Stress-Relieving Strategies for Students

Stress is an inevitable part of life, especially when you’re attending an academically challenging institution like Auburn University. With the end of the semester quickly approaching, many students are already beginning to experience some finals week stress. Parking at the library is now nonexistent, coffee shops become crowded, and finding a quiet study spot in the student center is like discovering a rare gem!

Stress is impossible to eliminate, but you can learn to manage it. So before pulling an all-nighter or panicking about every possible worst-case scenario, read these tips from students on how to keep stress at a minimum:

1. Get enough sleep.

Aim for at least seven hours of sleep each night. Although spending the night in RBD reviewing study guides seems like the productive thing to do, the reality is that sleep does more good for a tired brain and body. Sleep is the best way to take a break and recharge for your next study session. It helps avoid both mental and physical fatigue, so it’s easier to retain information.

“Definitely take a nap.” – Paige Purvis

2. Step away from the desk.

Sitting in the same spot for hours on end won’t boost your brain power! Studies have shown that being active causes the brain to release endorphins, which improves your mood and overall happiness. Try visiting the Rec and Wellness Center on campus for a study break that can help take your mind off the status of your GPA.

“Go out on a run.” – Melissa Bryant

“Having a dance party always helps me.” – Lauren Gaines

Take your dog for a walk.” – Julie Tewell

3. Eat a healthy snack or meal.

Fuel your mind and body before you begin studying. Try eating a balanced diet with fresh foods. Healthy food improves your ability to think clearly, concentrate, and feel energetic when you need it most. Most importantly, avoid eating too much caffeine, sugar or junk food. Even if you’re in a rush getting to class, don’t skip a meal just to save time! That way, hunger pains are one less thing to worry about.

“Grocery shopping makes me feel relaxed” – Meagan Richardson

“Find some good snacks to eat” – Crandall Hinton

4. Focus on your friends.

Spending time with study partners or pals to keep you company in RBD is always a great idea. Good friends can encourage and motivate you to get work done, as long as they are careful not to distract too much. It can also help to have someone that understands the material and can help explain when studying gets tough.

“To reduce stress, I like to play foosball or video games with my friends.” – Patrick Snell

“I like getting coffee or wings with my pals when I’m stressed.” – Nicole Bianca.

5. Find an escape.

For many students, going back to one of their favorite hobbies may help reduce stress from a long day in the library. Listening to music, especially classical, while studying is especially known to give your brain a boost.

“Hot baths always make me feel relaxed.” – Kohler Constantine

“I like to play the piano or cross-stitch. Call me a grandma, but I ain’t joking!” – Elizabeth Cummings

“Watch the Office or Parks and Rec whilst eating candy snuggled in a blanket.” – Lindsey Guin


It’s important to remember that stress exists for a reason. You can either choose to let it be your downfall or use it to drive you to improve your work!

How do you de-stress from school? Tell us in the comments below!


This article originally appeared on Auburn Family.

5 Social Media Skills to Have on Your Resume

Social media coffee mug

It’s crazy to think that 10 years ago, my dream job in social media management simply didn’t exist. Now, the lines separating public relations, marketing, advertising and customer service are all blurred together in the growing world of social media. So whether you’re looking for an internship or job opening, social media skills are guaranteed to be a part of the job description!

Here are five skills you’ll need before applying to a dream job:

1. Writing skills

Writing skills are essential for social media, as status updates, tweets and blog posts are all created through words. In my journalism classes, I lost major points off from each typo in my assignments. I quickly learned to keep my copy clean! Social media platforms are even more unforgiving, and social media managers must become experienced writers, editors, and proofreaders to avoid an embarrassing mistake. An awesome tool for this is Grammarly, which helps correct copy as you are writing it.

2. Social Media Savvy

It might go without saying, but you should have a familiarity with multiple social media platforms. This familiarity goes beyond just Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. New tools and channels emerge every day, and millennials are often expected to be ahead of the curve with this technology. Take some time to research the latest trends, like live streaming videos or relevant memes, and investigate how they could integrate with the rest of your marketing mix.

3. Clear Communication

You will always need to be a clear and concise communicator, no matter the situation. This skill will come in handy whether you’re talking to a journalist in a crisis communications scenario or simply getting feedback through a focus group. Public relations often calls for a special appearance or presentation, so you’ll need to sharpen your public speaking skills and prep for an audience.

4.  Critical Thinking

The challenge is to understand what content is best suited for which channels. Then, you should be able to craft posts that are effective for each specific platform. What follows is the ability to analyze the results of your efforts. For example, you should be able to determine the times that posts get the best engagement, whether your followers like videos more than photos, etc. Each platform has its own analytics tools, but there also third-party options like Google Analytics. These tools can give you valuable data and quantify your results.

5. Creativity

While writing is a major part of the job, the ability to create visual content is just as important. To stand out in the crowd, you need to create a compelling and powerful visual brand across all your social channels. Videographers, photographers and graphic designers are all having their 15 minutes of fame right now! However, anyone can create beautiful graphics in the internet age. For beginners, Canva is a simple design tool that’s much less intimidating (and less expensive) than the Adobe Creative Suite.

Spring Break 2017: The Final Countdown

Carnival Cruise

As a senior facing graduation, I’m counting down the days of my collegiate life. It’s hard to believe that my golden years as an Auburn student are now coming to an end. However, this final spring break comes at the perfect time. Between classes, interviews and midterm exams, I’m ready for a tropical vacation!

Since this will be my last collegiate getaway, I want it to be perfect. And being the planner I always am, I’ve created a public relations plan for my spring break trip! This public relations plan lays out my goals for spring break, the objectives that will help me achieve my goals and the strategies and tactics that make sure my objectives are accomplished.

Ferris Bueller Quote

Goal: To cherish my friends and the limited time we have left together as college students.

Objective 1: To increase the time I spend with friends by 100% over spring break and make up for those nights spent studying.

Strategy: Taking a cruise to Mexico. Taking a cruise as a group of friends gives us the freedom to enjoy quality time together on vacation without worrying about planning our itinerary.

Tactic: Quality time by the water. This tactic won’t be hard to come by throughout our time together on a cruise ship. We have five days of beautiful beaches and resort-style pools to look forward to!

Tactic: Good food. “Foodies” would be an understatement when describing my group of friends. A good brunch is required, and desserts are researched in advance (chocolate lava cake is a must).

Goal: To enjoy a relaxing and stress-free vacation.

Objective 2: To see a 50% decrease in stress levels by the end of the week. With this objective, I aim to unwind and recharge.

Cruise GymStrategy: Practice self-care by going to the spa or gym on our cruise. Endless buffets can often lead to weight gain, so fitness is important. I can then ease any sore muscles with a spa massage.

Tactic: Catching up on much-needed sleep. There’s nothing better than snoozing the day away in a tropical cabana or basking in the sun with a Pina Colada nearby!

After all that analysis and planning, based on the outlined goals, objectives, strategies and tactics, I don’t see why this spring break can’t exceed expectations!

Bon Voyage!

Carnival Sunshine

Snapchat: How to Use It for Your Business

Snapchat Discover Publishers

Snapchat reaches 41 percent of all 18 to 34 year-olds in the United States on a daily basis. If that statistic doesn’t surprise you, you might be more impressed to learn that half of all new users signing up for Snapchat are over the age of 25.

Given the app’s insane popularity, it’s hard to believe it launched just six years ago. Over 150 million people now use Snapchat to watch 10 billion videos every day. For those who are social media savvy, that’s 10 billion daily opportunities to build greater awareness of your brand!

Plus, 71% of Snapchat’s users in the United States fall into the 18 to 34 age range. Even if your audience doesn’t fall into that demographic, Snapchat is becoming a vital part of consumer marketing strategies. Here are a few ways you can use Snapchat to delight your audience and grow brand awareness.

Invite Your Audience In

People love to get a look behind the scenes at their favorite brands. Snapchat allows you to give exclusive content that’s more intimate than any other social media app. Whether it’s through Snaps of employees on the job, company outings or an office tour, Snapchat allows followers to see how your culture differentiates from the competition. Seeing employees enjoying their jobs and engaging in fun activities can make a customer feel as though they’re part of the team too.

This function can also be used to give a quick yet effective product demonstration or a sneak peek of what’s yet to come. And because Snapchat offers an immersive video experience, taking followers behind the curtain can be even more impactful than through a simple Tweet or Instagram photo.

 Take Advantage of GeoFilters

You can have a lot of fun with the platform’s native tools and features by adding face-swapping filters, text or even Bitmojis. Geofilters have proven to be a highly effective method for increasing brand awareness. When Snapchatters in your chosen location take a Snap, they’ll be able to select your Geofilter graphic and overlay it on their Snap.

If your company is offering something exciting, an On-Demand Geofilter makes it easy to connect your brand to something Snap-worthy. An excellent way to use this feature is by creating a Geofilter for popular local events. This $5 investment can quickly expand your audience reach and increase word-of-mouth advertising.

Tell a Story on your Story

Finally, some of the most entertaining Snap Stories are those that create a narrative. Show off your storytelling by crafting an exciting episode. If users can see this structure in your posts, they’re more likely to spend time watching them. You can keep it simple with something like a day in the life of an employee, or even give your intern a top-secret mission told through “self-destructing” Snaps! Whatever you decide, make sure it fits with your brand image and keeps users engaged through compelling storytelling.

Many companies are still feeling out their Snapchat identity, but this unique tool offers a way to interact with consumers like never before. So if your business hasn’t already invested resources into this app, there’s no better time than now! Expand your brand name and step up your Snapchat game.

Making an IMPACT at Auburn University

IMPACT is well known around campus as the largest community service organization, with more than 60 project coordinators and 16 project sites.

However, many students at Auburn University simply don’t realize the incredible impact that the student volunteers have on the Auburn and Opelika communities.

“Many project sites have told us that if it weren’t for Impact volunteers and project coordinators coming every day of the week, they wouldn’t be able to keep their doors open,” said Kennon Pouncey, IMPACT president.

Pouncey has worked with IMPACT for four years as a volunteer, project coordinator and now president of the student-run organization. The biomedical sciences major encourages all Auburn students to give back to the Auburn community through local service.

“Each organization has such a big impact contribution to Auburn as a city, and we’re so proud to keep those places going and just offer our support by being present and volunteering with whatever they might need help with that day,” said Pouncey.

IMPACT Project Coordinators

Project coordinators work project sites in the Auburn/Opelika area and serve as a liaison between the site and volunteers to create student volunteer opportunities. They lead groups of volunteers to their prospective site on a weekly basis, as well as participate in special projects throughout the year such as the Joyland Daycare Easter Egg Hunt or Azalea Retirement Home Prom.

“This is my third year doing IMPACT, and I’ve really enjoyed every year doing it. It’s just a really cool way to get out of your Auburn bubble with your studies and friends and go out to a new community to meet people and help others,” said Project Coordinator Blair Englebert.

IMPACT Project Coordinators
IMPACT Project Coordinators

“I get to see the people that make up our organization and see the sacrifices that they make every week to be able to go to their project site, report their volunteer hours and all the work that goes in behind the scenes,” said Pouncey. “I think our project coordinators are some of the best students on Auburn’s campus because they have the biggest hearts of most people that I know. As president, I just get to see that and am so blessed by that on a weekly basis.”

“We talk about Auburn being one big family, and in my perspective, that’s what IMPACT is. It’s taking students and putting them out into the community, and giving the love that we see every day on Auburn’s campus,” said Project Coordinator Nick McAllister.

Volunteering with IMPACT

With a diverse schedule of times and locations to choose from, fitting volunteer hours into a student’s busy academic week shouldn’t be a problem. All they need before meeting at the intramural fields for a project site is a signed waiver and the willingness to work. The community also benefits from this method of volunteering, as it receives exposure to new volunteers each week. It can also enjoy the work of students that have specifically chosen to be there and want to be serving.

“The beauty of IMPACT is that already we’ve done all the work setting those times up. You don’t have to sign up in advance, you just go whenever it works best for you,” said Pouncey.

IMPACT’s project sites include non-profit organizations such as the BigHouse Foundation, Boys and Girls Club, Community Market, Humane Society, Storybook Farm and Salvation Army. Many sites are volunteer dependent, so every helping hand makes a huge difference.

The newest project, the Jason Dufner Foundation, is a program that works takes place in the Auburn Arena each Thursday.

IMPACT Executive Officers
IMPACT Executive Officers

“Students that might not get a meal until they come back to school on Monday are given these bags so that they will have food over the weekend. IMPACT’s part in that is helping to bag up those things and just making that food bagging process go even faster,” said Pouncey.

So how is IMPACT different than any other organization on campus?

“IMPACT is unique in that it offers students a way to give back one of the only things they have, and that’s time. We don’t often have much money or many resources to give to people around us, but we do have time,” said Pouncey. “The best way we can spend our time is by giving back to those in our community that really need it and can benefit from it, and that’s what IMPACT strives to do.”


This post originally appeared on the Auburn Family blog.

My Hootsuite Platform Certification Experience

Hootsuite Infographic

I am thrilled to say that I am now Hootsuite Certified! My Social Media class was required to become Hootsuite Platform Certified this semester. This has been one of my favorite things about the course.

I was fortunate to have worked with Hootsuite as the Director of Public Relations for Auburn Panhellenic. This position required me to post once a day on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Planning out content using Hootsuite made my job much easier.

where i use it

What I love most about this platform is the ability to schedule posts in advance. This saves time and keep my day from being interrupted. Hootsuite even helps me set up different social streams to track relevant content. It also allows me to schedule Facebook posts or save drafts.

In contrast, the Tweetdeck dashboard only allows the user to post or schedule using Twitter. Hootsuite gives control over multiple accounts on multiple channels. However, users don’t yet have the ability to automatically post on Instagram.

Hootsuite Features

Although I knew the basics before taking this course, I learned more about specific marketing and customer service features during the certification process:

  • Reply seamlessly to FAQs with approved drafts
  • Avoid duplicate responses by assigning messages
  • Target messages by location or demographic profile
  • Track efficiency through inquiry response times

In conclusion, I would absolutely recommend becoming certified before entering the workforce. I already know this social media management platform will be incredibly useful to me in a public relations career.

If you would like to learn more about what you can get with this Platform Certification, check out my infographic!

The Health Benefits of Essential Oils

Essential Oils

For centuries, essential oils have been used as natural health remedies in cultures around the world. Widely available online and sold by independent consultants through multilevel marketing companies, essential oils have become a trendy way to treat conditions such as pain, anxiety or insomnia.

Today, many practitioners use them in a combination of traditional medicine and aromatherapy, a form of alternative medicine. However, some of the health benefit claims associated with essential oils are controversial.

The safety of essential oils

Very little is known about the effectiveness of essential oils in treating health conditions despite their widespread use. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved any essential oils for safety or effectiveness, and there’s no standard protocol for practice or dosage.

“No research in the area of nutrition has been done to ensure these oils have a significant benefit on health,” says Health & Nutrition Specialist Tamara Warren, Ph.D.

The quality and composition of essential oils can vary greatly given that it is an unregulated industry. Many companies claim that their oils are “pure,” “natural” or “medical grade.” However, these terms are not universally defined and hold little weight.

How to use essential oils

Several essential oils pass the sniff test for aromatherapy benefits. Lavender and chamomile are often used as ingredients in sleep-inducing or stress-relieving products. Applying peppermint oil topically may help relieve tension headaches or migraines, and ginger’s anti-nausea properties are possibly effective in treating seasickness.

“These oils are normally inhaled or used topically,” says Warren. “It has been claimed that the oils are useful in those manners.”

Essential oils are potent, and when applied topically, can cause skin irritation. Cinnamon, peppermint and tea tree oil can be irritating to sensitive skin. To limit this effect, they are often diluted with a “carrier oil” such as coconut or olive oil.

Everyday Uses for Essential Oils

They also have many uses outside of aromatherapy. Many people use them to scent their homes or freshen up laundry. A popular treatment uses oils known for their anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties, such as lemon or tea tree oil, to create a natural household cleaner.

There are hundreds of essential oils to explore, including the best-selling “thieves” oil. A popular blend of cinnamon, clove, lemon and eucalyptus oils, advocates claim it can boost the immune system and stave off germs during cold and flu season.

The evidence for many essential oil health claims is lacking, especially in the area of health and nutrition. However, when used appropriately, essential oils can positively affect your family’s well-being through aromatherapy.

A Beginner’s Guide to Blogging

To blog or not to blog?

As I set up this blog for a class (shout-out to #Sisson3280), it struck me how easy it was to create. Carving out your own little corner of the internet can be a piece of cake. It’s writing the perfect post that takes work!

I’m not the only one to realize this. Personal blogs are a dime a dozen in these tech-savvy times. It’s even become the norm for brands, from Disney to Dodge, to create their own corporate blogs that give us a peek behind the curtain.

Blogging is definitely a skill that’s here to stay. Here are my tips and tricks for a blog that breaks the mold:

Take a risk.

Research what’s out of your comfort zone, or take the opportunity to dive deep into an unknown topic. Every time you hit “publish,” that’s another chance to show what you know (or what you’re learning about)!

K.I.S.S. Keep it simple, stupid.

This principle isn’t just for design. Short sentences that are easy to read work best in a post. Don’t make your blog more complicated than it needs to be.

Consistency is key.

Consistency keeps readers coming back to your blog. The timing of posts should be consistent as well. If it hasn’t been updated since 2010, it’s time to restart.

Find your voice.

Let your personality shine through your words! Give your brand a cohesive tone and message by the language you choose. Remember, a formal company ≠ casual blog.

Sharing is caring.

Make it as easy as possible for readers to share and subscribe to your posts. Adding social links or an RSS feed is simple, especially through WordPress plugins. After all, a blog without readers is just a diary!

 

The 10 Best Brands on Social Media

  1. Coca-Cola

    Coca-Cola is one of the most-recognizable brands in the world, so it’s almost unfair to compare them to any other. Coca-Cola still sets an example with impressive social media presence across all platforms. They use different tactics on each channel, but maintain a cohesive brand message. Coca-Cola also engages their followers through social media. The brand’s personality directly reflects their target audience: young people who value fun, friendship and sports. That’s why their integrated marketing campaign, “Share A Coke,” became so popular worldwide. It’s happy, refreshing and all about sharing good times.

  2. GoPro

    GoPro’s social media strategy hinges on user-generated content. The brand makes it easy for anyone—amateurs, professionals, athletes, families or friends—to submit photos and videos captured using their GoPro cameras. This not only makes for great content to share on social media, but it also shows off their product in action. Customers are excited to see their pictures feature in GoPro’s Instagram “Photo of the day” series. By putting their customers at the center of social content and harnessing the power of user-generated content, GoPro can easily produce amazing posts.

  3. Denny’s

    Denny’s social media presence is … interesting. “America’s Diner” is perfectly content to say whatever it likes on social media, even when it doesn’t relate to its products. The company’s social media posts are often silly and never sound as if there was any corporate planning or oversight involved—which is most likely what resonates with the younger audiences, making Denny’s a fan favorite for the younger generation. They do a great job reaching this younger demographic by keeping it a little weird.

  4. Red Bull

    Red Bull was one of the first brands to fully embrace its role as a content publisher. The energy drink brand that’s all about music, racing and extreme sports often focuses on selling this lifestyle. The concept that Red Bull ‘gives you wings’ is reflected in all the action-packed images they use on social media, as well as the death-defying stunts captured on video. A recent PR stunt called “Stratos” saw Felix Baumgartner jump from space and freefall for 23 miles until he parachuted onto the ground.

  5. spotify

    Spotify’s innovations in social media are driven by the belief that music is social. The music streaming service relies on tools like Facebook and Twitter, and allows users to link their accounts to easily share their taste in music with friends or followers. Spotify also uses their data to make content smarter and more social. They’ve been using data to create more personal, listening experience for years now, generating custom playlists and rolling out their annual Year in Music. In 2016, Spotify also crunched user data to playfully highlight some of the more bizarre user habits. This campaign has spread like wildfire through social media, and inspired another series in 2017 mocking silly playlist names.

  6. Netflix

    It may be because Netflix has a excess of data on its users, but it seems like the company really understands who its social audience is. Whether it’s a famous quote from one of its available titles, or a gif that summarizes how most of us feel about the video streaming site, Netflix continues to create content that resonates with users. Netflix knows how to turn its own streaming content into promotional assets that not only resonate with their audience, but perfectly showcase what’s now available on their site.

  7. Dove

    In an age of social media sass, Dove’s steady and impactful social message stands out as marketing that’s more than just marketing. Dove’s Self Esteem Project has encompassed various campaigns, from #nolikesneeded to #speakbeautiful. Dove has a beautiful goal when it comes to social media. As read from the company’s Twitter bio, “Dove is committed to helping women realize their beauty potential by creating products that deliver real care.” That’s not just a nice tagline, either–Dove is constantly creating content aimed at making women truly feel good about themselves. Dove truly understands the meaning of beauty – and it comes from within.

  8. Kate Spade

    In L2’s Digital IQ Index, which ranks fashion brands according to their website, digital marketing and social media awareness, Kate Spade beats well-known global luxury brands such as Gucci, Hermes and Chanel. Most of their tweets, posts and pins aren’t even of products you can buy on KateSpade.com. But the non-promotional updates help build customer loyalty and understand the message the brand wants to convey. “The shortest answer is that we really wanted to engage with our girl. Of course commerce is important, but it’s not only about commerce. Engagement drives commerce. The more engaged a girl is with the brand, the more valuable she is to us,” said Kate Spade CEO Craig Leavitt.

  9. Old Spice

    The Old Spice campaign has proven to be one of the most memorable creative marketing and advertising concepts ever executed. One of the writers behind the Old Spice campaign Jason Bagley said. “No one expects to ask a question and then be responded to. I think that’s where we broke through.” The marketing team responded personally to tweets with custom YouTube videos, this both surprised and amazed the global audience. The genius of the campaign was that users could submit questions to the Old Spice man and, within minutes, watch a video response to their question.

  10. Oreo

    If you follow Oreo on social media, then the brand’s addition to this list should come as no surprise to you. Oreo must have an entire crew of designers on standby because it’s constantly churning out fresh, relevant content on its social sites. One of the brand’s best campaigns played out during Halloween of 2013, when Oreo created a Vine video series spoofing classic horror films featuring cookies. Oreo creates fantastic content that’s relevant to topical events.

The Best Social Media Channel for Your Content

Facebook

Pros: Facebook is a true leader as the largest and most active social network in existence. It’s an easy place for a business to get started, and allows for the best possible demographic targeting. It’s also a great platform for running contests and competitions.

Cons: Facebook has become a pay-to-play network and is one of the most competitive platforms to advertise on. Page owners are subject to the whims of the algorithm, and have no guarantee that their content will appear on user timelines. It’s also declining in use among teens and millennials.

Instagram

Pros: Instagram has been a rising star in social media. This visually pleasing network has higher engagement than Facebook and is the go-to platform for teens and millennials. Instagram allows for creativity while still providing a good structure for beginners. It can also track posts using hashtags like Twitter.

Cons: Instagram is more about branding than selling. It also needs strategic visual content. If you don’t have the talent for photos, Instagram probably isn’t the right platform for you! Sharing photos must be done from mobile devices, and the new sorting algorithm could affect the future performance of posts.

Twitter

Pros: Twitter is the ideal channel for news, announcements, product launches, trending topics and quick bites of punchy content. Engagement revolves around conversation. It’s a great customer service tool when used to respond to customer complaints or questions. Twitter’s value also lies in its ability for posts to go viral using trending hashtags. It’s now evolving into a top real-time news source.

Cons: Twitter doesn’t give you much wiggle room to get a message out to your followers with its 140 character limit. If you’re targeting an older population, then the people you’ll want to do business with probably aren’t engaged here. It’s also much more difficult to target users based on their behaviors and interests.

Pinterest

Pros: This strong visual branding tool generates direct sales with the help of its “buy-now” button. Pinterest is perfect for promoting products, from clothing and furniture to wedding cakes and gift ideas. Almost 70 percent of Pinterest users are female, but it’s catching on with men too. Well-curated content can easily be shared and viewed by millions.

Cons: Curating the best content onto virtual bulletin boards can be time-consuming and easily overwhelming on this platform. It’s definitely not the best place to target men, and it takes a strong visual appeal to see results. Only use this channel if you have great images to share!

YouTube

Pros: YouTube has a huge audience as the second most popular search engine. It reaches 81 percent of all Internet users! This platform is perfect for ‘how-to’ tutorials or demonstrations. Advertising is cheap, and you can easily create a brand channel to host videos. YouTube is now owned by Google, so videos are much more likely to appear in search engine results.

Cons: Video production can be expensive and time consuming. While videos can certainly be entertaining and informative, they also need to be high quality to attract an audience. Older visitors tend to spend less time on the site.