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Navigating social media: A guide for small-business owners – Upstate Business Journal

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By Sara Dolan, Smoak Public Relations

Both the beauty and the blight of social media is how quickly it changes. Most recently, Instagram has taken over the social media market. Due to the fast pace of social media and its effectiveness of sharing information, it is important to have a few tips and tricks up your sleeve to attract quality followers who help build and accurately represent your brand.

Here’s how to make social media work for — not against — you and your small business.

1. Beautiful photos

Perhaps the most logical suggestion on our list of Instagram hacks is to post unique photographs that attract people to your page and establish an online presence to keep people visiting. The average user spends about three seconds viewing your post. So post graphics that make them stop and engage.

If you don’t have easy access to a professional photographer or high-quality photographs, try using a consistent filter on all your photos to establish visual continuity throughout your page.

2. Customize your message

Syncing your social media platforms to publish posts at the same date and time may be most convenient; however, it won’t be the most practical. Make sure you are speaking to the correct audience on each individual platform.

Typically, users visit Facebook for article-style or informational content, whereas on Instagram the user is focusing on the image, not the caption. Taking the time to customize the captions on each platform will go a long way when it comes to delivering your message effectively.

3. Instagram stories

Recent studies have shown that people are more likely to watch Instagram stories than they are to take the time to scroll through their Instagram feed. Creating an Instagram story takes very little time and is a fun way to give followers a peek inside your typical workday. It can be as easy as taking a behind-the-scenes photo or Boomerang of your next team meeting.

4. Calculated representation of your brand

Social media accounts have become the medium through which customers generate their first impressions of companies and brands. Take a minute to sit down with your team and discuss how you want your brand to be perceived via social media. Are you silly or serious? What are your goals? Who are the individuals that make your brand unique?

Thinking critically about how you want to present your brand on social media platforms can help establish a more consistent image between your online and offline presence.

5. Engagement is key

Make sure to actively like and comment on your follower’s posts. This shows your loyalty to them and will garner engagement back to your page.

This is an easy task to forget, so we recommend setting a reminder every day on your phone to actively interact. You will be surprised at how much a few minutes of engagement can pay off in the long run.

At the end of the day, it is important to realize that social media is a “social” platform and it is intended for just that.
We recommend experimenting with fun captions, creative imagery and exciting engagement that will ultimately build a loyal following for you and your business.

Sara Dolan is a senior account executive for Smoak Public Relations, a local PR agency focused on telling stories, creating memorable experiences and building relationships.

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Local restaurant victim of COVID-19 case allegations on social media – SaultOnline.com

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Yesterday a screenshot of an email which was alleged to have been sent out by an employee of the Ontario Finnish Resthome Association started circulating on social media. The email had a subject line “Tim Hortons possible Covid-19” and was sent out with a high importance flag.

The contents of the email went on to state that there was a potential positive case at a local Tim Hortons restaurant, where a person had gone for testing after exhibiting symptoms. To make matters even worse, the email went on to state that people should avoid the location “if you happen to stop for coffee”… “Just to be extra safe.”

First and foremost, the potential response to such an allegation could very well result in the closure of the restaurant similar to what happened last week in Hamilton, Worker at Hamilton McDonald’s charged after fake positive COVID-19 test closed restaurant: police. In this case, an 18-year-old employee was charged with fraud and mischief after police say she provided a fake medical note saying she had COVID-19. The McDonald’s location had to close for a few days and other employees were told to self-isolate.

In this case, the financial damage that would result to both the franchisee and employees during these difficult times would also have a definite impact. We did speak with the franchisee and they were understandably extremely upset with this incident and even violated corporate policies in an attempt to defend the unsubstantiated claim.

Management at OFRA were quick to respond once finding out about the email, issuing the following statement:

“It has come to our attention that a snapshot of an e-mail bearing OFRA’s logo has been circulating throughout social media regarding a suspected case of COVID-19 at a nearby fast-food chain.

The snapshot was taken by an OFRA employee, who will be identified as quickly as possible and reprimanded for spreading unsubstantiated rumours about an upstanding business in our community.

OFRA extends its apologies to this valued community business and will take corrective action immediately.”

It is completely understandable that these are very trying times with an abundance of uncertainty. Most are more than a bit anxious, frustrated and even scared. We can’t stress enough how important it is to look to credible information sources such as the resources listed on the right hand side of our COVID-19 Flatten the Curve page. It is very important for everyone to do their part, practice social distancing, self-isolation if you have symptoms, and be supportive of family, friends and neighbours. We are #InThisTogetherSSM!

IMPORTANT NOTE: Words alone don’t seem to express enough the tremendous gratitude we have for all front-line workers across a wide range of essential services and businesses!!! Healthcare, grocery, restaurant, fuel, transit, service, delivery and every other worker out there getting up each day to make sure we all can get through these difficult times. It has never been more important to support local!

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Polish president says postal voting possible for May election: media – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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WARSAW (Reuters) – Postal voting could allow Poland’s presidential elections to be held in May despite the coronavirus, President Andrzej Duda said in an interview published on Saturday, amid signs the governing coalition could split over the issue.

The nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party wants to hold elections on May 10 despite the pandemic, and has proposed legislation to introduce postal ballots to replace physical voting.

A more liberal junior coalition partner, Accord, said it was unrealistic for the election to proceed and proposed a postponement of two years.

“This solution (postal voting) was used a few days ago in Bavaria,” Duda told the Catholic daily newspaper Nasz Dziennik.

“We can also introduce this idea here … Postal voting would be something new in Poland, but the situation is unusual.”

Asked when elections should take place if not on May 10, Duda said the vote should be held when it is safe to do so.

In a sign of the party’s determination to implement postal voting, PiS on Friday replaced the head of the post office with Tomasz Zdzikot, who will leave his post as a Deputy Defense Minister.

Polish daily Rzeczpospolita quoted a source with knowledge of the matter as saying PiS wanted a trusted official as head of the post office at such a critical time.

Poland has imposed sweeping restrictions on public life to stop the spread of the virus, including closing schools, parks, forests and hotels and banning gatherings outside of more than two people, excluding families.

As of Saturday, it had reported 3,503 cases of the coronavirus and 73 deaths.

Duda criticized the European Commission in the interview for a lack of support over the pandemic.

“As a country we have not received any extra financial help from Brussels,” he said.

“You can’t see any great engagement from European institutions…concerning the activity of the European Commission, I must say it looks pretty poor,” he said.

(Reporting by Alan Charlish and Anna Koper; Editing by Ros Russell)

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Polish president says postal voting possible for May election – media – National Post

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WARSAW — Postal voting could allow Poland’s presidential elections to be held in May despite the coronavirus, President Andrzej Duda said in an interview published on Saturday, amid signs the governing coalition could split over the issue.

The nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party wants to hold elections on May 10 despite the pandemic, and has proposed legislation to introduce postal ballots to replace physical voting.

A more liberal junior coalition partner, Accord, said it was unrealistic for the election to proceed and proposed a postponement of two years.

“This solution (postal voting) was used a few days ago in Bavaria,” Duda told the Catholic daily newspaper Nasz Dziennik.

“We can also introduce this idea here … Postal voting would be something new in Poland, but the situation is unusual.”

Asked when elections should take place if not on May 10, Duda said the vote should be held when it is safe to do so.

In a sign of the party’s determination to implement postal voting, PiS on Friday replaced the head of the post office with Tomasz Zdzikot, who will leave his post as a Deputy Defence Minister.

Polish daily Rzeczpospolita quoted a source with knowledge of the matter as saying PiS wanted a trusted official as head of the post office at such a critical time.

Poland has imposed sweeping restrictions on public life to stop the spread of the virus, including closing schools, parks, forests and hotels and banning gatherings outside of more than two people, excluding families.

As of Saturday, it had reported 3,503 cases of the coronavirus and 73 deaths.

Duda criticized the European Commission in the interview for a lack of support over the pandemic.

“As a country we have not received any extra financial help from Brussels,” he said.

“You can’t see any great engagement from European institutions…concerning the activity of the European Commission, I must say it looks pretty poor,” he said.

(Reporting by Alan Charlish and Anna Koper Editing by Ros Russell)

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