Creating Your Organization’s Social Media Voice – Direct Development


Your organization – be it a clinical institution like a hospital network, grocery store, restaurant chain, or law office, or a public sector organization such as a town, government department, or even a non-profit – is probably on social media at this point. (And if they’re not, they should be, but we’re not talking about that here). 

Social media gives your organization access to advertising capabilities, free database storage, and a free, direct line of communication with your community and anyone interested in you. Which is great! But as social media and its use functions have matured over the last two decades, we’ve seen an explosion of brand personalities across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Fun fact: If you wish to go back through the relics of the Internet, you’ll uncover that one of the first corporate personalities on the internet was Denny’s account on Tumblr, and, yes, they did promote that Baconalia bacon and vanilla ice cream monstrosity. Often.

But what made Denny’s successful should be immediately obvious: 1) I’m referring to it here, and I still remember that unholy abomination of a dessert, and 2) they’ve perhaps created legacy for themselves as somewhat of an urban legend on the Internet. Not only are they one of the first examples of brand personality on the Internet – they also kickstarted a new wave of corporate marketing simply through being trendy.

Today, it’s not uncommon for brands to have a personality attached to their social media accounts. Nike and GoPro use their platforms to showcase athletic achievement and marvel at creativity their fishbowl lenses create. Steak-umms, Wendy’s, and Pop Tarts are much trendier, openly mocking themselves or other users in jest. Even governments are getting involved, the first of which being the State of New Jersey’s official government Twitter, @njgov. The personality is what you’d expect any personality out of New Jersey to look like. 

Moreso, each of these brands has chosen the platform that best delivers their intended persona. NJGov, Wendy’s, and Steak-umms went for Twitter because of the platform’s character restrictions, shareability, influence, and tendency to be the birthplace of most memes and screenshots these days. Nike, GoPro, and National Geographic focus a lot of attention on Instagram because of the platform’s focus on videos and images – it is, after all, a showcasing app.

So, with all that said, where does your company fit? At this point, whether you’re a non-profit or member organization, from the private sector, or a government or institution, it’s an expectation for an organization to at least be on social media – but the next step to think about is whether you’d like to be more than just “on.”

Let’s go through a couple tips to consider if or when you decide to evolve your social media presence.

Establish a Goal

What do you want to use your social media for? Establishing a goal for your digital presence doesn’t stop at numbers like followers, likes, and shares. It’s also about the Engagement. Engagement looks at how many people are interacting with, reacting to, and how many impressions have been made on a single post. Engagement helps us tell a story of an organization’s successes and failures on social media. 

In establishing your goals for this new digital presence, consider what you would like engagement to look like. Here are a couple questions to think about:

  • Who is your audience? 
  • What do you know about your audience (and their expectations of you)?
  • What are the characteristics of your brand?
  • How do you want to interact with your audience?
    • Ex. Do you want your audience to share your content, or simply be informed? 

Of course, the other side of this will always include extensive research. The best approach is research. Research your organization, its history and values, what it’s known for in your community, as well as what you know about it too. Also research your competition. If any of your competitors have developed a social media presence, you can look at their efforts for inspiration. 

Use Platforms Effectively

Facebook is great for sharing information and updates to a steady base of users in a traditional format. The platform has adopted a few newer tricks, such as Stories and Live features, but by and large Facebook remains the best “launchpad” for your organization – that is, necessary, no bells or whistles, straight information directly to your followers. Instagram and Twitter are a little more … fun. 

As I mentioned earlier, Instagram is a showcasing platform. Here, micro-influencers, celebrities, and rich friends show off the best vacation getaways their parents’ money can buy. Which, albeit sometimes annoying, actually exposes Instagram’s greatest strengths; showcasing cuisines and scenery. If you are an organization looking to show off the beauty of your product, service, or physical surroundings, you’ll feel right at home on Instagram. 

Twitter is more of a free-for-all. Twitter’s most attractive feature is its’ natural setup that allows for micro-blogging, up-to-the-minute reaction posts, character limits that demand use of shorthand writing, hashtags, and creative uses of emojis, numbers, and symbols. It’s wild

Where Facebook is the brains and Instagram is the beauty, Twitter is … like the little voice inside your head that you usually ignore, telling you to burn it all. Burn it all to the ground. 

Use Features Effectively

Story. Post. Live. IGTV. Highlight. Pin. Tag. Hashtag. Geotag. Thread. 

Each of these features across the three major platforms can serve different use functions. For example, the Highlights feature of Instagram can be used for categorical updates; recurring information that you want your audience to know about for more than just a few hours.

Tagging is a world of itself and it serves different uses for different platforms. In short, Tags are an important part of engaging with your social media audience. On Facebook, Tags are limited to people and places, for the most part. But on Twitter and Instagram, Tags come in the form of people, places, and trending topics. 

Know Your Organization

An online presence can be drawn directly from what you, your staff and/or colleagues know about your company, and what you want your audience to know about you, which can actually come from your audience directly. 

For example, if you know you have an identity within your audience or base of being “cool,” you’ll want your social media presence to reflect that. If you’re known for being trendy, follow that (likely to Instagram or Twitter). 

And, if you’re starting from scratch, think about what you want your organization’s story to be. What do you want people to know about you? What do you want them to think about you? 

Grant Yourself a Little Freedom

Don’t take it all that seriously. Grant yourself the freedom to test out new stuff (no one on the internet remembers after a week anyway). NJGov’s Twitter was handed to two college kids who turned it into a viral phenomenon simply by responding to a criticism with a “your mom” joke. 

Don’t feel pressured to create a narrative from scratch that ticks all the right boxes – on the Internet, people are looking for a good, human presence from organizations. Let that presence come from what you and your team already know about your organization – and what others know about it too. 

View the blog post here.

How to Write a Marketing Plan – Direct Development


So you’ve been tasked with creating a marketing plan. How hard can it be? Well, if you’re as cunning as me, it’s incredibly easy and requires little-to-no thought whatsoever – until the moment you sit down to do it. 

Marketing plans are similar to business plans; a proactive strategy to grow and expand your existing marketing efforts. Also similar to business plans, they should be looked at annually and revised accordingly. 

A marketing plan should consist of multiple outreach, design, and communication elements working simultaneously to create an “identity” for your organization. That identity doesn’t need to be so complex or nuanced as a major corporation or online influencer; thanks to the Internet, corporate identity can be as broad or as focused as you’d like while still being successful.

For example, let’s say your organization is a town with a rich history, growing cultural diversity, and a popular downtown area. Once upon a time, you may have had to build a brand identity from scratch based on what you want others to know about your town. 

But today, the influence of social media can take some of that burden off your shoulders; with social apps like Instagram and Periscope, food delivery apps like DoorDash and Seamless, and ride-share apps like Uber – not to mention the latest trend of randonauting (because if there’s one thing Zoomers learned from Millennials, it’s word-mashing) – if you’re a town with a popular downtown and diverse community, these apps are already telling your story for you. Users are sharing photos of your historic town, live streaming events, and ordering delivery from one of the dozens of cuisines at 12am after their Uber dropped them off from a night bar hopping around your downtown. 

Your story is being told and you may be completely unaware.

What’s been working? 

The first questions to ask in developing a marketing strategy are, “What have we done successfully?”, and “What is our year-over-year data telling us?” These answers will inform you of your client or organization’s current situation; Is your audience aware of your organization? Have you seen success in the last year of efforts (‘success’ meaning engagement with your organization, social media impact, increases in revenue or online exposure, etc.)?

Answering these questions will guide you through the rest of the planning process. They’ll also be honest with you; if your efforts aren’t working, the proof will be painfully obvious.

What hasn’t been working?

Which brings us to the next question to ask of your existing marketing plan; what isn’t working? This one is pretty clear-cut – if your organization’s Facebook page only engages with 20 followers, there could be a problem. I’m not saying you need 40,000. I am saying if you’re only reaching 20 followers as a town, restaurant, deli, law firm, etc. then you need to take a hard look at why you haven’t been able to expand your follower-base or your engagement rates (interactions on your site and the quality of those interactions). 

If you’re printing ads in local newspapers or magazines, but ROI is less than the amount you’ve spent on that advertising, you don’t need me to tell you there’s a problem. 

If you have a website that doesn’t receive much traffic, or is a little outdated as compared to your competitors (or even the websites of other organizations in your area), your outreach efforts are only hurting yourself.

Why or why not? 

Once you’ve answered the questions of what is and is not working, it’s time to ask yourself, “Why? Why am I seeing success in certain efforts but not in others?” 

The answer to “Why not?” can come in many different forms; it can mean that your social media content is not interactive enough – or, creating “shareable” content. It can mean your photos, videos, or profile picture are not appealing enough. The information you share is not digestible, or engaging enough. Your profile does not interact with followers enough. 

I’m going to spoil the punchline here. Ultimately, the answer is this: you are not producing the content your audience wants from you.

And the answer to “Why?” is just as clear: you may have a great reputation and, despite online shortcomings, or lackluster website or what-have-you, your outreach efforts are succeeding in at least one way, and perhaps even word-of-mouth marketing is kicking in a bit too. 

If you can answer these two questions, then you’ve effectively completed half the work of creating a marketing plan and you can now turn your attention to goal-setting. Mazel tov! Now back to work. These areas of success can be broken down into the SMART goals, as explained best by HubSpot:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bounce 

What is missing from your outreach efforts?

When you see what is and isn’t working, you can also see what outreach efforts your organization isn’t taking advantage of. Maybe it’s social media. Maybe it’s online advertising. Maybe it’s an outdated website, or uninteresting brochures and collateral. 

Whatever the missing pieces are, consider again why they haven’t been leveraged before. Those efforts may be worth a second look if you’re looking to revitalize your outreach programs. 

How should you establish your goals? 

Your primary goals are obvious – to you, me, and just about everyone on the planet; more exposure for more business. How can this be answered in a marketing plan? Right here:

  • Define your organization
  • Define your target audience
  • Understand how that audience defines you
  • Establish your goals for the next twelve months, be it by revenue, website traffic, social media interaction, or simply through new leads

Once answered, you can begin to write the narrative of your organization – the narrative that’ll define the next year of outreach, design, and communication efforts. For more information on establishing that narrative and creating a strategy, check out this DD post from a few months back for additional ideas. 

As I said, your story is being told with or without you. That doesn’t mean you can’t leverage it. 

View the blog post here.

Union County Vocational Technical School – Netta Architects


Between 2013 and 2017, Netta Architects was the chief architectural firm overseeing multiple projects in partnership with Union County Vocational Technical Schools.

Vocational schooling is unique; it offers millions of young students across the country the opportunity to take curated classes on specific job industries and trade careers. Students receive not just a focused education that includes industry-specific math and English classes necessary to prepare them for college, but also hands-on experience with tools, clientele, and real world problems.

With such a unique approach to education than standard public schooling, designing the new halls for Union County VOTECH meant creating a workspace where students and teachers could collaborate together, learning through experience.

Over the course of the five-year project, Netta Architects designed an exterior bridge connecting two wings of the campus, created a student lounge and renovated dozens of classrooms to enhance the learning environment.

We modernized the elevator and shaft to include new cab finishes, door components, hydraulic equipment; ADA upgrades and fire alarm integration – completing the project on time and on budget while only working during student recess.

We repurposed an existing Electronic Media Center within Mancuso Hall, transforming it into a collaborative new, tri-zone multipurpose center; a Makerspace workshop, an Equipment space, and a Media Space. This dynamic space provides students with multiple zones that facilitate the flow of creativity. The student’s work and creativity can become fluid; bounding naturally from conceptualizing ideas directly to hands-on activities without interruption or distraction.

Finally, in completing the 38,000 square foot West Hall Science Building – a brand new addition to the campus – our partnership delivered a new, state-of-the-art curriculum, featuring industry-leading chemistry, biology and physics laboratories along with classrooms, computer labs, a fitness center, and associated administrative support spaces.

View the full blog post here.

Telehealth & Physical Therapy – Prostaff Physical Therapy


Pro Staff is taking a number of important measures to help prevent the continued spread of COVID-19, including innovative new telehealth physical therapy sessions for patients.

We would also like to reiterate: the most important thing you can do for your health (and everyone around you) is to listen to local, state, and federal officials who are guiding all of us through this pandemic, and to follow the guidelines and recommendations of health organizations, like the CDC and the WHO. To keep up with the most up-to-date information, we ask you to follow the Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and your state government’s website. For us here at Prostaff, that’s

Telehealth sessions, in lieu of in-person appointments, enable patients and their therapists to remain engaged and on schedule during times apart. Under the new stay-at-home order, so many aspects of life have gone digital that establishing communication to utilize telehealth just makes sense for most clinics. And so as physical therapy clinics, such as Pro Staff, adapt to telehealthcare, there are some untold benefits.

Some of the benefits to telehealth sessions include:

Flexible Scheduling

Telehealth sessions can be conducted in a number of different ways, such as through live video chat or through recorded sessions. Say you and your trainer can’t meet virtually for a live session, your trainer can record their side of the session independently and then send you that video to watch and exercise to when you have time.


Even once stay-at-home orders are lifted and life returns to “normal” again, telehealth will be part of the future of physical therapy. Videos that engage and educate patients who we may otherwise be unable to reach or train in person will provide untold success.


Patients can learn at their convenience, but telehealth also broadens our potential reach – granting those individuals who cannot visit us the access and opportunity to learn.


Manual therapy remains the best approach to achieving the results our patients need, but it’s easy to see how telehealth not only helps us today, under a difficult and trying pandemic but also how telehealth can help shape the future of physical therapy.

Telemedicine is offered in all nine Pro Staff locations across New Jersey for any patient uncomfortable or unable to visit in person. Request an appointment to speak with one of our trained therapists today.

View the full blog post here.

Facebook: Quality over Quantity – Direct Development


The original draft of this article intended to explain why quality Facebook posts is better than the quantity – or frequency – of posting. It’s a surprisingly debated topic within agencies developing social media strategies, and we anticipated joining the choir of those singing in the name of quality.

But in our own research – analyzing years of trends and patterns from our own clients’ Facebooks (specifically our municipal and non-profit organizations) – we realized that although we always strive to deliver a Facebook strategy rooted in quality, the amount our clients post to Facebook brings its own benefits. Quantity matters.

In this article, we will use three (3) current Direct Development clients, all municipalities, to demonstrate how quality and quantity can work effectively together to build a social media strategy.

Client #1 is a sub-10,000 resident borough whose residents are very tuned in to their local government
Client #2 is an expanding town of nearly 20,000 younger, more diverse residents, and Client #3 is home to nearly 40,000 very diverse residents in the suburbs of a metropolis

If you are a municipality, whatever your size, the distinction between quality and quantity is not as exclusive as you may have thought.

Why Quality Matters

The quality of your Facebook content includes your actual posts, advertisements, interactions, and products or services (as well as important profile information such as a detailed “About” page and a calendar full of helpful resources). Quality also refers to when you post and how you engage with your audience.

Posts that include paragraphs of text simply aren’t engaging, even when tied with a graphic or linked to an article. Graphics that don’t clearly share your message can ultimately work against you.

That’s why, when it comes to quality, less can be more. A full, comprehensive profile makes all the difference. Posts and advertisements that are visually engaging grab your audience’s attention. Once you have that attention, a clear message with concise language will keep it.

Year over year, Client #3’s frequency of Facebook posting remained concurrent with 2019’s performance. However, we dramatically decreased Published Text posts by 75%, while increasing Photo and Video posts. Interactive posts are quality posts; anything that is visually engaging or requires the reader to interact (Click, Like, Comment, Share). How did this approach pan out?

As you can see, Client #3’s posting (and even their Follower rate) did not increase by large metrics. Direct Development didn’t grow the client’s audience; rather, we provided more engaging, interactive, quality content. With the same followers and the same amount of posting, we increased this municipality’s Facebook Impressions by 73% and their Engagements by nearly 120% year-over- year.

Why Quantity Matters

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Direct Development and our clients rebuilt our social media strategies from the ground up. Starting with Client #1, we provided identical updates across all platforms; whatever was shared on Facebook was shared in a daily email newsletter and on the client’s website, and vice versa. We were posting to their Facebook multiple times each day, providing new information as it came in.

The same is true for both clients #2 and #3, but the reason I cite #1 is their devoted audience. Residents truly appreciated the consistent updates provided by their town, leaving comments on Facebook and in email.

Situations like this are where quantity matters. Impressions on social media remained steady throughout the year and in line with their YoY trend which anchored a deliberate 20%decrease in published text posts. Replacing traditional text-only posts with videos, images, and links, our client realized a 30% increase in Engagements over 2019 performance and 20% growth in Followers.

Last year, ahead of COVID-19, Direct Development rolled out new branding guidelines for Client #2, including the introduction of an Instagram profile. For the purposes of this article, I’m mentioning Instagram because it has influenced our approach to Facebook as we provided critical updates in new ways. This includes formal press releases; rather than simply copying and pasting the text into a Facebook post, our design team developed press release templates for engaging graphic images on social platforms – e, refreshing a tired approach to standard announcements.

In this approach, we significantly increased our posting over 2019. There was, of course, a lot to post about: COVID, the Census, and the 2020 election. But, most or all of the events, activities, programs, and information that would typically be shared (and was in 2019) had to be cancelled. We relied entirely on information sharing, and these are the results.

By leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 election, and the Census to increase our online presence, our municipal clients became de facto sources of information for their target audiences, alongside the New Jersey’s state government. Residents looked to them for local information, helpful resources, and important updates. Quantity matters –but when?

It would seem, quantity matters when your audience has very few other sources to turn to.

Based on the performance trends of these three very different municipalities, we’ve concluded that both quality and quantity must have a place in any client’s Facebook strategy. We cannot post so frequently as to annoy our audience, but we have to post frequently enough that our audience remembers we exist. We have to post with quality in mind when trying to maintain our audience’s attention; but focusing on quantity can establish you as a trusted source of information within your community when attention is already heightened.

View the full blog post with metrics here.

Donald M. Payne Police Headquarters – Netta Architects


Serving the City of Newark’s 5th precinct and honoring the name of the Newark’s eleven-term congressman, The Donald M. Payne, Sr. Police and OEM Headquarters is a crowning testament to the city’s laser focus on lowering crime and protecting the public.

Starting with the basement – a custom designed, totally secure and independently operational 175-cell detention center. Moving up, the high ceilings of the central atrium direct generous natural lighting to its’ three levels – each of which is designed to handle the administrative, technical, and operational duties of Newark’s OEM and Police Department.

The facility holds six conference rooms, 24 administrative o]ces with 154 workstations, and open space seating areas that run parallel to the atrium to grant the most natural lighting environment.

Housing spacious locker rooms, a fitness center, and community meeting rooms, the elegance and function of the administrative spaces intentionally contrasts the brute order of concrete and steel that encases the detention center, interrogation offices, and bay ports.

The large, three-bay sally ports are forti>ed entrances for police equipment, vehicles, and emergency personnel to safely and e]ciently enter and exit the headquarters. The project also encompasses bi-fuel emergency generators that keep the headquarters online during blackouts. To keep the building secure, it is equipped with 140 surveillance cameras monitoring every square foot of the structure. It also includes the Police Director’s O]ce, processing rooms, and temporary holding chambers.

But the new Command Center may be the most impressive component of Newark’s latest police headquarters. Designed and built in full adherence to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s strictest guidelines, the Command Center is endowed with a massive 70- foot monitor wall, tracking activity and assisting law enforcement throughout the precinct. Simultaneously, it serves as a 24/7 Mission Control to provide oversight and crisis management for the city’s O]ce of Emergency Management.

Deliberately and intelligently designed by Netta Architects, Newark’s 85,000 square-foot headquarters is a fully-equipped fortress of law and order, responsible for the protection and safety of 65,000 residents in Newark’s South Ward Neighborhood.

Netta Architects accomplished all this while achieving LEED Silver Certification in sustainability.

View this blog post here.

Creating Your Quarantine Routine – Prostaff Physical Therapy


With the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and new state and national restrictions imposed on businesses and residents, your typical workout routine may not be the most pressing matter in your life right now (nor should it). But as we all settle in for what looks like an extended nationwide quarantine, you may end up looking for new methods and regimes to keep an active life while home.

First, the most important thing you can do for your health (and everyone around you) is to listen to local, state, and federal officials who are guiding all of us through this pandemic, and to follow the guidelines and recommendations of health organizations, like the CDC and the WHO. To keep up with the most up-to-date information, we ask you to follow the Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and your state government’s website. For us here at Prostaff, that’s

Best practices

The best practice will continue with basic exercise, 30 minutes/day for 5 day per week, or 150 minutes total per week. Additionally, you’ll want to maintain social distancing as the CDC recommends, while making sure everyone is eating healthy during this time. Also, although right now might be the easiest time to put on weight or to get out of their habitual exercise routine, do your best to avoid slipping into that lifestyle.

Using your Body & Household Items

The water gallon trick is about to come in handy! If you don’t know about the water gallon workout, it’s pretty self-explanatory: if you have two one-gallon jugs of water, you can use them for your workout. They’re decent enough replacements for physical weights, so you can use them for lunges, butterfly squats and curls, and generally most other weight-oriented workouts.

Or, use your actual home. Stairs and laundry hampers are a great, creative challenge. Walls can be used for squats while doorways can be used for stretching.

And even then, if you get tired using your walls and laundry baskets, you can go old school and use your own body weight. Push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, planks, jumping jacks – you name it! It’s all on the table these days.

Outdoor workouts

Per CDC guidelines, the coronavirus is not an airborne pathogen, so going outside is still encouraged – if for no other reason than to just get some fresh air. If you have a typical outdoor regime you follow, continue to! But, please be mindful of the CDC’s recommendations on Social Distancing and hygiene. After each outdoor exercise, it’s important to take regular hygiene seriously – wash your hands for 20 seconds (including under finger nails and wrists) and face if necessary.


To reiterate, the most important thing you can do right now is to follow the CDC’s guidelines on cleanliness and hygiene. Finally, don’t forget to wipe down all items and surfaces used during these workouts, to prevent the spread of germs!

And, for when the world returns to normal and we can enjoy each other’s company again, Pro Staff’s Physical Therapists have the knowledge and expertise in reducing pain and ensuring you are safe.

The full blog post can be found here.