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With almost a billion people using social media every day, this medium is a great way to promote your business. However, you might be lost on where to start developing a social media strategy. Here are three tips to build a strategy that works for you.

 

social media strategy; will sherwood; the sherwood group; graphic designers; web designers; santa clarita; los angeles

1. Determine Your Purpose

Before you even open up a social media account and start posting, you need to figure out how you plan on using social media. Will you use it to provide customer service or inform people of upcoming sales and promotions? Part of figuring out your purpose is knowing how much time you have to commit to using social media. Because effective social media is interactive, you need to be able to stay engaged. Knowing your purpose and how you can commit to it is essential for developing a social media strategy.

2. Figure Out Your Audience

Certain demographics use different types of social media for different purposes. Because you need to use the most effective social media networks to get your branding message across, understanding who uses what medium is important. For example, 80 percent of Pinterest users are women. If your customer base is heavily male, this might not be the platform for you. Snapchat and Vine are very popular with teenagers, so this could be the perfect fit for you if that is your audience. Knowing who your audience is and what platform they tend to use is important when developing a social media strategy.

3. Craft Your Message

Once you have figured out your purpose and types of social networks you plan on using, you need to develop a consistent and compelling branding message that works across different platforms. Graphics are an important part of this process. Having a logo that stands out and is readable on different platforms is essential. However, even more than just a great logo, your message needs to be easy to understand to whoever you come in contact with on social media. Crafting a clear, consistent and compelling message is part of a successful social media strategy.

If you would like more information on creating a social media strategy, contact us.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to check out these others:

Should You Optimize Your Website So It’s Mobile Ready?
4 Ways To “Show, Not Tell” About Your Products With Pinterest
Social Media: 5 Ways To Sell Without Looking Like You’re Selling
5 Simple Ways To Improve Word-Of-Mouth About Your Business
7 Steps to Help Your Business “Get Found” on the Web
Pay Per Click Advertising: Is It Worth The Money?
15 Website Mistakes You Should Avoid (Part 1)
Is There Still Gold in Cold Calling?
Tips To Help You Decide How Much To Charge

The Sherwood Group, Graphic Design & Website Design:  The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising,  graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering,  Now what do we do?”  We are located in Santa Clarita, California, just outside Los Angeles, California.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter of the best-of-the-best tips of each month by clicking here!

”Like” us and/or “Follow” us at these social media sites and we’ll return the favor:

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Forty percent of U.S. employers report having difficulty filling jobs, according to a recent Manpower survey. The top reason cited was lack of technical competency, followed by absence of workplace “soft” skills. Positions most difficult to fill include everything from skilled trade work and sales to accounting and IT.

 

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The good news for qualified job seekers is that this makes you a strong candidate. But what if you’re coming from a small business background, and you’re trying to land a corporate job? Although the move up might seem intimidating, your job hunt can be successful if you follow some strategic steps.

Know What Corporate Employers Are Looking For

Corporate HR departments don’t stress the same hiring criteria as small companies, according to CareerCast. Corporate employers place more weight on education and experience, and this means you should emphasize educational and experiential credentials in your resume when seeking employment with larger companies.

Pursue Educational Opportunities

Because corporate employers place high value on education, boosting your educational credentials can be a path to landing a job. A 2014 CareerBuilder survey found that 27 percent of employers had increased their educational requirements over the past five years, and 30 percent were now hiring college graduates for positions previously filled by applicants with high school diplomas. These figures are higher for companies hiring workers with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills, rising respectively to 46 and 43 percent.

While some employers stress STEM qualifications, liberal arts skills remain valuable, reports the Association of American Colleges and Universities. AAC&U research has found that 95 percent of employers value problem solving, critical thinking and communications skills more highly than a candidate’s major. Eighty percent of employers agree that all college students should pursue a broad education in both the liberal arts and the sciences.

Likewise, it can help your job hunting odds to take continuing education classes in areas that hone job-related skill sets. For instance, Moody’s Analytics Advanced Corporate Credit Analysis seminar is geared toward credit professionals who want to raise their skills to a more advanced level. Taking this kind of course demonstrates to employers that you’re intent on excelling in your field.

Emphasize Agility

When building the experiential part of your resume, emphasize your ability to manage multiple workplace challenges and learn new skills on the job. Former hiring manager Alison Green says candidates coming from a small business background have an advantage here, in that smaller companies often require employees to wear multiple hats. Be sure that your resume highlights your ability to handle a variety of tasks that might be useful to potential employers.

Build Your Social Resume

Ninety-four percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to find and screen candidates, Jobvite reported in its 2014 Job Seeker Nation Study, while 76 percent of job seekers who used social media in their search found their position through Facebook. This means that making your social media profiles consistent with your job search strategy should be a priority. Think of your social profiles as your personal brand, and make sure the image you emphasize is what you want employers to see. Your social profiles should emphasize the same educational, experiential and personal qualities you stress in your resume.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to check out these others:

Should You Optimize Your Website So It’s Mobile Ready?
4 Ways To “Show, Not Tell” About Your Products With Pinterest
Social Media: 5 Ways To Sell Without Looking Like You’re Selling
5 Simple Ways To Improve Word-Of-Mouth About Your Business
7 Steps to Help Your Business “Get Found” on the Web
Pay Per Click Advertising: Is It Worth The Money?
15 Website Mistakes You Should Avoid (Part 1)
Is There Still Gold in Cold Calling?
Tips To Help You Decide How Much To Charge

The Sherwood Group, Graphic Design & Website Design:  The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising,  graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering,  Now what do we do?”  We are located in Santa Clarita, California, just outside Los Angeles, California.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter of the best-of-the-best tips of each month by clicking here!

”Like” us and/or “Follow” us at these social media sites and we’ll return the favor:

Google+ | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

Pinterest is a great way to “Show, NOT Tell” about your new products and services. It is used daily by more than one million visitors, and many businesses find Pinterest to be one of the most useful social media networks available to attract customers to their products.

 

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To help you get the best out of Pinterest, here are 4 advanced marketing techniques to help your social media take off:

1) Include a price tag with your pin

One tip to get the most out of product pins is to include a price with it. People who pin are ready to buy and showing them that it is for sale — and not just a pretty image — can really motivate them to go from the pin to your site. In fact, Pinterest pins with price tags get 36% more likes than those without.

2) Show how your product can be used

To capitalize on product pins even more, show different pins of how the product can be used in addition to by itself. Research has found that seeing a product in its context rather than just alone drove more sales — for example, having one pin of a comforter on a bed and another pin of the comforter by itself against a white background. Just make sure each pin of the product leads back to the same product sale page. Having separate images gives Pinterest-ers more choices of what to pin.

3) Describe your product with keywords and text

Another advanced marketing tip is to use descriptive keywords in the title to make it easier for people to find your products and use the description to spread your ideas. Pinterest has great search capabilities in which people can easily find images like yours to pin. Being as descriptive as possible will allow you to show, not tell, what you are selling.

4) Make your product pin “Tweetable”

In addition to including a snazzy photo with your Tweets, if the text in your description of the pin ends up in a tweet you’ll want to make it short but telling. This is an excellent way to promote your products and services on more than one social network. You can even use hashtags to connect your pin to trending topics for when it is tweeted.

If you would like to learn more ways Pinterest can be used to market your products, contact us.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to check out these others:

Should You Optimize Your Website So It’s Mobile Ready?
Social Media: 5 Ways To Sell Without Looking Like You’re Selling
5 Simple Ways To Improve Word-Of-Mouth About Your Business
7 Steps to Help Your Business “Get Found” on the Web
Pay Per Click Advertising: Is It Worth The Money?
15 Website Mistakes You Should Avoid (Part 1)
Is There Still Gold in Cold Calling?
Tips To Help You Decide How Much To Charge

The Sherwood Group, Graphic Design & Website Design:  The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising,  graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering,  Now what do we do?”  We are located in Santa Clarita, California, just outside Los Angeles, California.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter of the best-of-the-best tips of each month by clicking here!

”Like” us and/or “Follow” us at these social media sites and we’ll return the favor:

Google+ | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

Every business looks for ways to save money, and this is especially true for small businesses and startups. One effective cost-cutting strategy is to use online tools that are less costly than traditional equipment. Consider the following:

 

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SugarSync Cloud Storage

One of the most daunting tasks of running a business is filing and storing all of your company’s data. In the traditional sense, it’s also one of the most archaic systems used in business. Avoid high maintenance costs, questionable back-up systems and risks of losing all your data and hardware in a catastrophe (don’t think it can’t happen to you), and instead move your data filing system to the cloud. SugarSync, for example, has proven to be one of the best and most versatile online file-syncing systems.

SugarSync is a good example of a versatile online file-syncing system. With this cloud storage option, your data is continuously backed up and you can access it from anywhere. You also have total control over what files can be accessed, viewed or edited by others. And, in the event your devices get lost or stolen, SugarSync features a remote wipe that removes all synchronized files from those devices.

FreshBooks Cloud Accounting

If you don’t have an employee that is savvy with accounting, try an online accounting software program like FreshBooks that can make the task easier, faster and more secure. Small businesses can benefit from FreshBooks because they save time and money on tasks, such as sending invoices, tracking time and capturing expenses. The invoicing platform is easier for your customer as well because they receive professional-looking invoices, payment reminders and convenient payment options.

FreshBooks is also versatile because it lets you create and send invoices from your mobile devices. According to the software’s website, its customers are paid an average of five days faster. You can also double your revenue in the first 24 months and, with the amount of time you save, you free up as much as two days per month that would’ve been spent working on invoices the old-fashioned way.

Do you need help growing your business? Click here to check out our website design and marketing communications packages. We will help you achieve your business goals and, in the process, leave your competition shaken and wondering, “Now, what do we do?”

Basecamp Project Management Software

If your business is one where your employees are always on the go, you need a reliable communication setup to stay in touch with them from anywhere. To avoid heavy phone call traffic or emails that get lost and cost your business money, try an online project management system like Basecamp.

With Basecamp, you can pool together specific employees to work on a project (or multiple projects) and send status reports without going over budget and relying on your IT department. With 4,868 companies signing up with Basecamp in just one week, the software is very popular. Basecamp is great for various-sized businesses, ranging from freelancers to small businesses to large corporations because it allows you to get everyone on your team focused and in one place. This way you don’t have to worry about losing any emails in a crowded inbox or wasting time on the phone.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to check out these others:

4 Tips to Have Productive, Creative Fun with Brainstorming Sessions
Optimizing Your Website So It’s Mobile Ready
Social Media: 5 Ways To Sell Without Looking Like You’re Selling
5 Simple Ways To Improve Word-Of-Mouth About Your Business
7 Steps to Help Your Business “Get Found” on the Web
Pay Per Click Advertising: Is It Worth The Money?
15 Website Mistakes You Should Avoid (Part 1)
5 Simple and Easy Marketing Ideas That Work
How To Engage Your Customers With Social Media
Is There Still Gold in Cold Calling?
Tips To Help You Decide How Much To Charge

This article is published by The Sherwood Group | Website Design | Graphic Design | Marketing Communications: The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large, in both the services and business-to-business categories. Our goal is to create websites, graphic design projects, and social media marketing programs that help our clients reach their business goals and still look fresh and relevant 10-15 years from now. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering,  Now what do we do?”  We are located in North Myrtle Beach, SC, USA.
Do you need help growing your business? Click here to check out our website design and marketing communications packages. We will help you achieve your business goals and, in the process, leave your competition shaken and wondering, “Now, what do we do?”
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Everyone has tried brainstorming at one point or the other. In general, brainstorming is done in a group but you can also do it by yourself if you’re running out of ideas. The way to do this is by not censoring yourself. Allow yourself to write down any ideas that come to mind. Don’t tell yourself, “that sounds stupid” or “no one’s going to want to hear that.”

 

How to have productive, fun and creative brainstorming sessions.

When you brainstorm in a group, you can’t let criticism or censoring enter the brainstorming arena either. You have to try to be as positive as possible. Here are a few tips that will turn your brainstorming sessions into productive, creative fun:

1. Get a referee.

People might theoretically understand that you’re not supposed to pass negative comments in a brainstorming session. You’re just supposed to let the ideas flow. However, we’re all so used to criticizing various things that we don’t remember to hold those comments in when we’re supposed to. So the best thing is to get a referee—someone whose job it is to spot negativity and squelch it as and when it appears. A soon as a referee hears someone saying something negative, they’ll tell that person to cease and desist! This will remind the person what a brainstorming session is all about. You may not be able to get rid of negative comments entirely but you can decrease their frequency by doing this.

2. Increase diversity.

Although it’s possible to get good ideas from a homogenous group, it helps to have greater diversity within your group. Men and women have different experiences, so the ideas they come up with are also different. People from different minority groups and those who come from different cultures also have different ideas. Each one of these groups is going to be able to tell you what will work within their group. It also helps to get people from different but related professions to pitch into a brainstorming session.

3. Make a list of questions.

Often, you don’t need much to get a brainstorming session started. You just need to know your general topic or goal. But there are times when a brainstorming session just can’t seem to take off. So it helps to have a list of questions that broach the topic in different ways. Appeal to your group’s personal experiences. Or ask them if they’ve read anything new about the topic. Or you could even give everyone a piece of paper and ask them to brainstorm silently, coming up with their own ideas, without reference to anyone else’s.

4. Have fun.

Overall, you should keep in mind that a brainstorming session only works if it’s fun. If you have to keep forcing yourself or your team to come up with new ideas, you’ll find that the session isn’t that productive. So try to keep things light. Make this a fun event for your team members. Get them coffee and donuts (or soy lattes and healthy snacks, if you’re being calorie conscious.) Put on some soft music in the background. Begin with a little bit of chit-chat. Roll up your sleeves and keep things informal. Rather than squeezing the ideas out of their brains, your team should find that there’s a natural flow of thought.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to check out these others:

Optimizing Your Website So It’s Mobile Ready
Social Media: 5 Ways To Sell Without Looking Like You’re Selling
5 Simple Ways To Improve Word-Of-Mouth About Your Business
7 Steps to Help Your Business “Get Found” on the Web
Pay Per Click Advertising: Is It Worth The Money?
15 Website Mistakes You Should Avoid (Part 1)
5 Simple and Easy Marketing Ideas That Work
How To Engage Your Customers With Social Media
Is There Still Gold in Cold Calling?
Tips To Help You Decide How Much To Charge

The Sherwood Group, Graphic Design & Website Design:  The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising,  graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering,  Now what do we do?”  We are located in Santa Clarita, California, just outside Los Angeles, California.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter of the best-of-the-best tips of each month by clicking here!

”Like” us and/or “Follow” us at these social media sites and we’ll return the favor:

Google+ | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

Google is currently penalizing websites that aren’t mobile ready in their search engine rankings. To avoid this, you’ll want to make sure your website is mobile ready. Here are some reasons to think small, mobile small, before you think big with your website.

 

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Dedicated Mobile Website

When it comes to optimizing your website for mobile devices there are two different ways in which to do it. You can either create one website with responsive design (which means it’ll work on a multitude of different devices and platforms, including smartphones, tablets and different web browsers. Or you can create a dedicated mobile-specific version of your website.

The advantages of a mobile-specific site are the ability to make drop-down menus available for easier browsing, and users won’t have to zoom in on small links in order to access other sections of the site.

Services & Cost

Once you make a decision for optimizing your website for mobile users, you’ll have to decide on a service. Small businesses don’t typically have the funds to hire a full-time, professional website designer. Luckily, there are hosting options available in a range of prices. You’re sure to find one that will meet your budget. Most hosting services will give you more options depending on the price point you pick. Sites like WordPress and Squarespace all have reasonable payment options; some sites, like Weebly even have free options.

Key Mobile Site Options

The options you’ll want to get out of your mobile site depend on the type of company you have. If you provide goods and commodities of some kind, an ecommerce (or shopping cart) option is a must. If you have a retail space, an interactive map is also a good idea, or at the very least a page with contact information that includes your address, phone number and hours of operation. An essential feature is a button that visitors can click to call your business. This makes it easy for anyone who has questions.

Design Elements

When it comes to the design elements of your mobile website, make sure to prioritize the information displayed. A small screen means you don’t have as much space to communicate information. Consolidate your message. What is the most important thing potential customers should learn from your website?

Ensure your mobile site’s layout isn’t a far reach from your normal site. If it is, customers who are familiar with your product and website might be discouraged.

Reduce Bounce Rate

While it might seem like overkill to create a new version of your website just for mobile users, what is legible on a computer might be impossible to navigate on a smartphone or tablet. By creating a mobile version of your website you’re not only expanding the likelihood of new customers finding you, you’re also keeping customers on your site longer.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to check out these others:

Social Media: 5 Ways To Sell Without Looking Like You’re Selling
5 Simple Ways To Improve Word-Of-Mouth About Your Business
7 Steps to Help Your Business “Get Found” on the Web
Pay Per Click Advertising: Is It Worth The Money?
15 Website Mistakes You Should Avoid (Part 1)
5 Simple and Easy Marketing Ideas That Work
How To Engage Your Customers With Social Media
Is There Still Gold in Cold Calling?
Tips To Help You Decide How Much To Charge

The Sherwood Group, Graphic Design & Website Design:  The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising,  graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering,  Now what do we do?”  We are located in Santa Clarita, California, just outside Los Angeles, California.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter of the best-of-the-best tips of each month by clicking here!

”Like” us and/or “Follow” us at these social media sites and we’ll return the favor:

Google+ | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

Is your competition planning on lowering prices? Are they offering a better service? Do they have a new marketing technique? When you research your competition, it can mean the difference between the success or failure of your business.

 

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Even though your competition most likely keeps valuable information well-protected, this article provides 4 tips on how to research your competition. The information you acquire can help you make informed decisions about designing a successsful future for your company.

Look at their website

Your competitor’s website is the first and most logical place to start. When researching, there are three things to look out for.

Firstly, have a look at the goods and services they offer. Think about whether you can offer these goods and services in a different and more competitive manner.

Secondly, have a look at their website layout. How is it different to your own? Maybe it has a convenient instant payment system or live chat function that you could borrow for your own website.

Finally, look at the tag lines, slogans and promotional content. Is their website more informative? Do they convey information in a more concise and clear manner? These are all things you can take as inspiration for your firm’s future development.

Online advertising

The next step you can take is to track down your competitor’s online advertising campaigns. These include Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Facebook, Twitter, Yellow Pages, Linkedin and product review sites. By locating your competitor’s marketing channels you can evaluate potential channels for your own firm.

It is also useful to note how your competitor positions their firm to customers. Do they emphasise price? Are they formal or colloquial? Through noting these issues, you can make a more informed decision on how to position your company to customers.

Several useful tools aid this part of the research. For example, http://www.spyfu.com/ allows you to download your competitors’ most profitable keywords for paid and organic searches.

Ask your customers

When you gain a customer, be sure to ask which firm they were using before and why they left. Similarly, when you lose a customer, ask them why they decided to switch to a competitor. By collecting data in this manner, you will have a good idea of consumer demand and preferences in your industry. Thus, it will be easy for you to adjust your product range and services to meet consumer demand.

Poach an employee

One of the best ways to understand the specifics of your competitor’s operations is to hire one of their past employees. This will give you insights into how your competitors organise their supply chains, manage their staff and liaise with clients. There may be certain ways of managing resources that you can leverage in your own firm. For instance, a competitor may be using a certain workflow program that boosts employee efficiency that you can easily appropriate.

Author: Monique Goodyer works as a marketing specialist at Monaco Compensation Lawyers, one of Australia’s compensation law firms. She’s interested in all things online and the latest trends in social marketing and business management.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to check out these others:

The Ingredients of Great Graphic Design
5 Simple Ways To Improve Word-Of-Mouth About Your Business
7 Steps to Help Your Business “Get Found” on the Web
Pay Per Click Advertising: Is It Worth The Money?
15 Website Mistakes You Should Avoid (Part 1)
5 Simple and Easy Marketing Ideas That Work
How To Engage Your Customers With Social Media
Is There Still Gold in Cold Calling?
Tips To Help You Decide How Much To Charge

The Sherwood Group, Graphic Design & Website Design:  The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising,  graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering,  Now what do we do?”  We are located in Santa Clarita, California, just outside Los Angeles, California.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter of the best-of-the-best tips of each month by clicking here!

”Like” us and/or “Follow” us at these social media sites and we’ll return the favor:

Google+ | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

Please comment. We’d like to know if you found this article informative or helpful?


© 2013 - The Sherwood Group
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