4 Social Media Trends for 2017

One of my favorite end of year trends is the Google Year. In my opinion, this is a great way to summarize the year in technology, social media, and the public. You can check out the 2016 video here.

Now that you’ve looked at the year in review, let’s discuss social media trends for 2017!

trends in social media 2017

Virtual Reality

2016 has been the year of VR. Many major companies are releasing VR devices, including Sony, for use with their Playstation game console and Samsung for use with their Galaxy phones. Although these were released with gaming in mind, the rise of social VR is coming. It is beginning with 360-degree photos on social media platforms and will only keep getting more involved. Be prepared to feel like you are at all of the hottest events in 2017!

Live Video

Live Video is catching on with companies much faster than individuals. Recently, I’ve seen quite a few television commercials demonstrating how to go live on Facebook. This doesn’t seem to be going away in 2017. Live videos are a great way to interface with customers and have customers connect with each other in real time.

Social Fundraising

Kickstarter, Go Fund Me, and Crowdrise have gotten a lot of attention in 2016. Social fundraising has become a great way to get ideas funded by individuals who can get behind those ideas. Individuals, start-ups, and nonprofits have all found great success in social fundraising campaigns. Look for this trend to keep getting more popular in 2017!

Filters and Photos

In 2016, we saw a lot of pictures of our friends with dog faces, reindeer, funny voices, explosions, and glitter thanks to Snapchat’s filter feature. 2017 will bring filters to Facebook and Instagram due to the public interest in expiring media. Look for Snapchat to be the trendiest social media platform of 2017.


As we look forward to what will happen in 2017 one thing is for sure, social media is here to stay. What are you most looking forward to happening?

#ShopSmall: Small Business Saturday is Coming!

“Behind every small business, there’s a story worth knowing. All the corner shops in our towns and cities, the restaurants, cleaners, gyms, hair salons, hardware stores – these didn’t come out of nowhere.” – Paul Ryan


Many of us will look forward to Black Friday Shopping after we eat our turkey this week. With so many deals and steals, who can resist? However, you should make sure to save some of your Christmas budget for November 26th and help celebrate Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday encourages consumers to shop small and shop local. The event was first observed on November 27, 2010, and was sponsored by American Express. To this day, it is still a registered trademark of American Express and has been celebrated Saturday after Thanksgiving every year since 2010. In 2011, the United States Senate passed a resolution in support of Small Business Saturday.

The event has taken on its own life on social media through Facebook advertisements and “likes”, various hashtags such as, #SmallBizSat and #ShopSmall, and American Express sponsored ads for small business owners. According to American Express, in 2015, 95 million people went out to shop at small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Supporting local small businesses is both good for your community and good for the business owners. Small businesses are the backbones of many communities across the country. Are you planning to celebrate Small Business Saturday this year? American Express has provided us with this handy tool that allows you to easily locate your local small businesses, just click here! Although the point of Small Business Saturday is to visit brick and mortar shops, if you are an online shopper you can still find local business on their webpages and online shops like Etsy.


Have you shopped Small Business Saturday in the past? Share your favorite small businesses and products in the comments section!

The Perfect Fit: Finding the Right Candidate for the Job

The hiring process can be nerve racking from both ends of the spectrum. Applicants are working to tailor their resumes and cover letters for the “perfect job,” and those in charge of hiring are searching through stack upon stacks of applications hoping to find a diamond in the rough. When tasked with finding the “right applicant,” one can feel like he is Prince Charming in Cinderella (and we’re NOT talking about the Disney version); searching for the perfect fit and hoping for a happy ending. Though we might not all have fairy godmothers, following these suggestions can make the process easier, and help you select a charming new hire.cinderella candidate, the perfect fit

Be Up Front: When crafting a job posting make sure to bring the culture of your organization, specifically the environment of the position into your description. This however does not mean writing a book about your company. Giving a succinct but informative view of the job will help attract the right applicant.

Don’t stop with just the job posting; in all communications with potential hires, make sure they are aware of the full expectations of the job and what it is like to work in your organizational culture. This way they are not blindsided by a culture they may not fit into. You don’t want to push a wallflower into a loud boisterous culture and hope they come out of their shell.

Thin the Herd: When going through applications and weeding out potential candidates find one key thing, be it positive or negative, that will quickly help you decrease the number of resumes you need to comb through.

For example, I once had a manager that would automatically discard an application if the applicant asked for something to write with. They explained their logic stating “If you can’t be bothered to bring a pen to fill out your application, how can I expect you to be bothered to bring what you need to work”.

Check Social Media: Social media says a lot about potential new hires. This is who they are when they think no one is watching…even though they really are. If what you see there doesn’t match who you see on paper or in interviews, or doesn’t match your culture, move on.

Ask the Right Questions: When interviewing your most promising candidates make sure you aren’t leading them to give certain answers. Some people are pro’s at interviews, make sure you dig deeper.

help wantedHire from Within: Are you in the position to promote someone within your organization? Did you have a great intern in the past who is ready to enter the work force? These are always great options. These candidates already know the culture of your organization, know the systems, and know what is expected of them, making for an easier transition. Positives for you as a hiring manager or HR professional is that you already know what their personality is and how to motive them.

Someday your “perfect fit” will come, though you may just need to do some extra work to find him or her. The effort you put in to finding the right candidate will likely translate to the work that candidate will produce for you. So try and put to action some of the above before the carriage turns back into a pumpkin.

Generation Z: The Next Big Thing

When you hear the terms “Baby Boomer” or “Millennial” certain attributes come to mind. But, what about when you hear “Generation Z”? Most people would be looking at me like my dogs do when I ask them if they want a treat; head cocked to the side with a questioning expression. Generation Z, the iGeneration, or Homeland Generation as they are often referred to, are the next “up and coming” generation for employers, marketers, and retailers to be focusing on. As the generational cohort after the Millennials, this group is just starting to enter the workforce and flex their buying power. Let take a look at what makes the iGeneration tick.

Defining the Group

  • Follow Millennials in the generational time line born roughly around 1995-2010iGeneration
  • Ages range from  5 to 20 years old currently
  • Digital natives; can’t remember a time before the internet or social media
  • Too young to remember 9/11 or were not born yet
  • “Right now” culture
  • Practical

How are they Different from Millennials?

  • Prefer apps like Snapchat, Vine, and Whisper
  • Rarely use email for personal use
  • Virtual community just as important as their physical community
  • Have learned from Millennial’s social media mistakes

So how does this translate into the real world?

Let’s synthesize this information and paint a picture of how a stereotypical Generation Z’er acts. The iGeneration are the toddlers who knew how to work an iPhone better than their parents. Many are now getting ready to graduate high school or have just entered college or the workforce. The younger end of the spectrum is watching the “For Kids” sections on Netflix and have their own account log in. They live life on multiple screens and are experts at multitasking, surfing the net, texting, and watching YouTube at the same time. They watch a lot of shows but not on cable. They prefer streaming services. They post Snapchat videos that will “disappear” rather than tagging photos on Facebook for longer periods. Growing up in a post-9/11 culture and watching their parents work through the recession has given them a more practical view for their future plans. Many want to be an entrepreneur and make their hobby into a career. Though they are tech oriented they have very short attention spans. A marketer better be able to get the big pictures across in 5 seconds or less, otherwise this group has already moved on. They also rarely use email, and are probably part of the reason marketers have moved to texting deals to consumers rather than waste time on mass email blasts.

I see a lot of these qualities in my younger brother. The seven years between us put me in the Millennial group (I was born in 1989) and my brother is just on the cusp. Being born in 1996 is technically he is considered part of Generation Z. My brother has a Facebook but rarely uses it, instead he “Snaps” everything. Since I don’t have a Snapchat I just get screen shots of his antics texted to me. He is in his sophomore year in college. He was a toddler when 9/11 occurred and remembers little from that day (I can remember the exact outfit I was wearing), and both of our lives have been shaped by what happened that day. Currently my brother is pursuing a degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Management; working to make his “hobby” (though I’d call it more of a passion) of being a volunteer firefighter and EMT a career. 

Take Aways

  • New group just starting to influence the market with their buying power with more to join them in the coming years
  • Do not lump them in with Millennials
  • Get to the point and fast
  • Forget Facebook and email
  • Make practical appeals

Do you have any other thoughts about Generation Z? How are they different from your generation?

Take Time to Unplug: Vacation Destinations to Stay Off the Grid

It’s currently 88 degrees and sunny outside; and what am I doing? I am looking back and forth from my phone and my computer screen, inside, covered in a blanket because the air conditioning in my house is set to sub-arctic levels.  I need a vacation… Not just any vacation; a vacation from technology.  A trip where I can disconnect from the distractions of the internet and work, where I can focus on relaxing.


How much time do you spend on your smartphone? Three hours a day? Four hours? More? According to a British psychological study whatever you estimate the time may be, you should double it. Checking our phones has become such a part of our daily routine that it’s ingrained in us. We don’t even realize we are doing it. We’re spending a lot of our day on Facebook or Instagram, too. In 2014 the average person spent 40 minutes per day on the social media sites. In 2016 it is now an average of 50 minutes. We take our phones to the bathroom; and have created new terms like Phantom Vibration Syndrome, and smartphone pinky. We are never without technology.

Believe it or not there are still some places cell phone reception and wifi are not accessible or reliable. If you are looking to take a vacation from technology, here are some great places to unwind where you won’t be sucked into your phone or computer.

The Wilds

My first thought on where to go to escape technology would be the woods camping. You can’t charge your phone when you’re living in a tent. But, roughing it in the woods isn’t my idea of relaxing. However, these locations could definitely provide the relief you need.

Emerald Lake Lodge, Canada : Enjoy the beautiful Canadian landscape in one of their cozy lodge rooms. Snuggle up to a fire in your in-suite fireplace or take in the views of the Rockies from your balcony. No interruptions from cell phones here since there is no reception at the lodge, and only wifi in the main lodge building.

Ultima Thule Lodge, Alaska : Don’t have a passport? Why not head to the great white north and this Alaskan getaway. The cabins only host a limited amount of guests at a time, and have their own onsite organic garden. They also have gourmet meals made with fresh-sourced salmon and game, stunning views, and comfortable cabins. You can only reach the resort by plane so it’s not hard to believe there is no cell service here.

The Beach

Still don’t think that the woods are the best place to relax or don’t think you could handle the cold of Alaska? There are still options. If you are a beach bum like I am, here are several places you can sun yourself and read a book or two in peace.

Campo Cortez Ecolodge, Mexico : If you really want to get off the grid this is the place. As an ecolodge, the cabins may be small but all modern amenities are available. Solar and wind powered electricity provide the ability to charge up some of your devices like a camera; something you will definitely want so you can capture the whales in the Baja area. No cell reception or TVs are in the cabins here though; so you can enjoy watching and learning about all the nature around you.

Little Palm Island, Florida : Now this is what I think of when escaping from reality for a bit. Beautiful beaches, warm sun, swimming with dolphins… Oh, and no television, phones, or guest under 16 (sorry if you were looking for a family vacation). I’m ready to pack my bags and pull a lounge chair up on the beach right now!

Don’t think you can go cold turkey from technology or don’t have time/money allotted for vacation right now?

Try taking baby steps and give yourself mini vacations each day. Carve out time every day where you put away everything, turn it all off, and read a book, have a nice dinner, or talk! If you sleep with your phone on your nightstand, move it out to another room and don’t touch it until morning. Whatever you do give yourself time to rest without distractions.

The Do’s & Don’ts of Emojis at Work

World Emoji Day is marked by the iPhone calendar emoji as July 17. In 2015, people began celebrating the day by posting their favorite emojis to Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites. Of course, anyone can have fun with emojis online, but what can employees do who are working all day? Is sending a celebration emoji in a workplace email appropriate, or should they maintain their place online and in text messaging?

The Do's & Don'ts of Emojis at Work

Back in 1982, Scott Fahlman sent the first recorded smiley emoticon, “: – ),” in an email. He wanted the symbol to be used for jokes, but now the emoticons have evolved into a whole assortment of emotions. While Fahlman may not have been sending a professional email, many people wonder if communicating this way in the workplace is appropriate. There have been numerous inquiries about email etiquette throughout the years, especially within the past decade. Using too many exclamation points and adding text lingo such as “lol” or “omg” are both universally accepted as unprofessional. Many businesses prefer not to let their employees use them, but others have been more lenient if they are used in the right way. Emojis have been gaining traction over the past few years, so it’s time that we take a look at the do’s and don’ts of emoji usage in the workplace.


Emojis at WorkUnderstand email etiquette
– If you are ever unsure about whether to send an emoji email, then you should probably check with your coworkers to make sure it is okay to send. Check to see if your company has a style guide for how to send formal vs. informal emails.

Avoid ambiguity – Emojis can mean different things to different people. For example, what I think is an emoji for being upset, you may think is an emoji for being tired. If you do decide to use them, it’s probably best to stick to the simple happy and sad faces for less confusion.

Determine the right context – Should you be using laughing face emojis when discussing poor company performance? No. This example may be extreme, but examining the context of your email is important to avoid awkwardness or rudeness.


– Just like using more than one exclamation mark is unadvisable, so is using more than one emoji. Adding too many of them to your emails may annoy others and cause confusion as to what you are trying to say.

Use to get a point across – What would you think if your boss sent you an email that said, “Bring those reports to my office tomorrow or you’re fired :)”? Your boss may be Emojis at Workusing the smiley to get the point across that he is joking with you, but this type of message can be misinterpreted. Being outright and frank with coworkers is always the best option.

Send to your boss – This may seem self-explanatory, but the majority of authority figures in your workplace want to be treated with respect. While you may think you are being friendly, your boss may think you are being unprofessional.

This outline of rules for emojis at work is not anything that should be set in stone. The guidelines for language and communication are changing every day. Five years ago, using emojis in professional emails was unheard of, but now 78% of Americans are using them at work, according to one survey. The truth is that communication evolves over time, and only you know best how to interact at your company. Some people may send an emoji email celebrating July 17, and others may not do anything at all. Whatever you do, we want to wish you a Happy World Emoji Day!

Do you use emojis for work purposes?

Why National Unfriend Day is Useful in Business

Today is National Unfriend Day. The typical holidays we celebrate at this time of year tend to revolve around togetherness, giving and thankfulness. So you might be wondering how a day ended up being devoted to unfriending, well, your friends! But don’t sell National Unfriend Day short–if a classmate from second grade, who you’re not sure actually graduated with you, is whining about a missed flight to his beach house in the Bahamas; or your third cousin’s ex-husband is going off about the last shot of a game for a sport you don’t watch; or your aunt, twice removed, is complaining about the weather again because her cats don’t like it and she attached photographic proof, this holiday is for you.

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