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!

5 Reasons Why Social Media is Alot Like Dating

Ever notice the similarities between social media and dating? Think about it…as with dating, there are many of the same rules when it comes to presenting your business on social media as well. Here are a few to help you improve your online presence.

Brixel Creative Blog - 5 Reasons Social Media is alot like Dating

1. First impressions

This is a big one! You wouldn’t walk into a first date wearing your sweaty gym clothes – that wouldn’t make for a very good first impression now would it. It’s not so much your clothing or that we focus on looks first, its simply that you should always put your best foot forward. This is the same with social media. If you have a potential client visit your LinkedIn page and it is incomplete or you have no profile photo, this is a problem. If you are on social media, all the information you can fill in should be done as soon as you sign up. If you have to, put in a placeholder photo just so there is something there instead of the “generic” avatar image. Chances are you won’t get any likes or follows if you profile is incomplete. Something is always better than nothing!

2. Be a good listener

Listening is very important whether on a first date or on social media, and for life in general. The better you communicate, the more connections you can establish early on to build your social community. Pay attention to trending topics so you can join in on the conversation, Twitter is a great example of this. With so many people tweeting 24/7, there surely is a lot to talk about. Between tweets, retweets, mentions and comments, engagement is necessary and taking genuine interest in your fans and followers is a must to keep them around. You must show interest in them and be human just as you would if you met them in person.

3. Mind your manners

Manners always go a long way on a date, as it does on social media. Just like I tell my kids when they leave the house, “remember your manners”, all those participating in social media should keep this in mind while posting and commenting. So you might see drama happening on Facebook – stay out of it. There will always be someone that disagrees with another one’s views, and that’s okay but there is a right and wrong way to handle the situation. You should not be the one fueling the fire to spark engagement – this is not the engagement you want. Keep it professional if you are representing your business or brand and you can always leave a conversation if you start to feel uncomfortable. You are more likely to stand out if you are representing yourself in a positive manor.

4. Playing the field

Okay it’s not what you think, so let me explain! With so many social platforms out there, why stick with just one – explore your options and find the ones that are right for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment, because it’s impossible that they all will work for you. However, you should also keep in mind where your current and potential clients are on social media. If you get the most engagement from LinkedIn or Pinterest but you personally do not like it, oh well! Get over it! If it means more business for you, then so swallow your pride and make sure your presence is known.

5. Looks matter

Maybe this is true for dating – you know, love at first sight – but that’s not what I mean here. It’s the visual content on social media that matters most, because this is what is most likely to be shared more than any other post form. Photos will elicit more emotion from the viewer than just plain text so make sure your images are share worthy. They should be unique and follow your branding image. Use the same colors, fonts, even the same layout and always put your logo or website on the image because you never know who will see it. You only have a few seconds to grab the viewers’ attention, so you’ll always see an increase in engagement when you post photos. Go ahead, give it a try!

Let me know how these tips help your business! And if you have any tips to share, please let me know!

Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media Etiquette

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SOCIAL MEDIA ETIQUETTE
BrixelCreative.com

These days the internet is used for many, many purposes other than just sending a simple email. You can find very successful businesses selling their products solely online, along with a never ending amount of blog articles.

With so many people from some many different walks of life browsing the internet at all hours of the day, there are times when etiquette may be overlooked. Maybe you think “I’ll say what I want to say because they don’t even know who I am” – respecting others and their opinions is fine, but there is a fine line.

Here are 7 common Social Media Etiquette Tips you should be practicing every day:

  1. Remember your manners – I remind my kids everyday to say “Please” and “Thank You”. Manners can go a long way if you want to be respected and be remembered. Just because you are hiding behind a computer doesn’t mean you have free reign to say “anything” you want. You still need to be held accountable for your words.
  2. Be true to you and your brand – What you do and say on the internet is a direct reflection of you and your brand if you are representing a business. Keeping it real is what will get you noticed since people will want to connect with interesting individuals and unique companies.
  3. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover – It’s the old saying I’m sure you’ve heard many, many times and it still holds true to this day. Maybe a new connection doesn’t have as many Twitter followers as you, or their portfolio could be updated, don’t discount their credibility because of these facts.  Never judge too quickly because this new contact could be very beneficial to you or your company.
  4. Keep it personal – It’s always better to have a direct personal connection within a company. Make sure you are on a first name basis with current and potential clients.  Personal connections create a stronger bond and typically results in a long term business relationship.
  5. Just say no to information overload – Resist from posting the same article every hour on the hour – it’s annoying and might give your followers a reason to unfollow you. If you don’t receive any feedback within a reasonable amount of time, consider posting it again the next day but with a different title. Some people aren’t checking their social media 24/7!!
  6. Post relevant content – Keep in mind, your contacts decided to connect with you online because they felt the information you were providing was relevant to them or their business.  Refrain from posting about your day or how you feel about politics because that is probably crossing the line and may come off as unprofessional and annoying. Make sure your posts are informational to your business and keep in line with your branding. It’s always a good idea to post quick tips or helpful hints that the reader can apply to their business.
  7. Always stay professional – Adding a professional profile picture is easy to do and provides your connections with not only a name but a face to go along with that name. It’s another way to build a solid reputation and introduce yourself to potential clients without even meeting them in person.

Hopefully these few etiquette tips are little reminders that first and foremost we should all be treated with respect no matter if we are out at the grocery store or commenting on a blog post. Just keep it real when you are posting on the internet and represent yourself, your brand or company appropriately. The image you put out there could effect your real life in a positive or negative way.  Always remember: If you wouldn’t say it to their face, then don’t type it online.

How important is etiquette in your social media posts? Comment below!

The Anatomy of a QR code

You’ve most likely heard the term “QR code” within the last few years and maybe some of you have wondered “what on earth is a QR Code?”. I’ll decode the QR code for you today!  In definition, a QR code is simply a two-dimensional square barcode that’s read by a specialized app on your smartphone with a code scanning feature.

Here is an example of a QR code:

Along with the evolution of the internet and technology, the QR code was created for an instant way to view a page on the web using an app on your smartphone. Once the code is scanned, it will connect you to any online content of your choice such as a web page, coupon, promotional video, etc. The biggest benefit of the QR code is to quickly connect your customer or potential customer to much more information than any brochure, business card or direct mailing could ever display.  It allows you more information and in turn more engagement with your customer.

Here are a few ideas for you properly use your QR code to promote a web page or other content:

  • Product details
  • Coupons codes and special offers
  • Giveaways or contests
  • Instructional Videos or clips
  • Promotional videos
  • Sending an email message
  • Social media page or blog (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin)

Market your QR code properly
Sure QR codes sound great, but don’t get too excited – they can’t be used in all applications. For instance, you wouldn’t want to use a QR code on a vehicle for the simple fact it would be moving 99% of the time or even on a billboard for obvious reasons. However, QR code can be effective if used on a business card to send an email, brochure to link the customer to more product information, or even within your trade show display graphics to quickly connect the potential client to your website.  As an added bonus you can track when your QR code is scanned, and if you have multiple QR codes, you can view which links had the most interest.

Where do QR codes come from?
So, I’m sure by now you are really wondering where you can find these QR codes. There are many sites online that can convert a standard website link into a QR code and in many cases they would be free.  One site you can try would be http://www.qrstuff.com/. All you have to provide is the webpage you’d like to link the QR code to, then you can download the QR code file. It can be used for print, you can upload it as a photo or post it on your website.

QR code do’s and don’ts
There are a few tips I’d like to provide to make sure you are getting the most out of your QR code:

  • MOST IMPORTANT: Size: QR codes have to be a minimum size of 1 inch by 1 inch. This will insure it is large enough to be scanned by your smartphone.
  • Color: Black and white works best for this application. However, you can use colors with high contrast from each other.
  • Space: You must leave a white border around the QR code so it stands out and to give it a better scanning ability.
  • Be clear: Be sure to provide clear instructions on how to scan the QR code and where they will end up once they do scan it. One example could be, “Scan this code to receive 5% off your next purchase.” You’ll want to make sure you make will be worth the customers effort to scan the code, so they will be more apt to scan it if they will benefit in some way. Just make sure your information is clear and they will be more willing to take out their phone and scan the code.
  • Test it…twice: You must not assume the QR code will work because you put in a valid URL. Once you’ve inserted the code onto your marketing material, make sure to test it many different ways to insure it will work for anyone no matter what. And have others in your office test it too. That’s the last thing you want is for the code to not work for even the most tech savvy the customer and it leaves them frustrated and annoyed.
  • Track it: It’s always important to track when and how often your QR code was scanned. This will give great knowledge to how you should or shouldn’t use the QR code in the future. It also gives good insight as to what your customer wants most.

In the end, QR codes can be a great marketing tactic to use when you want to engage your customers and give them more information about what your company can do for them. Use them wisely but don’t overuse them.

Comment below and let me know how you use QR codes to promote your business.

Happy QR coding!

What to consider when hiring a Graphic Designer

Consider this…you’re a business searching for a graphic designer to work with on a consistent basis to create the necessary graphics to get your brand out there. I’m sure a couple questions come to mind like “Does anyone know any local graphic designers?” or “Should we search for a designer online?”. It’s definitely a tough decision to make and there are lots of qualified designers out there that would suit your needs, local or not. However, to some it may seem like an impossible business relationship if your designer is not within arms reach, but nine times out of ten it can work out quite well with the help of technology of course. So let’s say you choose a designer that is not within your local area or maybe not even in the same state, there are a few things to consider when making this decision.

1. Trust is always a must
If doing anything online scares you – online banking, online shopping, etc. – you are not alone. Being able to meet someone face to face certainly can develop more trust than just talking on the phone or through email. Whether you are hiring someone local or in another state, there is always the chance your design relationship will not last. But in my opinion, you’ll know right away if this is going to happen. You have to trust your instincts just like anything else and you’ll know if the designer you chose will be the right fit or not.

2. Developing a way to communicate
What if you’re horrible at communicating through email and sometimes just can’t get your message across? What if you don’t know how to express what you want over the phone? What if you don’t know how to provide feedback or suggest changes? While all these may seem like valid reasons for you to hire locally, there is always a way to simplify any communication barrier. It’s all about getting to know each other and find a comfortable way to communicate. As with all things, this does take time but with a little patience things will fall into place and it will become easier to communicate your thoughts and ideas more efficiently.

3. Working together as a team
Teamwork makes it easier for both you, the client, and me, the designer, to effectively create the best possible design that everyone is happy with. Whether it takes one revision or several, its most important for everyone to be on the same page and come together as a team.

Having had 10+ year’s experience creating designs for clients all throughout the US, I can assure you developing a long distance design relationship is actually a lot easier than it sounds. I’m fairly new to the Freelancing community, but definitely not new to the design world. Freelancing just gives me the opportunity to work where I want and choose the hours that I want. More often than not, this just means you’ll be paying less for the same quality of work you’d get if you hire a large design firm. If you can look past the fact that your designer is not down the street or even in the same state, just remember they are only a phone call or email away.

So, how about we work together? Contact me now so we can discuss how I can improve your business image!

Five Tips to help you choose photos wisely

When used properly, photos are a very effective and powerful content tool that can quickly send your intended message to your viewing audience. However, using the wrong photos can degrade your viewers experience. In this article, I’ll explain 5 tips to help you choose photos wisely and use them wisely.

Tip 1: Choosing the Right Photos

In any type of design – ad, brochures, website, signage – photos are very powerful tools. Experts suggest that users pay closer attention to photos and other images but ignore fluffy text.  However, photos are only useful when the right ones are selected. So how do you choose the right photos anyways??

  1. First consider the fundamentals of the photo – image quality, composition, exposure, etc.
  2. Next comes effectiveness; ask yourself “how well does the photo create appeal for my company” in terms of emotional appeal and brand appeal.
  3. Now you’ll want to consider if the photo is sending the correct message to the viewer.
  4. And finally, would the photo create desire for your product or company.

Tip 2: Don’t Use Generic Photos or Elements

In most instances, generic photos or elements really don’t serve any purpose other than being visual components or a space filler. You need to make sure the photos are unique to your company and not just the same old “stock photo” every other business uses out there. Hire a local photographer to take some shots of your employees in action so your customer can form a connection with your company. Using a photo of the business owner or actual people within the company have positive effects on a visitor’s first impression and creates trustworthiness of the company.  They in turn feel a personal connection with the company and would be more apt to make a purchase. If the client or end user can add a face to the name, this provides a personal connection and possibly a long standing customer.

Tip 3: Using Photos Purposefully

Photos can do many things that simple text does not – quickly tell a story, indicate your brand, show products, etc. Their ability to guide your users towards specific sections of your web pages is also an added bonus.  The usefulness of a single photo can oftentimes speak louder than words. When selling products, photos are a great asset which can allow the consumer to see view the product first hand which could never be achieved as effectively with using plain text.

Tip 4: Optimizing Your Photos’ File Sizes

Your website’s responsiveness and speed are very critical factors – you have less than 3 seconds to grab the visitors attention and keep their interest to stay on your site and browse further.  If your image sizes are too large, your page will load too slowly which may often frustrate the visitor and cause them to leave too soon.  To improve web performance you’ll need to reduce the file size of your photos/images as much as you can to make them download as quickly as possible.  An easy trick is to save images for ‘web use’ which turns high-resolution photos into a web-optimized format. I typically use PhotoShop for this and choose a preset setting because it doesn’t lower the quality of the photo but makes it much smaller.

Tip 5: Underestimating the Size of Your Images

The effects of placing a big photo as the background of your designs can create a huge impact and it’s definitely an easy way to catch the viewers’ attention.  It also allows them to quickly see what your company is all about within a matter seconds. Just keep in mind, this large image should be selected carefully – you certainly don’t want to send the wrong message.  However, large images may not always work in all designing applications, so tread lightly with this one.

Hope this information helps in your future photo selections.  And I’m always available to chat so let me know how I can help with your company’s graphic design needs!

“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine — it’s lethal.”

If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine — it’s lethal.

Nobody wants to be stuck in a rut…that makes everyone unhappy! So my question for today is: are your business graphics stuck in a rut? Do they need help getting out of this rut? It’s OK to admit, sometimes the image of your business gets overlooked. Maybe you thought your image looked “cool” or “welcoming”, but in turn it has been looked at as a disaster! You must consider this image of how you portray your business to your consumers or clients could make or break their decision to work with you or move on to the next guy. The image of your business should be the first aspect of selling your business whether you are offering a service or product.

Your task for today: analyze how your business image is helping or hurting the bottom line.  And if you need help, just ask!

Contact me today!

Phone: (207) 333-1131
Email: brie@brixelcreative.com

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