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Working the Algorithm

Social media…Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, blogs, Pinterest, LinkedIn, TikTok… we all probably use at least one or more forms of these almost everyday.

How much do you know about the algorithm???? The set of rules that organizes, filters, and sends content into your social media feed.

I can tell you I am still learning about how the algorithm works in Instagram and Facebook. When I started this journey five and half years ago, I didn’t even have a Facebook account.

As our business grew, the interest intensified for me to dabble into the social media world, get the word out about our business ownership and the services/products we provide to our community.

The more I used these social media sites, the more I wanted to know truly how all this works… It has been informative for me, so I thought it might be valuable for you as well.

Hopefully you will find this useful as you navigate your favorite social media pages. I know my actions have changed since I have learned more about how the algorithm works.

Please don’t take this as an exclusive piece of knowledge, this is only a small portion of what I have researched and learned.

In Instagram, once your content is posted, it will go to the people who are the MOST active on your Instagram feed first. Instagram sends it to these folks first… those who comment, engage regularly with your posts… (hit the heart ❤️ button, commenting etc.)Once these folks are active on the new post, and they react to it, comment or ❤️, the algorithm will push it out to a larger audience.

The better the “new” post does(❤️ or actively making comments) more people will get to see your post.

The same happens thing to your post if those key followers DO NOT react to your latest post. If they don’t ❤️ it, or comment, the post will be shown to fewer people.

The “average” lifespan” of an Instagram post is about 24 hours. 😳Whatever message you wish to convey, the span of time is short and fleeting. The same Facebook post does seem to have a longer life span if the post performance is good.

Facebook also seems to track your “favorites”…Those you interact with while on Facebook and you tend to see those posts more frequently.

Next, let’s talk about making comments on Instagram and a Facebook post, keeping the algorithm in mind.

The algorithm loves to see a comment that is more than 4 words, in essence a sentence.

When you type 4 or more words into a comment, It is a strong indication that you took the time to engage,( stop to read it) & gave a thoughtful response back.

Leaving a comment like a single ❤️ or even a 👍🏻 could be an indicator of a bot to the algorithm.

Posts that have thoughtful engagement do well, on both Instagram and Facebook.

So if you truly love a post, then take the time to send an appropriate reaction. Honestly, a well thought out response is what most people love.

We have truly been blessed with AMAZING followers!!!! Many do take the time to react to our posts and we appreciate it so very much.

Please continue to support your favorite small businesses. One small significant way in which you can do that is easy…hit that like/love button or comment on posts. The algorithm is looking for these type of activity from users.

In order to grow our account, we have to continue to get out there to a wider audience within our hardware community. So we need your help in order to continue to grow in an authentic & organic way. The most simple ways I have previously mentioned, but a “slam dunk” is to share the post.

In Facebook it is easy to do, hit the share icon and send it out to your own personal feed where more folks will see it.

Instagram works a little bit differently in order to share content that was posted. The paper airplane icon sends content to your story. This is a good way to share information with others.

Speaking of stories… Instagram Stories are huge!!!! Most Instagram followers view at least some IG stories each day. Stories are a quick way to view fun, quick bits of content.

Stories are an EXCELLENT way to engage with followers. Particularly, getting feedback on what followers love. The more feedback you can give your favorite businesses, the better they can serve you and your greater community.

So participate in polls and those slider stickers… send a message in DM if you love a photo from a story. All of these count as good engagement, which is absolutely amazing news for continued growth and spreading awareness of services/products that businesses are offering.

In closing, you as a follower, have a tremendous amount of influence on how your favorite businesses will grow. You can be passively active in your social media pages and small businesses can continue to fight the algorithm or you can assist them in continuing growth.

Our growth has been slow but steady over the last few years and we applaud your efforts and support.

Ultimately, social media is more than algorithms, hashtags, &followers. When you have the opportunity to connect with a group of people who have similar interests, it can be powerful.

Social media has created connections to friends and family all over the world.

Connections… part of our why we do what we do, helping our customers and followers within our community to find what they need in our hometown hardware store, no algorithm is necessary for that.

100 Year Old Dust

“I dusted once and it came back… I’m not falling for that again😂.” Anyone else heard of this cute little quote??? Have you ever been there yourself???

Dusting your home can be one of those thankless tasks that you are doing often. If you have the right tools from your Wilkes County Hardware team it can be an easier chore to accomplish. So before I get too busy with my blog post, don’t forget we have some great cleaning products for your home. Come see us soon!!! We always enjoy your visits!!!

Back to blog post reality… the running joke at Wilkes County Hardware… we have the best dust ever!!! We all affectionately refer to it as “100 Year Old Dust”. That’s right… we have the good stuff, century old dust 😂. What is even more amazing… it never seems to disappear😳.

Our building dates back into the early 1900’s. A good guesstimate would be our building could be 116 years old.

Those of y’all that have been loyal readers of my blog may also recall the blog post about “Old School Air Conditioning”… in other words, we open the doors and let the air circulate through, all the pollen, dust, & dirt naturally flows inside. Creating more dust you know…

The broom is busy usually during the slower times to help sweep up some of the 100 Year Old Dust as time allows AND we try to regularly clean the racks as often as we can. But, the century old dust floats down from the upstairs level and often settles onto surfaces… it is a constant battle.

A great point of nostalgia inside our store would have to be our freight elevator… folks love it. Yes, it still works and we use it often. The elevator does a create that large gaping hole inside our building, allowing the 100 year old dust to freely flow from second floor to our main floor.

Lastly, one of the unique features of our hardware store is the wood stove. During the cold weather season, the stove creates its own “dusty” problems, but it is our main source of heat and folks love it too.

Life inside an old school hardware store as you might recall in your own personal experience…seeing a bit of dust or even a “packed hardware inventory” in which only the owner knows where everything is located. So an old school hardware store can be full of nostalgia for many of us… right??? A trip back down memory lane of times past, & times we enjoyed. Nostalgia to me could be best defined as memories of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, and the things you never wish to lose.

Here’s a good old school hardware store bit of nostalgia from my childhood. I can remember the days of going into nearby hardware store in Roaring River with my dad just wondering how on earth could they find anything in there!!! Every surface was covered with hardware products, and I remember seeing the old, dusty floors. It was always an adventure going inside there in my mind as a kid.

So it got me to thinking a little bit…. Folks might be seeking some old school hardware store nostalgia when they arrive at Wilkes County Hardware. I think they are pleased to see that these type of stores still exist in 2021.

We are extremely thankful & grateful for the opportunity to help those in our community by offering several hardware services unique to our business, and maybe not offered anywhere else in town.

I’ll be content keeping track of our 100 Year Old Dust everyday because you can’t find another hardware store like ours anywhere else in town… the old school hardware store, complete with 100 Year Old Dust, and so much more 😊.

Hardware Lingo

Are you familiar with the term Lingo???? Lingo could be defined as special terms or vocabulary of a particular group, or field. Or simply Jargon.

How strong are your lingo language skills???? Are you proficient in many lingo languages???

Do you speak or have the capability to decipher social media lingo??? IG, DM, Messenger, blog, insights, algorithm, stories, FB Marketplace, Tik Tok… shall I go on???

Every profession has lingo or vocabulary that only those who work there become proficient in the lingo, case in point, IEP, PDP, 504, EC, AIG, Canvas, weebly, wiki… shall I continue???

School days graphic notes…

The teacher vocabulary was rich in lingo terms. Richard’s eyes used to roll back in his head when teacher talk began with another teaching professional, preferring a quick exit out of the conversation and he would just leave us to talk.

I’m sure that as you are reading this your mind is reviewing all the lingo terms you use in your profession. 🧐🧐🧐🧐

Hardware store work is no exception, hardware terminology/lingo seems to be as vast as our Midwest Fastener aisles… no kidding!!! 😂😂😂😂

A portion of our Midwest Fasteners

The terminology is immense and no specific area of the hardware store seems to be immune to the lingo… fasteners… grade 8, metric, carriage bolts, wood screws, finish nails,toggle bolts, washers, taps, nuts, & hex bolts. I must say the terminology seems to never end in this section…

Plumbing- pvc, cpvc, pex, faucet stems, flange bolts, flapper… don’t even get me started on pipe threading terms… 🙄

Lawn and Garden: Diatomaceous Earth, pre- emergents, male & female garden hose adapters, spade,D-handle shovels…

Needless to say, each area of our store is strong in hardware lingo language and it has been an amazing journey to learn this new hardware store language.

In order to communicate effectively with our customers, you must be able to fully interpret what their hardware store needs are when they are shopping inside your store.

Sometimes hardware lingo terms are used to fully describe the need. But not always is it clear what they are seeking, it might be an exploration mission to piece together a puzzle in order to find a solution. Regardless, our task is to use the language we are given and find a solution to the current problem at hand.

Interpret the lingo and find solutions… communication is key. If communication is not clear, or confusing then it is much harder to have a relationship with the customer.

Ultimately, that is why we are here doing business… to serve our community with our hardware store knowledge and skills. Our talents do not lie all in the same area, Richard, myself & Wayne’s skill base are all different.

We try to pair our customers each time they enter our doors with the right staff person that “fits” the current hardware store need.

Building relationships is a huge part of what we do each and everyday. Working to build that strong foundation of returning customers who can trust our knowledge (hardware lingo language included) and giving assistance in finding what they need.

Full Circle Moment

I was standing in my kitchen Thursday morning before leaving to go to the hardware store, listening to Hoda and Jenna in the background on the television.

Hoda began to discuss a feature she had recently saw on Warren Buffett. He had revealed a bit of life advice.

The life advice conversation Hoda was retelling focused on the people in your inner circle, those who you could call upon in times of crisis or need. Buffett had spoken about a dear friend who survived Auschwitz. Every time they would meet someone new, they make a mental note, “would they have hid me”?

Wow… those type of friends or family are the people you need in your inner circle of life. Definitely those who you can count on in times of laughter and crisis….Right???

It was always an an “Aha moment”, when my middle students realized that Anne Frank and Martin Luther King Jr were born in the same year, 1929.

I retired from teaching in 2019 in order to spend more time with my son, grow as a business owner, and to help care for my grandparents

This interview piece brought several things to the forefront of my mind. I recalled that, Holocaust Remembrance Day was earlier this past week.

One of things we discussed in class was how different their experiences were, but the history of the times bonded them together, they were in the “same life boat of history “.

Amsterdam at Night

As I heard the interview from my kitchen, it all came to me…my grandparents were born in 1928. This was not a revolutionary insight, but more of a full circle moment for me.

I have lost two people from my inner circle that loved me dearly. The events from the interview and real life combined into my daily existence…

My grandparents would have been there for me if I needed them.

My inner circle may have grown smaller, but those who are inside that circle, are there because they would do anything they could for me or my family.

Grief is hard…

AND Life is short y’all. Find & keep those who are in your inner circle, those who would have “hid” you.

My grandparents witnessed a tremendous amount of history in their lifetime. Just like Anne Frank & MLK, they “arrived in different ships” but they ended up in the same “historical boat”.

Is your “boat” full ??? Who’s in your inner circle of care??? Do you have room for more on board???

February brings me full circle in 2021. This time last year, my grandmother took a huge downturn in health. I spent many hours at my grandparents house and a few hours in between at the hardware store.

With both of my grandparents now gone, I have more time to focus work, another huge part of my life journey, Another chapter…

Perspective. Chapters do come to an end, & things change. Sometimes life is hard. As another chapter begins to unfold, another one concludes.

I realize that these chapters should not dictate my life story, and I know they are an important part of my story.

So I’m ready this February to greet the circle of change, coming full circle.

Handcrafted with Keegan

Iconic pieces… what else can we say about Keegan’s woodworking????
Join us today in our spotlight story about how Wilkes County Hardware teamed up with Keegan…. if you missed the other blog posts in this series then make sure you check them out as well.
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One of my treasured Keegan bowls at home.

This story begins with a house… a young & newly married couple purchasing a home, just up the street from our hardware store. They often came into our store to make purchases as they were working on the new home DIY project list.

I knew Melanie from work, as a fabulous band teacher. We taught at the same school for a period of time. Conversation & laughter was always easy with these two people. They tackled many home projects. Over time the projects were completed, & they settled into their new home.

Then, Keegan decided to explore woodworking as a hobby in 2018. Keegan brought us a few samples of his workmanship. They were impressive.

Some of Keegan’s first pieces at Wilkes County Hardware

As Richard and Keegan talked one evening, he asked us if we would be interested in possibly adding a few of his pieces inside our store. Our answer was a quick YES!!! Handcrafted with Keegan has not slowed down since.

Keegan has been steadily adding new handmade items to his business. Keegan is always experimenting with new designs, new handmade product offerings. He is an amazing craftsman & a true friend. I’m always amazed at the talent & hard work that he continues to bring to his business.

Handcrafted cutting boards
Farmhouse Tables
So many bowls to choose from!!!

Keegan has a diverse skill set, and talented in many different areas. Not only is Keegan a DIYer, accomplished musician, cook, woodworker, well… the list is long😌. I believe the term, “Renaissance Man” would apply.

Thank you Keegan for always making us smile. We truly appreciate your support and come support Keegan by purchasing his products at Wilkes County Hardware.
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Keegan Watson with his handiwork


FYI: Make sure you check out the photos today. The first pic is from a Keegan bowl that he made last year from a piece of wood we found upstairs in our building. It is a special treasure for sure💕, they all are!!!