Why is social media important for your business?

There was a time when social media was considered by some as a passing fad. Something that “the kids” were using that businesses could never really benefit from. Over time, the skeptics were proved wrong. There are over 3 billion internet users and over 2 billion of them have active social media accounts. Social media generates a huge amount of data about your customers in real time. Every day there are over 500 million Tweets, 4.5 billion Likes on Facebook, and 95 million photos and videos uploaded to Instagram. Behind these numbers is a significant amount of information about your customers — who they are, what they like, and how they feel about your brand. When you have a presence on social media, you make it easier for your customers to find and connect with you and by connecting with your customers on social media, you’re more likely to increase brand awareness and brand loyalty.

Brand Awareness

Social media proves to be a powerful tool when it comes to growing your brand awareness. Every single step that you take to increase brand awareness will impact the overall growth of your business in the long run. Increasing brand awareness requires a number of steps to be effective though. Here are some steps you can use to boost brand awareness:

Find Your Audience: Before you start focusing on a particular social platform, find out what your target audience is on. You can do this by searching for relevant conversations about your product or industry.

Use Visuals: Once you know where your target audience is, it’s time to grab their attention by using eye-catching visuals with your content. Images and videos are a great way to help grow your brand awareness on social media channels.

Create Conversations: Social media is all about building conversations. Talk, listen, and get involved with your customers to showcase your personality.

Measure Your Efforts: Use the tracking tools provided by the platforms (such as Facebook Page Insights), along with other external tools like URL shorteners, Google Analytics, etc. to measure your activity on social media.

Build Authority: If you want a higher engagement rate along with better brand awareness, then work on building your authority by sharing real value.

Increasing Brand Loyalty

The vast majority of your customers are glued to their mobile devices each and every day and within seconds can land on any one of your social media channels in an attempt to better understand your company and ultimately your reputation. What that potential or current customer sees on social media, whether it’s a review, negative comments, or just how you are interacting with and treating fans and followers, can make or break their decision to do business with you. Some ways you can use social media to build and increase your brand loyalty include:

Telling Compelling Stories: Sharing relevant content that interest your fans and followers. It can range from important industry news, highlighting your employees, or telling compelling stories around your products or services.

Listening to and engaging customers: Customer service has a tremendous impact on brand loyalty. If your customers feel you actually care about them and value their feedback, they will stick around.

Rewarding Your Loyal Customers: Offer incentives, have a prize giveaway, or create a reward program. You can even offer exclusive deals or special discounts specific to only those who follow you on certain social media platforms.

Running Periodic Contest: Contests are a great way to grow your customer base, but they can also excite your existing customer base at the same time and encourage brand loyalty.

Boosting Brand SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

With the number of people on social media and its worldwide reach, social media is a great way to build your web presence and quickly build an audience. If you want to be found among the millions of sites on the web (and the 571 new websites being created each minute), you will have to up your social game. The bigger your brand is and the more consumers trust you, the more likely you are to receive a bigger number of clicks in Google. Social media can be a great and efficient way to help you build your brand and get noticed by people who wouldn’t have otherwise found you. Once you start getting more of the share of clicks in Google from your expanded audience, the higher you will start to rank.

Social media doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon, if anything it is growing every day. If done right it can prove to be really cost effective. Because as of today, even the paid social media campaigns, such as Facebook ads, are cheaper than other advertising options such as search engine ads. Having social media seems to no longer be a matter of choice if you want to succeed and be noticed. Your business needs it. Every business needs it.

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Digital Art

Digital art can be regarded as original, creative work developed on a digital computer and created and/or presented by some form of digital technology. The term digital art extends to a wide variety of works and ways of working. Digital art can be generated completely by a computer, derived from a previously existing source, or exist as an image. Digital art is developed by using digital hardware tools such as, a mouse, a graphics tablet, or a projector and software such as, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and FinalCutPro. From a technical standpoint the term digital art might also be used to describe artwork accomplished using traditional media as in paint, wood, metal and or processes as in painting, printmaking, sculpture which are then scanned, photographed, or videotaped to make a digital replica. However it is accomplised, the term digital art is most accurately applied to artwork that has been created through computing technologies.

Traditional vs. Digital Art

Traditional Art

The term ‘traditional arts’ refers to fine arts that use the old methods for creating artwork, such as pens, brushes, clay and other tools. Although traditional arts have different techniques than digital arts, the different forms of art are still related to each other by the same concept. There are two elements that all traditional artworks have in common: It can be touched — it’s made of physical materials and It’s “one of a kind”— it can’t be copied without creating it all over again.

Digital Art

In the digital environment we don’t have wood, charcoal, or paint. Everything is the same — just in a combination of 0’s and 1’s translated to a visual form on the screen. These 0’s and 1’s can simulate any medium you can imagine. Allthough digital art is not bound by the rules of traditional art, it often simulates it to give the user something familiar and to make the whole process more intuitive for the artist. Early digital painting programs were based on coloring the pixels with a mouse, but today they offer much more. The digital paint blends naturally and can be mixed and is usually applied with a special stylus on a graphics tablet.

The History Of Digital Art

“The Era of the Pioneers” (1956 to 1986)

In this time frame are many of the earliest known experimenters in digital art. Many of these investigators were not artists by training, but engineers and scientists. It is certain that their collective visual explorations were essential to what was an emerging medium literally outside of the attention of the general public. At this point in the development of digital art the experimental writing of computer programs was central to most of the work produced during this era, as “off the shelf” software simply did not exist. Computer displays were monochromatic and computer-based printing technologies were nearly non-existent.

“The Paint Box Era” (1986 to 1996)

It is in this era of digital art that commercial software became available to the general public. The release of these applications did not create an immediate flood of graphics programs into the market, but there was a slow and steady development of consumer software that had never before been available to the non-programming public. These early commercial applications attracted artists to the field of computing who were not trained primarily as programmers or engineers. It was these “early adopting” visual artists who had the vision and the experimental fortitude to create electronic works that could be accomplished without deep programming knowledge. It is during this era that the “paint program” made its first appearance bringing with it the introduction of the pixel to visual artists. Additionally, this is a time when the first affordable computers were introduced into the market. An example of this was the Apple II computer (sold in 1976 for $1300.00 US) developed by Steve jobs and Steve Wozniak is considered by many researchers to be the first true personal computer brought to the general marketplace. Finally, this era also saw the introduction of devices such as the scanner and the mouse. In this time frame the computer became part of society throughout much of the world. The personal computer, the software, and some useful and interesting devices were now in the hands of artists.

“The Era of Multimedia” (1996 to today)

Within this era digital artists were moving deeply into new forms of imaging through the GUI (graphical user interface). The application “Photoshop” came into being in the early 1990’s and photography has never been the same. Along with the general public, artists also entered the exciting new space offered by the Internet, and interactive art, and the countless options offered by other commercialized forms of digital media became a significant focus for many creative investigations. During this period digital art became more and more of a common area of study in academic art programs, in museums, and into the public consciousness. In the early 21st century it is clear that the great expansion of computer gaming, online art forms, digital media, digital photography and videography, web design, and virtual worlds have opened the public and media consciousness in various ways and forms. Digital art in its many forms is now available to anyone with an Internet connection, and has in this way become nearly present everywhere.

How Has Digital Art Revolutionized Art?

In the 21st century digital technology has become a powerful force in nearly every part of life, from art to science, to communication, to entertainment, and to navigation. The impact of various digital tools and techniques has also spread to the art world internationally as well. Within this technological revolution, digital art has become a necessary part of some institutional and educational environments. In art culture, work made through digital means has had a dramatic impact over the last 15-20 years and will continue to make an impact for years to come.

Isotype

Isotype, short for International System Of TYpographic Picture Education, showed social, historical, biological, educational, societal, and technological connections in a “picture language,” as Otto Neurath, its creator, referred to it as. Originally called the Vienna method of pictorial statistics, he founded Isotype at the Gesellschaft und Wirtschaftsmuseum in Wien, Austria, in 1925. The team grew to a total of 25 people; it was comprised of the Data Collectors (historians, staticians, and economists), the Transformers (visual editors and conduits between the data collectors and graphic artists, the Graphic Artists (illustrators who drew the symbols and artwork), and the Technical Assistants (assisted in paste-up, coloring, and photography). Their maps, charts, and other visualizations helped people interpret complex ideas about Austrian life. Isotype’s lasting influence can be seen in infographics, computers, signs, and more.

Stylistic Attributes

The main unit in breaking down statistics with Isotype is the pictogram. An object would be simplified from its details to illustrate what its connoting. They functioned as repeatable units and indicated certain values. Gerd Arntz, who got hired at the Gesellschaft und Wirtschaftsmuseum in 1928, produced them from lino-cuts. Color palletes were limited, and they depicted certain details within the statistics. Great care was taken to ensure that the pictograms were distinguishable from one another and could be placed side by side in rows. Small variations can be made to them to give the pictograms a certain context, like a man wearing a cap of a certain industry. Perspective was not used in favor of single dimension. Their simplicity hides the labor it took in creating these pictograms.

How It Worked

Isotype’s most important feature was its ease of communication without the need of language. Economic and social events were visualized to be understood by people of all ages and backgrounds. Otto Neurath has described Isoype as a “language-like technique” characterized in the use of graphic elements. He believed that picture language was effective across a wide range of ages and that a good pictorial chart could speak as clearly to a young child as an adult. More or less was not represented by bigger or smaller symbols, but by less or more of those of the same size. Even if the content changed, viewers faced pictograms and charts drawn with the same design approach which enabled them to better understand the visual language. The themes of housing, social administration, and education were inextricably linked and many Isotype charts were designed to show such relationships.

Lasting Impact

The central themes which concerned the Isotype movement— housing, health, social administration, and education— were also taken up in later periods and in other countries. Health education, for instance, was taken up on an international front in the 1930s with the major publicity campaign to combat tuberculosis, which was promoted by the National Tuberculosis Association of America. Isotype’s pictograms reached a larger audience in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics as well, and the use of pictograms in international events increased. Today we see them on phones, in airports, maps, signs, and more. The Isotype movement has also had an impact on infographics, public space, and wayfinding. Its strongest influence is seen most clearly in the field of graphic statistics.

The Art of Big Signs

Large signs are everywhere we glance. At a normal viewing distance they appear to be small. Since signs are often surrounded by visual clutter, simplicity is the key to a good design. A simplistic approach such as one image, few words, and simple typefaces, works best.

The Art Of Big Signs

Edit your message. Keep it simple, so the sign is condensed to its essential minimum. A generous amount of white space (negative space) balances a sign with its surrounding elements and sets a clear stage for the message to be seen.

Start with a short headline. Think short and simple. One to three words is ideal. The fewer the words the larger the letter size can be. This allows for the message to be read and understood quickly.

Use clear images. Good signs have images that are clear objects with little detail and distinctive silhouettes.

Design for close-up reading. Most big signs will also be seen up-close. For this distance, signs can include smaller type and more complex graphics if needed. Informational signs are for up close reading, not for attention getting. They can be designed like simple over-sized pages.

Establish a look with a series of signs. A series of signs looks best when they all look alike. The size relationship doesn’t have to be psychically identical, but they must feel the same.

Sales signs or P.O.P. signs get attention and sell at the same time. Most sales or P.O.P. (Point of Purchase) signs are seen mid-distance and at close-up range. Such signs need to succeed in making the most effective use of space, color, images, and words. These signs must stimulate the buying instinct for shoppers. A good attention getting and visually harmonious design is critical for a successful sale or P.O.P. sign.

Announcement signs are designed for quick, brief attention, and are usually seen at mid-distance and up close. Use bold letters to establish a focal point with the headline.

Way-finding signs such as large highway signs or in-store directional signs are about giving directions. Highway signs are huge so they need to be simple with a clear typeface that has a larger percentage of letter spacing (see guidelines). This adds enough air between letters to easily distinguish one letter from the next.

Indoor signs must be read easily but can be more decorative and reflect its surroundings.

Why Offer Coupons
No one can resist a coupon! Coupons can be an enticing form of advertising. They are appropriate for all businesses, especially those with special promotions during the year. Restaurants use coupons to build traffic on a normally slow day, amusement parks use them to reduce the price of admission for people who buy their tickets in advance, and dry cleaners use them to lure business. They are versatile ads that entice people to take advantage of a sale, urge them to visit a new location, or reward them for shopping in your store at any time.

Coupons can be found in newspaper ads, stuffed into customer’s bags to give them an incentive to return, on a website for people to print out and redeem, or inserted into mailed publications. The disadvantage to coupon packs are that they can get lost in the pile. A bright and intriguing coupon can help avoid this.

Coupons are great to track advertising. Different offers or different designs, in various publications, will help track the ones that are working and which ones aren’t. Be creative and find a way to use coupons in any advertising mix that can help benefit your business. Include an expiration date on all coupons. Consider all possibilities in choosing a wise offer. A coupon that offers something for free will get the people in, but they may not return. It’s better to offer something free with an additional purchase or give a 50 percent discount on the purchase of one item.

Did You Know? The latest trend for large signs is solar powered LED signs. Improvements in efficiency of today’s solar panels, both in the amount of energy they can collect and the ability to store that energy, have led to an increasing number of sign related applications including solar powered LED signage which presents a greener choice for our environment.

More Than Just a Pretty Facade—Signs Part 2

Signs are Effective

Your signage is an integral part of your advertising program along with the other forms of commercial communication such as television, radio, newspapers, magazines and billboards. There are four basic criteria used to judge the effectiveness of these advertising media:

  • coverage of the trade area;
  • repetition of a message;
  • readership of a message;
  • cost per thousand exposures of a message.

Let’s see how signs measure to the above criteria.

Signs are oriented to your trade area. Signs do not waste your resources by requiring you to pay for wasted advertising coverage. The people who see your sign are the people who live in your trade area.

Signs are always on the job repeating your message to potential customers. Your on-premise sign communicates to potential customers twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, week after week, month after month, year after year. Every time people pass your business establishment they see your sign. The mere repetition of the message will help them remember your business.

Nearly everyone reads signs. Signs are practical to use because nearly everyone is used to looking at them and using them, even small children. Studies have shown that people do read and remember what is on signs. When special items are displayed, sales increase for these particular items within the store.

Signs are inexpensive. When compared to the cost of advertising in some other media, the on-premise sign is very inexpensive. Table 1 indicates the cost-per-thousand-exposures for various media in a given type of community. Unless your trade area encompasses an entire city or region, where you must rely upon broad based media coverage, there is no better advertising dollar value than your on-premises sign.

chart2

A number of surveys have been conducted before and after installing signage to determine effectiveness. One of these, from late 1996, involved a Los Angeles auto dealership. Three previous auto dealers had failed at the location. The new owner, Aztec Motors, spent much time, energy and money improving the building and lot.

Once renovations were complete, the new owner invested $7,400 in replacement signage that entailed one wall and one double-faced pole sign.

A survey found the new signage, not the renovations or other advertising, was responsible for a minimum of ten new walk-in customers per week, resulting in at least six additional sales per week.

It took less than a month for the new signs to pay for themselves, and the owner was able to reduce his advertising budget from $16,000 to $4,000 per month an annual savings of $144,000.


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A-Frames and Sandwich Boards


Do you want to inform your customers about the latest and greatest news that is going on with your business? A-frames and Sandwich Boards can come with changeable letter sets that allow you to change the written message as many times as desired. If one week you want to promote a sale and the next week a special coupon, A-frames and Sandwich Boards make it simple.

Benefits
A one-time purchase of an A-frame or Sandwich Board is an excellent solution to advertising different messages every day. Affordable A-frames and Sandwich Boards are geared towards helping your business get noticed! These signs fit any business type, whether it’s a restaurant that is advertising happy hour, or a retail store promoting a sale. You can reach multiple target markets with unique messages using a one low-cost investment.

  • Versatile and portable
  • Lightweight
  • Double-sided
  • Creates impulse sales
  • Attracts more foot traffic and vehicle traffic
  • Changeable letter sets

These signs are designed to be able to handle all weather types so they are perfect for the great outdoors. Businesses can put these signs outside and be confident that they will not be destroyed. They are a very smart investment when it comes to advertising, guaranteed to be durable and capture attention.

Maximum Marketing, Minimum Dollars
Advertising messages go anywhere and everywhere people do. The industry calls this alternative out-of-home or placed-based media, and it’s a bonanza for small businesses because there is something for everyone. While there are virtually limitless places to put your ads, here are just a few ideas to get you thinking:

  • Shopping cart returns
  • Dry-cleaning bags and hangers
  • Commercial restrooms
  • Vending cart umbrellas
  • Campus laundry rooms
  • Health clubs, spas and salons
  • Public tennis courts and swimming pools
  • Stadium and arena food carriers

Did You Know?
Businesses need to understand that impulse shoppers are out there and therefore, they should be merchandising their displays to target this audience. Keep in mind; if the impulse shopper is happy with their purchase they will be back and maybe even become a loyal customer. With A-frame signs and Sandwich Boards, you can be furthering your business and creating a prosperous future for yourself, as well as, attracting consumers who may not have intended to visit your store. If you put the time into using the right displays to get people excited about your offerings, increased sales are sure to follow.

Don’t Forget!
For your next project, let professionals help with concept development, execution, and installation!

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Reflective Advertising


During the night road signs, police car, fire trucks and ambulances are highly visible because their graphics are reflective. You can have the same extremely noticeable graphics on your business vehicles. The nighttime reflective graphics stand out at night and sparkle during the day.

Reflective Vinyl
Reflective vinyl is similar to standard vinyl because it can be cut to shape & applied to any non-porous surface but it has a metallic, reflective base that causes it to reflect back light when light is shone at it. Here are some advantages of using reflective vinyl for your vehicle signage:

  • Highly visible after dark
  • Captures attention
  • Long lasting premium vinyl
  • Able to cut vinyl to shape
  • Applies to almost any surface

Depending on your type of business, vehicle fleet travel, it’s locations and hours of operation, reflective vinyl may be an excellent advertising decision and investment.

Did You Know?
Not only does reflective vinyl graphics  decorate vehicles and promote businesses but, they also help prevent accidents. Reflective graphics will reduce the chances of collisions during the night by increasing visibility.

Don’t Forget!
For your next project, let sign professionals help you with concept development, execution, and installation!

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