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ItsAllGeek2Me

Helping Small Businesses with Their Social Media Needs

Social Media and the Police

Lately there has been a great deal of discussion about the negative impact of social media on individuals and society. It is like the car accident that we can’t look away from. But social media has had significant positive impact as well, especially as it relates to law enforcement.

I was recently asked to put together a course on social media for law enforcement officials. While I spend a great deal of time on social media managing company platforms for a wide range of businesses, I knew very little about how police departments across the country were using it.

For example, a friend recommended I visit the Bangor Maine Police Department Facebook page. The page does not really follow many of the rules I recommend to my clients, but they must be doing something right. The page has long, wordy posts and the visuals are mediocre at best, but they have a story to tell and with 271,000 followers, they must be doing something right.

Urban police departments are using Facebook as a hub of information for the community. There are departments that are allowing officers to make reports right from the scene of an incident so the public has the information with no media filter. Others use it to catch criminals by posting photos of crimes. The old wanted posters in the post office have been replaced by digital images online and are helping police catch criminals.

Police also use social media, particularly Twitter, to inform the public of potentially dangerous situations in real time. Giving alerts so that people know to stay away. Individuals are using it to communicate with police to inform them of potentially dangerous situation and feed them information from crimes in progress.

To say that social media is changing the way the police conduct business would be an understatement. In addition, social media has created a transparency that has forced law enforcement officials to deal with problems that had previously gone unchecked. There is an interaction between the police and the public that had not previously existed and this new relationship is just beginning.

With any form of communication, there are potential downsides including possible false posts and potential hacking issues. But by leveraging social media, the police and public are working together to reduce the crime rate and potentially identify volatile situations before they arise. Unfortunately, as with the recent Florida school shooting, this does not always happen. However, police forces around the country are getting on social media and learning to use it effectively to make you safer.

I’m excited about my upcoming project and will let you know how it goes.

Gain Control Over Your Facebook Newsfeed.

After much negative publicity during the last election, Facebook is making changes to improve the user experience. Some of these changes have already taken effect and you may have noticed a big difference in your Newsfeed.

Facebook is pushing posts into your Newsfeed that have more interaction. Posts that promote conversation. Posts that not only have likes, but also have back and forth conversation between followers.

While the idea sounds good, it may severely limit what posts you see and from whom. Family, friends and business not deemed interesting to the Facebook community will not show up in your feed. You may also find that if you belong to groups, they will be the ONLY posts you see in your Newsfeed.

However with a few changes, you can decide what you want to see by making use of some of the tools that Facebook has available to you.

The key to these changes is the “Following” button under the Cover Photo of any friend or page you have “Liked.” There is a down arrow next to “Following.” By clicking on the “See First” option from the drop down menu, you will see posts from that person or page at the top of your Newsfeed. This feature also allows you to “Unfollow” people and pages. That means that you do not have to “Unfriend” people to avoid seeing their posts. With “Unfollow,” you can still stay friends with people you care about without having to see their posts. Facebook has given you the tools to control your feed. It’s important that you prioritize what you see.

If you are seeing too many posts from groups you belong to, you can also make changes in those setting. Click on the ” Joined” button and select “Edit Notifications” from the drop down menu. You can then decide how often you see those posts in your Newsfeed.

Hopefully these changes will make your Newsfeed better for the way you use Facebook.  While I applaud Facebook’s intent, its plan is not working. To keep up-to-date on all things social media, make sure to mark ItsAllGeek2Me as “See First” in your Newsfeed.

Is this the End of Facebook Marketing?

The Facebook announcement about changes to how Business Facebook pages will show up in users Newsfeeds had rocked the social media marketing industry. In its attempt to improve the user’s experience, Facebook will be limiting the organic reach of Pages that do not have significant interaction. That interaction is not simply liking and commenting on a page. Instead, interaction will be judged by users interacting with one another. While that type of interaction does happen on some pages, it is more challenging to garner.

Therefore, to make it simple to understand, NO ONE WILL SEE YOUR PAGE. With space on Facebook at a premium, this change serves two ends. It will theoretically make users happier and second it will increase revenue for Facebook as companies will have to increase advertising to be seen.

So what can you do?

It’s really difficult to know how this will affect pages until its implemented and how to counteract it, but there are still some common sense approaches that should assist you.

  • Ask Loyal Followers to mark Your Page — Encourage your followers to mark your page as See this first By changing these preferences, they will never miss a post and it will increase your page’s reach.
  • Employee interaction — More than ever, it is important to ask employees to engage with your page. They must actually go to your page to interact or set as “See This First” because it may not initially show up in their newsfeed. They should not only like and comment, but also interact with each other.
  • Share to Your Personal Page —  Even though we talk about keeping professional and personal separate, that line will blur with these changes. Share posts to your personal page to increase interaction.
  • Increase advertising budget — There will be even more of a need to advertise on Facebook since organic reach will be non-existent for many businesses.
  • Branch out to other platforms — It may be time to devote less time to marketing on Facebook and review other options. Instagram is growing everyday and with an optimum market for many businesses (individuals under 35 with discretionary income) adding this platform may be a good option. It may also be a good time start exploring videos and leveraging YouTube.
  • Post Content Your Followers Want — What posts create interaction? Review the interaction history on your page and determine what types of posts cause people to engage. Those are the types of posts that you need to focus on. Make sure you have the content people want to see and they will be more likely to seek you out.
  • Keep Following Me — I promise to make sure you have the most up-to-date information on how these changes will affect your business.

If you have questions, send them to kparis@itsallgeek2me,org.

Thank you to Michael Stelzner for clarifying this information in the following video:

 

Your Business’s Social Media Resolutions

It’s January and everyone is making resolutions. Lose weight? Stop smoking?

In fact, some people have already given up on their resolutions.

However, business owners need to take resolutions more seriously. Resolutions are important milestones that help you grow your business. Maybe using the word goals rather than resolutions will give them more credibility.

When it comes to social media, goals are necessary to ensure you are spending your time wisely. If your new to social media start slowly and check out these tips.

1. Choose one platform and do it well. Provide useful information with great visuals.

2. Post consistently. It’s the most important thing you can do. How often depends on the platform you choose. Post every week throughout the week at different times. Check your statistics to see if there seems to be an optimum time for your audience.

3. Be clear as to what are you trying to achieve. Are you trying to increase the number of people who like your page? Do you want to drive traffic to your website? Once your goals are clear it will drive your social media philosophy.

4. Be prepared to spend money on ads and set a budget. The great part about social media is that you don’t need a large budget to make an impact. Many local businesses can spend less than $100 a month. In addition, social media advertising can be targeted to the people you are trying to reach based on gender, age, interests and location.

5. Remember you are part of a community. Share posts of other local businesses and posts from local organizations. It’s a great way to build good will in the community.

Let 2018 be the year you begin or improve your social media presence. Need more information? Contact me at kparis@itsallgeek2me.org and check out my social media profiles @itsallgeek2me on Facebook and @itsallgeek2mekp on Twitter and Instagram.

Five Reasons Why You Should Use Canva for Social Media Graphics

First, I want to be clear that I am not being compensated by Canva.Com. I just love the product and believe if you are a business owner, it is worth your time to use it.

Canva is a website that allows you to manipulate your pictures. You can change the size, insert text, create grids and more. It can help you turn ordinary pictures into awesome graphics for any social media platform, blog site and more. Here’s why I like it.CarpeDiem.

  1. It’s free. As a small business owner, I love free. There is a paid version that you may opt for, but the free version contains much of what you need to create great visuals.
  2. There is a broad range of templates, backgrounds, grids, text, etc to chose from. You can be as creative as you want to. Find a starter template or create something original.
  3. It’s easy to use. Sure it will take you a little time to get used to using it, but overall it is very user friendly. Also, it stores your projects in a library so you can copy a visual and then make changes. No need to start all over again.
  4. You can use the visuals in Canva or upload your own. Either way, you have tons of options. There are also pictures you can purchase for a nominal price.
  5. Canva now has an app. For a long time, it could only be accessed on a desktop or laptop. Now, that they have created an app, you can take it wherever you go.

Check out Canva. If you have an issues, feel free to contact me at kparis@itsallgeek2me.org or 410-746-5801 and I will be happy to consult with you on how to integrate in into your overall marketing plan.

Stop! You Can’t Use That Picture

We are so used to everything being free on the Internet that we rarely think about paying for pictures or visual images. But especially when you use an image for marketing, you need to be careful. Not all images are free and using them could cost you a lawsuit or at least a fee to avoid a lawsuit.

So how to you know what pictures you can use and which ones you can’t? Here a few simple tips:

  • Take your own pictures. Unleash your inner photographer and take pictures you can use on your site. It’s easy to use cropping tools and filters that are built right into your phone or social media platform. To get super fancy, use a tool like Canva to take your pictures to a new level. www.canva.com
  • Pay for your pictures. There are lots of sites that sell photos. Some havesocial media subscription plans which can help you save money if you use a lot of pictures. The pictures are high quality, but paying for pictures can get expensive for small businesses on a budget. www.istock.com
  • Search “Google Images” for free pictures. These photos are not necessarily free. You need to go to “Tools” and then “Usage Rights.” When you choose “Labled for Reuse,” any of these pictures can be used.
  • Use Pixabay (www.pixabay.com). All the pictures on Pixabay are free. You can choose to “buy the artist a cup of coffee” and pay a nominal fee, but it is not required.
  • Join Flickr (www.flickr.com). It’s a community of people sharing pictures at no cost.

The perfect image is out there; however, when choosing it, keep these tips in mind. If you need more help, email me kparis@itsallgeek2me.org.

Three Reasons Why You Should Be on LinkedIn

“Does anyone really use LinkedIn?” I hear this question all the time as I try to convince my clients that they need to increase their presence on this social media platform. Some have a profile, but they don’t manage it and haven’t updated it since they first created it. All they really know is that they get notifications from people who want to connect or notifications to congratulate one of their connections.

But LinkedIn is so much more than that. It is recognized as the number one platform for business-to-business communications and according to Business Insider, it is the go to site for high-income earners, those making over $75,000 a year. A new report, BI Intelligence, reports that 45 percent of all internet users in this demographic are on LinkedIn.

If that’s not enough, here are a few more reasons you not only need to be on LinkedIn, but also pay attention to your profile, establish a company page and post.

  1. If your focus is business-to-business, LinkedIn is the place your audience goes. Your potential customers are there researching xompanies just like yours. How will you stack up?
  2. People are looking at your profile and judging you. It is your online resume. Business owners and other professionals are determining whether you are someone they want to do business with, someone they want to employ or whether  you have the credentials and knowledge they are looking for.
  3. LinkedIn allows others to recommend you in specific areas of expertise. Potential clients see what others consider your strengths.

There are many other reasons to up your LinkedIn profile. If you need more information about creating or upgrading your LinkedIn profile or you need a Company page created, contact me kparis@itsallgeek2me.org.

 

The World’s Largest Cocktail Party: The part of social media don’t you understand

The reason why many small businesses fail to find success on social media is because they fail to understand the concept of social. Many approach it as they would a traditional marketing vehicle in which a business distributes information about a product, sale or location and the customer in turn buys the product, shops the sale or visits the location.

But social media is more like a cocktail party than it is like a traditional marketing. The rules have changed and now marketing is a dialogue.

Imagine yourself going to a party and think of the people you might meet there.

  • Guy sitting in the corner mumbling to himself — Nobody is going to be approaching him any time soon. He has a lot of interesting things to say, but nobody can hear him over all the other voices and he isn’t willing to engage.
  • The loud, overly boisterous person — He or she may be funny or witty for a little while, but there’s no substance and the constant jabbering without listening gets annoying after awhile.
  • The dull guy — He or she may be a rocket scientist, but the message is too involved. You know you should be interested, but your not.

There are so many other people you there, but which one do you want to be. Be the person everyone is always happy to see. The person who not only has interesting information about their business, but also about the community. They have great tips to share and fantastic pictures (and not just of their children or their grandchildren). But most importantly, they listen to you when you talk and are interested in what you have to say. The kind of person people want to build relationships with.

How does this translate to social media?

  • Post frequently, but not too frequently. How often depends on the platform? Google, “How often should I post on …?”
  • Have a variety of posts about important information your community might find useful. Don’t just post about sales and specials, post about community events, your favorite tips and tricks, even about others you do business with.
  • Watch your analytics. What posts are your community interacting with? Make sure you increase those types of posts. It’s also ok to reuse popular content. Just make sure you wait long enough.
  • Be active. Social media for business takes commitment. Use available tools to make managing your social media a little easier.

Social media isn’t hard. It’s like building any relationship. It takes time and energy.  Put forth the effort and maybe a little advertising money and it will pay dividends.

If you need help managing your social media, contact me: kparis@itsallgeek2me.org.

A Checklist for Non-Profits’ Online Presence

I’ve had several non-profit organizations ask me to review their sites and make recommendations. While some non-profits have embraced their online presence and have a strategy for their websites and social media platforms, others struggle.

If you manage a non-profit website or social media presence, make sure you keep these quick tips in mind.

  1. Is it clear what you do? In journalism you’re taught to lead with: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? However some non-profits are not clear as to what they do, who they help and what is their mission. If potential donors don’t know what you do, they will not give you money. People’s attention spans are diminishing. Be clear and concise. Visitors to your site should be able to discren what you do within 15 seconds.
  2. Is it easy to donate? Your PayPal button should be front and center on the Home Page of your website. Putting up any type of barrier, even unintentional, will decrease donations. Make it easy.
  3. Is it visually appealing? Do you have compelling images that tell your story? Images that convey the hope your organization provides to people. Your site should draw people in.
  4. How do people volunteer? Not everyone can donate money. Sometimes people what to donate their time and talents. Have you made it easy to volunteer? Is it clear what opportunities are available? Do you have a fillable form and a mechanism in place to follow up with potential volunteers? All these things are important.
  5. How are you promoting events? Make events prominent on the Home page of your website. Promote events across your social media platforms using the same images. Use PayPal to submit payment and create easy fillable forms to sign up.
  6. When was your last update? Keeping your information current and up-to-date keeps your non-profit visible on the web. Make sure that you are posting frequently and providing updates to your donors and potential donors.

While many non-profits have honorable missions and intentions, they may be standing in their own way when it comes to getting the resources that they need. With some minor changes to their online presence, non-profits can increase revenue to help them carry out their mission.

 

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