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  Branding seems like a cold, withdrawn word.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! 🙂


How to be in Two Places at One Time

Okay, how do you manage to be in two places at one time?  Sometimes as a virtual assistant people ask me how do I manage to get so much done.  It seems I’m on the computer a ton of hours and yet, I do make meetings and do some networking, have a family and love to volunteer my time to help others.  How do I manage?  Well, sometimes, I don’t.   But, to help with social  media – one way to give the appearance of being in two places at the same time is to use  a scheduling tool.  dragonfly blue green

There are Free services like Social Oomph and Hoot Suite where you can schedule your posts and content to your social media sites.  This will give you an ability to do all your posts at one time of the day, week or month.  You then tell the scheduling tool when to post and it does it automatically for you.  This is how a very good friend of mine has 7 to 10 posts a day and yet is always meeting people!

The two I’ve listed above are just a few of these types of services out there.  TweetDeck and many others are available through Twitter and there are many more out there.  I especially like Hoot Suite and Social Oomph but for different reasons.   I really love Hoot Suite for posting and content.  I can administer many fan pages for Facebook and various Twitter accounts besides my own from this great site.  Hoot Suite is user friendly for the most part, as it does take a bit of learning to set up. 🙂  Sometimes it has some issues actually feeding but about 90% of the time I am very happy!  I like Social Oomph because it has a few unique and helpful other tools.  For instance, I can use Social oomph to automatically follow those who follow me on Twitter.  Although sometimes you have to glean those out which are not a ‘good fit’, this seems to work for me to auto follow others!

So this is how I am at a network event and yet, posting for 10 clients and myself at Facebook and Twitter and Linked In!

Shhh – don’t tell my secret to anyone of how to be in 2 places at 1 time!  LOL! 🙂

Happy New Year & Facebook Changes!

balloonsHappy New Year to All!

It is a New year – 2011!  New possibilities, New abundance and a New Hope for 2011!!

As we all settle back into a regular work schedule from the holidays, remember that 2011 means many New changes at Facebook.  Mark Zuckerberg and his team have been informing us through Facebook reminders and many media outlets that 2011 will have new software changes allowing users to connect more easily.  In this You Tube video, by CBS titled, Mark Zuckerberg & Facebook, we are told Facebook is moving forward!

What do these changes mean?  Oh, you want it in English not Facebook language? facebook_cloud

Okay – here’s what I can do for you – Facebook changes will include a few of these things –

  • New Profiles for both Personal and Business pages
  • No more Boxes or Customized Tabs
  • New Page coding changes – No more FBML boxes by January, 2011

Here are the few things we know about the new profiles and pages.  Many of the almost 600 million users are now experiencing the new profile pages.  These are showing the work, education and location information from the “Info” tab right at the top of your profile.  Your featured photos are the ones based on who has tagged you recently in a photo.  The new profiles will also give you to the left the important people in your life.  You can manipulate this data by inputting or removing the data from the Info tab.  Or by clicking on “Featured” Photos and move them around.  Your family pics only show if you give that info.

These new changes will become the profile template for business pages soon.

Well, it sounds pretty good so far, what are we missing?  Okay, did you have a “Flair”, “Sports Favorite Page” or any other customized navigational tab before the new profile?  Well – ta dah – they are gone!  Did you like being able to put your status in the left ‘status’ box and at the top of your profile?  Too bad, they are gone.  The status was a ‘box’ and remember, boxes are gone!

As far as Facebook Pages for Business (new name they are calling them now – no longer ‘Fan Pages’) – there are going to be changes to the way “Welcome pages” are created.  Any custom page or navigational tab is creating through Facebook’s code (FBML).  During the first week of January, the FBML will be eliminated.  Any pages created prior to that will be fine!  But, if you are a virtual assistant or computer programmer / designer of Facebook pages, you had better begin learning Java Script or IFrames ASAP!

Those folks who have custom tabs for their testimonials, charts or data for your business or any other personalized tabs may experience some sizing issues after the first of the year, also.  The 500 pixels existing size is still under review by Facebook.

Welcome to the New Year!  Here’s wishing you the most abundant 2011 possible! 🙂

Virtual Assistance by Anita is One Year Old!

dragonfly - mooonYes, It’s true. My business, Virtual Assistance by Anita will celebrate a one year anniversary on 12-31-2010. One year ago on New Year’s Eve, I launched my website. It was the first week of January 2010 that I received my business cards!

I cannot type one document in the past month where I add the date without thinking about it. Last year at this time I was creating my website; I was learning Word Press, and I was still wondering if this ‘new’ business was going to work.  Were clients really going to come?  Was I really going to be able to provide the services that I envisioned.  During this time, many other Virtual Assistants (VAs), friends, and business associates were helping me.  In one year, I have realized success by having many new, wonderful clients, but also I realized strength within me I never realized I possessed.

When you factor in that one year ago, I was still learning to be a virtual assistant and most of my income was being derived from my cleaning business. One year ago, I was still struggling with the major health issues in my life. But, in May, 2010, I began to have enough clients and income to close the cleaning business which I totally disliked. My cleaning clients were angels of people, but the work was so physically hard and wrecking my health so badly, that in the end I totally hated getting out of bed on the days I had to clean. Now, my health is 100% improved. I have even begun to rebuild my immune system and gain a few pounds. 🙂

Wow – that is quite a lot for one year. You wonder why I keeping thinking about it at every turn; with every new client. I sure didn’t get here by myself – granted there was a bunch of hard work; long hours and heart that I’ve put into this business, but I have loved every moment. BUT, I would never have made it to this place without my helpers – my Earth Angels – the Givers in my life.  I read,  The Go-Giver, an inspirational and wonderful book, by Bob Burg and John David Mann,  just a little over one year ago.

I would be typing for hours if I listed every person here that has been a giver in my life and my business this past year, so if I missed you – I appreciate you and know that you were a part of my journey!  It truly has been an amazing journey as if I made a list of the many people who have helped me in one way or another in the past year, I KNOW the list would be over 100, maybe even 200 people… possibly more.

The beginning was because of that one person who just loves you; gives you that extra encouragement and a ‘gentle’ push. That person for me was Kim Wesley. She reached out to me and gave me the idea. A business of my own and a new career seemed mighty scary to me. But, Kim is the kind of friend that never gives up on you. She spent about a month last August talking to me on email about it. Kim then created a subcontractor position for me with her company, TKM Virtual Services. She helped, taught and mentored me. When December rolled around, she decided it was time for this dragonfly to fly on her own. With love, and firm determination, she gave me that final push. Kim is that one person in my life who believed in me and encouraged me. Weeks can go by and Kim and I may not talk, but I know she always there for me. She is truly the sister God didn’t give me and I am thankful every day.

Kim introduced me to Glenn Garnes. Glenn is the kind of person who always has a positive attitude! He helped me, mentored me, taught me and was one of my first clients. Glenn is the founder of The Village Connector Community News. This online newspaper only publishes the good news – no crime, politics or controversial subjects. Glenn has been instrumental in the past year of my success in this business.  Many of the clients who I am now so thrilled to work with each day are because Glenn referred them to me.  He has many special gifts and I appreciate all of them that he has shared with me.

Then there were so many people who I’ve met online. Through Twitter and Facebook, we have connected and although I never have met them in ‘person’, they are my friends. A few of these special people were Michelle Mangen of Your Virtual Assistant. Michelle taught me many things about how to be a VA. She also taught me how caring people can be. One Sunday last December when my website crashed and I was ‘freaking out’, she called me calmly, and restored Word Press, like Magic! Michelle even outsourced VA work to me in my early days as a VA last year. Another example of a ‘Giver’ in my life.

Another instrumental person in my business life this year is my friend Deneen Wilson of The Typing Bug. She gave me a month of free mentoring. Her knowledge, caring and friendship are worth more to me than all the gold in the world. Deneen has a very special place in my heart as she is always there for me.  If I sent her an email anytime, she’s there to help!

In talking about my ‘online’ friends, I must mention Marie Riddle Walker as she is the “Twitter” lady! Marie and her beautiful family live in California – all the way across the country from me, but I feel as if we are neighbors. Social media can be a wonderful place to make ‘friends’ and I have been very blessed to have some special folks reach out to me. Thanks to all of you!!!

Last January I joined a Mastermind Group facilitated by Mia & Ernest Reed. This group of folks have supported, helped and cared for me this past year. There were times they gave me the ‘courage’ I needed to take the next step of growth! Many thanks to them all for their support.  A huge hug to both Mia and Ernest as they are some of my wonderful clients and a part of my heart and family now.

The list could go on and on of all the many wonderful clients, friends and people who have touched my life and business this year, but — The point is – I have been truly given the gift of a community of love and support. As I celebrate one year as a business, I give thanks for all of you – those mentioned here and the many, many more who I have not mentioned, also!

Before I close, I must say that my Family has truly given me the wind beneath my wings to soar as a dragonfly.  My daughter, Hannah has filed for me, made labels and sometimes she knows those little tricks of Facebook that only a 12 year old knows. 🙂  My sons have been supportive in many ways, but especially as they’ve cooked and cleaned for themselves much more than ever before in their lives.  My husband, Danny, has been truly a gift to me all year; encouraging me, reading and learning more about HTML code than he ever knew before and being my partner in business!

As each of you celebrate a Happy New Year on 12-31-2010,  I will also be celebrating my one year anniversary, thanks to a ‘village’ of people! Many Hugs to all! 🙂

My Extreme Smile is ‘almost’ Complete

🙂 Last January, I began a journey in my life of health, wellness, education and new hope for my life.  This journey is an incredible gift given to me called “Mother’s Self Care” program.  I was nominated by Kim Wesley, my very dear friend in this world.  Kim wrote this about the program – “A Mother’s Self Care” .  Patsy Anderson & Women’s Expo created the program based on Mia Redrick’s Time for Mom-Me book and organization.

My basic story is that I’ve been a mom who worked many jobs over the past 17 years in order to be home with my children.  These jobs gave me no health or dental insurance.  My teeth decayed and the infection in my gums eventually after 17 years seeped into my blood stream.  A few years ago the doctors were gravely concerned for my long term health.

This is where a Mother’s Self Care came in to my life.  Kim nominated me, Patsy located sponsors like Mia Redrick, Bob Bauer of Coffee News, the team at Transformations Fitness for Women, Cindy Carter of Cancer Support Foundation and Pat Kutchins of Just for You Gift Baskets.  In addition, there were many others who helped to raise funds, gave me nutritional help,  energy healing and surrounded me with a community of love and support.  My very caring friend, Glenn Garnes, of The Village Connector Community News, connected me to a cosmetic dental lab, Debbie Schmidt at New Image.  Debbie was the one who introduced me to my wonderful, amazing dentist, Dr. Marcus Tappan.  It has been Dr. Tappan and his awesome staff who have transformed my health into a beautiful new extreme smile.  My body is free of all infection and I am a healthier, stronger, and happier person.

I have learned balance in my life.  A valuable asset taught to me by Mia Redrick’s program, “If I take care of me, I can be more for my children, husband, clients, and my community around me.”

After all these months, I am now going to Dr. Tappan’s office next week for a final visit.  I will have to return every six months for check ups, but my journey is nearly complete.

For those who have been waiting, new photos will be uploaded by the first week in November onto my social media sites.

It has been such a learning experience!  I have learned to be more patient and that there are many people who will help you, even when they don’t know you.  I have new hope for the future.

On Monday, October 25th, 2010, Patsy Anderson invites all those who have been so helpful to me this year to the final celebration of my Mother’s Self Care.  We will be at Forest Park Golf Course, 2900 Hillsdale Road, Baltimore, MD  21207 at 10:00 am.

I appreciate the community of people who have reached out to me, assisted me and cared for me.  I am grateful every day to all of you.

My heart is filled with gratitude for this incredible gift to my life.

Bye Bye Facebook Boxes – Are YOU ready?

facebookThis Monday, August 23rd, 2010, Facebook developers will roll out the new software.  This will mean many changes for users.  One of the biggest ones all social media specialists are talking about is – Boxes are Going Bye Bye!  We are now hearing some suggestions from my colleagues in social media that if you do not move your boxes onto tabs by Monday morning, you will lose the information contained in the boxes altogether.

Are you ready?

What are boxes? Do I have any? These are the questions people I know on Facebook are asking me.   Sure you have boxes on your personal profile, if you are a sports fan of some team and added a box down the left sidebar for your team.  You have a box if you have a Cause that you support and added the box showing their great non-profit information.  If you have a cute family box, smiley faces, flowers, hearts or any of these personalized boxes on your Wall / Profile’s left sidebar.  What if you had some smart person help you add an icon for your Fan page – YEP – that is going away also!  If you have your photos down the left sidebar in a box or Links these are affected also.

Look below and you’ll find a screen shot of  my profile which is showing the box for Flair.  To remove the box, click on the pencil icon.  A new box will appear that says Remove Box.  Click on this and the box is removed.  Never fear, it did not disappear.  The box is now on your tabs – navigational tabs.  (These are located at the top of your Profile – starting with Wall, Info, etc. )

screen shot box removal2

Below is another screen shot showing the extra navigational tabs and where they can be found.  In this shot, you can see when you click on the “>>”,  it gives you a list of your extra navigational tabs.  When I clicked on Flair, it added it to my navigational tabs that others can see.

screen shot extra nav tabs2

Facebook limits us to 6 (Six) navigational tabs for your Facebook profile/wall or Fan page. that others can see without clicking the extra ‘>>’ icon.   Last year I had read that Facebook developers were considering allowing 2 rows of navigational tabs, but I think that has been thrown out the ‘software developers window’ now.

I have to admit, honestly, it took me a bit to figure all this ‘Boxes’ stuff out and I hope this helps someone out there. 🙂

Thinking out loud about … Facebook changes


Here they come – More Facebook Changes … Oh joy… Can you sense my sarcasm??  I know, I know change is good, right?  I am embracing it and accepting it.   This is one of my steps to realizing that it is what it is, as by blogging, I am hoping to share some bit of knowledge that some you may not know.  This may make the change easier for us all.

It seems that every few months Facebook developers in their infinite, 500 million users, wisdom decide to make changes. The newest version of their ‘upgrades to make it easier to navigate’ will roll out for ALL of us on August 23, 2010. I just have to say I am not very pleased that the gist of it is that we are losing space. What does Facebook plan to do with all the new space that the 500 pixels custom tabs and loss of boxes will create.

There are two parts to the new changes. The first one is the boxes. All box applications are being removed. Boxes will go away.  For those of you that do not grasp what boxes do for us here are some examples:

  • Hold cute hearts, puppy dogs, your favorite football/basketball etc team
  • Create a place for your FLAIR
  • Create a place for your favorite charity box
  • On Fan pages – boxes hold your customized FBML – like social media icons, website graphic links and much more
  • On Fan pages – Favorite boxes – Favorites of other fan pages

Ok these are just a few of the applications that boxes are used to help us personalize our walls for our personal profiles and for our Fan pages.  These boxes down the left sidebar are going to ‘disappear’ on August 23rd, 2010 – Poof – Gone!  I have yet to find one article, forum or post from Facebook or any other social media blog, writer, or company that explains how we are going to replace these valuable items.

Navigational tabs can be used for some of these items, but at this time, Facebook limits us to only 6 navigational tabs per profile or fan page at one time.  🙁

The second part of the changes are to Fan pages at Facebook.  These are now going to be limited to only 520 pixels per customized page or as Facebook calls them – custom tabs.  Translation here is – all Welcome Pages or Landing Pages that are created for your Fan page usually are in 760 pixels.  Now they will be missing 1/3 of their page if you do not update the data to 520 pixels by August 23rd.  At this time all Admins of pages can see the way their Welcome or Custom Tab/Page will look, but only Admins – the rest of the Facebook community will be able to view them at 520 pixels on August 23, 2010.  This means much smaller pages for all Fan pages – urg.  Why less space?

It also applies to anyone that has a Fan page with a Custom Tab for Testimonials or for a Newsletter Subscription box as most of those are created in 760 pixels, also and will require changes.

Needless to say, changes are coming – Are you ready?  My staff is gearing up here!   Hope this is information that may help some of you.  Have a great day 🙂

Send a message to All the Fans of Facebook Page

Recently, a few folks who I think of as very knowledgeable with regard to social media told me that they were not aware that you can send one message to All the Fans of your Facebook Fan page at one time.   Facebook hides this cool feature in the “Edit Page” settings.  It was my great pleasure to be able to share this with some great friends and colleagues and now I will share it with you.

To send a message to All the Fans of a Fan page, you must first be the “Admin” or administrator of that page.  Access “Edit Page”, which should be under your page’s graphic or picture.  In the “Edit Page” mode, scroll down and look at the right side.  There is a link which says “Send an Update to Fans” .

When you click on this option, it brings up a message / email sheet.  The “To” is already completed with all the fans of the page.  You may type in your subject, message and even add a smile or heart icon at the end.

I hope this tidbit of information helps!  🙂

Facebook Tagging (Part 2)

Hello All,

Thanks so much to those that are reading my stuff and gave me such great input on my last post entitled “Tag – You’re It”!  This was about how to tag people in a post or a photo on Facebook.

Here are a few items that may have been unclear in my prior post –

  • When tagging some one or a fan page at Facebook, here is how it should look:

@AnitaMHicks or @VirtualAssistancebyAnita

Please note that you should begin to see your ‘friends’ list appear as you type in the name or fan page name after the @ sign.  Choose from your list the person that you wish to tag or the name of the page. When you do this, it will become a ‘clickable’ or hyperlink to their profile or page.

In a photo – Below and usually to the right in a photo album, there is a place that says “Tag your Photo”.  Click on this and you will begin the process.  Just hover over the person in the picture and your list of friends should appear.  You can simply click on the person you wish to tag.

I am hoping this helps!  I wish you all a day filled with sunshine and may you see a few dragonflies, too! 🙂

The power of social media

Hey, now you know that term ‘the power of social media’ or  ‘the power of the Internet’ has crossed your path lately.  It is used in news about social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and by lots of business folks everyday.  It seems to be the new marketing phrase.  “The power of social media”  I didn’t buy into this 100% until recently when I had several direct personal experiences with it.

First, since becoming a Virtual Assistant, I have ‘the power of social media’ in my life everyday as I make new friends and am able to reconnect with old friends.

But, it is when I experienced ‘the power of social media’ as a direct result of a status update that made me really ‘believe’ in this creature.  Recently, I purchased a new ‘used’ car.  I was very impressed with the service that the dealership provided to me.  It seemed like the obvious thing to do to post a status update at Facebook on my personal profile on how great they were at Auto-Net Sales.  In just a few days, a friend called me.  She was having lunch with a friend of hers. During their conversation, the subject had arisen that her friend was in the market for a car.  My friend remembered my post about the car dealership and wanted to get more information.  She called me.  “The power of social media!”

Another especially great example in my life of ‘the power of social media’ was through a donation of Girl Scout cookies by a friend’s business, Mobile Car Wash and Detailing.  Ernest Reed purchased the cookies to help my girls and the U. S. soldiers.  I then posted a thank you on his Facebook Fan page for Mobile Car Wash and Detailing along with the link to the GSCM U.S. Mint program, where others could donate Girl Scout cookies to U. S. soldiers.

Business folks that I respect have been telling me for a few months now how important being involved on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and so many more that I am beginning to experience.  As a Virtual Assistant, I explain everyday to business folks the value of having a Facebook Fan page for their business.  “The power of social media” is really a true concept! 🙂