Friday, July 27, 2012

Effective Use of Facebook

I promised definitions for Social Media, so here is the first one.


Facebook came out in 2004 and started as a college networking website, but quickly expanded to include everyone. After signing up, Facebook users create a profile page that shows their friends and networks information about themselves. Later on in the game, Facebook Pages started, allowing businesses to join the social network to promote their products and services.

Since then, Facebook has been a huge asset to businesses, who have utilized the system to gain new fans and spread the word about what’s going on with their company. While businesses primarily use the social network for self-promotion, doing so too much can be a turn-off for fans. Because of this, businesses offer helpful tips, share funny anecdotes and photos or discuss current events to show they’re not all about the bottom dollar. Facebook is a wonderful tool, that when used correctly, can help increase your ROI and awareness for your product or brand.

I’ve seen some parents start a Facebook page for their baby pre-birth. They share photos of pregnancy progress and newborn photos when their bundle of joy arrives. It’s a great way to share those ‘first’ moments for family and friends living far away.

Whether you use the network for business or pleasure, I hope you’ll join us on our Facebook page where we try to provide the best resources in our nation’s Capitol. Here is the link.

How can Facebook be used effectively for business?

The more I learn about Facebook, the more I'm fascinated by how it all works!

I want to share a great story with you about how we used Facebook to create awareness for one of our favorite concert venues.

Last month, we ran a contest for tickets to Wolf Trap's Theatre-in-the-Woods. It was a simple question we asked on Facebook. Here is how it was described by one of the moms who entered and won.

"A few weeks ago, I was reading through my newsfeed of friends and “liked” public pages on Facebook and happened to see a post by FAMILY Magazine of Washington, D.C. They were running a simple contest that invited readers to answer a question: “Tell us why you love Wolf Trap!” to try to win tickets to see a family show at Wolf Trap Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods program.

I immediately submitted my best reply to FAMILY Magazine and was so surprised to find out that I had won! I scored a family 4-pack of tickets to see a show at Wolf Trap for July 5th. It was to go see Elizabeth Mitchell. “

We typically invite winners of a contest to share a photo of their fun time to our Facebook wall because we love seeing families having a great time using the tickets they've won.

This winner did something extra special. She wrote a blog post about her trip to the performance and it was the neatest review! (You can read it here: The blog post has 3 great pictures. Dad even got into the action. It is a really fun story.

Facebook is such a great community for sharing experiences and stories. What's your favorite story or experience that someone has shared with you via Facebook? I'd love to hear about it! Send me an email if you don't want to post your comments here, however I love comments!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Social Media for Building Business

Many of the companies we hear from want to know more about social media. It seems that they have heard about it but really don't understand it. It is the "shiny new toy" that everyone wants.

FAMILY Magazine has been using social media for several years. We can connect with our readers more easily to talk about what is important in their lives. Although it is a great tool for connecting, it is also a big time commitment.

For the next few days, I will try to define social media and provide a few links to some resources we have found helpful.

The first thing you need to do is define what it is so you can decide if there are benefits to your business. It is a big investment of time and resources, so this is important.

What is social media?

Wikipedia has a very detailed definition of social media which also includes a great deal of information about how social media has been used in the past to build business. They state that social networking now accounts for 22% of all time spent online in the US. However, the Wikipedia definition is very long and sometimes goes a big too far. It might be confusing if you are just now trying to understand the basics of social networking.

This is a list of some of the social networking sites on the web today.

Have you ever considered or wanted to use social media to promote your business?

If you are considering the use of social media to promote your business, one resource you may want to explore is Michael Stelzner's Social Media Examiner. His newsletter always includes very helpful and informative information.