How To Start A Small Business Blog In Five Simple Steps

A blog can be your company’s voice in the busy online marketplace. These online publications are easy to start, even for small business owners, and can help you reach new markets and customers. Learn how to strategically start a blog, target your ideal reader, and learn from measurable impacts.

1. Make A Plan And Determine Your Goals

In the earliest planning stages, a blog is no different than any other business project. Treat your new blog like you would any other decision. You wouldn’t try to launch a new marketing campaign on the same day you developed the idea, so likewise, don’t rush into publishing your first blog post. Give yourself time to plan before going live.

A clear plan and meaningful goals will help your blog be successful. Look to your business plan and consider what a blog can do for your overall targets. Do you want to increase sales or conversions this year? Showcase your services through your posts. Do you need to spread brand awareness? Focus on fun content readers will want to share with their social media networks. Are you trying to strengthen your relationship with your customers? Humanize your company with behind-the-scenes posts and employee spotlights. Decide what you’re trying to accomplish with your blog before moving forward.

2. Think Through The Logistics

Your blog doesn’t need to be complicated or fancy to be successful, but you will need to consider the practicalities before you publish. Decide who will write and maintain the blog, as well as how often you’ll post new articles.

Allocate enough time and resources towards writing your blog. Every small business is different, so you have lots of choices for selecting writers. If you have a marketing or social media position, managing a blog is a natural fit for these roles. In leaner companies, a new blog allows staff to take on fresh challenges. Some small business owners prefer to be the voice of the company and do their own writing. Outsourcing is another option. You can also mix and match these strategies to use a variety of writers.

Whichever model you choose, make sure your writers have space in their schedules. Set aside a couple of hours for each post. Readers respond best to high-quality, engaging writing, which does take time to produce. After you’ve published a few articles, reexamine your workflow and see if you need to make any adjustments.

3. Determine Your Audience

Plan your blog subjects with a particular audience in mind. Think about who is likely to visit your website, what they’re curious about, and how you can add value to their day. 

If you’ve created marketing personas or ideal customer profiles, use these exercises to build your blog audience. A marketing persona is a fictionalized character who represents your average customer. Keep these personas in mind and your blog posts will quickly come together.

If you don’t have an ideal reader in mind, learn about your current audience. Look at existing data from web analytics, social media, email campaigns, customer surveys, and more. Use these insights to build a picture of who is already engaging with your business online. Think about this customer’s needs and plan your first series of blog posts about topics that meet their desires.

4. Start Writing

Once you’ve identified your goals, answered the practical question of who is doing what, and found your target readers, you’re ready to start writing. If your writing team is confident and experienced, this might be the easiest part of the process for you to manage. Simply give your goals to your writers and let them get to work.

For new bloggers and smaller shops, writing can be a different story entirely. It can be hard to start writing even when you have a robust plan. Blank pages are intimidating. Luckily, simple exercises can help you get your ideas on paper.

Many people find that speaking their thoughts feels more natural than writing them down. You can probably talk about your small business for hours, so turn on a voice recorder and start talking about your article’s subject. Once you’ve said everything important, you can listen to your recording later to write down what sounds the best. 

You can also try brainstorming exercises. Find a stack of sticky notes or index cards and jot down everything you know about your blog’s subject, writing one note per card. Once you’ve written down all your thoughts, look through your collection of notes. What main ideas jump out? Sort cards into piles of similar themes. Then, choose the three biggest piles and adapt those cards into your blog post. Use the leftover notes as a jump start on your next article.

5. Learn and Adapt

After you start posting to your blog, make sure to track its performance. Reflect on the goals you set and see whether the blog is making an impact. Are you finding changes in conversions, web traffic, email clicks, or any other metric? Your posts may be lead to increases in unexpected areas, so take a look at all of your analytics at regular intervals.

As with any project, you can try new strategies when you don’t see enough movement. If you’re not reaching your original goal but are seeing growth in other areas, lean into the success you do have. For example, if you find a growing social media reach, be sure to share all of your blog posts on your social platforms. If email subscriptions are going up, make sure your email campaigns are fresh and current. Engaging, authentic writing will grow your customer base over time. Stay confident and keep publishing.

9 Ways to Improve Your Health and Wellbeing For a Lifetime

As a new year approaches, the all-too-familiar making of resolutions becomes front and center. Have you given any thought to health related issues lately? If not, it’s time to wake up to the fact that your health and wellbeing is vitally important. January is a great time to make changes and improvements that will not only last the short term, but for a lifetime.

It’s no secret that poor health and wellbeing affects you in several ways, including physically and mentally. To enjoy life to the fullest each and every day, here’s 9 ways to help give you a kick-start to improving your health.

Exercise

If you’re already partaking in daily exercise, good for you; if not, it’s time you started. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle – you either sit at home or you have a job which keeps you inactive for long periods of time. Therefore, not only does exercise improve your strength, stamina, and flexibility, the obvious health benefits associated with exercise include weight loss and improved fitness. You’re also less prone to injuries and ‘aches and pains’ such as fall, sprains, backaches, shoulder aches and so on.

Reduce Your Screen Hours

There’s no escaping the certain amount of screen time for your work, but too much unnecessary Iphone, laptop, and T.V. time is not good for your health. It not only makes you lethargic but also has a negative impact on your eyes and the brain. Over time, you can develop lifestyle disorders such as obesity, hypertension or diabetes as you sit for hours in front of the screen, instead of undertaking more physical activities. Too many screen hours can also have a derogatory affect on your mental health and posture, as it does nothing to stimulate your intellect or the health of your spine.

Get Outdoors

Getting out of a confined indoor space and into the fresh outdoor air needs to be adhered to as often as you can. Sunlight is a great source of Vitamin D and the open environment will do wonders for your mental and physical health. A walk outdoors decreases your stress levels and the fresh air energizes your brain while enhancing your mood. A walk is also going to improve your physical fitness. If you’d prefer running to walking, make sure you have the proper footwear and know your limitations prior to setting out. Both are excellent for your overall wellbeing and both contribute to weight loss and mental stability.

Decrease Alcohol Intake

Drinking too much alcohol has multiple side effects on your body, as alcohol interferes with your brain’s working pattern and disrupts clarity of thought and coordination. Also, regular intake of alcohol can lead to high blood pressure, arrhythmia or even a cardiac attack. Imbibing on a regular basis affects your liver and can cause fatty liver, cirrhosis, fibrosis or alcoholic hepatitis. It can also affect your relationships with others and your mental health if you drink in excess, therefore limit the alcohol intake and boost your wellbeing.

Walk Whenever and Wherever You Can

Because walking is a great way to get your body moving, park the farthest away from your designated place and walk extra steps to the front door of a market or your workplace. Walk to the supermarket, take a walk around the park and if you use public transport to your place of work, get off a few stops early and walk the rest of the way. Take a short break at your office every two hours or so and go for a five-to-ten minute walk. If nothing else, walk around your house and always take the stairs where possible. Set yourself a target each day, and stick to it!

Limit Processed Foods

By limiting processed foods which contain a variety of additives, colors, and taste enhancers, you’re also limiting the fat, sugar, and salt content, all of which are harmful to your health. They can also actually work out to be more expensive than eating freshly prepared food. Processed foods have very little nutritional value and over-consumption can lead to obesity, type II diabetes, cardiac problems, and digestive issues such as inflammatory bowel disease.

Have Fitness Goals

Even before the new year rolls around, getting fit will have a huge impact on your overall health. If you are obese, try to shed the pounds. If you are too lean and weak, try to build your muscles and improve your strength with yoga and weight training. Don’t ‘simply try’ but rather set fitness goals, hire a personal trainer if your budget allows, have a workout partner, and select a particular workout regime that is within your comfort level. Then join a group or a gym that offers your preferred workouts.

Quit Smoking

Simply put, smoking cigarettes is not good for you or those around you, particularly your children. The toxic effects of the smoke leave a dark tan on your skin and make it look dull. Those who smoke regularly are more likely to develop wrinkles earlier, and continued smoking can lead to lung and oral cancer to name a few. It also stains the teeth and leads to several gum diseases. In women, smoking during pregnancy can lead to abnormalities in the developing fetus. All in all, it’s time to quit smoking and avoid a life with many health risks and complications.

Carve Out Time to Relax

Just as important as exercise, work, and play, it’s also vital to take a break and relax. Relaxation is the simple mantra of living happily. Carve out time to sleep at least six to eight hours a day, spend some quality time with friends or family to take your mind off life issues, read a book, watch a film or go for a weekend getaway to de-stress. You will be more productive, healthier and better equipped to take life on.

In a Nutshell

Your health and wellbeing depends on the steps you take to make it forever. No more excuses and no more reasons to sidestep the obvious. A new year is asking you to take control of your life and implement proper nutrition and movement protocol that leads you into restoration, an awakening, and even a transformation of every cell within your body.

Improving your chances of staying alive and becoming the BEST YOU CAN is now here. Go for it!

Breathing New Life Into Your Company Culture In The New Year

Do you remember when, on live TV, a professor was famously interrupted during a news broadcast by his toddler walking in? Then his wife ran in to take the child away, and it was all captured by his camera and viewed live by the world.

The reaction to that interruption was understanding laughter, and that same scenario has been repeated in many a Zoom call since. Sure, there have been other kinds of slip-ups and mishaps, and that’s to be expected when working from home.

We’ve all struggled with the transition to remote work in 2020. But there’s a more dangerous force operating here, too. The loneliness that remote work causes can be isolating to an unhealthy degree. Company leaders must acknowledge the isolation and the effect it can have on employee health.

Trading a bustling office settling for a home office is a difficult swap. However, company leaders have the opportunity to keep their employees’ morale high by breathing new life into the remote company culture.

And what better time to try something new than in the new year?

New Year, New Habits


Studies show that, if you want to develop a new habit, the best time to start is at the beginning. Whether that’s the beginning of the week, month, or year, is up to you. Approach the day or the task like it’s a fresh, clean, blank page.

You don’t know what 2021 will bring. No one does. All we know is that it’s a clean slate, a fresh beginning for everyone to do better given the circumstances. So it’s the perfect time for company leaders to begin new cultural practice for remote work.

Chatterboxes

No one likes a chatterbox when they’re trying to work hard. However, the change to remote work has de facto eliminated all casual conversation between coworkers.

This is one way that company culture has fizzled out in 2020, but many companies have already taken steps to bring back casual conversation into the work-from-home setting.

Slack channels dedicated just to non-work conversations are a good option, as they help make sure informal conversations live on in a remote work world.

But it’s time to do more than that. Follow the lead of tech companies like Slido, which hosts special virtual get-togethers for team socializing. From Coffee/Tea(m) Time Tuesdays to Monday Morning Meetings, Slido prioritizes keeping their employees connected.

Make Meetings Great Again

Many companies have decided that there should be meetings for specific teams, for the whole staff, and, interestingly, for small groups. Conversations between small groups of random employees who might not have any reason to talk are an important way to keep company culture alive.

While they might not meet in the elevator, employees on different teams can meet through a pre-arranged Zoom breakout room or through Slack’s Donut feature.

The frequency of these meetings is up to you, but once a week team meetings are a must. Through polling, companies have discovered that video conferencing is an extremely important way to keep employees feeling connected.

All The News That’s Fit To (Digitally) Print

Keeping employees informed about how the company is performing is essential. While it used to be easy for a manager to drop in and tell a team member how things are going, now those updates get lost, either because of a lack of opportunity for that conversation to happen or because other tasks are prioritized.

Don’t let your employees feel like while they’re putting in the hours from home, they don’t have any idea about how the company is doing and therefore they aren’t really a part of it. Employees will feel disconnected and unmotivated to perform to the same levels they used to before remote work if this is how they feel.

Instead, send out a weekly newsletter with information about the progress the company is making. Status updates on important projects, as well as summaries of events and customer feedback, will show employees how their work fits into the big picture.

In Conclusion

By starting fresh with the new year, opening up channels for informal conversation, holding multiple video meetings a week for different groups of employees, and sending out a company newsletter, you can breathe new life into your company culture.

Remote work makes life difficult, but it doesn’t have to be isolating. Your employees will appreciate you taking steps to keep your company culture alive.

Listen Up, Women Entrepreneurs! Here’s What You Need to Be Your Own Boss.

As female entrepreneurship is on the rise, women are climbing into the ranks of being savvy business owners, all due in part to seeing an opportunity. The encouragement by markets and industries ready and willing to seek a woman’s expertise will only continue to grow as more and more women strike out on their own. However, knowing which is the right path and when to leave your day job behind isn’t always so obvious. 

Here’s a peek at how women can find their ideal business idea and take control of their careers.

Where To Start

Have you ever considered being a happiness and life purpose expert? Anything’s possible, right? An aspiring entrepreneur should start a business that’s meaningful to them. It’s a rather archaic model to tell a woman to go into a specific field, mainly because it earns more money or helps them gain recognition. 

Instead, invest in ideas you’re passionate about and tap into what you’re good at to make yourself feel great while also earning a living. It could start out as a side gig and blossom from there. Or, if you’re already entrenched in a 9-5 job, you could start a small business on the side and go from there. There are no guidelines to the types of companies women should begin, as a woman’s strengths are so diverse that the opportunities are endless.

It’s helpful to start a business you know something about so when you’re ready to launch the business you’re most passionate about, you can consider your limitations. The last thing you want to do is quit a really good job to start a business you actually hate. Try not to let the fantasies of grandeur about running a business get the best of you, as it’s no picnic out there. 

A good rule of thumb is to save 20 to 40 percent per paycheck and tuck it away, before you quit your steady job. Do your research, and make certain you understand who your paying customer is prior to announcing an entrepreneurship. You always have to check and ensure your business model makes sense in an industry that’s growing not sinking. Your business needs to be relevant three to five years down the road. 

Because technology is always looming front and center, you don’t want the technological advances to take over your business and leave you in the dust. Surround yourself with people who will help you succeed, whether it’s through support of lending a hand in getting your business started.

Remember that being a leader doesn’t mean you have all the answers, and the more open you are to learning from everyone around you, the more you can grow into your role as entrepreneur. It’s okay to ask for help and collaborate with other people.

Love What You Do

Becoming an entrepreneur and building a business from the ground up is challenging no matter how you look at it. However, the end result should boil down to actually loving what you do. Feel encouraged to be strong and work hard at what you love.

Starting and running a business is by no means easy, and there are going to be a lot of hardships and emotional setbacks, but you have to put yourself out there, believe in yourself and your purpose. In other words, just do it.

It’s Okay To Be Afraid

Having the will to try speaks volumes in this day and age. It’s not so much you need to be ready, but you need to overcome your fears. If you succumb to feeling scared about the onset of entrepreneurship, you’ll never pursue your dreams or get the business off the ground. 

Being afraid is just part of the big picture. In other words, you have to start your business while you’re scared. Once you master that hurdle, you’ll rise to another level, and that will come with yet another level of fear. You’ll learn and adjust and keep moving forward. 

Before you know it, your earnings will begin to tumble in and you’ll be making money doing what you love.

A Few Ideas That Can Help

The following are some innovative ways to dip your toes into entrepreneurship:

Cooking

Is creating meals from scratch a passion of yours? Do you have access to proper cookware that can withstand several dishes on a dime? Launching a cooking business, whether catering or as a gourmet chef, can be a real winner. Think of all the people who love to eat good food, and go from there. 

If you know friends who are willing to be your guinea pig for a few demonstrations, that’s a good place to start. Expand your horizons and create dishes that titillate the senses and entice the palate. Or, you could concoct in-home delivery menus that cater to individuals in any setting that suits your fancy. {insert image here}

The key is to use your cooking skills that people want. Traditional cuisines, family style recipes, or simply home-cooked food are always the meals most sought after. 

Fashion

If you’re a fashionista who loves to put clothes together and knows how to color coordinate based on skin tone and style, welcome to running a clothing business. Whether you venture into a small boutique or engage in marketing platforms such as Spotify, Instagram, or Facebook, chances are you’re already spreading your brand and messaging. Reach a bigger audience and showcase your designs with online payment gateways that make the entire process so much easier. {insert image here}

Go with an approximate initial investment estimate of between $5,000 and $10,000. Plan for production, space to invent your fashion creations, and get to work designing clothes for people. If you have good customer relation skills, all the better.

Social Media Influencer

Social media has become one of the biggest places to generate brand awareness with millions of eyeballs to be caught every second. Becoming a social media influencer is a great idea for a business with a low investment. Any talent that you are passionate about can help you become an influencer. {insert image here}

Brands associate with influencers who can engage their followers, so reading and keeping up with trending topics will help connect with more people and build larger audiences. The key remains regular creative and value-adding content that you enjoy. A successful influencer takes about one to three years to gain popularity, as a lot is dependent upon the quality of content.

Wrapping Up

The sky’s the limit with women-owned businesses, and this is merely touching the surface. If you like to walk dogs, start a pet-sitting enterprise. If you have a passion for writing, enter the digital content creation space and go to town! If you want to turn your hobby into something grand and glorious, ensure that you’ve done your research, you’ve set aside enough funds to invest in supplies or a workspace, and you absolutely love what you do.

There’s no reason to become an entrepreneur unless you’re comfortable in feeling the initial fear and overcoming the obstacles along the way. The world is your oyster, and it’s time to make a pearl necklace out of a single gemstone.

How To Host A Great Virtual Holiday Party

Ah, the holidays. It’s the season of giving and gratitude, of chilly nights and short days, of lights and parties. Unfortunately, parties have become somewhat tricky due to the global pandemic. Although gathering in person may be off the table, you can still enjoy an amazing holiday party.

Whether it’s for your family, your friends, or your office, there are tons of ways to celebrate the holidays virtually. With the development of so many video conferencing platforms and many companies offering more online options, you can throw a holiday party that’s just as festive and fun as ever.

Here are a few areas to consider when planning your holiday party. To make your party feel complete, consider picking something from each category. You can also have a themed party using one category or simply pick one event for your virtual holiday bash.

Activities

One of the best parts about holiday parties are all the activities that go along with it. Even virtually, you can still enjoy these activities together. There are the holiday classics like an ugly Christmas sweater fashion show, for instance. You can also try something a little more unique, like taking an online class together.

If you’re planning an office holiday party, use this time to toast your team, acknowledging their hard work during an especially tough year. You could also have a team awards show. With a little planning, you could even send a small trophy or certificate to each member of your team with the award they’ve won.

For a party with friends, you might consider a gift wrapping party. This will help you all get those presents wrapped in time but do it in a fun, communal way. Another fun interactive activity is an at-home scavenger hunt, with points awarded for how many items a person can source from their house. The winner could win holiday cookies or a gift card.

Contests & Games

A little competition can provide a ton of fun to a party with very little extra effort. With so many people making holiday cookies this time of year, why not turn it into a contest? Have everyone decorate some holiday cookies and then vote on which looks the best. A variation on this would be an ornament decorating contest or wreath making contest.

Depending on the size of your group, you could also have a holiday-themed talent show. This will make sure that everyone gets involved and you never know what you might learn about someone in your group.

For a more traditional game night, you could try holiday-themed charades. Have everyone submit their ideas ahead of time and have a moderator send out the suggestion. If you have the time to plan it and know your holiday trivia, try holiday-themed Jeopardy. You will all learn something and have a ton of fun doing it.

Exchanges

A favorite part of the holiday season for many people is the chance to give. Presents and gifts are an excellent way to show someone you care, whether it’s virtual or not. Consider organizing a Secret Santa gift exchange. Especially for an office party, this can be a great way to bring your team together. For a little tongue-in-cheek spin on Secret Santa, have a White Elephant gift exchange. You never know what you could end up with! If you try these, make sure you have everyone send their gifts in advance.

A less expensive way to have everyone give a little holiday cheer is with a recipe exchange. Just like you would a Secret Santa, have everyone send a recipe to another person. For added enjoyment, have everyone make their recipe to enjoy it during the party. Tasty goodies are characteristic of the season, so why not enjoy them together?

Food & Drink

The holidays are a time for food and drink. Everywhere you turn there are treats, rich foods, warm drinks, and spicy beverages. In a real-world party, food and drink would be an obvious thing to provide, but that can often be forgotten in a virtual party. Consider sending out a couple cocktail or mocktail recipes for everyone to enjoy during your holiday party. It will bring a little warmth during this chilly season.

Another way to incorporate drinks into your holiday party while also enjoying a fun activity is with a wine tasting. Because of the pandemic, many liquor stores are offering delivery. Send out a couple vintages to your party attendees and taste them together.

For a family-friendly virtual gathering, try having a hot chocolate and s’mores party. You could send out the ingredients to make the hot chocolate and s’mores before the party, then make them together. The simple act of enjoying something delicious with the people you love is so iconically part of the holidays that it will really accent any party well.

Entertainment

Whether it’s the Hallmark channel Christmas movies or the latest holiday movie on Netflix or a favorite holiday classic, movies are an important part of the holidays for many of us. Luckily, many streaming services are offering party features where you can stream the movie together.

To really make your holiday movie night special, send out some seasonally specific treats, like candy canes, cookies, hot chocolate, popcorn, or cake. Really, any little treat will add that extra touch to the festivities.

Takeaways

We all miss getting together to celebrate, whether for the holidays, a birthday party, or the weekend. But you don’t have to celebrate the season alone. With a virtual party, you can enjoy some of your favorite holiday traditions and with a little creativity, you might find a new holiday tradition that will last for years. Make the season bright with a virtual party and you’ll have a beautiful memory to hold on to forever.

Freelancing: A Better Way To Work And Why

Think about the last desk job you ever had. Maybe you’re sitting at a desk right now, pushing paper from one place to another, watching the hours drag by and wishing for an escape. Desk jobs don’t have to be a requirement to advance your career or the way you live your life. The answer to your boring desk job is freelancing.

The life of a freelancer is one of flexibility and opportunity. Freelancers have the benefit of a deep pool of job opportunities, all of which help advance their career. Along with being a great opportunity to have the life you always dreamed of, it’s an incredibly lucrative industry.

To top it off, with every project you take on, your knowledge of the world grows. As a freelancer, you get a free education about a wide range of topics, all from the comfort of your own home.

There are tons of benefits to choosing the freelancer life and there are many ways to begin your freelancer journey. Here are a few reasons to consider making the leap into freelancing.

Work From Anywhere

Imagine waking up near a tropical, sandy beach with the ocean air gently moving and the smell of paradise surrounding you. This could be your office. Or if you’d prefer, you can go right from your cozy bed to your home office.

You can work absolutely anywhere with an internet connection when you freelance. The world is your office and this allows you so much freedom to explore it or to stay comfortably close to home. Either way, it’s a convenient and pleasant way to work.

Advance Your Career

One of the biggest perks to freelancing is that every effort you put forth is rewarded. Gone are the days where you put forth every ounce of yourself only to have those efforts overlooked or go unacknowledged. With freelancing, you choose the work you do and the clients you work with, allowing you to advance your career as fast as you’d like. Along the way, you’ll earn more and have more potential for income as you advance.

More Opportunity And Better Job Security

Being your own boss is one of the most commonly appreciated parts of freelancing. With that comes the chance to take on bigger and better projects. There is no shortage of companies looking for freelancers so putting forth even a minimal effort can open up a world of opportunity.

And you don’t have to worry about getting fired when your supervisor is yourself. One reason freelancers are so bulletproof is because they are generally multitasking, taking on multiple projects and contracts at a time. Doing so will keep you bringing in money, even when the economy turns.

More Freedom And Control

As a freelancer, you make the rules for yourself. There’s no more office politics to deal with or people to answer to other than yourself and your clients. You control how much work you take on and you control how dynamic your work life is.

If you wanted to, you can focus on a niche area and become a master. Conversely, you can take on many projects from a variety of areas and gain a broad base of knowledge. You control how exciting every day is.

Flexibility

Ever part of freelancing is flexibility: your hours, your dress code, your office, your projects, your workload. Along with that flexibility, you can create your ideal work day easily. You choose the projects you work on and that determines how much money you bring in.

You decide what works best for you as far as your work hours. You get the freedom to dress how you’d like and to have a life outside your job. It’s an entire world of flexibility waiting to be tailored by you for you.

Learning Opportunities

A lesser-appreciated aspect of freelancing is the chance to learn. With every project, you learn a little more. Because you will likely take projects from many different types of businesses and industries, you’ll start to gain an insight into a huge variety of areas.

This will of course make you a more interesting cocktail party guest, but it will also improve you as a person. Where else can you get such a broad education and get paid for it?

The Takeaway

Freelancing isn’t for everyone, but it might be for you. If you can be disciplined with your time, you can have the workplace and work life of your dreams. With a ton of flexibility and freedom, you will earn more and be happier.

How Social Media Can Expand Your Message

Having a social media presence can be the most significant and influential boon to your marketing business and overall brand. If you’re trying to secure a massive amount of followers, the key is to know when to post, who’s in your network, and what platform you wish to shout to the world. Timing is everything with social media.

Forget about person to person, eye to eye, and face to face contact. The new connection is all about who’s online and when, which makes social media a necessity in everyone’s lives. The collective’s social media consciousness has amped up in the wake of society’s overwhelmed, introverted ways of doing business.

Oftentimes, users behind the screen feel more at ease in their relationships and conversations than in an up close and personal situation.

Why The Need For Influence?

The effect of social media on business marketing and overall communication efforts shows that the ability to evolve and be present in real life social situations, or a coming-of-age business progression isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. When you want to influence the public-at-large, in today’s world, the best measures are through an influential and engaging platform. Go viral, by all means. 

Answers lie within each social media platform, network, capabilities, and the audience’s perceptions of each. During the onset of Facebook in 2007, it was simple and user-friendly, and boasted no measures of trying to outscore competitors. It simply became a venue where people from all over the world could connect, discover, and be friends.

How times have changed! Not only has Facebook grown to be a billion dollar business, but LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and numerous other social mainstream connections are always on the cusp of something greater, more exciting, and definitely more influential in the industry’s platform.

If this evolution continues, the social media world of connecting and relating will surpass what ancestors never thought possible: Social media is the new handshake and sharing of a glass of wine.

The Effect Of Social Media In Marketing

Whether you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade or so, social media isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Its ability to transform a conversation and subsequent emotional wellness is highly documented. However, social media has a dark side.

There’s been studies and research of users who swear by their onscreen connections and how social media fosters anxiety, depression, false narratives, and possibly liabilities unforseen in real time. Whatever you post on a daily basis gets scrutinized by your peers, by your family, and by your employers.

It’s no wonder that people get upset when they’ve been unfriended or disconnected, or unliked in certain circles, and this goes for all media platforms. Going forward in the world of social media will see a rise in the world’s population engagement. The growth rate is exponential and it’s only going to expand by leaps and bounds. 

Marketing and advertising everywhere and anywhere depends on a message ranking high on social media. It’s become a distraction and attraction of the healthiest kind in business, trends, and brands. There’s LinkedIn, which has notoriously been the platform for business owners, employers, and employees alike.

Connections made on LinkedIn typically follow a path of the latest trends in business, job placements, scenarios relating to what’s happening on Wall Street or within our economy, and users posting their own job celebrations and messages. It’s with these daily communications that LinkedIn remains at the top of the heap for connecting with the like-minded in business.

Twitter, on the other hand, is an entity all on its own. Recently, the major hub of quick messages and knee jerk responses has come under the spotlight due to their inability to censor what’s proper and what’s harmful to citizens around the world.

Twitter was designed to be something of a bold and brash way to deliver responses and comments. It’s out of control and potentially damaging to society as a whole. Doubtful it’s going anywhere downstream, as Twitter’s following gets more users every day relying on the hashtags to promote their message.

Instagram is owned by Facebook, and has surpassed primary users based on the ability to use images to tell a story. It’s easy, it’s exciting, and it gleams with gloss and shimmer. For those not on Instagram and continue to regularly post on Facebook, there’s a sense of missing out on attracting those connections who solely rely on Instagram and have abandoned Facebook for one reason or another.

The Etiquette Of Social Media

Before the explosiveness of social media and users depending on it to be at the forefront of their main connecting tool, each company involved spearheaded a type a sort of ‘launch’ outline that social media was to be used to find a job, search for old friends, show vacation photos, display celebrations of family life, and have healthy discussions on what’s trending in the mainstream.

Unfortunately, social media has gone through a metamorphosis that includes hate, criminal activity, divisiveness, silly antics that turn users off, dating and mating, and misquoted or misdated information. There’s been an avalanche of users posting unresearched, untrue, and unmitigated thoughts and comments. As much of a positive tool that social media helps society’s lives on the daily, it also has a dark side.

As a marketer, let’s hope that your momentum with social media is rooted in proper dialogue that includes knowledgeable banter, intelligent data and research, resounding ideas, humorous memes, and sites that are worthy to join.

The Finale

As everyday postings and hashtags, and the common word about an individual’s life, is publicized, social media continues to rank as the number one platform for inspiring and engaging an audience. Your status spreads like wildfire, your influence is revered in numerous social circles or groups, and because of modern technology in society, your livelihood is also up for public debate.

Don’t let that dissuade you. If anything, the world of social media is here to stay. The audience engagement is something our current lives cannot do without, and if there’s anything to gain from a social media platform, it’s the ability to see and be seen.

Here’s to success by keeping the conversation and connection thriving!

How To Have A Positive Workplace For Your Employees

Think about your ideal workplace. What are the people like? What is your direct supervisor like? How do you feel being there? How do you feel going home?

The fact is, we all want to work somewhere we are appreciated, treated like a human being, and encouraged to be our best. And no one likes leaving work feeling completely emotionally drained, nor the feeling of waking up dreading the 8 to 10 hours you’ll spend at the office. So, what’s the main difference between the ideal workplace and the worst case scenario?

It’s whether a company and leadership can put their employees first or not.

Why It’s Important

In the traditional workplace, there was a straight forward transaction: an employee clocked in and traded time for money. It was as though the company rented someone by the hour. As business and people have evolved over the years, more is expected of companies and their leadership. Rather than simply lording over employees, managers and supervisors are expected to actually care about their employees.

But why? Why should it ever be more than the transactional relationship of yesteryear?

Because the old model didn’t work nearly as well as the new age one. The old model existed with a culture of fear and anxiety permeating offices. People were afraid to mess up because they had anxiety about being yelled at and the terrifying possibility of losing their livelihood. While this might keep someone on the clock, it doesn’t necessarily make them more productive.

Finally, we started paying attention to what motivates people. It turns out people are motivated more by loyalty and a feeling of appreciation than the feelings of dread like before. Keeping your employees in a constant state of uneasiness only manages to distract them and make them less productive.

They’ll also be more likely to quit and move on to a company that values them. That means more turn over and more wasted time and money on your end.

Benefits Of A People First Work Environment

Think back to a time you felt truly appreciated. Did it make you want to quit or did it make you want to keep trying your hardest? Likely, it was the latter. When we feel appreciated and valued, we try harder to do better. As you put your employees first and work to improve the business environment they’re in for 40 hours every week, they’ll prove to be more productive and have better output than before.

Another benefit to this environmental shift is that your employees will start working together as a team. The days of cut throat business cultures aren’t necessarily dead, but it’s phasing out and that’s primarily due to all employees feeling valued rather than pitted against each other.

Competitiveness can be a good thing, but when it’s the primary feeling of your company’s culture, then you stand little to no chance of employees actually working together. This will lead to less work getting done and what does get done won’t be nearly as good as it could have been.

Ultimately, having employees who leave work happy will make for a society of better citizens. When you leave work after an awful day and then run right into traffic, many of us turn to expletives and hand gestures. We go home to our families upset and irritable, making their lives miserable, too.

The problem snowballs and society is the worse for it. In contrast, having employees who feel valued and appreciated will lead to happier employees at the end of the day, so their off time is spent in better moods, spreading the joy rather than the anger.

How You Can Improve Your Company Culture

Changing an entire company’s culture doesn’t happen overnight, but it does start at the top. You have to be the one to start caring. Care about your employees and their lives, what they’re going through, how they’re feeling. Care that they are human beings and treat them as such, rather than treating them as underlings.

Place a focus on employee growth. If your employees feel that you are investing in them, they will invest in you. Doing the same thing every day can become monotonous but offering training or education benefits can motivate your employees with new skills. They will repay the investment ten fold.

You should also consider a company wide focus on wellness, both physical and mental. There’s been a shift in the last few years where people are focusing on their self care. As you start to care about your employees’ wellness, they will start to care, too. This will make for a healthier, happier, more balanced team of people who come to work more days of the year and are willing to work even harder for you.

Finally, learn to put people before business. Say you have an employee who’s just lost a close family member. Instead of having them fill out a bunch of paperwork to simply take a couple days off to grieve and attend a funeral, offer them a couple of weeks.

Do you know your employee is having trouble getting to work on time because they have to drop their kids off at school? Why not figure out an arrangement that works for both of you?

The most important thing to remember is that your employees are just people, the same as you. The only difference is who gets the bigger office. Everyone has issues in their life and everyone is motivated by the same things: feeling appreciated, feeling seen, and feeling special.

As you put your employees first, your company culture will change and this change in environment will have an impact on both your business and the people who devote their lives to it.

Why Gratitude is Crucial to Business Success and a Strong Company Culture

The holidays are a time for thankfulness and appreciation, and that goes for your small business as well! Gratitude is more important than ever as we conclude 2020, a year that’s been difficult in many ways.

By incorporating gratitude into your daily routines and business strategies, you can grow your business and strengthen your team. Here’s how.

Take Time To Thank Your Team

Whether due to COVID, an economic downturn, or election anxiety, it’s safe to say it’s been a stressful year for most of your team. People devote a significant portion of their time and energy to their job, so a little appreciation goes a long way toward boosting morale and loyalty.

Set aside time during every meeting to give a shout out to your team members. Try not to make it a competition e.g. “Employee of the Week” or “MVP.” Instead, identify and reward your team’s successes, and encourage them to thank each other as well. Try creating a dedicated Slack channel for appreciative messages, or have people give “awards” to each other. Ultimately, your goal is to increase gratitude and cultivate a sense of mutual support.

Shine A Spotlight

Don’t feel limited to shout outs at staff meetings. Let the whole world know that you are grateful for your customers, staff, clients, sponsors, etc. You can spotlight people in your email marketing, social media posts, and even on the walls of your office.

As with general staff appreciation, don’t make this about competition or who’s “best.” Instead, highlight the person’s individual contributions, unique talents and skills, and how they support your business. Lead with gratitude, and watch morale and loyalty increase among your brand’s community!

Run A “Thank You” Sale

Most consumers are accustomed to receiving impersonal sales messages from companies. During a time when many people are on a budget, being “salesy” can backfire. Think outside the box: instead of simply running sales and encouraging people to spend needlessly, offer a special discount for your loyal customers. Frame it as a thank you gift rather than an opportunity to make money off them. (This is especially important when many consumers are strapped for cash.)

Thank Your Customers For Their Support

Generic “thank you” messages are virtually meaningless to customers, but an unexpected expression of gratitude can turn the tide on customer engagement. Think outside the box: how can you help your customers feel not only appreciated but also grateful for you?

Anything from clever illustrations to personalized thank you videos can be used to show that unlike your competitors, you truly appreciate your customers.

Let Everyone Share In The Gratitude

Gratitude gets even better when you share it with others. Invite your customers and team to share in your company’s success, and make them feel like a welcome part of your brand’s community.

Are you celebrating a major milestone? Send an email blast that thanks your customers and employees for helping you achieve it. Excited about the New Year? Include gratitude messaging in your social posts to help build a community around your brand. Did someone’s purchase benefit a struggling family or a good cause? Send them a thank you note with a photo of whom they helped!

Run A Referral Program

Referral programs aren’t just a nifty marketing tactic. They’re an ideal way to thank your customers for their loyalty, then reward them for referring others to your business. Base your referral messaging around the idea of gratitude. You can design a referral program in several different ways, but make sure that it incentivizes giving and makes people feel special for participating.

Make Gratitude A Daily Ritual

Countless studies have shown that practicing gratitude boosts your productivity, so why not make it part of your regular routine? As a manager or business owner, it’s easy to let endless to dos and the nitty gritty details overwhelm your thoughts. When all that noise occupies your brand, you can lose sight of the big picture.

For greater productivity, leadership, and overall planning, take time every day to be grateful. Make a short list of what you appreciate in your life and business. Write or say affirmations of your goals and values. This simple practice results in a powerful mindset shift that will make you a better leader.

Wrapping Up

Gratitude is more than the occasional thank you. It’s a way of life. Incorporate it into your business practices, from marketing to team management to personal reflection, and you’ll cultivate a stronger company culture and brand community. With those in place, your business can grow to new levels.

Seven Ways to Step Up Your Holiday Marketing

Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell, post! Social media marketing, and all types of marketing, are essential the whole year long. However, they’re especially important during the holiday season.

The onset of the holiday season means that it’s finally the time of year where we get to fully embrace family, love, and traditions. But exactly how do you combine them all to make sure you’re putting your best marketing forward?


We’ve come up with seven tasks you can complete to make sure your marketing efforts are top-notch this holiday season.

Host Holiday Events

Celebrating the spirit of the season is a fantastic way to involve your customers and show that you care for your community. If you have a physical location for your business, then hosting holiday events is a perfect way to step up your marketing during the season.

These events, which can be anything from special sales to charity toy or food drives, show your community that you are invested in its improvement. Attending events at your business also gives your potential customers the opportunity to check out your holiday sales.

Create A Holiday Hashtag

Brainstorm a creative holiday hashtag for your company. Then when customers attend one of your holiday events or make a purchase at your store, encourage them to take a picture, share the post, and include your holiday hashtag.

This is a fun opportunity for customers to feel more involved and a great way to connect your marketing efforts together across different users and platforms. Make sure that you encourage your customers to use the same holiday hashtag (spelled correctly!) across all their different social media platforms.

Swag Out Your Website For The Holidays

Your website should always remain true to your company’s principles, but that doesn’t mean that your site can’t also embrace the holiday spirit. Many major companies, including Google and Twitter, change their logos for the holidays so that users are greeted with a reminder that there are humans behind the screen. Show your customers your spirit by updating your logo and homepage to reflect the holidays.

When it comes to logo design, consider using bright colors, snowflakes, presents, snowmen, Santa Claus, and other traditional holiday images. However, make sure that the final version of your holiday logo doesn’t deviate too far from the spirit of your original, standard logo and your company’s principles. You want to show your customers that your business is celebrating just like they are, while remaining true to your identity.

copyright Google

Alter Your Newsletter For The Holidays

Once you have an updated holiday-specific logo for your website, it’s time to put it to good use everywhere else. On your email newsletter template, swap out your standard logo for the holiday version. You should also take the time to create a header and graphic that reflects your holiday theme.

Your newsletter is a great place to promote your company’s holiday events and to mention the company holiday hashtag. That way, customers will see that you’re invested in the community and in making a difference during the holiday season. Your email newsletter is a key communication tool.

Transform Your Social Media Presence

‘Tis the season to change that profile pic! Take the time to update your social media accounts with the holiday version of your logo. You should also update your Facebook Cover Photo and Twitter Header with a holiday themed graphic.

When you post to your business social media pages during the holidays, stick to one theme, which should visually tie to your holiday logo. You will have plenty of things to post about if you host holiday events that engage your community. Use all of your platforms to promote your holiday events and sales.

Highlight Holiday Testimonials

If possible, ask your customers for a quick testimonial about why they chose to shop at your business for their loved one’s gift. To make the post, pair the text of the testimonial with a holiday image that fits with your theme.

However, there’s not always time to get testimonials from a customer during the busy holidays. If this is the case for your business, you can still use previous testimonials from customers and pair them with holiday images. The ultimate goal is to make sure that your potential customers know that they can trust your business!

Create A Holiday Gift Guide

A holiday gift guide is a fun, creative way to engage your target market and show off your best products. You can photograph your favorite products surrounded by pine cones, tinsel, bows, or evergreen. You can photoshop in traditional holiday images that are connected to your new holiday logo.

How you go about creating the gift guide is up to you! Whichever direction you decide to take, don’t forget to post your guide to your company website, all your social media pages. Make sure you send out a special edition of your newsletter that highlights just the gift guide!

In Conclusion

The holiday season is an important part of the sales cycle and requires special attention. While you’re already putting in extra hours keeping your business running smoothly and your customers happy (with their loved ones’ gifts in hand!), don’t forget about your marketing. Make sure you choose a holiday theme for all your digital marketing efforts. Keep the spirit of the holidays in your business and in your heart!