Holiday Gift Guide 2016
December is here and that means long lines, packed parking lots, and truly, very minimal time left to realistically get all of our holiday shopping done. So, if there’s someone on your list who is a college student, recent grad, young professional in the PR, marketing or social media field, pro making the switch to a new industry, or truly, anyone that lives and breathes the latest products, here’s your gift guide for this holiday season! OR, if you fall into any one of the above categories, here’s what should be on your wish list this year!
P.S. This list is just the beginning of a fabulous wish list! I'd love to hear about any other must-have products that aren't on the list! Let's chat!
Best Photo Editing Apps
"Content is king;" we hear it all the time. We are in the digital age, which means visuals are crucial. Whether posting on social media for business or personal use, it's important your visuals reflect what you want to portray. If you don't have the time needed to do some serious "photo-shopping," you don't need me to tell you that your next best option is going straight to your smartphone to edit! Depending on the need and destination of your photos, here are a number of my favorite iPhone editing applications:
Over: If you want to create a picture with wording over the top, this app makes it very easy. It is currently $3.99 in the app store. This is great if you’re creating a picture for a brand and want to catch viewers’ attention with a simple word or two.
You can change the font, size and color of the text you want to apply over the pictures. You also have the option to add artwork over your pictures. There are a number of beautifully designed logos and banners for holidays, words of inspiration and emoticons.
Over is great for personal use and can make very great photos. Just take a background picture, add some quote artwork over the picture, and you have your #MotivationMonday taken care of!
Afterlight: Afterlight is my go-to photo editing app. For only $.99, this app offers some great editing options and is very user-friendly. This is your standard, photo-editing app. It gives you the ability to edit colors, textures and the shade of your photos. You can also add films and other custom made filters onto your pictures from Afterlight. Frames and shapes are also an option for your pictures.
Diptic: For those of you that like to put your photos into a collage, Diptic is a great app. Although Instagram makes it so that you no longer have to outsource your photo editing and allows you to make a collage directly from Instagram, I prefer to use Diptic. Plus, not every picture taken goes straight to Instagram...
Perfect365: This name of this app is so accurate! When I discovered this app, I was shocked! No wonder celebrities look amazing in nearly every photo they post on social media! Basically, by downloading this app, you have the ability to give yourself a free makeover. The options here include adding lipstick, eye makeup, slimming your face, smoothing your face, whitening your teeth, adding blush and deepening your smile. It’s actually a bit creepy where this app can take your selfie game. Be careful with this app though, I’ve seen it go very wrong and when people start seeing a difference between your selfies and your face in person, you have gone too far.
P.S. With a little filtering action, you can make anything #trendy.
How to Start a Blog
It’s very exciting to brainstorm and think about starting your own blog. You may have thousands of thoughts and ideas running through your head, but don’t get ahead of yourself. It’s important to figure out the most important things first! With these simple steps, you will be on your way to creating a wonderful blog, that brings you and your audience joy and creates a unique community.
P.S. I would love to check out your blogs! Provide your blog link and e-mail address in the comments below.
I view my personal Twitter as a shorted version of my blog. I want my Twitter to correctly represent who I am, what I specialize in and what I want others to know about me.
According to Career Builder, in 2014, forty-three percent of employers used social networking sites to research their candidates. Those first impressions they see are extremely important.
You’ve heard it a hundred times, “What you put on the Internet is there forever!”
It’s so true! What you put on your social media sites, what you write to other people and whom you engage with on social media say a lot about who you are.
For me, I would say behind LinkedIn, Twitter is next best for professional networking. I post a number of industry related articles, studies, I interact with others in my aspired profession and get most of my news from Twitter.
As a college student, I do want to humanize myself, and posting PR and social media related stats and findings 24/7 does not make me look like someone that people would want to work with, or get to know. With that being said, shuffling up the content is important.
Here is what primarily consumes my personal Twitter page:
P.S. Make sure your “about” section is related to your desired industry and gives people an idea of who you are.
Grow Your Social Media Followers
Big corporations and companies that want to create a bigger audience on social media often times pay to have a “bot” go through and follow “relevant” users on social media, in hopes of those followers returning the favor. I have worked for companies that have done this, and have also paid to have a “bot” interact on social media by commenting and liking pictures that the bot thinks are “relevant.” Although this does save time and allows humans to do other things that aren’t as tedious, personally, I think it is much better to pay a human to do this job.
In the event of a mistake on the bots part (which is very common), it can make your brand look very robotic (go figure). This is not something you will want as it will immediately damage your credibility as a brand.
As I have seen with companies that use “bots,” a brand can have thousands and thousands of followers, but a number is just a number when it comes to followers on social media. Sure, it looks great for newcomers on the social site to see 16K followers. Initially that could attract new followers: “Oh, they have 16K followers…they must be worth following.”
But, how many of those followers are real customers or invested in your brand? How many of them are loyal to your brand, would advocate for your brand, or would ever be in the market for what you are selling.
When creating a following on social media that matters, here are my tips:
This is my number one tip on social media! People want to know your brand is listening and actually involved within online communities.
On Twitter: If you are a bridal company, for example, search for relevant key terms on Twitter that people might tweet relevant to your brand.
“We just got engaged,” “Need a wedding dress,” “Wedding soon…”
Reply to those tweets, favorite them, then; follow the users that tweeted relevant key terms. That shows that you are engaged and active on social media and this can create an immediate customer.
On Instagram: Search hashtags relevant to your brand or company and similar to Twitter, follow the user, or comment on the post. Make it known that your brand is listening on social media. It will make a huge impression and puts your name in front of your potential customers.
Find a twin:
Find a brand on social media that you are similar to or hope to be similar to, with a large amount of followers and interactions on their posts. See what they post, how often and the content they are sharing.
When it comes to growing your followers and seeing close to immediate results, it is important to follow the users who follow brands you want to be like. Pull up the brand you find yourself most similar to and follow their followers. The goal is to have them follow you back. If the number of people you follow gets too high, there are many apps that allow you to see who does and does not follow you, based on the people you follow (for Twitter I suggest “Friend or Follow”). Friend or Follow's website is very easy and allows you to unfollow users that do not follow you back. For Instagram, I would suggest the app, “Followers for Instagram,” which allows you to also see who does not follow you back, and then allows you to unfollow them. There is a max of 100 unfollows per hour, so you just have to spread this out over time. On Instagram, you are restricted to only follow 7,500 users, so keep that number in mind.
Laying it all out, building followers organically looks like a tedious task and to be honest, it is, but it ensures you have relevant followers that will like, support and be loyal to your brand, as long as you do not give them a reason not to.
Continue to use relevant hashtags. This is especially important if you’re trying to brand yourself or a company. Use a hashtag that is unique to your brand specifically and also use hashtags that are relevant to your industry. You want to create engagement among your posts and this is one of the best ways to do so. Use websites such as "Hashtagify.me," that allow you to search and find the most common hashtags for your brand or industry. Use those hashtags every time you post, and add additional ones specific to each post.
P.S. PLEASE remember that a large amount of followers, does not translate to success on or off of social media!
A typical social media savy, PR girl breaking her way into the industry and blogging about it every step of the way.