work life balance

The Web Never Forgets

I recently read an article called "Think Again Before You Post Online Those Pics Of Your Kids" that made me think. It made me think A LOT about what I have been posting about my family and friends on social media. How many of you have posted a funny video of your kids that might be slightly embarrassing for them, but it is just too good not to share? I know I have. But what I have failed to do is to think about how many will view and share that particular video, and for how long it will be available for anyone and everyone to see.  The carbon footprint, so to speak, that we leave behind of ourselves on social media is there for the public to view forever! That ‘fun’ video you posted of your kids will be on the internet for your kids’ friends to view forever, even when they are teenagers and most likely do not want anyone to see it.

In trying to keep my kids safe, I have always been very concerned with what my kids share on their preferred social media platforms (which, incidentally does NOT include Facebook). I often tell them that what they post will be there for an eternity. I have put down a long list of ‘rules’ of what is okay and what is not okay on their social media; there can be no indecent photos, no bad language, no mean comments, no bullying, no connecting with strangers, no rude comments about myself or their dad, and he and I both have to be a ‘friend’ of theirs, so we can keep tabs on their social media activities. But in all honesty, I haven’t given much thought to the longevity and potential reach of what I post on social media. Of course, I don’t post anything about my kids maliciously, but rather to share what is going on in my life, which includes not only my activities but also those of my kids. My family lives in Europe and it is an easy way for me to connect with them and vice versa for them to see what is going on in my life here. But here is the thing: How do my kids feel about what I post about them on social media? I am embarrassed to say that I have never asked them…

Social media hasn’t been around that long (Facebook started in 2004, about the time when most current middle school students were born,) so it is hard to say how growing up on social media can affect your kids’ privacy and security. However, it’s time to consider the issue seriously. What we as parents post on social media about our kids shape their online image, which is there to stay forever. My daughter turned thirteen in the fall. As any other young teenager, she is concerned with her image and wants to be portrayed in a positive light whether it is on my social media or at school.

After reading that article, we decided that it’s time we sit down with our kids and draw up guidelines for what they are comfortable with being posted on social media. Working together on deciding what to post and what to avoid will create a mutual respect and appreciation, and at the same time teach great social media etiquette. In my household, we have set up a family meeting for this Saturday to make sure we are all on the same page when it comes to posting on our social media.

With that said – Good luck and happy posting!

True Life: I am a Social Media Manager

It's that time of the year when everyone is on vacation, so we decided to give our blog writers a much deserved time off and repost one of our top performing blogs of the year. We hope you'll enjoy it, and have a great rest of the summer!

For whatever reason, it seems as if the most commonly asked question when meeting someone for the first time is, “What do you do?” I usually respond, “Well, I am a Social Media Manager (SMM).” This is usually followed by the person responding with, “Oh! You get paid to sit on Facebook and Twitter all day?” Sound the record scratch! While this is partly true, marketers and numerous brands/companies know that this is just scratching the surface. While social media is an ever-evolving industry, it is obviously so much more than just “posting to Facebook and Twitter.” In any given day, I wear many different hats.

In a typical day, I converse with clients and coworkers, create engaging and valuable content, analyze analytics of ad campaigns and content, research and plan future posts and campaigns, and monitor the different networks for engagement and mentions on behalf of my clients.

I recognize that the social media world is confusing for business owners to navigate when they have been focused on their trade for much of their career. Social media for businesses came quick and has turned into a whirlwind of an industry. The thing that some business owners may not understand is that being an SMM is a real, full time position that goes far beyond posting current specials and commenting when someone likes their status.

Creating and analyzing ad campaigns are two of the largest responsibilities for a SMM in more ways than one. Building campaigns properly to get traffic, engagement, and to hit goals, is crucial. My clients have entrusted me with their money and expect that I will use my industry knowledge to gain them results. Once the ad is created, I’m not on coast-mode. I optimize throughout the month to make sure it’s delivering, and if it is not, I tweak it.

I review this information and create content with the goal of resonating with the type of people that are responding to the different posts and ads. My clients provide me with photos and specials they have going on to align with their advertising goals. I also keep an eye on local events that may attract people to the area because my clients are in the hospitality industry.

When I’m not focusing on ads or creating content, I’m monitoring the different social profiles that I manage. I engage with the followers and answer any questions that get directed to the brands. This is one of my favorite parts of my job. It is exciting to see when my content has been a success and the positive feedback that my clients receive. It is also beneficial for me to see when content doesn’t generate any form of engagement. This lets me know I need to try something else in the future.

All in all, I am in a field that is constantly evolving and requires a lot of detail, research, and thought. I consider myself to be a part of the small percentage of people who are paid to do something they are truly passionate about. Like everything else, it is not always rainbows and lollipops. There is responsibility and even liability of speaking on behalf of a brand. I look forward to this challenge, amount of responsibility, and sense of purpose I am embarking on as a newly hired Social Media Manager at Thin Pig Media.

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10 Easy Meditation Methods for Working Remotely

If you regularly work remotely, on the road, or from home, you know it comes with some sweet pros and some unexpected cons.

As remote professionals we put our heads into email, internet, social media, and digital marketing virtually every day. We're inundated with messages, requests, demands, and calls to action — almost always with increasing urgency.

When we work from home, we often don't get the mental relief and positive energy that come with in-person coworkers. When we work on the road, we don’t have friends and family to fill our cup after work. We structure our own tasks & schedules, which often requires more brainpower than having our workload structured and dictated by a supervisor.

Perhaps most glaring of all, we simply have a hard time turning OFF.

As a result of all these factors, remote pros are more prone than 9-5ers to feeling disorganized, stressed about their schedule, and mentally buzzy from digital saturation and personal isolation.

A consistent meditation practice helps all of this. It decreases mental chatter, stress, and anxiety. It increases energy, focus, and the ability to self-soothe. Your meditation practice is a way of cultivating inner peace, growing it in small pieces over time like a gardener tending to their plants each day.

Do you think there’s more potential to the efficiency and joy in your work/life balance?

Do you want to maximize your work time so you have more brain space for the rest of your life?

Do you feel out of balance or overwhelmed or stressed?

Hey, good news. Meditation is a perfect solution to these quandaries.

Virtually every major religion & spiritual practice encourages some kind of meditation, whether it's in the form of intentional silence, prayer, yoga, Tai Chi, or even the art of drinking tea. They're all slow, daily mindful practices which cultivate a deeper sense of presence, connection, calm, and vitality.

The main goal over consistent days and weeks is to ease your mind down from its nonstop thinking, which in turn increases your awareness of your own body, settling you into a relaxed state of flow.

You'll still be thinking, but not so loudly or quickly. That’s what’s so helpful for both maximizing your workday and being able to turn off when you’re done.

Many people never follow through on meditation, for a few common reasons: the misconception that it's attached to a philosophy or religion; personal discomfort sitting alone with your thoughts & feelings; having tried it for a few days but stopped before it got easier and the benefits became clear; or maybe you just don’t like hippies. No judgment!

These are totally valid opinions and experiences. And sure, there are other ways to get similar benefits. But the way I think about it, everyone can enjoy meditation. The only essential elements are breath and patience. Other than that, we just have to find the right methods and variations that work well for us. Here are just a few of the many methods and variations that can help you get started:

  1. Guided Meditations

  2. Vipassana Insight Meditation

  3. Kundalini Meditation

  4. Mantra Meditation

  5. Mindfulness Meditation

  6. Metta/Lovingkindness

  7. Visualization

  8. Object Focus

  9. Walking Meditation

  10. Meditating In Public

Do you have another method or style that has worked for you? Have any questions about meditation? Comment below!  

Photo by Isabell Winter

Telecommuting Tips from the Social Media Experts

Living in the digital age, our working capabilities have expanded greatly. One of the most noteworthy progressions is the ability to work from home - or anywhere in the world, for that matter. Working remotely comes with some serious benefits, such as the time and stress you save not having to commute to an office - not to mention getting to spend all day in yoga pants! It can however, present some roadblocks and potentially make you feel out of touch with your co-workers and the needs of your client. Here are a few ways you can ensure you're staying ahead of the curve and getting the job done.

Communication

This may seem like a no-brainer, but we are creatures of habit and you might be surprised how easily we fall into the same routine. Communicating and checking-in consistently with your clients allow you to reassure them you understand the visions for their brands, and are continually putting forth efforts to make those visions into realities. 

Talking regularly with your co-workers is equally important. Bouncing thoughts and ideas off of one another is an effective tool to keep the creativity flowing. While you may not have the water cooler or coffee pot to chat around, email, text, chat, and phone conversations are still readily accessible. 

Get a "local voice" 

The primary resource that enables you to work remotely (the internet) is your best tool for allowing you to learn about your client, as if you were there in person. In order to embody an authentic "voice" for your client, it's important to research the local area. See what other local businesses are doing on their social media. Look up posts with city related hashtags to see what resident fans are interested in. Many credible, local news outlets are available online as well. 

Time

Be aware what time works best for you, may not work best for your audience. Your client may be located in a different time zone than you and it's important to know when their highest engagement time is so you can capitalize on that. 

Maintaining a schedule and setting work "boundaries" will help you stay focused. It's easy to blur the lines between home life and work life. Creating a schedule with set hours will increase productivity, establish availability, and maintain expectations. 

By communicating regularly, researching your clients location, and implementing effective time management you will successfully overcome the difficulties of working remotely.