How Being an Influencer is Like Riding a Bike

Cyclists.

When you read that word, what’s your first reaction? You may be very “meh” about it but, if you’re from Colorado like I am, cyclists conjure up any number of varying responses from both sides.

“They’re so reckless on the roads!”

“Cars need to make room for us, too!”

“Why are they biking on the sidewalk???”

“Why are you running in my bike lane instead of on your sidewalk?”

“Ugh, can’t they bike somewhere else? I can barely pass them!”

“It’s called ‘sharing the road!'”

As a somewhat-regular cyclist myself, I get the polarizing effects of how bicycles mix with today’s walking and driving traffic.

Influencers.

How about this one? So many feelings arise at the casual or intentional use of this word, and it means a slew of things to many:

“Earning money for social media power.”

“Having hundreds of thousands of followers.”

“Speaking at XYZ conference every year!”

“Offering great insights about <insert topic here>.”

“Providing value over begging for acclaim.”

It occurred to me, in the odd way my brain often works, that cycling is a lot like being a social media influencer.

Did I lose you just then? Stick with me a bit and see if this starts to gel as I describe a few ways this makes perfect sense from spokes to social.

The good ones.

Being a good cyclist isn’t about wearing the right gear or having the slickest bike; it’s about moving in harmony with yourself, your bike, and your surroundings.

A good cyclist doesn’t just want to enjoy the ride and make it home in one piece (body and bike). They also want to respect the pedestrians, motorists, and venues along their way in an effort to generate respect in return. They get that riding recklessly or acting like they own the road or path doesn’t foster a good future experience for anyone.

A good influencer is like that harmonious cyclist: enjoying the momentum, but also recognizing the other forces and individuals which add to the experience. Good influencers acknowledge that they didn’t get to where they are by sheer force of their awesome talent, wit, or looks. They welcome sharing of the spotlight and know there’s more than enough road for everyone.

The bad ones.

Ah, even I can venture into hating on my cyclist tribe when I spot these pedal-pushers. Their behavior always gives them away: dodging in front of cars and pedestrians and often causing them to brake hard or fast to avoid a collision; riding two or more across a narrow bike line on a roadway; gesturing obscenely at cars who, while obeying the traffic laws, expect mutual obedience from the rider.

A bad cyclist makes all of us look bad. When new rules or pathways are put into effect to make cycling easier, their behavior causes everyone else to moan about the latest concession. Their brazenness at forgetting car-beats-bike-every-time while daring others on the road to challenge their way forward is ridiculous. Their ignorance of speed limits through pedestrian-heavy areas is enough to make me want to swear in their general direction.

A bad influencer awakens the same response. They think every opportunity should be about them and for them, and sharing credit or spotlight is out of the question. They only befriend other names with large followings, forgetting they weren’t always so popular and had help to climb the recognition ladder. They treat the three steps onto a stage as a chasm which now separates them from the lowly unwashed audience they once sat in.

The dumb ones.

These are the special set of cyclists which don’t just inspire anger—they cause harm through their ignorance. By ignoring the proper safety gear or function of their bike, each ride is taking many lives onto their dubious handlebars and hoping for the best. (We all know how well that works.) They can’t be bothered to be careful as long as they feel cool and are seen coasting through life along with the other trendsetters.

And yes, there are dumb influencers. Void of much original thought, they rely on retweeting or borrowing platitudes pushed out by their peers so they can show a timeline with content. They don’t do the hard work of learning the rules or practicing the basics which lead to greater growth; instead, they tout their Klout score as evidence they should be recognized (which instead may just mean they need something other than tweeting to fill the hours). Worse, they find clients to pay them for professional work, but their lack of real-life knowledge and execution turns yet another customer into a non-believer of social media. (No, really, thanks so much for leaving this trail of carnage behind you.)

By spoke or social, we need to do better.

Look. I’m a huge believer in cycling. If you had asked me five years ago if I saw myself turning to two wheels to be my main source of recreation and exercise, I’d have laughed myself silly and gone back to eating chocolate chips by the handful (it’s a personal problem). Who would have guessed the bike paths and Colorado scenery would so strongly beckon and prompt me to keep pedaling into a better existence? Yet I know that venturing forth requires my preparation and diligence with each outing.

I’m also a true addict of social media and believe it can do far more good than harm. But that relies on each of us wielding it well and being good influencers. Whether you have 25 or 25,000 Twitter followers, you influence. Someone out there is reading what you publish; feel the weight of that responsibility. We’re in a time when anyone can become a publisher with global access; misusing that power thanks to ego or ignorance is downright dangerous for the entire industry and its dedicated tribe.

The thing is, it’s not hard to be good. All it really requires is taking that moment to feel beyond your own selfish drive and acknowledge that you share this planet with other beings. That’s really it. Once you remember the road ahead isn’t paved just for you, being a good cyclist or influencer makes the way forward clear.

If it doesn’t, well… please just promise to steer far away from me geographically and socially. If you’re a bad or dumb cyclist, you threaten my ability to make it home alive to my family. If you’re a bad or dumb influencer, you threaten the people I call my family who happen to exist for me on the internet.

Want to cycle with me in Denver or check in about the type of influencer you want to be?

Comment below or tweet at me.

9 Legal Tips for Online Businesses with guest Mitch Jackson

If you conduct business online, you have countless pitfalls to avoid on your way to success.

In our latest episode of Who’s Who in Social Media, Mitch Jackson with Streaming.Lawyer shared crucial insights and tips to help all of us avoid legal issues and conduct business like a boss.

To read more about Mitch Jackson and how he helps online business owners, get the full list of tips on his blog.

Would you like to be a guest on Laugh & Learn? Click here!

August 2016 | Who’s Who in Social Media with Carlos Gil

This week on Laugh & Learn with Really Social…

Who’s Who in Social Media

featuring guest

Carlos Gil

Carlos is the Global Head of Social Media for BMC Software, a Snapchat Strategist, and was recently the keynote speaker at Social Media Day Denver 2016 in San Diego.

But there’s far more to Carlos and what brought him to who he is and what he does today. When you watch this interview, you’ll learn about the obstacles he overcame, the experiences he uses to help businesses succeed in their missions, and the choices he made to lead him to today and his life of zero regrets.

Enjoy this month’s video interview, and don’t forget to connect with Carlos on social media!

Who’s Who in Social Media? Beth Johnston | Social Bridges

Beth Johnston is “Who’s Who in Social Media!”

May kicked off with a bang as Really Social interviewed Beth Johnston, a Colorado-based social media business woman and a fellow Colorado Woman in Social Media.

Watch the entire Laugh & Learn Blab episode below, or click here for our biggest takeaways as we learned what makes Beth and her business—Social Bridges—tick!


The Takeaways

Rachel Moore (RM): Can you talk about the 2-3 things you do with social media through your business?

Beth Johnston (BJ): My core service is the “done for you” service: business owners are good at what they do and not necessarily good at marketing or social media. They give it to me and say, “Beth, please do this for me.”

What I’m finding, and what I’m really enjoying, is coaching and teaching! I’m an instructor at Colorado Free University and I’m really enjoying that. I didn’t think I would!

RM: What is your favorite platform and why?

BJ: Pinterest is probably my favorite platform so I must stay away from it. I have to set the timer for my phone and the alarm has to ring; if not, 2-4 hours will go by.

What I love about Pinterest is that it’s not so much a social platform, because the users that are there are creating things of what they want to be in the future: they’re planning their wedding, their house they want to build. Most other social media is about how fast someone can like a post.

RM: If a movie were being made about your life, who should play you and why?

BJ: For hotness factor, Jennifer Aniston. One of my favorite people to watch is Melissa McCarthy. She says things you wish you could say, and she does things you wish you could do. I think I want Melissa McCarthy to play me in my feature film… which is coming out in June. (laughs)

Beth was a pleasure to have as a Laugh & Learn Blab guest; watch the entire interview to learn more about her and Social Bridges!

If you’re interested in a guest spot on Laugh & Learn by Really Social, click here to get started.

Who’s Who? Valerie Morris of Tintero Creative

March kept us on our toes as we welcomed, and then re-welcomed, Valerie Morris as our Who’s Who in Social Media guest! As the founder of Tintero Creative and a founding member of Colorado Women in Social Media, Valerie provides us with more than just her own background; any business owner or innovator will benefit from her words of wisdom.

Click below to watch our interview with Valerie, or scroll down a bit for a few takeaways.

 

RM (Rachel Moore): Tell us briefly about yourself!

VM (Valerie Morris): “Sure! I started Tintero Creative a few years back, and I live and breathe content marketing all day long… I am all about helping brands build their influence online. A huge piece of that is social media—that’s probably the biggest chunk of what we do—and it also involves blogging, written content, graphical content, infographics, logos.

RM: You are the founder of Tintero Creative. What fostered that idea?

VM:  “The word ‘tintero’ is Italian for ink well. That’s where the feather pen of my logo comes from. It kind of goes along with the concept of telling your story, but I’m also a very kinesthetic learner. There’s something about having a tactile nature of writing with a pen that I kind of like.

I love learning; I loved school. When I got out of school, I started my career in architecture… and I was bored stiff… I was seriously thinking, ‘Is this all there is?’

We ended up moving to Nashville, and I got a job at an ad agency. I started that job and realized I loved it. I got a taste for what could be done with social media, and what could be done with marketing.”

RM: Do you find that you still have to educate clients and others about how social media supports SEO?

VM: “Yeah. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of bad advice out there about SEO, and a lot of people who have been burned by different programs. You can come in and suggest something, and some people— based on past experiences—aren’t going to invest money in things you know are going to be helpful. If you’re in favor of investing in SEO for the growth of your business, but you don’t have enough funds for it, Payday Loan Helpers are always open for your financial needs. All you have to do is to repay on time to have a clean record. There’s a huge piece of education there. Sometimes you just need to let it go. I think the digital community is starting to become more well-rounded.”

RM: What are your thoughts on hosting your online properties solely on social media rather than a website?

VM: “I think you should have your own website! You own your website. You have control there. It’s your domain; your place!

At any moment, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Pinterest could up and decide, ‘We’re going to shut down.’ All this time and effort you spent building this platform… they own it all. I think having your own website is key.”

RM: If a movie were being made about your life, who should play you, and why?

VM: (after Googling for the name) “Emily Blunt! I really like her. I’m kind of an introvert, and I feel like she’s not necessarily super flashy, but she definitely has some sass and attitude when she needs to. So I feel like that’s kind of who I am.”

If you’re interested in being a guest on Who’s Who in Social Media by Really Social, click here to get started!

And the Oscar goes to… Your Social Media Manager

Line the red carpet, show off the evening formals, and watch your step as you ascend the stage to receive your award.

Accepting award
We’ve all imagined our own speech on the award show of our life, right?

So many great performances go unnoticed, from Hollywood to our circles. In your business, you have your own brand of performer which you may not realize deserves the highest honors and recognition for being great at their craft.

With that in mind, we have an announcement…

The Winner of your own “Best” category is… your Social Media Manager!

If you’re confused as to why this particular role deserves such high praise and recognition, let’s count the reasons why you really should love them.

Best Actor for Being “You” Online

When your organization or brand has a presence on social media, typically one person or small group of people are entrusted with the task of representing you—as a whole—online. Each reply and comment by your Social Media Manager requires them to drop their own persona and slip into the being you wish to be presented to your audiences. The skill needed for this transformation is crucial to your social media success, yet is often forgotten.

Social Media Manager - writing your words online | Really Social
So much magic happens at the hands of your Social Media Manager.

Best Screenplay for Wielding Your Words

Before your brand even posts online, the message must first be crafted deliberately and with the proper tone. Guess who takes up the pen and makes it mightier than the sword? Your Social Media Manager is often the writer as well as the publisher of your words online—a heavy burden to bear since destroying an online identity takes mere seconds in today’s breakneck-paced social media feeds.

Best Visual Effects for Your Viewers

If you skim through your own social media feeds, you know images and videos make a message sing. Your brand wants the same quality to attract your audience’s eyeballs, right? Your Social Media Manager is also your very own graphic designer, video professional, and meme creator as the need arises. With each social media platform needing custom image sizes, your visual effects department should be in good hands.

What other Best categories does your Social Media Manager deserve?

If you need resources for your brand’s social media presence, you know where to go.

Who’s Who? Melody Jones, that’s who!

February’s Who’s Who in Social Media led us to learn about Melody Jones, owner of Social Media Marketing Services and founder of Colorado Women in Social Media.

For a few choice moments from our Blab interview, read on. For the whole thing, scroll down.

RM (Rachel Moore): Let’s hear the elevator speech about yourself. Introduce!

MJ (Melody Jones): “I am known as your ‘social media aspirin.’ My job is to take away the pain of social media, and I do that for my clients in a variety of ways. One of the biggest ways: I reduce and alleviate pain by managing their social media for them. I have done some coaching online, which also reduces the pain some people feel when it comes to social media.”

RM: You aren’t simply over your own business; you’re affiliated with Colorado Women in Social Media. Can you expound on how you began that group?

MJ: “One day I was lonely and typing along on my computer by myself, as we often are in our worlds, and feeling dissatisfied greatly with the networking opportunities out there. Standard networking groups weren’t really doing it for me. I realized I knew a few women in my world who worked in social media. Couldn’t we get together and provide that relationship piece I’m missing and which would have a little different focus than other standard networking groups?

That idea popped into my head in fall 2014 and I threw out a couple feelers. I got instant interest; I was astounded by how quickly people wanted to join!”

RM: What do you bring to the table that differentiates you from other social media marketers?

MJ: “When it comes to my micro-niche, I work with authors. I am myself a published author, which means I know a few things about the publishing business. I have many connections in the self-publishing arena here in Denver. That’s the difference I bring for authors is that I have many connections and the personal knowledge to write and to be an author.”

And the thing that makes Melody absolutely crazy?

MJ: “In the Twitter world what drives me crazy is auto-DMs. I get them every day and they come across as disingenuous. They’re so not authentic, you can tell they’re automated, and they clutter up my DM inbox. Quit sending those.”

Amen, sister.

Don’t stop here! Watch the entire interview below, and tune in each week to our Laugh & Learn Blab series for the latest in social media.

Who’s Who? Hollie Clere, that’s who!

You need to meet the Who’s Who in social media in 2016, and we kicked things 2016 off with a great interview on Blab with Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor.

Here’s a snapshot of our interview with Hollie about her work in and passion for social media.

RM (Rachel Moore): Who are you, Hollie?

HC (Hollie Clere): “Well, that is a loaded question! When I meet people, I usually tell them that I am a storyteller in social media. I help businesses stand out from their competition by using stories online… I focus specifically on social media. We build, we brand, we bio.”

RM: What makes you different? There’s only one you, Hollie!

HC: “I like to tell people that our entire foundation and principle is based off of ownership, accountability, and education. You cannot own your marketing unless you understand how it works.”

RM: Do you have any idols or mentors who have inspired you?

HC: “Honestly, there are a couple. I really adore Lori Ruff; she is a LinkedIn diva and she has a giant heart. I think if I can make an impact in someone’s day like she’s done in mine… that’s big for me. Kind of like Mother Teresa, I can give back and have an honest heart. I love people that impact others and serve in the trenches.”

And a question from a Blab viewer… if you ran for President of the United States, what changes would you make to improve business opportunities?

HC: “Being that I’m a small business owner, I would encourage and reward the small business owner for creating ideas and job opportunities…” and her platform? “Good Times french fries and wild sauce!”

Watch the full interview in the Blab replay below, and tune in each week to our Laugh & Learn Blab series for the latest in social media.

Change Ahead: Be Really Social in 2016 [Announcement]

Are you one of those people who, like me, adores change? Welcome to the fold of fellow weirdos!

While many of you reading this might truly abhor change, I’ve always seen it as an opportunity to improve and grow forward. Now, does that mean I like it when my favorite neighborhood ice cream shop shuts down? Of course not! The change I’m talking about is more about evolution, when things or people can adapt and transform into a new entity which better fits into the world.

A change is here, folks.

Really Social for 2016

To kick off 2016 and beyond, we’ve transformed what was Rachel, Really Social into a new and (we think) more inclusive, encompassing brand which promotes our vision for every single one of you to be really social and really good at it.

Henceforth, you can find and know us as Really Social. And we hope to soon know you as Really Social, too!

Really Social provides expertise on all primary social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Blab, Blogging
Be Really Social every time and everywhere this year!

Why Really Social?

There were a few reasons for making the change from Rachel, Really Social to Really Social, and most of them focus on (you guessed it) our audiences and clients:

  1. Social media isn’t just about me. (Duh.) When I first started my online brand, I went with handles and monikers which included my first name. That’s all fine and dandy, but using the same notion for my business, while carrying my existing brand identity forward, made me the focus. That’s not how I want to roll, and not what I think this business can be limited to.
  2. There are more Really Social helpers out there. I’m very excited to continue to work with marketers focused on excellence, transparency, and accountability. Unfortunately, they probably won’t all be named Rachel! As Really Social grows and serves more and more individuals and brands, our team will grow and continue to promote the goal of being Really Social to all we touch.
  3. Social media is coming out from behind the keyboard. If you’ve got any kind of pulse on social media marketing, you’re aware of how live video is pervading marketing strategies everywhere. For those social media experts who really wanted to stay hidden behind an avatar and a keyboard, live video can be a challenge. For those, like me and Really Social, who really dig being in your face as well as in your comment box, we realize being Really Social means being, actually, social all around.