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The Myth of Cheap Design

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You’ve heard the old adage “You get what you pay for.” The same goes for graphic design.

With a great designer you get someone who can tell a visual story with a clear design and someone you can communicate with easily. Quality graphic design includes a process that considers your target audience and the message you want to communicate. The problem is that not everyone can afford a top-notch graphic designer. Excellent design work comes at a price that is often out of reach for small businesses, start-ups, and solo-entrepreneurs – but there are ways to get quality graphic design at an affordable rate.

It’s easier than ever to find affordable freelancers using online tools such as UpWork and Fiverr or by hiring talent from countries such as India or the Philippines. Unfortunately, we often hear that people who hire freelancers from these services are not satisfied with the work or are unable to communicate with the designer and often spend more than they intended to try to fix the project.

But don’t worry, all hope is not lost for those of you on a tight budget! We have some ideas to help you get the most from any freelance designer.

3 Tips To Get Quality Design On A Budget

  1. Ask for 2 or 3 completely different options to be presented for the first draft. This will give you and the designer a clearer idea of the direction you want to take the design and help shorten the number of revisions it takes to complete the project.
  2. Hire a Creative Director or Senior Designer to help you come up with feedback – though they cost more per hour, you’ll only need an hour or two of their time to review the artwork and provide direction that you can take directly to your freelancer.
  3. And here’s our shameless self-promotion – take advantage of Crit My Design.This is the most affordable way to get the opinion of a Creative Director on the artwork provided by your freelancer (or even if you’ve taken a crack at DIY design using Canva or whatever design tool you’ve discovered).

 

Online Networking Event – Join Christina with Business Portals

Reach Your Ideal Clients With Social Media

Did you know your profile alone can have a huge impact on achieving this goal?

Book a spot at Business Portal’s next live virtual event on July 24 at 12:30pm Newfoundland / 8:00am Pacific from the comfort of your own desk, home, favourite coffee shop, or park bench – you can join us from anywhere!

I’ll show you what you need to do to update your social media profiles, and ensure your brand:

  • Rises in the search ranks for the key phrases your audience is searching.
  • Attracts an audience that is likely to purchase rather than interrupting with a cold-sell.
  • Increases brand awareness and credibility without the high cost of mass-media advertising.

There’s also a great opportunity to Network with other like-minded businesses!

Registration is free and open to anyone. Limited space available, so sign up today.       

~Christina

Business Portals is a business centre that provides virtual services to help you run your business for a fraction of the cost of hiring dedicated staff. Business portals also offers meeting and office space in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Free Bootcamp & $75 Off Program

Free Social Media Bootcamp

This 3-day social media bootcamp was run exclusively online through the Facebook Event displayed here. Get tips and tricks – from strategic planning to creating sharable posts.

Even though it’s in the past, you can still attend!

  1. Click “going” on the event linked here.
  2. Click on the “Discussion” tab to see all the content. It’s in chronological order with day 1 featured at the bottom of the thread.

$75 off – Empower Yourself With Social Media Program

3 Months of One-On-One support!

Sign up by May 14th using promo code: antenna75bc

Valued at $1,950, get this 3 month program at our introductory price of $499/month. Prices quoted in CAD$.

I know it can be a real challenge to get the results you want from social media, but I can help! You’ll conquer social media for your business in only 3 months with my technical and strategic support. I’ll create a content system for you, optimize your automation, then train you to get it done regularly.

Let us handle the technical set up so you can focus on your expertise

  • You’ll get automation without losing your authentic voice.
  • Post to one platform and watch it distribute to all of your feeds automatically.
  • Nurture your audience in minutes, rather than hours.

Ready for more but your budget is tight?

Try our Antenna Learning Lab Lite for only $199/month.

Valued at $249/month, join now for only $199/month. Prices quoted in CAD$.

Our “Lite” version is for those of you who are looking for both strategic guidance and technical support but are willing to do all the work yourself. Christina will guide you through setting up automation and reaching your target audience efficiently in 3 sessions over May, June, and July.

 

 

 

 

 

1 Easy Way to Increase Your LinkedIn Reach

Did you know that by sharing your company LinkedIn posts to your personal LinkedIn profile you can increase your post reach significantly? Watch the video to find out how.

3 Great Options For a Limited Time!

  1. $499/month, Empower Yourself With Social Media
  2. $199/month, Antenna Learning Lab Lite
  3. FREE, Online Social Media Bootcamp

1) Empower Yourself With Social Media

3 Month Program, Only 10 spots available, sign up by May 7th!

Valued at $1,950, get this 3 month program at our introductory price of $499/month.

I know it can be a real challenge to get the results you want from social media, but I can help! You’ll conquer social media for your business in only 3 months with my technical and strategic support. I’ll create a content system for you, optimize your automation, then train you to get it done regularly.

Let us handle the technical set up so you can focus on your expertise

  • You’ll get automation without losing your authentic voice.
  • Post to one platform and watch it distribute to all of your feeds automatically.
  • Nurture your audience in minutes, rather than hours.

2) Ready for more but your budget is tight?

Try our Antenna Learning Lab Lite, May Intake. Only 10 spots available, sign up by May 7th!

Valued at $249/month, join now for only $199/month.

Our “Lite” version is for those of you who are looking for both strategic guidance and technical support but are willing to do all the work yourself. Christina will guide you through setting up automation and reaching your target audience efficiently in 3 sessions over May, June, and July.

3) Want a FREE preview?

Try our online bootcamp Apr 25 to 27.

This 3-day social media bootcamp exclusively online through the Facebook Event linked below. Over 3 days you’ll get tips and tricks – from strategic planning to creating sharable posts.

This bootcamp will take place entirely in the discussion area of this event so you can take in the content in your own time, and in your own space.

To participate:
1. Click “going” on the invite.
2. Click the three dots “…” under the event title and select “notification settings” and select “all notifications” to ensure you see each

 

 

Your Guide to Millennial Marketing

Guest blogger  from HeyOrca!  gives us a birds-eye-view into being a millennial in marketing…

What comes to mind when you think of the word millennial?

Some people might think entitled or impatient. I know of certain parents who may consider a certain millennial ‘lazy’ (sorry if my 5 classes and part-time job leaves me needing a nap). Some people think that millennials can’t hold down a job because they’re too busy travelling the world and documenting it on Instagram. Others think that we’re happy laying on our parent’s couches until we’re older twenty-somethings (I’m only 21 so I still have some couch time left), while telling ourselves that 20 bucks a month is sufficient savings.

Moving from a society where you’re expected to be out of the house, hitched, and working a 9-5 by the age of 25, many people are opting to stay home to reduce costs, or help them through post-secondary. This contributes to a higher disposable income compared to earlier generations, and more buying power. It’s estimated that by 2017, millennials will spend upwards to $200 billion – which is ironic, because I’d spend a lot less moving out of my parent’s place.

The combination of all of this means that millennial marketing could go several ways. It’s easy enough to assume that because millennials spend so much time looking at a screen – whether that be a phone, tablet, laptop – that as long as your brand is on the major platforms, you’re golden. Unfortunately, not so much the case.

So, coming from a millennial, here’s how to market to me.

Authenticity wins big

If these dodgey dating apps have taught us millennials anything, it’s how to have a keen eye for insincere, fake intentions. We don’t trust traditional, profit-driven advertisements – we know you’re a brand, so we can connect those dots ourselves. Why would I want to spend my money on a brand that’s traditionally salesy, when there are brands out there being honest and open about their product and pricing? Though some people may not think so, millennials still want to make well informed purchase decisions – and brands that give me the resources to do so are a lot more likely to get my business than a brand that uses billboards or pop-up ads. This authenticity also helps build a relationship of trust. If you wanna check out one brand that prides themselves on transparency, visit Everlane, by far one of the coolest brands, and Instagram accounts, I’ve seen.

Strategic content

Like I mentioned before, just because your brand may be on every platform for every device that millennials are using, doesn’t mean we’re necessarily listening. If you want millennials to notice you and your brand, your content strategy should include:

Visuals

Visual content is a power-house approach to engage, promote brand awareness, and get millennials to share your branded content via social platforms. Our attention spans may not always be the longest, and we always seem to be multitasking. Visual mediums like images, videos, or live-streaming events is a great way to get our attention, with minimal effort on our end (unlike reading, yuck). This form of content can also be easily shared and viewed on any major social platform, and can also be either be static or in real-time.

User-Created

The most infamous word millennials have contributed to the English language is the ‘Selfie’. What can we conclude from that? Millennials see no problem focusing time on themselves – and even more so when they upload these pictures to Instagram or Facebook. So if given the chance to create their own content for a certain promotion or event, they dive in head first. Whether it be contributing snaps to a Snapchat Story, sending in videos of tips and tricks for different products, or capturing how they use a certain item – millennials love creating this kind of content on their own. Actually, around 46% of us. We love the creative freedom it gives us, and the opportunity for brands to share the authentic experiences (both good and bad) that their audiences have encountered.

Up to date technology  

Agencies aiming millennials target both on, and with, the latest in technology. It shows that you as a brand are up to trend, are relevant, and can share a common interest with millennials. 56% of us are among the first to try out new technology, and are 2.5x more likely to adopt new technology compared to other generations. Mercedes Benz hoped on the 360 degree video-bandwagon when promoting their latest SUV. Streaming on YouTube (notice, not television), the video features Instagram sensation Loki the Wolf Dog adventuring in the great outdoors, alongside their favourite Mercedes. Apart from the great combination of influencer marketing and storytelling going on, this shows that Mercedes is up to date and that they can create value using the latest technology.  

Beyond the bottom line

Even though some people associate millennials with being entitled, we’re actually much more inclined to do business with brands whose bottom line isn’t their only concern. Brands who consistently exercise corporate social responsibility can even charge higher prices to an extent – 37% of millennials will pay more if a brand supports a cause that they care about. Additionally, brands who are driven by more than just profit get more ‘millennial love’. Brand loyalty and helping others – honestly though, what’s NOT to love?

Millennials – we’re really not all that hard to figure out. We like being creative, expressing ourselves, and being heard. As long as your brand can engage with us, and give us the opportunity to do so, you’ll have us eating out of your hands (and not because we spent all our money on plane tickets instead of groceries).

6 Tips for Writing Content that Converts

We’ve invited our friends at Hey Orca! to collaborate with us on creating blog content. We use their amazing web application to plan and schedule social media content for ourselves and our clients.

Guest blogger  understands what it takes to make great content. Check out her tips below…

Creating well researched and well written content is not an easy task, and later seeing it go nowhere is painful to watch. Whether you are creating content for your social media calendar or for your company blog, it makes sense to take the time to learn how to write content that converts. Learn how to leverage power words, how to appeal to emotions, how to choose words that resonate with the goals of your readers, and more!

1. Always have a plan

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” – Benjamin Franklin The ideal content plan will cover all the bases of your content strategy. From creating, editing, publishing, distributing, measuring and reporting. By having a plan in place for each stage of the content lifecycle, you are sure to stay on track and reach your milestones or benchmark goals. Here are some questions to help you get your content plan started! Who is the intended audience? What forms of content will you use? How ofter do you plan on distributing/publishing content? What is your plan? How do you plan on measuring it?Related Article : Join the Dark Side… of Facebook that is!

2. Get to know your audience

Theres a reason why radio car commercials are rampant on the way to work, and why coffee and fast-food chain commercials always appear during morning shows. Once brands identify which demographic to target, they place content where their audience is sure to see it. Knowing your demographic means details like disposable income, shopping preferences, and position within the market. By isolating an audience and aligning your product with their needs and wants, you’ll be able to capture their attention with relevant content.

3. Start storytelling

Storytelling is an opportunity to talk to customers as people and in a way that engages their imagination and sense of wonder. Few things are more tiresome than a lazy promotional message. Whether it be a shared personal experience or just an emotion, storytelling is a form of content not to be underestimated. This is an opportunity to reach your audience on a more personal level, and capture their attention without seeming profit-driven. One of the best known examples of a storytelling television ad is Back to the Start from Chipotle Mexican Grill. The restaurant chain shared their story of striving towards a more sustainable future and shared a common goal with their audience for back-to-basics, simple eating. Not to mention that Chipotle also won a Cannes Lion Grand Prix while doing it.

4. Words can make you or break you

In most scenarios, I’m a firm believer that actions speak louder than words. But when it comes to engaging content, words are pretty crucial. In fact, without the right words there will zero action from your audience. So avoid words that suggest there could be deniability. For example; Round-trip fares starting at… – you’ll probably be paying more for those tickets than what the Airline advertises Using assertive and eye-catching words will be much more compelling to prospective customers than meek, timid ones. Try using analogies or metaphors for slogans, introduce strong, confident words, or even play around with alliteration. Regardless of what you are offering to prospective clients or how you want them to act, using savvy and clear words will help you pitch your offer to audiences in a fresh, fun way!

5. Curate the CTA

One of the most crucial parts of the content you’ll produce is the CTA (Call-to-Action), which ideally will bring a prospective customer to your landing page where they’ll want to learn more about you and your product. You’re tailoring content to different audiences, so that also includes the CTA. Don’t stick with the classic Click here copy. Still use CTAs that are clear and to the point, but curate the words to what type of audience members you’re targeting. For example, if you’re targeting an inquisitive and curious audience; Discover how it works! or Learn more here! CTA.

6. Promote Promote Promote

Congrats! You’ve created engaging, compelling content – now its time to share it with the world! Make sure to distribute content through more than just one of your social media channels. You can also leverage your social followers or email lists to get the word out. This is also a great opportunity to harness the power of people you don’t know – thought leaders or social media influencers, for example. Learn more about the Power of Influencer marketing here! There’s no reason not to reach out to them and ask if they could share your content with their audience – you could always offer a guest content in exchange. Now, all of a sudden you have a professional relationship with a big-cheese in the social media space! How cool is that?
Content is all about taking your audience on a journey – from attracting, creating a connection, and closing an offer. After engaging your audience with relevant and unique content, how could they possibly resist?

The Best Ways to Share Content for Your Brand

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A frequent question I’ve been asked lately is “can I use images off the Internet in my social media feeds or is that copyright infringement?”. Of course the answer is always “it depends” so let’s talk about the best ways to use found images on your blogs, website, or social networks.

The best way to share any content, no matter what media type, is to keep the original source link with the content. It’s all about promoting someone else’s content and showing yourself or your brand as an expert curator on a topic, rather than claiming that content as your own.

For example, below is a YouTube playlist we created to showcase content marketing we think is clever. The videos are streaming from their original channels, but through a playlist we created on our channel and have embedded here:

This means that whenever someone watches a video in our playlist, the views will be noted on the original source video and the user can easily click through to the channel where it’s streaming from.

You can do this with images, as well. Below I’ve just inserted an image into this blog using the “Insert From URL” option in the “Add Media” dialogue box, plus I made the image a link to the article where I found the image. To be even more copyright friendly, I’ve added a caption stating the name of the article. The only trouble with this method, is if that if the host ever changes the link, the image below will no longer be displayed.

Family watching tv while using mobile devices.

The reinvention of the 1950s living room

Here’s an example from social media – we tweeted someone’s Vine and the video maintains the original username and when clicked on, takes you to the Vine owner’s channel.

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 10.37.44 AM

There will be some cases where you might want to create your own graphics, perhaps by creating an inspirational quote or a holiday card. In those cases, if you don’t have original photography or illustrations to use, you’ll need to obtain the license to use someone else’s imagery.

I recommend purchasing stock images or looking for Creative Commons images.

Creative Commons has a variety of licensing options, and you can search for free images that you can use at this link: http://search.creativecommons.org/. The thing is that with most of the CC licenses, you need to credit the owner, so you may need to provide a caption with the artist’s name and potentially link to their site.

Be sure to look for the license and then click through to see what’s involved in using the image. In this example, the license says “Some rights reserved”.

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 10.51.01 AM

When I clicked on “Some rights reserved”, I received instructions on how I could use that image:

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 10.53.07 AM

Here’s how I could use that image:

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 11.01.11 AM

If you don’t want to credit the image owner and want to “white label” the image or claim it as your own, you want a non-attribution license which comes with a fee. I recommend the following stock image sites where you can purchase the license to use the images as your own:

dollarphotoclub.com

istockphoto.com

depositphotos.com

gettyimages.ca

I hope that helps and please let us know if you have any questions about creating content for your brand!

~ Christina, Owner & Strategist at Antenna Social Media & Design

Please note: I’m not a lawyer and I recommend consulting with someone who focuses in copyright law if you have any doubts about the content you are posting.

Scheduling Posts in Facebook

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The benefit of using Facebook to schedule posts directly is that you can access features that other schedulers (like HootSuite) can’t, such as tagging other Facebook Pages. The downside is that it takes longer to do.

Here’s how:

In the status field box, click on the little clock in the bottom right hand corner. That will open your scheduling options.

Facebook scheduling 1

Once you’ve hit the “schedule” button, you can access and edit your scheduled posts in the “Activity Tab”.

Facebook scheduling 2

That’s it! Enjoy…

#TutorialTuesday

Donate. Dump. Challenge. The Success of the #IceBucketChallenge

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Getting people to create videos about themselves is difficult. Even getting them to send in #selfies when the prize is really really good can be like pulling teeth. As a social media marketer, I can’t help but philosophize on the reasons why this challenge has taken off the way it has.

Here’s how the #icebucketchallenge won the Internet:

  1. NOT A CAMPAIGN: It was unintentional and organic… it wasn’t even a grass roots campaign. Until Pete Frates tied it to ALS, it was just another random Internet challenge. Straight from the people.
  2. PERSONAL CONNECTION: You get to see friends you haven’t seen in years on video, not just in curated photos. Personally, that has been something I’ve enjoyed immensely. Video reveals tone of voice, body language and other nuances that I hadn’t realized that I missed in friends from my past. 
  3. THROWING DOWN THE GAUNTLET: It’s shameful to ignore a challenge, particularly when someone calls you out to your face… virtually. 
  4. MOTIVATING THROUGH GUILT: Many of us will do anything to appease our guilt. Adding the charitable element takes this up a notch from all the other challenges that I’ve ignored on Facebook (such as: “share 3 positives a day for 7 days, and invite 3 people each day to do the same” or “let’s fill Facebook with Art”).
  5. REMOVING INSECURITY: With #selfies we can take 100 pictures before finding one we like enough to post. It’s only one angle we need to worry about… one pose. With video there are so many more things to be insecure about! Our voices, our gestures, the way we look from multiple directions. The #icebucketchallenge levels the playing field. We’re all getting a bucket of water dumped on us in a very un-sexy way. It’s down-right silly and that’s what makes it wonderful.
  6. IT’S FUN FOR ALL AGES: People of all ages and lifestyles are doing this challenge. Most of my personal Facebook feed is made up of parents with young kids and this seems to be an activity they love to do together. 
  7. THE SCRIPT IS READY: The challenge is simple… donate, dump, then challenge. Not everyone follows the donate part of the script, but either way they spread the message. It’s easy to figure out and follow.
  8. IT FEELS GOOD: There is a lot going on in the world right now that can make one feel helpless and depressed. Doing something silly lifts the spirits, and giving money to a charitable cause always feels good. 
Congratulations to ALS who have unexpectedly had a windfall year! And congratulations to all charities who are receiving extra funds due to the giving energy in the air.

If you’re wondering where this all began, this CTV article does a great job of providing the history.
For the cynics, here’s why it’s “bad for you”.
And here’s a reaction to the cynics, telling the nay-sayers to back down.
And there are always the marketers weighing in – just like us.

~ Christina