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  • #SelfCare: How to Detox From Social Media Like the Pros

    The average person will spend more than five years of their life on social media, and most users spend roughly two hours every day on some social platform or another. Social media accounts for as much as 30% of total time spent online, and up to 80% of social media usage takes place on mobile devices – meaning that, in many cases, we literally can’t get away from that next tweetstorm or Instagram notification.

    Two hours a day is a huge chunk of time to be spent doing anything – let alone using services with known links to negative health effects, ranging from increased feelings of loneliness to sleep deprivation. For many, social media is a stressor, and it can be a trigger for anxiety and frustration – yet it can be hard to connect with friends and family without it.

    And for many, social media isn’t just a habit, but a cornerstone of their daily life. That’s particularly true for people in our chosen field; working as we do in digital marketing, we’re even more plugged in than the average user, and large portions of our day are spent checking in on social media analytics, monitoring posts and comments, scrolling through feeds on Buffer, SocialPilot, or Hootsuite, and creating content for Twitter and Facebook.

    What this means is that we sometimes have to check in and set hard limits on our social media usage – for the sake of our own mental and physical health. Looking for some help getting started with a digital detox plan? Just want to be more mindful when it comes to your social media consumption?

    Here are a few strategies that we’ve found can be quite helpful, whether you’re just taking a temporary breather from social media or trying to set more productive habits for your future:

    1.) Set Technology-Free Windows of Time

  • 5 Lessons We Can Learn About Social Media from NASA (Source: pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

    Here at Geek, we’re always looking up at the stars and dreaming about the future… of web development and digital marketing. But there are plenty of other people who look to the stars and see adventure, opportunity, and science’s next cutting edge.

    The astronauts, analysts, technicians, and public relations teams at NASA aren’t just inspiring because they’re exploring the “final frontier” of space – they inspire us because of the way that they’re bringing back those discoveries and sharing them with those of us who are still stuck here on earth.

    Recently, Loren Grush of The Verge held a fascinating interview with Jason Townsend and John Yembrick, two of the three social media leads at NASA headquarters, about what it’s like to help operate the organization’s 510 accounts across 14 platforms.

    So, what can earthbound social marketers learn from NASA? To put it in really scientific terms: tons! Here are five major pieces of wisdom from NASA’s social media team that you can put to work for your brand today:

    1.) Use Multiple Channels to Share Your Content

  • 5 Social Media Marketing Mistakes It's Time to Stop Making

    Social media marketing is an invaluable tool for reaching new audiences and retaining your existing ones. It has a nearly unlimited capacity to generate referral traffic, improve your SEO efforts, generate and convert leads, and create positive buzz around your brand.

    Of, course, there’s a “but:” To see the amazing benefits of social marketing, you need to know how to do it correctly. Whether you’re looking to fine-tune an existing social campaign or launch a new one, here are five huge social media marketing mistakes to avoid:

    Having Unclear or Inconsistent Messaging

    Before you begin to market on social media, it’s important that you know a few things, including:

    • Your brand messaging (Who are you? What are you marketing?)
    • Your audience (Who are you marketing to?)
    • Your goals (Why are you using social media marketing?)

    You may be surprised (or not) to learn that many brands get started on social media without a clear vision or goal in mind; it’s important that you narrow your focus and understand what you’re trying to achieve, so that you can actually work towards it.

  • Facebook’s algorithm has been changing – and it’s all anyone who cares about social media marketing seems to be talking about!

    (Well, that, and all of the major social media PR crises and data privacy issues that have seemingly dominated the news cycle in 2018.)

    For marketers – and brands who rely on Facebook to reach new audiences, retarget their existing clients, and build up loyal followings – Facebook has long been king. Next to Google, it’s the largest digital marketing platform by a wide margin, soaking up more attention (and ad dollars) than just about anywhere else on the internet.

    As such, many businesses who want to expand their outreach online find themselves having to play by Facebook’s rules, even when it comes to marketing on other social networks, like Twitter and Instagram. And those rules just seem to keep changing.

    The Ever-Changing Facebook Algorithm

  • 5 Ways to Improve Your Brand Awareness on Social Media

    No matter what your line of business, social media marketing (SMM) is a low-cost, high-reward way to connect with your audience online, leading to increased traffic to your site and - with a little skill - a slew of brand-new leads.

    But besides just reaching out to new users, spreading your message on social media can be a great way to connect with users and customers on an emotional level. Creatively telling your unique brand story and forging real relationships are the backbone of effective social marketing; they turn customers into friends and partners, creating brand awareness and loyalty that are invaluable for your company.

    Here are five surefire to ways to boost your brand awareness with social media:

    1.) Have a Strategic Focus

  • 5 Ways to Start Using Streaming Video for Your Marketing

    The landscape of social media is changing – away from text posts and updates and to GIFs, autoplaying clips, and, above all, live video.

    We may not be heading to a textless future just yet, but that doesn’t mean that video isn’t here to stay; views on social media are up across the board, and Facebook is making a massive push to prioritize streaming video content on users’ feeds – and spending a pretty penny advertising it, too.

    Is your brand ready to keep up? Like Snapchat and Instagram before it, live video is a major step forward – but one that lines up with the core tenets of digital marketing that we’ve always taught to our clients. The medium is changing, but the message doesn’t have to.

    Here are five easy, low-pressure ways for your brand to start putting live streaming video to work right now:

    Give Viewers a Peek Behind the Scenes

  • 5 Ways to Take Control of Your Facebook Page (Source: Pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

    Can you remember a time before Facebook? We’ll give you a second.

    It’s getting harder to do, isn’t it? What was once a fun online novelty has become an omnipresent backbone of the internet ecosystem, with roots that spread out and impact commerce, entertainment, communication, and every other facet of the digital landscape.

    So, we’re going to go ahead and guess that you’re familiar with Facebook, and probably that you’re already using it for your business.

    Here’s what you may not realize – most of us are barely scratching the surface of what we can do to refine, streamline, and customize our Facebook experience. The network that boasts a huge ROI for advertising and that is rapidly changing the way we talk about SEO also offers a slew of customizable tools for brands that are well worth exploring.

    Social media is a vital way for your brand to stand out, to create leads, to bolster your reputation and create your positive narrative. So when it comes to your Facebook page, don’t just settle for the basics – take control. Here are five easy ways to get started:

    1.) Create Powerful, Custom Images

  • App of the Week - Facebook Events (Source: https://events.fb.com/#events_landing_hero)

    Whether you’re a Facebook junkie or a reluctant user, we bet there’s one part of the popular social platform that you use just about every day: the Events function.

    More than evites, paper invitations, or text messages, Facebook has become the go-to method for creating and promoting events. According to TechCrunch, about 100 million users check out Facebook Events every day, discovering and RSVPing to gatherings ranging from birthday parties to friends' improv shows (soooo many improv shows).

    Earlier this month, Facebook launched a standalone Events app for iOS (allegedly the Android version is coming soon), and it's already taken off in a big way: TechCrunch calls Events “indispensable,” while The Ringer, one of our favorite tech and culture sites, even calls it “refreshing” and “one standalone app you’ll actually want.”

  • Social media’s foundational value is right there in its name. “Social.”

    It’s a word that we use all the time, but it has some heavy connotations, when you really think about it. It suggests person-to-person connection. It suggests real engagement. It suggests authenticity.

    So… where has all of that gone on social media?

    Will All the Real Accounts Please Stand Up?

    “Fake News” was one of the biggest buzzwords of 2016 and 2017. Fake social accounts and fabricated web content, disseminated across social media, may well have played a large part in influencing the outcome of an American presidential election.

    But it goes beyond that. In testimonies before Congress, representatives for Facebook and Twitter both estimated that a significant portion of the accounts registered on their networks are fake. Facebook estimates that as many as 60 million accounts – that’s 2-3% of the company’s 2 billion regular visitors – are fakes. Twitter estimates that 5% of its 330 million users are “false accounts or spam,” which equates to 16 million profiles.

  • Are We Heading For an "All Video" Future? Not So Fast. (Source: Pexels.com - used as royalty free image)

    Scroll through your Facebook or Twitter feeds or click around on any news platform, and it becomes clear that video is having a major moment. And if some prominent industry insiders, like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and international vice president Nicola Mendelsohn, get their way, streaming video won’t just be a flash in the pan – it will be the defining feature of our digital future.

    As Mendelsohn said recently at Fortune’s “Most Powerful Women” international summit, Facebook may well be “all video” within five years’ time. As she explained:

  • Emily Post Meets the Facebook Post: Business Etiquette for Facebook (Source: Wikimedia CC)

    "Literally." "Like." "Epic." 

    Are you word nerds out there squirming yet? 

    Everyone (like, literally everyone) can think of a misused or overused word that drives them crazy. For us here at Geek, it might be the word "legit." (As in, "That taco place was really good, like, totally legit," or, "Last night's show was legit.") 

    It's in moments like these where we think back to our favorite line from The Princess Bride.

    One genuinely legitimate way to use the word "legit," however, is when you're talking about your business' Facebook page. When users look up a business online, there's a good chance that they're using this social media site to find information.

    That being said, having a Facebook page makes your business more legit and gives you a chance to interact with your consumers while expressing your product or service's usefulness. 

    Here are our top 6 "dos" and "don'ts" when managing your professional Facebook page:

    1. Don't put a profile where a page belongs. 

    Yes, perhaps this is level one Facebook knowledge, but make sure that you know the difference between the two: Profiles are for people and pages are for businesses. Make you sure you're following this distinction to get the most out of your Facebook use. 

  • Facebook Search Changes Open Doors For Small Business MarketersRemember when Facebook introduced Graph Search? It has already been two years since we saw the launch of this enhancement, which turned Facebook users' searches from "Chicago" to the more specific (and more useful) "Friends who live in Chicago, Illinois" option.

    Now, Facebook has given us another great search tool, which replaces their former integration with Bing search engine. The results appear to optimize personalized search results, taking Graph Search to a whole other level - one that small businesses can use to their advantage.

    Here's what we know so far, courtesy of the Walker Sands blog.

    Encouraging News for Brands

    Changes in Facebook's algorithm last year left small brands struggling to reach fans. Organic reach was suddenly reduced to near zero without using a paid strategy. With this new search strategy, however, it looks like smaller businesses may have fighting chance.

    Facebook users can now search specific posts that have been shared by friends and Facebook pages you're a fan of.

    What does this mean, exactly? I'll give you one word that you've undoubtedly heard in your marketing career before: keywords.

    Creating Keyword-Boosted Content

    If you run a dog walking business, your new search strategy will include creating posts and content with keywords around dog walking, your service location, pet care, and more. You can use an extensive keyword strategy like this one to help identify keywords you'll want to pump up your posts and content with.

    Story-Based, Shareable Content

  • Hello App from Facebook (Source: Facebook Promotional Video)

    When we first heard Facebook was releasing another app, we were hesitant to buy in, especially after the Messenger fiasco last year. However, Facebook's newest app - "Hello" - seems to hold up in terms of privacy features, and add some pretty helpful functionality to your Android phone. Here are the deets that TechCrunch recently laid out.

    An Overview of the Hello App

    Facebook's newest app essentially eliminates the "unknown" aspect of unknown numbers. Hello matches phone numbers of incoming and outgoing calls to Facebook profiles, showing you who's calling with a built-in caller ID system.

    It also has the ability to block calls from numbers that are commonly blocked, as well as enable you to search for businesses to call directly within the app itself.

    The Details

  • Facebook Penalizing Business Page Text UpdatesFacebook made an announcement this past Tuesday unveiling some small, but rather significant changes to how text and link statuses get ranked in the News Feed.

    The announcement explains that Facebook users typically don't like to interact with text statuses from companies as much as they do with their friend's updates, so they decided to demote the importance of text updates from companies on the News Feed.

    Additionally, this change will have two other big ramifications for Facebook businesses, according to Hubspot:

    1. Other types of status will also become more (or less) effective

    If some statuses get demoted in their magic Facebook ranking, others must rise to take their place.  We assume this means that ads, personal updates, and link-share status updates will climb the ladder of salience.  Facebook was rather vague with this comment, so we're simply speculating.  Time will tell.

    2. Links that fall under the "link-share" subgrouping will get promoted further

    Links can be shared in one of two ways on Facebook.

    a) The first looks like this, where the link is part of the text of the status itself (not considered a "link-share")

  • Friendster, We Hardly Knew Ya: These Social Networks Never Caught On

    We think all the time about the future of social media here. But in order to know where our favorite marketing platforms and services – including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram – are going, it’s important to take a look back at the past.

    And when it comes to social media, that past looks a lot like a graveyard, littered with the skeletons of social sites and apps that tried – and failed – to make a digital splash.

    What can we learn from these failed experiments? What were they, where did they go wrong, and could our favorite social networks ever go the same way? Let’s take a look at five famous social media flops:

    Friendster

  • Getting Started With Facebook Ads

    Sure, you use Facebook for fun and for your business. But have you started using it for advertising?

    In addition to being a hugely popular social networking site, Facebook is a remarkable advertising platform that offers you the unique opportunity to closely target your ideal audience. And what’s more, Facebook ads have a proven history of success, with 70% of businesses reporting a 3X or better ROI on their campaigns.

    Ready to use Facebook ads? Here’s what you need to know to get started:

    How Do I Find My Audience?

  • Getting to the Bottom of Your Social Media Analytics (Source: Pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

    Social media is one of the most effective ways of creating your brand’s narrative, driving referral traffic, and spreading the good word about your one-of-a-kind business. But how are you measuring your success?

    We hear all sorts of claims about the effectiveness of digital marketing, but it’s important to always keep track of your successes and failures. Email marketing, SEO, social media – all of these are vital (and interconnected) tools for your business, but each needs to be measured, tested, and analyzed in different ways.

    Fortunately, many social media platforms – most notably Facebook and Twitter – have their own built-in analytics tools. Using these free native tools are a great way to test and improve the quality of your social media marketing, helping you to answer questions like…

    What Types of Content Does My Audience Like?

  • When it comes to social media, there are plenty of things that you might already believe to be true. But are your assumptions on track, or are you missing the mark?

    To help gauge our social media knowledge – and check out whether common social media myths are true or false – the Geek team likes to turn to studies from the Pew Research Center.

    Focusing on social media usage and habits, the research compiled regularly by Pew is essential for understanding the far-flung impacts of social media on our culture, particularly when it comes to looking at the past, present, and future of marketing.

    Curious about how, when, and why audiences are using social media today? Here’s how the numbers broke down among our four favorite social media platforms:

    Facebook

    As of 2017, 68% of all American adults are Facebook users, making it the most popular social media site by far.

  • How Facebook Ads REALLY Work

    We’ve all been there, at one time or another. You’re scrolling down your Facebook feed, for your business or just for pleasure, when suddenly you spot an ad.

    But this isn’t just any ad: It’s a picture of the exact model of microwave you were just scoping out on Amazon. It’s a deal on the clothing brand you recently Googled, maybe after hearing an ad in a podcast. It’s a commercial for the movie you were just thinking of going to see on Friday night.

    In today’s social media marketplace, Facebook acts like a sort of digital flea market – one where every shop owner already knows exactly what you’re looking for, and has their display set up accordingly.

    And these ads are having a big impact on how you make purchases, whether you click on them or not. According to a Facebook/Datalogix study, as reported by Slate, 70% of businesses advertising through Facebook saw a 3X or better return on their investment (meaning that the business earned three times the money that they spent on the ad campaign).

    How exactly does this work? Let’s explore some of the methods Facebook and its ad clients are using to market directly to you:

    Remarketing

  • Maybe you’ve head the famous Shakespeare quote that “brevity is the soul of wit.”

    Maybe you’ve heard that, and then responded with “cram it, English major, just tell me how many characters I can put in this blog headline!”

    We get it. When it comes to creating content for your digital marketing channels, including blogs and social media, finding the perfect length seems hugely important – and yet it’s also one of the trickiest things to get right.

    That’s where the Geek team would love to help! Below, we’ve got your go-to guide for making sure that your content marketing elements measure up. Curious about character limits on social media? Looking for the ideal length for an SEO-focused blog post? Read on…

Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).