No matter how you pronounce it, the GIF is making a huge comeback! The glitter text and silly pixelated graphics that once graced our personal MySpace pages have returned and they are way cooler than they used to be. Whether it’s a dancing cat, silly character, popular saying or a ridiculous floating food item, there’s something for everyone. As GIFs continue to grow in popularity, more platforms and apps are adding them to our lineup of cool “stickers”.
Earlier this year, Snapchat started releasing moving filters and stickers and had since launched a full GIF library users can slap on their snaps for fun. Even Instagram recently released a GIF database that users can access when they post stories.
As a big lover of emojis and the personality they add to a standard message/response, it’s exciting to see the rise of GIFs since they open up a whole new door when it comes to having fun with content and creative. Almost every Instagram story Blab has posted since the launch of the GIF feature has included at east 1 GIF and I’m not ashamed to admit that! As a funky, eclectic brand, GIFs are a great way to add some personality and movement to every day messages. If you’re noticing the new found popularity GIFs but aren’t sure how to incorporate them, consider these simple tips:
1. Stay True To Your Brand
Regardless of your brand personality, there’s a GIF that’ll work for you. Don’t shy away from them entirely just because you have a more refined or professional reputation. Take the time to look through the databases and search specific words or objects that you could incorporate without the risk of abandoning the brand you’ve worked so hard to build.
2. Know When Enough Is Enough
Unfortunately, there is such a thing as overkill when it comes to GIFs. Does your post really need fireworks, two dancing cats, a winking pizza slice and glitter text? Know when to use GIFs to enhance your message and when to opt out or pair down to keep things simple.
3. Understand Your Audience
The type of content you share depends entirely on the type of people you’re speaking to and GIFs should follow the same principle. Know your audience inside and out and use that knowledge to determine if certain platforms or messages are better suited for GIFs.
These days it’s much more rare to meet a person who doesn’t have a presence on social media than it is for you to encounter someone that spends hours every day obsessing over it. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media just as much as the next millennial, but I definitely know where to draw the line. Posting interesting articles on Facebook, sharing updates from your awesome vacation on Instagram or tweeting a funny GIF on Twitter are all pretty harmless, but how do you know when your love for social media is starting to become an obsession? Below are three signs that you might be legit #obsessed:
Likes and comments mean EVERYTHING to you
Validation about how beautiful you look or how awesome you or your accomplishments are should never come in the form of hearts, likes or emojis. If you’ve ever uploaded a selfie on Instagram or shared a life event on Facebook and deleted it afterwards only because it didn’t get as many likes/comments as you’d hoped for, you definitely have to check your priorities.
You plan your posts meticulously
If you don’t post it on social media then it didn’t really happen, right? If you just answered yes to that question then you most likely pre-plan your posts every time you intend to do something cool. You know that you’ve gotta capture that perfect photo with your friends and you already know where you’ll stand to take advantage of the most flattering lighting, which hashtags you’ll use in your caption and which people you’ll tag. If you’re spending more time obsessing over what to post than obsessing over the cool experience you’re actually having in real life, you need to hit the breaks. Do your best to live in the moment and worry about what you’ll share when you’re ready to actually post something online.
You only go places and do things so you can post about it
The cliche saying “stop to smell the roses” rings especially true in this case. If you’re making social plans just so you can share them with the world online, you’ve gotta check yourself. Order the food you actually want to eat instead of worrying about what dish will look best in your photo. Support your favourite businesses (regardless of how cool they look) instead of going out of your way to find trendy spots for the sake of a photo.
Chances are you’re guilty of at least one of the above offences, even if it isn’t all the time. The fact is that social media has become a major part of our lives and whether we like it or not, it’s changed the way we communicate. It’s ok to be excited about what you’re experiencing and to want to share that excitement with the world, but don’t ever let your quest for popularity online overtake your quest to live life to the fullest…..beyond the screen.
I’m going to come right out and admit it; my web browser tabs are always a disaster. Between client accounts, Blab stuff, research, tools, software, google drive documents and social platforms, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that I overload my web browser on a daily basis and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t affect my productivity.
Searching through tabs with multiple windows open, trying to move information from one place to another and keeping it all organized was starting to feel like a full time job. What’s worse is that I rarely shut my computer down so I’ve always got that plethora of tabs and windows staring back at me when I open Google Chrome or Safari or both at the same time. It’s a never ending battle to have everything accessible at all times while still maintaining my productivity (and sanity).
Luckily, I discovered a new tool this week that has made a drastic difference in my productivity level and the clustered disaster that is my web browser. It’s called Station and I think I’m in love! A desktop based software that allows you to choose from a huge app library so you can add all your software, platforms and tools into one easy to navigate window. At first I was skeptics about what it supported and how it would all work but after just one work day, I already felt like I was on the right track.
I’ve been able to add social platforms like twitter and Facebook Ads manager, I’ve got my slack hooked up, Trello, Gmail, my google drive, google calendars and multiple social management softwares. Now when I open my laptop in the morning, everything is organized and I’m kept away from my web browser unless I need to look up some information online so my focus is on the daily tasks that matter most and not elsewhere. The best part? It’s FREE and it works with Windows and iOS.
What’s your personal favourite productivity tool?
In the last few years, as social media has become even further entwined in our lives, the way we celebrate and express love on Valentine’s Day has shifted. We share Valentine’s wishes, showcase our gifts, express our feelings and put it all out there for the world to see on the social network(s) of our choosing. Expressing love and sharing kindness amongst friends and family is never a bad thing but isn’t it about time that our valentines wishes were updated from the classic “I ch-ch-choose you”? To help get the ball rolling, Blab put together some fun, social-media inspired Valentine’s messages that are sure to make you swoon. Feel free to share, text, save, gram, tweet, like, or snapchat them, just promise us that you’ll put down your phone and spend some quality time with your Valentine today!
Social media marketing is something that businesses of all sizes struggle to understand and leverage. Often they don’t know where to start, which platforms to use, how to create content, when to post, how to engage etc so approaching this medium as a marketing tool can feel quite off-putting. If you know that you need to up your social media game this year but aren’t sure where to begin, use the questions below to kickstart your goals and get you one step closer to success:
Know Your Target Market
When you’re talking to someone (on any platform), you need to know what matters most to them. You need to undderstand their triggers, likes, dislikes, values, morals and personalities in order to curate content they’re going to engage with. Before you do anything else, make sure you know your audience by asking these four questions:
- Who is your ideal customer? (don’t say everyone)
- What do they enjoy doing in their free time?
- Where do most of them live?
- What can you do to better target your audience in 2018?
Understand Your Motivation
Social media can help you accomplish some amazing things but it isn’t the be-all-end-all of marketing so make sure you know the motivation behind why you’re using it and what you want to accomplish before you push forward:
- Why are you using social media?
- How have other businesses in your industry leveraged social media? Can you learn from them?
- What are your expectations when it comes to social media?
- How will you measure success on social media?
Focus On Engagement
Social media was created to help people engage in a different way so it’s only natural that you focus on how to engage properly once you’ve become active on any platform:
- On a scale of 1-10, how heavily will you focus on engagement this year?
- Are there any hashtags you could use to help with your engagement?
- Can you participate in any fun online events to help build engagement (i.e. Twitter chats, Facebook groups)?
- Should you use the 80/20 rule (80% content from others, 20% your content)?
Create Compelling Content
It’s no secret that content marketing is the new big thing! Creating unique content and finding ways to repurpose and share it across multiple platforms will help you step up your social media game:
- Have you considered starting a blog? If so, which platform works best with the website you already have (i.e. wordpress)?
- Will you create a content calendar that outlines what you’ll post, at what time and how often?
- Will you invest in live video creation? If so, on which platform(s)?
- Will you have a newsletter (i.e. Mailchimp)?
Choose Platform(s) Wisely
Where you put down roots online matters. Match profiles up with your business goals to make sure that you’re moving in the right direction and talking to the right people:
- Which social media platforms do you want to have a presence on? Which would you rather avoid?
- Which new platforms do you want to learn more about?
- Which social media platform(s) will you spend less time on this year? Why?
- How will you measure your success across all platforms?
What other questions can you ask to help you set your social media goals?
Snapchat can be a safe haven and a platform where people can capture and share memories. Although, some might argue that it’s the most confusing and useless platform they’ve ever experienced. Needless to say, you either love it or you hate it. While there isn’t really a wrong way to use Snapchat, there are definitely ways you can ease into it like a professional if you’re interested in trying it out. Whether you’re a born millennial or an old, cranky, retired person trapped inside a 20 year old’s body, you can use these tips to get started:
Adjust Your Mindset
While many have copied the concept, none have succeeding in removing Snapchat from its pedestal. The beauty of Snapchat is also its biggest strength, all content shared on the platform disappears in 24 hours. Snapchat’s core principle is simple: Send that awkward, unfiltered selfie, snap a quick pic of the sky, record yourself lip-syncing to an embarrassing song. It’s not going to stay in your digital archive forever so why not just live in the moment? It’s all about instant gratification, for yourself and for the people you send content to.
Keep Up With Changing Lenses
With all the lenses available within the app, it’s nearly impossible to take a bad snap! Be prepared to laugh at yourself as you play with the voice changes and silly effects. The best part is that they change all the time so there’s always something new to play with. Plus, if you create a bitmoji character and link it with the app, you’ll unlock even more ever-changing lenses.
Have Fun With Filters
While lenses add a really cool augmented reality vibe to the app, filters are another great way to some fun to your snaps. They let you add text, locations, branded messages, time stamps, the current temperature and even the current speed at which you’re travelling. The best part about them is that you don’t have to choose just one! You can layer multiple filters on screen at the same time to add multiple effects.
Create A Snapcode
Are you really using Snapchat if you aren’t promoting your Snapcode? Your Snapcode is basically a personal barcode on Snapchat. You can post it anywhere online and anyone can add you on Snapchat by opening the app and pointing the camera at your code. You can keep it as the basic ghost illustration or you can add a series of 5 quick selfies to jazz it up a bit.
Design A Geofilter
If you’re looking to add something fun and unique to your next event, why not design a custom geofilter? They’re called geofilters because they’re restricted to a certain area so you can create one that customers can use when shopping at your business, dancing the night away at your wedding, or visiting a certain area. While they aren’t free, they also don’t cost a fortune and increase in price based on the area you want to cover.
What’s your best tip/trick for new Snapchat users?
At the start of every year I always end up running around in a frantic whirlwind trying to catch up (and clean up) after a month of hectic holiday plans. At some point, when everything starts to calm down, I take it upon myself to organize my work space and freshen everything up for the months to come. There’s something to be said about starting fresh in January. It seems entirely possible to focus on goals and motivation comes easily with a blank slate laid out in front of you. The possibilities are endless and things seem so much less overwhelming when you have full control of the direction you’re going to take moving forward.
Usually after the holidays I have some new knick knacks to add, books to make space for, and a new calendar to put out. It gives me an excuse to tidy up, organize paperwork and purge/donate some unused items from the previous year. God knows I have way too many notebooks and pens for the average human so this step is essential to ensuring I don’t end up buried in unnecessary supplies. It’s also a wonderful reminder to kick it old school from time to time and take notes on paper instead of digitally. Never underestimate how inspiring a cute notebook can be! This year I was gifted quite a few new items for my office and was excited to make space for them. I added a cute desk calendar, a gratitude journal from local maker Pocket Squares, a beautiful gold notebook, a really fun #girlboss desk sign and an awesome Ambassador Bridge print from local agency Dark Roast Digital.
Do you refresh your work space every January?
What are your organizational tips/tricks for your home office?
With every new year, comes new trends and opportunities for businesses. Surely we can all appreciate how far technology has come in such a short period of time and this year’s social media trends are no exception. If you’re looking to invest in social, reset your goals, overtake your competition or stand out in a crowded market, these are the five trends you’ll want to consider as we move into 2018:
- Augmented Reality Makes A Comeback
Hard to believe that it’s already been five years since Google came out with a pair of glasses—Google Glass—that promised to bring augmented reality (AR) to the mainstream and change how we live and interact with each other. As you could have guessed by now, it was a flop. But now, multiple companies (Facebook, Google and Snap) are competing to enter or re-enter the market. After a handful of highly successful augmented reality apps, sales of VR headsets on the rise, and greater technological sophistication (faster internet speeds and better visual rendering), 2018 could very well be the year that AR takes off. If it does, and stays in the mainstream, you can bet that social media will be one of the most popular applications for the technology, bringing people together over vast distances and providing an entirely new user interface for social interactions.
- The Continued Rise Of Live Streaming
Some businesses may argue that live streaming already dominated in 2017. About 80% of consumers would rather watch a live video from a brand than read a blog and 82% would prefer live video to written social media updates. Now that social platforms and users have settled into the concept, 2018 is bound to bring with it not only a cool new way to interact with audiences online, but an expectation for your brand to keep up.
- A Change To The Standard Social Formula
Last year there were more than 50 million small businesses using social media to market their businesses. There’s no doubt that social media is popular for a reason, but the increased presence of brand-written content is leading to fatigue among users which makes them less likely to respond or engage. This shift in consumer behaviour is going to force brands to re-think their approach and consider a more unique approach to content and messaging.
- Gamification Extends Into Social
There’s no doubt that users love interacting with each other, even with complete strangers! There’s also no doubt that people love playing games so why not bring those two together to create a better overall experience? Since 2017 saw the rise of gamification and immersive gaming experiences, it’s only a matter of time before we see an app that blends social media and gaming more naturally. There’s no way to know what will come from merging these two interests but it’ll definitely be something worth exploring when it does!
- Social Ad Adoption
Now that brands are more established on social media, their focus is shifting to generating revenue and investing in ads. While most brands have already begun exploring ad potential across multiple platforms, this trend is going to grow even further as more small businesses catch up and work to compete with larger competitors.
While none of these trends are going to completely change the way brands and users interact with social media, they’ll definitely make for an interesting year. If your business is going to remain competitive moving forward, you’ll want to consider adopting and exploring these trends. Learn more about what they are, what value they present and how your business can leverage them for success.
Unsure how to move forward with your 2018 business goals? Consider scheduling a customized training session with Blab and start 2018 off with the knowledge you need to make things happen!
Super excited to announce that Blab is partnering with Imaginative Group to offer a workshop for small businesses at the Walkerville Brewery on Wednesday November 29th. Want to explore social media but aren’t sure which platforms are most valuable for your business? Looking to incorporate social media into your current strategy but aren’t sure how it’ll work with other elements? Let us help you take the first step towards better understanding the value of social media as part of an overall marketing strategy. We’ll be talking about the most popular platforms and the value they offer businesses, going over case studies to emphasize learning objectives, explaining the value of SEO and understanding the important role that your website plays as part of the bigger picture.
1. Learn why investing in social media and digital marketing leads to success
2. See the cost and benefits of integrating social into their current marketing plan
3. Understand how social media can help businesses of all sizes grow and thrive
Join us to discover the value of social media marketing and learn more about how it integrates into a multi-channel strategy. Snacks, coffee and water will be provided free of charge and wine/beer will be available for purchase from the bar. Click here to purchase your ticket!
Last night was a blast! Shoutout to The Windsor-Essex Small Business Centre for putting on an awesome event. Over 70 exhibitors set up shop at The Caboto Club to sell food, alcohol, beauty products, apparel, giftware and more. Blab had a cocktail table in the B2B lounge and had a chance to chat with so many awesome individuals and entrepreneurs about social media marketing. Got to catch up with some good friends and even made some valuable new connections. Blab shared the lounge area with friendly neighbour Biz X Magazine and a handful of other local service based businesses.
The event was the perfect excuse to show off Blab’s new popup banner and print material (sell booklets and social postcards) courtesy of Imaginative Group. It was really great to see how consistently the brand was communicated across all pieces. There’s still something to be said about a nice and functional print piece. Definitely a solid investment!
While fitting everything on a small cocktail table was a challenge, it ended up being the perfect amount of space to showcase my print and add some personality to my display. It’s really important to stay true to your brand, no matter which customer touchpoint you’re exploring.
After a few hours of mingling in the lounge, I managed to escape and grab some food! I picked up some dinner from Cedar Valley Selections (seriously their fattoush salad is amazing) and I couldn’t leave without a few delicious treats from Licia Ruby, Ani & Fabi and Sweet Revenge Bakeshop. By the end of the night, over 500 attendees passed through the doors to shop, eat, drink and mingle. What a great way to support local!