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SocialMediaWeddingCake

I spent most of this past Sunday reviewing all of the directories and social media outlets I’ve used in the past. Not just for me, but for a few other accounts I manage. What a process. There is one thing I’ve learned from this — you don’t need to marry your social media. It’s not a matter of till death do you part – for better or for worse – for richer or for poorer. You definitely want better, richer and let’s not go there about death. There is no need to be chained to something that no longer works for you or to be wary of finding a new social media partner. Unlike other things you can do to promote your brand, like ads, email, brochures, catalogs, trade shows, etc. social media is very fluid. The outlets you chose some time ago may not be what they were at this time. I was surprised to find out how much many of the sites, apps, and directories had changed over time. Some no longer existed.

The time aspect of social media becomes obvious pretty quickly once you dive in. You can become immersed and the next thing you know a few hours have passed. Not so great if you’re working alone. Most likely you’ve used up valuable time that should have gone toward something else. Not knowing your budget, I can understand that you may have a tough time justifying hiring someone to handle all of your social media needs. It can get pricey. You’d have to stay on top of things to make sure you’re getting a good return for your investment.

The bottomline to all of this is that I’ve come to the conclusion that while you should definitely date many social media outlets, there’s no reason to get tied down to one, or two, or three. The very fluid nature of social media is reason enough to learn to go with the flow. Pick what works best for you and your business. Learn how to work it so you get the return you’re looking for. Be sure you know exactly what that is. You need a goal in order to know if you are successful. Don’t think for a minute that once you’ve established accounts in various social media outlets that that is it. Oh no, not by a long shot. You will need to monitor it. Change with it. Change with your demographic’s perception of it. And sometimes you’ll need to lose it. Yes, it may no longer work for you. Maybe it never did. Let it go… On the flip side, maybe it’s time to revisit some outlets that you thought you didn’t need before but now will be a better fit. Your customer wasn’t into Instagram or YouTube videos a few years back, but now you know they are more likely to follow you. If you have a younger base, you have to know that they moved away from Facebook and are more likely to post and view things on Instagram, Snapchat and Periscope.

Social media requires you to be an educated user. If you don’t research its potential and vet each outlet you might be wasting your time. Who needs to dedicate hours to something that ultimately will fail? No me. Not you. Read. Read everything you can get your hands on that explains social media. You should have a full understanding of what you can and shouldn’t expect to get out of it. Realize that it’s not a genie in a computer screen. It won’t magically increase your customer base, your sales, your brand’s appeal. It can only enhance it. Or if done wrong, solidify a poor opinion. By all means, learn to be flexible. Switch it up a little. Change the time you post. The day. Change how often you post and where. Try something new. Get your customers involved. Ask for their input. Offer a reward for having a conversation with you. Build a bond.

Most of all — if you ever feel overwhelmed, ask for help. That’s what people like me and BoyDog Design are for.

If you’d like to read some articles about social media, I’ve posted a few the past few days on the BoyDog Design Facebook page. Feel free to check them out.

 

Social Media iconsI came across a great article by Hootsuite today, 5 Reasons Why A Social Media Content Calendar is Important For Your Business. I’ve been immersed in social media since it started trending. So much so that I felt completely overwhelmed with the responsibilities involved in posting in a timely manner and where I intended the content to appear. It seemed like I was spending so much time on social media that I was neglecting some of my other responsibilities. As time went on I just gave up. Enough already!

So I’m back! I decided to get busy.

Today while browsing my Twitter feed I came across the above-mentioned article. It got me to thinking how similar the job of a traffic manager in an advertising agency is to managing social media. Honestly, I had never put the two together before. Lightbulb went off today… I’ve worked as a marketing manager and I always had a good six months schedule planned out for all of my media resources. Print, trade shows, promo items – it was all on a spreadsheet that made my life easier. I had a spreadsheet of all of my advertising – magazine, date, product, etc. So why is it I never put social media into the mix?

I’m guessing in the beginning I was so wrapped up on learning the ins and outs of social media. Finding all of the available social media apps. Organizing what goes where. Too make it even more difficult I was posting for multiple accounts. Time has passed. It’s not longer a new thing for me, or anyone else for that matter. It’s time to settle down, get organized, and start posting again.

If you have a minute or two in your day you should check out the article I came across. Very helpful.

 

I suspect that as I get into this it may turn a bit snarky. I’m at a point right now where I vacillate between my genuine love of design and my disappointment in some of the absolute crap I see out there. I can’t help but notice the design that is born from an educated eye and respect for design. It is then coupled with a complete ignorance for design principle and put out for consumption simply because “they can” and with no regard for what preceded them in the design world. Yes, I am a design snob. And I can’t “get over it”.

I shake my head sometimes as I see a new commercial or print ad (albeit a print ad that I see on my iPad because I admit I read magazines online via a really cool app). I have to wonder how the pitch went for some of this stuff. Wouldn’t it be great if we did some really stupid stunt and combined it with some inane copy. Better yet, let’s crowdsource and pull some online babble. It’s so relatable to the public and it’s bound to be a hit. Speaking of hits – it’s bound to be “liked” by tons of people. This is when I start to wonder why this bullshit is tolerated.

When I was learning the ins and outs of advertising in college we had a few categories that our ads were put in. The point of these categories was to weed out the crap and leave the cream so ads could be refined and have some sort of plausible basis for being considered for presentation to a client. It was a brutal process at times. Ads pinned up on the wall and each one was critiqued by some of these standards:

  • Excellent
  • Good
  • Bad
  • I Don’t Get It
  • I’ve Seen It Before
  • Bullshit
  • Too Cute

It was not uncommon to put your ad up for review and have it torn to pieces during the critique. That’s how we all learned. It helped develop a mindset that wasn’t in a rush to put out crap for public consumption. (I’m reading through this now and I realize I use the word crap a lot. If it offends you, “get over it”.)

Now I know that business is all about making money. Money, money, money. I also know that there a some designers and artists who have made a very comfortable living putting out sub-standard work. For some reason they’ve caught on – they trend, they fascinate, they entice, they are provocative. Oooohhh! Unfortunately I’m not one of them. I can’t get those design principles out of my head.

I know that thinking out of the box will bring along innovation and a unique perspective. I’m all for that. Times change and the things that people relate to change with them. I get that. Demographics change. The economy takes its toll. People leave the industry and new people step in. Change is inevitable. I get it. At some point though I can’t help but wonder what happens when little by little we let basic design principles become eroded and disappear. I’ll use my local newspaper as an example. Some months back they set out to redesign the paper. One day I opened the paper and wondered, “What the hell happened here?” My eyes were having trouble focusing on the articles because they had used multiple fonts in multiple type sizes. HUGE headlines and then teeny tiny copy for some while others had whacky font choices and big spaces (kerning) in the copy. It takes a few days and finally the editor writes that they are in a redesign process and, yes, they’ve heard from people about how bad it looks. OMG! To date it’s not uncommon to see widows and orphans in the typeset. Articles just end in mid-sentence. And those pesky fonts keep showing up now and again. I suppose if the most important goal is to keep those circulation numbers up you’ll let a few things slide.

It’s no different online. Some websites were fantastic for their navigation. Then one day for whatever their reasoning they’ve changed things and now it takes more clicks to get to where you want to go. It isn’t intuitive anymore. I find myself just staring at the page – I can’t figure out where I’m supposed to go. I love animation. I love slideshows. I also like the ability to read. Simply read the information I’m interested in. It doesn’t have to move. It just needs to sit there and be readable. I understand that there are many ways to construct sites these days. They each have their own perks. Some just look cool. Some can be maintained by their administrators. I know companies like that. There are the ones with the latest bells and whistles – what’s trending in tech design at the moment. Not always a bad thing I must say. It’s not for me to figure out why they do what they do. I do know that I’m going to notice things. I’m going to notice the inconsistencies, the lack of continuity, the navigation issues, the use of art and the way it’s all composed on the page. I am, as I’ve already confessed, a design snob. I will ultimately wonder where we’re headed if the lack of design standards appears to be the way we do things in the future. Will anybody notice the sloppy work? Will anybody question the composition of an ad? Will online and print media turn into a mere scrapbook of ideas, art, and type that are put together disguised as professionally designed media? If the public doesn’t notice, who will care? If the money keeps rolling in, why bother? If the future of design devolves into what’s the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way to communicate then I’m going to be very sad. For me it all comes down to design. I love it. I want to preserve the best of design. No shortcuts. No sloppy work. No babble for copy. No crap.

Postscript: I wrote this almost a year ago. Never posted it because I thought it might be a bit much. Looking at it now, I have to say my thoughts are the same — so here it is…

 

orchid-226x300 Radiant Orchid has been chosen as the IT color for 2014. As stated in Pantone’s press release, this shade of purple has “an enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm.”

I couldn’t be happier as this is one of my favorite colors! Let’s see how this choice influences design in the coming year.

 

Came across these great tips. If you don’t use hashtags or want to but aren’t sure exactly how to utilize them, these tips are for you.

http://www.b2bmarketing.net/blog/posts/2013/01/17/simple-tips-make-your-hashtags-work

 

photo by Campbell Soup Company

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Andy Warhol’s 1962 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans piece, Campbell’s released a limited edition collection of soup cans featuring pop art labels from original Warhol artwork. It’s amazing to see a well-known product take on a new persona with the addition of some new colors and a bit of tweaking to the type.

If you’d like to read a little more about it Laughing Squid posted an article with more photos and links to check out.

 

May 4, 2012

Here are today’s links:

30 High Quality and Operative Rubber Tire Textures

10+ jQuery Image Gallery/Slider Tutorials

25 Photoshop Tutorials of April 2012

PSD Candy Text Effect

Stunning Collection of Colorful Photoshop Tutorials

22 HTML5/CSS3/jQuery Tutorials for Frontend Web Developers

You never know what you’ll find. One of the links just might be the answer to your question of the day. As always, if you have a link that you think would be helpful, please pass it along. Enjoy!

May 3, 2012

Here are today’s links:

25+ Free UI Element Packs & PSD For Web Designers

150+ Free and High Resolution Cloud Brushes for Photoshop

35 Creative Examples of Typography Artwork (inspiration)

12 Amazing and New CSS3 Tutorials

30 Fresh Free Fonts

You never know what you’ll find. One of the links just might be the answer to your question of the day. As always, if you have a link that you think would be helpful, please pass it along. Enjoy!

May 2, 2012

Here are today’s links:

8 Great Websites to Learn Step-by-Step jQuery

60+ High-Quality Graffiti Fonts for Your Design Works

26 Beautiful Free Retro Style Fonts 

You never know what you’ll find. One of the links just might be the answer to your question of the day. As always, if you have a link that you think would be helpful, please pass it along. Enjoy!

May 1, 2012

Here are today’s links:

13 Best Pinterest Tools And Apps

Professional PSD: How to Properly Prepare a Design for Development 

Typography tutorials: 50 clever ways of working with type

22 Hot & Awesome PS Tutorials

Free Stone Textures

Helping Differentiate 11 Typography Types with Examples

You never know what you’ll find. One of the links just might be the answer to your question of the day. As always, if you have a link that you think would be helpful, please pass it along. Enjoy!