How to Create a Meaningful Social Media Presence

social media icon cloudLots of companies have a social media presence. They have Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Pinterest pages, Instagram, YouTube and other online accounts. They may make an effort to create a presence on every new social platform; however, the mere presence of social media accounts will do nothing to help your company’s marketing efforts. If customers don’t have a reason to pay attention to your social media efforts, they will be a waste of time and energy. At worst, some companies manage to annoy their customers through their use of social media. A well-planned out strategy can help you avoid these marketing mishaps.

Many businesses hire social media experts to help them manage their online presence. For smaller companies, a dedicated social media employee isn’t a realistic option. Often, they choose to work with consultants who help them build a useful online presence. Often, social media consultants work with website developers to help integrate the company’s image into a consistent brand. An important part of this is engaging customers without annoying them.

How do you attract customers without pestering them?

  1. Don’t post articles or send messages that have no purpose other than self-promotion. Some companies post Tweets or Facebook messages that are the online equivalent of saying “Hey, we’re here!” Most users view this as another pesky internet advertisement which they promptly ignore. They may even unsubscribe from your Facebook page or stop following your Twitter account if they are particularly annoyed.
  2. Use your sites to include customers in your business. Allow them to post Instagram pictures on your Facebook page. Follow your customers back on Twitter. Respond to Facebook friend requests, if your page is setup to maintain your professional persona. When customers post comments on your Facebook page, send a reply. This creates interaction that entices customers to share your sites and return for future interactions.
  3. Include promotions on your sites. Share coupons through sites like Twitter and Facebook. Encourage subscribers to share coupons with friends. Offer new promotions and coupons on a regular basis to encourage interest.
  4. Host contests that users can share on social media. Encourage them to share contests with friends. Contests can give away free or reduced price products. Share information about the winners so that users know contests are real. You can even share photographs of winners with their permission.
  5. Run seasonal promotions and share the information with all your followers and friends. If you don’t attract their attention regularly, they will forget about you. A dormant social media presence becomes invisible over time. It does no good to create a Facebook page if you never use it.
  6. Use tools like FanPageKarma or Woobox to increase customer interaction through Facebook contests. You can ask users to like or comment on a post to enter a contest. The tool picks a winner at random out of the number of “likes” on the Facebook page. The contests need to be real or users will quickly catch on.
  7. Try creating a YouTube account that features fun or interesting videos. Share the videos with customers on social media. You can create a variety of different types of videos. Take videos at company events. Record a community event that is related to your business. Ask customers to create testimonials. Always get permission before using people in videos. Never use copyrighted materials in visual media.
  8. Avoid commenting on politics or controversial social issues. Your customer base probably includes people with a wide range of opinions and convictions. Don’t alienate people by posting political articles, criticizing local leaders or campaigning for candidates. Businesses have lost customers by commenting on a variety of controversies. Reread any posts and ask for a second opinion if you think you might have crossed a line.
  9. Write articles that inform consumers. Customers don’t want to receive notifications about new marketing campaigns; they want information that helps them solve problems. Create articles that educate people on current issues and concerns that are relevant to your industry. Don’t create content that is merely self-serving. Instead, create interesting articles with expert advices, questions, answers and helpful resources that readers will share with others.
  10. Use your social media presence to support community events. Many companies sponsor local charity causes including parades, fundraisers, races, food drives, dances, museums, youth sports and other causes to help build community awareness. Encourage readers to become involved in events through links on your Facebook page. Send tweets that inspire people to join in to help. This isn’t a direct marketing strategy, but it affects the public opinion of your organization.
  11. Use Twitter in a variety of ways. Link to articles. Post advertising videos. Thank customers who have replied to your tweet or have retweeted your posts. Retweet relevant links. Use hashtags that are relevant to your company.
  12. Link to your social media sites through your website. Customers can use Twitter to request help or ask questions. They can like your Facebook page to receive promotional information. They can pin product information or designs from your site directly to their Pinterest boards if you provide a link. These steps can help increase the traffic to your website from potential customers.
  13. Use a casual but professional style at all times. If your writing is sloppy, people will view you as incompetent. Work with professional writers and editors if you don’t have the time or staff available to carefully review your work. Small mistakes can detract from your company’s image.
  14. Follow related businesses, experts and individuals on Twitter and review their posts. You can learn a lot about customer interactions and current issues. Reply to posts on occasion if you have something relevant to add to the conversation.
  15. Encourage comments on your social media pages. Ask questions about current issues in your industry. Ask customers for feedback. What flavors do they want? What new styles interest them? What are their favorite events to celebrate at restaurants? When customers comment on your page, reply and thank them for their comment. If the customer has a complaint, contact the person directly to resolve the issue.

Social Networking Legal Issues

social mediaSocial networking has provided new opportunities for businesses to reach customers and promote their products and services. However, social media tools can present tricky business law situations just like other types of correspondence. Social media is public and many people can view the statements on the company’s accounts. It’s important that these accounts reflect the company in a positive light.

Some businesses have dedicated social media employees. In other cases, a variety of people have access to the company’s social media accounts. The best way to prevent problems with social media is to have clear policies and train employees thoroughly on these policies. Many business law attorneys help companies draft appropriate policies to prevent problems in the future.

What kind of business law issues do social media accounts present? There are a variety of business issues to consider. The first is discrimination. If managers or other employees make discriminatory comments on social media, the company can be liable for these statements. Sexual harassment is another potential business law concern. There have been cases where managers or other company representatives harassed or appeared to harass workers through social media. The company has significant liability in these cases as well.

Insider trading is another potential business law issues. If your company is publicly traded or is part of a regulated industry, employees may create problematic posts without understanding the repercussions. If they disclose information that affects trading, such as leadership changes or product releases, this can expose your company to significant risk. In financial and banking companies, there are very strict federal regulations concerning what kind of information can be disclosed. An inappropriate post could create a serious legal situation.

It may seem like a good idea to have employees share positive reviews of the company on blogs and social media accounts. This actually presents business law issues. In these cases, the workers must disclose that they are being paid to write the reviews or that they are employed by the company.

What can you do to prevent these issues? Consult with a internet law attorney to gain an understanding of your company’s exposure to risk when it comes to social media. Carefully control the comments and posts that are issued on your company’s behalf. You should limit access to these accounts to workers that are reliable and conscientious.

What Do I Bring to a Dog Daycare?

dog boneIt’s tempting to pack a lot of things to reduce your pet’s stress at the dog daycare. Actually, you shouldn’t bring a lot of accessories from home. Dogs can get confused by smells from home. They are usually more comfortable with the toys and smells of the doggie daycare when they are there.

Most doggie daycare facilities recommend that you do not bring your dog’s own toys or rawhide treats with them. Dogs can become possessive and this can lead to conflicts with other dogs. The dog daycare should provide adequate toys for pets. Since those toys don’t belong to any individual dog, there is a much lower likelihood of conflict among the animals. If your pet needs special treats due to a medical condition, talk with the dog daycare employees about the situation.

The most important thing you will need to bring is your pet’s medical records. It’s important that the facility knows that your animal is in good health. Your dog will need all of its shots before it can attend doggie daycare. You will need to have a report from a recent veterinarian visit.

You may be tempted to bring a special blanket or other item to comfort your dog during the day. Most doggie daycare facilities advise against this. The dog can be territorial about the items. Also, the smells make depress the dog and make it less interested in socializing. Let the dog separate from you by letting him or her enjoy the kennel environment.

Typically, the dog daycare facility will not want you to bring food for your pet. Generally, the dogs are much more interested in socializing with each other, playing with toys and exercising. Animals will be provided with plenty of water to keep them cool and hydrated. You should feed your dog at home. In some special cases, dogs need to be fed. If your pet has medical issues or is a young puppy, it may need to eat during the day. Talk to the staff about how to manage feeding during the day if your dog has particular needs.

After a full day of playing, your dog will probably be exhausted. He or she will probably be hungry and then go to sleep soon after eating. That’s how you know your dog has had a good day at the dog daycare and is getting the interaction and exercise he or she needs.

Optimize Your Kitchen Island

Kitchen islands are popular features in many homes. They serve a variety of functions. First, they break up larges space to make them seem more intimate. Next, they provide additional seating for guests. This type of seating is perfect for breakfasts, cocktails and other informal gatherings. Your kitchen island should be an important consideration when you start a kitchen remodeling project.

kitchen-islandIt’s critical that your kitchen island fits in smoothly with the style of your kitchen in general. When you are undertaking a kitchen remodeling project, creating a kitchen island should be an important focus. You’ll need to consider many features. What height is ideal? Do you want to be able to place bar stools around the island? Would you like the island to accommodate a tabletop stove? How much storage do you want the island to have? What other features, such as cabinets, sink, and appliances, does the island need to coordinate with?

Custom cabinetry designers are experienced with kitchen remodeling projects. They can help you set up the type of space you want to create during your kitchen remodeling undertaking. You can discuss the importance of your kitchen island and how you want it to fit in with the rest of your kitchen. A custom cabinetry designer can create a kitchen island that meets your unique needs. You’ll receive custom woodworking that you won’t be able to find in any store.

Custom woodworking has a look and feel that isn’t available in pre-fabricated pieces. You can select the color and type of wood to coordinate with your existing cabinets. Or, if you’re undertaking a more extensive kitchen remodeling project, you can design a complete kitchen including custom cabinets and a custom kitchen island.

Kitchen remodeling can be a significant investment of time and resources. You will want to spend time making sure that you have a kitchen that you can enjoy. A well-designed kitchen island will be the perfect place for people to gather. You will also have additional counter space for entertaining and preparing meals. Custom cabinetry can help you design a unique look that will be original and functional at the same time.

Why Gold Mines Are Abandoned

Why do gold mines end up abandoned, especially when there still gold in the area? There are many gold mines that have been abandoned over the years. There are a variety of reasons gold mines were abandoned. Sometimes, it had to do with productions. Other major factors were the effects of World War I and World War II.

Many ghost towns were once active mining towns. There are many of these towns in Arizona, where gold mining has been active since the early 19th century. One example is the Crown King mine in the Bradshaw Mountains. This mine area closed due to financial problems. The mines simply weren’t very productive and gold miners left the area for more prosperous regions.

abandoned mineCastle Dome City in Arizona was once an active mining town. Mining efforts resulted in significant challenges in the mine’s early days due to conflict with Native Americans in the area. Like many mining towns during the World War I and World War II, mining efforts declined. Equipment was confiscated from many small mining operations so that it could be used for iron and led recovery efforts. The mining companies weren’t able to maintain operations without equipment. After the war, new or replacement mining equipment wasn’t available which permanently shut down many mines.

Other, larger mines switched to lead mining to support war efforts. After the wars ended, the area went into decline because of the decreased demand for lead. People left the area and the town was abandoned. Many other Arizona gold mines faced a similar fate.

The Goldfield Ghost Town is another example of an abandoned site. During the 1890s, the town had saloons, boarding houses, a brewery and many other businesses. However, the town when into decline, the gold vein faulted. The price of ore dropped and the town went rapidly into decline.

Vulture City was another active mine during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. At one time, Vulture was an extremely active and productive site at one time. The mine was shut down by a regulatory agency in the 1940s so that activity could be focused on the war effort. The shutdown order was disputed and the mine eventually reopened. However, there was not much enthusiasm for mining and Vulture City shut down for good.

When Bartering Agreements Go Wrong

Business bartering is a common practice among many companies. It’s especially frequent between small businesses, start-up companies and freelance workers. These agreements provide significant advantages. Each party receives a benefit in the situation, typically without investing money. These agreements can be an exchange of goods, an exchange of goods for services or services for services. Usually, money isn’t involved unless the value of one item is significantly greater than the value of the other item or service.

bartering agreementBartering is commonly used in e-commerce situations. One party may not have knowledge about how to set up websites, online transactions and social media accounts. The other party may have extensive knowledge about ecommerce issues but needs a type of support or product that the other party offers. This is a frequent modern scenario in bartering agreements.

What happens when these agreements go wrong and only one side fulfills the agreement? This is a common business law problem. In most cases, people are honest and follow through on their commitments, but there are instances when the other party deceitful or dishonest and puts you in a difficult position. Often, people don’t realize they have protection under business law in these situations. The agreement between the parties constitutes a contract and breaking a contract has legal repercussions.

Bartering is often informal. The two parties make an arrangement and often don’t write the agreement down. In other cases, they download contracts from the internet to solidify the agreement. However, if the agreement goes awry, a business law attorney can help you address the repercussions of the broken contract. If the bartering agreement involves significant amounts of time, products or services, it’s a good idea to consult with a business law attorney at the beginning of the process. This will help you ensure that your contract is thorough and protects you in problematic situations.

If you anticipate problems in the future with the agreement, it’s critical that you work with a business law attorney. The attorney can help you understand your liability and repercussions under your state’s business law regulations. The business law attorney can help you thoroughly document the transaction so that you have evidence in case of problems down the line.

Customizing Your Kitchen for Entertaining

If you do a lot of entertaining, your kitchen is a critical space. People often gravitate towards the kitchen during parties. Many people take special pride in their kitchens because they are so often viewed by guests. Kitchens are also a good gathering space for casual meals and snacks. Many families spend more time in their kitchens together than they do in other rooms in the house.

If you are thinking about a kitchen remodeling project, you have a lot of choices to make. Your most important goal is making the kitchen as or more welcoming than it was before the kitchen remodeling project. Is there enough room for everyone to sit? Are there enough places to set plates and drinks? Are the colors and styles in the room inviting?

custom kitchenMany companies sell pre-fabricated pieces for kitchen remodeling projects. These pre-fabricated pieces seem like an easy way to update your kitchen, but you may find that they fall short of your ambitions for your kitchen. First, they may not maximize your ability to use all the space in your kitchen. This is especially important in galley kitchens or other smaller spaces. Secondly, the pre-fabricated pieces may look awkward in your kitchen because they aren’t designed specifically for your space. Many people who use stock products for their kitchen remodeling projects are dissatisfied with the results.

If you want a custom kitchen remodeling job, you should work with a skilled custom cabinet designer. You can explain your storage and style concerns. You can also discuss the type of entertaining you like to do in your home. The designer can help create custom kitchen cabinets that meet your specific needs. You can choose specific features for your project that aren’t available with standard kitchen remodeling approaches.

A custom kitchen cabinet designer can help you create cabinets that reflect your personal style. You can give input into the shape, style and combinations of your cabinets. The designer can use the type of wood and finish that you prefer. The cabinets can have soft close hinges so that they shut quietly no matter how hard they are closed. You can ask the designer to integrate custom woodworking features on the cabinets so they stand out from pre-fabricated cabinets and give your kitchen a unique look.