Category Archives: social media

The Social Chicks fly again!

Tonight at the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Chamber of Commerce, our first monthly session on social  media topics for business. Tonight is full, but catch us next month!

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A Pinterest Primer

Yes, I’m still here! Lots of stuff going on, work wise and in life, but I haven’t forgotten about this blog. I thought I would pop in to share this piece I wrote a little while ago for a family member’s crafting blog, Susan Being Snippy. She asked for a piece on Pinterest, since many of her readers were interested in it. So I wrote a little article as one of The Social Chicks. If you’ve been hearing about Pinterest and wondered what all the buzz is about, this is a little primer. Although it’s written for crafters, you might be able to see where the benefits to businesses are in terms of links and web traffic, not to mention building a community of loyal followers when you are able to share and promote things your audience is interested in. If you have more questions about Pinterest, feel free to get in touch!

Nearly everyone is on social media nowadays, with the most recent estimation being that there are over 483 million daily active users on Facebook, and over 100 million daily users on Twitter. But the latest – and according to many, the most fun social media tool taking the online world by storm right now is Pinterest.

Pinterest is a site that allows users to create “boards” where they can “pin” images to create visual collections to share. You can follow other users and you can follow specific boards they are sharing. You can also “like” other people’s pins, and even re-pin them to your own boards.

So where do these photos and images come from? They’re all linked from commercial websites, blogs, personal web albums, news sites, and all kinds of online sources. If there is an image on the page, it can usually be pinned. Add a “Pin It” button to your browser (it’s super easy to do from the Pinterest site under the “About” menu), and whenever you stumble on to something you love while you’re surfing the Internet, hit the “Pin It” button and you can immediately pin it to your Pinterest boards.

Once you sign up and start discovering all the gorgeous things people have to share, the beautiful photography, and the links to fantastic sites, you’ll find that suddenly an hour (or more) has gone by and you want to keep looking! (Trust me, just playing on Pinterest for this article had me losing track of time!)

So what’s so fun about Pinterest?

Find what you love. For crafty types, it’s the opportunity to discover and share beautiful finds. Love knitted crafts? There are thousands of pictures of beautiful and creative projects, all with links to the original site where you can discover how to make it or where you can buy it.

Connect with others who love the same. You’re not the only one who loves the gorgeous colours in the quilts and afghans you found on Pinterest. There are others who have liked and re-pinned, and you can comment and follow one another. What better way to find new friends with similar interests?

Find out where to get it. Love a product you found on Pinterest? Since the images are linked, you just click on the image and you’ll go straight to the original site where it was posted. You can get all the info you need and possibly even purchase the item there too.

Discover how-tos and tutorials. From beautiful knitted projects to creative ideas for organizing your craft materials, Pinterest users are sharing the interesting things they know how to do – and you can save it to your boards to look at later or share with your friends and followers.

Create and share collections of your own. You can create boards for whatever you like. If you want to collect photos of ideas for redecorating your living room, you can put all those photos in one place. If you are planning a trip, you can pin photos from travel sites so your whole itinerary is right there on your Pinterest board. And of course if you are planning a new craft project, you can even share step-by-step photos from your blog and bring traffic to your site. There are tons of possibilities for nearly every kind of interest.

Currently, to join the site you have to get an invite, so request one from a friend or request one from Pinterest – but be warned, you’ll get in faster if you get an invite from a friend. Pinterest is experiencing so much growth that if you request an invite from them, you might be waiting a while!

So go ahead and look around Pinterest and start discovering all the creative, beautiful finds there. But be warned, you might be there for a while!

Want to connect with me on Pinterest? Find me at www.pinterest.com/bexv.

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5 Tips for Starting a Successful Business Facebook Page

I’ve been asked by several organizations about how to run a successful Facebook page. Anyone can set one up, add photos and post information on it, but you have to know what you want to get out of a Facebook page or you are wasting your time, and the time of those who visit your page. I’ve come up with five basic tips for launching a successful Facebook page, and my clients have found them very helpful especially when they’re starting out with a social media plan.

1. Have a Moderator or someone in charge. When you have several people posting, making announcements, responding to comments and updating, you can lose the cohesiveness in your organization’s “voice.” Having one person in charge of updating, posting and responding keeps your page consistent and makes running the page easier.

2. Advertise. Find and invite people to your page. Start with your personal friends and even family. Email them the link to the Facebook page and tell them what they can expect to find there, and what value it is to them. Run a Facebook Ad. You don’t have to spend much – just $50 over a period of a month can encourage enough clicks – depending on your industry and competition, but more about that in another post – to get your page growing. And don’t forget to advertise your page offline as well. Include your Facebook URL and/or Facebook icon in your print ads.

3. Set your Facebook Page settings. Search engines are starting to use Facebook links and likes as criteria in how your page ranks in online searches. So don’t lose this opportunity to bump your name up. Fill the “Info” section with lots of keywords about your industry, your specialty, your market, and whatever else you think users would search for. Also, make sure your settings allow users to post on your page. If your page doesn’t allow interaction, people are less likely to visit it again.

And lastly, don’t forget to set up your custom Facebook page URL. It’s hard to promote a Facebook page URL that looks like this: http://www.facebook.com/jsdlfiagsh/234jksldig$*jsl. Instead, once you have 25 fans, you can set a custom URL so your page can be found by typing in http://www.facebook.com/yourfacebookpagename. Use your company name and it’s much easier to promote in print ads and online – and much easier for people to remember.

4. Make it social. Facebook is all about two-way dialogue. Don’t just create a “bulletin board” of information strictly about your business. Then you have just created an online ad. That’s boring. There’s nothing wrong with promoting your services and information, but some posts should just be useful information for your customers, or even questions aimed at creating some feedback or dialogue with them. Always share content of value to your readers, and think about what they want to read or see. And remember to come bearing gifts – contests and giveaways are always a good way to get people interacting on your page. Offer a prize for input on something, such as a gift certificate for posting a response to a question you ask, or some other kind of feedback.

5. Don’t give up. It can be slow going, but don’t give up. If you ask a question and no one responds, move on to something else and try again later. Some things will work and others won’t, but keep responding when people post on your page, and keep offering information of value to your readers, and ask them for feedback or input. Once you’ve built that trust with them, you’ll see that interaction grow, and you’ll see interesting things start to happen. (More about that in another post too. 🙂 )

 

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Transparency in your online communication

Since Northern Voice last weekend, I’ve been thinking alot about transparency in a person’s online life and how that translates into “real life.”

Recently, I read this article on what not to share online:

8 Shocking (and Hilarious) Social Media Gaffes

“There is no such thing as a private or personal profile and then a professional one. If it is on the Internet, it ALL better be professional, period.”

I sent this article to a friend, wondering if it was just me that thought the eight things seemed a little overboard, and she summed it up pretty well:

Scare tactics. And, essentially, survival of the fittest, no? If you’re an idiot, people are going to find out.

At Northern Voice, Saturday’s keynote speaker, Chris Wilson spoke about transparency and how you should be free to be who you are both online and off. I particularly loved this quote he shared:

Years ago, I chose to live my life with the kind of transparency that would create real connections to real people and ever since then my life became fantastically uncommonly amazing.Yes, it leaves me incredibly vulnerable, but it also creates an amazing amount of safety for me. Having real connections with real people means that I have an enormous group of people who would take a bullet for me.The only regret I have is that I didn’t do it sooner.

-Tara “@missrogue” Hunt

I couldn’t agree more. Now, if all your Facebook photos are of you getting sloppy drunk in a bar, that says something. But if you are open about who you are and what you believe, I think it shows your online connections who you are as a person. There’s real value in that. Especially in an online world where people sometimes don’t meet face-to-face, or conduct business via email or text. You can miss out on that human element of who you are interacting with on a regular basis. That honesty and transparency is what makes online communication real, and hence allows people to translate those relationships into “real life” relationships.

Besides, it’s not about who might see what you post online, it’s about who you are. “If you’re an idiot, people are going to find out.” I find it boring when people are consistently portraying their lives, their families, their homes and so on as perfect. No one is perfect, and we all know it. I also don’t believe that everything you post online should be professional. Only posting things you would want your mother to see? Really? No one lives like that in their personal life, why should it be that way online?

I hope that as time goes on people realize that online communication can be “real” communication, and realize the value in transparency. It’s true that it’s survival of the fittest. If you are an inspiring person in your personal life, it will show online, and vice versa. As they say, you take the good with the bad, and accept people “warts and all.”

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Northern Voice 2011

Tomorrow I’m heading to UBC to take in Northern Voice. Because of a plan currently hatching with a partner in business (and crime), I’m particularly excited about the abundance of workshops on podcasting.

Check out the hashtag #nv2011 on Twitter. Even though I wasn’t there today, I learned a ton just from the links people were sharing from today’s workshops. Excited to be there tomorrow!

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Meet Me!

I’m a communications professional specializing in writing, design, media relations and social media.

My passion is social media and learning about the benefits it offers businesses and organizations by enabling them to engage directly with clients. I’ve given presentations and tutorials to community groups, governments, and business organizations, teaching them how to use social networking tools and how to get the most out of them.

After keeping a personal blog several years ago, I’ve recently redeveloped an interest in blogging as well. (So watch this space!)

Let’s connect! Find me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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