Working from Home Tips

Working from Home Tips

For 2 years prior to my current role, I worked from home and was a remote worker while the rest of my team was in the office. But never before have we had companies telecommute on such a broad scale. Social isolation is also a legitimate thing when working from home. I know we are supposed to be social distancing right now, but here are some work from home tips that I learned and things to do to cope with social isolation while working.

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What Net Neutrality Means to you

background-1023002_1280There is a pretty good chance that you posted pictures from your Thanksgiving and holiday activities, viewed friends  photos, or even did a little holiday shopping online this past weekend. Each of us does so much more on the internet than consume content. We create, share and spread ideas, and connect with friends and family. This is the open internet experience that we have come to know.

Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) set forth with a plan to end net neutrality. They will hold a vote on their plan on December 14.

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Service Above Self

Service above SelfService above self was something that was instilled in me at a very young age. When I was 13 years old, I was spending a summer week with my dad, he was a member of the Rotary Club of Kenosha-West. I had no idea what that organization was at that time, as all I know was they put on a legendary softball tournament every summer. A place where it all started for me, without my dad even asking me to volunteer. I just did it because I loved sports and was having a blast helping out. The Rotary moto is “Service above Self”. It reminds Rotarians to think of how they can help others instead of themselves.

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18 Summers – It’s All We Have

18 SummersThis past week I attended the Wisconsin Fall Tourism Conference for work. Not only did I have a great time networking with current and potential clients, I also received a good reminder of what life is all about; family. Millions of vacation days go unused each year. Trust me I know, there have been years that I did not use all of my vacation days. Sitting in a session this week, something touched me personally, it was hearing about Visit Idaho’s 18 summers campaign. I have heard the phrase and term 18 summers for the past few years, especially since I have a young son, we have just 18 summers with our kids before they grow up so we need to take time to make some memories.

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Why Start Healthy Digital Living Blog

Why start a blog called Healthy Digital Living? I had set-up a generic blog years ago, that I would randomly post things to. I concentrated so much on the brand and company that I was working for and didn’t really brand myself. In December 2015, I felt it was time that I started to get some of my thoughts and knowledge out of my head and on paper, as there was a lot going on in there and it would provide me with a place that I would lose or forget my thoughts. My wife was on a journey of weight loss and healthy eating and I kept hearing the questions that people were asking her about it. I kept telling her and myself, we should start a blog about it and educate people. But yet, I wanted someplace to share my marketing knowledge, from there Healthy Digital Living was born.¬† Read more

The Decision

As everyone who is reading this knows, I left my position of Director of Marketing at Visit Lake County to be the Senior Digital Strategist & Consultant at Dooley and Associates, a digital marketing firm in Kenosha, WI. The question that people have asked me after they hear I am at a new company is, why would you leave? It is then followed by the person saying, it seemed like you really liked the job, you were there for a long time, you’ve accomplished so much, why leave? It’s a simple question, but one of the toughest professional decisions that I had to make, and one I did not take lightly. Read more

My 2015 New Year’s Resolutions

Each year I tend to make some New Year’s resolutions that I have every intention of keeping. But by February, those resolutions are either out the window or I have forgotten them. So by blogging about them, I feel that this will be a constant reminder of what I am striving for in my personal life and professional career. Here we go on some things that I would like to strive for in 2015: (these are in no specific order)

Blog More
I would like to really work on my blog and share my marketing successes, failures, strategies and what I have learned with everyone. This also includes redesigning my blog and purchasing a url.

Commit to working out
I know, everyone sets this goal. I have done an okay job of this in the past, as I have recently run 2 5ks. I would like to work out and run on a more consist basis instead of in spurts.

Stress Less

Don’t bring work home with me
I am a workaholic, so what I mean here is, I tend to carry work stress and stuff that happen at work with me. So I would like to leave that stuff at work at end of the workday so when I am home with my family (my wife and son) to be there for them not only physically but mentally and emotionally.

Enjoy Life
Life goes by fast, so I want to take time and enjoy it with my family.

Be a better Cook
Instead of just pinning a recipe I found on Pinterest, I would like to actually make the meal.

Become a better photographer
One thing that my wife and I have been good at since we had our son is taking a lot of pictures. I would like to become a better photography and take some more incredible photos. I want to change from thinking of the camera as an afterthought but have with me because you never know when something might happen and you just may want to capture it.

Don’t let others ruin my inner peace and happiness
I have a tendency to let what others say about me bother me and eat at my happiness. I worry about it as I am a people pleaser. By doing that I let them win by living in my head. I need to not let that bother me so much and remember that I can not please everyone. People say or do things for many reasons, to get under your skin, jealously, to see you upset or whatever. I need to stay true to what makes me happy.

“Never allow the taste of success to fool you into thinking that you have arrived” – Anonymous
I love this quote. I had a great year in 2014 but I need to remember to continue striving to achieve greatness.

There you have it!

Have a great 2015.

Creating the Visit Lake County ‘Best Day of My Life’ Music Video

What a summer it has been! Being a marketer in the Tourism Industry, the summer season is by busiest season and this summer was no different. It started off the launching of a music video to promote spending a summer getaway in Lake County, Illinois.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iphhBSYiE44&w=560&h=315]

I will start at the beginning to give you a sense of how this video came about. Now, just sit right back and read about how a small tourism destination won with a little video. My boss and I had been talking about doing a lip dub video for a couple of years, ever since Grand Rapids did the best lip dup of all-time. We even had one of our mayors bring up doing a lip dup. Well, over Christmas break last year, I was singing and dancing with my son and thought it would be cool to take a song and make fit to Lake County. I went back to work in January and the thought was in the back of my head but I just kept moving forward on the tasks at hand.

In February, I returned to the office from the Illinois Governors’ Conference on Tourism, where I had won ‘Best Social Media Marketing Campaign’. I went into my boss’s office and told her that I think that we could do a music video and the time was now. She like at me probably thinking, “Oh, here goes Anthony trying to accomplish something that we do not have time for”. The next week, in our marketing department meeting I told our Communications Specialist what I was thinking and quickly started brainstorming. After on hour, I had a rough idea to show my boss. She said that she really liked the idea and lets explore it. The following week, I brought one of my board of directors into my office and informed him and he said it was definitely do able. At that point, the idea was fully stuck in my head and that is all I could think about. I was off and running.

I found a local Lake County musician, Justin Yates, who had a good following on Social Media and had created several professional looking music videos on YouTube. After several discussions with him, he was convinced into recording the song, “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors, into his own style. I worked out the agreements with the record labels of the song. Which was a lot smoother that I had anticipated and actually got back to me quicker than I thought they would. Justin lead us to a recording studio in Lake Forest, IL, owned by Dustin Bennett. He also led us to YouTube sensation, Rob Scallon.

While Justin was recording the song, I continued to work on laying out the scenes and trying to incorporate as many Lake County celebrities and people as possible, with also staying true to our mission of attracting visitors from 50 miles outside of Lake County to stay overnight. I got a local mayor to participate, several of our board of directors, and the Chairman of the Lake County Board. I also received agreements from the Instagram sensation Nugget_thefrench_bulldog (a Lake County Instagram celebrity), mommy bloggers from Little Lake County, Lake County Social Media friends (Beth Rosen, Eddie Soto and Casey Karl), actors in the play CATS at the Lincolnshire Marriott Theatre, our partners, and Chicago Bears players Kyle Long and Jordan Mills. We also did a call for local residents to participate in a scene down a street in Waukegan.

We were able to film all of the locations in 3 days. Which was pretty amazing with all of the schedules that we had to coordinate. We promoted the video through Social Media, Newsletters, blogs, etc. We ran a Facebook contest to giveaway tickets to see American Authors and One Republic at Ravinia Festival. We were informed that if we hit 10,ooo views on this video, as we were missing the “it” factor to make it go viral, that we would totally win. Well, we won alright! In my 7 years with Visit Lake County, this was by far my favorite project to have worked on and something to this day I am extremely proud of.

I hope you enjoyed the video and please comment with your thoughts.

How much time do you spend on Social Media Marketing?

Alright, it is time that I get back to blogging outside of work. Why, you ask? Well, a lot has been going on and I feel that can use these medium to express my thoughts and hopefully teach others about the world of Social Media Marketing and learn something as well. Plus, I have a lot of topics on mind. I was giving a Social Media presentation to our partners at work on Friday and I was asked the question, how much time should you spend on Social Media? That question was immediately followed up with; we want to get on Twitter but have been told that it will take a lot of time monitoring. We will get into why you have not been doing Social Media in a later post, so we will only be focusing on the question of how much time should be spent on Social Media.

At work, we are a small office where everyone wears multiple hats and we have a wide spread Social Media program that includes, blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Flickr, Pinterest, Google + and Instagram. So for me at work, to run an effective Social Media campaign a minimum of 4 hours a day is needed. In my mind, that is on the low end. I know that each company and industry are different and that time will vary depending on what your Social Media Campaign includes. Some companies will even have a dedicated Social Media specialist doing this full time.

Now, back to question, that I was asked, how much time do you spend on Twitter? I believe that Twitter alone can be done in less time. There are programs that allow you to set-up keywords, and offer great analytics and they are Hootsuite, TweetDeck, Sprout Social and there are others. In full disclosure, I am a Hootsuite fan.

I answered the question, by saying that you can do Twitter in an hour to an hour an a half a day, but yes you have to monitor throughout the day. Hootsuite is a great program to let you do this and it allows you to link it to Twitter, Facebook, etc. I recommended doing some research before hand to see what your customers are talking about and what your competitors are doing. I would follow your competitors, set up your keywords to what others are talking about and join the conversation. People don’t just want to hear about you, they want specials / deals and want to feel like they are communicating with someone. Twitter is about sharing and listening to what others have to say. Brands should have a human voice behind it as well and not just advertising. Hootsuite is free and is a web based program. You can check-in to see what people are saying in the morning, schedule your tweets, reply to people and check your keyword columns. Then leave the program up on your desktop all day and check it every half hour or so. We can get into when to post and what times work best in another blog post, but after 5pm you still have to monitor it. Remember, just because the work day ends at 5, Social Media does not.

How much time do you spend on Social Media a day? If you were only doing Twitter and nothing else how much time would you spend on it?