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    Category Archives: what’s new in social media

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    12 productivity tools and tricks for creative businesses

    12-productivity-tools-and-tricks-for-creative-businesses

    By Monica Ng

    As a small business owner, it can be difficult juggling multiple responsibilities simultaneously. On top of the day to day of fulfilling orders, planning for and creating new products or services, updating multiple social media channels, connecting with fans and peers in your niche, replying to a seemingly endless stream of emails, blogging, and project management, trying to manage it all without the right tools can be overwhelming!

    So today I’d like to share with you my top 12 productivity tools, tips and tricks I use everyday for my online jewellery business.

    Email

    1. Use Boomerang to schedule emails

    With this Gmail plugin, you have the ability to write your reply whenever it’s convenient for you and schedule it to be sent at a specific time in the future. Not only this, but you can schedule email reminders. Hurray if you’re a night owl or an early bird (but don’t want clients to know you are working after business hours ;))

    2. Use Gmail Undo when you regret hitting ‘send’

    Ever regret sending an email, because you accidentally added someone in as cc when they were supposed to be bcc, attached the wrong document or sent an email or addressed it to the wrong person? After this, there’ll be no more email regret!

    • Login to your email inbox, click the gear drop down menu in the top right, select settings
    • Scroll to “undo send” and click enable
    • Set the cancellation period and save changes
    • After you click send, a yellow box pops up to confirm your message was sent complete with an “undo” and “view message” link.
    • Click “undo” within your chosen cancellation period to retract the email you just sent.

    3. Write template email responses to save time

    Do you receive a lot of emails for wholesale enquires, PR requests, advertising queries etc. that require a very similar response? Having a pre-written response to these types of emails can save you a tonne of time each day. In addition to a basic cut-and-paste technique, Gmail’s canned responses let you insert a pre-written response with just a couple of clicks. TextExpander for Mac allows you to create keyboard shortcuts for anything from a lengthy response to a simple phrase or web address you find yourself constantly typing out.

    4. Turn on Inbox pause

    Do you constantly get interrupted and distracted by the familiar ‘ding’ or notification popping up, alerting you of a new email? Take back control over your inbox!  This plugin for Gmail allows you to temporarily pause emails from arriving into your inbox with a click of a button. You can choose to send an auto-responder to anyone who sends you an email whilst your inbox is paused. All messages are rerouted to a special label until you un-pause your inbox.

    5. Use Unroll.me to declutter your inbox

    It’s easy for your inbox to get clogged up with junk emails you can’t even remember signing up to. This service scans your inbox for all your subscriptions and lists them all, allowing you to keep them or unsubscribe with a simple click of a button. Keep the subscriptions you love and unsubscribe from the ones you don’t.

     Social Media

    6. Make Photoshop templates for your social media updates

    Create set size templates for all your social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Then, when you need a new image, just change the text and image and voila – perfectly sized images for each social media platform.

    For your reference, here are the current recommended sizes:

    • Twitter header: 1500 x 500
    • Twitter profile: 400 x 400
    • Instagram: 1080 x 1080
    • Facebook cover photo: 851 x 315
    • Facebook profile: 180 x 180
    • Facebook link preview: 600 x 315
    • Pinterest board cover: 217 x 146
    • Pinterest pins: 735 x 900-2100

    7. Use Pinterest secret boards

    Need a bank of inspiration ready for you to share and curate on your social media channels? Start up a secret Pinterest board. Only you (and anyone else you invite to the board) can see the pins and the pins you’ve pinned won’t show up anywhere else on Pinterest.

    8. Make text-based images with Notegraphy

    Funny, inspirational or motivational quotes spread like wildfire on social media, so this mobile app makes it easy to create and share beautifully designed images for your fans in under 20 seconds. Simply just type your message, choose a style and share it on your chosen social media channels.

    9. Use Buffer to schedule social media updates

    Schedule your social media updates with ease amongst multiple platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and most recently, Pinterest. Spread out your updates across the day and the week, so you don’t need to be constantly glued to your computer or phone in order to have a social media presence.

    Blogging & Project management

    10. Organise your life with Trello 

    Organise, plan and schedule projects and blog content with your team or as a solopreneur. Think of it as virtual post-it notes that allow you to track your progress for your tasks. Provide comments for instant feedback, set due dates, checklists and add attachments. All updates occur in real-time and you can see everything at a glance. It also syncs with your smartphone for list-making on the go!

    11. Reduce email noise via Slack

    Real time messaging to help you communicate with your team and reduce email clutter. Create channels for specific projects, topic or team members, send direct messages or make private groups. Slack syncs up to services like Google Drive, Dropbox or Box too – they sync in real time and all documents are searchable too.

    12. Plan for the future with Wunderlist

    Though not as robust as Slack, Wunderlist is a fantastic mobile and desktop app I use for personal planning. It’s a space that helps you plan for anything, whether it’s your grocery list, an upcoming holiday or work related tasks etc. You can set due dates, reminders and share your to-dos with others.

    If you liked Monica’s 12 tips, hop over to her website to download her guide to 8 more productivity apps for creative businesses!

    Monica Ng left her accounting career at the end of 2013 to run Geometric Skies, her Etsy jewellery business, alongside her jewellery and object design studies at the Design Centre in Sydney. Find Monica at her blog or on Instagram @geometric_skies.


    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: business tips, technical tips, what's new in social media | Comments Off
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    How to manage social media (without letting it take over your life)

    how-to-manage-social-media_domini-marshall_creative-womens-circle530

    By Domini Marshall

    The beauty of social media is its ability to bring people together from across the world. The way creatives everywhere are able to share their stories, art and work with an audience that transcends oceans. Social media has heart and for this it can bring brands to life. It gives us a glimpse into what makes up a business, into the person behind it and their reasons for waking up in the morning and doing what they do. It can help to ignite change, unify cities and allow people to learn and grow.

    For all these wonderful qualities however, social media can, in small or big ways, start to creep in and take over your life. All those wonderful stories and beautiful images can suck you in for hours. I know that, for me, it’s the ultimate procrastination tool. I could do that work, or I could sit on Pinterest for hours and look at pretty pictures…. Tough choice. It can also be a source of frustration for creative businesses who want to be active on their social channels but don’t know where to start or how to keep up.

    So, with those frustrations in mind, I’ve put together some ideas and steps to help you manage social media without letting it take over your life.

    1. Plan ahead
    There’s really no substitute for planning. Planning ahead means that the work you do is much more focused and effective. It also means you can say goodbye to waking up and thinking ‘What am I going to post today?!’ Use a content calendar and plan out your content ahead of time. Organisation brings freedom and getting your content organised will free you up to enjoy the beauty of social media. Don’t forget to cross promote your content across your different channels so you get the most out of it too – make a note of where you’ll be posting on your content calendar, or use IFTTT to cross post for you. IFTTT lets you create handy rules such as ‘Post every Instagram post to Facebook’. You just have to set the rule and sit back. This leads nicely into the second point which is…

    2. Batch & schedule
    Batching up your social media posting is a great way to get your content ready quickly. Once you’re in the social state of mind, it’s so much easier to create content, especially if you’re working around campaigns, events or special projects. Once you’ve planned your content, put aside a couple of hours each week or fortnight to create it. Then schedule it in advance so you don’t have to jump on each day to post your content. Schedugram or Latergram are great options for Instagram, while Facebook has its own inbuilt scheduling tools. Hootsuite and Buffer are always handy tools that offer scheduling for a number of different social channels.

    3. Make friends with analytics
    Looking at social media analytics might not be the most exciting way to spend your time but they can be super useful in helping you get the most from your social channels and the most out of your time. Facebook has inbuilt page insights that will show you the best times to post and what posts are most engaging, which means you can focus your efforts on content that counts. Iconosquare does the same for Instagram, Pinterest has inbuilt analytics and Tailwind can be used for more detail, while Followerwonk can be used for Twitter.

    4. Schedule time for customer service & community building
    We know that social media is all about creating a community, not about selling and advertising. Instead of getting distracted for hours, schedule in time each day for customer service and community building. Use this time to respond to your audience, find brands and people to follow, and be an active member within your community. Just be sure to set yourself a time limit so it doesn’t turn into an all day ‘inspiration’ session.

    5. Find the tools to help you create content quickly and easily
    Creating original images can often be the one thing that holds people back from embracing social media. There are some seriously handy tools out there designed to help you create beautiful pictures in minutes. Canva is like Photoshop made simple and it’s free. Studio Design and Word Swag are apps that let you design inspiring quotes on your phone perfect for instant sharing, while Buffer (mentioned above) is a scheduling tool that offers analytics and curates content for you to share. That’s right, it actually does the curating for you!

    One last tip for quick and easy content is to create a social media album on your phone. For those moments when you see something snap worthy, create an album specifically for social media pics. Add photos that might be perfect for posting at a later date for a special event or for adding a quote to, or just photos that you want to save and share later. This way, when inspiration strikes, you always have an image on hand to go with your beautiful words.

    I hope these ideas help you find a way to manage your social media channels that brings you a little more balance and love. If you’ve got any questions or comments, feel free to shout out.

    {Image via DTTSS)

    Domini Marshall is a freelance writer living in Melbourne. A love for great stories and connection inspires her work for brands and businesses in copywriting, content creation and social media. A creative at heart, she also writes short fiction and screenplays and you can find her sharing inspiration and more on Instagram and Pinterest.


    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: business tips, what's new in social media | Comments Off
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    What is content marketing and why is it important for your creative business?

    By Domini Marshall

    what-is-content-marketing-by-domini-marshall1

    There are so many definitions for ‘content marketing’ out there. The Content Marketing Institute defines it as:

    A marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

    That sounds lovely and professional and yes, it defines the process of content marketing well. It is about creating valuable, relevant and consistent content for your customers with the objective of gaining greater conversion, revenue and other positive results.

    In its very simplest terms, however, I like to think of content marketing as storytelling.

    Before we delve in, let’s talk about the term content marketing a little more. With content marketing, your content comes first and channels come second.

    What is content?

    Content encompasses anything you create to tell your brand story. It’s the story itself. Think engaging blog posts, compelling product copy, beautiful imagery, videos, infographics and so much more.

    What are channels?

    Channels are where and how you share that content. So, a blog is a channel. Social media, videos, emails and printed catalogues are all channels. With content marketing, content comes first, channels come second. The importance is on creating engaging and valuable content for your audience. Then, once you have that content, you can decide where and how you’re going to share it with the world. Ultimately, it’s about the customer experience, not just a product or service at the end of the line.

    Amy Crawford from The Holistic Ingredient does an amazing job at creating consistent content across her channels. With regular emails, eBooks, social media posts, recipes and more, she inspires her audience to live a life of wellbeing.

    Amy Crawford from The Holistic Ingredient does an amazing job at creating consistent content across her channels. With regular emails, eBooks, social media posts, recipes and more, she inspires her audience to live a life of wellbeing.

    Why is content marketing so great?

    The reason why content marketing has become so popular is that it offers brands and businesses a way to connect with consumers that is different to traditional advertising methods, and that has a proven track record of resulting in greater engagement, which builds greater brand equity and which translates to greater conversion.

    Great content marketing:

    • connects with your customers – connect is the important word here
    • takes them on a brand experience
    • builds brand authority – which means consumers look to your brand for relevant information on specific topics and which encourages positive word of mouth marketing for your brand
    • improves SEO (search engine optimisation) – Google rewards quality content with higher rankings which means your site will appear higher in search results
    • increases the time spent on your site through greater engagement which, in turn, increases conversion and revenue.

    Which leads us to storytelling.

    Why storytelling?

    At the core of all storytelling is the desire to connect. If content marketing is all about connection, then it’s also all about storytelling.

    We all have a story. We all crave connection. When someone tells us their story and their reason for being, we naturally engage with it because we have one too. If you find a brand that has a story that you find compelling and a message that is inspiring, it’s likely you’ll support that brand and share your love for it with others.

    Fete Press make the most of all their beautiful content. You can try out delicious recipes, find party and food inspiration in their online gallery and enjoy their consistent social media posts on Instagram and Pinterest.

    Fete Press make the most of all their beautiful content. You can try out delicious recipes, find party and food inspiration in their online gallery and enjoy their consistent social media posts on Instagram and Pinterest.

    What’s your story?

    In your creative business, what’s your reason for being? What is it about what you do that you absolutely love? What gets you up and out of bed each day? What inspires you? Start here.

    Think about those questions. What are your answers? Do you share them with your community often? Do your customers know your story? How are you going to communicate your passion and inspiration with them?

    For me, I love learning. I love that moment when I’m reading a book, hearing someone speak or watching a film and I lose myself.  I’m totally involved in the experience and my emotions take over. I feel inspired and afraid and vulnerable all at once.  I crave the moment that someone’s words or creations alter my way of looking at something and I want to create things that do that too.

    In order to connect with people you have to open yourself up to being vulnerable and sometimes that means taking a risk, but if you tell your story with conviction, courage and passion, you’ll discover a world of people who want to know more. In that story (in you) is all the compelling content you could ever want or need.

    Get organised, throw it in a content calendar and go!

    If you’re not already, use a content calendar. Organise all those amazing, wonderful, inspiring ideas that are bubbling away now and get them down on paper. Create something simple in a word or excel doc and plan ahead.

    Once you’ve got it down you can start thinking about where you want to share it. Start a blog. Create a YouTube channel. Sign up to Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter. You choose. Once you’ve got your story, once you’ve got the content, you can decide on your channels.

    Just remember that in storytelling there needs to be a listener or reader too. So, have a conversation with your audience. Share your story and ask for theirs too. Own it, embrace it, and listen to what others have to say. It’s there that you’ll find connection and plenty of ideas for content too.

    Domini Marshall is a freelance writer living in Melbourne. A love for great stories and connection inspires her work for brands and businesses in copywriting, content creation and social media. A creative at heart, she also writes short fiction and screenplays and you can find her sharing inspiration and more on Instagram and Pinterest

    (Photo credit: josemanuelerre via photopin cc)


    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: business tips, guest blog, what's new in social media, women who write | Comments Off
    Posted on

    Statigram makes your Instagram work for you

    By Susan Goodwin

    how-to-grow-your-creative-business-instagram

    We all love Instagram, those pocket-sized sneaky peaks into other peoples lives, giving us the opportunity to travel the world, eat all the good things, and see abundant creativity.

    It is also a great way to share your own creativity, and if you want to grow an audience for your creative business, then Instagram can be a useful tool to achieve that.

    First, a few things to consider:

        • Is your account a business account? Are you using it to drive more sales/awareness/and audience to what you do?
        • What parts of your life overlap with your business, that add character and richness to your creativity and bring your story to life?
        • Is your account name the same as your Twitter/Facebook/blog/Pinterest name?
        • What other Instagram accounts do you really enjoy, and why? Do they have beautiful composition, amazing styling, gorgeous photos?

    Being strategic about what you post may sound a little less “insta” than you are used to with an Instagram account. However, if you want to use it as a tool to grow your business, then a crazy mash up of last night’s leftovers, photos taken in the dark and endless photos of your family or your pets may not necessarily drive sales to your door.

    Having a goal and finding the steps to reach it starts with analysis. Enter Statigram. Here, you can find statistics on your Instagram profile, such as who has started following you and who has jumped ship, your ‘like’ rates, which posts get the most interaction, and it even gives you a handy little graph which shows when the people in your Instagram community are most likely to be online.

    Now that you have all this data you can start to use Instagram more effectively.

    statigram-my-top-five-photo

    • Post at the times your community is around for maximum effect.
    • Post more of the images your audience likes to see.
    • If the images of your work are not getting the most love, then consider different angles of photography, styling in an unusual way or using videos to show how you do things.
    • Hashtags may look ugly but good ones can bring a new audience to you. Try searching for your tag and using it occasionally to bring in a new crowd.

    You will soon find Statigram as addictive as Instagram. It will place all the information to grow your audience at your fingertips.

    (P.S. This post was NOT sponsored by Statigram or Instagram, we just like their websites.)

    Susan Goodwin is the designer, sewer and creator of Rocket Fuel, ensuring you are decked out in style while cycling. Read her blog or follow her on Twitter @rocketfuelstyle.

    Photo credit: images from Measure Twice Cut Once

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    Posted by: Susan
    Categories: business tips, what's new in social media | Comments Off