Sparking Creativity When You’re Feeling Uninspired

Sparking creativity, whether it be to create a new app, propose a different business model, or rethink your social media strategy, is sometimes one of the hardest things to drum up during times where you feel uninspired.

I know that for a fact (take this blog post for example. SO. MUCH. COFFEE).

Joking aside, we all go through times of feeling stale in our creativity. And a lot of times, this staleness occurs at points where it’s very important for our creativity to flourish!

If you’re like the millions of working people out there who has trouble being creative and productive, we’ve got some helpful tips to get your innovative juices pumping to that all important creative muscle: your brain.

Listen To Some Tunes

I love listening to music. I try to fill up as much of my day with music as I can. In the shower, in the car, in my occasional quiet evenings alone, on my long commute back and forth to work, and most importantly, at work. Music has the amazing capability of sparking some of my most creative moments. I’ve found that listening to upbeat, pop or rock music helps me to push out ideas faster while deep instrumental post-rock tunes almost always help me to think about a goal more clearly and on a deeper level.

This idea is backed up by research from Glenn Schellenberg, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, who found that when a person is listening to a type of music that they enjoy, they are far more likely to be more creative. Be sure to utilize whatever type of music sparks your creativity the most.

Besides the mood-boosting effects of music, it can also help you to focus on one sound: the music. It blocks out potentially distracting sounds if you work in a busy and loud environment.

Get Another Opinion On An Idea

Your ideas aren’t always the most creatives ones, and it certainly isn’t a good idea to always take your own word for something. If you’re stuck on an idea and find yourself simply unable to see it from a different angle, reach out to a trusted friend or colleague and see what they have to say. Their idea might be worse than your own, but it’s always better to combine creative minds to create something that’s even more imaginative than what one mind could accomplish by itself.

Do Some Research

I get stuck on ideas for blog posts a lot. It always feels like there’s something out there I need to be writing about, but I just can’t think of a subject! In those times of writer’s block, I usually seek out articles on the Internet that can help to fuel my creative writing abilities.

The same strategy can be used for business owners who are stuck on what to do about stagnant sales leads, or a lack of brand advocates, or even how to get more people to follow their social media accounts. There are hundreds of thousands of articles out there from marketing experts who know how to get results. You just have to do a little research to find them!

Do Something Uncomfortable

Here’s an interesting idea that I came across while practicing what I was just preaching in the previous point. According to an opinion column by Inc. Magazine columnist Tanner Christensen, one of the best ways to spark creativity is to get uncomfortable. That’s right. Purposefully put yourself into an uncomfortable position. 

The reason behind this thinking is simple: we get stuck creatively because we get used to the routine of everyday lives. This includes a routine of working through problems in the same way, and thinking about them through the same lenses, that we always have.

If you want to stimulate your brain into a more creative mindset, you need to shock it through unpredictable, sometimes uncomfortable, situations. Steve Jobs, Picasso, and Edison all practiced this and look what they accomplished.

Make yourself a little uncomfortable, and watch the creativity flow!

14 Ways To Sneak In Exercise At Work

Twenty-four hours seems like a lot of time, but when you couple that time with the amount of time you spend at work, socializing, taking care of kids, and commuting, it’s really not enough time. Unless you’re super dedicated to taking time out of each day to exercise, it’s almost impossible to find the time to stay healthy and active.

And waking up early or after work to exercise? Forget it. I know all I want to do after a hard day of work is change into my comfy clothes, plop down on the couch, and relax. If you’re like me and find it hard to make time for exercise, check out these simple activities you can do to make sure you’re staying healthy, even when you’re stuck in an office for eight hours a day!

1. Park further away from your office

Do you usually try to get that coveted parking spot, and park right next to the office doors? Try parking all the way at the other end of your building’s parking lot. You’ll get at least a little bit of walking in when you go to and from your vehicle.

2. Sit up straight at your desk

If you have a problem with slouching at your desk, whether it’s from an uncomfortable chair or just all around poor posture, try to remember to sit up straight at your desk. This helps reduce the stress on your back muscles and spine.

3. Get a stability ball or standing desk

Is sitting up straight failing to do the trick? Get a stability ball! These big, inflatable exercise balls are perfect for improving posture. And if that’s not your thing, try a standing desk. Research proves that standing up is an overall healthier way to work.

4. Get up and walk around the office every hour

You’re going to be taking bathroom breaks anyway, why not take the long way around the office back to your desk? Getting up and moving every hour is essential to combatting a sedentary job.

5. Take the stairs, rather than the elevator

This might only apply to those working in a multi-floor office building, but it’s alway better to get the heart pumping and lungs working harder by taking the stairs.

6. Do some stretching

Sitting down for so long each day really makes your muscles tighten up. Get loose, and do some stretching whenever you get the chance. Just some simple toe touches or arm circles do wonders for a tense body.

7. Walk to someone’s office instead of emailing or calling

I know how easy it is to just send a quick email, or pick up your phone to call someone, but why not get up and go visit their office every so often? Plus, face-to-face interactions are often better for good communication, as you’re able to read someone’s body language along with what they’re saying to you.

8. Raise your legs and hold them up for a few seconds while sitting

This might sound a bit funny, but raising your legs to a 90-degree angle from your waist, and holding it there for at least 15 seconds, is a quick way to get some leg work in!

9. For the really active, get a treadmill desk!

Treadmill desks are another unique office health trend that’s been popping up recently. Walking (or running, for the extreme exercisers) while working on your computer really gets your blood flowing!

10. Geat A Stationary bike

Another option for those who really want to exercise while at the office, you can get a stationary bike to pedal while you type away and answer emails!

11. Do pushups

At lunch, or during times when you have a little break, do a few pushups next to your desk. Your co-workers might look at you like your crazy, but the health benefits are worth a few strange looks.

12. Try Yoga

This is a great option for those who want to spend some of their lunch break working out, but don’t want to get too sweaty. Bring your yoga mat to work, and stretch it out!

13. Take half of your lunch break and do a quick workout at the gym

Lots of people choose to spend half of their lunch break doing a quick 15 to 30-minute workout at a nearby gym. Keep in mind, however, that your co-workers will have to smell you when you get through, so always bring a change of clothes and some extra deodorant!

14. Bike or run to work, if you’re close enough

Finally, if you live close by your office, you can choose to bike or run to work instead of commuting through annoying rush hour traffic. Again, bring extra clothes to change into when you get there. Otherwise, you’ll end up smelling like a locker room (and probably looking like one, too).

There are tons of small ways you can sneak in a workout while at the office, and these are just a few of them! Find out which ones work best for you and your schedule, and maybe invent some of your own along the way!

Learning To Understand The Other Generation

In a recent article, published by news outlet Fusion Media, the owner of NBA basketball team the Phoenix Suns made a startling assumption about the reason why his team is performing so poorly this season. The Suns, owned by Robert Sarver, are currently 13-30 this season. Why are they so bad this season? Millennials, of course.

“My whole view of the millennial culture is that they have a tough time dealing with setbacks…I’m not sure if it’s the technology or the instant gratification of being online,” said Sarver. “But the other thing is, I’m not a fan of social media. The only thing people put online are good things that happen to them, or things they make up. And it creates unrealistic expectations.”

This line of thinking is all too common with many people from the Gen-X or Baby Boomer generations. It’s not uncommon for an older generation to think that the younger generation is doing everything the wrong way, or are too spoiled/entitled/lazy.

But it also goes both ways. People from a younger generation view the older generation as stubborn, set in their ways, and unwilling to compromise and see new ways to accomplish goals. Eventually, millennials will also start criticizing the generation below them (Founders? Generation Z?) as outdated and inept. That’s just how generations tend to think of each other.

In reality, neither group is correct. The problem isn’t doing something the right way or the wrong way. It’s more accurately a problem of being willing to understand where the other generation is coming from, and learning to compromise when it’s more beneficial to do so.

If you’re having trouble understanding how your co-workers from another generation think, check out these tips.

Don’t Be Quick To Judge

When someone challenges the way we think or the way we do things, most of us will immediately get defensive and try to prove that “no, this way is the best way to do it, and you’re wrong!” In reality, solving a task at work is usually not a black or white issue. Most of the time, it falls into a bit of a gray area, where there are a ton of different ways to get to a correct solution. Just like in a complex math equation. Instead of judging the other generation, and thinking they’re too stubborn or too reckless, learn to be patient and keep yourself from judging to the point where you can’t see another way to accomplish a goal.

Communication Is Key

There’s no point in keeping all your thoughts and opinions about how something should be done bottled up inside of you. Ignoring the other party never helps. Try to communicate and work together in a civilized way. Chances are, you’re both trying to do what’s best for the company, you’re just approaching it in different ways. If you’re really having a problem communicating with an older or younger colleague, it never hurts to meet with your manager or HR person and have a discussion together!

Try To See Things Their Way

If you’re having trouble understanding how or why the other generation makes decisions the way they do, simply ask them about it. Say, “Hi! I understand this is the way you want to do this, but I’m having trouble understanding why. Do you have a few minutes to go over your plan with me? I’d love to get a new/different perspective!” Your colleague should respect the fact that you’re interested in seeing their side of the story. A true example of a mature and professional employee is one that can see the other side of the coin, and respect the opinions of other people.

Learning to understand others, especially those from a different generation, is sometimes a difficult thing to do, but a goal that ultimately benefits everyone.

5 Ways Your Business Could Be Using Snapchat Right Now

Snapchat is quickly becoming one of the most popular and widely used social media apps around. But, chances are, you have no idea what it is or how it works. All you know is that it’s causing your kids to make funny, ridiculous faces constantly while staring at their smartphones. Did you know, however, that many businesses are now embracing the novelty of Snapchat to engage customers and grow their brands?

Here are five ways that your company can use Snapchat to engage your customers!

Give A Behind The Scenes Look

Ever wanted to get a look behind the scenes of your favorite business and see just how they operate on a day-to-day basis? Well, so do your customers! With Snapchat, you can snap quick pictures, or video, and send it out to all of your followers. Whether you’re showing off a company party or just a normal day of operations, people love to feel connected to your business!

Do Specials and Promotions

Just like with other social media platforms and email, Snapchat makes it really easy to give out special promotions and perks. Got a 20 percent off discount code for a product that you’re sending out to customers in an email? Why not send out the promo code in a snap to your followers as well! This gives a sense of exclusivity to your customers and makes them feel like they’re getting something really special from you.

Get Influencers To Rep You

A lot of businesses will let their brand advocates take over their Snapchat for a while in order to show customers real people that support their brand. It’s also a good way to get another perspective on your business out there to people. Of course, you still have to make sure the person who gains access to your account can be trusted, and won’t put the integrity of the company in jeopardy.

Do Live Broadcasts

“Snaps” from Snapchat can be used in both photo and video form. With that in mind, you can strategize how best to send out live content to your followers. Do you send short video clips to them, or do you send “snaps” in the traditional picture format? Either way, Snapchat is a great way to give followers live, visual updates of what you’re doing in the moment. You can also add these pics and video to Snapchat Stories, which are a string of “snaps” that last for 24 hours and then disappear, rather than immediately disappearing.

Show Off Exclusive Content Here First

Got a new product that you want to show off, but feel like people won’t see it quick enough through an email or Tweet? Send them a “snap” of the product! This is considered exclusive content to the customer, and, again, will make them feel like they’re receiving something special from you. Exclusive content is always appreciated by the customer and lets them know you care about the business they give you!

Don’t be afraid to use Snapchat! It’s a wonderful new social media platform that businesses all over the world, small and large, are utilizing in their social media marketing strategies!

The Ethics of Social Media For Business

When social media first burst into the mainstream public with Facebook, it was a new frontier that had mostly been unexplored by a wide majority of people. It was a lawless medium where you could tell hordes of random people all your deepest thoughts, or maybe just what you had for lunch that day.

Because most people had never experienced the kind of freedom of expression and opinion that they could on social media, there was no real set of ethical laws that governed it. But, just like anything else in this world, there should be, and are, ethical laws that keep people from overstepping their boundaries and committing unethical acts that they will later regret.

The list of ethical rules should also hold businesses accountable for their online actions. In fact, businesses should be the ones that are the most interested in the ethics of social media, since they’re constantly in the public’s eye, with watchful people waiting for them to make the next big slip up.

If you’re worried about the ethics of social media, and how you and your business should interact with others online, check out some of these awesome tips!

Don’t Give Out False Information

Every business owner should know that you shouldn’t fabricate stories to make yourself seem better, or another rival business look worse. That’s called libel/slander and it has serious legal ramifications. But what I really mean here is that you shouldn’t tell people things like your sales numbers, profits, or product claims that are false. This build distrust between the consumer and your business. Always tell the truth, no matter if it isn’t always the best truth.

Copyright Laws

Be sure to always check the copyright laws on a picture or video you are sharing, especially if you don’t give credit where credit is due. Social media laws about including a copyrighted picture in a post are a little more lenient than other places, but it’s still always a good idea to avoid any questions of improper use. There are plenty of websites out there where you can find Creative Commons licensed pics to use, so take advantage of those.

Avoid Disclosing Private Information

This is a no-brainer, but avoid disclosing anything about the inner workings of your company, such as an employee’s personal home or email address. Any information that could come back to harm you should be kept off of social media, even in private messages.

Don’t Show Favoritism Toward One Individual

It’s easy to show favoritism toward a star customer, especially when that customer is a strong, outspoken advocate of your business. But if other customers catch wind of you treating one customer more favorably than others, they will soon lose interest in your business and accuse you of playing favorites. Treat all customers equally when you’re answering their comments on your post, or when they tweet at you.

Don’t Post Inappropriate Pictures, Jokes, or Slang

Never post a picture that contains obviously offensive or sensitive content. You can’t please everyone, and you never know when a seemingly harmless post might offend a customer, but use your good judgement and think about whether the picture you post will offend someone before you decide to post it. The same goes for jokes and slang words. Don’t post inappropriate or “dirty” jokes and avoid any type of slang that might be deemed offensive. Know your audience and know what they think is appropriate material before you post anything.

Avoid Political or Religious Commentary/Opinion

I don’t like seeing this type of stuff on my own personal Facebook, I definitely don’t want to see it coming from a business’s official social account. Although some people love to get into a good debate when hiding behind the safety and comfort of a computer screen, posting anything political or religious is a good way to get people angry at each other, and your business. Keep your personal beliefs to yourself and off of social media.

Be cautious about what you choose to post on social media, because there will always be people out there who will try to use it against you, in order to tarnish the reputation of your company. When in doubt, always stop and think before posting!

6 Easy Steps For Doing An Online Contest

Online contests are an integral part of how most businesses uses their social media accounts. On places like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you can’t scroll for 5 minutes without seeing a business you follow posting a “like and share!” or “Retweet this post!” contest.

One thing you’ll notice about these posts is that, above all others, these are the posts that get shared the most. Not that story about your new shower head you’re trying to sell, or pics of the last tradeshow you attended. Nope, in our consumer culture it’s really all about winning, and getting free stuff with minimal effort.

That’s not a cut at social media contests; I love them! And as a manager of FGmarket’s social media accounts, I also know that they get fantastic results when done correctly.

So what do you need to do in order to have a great online contest? Follow these tips.

What’s The Point?

I’m not writing the next great emo track here. What I mean is, why do you want to do a contest? You probably don’t usually just give something away for free without some benefit to yourself. Figure out if you’re running a contest to create more brand advocates, get more Facebook likes, more Twitter followers, advertise your business to unreached potential customers, etc.

Which Platform Will You Run It On?

There are so many different social media platforms out there now, it’s hard to pick just one. So…don’t! You’re not going to reach all your customers on just one platform, so hit them all! Facebook and Twitter are good places to start, but you can also use Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat!

Promote It Through Other Places

There are a lot of people who stay on social media every second that they can. And there are others who are only on a few times a week. In order to make sure everyone sees the contest, you’ll need to promote it through other mediums besides social media. Use emails, handouts, or even the old, reliable snail mail to promote your contest and get people to go online!

Sticky The Post To Your Page

Both Facebook and Twitter make it easy to “pin” or “sticky” your post to your page. This just means this post will always be featured at the top of your profile page, and won’t get lost in the rest of your posts. That way, when someone visits your page, you can be sure that the contest will be the first thing they see!

Get Help Selecting A Winner

Sure, you can take all the people that liked, shared, commented, retweeted and reposted your contest on pieces of paper and drew a name from the hat, but that’s really just too much work. That’s why we have technology! To make things easier on ourselves. There are lots of great online tools to help you select a winner randomly, such as Random Picker and Woobox. Find the one that works best for you!

Measure The Results

Be sure to look at the results of your contest after it’s over to measure its effectiveness. You can check things like how many people saw it vs. how many people actually shared it or interacted with it. Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics make this really easy to do. Pinterest also has a way to measure interactions. By measuring the results, you can find out what worked this time and what didn’t, giving you a better understanding of what you should try with your next contest.

Social media and online contests are a great way to interact with your customers, because who doesn’t love getting free swag from your favorite company?

10 Marketing Companies You Need To Be Following Right Now

Whether you’re a new startup looking to make it in an increasingly competitive business world, or a seasoned veteran who thinks they’ve got it all figured out, one thing is for sure: you should never stop learning from other people.

That’s why I’ve compiled this list of some of my favorite marketing and business advice Twitter accounts, so you can take advantage of some of the great advice they tweet out on a daily basis.

From marketing and advertising tips, to business and social media strategies, these companies know what they’re talking about. So, follow their accounts, take their advice, and get to learning some new tips and tricks!

Adweek, @Adweek

Originally a weekly publication first published in 1978, Adweek covers everything to do with the advertising business. They’re a good source for figuring out market trends and strategies for promoting products.


eMarketer, @eMarketer

This website is an independent market research company that was founded in 1996. They focus on providing insights and trends that relate to digital marketing, media and commerce. Great for getting all the valuable data you could possibly need.


Hubspot, @HubSpot

Known for their inbound marketing software, HubSpot also has a fantastic blog that provides great marketing tips and insights into everything business related. They regularly tweet out links to their blog posts, and you can sign up for their newsletter to receive their blog posts directly to your inbox.


Inc., @Inc

A business magazine founded in 1979, Inc. focuses on stories of entrepreneurs, business leaders, and Fortune 500 companies. Their magazine, and also their website, is full of inspiring stories and helpful tips, which are tweeted out on an hourly basis.


Entrepreneur, @Entrepreneur

Another business minded magazine and website, Entrepreneur publishes the same type of content that Inc. does, but it’s always good to follow more than one entrepreneurial-minded account.


Marketo, @marketo

Much like HubSpot, Marketo is company that specialized in a specific marketing automation software. But, again like HubSpot, they have a fantastic blog with valuable insight into lots of different marketing topics.


Officevibe, @Officevibe

Officevibe is a very cool new startup company that specializes in software that measures employee engagement and happiness. Most of their blog posts focus on how to be happy, healthy and sane in the office. Which are, you know, pretty good things to be when you’re working in a high stress environment.


Mashable Business, @mashbusiness

An offshoot of the main Mashable Twitter account, the Mashable Business account tweets out fun and interesting links to business-related articles and marketing tips.


Ad Age, @adage

Another advertising focused business that started out as a magazine, Ad Age has been giving tips to businessmen and women since 1930. They are a great source for news, intelligence and conversation for marketing and media communities.


Hootsuite, @hootsuite

Finally, we have Hootsuite. Hootsuite specializes in a fantastic social media management software that I use every day at FGmarket. But they also have a fantastic blog with tons and tons of social media tips for people of all skill levels. They even wrote a glossary of social media terms to help you identify just what the heck a Twitter Canoe means.


It pays to pay attention to people on Twitter. Following these accounts will get you started, but there are many more out there with valuable information just waiting to be discovered. Find what works best for you and your business!

Extra Help: How To Hire and Manage Freelancers

Freelancers can be one of the most helpful assets for a company that wants to create awesome online content, or needs a good logo design, but doesn’t have the funds to hire a full-time employee.

Using freelancers is both cost efficient, and rewarding, for both parties involved.

Having done freelance work for multiple publications, websites, and companies in the past, and also having experience managing freelancer for FGmarket, I know a little about what freelancers want out of your company. I also know what you, as a business owner, should do in order to hire the best freelance work you can get.

Identify Your Need

The first thing to do when hiring freelance work is to identify your need for a freelancer. Do you need someone to write for your blog? Design a logo? Write copy for your website redesign? Write a press release for the local newspaper? Identifying why you need a freelancer in the first place can help you avoid complications in the future. You never know when you’re going to need a little extra help, and figuring that out beforehand, instead of right when the need arises, saves you a whole lot of stress.

Assign The Right Things To The Right People

In the same way you don’t hire a full-time employee with no design experience to a graphic design position, you can’t hire freelancers to do work that they have no prior experience doing. Figure out what your freelancers strengths are before giving them an important task. Have them send in writing/design samples, and then test the waters for a bit with them, by giving them smaller assignments.

Make Everything Clear and Understandable

Always make sure when you give an assignment to a freelancer that they know EXACTLY what you need them to do, and what you expect out of them. This makes it so there are no questions and second thoughts from the freelancer about how to complete an assignment.

Keep Expectations The Same

Your expectations for hired work shouldn’t change just because you’re working with a freelancer instead of a full-time worker. You can’t cut freelancers any slack, otherwise they might do less than you expect of them. If work is continuously turned in late to you, don’t let it keep happening. Let them know that if this pattern continues, you’ll be forced to find other help.

Check In Regularly

Just because you’ve made everything about the assignment clear, and you expect them to do the work in a timely and efficient manner doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check in on them. In my own experience, I’ll assign something maybe a month or two out, and confirm with the freelancer that they can complete the assignment for me. Then, I’ll check in a week before it’s due to make sure everything is going okay and that they don’t have any questions for me. You don’t want to check on them so often that they become annoyed with you and accuse you of micromanaging their work, but you also don’t want to not check in on them, which can lead to an assignment being turned in that’s not at all what you expected.

Care About Them Too

Freelancers just want to be loved! Seriously, I love when, as a freelancer, I am treated with respect, like I’m a real employee of their company. I also love getting feedback on my work, whether it’s good or bad. Good feedback is always encouraging to hear, but getting feedback that critiques my work is also awesome, because it lets me know that I have things I could do better, and that my client cares about me submitting only the best work.

Freelancing is a great way for your company to branch out, find new help, and get new ideas from lots of different sources. Experiment with freelancing and see how it can help you out!

Tips For Creating Meaningful Video Content

Video is now the most dominant form of media on the Internet. In the same way that video killed the radio star, it’s quickly creeping up behind the blog medium for a finishing blow.

In fact, in research conducted by eMarketer — an online digital marketing tips resource — from 2011 to 2015, the average amount of time spent watching digital video per day by U.S. adults went from 39 minutes, to almost 2 hours. This surpasses social networks, digital radio, Pandora and even Facebook!

With that in mind, wouldn’t it be advantageous for your company to start looking into making video content for your business? Not only that, but also to create video content that’s meaningful and relevant to your customers? You don’t want your content to be just another sound bite or click bait headline, you want to be a place where people get real, relevant info.

If the answer to either of those questions is “yes,” we’ve gathered a few tips for helping you create videos that grab people’s attention, and doesn’t let go (unless they want to go. This is a free country, after all).

Come In With A Bang

Just like the first chip from a freshly opened bag gives you a burst of flavor that makes you crave just one more bite, so does the intro to your video need to be, in a way, mouth-watering. Whether it be a fantastic intro, complete with catchy music or awesome animation (if you have the skills), the intro to your video is astronomically important. If it doesn’t catch their attention in those first few seconds, you can forget about them sticking around for the full length.

Make It Aesthetically Pleasing

You wouldn’t dine-in at a restaurant that was dirty, smelled of old cheese and baby diapers, and had roaches in the kitchen (no, not running around on the ground. I mean literally preparing your food. They are the cooks. It’s a roach-staurant), would you? Would you. Everyone loves to eat in a clean, aesthetically pleasing restaurant. In the same way, make your videos aesthetically pleasing. If you need to, hire a professional to put in all the whistles and bells to attract curious customers. But remember, don’t sacrifice your content for the sake of a pretty video. What’s that old saying about polishing bodily waste?

Establish Brand Identity

Your brand’s identity needs to be firmly established and apparent in any video you create. Whether you’re a happy go-lucky business that loves to joke around with its customers, or you have a more reserved, traditionally professional demeanor, be sure to clearly show that in your video content.

Watch Trends

Watching trends is important no matter what you’re trying to accomplish. But, in the case of creating video, following trends can separate you from the “noobs” (short for newbies, or inexperienced people) and the media legends. If whiteboard animation videos are in style, do those. If it’s a parody video that you can use to show off your product, do that. But please, no more Gangnam Style or Harlem Shake videos. Those are so three years ago…

Keep It The Right Length

With so much media available at the click of a button, businesses have to compete for viewers attention. If a video is too long, viewers will quickly lose interest in it. If it’s too short, you’ll more than likely have a hard time trying to stuff all the right info into it. I’m not going to tell you how long your videos should be, that’s really up to you and what you’re trying to accomplish with it. But on average, most people will only stick around for 2 – 3 minutes.

Try To Be Original, and Don’t Be Afraid To Take Risks!

With so much content already out there on the interwebs, it can be kind of tough to distinguish yourself from the hoards of voices already screaming at viewers to “hey, look this way!” Try to be original with your content, and take risks with what you produce. You might not hit a home run every time, but the rewards far outweigh the potential risks.

Video isn’t going anywhere anytime soon (unless it’s strapped to our noggins thanks to virtual reality technology). So, don’t be afraid to dive into the world of video content, and see what kind of things you can create!

Creating Brand Advocates For Your Business

According to Hootsuite’s 2015 Social Media Glossary, “a brand advocate is a customer that is so satisfied with your product that they go out of their way to help you market it. They do work on their own, but often become an even more valuable resource when you connect with them, engage them and empower them.”

Wow. I don’t know about you, but I could always use a little more help marketing what I’m trying to sell to customers. Not to mention, help from people who will basically do it for free!

The big question remains though: How do you create brand advocates? Luckily, we’ve got some great tips to get people to start becoming more than just customers to your business.

Make Yourself Known

The first step in creating loyal brand advocates is more easily said than done. You have to stand out from the rest of the competition in your market if you hope to have any chance of getting good advocates. That means, promoting yourself through advertising, promotions, social media, and maybe even charity work that people care about. Just get out there, and make yourself known to your target demographic.

Be Memorable To Consumers

Being memorable doesn’t necessarily mean finding a gimmick that will set you apart from everyone else. It simply means to think outside of the box, whether that be through the tone of your advertising copy or social media posts, or the way you package your products (hint, think more modern appeal). Customers love to promote products and companies that they think are cool or hip to the current trends.

Relationships, Not Money

Creating brand advocates isn’t about providing the best deals to your customers, it’s actually more about creating meaningful relationships with them. Sure, customers DO love getting a good deal, but they can probably get a deal that’s just as great from your competition. Get to know your customers. Find out their interests, wants, needs, and passions. You’ll find that customers are more likely to freely promote you if they have a solid relationship with you.

Encourage Sharing

Sharing is caring, right? (okay, I’ll admit, that was pretty lame. Do better next time, Caleb!) But seriously, if you have customers that are willing to share your products, whether it be through social media or old-fashioned word-of-mouth marketing, then you’re on the right track for creating brand advocates. You want brand advocates to share your content without even having to ask them to do it, but it never hurts to encourage people to tell everyone they know about you!

Treat Your Customers Right

Never stop working on your customer service. I promise you, if I’m contacting a company with a problem I have, and they don’t speak to me with kindness and understanding, I will never come back to that company. Conversely, if a company does treat me right, I’ll most likely be back time and time again. If a customer calls, emails, or tweets at you with a negative comment, resist the urge to fire back at them. This only creates more hate and negativity directed toward you. Treat your customers right, and they’ll want to tell other people about your kindness.

Engage With Your Audience

Do your customers like to leave comments on your blog posts, tweet at you, or leave comments on your Facebook page? Don’t ignore them, engage them! Customers love to see brands “like” their comments or tweets. And if you have someone with a wonderful sense of humor running your social media accounts, let them use that humor to your advantage! Brands like Babybel, The Belk Bowl (football), Taco Bell, Old Spice, and Oreo handle humor with professionalism and relatability.

Brand advocates can be some of the most helpful customers that you can have, and they are more than willing to promote your business. Follow these tips and start recruiting some brand advocates of your own!