Perhaps you remember the adage attributed to JFK “In Chinese language the word for Crisis is made of up the words Danger and Opportunity”. A bit of research shows that that’s not accurate, but whether it’s true in Chinese or not, there’s a grain of truth to it. This ongoing Covid-19 global pandemic is obviously a crisis of major proportions. So many businesses large and small have shut down, many people are out of work, and all over the world families have lost income. But there are also people that are working overtime keeping us fed, the essential services open, healthcare systems in place, manufacturing needed medical equipment. Then there are the people who buy up limited essentials and then profiteering online.
Buf if you’re situated to pivot to the new business climate, you could maintain or even grow your online business now and in the future. If you provide a physical product, adding an ecommerce function to your site could provide an avenue to sales with low, low overhead costs. If you provide training, entertainment, or public speaking services, a switch to tools like Zoom, Skype, GotoMeeting, or Facebook Live can allow you to reach out and connect with others hungry for social connection. If you’re a crafter, you can offer how to lessons via YouTube. If you’re a chef, online recipes can help guide people struggling to cook something decent at home.
- How’s your website doing? Maybe you had it built for you a year or two ago, then ignored it. Just like before, it is on duty 24/7 whether you need it or not. Is it working hard for you during this shutdown? Now is the time to think about changes and site improvements.
- When was the last time your WordPress, Plugins and Themes updated? I just checked in on mine after several months and I had 25 updates to take care of. Now that they are done, my site is much more secure and healthy. Websites can get viruses, too, you know. It’s nasty when they do.
A monthly maintenance plan will keep your site updated, secure, fast, and happy. Sign up for yours today.
- Are your products and services accurate? Is there anything you are offering now in this new business climate that should be added to the site?
- Be ready for the months ahead. When business comes back there will be pent up demand. And we will all be very busy trying to catch up. Now is the time to think about what website feature you can add now that will make life easier for your customers or clients.
- Is your site running on WordPress 5 or better? You may need to change to another theme if your theme is over 3 years old or no longer supported. It may still work — for now — but at some point it will fail or be hacked, which never happens at a convenient time. And then you’ll have to update. Don’t delay. Update today!
Sirius Media has a few openings to address these issues for our existing clients during the month of April with a Pandemic Discount good for 10% off any work done or project contracts signed in the month of April. If I’ve worked on your site in the past, I’d love to offer you a chance to get your site in shape.
Don’t delay. Get Sirius Today!
Have you noticed those funky square pixellated graphics that are starting to appear on products, id tags and print advertising?
These odd blocks are called QR codes and are a way to embed information such as web address, contact info or text message in a way that can be read by a smart phone scanner or even by a website.
Fast Company had an article about them called “What Business Card, Just Scan my QR Code” about how QR codes are used on nametags at SXSW to provide instant access to attendee social sites, share contact info and web urls. The article links to the blog post below with more specifics about how to use them and what they are:
The Three Rules of QR Codes
This post is an extension of three previous posts in which using a mobile device friendly landing page, QR Code size and content were discussed. If you see any additional examples, good or bad, please share them in a comment below.
Find fans and friends for your business
You may already be a Facebook fiend or perhaps you have have just heard about it. But did you know that you can now build a page for your business? enIt’s a great way to expand your marketing campaign, drive traffic to your website, increase page visibility on search engines and enable your clients and friends to spread your marketing message.
Best of all, it’s free!
Your business page will collect fans who spread the word about your business to their friends on Facebook and elsewhere the web.
Sirius Media created one recently and keep it fresh with interesting design finds, marketing discoveries, promotions and updates about our work. It’s been fun!
You can start building your business page today.
All it takes is some thought, planning and investing a little bit of time to get going.
1 Before you build your business page, gather some information to include on the page: company logo, a link to your website, address, hours, phone numbers, email address, business services offered, and areas of specialty.
2 Sign up for a Facebook account (or use your existing account) then click the link that says “Create a Page for a celebrity, band or business” on the home page or at the bottom of the left hand column on your page. You will be directed to a series of pages to fill in business information gathered in step 1.
3 When the site is ready for content, what do you post? Try to keep information fresh, fun and relevant to your specialty. Here are some ideas:
- Photos of products or services (viewing photos is the #1 online activity in social media!)
- New services or products
- Sales and promotions
- Design updates, whether interior, web or print.
- Community or instore events
- Day to day work updates, comments, insights
- Useful information others might enjoy
4 Once you have the page built, the logos posted, and a few words to share, invite Facebook friends to come be fans of your business page. Post photos, links or videos often to keep them returning to your page and encourage them to share your page with others. That’s how you build some buzz. Use facebook buttons and links on your website and in your email marketing to build the following for your new business page.
5 As soon as you reach 25 fans, sign up for your customized user name at www.facebook.com/username. You’ll be able to signup for a custom url using a name you choose, like www.facebook.com/SiriusMedia, unless it has been claimed already. Don’t let someone beat you to your chosen identity. Claim your online brand on facebook as soon as you can.
If you need help, or don’t have time, just remember that Sirius Media provides Social Media services to get your business going with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or any other social site. We can help you figure out what to say, how often and to whom. We’ll help create your page, upload your logo and images, help with starter messages and provide guidelines for future updates.
The Problem of Privacy
In case you hadn’t noticed, Facebook has exploded and is starting some personal wildfires.
Family members are showing up online along with friend requests from high school ‘frenemies’. You’ve been sharing your wildest dreams and crazy antics with your inner circle online for years, but the world has arrived. The lure of creating a fabulous page describing your fascinating private life now has its drawbacks.
Now making a Facebook friend is somewhat touchy. Do you want this potential client to see your pleasure party pictures? Should your friends’ dubious gangster friend be able to see your precious baby niece’s photos? Are you really sure Grandma’s ready to know you moved in with your masseuse? We all need some privacy in our lives.
In real life, we succeed in our relationships and protect our privacy by adjusting our behavior and filter news to fit each situation. It works pretty well, most of the time.
This virtual blurt of personal data has been an unintentional godsend for hiring managers, marketeers, potential dates and old buddies from our past. Now that Facebook has become mainstream, even your Grandma has an account and wants to friend you. And you’ve been nagging her to get online for years. Uh-oh.
How do you limit the types of information each group sees?
Control Who Sees What About You
There is a way to have a safe page for Grandma and still share your wacky happy hour pics with your friends by limiting types of information viewed by anyone visiting your page on Facebook, depending on the friends list they belong to.
You can also block anyone from seeing you at all on Facebook — they don’t see your posts, your tagged images, or find you when searching. These two techniques provide the control you need to enjoy Facebook, enjoy your friends, get hired at your next job, hide from your ex and stay out of trouble.
Create a Friends List
Before you can customize your privacy settings you need to sort your Facebook friends into friends lists.
- Start by logging on to your Facebook page, go the Friends page, then select All Connections right under Search all Friends at the upper left corner.
- Across the top of All Connections, select the option for Create New List. You’ll then name your list and select who belongs to it. One person can be in multiple lists, so don’t worry too much about sorting people out.
- Save your lists and close the window.
Your friends lists will appear on your menu on the left hand side. If you have a large number of connections, it provides a way to filter some of the news if you want.
Customize Privacy Settings
From the top menu, under Settings, choose Privacy Settings, then select Profile.
- The top three options: Profile, Basic Info and Personal Info only provide general categories, so take a look at those settings. For Profile and Basic Info, I allow my Networks and Friends to see this information, so they can know what I do and contact me for work. My personal info is only available to Friends, after I’ve accepted them.
- The settings for content you post or others post about you is where the friends lists come handy. For Status and Links, Photos tagged of You, Videos tagged of You, Wall Posts, Education or Work Info, choose the Custom drop down to open the window Who Can See This.
- Choose the options for Some Friends to use one of your friends lists or an individual name.
- Save settings before closing.
Block the Unwanted
It’s unavoidable in life, when you’ve lived long enough. There are just some people you’d rather not see anymore.
On the Privacy page, right on the front there is a window that allows you to Block People or Block Email.
This is a lifesaver for anyone trying to begin a new life after a bad relationship, avoiding nasty family members or dodging someone whose been ugly to you. Use it if you need it.
Blog Long and Prosper
Implementing these tricks will go a long way to providing creative freedom where you need it, privacy in your private life, personal security and help you stay employable. Have fun my Facebook friends!
I was ambivalent about the Portland Creative Conference this year. Having been part of two major conferences in the last 3 months, I was feeling a bit tapped. But hey, the ticket was affordable, I’m building my business, and it was a good networking opportunity, so I went.
And at the end of the day, I was glowing with inspiration and affirmation.
Dan Wieden inspired me from the beginning with his tales of failure, inspiration and success. He shared the evolution of the new Levis “Go Forth” tv ads which feature sound recordings of Walt Whitman and other American poets, not the first idea I would have had, but they are riveting.
He brought tears to my eyes with tales of his family, his work with the kids at a camp called Caldera and with the video W & K created for The Girl Effect, a stunning typographic movie that was presented to world leaders at the Davos conference.
Watch the Girl Effect >>
Jennifer Jako, who is an inspiration on many levels, shared her creative approach in designing the coolest restaurant interiors in the city including Doug Fir, Nostrana, clarklewis and PorQue No. Her firm is working on a new interior for Genoa, one of the SE Belmont’s original gems, which had always been a rather dark cave of a restaurant. I can’t wait to see how that turns out!
Teresa Drilling’s talk about her stop motion process on movies like Coraline and Chicken Run was fascinating. It was good to hear someone talk about how the subconscious is a part of the process and the need to let ideas percolate there, which takes time.
So many times I have had critical creative insights into a design or process while in the shower or on the verge of sleep.
Several speakers mentioned the zone, the focused state of mind that happens when the creative juices are flowing. And how elusive it can be to get there. Finding a way to focus and stop procrastinating was also a common theme.
Jerry Ketel talked about synthesis of opposing ideas and layering, coining the term “crossdresser thinking”, which he illustrated at the end of the talk in ways I won’t go into here.
Seeing Emek’s work made my heart sing. His rock posters evoke the classic psychedelic originals of the late Gary Ewing and others from the 60s. He shared his inspirations and process on poster for bands ranging from Ravi Shankar, the Grateful Dead to Everclear. I love the fact that he main medium is silkscreen printing. That he was still cutting rubylith until just a few years ago and creates unique fonts for each project is an impressive dedication to craft. Emek’s art is fantastic and he has a store on Zazzle.
Those were just a few of the highlights, but it was a day well spent. No matter what your creative endeavor is, try to reserve a spot in your calendar next year to take a break and get inspired with other creatives. The event helps fund Keeping the Beat, a non-profit that helps fun arts education in rural Oregon.