Start your Business with Microbranding!

Approximately 543,000 businesses are started each month. Although hundreds of thousands of businesses are started each month, even more than that shut down each month. So how do startups survive in today’s market? The new trend helping thousands of businesses start up successfully and grow their success rather than shut down is called, microbranding. A microbrand is defined as “a small-scale brand recognized only in a certain geographic location or by consumers in a specific micro market or niche market.”

rawpixel-661940-unsplash.jpgMore and more businesses are starting by first developing and promoting a microbrand in which they sell one specific type of product. Once the product proves successful and gains a customer base, the business has the opportunity to add more products related to the initial product. This way, by the time they develop more products and invest more money in the company, they already have a customer base to sell their new products to, giving them a higher chance of success with their new products.

One company that has been successful in starting up using microbranding is Kylie Jenner’s cosmetics company, Kylie Cosmetics, LLC. Kylie Cosmetics started off as a microbrand that just sold individual lip glosses. After gaining a following and continuously selling out new lip gloss lines within minutes, Kylie Cosmetics now sells various types of makeup including eyeliner, mascara, eyeshadow, and so on.

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Here’s the key to successful microbranding:

Find your Niche

Even though there are millions of products out on the market, there are products in every industry that could use improvement. It is important that you find a niche that makes sense for you as well. Going into an industry you are passionate about and knowledgeable of will allow you to develop a high quality product, and build a better relationship with your customer base.

 

Build your Following through Marketing

I cannot stress this enough, but just like with any startup, marketing and public relations is an absolute must if you want to start a successful business. Kylie Jenner didn’t have much difficulty in this aspect of starting her company because she already had millions of followers on her social media accounts. One way to get your microbrand noticed is to reach out to people on social media that are in your target market and send them a free sample of your product, or a discount on their first order if they sponsor you. This means they will send out a post or story of them using your product and/or write a review for you on the product. This allows you to reach their followers as well, most of whom are also in your target market.

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Quality is Essential

Considering you are gaining a following primarily based on people’s satisfaction with your product or service, quality is essential. If they are not satisfied with your product, they are not going to want to recommend it to their friends and you are not going to be able to increase your following. Make sure that your marketing of the product and product quality match up on all counts.

 

Have a Long-Term Plan

A microbrand is a great way to get your business started, however no company carries on for years and years on selling and marketing just one product. You need to have a long-term plan and long-term goals for your business so that once your microbrand does gain its following you know where to go next to grow your company even further.

 

If you are looking to start your own business through microbranding and need help marketing your product click here to check out our social posting products!

 

Small Business Tips: Using Personalized Marketing to Reach Customers

Let’s Get Personal.

As many of us have noticed, companies online have been getting increasingly “personal” with their customers…maybe even so personal that we’re a little creeped out. For instance, when you are online shopping on a clothing website and then you go on Instagram and there’s an ad for the same exact dress you were just looking at a moment ago. Many people can even recall a time when they were discussing let’s say a certain book with their friend and that same book showed up in an Amazon advertisement without them ever having viewed it online. Maybe it’s our phones listening to us, or maybe, it’s the businesses we shop at.

Although some forms of personalized marketing can come off as a bit creepy and are not super effective in boosting sales or customer retention, personalized marketing, when done correctly, can have a significant positive impact on your business. So how do we use personalized marketing correctly?? Here’s how…

 

Get CONSENT!!!

Screen Shot 2018-11-07 at 12.24.08 PMFirst things first, if you’re going to personalize emails, text messages, printed mail, or Facebook messages, you have to get consent from the customer first. This means that the customer has to have given you their Facebook account information, phone number, address, email address, and name. One way many companies do this is at checkout when they ask if the customer would like to receive text or email alerts on upcoming sales, promotions, and company news. This way when they receive the personalized marketing, they don’t think your company is tracking down their information or stalking you online because they gave you the information themselves.

 

Track Purchases

Now that you have the information you need to send them more personalized marketing, you need to figure out what type of message you’re going to be sending them. Seeing as you are operating a small business, you may not have access to softwares that track individual customer purchases, so tracking which products are selling the most currently is an easier alternative.Utilizing your social media can be helpful here too by viewing the posts your company is tagged in by consumers. Keeping track of which inventory is selling, and promoting a related product or service will get you a much better return by boosting sales of that product even more. 

 

Comments, Compliments, & Concerns

ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS write down anything a customer has to say about your business. Whether it’s in regards to a specific product or service, a specific customer experience, or customer service. If you run a restaurant, write down what customers have to say about certain dishes so you can either change up recipes, or promote a popular dish more often. Even viewing customer reviews on Google, Yelp, or Facebook can be extremely helpful in receiving more specific input on your company’s progress.

 

If you want to get personal with your customers and boost your sales, let us show you how! Click the hyperlinks to check out our Customer Voice and Reputation Management products!

How To: Synchronize your Social Media

If you are running multiple social media accounts for your business (which you should be!) you want to be sure that all of them are telling the same story. A cohesion should exist among your sites, allowing customers to seamlessly transition between platforms while never feeling like they have disassociated between sites. Utilizing multiple sites while presenting a united, synchronized front could be the key your company is missing to putting your best foot forward online. Professionalism is a major key to securing customers and a solid social media base could be your first step.

First, visually tie together your accounts so that when jumping from platform to platform your customers feel as though they are still looking at the same company. There are multiple ways to make this a reality including color schemes, styles, and fonts. These methods may take a bit of practice to perfect, however if done correctly could really bring all of your sites together. A simple fix to this is having a logo. If your company has a recognizable logo that is present on each site, the customer is quickly reminded exactly where they are and who they are looking at. Lacking a stand-out logo? MaxExposure’s Custom Logo Design Package offers a custom logo design to help your company stand out (and stand together on social media).

Second, promote accessibility between sites. If you are looking to present your customers with a fully synchronized, full spectrum social media lineup, you want to be sure that they are noticing it, or it might as well not be in place. Placing links to accounts in the bios of other accounts or directly linking sites in posts on other platforms is a good way to promote the unification of accounts to customers.

Lastly, have the same voice behind all of your accounts, preferably the same person. Having a consistency in the content and style with which your posts are presented can give your company a voice of its own. Before long the voice of the individual running the accounts will become that of the company, as there is never a lapse in tone or consistency.

Don’t have the time to rummage through all of your accounts to post? MaxExposure offers a DIY Package consisting of software that you can use to post to all of your sites with a single click! Don’t have the time to post at all? With MaxExposure’s Social Posting – Basic package, we post for you!

 

5 Tips for Improving your SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, determines how visible your company’s site is online, or in other words, how highly your company’s site or web pages rank in search results on engines such as Google. 91% of US internet users utilize a search engine every month, and the top 5 results of every search receive 75% of the clicks, so maintaining a high SEO and ranking higher in these search results is extremely important to receiving user interaction. Below are five tips for improving your site’s SEO…

 

1. Search Competition

Searching Google for your competitor’s sites is a very effective starting point for improving your own company’s SEO. By searching your company’s industry name or topics or products within your industry will allow for the sites with the highest SEO’s in the industry to load at the top of the Google search. By clicking through these sites and paying attention to keywords throughout competitor’s sites, as well as the overall organization and set up of their sites will allow you to start in effectively developing ideas for your own company’s site and starting off with a relatively high SEO.

2. Develop a Keyword and Create a Meta Description

Your site may have one or more keywords throughout depending on what information will be included in your company’s site. These keywords may be in your site’s menu topics, as well as throughout any writing on your site. Including these keywords in your meta description can be extremely helpful in improving your SEO when your keyword is used in a search.

A meta description is the short paragraph shown underneath your site’s title and url that allows users to read into the site page without actually clicking on it. Your meta description can greatly impact how many people actually click through to your site. It is very important to include commonly used keywords in your meta description as this will improve the SEO, and encourage users to click on your site.

3. Include Off-Page Links on your Site

Your site will include both off-page information, referring to elements that are on someone else’s site, as well as on-page information, referring to elements that are on your site. Statistics show that 75% of SEO is off-page, and 25% is on-page, meaning that your SEO is mostly determined by the other sites used in your site’s information, rather than the information that is on your site directly. Search engines will recognize the link back to off-page sites and consider your site as relating to that off-page site. Therefore, finding sections throughout your site where you can link back to outside sources and websites with higher SEO’s will in turn increase your own company’s SEO. An example of this might be the link I have included in this blog, linking back to another extremely popular business blog.

4. Utilize Social Media Interactions

Including your company’s site link and information on your company’s social media accounts is a great way to get more user interaction on the site, and therefore improve your site’s SEO. Search engines keep track of which sites get the most user traffic, and are therefore more popular, and will show the sites with higher traffic higher up in the search results. Below is an example of how to link back to your site on Instagram and Facebook. Including the site link in your company’s Instagram bio or profile on Facebook and including the site link in social media posts or informing viewers that the link is in the bio in posts.

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5. Perform SEO Maintenance Regularly

Search results are constantly changing, and search engines are constantly changing the factors they use in sorting search results. This means that your site’s SEO is also changing, even without the site itself changing. Keeping track of changes in keyword popularity, changing meta description accordingly, as well as updating links to off-page sites when the information changes, or there are newer, more popular sources to link back to will help you maintain your site’s SEO.

 

Looking to improve your site’s SEO?! Check out our MaxExposure SEO – 10 Keywords and Website Builder – Enhanced products today!!

Sources:

https://blog.hubspot.com/insiders/seo-facts

How To: Respond to Negative Feedback

Find out 50 of the most shocking facts about online reviews! Enter your information below to download!

Receiving negative feedback isn’t fun for anyone involved: The unhappy customer has spent their time and resources on a product or service that they aren’t satisfied with, the provider didn’t live up to their expectation and the business’ credibility is hurt. How can you gracefully fix this situation while retaining the unhappy customer? Follow these simple steps to reverse your unhappy customers opinion.

1. Identify the problem & customer’s disposition

The customer is clearly angry in this review because they were kicked out of a restaurant that they frequent. They are also angry because they believe that they were kicked out due to racial bias. The manager and hostess were identified as the “culprits” in this review. Whether this review is 100% honest or not, you must treat it as if it is. The customer ALWAYS comes first. Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 12.42.53 PM

2. Respond to the customer feedback ASAP

Timing is EVERYTHING. The restaurant who received this review responded to the review weeks later. This makes them appear to have bad time management skills as well as being careless and not concerned with their customer service. The customer is clearly speaking in an angry tone so it is important to respond to all issues in the review with neutral wording. NEVER fight fire with fire, especially in the world of business because credibility is EVERYTHING. Example message: Good Afternoon *insert customer name.* We apologize for the way that you were treated at our restaurant on *insert date here.* We have spoken with our management and hostess staff to ensure that a situation such as this will not occur again. We are an inclusive restaurant that does its best to serve all customers with five star service. We would like to invite you back to *insert restaurant name* to give us another chance and try one of our famous dessert dishes, complimentary. Thank you for your review. Your feedback matters.

3. Determine a remedy

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4. Make sure that it doesn’t happen again

To ensure that this issue does not occur again and future negative reviews can be avoided, speak to staff members about the situation. Get their insights and opinions on what happened and work with them to make sure they have proper training in regards to the conflict. It’s better to be proactive and keep the negative experience from occurring instead of having to do damage control.

How To: Convert Social Media Followers into Customers

Get the case study on how 3 companies developed their social media to have successful customer engagement!

Instagram posts and Facebook ads are the 21st century versions of billboards and newsletter pamphlets. Today’s consumers wants to interact directly with their business providers. Social media, online marketing & how to convert those followers to customers may seem difficult to those who don’t have immense experience with online marketing conversions. However, you don’t need to study the world of social media & conversions to have it help your business, you can follow these six steps to learn how to convert social media followers into real business customers.

1. Choose your platform

Facebook? Instagram? Twitter? Pinterest? LinkedIn? Google Plus? The options are endless and finding your unique social niche is essential in converting followers to customers. In every profile, it is essential that you include your address/phone number/ any relevant contact information, a profile photo and company description. This will make your business easier to search for. For obvious reasons, customers are also more likely to use a business that has more information listed rather than a business that has no information listed.   Social Media Guide: Platforms  

2. Expand your Social Channels

Social media is an ever-growing giant. In June 2017, Facebook had 2 billion monthly users. Currently (April, 2018), Facebook has 2.4 billions users. This user growth can be seen in virtually every single social media platform. By expanding your social channels to multiple social media platforms, you will be appearing in multiple feeds to increased numbers of unique viewers. Diversifying your outreach on social media platforms across as many networks as possible will increase your chances of your followers and viewers becoming customers. twitter-facebook-together-exchange-of-information-147413.jpeg

3. Engage Engage Engage

A page cannot be discovered if there is no activity and if a page is not discoverable, than there is no opportunity to grow your customer base. Follow other local businesses, respond to any comments on your posts and repost photos that your business is tagged in. By creating an online community of local businesses and responding to customers’ inquiries online, your page becomes more discoverable to potential clients in your area.

 4. Provide Value & Information

Instead of over-promoting your business and services, also provide value to your customer base by posting articles and relevant information about your industry. Are you a makeup artist? Write and repost articles and information about new brands and trends. Are you a landscaper? Write and report articles and information about how to keep your lawn and garden looking healthy year round. Your customers and current followers are likely to share this information if they find it valuable. This will spread your business’ name to those who may not have heard of your services or products before.

5.  Offering Testimonials

The most powerful resources to business’ are it’s success stories.  Potential customers want to see visuals of a job well done because it makes them feel more secure when using your services. Using visual testimonials builds your credibility so don’t be afraid to reach out to past customers and ask them for their good word!

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6.  Call to Action

In every single one of your posts, there should be a “call to action,” or a device that helps prompt a sale. Calls to action may include, “contact us for more information” followed by your contact information. Calls to action may also include, “free 7 day trial with no subscription” followed by a link to sign up for a free trial. Another example may include “Show this post to get 5% off of your services.” In all of these examples, potential customers are prompted with the decision to ignore your post or act upon your call to action. social media customers Effective social media marketing provides myriads of opportunities to build and retain your customer base. But does this still sound intimidating? MaxExposure Business Solutions can help you conquer your marketing goals with our Social Page Build package. We help by giving your business one place to stay social. We build your social pages, generate leads, schedule ready-to-publish content, and communicate with your followers all from one place: a tool that makes managing social media simple. Sources: Quick Sprout Hub Spot   

Transparency: Your Top Priority

This past week I discovered that one of my favorite clothing brands was not animal-friendly. As a vegan, this greatly upset me because my lifestyle is aimed at sustainability and limiting my use of animal products. In my rage, I wrote a well-worded, polite yet also snippy post on one of their social media sites. I was hoping that the company would contact me apologizing for their mistake. When I checked this social media site about an  later hour, I discovered that my post had been removed by the company. This brand not only removed my feedback, but they also destroyed a possible dialogue and refused to give me A+ customer service. They lost my loyalty, my future business and my good opinion of them.

This entire scenario could have completely avoided if this brand was simply… transparent. Transparency is one of the keys to all successful businesses. Transparency creates loyalty and loyalty creates repeated business. In light of this recent scenario, here are a three easy ways that you can build your brand’s reputation in regards to transparency.

Create a medium for customers to contact you directly

By establishing a medium for customers to contact you directly, they can directly ask you any questions or concerns they may have. The last thing you want is for a customer to reach out to third party for an answer regarding your business because it creates opportunities for misunderstandings and loss of business. Sometimes customers do not want to sit on the phone with customer service, and look for other ways to communicate quickly. One of the easiest ways to establish one of these mediums is through a  Facebook Messenger Chatbot or Live Chat. With a chatbot, automated responses are sent to your customer regarding any of their questions while with live chat, the customer chats one on one with a business representative.

Respond to ALL feedback

Not responding to feedback makes it look like your business doesn’t care. Deleting feedback makes it looks like your business has something to hide. Without explanation, it is clear why these are poor decisions. Through quick and polite responses to negative/positive feedback, customers feel like their opinions matter and misunderstandings are avoided. Having a o  Reputation Management system is best way to retain customers and have high ranking customer loyalty.

Allow employees to voice their opinions on products publicly

An employee is the ultimate narrator to a business’ quality because they understand the inner workings of everything that occurs “behind closed doors.” By displaying employee opinions in public places, such as on your companies social media & website, customers are more apt to trust your business because the people that work there, themselves, trust it and have a high opinion of it. Doing this through employee reviews of products, employee videos and testimonials is a great way to encourage more customer trust.

Looking to improve brand loyalty, transparency and reputation all while gaining and retaining customers? Not sure how? Contact us today!

Perfecting your company’s Instagram Bio

An Instagram bio is the header underneath you account name that defines the purpose of your page.

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A well-crafted Instagram bio should convey the following points:

 

  1. Explain what services or products your business offers
  2. Communicate how a potential customer can contact you

 

In the above example, the business has set up their page as a “business page.” They have defined that they are an “American Restaurant” and that their mission is to have food that “tastes good, feels good and does good.” The have also attached their delivery website from which you can purchase their products.

 

Instagram has two settings, a “business page” and a “personal page.” The business pages are connected to Facebook pages while personal pages are just private accounts not connected to any products or services. The left profile is an example of a business page, dubbed “fast food restaurant” while the right profile is a personal page with no affiliation to any products or services.

However, the one thing that separates this “well-crafted” Instagram bio from a “superbly-crafted” Instagram bio is a call to action. A simple call to action can create an incentive to purchase a company’s products or services. This company could have offered a 10% off coupon if they ordered food from their phone. Below, find an example of a “superbly-crafted” Instagram bio with an explanation of services, means of contact and call  to action.

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Oh and PS. don’t be afraid to throw a pun or some humor into your bio (as long as you keep it appropriate!) This is a great way to attract customers because it makes your company seem a little more “human.”
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All screenshots were sourced from Instagram.

 

The Ultimate Guide to getting your Instagram page on the Explore tab

Instagram is a numbers game with thousands of algorithms that collect data fromits users. Some of the data that they collect includes: time spent looking at a post, time spent scrolling through comments, which genre of posts you like the most and key words used when commenting.

The Explore tab is a feature on Instagram that features images and videos that a user would find relevant to their interests. Here is an example of what an Instagram Explore tab may look like from a cellular device:

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Ever noticed how your Explore page always has content very relevant to your interests? This is because Instagram plugs your data (the information they collect on) into their various algorithms to determine what content should be featured on your Explore page. Therefore, every users Explore tab is tailored to their specific interests.

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The Explore tab on Instagram is the ONLY way to be discovered by new audiences without them directly searching and finding your page.

Not many people use Instagram for the sole purpose of discovering new services and products. Appearing on the Explore tab is essential for your business because it can help you reach a new demographic of customers. So how can you “hack” the Instagram algorithm to make your page appear on the Explore tab? It’s easy and if you follow these steps, you’ll essentially be receiving “free” advertising from Instagram.

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Our Instagram Services can also help you complete these steps in an effective and efficient manner as well as post to your Instagram at times with heightened traffic in order to receive more visitors to your page. These services help to boost your page to the Explore tab and be discovered by new, potential customers.

Create Content Focused on Your Target Markets

Your target audience is anyone who may be interested in your product or service. By crafting content that is specific to your audiences, your page will automatically be more likely to show up on their Explore tab because it is related to their Instagram activity and interests. Ideally, your number of unique visitors to your page will increase due to improved conversion rates.

Post on Instagram at Optimal Times for Heightened Traffic

Due to the natural flow in people’s lives, Instagram tends to have heightened activity on their app at certain times of the day. A number of studies conducted by Facebook (the owner of Instagram), Google, Forbes, Elle&Co and Later have determined the following:

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Focus on Interactive Instagram Captions

The Instagram algorithm rewards pages with high levels of follower activity. You can increase your activity levels by posing questions in your post for followers to respond to. Below is posted a stellar example of an interactive post!

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Tag, Tag, Tag!

If your post relates to any other page that has an Instagram, it’s extremely important to tag them! When you tag a relevant page in your post, that post will be more likely to appear on their followers Explore tabs. Additionally, if a customer tags your business in a photo, it’s usually a good idea to repost their photo (giving them credit) because it increases the probability that followers in their network will see your page in the Explore tab. Below, find an example of a post where another relevant page is tagged.

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Use & Abuse Hashtags

Hashtags are essential to reaching new audiences on Instagram because they serve as a label to make it easier to search and discover content that Instagram users find relevant. Your business can use hashtags to reach your target audience and to help Instagram users filter information to find your page.

As important as using hashtags is, it is equally important to choose hashtags that are relevant to your content. 7 well-thought-out hashtags that are industry or content related can increase traffic to your page and therefore help you reach the Explore tab. To support this claim, a study by Social Fresh discovered that using 7 effective hashtags increased a posts engagement by almost 25%. Below, you can find a post with some examples of effective hashtags. 

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Sources:

This post features Instagram posts that were publicly posted online. The name of the account posting and any comments by users have been blacked-out to ensure privacy of the company.

The Future of Social Media

Social media has evolved rapidly over the last fifteen years. With Facebook coming into play in February of 2004, and the now extremely popular SnapChat developed in September of 2011. I am currently 20 years old and the only reason I can still remember a time without the constant checking of social media is because my mom refused to buy me an iPhone until my senior year of high school. Even with my high-end flip phone, I still had a Facebook account I checked from my computer. I remember the very day I got my new iPhone, I downloaded all the social media apps immediately, specifically Instagram (which is app based) and made an account.

LAS VEGAS, NV - August 26,2016: Vignette Selective Focus Apple i

Social media is now a major part of our lives and connects us with more people than any one person could expect to meet throughout their lifetime. What I like to call “the big four” of social media; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat, were all developed within the span of seven years. This begs the question, how long will it be before these platforms are replaced? Are these the four social media platforms I will be using when I am 40 years old? Or will there be yet another social media spike and Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat will just be “things of the past?”

Our advanced technologies are what has allowed for social media to grow and develop as it has. Technologies that connect people based on who they are already connected with, people who live near them, or have traveled to the same places as them, and so on. These technologies are still developing and improving extremely quickly. Let’s say you go online and shop for a winter coat on Macys.com. You stop shopping, log into Facebook or Instagram, and that same winter coat you were just looking at is going to appear in your advertisements.

People Looking up at Social Media Icons

We are living in an age where our computers and our cell phones know us better than some of our closest relatives. You can tell so much about a person’s interests, hobbies, job title, relationships, and even personality by what they search online. As technologies advance, and our computers gather more and more information about us, our social media will expand into even more interactive and knowledgeable online communication platforms.

I am currently a junior at Bentley University and while sitting in my Interpersonal Relations in Management course my professor said something that sparked my attention. He said “we scroll through our social media accounts trying to find something to spark some type of emotion in us. Although social media has proven extremely successful, there is still something missing in social media that is achieved through our real life connections between people.” The emotions that we achieve from actual human connection will never be undermined by the emotions we achieve through social media.

This is however, the next step for social media. Trying to achieve real connection online like we do in person. This could be attempted through virtual reality social media so it appears more like you are with your friends and colleagues rather than just seeing them on a flat screen. There has been rumors over cell phones with curved screens or cell phones projecting holograms. This kind of advance in technology would allow for social media to look extremely realistic and further consumers’ entertainment, allowing social media to achieve emotions closer to the emotions we achieve in real life connections.

There is no telling exactly where social media will take us in the future, but regardless, social media is now and will forever remain an important aspect of our lives. Connecting us with jobs, future spouses, friends, distant relatives, and so on, allowing us to reach more people than we could on our own. Technology will allow social media to expand into something more advanced than many of us can imagine right now, but it will never surpass the gratification we receive from our real life connections.