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Summertime in Maine - Brie + Pixel Blog - Brixel Creative - Maine Graphic Designer - www.brixelcreative.com

Summertime in Maine – Brie + Pixel Blog – Brixel Creative – Maine Graphic Designer – http://www.brixelcreative.com

PHEW! Summer is in full swing here in Maine.

I’m a little embarrassed to say how long it’s been since my last post – about month or so – yikes! And I’m gonna go out on a limb right now just to say working from home (with 2 children on summer break) has become quite a difficult task. A typical day goes like this: just as I sit down to check email and complete a few tasks on my never ending list, one of my kids needs me for something – whether it’s a snack, just to say “I’m bored”, help take apart a lego piece, to reset the wireless so they can get on their iPod, etc, etc, etc.

Don’t get me wrong, the benefits to working from home far outweigh the negative aspects, so I’m really not complaining here. But if any of you have ever had to step out the office to work from home with your kids there, it can become a never ending battle of interruptions and nothing getting done.

It’s not like I can close my office door and set my phone to DND…it just
doesn’t work that way (although sometimes I wish I could).

But, all interruptions aside, I really do love having my kids home during the summer. It has offered so many opportunities for us to visit places we have never been before and experience new things together as a family. Growing up, I was able to stay home during the summer and I it was the best feeling ever. There’s no alarm clock and nowhere to be – you just wake up and figure out the schedule as you go. Being this is their first summer staying home instead of going to daycare or a day camp, they are loving the summertime freedom too.

This summer has been challenging at times, but at the end of the day a learning experience for us all. It has taught us to be in the moment, set aside all schedules and just go with the flow. It has taught us that every moment of every day does not need to be set in stone. Sometimes it’s best if you leave the schedule open and do what you feel like doing at that moment, because it’s those moments you will remember for a lifetime.

I hope you are able to step back from the schedules and have
a few go with the flow moments this summer too!

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Why You Should Be Using Hashtags NOW!

brixel-creative_blog_3-reasons-using-hashtags

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve either only heard about hashtags or you use them on a daily basis. For those that do live under a rock, basically hashtags are an easy way to turn any word or phrase (with no spaces) into a searchable keyword link by adding the # sign to the beginning (i.e. #graphicdesign or #socialmediamarketing).

In a way, hashtags allow you to create communities of people interested in the same topic by making it easier for them to find and share info related to it. It’s a really handy skill to learn and as social media becomes the primary way we communicate, it’s becoming very popular in marketing.

Did You Know: The hashtag was created by Chris Messina in August, 2007.
Read more: http://bit.ly/TaEt8P

Incorporating hashtags into your social media posts allow for quick searching and categorizing. Aside from Twitter, a few other social media platforms – Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and most recently Facebook – have also seen the benefit of using hashtags and have started to implement the hashtag feature as well. So how does this help improve your social media presence?

Here are 3 quick tips to help you understand why you should be using hashtags to increase your social media presence:

1. Organization – Using hashtags in your tweets or posts allows other users to see all the posts about this particular topic. Once you start using hashtags, you will begin to notice that tweets tagged with the same hashtag will all (or mostly) discuss the same topic.

Try for yourself: To make sure the hashtag you are using is relevant to how you will
be using it, just do a search. You never know what people may be using hashtags
to discuss and you wouldn’t want to accidentally connect your business to a negative,
controversial or embarrassing topic.

2. Target your Audience – This might be the biggest benefit to using hashtags. Let’s say you are a freelance graphic designer (like me!), you might want to tag some of your tweets that contain tips for fellow graphic designers with the hashtag #graphicdesigntip. This will show your followers that you’re writing for or interested in a specific topic and it will help them sort through the tweets that are relevant to them.

3. Grow your audience – Okay this is another huge benefit! Although a larger audience isn’t directly associated with using hashtags, it puts your tweets in front of people who might be interested in the same topics, and therefore would lead to a larger audience. The more targeted and accurate your hashtag use, the more targeted followers you’re likely to attract.

 

There really is no reason you shouldn’t be using hashtags, especially in your business marketing. If it comes down to knowing when and how to use them effectively, don’t let a little hashtag scare you! My suggestion: start using hashtags today! Join in on the conversation and share this blog article with the hashtag #mainedesigner now!

The Power of Delegating

“One of the key skills I learned as a young businessman was the power of delegation. Along with my ability to listen to other people and realize when their suggestions are better than my own, this has helped me to attract and retain the excellent people on our team. If I set them challenges, keep encouraging them and create a dynamic environment, I find that people will always work hard.”
– Richard Branson (http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/217701#)

The Power of Delegating - Brie + Pixel Blog

As a manager or entrepreneur, it’s important to develop many different skills – technical skills, organizational skills and people skills. However, the only way to ensure you are highly effective at your job is the ability to delegate and delegate well. Don’t feel like your colleagues can complete a task as good or as efficiently as you? As a manager or business owner, delegating may be the only thing stopping you from being a complete management failure.

Instead of delegating, do you come up with excuses not to delegate? Here are a few:

  • You have too much going on to sit down and explain how to complete a task
  • You don’t know how to delegate or don’t see the value in delegating
  • You don’t trust your employees will get the job done right and on time

The best decision you could make today is to start delegating!

Your time is just as valuable as your employees time and handing off work to them so you can complete more important tasks is what makes you successful. Lessening your burden will make you more efficient, while allowing you to set higher goals and improve your performance.

Think about it…

If you make all the decisions and come up with all the new ideas, how will your employees ever feel like they should take the initiative themselves? Make them feel like they are part of the company and listen to their ideas, let them take the lead. You might find the insight from your employees motivates them to work harder since they feel like they are a part of the business’ success.

Whatever title you might have – Owner, Manager, Executive, CIO, CFO, President – the best thing you can do is start every work day delegating and encouraging your employees. You will only create an environment of trust with your employees willing to take on any project or task, no matter how big or small.

Giving your employees a feeling of empowerment will only strengthen their work ethic and make for a more successful business!

3 Ways To Prevent “Cyber Bullying” in Business

3 Ways to Prevent "Cyber Bulling" in Business - Brie + Pixel Blog

You’ve heard of the term “Cyber bullying” on a personal level, however with the rise in social media engagement it is quickly becoming more prominent in business as well. The relationship between customer and business on social media is taking the place of a one-on-one phone call when it comes to customer service, so monitoring your social media pages should be a top priority.

Here are a few tips to help insure your business is not vulnerable to Cyber bullying:

Be Active:
Any of your fans or followers can post a comment on your Facebook or Twitter page so if you remain aware and online, then you won’t be surprised when and if a negative comment happens. The unfortunate thing is no amount of good customer service will keep every single one of your customers happy. There will always be “that one customer” who just will never be satisfied no matter what. But if you remain active on your social media pages, chances are good that you will catch this negative comment quickly after it is posted and you can extinguish the possibility of a fire ball of negativity occurring at your brand’s expense.

Keep Calm & Carry On:
People always find it easier to pass judgment online, so never take negative comments personally – this will not help your business at all. Always remain calm and be respectful when dealing with each situation. If you see negative comments about your business or product that are proven to be false, simply set the record straight and provide accurate information. If this is not enough, it might be time to block the negative “trolls” that are badgering you for one reason or another trying to make you look like the bad guy. The unfortunate thing is as soon as you block them from your page, they will move on to another unsuspecting page.

Remain Professional & Positive:
Whether someone has posted a positive or negative comment to your page, always post a reply within an appropriate time frame to thank the customer for their feedback and you will offer a solution if necessary. In most instances, simply saying “Thank You” or “We apologize” goes a long way – sometimes the customer needs to know their feelings are validated by your business. Treat your response to every customer’s message as if you were talking to them on the phone or better yet face to face. Things are often said in a social media post that might not be said in an actual conversation. Represent your business or brand professionally because this is what will be remembered most in the end.

The relationship you have with your customers is your life line to continued success. If honesty and great customer service are the foundation of your business, you will always be guaranteed a great customer base who will want to talk positively online. Strive every day to give them something to talk about!

Follow me on Twitter (@brixelcreative) to get access to even more great tips for your business!