Connect with us

Business Marketing

Three Geniuses Walk Into a Bar…

Published

on

Redhead Piano bar 

Folks, I have compiled the first in a series of helpful discussions between three leaders in our industry…and moi – the court jester. This first installment includes the following illustrious crew: Brandie Young, Ken Brand and Paula Henry. They were directed to answer my questions in ten words or less. These respected business persons can teach you a lot about real estate and marketing. The other one is an idiot, but she can show you where all the bodies in Hollywood are buried.  This may have been an online discussion, but I want you to imagine all four of us sitting in our favorite pub discussing sales, real estate, and the economy. Ken, of course, is outnumbered, but as a result, he is enjoying all the attention. I am head down in a bowl of beer nuts…but you probably already knew that: 

GBB: What is the best way to get new clients?  PH: Internet leads BY: From current or past clients. KB: … Find fun people, mix-mingle-interact-converse-listen-share-ask questions-discover-solve problems. GBB: You broke the ten word rule Ken. Kindly put a dollar in the jar. Okay, so we were talking new clients – well, I do pretty well down at Hollywood and Vine. Oh wait, we’re talking real estate… In that case, blackmail is an effective tool. That’s what makes L.A. work – just ask the National Enquirer. Oh, puh-leeze, don’t pretend you never do that! 

GBB: What characteristic do you most like in a client? BY: Engaged, enthusiastic… KB: A funny, friendly good looking, whip smart, recently homeless person with a million dollars cash and no where to live, until we find them a home. GBB: Gimme another buck, Ken.  PH: Sense of humor GBB: Duh! Lakers Tickets! 

GBB: What characteristic do you least like in a client? BY: Nit-pick, whiny. PH: Micro managing a process/project they know nothing about.  Oh, and when they can’t pay. GBB: Why are you looking at me when you say that, Paula? Lani is paying for this.  KB: If people are disrespectful, I dump them. GBB:  I hate ankle monitoring bracelets. I’m just saying… 

GBB: What can an agent do to assist with an appraisal now that we have the new HVCC guidlines? BY: Make certain the appraiser actually knows the area. PH: Not sure anyone has this figured out. GBB: I concur. Another chili in your Bloody Mary, Brandie?  KB: We provide our appraisers with an appraisal package.  Updated comps and a laundry list of any and all improvements… GBB: If the appraiser is a woman, I bring a Prada bag full of chocolates. If it’s a guy, I bring Pamela Anderson

GBB: What is your opinion of Real Estate reality shows? KB: They’re stupid.  Put me in one, I’d sell circles around those clowns.  Actually, I find some of the negotiating stuff interesting. GBB: Ken, for a genius, you sure can’t count. But that’s okay, I’m an idiot savant myself. Gimme another buck. PH:  [Reality Shows] are so not real. BY: [Reality Shows] crack me up!  That one in LA is so far out of reality, it’s hysterical.  GBB: Actually, all of L.A. is beyond reality, dahling. I was on “Flip That House,” and all I got out of it was a stalker. Matter of fact, he looked a lot like you, Ken. Uncanny resemblance… I’m packing pepper spray, Ken! 

GBB: What is your opinion of bus bench ads? BY: We don’t really have buses in my area.  I think this is community specific. PH: Only Teresa Boardman’s virtual bus bench is worth the price. I don’t want anyone sitting on me.  GBB: I’m confused. Who’s Teresa Boardman? Did I miss something when I was in the rest room? Bench ads to you, Ken.  KB:  Generally speaking, “Lame.” Unless it’s an enormous picture of me and someone else paid for it. GBB: Love ‘em! When someone carves gang signs in my paper forehead I consider it a sign of deep affection. Ken, you REALLY look familiar… Is that a restraining order in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? 

GBB: What do you like best about your job? BY: I don’t work for a__holes any longer.  I get to pick and choose with whom I work and I can fire clients when our agency isn’t a good fit. GBB: You said a bad word, Brandie. Put a dollar in the jar. No, I’ll hold the jar. Let go, dangit – the cash is mine! KB: Being the boss of my self.  Picking and choosing who I work with.  My raise is effective as soon as I am. GBB: That’s clever, Ken. You really should consider a bus bench ad.  PH: No two days are alike.  Getting to the closing table; not because I get paid, but the sense of accomplishment. GBB: I like happy hour. No, Ken, I don’t work here, and stop bogarting the peanuts! Who’s buying the next round? 

GBB: What is your most successful means of advertising? BY: I am very interested to see what people say here.  Would love to see a mix of very small town/community answers vs. others. GBB: You are a regular brain trust, Brandie. Will you take my brokers’ exam for me please?  PH: Internet GBB: Paula, I love how you are both brilliant AND succinct. You are the only one who followed the ten word rule. …Paula? Somebody wake her up so she can tip the waitress.  KB: Traditional advertising is like earning a fast nickel.  Personal relationship building, on-purpose and in-person contact is a slow dollar.  Go for the dollar. GBB: Nice. I have business card with a hologram of myself. I tell people I am virtually there whenever they need me. Also, bad publicity is a real pay-off in my town. Hence my desire to jump up on this table and start dancing. 

GBB: What subjects other than real estate would be advisable for prospective agents to study? KB:  How to write and speak persuasively.  Social Media marketing and relationship building strategies.  How to live in the now… GBB: Right! Where were we? PH: How to interpret data as it applies to the likelihood an area will thrive.  BY: Appraisal GBB: Man, I’m outta my league here – I was going to say “animal husbandry.” Why are you all taking away my car keys? 

GBB: What will your real estate tombstone say? KB: Cheers Friends.  It was FUN.  I’ll be back. GBB: Brandie? Brandie? (Brandie didn’t answer this one.) Did we offend her? Don’t look at me, Ken. It was your idea to put half a jar of chilies in her Bloody Mary. Maybe she’ll forgive us before our next get together. So, what will your real estate tombstone say, Paula? PH: She sold her last home. GBB: I like that. I guess mine will say, uh…’Good till the last drop?’ No, no…make that, ‘This escrow closed on time.’ No, No, I don’t like that one. How ‘bout “Death by Hollywood?” Now back to you, Ken…you look strangely familiar – even with that party umbrella tucked behind your ear.… 

Thanks to my colleagues for their valuable input and their willingness to participate in the fun. Ken Brand, a veteran in real estate, is the Real Estate Sales Manager of Prudential Gary Green Realtors  in Woodlands, Texas. Paul Henry is the dynamo leader of the top notch Henry Group at Red Door Real Estate in Indianapolis. Brandie Young is a San Francisco marketing guru, trail blazer and founder of consulting firm MarketingTBD. Host Gwen Banta is the L.A. based realtor who is only allowed out of Sunnyside Home for the Demented on weekends and holidays. (Lani, did you pay our bar bill yet?)

I wear several hats: My mink fedora real estate hat belongs to Sotheby’s International Realty on the world famous Sunset Strip. I’M not world famous, but I've garnered a few Top Producer credits along the way. I also wear a coonskin writer's cap with an arrow through it, having written a few novels and screenplays and scored a few awards there, too. (The arrow was from a tasteless critic.) My sequined turban is my thespian hat for my roles on stage, and in film and television, Dahling. You can check me out in all my infamy at LinkedIn, LAhomesite.com, SherlockOfHomes, IMDB or you can shoot arrows at my head via email. I can take it.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
56 Comments

56 Comments

  1. Matt Stigliano

    March 12, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Gwen – Another instant classic. Despite all the humor, there’s actually some good stuff in there. You and Ken in a bar? I imagine that would get very funny. Maybe AgentGenius should sponsor some coast to coast flights for real meet ups of the writers like this. Can you imagine what might come out of a collaborative effort between two writers set loose on a city for a weekend? I volunteer to be the driver when you and Ken do your weekend.

  2. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    You’re on, Matt! Let’s get a pool going so we can all meet in Austin. You drive, Lani gets drinks, and I’ll cover snacks and bail money. Ken, Paula and Brandie will guard the door, because Loomer will probably show up wearing a cheese head or a Carmen Miranda hat.

    Seriously, I’m glad you liked our virtual get together – Ken Paula and Brandie have so much wisdom to offer, so I wanted to get it out there in a fun format. I have very little wisdom to impart except “more olives,” but I am a great moderator. I sent you and Joe and a few other the questions also (via your professional website contact info), but I’m not sure who got them and who didn’t. I get spamed a lot because most email programs know a dodgy broad when they see one.

  3. Paula Henry

    March 12, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Gwen – I knew if I wasn’t succinct, I would have to pay. Coast to coast bar hopping; now that’s a novel idea and Agent Genius is hosting. I could meet all my favorite people in one airplane ride, first class, all the booze is free and oh, the stories we could tell 🙂 Thanks for including me in your Virtual bar mashup. It really was a great night.
    BTW – did you tip the waitress for me.

  4. Brandie Young

    March 12, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Fun post! Next time I say we do have the drinks! Just two thoughts:

    1. Gwen, at $1 per bad word I could go broke quickly.
    2. I’m not the best choice to guard the door from Loomer …

    p.s. For the record, I’ve been to the Redhead Piano Bar (love!)

  5. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Thanks for being there, Paula – The waitress got stiffed, but I had to tip the doorman who carried you to your car 🙂

  6. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    3 Things Brandie:
    1. You owe me some friggin money, potty mouth.
    2. Of course you’ve been to the Redhead – you go to all the fun spots because you know how to enjoy life.
    3. You are right – No one could guard the door against Loomer…but next time you’ll probably discover that he’s already there… somewhere under a bar stool…right next to a heap of flesh that looks like me…passed out in Joe’s Carmen Miranda hat.

  7. Greg Cooper

    March 12, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    You people must slow down! There are far too many great visualizations that I have not had time to ponder. Now…who’s got the Carmen Miranda hat on again?

  8. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Joe Loomer, one of our craziest contributors and a virtual tavern denizen, was wearing the hat until I had my third martini. However, when I passed out, some sly guy grabbed it off my head, donned it and started doing a tango. He looked suspiciously like you, Greg. Do you have the hat? If so, order another round!

  9. Joe Loomer

    March 12, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    By my count, Gwen owes more than Ken. Pay up !

    I’ve got a great idea for the next one you do! You can call it Paula’s MIBAR mashup!!! Or was that MIBOR, maybe I had too much to drink playing “one shot for every word Brandie uses, two for Paula, and one for every five Ken uses.” Damn you Ken Brand, your uppance will come!

    For Gwen’s neck of the woods, I also think she left out a gender in her Appraiser bag of “tricks.”

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  10. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    My dear, Joe – Several corrections need to be made here:
    1. Rules never apply to me. I make them up as I go along. It keeps people on their toes.
    2. I have no money left for the jar because I had to pay bail for Ken.
    3. Paula doesn’t qualify for a mashup – she’s still in County.
    4. A third gender, Joe? Are you not telling us something? That explains your taste in hats 🙂

  11. Ken Brand

    March 12, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Heh, heh, how lucky am I? Drinks and three, shall we say, uniquely- gifted-women. Joe, step inside. No need to guard the door. We don’t need to concern ourselves with anyone getting in, we need keep these three from getting out. Lock it from the inside, will ya.

    Rules are made to be fractured, especially 10 word rules. Brandie’s right, I’m sure the first draft read raw and Pulp Fictionesque.

    Gwen does your holograph do anything else besides sorta-shimmer, i mean, is it interactive in anyway, you know, is it touch sensitive to finger swipes like an iPad?

    Ear umbrella? I don’t even know what that is, but if you like the way it looks, I’ll wear a set.

    TY;-)

  12. Joe Loomer

    March 12, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Oh Sweet Mother in Heaven. It’s on like Donkey Kong….

    Brandie won’t bar me from coming in AND she has a potty mouth? DO YOU PEOPLE NOT READ HOW I SIGN MY COMMENTS? Hellooooo?!? Does the phrase “……..like a drunken SAILOR” not ring a bell or two?

    We’ll make up our own sea chanties about this, I promise you. Songs will be sung!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  13. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    My hologram sings, Ken – with Rock n Roll Realtor Matt Stigliano doing back up vocals and musical accompaniment. We’re called the Hologramaphones. Yes, my hologram is interactive, and it will slap you upside head the next time you tell some strange guy in a bar he can take me home if he pays you fifty cents. The paper umbrella was behind your ear as I recall, but that wasn’t nearly as distracting as those damn swizzle sticks that were up your nose. You did, however, look pretty cute. And somehow you managed to spew a lot of great bits of advice…like you always do.

  14. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    We’re counting on you a for limericks, too, Joe. What other AG friends want to join us? Please let me know, and I will add you to the list so the bouncers, Fred Glick and Patrick Flynn, won’t crush you with their bare hands at the door. So who wants to come? I promise, “what happens at the Redhead stays at the Redhead”…unless, of course, police transport is involved.

  15. teresa boardman

    March 12, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    I invented the virtual bus bench. If you google virtual bus bench the first entry is my original and the second entry is my current bench. I have gotten business becasue of it too. Sometimes people like to work with people who are all that AND a bag of chips . . and that is what I am.

  16. Paula Henry

    March 12, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    T – And it was such a clever idea! Now you have a spot at #5 with this post 🙂

  17. Ken Brand

    March 12, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    I’m going to amen my original comment on bus benches. I’m saying it would be lame if, for example, my photo was a total body shot, me standing up, with a coat over my right shoulder and me holding a phone to my left ear, and my photo ran the length of the bench seat. You know what I’m talking about, when someone sat down, they could sit on my head or my chest or my polished shoes. That’s my new position on bench marketing.

    Cheers.

    PS. Matt has key. Matt let yourself in and lock the door behind you.

  18. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Teresa, I want to be you. You are a bag ‘o chips and then some. My bus bench ads were real, and someone changed my moniker by crossing out the last ‘s’ in “Sherlock of Homes” and changing it to “Sherlock of Homeys.” Another ad was changed to “Sherlick of Hummus,” and they drew a tongue coming out of my mouth. L.A. – gotta love it! So now I want to have a virtual ad and avoid injury!

  19. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    Paula, you’re out of lockup!!!

  20. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Ken, I think a shot of you with the swizzle sticks up your nose would get a lot of attention 🙂

    • Ken Brand

      March 12, 2010 at 10:59 pm

      hmmmmm. This swizzle-stick schick might have legs. But, I think it’s the kind-of attention getting play that I’d have to be talked and walked into, in person. When we meet, you can give it a whirl. If you want?

  21. Nashville Grant

    March 12, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    OMG – how in the h__L do I get invited to an agent genius bar discussion? I’ll hop a plane to LA so fast it will make the Southwest baggage handlers lose my luggage (like they need another excuse). My answers get so much better then longer we stay…

  22. Gwen Banta

    March 13, 2010 at 1:37 am

    Were meet ing again next week, ken – wear a nosr guard!

  23. Gwen Banta

    March 13, 2010 at 1:39 am

    OMG Ken – I looked drunk in that last message – flying fingers and no proof reading is what I am always griping about. Pot, meet kettle. Do we have spell check here? Helloooooo?

  24. Gwen Banta

    March 13, 2010 at 1:42 am

    Okay, Grant – you’re on for next week. I am sending you the questions so check your website email contact site. Once you supply the answers, you wil be sucked into our virtual bar at the Redhead. (They should be giving us a kickback for advertising.)

  25. Gwen Banta

    March 13, 2010 at 1:45 am

    Hey Gang, you’ll love this – a colleague just called because he thought I actually bought a bar called the Redhead (name chosen because of my auburn tresses). Can you just imagine me running a saloon? Hallelujah!

  26. Gwen Banta

    March 13, 2010 at 2:11 am

    ATTENTION: THERE IS NOW A PASSWORD TO GET INTO THE REDHEAD LOUNGE VIRTUAL BAR. FIVE BUCKS TO THE FIRST PERSON TO GUESS IT!

    • Ken Brand

      March 13, 2010 at 10:45 am

      The password is, “I’m Super-Fly T.N.T.

      Pay Up.

  27. teresa boardman

    March 13, 2010 at 5:46 am

    Gwen that even happens with virtual bus benches, Bus benches just invite vandalism. It is like they were built to be vandalized. Mine was hit in April of 2007 by Kristal Kraft. It is unclear if she did it to showcase her artistic skills or if she was jealous because I have a virtual bus bench and she dies not. In any case you can find her work here https://www.stpaulrealestateblog.com/weenie/2007/04/kirstal_kraft_n.html

  28. Paula Henry

    March 13, 2010 at 6:20 am

    Oh Grant – did you really ask for this 🙂

    Thanks for the bail Gwen, now I can enjoy my weekend pass.

  29. Joe Loomer

    March 13, 2010 at 10:31 am

    I’m thinking the password has to be “Sherlick”

  30. Gwen Banta

    March 13, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Paula, we need to encourage Grant – he’s buying! Ken and Joe, you are short of a full deck with your passwords, but nice try. Hint: 3 words that will guarantee that we open the door for you. Remember, this is the Redhead Bar!

  31. Dan Connolly

    March 13, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Carpet matches drapes?

    • Ken Brand

      March 13, 2010 at 11:40 pm

      Are we assuming wall-to-wall carpet? Throw rugs or no rugs?

      The password guessing came befuddles me.

  32. Joe Loomer

    March 13, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Dan beat me to it. That or “don’t feed animals”

  33. Tanya Nouwens

    March 13, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    “All that AND a bag o’ chips.” My new favourite saying of all time.

  34. Gwen Banta

    March 13, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    BEEEEEP – Dan and Joe just blew it, but thanks for trying. The password is actually 3 words, total of 10 letters, and the phrase implies “generosity in a bar.” No, Joe, it’s not “Kiss Me Edna.”

  35. Gwen Banta

    March 13, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Incidentally, Tanya Nouwens Gurberg and Joe Loomer will be part of next week’s revelry at the Redhead. They are both very smart…but a pack ‘o wacko, so hold onto your knickers everyone! Paula, Ken and Brandie will be back if they aren’t extradited before Friday.

  36. Gwen Banta

    March 13, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Un, Ken – you’ll have to get the answer to your question in private from Dan because it’s R Rated. But I love your choice of the word “befuddled.” I expect you to slip it into the next virtual discussion. Oh who are we kidding – you know I’ll do that for you! What song will you be singing karaoke to next week? (Tanya, you’re on deck after Ken. )

  37. Gwen Banta

    March 14, 2010 at 12:16 am

    Hey “DeanSellsAZ.com” – Thanks for the Top Ten Post nod. But only THREE geniuses??? What about moi? I must respectfully inform you that it takes amazing talent and an IQ of at least 75 to pry cocktail onions out of one’s nose after a night at the Redhead Bar…especially after a celery lobotomy (hence my resolution to swear off Bloody Marys.) You’re welcome to join us anytime, but you must buy the first round! 🙂

  38. Gwen Banta

    March 14, 2010 at 1:42 am

    Teresa, your bench ads are fabulous. I must admit, however, that you are much more attractive without the moustache. Don’t you think you and I should waltz on over to Krystal Kraft’s site and sabotage her? You’re on my team…so I am ready to kick some a__ for you. What do you say, team – who’s with me???

  39. Gwen Banta

    March 14, 2010 at 1:49 am

    Incidentally, Teresa, I agree with Tanya Nouwens that your slogan is one of the best EVER. Maybe Kristal has a Mr. Potato Head fetish and can’t bear the thought of him being sliced up for a bag ‘o Teresa Boardman Kick-ass Chips. Deal with it Kristal – the potato head is going down!

  40. Fred Glick

    March 16, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    Bouncer? I’m a hockey goalie on the ice. Not a bouncer off!

  41. Gwen Banta

    March 16, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    We need not only your brains, but your hockey goalie braun, Fred. I heard you take no prisoners – so welcome to the Redhead Lounge!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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.

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

Our Great Partners

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories

Get The American Genius
neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to get business and tech updates, breaking stories, and more!