5 Steps To Help Grow Your Social Media Community

No one visits the store that’s hidden on a back street without a sign by the door. Most people like to do their shopping in just a few places, whether that’s at the mall or online. If you’re operating a business in 2021 and you don’t have a social media presence, that’s almost like choosing to open your store in the middle of nowhere.

To attract more new customers and keep your current customers engaged, you need to make sure people can find you and that you have a strong social media community. There are plenty of platforms out there, but it’s important that you start with the apps where your target market customers are spending their time. Once you’ve found out where your customers are, follow these five steps to grow your community.

Be Easy To Find

First, you need to make it easy to find you. It’s important that you’re consistent across all platforms, since you might need to run both a Facebook and a Twitter page, for example. Use the same page name wherever you can and make it obvious in the images you use as well that it’s the same company.

Include icons that link to all your social media pages on your website. Make those icons very easy to find. This goes both ways; you also need to make sure that it’s easy to find your website on your social media pages.

You should also make it easy for customers to find your physical business location as well (if you have one). Post your hours clearly, as well as your phone number and email address. You should be both easy to find and easily reachable.

Post With Purpose

Posting with purpose is the most important step in growing your social media community engagement. If your content isn’t adding value to the lives of your visitors and customers, then there’s a huge issue. Spamming customers with ads all the time or frequently asking them to take surveys is a sure way to lose your followers.

Research what your customers are interested in and develop a content calendar that takes their needs into account. Create posts that provide valuable information and that promote your business. You can include a helpful fun fact as the caption on an ad for a sale you’re running, for example. The important thing is to balance promotion with valuable information. Keep your followers informed and entertained if possible, and don’t over-promote.

Like And Reply

Once you have comments on your posts, it’s time to start liking and replying. You’ll want to delete comments from bots, if you get any, because they make it more difficult for your customers to communicate with you and each other.

Make sure you like each comment you receive and reply to it. If you receive a negative comment, you should diplomatically offer to resolve the issue. Always be polite and remember that anyone can screenshot anything that’s public.

By liking and replying to the comments your customers post, you’re showing that you care. This strengthens the relationship between you and your individual customers, which affects the whole community.

Sweeten The Deal

Once you have a dedicated following, you’ll notice that there are certain people who interact with your posts more than anyone else. On Facebook, these are the “Top Fans” of pages. You should definitely nurture these relationships.

Offer these customers coupons and explain to your whole social media community that you appreciate how they have consistently spent time interacting with your business. It’s a great way to thank your supporters while also incentivizing other followers to interact more often, especially if you directly state that more coupons are coming out in the future!

It’s also a smart idea to consider partnering up with influencers who can promote your business to your target customers. By sponsoring a post on an influencer’s page, you might get a lot more views, clicks, and purchases than you expect!

Be Personal

After planning out your posts with purpose, being personal is the next most important step in growing your social media community. By revealing details about yourself and your values, you will give your followers the opportunity to feel more connected to you.

Strengthening your relationship with your community is key. You want to have a good

relationship with the people who support your business. You want to learn from them and you want them to learn from you. There’s a reason why you started your business. Share what you’re passionate about and you’ll see how it helps you build your community.

Stay Consistent And Authentic

When you follow the steps of being easily findable, posting with purpose, liking and replying, sweetening the deal, and being personal, you’ll see how your social media community grows. Cultivating a social media community is a lot of work. You need to consistently follow a strategy while staying authentic It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. Social media can take your business to the next level.

How Much Is Too Much Work?

We love our smart phones. They provide a constant connection to the Internet and to each other. However, they also give us the ability to be constantly connected to work. Many people are finding it more and more difficult to separate their work from their personal lives, which leads to several different problems.

Whether you work remotely full-time or you’re expected to check emails every night, you probably struggle with your work-life balance. We’ve come up with five tips for dealing with the demands of working in our modern world of constant connection.

Measure Your Workload

If you’re worried you might be working too much, you probably already feel stressed and overwhelmed. There are other signs that you are working too much, too.

One of those telltale signs is forgetting tasks. If you have too much on your plate, something’s going to slide off. Then you’ll be left cleaning up the mess that the forgotten task has created, which just causes more work for you.

Take an unbiased look at your workload. How much work have you agreed to do? How much of it is extra or not related to your job description? How much of it do you think goes beyond the scope of what you can handle?

Measure your workload. Estimate how much time it will take to complete the tasks that you’re currently expected to do. Find out if there are enough hours in the work week for you to complete them all.

When you measure your workload, you help discover just what is taking up the biggest chunks of your time. Having a clear picture of your workload will help you better understand the problems you’re experiencing.

Evaluate Your Health

Too much work can absolutely affect your physical and mental health. When you’re stressed because you don’t have enough time or the ability to complete what you need to do, then you’re more likely to make poor choices.

For many people, the first thing to go out the window is healthy eating. Overworked employees don’t have the time or energy to stick to a diet or prepare healthy meals. We eat from the vending machine or grab takeout at the end of an 11-hour day. Sometimes we resort to overconsuming alcohol or using substances to take the edge off after a stressful day or week.

Needless to say, these unhealthy choices cause serious issues. Even unhealthy eating, which seems fairly harmless, can lead to major health problems down the line. These physical issues also affect mental health.

When mental health issues are ignored, serious problems occur. If you have too much work on your plate, you could suffer from much more than simple stress. More serious anxiety and depression are possibilities, and you could eventually suffer from burnout.

Ignoring how you feel about work can make everything worse. If you have too many tasks and not enough time, you could end up resenting your coworkers, your supervisors, and even yourself.

It’s important to regularly evaluate both your physical and mental health while you’re at work and at home.

Make A Plan

Measuring your workload and evaluating your health are the first two crucial steps you have to take before you make a plan. Yes, we know we’re asking you to add another item to your to-do list. However, taking the time to follow these steps will help reduce your workload and your stress in the long run.

Figure out when you’re going to accomplish your tasks each day and each week. Write down these items on your calendar. That means literally setting aside time to finish projects before their due dates.

Take the time to schedule healthy meals and exercise sessions. You also need to prioritize “me time,” when you’ll do what you love the most, whether that’s reading a book, watching a movie, or having a game night with friends.

Once you’ve made your schedule, ask yourself how realistic it is. Make any adjustments that you think are necessary.

Talk To Your Supervisors

You know you have too many tasks on your plate. You’ve measured your workload and found out just how much is expected of you. You’ve also evaluated your situation to determine what you can actually accomplish without damaging your health. You’ve made a solid plan.

Now it’s time to talk to your supervisors. Show them the data you’ve collected and the plan you’ve created. Prove to them that you’ve been doing more work than should be expected for someone in your position. Ask them if there’s anyone else who can handle the tasks that don’t fit your job description or shouldn’t be part of your role.

Be direct and do your homework before you begin the conversation. Showing your supervisors that you know exactly what you’re talking about will go a long way.

Stay Consistent

Most reasonable supervisors will assess what you’ve brought to them and agree to make some changes. However, you are still responsible for staying on top of your own workload. As time goes on, you need to consistently check in to make sure that you’re not falling in to the same trap as when you were overworked before.

Schedule a monthly meeting with yourself to measure your workload and evaluate your health. Take stock of the days where you feel stressed and overwhelmed. Your health and happiness are more important than any job, especially a job that is continually dragging you down. Keep checking in on your workload. Be your own best advocate so you can enjoy your life!

Breaking Through A Creative Block

Your deadline is coming up and you haven’t even started yet. You feel nervous, anxious, and maybe even a little bit defeated already. You’re starting to wonder if you’ll ever finish the project and if you’re even in the right career.

When you suffer from a creative block, it can feel like everything is stacked against you. But there is good news: you’re not alone. Many professionals (and beginners) in creative fields have suffered, and eventually broken through, creative blocks.

It’s important to be productive, but it’s also essential that you stay true to yourself as a creative. We’ve gathered five tips that have helped others break through creative blocks while maintaining their authenticity, and we hope these tips will help you, too!

Fix Your Space

You might already have office space, whether it’s at home, in a coworking building, or at a company office. No matter where your workspace is, take a look at your desk. Do you have all the supplies you need? Do you have the space to sketch or write when you do get that flash of inspiration?

If your desk is overloaded with papers, you’ll need to clear them off first. You can even stack them on the floor if you need to; just get them out of the way of your creation space.

If your walls are lackluster and bare, consider hanging prints, paintings, or photographs that inspire you. On the other hand, if you find visuals distracting, keep your walls empty.

To break through a creative block, you need to take stock of your environment. What’s bothering you? What’s distracting you? Find out and fix your space issues before you move on.

Set Your Schedule

Having a schedule is critically important. Research has proven that routines are necessary for success. Your brain knows that “this is creating time” if you sit down in the same spot at the same time every day.

Your brain is prepared to help you get in the right mindset and avoid distractions. When you don’t have a schedule, you have to force your brain into that mindset every single time you need to work.

If you need to break through a creative block, take a good look at your schedule.

Do you have one? Do you dedicate mornings to research and afternoons to writing, for example? Or mornings to sketching and afternoons to fine tuning? Do you have a plan or a process for how to approach projects, such as brainstorm, sketch, revise?

Write down a schedule for yourself and stick to it. You should also look at your big-picture schedule closely. If you have lots of projects due around the same time, you’ll need to set aside time each day to work on different projects. Think about when you work best and what will conflict with your personal life, and then, design your schedule.

But Be Flexible, Too

On the other hand, if you become too attached to your schedule, you might end up making your creative block even worse. Sometimes people might “go through the motions” of sitting down at the same spot and opening the same programs on their computer without actually putting any thought or heart behind their actions.

If this is the case, consider taking a break. You can take a quick 10 minute walk outside. Watching a 10 minute YouTube video about relaxation or meditation might help you as well. If it’s later in the day and you think it could help, consider taking a quick 20 minute cat nap.

Flexibility is important. When you’re stuck in a rut, take a break from what you do every other day and see if it helps!

Try Different Exercises

If you have a good space and schedule, and you’re also being flexible, but you’re still not making progress with your project, then you should look at different exercises.

We’re not necessarily talking about physical exercises (although physical exercise can definitely help you with a mental reset, too!). We mean exercises for your brain that can help you look at a problem from a new perspective.

For example, you can do a word association exercise when you look at a list and write down the first word you think of for each item on the list. You can open the calendar and put your finger on a specific day, then try to write down all your memories from that day. You can challenge yourself to draw something that you’ve always hated drawing before.

You can find many other mental exercises online to try out if you think that none of those will work for you. No matter what exercise you try, it should help you come to your work with a fresh set of eyes and a different attitude.

Motivate Yourself With Small Rewards

At the end of the day, work is all about reward. If you meet your goals, you’ll be rewarded with income by your client. But sometimes, you have to reward yourself to break through a creative block.

Tell yourself that as soon as you finish the first draft, then you can take yourself out for a latte. Then act on that promise. Or, tell yourself that when you finish your sketch of the logo design, you can spend 20 minutes texting friends or playing games.

Give yourself little rewards along the way for making progress, no matter how small that progress might be. Remind yourself that each step you take will help you get the big reward at the end!

Wrapping It Up…

When you fix your space, set a schedule, embrace flexibility, try different exercises, and motivate yourself with small rewards, you’ll find yourself on the way to breaking through creative block. Keep your eye on the prize, but also take time for yourself. You’ll need to balance what you’re capable of with what your client needs. At the end of the day, breaking through creative block means doing what’s best for you.

How To Show Your Employees You Care

Have you ever started the day with a to-do list a mile long and a schedule full of meetings? Do you feel like you always have a lot to do, but there’s never enough time to get it all done?

As the leader of your company, your attention is constantly being pulled in many different directions. You’re going to overlook some things, but you don’t want to drop the ball on what’s most important.

While you might miss a meeting or leave one item off your to-do list, you can’t miss the boat when it comes to your employees. Building relationships with the people who keep your business running is critically important.

It can be tough to show your employees you care, especially if they’re working remotely. These four strategies will help you keep your employees happy and ready to work.

Show You’re Available And Fair

Employees want to know that they can come to their boss if they have a problem. Whether it’s a tech problem, a coworker problem, or something else, it doesn’t matter. Employees need to know that they can count on their boss to be available to them. While they should ask their direct supervisor first, they should also know that you’re available.

You can share your calendar with your employees, or you can tell them exactly which hours are best to come and see you for help with problems. Make it clear that you don’t consider their concerns a waste of your time.

Fairness is an extremely important quality in a manager. Emphasize that you value everyone being treated with the support that they need. Ask your employees to come to you with any concerns about fairness.

If you want to show your employees that you care, limit required overtime and provide excellent benefits. Take care of the basics first, and fairly, and you’ll be on your way to establishing those important relationships.

Be Appreciative

There’s no doubt about it: without your employees, your business would not run. Your staff is crucial to your success, and you need to let them know.

Always reward employees for a job well done. While the reward will depend on you and the employee, a written thank you card is always a good idea. It’s a memento that they can keep in their desk to provide motivation on difficult days and to encourage them to keep working hard during slower times.

Verbally recognize one employee during a set time period. You could follow the traditional employee-of-the-month schedule, or you could choose to recognize one employee each quarter.

Whenever you recognize an employee, make sure you are specific. State what was most notable about their work. For example, you could say something like “Your follow-through with difficult customers has helped us keep large accounts.” That sort of compliment is much better than, “Your hard work keeps us afloat.”

You should also check in with employees who are experiencing a challenging time, either in their professional role or in their personal life. The fact that they continue to show up in the face of difficulties is important and should be recognized just as much as successes should be.

Schedule Social Events

The population continues to increase and there are more people on Earth than ever before. Because of technology, we can connect with each other more than ever before. However, online connections with strangers or acquaintances can’t take the place of real connections.

While some might view their work as “just a job,” it’s important to give all employees the opportunity to make connections at work outside of their roles. Social events help employees feel connected and motivated to work hard for their work community.

If your staff is working remotely, you can schedule a Zoom call that’s entirely social. Make sure to research games to play beforehand. Set a time limit and encourage employees to bring snacks and drinks.

If your staff is working in-person, then you should schedule a themed get-together during work hours. It’s a great idea to get a break from the office/the building and go out somewhere, if possible. Bring game ideas as a backup plan if natural socializing needs a nudge. This is also a great opportunity to recognize the employee of the month or quarter. Try to schedule these events on a regularly recurring basis.

Provide Perks That Elevate The Environment

The days of boring office environments are over. It’s time to think about how perks and amenities can motivate employees to have a positive attitude and to work hard.

Studies have proven that open offices, where no one can close the door to their office or has the privacy of a cubicle, create problems. Coworkers distract each other with conversation, and there’s too much noise for real, deep work.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t offer amenities, though. A snack bar is a great perk that shows employees you care. A coffee bar is another great amenity. Some of the giant tech companies have nap rooms, but that might not be the best solution for your business.

It’s also a great idea to give employees the opportunity to walk outside. A walking path allows employees to take a quick break, breathe some fresh air, and come back to their desk rejuvenated.

Take a good look at your office furniture, too. Is it comfortable and supportive, or outdated and flawed? If you can, look into upgrading the oldest furniture at leas.t

Wrapping It Up

To show your employees you care, make it evident that you are available, do your best to be fair, show your appreciation directly, schedule social events, and provide perks that elevate your office environment.

Embracing these four steps will show your employees that you want to help them succeed in their careers. Most importantly, your actions will show that you care about them as not just an employee, but as a person.

Five Problems Women In Sales Face

Women around the world enjoy pouring themselves a cup of ambition and trying to make it big in the sales world. But how fair is the sales world, really, to women? Do women get the promotions they deserve whether they’re working 9-5 or longer hours?

According to the 2018 U.S. Census, the answer is no. The U.S. sales industry has the second-highest pay gap between women and men. The highest pay gap in the country is between men and women in finance.

That spells bad news for women who want to, or who are currently trying to, make a large income in sales. Being prepared for the challenges women in sales face is the first step to closing this gap. Equal pay for equal work is essential in a modern world. Here are five problems women in sales face and potential solutions to each.

Problem #1: Systemic Flaws

Unfortunately, one of the top problems that women have in business is that they simply haven’t been allowed to, or had the opportunity to, establish their place for as long as men have. Women who don’t have relationships with clients passed on from mother to daughter, for example, are at a disadvantage. Fathers who pass on their clients to sons are giving their sons an advantage that women just don’t have.

Speaking of sons and daughters, let’s take a look at motherhood. Women have faced hiring discrimination for decades because employers do not want to hire, train, and pay someone who will be temporarily gone for maternity leave. They sometimes even attempt to fire women while they are gone on maternity leave. This is illegal now, but it has been a problem that’s prevented women from having successful sales and business careers in the past. Maternity leave is a major issue that prevents women from leading successful sales careers.

Problem #2: Lack Of Networking Opportunities

Because there have historically been fewer women than men in business, there are fewer women to go to for networking opportunities. That means fewer women mentors are available, which is especially bad news for young women who are just starting out in their careers.

Connections are extremely important in the sales world. While it’s important to have a mentor for support, simply knowing more people in the sales world who can help you change companies, for example, is useful and can lead to a more lucrative career. Networking opportunities can be hard to come by for women in sales.

Problem #3: Unconscious Bias

Women tend to be undervalued in the workplace, especially considering that they meet their sales quotas more often than men do! Someone holds an unconscious bias when they do not know that they have a set of attitudes or beliefs about a person or group of people, and these attitudes/beliefs are not based on reality.

Many men hold common, stereotypical unconscious biases about women in the workplace. Examples include, “Women can’t be trusted because of their hormones,” and “She can’t deal with that client because he’s old school. We need a man to work with him.”

Unconscious biases are dangerous because if they are not recognized and addressed, they can turn into discrimination. If, for example, a supervisor never assigns a woman representative to a certain client, they are limiting the woman’s ability to do her job. It doesn’t matter if the supervisor thought he had good intentions; by preventing women from even trying, his unconscious bias is setting up (or perpetuating) problems from the start.

Note that women can also hold unconscious biases about other women. However, it’s much more common that men hold unconscious biases about women, and these biases affect their actions, women’s opportunities, and ultimately, their performance.

Problem #4: Unfair Business Environments

When many men in a company hold unconscious biases against women, it has a major impact on interpersonal relationships and on women’s attitude about what they can accomplish at work. Unconscious biases effect women during interactions, but it extends beyond moment-to-moment interactions.

For instance, women might not feel comfortable using office equipment or going into the break room because they fear an awkward or unpleasant encounter. They might not speak up in meetings because they fear that they will not be taken seriously. Women might also feel uncertain on business trips because they do not have a support system in place.

Sometimes, companies will require a man to partner up with a woman, even if another woman could have filled that role or if the woman could have accomplished the task on her own. These are all examples of how unconscious biases work to create unfair business environments that prevent women from feeling safe and empowered at work.

Problem #5: Imposter Syndrome

While we’ve looked at major external forces that create problems for women in sales, we haven’t considered one important internal force: imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is the untrue belief that you aren’t good enough to accomplish something, even though there is evidence that suggests you are.

Imposter syndrome affects women much more than men. It creates insecurities that lead women to take fewer risks, risks which could pay off and help decrease (and ultimately, eliminate) the gender pay gap.

Women in sales need to fight imposter syndrome by taking a look at all the hard work they’ve put in and the rewards they’ve reached. Take time to be proud of how far you’ve come and what you’ve accomplished. Then, take that positive attitude and energy and put it to work.

In Conclusion

Women face many challenges in the work place, including systemic flaws, a lack of networking opportunities, unconscious bias, unfair work environments, and imposter syndrome. These five problems can be resolved if both men and women work together to fix them.

Equal pay for equal work is extremely important, and creating an environment where more women will want to work is also essential to eliminating the gender pay gap. Despite the challenges they face, women can led rewarding careers in sales.

Five Of Our Favorite Ways To Celebrate Customers This Valentine’s Day

Romance is in the air and it’s time to celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day once again. During a pandemic, it can be difficult to know how to celebrate appropriately. But this year, businesses can mark the holiday with a paper or digital Valentine’s Day campaign that celebrates love, affection, and a promise of a future together. Put your own spin on these five ideas and make an impression on your customers this Valentine’s Day.

If You Ship A Product: Embrace The Personal

Some businesses (especially small businesses) already include personalized or handwritten notes as part of their product packaging. It’s a great way to show your customer you care about them as an individual customer, and that you appreciate their business.

In the weeks before Valentine’s Day, include a paper valentine in all orders shipped out to your customers. How personal the message will be depends on the size of your businesses (you might not have time to send a handwritten note with each order, and that’s okay!). Consider including a picture of a company pet with a sweet message, or send “Best Wishes For A Happy Valentine’s Day!” Don’t forget to include your customer’s first name.

If Your Business Is Online: Show Your Love Digitally

For businesses that don’t ship products directly to customers, there are plenty of other ways to share the Valentine’s Day spirit, but digitally. Launch a Valentine’s campaign by adapting your original marketing posts for the holiday. Use Valentine’s-oriented (hearts, flowers, chocolates) images in your social media posts, on your website, and in your marketing emails.

You could also do a “Countdown To Valentine’s Day” and include a cute picture with a quote, or highlight one of your services for each day. Share photos of your office decorations and ask your customers how they’re celebrating this year.

Host A Valentine’s Charity Match

Spreading the love just got a lot better. Host a charity match where for every dollar spent (on specific products or during a specific time frame; it’s up to you!) you match the contribution and donate it to a charity of your choice.

Showing your customers you care about your community indicates that you are a business with values. If you care enough to donate, then you probably care enough to offer a great product or service, and a great customer service experience as well.

Donating to a charity for Valentine’s Day shows you love and care for more than just the bottom line. It’s a great way to showcase the mission behind your business.

Celebrate The Singles

For many who are single, Valentine’s Day can be an isolating holiday. You can develop your Valentine’s marketing campaign to include content that makes single people feel bad about not being in a romantic relationship.

Choose a day or two to highlight self-care for people who are single and people who are in relationships during the Valentine’s season. If there’s a way to tie in your product or service to self-care, that’s fantastic! Let your customers know how they can put their health and needs first with your business.

Share Your Appreciation

Valentine’s Day is all about showing love and appreciation. It’s a great opportunity for you to show how much you value your customers. You can send a simple message of thanks to your customers, letting them know how much you love being in your business and how they make that possible.

You can also show your appreciation by offering a valuable coupon. Or you can use a “Share the Love this Valentine’s Day” message to offer discounts to customers who refer a friend.

Whatever direction you go, make sure to let your customers know you appreciate them and that you want to thank them for helping make your business possible!

In Conclusion

By sending personalized paper messages, running a digital Valentine’s Day campaign, hosting a Valentine’s Day charity match, celebrating the singles, and showing your appreciation, you can reveal more of your personality to your customers. Giving your customers a reason to connect to you is a great way to grow your business!

Arguing At The Office Or Online: How To Manage Employee Conflicts

While some companies are telling their employees to keep working from home, others are calling staff back to the office. Although it might be easier to avoid office conflict when working from home, that doesn’t mean that arguments disappear entirely.

We’ve come up with four best practices for managing employee conflicts, no matter what the setting might be. Whether there’s a disagreement happening in the office or online, one thing is certain: that conflict is decreasing productivity and making your workplace a less pleasant place to be.

Don’t let conflict take away from your company. Follow these best practices to keep conflict to a minimum and to provide a positive work environment for your employees.

Be Proactive

For this best practice, you’ll have to pick a day to start, and we suggest the first Monday of a new month. The symbolism of choosing the first day of the week to launch an initiative actually helps people get in the right mindset: new month, new practice.

And just what is this best practice? It’s simple but so important: respect. When employees don’t respect each other, miscommunications and arguments increase. Respect is essential to the functioning of any organization or society,

Unfortunately, you can never control whether or how much employees actually respect each other. But what you can do is establish a set of norms. Don’t interrupt when someone is speaking. Each person has this much time to speak. If you have an issue with a coworker’s behavior, then talk to your supervisor.

If an employee breaks these norms, then it’s time to have a discussion with them about the importance of respect and their future with the company.

Establish A Complaint Process

Sometimes a conflict gets out of control, or an employee’s behavior escalates in a way that can no longer be tolerated. When this is the case, there needs to be a process for filing a formal complaint.

No employee should have to feel like their voice won’t be heard. If a coworker is treating another employee poorly, then that employee needs to make it known.

A written complaint that goes into a personnel file will help HR track employee behavior in case the case escalates even further.

Communicate the complaint process to your employees. Make sure they know that they will not be penalized for reporting the inappropriate behavior of a coworker.

Confront The Issue

For less serious conflicts, it’s time to leave passive aggressiveness behind. When a minor event happens, employees should be encouraged to confront each other over what went wrong.

Ignoring tensions can actually make the problem worse as time goes by. When employees secretly dislike a coworker or manager, that’s a recipe for miscommunication. It’s difficult to ask for help from someone who you don’t like or don’t trust.

Encourage your employees to have honest, open conversations with each other. Explain that the first step is to politely state how they feel and what the other person might be able to do in a future similar situation to minimize the issue.

Set Communication Standards

Establishing norms for respect, a process for filing formal complaints, and a policy of addressing issues as they arise are three important steps that all have to do with communication. Communication is critically important in the workplace, and that’s why having high standards for it will help your business move up to the next level.

Decide on how much communication you expect from your employees daily, and how much communication is needed within teams. Make sure that you model clear and concise communication in your emails and meetings.

Be honest, open, and to the point. Prioritize your employees’ understanding. If you have communicated something unclearly, then that could lead to future miscommunications.

You should also ask each team to establish their own communication standards, and make sure you approve them. Ask your employees for feedback about what was communicated well and what needed more clarity.

In Conclusion

Respect, complaint processes, conflict policies, and communication standards are four areas where companies should be following best practices to keep conflict to a minimum and employees happy at work.

Arguing at the office or online can lead to more than just a miscommunication or lost time. When conflict gets out of hand, serious consequences can ensue that can lead companies into disaster.

Make sure that you take the right steps and follow best practices to create a positive work environment where employees feel heard and valued. Communication is key!

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.


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.

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!

Choosing the Right Font: Sans Serif vs. Serif

Whether you’re developing the brand identity for a new company or you’re re-working an existing company’s brand, you have plenty of important decisions to make. Not only do you have to decide on the colors, logos, graphics, and messaging, but you also have to make a decision about one of the most important components of the brand guide, a choice that will be seen all over your website and emails: your font.

Choosing a font requires a lot of thought and attention to detail. Before you choose your specific font, take a step back and look at the big picture. There are two main categories of fonts: serif and sans serif. How do you know which one will be the right fit for the brand?

What Is A Serif?

First, you need to know what exactly a serif is. Simply put, a serif is a small, decorative curved stroke. It is added on to the end of a letter stem, either at the top, on the sides, or at the the foot of the letter

So, serif fonts have serifs, which are extra decorative lines. The word “sans” is French for “without.” A sans serif font is without, or does not have, these small extra decorative lines. (See image below, left is serif, right is san serif)

Choosing a font that has serifs will impact how customers perceive your brand.

When To Use A Serif Font

Serifs were first used in typefaces in the 1700s. Because they’ve been in use for hundreds of years, they are, first and foremost, considered traditional. Serif fonts are very useful for when a company wants to be perceived as trustworthy, reliable, and established.

Businesses that typically choose to use serif fonts in their branding include newspapers, like The New York Times, law firms, banks, and other long-established institutions who want to cultivate a sense of trust.

The most commonly-used serif font is Times New Roman. Many organizations (like the Modern Language Association, the Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association) prefer submitted works to be formatted using Times New Roman.

Teachers and professors want to prepare their students for the high standards of these organizations, and therefore require their students to turn in papers formatted in these fonts from a young age.

Because they want to also hold themselves up to these high standards, and because they want to be perceived as trustworthy, schools and universities often use serif fonts in their branding.

Serif fonts are an excellent choice for companies and organizations who want to inspire confidence and trust. If you want a brand to be perceived this way, choose a serif font as part of the brand identity.

When To Use A Sans Serif Font

Sans serif fonts do not feature the small, decorative strokes at the end of their letters and are characterized by their absence. Sans serif fonts have become extremely popular in the last 30 years. When a company wants to be perceived as modern and accessible, they choose a serif font.

One important reason for this choice is that sans serif fonts are more readable than sans serif fonts. The way they render on a screen makes them easier to read.

Companies who want to be perceived as forward-thinking and “with it” often choose sans serif fonts for their brand identities. Google, Hulu, Netflix, and many more tech companies feature sans serif fonts across their platforms; in fact, sans serif fonts are the default for the tech industry. Adidas, Uber, and Airbnb are other companies that choose to use serif fonts.

Very popular sans serif fonts include Arial, Helvetica, Open Sans, and Proxima Nova.

If you want to establish a brand as modern, approachable, and friendly, choose a sans serif font.

To Sum It All Up

Ultimately, serif fonts send a message that the company or organization is trustworthy and well-established in their field, while serif fonts sent a message of modern approachability.

It’s up to the marketing team to determine what font best reflects the brand’s values and will make the intended impression. To do this, test out several fonts and decide which one best matches the brand’s vision.

At the end of the day, there are no hard and fast rules for what font choice will be best. Try out a serif, sans serif, or a combination of these two font styles, and survey plenty of people about how each font represents the brand before you come to a final decision.