What's the story behind Fort Benning Area Guide?
I started Fort Benning Area Guide on Dec. 30, 2010, with a business directory site (for real estate purposes).
I needed to get people to the website, so I created the Facebook page. I named it Fort Benning Area Guide because I knew we were possibly expecting up to 30,000 people to move to our area with BRAC and the families would be looking for information.
"Fort Benning" made sense because that was what people were looking for. "Area Guide" just included all areas around Fort Benning.
People come to the page and ask a variety of questions and know they will get answers.
What I wish that all people would realize, more than anything, is that the page is a way to help each other, not only with responses, but friendships are formed, people find jobs, lost pets, donate items to one another, get advice about businesses, vacation areas, sports and other activities, non-profits, etc.
The Facebook page is a great resource for both military families and civilians.
My wonderful admins and I spend up to 18 hours a day, seven days a week to keep this page going.
Fort Benning Area Guide is not affiliated with Fort Benning.
In addition to your involvement with Fort Benning Area Guide, you're also a Realtor. What are some misconceptions new residents have about the Chattahoochee Valley?
Some people like to compare our area to Atlanta, suggesting we are lacking in opportunities and activities.
Our area has a lot to offer. Fort Benning Area Guide has proven it.
I love that people choose to come to the page and let everyone know what is happening.
Occasionally, someone who has lived here for 30 years or so will comment on the page and say they found out things about the area that they were not aware of.
Even I don't take advantage of all the various opportunities our area has to offer. I am hoping to get out and about more.
Through Fort Benning Area Guide, I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of wonderful people and get involved with various events and organizations.
What's the strangest or most unexpected question you've seen on the Fort Benning Area Guide Facebook page?
I laugh to myself when people post about spiders, our big roaches and even alligators.
I am more scared of spiders than anything, so it is always interesting, especially if people post photos.
We certainly get a lot of comments on the posts.
I remember one in particular about someone who killed a female wolf spider and the babies ran all over the floor.
I posted an article about a person (not from here) who went to the doctor and through an X-ray, realized they had a spider hiding in their ear.
When I posted that, we had a couple of people say that has happened to them.
Roaches are nasty, I definitely agree. Alligators are no worry. I am used to them, being from Eufaula.
What's your advice for businesses that want to establish a social media presence?
Interaction is the key.
Post photos and ask questions to get people to interact. Respond to questions immediately. Learn as much as you can about social media from the various experts.
From an expert: Facebook interaction includes factors such as "liking" a page, posting to a page's wall, answering a question posted and more.
We have local resources if people need advice. Also, getting involved in events and networking groups is good.
You want to be seen as being helpful instead of always wanting people to buy from you. Even on Fort Benning Area Guide, business owners can answer questions about other topics instead of strictly about their business.
Also, be very careful what you post on your personal Facebook wall. Remember to always think before you respond to anyone.
What's the best-kept secret in the Chattahoochee Valley?
It has to be the people. Without the people, we couldn't have the wonderful churches, events, non-profits, businesses, activities, etc. On most occasions, people in our area are genuine and caring and are willing to reach out and help one another. It's the people that make Fort Benning Area Guide a success.