Creating Engaging Social Media Content

social-mediaHow many times do you return to the same Facebook Page or visit the same Company Profile at LinkedIn? Why? Is it because they are offering something engaging that you want to learn more about? Is it because the content they post is consistent and you can depend on it to be similar posts each time you return? Most of us return because, honestly, it has something for us!

To create content at social media which will bring them back wanting more and more of the same, I usually teach my team over months how to do this and work with clients over a longer period of time.  BUT, never fear, I am going to share a few tips with you which I usually give in my one hour workshops about content for social media!

Here’s a quick way to think of it – Give them what they want to hear – what helps them to solve a problem or just brings a smile to their face. The 4 E’s of social media content: Entertain, Enlighten, Educate and Engage others with your content.

First you have to stop and ask yourself who is it that you are trying to reach on your Facebook Page, Twitter, LinkedIn or You Tube? As then you may be able to identify ways to offer content to engage them. An example – If you are a Realtor and you sell homes in the Columbia, Maryland area then offering information and help on schools in Howard County would appeal to someone who is following you on social media platforms and looking for a home. This is a way to Educate others. You can also do this by using your own area of expertise and offering tidbits of help to others.

Social Media by it’s very nature is a place where people want to be entertained. Put into your content entertaining and amusing photos, videos or quotes will help put a smile on the reader’s face and help them to remember you.

Engaging folks at Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or any type of online forum may be done with questions. By asking, simply “What do you do to market your business.”, my Facebook Page gets many comments. The form of the question can be about an upcoming sports event, what they are looking for in your product or service, or simply a holiday tradition. Once you get them commenting on content, it will be easier to bring them back to you when they are ready to purchase your product or service. Contests can do this also or the “Tip of the Day” concept.

Enlighten is the fourth “E” in creating social media content that I teach in classes and usually this word gets a few snickers. As the question comes to mind, HOW do you enlighten someone? Well, with an inspiring or motivating quote, video or photo. Enlightenment could be sharing an article or blog about some positive event happening in your community. There is plenty of bad news in the world, give out something enlightening in your social media as it will set you apart from others.

These are ideas for creating content that will engage others on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites. Here’s hoping these tips help set your business apart from others!

Vote for us to Win New Computers

Hello again friends!  About a month ago, my husband and I made a decision to purchase a new computer for my daughter. A good investment and much needed as she enters high school this fall. She is a very motivated young lady and has already decided college will be her next step, along with a career as a Real Estate Agent. She will use this laptop for a good while and we were excited to be able to give it to her.

I did my usual step by step, methodical process to any decision. This drives my husband nuts, but it is just who I am and no way around it. Step 1: Ask all my closest, inner circle, friends who buy and know computers for help. Questions like –  Where should I go locally and online? What do you suggest? Got any referrals for me?

Then I reached out to my wonderful computers and took full use of the search engines. As my daughter says, Google has it all! Final step, run around town and see if any of these laptops can be found for a less expensive price. In the end, I left the decision, based upon several options, to my husband and daughter. They know all the capacity requirements for memory and other details needed and I was happy to know the decision was made and an action would be taken.

They ended up with an ASUS computer and I have to say that for the price (around $300), it is an awesome laptop. She uses it to video chat (constantly as she could NOT be out of touch with her bff), she plays games, is a Facebook junkie (like mom and dad) and also is able to work on Power Point documents. It is really crisp and clear as far as her resolutions. I am impressed.

Then, ASUS Computers sent me an application to enter a contest for my small business to win a new laptop (state of the art) or computers for my offices! I completed the application but really did not think much of it. Then here we are in the running – amazing!

I usually don’t ask for help but sometimes, it is what you have to do! Please vote for us at the link below! And share it with your friends for us!

Here’s some of what I could use these computers for in our business –

A new laptop would be marvelous for me. I love my Dell Notebook but meeting with clients to review with them their new social media platforms at Facebook, You Tube and more will be much more visible in this new laptop. I will be able to show them and work with them to improve graphics, backgrounds and feeds in a much faster pace as this new laptop will run at the speed of light compared to my Dell Notebook!

In addition, I have my family and team members who use the computers in our home offices in Pasadena to serve our clients. Having more computers will mean more team members can work at one time! I will be able to train several folks at one time with multiple systems.

The most exciting part of all this to me is that if my business wins the new computers, I will be able to send a newer computer to our team member in Pennsylvania. She is in dire need of a faster, better computer and would be thrilled! It would mean her life would be easier and she could help our wonderful clients and hers better! It makes my life so happy when I can help others, too!

Vote for us – Please and Thanks so much for your support!!! 🙂

CLICK HERE TO VOTE – ASUS COMPUTER CONTEST

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!

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!

Listening!

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!

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!

Using “Facebook as Page” Can Be Helpful!

Recently Facebook added a new feature to Facebook Pages which can be very helpful if you are the Owner or Admin of a Page you are using for business!

The Facebook Pages now show down the right side a place where it says “Use Facebook as…” and the name of your Page.  When you click on this you essentially become the Page.  To go back to your personal name/profile, just click on Account (upper right) and click where it says “Use Facebook as” and your name.

When you become the Page, you can see the recent people who have “Liked” your page or as it used be called, have become fans.  This is useful as sometimes I see the numbers going up and am not sure who was last! 🙂 And you can see notifications of comments, likes etc for your Page.  This is nice.

But what really motivated me to write about this new added feature to Facebook Pages is – Now since you are the Page, if you go visit another Page, you can comment as your business Page.  So my Page, Virtual Assistance by Anita, can then go out to another page, let’s say Village Connector and comment as the page.  You can say thank you or give some positive input.  When you post, it will leave the link to your Page.  This could be very helpful for businesses trying to establish or build relationships!

Take Action! Try it out today and let me know what you think! I love comments!  Find me on Facebook at – Virtual Assistance by Anita!

Sending out wishes to all for a smooth flight in life and social media – from my dragonflies