Using Slack In The Office

 

Slack is an online office messaging app that has been called the future of communication between employees in the work space. It has even been touted by publications like The New York Times, Bloomberg, and The Verge as the messaging app that will eventually kill off email.

So, if you’re looking for a better way to communicate with your employees, co-workers, or employers, check out these facts on Slack!

Communication Across Multiple People

Slack is a San Francisco startup that launched in August 2013. Since that time, it has amassed a total of more than 1 million active monthly users, with a company value of more than $2 billion.

It’s safe to say that Slack will continue to grow in popularity, and make its way to every company, whether a small company of less than 50 employees or a huge corporation of thousands of workers.

Slack’s main purpose is to simplify and optimize communication between employees. Rather than having countless meetings, sending countless emails, and having countless miscommunications, Slack aims to be an app that always keeps you connected with your company.

When you sign up for Slack, you’ll be able to add as many employees to the app as you want to the software. Once they’re signed up, employees can chat about projects; share files, images and documents; leave comments and suggestions on other’s projects; and even chat with each other on non-work related topics, allowing co-workers to build relationships faster, and have better communication between each other.

Channels

The main way Slack accomplishes this great connectivity is through its channels. Channels are message groups that can be divided into numerous topics, including a general company channel for announcements, specific channels for projects that teams are working on, and even a random channel for fun, stress-free communication.

Anyone can create a channel, give it a purpose, and add co-workers onto that channel. Some channels share messages and files between all employees using Slack, others only share messages with the people that have been added to those channels. So you don’t have to worry about muddling up communication in the general channel.

If you’re not looking to create an entire channel to communicate with a co-worker, Slack’s got you covered there as well. They have a direct message option, similar to Google Hangouts or Facebook Messenger, that allows instant messaging between two employees who don’t need to share a message with the entire channel.

There are even private groups to discuss projects and other business without speaking with an entire channel.

Extensive Search Capabilities

What happens when you need to look up a conversation you had with a co-worker three months ago about the new marketing plan you’re supposed to launch this month? If we’re talking about searching to find an email from three months ago where you discussed the plan, you’ree going to have a difficult time getting there (especially if you delete your emails as often as I do).

That’s where Slack’s brilliant search function comes in. Simply search for a certain keyword or name of a project, and Slack will scour its archives to show results for every time that word was used in a channel, or in one of your DMs and private groups.

You’ll never have to worry about trying to recall what was talked about in that meeting all those months ago; you’ll have instant access to it with a simple keyword search.

Sharing Files

When you share files in Slack, they appear directly in your channel stream. For example, if I need to share a blog graphic I’ve created for a new blog post (let’s say this post), all I need to do is find the channel where the blog post is being discussed and upload the file. My co-workers will instantly get a notification that I’ve uploaded a new file, and they can add comments underneath the graphic to offer suggestions if it needs editing.

Besides file sharing, you can also create text snippets — to share certain paragraphs of an important document — or you can create a long post inside of Slack, perfect for creating company wide announcements.

App Integration

What better way to get efficient and optimize work than by integrating all those other apps you use on a daily basis?

Slack offers integration for a lot of the most popular tools and software that companies use every day, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Twitter, and IFTTT.

By integrating these apps, there’s no need to ever have to exit Slack. Plus, they have a great mobile app that allows users to communicate with their team, even when they’re not at the office (don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you HAVE to use it during your vacation or on the weekends. You can mute notifications when you’d rather not be bothered).

If you’re worried about adding another expense to your company budget, don’t be! Slack is completely free to use for as many people as you want to add (although, they do offer a paid version for much larger companies looking for more features).

Slack is on its way to killing email for good, and, for some people, that’s an answered prayer they’ve been wanting for quite some time.

Using Infographics To Your Advantage

Infographics are a great way to involve your customers in the information you’re trying to present. Why? Because instead of just telling people info about your company, or a long string of boring data, you’re giving them a visual representation of the facts they need to know.

Because, let’s face it, reading info can be boring, overwhelming, and time consuming. Wouldn’t it be better if there was a way to conceptualize this data in a fun graphic?

There are a lot of ways to use infographics, so check out these tips on this handy tool!

Data

One of the most common uses of infographics is to take data from your company — whether it be sales numbers, profits, or anything that has to do with numbers — and transform it into an easily understandable graphic.

It’s sometimes hard for others to understand the big picture with the numbers you’re presenting to them, especially if they’re not mathematically-minded (raises hand). So, take all that data you’ve entered into a spreadsheet, and get your graphics team to turn it into a fun graphic. It’ll make your company look more modern, and will help out your audience a ton.

Education

Infographics aren’t just for big data; they can also be used to educate and inform. For a lot of people, learning happens in different ways than just reading info in an article. There are those that learn best through visualization. In fact, there are three main ways people learn: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.

In this way, infographics can be used to educate your customers about new products, what your brand is about, or goals you look to accomplish through your company.

They can also be used to educate your employees. For example, if some of your employees are visual learners rather than auditory, then explaining rules vocally will do absolutely no good. These employees need to see the information, and infographics are a great way to do that.

Brand Awareness

If you’re trying to get customers interested in your product through a marketing campaign, but don’t have the money to shell out on paid advertisements, then infographics are your best friend.

Rather than spending a ton of money paying advertising companies to promote your brand, why not just do it yourself?

Social media is a wonderful way to do this, but you have to be cautious about what you promote. Facebook is more strict than other sites, like Twitter and Instagram, so make sure your read through their terms of use before promoting your product.

But there’s no rule that says you can’t get customers interested in your product through a visually appealing infographic. Just make sure you promote it as an educational graphic, rather than an advertisement.

Don’t be afraid to use infographics to your advantage! They can be great tools to add, and are simple and fun to make!

If you’re looking for more on how infographics can help, check out this infographic made by CustomerMagnetism.com.


Created by Customer Magnetism.

How To Create A Great Marketing Plan

Every business needs a marketing plan. It’s necessary for success and growth in a company, and chances are, every business has one, whether they know it or not.

In plain words, a marketing plan is a blueprint of ideas that outline a company’s long term goals for productivity and progression. It’s a way for a company to know exactly what they need to do to accomplish a goal, and how they’re going to do it.

So, where do you start when you decide that your company needs a clearly defined marketing plan? Check out these great tips!

Pre-Planning

Before you even start planning your marketing plan, you need to pre-plan the planning of your plan. Have I confused you yet? It’s actually a lot simpler than you think.

  • First, outline a completion date for your marketing plan. This will be the date or time frame in which you’d like to complete your goals. It can be anywhere from a few months, to a few years, depending on the scope of the goals you have in mind.

  • Next, figure out your budget for the plan. Money is always a factor when coming up with a rebranding strategy or the launching of a new product, and the same goes for a marketing plan. You don’t want to get halfway through the implementation of your new plan and then realize you’re out of money!

  • Finally, designate the responsibilities of each team member involved with your marketing plan. That means deciding who’s in charge of the finances, who should be keeping people on task, and any other positions on the project.

Set Objectives

Once you’ve gotten the pre-planning out of the way, it’s time to get down to the meat of your marketing plan.

The first step is to set clear objectives for your plan. Once you know your objectives, you’ll know what you need to do to accomplish goals.

For example, if your marketing plan is to increase your company’s revenue, then your objective could be to add more customers. Or, it could be to keep current customers coming back for more. Whatever your marketing plan is, objectives help you define clearly what you need to do.

Research

Remember when you had to write research papers in grade school and college? You were usually given a topic by your teacher, and were required to research your topic to fully analyze the writing prompt.

Most of us wouldn’t just jump into writing about the subject without doing research first (hopefully).

In the same vein, you need to research your market, and customers wants, to understand how to get your plan to succeed once you start putting it into practice. Utilizing market research and market analysis tools are great ways to conduct necessary research.

Strategize

Every plan needs a strategy in order to succeed. The greatest generals and wartime leaders didn’t just charge into battle, weapons drawn, without first adopting a cunning strategy in order to conquer their goals.

Running a business isn’t quite like leading an army to battle (although at times it can feel like it), but a good strategy is still necessary.

The strategy is basically the “how” of your marketing plan, and can include “building brand awareness” or “delivering unmatched customer service.” Think about what strategies would work best with your plan’s goals, and then implement them.

Stick To the Plan

What’s the point of a plan if you bail halfway through it? Once you figure out your objectives, research your market, and strategize a plan, make sure you stick to that plan.

There’s nothing more defeatist than jumping ship halfway through because something’s not working out the way you imagined.

But, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to fix a problem. If something isn’t working out the way you expected, there are ways to steer your business back in a positive direction. The best way to do this is to be flexible, and realize that sometimes a certain strategy that you and your team come up with isn’t going to work perfectly as planned.

Just remember, don’t completely give up on it and toss it in the garbage. Learn to be flexible in your marketing plan.

Following these simple steps can help you and your team create the best marketing plan. Marketing plans take a lot of thought, but the time spent coming up with an idea will ultimately optimize your business and save time in the long run!

IFTTT Makes Handling Everyday Tasks Easier Than Ever

Juggling all the various aspects of a business can be a daunting, and sometimes frustrating, task to take on. And it becomes even more complicated when you try to juggle all the different social accounts, apps, and tech that make up our rapidly evolving world. Wouldn’t it be so much simpler if there was an easy to use tool that connects all of the technology you use on a daily basis in one, cohesive package?

IFTTT (short for If This, Then That) is a web-based service that connects with other web-based services all of the Internet — such as your email, calendar, and social accounts — to make completing tasks simpler, and more efficient.

These tasks, or “recipes,” are created by selecting one service, such as your Gmail, and connecting it to another, such as your digital calendar. You can then run these recipes in the background of your phone or computer, and they will trigger when certain conditions in the recipe are met.

For example, a recipe that I’m quite fond of connects my Instagram and Twitter accounts. Whenever I post a picture on Instagram, the recipe will trigger, and then post my Instagram photo onto Twitter as an attachment. This bypasses the frustration of the default picture sharing option from Instagram to Twitter, where only a link to your Instagram picture is tweeted instead of the actual picture.

This is just one of hundreds of great ways to use IFTTT, and more are added every day. IFTTT even allows you to create your own recipes in their “Do” section, allowing even more options for optimizing efficiency.

Here are a few more examples of how you can use IFTTT to help your business.

  • If Square, Then Google Drive Recipe: This recipe allows you to connect your Square account to your Google Drive account. Whenever you make a transaction through Square, the details of that transaction — such as the item inventory number, price, etc. — will be automatically added to a spreadsheet in your Google Drive account for easy viewing later.

  • If Square, Then Email Recipe: With this recipe, any refund that you give to a customer will be emailed to your selected email account, so you can keep tabs of what refunds you’ve had to give. In a variation of this recipe, you can also have the refund info sent as a notification to your smartphone.

  • If New York Times, Then Email Recipe: If you like viewing the New York Times Business Section, you can use this recipe to easily grab the daily most read articles from that section automatically sent to your email in a convenient digest. This recipe can also be used for other sections of the New York Times.

  • Mute My Phone Recipe: This one is handy for avoiding any embarrassing ringing or notification sounds when at the office. It works by connecting your phone’s GPS and volume controls to recognize when you arrive at the office. It then mutes your phone, based on the location that you set as your workplace, until you leave that location.

  • If Google Calendar, Then Mute Phone Recipe: This is kind of a variation on the Mute My Phone Recipe, but instead of location, it works with your Google Calendar. You can add a meeting time to your Google Calendar, and when that time occurs, your phone will automatically mute itself to avoid interruptions during an important meeting.

  • If Instagram, Then Facebook Page Album Recipe: This recipe is useful for avoiding have to post a single photo over and over across multiple accounts. When you post a picture on Instagram, this recipe will add it to a special album on your Facebook Page.

  • If Twitter, Then Twitter List Recipe: If you need to keep up with a certain hashtag that your business uses, or want to find who’s using a hashtag collected in one location, this recipe allows you to do just that. First, you select a hashtag to track. Then, the recipe will collect the people who use that hashtag into a convenient list on Twitter.

  • If YouTube, Then Facebook Page Recipe: Another fun and useful recipe, this one uploads your YouTube videos from your channel to your Facebook Page. It saves time, plus makes it easier for you to get content out across all platforms.

And if you need ideas on recipes that can be used to help your business, IFTTT has a section of ever-growing recipe collections that you can browse. There are even collections specifically for small businesses and work!

IFTTT is very much in the infancy of its lifetime, but with more and more apps and features being added every day, it’s quickly shaping up to be a must-have web service for businesses across the country!

How To Stay Healthy At The Office

How often do you get up and walk around during a typical day of work? Do you have to stand up a lot, or do you mostly sit at a desk for 8+ hours staring at a computer? Is the only exercise you get during a work day your trip to the bathroom or break room?

For many of us — myself included — getting exercise and moving around at work is sometimes a tough thing to do.

Studies have shown that sitting down too much during the day can lead to shorter life expectancy. Scary, huh? So, check out these simple things that can help you stay healthy even when you’re glued to your comfy, swiveling office chair all day.

Stretch It Out

Just because you’re sitting in a chair all day doesn’t mean you have to let your body get stiff and uncomfortable. By doing a few quick stretches at your desk, you’ll prevent many of the typical pains of sitting down for long periods of time, such as back pain, carpal tunnel and neck pain.

For your back, you can lift your arm over the top of your head and reach toward the opposite side, while keeping your back upright. This helps to loosen those tight back muscles.

Your neck can be stretched by taking your hand and grabbing the opposite side of your head, then gently pull your head toward your shoulder.

And finally, you can stretch out your arms and shoulders by taking one hand and grabbing the opposite hand, then stretch both arms up toward the sky.

Snack Right

Oh, office breakroom, you are ever so inviting to my desires. With your machines full of sodas and candies, you tempt my sweet tooth.

No! Fight the urges to partake in a sweet or fatty treat while at work. As appealing as those snacks look, they’re also detrimental to your health.

A combination of inactivity and unhealthy snacking can result in a deadly formula for weight gain and health problems.

Instead, pack a snack to take with you to work every day. Make a healthy smoothie, bring a refillable cup for water, or pack some pretzels and hummus. These are much healthier options, and will keep you from gaining any unwanted weight.

Stay Mentally Healthy

Being healthy isn’t just about your physical health; having good mental health is also important.

When you’re sitting a desk, staring at a bright computer screen all day, your mind can sort of turn to mush. I’m sure a lot of us feel drained when we leave work each day, wanting nothing more to get home and relax in front of the TV.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can take breaks at work from your computer screen and save your sanity with these easy tips:

  • Go on a walk around your building during your lunch break. This will keep you moving, and let you enjoy the beautiful, outside world.

  • If you have the time, use half of your hour long lunch break to go to a nearby gym for a quick workout. A 15 minute jog is all you need to do to stay active.

  • Do a crossword  or Sudoku puzzle during your break, or when you have free time. This will keep your brain engaged and challenge it to do something outside of your normal work agenda.

  • Watch a funny video on YouTube, or read a magazine during your work breaks. It’ll lighten your mood, and re-energize you to make it through the rest of the day.

It’s not difficult to live a healthy life while at work, but it will take some initiative on your part. But the results will allow you to have a much happier and healthier work life!

Tips For Optimizing Your YouTube Page

Since 2005, YouTube has been allowing people to create content, share user made videos, and build a community around amateur and professional filmmakers alike.

And if your company isn’t already using this wonderful tool to make videos of your own, let me take a moment to give you some stats that might help sway your opinion

  • YouTube currently has more than 1 billion (that’s billion with a B) registered users.

  • 300 hours of video are uploaded every minute to the site.

  • Every day, there are billions of views on user created videos, along with hundreds of millions of hours of video watched.

Those are astounding numbers for a company that’s only been around for 10 years. So if you’re thinking about utilizing YouTube for your company, check out these tips that should make the process much easier and more stress free.

Appearance

Appearance is almost everything in the business world, and the same is true for social pages. With YouTube, there are quite a few options to customize your pages appearance. The most important one, is your YouTube channel’s art. This is the first thing visitors to your channel will see, and so having a custom banner for your channel is key to a good first impression. Remember, your channel art needs to be 2560 x 1440 pixels, and at least 2 Megabytes for it to look perfect!

Info

It’s also important to make sure you fill out your channel description section with important info, like how your company got started, your goals, and of course, your business hours and contact info.

And while you’re at it, make sure to include descriptions for every video that you upload. Not only does this give viewers a glimpse of what your video is about, you can also optimize your videos SEO. Since YouTube is the second largest search engine on the Internet, this is vastly important to get consumers to actually FIND your videos. What good is a video if nobody watches it?

Lastly, you can add a link to your website in the video descriptions, creating a great call to action for your videos.

Entertain, Don’t Advertise

Here’s one of the key ideas to remember about YouTube: People don’t go there to watch a commercial, they go to there to be entertained. So, when you’re thinking about what kind of video content to create, remember to make it entertaining. Something that people will enjoy, and not get bored of watching.

But that’s not to say advertising can’t be done through YouTube videos. You can still promote your product while being entertaining. Think of it this way: No matter what, if somebody watches your video or visits your channel, they’re being exposed to your product. It’s like free advertising!

Share

The beautiful thing about the Internet is that you aren’t confined to one little corner of it. Sharing content across multiple social platforms is how information is spread these days, especially videos.

If you already have a Facebook or Twitter account set up, then you can use those accounts to share your videos easily and effectively. Not only does YouTube include share buttons for multiple social sites underneath your videos, but you can also grab the videos URL to share in a post, and you can even embed your videos into other sites you manage.

Don’t be afraid of YouTube! It’s a great tool for marketing your business, and by following these steps you’ll be making great, shareable content in no time!

The Best Time Of The Day To Post On Social Media

Finding the sweet spot for posting on social media is a tricky task. It seems like you can never find that right time where your post is going to reach the most people, because honestly, you never know when people are going to check their smartphones for social updates.

I’m speaking strictly from my own experiences here, but I’ve found a few optimal times during the day that seem to reach the most people. But even these times aren’t guaranteed to work. It all depends on your target audience, and what social platform you’re posting on. Check out these tips for finding the best times to reach your audience!

Facebook – Optimal Posting Times: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

When Facebook first started in 2004, it attracted a lot of younger people. Overtime, the platform has shifted from the young audience, to an older audience. In fact, 56 millions users (or about 31 percent of total Facebook users) are in the 35-54 age range. Which means that many of these users have day jobs or businesses that they run. So, you have to catch these users when they’re taking a break from work, or when business slows down. Between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. is a perfect range for posting on Facebook.

Twitter – Optimal Posting Times: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Twitter is a little bit different, but has about the same posting range as Facebook. The thing with Twitter is that it’s more geared toward quick info, and multiple postings. With Facebook, you can post during the optimal time and users will still see it later in the day when scrolling through their News Feed. But with Twitter, you don’t really have that option. If you missed something when it was first posted, you’ll have to go back through hours of posts to find what you want. So, post around the same times as Facebook, but stagger your posts so you’re not posting at the same time your Facebook post goes live. And it’s not a problem to tweet the same post at different times during the day.

Instagram – Optimal Posting Times: 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

With Instagram, you have an altogether different beast to tackle. This popular photo sharing app is typically used by the younger crowd, 18-29 year olds, who can spend longer amounts of time going through their feeds. But, unlike Facebook or Twitter, Instagram users typically check out their feeds after work, closer to the time when they would be winding down in the evening and getting in bed. So, posting later in the evening will reach the most people, since they’ll be spending a lot of free time scrolling through posts.

Pinterest – Optimal Posting Times: 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Pinterest is kinda different than the other social platforms as well. Since it’s mostly used to share recipes, DIY projects, and household tips, most people are going to get on Pinterest in their free time. That means that some people might not even get on their Pinterest account until after work, or on the weekends. So, plan your posts accordingly and try to get the info to them during the early afternoon or late evening, when most people will be up and moving around, or looking for something to make for dinner, if your business works in the food business.

LinkedIn – Optimal Posting Times: 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. or 5 p.m. – Late

Since LinkedIn is mainly used for networking between businessmen and women, and people looking for potential employers, most people are going to look at their LinkedIn at the start of their workday. Posting during the early morning or late evening works great for this social platform.

Social media can be finicky, but learning how to use it will do wonders for your company. The best strategy is to experiment with your posts, and see what times work best for your company, and your customers.

How To Get Your Blog Post Shared 3,567 Times (Approximately)

If you have a blog for your business, one of the most important aspects of managing it is trying to reach the most people with what you have to say.

With millions of articles shared through social media and email each day, it might seem difficult to get your blog noticed. But here are some tips that can help you get the most shares out of your posts and increase your reach exponentially!

Titles Are Key

When creating a blog post, you want it to convey the main message behind the post, but you also want it to grab the attention of people who are casually skimming through your site. There are two main elements of a compelling title.

  1. Include a number in your headline. Numbers grab people’s’ attentions, and no site does that better than Buzzfeed. Just check out any article on their website, and you’re guaranteed to see hundreds of posts with numbers in the title, such as “14 Ways To Increase Your Likes on Instagram” or “26 Pictures of Cats Wearing Tiny Hats.” Numbers, especially odd numbers, draw in customers, and make them want to read more of what your have to say.

  2. Power words are great attention grabbers. Words such as “Hot,” “Fresh,” or “Amazing” are great words to use in headlines, because customers will want to read to find out why something is “hot” or “amazing.”

Add Share Buttons

Before the invention of Facebook or Twitter share buttons, articles were shared by grabbing the URL of the current page of the website, pasting that URL in an email, and then sending it to a friend or colleague. These days, social share buttons make it easier than ever for customers to share an article they like with others. Be sure to get these buttons set up on your site, and place them at the top of the article for maximum exposure.

Meta Information

Your posts meta information is highly important to getting info out on search engines. For example, using the correct meta information and tags on a post will help your post to show up much more frequently on search engines like Google. It essentially tells search engines to show your post whenever someone searches keywords related to your blog post. If meta information is somewhat foreign to you, don’t fret! There are thousands of websites out there that can help to explain how this info works for your benefit.

Share, Share, Share!

With so much info out there on the Internet, sometimes your post can get lost if you share it during a busy time of the day. So make sure to share your post more than once during the week that it’s published. You can use the acronym ICYMI (which stands for In Case You Missed It) in front of posts to let others know it’s a previous post, and not a new one. Just don’t share too often; you don’t want to overload people.

There are so many different ways to share your posts in order to get the most views, so it’s best to experiment with different strategies to see which one works best for your business!

Rebranding Your Business Re-Energizes It

Have you ever thought about rebranding your business? Admittedly, it’s a scary thought. You’re essentially thinking about changing parts of your business that made it who it is today.

So why should you rebrand, and what’s the best way to approach it? Check out these tips!

Your Audience Is Constantly Changing

The audience you were targeting 20 years ago is most likely not the same audience you’re trying to target today. People change, and so do the trends that they’re interested in following. In order to stay relevant in an ever changing world, your company needs to stay up to date with the world outside its four walls.

Millennials are the up and coming generation of consumers today, and if you’re active on social media, you know that their tastes are very different than people’s tastes in the generations before them. Millennials want quick information, huge discounts and great deals. So, branding yourself through social media is the best way to connect with them. You don’t want to be perceived as “old-fashioned,” so following trends is a must.

New Products Help

A key reason for rebranding could also be that your company is launching a brand new product, and you want to show consumers that this product will be a complete game changer for your company.

When Amazon became much more than just an online bookstore, they chose to rebrand in order to reflect this new status quo of the company. That’s why, in the early 2000’s, their logo changed to their name with a curved arrow leading from A to Z, to reflect that the company now carries every product customers could want, from A to Z. Amazon.com is now known around the world for its vast selection of products and services, and has expanded its offerings to TV streaming, and even tablets and smartphones.

Giving Your Brand A Story

Every business has a story, whether it’s a crazy, amazing one or just a basic story with a lot of heart, figure out what yours is and capitalize on it.

Subway’s “Jared” campaign is a good example of a successful rebranding story. In 1998, when Subway started telling the story of Jared — an overweight man who ate a mostly Subway sandwich diet and lost a significant amount of weight — they had an annual revenue of $3 billion. Since then, Subway’s revenue has gone up to $11 billion, due mostly to Jared’s inspiring story. It caused a national movement of people wanting to eat healthier foods in smaller portions, and the effects of that campaign are still felt today.

Rebranding is a great way to re-energize your company, and make it appear more relevant to newer audiences! So don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith, and rebrand your company for a more successful future.

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