So, you bought an iPad

First things first, congratulations!! If you were the least bit hesitant to buy your iPad, you’ll be proselytizing before you know it!

Now that you’ve bought the cool-aid, you need two accessories that do not come with your iPad. You need a cover and a stylus. I know, I know, Steve thinks you can do everything with your hands and fingers. This is technically correct, but frankly, some things are just easier to do with a stylus. I’ve tried a couple of cases and odds are you’ll like some things about your first case, see another and trade up. your first case MUST do two things. It MUST protect the corners of your iPad because you will drop it. Second, it MUST have adjustable viewing positions. I’m currently using a Marware case and am very happy with it.

Next, you need to load it up with apps. I’m going to focus on apps for the business user and throw in a few fun to have apps, because we can’t work all the time. New lists come out all the time with the top ten, or five must have apps. They are great, read them, then download the apps you like. Read the reviews, especially if you are paying for the app, user reviews rarely lead you astray.

1. Dropbox
2. Twitter
3. Friendly for Facebook
4. Goodreader (around $2)
5. Dragon Dictation (on your iPhone too – great for creating texts or emails when you’re not at your desk)
6. TED (when you need a little inspiration)
7. Words with Friends
8. Wunderlist
9. The Weather Channel
10. Evernote
11. Flipboard (if you tweet, post on Facebook and follow any rss feeds)
12. News app (pick your poison: NYT, USA Today, CNN, BBC, NBC, CBS)
13. Early Edition (RSS reader $5)
14. Zinio (subscribe to magazines)
15. E-book reader (iBooks & Kindle)
16. Penultimate (Allows you to take notes by writing, then email pages or entire notebooks in PDF format. Also great for sketches!)

Several of these apps have corresponding apps or software that syncs your information between your computer, smartphone, iPad and the cloud.

Always try the free version, if there is one, prior to shelling out the money. It may be a great app for someone else, but not you.

These will give you a solid foundation of business apps and most of them are free or have a free version, unless I listed a price. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, let us know in the comments what you think!

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Blogging for Bucks

Social Media Charlotte hosts monthly breakfast for those in the social media world to learn and share ideas. The most recent topic was Blogger Outreach. They formed a panel with two business who reach out to bloggers and two bloggers. The panelists were candid and provided great personal experience to the audience.

Our three take ways from the event were: (1) blogger outreach is still an evolving practice (2) bloggers want respect and (3) ethics are a hot topic.

Blogger Outreach:

Companies who want to reach out to bloggers for content creation, mention and buzz should do their home work. Search the blogosphere and see who’s writing about your business or topics related to your business.

  • Is the blogger creating new content or simply regurgitating your companies press release?
  • What is their following like?
  • What are they saying in their overall online presence? On twitter? On Facebook?

The two companies featured this month were Discovery Place, a non-profit where science is brought to life through interactive exhibits and explosive experiments, and Carolina Pad, which sells school, office and arts and crafts products. Both are in Charlotte, NC and neither of them pay for blog posts.

Bloggers want respect:

People who spend 60 hours a week on their blog, like Brittany, value their time and expertise. They do more than post cute pictures of their kids, they are actively engaged in the community they have created online. Their reach extends beyond their blog into the real world where they host meet ups and attend conferences like Lisa. They want to be taken seriously and in many cases compensated for their efforts.

Discovery Place treats bloggers with respect by inviting them to events with the press while Carolina Pad provides them with the opportunity to be “in the know” about an upcoming product release.

Ethics is a hot topic:

Are the bloggers swag whores? (Thank you Lisa, for your candor!!) Are they entering contests for free gift card give aways? Do they disclose receiving compensation or that a post is sponsored? Bloggers that are simply entering contests and giveaways are NOT brand advocates, they just want free stuff. This has a very short term impact for your company.

Being paid to blog is perfectly legit, both bloggers who do recieve compensation, stressed disclosure.  Lisa, who blogs on behalf of several brands and even uses a male pseudonym to blog about technology stressed that she declares all giveaways, trips, etc. as compensation on her taxes. [As a side note, sexism is still rampant – her pay increased when she switched to a male pseudonym for her tech blog.] Every blogger decides for themselves when it is appropriate to disclose their compensation. I was surprised at the conversation around the ethics of blogging and think it bears much more conversation and consideration.

In Summary:

Reach out to relevant bloggers with personalized content, respect the contributions bloggers are making to your enterprise and be authentic.

Follow these great bloggers on Twitter: @lbstewart @lisa_frame @melissalamkin and @mommywords

Do you blog? Are you a brand advocate? Tell us in the comments below!


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LinkedIn & Facebook: Practical Uses for Small Businesses

Please share!

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Date Set for April #CLTweetup!

Will you be there?  We will!

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Social Media Management Services

We are here to help the small business owner, the entrepreneur, the independent professional who needs to market their services and wants to add social media marketing to their efforts but doesn’t really get and doesn’t really want to learn about it!

We love social media, think it’s great fun and a very effective tool to help you grow your business. There are a lot of sites out there that will set up your online accounts or will teach you “how” to participate in social media. What we’ve found is that after the accounts are set up and the lesson is over, the business owner is a bit perplexed with what to do next. They may make a few efforts to post to their facebook page and may be even tweet for a week or so but then it falls off their radar.

Participating in social media is a little like exercise.  It’s better to do a little each day than running a marathon once a month.  You’ll get better results. And, like exercise, it’s not always something you want to do, even though you know it’s good for you!  Think of us as your personal coach. We can do as much or as little as your budget allows.

Please contact us if you’d like to discuss our services. You can also visit our website to see our pricing structure.

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A way to manage your Twitter stream

So many people get overwhelmed when they think about their twitter stream and how in the world are they possibly going to read all of those tweets – relax! No need to be overwhelmed! You can use lists on twitter to effectively manage your twitter stream. Here’s how to do it.

  • Go to, login.
  • Under the white “what’s happening” box, you’ll see 5 tabs, the 5th is “lists”
  • Click on lists
  • A drop down menu will appear with two options.  Click on “create a list.”
  • Give the list a name, “Industry Tweeple”
  • Write a brief description, “these are people who are in my industry and tweet about it.” This description will remind you what the list is about.
  • Decide whether the list will be “public” or “private” and click the appropriate radio button.
  • Click the SAVE button.
  • In the new screen that appears, you can enter the name of the twitter account you’d like to add to the list.
  • You can also add people from your “followers” by clicking on followers.
  • Next to each person you are following is a green button with a checkmark saying following, to the right of that is a square grey button, click it.
  • Select the list you’d like to add that person to and you’re done!
  • Repeat to add multiple lists.

Lists are a very handy way to manage your twitter stream.  Once created, you can log into your twitter account and sort the stream by list.  Enjoy!

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Handy Tools

Here are some great websites for managing your social media accounts:

Both of these sites have free versions and paid versions, depending on what services you decide to use.

If you’re on a mac, download Tweetie from the App Store. It’s a clean, easy way to view your twitter stream, mentions, direct messages and manage lists.  What are lists you ask? Next post!

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Social Media 101

Presented this morning to the NC Business Builders group.

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How do I tweet?

This is a question we get from clients ALL the time!  While we manage their social accounts, many clients want to “watch” their tweets and some even want to try that “twitter thing” on their own.

There are several ways to tweet, we’ll address two here. One, from your computer and two, from your smartphone.

ONE – You can tweet through  Click here and login to your account. Once you are logged in, type your message in the white box under the “What’s happening now?” text. When you’ve finished typing your message, click the “Tweet” button.

TWO – You can tweet through your smartphone.  No matter which smartphone you are using, we recommend the official Twitter App.  If you’re using an Android phone, click here to download it.  If you’re using an iPhone, click here to download. Once you’ve downloaded the app, launch it by tapping the icon.  It will prompt you to set up your account. All you need to do is enter your twitter name and password, then you’re off to the races! [Clients, please email us if you do not have your password.]

No matter how you are tweeting, a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, “Will ANYONE else care?”  If the answer is no, try again!  Try not to be dull, try to be interesting, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself, remember to have fun!

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A benefit of twitter

Charlotte, NC has a great twitter community, not only online, but offline.  This group has come to be known as #CLTweetup and is managed by a group of volunteers, lead by @cara.  Every month or two, the group has a tweetup and gets together in person to deep the relationships that began online.  The most recent tweet up was held at Dilworth Billards, we got coverage from Fox New Rising @FOXNewsRising, a local morning show.  February CLTweetUp

In December, the tweetup sponsored a charity.  The response was so great that they selected a charity for February’s tweet up and sponsored A Childs Place.

#CLTweetup is one of many groups that has organized online and moved offline.

Follow the people mentioned in this post on Twitter: @FOXNewsRising, @dilbillards, @cara, @ACPCharlotte

Have you started a relationship online through Twitter, blogging or Facebook and met up offline, IRL as they say?

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