Tag Archives: social media

Social media for newbies

I’ve been tasked with preparing a staff workshop on social media at work. The age demographic at my workplace is slightly older than the norm, with the average age being around 46, and very few, if any, millenial workers in the bunch. So social media, although our organization uses Facebook and Twitter to communicate, is not a familiar topic among many staff.

In fact, some just downright dislike it and don’t want to have anything to do with it. It’s hard for someone like me to understand, since I find it such an interesting way to be able to connect and communicate with your friends and family – and people all over the world – at anytime, any place, using a mobile phone.

However, just recently a few staff members have come to me with questions about blogging and Twitter, and they are very interested in how it can be used. And they are asking for a workshop to teach them the basics so they can understand what this is all about, that is going on all around them. (I find this so exciting!)

I’m not shy about sharing information about myself, although I don’t post everyday on Facebook and I haven’t used Twitter much in a long time, I don’t feel that fear of opening myself up to the Internet. There could be a few reasons for this:

  • I know how to use the tools, which is half the battle. I know how to go into my settings on Facebook and block certain people, or block my profile from being viewed by people other than my friends.
  • I know what people can see of my posts and tweets and what they can’t.
  • And I never, ever post something that I don’t want the general public to know

A good friend once said to me regarding social media: “If you’re an idiot, people are going to find out.” Meaning, if you are rude, ignorant and socially inept in face-to-face communication, that will come out online too. It’s not the social media tools that are bad, it’s who is using them, and how they are using them.

Having said all that, in planning my workshop I am thinking a lot about why people are afraid of these tools and looking for information on why they might be apprehensive, in order to address some people’s concerns. I found an excellent blog post by Liz Jostes, titled, “Helping Newbies Understand Social Media.”

Below is an excerpt that I found particularly helpful. Think of some of the older users of the Internet you know, and see if you can spot any familiarities.

Liz writes about helping her mom get started with Facebook:

  1. Privacy is a huge issue – Not that any of us should take our online privacy for granted, but as soon as she made a few Friend connections, she immediately panicked over a couple of them knowing she was out of town and visiting me for the weekend (She lives in Chicago and was visiting me in Memphis). Her fear was that one of them would post something about her visiting me out-of-state, a thief would read that, and her house would be burglarized.

  2. Making decisions about default profile settings requires more analysis than choosing your retirement plan – This may have been the most tedious part of the process. There are so many choices within your personal Facebook profile, plus options for each status update. Also, each decision seemed to spark some other type of worry: “Why would people share this with the world?” and “Don’t people worry about who is seeing/reading that?“

  3. Notifications can be stressful After our initial profile set-up and her asking to be friends with a dozen or so people, she opened her email to a flurry of Facebook notifications. I sensed real urgency from her as she sorted through them, along with a feeling of her being overwhelmed. Because of this, I told her that all these notification emails are set up by default, but she can uncheck several boxes to only receive notifications for the activities that matter most to her.

  4. Words like “feed, “stream” and “wall” mean nothing Even the most basic of terminology needed to be explained. She kept asking me, “So where’s this ‘wall’ you keep mentioning? Show me my wall!“

  5. If all they know is email… That’s all they have to compare social media to. My mom kept asking me how people ‘send’ her news and photos. It took a few conversations until she grasped that her Friends are posting updates for her to read if she chooses; but no one is actually sending anything to her.

  6. Engagement is a two-way street Those of us who live and breathe social media understand the ‘how’ and ‘why’ to proper engagement. But users like my mom can have a hard time grasping the need for the posting of updates in order for news or photos to be spread. I received a handful of, “Well, why am I not seeing any updates by Sandi?” type questions. I also made a point to explain that she needs to post something every once in a while, too, if she ever wants any of her family or friends to hear from her.

  7. Friends who are active can seem overly chatty We all know that it takes some time for your social connections to grow. So in the mean time when you have something like 25 friends, you’re going to want to tell Cousin Bob to shut the heck up because his thrice-daily posts comprise 80% of the content on your wall.

Read more: Helping Newbies Understand Social Media

What else do you think newbies to social media need to know? Do you think it’s time for people to get over the fear of social media since it has become such a huge part of social interaction? Is this a good thing?

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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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