Post Something REAL

Do you compare your life to friends and celebrities who post perfectly polished (read: often contrived, filtered, edited) photos on Facebook or Instagram? In today’s day and age, social media can play a big part in self esteem. We see those “perfect” digital lives cross our newsfeeds and sometimes put them on a pedestal. “Facebook — when used as a surveillance device — leads to a greater risk of feelings of envy. And the more those feelings of envy increase, the more likely it is for a person to start feeling depressed.” —PsychCentral.

When we start feeling these moments of envy, it’s important to remind ourselves that not everything is as it seems. Just because it might look like it on Facebook, life isn’t all unicorns and butterflies for everyone else. The grass ain’t always greener. There’s always more behind the scenes. Life is real, it’s messy. It’s a sink full of dirty dishes from the night before, a toddler temper tantrum in the middle of the grocery store, spilling an entire cup of coffee all over yourself while driving, a broken dryer and piles of laundry around the house, or dropping your iPhone into the toilet or a glass of water.

Social media has the unique power to teach us things that we didn’t even know we wanted to learn about, so don’t waste your time focusing on other people. Focus on yourself! Learn something. Grow. Connect. Most importantly: KEEP IT REAL. It’s great to put your best face (selfie) forward, but try to unleash your inner self once in awhile. It feels good to let it out.

Here is my challenge to you: #PostSomethingREAL. Be creative…go beyond a #nofilter #nomakeup selfie. Really dig deep. Don’t be embarrassed. Let people know that you’re not perfect. What’s the worst that can happen? I’ll be posting mine this week…

#postsomethingreal media melanie

Casting Call for San Diego Moms

Are you a FUN and UPBEAT mom who loves to save money? Would you like to participate in a shopping challenge that may be featured in a local commercial for a national retailer?

I’m looking for REAL MOMS (no actors) ages 28-45 in the SAN DIEGO AREA.

If interested, please submit the following information to mediamelanie@gmail.com with “CASTING” in the subject line:

  1. Name, age, kids/ages, city, occupation (or former occupation if unemployed), phone number and email address
  2. List the three stores you shop at most for groceries, household items, health & beauty, etc.
  3. Include a recent photo

If you fit the criteria, I will contact you to set-up a day/time to create a short casting video.

There will be multiple shoot dates throughout the year.

Please pass this along to your mom friends & family: https://www.facebook.com/notes/media-melanie/casting-call-for-san-diego-moms/10151385637207667

 

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Social Media Contests and Giveaways

I’ve Been Feeling Lucky!

I’m a sucker for contests and giveaways, especially when they involve social media. When I was a kid I used to win grocery store raffles, event prizes and all kinds of random things – bikes, TVs, a video camera, savings bonds… For awhile I thought I had “used up” my lucky streak, but now I’m feeling it again and am just waiting for my next big win.

Not only do I enter to win a number of different online contests, but also I manage and promote them for my clients as part of my social media consulting services. Facebook giveaways and Pinterest contests are great way to grow “likes” and engage fans online. With the right tools and marketing strategy, a social media contest can work wonders for a company or brand!

I recently created a “Contests & Giveaways” Pinterest board to share some of these giveaways with my friends/followers. It’s a great way to put all of my entries into one spot for easy access, especially since many contests allow for daily entry by somehow engaging with the website or blog sponsoring the giveaway. For instance, if you tweet about a contest each day you can sometimes earn extra entries. Being a new mom (check out my Mama Melanie blog), the majority of the contests and giveaways that I enter are baby-related.

My Pinterest Board

My Chance to Win $1 Million?

But then there are the “big dogs.” I heard about the Lay’s Potato Chips “Do Us A Flavor” contest on a TV commercial in July and then saw it gain momentum online.

This contest is the ultimate crowd-sourcing activity, a method of turning consumers into brand advocates. In this case, Lay’s is inviting America to craft their own original potato chip flavors for a chance to win $1,000,000 OR 1% of the potato chip sales generated from the winning flavor over the period of one year. Entrants will be judged on (a) 30% Original and creative; (b) 30% Simple, straightforward and fun; (c) 40% Potential for delicious flavor for LAY’S potato chips. 

Chef Michael Simon and Eva Longoria are the faces of the contest

The three Finalist Flavors as selected by Lay’s judges will be developed and produced as a limited time offering on or around February 10, 2013. America will then vote for the winner using an “I’d Eat That” button instead of the traditional “Like” button on Facebook. In addition to the grand prize, 2 runners-up will win $50,000 each; there are also daily winners during the contest period who will receive $50 each.

I immediately took to Facebook to start creating my own original flavors

Lay’s (known as “Walker’s” in other countries), ran the same contest in other countries. Some of the past winning flavors include: Pickled Cucumber in Serbia, Caesar-salad-flavored chips in Australia and sausage-flavored chips in Poland.

“Builder’s Breakfast” was the winner in the UK version of the contest

The submission period ends on October 6th and the winner will be announced around January 15, 2013. For more information on the contest, read the official “Rules and Regulations” or visit the “Do Us A Flavor” App on Facebook.

What flavors have you created? Share them in the comments below!

Adding a Basic Twitter Feed to your Website

Establishing a full-circle social media presence is so important in today’s digital age.  One of the key elements in achieving this goal is to incorporate social media widgets and sharing tools directly onto your website.  Your website should be the hub of your online presence with your social media profiles acting as branches extending from this central location.

Image from: Social Media Vision

Why add a Twitter feed to your website?  

First, you get more bang for your social media buck.  Website visitors will see what your most recent tweets are about and then, in turn, will follow you on Twitter simply by clicking on the widget – this is a simple way to gain followers.  Second, the Twitter feed will keep your website content fresh even if you haven’t updated it recently.  Chances are that you’ve Tweeted more recently than you’ve updated your website, so this tactic will keep your website visitors up-to-date with your social media activity all in one place.  Finally, adding a Twitter feed to your website shows that you are up with the times.  When a current or perspective client is visiting your website, they will be confident that you are “with it” and utilizing tools to make it easier to interact with your company or brand.

To generate the code to embed a Twitter feed on your website, follow these simple steps:

  1. Visit http://twitter.com/about/resources while logged into your Twitter profile

  2. Click on “Widgets” and then on Widgets for “My Website”

  3. Click on “Profile Widget” to get a Twitter feed

  4. Click on each of the following to customize your new widget

    • Settings
    • Preferences
    • Appearance
    • Dimensions 
  5. “Test” the code to make sure you are happy with the appearance and then “Finish and Grab Code” to finalize the widget

  6. Embed the code into your website or Blogger profile (utilize your web designer if you run into any issues)

To see how a Twitter widget looks on a website, please visit MediaMelanie.com

If you have any questions, please contact me today!

My next blog will cover adding a Facebook Like Box to your website…stay tuned!

Yelp’s Review Filter

As you may (or may not) know, Yelp has something called “Filtered Reviews.”  If you’ve ever written a review for a business and then noticed that it didn’t get posted to their page, it’s considered a filtered review.  If you aren’t a trusted reviewer then your review will not be readily visible to other Yelp users.  Kind of disappointing isn’t it?

On their March 18, 2010 blog, Yelp posted information about this process.

Here are 5 important things to understand about the review filter:

1. Reviews that reflect perfectly legitimate experiences are sometimes filtered out by the review filter’s algorithmic processes. We agree this can be frustrating, but it’s the high cost we accept to avoid being a lassez-faire review site that people stop using. Everyone loses when that happens

2. Reviews are never “deleted” by the review filter; they are always shown on users’ profile pages. The review filter simply syndicates established users’ reviews from their user pages onto business pages. This automated process sometimes creates the perception that reviews are being deleted and re-added over time; what’s actually happening is users are becoming more-or-less established over time.

3. The best word of mouth is organic and unsolicited. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, Yelp discourages business owners from asking people to write reviews about their businesses. It’s tough for an algorithm to tell the difference between a business owner aggressively putting a laptop in front of a client and saying, “Give me 5 stars!” and that same business owner flipping the laptop around and manufacturing a fake 5-star review about themselves.

4. We’re purposely not elaborate about all the variables that go into defining an “established” user, because it’s a Catch-22: the more descriptive we are about what makes an established user, the less effective our filter is at fighting shills and malicious content.

5. Both positive and negative reviews can be affected. This is to protect Car Mechanic A from Car Mechanic B’s writing of malicious 1-star reviews about his competitor. It also protects someone with a toothache from being lured into the wrong dentist’s office based on 25 fake 5-star reviews he wrote himself.

Tips to Become an Established Yelp Reviewer

There are a few things you can do to enhance your Yelp credibility and hopefully have your reviews become visible.  The most important thing to keep in mind is that the more you use Yelp and interact with other users, the more likely your reviews will be trusted and in turn posted.  Start with these simple solutions:

  • Upload a profile photo
  • Add personal information to your profile
  • Create a custom Yelp URL
  • Review at least 3 businesses
  • Add friends on Yelp
  • Follow other reviewers
  • Send other reviewers compliments
  • Mark other user reviews as “Funny,” “Cool” or “Useful”

Managing Your Business Yelp Profile

If you’re a business owner who is discouraged by the amount of filtered reviews that don’t show up on your business page, you aren’t alone.  It’s important to remember that the quality of those reviewing your business is sometimes more important than the review itself.  Having more reviews can help your Yelp ranking so you can stand out from the competition.  There are also a few ways you can enhance  Yelp visibility for your business:

  • Claim your business profile (it’s free)
  • Address any negative reviews in a positive way
  • Interact with those who review your business
  • Offer a Yelp Deal
If you need help managing your Yelp account or other Social Media profiles, please contact me today for a complimentary consultation.

San Diego Summer Dog Events 2011

It’s an action-packed summer for San Diego dog enthusiasts!  Here’s a quick run-down of upcoming dog-friendly events in San Diego.  I hope to see you there!

Dog Days of Summer at PETCO Park 

July 27th – Join the Padres and Guinness World Records for the annual Dog Days of Summer at PETCO Park as they try to certify a record for the most dogs at a professional sporting event.  The application period is now closed, but for those who will be attending with their pooch, PETCO provided complimentary tickets to the Padres Vs. Diamondbacks 7:05 pm game which will feature a doggie parade and many vendors.  It’s sure to be a barking good time!

Doggie Street Festival 

July 31st – The 3rd annual Doggie Festival is the largest adoption focused festival in Southern California.  All friendly dogs are welcome (on-leash) to bring their owners and participate in the free fun to include entertainment, good eats, valuable pet information, products, services, speakers, music, special guests and more.  The event will be held at Hilton San Diego Bayfront Park from 9 am to 4 pm.  To learn more visit:  http://www.doggiestreetfestival.org/.

Bark for Life San Diego

August 27th – The American Cancer Society Bark For LifeTM is a noncompetitive walk event for dogs and their owners to raise funds and awareness for the American Cancer Society’s fight against cancer. I LOVE this event and cause!  By supporting Bark For Life, you help the American Cancer Society save lives, and that helps us move closer to our ultimate goal of a world with less cancer and more birthdays.  So bring your best canine friend and join us for a fun-filled day starting with a walk, and then continuing with demonstrations, contests, and games.  For more information visit:  www.relayforlife.org/barksandiegoca

And don’t forget…if you’re thinking of adding a furry family member to your home, visit one of the many San Diego dog adoption organizations:

Social Media Fundraising

Social media is a wonderful tool for connecting with friends, sharing news and promoting businesses.  Social media has also proven to be a successful tool for online fundraising.  I recently read a post from  Socialbrite about the success of the Trail of Tails Pet Walk and Festival, who raised $41,000 for the Jacksonville, Fla., Humane Society using social media tools.  As both a dog enthusiast and a social media professional, I am truly inspired by their success.

The San Diego “Barking Beach Bash” Walk for Animals is coming up on May 7th; I participated last year and had a blast!  This year I decided to form my own team, Media Melanie Mutts.  Our team’s goal is to raise AT LEAST $1,000 in donations.  With the right mix of social media and in-person fundraising, I’m confident that we can achieve this task.  The next 51 days will consist of using Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and other social sites to gain the support of other animal advocates who can spare a few dollars to help a dedicated team of genuine animal lovers.

A big “thank you” is already in order to my teammate and co-captain, Fantastically Faith, who always encourages me to make my dreams a reality.  Media Melanie Mutts would like to thank Point Loma Pet Pantry for their generous donation.  If you’d like to support our team, please click here.

Our furry friends provide us with companionship and unconditional love, therefore reducing our stress levels. My goal is to “Pay it Forward” to adoptable dogs by finding them loving, forever homes so I can reduce the stress in their lives.  I’m about to organize a small dog adoption event in San Diego (thanks to Point Loma Pet Pantry) and I hope to roll-out bigger adoption events in 2011 and 2012 with the help of Brigitte Taylor Events and Pretties with Pitties.

I’m also starting to post adoptable dogs in my Media Melanie Mutts Facebook album.  If you or someone you know is considering dog adoption in San Diego, please let me know what you’re looking for – I make an excellent dog-owner matchmaker.

As I continue to see success as a social media consultant, I hope to incorporate more dog-related businesses and organizations into my client mix.  Please contact me if you need professional assistance with web marketing, video production or social media profile set-up/management.

If you have a successful social media fundraising campaign that you’d like to share (dog-related or not), please leave a comment!  Sharing is caring.

#MediaMelanieMutts

Social Media and Dog Adoptions – My Pledge to Make a Difference

I love social media and have made it a big part of my life by starting my business, Media Melanie.  I also love dogs!  These are my two rescues, Paco and Maya:

Paco is almost 2 years old and was rescued from Second Chance Dog Rescue of San Diego; he was a Mexican street dog from Tijuana.  Maya is about 4 years old and was adopted from the San Diego Humane Society; I have no idea how she ended up there, but I’m glad she ended up with me.  They are both a huge part of my life and I wish I could adopt (a lot) more, but I don’t have the ability to do so at the moment.   Henceforth:

Love for Social Media + Love for Dogs = Promoting Adoptable Dogs (not adopting more dogs)

The past few weeks I’ve casually posted links to adoptable dogs on my Facebook and Twitter profiles.  My heart fluttered today when I noticed that a Shiba Inu I had grown fond of and longed to adopt myself finally found a home. It may or may not have had anything to do with my social media efforts, but either way I’m happy and overjoyed when adorable dogs like him are adopted.  Since I can’t adopt them myself, I’m promising to be a voice for them by promoting them on Facebook and Twitter as often as I can, in hopes that I can help them find a good home.  Here are links to successful social media/adoption campaigns:

http://social-media-optimization.com/2010/10/successful-pet-adoption-drive-campaign-on-facebook/

http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2010-12-03/story/social-media-used-drive-pet-adoption-jacksonville

What Can You Do?

Please follow me on Twitter @mediamelanie, “Like” me on Facebook and subscribe to my blog on WordPress. When you  notice that I’m posting about a dog who needs a home, please RT (retweet) the post or share it with your friends.  It’s that simple.  A little bit of social media love goes a long way.  Sharing is caring!

A TV Show in my Future?  Let’s Make it Happen!

One of my role models is Shelly Bookwalter from the show “Last Chance Highway” on Animal Planet. Check out videos of Shelly here! Shelly works with Kyle Peterson, owner of P.E.T.S. Animal Rescue Road Trips.

Together they have allowed for tens of thousands of dogs (and cats) to be saved from high rate kill shelters.  Awesome. I wish I had the resources to do what they do.  BUT…

With my love of social media and dogs as well as my experience in TV production, I’m ultimately dreaming of getting my own TV show where I go down to the streets of Tijuana, rescue dogs and find them homes.  How amazing would that be?  All I need is a little bit of support:

  • Resources to provide a safe and loving location to house the dogs until I find them homes
  • A strategic partnership with an existing dog rescue, foster program or organization (think Cesar Millan)
  • An investor to fund a pilot episode
  • Some really awesome volunteers and animal enthusiasts

Please spread the word to help my dream come true and also to make a difference in the lives of dogs.  After all, dogs don’t have a voice of their own.  Feel free to add to the idea and comment on this blog, I’d love to hear what you think.

Melanie Kellogg

“Media Melanie”

Who is Media Melanie?

Media Melanie is a freelance Media & Marketing Specialist based out of San Diego, CA.  Areas of expertise include:

  • TV & Film Production
  • Media Buying
  • Social Media
  • Ad Sales
  • Copywriting
  • Email Blasts
  • Promotions
  • Event Planning

Media Melanie has years of experience in a variety of professional settings that include an ad agency, a corporate marketing office and on-set at multiple TV and video shoots including TLC’s “What Not to Wear.”  Media Melanie is also a published freelance writer who contributed to multiple issues of Modern Fix Magazine. 

The most recent educational milestone for Media Melanie was in 2008 when she received a “Media Marketing Specialist” certificate from San Diego State University’s College of Extended Studies; she also earned a BA in Communications (cum laude) in 2002. 

For a full professional profile please visit Linked In and also keep up with Media Melanie updates on Facebook and Twitter!

Size Does Matter

Size does matter. These days the size of your friend list on Facebook, followers on Twitter and network on LinkedIn can make you or break your role or position in any field or social circle.  Is your cable package big enough?  Do you have the premium stations to watch that hyped-up series on HBO like the rest of your friends?  Those with basic cable and local stations are dwindling, especially with the downfall of analog TV to full digital and DVR. What’s the average amount of video content you consume in a month between Hulu, YouTube, NetFlix, OnDemand or even ads at the gas pump? Good luck measuring. Unless you are one of the few and proud who has sworn off social media, refused to get a cell phone or still protest an email address – you know exactly what I mean. Personal media consumption is growing at an uncontrollable rate. 

   

If the size of the proverbial boat matters, then so shouldn’t the “motion in the ocean.” Society is increasingly driven by and motivated towards media outlets.  If you’re pushing out content then make sure it’s relevent and worthwhile to those your push it to. Nobody wants to be inundated with more junk in their online trunk. When offering a product or service try to consider how your next status update will be viewed by your customers or clients. Conversely, take in quality content to increase your knowledge base.  So the next time you post a status update or tweet a thought please try to make it matter – the Internet seems infinite but that doesn’t mean it needs more clutter; make it a “resource” not a “regress.”