5 Tips for Unplugging from Social Media

Ah, social media. I have quite the love/hate relationship with it. As a blogger, social media is a part of my job. It’s not realistic for me to never get on it all together, but I do realize that I spend way more time than necessary randomly scrolling, liking, and planning my next photo. I don’t ever want to look back and say I didn’t heed any tips for unplugging, and I missed out on life because I was too busy looking at a screen, so I have decided to put some parameters on my social media usage to help me not get sucked in all the time.

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Check out these tips for unplugging:

1. Turn off notifications: Yall, I have so many notifications on my phone that I have to put it on do not disturb at night. I have slowly been turning off notifications so that I am not constantly checking things every time I hear a notification alert. Also, I have turned off the pop up notifications from Facebook on my laptop. I realized these were really a time suck for me while I was trying to do work on my computer.

2. Move apps away from your home screen: If it’s too tempting to click on your social media apps every time you look at your phone, maybe you need to move them off of your main screen, or put them in a folder so you can’t see the little red notification icons on each one.

3. Set limits: I don’t think it’s necessary to completely rid myself of social media all the time (and I wouldn’t be able to do my job!). I plan to try giving myself breaks during the day where I am allowed to check on things. Maybe while I eat lunch, and a 10 minute break in the afternoon before I get my daughter from daycare, as well as a few minutes in the evening after she goes to bed.

4. Stay busy: I feel that I often find myself defaulting to social media sites when I am bored. It’s not that I don’t have anything to do, it’s when I am procrastinating that I find I am the most likely to get distracted. If I have a list of things I need to do and stay busy, I am less likely to check social media.

5. Keep it out of the bedroom: My biggest downfall with social media is using it endlessly in the evenings, especially when I am laying in bed before going to sleep (c’mon I know some of you do it too!) I always complain I don’t have time to read more books or magazines, etc. but the reality is I just waste a lot of time on social media. I am going to try keeping my phone out of the bedroom in evening when I have time to read or do other things.

I have already started with some of these steps, and plan to implement the rest today. I hope they will help me have a more balanced life. You can still enjoy social media and your online friends while not neglecting your family, home, or job.

RELATED: Download the FREE Social Media Manager Checklist

QOTD: What is another tip you would add?

Blogger and Social Media Influencer Resource List

As a blogger and social media influencer who has been at it for several years, I feel like I have learned a lot. It’s kind of comical to look back at those first couple of years worth of posts (and cringe a little bit) and also think of the time wasted because I didn’t know about certain tools to help me to do things more efficiently, quickly, or professionally. I know TIME is so precious, and for most people, blogging or using social media is a hobby or job in addition to a “regular” day job. If you are like me, you don’t have time to waste trying to figure everything out on your own. That’s why I created a resource list.

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I used to try to edit photos in Paint (bless it) and didn’t even know what a plugin was and didn’t dare touch any of the settings in my dashboard. I posted long long long links on Twitter taking up all 140 characters, and my sentence structure was sometimes hard to read (and still can be when I don’t take the time to sue certain tools to help me!) Writing a single post plus editing photos and writing out social shares used to take me hours, but now I have it pretty streamlined into a more focused effort.

I have learned that having great photos, and making sure your page is optimized for SEO is so important. As is checking that links aren’t broken, and making sure my writing too hard to read. These may seem like little things, but they can make the difference in a reader coming back to your site again, or not. Or it could make them choose to give you a “like” or “follow” or not.

I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I did, so I have put together a resource list of ten tools that I use as a blogger and social media influencer that will help you with posting, photo editing, and social sharing. You have heard of some, all, or none, but even if I just teach you one new thing it will have been worth it for me!

Sign up in the box below, and I will immediately send you over a copy of 10 of the resources I use on an almost daily basis. Let me know if you have any questions!

RELATED: Free Social Media Manager Checklist

This Girl is Going to ShiftCon!

I know it’s a ways away, but I am super excited to tell you all that I will be attending ShiftCon in December! What is ShiftCon? It’s a conference for social media influencers that focuses on food, wellness, health, and the environment.

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This year, the conference is being held in my neck of the woods in New Orleans, LA!

*Dance party*

There will be workshops, parties, and lots of networking. This year, it will be held at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside and there is a special ShiftCon hotel rate available until October There are going to be tons of great speakers and great information. I can’t wait to get my nerd on and learn.

Want some even better news? You can use my special code at checkout to get $50 off of your ticket price.(Yes, five-zero, fifty dollars off!) Just enter FITLOOKINGGLASS to get your discount.

If you head over to the ShiftCon website, there is a great, short, video right there on the home page that will give you a glimpse inside the conference. I know it’s still several months away, but it has been awhile since I have been to a conference so I am excited! December is a great month to be in New Orleans. Not only will Christmas decorations be abundant, but the weather will be mild and perfect.

If anyone has any questions about the conference or about New Orleans let me know! I would love to meet up with some of you before, during, or after the conference in my old stomping grounds and show you my favorite parts of New Orleans. I hope to see you there, I would love to meet some of my blog readers.

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QOTD: Who wants to go to ShiftCon? Have you ever been to New Orleans?

Disclosure:  I receive a small commission if you purchase your ticket with my discount code and will be attending this event on behalf of ShiftCon.

Dealing with Negative People Online (and taking my own advice)

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of speaking at Refresh Summit South on dealing with negativity on social media/blogging, whether it be someone being negative towards you, or falling into the comparison trap and having negative feelings about yourself. I have been meaning to blog about the two main points I discussed with the ladies in attendance, but I just wasn’t sure exactly how to go about turning a talk into words, and due to an unpleasant exchange with a neighbor on Friday, I decided to use it as an example for a blog post on one of my two main points.

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Being real here. One thing that I struggle with is holding my tongue. It’s a constant battle, and it’s one of the reasons why I enjoy blogging (I can go back and edit before hitting send.) Even with that filter of sorts in place, I still get myself in trouble from time to time for things that I say, that I really should just keep to myself. I can get angry in a hurry, and instead of giving myself time to think and cool down, I often spout off and it ends up leading to more damage. The Bible is clear on this, and says we should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (James 1:19), but boy is this one tough for me!

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You can make fun of me for a lot of things and I will let it roll off my back, but to state something about my husband or my child as a fact that is NOT true, is something I have a hard time biting my tongue about. Without going into too much unnecessary detail, here is my own learning moment:

Our neighborhood has it’s own private Facebook group, which in theory is awesome, but sometimes not so awesome because as of late it has turned into a huge gripe fest. People complaining about folks speeding, running stop signs, dogs pooping in their yard etc. All of these things are valid complaints, but really, blasting your neighbors online for speeding it’s well, very neighborly, and we have had some issues with some not so friendly folk posting negative things. Anyway, somehow, on Friday there was an assumption made about my husband that was NOT true, and it turned into a nasty argument between me and a lady in my neighborhood I don’t really know. Come to find out from other neighbors letting me know, this is not the first time this particular neighbor has been less than neighborly. Part of me felt good about it, knowing that other people were “on my side” in letting me know how difficult this person is in general, but then I realized that honestly, I probably just should have kept my mouth shut to begin with and not even engaged with her, and it could have avoided a long morning of frustration.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this is exactly the kind of situation I spoke about at Refresh Summit (how to get through/avoid/act kindly in) and here I was doing THE EXACT OPPOSITE. It all happened so fast I didn’t put two and two together and then realized I had messed up. If I had followed my own advice, maybe it would have had a different outcome, and hopefully I have learned from this and will be quick to listen and slow to speak next time. Instead of what I did, the following are things I should have done (things I shared at Refresh Summit for dealing with bullies/negative people online).

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1.) Realize you aren’t going to change them: I an usually spot someone pretty set in their ways from the beginning of a conversation, but my desire to defend myself can get in the way of realizing that no matter what I say or try to “prove”, people like this are just not going to change. It doesn’t matter if the facts are right in front of you, they will argue with you until the cows come home, so it’s wise to just save your breathe and realize nothing you say is going to change them.

2.) Don’t feed the animals: With a desire to be right and people please, this one can be tough. Not engaging or “feeding the animals” is a good tactic for keeping the peace. Sometimes it’s just best not to get involved. There have been so many times in my “blog life” where I have wanted to set the record straight or stand up for myself, but I knew that in doing so it would just add fuel to the fire, and I am glad I chose to ignore in the end. When I engage, I usually end up saying something I will regret later.

3.) Get some perspective: Perspective is a funny thing. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in being the victim we forget that a lot of people lash out because they themselves are or were at one time, victims. Hurt people hurt people. If you can take a step back and remember that simple statement, that those hurting themselves in turn hurt others, and instead of getting angry, feel sorry for the person, it will start to soften your heart towards them and help diffuse frustration.

4.) Forgive: There have been times in my blogging and social media life where people have really hurt my feelings. I still remember a very specific time where I was on a run replaying something someone had said to me online over and over in my head, trying to figure out why people are so mean to those they don’t really know, when I suddenly felt like I was supposed to forgive them. Through gritted teeth (because yall, I really didn’t WANT to forgive them) I said out loud “I forgive you, and Lord HELPE to really mean it”. I had such an overwhelming freeing feeling come after that prayer. it was SO hard to say and it took awhile to work up to, but once I let go of it, the anger and frustration had no power over me anymore. After all, the Bible calls us to forgive others, just as God forgave us (Mark 11:25).

5.) Move on: This one usually takes me a little bit of time, but moving on helps diffuse the anger that comes with seeing and hearing negative things about us. Remember that not everyone is going to think just like you, or be your BFF, and that’s ok. We are all so different, and some people just are going to flat out not get along with you. Move on, and as queen Elsa would say, LET IT GO! I know I know, so much easier said than done, but your heart will thank you if you can move past it and not dwell on it or let your thoughts constantly go back to a wrong done to you.

I hope someone finds these tips helpful, and please know that if you ever need to talk to anyone about any of these issues, I would be more than happy to oblige. Email me any time at [email protected] Have a great Monday!

QOTD: Which of these 5 things do you struggle with most? Have you ever been the victim of online negativity?

Time to Refresh

If you have been reading my blog for awhile, then you know that not only do I have a passion for fitness and social media, but I also have a love for encouraging and helping others. At the end of October, I will be heading out on a solo road trip to Tennessee for a couple of days. I was presented with an amazing opportunity, and I hope to see some of you there (hurry only a handful of spots left!)

That’s right, I will be attending (and speaking at!) Refresh Summit South at the lodge at Deer Run!

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My friend Bobbi has done an amazing job with Refresh, and I am stoked to be a part of such an amazing weekend where I will get to learn, grow, speak, listen, be inspired, and hopefully inspire others. my faith is so important to me, and sometimes a weekend away to reconnect and listen to God speak is needed, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for me and all the crazy things going on in my life!

I will be leading a workshop sharing from my personal experiences with social media, but not in the sense that you would think. I am going to be sharing my heart about the ups and downs social media can cause. The pitfalls, the comparisons, the haters, and how I handle it all. I by no means have it all figured out, but dealing with the damaging side of social media is something that has been on my heart for awhile now, and cannot wait to share what God has been teaching me.

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As I mentioned before, there are NINE spots remaining for the summit, and I hope you will consider going. We will be up in the beautiful mountains in Tennessee, working out together, eating together, learning and worshiping together, and having a lot of fun! Be sure to check out the website for all the important details. I hope if this is something that interests you that you will pray about it and consider coming!

QOTD: Have you ever been to a retreat similar to Refresh? Do you love the mountains?

My Favorite Social Media Apps

Social media is a big part of my life, and since I am on the go a lot, so are social media apps for my phone and iPad. I wanted to share some of my favorites with you, aside from the obvious Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. The following apps are all things that HELP already existing accounts you may have on those platforms.

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Buffer: The Buffer app is a great tool for scheduling things like Tweets and Facebook posts. You can add in 10 updates with the free version and they will be posted during the day at times you set, so you don’t have to worry about posting too many things at once. You can also add a buffer button at the top of your toolbar, so anytime you are on a blog or website and see an article you want to tweet or post about but don’t want to do it this minute, you just click the button and the post gets composed and added to your buffer que to be posted at a later time, it’s so easy. My favorite feature is that I can see the likes, comments, shares, and reach for each post.

Facebook Pages Manager: This one should be a given if you have a Facebook fan page. It is especially helpful if you have multiple pages like I do. I can easily toggle between them and see notifications and messages, write new posts, post photos, etc. Without having to go into my actual Facebook app.

Flipboard: This is a great app where you can get up to date content and news that would be relevant to your blog or topics of interest to your followers. (You pick the topics that come up). Once you find an article or story you like, you can share straight to Facebook or Twitter among others. This is a great tool to increase engagement and is a good conversation starter among your followers.

Snapseed: This is a photo editing tool I use a lot before I post photos to Instagram. It has a lot of basic options like frames, straighten, and copping, but also has some great ways to fine tune the coloring, sharpness, and focus of an image. There are a ton of editing choices and it’s fun to play around with.

RELATED: Get my FREE social media manager checklist

QOTD: What is your favorite app that helps with social media?

How to Get More Blog Readers

 

After the post I wrote about starting your own blog, I had a lot of questions along the lines of “ok, I started my blog, but how do I get readers?” Great question. Keep in mind it won’t happen overnight. The numbers I used to get excited about for a whole day on my blog are now what I get in an hour. But it took time, and lots of hard work. Here are a few simple things you can do to start building your pageviews.

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1.) Pinterest Pin It Button for Images. Pinterest is a great way to get traffic, but you have to use it effectively. That is a whole other post in and of itself, but this free WordPress plugin puts a pin it button on your picture when you hover over it (like on my blog) so readers can pin any photo on your post.

2.) Comment on Other People’s Blogs. While you are sitting around waiting for a blog comment…so is everyone else. So take some initiative, and go comment on some blogs! I try to hit at least 5 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon/evening, more if time allows. Also I try to read NEW blogs and mix them in with old favorites. You will start to see people clicking over to your site from a comment you wrote on another blog!

3.) Interact with your readers. No one wants to feel like they are talking to an empty void, so try and reply to comments when you can.

4.) Be active on Twitter. I avoided Twitter like the plague when I was first blogging because I didn’t understand it, but now it’s my preferred form of social media and I get a ton of pageviews from it daily. Don’t just talk about your stuff, but engage in conversation with other people and make some friends! Also, twitter chats are a great way to get exposure, more followers, and readers.

5.) Host a giveaway. This may cost you a little money, but could be worth it. You may even be able to get someone to donate a product. Put a post up announcing your giveaway and have people enter, and share about the giveaway as an additional entry. That way, you get extra exposure! (I use Rafflecoptor, so easy!)

6.) Write a guest post. A lot of bloggers will put out a call on their blog or on their Twitter or Facebook asking for guest posters. This is a great opportunity for you to be seen by new readers and get exposure on a more experienced blog. It takes a little time to write that extra post, but is definitely worth it if you are guest posting on more known blogs!

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7.) Sprinkle in other forms of social media.  There are so many to choose from. Instagram, YouTube, Periscope, Facebook, etc. are all great ones to get involved with to make new friends and get new followers.

don’t forget, I highly recommend becoming self hosted. I use Bluehost, and WordPress is free through them, and the prices are very very reasonable, and it is pretty user friendly. Click the image below for more info:


 

QOTD: What is your best tip for getting more pageviews on your blog?

Pingraphy

 

Who loves Pinterest!?!? (Are you waving your arms wildly in the air like I am?) If you do, then you will love this new-to-me tool that you can use to schedule your pins. Some of you may know of my love for Buffer from Healthy Living Summit and using it to schedule tweets and Facebook updates, but we should schedule out pins as well. Just like you don’t want to bombard a Twitter feed with update after update in a short period of times, you should space out your pinning as well. I know it’s hard, because if you are like me, I get on there and see a ton of cute things I want to repin and I go to town! This is fun, but not getting your blog or pins a lot of exposure since it’s condensed into such a short period of time. So, what’s a social media junkie to do?

Enter Pingraphy. If you are familiar with other scheduling platforms, this will be a breeze. Simply sign up using the same email and password you used when you signed up for Pinterest. Them be sure to drag the pingraphy button into your toolbar up top below your address bar for easy scheduled pinning, and you are ready to go!

Ok, so say you are on my blog and you really want to pin a sweet photo of my awesome new pink running shoes.

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Simply click the Pingraphy button in your toolbar and all the photos from my post appear—with checkmarks.

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Click the “uncheck all” button unless you want to pin eeevveerrryyy image, and just click the one or two you want to schedule. Hit next, then a box will pop up asking you to schedule the time/date and what board it should be pinned to, or upload it to Pinterest right now. After you schedule, click confirm and you are done! So simple.

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Not only is this tool important for spacing out pins, but it’s also a time saver. Say you know tomorrow you are super busy but you want to get pins up, you can schedule a bunch for the next couple of days, and then not worry about it tomorrow when you are too busy to pin, are on vacation, etc.

Please let me know if you have any questions!

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DON’T MISS THE 5TH ANNIVERSARY OF DISNEY’S PRINCESS HALF MARATHON WEEKEND
FEBRUARY 22–24, 2013
Register today before the price increases on September 26 for Disney’s Princess Half Marathon (54% Full). Whether you run for yourself, or for the women in your life, you’re sure to get the royal treatment as we celebrate the 5th Anniversary of this special event. (Anniversary BLING!)

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QOTD: What is your favorite thing to look for on Pinterest? I like home organization pins and decorating ideas, especially for holidays.

HLS 2012: Day Three/Sessions

 

Saturday morning I decided to “sleep in” till 6:00 since the planning team had to be down in the lobby at 7:00 to get ready for the day. A lot of people didn’t make it to registration the night before so we had the tables set up again, plus the sponsors set up and and of course breakfast to get everyone ready for the day.

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Mary and I ready for a long day

It was quite the interesting morning, because ransom hotel guests kept coming over and asking us questions. At one point, an older couple came over to me and asked if we were giving away “free sneakers” I told them no, and went on to explain why we were there, and that attendees had paid for a ticket and that nothing was free. The old man then goes “oooh, free pens!” and took one of our pens and put it in his pocket. Then he did the same with a bottle of water. I really, really, didn’t know what to say. It was so random. So, we ended up having random people we had to keep shoo-ing out of the area where our sponsors were, because they were going in and taking all the free samples! I had to laugh when I saw this sweet old lady in a wheelchair trying to take things from sponsors.

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We got everyone registered and into breakfast, and the day got started. It flew by as I was running around moving items, introduced a speaker, had to get ready for my session, etc. I barely ate lunch, and didn’t have time to talk to all the sponsors (who were amazing by the way!)

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(speaking of sponsors, how cute are these Five Bamboo pants?)

Lunch was served where we had the cocktail party the night before. It was delicious. The Hyatt in Cambridge did a fantastic job with all the food.

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After lunch I ran back to my room to go over my speech one last time before my session on Social Media trends. Before I knew it, it was finally time for my presentation! If you would like to check out some things tweeted during my session be sure to check out #HLSmedia. I am still trying to decide if I am going to share my presentation on my blog and what that would entail. Stay tuned! I did however want to post the Google Plus links I promised some of you on Twitter:

—Cheat sheet: http://allgoogleplus.co.uk/2011/07/05/google-plus-cheat-sheet/#.UDo14dZlTYg

—Adding Facebook to your Google+ account: http://crossrider.com/install/519-google+facebook

—Shortening name: http://gplus.to/

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I was excited/nervous before the presentation started but as predicted, as soon as I started talking I was fine. If you attended my presentation I hope you enjoyed it and learned something! Like I said please don’t hesitate to ever e mail me with any questions!

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(from Meghann)

My session was also live blogged by Kelly and you can check it out on her blog!

After my session, we all headed back into the main room for final thoughts/wrap up. The day was such a whirlwind, I cannot believe it was over so quickly! I enjoyed it so much though. Meghann, Heather and Julie did an awesome job putting the conference on!

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It was time to get cleaned up for a special dinner with Chobani, but I will save that for another post on Friday!

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check this out:

I am the Next DOer contest, now in its second year, is launching this week on Promax Nutrition’s Facebook page.  They would like to invite you to submit a picture and why he or she should be the next DOer.  I Am the Next DOer contest will be a nationwide search for the next DOer whom embodies everything Promax stands for, and embraces the Life is Go mentality.

In order to enter, one must like the Promax Nutrition Facebook page, submit a picture and explain why he or she should be the next Doer.  Upon liking the Promax Facebook page, one has the ability to vote for whom he or she believes is a true DOer. Promax encourages finalists to “campaign” to win by posting videos/links and share why he or she should be the next DOer.

http://www.facebook.com/PromaxNutrition

Winners will receive a once in a lifetime vacation to either Costa Rica, Kona, or Galapagos which includes a 5 day, 4 night stay, one year supply of Promax bars, and will be featured in the 2013 DOer campaign (which includes one professional photo and video shoot in Los Angeles, CA).  Two weekly finalists will be selected throughout entry period and will win a $50 GNC gift card, Promax tee-shirt, and 3 boxes of bars.  Entry begins August 1st and lasts until September 4th, 2012.  Voting period begins September 10th and lasts until September 21th, 2012.

QOTD: So who wants to attend HLS13 after reading these recaps?!?

Follow Me!

 

So, did February sneak up on anybody else? We are officially in the month of love…and my least favorite month of the year. February is usually gloomy and cold, and I am always itching for March. This year though, February is a FUN month because I am running Disney’s Princess half marathon! (blogger meet up plans here.)

I wanted to be sure you were aware of some of the changes here on RWS. In case you haven’t stopped by recently or are new to my blog (hello!)  I added some drop down menus (still a work in progress) and also a page to shop! I will be adding more to it, but you have to start somewhere, right? I have had the account for several months but haven’t had the time to actually put any product up.

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In the fun land of blogging and health/fitness, there are a LOT of awesome people. I have written a post about getting involved, and I really really encourage you to read it if you have not. I am always looking for new people to follow on Twitter, new blogs to read, and trying to make new friends and connections. With that being said, I wanted to share with you some great companies I think YOU should be following on Twitter and/or Facebook:

Running Skirts: @Running_skirts: I work for Running Skirts so I may be a bit partial, but they make a great product and have excellent customer service. The new spring line is coming out SOON! If your local running store doesn’t carry the line, ask them if they will!

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Drink Chia: @DrinkChia I first met the fabulous people behind Drink Chia at the Healthy Living Summit. I am all about start up businesses and supporting growing small businesses. These are great people with a great product. You can very soon order Drink Chia from Amazon!

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110% Play Harder: @110PlayHarder Super sweet people with great Twitter interaction. Not to mention great products!

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Nuun: @ministryofnuun The nuun team is made up of great giving and caring people. Great interaction, and of course love all the flavors!

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GNC: @GNCLiveWell We all know about GNC. The Live Well Now slogan is amazing, and they have been hosting some awesome Twitter chats! (#Livewellnow)

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Go Sport ID: @GoSportID Very interactive on Twitter, and they of course make a great, life saving product! These folks are also very generous. Another family start up business I love to support.

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FitFluential: @FitFluential is another company I am affiliated with and it isn’t even a year old, but already doing amazing things! Kelly and the rest of the team are amazing and great to work with. AMAZING Twitter interaction, and all about health and fitness.

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Newton Running: @NewtonLab  I blogged last week about how I was loving my new Newtons. I have had a couple of questions about the shoes since I bought them and they happily and quickly replied to me on Twitter. They are always sharing great new information and videos with their followers as well!

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There are PLENTY of other great companies to follow, these are just a few I am loving right now. As a blogger, I look for companies who actually interact with people on Twitter of Facebook. Not ones that just have an account to spit out information. I love well done customer service, and it goes a long way with me when someone is willing to answer my questions.

QOTD: What is a brand/company that I should be following on Twitter?