Spodek & Co https://spodekandco.com Digital Communications Mon, 21 Jan 2019 14:36:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.3 The Power of a Vision Board for Business https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/01/vision-board-for-business.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/01/vision-board-for-business.html#respond Mon, 21 Jan 2019 14:00:31 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=7246 A new year tends to bring new resolutions. Although I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, in the spirit of change I decided to try something new. Last weekend a colleague invited me to a workshop where I spent the afternoon creating a vision board for business. Naturally, any vision board for business will include […]

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vision board for businessA new year tends to bring new resolutions. Although I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, in the spirit of change I decided to try something new. Last weekend a colleague invited me to a workshop where I spent the afternoon creating a vision board for business.

Naturally, any vision board for business will include personal goals as well – because if I’m not healthy my business most certainly isn’t.

And, overall, I found it to be an engaging exercise!

The Power of a Vision Board for Business

Most successful people have one thing in common – an unshakable vision for their future. And whether you achieve that vision through mindfulness, meditation, or mind-body connection exercises – and we did a bit of all of those approaches during the workshop, there’s growing evidence that the brain is more malleable and open to change than we ever thought. And that you really can influence your life – and your health – using your brain.

I was concerned it might be a little hokey, but I arrived with an open mind and gave it my all. I focused on my goals for 2019 and the future in general: what I wanted to achieve, and where I wanted to see change happen.

A Letter to My Future Self

You might have noticed the recent trend of people writing a “Letter to My Future/Younger Self.” It’s basically the same idea. But where a letter to your younger self is more an exercise in forgiveness, a letter to your future self is visualization and goal setting. Picturing yourself a year from now. And writing it down to make it concrete.

A vision board for business is exactly the same thing. It’s a way to map out objectives and strengths, and explore weaknesses and areas you want to change. It’s fascinating to analyze your finished product, and explore what images or themes you were drawn to – especially why you opted to edit out this or that pathway.

How to Create a Vision Board for Business

If you’re considering trying out vision boards as a team building exercise, remember the larger the group, the bigger the chance that chaos can ensue! So, while it’s a pretty simple exercise, I thought I would map out a few steps for you:

Gather magazines and other images: The woman who ran my workshop does a neighbourhood magazine drive, which is a great way to put old mags to good use. Have your team bring copies from home, BUT, put them in a big pile and then dole them out yourself! The goal here is to get people outside their comfort zones. Popular Mechanics in addition to Fast Company or Vogue, if you know what I mean. This tends to spark more creative thinking.

Free your mind from deep thought: Do your thinking before you begin the creative part of the exercise. Get out a pen and paper. Spend 20-30 minutes thinking about the previous year and the year ahead. Write down what you want to achieve or leave behind this year on a personal, professional and business level. Bullet points are fine. You don’t need to be fancy or succinct, no one else is going to read it but you.

Focus on images not words: Flip through the mags one, but focus on the visual. NO READING! Then flip through a second time and note which images have caught your eye…which ones really draw you in. Cut those images out and arrange them roughly in a pattern or in a less structured manner if you prefer. If you’re captivated by inspiring words or phrases along the way, you can include them too.

Clear your mind and focus: Now, get into a “bubble” with your images. Walk around the table or lay them out in a quiet corner on the floor. Look at them from different angles, rearrange them if the impulse hits. Shake off stress, clear your mind, and let the images guide you.

Make notes: Make mental notes about what each image means to you. Why you chose it. What emotions it triggered. There might be more than one reason per picture – that’s ok! Consider the potential goals, actions, or changes that the image represents or inspires in you. If you don’t know right then and there, don’t worry about it! Just continue working on your vision board and you can do the additional thinking afterwards whenever the mood strikes.

Create a Vision Board But Save the Planet

If you’re interested in exploring this fun, creative way to explore mind-body connectedness but are concerned about using hard-copy magazines, there are lots of ways to adapt this exercise.

  • Use digital imaging to build your board or insert yourself into your ideal life
  • Get creative with paints, markers, or chalk
  • Pick up “word magnets” and explore using text

This is a great resource with more ideas for taking the “arts and crafts” out of the equation.

What Does it All Mean?

Ultimately, you end up with an “end result” – where you see 2019 heading. It’s a bit like having an image of 2019 done, dusted and wrapped up in a nice bow – where you want to be, what you want to achieve, where you see yourself or your business in 12 months. That sort of thing.

Think of it like planning a trip. You’re driving the car, you know where you’re going, you’ve mapped out routes you will take, and where you want to stay along the way. But the bottom line is YOU are the one who has to get yourself there.

Make sure you use your board. Look at it regularly. Make adjustments to it if you like. There really aren’t any hard-fast rules.

Your vision board for business (and for YOU) is a map, with directions and goal-posts, locations and pit-stops, and a great reminder that, whatever path you take, your goal is to arrive at your destination. And everyone’s destination will be different.

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The Weekly Download – January 18, 2019 https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/01/the-weekly-download-january-18-2019.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/01/the-weekly-download-january-18-2019.html#respond Fri, 18 Jan 2019 01:57:13 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=7233 Fri-YAY! It’s time to kick off your favourite day of the week with another edition of our weekly digital marketing roundup. Here’s what we’re chatting about today: the #10YearChallenge meme, Glossier’s everyday influencer strategy, Gillette’s new short film, Slack’s redesign, Justin Trudeau’s Kentucky billboard, and of course… how could we forget about that little egg? […]

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The Weekly Download - Jan 18 2019 - then and now photos of Eden SpodekFri-YAY! It’s time to kick off your favourite day of the week with another edition of our weekly digital marketing roundup.

Here’s what we’re chatting about today: the #10YearChallenge meme, Glossier’s everyday influencer strategy, Gillette’s new short film, Slack’s redesign, Justin Trudeau’s Kentucky billboard, and of course… how could we forget about that little egg?

Let’s jump in!

The #10YearChallenge – Just For Fun or Something More?

Chances are you’ve seen a whole lot of these “10 year challenge” posts if you’ve been browsing Facebook and other social media channels this week. From brands to celebrities and friends and family, it seems like everyone is getting in on the comparison fun.

While the meme seems harmless enough, some were skeptical about the intent behind the challenge and shared concerns about the push for personal data. Could it be a way for Facebook and other social applications to collect facial recognition data and train age progression algorithms?

Facebook has denied having any hand in the viral photo challenge at all, noting that “this is a user-generated meme that went viral on its own…Facebook did not start this trend, and the meme uses photos that already exist on Facebook. Facebook gains nothing from this meme…Facebook users can choose to turn facial recognition on or off at any time.”

Even if the intent behind the challenge is indeed harmless, those speaking out against it certainly bring up a good point – we must be careful with personal data online and also demand it be respected by brands and apps with access.

Everyone is an Influencer Now, According to Glossier

Glossier is a direct-to-consumer beauty startup that you’ve probably seen on social media. Beautifully packaged and affordably priced, it’s no wonder Glossier has a cult following. According to CEO Emily Weiss, the brand can also attribute success to the fact that it regards every consumer (regardless of their follower count) as an influencer.

How many times have you seen a close friend or acquaintance share their love for a product or service online and had it pique your interest? How many times has that interest resulted in a purchase?

With over 500 brand ambassadors and social feeds that place emphasis on user-generated content, Glossier has achieved a low-key strategy that’s barely there – much like their products.

Have you turned to your consumers for user-generated content? Don’t know how to get started with a marketing strategy that highlights your everyday influencers? We can help.

An Egg Holds the World Record for Most Instagram Likes

In bizarre internet news, a picture of an egg has surpassed Kylie Jenner’s previous record for most likes on Instagram. No, we’re not yolking (see what we did there?).

With 46.5 million likes (and counting), a picture of an egg on a plain white background absolutely smashed Kylie’s previous Instagram record of 18.1 million likes. Also funny: Kylie’s response. Sergey Platonov, the stock photographer behind the image, thinks the hype is totally overrated.

Did you help the little egg achieve the new world record? What about the post made it “like-worthy” for you? Let us know in the comments below.

Gillette’s New Short Film Asks, “Is this the best a man can get?”

Gillette’s controversial new ad is challenging men to push themselves and do more to get closer to their best. Referencing harassment and toxic masculinity, the short film also mentions the #MeToo movement and insists, “When you respect women, you respect your nation.”

While some have applauded Gillette for joining the conversation, many called out the brand for attempting to “do good” in an effort to sell more. At the time this post was written, the video had 483k thumbs up on YouTube and 919k thumbs down.

What do you think? Is the ad a true attempt to do some social good or a thinly veiled tool to push a corporate agenda? Watch the video below.

Slack’s Got a New Logo, and Not Everyone is Excited

On Wednesday, Slack unveiled a new logo in an attempt to refresh their look. According to Slack, the new logo is more consistent, recognizable, and refined.

As with most change, people had opinions – some positive, some confused, and some that swore they’d seen it before:

What are your thoughts about the refresh? It might take us a little getting used to…

Friday Fun – Trudeau’s Kentucky Billboard

Our nation’s leader got some laughs on Reddit this week when a user shared a picture of the Trudeau family canoeing on a Kentucky billboard.

Says u/NevinWebster, “we haven’t quite learned not to steal pictures from the Internet yet.”

Check out the ad and thread for a giggle.

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How to Keep a Positive Work Culture When News is Negative https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/01/positive-work-culture.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/01/positive-work-culture.html#respond Mon, 14 Jan 2019 14:00:52 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=7212 We try hard to maintain a positive work culture here at Spodek and Co., but sometimes “life” doesn’t play along. And unfortunately, 2018 wasn’t a banner year for some people on our team. There were deaths and funerals, stressful moves and other personal upheavals. And the world news wasn’t much better, with an upside-down government […]

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positive work culture We try hard to maintain a positive work culture here at Spodek and Co., but sometimes “life” doesn’t play along.

And unfortunately, 2018 wasn’t a banner year for some people on our team. There were deaths and funerals, stressful moves and other personal upheavals.

And the world news wasn’t much better, with an upside-down government in the United States, and many domestic terrorism tragedies.

But through our positive work culture of support and understanding, we were persevering – work was getting done, clients were happy, and people were healing.

Then the Tree of Life Massacre happened – and that was the last straw.

Enough Was Enough

After what felt like one tragic news story or happening after another, I broke, and tears ran down my face during the ‘minute of silence’ tribute at that night’s Leafs’ game.

Later, several friends (and even their grown children) said they were taking social media breaks because they just couldn’t take the relentless stream of bad news any longer.

It became abundantly clear that people were exhausted, and I wanted to do something—anything—to try and soothe some of the sadness.

Regular Sanity Checks Help Ensure a Positive Work Culture

Rewind to the end of 2018. I knew that if I was feeling this bad emotionally, chances are my team was feeling the same. So, as I was planning out the agenda for Spodek & Co.’s biweekly team meeting, I wrote “BE KIND” in big block letters.

We all chatted briefly, and I did the “boss” thing of trying to boost morale, while reminding everyone to be kind to each other and mindful of each other’s stress levels, etc. It was also important to remind everyone that (believe it or not!) clients are people too, and they were probably just as emotionally exhausted as we all were at the moment.

And then something totally unexpected happened. A team member shared that her cousin was with Pittsburgh PD, and among those first on the scene at the Tree of Life Synagogue. He was physically unharmed, but witnessed the horror, and ultimately saved more lives from being lost.

Needless to say, we were all speechless. We had a team member in pain who could benefit from some human kindness. Had we not taken the time to address the recent tragedy and begin our meeting with a sanity check, none of would have known our friend had been so close to such a tragedy.

Sometimes it’s as Simple as Being Kind

Every Tuesday in my Facebook group for small business owners, I publish a “Tip Tuesday” post. I decided instead posting something about how to grow your business online, I decided to take a different approach and asked members the following question: “How do you keep morale high when there’s so much bad news?”:

Two comments stood out for me. Alison Garwood-Jones boiled it down to simple kindness. She sends out “digital notes to humanity” and makes a concerted effort to have eye contact with passersby, smiling at them wherever she goes.

Another member, Priya Bates, shared this sage advice: “Nothing beats a message from the heart from a leader or manager. Acknowledge the incident. Acknowledge feelings. Tell people it’s okay to feel the way they do. Remind them of the orgs values and how they come to life through people…authenticity is key…versus corporate rhetoric. (It’s also) a good time to ask managers to be visible and walk around to. Ask people how they feel and listen.”

Be Visible. Be Kind. And Listen.

There are many reasons why people may be feeling the blues this time of year. For some, it’s the looming “darkest days of winter.” For others, it’s the stress of running a business and meeting business goals – something familiar to all of us agency owners!

Or, it’s all of the above PLUS what sometimes feels like the never-ending bombardment of really horrible news.

Here are just a few ways you can help yourself, and your agency, through rocky times, and maintain a positive work culture.

Be Kind! Bring empathy and kindness into the workplace. It’s simple, really. Ask your team/colleagues how they’re feeling. Be mindful of clients and colleagues having bad days.

Treat those around you with some TLC. Even surprise and delight team members with notes or small gifts if you can.

Talk and Listen. When you’re actively being kind (see above!), make a point to really be present. We’re all busy. I get it. But sometimes a person just needs to connect with another human being and be listened to. Make yourself available for a check-in periodically – especially if you run a virtual company like I do. Usually a quick chat, a few face-to-face laughs, can make the news of the day easier to take—for all of us.

Recognize the Importance of Self-Care. Make this part of your agency ethos! “Me time” helps everyone refresh, rejuvenate and clear their minds. A much-needed exercise especially in times like these. In our agency, team members know they can be honest about when they need a little self-care… something that’s valued highly.

I’m the first to admit I go for manicures every two weeks – I’m still available to clients and the team by phone, email and Slack. I even take Pilates classes twice a week. Another team member goes bowling one morning a week, and a couple of others attend their children’s school events. Heck, last week I signed off for our newest team member to have a day at the spa! And I post a self-care reminder every Saturday in our Facebook group that receives a lot of positive engagement.

Positive Work Culture: Lead by Example

Unfortunately, bad news doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.

If it’s getting to you and you’re feeling down, chances are your colleagues and clients are feeling the same way.

Use these tips to help keep team morale up and productivity on track. Your employees will appreciate your efforts towards maintaining a positive work culture, and the office will be a much happier place in which to work.

How do you manage so all this bad news doesn’t have a negative impact on work and productivity? How do you foster a positive work culture in your office or among your team? Please share in the comments.

A version of this post was originally published on Spin Sucks.

Photo by Shamim Nakhaei on Unsplash.

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The Weekly Download – January 11, 2019 https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/01/the-weekly-download-january-11-2019.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/01/the-weekly-download-january-11-2019.html#respond Fri, 11 Jan 2019 14:48:57 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=7223 Happy Friday, folks! It’s time for our weekly installment of what’s hot and not in the world of digital marketing and technology. On today’s Weekly Download docket, Amazon reveals Alexa’s many, MANY partners, Instagram has a new multi-sharing option, and we look at the hit movie that seems to have taken over the world! Museums […]

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The Weekly Download - January 11, 2019Happy Friday, folks! It’s time for our weekly installment of what’s hot and not in the world of digital marketing and technology.

On today’s Weekly Download docket, Amazon reveals Alexa’s many, MANY partners, Instagram has a new multi-sharing option, and we look at the hit movie that seems to have taken over the world! Museums are having fun with duck pics (yes, ducks), Google tackles disruptive ads, and we wrap it all up in a bow with some Friday fun!

Grab your coffee – or popcorn (we don’t judge) – this is a good one.

“Hey, Alexa. Are you seeing other people?”

Have you ever dated a person and wondered “how many others are there?” Well, when it comes to Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa, the answer is A LOT! For years, Amazon has avoided revealing how many outside devices are partnered with Alexa…until now!

Google and Amazon are battling it out for “voice-assistant” bragging rights, and Amazon’s numbers so far are impressive: more than 150 products with Alexa built in, and more than 28,000 smart home devices that work with Alexa made by more than 4,500 different manufacturers. As for sales, According to Business Insider, “…more than 100 million devices with Alexa built into them have been sold so far.”

It will be interesting to watch these two tech giants scrap for supremacy. With the money and brain power behind both, one can only imagine what’s on the horizon for AI and voice assistant integration.

Instagram Introduces Easier Multi-Sharing

After last week’s accidental messing with users’ feeds, this time Instagram made a change that fans actually like! iOS users are the first to test out a “self-regram” option, a new feature which allows them to manage and share posts across two or more accounts.

This feature is especially exciting for marketers and social media managers, particularly if they are managing multiple accounts for a single company. Now they can easily post (identical) content to related accounts simultaneously!

Just use the toggle to pick correlating accounts under the “Post to other accounts” option and voila! We’re still waiting to hear when this will be available for Android devices.

Keep your eyes peeled!

Bird Box Takes Over

If you’ve been on the internet at any point in the last few weeks, you know that Netflix’s new original film has completely taken over. Memes, hashtags, you name it, Bird Box is everywhere!

The film, which stars Sandra Bullock, is based on the 2014 book of the same name, by Josh Malerman. According to Netflix, more than 45 million accounts streamed the film over the holidays.

If you haven’t seen it yet, just a warning – it has had mixed reviews, and seems to be one of those “love it or hate it” releases. That said, it has taken the internet by storm, and more people have seen the memes and heard the jokes than have seen the movie!

https://twitter.com/CorbinForest/status/1079219525869015040?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1079219525869015040&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.vox.com%2F2019%2F1%2F4%2F18165825%2Fbird-box-memes-netflix-popular-explained

And when one innocent celeb (koff *Kim Kardashian*) tweeted “Watching BirdBox. I really like it. Who has seen it?” she got roasted.

All in good fun, people. All in good fun. Let me know in the comments if you’ve seen it, and what you thought!

Duck Pics That Fit the Bill

Someone across the pond deserves a round of applause for starting a hilarious trend on Twitter. The Museum of English Rural Life’s social media team has been having fun with, well, old English rural life animal pics lately, and at the moment ducks are centre stage!

And of course, in the spirit of competition, other museums around the world are taking a “quack” at one-upping the Brits by sending pics of their ducks as well. It’s actually very funny, and a VERY good reminder that you don’t have to have a super exciting product or brand to use social media marketing well. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. By simply having a sense of humour and being creative, The Museum of English Rural Life has the world talking…about ducks.

Check out this cheeky thread!

Google Chrome Removes Disruptive Ads

Finally! You know all those annoying ads that invade your screen as soon as your start surfing the net – pop-ups, full screen ads, auto-playing videos and related irritants? Well, Google Chrome has finally come to the rescue and said “buh-bye” to disruptive ads.

As of July 9th2019, Google Chrome will be rolling out their ad filter internationally. This filter was created to support the Coalition for Better Ads’ Better Ads Standards. With this filter in place, 12 different kinds of ads will be blocked from all sites.

According to Engadget, “If a website is found to be repeatedly displaying any of the ad types that are blocked by the filter, Google will stop displaying all ads on its pages. Google is giving publishers and advertisers tools that will let them know if their current ads would pass through the filter or be blocked.”

No funny business – thanks Google!

Friday Fun

The legacy of Steve Irwin comes to life through his son, Robert. Check out this hilarious (and endearing) compilation of his best moments on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

 

 

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Social Media Marketing Trends to Watch in 2019 https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/01/social-media-marketing-trends-2019.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/01/social-media-marketing-trends-2019.html#respond Mon, 07 Jan 2019 14:00:36 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=7195 Welcome to January! While the holiday season is fantastic, it always feels good to get back to regular life; daily routines, fewer social commitments, and of course, work! So, on that note, let’s get the year started with a look at some social media marketing trends to watch in 2019. Video Tops 2019 Social Media […]

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Social Media Trends 2019Welcome to January! While the holiday season is fantastic, it always feels good to get back to regular life; daily routines, fewer social commitments, and of course, work! So, on that note, let’s get the year started with a look at some social media marketing trends to watch in 2019.

Video Tops 2019 Social Media Marketing Trends

Video, video, video! It’s predicted that 80 percent of ALL internet traffic will come from video in 2019. And, by 2021, 13 percent of that video will be live. Video really should be 2019’s word of the year!

Here are a few more impressive numbers that illustrate why video is big and getting bigger:

  • Video on landing pages helps increase conversions by 80 percent.
  • Including “video” in your email subject line increases open rates by 19 percent.
  • Sixty-four percent of consumers polled have purchased a product after seeing an online video about it.
  • And consumers doing research are four times more likely to watch a video about a product than read about it.

Whether following up with a customer, giving them a positive shout out, or answering questions and concerns, brands will incorporate more and more video, especially on mobile. Video will eventually begin to replace live-chat, emails and phone calls, be deeply personalized, and more often than not, streamed live.

Social Media Means Business

Mary Meeker’s yearly internet trends report is usually bang on when it comes to identifying what social media marketing trends to watch in the coming year. And this year, expect social media marketing to be a driving force behind sales and purchases.

Social media marketing has definitely matured. And for business owners and brands, it’s become valuable real estate beyond simple outreach. Today, it’s about selling. And not surprisingly, Facebook and Instagram lead the pack. In fact, Mary Meeker reports that more than half of people polled said they bought a product after finding it on social media.

And you don’t need to adopt the hard-sell on social. Rather, keep it as friendly and conversational as you have been doing. It still remains a place for community building. But remember to keep posts visual, add video, images, and consumer generated content, and find creative ways to highlight products in your posts.

Generation Zed Is Not to Be Ignored

If you think Generation Zed (kids born between 1995 and 2005) are too young to be your audience, think again.

The offspring of predominantly Generation X parents, Gen Zed are as hard working and pragmatic as their parents. They’re socially diverse and much more frugal than Millennials. And they’re the first generation born into the digital age.

Being early adopters of smartphones, social media platforms and streaming websites, they live and breathe tech. In fact, their phones are glued to their sides. Whether web surfing, video sharing (and streaming!), doing product research, comparison shopping, or leaving brand reviews, they are tuned in and mobile.

How does Gen Zed fit into social media marketing trends? Consider this from SmartBrief.com, “As Generation Z(ed) ages and their buying power grows, it will be important for brands to think about their story and how to connect with this new consumer group. To effectively connect with Gen Z(ed), brands will not only have to authentically convey their values and purpose but actively live it and prove their commitment.”

Almost 20 percent of Canada’s population are Generation Zed. And by 2020, a whopping 40 percent of American consumers will be Gen Zed (or Zee, in their case! LOL). Are you falling behind when it comes to digital marketing? Then you run the risk of missing out on a large group of hard working, money saving, grown-up-life-just-starting, tech savvy consumers!

Self-Care is Here to Stay

The age of “crushing it” is over. Sure, many people still believe you have to work 24/7, 365 in order to succeed, but a recent study of 5,000 managers and employees shows otherwise.

The study found that top performers maintain a healthy work/life balance and avoid burnout by embracing two simple work philosophies. First, instead of taking on more and more work, they focus on a few key areas and make every effort to excel in those areas.

Basically, they learned how to say no, and figured out what they do best! As Morten T. Hansen, a professor in the school of information at the University of California Berkeley who conducted the study wrote, “…many top performers were able to maintain a healthy work-life balance and not burn out on the job. That’s because they embraced smarter ways of working, practices that allowed them to extract more value out of every hour on the job. They got more done, yet had more time outside of work to rest and recharge.”

Match Passion With Purpose

The study also found that another way to avoid burnout and practise self-care is to match passion with purpose. There’s an old saying, “Find something you love to do – and do it – and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I’m paraphrasing, but you get the gist.

People who love what they do “…go to work excited about what they do every day, exerting more effort per hour worked, as opposed to piling on more hours. They’re more energized about their work and less burned out than people who lack passion or purpose, or both. They also perform significantly better.”

I practice self-care, and feel it’s incredibly important to business success – you can read more about that here.

So, there you have it. What social media marketing trends do you think will best benefit your company this year? Which ones are you keeping your eye on in 2019? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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The Weekly Download – January 4, 2019 https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/01/the-weekly-download-january-4-2019.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2019/01/the-weekly-download-january-4-2019.html#respond Fri, 04 Jan 2019 14:37:58 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=7202 Happy Friday, everyone! We trust you all had an excellent New Year, are happy to be back to normal routines, and are as excited as we are to see what 2019 brings! Even though we took a vacation, the digital world did not! Today, we take a look at YouTube Premium, Snap’s survival plans for […]

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The Weekly Download - January 4, 2019Happy Friday, everyone! We trust you all had an excellent New Year, are happy to be back to normal routines, and are as excited as we are to see what 2019 brings!

Even though we took a vacation, the digital world did not! Today, we take a look at YouTube Premium, Snap’s survival plans for 2019 and Facebook’s new stickers for Page stories. Also,  Instagram’s “timeline test” that sent users into a panic, 2018’s worst passwords (why do people still use these???) and then we wrap it up with some Friday Fun!

Let’s get to it.

YouTube Premium Becomes YouTube Freemium 

YouTube Premium, formally known as YouTube Red, is the video sharing platform’s pay-to-play side of the business. And apparently not very many people are “paying to play.” Because of this, sources say YouTube is planning to make all of its original series for YouTube Premium available on a free and ad-supported basis by 2020.

The site had a few issues when it came to attracting paying subscribers, including inconsistency in its programming. They also skew quite young with their content – and not many 13 – 18 year olds have the kind of income needed to become regular subscribers.

From Netflix to Amazon Prime and everything in between, investing in original programming seems to be a win-win. It’ll be interesting to watch and see how YouTube Premium adapts over the next year or two.

Snap’s 2019 Resolutions 

It’s no secret that Instagram continues to push Snapchat aside, even while offering basically the same features as the original time-sensitive photo and video sharing app. Not even Instagram’s parent company (Facebook) with its many MANY security issues and scandals has kept Instagram down.

The result is Snapchat continues to flounder. Not only are they down a million daily users, their stock dropped dramatically in 2018, from $16.21 per share last December to a recent $5.18 per share.

Long story short, they’re in big trouble. But, they’ve also got big plans!

Snapchat is finally going to redevelop their app for Android users, a huge untapped market. Its current app for Android is buggy, and by revamping it the company hopes to see an increase in international users, specifically in Southeast Asia, where the use of Android is extremely saturated.

They are also looking to attract users ages 34 and older – the Facebook generation – to use Snapchat as a “fast way to communicate visually with close friends.” Snap understands that older audiences aren’t too keen on lenses and filters and instead plans to market the “discovery side” of the app, where users find interesting video content and information.

Good luck, Snapchat. We’ll be watching!

Facebook’s Call to Action Sticker

Facebook Stories aren’t winning any popularity contests, but they’re trying. This trend has taken off on their other social platforms, Instagram and Whatsapp, and Facebook’s Story success is next on their list.

To begin their efforts, Facebook released new stickers for Pages that provide businesses with new call to action (CTA) features on their Stories. The stickers, with options like “shop now,” “call now,” “book now,” and “get directions” can be directly placed in Story content, making it easier for customers to find what they are looking for!

This is definitely a tool you’ll want to add to your 2019 digital marketing plan.

Instagram’s Brief Horizontal Timeline

Last Thursday, some Instagram users woke up in a panic when they realized their timeline had been tampered with. Instead of the traditional vertical scroll, users found themselves scrolling/tapping horizontally. It was reported only to affect iPhone users and excluded desktop and Android users, but for a moment, the gaffe broke the internet.

The head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, tweeted that it was merely a “test” that spread to many more users than anticipated. “Due to a bug, some users saw a change to the way their feed appears today,” Instagram said. “We quickly fixed the issue and feed is back to normal. We apologize for any confusion.”

Confusion?? You would have thought the world was ending. LOL Check out some of these hilarious tweets from the incident.

“Donald” Makes 2018’s List of Most Common Passwords

Well, the results are in! “Donald” made the list of the 100 most commonly used passwords online for 2018. Donald who, you ask? I’ll leave that up for you to figure out!

This attempt at humor isn’t one users should feel proud about. As security experts always say, celebrities and pop culture references are some of the simplest passwords for hackers to guess.

It’s for reasons like these that so many sites monitor and suggest passwords for you. That means if your password is anything like ‘princess’, ‘654321’ or ‘iloveyou’, you should consider switching things up too.

Friday Fun

And there’s no better way to enter the new year than with a look back at some of 2018’s most viral videos! From weather craziness and hilarious dogs to silly kids and a…yodelling superstar?? Trust me, he’s really good! Click here for the whole list!

 

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Make the Holiday Season Brighter By Giving Back https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/12/giving-back.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/12/giving-back.html#respond Mon, 24 Dec 2018 14:00:05 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=7183 Holy cow. Hanukah’s over, and it’s already Christmas Eve! I don’t know about you, but I’m struggling to wrap my head around just how fast this year has flown by! That said, there’s also a certain sense of relief that also comes with a looming year end – all the work commitments and holiday gatherings, […]

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Giving Holy cow. Hanukah’s over, and it’s already Christmas Eve! I don’t know about you, but I’m struggling to wrap my head around just how fast this year has flown by!

That said, there’s also a certain sense of relief that also comes with a looming year end – all the work commitments and holiday gatherings, decorating, shopping and gift wrapping are likely finished by today!

All that’s left is the enjoyment. Spending time with loved ones. Watching movies and meeting friends for lunches. Slowing down a bit (hopefully!). And definitely disconnecting from technology for a few days of relaxation.

Give Back with the Gift of Giving

And while it’s always a thrill to get a gift, personally I enjoy giving gifts just as much—if not more—than receiving.

The anticipation when special people are unwrapping something I’ve purchased or made just for them. And the surprise and excitement when they realize what it is.

I’m not sure about you but I’m never that creative when it comes to gift wrapping. I’m partial to reusable gift bags and coloured tissue paper.

And it turns out the act of giving is—literally—the gift that keeps on giving! Giving to others actually changes our brain chemistry. In a good way!

Older people who give tend to have better health overall and being generous can help reduce high blood pressure.

The Smallest Act Can Have a Big Impact

And we’re not talking endowment-level gifting here! Even the smallest act of generosity has a positive impact on your mental and physical health.

At Spodek &Co., many of our staff give throughout the year, via charitable donations, mentoring, or through volunteer work. And since the holidays can be tough for some people, for the third year in a row, we’ve once again donated to The Shoebox Project.

We shop for and fill up boxes with toiletries, cosmetics, warm socks and other goodies so that holidays will be a bit more joyful for women going through rough times. According to the founders, “every Shoebox helps a woman experiencing homelessness remember that she is loved and valuable.”

Another small but potentially impactful way we gave back this December was by promoting and supporting women in business! A small gesture, but highlighting these innovative business owners, and sharing through social media, sure made us feel good!

Make Giving A Year-Round Thing!

But giving back doesn’t have to be segregated to the holiday season. Let’s make it a year-round thing!

As business owners, adopting a corporate culture of giving and finding ways to support employees in their efforts to help others, is a darn good place to start 2019, wouldn’t you agree?

Everyone here at Spodek and Co. wishes you and yours a safe and happy holiday season. How are you celebrating this year? Staying in town or going south? Working throughout or taking a break? I would love to hear all about it in the comments!

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The Weekly Download – December 21, 2018 https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/12/the-weekly-download-december-21-2018.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/12/the-weekly-download-december-21-2018.html#respond Fri, 21 Dec 2018 14:20:03 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=7189 Happy Friday, everyone! Welcome to the holiday edition of The Weekly Download. We’ll try to keep it short and sweet – but, busy holiday season or not, there always seems to be a lot of fires in the digital world! On today’s agenda, we’re going to tackle Facebook’s data sharing abuse, yet again. Instagram’s new […]

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Spodek & Co Weekly DownloadHappy Friday, everyone! Welcome to the holiday edition of The Weekly Download. We’ll try to keep it short and sweet – but, busy holiday season or not, there always seems to be a lot of fires in the digital world!

On today’s agenda, we’re going to tackle Facebook’s data sharing abuse, yet again. Instagram’s new interactive features, Amazon’s new Toronto office and some Friday Fun!

Let’s dive in.

Facebook Strikes Again

Data sharing doesn’t sound too scary, right? Pair it with Facebook and your feelings will likely change. Last Friday, the news broke that Facebook had supplied some of the world’s leading tech companies with access to their users’ personal data, including friends’ feeds, private messages, contact info and calendar entries. Did we mention without permission or knowledge?

These “Business Partnerships” with industry giants like Amazon, Netflix, Microsoft, Spotify and more were in place as early as 2010, and remained active until 2017. These “business partners” were excused from Facebook’s usual privacy rules and conditions.

Facebook’s reasoning? These business partners were referred to as “integration partners,” the way certain applications are, and were able to act as “functionally extensions of Facebook itself.” This is a bit of a stretch, to say the least.

The exposure of data is reported to have affected almost seven million Facebook users. If you were one of the individuals potentially impacted, you will receive notification from Facebook.

New Instagram Features

You may have noticed some changes to your Instagram feed and profile recently. That’s because Instagram has rolled out a number of new features to make interactions with friends more diverse and exciting.

So, what are these new features? First, your friends can now respond to your questions sticker with songs from the music library, allowing you to share your favourites to your story.

“You’ll see the new music icon when you use the questions sticker. When you friends respond, they can choose a song directly from the music library and share it with you. Open the viewer’s list to see all their responses, and tap the play button to listen to the songs… You’ll also see new effects that respond to the beats and sounds of a song.”

Secondly, you can now better connect on Instagram Live by using the question sticker.

“To ask a question and have it answered Live, go to someone’s story and respond to their questions sticker as you normally would. If they go Live to answer, you’ll see “Q&A” in your stories tray. Join the Live video and you’ll see the question they’re answering at that moment.”

And finally, as we mentioned last week, you can now countdown to your favourite moments like Christmas, the ball drop on New Year’s Eve, or a vacation you’ve been looking forward to for months!

Amazon’s New Toronto Office

Last year, along with many other big cities across North America, Toronto vied for the chance to be the home of Amazon’s HQ2. New York and Northern Virginia were the big winners. But, Canada’s largest city must have made an impression!

This week, Amazon announced it had opened “…a brand new, 113,000-square-foot office in the heart of downtown Toronto.”

According to Toronto’s mayor John Tory, “Amazon’s expansion of its Toronto Tech Hub underscored the incredible tech talent we have in our city, and jobs like these allow us to retain and attract high tech talent locally.”

Amazon’s arrival means big things for Toronto’s tech industry and the city’s employment, as a larger footprint for Amazon means more jobs! And that’s never a bad thing.

Friday Fun

It wouldn’t be The Weekly Download without some Friday Fun! Check out this hilarious video of Jimmy Fallon and Lin-Manuel Miranda singing holiday parodies of our favourite top 40 songs.

Also, this…

On behalf of everyone here at Spodek & Co., we wish you a joyous holiday season filled with quality time spent with friends and family! See you in 2019!

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Facebook Marketing Done Right Can Help Your Business Grow https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/12/facebook-marketing.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/12/facebook-marketing.html#respond Mon, 17 Dec 2018 14:00:40 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=7164 Facebook’s taken a few lumps lately, and rightly so. However, Facebook marketing remains an effective tool for businesses looking to expand their reach, without spending a ton of cash. How effective, you might be asking? Take a look at these statistics: Facebook Marketing Reaches the Masses Nearly one and a half billion people check Facebook every […]

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Facebook marketingFacebook’s taken a few lumps lately, and rightly so. However, Facebook marketing remains an effective tool for businesses looking to expand their reach, without spending a ton of cash.

How effective, you might be asking? Take a look at these statistics:

Facebook Marketing Reaches the Masses

  • Nearly one and a half billion people check Facebook every day, and Facebook remains the most popular social network in Canada.
  • Three-quarters of all Canadians are online every day.
  • And of those online Canadians? Close to 90 percent of them check into Facebook at least once a week.
  • Seventy percent of them are there every day.
  • And 56 percent of those consumers surveyed said they follow companies, products or brands.

Naturally, when you look at the numbers in the United States and around the world, the number of Facebook enthusiasts skyrockets! Clearly, there’s an audience for Facebook marketing. If you do it right.

How to Use Facebook Marketing to Help Your Business

I write a lot about Facebook marketing, as well as social media marketing and digital marketing in general—because that’s what we do! But, I also firmly believe it’s important to help people cut through the overwhelming amount of information out there, and realize social media can be a powerful tool for marketing your business.

And there are myriad ways you can incorporate Facebook marketing into your business strategies! You won’t go broke, you won’t have to spend hours and hours of your time and effort before you start to see real results. Let’s get started!

Have a Facebook Business Page

Effective Facebook marketing requires a separate page (from your personal one) that is 100 percent about your company. This is an opportunity to really showcase who you are, where you’re located, and what you do.

Include hours of business, contact information, what products you carry, and keep it visual! And be sure to add photos or other graphics, logos, etc. – keep it visual with your brand front and centre.

Don’t Set it and Forget it

Regular posting and engagement is key to growing your Facebook business page community. But share a mixture of interesting content, and change it up on a fairly regular schedule, so people will check back often.

Use Facebook Polls to tease information from your members, in order to tailor your posts and drill-down on their pain-points.

Don’t Fear Video

Facebook Live is a fantastic free way to add more value to your community. Consider doing a Facebook Live for your public business page, giving folks a back-room peak into the day-to-day of your organization.

Or, use some polling data and use live video to answer questions and provide guidance. This works particularly well if you also have a private Facebook Group (see below!). It’s really easy to create a Facebook Live video. Trust me. I’ve done a couple!

Create a Private Facebook Group 

If you’re a service company, or selling B2B, consider creating a private group where vetted members and business peers can chat privately. It’s a great way to generate word of mouth marketing, grow your customer base, and network.

And, a thriving Facebook Group helps you build a reputation as an industry thought leader. If you would like to learn more, click here for tips and tricks and more about my experience building our Facebook group.

Last But Not Least: Ads Work Too

Facebook advertising can be an effective way to target page members with content or information tailored directly to them. Say, “Women under 40.” instead of “Men over 50.” You get the picture.

There are many different types of Facebook advertising available, so you’ll need to do some research to determine what would work best for you, depending on what you want to achieve. Or, reach out to us at Spodek & Co.! It’s what we do!

What has your experience been using Facebook marketing? Have you shied away thinking it would be expensive? Are you curious, but not sure where to start? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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The Weekly Download – December 14, 2018 https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/12/the-weekly-download-december-14-2018.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/12/the-weekly-download-december-14-2018.html#respond Fri, 14 Dec 2018 15:37:34 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=7173 Is it Friday already? Whew, the days are flying by! Another successful week calls for the next installment of The Weekly Download. There’s lots to chat about today, including Google’s mock ad fiasco, Amazon’s plans to open a cashier’less Amazon Go store, and TIME Magazine’s “people” of the Year. And, as if we needed reminding, […]

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Spodek & Co Weekly DownloadIs it Friday already? Whew, the days are flying by! Another successful week calls for the next installment of The Weekly Download.

There’s lots to chat about today, including Google’s mock ad fiasco, Amazon’s plans to open a cashier’less Amazon Go store, and TIME Magazine’s “people” of the Year. And, as if we needed reminding, we look at some of the most noteworthy data breaches of 2018, Instagram’s new ‘countdown’ sticker and of course, Friday Fun!

You better get comfortable, this one’s a doozey!

Google’s Dummy Ad Goes Live

Human error? At a technology company? Say it ain’t so! (sarcasm font)

On December 4th, a Google employee made the old “hit send before proofreading” mistake. Except in this case, it could end up costing the tech giant millions of dollars!

In a training session gone terribly wrong, the rather unlucky staffer accidentally published a mock ad to a large number of both webpages and apps. The ad was live for about 45 minutes in the U.S. and Australia before anyone noticed the mistake.

Of course, ads cost money. But in this case, Google is going to honor any financial hits taken due to this error.

The Store with No Queues

According to “sources,” retail giant Amazon is set to expand their Amazon Go stores outside of the U.S.

Where? In the busiest shopping area of London: Oxford Circus. The shop will be anywhere between 3,000 and 5,000 square feet and will feature some of the most sophisticated shopping technology in the world.

Not familiar with Amazon Go? Check out this wildly futuristic operation!

TIME Magazine Names “People” of the Year

For the second year in a row, TIME Magazine has chosen a group rather than an individual for their iconic “Person of the Year” edition. The 2018 honour goes to “The Guardians and the War on Truth” – a group of journalists representative of the many journalists worldwide who have lost their freedom, even their lives, while speaking truth to power.

Time’s editor-in-chief, Edward Felsenthal, wrote: “They are representative of a broader fight by countless others around the world — as of Dec. 10, at least 52 journalists have been murdered in 2018 — who risk all to tell the story of our time.”

Included in a series of four covers are murdered Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi; Maria Ressa, the arrested editor of a Philippine news website critical of President Rodrigo Duterte; Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, two Reuters journalists imprisoned in Myanmar for nearly a year for investigating the massacre of Rohingya Muslims; and the staff at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Md. where four journalists and a sales assistant were killed by a gunman in June.

Well done, Time. Well done.

What Is Personal Privacy Anyways?

It feels lately like “hacking is the new black.” And no industry in any country is safe from a potential loss of personal data, whether due to an actual data theft, a bug in the website’s security system, or the mishandling (even selling) of people’s data by big corporations.

Business Insider created a handy list of the most significant data breaches of the year. And while it felt, with all the attention and reporting, that the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica data scandals must have been the worst of the year, guess what? They didn’t even break the top five!

What I also find interesting about this list is that it includes data breaches that I hadn’t even heard about! I’m sure you’ll find a few surprises as well. We’ll leave you with a teaser, the number one hack of 2018:

Aadhar, a 12-digit security code issued by the Indian government which collects information on the citizens’ identity and biometric info, leaked the highly private information of 1.1 billion individuals.

Let’s hope for a safer year for data in 2019.

Instagram’s New Count Down Feature

You know it’s the holiday season when the Advent calendars come out. First used by German Lutherans in the 19th and 20th centuries, they’re basically a fun way for families to countdown the days ‘til Christmas. You’ll find them on your fireplace mantle, the checkout counter at every retail store, and of course, on social media.

Instagram has just added a new ‘countdown’ sticker to their repertoire, making it easy to send exciting (or annoying) reminders to your following about special, upcoming events! Definitely annoying if they’re going to Mexico in the dead of winter and you’re not! LOL

This is an excellent tool for brands and businesses to use to remind followers about product launches, store openings, Facebook Lives and more. This feature is a definite must add to your 2019 Instagram strategy.

Friday Fun

Alright, let’s wind things down with some Friday Fun. Do we have any Stranger Things fans out there? Well, here’s Netflix’s first teaser release for the third season. We want more!

Avengers fans, it’s likely you’ve already seen this as it’s trending on YouTube with over 68 million views in less than a week – but let’s watch it again!

 

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