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Building an Online Presence

A major focus of my business over the last six months has been on how I present myself to the world. Consciously putting images and messages out of an intelligent, thoughtful person who nurtures others is part of a mission to promote my business as a writer, coach and retreat facilitator.

While attending a recent workshop on social media marketing, I became aware of how my past can haunt the person I want to portray today. One woman in the class had grown up in my hometown around the same time as me. She had an air of familiarity that I did not. In fact, I didn't recognize her at all.

Just being in the space with someone who seemed to know me like that, gave me pause. It was as if she'd checked me out online. I often forget that people might do that, discounting my own presence in social media, my website or any other web source.

Panic set in. Until the last year, I had been a lot freer with my opinions on Facebook and Twitter. I secretly hoped there wasn't some tidbit that stuck with her like some have stuck with me.

Are there fresh starts on social media? I learned how to use it by necessity, failed, made it too personal and hit roadblock after roadblock trying to impress people who might someday give me a blurb for a book, a referral to an agent or other business networking opportunities. It feels somewhat slimy when I think about selling my soul for favors in an ambiguous place such as Facebook.

So, my son who has been using Facebook since college told me that I should hire someone, give them my content and let them put it out for me. How would that happen? Who would I hire? Some measure of self-sufficiency is given up in the interim, I think-or is it an investment? Seems like two sides to the same coin. And not one that I'm willing to flip at this point.

Social media marketing isn't like choosing a hair color for a character that you write into a story. It's not about their word choice. It's more about control over your reputation.

A while back I told people that, when using social media that I try to follow the "Thumper" rule. That cute little rabbit on the movie "Bambi" had one of the best lines I've ever heard:

"If you can't say somethin' nice, don't say nothin' at all."

My love/hate relationship with self-promotion, (yes, I sometimes like to promote myself) continues. It was my third time hearing the same material from the same presenter, Bonnie Jean Feldkamp, at Women Writing for (a) Change. I keep getting snippets of things that make more sense and help me to hone this tool just a bit better.

For now, I'll mind my p's and q's, remember that my words matter and that people do in fact have a genuine interest in what I have to say.

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