Navigating Reputation Management: A Guide for Entrepreneurs

With information easily available on the Internet and social media, it is crucial for your business to look at its current reputation. What are customers saying about you? Are they happy? Do they have criticism or feedback? All it takes is a few negative comments or reviews for other prospective customers or clients to disregard your business. By responding to reviews, comments, and messages, you can ensure your customers feel seen and supported.

What is Reputation Management?

Reputation management involves overseeing how a business is perceived by the public, including reading and responding to online reviews and comments. Having an online presence is a must in today’s day and age. With over 53% of customers turning to search engines, such as
Google, as sources of information for new products, it’s increasingly important to monitor reviews customers may be leaving for your business.

Why Should I Implement Reputation Mangement for My Business?


75% of customers state that they “always” or “regularly” read online reviews, and just 3% of consumers “never” read them. It’s clear how integral online reviews are in a customer’s research journey! With brands becoming more accessible via the Internet and social media, consumers expect these businesses to respond to their online feedback in a timely manner. Replying to reviews, comments, or direct messages will make your customers feel seen and heard. After all, they are the ones keeping you in business by purchasing your products or services!

How Do I Develop a Reputation Management Plan?

First, ask yourself what your business’s current reputation is. Be honest with yourself! Do you have a loyal, happy customer base, or are you experiencing negative feedback? Then, decide what your tone will be when responding to customers. You want to be professional whether you are responding to encouragement or criticism. Make sure you are looking at all facets of your brand’s reputation. This includes reading reviews on Google, Yelp, or other search engines, as well as comments on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

Know How to React in a Crisis

While we all hope that we never find ourselves in this situation, it’s wise to have a plan in place should things go sideways. In the event that a particularly unhappy customer leaves an unpleasant review or comment, decide what tactics your business will take to mitigate the situation in a timely, professional  manner. Consider hiring an agency to help you develop this plan.

Protect Your Business

You believe in what you do. Protect your business’s reputation by taking a close look at your current perception and if there are ways to improve it. Develop a plan for how you will handle feedback, both positive and negative. If you’re feeling stuck, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional agency to help your business shine online! Our team at Triple-Nine Digital can help.

Social Media Mastery: Tips for Small Businesses to Stand Out

In today’s day and age, social media is more prevalent than ever. Almost every business is on at least one social media platform, and the everyday consumer often turns to their favorite apps to find new products or services. It can feel overwhelming and hard for your business to stand out, but we’re here to share our top social media tips and best practices to help your small business flourish online.

Know Your Target Audience

When it comes to growing your social media presence, building an audience is key. The first step is to understand who your target customers are. What is their age range? What need does your product or service solve for them? Asking questions such as these will help you put your content in front of the right people. The Rule of 7 in marketing states that a potential customer must see or hear an advertisement seven times before they decide to take action and try it. Ensuring that your content reaches the right people at least seven times is key when converting customers.

Research the Right Platforms

With a plethora of social media platforms popping up constantly, it’s increasingly important to know which platforms your audience is actively using. Are they primarily on Facebook? Do they use Instagram? What about TikTok? LinkedIn? To avoid spreading yourself thin by trying to post on every single platform, focus your efforts on two, three, or possibly four different apps that your audience is most active on. Pro tip: repurpose your content to be used across multiple platforms, but make sure that it’s optimized for each one! For example, consider taking an Instagram Reel and posting it to YouTube Shorts if your audience is active on both. You could also reshare a LinkedIn post to Instagram with cohesive images. Don’t be afraid to double-dip when it comes to your content!

Keep Up with Trends, but Don’t Overdo It

Trends come and go faster than ever before. It can be overwhelming to try and keep up with each one, but don’t sweat it! Following trends on social media is a fantastic way to expand your reach and expose your content to more users, but it’s not a guaranteed way to build and sustain an audience. Social media users want to see content that provides value; this could mean sharing relevant tips, things they might not know about the industry, or answering common questions. Consider posting one or two pieces of trendy content for every nine or ten pieces of valuable, unique content. This ensures that when new users find your page from something trendy, they will also find a plethora of content that provides value and is unique to your business.

Make Sure You Have S.M.A.R.T Goals

S.M.A.R.T. goals refer to those that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. By adhering to these pillars, you are ensuring that your goals will be reached in a timely manner. The landscape of social media changes quickly, and new trends are popping up left and right. However, it’s important to know what your intentions are with social media. Do you want to reach new potential customers? Are you working to build an audience of loyal followers and customers? Are you trying to drive more people to your website? Putting a plan and goals in place will help you keep your focus on what is most important to your business in the future

Finding the Sweet Spot: How Often Should Your Business Post on Facebook?

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is how often should my business be posting on social media, specifically Facebook? While each business varies, we do have some tips to help figure out how to find the sweet spot when it comes to posting on social media.

Understanding Your Audience

Utilize Facebook’s built-in analytics tool, Facebook Insights to figure out who your audience currently is on Facebook. It provides valuable data on your page’s performance, audience demographics, and engagement metrics. Check the “Audience” tab in Insights to explore information such as age, gender, location, and interests of your followers. Once you have a better understanding of who is on your Facebook, you can start to market toward those people or try to bring in others who aren’t necessarily on your page yet.

Quality Over Quantity

Determining the value of a post on social media, such as Facebook, can be subjective and may depend on the specific goals and audience of the business. A valuable post should be relevant to your target audience. Consider their interests, needs, and preferences when creating content. You should also align the post with your brand identity and the expectations of your followers. Looking at engagement metrics such as likes, comments, and shares can help to give you an idea of what posts perform better than others. Higher engagement usually indicates that the content is resonating with your audience. Clicks are also a form of engagement and can help drive traffic to your website. If the post is part of a marketing campaign with specific goals, track conversion rates. Monitor how many users take the desired action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.

Consistency Matters

Determining the optimal times to post on Facebook for your specific audience involves a combination of data analysis, experimentation, and understanding your audience’s behavior. Utilize Facebook Insights to understand when your audience is most active. Go to your Facebook Page, click on “Insights,” and navigate to the “Posts” section. Look for the “When Your Fans Are Online” graph, which shows the days and times when your followers are typically active. It is important to consider the habits and lifestyles of your target audience. For example, if your audience consists of working professionals, posting during lunch breaks or after work hours might be effective. Remember that the optimal posting times may evolve over time, so regularly reassess and adapt your strategy based on the latest data and trends. Combine quantitative data with qualitative insights to gain a comprehensive understanding of when your audience is most receptive to your content.

So How Often Should A Business Post?

Posting twice a week on Facebook can be a good starting strategy for many businesses, but the effectiveness depends on various factors that we just discussed. The social media landscape is dynamic, and what works for one business might not work exactly the same way for another. As you gain insights into your audience’s behavior and preferences, you can adjust your posting frequency accordingly. Regularly reassess your social media strategy based on data and feedback to ensure it aligns with your business goals.

5 Tips to Help Create a Content Calendar for 2024 with Your Marketing Team

A content calendar serves as the heartbeat of your digital presence, providing a structured plan for the creation, publication, and distribution of your content on social media. Think of it as a dynamic blueprint that guides your brand’s storytelling efforts across various online channels. Creating a content calendar is crucial for a successful content marketing strategy and it is important for everyone to work together when creating this calendar. While a content calendar provides structure, it’s not rigid. It’s designed to be adaptable. We can respond to real-time events, industry trends, and audience feedback. This flexibility ensures that your brand remains relevant and responsive in a dynamic digital landscape.

Here are five tips to help you put together a content calendar for 2024 with your marketing team:

  • 1. Align with Business Goals and Events

Start by understanding the overarching goals of your marketing agency and your business goals for the year 2024. Identify key business milestones, product launches, and events that are planned internally that need to be shared with your marketing team. Create thematic content around major initiatives, ensuring that your content supports and enhances the overall marketing objectives.

The marketing team should also consider which social media channels are best for each goal and event. LinkedIn is different from Facebook and maybe a video needs to be created for Instagram and YouTube versus just images. Discussing the rollouts of these goals and events can help both teams plan for great coverage.

  • 2. Consider Seasonality, Trends and Business Specific Dates

Take into account the seasonality of your industry and the target audience’s behavior throughout the year. Certain times may be more opportune for specific types of content or promotions.

Additionally, keep an eye on industry trends and incorporate them into your content calendar. This will help your content stay relevant and engage with your audience’s current interests.

Followers love to engage with your content when they see the people running the show. Share employee birthdays, promotions, good news, business anniversaries, and so on. These posts are just as important as anything else.

  • 3. Diversify Content Types

Plan a mix of content types to keep your audience engaged. This can include blog posts, videos, infographics, webinars, podcasts, and more. Experiment with different content formats and distribution channels to see what resonates best with your audience. This diversity not only keeps your strategy fresh but also accommodates different preferences and consumption habits. And don’t forget to re-use the content that you have, just in a different way. Blog posts are a great example of a large chunk of information that can be disseminated multiple times in multiple ways. 

  • 4. Establish a Consistent Posting Schedule

Consistency is key in content marketing. Establish a regular posting schedule that aligns with your audience’s behavior. This could be daily, weekly, or bi-weekly, depending on your resources and the nature of your content.

Your marketing team can use scheduling tools to plan and automate posts, but remain flexible to capitalize on real-time opportunities or address emerging trends. Sharing these planned posts with your team can help you to see what is coming up in the schedule and if anything needs updated, moved or pushed in a different direction.

  • 5. Integrate User-Generated Content and Feedback

Encourage user-generated content (UGC) to foster community engagement. Plan campaigns or activities that involve your audience in creating content, whether it’s through contests, challenges, or sharing their experiences. Monitor audience feedback and adjust your content strategy accordingly. This could involve addressing common questions, concerns, or interests expressed by your audience. Actively engage with your community to build a more dynamic and responsive content plan.

The Bottom Line

Remember to regularly evaluate the performance of your content and adjust your strategy as needed. Analytics and feedback should inform your ongoing content calendar refinement throughout the year. Through analytics and performance metrics, we can track how your content is resonating with your audience, what they like the most and don’t really seem to care for. This data-driven approach allows us to iterate and refine our strategy, ensuring continuous improvement.

Webinars – A Great Way to Reach Your Audience & How To Do It

A webinar is an online seminar or presentation that allows you to connect with your audience in real-time. Webinars are an excellent tool for learning and staying up-to-date on the latest trends in various industries from many different professionals. They offer a wide range of benefits that make them an attractive option for individuals, businesses, and organizations alike.

One of the most significant advantages of viewing webinars is that they are accessible from anywhere with an Internet connection. This means that you can attend a webinar from the comfort of your own home or office, without having to worry about travel expenses or time constraints. Additionally, many webinars are recorded, so you can watch them at your convenience if you’re unable to attend the live event.

Sounds great for the audience, right? So now it is your turn to host a webinar! Here are the basic steps to follow if you want to create your own webinar.

Determine Your Topic and Audience

There are several ways to choose a topic. But before choosing a topic, it’s important to understand your audience. What are their pain points? What are their interests? What do they want to learn? Once you have a good understanding of your audience, you can choose a topic that will resonate with them.

The easiest topic is one you’re passionate about. Your passion for the topic will come through in your presentation, and it will make it more engaging for your audience. Choose a topic that you enjoy and are knowledgeable about.

You can also look at current trends, if you are knowledgeable and a leader on them. What are the hot topics in your industry right now? What are people talking about on social media? Look for ways to tie in current trends with your expertise if you are not 100% on top of them.

And our last suggestion is to talk about common problems or challenges your industry or audience members face. Give them solutions, who to contact, what to do, and so on. Ask them for their problems during the webinar so you can do future shows on them!

Plan Your Webinar

The first thing you need to do is select a webinar platform that suits your needs. Some popular options include Zoom, GoToWebinar, and WebinarJam. Once a platform is picked, you can then create a presentation in a format that fits for the platform. You can use PowerPoint or other presentation software to create slides and visuals. Once your presentation is uploaded into the platform, rehearse your show and test your equipment to ensure that everything is working properly. Be sure to do a run-through with a friend or colleague to get feedback.

Promote Your Webinar

Promote your webinar through social media, email marketing, and other channels to attract attendees. Be sure to provide clear instructions on how to register for your webinar. Multiple emails, social media posts and reminders are super helpful for webinars. Allow people to add the webinar information to their online calendars so they will get a reminder to attend.

Follow Up

After your webinar, follow up with attendees and provide them with any additional resources or information they may need. You can also share a recorded version of the webinar if anyone missed but wanted the information still. This will help you build relationships with your audience and encourage them to attend future webinars.

The Bottom Line

Don’t try to cover too much in your webinar. Keep your topic focused and specific, so that you can provide in-depth information and solutions. And remember that time is money. People are usually blocking out a part of their usual day to give them your attention. Be vigilant of the webinar time and how long it lasts. By following these steps, you can create a successful webinar that will help you connect with your audience and achieve your goals.

Visual Content Can Be A Powerful Tool

Let’s reminisce about our elementary school days when our teachers would use pictures to help us learn about different topics. We would then have a discussion about that image. Or the teacher would ask the students to draw a picture of something and then use words to describe the picture. Students would then tell the class about their picture. Brands do the same thing with visuals. Take a look around wherever you are. Find a product and take a look at the packaging. Does the package have an image on it that is trying to tell a story? Is there some kind of visual that shows what is inside? Visual communication is a powerful tool for businesses to sell their products or services. It is a way for potential and current customers to engage and it is a way to strike up conversation between internal and external constituents. So why are visuals so important and how can your business benefit from kicking those up a notch?

Visuals are Worth A Thousand Words

Words and visuals work in tandem but also apart in our brains. People digest information in different ways so it is important to disseminate information in a myriad of communication channels. Whether it is blogs, social media posts, short TikTok videos, longer YouTube videos, infographics, music, what have you, we all experience different ways to learn about brands and certain things catch our attention more than others. 

Pictures (visuals) are effective because the human brain processes visual information much faster than text. Our brains are wired to recognize patterns and images, making it easier for us to remember and understand information presented in a visual format. Additionally, pictures can evoke emotions and create a more engaging experience for the viewer, which can enhance the overall learning and understanding process.

The human brain is particularly adept at processing information that is presented visually, which is why visual aids such as charts, graphs, and diagrams are commonly used to convey complex information. The brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and visual information accounts for 90% of the information transmitted to the brain.

That is why adding visuals to your branding communication can help the brain process and retain information better. It can also make messages more engaging and memorable for your audience.

Our Attention Spans Are Shrinking

One study from Dr. Gloria Mark titled Attention Span: A Groundbreaking Way to Restore Balance, Happiness and Productivity states that people can only pay attention to a screen for about 47 seconds. If you have reached at least this far in this blog and not checked your phone, email, or looked at another part of your screen, you have a better attention span than most. Our attention spans for reading text are also shrinking because visuals are growing. Truthfully, it is due to the amount of information that is presented to you throughout the day. We are bombarded with words, pictures, sounds, colors and so much more throughout the day. We are constantly exposed to a variety of sensory stimuli in our daily lives. Think of how hard your brain is working to comprehend all of this information so that it makes sense! 

With the help of technology, people are able to perform multiple tasks simultaneously without having to physically move around. This has increased efficiency and productivity for many individuals, but has also decreased our attention spans. 

So when there is an image to be seen, our brains start to dissect that image and it becomes literally a thousand words in our brain. We can then verbally tell someone else what the image is that we see. That doesn’t mean someone else won’t have a different thought process of what they see, but that is why images are tied to thousands of words!

Prioritizing Visuals

There is zero question that brands are pushing more visual content now more than ever. Think of the top social media platforms that are used on a daily basis. In no certain order, our top four would be Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and TikTok. All super visual platforms. Twitter fell off the list because it is text driven. Short bursts of text, but still text driven. 

Maybe the script is being flipped. Maybe the visuals are coming before the words now, where in the past, it was maybe the words before the pictures. Totally depends on what industry you are in, but if you think about it, creating a visually appealing campaign first and then creating words to go around it may seem a lot easier in the long run.

Be careful though. It is all in the eye of the beholder. Not aesthetically pleasing to one person may be absolutely pleasing to another. Images should tell a story on their own which leads the viewer down the sales path for your brand.

The Bottom Line

According to LearnEvents.com, the average person responds far better to visual information compared to just plain ol’ text. Research has shown that visual stimulation, such as using images, graphs, or charts, can help the brain process information more easily than just reading text. This can be helpful in various situations, from learning new material to making informed purchasing decisions.

If all information was presented in text form, it could be challenging to differentiate between important and less important material. In some cases, visual aids such as charts, graphs, or images can help to highlight important information and make it easier to understand. Additionally, headings and subheadings can be used to organize the text and draw attention to the most important points. This is why different mediums, such as images, videos, and audio are also used to convey information. They can provide additional context and help prioritize what is essential.

Visual content can be a powerful tool to help your audience remember your message. They can help convey complex information in a simpler and more understandable way, and they also make your content more appealing and interesting to your audience. So, consider incorporating more visuals in your writing to improve your overall communication.

Is Working in Marketing and Social Media Really Like Emily in Paris?

A topic of conversation last week was the Netflix series Emily in Paris. Some team members were big fans, so we knew we all needed to check it out. Not only is the story itself really cute, especially with the love interests, but everyone seems to enjoy eagerly awaiting Emily’s next marketing and social media ideas for her clients! We all know this is just a show since typically 9 out of 10 ideas that real marketers come up with end up on the editing room floor. But we enjoy hearing about her successes and why they worked. So many social media posts have magically popped up after watching the series about how someone has a client and is wondering why their social media isn’t like Emily’s client’s and how they can grow theirs like they do on the show? So we thought it would be fun to discuss if working in the same industry as Emily is realistic and if anything relates back to the real world. Let’s take a dive into working like Emily in Paris. 

Every Idea Won’t Be a Success

Clients know their business and usually have an idea of what they want. Emily’s clients just let her usually do whatever. Plus, she is in a very niche market. Now, that is not to say there aren’t agencies that just work with clients in the same industry, but our agency works with various industries. We like the different strategies and the different clients we work with. 

But it just blows our minds how Emily’s ideas just fall into her lap and always succeed. Sure, we all have awesome ideas. It is likely that is why we have a job! But some of her ideas are just so off the wall. We really don’t ever see them working in the real world, especially when a majority of the time she has to get it done in less than 24 hours. Which leads us to approvals.

No Approval Chain of Command

Besides the client and Slyvie (her boss), it doesn’t seem like anyone else ever has to approve any of the ideas. In the real world, there are usually a lot of other people that need to give their approval, provide their edits and then the last person in the chain of command has to bring all of those ideas together into one cohesive plan. It usually takes longer than 24 hours to do all of this. 

It is good to have an approval chain of command. Mostly so other people can tell you if there is a mistake, or if after editing the same footage for hours on end you missed something. But also because we all do our own jobs. Where we work, we have photographers, videographers, content creators, designers and web developers. We all are specialized in our job, but all have to work together to ensure the client’s project gets done. Emily is basically a one-woman-band, doing all of the work herself. And we never see her actually putting together the work. It just magically appears! Television magic!

This Isn’t a Real Career Scenario

But oh how we all wish it was! Our agency is based in the U.S., so maybe working in Paris is like this. Who wouldn’t mind the “everyone starts late and takes a long lunch” work schedule like they have? But we all have to remember this is a show. It is an optimistic look at the industry and doesn’t give a fair perspective to high school or college-age people who are thinking about a career in this field. It doesn’t provide us with the fine details of everything that is hard with social media or the hours that it takes to put together content. Everything just comes easily to these clients of Emily’s, whether she is with the Gilbert Group or the French fashion firm, Savoir.

Plus, Emily started out with like 48 followers. After posting a couple of selfies, she gained upwards of 20,000 followers in what seemed like 3 weeks. Nah – that isn’t real life. That just doesn’t happen unless you are somebody, and Emily isn’t a somebody.

Emily’s Clients Have Huge Budgets

Some clients do have really big budgets. And there are agencies who specifically will only work with clients that have huge budgets. And some clients have smaller budgets. Either way, a budget is a budget and marketers have to work within those guidelines. Unfortunately, marketing is one of the first things to get cut from a budget. So we have to work with the funds we are given and strategically create a strategy that will work and meet the client’s needs and expectations. Emily gets to work with million dollar budgets which is awesome and we love to see what she does with infinite funds.

There is so Much More to Social Media Than Likes, Shares, Comments and Followers

With marketing comes strategy and that strategy branches out to advertising, videos, podcasts, blogs, etc. They all should work cohesively and integrate together. Social media isn’t just about one post on Facebook. It is about making sure that post also reaches clients on whatever other social networks they have. And it isn’t just about numbers. It doesn’t matter how many people like a post. Did those people buy into whatever the post was about? Did they click a link that you included in the post? What was the call to action? That is what is important! We sometimes get to see how many people like posts that Emily does, but mostly we just see her idea put into action and we don’t hear the outcome. In the real world, there is an outcome which gauges campaign success. 

The Bottom Line

Just like any superhero movie, some far-fetched futuristic time travel drama, or whatever alien show is popular, those aren’t real and neither is all of Emily in Paris. While we absolutely love the show, it is meant for pleasure, and it is not a pin-pointed, factual biopic of what working in the marketing industry is like. That being said, we do have a lot of fun when we work. We are a unique group of people and feel like we would be great teammates for Sylvie, Emily, Luc, and Julian. Plus, who doesn’t want to go to Paris!? We’ll go!

Content Ideas for Social Media and Blogs When Writer’s Block Happens

Writer’s block is a real thing. It happens to a lot of content creators when the idea juices just aren’t flowing. Sometimes those fingers just won’t type and the brain cells can’t put a sentence together. We get it! But let’s be real. This isn’t an excuse and content still needs to be pumped out. To help get those creative juices flowing, we were inspired by PracticalEcommerce’s recent blog about content ideas for February. So stemming off of their ideas and adding our own, here are some content ideas for the next time writer’s block happens.

How To Lists

No matter the time of the year, there are always going to be great topics to cover with how to lists. DIY shows and magazines have inspired many to try their hand at whatever it is they would like. But knowing how to do it is many times a block in the road for people. This is also true with marketing and social media. Think about all of those times that even you were thinking, “How do I do…” Social media is always changing so if there is something that has been updated, write a blog on “How to Navigate _____ Change” and list the changes and processes dealing with it. Don’t forget to also post about it on social media so that your followers are aware. If there is a special holiday coming up, like MLK Jr. Day, a post could be about “How To Appropriately Post About MLK Jr. Day” and the author could list ways to appropriately post and speak about this holiday.

Post About Popular Events

This isn’t discussing holidays (we will get there) but rather events that everyone is aware of. The NFL’s “Big Game” is in February. The Sundance Film Festival is another big event that a lot of people know about. Mardi Gras, the Masters Golf Tournament, The Boston Marathon, college bowl games for football, any sports playoffs or finals really…but you get the point. These aren’t necessarily holidays, but if your followers enjoy these events, then it might be worthwhile posting something that relates to them.

As far as relatable things, there are a myriad of ideas! From recipes, to how to plan for a get together for the event. Are you a company that deals with sports equipment? Share a story of an athlete that is in the event. Are you a plumber? Talk about what it takes to handle an event like these. So many options, but the best part is using the hashtags that revolve around the events. Use these to your advantage! You can also see if there are particular events that are hosting anything on social media that you can join up with. So many content options!

Are There Holidays This Month?

This is similar to posting about popular events, but instead it is holidays. There are so many random holidays each month. From National Cat Day to National Ask a Stupid Question Day (September 28th, or whichever Friday or Monday is closer if it falls on a weekend). These are always fun things to post about on social media and can really drum up some good engagement and conversation.

And of course there are the typical holidays. Valentine’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and so on. Be sensitive to your audience and know exactly what you want to post about each holiday. If you aren’t sure if you should post anything, it is likely better to just not post at all.

What is Trending?

Twitter is a good place to start to see what is trending. Sometimes they are off the wall, but other times, it is whatever is happening in the world. At the time of writing this blog, talk of the Mega Millions is trending. A quick topic that comes to mind that can relate to that is about luck and how lucky we are to work with such awesome clients. I could then go into how we have helped these clients reach their goals, but also how they have helped us (remember that it isn’t just about YOU. Don’t be braggy, but get to the point.)

Hitting up news outlets and search engine homepages are sometimes other good places to see what is trending. And of course, other social media networks like TikTok if you are in the mood to see what the latest dance craze is or some bonkers challenge!

Share What You’re Reading, Eating, Watching…

People love to relate to each other. And even though you might be a “business”, there are still humans working behind the scenes to make it operate. I love to read about what CEOs, Directors, Managers, even the front line workers are doing because they put both legs in their pants just like I do everyday! And maybe they have some awesome insight or opinion about whatever they are doing that might inspire others. 

The Bottom Line

If there is something going on that you think is interesting or important to share, then it is likely that others will too. Even the simplest content is refreshing because it might be short, sweet and to the point. The fluff and extra text just sometimes aren’t worth it and you can generate better responses without it. Don’t forget to get as much reach out of all of your content that you create. Blogs can become podcasts, social media posts, videos, and so much more! And as always, if you need content creators or a marketing brainstorm session, reach out to us!

Why Outsourcing Creative and Design Services is a Great Idea

Creative and design services literally are the look of your business. From your website to your social media, to your flier, mailers, and even business cards, creative and design services help to bring these business and marketing pieces to life. 

Your graphics should be a reflection of your brand, and they should be as sharp as possible. Your business’s professional image is likely the first thing a customer sees when going to your website or noticing an ad in a magazine. Wherever your business is, your image should be recognizable. As such, creative and design services are available to help establish your look, your feel, the story you want to tell about your business, all while pushing whatever the end goal is.

Good creative and design services tend to go hand in hand with good business. But not everyone is a designer or artist, nor do they have the time to meticulously work on each design they want to put out. That’s where hiring a graphic designer and creative team comes in. But is it worth it or even a good idea?

Creative and design services literally are the look of your business

A Business Needs Professional Design Services

So often we hear that anyone can create a Canva or PicMonkey account and piece together a nice looking flier. But there is just something to be said for a tried and true graphic designer’s work. Professional graphic designers are artists that bring a unique personal touch to any idea that is different from the already existing templates on design sites. 

Graphic designers make sure your designs are integrated into every aspect of your business branding. Designers have a keen eye for color and imagery as they are truly artists in the business world. As professionals, graphic designers know ways to make a business aesthetically pleasing to the eye, yet memorable to the mind. And it must be memorable as customers typically only give businesses mere seconds to make a mark in their memories.

Additionally, consistency is key as it helps to build trust amongst your current and future customers. There’s something to be said for businesses that are recognized just by certain shapes or color schemes. Sometimes it is as simple as a yellow M or a black check mark. We all likely know the businesses that are associated with those graphic designs.

Graphic Designers Actually Save You Time and Money

Business owners likely don’t have the skills a graphic designer would (and if you do, you are one in a million!) That is not to say ideas can’t become a reality, but it can become a reality much faster, and cheaper, with a professional graphic designer.

Graphic designers save businesses time and money in the long run. While the DIY attitude can be great, it isn’t always true in the design world. Spending hours learning design software, designing a marketing piece, then trying to figure out how to print it on the best quality paper could result in frustration and something that doesn’t look professional at all. Design experts are masters of the trade. They can design a concept in a fraction of the time with a much better result. They also should already work with printers who can bring digital designs to life. Not a piece that needs printed? Digital design is also something that can be hard to understand. Allow for a professional to design something right the first time around so it will perfectly fit onto your website, app or social media.

Along with time, a professional graphic designer can save you money as well. While time is money in the business world, you might not even realize how much money you can save with a graphic designer. If you don’t get your idea designed right the first time around, it can be a costly mistake and potentially have a negative impact on your business. We are sure that everyone can think of a brand that once had a costly design mistake. Nowadays those mistakes may go viral or completely unnoticed. Hopefully it is the latter if it is really bad. Plus, behind our graphic design team is an editing team that will give each design a look over to make sure it is perfect. There’s nothing worse than printing a billboard only to have a word misspelled. 

Frustration equals time and money that could’ve been better spent on a part of your business that you are skilled at and enjoy. Do what you do best and delegate the rest.

Finding the Right Creative and Design Team

Like we said before, just because someone knows how to “design” something on a design website, doesn’t mean they are a graphic designer. We all can make dinner, but that doesn’t make us all chefs! 

Work with a team like ours who doesn’t just scratch the service of your business. Find a team that meets with you to learn more about you, why you started your business, and what your business is all about (and we don’t just mean your mission statement.) Look for people who want to dive deep into the workings of your business and you. So many creative ideas, like potential slogans, for example, could be missed if people outside of your business don’t take the time to learn about you and your business world.

The reason you should find a team that goes so in depth into strategy for design is because their work is your work. It should have meaning and represent your business in the right way. Don’t just work with someone who is going to throw something together, and say done. Work with a team that wants to know what we are trying to accomplish with each project. Are you looking to get more members, promoting a sale, or just trying to get your message out there?

We all can’t be the best at everything. That is why it is important to be the best at what you want to be the best at and outsource other duties to other professionals. Graphic and creative design services is a great service to allow someone outside of your business world to take on. There are truly great people who take the time to learn your business, your industry, research the competition and see what others in your field are doing in terms of creative and design. We promise that together, you should be able to create the perfect marketing materials for you and your business needs.

How To Keep Your Website Safe and Secure for Visitors

Staying safe on the Internet can mean a variety of things. It can mean using the safest web browser you can find, blocking spam pop ups, using secure passwords, and only (hopefully) visiting safe websites. But how do you know that a website is safe, that it won’t steal or share your personal information, it won’t show you inappropriate content or it is regulated for the correct age of user before allowing access before actually checking it out? And what qualifies a website as “safe”? Luckily there are laws, rules and regulations in place that help to protect us during the time we spend online. It is important for business owners to be aware of the steps they need to have in place to protect their website visitors before diving into creating a website. It can be a tricky path to follow, but our team is always on top of ever-changing rules. Let’s take a look at some laws to be familiar with and a few ways you can help to protect your web visitors.

Privacy Laws

Internet privacy is concerned primarily with how personal information is exposed over the Internet, through tracking, data collection, data sharing, and cybersecurity threats. Once you step “foot” on a website, your path is likely being tracked constantly. When you enter credit card information, you hope that the website is secure and your data won’t be shared with anyone. But how can you be sure?

There is no 100% guarantee that your information is secure on the Internet. Just think about all of the big name companies and corporations that have been hacked lately. According to ThomsonReuters.com, there is no single law regulating online privacy. Instead, a patchwork of federal and state laws apply. Some key federal laws affecting online privacy include:

  • The Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC)[1914]
  • Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) [1986]
  • Computer Fraud & Abuse Act (CFAA) [1986]
  • Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) [1998]
  • Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM Act) [2003] 
  • Financial Services Modernization Act (GLBA) [1999] 
  • Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) [2003]

It can seem like a spider web of weaved rules throughout everything on the Internet, but it is all done with best intentions in mind, at least we’d like to believe so. It keeps becoming more and more difficult to protect one’s personal information as technology advances and takes over more things in our lives. If there is one thing that you can control, it is how you are followed on the Internet.

How To Keep Your Website Safe and Secure for VisitorsCookies & Web Tracking

Unfortunately, we are not talking about Hansel and Gretel’s cookies and tracking them with their crumbs. Cookies are the trail you lead when visiting websites. They are files downloaded to your browser by a website that you visited that contain unique identifiable information. Sometimes cookies are useful. Some examples from contractscounsel.com of how people find cookies to be useful are:

  • Remembering items in a digital shopping cart
  • Saving customer language preferences
  • Using analytics to track internet market data
  • Retargeting ads to social media visitors
  • Offering CMS logins or blog commenting capabilities
  • Installing tracking pixels from third-party services

And sometimes cookies are just creepy. If you do not want the cookie trail to follow you, you can set your browser to delete cookies every time you finish on a webpage or do not allow cookies on your browser at all. Depending on where you are in the world, you may also have to accept cookies when going to a website. That decision is left up to you.

An even scarier trackable trail is IP addresses. This can be a hard topic to comprehend, but the gist of it is that hackers can trace IP addresses back to individuals. IP addresses are traceable if not protected. And did you know there is a whole database containing all web addresses on the Internet? Did you know that ownership information is easily accessible there? 

What Does This Mean for Businesses?

Protecting website visitors doesn’t just mean for websites that sell products or services. The database mentioned previously that contains web addresses is called WHOIS and you can request a private listing from the database manager. Think of it as having an unlisted phone number in the White Pages. This can help protect your website and visitors from being tracked.

As for businesses that use their website as an e-commerce site, there are great ways to help protect your site and customers from hackers and fraud.

Start by choosing an e-commerce platform that is well known and trusted. Not sure even where to start when researching this? We can most certainly help! It is also useful to partner with a trusted web team so you can work together to ensure your own and user data is safe and secure. Another thing to consider is to always keep your system, software and whatever platforms you decide to use up to date. When there are updates, do them. Typically a hacker’s way in is through glitches and bugs in a system, so when one is found, it is vital that it is repaired and an update is made to protect your system. 

And finally, it is important to educate yourself and any staff on online theft, fraud, hacking and security measures that your company has in place to thwart any of this. Random tests and continuing education are important not only from a business perspective but also from a personal standpoint. Things change so rapidly in the online world that it is imperative to stay on top of the latest and greatest for security and safety.