Meal Prep Success

I work full-time and am also in a full-time online Master’s program. Being busy doesn’t allow for a lot of free time and so food choices can sometimes get the best of me, in a negative way. I still want to eat pretty healthy on a daily basis, so with that in mind I like to prep meals for the week ahead. It starts to become a routine on Sunday’s to get out the cutting board and Tupper Ware. I have certain criteria for what I decide to prep. I try to pick things that I know will last most of the week, can be in two containers or less for easy transportation, and doesn’t have a bad smell from being heated (we all know who those people are).

My favorite thing to prep is taco salad. It doesn’t take that much time and tastes delicious for days to come. I switch it up with ground beef or ground turkey and also choose different vegetables to add each week so that I do not get bored.

I use the following items in my salads:

  1. Pre-mixed Salad Bags or Romaine Lettuce
  2. Ground beef or turkey
  3. Cucumber
  4. Carrots
  5. Avocado
  6. Green Bell Pepper
  7. Shredded Cheese
  8. Tortilla Strips
  9. Vinaigrette or Catalina Dressing

You package it all up in a container and you are good to go for the week. This week I also tried lettuce wrapped tacos which turned out really good. The lettuce was romaine lettuce leaves that added a nice crunch to replace the taco shell.

Tip: I learned that if you want to only use half of an avocado but want to avoid it becoming so brown then cut it open with the two halves and then first eat the half without the pit. Save the outside shell of the half you ate to put the two-halves back together while leaving the pit still inside. Then wrap the re-built avocado in saran wrap and for extra protection you can also place in a Ziploc bag.

What are some of your meal prep foods that you like to make?

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Summer Fruit Arrival

Summer is in full swing and one of the benefits is the wonderful summer fruit. A few weeks ago I went to the farmer’s market and picked up some fresh strawberries and yellow nectarines. I really enjoy walking down to the farmers market and picking up some delicious fruit. It can be a great place to get items are that “in season”. The farmers market has so many choices for fruit that it can be challenging to decide which fruits to choose. My favorites are strawberries and yellow nectarines.

Farmers market

There are several ways that you can incorporate fruit into your day.

1. Slicing up various fruits to eat as a snack.

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2. Adding fruit with your meal.

Fruit 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eating fruit can help you avoid unhealthy foods and can be really good if you choose fruits that are “in season”. Farmer’s markets are great for getting fresh local fruits and vegetables. I am excited to enjoy fruit all summer long! What are some of your favorite fruits?

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 10.45.37 PMLinkedIn is another form of social media that is widely used by businesses and employees. LinkedIn is a professional networking site that allows businesses and potential employees to connect while creating professional networks. Networking is a huge part of LinkedIn and it is not like “Facebook” where people post pictures of their weekend or vent about their life. LinkedIn is about being professional and getting the opportunity to connect with recruiters who might end up interviewing you for a job they have available.

On LinkedIn you can post your resume so that potential recruiters or employers can see your employment history. Another cool feature of LinkedIn is that people can give you recommendations on your profile so others can see what people say about you. This feature helps add credibility and can influence whether an employer decides to hire you. On your LinkedIn profile you can add skills or expertise that you are good at or have done. For example you can add that you are proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, which are really important skills that employers are looking for. When you have skills on your profile your connections can then endorse you for those skills saying that you are actually good at those things.

You also have the ability to post past work on your LinkedIn such as big presentations or PowerPoints that you want employers to see that you were able to work on.

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 10.25.27 PM You can see who has viewed your profile by searching what keywords and where your viewers come from. The image above shows you what the break down looks like and you can click on each one to get more information if you are a premium LinkedIn member (which are usually only recruiters who choose to pay for the premium option).

LinkedIn has a newsfeed sort of feel which is similar to Facebook. You are able to view your connections posts or new job titles. LinkedIn shows you specific job postings on your newsfeed that applies to your resume. This is a great feature that brings jobs to you instead of having to go seeking for them on a bunch of external job sites.

I think that it is important to get as many recommendations and endorsements from people on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is becoming really popular for job searching and for potential employers to recruit. So keeping your LinkedIn profile professional and current is really important.

This is a really good post about how to use LinkedIn as a marketing tool.

The Necessary Evil of Facebook

Businesses are really starting to utilize Facebook as a way to market their products or services and increase social media presence. Facebook can be a really good tool if it is used correctly. I have created a few different companies Facebook profiles to engage customers with the company. Working on these business Facebook accounts I have learned a lot techniques that help utilize Facebook to the fullest.

The first thing that you want to make sure when creating a business Facebook page is that you create it as a company profile. If you instead create it as a “person” then Facebook can freeze your account since your business is not intended to be set up as a personal account. You can add the companies hours of operation and a map of the location.

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The company should post at the beginning of every day to engage customers to see a value to “liking” the page, but it is also a good idea to not always post things about the business so that people start to “unlike” the page. You can avoid this by occasionally posting things that are relevant that get people talking and wanting to engage in the post. An admin can see some really cool features on Facebook such as how many people see each post. 

Facebook Insights shows the engagement of each post and daily how many people visit the page. There is a lot of data that can be utilized to improving internet prescene and to see how people are engaging with the company.
Screen Shot 2014-03-22 at 8.52.11 PMWhen people comment on a business post it is important to engage back or else people will stop engaging. A really good example of doing this is on the left hand side. A quick response rate is a good way to make the people who are taking the time to engage with your business have a happier experience, especially if they are asking a question. The comments on the left have only about a 30 minute gap at the most which leaves the customer feeling good about purchasing at the company because with today’s technology consumers they expect and need really speedy response times.

At the bottom of the comments you can see the amount of people that saw this post. Another good tool in Facebook is the ability for people to “share” posts to others. At the top of the post above you can see on the top bar to the right a number three next to a paper and that shows the number of “shares”. “Shares” are really important because customers are able to share content from the company directly to people that they think it would relavant for. People are more likely to really look at content smelt to them from individuals that they know personally rather than a business posting it.

YouTubing Your Way to the Top

YouTube is used for many different purposes from personal use to promoting businesses. Recently YouTube has been being utilized for social media campaigns by uploading company videos onto YouTube and having the views reach millions in a short period of time. Dove made a campaign called Dove Real Beauty that earned over 3.8 million views on YouTube.

The campaign starts with people describing to an artist what they look like and have the artist draw what the person is describing without seeing them. Then they have another person who meet them earlier in the day describe the person that they meet to the artist. So at the end each person is shown the two drawings of what they thought they looked like and what another person described how they look. The results are shocking because the one that the person described themselves looking like was a lot uglier while the one that the stranger described that person looking like was actually very different.

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 5.56.17 PMThe whole goal of the Dove Real Beauty campaign is to education women and show that they are beautiful. Dove likes to educate about women’s beauty and how every women is beautiful. The campaign really made people think about the impact that was made by Dove’s video and was an interesting way to present a problem plaguing women today.

The Dove Real Beauty campaign was over 6 minutes which would have cost a lot of advertising money to put as a television commercial while having it on YouTube had no cost. Dove was able to show all the content that they wanted without having to shave down the video to fit in a 1 minute television commercial. This video would not have been the same without all of the content because it was really able to send the message that they wanted and bring to light a social issue to have an impact on the way women think about themselves. With over 3.8 million views Dove got a lot of visibility of this campaign and was able to deliver the message that they wanted to share on a  internet site that allowed them to play over 6 minutes of delivery for no charge putting it on YouTube. YouTube allows users to make comments on videos, which is also a good tool for companies to hear from the consumers and interact. This makes YouTube a really good tool that businesses can utilize the internet and social media.

 

The Scary World of Social Media Marketing

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Social media is being largely used by consumers and that opens up for companies to connect with potentially new customers. However, several companies who are not as experienced with social media are fearful and don’t know how to accurately utilize the internet for marketing. I have worked on several social media campaigns for smaller businesses needing to increase their internet presence.  I have found many tools that are very useful for making the use of social media a lot easier.

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HootSuite is one of my favorite social media management tool where you can view all of your social media sites on one webpage. You can manage posts and schedule Facebook posts or tweets for months in advance so that you don’t have to manage your posts every day when you need it to send.

You can also set it up so that if you create a Facebook post you can also make it post to all of your other social media sites so that you don’t have to write the same thing for all of the different social media forms. As you see from the image above there are different tabs at the top that you can add your different various forms of social media so that you don’t have to go each page individually.

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 10.22.06 PMThe picture to the right shows how you can schedule posts to be published on certain social media platforms. This social media management tool can save a lot of time using the AutoSchedule tool and help businesses that don’t have a lot of time to commit to social media marketing an easy way to schedule posts in advance and see notifications on only one site. However, if you do schedule posts for several months in advance it doesn’t mean that you can ignore your social media sites during that time. Customers may respond to a post that your business has made that needs to be addressed and if it is not that could lead to a bad customer relationship management experience. When customers reach out to a company the business has an opportunity to turn their customer experience in either a negative or positive way.

Negative comments made on a company page are thought to be really bad for a business, however, depending on how to company handles the situation it can actually positively change the customers attitude. A Forbes article called “ Why Ignoring Social Media Complaints is a Huge Mistake” is a great article talking about the impact companies can have by not addressing the negative comments of customers.

For complete instructions for setting up a HootSuite and how to schedule different social media posts check out this blog for more information. If you want to try other social media management tool here is a list of some others that is good for small businesses.

Social CRM of Chegg Vs Barnes and Noble

Social Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is an important part of how a company manages its relationships with their customers on the social media sites. It is important how companies do this because it can be better for their competitive edge to offer a great customer service experience. To see how companies are doing this I analyzed Chegg and Barnes and Noble. Both of these companies sell books as well as textbooks.

Twitter has become a very popular form of social media that customers are using today so a lot of businesses have been trying to utilize this for their social CRM. Chegg has a specific Twitter handle called Chegg Help. At Chegg help customers can go on the Chegg Twitter site Monday through Sunday 10am-1am EST and ask a question about a recent order or report any problems with a recent order. A Chegg representative replies back to your inquiry within a few minutes and can even credit you money back on your account or extend the deadline of a book. I looked at a variety of questions Screen Shot 2014-02-01 at 10.30.43 PMor problem posted on Twitter and the representative had solved every customer’s problem and the customers appeared to be happy with the end result. I think that this is a very good strategy for Chegg to use because when a problem has happened to a customer’s order and the 1-800 hotline is closed, then there is another outlet for the customers to go get their problem solved right away instead of waiting. Chegg had made a lot of customers a lot happier being able to quickly solve their problem over a social media site that the consumer is already using instead of having to take the time and wait to get their turn on the customer service phone line the following day. This is also saving Chegg a lot of time by not having to spend so much money paying employees to sit there and wait for the phone to ring with problems. Today customers hate to wait and don’t feel like there should be a reason to wait to get their problem solved with all of the technology out there currently.

The second company that I looked at who is a competitor to Chegg is Barnes and Noble. Barnes and Noble also has a Twitter page but uses it a lot differently than Chegg. Barnes and Noble doesn’t have a specific page to address customer problems live and fix them on the spot. Barnes and Noble does more of the generic posts and haven’t tweeted anything in about 6 months. A customer did happen to Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 9.58.25 PMpost a complaint on the Twitter feed for Barnes and Noble and someone from Barnes and Noble didn’t address the customer until 4 days later. The Twitter account is obviously not up to date or monitored as often and does not facilitate CRM for the customers to be able to get solutions to their problems like Chegg does.