MarketingMobile AppsSEOSocial Media

Instagram is a great platform for business to show off their entertaining and creative side. It is easy to use, easily accessed and fun to work with.

Unfortunately, I often find businesses treating their Instagram business profile like their website or worse, like a scrapbook. I’ll tell you why that is hurting their business.  

Like I said before, Instagram is for creativity and fun. When a business has a difficult time portraying those aspects of themselves it can turn people off to being their customer. Businesses do this in a couple different ways, let’s take a look and explore the fixes. 

Posting Unrelated Photos

This is an issue for the sake of professionalism. When I decide I want to follow a business on Instagram, it is for one of two reasons. 1) I want to see more posts from them. They posted an eye catching photo and I want to see posts similar to that one more often. Or 2) I have used their service or bought a product from them and wish to find out more about the company and support them.

When a business I decided to follow starts posting unrelated pictures, I lose interest quickly and I will normally unfollow.

But there is a right way to post “unrelated photos.” This is because they are not completely unrelated. A safe and fun way to do this is through Instagram stories. These are an easy way to show your followers a more relaxed or goofy side of you. Posting pictures of your children, snowfall, shenanigans in the office and dessert or any other random noteworthy picture goes in the 24 hour lasting Instagram stories. These personal pictures keep you real.

The point of bringing this up is a reminder to be a self aware business. Are you posting something that will intrigue your followers? How are you hoping people will react or engage with this post? What does this picture say about your company? These are questions we need to keep in mind while posting if we are looking to put on the best face for the company.

 

Posting Irregularly

The human brain is weird. We like things we are comfortable with. By this I mean that we would generally rather have some knowledge than to not know anything about what we are walking into. Keeping this in mind, we should be posting often and on a schedule. Doing this would result in masses of people who know about you. Who would clearly know what your business  specializes in, how your business would benefit them, and would put good word in for yourself. This is necessary in today’s day and age.

If you didn’t Instagram it, did it even happen?

 

And worst of all, Poor Quality Photos.

Instagram was created for aesthetic. This means color schemes, professional looking photos, organization and planning ahead. When a business does not do this they are not meeting the standard. Therefore they sell  themselves short.

Your business is reliable, honest and provides top quality. You know that and I know that, but the picture of your cluttered desk in poor lighting using your favorite filter from 2015 does not portray good things about our business to the judgmental human eye.

It can be difficult to know makes a good photo. What is the right lighting? What theme works best for your page? How should you manage the times you publish posts?

If you are feeling creative and think you can fix up your business page on your own, I would look for inspiration from big names. Check out Instagram profiles like Apple or Instagram itself. Or you could look into artsy profiles to find out what is trending concerning color schemes and filters.

If you are feeling lost when it comes to your business’s potentially aesthetic profile, that is OK. There are people all around you who would love to help point you in the right direction or take over your business profile entirely. They are called social media managers and you can talk to us at Panda Rose for such information.

A business profile can bring a lot of pressure. But let me assure you it isn’t all that complicated. Create a step by step process for your posts. Be sure you can check off the requirements you believe your posts need to meet the standard of an effective and engaging profile. If all else fails, you can always hire someone to make it work for you.     

 

I hope this blog post was helpful and that I will get to see all of your beautiful business profiles thriving.

 

Tessa  Houcher

MarketingMobile AppsProductivityTechnology

Will email ever die? Is email already dead? I have no idea. With the many different answers I have found on the Internet, it appears that as a whole, we really don’t know if email is leaving anytime soon or if it is already gone. I do however, think that texting is superior to email and that there is great potential for your business in using texting over email with your potential and loyal customers. So lets take a look at what we do know. 

 

Texting has become the popular form of communication of today. People like texting because of the relaxed setting. Texting doesn’t feel like work the same way that email does. Studies have also suggested that people say things over text that they wouldn’t say in person, its an opportunity for honesty. Texts allow for causal questions and answers without hassle. That said, here are my reasons as to why you need to look into reaching your customers through texting.

 

The stress free atmosphere that texting provides will first off allow customers to feel free to ask questions! You may have given them the ability to ask questions before, but the process of emailing feels like a hassle. Yes, I know submitting an email is easy. But people want answers right then and there. Even if texting is not actually instant, people are more likely to trust that a text was sent and delivered without complication because texting is just that basic. You could use this trust concept to your company’s advantage.

 

Let’s say a customer had a quick, generic question, they could either submit an email through your company’s website as they have been your customer on a couple occasions or they could ask Google and receive multiple answers from multiple resources along with advertising from your competitors, how do you think a person would seek out the answer? I know that if it was me, I would just Google it.

 

But, if I had been your customer before and had your company’s texting number and you had made it clear that I was free to ask questions, I would totally ditch the million answers from Google to get feedback from a company I had used before and have no reason not to trust.  

 

Another benefit of giving your company’s texting number to customers is that people use texting constantly. For you this means that notifications from you could not get ignored the way emails can, you could get away with more texts than emails and it is quick! You send a text, they take a quick glance and would know what the point of the text is.

 

Will email ever die? Is email already dead? I have no idea. With the many different answers I have found on the Internet, it appears that as a whole, we really don’t know if email is leaving anytime soon or if it is already gone. I do however, think that texting is superior to email and that there is great potential for your business in using texting over email with your potential and loyal customers.

 

Texting has become the popular form of communication of today. People like texting because of the relaxed setting. Texting doesn’t feel like work the same way that email does. Studies have also suggested that people say things over text that they would never say in person. Texts allow for causal questions and answers without hassle. That said, here are my reasons as to why you need to look into reaching your customers through texting.

 

The stressless atmosphere that texting provides will first off allow for customers to feel free to ask questions! You may have given them the ability to ask questions before, but the process of submitting a question on your website takes time. Submitting an email is easy, yes I know that. But people want answers right then and there. Even if texting is not actually instant, people are more likely to trust that a text was sent and delivered without complication because texting is just that basic. You could use this trust concept to your company’s advantage.

 

Let’s say a customer had a quick, generic question, they could either submit an email through your company’s website as they have been your customer on a couple occasions or they could ask Google and receive multiple answers from multiple resources along with advertising from your competitors, how do you think a person would seek out the answer? I know that if it was me, I would just Google it.

 

But, if I had been your customer before and had your company’s texting number and you had made it clear that I was free to ask questions, I would totally ditch the million answers from Google to get feedback from a company I had used before and have no reason not to trust.  

 

Another benefit of giving your company’s texting number to customers is that people use texting constantly. For you this means that notifications from you could not get ignored the way emails can, you could get away with more texts than emails and it is quick! You send a text, they take a quick glance and would know what the point of the text is.

 

Now they could move on and not even think about the 10 seconds they took to check the text from you, or if your call to action was enticing enough they may take a minute or two longer to click the link you gave them.

 

You can text your customers your latest deals, discounts, referral information, blog links, and reminders about shipping (imagine how your affiliates would love to simply text for you.) What I am trying to say is that you can text them anything that you are currently email them. But a text is favoured by your customers because of how low-key a it is and they would feel free to answer or ask a question without overthinking. (As a professional overthinker, I know this first hand.)

 

A factor to be careful with is to know that your customers gave you your number and trusts that you won’t abuse that privilege. Text them about things they would care about, or what ever it is that they actually signed up for. If you do this correctly you will form a relationship of trust between the business and customer, this will ensure further sales.

 

I do have one concern with your company texting it’s customers; people may expect instant replies. Now unless you have someone working your texting phone 24/7 you may want to clarify. Upfront you need to explain that it is a person with many responsibilities who is replying to their important texts. Customers appreciate humans. Messaging bots do not have a good reputation when it comes to talking with customers. If your customers know they are talking to a human and not an  incompetent robot, they would commend you for that.

 

Speaking of robots, another possibility with texting your customers is that someday a bot could do it all for you. Yes I know I just said that customers prefer capable humans to  unintelligent robots. But someday actually intelligent, messaging bots will be quite able to interpret natural language and give a proper answer. The ability for your company to have a dependable messaging bot would be extremely beneficial for you and your customers.

 

When bots are smart enough to communicate back and forth with customers, I know that these messaging bots will be the only realistic way to reach customers. Until then, I think that emailing will stick around… even though texting makes so much sense.

 

What are your thoughts on being texted by companies? Would you switch your company over to texting over emailing, why or why not? I would love to hear your thoughts!

 

Tess Houcher

 

MarketingMobile AppsSEOSocial Media

 

At the end of your work day, you flop on to your couch, grab your phone, click on your Facebook application and prepare yourself for all the memes you are about to discover. What a great way to end your day. You are scrolling past the argumentative political posts and the millions of pictures of your cousin’s children when you notice an eye catching ad from Netflix. “Its World Emoji Day!” You read on to find out that Netflix can now give you suggestions on what to watch, based on your emotions! Netflix can read my emotions, cool!

 

You click the link and it takes you to the Messenger app. There are instructions to send an emoji based on your feelings. You take a moment to consider your emotions. How are you feeling right this moment? After some consideration you come to the conclusion that the starry eyed, amazed emoji sums you up best. You hit send and see that Netflix is going to respond to you right away! Wow, Netflix sure knows how to make a guy feel special. A message from Netflix appears and it reads: “I love a good blockbuster!” Then a link to the movie Jurassic Park III shows up. You are not disappointed. The Jurassic movies are your FAVORITE! How did Netflix know?? You smile as you click the Watch Now button.

Pretty cool right? Who knew our technology would have advanced this much to give such accurate movie suggestions by 2018? I sure didn’t.

Maybe that’s because it hasn’t…

 

The story I shared with you isn’t the whole truth. While I did actually send Netflix the starry eyed, amazed emoji and I was given the suggestion to watch Jurassic Park III. I am 

actually not interested in watching that movie. I couldn’t tell you what movie I was expecting, or even what type of movie I was expecting, but Jurassic Park III wasn’t that movie.

 

So yes, I was slightly disappointed by the Netflix “emotion reader”. Notice, I only said slightly.

I realize I had the wrong understanding of what the messaging bot would offer me from the start.   

So if you find yourself confused like I was, allow me to enlighten you on the subject.

 

There are a few reasons why Netflix created this messaging bot.

First off, a messaging bot closes a relationship gap between the consumer and the company. The quick and simple communication between the two parties makes the consumers feel heard, connected, important and can make the relationship feel real. This will grow the trust the consumer has for the company.

 

Second, the bot allows for the consumer to be exposed to movies or a series that they otherwise never would have heard of. This way Netflix can show a user with strict genre preferences which restrict their personal accounts to limited type of shows, a variety of movies the user otherwise never would have looked into.

 

And third, Netflix is standing out! Netflix isn’t the only popular movie and TV show streaming platform but they are the only one with a messaging bot connected to your Facebook!

 

However I know that the bot has room for improvement.

 

I sent Netflix the dancing girl emoji and I was expecting a movie with a female lead or something along the lines of Pitch Perfect, Wonder Woman or The Crown. Instead the suggestion I received was an animated children’s Christmas sing-a-long. A movie I have zero interest in watching.

 

I love what Netflix was going for. But I don’t think the messaging bot was much more than a marketing scheme. Which is fine, actually smart on their part, every company needs to stand out some way.

 

But creating a well running suggestion messaging bot was not their goal. If it was they undoubtedly failed.

 

Maybe someday they will be able to release a bot that can actually communicate with us and give accurate show suggestions. Until then, I will enjoy this bot by sending in all of the emojis and seeing all of the diverse suggestions Netflix has for me. Who knows maybe I will find a new series I  love!

 

What marketing strategy would you try?

 

Tess Houcher

Mobile AppsSelf-ImprovementSocial Media

fireworks

fireworks

The year 2017 is coming to a close and we can see 2018 on the horizon. This transition is nothing new, it happens annually. We know the drill.

Memes will bash 2017 for a while, saying how we will never miss it. Eventually we will give 2018 a hard time and start looking forward to 2019.

Why is that?

What does a 12 month cycle really have to do with starting fresh? The biggest world wide change we experience is a digit moving up in marking what year it is.

To reward, to “start new”, to celebrate. It’s our nature. No matter if it makes perfect sense to celebrate the start of 12 new months, it is celebrated and with that celebration, traditionally comes resolutions.

New Year’s resolutions are the promises we make to ourselves yearly or the promises we are supposed to make in order to better our lives, to become better.

These promises may look something like: “I will work out for half an hour everyday”, “I will take time every morning to meditate”, “I will write for a minimum of 10 minutes everyday”, “I will only eat carbs on weekends”.

breakfast cereal granola with berries

These are all great plans. I wish I could say that I do all of these things and do them without fault. But that is not the case.

Now I know there are some amazing people out there who do stick with these promises made to better themselves. You are amazing. Keep on keeping on.

As for the rest of us who have a harder time keeping these promises, we have some thinking to do.

First, I would like to bring to your attention the fact that humans are imperfect. In fact, we are very far from perfect. This means that the promises we make also have the tendency to be broken.

Personally, I hate that feeling. Not following through with the things I said I would do.

Instead of setting myself up for a whole year of failure, due to an unkept resolution I have given myself a different mindset:

Do your moment’s best.

This means that if the best you can do at this moment is to skip dessert, do that. If the best you can do at this moment is to workout while you watch Netflix, do it. If the best you can do right now is to be gracious to the driver ahead of you who seems to be lost, be that.

woman driving a car

Maybe you are reading this thinking “Well that sounds simple enough” and you aren’t wrong, these are simple tasks, but they aren’t easy. The concept of always doing your best is very straightforward but are you able to will yourself to do better always?


There is something missing from this system. Did you catch it? There is no reward. No consistent or visible reward system anyways.

Reward systems are the way we were trained as children. It’s how we get through hours of studying or changing our diets. We want results and reasons to do what we are doing.

With a public New Year’s resolution, you can post your progress on social media. You can receive praise and encouragement. With the goal of doing your best always, it is difficult for others to give you recognition.

Are you ok with that?

woman taking a photo with an iphone

There are still good reasons to always do your best.

It will improve that moment for you and possibly others unknowingly involved. You will also be teaching yourself greater habits.

Which is sort of the point of this. Seeking to do your best will become habitual. If that is a good enough of a reward system for you, I hope you do get started right away! If you need more convincing, continue reading.

Doing your moment’s best means that you try your best as you are working at the office, being kind to the waitress at lunch, driving carefully, focusing on your child as they tell you about their math teacher and relaxing at the end of a long day. The purposeful decision to do your best effects so many people!

Concerning long term thinking, I believe that doing your moment’s best means allowing opportunities to come as they are and to give each situation that comes, (you guessed it) your very ✨best.✨

Do you think I’ve repeated myself enough times? 😅

I know that many of you are already doing your best in all that life throws at you. Thank you for that. I encourage you to encourage the people in your life. If not verbally, then through your actions and attitude, as we all know those speak louder than words ever could.

hand holding mini globe

So go, be the change even if it isn’t obvious or notable, do your moment’s best.

Tess Houcher

 

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Mobile AppsProductivitySelf-ImprovementSocial Media

Moment app screenshot

A tracking app you need

I spend an average of about 2 hours on my phone. Some days I spend as little as an hour and one day I almost spent 4 hours on my phone. I know this because of the iOS tracking app called Moment.

Moment app screenshot

I learned about this app as I was looking through a blog on medium which was one of the many on the topic of managing your phone, not letting your phone manage you. (Sadly I cannot find the blog I originally discovered the app from as this was a many weeks ago now.)

Once set up on your phone, Moment can tell you how long you have spent on your phone after having the app for a full day. Take a screenshot of the battery usage page in your settings and the app will be able to calculate how long you spent on each opened app. Your apps will be listed most to least used.

Moment requires that your location sharing is always on and you must leave the app on in the background of your phone at all times. These two conditions are easy to follow and the results you get are worth the small obligations on your end.

Like I said earlier, on average I spend about 2 hours and 20 minutes on my phone. It was reconfirmed by that app that my most used app is messages which was no surprise to me. The app tells me that I spend about 15–30 minutes on the messages. With Pinterest in a close second place as it has become my favourite pastime app now that I only have Facebook and Instagram on my phone during the weekends. The rest of the apps I use for about 3–12 minutes each.

traditional alarm clock

As I am typing this out now I have already spent 34 minutes on my phone today. I started my day at 7:40 am and it is now 10:47 am. Today I have spent time on my phone texting my family members to get this app. I spent some time reading on my phone during breakfast. I also have been on my phone to adjust the music I listen to as I work.

When I look back on the day I spent almost 4 hours on my phone, I am taken aback. But I looked into the details and apparently 21 of those minutes were spent on the home screen of my phone, meaning I probably didn’t know my phone was on. So that was sort of a relief.

4 hours is a long time. So much could be accomplished in that time. I could start and finish a big DIY project, go places and be productive! Instead all I have to show for that time is a guilting 4 hours on my phone.

red traffic lightI say guilting because the app changes the colour of each logged day. If you spend less than 2 hours on your phone the colour is green. If you spend between 2 and 3 hours on your phone, the colour is yellow. If you spend over 3 hours on your phone then the colour for that logged day is an alerting red.

I also had my social media apps on my phone that 4 hour day so that helps explain why I went so far over my average. Tsk tsk.

doughnut with bites out of it being held by woman with painted nailsMy weekends with my social media apps are kind of like a dieter’s cheat day but for my social media. I do not ever allow the app to send me notifications during this time though. This way I can still forget about the apps. I do this to train myself not to crave the platforms and all the sugary, fattening content. This system is working for me.

As I have now had Moment for almost a month, it has given me predictions such as the possibility that I could end up using my phone for 5 years of my life at my current rate. And that on average I get about 9 hours of sleep. This is based on when I last am on my phone to when I open it again in the morning. I love how informative the app is.


Like I told you before, as I was creating this blog post, I was texting different family members to ask them to get this app. It has now been a few weeks since then and some now they have well over 7 days of data that they have shared with us.

41 year old female

Average daily time on phone: Around 4 hours.
Most used apps: Facebook, Safari, Pinterest

42 year old male

Average daily time on phone: 3 hours and 30 minutes.
Most used apps: Facebook, Candy Crush, Safari

71 year old male

Average daily time on phone: Just over 3 hours.
Most used apps: Messenger, Safari, Life 360 (a family location tracking app.)

18 year old male

Average daily time on phone: 2 hours and 50 minutes.
Most used apps: Facebook, Instagram, Safari

13 year old female

Average daily time on phone: 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Most used apps: Pinterest and Messages

13 year old female

Average daily time on phone: 2 hours and 40 minutes.
Most used apps: Messages, Instagram, Pinterest

17 year old female

Average daily time on phone: 1 hour and 50 minutes.
Most used apps: Snapchat, Messages, Instagram

As you can see, the most popular apps are all about communication, Facebook and Messages are being used the most.

open Macbook Pro with smartphone, plant, and cup of coffeeI would also like to note that the 41 year olds and up claim that they are on their phone more on the days that they are working. Meaning their phones are used for their work.

I explained to them that this experiment was just to see what the averages were, not to guilt people into using their phones less.

A couple people who I made get the app for this blog ended up making deliberate choices to shorten the amount of time they spend on their phones. Others embraced their hours spent on their phones. (One of them liked to brag about having the “high score”…😏) But most just became self aware. Which was the point.

I encourage you to try the Moment app. Not to guilt you into changing your routine or anything, but to become aware.

Tess Houcher

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HolidaysMobile AppsSelf-ImprovementSocial Media

No I didn’t go anywhere. But I was away. I deleted my social media apps from my phone for a week. Therefore, I was away.

If you want to know why I left for a week, check out my previous blog here.

During my time off from Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat (which I deleted from my phone two days into my week off of these other two apps.) I noticed a few things that I would love to highlight for you.

First off, it is challenging for the first 3ish days. The rest of the week wasn’t that bad. (So you could do it too!)

Yes, people did end up saying “Good for you.” After that first response there were a few different comments to follow. Some told me that they may try a week off from social media as well. Another person made sure I knew that just because I was doing it, that didn’t mean they were going to take a break too. Then there was just the eyebrow raise.

One unpleasant drawback was during down time in a group setting everyone ended up on their phones. In my attempt to bring my friends attention back to the world around them and not the ones on their screens is when I got those last two responses. This part of the social media cleanse was extra difficult. It also was a major eye opener to the norms of my life and of my peers.

It’s easier to go with the flow.

Another thing I learned about myself during this week is that I definitely had been prioritizing social media. Before I couldn’t tell if social media was really taking up that much time in my life. I realize now that it was, and that I now have time! Time that I no longer want to spend scrolling endlessly to fill empty time space.

During the week I was definitely hit with the cravings. I wanted to take a video on snapchat of my friends being stupid, I wanted to post the beautiful sunset over a lake on Instagram (with an inspirational quote of course) and I wanted to share the videos from my last concert on Facebook as I had said I would in a previous post.

If you didn’t post it, did it even happen?

These cravings made me realize how obscure my thought process had become in my years of social media and I am quite young! Why did I care to post all of these things? The people I love and care about and vice versa would find out about the truly important moments in my life. So why would I care about the likes on a post that is barely significant to even me?

It’s called FOMO- Fear of Missing Out: anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening where you are not, often stimulated by social media. I see FOMO as a mindset that believes the grass is greener on the other side- the inability to be satisfied.

We are always teaching people to not care about what others have to say about you and your life, so why have we trained our brains to crave online feedback in an unhealthy way? A little contradictory don’t you think?

I would once again like to mention that I still think social media can be a great thing. Communicating with loved ones, friends near and far and enjoying the features available on the social media apps are all great.

But, too much of a good thing is where we get in trouble, just like most aspects in our day to day lives. There needs to be a balance. Post that picture, share the funny dog video, like and comment all that you want to. Just don’t become dependant on these apps.

It’s like food. Go ahead, eat the cake, taste the cookie dough, and share a big bag of chips with your friends (… or don’t share. ;))

BUT, you and I should not need the cake, cookie dough or chips. There is a difference between treating yourself and becoming dependent on the things you do not need.


Social media is the way of the world, there is no denying that, but if you agree that the addiction of social media is a little too mainstream for your liking, maybe try working on your balanced social media diet like I did.

Now this is the hard part, I want to continue to not need social media but I do still want to keep my social media accounts active. I plan to leave the apps deleted from my phone. But I am going to allow myself to get the apps back when I want to post something. When I do this, I will also go through my feeds and probably creep a few friends then delete the apps once again.

This setup won’t last me forever, it is just a way to reteach my brain how to think. How to not need my news feeds whenever I am bored or in an awkward situation. I am still not sure if this applies to Snapchat too. (To better understand my thoughts on Snapchat, my previous blog can be found here.) But I guess I will see how my thoughts are directed and decide if I need to treat Snapchat the same as the other two apps or not.

Well there you have it, if you have read this whole blog post then whether you like it or not, you now have an idea on what it is like to not be consumed by social media. What are you going to do about it? The choice is completely yours.

Let me know if you have tried a break from social media or just your thoughts on this topic in general. I hope to hear from you soon!

Tess Houcher 

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MarketingMobile AppsSocial Media

To many marketers, Snapchat is a ridiculous, confusing app for the younger generations to fool around on. These people are not sure as to why the app still exists when it is such a difficult app to market on and wonder how the app is still running!

This article is for the marketers who are open to learning about the bizarre app. I hope to inform you on who Snapchat users are, what they are looking for, and how to market to them.

About 71% of Snapchat users are under the age of 34 and about ¾ of the users are female. Be sure to keep this in mind as you create your advertisements. I fall into both of these categories and would love to help marketers market to me.

What are Snapchat users looking for in content marketed to them you ask? Well, they aren’t looking to be marketed to at all. I have a previous blog explaining some of those thoughts and it can be found here.

The trick is to market to your audience without them knowing it. And you may already use this strategy in your other marketing platforms. For your advertisements to work on snapchat it is necessary that they feel “organic.” Snapchat gives you the opportunity to do so by placing the advertisement you create in between the stories of friends and the pages on Snapchats channels.

I have seen a couple of advertisement on Snapchat that have been in rotation and I thought they were actual posts from my friends. I would watch the whole advertisement (about a whole 5 seconds long) to the end and then realize it was an ad. I remember being impressed of their ability to make me believe the advertisement was a real story. Because they were able to do this, I was marketed to and awareness was grown.

“The more organic the ad feels and the later the branding appears, the more likely a user is to swipe up to view long-form content or web content,”- Liam Copeland

When a Snapchat user is advertised to, they have the ability to pass the video or to scroll up. If the user scrolls up, you did an awesome job in gaining user interest! (all the high fives to you!) When they scroll up they can be driven to the app store to download the app you just successfully advertised to them. They can be sent to your website, read your article or watch a longer video.

The way you want your potential customers react to your advertisement will help you create your Snapchat advertisement.

One aspect of Snapchat that draws in younger ages is how it is trendy and so are their best advertisements. An advertisement was created well when it is able to convince its young, contemporary audience that it’s product or service is cool. If your advertisement can convince Snapchat users that what you are selling will better their life with convenience or trendiness you are sure to gain customers as those two aspects are major sellers.

Pepsi and 7/11 filter on my sister

Another way to use Snapchat effectively for your advertising needs is through their face filters! Big industries create a filter that morphs the user’s face, usually in a funny way and also displays their logo on the screen. This is a great strategy as the users will take the good-humoured picture, post it and your brand will be shared via friends! Talk about innovative word of mouth referrals.

Canmore Alberta geofilter

You can also advertise by creating a geofilter. These are filters that display the place at which a person took a picture. Snapchat users use these to show their friends when they are at the concert in town or asking their friends if anyone else will be at the university till late that night and so on. These geofilters can be created to advertise your place of work or an event that you are hosting and again, work great for referrals from friends.

It is very possible to advertise on Snapchat and it is very possible to gain customers through Snapchat. Those that are successful to do this have the great potential of their brand becoming very popular with the young market Snapchat provides you with.

Good luck, I hope to see your amazing ad on my Snapchat feed!

Tess Houcher

Snapchat’s website to begin your advertising through them is right here!

 

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Mobile AppsProductivitySelf-ImprovementSocial Media

If you and I were having a conversation and I said “I deleted Instagram and Facebook.” I think it is safe to say that you would respond by saying something along the lines of a “Good for you.” We all seem to understand that really, we could do better without the pressures and time consumption that comes with social media. But then why do we struggle so much to give it up? Or have we given up on trying to give up.

As a society, we have been diagnosed with an addiction of social media. We know we don’t need it, we are aware of all the time it consumes, we can imagine the peace that comes with a lack of the worldwide connection.

So why haven’t we quit yet?

First off, social media is really good at branding itself. It is a business and we are its loyal customers. They will convince us that to be connected and have a good quality of life we need social media. This is not at all truth, but it seems to be the reality for many.

Not only is social media good at convincing us we need it, we end up convincing each other that we need social media without even saying it out loud. There is an underlying pressure to keep your profile up to date and to like the posts and updates of your many friends.

Side note: My Nana actually does tell me to keep my otherwise useless Facebook profile up to date so she can know about my life… so I guess in some cases, I am literally told to post more on Facebook.

And once again, we seem to be addicted. These factors create a situation which has found to be quite difficult to escape.


Spring Break of 2016 I went to Mexico with a group of high school students and a couple adult leaders. The main reason for the trip was to help the people there. We went to a couple children centres, did maintenance and rebuilding at a couple different locations. We were there for a week and had no way to contact our families back home or use social media the entire time.

The trip was obviously amazing but the part that I will highlight now is my lack of connection with the whole wide world for that week. As stereotypical as it sounds, I felt free and at peace. I had no way to connect with anyone who was not next to me.

I loved how we never went on our phones to avoid awkward conversations, we were always present. The fact that there was no way to use our phones made it so we didn’t miss them. We were able to forget. It did help that we were in a mindset of helping others, being selfless and in a different part of the world.

It was very weird to cross the border, stop at a coffee shop and see all of the notifications I had received over the past week. Instantly we were reminded of what our reality feels like. As great as it felt to see all the texts from my loved ones, I was slightly repulsed at my instant urge to be connected again.

After spending a week with people who never feel obligated to post their thoughts, opinions, likes and tags, it was very odd to be back in a culture that does. I became aware of my selfishness. And what did I do about these feelings? I posted all about my trip on Facebook and Instagram awaiting the likes and comments.


It’s been over a year and a half since that trip and today I finally decided to give Instagram and Facebook a break again. Now how did I make this decision when I am so good at ignoring the issues that come with social media for me? 

I had a great talk with a friend last night. She told me it has been about a year since she has been on Facebook and about five months since she has used Instagram. With her decision to take this break she told me that she has more time. Not meaning she is always spending her time on productive items, but she does have more time.

She feels that she is now more connected to the people who really are apart of her life and she can invest more time into those people. She also appreciates that the urge to constantly be connected, to post, like and comment is gone.

I don’t think she has sworn off social media forever but for the time she is without it, she is definitely not missing it.

So, this morning I woke up and without over thinking anything, I deleted Instagram and Facebook….

iphone at sunsetI really don’t know how long I will last as my excuse to keep social media has always been that I love posting! I will start with a week without these two social media apps and then I will see how I am doing after that. I know I will get the apps again as I love to share posts when I am traveling and I don’t plan to stop myself from doing that.

This blog is not here to paint everyone with the same brush in saying that everyone is addicted to social media. I know many people who have these social apps but they are not at all addicted. I do however hope you are aware of the power of your self will. That you know that there is a life full of purpose and connections without social media. If you do take a break, you won’t regret it.

Tess Houcher

 

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FutureMobile AppsSocial MediaTechnology

As futuristic as it sounds, the idea of a robot taking your every request and helping you with daily tasks around your home, the office and on the go, does not sound far off from reality. We are not at the point in technology when these luxuries are available to all of us but I do not doubt we are on our way to such a life. Our phones are already smart enough to text people for us, order takeout or groceries from our couches, replace a wallet, and can be used to make other devices function without that device even being in sight.

The next steps for our phone automated functions, start with bots. If you’re like me, when you hear the word bot, you imagine a small, friendly, helpful robot ready to help you as it would be their pleasure. Bots today, do happen to be those small, friendly, helpful individuals made to provide you with your requested assistance. Even though not long ago we would have considered such technology to be fictional. They may not look exactly as they do in the movies, but we do have bots at our very fingertips.

The bots that we have today are created for two main uses. Search bots are designed for searching information from a specific website or search the whole Internet. The utility bot accommodates you by fulfilling an assignment you give it.

We use search bots to see when the next showings of that new movie is in theaters or to find the latest news stories by simply speaking the request. The utility bot is used when you need to make a grocery purchase and the bot already has the groceries picked out for you as it has remembered your orders from last time. If you think about it, you use bots just like these all the time, we may just not think of them as bots.

Facebook has been working on bots of their own, they call them chatbots. They are creating these with hopes of providing a wide variety of services that could all be reached through their own app. During the development of these bots they noted that the bots were capable of conversing with humans intelligently. Which is a definite breakthrough as we all know how frustrating certain bots can be when they cannot follow the conversation needed in order to fulfill their tasks.

Some people I talk to about bots and the potential they have, are afraid of what will become of the human race if we create these robots to function better than our own species. For the time being, that is not at all a concern of the bot developers. These bots still need hands on development and constant upgrading to keep up with tasks required of them in order to become useful, let alone take over the planet.

When bots do fail while operational, it causes the same negative appearance that a poor website or unqualified sales rep gives the face of the company they work for. That situation is avoided at any cost, meaning highly intelligent bots are not normally released for our use until they really are highly intelligent. Though some of us would argue that we have already been in contact with these less than intelligent bots. But I guess that is all part of the learning and growing process for the bot builders.

 

Bots are capable of possessing the reliability and knowledge needed for great customer service or the ability to complete an assignment requested by just a text. This will make it possible to avoid human error and will allow for much less struggle for you! I am quite excited thinking about all the ways these bots will assist me as they start replacing the very applications that started them.

Tess Houcher 

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MarketingMobile AppsSocial Media

Snapchat was a one of a kind app which was created to be nothing like Facebook. People complain that the two apps are nothing alike and yet that was the point, and I will show you how the two differ. I use both apps and personally like that they are completely different.

Facebook was created to connect people. It connects you with your best friend from eighth grade who you haven’t talked to in years, your travelling aunt who is currently in Rome and your best friend you see every weekend. Facebook was created so that you and your friends could still be informed and active in each others lives without actually needing to have a personal conversation with them.

Facebook is a place to document the best moments in life, and a place to find support in the worst. Facebook has morphed into a place to play online games with your friends, a place to keep up with your favourite brands, celebrities, news sources and entertaining videos. Facebook is full of advertisements but it is “free and always will be!”

Snapchat is created for intimacy. Snapchat does not make it easy to find people and it does not make it easy for other people to find you. The posts you make on Snapchat are temporary, meaning people feel free to be their imperfect selves instead of painting a picture of what they want people to see. These factors make most users choose their friends carefully depending on their comfort level.

Snapchat was created around smartphones and their cameras, for documenting the events you experience in the moment. These moments can be shared to make others laugh, to show off you and your friends enjoying a night out, to share a selfie featuring a filter that can expresses your emotion, to add to a public story and be apart of the bigger picture. The uses for Snapchat stories are endless.

People love them because the people who can view your carefully constructed stories are specially chosen by you! Even though you love Grandma, she won’t be able to comment on your story and explain her concern over you being out so late in the middle of the work week for all of your friends to see.

Another ability of the latest updates on snapchat are that you can share your location or view the locations of your friends. This is if you have allowed the feature on your phone, re-establishing that snapchat lets you call the shots.

This is quite different from Facebook, where you were forced to download Facebook Messenger and are constantly notified to update information on yourself for your profile until they know everything about you.

What’s with the pushy attitude Facebook? Of course, to this question they would answer by explaining that in order to market best to you as an individual and to make sure that you are as connected as possible, they need to have all the information about you that you are willing to give.

But no one ever said they wanted to scroll through advertisements before getting to look at their new baby cousin’s photos. On Snapchat, I am advertised to when looking at the channels or between the stories of my friends. These ads I can choose to watch or tap to skip. Meaning I chose when I look at content other than stories.

SnapChat Logo

Another perk to Snapchat, is that the app is trendy. Snapchat is always updating, adding new filters and features and has a direct connection to the most popular magazines. This is not a quality of Facebook. Facebook is known for its use and influence of the older generations. Thus steering young people away from the social media platform.

Some people I know, myself included, don’t bother posting much of anything on Facebook because with too many Facebook friends, we don’t feel like we can post anything real about ourselves. Everything that is on Facebook is simply the image we want people to see of ourselves.


Obviously this article has expressed my favour for Snapchat. But I do still appreciate Facebook. I like that I can reach many people at once with a post. I love the usefulness of buy and sell pages, and my friends group chats. I don’t even mind some of the advertisements as they have been selected for me based on my likes, shares and other information they pick up.

I believe that Snapchat and Facebook have two very different uses and that if one app works for you while the other doesn’t, use the one. Use both of them like I do if you enjoy having two different audiences for your posts. And to my friends who disregard social media completely, enjoy your peace and quiet for me. 🙂

Tess Houcher

Interesting side note:

Before I had finished my article I went onto my snapchat to look at the BuzzFeed channel and all of its stories for the day and I was very intrigued by the voting poll of the day. For those of you who don’t know, Snapchat’s channels will often have quick polls. They usually ask questions that would help them figure out how to entertain their viewers better. For example: Which dessert is the most satisfying to watch being made? Then we are given a few choices and can click on one. I usually vote for these polls for two reasons. One, because I like to let the channels know what I am interested in so they can entertain me better. And two, they show you the current results of the poll after you vote and I find it very interesting to see what the rest of the world thinks. Anyways, the other day Snapchat had a poll asking if you use Snapchat or Instagram filters. I found the results quite interesting…

But is it real…?

Let me know your thoughts on Snapchat, Facebook and this poll in the comments! 

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