Posted in Debatable, inspirational

Social Media and Marketing from a business perspective

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” ~ Winston Churchill

In today’s world, the importance of social media marketing has never been greater. It’s quickly becoming one of the most important aspects of digital marketing, providing tremendous benefits that help reach millions of customers worldwide. Social media and its related tools offer a variety of advertising options when communicating with a customer. The possibilities and advantages are numerous, as it’s about much more than just launching your content for the world to see. If you’re not implementing this potentially highly profitable source, then you’re missing out on an incredible marketing opportunity, as it makes it extremely easy to spread the word about your business, products, and mission. It’s one of the most stress-free and profitable digital marketing platforms that can be used to increase your business visibility. Undoubtedly, having a social media page for your brand will benefit your business and with a regular use, it can also produce a wide audience in no time.

Throughout the course of the semester, I’ve learned a variety of new things when it comes to business. Every business with strategic, measurable goals and a commitment to quality content can travel down the social media marketing road effectively. It’s important to remember that leveraging social media and business growth requires an equal mix of creativity, data crunching, and attention to detail. To get the most out of your social media marketing activity, it’s important to align business objectives with social media goals. I now understand that there is a particular time of the day to post and not to post, so that you may gain the most benefits and spectators out of a post. This is particularly important when it comes to the analytics of a post, which can carefully be measured via Google Analytics.

 It’s important to remember that all social media and marketing efforts are traffic opportunities, take blogging, for example. Before I had to start blogging for class, I didn’t truly understand the benefits or effects it could have relating to business. Now, I ask myself, “Why didn’t I do it sooner.” I absolutely love it! It’s one of the most advantageous ways to interact with an audience. It’s imperative to post on a daily basis and interact with your audience. Engagement is perhaps the most relevant of all the branding-based social media goals. Every post you make and every ad you place reaches someone, so the more consistently you post, the more users you reach. The same goes for ads; the more relevant ads tend to be, the higher the reach. Though it may seem slightly redundant when you create them, you’ll see that the metrics vary widely by platform, as they are all different from one another. When it comes to making your business more powerful, brand loyalty and customer satisfaction both play a major role, but it all comes down to communication. When customers see your company posting on social media, especially replying to their queries and posting original content, it helps them build a positive image in their minds. Regularly interacting with your customers proves that you and your business care about them.

As a small business owner, I use almost every platform available to me. Businesses sharing their content on social media are sending out a brand signal to search engine that speaks to your brand validity, integrity, and constancy. When you have a social media presence, you make it easier for your customers to find you and connect with you. By connecting with your customers through social media, you are more probable to upsurge customer retention and customer loyalty. Since developing a loyal customer base is one of the main goals of almost any business. Customer satisfaction and brand loyalty typically go hand in hand. It is essential to often engage with your customers and start developing a bond with them. Social media is not just limited to introducing your product, it is also a leading platform for promotional campaigns. A customer sees these platforms as service channels where they can directly communicate with the business.

There is no denying that Social media marketing has many advantages for startups and established brands. By regular updating the right social media marketing strategy, it will lead to increased traffic, better SEO, improved brand loyalty, healthier customer satisfaction and much more. Your competition is already increasing on social media day by day, so don’t let your competitors take your probable customers. The earlier you start, the faster you see the growth in your business.

If your goal is to be in touch with your users, social media is the place you want to be. There’s plenty of pros for going social, as well as a few cons. Comparing them involves making for a calculated decision, as social media needs to be run efficiently and with goals in mind. Planning your strategy is a vital part of social media marketing, as is choosing the right platform!

Picking the right social platform to promote your business can be tricky, as not all hold the same values or have the same approach. Moreover, it’s even harder to keep track of multiple social channels and all the user messages incoming. That’s why there’s a variety of help desk tools that can help you manage all your messages in one place, allowing a simple management of all your social channels. In conclusion, social media marketing is a gateway to the digital world that provides a great way to connect with your customers.

If you are not crushing it and focusing on the content that you put out on the most important social platforms, you’re going to become mute and obsolete in the modern day of doing business. – Gary Vaynerchuk, chairman of VaynerX, a modern-day media and communications holding company, and the active CEO of VaynerMedia, a full-service advertising agency servicing Fortune 100 clients across the company’s 4 locations.

Posted in Debatable, inspirational

Men and Paternity Leave

A cultural shift is happening! What it means to be a father has changed a lot over the years. Some say that the E.R.A., also known as the Equal Rights Amendment, shouldn’t be part of the U.S. Constitution and that most Americans disfavor it, or that men are conditioned to be breadwinners. Others have said that most employers can’t afford an additional financial burden, especially following the recent adoption of the health care reform or that the U.S. can’t afford paid parental leave for both parents. But through my research, I found this information to be misleading. Now that the male gender roles are dramatically changing, there are countless benefits of paternity leave, not just for the parental bond between dad and baby, but for the whole family.

Childbirth is a grueling process and it can really take a lot out of a new mother. Women are naturally, emotionally and physically drained after giving birth; they simply want to rest. Research shows that more support from the father can increase the mother’s well-being, therefore mothers are less likely to experience depression after childbirth. It’s important for men to receive paternity leave so that they can help with the rigorous routine that is now their new norm. With paternity leave, the men are given the privilege of being able to share in on the first stages of the child’s life. They also get the opportunity of simply just being there, to get to know them and learn their needs.

I believe that men should receive up to 2 weeks of paid paternity leave from work. When actress Anne Hathaway spoke before the United Nations on International Women’s Day last year, she stated that “1 in 4 American women go back to work after two weeks of giving birth, because they can’t afford to take any more time off.” By allowing fathers to take up to two weeks of parental leave, it would allow the mother to take the complete six weeks given under the law.

As a future HR leader, I have put a ton of time into researching this topic. Paternity leave, as opposed to maternity leave, is the time a father gets off work to bond with his infant or newly adopted child, and it’s still a highly controversial topic today. It’s good for everyone when both men and women take parental leave for having a child. It should be mandatory by employers with more than 50 employees, to each of the 50 states in the U.S.

Gender equality is still a work in progress in most countries around the world and it’s not just a female issue, it’s a business and economic issue as well. According to Benefits Magazine, “Many countries offer statutory parental leave to working parents. The most progressive countries offering more than a year of paid parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child include Estonia, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Japan. Parental leave policies should reduce gender discrimination in the workplace if both men and women are equally likely to take leave, thereby removing employers’ reluctance to hire women. Governments also have recognized that flexibility in the workplace can be an important tool to further enhance gender equality.”

By only giving leave to women, we are maintaining the ancient belief that women should be the homemakers and men should be the wage earner, therefore promoting sexism. Mandated equal parental leave will help transform the perception that caregiving is a female responsibility. A survey held in 2016, Beyond Your Father’s Briefcase, by Scott Behson, Ph.D., professor of management at Fairleigh Dickinson University and author of The Working Dad’s Survival Guide, states, “Fathers today view their role and priorities differently than how they viewed their father’s priorities when they were growing up. Interestingly, 1 in 3 working fathers spend more than 16 hours during the workweek with their children, more than half, 57%, don’t feel they spend enough time with them.”

Molly Mayer and Le B. Céline, Population Research and Policy Review (2019) state, “As fathers, with the help of paternity leave, increasingly occupy a presence in the home, it becomes easier for mothers to re-enter the labor market after childbirth. It is also believed that when men take the same length of parental leave as women, it will help make the labor market more gender-equal in terms of opportunities, as the “cost” of childbirth is distributed more equally among men and women.”

Working dads shouldn’t have to choose between their children and a paycheck. A newborn baby is a challenge, but when both parents share the responsibility, their partnership becomes even stronger and there’s less room for resentment in the future. According to Mathew C. Klein, Barron’s (Online, 2019), “Pushing men to spend more time with their children would, therefore, help both men and women. This is a collective action problem that requires a collective solution. If everyone takes time off, the career penalty for any individual worker disappears. Companies initially resisted giving workers eight-hour days, weekends, and holidays, but they eventually adapted. There is no reason they can’t also accommodate the needs of men and women having families. If mothers disproportionately take time off to raise children, women will continue to be permanently disadvantaged for spending long stretches out of the office while men get promoted and move up the ladder. This is obviously bad for women, but it is also bad for men—and business.”

Marie-Claude Lavoie, a doctoral student in epidemiology in the department of public health and epidemiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, says, “Some states, such as California and New Jersey, have addressed this concern and demonstrated leadership in tackling the financial sustainability of paid parental leave. In California, the legislation for paid family leave offers employees a maximum of six weeks of partial pay, to care for a newborn. Under the State Disability Insurance program, the benefits are covered through payroll taxes. In discussing costs, we must remember that there is also a cost associated with not providing paid maternity leave. For example, the cost of daycare might overshadow the mother’s salary, potentially leading a woman to leave her employment. Families may then have to seek government aid to help them recover from the loss of income. For companies, there are also economic burdens associated with failure to provide paid maternal leave, as it may affect staff retention and lead to lower productivity.”

To conclude whether men should be given paid paternity leave or not, still, and will continue to remain controversial. The more that men see other men taking parental leave, the more it will become the norm.  In Ernst & Young’s global generational survey, 83% of American millennials said they would be more likely to join a company offering such benefits. Therefore, offering equal parental leave can help attract and retain top talent. A company’s parental leave policy should be inclusive for all and allow everyone to thrive in the workplace. Equality starts at home!

It’s clear that the call for paternity leave in the United States is growing. As more men have the courage to choose and become “Dadvocates,” businesses will reap the benefits of a more loyal, happier, and balanced workforce. Take advantage of the time off given to you. Show how well it works and be a pioneer in the workplace, and don’t’ give up. By making decisions that are best for family needs, it helps to build a coalition of like-minded individuals who share the same goal of making family leave happen at the workplace.

Posted in inspirational

Hummingbird Migration

Pandemic or no pandemic, Hummingbirds are taking flight and I’m beyond thrilled to see them again. They are one of the most beloved species in the animal kingdom and certainly one of my absolute favorites. What’s not to like about them? Most species of hummingbirds provide us with magnificent colors, particularly when the light hits them, because of the prism style cells that are in the top layer of the feathers. The wavelengths that split when the light reflects off of them are what gives us shiny colors one moment and softened colors the next. Fun fact: once they get used to being around you, they’re no longer afraid. So, they won’t be afraid to approach you even when your crazy uncle is wearing that horrible Hawaiian shirt. They might even get close enough to check if there is any nectar in those printed flowers.

Hummingbirds are the smallest, most colorful, and intelligent birds in the animal kingdom. They have been part of our culture for centuries. The Aztecs have noted them in their talisman, and they were beloved and admired for their energy. Warriors believed that if they were true to battle but lost their lives, they would come back as a hummingbird. One could only hope to come back as this stunning creature!

In the Spring, the annual hummingbird migration to their summer destination begins! These gorgeous birds travel from their winter homes in South or Central America and Mexico, towards the refreshing breezes in the north. Hummingbirds use a tremendous amount of energy during their migration journey. You might think that the human race or other animal species would be some of their biggest threats, but in all actuality, weather conditions and global warming are at the top of the list. These conditions alter their migration by affecting the time when flowers will bloom and the supply of nectar is available.

Although there are differing views in the birding community as to what triggers the start of migration, it is generally thought that hummingbirds sense changes in daylight duration, as well as changes in the abundance of flowers, nectar, and insects. Instinct also plays a vital role in that decision.

Hummingbirds fly by day when nectar sources are more abundant. Flying low allows the birds to see and stop at food supplies along the way. They’re experts at using tail winds to help reach their destination faster, by consuming less energy and body fat. Strong cold fronts moving south over the Gulf of Mexico can make flying more difficult, as the birds deal with headwinds and heavy rain over long distances with no shelter. Food is also non-existent over the open waters. Research indicates a hummingbird can travel as much as 23 miles in one day. That’s incredible for something so small.

High-speed capture sequence of two velvet-purple coronets sparring near a hummingbird feeder in Ecuador. A slow-motion video has shown how the hummingbirds deal with rain when they are flying.

To remove the water from their heads, they shake their heads and bodies, similar to a dog shaking, to shed water. Further, when raindrops collectively may weigh as much as 38% of the bird’s body weight, hummingbirds shift their bodies and tails horizontally, beat their wings faster, and reduce their wings’ angle of motion when flying in heavy rain.

During migration, a hummingbird’s heart beats up to 1,260 times a minute, and its wings flap 15 to 80 times a second. To support this high energy level, a hummingbird will typically gain 25-40% of their body weight before they start migration, in order to be able to make the long trek over land and water. They fly alone, often on the same path they have flown earlier in their life. The young hummingbirds must navigate without parental guidance and the first arrivals in spring are usually males. Some don’t migrate at all, such as areas in California and the upper Pacific coast.

By August and September, hummingbirds are moving south, refueling their bodies in the early morning, traveling midday, and foraging again in the late afternoon to maintain their body weight, and once again, beginning their journey to migrate.