Monday, November 1, 2010

How to post MP3 audio files to Facebook

This week's handy #ManicMonday Q&A from my Facebook business page, is a good one for all you musos and music lovers out there who are looking to share music on Facebook.

Funnily enough, Facebook wouldn't allow me to post this as a Discussion Topic or a comment, because of 'abusive content' --> I suspect this means they don't want people sharing audio files on their site.

So, without further ado, Helen asks:

"Do you know of a way to post audio MP3 files to Facebook? Thanks!"

Well HL, it's a tricky one, because while you can post vids to Facebook easily, audio files are a bit different... probably because of copyright laws. Still, it's possible, you naughty thing.

What you need to do is to upload your audio file onto a file sharing website, and then share the track on Facebook as a link.

Let's go through it, step by step.

Step 1. Create an account with a free file sharing website for audio, video and images such as 4shared. Log in.

Step 2. Upload your MP3 Audio file from your computer onto your 4shared account by clicking the 'upload' button. This will give you a page with a hyperlink on it. Copy it.

Step 3. Log into your Facebook page and go to your profile page or the business page where you wish to share this link.

Step 4. Click the 'link' icon at the bottom of the text update field, in order to share your audio file that has been uploaded to the file sharing site, by pasting the hyperlink from the page created in Step 2.

Step 5. Include any text to describe the track, such as artist, track name, or description of the music. Then attach the link to the text by clicking 'attach'.

Step 6. Click the 'share' button to post your update and share the audio file with your friends and fans!

Let me know any thoughts, questions or comments.

Like me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter

Find me on Linked In
Catch me on Foursquare
Audioblog: Audioboo
Blog: Brouhaha Girl

And... I'm the #1 Top 100 Australian PR Tweeple... see for yourself!

Friday, October 1, 2010

The thing about Me(me)

There’s this chick. You see, I reckon she’s a rockin’, amaaaazing chick. 

She’s not amazing like my mum, or my year seven English teacher, or Angelina Jolie – before you start at me, not nowadays but back in Tombraider days. But this chick, she’s pretty amazing.

She writes with honesty and wisdom and swear words (oh my!), and she can take you through a darned good story, even if it is the tiniest little thing, it seems big and meaningful.

Anyway, she wrote a tops blog post today about the importance of explaining what you do. Seeing as my darling dad grills me on this same question when we sit down for dinner, I figured it would be good. For me, definitely for dad, maybe for you, and even for my fledgling business.

And seeing as I’ve got a glass filled with some version of a white sauvignon plonk, it may even get vaguely interesting.

What’s your game? What do you do?

I teach people to socialise their brands online, in the brave new world of social media. 

But I’m not a guru, rather I’m a savvy, mostly smart, creative, talkative type who’s worked in Marketing, Communications and PR for a decade and decided to make her own decisions by running her own company, which is most uncreatively called Sarah Allen Consulting.

In a nutshell, I run social media workshops and training sessions, but I can also help by setting up your accounts and getting a designer to make them look brandified, working with my clients on their strategy, provide coaching post-training... 

While this now seems less of a nutshell and more of a watermelon, my service is boutique and tailored to individual requirements. Oh, and I’m based in Sydney, Australia.

Why do you do it? Do you love it, or do you just have one of those creepy knacks?

Before I started my business, I never had time to figure out social media, what with all those marketing deadlines and meetings to attend. But once I had to write my business plan, Twitter suddenly became an attractive proposition. 

I absolutely love the world of social media – which is the best thing, loving your work – and I’m passionate about it – which is necessary when there’s still truckloads of peeps out there that couldn’t give two hoots about the world of talking to people you don't know online. 

But mostly, I’m a social person, and since I got up the duff and had our life-changing Captain Morgan, social media and all the associated technologies has certainly been the most amaaaazing way to stay connected with a gazillion different friends, contacts and communities online.

I guess that because social media has transformed the way I do business, and my life, I believe in it wholeheartedly.

Who are your customers? What kind of people would need or want what you offer?

My customers are small-to-medium business owners and non-profit organisations across a variety of sectors, and what they want is to understand what’s in it for them, by having a presence in social media. 

They know from all the media hype that something’s happening, and they don’t want to miss the boat. It’s my job to give those people the knowledge and confidence and passion to get in and have a go without looking like a complete twit.

What’s your marketing USP? Why should I buy from you instead of the other losers?

I give a shit. If we are like minded – which is important before I work with a new clients – our collaboration will sizzle. I’ll give and give and then give some more. It’s important to me.

What’s next for you? What’s the big plan?

I’m about to launch my website, which is funny seeing as I work in Marketing, so thank god for social media optimisation coming along and saving my bacons.

I’m watching my son learn to crawl, so I’ll probably be out buying those funny cupboard locking devices from Big W very soon.

And I’m helping my gorgeous husband publish his old-school action thriller, ‘Defender of the Faith’, which he spent a decade writing and rewriting while he was a paratrooper in the olden days, and which is hopefully going to buy us the home of our dreams.

While that’s all happening, I hope to keep doing an amaaaaazing job for my social media clients, learning heaps from the marketing masters, staying on top of the fast-changing world of noo media, and loving what I do. 

‘Cause if you can love your work, that’s a pretty cool thing.  

Audioblog: Audioboo

And... I'm #1 Top 100 Australian PR Tweeple... see for yourself!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Easy-Peasy Key Messages

If you’re a small-to-medium biz wanting to take control of your marketing and communications, one of the first things you’ll want to think about are key messages.

While they sound like bite-sized messages  (naff quotes like “Have a heart. Brake for cyclists”) they aren’t much like that at all.

Key messages distil what your business does in around three succinct points. It captures the essence of your business from a customer’s perspective and what value it has for them.

Importantly, your company’s key messages should also highlight your USP, or Unique Selling Proposition; that is, what makes you different from the competition. It makes a claim about what you want your stakeholders to believe, and this claim should be backed up by fact and example.

Once you have crafted and agreed on what your key messages are going to be, they become a blueprint for so many types of communications – website, advertising copy, newsletters, staff communications, printed brochures, speeches, social media campaigns, media releases and much more.

Benefits of having key messages for your company:

1. Everyone sings from the same song sheet

2. They help you decide what is so great about your business

3. They are tied to your organisational objectives, so you aren't going off on a tangent

4. It's your Cliff's Notes to describe your business

5. They reinforce your brand, values, products and services - all the time

1.   An easy-peasy way to develop key messages

Tools: Pen, paper... brain, and any existing marketing material about your company.

You may prefer to work on your computer, iPhone, iPad, Android, or write your notes in chalk on the road outside your house. I think best with old fashioned pen and paper.

Read over existing information and marketing materials about your company. Try to understand it from an outsider’s point of view as well as interpreting what you’re trying to communicate from inside the company. 

Make some notes. What is the product or service you provide, in a nutshell? Try to use everyday language rather than jargon. What do you claim is special about your business, your Unique Selling Proposition? Can you back it up with fact or an example? Further, what does your ideal customer look like? And why do those customers value your product or service?

Extrapolate three important things your biz does, incorporating your unique character, the product or service you offer, and any information to back it up. Write this into three dot points. Try to keep it succinct, objective and again, don’t make the language flowery or too corporate. In other words, keep it real.

Take another look and review. Are your key messages all different points? If they are repetitive, group or combine the strands of thought. Are the sentences succinct? If no, slash and burn to bring them back to three lines each. Is the wording too technical? If so, bring it back to what the customer wants, and write it like you are explaining it to someone.

Review until you feel it’s working. Then, ask someone you trust to look at what you’ve written. No one person can define what a company does – there are many different perspectives that can be useful, if you’ll ask for them!

Once you have an agreed set of key messages for your company, include them in brand and communications guidelines, new staff inductions, and keep a copy on hand.

You’ll be surprised how much use they will get.

Key messages... they won’t happen overnight but they will happen!

Audioblog: Audioboo

And... I'm #1 Top 100 Australian PR Tweeple... see for yourself!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Q&A with Rachel Hills

Recently, I had an idea for a series of profiles on this blog about people who inspire. I want to know what gets them out of bed in the morning, what makes them tick.

Here's the first – the divine Rachel Hills. We met at Sydney University in the early noughties studying Media Communications together.

I remember an outspoken, smart, smiling, friendly feminist type who was always wearing bright lippie. After a few years of sporadic email contact, we caught up at Media140 in Sydney last year.

These days, Rachel's a prolific writer: journo, blogger, editor and intellectually rigorous while being easy to understand. I've enjoyed reading her pieces in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Vogue, The Monthly, The Australian Literary Review, Cleo, Girlfriend and many others.

Rachel is also currently researching her PhD on Gen Y, sex, status and identity at the Journalism and Media Research Centre at the University of New South Wales and - like all good/impatient journalists - simultaneously developing it into a book proposal.

Her blog, Musings of An Inappropriate Woman, was named Australia's 'Best Feminist Blog' by The Australian, and earned her a nomination in Cosmopolitan's 2010 'Fun Fearless Female' awards. She describes it as a mix of philosophy, creativity and the politics of everyday life.

Now living in London, she's one to watch.

Describe yourself in three words.

Enthusiastic. Analytical. Kind.

What are you passionate about?

Ideas that challenge that way I interact with the world and with other people. Writing that articulates something we 'know' on a gut level, but have never found the words to express before. Thinking precisely – it takes time and work to achieve, but it's great when it happens.

Do you do the social media thing?

Yes. (@rachelhills on Twitter – Ed.)

How did you find yourself in the land of Twitter?

I first discovered it at SXSW in 2008, where all the Americans were using it, but wasn't really enchanted.

I finally converted myself a few months later when a friend interrupted a party I was at to tweet a joke someone had just told. Some people might have found it rude, but it was the tipping point that convinced me I had to get involved.

The way I've used it has changed a lot since then, and continues to evolve – some days it's conversation, other days it's a lifecast, others it's a collection of useful links.

Do you have any other social media involvement?

I've been creating blogs and (poorly coded) websites since 1997/1998. I fell in love with MySpace for a while, and am still something of a Facebook fan. And I got my last job through LinkedIn.

What are you currently playing with in the social media sandpit?

I can't say I'm experimenting with new tools at the moment – I feel like I have too many social media commitments as it is.

What I am playing with, on an ongoing basis, is how to better integrate the work I do as a feature writer, public speaker, academic and (hopefully soon-to-be) author with the work I do online. What's the best way to engage my online community with my magazine and book work, and what's the best way to drive readers of my mainstream media work back to my blog? What's the best, most relevant content I can write for my beloved blog readers? (Contrary to the advice of most blogging experts, they seem to prefer the analytical stuff. And the occasional writing advice post.) And what's the best way to integrate my blog and my book?

How did you get where you are today?

I did a degree in media and communications at Sydney University, where I was heavily involved in pretty much everything on campus - student publications, the media society, work experience, student politics, you name it.

As many a journalism graduate has discovered though, this often is not enough to get your foot in the door to the industry. So I decided to show employers that I was capable of doing the kind of work I wanted to do by, well, doing it. This meant both submitting articles and ideas to newspapers and magazines, and doing a lot of work in the online and independent media space – most notably with Vibewire, where I managed a lot of the politics output for two years.

As I said above, I've also been creating websites for myself since I was in high school. The strategy worked, and within a couple of years I had editors coming to me with stories, and was approached to work as an editor with and ninemsn.

I started my first 'public' blog, Musings of an Inappropriate Woman, in 2007, inspired by the way other journalists were using online media to connect with their communities.

What are you doing with your life at the moment that excites you?

My book project, The Sex Myth, which traces the history of Western culture's overinvestment in sex, how this obsession is playing out in contemporary culture, and how it impacts individual young people.

Any dream brands, companies, personalities you would love to work with?

The people and companies I'd like to work with change constantly, as I become aware of new people, projects and possibilities. The stalwarts are pretty standard old media stuff, though. I'd love to work with the big US purveyors of quality feature writing – The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker,, The Daily Beast.

I'd also love to give a TED Talk – although I think the first step on that front is to come up an idea worthy of one.

Blog-wise, I'd love to work with businesses that really 'get' and want to tap into the intelligent, critically engaged ethos that my readers are all about – I've had approaches from cosmetic surgeons before, which is obviously a bit of a mismatch.

When you look back on what you've achieved, what do you hope will be the highlights?

I'd like to write at least one really, really good book – hopefully more. I'd like them to turned into a TV series, or maybe even a film adaptation.

I'd like be a 'public intellectual' (yeah, I cringe just writing the words, but you know what I mean) who makes actually engaging with the public a core part of their work.

Basically, I'd like to be the Simone de Beauvoir of the internet.

Favourite quote?

"I am not interested in money, I just want to be wonderful" by Marilyn Monroe.

Easier to believe when you actually have money, but a good guiding philosophy, I think.

Here's how to find Rachel:
Musings of an Inappropriate Woman 
On Twitter
Via LinkedIn

Who inspires you? Leave a comment and let us know.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ten Rules for Business and Life (or Happy Birthday Dad)

At the end of this month, it's my darling Dad's 84th birthday.

Born in 1926 in Detroit, Michigan, this quiet American, known as Mal Grigg, has sailed oceans, managed large-scale refrigeration companies in three countries, brought up half a dozen kids, enjoyed the company of the same number of grandkids, and is as sharp and active as ever.

Maybe his everlasting youth is in part due to his 'childbride' (my Mum), who keeps him on his toes by arranging adventures away, gets him off to the local gym, makes a mean Manhattan and creates unforgettable home-cooked meals.

These days, it's less common for our family to sit together at the dinner table, receiving  Dad's nightly lectures on politics, finance, philosophy and everything in between. Still, I get articles and letters from Dad, furthering my life's instruction via the postman.

I received a great dissertation from Dad last September, the no nonsense 'Ten Rules for Business and Life.'

With permission, I have copied down his classic 'Mal-isms': this smart man knows, both literally and figuratively, how to hit the nail on the head.

As Dad says, 'It seems to me that elders have a responsibility to pass to their offspring a distillation of what they have learned over the years. I certainly qualify as an elder but whether the foregoing can be called learning is questionable. Time will tell.'

Happy happy birthday Dad... you still got it, you classy guy!

1. Back 'em or sack 'em

Everyone seeks recognition for the hard work and effort put into their job. The number one role of the manager is to assist those in the organisation to achieve the best possible result within their personal capability. In this way, the manager surrounds himself with willing and capable people.

For those who do not respond or are negative in their attitude, they are best served by allowing them to depart gracefully to find their opportunities elsewhere. If kept in the organisation they tend to spread discontent and are seen by others as 'not pulling their weight'.

2. Give luck a chance to work

Life is full of 'lucky breaks' – you hear of them often – 'right place at the right time' – chance meeting with a particular person, etc. So stay positive and keep your eyes and mind open to take advantage of obvious opportunities.

3. Do not proceed in fear

When approaching a new endeavour go forward with a positive attitude and expectation of success. If it fails accept it and get on with life in a new direction. If climbing mountains or sailing offshore is a fearful experience then don't do it. Await another day.
4. If you can't measure, you can't manage

Nearly every human endeavour can be measured: value of sales; profit; items produced; quality; degree of satisfaction; health and safety, etc. If your job is to manage others then it should be part of the process to measure the outcome of their effort. It must be stressed that this is to help them and is your way of giving them assistance. It is not a club for battering them!

5. Get the facts

How often do we 'guess' this will work, push odd buttons on the computer to make it work, think we know the law without consulting a lawyer, fail to read the instructions or argue with a customer before we check the specification or contract. So get the facts before you act. And see the doctor once a year for a blood test and check up to maintain good mental and physical health by having the facts.

6. Have something to believe in

We all need help to get through life successfully. Many find it in religion – others in nature – some in good friends and family – some in the stars. It is a big beautiful universe and there are many choices or combinations of the above. So exercise your mind occasionally to find out what gives you comfort, guidance and confidence. It is a one way trip through life – try to go 'first class' in quality if not in quantity.

7. Parents are grindstones on which children can sharpen their wits

There is a vast industry telling parents how to raise their children. I don't propose entering that debate. The obvious is to give them love, discipline, support and protect them from harm. In addition, I suggest the above is perhaps a benefit that will serve them well in future years (wit – practical intelligence).

8. Set your objectives and define your strategies

Both of the above change from time to time. But to achieve goals it is necessary to think and plan carefully and to set in writing short and long term objectives and the means to achieve them.

I, for one, have not been very good at this but I'm certain that it can be a significant benefit. Keep it short, sweet and to the point! If you can't do it in one or two pages then try again.

9. Have some fun

My engineering education did not teach or encourage me to dance, tell jokes, find humour in failure, be a good lover or take chances. But experience has taught me that the old proverb is true that says 'all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy'. Relaxation is good for you, your loved ones and those around you.

10. Two dont's

Don't bet the bank.

And don't forget to say 'thank you'.

Dad in his business prime, second from right, evokes shades of the Mad Men series. Photo taken by his 'BFF', the recently departed and much-loved Lou Geisling.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Three sites helping get my Social Media groove on

So here's the thing. I'm a Twitter gal, I Facebook 24-7 from my iPhone, blog and read blogs whenever time permits, love a Tumblr or two and can keep up with people by socialising in communities everywhere online.

Still, there are that many new sites and apps, it's hard to know which one to look at first. I sign up for many I've heard about, have a tinkerbell, look around. Get my feet wet. Sometimes I get it (Twitter and all it's permutations... though it took me a while) and other times I'm more confused than a baby in a topless bar (Del.ici.ous - now I'm all for punctuation but pl.eas.e)!

Here are a few sites I've played with recently and am getting excited about. They aren't the newest kids on the block but you can use them to generate additional content for your Social Media stream, or, with the last one, work towards your goals by connecting with online communities in a meaningful way, beyond just 'being social'. 

Without further ado...


I use Audioboo to rant into my iPhone when I'm not at a computer. It captures my audio and puts it out to the world. The punters call the grab of audio by audioboo a 'boo'. You can find nearby boos easily, and listen to top boos which range from poetic stuff to recorded audio at school concerts, coffee meetings in Afghanistan, or simply ambient sound. If you totally stuff it up, you can rerecord. 

I like it because: It's immediate. It's different. It's hands-free. It's easy. It shows my personality and character more than the written word (whether that's a good or bad thing is still to be decided). I can do it in my pyjamas unlike, where I might need to spruce up a bit! I'm still a newbie, but it's a top option for generating content when you're on the fly.

Or, as the Audiobooers say themselves, "because sound is social".

I didn't get Foursquare when I started using. At all. Why would someone 'check in' on their iPhone when they go somewhere? Who cares where you are, what you're doing? I probably sounded scarily similar to the questions I first asked of Twitter. But, I persevered. 

Then recently, I had a moment. I became the Mayor of David Jones. Now, pass comment you may about superficiality, but all of a sudden, Foursquare and I, we clicked. Even Mum was impressed when I announced the illustrious title. 

Now, I check in places when I think of it. And because I'm getting 'badges' and points, I remember more often. I'm like a trained monkey, operating on positive reinforcement. It's simple stuff, but you're looking at a happy trained monkey. I also give people tips about what's good about where I'm at, as updates can be shared on Twitter and Foursquare if you choose.

What's next? The cafes, stores and David Jonses of Australia get jiggy and create a simple program that acknowledges those of us silly enough to be playing on Foursquare. Now, after dissing it a couple of months ago, I'm asking, "Why are retailers missing this golden opportunity to reward customer loyalty?" 

Aside: Wouldn't it be great if we could update Foursquare with photos (for example, with a pic of a particularly divine meal I'm eating or something I'm buying)? That might be one for the next release.

Plan Big 

Disclaimer: I haven't really used Plan Big yet. But I've checked out their website, chatted with them on Facebook, looked at some plans online and gotten a vibe for what is well and good about it. Now, I want others to know! That's the kinda soul I am. 

Basically, Plan Big is a way for people to put their projects online, and then mobilise an online community of like-minded people who may be able to support you in making it happen. It's social media, with a purpose.

There's some support from the Plan Big team to facilitate and suggest ways of getting people more involved. Like, putting out your plan via your social networks and also commenting on other plans. Some of the more interesting projects include, We have 300 monks coming and nowhere to put them, The Kevin Bacon Party, and The Big Feed

Postscript: I did actually go and set up our own Plan Big, around the publishing of my husband's first blockbuster novel, asking peeps to start following him and commenting on his blogI'll let you know what comes of it. I feel like we'll get out of it what we put in, and the more specific the requests we make of our friends in online communities, the better others will be able to help. 

Please leave a comment, as I'd love your views on how you use these sites and apps, and any other new faves!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Is small the new big?

Recently, I had a period of many maligned hours when the interweb was down. Unfettered by hundreds of Tweets, masses of email, Facebook, Tumblr and various other pleasant pursuits, I found myself doing some very productive writing.

During this creative frenzy, I was searching for an alternative to the word small, meaning a 'niche' amount. But, trawling through my mind, I couldn't capture the feeling of quality or exclusiveness that I yearned for.

In my trusty Penguin Macquarie Thesaurus we didn't fare much better. For 'small', a plethora of nouns and adjectives popped up, and none were cause for excitement. This delectable group included: short, dwarfish, stumpy, runty, puny, negligibility, stingy, diminutive, skimpy, sparse, squat, mere, and paltry.

But I was trying to find a word for small that meant 'quality in number, not in size'. A general term, nothing fancy like niche or boutique, but with positive connotations, like a gem. The closest I got was: teeny, tiny, itsy-bitsy, dainty, slight!

Conversely, the suggestions for something of good size were full of... well, greatness. Scale, scope, ampleness, breadth, sweepingness, flesh, plumpness, bosomy, busty, hunky... the list went on.

What is it about being small that has traditionally been seen as a shortcoming, while expansiveness is a symbol of greatness?

We do find big irresistible (and I don't just mean the Sex in the City
character)... historically we celebrated the larger female figure during the Classical, Renaissance, Baroque, and Romantic eras, while larger figures are still the Western societal norm (despite our unrealistically skinny models and celebrities). Then there are our 'supersized' meals, our shopping malls that should be allocated a separate postcode, monstrous four wheel drives and McMansions. It is a hyper-consumerist society that dictates the more generously proportioned, the more valuable the item.

But hark! Here's one of my new fave venues, Small Bar, flying the flag for all that is good about the petite. This haunt is located in Crows Nest, a 10 minute hop, skip and jump from the Sydney CBD (although there is another Small Bar on Erskine Street in the city). They are active on Facebook, though I wish they would get jiggy with Foursquare. Their catch phrase? 'Keep it small'. Their approach? Personal.

What are the punters' response to this attitude? Well, as one online reviewer wrote recently, "I don't think I've been this excited about a local bar. Sydney is finally awakening to the fact that it's the small things that count. People want intimacy, ambience, character and quality. With its unpretentious cool, Small Bar proves the power of the petit... Small Bar will surprise you with its appetite for style... Great things come in small packages, so get unwrapping at Small Bar."

Let's keep coming up with ways to appreciate that quality does come in small packages. It helps us appreciate the little things in life, and see that big isn't necessarily best.

Do you know someone keeping it small? Post a comment and share it with us.