Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Break Time

Hi Writers!

We're taking a break this week, but you keep writing...see you next Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

About Face[book]: What's Your Personality?

So what makes a good status update?

"Personality," says Adam Ostrow, editor in chief of Mashable.com, an online publication that covers social networking. "Personality is really what drives people to (follow) you…”

Anne Trubek, a writer and associate professor of composition and rhetoric at Oberlin College who is studying status updates as a developing 21st-century literary form, sorted them into four categories for her column in the online magazine GOOD:

  • The prosaic (Jill is baking bread);
  • the informative (Jack loves this article from GOOD, followed by the link);
  • the clever and funny (Johnny thinks Obama should be sworn in a few more times, just to be EXTRA safe); and
  • the poetic or nonsensical (If Jim were a cloud, he would rain Earl Grey tea).1

So what’s your personality? Clearly you can deviate, but I’m sure each of us has a predominate style.

Now let’s talk funny and clever. We’ve learned [myself included] through this Facebook blog series the following: stay positive, use photos/videos, and be funny when you can. I say be funny at least once a week. As I perused my FB friends I found I have very few funny friends. Is that a reflection on me? Am I too serious? Or have we all forgotten how important humor is in everyday life?

I have the only three examples of humor that were connected to my circle of FB friends and they made me laugh.

First is just a status update from an 18 year-old that garnered 17 likes:

“Cigarettes are a lot like hamsters, perfectly harmless until you put one in your mouth and light it on fire.”

Next, keeping with the rodent-related humor genre, this photo secured 19 likes with 9 comments, many of which contained “LOL.”

And finally, this one proved all the research correct…it was shared 184 times.

I like these comedians-Tim Hawkins (on Corporate Worship Songs), Anita Renfroe (In Tha Mutahood) - and am starting to use their material for my Friday post on the WOTH FB page. Know any others?

If you have some funny, humorous, and clever resources, please share. I can't think of a better ending to this Facebook series than laughing…out loud.

1source: http://www.usatoday.com/life/lifestyle/2009-06-09-status-writing-online_N.htm

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

About Face[book]: Linking to the Cause You are Passionate About

Back in February we asked the question: Is Marketing a Dirty Word? The writer, Elizabeth Givens, put it well when she answered with this: "I've just spent the morning writing "marketing" materials. My goal will use what I've written to secure prayer, funding, and people for the least-reached of the world. I have no underhanded motives--but as I wrote, I targeted each piece to a different audience." Utilizing your personal and ministry Facebook pages can help you target those you want to reach with a specific message as you serve out your cross-cultural life and the cause which you are so passionate about--expanding God's Kingdom.

As we continue, I'm working from the premise that:

1. Most of you have personal blogs.
2. Some of you have ministry blogs/websites.
3. Most of you have an agency website.

Using one of our unsuspecting bloggers listed in our sidebar, I am going to show how to get some interest going for you personally and for your ministry simply by posting on your FB pages.

1. Jamie Jo has a personal blog...and she has a personal FB page [with friends she feels comfortable enough with to talk about...] On her personal blog, she tells stories that appeal to her best girlfriends, but also she tells of things she'd love them to know about so that they can pray more intimately with her.

Weekly FB Plan of Action: post her current personal blog post (link) on her personal FB page with a funny blurb to go with it: My Favorite Body Builder.

Reason: Keeps your cross-cultural life in front of your friends so they don't forget you!

2. Jamie Jo has a ministry blog...but I'm not sure if she has a ministry page on FB. So I'm advocating she create one. Then she can start a campaign for her supporters to "Like" this page when she sends out her next email newsletter.

Weekly/Monthly FB Plan of Action: When she posts her detailed ministry updates on her ministry blog, she can alert her supporters on the ministry FB page to go check out what's going on in her field of service with this provocative status update/link: What caused this teen to say, "I was abruptly stopped in my tracks of selfishness." Of course, she can post this on her personal FB page too!

Reason: Keeps your cross-cultural life in front of your supporters so they don't forget you.

3. Jamie Jo works for a particular agency that has a website full of current interesting information.

Occasional FB Plan of Action: Link out directly to any articles, information highlighted on the website that would be of interest to her supporters/friends.

Reason: Keeps your friends/supporters informed on the bigger picture of expanding God's Kingdom.

Keeping your friends and supporters engaged in your life overseas is crucial. Facebook is a tool that can make that easier for you. Being a good writer can only help in this process. A cleverly worded FB status update with a great photo will generate a curiosity that will drive people to your current blog post and read about the life you are passionate about. I want to commend Jamie Jo for posting a gift that contained chocolate last week on her FB page...it looked so yummy and beautiful that I was drawn in for a closer look. She obviously read last week's post on the "Topics People Love."

What have you done on Facebook to garner interest in your cross-cultural life?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

About Face[book]: Content is Queen

Once you’ve established your goals for your Facebook page, the next step is to post content that accomplishes your purposes. Keep in mind the three “somethings” as you type out your 420 characters for your friends to read. Will you want them to do something, think something, and/or feel something?

Kivi Leroux Miller from NonProfit Marketing Guide.com has some positive marketing tips that can work well for your personal and ministry FB pages. She suggests letting the 3 G’s influence your content:

Be Genuine: This is where your personality can shine through and you can build up that rapport that makes people love your cause. Think about whether the post helps your core fans/friends to really understand you better and to see your personality.

Be Generous: It’s all about being a helpful human. The story isn’t about you. It’s about being helpful to your supporters, friends, etc. Give them stuff that helps them in some way. This includes resources from other organizations.

Be Grateful: Being grateful is what you do in response to generosity from others. You can say “Thank You” directly or you can go the “actions speak louder than words” way and share a link, retweet, or otherwise pass on information from others who have been kind to you, as a way of saying thanks.

What to Write

  • Entice people with questions (how/why questions are the most shared) Ask for advice with a question posed: People love to give their advice.
  • Conjure an air of mystery: Posting an update that is mysterious leaves your FB friends asking for more. “In 5 more days…”
  • Keep your kids’ stuff to a minimum. You are interesting, you know.
  • Don’t think too hard on what to say; just be succinct.
  • Give them something…a recipe, a link, a video, a new tune
  • Give users a specific call to action. Directly ask people to “like” or “share” the post if they, too, enjoyed or agreed with what you posted.
  • Encourage Shares/Mentions.
  • Create polls to get people to interact.
  • Put fans in charge: post 3 photos and ask them to vote on the best.
  • Reward you loyal followers: re-post photos they submit; give a shout-out, etc.
  • Be witty in your wording, twist a phrase, use a song/movie/book title to express your thought.

Discuss Topics People Love

These are topics that have a proven track-record for getting a response.
  • Music: bands, songs, etc
  • Chocolate
  • Current disasters
  • Current sporting events
  • Seasonal changes
  • A cause you’re passionate about
  • Gifts you’ve received or given
  • What you should be doing instead of posting on FB.

(Gentle Reminder: All these topics are enhanced because you have the international locale to draw from.)

Your adventurous spirit of living the cross-cultural life will lend itself to posting some interesting topics that are new to your audience—stateside or living in another culture. Even posting something as simple as “Received this from my next door neighbor” along with a photo of the unusual cultural gift is captivating to those of us living in the land of Walmart and Target.

You must believe there is nothing mundane about the life you are living overseas. So start sharing it with brevity. I’d love to know what kind of chocolate you can get in Turkey. Have you found some cool music in your country of service? Oh, and don’t forget to link us out to funny videos, passionate news stories and clips, stirring photos and all things that creatively show your cross-cultural life.

Next week: Maximizing your FB presence to enhance the "cause you are passionate about."


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