Making the connection between Social Media and your Website

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It was 1982/83 and I was pulled out of my 3rd grade class with 4 other kids in my Atlanta elementary school to go to the library and write computer code using BASF cassette tapes, keyboards and televisions. It was a bunch of 1’s and 0’s used to write very basic programs. I couldn’t tell you today what we created, but I remember trying to play that cassette tape at home weeks later in an audio cassette tape player, and all I heard were these screeching sounds.

1983 computer

The average Internet user today is more visually savvy than the best web developer 20 years ago. Not only have the older generations become more critical of what they find pleasing to see and use on websites, but the educational standard in schools today for the younger generations include learning programming code. And these kids are not using cassette tapes and televisions!

The point of this little history lesson is to point out how far programming has come, and why this is important to you. Printed media is on a downward trajectory. Many news and entertainment periodicals are going the way of electronic subscriptions. E-readers are replacing paper as a means to get your news. TiVo created a way to?fast forward through commercials. Sirius/XM Radio & Podcasts created a listening environment that was commercial free. Through these developments, businesses lost their means to speak to their customers.?Websites?became the #1 resource for?B2B and B2C?businesses to get in front of?their audiences.

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On September 26, 2006, a new player opened their doors to the public: Facebook. This company changed the way businesses would look at their marketing for years to come. The age of Social Media Marketing began and shortly after exploded. There are almost too many social media platforms to name today. However, some of the big players are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram. This new marketing revolution helped level the advertising playing field for small businesses. We now have the opportunity to target our marketing efforts just as efficiently as the huge conglomerates with their billion dollar marketing budgets.

FB-f-Logo__blue_100? ? ?Twitter_logo_blue copy? ? ?InBug-60px-TM? ? ?g+icon? ? ?Pinterest_Badge_Red copy? ? ?Instagram camera logo

The biggest “hiccup” of businesses’ pages?on social media is that they?do not own those platforms. We are all just visitors there. The most important feature of your website is the simple fact that you own it. This is why you need to make sure your website not only has as much information for your current and potential customers, but you also have the means to gather contact information.

Social media is a great way to make sure you are getting your message to the right audience. You can really drill down and target your ideal audience. At the end of the day, the ultimate goal of social media is to direct people to come to your website.

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Your main objective for using social media for advertising is to get traffic to your website, because this is what you have 100% control of. Realistically, most of these social media platforms are not going away anytime?soon.?However, I would like for you to think about what you would do if they all disappeared tomorrow. Do you have a way to reach out to all the connections you made on those sites? If not, it is time to start building your audience to?your website.

When you engage with people on your social media platforms, be sure to create a way to also get their contact information. Typically you want to do this by offering them something of value (ie: ebook, whitepaper, trial, etc). You also want to consider making this offering free. Just because it is free, doesn’t mean it should be worthless. That will only upset the receiver. It must be something of value, so they know staying connected with you will continue to bring them value.

Remember, your website is the one thing you have 100% control over in the virtual world, not social media platforms. So take advantage of your audience on those sites and get them coming to your website. Today is the day to take control!

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Creating Images for Blogs and Posts

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Images. They capture us and invoke emotions when we least expect it. A picture is worth a thousand words. Our brains can process an image faster than it can read a string of text. We?ve all heard those descriptions about images, and those are the reasons they are so important in social media. Life is fast paced, and if you can?t get your message across in 1-2 sentences, then you have lost your audience (well, if you?ve gotten this far then I have captured your attention!).

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Now that we are snug into the second month of 2015, we are starting to get the statistics and data from 2014. And one of the biggest results is the importance of the use of visuals?in posts (on?any platform). If you want to really get into the numbers from 2014, I encourage you to read?17 Stats You Should Know About Visual Content Marketing in 2015, by the great minds at Hubspot.

You can find countless articles written on all the great tools available for designing images for your posts and articles. They tout numbers like “Top 30 tools for …” or “My 15 Must Have Tools…”. Today I just want to share ONE tool with you: Canva.

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Not only is this a FREE tool, you don’t have to be a graphic designer to create stunning images. As with other tools, there are paid features. However,?if you do end up using their paid features, they only cost $1. And that’s pretty affordable in my book.

The first thing I want to point out is the pre-made templates they offer for creating your images. As everyone knows, every social media platform out there is in constant change. That means that image size requirements for different locations are changing all the time. Canva keeps on top of this for you. When you go to change your Facebook cover photo, they will have the most current dimensions for you.

I’m going to go show you step by step how I created my cover image for this article?using Canva. You will see just how easy it is to do this for yourself!

Step One: Select type of image to create

Choose the style/size image you want to create from the header selections (I’m assuming you have already created an account with Canva – remember….it’s free). I have chosen the “Presentation” design.

Choosing Canva style

Step Two: Name and design image

This will open up a new tab/window where you will create your image. The first thing you want to do is name this image/file. Click on “Describe and #tag” and name this image (you can also use hashtags if you want to track this image in any way).

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One the left side panel, you are given several options for creating your image. If you do not have any stock photos, I recommend looking through the “Layouts” tab. There are both free and priced items you can choose from. For this example, I am going to use an image I already uploaded by selecting the “Uploads” tab on the left. If you have an image you want to use on your computer, simply select the green “Upload your own Images” bar to start the process.

Header photo 1

Now you simply drag and drop the image you want to use (this method also applies to any other features you want to ad to the image you are creating).

Now I’m going to go to the “Search” tab. In this area you will find lots of features you can add to your image. We will be looking under the “Text Holder” category.

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Here you will see the Text Holder feature I selected. I simply dragged it into my image and added the text and colors I wanted to use.

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Next I just drug my logo from the uploaded images in my account and placed it in the image.

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Step 4: Save image

Once you are satisfied with your image, select the “Download” button in the top right of your screen. You will be given two options to save your image to your computer (I typically use the “As an Image” option).

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Here is my final image (and it is the version used as my header image).

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It really is that simple to create images for all things online. There are many other tools out there for you to choose from. I didn’t want to overwhelm you, so I stuck to just one. Now go out there and be creative!