Canva, so easy even I can use it!

Have you ever seen the header on a Facebook page and wished you could make one like that?  Canva levels the playing field.  It’s so easy even I can use it!

H/T to +RyanMHanley for making me aware of Canva.

What can you do with Canva?

This is designed for people who need to create something without spending hours learning how to use a program or knowing much about graphic design.  What you see is what you get.  There are some simple images included for free.  You can take advantage of some others they offer for a small fee.  I usually choose to use my own pictures.  Frankly, using your own photos helps to avoid copyright issues.

Here is an example of one I made for my Facebook page and another that I did just for fun.  Took about one minute for the Facebook and maybe three minutes for the other one!

All About Family Amiya

 

What happens with my projects?

Your projects are saved in your account.  You can download the finished project as a graphic file and/or choose to share a link to the finished graphic directly online.  The nice thing about sharing the link is that you actually help promote Canva to your friends.  They may actually thank you for that!

The two projects above were saved to my PC as png files that I uploaded to my blog site for publishing purposes.

Here is an example of a link to the second image above –

https://www.canva.com/design/DAA4_Z6d824/XibOzOji21_38KzE3xRJsA/view

Basically, you control your stuff!  (Review the terms of use, there are some rights given to Canva.)

What does Canva cost?

3D-Women-Question-02That is up to you.  Initially, nothing.

There are some great graphics that you may want to take advantage of and they are very low cost per graphic.  Make sure to review the terms of use and ensure you understand them before uploading images for your designs.

Why would Canva do this for “nothing”?  You may choose to pay for the images offered through the premium library.  A dollar a picture doesn’t seem like much but when you think about it, they add up when you consider millions of potential users.  For a small business to spend five bucks and create a great graphic is a great deal for the business.  I would say that’s well worth the cost for both.

For those of us who can’t draw a straight line with a ruler, Canva is a great way to express your creativity.

 

Make it a great day!

Barry

P.S.  What am I thankful for today?  I’m thankful for computers.  I’m thankful for programmers.  I’m thankful for #SocialMedia .

What are you thankful for today?

Five Facebook Faux Pas

A faux pas is an action that lacks tact and diplomacy, in the most simple terms, an action that hurts someone’s feelings.  Here are five faux pas to avoid on Facebook.

  1. Sometimes your best friend shouldn’t be connected to your Facebook page.
  2. Never post pictures of you with a new flame before your separation is final.  You might end up using your #LegalSavingsPlan!
  3. Don’t post comments when you are mad.
  4. Think twice about responding to negative comments about your business.
  5. Don’t be selling all the time, especially on your personal timeline.

See below for some explanations and examples.

 

1. Choosing Your Friends

Barry_George_Gord

Facebook is like having your own personal newspaper.  What you publish is very public and shared around the world.  Your life is the news.  Your “friends” are your audience and they can all see each other.  You don’t have to be friends with everyone, nor should you.

Think back to high school.  You likely had different circles of friends and they didn’t always mix well together.  Keep your friends to your personal time line.  Invite your followers to your fan pages and be very careful about mixing the two.

 

2. Posting Pictures

Denise Kayaking July 19, 2014

You are away on vacation and are all excited about the place, time and people you are with.  Many of us carry cell phones with data plans these days and are very quick to snap a picture and upload it to Facebook.  What is the picture about, who are you with and what are you doing?

Remember that family, friends and your boss are very likely paying attention.  Not a good idea to be posting pictures of you in another country when you are supposed to be home recuperating.  Are you ready for your family to know all about a new relationship?  Think before you post.

What’s that old saying?  Pictures are worth a thousand words.  Think about how much can a picture hurt!

 

3. Posting Comments

Words can hurtWordle_Divorce.  When you are posting to Facebook, they are out there forever.

Sometimes we don’t think about who is following our posts.  How many times have you seen a couple who has separated or divorced posting comments about the other.  Our “friends” are watching.  How do you think it makes them feel when they love both of the partners?

When you are feeling angry, sad, and even excited, write your post and then go pour yourself a coffee before you upload it.  Go back and re-read your post.  Consider what you are reading and whether or not you would would say this to the person directly.  If you think it won’t cause reactions you can’t live with, then go ahead.

Be careful or you just might find yourself needing a #LegalSavingsPlan !

 

4. Responding To Negative Posts

1196px-Facebook_like_thumbThink twice before you respond to a provocative post.

Social Media is a mine field.  When someone makes a post that is negative, derogatory or makes you angry and you have the urge to respond, in short, DON’T DO IT!!!

The appropriate thing to do is take that conversation off line.  Use private messaging, email or even better, pick up the phone.  By responding publicly, you give credence to their comment whether it is factual or not.  Have a private conversation and come to a resolution.  Positive or negative.

I have seen something like this where someone posted a negative comment about a business.  The person who was involved in that business contacted the writer privately and had a conversation that resulted in the post being removed.  The writer had every right to their feelings, not necessarily agreement with the statement, and the feelings were validated through private conversation.  In the end, the writer recognized that the comment was a little unfair the post was removed quickly.

 

5. Promoting Your Business

Don’t “puke” all over your Facebook “friends”!  I’m not saying you should never mention your business.  It’s part of who you are.  Like all promotion in social media, give them a reason to read what you have to say.  It’s about giving valuable content.  By all means, provide a link to promotions you think they may value.

Your family and friends will likely be interested in things like sports or current events.  You can post about something like legal issues with links to relevant articles.  Maybe even link to your own blog which provides thoughts and feedback about that particular subject.

man-announce-01sI prefer to write blogs like this with links to relevant articles and offers.  For example, at the end of the section above, there is a link to #LegalSavingsPlan.  That goes to a site where I explain what a #LegalSavingsPlan is and will lead to one of my businesses.  I hope the rest of the content in this blog provides value and those that are interested will click that particular link.  Other links go to more of my blogs that provide information related to that particular keyword.  Of course, there may be a related link to one of my businesses in that particular post!

Another thing you can do is set up a separate Facebook Fan Page for your business and keep the marketing efforts over there.  That way you can keep your personal time line separate and not flood your family with business promotions.  If there is a business post that is relevant, share it with your family by posting on your Facebook Fan Page and then sharing from there to your personal timeline.

I hope some of this helps.  If you are interested in less “businessy” blogs, I invite you to visit my personal site at http://barryclermont.com/blog.

 

Make it a great day,

Barry

P.S.  What am I thankful for today?  I’m thankful for the opportunity to share ideas.  I’m thankful for sunny days.  I’m thankful for the internet!

What are you thankful for today?

FB Fan Pages 728x90

 

Why should I host my WordPress blog on my own domain?

You should host your WordPress blog on your own domain for enhanced capability, security and control reasons.

 

WHY WORDPRESS?

man-announce-01sI consider myself an average user/blogger.  The reason I chose WordPress is ease of use.

 

Most people these days have used Microsoft Word or a similar word processing software.  Creating a blog in WordPress is not a lot different.  I have to admit to a bias because the hosting company I use also includes training based on WordPress every Tuesday at 8PM Eastern Standard Time.  Come watch.  It’s open to the public!

 

With the hundreds of themes available through WordPress, you can apply a theme and modify it easily.  Changing the look of your site takes seconds!  This often requires having your own domain.  Most “pre-packaged” sites have restrictions that will limit what you can do.

 

WordPress also has the easiest to find and use plugins to help enhance the themes and make the site your own.

 

  • Do you want advertising on the side bar?  There’s a widget for that.
  • Embed video into your site easily.
  • Insert a photo into your blog and link to your business.
  • Security and antivirus tools and so on…

The domain hosting package I purchased includes access to multiple programs including other software for site creation and management.  I just found the learning curve for the other programs to be too steep and the training wasn’t as easy to find, as WordPress, without further cost.

 

ENHANCED SECURITY

There are some great widgets to secure your site and:

  • Protect from hackers.
  • Protect from viruses.
  • Block spam.
  • Back up your site.

Because of the popularity of WordPress, it becomes a target for hackers and spammers who do it “because they can” and also for nefarious purposes.  Hosting your own domain allows you to apply further layers of protection for you and your clients.  For example:  I would suggest password protecting your wp-admin folder.  This effectively creates a double log in and will make it more difficult than it’s worth for bad people to spend time trying to get into.

 

Find a service provider that brings all of this into one easy to access and use place.

 

HOW DO I CHOOSE MY DOMAIN HOSTING PACKAGE?

hosting-300x250-2You need to make a decision on where to start.  Are you a business that just needs a site and marketing tools?  Will you be leading a team that may need limited hosting to redirect to their affiliate sites?  With GVO, you can always upgrade as your needs increase.

 

My package includes server management tools as well as the marketing suite.  In my case, I chose the Titanium reseller account so that I can host for my business partners in other businesses as well as create sites for family and so on.

 

ONLY YOU CAN DECIDE

It’s my belief that you should host your WordPress blog on your own domain for security and control.   We all have different needs and preferences.  Only you can decide what you are willing to do and what you can afford.

 

Make it a great day!

 

Barry

 

P.S.  What am I thankful for today?  I’m thankful for options.  I’m thankful for choice.  I’m thankful for #WordPress !

 

What are you thankful for today?

Facebook or Google+ ? Both, for different reasons.

I saw a great infographic on Google+ recently breaking down the numbers for the major social media sites like Facebook and Google+. You really need to be active on both (And then some!). Although many people cross over, we look for different things from the two.

 

SIMILARITIES

  • Profile page
  • Pages (Google+) or Fan Pages (Facebook)
  • Share content from other sources
  • Upload graphics and video
  • Groups (Facebook) and Circles (Google+)
  • Privacy controls
  • Customize headers

 

brettandamiyaBoth Facebook and Google+ are great places to get to know people. At least superficially, as much as we can know someone without physically meeting. Profile walls on both are where we should post more personal things. Thoughts about family, work etc.

 

Pages are where we strive to promote business or community groups. Family isn’t really interested in seeing posts on social media marketing or whatever widget or service you sell. They see you at least semi-regularly and have the opportunity to ask about that stuff.

 

Make sure you don’t flood your family with business promotion and don’t flood your professional and business contacts with pictures of your cat. I swear if I see one more cat, I’ll cough up a fur ball! I have admit it’s hard not to flood the channel with pictures of my granddaughter.

 

 

DIFFERENCES

  • Focus
  • Hangouts (Google+)
  • Posts
  • Privacy controls
  • Upload Video

The differences between Google+ and Facebook are few and yet very major.

 

Facebook users tend to be more focused on socializing like they would at a party. I have a personal bias but believe that most Facebook users are more worried about their cats than their business. Conversely, most Google+ users are focused on a specialty. Subjects really vary. Social Media, Photography, music and so on. As a result it’s easier and more acceptable to work on B2B or B2C without offending.

 

Google_Plus_logoHangouts is a space where you can conference in real time via video. Similar in nature to Skype for example but much easier to use. The added benefit using Google Hangouts is that you can record your video session for playback at a later time. This is easy to use because of the integration with Youtube. Go to Google+ and look up Wade Harman. He does some great stuff about effective use of social media and graphics tools.

 

 

Did you know that each Google+ post is an individual page that you can share a link directly to? You can virtually create a blog post and then share the page directly.

 

What I find most convenient, when posting, is the ability to add to a group easily and control who sees what. If you don’t choose “Public” and exclude the others you don’t want to see a post, only your target Circles will see your post. Just remember which page you are acting as when you decide to go public. It’s only public for that page and doesn’t post publicly to your profile page.

 

WHICH WILL YOU CHOOSE?

I would recommend both and then more. No matter what your area of interest is, I would consider Facebook, Google+ and Twitter to be staples today. Kind of like bread, milk and butter in the grocery industry. If you don’t have those in stock, you might as well close the doors.

 

Understand your target audience, your product or service and then develop a strategy to get your message out there. I would highly recommend reading “The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing” by Beverly Macy and Tery Thompson. You sill find some great examples of private industry as well as government agencies (see Orange County Transportation Authority, Ted Nguyen) who have been very successful with social media.

 

Now get out there and win friends and influence people!

 

Make it a great day,

 

Barry

 

P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for social media. I’m thankful for open minds. I’m thankful every day I’m on the top side of the daisies!

 

What are you thankful for today?

 

Video and Email – Join the big leagues!

Video email isn’t just for big companies.  There is no reason you can’t join the big leagues!

 

Why Video Email?

Communicating a message in the body of an email can be challenging at best.  Too many words and they just hit delete.  Not enough words and they don’t understand our message.   Besides, a text email is so impersonal.  How do you get people to hear your message?

 

Talk to them!  Let them look you in the eye!

 

The Pure Leverage Suite of Tools takes your communication to the next level.  You can create an email that links directly to your message.  With the click of a few buttons and a couple of minutes with your webcam, you can speak directly with your customer or prospect.
 

 

What could you use video for?

        • Constant contact with your clients.
        • Letting your prospects see who they are dealing with.
        • Client and prospect tutorials.

 Whether you want to demonstrate a product or teach your clients how to use it, video can save a lot of time and money for all involved.  Using the Pure Leverage suite, you can send video email directly to your clients.  With GVO’s video producer, you can record or upload video to your hosting account and use embed codes on your site to have the video directly in your blog.  For example, in the video below I talk about how my wife’s business to help people understand how the service works.

 

(The video says it rolls to another site because it was recorded for a different blog.  This is for demonstration and doesn’t roll over.  Click below the picture if you are interested in where it was going.)

 

animated arrow right

Click here to learn more about her legal services plans.  

 

Look me in the eye!

Statistically, the majority of people respond to images.  Including video allows people to get a sense of who you are.  

 

We all make a decision in the first few seconds whether or not we want to waste our time with someone. Making effective use of video allows you to get their attention.  From there, it’s up to you to get the message across.  By including video and text, you are appealing to more than one the senses and are more likely to get your message across.  You might even want to incorporate video conferencing into your communications strategy.    

 

 

Even the newspapers are embedding video in their online articles these days.  Their pages look suspiciously like WordPress, the engine used to produce the Pure Leverage sites and my blog site!

 

Make it a great day,

 

Barry

 

P.S.  What am I thankful for today?  I’m thankful for the Internet.  I’m thankful for social media.  I’m thankful for affordable tools!

 

What are you thankful for today?