Recently my niece friended me on Facebook. My first reaction was, "oh God, I am old."  My second was to immediately fire off an email to my sister and brother-in-law to instruct them on making sure all the privacy settings for my niece's account were completed and that she understood the long term implications of her actions and activities on social media.

These days it is not only important for the generation that is currently using social media networks and platforms, but also for the generation that is about to use them and bring them even more into the mainstream.

This is a topic that I have blogged about on my personal blog because I feel like there are a lot of people out there who are just not thinking about the long term effect and permanence of what they are doing or saying on the internet.  As parents (or savvy Aunties) we need to make sure we groom the newest social media entrants to me mavens and not misfits.

In general, if your children are asking for accounts or profiles, set them up with your children to make sure that the strictest privacy settings are put in place.  Teach them about the permanence of their actions and words, but allow them to have fun and enjoy.

Check your local community college or university, a lot of them are now offering social media for parents seminars to educate you on how to use Facebook, MySpace, etc.

When I was asked to be a part of this project my first thought was, "No way! I am not a millionairess (really I'm not!)" but the publisher Sarah Sprout, said it was book that provided other women (and men!) a dose of business inspiration.  Putting it that way, I said, "why not!" 

In The Millionairess League eBook you'll discover:
• How Social Networking can transform your Business.
• Secrets, Hints and Tips to Online Success.
• Definitions of Empowerment, Inspiration and Business Fulfillment.

The 30 businesswomen (including me!) profiled cover the vibrant spectrum throughout various stages of business development. This ranges from the start-up phase, fueled by excitement, to booming online empires.


It showcases women in various fields of interest such as publishing, share trading, property, iPhone app development, Law of Attraction, community building plus many more!
Explore the world of possibility and inspiration from empowered online entrepreneurs.

I was very proud to be apart of this project and I hope you will find inspiration! 

I am selling it for $15.00.

 A small price to pay to be inspired by their passion, creativity, success and flair for online adventures.

Although there are those who say that Twitter is a good tool for job hunting, the majority of people, including myself, would argue that hands down, the most efficient and effective social media tool for job hunting is LinkedIn.

This tool is not only a fantastic professional networking platform, but also it has a great jobs listing area. So if you have found yourself recently unemployed, fear that you may be soon, or are considering leaving your current job on your fruition, you should have a LinkedIn profile.

Key things to do:

1. Complete your profile. Fill out as much as you possibly can.  Stuck on what to say or how to say it? Use the LinkedIn search tool to find other people with similar background and see how they did theirs! Make sure you create a user-friendly public profile url that you can add to your resume and cover letter.

2. Add connections.  Go through your professional and personal email lists and invite as many people as makes sense to invite. You can save your email contacts into a .csv file (most email programs will do that) and import it into LinkedIn. Or you can enter them manually.  Think of a message that you want to include with the invite. LinkedIn provides a standard invite, but make it more personal by adding more information.

3. Get recommendations. Once you starting getting connections, take a look and see who may be a good candidate for getting a recommendation.  It can be a former boss, colleague, employee, vendor, you name it.  Written recommendations are a thing of the past, LinkedIn profiles are much more effective.  Word of caution, don't send out a whole bunch of requests at once.  Spread them out by requesting a couple a day otherwise LinkedIn will think you are spamming.

4. Join Groups.  Search the groups area for groups in your area of expertise/job experience/interest. You can do a key word search and get a list of groups. Take a look and join ones that you think will be beneficial to you. You will be then be in contact with people within your industry who are sharing resources and discussion topics.  You may find a job connection there. 

5. Answer questions. There are a lot of people within the LinkedIn network who are looking for answers to questions or who are seeking resource information.  Do a search on your area of expertise/job experience/interest and see what types of questions people are asking.  Can you answer any of them? If you can, this is a great way to gain exposure and raise your credibility within your field.  You might also just find someone who may hire you for that expertise.

6. Search Jobs. Finally, LinkedIn has a great jobs search area.  Last year when I was looking for a new full time job, I used a paid service that was supposed to be exclusive.  However 2 of the 3 jobs that I eventually interviewed for I found on LinkedIn (even though they did show up the paid service too). The jobs are good qualified jobs by companies who believe is a good place to find good people.  In addition to the jobs within the LinkedIn network, there is also a consolidation of jobs from engines. Simply click on the tab labeled "The Web" after you search on job titles and you will also see additional jobs from these engines.

By following these steps you will be armed and ready to go!

On the evening of June 12th there was a mad dash to Facebook. The reason? Vanity urls.  Facebook decided to allow users to personalize their Facebook URL (web address) by selecting a unique username. It appears in the location bar of your browser after "http://www.facebook.com/" when you view your profile.  At the same time people who had Fan/Business pages with more than 1000 users could also grab vanity urls for those pages as well.

Those with less than 1000 were out of luck, that is until last night (6/28/09) when Facebook opened up the selection process for Fan/Biz pages with less than 1000, but more than 100.  That is an achievable amount, so start planning.

Firstly, if you have a personal page and you have yet to create a vanity url, go do it!  You might wish you had done in the future. If you have a common name, you may have to play around with different variations.  Next, if you have a Fan/Biz page, you must have at least 100 users. So if you don't have a Page, get one created and get 100 fans. After that, select a unique vanity url for your business and start advertising it whereever you would normally advertise your social media "handles."

That's it, it's simple to do and makes linking to your Facebook pages a snap!

Recently I participated in the Problogger's 31 Days to Build a Better Blog project for my personal blog. It was a very enlightening project that I highly recommend for any blog (either business or personal that is at 6 months old. It is not something that you have to complete in 31 days.  Think of it as 31 lessons to refine/enhance/improve your blog.

The cool thing is that Darren Rowse of Problogger has put together the 31 tasks into a neat notebook which also includes bonus material that is not on his website.

I plan on using this workbook as an audit for my blogs every 6 months and I think it is useful enough for you as well!

Have a website or other online presence but have mainly offline clients? Want to train them to "move" online? Going to an event where you want to leave a physical brand impression that will get people to your website, Facebook group, blog or to follow you on Twitter? Enthusem offers a great solution for bridging your offline and online communications.

With enthusem you can create branded note cards with whatever messaging you want. Inside the card is your copy plus a pick up code to get your attachment.  The attachment can actually be a file - like if you were presenting at a conference and you wanted to offer the slides - or a specific url - you can direct people to a website, a blog, a promotion page, whatever you like.

I have had two experiences with enthusem, both interesting. The first was a card I received from Global Hugs Tour when I checked into my hotel for SOBCon at the beginning of May. It was a nice welcome card that directed me to the enthusem website where I entered a code printed into the card and was directed to a web page that gave highlighted the Global Hugs Tour project.

My second experience was when I received a card from the founder, Steve, after I followed him on Twitter (@enthusem). Instead of a generic DM, I got this card in the mail, which was much more personal and had more impact. It is more personal than a cookie cutter email and it provides a extra brand impression.

It costs $60 to send out 25 cards and $210 to send out 100. There are other amounts to which you can see on their site.

I highly recommend using enthusem as part of your offline and online communication strategy.

I am pleased to announce that Your Online Go To Gal is now EBO Certified.

What is an EBO (Ethical Business Owner) certification? It is the new symbol of ethics and etiquette for entrepreneurs.

If you happen to work in a company that is publically traded on the stock exchange you may have already had Ethics training. It is a requirement for companies that are public.  All employees must complete the training and pass a certification.  In my corporate life, I have taken (and passed) this certification several times. But what about small businesses and private companies who do not have this requirement placed on them? Don't you as a customer want to feel secure that the people that you engage with are practicing ethical business practices? Well now you can with EBO certification.

I have taken and passed the examination and can now proudly display the badge which will let you, my clients (and potential clients), know that I am a conscientious business owner who has taken extra steps to show their commitment to providing the highest standards of interaction with you, the community and the planet. 

Hello there. You have caught me while I am on vacation!  I will be out of the office May 20-31st and will not be posting here.  However, if this is your first visit, there are plenty of articles to read, take a look and see.

In addition, I have scheduled some posts on my other blog Twitter-Go-To-Gal, so when you are done here, head on over there as well!

In marketing there is the classic teachings of the 4 P's, the elements that make up the core activities undertaken by a person or a company. These are: product, pricing, placement, and promotion. These four elements make up the marketing mix and are used to create a marketing plan.

In social media, a communication plan or strategy is still needed. And amongst the social media circles it is nearly universally agreed, the elements of a good social media strategy consist of the 5 C's: conversation, community, collaboration, contribution and commenting. (Just Google "5 C's of social media" and you will see what I mean!)

So let's break it down:

Conversation- as I mentioned before, social media is a two-way method of communication.  Traditional marketing communication is one-way and consumers have gotten pretty good about tuning it out.  Social media is about engaging others in conversation as well as users conversing with each other about you (user-generated content). 

One of the golden rules of conversation is listening. Listen to what the other person is saying, really listen. Don't think about what you are going to say next, that is not really listening. Listen to what people like, want, and need. Only after you understand and digest these will you be able to add value..to contribute.

Contribution: This means adding value, being helpful. The social media universe is very karmic in nature. You will get back ten-fold what you give. Last week I saw this great video from Angela Jia Kim, Co-Founder of Savior Your Success. In it she talks about her rules as well as emphasizing Give-Give-Give-Get.  It is not about "what's in it for me" it is about being a resource and adding value.

Contribute to the conversations going on around you. Every social media vehicle allows for contribution whether that is Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, Blogs, you name it. Whatever you put in, you will get back. Give enough value and you will build a community of fiercely loyal advocates.

Community: You've listened to the conversation and engaged in them with active ears. You have provided value to your users, customers or followers. Now you are building a community. This community of people are your brand advocates, your supporters who are loyal and who promote you or your product through word-of-mouth and other social media methods. 

Do not abuse their trust. Once you have your community continue to engage and stay involved. Continue to be a resource providing tools, ideas, products that will help others fulfill a need. A community is a powerful thing. And opens many opportunities for collaboration. 

Collaboration:  Your advocates are the ones that know you best. They are also part of other circles of influence that you may want to tap into. Collaborate and partner with others to learn more effective methods to communicate and extend your reach. Collaborate with others to broaden your portfolio and gain insights. Ask questions, test ideas, raise awareness.  Working together is always better than working alone and the end result will be more viable.

Commenting:  This is core to all the other C's. Your comments should add something to the conversation. Do not comment just for the sake of commenting. Good commenting raises your credibility, shows your personality, communicates your core values, it is a reflection of you. Be cautious, you cannot take anything back, make sure you really want to commit your words to the webosphere - they are permanent.

Comments are also very karmic. Visit other sites, other platforms and comment where appropriate to contribute to other communities besides your own. The comments you leave will not only help others, but it will also lead new people to you!

Lastly, whatever comments you contribute to the conversation will endear you to the community and encourage future collaboration.
Have you seen those lists of the top 25, 36, 48, even 100 Twitter tools? Do your eyes glaze over and head roll back when you reach 21 and 1/2? Me too!

I decided the best thing to do about that is to take them one at a time. And that's exactly what I am going to do!

I have launched the blog, located at http://www.TwitterGoToGal.com.

Come check it out whenever you like, I will be adding info on tools and tips several times a week.