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Social Rider

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2 finalists in the search for my motorcycle

2 finalists in the search for my motorcycle

 

When I bought my first motorcycle in 2000, I did lots of online research and ended up with a great starter bike: 2000 Buell Blast.  I sold the Blast 2 years later for reasons of practicality, but kept riding in my dreams. Cut to 2014, ready to get back on the iron horse, I did online research once again (click here to see Julia Austine’s Pinterest Board “Motorcycle Mama”), but was having trouble deciding between the two top contenders: Suzuki Gladius or a Yamaha FZ-07. I was leaning towards one over the other, but I wanted some opinions from outside my head, so I posted the above split pic on my Instagram account (click here to see @juliaaustine on Instagram) and tagged all the people I knew on Instagram that rode motorcycles. What’s interesting about this is that while some of these people I do know in real life, some I’ve only conversed with through Instagram!

My moto comes home with me!

My moto comes home with me!

After test riding both bikes, I made the final decision and went with the Suzuki Gladius. The first thing I did after I rode it home was to post a picture on Instagram and thank everyone who’d shared their thoughts on my bike selection. I shared the same photo on my Twitter account (click here to see @juliaaustine on Twitter)

Date Ride

Date Ride

Some of my first rides were with my husband, and since he has only had his bike and his license for the last 2 years, this was something brand new for us! I recorded images of these rides and created a hashtag for our “date rides”: #VeronicaandOctavius (the names I’d given our motorcycles) and again put them up on Instagram. As I’d run into friends and acquaintances in the real world, that had Instagram accounts, they would ask about my motorcycle or comment on my big bike decision. It’s fascinating to see how our online worlds and our daily lives overlap and combine until they can become as blurred as the trees by the side of the road.

Helmet Selfie

Helmet Selfie

 

Though not a big selfie taker, I did want to capture the chubbiness of my cheeks and the glint in my eye caused by suiting up for a ride by taking a “helmet selfie”, which I shared on Instagram and then used as my personal Facebook profile pic, to announce to my Facebook friends that I was back on two wheels. I also updated my Facebook cover photo to a shot of my Suzuki Gladius. My workplace wanted to share in the fun and posted a pic of me leaving for the day on my bike on Instagram! (click here to see @fiitfu on Instagram)

Moto Commute

Moto Commute

While riding a motorcyle can be a solitary pursuit, all this facebooking, tweeting and instagramming was making me feel much more connected to the two-wheeled community near and far. How have you used Social Media to “meet up” with others who have shared interests?

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Social Animal

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Hazel the Catahoula by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

Hazel the Catahoula by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

I like to follow people on Social Media with whom I share common interests: food, Social Media itself, photography, music, local events, food, Public Relations, food, parenting, etc. I used to unfollow people who would constantly post images of something I was not interested in: their pets.

Hazel the Catahoula by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

Hazel the Catahoula by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

This changed, a bit, with the new addition to our family, Hazel the Catahoula puppy. When we decided we were looking for a pup, I started a board on Pinterest called: Puppy Love with images of dogs that made me go, “Awwww”.  There were lots of Catahoulas and Corgis, and this new interest caused some curiosity and raised some suspicions among my close friends. Of course, once we got our Catahoula home, I instantly started sharing many adorable photos of our sweet puppy on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Realizing, that I was turning into someone that I would unfollow in a heartbeat, I vowed to vary my sharings and never do two puppy posts in a row.

Hazel the Catahoula by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

Hazel the Catahoula by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

Surprisingly, to me, I had many requests for more dog pictures and constant updates of what she was up to. Especially on Instagram, I had questions and comments from dog-focused posters. Catahoulas are not very commonly seen in Canada, they are a Southern hunting dog and the State Dog of Louisiana. So, we get stopped a lot on walks and people often think she is an Australian Blue Heeler, due to her colouring.

Hazel the Catahoula by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

Hazel the Catahoula by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

Through these new interactions, I even made a connection through Instagram with another Catahoula owner who adopted one of Hazel’s relatives! This was pretty exciting to me and now I actually look forward to other people’s pet posting.

Hazel the Catahoula by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

Hazel the Catahoula by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

Being a dog owner opened me up to a new interest group and automatically made me a member.

Relevant Articles:

Mystic the Catahoula (Dog Gone Funn)

Asher the Catahoula Leopard Dog (Clarke Studio Pet Photography)

Joey Lehrman and Keeping it Local (Joey Lehrman)

Do you like or dislike lots of personal pet photos on your Social feeds?

Facebook Fan Page Possibilities

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Facebook is the virtual place to be for businesses looking to engage with customers and keep them up to date on the latest and greatest. Since it is free and easy to set up there is no reason you shouldn’t have a Facebook Page, unless of course you intend to do a poor job of setting it up and then never check it. But you wouldn’t do that, right?

Let’s take a look at a local foodie business’s Facebook Page and see what they are doing right. I recently checked out Soirette Macarons & Tea based on a blogger Joseph Mallozzi’s recommendation . The man knows his macarons.

Overall, the page is well done with lots of interaction from the fans and, fortunately, macarons are highly photogenic!

Strengths

  • Posting frequency: updates almost daily
  • Photos: lots of them!
  • Interaction: likes and replies to fan comments

Areas for Improvement

  • More “About”: Include the story of Soirette
  • Include Twitter and Pinterest links: @soirettemacaron & Soirette Macarons & Tea
  • Video: Maybe a little something like the following that I shot and edited on my iPad:

Do you think a video tour of the store and products would bring a certain je ne sais quoi to Soirette’s page?

Can Social Media Be a Piece of Pie?

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Peachy Keen
Peach pie may not seem that scary to you, but it was a pastry that I regarded with fear. Just as many have fears about using Twitter or Google+. I love pie and I have very high standards when it comes to the crust. I would buy frozen tart shells or make a graham cracker crust to avoid trying my hand at creating a perfect flaky crust. Until one day, laden with a bushel of perfectly ripe peaches, I knew it was time to master a lattice crust. Grabbing a few trusted cookbooks, I researched what the pros said about pie. Armed with a scale for precise measurements and a can-do attitude, I rolled up my sleeves and got flour and fat under my fingernails. The resulting pie was better than I hoped it would be and I know it tasted that much sweeter because I’d faced my fear and come out on top with a pie!
Social media can seem daunting from a distance, but once you do your preparation and get some hands on experience you’ll see it’s just a matter of getting comfortable. Plus, the rewards can be rich. With traditional advertising losing people’s attention and respect, companies need to find new ways to engage consumers and expose them to their product or service.
Break It Down
The first step is to figure out your target market and find the networks that they like to engage in. Facebook is pretty much a no brainer at this point. Everybody and their grandmother is on Facebook and a business page is free and fairly low maintenance. Linked In is another low maintenance site that connects more with the business crowd, great for business to business services!  Twitter is becoming the method of choice for connecting with brands by individuals for expertise or customer service. If you’re targeting a female audience and your product or service has a visual appeal, Pinterest is the place to be. For bricks and mortar business, Foursquare is a great way to see who your most loyal customers are and what they are sharing about your business. Now, Google+ had a lot of buzz that hasn’t converted into a whole lotta love, but maybe it’s time to take a second look at some of their new features.
 Digg It
If you’ve read the linked articles about some of the top networks and want to get more info on Social Media options check out Digg, a site that compiles articles submitted by users. The more people who “Digg” an article, the more exposure it gets. Once your research is done, and you’ve picked the best place to start, embrace the experience and get the most out of it.
Even better than a piece of cake, Social Media can be a piece of pie: Worth the effort! So, where are you going to put your peaches?
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