10 for Tuesdays – 10 Ways ANYONE Can Write Better Facebook Posts

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Welcome to 10 for Tuesdays at L.B. Writes, 10 weekly tips about writing and social media marketing for small businesses and non-profits.
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There is one major thing that the small-business and non-profit worlds have in common – people wear multiple hats. If you’re a small business owner chances are you find yourself hiring and managing employees, cleaning, keeping tracking of payroll, booking clients, and maintaining records all in addition to your area of business expertise. In the non-profit world you may find yourself with a broad job description encompassing tasks that are both in your area of background and in areas you are unfamiliar with.

Often, the person tasked with managing social media for a small business or non-profit has little or no experience with marketing. I’m not going to sugarcoat things that can be very intimidating! But if you find yourself in exactly that situation, have no fear. Here are ten easy ways that you (yes, YOU) can start writing better Facebook posts today.

 

(1) Use proper grammar – Nothing ruins a Facebook post faster than a bunch of grammar mistakes. Now I’m not saying you need to start worrying about every Oxford comma, but if your posts are littered with grammar mistakes it looks unprofessional people won’t take you seriously. If you wouldn’t send out brochues and flyers with mistakes, don’t post Facebook statuses full of mistakes.

(2) Spell check. – So when I said nothing can ruin a post faster than grammar mistakes it was a bit of a lie. Misspellings will catch people’s attention even more quickly. If you’re a bad speller then use a browser with built in spell check (i.e. Firefox) or type posts in Word first.

(3) Edit and delete when necessary. – If you realize that one of your posts has errors (whether they be in grammar, spelling or accuracy) don’t be afraid to edit the post or take it down.

(4) Beg, borrow and steal. – As a former teacher I give you with the wise words of Mr. Harry Wong – “Beg, borrow, and steal.” Now I am not suggesting copyright infringement or plagiarism here, but if you are stuck look at other pages that do social media well and imitate their strategies.

(5) Ask for help. – If you want to take the beg, borrow, and steal strategy one step further reach out to the pages you think “do social media well” and ask for advice! Everyone loves flattery, if you tell a page administer you admire their social media strategy and would love some tips, they will probably be glad to oblige.

(6) SHARE – Remember that social media is just that, social! If you’re not sure what to post, hit the “SHARE” button and share the posts of others from your industry or area. One option is to share upcoming local community or charitable events.
**Bonus Tip: If you are looking to expand your page, don’t be afraid to ask for shares as well! It is perfectly okay to ask the fans you already have to share your page or a particular post on the page.

(7)    Look to others in your field – This also relates back to #4 beg, borrow, and steal. Look to others in your industry for best practices in social media marketing. My first major social media marketing role was while serving as an Americorps VISTA managing a thrift store. I began participating in a Thrift Store Marketing group on LinkedIn where we shared best practices, and I also followed several thrift stores from around the country on Facebook, which gave me lots of marketing ideas to replicate with my own store. And yes, the results were successful! In my one year as manager I increased the store’s Facebook following by over 250% and had customers comment that they, “just had to come in because the store just seemed like so much fun from Facebook.”

(8)    Pictures – They say a picture is worth a thousand words, if you find yourself tongue tied (keyboard tied?) keep it simple with some photos. Not sure what to photograph? Options include pictures of your office or retail space, events you’ve run, professional portraits or even web art which relates to a post.

(9)    Keep it fun and simple ­– At the end of the day remember that social media is social. Yes, as a professional organization you want your web presence to be professional, but in the social media world it is also okay to have some fun. Post a throwback Thursday picture of your staff or your business. Write about the obscure holidays such as Siblings Day (April 10), Work Like A Dog Day (August 5), or Clean Your Refrigerator Day (November 15). Check out , for lists of obscure holidays in every month to find some relevant to your business or organization. Other easy fun ideas include contests, fill-in-the blank or question posts, and polls. Let your followers interact with your page.

(10) Plan ahead – When you’re juggling multiple priorities, one of the easiest ways to stay on top of your social media management is to plan in advance. Set aside some time to plan your posts for the upcoming week, or even month. You can start with a vague list of post ideas or write out complete posts and schedule them in advance. This may not make it any easier to come up with post ideas, but it will definitely make managing your posts easier!

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What Does Spring Mean For Your Business?

How Will Your Business Grow This Spring?

Flowers are blooming, and the snow is starting to melt. Signs of spring are everywhere from Cadbury Mini eggs in CVS, to the shamrocks lining the streets of Holyoke, to yesterday’s adorable Google doodle.
Today is the first full day of spring 2014, and my question to you is how will you grow your business this spring? What are you doing to breathe new life into your brand? Into your marketing strategy?
After months of winter doldrums spring is the perfect time to breathe new life into your business. Warm air brightens people’s moods. Once the jokes are over, the start of April has everyone realizing that 25% of the year has gone by without progress toward those New Year’s Resolutions. Spring has people ready for change – they are ready to embrace new ideas and new products, try new restaurants or visit new stores. What are you going to do to make sure they visit YOUR business?

How Will My Business Grow This Spring?

Yes, I know, it is time for me to end the cheesy motivational pep talk and get down to business. What will I be doing to grow my business, and to expand my brand this spring?
As a new brand, my goal is plain and simple – be seen. I will be working on developing content that is worth seeing, and strategy that makes sure people make it to my site in the first place!
Starting on April 1st, please start joining us here at L.B. Writes for “Ten For Tuesdays,” an ongoing series of ten tips to help you use the power of social media to promote social good.

I Think…. Businesses Need To Keep the “Social” In Social Media

So, if you read my first post you saw all those bold statements I made about social media:
I think social media is powerful.
I think social media can promote social good.
I think companies need to keep the “social” in social media.
Check out part 3 of the “I think social media is…” series to see just what I mean when I say that businesses need to keep the social in social media.
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“Businesses need to keep the ‘social’ in social media.”

Let’s be honest here, people are not heading to a restaurant’s Facebook page just to read a copy of the menu, or looking on their favorite boutiques photo album to check out the latest price changes. When people log into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or their personal social media account of choice, they are looking for just that – a chance to be SOCIAL.

Social media is an organization’s chance to show their face, to be personal.  If you want your businesses’ social media pages to succeed you need to socialize with your customers!  Do you remember why the folks of Friends loved Central Perk, or why everyone flocked to Cheers? It was because things were personal, they wanted a bar where everyone knew their name, and a coffee shop where they knew a comfy couch and their friends were waiting. In the modern world, people still look for these interactions, still wanting to engage with business owners, but more and more often they’re finding them in the digital sphere. 

So, what DO people want to see on your social media page?  They don’t want full menus, they want pictures of your daily specials, and a quick answer if they post a question asking about ingredients.  They don’t need to know your daily sales totals, or your quarterly growth projection, but they love to see pictures of the cute new outfits you have in stock.   They want to see the face of your organization. 

Are you a local non-profit?  Share the story of a client you recently served, or give thanks to the group who sponsored today’s meal in your soup kitchen.  Are you a local boutique or thrift shop? Share pictures of your latest merchandise. Restaurants can share pictures of daily specials.  Community organizations can show pictures of their members. Early childhood centers can share pictures of the children in their program or the projects they completed. Gyms can share the pictures and stories of their members, and celebrate their successes.  Senior centers can celebrate the health of their octogenarians.  The possibilities are endless. 

Even more traditional businesses such as insurance agencies, lawyers, and medical offices have a story to tell.  Do you sponsor events in your community?  Did one of your employees or customers recently celebrate a milestone birthday or anniversary?  Sharing these messages on social media allows people to see your face.  It personalizes your organization and lets customers socialize with you.  And that my friends, is what social media is all about! Socializing.

I Think….. Social Media Can Promote Social Good

So, if you read my first post you saw all those bold statements I made about social media:
I think social media is powerful.
I think social media can promote social good.
I think companies need to keep the “social” in social media.
Check out part 2 of the “I think social media is…” series to see just what I mean when I say I think social media can promote social good.
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“Social media can promote social good.”

Yes, I think social media is powerful. It is the place where I first learned about the Kenyan mall bombing, and about a double homicide in the city where I worked. But what about the positive things? The good ones? Yes – I think social media has power in the positive realm too. I think social media not only has the ability to communicate to us about social good, but also to help promote and grow social good as well.

Two years ago, in the early days of a very cold December, the non-profit agency I worked for was made aware of a pressing need for children’s coats. Parents were coming into our thrift store on an almost daily basis, hoping to buy coats for their families. We learned that other agencies in the city were planning to distribute coats as part of their Holiday Giveaways, and our own coats were in short supply and generally reserved for homeless individuals. We knew that the need for winter coats was immediate. These parents couldn’t wait until we had served the homeless families first, or until Christmastime. Their children were cold now.

And so, like many other small but resourceful agencies, we turned to the web, placing a desperate plea for outerwear on our Facebook page. Within a few short hours we received a call from a local business (known in our area as a social media “rock star”). They wanted to host a coat drive for us! The business used both their brick & mortar business and their own (rock star) social media presence to educate others about our need and help collect the coats we so desperately needed.

Of course, this story is just one among many. I cannot count one hand the number of times a quick social media outreach made a difference for our agency and our clients. In my experience stories like this are not the exception but the rule.

I Think… Social Media Is Powerful

So, if you read my first post you saw all those bold statements I made about social media:
I think social media is powerful.
I think social media can promote social good.
I think companies need to keep the “social” in social media.
Check out part 1 of the “I think social media is…” series to see just what I mean when I say I think social media can be powerful.
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“Social media is powerful.”

I’m sure a lot of people are reading this and rolling their eyes right now, at this notion of mine that social media is powerful. Fun, sure, some of them are thinking.  Entertaining, check.  But powerful? Really.  Yes. Powerful.  Sure, we all know that social media lets us keep up with our friends, stay in touch with old college roommates, play games, and follow our favorite sports teams and celebrities.

All of these things are true, but what I also know is that social media is more. So much more.

Social media helps young professionals network and gain job opportunities.

Social media lets military personnel stay in touch with loved ones while on deployment.

Social media allows newspapers, television stations and other traditional media to maintain a round-the-clock newstream

Think for a minute – when is the last time you heard about a major event via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or another social networking site? A friends’ promotion or new job offer?  A relatives’ engagement or pregnancy?  How about bigger events, news events – the Boston Marathon bombing?  the mall attack in Nairobi?  Results of a local or national election?

Social media is so, so much more than Farmville, friends, and photographs.  Social media keeps us in the loop.  It is what allows us to learn of local, regional, national and even global events as quickly as they happen.  Social media is the reason that Americans even know that there was an attack in a Kenyan mall last week.  Social media has allowed reporters to report from inside war zones, and allowed the Arab Spring to succeed.

Social media is the reason we have a global society.

What does L.B. think about Social Media?

Like most other 20-somethings, my life is entrenched in the Internet and social media.  I grew up with AOL Instant Messenger back when people actually had AOL as their internet provider, and no one had shortened it to "AIM" yet.  My high school classmates and I counted down the days until we received our college email accounts, and the .edu address that was then necessary for a Facebook account.  We lived in the early social media days of MySpace and LiveJournal.  Social media is such a part of my life, that I don't always take time to think about it.

I use social media on a more or less daily basis, but for me it is a lot more than just a chance to wish my friends a happy birthday, check out pictures of long distance relatives, or beat the next level in Candy Crush. I also use social media to connect to local and national non-profits, dialogue with my faith community, promote local business, and remain abreast of local and global news.

So what do I think about social media?
I think… social media is powerful.
I think… social media can promote social good.
I think… businesses need to keep the “social” in social media.