Social Media

Making Connections With Your Main Street Business Through Social Media

Main Street businesses are the same as they were 20+ years ago, they are still Main Street businesses. What has changed is the fact that many Main Streets have empty store fronts. There are several communities that have aggressive leaders in them that are working around the clock to keep these spaces filled. Another thing that has changed over the course of the past 20 years, is where we get our information from.

Social media came onto the scene a little more than 15 years ago and many Main Street businesses have been slow to embrace the change. With so much competition, it’s imperative in today’s business climate, that Main Street businesses have a presence through social media.

So, you are probably wondering, where does a Main Street business owner start? I would suggest that businesses get their feet wet with Facebook. Folks of all ages are on Facebook and many that have been slow to jump on social media will join Facebook before they join any social media platform. Facebook is an opportunity for you to test the waters and see how social media will work with your Main Street business.

Social Media

Here are some tips to get you started:

PHOTOS

Make the time to take photos that look fabulous! Yes, you can do that. Most smart phones today have awesome cameras built right in and you can post them easily to your Facebook Business Page. There are several apps that are great for editing your photos, don’t be afraid to use them. It’s true- a photo is worth its weight in gold.

BE CONSISTENT

Once you begin posting to Facebook, make sure you have at least one post on the page per day. Many folks will quickly lose interest if you do not post daily. By posting daily, your customers will have a specific reason to visit your page. With an active online presence, you will have opened the doorways of communication with your engagement through social media.

BE SOCIAL

Social media is all about being social. It’s not a place to drop links and not engage. Social media is all about engaging with others. When you show others that you are the expert in your business, there is a good chance that they will become your friend online and then walk into your Main Street business to purchase something. Social media is all about being social, it is not a direct sales platform.

Social media opens the doorway in ways you probably never imagined. By being active in social media, you will quickly learn that the magic happens when the relationship is taken off line. So, tell me! How are you and your Main Street business using social media? I’d love to hear about your experience.

http://socialsaraconnections.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Smart-Phone-With-Buttons.jpg

Facebook Status Updates: What You Need To Think About Before You Hit Publish

Facebook is one of those places where we love to share. We love to share a lot of things about our daily lives and we often get caught up in the moment and don’t really think before we hit “publish.” Chances are that you have hit “publish” a couple times and regretted the post at a later date. So…. that got me thinking. A lot of people are wondering why certain things are not ok to post. Here’s my take on this!

http://socialsaraconnections.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Smart-Phone-With-Buttons.jpg

 

WORK

Let’s face it, we all have bad days at work now and then. It is NEVER ok to post negative things about your job, your boss and the business you work for. Have you ever thought about who is paying your bills? The quickest way to get your name off of the list for a pay raise or promotion is to start talking negative about your employer. Unfortunately, I see this in my personal Facebook feed over and over. Be nice and remember, not everything belongs on social media and face to face conversations still matter.

SCHOOL

With a new school year, it’s important to remember that school is for having real conversations. Those text messages can wait until after the school day and Facebook messages can wait until the end of the day. Parents, please do not send your kids text messages during the school day, as it puts a strain on the classroom setting.

KIDS IN BATHTUBS

It is never ok to post a picture on Facebook of a child in a bathtub. I have no idea as to why any parent thinks this is ok. These kids will grow up and wonder why their photo is showing up on a site where parents never intended it to be. There are somethings that are not meant to be shared, and kids in bathtubs is one of them.

This is a quick list of what not to post on Facebook. With a new school year upon us, I thought it was a good time to address a few items and maybe make us all think before we hit “publish.” Have you ever regretted a Facebook post? If so, how did you handle the situation?

 

 

 

Questions

Tips For Keeping Your Facebook Business Page In The Limelight

Facebook continues to keep all of us on our toes. If you have a Facebook Business Page, you know exactly what I am referring to. Once you think you have the algorithms figured out, Facebook changes again and again. Here are some simple tips to keep your Facebook Business Page in the limelight.

 

Questions

Ask Questions

When you ask a question, you are letting people know that you are ready to engage with them. Most importantly, pay attention to the page after you post the question. Social media is not a dumping ground, which means you need to be present. I have had great response to questions on my Social Connections, LLC Facebook page. We talk about everything from smart phones to social media platforms. Ask a question that highlights your passion and I think you will be pleasantly surprised!

Video

Video clips, under one minute, seem to be extremely well received. It’s been known that video fed directly to Facebook is shown to more people than a You Tube video that is shared on a Facebook Business Page. Interestingly enough, I shared a video from You Tube this past week on a Facebook Business Page that I manage and it had record views. My thoughts as to why this happened. It was timely video and a lot of people were interested in the topic.

Inspirational Quotes

Inspirational quotes are not only inspirational but they are also a way to show others that you are a real person and you do genuinely care. Donna of DonnaHup.Com says inspirational quotes are well received on her Facebook Business Page, as well as Pinterest.

Most importantly pay attention to your raving fans and what they look for on your Facebook Business Page. Social media is a great tool to help you build relationships with your current and future clients. Why not use it the best that you can?

 

Social Media

Reasons Why You May Not Want To Set Up That Second Or Third Facebook Business Page

I’m seeing a trend that I’m not really liking on Facebook. There are several businesses that have specific areas that they service. Therefore, business owners often see a need to have a separate Facebook Business Page for each specific area. It often confuses people as to who you are, what your business is about, and where your business is going. I personally would like to see businesses invest in an outstanding website that they can drive traffic to through social media. In my opinion, the website should be where the “specific areas” should be showcased. An example would be a city has a Facebook page and then sets up a Facebook page for the neighborhood parks. Make things easy for yourself and your citizens, drive them to one place to see everything.

Social Media

 

Time Is Valuable

Time is very valuable in our very busy online and offline world. If you spend 24/7 in front of your computer managing several Business Facebook Pages, when will you make real life connections? Those face to face conversations still matter and they are often the determining factor as to who people do business with. If you have decided that you must have several Facebook Business Pages, make sure you understand the rules of Facebook and know that you will have to hire someone to oversee each page. Make sure you dedicate one employee to Facebook specifically or you will not be able to manage the pages effectively. Many start out with good intentions and then the page sits and sits. Remember, time is valuable and make the most out of it.

Facebook Business Pages Need To Be Accessible

I have never understood why someone would spend time and money on setting up a Facebook Business Page and then turn off the ability for people to post to the wall. Facebook is Social Media and to the best of my knowledge social is all about being social and meeting new people. Growing a business takes time and it also takes effort on your part as a business owner. Sure, people may post negative things on your Facebook Business Page wall, but that gives you the opportunity to shine. And in all honesty, if you are using good business practices, the comments on your wall will be comments you want to share.

Don’t fall into the trap of trying to be everything to everyone, business does not work that way. Make things simple by investing in a website to showcase everything in one place and use one Facebook Business Page to drive traffic to your website. Most importantly, remember that social media is not a dumping ground. Be present and ready to engage and your present and future customers will thank you!

 

 

 

Shaking Hands Politics

How To Keep Your Facebook Friends During The Political Season

Here in Iowa things are really heating up in regards to politics. If you are not careful, you will lose several friends on Facebook. We have the opportunity to meet most of the candidates at one time or another at a local coffee shop. It’s something that we Iowans often take for granted. It doesn’t matter what side of the political fence you are on, it’s important to get to know the candidates and most importantly get out and vote in November.

Shaking Hands Politics

 

Today Facebook lit up like a lightning rod. The candidates were in the state and several major news networks work in our community. The one thing I noticed immediately was how nasty people were on Facebook. I’m not sure if it was due to envy or a lack of judgement. Here’s how you can remain friends on Facebook during the political season.

Be Nice

It’s true, niceness goes along ways. Maybe you do not like a candidate that a fellow Facebook friend goes to meet or you think the coffee is bad at the local coffee shop. Be nice and remain neutral. The easiest way to be nice to your Facebook friend is to simply “like” the post or ignore it. There’s a lot of truth in the old statement, “If you can’t say it to your Grandma, don’t say it at all.”

Unfollow

If you are truly overwhelmed with the constant political postings yet want to remain Facebook friends with your friend. Simply click on the Unfollow button. This is right next to the button that says Friends. You will no longer see their posts in your feed and you will remain Facebook friends. Your friend will not know that you unfollowed them. This is an easy way to avoid the continual political rants and raves. My personal opinion, if you are so far apart politically and it’s eating away at you, it’s time to break up on Facebook.

Take a Facebook Break

Your mental health matters and if you need to step away from Facebook due to the constant political postings, by all means do. I would not suggest deleting your page, let it sit. Chances are at some point you will want to hop back on and reconnect with your friends.

http://socialsaraconnections.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Smart-Phone-With-Buttons.jpg

 

In all honesty, I wish this was not an issue. I truly believe that if we were all nice in our Facebook status updates we would all be happier. There is nothing wrong with unfriending and taking your life back.

Facebook friends are important in our lives today, so be respectful. Facebook brings us together in more ways that pulls us apart. So…. my friends, embrace Facebook and enjoy the ride of the political season.

 

 

Facebook Like

How To Not Let The Temperament of Facebook Suck You In

Facebook is an interesting tool. It not only offers an opportunity to share the good, the bad and the ugly. But it can also bring a person down. How often have you jumped on Facebook to learn that a friend is very ill or has passed away? 

This got me thinking. Is it really a good thing that we are all so connected? I love that I have friends all around the world, but I will admit it, things can get difficult at times too. Just last week I hopped on Facebook to learn that several friends were at the hospital, in the hospital or attending funeral visitations. I stepped away. I want to support my friends and family, but I also know that I need to keep living and doing the things that I love. I quickly felt as though I was being sucked in to a world of illness. It was at that point that I knew I needed to step away from Facebook.

Then there is this button called the “like” button.

Facebook Like

 

We all want those likes, but what happens when nobody likes our status updates? If you find it bothers you that nobody likes your updates, maybe you need to step away from Facebook for a while. It’s not healthy to compare your life to the number of “likes” you get on a Facebook post. My suggestion: Step away from Facebook, without your phone in hand, and experience life! Hike, read a book, walk, run, visit the park, go fishing- get out and live your life! You cannot live your life through a button on Facebook.

Have you ever felt like you were being sucked into a Facebook world you did not want to be a part of? I would love to hear how you dealt with it and how you moved on.

My mantra…. Live your Life!

First half of form

How To Delete Or Memorialize A Deceased Family Member’s Facebook Account

Facebook is a tool that we all use on a regular basis. Just this weekend I was strolling through my personal Facebook feed and noticed 60+  people were wishing one of my friends a “Happy Birthday.” I literally had to stop and pause, as this friend had passed away more than two years ago.

I began to think about how well I know my Facebook friends. I do have several friends that I do not physically see in person very often, but I would like to think that I would know if they had passed away. And then I began to think about the automation in our society. Maybe these people had an automatic birthday request set to go out. But really, in my opinion, an automated “Happy Birthday” really means nothing. That’s my opinion, as many would argue that it’s the thought that counts.

 

Did you know that a family member can fill out a form on Facebook to delete the deceased family member’s account or set it up to be memorialized? This is a relatively simple way for families to choose how they want their loved ones to be remembered on Facebook. The family has a choice and it’s a great option for families to have.

Here’s what the form looks like:

First half of form

And here’s a glance at the bottom half of this form.

Bottom half of form

As you can tell, the form is not that complicated to fill out. Ideally it would be great for a family member to know the password to the account and remove it that way. But, if family members do not have access to the deceased family member’s Facebook password, this is a great option.

So…. the next time you decide to accept someone as a Facebook friend, make sure you know them. To me, there would be nothing more embarrassing then to find out that I missed the death of a friend and continued on a conversation as though they were alive.

Have you ever filled out one of these forms? If so, I’d love to hear about your experience and am curious as to if the process was as simple as it appears to be.

Social Media Is More Than Just Facebook

World Wide Web

When people hear the words social media they often think of Facebook. It is true, Facebook is a part of social media, but it is not the only thing that makes up social media. Social media is a place that you can go online and share an experience or a story. It allows you to engage and meet new people online, while  it allows you to grow your digital foot print.

Man With Keyboard

I often hear people say, “Oh social media, that’s Facebook.” When I try to explain that social media is much more than just Facebook I am often met with blank stares. Why is that? Is it because Facebook is so widely used in the circle of people I find myself in? It very well could be. Facebook is a small sliver of what makes up social media.

Did you know that the comments that you make on a Facebook status update can show up anywhere on the world wide web? If you don’t want your comments to show up anywhere, please don’t make them. Make sure your comments are how you want your digital footprint to be online. If you make a status update that is available to the public, your comments can show up through a google search. My advice, keep your comments close to home, with your friends. Not friends of friends, just your friends. Or, better yet, customize who you share certain things with.

Settings for Facebook

How many of you use Instagram? This is a powerful photo app that is growing by leaps and bounds. Instagram allows you to share your message through a photo, which is powerful in regards to social media. Remember that old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words?” So true in regards to social media.

Most importantly social media is your online story. It’s not Facebook’s story, social media is your story. Share your story in a way that represents you, who you are and what you want others to learn about you through the world wide web.

So, tell me! Where do you like to share your story online? Is it through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Vine, SnapChat or Google+?

The End of The Year Brings Reminders To Everyone

A new year is upon us and I’m seeing all sorts of complaints about the year in review apps that Facebook is offering. If you have to think twice about sharing anything on social media, the best advice I have for you is to not share it. I get it, we all get caught up in that “one” thing and can’t resist sharing it. But really? If you choose to see what an app puts together for your year end, what do you expect? The app will pull what it wants and if you are lucky, you will be able to change things up to your liking before it is published.

My challenge to each of you is to make smart choices when it comes to sharing through social media.

 

Social Media Signs

 

 

If you are passionate about something and want to share it, by all means go for it. Keep in mind, you don’t own Facebook. In reality, Facebook owns you. Each post you make on Facebook is telling someone what you like, where you want to travel and basically anything about you. Each keystroke is telling someone, something about you. Like it or not, this is the world we live in.

If you don’t want to be a part of this, do not post anything on social media. By making smart choices you can have a wonderful time connecting and reconnecting with others. I continue to meet some of the most amazing people and businesses online every single day. Each post seems to make a connection that I never dreamed was possible. And you know what? I did one of those movie year end in review things through Facebook and it was fun to watch. Sure, there were some moments, but I moved on. Facebook was sharing my year in review and I chose to hit “Publish”, as no one made me do it. I chose to post it and I was happy.

So, tell me. What changes, if any, will you be making when it comes to sharing through social media in the new year? I’d love to hear how you will manage yourself and your time!

Facebook Business Pages Are Important To Local Businesses

2014 is turning out to be the year of the word “local” for myself and my business. Once I realized the power that “local” has, my business took a turn upward. The question I get asked most often is, “Why should my small business have a Facebook page?” It’s simple, if you own a business, you need to take advantage of every single opportunity you have to getting your message out. Facebook happens to be one of these avenues.

  • Your business should have a Business Facebook Page. You should not mix it with your Personal Facebook Page. People that are engaging with you on Facebook from a business point of view, do not need to know what’s happening in your personal life on a daily basis.
  • With more than 500 million people using Facebook, it should be one of your go to platforms. Here in North Iowa specifically, Facebook is where the action is. There are a few active Twitter users, but not near as many as Facebook. It’s not that folks don’t want to learn how to use Twitter, it’s the fact that many businesses in North Iowa have not embraced the power of Twitter. (That’s a whole other blog post).
  • Facebook is a simple way to share your expertise. Be the person with the knowledge and information in your particular industry. Your Facebook status updates should be informative and educational for your potential clients and/or customers.

Most importantly pay attention to the 80/20 rule.

 

Ribbet Edit

 

80% of the content on your Facebook Business Page should be informative and educational, while sharing information from others in your industry. The other 20% can be status updates that showcase your business. For example, if you have a sale on a particular product, you can share that on Facebook, but not very often. If you share it too often, you will be considered a spammer, and nobody likes to be spammed on Facebook or anywhere through social media.

Facebook Business Pages are easy to set up and can be complex to manage once things start rolling along. Depending on how deep you want to go with your Facebook Business Page, you can purchase ads and even boost posts through your Facebook Business Page. Your budget will more than likely determine how much money you spend on Facebook. If you do not have the time to manage a Facebook Business Page, you should hire someone to manage it or take it down. There’s nothing worse than having a Facebook Business Page with very little activity on it and having the perception of being lazy.

I’d love to hear about your personal experiences on Facebook Business Pages. By having an active presence on your Facebook Business Page you will have success. It’s no secret that Facebook keeps changing, but if you don’t start a Facebook Business Page, you will never know what type of ROI you could expect. Most importantly, engage and do not use social media as a dumping ground.