Category Archives: Social Media

Writing for the Web

14108561722_2a5c4984da_zWhat websites do you like reading? What ones do you glance at once and never come back to? Have you ever thought that your favorite websites might be just that because of the way the content is presented?

One of the biggest challenges for academic and educational websites is to inform, but not bog down, the website visitor. People are used to being able to quickly digest little snippets of information when they’re looking at a screen, rather than reading long paragraphs of prose.

Good content developed for your website also increases the accessibility and search engine optimization (SEO) of your website by tailoring the words to be concise and descriptive. Continue reading

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Make the most out of your Facebook page

Creating a Facebook page for your group or organization has many benefits: it makes your business available in Facebook searches, it allows you to connect personally with your followers, it helps you reach larger groups of people, and it gives you deeper insights into your audience. Your page serves as an extension of your business, so you want to make sure the page is set up to represent you well. Here are the basics you’ll want to pay attention to and how to get started with them.

Cover photo: This image sits at the top of your profile page and rests behind your logo/profile photo as a backdrop. The cover photo is a more flexible space and because of the larger size, you have more real estate to work with to be creative. Your cover photo could include brand messaging, campaign promotions, or images that represent your group.

facebook cover and profile photo

Profile photo: This sits on the bottom left of your cover photo and is how Facebook users are able to identify you. It’s a small thumbnail that is attached to everything you do on Facebook – from posting in a group, to posting on your own timeline. The profile photo also shows up on all of your posts. When choosing your profile photo, pick something that’s easily identifiable.

About section: The about section is a tab in the navigation bar that sits under your profile and cover photos. This section includes two sections. The first is your page information, which is where you can share details about your company or group. The second is milestones, which lets you share important events and the history of your brand.

Timeline: Your Facebook page gives you the ability to post updates for your followers. Posting on Facebook is a great way to build your audience and connect with them. These posts can be a mix of text, images, links, non-native video (like a YouTube link), native video (a video posted directly on the Facebook platform), and photo albums. Typically, photos and videos get more views than strictly text posts. Regardless of what you post, increasing your reach is directly related to sharing information and interacting with your followers.

Tabs: Tabs now sit in two places on your Facebook page: on the left side of your timeline and in the navigation bar under your cover photo. Tabs can be used to host apps, which can help a business extend their capabilities directly on their page, including running contests, connecting to your other social accounts, and more. To see what is available and choose apps to add to your page’s tabs, visit the Facebook App Center. The benefit of using tabs instead of directing a user right to a landing page is that the Facebook user is able to stay within the Facebook system and doesn’t navigate away from your page.

Insights: Visible only to the page admins, Facebook pages are set up with an Insights tab. This allows you to see the analytics of your activity on the page. These analytics can help you identify your audience more specifically, see what get the most engagement, and track the volume of your traffic and fan building activity.

Setting up these basics on your Facebook page and knowing where to find and how to use them will help you get your Facebook page off to a good start.

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Feeding the social media monster

You’ve taken the first step and established a Twitter feed with a catchy handle that speaks to your organization’s mission, a Facebook account that easily expresses your branding, and a slew of other accounts that your audience can access for information. Great!

Now, what most people new to the social media landscape quickly figure out, is that these accounts require constant maintenance and feeding, and that something you had originally blocked out a half an hour for on your Outlook calendar is creeping into most of your morning routine, and your social media monster’s appetite is getting bigger every day.

Tame the monster hunger pangs by employing these simple things: Continue reading

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Want to reach more people? Figure out what content works best on your accounts

Social media accounts are not all the same. Twitter is vastly different than Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, etc. No account is ever the same, and their purposes and audiences are all different, as well.

Some content lends itself better to certain networks, but as long as you’re paying attention to what does well on each account, you’ll be able to reach your audience more effectively.

Can you share your same blog post or article on multiple networks? Yes, definitely! Just make sure your social media messages fit with each account and audience.

  • Twitter is a great place to share useful tips, tricks, and visual content. Because text is limited to 140 characters, you’re forced to get to the point. It’s also a great place to engage people in conversation and answer questions.
  • Facebook has turned into more of an entertainment sharing network, where the most popular posts are the ones that are easily shared between friends and family. If people aren’t liking or sharing your post, there’s a good chance that most of your fans or friends won’t see it at all. Adding images and videos to your posts almost always ensures a wider reach.
  • LinkedIn is a great place to share business and industry news, as well as job openings. Things like how-to posts, case studies, and other content that helps your audience grow professionally should do well on this network.
  • Google+ is a space that easily combines personal and professional content. Since you can set up different circles of people, it offers you multiple spaces to share content between either friends and family or professional contacts.
  • Pinterest is all about the images. The best way to use Pinterest is to share great visual content. This can be info-images, infographics, comics, custom photography, and memes.

For more inspiration, check out Virginia Cooperative Extension’s social media directory.

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Using social media to drive web traffic back to unit office websites

Social media drives traffic to your website and helps unit offices connect with and retain existing clients while winning new clients through word of mouth. Search engines like Google use social media signals including likes, shares, and engagement as indicators to move your unit office website higher in search rankings.

Keeping your social media profiles updated with fresh content will help you increase followers, increase referral traffic to your website, and promote upcoming events, promotions, camps, etc.

Following and engaging with other strategic social media accounts will increase your reach and follower counts as well as generate valuable “social signals” that correlate to higher search engine rankings for your unit office website.

When clients love your events, they want to tell their friends about them. With social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp, customer opinions can be heard louder than ever, and they drive traffic back to your website.

Here are some great tips from an article on about how to drive more Facebook traffic to your website.

  1. Make sure you have a steady stream of shareable content on your website.
  2. Make it easy to share the content on your website to Facebook.
  3. Optimize how you post your content to Facebook.
  4. Optimize other places on Facebook to add links to your website.
  5. Advertise.

Visit to read the entire article.

If you need help with or would like to add links to your social media pages from your unit office websites, please contact Constance Moulder, VCE Web publishing assistant, at 540-231-9495.


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How to post a great photo on Twitter

Ever notice that some images show up big and bright on Twitter, directly in your feed, while others are simply listed as text and links for you to click on?

monkey screen shot from twitter

Those that use the actual interface are often displayed a bit better than those that use a third party app. In this case, there’s a very noticeable difference between uploading a photo from your smartphone and actually using the interface itself.

If you’d like your photo to show up directly in the feed, you simply need to post from on your computer – not your phone.

To post your photo and message on Twitter, first click the new tweet button on the top right:

twitter screen shotThis will bring up a window where you can type your message and attach a photo or location.

compose a tweet screen shotClick on Add Photo and find the image on your computer. Choose open.

choose a photo screen shot

This will now show the photo in your new tweet. You can now compose the message and send it out!

twitter photo screen shot

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It’s alive! Socialize-ing communications in real time

Dilou Prospere

Photo from SANREM CRSP Facebook page: Assistant In-country Coordinator Dilou Prospere outside the Caritas offices in Hinche before presenting the conservation agriculture workshop at Maissade.

As communications professionals, the use of social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter not only provide us additional tools to tell the stories about the impact of Virginia Tech-led research, but they also give us the capability to tell those stories with an immediacy that is heretofore unprecedented.

Why is this important? Immediacy is significant because social media channels often allow impromptu, up-to-the-minute, and candid opportunities that show our collaborators and faculty in ways that are translatable to the general public in a manner that might not be appropriate in a more formal press release.

Especially for research initiatives funded in far-flung parts of the world, the immediacy of reporting on-location in real time using social media is an excellent way to connect with audience members in the Virginia Tech community and across globe. Continue reading

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Are you ’In?: Using LinkedIn for networking

Did you know that LinkedIn is one of the fastest social media networks? Thanks to the economic recession, LinkedIn gained in popularity as unemployment climbed, and it became a way to easily search for jobs and be seen by prospective employers.

Students graduating from college are now encouraged to have an online presence, and LinkedIn is where the students turn when creating a resume or CV for their first job hunt.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has a LinkedIn group. It is a closed group, meaning members have to be approved before they can see all group activity so the moderators can make sure requestors have a Virginia Tech affiliation.

The groups are set up like a discussion forum. Participants can ask questions, create posts, and share information. One of the newest features is that members can post jobs and requests for employment. This makes the group a powerful place where students and alumni can connect and network. The communications office selects relevant news stories and posts them on the board to keep information fresh, even when discussions have been quiet.

Please join us on LinkedIn and find a new way to connect with students, alumni, and your fellow Virginia Tech employees!

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Twitter cheat sheet infographic

Are you on twitter? Are you wondering what to tweet or what time and day is best to tweet to get the best possible reach on the information you’re sending out?

Here’s a great Twitter marketing cheat sheet infographic from James T. Noble to hone your tweets for maximum marketing impact.

twitter cheat sheet

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