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Smartphone Pics Post Privacy Risk

I am not usually an alarmist, but this news report was scary about how easy it is to track the location and private information of people (including our children) whose pictures we take with our iPhones or iPads and post to Facebook or other picture-sharing sites. Watch to the end to find out exactly how to turn off the GPS-location function with your photos without losing your desired mapping function.

Thank you to my friend and nurse-midwife Barbara Kirkland for sharing this video.

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Offline Ways To Drive Traffic To Your Facebook Page

Just because you’re marketing online doesn’t mean you should forget about your offline marketing options. In fact, you should absolutely use offline sources to drive traffic to your Facebook Page.

So many local businesses promote their Facebook Page, it has become a new norm.  Ice cream shops paint it on their front display windows.  Bowling alleys feature Facebook promotions on display monitors.  Churches and schools put calls to come to church and Like them on Facebook on their exterior signage and billboards.

Church Sign

Even if you don’t have a physical building or storefront, you can put your Facebook Page URL (website address) and call to action on:

  • Countertop sign
  • Sign on your cash register
  • Business Cards
  • Brochures
  • Letterhead
  • Postcards
  • Workshop handouts
  • Samples
  • Your vehicle
  • Magnets or other advertising specialties

I’m sure you can think of lots of other ways too.

Don’t have a Facebook Page? It’s free and gives you great visibility online, so I highly recommend you consider it. I’ve helped several businesses learn how to manage their Facebook Page. But even if you don’t have a Facebook Page, you can use these same strategies to drive traffic to your website or blog.

RiverwoodWriter is a proud dealer for Navitor business stationery and imprinted products. Call us today for pricing on any of the above items.

Peruse our Navitor Business Stationery Professional Collection:

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Keep Up With Critical Changes At LinkedIn

Wayne Breitbarth, author of  The Power Formula for Linkedin Success: Kick-start Your Business, Brand, and Job Search, is my go-to person for LinkedIn expertise. He’s been helping his blog followers with posts on how to navigate all the recent changes at LinkedIn, but I was still delighted to learn that Joan Stewart, Publicity Hound, is interviewing Wayne in a special webinar called “LinkedIn Update: What’s In, What’s Out and Under-the-Radar Tricks to Help You Crush It in 2013.”

Who should attend?

  • Anyone who uses LinkedIn to find their next big customer, investor, strategic partner, vendor, donor or job opportunity
  • LinkedIn users who want to promote their products and services without obnoxious promoting
  • Business owners who want to use LinkedIn to grow their email lists
  • PR people and marketers who manage their clients’ LinkedIn accounts
  • Publicists who want to know all the ways their clients can use LinkedIn to promote
  • Social media experts who want to share these new tools with their clients
  •  Virtual assistants who help their clients with social media
If any of these describes you, invest in your business and learn to use this valuable professional development tool.

Can’t attend the live event? It will be recorded.

The live event will take place Thursday, February 7 from 3-5pm EST, but when you buy your ticket, you’ll get both the video replay and an MP3 recording so you can watch or listen to it at your leisure.

CLICK HERE to get all the details and bonuses.



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A New Reputation Tool Makes Its Debut: TrustCloud

I’m honored to be the guest blogger today on Karen S. Elliott’s excellent blog “The Word Shark.” It’s called “TrustCloud: Harness the Power of Technology to Build a Reputation.” I think many of you readers here at RiverwoodWriter will find it interesting and helpful. Click on over and leave a comment — that will help me thank Karen for having me!

While you’re there, take a look at her other topics, many related to writing and editing. Karen is an outstanding editor and has become a friend and valued business associate.

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Don’t Fall For This Facebook Trap

Facebook is rolling out a new feature that’s giving a limited number of users the ability to pay $1 to send a message into someone’s inbox, even if the recipient is not a friend.

This obnoxious feature is just one more way for Facebook to get your credit card number. The result? Even more spam added to garbage that’s already flowing into our Inboxes from clods who claim to be our Friends but are hawking everything imaginable.

If you want to throw your money away by pestering total strangers, that’s your business. But smart Publicity Hounds wouldn’t even THINK of using this $1 trap to pitch journalists and bloggers.

I wouldn’t use it, either, as any type of marketing tool. It’s as sleazy as the intrusive telemarketing calls from creeps telling you how to consolidate your credit card debt.

You can read all about the new Facebook feature in this PCWorld article.

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Social Media Marketer Program: The Online Library of Social Media Training

Introducing Laura K. Roeder

I want to introduce you to remarkable, young, and highly successful business woman named Laura Roeder. Laura has skyrocketed to social media prominence by teaching online business owners how to use social media simply and effectively. The first video I saw her do was so simple, clear, and practical, I was immediately impressed. Unlike many other “experts,” Laura has not forgotten the frustrations, fears, and confusion we all go through when learning a new set of skills. In fact, she loves to remind her students there’s no other place to start than at the beginning. I find that very comforting when I’m learning something new.

Introducing LKR’s Social Media Marketer program

I’ve taken Laura’s classes to learn more about Facebook, WordPress, and Twitter, and I hired her as a business coach for several months. She taught me a great deal about how to harness the various social media tools for marketing in today’s online world. She always teaches both the Why and the How, so you’re given the framework before you have to build the house. Laura is smart, savvy, and no-nonsense. When she launched a new membership program called Social Media Marketer a few months ago, I was among the first to sign up.

Nothing in it for me except to help you

There is no affiliate program with Social Media Marketer, so there is no monetary incentive for me to recommend it—except my conviction that it could help many of you. After being a member for several months myself, I am able to attest to its value. I do consider Laura a friend and valued professional associate, but even then, I wouldn’t recommend this if I didn’t think it had serious merit for small business owners wanting to ramp up their knowledge of social media and how to use it.

What’s inside Social Media Marketer?

“Social Media Marketer is an online classroom and community that walks you through exactly how to get results from all the social media sites step-by-step.” To me it’s like an online university. Others might think of it as a very comprehensive library of social media videos, checklists, and strategy guides created for small businesses.

In the video below, Laura gives you a quick look at what’s inside. To get a detailed list of the modules included in Social Media Marketer, CLICK HERE and scroll down to “Let’s Get To The Point.”

Who would most benefit from Social Media Marketer?

If you’re a small business owner and you have a website, you can benefit from this program. Even if you consider your primary business to be a “bricks-and-mortar” store, you have an online presence that needs to be nurtured. Your customers and prospects spend a lot of time on the Internet, and you need to know how to connect with them.

More specifically, Social Media Marketer is great for you if:

  • You don’t have time for social media: you’ll learn how to incorporate it into your existing busy life.
  • You need personalized advice: you can get it through the community and the comments area.
  • You own more than one business: you’ll learn how to streamline your social media accounts.
  • You’re in a transition period or feel stuck: harnessing social media can make a huge difference.
  • You need to budget: The pricing should be considered part of your education budget. It is designed to offer huge value for a predictable amount of money with no contracts or commitments. Join for a month or stay long term. I had planned to make my membership short term, but she keeps adding great new content!

My favorite things about Social Media Marketer

  • All the course materials and resources are online and can be covered at your own pace.
  • Social Media Marketer content is well done and available in a choice of formats to suit your learning style. Every video comes with a downloadable transcript and audio file.
  • Programs are updated constantly to reflect important changes and strategies.
  • The available training classes range from beginner to advanced.

My results from Social Media Marketer

I was fairly comfortable with the social media basics when I joined SMM, but the basic courses feature ongoing updates to reflect recent changes (and these platforms change constantly). There are also modules for advanced social media users to add to their understanding of video marketing, measurements and metrics, and advanced business systems. So far, I have concentrated on learning to move efficiently coordinate the various social media platforms and what can be automated and what can’t.

The 30-Day Money Back Guarantee

“If Social Media Marketer doesn’t go above and beyond your expectations, we will refund your first month’s payment in full.” So there’s truly no risk to you and no reason not to check it out.

Make it a slam-dunk investment

To minimize the cost, look at your calendar and pick a month to start when you can devote time for this excellent training. Concentrate on the classes you feel you need the most. After that, you can stop the membership and know you’ve gotten the equivalent of many professional training conferences at a fraction of the cost. Or you can decide that, for you, it’s worth the ongoing membership to stay abreast of emerging social media trends and information. CLICK HERE to learn more or sign up.

Note from Elizabeth: I’m here to help you with social media too. Call me for a free preliminary consultation to discuss your social media concerns for your business (540-436-3969) or check out my products and services in the main menu above.

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What Are “Interest Lists” on Facebook and How Do I Use Them?

Feeling overwhelmed by your Facebook news feed?

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling weighed down by the enormous amount of content in my Facebook feed lately. I miss some of my friends’ posts (and it can be embarrassing when they assume I’ve seen them), because I don’t manage to stay on top of the stream of posts. If it doesn’t show up in my Notifications, I’m unlikely to see it.

I’ve recently discovered a way to organize my “Friends” and “Pages” by creating what Facebook calls “Interest Lists” for groupings that I might want to view without having to scroll through my whole news feed. I hope this helps you too.

What are Facebook interest lists?

Here’s an explanation straight from Facebook:

Interest lists are an optional way to organize the content you’re interested in on Facebook. You can create your own interest lists based on the things you care about, or subscribe to other people’s lists. For example, you could create a Top Indie Bands list that features bands’ Pages and public updates from band members. 

When you create or subscribe to a list, you’ll see the best posts from that list in your main news feed. Your lists will also appear in the Interests section of your bookmarks. Simply click the list’s name to see all the recent posts and activity from the Pages and people featured in the list, without overwhelming your main news feed.

Where are my interest lists?

When you click on “Home” in the upper right corner of your Facebook profile, you’ll be taken to your Home page. There are all kinds of useful things in the left sidebar, and one of them is “Interests.” This is where your interest lists will show up. Click here for more on other items in this left sidebar.

How do I create an interest list?

On your Facebook Home page below “Interests,” you should see “Add interests.” When you click that, it will take you to this page below where you can either select one of the interest lists suggested by Facebook or create your own interest list:

Screenshot of Facebook's Add Interests page


If you create your own list (I just created one called College Classmates), you’ll be taken to the screen below where you can scroll through all the Facebook pages you have “liked” and all your Facebook friends to select the ones you want to add to this list.

Screenshot of menu for selecting people and pages for your Interest List

Now when I want to see what’s going on in the Facebook world of my college classmates, I can just click on that Interest List and see their posts without being distracted by the hundreds of others on my full news feed.

How could Interest Lists help me in my business?

To make sure I stay connected with clients, prospects, or business associates, I can create an interest list for each of those groups too. If you want to track what other businesses in your industry are doing on Facebook, create an interest group for your industry and add the Facebook Pages of people or businesses in that industry.

Once you’ve created some Interest Lists, don’t forget to check them!


If you need help understanding how Facebook might help you in your business, call me (Elizabeth) at RiverwoodWriter, LLC, 540-436-3969 or email elizabethc AT riverwoodwriter DOT com. Or pop over to RiverwoodWriter’s Facebook page and ask your questions there.

Photo credit: “Like Sign” by L. Amica via BigStockPhoto

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How to Customize your LinkedIn Profile URL

Make it short and sweet

When you first create a LinkedIn profile, LinkedIn provides you with a default URL for your profile page that includes lots of letters and numbers. In my last post, I described how to customize your Facebook Page URL so it’s shorter and easier to remember. You can do this for your LinkedIn profile URL too, and not only will it be easier to remember, but it will look better and fit more easily on your business cards and business stationery.

My new friend Teddy Burriss, a social media consultant and networking strategist in North Carolina, has made this excellent, short video (3 minutes, 40 seconds) that takes you through it step by step:

Connect with me on LinkedIn

My LinkedIn profile is I’m happy to connect with readers there, but please customize your invitation to remind me what our connection is. If you need my email to issue an invitation, shoot me a message using the Contact Form on this site. As always, leave your comments and questions below or join the conversation at RiverwoodWriter’s Facebook Page.

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How To Customize Your Facebook Page URL

Facebook pages are great, but…

If you’ve created a free Facebook Page for your business or organization, you want to be able to promote it as easily as possible and include it wherever you’re allowed to have a profile bio or business description. When you first create it, however, Facebook assigns you a long (and hard to remember) URL.* As soon as you have 25 fans (Facebook considers a “fan” someone who has clicked the “Like” button on your Facebook Page), you are eligible to create a custom URL (sometimes called a vanity URL) that helps you extend your brand and makes it easier to promote your page.

Which URL would you rather have?


Yep, me too!

Create a shorter, customized URL

Five easy steps:

  1. Login to the Facebook account that administers your Facebook Page (this will be your personal profile, if you are a page administrator)
  2. Go to
  3. Ignore the box related to the username for your personal profile and click a link below that says, “Set a username for your Pages.” The “username” is what comes after in the URL: [NOTE: if you have already set the username for one or more of your pages, you’ll see a box saying “Each Page Can Have a Username” instead of “Set a username for your Pages.”]
  4. If you have more than one Facebook Page there is a drop-down menu of the pages you manage. Pick the desired page from the list.
  5. Enter a username and click “Check Availability.” If your desired username is not available, you’ll be given a chance to try others until one works.

An alternate way to create a custom URL for your Facebook page is to log in and enter the Admin panel for your page. Click on “Edit Page” and select “Update Info” from the drop-down menu. From the menu on the left, make sure “Basic Information” is selected (it is usually the default display). The third item down is “Username,” and you can create a custom username here. If you created your page without attaching it to your personal profile, this alternate way should be used.

Pick your username carefully! Once you’ve created it, you’re allowed to change it only once.

A note about capital letters

When you select a username you should capitalize any of the letters that will make the URL more memorable and closer to your business name. That’s why I prefer “RiverwoodWriter” instead of “riverwoodwriter.” This can be even more helpful if your business name has multiple words like We Buy Houses. In this case, it’s best for your username to be “WeBuyHouses” instead of “webuyhouses.” If your organization name is long, you might want to use an abbreviation or acronym.

If you have any questions or comments about creating a custom URL for your Facebook page, please share in the comments below.

*URL = Uniform (or Universal) Resource Locator, commonly known as a website address on the World Wide Web.

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What’s the Difference Between Facebook Profiles and Facebook Pages?

If you’re confused, you’re not alone

This post is for you if you’re brand new to Facebook or if you’re still confused by Facebook’s terminology. Facebook has a reputation for changing things just when you think you know what’s going on!

Start with a Facebook profile

When you first join Facebook, you create a personal profile (See “How to Create a Facebook Profile” on the wikiHow website). Once you’ve done that, you can click on the “Add Friend” button of someone you know who already has a profile, thereby requesting a Facebook friend connection with that person. They will either accept or ignore it. If someone wants to connect with you, you’ll get a notice, and you also have the option of accepting them as a Facebook friend or ignoring them. The wikiHow article link above also has some tips on how to expand your Facebook network.

What if I want to promote my business on Facebook?

The Facebook Profile was originally intended as a way for real friends and family to interact online. It expanded exponentially, and business people soon saw the opportunity to connect with potential customers. This becomes annoying if your friends’ sales pitches are cluttering up your newsfeed.

To help create some separation, and to add unique functionality more appropriate to businesses (or organizations or celebrities), Facebook offers the ability to create a “page” (formerly called “Fan Page,” a term still often used for business pages). Your friends don’t have to see the posts on your page unless they’ve opted to “Like” it.

A Facebook Page is very different from a personal profile. A personal profile has significant limitations if you’re trying to use Facebook for visibility relating to your business. It’s against Facebook’s terms of service to use a personal profile as a business (See “Can Businesses Create Personal Profiles on Facebook? by Crystal Street of Demand Media). There is also a limit of 5000 “friends” on a personal profile. This sounds like a lot to most of us, but if you’re a popular author, artist, or business owner, this number might be very limiting.

The “Subscribe” function is a recent addition to Facebook that helps overcome the 5,000 friend limit on personal profiles. If you allow it in your security settings, someone can “Subscribe” to your profile posts without actually being your “friend.” Here’s an excellent Google + post by Mari Smith, the “Pied Piper of Facebook,” telling about this feature (reposted by Lauren McMullen). Note the links at the bottom for more articles on the pros and cons of allowing others to subscribe to your profile.

This post is not intended to tell you how to set up a Facebook Page, but you can start HERE or do a Google search for “How to create a Facebook Page.” There are also many other features of a business page on Facebook that aren’t found on a profile.

Am I on a Facebook profile or a Facebook page?

If you’re on a profile of someone not yet in your network, you’ll see the “Add Friend” button.

If you’re on a page, you’ll see a “Like” button. If the Page has a business name, it’s quite obvious you’re on a Page, but if the Page has a person’s name (as they often do for authors, celebrities, or artists), it may not be so clear.

There can be some variations in what buttons you see, depending on how the profile or page owner has set their security options. If they don’t want anyone to initiate a connection, they have the option of removing those buttons from their profile or page.

I hope you’ll enjoy your Facebook experience a bit more by understanding the basic distinctions between a profile and a page. If you have questions or comments, I’d love to see them below, or join the conversation on RiverwoodWriter’s Facebook Page.

Image credit: Facebook icon downloaded from (Creative Commons license)
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