Black Lives Matter, The Message, The Movement and the Brand

As the owner of a small business, I try not to get political on my blog. At the same, time as a human, a business owner, a woman, a white woman, I must take stand as well.

I grew up in a relatively diverse population in CA, but still very ‘white’ (I hate that word, we’re European descent, not white.) or Asian community, with only 2% of my hometown being African American. However, in the East Bay there was a lot more diversity in the wider region than I now see in Eugene, Oregon.

Black Lives Matter, and that doesn’t mean other lives don’t matter. It just means, that at the moment they are the ‘house that is on fire’ figuratively speaking, and that is where the most focus needs to be. Of course all lives matter. But our society doesn’t treat them that way. As a woman, I don’t walk alone or in the dark for fear of being raped, but I’m not afraid that every action could be taken the wrong way to lead to my death (by police or other forces).

Growing up as a first generation American, with New Zealand parents, and Dutch grandparents and relatives, I have an international view of the world rather than one restricted by the societal beliefs that have been passed down in America for generations. However, I know that I am not immune to split second assumptions, or even racist thoughts and actions. All I can do is do my best in every moment. Do my best to right wrongs as I see them and to be there if I ever feel that there is racism going on.

In my research, I found it interesting how the Black Lives Matter is treated as a brand and wanted to share this article. Brands are the representation of a company and brands are also how others view that company, or even us!

Since Black Lives Matter is a social movement and not a brand, here’s a look at how branding rules apply to them. Their brand could also be appropriated and hijacked by those who don’t really follow the cause.

Black Lives Matter, The Brand is an in-depth article by Fast Company on how the brand has evolved and how they work to maintain its integrity.

Black Lives Matter, website for more information

Black Lives Matter homepage

About Black Lives Matter

About Black Lives Matter

The Black Lives Matter Brand

The Black Lives Matter logo is a wordmark, using text in a particular layout and font, to represent their movement. This ensures that it is powerful, and easy to be used in different formats, sizes and media.

As a social movement, they have also had growing pains as different causes or focuses have tried to appropriate the name and movement. However, it has grown to become a social movement.

“We spend a lot of time—too much time, in my opinion—really trying to counter this narrative that isn’t ours because somebody irresponsibly used a piece of our design to further their own political goals.” (Black Lives Matter, The Brand)

I want this blog to be a chance to reflect on what is currently going on in our world and how to address it. We can’t just keep going on as we have. However, society won’t be able to change instantly. We need to approach this situation with love and compassion and respect. Respect for others and their lives. As white woman, I know that I have a lot to learn in this category to combat racism and to support my friends and family who have a different skin color. The color of our skin…

Wishing you lots of love and healing and hope!

 

Top 7 Social Media Tips To Grow Your Automotive Business

If you’re the owner or manager of a business in the automotive industry, you know how tough it can be to get visitors to your website. Before the Internet, store owners relied on traditional marketing such as TV advertising, newspapers, as well as word-of-mouth to get customers to your store. Nowadays, most people rely on the Internet to get information and use online resources to solve their everyday problems.

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4 Ideas for Creating Blog Content + Bonus Blogging Tips!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that blogs are all that anyone is talking about; everyone is using them, from large brands to nonprofits to startups. Not every business needs a blog, but blogging is an ideal platform for generating creative content and increasing your business’ visibility for search engine optimization and inbound marketing.

Let’s look at the facts. Statistics from just last year report that “B2B businesses with blogs generate 67% more leads per month than those without.” (Check out the full infographic from Digital Information World on 2015 Marketing Trends.)

b2b blogging

Blogging is also a great way to create trust between your brand and your clients, as you provide useful information online and become an expert resource to them. According to Hubspot, “Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate information online.” If your audience sees you continually publishing relevant information and engaging content, they begin to trust your business as a reputable source. Blogging for business enables you to reach your target market, build credibility, and establish your brand identity. However, we know that continually generating blog content can be a difficult task.
So here are some blog content ideas for the next time you’re feeling stuck and staring at a blank screen or sheet of paper. (Writing has actually been shown to engage the brain more than typing!)

Blog Content Ideas

1. Create a “How-To” Post
“How-To’s” are a great way to create posts that are beneficial to the reader. When browsing online, people want to find information that is useful to them. This is why many content marketers suggest talking less about yourself on your blog and focusing on your audience. You inevitably will talk about yourself, as it is your blog, but be sure to keep your audience in mind! This will help you gain more readers.

When writing a “how-to” post, detail every step of the process. This is the perfect opportunity to incorporate images, videos, and infographics! Create a video tutorial for your audience or include pictures to show a process. People read images much faster than words, so it’s great to have visuals to break up your text.

2. Tell a Story
Another great type of blog content is narratives. All blog posts can include a story, but some posts can be more focused on the descriptive aspect than others. Telling stories adds a personal touch and shows that you are personable.

If your business provides a service, share a recent success story on your blog. This provides insight into what you offer your customers and how your business fulfills a need.

Pro Tip: The ideal blog length is at least 300 words. It’s debated whether longer or shorter posts are more beneficial. We recommend varying the length of your posts; have some longer detailed ones and a few short and sweet topics as well. To avoid posts being “too long”, proofread for unnecessary filler text and (again) use visuals! Also, make sure your content is SEO friendly – Yoast recommends using search terms (or keywords) “about 1 to 2 percent of your text.” So if this posts contains 900 words, we should include our search term about 9 times.

3. Answer a Question
The first step in creating a post based on a question is to think about your audience.Who are your readers and what are they interested in? What are their concerns? What aspect of your business or company do you frequently get asked about?
Blog posts are a great way to clarify things to your clients, provide more information about your business, and offer engaging content. Answering a question in a blog post demonstrates the authenticity of your business. It allows you to show your expertise.

4. Build Off Images
When people go to a blog site, they’re not expecting to read a novel. Large sections of text can be overwhelming, and images are a great way to deliver a message quickly. Also, starting with a visual is a great way to get creative if you’re feeling stuck on what to write about.

Well-known and reputable online marketer, Neil Patel, uses many images in his blog posts to engage readers. Take one of his recent blog posts on QuickSprout as an example, which includes over 20 images! Patel doesn’t shy away from images, and wisely so.

Blog Images Blogging Tips

 

He uses them to break the information into smaller sections and involve the reader. If he didn’t use images, his blog posts would be very dry.

Visuals also all you to provide a variety of content through various means. Have fun with your blog posts and start using photographs, videos and infographics!

Pro Tip: Make sure your images are explained and have a purpose. Don’t put in an image or visual just because or because it looks pretty, otherwise you may actually come off as lazy. Support your visuals with some text and further explain it to your viewer.

Bonus Blogging Tips

We love blogging so much, so we figured we would offer a few more tips to help you!

Create a Plan
If you’re new to blogging, or have yet to start, making a blog plan will give you a peace of mind and take off the pressure of having to continually come up with content. Pick a day of the week and set aside an hour to brainstorm future blog topics. If you have a plan, sitting down to write is much less intimidating and also allows you to be more efficient in your blogging process.

Create Evergreen Content
Evergreen content is content that basically doesn’t grow old and remains relevant to your readers. So an example of content that is general information, rather than news or trends or statistics.

An article from Hubspot offers some examples for evergreen content, one of them being “how-to” posts!

Evergreen Content Blogging Tricks

 

We’ve helped our clients generate blog posts to reach their specific target audience. If you’re unsure of how a blog can benefit your business, get in touch with us today to discuss some marketing content strategies.

Also, check out our Pinterest board, which we keep updated with helpful blogging information!

Follow Designflair’s board Blogging Tips & Tricks on Pinterest.

3 Don’ts for Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is a powerful tool for your business; it allows you to disperse information quickly to a large audience. It’s also a way for current and future clients to get a better understanding of your business. A majority of businesses now have Facebook pages, and many regularly use other platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Vine.

When you are marketing your business online through social media, here are three things you want to avoid.

1. Don’t Make It A Sales Pitch
Today’s consumers are very savvy and have high standards. People look for businesses they can trust and today that means having a digital presence that shows you have stability. If all the content that you publish online sounds like a sales pitch or is focused on self-promotion, it may lead to more annoyance than sales. Instead of trying to drive all your social media content directly to leads, focus on creating quality content. Be interesting and engaging! Share a funny quote or a shocking statistic, for example. Leave the sales pitch for direct marketing and keep your content engaging and compelling.

2. Don’t Exhaust All Avenues
When it comes to creating a digital presence, it’s better to not be on every platform if you’re not sharing valuable or unique information each time – don’t post the same exact message everywhere. Selecting which platforms are best suited for your business will allow you to hone in on your content. Let us know if you need help figuring out what social media platforms are best for your business.

Dove is an example of a large company that does social media marketing well. At the time of writing this post, Dove is most active on Twitter and Pinterest out of all their social media accounts. The content that they publish through these platforms is consistent with their brand identity and engages their users. Check out their bio on their Twitter page – “Dove is committed to helping women realize their beauty potential by creating products that deliver real care. Welcome to the official Twitter of @Dove® U.S.!” Now that sounds like more than just a business that sells bars of soap.

Dove Twitter Social Media Marketing

 

Dove is continually striving to improve women’s self-esteem, and they demonstrate that through their social media content. They also use creative hashtags such as #speakbeautiful and #trydry for their dry spray antiperspirant.

Just a few days ago, Dove also created an entirely new Pinterest page for their Self Esteem project. On this page they have multiple boards with tips and tools for young girls and women to build their self-esteem. This content is tailored to reach Dove’s target market, and their Pinterest page is a great example of how to effectively use social media.

Social Media Marketing Pleasanton

So although Dove may not update their Instagram everyday, the content they put out on Twitter and Pinterest still allows them to have an established digital presence that speaks to who they are. When posting on social media, remember that you don’t have to be on every platform from Google+ to Tumblr to LinkedIn. When you are posting, your content should be exciting, engaging, and consistent with your brand identity.

3. Don’t Post Just Because
This is also called over-sharing. If you are posting content only to gain followers or get more likes, then the larger purpose of social media marketing gets lost. And people get annoyed. How much is too much? Square2marketing has a great example of letting your audience set the pace. This tactic is helpful because you can get a feel for how often your audience is actually on social media. Pay attention to what your followers are saying and when they are saying it.

Before posting something, run it through a list of questions that will help you filter your content. Here are some practical questions that you can ask regarding social media content:

  • Is this information useful and interesting to my audience?
  • Does it align with our brand identity and business values?
  • Is it relevant and engaging? Does it prompt people to respond?

If the post doesn’t match this criteria, then it’s better to not share it. To avoid the issue of over-sharing, creating a social media marketing strategy is beneficial. By planning out your future content, you have time to think it over and make sure that it will convey the message you want it to.

We all desire to have organic traffic to our websites and a strong online presence. By avoiding the above tactics, you can be truly effective in your social media marketing strategies. Lastly, we’ll end with one more tip and this one is positive.

DO Get Creative
Think of social media as a way to have fun and authentically represent your business at the same time! Start by taking a look at what you typically post, and branch out from there. Try new mediums such as visuals, infographics, or videos. People enjoy seeing a variety of content in their social media feeds, so be sure to switch up how you are delivering your content.
Nutella has been sharing these “Happy Hints” with their followers on Twitter. These short little hints are quirky and sweet (pun intended).

Social Media Marketing Pleasanton

This is a great example of how to effectively use social media for business.

Social media is one our favorite ways to engage with our clients, many of which use social media marketing too! Fill out our contact form if you’re feeling stuck in the area of marketing your business. We are ready to help you get your business out there today!

6 Ideas for Creative Facebook Content (And Google+ !)

How is your Facebook Business Page looking? It’s becoming apparent that every business should have a Facebook Page to represent who they are and reach people through social media. (And definitely a Google+ page as well for search engine optimization, read more about the differences between Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn here).

However, we also know it’s easy to get into a dry spell on social media platforms. You may be wondering, What should I post? How do I know what my audience wants to see? Or you may be posting and not getting the results you’re expecting.

Keeping your Facebook Page update with creative content is a great way to  gain a social following, update people about your business, and to keep people intrigued. So here are some tips for getting creative with your Facebook content.

1. A Unique Video

Forbes once said that videos are vital for marketing. Videos can be a way to feature a “Day in the Life” post, giving people a glimpse of what you do. Capturing what you do is a great way to add life to your Facebook feed. Take it one step further and end your video with a question to encourage people to comment in response. Posting videos that showcase your business also add authenticity to your brand. People are interested in what goes on behind the scenes, and videos are a great way to get people engaged online.

2. Content-Heavy Posts

Re-posting articles and links is secondhand nature on social media. Many of us are quick to share whatever link is currently trending. Is the content you’re posting interesting, though? Research is showing that posting links to sites with longer content among shorter posts is beneficial for your online integrity. According to an article from Kuno Creative on long-form content,  “approximately 1,700 words, is the right way to attract readers today.” There are always some readers that prefer lengthier content. Short articles can be viewed as a lack of knowledge. Get deeper than the latest Buzzfeed article, and instead repost a blog that has depth to it.

Be sure to actually read through the articles you repost on your Facebook page. Yes, it is a no-brainer but it is worth mentioning. By posting something on your Facebook page, you are essentially saying that your company or brand supports it. It’s best to thoroughly review an article or blog before posting it on your feed.

3. Testimonials

Testimonials are a great way to engage people through Facebook and simultaneously market your business. They provide great material for creating creative content! You can post testimonials in a variety of mediums; text, photo or video.

Testimonials can be a simple text post, or you can share a link from another site such as Yelp. We recently shared a review that we received from a client on Yelp.

Designflair Testimonial

Post a video of your clients speaking about their experience with your business. This allows for a sincere witness for your business. Or you can provide pictures to go along with stories from your customers or clients. Does your business sell a product? Re-post photos from your customers using the product. Check out this article from Entrepreneur for more reasons why testimonials work to boost your business. Facebook is a great platform for posting testimonials, keeping your clientele updated and building your credibility as a business.

4. Recommend a Great Read

Sharing a book can be a great way to reach your niche market through Facebook. Unsure of what you’re niche market is? Defining it will help you create Facebook content overall, so read through this article from Entrepreneur on how to determine your niche market. By recommending a book, you can spark the interest of those in your audience and cultivate discussion on your Facebook page. It will also demonstrate that your business is knowledgeable, gaining new and relevant information about your field. You can simply share the title of the book with an intriguing quote, or even go as far as writing a review or your audience. Are you writing a blog post with a tip or piece of advice? Referring to a book is a way to strengthen authority. This coincides with #2, as book recommendations are a great way to post lengthier content on Facebook.

5. Shout-out to A Partner

Viewing your Facebook page as a means of networking will help you formulate content and build your business’s online presence. Shout-outs to other businesses in your industry is a great way to connect with others. Referring other businesses is helpful to your audience, and allows you to keep connections with power partners (someone whose business is complementary to yours).

Insignia Facebook Content - Partner Share

For example, Insignia Designs referred to us on their Facebook when posting a vehicle wrap that we designed for Three Alarm Fire Protection. Both of our businesses were needed in order to make this project for Three Alarm Fire Protection possible. Use Facebook as a way to say ‘Thank You’ or recommend another business to your audience.

6. Post About People

People do business with people, so showing the people you work with will add authenticity to your Facebook page. Blackhawk Plastic Surgery does a great job of showcasing their work on their feed.

Blackhawk Plastic Surgery Facebook Content

This post allows their audience to see what they do, the services they provide, and a glimpse of how they serve their clients. Another way you can show people on your page is by featuring your employees. Marketing your brand on social media is all about representing your business; displaying photos and videos of people will make your Facebook page effective.

The current consumer generation is one that looks for businesses that have a voice online. By getting creative with your Facebook and other social media posts, you strengthen your brand identity and keep your clientele engaged. Updating your page with appropriate, timely, and quality content allows you to develop a strong online presence for your business. Hubspot recently wrote a relevant post, 13 Things Not to Do on Facebook, with some great tips for what to avoid and what to do when posting to FB for business.

Let us know how trying to new creative content goes for you!

Need help creating content for your Facebook page? Get in touch with us today for a meeting on how to market your business online.