Guest Blogger: Graeme Moore

Graeme Moore

Graeme Moore and I worked together in television news for several years at WSPA-TV.  Graeme moved to the field of real estate in the Midlands of South Carolina where he is enjoying a successful career selling real estate.  He has a great take on the power of social media and share it here on my blog.

What social media platforms are you on?  And how do you use social media?

I am on a number of different platforms including Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, etc., but the one I use most often is Facebook. It’s my primary source for marketing, networking and gauging consumers’ interests, tastes and distastes. People love real estate, and they love seeing (and interacting) with content unique to their local markets.

What platforms do you feel are the best to engage your audience or ideal client?

Facebook, hands down. I target Facebook because it’s where the people who can buy and sell real estate spend their social media lives. Tweens and college kids on Tumblr and Instagram aren’t among my target demos. And Twitter is so old to me now. Plus, the platform isn’t conducive to broad marketing, IMHO.

Share one or a few things that have surprised you about using social media.

Hands down, I’m floored by its reach. Being right on the cusp of the millennial generation has meant a pretty healthy understanding of social media for me. Where many older sales agents have dismissed social media (and dug heels in quite aggressively against it), millennials don’t know what to do without it. There’s a fine line between being obnoxious on social media and being interesting, helpful and relevant. Social media has changed the entire sales game, and I bet we’ve barely begun to understand its power.

About Graeme:

I’m a recovering broadcast journalist who returned home to join my family’s real estate company two years ago. My days are spent helping folks buy and sell real estate, and I love every minute of it. I’m also part of The House Guys, an investment residential renovation company that turns the oldies into goodies all over again.

Connect with Graeme

Facebook

Instagram

Website

Thanks to Graeme for sharing his expertise with us.  It’s great to be able to share social media experience with others through this blog.   Do you have a comment or suggestion?  Maybe someone that should be featured in this blog?  Leave me a message below.

Mary Lu Saylor

Connect with Mary Lu:  

Email: marylusaylor@outlook.com

Blog : https://socialmediamarylu.wordpress.com/

Facebookwww.facebook.com/mary.l.saylor

Twitter: @marylusaylor

Instagram: @marylusaylor

Mary Lu Saylor is an Emmy-award winning journalist who spent 30 years in the television news business. Her experience includes work as a videographer, newscast video editor, and ultimately as the newsroom Assignment Manager at WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, SC. Mary Lu is currently pursuing her passion of social media, which began during her years at WSPA-TV. She is a Social Media and Personal Strategist with GrowGreatCompanies.com

Guest Blogger: Mark Morrow

mark-morrow-profile-onone-web-sq-600

I love bringing new ideas to share with you about social media through some very special connections. Mark Morrow is a very talented photographer that I daresay I was stalking a bit…ha ha on Instagram.  I saw some of his pictures which evolved into me engaging him in a bit of conversation. His beautiful photographs of our city and the surrounding mountains are breathtaking.  He reached out to me via Facebook where we were able to continue conversations in a little more depth.

I would encourage you to check out Mark’s work. Use this blog as a tool to share with others who would be interested in photography.

What social media platforms are you on?  And how do you use social media?

At the current time, I’m located on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google + as well as my personal Blog hosted via WordPress.com.

What platforms do you feel are the best to engage your audience or ideal client?

As a photographer and visual media producer, I’m finding a quality interaction on both Facebook and Instagram in terms of ‘Likes’ and comments that provide a lot of useful feedback in regard to the images and information I tend to share. While I used to send these works out over the Twitter feed, I find they generally garner the most traction in the visually-motivated Facebook and Instagram sphere and, in my case generally worth the effort of further social media outreach.

As a writer, podcaster and one who enjoys passing along any creative inspiration and technical information from the photography arena, I’m finding the use of my personal blog and the platform graciously availed to me by Photofocus.com to be the most effective framework for sharing podcast links, reviews and tutorial-based material as the WordPress interface provides an automated method of sharing out the SM platforms of our choosing immediately as a work is published. I find these link-based works are more easily scheduled and more frequently accessed via the Twitter and LinkedIn audience (as opposed to the visual-based) Facebook and Google + follower, as they can be liked, shared and conveniently revisited at a later time due to the lengthier nature of the educational information therein.

In terms of an immediate outreach approach, I’m finding the best outlet for visually-inspired (photo-video) efforts to be within Instagram. While it is a pain at times to be limited solely to a mobile perspective in terms of sharing, the tag-oriented interface allows for a more precise targeting of potential clientele and those with whom I’d like to work with down the road. While Facebook and Google + do allow for this approach as well, I’m still personally inclined to avoid any over-tagging in that arena (due to the friend and family-based atmosphere) and defer instead to an Instagram outreach for maximum impact. Either way can be a potential time-sucker, so it’s best to do a little research up-front to locate the proper tags in order for the most effective results.

Though somewhat new to the platform, I’m finding the ‘revolving-resume’ approach of LinkedIn can be quite beneficial in terms of connecting with those who can bring the added benefit of reference to the professional table. It’s always a plus to have someone we’ve worked with stop by and endorse a certain skill from a first-hand perspective, and I enjoy doing the same as well. In fact, I’ve become accustomed to taking a little time every day (or whenever possible) to visit former co-workers pages and endorse the skills I know them to excel in first-hand. When it comes to success, everyone needs a good reference. LinkedIn provides a powerful, legitimate avenue to give a good report for those who well-deserve one at the hands-on level.

Share one or a few things that have surprised you about using social media.

The biggest surprise thus far, for myself in using social media has been the interaction not on a business level, but rather in reconnecting with friends and family whom I have become disconnected with over the years in the bustle of everyday life. Having been pressed by a fellow local business person a few year back, they were most insistent that to succeed in any way I must open a Facebook account. Admittedly frustrated at this notion initially, I had no idea the re-connection to so many great friends and family ties now residing in all parts of the world were waiting just around the corner. I simply could not have been more wrong, and more pleased at the decision to make the leap. This is by far the most unexpected reward – business or no business – that I could have hoped to receive. As a result, my life has been enriched and business efforts have benefited in due turn as well. So far, it’s been a true win-win.

About Mark

Mark Morrow is a practicing Virginia-based photographer specializing in real estate, fine art landscape and architectural projects as well as commercial product and portraiture. Always an avid student of the craft, Mark enjoys sharing insight and inspiration on his personal blog, podcast (Image in Transit) and as a contributing author with Photofocus.com. Click here to read more of Mark’s articles. To view more of Mark’s work, please click here.

Connect with Mark

Gallery – http://www.markmorrowphotography.com/

Social media links:
Facebook / Page
Instagram
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google +

I am thrilled to be able to bring you people who are using social media in so many different ways to promote their businesses.  I am a big believer that sharing keeps the creative juices flowing and allows us to move in directions we couldn’t begin to imagine.  Thank you Mark for sharing your knowledge with us.

Mary Lu Saylor

Connect with Mary Lu:  

Email: marylusaylor@outlook.com

Blog : https://socialmediamarylu.wordpress.com/

Facebookwww.facebook.com/mary.l.saylor

Twitter: @marylusaylor

Instagram: @marylusaylor

Mary Lu Saylor is an Emmy-award winning journalist who spent 30 years in the television news business. Her experience includes work as a videographer, newscast video editor, and ultimately as the newsroom Assignment Manager at WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, SC. Mary Lu is currently pursuing her passion of social media, which began during her years at WSPA-TV. She is a Social Media and Personal Strategist with GrowGreatCompanies.com

Guest Blogger: Rob Wilson

Rob with family

I’m bringing back a familiar face to the blog, Rob Wilson.  He’s become one of my favorite people to get to know this year. See how we met in this previous blog. Rob is part of a duo that heads up Devology in the United Kingdom.  You can read more about him in the about section below.  This man has a delightful British accent and is enthusiastic about software development and customer service.

DON’T MISS THE DEAL HE IS OFFERING FOR HIS PRODUCT SOCIAL SCHEDULER…I highly endorse it! 🙂

What social media platforms are you on? And how do you use social media?

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and just about hanging in there with Google+ and Ello.

What platforms do you feel are the best to engage your audience or ideal client?

This is harder to answer, I would have said ‘Twitter’, but I don’t get people engaging with me with meaningful results other than the post being ‘liked’ and at best ‘re-tweeted’.  (***FOLLOW***) I see more comments in Facebook and it’s the comments that I’m really after, so I can learn what people want and adjust my product.  On that note, I’d say the WordPress blog offers me the most value, maybe it’s not traditionally a ‘social network’, but it does enable people to follow/subscribe to your feed and so to me it does offer social-like features.  LinkedIn sometimes gives me the results I want, especially if I am asking questions pertaining to someones specialist area; I asked some schools about their use of expensive information-systems used to keep staff and parents up-to-date, the feedback was interesting and full of facts.  As for Instagram and Pinterest, I can sink too much unproductive time in those if I’m not careful, so I tend to schedule posts to them and not look too often!  Google+ I really don’t get, likewise I want Ello to work, but the latter seemed far more complicated than necessary and they don’t offer an ‘API’ – which means as a developer I can’t integrate with it.

Share one or a few things that have surprised you about using social media.

I was surprised how fine-grained the targeting of adverts (American translation: advertising) can be on Facebook and Twitter, for example, find me all the teachers in the ages 20-30 in East Sussex in the UK, now let me send a sponsored advert to just them.  Now why don’t businesses use Facebook instead of direct-mail (leaflet drops etc), surely it’s more effective to spend money on the exact audience, rather than distributing leaflets to thousands of homes where you might get 3% of people reading them and only 1% of those might be interested.  I personally feel that if you include video in your advert, target your demographics carefully, you will arrive in peoples feeds with amazing effectiveness.

The biggest surprise is with Instagram, what the heck… What do you mean I can’t upload a photo from the website?!  I can only upload the photos from mobile devices?  That’s weird.  But weirder still is that they don’t allow application developers (that’s me) to send photos either.  That’s very, very unusual. It’s also a pain in the neck, it currently means that I can’t schedule photos to go to Instagram, without bizarre workarounds (that we are working on in Social Scheduler), for example, you are allowed to send photos from a mobile app that launches the Instagram app to send the photo.  This means our servers need to wake up your phone, send a push notification along the lines of “Social Scheduler wants to send a message to Instagram…”, you open Social Scheduler and then it displays the photo(s) due to be sent, you then (for each one) must release it to the Instagram App.  Crazy, huh?

I’d love to welcome you to Social Scheduler, the good news is that this week we have added a free tariff (American translation this is a freebie folks!) so you can schedule to three accounts up to 30 days in advance.  It’s a great way to judge whether you like the tool.  If you do sign up, I’d love to know what features you’re looking for, you can contact me directly at rob@devology.co.uk

About Rob

I am Rob Wilson, a husband, father and director and co-founder of Devology Ltd, a software development company in Great Britain (in the United Kingdom).  I work with the only other director (also co-founder) Michael Glazebrook almost every evening over Skype.  He’s lucky enough to also be my cousin!

I’m a software engineer, also known as software developer / programmer, but when you’ve been doing it for 30 years and have learned a lot about the right-way to do things, you tend to qualify for the label ‘Engineer’.

For the previous 25+ years I was developing software at a defence company (General Dynamics) for the Harrier Jump Jet, F16 and F18 fighter reconnaissance subsystems, I joined when I was around 15 on a youth-training-scheme (YTS) and then after 18 years I felt that I was getting too comfortable and moved on to another company, to write commercial software at Macro 4, I worked on a tool that monitored how fast a program was running and would highlight issues in other peoples code, it was a great team, but unfortunately I was getting burned-out with 3 hour daily commutes, so I joined NBTrader, to write stock trading software.  It’s whilst I was there that I learned how to write server-side software (the things that run websites) and how to write desktop applications.  After around 3 years, I moved onto the web-development side of things (web applications, not web pages), this was a really interesting challenge and it’s only recently I can say that I’m enjoying it!

I now work for myself, with the principal aim of writing a suite of software products.  Our first one is called Social Scheduler, it enables you to schedule your messages to multiple social networks (such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest, more are coming).  Our focus has been on keeping things simple, our feedback from customers shows that we might be winning!  We have a lot of great features that we intend to add, the difficulty is adding them in the right order, to be more effective at gaining new customers, to help the cash coming into the company. Right now, we are adding our own referral system, so that our best customers can make money referring the product to someone they know, because they love the product and wish to share it, rather than an affiliate system – who are in it for the money and will push the product to anyone.

Michael and I have a back catalogue of 30 products that we could write, however we have a short-list of 3 that are very attractive.  This week I’ve also found a possible 4th product that dovetails nicely with Social Scheduler.

Unfortunately, we aren’t big enough yet to fund both of us working at Devology, sometimes it’s a struggle to fund one developer (myself), so we do software consultancy and development for other companies too.  Right now we are helping a company in Hove (near Brighton), UK to deliver a very powerful lone-working tool, on iPhone and Android, it also has an administration user interface on the web.  What they love about working with us, is that we can rapidly react to their requirements and can develop the full stack (mobile, web, servers, databases).

I sometimes cringe when people ask me what my hobbies and/or passions are.  I must sound like a geek because my answer is that I love coding, my hobbies are therefore coding, to relax I code.  I know… I’m not ‘normal’, but I don’t look like a traditional geeky software developer – I have no beard and I have great looking kids – so I don’t care what other people think 😉  I think it stems from the fact that I can tell the computer what to do and it does it, if it does something wrong then I know it’s my fault; it’s black & white, it’s logical, unlike my beautiful wife.

Right now, I suppose I have a new hobby, podcasting.  I released the first Episode of our ‘Startup and Marketing Podcast’ on iTunes and a few other podcast sites, such as Stitch, so please subscribe if you want to hear about our marketing efforts!

Connect with Rob

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/devologyuk
Twitter – https://twitter.com/DevologyUk
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSnbaaz2SNx41OJRyu_8b7g
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/devologyuk/
Instagram – https://instagram.com/devologyuk/
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/company/devology-ltd
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/+devologyuk/about
Company Website – http://devology.co.uk
Our Social Scheduler web app – http://socialscheduler.co.uk

Mary Lu Saylor

Connect with Mary Lu:  

Email: marylusaylor@outlook.com

Blog : https://socialmediamarylu.wordpress.com/

Facebookwww.facebook.com/mary.l.saylor

Twitter: @marylusaylor

Instagram: @marylusaylor

Mary Lu Saylor is an Emmy-award winning journalist who spent 30 years in the television news business. Her experience includes work as a videographer, newscast video editor, and ultimately as the newsroom Assignment Manager at WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, SC. Mary Lu is currently pursuing her passion of social media, which began during her years at WSPA-TV. She is a Social Media and Personal Strategist with GrowGreatCompanies.com

Guest Blogger: Dwayne Morris

D at Fuse-001

This week’s special guest is a dear friend of mine, Dwayne Morris.  This special man has been a part of my life for many years as a trusted friend, counselor, and all around pretty awesome guy.  I remember the day that I told him that I thought God wanted me to do something special with my life but I didn’t know what. Dwayne gently explained that to do that I needed to let God do his job and it will happen.  He was so right. So many things happened for me after that conversation.  That was also when I learned Dwayne was writing a book that he had published (you will read about that at the end of his blog.) I am so excited that he has another one that we’ll be hearing about soon.

Let’s get to the good stuff!   Dwayne explains how he uses various platforms including Periscope to engage his audience.  I know you will enjoy this!

What social media platforms are you on? And how do you use social media?

I operate on 3.5 social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The “.5” is Hootsuite which is what I use to schedule post for the future. It has helped me maintain a consistent presence on Social Media. When I make a new post, I will go ahead and schedule it out for the next 12 to 18 months with Hootsuite. Not everyone sees my posts at the same time, so I will schedule them at 3 month intervals. This helps me be “top of mind” for those who keep up with me and my family. I’m exploring Periscope (@DwayneMorris). I’ve posted a couple of interviews and random observations about life and scripture.

What platforms do you feel are the best to engage your audience or ideal client?

In reality, I get the most engagement on Facebook. However, the people I most want to interact with are on Twitter. What makes it hard is the unwritten rule that you should not respond to everyone on Twitter. To this point, Michael Hyatt says you wouldn’t go to a party and comment on every conversation you heard. The key question is, “Am I adding value to others?” If I can add value and expect nothing in return, then I begin earning the right to engage. Another determinant is character-count.

When I simply cannot get my content inside 140 characters, I have to go to Facebook. On occasion, I have made a mini-post on my blog and posted a link to both platforms.

Share one or a few things that have surprised you about using social media.

My greatest surprise is how easy it is to engage with very significant people. I recall the first time I had an exchange with Michael Hyatt. I was like, “This is CRAZY! I’m having a ‘conversation’ with Michael Hyatt!” That’s when you choose your words carefully. Another surprise is how quickly you can become a Global influencer. There was a lady in Kenya who was readying my book on Kindle. Whenever she would highlight something in the book, she would post it to Twitter. When she started doing this, I started picking up a lot of new followers in Africa!

That’s CRAZY!!!

About Dwayne

 Morris Family

I am a blessed husband to Angela Morris and father to my three kids:

Taylor (19), Logan (17) and Avery (12). I love helping others experience the life God created them to live. I currently serve on the staff of First Baptist North Spartanburg in Spartanburg, SC. I am an Creative Coach, blogger and author. I published my first book, “The OUTRAGEOUS Life: Letting God Take You from Ordinary to Outrageous” in March, 2014.

I am currently working on the next book, “Chasing Donkeys: When Common Events Turn Into Uncommon Opportunities”. My overall desire is to help people leverage their lives for maximum results.

Connect with Dwayne:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/DwayneMorris

Twitter: @dwaynemorris

Instagram: @dwaynemorris

Periscope: @dwaynemorris

Blog: http://www.MorrisMatters.com

Thank You!

Dwayne, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to blog for us.  You are a treasure to everyone that has the privilege of meeting you. 

Dwayne and I would love to hear from you. Leave a question or comment below.

Mary Lu Saylor

Connect with me:  

Email: marylusaylor@outlook.com

Blog : https://socialmediamarylu.wordpress.com/

Facebookwww.facebook.com/mary.l.saylor

Twitter: @marylusaylor

Instagram: @marylusaylor

Mary Lu Saylor is an Emmy-award winning journalist who spent 30 years in the television news business. Her experience includes work as a videographer, newscast video editor, and ultimately as the newsroom Assignment Manager at WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, SC. Mary Lu is currently pursuing her passion of social media, which began during her years at WSPA-TV. She is a Social Media and Personal Strategist with GrowGreatCompanies.com

Guest Blogger: Victor Clarke

Victor Clarke

Victor Clarke and I met through the social media platform LinkedIn.  He found there and asked to connect. LinkedIn is a huge business tool (you should be there!) Then he wanted to know more about what I was doing with social media.  We met in person a few months later to learn more about what each of us is doing.  Victor is guest blogging this week as our first collaboration.  I look forward to more to come in the future.  Read more about how he uses social media in his business, Clarke Inc. and don’t miss his FREE e-book at the end of the blog! 

Content is Fire.  Social Media is Gasoline. 

Clarke, Inc. has been on social media for nearly eight years.  We originally started with Facebook and then expanded onto LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus and Pinterest.

Just like the title of this post (a phrase coined by Jay Baer) we use social media to distribute the content we produce.  Being a B2B, social media is not likely to produce a sale for us without human interaction to close the deal.  We like to create helpful content, not selling content to share on social media.  The best social sites to generate qualified leads for our business are LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is great because it’s mostly about business, no cat videos are posted.  It can be used to research prospects so every contact is a warm call rather than a cold call.   LinkedIn Groups are an awesome way to connect with these prospects.  Even though we may not be able to send an InMail because we are not first connections we can still email them through groups.  If you share membership in a group with a prospect you can send unlimited InMail messages to them.  LinkedIn allows you to be a member of up to 50 groups.  I highly recommend you become a member of as many groups as possible.

Twitter

When we first signed up for Twitter I didn’t get it.  It was just too much random stuff, sent to lots of people, about uninteresting topics.  The light came on when I realized Twitter is the world’s biggest cocktail party.  You can hear everything everyone is saying.  You don’t have to be connected or be friends to follow a conversation.  We use Twitter to send out links to our content 20-25 times per day.  We also use it to listen to what our clients, prospects and competitors are doing.  It’s a great way to develop qualified leads.

YouTube

We have created our own YouTube channel to post our webinars.  The webinars are available on YouTube 24/7/365 as lead generation tool.  Our website and YouTube act as sales people that never need sleep, never complain and never ask for a pay raise.

Facebook, Goggle Plus & Pinterest

We use Facebook, Google Plus and Pinterest to a lesser extent although each site serves its own purpose.  We post to Facebook because you should.  With 1.9 billion users you just can’t ignore it.  Facebook is much better for B2Cs than B2Bs.

Google Plus gets a lot of negative publicity but it has its purpose too.  We post to Google Plus because it makes Google happy and drives our website towards the top of search engine rankings.  Pinterest is useful for posting images of our work.  Instead of mailing samples of our print jobs to prospects they can now see them on Pinterest via a page on our website.  Not only does Pinterest save a lot of postage costs, it also allows us to display many more samples than we ever would be willing to pay to ship.

Let’s Be Social!

My biggest surprise about social media is that many of our customers don’t understand its value.  Too many people still associate social media with cat videos or worse, they try to hustle product sales on the sites before they have developed a relationship.

Use social media to be…social!  It’s pretty annoying to be cornered at a party by a person trying to sell you something and you don’t even know them.   The same etiquette applies to social media.  It’s annoying to be pounded with “buy, buy, buy” posts.  Use social media to help, not sell.  Once you have a relationship developed using helpful content you may occasionally reach out with a sales message.  Use social media as the fuel to push your helpful content out to the world.  If your content is useful, and you don’t ask for the order too soon, your social sites will become awesome lead generating machines.

Are you convinced now that you need a social media strategy?  Grab my eBook, “Upgrade Your Marketing to Integrated Marketing” to learn more.

About Victor

Victor Clarke is the owner of Clarke, Inc.  He has been the owner of the company for 20 years evolving it from a print shop to a marketing firm.  Clarke, Inc. is your hub for the integration and automation of your inbound and outbound marketing.  In his free time Victor is the bass player in a local rock and roll cover band and a high school football and lacrosse official.  He lives at Smith Mountain Lake, VA with his wife Robin and two dogs – Wiggles the Wonder Dog and Buck (shh! Don’t tell her she’s a girl.)

You can find Clarke, Inc. at:

www.bebetterdomore.com

Facebook

LinkedIn

Google Plus

Twitter

Pinterest

YouTube

(For the non-millennials you call me at 434-847-5561)

Thank you

I am so pleased to have people like Victor share their knowledge with you! He is a great guy that is always on the cutting edge of marketing.

We would love to hear from you about this blog or social media.  Use the space below to leave a comment or question.

I’d love to have you become a regular subscriber…click the follow button on the right side of the page 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and spending a couple of minutes with us.

Blessings,

Mary Lu

Mary Lu Saylor

Connect with me:  

Email: marylusaylor@outlook.com

Blog : https://socialmediamarylu.wordpress.com/

Facebookwww.facebook.com/mary.l.saylor

Twitter: @marylusaylor

Instagram: @marylusaylor

Mary Lu Saylor is an Emmy-award winning journalist who spent 30 years in the television news business. Her experience includes work as a videographer, newscast video editor, and ultimately as the newsroom Assignment Manager at WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, SC. Mary Lu is currently pursuing her passion of social media, which began during her years at WSPA-TV. She is a Social Media Specialist with GrowGreatCompanies.com

Guest Blogger: Timothy Martin

Timothy Martin

This week meet Timothy Martin who is the Communications and Media Coordinator for the City of Roanoke, Virginia.  I know Timothy virtually (we are planning on having lunch soon!)  He used to work with my dad at WFIR Radio here in our great city.

I’ve been intrigued with how Timothy has embraced his current role and think you will want to see what kind of success he has has. I can’t imagine managing the communication needs of a city?!?  I do know that photo sharing of our wonderful place to live is hugely popular and I love to send pictures in and see them pop up on the city’s platforms.  Pretty cool!   Read on and see what Timothy is doing!

What social media platforms are you on?  And how do you use social media?

In local government, social media is an important tool for both informing and engaging with citizens.   Frequent posts and engaging content has helped our 40+ social media pages attract a following of more than 100,000.  We use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, and Pinterest to showcase city news and events in various ways.

It’s important for us to reach as many people as possible on social media and utilizing the many platforms available allows us to do that.  Each platform offers something a little different and the audience isn’t always the same.

What platforms do you feel are the best to engage your audience or ideal client?

Facebook is by far the best social media platform to engage our citizens.  The City of Roanoke, Virginia – Communications Facebook page has a following of more than 46,000.  By promoting city news and events, and posting user submitted photos, our weekly reach is typically 150,000 or more.  We also use Facebook to capitalize on big events.  During the last two snow storms, around the clock updates helped us gain thousands of new likes and hit a record weekly reach of 600,000.  In 2014, we were recognized by 3CMA for our snow coverage, winning the Savvy award. We also focus heavily on social media customer service.  Citizens ask questions and we find the answers as quickly as possible.  That’s the serious stuff.

We also have a little fun with it too. On April 1, 2014, we announced the Roanoke Star was going on a world tour.  A fake news release and photos of the star at different landmarks around the world created quite a buzz on Facebook.  That prank won us the “Best Use of Humor on Social Media” award from Government Social Media.  Roanoke and its citizens get social media, and the team effort has put us on the map.

Share one or a few things that have surprised you about using social media.

One of the biggest surprises about using social media in local government has been the citizen engagement.  I learned early on that if you engage with citizens, they will engage with you.  A prime example is the 2014 snowstorm that really helped our main page take off.  During that event, I reached out to citizens to submit photos of the snow. Hundreds of photos were submitted during that storm.  Since then, we’ve received thousands of beautiful photos of the city.  It’s almost second nature now for people to take photos, and then send them to our page for all of our followers to see.  The use of photos has helped drive our numbers unlike anything else.  Something else that’s not really a surprise, but more of an insight is how Facebook distributes our posts to our followers.  A post with a photo gets more than double the reach than a post with a link or simple a text post.  The same can be said for videos. Embedding videos directly to Facebook will reach more users than linking to YouTube.  I would encourage any social media manage to study the stats that Facebook provides.  Those stats can help you direct the content on your page in order to reach the broadest audience possible.

A little about Timothy

The first part of my career was spent in broadcast news.  I was the anchor and reporter at WFIR Talk Radio in Roanoke.  After seven wonderful years at the station, I left to become communications and media coordinator for the City of Roanoke.  A prime responsibility has been managing the city’s social media pages. It’s been a wonderful learn as you go experience.  I often say that everyone is an expert on social media. Try something, if it doesn’t work, try something else until it does.

Timothy’s Connection Points

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RoanokeVa

Twitter: https://twitter.com/City_of_Roanoke

Instagram: https://instagram.com/City_of_Roanoke/

You want to check out this cool page: https://roanoke.uberflip.com

Thank you

I want to thank Timothy for his willingness to share his time and a little of what has worked for him in his job.  Roanoke, Virginia is one of the most beautiful places and we would love for you to visit our great city!

I’d love to hear from the readers….leave a comment or a question in the box below.  I’d love to have you become a regular subscribers…click the follow button on the right side of the page 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and spending a couple of minutes with us.

Mary Lu Saylor

Connect with me:  

Email: marylusaylor@outlook.com

Blog : https://socialmediamarylu.wordpress.com/

Facebookwww.facebook.com/mary.l.saylor

Twitter: @marylusaylor

Instagram: @marylusaylor

Mary Lu Saylor is an Emmy-award winning journalist who spent 30 years in the television news business. Her experience includes work as a videographer, newscast video editor, and ultimately as the newsroom Assignment Manager at WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, SC. Mary Lu is currently pursuing her passion of social media, which began during her years at WSPA-TV. She is a Social Media Specialist with FindGreatCompanies.com

Guest Blogger: Ariel Lev

Photo: Jeff Hoffman w/ Eddy Communications
Photo: Jeff Hoffman w/ Eddy Communications

I met Ariel Lev when I was helping my husband with a project he was working that involved the CoLab in the Grandin Village section of Roanoke, Virginia.  I will never forget being introduced to Ariel….she said, “I know you from social media!”  I had to catch my breath.  I’d never had anyone say that to me.

Ariel is a wonderfully talented and enthusiastic supporter of entrepreneurs in the Roanoke area.  Our area is so fortunate to have people like her helping to nurture the budding projects that take root at the CoLab.  I’m so pleased she agreed to guest blog!

What social media platforms are you on?  And how do you use social media?

I am a contributor or the lead social media human for a hand full of accounts, but I mainly use social media for myself and for CoLab, the coworking space I run in Roanoke, VA. Personally, I mainly use Instagram for sharing (@a_lev_) and Facebook for keeping up with old friends or discovering new articles to read (also known as: wasting time on the Internet).

For CoLab, I use Facebook Pages, a Facebook group (this one is members only!), Instagram (@CoLab_Roanoke) and Twitter (@grandinCoLab). I tend to do most of my work-related social media-ing during the work day or when I’m particularly moved, and I don’t do a lot of scheduled posts. This is helpful in keeping the content fresh when I’m not at my computer or thinking about social media.

Mostly, I use social media to provide an engaging voice for people who are listening. Social media expands our network and worth to those who are outside of our direct client base and keeps us on the minds of those who might one day become clients. These digital touch-points are endlessly rewarding, though hard to track.

What platforms do you feel are the best to engage your audience or ideal client?

I find that, for CoLab, Twitter is helpful in engaging the local business clientele. When I post on Twitter, I am speaking to an audience of people like me: marketing executives, media specialists, entrepreneurs who do it all. There are some individuals tweeting personally, but since the shelf life of a tweet is about 30 seconds or less, I don’t rely on it.

Our Facebook page is the only social media outlet I pay to use. At times, I’ll boost a particularly well-crafted post that shows off something special about CoLab for $5.00. Or, if there’s an event coming up, I’ll spend $3.00 on a quick boost, ensuring that people outside of our immediate followership are given a chance to check it out.

The Facebook group is a convenient way to get in touch with members, if they choose to engage with the platform. I send out a weekly email newsletter, but I’ll frequently duplicate content in this group so members have a better chance of seeing it.

Instagram is my ideal way to engage clients, but it takes a lot of work. I love this app and the networks that grow because of it — I have a huge soft spot and appreciation for strong aesthetics and put a lot of effort into my personal account, and have let that bleed over into the CoLab’s account. Entrepreneurs and millennials use Instagram to showcase their business, and I hope to one day be among the coworking giants with a feed that touches and inspires innovators around the globe. As you can tell, I have lofty goals!

Share one or a few things that have surprised you about using social media.

I think the most surprising social media lesson I learned was the afore-mentioned realization about Twitter being more of a B2B network than a B2C network. Though there is still worth to this network, I do sometimes feel like all of the accounts in my network are screaming from a podium into a room of empty seats. More possibly, I just have a lot to learn.

Meet Ariel

I’m the director of CoLab, Roanoke’s largest coworking space. As a millennial, I’ve grown up with social media: it helped shape me, and in some ways, I helped shape it.

A little history: I am from North Carolina originally and fell in love with the mountains when I attended Appalachian State University, graduating with a degree in Broadcasting / Communications. Shortly after, I tried my hand at city living while attending Graduate school in D.C. at Georgetown University. I earned an M.A. in Communication, Culture and Technology – and promptly left for more mountainous pastures. My husband and I chose Roanoke because it checked all our boxes: mountains, opportunity, low cost of living and proximity to parents. Little did we know that Roanoke is also home to people who care very much about the future of their home and who work relentlessly to make it the best it can be. We are excited to be a part of this culture!

Connection Points

Website: www.grandincolab.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/colabroanoke

Colab Instagram: @CoLab_Roanoke

CoLab Twitter: @grandinCoLab

Ariel’s Instagram: @a_lev

Thank you!

Ariel, thank you for taking time out of your super busy schedule to help collaborate (pun intended!) with me for this blog.  I love seeing how you use social media as a communication tool in so many ways.

Connect with me:  

Email: marylusaylor@outlook.com

Blog : https://socialmediamarylu.wordpress.com/

Facebookwww.facebook.com/mary.l.saylor

Twitter: @marylusaylor

Instagram: @marylusaylor

Mary Lu Saylor is an Emmy-award winning journalist who spent 30 years in the television news business. Her experience includes work as a videographer, newscast video editor, and ultimately as the newsroom Assignment Manager at WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, SC. Mary Lu is currently pursuing her passion of social media, which began during her years at WSPA-TV. She is a Social Media Specialist with FindGreatCompanies.com