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Gossip Genie Blog

Snapchat: The love, the backlash and the viral stir

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Two days ago a very popular phone app, Snapchat, came out with a new update. No big deal, right? Applications come out with new updates all the time, usually with a minor tweak or two. However this change came with major love, major backlash and caused a viral stir.

If you aren’t familiar with Snapchat, it’s an application where one can send a picture or video to a friend for up to ten seconds before it vanishes into thin air. But be careful, there are the occasional “screenshots” that can happen if the user on the other end of the “snap” is quick enough to press a few buttons. One can also send “Stories,” which are public pictures or videos sent to everyone in their Snapchat contact list for only 24 hours.

The love: Snapchat’s main feature from the update is Snapchat Discover, which allows users to explore “Stories” (news content) from different editorial teams, ranging from Cosmopolitan to National Geographic. Due to the variety of news outlets available, there is definitely something for everyone. Every 24 hours a new edition comes out, including full screen photos and videos, flawless advertising and beautiful long form layouts. Think of this feature as a mini magazine or newscast on the go, with new editions everyday.

The backlash: Before the update, Snapchat had a feature called “Best Friends.” This allowed users to view the top three users with whom another friend exchanged pictures with. The names on this list were determined by the number of times messages were exchanged with a particular friend. This provided public insight as to who was talking to who in one’s contact list. Many people used this for virtual stalking. After the update, this all disappeared. No one was able to see which friends were messaging each other, and it made everyone very upset.

The viral stir: After people realized the best friend feature was removed, they took their comments to social media.

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Due to high demand and the stir that was caused from removing “best friends,” Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegal announced the feature will come back in the next update. This just goes to show the power of social media and how much of an influence it can really make.

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Gossip Genie’s 5 Year Anniversary

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In exactly two weeks it will be Gossip Genie’s 5 year anniversary! I cannot believe that on February 10th, we will have been in business for half a decade. I like the sound of half a decade because it makes me feel like we are no longer in the startup category but I know many people consider a 5 year old company to still be very young. I remember the day I decided to embark on this entrepreneurial adventure. I was with my mother in her kitchen discussing a business plan. We were brainstorming names for the company and I am so glad I didn’t settle on some we had thrown out there, such as: Monieson Media – I got married the following year and changed my last name from Monieson to Liberman. That would have caused all kinds of confusion and despite the occasional piece of mail we receive addressed to Ron Monieson, there was no negotiating on whose last name would be our family name.

Over the course of 5 years, I have managed 20 different employees, never more than 7 at a time. I have said before and I will say it again, good employees are hard to find. Of those 20 people that I hired, I think all of them had and have a lot of potential. The majority of the 20 people were with me over a year or close to it. Hiring, firing and key employees moving on to other opportunities is the hardest part of running my own business. You are only as good as your employees. I realized that a long time ago because when I started Gossip Genie, I was working 14 – 16 hour days doing EVERYTHING from account management, business development, accounting, prospecting, company marketing and everything in between. I couldn’t handle it and I knew I was going to burn out quickly. I do think it’s important for a business owner to do every job within their business before hiring someone else and delegating. After a few months, I hired a few interns to help with some administrative tasks. A year into the business, I hired someone full time and learned a hard lesson.

I was naive and hired this person without a non-compete or a contract in place. Finally, I had help from someone that knew the industry and knew how to service clients the way that I was doing for the past year. Fast forward to a couple of months of working together and she was unreliable, sloppy and lazy. I had to let her go. Little did I know she was going to make me pay for that decision. At the time, I had 5 solid clients, 3 of which this woman managed to turn against me. Overnight, she started her own social media company which automatically had 3 great clients. That’s all the detail I want to go into with that story but the moral is that I learned my lesson, I bounced back and rebuilt. Oh and no, she’s no longer in business.

When it comes to Gossip Genie, I really take everything to heart, losing clients is not something I take lightly. I always need a thorough explanation because I try to learn from it and apply it to the future. Often times, employees moving on is a natural progression in someone’s career but I still need to know why and if necessary adapt the way I manage to try to keep my team happy going forward. I am finally at a place where I can lean on my team and I know they have my back. I really feel that everyone is working for the betterment of Gossip Genie and that is a fantastic feeling to have going into year 5.

Here is a screen shot of my first website – which I built myself to save money through Wix…we have come a long way with the new Gossip Genie site we launched last month.

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Why Blogging Matters

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It’s 2015. It’s a new year, folks! It’s time to make resolutions and stick to them. It’s time to refocus, recharge, and realign your objectives for the upcoming year.

In addition to my yearly New Year Resolutions to try and eat fewer sweets (yeah, right) and become a more decisive person (I decided this should be my resolution. That counts, doesn’t it?), one of my main resolutions for work in 2015 (and one I’m much more likely to stick to than the aforementioned attempts at self-improvement) is to blog on a regular basis.

Why Blogging Matters for Your Business (1)

Here are some reasons why:

It helps drive traffic to your website. And if you haven’t noticed, Gossip Genie just got a new website. The more visitors, the better I say.

In fact, 55% of companies that blog generate more web traffic.

It helps establish authority. We have great minds working at the Gossip Genie office and our blog is a great place to share our social media tips, advice, and insights.

It’s a great way to generate leads. 57% of companies have acquired customers from their blog and 61% of customers use a blog to research a company. Here’s a handy infographic with these stats.

Blogging is also an effective way to display knowledge or thought leadership, to curate content, and start conversations

In addition to blogging for this site, Gossip Genie offers blogging and blogger outreach services to help launch and effectively manage your company’s blog. Learn more here.

What would you like to see me blog about this year? Feel free to share in the comments!

 

 

My First Few Weeks at Gossip Genie

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People always say, life never turns out the way you think it will. Being the spunky almost-to-be-college-graduate seven months ago, I didn’t think that applied to me. I was ready to live in the big city, with my bachelor’s degree in hand, taking the Chicago PR industry by storm. But I quickly realized I was wrong. After I graduated, I interned at a PR agency and found that clipping client placements all day wasn’t how I wanted to spend my time. Three months later I took a job planning events in the modeling industry, thinking it would be glamorous like the shows on TV. That wasn’t fulfilling either. Then one sunny afternoon I received a call from the Gossip Genie herself, offering me an opportunity at her social media marketing firm. Obviously, I accepted.

I’ve never been in a position strictly social media related. That being said, my first few weeks at Gossip Genie were quite overwhelming. Coming into a new industry, with new people and a new way of doing things was completely frightening. On top of that, I am naturally shy when I immerse myself in a new setting. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, right? Surprisingly it wasn’t.

My first week, I received my clients and the tools I needed to be a manager. Of course I had questions, but what made the transition easy was the Gossip Genie team. Everyone is incredibly friendly and always willing to help. Every question I had was answered and when I didn’t know how to do something, they did not hesitate to show me. It was also nice that our holiday party was that week, making it easy to get to know people outside of work.

The next two weeks were a whirlwind due to the holidays and I was still getting myself adjusted. I was still learning the in’s and out’s, who to reach out to and how to engage with the right audience. Running social media isn’t as easy as running your own Facebook and Twitter. This is when I realized being a Social Media Manager requires focus, a lot of time (even outside of work) and patience. Finally it all made sense.

Now that I’ve been with Gossip Genie for a month, I feel 100% more confident in myself than I did when I started. I understand my clients, I’m not afraid to bounce ideas off coworkers and I’ve found a routine that works for me. I genuinely enjoy waking up to go to work and not many people can say that. Did I think this is where I was going to end up seven months ago? Not a chance, but as they say, life never turns our the way you think it will and for that I am grateful.Gossip-Genie-Logo

SOCIAL MEDIA TREND PREDICTIONS FOR 2015

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Now that we’ve rung in the New Year, everyone wants to know what 2015 has in store. Since even more brands have been jumping on the social media bandwagon this past year, the business presence is bound to create a whole new set of changes to accommodate for the growth this year. With all of the social media trend predictions being shared, I’ve compiled my top four most prominent predictions.

NICHE OUTLETS: Out with the old and in with the new. Many people are forecasting alternative social media outlets to emerge more aggressively on the scene and rapidly gain an audience. Although there were many mentioned, Ello was the one that kept popping up. Currently, Ello is invite-only but is slated to be the next big thing in social media. This seems somewhat similar to the elite feel of how social media powerhouses, Facebook and Pinterest, started. What sets it apart from Facebook and many other social media platforms is that it’s completely ad-free with a promise to keep all user information private. So in essence, it’s ironically promoted as more of an “anti-Facebook” but with many of the features that Facebook provides. It will be interesting to see how the “anti-Facebook” boom pans out for 2015.

BRAND AND JOB GROWTH: Social media marketing will continue to get more of the praise and recognition it deserves in the marketing field. As more and more target audiences are connecting to social networks, it is essential to content marketing. With a way to directly connect with consumers, social media improves brand loyalty, recognition and allows more opportunities to gain new customers. The social media job scene is going to blow up, as well. Numerous new jobs will surface or gain credibility such as SEO specialist, social media strategist and social media copywriter. I bet five years ago, no one expected social media to stimulate job growth and positions!

DIRECT BUYING: Like the temptation isn’t already difficult enough, now shopping is going to be made easier through social media with direct buying. It’s so simple to use that it only takes one or two clicks to finalize the purchase and you don’t even have to leave the page you are on. While this may suck my pockets dry, this is gold for businesses. It not only takes away the issue of guiding consumers to its page but also allows more efficient analytical tracking. Facebook and Twitter are among two platforms that have tested the “buy” button out and with positive results, is now going forward. I, for one, am excited to see how this feature will roll out.

EVENT TWEETING: The football teams won’t be the only one’s revving up for competition on Super Bowl Sunday. With the wildly successful Oreo tweets after the lights went out during the New Orleans Super Bowl, the stakes keep rising. No longer are the televised commercials the only outlet with anticipated buzz surrounding it. We won’t see this trend end after the 4th quarter, however, because social media will play a vast role in all major events moving forward. So, ante up, because this year brands are going all in!

Super Bowl Oreo Tweet

Source: Huffington Post

 

 

 

 

Facebook’s Controversial Year In Review

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Happy New Year! For some reason that small change from 14 to 15 was very healing. I closed the chapter that was 2014 and opened a new chapter full of promise, potential and hope. Yesterday, we launched our new Gossip Genie website. I like to think that our site grew up, I think of our last site like the teenage years, now our site has reached adulthood. In just one month’s time, we will be celebrating our 5 year Gossip Genie anniversary. I am so proud of what we have built and the team that I have by my side. It’s been such a fun ride and we are still only just beginning. I just want to express my gratitude to my clients, coworkers, family and friends; the support, trust, belief and encouragement have been the motivation to keep going. This past year was particularly difficult but here I am, fueled by the people and projects that are Gossip Genie.

Apparently 2014 was a difficult year for many people. I don’t think I have ever heard so many people complain about the same large chunk of time until I heard people talk about 2014. Facebook actually made me realize how many people hated 2014. Towards the end of the year, Facebook launched, “Year In Review” with the default tagline being, “It’s been a great year! Thanks for being a part of it.”  For people like me and Eric Meyer, this Facebook generated slideshow was a painful reminder of how hard this year has been. Eric lost his 6 year old daughter, Rebecca, to brain cancer. Losing a child in any capacity is unbelievably painful and the longer that child is in your life, the harder it is to say goodbye. Eric was presented with the year in review via Facebook when he logged into his account which featured a picture of his daughter’s face as the central slideshow photo. Needless to say, he didn’t want to share Facebook’s version of his “great year.” Neither did I, as my slideshow featured the announcement of my pregnancy (If you don’t know what happened to me, read this post). Obviously, this was not in any way deliberate on behalf of Facebook but it was a painful reminder.

Many of my friends shared their 2014 Year in Review on Facebook and it was nice to see their pictures because it reminded me that not everyone had a bad year. I love to see pictures of friends smiling, on vacation, celebrating milestones and enjoying family. I think a better way to unfold the year in review would be to ask the Facebook user if they would like to see a year in review in pictures before automatically inundating that user with potentially painful memories. Eric received an apology from Facebook which I think was kind gesture on their behalf. Reading about the apology Eric received was enough for me to feel better about the pain the year in review caused me.

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photo source: Screenshot/Facebook

11 Weeks After My Loss

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Last night I spent 3 hours working on my books, cleaning up my P&L reports, organizing invoices and accounts receivable, reconciling deposits and just doing some general accounting tasks.

In the past 11 weeks, I have presented large decks about social media analysis and strategy to new clients; I have crafted several scopes of work for prospective clients and pitched that scope on point. I have answered hundreds of emails, sent even more, scheduled tons of conference calls, and met several colleagues for coffee. I still label every email that arrives in my inbox. I recorded a new office voicemail greeting. I hired a firm to redesign the Gossip Genie site. I have moderated Twitter chats for clients, posted updates on social channels, implemented Facebook ad strategies and pulled data for monthly reports. I have run payroll a few times, given direction to coworkers, delegated work and assigned tasks.  I have issued many invoices, deposited checks, organized receipts and paid vendors. The one thing I haven’t done is write a blog post since my loss. I feel as though I cannot just go back to writing about the intricacies of social media, business management, etc without addressing what happened to me.

Disclaimer – I have gone back and forth for a while now about whether or not to post this on my business blog. I have decided to post it because this is where I am in my life and this is how social media has helped me survive.

Eleven weeks ago, I lost my son; I will never be the same. I haven’t been able to write a blog post since then because everything seems so trivial.  Aside from people that have experienced stillbirth, you will not understand how deeply this hurts and I have to forgive you for that. My heart is broken and I am not much better than I was the day I found out, but I am going to fake it until I make it. My husband and I lost a baby, an infant, a toddler, an adolescent, a teenager, a man and so much more. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I was in love with my child and my upcoming role as a mother. It consumed all my thoughts and affected all of my decisions. The first time I saw my baby’s heartbeat on the ultrasound, I cried tears of joy because it seemed surreal. We found out we were having a boy at 13 weeks, at 16 weeks I had a 3D ultrasound and at night I would fall asleep staring at the pictures of my developing son, his features were so developed and I just couldn’t wait to kiss those beautiful features. At 18 weeks, I felt my first real kick, I felt flutters previously but this was different. It was by far the best feeling I have ever felt and I cherished each movement I felt. His kicks were magical. At 23 weeks, I had a beautiful baby shower and that day will be forever remembered as such a special celebration of my son.  At 24 weeks, my baby died and my world fell apart.

Five weeks ago, I posted a picture on Instagram and hashtagged #Stillbirth. I received several comments from fellow mothers that have recently lost babies. One of which has become an incredible support to me. For 5 weeks, I have been emailing every single day with this woman that lost her son at 26 weeks, 9 weeks ago. I am so grateful for her. We are literally going through the exact same thing, as this was her first child as well. We are living the same hell, the same disappointment, and the same anxiety.

The aftermath of losing a baby is not something I would wish on anyone. The silence hurts the most and every counselor and therapist told me to expect this and forgive people for not knowing how to react or thinking that because 11 weeks has passed, I should be better.

Each day I wake up and I have a hard time believing that the world is still turning because mine stopped when my baby’s heart stopped.  People keep telling me that I am so strong but what choice do I have?

All the tasks I complete are done while grieving because life goes on with or without you. You have all heard me say that Gossip Genie is my first baby and I am grateful that I have work to immerse myself in because distraction is my savior.

Believe it or not, those 3 hours of accounting last night were peaceful.

 

The Lesson All Brands Can Learn From DiGiorno’s Mistake

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Social Media Spotlight, Uncategorized, What Not to Post, What's Trending, Words of Advice | No Comments

DiGiorno is famous for their frozen pizzas, but they became the talk of the town on social media overnight for all the wrong reasons. The company inadvertently made a major social media mistake by participating in a controversial trending topic and failed to research its origins. The hashtag #WhyIStayed began trending on Twitter in response to Ray Rice’s domestic assault on his now-wife Janay Rice, and is being used by women on Twitter that have survived an abusive relationship with their partner. Below was DiGiorno’s #WhyIStayed tweet:

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DiGiorno’s social media team took down the tweet moments later after backlash from the Twitter community, but not without repercussions. The company has since publicly apologized for the error. So what can brands learn from DiGiorno’s huge mistake? It’s a little thing called “fact checking.”

It’s easy for brands to get caught up in the whirlwind speeds of the social media highway, but sometimes the road with less shortcuts can prove to be the safest. We live in a world where news can travel at lighting-quick speeds, and to think any brand is safe from a similar catastrophe is foolish. The precautionary measure to take is to fact check, fact check again, and fact check even more. Need another example? I’m your guy.

Now my story isn’t anywhere close to that of #WhyIStayed, but it definitely shows that brands – major ones in my case – are susceptible to misinformation even when it comes to the simplest form of fact checking.

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Yes, that was Disney Alliances publishing a promotional tweet for ABC’s television show The Middle; the only problem is that if they would have fact checked and not made assumptions, they would have properly found that the show’s official Twitter handle is @TheMiddle_ABC and not @TheMiddle. Did I mention that that tweet is still up and running? And here’s one more for you:

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Remember: fact check, fact check again, and fact check even more.

5 Ways Social Media Is Changing Our Brains

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The popular YouTube channel AsapSCIENCE recently created a video on the crazy ways social media is changing our brains.

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Here are a few interesting takeaways:

  • 1/3 of the entire world use social media sites
  • 5-10% of Internet users are unable to control how much time they spend online (a majority of these must be social media managers!).
  • Heavy social media users perform worse during multi-tasking tasks. I may have to disagree with this one!
  • Phantom Vibration Syndrome, the psychological phenomenon where you think your phone went off but it didn’t, is a recent symptom that 89% of people say they experience once every 2 weeks. Social media is actually rewiring our nervous system!
  • Social medie trigggers a release of dopamine, the feel-good chemical, since it provides immediate rewards from things like a “like” or “retweet.” The reward center in your brain is then activated.
  • People like talking about themselves, which releases dopamine. While 30-40% of face-to-face communications revolve around talking about yourself, an astounding 80% of social media communication is self-involved, thus releasing more dopamine during social media use.
  • Partners tend to like each other more if they meet online. There is a statisitcal increase in successful partnerships that start online.

Watch the full video here:
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Should the Jam Sesh Continue?

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Music. Jams. Tunes. Jingles.

 

Whatever you prefer to call it, it’s a form of creativity that could perhaps stimulate creativity. Think about it.

It’s this question: Does background music spark productivity and get creative juices flowing, or is it simply a distraction?

It’s an interesting question to raise considering that listening to music is becoming increasingly prevalent in the workspace. This could be the case bearing in mind that many workers use computers or iPads for their job, making favorite tracks easy to access with Pandora, Spotify, iTunes, you name it.

Let’s be honest, if there is any way we can boost dreaded Mondays, improve boredom or even escape distracting office commotions, we seize it…willingly. This is where music could conceivably come into play.

Take a look at some facts and insight, both for and against the argument, and draw your own conclusion.

 

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Music and Reading

Back in 2011, one study examined “the effect of background music on reading comprehension.” The findings revealed “listening to background instrumental music is most likely to disrupt reading comprehension when the music is fast and loud.” Listening to music while reading is considered multitasking, and although the act of multitasking is quite common, it may not be executed successfully by all. This study argues that, “the potential cost of background music listening for reading comprehension is that it places demands on attention.” On the other hand, the study also mentions a potential benefit of listening to background music, which is “it can enhance arousal levels and mood.”

Along these same lines, music with lyrics could potentially disrupt a worker trying to write a proposal or a blog post, for example. Once again, multitasking comes into play. We are processing the words of the song all while trying to organize our thoughts to craft a blog post. That’s a lot of language flying around in one brain.

 

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Music and Loud Office Noise

The girl at the front desk is blabbing loudly about who knows what, and the dude in the cubicle next to you is talking to himself again. Headphones + good music = sweet, sweet relief.

A New York Times article brought up an interesting argument. When workers feel as though they are losing focus – perhaps because of office commotion – they will plug in and let the music drown everything out. Music, in a way, can refocus our mind back to where we need it to be.

Music and Workplace Performance

The New York Times article previously discussed also brought up a study conducted by Dr. Teresa Lesiuk:

“Dr. Lesiuk’s research focuses on how music affects workplace performance. In one study involving information technology specialists, she found that those who listened to music completed their tasks more quickly and came up with better ideas than those who didn’t, because the music improved their mood.”

Let’s be honest, when we are overwhelmed or our mood is sour, our decision-making isn’t at its finest. However, when we are having a better day, we are successfully able to weigh all solutions/ideas available, rather than making a choice too quickly.

Dr. Lesiuk also mentioned, “music may also serve as an anxiolytic treatment, that is, an anxiety preventative or anxiety reducing measure.” An increase in physical stress was evident for those who prepared an oral presentation without music. For those who listened to music, increases in anxiety levels, blood pressure and heart rate were repressed.

 

When appropriate, I personally like listening to a low-key yet fun playlist, hitting shuffle and putting the volume on fairly low. This way I can still listen to the tunes that get me stimulated, all while not disrupting others in the office. Plus, if Spice Up Your Life “randomly” starts playing, I don’t need my coworkers to know I’m team Spice Girls…still.

The Gossip Genie team is all in favor of jamming to tunes that will get creativity flowing. Below are our favorite artists/playlists to listen to while being successful busy bees on social media.

Can you guess which GG team member matches with each artist/playlist?

 

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