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SoulCycling into Social Media

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Social Media, Social Media Spotlight, Uncategorized, Words of Advice | No Comments

Everyone appreciates good customer service (take notes, Comcast), but what about companies that go above and beyond? I’m talking outstanding customer service before you’re even a customer, customer service. I could only be referring to the wonderful company that cycled its way straight into my heart, SoulCycle.

SoulCycle is a religion, cult, out-of-body experience part dance party, part workout, part therapy and part communal high. It consists of 45 minutes of indoor cycling mixed with full-body workouts and choreography to work your core. There are currently around 46 studios across the country with more to come. Much of the strength of SoulCycle’s brand comes from the personality and magnetism of the instructors and before I even stepped foot into the studio, I found this to be true.

I originally heard about SoulCycle from Stuart (one of my BFFs), who couldn’t stop raving about it after just a few classes. He asked me to go with him and after some passive aggressive attempts, I agreed. I tried a spin class once in college at the local Y, so let’s just say I was less than excited for my ride with SoulCycle (no, I didn’t fall off the bike). I’m not the kind of person who normally buys into the whole positivity mantra stuff so obviously I had my eye roll perfected and ready to go.

I wanted to check out the SC Facebook and Twitter accounts before I booked anything and as soon as I did, I was sold. When the first thing you see is that an instructor’s holding a Lady Gaga or Beyoncé themed ride, it’s kind of hard not to be. SoulCycle’s Twitter account is incredibly informative in a way that gets your attention, making sure to announce which instructor will be doing what ride and including the instructor’s personal handles in each tweet. They’re also constantly interacting with SC fans and customers, answering questions and offering words of encouragement.  The SC Facebook isn’t lacking in this aspect either, they fit all the standard info into a post plus everything else that doesn’t fit into 140 characters. Endless photos of happy SC riders, interactions with instructors, workout inspiration and videos that link to their YouTube channel… You want it? They’ve got it. There are over 91,000 SoulCycle hashtags on Instagram alone.

SAF

It’s 2015 which means that obviously I had to document that I might be riding with SoulCycle, so I took to Twitter and let my fingers fly. Next thing I knew, my friend was retweeting me and @mentioning our soon-to-be instructor, Devin. If I hadn’t been convinced that I wanted to ride already, Devin was the deciding factor. When I expressed my concerns/excitement, Devin immediately replied to me with a few words of encouragement and a *favorite*. Did I mention that I hadn’t even met him at this point?! I wanted to book another ride before I even had my first, there’s nothing better than someone cheering you on before you even take to a task.

Not only is something like this a great move on Devin’s part as an instructor (and human being), but on SoulCycle’s part as a whole. Their employees are incredibly tapped into everything social media, so much so that there’s even a section on their website dedicated to the SC community – featuring blogs about members and instructors, health, music and even fashion. This makes it easy for current and future SoulCyclers to become, and stay, involved in the SC culture. Take a look at any of their social media platforms and you’ll see that SoulCycle is hitting the social media nail right on the head and it sure doesn’t hurt to have employees who absolutely live, breathe and love what they do. Cycle on, SoulCycle – I’ll be seeing you again soon.

5 Mistakes Companies Make on Social Media

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Social Media, Social Media Spotlight, What Not to Post | No Comments

5 Mistakes Companies Make on Social Media (1) 2

In today’s world, it feels like everyone from your old classmates to your hip grandma is on social media. Because of this, more and more companies are following their audience to social platforms by creating their own accounts. However, unless they understand how to use each unique site to its potential, these accounts won’t help their brands in a meaningful way. So in order to help companies learn from the errors of others just like them, I’ve compiled this list of mistakes companies make on social media sites and how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Posting the same, exact content on every account

Solution #1: Repurpose and optimize similar content for each outlet

I understand: you don’t have time to create original content for each social outlet. Customizing content can be a lengthy process and many small businesses just do not have the resources to do so.

The bad news, though, is that often times what works on Facebook doesn’t resonate well with Instagram users or successful tweets don’t always make successful LinkedIn posts. Why is this the case?

Duplicate content does not have the same impact across all social channels because the demographics are different for each. Therefore, it is critical to create content that matches the interests of each site’s particular audience. To clarify what the demographics are for each social media platform, Sprout Social created this awesome article, complete with graphs and charts, to help out you out.

Don’t worry, there’s good news too! Most of the time you can use the same content but just repurpose it to fit each site. Check out my example below:

Facebook:

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Twitter:

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LinkedIn:

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Notice how each post includes the same image but the text has been altered to intrigue the audience of each site. Pro tip: optimizing your photo size for each site will also help your post reach a wider audience.

Mistake #2: Not understanding the nuances of each site

Solution #2: Do your research

In addition to not understanding the demographics, another mistake companies make is not understanding the tools and characteristics of each either. For instance, LinkedIn does not support hashtags, Instagram is not huge on links, and Snapchat is about immediacy.

There is a simple fix to this issue: do your research! Reading up on how each site thrives is the easiest way to avoid careless mistakes that reveal your lack of knowledge and make you look unprofessional. Google “how to get more Pinterest followers,” create your own account on Google+ to explore, and ask friends why they like Tumblr more than Flickr. These are great ways to discover how you can beef up your social media strategy.

Mistake #3: Posting too much promotional content

Solution #3: Variety is the spice of life!

The quickest way to lose followers is to relentlessly ask them to buy your products or share your post with their friends. Warning: this will not work!

For the average person, social media is a fun and laid back activity to engage in and the last thing people want to see while cuddled up on the couch with a glass of wine waiting for Scandal to start is multiple posts urging them to buy this house or eat at this restaurant.

So, make your account fun! Make your page a destination users want to visit because the content is interesting. Run contests, create fill in the blanks, share quotes, weigh in on sporting events, profile employees, post links — do anything but post the same sales pitch day in and day out. A good rule to follow is the 80/20 rule: 80% of your posts should be intriguing content while 20% should be promotional.

Mistake #4: Ignoring comments and responses from users

Solution #4: Stop ignoring comments and responses from users

Too often, I see brands publish a post and then never look back. Imagine if you finished ringing up a customer’s purchase and then just stopped speaking to them once the transaction was complete, even if they were still talking to you. This is essentially what you’re doing on your social accounts when you don’t reply to comments or timeline posts!

The best way to leave a lasting impact on your fans is to get them involved in your content and make them feel like their contribution matters. So, thank them for their input or start a conversation. Humanize your company and get your fans interested in what you have to offer, without constantly asking for their business.

I know what you’re going to ask: but what about the negative and often rude comments? First and foremost, deleting comments that are incredibly insensitive (i.e. excessive profanity, sexist stereotypes, etc.) is okay. However, deleting comments strictly because a customer is unhappy is not.

Reply to the negative comments as best as you can. Say something along the lines of “We’re sorry to hear about your bad experience. We are fixing the issue now and apologize for the mix-up.” Depending on the severity of the problem, coupons or refunds may need to be issued. The last thing you need is to get bad reviews or lose customers as a result of apathy.

Mistake #5: Not reviewing posted content

Solution #5: Always be conscious of what you’re posting and whether you’re using a business or personal account

Ahhh yes, the queen mother of all social media blunders! For this one, I will let the mistakes of others be your explanation. Yikes!

 

Will Blog for $$

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Social Media, Social Media Spotlight, Uncategorized, What's Trending, Words of Advice | No Comments

I have to admit, before I started working for Gossip Genie, I wasn’t big on blogs. When I say that, I mean that the LiveJournal era is the last time I even attempted to “blog” anything. Don’t get me wrong, I always dreamed of starting my own blog that would eventually take off and obviously make me “famous,” but I was always too lazy to put my thoughts down on cyber paper. It wasn’t until I became professionally immersed in the social media realm that I realized how much of an impact bloggers can have on a product/company. From food to style to travel to architecture, if you can name it, there’s probably a blog dedicated to it.

Most bloggers probably started out blogging because they want to share their knowledge on a subject that they’re passionate about. Isn’t being paid to do what you love everyone’s dream? If you can put your passion into words/photos/creative content and gain an engaged and loyal audience (bigger isn’t always better), companies will see your blog as the perfect platform to promote their product or service. Cue sponsored blog posts. This means that you’re paid to publish a post on your blog, which can either be written by you or by the advertisers. If you’re a super great blogger (which you probably are), the company will give you free reign over what you write – within reason. You can usually tell which posts are sponsored if they include, “This blog post was sponsored by (Name Brand Here).” or hashtags such as #ad or #sponsored. Since bloggers usually have large followings on their other social media platforms, they’ll also share creative photos or posts displaying the product in a cool way. I personally don’t follow many blogs, however, I do follow tons of bloggers on Instagram and Twitter. This is a great way for businesses to extend their reach without constantly shoving heavily branded content down our throats.

Check out two of my favorite Chicago bloggers below and see how they’re doing sponsored posts the right way:

Chicago Food Girl: The word food in this blogger’s name should tell you everything you need to know. Mina Im, the creator of this foodie mastermind, has beautifully crafted one of Chicago’s top food blogs. From cocktails, to taco joints to Noodles & Co., her blog hits all the hot spots around town and she often collaborates with local restaurants to host giveaways. Her sponsored posts are engaging and subtle. I mean honestly, who can say no to an awesome picture of food?!

ChiCityFashion: The perfect mix between fab fashion shots taken in our own beautiful city and well, pretty much all things fashion, Jena Gambaccini has knocked this one out of the park. Scrolling through the home page of this blog, you’ll find tons of enticing content that will leave you clicking through to each post without hesitation. She even provides the direct link to the clothes she models so you don’t have to go searching around the internet and end up with some knockoff that looks like a paper bag.

If blogging is something that’s always been in the back of your mind, it’s not too late to jump on the blogwagon. I’m not promising that you’ll become rich or famous, but sometimes just sharing your passion with others is reward enough. Happy blogging!

Social Media Does The Leg Work for Marathon Fundraisers

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Social Media, Social Media Spotlight, What's Trending | No Comments

If you’re active on the internet, have a TV, a radio, or live in the 21st century, you’ve more than likely heard of online crowdfunding websites such as GoFundMe or Crowdrise, or have seen your friends doing online fundraising for a race, walk or charity event. Sites and events like these give people the ability to offer not only monetary support, they also give us the chance to reach out to our social media networks in support of a cause.

Nonprofits and their supporters are widely known for using social media to ramp-up fundraising campaigns and rouse supporters. If you’ve read my other blog posts, you know that I’m constantly sharing posts and tweets from various non-profits to raise money for shelter dogs (don’t worry, this isn’t another dog blog). The most recent fundraising effort that caught my eye, or rather – was waved in my face, was one from none other than my best friend, Stuart. Stuart has made the conscious decision to run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon for the second year in a row. When he made the choice to run 26.2 treacherous miles, he thought, why not raise money while doing it?

A little background for all of you non-runners out there, you can only guarantee a spot in the marathon a few ways – running for a charity, running the marathon five or more times in the past 10 years, or through a (possibly absurd) time qualification. Last year, nearly 16,200 race bibs were awarded through guaranteed entry and the rest of the spots were open to the lottery.* If your luck is anything like mine, your best bet is to find a charity that you support and start begging everyone on your friends list for money.

With nearly 45,000 people running one race, the possibilities for nonprofits to raise money are endless. The race-mandated fundraising minimum may be different for each organization, however, the minimum seems to average around $1,500. So how does one person manage to raise that much money? Social media. If it’s set up well, the non-profit provides its team members up with all the tools they need to fundraise. Not sure how to ask for donations? They’ll give you pre-written phrases to share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, your blog and every other deep, dark corner of the interweb. Don’t have time to share your posts on a consistent basis? You have the option to schedule posts that are sent out from your Facebook each week at the same time (Stuart’s reminders go out every Tuesday at 8:40am, just in case you were wondering)! Can’t fit your thoughts into 140 characters or less? Don’t worry, your nonprofit’s got your back. Some even provide templates for email, Twitter and personal fundraising pages if you’re out of ideas or need guidelines for posting. There’s pretty much no excuse as to why you can’t raise money using social media, you can literally just share a link without typing anything at all.

Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms give endless opportunities to share your fundraising journey with people you may not be in touch with on a regular basis, but who may believe enough in the same cause as you do to donate. Who knows? Maybe your post will reach your grandma’s cousin’s nephew’s generous wife and you’ll hit that $1,500 mark in no time at all, cha-ching!

 *Info via Crain’s Chicago Business.

Cover photo taken by Nike Run Club Chicago.

How To Market to Different Generations

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The golden rule in any type of marketing is to know your audience. With social media, though, how do you know which platform to use and what content appeals to different generations and their different sets of values and expectations?

First, let’s take a look at the different generations you’re probably marketing to:

Millenials (also known as Generation Y) are Americans born between 1980 and the mid-2000s. They are the largest generation in the US, representing ½ of the total US population (Source: Whitehouse.gov)

Generation X is the generation born after the post-World War II baby boom with birthdates ranging from 1960s to the early 1980s

Baby Boomers are the people born during the post-World War II baby boom, with birthdates between the years 1946 and 1964.

Generation Z are those after the Millenial Generations, with birthdates ranging from the lates 1990s to present day.

Social Media Today posted a great infographic on how different generations consumer content online. Let’s break it down.

WHEN TO POST

In social media marketing, you have to understand when generations are consuming content based on when they’re awake, busy, or likely browsing the web or checking their phone/social networks. Most generations consume content in the late evening, some time after dinner and before bed. Consider posting content during this time to reach the largest audience. If you’re looking to target baby boomers, consider posting content earlier in the morning as well.

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WHERE TO POST

If you’re targeting Millenials or Generation Z, go mobile. According to a recent survey by Social Media Today, 200 million Facebook users view the site strictly on their mobile device, and I wouldn’t be surprised if many of those people are under the age of 18. To be effective in this space, consider running mobile-only promotions. Generation Z is likely using social network other than Facebook and Twitter, so use other social networks like Instagram and Snapchat to post content and host contests.

Millenials and Generation Z are also into multitasking They’re likely on their computer, phone, and watching TV at the same time. Launch campaigns across various networks to target them effectively.

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Here are the social platforms each generation uses most often to share content:

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WHAT TO POST

It seems blog articles are the most consumed content across all generations. If your company doesn’t have a blog, it’s probably something you should consider implementing as a part of your marketing strategy. Check out this article on why blogging matters for your business.

 Images and videos are also the most shared visual content and video is becoming an increasingly popular marketing tool.

 

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16 Ways to Get More Out of Spotify

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Social Media, Social Media Spotlight, Words of Advice | No Comments

Spotify Blog Header

In today’s digital market, streaming services have entered a full-blown rat race for your attention. From original heavy hitters like Spotify and Pandora to up and coming contenders such as Tidal and Apple Music, consumers now have more options than ever to satisfy their listening needs.

However, unless one of these new outlets decides to buy me dinner, my commitment stands with Spotify. As a service, it continues to modify and improve the listening experience of its users — an essential move in order to remain on top.

I noticed, though, that many of my friends and family members don’t stay up-to-date on the new features that it regularly releases and because of this, are not utilizing the service to its potential.

So, I decided to create this blog post to help better your Spotify experience (after all, you want to get the most out of that $10 a month, don’t you?)

Music Discovery

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a huge music junkie and avid concert-goer. I am constantly on the hunt for new music and nearly all of the great songs and artists I find are thanks to Spotify.

  1. Loaded Playlists: Open up your ‘Browse’ tab, and dive into a virtually bottomless pool of new content. In one place, you will find playlists dedicated to today’s top charts, specific genres, and all moods and vibes.

 

  1. Discover Weekly Playlist: Last week, Spotify announced that it would begin creating personalized playlists for all of its users. Now every Monday morning, you can find a brand new mixtape waiting for you, based on the artists and genres you listened to the week before. So as your taste in music evolves, so will your weekly playlist — pretty cool, right?

Spotify Blog Discover Weekly

  1. Brand Playlists: Did you know that loads of brands are on Spotify, too? The next time you’re digging your favorite store’s playlist, search them in the app to see if it’s posted! To do this, navigate to your search bar, type in the brand, then scroll down to the ‘Profiles’ subtitle to see if it’s there.

Spotify Blog Brands

  1. Discover Tab: In addition to the Discover Weekly playlist, Spotify compiles a list of artists and albums you might like as well. For example, I listened to Bombay Bicycle Club last week so it suggested I give Los Compensinos! and Noah and The Whale a listen too because they produce similar music. To find these lists, head to your ‘Browse’ tab, then click ‘Discover.’ Wait, feeling the artist you’re listening to right now? Find others just like them by simply hitting the ‘Related Artists’ tab on their profile.

 

  1. Check Your Notifications: Although this one is not hidden, many users simply have no interest in perusing the updates Spotify sends to them. If you don’t, start! Spotify stays on top of new album releases and single drops so you don’t have to. Simply make sure that you’re following all of your favorite artists, and Spotify will let you know when they’ve added new content to stream.

 

Artist News

Spotify loves keeping you in the loop on the whereabouts of your favorite artists. Whether they’re in town or releasing a new album, it’ll make sure you have access to all of this information.

  1. Upcoming Show Announcements & Offers: If you follow an artist, you will be able to see their upcoming shows on their profile. Moreover, you can even buy merchandise using Spotify as well. When I navigate to Twenty One Pilots’ profile, for instance, I can see that they have a Lollapalooza after show coming up this weekend.
  2. Spotify Blog MerchArtist Playlists: Artists often have public playlists available to their followers on their profiles. This keeps you connected to what they’re listening to while hopefully discovering a few jams to add to your collection as well.

 

  1. Lyrics: This is a super neat addition to Spotify’s desktop features. Now, you can sing along with your favorite tunes as if you were watching a lyric video on YouTube.

Spotify Blog LyricsSocial Networking

I love the social networking features Spotify has to offer. I can now listen to music with friends in ways that were never before possible.

 

  1. Sending Music: Probably the most obvious way to share music with friends is through Spotify Messages. Through Messages, you can send other listeners songs, albums, artists, and playlists. It’s an awesome way to share and collect music with those who understand your taste best: your friends.

Spotify Blog Messages

 

  1. Collaborative Playlists: Spotify also allows more than one user to contribute songs to a playlist, which makes crafting the perfect combination of tunes turn into a group effort. I’ve seen people use this feature when putting together a playlist for birthday parties and barbecues.

 

  1. Friends Top Tracks: Relying on the friends feed is no longer the only way to discover what your friends are listening to. If you go to your ‘Browse’ tab followed by ‘Charts,’ you’ll find a playlist entitled Friends Top Tracks. This is a collection of songs your friends have been listening to so you can check them out yourself. It even specifies which friends are playing each song.

 

Functions & Utilities

Spotify is constantly working on ways to improve the overall navigation, usability, and convenience of its service. These additions to its app really do enhance the user experience, which solidifies its position as a top streaming source.

  1. Private Session: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve suggested friends use Spotify only to hear, “But I don’t want everyone to know what I’m listening to.” Not a problem — Spotify gives you complete control over this. For a temporary fix, turn off updates by clicking ‘Private Session’ in the drop down menu next to your name in the top right corner. To make this change permanent, navigate into your preferences, and turn off both Facebook and Spotify feed updates. With these features, your love of ABBA and the Grease soundtrack can remain a secret.

 

  1. Queue: I only recently discovered that Spotify allows you to add songs to your play queue without altering your playlist. If you would like to listen to a song next without having to save it to your list, just right click on the track and select the appropriate option.

Spotify Blog Play Queue

 

  1. Local Files: So, how do we survive now that Taylor Swift pulled all of her music from Spotify?! It’s simple: add local files to your library. You can upload your music from iTunes into the app in your preferences. With this feature, ‘Blank Space’ can be a part of all the playlists you like!

 

  1. Download Music: I truly believe that splurging for the Premium experience is well worth the money you pay each month. Included in the $10 you spend is the ability to download songs onto your smartphone, tablet, or computer. This saves your data while also allowing you to listen to music in areas where Wi-Fi and/or 4G signal is weak.

 

  1. Smartphone Controller: I love this feature! Using my Android, I can quickly change what I’m listening to on my computer, no matter what room of the house I’m in. This way I don’t have to sacrifice volume for convenience.

When to Unfriend Someone on Facebook

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Recently, I unfriended several people on Facebook and it got me thinking, do other people do this? Am I being too brash?

You’d be surprised how much you enjoy your newsfeed without having to scroll through photos from people you hardly know (or don’t know at all), your estranged family member’s rants, people sharing the latest cat video or BuzzFeed article that you care nothing about.

I like to go on the network and be able to appreciate all the wonderfulness that Facebook offers to its users. Yes, I do want to see when my cousin looks like a boss at a party or when my mom is with my dad watching the sunset on the beach. Every day we’re inundated with a constant flow of digital information, it can become overwhelming if you don’t maintain it.

Here are a few of the reasons to ‘unfriend’ someone on Facebook:

1. They’re a high school (even worse, middle school) acquaintance you don’t plan on ever seeing again in your life.

2. The only reason they’re friends with you on Facebook is to stalk your life (and vice versa).

3. You don’t know them. At all.

4. They’re friends with an ex. (This is a tricky one, albeit necessary if you don’t want to see photos and news about your ex pop up all over the place)

5. You ARE an ex. The first thing I did when breaking up with the last guy is get rid of all social reminders of our relationship. Moving on is important, why keep digital evidence online to remind you of something that didn’t work out or for you and all of your friends to see?

6. This person writes your paycheck. There’s no reason to be friends with your boss on Facebook – save that for LinkedIn. Unless your boss is Jacqui Liberman, of course 😉

7. They invite you to 1,000,000 events per week.

8. You play this little game I like to play and lose.

Facebook friend game

A former Genie once taught me a great way to slim down your friend list on a regular basis. Each day, see whose birthday it is and ask yourself if you want to remain connected on Facebook. If any of the above apply, think about unchecking that ‘Friends’ box.

Indecisive Nation Unite! Yelp Helps Save the Day.

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Social Media, Uncategorized, Words of Advice | No Comments

When it comes to making decisions, I’m the absolute worst. I mean, on any given day it can take me 2 hours to decide what TV show I want to watch. So it’s no surprise that last Friday night my boyfriend and I found ourselves aimlessly wandering the streets of Lakeview looking for somewhere to eat. Being the picky eaters that we are, finding somewhere that we can agree on is an especially painful process. This is exactly why I love Yelp so much.

Yelp is a crowd-sourced local business review and social networking site. The site has pages devoted to individual locations, such as restaurants or salons, where users can submit a review on their products or services using a one to five star rating system. In addition to writing reviews, users can react to reviews, plan events or discuss their personal lives. As of 2015, Yelp.com has 142 million monthly visitors and 77 million reviews.*

If you didn’t catch that, Yelp is perfect for anyone who has a hard time committing to well, pretty much anything. Don’t know which nail salon has better service? Yelp it. Want to find the best pizza in town? Yelp it. Trying to find a new doctor? Yelp it. Yelp’s slogan, “Real People. Real Reviews.” basically tells you all that you need to know. With that slogan in mind, I think it’s important to remember that because these are humans, like you and I, sharing their reviews – their opinions are just that, opinions. People aren’t always going to like the same things or experience the same kind of service. However, if a business is plagued with 1 star reviews, in my opinion, it’s best to assume that they’re pretty accurate.

Glaz
Glaze Teriyaki – Photo courtesy of @cnsherman

Aside from viewing other Yelp user’s reviews, Yelp gives business owners a chance to respond to reviews, either publicly or privately. I currently oversee a Yelp account for one of my clients and find that a company’s responses, to both good and bad reviews, can help shape the way other Yelp users view your business. If a person gives you a good review, thanking them is more likely to keep them coming back for more of whatever you’ve got. If they give a bad review, it’s important to acknowledge their concerns publicly to let them, and others, know that the issue isn’t being brushed under the table.

For the basic Yelp user, it showcases features such as connecting with your friends (or others whose reviews you find useful), sharing photos, marking others reviews as “funny, cool or useful,” responding to other users reviews, making reservations, checking in at a location, ordering and having food delivered, scheduling appointments, ordering flowers, you get the gist. On top of all of that, you’re also able to connect to Facebook and Twitter so you can share your reviews there as well. Did I mention that Yelp has an app for iOS and Android too?

You’re probably wondering what food I ended up using Yelp to find on Friday night. We had our heart (halfway) set on a little Mediterranean spot on Broadway but I ended up running into an old coworker who had just come from Glaze Teriyaki Grill. She recommended we try it out but I was still persistent about the other place, thanks to their 4.5 star Yelp review. After Yelping Glaze, I instantly changed my mind, we decided on Glaze and I couldn’t be happier that we did (thanks, Carina!). Cute interior, great food and the most amazing staff to boot! It’s safe to say that we’ve found our new regular spot. Which reminds me, I still have to go give them the 5 stars they so fabulously deserve.

Next time you’re in a bind about which business is better, from bars, to drive-thrus, to law offices (yes, you can review those too!), just follow the stars, they’ll (hardly) lead you astray. Don’t forget to help your fellow indecisive Yelpers out either, leave those reviews like it’s your job.

*Info taken straight from the source – Yelp.com.

I Got 99 Problems And They’re All With LinkedIn

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Linkedin online social network

Okay, I will just come out and say it: I hate LinkedIn.

To put my feelings into perspective, I would describe it as the fly episode of Breaking Bad, any Adam Sandler movie made post-2005, and yes — I’m going there — the Nickelback of social media platforms.

So, what is my problem? Why do I have so much beef with LinkedIn?

It’s simple: it’s not living up to its potential.

For the professional world, LinkedIn is a well of valuable resources, filled to the brim with contact information, job listings, and industry-specific news. Moreover, it is the ideal way to keep in touch with your network; everyone from old coworkers you enjoyed spending happy hour with to the big wig you met at the bar last night can be collected in one place, ready to be easily contacted should the need ever arise.

However, if users are to utilize these features to the fullest, it is essential that the site be easy to navigate. That, right there, is its #1 problem: it is not easy to navigate.

Over the years, social media’s other big dogs, particularly Facebook and Twitter, have added attributes like hashtags and geotagging to their bag of tricks. These attributes are designed to help users quickly and efficiently find the information they are looking for.

Think about how simple it is to find the posts you care about on these sites:

  • You want to learn more about what’s happening in Washington D.C.? Search the hashtag.
  • You can’t remember the name of your cousin’s boyfriend? Read the photo tag (you should probably check out his profile too, Creeping 101).
  • What’s Kim Kardashian been up to lately? Check the trending topics (let’s be real — she’s always on there).

 

LinkedIn, however, doesn’t support hashtags, photo tagging, or geotagging. Without these, I find myself constantly struggling to find the content I want to see. I get lost in a web of industry groups and company pages in their search function that never quite meets my needs.

Now, I will throw LinkedIn a bone, though. It does allow you to tag friends in comments and posts, which is a huge help! I just believe advancing this feature would have astronomical benefits for its users by giving them faster access to the content they are searching for.

While discussing LinkedIn with a friend the other day, she told me about her biggest issue with the site or for the purposes of this blog post, problem #2: “There’s nothing social about it.”

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Although I don’t completely agree with her — the biggest arguments being the ability to endorse connections and interact with posts— there are ways to improve its title as a ‘social’ media platform.

To begin, making an individual’s previous posts visible somewhere on their profile would be a step in the right direction. If I am interested in seeing a friend’s latest post, it is virtually impossible for me to do so unless it happens to appear on my feed or a link is sent my way.

I also believe that adding a chat function of some sort would be extremely beneficial.

Think of the possibilities that can come with a chat function:

  • Recruiters and candidates can communicate instantaneously.
  • Catching up with connections can take 10 minutes rather than 10 days via InMail.
  • Coworkers would be able to share links directly through the site instead of turning to Gchat.

 

Now, I understand that the chat function would have its limitations. For example, you wouldn’t be able to chat Richard Branson just to ask ‘What’s happening?’ but I do believe that there are ways to implement one that would be only advantageous for users.

So, let’s move on to the last issue I will discuss, problem #3: its analytics.

Unless you’re willing to shell out, LinkedIn offers you next to nothing as far as analytics goes. Do I blame them for this? Absolutely not. They’re running a business, and businesses need to profit. Therefore, selling premium accounts is a must.

However, do I really care if an anonymous user viewed my profile? No, I wish they kept that to themselves! Now, I’m just sitting here wondering if my ex-boss is keeping tabs on me or if a recruiter for the job I just applied for viewed my profile and thought ‘Eh, not interested.’

Sidebar: I feel like there are probably some horror stories out there about people going mad trying to figure out who the dreaded, anonymous ‘LinkedIn Member’ is (please forward any stories you have about this my way, I’d love to know).

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Back to the point, the analytics offered to LinkedIn’s users are weak. I used my free month of Premium and feel like I wasn’t getting much more than I did with my usual, bottom-of-the-totem-pole account.

Perhaps my issue with the analytics is a personal one rather than a universal gripe. As a Social Media Manager, I see all of the free analytics available to my businesses on Facebook and Twitter, and I feel like that tarnishes my view of LinkedIn. After all, you are essentially just branding yourself like a business on LinkedIn, right?

So, there you have it! These are a few of my issues with LinkedIn (obviously I don’t have time to go over all 99, time is money after all).

Although I dislike LinkedIn currently, I do think that a few simple alterations, additions, and improvements would be all it takes for me to sing a very different tune (think ‘Photograph’ by Nickelback verse ‘You Make My Dreams’ by Hall & Oates). I would love nothing more than to change my opinion on it and should that ever happen, I will happily write a new blog post on it.

Even though I’ve dwelled on the site’s flaws in this post, it is still important to note that it is a significant and worthwhile resource for professionals. So, here is me using a glass half-full perspective:

  • The fly episode is one of the most complex and brilliant episodes of the entire Breaking Bad series.
  • Adam Sandler might not be making the cinematic gold he used to, but he still has a relevant and thriving career.
  • Nickelback, as much as we all love to rip on them, is filthy rich and raking in more and more money with each passing day.
  • LinkedIn is an excellent reservoir of information that with a few minor tweaks, can be untouchable.

Social Media Gives Shelter Dogs a New Leash on Life

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Social Media, Social Media Spotlight, Uncategorized | No Comments

If you have a TV, you’ve probably seen Sarah Mclachlan’s ASPCA commercial at least 14 times (minimum). I’ve been told multiple times by multiple people that my Facebook profile is comparable to those commercials. Some might take that as an insult but I like to think of it as a compliment. I mean, we can pretty much do just about anything with social media these days so if you have the chance to help do something good, why wouldn’t you?!

In recent years, laws have been put into place in many states not only to regulate the commercial breeding industry but also to completely ban puppy mills. Due to laws of this nature, the popularity of adopting/rescuing dogs has grown tremendously. Shelters are full to the brim, many times having to turn animals away because there’s no room. So where does social media come into play and how does it help?

Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram have proven to be great outlets for animal shelters and organizations seeking help with dog rescue, fostering, adoption and medical funding. These social media platforms allow them to reach a high volume of people, not only in the direct vicinity, but all over the world with just a few clicks of a mouse. Shelters are able to share photos and videos of the dogs that they have available for adoption or use hashtags such as #adoptdontshop, which helps decrease the time that animals are stuck in the shelter.

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My rescue dog, Delilah

Being the dog lover that I am, two of my all-time favorite organizations have to do with dog rescue/awareness (duh). Check them out below and see a few ways that they’re using social media to garner attention and support their individual causes on a constant, and almost overwhelming, basis.
 
Trio Animal Foundation (TAF) is a charitable organization that assists shelters, rescues and individuals by paying the medical bills of homeless pets. TAF also promotes adoption and responsible pet ownership, including spay and neutering.

  • TAF uses social media to connect with fellow animal lovers on a raw, real and emotional level. They use photos and tell stories without holding back, allowing the audience to feel connected to the animal and their journey. The use of visuals (photo and video) has proven to have higher levels of engagement than posts with plain text.
  • TAF is quick to respond to follower’s questions and comments which is critical in not only gaining followers but also maintaining the ones that they already have. This level of rapport creates a unique bond, creating lifelong supporters of the organization and their mission.
  • Although TAF is Chicago based, they’ve been able to use Facebook and Twitter to reach animal lovers all over the country. Because medical funding is such a large part of their organization, this is extremely important. They have been able to raise more money for the animals in shorter periods of time due to the large reach.

 
Pinups for Pitbulls, Inc. (PFOB) is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to educate people about the history, temperament, and plight of the pit bull-type dog; raising awareness to rally against Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) and Breed Discriminatory Laws (BDL).

  • Not only does PFPB use social media to educate on pit-bull-type dogs, they also use their platform to share posts about dogs who are in urgent need of a home. Because their following is so large (462k Facebook fans!), they have a high success rate of finding help for the dogs that they post about.
  • Like TAF, Pinups for Pitbulls is very active with their fan-base, making it easier for followers to feel a connection with the organization. This increases the amount of shares that their posts receive, making their organization noticeably more visible across the web and the country.

 
Its easy to look back even 10 years and see the impact that social media has made in the world. I bet no one ever thought that they’d be able to help save dogs just by sitting on their computer. Crazy, right? The next time you see someone sharing a post about an animal that needs help, instead of scrolling past it, take a minute and think about hitting the ‘share’ button instead. Who knows, your share just might help that dog find his furrever home.