“Never forget your beginner’s spirit.”  That was the message of the night at the Central VA AMA talk with John Freeman who manages the Charlottesville Albemarle CVB‘s social media and online marketing. He and his team have transformed the Experience Charlottesville page on Facebook in to the one of the most engaged in the world.

The common thread to all of his suggested Facebook tactics for businesses: Simplicity. Remember that social media is supposed to be engaging and fun; don’t take everything so seriously.

  • Post pictures. Pictures created 39% more engagement on FB.
  • Look at your pages’ demographics then speak to those people.
  • Pictures of what? Local! Puppies and landscapes always steal hearts, when in doubt.
  • Social Media Policies: necessary? The Charlottesville pages’ demo is overwhelmingly females in their 40’s. Their policy? Don’t post anything Mom wouldn’t approve of.
  • Where do you get images without hiring a full time photographer? There are tons of pictures online taken by local people.Stay relevant. Post about the “right now.” Use what’s going on in the news and add the local flair.
    • One suggestion: go to Flickr. Create a “wish-list” of images. Email those people and ask to use their pictures and credit them.
    • Do the same for pictures posted on Instagram, Twitter, FB.
    • Engage clients to post pictures on their own business pages and then ask to use their content as well.
  • Ask for the interaction: Like if you love it, Like if you agree, add your own caption, give us your best memory, what’s your opinion?

Social media is about engagement and anyone can do it. The wonderful thing about it all is that no one expects perfection. Remember to create happiness, do it everyday and “never forget your beginner’s spirit.”

JMU Duke Dog

Photo Courtesy of AJ Schuster









*Never Forget Your Beginner’s Spirit was painted on the bike Lance Armstrong used during the Tour de France Annecy time trial stage by Japanese modern artist, Yoshitomo Nara.

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