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Updates for all websites

Stacey Sansom Designs Update

If you have a website that is still hosted or managed by Stacey Sansom Designs, please note that updates on your website will take place between December 10 – December 31, 2018.

These updates are on the back-end of the website and should not affect the overall look and design. Slight modifications may be needed to accommodate the back-end changes.

There is no reason to worry about your website. Do not panic if your website goes down, this is to be expected and any downtime should be limited to 5 minutes or less. If you are experiencing down-time episodes longer than this, please reach out to Stacey Sansom Designs directly.

Like I said, I do not anticipate any problems in this process.

 

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Improving Your Brand Online: Online marketing is not a one time deal

Stacey Sansom Designs - Trade Show Thursday

Improving Your Brand Online: Online marketing is not a one time deal

The most common mistake that people make about their online presence is forgetting about it once it is up. They believe it is hard or time consuming. As a result, they simply ignore it or overlook it instead of learning how to manage it. Perhaps some have another individual (or a team of individuals to) manage their presence and it becomes costly and the updates slowly taper off.

Managing your online presence cannot be a one time deal. You have to:

  • work it
  • stay on top of it
  • be consistent
  • be persistent.

Managing your online presence is going to be work and sometimes it is going to be hard.

You are going to learn to do hard things! You are going to have to learn to:

“Do. All. The. Things.”

(https://learn.infusionsoft.com/marketing/digital-marketing/there-is-no-digital-marketing/?_ga=1.169585058.2061779052.1486012642)

You have spent time building your product or figuring out exactly what services you offer, spend time figuring out how to market them. There is the common adage:

If you build it, they will come.

That is not entirely true with an online presence. Just because you built a beautiful website does not mean that you are magically going to have new visitors to that website. A beautiful website will attract people once they get there, but it will not get them “in the door” so to speak. Also, without viable and relevant content, that attraction may be short lived.

To receive any sort of satisfaction and reward from your online presence, you are going to have to work for it. It is essential to create a “digital marketing” plan to help build your list of followers.

 

 

What methods are you using to help build your online presence and online following?

 

 

See also: Have a brand, Start your blog or website, Create your content, Making Social Media Work, Making social media efforts matter, Share!, Email marketing, More on content, Give something away, Online marketing is not a one time deal.

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Improving Your Brand Online: Give something away

Stacey Sansom Designs - Trade Show Thursday

Improving Your Brand Online: Give something away

We all like to receive free gifts when we are in our local stores. These free gifts are a way to sample new products. The stores are using them as a way to entice you to buy more. It is a great way to improve customers’ perception of your overall business. Online customers are no different. People like getting things for free.

The problem with a lot of online giveaways is that online users are highly skeptical. Most understand that they are giving up something to get something in return. For many it means giving up an email or the like. To help squash this skepticism, you need to establish yourself as a trusted source and have something of perceived value to them.

Online, these freebies are often eBooks, printable checklists, white papers, free evaluations and consultations, special access to videos, special discounts, etc. There are so many possibilities. Be creative. Think to yourself, what do I have to give that would benefit my customers?

This is a great way to get people to sign-up for your email marketing list. Just make sure that your give-away is something that they will value. Give this some serious thought. Even if it is something that you do not do right away, take time to plan for your giveaways.

 

 

Now think of a way to compel your users to sign-up for your email list, use your services, or buy your products.

 

 

See also: Have a brand, Start your blog or website, Create your content, Making Social Media Work, Making social media efforts matter, Share!, Email marketing, More on content, Give something away, Online marketing is not a one time deal.

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Improving Your Brand Online: More on content

Stacey Sansom Designs - Trade Show Thursday

Improving Your Brand Online: More on content

We live in a digital world and this means that we as content producers have to rethink how we present information to users – the customers. It is important that you find out how your customers are interacting with your blog and/or website. Basic statistics will give you a general and basic overview of this.

Increase of mobile devices

My guess is that more and more of your customers are coming from some sort of mobile device – smart phone, tablet, laptop, etc. There has been a steady increase in the sales of these devices over the past several years. Due to this increase, we have seen a stead increase of traffic to blogs, websites, and social media platforms coming from these very same devices. They are convenient and the user is more likely to have continual access to them when they are out and about. No longer do they need to be restrained by the fixed location of a desktop computer.

It is important to cater to these mobile devices more and more. No longer are people willing to be patient with websites that do not have a mobile version of their website. Fortunately, the ability to create a mobile accessible website is becoming and easier and easier.

Benefits of different technologies

The benefits of our high technology society sometimes seem like a downfall, but are they really?

Did you know that the average human has an attention span less shorter than that of a goldfish? That can be frustrating, but it does not have to be.

Check out this document from Microsoft:

https://advertising.microsoft.com/…/microsoft-attention-spa…

 

 

Go harness the technology and use it to your advantage – short attention spans and all.

 

 

See also: Have a brand, Start your blog or website, Create your content, Making Social Media Work, Making social media efforts matter, Share!, Email marketing, More on content, Give something away, Online marketing is not a one time deal.

 

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Improving Your Brand Online: Email marketing

Stacey Sansom Designs - Trade Show Thursday

Improving Your Brand Online: Email Marketing

In order for your marketing efforts to be most effective, you will need to use multiple platforms and mediums. You cannot do all of your marketing through social media alone. There are still plenty of people who refuse to use social media, have used it and no longer use it, or are taking a break from social media. There are many people that only use one social media platform. If you limit all of your marketing efforts to social media, you stand to lose a lot of your potential customer base.

Marketing in focused groups is good, but you need to remember to diversify to spread your reach.  If you only use social media as your means to drive traffic to your blog and/or website, you are missing out on many other valuable opportunities.

Enter email marketing

I am not talking about the SPAM emails that we all love to hate, I am talking about legitimate email newsletters that many people frequently sign up for and serve a legitimate purpose. These are the newsletters that people want to receive. They are informative. They contain discount codes and coupons. They contain information about upcoming events, sales, etc. They are helpful and server some purpose for informing your potential customers.

When is an email newsletter too much?

Of course, there is always the point where usefulness exceeds expectations and it quickly moves into what your potential customers might consider SPAM. That being said, there is a happy medium in email marketing, you just have to find it.

I like to use the “measure” of “what do I like?” For me personally, it is as little as possible. My email accounts are overflowing with the plethora of newsletters from various websites and businesses. When you go away for 2-3 days and only check your email as infrequently as possible while you are gone, it almost becomes too much for many people to handle. The newsletters are trashed immediately as they just do not have time or energy to deal with them when they do get around to sitting down and sorting through the few days of emails they were unable to fully read. For me, that quickly goes from 100-500+ emails in a short amount of time.

As a result of this personal experience, the email newsletters that I send out tend to be a little longer. While they may be longer in length, they are fewer in number and have a longer amount of time in between them. I will jump right to rare as a time definition here. My goal is to send out at least 1 per month, but as of right now it is more like 1 per quarter.

You have to use are measure that is comfortable and works for your business.

Getting subscribers

It is important to get people to become subscribers to your blog or website. You especially want subscribers to your newsletters. Getting these subscribers, however, can be a challenge.

Whether or not you have an actual log-in website, you want repeat and constantly returning customers/visitors. By encouraging a sign-up on the website you are telling them that you have more content available than may be found on the website. Your subscriptions imply that there will be content that is special to those with memberships. Your subscribers to your newsletter are expecting alerts of the latest and greatest, new releases, etc.

If you do not disappoint your subscribers and you do not SPAM them, your email newsletter can be an essential key part of your marketing strategy. Do not forget your “call to action” points in both your emails and on your website/blog. Encourage readers to want to sign up and ultimately look for more.

Do not buy out or sell out your subscribers

Do not try to build your email marketing list with a list you bought off the internet (or anywhere else for that matter). This is not okay and usually yields mostly unproductive results.

On the other hand, please keep in mind that it is NOT OKAY to sell people’s information that you personally collect. That is bad! Please be respectful and kind.

Do not SPAM your customers

No one likes SPAM emails. Do not SPAM your customers. If you step into the area of sending too many emails, you can lose potential customers just as fast as you can build their trust. Do not be intrusive in people’s email inboxes. That is sure to get your flagged as SPAM and all your efforts will be for naught.

 

 

Go build a sign-up for your email marketing list.

What are some of the best ways that you have found to increase your list?

 

 

See also: Have a brand, Start your blog or website, Create your content, Making Social Media Work, Making social media efforts matter, Share!, Email marketing, More on content, Give something away, Online marketing is not a one time deal.

 

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Improving Your Brand Online: Share!

Stacey Sansom Designs - Trade Show Thursday

Improving Your Brand Online: Share!

It is a known fact that you cannot build or improve your brand online if you do not share. The internet is not a situation where “if you build it, they will come” works. You have to drive traffic to everything online. Consider this online driven traffic as your “foot traffic” in a regular store front. In order to survive in the beginning, you have to increase your traffic. Once you have established yourself online, you then have to maintain your traffic.

How do you increase traffic?

Share! Share! Share!

This is not time to stroke your ego, this is time to share your content. You have worked hard to plan out your content distribution. You have worked hard to get your content published. Now it is time to share it.

As with all things on the internet, you need to think creatively when you share. There are so many avenues for sharing your content. You need to find the one that works best for you. This is often the method that caters best to your target audience. Find them on social media and you will be a great success.

In the end, it comes down to how successful you are at marketing yourself and your content. You have got to get it out there in creative ways.

What are some creative ways to market on social media?

There are so many options for marketing on the various social media platforms.

Here is a list of 45 Creative Social Media Marketing Tips: https://smallbiztrends.com/…/how-to-use-social-media-for-marketing. It is by no means an all encompassing list of ways to market yourself on social media, it is a great start. Remember that it is important to not be so focused on becoming the next viral sensation.

It is important to learn how to harness the power and uniqueness of each social media platform. As you learn how to take advantage of the various features of each, you will see your ability to tap into more traffic. This begins by simply understanding the various features available. This begins with learning how to properly use hashtags, tagging, promotions, and ads. The list is endless.

Just as important as learning about the various features on each social media platform and how and when to use them, you should pay close attention to the best time to post on each medium as well as what the appropriate length of post is. While there are guides out there that recommend posting at certain times, it is important to try and get a good feel for what time(s) is the best time(s) for you and your business. There are also recommendations for appropriate length for posts, but it is just as important to figure out which post(s) work best in attracting your potential customers.

 

 

What are you doing to share your content?

What methods have you found most effective?

 

 

See also: Have a brand, Start your blog or website, Create your content, Making Social Media Work, Making social media efforts matter, Share!, Email marketing, More on content, Give something away, Online marketing is not a one time deal.

 

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Catering to each social media platform

Stacey Sansom Designs Freedom Friday

I have found myself really pushing the new fabric collection, Bright Delights, a lot right now. I really want to see it succeed and that requires me getting the word out there that it even exists. That has put me in a whole new role. It puts me on the receiving end of marketing and advertising services. Usually I am the one that creates the ads for others. Now it was time to create a bit of marketing for Stacey Sansom Designs to help promote the fabric collection.

Today, I spent the day working on the social media presence as far as advertising was concerned. I have not worried about the narrower more focused outlets for easy advertising. I will come back to those later. I am focusing on the big five of social media – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Now there may be some debate as to what the big 5 really are. That is not the point of this write-up. Focus on the big five that interest you if your opinion differs from the ones found here. There is no wrong choice here. Remember to pick the platforms that work best for you and your business needs.

To get started, I was going to have to figure out what the limitations were for each of the social media platforms I had selected to focus on. I was amazed at how different they were when it came to certain features.

As you may know, each has their own version of a “cover image.” This cover image helps jazz up your profiles and give you a look that is unique from everyone else. The catch is that each platform has different sizes and guidelines on what you can do to make it work effectively. It is important than you follow these guidelines.

My goal for today was to update all my cover images across the different social media platforms. I wanted something that was more consistent with the branding that I was developing everywhere. I want consistent from platform to platform.

When I looked up the different cover image sizes, I was floored at how “inconsistent” they were when compared to each other. There is quite some range. You can find a quick cheat sheet here: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/social-media-cover-photo-sizing-cheat-sheet#sm.00000xo6sdjrnsekmr1g12c8pgwbt. This cheat sheet even includes visual references to look at what you have to account for.

Quick overview of what I found relating to the different sizes:

  • Facebook: 851 px wide x 315 px tall

  • Twitter: 1,500 px wide by 500 px tall

  • LinkedIn: 646 px wide x 220 px tall

  • Google+: 1,080 px wide x 608 px tall

  • YouTube: 2,560 px wide x 1,440 px tall | Desktop Banner: 2,560 px wide x 423 px tall

[ https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/social-media-cover-photo-sizing-cheat-sheet#sm.00000xo6sdjrnsekmr1g12c8pgwbt ]

I am not interested in YouTube right now. I will come back to that at a future date. I swapped out Pinterest as a focus area instead. Like I said, do what is best for you.

Unfortunately, I have found that these measurements are not 100% accurate.

Here is what I ended up with…

Facebook cover images

Facebook Cover Image designed at: 851px X 315px

Google+ cover images


Google + Cover Image designed at: 1080px X 608px


Google + Cover Image designed at: 1080px X 608px

 

LinkedIn images


LinkedIn Cover Image designed at: 646px X 220px

LinkedIn Cover Image designed at: 1850px X 200px

 

Twitter Cover Images

Twitter Cover Image designed at: 1500px X 500px

 

I obviously did not get all of the ones I wanted completed. Why? There are variances in the above “guidelines” as I found as I uploaded each image to the platform it was designed for. Some of the above sizes will be changing – LinkedIn – as they roll out their new profile interfaces. My suggestion is to use them as a guideline and adjust as you need to. Be flexible in the world of social media. It is forever changing.

Here is what I ended up with on the various platforms…

 

Facebook cover images


When you first go to a personal profile on Facebook with the new cover image uploaded, this is what you see.

The image was created to meet their specifications aside from the logo placement on the left hand side. I did not account for that. I was less worried about the large logo being covered up on my personal profile page.

You will see, however, if you look at the original image part of it is missing on the initial load of the personal profile page. Not cool!

If you scroll the page up and down a tiny bit, the full image does appear in the on the personal profile how it should based on the guidelines provided.

The catcher is when you go to the business profile page.

The image is partially covered up on initial page load. What?!. The image scrolls behind those boxes on the right. NOT OKAY!!!

If you click on another tab or page in the business profile (I selected About), you see that the full image appears without any visual obstructions. At least something worked correctly.

I am not pleased at the display of all the “logos” across the top of the screen, but it is at least workable.

On Facebook, both personal and business profile pages, I will likely remove the large white logo on the left hand side of the image. It will be flow better in my opinion.

 

LinkedIn cover images

My first attempt at LinkedIn cover images was quickly upset by the fact that they are changing their profile appearance. The size is dramatically different. There is also a lot more to account for on the image as a whole. It has to do with the placement of other profile images.

This is the view on the older version of the LinkedIn Business profile pages. You will notice that the image is not even at the top of the page. There is all this other garbage on the screen above it. Now I did not check to see what it looked like without me being logged-in as myself, but as you can see it is a bit underwhelming.

The second attempt was to swap the cover image to the new platform that LinkedIn will be using soon was less than successful. I went to my business profile page.

As you can see upon first load of the profile page, you do not even see the image. What?!. There is no cover image to be viewed at all.

I clicked on the overview page on the business profile and my image was missing. I can only guess that it is because it is still a trial platform. When I clicked on the “Update background photo” link on the page, I noticed that the size of the image was significantly different than what I had previously seen and what I found on a couple of other websites stating what the sizes were.

I uploaded the image that I had created per the newer guidelines in spite of the fact that it was significantly different. Mine was wider and not quite as tall.

It by default centered the image, but I was able to drag it to where I wanted it.

I tried to save the image in place and it did not save. I am going to assume this is because this portion is still under trial phases as of right now.

The good news is that the image (in spite of the size differences) mostly worked. It was cut off a tad on both ends as well as the bottom, but it is at least workable.

I will create the image based on the size that LinkedIn specifically states on the screen and see if it works better.


I uploaded the same image to my personal profile. As you can see here, the image does show up on the first page you seen upon loading LinkedIn. That is the good news. It was not for naught. However, the image is tiny. It also gets chopped off on all 4 sides in this view. Not very helpful.

I uploaded the same image that I had created per the newer guidelines that I uploaded to the Business Profile to the personal profile. They are the same image.

It by default centered the image, but I was able to drag it to where I wanted it. If you take a closer look, however, there are parts of the profile page information over the top of the image. My smiling face is right over the image. Also, there is some wording at the top of the image that is completely covered up by some site specific text. Completely covers it.

Unfortunately, it did not save. I will assume this is because the layout option is still in trial and not a full roll-out.

The not so great is that LinkedIn cover images while big and roomy, lose so much of its usable area to other things on the screen. I will have to move my wording down on the image to make it work.

I will try with the posted size stated on the LinkedIn website as well. I will just make sure I leave room around the edges for the things that I cannot control.

 

Google + Cover Images

When you first go to the Google + personal profile page, it does something similar as to what was found on Facebook. It only shows part of the image initially. Not cool.

You will notice that there are some areas of lost space to other things on the screen presented by Google + itself.

If you scroll the screen up and down a little bit after it loads, you can then see the full image.

There are still things on the screen presented by Google + that obscure part of the image, but they are minimal in comparison to where the picture is cut off top and bottom.

When you first go to the Google + Branded Account profile page, it does something similar as to what was found on Facebook. It only shows part of the image initially. Not cool.

You will notice that there are some areas of lost space to other things on the screen presented by Google + itself.

If you scroll the screen up and down a little bit after it branded account profile page loads, you can then see the full image.

There are still things on the screen presented by Google + that obscure part of the image, but they are minimal in comparison to where the picture is cut off top and bottom.

 

Twitter Cover Images

When you first load the Twitter website, you see the cover image in the top left hand corner of the screen. It scales it down quite a bit, but most of the image is there.

When you view the image on the actual Twitter Profile page, you see the full image. This is good.

Unfortunately, you have to account for the profile logo or image. As a result of this, I had duplication across the image of my logo. This is not a bad thing, per say, but it is more repetitive than necessary in my opinion.

 

 

What did I learn?

The parameters provided are just guides to help you design a useful cover image. They are not fact. They are guides and should be used accordingly. You likely will have to adjust your image a touch on each one if you do not factor in the platform specific buttons and navigation, etc.

They are specific to the social media platform you are using. This means you will likely need a cover image for each platform. You can still create a consistent look across multiple platforms even if you have to change the overall size and layout of the image’s design. The key here is to use the same elements in each one and resize or fix their balance as necessary on each one.

It is still workable in most cases when you use an image that is too large or too small. As long as the aspect ration is roughly the same on both images, it can scale the images up or down to fit.

You may or may not see the whole image on the various profile pages – initially. Your image should be designed to account for this so vital information is found within the always visible portions of the area.

 

 

How do you account for the variances on each social media platform?

 

 

 

 

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Improving Your Brand Online: Making social media efforts matter

Stacey Sansom Designs - Trade Show Thursday

Improving Your Brand Online: Making social media efforts matter

We are all aware that social media is a prominent platform for communicating today and this communication is done on a lot of different levels. Social media is a fast and easy way to “blast” your information out there to share with a lot of people all at once. The best part about it is that every platform has its own pluses and minuses and you can pick which ones work best for you.

Picking the right social media platform(s)

There are a ton of different social media platforms. We will not focus on all of them, but be aware that your target audience’s local social media hangout may not be on one or more of these. There are a lot of smaller platforms that are not well publicized except in the niche groups that they are catering to. If your niche happens to use one of these smaller, more specialized platforms, it is more important for you to go where your potential consumer of goods and/or services is rather than trying to make a larger platform work for your needs.

A non-comprehensive list of social media platforms can be found here: https://makeawebsitehub.com/social-media-sites/. We will not be discussing any of them in real depth, but be aware that there are more than just your big five (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+) available to your social media marketing disposal. Explore them at your own leisure.

Getting started

Once you have picked your Social Media Platform(s) of choice and have gotten started by making your first few initial posts, it is time to delve into the deeper use case scenarios of each platform you have selected and how to make them work for you. Social media marketing is more than just make random posts when using social media. It is more than just writing a few, limited character posts. It is about sharing. Sharing knowledge. Sharing general information. Sharing ideas. In the simplest form, it is about sharing – sharing “content.”

Unfortunately, we find that many businesses use the platforms as a source of social vomit. They spew everything they can get their hands on in their “feeds.” It is not a good thing when your potential consumers feel inundated by all the social sharing on the various platforms.

Marketing on social media is about being “helpful.” Your goal should be to “help” as many people as possible when you sit down to write a post for social media. If you are not helpful, you are not running a successful marketing campaign. Period.

That is something to stay focused on when you are working on your social media marketing plans. Ask the these questions:

  • Am I sharing something useful?
  • Are my potential customers going to be helped by this?
  • Is it relevant?

The list can continue on, but this is a good basis on which to start. Remember it is about your potential customers, not about you. Figure out what their needs, wants, and desires are. Cater to those.

Engage with your followers

Part of being on social media is being social. Imagine that. You should engage with your potential customers – interact with them, help them find information on topics that interest them, share information about your industry that is relevant to them, share your content from your blog and/or website, etc. It is through this natural process of social interaction, you will be able to promote your products and/or services without being the bleeding turnip sales guy that everyone hates.

How much is too much? Too little?

I am not saying that you should not promote your upcoming sales or promote your products, I am simply saying that your job is to promote your content and the rest should come naturally. The key here is to have quality content to promote and not just social vomit. Once you have successfully done this, your products will come to customer’s minds when they need your type of product and they should want to buy whether you are having a sale or not because you have built yourself as a trusted source of information.

If you picture your social media marketing plan as a pie (chart), which piece should be the largest? Who should get the largest piece of the pie? It has been studied and put into practice numerous times that they consumer should get the largest piece of the pie. It just works.

The largest slice of the pie graph should be you promoting content that is relevant to your customers. This is often shared content from other sources. Remember you are sharing information on social media. Next should be content that you have created that is relevant to them. You know your target audience best (or you should) and these are things that are more geared toward their specific needs. The smallest slice should be you promoting your products and services. It is important to find the balance that works best for you and your business, but no one piece can be forgotten to truly be effective.

 

 

What are you doing to improve your social media marketing efforts?

Do you feel like you need to hire someone to do these tasks for you?

 

 

See also: Have a brand, Start your blog or website, Create your content, Making Social Media Work, Making social media efforts matter, Share!, Email marketing, More on content, Give something away, Online marketing is not a one time deal.

 

 

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Improving Your Brand Online: Making social media work

Stacey Sansom Designs - Trade Show Thursday

Improving Your Brand Online: Making Social Media Work

“I saw it on Pinterest.”

“I saw it on Facebook.”

“I read it on Twitter.”

“I saw it on Instagram.”

The list goes on and on. There are so many different Social Media Platforms out there today that it can make your head spin. How do you keep up? The big question often becomes, “Do you need to?”

The simple answer to those questions is both yes and no. The not simple answer is that it is a hard decision to make on what you personally are going to do. You have to do what works best for you and your business. It is well known that having a social media presence can drive traffic to your business. The key is to using it correctly.

The reason that social media works is through the concept of what is commonly known as “tribe” or “hive” mentality. According to Wikipedia:

Tribalism is the state of being organized in or an advocate for a tribe or tribes. In terms of conformity, tribalism may also refer in popular cultural terms to a way of thinking or behaving in which people are loyal to their own tribe or social group.

[ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribalism ]

And according to Wikipedia we also find:

A hive mind or group mind may refer to a number of uses or concepts, ranging from positive to neutral and pejorative. Examples include: Collective consciousness or collective intelligence, concepts in sociology and philosophy. Culture A collective of knowledge, art, artifacts, symbols and social ritual.

[ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hive_mind ]

Social media platforms are perfect mediums for fulfilling the basic level of both tribalism and the hive mind. These bring together people with common interests and a common “way of thinking or behaving” and give them a place to voice their opinions and share their experiences. They also bring together people together into a “collective” so to speak. People can share their knowledge and other things across the various forms of social media.

As a result of the very nature of social media, it can be helpful in a lot of ways. It can be a powerful marketing tool for your business if used correctly. It can drive traffic to your blog and website with very little effort on your part if you have a strategy in place. It can also help drive traffic to your brick and mortar stores if you find a way to entice your target audience to stop by.

Know your target audience

In order to best utilize the power of social media, you must first know who your target audience(s) is. These are the users you are catering to, so to speak. These are your ideal customers or consumers of your products and/or services. To best target these users, you must first know who they are.

It is important to ask questions about your target audience(s). Remember that all of this is for them, not for you. It does not matter what you are interested in, it matters what they are interested in. You have to catch their interest. Once you do that, you can catch more potential sales leads and hopefully convert more to paying sales.

Know your target audience. Know your platform.

Once you know who your target audience(s) is, you need to know which social media platforms they are using. There is no reason to use a platform that your customers and target markets are not using. If your target market is never going to look at Pinterest, do not waste your valuable time learning the ropes on how to market your business on Pinterest. It makes not sense whatsoever. If on the other hand, your customers are savvy Facebook users, make sure you have a Business Facebook Page. That is a smart business move. It would even be in your best interest to learn the value of Facebook Ads and other valuable tools available on Facebook itself.

With Twitter you have the potential to get your business in front of 313 million active monthly users, but the average tweet only lasts approximately 2 hours so it is a very fast moving platform and you have to be committed to be an active daily user to be seen. This means more than 1 tweet per day. It means closer to 1 tweet per hour to be seen in the big ocean of active tweeters. Do you have that much to tweet about?

On the other hand, Twitter can be used as a great tool to find out what things are trending in your given industry. These are things that your potential customers and ultimately your target market is interested in or could have questions about. Used correctly it could be a helpful tool in building your blogging strategy.

Facebook is the most popular social media platform. It has nearly 2 billion active users per month. It has multiple ways to help you target your potential customers and grow your online brand. It is an online marketing dream come true in so many ways. Use it to your advantage to drive traffic to your blog and website and you can increase your sales leads and hopefully turn them into final sales.

Do not immediately dismiss an online social media platform simply because it is not as big or popular as the larger and well known platforms. You need to be where your customers are.

Committing to social media

Once you make the decision to use social media, whether it be one platform or three platforms, it is important that you:

  1. Post
  2. Produce quality content over quantity
  3. Be consistent

It does not matter if you have a social media account for your business if you do not use it. Posting is extremely important. You need to be social on social media. Posting is how you are social. The beauty of the various platforms is that you do not need to come up with 100% new and unique content 100% of the time. You are free to share other people’s content as well. I recommend you at least sharing links to the content if you are doing this and not copying and pasting. There is an level of sharing ethics you should follow when doing such. Do not steal, share. The key is to post stuff that is useful and valuable to your users – your target audience(s).

It is important that you share and produce quality content. While it is important to use the platform if you opt to have an account, it is more important that the content you share and produce yourself be quality over being of great quantity. It does not matter if you make 100 posts per day if your target audience can only use or only find 3 of them of value. The key is to find a happy medium point where what you share/produce is of value and usable to your target audience most of the time. Remember quality over quantity.

Following along that same line, it is important to be consistent. Consistency helps drive traffic. If you are consistent, your users are more likely to come back and check for more. If you have a set schedule, they are more likely to come back and see what else you have to offer. If you release coupon codes on Monday, they will know to check for those on Monday. Consistency makes it comfortable for users.

Unify your look across all platforms

Your look and branding should be consistent from your storefront, website, blog, and all social media platforms. It is not always easy to do this with the limitations of some social media platforms, but it is important to try to unify your outward appearance across all platforms you use. Give your users something they can trust.

 

 

Go and be social!

Make sure you have a strategy!

 

 

See also: Have a brand, Start your blog or website, Create your content, Making Social Media Work, Making social media efforts matter, Share!, Email marketing, More on content, Give something away, Online marketing is not a one time deal.

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Gathering ideas

Stacey Sansom Designs Mood Board Wednesday

The most common way for gathering creative ideas and making sense of them is to present them using a “mood board.”

Mood boards are used for a variety of industries, but they are used in particular in the creative industries as a way to express ideas and show different “moods” and concepts in a physical way. That is not to say that a mood board must be a physical item. It does not need to be.

Physical vs Digital

Pinterest is a fine example of a digital mood board in a broad scope of the word. There are a variety of different online resources that you can use for creating similar digital mood boards for a variety of different topics. Do not be afraid to experiment until you find the right one.

When it comes to projects, especially for sharing ideas with clients, I like to use Dropmark. It is a drag and drop or simple upload solution for a variety of file types. It also doubles as a file sharing platform when I need to share larger client files. The reason I like this resource, however, is that I can drag a variety of different ideas or conceptual things to the website area and they are all in one place under each project. These projects can then be shared with a variety of users as needed.

My latest mood board

My current mood board is one for gathering conceptual ideas more than gathering collective ideas. I want concepts to elaborate more on later. I just want to be able to go to the mood board when I sit down to actually design and see an over all concept and feeling I want to produce.

To do this, you can use a variety of programs or apps to create them. They do not have to be fancy. They can even be created using a piece of paper and pencil or poster board and clippings glued to it. There are a variety of ways to do it. Your creativity is the only limiting factor here.

Stacey Sanson Designs February Mood Board

I used an iPad app called Moodboard Lite. I am trying a few out to see if I like how they layer and put things on their more traditional looking “digital” mood boards. I will say that I do like the capabilities of this app even with the limits of the “lite” version. I would be tempted to pay for the full version. My favorite feature is probably the ability to input the color palette and it actually look like a true color palette. The only thing lacking is the color codes. As you can see, I included those in the clip I pulled from the Pantone website.

Normally I would not use a blue grid, blueprint background for my mood boards. I am more of a white paper or cork board person, personally. However, the lite version of the app does not allow you to change the board background. I could live with that with the abilities for the other things. It does, however, make me want to know just how much more the full version can do.

This is a real concept mood board. I am considering these ideas for designs and colors for my next fabric line. The book covers were just place holders to give a quick glance at what type of designs I want – spacecraft, stars, constellations, moons, suns, starbursts, etc. You will notice that I accompanied the visual cues with a list of key words in two different formats – pictorial concepts and style concepts. The more information you give yourself, the more you have to work with when you sit down to physically design and to spark creative ideas as you go. These ideas can come from anywhere.

How do you use mood boards in your design work?