The Top 3 MUST Have Tools for Creating Social Media Graphics

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Social Media has become more and more visually appealing.  It is no longer an option NOT to use visuals within your social media strategy.  Sometimes, creating those visual components can be kind of stressful, especially if you are the non-designer type of entrepreneur.  Another struggle with the visual element is cost.  Many of my clients are the DIY type, just starting out, and can not afford always to hire a designer.  In this article, I will share THREE of my favorite design tools to help you create beautiful graphics for your various social media platforms.

#1 PicMonkey

PicMonkey has a free and paid option.  You have the ability to create a wide variety of customized social media visuals.  I love the fact that you can resize images, create customized sized images, add frames, cutouts, delete backgrounds, add texts, use your own fonts, and so much more!

You can create custom graphics, add your own graphic elements, and even use your own fonts.
You can create custom graphics, add your own graphic elements, and even use your own fonts.

#2 Canva

Canva is another design tool that has both a free and paid option.  One of the great features with Canva is that there are pre-set templates for social media that you can use immediately. Another excellent feature of Canva (it's premium feature ~ Canva for Work) allows you to create and save branded templates.  This function is approximately $9 a month.

Screenshot 2016-01-03 00.30.32
Screenshot 2016-01-03 00.30.32

Canva saves all you work so you can always go back to something and edit it as often as you like.  Other great features of Canva is the ability to purchase stock photography directly on their site, collaborate with others, and even create pdf documents.  The other plus, for ios users, is the Canva app for iPad.

#3 BeFunky

BeFunky is a great combination of Canva and PicMonkey.  Just like Canva and PicMonkey, BeFunky has a paid and free option.  Like Canva, it has preset templates you can use for your social media profiles.  BeFunky allows you to edit photos, create collages, and design various graphics.

BeFunky Collage
BeFunky Collage

One of the big things BeFunky has going for it is that it is both a web application and a mobile app.  You can get BeFunky on Android and iOS.

I will never say that these tools are better than hiring a graphic designer, but they are fantastic for managing your social media.  You can use these tools to create daily posts, Facebook Ads, blog post images, and more.  I find each of these tools have their place in creating a social media strategy.

So, what are your favorite design tools?  Have you tried any of these?

Bye Bye 2015, Hello 2016

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I seriously can't believe 2015 is over.  Well, we actually have two more days, but still. I have been working diligently on completing Leonie Dawson's Create Your Shining Biz Planner which makes you reflect on the past year, before ever looking at the coming year.  This is such a great exercise and for me I can not begin to believe all the things I have accomplished.

In Feb 2015, I launched by business website.  I just recently started blogging and have written approximately 6 blog posts (not so good), sent out 43 emails (almost weekly), did 6 webinars, conducted 26 LIVE social media trainings, created two small e-courses, was booked for two speaking engagements, was a guest speaker for three different training programs, managed the social media presence of a well known beauty company, created a one of a kind Hybrid Social Media Coaching Program and assisted 15 entrepreneurs in successfully building their online business.  Holy moly!!!

I'll be honest, I didn't realize I had accomplished all this in less than one year of full-time business. Let me be honest, the road was not easy and I sure as hell did not do it alone.

Here are some of the things that I believe helped me this past year:

FAMILY

Well, these guys are my WHY and my ROCK.  Not only am I lucky enough to have a super supportive husband, my kids are probably the best cheerleaders anyone can ask for, and hell...my parents and brother ROCK. My "Tantetante" (aunt), is also someone that has shown tremendous amounts of support for this super scary business endeavor.

My B-SQUARED

We just came up with that name, but this is my business bestie (never thought I would use this word).  This girl has been my sounding board for some of my craziest ideas and has been there to listen to all my s@#$ this past year.  We chat every Monday not only about business but about life as an entrepreneur.  Thanks Makeda!!!

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

My business is about training, so why would I not follow my own advise.  This year I invested in several trainings that I feel increased my knowledge base.  Some of my favorite trainings were Andrea Vahl's Facebook Advertising Secrets and Create Awesome Online Trainings by David Siteman Garland.

NETWORKING

OMG, I can not begin to tell you how important networking is in creating a successful business.  And please, networking is not just posting things here and there in Facebook Groups, it's actually about creating connections with people, and maintaining those relationships.

FRIENDS

I wanted to acknowledge this group, because I realized that there are people who have been watching me and just sending me supportive inbox messages on Facebook or just sending people my way.  I feel like I do not thank this group enough, but this group deserves a huge shout out.  The little messages of support mean so much.  The lesson with this group is, you never know who is watching you or where your next client is coming from.

So, what lessons have I learned?  Too many to count, but here's what I know for sure:

FOLLOW YOUR INTUITION

When I first started out, I truly believed that everyone knew more than me, I was DEAD WRONG!  Each time I went against my intuition, well...it didn't pan out so well.  I have learned to follow my gut a little more and create a truly authentic business experience for myself and my clients.

CREATE SYSTEMS

I teach people to create systems in their business, but in the beginning I did not create enough of them for myself.  I wish I had created them earlier, but they are now there and as I enter 2016, I will be creating more standard operating procedures in my business and will definitely use Trello to house them.  PS - Trello is my go to project management tool.

BE VISIBLE

I love when people work with me and say, "Damn Daphné, you know your s@#$!"  The thing is, I need to increase my visibility and let more people know that I know my s!@#$.  Some of my plans for 2016 include using live streaming more often and more consistently, grow my Facebook Group ~ The Social Biz Café, and blog more.

Well, bye, bye 2015 and hello 2016!!! I look forward to all the new people I will be working with and supporting, but also, I am really looking forward to seeing what I will accomplish in 2016.

[Tweet "Now that 2015 is over, what did you accomplish and what are your looking forward to in 2016?"]

 

New Facebook Ad Changes

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I work with many clients who are trying to figure out the Facebook puzzle.  A key to Facebook mastery is understanding just how Facebook ads work.  But are you confused about Facebook ads as well?  What about keeping up with all the latest changes? Running ads has become much more important but there are a lot of different types of ads to run.  If you aren't careful, you could waste a lot of money without getting a real return.  

freewebinar_facebookads
freewebinar_facebookads

My friend

Andrea

Vahl (co-author of

Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies

) has an upcoming FREE webinar on Thursday, November 12th where she is going to outline all the latest changes and show you how to run ads without wasting your money.  Her webinars consistently get rave reviews on the amount of valuable content she shares.  Get all the details

here

:  

In this

webinar

you will learn:

  • What new Advertising options are available on Facebook and how to pick the best ad for your goal. 
  • The EXACT steps you need to get leads from Facebook and what converts the best. 
  • How you can get the cheapest clicks and understanding when to turn your ads off. 
  • When to use Boosted Posts and when NOT to! 
  • How the new Facebook Ads Pixel works 
  • How to read the Facebook Ad Reports so that you aren't wasting money! 

Sign up

now

! There will be a recording, but you need to sign up:

SIGN UP LINK

P.S. I'll be there too! I believe in continually educating myself!

What's an Idea Notebook and Why You Need One

During the Moms and Biz BLAB Show, I suggested that all entrepreneurs should have an idea notebook.  But what the hell is an Idea Notebook and Why do you need one?  An Idea notebook is simply a place (ideally a notebook) that you keep all your ideas - for blog ideas, product creation, and email topics, advertising, etc.  This is a great way to organize and catalog all your amazing ideas in one location. As a business owner, we are sometimes as good as our next big idea - and this notebook, in essence,  is a great way to catalog your next BIG Idea.

[Tweet "Your next big idea is a pen stroke away."]

Steps to Success:

  1.  Purchase a notebook.  You can find some really cool and inspiring notebooks at HomeGoods or Michaels.  Another favorite is getting a personalized notebook from Poppin. Now, if you are totally against paper, you can harness the power of Evernote as an electronic idea notebook.
  2. Keep the notebook with you at all times, because you never know when something will pop into your head.  Sadly for me, my great ideas are always formed while taking a shower, so I still working out a waterproof paper idea.
  3. This is the easy part, whenever you have an idea, jot it down in your notebook.  Trust me, you never know when you'll use it.  I have actually come up with some great webinar and training topics using an idea notebook.
  4. This last step is the key to success. Schedule time to review what's in your notebook.  Cross out the things that you have accomplished and expand on your ideas when you can.  I try to review my idea notebook on a weekly basis, but I think it may be even more productive if I spend a few minutes each night to review my ideas.

So, here's what I want to know, do you have an idea notebook?  How are you using it?  Are you using the pen and paper type or going all electronic with Evernote.

10 Amazing Free Stock Photo Sites

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Do you find yourself wondering where to find great stock photos that look great?  You already understand that visuals are important, but did you know that articles with pictures get a total of 94% more views? Your struggle is not in the knowing why photos are necessary, but in trying to find great images that others are not using and that actually reflect your message.  Below is a list of great stock photo sites, that are also free.

  • Kaboompics - this one is my hidden gem.  I have been using it for quite awhile, and it seems to have grown quite a bit in popularity.  Hope you like it as much as I do.
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Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 5.37.49 PM
  • Death to the Stock Photo - You have to subscribe to their email list to get ten free images a month. Note that these images are very high quality.  PS - the picture for this blog post comes from them.
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Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 5.27.26 PM
  • Pixabay - This site is great because it gives you the ability to search their extensive database of online stock images.  Once you chose and image, you can review the picture license before using it. An added bonus to Pixabay is that you can search for different types of images - vector graphics,  illustrations, video, etc.
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Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 5.25.27 PM
  • Pexels - Another favorite and very similar to Pixabay.  It has a great search feature and lets you know the image source.
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Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 5.24.15 PM
  • Tookapic - This site offers both paid and free images.
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Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 5.22.24 PM
  • LibreStock - This site pulls free stock images from various websites that provide free pictures.  This could be your one stop shop photo site.
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Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 5.50.59 PM
  • SnapWire - You can quickly search this site for pictures, but you can also subscribe to their email list and get seven pictures every week.
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Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 5.59.11 PM
  • Splitshire - Aside from amazing stock photography, this site gives you mockups and great background images you can use - totally FREE.
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Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 6.00.28 PM
  • Life of Pix - Plenty of pictures here. Don't forget to check out their other site that includes videos!
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Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 5.41.54 PM
  • Travel Coffee Book - This site has great pictures of travel adventures!  Totally love looking at this one, if only to use my imagination to travel to other places.
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Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 5.53.45 PM
  • BONUS - Picography - I know I said ten sites, but I had to include this site as well.  This is a great place to find high-resolution pictures that you can use whichever way you chose!
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Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 5.54.50 PM

Please note that there are dozens of free stock photo sites out there, these just happen to be some of my favorites.  Would you add any other free sites to this list?

What the Hashtag?

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If you are anything like me, you remember when this symbol —> # was called the pound sign or even a number sign.  With an ever evolving digital world, this simple little symbol , otherwise known as a hashtag, is how things are categorized and how we search things in the digital arena. Okay, let me back up…

Even though there is no real “start” date for the current use of a hashtag, many people believe it stems from this original tweet from Chris Messina.

Hashtag_Tweet
Hashtag_Tweet

This tweet was sent out in late 2007 and by 2009, the hashtag phenomena took over Twitter.  Hashtags are now considered standard on twitter and in almost every major social media platform.

Hashtags are created by adding a number sign with a word or phrase.  Hashtagging creates a "tag" and categorizes content to be searchable.  The cool thing about hashtags, is once it is created, it creates a hyperlink to all other hashtags within that particular social platform.

Things to keep in mind when using hashtags:

  • Keep them simple
  • Make them relevant
  • #do #not #use #them #like #this
  • Create a business hashtag, for example, I use #cafeandlaptop
  • Leverage trending hashtags
  • Do not over use them
  • A hashtag is NOT a sentence
  • When creating your own, make it catchy and easy to remember

[Tweet "8 things to keep in mind when using a hashtag - #this #is #not #one #of #them"]

Now that you know a little more about hashtags, will you be using them in your social media strategy?  Have you used hashtags?

For more information on using hashtags, check out this really great infographic created by QuickSprout on how to leverage hashtags in your overall social media strategy.

The Ultimate Guide to Hashtags

Courtesy of:

Quick Sprout