reflect who we are in life. If you want to live an impactful life, you have to live purposefully. And I shared about how purpose leads to vision, which is one of the four key elements to perseverance. Without vision, there’s no justification to persevere.

As the book was launching, I told my mother that I had a feeling that when I looked back at the end of my days, this book was going to be one of the accomplishments I was most proud of. Little did I think at that time that my days might be numbered on one hand. [Read more…]

How to Turn a Facebook Profile into a Page

I had an interesting question come up from a prospective client the other day. For the first time in a long time, I was stumped! An hour later, with lots of research and exploration behind me, I thought I’d share an interesting feature that Facebook added in March 2011. It was new to me!

Say you have a Facebook profile. You’ve got lots of “friends,” but you don’t know most of them. They’ve simply connected with you because you’re a public persona and they want to get to know you better. I know this happens all the time with public figures.

You joined Facebook for the same reason as everyone else; to keep in touch with family and friends. But then these friend requests started pouring in. Like a deer caught in the headlights, you didn’t know what to do. So you accepted the request or ignored it hoping that it would go away. But then in a moment of weakness, you gave in and accepted the backlog of requests just so that you wouldn’t feel guilty anymore. Right?

Now, your newsfeed is flooded with information that you really aren’t interested in, and it’s making it harder to see those gems from your friends and family that you really do care about. You could filter it, as I demonstrate in one of my YouTube videos, but who has the time to go through so many friends and put them in lists?

Did you know that you can convert your Facebook profile into a Facebook page? What? You didn’t? Neither did I!

Here’s the deal. When you migrate a profile to a page:

  • You do lose the old profile. You have to create a new profile for your personal use using a different e-mail address than your old profile. But if the idea is to clean up the profile, starting with a clean slate isn’t a bad thing!
  • Only your profile pictures and friends/subscribers are transferred over to the page. So, backup your content if you have any interest in saving it. It won’t be accessible later. Note: Depending on the number of friends you have, it can take a few hours for all the friends and subscribers to appear as “likes” on the new page. So, don’t worry if they’re not all there right away.
  • Other than the new likes and a profile picture, your new page is blank. Once again, not a bad issue. Just start creating content. At least you’ll be off to a great start with the following.
  • If your profile is the admin for any groups or apps, assign new admins before you migrate. The page will remain an admin for any pages you’re an admin for, but better safe than sorry; I’d add other admins for pages as well.
  • If you have a username specified for your profile (otherwise known as a “vanity URL”), it will be applied to the new page instead. The username for  my page is “AlewebSocial.” That gives me a vanity URL of http://www.facebook.com/AlewebSocial. Facebook doesn’t allow you to change the username of a page with more than 200 “likes,” so depending on how many people are friends, you may not be able to update the username of the page.
  • From what I can piece together, the name of the new page (the page title) is based on the profile name. Therefore, Joe Schmoe’s profile will be displayed as “Joe Schmoe” for the page title. At least that’s my guess. So, if you want a different title, change your profile name before you update the account. The first name could be “Joe Schmoe’s” and the last name “Awesome New Facebook Page.” You get the idea. I have to admit, I have not tried this out yet, but my guess is that it would work. Otherwise, to change a page title, you have to put in a special request with Facebook, and they don’t make it easy.
  • The newsfeed of your new page will be blank because you haven’t “liked” any other pages yet.
  • Some people may be put off by becoming a fan when they thought they were your friend (think old high school classmates, family members, etc.). So, anticipate a drop-off in “likes” soon after the conversion.

Making a page is definitely the right answer, even for personal brands. You need to be in conformance with Facebook’s terms of agreement, otherwise, you risk them shutting your account down.

But there are other reasons for it too. For instance, Google indexes pages, but not profiles. In addition, pages allow much more functionality than profiles do, including adding apps for a mailing list, creating events, etc.

I hope this helps! Since I haven’t had anyone volunteer yet for me to convert their profile, I’ll share someone else’s video of the process for you to see what it looks like.

If you decide that you want to go ahead and try it yourself, just sign into your Facebook profile and go to https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php?migrate to get started.

So, what do you think? Is it time to convert your Facebook profile to a page? Let us know below if you’re daring enough to do it!  😀