How Voice Search Will Change the Future of SEO

Voice search is the fastest growing type of search. With kids feeling “cool” and adults feeling “tech savvy”, this trend is here to stay. Here’s how your SEO will change.

Can You Hear Me Now? Good.

Voice search probably hasn’t taken off the way most of the big tech companies would have hoped. In the past, most people would rather type their search query and avoid the errors that tend to come with voice recognition software.

Advancement in voice dictation technology has significantly lowered the average word error rate. Now that voice search is more accurate, more people are comfortable using it. Over half of teens aged 12-18, use voice search daily. Adults are getting in on the fun too with 41 percent of them talking to their phone each day.

With teens feeling “cool”, adults feeling “tech savvy”, and continuous advancement in mobile voice tools, that can only lead marketers to speculate about the future of voice search and how that will affect SEO.

Recent History of Voice Search

Voice search is not new. Spanning back to the 1950’s, many companies have had a go at speech recognition software. The past 11 years in voice recognition software have really dived into mobile, search, and virtual personal assistants.

google voice search screenshot

Google announced their Voice Search feature for their iPhone app in 2008. This is what the feature looks like currently.

Let’s look at some of the recent voice recognition software milestones:

Segmenting Searchers: The ‘Talkers’ and The ‘Typers’

The first thing to know is that as voice searching becomes mainstream, there will be two types of searchers that websites will need to simultaneously appeal to, the talkers and the typers.

close up of siri voice search on iphone 4s

When we search via voice, we tend to use complete questions and want immediate answers.

What’s the Difference?

We don’t type how we talk and vice versa. When typing a search query, we tend to type in shorthand, using the least amount of words such as Weather Orlando, FL. When we talk, we tend to ask complete questions. For example, “Siri, what is the weather in Orlando, Florida?”

When people are typing, it seems that they are more willing to dig through web pages and research the answers to their questions. When users are searching via voice, it is usually because they want a quick, instant answer.

Changing Search, One Voice at a Time

What some marketers may fail to realize is that the rise of voice as a primary search method is going to significantly change how we optimize our site and our content. Currently, one of the biggest SEO ranking factors is the number of inbound links your site has.

In the future, you can expect to see websites optimize for user behavior instead. Expect to see Google implement algorithm changes that will penalize sites for not being voice-search friendly, much like what happened with Google’s Mobilegedon last year.

SEO in the Google Logo

Eventually, SEO best practices will change and Google will penalize site that are not voice search-friendly.

With other emerging trends like the innovation of virtual assistants, local search, and artificial intelligence, the future of voice search is promising. We will see the digital assistants sharing data with search engines and vice versa. Users will play a much larger part in how sites adjust because optimization will be based on user behavior.

If you plan to have a site that ranks in the future take heed of my predictions for the future of SEO as influenced by voice search.

Natural Language Focus

Because people talk differently than they type when searching, we will see some of the continued rise of some current trends and the introduction of a new one.

Long-tail Keywords

While we probably won’t see short-term keywords disappear entirely, they will continue to become less and less relevant as search adopts a more natural, conversational approach.

friends-laughing-sharing-content-on-smartphones

Voice search is here to stay. Teens have no issue using it with friends to find quick answers.

Semantic Search Focus

Semantic search is already a growing trend that focuses primarily on the context of entered queries, rather than just the queries themselves. This allows Google to be more accurate in determining the most relevant sites to show on the search engine results page (SERP).

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs are already on many sites, but I think that the FAQ is going to make a huge comeback as voice search becomes the primary search method. Most people ask full questions when voice searching, and the sites that can quickly answer those questions will be deemed voice search-friendly, and rank higher than its competitors.

Site Optimization Trends

I believe that with the emergence of voice search as a prominent influence we will see SEO best practices change and new the optimization tools emerge.

Schema Markup for Voice Search

If you already are not using or familiar with schemas, you could be missing out on a major optimization technique. Schema is code that helps search engines return more information with search results.

screenshots of schema rich snippets in google results page

Schema allows rich snippets of event information or airline reservation details to be shown with search results. Image: support.google.com

We will see the implementation of new schema markup specifically for voice search. Web sites that utilize the new schema markup will have an SEO edge.

Optimized Site Microdata

With the new schema markup, we will also see that the importance of site microdata will rise. Things like your company address and phone number will need to be accurate, and marked with schema because this is the type of information that searcher will want immediately.

Also, metadata and XML sitemaps will find renewed influence in SEO rankings. They will be more important in guiding search engines to crawl their sites without any difficulty. The key will be to find the information the user is searching for in the quickest amount of time.

iphone with multimedia play symbol on screen with youtube logo in background

Will we see a future with videos optimized for voice search? Only time will tell.

Rise of the Optimized Video

We already all know that video is the future of content marketing, which is why we will see innovations in optimizing videos. Voice searchers may be looking for information that your company has on an embedded video.

Imagine being able to provide some type of markup or coding that would allow search engines to  know what is being said and when it is being said in the video. Searchers could ask a question, and get a short video, or video clip returned in their results.

Even the Big Companies Can Plagiarize: What We Can Learn From Snapchat’s Faux Pas

Last week it was reported by media outlet The Ringer that the social media app Snapchat was actually taking content for their “filters” from other artists without permission.

The article cites Argenis Pinal, who, like most of us, went to add an interesting filter to his selfie. You know, the dog-ears and tongue that have every college-aged girl invading social media with dogged selfies. The filter in question was that of the DC Comic villain The Joker. Pinal went to instagram to show an eerily similar filter that snapchat had unveiled.

The article goes on to highlight a few other times that Snapchat’s filters have looked eerily similar to other artists’ work.

So what can we take away from Snapchat’s possible mistake? Will there be consequences? Does this happen often? And, how we prevent our own company or social media campaign from plagiarism?

Snapchat's filter looks eerily similar

A Longer History of Plagiarism

            In response to last week’s article the company said it has “already implemented additional layers of review for all designs,” and that it is “taking appropriate action internally with those involved.”

Okay, no harm no foul, Snapchat fessed up and everything is back to normal, right?

Well, not exactly. Angela Perez, a freelancer for Snapchat’s design team eventually told The Ringer that she was “encouraged to trace sample images from famous YouTubers.” Yes, you read that correctly, they were encouraged to use content created by someone else, without asking for permission.

While Perez was not explicitly told to steal content from other artists, it can be interpreted that that’s what Snapchat’s design team has been doing.

Consequences?

            One of the biggest social media apps has now been accused (pretty much caught) using content from other artists without their permission. We can expect them to be fined, persecuted, and maybe have their ghost emoji locked up behind bars, right?

Well, most likely not. When it comes down to it, it’s just too hard to prove the theft of an artistic concept, especially when that concept is shared via social media.

The Ghostface Chillah will continue to own the selfie game, and we can expect filters to churn out on a regular basis. There are, however, a few things we can learn from Snapchat’s sticky situation.

Snapchat continues to make millions despite questionable tactics

Original Content Creates Credibility

            To be successful in marketing via social media, it’s important to have credibility. Creating original content that will drive viewers toward your site will grow a loyal following. Anyone can post on social media or host a website and use previously created content. Carving out a niche with original ideas will build a credibility that can turn your campaign into a legitimate entity.

Communicate and Be Observant

            Snapchat would later say in a statement “The creative process sometimes involves inspiration, but it should never result in copying. We have already implemented additional layers of review for all designs. Copying other artists isn’t something we will tolerate, and we’re taking appropriate action internally with those involved.”

We won’t know for sure whether or not Snapchat’s higher-ups were aware of what was going on, but it’s important to communicate with everyone in your company. You’re responsible for overseeing every aspect of the company, so communication is key. If you’re not the boss, make sure to communicate with your superiors if you’re unsure about an ethical decision.

Track5Media’s Open House Event

Last Friday the 17th marked Track5Media’s open house showing off the new office space. Friends and family gathered to celebrate our forward charge into 2016, with more “zenergy” than ever before.

After rumors of a cereal bar had leaked through Oliver and Steve’s military-grade secrecy, we knew there was reason for excitement.

The first unveiling had everyone absolutely gawking at the signature green and orange walls, lined with bright art pieces and a sleek, brushed aluminum company name and logo lighting the front lobby.

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A turn to your left revealed the subtle, though intensely relaxing “Zen break-out room,” featuring a stone fountain and an array of butterflies peacefully glued to the walls – but what’s next door you ask? Oh, that’s just Call of Duty lighting up the conference room’s meeting space / ping-pong arena… the site of many important decisions and heated matches.

New Horizons, Same Old Dedication

All leisure aside – and sometimes it’s hard to tell – this open house represented a quantum leap forward in Track5’s evolution. A new office space, along with several new faces makes up only a few of the reasons to be excited about the future. Friday’s event was a chance to reflect on the origins of the company, while gearing up for what’s to come.

Between the old space and new, we’ve been working tirelessly to bring to life our shiny new website and brand, Senior Caring.com. Track5Media is stepping up to the plate in an industry with a steadily rising demand, as well as a genuine need for better access to senior care services.

For me, joining the Track5 team as an intern and now as a full-time marketing specialist came at a time of requiring some senior caring of my own. After the passing of my grandfather in mid-January, things started sliding downhill for my grandmother as well, who, on the day of this open house was admitted to the hospital for intense, Alzheimer’s-related hallucinations.

 

track5media open house

 

Truly, the ability to find and locate adequate healthcare and services for our growing elderly population is something egregiously overlooked, yet essential to the wellbeing of our society – Their lives are our lives, and the separation between people is illusory.

…Maybe I’ve been sitting in the Zen break-out room too long, but the point is that Track5Media is the company poised to help thousands of people in every stage of their old age. Whether it’s finding an independent living community, or skilled nursing care, Senior Caring is here for us all.

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A few tastefully curated art pieces to freshen up the office’s atmosphere

While a new website and brand experience is on its way, visitors to the open house were treated to a rundown of one of Track5’s latest, and more secretive projects – something you’ll definitely want to keep an ear to the ground for in the next several months.

With plenty of new prospects on the horizon, Sean Brennan, Track5’s Director of Business Development had this to say about the event:

 

Sean Brennan“The open house represented the entire team’s collective and continuous effort to enable our clients to succeed – with a new contemporary space to represent our future, this highlights Track5’s never ending drive to use the latest technological strategies in all of our products and services.“

When asked about what excited her most about Track5’s future, fellow marketing specialist, Ekom Enyong commented that

“We have plans to do some really great things in the near future, and we have such an amazing, dedicated, and talented team to get them done. I get to witness my team working hard around me all day, so it’s just gonna be incredible to watch all of our hard work pay off.”

Winding Down and Gearing Up

 

After a very warmly received evening, the office finally powered down for the night leaving only the rusty glow of the company name like hot embers to be stirred to a flame come Monday morning…

“Awesomeness happens here.”

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However the future plays out, there’s something to be said about a business constantly racing to keep up with it’s own vision of growth, change, and the biggest and best of things.

Game of Phones: iOS 10 and the New Tech War

Unless you have been living in a cave for the past week, you know that Apple held their World Wide Developer’s Conference in San Francisco. You also know that at the event they announced that on iOS 10, iPhone users will finally be able to delete those stock apps.

As a dedicated iPhone user (I get nostalgic thinking about my first little 8GB iPhone 3G), that feature alone would have made me very happy.

Siri might have been the star of the show for developers, but the new iOS 10 features are what most iOS device users are excitedly whispering about; especially the iMessage party that Android users are still not invited to.

The battle of #TeamiAndroid vs #TeamiPhone continues to wage on.

The battle of #TeamiAndroid vs #TeamiPhone continues to wage on.

Preparing for War

While the new features might allow #TeamiPhone to fire back in the Apple vs. Android meme battle, those of us in the tech industry see what Apple has really done: started a mobile messaging tech war.

After seeing sales significantly decrease in the first quarter of the year while Samsung saw successful numbers from their Galaxy smartphone line during the same period, Apple is ready for a comeback. By using all the best features from various social media apps in iOS 10, Apple has attempted to create what may later be called the first “complete” mobile messaging app.

Raining on Apple's Parade: Samsung crushed Apple in sales in Q1 of this year.

Raining on Apple’s Parade: Samsung crushed Apple in sales in Q1 of this year.

In order to compete with the likes of WeChat and Facebook Messenger, Apple has taken a small slice from everyone else’s tech pies to create a mobile messaging app juggernaut.

iOS 10 and iMessage 2.0

Over the years, Apple has made slight updates to the Messages app, but I don’t believe the app has ever seen the overhaul it is getting with iOS 10. Apple’s upgrades are going to create a fun, easier, and more useful communication environment.

While we all love our interactions on social media, it is the private messages that really bring it all full circle. We love to be able to easily respond or react to content. We love finding something on the web and sending a link to the group chat.

Now Apple is attempting to help us thoroughly enjoy these private moments by making the way we communicate easier. Let’s look a few of the new features for Messages in iOS 10 and determine where Apple might have borrowed them from.

Rich links and Bubble Effects

Now when you send the link to that hilarious video you found online, your friends can see it play right in the message, without leaving the app. When you find that interesting article you want to send to coworkers, they will see a feature image and blog title.

These features are similar to Twitter and Facebook, allowing videos to play in-stream. We’ve seen many messaging apps display blog title with featured images in other apps too including Skype and Slack.

iOS 10 Screenshots of Rich Links and Bubble Effects

Rich links will look similar to other apps, while bubble effects add some animations to your replies. Credit: Apple

Who says you can’t tell tone from text messages? You can now respond to text messages with bubble effects, which will display your text with a little bit of animation. Now your friends know when you’re yelling or whispering.

This might be a bit of a stretch, but the text animation reminds me of the emoticon animation on Skype (though I can’t imagine Apple would loop text animation).

Celebrate good times, c’mon!

Apple took a page out of Twitter’s book for this next feature: Celebration effects. Now when you are wishing one your friends a happy birthday, you can both experience the celebration with balloons on screen.

Screenshot showing the celebration effects for iOS 10

These balloons look familiar… Credit: Apple

Heavy Twitter users know that since July of last year, the site has helped to celebrate birthdays by providing balloons on the user’s special day (only if you choose to share your  birth date, of course).

Though a full list of sayings is not yet available, you can be sure to be able to celebrate holidays, say congrats, and more.

Emojis, Stickers, and an iMessage App Store? Oh, my.

Tap to Emoji ios 10 feature screenshot

Tap to insert emojis. No longer the need for endless searching. Credit: Apple

When Apple introduced emojis, it was a game changer in the messaging tech industry. Everyone loves emojis. If you don’t believe that people love emojis, then why is Twitter now going to allow advertisers to target users by the emojis they tweet?

Apple didn’t invent the emoji, but they were the first to use them. Since then we have seen emojis spread not only to other smartphones, but also social sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Apple didn’t announce that they would be adding any new emojis this time around (thanks for the unicorn… still waiting on that giraffe🤔). But they might have  borrowed an idea from SwiftKey that will make your emoji experience better.

Not only did Apple announce that emojis will be three times bigger, Apple will also highlight words that can be ’emojified’ (that’s a word now).

As I said before, Apple didn’t talk about adding new emojis, but they did talk about adding stickers. You will be able to add them on bubbles, photos, or even on another sticker. Apple probably got the idea from the Snapchat update that allows stickers to be placed on photos. These will be available in the iMessage app store.

ios 10 screenshot of stickers and imessage app store

Bring your messages to life by adding stickers and downloading apps that are specifically made for iMessage! Credit: Apple

Oh, what’s that? I didn’t mention the iMessage App Store? Well with iOS 10, developers will be able to create apps for the Messages app. This will make it easier to do various things like share content and make payments without having to exit the app.

Declaring War

We only looked at a few of the new iOS 10 messaging features, but already you can see how Apple is positioning themselves to be the leader is messaging communication. While Apple might not have shown us anything that hasn’t been done before, think of it as a renovation rather than innovation.

How do I know that Apple is declaring war? Because Apple is experiencing a decline in device sales and loss of smartphone market share, and most telling, iMessage will still be unavailable to Android users. If Apple can create the best mobile messaging experience, perhaps they can also convince users to make the switch to #TeamiPhone.

Track5Takes: Will We Work Less or More in the Future?

This is the first installment of a series we’d like to call Track5Takes. Throughout the week, we come across a variety of interesting subjects dealing with marketing, social media, and technology among other things. Our staff often discusses these articles or videos, with each of us forming our own opinions. We’d like to not only inform you about what’s going on in the web-marketing and technological world, but we want to show a little personality by giving our own “takes” on various issues.

            The first issue we decided to look at was “Will we work less or more in the future?” After recently stumbling across a Forbes article by David Carr that discussed the future and just how it would change our working habits. Our staff had a variety of unique opinions on the matter.

connor-200x200 Connor Smith, Marketing Specialist – When you think about it, having computers take over our menial tasks is essentially the reason we started building them in the first place. I mean who really wanted to sit at a typewriter for hours, just to hit a few wrong keys and have to throw out the entire copy? I, for one, welcome the AI-utopia promised to us by futurists like Ray Kurzweil – unless such a technology interprets mankind as the greatest danger unto itself, thereby “protecting” us with total extinction. Bummer.

So maybe we’ll be working more, but I think it’s likely we’ll be more focused on tasks that only humans can perform (at least for the time being).

But whether or not we’ll be happier about this is the real question – and just who is this “we” expected to benefit from such technological advancements?

7135717 - robot and human hands almost touching - 3d render. a modern take on the famous michelangelo painting in the sistine chapel; titled,

Who knows how this blend of technology and humanism could turn out (Hopefully not like Terminator or I, Robot)

I can’t help but wonder how technology will affect blue-collar jobs and the traditional “backbone” of the American economy. Maybe we’ll just have more robotic construction vehicles or completely automated factories (if they’re not already outsourced), but what then? It seems that this whole “work more passionately” concept is geared toward those lofty jobs where a work/life balance is seen more as a condition for employment rather than a luxury.

If anything, I might be concerned that more automation in the office would lead to higher demands for expert workers at a lesser volume. Why pay someone to file expense reports when you can do so at the press of the button? At the same time, I can see how a company might reach greater heights simply because they aren’t focusing on distracting, passion-leeching tasks.

Honestly though, it’s hard to believe that certain industries will ever opt for a robotic creative director or CEO – these streamlining technologies may just allow people to focus more on the meat of a respective business.

That being said, I don’t think it’s too far out to conceive of electing one AI platform over another in 2052’s presidential election.

troy-200x200 Troy Diffenderfer, Marketing Intern – I thought long and hard about this one, and I decided to look at it from two different angles. First, I looked at it from the hardworking, eager beaver, looking to maximize efficiency to complete as many tasks as possible. Then, I looked at myself. Sadly, throughout my school years I was adept in the fine art of procrastination and cutting corners. Some throw around those vulgar words like “lazy” and “minimalist,” while I counter with words like “efficient” and “ingenious.” To each there own I suppose.

I believe initially we will in fact, work not only less, but more efficiently as well. With technology rapidly growing, more and more menial tasks will be taken care for us. Self-driving cars will populate highways, drones will deliver food and mail at the touch of a button, and many blue-collar jobs will cease to exist.

I also think many companies, especially tech and marketing companies, will opt to have many employees work from home. With increasing communication technology, estimates suggest that almost half of all professionals have a job that they can do from home. Not only will this cut down on expenses for the company, employee morale will rise as they spend more time with their family.

I think it’s the Internet, and networking, not robotics, that will allow us to work less and more efficient. Whether or not we use that spare time to become productive, I’m not sure.

“We will be working more for ourselves – working on things we are passionate about,” said Kate Kendall, CEO and founder of CloudPeeps.

I guess it really depends on the passion. Hopefully, these passion projects will produce even better technology that will help us work smarter, not harder.

ekom-200x200 Ekom Enyong, Marketing Specialist – The future of work depends on the definition of work. I predict that the way we work will drastically change; meaning the definition of work will have to change too. Work will not continue to be this nine to five model. The two largest factors that will determine the future of work will be technological advances and the work-life balance.

Developers will continue to create software that makes getting through the workday easier. I think that companies continuing to use dated technologies and inefficient processes will see their top talent leave for competitors or other industries.

New business organization models

In the marketing, communications, and tech industries, in the future, I would expect to see businesses start to follow one of two organization models: e-lancing and live-in work. There are companies that currently operate like each of these models, but I think we will see many more companies follow suit.

E-Lance Model

Technological innovations will spur growth of the e-lance model. New software will lead to more efficient workdays and the elimination of administrative task and some entire positions. I imagine receptionists being replaced by kiosks (see iPad Receptionist app). The most skilled workers will still be able to find work.

E-lance companies will operate with a small “core” group of salaried employees, but for the most part, will hire contract workers that will live elsewhere and will rarely, if ever, see company headquarters.

Live-in Work Model

For employers and employees who are unable to separate their work from home life, a live-in work model will emerge. These companies will provide many onsite amenities for their employers.

These may include cafeterias, child day care, health clinics, maybe a grocery store and of course recreational activities. Employers that choose this method will fully value the benefits that come with creating a sense of community with your employees.

In terms of hours or days, I don’t think that we will work more, but the technological innovations will help employees to get more done in a day and work more efficiently. Perhaps we will work more, but it will feel like less.

I think people will be happier working because they will have the choice of how to work as an individual contributor, or as part of a collaborative team.

 

Millennial Marketing 101

 

It’s no secret that the digital natives of the millennial generation (people born from the 80’s to 2000) are vastly influential when it comes to how certain brands display themselves in today’s markets.

Among the misconceptions and wishful overstatements of their character, millennials represent approximately 80 million people in their prime consumer years. This means they comprise nearly 21% of consumer discretionary purchases – an estimated $1 trillion in direct buying power.

As a generation focused on authenticity, value, and transparency – all things which many brands strive for – there are a few techniques marketers focused on millennials are using to their advantage… and similarly their public demise.

 

So Who Are the Millennial Generation… I Mean Really?

Many people in Gen Y have heard the same rhetoric on repeat from older generations, something to the effect of “you’re entitled, disconnected by your social networking, and bound to rent apartments for the rest of your hedonically-trendy existence, you starry-eyed artisanal-coffee drinking yuppie!”

Are millennials an elusive audience, or actually the most straightforward?

Are millennials an elusive audience, or actually the most straightforward?

 

Maybe I embellished a bit there, but you get the point!

With such a significant share of the future workforce (75% by 2025) it’s clear why everyone is scrambling to get Gen Y on their side. The millennial generation has a number of differentiating factors that make them one of the most elusive, yet reliable consumers once marketers have found a way to capture their attention.

 

What Do They Want?

 

Despite being a generation born and raised on all things digital, a majority of millennials have reacted by choosing brands that 1) entertain them 2) allow the co-creation of content and 3) respond or interact with them via social media.

That being said, 70% of millennials feel a responsibility to share their feedback of good and bad company experiences – something that can have a profound effect on one’s brand, almost irreparably at times!

Being native to the digital age, millennials excel on the web.

Being native to the digital age, millennials excel on the web.

Gen Y’s social media-savvy can often create PR disasters with no recovery in sight… just like #AskSeaWorld #McDStories or even #MyNYPD, all of which had been hijacked and used to expose more horror stories and social commentary than valuable brand exposure.

 

This hints at the fact that nearly 50% of millennials prefer to make purchases that support transparent causes, with 37% admitting they would pay more just to further a purposeful brand.

These characteristics leave marketers with a few distinct talking points to start with:

  1. Be honest with your content or products:

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Believe me, millennials will absolutely do their research instead of blindly hurling cash at your product or service. Most reported they already view advertisements as all-spin and no authenticity, so it’s hard to hide the your hot-dog of a brand as anything more than pink slime in the eyes of Generation Y. Remember, “no comment” is often no better than a lie when it comes to a PR crisis.

  1. Take time to read and respond to your reviews:
Millennials are much more likely to write reviews.

Millennials are much more likely to write reviews.

Not only are your reviews valuable reservoirs of market research, they’re also an avenue to securing customers and improving your brand’s overall image. More times than not, millennials value written reviews via blogs, comment sections, or forums just as much (if not more) than word of mouth recommendations.

Social media’s pull is perhaps one of the most key ingredients to staying vital, and all it takes is the right viral post or authentic gesture to supplant your brand in today’s digital collective-consciousness. Take these for example.

  1. Don’t try too hard…

Yes, memes and copypasta culture is vastly entertaining – but that doesn’t make it your fast-pass to the minds of millennials. In fact, it’s more likely that you’ll shatter whatever chance you had with Generation Y in one, not-so-dank image or video.

millennial marketing

On the rare occasion that your meme actually works, don’t expect an evergreen campaign. These images have an intentionally short life span, so you’ll probably be back on Reddit before you can even cash the check.

 

Despite an undying pessimism (and legitimate economic factors), the millennial generation continues to sway the way many brands are interacting with their publics through any number of strategies. We can make a case for why the future workforce won’t ever live up to the Babyboomers or Generation X, while in the same breath trying to crack the code to their hearts.

 

 

How to Create a Work Culture to Foster Innovation

I know, I know. Yet another blog post about creating a positive work environment. Before you roll your eyes and close your browser tab, try and learn how you can actually help your business. Developing a positive and productive work culture isn’t just fluff, and it’s not just to cater to us millennials.

Most people already know that a strong  work culture is major to business innovation, value, and success. A strong product or service is also (obviously) important and valuable, but work culture lead to the innovations that spur business growth.

When you build a great place to work, you are able to attract and keep employees. The process to replace an employee after they leave is expensive and time-consuming. The best companies will have low voluntary turnover rates. By building a great culture, you make the workplace somewhere employees want to work. This will create an environment where employees don’t want to leave.

How to Create a Better Work Culture

Track5Media Awesomeness Happens Here Work Culture

My opinion may be ever so slightly biased, but our culture at Track5Media is pretty awesome.

Employees that like their office culture are happier, more productive workers. Happy, productive workers are proud of the work they do, trust their team, and ultimately, help strengthen your brand. This short list will help you build your case to create a better work culture.

Be Flexible

Flexibility is key to creating a positive culture. A significant number of employees have high levels of conflict between their work and personal life.Companies can do this in any number of ways like allowing employees to have flexible working hours, freeing them from the traditional 9-5. Or they can give employees options to work remotely. The important thing to remember is to be flexible with your employee’s personal lives.

“A trusted hardworking employee should be able to schedule their day like a CEO. Why should they cram every one of life’s inconveniences — [like] oil changes, etc. — into a brief period of time before or after work?”
-Ashley Judge

Ashley Judge, president of The Funtrepreneur, says, “I encourage my employees to schedule their personal lives the way a CEO does.” She continues, “Unless it conflicted with a meeting, I wouldn’t think twice about scheduling a mid-day doctor’s appointment or more trivial personal appointment, such as a haircut, and I encourage them to do the same.”

Foster Communication and Collaboration

If you don’t already have one, embrace an ‘open door’ policy to allow for an open flow of communication between coworkers. Remain transparent in your communication. Open communication helps your employees create closer working relationships and build trust. That trust is what will allow workers to all operate as different spokes of the same wheel.

In this modern world of technology, it can be hard to remember how valuable face time is. When you meet face-to-face with your employees, it makes them feel important. Employees need face time and they need feedback from time to time.

Business meeting with employees putting together puzzle

Teamwork makes the dream work.

Co-founder and marketing director of Four Mine, Slisha Kankariya believes “whether your office is cabins, cubicles or open-concept, be sure to have small and large spaces that employees can collaborate in. This will spark team creativity and camaraderie and indirectly encourage people to be more invested in their work and their colleagues.”

By promoting a culture with open communication, you improve your employees’ happiness and productivity.

Recognize Success

If your employee was doing something wrong, you would tell, so if they are doing everything right, you should also tell them! Especially if you are employing millennials who make up a large part of the workforce. When you thank your employees for a job well done, it builds confidence and motivates them to do even better.

Recognizing your employees can be as simple saying thank you, or include cash or a gift certificate. It doesn’t have to be a huge gesture or a big deal, but when you give recognition, it goes a long way.

Offer Opportunities for Development

Team of coworkers around a computer

Employees want to be the very best employee they can be. Encourage employees to learn new things and acquire new skills.

When you first hire an employee, it is critical to train them properly for their greatest chance at success. But even when your employees ‘know everything’, you should still be offering opportunities for growth. If employees are bored with their job or feel that there is no room to grown in a company, they will leave.

When you invest in your employees, they feel valued and like an important part of the company. They will develop a sense of purpose and pride for what they do, and enjoy doing it.

Help provide them with opportunities or experiences that include on continued education and training or develop a mentorship program. Allow your employees to attend seminars and conferences where they can pick more skills, or hone in on their craft. Ideally, when your employees learn new skills, your business can provide better products or services, promoting growth.