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The Power of Twitter

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Twitter Popularity

Whoever thought the word Twitter would become a part of our Social Media marketing plan? I know I didn’t!

I’m really not a big Twitterer (is that a word). In the beginning, I struggled with the whole concept, it seemed it may be a passing fad and I sure didn’t need another social app to track. I have enough on my plate, so I dismissed it. Not totally, I just didn’t jump in with both feet or whole heartedly. Small talk has always been a challenge for me; to take all my thoughts and condense them to 140 charachters is really pushing the “small talk” envelope.

I’m still not entrenched in Twitter, as in, I don’t get involved with a whole lot of conversations. Maybe I should, I don’t know! I am starting to enjoy the ride, though, learning tidbits of information here and there and making a few friends. Not so long ago, the population at Twitter seemed to be mostly those in the real estate business. Recently, the population has exploded and there is a lot of conversation going on in the Twitterverse.

Twitter Local

A few months back I started searching for people in Indianapolis who use Twitter. Nothing against my real estate friends on Twitter; I was just curious about who was out there in my city using Twitter. It seemed to me, the people in my own backyard would be the ones who I would have a greater chance of meeting up with or doing business with. At first, there were just a few people here and there and just like blogging, many dropped off without a twit. Today, more and more locals are using Twitter and I have found some unique businesses out there.

A Few New Friends

I wrote about a few of the businesses on my blog, which I thought were interesting and of real value to the general population of my city. The first one I wrote about was, AroundIndy, a company whose website has an all inclusive listing of everything to do in Indianapolis. I also have a link to his blog from mine. I did this because I believe he offers a real value to the city. In return, he put a link to my site from his. I never expected such generosity.

I found a few more sites last week (from Twitter) which I wrote about. One of the business owners is also a VP of Rainmakers in our city and has invited me to be her guest at a Rainmakers meeting. Rainmakers is a local networking group, which I had planned on joining, so it was really coincidental that she is the VP of a local chapter. She in turn wrote an article on the Rainmakers blog about me, entitled, “Not a Rainmaker, but making rain”.

Now, I am not suggesting anyone go out and start writing about local companies for their own personal gain or recognition, because, we know that won’t work anyway. However, with a sincere interest in supporting your local companies and finding out what they offer, how they can benefit your clients, you may just find a friend or two.

Paula is team leader for The "Home to Indy" Team in Indianapolis . She is passionate about education and client care and believes an empowered client is better prepared to make good decisions for themselves. You'll find her online at Agent Genius,Twitter and sharing her insights about her local real estate market at Home To Indy.

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Gretchen Faber

    November 6, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Hi Paula,
    Your idea is a great way to leverage Twitter and take it to a business-opportunity level. I’ve been using Twitter to make real estate friends around the US(and world)and as a learning resource.
    Now, though, I’ll use your idea and look for local Denver businesses I can highlight. It give me great blogging content for my local blog, and is a fabulous way to network.

  2. Gretchen Faber

    November 6, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    “gives” me…sorry!

  3. Richard Scheffrin

    November 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Yes, I can really see the power of Twitter in a business sense. We all love to give business to our “friends”, so to know that a potential business contact has two kids, a dog, and loves the Spurs is much better than a generic name on a business card. In addition, it’s also great as a consumer to know experts in any business and be able to shoot them a message when you have a question about their area of expertise. I get computer/technology questions everyday and love the idea of my knowledge being wanted.

  4. Chris Shouse

    November 6, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    Paula,
    The more I work (play:)) with Twitter the more the possiblities come to light. I have meant to add some local business articles and you have inspired me to do so.
    Look at us this morning I found out what I need to know from you via Twitters DM. Its a wonderful tool

  5. DebOnTheWeb (AKA Deb Agliano)

    November 6, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    Hi Paula,

    Twitter can definitely open up new avenues. I’ve been tweeting for awhile and also searched for people around my area (other than real estate agents) who were on Twitter. One of the people I found is the social media director of our local National Public Radio station. I ended up at WBUR on election night Twittering About The Election. Not only did it feel wonderful to be a part of such an important event, I met a great group of local social media mavens and we were videoed for a social media documentary, too.

    You never know where Twitter can take you!

  6. Mark Evans

    November 6, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    What’s great about Twitter is you can use it in a variety of different ways – be it personal, personal/business or business. I’m finding that Twitter is complementing and even replacing my RSS reader given the number of interesting links I discover from the people I follow.

  7. Mike Mueller

    November 6, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    Paula – Twitter has an infinite possibility of prospecting ideas. Following the trail of crumbs left by hashtags (#NAR2008) and twitter searches for instance.

    Good stuff.
    Oh yeah – following #NotAtNAR2008 is a great idea as well ; )

  8. Paula Henry

    November 6, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    Gretchen – I knew what you meant 😉 and don’t you wish the comment section had spell check? I’ve found some great local resources for small business, techies, blogs, and having fun meeting them online.

    Richard – the casual contact and conversation on Twitter does make it easy to get to know others.

  9. Paula Henry

    November 6, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    Chris – Exactly! Knowing where to go for the info you need is right there on Twitter.
    Have fun with the local articles.

    Deb – How cool is that? Sounds like a lot of fun and meeting others you may never have met otherwise, is a bonus.

    Mark – Same here! I still have my RSS feed, but I learn alot from the poeple I follow on Twitter.

    Mike – I didn’t even think about the hash tags; I need to go login at #NotatNar2008. Twitter searches for specifics can lead you to hours of info.

  10. Nicole Boynton

    November 8, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    I love the idea of finding people locally to follow. My website is hyper-local to the area I know best so I would love to include local businesses in blogs and articles. Unfortunately, the search feature isn’t working on Twitter right now so I can’t find them…I am bummed

  11. Paula Henry

    November 13, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    Nicole – I have also enjoyed connecting with the locals – it’s a nice break from talking real estate 🙂

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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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Business Marketing

Spice up your remote team building with a fully virtual escape room

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As part of a remote team, team building has become even more of a groan. But this virtual escape room seeks to make a fun and unique challenge for remote teams.

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Woman waving at laptop in living room, on team building activity.

Team building events aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. While some enjoy getting to know coworkers they don’t normally socialize with, others dread the day before it arrives. Plus, there’s always work that needs to be taken care of, and using some of that time to mingle might seem like a waste of time.

Love it or hate it, working remotely has made team building slightly better, maybe? You don’t have to worry about physically being present in a place you don’t want to be. You’re not awkwardly talking to a co-worker whose name you can’t quite remember.

Nonetheless, it also has its downsides. We don’t see each other anymore so it’s easier to not be on the same page, and this makes learning how to work together much harder.

We’re almost a year into the pandemic and happy hour Zoom calls no longer hold the glamour they once did. So, what else is there to do in this virtual world?

Skyrocket Your Team has just the answer for you. This company provides virtual team building experiences through collaborative online escape rooms. The escape rooms are designed with remote teams in mind and can be tailored to accommodate different sized groups.

“If you’re working remotely, Skyrocket Your Team will help your team feel closer together and improve your internal communication,” wrote Co-Founder Jorge Sánchez Hernández. “Our puzzles are designed for teams by adult educators to trigger a set of emotions, feelings, and situations. Everyone sees a different screen and you need to communicate in order to get through the challenges. There is no way to continue without teamwork!”

From the comfort of your office or couch, each team member joins from their own computer and location. The escape room consists of an immersive story about astronauts trapped in a damaged spaceship. By solving puzzles and challenges, the team must work together to repair the spaceship and return to earth.

After hopefully, safely landing your rocket, there is a debriefing session. During this time, teams can share their experiences and discuss what they learned.

Skyrocket Your Team says their new form of team building will bring your company several benefits like:

  • Bringing your team closer together
  • Fostering collaboration instead of internal competition
  • Improving communication across your company

The end goal of the experience is to learn how to communicate effectively by solving the different sets of problems together. And, I think we can all agree that’s a good thing.

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