The Fantastic 4 Tools for Social Media Marketers

The Fantastic 4 Tools for Social Media Markters by HighleyDesigned

 

1. Hootsuite

If you’re not using it yet, your life is about to change. Hootsuite allows you to schedule all of your posts for almost every platform in one place. You can also view your newsfeeds and Twitter streams from one place so that you don’t have to login and logout of every account you manage just to comment, like or RT. There are a handful of new sites like Hootsuite, but from my experience none of these new sites offer the sophistication and ease of their predecessor. Hootsuite has everything you need to effectively schedule posts and interact as your brand – all in one place. And it’s less than $10 per month.

2. Evernote

Evernote is a free app you can download on your phone and your computer. It syncs automatically so if you think of an awesome idea or make a note while you’re out and about, it will be on your desktop when you get back to your office. I use this ALL the time. It’s also a great place to save reminders, grocery lists… anything really. When you still have “baby brain” it is truly a life saver!

3. Canva

Canva is an amazing design site that lets you create professional looking social media graphics. It’s perfect for making FB cover photos, Twitter cards, question posts and more. You can choose from pre-made templates or design your own. If you use any of their “paid” elements like a stock photo or a custom design – they only cost $1.00 each. I love using Canva for branded posts. I start with a fun background then do some kind of text overlay – usually a question. These are great for engagement!

4. Unfollowers

If you’re not sure why your Twitter following is stagnant, this is an awesome tool. Unfollowers allows you to see exactly who’s following you, who followed you but unfollowed you and more. It also allows you to schedule Tweets and auto DMs. I don’t like super fake sounding auto DMs, or auto DMs that are trying to sell you something, but a friendly “thanks for following me, etc.” is a great way to start a networking conversation. Using Unfollowers you can track what works and what isn’t as effective so that you can grow your network in a smart way. Most plans start at $5-$10 per month!

 

~ Rachel

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Direct Mail Still Works

Yes, you read it – Direct mail still works. As a marketer you’re probably skeptical, and I was too, but I can tell you for select industries direct mail is still effective.

People are no longer looking for remodelers, movers, or painters in their mailboxes – but they are holding onto fliers from their favorite pizza places, Chinese restaurants and septic pumpers! People love coupons and anyone that leaves menu at your door is probably offering sweet deal. As for septic pumping – most people have no idea who to call so when they receive a flier, they hold onto it (especially if there’s a coupon)!

My husband’s family has a septic company and I’ve been amazed at how successful direct mail has been for them. In our area, most townships require people who have septic systems to have them pumped every 2-4 years. Because there’s a “schedule” so to speak, it makes it simple to figure out when you should do a direct mail blast. Within days of sending out fliers, the business will get phone calls from people calling to schedule their pumping because they got their “reminder” in the mail.

The best thing about direct mail is that it’s cheap! Yes, it can add up when you send thousands of postcards or fliers, but the ROI is huge. I use Next Day Flyers btw – the cheapest printing costs I’ve found. What I’ve learned through direct mail, is that when it comes to marketing you have to do what works! In most industries nowadays, direct mail is not effective, but for the septic business, it is.

Before you jump into any new marketing endeavor, think about how you would make a purchasing decision – would you hold onto a flier from a service provider? Would you search online? Would you go to a place like Angie’s List or ask a friend? If you wouldn’t do it, chances are others won’t either so don’t waste your money.

Email marketing is a big one these days that’s effective for some industries and not for others. Email marketing is much more effective for ecommerce sellers than service providers. Again, think about how you make purchasing decisions. If you get an email from Amazon or Macy’s, you might click through to see what sales they’re having or to use a coupon code – but if you get an email from your local plumber you’re probably wondering why you’re on their email list and the message goes straight to the “trash.”

But back to direct mail… Here’s one of the most effective direct mail postcards I created for John Kline Septic Services this year. Key features include a well-branded color scheme, bold fonts and of course, a coupon!

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7 Skills Awesome Social Media Manager’s Have Mastered

Tulip Garden

Lots of small businesses use someone in-house for their social media needs and it turns into a “blind leading the blind” scenario.  Just because the girl at the front desk has the newest iPhone, does not mean she can take great pictures or post engaging content. There’s nothing wrong with using someone in-house to manage your company’s social media pages, but before you ask someone to do it, there are some things you should consider. An awesome social media manager will possess each of these skills and know how to truly engage your target audience which is the goal of social media. So before assigning the task to someone in-house, ask yourself these questions or make this checklist a part of your hiring plan:

  1. Does your potential social media manager understand your business and know how to use a consist “voice” when it comes to posting content? Is their “voice” appropriate for your company and your target audience?
  2. Does this person have excellent writing skills? You want to make sure anything you’re posting on social media is an example of your best work. Typos and grammatical errors are simply unacceptable from someone that is acting as the “voice” of your company.
  3. Is this person knowledgeable of industry trends, pop culture, local events and holidays? You want your social media manager to relate to your target audience – they might be an expert in your business but if they can’t make a connection between what your business does and what consumers want to hear about you’re in trouble. Your social media manager doesn’t have to be young, but someone who’s well connected and knows how to use trending topics is a must.
  4. Does your potential social media manager have a new smart phone that’s capable of taking great photos? If not, consider supplying this. Photos are essential for social media and you need to make sure the person you’re entrusting your social media with knows how to take good pictures. Again, anything you’re posting online is a reflection of your company. Make sure the person who’s posting is capable of posting top-notch photos.
  5. Does this person know how to use apps like PicMonkey or Canva for creating social media graphics? If the answer is no, you’re dealing with an amateur. Sit down and review the apps together and get a better idea of your potential smm’s capabilities. Do they have an eye for detail? Are they able to create visually appealing graphics, headers etc?
  6. Is this person good at managing their time? Do they know how to schedule posts ahead of time? Social media can become a distraction if it’s not managed wisely. You want to make sure your smm is capable of scheduling posts ahead of time and staying productive. You also want to be sure this person will be attentive and quick to respond to comments and messages when necessary.
  7. Does this person have any experience with social media ads? Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest all offer affordable ways to advertise and promote events. If you want to take advantage of ads make sure your smm knows how to run a successful campaign – or is willing to learn. There’s nothing wrong with learning as you go, but makes sure whoever you’ve trusted with your social media is honest enough to admit when they need help or additional training. There are countless tutorials and webinars that can help you learn about ads, graphics and other features. Another way to learn is to follow social media blogs that share tips, best practices and more!

If you don’t feel confident using someone in-house for your social media you’re not alone. Many businesses these days are hiring marketing firms to manage their social media for them, but some come at a steep price. If price is an issue, look for a freelancer or someone that’s just starting out in the marketing business. If you’d like more information or pricing info for HighleyDesigned Marketing & Creative, I’m happy to set up a FREE 20 minute consultation. Use the contact form on my “About” page.

Thanks!

What To Look For Before Hiring a Social Media or Web Design Company

Don't be afraid to take a closer look!

Don’t be afraid to take a closer look!

Lots of people claim to be web designers or social media experts nowadays, but before you decide on a company to create your website or handle your FB business page there’s a few things you should look for. Remember, a cheap but poorly designed website will cost you more in the long run than making a solid investment on a well designed, mobile friendly site upfront.

With website builders like DudaOne, Wix and Weebly, there’s no excuse for an outdated looking website these days. Make sure the person you’re working with is experienced, knowledgeable and has an eye for design. Last but not least, make sure your web designer or social media guru knows how to write. Many web designers use copy writers which is a sign they know what they’re good at… and what they’re not.

Here are the three key things to look for when hiring a virtual assistant or web design / social media company:

1. Check out their work – if you don’t like the websites they’ve designed already, they probably aren’t the best fit for your business.
2. Review their copy writing – typos and grammatical errors should be a red flag.
3. Ask for references – if the individual or company does good work they should be able to provide you with a list of happy customers to talk to.

If you don’t feel 100% confident in your web designer or “virtual assistant,” chances are you should go with your gut. Your FB business page is the voice of your company and your website is a reflection of your business so you don’t want to put anything out there that isn’t your best.

~Rachel

To Pin or Not to Pin

Newsletter header

Pinterest is such a great way to interact with potential customers but it can be a little intimidating if you’ve never “pinned” before. I manage numerous Pinterest accounts for my clients and I get asked questions like, well what should I pin? What boards should I be adding things to? These are great questions so I thought this month I’d take some time to highlight the dos and don’ts of Pinterest. There’s a lot of fun holidays coming up like St. Patrick’s Day, Easter and spring in general, so now’s a great time to learn a little more about the social networking site everyone is talking about! Here are my top 5 tips for maintaining a successful Pinterest page for your business.

  1. Plan Ahead
    Don’t just login and pin a bunch of newly listed products. A general rule of thumb – for every 1 product pin, be sure to pin 3-4 other photos, DIY ideas, etc. If you want to start a themed board for holidays or events, create the board at least one month ahead of time so followers have time to repin their favorites! Some ideas for spring include baby showers, weddings and bridal showers, spring decor, gardening, summer vacation ideas, money saving tips, and spring cleaning.
  2. Optimize & Cross Promote
    Many of my clients have their Pinterest page linked to their Twitter page which is a great way to optimize content and have it seen by more people, but be careful not to over-share. Only share your best pins on multiple platforms and be sure to give all of your pins a nice description. Use hashtags when relevant, but again, don’t over-do it. Stick to 1-3 hashtags and try to make one of them a trending topic. For example, #Vintage #Jewelry #ValentinesGiftIdeas.
  3. Pin What People Are Talking About
    Home décor, organization, quotes, fashion, kids, weddings and recipes are always popular on Pinterest! Find ways to connect your brand’s messaging to topics that are already popular on the platform. If you sell a variety of products that fall into the vintage or antique categories, consider pinning home décor ideas that show how to incorporate vintage and antique finds. If you sell craft supplies, pin tutorials and crafty DIY ideas that show your followers what your brand is all about. Try to make sure every board has a nice mixture of product pins and “other” pins.
  4. Quality Over Quantity
    When it comes to Pinterest, you will find some pinners have thousands of pins and hundreds of different boards but chances are they’ve been using the social platform for a long period of time. Don’t feel like you need to fill up all of your boards right away – stick to quality over quantity. With product pins, only pin your best photos! You might have a great set of vintage dishes for sale in your eBay store, but if you don’t have high quality photos, don’t pin.Pinterest should be considered a showcase of your best work. Similarly, when re-pinning DIY ideas, home décor and recipes, try to stick to pins that have a high number of “likes” and “repins.” Don’t waste time pinning an Irish soda bread recipe that has 1 like and 3 repins when you can find another one that has proven more popular with thousands of likes and repins.
  5. Connect With Your Followers
    After you’ve established your Pinterest page, go beyond re-pinnning and start following, liking and commenting on other Pinterest user’s content to maintain a conversation with your audience. This is a great way to build your fan base and show that you’re not just a robot – you are a person with a brand that has a message.

~Rachel

Write About What You Love

I recently did a blog post for Re-Bath & More that was so fun to write because it was about one of my favorite things… dogs! One of the things I’ve learned as a writer is that it is so much easier to write about things you love.  So when you’re facing writers block, think about your hobbies, your favorite sports or animals and the things you’re good at.  Then find a way to tie that into your theme and you will be writing in no time.  As a copy writer and blogger it can be tough to constantly come up with interesting topics about bathrooms, food, home appliances, small businesses (you get my drift) – but if you think of a way to tie in something you love your article will be sure to resonate with others.  Happy blogging!

 

Dogs Need Baths Too

Originally Published on ReBathandMore.com

Woof!

Woof!

If you’re like us, your dog is not just a pet, he or she is a part of the family; so when you remodel your bathroom you may want to consider where Fido does most of his bathing.  Do you struggle to get your dog into the bathtub? Or does your puppy like to follow you everywhere including the shower? All dogs are different, but these tips can help you make bath time fun for both you and your furry best friend.

Getting Started

First steps first, you may like your brand new bathroom but new tile flooring can feel cold and slippery to your dog.  To prevent your dog from slipping or scratching your new bathroom floor, be sure to clip nails before bath time and place a large towel or blanket in front of the bathtub or shower so your dog feels warm and comfortable.  If you have a long haired dog, brushing your dog beforehand will help with excess shedding that can cause a clogged drain.  It’s also a great way to calm a nervous puppy.  When Fido is ready, be sure to introduce him to the water slowly.  And remember, if it feels too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your dog.  Bring the water to a luke-warm temperature and use treats to reward your dog for good behavior during bath time.

Bath Time

To protect your brand new bathtub or shower base, a non-slip mat is a great idea.  Your dog will also feel more comfortable as they will be able to get a better footing.  If you don’t have a hand shower, use a cup or even a small bowl to gradually get your dog wet and then apply a small amount of doggie shampoo. Keep in mind, “less is more” when it comes to bath products.  Try to avoid your dog’s head and ears and gently lather the shampoo from shoulders to tail.  If you have a large dog, an extra set of hands is helpful.

A hand-shower makes rinsing easy but if you don’t have one a cup or bowl will do the trick.  A wet dog will want to shake dry so use treats to keep your dog calm.  Be sure to dry your dog thoroughly and if it’s cold outside don’t hesitate to use a blow dryer.

Bath Time Dos and Don’ts

Some things to keep in mind before you break out the towels and the puppy shampoo.

  • Do not – bathe your dog for 48 hours after applying flea or tick medication like Frontline
  • Do not – use cold water
  • Do not – put your dog in a full tub of water right away
  • Do not – use “people” shampoo, it can sting your puppy’s eyes

 

  • Do – bathe your dog regularly
  • Do – use luke-warm water
  • Do – ease your dog into the water gradually
  • Do – brush your dog before bath time to prevent a clogged drain

If you follow these tips we’re sure both you and your dog will love your brand new bathroom!

 

3 DIY Ideas to Spruce Up Your Space this Summer

(Photos courtesy of Pinterest)

Summertime is a great time to work on those DIY projects you pinned to your Pinterest page and never actually attempted.  Maybe your “Pin-spirations” seemed too complicated or you simply didn’t have the time – either way, we’ve picked three of our favorite DIY ideas for summer that are sure to spruce up your space and all they require is a little creativity (and a trip to the hardware store).  Get the paint smock ready!

DIY Idea #1 – Create a Rain Gutter Reading Corner

This is a great way to create a reading corner that’s fun for the kids but functional for mom and dad.  Simply purchase vinyl rain gutters at your local Home Depot and arrange them the way you like.  For a perfect fit in the corners, you may want to purchase some Inside Mitre pieces.  Use a level to make sure they’re straight and voila! A reading corner that features a unique way to display your books and a handy storage solution. The gutters will look great and are sturdy enough to hold tons of books and stuffed critters too.

Rain Gutter Reading Corner

 

 DIY Idea #2 – Spruce Up Your Filing Cabinet with Chalkboard Paint

Give your old filing cabinet a makeover! Purchase chalkboard paint at your local Home Depot and create a whole new look.  Whether you paint the sides or just the front so you can label the drawers, chalkboard paint can turn a dingy filing cabinet into a hip piece of office furniture.  A 30-oz. can costs about $10 and can cover your filing cabinet and more.  Chalkboard paint creates a usable chalkboard on surfaces including wood, metal, concrete, masonry and drywall. Use the extra paint to make a chalkboard in the kid’s room and see how excited they get when you tell them it’s okay to draw on that part of the wall! Chalkboard painted areas erase easily and can be cleaned with soap and water.

Chalkboard Paint - Filing Cabinet

DIY Idea #3 – Creative Storage Solutions for Kitchen and Bathroom Products

It’s hard to stay clean when things don’t have a “place.” Create a place for everything this summer so that even the kids know where to put things away.  An inexpensive way to create storage in the kitchen or bathroom is with desk organizers.  Wire desk organizers come in all different shapes and sizes and the holes in them make them easy to hang with just a few thumb tacks that won’t cause damage to your cabinets.  Measure your cabinet doors and then take a trip to your local office supply store or Home Goods where you can find tons of discount office and kitchen items.  The desk organizer in this photo is perfect for kitchen wraps and foil but could also work well in the bathroom for curling irons, straightners, etc.

Kitchen or Bath Storage

 

Originally written for the Re-Bath & More Blog. Find out what great copy writing can do for your business! Contact HighleyDesigned today.