Spodek & Co https://spodekandco.com Digital Communications Mon, 12 Nov 2018 14:00:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Fine Tune Your Social Marketing Strategy With Improved Data https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/11/social-marketing-strategy-improved-data.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/11/social-marketing-strategy-improved-data.html#respond Mon, 12 Nov 2018 14:00:18 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=7059 There are changes afoot at Facebook, folks, but this time the news is all good! The social media giant is making it easier for you to fine tune your social marketing strategy, whether your focus is Facebook or Instagram, or both. Measuring Your Social Marketing Strategy As you know, we preach solid social marketing strategy […]

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Social Marketing StrategyThere are changes afoot at Facebook, folks, but this time the news is all good! The social media giant is making it easier for you to fine tune your social marketing strategy, whether your focus is Facebook or Instagram, or both.

Measuring Your Social Marketing Strategy

As you know, we preach solid social marketing strategy measurement to the high heavens. And if you’re working with an agency that isn’t measuring your results—or if your internal teams aren’t doing so—you need to change that, like, yesterday.

We are literally swimming in a sea of data points today. Customers are savvier than ever, and expect top-notch brand interaction. There are approximately 95 million businesses active on Instagram and Facebook combined, and consumers are engaged.

Instagram alone is literally heaving with brand-friendly users. According to the photo sharing app, 80 percent of them actively use the app to connect with brands. And, this year Instagram hit a billion active monthly users! That’s equates to roughly 800 million users following at least one brand!

It doesn’t take a genius to realize how important it is to drill down and determine whether the efforts you are putting forth (and money you are spending!), are actually driving business growth.

The days of follower counts or likes and shares being the measuring stick are long gone. Gone also is the practice of throwing ideas at the wall and seeing what sticks. Even the smallest companies can benefit from a well-measured social media strategy.

Tweak Your Social Marketing Strategy With Improved Facebook and Instagram Analytics

These new additions will help your Instagram social marketing strategy measurement in the following ways:

  • Discover whether people who comment on or like Instagram posts have higher retention rates.
  • Compare the lifetime value of people who interact with your Instagram account to those who don’t.
  • Create segments: e.g., all the people who commented on one of your posts—and analyze the value they bring to your business.
  • Understand how your Instagram audience overlaps with the people downloading your app, visiting your website, or engaging with your Facebook Page.

Speaking of Facebook, the changes to Facebook Page analytics are just as robust.

According to Facebook, “…advanced Page analytics give you a broader view of the impact of your Page by including more valuable events (defined as actions people take on your Page), including Post Impression, Page follow/unfollow, Page like/unlike, and more…That means you can create new audience segments of people who engage in certain ways, track funnel conversion from social engagement to purchase, compare audience demographics by channel and activity, and more.”

Not Sure If You Have Access?

If you’re already using the Facebook Analytics dashboard, you’ll get an email in the coming months letting you know when these changes are available to you. They are still in beta, so much testing is still ongoing.

Not using Facebook analytics yet? Click here for the “how tos” of getting set up, then give these new measurement tactics a try.

Your social media content is definitely having an impact. But is its impact aligning with your social marketing strategy and projected business goals? That is the question all business owners should want measured, and answered.

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The Weekly Download – November 9, 2018 https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/11/the-weekly-download-november-9-2018.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/11/the-weekly-download-november-9-2018.html#respond Fri, 09 Nov 2018 15:18:15 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=7063 Happy Friday, everyone! We hope everyone’s had a successful and productive week. Thanks for joining us for another installment of The Weekly Download—one of the best ways to play catch up on digital world news you might have missed! Today we’re dissecting Facebook’s Attribution Tool and their pop-up shops, Google’s new ‘follow’ feature, and updates […]

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The Weekly Download - November 9Happy Friday, everyone! We hope everyone’s had a successful and productive week. Thanks for joining us for another installment of The Weekly Download—one of the best ways to play catch up on digital world news you might have missed!

Today we’re dissecting Facebook’s Attribution Tool and their pop-up shops, Google’s new ‘follow’ feature, and updates in Twitter trends. Also, alcohol brands that have found a better way to weed out the young’uns on Snapchat, and of course, it wouldn’t be the Weekly Download without with some Friday Fun!

Grab a coffee and settle in!

Facebook’s Attribution Tool for Marketers

Marketers spend a lot of time searching for active spaces that will yield a healthy return of investment (ROI) when it comes to their ad campaigns. Social media and other online platforms have high user engagement and spending rates, making them very attractive to marketers.

That said, exactly where an ad campaign went right is often hard to pinpoint. How much research did they do on an item? How many devices were used? Which device did they use to eventually finalize that purchase, and why? How exactly do you track your customers’ paths to purchase?

Don’t worry; Facebook is here to help. They’ve introduced an Attribution Tool that allows you to fully access the consumer’s path, providing your business with critical information about your campaign, channels and devices. With this information, you can then effectively measure your ROI.

If you would like to know more, click here for a handy guide on how to set up your Facebook Attribution Tool.

Facebook x Macy’s Pop-Up Shops

Why would Facebook be partnering with nine Macy’s stores across the United States this holiday season? In a crafty marketing move, Facebook “…will feature 100 products from the most-loved small businesses and digital-native brands on Facebook and Instagram…giving shoppers the chance to get up close and hands-on with the products before deciding whether to make a purchase.”

It’s a cool idea, and a smart way to promote online brands that don’t have actual bricks and mortar locations. Facebook is covering all the costs, and as a promotional opportunity for Facebook, Macy’s AND small business/product placement, it’s a win-win-win.   

Facebook PopUp Shop

Follow Your Favourite Businesses on Google

With more than 150 million places on Google Maps and “search” having never been bigger, Google has added a helpful ‘follow’ feature so users can keep tabs on their favourite businesses. The search engine giant’s latest feature will allow businesses to deliver relevant information like product updates, events and promotions, all in real-time. And, if you’re the local gossip source, the feature will dish out all the deets on new places opening around town (including the opening date).

Never miss a sale or a restaurant deal ever again!

Short and Sweet Tweets

Last year, Twitter doubled their character count from 140 to 280 per tweet. Traditional diehards thought the sky was falling (part of the joy of Twitter was its condensed, bite-sized bits of information), but it turns out they had nothing to worry about. Old habits, well, die hard!

So, how have users been tweeting since then? According to the latest Twitter data, users are averaging 33 characters per tweet. Their research also states that only three percent of tweets are over 190 characters and a bare one percent of English tweets actually hit the 280-character maximum.

What are some of the other trends that Twitter found? Well, even among those users who have stuck to the shorter character count, there is a decrease in abbreviations and an increase in fully spelled words. Also, tweets are also receiving more replies which point to increased engagement on the platform.

Alcohol Brands Find Solution for Age Appropriate Snapchat Ads

Popular alcohol brands like Heineken and Mast-Jägermeister had previously removed their Snapchat advertisements due to concerns about under-aged audiences—the primary users of the photo/video based platform.

Not only were these brands concerned they would be held responsible for promoting underage drinking by placing these ads on Snapchat, but it was a huge waste of marketing dollars when they weren’t reaching their target audiences.

How were they able to adapt? By developing a screening system that proved to have 94 percent accuracy. First, they targeted individuals who were legal age, then conducted a secondary screening of the ages of their followers. If they were mainly connected with 13-year-olds, well, no booze ads to them! This screening process was developed to weed out users who lied about their age upon registration, and has turned out to be very smart marketing.

Maclean’s Vs. Twitter

And we’ll leave you with this…shared without comment (but a lot of laughs!). 😀

Friday Fun

This week’s Friday fun is for all our foodie readers! If you’re familiar with Matty Matheson, you know you’re in for a bunch of laughs with this review.

 

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Email Marketing For Small Business: Our Top Five Tips https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/11/email-marketing-small-business-tips.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/11/email-marketing-small-business-tips.html#respond Mon, 05 Nov 2018 14:00:49 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=6919 Email marketing for small business doesn’t have to be difficult. Here at Spodek & Co., we’ve had great success with our email marketing campaigns and so can you. And while email marketing for small business isn’t hugely different from that of the big Fortune 500s, there are subtle tweaks you can make to your email […]

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E-Mail Marketing for small businessEmail marketing for small business doesn’t have to be difficult. Here at Spodek & Co., we’ve had great success with our email marketing campaigns and so can you.

And while email marketing for small business isn’t hugely different from that of the big Fortune 500s, there are subtle tweaks you can make to your email marketing campaign to ensure your open rates soar.

Our Top Five Tips For Email Marketing for Small Business

  1. Make sure your emails reflect your brand. Get creative, use your brand voice, and include your logos, colours, and other identifying imagery. This creates immediate recognition, and draws on the trust you’ve built with your community.
  2. Know your goals and objectives. These may or may not be the same as your overall business goals and objectives for the calendar year but they should at least be complimentary. Do you want to land more leads? Drive eyeballs to your web site? Increase brand recognition? Or perhaps promote a special monthly offer or incentive program? Fine tune your focus before launching your email marketing campaign.
  3. Provide top notch content! From your subject line to your sign off and everything in between, make the act of engaging with your emails worth it. Also, make sure your content matches what you’ve teased in your subject line—don’t “trick” people into opening an email. Also, people are busy, so keep it short and sweet when you can, and use lists and bullet points where possible. Use visuals too! Especially when sharing data or poll results, an easily scannable infographic is often more compelling to your reader than paragraphs of copy.
  4. Include your social and links and other contact information. Don’t make it hard for your readers to reach out to you if they have questions or concerns.
  5. And finally, make sure your emails are optimized for mobile! More people, a healthy 75 percent in fact, access their email via smartphone or tablet these days than ever before. And they’re often on the run while doing so, which makes well optimized, easy to digest emails (as mentioned in tip #3 above) even more important.

Don’t Forget to Track Campaign Success (or Failure)

No one wants their marketing efforts to fail, but hey, it happens to the best of us! That’s why it’s vitally important you track email campaigns. Keep a sharp eye on big drops in open rates or click throughs.

If these occur, go back to that campaign, and analyze its subject line, content, even the time of day you sent it out. Compare these results to other more successful emails, and tweak accordingly.

This trial and error or A/B testing approach can seem tedious when you’re already swamped running a small business, but it’s worth it. Mail Chimp is a great email marketing service you can use which provides data on clicks, opens, subscribers’ social activity, e-commerce data, and much more. (Caveat: We use MailChimp but are in no way affiliated with the company – we just think it’s great!)

I want to add that the above tips apply to your company newsletter efforts as well.

What are your thoughts on email marketing for small business? Have you had success with your email campaigns? I would love to know more!

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The Weekly Download – November 2, 2018 https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/11/the-weekly-download-november-2-2018.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/11/the-weekly-download-november-2-2018.html#respond Fri, 02 Nov 2018 12:51:52 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=7043 Hello, Friday! We hope everyone had an excellent week. To help you wrap up, here’s another installment of the Weekly Download What’s on the docket today? Snapchat’s new desktop lenses, Instagram’s U.S. election hype and Nametag tool, the digitization of the poppy and some Friday Fun. Buckle up! There’s lots to read about today. Snap […]

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The Weekly Download - November 2, 2018Hello, Friday! We hope everyone had an excellent week. To help you wrap up, here’s another installment of the Weekly Download

What’s on the docket today? Snapchat’s new desktop lenses, Instagram’s U.S. election hype and Nametag tool, the digitization of the poppy and some Friday Fun.

Buckle up! There’s lots to read about today.

Snap Camera: An Introduction to Desktop

Lenses and filters have taken over our mobile devices. It’s hard to migrate through any social platform without seeing multiple photos plastered with these effects – think puppy noses and bunny ears. So it’s no surprise that Snapchat has found more ways to integrate these playful lenses into our lives.

The new, free desktop application is called Snap Camera, and it allows you get goofy and play around with thousands of lenses, including new ones being made daily by the Lens Creator Community. Once you’ve downloaded the application, it synchs with your desktop camera and integrates with some of your favourite video-streaming platforms like YouTube, Skype, Google Hangouts and more!

Instagram Encourages Users to Share Election Excitement

Instagram has been working diligently over the past few months to not only encourage their U.S. users to vote, but to share their experiences doing so, all in an effort to motivate citizens to exercise this very important right.

Yesterday, Instagram announced two new ways U.S. users can “share their voting excitement” with their network. Starting Sunday, users in registered areas will be able to upload post-voting selfies and dress them up in “I Voted” stickers. Instagram also created “Yo Voté” stickers for users whose phone language preferences are set to Spanish. If a friend views an election story and clicks on the “I Voted” sticker, they will be redirected to “Get to the Polls,” a nonpartisan site that helps users find their polling location.

On November 6th (mid-term election day in America), Instagram will introduce a “We Voted” story at the front of U.S. users’ story bars. This will funnel all of a user’s friends who used this sticker into one place, encouraging real-time, shared engagement.

Instagram Election

(Photo Source: https://instagram-press.com)

Nametag: A New Instagram Tool You Should Be Using

Instagram recently introduced Nametags, a cool new free tool that creates a code for your account that other users can scan from within the app in order to follow you directly. Your Nametag is entirely customizable allowing people and businesses to skew fun or professional with their Nametag, depending on what suits them best.

Where should you post your Nametag? Anywhere you see fit! Emails, print, signage and events are all excellent places to start. By making your Nametag accessible, you do not have to promote your account manually. And more importantly, you don’t have to worry about typos or handle variations that make it difficult to find the correct profile.

So, the next time you send out an email attach your Nametag, or place it on a banner at your next networking event and watch your organic following grow!

Instagram NametagThe Royal Canadian Legion Takes Remembrance Day Digital

The Royal Canadian Legion has given Canadians a new way to show their support to veterans. How? By introducing the Remembrance Day poppy into the digital world in efforts to generate engagement with younger generations who use social media as a primary source of communication.

There’s now a downloadable, customizable digital poppy that can be added to social profile pictures and shared online, but only from the last Friday of October to November 11th (following the same rules as the physical poppy). Remember, the poppy is a sacred representation of the sacrifices made by those who fought for all our freedoms. Use it and share it with respect.

The Royal Canadian Legion is now accepting cashless donations when you visit www.mypoppy.ca to download your digital poppy.

Friday Fun

A story about a hamburger-lovin’, con-artist dog? Count us in! **NOTE: There’s a little bit of language in the following story that’s NSFW, but it’s all in the spirit of good fun! And if you’re a dog owner, I’m sure you’ll understand!

And while we’re here, let’s take a look at our favourite celeb Halloween looks!

View this post on Instagram

They got candy? LEGO!

A post shared by Justin Timberlake (@justintimberlake) on

View this post on Instagram

Happy Halloween from Morticia & Gomez Addams

A post shared by J O E J O N A S (@joejonas) on

And the queen of Halloween, Heidi Klum!

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bppd43zjrwz/?taken-by=heidiklum

 

 

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What is a SWOT Analysis and Does My Business Need One? https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/10/swot-analysis-small-business.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/10/swot-analysis-small-business.html#respond Mon, 29 Oct 2018 13:00:59 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=7016 Does your business need a SWOT analysis? The short answer is yes. Blog post finished. Just kidding! I would never leave you hanging like that. Instead, today I’m going to break down for you exactly what a SWOT analysis is, and explain why they are so important. What the Heck is a SWOT Analysis? SWOTs […]

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SWOT AnalysisDoes your business need a SWOT analysis? The short answer is yes. Blog post finished.

Just kidding! I would never leave you hanging like that. Instead, today I’m going to break down for you exactly what a SWOT analysis is, and explain why they are so important.

What the Heck is a SWOT Analysis?

SWOTs have been around since the ‘60s, and there’s a reason why they’ve stood the test of time: they examine fundamental principals of business success or failure.

Generally speaking, a SWOT analysis is “…a framework used to evaluate a company’s competitive position by identifying its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Specifically, SWOT analysis is a foundational assessment model that measures what an organization can and cannot do, and its potential opportunities and threats.”

Or, in layman’s terms, it’s a way to map out business planning and gauge where your company stands in the current business landscape. And, as 2019 looms, it’s as good a time as any to have one done.

A SWOT Analysis Breakdown

Broken down into internal (strengths and weaknesses) and external (opportunities and threats) factors, a SWOT analysis will help you determine where things are working, and perhaps more importantly, where they aren’t. Here are some important things to look at:

  • Strengths: Figure out what your organization does really well. What do your teams bring to the table? And what can you offer that sets you apart from your competition?
  • Weaknesses: We all have weaknesses. And the goal here isn’t to beat yourself up, it’s to recognize where you can beef up your business to meet your goals. Do you have access to the resources you need? Is there a critical skill-set missing in your organization? Do you have “what you offer” clearly defined and easy for potential clients or customers to understand? And have you shied away from digital marketing or social media?
  • Opportunities: This is the fun part! What can you capitalize on or change to better your business? Are you unique to the market in your area? Could there be opportunities for expansion or partnership on the horizon? Are there underserved areas just waiting for you to fill the void? If you don’t have a digital footprint (including social media) what are you doing to actively build one? Or, if you’re already set up on social, how can you improve upon your online communities and encourage word of mouth marketing?
  • Threats: Threats are pretty self-explanatory. Has the competition in your neck of the woods grown or changed in some way? Is technology changing so quickly that you can’t keep up? Or worse, have you been intimidated by technology and find yourself so far behind your competitors you don’t know how to catch up? And what about industry regulations? Have there been change? And will those changes impact your business or staff? Have you or your brand experienced (or caused!) a PR hiccup that you’re still recovering from?

Can I Do My Own SWOT Analysis?

Yes, you can. But to make a self-SWOT really effective, it’s recommended that you include other team members.

Why? Because it’s easy to fall into the “curse of knowledge” trap. The curse of knowledge is what happens when you don’t “see” what’s really going on around you, because you’re too familiar with the subject matter. Often, you end up not being self-critical enough! Let’s face it, if your business is your baby, it’s very hard to pick it apart in order to improve. Trust me, I know.

Having outside eyeballs do an unbiased SWOT analysis is, in my opinion, the best way to go. Not only will you get a fresh perspective on how your company is doing, you will also benefit from the unique knowledge an outsider can bring to the table. And technology is a great example!

Let’s say you’re behind in the digital space, or intimidated by the rapid tech changes happening lately. You probably won’t be able to tease out the many opportunities available for your brand in the digital space as effectively as someone else can.

The bottom line is, if you’ve never had a SWOT done, or haven’t had one done in a year or so, you should think about starting the process. And, if you can, choose a skilled outside company to help. The investment in your overall business success alone makes it well worth the cost.

How about you? Have you done SWOTs for your company? Did you do them internally or have an outside organization provide fresh insight? Did they help? Please leave your thoughts below!

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The Weekly Download – October 26, 2018 https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/10/the-weekly-download-october-26-2018.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/10/the-weekly-download-october-26-2018.html#respond Fri, 26 Oct 2018 13:48:24 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=7023 Happy Friday, everyone! We hope everyone had a successful work week and have some lovely R&R planned for the weekend. We’ve got some interesting reports on the docket today: Mountain Equipment Co-op tackles racial representation, Snapchat cracks down on bullying, Baby Boomers take over Facebook, and Apple’s fixing its ‘beautygate’ bug. And, of course, we’ll […]

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Spodek & Co Weekly Download - Oct 26, 2018Happy Friday, everyone! We hope everyone had a successful work week and have some lovely R&R planned for the weekend.

We’ve got some interesting reports on the docket today: Mountain Equipment Co-op tackles racial representation, Snapchat cracks down on bullying, Baby Boomers take over Facebook, and Apple’s fixing its ‘beautygate’ bug. And, of course, we’ll wrap it all up with some Friday Fun.

Grab your coffee and settle in!

Mountain Equipment Co-op Addresses Misrepresentation

One stunning Instagram shot might have just moved the needle on racial representation (or lack thereof) when it comes to many “outdoor adventure” companies and their advertising.

View this post on Instagram

According to a U.S. national parks study, only 7 percent of black folks visit national parks. While 78 percent of all parks visitors are white. There seems to be a narrative that BIPOC don’t enjoy the outdoor compare to their white friends. This is not rooted in actual reality but a myth perpetuated by marketing that caters to predominately white audience. If you don’t believe, check out companies such as @mec, @arcteryx @arcteryxcanada @hellyhansen who fail to diversify their adds. Painting a narrative that people like me don’t enjoy the outdoors. I love nature and spending time outside! I hope these companies can diversify their adds. Sadly I couldn’t find any studies in Canada. #truthfultuesday Pc: @neverbadtimeforchanges

A post shared by Juju Milay (@jujumil) on

Last March, Judith Kasiama posted a breathtaking Instagram photo of herself atop a mountain that exuded happiness. And she took that opportunity to call out (and tag!) companies like MEC, Arcteryx Canada, and Helly Hansen for perpetuating the myth that somehow people of colour don’t enjoy the outdoors, and outdoor recreational sports.

MEC, for one, took notice—and admitted she was absolutely right! The company called Kasiama for help, and together they began a dialogue on diversity with the goal of more accurately representing their community of over five million members.

In a letter released last week, CEO David Labistoursaid, “White athletes hold the spotlight in advertising, while the diversity that exists and continues to grow in outdoor spaces isn’t represented in the images we produce and promote. The truth is that we haven’t represented the diversity of Canadians or of our 5 million members…this letter is about recognizing the role we’ve played in under-representing people of colour in the outdoors, and committing to change.”

Protect Yourself from Snapchat Bullies

Snapchat is designed for the user to protect and control their own communities. Each account is private upon activation (only you can change it to public), and friends must be manually added. However, we all know bullies will find their way in, and Snapchat recognized that too, and has made reporting bullying behaviour easier.

“If you ever receive a Snap that you believe is bullying or offensive, you can easily report it to us right in the app. Just press and hold on the Snap, then tap the 🏳button. Let us know what’s going on — we’ll always do our best to help! You can learn more at our Safety Center,” said Snap.

Snapchat Report Bullies

Snapchat also created filters, stickers, and Snap Ads in efforts to raise awareness in support of Bullying Prevention Month. Kudos, Snapchat!

Facebook’s 2018 User Base

eMarketer released a report this week that took a close look at Facebook and their user base. And it turned out the cool kids were right: the Baby Boomers are taking over!

“In fact, baby boomers favor Facebook over other social apps, like Pinterest, Instagram and especially Snapchat. This year, we expect 31.9 million people in that cohort to use Facebook,” said eMarketer.

Baby Boomers on Facebook

And it makes sense. For Boomers, Facebook is a familiar space filled with friends and family. It serves as an easy way for loved ones to share photos and personal updates, and allows folks living far apart to stay connected.

Why do you think the young folks are leaving Facebook? Have us boring oldies made it lame to use? (LOL) Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Apple to Smooth Over “Beautygate” Bug

Apparently, selfies on the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are a little too good to be true. In fact, they almost look purposely smoothed out or airbrushed by a face tuning app. And users are complaining.

According to Business Insider, the smooth processing is due to shutter speeds when capturing front facing photos. The new Smart HDR Feature slows down shutter speed which is designed to eliminate shadows and control highlights, which ultimately smooths out the appearance of skin. And hey, there’s nothing wrong with putting your best face forward, we all share our best pics online—but being automatically photoshopped  doesn’t sit well with most of us.

The fix will be integrated into the next iOS update which does not currently have an official release.

Friday Fun

Of course, no Friday would be complete without a dose of fun!

IHOP has recently earned some hilarious PR coverage on Twitter. What started as a couple of buddies enjoying some eggs and bacon turned into a “lid-sync” series. Sit back and enjoy!

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Tech Tools for Business We Can’t Live Without https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/10/tech-tools-for-business.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/10/tech-tools-for-business.html#respond Mon, 22 Oct 2018 13:00:43 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=6979 Technology is definitely a double edged sword. Hacking and the spread of misinformation? Bad. Tech tools for business purposes? Good! From a business owner’s perspective, technology has also created a global economy, and allowed people who would never have become entrepreneurs otherwise to do so. And that’s also good. Very good. These apps and cloud based […]

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Tech Tools for business Technology is definitely a double edged sword. Hacking and the spread of misinformation? Bad. Tech tools for business purposes? Good!

From a business owner’s perspective, technology has also created a global economy, and allowed people who would never have become entrepreneurs otherwise to do so. And that’s also good. Very good.

These apps and cloud based software as a service (SAAS) platforms have allowed virtual businesses like ours to thrive and prosper. And we can hire the best and brightest—no matter where they reside. 

We want you to thrive and prosper too. So, since sharing is caring, here are a few of our favourite tech tools for business that we use every day.

Our Top Tech Tools for Business

Collaboration: We might be a virtual company, but our team chats and shares all day long using Slack. This collaboration software allows us to create subject-specific channels and groups, share documents, files and images, and track client work. Heck, we even hold our bi-weekly staff meetings using Slack’s video calling feature! Of all the tech tools for business we use, Slack might just be my favourite.

Email marketing: Email isn’t dead. On the contrary, it can be an integral part of your lead generation and content sharing strategies. Mailchimp is a great email marketing service for sending super sharp, brand-specific emails to your community. It was founded to help business owners grow their business using an easier, cheaper email marketing tool. And allows you to access tons of data from your campaigns, including clicks, opens, subscribers’ social activity, e-commerce habits, etc. Today, Mailchimp isn’t just about email. But they continue to provide an effective, user-friendly platform that we love.

Creative: If you want to make sure those emails are on-brand, look no further than Canva and its simple drag and drop format. Canva provides templates, fonts, filters, and other resources to help you easily craft eye-catching graphics for email campaigns, social media sharing, blog posts, business cards, infographics, and more! Worried that you don’t have a creative bone in your body? Don’t be. They also provide tutorials, and other guidance to help you bring your company’s branding to a new level.  

File Sharing: Dropbox is cloud-based file storage and sharing at its best. And it’s one of just a few tech tools for business that received the Electronic Frontier Foundation‘s five-star rating for protecting user information. Dropbox doesn’t just allow you and your team to seamlessly share and store documents, images and video content. It also ensures your files are safe and easily accessed. And depending on how much cloud storage you need, you just might get away with using their two gigabyte free account. However moving up to one TB of storage space only costs a hundred bucks per year. Well worth it if you’re looking for flexible and safe file storage and access, especially if you run a virtual office like we do.

This is just a sampling of what we use every day to keep Spodek and Co.’s motor running. And there are obviously hundreds of other tech tools for business to help you function as efficiently as possible. So now I would love to hear from you. Which tech tools for business are you using? Have you tried some of the ones I listed above? Did you like them, or have you moved on to something else? Please leave your comments below.

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The Weekly Download – October 19, 2018 https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/10/the-weekly-download-october-19-2018.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/10/the-weekly-download-october-19-2018.html#respond Fri, 19 Oct 2018 13:57:38 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=7005 Happy Friday, everyone! It’s been a very chilly week in Toronto, but the digital world, however, never seems to cool down. So, we’re wrapping up our week with an extra hot, extra caffeinated drink in-hand, and we hope you are too. In today’s Weekly Download we’re looking at Samsung’s long awaited foldable phone, LinkedIn’s new […]

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Spodek & Co Weekly DownloadHappy Friday, everyone! It’s been a very chilly week in Toronto, but the digital world, however, never seems to cool down. So, we’re wrapping up our week with an extra hot, extra caffeinated drink in-hand, and we hope you are too.

In today’s Weekly Download we’re looking at Samsung’s long awaited foldable phone, LinkedIn’s new algorithm change, and how the #metoo movement proved one hashtag can change the world. Plus, we’ll show you why Tim Hortons and a Kenyan hockey team are the best double-double ever (wait, wut?)! Get your tissues out!

And for some Friday Fun, have a look at how one creative company is tackling a controversial (some might say stinky!) subject. Let’s get started!

Samsung’s Folding Phone

Nostalgia’s never a bad thing. We all have fond memories of “what came before” (rotary phones, anyone?). The problem, as Coca-Cola can attest to, is when brands take nostalgia one step too far, and turn nostalgia into a gimmick. Samsung insists this is NOT the case with their upcoming folding phone.

Unlike the good ol’ flip-phone, this gadget will fold in the middle, basically allowing you to use the phone as a tablet, and vice-versa. Many are touting the “double the screen size” benefits, and might just be the tool you need to take your selfies to a new level. That said, there are also cons to having a larger, bulkier folding device, though bigger phones seem to be the new norm these days.

Those in the know expect to see the launch of the long-rumoured foldable phone at Samsung’s Developer Conference next month. Keep your eyes peeled!

LinkedIn’s Algorithm Update 

Three cheers for the underdogs! LinkedIn has finally updated their algorithm to support better post engagement – and not JUST from its “top creators.”

Heck, it’s human nature to want some feedback on your work.

And LinkedIn realized they were in trouble as they saw engagement dropping, saying “…our members generate tens of millions of viral actions (likes, comments, and reshares), and the number is increasing more than 50% YoY. However, we found that these increases weren’t equally distributed. In fact, at the beginning of 2018, we were in danger of creating an economy where all the gains in viral actions accrued to the top 1% power users, while the majority of creators who don’t receive much feedback were receiving less than ever.”

The tweaks have updated the system to distribute posts more equally—which means more reach for your updates—and in a perfect world, increased engagement (which of course, leads to more reach, and so on).

It’s not perfect yet, but LinkedIn is already seeing results—more diverse content is being shared and content creators who weren’t seeing feedback are starting to re-populate their feeds again. And that’s a win/win for all of us!

The #MeToo Movement: How One Hashtag Changed the World

Ok, maybe “changed the world” is a bit hyperbolic, but the #metoo movement has certainly opened millions of eyes up to the problem of sexual harassment and abuse.

In fact, a new Pew Research study has proven just how global the #metoo movement has become over the past year. #MeToo has been used more than 19 million times on Twitter. And while 71 percent of those tweets were in english, a healthy 29 percent were in other languages, a clear indicator of its reach and its importance.

People are sharing their personal stories, and working hard to create a less-stigmatized atmosphere around sexual assault in ALL its forms. And this is a very good thing, and a much needed change, no matter if you’re male or female.

Tim Hortons Scores Again with “The Away Game”

When Canada’s favourite coffee chain caught wind of a lonely hockey team in perhaps one of the most unexpected places in the world, they decided to do the most Canadian thing ever! They proved that sometimes, dreams DO come true.

Picture this: twice a week, twelve members of Kenya’s only hockey team convene at a small rink in their country’s capital, Nairobi. Not surprisingly there are a few challenges facing these East African hockey fans when it comes to having an active team. Like finding skates and hockey sticks. Oh. And finding anyone else to play with!

That’s right. The aptly named Ice Lions had never played against another team. Well, they have now! And the biggest surprise of all was waiting for them at the arena. Please, watch this video. I promise you it will make your day, week, year. Kudos, Tim Hortons. Kudos.

Friday Fun

“Nothing says confidence like an armpit packed full of chemicals and aluminum.” That’s how this creative and hilarious ad campaign from natural deodorant maker Kopari begins. This cheeky fun ad takes what could be a downer topic (chemicals are bad) and turns it on its ear. Have a look.

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Where to Draw the Line on Free Business Advice https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/10/free-business-advice.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/10/free-business-advice.html#respond Mon, 15 Oct 2018 13:00:19 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=6945 What’s the one thing that small business owners get asked for time and time again? Well, if you’re anything like me, it’s free business advice. “Can I pick your brain?” quickly turns into the outline of a strategic plan or a brilliant social media idea. And it has to stop. Us business owners have to […]

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Where to draw the line on free advice.What’s the one thing that small business owners get asked for time and time again? Well, if you’re anything like me, it’s free business advice.

“Can I pick your brain?” quickly turns into the outline of a strategic plan or a brilliant social media idea. And it has to stop.

Us business owners have to start taking a stand. I simply can’t afford to give away my expertise for free. And you shouldn’t either.

Free Business Advice Versus Placing Value on Your Time

I’ve talked before about how much I enjoy my relationships with other small business owners. I support other businesses and professionals. Like you, I want to see everyone excel and succeed! But it’s time we all recognize that our expertise has value.

After all, I have decades of experience and knowledge to share—and I have excellent clients who pay for this experience and knowledge. I have built a reputation in digital marketing and communications, and also built a treasured Rolodex of contacts and connections.

And none of the above was built because of free business advice. In fact, for entrepreneurs wrapped up with keeping the bills paid, it’s easy to forget the hard work and sacrifices that brought us to where we are today.

Where to Draw the Line on Free Business Advice

I’ve created a list of questions I ask myself before I decide to let someone “pick my brain.” It’s a line in the sand that allows me to determine one of two very important things: Will this free business advice result in a valuable professional connection that could build my own business? Or not.

  • Will this discussion lead to a potential new client?
  • Can the conversation help to build my reputation?
  • What circle of influence does this person have that may benefit my business?
  • How much time do I have/am I willing to give for this conversation?

Sounds harsh, right? But let’s take the emotion out of it. And look at it strictly from a business owner’s perspective.

Nothing in Life is Free

Read the questions I’ve listed above again. The “harshness” seems to dissipate, and the decision making process becomes more business-like, right? Yes. And so it should be! Let’s be real, nothing in life is free, and there’s usually “what’s in it for me” at the heart of any transaction!

And don’t get me wrong, of course you should mentor people, and periodically provide free business advice and guidance to friends and industry peers. I volunteer my expertise for different community and charitable programs. But there’s a point where it’s actually OK to say no to the seemingly endless requests for your time and expertise.

Getting Real ROI From Your Free Business Advice

For business owners interested in sharing free business advice, consider trying some or all of these options:

  • Create a blog or newsletter to share tips related to your profession or niche—just like the one you are reading right now!
  • Start a Facebook group where members can share tips in a conversational, friendly and fun way. You’ll connect with other small business owners and build new relationships that could lead to new business opportunities.
  • Attend networking events and be an active participant while you’re there, or better yet, volunteer to be a guest speaker.
  • Set up scheduled consultation times, limited to 30-60 minutes of high-level conversation, i.e. “Tell me about your business and its current challenges.” And then share how you could support the business as a paying client. Make sure this consultation is virtual or by phone to limit travel time or other inconveniences.
  • Participate in volunteer opportunities with a local cause or charity that’s important and/or meaningful to you.

I’ve implemented all five of these options into my business and can confidently say they are working. I feel like I’m still providing value to those who are seeking it, but am also adhering to the old saying “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” As small business owners, we have to stop giving our milk away for free.

I’d love to know if doling out free business advice has ever led to a growth opportunity for your business or yourself professionally. How do you place value on your time? Hit reply and tell me about it!

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The Weekly Download – October 12, 2018 https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/10/the-weekly-download-october-12-2018.html https://spodekandco.com/blog/2018/10/the-weekly-download-october-12-2018.html#respond Fri, 12 Oct 2018 13:05:12 +0000 https://spodekandco.com/?p=6947 Happy Friday, everyone! The Thanksgiving Monday made for a short and sweet work week here in Canada. Our pants may be a little tighter, but the company and delicious spreads made it well worth it! We’ve got a few newsworthy updates on the docket today! This episode of The Weekly Download is discussing an app […]

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Spodek & Co Weekly DownloadHappy Friday, everyone! The Thanksgiving Monday made for a short and sweet work week here in Canada. Our pants may be a little tighter, but the company and delicious spreads made it well worth it!

We’ve got a few newsworthy updates on the docket today! This episode of The Weekly Download is discussing an app that makes mental health care accessible, Snapchat Originals, the Google+ leak, a recommendations app and “Oddly Satisfying” videos with some Friday Fun!

Let’s get to it!

Basis App Makes Mental Health Resources Accessible

A couple of days ago, people across the globe celebrated World Mental Health Day. Social media platforms were flooded with mental health related posts speaking to everything from the continuing stigma around the issue, to the related day-to-day struggles and necessary support needed. It’s not often that we see such a large community of individuals speaking as such a united, very open front.

There are many avenues available when it comes to mental health support—one of them being therapy. Therapy, however, usually requires long waiting periods and is often costly, making it inaccessible for many. Something ex-Uber executive Andrew Chapin realized after suffering from severe anxiety—a not so uncommon symptom in today’s world.

Chapin left Uber to pursue his own startup, Basis. Basis is an app for individuals who are struggling with anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. The app is a meeting place for people seeking mental health support and paraprofessionals.

What does this mean? Chapin uses paraprofessionals—basically people trained in research-backed approaches but not as highly certified as a counselling or clinical psychologist. This allows Basis users access to quality mental health care in the form of 45-minute chat or video sessions for only $35.00. Yay for technology and accessibility!

Snapchat Creates Original Short-Form TV Shows

Snapchat might be the first social media channel to successfully create short-form content that feels like you’re actually watching a television series. This new serialized, scripted programming—produced exclusively for Snapchat—covers genres like comedy, drama, docu-series and horror, with much more coming down the pipeline!

According to variety.com, the Snap shows feature writers from already established programs like Riverdale and Friday Night Lights, and generally run around five’ish minutes long each. The Snap Originals are all formatted for vertical viewing, and new episodes are released each day.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BozKvtLlIZT/?tagged=snapchatoriginals

Google+ Security Snafu

Google may run the internet, but their social platform, Google+, is shutting its doors. Why? Because the tech giant were recently were forced to admit they exposed the private data of hundreds of thousands of Google+ users, from 2015 through early 2018.

And while the Wall Street Journal was the first to report on the social network’s security glitch, this wouldn’t be the first time that users’ private information was exposed to third parties – queue Facebook rant! But it is uncommon and frankly rather stunning that an organization as large as Google tried to pull the wool over our eyes. Bad form, Google. Bad form.

The New App That Keeps All Your Recommendations in One Place

If Bill Gates is backing an app, you know it’s got to be good! Gates has been working with the team over at Likeable to develop the app, called “Likewise,” that allows users to follow friends and track their personal recommendations, be they books or movies or a night out on the town. You’ll no longer need to search endlessly through your texts messages for that restaurant your best pal recommended to you months ago!

Why We’re Watching “Oddly Satisfying” Videos

Cutting slime, icing cakes, and power washing… we’ve all come across these “oddly satisfying” videos on our Facebook and Instagram feeds. These strange but wonderful videos attract millions of views and foster high engagement among friends. But why are they so oddly satisfying?

Well, it appears the attraction boils down to psychology. Broken down into three pillars: mediation, mood and aesthetic, media psychologist Jessica Gall Myrick spoke to LiveScience about their appeal.

“Even if you don’t consciously realize you’re stressed, your body is aware that you’re stressed or physiologically aroused,” she said, using the scientific term for being in a state of high alertness. “That could drive you toward this type of soothing, interesting content.”

It’s no secret that the digital world keeps our minds in constant motion. So it comes as no surprise that #oddlystatisfying videos are are commonly repetitive and slow paced, both of which are integral aspects of meditation.

They also illicit emotions like curiosity and interest which contribute to improved moods, according to Myrick. We are fascinated by things we don’t see every day.

What’s the cherry on top? Aesthetics. Bright colours, shapes, symmetry and movement are only a few reasons we are obsessed.

What are your favourite #oddlysatisfying videos?

Friday Fun 

Taylor Swift’s performance at this year’s AMAs lit up Twitter like a Christmas tree with some hilarious tweets. Not only did she slay on stage, but she took home four awards making her the most decorated female in AMA history!

Check out the performance and tweets:

ALSO, THIS! No explanation needed…

 

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