SEOSocial Media

Search Engine Optimization

What is it? And why do you want it?

Business has changed so much from the traditional model of working with consumers in store fronts from even just 30 years ago. The business world has moved online and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Have you ever been in discussion with someone about a topic, or curious about something and the first thing you do is “Google it”? We use search engines all the time to find answers to our burning questions, source out products and find local businesses.

Search engine optimization is about putting your businesses webpage at the front of the line. (Well okay actually the top of the page). Creating content relevant to your business and posting about it regularly helps improve your visibility to potential clients and customers. The more content you have on the world wide web relevant to your business, the more search engines think you are relevant to what people are looking for. This puts you closer to the top of the page.

The best part about using SEO strategies is that people are ALREADY looking for you business and content. People have burning questions, are looking to source products or find your business already. That is why they have “googled it”. Putting your content at the front of their views makes them more likely to reach out to you as a customer or client.

How can I improve my SEO?

SEO can be complex and that’s why at Panda Rose we offer SEO services for clients. But some simple tips for improving your SEO are:

  • Write blog posts on your webpage. This helps search engines see your content is relatable to a search.
  • Update your content on a regular or semi regular basis. Search engines are always trying to find the most up-to-date information.
  • Share your content on your social media channels. The more directions people are coming from to your webpage, the more relevant it looks.
  • You can also check out this more in depth blog post of SEO Practices in 2018: The Do’s and Dont’s.
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 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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MarketingSocial Media

Push Pin

What is your company doing about it?

I remember when Pinterest was created in the spring of 2010. I remember because my mom had found it sooner than most of her friends. At the time, my mom thought of it as her secret great idea place. Where she could find gift ideas, “pin” recipes, checkout DIY projects and beautiful pictures of places she would like to visit.

When she would tell her friends about the app she would explain to them like it was a literal bulletin board. Saying that you could grab ideas from anywhere and “pin” them to your own boards for later reference.

I realize now that I haven’t thought of Pinterest as a bulletin board in a very long time. I think that’s because it has grown to be so much more. The virtual bulletin board of 2010 has morphed into what I would call a never-ending magazine.

Pinterest is popular for a few reasons, one of those is due to the personalization. I follow people and companies who pin similar styles and interests so I can see their take on styles we share opinions about. Not only do the people I follow show me pins I may potentially like but when I pin anything, Pinterest will also show me pins similar to that one so I may find even more websites, photos, products, that would appeal to me.

Influence is a huge player in the Pinterest game. Everyone is influencing each other. You and your pins are always reaching someone. There is a huge cycle of pinning and influencing, pinning and influencing… Not only do individuals have the ability to go through this cycle, but companies and their products can as well.

I also use my Pinterest account as a wishlist. This means I seek out brands and products that I would like. I can show them to my friends and family, asking for these things for Christmas. I can refer to the boards of my friends to know what they would like as gifts also.


Pinterest users are mostly women and I’d say that 90% of the pins on Pinterest are products.

In short, Pinterest is an amazing place for target marketing.

What is more powerful than a woman who loves a product? A group of women who love a product.

Have you ever heard a group of ladies discuss a product they love? The enthusiasm and eagerness they posses is energetic enough to get others who have never heard of the product excited as well. In a nutshell, that is what Pinterest is. People excited over products. Effecting each other as they repin.

Pinterest is like an affiliate system but the affiliates don’t know they are branding for you, you don’t need to pay them, and their reviews are honest. What more could a company want?

If you have a website that links to your Pinterest account, I hope that you are keeping it active, as it is definitely worth it. It does take a lot of time and effort though. You need a constant supply of beautiful pictures or videos and compelling captions that will draw in people to click through to your website. I would would even suggest that you keep the Pinterest account as active as you would keep your Instagram account.

I follow a few clothing brands on Pinterest. They always have beautiful pictures and they add them to their many boards regularly. I gush over their stunning photos and repin them. Not only are they influencing me but my followers as well.

Push Pin


Maybe your pins are getting repined, but you aren’t seeing an immediate increase in sales. If that is the case, I’d be sure that people can clearly see what the image is focusing on. Help them believe that they could own the product too. The scenery around the featured item needs to look beautiful of course, but not so far from reality that the average consumer doesn’t stop to picture themselves owning your product.

A balance between an aesthetically pleasing picture, an image which clearly displays your product, reality and consumer craving fantasy needs to be met in order to win over the pinners through your pins. Give the pinners a reason to purchase.

Pinterest can be the connect between a consumer’s fantasy and reality.

200 million monthly users is a lot of consumers. Is your brand out there for us to find?

Tess Houcher

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Self-ImprovementSocial Media

iphone at sunset

Here I am with a new perspective on social media . . .

I think social media can be great!

Now I can just picture you all rolling your eyes thinking about how wishy washy I am. But hear me out.

First off, I think it is good to let yourself change your opinion, go back and then change again. Otherwise you can never learn.

To those of you who read my first two personal social media blogs you would know that I took a break from social media for a week. If you missed out you can find the first one here and the second one here.

iphone at sunset

Otherwise here is a quick recap:

I went a week off of social media when a friend inspired me to do so. The break was challenging at first but in the end was very refreshing and eye opening. The week off also allowed me to decide that I could keep Snapchat on my phone 24/7. More of my thoughts on Snapchat can be found here.

After the week was up I decided I would keep up with the new standards I was creating for myself by keeping Instagram and Facebook off of my phone unless I wanted to post something. I soon ended up just keeping the apps deleted on weekdays and getting them back for the weekends.

I did this in attempts to train my brain not to crave the platforms.

It has now been about two months since my week off, this is my status update:

After a gradual process I am back on Instagram and Facebook but I am here to explain myself.

Yes I did start with just going on my social media on the weekends but that routine started falling off the rails slightly about a week ago. I got so used to not having Facebook around that I forgot to get it for the weekend! I was pretty proud of that actually, but then I got it the Sunday afternoon and it has stayed on my phone since then. Oops. And the weekend before that I ended up leaving Instagram on my phone and again it’s been there ever since.

On that note, I have learned how to work around having social media on my phone.

megaphone

Turn off social notifications.

It is easy to forget about the social apps when they are not constantly beeping and buzzing, begging for you to check the obviously urgent activity on your Facebook page.

I suggest you try turning off the notifications for your social apps as well. This way you can still have the apps on your phone and you can open them whenever, but you are in control of why and when you open the apps. Opposed to being controlled by your device.

It may take some time to break the habit of checking your phone constantly for no real reason. I know that I am still in the process of breaking it myself.

facebook thumb down

Facebook is pushy, but are we surprised?

I also learned that Facebook will send you emails about the activity on your feed and page when you are not active on the app for a certain amount of time. I find these reminders most annoying. But I am not at all surprised by the pushiness. I am slowly getting through all the different “types” of emails that they send me to unsubscribe from each sort of notification, though they do make the process difficult to fully complete.

Both Instagram and Facebook also like to remind me to turn on my notifications every single time I open either app. There is a paragraph at the top of my feed screen when I open the apps telling me how important it is that I “stay connected”. I do not appreciate the obnoxious reminders. Why do they need all the power? It’s creepy.

Can’t get a break

I am still very aware of how often people are on their phones. But I know I turn to my phone in awkward situations also. Which is sad. It makes me wish I lived in an era where people had to talk and they had to push themselves through awkward situations. Even when there is no awkward situation we still turn to our phones! It’s ridiculous.

It’s a good thing the hit TV show Friends was made before smartphones, otherwise the show would have been very different. Ross would have posted on Facebook about his new international girlfriend before showing up at the airport with her surprising Rachel. They would never worry about reaching one another before they left Central Perk because they could could just text. And Joey could just become a YouTube star to fix all of his fame issues.

friends

Anyways, I think people should just know not to go on their phones when they are with friends. We all need to be present.

All this to say,

I still don’t think that social media is all bad. Notice I started this blog post by saying that social media can be great. But it can be used poorly, making its influence bad.

I have said this before but I don’t mind mentioning it again; social media is a great way to connect with friends and family. No matter where they are or what you are doing, you can reach each other. It’s a small world after all. 😏

Another reason I gave myself permission to keep social media is because I am leaving the country soon. I am privileged to have the ability to keep in touch with the loved ones I leave behind. I even went as far as creating a travel account on Instagram.

I guess this is just another reason to find a balance in the things like social media. I will use it to be connected and post beautiful pictures but I will not let the apps take control again. Maybe I’ll take another week long break from the apps again, just for fun.

Tess Houcher

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MarketingShoppingSocial Media

instagram symbol

Instagram has become a way for brands to personalize themselves before their customers. This is thanks to micro-influencers.

instagram symbol

Micro-influencers have become a powerful presence on the platform.

What are they?

A micro-influencer is someone who brands to their audience based on their own personal likes and interests. This strategy works well because these influencers are branding honestly. They aren’t always paid for what they do and still they are able to convince their followers that their favourite product needs to be yours too.

The audience of a micro-influencer may be small. But they achieve something celebrities and giant brands can’t: They create relationships. They also have much higher rates of consumer involvement opposed to celebrities.

cactus

A celebrity can have everything anyone could want materially. Tons of money, the perfect bod, being paid to attend events or workout. (We would all be in-shape if that was the reality for the rest of us, am I right?) You follow these famous people on social media, love and support them. But the lifestyle these people live is not a reality for most of us. The fraction of celebrities in the world is less than 1%. So when they tell us we need a certain product, it’s hard to take them seriously.

1. Because they were paid to sell the product — not genuine.

2. Maybe they do love the product but it still didn’t cost them anything to use the product.

3. They have everything you want anyways, what’s one more cool product they have that you don’t?

This is why the micro-influencers are so successful. They aren’t millionaires, they are real and they choose who they brand for.

The pictures they post are taken by them opposed to sponsored ads. They don’t have to brand for products they don’t like, meaning their reviews are genuine. They can use their account to be real with their audiences and create relationships.

succulents
Succulents, because Instagram loves succulents.

From experience I know that it is very possible to become attached to an Instagram account.

I follow a girl on Instagram she is an artist who is still in art school and she takes pictures of mostly her art. In some cases she will advertise for her pieces. Otherwise she is just a student with amazing fashion sense who posts cute pictures with positive captions. I love it. She could convince me to buy products, no doubt. And she isn’t even a legitimate influencer!

(She is influencing me though . . . maybe she’s just that good, I don’t even know she’s an influencer! 😅)

How do they do it?

They have charisma.

Just like writing a book or script for a TV show, the characters need a distinct personality. What is the character’s family like? What is her obsession? What is his weakness? How do they present themselves at work opposed to in front of their friends? What is their favourite food.

The answer to these questions are found not because the TV show literally says what their favourite food is. Instead you learn by watching the character get excited to eat when they find out there is going to be waffles and strawberries. You learn that they had a spoiled childhood because of the way their parents disapprove of their current lifestyle. Etc.

young people excited about something in natureThe same goes for micro-influencers. They are characters. They either have to come up with who their character is, or exaggerate their real personalities. This way people can grow attached to the perfectly molded character.

People don’t want another brand being thrown at them based on their likes and shares on the platform. They want to know what they need because their favourite influencer can’t remember what it was like to do their morning routine before this amazing product.

Not only do consumers get to hear from likeable people what products they recommend. But the good micro-influencers share the experience. They can give the why, who and how these products have worked for them. Not only are they characters, but storytellers themselves.

young woman on rocky trail in mountains

Micro-influencers have the ability to make their audience feel sorry for them when they have a hard day and rejoice when the micro-influencers can tell their faithful followers good news.

I mean, influence is in their title.

Maybe your small business could use a micro-influencer or you could be that person for your company!

If you see the value in your business having a micro-influencer but you find that you lack the creativity or time needed for such a job, you can find someone to be the influencer for you. Check out this blog for info:

Being a micro-influencer sounds rather glamorous. I love the idea of a job consisting of posting on Instagram, sharing my likes and interests, having a valid opinion, taking beautiful pictures, influencing people and being paid to do it!

branch with leaves in vase

As lovely as that all sounds, I know that it would all take a lot of work. To critique your compelling voice, to make sure you state your opinion strongly without offending others. The dedication and effort would take hours upon hours and money, at least for the beginning.

Who knows, maybe you are up for the task.

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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MarketingSocial Media

I went to the waterpark with my siblings and my boyfriend the other day, we all had a blast. The many slides, giant wave pool and the hyperness we all experienced at some point made for a pretty spectacular day together.

I came to the conclusion that the waterpark shares some similarities with social media.

For starters, you are surrounded by all types at the waterpark. There are the other girls in cute swimsuits you wish you owned, the large group of rowdy young adult males, the elderly that are taking the stairs better than you, the parents who wished they didn’t even try bringing their children to the water park, the crazy kids and the creeper.

Social media is the same. The picture perfect girls on Instagram, the people who share every opinion they have ever had (those groups can get a little rowdy too), there is the grandparents who will post about how great their grandkids are constantly, the parents who share every moment of their busy lives, the crazy kids and the creeper.

It is odd though, the waterpark is full of many people’s fears. Heights, giant slides, deep water, crowds, the potential to see someone you don’t want to, potential harm or embarrassment. Yet the waterpark is always full of excited people. The water park obviously has more fun features than fears for the average person. Some people love the crazy slides, maybe heights don’t scare them, crowds exhilarate them and seeing old friends sounds like a pleasant surprise.

 

There is definitely both sides in social media as well. Some may love the ability to be connected to everyone they could ever want to connect with and love the ability to influence the masses with their words, pictures or embarrassing videos. This is all while other people could hate the idea of these experiences.

All of these comparisons are important because they adjust the temperature or vibe of a trip to the waterpark…

It can be freezing outside but the temperature in the waterpark is 31 degrees Celsius. Then there is a temperature change again when you only get slightly wet on certain slides, then you dry waiting in line, get soaked, go to the hot tub then the wave pool then back to the slides… your body experiences all these changes even though you are in an atmosphere of 31 degrees and the weather outside is -15 degrees.

A grumpy lifeguard or dropping your soft pretzel can lower the ‘temperature’ of your experience, while a short line to a water slide and a free tube for the wave pool can make your day — raising your ‘temperature’ or vibe.

I mention temperature because Facebook is the same. Maybe the overall feel, vibe, or temperature of your feed is mainly positive posts, funny videos and full of your favourite people (warm and sunny). But then the country can be hit with political issues and your feed will then have upsetting posts in the mix (icy).

Later you see that your friend from high school is getting engaged and the proposal was adorable (warm and fuzzy). But the next post is your aunty letting friends and family know your cousin is sick in the hospital again (cold). Then you see an advertisement stating that your favourite store is having a sale (warming up). But your brother’s dog died and he wrote the sweetest post about him (chilly).

Temperature changing in seconds is exhausting physically, mentally and emotionally. In most cases, we can’t do anything about the changes.

This comparison reminds us that we have a big water park to play in (Facebook/Instagram), with a wide variety of people (tired moms, awkward teenagers, proud grandparents etc.) this means that targeting your market is important.

The tired mom and the awkward teenager cannot be reached by the same ad campaign. It is essential that your business sells itself to the correct demographic in the way that they can be sold to.

What is the temperature or vibe of your marketing strategy? Are you going to display the amazing benefits that your product or service can provide your audience? (Warm.) Or is it valuable for your ad campaign to reveal the obstacles your customers will face without your assistance? (Chilly.)

At Panda Rose we can help you identify the different audiences you need to target, how to market to them and how to do it efficiently. We look forward to hearing from you.

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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