Posted on March 30, 2020 by
Do you need to learn how to work from home while sheltering in place? With the world concerned about the Coronavirus outbreak, companies, schools and businesses are sending people to work from home and self-quarantine and to learn how to work from home on their own. Until this outbreak subsides, and for the unforeseeable future, thousands of people will be working from home and exploring remote work options for the very first time. The world is focused on Coronavirus prevention tips, and my belief is that we need to do our best to remain productive while we work at home as well. I hope you’ll learn a few important tips in this article while you’re learning how to work from home.
I’ve worked as a successful Digital Standards, Social Media and SEO consultant and a small business owner for more than 20 years. Most of my work has been performed remotely in my home office. Personally, working in a fabric cubicle with artificial lighting didn’t work for me. My productivity declined and concentration was difficult. A work from home solution was my best option. So, I set up a home office, learned how to work from home and here I am, sharing my tips and tricks with you.
Currently, my home is in a community where many people who work for Facebook and Google live. Most everyone is working from home and our sidewalks are bustling with employees walking dogs while on breaks (while practicing social distancing, of course). A few people mentioned to me this week how unfocused they feel, and how working from home isn’t as fun as they imagined. I’ve found myself offering tips and advice on successfully getting the job done, and I thought it was time to share my best advice right here on the Roaring Pajamas Blog.
1. Create a routine.
When you worked in an office, you had a routine, right? You woke up at a certain time of day, worked out, ate breakfast, played with the cat or walked the dog. Keep doing those activities. Don’t stop. Maybe you can adjust the schedule to get up 30 minutes later because you no longer have a commute, or you can add a meditation, house cleaning or whatever to your schedule, but make and keep a routine. Setting a routine is especially important as you are learning how to work from home. Stay disciplined during this time and in time you’ll be able to relax a bit and still remain productive.
2. Shower and get ready for work. Every. Single. Day.
I love my Roaring Pajamas. We celebrate National Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day too. But trust me. You’ll feel more professional, effective and productive if you get dressed. You don’t need to wear a suit or high heels, but you might at least get dressed in something you wouldn’t mind wearing to the grocery store when you run into a client, co-worker or boss.
3. Keep 2 to-do lists.
I always keep two task lists, one for work activities and the other list is for personal to-dos.
The reason I keep two lists is to help me separate work from my personal time during the day. I like to take frequent breaks to relax my eyes after staring at a computer screen. During those breaks, I’ll make a snack, look at my list and perhaps tackle a personal task like moving a load of laundry, picking up the mail or making a personal phone call. Knowing these personal activities are somewhat scheduled makes them okay to do during the day, and I feel less guilty and distracted.
Also, I find that creating a daily task list helps me stay on task each day. I’ve also tried the Tomato Timer to help me focus for 25 minutes at a time. The app’s awesome if you like that sort of thing.
I know this sounds obvious to many of you, but many people tell me they don’t really worry about prioritizing tasks on a daily basis. They also tell me they are easily distracted during remote work. Try my recommendation. It totally works.
4. Go outside. Often.
Sunshine is so important. I support this advice wherever one works, at home or office. Sunshine is known to lift spirits, reduce depression, improve energy and some studies claim the sun kills viruses too! If the sun is shining, take your laptop outdoors. Take a phone call on your patio. Take a noon walk.
My sunshine program includes:
– Sunrise: Breathwork, Qi Gong, sun gazing and a long walk
– Mid-day: A short walk even if just to pick up a package
– Sunset: Sungazing, meditation and a long walk
5. Cover your cameras and set up a VPN.
Seriously. Cover your cameras. Nothing rattles me more than receiving one of those emails that say they recorded me and the writer “knows what you did.” Those emails are creepy. I keep covers on my phone, laptop, tablet and external cameras. Now, when I receive one of those disturbing emails, I simply delete it knowing it’s fake.
I also like having my own VPN for increased security and peace of mind. Using a personal VPN allows an extra layer of security from hacks and man-in-the-middle attacks.
Use a company VPN, if available. Otherwise, you can sign up for one of many VPN services to help protect your data while on your home network, common area, café or other public wifi.
6. Schedule the end of your day.
I can work all day and all night on search engine optimization for our clients, but a girl’s gotta eat sooner or later. Each day, when I’m planning my activities for the day, I also plan the end of the day. During the dark days of winter, I usually step outside at sunset around 4:30 to 5 pm. In the dog days of summer, I’ll stop around 5 pm to eat dinner, then step out for sunset and a long walk. Either way, I consciously plan to end my workday. Of course, sometimes I’ll work late at night on a project. Those nights, I try to take a long break and then come back later in the evening to finish up what I need to do.
Hopefully, this post on how to work from home will help you remain productive while avoiding the Coronavirus. Working from home can be very productive and offers a lot of benefits. Try my tips to keep you focused, productive and successful while you work from home. You may also find you enjoy working from home after all the shelter in place requirements are lifted, and now you’ll know how to work from home, and you’ll have all the tools you’ll need. In the meantime, take care of yourself, boost your immune system and take heed of other Coronavirus prevention tips provided by your county health department. Do you have other tips on how to work from home? I’d love to hear them!
Posted on October 1, 2019 by
Managing social media isn’t all fun and games and memes. You’re almost guaranteed to run into negative comments. If you’re lucky, you’ll rarely have to tangle with these thorny customers. But for most social media managers, running damage control is part and parcel of the social media game. In fact, a social media page without a few unpleasant comments looks pretty suspicious! So knowing how to gracefully handle these comments while keeping your brand’s image untarnished will make you a social media unicorn.
For the sake of your sanity, grow a thick skin if you don’t already have one! It might be tempting to fire back at a negative comment with both barrels, but it always pays to take the high road in these cases. At the same time, you don’t want to encourage someone who’s just looking to make your life miserable. Remember social media is a way to interact and impress both existing and potential customers. In fact, according to Groove, a “tool for growing small businesses that helps teams deliver personal customer support,” your business is 14x more likely to sell to an existing, happy customer than a new customer.
Clearly, the name of the game here is quality customer service!
Easier said than done, right? Well then, how do you differentiate between genuinely frustrated people and the ever-dreaded internet trolls? And once you do, how should you respond to their negative comment?
I’ve gone ahead and boiled this down into four easy-to-remember tips to make handling these comments a piece of cake.
Is the person commenting genuinely frustrated, or just trying to troll you?
Here’s an example of a complaint you might find on a restaurant’s page for a restaurant:
Yikes. This complaint is rough but it does describe a legitimate frustration.
Now for a troll comment:
See the difference? The first negative comment describes a genuine frustration while the second is just mean for the sake of being mean. Online trolls who write comments like this live to abuse the internet’s “veil of anonymity” just to get a rise out of people. A good rule of thumb is to take their nasty comments with a very hefty grain of salt.
Once you’ve identified the kind of comment you’re dealing with, you can decide on your battle plan. To arms!
If the commenter has a legitimate complaint, you’ll want to respond ASAP before moving the conversation offline. No matter how rude they may act, kill them with sugary sweet kindness! Responding emotionally can be tempting but only guarantees you’ll lose their business – and those they talk to – forever. Offer them a discount, a free meal, a free ticket – whatever you feel is enough to make up for their frustration.
Likewise, if the negative comment reeks of an internet troll, keep your cool! The last thing you want is for your social media followers to see you behaving unprofessionally. At the same time, you don’t want them to think of you as Big Brother for censoring too many comments. If the comment is truly vulgar or inappropriate, then by all means show them the door by blocking them. Just remember that blocking a follower is the nuclear option. You’ve got to be totally sure the comment is ugly enough to get someone blocked.
You also have the option of hiding or deleting a comment. These are much less severe ways to deal with unsavory types, but what you can do and what happens after depends on whether you’re using Instagram or Facebook.
Block someone on Instagram and unlike Facebook, their likes and comments are NOT removed from your photos and videos. You can still delete both your comments and those of others on your posts, but you can’t hide a comment on Instagram. The best you can do is report it.
Facebook is a bird of a different feather. Block someone in Zuckerbergland and your posts and comments fully vanish from their view. At the same time, their posts, comments, and likes will from your personal feed. Deleting a comment works the same as Instagram, but hiding a comment from a post on your Page does not. This keeps the comment visible to the person who wrote it as well as friends in their network.
Always remember, if nothing else you can report the comment if it doesn’t follow Facebook’s Community Standards.
They and their connected network won’t know they’ve been blocked, but their comments will be hidden from everyone else.
There are times where responding to a troll comment is better than removing them, but it’s your call to make. Let’s say someone makes a hostile comment listing out facts why your post is incorrect or inaccurate. Be the bigger person! There’s no harm in admitting they’re right, fixing the error and moving on. This both preserves your professional image and avoids making you look like an authoritarian censor.
Surprise! Most businesses don’t have a policy for how people should interact on their social media page. A real shame, because a commenting policy makes handling inappropriate comments including foul language or racism much easier. If you want to remove a nasty comment from an internet troll, you can cite your policy and be done with the matter. Easy peasy.
Time for a little social media zen. Not every negative comment is worth responding to. In fact, doing so can actually set the person off and make the situation worse.
Comments like “Love your yoga pants but so-and-so’s are so much better” or “I’d never buy a book from your store” are too vague to be worth addressing. These are often from people who just want to express themselves and aren’t really looking for a solution. People like this are only interested in venting their frustration, so let them vent. No harm, no foul.
Remember, having a few comments like these here and there is perfectly natural! This shows you’re not policing what people say about your business. Leave them be and move on with your life.
Simple enough, right? Remember, our goal here isn’t to doctor our social media image. We want to make followers with genuine frustrations feel heard and appreciated. Most of all we want to make it right with them while staying polite, professional and on-brand. In the event of online trolls where making things right isn’t an option, knowing how to defuse the situation helps you keep your followers’ respect while clearing your posts of offensive material. And always remember – when confronted with someone’s negative comment, kill them with kindness!
Posted on July 17, 2019 by
Whether you’re a digital native or internet-illiterate, there are social media tools you can use to help you promote your business online and engage with your audience.
The truth is social media isn’t going anywhere. While social media use in the States may not be growing at the same rates as in the past, social media continues to play an important (and time-consuming) role in most adults’ daily lives. A 2019 study by Pew Research showed 69% of adults in the US used Facebook. Nearly three-fourths of Facebook users said they visit the site every day and half said they check the site multiple times a day. Meanwhile, Instagram use is up 2% from last year.
People are spending more and more time online: A 2017 Global Web Index study showed people spend 2 hours and 15 minutes a day online, and 33% of their daily time online on social media. There’s simply no question about it: if you want to reach people, your business needs an engaging social media presence.
Here are some of the best social media apps we use at Roaring Pajamas:
We use the free portion on the When to Post app to find the three best times of a given day to post for an account. You can add several Instagram accounts to the free portion of the app and easily switch back and forth between them. When to Post offers a paid version with other metrics, but we don’t recommend it because you can get what they provide for free in Instagram’s native Insights.
Other “best time to post” (BTTP) programs and apps (like Later or Grum) are tailored to your page in other paid tools, but we find this one works the best!
Instagram is a visual social media platform. Accordingly, your posts must be visually compelling. While some choose to keep it simple and post photos with no edits or with edits using the native in-app editing options, we like to use third-party social media tools for photo editing to make our posts even better.
VSCO in particular is a favorite to help us maintain a natural “unfiltered” look for our clients’ photos.
You can edit everything from exposure to saturation to white balance from within the app. They also offer hundreds of presets – some free and some for purchase – you can use for a subtle effect.
Either way, we recommend editing all your photos in a similar style to match your brand and keep your Instagram feed consistent.
The app is free with in-app purchases.
Of all the social media tools, Hootsuite is one of the most comprehensive. Hootsuite is an all-in-one social media scheduling tool we’ve been using for ages. You can plan and schedule posts to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest. You can schedule posts for when your audience is online, even if it’s not the same time you’re online.
There’s also reporting/analysis built in so you can see what content is resonating with your audience and helping you reach your digital marketing goals.
Hootsuite offers a 30-day free trial and plans from $19 and up thereafter.
Dropbox is a secure data storage tool that’s great for sharing and editing large files amongst teams. Your files are kept in the cloud so instead of emailing different versions of documents or projects, everyone on your team always has access to the most recent version.
Dropbox is great for storing large files like images for social media use.
Plans start at $8.25/month for 1TB. They offer plans for individuals and plans for teams. You can try some plans for free.
Tailwind is a tool for scheduling Pinterest pins. This app provides a lot of features including scheduling other accounts’ pins, looping your own pins, and checking analytics to see what’s working and what’s not. Tailwind also offers Instagram scheduling. They own the When To Post app mentioned above. Since we use Hootsuite, we haven’t found a need for another app for Pinterest scheduling. However, some prefer Tailwind over Hootsuite for this task.
They offer a free trial and paid plans after the trial expires.
Canva offers graphic design for people who don’t want to use expensive graphic design software. Here at Roaring Pajamas, we own PhotoShop, but it’s a lot of work and we can quickly create a social media graphic in Canva instead.
You can create anything from Pinterest pins to infographics. Canva offers tons of different images, fonts, colors, icons, shapes and more for you to use. They even have slick design templates made by real graphic artists you can use for your projects.
All your projects are stored inside Canva so anyone with access to the account can view and edit them.
Canva offers a free version with paid upgrades.
These tools are what we consider some of the best social media tools and apps around for making sure you create and post excellent and engaging content. For more about social media, learn how to use a social media editorial calendar to organize your posts across platforms in our post here.
Need help? Contact us if you’re looking for help strategizing and managing your business’s social media presence.← Older posts