When To Speak Up and When To Stay Silent

Striking a balance between speaking your mind and staying quiet can be tricky. Speak up too much and too loudly and you can be viewed as arrogant and too sure of yourself. Don’t speak up enough and people will assume that you don’t have any good ideas to contribute to a discussion, and don’t know enough.

But you should never be afraid to speak up, and let people know your thoughts. And don’t be afraid to keep your thoughts to yourself when the situation doesn’t require your input. If you’re having trouble trying to decide what you should try to do in your everyday work situation, check out the pros of both!

Speaking Up

When you stay silent in a meeting or during important parts of a conversation, people tend to think that means you approve of whatever they’re presenting. Of course, about 50% of the time that’s not the case. In a situation where someone is saying ideas that you don’t agree with, it’s best to speak up and voice your reservations or disapproval.

What keeps most of us from speaking up when we should is a fear that what we say will sound dumb, or won’t add to the conversation in any viable way. But that kind of thinking prevents new ideas from being brought to the table. You could be holding back an idea that no one has thought about yet. And chances are, there’s going to be someone else that agrees with what you’re saying, and will back you up so you aren’t alone in your idea.

People that are in supervising positions over you also tend to view speaking up as a positive skill to have. I know on some of my past reviews at jobs I’ve been told that speaking up at meetings is something that I should try to do more often, because managers like to hear what their employees have to say (or at least a GOOD manager likes that). Speaking up more often could lead to more opportunities being opened up for you in the future.

Staying Silent

I’m an introvert by nature, which doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with me when I don’t speak up. I just prefer to think about an idea and digest it more before I speak, in most cases. So, that makes it really hard for me to speak up sometimes, but I’ve really nailed the whole “keeping silent” thing in meetings. But, keeping silent shouldn’t be viewed as a negative trait.

Sometimes, it really does benefit you to not speak up during a meeting, and to instead, listen and digest the info more cohesively.

In no job is it more important to keep quiet and listen then in a customer service position, where listening to a customer’s complaints and helping them is literally in the job description. You don’t want to talk over the customer, and you definitely don’t want them to view you as arrogant or off-putting for not listening to their complaints, and working to fix the problem. Less is more, as the saying goes.

But what if you’re in the middle of a big meeting, where you’re expected to throw ideas around with your other coworkers? In these situations, I usually take notes and write down some thoughts that I could possibly bring up later if someone calls on me to tell me what they think. Don’t ever say “I don’t know,” because, in reality, you do know, you just don’t feel comfortable expressing it in front of big groups of people. Always be prepared to have an answer when someone asks you to speak, and if you still don’t feel comfortable bringing something up in front of a larger group, you can always ask to have a discussion with someone one-on-one. I always find one-on-one conversations easier than bigger ones.

There’s no right or wrong way to handle conversations; both speaking up and keeping silent both have their merits. You just have to work to find the right balance between them, and when you finally do, you’ll have no problem effectively communicating with colleagues, customers, and your manager!

Is My Website Outdated? 4 Ways To Spruce Up Your Site

Technology changes very rapidly these days. That brand new iPhone or Samsung Galaxy you own right now? Just wait for a year or two and a better, faster, more advanced version will have already come out, and you’ll be looking at your already amazing piece of smartphone tech like it’s a sack of dirty gym socks.

So, shouldn’t it stand to reason that with new technology being developed at alarming rates, one of the oldest and most useful tech developments– the website — should keep up with these developments as well?

Our vote is a resounding YES.

So what are the tell-tale signs that you should consider redesigning your website?

Mobile Responsiveness

Remember those smartphones I mentioned earlier? According to eMarketer, mobile traffic made up about 30% of all Internet activity in 2015, and according to Mediative, mobile data usage went up by 1,525% between 2010 and 2015. That’s a massive increase in only a few short years. Mobile responsive websites are so important these days that Google now ranks mobile-friendly sites higher than those that aren’t mobile-friendly. According to Google Research, 72% of consumers want mobile-friendly sites.

What does that mean? It means if you want your website to succeed in the modern Internet age, it needs to be optimized for mobile devices.

If you have questions about your current website, and whether it meets Google’s standards for mobile-friendliness, check out this easy-to-use test from Google. 

Outdated Design

How’s your website looking these days? Does it look like it jumped straight out of the late ’90s Dot-com bubble? In other words, does it look like any of these cringe-inducing, eye-raking websites? If so, then it might be time for a massive website redesign (no, scratch that, it’s DEFINITELY time for a redesign).

When you design a website, you need to make it as easy to understand to the consumer as possible. That means when a visitor comes to your website, can they tell what your website or brand is about just from the design? If they can’t, then your website is failing at accomplishing even its most basic function. Make sure you’re using strong visuals and organizing the info in a way that’s easy to navigate.

Results Are Below Expectations

A beautifully designed, mobile responsive website is a great start to updating it, but what if it’s still not getting you the results that you want? You may have all the bells and whistles necessary to attract people, but if the data shows people aren’t interested in it, then it might be time to rethink things like content, navigation, call-to-action buttons and links, how text-heavy your site is, your branding, and more. Your conversion rates will give you a good understanding of whether your website is working.

Functionality

Nothing is worse than navigating to a website, and then being bombarded with ugly pop-up ads, broken links, videos that autoplay without a clear way to stop them, pages that scroll down forever, etc. Not only should your website look good, respond well, and give you the results you need, but it also needs to function easily.

If people become frustrated with your website trying to do simple tasks like finding your Contact page or how to add a product to their shopping cart, then you’re going to see a steep drop-off in your conversion rates and your profit. Make sure you’re designing a website that functions as intended, for everyone that comes to your site!

Designing, redesigning, and updating websites is no easy task, but if you want to grow your business in this ever-evolving tech-driven business world, you need to have a beautiful website. Don’t be afraid to start the process of updating your website; you’ll be glad you did!

Bad Boss: 4 Ways To Deal With An Awful Manager

On average, we spend about 1/3 of our lives working (based on a 5-day a week, 40 hour work week). How depressing is that? (not very, if you love your job and the people you work with.) 

But what happens when you’re trapped at a job you hate, with co-workers that are less than pleasant? Even worse, what happens when you’re forced to spend that much time at work, and you really, REALLY don’t like your boss?

Having to work with someone who belittles you, doesn’t listen to your grievances, has no respect for your work, and doesn’t bring a positive vibe to the office can really do some emotional, and possibly mental, damage to a person.

Don’t believe me? You don’t have to. The science speaks for itself. Research from a 2009 study found that out of 3,122 men, those who had a positive view of their boss had a 20 percent lower risk of developing heart disease over a 10-year period than those who view their managers in a negative way. 

It sucks to have to work with a boss who doesn’t let you be you, but all hope isn’t lost! There are actually quite a few things that you can do to make your interactions with your horrible boss better than you thought possible.

The first step in combatting the negative energy that a bad boss dishes at you during your 8-hour workday is to identify the signs of a bad boss.

Here are a few things to look out for:

  • Are they micromanagers?
  • Do they fail to give you positive reinforcement when you complete an assignment?
  • Do they ignore your concerns?
  • Do they have a condescending attitude?
  • Are their constant – I REALLY THINK YOU NEED TO BE WORKING ON THIS BECAUSE – interruptions a problem?
  • Do you feel like they don’t care about your wellbeing as an employee?
  • Are they stingy with giving out raises and bonuses?
  • If you were stranded on the side of the road, would they be the first person to give you a ride in their car, or “accidentally” run you over?

There are many ways a boss can be bad, and the reasons vary from person to person, but there’s one major factor that all bad bosses have in common: they don’t care about you as a person, they only care about themselves.

So, here are a few things that you can do to turn a bad boss situation, into a better boss situation.

Communicate

Whenever you fail at communicating with another person, you’ll pretty much fail at everything else. Communication is a key component in understanding each other. Even if your boss hasn’t put forth the effort to communicate, the blame partly falls on you as well. Make sure that you try to communicate with your boss to remove any confusion that might exist between you. It’ll also potentially keep them from micromanaging you as much. You can communicate more through email, phone, messaging software, and even in person (although, if the sight of their face produces a gag reflex in you, then it’s probably safer to seek out other means of communication).

Prove To Everyone Else You’re Worth It

If your boss doesn’t show you that he or she thinks your worth listening to, then show everyone else at work that you are. That means doing the best job you can do every day, listening to your co-workers and bouncing ideas back and forth to each other, being a nice person to everyone, and just being an all-around good employee. If you’re crappy to everyone else, then no one will be upset when your boss treats you unfairly. But if you’re an astounding coworker, then you’ll have people to back you up when you get treated like a second-rate employee.

Stand Up For What You Think Is Right

“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” Audre Lorde penned these words in her poem A Litany For Survival, and it’s something to consider whenever you feel like your voice isn’t being heard. Not only will you be directly letting your boss know you are upset, but studies show that employees who stand up for themselves feel better about their jobs!

Set Your Own Goals

If your boss is setting goals up for you that are destined to make you feel like you’re not working to your full potential, then set your own goals! Maybe that goal is to be the top salesperson in a certain month, or to improve your writing skills. Or maybe it’s just to be a nicer person to your coworkers. Any goal is better than no goal, and you need to set your own personal goal if your manager isn’t pushing you to be a better worker.

Remember, a bad boss doesn’t have to ruin your work experience. Make the best of the situation, and follow our tips to create a better work environment for everyone!

How To Stay Motivated Throughout The Work Day

Finding motivation during your work day can sometimes be a struggle. You can work and work and work on a project all morning, and then feel like you don’t need to finish any other assignments, or simply have run out of energy to do anything else by the afternoon. Or, you can come into work completely exhausted from staying up late the night before, and not even the strongest cup of dark roast coffee can awaken your sense of motivation to do anything that day; a quick desk nap sounds like a great idea, right?

Unfortunately, in the fast-paced, money making society that we live in, there’s no time to be lazy or to put off important assignments.

And rightfully so. There are countless instances of famous entrepreneurs, world leaders, and influential celebrities who got where they are today by putting in the required work and effort.

If you find yourself dozing off at work (especially after a full lunch belly) then we’ve got a few tips today that can possibly help you get out of that unproductive slump!

Play Some Upbeat Tunes

If you’re like me, then working in a noisy and distracting office really tests your patience. Whether it’s a coworker who likes to talk for hours, office construction, people popping into your office for random things, or any number of other distractions, it’s hard to block it all out and focus on the task at hand. That’s why I bring headphones to work and crank up some uplifting tunes to help me stay motivated and keep out all the unwanted diversions. This is even more important during your after-lunch workflow, as this is typically the time when people feel tired, due to getting full from a large lunch or just running out of energy around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. Make yourself a work playlist full of your favorite pump-up tunes and see if this helps stir your creative juices!

Drink Coffee, If That’s Your Thing

Look, coffee isn’t for everyone. I get that. But it’s definitely good for one thing: energy. A good, strong cup of coffee usually has enough caffeine to push me through prime naptime (a.k.a. around 2 in the afternoon). If you can’t stand the taste of coffee, then there are tons of other options out there to give you a great boost, including teas, energy drinks, sodas, and vitamins, like B12! Experiment with a lot of different options, and see which one works best for you.

Get Up Every Hour For A Quick Stretch

Sitting down all day really doesn’t help your energy levels. It keeps your body sedentary and makes it that much harder to find any motivation to do your work in the afternoon. One of my coworkers has a really interesting solution to this problem. He sets a timer on his computer to alter him every 45 minutes to stand up, walk around, and stretch for about 10-15 minutes. I’ve been trying this as well, and it seems to help me stay awake after lunch (not to mention, it’s great for digesting that big lunch meal). Even a little bit of moment to break up the hours of sitting down that your body endures every day is a great practice to keep.

Invest In Standing Desks

Another solution the breaking up the long periods of sitting that you might do each day is to invest in a standing desk. A standing desk is just what the name says; a desk that you stand and work at, instead of sitting in an office chair. Studies have shown that sitting down all day is detrimental to the health of an employee and has even been called Sitting Disease. Gina Trapan of Lifehacker lists two main reasons that she switched to a standing desk instead of a sitting desk: better posture and higher calorie burn. For more on the benefits of standing desks, check out Gina’s Lifehacker article. 

Have Something To Look Forward To After Work

What do you like to do in your free time? Exercise? Cook? Play with your children? Go on walks with your dog? Watch TV? Play video games? No matter what that thing is, it’s important, and healthy, to look forward to doing something you love after you get off work. If you have nothing to look forward to after work, you run the risk of becoming even more unmotivated, de-energized, and even depressed in your day-to-day workflow. Use what you’re looking forward to doing after work as a motivator for you to get busy with your tasks! When you have a solid work motivation, even if that motivation is looking forward to NOT working, you’ll find it easier to get through the afternoon.

Give Yourself Rewards

Have you ever gotten a reward for accomplishing a goal? This could be a raise at work, a bonus, or just a friendly handshake or pat-on-the-back from your manager or supervisor. But what about giving yourself rewards? Sounds kinda weird, right? It’s totally not! Think of it like this: if you set a goal for yourself to finish a certain task during the day, and you achieve that goal, wouldn’t it be nice to treat yourself to a delicious, decadent cup of coffee, or a sweet scoop of ice cream? Maybe these aren’t the healthiest reward options, but you can always substitute these unhealthy treats for healthier ones! It’s great to give yourself rewards for accomplishing goals because you’re not always going to get that recognition from somebody else. Use your rewards to motivate your work ethic!

Getting motivated isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but with these easy to do and fun tips, you’ll find yourself crushing your tasks, and getting more accomplished than you ever have before!

Twitter Lists: What They Are And How To Use Them

If you have a Twitter account, then you know how impossible it is to see every tweet from every person you follow, even more so if you’re a larger business who “follows back” thousands of customers.

Although Twitter recently rolled out a new stream algorithm intended to make those tweets you might have missed show up first when you open the app, it’s still not a perfect solution. Thankfully, there’s a better way.

Twitter Lists were created to curate groups of Twitter accounts together, so instead of having to scroll through a massive stream to view all the tweets from the accounts you follow, they can be grouped into nice little bite-sized streams for easy viewing.

To get started with creating Lists, you first need to decide which type of device you want to create them on. There are different ways to create a list, depending on if you have an IOS device, an Android device, or if you’re using a web browser.

iOS

On iOS, first, open up the Twitter app, and then click on the Me tab. Then, click the gear icon. Select View Lists, next, and then tap the Plus icon to create a new list. You can give your list a name and short description, and then decide whether you want your list to be public or private. I’d recommend using the Private setting if you’re using it to keep up with what your competitors are posting because the person you add to a Public list will get a notification whenever they are added to a list. After you’ve finished this, click Save.

Android

The Android app works in much the same way that the iOS app does, except for a few small changes. Open your Twitter app, and then click the overflow icon (the 3 vertical dots). Then select View Lists. Next, tap the Plus icon to create a new list. Follow the same steps as the iOS version, and then click Save.

Web

In order to create a list from your web browser, you’ll first need to login to your Twitter account. Then, click on your profile icon. A drop down menu will appear, and you’ll need to click Lists. Next, click Create New List. Give your list a name and descriptions, and set the privacy settings to either Public or Private. Click Save List and you’re done!

Adding/Removing Accounts From Lists

After you’ve created your list, the obvious next step is to add people to that list. To add someone to your list, you’ll need to go to their profile page and click on the gear icon next to their Follow button. This works on all three versions mentioned above: iOS, Android, and Web Browser. After you click on the gear icon, you’ll need to click Add or Remove Lists, and then select the list you’d like to place the account in. If you placed someone in a list that you’d like to remove them from, uncheck the box beside the list you’d like to remove them from.

Viewing Lists

Once you’ve gotten your lists set and organized, the next step is to view those lists. To view a list you’ve created on a mobile app, you’ll first need to go to your profile page (the Me option) and click the gear icon. You’ll see View Lists, and once you click on that, you’ll see all of the Lists you’ve created. Click on the one you’d like to view, and your Tweet stream will turn into a perfectly curated list of the accounts you want to see. Pretty simple!

Twitter Lists are a great way to organize all of the accounts you follow into easy-to-view streams that guarantee you’ll never miss important tweets by customers, competitors, influencers, and more!

For more on Twitter Lists, check out Twitter’s official Support page! 

6 Entrepreneurs Who Started Out With Nothing

Successful entrepreneurs usually don’t start with riches and fame (well, that is, unless you’re Donald Trump). Most had to work hard to get where they ended up, overcoming obstacles as daunting as poverty, education, resources, and more.

If you ever feel like quitting, and don’t think your dreams could ever become a reality, just remember these 7 famous entrepreneurs and the steps they had to take to achieve their dreams!

Henry Ford

Ford grew up as a farmer’s son, a profession that is generally considered blue collar and low wage. But Ford set out to achieve his dream of giving every person in America the opportunity to afford an automobile. He installed a mechanized assembly line in his factory for the Model T, to make production cheaper and faster. He also gave workers a $5 a day pay rate, which was, at the time, very good. His company would, of course, go on to be world renowned, and the Ford Motor Company has a current market value worth $63 billion.

Steve Jobs

Although he was most well known for being one of the co-founders of Apple, and the inventor of many of the devices we use today, Steve Jobs started Apple in a very humble setting: his parents’ garage. Along with co-founder, Steve Wozniak, the Apple company grew from a simple idea to make home computers smarter and better for everyone, to a company worth $741 billion. That’s success.

Sam Walton

Walton opened up his first retail store in 1962, in Rogers, Arkansas. The store sold simple household items and was opened with only $25,000 — $20,000 of which were borrowed from Walton’s father-in-law. Walmart is now one of the largest and most successful retail chains in the world, and has a market value of $261.3 billion, as of 2015. Walton even had the title of richest man in the U.S. at one point, before Bill Gates took that title over years later.

Hewlett & Packard

Bill Hewlett & Dave Packard, founders of computing company HP, started their business in 1939 with just $538 worth of assets. They developed the technology for an audio oscillator in a very small garage, but, as we all know, that one small bit of technology completely changed the way the tech industry would develop over the next 70+ years. One of their first customers was Walt Disney Productions, which bought eight of their Model 200B audio oscillators, which were used to test the surround sound audio systems in theaters for their 1940 movie Fantasia. HP’s current market value is $57.9 billion

Jan Koum

Jan Koum might not be a name that’s as easily recognizable as Steve Jobs or Henry Ford, but his rags-to-riches story is probably one of the most compelling. As the CEO and co-founder of popular messaging app WhatsApp, grew up dirt poor, after his family moved to the U.S. from Ukraine when he was 16 years old. His family was forced to live off of food stamps for a majority of their time in the U.S. But after the launch of his app in 2009, he found success. Facebook recently bought the messaging app for $19 billion, and Koum’s net worth is now more than $6.8 billion. Talk about coming from nothing!

Howard Schultz

The founder of popular coffee chain Starbucks probably wouldn’t have been able to afford a cup of coffee that so many of us enjoy today when he was growing up. That’s because Howard Schultz grew up in a poor Jewish family in the Canarsie Bayview Houses of the New York City Housing Authority. He found success in sports, gaining a scholarship to Northern Michigan University in 1971, becoming the first person in his family to attend college. He took over Starbucks as CEO in 1987, which, at the time, was comprised of only 60 shops. He grew the company to the more than 16,000 outlets that it is today. Starbucks has a current market value of $70.9 billion, and Schultz’s personal net worth is $2 billion.

We hope that you find inspiration from these awesome stories of trial, tribulation, and success! Even when you think you can’t achieve your dreams, remember, there’s nothing to difficult to overcome!

#Fre Sha Voca Do — Turning A Meme Into A Marketing Advantage

#FreShaVocaDo

You might be asking yourself right now, “what in the world does that hashtag mean?” Well, if you’ve been on the popular short video sharing app Vine in the last few days, you know exactly what it means.

Vine user Gasoleen shared a short video of a sign for her local Del Taco restaurant that had the unfortunate mistake of spelling the phrase “Fresh Avocado” horribly wrong. Instead, the sign read “Fre Sha Voca Do,” and like all Internet crazes that for no apparent reason take off and reach legendary status, her Vine has been watched more than 12.5 million times since she uploaded it in February.

It’s even inspired a ton of parody memes:

When you have a Vine that’s poking fun at an unfortunate spelling error for one of your restaurant chains, you should probably take notice. And that’s exactly what Del Taco did. But not in a way that you might be thinking. Instead of trying to cover up the small problem, and act like it never happened, Del Taco took the opposite approach: they dove headfirst into the hilarity of a new Internet meme. Because of the massive watch numbers for this one simple Vine video, Del Taco recently Tweeted out a video ad featuring audio from the Vine that offers a free fresh slice of avocado on any taco when customers use an attached coupon. And what’s prominently featured at the top of the coupon? #FreShaVocaDo

Del Taco did exactly what you should do as a business who becomes the butt end of a harmless joke: embrace the humor, embrace the fun, and embrace the meme.

This isn’t the first instance of a business being transformed into a popular meme overnight. The same thing happened to Vans this year, with the “Damn Daniel” Snapchat story.

This was a simple video where one teenage boy jokingly followed his friend around school, videotaping him and saying “Damnnnn Daniel!,” and “Back at it again with the White Vans!” The video got so popular that the two boys were invited on the Ellen Show, and one boy was given a lifetime supply of Vans shoes! Even though this wasn’t a bad situation for Vans, they took advantage of it and really marketed themselves well with this crazy Internet meme.

Both of these cases prove a couple of things:

1. You need to pay attention to pop culture trends! You may be marketing to older generations now, who are less concerned with pop culture or Internet culture trends, but one day the millennial generation is going to be buying your products as well. They probably already are. You don’t want to seem detached from what the rest of the world sees as popular. Take advantage of these weird trends, and use it as a part of your marketing strategy.

2. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself and have a little fun at your own expense. Now, I’m not talking about gigantic snafus that could really cost your business customers unless an apology is issued. I’m talking about small mistakes, one’s that can be remedied by joining in on the fun, and maybe doing a special promotion just for the lifespan of the joke. The Del Taco Vine was trending on Vine two days ago, and the day after it reached peak popularity, Del Taco released their coupon. A coupon that’s only good for a week. That’s a great example of jumping on a trend before it dies.

Marketing and business doesn’t always have to be serious, and tone deaf to the outside world’s trends. Take advantage of those trends and learn how to implement them into a successful marketing strategy!

And if you need a refresher about all the best viral videos and memes of last year, check out this list from Business Insider. 

3 Ways Sending Out Swag To Customers Can Grow Your Business

Have you ever done something nice for a person, just for the heck of it? Maybe it’s buying their lunch one day, or opening the door for them. It could also be something as simple as complimenting them and telling them how much they are appreciated. Now, have you ever thought about trying that same strategy on a customer?

Recently, FGmarket received an unexpected gift from a company named Shortstack. The specialize in building engaging social media contests and marketing campaigns. I mentioned their name, and linked to their website, in a previous blog post about social media campaigns. They responded by sending our company some free swag in the mail!

Why does this concern you, and why are we bragging about all our cool new gear? It’s simple: customers love to feel appreciated, and they love the unexpected things you can do for them.

Customers Love To Feel Appreciated

You don’t have to replicate what Shortstack did in order to show customers you care. Not everyone can afford to send out free gifts in the mail, but there are a lot of other things you can do instead. For example, why not send out an email coupon for a certain percentage off of one of your products?

Or what about sending a cheap sticker in the mail, with your logo on it? Most people love stickers, and they can put it on their vehicle, laptop, or some other public area to advertise your company to hundreds of other people they might meet every day! It’s an inexpensive and effective way to show you care.

Customers Who Feel Appreciated Are More Likely To Stick With You

Before Shortstack sent their swag to us, I had very little idea about who they were. Now, I’m looking into their software to see if it’s something I could use in the future!

When you do something nice and unexpected for a customer, they’re more likely to stick with you rather than your competitors. And if they’re unaware of who you were before, you might pique their curiosity, which could generate new sales leads! It’s a win-win situation for both parties involved.

You Can Increase Your Social Media Fan Base This Way

When you do a giveaway, whether it be through the traditional mail system or through email, always make sure you include your most important information with your message, including links to your social media pages. If it’s an email, include direct links to your profile pages. If it’s through snail mail, include the URL of your pages, or tell people what username to search for online.

Customers are likely to look you up online once they receive your giveaway. Directing them to your social media pages increase your likes and followers, which in turn generates new sales for your company. Keep in mind that not everyone who likes your Facebook page, or follows you on Twitter, is a current customer; they might be a curious buyer who’s waiting to see how you interact with customers online before they commit to you. More and more customers these days are concerned with consumer-to-business interactions.

Don’t be afraid to show your customers you care! Even the smallest gift is a great way to show your appreciation for their business.

Facebook Adds New Reactions To Posts: How This Affects Your Business

With its most recent update, Facebook has given users something they’ve been asking for since the social media platform took off in 2006: an expansion on the now iconic Like button.

The new Facebook Reactions allow users to show how they feel about a post with six different emotions: Love, Haha (laughing), Wow, Sad, and Angry. As you can imagine, this significantly changes the way people can react to their friends posts. No longer are you forced to Like a Facebook post about someone’s pet passing away, or if they’ve lost their job recently. Now you can express your sadness with a Sad reaction emoji, avoiding sending mixed messages that often come along with a Like to one of those types of statuses.

Users can also choose to react with disapproval, rather than just scrolling by the post in question on their News Feed, or leave a nasty comment showing their displeasure.

What does that mean for you and your business? It means that now customers can interact with your posts in a much more personal way. As a business owner, this means you can also gauge people’s reactions to your posts, and find out exactly which posts are working and which ones are not.

Check out some of the ways these reactions will change the way you and your customers interact online, and how you can learn to use these reactions to better your business!

Breakdown

If you’re using a desktop or laptop computer for your Facebook account, you can now hover your mouse over the Like button to see the new options. Simply move your mouse over to the reaction you want, and boom! Your reactions show up on the status. Facebook also lets you see how many of each reaction people use on your status, making it easy to track what the majority of people think about a status.

On the mobile device, it works almost the same way. Just hold your finger on the like button, and then swipe over to the right to select which emotion you want to use. It’s as simple as that! For mobile devices, you might have to update your app to see the new reactions show up.

 

For your Facebook Pages (a.k.a. your business page) you’ll start to get notifications that say people “reacted” to your published post instead of just Liking it. These reactions will now also play a factor in your Facebook Insights, as you’ll see a breakdown of each reaction in your insights instead of just the Likes. But, interestingly enough, no matter if it’s a bad reaction or not, these reactions don’t count in the negative section of your insights, such as Hide Post, Report as Spam, Hide All Post, or Unlike Page. Any reaction is a good one!

Encourage Its Use

One thing that usually happens when a major update rolls out is that most people won’t hear about it, or know it exists, for quite awhile. That’s why it’s up to you to encourage people to use reactions! Chances are that before you said something to them, they had no idea that the option was available, but once you show them the advantage of reactions, you’ll see a sharp increase in their use.

A simple way to encourage their use is by making a status that says “Have you heard about Facebook’s new reaction options? What do you think about this update? Use a reaction on this post to tell us how you feel!”

Use It To Change Up Contests

Facebook contests have always used the “like this status to be entered into our contest!” approach. This is an effective way to get people to interact with your page, but it’s also overused and boring. Instead of encouraging people to like your status, ask them to love your status, or Wow your status. It sounds silly, but it changes up the repetitiveness of liking a status, and it’s also a good way to inform them about reactions if they still don’t know about them.

Interact With Other Pages

Interacting with other business pages, including businesses that you would consider your influencers, is never a bad idea. Leaving a like or a comment on another business’s page is a good way to build relationships, and also, promote your business in a sly manner.

With reactions, you can now interact with other businesses in a more convincing way, instead of just leaving a polite like. Use a Wow or Haha reaction to show approval of their content, and maybe they’ll offer the same in return! You never know what opportunities a little friendly interaction between companies will get you.

Facebook has once again reinvented the way we interact with friends, family, and customers online. Start integrating Facebook reactions into your social media strategy and see what positive results come out of it!

For more info, check out Facebook’s post about reactions on their blog. 

6 Tips for Learning How To Use Facebook’s Live Video Service

Technology is constantly evolving into new and better creatures. One of the most popular ways that people consume media these days is through live streaming apps. Apps like Meerkat, Periscope, YouTube and even Snapchat allow users to live stream what’s happening in the moment, to smartphone owners all across the world. Where video was once the most dominant and engaging form of media, live streaming has now become the preferred way for people to consume information and entertainment.

Maybe that’s the reason Facebook, the social media giant and metaphorical patriarch of social connectivity, is now jumping into the live streaming game.

Facebook racks up an average of 8 billion video views per day, which is a number that’s likely to increase with this update. Facebook originally released its live video update to news publications and journalists to beta test the effectiveness of live streaming video, and how people would interact with it. But now, they’ve released the capabilities to all iPhone and iPad users, with Android capabilities predicted to follow soon after.

If you’re wondering why this matters to your business, check out some of the advantages of live video we’ve compiled below, and see why live streaming is the next evolution in content marketing!

More Direct Connection To Consumers

Besides a face-to-face interaction with a customer that walks into your store, there’s nothing more direct than a video call. With Skype, Facetime, and Google Hangouts, our technology makes it easier than ever to connect with people. Think of live video as a Skype call with all of your customers at one time. With Facebook’s live video capabilities, customers can type questions to you while you stream. They might not be able to vocally talk back to you, but it’s still a great way to reach a ton of people directly at one time.

Grow Your Audience

There’s nothing more exciting than seeing your online numbers grow, whether that’s your “likes,” follows, or subscribers, seeing your audience get even bigger is a great encouragement! With live video capabilities, you have an even greater chance of growing your audience, thanks to people sharing your interesting live streams, and making your interactions with customers in your video exciting and worthwhile to them. Facebook also saves your live streams as rewatchable videos, so even if someone missed your stream the first time, they can watch and share it at a later time.

You Can Post Exclusive Content

A lot of big name businesses are now using video streaming apps to reveal exclusive content and products to their followers. One way to do this is by promoting a big reveal of a new product, or special discount for an order, but tell customers that they can only get this exclusive offer by tuning into your live video at a certain time. People love to feel like they’re special and are getting a great deal that no one else knows about. Use Facebook live streams to accomplish this goal!

Give A Behind-The-Scenes of Your Business

Another great way to use Facebook live video is to take your customers behind the scenes of your business and let them have a peek at how you operate on a day-to-day basis. You might be asking, “Why? How does this help me sell more products?” One of the reasons that businesses have social media accounts is to connect to their customers and show them that your business is relatable, fun, and cares about your customers in a real way. Showing a behind-the-scenes look is a great way to show customers that you have real people that work for your business, too, which in turn will lead to an increase in sales!

Do Live Q&A’s

Q&A’s (Question & Answer) sessions are another great way to utilize Facebook’s live video service, thanks to the ability of your customers to ask you questions while you stream. This has been done before on Meerkat and Periscope, but Facebook makes it even better by showing the comment stream in a more crisp and concise way. The comments come in at a constant stream underneath your live stream video and are easy to read. If your customers have questions, live stream Q&A’s are great ways to answer a lot of questions quickly.

Broadcast An Event

Do you go to a lot of conventions or tradeshows? Why not let your customers see what you’re up to while there! Live stream a keynote speaker, or showing people around the room where all the tradeshow booths are set up are both great ways to utilize the awesome capabilities of Facebook live streaming.

There are so many different ways take advantage of live video. And the best news is, it’s completely free! Just open up Facebook, press the streaming button, and get busy streaming your content!