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…

View original post 887 more words

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

 

ProTip: Facebook for Businesses

One of the biggest topics that comes 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? It’s fairly simple to answer this question by answering another: What is your goal?

Are you hoping to make connections with current and future clients?
Are you hoping to have people attend or participate in a gathering?
Are you hoping to foster collaboration and a sense of 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.

First and foremost, if you have a business, you should create a Facebook Page. They break down their definition in Desktop Help > Pages: “Pages are for businesses, brands and organizations to share their stories and connect with people.” Furthermore,  according to their Terms of Service: “You will not use your personal timeline primarily for your own commercial gain, and will use a Facebook Page for such purposes.”

So that’s pretty clear, if you’re a business hoping to make connections with current and future clients, 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.

Next, and this can (and should) be in conjunction with your Facebook Page, if you’re hosting a meeting, party, celebration, or rendezvous of any kind (i.e. if you want to have people attend or participate in a gathering): create a Facebook Event. This is an incredibly useful tool, especially in the day & age of the smart phone. 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” or as I like to think of it: foster collaboration and a sense of community. 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: they can’t be created by a Page, they can only be created by an individual; the default setting on a Group is for all members to receive all notifications; 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.

Here are a couple specific examples of how Pages, Events, and Groups can work:
Meridian Photography: Page for sharing/interacting with clients; Event for mini-sessions, exhibit, or print sale; Group for participants in a photo-a-day challenge.
Perfect Strangers: Page for sharing/interacting with fans; Events for upcoming shows; Group could be for band communications or for fans.

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.

Coupons For Kindness

Earlier this year, my friend Sue came over to visit (and meet my newborn). While we were catching up, she mentioned that she’d been “couponing” to get supplies(food and more) to donate to her local food pantry. I thought this was a pretty awesome idea, so I suggested that she start a blog so others could see what she was up to, and maybe learn how to do the same thing.

While she initially thought it would be too time consuming, Sue quickly decided that it would be easy enough to get going, and definitely worth the effort. We brainstormed a bit on name ideas, eventually coming up with “Coupons For Kindness.

After setting up the blog, Sue and I talked about whether or not she should set up a Facebook page, or group, or… something. I’m a huge fan of Facebook pages. While the changes in FB algorithms seem to have made it more difficult to promote pages without paying, it’s still an incredibly necessary tool to have in this day & age. I know so many people who look at Facebook to find out about a person or business before trying to find the official website; and I know a lot of people who don’t take a business seriously if it doesn’t have a Facebook page.

For this specific case, I recommended that Sue set up a page (rather than a group) for Coupons For KindnessMy thought process here is that groups are kind of hit or miss, people generally have to join or be added in order to see the content, and some people really resent being added to groups (kind of the same way that no one seems to be happy about getting game requests via Facebook).

Additionally, right now the aim of the blog is more informative than interactive, and while it would be awesome to get a community going that is helping others more proactively, it’s not there quite yet. Soon though, I’m hoping that Sue & Coupons For Kindness will be empowering others to make even more of a difference!

I’m so proud to know Sue; she and I have worked on non-profit events before, and she’s always made sure to include (and help) as many people as she can (it’s the Italian in her).

It’s been an honor to help her develop, plan, and create the groundwork for an awesome new initiative.

Check out what she’s doing, it’ll inspire you too!