Find the centre point of your online life, and work it!“Blogging,” she told us, “is just critical. It’s the centre point of your online life.”

Our local editors group sponsored a workshop by social media guru Sofie Andreou recently, and yes, she DOES have the stripes to earn the title “guru.”Sofie’s workshop was stuffed with goodies on the latest social media trends, and probably gave me enough material for about five blogs.Our seminar group that day was a mix of people ranging from some already using Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, to others leery about the entire social media “thing.” Some had blogs going and some gasped and rolled their eyes at the proposition of even making the attempt to start one.

Sofie, bright penny that she is, picked up on this reluctance.

“Blogging,” she told us, “is just critical. It’s the centre point of your online life.” And, she went, on, it helps you to create a community of followers.

“It’s not just about creating material and pushing it, pushing it, pushing it. It’s about supporting each other.”

What a novel concept! I have to admit I hadn’t actually thought of it that way, and was probably doing way too much pushing and not enough supporting. I knew I was waaay out of balance on this one.

How then, to support? Said Sofie: Visit a blogger you like – for our group, this will most likely be a writer or a clever editor, and comment on their blog. They’ll often go looking for you and write a comment back.

Their followers then come and have a look at what you’re doing, and presto! You’re sharing a community.

Sofie thought Victoria Shockley, a writer/editor with a strong blog post and robust Twitter following @victoria_writes, a good example of how to build community online. Victoria’s brand is her picture, and Sofie demonstrated how she kept that image and her pitch as a writer/editor, consistent on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

In fact, Sofie tweeted Victoria before the seminar to let her know she’d be held up as an example of online smarts. She used my Twitter handle @bestwritecoms, which helps me stand out from the thousand-odd other Jane Davidsons in the twitterverse.

“If you are linking to someone’s article, or event, you definitely mention them and use their handle.”

(When Sofie contacted Victoria, she used her own handle and mine and promised Victoria I’d write a blog about it, and this is it. Victoria then linked to me and to Sofie.)

If you go to Victoria’s blog, you’ll see that she‘s built her Twitter following to over 3300 people. She includes people’s twitter handles in her tweets, a form of online generosity and community building.

Sofie was quick to add here that you need to have a reason to mention people in your tweets – don’t just do it randomly. “If you’re writing something specific, tweet it, and then pop on over to LinkedIn and list it in your work samples.”

Newbies often fail to realize one key home truth and it’s this: social media use for sales and flagrant self promotion is crass and simply not done, darling.

Sofie’s rule: send out something that’s useful of helpful or funny five times, and ask for something once.

And on that note, I’ll close off for now and go Tweet this blog, making sure to mention Sofie, and Victoria.


About Jane Carthew Davidson

As a former senior public relations specialist with a large publicly traded multi-national chemical company, Jane Carthew Davidson produced the company’s award winning annual report for several years. Later, she was media relations specialist for Ontario’s Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), where she wrote speeches for the executive team, trained spokespersons across the province, and developed talking points and strategies designed to clarify the role played by property assessment within the municipal taxation system. Jane is a former business reporter for the Globe and Mail Report on Business, and the Toronto Star’s Business Today. Her articles have appeared in the Toronto Star, the Medical Post, the Anglican Journal, the Financial Post and most recently, the Globe and Mail’s special supplements on subjects as wide ranging as organic farming and new investment regulations. On several occasions, Jane’s media savvy and quick research skills enabled her to win broad media attention and investment queries from Canada, the Unites States and Europe, for a unique medical device start-up venture. Following Peterborough’s Flood of the Century in 2004, Jane handled media relations for the City of Peterborough, developing and implementing the communications plan for the city’s media outreach to afflicted citizens, concerned insurance companies, city staff and other government stakeholders.
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