Thought Leadership

Reaction GIFs, New Bosses and Professional Bios: 6 Tips From ‘The Explainer’ in 2018

In 2018, we debuted “The Explainer,” a Strategies & Tactics column featuring advice for communicators on topics ranging from office party etiquette and GIF-making to working from home and interacting with new bosses.

Here are six things to keep in mind as you start the new year, pulled from last year’s tips in “The Explainer”:

1. To get more Instagram followers, tag brands and related accounts in your photos to encourage reposting. Having a big-name Instagram account notice you or repost something of yours is crucial to gaining thousands of followers, writes Mae Karwowski, founder and CEO of And posts that show off a brand or account personality, or reveal a look behind-the-scenes, are often the most popular.

2. Before you leave the office on Friday, create a Monday morning “hit list” of the first things that need to be accomplished. According to Quartz, many top CEOs claim Friday holds the key to an efficient workweek. “My biggest secret for a productive Monday is what I do on Friday,” said Jon Rush, founder of C7 Device Recycle.

3. When making a GIF, it’s important to base it around a topic of cultural significance. Tap into pop culture if applicable. Reaction GIFs often make the best ones. However, remain sensitive about the tone of the news. Don’t use a GIF in response to serious events.

4. To figure out how to properly interact with a new boss, observe their communication style with others first. While some bosses explain to their staff how and when they want to communicate, others are not so specific. Clarify if they want updates from you daily, weekly or only when you have something noteworthy to report. Also find out if they prefer receiving updates via phone, instant messaging, email or face-to-face.

5. When writing your professional bio, share a humorous or personal story that helps explain who you are. In some contexts, your professional bio does need to be more formal but, in many cases, a bio that’s readable and conversational is a positive thing. “That means dropping that traditional format of listing your accomplishments like a robot and cramming as much professional-sounding jargon in there as you can,” says Hubspot’s Lindsay Kolowich.

6. Before retweeting a news source during a natural disaster, check your sources. “With each tweet and retweet you have power to affect events,” writes Emily Dreyfuss, a senior staff writer at Wired. “That has democratized access to information and storytelling but also contributes to information (and misinformation) overload.”


To get more tips from “The Explainer,” check out page 5 of every issue of Strategies & Tactics!

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Dean Essner

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