What is Word-of-mouth Marketing and Why is it so Important?

What is Word-of-mouth Marketing and Why is it so Important? - Brie + Pixel Blog

Word-of-mouth marketing is super important for every business, because each and every happy customer has the ability to send another one your way. It’s considered one of the most credible sources of advertising since the person making the recommendation has nothing to gain but knowing they were able to help someone solve their problem.

What are you doing to make sure your customers feel confident enough to recommend your business?

Well, of course it all starts with what you are selling them and how they were treated as your customer. Over the years, marketing has evolved with the inclusion of social media and brands putting themselves out there for the consumer. Being able to share your experiences on social media has brought about a new form of word of mouth marketing. What was once seen as a one-way street, marketing is in the hands of the consumer now more than ever. You must start a conversation with your consumers to make they feel confident purchasing from you.

Remember: There is no “I” in Customer!

According to Nielsen, 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends or family. Consider this: you are chatting with a friend about how you need to find a company to design a business card for your new business venture. Your friend mentions she just worked with an awesome local graphic design company she found on Facebook and BAM – you’re research is done! If your friend trusts this company, then you will to.

Believe it or not, Word-of-mouth marketing happens all day, every day and it’s sometimes the only marketing technique a company will rely on. Although word of mouth marketing may not be the best solution for every business situation, it is a great resource just to get people talking. Make sure you go above and beyond what the customer expects to maximize their purchasing experience every time. Make an effort – it will be worth it!

So, what are you waiting for?

The benefits of Word-of-mouth marketing are endless. From building trust to enhancing your brand, all with with minimum investment your company is shared throughout communities and social networks, on both a business and personal level. Having your customers willingly advertise for you is great and certainly says a lot about the quality of your product or service. Get out there and give them something to talk about!

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Why You Should Be Using Hashtags NOW!

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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!

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!

Graphic Design: Why You Should Keep It Simple

Even when it comes to graphic design, sometimes simple is better. It’s hard explaining this to the client though. For one reason or another when they involve a “graphic designer” they need to make magical things happen. In some instances though magical isn’t always necessary. As a graphic designer you need to know when to make a design sparkle and shine to WOW the audience, and when to make a design look flat (or simple) so it does not take away from the message that needs to be portrayed. This is a learned trait.

Brixel Creative - Simple Graphic Design Blog

I’m what you might call a “self-taught” graphic design aficionado. I did not go to college to learn all the valuable graphic design techniques I use every day, I just sat down with Adobe and embraced my one-on-one time. I’d like to think my 15+ years creating wonderfully creative graphic design for various types of companies gave me more hands-on experience than any college would have done. With that being said, I’m sure there are some techniques I may not know about in PhotoShop or Illustrator, and I’m Ok with that. There are tons of amazing tutorials online I can take a look at on YouTube or read about on a blog. Some things in life don’t need to be complicated and are better if they remain simple.

When you strip away all that is unnecessary – get rid of the fluff – you’re left with a simple message that speaks quite loudly to the audience. Take a moment to think about the some of the most well know logos out there. I bet the ones you thought about are very simple designs. The ones that come to mind for me are FEDEX, Gap, NBC – all pretty simple, huh? But that’s what makes them memorable. It is less information for the brain to process and therefore makes it easier to remember.

Rather than piling on the effects, may I suggest you cut through the noise with white space, choose a clean type, incorporate simple shapes and limit your color palette. Sometimes it’s best to keep your graphic design simple. Get back to the basics because less will always be more, especially when it comes to graphic design.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Do you like to keep your designs simple?

When it comes to social media, the best thing you can do is…

RELAX!!!

There, I said it. You might be thinking “is this woman crazy?!? I can’t relax when it comes to social media!”. Okay, okay give me a minute to explain myself. Social media on a personal level is pretty relaxing (minus the drama of course). It’s once you start marketing and promoting your business on social media that it becomes a whole different ball game. You have to deal with algorithms, paid ads, scheduled posts, reports, time….blah, blah, blah. Social media for business can get a little stressful sometimes and it will make you oftentimes question why you do it at all.

Brixel Creative - Surviving Social Media

But isn’t there an easy way?!?!

Unfortunately I have no magic spell that can take away social media, and you have to admit it is a pretty good marketing tool, so you will just have to press on. As complicated as it is, you must see it as an advantage for your business and the more you learn how to use it the easier it gets. Trust me! It might take a little time at first to figure out how and where you will find articles, photos, quotes or whatever, but don’t give up! You’ll find your rhythm and figure out a strategy and soon enough you’ll see what your fans respond most to. Once that happens, it will become a pretty gratifying experience. And honestly, the less you think about it the more open-minded you will be and the easier it will become.

What does this mean for you?

To make a long story short, I’d like you to take a moment and think – social media isn’t going anywhere and if anything it is quite possibly becoming the most important part of every business’ marketing plan, so the sooner you make friends with social media the sooner you can sit back and RELAX!  Just have patience, remain calm and you will reap the benefits!

Now tell me this…

How do you use social media to market your business? Which social media channel do you use most – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+? Comment below!