Your Social Media Cheat Sheet

January 1, 2017 / no comments

As a millennial it may seem crazy that someone may not be able to use social media; however, it is quite common. Anyone who grew up in the 20th century may struggle with grasping the concept of social media – I know it took my mom quite a few years to understand social media to some extent. Yet, social media is becoming a way of constant communication and people who struggle with it are always looking for ways to improve their social media knowledge. There is a lot to learn, and even those who are the masters of social media still may be lacking some skills in the social media department. Continue Reading…

Instagram: The Guide to Insta(nt) Success

September 8, 2016 / no comments

Here is some good news for all you Instagram lovers – Instagram can help boost your business. Just like any other social media platform, Instagram, which is usually used for leisurely photo sharing among friends, has the capability to enhance your brands online presence as well as create a more visual insight into your company.

There are many different strategic ways to incorporate Instagram into your company’s lifestyle.  The first step is to familiarize yourself with the latest updates, filters, setting, etc. in order to completely grasp how to properly use Instagram in the workplace. If a company can successfully create a well-known Instagram account, it will help generate traffic towards their other platforms as well. Through witty captions, well throughout bios and professional looking photographs, Instagram is guaranteed to bring you success…if you use it right.

There are three steps that are crucial to getting your company to the #InstaFamous level.

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It is important that you do not post solely business related pictures. It is crucial to plan out what you post to incorporate both office and business related content, as well as fun and humourous posts. This way you have content that satisfies all of your followers. People are more likely to follow a company when they can have a well-balanced Instagram page of many different topics. The best way to organize yourself is to create a content calendar to make sure all your posts vary in theme. As long as it is entertaining and well thought out, you are on your way to having a great Instagram presence.

Create a Theme

Before you even post your first picture, it is important to establish a theme that you want your Instagram feed to possess. The lighting, filter, and brightness are all necessary things to consider before creating your company’s Instagram account. Also, by creating a colour scheme, you are guaranteeing consistency, and it also allows your feed to be more aesthetically pleasing.

Link All Social Media Platforms

The smartest thing you can do on any social media platform, is find ways to link all your different social media platforms together. Companies usually achieve this by creating Instagram contests. Once a month a contest is held to show appreciation towards loyal followers and to promote the brand. Having something that followers can look forward to each month increases engagement and interaction between the company and its followers. By creating contests, you have the power to decide the contest rules. Usually, it is smart to engage followers on all social media accounts. For example, to enter the contest, they will have to share content on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as follow the company on all social media platforms. This is not only a great way to connect with loyal customers, but it is also a way to create online brand awareness.

These basics are the important factors to consider before creating an Instagram account for your company. Make sure your Instagram feed represents the culture of your company and allows customers to have more insight into what you do in the office.

Sources: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/instagram-for-business-tips/

Your Guide to Creating Your Own Content Calendar

August 8, 2016 / no comments

As social media continues to rise in popularity, the need to organize your posts becomes more necessary. A content calendar is an easy way to organize what you would like to post on each day. It organizes your weekly thoughts, posts, and graphics, and saves you time each week. If you designate time to put together your weekly or monthly content calendar, you no longer have to worry about scrambling for content to post. This is essential for businesses; however, you can do it throughout your every day life if you wish to be consistent with your social media content.

There is no specific way to successfully create a content calendar. As long as it is legible to you or a company that you are sending it to, then you can do no wrong. This blog post will walk you through one of the several ways to create a standard content calendar.

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Step #1: Open Microsoft Word

Using Word is perfect for creating a simple content calendar. If you wish to use Excel, that is also another great alternative.

Step #2: Create a Table

Make a table, and put the weekdays in the top horizontal cells, and put the types of social media platforms that you wish to post on in the vertical cells. At this point you can colour code, or add any other touches of creativity to organize your calendar even more!

Step #3: Create Daily Themes

It is important to create themes in order to be consistent with your content.  For example, if you are a fashion blogger, Monday could be your “Outfit of the Day,” while Tuesday could be “New Product Tuesday.” This will give viewers something to look forward to each week and helps to organize your posts.

Step #4: Fill you Calendar

Once you have set up your content calendar, it is time to fill it. Take pictures and place them with their designated post. This way everything is ready to go when it comes time for you to post your content.

Step 5: Add Comments

If you are creating a content calendar for another company, it is important to create a comments section somewhere in the calendar. This will increase communication so there is no confusion. Nevertheless, if you are creating this content calendar for yourself, adding comments can still be beneficial to mark down your ideas, what time you should post your content, or anything you need to add to your content.

These are five easy steps for any content calendar beginner. This is a great way to organize your thoughts, and it is an amazing time saver during the week! Keep your social media life organized by producing your very own content calendar!

Work – That’s No Excuse!

July 8, 2016 / no comments

We have all heard the excuse that there is no time to work out or be active because work is keeping you busy. Let me tell you, this isn’t a valid excuse. Yes, it is acceptable to enjoy your workout classes, and going to gym; however, there are several ways to strengthen muscles and increase flexibility while at work. 

Turn Your Commute Into a Workout

Make the effort to turn your commute to work into a workout. If you are located close enough to your work try and incorporate some jogging or cycling to work. However, if your commute is longer try and park halfway and then cycle or jog the rest. Getting in exercise before work will make you feel more awake throughout the day.

Swap the Chair for a Stability Ball

Improve your balance by getting rid of your regular chair and swapping it with a stability ball. This will allow you to have better balance and it will also engage your core. This is a more active alternative than slouching in your chair all day.

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Take the Stairs

I realize that the elevator saves you half the time and it’s right there when you walk in the door, but that is no excuse. Get in that extra exercise by panting up all those stairs. It is not the easier choice; however, you are more likely to see results compared to when you decide to take the elevator.

Workout at Lunch

At most offices, you are given 45 minutes – 1 hour for lunch. In this time you can go participate a short exercise class. Scope out the gyms near your office and find a place that works with your schedule. This is a great way to ensure that you get in your exercise for the day.

These are just a few ways to include exercise in your everyday work life. At the end of a workday it is normal to be exhausted and lazy. By incorporating little exercises throughout your day, you are more likely to feel energized!

Sources: http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/exercise-at-work#sm.0000sh04wpi9hfl4rbo13ji8pr1xh

Why Twitter is the Best Social Media Platform for Your Business

June 8, 2016 / no comments

Over the past couple of years, social media has climbed its way to the top of the advertising industry. In the past, companies have used print advertisements, or have created television ads to play during prime time; however, that is quickly changing. We must accept that social media has control over our society, but it is what we do with social media that will define its worth.

140 characters, that’s all it takes! When it comes to businesses, Twitter is unquestionably the best platform to use. With only a 140-character limit, you are forced to get to the point and communicate with your followers. It’s a quick and easy way to update your followers on events, new products, and any other news worthy events occurring in your company. The best thing is that you can be as consistent with your “tweets” as you please. No one is going to complain that you are spamming their feed, like on Facebook, and because the tweets are so short, it takes less than a couple seconds to read. Another advantage is that the majority of people have the Twitter App on their phone, which allows constant communication. Your business is able to reach people wherever they are, at whatever time.

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There are many upsides to signing up for Twitter, yet the best part of creating a Twitter account for your business is that you are easily and rapidly able to interact with your followers who like or re-tweet your company’s posts. Having a relationship with your followers creates a different dynamic with your clients. You are able to hear their thoughts, criticisms, and suggestions. The advantage of this is that you have the ability to improve your business by listening to your followers.

Another aspect of Twitter that is often neglected is the use of Twitter Chats. This is an active and fairly easy way to engage with your followers and discuss different types of topics. By creating a hashtag like #B&MChat, anyone who has a question during the live Twitter Chat can ask their question by using a hashtag. This doesn’t only increase brand awareness online, but this also allows your hashtag to trend. This means that it allows other people outside the Twitter chat to view your company profile, which increases your brand awareness over social media.

Twitter is an exceptional tool to use to advertise your business, and unless you select the paid advertising option, it is completely free. You no longer have to feel guilty over all the money you used to spend on print advertising. Nowadays, there are so many methods, like Twitter, that allow your business to thrive and succeed online.

25 years of Photoshop

February 18, 2015 / no comments

Happy anniversary Photoshop!

Adobe Photoshop has now been around for 25 years. It’s crazy to think that it was released in 1990. February 19th, 1990 to be exact. At the beginning, Photoshop had only a handful of editing features. Since then Adobe has done some major updates. Adding up to over a dozen major upgrades to what it is today. The latest Adobe software is Photoshop CC. Adobe’s continued success has a massive impact on the design world. Allowing for artwork that has never been seen before. It will only get better from here.

“For 25 years, Photoshop has inspired artists and designers to craft images of stunning beauty and reality-bending creativity.” – Shantanu Narayen.

In honor of the anniversary, Adobe is holding a “Top 25 Under 25” artist showcase. This lets many young creative minds show the world what they can do. If you would like to submit a piece of work, visit the Behance website and upload yours using the “Ps25Under25” tag.

Photoshop is used for many different editing purposes. This program has helped many business owners, photographers, and designers create the artwork they are looking for. Along with the help of all other Adobe programs (Illustrator, In Design etc.) Photoshop has the power to do more than just retouching photos and editing. Photoshop is also very capable of video production, web and print design, typography, and 3D design. Used in many different job positions, Photoshop has really proved itself as the industry leader. Growing up using this program I have many memories creating artwork with very little resources. Like many designers being creative is about using what you have and making the most out of it. With the continued improvement of technology, I am really looking forward to the future. Adobe programs will keep getting better and better. This will give the opportunity for anyone to create almost anything they can imagine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmYc1MNJaQc

Time Management

February 4, 2015 / no comments

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t struggle with staying on track at work. While juggling a busy schedule it’s difficult to complete daily tasks. Over the years of completing college and the time I’ve spent in the work place, time management was a crucial element for me to be able to complete each task at hand. I have gone through many different ways to get work done on time and still be able to achieve the top quality work I am looking for. Of course everybody has there own way of managing each day, and completing work on a busy schedule. I’m sure they even went through the same sort of process I did.

During my college years, I tired to manage being social and getting work done at the same time. Like most students this is a week-to-week struggle. I finally came up with the idea to time block my day. Knowing I had a ton of work to complete and still wanting to go out with friends, to me there really was no other way. Going out with friends acted as a reward for my hard work in my room. I told myself if I don’t complete this project, then I don’t go out. That was very difficult to stick with. Especially when your roommates are huge partiers.

This time block consisted of four columns. One column for the project, one for what I had to complete, one for the time I had to complete it, and the last was for the due date. Once I had each project written on paper I felt my head become much more clear. I was able to think clearly about what was asked for each project and the best way to complete them. Before I knew it I was getting projects done on schedule AND going out with friends.

Still today I use a variation of this time blocking system. With multiple projects going on at once is very hard to find time for each one. Sticking to this schedule has helped me get the most out of each day. One big part of time blocking is to give yourself a buffer zone of at least one hour. This is to make it as flexible as possible if projects over lap one another.

This has really helped me stay on track and get projects done on time. Time management is something that everybody does differently. I would love to hear some of your ways of time management.

Creative Resources

January 27, 2015 / no comments

Finding the right tools and creative resources to complete projects can really help their outcome and timeline. There are a ton of resources online that help with completing your projects, no matter the subject. Below I have compiled a list of resources to help complete your creative projects.

 

 

 

 

Web Design

LearnableLearnable provides a list of online books and online courses created for web designers and developers. They provide unlimited access to all courses and videos. This is a great resource for all areas of web design.

W3Schools: This website can provide everything from HTML to CSS to JavaScript to XML and lots more. With live code editors it simplifies learning the basics of web design.

CSS3 Click Chart: Most CSS attributes are very hard to remember. This website provides example code of how to use it and what proper attribute to apply to each CSS element. With live demonstration it shows in real time what your coding will look like. From common to cutting-edge coding this resource will help you create exactly what you are looking for.

 

 

 

 

 

Graphic Design

Easel.ly: Handling a huge amount of text is very hard to visually present. This tool is a great way to create infographics without any hassle. It also allows you to edit and share your work with other creative people with the click of a button.

Fount: This tool is also heavily used in web design. Fount allows you to find out what any font type is, just by clicking the page. Easily accessible, it can sit in your bookmarks bar on your web browser. This tool will help to save precious time trying to find the proper font type.

Method & Craft: Just like your local Arts & Craft store, this website is dedicated to helping you learn better design techniques. By providing articles and examples it will easily show you recent trends and new techniques for becoming up-to-date with the graphic design world.

 

 

 

News & Information

Designer News: This provides a live feed of the latest design news. Many people from around the world help to contribute by sending articles, resources and there own findings. By creating your own profile you can find friends and keep in touch with recent design news around the globe.

HOW Design: This is an amazing resource for finding a variety of books, magazines, and how-to videos. The workshop offers a vast amount of tools to help increase your skills and love for design.

Adobe Creative Suite: Adobe now provides the tools that can help with any project. The creative suite comes with an application that can be accessible from your desktop tool bar. This provides a great amount of images, and projects from which people have submitted around the world. Growing and growing it becomes easier and easier to stay up-to-date and learn the newest ways of design.

 

I hope that you’ve found the resources helpful. The Internet can provide many resources to increase productivity and creativity. Although it may be difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for, I hope these links can provide you with the tools to create something awesome in the future. Stay inspired, and stay positive. Now get creating!!

Lightweight Open-Source Code Editors

November 26, 2014 / no comments

Working with big projects requires a lot of back end coding and editing. While trying to stay on a time schedule and meet deadlines, it is good to utilize the best resources you have. There are a lot of different code editors that help blend the visual aspect of a website and the backend together. Utilizing these applications help speed up the process of coding and get the job done.

Here are some popular code editors that many web designers use today:

  • Sublime Text
  • Brackets
  • Github Atom
  • PHP Storm
  • Notepad++
  • Netbeans

 

Many of these have their own unique features to help the coding process. Code editors such as Brackets are written in JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. If you are comfortable with coding and building websites, using this software would be very helpful to make the best of your ability. These programs organize all code into one page. That means no more switching back and forth between pages and wasting valuable time to get work done. It is also extremely easy to live preview your work and make quick edits to get the end product you are looking for.

Getting the Job Done

As your projects get bigger and take more time to complete using something like Git will help with versioning and processing the backend material. This gives you the design view and code at the same time. Unlike WordPress where you are forced to switch back and forth to preview your work. There is a lot of extra bloat in these programs so by using these code editors will help get the job done much easier. Another plus is most of these programs are free, and made by Adobe.

 

I am still getting to know these programs. But as bigger projects come my way I am looking to use programs such as these to help with the workload. Efficiency and effective programing is the best way to accomplish what you’re looking for in a project. I am looking forward to utilizing these types of programs. Expanding my skills set and getting web sites completed faster. If you have any other ways to improve your code editing, please share I would love to know.

Enthusiasm

November 12, 2014 / no comments

I have recently finished a book called A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. This is basically a spiritual guide to discover the freedom and happiness of a life lived in the “now”. This is the first book I have read in a while. I usually start reading a book and stop half way through because I have forgotten what happened. That didn’t happen with this book. I could hardly put it down. I usually read on the train, coming home from work. Everyday I couldn’t wait to read more. I have learned quite a bit from this book. Some things ill have to read again but others I understood pretty well. One of the best things I took from this book was about enthusiasm. Let me explain.

“Enthusiasm means there is a deep enjoyment in what you do plus the added element of a goal or a vision that you work toward. When you add a goal to the enjoyment of what you do, the energy-field or vibration frequency changes. ” -Eckhart Tolle

This basically means there is a huge amount of intensity and commitment behind the work you are putting in. But also being completely happy and stress free while doing it. It actually may appear from another person’s point of view that you are under stress. With this amount of enthusiasm it is the total apposite. If you enjoy something enough to put a huge amount of enthusiasm to it, the creative levels increase and the stress always diminishes.

Ralph Waldo once said,

“Nothing great has ever been achieved without enthusiasm”.

Enthusiasm comes from a goal or vision you are working toward with a huge sense of enjoyment. This urges you to do better and create the best of your ability. Remaining fixed on your goal will help align you with the completion you are looking for.

There are many types of goals that you may want to accomplish. Any is good, as long as you are not looking to completely change yourself and work towards an unrealistic image of yourself. This is where the ego is working to empower you. At this point it is most likely that this goal will never be achieved and unhappiness settles in. Goals should be dynamic. Not to only benefit yourself but to help benefit other people.

The second you start to be more enthusiastic about something you will tend to enjoy the journey more and end up in a better place. A warm sensation will come upon you and urge you to keep moving forward. Of course you have to like what you are doing but no matter what it is, enthusiasm will help to reach a better accomplishment.

Throughout this journey remember to take each moment at a time and live in the “now”. This is hard because the future is always right around the corner. By living this way will help ensure a better future because you are so focused on the present moment.

I have learned a lot and some I do not fully understand but if I put the right amount of effort and enthusiasm into the learning process. It will help make sure I do understand life and what it offers.