WWLD? (What Would Lizzo Do?)

It’s time we took some lessons from Lizzo. She’s a mood, a vibe, and a revolution that we could all learn a lot from. But just in case you’re not familiar with pop sensation Lizzo, she does it all: she sings, raps, writes her own songs, and as if that wasn’t enough, she’s a talented flutist. 

Lizzo’s real name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson.

It’s not just what she does, though – it’s how she does it. Lizzo exudes confidence, self-love, female empowerment, and body positivity. She’s everything you would want to be, and everything you hope your little sisters and daughters grow up to be. So, on the heels of the release of Lizzo’s fourth album entitled “Special”, let’s find out how we can incorporate her energy into our everyday lives to make ourselves feel more…special.

Lizzo Wants You to “Love on Yourself” 

love your body
Lizzo has 12.8 million followers on Instagram and 2 million followers on Twitter.

While we know that not all bodies are built the same, society doesn’t always make that easy to remember. Celebrities and Instagram filters have given us false and unrealistic expectations of “perfection,” which can be detrimental to the impressionable and confident alike.  

But while social media can be a source of distress for many of us, Lizzo is known for using her social media platform to show how comfortable she is in her own skin. She doesn’t hide anything or apologize for herself because she’s not the typical size 0 celebrity. 

For example, in February 2021, Lizzo posted a video of herself in her bathroom with her hair wrapped up in a towel, wearing nothing but a sports bra and underwear. In the video, she was caressing  her belly and saying, “I started talking to my belly this year. Blowing her kisses and showering her with praises. I used to want to cut my stomach off. I hated it so much. But it’s literally ME. I am learning to radically love every part of myself. Even if it means talking to myself every morning. This is your sign to love on yourself today!” 

And on July 23, 2022, Lizzo took to Instagram again, this time wearing a backless dress with spaghetti straps, dancing around in a video captioned, “Embracing my back rolls & showing them love.” Her goal seems to be  to normalize all body shapes and sizes, and with every post she’s hopefully that much closer to achieving her goal.

Practice Body Positivity

waist with tape measure
Body positivity is acceptance and appreciation of all body types, including one’s own.

No matter what your body size or type is, you can be like Lizzo and love the skin you’re in. It can be hard at first to reject what society, Hollywood, and social media are telling us, but you can try to embrace a more body positive outlook. How can you practice body positivity like Lizzo? Here are a few tips:

  • Use positive affirmations. Negativity breeds negativity, and conversely, positivity breeds positivity. Give yourself positive encouragement and reminders to stay in a positive mindset.
  • Remind yourself that healthy isn’t a size, it’s a lifestyle. Think about how you feel in your own skin, and appreciate and respect what your body can do for you. 
  • Stop comparing yourself to others. With all the photoshopped and filtered content out there, it’s hard not to compare yourself to others – but once you accept that things aren’t usually what they seem, you’re that much closer to ditching the comparisons.
  • Do something nice for yourself. This could be getting a manicure, getting a massage, or just taking a nap! Gifting your body something nice is a form of self-care – you deserve it!

Lizzo’s Push for Inclusivity

Lizzo is not just about loving yourself, though – she’s also on a mission to make the world a more inclusive place. As a self-proclaimed proud, plus-size woman, she saw that there was a need for inclusive shapewear for all shapes and sizes, so she has created a brand that is revolutionizing the shapewear industry called Yitty. When asked about the shapewear, she responded by saying “everyone’s size is just their size. It’s not high, it’s not low. It’s not big, it’s not small. It’s just your size.” Yitty’s sizing ranges from XS to 6X, making it inclusive of all bodies. A follower on social media wrote, “Thanks, it’s the first time I see myself represented like this.” 

In another larger-than-life way to be size inclusive, Lizzo has also executive produced a new reality show called “Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls”, which premiered on Amazon Prime on March 25, 2022. The show follows 13 plus-size women as they compete to become Lizzo’s backup dancers at the 2021 Bonnaroo music festival. According to Lizzo, “It was important that I changed the narrative of what a reality competition television show looks like. We don’t always have to be cruel. We can be kind, and don’t have to pit people against each other. I feel like it’s hard enough in the dance world already for girls who look like me, so why would I create that environment in my space? If I have the power to change that, why not change that?” 

In a world full of shows like The Bachelor or Love Island where toned, thin, women are prancing around in bikinis all day, Lizzo made it her mission to show and embrace plus-size bodies. And her work on changing norms seems to be slowly working. According to Lizzo, ‘“‘Body positivity,’ ‘self-love,’ and ‘love yourself,’ are very common terms now being used in the media, which was not the case over five years ago. As far as body representation, we got a long way to go, but I’m seeing the change. Big girls have always had value, but I don’t think society has seen the value in bigger bodies.”

Most people don’t have the means to start a shapewear brand, or create a new reality show to prove they want to be inclusive, but we all have the power to do it on a smaller scale. Check out a few ways you can be more inclusive in your daily life:

  • Use the right pronouns. If you’re talking to someone and unsure what pronouns to use, ask them! Asking is a great way to show you care and want to be inclusive. Another great way to do this is by adding your pronouns in your email signature. Telling someone your pronouns opens the door for someone who may be shy about declaring their pronouns first. 
  • Ask questions. This gives someone the opportunity to share their point of view and for you to learn something. Keep an open mind and chances are you’ll learn something new and maybe walk away with a new friend.
  • Call out exclusive behavior. Whether people realize it or not, exclusive behavior happens all around us. A store might not have a ramp for wheelchair access, or plus-size customers might find that stores don’t have larger sizes. Be an ally for anyone you see being excluded.

Preach Love

love neon lightsIt’s not everyday the music industry gives us a lyrical genius who can turn their mantras into  songs, and send their unique message to the world. The title song off Lizzo’s latest album, “Special”, says: 

In case nobody told you today

You’re special

In case nobody made you believe

You’re special

Well, I will always love you the same

You’re special

I’m so glad that you’re still with us

Broken, but damn, you’re still perfect (Perfect) 

What if we could all deliver this message to the loved ones, and even the strangers in our lives? There’s no reason not to, so next time you have the chance to preach acceptance, love, and inclusivity, go for it! Go out of your way to give someone a compliment, or post something encouraging on social media today. The internet has enough trolls, so do what Lizzo would do and build someone up, instead of tearing them down.

There has never been, nor will there probably ever be, another Lizzo. Her positive, loving, inclusive personality is one that is to be treasured and emulated. The next time you’re in a situation and don’t know what to do, ask yourself “What Would Lizzo Do?” She truly is special and she’s here to tell you that you are, too!

Is Social Media the Third Wheel in Our Relationships?

How long do you think you spend with your partner, on average, each day? How often do you really deeply engage with them? Now, look at your phone, how much time do you spend each day on social media? If you’re like the average person, you’re most likely spending around 2 hours and 25 minutes a day on social media. Admit it, that might actually be more time than you meaningfully spend with your partner. 

Don’t worry: we’re not going to shame you, because that’s just the world we’re living in. But social media is not all bad for our romantic relationships. It can have a lot of negative effects, but it can also have a few positive ones; the difference is in how you use social media. So how does social media affect our romantic relationships, and is it time to reconnect with your partner?

Falling Out of Love with Social Media

We definitely have a love-hate relationship with social media. More than 70% of us have active accounts, and we spend more than two hours a day engaging with it on average. But we also spend plenty of time complaining about its negative impact on our lives, and how it sucks away our time. 

Time spent on social media can even begin to negatively affect our dating life. Pew Research has looked into how partnered adults in this country feel about their significant others’ use of social media (specifically on their phones), and you probably won’t be surprised by the results. After all, who likes to take second place to an app? According to Pew’s findings:hands holding a cell phone

  • 51% of all partnered adults say their partner is often or sometimes distracted by their phone while they are trying to have a conversation with them. And 62% of 30- to 49-year-olds and 52% of 18-to-29-year-olds who are in a romantic relationship say their partner is at least sometimes distracted by their phone when they’re trying to talk to them.
  • 40% of partnered adults say they are at least sometimes bothered by the amount of time their partner spends on their mobile device.

People are doing a lot of scrolling, so let’s get down to how social media is specifically affecting our relationships. 

The Bad

What comes to mind when you think about social media and its effects on real-life relationships? Your first thoughts probably aren’t sunshine and rainbows – and there’s a reason for that. There are a lot of negative effects of social media on relationships that you definitely need to be aware (and wary) of. We already know that social media can exacerbate mental health issues, and can negatively affect body image (which can cause problems with intimacy), but it can also:

Take Time (and Attention) Away from Our Partners

We’ve all been there: you intend to spend just a minute checking something on social media, and before you know it, an hour or two has passed. That’s time you could have spent engaging with, or just being present for, your partner. This can ultimately begin to decrease your sense of satisfaction and connection in your relationship. In fact, a recent study has even determined that the negative effects of social media on relationships are distraction, irritation, and decreased quality time.

When one partner is engrossed in social media, they can often get irritated with their partner if they’re interrupted. They can also be so distracted that they might end up missing what Dr. John Gottman calls “bids for connection.” These “bids” can be something as small as reaching for a hand, or something as big as seeking emotional support. According to Gottman, in healthy relationships couples respond positively to one another’s bids about 86% of the time, but being distracted by social media can cause you to miss these bids.

Create Unrealistic Expectations

We’ve definitely all heard this one before, and we know that people often post unrealistic portraits of themselves and their relationships online. But even though we know this, it can be hard not to compare yourself and your relationship to these glossy images, and to begin to feel dissatisfied because your life doesn’t look like all the highlight reels you see on social media. 

And not only that, but you might even begin to resent your partner for not posting about you the way your social media friends’ partners post about them. According to sex and behavioral therapist Chamin Ajjan, M.S., LCSW, A-CBT, “You may begin to feel jealous of how much someone posts about their partner and feel resentment toward your partner for not doing the same. The lifestyles you are scrolling through may change how satisfied you are in your relationship because they seem to be better than what you have.”

Cause Jealousy

2 people arguing
Social media can cause jealousy in relationships, which causes fights between partners.

Checking up on what your partner is up to online? Feeling a bit green at the sight of them liking and commenting on other people’s posts? There are studies that suggest social media use can create an endless (and damaging) cycle of suspicion and scrolling. As one study in CyberPsychology & Behavior puts it, increased social media use (especially Facebook use) can mean a vicious cycle, which “may be the result of a feedback loop whereby using Facebook exposes people to often ambiguous information about their partner that they may not otherwise have access to and…this new information incites further Facebook use.”

And another study in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking puts it pretty bluntly: social media use (again, specifically Facebook) “was linked to relationship dissatisfaction, via jealous cognitions and surveillance behaviors. The results highlight the possibility of high levels of Facebook intrusion spilling over into romantic relationships, resulting in problems such as jealousy and dissatisfaction.”

So, in other words, spending time on social media sites like Facebook can make you jealous, which makes you want to find out more, which increases your time on social media…which can also be damaging to your relationship. Yikes.

Start Fights

Yes, spending more time on social media can mean more conflict in a relationship. In fact, a 2013 study found that, among couples who had been together for less than three years, spending more time on Facebook was linked with more “Facebook-related conflict” and more negative relationship outcomes. This could be because some couples actually disagree when it comes to what’s acceptable online behavior. For example, you might feel like your partner is oversharing, you might want them to block their exes, you might not like something that they posted, or you might even feel like they didn’t post something they should have – all of which can lead to hurt feelings. 

The Good

All of the above is pretty rough stuff, but we don’t want to completely trash social media. After all, it is a big part of a lot of people’s lives these days, and it can’t be all bad, even when it comes to our dating lives, right? In fact, social media can be a positive part of our lives, because it can:

  • Bring you togetherA ton of relationships literally start online these days. In fact, a 2017 survey found 39% of heterosexual couples reported meeting their partner online, compared to just 22% in 2009.
  • Keep you connected – Interacting over social media can be a fun, easy, and low-pressure way to keep connected to your partner throughout the day. Not only that, but studies show that younger people in long-distance relationships were better able to maintain their relationships with the help of social media.
  • Teach you about relationships – As with any information you seek out on social media, you need to be discerning, but there are relationship experts out there giving good advice on social media.
  • Make you feel good – Mutual sharing and public declarations of affection on social media can actually positively impact a relationship.
  • Help you hold onto your memories – Not many of us make scrapbooks or photo albums anymore; instead, many of us have profiles on social media to do that work for us. These profiles have the added component of being shared with others, so according to Ajjan, “social media can be an institutionalized way to express love publicly and invite community support, both of which enhance a couple’s ability to flourish.” 

Is It Time for a Social Media Intervention?

So social media can actually have some positive effects on your relationship, but you still need to be careful. You could be headed toward some serious damage to your relationship if you’re:

  • Spending less quality time together (especially in the evenings)
  • Feeling disconnected from your partner
  • Learning more about their life from social media than from them directly
  • Constantly checking up on them online
  • Fighting about social media use, or what one or both of you are posting
  • Being secretive about what you’re doing online

If you’re worried about how social media is affecting your relationship, or that it could affect your relationship in the future, try:a man and woman having dinner while smiling at each other

  • Setting boundaries around social media time. For example, you can make dinner or bedtime no-screen times.
  • Planning quality time together at least weekly – no phones allowed!
  • Communicating, communicating, communicating! Be very clear about what you find acceptable (and desired) behavior on social media, listen to their views on the matter, and make sure you are both being completely honest about who you are interacting with.

Social media: can’t live with it, can’t live without it, right? Well, it’s not going anywhere, so if it’s something you and your partner are engaging with, you’re going to have to find ways to use it as a positive (or at least neutral) influence on your relationship. It’s definitely possible, you just need to be aware of the pitfalls, and the signs that it’s time to change your online ways!

5 Ways to Keep Your Business Growing in a Slow Economy

It’s no secret that the economy is not at its strongest right now, and that many small businesses are struggling. The approximately 30 million small firms in this country are the backbone of our economy and it’s worrying to think that we have lost at least 2% of them in the last half year alone. As a small business owner, how are you feeling about the state of your business? Are you confidently weathering the storm, or are you feeling like you’re struggling to keep your head above water? We know times are tough, and we want to see you stay afloat – and keep growing –  so check out the following tips for boosting your business in a slow economy.

1. Focus on Your Existing Customers…

Isn’t having a core group of loyal customers great? They know you, they trust you…they pay you! And they’re more important to you than ever when the economy slows down, for more reasons than one:

graph of the percentage of selling to new and existing customers.
It not only costs you more to acquire a new customer, but you have a better chance selling to an existing customer than a new one.
  • They’re cost-effective: It costs 5 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. In addition, the success rate of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is only 5-20%. 
  • They are already willing to buy from you: This means that you can offer them related products or services to gain additional revenue during a downturn. You might want to expand the services you offer (and give your existing customers a chance to try your new service for free!) or partner with another, complementary business. For example, a dog grooming service could consider expanding their services to include flea and tick treatment, or might consider partnering with a local vet or pet food shop. Or, a company that sells nutritional products might start offering meal planning services, or partner with a gym and get commissions on sending personal training clients their way.
  • They can help bring in new customers: Now is not the time to be shy about asking for referrals! And this can be a mutually beneficial situation: offer your existing customers rewards, such as discounts or a bonus item, if they refer someone who becomes a customer. Use low-cost ways to alert your existing customers about your referral program: maintain an email subscription list, send fun postcards, or even make personal phone calls. 

2. …But Don’t Forget to Diversify!

Again, one of your biggest strengths in tough times is going to be your existing customers. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to diversify your customer base. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! Remember that no single customer should account for more than 10-15% of your sales, and no small group of customers should account for more than 40-50% of your sales. 

To expand your customer base, look to some of the strategies above, such as employing a referral program or expanding into new markets or partnering with other businesses. You should also step up your marketing efforts, which we will look at next. 

3. Examine Your Marketing Strategy

Keeping your name out there is extremely important – and sometimes difficult – in a slow economy, so now is not the time to stop marketing your business. It may be tempting to completely cut marketing out of your budget, but that is not advisable, or even necessary. You just need to be a little more creative about how you use your marketing dollars. Some strategies to consider include: 

caucasian woman sitting in front of a laptop with video clips on the screen.

  • Negotiate with advertisers – Advertisers are probably struggling along with you in tough times, so don’t be afraid to initiate negotiations with them. They might agree to give you a discount just to keep your business.
  • Trim your ads – If you pay for print advertising, then reduce the size of your ads – a well-worded, punchy, short ad can be just as effective, if not more so, than a long ad. Similarly, if you pay for video advertising, try to make your videos shorter, or consider posting them only to social media for the time being.
  • Use free marketing techniques – These days, there is no shortage of ways to market your business for free. Expanding your presence on social media can do wonders for name recognition. Look into using a viral loop strategy in which you entice existing customers into referring more and more of their network to your business, or examine the idea of a content marketing funnel, in which you create content that “funnels” potential customers towards making a purchase. Find any way you can to create a buzz around your business!

4. Stay Positive!

During tough times, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds of day-to-day operations, and lose a little of your enthusiasm. But don’t forget to take a step back and remind yourself of your business’ mission, values, strengths, and goals. Be sure to remind your employees of all of this, as well, and keep them focused on what you’re all working towards. Make sure they understand your company’s strategy and that they feel good about proactively promoting the business whenever they can. Try to foster the right attitude in your workplace, so that productivity doesn’t take a dive. 

5. Reduce Costs, Improve Your Cashflow

When it comes down to it, you can’t gain new customers, satisfy existing ones, or grow your business if you don’t maintain or improve your cashflow. It’s all a big cycle: you need to pay your bills and operating expenses if you want to keep the customers coming in, and you need customers to continue paying your expenses and so on. Make sure you have a solid plan to keep your cashflow strong, so you’ll be ready if and when the economy slows down. When tough times do hit, you should find ways to reduce costs so that your cashflow doesn’t take a hit, as well. Try examining your:

caucasian hand holding coins and a little tree

  • Utilities – You could be able to reduce your electric and water bills by switching to renewable sources
  • Internet and phone plans – Companies that provide these services are always in competition and are often willing to give you a great rate if you play them against each other.
  • Use of office supplies Do you really need to print everything? Consider going as paperless as possible. 
  • “Luxuries” – Now might be the time to cut down on, or eliminate completely, extras like expensed meals or trips. 

Just because the economy isn’t growing, doesn’t mean that you can’t keep your business growing! You just need to stay on course and keep working at what you’re best at: winning and satisfying your customers, marketing yourself, sticking to your goals, and always managing your cashflow. Don’t forget to keep a positive attitude and know that you have it in you to weather the storm.

Building Your Brand: Social Media Marketing 103

Thanks to social media, connection and communication has never been easier. Companies are building personalized relationships with clients through social media platforms, using online marketing strategies, digital events and sales, and even managing customer service through social media. Tech-savvy business owners are using social media to network and engage with customers locally and internationally. With our social media marketing series, you can too. 

In Social Media Marketing 101, we covered forming a mission statement and introduced the 6 major social media platforms. We also looked at how social media can be used to boost your business, research your competition, and even form partnerships. In Social Media Marketing 102, we discussed creating profiles, finding the voice of your brand, and using social media effectively. Now that you have an identity and presence, it’s time to increase your visibility across social media platforms and draw in new clients. caucasian hand holding a cell phone with the love button on top of it and networking across

What is visibility? 

“Increasing visibility” means exactly what it sounds like: getting your pages seen. You’ve dedicated time and energy to creating social media profiles and coming up with engaging content. Now it’s time to be sure that people are actually seeing your hard work! When a consumer searches for keywords related to your field, you want your profiles to show up as a result. Here are some helpful ways to expand your reach and draw fresh faces into your online community.

Choose the right time to post

We touched on timing in Social Media Marketing 102, but this is worth repeating: timing is key. Social networking platforms use algorithms based on engagement (meaning clicks, likes, and shares) to determine how your posts are ranked in search engines (more about this later!). The more people engage with your posts and pages, the higher their ranking is. So, you’ll want to bolster engagement by posting during peak social media traffic hours:gray hand watch with the time 12:15 on it

  • Morning: 5-7 am. Many people wake up to an alarm on their phone, and spend the first few minutes of their day checking in on social media accounts, or scrolling while sipping their coffee.
  • Lunch hour: 12-2 pm. Students and employees will often browse social media during lunch breaks to escape the classroom or office for a while.


  • Evening: 5-7pm. After work many people enjoy decompressing by tuning in to social media. This is one of the best times to capture their attention, as people commute home or look for distractions from their daily worries and evening chores.
  • Late night: 9-11pm. Studies show that more and more people use social media at night to relax and unwind before bed. 


These time frames are only relative to your local time zone. If your business takes place internationally or across time zones, you’ll have to consider timing your posts correctly. There are many free automated post scheduling resources available, like Hootsuite, Buffer, or Crowdfire that can help if you want to cater to a time zone that is vastly different from yours. 

Create useful, exciting content

This might seem obvious, but if you want to increase the number of people viewing your content, it needs to be high quality, interesting, and useful. People should want to watch and share it. woman's hands on a laptio with social media picture icons and comments on the the side of the screen

  • For 2020, the top-trending content is video.This might be “brand stories” that highlight the consumer experience, informational how-to videos, live Q&A chats, or inspiring motivational videos. 
  • People enjoy educational content that adds value to their life. Consumers want to know that you’re an expert, and they want to feel a little like an expert, too. Teach them something and they’re likely to share it with their own network, spreading your name via word of mouth (or tweet!). 
  • High quality content is worth the work! You want to “wow” your online community. Try using bright, beautiful infographics or quotes, unique photographs, and high-resolution videography to make your content stand out. 

Incentivize Sharing

woman with her hands up looking up at different discount amounts
Increase visibility by offering sharing incentives such as discounts or free shipping.

In addition to creating exciting, beautiful, and useful content, you can also increase the return on your content by encouraging viewers to share it with their networks. Here are some ways to incentivize sharing: 

  • Offer an in-house discount, free shipping, or extra entry into a contest for sharing a social media post. 
  • Host an engagement campaign: For every like/comment/share, your business can donate money or time to a foundation you care about. 
  • Re-posting people’s commentary on your content is an easy way to let your viewers know you’ve heard what they’re saying and that you value their feedback. 
  • Have employees include social media icons in their email signatures and social media profiles. Encourage them to share posts with their own networks. 

Social media marketing can be an uphill battle. Sometimes it might seem like you’re at mercy of unknown powers, but you can take matters into your own hands. Following these tips for posting timely, engaging content, encouraging sharing, and understanding a little bit about algorithms and SEO is the first step toward mastering social media marketing.

Building Your Brand: Social Media Marketing 101

We live in an age of digital connection. Many brands and companies use online marketing strategies to engage with consumers, to market events and sales, and even to manage customer service. For business owners, an active and robust social media presence can draw in customers from far and wide. In this three part series on social media marketing for beginners, we’ll cover the basics of social media and how to build your social media presence across three major platforms: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This will include an introduction to social media, building your brand, and increasing platform traffic.

scrabble pieces that spell out "vision."
It’s important to have a vision of your company and it’s mission statement.

Where To Start?

No matter how far you are in your business journey, it’s important to have a mission statement. You should be able to describe, in a few sentences, your goals (what you hope to create or achieve), your value (what product or services you offer), and what sets you apart from your competition (your inspiration, why you are the best choice). Take a moment to think about it: can you do that?

Next figure out what your goals are for using social media. Are you hoping to establish yourself as an expert in your field? Do you want to build relationships and a community with your clients? Are you looking for new partnerships or employees? Your goals will inform which social media platforms you focus on. 

Social Media Platformssocial media platform apps on a cellphone screen.

  • Facebook: This is the ‘original’ platform. Most businesses should start here: many clients already have a Facebook account, and it’s set up in a way that actually supports small businesses, by offering reviews, feedback, and direct client communications
  • Twitter: Twitter is a platform for short-form communications: it’s posts are limited to 280 characters. Many businesses use it to update clients on sales, new products, and current events as they pertain to their industries. 
  • Instagram: Instagram, a photo-based platform with no character limit, focuses on visual marketing. This is great for eye-catching flyers, thoughtful product displays, and service vignettes.
  • Pinterest: Pinterest is a share-and-discover platform that is visually focused, but not as streamlined as instagram. Pinterest features an image linked to a webpage, such as a meal linked to a blog with the recipe. The platform allows users to save (“pin”) the image to save for later or share with others. There are some industries for which this platform is very effective, such as food services and events, hair and makeup, fashion, interior design, and blogging. 
  • YouTube: YouTube is a video platform that has been around since 2006.  While there’s a good amount of nonsense on it, there are also  great opportunities for marketing for those with a solid strategy. Tutorials, reviews, and q-and-a’s are great options for YouTube. 
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a professional networking platform, used for sharing your own work or new events in your field. It can also be used for recruiting employees or partners. Everyone should have two LinkedIn accounts: a personal profile and one for their business.

Brand Research

thw words "marketing strategy" pn a blackboard.
When branding yourself, make sure you use good marketing strategy. It’s important to build and maintain relationships with peers instead of increasing competition.

Once you identify which platforms are most beneficial to your brand’s mission, it’s time to do your research. 

  • Follow similar brands on your preferred platforms to get an idea of what kind of content is resonating with consumers. Remember that for independent businesses, it’s important to build and maintain relationships with peers instead of increasing competition. You can share their content, which can show consumers that you’re committed to supporting your field. This can create a sense of kinship with the other business – which in turn might influence them to share your content. 
  • Create your own content schedule. This can be as simple as taking a blank calendar format and filling it in with ideas for the month so you don’t draw a blank when it comes time to create a post. You can also utilize a publishing software to pre-plan your posts. 
  • Keep tabs on the people frequenting your pages – they are your community. The goal is to have the people consuming your content actually engage with it.
  • As this is an extension of your customer service, be sure to respond to questions, comments, reviews, and direct messages in a timely manner. Thank users for their time, and offer responses that reflect your brand’s values.
  • Use your social media accounts to announce new products or business developments, gain customer feedback, promote events or sales, and most importantly provide a positive customer experience.

Getting To Know You

You should spend a little time getting to know how each of these platforms work, exploring other brands and businesses, and formulating your own mission statement. Find inspiration in the posts of your competitors. Begin to visualize what your social media branding will look like. In the next part of this series we’ll address how to build your brand and presence online.

The Future of Commercial Insurance

The future is now.  We’re researching virtual reality, nanobots for health, and can even talk to coma patients without the use of invasive surgery. With all these advancements, our world is going to change how we interact with the economy, and therefore, insurance.

However, these changes come with some pushback. Not everyone is on board with progress, take Blockbuster for instance. They decided to opt-out of utilizing the internet to disperse their videos and look at them now.

Can the same be said for the insurance world? We as people are shopping differently, working differently, and expecting different results. What does this mean for commercial insurance?

apps on a cell phone changing the way we get insurance
There’s an app for everything now! Pizza, games, meetups, dating, and now–insurance?

How Are We Different?

It’s no secret what our demands are now: everything delivered and fast. With the rise of Uber, Shipt, and Doordash, we now can live our lives completely in the comfort of our own home. Why leave? We have Amazon to give us our essentials, and with their rising drone fleet, even that could be delivered on the same day.

We’re changing as a society to having our needs met within the hour they arise. Want a date? Download Tinder. Throwing a party? Order food and play music on your phone. Apps dominate our handheld ecology, further pushing this culture of the world literally at our fingertips.

Why Is This a Problem?

To put it simply, the insurance industry needs to catch up.

Some companies have, like Lemonade (homeowners and renter’s insurance) or Root (car insurance). They are the exception to the rule, however, not the standard. And this isn’t to say companies aren’t creating apps, some are, but the truth is, it only delivers information to people’s fingertips, not the power to change things.

Truthfully, the industry must expand its liability coverage. Not everyone goes to work in an office anymore. With the rise of freelancers comes a need to fit policies to an odd-shaped market. These freelancers are small-business owners, and a whopping 40% are uninsured, barely even looking at liability for their work life. And it makes sense, the policies offered just don’t fit their lifestyle.

Modern insurance contracts are clunky, long, and don’t favor short, bursts of work. For these gig workers, they need a snappy, instant digital certificate to insure them. Who wouldn’t chuck $5 at an insurance company for a BOP-lite policy for a 2 week period?

Small businesses are born online, further widening our technological world. How does an insurance company begin to cover these businesses? Some are fully remote, requiring cyber liability, and while useful, they aren’t optimized. 

woman with apple ipad desiging a logo for insurance
Designers, writers, software developers, and more use bite-size jobs, but who’s going to cover them?

These business owners can live highly stressful lives, and constant market changes don’t support purchasing a hefty policy. If commercial insurance wants to snag this group of people, it needs to shift its focus to supporting what they need.

What Can Change?

The insurance industry can benefit from the overall interface of companies like Netflix, Doordash, and Amazon, meaning a focus on customer satisfaction and flexibility.

The new generation of small-business owners need policies that they can interact with at the flick of a finger, not another chore to accomplish like a meeting. And further, these policies need to be bite-size enough to not only explain fast but also be able to buy fast. Lowering policy coverage can also make it cheap enough to be a viable option for these small business owners.

Slap on an amazing customer service team with 24-hour availability (with a cute logo), and you’ve got yourself a whole new client base.