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Words of Advice

Fun Holidays Worth Mentioning This Summer

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The Gossip Genie team will be the first to tell you that social media has completely changed the world we live in. One noteworthy difference is that we now observe obscure and silly holidays that we wouldn’t have known about 5 to 10 years ago. For example, did you know that National Wine Day is May 25th? If you didn’t know it now, you’d definitely find out the moment you logged into Instagram that day!

Luckily for us, using the trending hashtags and participating in the holiday celebrations can help increase engagement and draw new eyes to your pages. Here are some fun holidays we’ll be acknowledging on our brand’s pages all summer long. Will you be joining the conversation?

  • May 19: National Bike to Work Day
  • May 28: National Hamburger Day
  • June 1: Say Something Nice Day
  • June 2: Leave the Office Early Day + National Doughnut Day
  • June 5: World Environment Day
  • June 7: National Chocolate Ice Cream Day
  • June 8: Best Friends Day
  • June 18: International Picnic Day + International Sushi Day (and Father’s Day)
  • June 21: International Yoga Day
  • June 23: World Pink Day
  • June 29: Camera Day
  • July: National Picnic Month
  • July 7: Chocolate Day
  • July 16: National Ice Cream Day
  • July 22: Hammock Day
  • July 23: National Hot Dog Day
  • July 29: National Cheesecake Day
  • August: Family Fun Month
  • August 1: National Girlfriend’s Day
  • August 4:  National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day
  • August 5: National Mustard Day
  • August 6: Friendship Day
  • August 10: National S’mores Day
  • August 19: National Potato Day
  • August 26: National Dog Day + Women’s Equality Day
  • August 31: National Eat Outside Day

3 Lessons I Learned from Live Social

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I went on my first business trip last week, and it was incredible. We were covering the biggest culinary competition for high schoolers in the United States. If you’re wondering what that means, it was basically like watching Iron Chef but in real life.

Three of us Genies were responsible for live Tweeting, Snapping, Instagram updates, and Facebook Live. My role was to provide captivating content for both Snapchat and Instagram stories. I’m absolutely obsessed with both of those platforms, so it was already a dream come true for me to spend the weekend creating video and photo content for both platforms.

I’ve never done on-scene social media coverage, and I honestly found the event very intimidating at the beginning. There were so many things I didn’t know. Would my content resonate with our audience? Could I successfully juggle two platforms? And most importantly, would our client be happy with the work we produced? It’s been a week since the event, and I’ve had time to think about what made us a successful team. So without further ado, here are three strategies for epic event coverage.

1. Plan ahead

We were lead by our VP of Social and began planning for the weekend months in advance. Tweets were scheduled, Facebook content was produced, schedules of events were made, and briefings were held. We were as ready as we could be.  It’s so important to create content ahead of time so you aren’t scrambling on the scene. Depending on your event, you should have relevant handles gathered, as well as evergreen content written and scheduled in advance. This will save you a lot of time and energy for when you’re on the ground covering the event.

2. Go with the flow

Because you already planned ahead, when the event actually starts it’s time to go with the flow. Your social media guru instincts should take over, and you shouldn’t be afraid to put as much quality content out there as you can (but know your platforms, no one wants to see 20 Instagram photos posted in one day). If someone asks you to jump off a stage while wearing  Snapchat Spectacles and run through a crowd of screaming high schoolers, then it’s best to just go with it. You’ll probably get some epic content, and make your client happy. Yes, I did that.

3. Trial and Error

Live social media coverage is about trying new things. If your audience is skewed on one platform, engage with them there and point them in the direction of your other pages. If you’re getting amazing engagement on Snapchat, try to host a spur of the moment giveaway. Don’t be afraid to try new social strategies, because you don’t know what will resonate with your viewers. As they say, you’ll never know if you don’t try.

I learned a lot during my first work trip. Live social media coverage is exciting, fun, and exhausting. We left the event with a larger, more engaged audience than when we came which should, honestly, always be the goal of live coverage.

Why Your Business Needs Community Management

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If there’s something all businesses have in common, it’s that they all strive to be successful. What makes a business successful? Well, to answer something like that we would need to write a blog with multiple chapters in it. Let’s cover one of the factors of making a business succeed: Customer engagement AKA Community Management.

What is a Community Manager?

“A community manager is responsible for advocating for the brand on social networks. They create their own social persona and actively go out within the online community to connect with potential customers and advocate the brand.” – Sprout Social

Using community management will help bring your brand alive. It is something that will reach out to your audience and can help them feel special.

What makes a good Community Manager?

  • Building a voice and staying consistent

Do you want to sound perky and positive? Sarcastic? Professional? Pick a voice that will match your brand and keep it consistent.

  •  Answering questions or comments in a timely manner

If I am a customer that wants to express how much I love or hate a product on your Facebook page, I want to be heard. I am expressing it for a reason. Community managers should answer these promptly. Whether if it’s a Like, a comment, or both – show your customer that you care.

  • Post relevant content on your brand’s pages

If you’re a soup factory and you post an article about the latest Coachella fashion trends, that will not only look silly on your page but it also just doesn’t make sense! Even though Coachella is something trending at the moment, that doesn’t mean you should post about it. If you’re a soup factory, post a mixture of promotional content and articles that relate to enjoying a cup of soup!

Finding the right Community Manager can be difficult. It’s also just another thing to think about. Luckily, our team of Genies are experts at community management and can easily adapt to any type of business. We’ve worked with lawyers, magazines, food industries, car dealerships and more! If you need more guidance on community management, don’t be afraid to reach out to us.

2 years as a Genie

Being a Genie Just Got 2x Sweeter

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Time flies when you’re having fun! As cliché as it sounds, this is genuinely how I feel about my time at Gossip Genie. As of this month, I have now been here for two (yep, count ‘em!) whole years. Two offices, two job titles, two annual Cubs games, two (beautiful) Libermans, and ‘two’ many Happy Hours to remember later, I have experienced so much good during my Genie days.

Anybody who knows me well (even people who don’t know me well, honestly – I’m talking high school acquaintances and friends of friends) is well aware of the fact that I love my job. I talk about it constantly in-person and online because I’m fortunate enough to enjoy what I do day in and day out. Over the years, I’ve picked up quite a few life lessons that are going to stick with me for the long haul.

Practice What You Preach

2 years as a Genie

Social media builds your brand. Social media keeps you connected. Social media is a game-changer.

These are all things I tell my clients, and all things I truly believe. During my two years, I’ve seen what social media is capable of. For big and small goals alike, social is a roadmap to achieving them successfully.

Because I know how powerful of a tool it is, I take my personal social seriously. I started building my reputation on LinkedIn by sharing valuable content and making meaningful connections (you yourself are a brand too, you know!), and I’m dabbling with the idea of starting a blog of my own as a creative outlet. I stay up-to-date on the exciting happenings in the lives of my friends and family on Facebook and constantly check Twitter for the day’s trending news stories (pro tip: find the latest Chicago news, national news, and social media news in my Lists – @kristinaknap).

Never Stop Learning

Ahhh, I cannot express how much I have learned to roll with the punches over the past two years!

Social media is the most wonderfully and infuriatingly dynamic industry there is. Right when I really know how to work a platform’s algorithm or rock a blog post, guidelines and rules change at the drop of a hat. While this sounds exhausting, it’s also one of my very favorite parts of my job. It means I constantly have new things to learn, new puzzles to crack, and new hacks to figure out – so long boredom!

As Gossip Genie grows, so does our list of services. Since I’ve been here, we’ve added four more snazzy options to our bag of tricks: photography, videography, blogger outreach, and social media audits. I LOVE having not only the opportunity but the encouragement to be involved in this. It keeps me on my toes!

Your Coworkers Can Be Your Best Friends

2 years as a Genie

The Gossip Genie team is such a stone-cold pack of weirdos, and I could not be more proud (a Bridesmaids quote in this post was inevitable)!

No, on a very serious note, the people I have the honor of working with every day are a major, major reason that I love my job so much. We are constantly building each other up and pushing each other to reach our full potential. We never stop laughing and make time to hang out outside of the office. All of these factors make for one kickass and unique work environment! I can’t express how refreshing it is to work with people who just.. get it. They understand work-life balance and are always ready to pick you up when you’re down.

Adventure Is Out There

2 years as a Genie

New experiences are the spice of life and at GG, I always have plenty of them! Whether it’s flying off to New York to live cover an event or volunteering with Chicago Cares, GG has provided me with countless opportunities to immerse myself into a brand new adventure.

This holds true in my everyday life too. Sometimes the answer to life’s biggest challenges is just to dive in and take them head on! This past year has been a huge year for me. I got engaged to the most wonderful person in the world, moved out of my childhood home, crossed adopting a shelter dog off my bucket list, invested in a little, blue car, and am becoming a very proud aunt and godmother this month! While navigating all of these major life changes at once is pretty scary, I feel much more comfortable knowing I have such a wonderful support system – in and out of the office.

Be The Best Version of Yourself

2 years as a Genie

Potentially the most important thing I’ve learned from Gossip Genie is to never settle.

Professionally, dreams don’t work unless you do – this is something I’ve taken to heart. It reminds me to keep striving for more and to never cap the ceiling on what I can accomplish with ambition, elbow grease, and a little help from my coworkers. Personally, a motto that always sticks with me is ‘I will live my life sincerely.’ In order to live a life you’re proud of requires becoming a person you’re proud of so never stop working on you.

How To Multi-Task Like A Pro

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No matter what kind of job you have, multi-tasking is an important skill to have to crush your daily tasks. I know it can be overwhelming sometimes, but that’s what I’m here for! Consider me your multi-tasking guru.

Here are a few things I do each day to make sure I handle the work day like a champ.

To Do Lists
I always rely on my to-do lists. They are a great way to plan your day even though it can be intimidating to look at all of the tasks you need to get done. You can make a list online using websites like Producteev or you can hand write them. Personally, I love the satisfaction I get after physically crossing something off my to-do list. I actually use both online and paper and pen forms and they help me stay on top of my game.

Plan ahead
If you know that you’re going to have a busy day, don’t be afraid to start early. Even walking into the office 15-20 minutes early can help make a huge difference on your day!

Take A Breather
Wearing multiple hats can be exhausting, I get it. Remember that you are allowed to take some time to yourself. Go out for a quick walk or grab a coffee with a colleague. If you don’t take those few minutes to decompress, your brain will just eventually shut down. Nobody has time for that!

Stay Hydrated
Those are probably the two words I’ve heard most coming out of my husband’s mouth. Staying hydrated makes a worlds difference on multi-tasking. Drinking water throughout the day will keep you focused and alert. Staying on your A-game is important when completing several different tasks!

 

After getting these 4 tips under your belt, you can now conquer the work day with confidence! You’ve got this. I believe in you!

 

 

The App That Can Change Long Distance Friendships

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Throughout my life, I’ve had a bunch of different groups of friends that live all over the place. From my friends at home to college to the bonds I’ve built on Semester at Sea, I feel very lucky to say that I have amazing support in all directions.

Staying in touch with my friends can be difficult since everyone (including myself) is so busy all the time. Even though this is just part of life, I try to make staying connected with everyone a priority.

Yes, there’s always texting, social media stalking, FaceTiming and talking on the good ole’ fashioned telephone. However, I’m here to show you another option. An option that will make it feel like you haven’t missed one thing in your friends’ lives. 

Have you ever heard of Voxer? Voxer is a walkie-talkie app that will bring your long distance friendship to a whole other level!

It’s simple, really. All you do is click on your voxing buddy, then push a button that will start your walkie-talkie session. You can talk for however long you want! You can chat about your plans for the day and weekend. You can vent about a dilemma you’re having that you need help with. The best part about this? You can listen and answer at your own convenience! Of course, if it’s an emergency, a phone or text is where it’s at. But when it’s something like a simple catch up on what’s happening in your daily life, Voxer is perfect.

It’s great because the next time I see my friend that I’ve been voxing every day, I’ll know everything they’ve been up to and there’s no need to catch up.

“I’m so busy. I don’t think I’ll have time to listen to Voxes.”

You do, I promise. I listen to my voxes in the morning while I’m getting ready for the day or during my daily commute. I answer while I’m walking my dog or have those few minutes of extra free time a day.

Do me a favor and stay in touch with your friends whether they are near or far. A beautiful friendship is hard to come by and it would be a shame to let distance get in the way of that!

Why You Should Use A #WeddingHashtag

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This one is for all of the brides, grooms, and wedding planners out there.

I know there’s a lot on your mind like, “what flavor filling should be in the cake,” or “which song should Grandma enter the ballroom to,” but let’s talk necessities. The cake will be awesome, grandma will be adorable, but did your wedding even happen if you can’t find UGC from your big day? Here’s where a wedding hashtag comes in. In 2017 a wedding hashtag is essential for any couple’s big day. Luckily, you have me and I’m here to help guide you through the hashtag creation process with ease. 

Not convinced?☝️️Look at how nice these are! ☝️️

I got married on October 8, 2016, and it was the best day of my life. In fact, the day was so magical that it actually became a blur in my memory. As much as you try to soak in everything, it’s still an overwhelmingly amazing day! For that reason, I can’t tell you how excited I was when I was able to wake up the next morning with my new husband and look through our wedding hashtag. Because of our wedding hashtag, we were able to see our wedding through the eyes of our friends and family.

When someone uses your hashtag, Instagram populates a feed with all the images associated with the unique hashtag you’ve created. It’s basically one big photo album filled with love and joy, without doing all the work of asking people to send you their pictures. Honestly, it’s a win-win for both the guests and the bride & groom. Because what guest doesn’t love to take pictures at weddings? They get dressed up, have a cocktail in hand, and want to share their amazing night celebrating the bride and groom with their friends. Give yourself a break and let wedding guests help out by adding in that simple #hashtag. The happy couple gets to enjoy wedding bliss for days on end!

How do you create a wedding hashtag?

This can be easy and tricky at the same time. You can use a wedding hashtag generator website, which does the work for you. As expected, the only downside of this is that the hashtags it generates can be a little generic. But don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with that! I actually used a generator for mine because I was so busy wedding planning and I just wanted this marked off my to-do list.

If you’re looking to get a little more creative with your wedding hashtag, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Have your friends, family or even our team of Genies to give you some suggestions.

Try to keep these tips in mind:

  • Short and sweet is always nice! Your guests won’t want to type anything too long while uploading the photo.
  • Do not put any dashes, periods or commas in there. That will break the hashtag!
  • Have the hashtag relate to the couple. Use your new married name or the date of your wedding. Try to stay away from something everyone will have such as #JustMarried or anything like that!
  • Don’t overthink it! That’s all. No explanation there! 

 

It’s been 5 months since my wedding and I still look through those photos from our hashtag to relive that beautiful day. I know there’s a lot on your plate, but put this at the top of your list. You won’t regret it. I promise! #YouCanDoIt 

3 Ways To Spot an (Un/)Sucessful Social Media Program

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As a social media professional, it’s no surprise how quickly I can spot a successful social media program. What is more surprising, however, is how much faster I can spot a bad one. In my opinion, a poorly run social media program says as much about the brand as one that’s well run. It can scream, “I don’t have a marketing budget,” or “I don’t understand technology.” Even worse, it can give the appearance that you don’t care about your customers. And with 79% of the US population now on Facebook, there is no justifying putting it on the back burner.

On the flip side, it’s incredibly refreshing when a brand gives their social media presence the attention it deserves or even goes above and beyond. It makes the brand seem more innovative, compelling and even more trustworthy. That’s what we at Gossip Genie strive for: to make brands shine so brightly that you take a screenshot and send it to a friend.

Here are the three most obvious indicators that a brand cares about their social media presence.

1. They regularly add rich content

When a brand posts inconsistently, it’s a telltale sign that they don’t have a social media calendar nor someone who is actively tending to it. Instead, there is likely a marketing or HR professional who has had “social media management,” slapped onto their laundry list of responsibilities– making social media a total afterthought.

Conversely, when I see rich, aesthetically pleasing content added on a regular basis, I immediately know that they understand the value of quality imagery and a good social media program.

2. They engage with their fans

Is there a greater crime on social media than ignoring a customer? When a customer comments, good or bad, they deserve a prompt response. When I see comments left unanswered, I know that there’s something lackluster happening behind the scenes.

On the flip side, I always look to see how a brand responds to customers. I screenshot responses I admire and try to emulate them moving forward.

3. They monitor brand hashtags– and other hashtags customers might use

I have always told potential clients that, regardless of whether you choose to be active on social media, your consumers are on there. Sometimes, they’re even talking about your brand without you knowing it.

While it may be obvious to look up your brand’s most used hashtags, it can be a missed opportunity when you don’t search for other ways people might be talking about your brand. For example, one of our accounts, ProStart, uses the official brand hashtag #MadeInProStart. However, every morning when I monitor, I make sure to look through hashtags like #ProStart, #ProStartProgram and #ProStart students so I can engage with our audience and catch every conversation about our brand.

When I look up brand hashtags and see streams of unanswered user-generated content, I get the sense that this brand doesn’t have time to monitor.

If you don’t have time to make your social media presence the best it can be, Gossip Genie is here to help! 

 

27 Ways To Make Your Work THE Best Place To Be

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Ever since I graduated college, I’ve worked at companies that have a work hard, play hard mentality. And you know what? It works. A lot of my loved ones ask me, “Do you even work? You look like you’re having so much fun.” That’s because I am. And don’t you worry, I’m actually working very hard. I am working with incredible individuals that share the same passions as me AND like to enjoy themselves, too.

Let’s be real. Most people work 40 hours a week or more, so why not smile every morning going into your workplace?

In honor of turning 27 this past weekend, here are 27 ways to make your office the best office:

 

1. Keep lots of coffee stored

2. Having plenty of snacks around – (The way to anyone’s heart is food. Ask anyone, it’s not just me).

3. The people you work WITH

4. The people you work FOR

5. Office decor – (Idea: Put up inspiring quotes on the wall or pictures that make you happy!)

6.  Have open communication

7. Slack – (Great for office communication without needing to yell out loud…and the Giphys – Everyone loves Giphys).

8. Happy hours

9. Theme days (Twin day, mismatch day..)

10. Birthday celebrations

11. Workiversary celebrations

12. Furry friends

13. Flexibility

14. Open work space (Ditch the cubicles!)

15. Plan a yearly company outing

16. Team building activities

17. Positive recognition of hard work

18. Open learning environment – (If you’re interested in helping in a different department, ask your colleague about it. Learn!)

19. TV marathon discussions – (“Did anyone watch the latest episode of ‘This is Us’”? Everyone will join in!)

20. Holiday parties

21. Random Acts of Kindness – (Get your coworkers a round of ice coffees or a batch of donuts! It’s the little things.)

22. Having lunch as a group

23. If you’re on vacation, you enjoy your vacation

24. Make sure the person that is fulfilling their job duties actually enjoys it

25. Step outside, take a breather

26. Make every day different

27. Positivity in every room – (There is nothing more contagious than happiness.)

Make your office an office you want to go into every morning. I know you can do it!

“If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

3 Business Lessons I Learned from Owning a Dog

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Anyone who knows me well has heard all about the new BFF I adopted three weeks ago from PAWS. Chance – my small black lab mix – radiates with playful energy and melts hearts with the most on point set of puppy dog eyes I’ve ever seen. However, when I brought Chance home from the shelter a few Saturdays ago, I knew my life was going to change – what I didn’t realize at the time was just how much I’d grow in my professional career, too.

Time Management

Owning a dog is honestly the biggest crash course in time management I never expected to take. Going to work, heading to the gym, cooking dinner, walking the pooch – in the beginning, just juggling life’s simple, everyday tasks felt overwhelming. 

As time went on, though, I got significantly better at balancing my time because I had to. I learned waking up ten minutes earlier than normal is more of a lifesaver than you could ever imagine (I swear those extra minutes of sleep actually aren’t worth it – never thought I’d be the one to say that!) and prepping lunch for the next day was a more efficient use of my time than watching just one more episode of Parks & Rec (also something I’d never thought I’d say).

In the office, I am now constantly searching for creative ways to save time and use my workday as effectively as possible. My brain is wired to find the fastest route from point A to point B because wasting time just feels so… wasteful. If I am being smart with my time, that translates to more successful campaigns, more happy clients, more closed sales, and more walks with my pup! Now, that’s what I call a WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN.

Prioritization

Chance is a lot of work – honestly, more work than I ever anticipated he would be. It quickly became clear to me how crucial it was that I got my laundry list of tasks done in their order of importance. For example:

• Getting him his meds on time > Getting in another set of squats at the gym

• Taking him on a long walk > Taking a long bath

• Giving him fresh water at the end of a long day = Giving myself a large glass of wine at the end of a long day

Very obviously, this also holds true at the office. Knocking out the more important tasks in the morning lifts a weight off my shoulders and makes the rest of the workday much more enjoyable. I can breathe easy knowing the big stuff is crossed off my to-do list, and now I can work on other tasks with peace of mind.

 

Kindness Matters

Dogs only respond to positive reinforcement. Loud voices and punishment do not have nearly the same affect as upbeat voices and treats. When Chance chewed up my three favorite pairs of shoes (RIP), I responded with anger, despite all the dog blogs preaching the opposite. I now react much more calmly when I’m upset with him and have noticed such a difference in the way he responds behaviorally.

This is true at work, too. Sending good vibes to your coworkers throughout the day goes a lot farther than a bad attitude and a standoffish demeanor. Compliment the stuff they kick ass at, help out when they need you, ask how their family is doing, exercise patience when you’re stressed out, clean up after yourself – all of these positive actions will help you build long-lasting relationships with the people around you and make your work environment a pleasing place to be for everyone.