Tuesday, March 25, 2014

New Adventure

So until I find another home for my thoughts, this blog continues…

Friday was my last day working for The Man. For now, anyway. I have finally decided to go out on my own, 100%, full time, to give this entrepreneur* thing a go.

My business is Untapped Media: brand storytelling visualized. I offer companies social media strategy, training, and management, plus photography and other content marketing services, plus….plus…plus. Obviously I need to nail this down.

So far, in the last 1.5 days, I have…

  • Changed out of my pajamas and back into them 7 times.
  • Felt guilty for going to Starbucks and Chase during work hours 2 times.
  • Felt overwhelmed and scattered 100 times.
  • Used the word "discombobulated" 6 times.
  • Yelled at my computer 3 times.
  • Talked to another human being 4 times.
  • Gotten really giddy about starting this new chapter of life 0 times.
  • Hoped to get giddy about starting this new chapter of life 78 times.
  • Gone for a run 2 times.
I hope to feel better, get excited, finish my website and get into the groove within the next 4 weeks.

Goal #1: obtain one brewery client within 12 months.

Wish me luck.

*I hesitate to use the word "entrepreneur." To me, that word denotes incredible success in starting a new business and while I hope for that, I can't say I'm there yet. I'll use it occasionally because I get to connect with the true entrepreneurs out there in social, but know that I am just starting this new venture and am wary of blowing this out of proportion. That is all.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Integrating Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is about to become just marketing. I don't think this is a revolutionary statement by any means. I do believe that while most companies are hiring someone to do social media in conjunction with brand managers or marketing managers, the time will come - hopefully soon - where social media marketing is just a part of the marketing manager's job.

Social media should be fully integrated into marketing strategies & plans. It shouldn't be an afterthought or an add on. Social media marketing takes the brand's marketing plan and executes it across different channels. That's it. I know by making these statements I'm basically writing myself out of a job, but I do think that true marketing managers in this new world of marketing need to holistically incorporate social media marketing, print advertising, digital advertising, point of sale marketing materials, influencer outreach and blogger relationship building (brand ambassadors!) into their marketing plans. I don't think it's optional. The marketing managers who do this now, or start soon, will be way ahead of the pack. There's a reason they're called 360 campaigns...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Social Media Dinner Party: 8 Tips to Being the Best Guest

Imagine you’re at the biggest dinner party in the universe. You can talk to the person on your left or the person on your right. Which do you choose?
  • The person on your left tells you fascinating stories about her life with gumption and passion. She then asks you questions about your life, visibly enjoying your stories as much as she enjoys telling her own. 
  • The person on your right also tells you fascinating stories about her life with gumption and passion. Her life stories are the most fascinating thing in the world…to her. She asks you a question occasionally but is so busy forming an answer to her own question before you’ve finished answering that you can tell she isn’t listening. She often interrupts or changes the topic because she’s moved on…in her head. 
Choose which brand you want to be. The one who tells stories and encourages customer stories or the one who tells story after story after story...never interested in what anyone else can contribute. The answer is obvious, but it can be easy to fall into the trap of only talking about yourself in social media, in a billboard-type of way. Translate your IRL relationships with colleagues, friends and even family into how you want to be perceived in social media as a brand. What works in IRL relationships? Give and take. Social media at its most basic is a platform of give and take. Use this to your advantage: know who you are, what story you want to tell at the never-ending dinner party that is social media and engage your customers at every level on an ongoing basis. Listen and you shall be heard.

  1. Be the brand that tells the most fascinating stories
  2. Be the brand that solicits interesting stories from the masses
  3. Be the brand that your consumers (existing AND potential!) want to listen to but also the brand that wants to know about its consumers
  4. Be engaging and engaged
  5. Understand what your consumers want and focus your content on that
  6. Make sure your consumers know they’re being heard 
  7. Show passion, show compassion 
  8. Educate and learn 

Monday, September 23, 2013

In Other News... I'm a Finalist!

I submitted an idea to one of the coolest campaigns I've seen all year: Marriott's Travel Brilliantly contest. From a social media manager's point of view, I love this campaign because it takes listening to consumers to a whole new level. They want feedback on how to improve the guest experience and they will work with the winner on their idea. Very cool. Crowd-sourcing heaven. User generated content (UGC) heaven. As a consumer, the prizes are cool, the fact that they're listening to me makes me want to enter and they used correct grammar: Travel BrilliantLY. That's right, ladies and gentlemen, it's NOT called Travel Brilliant. Honestly, I entered the contest because it was grammatically correct. Nerd alert for sure...

Anyway, I am one of five winners of round 2. The contest has ended and now the Marriott team is working on picking the grand prize winner. I want this. It's an international trip to work on your idea with Marriott. Yep. I want it badly. BadLY. In the meantime, take a look at my prize! Talk about a geek's dream...Jawbone Up, Pocket Cell Duo battery pack, Yurbuds sport earbuds, Trakdot luggage tracker, Rigaudi fold and play speakers, Epic mobile projection keyboard and Royre passport cover!

Cross your fingers & toes for me!

WordPress Easy Install...Not Exactly Easy.

Ok! I decided last night that I was going to teach myself how to install WordPress and build a new blog on it. I bought hosting through Blue Host last night, verified my account via phone this morning and I still have a wacky domain that it's trying to install to. See screenshot:

I have not one clue what I'm doing, I don't understand 78.43% of the words in forums for help, so I emailed Blue Host for help - I am paying them after all. When I get this "easy 1-click install" (LIES!) of WordPress figured out, I'll post my process.

May the force be with me.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Defining Social Media

Social media is not a scary beast that you should run away from. Ok, maybe it can be, but look at it this way:  What if companies ignored television advertising when it first became an option? I'm sure a lot of marketers shied away from the medium, but after some time, it became the most effective way to market products and services - and it still is.

Social media is a marketing tool in your toolbox. It lives alongside print advertising, email marketing, online advertising, mobile, blogger outreach, press releases, print materials, in-store pieces, coupons, website, SEO and any other marketing tool you have. Social media can help kickstart a new business to create brand awareness, but you cannot ignore traditional marketing or additional marketing tactics along the way.

In order for your social media marketing to be successful, you must 1) believe in your product 2) believe in customer service 3) believe that it's ok to let go of the reigns a bit and have a conversation with your customers. Without these, your social media will fail and you'll lose faith in this viable marketing channel.

If you're open to the idea that your customers have a voice, an important one, then try social media marketing. Just remember, when you start it, you have to commit to it. Social media marketing is not for quick-starts; it's a nonstop journey to successfully market your product or service to the correct people in the correct way. It's a way to glean consumer insights just by listening to what they say about you, your product or service, your competition, your industry or what other things they like (grumpy cat!) Social media is a way to connect with consumers in a new and interesting way, to tell them the story of your brand in a meaningful way so that when they see your brand on the shelf, in the lot, online - in a sea of similar products or services - they choose you.

WordPress 101

I started this blog on the platform formerly known as Blogspot way back in 2007. In my quest to become more technical, I'm going to move this blog to WordPress and try to create a new blog/website that's all about my newest venture: food & drink photography (sometimes with recipes co-authored by my mom!) I'll try to chronicle my steps along the way.

I'm scared. For some reason, I cannot wrap my head around WordPress. Silly, I know. I'm geeky enough, I should be able to figure it out. Not sure what the obstacle is, but hopefully I can overcome it and create a really cool site.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

So You Play on Facebook for a Living?

Yes, yes I do.

Ok, back up...back way up. I swear, I still exist. I haven't posted in so long 1) because there isn't a whole lot going on in my life and 2) because now that I write for a living, I don't have a ton of time or creativity left for personal projects.

That all said, there's still nothing exciting happening in life but I wanted a place to put down my thoughts on my career.

Social Media in the Wine Industry
Sounds glamorous, doesn't it? It beats marketing toilet paper, that's for sure. Well, I would guess so, maybe that has good perks. I digress.

In September of 2010, I started my official social media career, but my love affair with the internet goes way back. Granted, I was the kid in high school who, after seeing the internet for the first time, said "Ppppffffssstt, who would ever use that." I said that. Out loud. To my friends. Don't tell anyone.

I was an avid MySpace user in 2005/2006/2007, then abandoned it when it got lame (aka my company blocked it from work computers.) I resisted Facebook, thinking it was stupid - you couldn't even customize colors! - but finally joined in 2008. Wait, so I "resisted" Facebook for about 14 months? Wow, such resolve!

In December of 2009, I brought an in-depth proposal to the president of the company about how the company needed a social media manager and that I was the chick for the job. It took a while, but it happened, about 10 months later.

Most of the brands already had a social media presence but as anyone who works in this industry knows, they're slow to adopt technology. (Did I just make the understatement of the year or what?) It was a journey, one that I am very proud of. I was able to grow multiple brands to very high numbers and very high engagement rates as a one man show. Anyway, that's all for LinkedIn. This is a blog. Here is where I share my philosophies...and do I have some of those...

Megan's Social Media Circle of Happiness ©
A marketer's ultimate goal is to get the consumer, then keep the consumer. Keeping consumers in the brand’s happy circle is first and foremost the social media goal. If a Facebook ad gets them, engaging content on Facebook keeps them, maybe the next time they see us, they'll engage on Twitter and a read a blog post. Each time they engage with us, their connection to us is stronger. Ideally, this is an emotional connection, which is much easier to achieve in social media versus traditional marketing. Keeping them in the Circle of Happiness© increases loyalty and next time they are at the beast that we call a wine set, they'll pick up your wine instead of another white-label-serif-font-tiny-illustration wine brand.

If they continue to find value in the content that’s provided, they will bounce between the brand’s Facebook page, Twitter account, Pinterest boards, Instagram photos, website, microsite, mobile app, email newsletters, wine club communication, and YouTube videos, staying in the brand’s happy circle, the brand’s corner of the internet. The brand voice, visuals, messaging and positioning need to be consistent, serving up a cohesive experience for the consumer at every touch point. The longer they stay in the circle, or return to it, the more valuable they are to the brand and the stronger the relationship will be.

Next time on Social Media in the Wine Industry (SMITWI): How is Social Media like a Dinner Party?

Cheers! {clink clink}

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

So it's been a while...

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Now that I write for a living, keeping up with my personal blog loses a little of its appeal. I don't need this outlet as much as I used to, but for the sake of my personal history, I should do a better job. I mean, to this day I hate the fact that right before I graduated from high school, I stopped writing in my diary. What happened after that? What was going through my head? Which crush did I miss the most? What did I think about college? All these questions never to be answered... Sad.

Since January, well..... a whole lotta nothing has happened. Blogspot changed - woot woot. That's exciting. In life? Not much. Still working, still writing, still not shooting as much as I'd like to.

Let's go back to at least the beginning of May...my birthday weekend was in Tahoe, as usual. (I was going to write "the youjjjjj" but I have no idea how to spell the abbreviated version of "the usual." If someone can enlighten me, please leave a comment. I've always wondered.)

Anyway, back to Tahoe. A good time was had by all, as usual. Came home at dawn both nights, as usual. This time, we stayed in a killer suite with 2 bedrooms & 3 bathrooms - perfect for 6 girls! Especially since a couple of us don't shower every day necessarily. And by a couple of us, I mean me of course. We met some fine folks, as usual. Very fun long weekend - can't wait to go back, say it with me, as usual. I really should buy a place there!

On Tuesday, I left for a solo trip to Cabo. Yep, solo again. I planned on going to San Jose del Cabo because it's more low-key, less party central and I thought that by going there, I wouldn't feel like as much of a loser because I wouldn't see or hear all the big groups of friends. Well, I planned wrong. Instead of the relaxing, non-partying week, I was bored out of my mind. At least if I had stayed in Cabo San Lucas, I would have had the chance to meet some people my age at the swim up bar or by the pool. Instead, it was me, 5 books in 3 days and a whole lotta thinking. I'm pretty sure by Day 3 I was talking to myself. Out loud. (And now that I recall, Day 3 was the magic number last summer too.)

Let me give you a glimpse into a day in the life in San Jose del Cabo...

9:17am: Wake up. The bed was wonderful, the room was extremely nice, so waking up was a leisurely activity.

9:42am: Make coffee
9:45am: Enjoy coffee on my amazing balcony with an amazing view. Watch the early pool birds.

10:13am: Still enjoying coffee & the view.
10:15am: Bored. Open a book.
10:28am: Coffee is cold. Time for the pool.
10:46am: Suit is on. Sunscreen is on. Flip flops are on. Head to the big pool.
11:01am: Lounge chair chosen. Book opened.

12:34pm: Hungry! Head over to buffet or restaurant for some food.
12:44pm: Done with lunch. Eating is just a bare necessity when you're solo.
12:48pm: Back to the lounge chair. Book opened again.
1:35pm: Bored. Hot. Go for a dip in the chilly pool. Float near the infinity edge because, well, it's an infinity edge and the view of the water is fantastic. Back to chair.
2:39pm: Bored again. Look around for anyone new at the pool. Maybe a group of people who are close to my age. Nothing. Back to the book.
3:41pm: Hot. Consider going for a dip. Decide to move to Adult Only pool to dip there.
3:45pm: Lounge chair at Adult Only pool selected. New faces to stare at when I pretend to read my book.
5:32pm: Hot again. Dogear the page. Scope out the pool. Still just couples. Nothing new here.
5:35pm: Hungry again. Head to buffet for a blue hair special early bird dinner. I'll be sure to get a seat.
5:45pm: Head back to my room.
5:50pm: Take a shower in the rain shower. Contemplate another whirlpool tub bath. Stick with just the rain shower with two shower heads. So fancy.
6:08pm: Get into bed. Turn on TV. Out of 57 channels, 4 have a show on in English with Spanish subtitles. Think I score on a fifth English channel, but there was no talking. Pretty Woman is dubbed in Spanish. Cannot understand.
6:31pm: Still flipping between my 4 channels. One of them is golf.
6:59pm: Settle in on episode number 14 of CSI Miami. It's the only thing on in English. I continue to read the Spanish subtitles for some reason. Maybe I'll pick something up.
7:42pm: During Spanish commercials, I find Monsters, Inc. If I can watch Beauty & the Beast in French in high school and know what they're saying, I should definitely be able to watch a kids movie I've seen 100 times dubbed in Spanish. I'll probably learn Spanish - it's low level right? Wrong. I have no idea what they're saying. Even Boo. And she just screams.
8:19pm: Consider going out for a drink that I already paid for in my all-inclusive package.
9:19pm: Still considering.
9:45pm: Get up. Get dressed. Go to the martini bar. Ask for a not-too-sweet cocktail. They make me a bubblegum martini. Too sweet.
10:05pm: Wander around like I'm waiting for someone. Never stay in one place too long.
10:15pm: Bored. Go back to the room. Watch more CSI Miami.
11:30pm: CSI Miami is really the same show over & over. Not sure what I expected to be different.
11:37pm: It's been a long day. I'm pooped.

All in all, it was gorgeous. GORGEOUS. The weather was amazing, the people are always so nice, the pool was amazing, the beach was amazing, I got a bit of a tan. That said, it was nice to be away, but I think next time, I'll go to Australia.

Monday, January 9, 2012


I posted a bunch of stuff (again) to Craigslist because I really need some furniture gone. Because people keep getting murdered & I keep getting bombarded with spam from people who say "Your thank you for this item. Should now sell please call me." I have added this to my posts:

"Please include "HAM SANDWICH" in the subject line when you email me because I keep getting bombarded with spam."

Now, I have 5 emails sitting in my inbox that say Ham Sandwich. It's really, really entertaining.

(In other news, I hope I don't get murdered.)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year's Resolutions 2012

Can I do any of these? Well, I'll try.

  1. Drink more water.
  2. Take one photo per day with my iPhone. More if I use a real camera.
  3. Go to the gym that I pay for. Once a week, twice a month, four times a week, doesn't matter. Just go.
  4. Blog more. 
  5. Don't let work dictate my creative outlets.
  6. Stop the negativity! I promise I'm not going all The Secret & crap on you (because I think that's hogwash) but I don't have to get sucked into the negative thought process so often. All it does is make me feel icky. I don't wanna feel icky.
  7. Accept me for me. This will not be a 2012 goal - it will be a life goal. Just a clarification.
  8. Accept that some days, sitting on the couch is really all I've got in me.
  9. Figure out the next step.