Posts tagged ‘Facebook’

August 11, 2013

Sunday Roundup – August 11

And with that, it’s a month and a day til my birthday. Just sayin’.

About last week…

What to do with the Art?

Who are Your People?

Couple Facebooky articles for Clients and Colleagues

WORKSHOPS and TEACHING UPDATES!

Reminder I am giving a full day workshop September 21, in association with Humber College. Finding Your Audience: Social Media for Artists  Diving into social media can be intimidating. Expert Sue Edworthy will demystify the process and get you going on your own social media strategy in this one-day intensive workshop developed specifically for artists of all disciplines.   Both theoretical and practical, in this workshop you will learn about social media strategy and then get “hands-on” on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc.  Case studies from Canada and around the world will be presented to illustrate some winning approaches. Details to come soon.

And Tell Me About It with DTRC/Artists’ Health went so well, we’re figuring out a three class intensive to follow up to that, broken into beginners, strategy, and a master class. Fall 2013, details to come soon.

And back at the Chang School at Ryerson this fall for another round of CDAM 101 Communication and Promotion for the Arts. Seven weeks on Monday evenings, details to follow.

 

August 9, 2013

Couple Facebooky articles for Clients and Colleagues

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Quick note – Summerworks is open! Go see something. So far I’m booked into Eating Pomegranates Naked, Murderers Confess at Christmastime and Paradises Lost.

I’ll book more as I go and let you know.

Summer seems to be the time to analyze, tidy up, re-jig all things admin, and now social media has been added to the mix. This post is for friends and folks and clients and colleagues who are doing just that these days, and may have to report stuff to EDs, CEOs and Boards. And if you aren’t already following Mashable somehow – you should be.

Facebook: Here’s How Your News Feed Works – Your Facebook News Feed is a hodgepodge of information: some of it you love, some of it you hate, and some of it may just make you scratch your head. The average user’s News Feed has around 1,500 possible stories filtered through per day, according to Lars Backstrom, engineering manager for Facebook’s News Feed ranking. But only 20% of them actually make your feed.
So how does Facebook determine which 20% you see? read more

and

5 Social Media Tactics to Increase ROI – Social can be one of the most challenging platforms for brands to measure return on investment. Companies that grew up on traditional advertising and metrics often have trouble making sense of the value of the online ecosystem. But with 52% of U.S. consumers using the web as their primary purchase tool, it’s an area brands can’t afford to ignore. read more

I cannot emphasize #5 enough. The people I work and play with  – we live in a sea of actual creativity. We create for a living. Thusly – we do #5 automatically, without even having to think about it. Now apply it to this.

August 1, 2013

Summer Can Be Quiet(er) #3 – Facebook Engagement

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Continuing on with bookmarks I find helpful, and therefore want to share with you.

10 Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Facebook Engagement

Number 1 definitely – Writing posts that are too long – Facebook’s news feed is very crowded. Keep your status updates short and sweet to quickly grab a fan’s attention. This can be tough, but try to limit your posts to about 100 characters and if you must write more, don’t exceed 250 characters.
Agreed, to an extent. If your entire message can’t show up without a read more, then it needs to be tightened up. You can liken read more to running out of space on a voicemail, if you’ve run out of space you’ve said too much. That being said, if your post does need to be longer for whatever reason, your important information needs to be front and centre – think of it as a newspaper article, and put the lead where it belongs – up top. Also helpful to crate a post that breaks unnaturally, say, in the middle of the list of show times, compelling people to read more to get the info.

#3 – Absolutely – Posting during high-volume hours on Facebook – The best time to post on Facebook varies for each individual business page, but it’s important to keep news feed competition in mind. You already know how difficult it is to keep someone’s attention and stand out in a crowded news feed. When you post during the busiest hours of the day, you’re making your task even more challenging. During prime TV-watching hours, your posts are directly competing with your fans’ attention as they are engrossed in a favorite TV show, their friends, or the brands they follow and love. Increase your engagement by posting during non-busy hours.
You need to follow the example your own followers and like-minded posts to see when your best time of engagement is. When are your people on-line – not just “everyone”. You don’t necessarily want “everyone” – you want people who will engage with you.

Number 8 – You’re too focused on selling – Individuals use Facebook to connect and interact with other people. That’s why your Facebook Page should feel like a friend. Use a conversational tone, tell stories, listen, and respond to the folks that engage with your page. Also, remember the 80/20 rule. 80 percent of the content you post should be helpful or entertaining and 20 percent can be used for self-promotional or focused selling content.
I don’t need to elaborate – you know how I feel about “that guy”.

Into the day – it’s Thursday! Thursday is the new Friday!

 

July 18, 2013

Why Folks are Liking Us and What We’re Using Social Media-wise

Too hot to read much today so we’ll head for an infographic or two. Replace “brand fan” with “art supporter” or “theatre company” and there you go. Are all these reasons true for your facebook page? Are you doing all these things to get more folks to your page and have them stay there?

brand fan

Let’s look at what we’re using to get folks’ attention: interesting that facebook likes for “your theatre company” are as prevalent as like for “insert global brand here”. Let’s keep it up. How are we using these tactics and tools to get real life interactions going?

Seriously – it’s HOT out. Stay cool, stay hydrated. See you soon.

Infographic-How-Do-Small-Businesses-Reach-Customers

June 17, 2013

From the Archives: SWF Seeks Basic Website – must be attractive, clean and open to sharing…

In the past year or so, I’ve been asked a particular question, or had people ask people to ask me a question, or people tell people to ask me a question to ask other people. I hear it  by phone, in person, via Twitter and Facebook:

Does anyone know how much it costs to set up a basic website?

I have yet to answer or hear anyone else answer this question with a figure as end-of-disussion. So I pondered a bit and thought for the New Year it would be a lovely start to answer this  question by turning to colleague and local expert Avery Swartz. The answer is in here, but there’s so much more to think about.

I love working with Avery – she’s responsible for the banner at the top of this page, my business cards, my font choices, my ads in print and online. She’s awesome. So off I went and asked her. read on and be illuminated!

What exactly is a basic website – what does that phrase mean to a designer?
I like to think of websites in terms of functionality.  What do you want your website to DO?  Note: a website’s functionality shouldn’t be confused with its purpose.  The purpose of a website is to sell something, offer information about a company, give directions to an event, etc.  The functionality of a website is HOW you achieve your website’s purpose.  

For me, as a website designer and developer (I both design and build websites), a BASIC website is one that has very very limited functionality.  We’re talking about words and pictures, and that’s it.  Very few webpages (under 5), and nothing changes often (i.e. – no updates needed).  That kind of website is sometimes referred to as a “brochure website”, since its main purpose is to offer information.  There will probably be an “about” page, a “contact” page, and maybe one or two more webpages.

Also, if a client comes to me asking for a “basic website”, it means that all the content for the website (the text, the images, the client’s logo or any other graphic elements needed) will be supplied.  If I need to design a logo, any special graphics, do any photoshop work on your pictures, or help you with your copy, then it’s not “basic” any more.

So how much does a basic website cost? 

If you work with me, it’s going to be about $1000 (or less for arts groups and charities).  You can also find a student or a web designer who is just starting out, and they might charge you $300-$500.

What in your experience does that mean to a client?
Usually, a client thinks the same thing as me for a “basic website”.  Text, images, and just a few webpages.

But, if a client does have a different idea of what a “basic website” is, then it’s usually because they think a “basic website” includes more functionality.  Any time you want something beyond text, pictures, and a handful of webpages (that all have the same layout), then you’ve stepped outside the realm of “basic”.

Extra functionality can include: more than just a few webpages, the ability to update the website yourself, blog integration, e-commerce or online shopping, photo galleries, video, any kind of user interaction (forums, the ability to comment, membership areas), anything that requires enhanced security and encryption, websites that look great on mobile devices as well as desktop computers, social media integration, etc etc etc.

More often than not, when a client comes to me asking for a “basic website”, I help them understand that they probably want more than just the basics.  Most of the fun stuff on the internet can be found in the extra functionality I listed above.  And of course, all that can drive the price up.  But, I’m guessing that your company/business/show probably isn’t “basic”, so you probably don’t really want your website to be either.

If a client is just starting out and is working on a shoestring, are there free or inexpensive ways for them to create their own site?
Absolutely.  But don’t necessarily expect it to be painless.  There’s a reason why people like me are in business.  The DIY options for websites have come a long way in the last 10 years, but there is always at least a small technical hurdle or two.  If you’re not internet savvy, you might find you’re in over your head.  But, there’s no reason not to try, and you might find you can make something pretty good-looking just by rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty.

You can definitely set up your own website through WordPress.com.  You can even have your own domain name.  My suggestion with WordPress though – keep it simple.  Choose a really clean theme (aka template), and exercise restraint.  Wordpress is pretty powerful, and I’ve seen people go nuts trying to “enhance” their website, and it ends up looking like a giant mess.

If you’re a visual artist, you really need to have a Behance.net account.  If you put in the time to make it really nice, you can even have that as your website.  Consider getting a Behance Pro account.  It will make your Behance profile into a portfolio website, without the logos and branding from Behance.  No one will be the wiser, and it looks great.  Check out these examples:

You can do the same thing with Cargo:

If you make something handmade, there’s no excuse for you to not be on Etsy.  Even if you have your own website, you should still be on Etsy.  There are people who are actively looking for handmade goods, searching on that website, who would never find you otherwise.  It’s worth the slight fee it costs to put your products up.

And finally, more and more people are making Facebook pages for their businesses, and skipping a professional website altogether.  I don’t recommend this, mostly because Facebook business pages aren’t search engine-optimized (i.e. – it’s going to be harder to find your Facebook page on Google than it is to find your business website), but I don’t think there’s any harm in doing both (a website plus a Facebook page for your business).

Oh, one more note.  Don’t try and build a website using some silly program on your computer.  Microsoft Word is for writing a letter or a grant application – it’s not for building a website.  Even iWeb, the program on your Mac, is a mess.  It writes bad code that isn’t cross–browser compatible (i.e. It’s not going to look good in every web browser that people use).  If you’re going to try the DIY route, go with something mainstream, contemporary, and web-based.

is there anything a client forgets or might not think about including in their basic website that are essential?
The basics are the basics.  Good, clean layout. Readability.  Easy to navigate. Contact information up front (no one wants to search for your phone number or your address).  When in doubt, keep things simple.

So for the sake of comparison – is my website basic?
Nope! You have lots of fun extra functionality. Blogging (and everything that goes with that, including comments), the ability to update the site yourself, social media integration, contact form, and a flexible mobile version.

I know WordPress did most of that for you. So there are DIY options for people that want even more than a “basic” website.

Any other thoughts?
Whether you’re using a DIY website option, or working with a web designer, make sure your website accurately reflects your business and your level of professionalism.  Just like it’s simply unacceptable in this day and age to not have a website for your business, it’s also unacceptable for that website to look like junk.  Think of how you behave when you’re online.  If you check out a website for a shop, or a restaurant, or a newspaper, do you judge the business by the way their website looks or behaves?  Of course you do.  We all do.  So just remember that people are judging you too.  Sometimes you get what you pay for.

I think people often confuse the idea of a “basic website” with a “clean website”. Basic = very little functionally. Clean = good design. Clean does not necessarily mean basic. There are oodles of very attractive (and very complex) websites out there that are clean, but definitely not basic.

 

Think of Twitter. Google. Apple. All very clean (design), but definitely not basic (functionality).

 

Somehow people have a kooky idea that clean design is easy, so it should be cheap. Clean design is NOT easy. It’s often the most difficult thing to do, because it requires great vision, clarity, and restraint. If clean design was easy, there wouldn’t be so much crap out there.

What are you up to next?
I’m returning to work after 9 months of maternity leave, so I’m ready to take on new clients and new projects.  I’m always working on professional development, and studying up on the latest web trends.  Right now I’m kind of obsessed with “responsive web design”, which is a technique for making websites look fantastic on mobile devices AND desktop computers (without sacrificing one for the other)

Thanks Avery! I repeat – you are awesome.

About Avery – Avery Swartz is a Toronto-based award-winning web designer.  A self-described design geek, she helps to demystify the web for small business owners, charities, and arts organizations.  Avery believes that designing websites should be an enjoyable experience for everyone involved.  She offers a friendly, casual approach and promises to use as little technical mumbo-jumbo as possible.  You can contact Avery and view her portfolio online at www.averyswartz.com.

When she’s not making websites, Avery writes the blog Stuff Avery Likes, featuring news and info on design, travel, internet trends, and living in Leslieville with her husband, dog, and baby girl.  Check it out at www.stuffaverylikes.com.

June 7, 2013

not everything valuable can be measured #TheArtOf

(or, why I like Seth Godin)

one of the amazing speakers at the Art of Marketing conference was marketing genius Seth Godin.

I first came across one of Seth’s blog posts years ago – part of it had something to do with being environmentally friendly and how people were writing “think before you print this” as part of their email signatures in the hopes that people – wouldn’t, and save a tree. Seth said something to the fact that it works the opposite way. I dashed off a quick email with the usual love your blog, love this post and asked why he thought it wasn’t environmentally friendly and went on with my day.

Why isn’t it, you might ask? Because someone who is going to or needs to print an email is going to, regardless of what you put at the bottom asking them not to. And more often then not, an email signature pushes an email to a second page. So instead of being environmentally friendly, you’ve just printed two pages, one of which has no info on it, except a request not to print it.

How did I find this out?

He emailed me back within half an hour. I nearly fell over. Seth Godin emailed me back! I’ve followed his blog ever since.

ANYWAY.

His segment was great – and he said a lot of scary things. Things like “the public does not want to hear from us anymore that era is over they are better at hiding from us than we are at finding them” and  “all interruption is optional” which are scary things to hear when you’re trying to get people to pay attention, whether it’s for shoes or baby clothes or art.

And that the space in between “normal” and “weird” are changing. It used to be that you’d create your product to appeal to the largest (maybe lowest) common denominator. And now there are more options for weird than normal. Like mainstream indie music – (which is a category, BTW).

Some things he said relieved me a bit. Like the title of this post – “not everything valuable can be measured“.
Which can be looked at under the category of “Counting New Beans“.  And we try to do that in our tribe every day.

And the fact that we now live in a connection economy, as opposed to the industrial revolution. “we connect and create value – no one person knows how to make a computer mouse.
We do that every day in the arts – you bring the script and he’ll bring the set design and she’ll being the lighting design and she’ll sell it all as a package and everyone gets credit for their contribution.

And one that struck me – if you want to reach people, you have to have something they want.
What do we have that people want? And not what we want, or want them to want – what they want.

And please don’t say you don’t care what they want, and it’s your art and if they don’t understand it it’s their concern. Because the second you ask people for their time at 8 pm on a Friday, and ask them to pay you to give you their time – it is your concern.

Food for thought.

One question from the audience kind of threw me – a woman saying her creative team was exhausted and verging on burnout and she really wanted to know what to do about it.

Give them a break. Let the focus slide for a second. You know how it’s said that if you’re working on the computer, you need to look up and away every half hour or so to give your eyes a break? Do that for your creativity. Do something that is outside of what you normally create. If you write, then draw. If you draw, then knit. Go to a movie. I do that a lot – it’s a trick I learned from Don Draper on MadMen. Or another: (panel from The Oatmeal)

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Or I go to a conference on marketing where nothing is expected of me except to learn.

May 15, 2013

What You’ve Got is What I Need

46178_183984895086027_1621119881_nClients sometimes wonder what I need to do my job well for their company, their show. The quick answer is I will take any info you have to share as more is better than less. The companies I’ve worked with in the past few months have helped shape this list by being amazingly nimble, quick to permit and helpful – there was a genuine sense of teamwork on getting the word out about their show. It wasn’t just my job, or just their job, it was our job.

The longer list form is, as a starter:

– your show description. In all forms, including what you said about the project in your funding proposal. Yes, I know that it’s written in grant-speak. I am fluent in that.

– names of everyone involved. Cast, crew, creative, designers, administrators. And at least one thing that makes them awesome. They must be – you’ve hired them.

– photos/images. any and all. Headshots, phone pics of rehearsals, production stills, the poster image, the outtakes of the poster image shoot – all of them as soon as possible. Bios as well please. This is the start of my collateral.

– your social media. Not necessarily the keys to the car, but I need to know how often you post things and where. It also gives me a sense of your posting aesthetic. We can talk about permissions at another time.

– a contact list, including your box office person, and your point person wherever you are rehearsing and performing

– to be on the distribution list for the dailies. To be able to stop by rehearsals.

– discussion about posters and postcards and shelter ads and print ads and program ads and who and where and what they’ll be. and then a discussion about what else we’re going to do in addition to those things

– decisions and quick turnarounds on approvals. Someone once said you either need to have a lot of time or a lot of money to do things, and odds are good we don’t have a lot of either.

– commitment to the schedule. Many folks are still under the misguided impression that social media is all whenever you feel like it whimsy. Sure it is. Those are the filler posts. What you’re not seeing is a finely tuned editorial calendar that is set to coincide with posts and tweets and e-newsletters and shares and hashtags and reviews and events and pull quotes and reciprocals and cross promos and interviews and video. It’s all intertwined. And very much planned.

– in case that one was a bit scary, I’ll add to it a sense of fun. Willingness to go a bit further than you expected. And willingness to trust. We’re all in this together.

I might come back and add this to this post at a later time when I think of more things.  I’m tired today having spent spent my evening searching for clues and maps, getting and sending texts from and to mysterious organizations, meeting an equally mysterious man in an alley way and participating in a supernatural ritual. It was an excellent night overall, made some new friends and went to bed – after I washed the blood out of my hair.
This is all to say that when Visitations remounts you need to go and see it. Rather, you need to go experience it and be prepared to play. Great work from the folks at Mission Business. I hope more folks start doing theatre like this if for no other reason than people who are not in our industry attend it.  They’ve gotten a new audience. Well done. Thanks for the experience.

Photo from Mission Business Facebook Page

April 3, 2013

Supporting the Arts in Many Ways, Legoland and Social Influences

Lots going on at City Hall this week – Toronto City Council is about to vote on whether to approve $6 million in arts funding for the 2013 budget. Volcano has put together a comprehensive blog post on the number of ways you can show your support in Erupting Now.

You read that correctly –  the six million in arts funding we all celebrated? It’s not a done deal. They still have to approve it. Our work is not done, make your voice heard.

I mentioned yesterday on Facebook and Twitter that the City is  collecting feedback on what we think the funding priorities are in an online survey (click here). Given the public consultations about this begin on April 6th, I’d be inclined to fill it out prior to that.

Speaking of arts, I was at the opening night of Legoland last night, and had a great time, it’s always a treat to head over to Passe Muraille, see art, see people, and talk about art and lipstick with folks.  Legoland was a favourite of mine when it was in the 2010 Fringe, and it’s still as darkly quirkyfunny. Much fun.

From alltop.com – Social Influencers: Digital Marketing’s most overlooked and misused resource. If anyone from CDAM 101 is reading today – this infographic describes what we were talking about in last week’s social media class when we ran out of time. Enjoy!

social-influencers-infographic

March 22, 2013

Job Opps, Job Descriptions and Things on your Timeline

CAHOOTS THEATRE COMPANY is seeking applications for the position of ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Cahoots Theatre Company has been dedicated to the creation, development and production of new Canadian plays that reflect our cultural diversity for 26 years.  Cahoots Theatre Company believes that theatre should reflect the richness, diversity, and complexity that we live daily. Diversity means more than race or nation of origin or ethnicity. It also encompasses gender, sexual orientation, ability, language, and class.  Cahoots is a registered charity.
Please see http://www.cahoots.ca/company/job-opportunities/

Cahoots did a good job on their job description – on that note I found this article at bizlaunch the other day.

Finally for today (it’s Friday of a long week) a question that came up in Monday night’s class was on how to keep certain stories from specific people off your Facebook timeline – whether it’s items you’re sensitive to or you’re simply tired of cat pictures. It’s a combination of things – Facebook is something you can do your best to tailor to your individual needs. I still like the explanation I heard a while back – people can put whatever they want on their walls, and you can put whatever you want on your wall, and that news feed is just that – an aggregate of everyone’s whatever they want. If you don’t want to see certain stories there are things you can do, from hiding that person, to hiding certain stories, to changing the status of your friendship with that person. But it requires you to do something. Found this on my newsfeed.  Same folks who created the un-baby me app for folks who were tired of seeing so many pictures of their friends’ toddlers and tots.

Lisa and I were talking last night on the way home from The Whipping Man – it’s brilliant, by the way and you should go and see it –  about the fact that we’ve been part of five shows that have opened since February 7. An opening on February 7, February 14, March 1, March 14, March 21. We have been BUSY, and we’re proud of the work we’ve done. And today marks the first read through for another production.  Add that in with three teaching/guest speaker events this week, plus new client consults and RFPs and I’d say business is going well and I thank friends and colleagues and past and present clients.

Things I want to talk about next week include the power of hearing something on stage, not seeing it.

I also got to thinking about our city. I spent two days guest speaking at a school that is in the far reaches of East Toronto – a GO stop away from Pickering, and The Whipping Man is at the Toronto Centre for the Arts in North York. Two places that are remarkably different from where I live in Parkdale.

Happy Friday!

March 19, 2013

What Should You Write About?

People sometimes ask me how I think of things to write about on my blog. The answer is:

1) I write about what I know (a good general rule of writing)
2) I write about what I want to write about. That sounds very simple, but sometimes you really have to think about what it is you want to say, convey, and have people read and react to. If you look at my tag cloud, you’ll see that I write about the arts – primarily theatre, but the arts in general. If you look at my tag cloud, you can see what I write about mostly by size of tag.

Great article this week about what you write, and what you might not want to write, and how there’s nothing wrong with that.

It’s OK if You Don’t Want to Write Controversial Blog Posts

But can you be non-confrontational, non-provocative, and still be a successful blogger? No question.

And if we are talking about blogging for business, especially in a business-to-business context, a confrontational, snarky style may actually be counter-productive.
Many excellent, well-regarded blogs are characterised not by their being provocative but by being consistently informative and/or entertaining.”

Agreed on my part. I think this also applies to other forms of social media and I love that I’ve got a new terms now – “coat-trailer“.  I think if what you’re trying to do doesn’t fit the style of confrontational provocative posts, you don’t need to write them.  One post of mine that had the most traction, most reads, most shares was Dear Rob – it’s not confrontational. It’s not mean – in fact when I saw the stats on it climbing I was extremely thankful it wasn’t mean. You want to be confrontational, mean, whatever you want to call it – you need to be prepared to deal with that.

I mentioned this a while back when I first heard about it, and now it’s opening and I am really excited! The Toronto Tool Library is opening next week! AM absolutely going to go see what’s on offer.

I’m off to Sir Oliver Mowat High School this afternoon and tomorrow as well to talk to the grade 12 media classes about social media. I will report back later on the youth of today.

Excellent CDAM-101 class last night – intro to social media with lots of good questions lots of good answers and much participation. I’d assigned something from my blog for folks to read about Facebook invites and last night one pf the participants said she had torn apart my blog looking for it, and was there somewhere a search option to find things on my blog?

And I thought, of course there is, I use it almost daily, and definitely I search Sundays for the roundup posts….from the back-end of the site. There is a way to search if you administer the site. Not if you’re just looking for something. oh, maaaannn…

There is now – top right hand corner. Thanks for pointing that out, Maureen. I forgot people might like to search something on my site rather than google it. 400+ posts later –  Lesson learned.

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