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Social Media Image Maker

Social Media Image Maker

At Boundless we believe in sharing helpful news any chance we can. There is a lot of information ‘out there’ and if we can point people in the right direction, we’re happy campers…and hopefully so are you. Today we’re giving a huge shout out to Autre Planete for making digital lives so much easier! Not every person/company has a graphic designer on hand to pump out dimension-perfect images for all their social media platforms. Autre Planete has created an online image template tool that makes updating your images super easy. The image maker tool works for the following platforms:

  • Facebook (updated)
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Google+ (new size)
  • Flickr
  • Vimeo
  • Pinterest
  • Skype
  • Tumblr
  • LinkedIn
  • Gravatar
  • Xing
  • Viadeo
  • Slideshares
  • Foursquare
  • About.me

 

5 Ways to Add a Physical Heartbeat to Your Digital Presence

Humanizing your digital voice is a must now days. Long gone are the companies that churn and burn through their sales leads on a great product alone. Customers want a relationship with their providers and if you don’t give that to them, your competitor will be happy to step in and take them. It’s about showing that potential client that you care about their needs and they are important to you.  They need to feel it, hear it, and see it.

Let’s talk about some basic steps to keep in mind as you approach this concept with your company:

1. Talk WITH your customers; not AT them.
There are enough companies that annoy their audience online, on tv and on radio. Don’t be that company. Megaphone marketing doesn’t build relationships. You can’t be a solution provider if you’re too busy talking. Relationships are formed through conversations.

2. Stop forcing your language onto your customers.
Your followers are not a part of your corporate team so why talk to them as if they are? Speak the language they use and understand. Throwing out acronyms may make you feel like you know your product, but you’ve lost your customer.  This also includes how you talk to your audience. Arrogance has no place in your digital space. Word of mouth comes from both a great product and a humble and passionate team.

3. Research your approach.
There are so many approaches to reaching your audience digitally. You need to find the strategy that works best for your target audience and future customers. Here a few things to keep in mind while researching your strategy:

  • How successful companies are doing it – If they have a proven record, glean from their experience and apply it to your objectives.
  • One size does not fit all – Keep in mind that just because “Joe Blow” is on every digital platform does not mean that it is applicable for your situation.
  • Give your exec’s their own voice – With a strong social media policy in place, having your top executives online boosts your company’s presence and influence.
  • Show us real people…not just logos – Even if you are a business-to-business ran company, you’re reaching humans. Help them relate to you by giving them a face to look at.

4. Don’t give lip service.
If you say you are all about customer service, then you have a responsibility to go above and beyond in service. Don’t just publicly thank the big dogs…every customer is a gift. Treat them as such.

 5. Be the storytellers.
Talking about your brand through storytelling is a great way to connect with your audience emotionally. Those stories linger with them as they consider your company as a resource. Share photos and videos of your team. It’s more meaningful if they have a face to put with a name.

By keeping these foundational ideas at the forefront of your digital strategy, it will help you keep the human factor as part of your brand’s outreach.

Photo Credit: Alex Dram

The Human Factor

In real life, your days can very quickly turn into hours of The Twilight Zone. One moment you’re getting up and making your morning coffee and before you know it, autopilot takes over and you find yourself crawling into bed thinking…”What happened to that to-do list and where did the day go?!” Autopilot is a kick in the pants. It’s great for the days when you just need to keep moving or you’ll fall over. But on those days when you need to focus, it steals the hours away.

Autopilot takes away the human factor. Even on social media platforms, where the point is to be social, Mr. Autopilot hits the ‘like’ button without giving thoughts. He also gets on Twitter (“because I have to”) and sends out a bunch of retweets, maybe throws out a few quotes, then calls it a day.

“There aren’t enough hours in the day!”

We all get that but we’re supposed to be real. So if you’re tired and don’t have an ounce of brain cells to form an update…say that! I bet you get an “Amen!” or two on that one. How about a couple of more hints on how to stave off the boring content:

1. Strategy – If you have an ongoing media strategy, it will help you stay on track with all your outreaches. There should always be a direction on how you are engaging with your followers. If you’re consistent, they know what to expect, feel comfortable with that, and it breeds loyalty.

2. Editorial Calendar – Yes, it can be overwhelming at first, but it’s worth that initial tackle. A calendar is what gets you through those days where you are drained of anything creative. You’ll be amazed to find that in a lot of cases planned posts, tweets, etc lend to more creative conversations (which hopefully grows your conversion rates).

3. Unplug – With the help of having a strategy and calendar, you should be able to free up more time to unplug. We all need times where we walk away and enjoy real life. When’s the last time you took a walk to enjoy the scenery? Take at least one day a week to disconnect and rediscover life unplugged.

I just want to encourage you, even though you may have days where you feel like Artificial Intelligence, you’re the real thing (…and people want the real thing!)

 Photo Credit: baboon™

It’s time to slow down

Christmas Chaos

It’s almost the end of the year…let the chaos begin! Or continue, if we’re going to be completely honest. If you’re like a lot of folks, we’re scrambling with all the to-do lists that remind us of the lack of time we have left to do things. Like…

  • Budget’s should have been done
  • Don’t even want to think about gearing up for 2013
  • Just a few more weeks left to meet year-end goals

Oh, and your family, friends and employees are more interested in the upcoming holidays.

It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed, under-appreciated and just a little bit of a hum-bug. I want to encourage you that these signs just mean one thing…you need to slow down. You are going to miss the camaraderie, excitement, and fulfillment of a year gone by and new beginnings coming soon. Here are just a few things to keep in mind while heading into December.

Slow down…and give. Giving of your time and/or offerings is the quickest way to get your mind of your stress. After all, this upcoming holiday is about focusing on others. Lead by example.

Slow down…and laugh. Laughter is the best medicine.  A health body and healthy heart…sounds like a good start to the end of 2012.

Slow down…and reflect. Have you made mistakes? Sure…who hasn’t. Learn from it and do it better in 2013. What have you done that you’re proud of? Remember to do it again. Reflecting is a great way to stay focused on what works in your personal or professional life.

Enjoy the next month of 2012 and start out the new year with renewed strength, humor and love. I can’t think of a better gift to yourself and your family.

Enjoying the holidays with you!

Photo by thewoodenshoes

Information Sharing

Information sharing

IF YOU GET IT, SHARE IT.

Anyone connected to one of the 300+ chapters of the Social Media Club, knows this is not only their tagline, but also their focus. The great thing about sharing information within your industry is you always get that opportunity to learn more yourself and stay current with what is trending in your area.
So you want to share and you want to learn. Great!

How do you filter through all the voices online telling you to look their way because they have either the most experience or they’re the loudest voice? A lot of us tend to read the same blogs and hear the same ideas/thoughts. Nothing wrong with those favorites, but if you find yourself in a rut, it’s time to branch out.  Here are some ways to stay current in your industry or just keep up on the latest things you enjoy.

1. Technorati/Stumble Upon – I know they have been around for quite awhile which is why I think some people overlook them, but they can be a great source of new blogs with new information you’re missing.

2. Social Media chats and forums – I have found some of the best sites/blogs by connecting with others in my field through Twitter chats, online forums and LinkedIn Groups. There are so many others that want to make that same connection with you.

3. Conferences – You can do this without breaking the bank. There are some pricey conferences that are completely worth it, but you can also learn and connect with others through local events put on by your Chamber of Commerce or nearest Social Media Club.

Don’t let your fears (or pride, for that matter) get in the way of learning more and giving back. Have fun and connect!

Photo credit: furiousgeorge81

Helpful Social Media Blogs

By a variety of counts, there are over 450 million “active” blogs. I get asked quite often which one’s are best for helpful social media information. There are some pretty good ones, but there are some tried and true that are my go-to’s.  There are some that I dig into for the meat of social media, but this list is not for that. This list includes blogs that are written by people who get to the point and help share what they’ve learned.

  1. Socialbrite – This site is written specifically for non-profits, however the information given is great for any business or individual who are looking to better their skills.
  2. Socialnomics – Erik can get heady sometimes, but all in all he shares great information. I feel safe in saying he is the king of statitsics and case studies.
  3. Heidi Cohen– Heidi’s blog is an “actionable” marketing blog, but that means she’s a well-rounded blogger that touches on everything needed to keep you up to snuff with integrated marketing tips.
  4. Pushing Social – Stanford specializes in blogging while integrating it with other social media outlets.
  5. Jeff Bullas – Jeff is pretty straightforward as far giving information that is digestible and manageable.

As already mentioned, there are a lot of options out there for helpful social media blogs, but if you haven’t checked out the above list, please do. It will be worth your while!

Photo credit: H is for Home

 

Traditional media vs. Social Media

Traditional media is not going away. Social media is not going away. Here’s a visual: traditional media is like the older brother who has to get used to his new, loud and intrusive brother. However, as with most siblings, they learn pretty quick how to work together to get what they want from their parents/audience.

Not sure how to integrate the two for your business? Here are 3 ideas to get you started on the right path:

Use traditional media to promote your social media presence. It takes 7 “touches” before a typical audience receives the message you’re trying to get out. Some ideas:

~QR code in a print ad directing them to one of your social media platform pages (FB fan page, Google + page). This is great if you’re having a contest.
~Put your Facebook page URL on your billboard/print ad.
~Don’t forget to add all your social media accounts to your invoices, service agreements, etc.

Test out a new product on your social media followers to get feedback before advertising through traditional media outlets. This lets your social media audience feel like they have a special voice in your company.

Promote changes you’re making in your product/service/company due to social media conversations with customers. This tells your customers that their opinions matter and you use social media to build relationship.

As with any kind of marketing strategies, you have to follow through. If you are going to tell your customers that “we’re listening to you!”, then you better go above and beyond that.

I hope these ideas start generating thoughts that are specific to your business culture. I’d love to hear how you are using both medias to reach your audience!

Choosing the Right Team

Team meeting

Gaston Glock – He was doing a pretty good job selling his new gun design in Austria, but wanted to branch in out into the US. Gaston was not a salesman. He knew his limits and chose to partner up with someone who excelled in what he couldn’t do. Carl Walter was already selling guns and ammunition in the US. With the help of Carl’s salesmanship and marketing skills & Gaston’s excellent design, the Glock is used more than any other gun in the US.

James A Folgers II– James’ father founded Folgers in California and was the first roasting company to introduce bulk buying and various levels of roasting. He had a great business mind, but he needed someone to sell it outside of where they were located. James hired an energetic salesman, Frank P Atha to cover the North Beach. Soon Atha came to James and said, “I need more room! I can do so much more for Folgers if you send me to Texas.” Atha opened and managed a coffee plant in Texas and as the saying goes, and in all reality…the rest was history.

In both those case, the original founders of these products knew how to make the products the very best it can be, but they also knew their limitations. A great partnership and team works this way. No one person has all the answers. But if you put key players, with their individual expert background, in place you’ll have an incredible team!

Look at the employees at your company. Examine the peers in your BNI. Evaluate your team in any other group organization. Are you all suited to help hone each others skills? Is there a gaping hole in your well-oiled suit of armor? Your customers will see it, I promise.

Sometimes a hard-to-say “no” now, will save you from a painful and expensive “no” later.

Photo credit

4 Bottom-line Social Media Strategies

The right direction

Which way do I go?“What should my social media strategy be?” Oy! I get asked that quite often. I know they would really like a 2-minute, secret-to-success answer, but there’s no way I could do that. I also get, “I hear that Joe Blow’s company is doing this and this…so we’re starting to do that too.” I always respond: “Why?” Then I get the proverbial stare with a few blinks.

Every business should have their own creative ideas and goals. Customer service should be your business and your services or products is how to you serve them. With that in mind here are four basic, bottom-line strategies that all companies should keep in mind:

1. C-suite / Upper management must believe…not just be “on board”. If a CEO is saying, “Sure we should use that social media…stuff,” they aren’t getting it. You’re going to spin your wheels running back and forth between implementing strategies and convincing your boss that it’s the right thing to do. Digital media marketing is time exhaustive as it is. Trying to justify what you’re doing to someone who doesn’t believe in it’s effectiveness will kill you.

2. Goals and strategy above tools. I have a friend who is deeply in love with her new iPad. The only problem is she doesn’t understand how to use the iPad for anything other than her apps. After six months, she’s just learned how to lock her screen. Using almost every social media tool out there but not having any idea of your SM goals is just about as silly. Do your research and find the tools that will help you reach your goals efficiently.

3. Build relationships! Please remember that SM marketing is about building customer loyalty. It’s not a big billboard in the sky for you to push your products/services on your audience. Talk to your customers and potential customers online. Build a rapport with peers in your field of expertise. Be a service provider for your audience.

4. Take solid measurements. Ok, so you took the time to build up a strategy and it’s been 6 months. How do you know what’s working and what’s not, if you don’t measure your steps? What are your stats telling you? Maybe you should stop blog posting on Monday and Wednesday and move it to Tuesday and Thursday, because that’s when it’s getting more hits. What kind of tweets are getting retweeted the most? These are the things that will tell you if you’re on target or if you need to change your strategy.

Social media is the constant, ever-changing beast. Make sure you know WHY you shouldn’t feed it after midnight or get it wet! 😉

Backup your Facebook Account

Ah, Facebook. Whether you use Facebook for business or pleasure, it takes a lot of work. It also holds so much of your memories, trials, successes and photos. I know, personally, I would cry like a baby if it up and… *POOF*…disappeared. As with anything else on your computer: backup, backup, backup!

Downloading all your information from Facebook is actually very easy:

1. While at Home (your update stream is showing), scroll all the way down to the bottom until you see a bottom menu bar. Click on Privacy.

2. On this page, one of the options is Interactive Tools. Click on this link.

3. Download all your information. A window will pop up that says they will be emailing you when the download is ready. It took about an hour for me to get that email.

4. Click on the link in your email. It will ask for your password for security reasons. Then download to your computer (facebook-username.zip)

Download Facebook backup

 

It downloads anything you have ever put on Facebook. I’ve never had any issues with Facebook losing my information, but I know of other’s that have had to battle this with Facebook…and we all know the great customer service that Facebook extends. (!)

Cheers!

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