Social Media Breakfast Madison

You’ll lose.

This is just one of the gems shared by Karen Putz at Wednesday’s SMB Mad gathering. Far from an “ordinary mommy blogger” Karen shared her inspirational personal and professional journey into the world of social media with humor, insight, style and class.

“Yes, I married a putz.” With that opening line, how could you not like her? Karen manages the social media accounts of several non-profit organizations and small businesses with narrow niche (you decide how to pronounce niche!) She shared the tips and tricks she discovered over the years, especially the value of having a memorable Twitter handle like hers @DeafMom .

A few opening questions set the stage: “Is it worth going into social media” she asked? To answer this she related the story of her dad and his business getting left behind. “No one can find him on the web and he certainly is not generating any talk about his business.”

“You say you don’t have time? You make time everyday to go to the bathroom; you can even do a little Tweeting then!”

“Are your webcasts and podcasts caption enabled?” If not, you are missing an audience of 38 million hearing impaired people who buy goods and services just like you do.”

Mommy blogging

Karen started with a simple blog in 2006 titled “A Deaf Mom Shares her World. She liked to write and had things to say. She had no idea those two key words, deaf & mom would set her apart and help define her to two unique audiences.

“It just grew, and I became known as a mommy blogger. People found me when they searched for ‘mom’ or ‘deaf.’” She related a story about a Motrin commercial that implied moms who wore baby slings were always in pain. To put it simply, mom’s got mad. They lit up the internet with blogs and posts, and for 48 hours the backlash grew and picked up steam. The catch was that Motrin wasn’t paying attention until Monday morning. “You can’t take the weekend off! You have to pay attention to social media and immediately reply to feedback or risk ruining your reputation.”

The day everything changed

Have you ever thought about the usefulness of a drive-up service when you are deaf?  The call of a milk shake was strong, and one day Karen pulled up to an “I can’t say their name” restaurant.

She pulled up to the window and ordered two milkshakes. “Sorry ma’am you have to drive around and give us the order through the speaker.”

“I’m deaf, I won’t be able to hear you speaking.”

“Sorry ma’am, you have to drive around to place your order.”

“I just want 2 milkshakes, I’m deaf!”

He threatened to call the police for her holding up the line.

So what does a writer do? After driving off sans-milkshake, Karen went home and blogged about it. After one simple post, and one tweet, over 100 blogs picked up the story, and she was interviewed by multiple national newspapers, FOX and ABC news among others.

“Remember, Google is Latin for ‘lives forever.

What’s your handle?

As mentioned, Karen’s Twitter handle is @DeafMom. She cautioned against complicated Twitter handles with numbers, symbols or underscores. Keep it memorable and short. She also spoke about how she utilizes lists to build her community in a broad and efficient way. In addition, she encouraged the use of Twitter to monitor your competition, as well as track how often your brand is mentioned.

Content doesn’t have to be “usual stuff expected” be who you are. Work in your passion, allow others to get to know you, weave it in. You are interesting! Show it!

Follow someone new and off beat and learn from them.

Tell your story.

Share what is unique about you or your business.

“Are you showing, teaching, or giving someone something new about your business? If you are going to fall asleep on your own feed, everyone else will too.”

Karen went on to say “you never know who is watching you, so if you write something, ask yourself, ‘would I show this to my grandmother?’ before you hit post. “You just don’t know how what you write will impact people” she said.

“Don’t think too narrow, that what you post is just seen on your page.” She told a story about how a gentleman from Germany contacted her who saw a picture of the back of his cousin from Indiana on her Facebook page. Now she and the cousin are friends and do barefoot water skiing together.

“By sharing your story, and utilizing network, it can lead to sponsors, but the best thing is the connections you make are priceless.”

Best tip of All

“Be Weird” by Tom Ziglar, Born to Win

“If you blend in, you will be blended. People are tired of being spammed, the most powerful way to connect is through your story. Instead of focusing on sales, focus on the message and use your unique story to really connect with people.”

Thank you to our sponsors

Presenting Sponsor: Al Zobel, Mass Mutual Insurance

Ongoing – Engaging Social, Robert Half International

Supporting – Suttle-Straus, Melissa Carlson Creative

Written by Annie Rubens, Rubens Consulting: Creative consultant for dynamic writing and professional photography annie.rubens@gmail.com

Photos by Bob Wydra of Did It Direct, carbon responsible marketing diditdirect@yahoo.com