tips

3 Reasons Your Business Needs a Twitter

Here at High Five, we breathe social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +— You name it, we’re all over it. And while all businesses may not share this caliber of zeal for it, they definitely partake.

In fact, it’s as essential now for a business to be active on social media, as it is to have a phone number. 

Among these platforms, Twitter is an indispensable constellation of it’s own. The micro-blogging site, known for it’s 140-character post limit, hosts 310 million active monthly users

Ten years since it’s conception, Twitter has hatched and grown into a powerful communication tool to show us how much can be shared simply by being concise. Almost every major company, from American Airlines to Amazon, utilizes the platform

If you’re not part of the Twitter-sphere already, your business could be seriously losing out. That’s why we’ve complied a list of reasons your business should be on Twitter.

Connection

Twitter is an ongoing global conversation, different from other sites like Facebook, because the interactions it facilities are swift and intuitive. Organic, if you will. It’s the kind of space where you can pull a person, or business, aside and address them directly. 

It’s likely that your clientele is already on Twitter, sharing their opinions and concerns about your industry or business directly. They’ll appreciate you all the more for listening and responding. 

Branding

Hashtags are ideal for branding. Create custom hashtags for your business and use existing ones too. Local hashtags, like #OKCeats for example, will extend your reach to local audience and broad ones like #FoodPorn will expose you to a larger community. Establish your personality, and let the world see what makes you unique.

Twitter is a great place to fully engage people in what you’re doing. Utilize hashtag competitions, live tweets on events, Twitter ads and chats to interact with your audience. 

As an added bonus, consistently seeing interesting posts from your business builds familiarity and trust with customers. You’ll be on their mind when they need you. 

Expansion

Expanding your network goes beyond the customer base. When you’re active on twitter, it opens up a portal of communication to leading professionals in the industry. It lets you have a conversation with people you might otherwise not have access to. Just like you can see what your clients are up to, you can use Twitter to see what your competition is doing as well. 

Ultimately, you want what’s best for your business and to give it every chance possible at unrestrained success. So why not join this #party and make the best of all the opportunities it offers? 

3 Photography Hacks for Beginners

 

Here at High Five, we love our team and their creative brains. The hours and mad skills they put into their work leave us in a state of shock on a regular basis. Meet one of our photographers, Jonathan Burkhart

Jonathan was picked as one of TIME Magazine's 50 Instagram Photographers to Follow back in 2015*, and continues to embark on crazy adventures with friends, gathering a vast array of portraits and landscapes for his portfolio (and his 51k+ Instagram followers).  

We’re not quite sure how he does it . . . some in the office theorize that he listens to Baby Got Back to get in the zone, while others say that he does exactly five jumping jacks to find his Zen mode. Regardless, we are proud of all that he is and most importantly, we're proud of his humility and how he handles his talent. 

So after we finally found a free moment for Jon (he’s a busy man), we asked him for some tips and tidbits for all the budding photographers out there. Here’s what he said: 

1.) Composition is key. “You’ve got to think outside the box,” he said. “I know it sounds cheesy, but until you really dig in, you won’t be able to fully commit and get the results that you want. You’ll be working against yourself; you have to get out of the box and stay out of it.”  Another important thing to remember about a photo’s composition is the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds is all about balance and the natural way that the human eyes looks at photos. If you imagine a 3x3 grid when looking through your camera lens, place the points of interest on the intersecting points of the grid. 

2.) Lighting is make or break. “You want your lighting to convey the emotion of the subject,” Jonathan said. “To make your message most effective, use lighting to your advantage to create the mood, whether that be using shadows or fully exposing your subject.” It’s also important to be aware of the sun when you’re shooting outside. “Golden hour” is a term used for the time in the day (either right after sunrise or right before sunset) that has the best natural light. Be on the lookout for sunrise/sunset times! 

3.) Jonathan’s favorite editing apps. Apps are some of the greatest tools for beginner photographers—and professionals, too! “Apps are some of the greatest tools for getting your feet wet in the photographing world. If you just take a little time to explore the app and learn, you will become a little better versed in the terms and tools of the trade."

Below are some of Jonathan's favorite editing apps: 

Taking professional-grade photos is hard and takes a lot of time and attention. Don’t stress yourself out—find a professional! We’ve got a few around here who will get the job done AND give you some high fives. 

 

Why We OKC.

Photo of the Oklahoma City skyline by our very own, Jonathan Burkhart

Photo of the Oklahoma City skyline by our very own, Jonathan Burkhart

It's a common misconception that Oklahoma is behind the times (sigh). 

However, many Okies know the REAL truth-OKC has been on the rise and is actually pretty fantastic. At High Five Media, we're proud of our capital city, which is why we're giving you five reasons you, too, should OKC (yep, it's a verb). 

Since its inception, Oklahoma has been the wonderers destination. It started with those wanting the rush of the open frontier, railroad men, and early 89ers, all determined dreamers, dead set on leaving their footprint in an unknown wilderness. Today, in the same vein of the fearless explorer, start ups, risk takers, and entrepreneurs are reclaiming a city.

The steadfast pioneer spirit embodies and new generation of visionaries, who are not only shifting the culture, but are making Oklahoma City cool, again. 

Oklahoma City’s reinvention of cool, most obviously starts with the injection of the Thunder. But let's be honest, the metro area circa 2007 was already a sports hotbed. The University of Oklahoma was and still is a big league with seven national titles, five Heisman winners, twenty-three Hall of Famers and the longest winning streak in D1 history, and we’re just talking football. Up north there’s the brightest orange with OSU boasting fifty-one total national titles, Mike Gundy, an Oklahoma native head coach that’s birthed a powerhouse program, and billionaire Boone Pickens, who makes us feel that half-time uniform changes are somewhere within the foreseeable future. Add in a professional basketball team and you've got yourself a sports utopia awesome enough to make a governor serve up a slathered up platter of ribs to any national sports analyst – oh wait, that’s already happened. 

Which brings me to scoot my chair right up to OKC’s ample food offerings. Steaks, BBQ, burgers, whatever your little foodie heart desires, the city has you covered. Just please remember to generously add Oklahoma’s own Head Country BBQ sauce. When it’s not your cheat day, OKC has an amazingly progressive healthy food movement. Zoë’s Kitchen, All About Cha, Cafe 7, and Cool Greens are unanimous favorites because they strive to bring patrons into a healthy lifestyle community. 

Community is everywhere within this city. The Plaza District, The Paseo, and Midtown neighborhoods are products of OKC’s Renaissance. Millennial owned art galleries, storefronts, and restaurants now line these once dicey streets. This is where art and innovation converge and the new age pioneer’s roots run deep. 

Capital is increasingly generated, and the coolest thing about OKC is that Oklahomans give back. There is a certain standard in our state and it’s one that never hesitates to take care of our own. During challenges of catastrophe, natural disaster, or a mere case of someone down on their luck our citizens are always willing to give--Oklahoma continues to reign in the top ten most charitable states in the nation

We know that outsiders think first our tragedies and secondly the misconceived lack of culture; however, I truly believe OKC residents are the absolute definition of resiliency and innovation. So last but certainly not least, the pinnacle of cool in OKC is the Memorial Marathon. Coined A Race to Remember because of the 168 we will never forget, the Memorial Marathon is one of the United States' top 10 marathons. Similar to Oklahoma City itself, participating in such a worthy cause only gets better with every year that passes.

Networking is Not a Dirty Word

The year is 2016. You've just closed a deal for the business opportunity of a lifetime and opened the door to new horizons for your career. The question - how'd you pull it off? The answer - networking 

In a world of ever-expanding digital communication, the word "networking" is often associated with a string of retweets, Instagram likes, and the occasional LinkedIn request. However, the real benefits of networking come with strategic and intentional communication.  

As a generation steeped in the digital age, millennials have the tools necessary to get the most bang out of their networking buck. That's why we've compiled a list of ways to tap into your networking potential.  

  1. Navigate the business waters. As the saying goes, "there are plenty of fish in the sea." This is especially true for the business community. There are numerous invaluable connections from all walks of life that could potentially help you in some way or another. However, Rome's network wasn't built in a day. Start by honing in on business professionals in your industry of interest. By establishing contacts within your career field, you're creating a path to future interaction and furthered insight into the inner workings of the industry.  

  2. Become a follower. (But, don't make it creepy.) Social media is a good way to get your foot in the door with new contacts. By following industry professionals on platforms where they are most active, like Twitter or LinkedIn, and engaging in the content that they post, you are making your name and your presence known. Follow their activity and strive to create professional and meaningful interaction.  

  3. Go off the Grid. With so much of business conducted digitally, a face-to-face conversation is becoming more rare, which makes it all-the-more effective. Attend events and get involved in business-focused organizations, like your local chamber of commerce. Connecting in-person with a business professional is a great opportunity to make a favorable impression, while also fostering unique discussion and adding a human element to your already-established digital presence.  

  4. Talk, don't squawk. Too many times, young professionals make the mistake of selling their experience and skillset from start to finish. While pitching your potential isn't always a bad thing, it can often lead to ending connections before they begin in networking scenarios. Rather than fixating on you, focus on them. Initiate a discussion about their passion for the industry. Glean the tricks of the trade from their years of experience. Turn the tables on traditional topics and become genuinely interested in who they are as a business professional and what they have to offer.   

After strengthening your connections, it's not unusual to find yourself with a vast network of industry professionals, excited about engaging you in the future of the field and ready and willing to help you kick-start your career.

The Intern Files: Put a Little Om in Your Heart

The holiday season brings with it joy, laughter, a few creeping pounds, family time, and yep...stress. November 4th, 2015 was National Stress Awareness Day which almost seems like it was in preparation for the turkey-and-Santa-filled drama that comes with the holiday territory. Being a college student, stress is no stranger to me. Sometimes I feel like stress is this guy who comes and checks into my mind, leaving his hat and coat at the door, staying indefinitely. And sometimes I think we like to glamorize our stress. It’s like we think that the more stressed we are, the more productive we are, which is actually quite the opposite of reality.

Sadly, whatever our season of life is, whatever the job or situation, we are most likely to be experiencing some type of stress. The unfortunate thing is that the human body doesn’t know the difference between our stresses. Whether we’re approaching impending doom or someone is mad at us, our body’s stress response is triggered no matter what the level or magnitude of stress. Fortunately, we also have a relaxation response trigger during which our bodies de-stress. 

The theme for 2015’s National Stress Awareness Day was “Employee Wellbeing as a Worthwhile Investment in Your Business”, so here are some ways to de-stress in your office (or wherever you find yourself):

1. Stretch out your body. 

Take a walk. Stand up. Do some office yoga. There’s a Huffington post article titled “5 Office Yoga Poses (That Won’t Freak Out Your Co-Workers)” with good poses to get your blood flowing. Obviously it’s not good to sit over your computer day in and day out like the Hunchback – stretch out your body.   

2. Stretch out your mind. 

Take a mental vacation. Breathe. Take some time to meditate. Look at pictures reflecting happy moments in your life. Going back to those memories and taking a few moments to quietly reminisce will help you switch out of functioning in the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight) and start functioning in the parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation). 

3. Treat yo’ self. 

Eating (in moderation!) is really good for rejuvenation. Stress eating doesn’t have to be all bad. Eat a banana or potato (rich in potassium) to regulate your high-stress blood pressure – it will help with energy and recovery. Eating something sweet helps soothe the production of stress hormones; keep a bowl of Hershey’s kisses or peppermints on your desk to avoid binge eating while still reaping the benefits of the h-a-p-p-y feelings. “The connection between the gut and brain is huge and lots of interesting data supports the idea that the gut is a major mediator of the stress response,” says Dr. Drew Ramsey in a Huffington Post article. “Stress is a brain and immune system mediated phenomena, and your gut is the largest organ in your immune system.” 

4. Have a creative outlet (or two or three or ten). 

Doodle on your lunch napkin, listen to some music, keep crafty things like coloring books and knitting needles in your desk, and keep a journal and pen with you. There are studies that have been performed showing that an individual’s writing that is classified as emotional, valuable, and personal can help strengthen their immune system. A creative you is a healthy you – physically and mentally. 

Wherever you find yourself, and whatever stress you are experiencing, try one of these anti-stress triggers to calm down. They will help keep you from going postal on your co-workers or hiding under your desk and hyperventilating. Of course, there’s more de-stress techniques than the ones I’ve listed… how are you de-stressing? 

 

Peace,

The Intern

5 Reasons Why Employing Millennials is #Winning

Let's be honest. The term "millennial" likely makes you cringe, and I can't say that I blame you. I'm a member of the expansive, ever-active millennial generation, and sometimes even I become exasperated over the generational hoopla 

If you look past the marathon of selfies and the frenzy of status updates, however, a startling truth emerges: millennials are changing the world.  

A trend of data is surfacing in support of more openly embracing the integration of millennials into the workplace. Why? Well, for starters, according to the Deloitte Millennial Survey for 2014, millennials are expected to make up 75 percent of the global workforce within the next decade. This means that, whether you're on board or not, millennials are likely going to be working for or with you in the very near future.  

Because of this, seasoned professionals are beginning to take notice; they're discovering that we've got plenty to offer.  

We are digital pioneers.  

It's no surprise that millennials are tech-savvy. Nearly every aspect of our lives revolves around digital devices. However, there's more to our savvy than a sophisticated Instagram post or a well-planned Snapchat story.  

Technology developed as we did, and we've easily adapted to each new wave of advances. This means that we're always looking to push digital boundaries. We're looking for new ways to connect online and improve our daily lives. 

Consequentially, this carries over into our professional lives, as well. In an article on Fortune.com, Sally Susman, the executive vice president of corporate affairs at Pfizer, highlighted the crux of millennial potential when she said, "Greater insight from millennials can help us connect online with people of all ages in ways that are, frankly, new and unexpected... 

If given the chance, millennials can be great assets for social media strategy and connecting with consumers on a digital level. 

We lead through inspiration.  

According to an article on Business Insidermillennial managers are more optimistic and lead by "pulling" their employees to succeed rather than pushing.  

What does this mean for business? When millennials lead with inspiration, optimism and by example, motivation increases among employees, and millennials rise as "champions of change," often for the benefit of the company's image and its bottom line.  

We move to improve.  

There's a saying that one of my college professors used to recite, "I give back through feedback." Of course at the time, it usually elicited an eye roll from me. But even then, I eagerly welcomed feedback, nearly chomping at the bit for a chance to better my work and refine my craft. 

Zenger/Folkman's research captures that sentiment by suggesting that millennials are "looking for new ways to work smarter and produce higher-quality work." This often encompasses the desire to both give and get feedback. Such a desire increases communication and fosters a drive to continuously improve - a win-win scenario for employees and companies.  

We are challenge-seeking goal-setters.  

This goes hand-in-hand with our digital drive and our desire to improve. We push the envelope, constantly looking to take things to the next level. It's as if the powers-that-be told ambitious millennials, "Jump," and the resounding response was "How high?" 

In most cases, the status quo is just not good enough. We set goals that seem unattainable and then strive to bypass reaching them and focus instead on surpassing them. This pushes us to bigger dreams and better results.  

We are social investors.  

Investing in the well-being of the community and society as a whole is kind of our mantra, whether or not we're consciously aware of it is a different story. As one of my co-workers puts it, "Millennials grew up on Harry Potter and The West Wing." It may sound cheesy, but it rings true. Our expectations for how to treat others and our elasticity toward social acceptance gives us an innate drive for social responsibility.  

As for how that translates to businesses, Susman explained, "As a new generation entering the workforce without pre-set notions of traditional models, millennials can help shape corporate responsibility programs to move beyond charity and towards entrepreneurial models that benefit society." 

If millennials can and are changing the world, imagine what they can do for your business. 

What have millennials done for your business?

3 Ways to Be Less Corporate-y (It's a Word)

High fives are in, handshakes are out. 

Picture this being read in Heidi Klum’s chirpy Project Runway voice. 

Okay what do I mean by this? Is it a statement against everyone who’s ever shook my hand? Or maybe a stance against all those self-help articles that talk about the importance of a “nice, firm handshake”? 

Nah.  Not really.

High fives are in, handshakes are out is really more of a commentary on office culture than anything else. Today I want to dig into why I’m happy to work at a company that I (and many who step into my zany office space) would consider the anti-corporate workspace.  There are three main reasons I believe why, in today’s environment, the hard-nosed, beige cubicles of the past can’t deliver the same level of productivity that they may have before. 

When I say corporate, I’m referring to the lazy-eyed drone-like work for the man. I’m talking about the punch in, punch out mentality that so many Americans still subscribe to, or at the very least succumb to.  

I may be stepping on some toes here, but what progress ever happened without a few bruised toes? 

Before starting as a partner of High Five, I worked with people who operated in an uber conservative corporate environment.  I saw my friends clock in and play the rat race game…hard. Luckily, I was able to manage my team in a less strict manner, but we all still answered to the man.  Don't get me wrong, my past taught me some really valuable lessons like the importance of diligent work and how to manage people, and I value the opportunities working for a successful corporation afforded me. It allowed me to do my own thing eventually, which is such a blessing. However, when I had the opportunity to help start my own business, I found myself drifting from the corporate structure of my past.

So here are three ways to implement fun, engaging methods in your business, no matter what industry you manage. I believe a more open, dynamic office environment actually increases productivity in employees. If you can take away just one aspect of this post and apply it to your own employees, I believe you’ll see growth that may surprise you.

1.) Positivity breeds productivity

Have you ever noticed how little work you get done when you’re in a funk? You second guess yourself, you feel sluggish, and you can’t focus.  Now flip that around and think of a time when you felt really motivated and inspired. How did your productivity rank then?

In my business I go to great lengths to cultivate a positive, relaxed environment. I know, I know, when people hear the word relaxed they instantly freak out.  They think of the middle aged couch potato chomping away at cheese doodles while he channel surfs. But I’m not talking about lazy. I’m talking about providing your employees with an environment in which they feel comfortable. In this comfortable, positive environment, many employees generate their best work, because they don’t feel the extreme pressure that stricter environments generate. So this might mean the dress code is a little more casual than business casual, if you catch an employee shoelessly typing away you smile instead of grimace, you consider outdoor workspaces just as relevant as indoor desks, or you might even bring in donuts on a random Wednesday rather than just on National Donuts day. Whatever it is, make sure it’s intentional and allows your employees to know that you care about them and trust them to get their job done. This brings us to the next point. 

2.) Just Trust

Let’s start at the very beginning, a very fine place to start (Sound of Music, anyone?).  Trust starts during the hiring process. You have to hire people you feel you can trust to get the work done. This may seem simple, but it’s huge when it comes to cultivating a relaxed, positive environment. If you can trust people to get their work done, and done well, then you have time to tackle other bigger projects. Employees also want to feel trusted. Have you ever worked for a boss you felt didn’t trust your judgment? How did that work out for you? Chances are either your work suffered because you second-guessed everything (Maybe she’s right! Maybe I can’t finish this project in time.) or said boss managed his or her distrust by micromanaging your every move. Allowing your employees to feel truly trusted is almost like concocting a self-fulfilling prophecy. Obviously, you will need to address if they consistently underperform; however, chances are they will rise to the occasion, especially if you did the work on the font end and hired quality individuals. 

3.) Cultivating Creativity

Cultivating creativity is important no matter what industry you’re in. I know this may seem a little woo-woo, but follow me on this one. Creativity isn’t just writing, it isn’t just painting, and it isn’t just making art. Creativity isn’t reserved for the hipsters and the hippies.  Creativity happens every day, and if your business isn’t actively pursuing it, it’s going to suffer. Creativity is a different way of assessing the success or failure of a project. It’s figuring out random ways to engage with clients. It’s taking a chance on an idea that no one else in your industry has considered. Creativity isn’t based in logic, though, it’s based in your employees deepest strengths and passions. It can come out in a logical, analytical pattern; however, true creativity originates from an internal spark of genuine curiosity. 

“I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking” 

-Albert Einstein

In my office, I’m surrounded by people who openly call themselves “creatives”.  This is a little overwhelming at times, because as I’ve mentioned, I originally came from a pretty straight-laced corporate environment.  The first time I noticed when one of my employees walked outside and just stared at the trees for 15 minutes, I thought I was losing my grip. But the truth is, we are all wired for creativity. We all need little breaks in the day to reset and reestablish our goals. Yes, that might mean you allow your employees to make a coffee run mid-day, or you let them take some time to laugh at hilarious YouTube videos. Because there’s one thing we aren’t, and that’s a robot (talk about a compelling pull quote). 

In order to fuel creativity you have to allow people their own unique methods of inquiry. 

Remember the tree-staring guy? I watched him come back inside and edit a commercial that got us national recognition and is still used as an example of our business’ strengths.

Though these tips may feel a little loosey-goosey when it comes to running a business where you need to make money and meet deadlines, I promise you your employees will notice these changes and they will respond positively. In a world where it seems our attention spans are ever waning (140 characters anyone?), it’s important to get real with yourself about the type of work you expect of your employees. When Twitter and Facebook are a mere swipe away, do you honestly think placing a millennial in a beige cubicle, giving them a 30 minute lunch break, and never really engaging with them socially is going to produce high rates of success and growth for your company? Because remember you’re only as good as your worst employee. I think advocating for a trusting, relaxed, engaging environment is the answer. 

If you gain a little weight from all those donuts, then so be it. With all of that business growth, I bet you can afford a new pair of pants.

By: Earle Haggard, Parter at High Five

3 Reasons Engaging Content Still Matters

Hello there, today we're going to beat a dead horse, but it's going to be fun and completely hypothetical and non-violent. Today, we're talking content, how to use it, and why any of this even matters. Let's dive right in sans weapons, shall we?

What sets you apart from the rest? What makes your post have the most likes, the most views, or the most subscriptions? What makes content matter so much? 

Everything has become a tagline.

How do you get attention-grabbers, while still maintaining a sense of professionalism?  Why does this matter?  In this digital age, your content becomes synonymous with your name. Unfortunately, sometimes it is hard to get good quality materials for your content in the world of 140 characters. Some of those in the writing world turn their nose up at the thought of social media and online content replacing their beloved hard-copy pieces they grew up dreaming about writing. But we’re here to tell you that written content is still king in this age; it just shows up in different mediums.  

Here’s a few reasons why good content matters: 

  1. Content is the essence of every idea. A challenge companies could face in the age of endless scrolling is having a single, overriding message. Themed blog posts, catchy hashtags, or creative titles have ways of tying everything together nicely. It’s no different than serial publishing from years ago—it’s just taking a different form.
  2. Content’s form is make or break. Content reaches a much broader audience than in previous years, and with so many formats and layouts like Instagram, Twitter, and Google +, the format of a post could make or break it when it comes to views, likes, shares, and ultimately a reputation. 
  3. Content will live long. If content is well-crafted, the idea it presents will reflect well on every aspect of the company. Content will only last long in the reader’s mind if it is noteworthy.

Written content, in all its forms, is the same. If anything, this digital age challenges writers to be more on top of their game. In a world with a short attention span, writers are called to be even more relevant, clear, and creative. We are not all defined by our #hashtags. Content at its best is self-evident, self-affirming, and completely essential to today’s written world.

What are ways you use content to reach and engage with your audience? Do you think content matters to businesses?