2015 Social Media Blog Hop Week 1 – Favourite Social Media Site

Social Media Blog Hop

This week we are kicking off the 2015 social media blog hop with the question: What is your favourite social media site and why?

Facebook is where I spend most of my time on social media. I have a personal profile and author page, belong to many groups, and also administer pages for Glendon Playground and Park Society as well as InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship. I appreciate the following benefits of Facebook:

1. My personal profile allows connection with an audience as large or small as I choose. Facebook allows me to decide whether I share information with specific people, only my friends, or everyone who chooses to access the information. I’m able to post plain text, pictures, and videos and so are my friends. Facebook is a great way to build connections with people I’ve just met as well as keep in touch with friends I’ve had for years. Some of my friends on Facebook are people I went to school with in grade 6 over 30 years ago.

2. Facebook Pages allow me to spend as little or as much as I want for marketing. There is no charge to have a Facebook Page. Although Facebook does regulate how many people see the information I post on my page, it does provide a free venue for sharing information. If I want to increase the exposure of a particular post, I’m able to pay to boost it. Facebook allows me to pick the demographics of the people I’m targeting with my content so that I’m not paying to send it to those who probably are not interested.

3. Facebook Groups provide an avenue for me to build closer relationship with a group of people who are all interested and passionate about the things that I’m learning about or doing. Through groups I’ve participated in Bible studies, received help and support in healthy living and marriage, and had the opportunity to learn and share about writing, blogging, marketing, my book launches and many more things. Groups can be public, private, or closed – allowing administrators to choose who belongs to the group and how far and wide the information is shared.

4. Facebook Events allow people to share information about upcoming events including anything from a baby shower to a drama presentation to a book launch. Event pages can help market the event, provide the possibility to participate either in person or virtually, and also provide a venue to share pictures, etc. during and after the event.

Some facts I try to keep in mind when I use Facebook:

  • Facebook is hosting my information and can choose to close my accounts at any time.
  • Although Facebook has security measures in place, I still choose not to post certain content because once it’s on Facebook I may not be able to control what happens with it.
  • I never post on social media when I’m angry or post anything that I would be ashamed to see on the front page of my local paper.

My second choice for social media is Twitter. But that will have to wait for another day!

What’s your favourite social media site? Why?


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2015 Writers’ Blog Hop Week 4 – Lifelong Learning

 

Today I’d like to share a couple of graphics programs that have made a huge difference for me.

WordSwag

Wordswag is a free app I downloaded onto my iPad. It’s very easy to use and is great if you want to create square graphics to use on your website or other social media. (All my blog hop graphics were made using Wordswag

Like:

  • Free app
  • Easy to use
  • Quick
  • Option to use your own photos or backgrounds included in the app
  • Includes free searchable pictures from Pixabay
  • Able to choose from many free font options; you can purchase other font options in the app
  • Built in share options to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Text, or E-mail.
  • Option to add a logo or watermark
  • Ability to use a graphic as a template

Don’t Like:

  • Not very flexible – can’t change the shape of the graphic (only options are rectangle or square) or select portions of font to change
  • Only available via iTunes

Canva

Canva makes design simple for everyone. Create designs for Web or print: blog graphics, presentations, Facebook covers, flyers, posters, invitations and so much more.” Canva is much more flexible than Wordswag, but it will take longer to get a graphic designed.

Like:

  • Available as an app from iTunes, or directly on the web at http://www.canva.com
  • Choose from presized canvases for social media, poster, presentation, Facebook cover, Facebook post, etc.
  • Make your own custom canvas size (in pixels, mm, or inches)
  • Free backgrounds, fonts, and layouts are available, as well as text holders, borders and other items
  • If you have your own picture, you can upload it to Canva and use it in your design
  • Other pictures, fonts, etc. are available at the cost of $1.00 each/design
  • Basically if you can imagine it, you can make it on Canva
  • When you’re done you can download the graphic as an image or as a PDF file
  • You can share the graphic right from Canva

Don’t Like:

  • It takes a lot of time to make a great design
  • Sometimes when you change something in your design, you can’t go back if you change your mind

What have you learned in the past year that has helped you in your writing?


 

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Although this is the last week of the general writers’ blog hop, there will still be a blog hop in two weeks:

Social Media Blog Hop
#1 Favourite Social Media Site – Tell us where (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) you spend most of your time/energy and why (Week of Mar 2)
#2 Graphics for social media – Share your favourite source/app (Week of Mar 16)
#3 Scheduling posts – How often? Do you use a program like Hootsuite? Other tips? (Week of Mar 30)
#4 Content of posts – What do you share? Where do you find content? Ratio of promotional/other? (Week of April 13)

Note: If you’re interested in participating in the social media blog hop and want an e-mail reminder, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.


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Experimenting with Word Swag

Psalm 121: 7, 8

I find learning fascinating. Not just what we learn, but how we learn, and the incidental learning that happens. Serendipity, if you will. Yesterday I attended a webinar on how to use Pinterest effectively. As I was listening, I received a notification that I had a new e-mail from the Social Media Examiner on How to Create Sharable Social Media. One of the apps recommended was Word Swag.

The links I’ve shared above will give you access to the app (if you have an Apple product of some kind) and show you how to use it. I’ve tried several different apps and this is by far the easiest to use and gives me the results I’m looking for. (I decided to pay $2.99 to obtain more functionality.) Both images included in this post were made with Word Swag. Now my only problem is time 🙂 In one of my next posts, I’ll share what I like about Canva.

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7 Keys to Hosting a Successful Twitter Chat

#ReaderWriterChat on Twitter Mondays from 12-1:00 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time

Twitter chats are online, public conversations that take place on Twitter at designated times around a unique hashtag like #ReaderWriterChat. The #ReaderWriterChat will be starting, Monday, April 7th and taking place every Monday at 12 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time. Twitter chats are a great way to learn, engage with your followers, grow your community, and network.

How do you host a successful Twitter Chat?

1. Choose a unique hashtag. There are many Twitter chats already taking place. You can check out Twitter Chats for Writers, 15 Essential Twitter Chats for Social Media Marketers or any other topic you’re interested in. If you want to host a new chat, use the search function on Twitter to make sure there are no other chats using the hashtag you are thinking of using.

2. Invite people to participate. The whole idea of a Twitter chat is to have many people participating in the conversation. Make sure you let people know about the event by posting the hashtag, day and time of the chat on the social media sites you’re on, especially Twitter. Creating a graphic like the one at the top of this post may help people pay more attention to your invitation.

3. Use TweetChat to host your chat. (You can also use it to listen in to any chat you want.) All you have to do is go to the TweetChat site, choose the hashtag you want to follow, and press “Go”. TweetChat will filter out all the other tweets and allow you to monitor the specific chat you’re hosting. While you’re using TweetChat, each tweet you add will automatically have your chat hashtag added and the page will update periodically unless you manually pause it.

4. Sign in to the twitter chat at least 15 minutes before the start time. This gives you time to work through any technical difficulties you may encounter and enables you to start the chat on time.

5. Ask questions focused on the needs of your audience. Besides having a general topic, each week’s chat usually has a specific focus. Your questions should engage your community and get them sharing information and responding to each other. Figure out how often you’re going to post questions (e.g. every 5 minutes) and then make sure you have enough questions to take you through at least 50 minutes of the chat. You’ll probably fill some time at the beginning with introductions and end the chat by providing information about the specific focus of the next chat.

6. Favorite tweets during the chat. After you post a question, look for answers that are interesting and engaging. Go ahead and respond to them or retweet them, but make sure you also favorite the ones you want to capture. That way you can easily search, capture, and share them on your blog or another platform later. Then after the chat is over, use a platform like Storify to pull the tweets into a transcript you can share. There is a WordPress plugin for Storify that allows you to embed it into a blog post.

7. Use Hashtracking, which allows you to determine the effectiveness of your chat hashtag. Hashtracking allows you to track the reach, how many impressions were made, the number of people contributing, the number of tweets, and other hashtags that were used during your chat. You can use this information when you plan your next Twitter chat, making better use of what was effective and changing what didn’t work.

I hope you’ll join us for the #ReaderWriterChat on Mondays. If you have other tips for making a chat effective, or questions you’d like me to pose during the chats, let me know. I look forward to hearing from you.

I’m putting the finishing touches on a Twitter manual for writers. If you’d like to know when it’s available for purchase, please fill out the contact form below.

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