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Archive for February 2011

Tools for Sane Social Media

During this first year of Small Pond Graphics, I’ve really seen a lot of exposure and new business opportunities sparked through my profiles on both Twitter and Facebook. I’ve been experimenting over the last few months with different ways of sharing client projects, original content, inspiration and ideas there and integrating the content here on Plop! as well. There’s no question social media takes time, and as with any marketing effort, for it to effective it takes some planning and thought as well.  Today I thought I would share a couple of tools I use to help me with the logistics. Time spent on social media can get away from you if you’re not careful, and it can quickly turn non-productive. I use these tools for scheduling and managing the content I want to share–and for keeping my time on social media sane. Maybe they’ll help you as well.

1. Twaitter.com — Twaitter is a marketing tool for Twitter that allows you to draft, schedule and send tweets. You don’t need a separate account, you just log in with your Twitter username and password. Simple enough. There are many twitter tools that facilitate the process of scheduling and sending tweets. The reason I like Twaitter is because I can schedule recurring tweets on a very specific time frame. While I don’t recommend bombarding your Twitter followers with repeated messages, I do think it’s valuable to send regular tweets with general information about your business. I use Twaitter to send a weekly tweet listing my services with a link to the Pond website and weekly tweets inviting followers to join my facebook page (with a link).

2. Postling.com — Postling is a great comprehensive service for posting to multiple social media channels or blogs at one time. It also allows you to manage multiple brands if you have more than one business on your social media plate, and it allows you to schedule in advance. I frequently use it to schedule the Daily PONDspiration posts I add to the Small Pond Facebook page each day. I like it because you can select to post to both your personal FB profile and any pages you administer and Twitter. It automatically shortens the links for my posts and I like it because it allows me to choose an image from the linked page to include, much like if I was posting it directly into Facebook. That’s important to me because my posts are design oriented. I usually spend some time over each weekend scheduling the upcoming week’s daily FB posts all at once. Makes my life easier!

Note: Postling also tracks comments and interactions with your social media posts. Nice.

3. Amplify.com — Amplify offers a very similar service to Postling with a few added features I love. Like Postling, it allows you to choose multiple profiles and media outlets to post a single message. But, Amplify offers an easy browser toolbar button that lets you “amplify” a link right from your browser. I use it to share links or information on Twitter or Facebook on the fly without a lot of additional browser windows or logins.  If I want more control over what is shared, I also sometimes use it  to schedule Daily PONDspiration posts. The toolbar button offers the option to “clip” a page. I can select an image and various paragraphs of text straight from a web page. [It’s very helpful for those webpages whose images won’t automatically import into Facebook.] Another great feature of Amplify is that it lets you compose your Twitter and Facebook wording separately since you can utilize more characters on Facebook.

Note: Amplify sets up your amplified posts as a micro-blog of sorts that you can promote if you desire. When posting, you can link to this micro-blog or to the original web page you are sharing.

4. Network Blogs — I wanted to throw in a tool I use for Plop! as well. Network Blogs is a Facebook application that lets you link your blog content to your Facebook page and/or profile. You can essentially set up a mini page for your blog and manage how it is “syndicated” to your FB profile or any pages you administer. The application creates a “blog” tab showing all your posts, and it can automatically post links for new blog posts to your wall. I also activated the feature that lets you post to Twitter automatically as well.

Of course, some of the services these tools offer overlap. I’ve established sort of a mish-mash protocol for how I prefer to manage my social media marketing. These free services may offer you the opportunity to do the same!

favorite thing . Calligraphy Address Stamp

Don’t you love hand-written notes? I remember receiving several congratulating the launch of Small Pond Graphics, and they made the words  that were communicated so much more powerful. Hand-written notes are kind of a lost art in the digital world we inhabit these days. Perhaps that makes their impact all the more pronounced, and I’m determined to incorporate the effort into my correspondence a little more. [No scoffing from those who have seen my hand-writing, please.]

I was thinking about small ways to add that human touch to communications and I came across this great calligraphy shop — Paperfinger. The custom calligraphy address stamp caught my attention as a great opportunity to add a bit of personality to personal or even business correspondence — especially if your handwriting is like mine and produces more frustration than joy. They also offer some other beautifully whimsical stamps and the option to create something custom.

Think small today.

font crush . West Balaio

Today my favorite font is West Balaio. [I say today because my “favorite” seem to change on a daily/hourly basis. Oh well.] I love the whimsy and texture of this font. It just smells like Spring fever. You can download it for free here.

And, here’s what I’m thinking about doing with it… some oversized “thank you” postcards for my clients!

photo 022211 . Warmth

“Warmth”

I’m always so amazed at how much color there is in neutrals. In the neutrality in nature at winter time. Something about the grayer sky and absence of leaves brings to light so much underlying vibrance. We’re almost shedding our winter skin here in Mississippi, but I know that’s not the case in other parts of our country.Take a look around you. What colors do you see?

Color Month: Red

I took a break from Color Month last week to gratefully give extra attention to some client projects, but I’m back to making my way through the rainbow. Just programming note… I’m having so much fun that I’m extending the color theme through March as well. I’ve found some great color tools and information to share, so keep your eyes peeled!

It’s time for RED! Stop signs, fire engines and lipstick–red always makes an impact. I love the confidence this color injects. From vibrant pure reds and hot pinks to deeper wine and rose colors, hues in the red family imbues a sense of power and dominance. What other unspoken messages does the color red communicate?

GENERAL IMPRESSIONS:
Red is often considered the most primal of the primary colors. Of all the colors, red creates the strongest physical reactions. When the eye sees red it actually causes an increase in adrenaline production, heart rate and blood pressure. Wow! Now that’s power. With its association to blood and fire, basic red has a life-sustaining and vigorous reputation that commands attention. Because seeing red also tends to increase appetite and speed up metabolism, it is an obvious color of choice for restaurants and food products. Although red sometimes signifies danger based on how it appears in nature, it is most often equated with excitement and energy. Red at it’s most vibrant, like that of a fire engine or stop sign, is seen as aggressive, passionate, and dynamic. From the curvaceous lips on pin-up posters to racy lingerie and muscle cars, red also adds a seductive, sexy tone wherever it is displayed. In design, red has an arresting effect and will almost always cause the viewer’s eye to stop and pay attention, making it a powerful tool for marketing.

COLOR VARIATIONS:
Deeper red tones like wine or burgundy connote a richer, more refined look than vibrant reds. These colors are seen as more authoritative and mature than bright red and can suggest a more expensive, upscale look of class and reliability. Hot pink tones, on the other hand, suggest a more youthful spirit while maintaining the same high energy as basic red. Milder magenta and fuchsia versions can offer a more grown-up happy medium. As white is added to red, producing lighter pinks, the color loses its stark sensuality in favor of a more romantic, feminine look. Pastel pinks are also perceived as sweet tasting and smelling. More rosy

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tones almost always signify good health and optimism, from cherub-like “rosy cheeks” to indulgent “rose-colored” glasses.

The potential of red in its many variations is so powerful as a marketing tool. It can easily serve to direct the eye and focus the attention. And, it is one of the simplest ways to suggest strong emotions. I have a prospective client meeting this afternoon. Maybe some red heels are in order! *wink*

photo 021711 . Glistening

“Glistening”

photo 021511 . Massey Ferguson

“Massey Ferguson”

favorite thing . Book Darts

I was first introduced to the CANOE store through the Portland-based Miss Modish Blog. Through one click, I discovered a wonderland of well-designed products. I love the store’s mission… “to offer simple, beautiful, and functional objects that can be used and enjoyed everyday.”

One small Thing: Lovely book darts. These one-inch long paper thin metal markers in stainless steel, brass or copper offer a convenient and beautiful way to “hold that thought” as the tin says. I’d love to slip one of these next to a favorite sentence or paragraph to remind me of something inspiring — a well-designed way to slow down the skimming process and really grab the pleasure in reading a good book. Plus, I can imagine happening upon the dart months from now and being inspired all over again. Nice.

photo 021011 . Groundcover

“Groundcover”

Sometimes nature knows the perfect combination of textures, emphasis, neutrals and color.

favorite things . Type Posters

Happy Wednesday! Being a graphic designer, the combination of words and images is kind of my daily trade. My job is about communication more than art usually, and I’m always inspired by pieces that effectively communicate a message using great design. I’ve been watching a couple of designers who often let words take the center stage, and I wanted to share their inspiration. These posters also highlight a color trend I’m seeing everywhere–yellow tones paired with bluish grays and neutrals. I love the sophistication and depth it creates!

Check out the shops of these designers and grab some inspiration for yourself!

THE WHEATFIELD | BOLD & NOBLE | NAN LAWSON

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