February 2017 Wrap-Up

What a busy month!

Along with my regular writing, I’ve been busy working on client websites and product photographs, editing a romance manuscript, critiquing and workshopping with other writers, and finishing up edits on DISARM: A Gun Sense Anthology.

#52essays2017 (Musings)
Quantity or Quality – When all else fails, write what you know.
Yet She Persisted – the tagline of womanhood
Soup, It’s What’s for Dinner – sometimes you just need a hot bowl of soup
Word over Weapons – words for change
Representation Matters – what we see affects who and how we are

Children’s Programming
Frozen – Sisterhood?
Secret of the Wings -another Disney flick about sisters that features ice and snow
The Pirate Fairy – Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust

Words
Less or Fewer – It may be easier than you think
A Part or Apart – Because spaces matter
Riff/Rift – what a difference a “t” makes
Good or Well? – It may not be as easy as you think…

Grammar Guide
Verbs – More than just “what you do.”
Adjectives – a look at how we describe them
Adverbs – their different uses
Pronouns – personal, possessive, relative, and more!

Other Writing
James McGarvey – February Updates
Meridian Photography – February in SoCal

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How to Utilize Your Facebook Profile

The Facebook Terms of Service, under Registration and Account Security, state

You will not create more than one personal account.

and

You will not use your personal timeline primarily for your own commercial gain, and will use a Facebook Page for such purposes.

Given these rules and the inability to participate in groups as a Facebook Page, I know a lot of artists and entrepreneurs who get frustrated with the perception that they can’t promote their businesses.

1. Update your profile photo.

Facebook groups can be imperative for networking and business-building. Your profile picture is your first impression. Keep the basic rules of a good profile photo in mind, and stay authentic to yourself and your brand.

ProTip: Keep the photo of YOU not you and your bestie, your pet, or your kids. People want to know who they’re talking to, a photo of YOU makes you appear more trustworthy.

2. Update your cover photo.

The cover photo is a great place to show off your family, your pets, your favorite vista. Again, keep it true to yourself and your brand, but be cautious about HOW you use it to promote your ventures. If it’s a screen shot of your business logo, your pay-to-attend event, or similar promotions, you may come across as pushy.

ProTip: Make the photo relate to your business. If you’re a musician, use a picture of your instruments; if you’re an artist, take a photo of your materials.

3. Use your intro.

Think of these 101 characters as your speed date. It doesn’t have to be all business, you can shout out your allegiance to a sports team or declare your love for bacon, cheese, and chocolate. What are the people and things that matter to you? What hats do you wear and what roles do you play?

ProTip: Imagine an acquaintance has just introduced you to your idol. What do you want him or her to remember about you?

4. Update your featured photos.

This is another great place to highlight your friends and family. You can also use it to showcase your business logo, event flyer, or book cover.

ProTip: You get five pictures, a maximum of 2 should be business related.

5. Update your workplaces and schools.

If you’re self-employed, a freelancer, or an artist of any kind, you should have a Facebook Page to promote your businesses and services. In the “About” section of your Facebook Profile, you can add your Page as a workplace. So instead of a generic “Singer at Musician” your Profile would link to a Page that people could then Like and Follow.

ProTip: You can choose which of your workplaces are public and which are private or shown to friends only. If you have a “day job” at a company that isn’t affiliated with your Page, make that workplace private or friends only.

ProTip: Avoid being overly cheeky in your workplaces and schools. Relevant education and work experience can lend you credibility, but entries like “Attended the School of Hard Knocks” or “Studied nothing at None” can make you seem flighty.

6. Edit your privacy settings. 

There are two ways of looking at this, either keep most things Friends Only and make certain posts/information Public, or make most things Public and make certain posts/information Friends Only. Either way, make sure there’s SOMETHING on your profile to give people an idea of who you are.

ProTip: Go to Settings/Timeline and Tagging and select “View As” to see what the public sees.

7. Update your Content and Basic Info

This is where you can link to other accounts (Instagram, Twitter, etc) which may have different rules about how accounts are used. The Facebook algorithm seems to suppress posts which were shared from other social media websites, so you should make it easy for potential followers to find you on those platforms if they choose.

ProTip: If you have a blog, register a domain and share that under the website heading. Don’t list your Facebook Profile or Page as your website.

8. Find and participate in groups. 

There are hundreds – if not thousands – of Facebook groups dedicated to any topic you can imagine: music, poetry, reading, photography, etc. Find the groups that are relevant to your field(s) and participate. This is where a LOT of networking happens. Some of my best clients and colleagues have come from authentic participation in groups.

ProTip: If a Facebook group has rules, abide by them. If you don’t like their rules, don’t attack the people who created and run the group, just leave it.

9. Don’t hesitate to make requests.

As it’s grown, Facebook has become less about keeping in touch and more about networking. If you meet someone through a group (or a friend), send a friend or message request. If it’s based on a genuine interaction, you’ll probably be approved.

ProTip: Never, ever, EVER send SPAM. If you send someone unsolicited self-promotional content, it’ll probably backfire. Rather than being interested in your work or business, the recipient is more likely to report you for SPAM and make a note never to work with you.

10. Be authentic.

Bottom line: If you’re true to yourself, you’ll make connections with people who will WANT to support you and your creative/business ventures. 

A Call to Action

Like many of you, I often feel powerless to affect change in a world which seems to be heading ever closer to giving greed, hatred, and fear the right of way.

Rather than remain in silence, I’m joining forces with my writer pal, Laura to put out an anthology to raise money and awareness for those who are in the trenches fighting for gun control.

We are tired of seeing the death toll rising. We are tired of sending “thoughts and prayers” to the families of the victims.

If you’d like to get involved with DISARM, check out Black Heart Magazine for full details and submission guidelines.

#DisarmHate

Hashtag DisarmHate

The Liebster Award

For Week Two: Missing This of my 52 Weeks of Creativity Challenge, head on over to my writing blog to see my nominees for the Liebster Award. You don’t want to miss out on what they’re saying!

Maggie Writes Stuff

liebster-awardLast week, Laura Roberts of Buttontapper Press nominated me for a Liebster Award because of my homophone pieces from April’s A to Z Challenge, as well as my new 52 Weeks of Creativity Challenge.

Laura, thank you so much for the nomination, I’m honored to be one among your awesome group of nominees!

These are the guidelines to keep the award going when you decide to accept it:

  1. Display an image of the award and write about your nomination.
  2. Thank and link the person who nominated you for this award.
  3. Answer the 11 questions prepared for you by the blogger who nominated you.
  4. Nominate 5-11 awesome bloggers who you think deserve this award, and create 11 questions of your own for your nominees to answer.
  5. List these guidelines in your blog post.

My Answers to Laura’s Questions:

1. What most inspires you to write?
Observation (and the need to…

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52 Weeks of Creativity

A year ago, I participated in my first Photo-A-Day Challenge. A month later, I created my first photo challenge. Last month, I did the Blogging A to Z Challenge for the first time.

In that spirit, I’ve developed my first Creativity Challenge. I’ve put together 52 Prompts – one for each week of the next year. Each suggestion can be interpreted in multiple ways, across multiple creative or business endeavors.

The lists for each quarter and the whole year are below, and I’ll be posting the individual prompts on Facebook each Sunday. Share links to your creations in the comments here or on Facebook so I can see what you’re up to!

Create on!

52 Weeks

Quarter 1

Quarter 2

Quarter 3

Quarter 4

 

Facebook for Businesses

A huge topic that comes up when developing an online presence is how to handle Facebook. There are so many options: Pages, Events, Groups… how do you know what’s right for your endeavor? The easiest way to answer this question is by answering another: What is your goal?

Do you want to connect with current and future clients?
Do you want to host a physical or virtual event?
Do you want to create a community?

Don’t worry, you can answer “yes” to all three of these questions, but each of them requires a different approach to the Facebook game.

If you’re a business, create a Facebook Page. It’s free, it’s easy, it’s professional, and it’s likely the first way clients and customers will find you. In the last few months, I’ve been working hard for a client, finding information about businesses where he might be able to showcase his work. After doing broad Google searches, I’ve compiled lists and gone searching for contact information. So many of these businesses don’t have a website, and many of those don’t even have a Facebook page. So I’m left with hoping that the contact information listed on a non-affiliated website is correct. Often it isn’t.

If you’re hosting a meeting, party, celebration, or rendezvous of any kind, create a Facebook Event. This is an incredibly useful tool, especially in the day & age of the smartphone. If your clients have the synced their Facebook app with their phone’s calendar, then the event automatically gets added to their calendar when they respond to the event. Events can also be a useful tool for keeping track of your business. I have clients who use Facebook events to help keep track of mileage for tax purposes. Also, Events allow you to add friends and other businesses as hosts, which allows for cross promotions.

Last, the Facebook Group. According to Facebook: “Groups make it easy to connect with specific sets of people.” Groups are awesome for shared committee work, communicating with all the members of a wedding party, band, or business, and connecting with those who share interests. Groups have a few drawbacks: the default setting on a Group is for all members to receive all notifications and not all Facebook apps/mobile sites make it possible to change the settings or leave the Group. If you create a group, be careful that you’re only adding people you’re sure will be interested in the topic.

Today’s Takeaway: Pages, Events, and Groups are all amazing ways to promote your business and engage with your audience on Facebook; just make sure you’re using them appropriately, it can make a world of difference.