Top 5 Splash Media Blogs of 2012

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Top-5-Splash-Media-Blogs-of-2012

Top 5 Splash Media Blogs of 2012

Here at Splash Media, we believe that great content is the catalyst for conversation, sharing and engagement.  We also believe that great content that is optimized will build search equity for your brand over time. The best way to feature that content is through a blog, in conjunction with sharing over other social media platforms. With that in mind, we’d like to share our most popular blog posts from 2012:

 

Social Media Helpdesk: How Do I Use Pinterest For Business?”  – In 2011, some social media forecasters predicted that Google + would lead the charge towards user engagement. But associal media enthusiasts will tell you, mass acceptance of Google+ didn’t happen last year. It was a different social network that came out of nowhere to capture people’s attention. (read more)

 

“Paranormal Activity 3” Uses Social Media Strategy to Scare up Tweets – Another Halloween, another “Paranormal Activity” movie. And another chance to see how one movie studio uses social media strategy to empower horror movie fans, so they can be among the first in the world to have the you-know-what scared out of them. (read more)

 

Results of our Best Hashtag of the Year Poll – Two weeks ago we asked you to vote on some of the most popular hashtags of the year to come up with your favorite one. Thank you so much to everyone out there who voted! Here are your top 3 hashtags! (read more)

 

Social Media Marketing and Brand Journalism Power Cisco’s News “Network? – Another big company has decided that when it comes to offering content, there’s no business like its own business. Cisco Systems has launchedThe Network, a technology news website. Like Intel’s Free Press – covered in theSplash Media blog here – the company is covering any and all developments in its particular arena of the tech industry, whether or not it has anything to do with Cisco. The focus is on an editorial style that wouldn’t be out of place in a newspaper or on a journalistic tech news site. (read more)

 

Smile! Social Media Photos Add Color to Company Content – Is there anything a smartphone can’t do? First the video cameras on iPhones and Androids are credited with kicking the Flip video camcorder to the technology graveyard. Now comes news from Flickr – one of the first social photo sharing websites – that iPhone 4′s are currently blowing past traditional cameras such as Canon’s EOS models as the most popular cameras among its members. Achart on Flickr’s websiteshows that the latest iPhone should soon dethrone the Nikon D90 for the top spot on the list. (read more)

 

Splash Media prides itself on creating engaging content strategies for all your online marketing needs. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of social media marketing, and make sure to join us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Why We Share Stuff

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It’s no secret that we have a fascination with the mundane. People everywhere share pictures of their food and sunsets on Instagram, talk about their kids and lives on Facebook, and it’s (well, somewhat arguably) mostly interesting. Why is it so interesting? One theory is that it is a different way to look at life. It gives us a new perspective. Another theory is that perhaps it validates the relationships and actions in our lives. And, we seem to be spending more and more time on the Internet and on these social platforms.

According to Abigail Posner, the Head of Strategic Planning, Agency Development, at Google, “We like to see things we’re familiar with, in a new way.”  And it’s more enjoyable when you know others are enjoying it as well. In other words, we bond over this stuff. Google is investing in The Engagement Project to study how brands can connect with consumers more deeply in this crazy Internet participation age.

This brings me to memes. They are hugely popular on the Internet and a significant source of participation. In fact, we recently celebrated our very first Meme Day here at Splash Media, which led to a lot of questions about what are memes and why are they so popular? (And for those of you who don’t know, memes are images or videos that are shared over the Internet. Cool fact: the word meme comes from the Ancient Greek word Mimeme, which means, “Imitated thing.”)

As a company, how can you tap into this shared online energy? How can your brand connect with consumers to encourage participation and bonding?

  1. Find your fans. They are out there. They might be on Instagram, or Facebook, Pinterest, Vine or Twitter. Look for them and see what they’re talking about in correlation with your brand. It might be crazy and strange, but it’s a great place to start.
  2. Look at something in a different way. Explore a new way to use your product. Do something totally different in regard to the way people see your services. Bring meaning to something unexpected. Have fun with it.
  3. Share it. Create content that is insightful and makes people want to share. Remind us of the happiness and wonder life has to offer. Tap into the energy sharing.

Here are a few examples from around the web of how companies have tapped into engagement in a very creative and successful way:

  • Dove Real Beauty Sketches – Dove proved that women are their own worst critics, and conducted a compelling social experiment that explored how women view their own beauty in contrast to what others see.
  • Cheerios – Debuted an interracial family in their latest commercial, sparking loads of positive and negative feedback on their YouTube channel.
  • The Montblanc Worldsecond – Montblanc came up with the idea to create a mobile photo app, equipped with an integrated and remotely controlled self-timer, which enabled all participants around the world to shoot a photo at exactly the same instant. Their goal was to freeze the whole world for a second and experience what people around the globe are up to all at the same moment.

With memes and blogs and other objects of sharing on the Internet, we’re not just sharing that object … we’re sharing emotion and feeling. We’re coming together to share the experience and engage. If your company can tap into this, you’re such to be more successful in creating an online community and increasing your brand awareness.

What do you think? Why do we share the stuff we share? What companies are out there doing it right and creating a buzz?

Creative Exercises for Social Media Content

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Creative-Exercises-for-Social-Media-Content

Creative Exercises for Social Media Content

As social media marketing grows by leaps and bounds, so does the need for exceptional social media content. As more and more companies join the various social media platforms, the harder it will be for each brand to stand out. Not only do consumers want to see original, quality social media content, but the content also needs to be relevant and sharable.

 

If this is your job, working in the social media industry and constantly creating content on demand, it’s easy to start feeling burnt out or encounter writer’s block. It’s a challenge to tap into creativity on a daily basis. So, we’ve scoured the Internet and found a handful of creative exercises to help you create good content and get those creative juices flowing.

 

  • Word association. Write a word on a white board and bounce around the first words you think of. This is great to do with a group of people and can spark your imagination.
  • Open the dictionary at random. Find a word that you do not know how to define. Write an imaginary definition for it. Repeat.
  • Look up jokes and funny sayings and see if any apply toward your target audience.
  • Describe each member of your family or your coworkers in five words.
  • Hum the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” Then compose new words on a certain theme (make it office-oriented or something to do with your hobby) that match the melody of the song.
  • Go for a walk to clear your mind. Chances are, you’ve been sitting at your workstation too long.
  • Eat a snack or drink a drink. Take a picture of it and create clever and goal centered hashtags you can use with it when posting.
  • “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Do you follow a business who’s social media content you enjoy? Try to imitate what they are doing.
  • Create a how-to manual for something you can do well (sew a quilt, grill a steak, optimize blogs, do laundry, shop for a new car). Describe the process so that someone else could complete the task based on your directions. Use present tense verbs.
  • Choose a photograph, from one of the online photography stock sources, of humans in uncertain conditions. Come up with a story around the photograph. For extra creativity, try to tell a story in one to two sentence captions.
  • Write an ad persuading your target audience of stay-at-home moms to buy a special new product that soothes crying babies. Then write it again, this time directed at an entirely new target audience, finding a way to use that same product that relates to their uses.

These creative exercises should unlock your creativity — just like stretching before you run a mile (or a marathon). Warm up your brain with these short stretches, and then get ready to pound the pavement.  You’ll want passion to emanate from every part of your social media campaign or social media content you share, because when your creative content evokes passion, your audience will respond.

 

For more information concerning social media marketing or Splash Media, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or at SplashMedia.com.

Doing It Right: Big Brands on Instagram

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Big Brands on InstagramAre you sharing your brand with customers and fans through pictures on Instagram?  Why not? As you probably know, Facebook owns Instagram, and according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Instagram is growing faster than Facebook did at that age and now has more than 100 million users. Instagram is clearly a hotspot of activity, and if your marketing strategy is to go where the eyeballs are … then your brand needs to be needs to be on Instagram.

Lots of big brands are already on Instagram, using it as part of their social media strategy and doing it right.  What does that mean? It means they are:

  • Sharing interesting images
  • Racking up the followers
  • Sharing their brand personality
  • Engaging users
  • Posting regularly

Surprisingly, Instagram is still holding off on advertising … for now, but that hasn’t stopped big brands from holding court on the platform.

Starbucks was an early adopter and now has over 1.2 million followers on Instagram. Their photos consist of their products featured anywhere and everywhere, the magic behind the scenes, in-store experiences from around the world, and how new coffee flavors are chosen and tested. This is a brand that knows how to celebrate the artistic and how to tap into emotional connections. They welcome other users to “Tag your coffee photos with #Starbucks!” I don’t drink coffee, but I follow them for the pure joy of seeing a company do social media well.

Photo Credit: Starbucks

Victoria’s Secret has almost 2 million followers on Instagram and has lots and lots of photos of scantily dressed, beautiful women. Victoria’s Secret is building a loyalty program with a new mobile photo-sharing contest that rewards consumers with shopping sprees for taking creative pictures based on certain themes each week. Very engaging marketing! Beautiful models and free shopping sprees … I wonder if they have more male followers or female followers?!

Photo Credit: Victoria’s Secret

Nike has more than 1.5 millions followers on Instagram. They feature shoes. Lots and lots of Nike shoes.  People wearing Nikes, Nikes arranged artistically and well, and more Nikes. As part of their NikeiD campaign, users can design their own Nike gear … and Instagram users can select their favorite Instagram shots as the background for the Nike Air Max model of their choice, and then share the shot over Instagram and other social media platforms. I’m not a runner, but their photos make me want to go out and buy a pair of Nikes and start running. (Don’t hold me to it!)

Photo Credit: Nike

MTV has around 1.3 millions followers on Instagram. They feature musicians, bands, festivals and trendy, hip entertainment topics. This year, for the first time, movie fans were able to vote using Instagram photos and hashtags in the MTV Movie Awards’ Best Hero category. Their photos receive thousands of likes, hundreds of comments and are updated several times a day, at least. If you like sweaty rock stars, this is a brand you’ll want to follow.

Photo credit: MTV

Other brands getting close to the million mark:

  • E! Online
  • Red Bull
  • Marc Jacobs
  • Burberry
  • Tiffany & Co
  • H&M
  • Forever21

Instagram is an opportunity for brands create visually appealing content to engage with their fans. I follow several brands in my Instagram feed: NPR, Starbucks, Dallas Morning News and a few more.

Is your brand utilizing Instagram in their social media marketing strategy?

Which brands are doing it right on Instagram in your opinion?

Social Media Terms

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Social media is a fast-growing, ever-changing industry, and it can be a challenge for those in the know to keep up with the ever-evolving lingo and social media terms. Every industry has its own language, and here are some of the basic terms and definitions of social media:

Social Media Terms

Avatar – An image that represents a user online. Most brands use their company logo as their avatar. See NPR’s Twitter avatar or Dr Pepper’s Facebook avatar.

Bitly – A free service to shorten URLs, making them easier to share on social media platforms. Here’s Whole Foods using a Bitly in their recent tweet.

Blog – This is a “Web Log” that individuals or companies use to share commentary, such as updates, graphics, or videos. Zappos has an active company blog.

Bookmarking – The process of saving a URL in order to access it at a later date. There are different bookmarking platforms, but Google also offers a spot to bookmark sites.

Hashtag – A tag used to categorize and organize comments on Twitter. Always preceded by the pound symbol “#.” Starbucks asks users to tag Instagram photos with the hashtag #starbucks, and they use a lot of different hashtags in their Twitter feed.  Here’s one they use often #ExtraShotOfGood.

Infographic – A graphic with information and data shared easily through social media sites. Here’s an example of How to Create an Infographic from Mashable

Klout – A social media analytics service that gives you a score based on how involved and influential you are in the social media world. Check out these Top social media influencers klout scores.

Like – A way to show approval on Facebook. You actually click a “Like” button. You can “like” a brand, which allows you to receive their status updates in your news feed, or you can just like a specific status update. Here you can choose to “like” Disney World’s page or “like” this status.

Links – A hyperlink, a way to connect directly to another web page, accessible by one easy click. This blog post is full of links to other sites, but here’s a link to the Splash Media YouTube channel, just for emphasis.

Link building – A search engine optimization (SEO) tactic where you strategically link to other sites (usually blogs) to increase your own site’s search engine ranking.

Meme – A thought, idea, joke, or concept that is shared online through social media sites. It’s typically an image with text, but can also be a video. The Grumpy Cat meme won Meme of the Year at the 17th Annual Webby Awards.

Microblogging – Content sharing platforms that restrict the amount of data that you can share. Twitter is considered a microblogging platform, as is Tumblr.

Permalink – The specific URL to a web page or blog post. The links within this blog post are all permalinks to specific pages.

Podcast – An episodic series of audio radio, video, PDF, or ePub files subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device. I get most of the podcasts I listen to from iTunes.

RSS Feed – “Really Simple Syndication” is a format used to easily share frequently updated content, such as news sites, blog posts and videos. Here’s a link to the Splash Media blog feed, where you can subscribe and receive our blog updates through email.

Sentiment – The attitude of user comments related to a brand online. Amy’s Baking Company has recently received extremely negative sentiment from Facebook users for their alleged bad customer service. (read through the comments to see what I’m talking about)

SEO – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a website from search engines via unpaid or organic search traffic. Google defines SEO.

Skype – A service that allows for text, audio, and video chats between users. If you haven’t “skyped” someone, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Tag – Is a term assigned to a piece of information so that you can describe the information and find it again. (Commonly used in blogging) At the bottom of this blog post by The Pioneer Woman, you can see she has used the tags “dogs” and “random critters.”

Traffic – Is the amount of data sent and received by visitors to a web page. Most websites monitor how many visitors they receive and how many pages are viewed. Google Analytics is a good tool to measure your web traffic.

Tweeps – A nickname referring to Twitter Followers.

Tweet – A message sent through Twitter that is no longer than 140-characters. Surprisingly, you can say a lot with very few words. Here’s an award-winning tweet from the Mars Curiosity Team.

 

This glossary of terms just touches a small portion of social media terms, but they are some of the most critical.  Did we miss any? Are there any social media terms out there that you don’t understand?

 

Big Brands on Vine

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Back in January, we asked you what six seconds could do for your company branding strategy with the advent of the new Vine app. Now, months later, we have our answer. According to Mashable, Vine has become one of the top iPhone apps of 2013 and one of the most popular social media networks since the 2010 launch of Instagram. In fact, Vine was the number one app in the U.S. App Store on April 9, 2013.

Six seconds is not much time to grab your audience’s attention. You have to be concise and creative. The good news: Vine videos are cheap to make and the perfect length of time for our ever-present short attention spans. And some big brands have been having a lot of fun exploring this new social media medium:

  • USA Today – Every day, USA Today shows a quick teaser of the day’s headlines and topics.
  • Lowes – Lowes Vine videos are really useful home improvement tips and lifehacks. Have a stripped screw? Use a rubber band with a screwdriver, no problem! They’ve even given their campaign a hashtag #lowesfixinsix.
  • General Electric – General Electric shows off their innovative brand personality in their Vine videos. They were one of the first brands to dive into Vine and ramp up engagement, leaving viewers curious about what they’ll do next. Wanna know what happens when you combine milk, food coloring and dish soap?
  • Rolling StoneRolling Stone Magazine has huge engagement. They often make videos asking the question, “Guess who is on the cover?” with a magazine covered in sticky notes or cigarettes or something that gives a clue to the answer hiding underneath.
  • Trident Gum – Trident uses Vine to showcase their gum in unique ways. A never-ending pack of gum? Trident magic tricks? They’re definitely having fun.
  • Urban Outfitters – Urban Outfitters uses their Vine account to display their products in fun ways. They share their new clothing lines, trendy collections and store displays … as well as bulldogs and spinning models.

It’s all about brand personality. These six brands have not only worked their brand personality into Vine, they’ve incorporated Vine into their marketing pretty effectively, don’t you agree? Which company uses it the best? What other companies are using Vine effectively?

Splash Media can help you with creative tactics in your online brand strategy. To learn more about us, visit our website. You can also check us out onFacebook,Twitter, andLinkedIn.

Company Branding Strategy – Promoting Your Business on LinkedIn

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Company-Branding-Strategy

Company Branding Strategy with LinkedIn

Part of every company branding strategy should include promoting your business on the major social sites—Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  In fact, LinkedIn was specifically designed as a business-based networking platform, so it makes sense to use this site in particular to build the reputation of your brand within the business community and provide it with some legitimacy and visibility for associates and potential clients.  Like every other aspect of the branding process, though, the capabilities of LinkedIn can be squandered if you don’t take advantage of them or if they’re used incorrectly, so creating an entire process around the site is required if you expect to reap maximum benefits for your business.

 

Creating a Company Branding Strategy using LinkedIn

Your company branding strategy for LinkedIn should begin with a well-designed and relevant company page.  This page will be the focal point for your business going forward, and at a minimum, should include a link to your business website, links to key staff members (who must also be members of LinkedIn), and links to your Facebook and Twitter pages.  In addition, you should take full advantage of the pre-built pages within the company page to advertise career opportunities and recruit candidates, promote your brand through the products and services page, and expand your reach by linking to affiliated groups, featured groups, industry partners, and even competitors to promote a sense of fair play as part of your company branding strategy.

Since your company page is your image on LinkedIn, it should be inviting and eye-catching.  More importantly, however, the information you present there must be valid, up-to-date, and a showcase of your industry knowledge.  Ensure that all links included on your page are legitimate and functional.  Your profile, and the LinkedIn profiles of all of your lead team members, should be complete and current.  Keep your page updated with frequent postings of news feeds about your company, comments from your other social media sites, and industry-related news.

An often overlooked yet essential part of your company branding strategy on LinkedIn is participation.  The site, albeit business-based, is still a social site, and members are looking for opportunities to interact with your business by providing insights, feedback, and suggestions.  You should give them every opportunity to do so by proactively participating in polls and groups to promote your brand and display your knowledge in various subject areas. Answering questions posted in the group forums is an excellent way to highlight your brand without appearing to be self-serving.  Any interesting content you run across can and should be shared with connections and groups to entice people to follow you.

If you want to use LinkedIn as part of your company branding strategy, you must keep your pages fresh and filled with appropriate content.  You must be prepared to interact with the people that want to provide feedback to your business, good and bad, and use it to build positive relationships.  Perception is everything in the branding process.   Remember that everyone else on the site is looking for networking opportunities just like you are, and the more active you are in the process, the more people will find you to be a worthwhile associate, expanding your circle of influence and building your brand.

To learn how LinkedIn, and the other social media sites, can promote your business and enhance your company branding strategy, contact Splash Media.  To learn more about us, visit our website.  You can also check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 

Social Media Strategy: Ways that Great Video Content Helps your Small Business

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social-media-strategy

Great Video Content Helps your Small Business

Does your social media strategy include video content?  It should!  Because video has become one of the most effective ways to market on the web. It allows visitors to experience your brand message with very little effort and increases the length of time people stay on your page, giving your brand message longer to sink in and an important indicator of page quality.

Social Media Strategy Video Content Benefits

Support

Support your current and potential customer base with valuable content that will be helpful to them. Most people would rather watch how something works then read or hear about how it works because it’s easier for them to understand. So, use video to explain how to use your products and services, answer FAQs and share industry tips and tricks. Don’t use video to directly sell to your audience, but instead think about how you can educate them through your video content. You can then use use that video content in your social media strategy to convert visitors into buyers.

Shares

Once you’ve made a video, you can get a lot of play out of it by sharing it across multiple platforms. You can host it on your website, publish it to YouTube, share it through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and even email it. The trend of more and more people accessing online info through their mobile devices is only increasing, which makes a quick video an ideal avenue to spread your brand message. When it comes down to it, video marketing campaigns can easily reach consumers across multiple channels.

SEO

Don’t discount the power of video search engine optimization in your social media strategy. Make sure your video content includes main key phrases that your business is trying to rank for in online search results. Keep in mind what words are your potential customers using to find you and follow through once you’ve completed the video, to optimize all descriptions and titles with those keywords to increase SEO.

You really don’t need a very large budget to operate a video SEO marketing social media strategy. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you start filming.

Best Practices

  • Keep your video short. 90 seconds is the optimal length. You don’t want to lose your audience’s attention.
  • Make an emotional connection. Tell a story. Give something people can relate to or root for.
  • Ask a question that viewers will want to answer in a comment section or through a social media channel. This increases engagement and encourages conversation.

Video marketing appeals to an audience, conveys messages quickly and can be a very creative way to get your message across, and highly relevant and engaging video content will appeal to mobile users and stationary consumers.

To learn more about us and our social media strategy guidelines for video content, visit our website. You can also check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Social Media Management: Reasons Why You Need to Use Pinterest

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social-media-management

You Need to be on Pinterest

Pinterest, a visual site that acts as a virtual bulletin board, is the latest site requiring companies to adjust their social media management.  The site allows users to post or “pin” links to websites to a personal page, and organize the board into categories, making it easy to locate the website at a later date.  Pinterest already has 40 million users and that number grows daily.

Social Media Management

There are several tips for using Pinterest in your social media management.  The site is much more visual than other social media sites, so it is important to focus on the photos and graphics that appear on your company site.  Users of Pinterest “grab” photos and graphics that appeal to them, so consider using covers of company white papers, visuals from blog posts, pictures from behind the scenes of the company or products you sell.  When using photos of products, it’s best to use images that show those products in use, such as recipes, décor or activities.  Charts and graphs are other visuals that work well on Pinterest, as do photos of happy customers.

Dedicated Landing Page

In order to use Pinterest in social media management effectively, be sure that your pins are associated with dedicated landing pages.  Nothing is more frustrating to a Pinterest user than a pin that does not take them to a website that either explains or describes the picture they have “pinned.”  Although social media for companies traditionally focuses on bringing users to the company website, few users want to take the time to search through several pages to find more details on the picture they found interesting.  In addition, a dedicated landing page enables you to easily track traffic and measure effectiveness.

Interact with Others

To further your social media management on Pinterest, comment on pins posted by others.  This provides more exposure and helps other users see you as knowledgeable about certain subjects.  Promote your Pinterest content using other social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.  Add a Pinterest icon to your social media links on your website to allow users to share your information with others through Pinterest as well.

Social media for companies continually evolves as new social media sites gain popularity and traction.  Although Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn remain crucial  to any social media management, Pinterest is a growing phenomenon in the genre that is gaining popularity. For more information on social media for companies, visit us online, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Social Media and Business: Ways for a Business to Fail On Facebook

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social-media-and-business

Facebook Insights Tool

Facebook is a prime example of how social media and business can work together, and there is no doubt that Facebook is one of the most popular forms of social media used by businesses today.  However, simply creating a business page, and gathering followers, is not enough for social media management.  There are many ways that a campaign using social media for companies can fail.

Social Media and Business

For social media and business to work cooperatively, the business must interact with fans.  Fans that leave questions or comments on a business Facebook page expect to receive a response.  This is especially true when a customer has a poor experience with a company.  The best social media management is to require all comments and questions be answered within 24 hours to keep the interaction going with customers.

Inconsistent Posting

Because the main part of social media and business is the “social” part, businesses that rarely update their page will find that people lose interest.  Aim to post at least once per day, and remember:

  • 70 percent of your page content should be information that your fans will find valuable and relevant.
  • 20 percent of the content should be shared content, such as links.
  • 10 percent should be promotional content.

Keep Things Light

Although it is a business page, it is important to remember that social media and business does not have to be boring.  The occasional lighthearted joke, cute kitten or human interest story will bring followers to the page as well.  Just as you encourage employees to have fun at work, social media management needs to include some fun as well.

By keeping your Facebook page current, responding to all comments and questions in timely fashion, even those that are negative, and keeping things light, Facebook can be very beneficial to your company.  For more information on social media and business, visit our website.  You can also check us out on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.