Smart and Effective Media Marketing

Social media should be an intrinsic part of your marketing campaign as it ensures you reach your target audience, however there are things you should avoid doing.  Consider the following tips improved productivity across the platforms and trigger better results.

1.     Publish on the Desk-Top version as well as your Smartphone !

While apps on our phones have made it easy to access social media, posting all your business content from your smartphone is not the wisest thing to do–unless the social media platform can only be fully utilised from a mobile device, as is the case with Instagram.

Each of the platforms offer slightly different features and functionality between their web-based and mobile app systems, and in particular, the area of security.  As an example, take Facebook:  if you browse the publishing options on your Facebook Business Page from a desktop computer, you'll see that there are more options with a greater reach that aren't always accessible on a smartphone.

Choose your platforms wisely !

Avoid being "out there" on every single social media platform.  You could waste a great amount of your time by using every single social media channel.  Certain industries tend to gravitate more toward one than the others.  Do some research, find out which ones are more active in your industry and then concentrate your energies on those.

Your exposure can expand quickly if it is strategically marketed.  To make the best use of your time and to be effective, you should put a social media strategy in place that will ensure you don't waste valuable hours of your time. When used correctly and strategically, social media has the power to generate more leads and sales for your business, but it can also be a major time-waster in subtle ways.

3.  Create connections by following people back !

While the Facebook Business Page itself doesn't allow you to follow individuals back, it's advisable to follow your clients and prospective members on Instagram if you can find their public account. Effective marketing on social media is about creating connections, so make the effort to connect with clients and prospective members by showing interest in their posts where relevant.  With the way many of the algorithms work, you will show up more in their network, making it easier for them to recommend you to their connections.

4. Don't overlook social advertising

Your followers are overcrowded with hundreds of posts on a daily basis, so you can't guarantee that they will see all your posts. Through advertising you can reach a wider audience, and potentially get more leads or sales. Consider the "pay to play" strategy at times – a smallish investment could expand your reach in a platform like Facebook, and you'll reap the rewards.

Don't let a Grinch of a scam ruin your holidays

Scammers are phoning unsuspecting taxpayers pretending to be the ATO and telling victims they have committed fraud against the tax office.  If you receive on of these types of phone calls our advice is that you should hang up immediately and ignore it. 

Receiving these types of phone calls can be quite upsetting and stressful but the less involved you get, the better.

The goal of the scammer is to build pressure and stress in the call, in an attempt to create an urgency for payments to be made or personal details released.   If you release any information they can use it to take advantage of you and in some (most) cases, exploit your personal bank accounts.

We have had both clients and staff experience these calls recently:  anyone can be a target for these types of phone calls.

We urge you to stay up to date about your own tax affairs so you will not fall victim to a scammer, but never divulge any type of information to them. Hang up immediately.

Some of the tell-tale signs that it is a scam call, and not the ATO include:

    •    threatening that you will be arrested or police are on their way to your address;

    •    the caller will not provide you with explanations or let you speak to another manager in charge;

    •    demanding you pay outstanding debts via the use of pre-paid cards, cryptocurrency or direct credit into a bank account of which they provide details for; and

    •    demanding you pay a fee to release tax refunds owed to you.

Guard your personal and financial information, and do not hand these out to anyone you do not know or trust. 

Let your accountant know about the call (scam); and report the scam to the ATO's dedicated scams line 1800 005 540.

The ATO's website lists a range of previously reported scams.  If you would like to see some examples if you would like more information click here:

If you're striving for work-life balance, you'll never get it, argues Stewart Friedman, a noted author and adviser to global leaders who inspires "rock star adoration" among his students at Wharton.

Stewart Friedman advocates developing skills that integrate work with the rest of your life – home, community and the private self of mind, body and spirit – to emphasise overall harmony rather than trade-offs.

In an interview during his appearance at the World Business Forum in Sydney, he outlined these core skills and showed how integrating them can lead you to better performance in all parts of your life.

Work-life balance – that fraught division of time between work and family life – is the Holy Grail of the modern workplace. We're all looking for it, but so far no one has actually found it. 

The work-life balance paradigm

According to the work-life balance paradigm, there's work and then there's life – everything else. Like oil and water, the two don't mix. 

But what if work-life balance is an unattainable myth – an unhelpful binary that privileges one area of life – work – and pits it against all others – life?

Stewart D. Friedman, professor at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, says the digital age's obsession with elusive work-life balance stems from both "the widespread feeling of being overwhelmed by the demands of everyday life and the increased interest in doing work that has meaningful social value."

Ironically, this frantic pursuit of a full life can leave us feeling stretched thin and unfulfilled. As we try to satisfy life's competing priorities, we often find no one wins.

Friedman, who has developed his theories of work-life integration over three decades of teaching, research and practice in the field, suggests that a better way of understanding what we mean by work-life balance is to view life as the sum of four major domains: work or study, home or family, community, and the private realm of mind, body, and spirit.

Trading balance for harmony

Friedman rejects the notion that success in one part of life, whether it is work or home, requires sacrifice in others – what he calls a "trade-off mindset".

"Our research at the Wharton School and elsewhere shows that it doesn't always have to be this way," he tells INTHEBLACK. 

"Using different language to describe the relationship between work and the rest of life opens your mind to seeing and actually pursuing gains in all the different parts of life." 

Harmony should be our goal, he says, not balance. The challenge lies in finding strategies and solutions that make life better in all domains – what Friedman labels "four-way wins".

This is not "having it all" – code for an impossibly high set of standards we impose on ourselves. 

"You can't have it all – complete success in all the corners of your life, all at the same time. No one can," Friedman writes in Leading the Life You Want: Skills for Integrating Work and Life (Harvard Business Review Press, 2014).

"But even though it can seem impossible to bring these four domains into greater alignment, it doesn't have to be impossible. Conflict and stress aren't inevitable. Harmony is possible."

Skills and principles

In 1999, the CEO of Ford Motor Company recruited Friedman to create a program to help employees find better ways of integrating work with the rest of life. The result was Total Leadership, a program he subsequently developed into a course at Wharton and a book, Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life (Harvard Business Review Press, 2008). 

Three key principles underpin Friedman's theory of Total Leadership: to be real, to be whole, and to be innovative.

"To be real is to act with authenticity by clarifying what's important to you…To be whole is to act with integrity by recognizing how the different parts of your life affect each other. All this examination allows you to be innovative," he explains in Leading the Life You Want

Success requires that you understand who and what is most important to you in the different parts of your life.

"Then you create new ideas for how to improve performance in all the different parts," he tells INTHEBLACK.  

Leading by example

Friedman's research found that to increase performance in the different parts of their lives, the most effective leaders act with authenticity, integrity and creativity.

In Leading the Life You Want, Friedman offers six case studies of high-profile people who have successfully integrated work with the rest of life by demonstrating these values. 

One example he gives is Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who has a knack for "creating win-win solutions that meet multiple goals" – like turning the common problems faced by working mothers everywhere into an agenda-setting, bestseller book, Lean In.

But work-life integration is not restricted to the Sheryl Sandbergs of this world. According to Friedman's principles, anyone can achieve four-way wins.

Trial and error

 Like any rigorous scientific method, Friedman's theory relies on experimentation.  

His experiments are systematically planned and executed trials of minor changes to see how they affect the different areas of life. If something doesn't work, the experiment is adjusted or abandoned, and the failure notched up to experience. 

"Little is lost," Friedman writes, while wins accrue to gradually improve life as a whole. 

It's a system that is open to everyone. 

"For decades I've been coaching people at all life stages and in countries around the world and I have never met a person who could not come up with a creative idea for experimenting in what I call 'the laboratory of your life' in the pursuit of four-way wins," he says. 

"To do so is challenging, and fun."  

Do your priorities match your efforts?

Try this test. Prioritise four areas – or domains – in your life and then examine how much focus and effort you're allocating to each (see example below). Are the two lists aligned? 

 This common lack of alignment is what often leaves us with a sense of imbalance or dissatisfaction. By realigning your focus and effort with your priorities, you can start to create greater harmony in your life. 

This article was first published by INTHEBLACK.

The "Ad of the month" that has set a benchmark

Innovation is a great way of creating a point of difference. But what if you are producing a product that that is pretty standard, and perhaps not even your best customers want you to change? Why change the box it comes in!

This pizza restaurant has released this new packaging for Father's Day, which is sure to win them some new fans just from its sheer novelty. I particularly liked the way they revealed the innovation, teasing you to watch to the end.

Unfortunately it doesn't come with a deodoriser to get the pizza smell out of your bed. A new innovation opportunity perhaps? What can you do to innovate something about your product or service that will get people talking and get you noticed? 

 May Your Business this Year be - As You Plan It.


How Successful People Spend Their Weekends


Successful people know the importance of shifting gears on the weekend to relaxing and rejuvenating activities. They use their weekends to create a better week ahead. This is easier said than done, so here's some help.

The following list contains 10 things that successful people do to find balance on the weekend and to come into work at 110% on Monday morning.

 1. Wake Up at the Same Time

It's tempting to sleep in on the weekend to catch up on your sleep. Though it feels good temporarily, having an inconsistent wake-up time disturbs your circadian rhythm. Your body cycles through an elaborate series of sleep phases in order for you to wake up rested and refreshed. One of these phases involves preparing your mind to be awake and alert, which is why people often wake up just before their alarm clock goes off (the brain is trained and ready). When you sleep past your regular wake-up time on the weekend, you end up feeling groggy and tired. This isn't just disruptive to your day off work, it also makes you less productive on Monday because your brain isn't ready to wake up at your regular time. If you need to catch up on sleep, just go to bed earlier.

2. Designate Mornings as "Me" Time

It can be difficult to get time to yourself on the weekends, especially if you have family. Finding a way to engage in an activity you're passionate about first thing in the morning can pay massive dividends in happiness and cleanliness of mind. It's also a great way to perfect your circadian rhythm by forcing yourself to wake up at the same time you do on weekdays. Your mind achieves peak performance two-to-four hours after you wake up, so get up early to do something physical, and then sit down and engage in something mental while your mind is at its peak.

3. Schedule Micro-Adventures

Buy tickets to a concert or play, or get reservations for that cool new hotel that just opened downtown. Instead of running on a treadmill, plan a hike. Try something you haven't done before or perhaps something you haven't done in a long time. Studies show that anticipating something good to come is a significant part of what makes the activity pleasurable. Knowing that you have something interesting planned for Saturday will not only be fun come Saturday, but it will significantly improve your mood throughout the week.

4. Pursue Your Passion

You might be surprised what happens when you pursue something you're passionate about on weekends. Indulging your passions is a great way to escape stress and to open your mind to new ways of thinking. Things like playing music, reading, writing, painting, or even playing catch with your kids can help stimulate different modes of thought that can reap huge dividends over the coming week.

5. Disconnect

Disconnecting is the most important weekend strategy on this list, because if you can't find a way to remove yourself electronically from your work Friday evening through Monday morning, then you've never really left work.

Making yourself available to your work 24/7 exposes you to a constant barrage of stressors that prevent you from refocusing and recharging. If taking the entire weekend off handling work e-mails and calls isn't realistic, try designating specific times on Saturday and Sunday for checking e-mails and responding to voicemails. For example, check your messages on Saturday afternoon while your kids are getting a haircut and on Sunday evenings after dinner. Scheduling short blocks of time will alleviate stress without sacrificing availability

6. Minimize Chores

Chores have a funny habit of completely taking over your weekends. When this happens you lose the opportunity to relax and reflect. What's worse is that a lot of chores feel like work, and if you spend all weekend doing them, you just put in a seven-day work-week. To keep this from happening, you need to schedule your chores like you would anything else during the week, and if you don't complete them during the allotted time, you move on and finish them the following weekend.

7. Exercise

No time to exercise during the week? You have 48 hours every weekend to make it happen. Getting your body moving for as little as 10 minutes releases GABA, a soothing neurotransmitter that reduces stress. Exercise is also a great way to come up with new ideas. Innovators and other successful people know that being outdoors often sparks creativity.

Whether you're running, cycling, or gardening, exercise leads to endorphin-fueled introspection. The key is to find a physical activity that does this for you and then to make it an important part of your weekend routine.

8. Reflect

Weekly reflection is a powerful tool for improvement. Use the weekend to contemplate the larger forces that are shaping your industry, your organization, and your job. Without the distractions of Monday to Friday busy work, you should be able to see things in a whole new light. Use this insight to alter your approach to the coming week, improving the efficiency and efficacy of your work.

9. Spend Quality Time with Family

Spending quality time with your family on the weekend is essential if you want to recharge and relax. Weekdays are so hectic that the entire week can fly by with little quality family time. Don't let this bleed into your weekends. Take your kids to the park, take your spouse to his or her favorite restaurant, and go visit your parents. You'll be glad you did.

10. Prepare for the Upcoming Week

The weekend is a great time to spend a few moments planning your upcoming week. As little as 30 minutes of planning can yield significant gains in productivity and reduced stress. The week feels a lot more manageable when you go into it with a plan because all you have to do is execute it.

How to Steer Clear of Office Drama


Many young professionals, no matter how hardworking and dedicated, find it hard to avoid the inevitable water-cooler chitchat. They're often caught off-guard when colleagues use these talks as a forum to criticize others and office drama ensues. Gossip and drama occur for many reasons: frustration with the boss or peers, the need for human connection, the desire to belittle others to feel better about oneself, boredom, or the need to talk about something.

What's more, added Dave Molenda, business coach of Positive Polarity, most professionals spend more time at work than home, with people they might not choose to interact with in other settings. "When two personalities clash, whether in a relationship outside the office or inside the office, you tend to have drama and disagreements, and tend to have conflict," he said.

But if left unchecked, office gossip and drama can lead to professional discord, reduced productivity, lower morale, and a breakdown of teamwork, collaboration, and good customer service. Office gossip can also derail a person's career if  s/he becomes known as a rumour-monger or someone who talks badly about others. "It's like a cavity or cancer-if you don't deal with it or address it, it rarely gets better by itself," Molenda added.

So how can you steer clear of-or manage-office drama and gossip? Here are some tips from Molenda:

Know yourself.

Many professionals do not realize their role in perpetuating workplace gossip or drama and have blind spots when it comes to their own character traits. Ask yourself tough questions: Are you ever an instigator? Do you try to stop gossip or communicate with the person starting it?

Recognize gossip, then refrain or redirect.

Friendly banter happens at most organizations, but sometimes banter can turn negative and critical. It's important to identify when someone crosses the line and goes too far.

If gossip or drama is making you uncomfortable, leave the conversation or attempt to change the subject. Tell your colleagues you are busy and have work to do. Having the courage to remove yourself from these situations is a behavioural trait of great leaders.
Be professional and painstaking.

Colleagues are unlikely to gossip about you if you work hard for the benefit of the organization, your colleagues, and yourself.  Always be courteous and professional when talking with colleagues or clients, and listen more than you speak. Be polite and respectful of differences in opinion.

Try to find the right outlet.

If your co-worker complains about or criticizes a colleague and you feel compelled to weigh in, find a different way to route that energy.

Ask for advice.

If you are the subject of gossip, or if office drama is affecting the organization or a colleague in a serious way, it may be time to talk to a manager or supervisor whom you trust. Ask your superior how you should approach a situation and how you can possibly resolve it. "If it's something you can't work through, then that's the point where you've got to start getting somebody else involved," Molenda said.

Managers, set the stage.

Gossiping and drama cause stress and division within teams, so supervisors must act as examples in terms of how to handle such problems in the workplace.

Establish a no-gossip policy early on  and talk with any gossipmongers directly, rather than in a roundabout way, to nip the problems in the bud. State you have heard them talking about someone and that it makes you uncomfortable.

27 Social media tools for business


Social media isn't just about viral videos or selfies. For consumers, sites and apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are playing an increasingly large role in their path to purchase.

This is why it's so important for retailers to invest in social media marketing. Having a strong presence in relevant social networks not only gives you an avenue to communicate with your audience, it also allows you to stay in the radars of your customers. This in turn, increases the likelihood of a shopper choosing your brand when they're ready to buy.

To that end, we've compiled a list of tools you can use to streamline your social media efforts. From social network management apps that'll save you time, to social commerce solutions that'll enable you to sell products to your fans and followers, the following tools are essential for any retailer who wants to win at social.  




Call to Action buttons – Businesses can add call-to-action buttons on their Pages and ads. Admins can select from seven calls to action, including Book Now, Contact Us, Use App, Play Game, Shop Now, Sign Up, and Watch Video.

Check out this example from Tory Burch, which has a "Shop Now" button on its page.

To add a call-to-action button on your Page, click the "Create Call-to-Action" button found at the top part of your page, on your cover photo.

Facebook Bluetooth® Beacons – Beacons have been a hot topic in the retail industry for some time, and it looks like Facebook now has its own Beacon initiative. The company launched Facebook Bluetooth® beacons, which are devices that retailers can use to help customers learn more about the business whenever they visit the store. Retailers will be able to deliver certain information or messages to customers such as a welcome note or a prompt to "like" the business' page.

All you need to do is install the beacons in your store, and they will then connect with smartphone users who have Facebook location services turned on.

Facebook Bluetooth® beacons can be requested for free here.

Woobox Custom Tab – Woobox lets you install customized tabs to your Facebook page. It lets you add forms, embed external sites, fangate content, and it even create your own tab designs.

LikeAlyzer – Need a quick analysis of your Facebook Page? Just enter your URL into LikeAlyzer's search field and it will generate a report that contains your page score, along with information on what you're doing right and what can be improved. It even offers recommendations to help boost Page performance.


Facebook word blocker and profanity filter – These tools make moderating comments a bit easier. The word blocker allows you to create filters that automatically hide comments or posts that contain words or phrases that you specify.

The profanity filter on the other hand, lets you restrict (or enable) certain levels of profanity for your page. According to the social network, "Facebook determines what to block by using the most commonly reported words and phrases marked offensive by the community."

You can find both these tools by clicking the Settings button at the top of your Page.




Followerwonk – One of the most popular Twitter analytics solutions in the social realm, Followerwonk lets you "find, analyze, and optimize" for social growth. It offers features such as follower analysis, bio searches, follower tracking, and more.

Twitter Profile Analysis by Klear – This is a free tool that gives you a snapshot of how your (or anyone else's) Twitter profile is doing. It measures activity level, popularity, and responsiveness, and it also identifies top content.


Topsy – Want to see who's tweeting about your brand or any other topic? Just enter the term or phrase into Topsy's search field and it'll generate a list of Twitter users talking about the term or topic you searched for. You can even enter full URLs to see who's shared your content. Perfect if you want to check out the people tweeting out your content.

Tweepi – Tweepi is a great tool for managing friends and followers on Twitter. It lets you view and sort the users you're following, as well as those who aren't following you back.

Twitterfall – If you need to monitor Twitter trends in real-time, look no further. Twitterfall displays tweet searches as they happen. This is great if you're monitoring trends or events as they're happening. Many social media experts, including Kelly Mahoney, social media manager for CompTIA, use this tool when running or participating in Twitter chats.

"It's great because it allows you to visually display tweets in real-time. You can also retweet, reply, favorite, and follow people directly from the platform if you sign in to it through Twitter's API."



Crowdfire – Crowdfire enables you to easily manage your Instagram follower and following lists. It lets you view your non-followers and offers features to help you clean up your account. It also has a "CopyFollowers" feature that lets you quickly view another account's followers. Perfect if you're looking to follow relevant accounts.

TakeOff – Another app by Crowdfire, TakeOff allows you to schedule your Instagram posts at the most optimal times. It calculates the best time to post based on when your audience is most likely to be online, increasing your chances of getting in front of your followers. It also has additional features, including smart tags, photo search, and multiple account support.


Iconosquare – Analyze your Instagram account and get cool stats with Iconosquare. This tool gives you an overview of the number of likes and comments you received, and it also scores your account's engagement levels.

Repost – As its name clearly implies, this app lets you repost photos and videos from your Instagram feed and likes. It also lets you bookmark posts so you could repost them at a later time.

Snapwidget – Show off your Instagram feed on your website with Snapwidget. Used by over 100,000 websites, this solution lets you create and customize a grid, slideshow, or photo map of your Instagram posts quickly and easily.




Pinterest Analytics – Pinterest Analytics helps you better understand your users and content. It shows you data on your Pinterest profile, your audience, and your website, allowing you to get insights into how users are engaging with your content both on your website and Pinterest profile.

Note: You'll need a business Pinterest account to access analytics. You can either create one, or convert your existing profile on

Tailwind – Tailwind provides an array of features to help you stay on top of your Pinterest efforts. With it you can schedule Pins, analyze trends, measure results, and monitor Pinterest activities, among others.

PinAlerts – Think of PinAlerts as Google Alerts, but for Pinterest. It sends you an email alert whenever someone Pins an image from your website, thus giving insights into which of your images are popular on Pinterest. It also lets you see who's Pinning your images so you can reach out to them.

Social commerce tools

If you're looking to make your social accounts more shoppable so you can sell directly to your fans and followers, the following tools are worth looking into:


Like2Buy – As we mentioned in our 2015 Retail Trends piece, Like2Buy is one of the leading solutions for making Instagram more shoppable. Here's how it works: A customer who'd like to purchase an item they see on your feed can tap on the Like2Buy link found on Instagram profile. Clicking the link will take them to the your Like2Buy site, which looks similar to your Instagram page. When the shopper taps on an image, they'll be taken directly to its product page, where they can find more details and proceed to checkout.

Tapshop –  Tapshop works by giving you a branded link that you can display on your Instagram profile. When users click through that link, they'll be taken to "a custom page of products they've liked, and get an email with links directly to your product pages."

Soldsie and Spreesy – These are comment-based selling solutions that enable retailers sell through Instagram and Facebook comments. When shoppers see an image of an item they'd like to buy, they would simply need to leave a comment indicating their purchase intent, and these services will automatically generate an invoice or checkout link, then send it via email.

Note: Soldsie also has a solution called Have2Have.It, which, similar to Tapshop and Like2Buy, lets retailers set up a curated page that has the same look and feel as their brand's Instagram feed. From there, users can learn more about their products and head straight to the retailer's ecommerce site if they want to make a purchase

General social media management and monitoring

Hootsuite – Hootsuite is one of the most a powerful and extensive social media management solution out there. It allows you to manage your Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, and even WordPress account from one dashboard. You can view and schedule posts right from Hootsuite, saving you time and energy.


Buffer – If you're looking for a more lightweight tool with a simple interface, then Buffer is worth checking out. It's an excellent social media scheduling tool that works with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest. Adding posts to your queue can be done with one click, and Buffer can automatically create a scheduling plan for you, or you can set pre-determined times for when posts should go out.


Handy design tools for creating shareable images


PicMonkey – Want to create beautiful images but don't have the design skills to do so? Check out PicMonkey, a web-based solution that makes it easy for you to edit, touch-up, and design images for your blog posts and social media updates. It even has a collage maker for those who can't decide on just one picture to post.

Canva – Canva is a powerful–but super user friendly–graphic tool for people who are "design-challenged." Like most graphic design solutions, Canva lets you easily re-touch and edit images. On top of that, it also offers preset templates for Facebook posts, cover images, posters, flyers, and blog posts, making it easy for you to get started on projects. What's more, Canva has a library of fonts, graphics, and photos that you can add to your design with a quick drag-and-drop feature.  

Share As Image – If you like putting text on top of images, Share As Image offers an extremely simple solution. It's works as a Chrome extension and bookmarklet that you can access from any website. All you have to do is highlight text on the page, click the bookmarklet, and Share As Image will turn it into an image ready to be shared across social media.


Your turn

Did we miss anything? Are you using any awesome social media tools that aren't on this list? Tell us about them in the comments.

About Francesca Nicasio

Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.