Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Innovative Tech Companies Who Foster Social Change

Mashable has a great series about social entrepreneurship and featured more companies in their blog post today. It's nice to see, that despite the economy, companies are forging ahead with "bigger" missions -- other than just making the almighty dollar. These companies are using technology in innovative ways to help and educate people, especially women. 

Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action caught my eye - what a fantastic idea to help moms-to-be! The company provides expectant moms with free health information - sent directly to their mobile/smartphones. 

According to Mashable, this is why the company has achieved such positive success:
"Why It’s Working: In 2008, India had the most maternal-related deaths out of any other country, according to the Indian governmentMobile Alliance for Maternal Action(MAMA), works with low-income and at-risk mothers and families in India — as well as Bangladesh and South Africa, which are countries with high populations of mobile phone users — to provide vital health information through SMS text messaging and simple voice messages."
Do you work with companies who are dedicated to social change? How are you (or your company) using technology to make a positive impact in your local community? Change begins in our backyard. I'd love to hear your stories - please leave a comment and share!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Are You a Socially Conscious Entrepreneur?

Mashable had an interesting article that caught my eye this morning, 5 Socially Conscious Startups Innovating for Good. I also wrapped up my Inspiring Women Summit last week, and listened to amazing women who are using their innovation and creativity to make positive changes. I became re-energized as I listened to the speakers share their stories. As a result, the Summit inspired me to sign up as a social action representative/volunteer for the Miss Representation campaign: 
"The film Miss Representation exposes how American youth are being sold the concept that women and girls’ value lies in their youth, beauty and sexuality. It’s time to break that cycle of mistruths.
In response we created, a call-to-action campaign that seeks to empower women and girls to challenge limiting media labels in order to realize their potential.
We are uniting individuals around a common, meaningful goal to spark millions of small actions that ultimately lead to a cross-generational movement to eradicate gender stereotypes and create lasting cultural and sociological change." 
As a female copywriter and marketer, this is a cause that speaks directly to my heart. Young women need positive role models and are constantly bombarded with conflicting, and often sexist, messages within mainstream media. I am a huge fan of inspirational documentaries that spread a vital message to the world. I am now working towards finding a donated space to screen Miss Representation in my local community.

As I reflect upon last week's Summit and the Mashable article, I examined my own social consciousness as a business leader. What contribution can I give back to the world? As a former non-profit fundraiser, my career revolved around helping others and it is what made my job so rewarding. I felt like I was part of a higher purpose - a larger cause that went beyond just me.

Ask yourself this question: are you a socially conscious entrepreneur, and what are you doing to make a difference/impact in your community? I encourage you to take one small step  today - how can you help others and make a difference? There is sheer power and force when people come together and work for a higher cause. Choose a cause that personally resonates with you and where you feel you can leave a positive imprint on our world. 

PS - if you are interested in hosting a local screening of Miss Representation in your city or town, check out MissRepresentation for more information! 

Monday, April 9, 2012

How to Create a Positive Buzz Online with Social Media

I was recently interviewed for the Record Searchlight newspaper (Redding, CA) by Dana Cortez (thanks Dana!) and shared my insight on why it's important to stay proactive with your social media marketing and why you need to have a plan in place.

Dana's article touches upon online reputation management basics. It offers helpful tips from other social media professionals on how you can generate positive online buzz around your business brand. The articles brings up great points, but here are more online rep tips that weren't covered: 

1. Set up Google alerts. You can set up the alerts under your name, business name or certain keywords. Emails are directly sent to your email when the name or keyword appears in Google.

2. Track and monitor analytics for your website, blog and social media. If you use a social media monitoring platform (i.e. HootSuite, TweetDeck, Vocus, etc.) analytics are already built into the software. This allows you to better manage comments and keep an eye on your traffic and page rank (PR)/search engine results.

3. Type your name into Google and see what you find. I did this recently and found one of my interviews posted on an Eastern European website. You never know what you will find. It's a good way to see where your name pops up in search engines.

4. Don't engage in online battle - keep it short, sweet and professional. This point was touched upon in the article, but I wanted to reiterate how important it is to be professional. I notice people on forums and LinkedIn groups who engage in nasty banter back and forth. It's not only rude but it makes you, as the business professional, look catty and mean-spirited. Not to mention, it's a poor reflection on your brand's reputation.

5. Lend a helping hand. The one point that wasn't touched upon in the article is that social media is about helping people. It's not about spamming people with your products and services. Be authentic and genuine and offer to help people by sharing information and offering feedback (when asked).

You don't have to create a complicated social media marketing plan, but it helps to be prepared, stay aware and proactively monitor your online reputation. For more online rep tips, check out my How to Protect Your Online Rep From Spammers & Scammers - my two-part blog series with Karen Elliott.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Positive Benefits of Collaboration

I am re-reading Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose" and found a quote that fits with this week's theme -- collaboration.
"Enlightened collectives will fulfill an important function in the arising of the new consciousness. Just as egoic collectives pull you into unconsciousness and suffering, the enlightened collective can be a vortex for consciousness that will accelerate the planetary shift."
The above passage packs a wallop. In my newly launched LinkedIn group and blog, Organic & Authentic, the topic of collaboration was brought up this morning -- thanks, George Butters. Speaking of collaboration, Organic & Authentic would not have been possible without my co-creator and fellow copywriter, Vanessa Nix Anthony.

I shared with my LinkedIn group that I feel there is a shift happening in the way we do business in 2012. There is a higher consciousness happening, and I see colleagues and business professionals turning their creative ideas into amazing collaborative partnerships. The way we did business ten years ago isn't necessarily working anymore, especially in our ever-changing digital world. There are more opportunities for genuine and beneficial collaborations.

As I thought more about the topic of collaboration, I realize how MUCH I have benefited from collaborations over the years. As a non-profit fundraiser and special events director, I was always collaborating with other people. As a fundraiser, my main job was to forge relationships and partnerships with corporations and businesses. As I reflect upon my non-profit career, team work always came into play whether it was working with fellow staff, volunteers or committees. There is no way I could have been as successful with my campaigns and events if it hadn't been for other people's helping hands.

As a solopreneur running my own business, I took that "collaborative" mindset and put it into play as a copywriter and marketing consultant. I currently work with an amazing hospitality marketing agency in Texas, Adapt Marketing & Design, as their contracted copywriter/content manager. My role has expanded with the agency and I'm going into my third year with them. Adapt is a good example of how collaboration has helped me grow as a professional entrepreneur. I have learned how to work effectively within an agency structure, and have been treated like a partner and not just a "copywriter". The owner and I have established a cohesive working relationship, and we mutually respect each other's talents and skills.

I use the term "partner" because that's how I approach my collaborations. I don't see them as a competitive race to the top filled with jealousy and trying to "outsmart" each other. It's about working together as a team, playing off each other strengths. We all bring skills and ideas to the tables so why reinvent the wheel?

Not every collaboration will mesh, but that's part of the ebb and flow of doing business in the 21st century and working with diverse personalities. Egos get in the way; people aren't flexible and they let their own fears and insecurities trip them up. It's up to us to test the waters and decide what works and doesn't work for us. If a collaboration fizzles, dust yourself off, learn from the experience, and then move forward.

Whether you are a solopreneur or lead a team of 500 employees, you sometimes need a helping hand. Some of the greatest leaders and innovators didn't rise to success by themselves. Sometimes "two heads are better than one"...or three...or four!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Organic & Authentic Business Professionals and Solopreneurs

I just launched my new collaboration, Organic & Authentic, with Portland Writer, Vanessa Nix Anthony. Vanessa and I originally connected through LinkedIn and we both had the same mutual thoughts about the negative Nellies and Neals we witnessed floating around LinkedIn groups. Competitive spirit is good, but not when it comes at the expense of others.

As new media continues to evolve and change, it is my hope that more people will get back to the heart and authenticity of their business/job. In our technology-saturated world, it's become easy for people to hide behind  a screen and be a judgmental cyber bully. It's time to ditch the hype - and time to leave your ego at the door.  Rise above the cattiness and drama. Organic & Authentic is all about supporting each other and aligning ourselves with people who genuinely are happy for us and want to see us succeed.

Here's a sneak preview of our new colloboration:

Organic and Authentic is the brainchild of Vanessa Nix Anthony and Therese Pope, two hardworking solopreneurs who connected on LinkedIn (LI) and found they had much in common (copywriting, cooking, holistic health and a bent towards the positive.) Tired of all the spammers, negativity, whining and complaining that many of the networking groups on LI had evolved into, Vanessa and Therese decided to start their own group built on the tenets of positivity, camaraderie, and REAL information sharing.
We believe that being positive can bring more opportunity into your life and a deeper sense of satisfaction in your career path as well as your life.
We started our LinkedIn group in order to foster a positive place for the exchange of ideas. To learn from other solopreneurs, small and mid-sized business owners, and corporate professionals about what works and what doesn’t in the new media world of business today.
Stay tuned...we'll be adding more posts to Organic & Authentic...and insightful, uplifting interviews with business professionals and leaders! 

Therese Pope, Copywriter/Content Developer & Digital Buzz-icist

Content Writing & Marketing Tips ** Online Buzz Branding

** Digital & Social Media Strategies