Just Let It Gel (Facebook How-To… Page)

When laying down a canvas, I think it’s important to set the foundation first, usually with white gesso, but sometimes simply with some soft gel. Almost every visual artist will tell you same, unless they are painting on paper, mylar, or some other strong gripping surface. Then again, said artist might not even want to create an archival work OR rather the degradation of the work is key to the process. Whatever the case we understand the basic of what to start with.

After that decision is made, I start applying broad strokes to block in shapes and highlights, carefully choosing colour(s) which will give a tone to the story. Once that step has happened and I’m confident in my decisions, I begin the process of focusing on areas of the painting, slowly laying in or uncovering details and telling stories within the story of my canvas. It’s easy to get caught up in the romance of it all, so I’ll spare you that as best I can.

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This might seem like a common practice, but there really are a lot of different ways to make a painting. Truth be told, no two artists will tackle it the same way, even if we pretend subject matter and material choices are the same. And frankly, I don’t expect marketing to work in a catch-all matter either, even though many people think it’s a simple process.

And given my personal experiences with it, once you set the foundation, just like fine art, marketing comes down to taste, experience and the message to be delivered.

About Face

Way way back in November 2016, which feels like ages ago, I met a beautiful woman and we had our first date. It was wonderful, and she is very special to me, when she reads this post we will have passed our 3 month anniversary, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Right, I promised no more romance.

Well, I’ll just try this one more time.

Way way back in November 2016, I wrote a post about Facebook. Now at the time, I didn’t expect to cover the whole social networking service in one post, so I decided to break it up into several parts, aptly naming the first part, Facebook pt. 1. And like any good franchise, I’m going to immediately deviate from that pattern and set out to call the next set of posts Facebook How-To … (insert topic here).

Clever right? Yeah, I’m usually pretty clever, but it all depends on what I have else I have going on upstairs in that old noggin of mine. Which I think makes perfect sense, and even if it doesn’t immediately make sense for you, you’ll find a workaround I’m sure.

A Face Only A Mother Could Love

 

Let’s talk about Facebook pages my dear, sweet, and wonderful readers. You creative cuties, you.

I’ve said this once before, but Facebook pages are to individual profiles what corporations are to small businesses. This is where you share content with your followers and get them involved in your personal brand. You have to set up your business page if you want to get to the ads step, so do that first. Then focus on lifestyle over product. You also want to be actively involved in comments and service… this can include incentivizing your user base and sharing user content too.

How do you accomplish this you ask? Well with 3 (condensed) tips like this:

  1. Build your community by focusing on your members and how the page provides value – This means using the page as the voice of your brand, but always eluding to insights that are available for people who have purchased your product(s) to make them feel special. You don’t have to treat page likes based on sales, but exclusivity is important. Then focus on followups for customers in PMs and for answer questions when you can.
  2. Discuss current events and promote events too – But I would add that you keep it relevant to your user base at all times. People will get frustrated if you talk about sports when that’s not in your business mantra, for instance.
  3. Communicate with your biggest fans. If you build strong relationships with those who love you, they’ll reach out for you, but it also allows them to network WITH EACH OTHER. Like attracts like as the old adage goes. And if you have team members, it gives them a place to function as ambassadors and stewards of your brand.

The biggest takeaway from all of this is to keep your page active and allow people to participate in a discussion, much like how a Facebook group is forum for it’s user base, the Facebook page is the podium. It allows you to build trust with your fans and become a representation of your brand.

Obviously I’ll spend some more time in the future on success stories, but for now, you have some foundation to set up your canvas. I hope you can keep on rocking in the free world creative cuties, and I’ll be back tomorrow with a story about a concert. It’ll probably be romantic though.

Tim!

Faithful Blue, Strong Pink (Peggy Orenstein)

I work in marketing. And as of this July I will have worked in marketing for a decade.

That’s longer than I’ve committed to pretty much anything in my life. To this point, my longest romantic relationship was eight years, and the most physical hours I’ve put into being an artist is definitely less than a decade, maybe six years if I’m being generous. And interestingly enough, I’ve worked in marketing longer than many of my active friendships. Yes, I have a few friendships that have stood the test of time, but the point is, I’ve put a lot of time into this way of life.

Secret Secret, I’ve Got A Secret

I’m gonna let you in on a secret too. I originally planned on pursuing a marketing job so that I could learn the ins and outs of the industry, and then go back to school for a masters degree in either sociology, anthropology or fine arts. Because I wanted to research, write, and lecture for a living. Spoiler: I still do.

Somewhere along the line, I got comfortable with what I was doing, and so I stuck it out. My life became automated, like a robot, for about five years. Then I decided to change gears, and really commit to this marketing thing as a career… and I’ve had different marketing related jobs every year since I made that commitment, slowly climbing the corporate ladder.

And this year I finally found something that I enjoyed enough to really want to do it for years, but I’m not going to do this forever either.

Dear readers, I’ve realized that this is a phase, one that I need to grow out of.

But that’s one of the most terrifying and fascinating things about marketing. It’s ability to convert your intentions ever-so-subtly towards something which you don’t really needs, making you believe that the desires are innate and that possession will satisfy.

These Are Not The Toys You’re Looking For

I want you to consider the idea that blue is for boys and pink is for girls is not inherent, for instance.

We are told early on (by pretty much everyone) that boys gravitate to blue and pink is what girls love. But I read an article a while back that stated that it wasn’t until the late 19th century or early 20th century that pastel colours were introduced by manufacturers for babies, and many retailers had actually decided that pink was more suitable for boys because it was a variation of red, and red conveys strength. Blue was long associated with faithfulness, purity, and the Virgin Mary, a symbol of femininity. By the 1940s many manufacturers had flipped the script and settled on pink for girls and blue for boys.

And then I read this month’s 5 L’s Of Language book – Cinderella Ate My Daughter. My girlfriend recommended it to me, and I read it on a whim, not realizing what I was getting back into.

In the book, author Peggy Orenstein takes us down a road about gender norms for girls and identifies the phenomenon of princess culture, dominated by Disney merchandise, and how it has permeated through our girls lives, in television, film, at school, in pageantry, and especially online. One section in particular focuses on the development of the colour pink into everything, and how many marketers emphasis the point of pink and blue to assure parents buy two of everything.

Something Like A Phenomenon

Orenstein has authored several books on women’s identities, sexuality, and how to function in a world conflicted with feminism and femininity. She has also written bestsellers Girls & Sex and Waiting for Daisy. She writes for the New York Times and has been honoured by The Colombia Journalism Review as one of its “40 women who changed the media business in the past 40 years.”

One of my favourite moments of the book came towards the end. I’ll share the quote with you for simplicity.

That said, pointing out inaccurate or unrealistic portrayals of women to younger grade school children-ages five to eight-does seem to be effective, when done judiciously:taking to little girls about body image and dieting, for example, can actually introduce them to disordered behavior rather than inoculating them against it. I may be taking a bit of a leap here, but to me all this indicated that if you are creeped out about the characters from Monster High, it is fine to keep them out of your house.”

Small children are tied in strongly to external signs of identity – clothing, colour, haircut, toys. But as they reach puberty, they’re drawn more strongly by internal factors, that of being accepted by their peers and are also more willing to reject traditional authority from their parents. In other words, when children are small, it’s okay for them to be tied into simple notions of gender, but you shouldn’t mask how you feel for them, and as they age, they should be given opportunities to explore boundaries, especially ones they grew up with.

It’s a rare thing for me to read a book cover to cover in less than 24 hours, but I was able to do that for Cinderella Ate My Daughter.

It contains more than enough meaningful content to sift through, and frankly Orenstein has an ability to break down complex concepts into digestible pieces and do so with a self-reflexive analysis of the minutiae, questioning herself and gaining insights along the way.

I’ve decided this book fits rather neatly into the LABEL category of The 5 L’s Of Language, and at just over 200 pages it’s something you could burn through in a week or two. Or one day if you are insane and want to read for several hours straight.

This books opens with a question about the princess phase, and then rightly closes with a demonstration of the end of the phase delivered via Orenstein’s daughter Daisy.  You see creative cuties, Daisy loves Mulan, and one day Daisy questioned the world that Mulan inhabits as featured in the Mulan sequel, Mulan II. Daisy asked her mom why the princesses in the film would sing about freedom, not realizing that it isn’t always easy to be a princess.

And that’s also why it’s called the princess phase, because kids grow out of it, as they develop critical thinking and healthy skepticism. But I guess that could just be a theory?

Tim!

Nobody Liked This (Facebook pt. 1)

Facebook is a huge social network. Like seriously huge.

This we already know.

With just over 1.79 billion users, it’s even more popular than YouTube, which has roughly 1 billion users, but definitely more so than Instagram (5M) and Twitter combined (3M).

With such an incredible base of people using it on a regular basis, it’s kinda impossible to not jump on the Facebook bandwagon. Yes, there is an argument to be made that younger people are moving towards social media networks like Instagram. And it is true that Tumblr, Reddit, and Pinterest are growing in little leaps as well, but when it comes to large scale networking, Facebook is king of the hill.

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The Social Network

And it even has a 2010 movie made about it which we affectionately know as The Social Network – an award winning movie that received Academy Awards for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, and Best Film Editing.

You’ve probably seen the movie too. And whether you have or not, I’m gonna give a quick recap on it. It tells the story of friends Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) who build a website called Thefacebook for ivy league students to meet and date, while Zuckerberg has been simultaneously employed by Harvard twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (Armie Hammer) to build The Harvard Connection. The Winklevoss’ eventually sue Zuckerberg for stealing their idea, while Napster co-founder Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) works his way in on Zuckerberg to improve upon the website, while also convincing him to push Saverin out.

It’s a gripping movie which puts a dark twist on the decade of 2000-2009 and also tells a rather human story about social media.

Facebook Marketing For Creatives

But the thing is, you’re a creative professional, and you need to start marketing yourself better. You really should find a way to get your work out there and in the hands of the people who want to see your content.

I know those people exist, because I run into them all the time in both my real life AND digital travels, and it’s not that difficult to reach them. You have to understand the basics of Facebook marketing first.

Facebook has three major ways of connecting users to content – Pages, ads, and groups. Each of them has a particular value and purpose, but by combining them together you’ll learn how to get where you’re going and effectively to boot.

  1. Facebook pages are to individual profiles what corporations are to small businesses. This is where you share content with your followers and get them involved in your personal brand. You have to set up your business page if you want to get to the ads step, so do that first. Then focus on lifestyle over product. Also want to be actively involved in comments and service… this can include incentivizing your user base and sharing user content too.
  2. Facebook ads are targeted content that you share with a specific audience. The goal is to share with those consumers that fit a particular audience and ideally it will highlight particular aspects of your brand. You’ll want to have a clear objective in mind, rotate ads often to prevent disengagement, and target key data points.
  3. Facebook groups are different from pages in that they provide a place for people to get together and share content of a similar effect. It’s more community minded and less brand driven, which means that you can learn a lot about what people think of you/your business by asking questions and starting conversations.

Now to be perfectly honest, those are simply the tools in the tool-belt, what you really need are a set of instructions and a how-to guide on construction. But in order to do that, I’ll have to write more about it, and that’s better served for another theory. After all, we only retain about 3-10% of new information in a single pass, so I’ll let you mull over this for a few weeks and then come back at you with part two. Sounds good? Excellente.

I hope you have an excellent evening dear readers, and to my American fans, I hope your new president treats you well and is a good steward to the global community.

Tim!

 

 

My Heartbeat (Professionalism)

Being yourself has become such a cliche that I literally cannot even, dear readers. I just literally cannot even.

Sorry, bad habit from dating someone in their early twenties.

Such a beautiful create who is still figuring herself out and doesn’t really know what she wants out of life yet.

Someone who is exploring the open road and wants to see what is out there.

Well actually, I’m really sorry but not sorry, because I already know what I want out of life, and while I’m pretty fucking cool with adapting to other people and their life pursuits, I’m most definitely not cool with someone trying to force me to do that which is against my goals and aspirations.

So bye bye baby, baby goodbye.

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Now that might not seem professional my friends, but as you’ve slowly come to learn about me, I’m an art maker, and I try really hard not to be a heart breaker, because after all, you can’t have heart without art, and as my friend Singh likes to say, you also can’t have art without heart.

My authentic self

My authentic self is entwined with the arts, and I’ve made great efforts to get back to a place where I am supporting the arts at every turn, and so I cannot be in a relationship with someone who won’t let me do my thing, and whose interests follow another path, and so if that led to an ultimate situation, then so be it. Because my professionalism is important in this journey of timotheories.

Which means it’s for the best Lindsey, I really hope you get the love you need in this life, and while I highly suspect that won’t be me anymore, I’ll always have that garden party, Ticker doodle doo.

Now, why do I care? Well friends, we’ve arrived at the final introductory post on the Importance of Marketing series, and as sobering of a topic as this is for me personally (thought I never would’ve expected that on first glance), it’s relevant that I write what I know.

After all, if we’re going to discus professionalism, it’s important to address that a professional is competent. A professional is both efficient and a producer of quality. Which means that as it relates to your brand or voice, your marketing needs to be consistent, unique and representative of you.

Think about your own favourite brands, you are the audience for the brands that you consume, and so as a marketer, you have a unique position. You know both sides of this story. It comes down to expression of an authentic message. Or as I like to call it, the why of your business.

My professional joy de vivre

Do you know your why yet? Your joy de vivre? If you can get to the purpose of what inspires you to do what you do, then you can start the process of articulating that why statement that will lead you to your brand statement. Once you have a brand statement, holy shit Batman, you can keep your professional image on point.

Figure out your audience and align with those in it, support what is being consumed, be authentic in your social media, learn the rules of marketing, and stick to the fundamentals, don’t worry about being cool.

There is a lot more to this professionalism than what I can share in a healthy post length, but I can assure you this much, I DON’T know it all friends, but because I’m working on sharing the arts with everyone from the artist’s perspective, I know that I’m going to learn as much as I can, and I’ll keep sharing theories with you along the way.

So now the real question comes in, did you really break up with your girlfriend just to make a post? No, I didn’t art shakers. I only made the best of an authentic situation to give you a solid example of keeping it real in your business.

I’m out of theories for now friends, but I’ll see you tomorrow with something timely.

Tim!

Grow Up And Blow Away (Your Image)

Growing up is hard to do.

Or to if I were to rip it off of a writer like E. E. Cummings, it takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. Which is why Peter Pan never did it, why Peter Pan syndrome is real, and it’s also why we don’t all get there.

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Also, I’ve never been a large fan of this above meme, but you know what? This seems like an appropriate time to use it, after all, marketing is about communicating a message, and so I’m making a solid point with a message about dummies using a baby to be funny.

Real mature dummies. Way to devalue the importance of marketing.

Hold on a tick, timotheories, are you saying what we think you’re saying?

That’s right, we’re onto post number four in the Importance of Marketing series!

As I’ve already done a few times before, I should start us on the right track by clarifying what an image means in this instance. It could be a representation of the external, whether the form taken is that of a person or a thing. It could also be a metaphor. In most cases it usually means a physical likeness, which can be best demonstrated with a photograph, painting or sculpture.

But what about a mental representation? An idea? a conception? Especially given the weird quality that computers have which allow them to produce an image themselves. And thusly we arrive dear readers. I’m referring to your online image.

An online image is that which houses all of the internet related information available to the public about you, and it can be very unflattering. Your online image is a summation of characteristics and interactions you have with other members of the internet. Most of the interaction happens on forums, content channels, and digital vending machines, but regardless of what you do with your time online, each website builds a profile of who you are and what you do.

Which is why you should learn some basic online hygiene in order to take that road. Yes, I could teach you about branding related image elements, like your logo, mailing list, etc. But upon more reflection, it occurred to me that we can all benefit from the below first, and build up to that level of attention.

So here it is, a short(er) list of things you should do.

  1. Regularly track your Google search results. Are you competing with someone else for  name attention? What kinds of URL results come up when someone searches for you and are the results consistent with the image you want to have? Is someone else with the same name in the top results? If you set Google alerts, you can run interference on both positive and negative feedback whenever someone has something to say about you.
  2. Buy all of the necessary social media names associated with your brand. For example, I have YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter locked up. Your personal URL needs to be in sync with your brand too, so look into that as well. Domain names are relatively inexpensive to acquire, and the internet is the future after all, so make a commitment now. And then make your email signature align – add all of the links.
  3. Participate in the above mentioned online social and business related groups. That also includes LinkedIn, Google+, and other ones like ZoomInfo. Your goal is to structure your profiles, replies, and posts so that you can attract your target demographic and send a professional message about your expertise. By connecting with those who already do what you want to do or are on their way too, you’ll gain access to job openings, freelance opportunities, and networking events.
  4. Blogging. I blog because I love it, but Google and other search engines love blogs too. The content is regularly updated, and as you participate in the culture, which means guest posting, commenting on other blogs with your handle, and sharing useful information. And reference other relevant blogs when you can because the community commitment makes all the difference. Of course, if you can fit your blog into a full-meal-deal website that showcases your career, achievements, and portfolio, all the better.
  5. Share your expertise. That means participating in professional associations that have physical and online forums, and take advantage of their networking opportunities. If you go to Yahoo!, Google Groups, LinkedIn, Reddit or WikiAnswers, you’ll find lots of people that’ll appreciate your help. You should also write reviews of relevant books for online publishers like Amazon and Indigo. And of course don’t forget to link it to your personal brand.

But what do you think? Did I miss anything? Do you still never wanna grow up? I know it’s scary out there, but I have a theory that if you follow the above you’ll get where you need to go on your marketing journey. I’m out of theories for now friends, but I’ll see you tomorrow with something timely.

Tim!