Alt Chat Wednesday: Giving Back to Your Community

As social media influencers we have the ability to positively impact our communities. We can rally followers behind a cause. Often the hardest part of making a difference is knowing where to start. So, let's talk about it. Join the Alt community and our co-host Bridgewater Candles, on Twitter Wednesday morning (tomorrow) March 4th at 9 AM PT/12 PM ET for an hour-long chat about doing good and making a difference in our communities. 

Read More

Thanksgiving 2014

By: Kelly Smith; Photo by: Kelly Smith for Alt Summit

Here at Alt we feel truly thankful for this wonderful community. You are the inspiration. You are the motivation. You are the driving force behind everything we do. Thank you for your kindness, generosity, and companionship. Now go and spend some time with your family, your loved ones, and your delicious feast - you totally deserve it!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! 

Alt Chat Wednesday: Appreciating Your Community

Being able to do what you love is an incredible gift--a gift we enjoy because of our community. Yet as creative entrepreneurs, we can easily become so consumed by schedules and to do lists that we overlook our community. 

Join us on Twitter Wednesday, November 26, 2014 9AM PT/12PM ET to chat about building thriving communities and showing appreciation for your community.

Read More

The Balance Between Reality and Goals

Doing what you love seems glamorous and can look that way in social media. But what about the reality? Where should our focus be? 

Last month members of the Alt Community got together on Twitter to discuss balancing reality with business goals. These ten tips can help you create "a life that not just looks good on the outside but feels good on the inside."

Read More

Creating Community

As creatives we are incredibly lucky. We can create the type of community we want to see more of in the world, communities that are welcoming and encouraging. 

What is the secret to building these supportive communities? Especially communities that are primarily online? Being kind, professionally and personally, considering where others are coming from, and promoting others are a piece of the answer. Our community shared ten simple actions you can take to build the community you want to see.

Read More

3 Things You Can Do to Make Your Business Relationships Stronger

By: Erin Newkirk, of Red Stamp Photo by: Brooke Dennis

Relationships are the #1 competitive advantage in any business. Being an in the know and the go-to gal or guy sends countless opportunities your way. The great news is that making critical relationships stronger is hardly an arduous task. It’s all about modern etiquette + having the right tools in your tool belt.

Here are some strategies + tactics we’ve employed at Red Stamp over the years with much success.

1. Gratitude

There are many ways to say thank you. As the founder of a correspondence company, I always think a personal, well-thought-out + timely thank you after any business meeting is a best practice. But here are some other ways I like to express gratitude.

· Buying someone a cup of coffee {even virtually ala my Starbucks app!}

· Texting them a quick note after following up on one of their action steps or recommendations letting them know how it went {see Keep in touch below}

· Personal connection – handshakes, eye contact {in person} // commenting on a photo they post of their family {virtually} – that sort of thing

· Posting a recommendation on LinkedIn {or endorsing – takes 2 seconds}

· Sending a kind, praise-filled introduction to someone who might be of help to them

2. Give as much as you get

Who doesn’t have a friend who only reaches out when she needs something? I’ll tell you, when that number pops up on the phone, I sometimes have to force myself not to send to voicemail.

Contrast that with the people in your life who ping you just to say hi, see how you are doing, show you they are thinking about you, send along something they think you might be interested in, and just want to share the good in their life and say “thank you” for helping you make that happen. You’re always ready + willing for those calls/emails/texts, right?

Business is no different. Whenever I enter a conversation where I’m going to have an ask, I always make sure I have something juicy to give. And even when I don’t have an ask, I make sure to send opportunities at least once every 6 months. But be warned – help/well wishes/etc. must be authentic in order to be appreciated.

3. Keep in touch

I have the pleasure of advising some amazing entrepreneurs and to each of them, I give the same advice. Make sure you invest the time to keep in touch over time so that you stay on radar screens. It can be a 5 second investment thanks to social media, “like” buttons,  “congrats” buttons, digital cards. Or it can be a 5 minute / few dollar investment with an email, paper card, digital gift {remember that cup of coffee I was talking about?} Both are valid + best when mixed.

What are you doing to make your business relationships stronger? What are some challenges you face? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

This post was written and sponsored by Red Stamp. Learn how to build meaningful connections at Red Stamp's free Alt Channel class on 4/30, hurry and sign up here, spots are filling up fast.

Building an Authentic Creative Community

By: Kollabora Photo by: Justin Hackworth

“Community” seems to be the buzzword on everyone’s lips these days. Whether it’s large companies integrating community platforms into their marketing initiative or bloggers finding new ways to engage their followers - the community surrounding a product or brand is becoming just as much a necessary focal point as the brand itself. 

So, yes - we all know community is important, but you want to make sure you’re building and fostering the right kind of community, which doesn’t happen overnight. It’s easy to say that community is an integral part of your blog or business, it’s quite another to actually make that happen. 

Before you start to develop a community there are a few things you need to think about:

What is your passion?

What do you have to offer and how can you do it in a unique way?

What’s your market?

Who are you competitors? How can you do it better?

Who’s your audience?

Define your ideal “customer”, give them a face and a name. 

Once you’ve decided what kind of community you want to build, then you need to think about how you’ll approach and engage them:

Speak to them:

Incorporate their language and slang but still keep a distinct editorial voice.

BE AUTHENTIC!!

Speak genuinely, embrace the awkward, own up to your mistakes - basically, be a relatable human being.

Lead by Example:

Hold your own work to the highest standards, don’t compromise due to time restrictions, be inspiring!

Engage, engage, engage:

Don’t just passively dictate to your audience, get involved. Ask questions, be open to new ideas, give them ownership and their own voice. 

Reach out, say hi!

Develop relationships with your readers, reach out and start a conversation - ask for feedback. Let them know you value their presence and opinion. 

Make them feel special:

Highlight your most active members, give them rewards, incentives and bragging rights for being a part of your “team”.

Challenge them:

Educate and involve them in the process, create a safe environment for them to share ideas, and be open to learning from them.

Expand to social:

Decide which social platforms make the most sense for you and continue the conversation there. 

Are you selling something?

Create a story around the product and make your audience a part of it. Encourage them to share the ways they use your product. 

Other things to keep in mind on your community building journey:

It takes time! 

Remember that nothing good happens overnight. Be thoughtful about your next steps, track EVERYTHING to see what sticks, be open to changing directions and flow.

Learn from others:

Seek out the people that are doing it right, look outside your own industry for inspiration - how can you adopt and adapt their strategies for your own purposes?

If they succeed, you succeed:

If you create a platform for other to succeed, then ultimately you will succeed as well. If you build it, they will come!

This post was written and sponsored by Kollabora.