5 Things You Should Be Doing On Twitter
Nowadays, everyone can be found on a social media channel, and keeping up with the times means you have to be on several channels. But Twitter still reigns in many social circles as the best and fastest way to get the news you want to hear without having to scroll through your old college roommates posts. Here are 5 things you should be doing on Twitter to make your experience there worthwhile.
Hashtags are a way of Twitter life. Words (or phrases) that start with a pound are automatically turned into a link. You can now search through all the tweets that also used the same hashtag. Use tags in your profile bio to help you be seen in searches. Example: My name’s #Bob and I’m a lover of all things #Pizza.
Create Follow Lists
Again, one of the best features of Twitter is that you decide whose tweets you want to see in your feed. You can also very easily divide your users into “Follow Lists” to help sort through the tweeting madness. Name your lists and then place the accounts you follow into the appropriate lists. For instance, you might have a list for your News, Friends, and Technology. Creating your lists will help keep your overall tweeting experience enjoyable.
Subscribe To Public Lists
Just as you have created Follow Lists, other users create lists as well. You can make these lists public and follow other account’s lists. If you follow Mashable for example, you can look at their 30 public lists. You can easily follow their entire staff members, or just their interns, or the Mashable staff members that are at SXSW. Can you understand what a gold mine public lists can be?!
Upload Videos and Photos
It’s a well-known fact; tweets with videos and pictures garner more attention than words only. The Twitter app allows 30 second video creations, but you can also use Vine or other apps to help you get more from your tweets. This is also important because it helps you say more than your 140-character limit!
The search bar in Twitter seems pretty harmless and humble, but with a little know how, you can open doors you didn’t know possible! Here are a few hacks for the Twitter search engine.
Operator: “happy hour” | Finds tweets: containing the exact phrase “happy hour.”
Operator: love OR hate | Finds tweets: containing either “love” or “hate” (or both).
Operator: beer -wine | Finds tweets: containing “beer” but not “wine.”
Operator: #Puppies | Finds tweets: containing the hashtag “Puppies.”
Operator: “happy hour” near:”san francisco” | Finds tweets: containing the exact phrase “happy hour” and sent near “san francisco.”
Twitter has a lot to offer as a social media channel. So use it to benefit you and your company! Feel free to share any tricks you might have as well. Also, check out our free 30 day trial on What Time Do I Work Software!
Four Ways Your Business Can Capitalize on National Holidays
Our Nation celebrates many national holidays throughout the year, and the Fourth of July is right around the corner. While the holidays themselves stand as reminders of our nation’s history, let’s be honest, most of us are just excited to have a three-day weekend.
During those holiday weekends, how can you help your small business stand out of the crowd? Here’s four ideas to help get your business out of your four walls and into the public eye during this upcoming Fourth of July weekend, and any other upcoming national holidays.
1. Sidewalk Sales
You might think the sidewalk in front of your business is there for pedestrians, but during holiday weekends, that sidewalk is there for you to make sure every pedestrian knows your small business exists. Get some of your products together and set up a small table outside. Have a staff member stand outside with your products. Every person who walks by your small business should receive a smile, as well as a quick idea of what you sell.
2. Holiday Related Products
Holidays are all about getting creative; so let your creative self out of the bag. The Fourth of July is all about celebrating the rich heritage of this great nation. How can your small business represent the red, white, and blue for a weekend? Specialty cocktails on your patio, small flags surrounding your windows and sidewalks: whatever you decide to offer, give your customers an opportunity to celebrate the national holiday with you!
3. Community Events
Sometimes national holidays are all about getting away from your building and into your community. Community events are a great way to get exposure to potential new customers who otherwise might not get the opportunity to know your small business. Take your product into the community. There are always many options for community events during holiday weekends, and many of those events are held in public areas like schools, parks, farmer’s markets, or block parties. Find a holiday event that your small business can participate in, and take your staff and products to them!
4. Holiday Social Media Campaign
Stand strong, and stand proud; let it be known that your small business celebrates national holidays! Your small business’ social media accounts are the best way to ensure your customers know how they can participate in your holiday festivities. Use creative graphics, show teasers of specials, and give a heads up for any discounts or markdowns you’ll be offering. Your social media accounts are a paramount tool during holiday weekends; without communication, your customers won’t know to come and take part in your holiday specials.
Sidewalk sales, holiday related products and sales, community events, and using social media skillfully, are all easy ways to start capitalizing on national holiday weekends. Utilize your staff members to put your best foot forward on these weekends. Use What Time Do I Work to schedule your staff appropriately throughout the weekend to make sure you’re ready to pick up on all that new holiday weekend business! What are some ways your small business capitalizes on holiday weekends? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget, holiday employee scheduling doesn’t need to be a source of stress, try What Time Do I Work today!
How to Survive Bad Press Like a Pro
We are living in the age of the Internet: where all types of communication and attitudes are welcome, bad news actually does travel faster than the speed of light, and everyone waits in the shadows for an opportunity to hop on a good (or bad) story. You know you’ve seen it before; the little business down some street you’ve never heard of is suddenly the talk of the entire Internet. Everyone starts ganging up on the business sharing the story via Facebook and Twitter with posts encouraging everyone to stop being a patron. Then after you’ve seen the story show up in your feed for the third time in an hour, you decide to read the story, and you realize the way the business handled a situation was cringe worthy.
Let’s be honest, in the age of Internet, sometimes you won’t be able to stop some bad press from happening. There’s always going to be the outraged man who’s water wasn’t cold enough who fumed in your Yelp reviews. And don’t be too upset with the woman who keeps tagging your business on Facebook with hate posts, because truth be told, you probably won’t be able to make her happy. If you recall when Facebook would change their layouts, you would think a violent revolution was brewing based on the angry posts on your timeline. The internet makes it easy for people to indulge in anger, but eventually it all blows over. So here are some rules for dealing with bad press, and how to do it like a pro so that you can survive it and come out stronger in the process.
Don’t Bring Fuel To The Fire Fight
One thing you should always remember about the internet: there is always a user somewhere that will “out-insult” you, and wherever you are, once you bring your best fight, that user will come out of the shadows and find you. Bad press happens. As a business owner, NEVER turn to your caps lock or profanity. The only way all caps are acceptable are when driving the point home to never reply to a customer IN ALL CAPS. Keep your cool, which leads us to our second rule.
Pick Your Battles Carefully
While you’re remaining cool, calm, and collected, still choose your battles wisely. The barrage of commenters will likely not back down, even if you are using legitimate arguments for reasons your business is being portrayed in an ugly light. Do spend time if necessary commenting on the situation, but don’t feel like you need to get into a comment battle with every individual with an opinion. Another option in these situations is to hire an outside PR agency to handle communication.
Sometimes It’s Best Not To Say Anything
No one is forcing you to say anything at all, and sometimes you may find the odds are in your favor if you’re silent anyway. Again, the users of the Internet will comment until they’re blue in the face whether or not you’re an active participant. Standing in the shadows quietly until the waters have calmed is never a bad idea.
Your Silence Is A Good Time To Listen
If you do choose silence as a strategy, this is a good time for you to listen to your customers. Don’t try to read every comment on the Internet, but do try to seek out your customers and listen to ways their experience with your business could be made better. At this step, your job is not to try and fix your bad press, or to make the press go away. Your job is to just listen.
Find Opportunities To Grow
After the bad press starts to calm down, you’ve carefully chosen which battles to engage, and you’ve spent time listening to your customers, take this as an opportunity to come on the other side of this bad press as a better business owner. Take everything you learned during your time in front of the bad press spotlight to come back as a stronger business and business owner. Be honest about what took place, how you handled the event, and lastly what you’re doing to be a better business. Your customers will appreciate your honesty, and the Internet commenters will slither back into their shadows and await their next victim.
If you have any stories, experiences you can share, feel free to leave them in the comments!
Restaurant Ownership: The Longest Standing Business Venture
Restaurants haven’t always had the amenities we enjoy today, but throughout human history, there is one thing that binds us all together. Long before all the table trivia games, online ordering systems, and even shift scheduling software, humans of all eras were drawn to communal eating experiences that they wouldn’t have to prepare themselves.
The word “thermopolium” is probably not one you’re familiar with nowadays, but in today’s modern world, it’s impossible to walk several blocks without running into one. Today we just call them by their name: McDonald’s, Subway, Chili’s, and so many more “restaurants” that are available for us to eat somewhere other than our own home. Who want’s to dirty their kitchen if they don’t have to anyway?
People have wanted to keep their own kitchens clean by eating out since as far as ancient Roman times. A thermopolium was to ancient Roman’s what Burger King (with alcohol) is to American’s today. The word thermopolium literally is translated to “a place where (something) hot is sold”. Citizens of Rome would walk to their local thermopolium and eat cheese laced with honey and spices. They would also be able to order lentil soups and mulled wine.
Rather than dealing with the fuss that modern day waiters deal with, it is believed that these ancient places did not have menus. Instead, the customers ate whatever the cook had made that day. History also shows that lower class Roman citizens mostly used these fast food options because they didn’t have access to their own private kitchens, and so thermopolia were also known as places where customers could get a little feisty.
A little closer to today’s modern restaurants were the eateries in China circa 1123. Marco Polo wrote about his visit to the city of Hangzhou; home to more than a million people in Eastern China. Unlike the thermopolia in Rome, customers in China were given a menu to order from. Marco Polo wrote of delicacies like silkworm pie, bean curd soup, and pork stuffed dumplings. In the city, Marco Polo talked of many shops and street vendors. The streets lined with many taverns, teashops, rice wine vendors, and tents with chefs and business owners.
The world has probably never been without individuals looking to get out of cleaning their own kitchens. As a restaurant owner, you can always take heart in the fact that you’re part of a long line of hard working individuals in the history of restaurant ownership. And even in the modern age of meals in a box, customers still love a delicious warm meal in a sit down restaurant. Who knows? Perhaps restaurant ownership is one of the longest standing entrepreneurial business ventures of all time. And forcing customers to eat whatever the cook prepared is probably one of the least talked about innovations that the Romans created.
How To Structure Your Day To Make You More Productive
Moms always like to say that the best way to start your day is to tidy up your room and make your bed. A clean room is the start to a clean life! However, your mom (like mine) probably left out any ideas on how you should start your workday. Most of us do the same mechanical things when we get to the office desk. Power up the computer, grab coffee, check and respond to emails for the next hour. Sound familiar? But what if this isn’t the BEST way to start our workday? Ron Friedman’s book “The Best Place To Work” has some ideas for how to get the most out of your workday, making you more productive.
A slightly surprising idea that Friedman makes note of is that when you arrive at work, the first three hours will be the most productive hours during your day. Those hours shouldn’t be spent doing the more mundane tasks you have to complete. Friedman actually suggests that before you do any work, you sit down at your desk and plan out the day’s objectives. What else must you complete today other than responding to emails and listening to voicemails? Any meetings, collaborations, or items that would need a real productive attitude to complete should be done during your first three hours in the office.
We’ve all been there, the 2’oclock workday blues. No matter how much coffee you’ve had to drink, or how hyped you are about clocking out in a few hours, the hump in the afternoon is always one that’s difficult to get over. Friedman acknowledges this hump in the day, but again has a couple of great ideas to make even these slothful hours become productive. His research has shown that while we may not feel incredibly productive, this hump is actually one of our most creative stages in the workday. So instead of spending that time checking Facebook, begin to work on some of your more creative projects. Friedman also suggests using this time of the day to have your collaboration meetings.
You may think that just because you’ve left the office, you’re not longer working. The truth is, however, that many of us continue to think about work even after we’ve left the office. Friedman says that the best way to deal with post workday thoughts is to plan a workout session. Not only will this give you time to think a little more about certain topics you’re figuring out, but it also gives you time to unwind. Don’t think that you need to be awake at 5am to get a workout session in. Friedman says that in actuality (unless you REALLY enjoy waking up that early), you’re going to make yourself more unproductive by trying (and then probably failing) to keep up with a schedule you won’t enjoy. He also suggests looking into any workout that will be enjoyable to you; don’t feel limited to having to go lift weights in a gym. Dancing, neighborhood walks/jogs, etc. are all great options for your post workday productivity.
Friedman gives great insight and ideas for restructuring your workday to be more productive and get the most from your day.
The three ways you can immediately start restructuring your workday to be more productive are:
- Using the first three hours of your day to be the most productive.
- Switch gears in the afternoon to a more creative mindset.
- Use the end of your workday to engage in a workout to help you wind down and get those last work thoughts out of your head.
Do you find these ideas to be helpful? What are some other ways you structure your day to be productive? Of course, having mundane things like work schedules taken care of by great systems like What Time Do I Work, will go along way to helping you work on the more important stuff.