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    Category Archives: technical tips

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    How to Take a Break from Social Media (Without Your Business Suffering!)

    How to take a break from social media without your business suffering

    Do you ever feel stressed about taking a break from your social media and losing all your traction with your followers/clients/customers? It can be hard to switch it off, especially when it’s such a great marketing and customer service tool for your creative business. But every once in a while you will need to step away.

    Here are some great ways to do it without losing your following:

    • Let your readers/clients/customers know before you go, and if possible, how long you’ll be away. Keeping them in the loop is better than just disappearing without a word.
    • Ask them to sign up for your blog’s RSS feed and schedule content for the time you are away. Consider organising guest posts where it’s appropriate or re-publish a series of your most read posts.
    • Have someone take over your social media accounts for that time. If you’re taking significant time off, like maternity leave, and have a business that mostly works without you there (passive income or a shop with ready made goods), consider taking someone on for that time to post to your social media accounts and pack orders.
    • Use a service like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule your Twitter posts in advance, so you don’t lose your reach. Facebook has recently improved their scheduling service too. Let your readers know that you’re doing this and that you might not be there to answer questions a couple of times before you take the break.
    • Decide if Instagram will be included in your social media break – it might seem weird to take a break but still use one social network, but if you’re taking a holiday to a great destination, you can keep your followers in the loop with a holiday happy-snap here and there.
    • If you’re still working but taking a ‘digital sabbatical’, let your clients know that you’ll still be available by email or your regular channels. But if you’re closing up shop as well as taking a social media break, consider preparing some great “we’re back” social media content that’s ready to go when you are back and working again.

    Taking a break from social media, or even from your business, doesn’t have to mean that you’ll be back at the beginning once you log back in. Most people understand that everyone needs a break to recharge their batteries. Having a clear strategy for your social media while you’re away – frequency, content – can help you truly relax while you’re on that break.

    Dannielle is a blogger, serial organiser and passionate traveller. She has a secret love of 90s teen movies and can often be found hanging out on Pinterest. She is on a mission to help people bring happiness (and fun) back into their homes with a dash of organisation and a sprinkle of their own awesome style over at her blog Style for a Happy Home.

    Image from © Lime Lane Photography

    Posted by: Dannielle Cresp
    Categories: business tips, organise me, regular columns, technical tips | Comments Off
    Posted on

    New eBook: Graphic Design Speak – General advice, technical tips and jargon defined for non-graphic designers

    by Tess McCabe

    It’s finally done. If you follow me (Tess McCabe / @tessmccabe) on Instagram you might have seen glimpses of a project I’ve been working on lately. I’m really thrilled to finally reveal it here: my new eBook Graphic Design Speak.


    Graphic Design Speak is about giving non-graphic-designers a working knowledge of the words and concepts graphic designers commonly use, without explaining the history of graphic design or going overboard with the technical talk.

    As a graphic designer, this information is well known to me – but I recognise it’s extremely important and useful for non-graphic-designers (meaning makers, interior designers, publicists, writers, musicians, bloggers, performers… anyone in a creative role themselves or who works with a graphic designer) to know as well.


    The 27-page eBook explains:

    • Basic colour terms like Pantone, CMYK, RGB and what they mean
    • Common file types and where you use them (a.k.a. Why can’t my printer just get my logo from my website and put it on my business card?)
    • How to distinguish a high-resolution image from a low-resolution one (a.k.a. A journalist has asked for a high-resolution image for a story about me, but how do I know which one of these image files to send?!)
    • The standard paper and envelope sizes
    • Facts about fonts 
    • And over 85 common words and phrases us graphic designers throw around willy nilly.

    Those multiple back-and-forth emails with your techy-nerd friend or frantic late-night forum-reading can be avoided with this helpful little handbook! And you will feel empowered with knowledge and enjoy a better working relationship with graphic design professionals as a result.

    The book is available to download for the extremely reasonable cost of $11.00 only at our online shop. AND Included is a low-ink-use black and white version for printing at home, if you prefer the paper kind of reference tool.

    I hope you find it useful!

    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: books, business tips, CWC news, technical tips | Comments Off
    Posted on

    Organise Me: Email Inbox-ification


    By Andy (Andrea) McArthur

    The average business user spends more than two hours a day dealing with email. That’s an average of 48 to 75 emails per day (some are even receiving a whole lot more). Source

    No more email Inbox-ification it’s time to cut your email traffic, tidy up your inbox and deal with your email in a more efficient and streamlined manner. This week try allocating some time to review your email processes, review your email clients capabilities and also review your email brand (address name and signature).

    No matter what email client you are using, at the bare minimum you should be able to label, filter and store emails which will ultimately lead to a happier inbox (when put into practise). Recently I discussed with a few freelancers which platform they prefer to use for email and Gmail has repeatedly come up as the webmail server of choice. It seems that there is a lot of Gmail love in the air as it does label, filter, store and search emails extremely well. You can also use your email through Google Apps which allows you to look professional with a you@yourcompany.com email address.

    Note: As your business grows it is definitely time to again reassess your email needs and possibly move away from webmail servers, do you need to think about hosting your own emails in-house with systems such as Kerio a very secure option, or using a third-party email-hosting provider which would probably be hosted alongside your website.

    It’s vital to have your email backed up in multiple locations so when a server goes down you don’t lose your information life line and you can still continue to operate. I never really understood IMAP and POP forwarding but setting up IMAP is an essential part of email. IMAP is described as “what allows you to download messages from servers onto your computer so you can access your mail with a program like Microsoft Outlook or Mac Mail, even when you aren’t connected to the Internet.” IMAP also provides a better method to access your mail from multiple devices. You can check your email at work, on your mobile, at home and new mail is accessible from any device at any time. If using Gmail there is a lot of support to use IMAP and using both an email client on your desktop and the Gmail webmail server takes the scariness out of backup. See Gmail IMAP help.

    Previously I thought that I had my email system nailed by moving emails into folders. However, because I am a folder addict, in the past my emails were just getting lost among the many, many folders that I had created (utilising Search was the only way to effectively find emails). A suggestion would be to create a main category to which you add sub folders if needed, I must say this is working a lot better for me. Also don’t forget you can you simply use Gmails coloured labels or use the Archive filter as an option rather than folders. I still prefer to leave emails that need actioning in my email Inbox and the ones which I have actioned move them into a folder out of sight but not out of reach. Similar to the 4D model: 1. Delete it, 2. Do it, 3. Delegate it or 4. Defer it.

    Aim for a Zero Inbox by setting up new filters and sorting your email out. You can organise emails from certain senders (or on certain topics) to automatically be tagged with a coloured label or filtered to a folder simply by choosing “Filter messages like this” from the “More” drop-down menu. Also many email clients (including Gmail) will allow you to append your address name and filter the new name with an automatic label or folder. Any emails from a subscription might be given the new email address subscription@andyjane.com or an amended email address of hello+subscription@andyjane.com. See more information on: LabelsFilters and Appending email addresses.

    A few extra tips for the road:

    • Utilise the tools that come with Gmail such as keyboard shortcuts to help save you time and Labs which are experimental features and will get you using your email just the way you like it. See more information on: ShortcutsLabs.
    • Don’t forget to setup your Junk email use filters to catch the nasties and get them out of your email life.
    • Declutter regularly and only keep what you need.

    Lastly my number one tip is to limit email checking (if you aren’t expecting an urgent email). In terms of productivity we lose valuable time constantly checking our emails. It has even been recorded that we lose as much as 15 minutes every time we move from one project to another. In order to eliminate this time waster limit yourself to two/three email checks a day, morning, noon and 4pm, at these times schedule uninterrupted time to process and organise your email. Oh and don’t forget to turn your email notification sounds off.

    What are your top tips for managing email. Tell us by adding your comment below.

     Andrea McArthur has a passion for all things visual and a soft spot for organisation. Type is her true love and goes weak at the knees over beautiful design. Andrea works as a freelance graphic designer in Brisbane by day and lectures in graphic design by night. You will find her sharing design related goodness via @andyjane_mc  www.andyjane.com

    Tags: Email, Organise Me, productivity
    Posted by: Andrea McArthur
    Categories: organise me, regular columns, technical tips | Comments Off
    Posted on

    A beginner’s guide to using Twitter

    Twitter is a great way to connect with friends and like-minded people and organisations, chat and share links, inform your fans and customers of what is new with your business, and generally keep up to date with what is happening on the world. Many women who attend the Creative Women’s Circle events first meet each other on Twitter, or stay connected via Twitter after meeting at an event.

    Think of Twitter as part chat-room, part Facebook ‘status update’ feed, but limited to 140 characters.
    Today I’ve collected together some tips and facts about Twitter to help you get the most out of this social networking tool. Add your own thoughts in the comments if you like!
    1. When people visit twitter online, they see the updates of everyone they follow on their own home page, so your followers won’t necessarily ever see your twitter page. But you can make it look nice with backgrounds and colours, and of course your avatar.
    2. If you want to address someone specifically in a tweet, start the tweet with their @name. Note that this is not a completely private conversation, as the people who follow you AND that person will all see the tweet.

    3. If you want to tweet about someone and have all your followers see it, make sure to start the tweet with a word or a symbol that is not the person’s @name. E.g.

    @_cwc has announced a new Creative Women’s Circle event! (only people who follow both you and @_cwc will see this tweet) 

    Hey everyone, @_cwc has announced a new Creative Women’s Circle event! (all of your followers will see this tweet) 

    . @_cwc has announced a new Creative Women’s Circle event! (all of your followers will see this tweet, because there is a punctuation mark before the ‘@’ symbol at the start of the tweet) 

    4. If you mention someone or an organization in a tweet, it’s a good idea to use their @name so that people can see that they are on Twitter. Also, the person or organisation is more likely to see your tweet and respond to it. 

    Thanks to @jen_henderson for our recent guest blog post! goo.gl/cZpXj

    5. Because you’re limited to 140 characters in each tweet, you want to keep hyperlinks short and sweet. Use link-shortening services such as Goo.gl, bit.ly or tinyurl.com.The tweet above links to the CWC blog post ‘http://www.creativewomenscircle.com.au/2011/05/what-makes-successful-brand-part-ii.html‘ – as you can see the goo.gl address is much shorter!
    6. #ff stands for ‘Follow Friday’. It’s a little twitter tradition in which you tweet #ff followed by the addresses of people you follow who you think others should follow, on Fridays. You might group them into categories e.g. 

    #ff terrific with textiles: @pippijoe @Kirin @Teegs3 @HarvestWorkroom @AisGallagher @funkyfabrix @KristenDoran @nikkishell

    7. RT stands for re-tweet. You can automatically retweet a tweet from your timeline if you want all your followers to see it. It will appear to your followers like this:
    RT @tessmccabe Hey everyone, @_cwc has announced a new Creative Women’s Circle event! (all of your followers will see this tweet) 

    Some third-party twitter apps let you comment on a retweeted tweet, so you can tweet something like this:
    I’ve got my ticket! RT @tessmccabe Hey everyone, @_cwc has announced a new Creative Women’s Circle event! or

    RT Hey everyone, @_cwc has announced a new Creative Women’s Circle event! ~ I’ve got my ticket!

    8. Favouriting a tweet is sort of like ‘bookmarking’ a web page. The tweet might have a link to an article you want to read later or a recommendation you don’t want to forget. You can view your favourites on your profile page.

    9. People who follow you won’t always be people who know you, and businesses might have automatic settings that follow users who mention a particular service or product. Did you tweet something about tropical fish? Don’t be surprised if Jennie’s Aquariums start following you now. Similarly, some tweeters have automatic settings that will retweet your tweet if you mention one of their keywords, such as ‘Melbourne’, or reply to your tweet if you mention a celebrity or popular word.

    10. ‘Promoted’ tweets are paid for (like advertising).

    11. A blue tick next to a tweeter’s name indicates that the tweeter has been verified by Twitter as being the real person or organization who is sending the tweets. It’s mainly applied to celebrities and organisations.

    12. Twitter Trends are words, phrases or hastags that are being tweeted the most at any given time. When a big news story breaks you will notice words associated with that story start ‘trending’.

    13. The hash (#) symbol before a word is called a hashtag, and are used as a way to categorise a tweet. You can click on a hashtag to view tweets by anyone, anywhere who has used that same hashtag in their tweet.

    Hey everyone, @_cwc has announced a new Creative Women’s Circle #event! (Note that if there is a space or punctuation mark in a hashtag, it will break the hashtag’s link)

    But sometimes, a hashtag is used as a punchline or feature of a tweet. It might catch on, it might not! E.g.

    Hey everyone, @_cwc has announced a new Creative Women’s Circle event! #cwceventsareawesome

    14. If you want to send a tweet to someone that no one else will see, use Direct Message or ‘DM’ – it’s a bit like email though you are still limited to 140 characters. 
    15. You can keep your tweets private, meaning anyone who wants to follow you has to send a request and be accepted by you. Then, only your accepted followers will see the things you tweet.

    So, are you on Twitter? Or are you thinking of joining? What good (or bad) experiences have you had with it? 
    I hope this guide has helped. Don’t forget to follow @_cwc to keep up to date with Creative Women’s Circle news and conversations inbetween events.
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    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: guest blog, technical tips | 3 Comments