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 😊.

Strength

What a powerful word!!!! Do you consider yourself to be strong??? Where does “strength “ come from??? Is it internal??? External???

Strength can be defined as being physically strong or the capacity to withstand a great force or pressure.

Gandhi wisdom states that strength does not come out of the physical strength but from indomitable will.

Life in 2020 has tested the powers of strength for many people. Hardships of health, natural disasters, financial, and so many other areas have impacted folks in 2020.

My personal life chapter in 2020 brought unique experiences with loss. In the first 10 months of 2020, I have lost 3 family members, the most notable for me was the loss of my Granny. The family losses were compounded with the loss of 2 sweet pups- GiGi & Elvis. 😢😢😢😢

Granny loved to be outside, strawberry picking was always a special time spent together

Staffing changes has created a void in our lives as well. The loss of long time employees has brought distinctive sadness into our midst. Those personal losses have been extremely difficult to deal with adding in the flooding events from August/early September that made life more interesting.

Then add in financial challenges/supply chain issues of doing business during COVID… Honestly, the list could go on and on…

Store flooded after a significant downpour… the back parking lot drains were unable to direct water correctly and our neighbors beside us flooded. As a result, our store took on water as well from their flooding event😢

Reflecting back on this chapter thus far in 2020, I’m not sure quite how I survived so far. Obstacles have been overcome, & new ones continue to emerge daily… so how do we keep going???

What gives you strength in hard times??? Religion, quiet reflection- reading, nature walks, staying connected to friends & family. Pets??? Laughter??? Hopes & dreams of better days??? Is it a combination of all of these???

Beautiful weather to get outside to keep body strong and always good for my soul

Finding Strength in 2020 has been hard but I’m not giving up. My will is still strong. I draw strength from all of the areas I listed above… prayer, reflection, walks in nature, family support, laughter with friends, music, & dreams. So I guess you could say that I am drawing strength from many different areas.

Another area of strength for me has to be our customers & followers on social media platforms. You have given me strength to push on. Thank you for your kind words on our posts!!! Feedback, comments, likes, shares and those continued interactions on our Facebook & IG pages are much appreciated. The algorithms are powerful today and the more interaction we have on these platforms, the more present we can be on your personal feed to showcase new products, store updates, sales etc.

AND… When you arrive as a customer in our hardware store with familiar smiles😊, it brightens our day!!!! We love to see y’all shopping local. We need to keep the heart of the #wilcostrong movement going. We appreciate your continued support of local businesses in our community. The long term impact of shopping local will definitely be a stronger local economy.

In closing, finding strength& overcoming life’s obstacles in 2020 has been a ongoing challenge. Thank you for giving us strength to keep moving forward. I’ll be dreaming of better days ahead as I know many of y’all are too. So y’all Dream On!!!! 😉

Starting a Fall Bucket List… Wilkes County Hardware style

It is October!!! Can y’all believe it??? Has anybody started working on a Fall Bucket List yet??? 🍂🍁🍂🍁

No worries if you haven’t done that yet. We have started one for you today😉. Happy October y’all ! 🍁🍂

These are adorable!!! Made in McGrady has a few Fall inspirational signs left in our store!!!
Make us a stop on your crafting shopping list for this fall
We have warm logo gear for those cooler fall mornings… selling fast!!!
Locally made face masks.., find your favorite fall football team or fall colors
Love these colors y’all!!!
Locally sourced honey
Come shop for fall lawn & garden essentials
It is almost time to fire this classic stove up!!! Are y’all ready???
Fall is a perfect time for fire pits and s’mores

The “Soundtrack of the Hardware Life”

Music is good for the soul💕. Doesn’t it seem to express how you are feeling some days???

Do you notice the background music inside a store or a restaurant???

When you enter a place & the music doesn’t seem to “fit” the mood of place, it can leave an impression on your dining or shopping experience. If the mood and the music match, you will leave remembering your experience as positive one.

All that begin said, Music can be powerful force inside a business.

Richard & I have been discussing music. What type of music is best inside our store???

Here is a small peak inside our store

In the first few years of business ownership, the music was a mash of whatever was playing on the radio. Every tune that came out of the radio, we had begun to realize, just didn’t fit the mood of our store.

So the soul searching began. What do our customers expect for “mood music” inside our store??? Who is our target audience??? Our store has that old, rustic feel… so how does everyone feel about the music, or do y’all even notice it??? We had lots of questions rolling around in our minds.

Decisions…we both love all different types of genres of music, so it was becoming a difficult choice, but our favorites should not drive our final decision… it should be based on what our customers feel as a connection to our store.

Then COVID hit. Things changed quickly for us as we moved into curbside service only. Wayne, one of our longtime employees, decided that home was where he needed to be. It was the safest option for him. Adjustments were made in staffing, and his “boom box” back at the key desk was silent.

I missed those classic country tunes that Wayne always played while he worked. I missed him and his music. His radio station was always a classic country music station. No one turned his radio station to another one… it was just what was always on. So one of my connections to the hardware store was Wayne’s music. 🎶🎶🎶🎶

Music & song lyrics have a way of bringing up memories that are powerful. We missed Wayne, and playing country music in his absence, was a way of having a small part of him there with us. A new pattern began to emerge for us during the COVID curbside. We were listening to country music.

Our discussions turned then to maybe we should look at that genre of music. To us, it seemed to make sense. Country music does have a more laid back tone, & rustic nature. Country music also tends to focus on life in the everyday. The song lyrics communicate ordinary life. Shopping at your local hardware store can be part of your routine errands, usual stops… you know… things you do everyday.

Local artisans keep us well stocked in high quality handmade products

You may not have noticed our music inside our store on your last visit. We are consistently trying to keep the country music 🎶 going. We are still developing playlists, and adjusting our music to hopefully keep our customers happy.

Our ultimate goal, that y’all find our music to be a perfect fit for your shopping experience with us at Wilkes County Hardware. Whether the music just blends into the background or speaks to your soul as you shop.🎶🎶

As a closing footnote: IG stories survey results- 75 percent of our customers think country music is a good fit for our store. It appears we have found our hardware Life soundtrack 😉.