Yes, darlings, it is some CYA (cover your ass) time!
For the past year, I've heard rumblings and you know those kind of "friends of friends of friends" urban myths about people using stock photos and then being threatened and/or sued for using the image. I could never verify the legitimacy to the tales, but they always struck a chord with me--perhaps because of the possibility of this cunning plan working. Regardless, it has made me cover my own ass when I use stock photos, and more importantly make sure my clients' asses are covered.
So, if you are not in the loop on this, it's time to get in.
The Story/Myth/Legend/Scam goes like this:
A photographer posts his/her image to a stock photo site and has the image listed as free for personal and commercial use with no attribution required. It's all clear to use is downloaded and used on various websites, social media, or what have you.
Months go by and the photographer removes the image from the original stock photo site and then goes on the hunt for those that have used it. The photographer then launches a cease/desist campaign or worse threatens payment / lawsuit etc. for illegal use of the copyright image to those who have used their image.
The person who downloaded the image and has used it is now in rather crappy position if they don't have proof that in fact the photo was downloaded and used under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) licence. They either stop using the image, pay for it, or worse continue to get threatening letters of copyright infractions. Talk about a curve ball, especially when the download/use of the image was legit.
And that is why having a bit of proof to cover your ass will help to get you out of hot water if the time comes.
Here's How to Cover Your Ass
Each and every time you download a stock photo, take a screenshot of it. Be sure to include the name of the stock site, the URL, the image itself and even the CC0 licence (which is on the side bar of some sites.) Keep those bad boys in a file.
In the example above, you can see the URL, you can see the CC0 licence to the right, which also states "free for personal and commercial use" and "no attribution required". And you can see the site it comes from (in the URL and the social media buttons on the sidebar.)
How I Cover My Clients' Assess
So if, one of those photographers ever come calling looking for a payout for copyright infringement, I have proof and so does my client that the photos were used according to the licence agreement.
It's a bit more leg work for you to provide this for your client, but hey, as the saying goes, Noah built the Ark before the rain!
WANT MY CREATIVE COMMONS CLIENT SWIPE FILE?
Send me an email. I'll hook you up.
Ohhhhhh, I love this question, because it gives me a chance to say, SIZE DOES MATTER! and it also gives me a chance to play! And by play, I mean, experiment, fiddle and futz and muck around. My Facebook page becomes hostage to these whims and this I enjoy.
Ok, diving in. As of today (January 15, 2018), the dimensions that work best for your Facebook Business page are:
How do I go about designing this?
If you want the best of both worlds and don't want to compromise your design, my advice is to size for mobile but design for desktop.
TIP: Keep your logo, page name or any other critical text outside of the "pink bands" as this is a no-go area for desktop view.
See it for yourself in action over on my business FB page.
So every year, the Pantone Color Institute releases a new colour of the year. This year’s colour is Ultra Violet, which is being dubbed as, "a dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade." (You can be the judge of that.)
No doubt, as the year progresses, you are sure to see this colour and varying hues popping up in fashion, home décor, design and accessories. Purple isn't everyone's cup of tea, but if it is, here are three ways you can start to use Pantone's Ultra Violet in your designs without interfering with your current brand colours.
ONE: Course materials—slide decks, worksheets, PDF freebies
If you have a new course coming out, think about creating a unique but complimentary look to your existing brand. It doesn’t have to be over-the-top, but use pops of Ultra Violet here and there. Think about your titles and subtitles, banners or icons.
TWO: Social Posts
Add a hint of the new colour to your posts—maybe a line, a small graphic or consider doing a colour overlay on your images. (These ideas can be done with any colour of course.)
THREE: Blog Post Headers / Titles
If you are using graphics and icons in your blog or podcast banners (Pat Flynn's blog is a great example of this), this is another chance to add in Ultra Violet—whether that is for your banner backgrounds or even your foreground objects.
And because I am a visual person, here are some concrete ideas.
Want more ideas for your designs?
Be sure to download January's Palette Inspiration--it's all about Pantone's Ultra Violet.
If you have a Facebook business page, this one is for you.
I'm all about concrete examples. So, let's take a customer and name her Franny. Imagine Franny is searching for a business in your industry--maybe that is coaching or services. Since Franny is on Facebook, she does a search and enters the industry in the search bar. The results come back with several different pages and she clicks into each one.
Now imagine, Franny lands on YOUR page. If Franny is on her phone, and without having to scroll, she will see the following things immediately: your cover photo, your profile pic and name, the call to action buttons, FB engagement icons and some "more stuff" at the bottom.
Here's an example from Brit + Co.
So where does Facebook Franny go to get a sense about your business or about you?
(If you read Is your website link in your Facebook profile and cover pics you may already know one of the answers, you smarty pants!)
While some users may dig deeper to read the posts or watch videos, the quick and easy way, and what Franny will mostly likely do is to go to the About page. It's right there, it's in her face and she doesn't need to use her thumbs to scroll. Clickety, click... If Franny lands on YOUR About page, what will she find?
Is it something you wrote a bajillion years ago? Maybe it's blank---eeek, I hope it's not blank. If the info is outdated, missing or partially completed, Franny is mostly likely to leave---"she ain't got no time for this!"
With all the options out there, if you aren't able to help new clients/customers on your page with what they need to know (besides your product or service), then they will bid your page and your biz a fond farewell. Besides, there are plenty more businesses for Franny to scope out. It may also leave Franny wondering that if your About page is missing or incomplete, what other "gaps" are there in your business?
It's something to think about! Be the judge of your About page. Are there gaps to fill? Updates to add? If your page could be improved, then it's time to get that sh*t in order because it could be costing you new customers or clients.
As you do a rewrite or update, think about Franny (or your end customer/client)---Can she get a quick sense of who you are? Is it clear what you do? Can she tell if your business is what she is looking for? Are you speaking her language?
While you can add the fill-in-the-blank details on your About page, be sure to add a bit of your brief and simple spiel to the "Story" section and of course, your links!
Need a hand optimizing or cleaning up your Facebook page?
Drop me a line and let's chat.
If there is one thing I know about entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and business owners is that you have a lot of balls in the air with your biz. But when you are doing invoicing and managing your social media calendar, booking your own flights or doing data entry off the side of your desk, when do you have time to plan your next product or launch?
As David Allen (big wig thinker and author on personal productivity) said, "You can do anything but not everything." Read that again--you can do anything but not everything.
So why are you trying to juggle everything?
The truth is, you don't have to when there is a booming little industry called "virtual assistants." You can pass off some of those balls for them to do, which leaves you focused on the bigger, momentum building things for your business. Besides, who wouldn't want to trade up juggling balls for knives and flaming hoops?!
Perhaps you've been toying with the idea of bringing a VA on-board but are not sure how to begin or where to go.
No worries! I've got your back on this one. I've put together a guide for you to walk you through seven-steps to identify all those balls in the air and figure out which ones to pass off to a VA, in addition to tips and suggestions on getting started and working with one.
And don't worry, the guide is totally free. I don't even ask for your email in exchange. Just use the damn book--no strings attached.
I've been incredibly lucky to have worked and continue to work with amazing clients on some cool projects and ongoing activities in their business. However, I also know some VAs who haven't been quite as lucky. This is why I feel compelled to help business owners understand how best to work with a VA and guide you through the initial stages--basically set you and your VA up for success and get things started.
If you have any other questions or if I can be of further help, please feel free to contact me.
Otherwise, download the guide. Go through the steps and see if you are ready for a VA and learn how to pass over some of those business balls.
Take a look... is your website link in your Facebook profile or cover pic descriptions?
If you answered yes, you can skip this post. But if you answered no or are not quite sure what I mean, keep reading.
When you click your FB profile pic or cover image it becomes full-screen. But is there anything else that shows up? (On mobile it will be an overlay of text and on your desktop view, a right side box).
Here's an example from the gals over at Think Creative Collective.
I went to their Facebook page and clicked their cover. (You'll see my steps at the top of the screenshots below.)
Here's the thing--you can add text and links to both your cover image and profile pic, and you should take advantage of adding a blurb and your website in both. It is another way for users to find out who you are and what you are all about. Or take a page from the gals over at TCC--when you are running a challenge or launching a course, change your cover image description and add the links to your latest launch/challenge landing page.
It's a quick and simple fix! Give it a go.
Need a hand optimizing or fixing your Facebook page?
Drop me a line and let's chat.
So lately I've been lingering in a few Facebook groups and have noticed that usually once a week members of one particular group share their work in progress---websites, designs, logos etc to get some feedback. Very cool, especially when you see people being supportive and encouraging.
Overall, while there is some stellar work, I've seen more work that has nailed the concept, but is off in the execution of it. The designs, images or graphics being used don't match their message and frankly aren't doing their website (or brand) any justice.
One website in particular that caught my eye was off to a great start with a lovely three-colour scheme, soft images and and an organized layout. Easy to use and navigate. However, when it came to her services page, I had a bit of an Eeeeek moment, but that also led to two Eureka! moments.
What was the Eeeeeek moment?
The owner of the site used icons to represent her services---Writing, Web Design, and E-commerce with blurbs about each one. The concept: fantastic; the implementation: needs improvement. The icons that she used clearly came from various designs sets with a mismatched colour palette unrelated to her her brand and her site colours. It's not a critical issue, but it is just one of those tiny details that derail the brand and brand image.
THE FIRST EUREKA! MOMENT
I added a comment with my feedback and suggestion, but it made me think, she's a new entrepreneur, probably on a shoestring budget and doing the best she can do. I realized that she may take my words of advice, but may also not know how to implement it.
So what did I do? I sat down with my morning coffee and before I finished the first cup I had created eight simple icons for her. I ended up sending them to her as a little surprise gift. Besides, who doesn't like surprise gifts, right? Call it paying the design forward.
For those who are curious to know, these were three of the icons that I created for her. The colour palette matched her site and now she had a consistent icon set to use for her services.
THE SECOND EUREKA! MOMENT
Turn this into a teaching moment. So, here we go. How to make your own simple icons in PowerPoint. In November, Office 2016 released a new collection called "icons" which can be inserted into your documents much like shapes or graphs.
What you need
How to make your icon
Let's assume you want to recreate the icons above.
1. Open up your document to have a blank page
2. Go to Insert > Shapes and insert a circle. Change the colour fill to your palette, no outline.
3. Go to Insert > Icon (and select from over 500 different icons under various themes)
4. Click on the icon you want (it will be inserted as black)
5. Resize the icon. Hold the SHIFT key as you do this to keep the proportions the same!
6. Click on the icon and the Graphics Tools Menu will appear.
7. Select the dropdown of Graphics Fill and you can change the colour to white. Now once you do that it will blend in with the page, but it hasn't disappeared.
8. Drag your icon over the circle.
9. Click both objects and Align center and middle, then Group.
10. Right click on the grouped images and Save as Picture.
And you are done.
To repeat, simply copy your grouped items, ungroup, delete the icon and repeat from step 3 onward.
But I don't have Office 365 or the the icon feature
If you don't have Office 365 and don't have the icon feature, you can still follow the same steps. If you get your white icons online and save them as PNG or SVG with transparent background, you can replace step 3 with: Insert Picture and then proceed with steps 4 through 10.
If you have any questions, drop a line, leave a comment.
Video Tutorial on this is coming soon, for those visual learners.
Let’s talk about multiples!
Wait wait… don’t digress too far down THAT path. What we are focusing on here is Instagram’s new feature: Select Multiple.
Select Multiple was released just a few weeks ago and it lets you add multiple images or videos, even a combination of the two, much like a slide show. Make sure your app is updated so that you can access this feature.
STEP TWO--CHOOSE FILTERS + ORDER
STEP THREE--WRITE A CAPTION, TAG, ETC
Last step is to do your caption and tagging. No change, same same.
TIP! You may want to add "swipe left for more" or a similar call to action in your caption until people become more familiar with this feature.
THREE IDEAS TO USE MULTIPLES ON INSTAGRAM FOR YOUR BUSINESS
The only limit is your creativity... but here are a few of our suggestions, or how we can see our clients using multiples in their Instagram feeds to feature their business.
We’ve chosen some random industries and did a brain dump to give you a few concrete examples that you are more than welcome to steal, borrow, tweak and make your own--just give us a shout out if you do. (Thanks)
Before and After Shots (and all the in-between stuff)
Capture the before and after shots and put them back to back. This would be great for promoting services much like you would in a portfolio. Consider adding the images from the process.
Step by Step Instructions or Tutorial
A Deconstructed Series
So there you have it, three concrete examples on how you can use Select Multiples on Instagram for your business.
We'd love to know how you use multiple images on Instagram...drop us a line.
Want more ideas for Instagram or content creation?
Drop us a line to book a one-hour strategy session with us to pick our brains to develop some tangible and actionable ideas that you can use for your business.
Ok, so you are rushed for time and can't be bothered to go into some our favorite sites to download pictures (read them here), so instead you use Google. Perfectly fine, but if you want to do it the right, errr legal, way, then here is how to go about it.
Depending on how you will use this, "Labeled for Reuse" or "Labeled for noncommercial reuse" will be best options, unless of course you are happy and able to modify the image.
So there you have it, your quick and easy ninja tip for searching for images you can legally steal and use from Google.
I'm a big TED fan. I also have secret crush on Guy Raz over at NPR and love his podcast "TED Radio Hour." You can pretty much bet that when I have my headphones stuffed in my ears I am letting his voice wash over me as I drift into the topic at hand.
Just the other day I was listening to the September 15th episode titled "Extrasensory" and in the last portion of the episode Guy interviewed Julian Treasure, a repeat TED speaker who discussed listening, and in particular active listening. Treasure goes on to state that we as a society are losing our ability to listen with intention. I certainly agree with him on that.
We are so distracted by our gadgets--new mails, tweets, mentions, DMs, PMs, Whatsapps, posts, tweets, pins, snaps, pics, blah!--that our conversations are being interrupted constantly by the bings, dings, whistles and beeps from our devices, that are loosing touch with each other.
It is a pet peeve of mine when I am mid-sentence and the person I am talking with answers a phone or darts their eyes to check what the incoming beep was. They lose their attention and I lose my focus. It drives me mad.
And so, like most episodes on TED Radio Hour, it got me thinking...
When was the last time I really listened to someone? When was the last time you REALLY listened? Especially to clients.
Most entrepreneurs are hyperactive problem solvers--we listen to the client, identify the problem and then while they are still hashing out their thoughts or concerns our brain gears are fired up and in motion. Chances are we have the solution before the last words have left our clients' lips.
Great for the client if you are billing them by the minute. But hang on, did you really listen consciously? Did you hear the nuances? Did you join the client on their verbal journey and feel their pain or fear or confusion? Or are you already onto designing the implementation tactics to their problem in your mind?
According to Treasure, we can all be better listeners by using the acronym RASA (which means essence in Sanskrit). Taking his points for general active listening, I am looking at them through the lens of an entrepreneur and how we can apply the steps to our clients.
RECEIVE: Listen and receive the information fully.
APPRECIATE: While the speaker is sharing, appreciate their speech by making small subtle sounds of understanding or encouragement that you are following them.
SUMMARIZE: After you have listened, summarize what you took from that. Treasure suggests "so" is a key word to use.
ASK QUESTIONS: Ask to confirm your understanding or ask to get a bit deeper on the issue.
As Treasure says, conscious listening creates understanding and when we are connected in our understanding, we are connected to each other.
I am sure we would all love for our clients to walk away knowing that we fully listened to them and from that understood their problem and designed a viable and valuable solution through that understanding.
Clients aside, I think we could all benefit from stronger interpersonal connections in our lives and increase our understanding with each other, don't you?
It's a simple act and as Treasure says, listening is the best gift you can give another human being.