What is the lack of soft skills in millennials costing us?

We hear it often. “Millennials make eye contact. They don’t respect authority. They don’t show up on time.” Why? What happened? And how is all of this impacting our culture and our businesses?

Millennials who have great soft skills have a huge advantage over their peers who do not.  Studies, reports and articles emerge weekly about the severity of the challenges that employers have with hiring and managing a generation that lacks people skills. That means that members of the most tech savvy generation who have solid soft skills have a serious competitive advantage in the job market.

In his recent post, “Is Lack of Soft Skills Hindering Millennials’ Careers?,” Kevin Howell cited several studies that indicate the answer is “Yes”.

Lack of soft skills is holding back Millennials in their careers

It’s such a chronic and acute problem, that, according to a recent McKinsey study, “40 percent of employers said they have difficulty filling vacancies because younger workers lack soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, and punctuality. A PayScale survey found similar results, with managers highlighting leadership and ownership as skills that Millennials lack.”

What’s the cause of this lackluster skill set? Too much focus on STEM education and job? Maybe. Too much screen time? Perhaps. Some studies have shown that “social anxiety with face-to-face interaction increases with the amount of time spent online.”

“Regardless of the reason young workers struggle with soft skills, companies have to deal with it. Addressing the skills shortfall in the workplace means tailoring training and development toward those needs.”

And that means that soft skills training for millennials needs three things:

  • To be valued by millennials
  • Fun for them to learn
  • Include a lot of practice

Changing behaviors is hard and humans resist it. Shifting the way millennials interact in person is not going to be easy. Success will require engaging training, practice and accountability along the way.

This generation grew up with digital media and video games and they like activities to be fun. Gamifying soft skills training is essential to hold their attention.

Practicing new skills and repeating them often is how soft skills behavior will change.

5 Tips to Promote Your Business with Instagram

It’s not too late to get in on using Instagram to promote your business. There’s been lots of buzz about this fast growing social media platform and there’s still time to take advantage of all the good Instagram can do for grow your business.

Promote your business with Instagram
Promote your business with Instagram

Some companies have already done well with it, but it is my opinion is that Instagram has more big growth waves coming.

Use these Instagram tips to bring major growth to your business

Some techniques may #surprise you. Thought hashtags were so 2012? They’re back!

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#1 Use More Hashtags

Max Woolf studied 120,000 photos and likes on Instagram and discovered that using more hashtags actually does correlate to more reach and likes. So, spamming is good?!?! Well, not exactly. Spamming isn’t considerate of others and tends to annoy people. But using many hashtags that are closely related to your post on Instagram is worthwhile. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags and it’s unclear how many is too many. My advice? Test what works best for your business and use keywords efficiently and liberally. Since long tail keywords tend to be the best, try a few of those first.

#2 Identify Instagram Influencers

In her post “How to Promote Your Business on Instagram“,  talks about collaborating with social media influencers. “As a small business, you should actively research which Instagram influencers are a great fit for your products. Chances are, their followers have the same interests and are potential customers”, Danielle says.

#3 Collaborate with Influencers

Have some fun brainstorming about partnership and collaboration ideas. Are there influencers who could benefit from your service or product? Could the followers of those influencers benefit from what you offer? If not, there may still be a way to nurture a relationship with them. You may be creating content for your own marketing that could be very useful to a potential social media partner.

For example, I have a client who films weddings and is looking to build his referral business with venues and event planners. These businesses want to show the world how beautiful their events are. Since many of them have a lot of followers on social channels, my client upped his social media game to increase his brand recognition.

Because he is one of the first certified videographers in his area to use a drone to shoot aerial footage, he is promoting this market differentiator across Instagram. Also, he noticed that very few venues and almost no planners have any video of their events on their websites or social accounts and even fewer have aerial video.

Recognizing a great opportunity when he saw one, this videographer uses drone footage he already had to help his potential referral partners so that they could market their businesses. As a result, they are blown away by the gorgeous video they have to use on Instagram and Facebook. Also, they are extremely appreciative of the wedding filmer’s generous gift.  Relationship nurturing is easy when we help others achieve their goals.

#4 Share Marketing Content

He has a library of stunning drone video from several weddings at a wide variety of venues. We created a business development program for him to reach out to these prospective partners and offer to provide them with this gorgeous aerial video to share across social channels and websites. It gives them a beautiful piece of marketing and sales content to share, it nurtures the relationship for my client and it cost him nothing. This is all goodness for his brand. Helping his customers grow their digital presence increases the value of his relationship to his customers and prospective customers.

#5 Use Apps to Simplify Posts

Who’s got time to schedule posts on a bunch of different apps? Instagram doesn’t play as well with social media scheduling tools. Grum is a fun app that allows scheduling Instagram posts from a desktop. About time! I like how Grum makes it easier to manage followers and following. Plus, the app provides an easy way to deliver scripted direct messages to new followers. Grum has a cute little messaging like interface.

Social media and live video are changing fast! Subscribe and stay up to date on the latest social media marketing trends.

Live Video Streaming is How Michael Phelps Announced His Retirement – Not TV

Live video streaming is beating out cable and network TV for celebrity announcements. That’s not all. Life and business is changing radically.

Michael Phelps showed the world how game-changing live video streaming is by announcing his retirement on Facebook Live this week. His fans loved the feeling that they were right there with him and his teammates hanging out in between races in the Olympic village. We loved watching him talk with us as if we are his friends and as he bared his soul, announcing that Rio would be his last Olympics. This illustrates how authentic live video makes the experience feel for the broadcaster and their viewing audience. The unscripted and conversational style allows the viewing audience to connect with the people they watch on live video. It is so comfortable, natural and easy. Of course we love it!

Live video is on fire. Like, white hot fire! I feel like a kid in a candy store because we are at the beginning of a new wave of communication that changes, oh, just EVERYTHING! How lucky are we to live right now!?!

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If the internet was the greatest invention since the car and social media was the great democratization for people across the globe, then live video is the paradigm shift that empowers everyone to become their own broadcast stars. Talk of content being king has been around for years now and recently, video content has become most effective at garnering our ever-shortening attention spans. But live video broadcasting is a whole new and exponentially more captivating dimension.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video may be worth a million and live video is worth a trillion words. Don’t quote me on the math, but there plenty of studies that show our brains are wired to detect and focus on movement. So, while I view all content as having intrinsic value (I myself love painting and drawings), it depends on the context. Of course video content grabs out attention more quickly than still content. Of course it’s more compelling for our brains to watch moving pictures and action than read words. (Sorry, my dear talented writers. People do still love to read. It’s all about context and right now we are talking about the digital screen context.)

Instapage

Moving images + real time live action = incredibly compelling content. Plus, thanks to camera phones and social media, anyone, anywhere with a smart phone can be a live video content creator, aggregator and publisher. How cool is THAT?!?!?

Google introduced video conferencing with “Hangouts” in 2014. Twitter launched Periscope as their live video streaming platform in spring of 2015. Also in spring of that year, Blab went live with their beta version of live video. Facebook Live launched to celebrities in the summer of 2015 and rolled out to most members with fan pages in April of 2016. Less than five months later, Blab shuttered their platform in the same week that Google announced it’s closing down “Hangouts” next month. Google wants everyone to migrate over to YouTube for live video. YouTube has some work to do to make that platform more user friendly.

Now there’s a mad scramble to claim the live video streaming territory. Blab and Hangouts both allowed multiple video hosts to participate. That was really compelling because humans like to watch interactions between other humans more than watching one human monologuing.

Instagram added live video recently. Huzza has emerged as a live streaming platform that offers multiple video feeds and hosts, plus it’s is more stable than Blab ever was. Huzza recently added a beta feature that allows live video broadcasters to connect and stream over Facebook Live simultaneously. It has a few bugs so we’ll see how that works out. Meanwhile Facebook attempted to launch 2 person live video, but it was nothing more than glorified Facetime. Wah-wah-wah. Periscope continues to thrive, since people all over the world can “scope” live to anyone who who wants to watch. It’s easier to get discovered on Periscope than on Facebook. IMO, Facebook might wanna close that competitive gap.

Whatever the live video streaming platforms do this year, this is going to be a fun and wild ride!

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