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Don’t Let Be Scared!

What scares you?

Is it not getting any “likes” on a post? Setting up an event page and seeing zero RSVPs? Pressing send on an email?

OOOooo—that IS scary!

As social media managers and marketers, we’re constantly putting ourselves out there.

The internet is like a haunted house. Behind every link and app, there are unexpected tricks and treats. As a result, we may be delighted or we may be disappointed.

But isn’t that outlook a bit bleak? Sure, there’s always a bit of stage fright associated with performing for a crowd—online and in real life.

When we plan ahead and strategize, taking risks becomes a lot less scary.

If you’re worried about being haunted by a mistake, the best solution is to take action. You can connect with fellow marketers and communicators whose work you admire. Ask their advice. Remember, LinkedIn, email, and Twitter aren’t just for your business. They can also help you build personal connections.

We’ve all been nervous at one point or another. That’s a good thing.

It means we’re stretching ourselves. Having an online presence is a powerful thing. We should take our roles and the opportunity to connect with others seriously.

Keeping up with news and events takes the mystery out of a frequently changing industry. When we follow new marketing developments and learn about different strategies, we arm ourselves with the information that can help us succeed. Consider signing up for an industry newsletter, setting a Google alert, or following a trusted industry news site on Twitter.

Perhaps you like the thrills of working in communications and marketing. A lot of us do! If you encounter an obstacle, don’t run away at the first sign of trouble.

When we plan ahead, work together, and take time to be creative, we can tackle any fear.

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4 Quotes to Inspire Your Strategy

Good leaders keep us on track.

Leadership and strategy are closely linked. Without a captain and destination, we would be aimlessly paddling about.

But a good leader knows setting a strategy isn’t about merely creating a to-do list. First, a good leader needs to gather information. It’s important to talk with clients and colleagues. Then, it’s time to make informed decisions on where to go.

Need inspiration? Here are four quotes to help inspire you as a leader.

Get ready to set your business and marketing strategy!

1. Remember you are part of a community

As leaders, it is incumbent on all of us to make sure we are building a world in which every individual has an opportunity to thrive.

Andrew Ng in Harvard Business Review

2. Think about what sets you apart from the crowd

Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs; it’s about deliberately choosing to be different.

Michael Porter in Fast Company

3. Remember that success doesn’t happen overnight

Social media requires that business leaders start thinking like small-town shop owners. This means taking the long view and avoiding short-term benchmarks to gauge progress.

Gary Vaynerchuk in Entrepreneur

4. Take ownership of your vision (and see it through!)

Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.

Jack Welch in CNBC
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Break Down Social Media Goals

Quote overtop of background featuring dramatic photo of lightbulb: "Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs; it's about deliberately choosing to be different."
Michael Porter

When we break down a task, we make our success more attainable.

Embarking on a social media journey can feel overwhelming. From building a following to monitoring trends, you may think you don’t have time. But the virtual side of your business can be just as important as daily operations.

That’s why building a strategy is so important.

Who is your audience? Knowing who you need and want to reach will help inform all your social media decisions. Starting with research, and channeling that research into making personas, will allow you to decide where to focus your efforts.

If you know your audience, you know if they are on Facebook or Yelp, Pinterest or Twitter. Make choices that will help your brand stand out. It’s okay to invest your time and money into the social platform that will be most beneficial to you.

How often do you want to reach them? Setting guidelines around how often to post on which channel will help you manage your time. Additionally, creating goals of how many followers you’d like to have by a certain point will ensure you know if you are on track.

Remember, it’s also important to create a timeline for yourself. Check in and see how your goals are measuring up. Metrics might change or you might realize you were overambitious. If you need to adjust your goals to be more realistic, that’s a normal part of the social media strategy process. Keep checking in.

Is your community engaged and empowered? When you join social media, you are joining a community. Online, we are truly all in it together. Not only can you break down your tasks to help reach goals, but you can call on others to help.

It’s an engaged community that makes for a strong social presence. Empower your employees with social media guidelines so they know how to participate. Encourage your followers to submit user-generated content. Engage with fans by replying to posts.

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3 TED Talks To Calm Tech Fears

Don’t be afraid of technology.

For some people, that might be easier said than done. In our fast-paced, tech-driven world, it can be hard to keep up with change. As a result, we might fear it.

How do we continue to explore, keep a healthy level of skepticism, and remain excited for what’s next?

Here are three TED Talks that inspire us to not be afraid of the future. Once you listen to their advice, you might feel excited about the future or want to start an experiment yourself.

Don’t fear superintelligent AI with Grady Booch

As a kid, IBM’s Grady Booch was thrilled to see technology show up in Hollywood blockbusters and play with the imagination. As an adult, he notes, some of the technologies that were fantasy are becoming a reality.

He’s not afraid of what’s next. Instead, he thinks we’re on the cusp of an exciting adventure.

“We are on an incredible journey of coevolution with our machines,” Booch says in this TED Talk.

How can technology transform the human body with Lucy McRae

Lucy McRae is “fascinated with the idea of what happens when you merge biology with technology.” McRae trained in classical ballet and has a background in architecture and fashion.

In her collaborations and experimentations, she combines those interests and considers how technology and the human body could connect. For instance, how might clothes, tattoos and technology intersect?

To find out, listen to McRae share her curious creations in this TED Talk. Afterward, you might be thinking what you would create.

Why good hackers make good citizens with Catherine Bracy

Are all hackers to be feared? Not necessarily. For some tech-driven folks, being a hacker means being inquisitive and looking for a problem to solve. When you change your perspective, you might be surprised to find out what hackers are up to.

“For every hacker that’s trying to steal your identity there’s one that’s building a tool that will help you find your loved ones after a disaster or to monitor environmental quality after an oil spill,” Catherine Bracy shares in this TED Talk.

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Have Fun with Gamification

Light pink background with many white game dice illustrations overtop

Let’s play a game.

From Foursquare to Uber, gamification has become an accepted part of how people interact with companies. By reorganizing everyday activities into a game, consumers can engage with a brand in a fun and memorable way.

Whether grocery shopping or working out, a bit of competition and the chance for reward encourages people to forge a deeper connection to a task or company. In fact, people might not even think about it. As a result, it becomes a seamless part of your business experience.

The idea behind gamification is to take use various proven elements of games to motivate greater involvement. It can be used to encourage desired behaviors in individuals, whether they be customers, employees, or students. […] It is a motivational tactic that taps into our competitive spirit and drive to succeed by fostering competition and offering convenient milestones.

The Origins and Future of Gamification by Gerald Christians, University of South Carolina

However, you don’t need a large company or app developer. Instead, brainstorm creative ways you can apply gamification to your social media or marketing needs. To get started, think about gamification as it applies to your social media milestones and goals.

Gamification can bring considerable results if:

  • The process of progress tracking is transparent
  • Talented players are recognized
  • People feel valued through real-time feedback

How can gamification help you create a community or gain more followers?

Smaller companies, like a local restaurant or boutique, might want to focus on driving foot traffic. For example, gamification is part of a loyalty rewards system. This can help visitors feel like valued members of your community. Consider adding a reward for folks who help you reach a social media follower goal. Another idea would be sharing a discount codeword with subscribers to your e-newsletter.

Mid-sized companies might want to think about how to get consumers to engage with a product through user-generated content. Think about encouraging followers to enter photo contests, use hashtags, and answer questions for prizes.

(But remember to follow through on promises and have clear rules and regulations. You don’t want to create any legal or ethical issues, especially in relation to privacy or copyright.)

Larger companies could try gamification tools to train employees or cultivate the workplace community. Through a company app or fostered social media engagement, you could turn employees and casual users into brand advocates.

Get out there and start playing!

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Be an Inspired Lifelong Learner

Illustration of yellow lightbulbs up and down in playful rows

Keep learning from the best.

School is back in session — and it can be for you, too. Whether you’re a recent graduate or recently retired, learning never goes out of style.

Here are three TED Talks we like that remind us what we can learn when we stay curious and make the world our classroom.

3 rules to spark learning with Ramsey Musallam

After 13 years of teaching, a life-threatening condition led high school chemistry teacher Ramsey Musallam to reexamine how he taught students.

“Student questions are the seeds of real learning, not some scripted curriculum that gave them tidbits of random information,” Musallam shares in his TED Talk.

In marketing, we’re always talking about building and crossing the “curiosity gap” — or keeping eyes and ears engaged so they gain new information. As Musallam learned, curiosity can lead others to ask tough questions and gain important information, and this is something we too can get behind.

The nerd’s guide to learning everything online with John Green

YouTube can be your classroom, author John Green says in his TED Talk. As a young student, he wasn’t a very good student himself. Then, he found himself in the right learning environment.

“I found myself surrounded by people who celebrated intellectualism and engagement, and who thought that my ironic oh-so-cool disengagement wasn’t clever, or funny, but, like, it was a simple and unspectacular response to very complicated and compelling problems. And so I started to learn, because learning was cool,” Green says.

Today, Green says that same community can be found online. So, listen to Green’s talk and then explore your world by learning with others who think learning online is pretty cool.

Smash fear, learn anything with Tim Ferriss

From swimming at summer camp to dancing the tango in Argentina, entrepreneur Tim Ferriss covers a range of scary learning experiences in this TED Talk. For Ferriss, each one has taught him that “fear is your friend. Fear is an indicator.”

“Sometimes it shows you what you shouldn’t do,” Ferriss says. “More often than not it shows you exactly what you should do. And the best results that I’ve had in life, the most enjoyable times, have all been from asking a simple question: what’s the worst that can happen?”

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Make Your Instagram Bio Shine

Instagram icon with hand-drawn hearts floating off top

Quick! Describe yourself in 150 characters.

That’s what you have to do in your Instagram bio. It’s not a bad length to cover the basics, but on such a visual platform you’ll want to stand out.

How can you succinctly wrap things up?

Give your text a boost

If you’re looking to add a fancy font, look to Beautiful Dingbats. Enter your text into a generator and see it converted into formal script, block letters, or other unexpected fonts.

Have fun with emojis

Think of emojis as signals. They convey a host of information in one character, and can also suggest emotions and convey a sense of style and personality. Not only are emojis eye-catching, they can also surprise and delight people in just the right way.

Connect to your links

You only get one link on Instagram, but with Linktree you can link out to multiple. Sign up for free (or pay for a pro account), connect Linktree to your profile, and be able to direct your followers to multiple pages, from your professional website to latest project.

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4 Leadership Quotes to Inspire Lifelong Learning

Closeup photo of lightbulb with Albert Einstein quote overtop: "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing."

Great leaders and innovators never stop learning.

When we learn, we become better leaders, colleagues, friends, and partners.

Learning keeps our skills sharp — an ever-important need in the fast-paced world of technology and communications. Not only that, when we learn, we stay nimble and curious. Learning helps us become the best version of ourselves.

What are you waiting for? Pick up a book, download a podcast, read a news article. It’s time to get out and learn!

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.

Albert Einstein

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.

Henry Ford

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.

John F. Kennedy

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.

Colin Powell
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Why Your Business Needs a Social Media Policy

Sometimes, the internet can feel like the Wild West.

Understanding our tools, planning ahead, and having procedures in place can help. That’s why your business needs a social media policy.

What’s a social media policy?

A social media policy is a crucial tool for any organization that uses social media.

In fact, it’s a crucial tool even if your organization doesn’t use social media. Because your employees almost certainly do: 72% of Americans use at least one social media platform. Yet 63% of Americans say their employer has no social media policy.


Think of your social media policy as an online code of conduct. It makes clear how you expect others to engage with your business online, especially your employees. This may sound limiting, but it can actually be empowering.

When you know what to do and how to act, others have the tools to represent your business to the best of their abilities. It can also help you avoid disaster and legal risks. Establish your policy early instead of when you’re in the middle of a crisis.

Your policy can be short (and there are many guides and examples online for you to build upon). It should also be a living document. Your business is going to change, and so will technology available. Is the existing policy still working? Is there a new platform that needs to be accounted for? Make sure you keep checking in that it is up-to-date.

Make your policy straightforward and available.

A clear, concise policy is best. Share the policy with new employees as they join your business.

Additionally, make the policy available to your web community. This is what will help commenters and followers know how to interact with your business online — and know what counts as crossing a line.

Document everything.

If you start having issues with someone online, take note. Perhaps that first infraction simply raises a red flag. If you decide to have a “three strikes and you’re out policy,” you’ll need to track strikes.

Hopefully, it doesn’t get to the third strike. But if it does, you’ll have the documentation needed to back up any further action.

Discover brand advocates.

When you monitor your business online, you get to discover your fans. This is one of the pleasures of engaging with your online community. When we think about policies and rules, sometimes we think about “don’ts” more than “dos.”

As you look around your social channels, take note of the positives. When you engage with your brand advocates, you encourage a conversation, and they feel even more a part of your world.

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Advance Your Digital Marketing Career

Lightbulb on chalkboard with connected ideas written in bubbles as SEO, Email marketing, Social media, ROI, Analytics

As digital marketers, we are always learning.

Whether navigating a new app or staying up-to-date on industry news, it is important to stay curious.

Taking a short course or earning a certificate can help professionals expand their talents.

It can also help give your resume an added boost. When potential employers see you’re investing in new skills, it shows you are someone willing to try different tools and responsive to fresh ideas.

When we’re in the classroom, we’re also connecting with others in the industry.

Marketing and communications is all about building a dialogue with others. By enrolling in a specialty course, we have the chance to not only learn from the instructor but also our peers. Social media especially is often learned through doing. What better way to learn than by exchanging experiences and real world examples?

A specialty course can help us go deeper into subjects.

Investing your time in a webinar or workshop means students can maximize their time and choose topics relevant to their individual interests within the digital marketing.

Perhaps you are curious to learn more about search engine optimization or pay-per-click advertising? If you have questions about a certain subject, find a way to learn about just that and dig in!

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