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5 Quick Hacks To Radically Improve Your Social Media Design

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5 Quick Hacks To Radically Improve Your Social Media DesignScientists have shown that the average person blinks 15-20 times per minute.

That’s a lot! And it just goes to show that a lot can happen in a minute, or every four seconds if you do the maths.

So have you ever wondered about how much activity happens on Facebook per minute?

I’ll tell you.

510,000 comments are posted. 293,000 statuses are updated. 136,000 photos are uploaded.

As for Twitter, approximately 350,000 tweets are sent per minute.

That’s a lot of content being published in the blink (or 15-20 blinks) of an eye.

It’s little wonder that capturing your target audience’s attention can be so difficult.

Digital marketers constantly struggle for the attention of their prospects. To survive in this crowded informational marketplace, you need to stand out.

One surefire way to reach out and grab people’s attention is with visual content.

Why visual content?

Successful brands are often successful because they understand the importance of visual content to their social media design.

Human beings are visual creatures. In fact, visuals are processed 60,000x faster in the human brain than text.

Here are a few other interesting stats:

Visme recently asked some top content marketers for their visual content tips, and Jeff Bullas shared the following advice:

Creating great, effective visual content is a combination of using the right tools and testing the content on different networks. This means posting visuals on Twitter or Instagram or streaming video on Facebook or Periscope. Using the resulting data will then allow you to create more of what works. It’s a combination of art (creativity) and the science (data and technology) of effective content marketing.

How to improve your social media designs

Not everybody likes to read and a lot of people rely on their visual perceptions to interpret information.

Eye-catching imagery therefore plays an integral role in improving your reach to your target audience.

We all recognize that producing regular content is a key factor in maintaining a successful brand, but by enhancing your social media design, you can boost your business sales with greater reach and more engagement.

Something as seemingly simple as using a vibrant palette or a punchy font can make all the difference between someone scrolling past your content on their news feed, and someone having a closer look.

I’ve come up with five awesome social media design hacks which I know will help improve your post’s engagement, because they’ve definitely helped mine!

1. Choose a distinctive color combination

Does your brand have a specific color or colors associated with it?

Color is a key part of brand recognition. Color combinations are all-important in the creation of a post’s mood and in setting the visual tone of the content. A recent study found that 90% of snap judgments made about products are based on color alone.

The better the color combination and the more emotions it conveys, the better the odds of your social media images creating an everlasting impression on their audience.

Every color can be used for a different emotion and thus you should use it accordingly. Here’s a little bit of color psychology as it relates to marketing.

Image Source: Visual.ly

You can see that the color combinations you choose really do make a difference to how people perceive and respond to your brand.

2. Keep your design simple

Keep your design simple and easy to relate to, and you’ll increase the odds that people relate to your social media content.

When it comes to visual content, keeping it simple is key as most people like to receive information in a short and sweet manner with no complexity involved.

You can see how Hubspot does this on their Twitter page.

Their clean, sharp graph with a minimalist layout is both eye-catching and sophisticated.

The best thing about deciding to keep things simple when it comes to design is that it also makes content way quicker for you to create, and forces you to break information down into separate posts. This in turn leaves you with plenty of content to post.

3. Show off key information

Lure your audience in by adopting a show, don’t tell, approach. This means using well-designed visuals to direct your audience’s attention to key information, data or figures.

For example, if you were having a 70% off sale, you could make that ‘70%’ pop out of the image by increasing the text size or back-shadowing it in a different colour.

Simply listing information and not visually promoting it won’t get you anywhere.

In today’s digital age, there’s no call for it. Use tools like Bannersnack to get the upper hand on your typographical hierarchy and create imagery that complements what it is you’re discussing.

Remember, unless the graphic you’re posting highlights the right pieces of information and reflects your brand messages in a thoughtful way, it’s basically useless.

4. Master your typographical style

Does your brand have a consistent font that you use across social media platforms?

If not, you need to determine your brand fonts. They reflect your brand personality and reinforce your tone of voice.

The selection of the perfect font or set of fonts must be done through research and analysis. Fonts play a vital role in the overall appearance of social media designs, so here are some basic typographic principles to follow.

Always keep the readability and legibility in mind when selecting fonts. Also remember the importance of context: fonts that look great in headlines may not work as well for body copy.

Well-crafted typography has the power to allow audiences to quickly scan your content, identify the most important elements and make connections between it and other content from your brand.

Make sure you are evoking a particular feeling or fit with the fonts you use, and that you choose them for utility as well as style.

5. Include a strong call to action

Including a strong call to action – in other words, enticing the audience to carry out further actions in the form of purchasing products, goods and services or downloading a resource – is critical to successful social media design.

But it may surprise you to learn that a good call to action doesn’t have to be created through words.

I mentioned earlier that we’re becoming an increasingly visual culture, and the big benefit of this is that you can complement your call to action with an appropriate and effective visual.

A call to action should first and foremost be engaging, so identify an emotion and build your communication around it. For example, a ‘handwritten’ font might prompt audiences to choose your flower delivery service over a competitors because it implies you offer care and consideration.

A call to action should also be a little bit funny, thought-provoking or unique. Focus on the outcomes for customers of engaging with your call, not the call itself – ‘buy it now’ doesn’t entice people to act but ‘join our community’ might.

Summary

Tweaking some elements in your social media images can do wonders for your business and adopting those tips can have a huge impact on the outcome of your social media marketing!

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Pop-up Shop Marketing: a Quick How-to Guide

 

Why pop-up shops?

As the name suggests, pop-up shops are temporary retail establishments that emerge for a few hours, days or weeks on street corners, in malls and at major public events. The goal of a pop-up shop is to create a new touch point with customers and engage with them in a unique way without having to fully invest in a new store or location.

ADVERTISING

That certainly sounds good, but why are brands really investing in pop-up shops? Well, the first reason has less to do with immediate sales and more to do with branding. Research shows that unique services/products, localized assortments, optimal pricing, convenience and a fun experience are among the top things pop-up shoppers are looking for. By aligning your brand with this temporary sales strategy, you can encourage customers to view you in a new light. In other words, the value extends far beyond the shop itself.

This isn’t to say that pop-up shops aren’t profitable — they certainly are. As expert Humayun Khan explained in a Shopify blog, “A pop-up store can be a bonafide way to explore adding an additional revenue stream to your existing ecommerce business — the reason being that it doesn’t cost nearly as much as going all in when you get started with temporary retail.

“Secondly, if you happen to be in the right place at the right time, you could rake in significant profits for your business minus the traditional risk retailers incur.”

Related: Companies Turn to Pop-Up Events and Stores to Increase Brand Awareness

3. Marketing suggestions

There’s a lot that goes into a pop-up shop, but much of the success (or lack thereof) can be directly tied back to marketing. If the marketing strategy is sound, then foot traffic and sales will follow. But if the strategy is lacking, you may find your pop-up shop to be a waste of resources. Having said that, here are some marketing tips and techniques that other brands successfully implement for high returns:

Build buzz in advance. Think of yourself as a boxing promoter, in the weeks leading up to the pop-up shop. It’s your mission to build as much hype and anticipation around the event as possible. Much of this will happen on social media via event pages, content marketing and possibly some localized PPC advertising.

If you’re a relatively small brand with limited reach, a pop-up shop is an awesome way to link up with some strategic partners. Consider:

  • What brands are out there that further the message of the lifestyle of your own brand?
  • What do your target customers drink? What do they eat? What do they like to snack on?

These are the people that you should reach out to first,” Shopify suggests. “It’s also going to allow you to cross market into other audiences that care about the same thing as your customer, but don’t compete with you at all.”

Nail day-of marketing. While building advance buzz is important, the most critical factor in your success is day-of marketing. For many shoppers, the decision to visit your store is impromptu. If you’re relying only on your pre-marketing, then you’re missing out on a significant source of traffic. So, feel free to get clever and try some new things.

Traditional marketing techniques, however, often work best. Because pop-up shops are local events, printed flyers in highly trafficked areas are extremely effective. (They can be very cost-effective.)

You may also want to get a couple of spots on local radio and TV to help drum up attention. A 30-second promo highlighting the basics is all you need.

Keep promoting after the event. The third stage of pop-up shop marketing actually occurs after the event is over and everything is packed up. This is the time to share pictures and stories on social media. You want those who attended to remember what made the event so great, as as you simultaneously encourage those who didn’t visit to come to your next pop-up event. This is also a great opportunity to remain in contact with customers you met at the pop-up shop via an online newsletter or strategic discount offers.

Related: How Pop-Ups Are Changing Retail

Use your momentum. Very rarely is the pop-up shop itself the end goal. Sure, it can give you a temporary sales boost — but it’s ultimately about momentum. The objective of a pop-up shop is to give your brand the boost it needs to thrive after the temporary event ends. As you transition out of pop-up shop mode and back to normal retailer/etailer mode, be sure to use the momentum you’ve gained to foster future success.

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The 5 Biggest Influencer Marketing Myths That Won’t Die

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3 Major T’s to Cross Before Starting Your Online Store

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By: Toby Nwazor

Consumers have come to expect the speed, ease and convenience of ordering online; they seem to like  sitting back and waiting for their merchandise to be delivered. What’s more, they don’t seem concerned about the fees they have to pay for shipping, either. Less stress in exchange for a token charge doesn’t strike them as such a bad deal.

So, yes, there’s a lot of money on the table for any aspiring entrepreneur to venture into establishing an online store. But, how does one start?

The best place to start

Fortunately, as more people venture into ecommerce, more materials are becoming available on the internet to help. Unfortunately:

  • A lot of that information isn’t good.
  • You’re likely to suffer from information overload.
  • You’re probably be more confused than  when you started out.

So, first, let’s clear about the obvious. An online store fundamentally is comprised of three components:

1. Your platform

There are many ecommerce platforms to choose from, but make sure you go with the one that is easy to set up and use. Go with something you’re comfortable with. You don’t need to have all the payment options that exist, but you still need to find out from your target audience members the type of payment method that would work best for them. For most people, the best option is to allow the use of major credit cards, and accept bank transfers as well.

Related: Ecommerce Basics: 10 Questions to Ask When Creating an Online Store

2. A functioning payment gateway

When choosing a payment gateway, look out for a processor that will enhance your gateway-user experience, that promises to grow with your business and that easily integrates with your current platform. If it doesn’t offer these things, you may have to change and upgrade your platform to make use of the new payment gateways. The most important thing is to get the one that works best for you and your customers irrespective of their location.

3. An effective delivery process

Whether you’re selling physical or virtual products, you need to make sure that your customers actually receive what they pay for, and on time. According to a survey by Dotcom Distributors, “Eighty-seven percent of online shoppers identified shipping speed as a key factor in the decision to shop with an ecommerce brand again.” To most customers, speed is therefore more important than price.

Assuming you have gone through this initial stage, you should get ready to launch. But before the big launch, don’t forget to cross the following T’s:

Set up a sales funnel. The idea behind setting up a sales funnel is to guide you through the whole process that will convert your leads to paying clients. To generate these leads, start by setting up ads on any of the social media channels. This will create a lot of awareness of your store and the products you sell.

Of course there will be some people who will visit your store and buy nothing. To bring those prospects into the fold, use retargeting ads. What this does is to drop something called a “pixel” into the browser of anyone who visits your store; that will make your ads keep showing wherever this prospect goes.

The aim is to keep reminding those people of your offers. Sooner or later, they will give in and buy your products.

Maintain a connection. According to this study by These Social Times, it is cheaper to retain a client than to get a new one. So, it is not enough to make your website SEO-friendly and get tons of first-time visitors. You also need to turn those visitors into repeat customers. And the key to doing that is to maintain a connection with them.

You can do this by boosting engagement on your various social media channels. People value relationships, and if you engage them, they are more likely to buy again. You can equally send weekly newsletters to your buyers, and talk about your latest offers or share useful tips. The more fun and relatable the emails are, the better the results you will get.

Improve your online review. You might take online reviews pretty seriously knowing that 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. In other words, you risk alienating the majority of your buying population when you don’t offer online reviews on your site.

Unfortunately, most people don’t leave reviews when they visit a site, unless it is to make a complaint. But that should not discourage you. You would be surprised at how many people will leave a review if they are prompted, especially if they are satisfied with your product or delivery time. All you need to do is ask.

Related: 6 Signs You Should Open Your Own Online Store

In conclusion, building an online store is no mean feat. But, it is not rocket science, either. These tips should get you started off, running in the right direction.

 

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How to Land Your First Job Using Social Media

 

After graduating college I remember dramatically throwing myself onto my (mother’s) couch and complaining about my unsuccessful job hunt.

“Every ‘entry level’ job wants ‘one to three years of experience’ but how are you supposed to GET experience if you can’t get an entry level job?!” I wailed.

Not only did I lack a wealth of job experience to back me up, I felt like my resume looked virtually identical to the resumes of everyone I graduated with. With my endless supply of free time, I began spending a lot of time on social media (Twitter in particular), following people in my industry who I thought I could at least learn from.

By developing these relationships, participating in conversations, and sharing content, I was unknowingly building a personal brand that filled the void of experience that my resume lacked.

As a result, I’ve had three jobs that can be directly attributed to Twitter—and each one happened in a different way. I used Twitter to build a relationship with someone who eventually became my business partner. I applied for a job I found in a Tweet and ended up moving across the country for it. And most recently, I reached out to someone I followed who worked at a company I wanted to work for (called Hootsuite) and they were able to put me in touch with a hiring manager.

Here’s what I’ve learned about landing a job using social media, and tips for how you can use it to demonstrate your own ambition, common sense, and curiosity—qualities that any employer should always be on the lookout for.

1. Make yourself discoverable

Recruiters use social media the same way everyone else does: for creeping people. When a potential employer searches your name, you want to be able to control what they find as much as possible.

Here are some tips for fine-tuning the SEO of your personal brand:

  • Make sure the name you use on your resume matches the name you use on your social media profiles.
  • If and when possible, use the same handle across all your social networks.
  • Ensure your profiles (especially LinkedIn) have the most up-to-date information about yourself on them. Using the same profile image consistently across each social network can make it easier for people to find you as well.
  • Create a personal website. Even the most simple site can increase the searchability of your name. Kissmetrics suggests creating a separate “profile page” on your site, (using  your name in the URL if possible) and having all of your social profiles link to this page. Services like Squarespace or Wix can make this really easy  to do.
  • If you don’t want to create a full blown website for yourself, Sumry is a webapp that allows you build a beautiful online resume that can also easily be downloaded as a PDF.

2. Balance the personal and professional

You may think you’re covering all your bases by having a squeaky clean social media profile that you link to on your resume and “private” accounts that you use to chronicle all your weekend debauchery. But nothing—I repeat, nothing—you post on social media is private. The day will come when you overlook a crucial privacy setting on Facebook, post something to the wrong account, get tagged in an embarrassing photo, or have a mutual friend in common with your new boss that makes your profile more accessible to them than you’d like it to be.

Instead of leading a double life, try to strike a balance between your professional and personal self on all your social media profiles. Don’t hide your sense of humor or quirky interests, but don’t post anything you’d be embarrassed by a potential boss seeing. This will help protect your reputation online while giving potential employers a glimpse of your personality—something that can help show them you’ll be a good culture fit for the company.

As Hootsuite’s CEO has said himself: “I do think the tide is turning and more people—and employers—are starting to understand that it’s okay to show emotion, vulnerability, joy, silliness, and the whole gamut of human experience on social media. The charade that we’re perfect little worker bees is giving way to an acknowledgement of the complexity and humanity that everyone brings to the table. This kind of honesty makes for a more open and more fulfilling office culture. It builds trust in a profound way.”

3. Write like you mean it

With 44 percent of hiring managers saying that a proficiency in writing is a top skill missing among recent college graduates, how you write on social media is an important reflection of your potential abilities.

You don’t need to Tweet as if you’re a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, but brush up on your spelling and grammar skills, use punctuation properly, and put some effort into the things you write. It won’t go unnoticed.

A great way of showing off your writing chops aside from your cover letter is by publishing posts on LinkedIn Pulse. To get ideas on what to write, browse through some of the most popular posts. Write from your unique perspective as a recent graduate and share your insights about the industry you’re hoping to work in.

4. Get your search on

Along with browsing sites like LinkedIn or Monster, monitoring Twitter is another great way to use social media to find potential job opportunities. Your best bet is to monitor both industry-specific hashtags (#prjobs, for example, is all about job postings for PR and communications) and location-specific hashtags (#austinjobs, #yyzjobs, etc).

Set up search streams in Hootsuite for these hashtags and you’ll be able to see a constant stream of Tweets related to the types of jobs you’re looking for. You can even geo-target the search results so that you only see Tweets posted from within a certain area.

How to Land Your First Job Using Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

  • Click “Add Stream” in your Hootsuite dashboard.
  • Enter your hashtag in the “search query” field under the “Search” tab.

How to Land Your First Job Using Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

  • Geo-target your search by clicking on the arrow in the search query field. It will automatically populate with the coordinates of your current location.

How to Land Your First Job Using Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

  • You can search within a larger area by editing the search radius (which is highlighted here).

5. Make real connections with real people

Instead of sending five emails a day to whom it may concern, social media gives you the opportunity to identify and connect with a real human being who can help move your job search along.

Introducing yourself on social media to a recruiter or hiring manager helps put a face to the name on your resume and keep you top of mind when new opportunities emerge. If introducing yourself to a stranger on social media apropos of nothing isn’t your thing, here are two ways you can ease into networking on social media (while learning a lot in the process).

Twitter Chats

Participate in Twitter chats about the industry you’re hoping to work in. Ask questions and try even sharing some answers when you feel comfortable doing so. Twitter chats are a great educational resource and an even better networking opportunity. Follow the people participating and introduce yourself. Thank people for their insights and ask if they’d be willing to answer any additional questions you may have.

LinkedIn Groups

Joining and participating in groups will allow you to learn directly from professionals in your field, make online connections that could turn into offline opportunities, and increase your visibility on LinkedIn for recruiters and hiring managers.

Browse through the directory of LinkedIn Groups and join a few that you think could benefit you in your job search. Join in on discussions and share relevant content you think the group would appreciate.

Most importantly, check out the “Jobs” tab in each group you join. This is different than the main “Jobs” section of LinkedIn, giving you access to job postings that are tailored for that specific group.

How to Land Your First Job Using Social Media | Hootsuite Blog
The “Jobs” tab is located under the box where you compose messages in your LinkedIn group. Screenshot via LinkedIn.

6. Aim for an informational interview

Along with recruiters and hiring managers, use social media to build relationships with people who can offer long term guidance and open the door for future opportunities.

An informational interview (which is just a fancy term for a conversation) is a way for you to get valuable insights into a particular company or industry and advice for beginning your career. Whether you chat in person, on the phone, or via email, these conversations will help turn your online connections into meaningful offline relationships.

You may instinctively want to aim for high-level executives but don’t ignore the people who are five years or less into their careers. They were in your situation more recently and may be able to offer you more practical advice as a result (plus, their schedules will be a lot more accommodating).

7. Have patience

Building a network, creating relationships, and propelling your career forward will take time—and it won’t always work. You’ll reach out to people and get rejected. You’ll nail a cover letter and never get a call back. You’ll go for an interview and you won’t get the job.

The good news is that social media moves at a lightning pace, meaning there are new opportunities popping up every day. Continue investing time and energy into your personal brand and relationships on social media, and you’re bound to reap the benefits.

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The Best Time to Post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

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