All posts by Brian Harris

When Social Media Attacks

I was asked recently considering several social media storms that have taken place, what are some best practices to put in place if it were to happen to you. Let’s look at these examples from the Monday Morning Quarterback chair:

Cracker Barrel

After a local Cracker Barrel store in Indiana fired an 11-year employee, her husband took to Facebook to ask why. Several hashtags appeared as the internet took up this cause and Cracker Barrels social media was torn to shreds.

As with all Human Resource issues, there’s not much Cracker Barrel can say. There is absolutely no win with this.

Should they have addressed it? Yes, I think they should have, but not directly. This was an opportunity to say a lot without addressing the main issue.

  • Highlight long term employees and why they are there.
  • Highlight employee programs that you offer as incentives.
  • Highlight your company’s community activities and all the good you do.

People are going to hate, but the smart ones are going to read between the lines. No one who loves and takes care of their employees is going to fire an 11-year employee without cause, even in an at-will state.

Your only win is protecting the ability to hire future employees while also protecting your stockholders’ dividends.

United Airlines

After a man was filmed being dragged off a flight by security services so an employee could be flown, social media went rightfully crazy.

Adding fuel to the flame was when their CEO apologized for “having to re-accommodate…customers” versus apologizing immediately for what was obviously, a terrible incident. Later a full apology was sent, but too late.

The lesson here is recognizing immediately that they made a terrible mistake and own it. Even if the guys that drug him out weren’t employees, they were working on United’s behalf.

  • Make it right.
  • Tell everyone what you are doing quickly and publically as possible.

Comments and Banning

I’m a little tougher on commenting and banning than most on Facebook, especially for non-profits or religious uses.

My thoughts are this: You’ve built the community. You want to be social but there have to be reasonable expectations for behavior. This is even more evident when it comes to attacking core values.

First offense, I’ll normally hide the post. Second offense, ban them from the page. 


There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to social media. The key is being prepared, enacting policies and talking out loud about how you will handle scenarios. When stuff happens – call on experts you trust to help. An outside opinion can help to bring clarity in a tough situation.

Grammar – How Thou Doest Confuse Thee

When it comes to grammar, I cheat.

But can you really call it cheating when I use a tool that’s available to everyone? And it’s free!

Grammarly fills the gaps and gives me confidence that what I’m writing is mostly correct…more correct than before at least.

Here’s how it works. It literally checks your writing for the correct use of grammar to ensure that everything you type is easy to read, effective, and mistake-free. As I type, there is a small green G in the bottom right of my screen. I see it spinning and checking my sentence structure and grammar. If it finds a mistake, it will underline the error and help me to fix it on the fly.

In writing this article it came up with at least 5 mistakes in my grammar! I even get weekly reports to let me know how many words I write, what percentage were correct, and how I compare to the rest of the world (I’m not too shabby most weeks).

Key items it looks for are:

  • Missing comma in compound sentence
  • Confused prepositions
  • Wordy sentences
  • Overuse of passive voice

I’m a repeat offender of all of these, but hopefully, you will never know it!

I have the plugin installed for chrome which is useful when writing emails in a browser, or even this blog. I also have it installed on OSX to check basically everywhere else. You can use their web browser if you wanted to copy and paste something in for the app to check out too.

There are also paid plans that you can purchase monthly or at a discounted rate for yearly plans that will provide a deeper analysis of your grammar content.

The plugin was built by linguist and language lovers…you know people smarter than me. One thing I’ve learned, take advantage of smart people when they are giving out free tools.

If you are already a user, I would love to hear about your experiences. If you aren’t, go download it today at and check it out.

Facebook Job Posting Platform

Advertise your open positions on the new Facebook job posting platform

Facebook rolled out a new feature quietly in their quest to dominate social media last week – a Facebook job posting platform built into your Facebook page. It’s simply known as “Jobs on Facebook”.

Generally, when it has some to looking for jobs, LinkedIn has been the platform. With Facebook’s new addition, they’ve made it easier for companies to now advertise their positions on their Facebook page.

Not only will the positions that are posted appear on your page, but they will also be seen on a larger “Jobs on Facebook” platform that allows users to filter their searches. Users will also be able to use the information contained in their profile to apply for positions according to

Did I mention this new function is FREE? (at least for now!)

Facebook Job Posting Platform Setup Directions:

  1. Go to settings in the top right of your page
  2. Click on Edit Page
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the tabs section and click on add a tab. Jobs is one of the new choices.

Once you have added it to your page you will be given a shortcut link that you can use to help promote where to find your job openings now. It’s super easy to use too as you will only have to add /jobs after your Facebook pages address.

This new feature is available only for businesses in the United States and Canada according to Recode.

Is this a new function that you will use?

We work to stay on top of functions just like this on Facebook and with all other social media platforms so that you can focus on running your business. This is what we do which allows you to do what you specialize in! As always, if you need help and guidance with this function or anything else with managing your social media presence, call on us.

State of Social Media for 2016

In the investment world when looking at the future performance of a stock you are often labeled as either “bull” or “bear”. The bull outlook is optimistic. The bear outlook is the opposite and you don’t see future performance as profitable.

With any social media platform, you are making an investment of your time and/or your resources.

With that in mind – here is my current state on some of the major players and my stance on each one now:

Facebook – BULL

It’s the largest social media network and its tools for reaching a targeted audience are exceptional. Creating a community of loyal fans and developing a marketing plan for growth has resulted in an excellent return on investment in nearly 99% of all campaigns I have been involved with.

They continue to innovate also with new tools like Facebook live that came out this year and continuous tweaking to what will reach the most people.

Another example – events on Facebook worked well at one point, then they stopped working. Recent changes have made using these very profitable again.

For a social media company to remain relevant and growing, you have to see these subtle changes constantly occurring…and Facebook is doing it.

YouTube – BEAR

There are still great uses for YouTube, but the Facebook video platform will nearly always guarantee more views with your intended target audience. Cross post your videos here if you have the time, but focus on Facebook.

Twitter – BEAR

Twitter literally sucks the time away from your day and has been overrun with marketing messages which can make for a cluttered news feed. Their advertising tools are OK, but only on one occasion when running a campaign to target 25-45-year-old males have I found what I considered a positive return on investment.

LinkedIn – BEAR

Their niche is focused on the business community and for helping you find your next career. I would highly recommend keeping your personal resume tuned up here if seeking a new position or willing to listen to the recruiters that will undoubtedly call upon you. It’s also a great place to demonstrate and share knowledge to colleagues in your career field. It’s been immune to most efforts to include boosting posts…they’re available, but their effectiveness in this platform is questionable. For businesses, my recommendation – use this if seeking your next hire.

Pinterest – BEAR

I’ve never been a fan. I’ve used it with one client with zero results. Great place to find something to cook for dinner.

Google Plus – BEAR

Have a page for search engine purposes then walk away. Seriously.

Instagram – BULL

Instagram has grown wildly this year for many businesses we work with. The new business accounts that allow boosting posts, along with its integration into our Facebook marketing efforts has seen an increase of walk up customers and building buzz around products. The trick is researching relevant hashtags and taking advantage of trends to boost awareness.

There are several issues to overcome which I’ve come to appreciate: There must be an image. No links (unless you’ve boosted the post). Posts must be done manually, no scheduling allowed though there are tools that can save your images and text, then send you a reminder to post.

Snapchat – BULL

Is it easy to use for marketing, no. Do I love what it can do to bring brand awareness? Absolutely.

Building a geo fence around your event or location can be expensive, but building an awareness campaign of your special branded filter and using it to promote your business to a VERY young audience is priceless. How often can you get 18-24-year-olds to openly post their images with your brand associated where all their friends can see it? That’s what snapchat can do for you.


All this to say, and in keeping with my investment theme, I would like to add this disclaimer. Past performance does not guarantee future results! All the platforms must continuously evolve to remain relevant…if not, they will die…or just wither away like MySpace.

5 Tips For Using YouTube

I’ve used multiple avenues for sharing videos, some names you may not even recognize. Remember It’s not around anymore. Google even had it’s own video sharing service before they bought YouTube and merged their videos into it.

YouTube has really come into its own and evolved into a true social media platform…so much so that Facebook wants that share of the pie too (a post for another day).

Here are a few tidbits about YouTube that you’ll want to take advantage of:

1. Subscribers. Having subscribers is big. YouTube does this great thing and notifies your subscribers when you post new videos. The subscribers ultimately choose how often and when they want these notifications, but the more you get, the more likely your new videos will be seen. If they are getting seen by these fans that are bought into your channel, your views go up. Hopefully, your loyalist will share your videos via other social media channels. Doing that leads to more views and you got it…more subscribers.

Here’s a little trick that I started using recently with YouTube channels I work with. I’ll show you my church for an example.

If you have a link on your website, email blast, Facebook or Twitter post, add this: ?sub_confirmation=1 at the end of your address. It will look like this:

Go ahead and click it to see what happens and become a subscriber to my church’s YouTube channel.

2. Custom Thumbnails. I admit, this is something I’m still experimenting with to determine its usefulness, but it sure does make your channel look nice and when you embed a video gives a professional appearance.

Again check out my church – Notice how most videos have a custom thumbnail versus the random image that YouTube pulls out.

YouTube reports that engaging thumbnails (however you choose to define that depends on your audience) increases click through rates. What I can confirm through my experience is that it shows you are actively producing videos and putting a little extra thought into their presentation across multiple channels.

Here are a couple important factors that YouTube points out when creating thumbnails for your videos:

  • Have a resolution of 1280×720 (with minimum width of 640 pixels)
  • Be uploaded in image formats such as .jpg, .gif, .bmp or my personal favorite .png.
  • Remain under the 2MB limit
  • Use a 16:9 aspect ratio as it’s the most used in YouTube players and previews

3. Take advantage of the YouTube channel tips. On the right-hand side of your home page (while logged in), YouTube shows channel tips. Basically, it’s a list of suggestions that YouTube is giving you to show you how to better engage your audience.

It has good suggestions. Read through them and do as many of them as possible.

4. Live streaming is available. Some people actually are able to stream live events for free using it. You’ll need to have your account verified, in good standing then go to your account features to enable it. Once it’s enabled, you’ll have a new option in your video manager for live events.

5. Copyright infringement is serious business. YouTube takes copyright violations seriously. Even ones that aren’t your fault (long story). Violate it, you get to go to copyright school and watch this fun video. I’d suggest watching it now so you don’t have to do it later. I say this from experience, and I’m a little annoying to others about copyrights and it still happened to me.

Last but not least…YouTube is constantly changing. YouTube has recently introduced an ad-free subscription service. There’s even a YouTube for Kids app that’s had over millions of downloads already. The gist is that it will enable families to have a simpler and safer video viewing experience.

So if you’re already producing videos, jump into YouTube. It’s not just cat videos anymore.

Why Should You Be On Social Media?

If you’re not using social media already for your business, you’re missing out on opportunities to connect with your current and potential customers and clients.

Here are some ways that being on social media can help you:

  • Increased exposure by opening new avenues of communication
  • Increased traffic to your website
  • Develop loyal fans
  • Generate leads – connections, interests, etc.

Social media provides the ability to reach out and communicate on a personal level with your target audience on a DAILY basis!


Of course with the need, there are challenges that may present themselves:

  • Lack of time
  • Difficulty integrating social media with other activities
  • Moving beyond event promotion and sharing reports and results
  • Developing a consistent presence

That’s where we step in. We manage social media for many organizations and would love to help yours too. We work to grow your audiences, provide consistency, and tell your story in order to get your followers engaging with you!

Contact us so we can get to work helping you to take advantage of all that putting your business on social media can help with.