Tag Archives: social media


Because expressing how dumb that was in words just doesn't work.

By Amanda Smyth Connor

The past few weeks in social media have been exciting for a number of reasons. SXSWi took over Twitter in full force while social media nerds the world over descended upon Austin for a week of tech updates and business networking. And in other parts of the country, both the American Red Cross and Chrysler posted tweets that were, in all honesty, epic failures.

The ARC social media specialist, Gloria Huang, posted the following tweet on the ARC Twitter account:

“Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head Midas Touch beer…when we drink we do it right. #gettngslizzerd”

The tweet stayed on the ARC twitter page for an hour before anyone from the company noticed – enough time for everyone else to notice. The ARC recovered, pulled the tweet and tweeted the following:

“We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys.”

From this, Dogfish Head Brewery then started a campaign asking people to donate to the Red Cross using the hashtag #gettngslizzerd. Huang was not fired, but did lose her Twitter privileges and at the end of the day, the ARC got a nice new wave of donations from the snafu.

In another part of the country, another rogue tweet was sent out from a Chrysler social media specialist.

“I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #MotorCity and yet no one here knows how to f***ing drive.”

Within 24-hours, the employee had been very publicly fired and Chrysler had issued a statement saying the employee’s actions had harmed the company’s brand positioning and management.

My question for you, FZers, is: Based on how each company handled these mess-ups, how would you have handled this situation? Have you ever made a mistake like this? How did you handle it?

Amanda Smyth Connor is a community manager for a major publishing company, owns her own wedding planning business, and has managed online communities and content development for many start-up and Fortune 500 companies. She has been a professional editor for more years than she can remember.

Using Social Media To Listen

Joe Wallace freelance social media.jpgby Joe Wallace

One tactic some businesses use with social media is to cultivate Twitter and Facebook followers to crowd-source ideas. This happens in some non-traditional ways when the web savvy business types get to it, and these techniques can be used be smart freelancers to get ahead in their own work.

If you use Twitter and Facebook to monitor trends in your area of expertise, you’re off to a great start. What’s the biggest complaint from users about some iPad apps? In my own particular case, I’m fascinated by what’s going on at the Times in London, where the entire newspaper has gone up behind a pay wall, and by the failures of Rupert Murdoch’s Daily to deliver a user-friendly reading experience to mobile users.

Those trends inform the decisions I have to make about issues like mobile versions of Freelance-Zone.com, the mobile needs of my clients, and due consideration for any future clients I take on who might want to hop on the iPad bandwagon.

Because I pay attention to the complaints on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere, I feel better equipped to answer someone who might ask “Why can’t we deliver Content X as an app for the iPad?” I don’t know jack about designing iPad apps, and I’m sure my clients don’t, otherwise they’d be developing them instead of asking about them.

So the first question for them is, “How much can you spend?”. The next question is “Will the end result help or hurt based on all these user complaints I’m showing you about similar bright ideas that were poorly executed?” Sadly the execution factor and the budgetary factor can be linked together in ways that don’t help the client’s blood pressure.

In a lot of cases, staying out of the early adopter game is a smarter move than rushing something into an app store that delivers poorly and fails to live up to user expectations. And that’s exactly what I can tell people based on keeping my ear to the ground, so to speak, on social media.

There are plenty of other examples of how using social media to listen and not just talk can help you get ahead. Feel free to share your own strategies in the comments section–I’d love to read how others are paying attention to the trends in their freelance spaces.

Hey, Tweet Thang

by Mike O’Mary

iStock_000005848850XSmallOkay, I never thought I’d say this, but there’s some fascinating stuff on Twitter for writers. I see lots of job postings and writing advice. Have you gotten a freelance job via a Twitter contact? I haven’t gotten that far, but I’m finding decent advice and interesting revelations in 140 characters or less. Here are some of the results from a recent #writing search (followed by selected parenthetical comments from Yours Truly):

“Marry somebody you love and who thinks you being a writer’s a good idea.” Richard Ford @AdviceToWriters (Do you think Richard Ford really abbreviates writer + is = writer’s?)

I have a Leadership Devel (sic) Freelance Writing Jobs (sic). @writingjobs_in (As they say, the devel is in the details)

Article Writer Needed for 20 Articles on Health. @TWeelanceWriter (Writing the articles is cheaper than actually going to the doctor.)

To (sic) Good Online Writing Websites. @williamswafford (Because to is better than won?)

I have an online class. I want you to take it and do it for me. @Elance_Writing (That was my post from 30 years ago. Except classes weren’t online back then, so I had to pay somebody to actually go to class for me too.)

A brief rundown of novels and historical fiction set in Vancouver. @vancouver_rt  (I think that was the full text.)

Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said.” Elmore Leonard (He said knowingly.)

Writer wanted for occasional work. @writingjobs_in (Is there any other kind of work for writers?)

FlashFiction vs Short Stories: What’s the difference? @iwritepoetry (That’s what I keep saying!)

Have a new idea for a story. Gotta start writing it down. @AntMan0623 (Doh! Too late. I forgot it!)

The Impotance of Edditting @OnUrge (Very clevver.)

I just cried writing a scene. So either it was really good, or I’m totally delirious from being locked in this room all day! @capetownbrown (I cry when I read my own writing, too. Good writing? Delirium? I attribute it to writing with an onion.)

Possibly the best book I’ve read about writing and living the creative life. @DreamofThings (Hey! I said that!)

Bottom line: Don’t waste a lot of time there. But if you have a few minutes, get your Tweet self on over to Twitter and find some occasional work!

Mike O’Mary tweets as @DreamofThings and @TheNoteProject

My Top Five Freelance Resources

by Joe Wallace

Top Five Freelance ResourcesIn my daily freelance work, I write on a variety of topics–everything from finance to music. To get all this done, I need a range of information, images, and research material, and I thought I’d share my top five resources here.

It’s not that I think these specific resources will help all freelancers, far from it, but I am hoping the sheer diversity of them will inspire other to share their own resources and consider looking in places they had not thought of using in their daily work before. I’ve learned that the most unlikely sources can often be of great value.

That’s why Portland, Oregon PR agency North is in my top five list. The insights about digital culture are thought-provoking and inform my work in social media for my clients. I don’t get a ton of writing ideas from reading this site, but it does inform how I market those ideas.

For royalty-free digital images, I’m a huge fan of Stock Xchng, which is where the image you see in my post today comes from. I use them every day.

HootSuite is a major time-saver for me. I run social media accounts for six different websites, plus posts on my personal accounts about my auctions on eBay and my Etsy store, so Hootsuite is a real lifesaver for me. I manage all my social media via HootSuite, and it sure beats running back and forth between accounts, with one big exception; Continue reading My Top Five Freelance Resources

What I Learn About Social Media…By Teaching Social Media

Paisley Babylon Blogby Joe Wallace

By way of introduction, let me share with our our newest readers a bit about what I do. In addition to writing freelance articles on finance, music, cinema and many other topics, I also am very active in social media. I have several clients that ask me to manage, write, develop audiences, find friends/followers, etc. And somehow I find the time to teach social media to people who want to know just what this Facebook thing is all about and how it can grow someone’s business.

Little did I know when I started teaching social media how much I could learn by doing it.

For example, I learned that many people have no understanding whatsoever about things I take completely for granted. Privacy issues, how to present a business or product on social media in a way that doesn’t turn people off in the first ten seconds, how to make friends and network online…it’s amazing how much I take for granted each and every day.

To respect the short attention spans of everyone (including myself), I’ll just share one little anecdote. One class I taught on social media had a student who was very concerned about privacy online. This person was very concerned about providing any personal information at all–very reluctant to share much of anything. I figured perhaps this was a very casual user who didn’t have big plans for Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Imagine my surprise when this person told me they wanted to promote their business on Facebook. Someone who wants to use a tool they basically viewed as a threat to them would seem to be a contradiction in terms, but after a bit of discussion I think I was able to make a convincing argument for developing an online presence and not being as worried about privacy as the lack of press they currently had compared to the exposure social media could provide. After all, businesses live or die by their visibility in the community. Online, it’s no different. Continue reading What I Learn About Social Media…By Teaching Social Media

Social Media With Chris Brogan

Chris Brogan
Chris Brogan
by Catherine L. Tully
If you are trying to get the hang of social media but are tired of all the same old information, check out Chris Brogan for some enlightenment. Well known as a social media guru, Brogan gives advice on his site in a “best of” section that hits some pretty good highlights. Learn “50 Ways To Take Your Blog To The Next Level” or read “Framing Your Social Media Efforts”.
Social media has pretty much become a must for the writer, so if you have yet to dip your toe in the pool, there is no time like the present. Brogan also offers advice for those who have been around a while and are looking to maximize their presence on the web.