Always say Yes!

Kara DeFrias is a three-time cancer survivor and self-made media guru.  Her advice to 2012 Southeast Journalism Conference attendees was to “always say yes,” and I found out that this is her life’s work.

Kara has kicked cancer in the teeth three times, and through a cracked voice (maybe half because she was actually under the weather and half because she was touched by her own strength) told students and faculty that saying yes, even when she wasn’t entirely sure of herself, landed her in a top media position during the Super Bowl.  Wow.

So, what does this mean?  Should I say yes to performing brain surgery?  No.  What it means is that when faced with reasonable challenges, we should all embrace them and push ourselves to achievements that may have otherwise seemed out of reach.  I’ve done some pretty cool stuff by saying yes — hosted an SEJC on a very rare South Louisiana snow day, brought students across the world for study abroad, started playing the flute again and married a pretty cool guy (although he always tells people I made him marry me).  Maybe not as impressive as running media for the Super Bowl, but I’m pretty proud of saying yes to those little things.

When your boss asks if you can run social media, say yes. You can.  Your 13-year-old can (if you don’t have kids, think about a 13-year-old you know), and this makes it possible for you as well. If you have a cell phone that takes pictures, you can run your entire company’s social media initiative.  Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • It takes only a couple of days to figure out Facebook or Twitter.  Be careful — you could become addicted!
  • Be yourself. During my Women Mean Business presentation, an audience member asked if she should reveal who she is on her company’s page.  Heck yeah!  Social media users expect personal relationships, just as they would have if they walked into a business.  We would much rather hear from “Ashley, the girl who works at the malt stand” rather than just the malt stand (that never talks otherwise).
  • Don’t focus on how often.  Focus on what you post.  If you try to post once per week and have nothing to say, your posts are likely to be ignored every time they show up on your followers’ walls.

If you build it, they will come — as long as you’re making it interesting.  Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

  • Offer incentives for liking business pages or posts.
  • Find yourself on Four Square and offer a coupon or something free for becoming mayor of your establishment.  Check out this incentive.
  • Don’t remove complaints or concerns.  Address them.  If you’re starting a social media presence, you’re inviting people in.  Of course, remove inappropriate posts or those that go past the PG-13 rating.  You don’t have to tolerate anything online that you wouldn’t tolerate in person.

If you want help building your social media presence, contact me at