Blog: Jessica Soulliere

In the competitive web world, virtual shut-out is all but certain if you don't have the right text message. Here to discuss optimizing your own type space is Jessica Soulliere, the social media communications manager for the University of Michigan Health System. Off-hours, Jessica can be found, live, dancing the salsa.

Post 2: Connecting With the Rockstar in You, and Your Community

If you are a beginner and read my first post and think you are ready to test your skills in social media, or have begun but are just treading water, think about what you care about most. There are ways to get past the competition and carve a space for yourself, but you should know what your goal is first.

Is it maintaining contact with family?

Do you want to promote your business/industry/product/self?

Do you want to unite members of the community around a common cause?

Most of all, whatever it is, it needs to move you. It should be something you are passionate about that will keep you coming back as much as you’ll want your friends, followers, family or customers to.

As I mentioned before, there are a number of social media rock stars and cool ways to use social media that you should take a look at, join and watch or interact with. Regardless of your situation, I want you to observe the following examples and find others like them, before moving any further:

Zingerman's Deli on Facebook:

I chose Zingerman's Facebook page as a good example for how to use Facebook because I think they do a good job of varying their content and allowing the maximum amount of interactions on their page with their customers, from comments to uploading images. They also maintain an interesting and consistent personality. They do a great job of sharing photos of events and also sharing stories that may be of interest to visitors, while not always being strictly promotional in nature. There is a balance that should be struck between images, video and text and I think they do a good job of it.

The personal takeaway:  I specifically appreciated their "edible landscape" photos because I too am an avid gardener and enjoyed learning about what they planted, the soil they used, and watched it grow, comparing my seedlings to the size of theirs.

Biggby Bob (founder of BIGGBY COFFEE) on Twitter:

Biggby Bob, CEO and co-founder of BIGGBY COFFEE (original shop opened in Lansing) is a fantastic personality online, and in person. He’s full to bursting with personality while promoting the chain of franchises, from free drinks of the day, to his various locations during business travel and responding to customer service-related inquiries.

The personal takeaway: I once tweeted that I wondered if BIGGBY COFFEE had Wi-Fi and he tweeted back the response himself!

Phil Dokas' photostream on Flickr: 

While there are many ways you can use Flickr, from sharing your art portfolio for professional purposes to housing your family photo albums, it's also a great way to promote yourself personally and to be discovered randomly. I searched "Ann Arbor" on Flickr and came across this guy's photostream and was captured by his sense of humor and the random assortment of Ann Arbor images he has taken.

The personal takeaway: He's very intriguing and likely an amateur photographer I'll follow for some time to see if his work warrants further pursuit.


ArborWiki, as all wikis are, is a publicly editable Web site,
specifically about Ann Arbor-related information, as it states on its
Welcome page. Basically, anyone can visit any page within ArborWiki and
add information to it or create a topic, write about it and share
information or their personal stories about it. Where the most popular
wiki is Wikipedia, ArborWiki is unique in that it’s specific to Ann
Arbor and has the personality more of a family scrapbook and trip down
memory lane than a typical encyclopedia, depending on the pages you
visit. Best of all, it was actually created by a group of students from
Community High School. Rock on alternative brothers and sisters! At any
rate, it’s an opportunity for you to post a page about an Ann
Arbor-specific topic, your business, and your project, whatever you

Personal takeaway: See the University of Michigan Health System wiki page here. I have some work to do. Looks like someone created a UMHS page, but there’s nothing interesting on it! And here's Date Night. I'll be adding "Take a late-night walk through the Arboretum and watch the stars on a clear and warm summer night."

Kitchen Gardeners on Ning: is actually a platform upon which anyone can create a
social network for or about anything. For free. My personal favorite,
which I would have started on my own had I been born a few years earlier
or had been involved in gardening, is It's
a wealth of information for gardeners, has the ability for its members
to create their own sub-groups to share regional and state-specific
gardening tips, events, interfaces with personal Flickr accounts and the
like. And, it just so happened that the founder of this network and its
members can claim responsibility for the movement that resulted in the
Obamas installing a kitchen garden on the White House lawn. Talk
about activism at a grass roots level.

Personal takeaway: is in my back pocket for when the moment is
ripe to launch a social network for one of my clients. It's terribly
easy and cost effective. You just have to have the time and manpower to
manage it.

Vince Chmielewski on LinkedIn:

I’ve known and worked with Vince on and off over the last year or so. He's solid, intelligent and clearly talented. Just look at his LinkedIn profile. If there's one way to promote yourself professionally, it's through LinkedIn. Vince's profile is a perfect example of how to manage a profile well, from referrals, clear explanations of his experience, well managed list of events, and more.

Personal takeaway: I have even more work to do! Managing online profiles can be a bit of a bear if you aren’t doing it well.

For all its buzz and glory, your social media presence – whether personal or professional – should never be taken for granted. It’s important to pick only what’s necessary and useful to you and not just do it for the sake of doing it. To build strong connections and be able to harness the power of social networking and build communities online and off, you’ll need to go about it methodically and with purpose. You’ll be overwhelmed quickly trying to keep up with it all if you do not. Again, it comes back to knowing what you are trying to do and what tools work best for that goal.


Next topic: Getting on the Tour Bus