BloggingEducationMarketingMobile AppsProductivitySecurity & PrivacyShoppingSocial MediaTechnologyUncategorized

In our office we share memes, eat cake and brainstorm… a lot. But there’s one thing we do even more of.

We use our phones, like a lot, a lot! We use them for testing apps, testing websites, social media management, communication, the list goes on. So with that said, we want to give you the inside scoop of what apps we love to use day in day out, and why they are vital to our entertainment, productivity, communication and lifestyle.

We wrote an article a few weeks back about some of our favorite phone gadgets. Some were for pleasure, others for productivity. If you missed it, you can check it out here as today’s article goes hand in hand. So between, web designers, developers, digital marketers and our CEO, these apps are the ones you need to download, like yesterday!

Let’s begin with entertainment.

Head phones

Apple Music, Spotify, and Google Play Music, we need music like we need our coffee!

Podcast can be under entertainment and productivity as there are so many different types of podcasts out there. Our top favorite podcast apps are Podcasts (Apple) and Castbox. Castbox has over  95 million volumes of content and is available for almost all devices.

A few musicians came forward in the office and shared their favorite apps. Guitar Tuna was recommended by a few as an app to tune your guitar on the go or as a back up. It is available for both Apple and Android. Tabs is an app that has thousands of guitar, bass and ukulele tabs and chords for all your favorite songs. If you are looking to take up an instrument here’s two apps that are a go-to’s for the musicians in the office.

Audible is another app that fits into productivity and entertainment. Audible is a mobile library, with loads of books you can listen to or read.

Quora is an app to share opinions, knowledge and feedback. Ask a question and get a helpful answer.

Productivity

editing

Lynda.com is a popular app for taking online courses. You can choose a topic you would like to learn, for example: photography, web design, film, finance, interior design. The list is endless. You can also choose software you would like to learn. So if you are a photographer, maybe a course that is beneficial to your business is learning how to use Photoshop. If you are looking to get into finance industry, a valuable course might be learning QuickBooks, you can learn QuickBooks for payroll, online, for a Mac, etc.

We also have a lot of photographers in the office, so photo-shop apps or editing apps came up right away. Our favorites are Lightroom and Photoshop Fix, both are easy to use and high quality.

Our office uses Microsoft Teams to communicate and share info with each other (as well as a truck load of memes) it’s a secure way to create group messages. There are so many features within the program to expand functionality: like creating different groups, include files, planners and meetings.

If you want to create logos or invitations an extremely useful app is Canva. You can create logos, Pinterest graphics, resize images to fit other social media platforms, create business cards and so much more! We use this everyday to create our graphics, and images.

Lifestyle

Family Organization

Everyone has those apps they use regularly or occasionally that just make your life so much easier. When it comes to lifestyle, the office has a variety of favorites.

Some of us are obsessed with the weather, so we’ve got you covered with choosing the best weather apps. WeatherCan and The Weather Network are our most reliable apps we would recommend to anyone and everyone.

Cozi is a popular app for family organization. You can add shopping lists, cleaning schedules and upcoming events that your family has planned. It’s the perfect app for a busy family and even busier parents.

If you are prone to migraines which some are in the office the Migraine Buddy app is the best app according to both patients and doctors. This app helps you record and identify all aspects of your migraine. For example; what triggers them, your symptoms, medications and so on.

Headspace is a meditation app that helps you let go of stress, learn to relax and get a better nights sleep. If you don’t already have this app it’s definitely a must! Everyone can use a few techniques to reduce stress and anxiety during our busy lives.

 

What are some apps that are essential for you or just plain fun? Let us know in the ‘leave a comment’ section at the bottom! We’d love to hear from you.

 

BloggingEducationMarketingProductivitySEOSocial MediaTechnologyUncategorized

pinterest

Pinterest: An app where women find recipes and DIY projects, right?

recipes

Many people see Pinterest as an app women use to find home improvement ideas or recipes, but it has far progressed from when it was first released in 2010. Marketers are using it as a platform to drive more website traffic and increase sales. Pinterest has become a major visual search engine in the past few years. So how can you use it for your business in 2019?

 

Pinterest is 80% more viral and 3x more effective at generating leads than Twitter

traffic

1. Pinterest Drives Heavy Traffic 

Pinterest has a hover feature that when clicked it directs users directly to your site, This eliminates the amount of steps people have to take to get to your site. The other benefit is that users can pin pictures directly from your site, increasing your websites visibility.

watch

2. Longer Post Exposure

The average lifespan of a Pinterest post is three and half months,  that’s 1,600 times longer than a Facebook post. Pins last forever, meaning that it’s easier for people to search for you and easily find your latest pins. As time goes by and your pin gets shared by other users it continues to spread like wildfire. No need to re-share content and repeat your pin over and over.

3. Excellent SEO Strategy

Use keywords in your description for higher visibility and your target audience to find you easier. Continue to post with those keywords and create boards that are relevant.When a google search is made with that keyword, your pins will show up.

4. Free Marketing From Your Fans

The more your content is pinned the more visibility you gain, just like with any social media, although you don’t need to invest in content marketing, just spend time getting quality images and a good description and your pin is ready to be shared countless times. Users want to be inspired, so inspire them.

share

5. Engage Easier With Customers

Even though Pinterest is smaller than Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it is easy to engage with people on this platform. Users are eager to share, they want to send their ideas and dreams with others, so if they like your content they will be eager to share it.

 

We’d love to hear your Pinterest strategies. Leave us a comment below!

 

BloggingMarketingProductivitySecurity & PrivacySelf-ImprovementSocial MediaUncategorized

screen time

Social media nowadays is more than just a social network. It is used as a tool for businesses and a way to communicate with others. Although sometimes, we can get too caught up in the scrolling world that we don’t realize how it could be affecting our well being, relationships and even work.

As a digital marketing specialist I work with various social media platforms every day. It’s my job to scroll, to build community and relationships with people. Social media is a business tool so deleting it just isn’t an option… or is it?

The answer is yes. Yes, you can delete social media and you know why? Because it’s good for you.

community

 

The average person will spend nearly two hours a day on social media.

Want to to see if you fit the average? Take a look at your Screen Time feature (if you have an iPhone.) The results will likely surprise you. You can see which categories you spend the most time on. Entertainment, productivity, social networking etc. You can also see how many notifications you get a day and how many times you pick up your device. As someone who works on social media for work, my times may be a bit above average but I want to give you a look at what my statistics look like.

Average Screen time per day: 4 hours 33 minutes

Social networking (you will be knocked off your feet here) 24 *hours* 20 minutes! (Time for a social media detox!)

Pickups: 92 per day

Notifications: 59 per day

This is a lot of phone time! Most of it is social networking.

So here’s why it’s so important to take some time away from social media, even if you use it as a business tool. And some tips to get around the business aspect of it to put your mind at ease when you step away.

 

1. Social media tends to make you focus on others more than yourself

You mindlessly scroll, coming across a picture of how your co-worker bought a new car, or that your friends went out and had sushi on Saturday night. Are these things you really need to know about? No, not really. It’s entertaining, for sure. But this tends to just make you more concerned with what others are doing with their lives, rather than what you are doing with yours. Weekends spent working towards your personal, or business goals may not be glamorous or Instagram worthy. But it’s good for you. Taking the time away from social media means that you have to go out of your way to find out about other peoples lives. Its not just information accessibly to you. So if you need to know what others are doing you will have to be intentional.

private

2. Too public

Privacy has gone out the window, that is usually when it comes to social media. Of course as a business, keeping people in the loop about new offers or features you offer is key to your account and potential leads. But are you being too public with your personal account? Or finding it draining when others are too public with their lives? This could be a sign that you need to take a step away from the screen. Realigning what is appropriate to post on social media platforms and what is private to you or your family sometimes comes from taking a step away and realizing that you can still have a good time, without having to post about it or update your Facebook status.

3. Distorted version of reality

I can tell you that many accounts you follow on Instagram or Facebook are not all they say they are. Not that they are lying to you with their words, but sometimes it can be hard to differentiate whats real and whats not in an image. You see it in magazines, on billboards, TV ads and so many more places, especially on your own device. With the apps available to literally anyone, you can’t trust what is real or not. I can make the trees in the fall look more radiant than they actually are, my skin more glowing, even make water move in a still image. False images are thrown to you left and right and sometimes it’s exhausting. Even if you don’t realize it.

photoshop

4. Live in the moment

Ever been to a wedding and can’t actually see the beautiful bride because of all the phones popping up all over the place? Cellphones have actually changed how professional photographers do their job. Some couples have asked that people put their phones in a basket because the photographer won’t be able to get beautiful pictures without arms stretched all over the isle trying to get pictures or live videos for the world to see. We have sometimes forgotten how to truly live in the moment. Taking a social media detox will make events or scenery more fulfilling for you. Try going outdoors for a hike and just breathe in the fresh air, take in the moment.

Resist the temptation to pull out your phone to document the event or share it with your friends. Do it for you.

you are here

5. Free up your time

Now that your phone doesn’t have 410 notifications (okay maybe that an exaggeration) a day from Facebook or Twitter what do you do with all your free time? You can read a book, try yoga, go for a long walk with your dog… the possibilities are endless. You may even notice your energy go up, with removing yourself from comparison and false reality.

 

Quick tips to take a break from social media if you need it for work:

  • Get a scheduling app. Apps like Buffer or Tailwind can schedule your content for you if you need to be on top of posting for your business. Put in a bit extra time to retrieve content and caption your posts. Schedule them for times that suit your audience, simple as that!
  • Only delete your personal account to cut down on time you spend endlessly scrolling on the platform. Restrict your time limits to only work hours or only to answer messages or comments. (check in once a day for only a few minutes and avoid going into the feed. Only check notifications or places that actually need your attention.)
  • Hire someone to manage your social media accounts for you, so your account is still active even if you aren’t. This will make it easier if you want to make it a routine to get unconnected with the digital world more often.

social media

Taking a digital detox (more specifically social media) has multiple benefits to your personal well being.  The world will not end if you don’t upload a picture of your food. Allow yourself to step away from time to time. It’s becoming more and more important as social media grows to set boundaries with what’s private and what’s public. Start with one day, then a weekend, and adjust accordingly. Some can go a month, while for others, a day is just as refreshing.

 

If you are looking for someone to manage social media for your business, send us an email or call us at 780-652-1190

BloggingMarketingSocial Media

social media management tips

A few months back we had a local business friend inquire about growing her Instagram. This business owner is well known in the local community and even award winning in her industry. She sent me a message along the lines of “Any suggestions what I am doing wrong here? I can’t seem to grow my following on Instagram even though I have these awards and am known in the community.”

This is something I hear often. “Why can’t I seem to grow my online following?”

But before I get into the tips for how to grow your Instagram, let’s first take a look at what your goals are. When I sit down with a new or potential social media management client, I always ask what the goals are for the social media. Is the goal for more sales online? Is the goal for brand awareness? Do you have a specific followers count number in mind?  Who is your customer you are speaking to online?

Armed with some of these answers we can create a game plan.

Personalize your brand

People are not inclined to follow accounts and companies that are all about the sales push. If you can connect with the people following your account through your personalization ,they are far more likely to follow AND to engage with you online.

A couple examples of personalizing your brand could be featuring people who work for your company. Share information about your staff, their interests and their jobs/experiences. At Panda Rose we do a weekly Feature Friday of one of our staff members and they are always a big hit. People like to know who is behind the work.

If you are a single person show or really small operation, you can offer some insight into your life. What do you like to do with some of your spare time outside of the office/work site? Do you have a family? Are you a foodie? Getting a bit more personal helps people connect with you and feel as if they are not always being sold on something.

social media management tips

Have clean/clear pictures

The occasional quote or meme can be fun, but too much of a good thing is well…. too much. Keep the photos you are uploading clean and clear. This doesn’t mean they have to all be done by a professional, but avoid posting pictures that are blurry, too dark and/or poor quality.  You can take fun courses online about photography if you really are wanting to get into it, but honestly there are a lot of bloggers and Instagrammers online that also use their phones for snapping pictures.

BE SOCIAL

I can’t stress this one enough. It’s called social media, not “put pictures up and don’t talk to anyone to get famous media”. Some quick tips for engaging online with others:

  1. Comment on other peoples photos that you follow and that follow you. Talk to the people who are already enagaging with you! This helps build a community around your page/brand.
  2. Search hashtags that are relevant to your industry/business. Are you a wedding cake baker in Edmonton? Search for #yegweddings and find and follow other industry people or couples getting married. Engage with them and be seen, but again also creating that community.
  3. Ask questions on your posts/stories. When you ask questions, people love to give you their opinions. They want to share in their experience with you and give suggestions and tips of their own. This helps with community building, relationship building, shows you are listening and at the same time gives you an in depth insight into your customer. What do they like? What do they want? What are their interests?

 

Make sure you connect with Panda Rose Consulting Studios Inc on Instagram! 

Panda Rose

BloggingMarketingSEOSocial MediaWeb Development

SEO for loans

Your online presence has bearing when it comes to getting a loan for your business.

According to Statistics Canada from 2016, 51.3% of small businesses request funds to help with their business. Over half of those people are requesting the money from financial institutions such as banks. Many business owners are looking to purchase equipment to speed up processes, hire employees, get into larger spaces and purchase high volume of items. Whatever the reasoning your business is looking to expand, you may need a loan in order to boost your business to take it to the next level.

“51.3% of small businesses request funds to help with their business.”

Last week we were lucky to have Tom Yeo from Scotiabank in Spruce Grove stop by to chat about the importance of your online presence when banks are considering you for a loan. When looking at getting a loan from the bank for business, there are a lot of factors at play, but as Tom explains, they always look online at your businesses website. Whether you sell online items or not, they look up your website.

So what exactly are they looking for when they look up your business online?

Tom says the first thing he does is look at the company website. He looks at the About Us section to see if it is up to date, relevant and if there even is one at all. He is looking to see that there is contact information and that its up to date. He wants to know that your company is going to have business for the next 2, 5, or even 10 years. Tom says then as he’s looking at the website he is looking to see “that it’s professionally done. That then shows that the company takes pride in what it’s doing and is actually invested in it’s image that’s out there.”

“shows that the company takes pride in what it’s doing and is actually invested in it’s image”

Your business’ online image is important for a lot of reasons. It’s important for potential loaners, investors, clients and even employees.

Tom goes on to say that “there was a company I recently decided not to do business with, because when I looked up their company online, what came up was employee reviews and they were all negative.” Now we all know that in business, we can’t make everyone happy. We also know that sometimes there are people out there that make a point to try to ruin a reputation of a company. When I asked Tom if there was any bearing in responses from the company on reviews he replied that it’s important to “manage you entire presence” and that replying to reviews has a “huge impact if done in a professional response.”

There is a bit of a process when beginning to look at funding options for your business, and managing your online presence is one of them. Look for:

  • Reviews.  Search your company online and find reviews. Respond to any concerns left by employees or clients. We even suggest responding to the people who left you wonderful reviews! It’s great for SEO and building community around your brand.
  • Your website information is up to date an relevant. Make sure your contact information is correct and that your products and services are up to date as well.
  • Your website looks professional.

Pop over to our blog post 5 Website Mistakes That Are Hurting Your Business for more tips!

About Tom: Tom Yeo is originally from the UK and moved to Canada a few years ago. He has been in the banking industry for approximately 10 years in a variety of roles including personal banking, business banking and investments.

 

Panda Rose technical solutions solved

BloggingMarketingSEOSocial MediaUncategorized

social media for business

Social Media has been an important part of business for a while now. It’s not going away any time soon and will continue to be a player in business. However, not all social media channels are created equally for business. Each has their place and purpose, especially depending on your businesses industry.

But where do you even start?

Sometimes it can feel like a daunting task looking at all the different platforms and thinking about signing up for, creating accounts for and content for all of these accounts.

The good news is; well you don’t have to do that. Yes, there are many platforms, and yes it would be amazing if you could be active on them all. However it’s not necessary. So let’s take a look at how to figure out what social media platforms are best for your business and how to keep them active.

There are many platforms but generally here are the major ones:

First, take a look at who your demographic is? Who is your client/customer? Do you service other businesses? Maybe a platform like LinkedIn and Twitter are a better place to spend your efforts connecting to other business people and building those relationships. Do you sell a product or service for a younger demographic? You are more likely to find them on Snapchat or Instagram. Do you sell craft supplies, fashion items or nearly anything you ship worldwide? Pinterest might be the place you put your time and energy.

Once you have defined your demographic and where they might be hanging out then you can start to develop a plan around building that platform. Find content related to your business or your client and start to post. Post often (3-7 times a week) but not too often (3-7 times a day!). You can share your own blog posts, ones you love, photos or memes.

Most importantly BE SOCIAL! Social media is about being social. Post things, but also engage with the people around you. Like and comment and have conversations on other peoples content as well. Did you read a funny meme someone shared and it actually made you laugh a bit out loud? Let them know! Was an article or blog post shared that you found great information in? Share your views on the topic.

Once you feel like you have got a good handle on a platform or that it’s performing well/has a decent following, then you can work on tackling another platform. This helps prevent a little bit of the burn out from social media channels and the overwhelm!

 

Panda Rose

BloggingMarketingSEOUncategorized

blogging for business

blogging for business

Blogging is BIG

It’s said that the first blog started in 1994 and by the middle of 2006 there was over 50 million blogs. 8-10 years ago blogs became a primary source of information for many people world wide and of course are still used a lot today.

Blogging however is more then just a place for people to write about their day or feelings. Blogs are being used for business and information purposes every day. Clients and consumers like to research companies and products, so they are knowing who and what they are working with/buying. Here is where a blog comes in. This is you opportunity as a business to reach out to your clients and give them the information they are searching for.

 

1.Establish yourself as an authority

The first great thing about having a blog on your website, is that you have an opportunity to establish yourself as an authority in your clients eyes. By offering content related to what your customer is looking for, you are adding value and empowering your client to make information based decisions. By being an authority and having an empowered consumer, there is a built trust, instead of sales based off shakey ground. This helps increase client happiness and thus retention.

2.Boosts Website SEO

Trying to get to the top of search engines? There really is no quick fix that lasts a long time? Getting to the top of search engines takes some time and of course information is key. By blogging on your site related to the products or services you offer, it’s putting more of that relevant information on your site. The more information on your site, the more search engines believe your site is relevant to what is being searched. Google sees your site as an authority and ranks it higher.

3.Evergreen content

Slightly tied in with the above, blogging can create something we call “Evergreen content”. Evergreen content is something that’s always relevant. Information that isn’t changing with the trends or seasons. (Kind of like an evergreen tree!). You of course can write about hot topics, but creating content on your site that is always applicable to your business, helps keep consumers informed and keywords on your site.

4. Answers potential clients questions

Some people visit FAQ sections, and some don’t think to. Some are not even sure of the questions they have until it’s presented to them. By writing about tips, tricks or general information you may just answer a question for a potential client. This can save both you and them some time. And when they reach out to you, they are informed and again higher likeliness to sign/purchase.

5. Shareables

Creating blog posts and content on your site can provide enough information that people are interested in sharing it. If there is enough value (and it’s slightly entertaining right?) people want to share it. Share with friends or family or co workers etc. This sharing helps expose your business to more people who could potentially become clients/customers. They start to read your information, because an empowered, informed consumer and trust you to be that person that offers a service/product.

5.5 It’s fun

Okay maybe at first it’s not, but seriously gets the creative juices flowing some days!