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Match the Website With the Paycheck

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Show Me The Money

In the comments of a recent post right here on Agent Genius, I inquired about another Realtor’s success in developing his real estate business through social media marketing. The measure of success I was looking for is simple: closings. Yep, show me the money.

I haven’t heard back from him, but I do have some success of my own to share with those Realtors who are interested in adding to their bottom-line like I have, by building an on-line brand that results not only in clients directly requesting my assistance, but also in earning referrals from agents across the globe.

How It All Began

My husband and I entered real estate together in 2001. We’d just moved to Metro Detroit, I hadn’t lived in the area in 20 years and I had spent the last 8 years living in Europe. Let’s just say my local real estate market knowledge was small, and my sphere of influence was even smaller. RE industry knowledge – zero. My partner, my husband, faced the same challenges yet, the odds were even heavier against him. Dmitry had almost never driven a car, had never been in any type of sales position, spoke English as a second language, knew nobody outside of my family and friends because he had just immigrated about 2 months before we got our licenses together. By the way, I got mine because I had to drive him to the pre-licensing classes. The odds were stacked against us and a couple of local real estate offices were not interested in us as new licensees. Today, those same offices that wouldn’t return Dmitry’s calls in 2001, give us regular calls seeing if we would consider a move.

If I knew then what I know now, I might have bet against us too. Thankfully, I didn’t know.

Building Through Technology

We’ve built much of our business through technology. We work in one of the wealthiest areas in the State of Michigan. Many of our peers in our Sotheby’s International Realty office have built wildly successful careers through their country club memberships and their social connections. I envy them. Who, afterall, wouldn’t want to get her clients while sitting by a pool or drinking cocktails after golf? And I don’t even like golf. These are good agents who work hard and know their market. Their clients just come to them differently than mine tend to come to me.

Next week I am giving a presentation to local Realtors about social media marketing and creating/managing a web presence. That talk is the impetus for this post, and I hope it will help anyone else who wants to see a direct correlation from a Realtor, between social media marketing and building a real estate business. The missing link, and I will admit it, is that I could not begin to estimate the amount of time I have invested in building our internet presence since we started in business. For me, its a hobby as much as it is work. I enjoy it, so I spend a LOT of time on the internet. I couldn’t begin to tell you my ROI.

So where has it gotten me since we got our first listing two days before Sept 11, 2001?

I’ve established myself as a local expert and the media regularly contacts me and provides me with free exposure. In the last year I have been in most of the local papers, large and small, USA Today, Inman news (thanks Matt Carter), and interviewed on Todd Carpenter’s Blog Fiesta (thanks Todd), Oliver Muoto on the Vflyer blog (thanks Oliver, I love my vFlyers) and more. An interview about our business and how we got started appeared in last week’s Oakland Business Review and is resulting in new calls every day. The reporter found us by Googling something like “Oakland County Real Estate Couple.” Most of the main steam media reporters who interview us find us on Google. (Thanks Google)

Fine. How Does That Draw A Paycheck???

Now for the real “show me the money” part. Here are the NEW opportunities we’ve pulled in since mid-February 2008, and the sources of those opportunities (if you click on the links you’ll see our profile on those networks):

  • Trulia Voices This weekend I will be listing a condo for a seller who found me there. She will be buying when we get the place sold. She read my answers, checked out my blog and the listing presentation and interview were done before I knew she existed. (Thanks Pete, Sami, Rudy, et al.)
  • LinkedIn An agent from out of state came across my profile. We don’t know each other at all, but we’d both worked for Price Waterhouse, though in different decades, I think. He asked me to work with his mom to find a condo. We are headed out for a second time Saturday morning. (You can add me as a LinkedIn connection if we haven’t already connected.)
  • miOaklandCounty.com (our blog) Dmitry has spent nearly every waking hour this week showing houses to investors who flew in from Lithuania. It is kind of funny to hear him speaking Russian and talking about real estate. He’s got an earnest money check and I saw him faxing off an offer right before we left the office tonight. They want to buy more than one house and they have friends in Lithuania who are interested in investing too. I am a little behind on posting on the blog right now, but business is keeping me away. Somebody Googled “Russian Speaking Realtor Metro Detroit” and Dmitry popped up. (Thanks Google)
  • miBirmingham.com, Oakland-County-Homes.com, (our sites) ActiveRain, and all the other networks we belong to. I don’t know exactly who gets the credit for the nice referral we received from a lovely agent in Rochester MN. She just said she was impressed with what she saw, and she asked us to take care of her client who had his Birmingham MI home listed for about $1.5 million. She wanted someone with a better web strategy. We’d never met, but we get along very well. Like lots of other people, she found us “on the internet.” I haven’t bothered to ask for specifics. (Thanks Google, Jonathan, Matt, et al.)
  • I’m showing my listing at 420Suffield to two buyers who liked the website, photos and tour and gave me a call. I don’t know how they arrived there since P2A has their handshake listings, and distributes lots of places like Craigslist, Trulia and more. (Thanks Point2Agent)

The Grand Total

I have a feeling I am forgetting something, but the sum of these potential transactions is about $3.5 million. I don’t like to count my chickens before they are hatched, nor do I typically like to talk much about ME ME ME and MY business or MY clients, but I am breaking my own rules here to show that these things can be done by anyone, even YOU YOU YOU.

Yesterday I turned away a couple of referrals. We are too busy to service those clients well. I can’t hazard a guess at how many other agents in my market who would tell you they are turning away business because they are too busy, but I don’t think the number would be very big. That doesn’t mean I don’t want you to call me with your referral though!

OK, its late. I’ve spent more time on this post than I could afford at the moment. While I am sleeping soundly tonight I know my dear friends at Google will be out working for me and finding my next client. They’ll be assisted by my friends at LinkedIn, Facebook, ActiveRain. Trulia, vFlyer, Point2Agent, Flickr, and more. I can’t wait to see what opportunity they bring me tomorrow.

Writer for national real estate opinion column AgentGenius.com, focusing on the improvement of the real estate industry by educating peers about technology, real estate legislation, ethics, practices and brokerage with the end result being that consumers have a better experience.

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26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Brad Coy

    March 7, 2008 at 1:39 am

    Thanks for sharing your story with us Maureen. I love the idea that you came into an area with no real connections and made yourself relevant enough using Social Media. It is such a non-traditional route for anyone in our industry to build a business using tools that have no real measurable ROI. I believe Social Media sites are truly in their infancy right now and at best clunky and difficult, if not impossible to integrate. I wonder how far ahead progressive leaders in RE will be ahead when this stuff really gets fun.

  2. Maureen Francis

    March 7, 2008 at 1:46 am

    Thanks Brad. I guess the infancy and the evolution of it is what keeps me engaged. There is always something new to learn.

    This post does remind me that the next time I get another invitation to a new social network I shouldn’t groan, as I have been lately. It’s taken a lot of signing up for new accounts to figure out what I liked and what might work for me.

  3. Bucking the Real Estate Trend

    March 7, 2008 at 2:06 am

    Love your attitude and success. I’m new to my area and am convinced that my website and social networking will set me apart. It’s already starting! Being in a ‘small town’ community, the word ‘blog’ is still a foreign language here. Thank you for your story and inspiration!

  4. Kris Wales

    March 7, 2008 at 3:59 am

    I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this posting. You and Dimitry started when things were just starting to turn its way downwards in the Metro Detroit area, and through your interest and skills in technology and real people skills you have not only “made it” but you shine!

    You both are a testament to the can-do spirit within all of us, and your hard work and client dedication combined bring you both to the forefront.

    Congratulations!

  5. Blue Ridge Cabin For Sale

    March 7, 2008 at 6:34 am

    And thats how you do it! Great job and vision and you realize what many realtors don’t about how your presence on the social networks brings referrals, recognized in the media and real estate community far broader than your own town. Your right many realtors are not busy and Koudos to you that you are.

  6. Teresa Boardman

    March 7, 2008 at 9:14 am

    I get most of my business just from the blog. I have profiles in the places that you mention and plan to keep them because they do help me meet people. Right now Flickr is the social network that is doing the most for me and it takes very little time. I joined a new network a couple of weeks ago that looks promising as well.

  7. LoreenaYeo

    March 7, 2008 at 9:23 am

    I love your inspirational story. It really gives the rest of us a hope that it can happen if we put our minds to it.

  8. Sparky

    March 7, 2008 at 9:30 am

    Everything I learned about Social Media Marketing, I’ve learned from Maureen! I guess I really should call Dmitry someday, just to convince myself that he really does exist!

  9. Brian Columbus

    March 7, 2008 at 9:32 am

    Finally! Someone has actually quantified the ROI of social media. The vast majority of posts I read about mention anecdotal results without any mention of deal volume. At Bloggers Connect I heard conversation after conversation about “getting business from the long tail” but when pressed few people mentioned any closings. No doubt, it happens… and will continue to grow in frequency. Thanks for sharing your detailed experience. It should inspire people to know that social media works!

  10. Maureen Francis

    March 7, 2008 at 9:32 am

    Susie, with your attitude and your beautiful Tomato blog your plan should work for you!

    Teresa, historically I’ve attributed more to the blog than from the rest too. These are actually the first opportunities that I can attribute exactly to LinkedIn and Trulia Voices. I joined linkedin many years ago, but there was not much traction on the site until last year from people I know. Voices, well I’ve been there since the beginning too. I’ve had other contacts but this seems like the most promising.

    We’ll each find our own way in the end.

  11. Toronto real estate

    March 7, 2008 at 9:55 am

    I like your attitude Maureen. It must have been difficult to start up the business with no knowledge of the subject. I work in real estate business as well (I am dealing with a Toronto real estate). Using Social Media is getting more and more popular. Just look at the presidential campaign in the United States. They use facebook, myspace, flickr and other popular sites. These sites hide a great potential. I am positive that the future of business lies in social networking.

  12. Nick

    March 7, 2008 at 11:17 am

    This is an awesome article! It’s stories like this that I need when I’m out teaching my classes to some of the R’s in the area who are very reluctant to get started with ANY of these social networks. Now I can give them some excellent examples, thank you very much!

  13. Matt Scoggins

    March 7, 2008 at 11:44 am

    What a great story! While it’s the blog and websites that bring in the business, it is the hard work put in by you and Dmitry that is at the heart of your success.

  14. Maureen Francis

    March 7, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    Some of the comments were in moderation, so I missed some of you…

    Kris, as someone who shares boarders with my market, I hope we get to do a transaction together soon. I love what you are doing with your activerain blog.

    Blue Ridge, thanks!

    Loreena, I think you are doing it too.

    Sparky (AKA ActiveRich) There is a 4 year old sitting next to me that pretty much proves Dmitry’s existence.

    Brian, I too am reluctant to put the specifics in print. This post was a challenge for me, but so many people are presenting themselves as experts to us, and they are not showing us results. A great blogger and a great Realtor are not necessarily the same person.

    Nick, I am glad it helped you and its great to know that it will help the people you are training.

    Matt, there is no substitution for hard work, right?

    Thanks everyone for your comments.

  15. Hi Maureen!

    Congrats!

    I’m really happy to see your hard earned online social networking efforts staring to pay off. Nothing happens overnight. Saying the right things on the right platform at the right time can produce results. I think lots of agents have been waiting to read a testimonial post like this from a successful agent that highlights their real world success using blogging and social networks. We’ve been hearing more and more success stories from agents meeting buyers and sellers using Trulia Voices. In fact, we published a post highlighting some them here – https://www.truliablog.com/?p=323 Our mutual friend Missy Caulk also appears in one of the videos. Woo-Hoo!

    Being social online has it’s benefits. You just never know what the fruits of your labor will bring or from where they will come from.

    Rudy

  16. Maureen Francis

    March 7, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Hey Rudy, thanks for the phone call today! What a nice surprise. Missy should have her own blog tv show! She’s a natural.

  17. Hi Maureen!

    My pleasure. It’s always nice talking with you. You just reminded me of a post I did last year that touched upon some of the very issues you raised here: https://blog.sellsiusrealestate.com/blogging/the-pursuit-of-happiness-the-most-successful-real-estate-agent-blogger-in-north-america-is/2007/06/22/

    I enjoy hearing about success stories from agents who provide concrete examples about their online endeavours. This helps everyone in the space learn more about what’s working and what’s not. Each experience is unique. Each market is unique. There is no magic bullet. But getting some validation from agents like yourself who have dedicated lots of time online is inspirational. As I always say, if you’re open to anything, you just might find something.

    Rudy

  18. P.S. Missy is a natural…..and would do great with her own show.

    Rudy

  19. Randy Prothero

    March 7, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Congratulations on proving that anyone in American can be successful. You need a plan, a goal and go out and work it.

  20. Eric Bouler

    March 7, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    Really great article, I do not have the high dollar sales as some of you guys but have over a hundred sales from my site so I know it can work. I only attracted one sub-prime buyer and he was a loan officer. I bet you learned a lot about your area because of your blog and site made you learn a little more so you could be the expert.

  21. Angie Ridley, Complete Realty

    March 9, 2008 at 10:05 am

    Great article. Anymore I’m not sure what to push, the website or the blog. I get business from both. I have learned people like getting to know us through our comments.

    I read your postings and most of all, I always learn from your postings.

  22. john harper

    March 10, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    Maureen – Let’s see – we have $7.8 million dollars worth of real estate about to enter the pipeline from our web presence. 3 houses worth about $4.5 million from one referral praising our Internet Marketing skills. I’ll get back to you when the money hits the bank account.

  23. Kristal Kraft

    March 11, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Maureen ~ Your story is very inspiring. You prove hard work and determination does pay off. I like the way you do it with class and style. You never miss a beat when it comes to social media. Many folks have learned and continue to watch and learn from you.

    Now will you please hush up? Who needs more competition? 🙂

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Business Marketing

Simple ways to improve your organic reach on Facebook

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Facebook continues to make businesses and pages pay to play, but businesses still have a shot of improving their organic reach, according to experts in the field.

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Facebook open on laptop with white desk and small potted plant, open to organic reach.

Facebook organic reach is not dead, but you will need to work harder to get eyes on your pages. Here’s a rundown of what experts are saying will help you reach your audience. Facebook is still the top social media platform that marketers use and where consumers tend to look for and follow brand pages. So don’t despair!

Those running Facebook business pages have been seeing ever diminishing returns on their effort at getting their content in front of their audiences and fans, especially since around 2016. Yet Facebook remains the #1 platform for building an audience. Once upon a time, Facebook was incredibly fertile soil to grow our entrepreneurial and creative gardens in, at little to no cost to us. Many businesses are seeing a drastic reduction in reach, meaning that a tiny percentage of people are seeing our posts, even among those who follow our pages.

Have you ever heard something like, “The first one’s always free; that’s how they get you”? This has long been a business philosophy to hook prospective customers, used by savvy marketers and drug dealers alike. Facebook went and took that to the next level, introducing an easy-to-use platform where almost anyone could find and engage with their target audiences of customers, fans, members, and more.

Of course, there had to be a reckoning, and now that Facebook has more than 2.6 billion active monthly users worldwide, they continue to change the rules. Consider the amount of users and the amount of posts being made, and it makes more sense that Facebook tries to narrow the audience for any single post to a reasonable chunk. Otherwise, our brains would explode (okay, my words, not an actual medical opinion). Really, you don’t need to reach everybody, because not everybody is interested in what you’re offering. You need to reach the right people who are going to engage and build a smaller, engaged loyal group of diehard customers.

Community is key
Here are some of the latest tips and best practices to increase organic reach in 2021, provided by Facebook pros. Mark Zuckerburg keeps bringing up the concept of community, and the algorithm favors engagement, not only on Facebook, but across platforms. Nobody wants products and services constantly jammed in their faces.

This is a conversation, not a one-way portal into your customers’ brains and wallets. A constant barrage of salesy content, urging people to buy buy buy, grows real tedious real fast. “If you build it, they will come.” Only instead of a baseball field in the middle of nowhere, work to build a community.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you creating conversations?
  • Are you using your platform to act as a resource and provide helpful or inside information in your niche or area of expertise?
  • Are you asking your audience what they want and would like to see more of from you?
  • Are you taking current events and trends into account, reacting to local/national/world news at all, and creating timely posts?
  • Are you using a variety of post types (photos, videos, links) and taking advantage of Facebook’s built in post tools?
  • Are you taking data into account for what content people are responding to favorably and when?
  • Do you ever invest in Facebook ads or boosted posts for important content or events?

Find the answer to these questions to reevaluate your strategy, work on promoting a dialogue with your audience, and ideally you will see more engagement on your pages, fruitful interactions that ultimately lead to loyal customers and bigger sales.

Create Conversations
Zuckerburg himself comes back to this point repeatedly in his regular updates on the state of all things Facebook and how the algorithm works, saying Facebook will “prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.” Not every industry lends itself to deep thoughts, but it can be simple enough to engage your audience with community questions. People love giving their opinions or talking about a shared interest.

Community questions can be fun, lively, and create fun interaction between your audience and the business. A simple This or That question posted on one of the background color templates can get the conversation started. If people don’t have to invest a lot of time to answer, then great! Depending on the industry, these can be easy one-offs: Red wine or white? Beach vacation or mountains? TikTok or Reels? Mac or PC? Harley Davidson hogs or Kawasaki crotch rockets? Early bird or night owl?

Hot takes, unpopular opinions, are another way to get people chatting. I’m not espousing trying to stir up controversy here, unless that is appropriate for your business, but people get emotional as all get out for something as simple as pineapple on pizza or beans in chili. What’s a popular or common opinion in your field? How can you introduce a hot take to get people chatting? For an entrepreneurial page, you could put out a hot take on a cluttered desk, or making lists, or standing desks.

Sure, these conversations may start out superficial, but who knows? When people begin interacting on your page more, they begin seeing more that you post, and that’s when you can introduce something a little weightier, asking them to share their expertise or advice on a relevant topic.

Become a resource
Whether your business is a science journal, digital marketing, interior designing, or a Texas Hill Country resort, your business and your audience is unique. Real estate agencies have become good at this, so we’ll use them as an example. If you are selling or leasing properties in Austin or San Francisco, sell the area. Don’t only post the properties you’re selling or agent profiles. Post those, yes, but also post industry news and local attractions.

When people are interested in moving to a new city or a new neighborhood or investing in opening a business there, they need to know why the area is attractive. What is the business climate? What are the financial perks associated with living there? What is the area known for (local restaurants, live music hiking trails, swimming holes, no traffic)? Has the area made a list for quality of life, affordability, great job prospects in X industry? Sharing blogs, articles, infographics, videos, and photos highlighting any of these can help your page serve the interests of your target audience. This is a good thing.

Ask your audience
This is a simple tip for keeping things closer to your audience’s interests, helping you identify areas where your page may be lacking–and opportunities for growth, and keeping the conversation going. Be careful not to overuse this one, but it’s an important tool.

  • Try a simple question, such as “What would you like to see more of on this page?”
  • Create a poll, which is much faster to answer, and helps you narrow answers down to what you really want to know.
  • Similar to the community questions, ask them to share something that has helped them. A classic example would be “What is the best entrepreneurial advice anyone has even given you?” Or “Please share some tips to fight procrastination.” Or “What is the top time-saving tool you use in your business (or for scheduling)?” Having your page followers (and hopefully others) chat with each other this way is helpful for them and for your organic reach.

Take current events and trends into account
This one’s simple: Read the room. This goes both ways. If there is renewed interest in, say, downtown lofts or sea shanty dances on TikTok, can you use this momentary heat to bring interest to your page? On the other hand, if there is a natural disaster, tragedy, or financial crash that has caused great suffering in an area? That’s a good moment to review your scheduled posts and delete or postpone anything that could be unintentionally triggering or offensive.

Some types of businesses are better suited to jumping on the latest trend. Do you have a bar or restaurant with a fairly young, social media savvy crowd? Go ahead, Photoshop that Bernie-Sanders-in-mittens image sitting on your patio (only if you can do it as the trend is hitting). Are you targeting an area that has recently been hit by extended power outages? I’m sorry to tell you, but this is not the time to promote that popup restaurant where diners experience eating in the dark.

Mix it up and use native Facebook tools
Of course you want to stay on brand, but please don’t get caught in a rut where all of your posts are one type. Consistency is one thing, but beware that this doesn’t turn into monotony. Assess where you can change things up. Add photos, videos, links to relevant blogs and articles, or community questions. Different people respond differently to different types of input. Use all the tools at your disposal to generate interest, draw people in, and get them reacting to and engaging with your page.

Facebook and all social media platforms have built in tools. They want you to use them. Often, this is a Facebook effort to capitalize on a similar, competing app. Trust me when I say, you will get brownie points (higher reach) when you take the time to use these native tools. Facebook Watch, Facebook Live, Facebook Stories, even using a background color template from the Facebook options, are all ways to show Facebook you’re paying attention and want to optimize the tools they are giving you.

Use provided data
You need to be able to look for patterns, evaluate the factors that made a particular post popular, and know when your customers and followers are likely to see your page and interact with it. Facebook provides a number of insights in the platform, but there are numerous external marketing tools you can purchase or sometimes use for free (depending on how many pages and platforms you are running, and how in-depth you want your data to be).

Posting willy nilly is not the most effective way to be. Decide what data is useful to you and make time to study it, and be willing to make changes to your content strategy based on the data. Like many other aspects of marketing, expanding your organic reach is a mixture of art and science, a balancing act of intuition and cold, hard numbers. Use them.

Consider paying to play
I know, I know, this story is about organic and not paid reach, but the fact is strategically paying for a Facebook ad or boosting a post to highlight a launch, event, special deal, or other important news will bring more people to your page. If the other tips, tools, and best practices referred to here are in place, once they find your page, you have the ability to keep their attention through organic means.

Keep on truckin’
These tips should help you expand your page’s organic reach. More importantly, they should help you build and support a community, earn loyal followers and customers, and generate positive buzz about your business. Keep working on becoming a resource and sharing helpful information. Have fun with it and experiment with new media and types of posts. Know yourself. Know your audience.

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Business Marketing

Buffer’s four-day workweek experiment: Boost or bust?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) After trying out a four-day workweek last year, Buffer is moving forward with the format going into 2021, citing increase in productivity and work-life balance.

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Man working in office with headphones on, making use of flexible four-day workweek.

The typical five-day workweek is a thing of the past for Buffer, at least for now. The company has decided to implement a four-day workweek for the “foreseeable future.”

Last year, the company surveyed its employees to see how they are dealing with the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic and the anxiety and stress that came along with it. They soon learned employees didn’t always feel comfortable or like they could take time off.

Employees felt guilty for taking PTO while trying to meet deadlines. Juggling work and suddenly becoming a daycare worker and teacher for their children at the same time was stressful. So, Buffer looked for a solution to help give employees more time and flexibility to get adjusted to their new routines.

Four-Day Workweek Trials

In May, Buffer started the four-day workweek one-month trial to focus on teammates’ well-being. “This four-day workweek period is about well-being, mental health, and placing us as humans and our families first,” said Buffer CEO and co-founder Joel Gascoigne in a company blog post.

“It’s about being able to pick a good time to go and do the groceries, now that it’s a significantly larger task. It’s about parents having more time with kids now that they’re having to take on their education. This isn’t about us trying to get the same productivity in fewer days,” Gascoigne said.

Buffer’s one-month trial proved to be successful. Survey data from before and after the trial showed higher autonomy and lower stress levels. In addition, employee anecdotal stories showed an increase in worker happiness.

With positive results, Buffer turned the trial into a long-term pilot through the end of 2020. This time, the trial would focus on Buffer’s long-term success.

“In order to truly evaluate whether a four-day workweek can be a success long-term, we need to measure productivity as well as individual well-being,” wrote Director of People Courtney Seiter. “Teammate well-being was our end goal for May. Whether that continues, and equally importantly, whether it translates into customer and company results, will be an exciting hypothesis to test.”

Trial Results

Company Productivity
Buffer’s shorter workweek trials showed employees felt they had a better work-life balance without compromising work productivity. According to the company’s survey data, almost 34% of employees felt more productive, about 60% felt equally as productive, and only less than 7% of employees felt less productive.

However, just saying productivity is higher isn’t proof. To make sure the numbers added up, managers were asked about their team’s productivity. Engineering managers reported that a decrease in total coding days didn’t show a decrease in output. Instead, there was a significant output increase for product teams, and Infrastructure and Mobile saw their output double.

The Customer Advocacy team, however, did see a decline in output. Customer service is dependent on customer unpredictability so this makes sense. Still, the survey showed about 85% to 90% of employees felt as productive as they would have been in a five-day workweek. Customers just had to wait slightly longer to receive replies to their inquiries.

Employee Well-Being
With more time and control of their schedules, Buffer’s survey shows an increase in individual autonomy and decreased stress levels reported by employees. And, the general work happiness for the entire company has been consistent throughout 2020.

What’s in store for 2021?

Based on positive employee feedback and promising company results, Buffer decided it will continue the company-wide four-day workweek this year.

“The four-day work week resulted in sustained productivity levels and a better sense of work-life balance. These were the exact results we’d hoped to see, and they helped us challenge the notion that we need to work the typical ‘nine-to-five,’ five days a week,” wrote Team Engagement Manager Nicole Miller.

The four-day workweek will continue in 2021, but the company will also be implementing adjustments based on the pilot results.

For most teams, Fridays will be the default day off. For teams that aren’t project-based, their workweek will look slightly different. As an example, the Customer Advocacy team will follow a different schedule to avoid customer reply delays and ticket overflow. Each team member will still have a four-day workweek and need to meet their specific targets. They will just have a more flexible schedule.

Companies who follow this format understand that output expectations will be further defined by area and department level. Employees who aren’t meeting their performance objectives will have the option to choose a five-day workweek or might be asked to do so.

If needed, Fridays will also serve as an overflow workday to finish up a project. Of course, schedules will be evaluated quarterly to make sure productivity is continuing to thrive and employees are still satisfied.

But, Miller says Buffer is “establishing ambitious goals” that might “push the limits” of a four-day work week in 2021. With the world slowly starting to normalize, who knows when a four-day workweek might reach its conclusion.

“We aren’t sure that we’ll continue with the four-day workweeks forever, but for now, we’re going to stick with it as long as we are still able to hit our ambitious goals,” wrote Miller.

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Business Marketing

Should your content management system go headless?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) You may be familiar with your typical content management system, but had you heard of a ‘headless’ model? Let’s dig into it together.

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Person using content management system with hands on keyboard and small bit of desktop visible.

At some point, you have probably worked with a content management system (CMS) like WordPress or Drupal. If you haven’t already, you at least know that this computer software is used to manage website content.

But, have you ever heard of a headless content management system before? We didn’t. So, we set out to find out what it’s all about and how beneficial, or not, it can be for your company.

What is headless CMS?

Unlike your classic CMS, headless CMS is a back-end only content management system. It decouples where your content is stored and authored (body) from the front-end where your content is displayed (head).

This CMS isn’t tied to a particular output like a web page. Content is transmitted as data over an application programming interface (API). It’s a content repository that delivers content seamlessly to any device.

Benefits of Headless CMS

More versatile
Headless CMS isn’t your classic “monolithic” CMS so you aren’t constrained to an all-in-one system that might work for websites but not mobile devices.

Content is consumed by customers in more than one place now. Headless CMS provides a more versatile way to deliver multi-channel content to websites, Android and iOS apps, and even IoT (internet of things), like a smartwatch or in-store kiosk.

Businesses will benefit from this because only one back-end is needed to manage and publish content for different services and products.

No need for specialized developers
Developers aren’t tied to a specific programming language or framework. A developer can choose between using Javascript, PHP, Ruby, or any language they prefer.

If you already have a talented developer, you don’t have to scramble to find someone else who specializes in a specific system or language you are moving to. Your current developer can do the job for you in the best way they know-how.

Better Security
Security is important. Not being married to the front-end, headless CMS has a security advantage a regular CMS doesn’t. Usually, content provided to a headless CMS is read-only, and the admin portion lives on a different server and domain.

With the back-end detached from the presentation layer, there is a smaller target area to attack. Also, layers of code can be used to hide the content-delivering API making it safer than a traditional CMS.

Real-time collaboration
With two separate systems, content editors and web developers can work concurrently. This shortens a project’s timeline and helps get your product and services to market quicker. Also, content editors don’t have to spend more time creating the same content for each system. Designers and developers can take care of that.
Downsides of Headless CMS

As with anything, headless CMS isn’t perfect and isn’t for everyone. It has its disadvantages.

More technical
Little technical involvement is called for in a traditional CMS. As a result, the tool can be picked up quickly by almost anyone.

A deeper understanding of CMS, coding languages, and front-end technologies is needed when using headless CMS. You must have a developer that can build the web or app just for you.

Increased maintenance
With the body separated from the head, there are two systems to maintain. Implementation and maintenance could potentially become complex.

Bigger price tag
Building a system from scratch costs time and money. With a traditional CMS, there is one account, and, most likely, one payment. With headless CMS, you’ll have multiple payments for the CMS, a developer, and the infrastructure running your website or app.

Your custom CMS also isn’t coming from a pre-built content management system. All that hard work takes time (and patience) to get it done right.

Conclusion

Headless CMS lets you create a unique user experience and allow for cross-platform publishing, but it isn’t a one-size-fits-all content management system.

Before you jump ships, take inventory of all your content needs. Does your content need to be published on different platforms? Will a simple stand-alone website work for you? Only you can decide what works best with your business, but we hope this information helps.

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