Have You Heard of Pinterest?

Pinterest, a new type of social media site, which uses words like pinning – boards – a visual pin board.  I have to say at first, even I, a programmer and social media gal, was skeptical of this new site.  Really, I asked my team as they were exploring Pinterest and giving me weekly reports – Really? People are using this graphic “bulletin board”?

Nine months after launch, the site counted 10,000 users, with few of them active on a daily basis BUT – Did you know? Pinterest reached 7.2 million visitors in the U.S. in December 2011. Wow, and now I am an active user! Just like my team and many others, I see the fun, social-ness, and value in Pinterest!

Here’s a definition straight from the site CEO, Ben Silbermann of what Pinterest is all about:

Pinterest – is a Virtual Pinboard.  Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes. Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.

Ben worked at Google prior to launching Pinterest and now is talking to others about how to begin their business. Find more on Pinterest and their CEO in this article:  All Things D – Pinterest article

My definition: It is much like a bulletin board where you pin photos, mementos from events you’ve attended, and even much like, a Dream Board or a Vision Board, if you will.  For me, of course, my first embrace to the site was it is a way to display the beautiful dragonflies that I love!

Get started today at Pinterest by going to www.pinterest.com and asking for invitation. This will come via email and usually takes a few days now that they are such an active and busy social media site!

For pinning to your boards, you can upload a graphic or photo from your computer or find one anywhere on Pinterest – just type into the search bar at top left – or you can find something on the web to pin.

The choices are infinite! But, there are many beautiful beaches, homes, places, and even social media! Another great way to find inspiration for what my team and I do is to look at how others display and portray themselves. If you are a visual person, this is a very fun social media site.

For business, there are a few ways that can be engaging and social at Pinterest and still help you to market your business. One way is if you have a product, have photos taken of others holding the product and pin those. (I encourage you to get their permission before pinning. 🙂

My team and I will be giving some social media workshops in the next few months on this new, fast moving and active social media site – Pinterest. Hope to see you!

Is your content embracing others?

Recently, my team and I have been giving social media workshops. We often get asked some form of this question – What should we use for content? What should we post?

I have an infinite number of suggestions on this subject, but what I try to communicate to folks is to use content that is going to be what people who are following your content will want.  How do you know what they want?  Have you asked them lately?

Are you offering tidbits of info to help others from your area of expertise? Do you post inspiring, motivating, uplifting or helpful content? Are you giving articles which you are interested in reading? Are you asking questions? How about discussing community fundraisers, bringing awareness to non-profits in need or just sharing a funny video?

These are quite a few questions and when I ask my clients these and more questions – sometimes they feel overwhelmed, but you must have a plan; a goal.

Your audience is craving your attention – what are you giving them? Is it content that will embrace them? Will it make them remember you? Are you truly portraying who you are?

Carefully proofread your words; sometimes it seems like the best idea in the world to share when you feel down or when your world has received something great but how are you wording it? Do you appear to be a Me Monster? Are you going to want to remove this from your Facebook Timeline in a month, a year or more? A good indicator that maybe, this is not the best content.

Remember – Embrace your audience – give them what you like to see in your News Feed! Spread the positive, give information, share educational data and generally, help others with your social media and you will embrace others!

The Importance of a Tidy Home Office

Written by Dianne Westrook, Team Member at Virtual Assistance by Anita

The importance of organization cannot be overstated; it affects all areas of our life. As a Virtual Assistant, I have found that an untidy workplace can be one of the biggest pitfalls for the work at home employee, however, following a few simple steps each day will help you maintain a tidy workplace, improve your mood and increase productivity.

Begin and end each day with a clean desk. When you begin your day with a clean, tidy space it will make you feel refreshed and ready for the busy day ahead. At the end of each work day, make a point to clean off your desk and rid the area of the pile of stuff that has accumulated. Throw out, or shred, any unnecessary memos, scrap paper, and old documents that have cluttered your desk.

Utilizing the appropriate home office furniture will improve productivity by helping you stay organized:

  • Purchase a desk that has shelves or drawers, and a small file cabinet so that organization is made easier.
  • Establish stations in your workspace, so that you always know your home office supplies, tools, and resources have their place.
  • House reference material in bookcases, and establish a printing station.

Make home office supplies accessible. Keep your home office supplies at the ready, so that you can easily grab what you need when you need it. Place the most frequently used items at close range, and move other necessary, but less frequently used, items to a supply drawer or decorative storage box. If you frequently use a memo pad or a stapler, don’t keep those items in a cabinet across the room.

Create a Memo Station and reduce the mess. Hang a Multifunction Memo Board above or beside your desk where you can write to-do lists and other important notes. These boards have a cork portion, that allows you to hang memos on the board with push pins, and a dry erase portion for keeping important visual notes and for writing things down quickly without having to waste paper. Dry erase boards are also magnetic. In addition, having a memo station will cut down on missed appointments and forgotten phone numbers, because you will have a neat and organized place to store them. Another helpful tip is to keep your daily planner close to the memo station, so that if you have to quickly jot down a number on the dry erase board, you can then transfer it to your address book.

Besides keeping your work area clutter free, remember to open up the curtains and windows to let the fresh air and sunshine in. Sunlight is known to be associated with happiness, combat depression, is a natural mood enhancer and stimulator, and can be rejuvenating. In winter months, use essential oils or scented crystals to keep you productive, and you may want to consider purchasing a light box for times when sunlight may be minimal.

Begin and end each day with a clean desk and you will improve your productivity, mood and your quality of life!

Have You Heard? The Timeline is Coming to Facebook PAGES!

Oh my! Yes, it is true! Another set of changes have been confirmed by Facebook in New York on February 29th! The new Timeline will now be rolled out all at one time on March 30th, 2012 to every Page at Facebook.

This means if you own, run or operate a business, the way you connect and build relationships with your Facebook Page will change! The good news is – the changes are awesome! Your business will now have the ability to enjoy a large Cover Photo! The details are still be clarified by the folks at Facebook as to what your Facebook Page’s Cover Photo can and cannot include.

Here are a few details we do know about Cover Photos for Facebook Pages –

  • You may not use contact details or website links
  • You may use multiple photos to create one collage giving an image of your business
  • You may have Custom Apps such as Welcome Pages, Daily Deals or Testimonials

Here is an informative article with details of what is happening at Facebook from their help center! Be sure to watch the video as it gives a great visual of how a sandwich shoppe uses their Facebook page to get the word out about their yummy food!

Introducing NEW Facebook Pages

Do you wish to dedicate your time to growing your business? Would you like these changes implemented but just don’t have the time? Contact our team as we can help! Begin enjoying the Facebook Timeline experience today! Or tell someone you know who may be interested! Let us help your business fly to new heights using social media!


Listen! It is a word that parents use with their children quite often; maybe sometimes a bit too often. Since I was a very small child, it seems someone was telling me I needed to listen better; and of course, talk less.

As you grow and age, one thing you gain is the understanding of why it is important to listen. As a mother, child care provider and volunteer as a Girl Scout Leader, I find that listening to children really gives them a feeling of empowerment and confidence. As they have much to say and when you listen, you can discover many wonderful parts of their personalities.

But, for me, in the past few months Listening has been defined more as something I was attempting to do as a business owner. By listening to those around me who have expertise in areas that I do not, I knew that I could help my business to grow. Sometimes, this meant, believing in what they were telling me, even if it seemed impossible or out of reach for me. They have the expertise in their field and I knew in my heart and head that I needed to embrace what they were telling me is possible.

The first instance of this was a few months ago I moved homes. For the first time in years, I called upon help – my friend, the Realtor. On more than one occasion what she seemed to say to do would have “never” entered my mind, but when I followed her expertise and advice, and listened, my family and I found the best home we’ve had in many years!

Just recently my business coach met with me and what his proposal for me included for 2012 seemed out of this world – I actually looked at him as if he had 3 heads when he discussed this plan with me.  However, he is the expert in his field and so, I came home and began to embrace the new goals; both for personal development and for my business. By outlining the goals (on paper – there is just something about written form), then implementing the goals in small chunks daily; I was able to listen. By doing so, new doors and opportunities are beginning to open for my team and I in 2012!

Listen to those who have the expertise knowledge and experience in their fields; those whom you know and trust. Listen and embrace what they tell you!

You can have a Professional Email Signature!

People ask me this all the time – How do I get an Email signature that shows my social media icons and has some style to it? Maybe a splash of color, or a hyperlink, even a photo would be nice!

All of this and more is possible and for – Free! Just check out WiseStamp which gives you the ability to set up an Email signature with Gmail, AOL, Yahoo or Hotmail. They welcome these browsers: Mozilla Firefox, Safari and Google Chrome!

In just moments you can create a personal and business signature. You can add color, fonts, sizing and more! It is very user friendly for adding the social media buttons for places like Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and more. As it is simply a matter of adding the url into the box and Viola it creates the icon and inserts it into your signature for you!

In addition there are settings for adding your signature automatically every time you compose a new email. I adore this feature as it makes it super easy to do and not have to worry about it! Visit WiseStamp today!!

If you are an Outlook user, please check out my friend Michelle Mangen’s data on how to add a Twitter (or other icon) to your email from Outlook.  Click here to read Michelle’s article!

And enjoy your day!!


Do You want the new Facebook Timeline? Let us Help!

Have you switched to Timeline yet on your Facebook Personal Profile? Or, are you like many others – waiting until the change is implemented automatically and you are forced to use it? Do you wish you could have this new technology in order to organize all your memories, photos, posts and life experiences, but just do not have the time to upload and get started?

Let our team help!

We will provide you these services to get you started:

  • Upload your new timeline for your personal Facebook profile
  • Create a custom cover image to showcase your business
  • Feed a hyperlink to your business Facebook Page
  • Give training to teach you how to highlight your favorite life events or parts of your new profile
  • Help you capture important business & life events on your Timeline
  • Create your memories to last forever in your Timeline

Fee: $25.00

We will customize your Facebook Timeline Cover Photo to show across the top of your personal profile with your business logo or a collage of friends and family photos! Whatever you can imagine – we can create!

Here’s an example of a few Facebook users we’ve helped –

Laura Strunk’s Timeline

Sally Stevens Timeline

and mine – Anita M Hicks’ Timeline

Begin enjoying the Facebook Timeline experience today! Or tell someone you know who may be interested!

Not sure what this new Facebook Timeline is all about? Check out this video straight from Facebook:

Contact us today via email at Anita@AnitaMHicks.com or 410-255-2609

Facebook for Business – Pages vs Profiles

Do you own, operate or market a small business? If so, you are most likely using social media as a part of your marketing plan. While you are navigating through the multiple social media networks, remember to add a Facebook Page for your business. There are various reasons which I will discuss below why this can be an exceptional tool for your business. It is a different creature – a Facebook Page – then a personal profile at Facebook.

A Facebook profile is the one which almost everyone has and usually is in your name – Jane Doe – or in my case, Anita M Hicks. There are limitations to your personal profile and one is that you can only have 5,000 friends.  A Facebook Page created for your business may have an unlimited number people “Like” it or be a “Fan”.

As part of the Facebook experience, your personal profile – Anita M Hicks – has privacy settings that you can have only friends or friends of friends etc to view your posts. Your limitations and privacy selections mean that your Facebook content on your personal – Jane Doe – profile will never be indexed to search engines.

But, a Facebook Page is indexed to search engines! You must have a ‘username’ or ‘vanity url’.  Your Facebook Page will be indexed to the top three search engines once this criteria and 100 people that “Like” it or “Fans”. Having words like “home” indexed to search engines for a real estate agent is a valuable tool.

At your personal – John Smith – profile on Facebook, you can only add tabs that they supply Apps for and those are very limited now that they are feeding ads to the right of your profile.  A Facebook Page allows Custom Tabs for Welcome or Landing Pages, Testimonials and more!

A Facebook Page is an excellent way to connect with your customers!

A closing tidbit —

33% of Facebook users are “Fans” of brands – more than 132 million people!!

Enjoy your social media experience and get the most out of it for your business!

Facebook “Lists” – Better than Ever!

Well, how are you surviving the new enhancements to Facebook, my friends? The new changes are just about complete and beginning on October 1st, all of us with personal profiles at Facebook will now have the new “Timeline”.

As many of my Facebook friends just stopped reeling from the new changes to our News Feeds and the addition of the “Ticker”, I cannot imagine what will be posted next week as status updates!  My suggestion – just take a deep breathe and accept it! These are the new changes that Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook team has been working towards for almost a year now! They are here to stay! From what I have seen on my team’s profiles, it looks fantastic!!

As the News Feeds have changed, many folks have begun to embrace Facebook Lists. A tool many social media folks have been using for quite a while now. Personally it was at Twitter that I first learned how to use “Lists” to limit what person’s content I followed. At Facebook, they are even more prominent now.

See "Lists" on Left Side of my Home Feed - Click on this Image to view Larger

“Lists” appear at your News Feed or Home on the left side (see photo – mine show “Family” and “VC”). Most of us have at least Close Friends or Family now.  Acquaintances will be automatically added for everyone to use as of October 1st!  On the left side if you hover over where the lists appear, a “More” will appear which when clicked on, opens a window to add, edit or create new lists.

Click on this Image to Enlarge

In this window you can create many lists.  I have ones for “Clients”, for my sister VAs (virtual assistants), for “Facebook Info” and even “Just for Fun”.  The lists allow you to see the folks you place in the lists data that they post only. It limits your News Feed to those people or pages you add to that list.  In addition, the “Close Friends” List sends you notifications when that person posts anything!

You can even create a list with just one person; for instance I have one for my daughter as at 13 years, I want to keep a close eye on what she is doing at Facebook.

There is a way to create a List that is titled “Most Recent” and have it feed all of those posts also.  Try working with it; playing with it and if you have any questions, please let me know how I can help!

Stay cool in this beautiful Fall weather!

Branding – in social media, really?

This is just me thinking out loud again, but really – I keep hearing and reading all these articles about branding your business on social media.  Branding seems like a cold, withdrawn word.  It reminds me of branding cattle; I suppose as I grew up on farms and watching westerns.  LOL.

But, branding as a tool to use in social media seems kind of out there to me as I always look at social media as a way to build and strengthen relationships.

But, then I Googled the word branding and here is what I received in search which makes me a much happier camper!

One – Branding for social media means helping people remember your reputation, value and promises.  For instance, I promise to make your social media fly to new heights using social media by creating personalized profiles which use custom details to set your business aside from others.  I love dragonflies, so I help you fly!

Two – Branding in social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and You Tube means creating an emotional connection.  Yes, emotional connection.  Let’s think about this for a moment using a name brand we all recognize  – how about Pepsi and Coke?  I interviewed 6 people and asked which they preferred.  Which ever it was, they had an emotional connection with it.  For instance, I love Pepsi, and first drank it with my grandmom and so there it is – an emotional connection.  This is what folks need to have with your business as they will then remember you and give you referrals to others!

Three – Branding is one of your greatest assets in social media marketing.  By creating a presence in folks minds through valuable posts, interactions and frequent contact, you are obtaining an intangible and very valuable asset for your business.

Branding through social media is sort of like branding a cow, but a lot less painful with a bunch more relationship building!

Wishing everyone a most joyful and safe July 4th holiday! 🙂