How To Build A Social Media Strategy: 5 Tips For Businesses Getting Started

  1. We’re all experimenting. Even the bloggers and Facebook users who look like they know what they’re doing are just experimenting, so if you feel a little fumbly, remember that use of social media as a marketing tool is in its infancy. Don’t let anybody tell you there’s only one way to use Yelp or Pinterest. They haven’t seen your way yet.
  2. Get a teenager. I assumed my teenage intern would be able to fix my computer, but she surprised me by mentoring me in social media use as well. And it’s no wonder. The kids in their teen years today don’t see social media as a new way of communicating–they see it as the ordinary way of communicating. Your most extraordinary ideas for social media will spring from the mind of your nearest teenager.
  3. Be generous and polite. Participating in social media means participating in a conversation, and even if you’re new to social media, you’ve been practicing conversation since your toddler years. You know the rules: Listen. Attend to the exchange. Respond meaningfully. Use The Golden Rule. Wish more people would comment on your blog? How many blog comments have you posted today?
  4. Match your marketing goals to your social media tactics. What are your marketing goals, and how can social media help you achieve them? Twitter might be great for alerting your followers to a big sale, but you can’t use it to release your 500-word white paper. Match each social media tool you’re using with a goal from your marketing plan, and you’ll feel clearer about why you’re using social media in the first place.
  5. Have fun! Think of social media as a big cocktail party in the sky. The people drawing a crowd are the ones who look like they’re having a good time.

The Sexy Grammarian arouses entrepreneurs and professionals to build their own strategy, brand, social media, and marketing content with private sessions, intimate workshops, custom style guides, and free online lessons and tips, such as this tip about why your company’s name should not end with an s or this advice about how to be a sexy social media writer. And check out these useful tips for business owners from last year’s Small Business Week: How To Get Organized, How To Engage Your Social Media Community, How To Set Goals, and How To Become A Sought-After Speaker.

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Network Like A Pro: 5 Hot Tips

Small Business Week is right around the corner, and organizers have planned some great events. Are you ready to network your heart out? Here’s the Sexy Grammar approach:

  1. Whom do you want to meet? I usually find the best solutions to my business conundrums in other people, so before I go out networking, I ask myself, “What does my business need right now?” Need a logo? You need to meet a talented graphic designer. Need an office space? You need to meet a good real estate agent. Go to the event looking for someone specific to help your business grow.
  2. Seek quality people, not quantities of people. It’s easy to meet a lot of people and hand out a lot of business cards at a networking event, but how many of those 30-second glad-hand moments turn into valuable business connections? Seek out one or two high quality connections, and you may find your next collaborator or mentor.
  3. “Have you met anyone interesting here?” It’s one of my favorite conversation starters at a networking event. Suddenly, your conversation partner becomes your co-conspirator. Mine the people you meet for the connections you both want to make.
  4. Streamline your follow-up. After the event, don’t let your stack of collected business cards become an object of follow-up guilt and misery. Instead, break down the stack into 3 groups: 1) people you really need, 2) people who really need you, and 3) people you’ll probably never see again. Write to the first group right away. Give the second group a chance to approach you first by putting them off a day or two. Send a polite but short note to the folks in the last group whenever you get around to it.
  5. Look your best. Don’t over-drink. Have fun. Just because the party has the word networking in front of it doesn’t mean the basic rules of party attendance don’t apply. Look great to feel confident. Have a soda between those free glasses of wine, and have some fun. It’s a party!

The Sexy Grammarian arouses entrepreneurs and professionals to build their own strategy, brand, social media, and marketing content with private sessions, intimate workshops, custom style guides, and free writing secrets such as this tip about why your company’s name should not end with an s or this advice about how to be a sexy social media writer. And check out these useful tips for business owners from last year’s Small Business Week: How To Get Organized, How To Engage Your Social Media Community, How To Set Goals, and How To Become A Sought-After Speaker.

Where the Professionals Work: Caffé Bianco

This is a 5-star review

39 Sutter St
San Francisco’s Financial District

Sometimes I like to hang out in the Financial District, land of the diagonal crosswalk, women who pair their corporate drag with sneakers, and men who still smoke cigars. When I’m here, I like to get lunch and a little writing done at Caffé Bianco.

This place feels like an old boys’ club hangout. The owner’s at the counter and has been for thirty years. Next door you can get your shoes shined. Suits huddle at tables, talking finance. I don’t know if they’ve got a wifi connection or many available electrical outlets, but nobody’s going to throw you out for opening your laptop either. People here are working, whether they’re puzzling a crossword on their lunch hours or sealing a mega deal with a venture capitalist.

I can get a pot of tea that’s properly brewed or a lovingly crafted espresso drink, and the lunch selection boasts hot pasta dishes, intriguing salads, and the usual sandwich fare, all at very reasonable prices.

I love the architecture too: the grand column in the middle of the seating area, the dark passage from Sutter to Market, and the great sunny widows, where I like to sit. When I want an even more serious focus in the air around me, I brave the treacherous stairs to the glamorous balcony, where the upper window, railing edge, and mirrored walls create an airy atmosphere that’s great for writing.

Take yourself out to a cafe to write. It’s good for your writing and good for small businesses in your neighborhood too. This review has been cross posted on Yelp, where you can read all The Sexy Grammarian’s cafe reviews as well as reviews clients have written about our services.

Get Ready for Small Business Week

 

In less than a month, San Francisco will celebrate Small Business Week, and if you’re in business for yourself or if you’re a leader in any small business endeavor, you owe it to yourself and the success of your company to attend.

Being your own boss can get lonely. I go to this event every year to meet my fellow small business owners because smart, savvy San Francisco small business people come out for this event and share their knowledge and enthusiasm generously.

According to the SF Small Business Week Committee, San Francisco’s is the largest local Small Business Week in the country with more than 4,000 attendees throughout the week. Thriving small businesses pump the heart of this great city, where, according to this month’s issue of 7×7 Magazine, 99% of our registered businesses have fewer than 100 employees.

So which events should you attend? Here’s my run-down:

Flavors of San Francisco $10 Admission
Monday, May 14, 2012, 5:30-7:30pm – Metreon
San Francisco Small Business Week kicks off with a gala reception in the City View Room at the newly remodeled  Metreon and features small bites from more than 30 local restaurants. Hot tip: I’ll see you there early. The food always runs out.

Board of Supervisors Small Business Award Ceremony FREE!
Tuesday, May 15, 2012, 3:30pm – City Hall
This is the sweetest awards ceremony ever! Go cheer for your local favorites while the Small Business Commission, the Mayor, and the Board of Supervisors honor one exceptional small business from each of San Francisco’s 11 districts.

San Francisco Small Business Conference FREE!
Wednesday, May 16, 2012, 8am-5pm – SFSU Downtown Campus
Leaders, mentors, and innovators from our city’s incredible Small Business community offer more than 50 free workshops at San Francisco State’s  Downtown Campus above the Westfield Mall. This event teems with people you need to meet, from the friendly and approachable presenters to your small business peers and competitors.

Hot tip: Take an inspiration break on the grand and secret rooftop terrace, above the mall’s massive glass and steal dome, where the city view should get your blood pumping.

I always make new friends at this event, and this year I’ll be live tweeting from the workshops. I’ve already signed up for these two:

Supercharge Your Facebook Marketing from 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM

Tapping into Tourism from 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM

Hot tip: See a workshop you’d like to attend but can’t? Leave a comment, and I’ll find another attendee to live tweet it for you!

MEGA Make Contact LGBT Mixer FREE!
Thursday, May 17 – SF LGBT Center
The Golden Gate Business Association,  San Francisco’s LGBT business networking organization, throws this annual networking affair featuring the city’s fine food and wine.

Hot tip: This is always a good party. Put on your drinking shoes.

SFEDA & San Francisco Small Business Week Mixer
Friday, May 18,  – 5:30PM – 7:30PM, Boothby Center
I’m glad to see this new Small Business Week event on the roster, hosted by the San Francisco Economic Development Alliance.

Hot tip: No host bar. Bring cash.

The Sexy Grammarian arouses entrepreneurs and professionals to build their own strategy, brand, social media, and marketing content with private sessions, intimate workshopscustom style guides, and free online lessons and tips, such as this tip about why your company’s name should not end with an s or this advice about how to be a sexy social media writer. And check out these useful tips for business owners from last year’s Small Business Week: How To Get Organized, How To Engage Your Social Media Community, How To Set Goals, and How To Become A Sought-After Speaker.

Elite Audio Coffee Bar Rocks

This is a 4-star review

893A Folsom St
San Francisco’s SOMA district

The service is top notch, and the concept literally rocks. Owner Michael Woods has a dream, and he’s making it happen in full surround sound right here on The Sexy Grammarian’s own block.
The blue bottle coffee is strong and brewed one cup at a time by super friendly baristas. They have a few pastries and a decent tea selection. The place is intimate. And although the seating’s not designed for a writer to camp out for hours and write, I found myself doing so  because the staff’s so welcoming, the music’s so good, the design’s so beautiful. And I’m only a hop and a skip from home, which is sometimes all I need to get myself writing: a half block walk.
The sign says coffee and wine, but so far it’s just coffee and tea. I look forward to their wine and beer license.

Take yourself out to a cafe to write. It’s good for your writing and good for the economy too. This review has been cross posted on Yelp, where you can read all The Sexy Grammarian’s cafe reviews as well as reviews clients have written about our services.

Punctuating Side Comments: Comma, Em Dash, and Parentheses

You probably know you should set off parenthetical expressions with a comma, as in this example:

The dominatrix, a silver fox in a leather dress, kicked me and told me to beg for more.

But what about parentheses? It’s called a parenthetical expression after all! Can we set off the same parenthetical expression within parentheses? And what about dashes? What’s the difference?

Sure, you could go ahead and use parentheses or dashes in the example above. It would look like this:

The dominatrix–a silver fox in a leather dress–kicked me and told me to beg for more.

The dominatrix (a silver fox in a leather dress) kicked me and told me to beg for more.

But it wouldn’t be quite right. Commas, parentheses, and em dashes each have their particular meanings.

Use comma to set off a parenthetical expression that requires only a slight break, That is, the parenthetical expression flows well as part of the greater sentence, as in our original example.

The dominatrix, a silver fox in a leather dress, kicked me and told me to beg for more.

Use em dash to set off a parenthetical expression that requires a strong break because it amplifies or explains something or because it is sudden:

The dominatrix–indicating her dominance with a whip and spiked heels–kicked me and told me to beg for more.

Use parentheses to set off a parenthetical expression that requires a strong break and is not  as closely related to the rest of the sentence:

The dominatrix (we’d seen her here before dressed as a slave) kicked me and told me to beg for more.

You can use all of these punctuation marks to set apart parenthetical expressions in your writing. Ask yourself, does this expression flow with the rest of the sentence? (Use comma.) Does it add sudden amplification? (Use em dash.) Or is it not very closely related to the rest of the sentence? (Use parentheses.)

The Sexy Grammarian offers Free Sexy Grammar Lessons as well as Private Sessions, Custom Edits, and Intimate Workshops for all kinds of writers. Get a Free Private Session today and watch your writing project explode!

How Is Writing Like Sex? Screenwriter Laura Goode Counts The Ways

After publishing her debut novel Sister Mischief last fall, self-described feminist poet Laura Goode tackled yet another genre, collaborating with best friend Meera Menon to write a feature film screenplay called Farah Goes Bang, the story of a woman who tries to lose her virginity while on the road campaigning for John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election. To promote the film as well as the art of sex-positive storytelling, they’ve also launched a blog called Cherry Bomb. Naturally, Sexy Grammar had a few questions:

Sexy G: You’re accepting submissions right now for Cherry Bomb.

Laura Goode:  Yes! We want to hear about the first time you had sex. Contributions can be totally anonymous, and we’ve password-protected the page to make the writers feel extra safe. You can only get the password one of two ways: contribute a story or donate to our Kickstarter campaign. I’m so happy to be co-editing Cherry Bomb with Neela Banerjee, who edited Indivisible, an anthology of poetry by South Asian authors. I knew she’d be totally into our themes of sexuality, art, and diversity.

Sexy G: Are those the themes of Farah Goes Bang? Sexuality, art, and diversity? In another interview you managed to boil down your first novel, Sister Mischief, into three words: feminism, poetry, and Minnesota.

Laura Goode:  I think for this film it’s: three girls, two candidates, and a gun. Or maybe: a girl who wants to have sex, an election we all know they’re going to lose, and the great American highway.

Farah Goes Bang is Thelma and Louise meets Y Tu Mama Tambien meets On The Road. No one’s going to give you permission to tell the story you most need to tell.  You just have to tell it. And the story of a girl losing her virginity later on (i.e. after college) is something Meera and I have been talking about for years. In terms of the process–we’ve been through 16 drafts of this script, and we’re on number 17 now.

I believe so strongly in the value of revision, and I think having a writing partner for this project has made revision a lot easier and better. Meera and I judge all of our writing choices by each other’s reaction–did this line make her laugh?  Did you choke up on that page? And as a result, I think we really empower each other to be ruthless about our choices–if something doesn’t work, it gets cut, no matter how much one of us loves it. We’re really fucking serious about making a great movie. And I couldn’t be more glad that we took two years to write those drafts–we really gave ourselves the time to spread out in this project and marinate on it and make it a script we were incredibly proud of.

Sexy G:  Some writing teachers suggest always cutting your favorite lines.

Laura Goode: Yes!  You have to kill your darlings.  You have to murder them with your bare hands through your tears.

Sexy G:  Writing can be so gory! At Sexy Grammar, we often compare writing to sex. How is writing like sex for you?

Laura Goode:  Like sex, sometimes hammering really hard on the same point in writing and expecting it to get you to the next level just chafes after a while. You have to be willing to try new positions, new points of view, new things that are outside your comfort zone. You have to not just work hard, but work smart. I also think sex and writing are equally filled with surprises.

Sexy G: And you obviously love both activities.

Laura Goode: I do!  I love both sex and writing!  A lot!  Publicly! In both sex and writing, humor is the silver bullet. You HAVE to be willing and ready to laugh in bed and at the desk. I think sex is funniest when we realize how seriously we’re taking ourselves.  I’m sure my husband finds me sexier when I’m laughing than when I’m, like, sultrily brooding. And in writing, it’s the same.  If you’re taking yourself too seriously, if the mission of your message is to tell people something really serious–sometimes that’s appropriate, and sometimes it’s total masturbation.

And I’m about to make Meera uncomfortable, but–the best partners in both sex and writing are people who bring things to the table that you never would have thought of on your own. Meera is so that partner for me.  She is one kinky motherfucker . . . literarily speaking.

Sexy G: Many of our readers have screenwriting in mind today because it’s the first day of Script Frenzy. Any words of wisdom for them?

Laura Goode: Churn out those pages! I totally support those writers, and that’s the best advice I have–nothing but writing makes you a writer.  So write. Write like your life depends on it.  Because it does.

You can get in on the action by submitting your own cherry popping story for Farah Goes Bang’s companion blog, Cherry Bomb or by giving to the Kickstarter campaign. At Sexy Grammar, we’re swooning over the thoughtful gifts they offer their backers. Pledge $100, and you get a priceless copy of what Laura Goode calls, “the most humiliating possible collection of all of our team’s early creative work.” Pledge $1,000 and you get a role in the film!