Category Archives: Social Media

Social Media 101 for the Small Business

It’s 2016 and if your business is not on the web then it does not exist. All businesses, even small businesses, should have at least a website. These days, however, that is not enough.

Social media is the vehicle that drives traffic to your website, the central communication hub of your business. Social media is an extension of your existing website that allows for more instant communication of business news as well as direct customer interactions. Authors, musicians, artists, retailers and other mainstream businesses and professionals can benefit from a social media presence.

There are a multitude of options to choose from. You do not, and should not, be on every platform but you should take a look at what is out there and choose one to start with. Here are some things to consider when making that decision.

Why Do Social Media

Social media is about establishing a following. Viewers literally click a “follow” or “like” button to have your updates regularly delivered to their news feeds.

You will get followers if you offer relevant & timely information about your business, product or mission. Share info on new products, sale items or relevant industry news.

The other goal of social media is to have your followers share your posts with their social network. That is how new customers and clients will find you. It is basically the “word of mouth” marketing concept in a digital format.

Frequency of Social Media Posts

There is a lot of information out there that suggests daily posting, if not more, will get you the results you are looking for. For most small businesses and professionals, posting once or twice a week to keep followers engaged in your company is more than adequate. More often than that and followers will feel overwhelmed by your presence on their news feed and may choose to hide your posts or unfollow you.

 Types of Content Posts

Posts should be relevant, timely, short and descriptive. Don’t just say “I posted a photo to Facebook”. Say something descriptive about it such as “sneak peak of our spring line” if the photo is of new merchandise.

Posts can also be about upcoming events, industry news and testimonials.

Timing of Posts?

This all depends on what you are posting. Generally speaking it is best to post between 5-11pm, when most people are home from work, out of class and winding down for the day. Unexpected delays, closings or other news can be posted as needed.

Dealing with Negative Comments

Social media has a well-founded reputation of being the platform for spur of the moment, immediate gratification postings. These types of postings can often miss the mark and also offend. If you or your business are the recipient of such comments do not respond in kind. Take your time and be thoughtful in the words and information you put out there.

Complaints and negative comments can be indicative of valid issues that do need to be addressed and social media is a way for you to acknowledge the issue and assure customers it is being addressed. It is also a good platform to explain why something can not be changed. Sometimes public comments are simply not constructive. Those are the comments you delete.

I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly of social media in business and as purely social use. Just like with face to face communication, it is all what you make of it. Plan to make your corner of the digital social world the best it can be with what you put out there. Be ready to respond to constructive feedback that may necessitate a change on your end and be prepared to delete and block those that have nothing constructive to offer.

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Social Media and Crime | Social Media Today

This was an interesting article on Social Media and cyber crime.  Social Media and Crime | Social Media Today.  The accompanying info-graphic paints a picture of how much over-sharing we do on social media and the ways it can open us up to be victims of crime.

This and other articles out there point out the need to better understand your privacy settings.  This is true.  Understanding and using the privacy tools available is a good first step.  Privacy settings, however, come and go at the whim of the social media company that created them.  In that sense they are not a good line of defense.

Aside from giving up social media all together, the best line of defense is to not put information out there you do not want public in the first place.  Once you put something out there it is there to be shared, privacy filters or no privacy filters.

Copyright Digital Design Digest 2013


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The Digital Message in a Bottle

I read a blog post by David Pogue the other day about the “other folder” on Facebook.  It is the hidden folder where messages from those not in your Friends network go.  Pogue’s follow-on blog post talked about people’s responses to what they found in that “other” folder.  Some sad news, long lost friends trying to reconnect and even job interviews.

Pogue did us all a service in pointing out this “other folder”.  It is not obvious on Facebook it’s self.  By catching messages from those not in our network it serves as a bit of a spam filter. But if Facebook does not make it obvious to us, the end user, that it is there, is this “other folder” really serving us?  Is Facebook serving us?

I digress.  Pogue’s article made it clear, at least in my mind, that Facebook and other social media is for sharing and not meant for important communication, especially that of a sensitive, urgent or personal nature.  Everything has it’s place.  Older generations do not always see the value in social media for reach in product and idea marketing, customer service or even just staying in touch with family and friends all over the globe.  The younger generation often neglect email because everyone in their immediate social circle is on social media or at least a mobile device with texting abilities. This can lead to a false assumption that social media is the main mode of communication for all.

For major business communications email is still the more secure, private and versatile tool.  Email should be:

– checked at least twice a day with the intent of responding to the urgent emails within 24 hours.
– setup with automated folders specified by the user that sort incoming mail by sender or subject matter.  This will help with scanning through incoming mail for urgent messages, both business and personal.

– used for sending important messages like job offers, college acceptance (or rejections), business proposals and any other personal communication meant for a small, private audience.

Social Media is a great tool for alerting customers to new products, receiving customer feedback, providing useful tips and information in your area of expertise and sharing inspiration.  I have seen social media be used as a virtual yearbook for classmates to reminisce about a different place and time, a debate platform for current events and a basic news feed (as originally intended) of events and thoughts of the day.  It is a different kind of communication from email.  It is a richer, more versatile form of mass communication than email.

Everything has it’s place and no one thing can be everything to everyone…no matter how well it is marketed.

Copyright 2013 Digital Design Digest

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Here’s the Proof: How You Post on Facebook Fan Pages Affects Views

An excellent article on the art and science of posting to Facebook fan pages.  What really struck me is that text based posts tend to be more popular if the comment is coming from you – the author /sharer of the link.  It is not all about the image! So if you are going to share something, it helps to have something to say about it.

I encourage you to read on and follow Jumpset Strategies for more great social media advice.

Here’s the Proof: How You Post on Facebook Fan Pages Affects Views.

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Social Media Literacy for Parents and Kids Part 3 – Privacy

In part one and two of Social Media Literacy for Parents and Kids I talked a lot about what not to post in terms of respect of self and others, consequences and boundaries.  In this post I want to talk about privacy and safety in social media.  It’s always fun to share where you’ve been but not always safe to share where you are going with a broad public.  Lead by example and share with your kids these tips for protecting their privacy online.

Location, Location, Location.

Automatic Advertisement

Did you know there is a setting on your iPhone that allows the phone to access GPS and broadcast your location on social networks?  I was on my Facebook account one day and the map there announced the 4 locations I had been at.  I won’t lie. It creeped me out.  I made a point of getting to know the broadcast settings on my phone much better after that.  My social networks no longer have permission to broadcast to my contacts where I am and where I have been.  I reserve the right to do it manually at a time of my choosing and most certainly I reserve the right to not share my every move.   I reserve my right to privacy.  Providing such information does nothing for me and serves as nothing more than digital noise for most of my contacts.  The only purpose it serves is advertising for the places I visit.  Lead by example and be in control of what information is broadcast to your contacts.

Manual Mischief

Disabling the automatic broadcast of your location simply puts the control back in your hands as to what information you share.  It is a responsibility, because you can actually give away too much information manually than your mobile device would automatically.

If you are going out for an evening, on vacation or anywhere for an extended period of time, keep it to yourself until you get back.  Advertising where you are going and how long you will be away is opening the door to trouble.  It first lets people know that your home is unprotected and an easier target for being robbed. Second, if others know your children will be home alone during that time, either by something you posted or something your kids posted, it invites an opportunity for them to be taken advantage of in ways ranging from friends trying to orchestrate an unsupervised gathering to something more serious.

The Devil is In the Detail

The details of our comings and goings in life seem benign enough to share.  To someone with an agenda that digital noise can be mapped into a routine to gain easy access to someone or provide enough detail for someone to act the part of knowing friend.  Just because someone knows a lot about us does not mean they are trustworthy.  Social media makes it easy to “collect” people, contacts, and information and to be “collected”.  You can reveal too much of yourself very quickly and when your social media interactions meet you on the street or at the front door in real life it can be very difficult to establish boundaries of privacy that were so easily broken in the digital world.

Be My Friend

We all have different reasons for signing up for a social network.  Some are to stay connected with former classmates, others for business and others just to share different interests.  The contacts we collect in all these instances are not close friends.  They follow us for specific reasons and we want them to follow us for specific reasons.  Social media makes it easy to forget ourselves and share things with contacts when we would not dream of physically letting them into other areas of our lives. We simply do not compartmentalize people online the way we do in real life.  If we can’t do it, how do we expect kids to?

Facebook and Google have ways of allowing a person to compartmentalize contacts to some degree.  While a business or fan page on Facebook can be followed by anyone without having a request accepted, you can strictly limit your personal page to just your friends.  If you or your kids are running a public fan page on social media keep it strictly business.  No personal contact information or personal details. On their private pages they should limit their details to just an email address.  Kids under 18 have no real reason to post the school they go to and where they work. No one, of any age should make their address and phone number public on social media.

Accept friend requests judiciously. If you are using social media for business purposes you probably have a blog, fan page or Twitter account that is open to the public for just that purpose. Your followers do not need to be a part of your private page as well.  Young kids should be particularly careful who they accept friend requests from. If they do not know the person, even if the request is from another kid, don’t accept the request. Many sexual predators gain access to their victims because they pretended to be a kid themselves.  Kids should learn to question things now.  How does this person know me?  Why does this person want to connect with me?  Why would I want to connect with them? These are the same questions and rules that apply in face-to-face interactions.

Parents and kids should have direct conversations about who in their broad social spectrum is truly a close entrusted friend.  From that will hopefully come conversations about how to create boundaries with others in a social network and in life and how deal with others who try to cross those boundaries.

Copyright 2013 Digital Design Digest

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Social Media Literacy for Parents and Kids Part 2

In part one I talked about how to guide your kids to a place of respect for self and others when using social media.  Since it is so easy to acquire contacts and post everything and anything that comes to mind it is very easy to offend and do harm without realizing it.  Parents, this is as true for you as it is for your kids.  Respect for self and others starts at home. It starts with remembering what it was to be a kid and the social order of things; what was cool to share and what damned you if it ever became public.

Private vs Public Self

We all have our public selves and private selves (yup, the psychology major in me emerges).  The public self is how we want people to see us.  The private self is the unguarded public self, a more relaxed version of ourselves that can explore and revel in our various interests and idiosyncrasies that we guard in public for fear they may not be accepted in broader society.

As adults we have learned, hopefully, how to enter into a broader conversation of mixed company, both in person and online, without offending anyone.  We have also learned, hopefully, how to appropriately respond to or ignore some of the communication that comes back at us as a result of what we choose to share.  We learned the subtle differences between being offensive and being accepted and how to make amends when we offend and how to stand our ground for the right to simply be ourselves.  We did not get there over night.

It was a constant process of trial and error in allowing little pieces of our private selves out in public, testing the reaction and determining what is truly unacceptable and what others simply need to get over.  This is how we became who we are.  Truth be told, it is an ongoing process even in adulthood, but most of the process is somewhat second nature to us now and, for the most part, we can let the little failures of the great experiment roll off our back more easily then we could at thirteen.  Not everything in an OMG moment (For those not hip to the lingo, omg= Oh My God with your choice of affectation).

When sharing information about kids online we need to remember that in their own social circles they have a public and private self too.  It does not look like ours in adulthood.  The things we know are not a big deal in the grand scheme of things could very well be everything to the younger generation.  Don’t dismiss it outright.  Sharing certain things about your kids online may seem benign and safe, but at a certain age for your child, it may become a betrayal of their private self.

A Teaching Moment

Remember “The Christmas Story” scene with Ralphie in the pink bunny pj’s?  WHAT would he have done in the age of Facebook and Instagram?  In part one I warned kids that what they post could come back to haunt them in ways they don’t expect.  Parents, what you post could come back to haunt your kids in ways they probably see coming within their own youthful society.  Don’t dismiss it.  They don’t understand most of what concerns us half the time, but we teach them to respect our wishes anyway. Kids will not learn to respect others if they do not feel respected. Make them a part of the conversation and sharing process.  Take those memorable photos for your own keepsake; once upon a time that was enough.   If you are going to share images, or even details about your kids, talk to them first.  Let them pick the picture and even help write the post.  There is a little something deep inside most kids that are flattered that others’ in your world ask of them, but just like you, they have preferences in what they share with whom.

Our kids are a part of our lives.  When we talk about ourselves on social media we instinctively want to share the joys, concerns and sorrows of them just like anything else.  Social media is the digital diary that follows you forever.  What you post about your kids in your diary are the first pages in their diary.  Social media is here to stay.  Teach them respect of self and others by giving them some choice in their online presence early on.

Copyright 2013 Digital Design Digest

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This is a great post by Jumsetstrategies. Thank you Audrey! I laughed because this kind of how I came to Twitter too. The truth about the Social Media Soap Opera is that no one network can always meet your every need! So have a fling every now and then to see if there is something that better meets your needs.

Jumpset Strategies

Dear Facebook,

We need to talk. I have a confession. This is hard for  me to say, so I’ll just spit it out. I’ve been seeing another social network on the side. Its name is Twitter. I didn’t plan to stray. It just sort of happened.

I will tell you everything, but please, hear me out before jumping to conclusions.

Our relationship started out innocently enough. I met Twitter many years ago, about the same time I met you. I opened an account to see what it was all about. I was not an instant fan. I only visited a couple of times a month. It seemed very random. Few of my friends and acquaintances used it. People followed until I followed back, then unfollowed. There was no commitment as there was on Facebook. This wasn’t the place I wanted to settle down in at that time in my life. I spent the early years of…

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