Why fruit hypnosis on Facebook might just save the world

If you want to try and understand how I come up with half the weird crap I post on this blog, here is a little peek into my daily world.

I might have actually discovered the cure to obesity in America. Seriously.

Facebook conversation on fruit

I rest my case.

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My Secret to Finding New Readers, Followers

I’m going to let you in on a little social media secret.

It’s one I’ve picked up while working as a media strategist for both my day-job, and as my own consultant (not to mention, building MY readership, as a writer).

It’s a very simple concept, really, but a difficult one for many to grasp. Are you ready? OK … here it is:

You need to find new readers or followers where THEY live—and not expect them to find you, anymore.

The Customer-Centric Business Model

Let me take a step back for a moment. Because really, this stems from a business model.

Businesses used to develop their strategies around them. If you wanted a new Verizon phone, you had to drive to the store. If you needed help with your new laptop, you called the tech support number.

If capitalism was a solar system, then the business was the sun, while customers were the planets.

But that’s all changed now. In today’s world of social media, the customer has become the sun. And if businesses want to survive, they’d better turn into planets.

So How Can YOU Become the Planets?

Here’s a tidbit of encouragement. You already know where your customers or readers live: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, WordPress, Blogspot, etc.

  • If you’re an author, many of your target readers may live on Goodreads or Amazon.
  • If you’re a communications consultant, many potential clients probably follow ProBlogger.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

From a business perspective, if a customer has a complaint, they may no longer call the service line. Instead, they may post a “tweet.” If no one is listening and responding, then the customer may start a blog bashing the company. Which could attract OTHER upset customers, forming an angry online mob.

But that’s a whole other topic, on reputation management. My point is, if you want to build an online presence, you need to determine WHO your customer or reader is, and where they live.

Finding Your Reader

So, just how do you find this elusive goldmine? You need to start by listening. Just listening.

For example:

  • Use Twitter’s search function to type in a keyword related to your subject of interest. Are you a writer? Search “writing.” Are you a lawyer? Search “law.”
  • See what people are saying about these topics, as a collective.

Think of yourself as a CIA agent, gathering intelligence. And when you collect enough to understand what people need, you can start reaching out. @Reply to people’s questions on Twitter. Maybe write a blog post about a common concern.

And when you start understanding where your target readers live, make yourself available … there (i.e. become the planets).

About three months ago, I wrote a post for ProBlogger and linked back to my Twitter account, as well as my blog. That gained me several new blog subscribers and dozens of Twitter followers. And here’s the kicker:

They didn’t find me (even if they THINK they did). No, I found them. And you can too …

Top 8 Reasons to STEP AWAY from the Computer

Back in April, a pack of wild teenagers stole my laptop computer right from the desk in my home.

You can read about that fateful day from my post, “Burglars Beware! Why to NEVER Rob a Writer’s Home.” However, as angry (and scared) as I was when it happened, I learned something that day:

Taking time away from the world of technology was refreshing—and amazing for my writing. I urge everyone to lose their computer for a week (I was out nearly a month) and see what I mean.

Here are my top eight reasons why you should STEP AWAY from the computer for once:

1. You see the world again. I mean, you really SEE it.

 

 

 

 

2. You sleep better, and deeper, and calmer.

 

 

 

 

 

3. You’re not as stressed from constantly being “plugged in.”

 

 

 

 

4. You have more time to exercise and cook healthy meals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. You concentrate on YOU, not what everyone else is doing.

 

 

 

 

 

6. Your mind can relax and regenerate, which = more creativity.

 

 

 

 

 

7. You read a book—the old-fashioned way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. And finally, your writing improves. Not just a little, but A LOT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes, as ambitious writers, we forget that the most important aspect of writing, is living. And although the computer is a significant piece of building our names, we cannot let it consume our lives.

I CHALLENGE YOU: Leave your computer at a trusted friend’s for a week, and take away the temptation. Then tell us the outcome … Are you up for it?

**All photos displayed are the copywritten property of Shari Lopatin (except the books photo, which was borrowed from Google Images), and cannot be copied, reproduced, or printed without written consent from Shari Lopatin.**

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20,000 Clicks and Some Crazy Social Media Thing

This past weekend, I hit a milestone–and it’s thanks to YOU.

I finally reached 20,000 visits to my blog. I began blogging a year ago, and in fact, this blog’s original theme/title was “Peanuts and Watermelon.” But then, sometime in September, I had an epiphany.

And “Rogue Writer” was born.

So, to commemorate, and to laugh at my mindset only nine months ago, here is a post from Sept. 21, 2010:

This Crazy Social Media Thing

 

As the old-fashioned writer I am–who has no cable or converter boxes for her ancient TVs (surprisingly, they do display in color)–I never thought I’d say this:

Twitter is pretty cool.

Stubbornness runs in my blood. I’m Jewish and Russian and Polish. My father once refused to take our 13-year-old cat to the vet when she fell over in some sort of animalistic shock. “Oh! She does this all the time!” he said.

Turns out the cat was spiraling into renal failure.

Only by the desperate tears from my sister and I did my dad take her to the vet, who saved her life. Today, I’m proud to report she’s happy and healthy.

But I digress. My natural stubbornness forced me to reject everything social media for the past few years. I’m a former newspaper reporter who finds romance in the printed word. I was convinced (and still am, to a point) that the developing blogosphere is killing true journalism. And I hated social media for that.

If I could be a serial killer, I’d aim straight for the jugulars of Twitter and Blogspot.

Until this past week. Don’t ask me what clicked. Or what snapped. But I suddenly decided I NEEDED to begin building an online presence. As a professional rogue writer, my future depended on it.

So I sucked it up, bit my tongue (maybe bled a bit), and started my profile. Within two days, I have 6 followers, including the possibility of doing a book review. Now, that might sound like nothing, but from 0-6 (that’s right, I didn’t even have a base) in a day or two makes me feel pretty darned important!

Maybe there is something to this word-of-mouth on steroids called Twitter. Maybe it’s not such a bad thing after all. Naw, I won’t spend my life on the computer. I love nature too much and need that fresh air. But I do think I’ll pay more attention to it going forward.

While I’m at it, I’d better loosen that stubbornness gene, before I let my own cat die of renal failure.

NOTE: I now have more than 300 followers on Twitter, and I just opened my Facebook page (15 followers right now). If you like what you read on “Rogue Writer,” you’ll love the discussions  and posts planned for Facebook (The Onion, Writer’s Digest, and more).  Join me there!