Notes on social media for the Austin Women’s Conference

1 Nov

I was asked to be a part of a panel on social media titled, “@you: Making Social Media Work for You and Your Business,” for the Austin Women’s Conference, which my employer the Statesman is hosting.

So a few days ago, I started to do some research to solidify some points I wanted to make and compiled my notes into a Google doc. It quickly became a dissertation. OK, not really, but it was a lot more information than I expected to write about.

I decided it would be helpful to just go ahead and post my notes on some of the topics we plan to discuss, particularly since we may not hit all of them in the time we’re allotted. I’m actually really glad I did this since I feel like I’ve had writer’s block for awhile. This takes care of that.

Hope you find it helpful. Feedback is always appreciated.

Women’s issues regarding social media. Stats/studies showing women’s use of social media.

“Among Internet users, social networking sites are most popular with women and young adults under age 30. Young adult women ages 18-29 are the power users of social networking; fully 89% of those who are online use the sites overall and 69% do so on an average day.

As of May 2011, nearly seven in ten online women are users of social networking sites (69%), compared with six in ten online men (60%). Women are also more active in their use of these sites, with almost half of female internet users using social networking sites on a typical day (48%), compared with 38% of male internet users.”

–  Pew Internet & American Life Project, August 2011

The line between personal and professional.

Most of the time, this seems to be a pretty black and white area. Or you would think. Ultimately, it’s dependent on your reason for creating a profile on a social media site. If you include in your bio that you work for or own a particular business, remember that this is also a reflection of not just you, but the place you represent.

  • When it comes to posting, ask yourself if you would say or share those same thoughts aloud at work or to your boss.
  • Think before you post photos and avatars online. It should be relevant, but it can also be fun. However, maybe we don’t need to see how many drinks you’ve had at happy hour.
  • Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Sometimes, putting yourself out there is good and you can get a lot of support.

What should you avoid or not do on social media.

There are no hard and fast rules on what you should and shouldn’t do on social media, well, aside from those that violate a site’s terms of service. But here are some basic guidelines that help:

  • Don’t be a link feed.
  • Don’t be negative.
  • Don’t avoid responding to questions and comments.
  • Don’t overshare on personal information.
  • Don’t burn bridges online. Information spreads quickly on the web, and your reputation stays online forever in some shape or form. This in turn could make real-world meetings awkward or difficult.

How do you have time to do all of this social media stuff? Specific tools, including those for measuring effectiveness/reach.

Just make time for it. It takes time to build a community and it won’t happen overnight. Find people you enjoy learning from online and work at it. If you are passionate about a particular topic, it won’t feel like work.

  • You should have a smartphone with a good data plan.
  • Create a blog. Easy-to-use platforms like WordPress, Blogger, Posterous and even Tumblr allow you to quickly publish editorial content with rich multimedia.
  • Push your content to social while you are waiting in line for coffee, a break between projects, or set a schedule for yourself, if that helps.
  • I go between Tweetdeck on my desktop and the Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram apps on my iPhone.
  • Use to track how many clicks stories/posts receive. Lots of social media tracking applications and software out there. Hootsuite, Wildfire, Spredfast, Hubspot are just some examples.

Social media beyond marketing or business. Spirituality, activism, education, personal relationships.

  • I use social media not just as a way to connect with other professionals, but to stay connected with friends and family all over the world/country.
  • As an avid runner, I stay connected with other athletes and share information on training and races. We provide support for one another and have had real-life meetings.

Social media/personal branding to find a job.

The first step to utilizing social media as a personal branding tool is to identify who you are and how you want to present yourself to the world. Once you’ve done that, get a cohesive identity started online. This may mean the following:

  • Getting a website domain of your ‘brand.’ Your brand may be your name or some unique quality that exemplifies what it is you do.
  • Use this ‘brand’ across all the platforms you choose to utilize.
  • Decide how you want to ‘speak’ to the world. Are you a good writer? Consider a blog. Are you better on camera? Use YouTube.
  • Share what you post through Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or any other site you choose to use. Base your decision on which site(s) to use by asking yourself where your audience is. Where are people networking about journalism, running, knitting or whatever it is you want to focus on?
  • Connect with people and companies in the industry you want to be in. If your dream is to work at Company X, connect with the people who work there online. Create an online relationship and look for ways to make an offline meeting.

Social media success stories.

There are plenty of examples of people who have been successful with social media.

Gary Vaynerchuk, who began working at his family’s wine store, began Wine Library TV, where he posted video wine reviews. He attracted a huge following and continues his success with several wine sites and has written two books detailing his success with social media.

Here’s a great article from Mashable on five businesses that were successful in connecting with consumers through social media.
Idea Paint – “At the end of the day, social media is a powerful sales tool.”

  • They can answer customers questions.
  • Lead customers to landing pages on their site that answer questions, lead to potential sales.
  • Gives the company a chance to “just be social.”

Role of social media in independent/local/women-owned businesses.

Austin is extremely connected and tech-savvy city. We have a sizeable tech sector and lots of young people who know how to use social media and use it actively. Local businesses are no exception. Many are highly engaged with their customers and community.

Austin Dirty Dog
Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop
Austin Java
Toy Joy

Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, Yelp…they are well aware of all these platforms and how they can help or hurt a business. They answer questions, post specials, post fun information, and are interested in what’s happening in the community. Links to social accounts are on their websites as well.

Building community and how to be a more informed consumer.

Building a community online takes time and work.

  • Connect with others who interested in the same topic, hobby or business.
  • Ask questions and communicate back and forth.

One Response to “Notes on social media for the Austin Women’s Conference”

  1. Andy from HootSuite November 2, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    Hi Maira,

    Thanks for sharing this great article! We’re happy to see you mention HootSuite. The dashboard is loaded with features and has a built-in link shortener with analytics. You can choose between,,, and

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