I’ll admit, I’m fairly new to using Google+.  But, what better than a first impression to give an idea of whether this new social media site on the scene is worth using to promote your small business.

My overall impression is that Google+ from a business usage standpoint is very similar to Facebook.  What I mean is it’s a free website that promotes your work and links you up to your website which raises your level of online traffic.  The majority of people in your circles for Google+ will be individuals who could help spread the word if your company is doing something interesting or if you have something interesting to say.

Google+ allows you to:

  • Create a profile page for yourself that provides more detailed information about you and your business.  It allows someone who may be interested in your services a contact point by showing email address, phone number, etc.  You have the power to decide whether you want your profile visible in searches or not.
  • +1 a post that you find interesting.  Google+ keeps a separate tab of everything a person has +1′d, allowing anyone else to follow their common interests.  If you have an account on Google+ and you see the +1 button on a cool website you happen to find, you easily have the ability to show your support for this cool website by +1′ing it.

  • Upload photos and share videos: From a business standpoint and keeping it completely professional you can show photos or videos that are relevant to your industry or projects you are currently working on.
  • View a stream of posts from the individuals in all of your circles, or only from select circles – this is typically the main “home” page on Google+.  The menu at the left allows you to filter your main stream to only show posts from either friend, family, acquaintances, etc.

What are these circles? Well, in a very simple fashion, Google+ has allowed you to group certain people into different categories called circles.  The default circles include family, friends, acquaintances and following, as shown in the image below.  Through this Circles tab, you are able to take people and move them from one circle to another. Google+ filters the list by: 1) people who are already in circles, 2) people who’ve added you that you need to put into circles, and you can 3) find people.  By selecting “Find people” Google+ will recommend people that you may know, based on your existing connections and people in your circles.

The best part of the circle effect is that you can easily add more circles that you create and label yourself.  For example, you are a small business flower shop and you want to separate your customers from your suppliers so that when you post a promotional deal on long stem roses it only gets shown to your customers.  You would add 2 new circles: 1) Customers 2) Suppliers  You would then add the individuals to the appropriate circles.

Then, when you are ready to share a post, you would enter the information to share and you can select the circle to share it with (as shown in the image below).

In my opinion, if you spend the time organizing your small business contacts into appropriate circles that you can later use to promote various aspects of your business, the use of Google+ will be well worth it!

Since it came on the social media scene more recently, Google+ had the ability to take the good bits from Facebook, Twitter, etc. and create something that’s efficient to use. I personally have found Google+ to be a simple layout which makes it easy to understand and easy to use!

At the end of the day, different individuals are on all the different social media sites.  Many of them are on 1 or 2 but not all.  Select people may only have accounts on Google+ and as long as you or someone at your company has the time, it wouldn’t hurt to have a profile and provide business related updates on Google+.

When it comes to a decision about whether you should be on all the social media sites or just one or two, you have to ask yourself whether you have time to maintain them all.  If you create something that is static and never-changing then your interest from outside sources will decrease drastically.  So, if you find you can commit only enough time to maintain one or two social media sites, then it would be better to stick with the sites that you believe more of your potential clients/customers would be members of.

Good luck with Google+! Feel free to add me to one of your circles and don’t forget to +1 this article.  Thanks!


Seasons Greetings!

Seasons Greetings and Happy Holidays to all! I’ll be back in the New Year with a post on how to use Google+ to market your small business.

I’ll look at the pros and cons of this newer social media site and what you can utilize to promote your products and services.

Leanne Kroll – Technical Illustrator



Connect on Linked In

Linked In is the social media website designed for professionals.  So it must be great for your business, right?  Not so fast…

One of the major differences between Linked in versus other sites such as Twitter or Facebook is that you require a personal account.  You will more than likely be signing up as an individual to use this social media site.  As a business you can be listed as a company, but until recently you have been unable to send out updates to your followers as a company – you would have to have done it as yourself.  I’m not saying this is bad, it’s just “limited” in what you keep personal versus professional for your business.

Here is what Linked In can do for you:

Your Profile: Begin with setting up a profile that details your professional experience.  Certain information provided on your profile is found on the web, while the more detailed information can only be viewed by those who you have connected with. From a personal standpoint, I think of Linked In as an online resume that documents work experience, skills and recommendations from fellow colleagues and previous employers.

The main sections of the profile include basic information about yourself, a bio or description, education, experience, and the reasons someone can contact you (for example, whether you are interested in new business ventures or expertise requests).

Other Sections: As a new feature, you can add sections to your Linked In profile to show various experiences and achievements.  These could include: certifications, courses, honors & awards, languages, organizations, projects, patents, publications, skills, test scores, volunteer experience & causes.

Contacts/Connections: Making new connections on Linked In is very straight-forward. You can view an existing connection you may have an view their connections.  Linked In also provides a “People You May Know” widget the shows individuals based on your information you have provided including existing connections.

Linked In uses the theory of “six degrees of separation” and shows how you are connected to an individual you may or may not know.  For example, you stumble upon the profile of Person ‘A’.  You will see that Person ‘A’ is related to you through connections to Person ‘B’, as well as which of your other connections are related to Person ‘A’.  It is one of the features of Linked In that makes networking very easy if you are looking for someone to introduce you to another person, instead of directly contacting them.

Add Applications:  A great resource that Linked In offers is an application plugin.  You can choose one or more that suits your professional industry to showcase additional items.  For example, if you have a blog set up to promote your business, you  can link your blog so that the 3 most recent stories will show on your profile.  Your blog will also be visible when someone you are connected to is logged in, so it allows for more potential traffic through to your site.  Below are all the applications that Linked In utilizes:

Linked in Applications

As a professional technical illustrator, the one application plug-in that I use that is relevant to my industry is the Portfolio Display.  This allows thumbnail images to appear on my profile with a sampling of work that I have created.  Run in conjunction with the Behance Network, I can keep portfolio images current and they are automatically updated on my Linked In profile.

All Applications are very easy to install and delete (if required) on Linked In.

Here is what Linked In can do for your business:

 Company Profile: Similar to Facebook, individuals can follow your company on Facebook.  When you have some information to give your followers, however, it is posted from your personal account on behalf of your company.

Adding a company profile is simple.  There is basic information required an overview “text only” description of the business.

The careers section allows you to post any job vacancies through your Linked In company page.

The product section allows you to list the products/services that your small business markets.  The information allowed is very minimal in this product section with only a text description, bullet point items of the products and one featured image.

With a company profile, an Analytics page gives you the basic information on how many visitors and from which industry that your company profile page is receiving.

My two cents: Personally I feel one of Linked In’s downfalls for a professional social media site is that it does not allow small businesses to promote their services easily.  There is more of a focus on the individual as a professional than the business.

Professional Upgrades: Of course any great service never comes “free”. Linked In offers additional paid features that you may want to think of investing in from a business standpoint for building new relationships.

Any of these upgrades on Linked In offer the opportunity for more professional networking through a digital means.  You are able to view more information on profiles, gain more profiles when you search and ultimately use Linked in as a potential targeted market database for potential new client contacts.  The only thing is you need the time to review and search for these potential new contacts, but like any good business hard work upfront does tend to produce results.

When the upgrade could be useful:  If you were looking for a contact that is the VP of Advertising at company XYZ.  You do not know their name and have no way of getting the information through any other means.  With the Linked In Business/Business Plus/Executive upgrade you should be able to search for contacts at company XYZ and get more advanced information including email contact address.  You could also learn that the VP of Advertising is connected with another individual on your list of contacts.  Of course, you are assuming that the VP of Advertising has an account on Linked In, which is not guaranteed.

Linked in_Upgrades

Groups: You can create a group or join any existing groups on Linked In which are typically industry-based associations and organizations.  They will keep you up to date and current with events, and information through discussions with other members of your group.  It is another great way for networking in the digital world.

Recommendations: One of the great features of Linked In as a networking social media site is the ability to get and give recommendations from colleagues and clients.  Nothing is more advantageous to your business than a first-hand opinion on how great to work with you are.  Don’t hesitate to ask long-term clients to give a recommendation on your Linked in profile as the results may pay off down the road!  In return, give them other individuals recommendations if you feel they are great to do business with.

SUMMARY: Linked In is a great digital networking tool as a social media site.  If you are using it and your intentions are to promote your business, then you will be disappointed.  Create a basic account to start and when you have time, feel free to add sections, applications and start using it more to the capacity it is intended.  Always remember to think about what you say and how it portrays your business, even if it is under your own profile page.  If it’s accessible, potential clients can view it and gain a first impression without ever having spoken to you.

Link up your Linked In! Promote your blog, twitter, facebook and website all on your Linked In page.  When something new or exciting happens with your business, share an update on your Linked In profile.


Twitter for Professionals

Sure, we all know twitter is used to stalk your favorite celebrity, tell your friends what you ate for breakfast and complain about the things that bother us about the world.

BUT… can Twitter help with marketing your small business as a professional?  Definitely! If you use it properly.

You can tailor your Twitter account to promote your business, keep in touch with potential client contacts, get inspired by what others are doing and follow industry events.  Twitter really is a great resource as a professional.  More and more, social media is about engaging your clients and making your business more interesting to others.

How Twitter Works, you ask? Here’s a quick “Twitter For Dummies” instructional guide for starting on the social media site:

 1. Choose a Name:  When signing up for a Twitter account, use a twitter name that is similar to your business name so that people who know your company or your name will have an easier time finding you.  The shorter the better and something simple will work best.  To begin, go to and on the main page New to Twitter? Join Today!

2. Give Your Page an Identity:  To keep consistent with the branding of your business, twitter allows you minimal restraints on designing your page to reflect your business.  Use this to your advantage.  In the Settings section, under the Profile and Design tabs is where you will find items that Twitter allows you to change such as your profile picture, bio and theme for your background.

  • Give Yourself an Identity: Twitter’s basic profile picture is a coloured egg.  Who wants to follow an egg? No one.  Without an image to show for, you may have a hard time interacting on Twitter. Your profile picture can be updated under Settings/Profile tab.  Here you can upload a custom image.
  • Write a Bio: Describe your business in a short, simple description.  The key: make it interesting! The bio is one of the main items that someone who could potentially follow you will be reading.  If you want to build followers, you should have something interesting to say.  The bio and your basic information can be inserted under Settings/Profile and can be revised at any time.

  • Design a custom background: While Twitter has standard background theme options, designing a custom background relative to your business shows that you’ve put extra effort into your Twitter page.  A more professional look to a background can include basic company information that the Twitter template does not allow you to include. It would be wise to brand you background to your company’s branded look for consistency across your website and other social media sites. The background theme options can be found under Settings/Design where you will Choose Background Image.

Custom Twitter Background

  • Say something: Now that your profile is all set up, you can begin to tweet.  After that, follow people or companies and get people to follow you. The image below is an example of your profile page where everything you say will be shown.  You get to that from the tab at the top called “Profile”.  Within your profile, you can view your Tweets (as shown), Favorites, Followings, Followers and Lists.

Twitter Profile Page

3. Learning the Basics: To really begin to use Twitter, you must understand how it works and the terminology.  Here’s how:

  •  Tweets – The rule with Twitter is that you only get 140 characters to say something interesting.  Make it short and concise, yet interesting and easy to understand.  Think before you post.  Remember who is following you and who could potentially read it.  When you post a tweet, only your Followers can read it.
  • Followers – People who choose to follow you – they are the only ones who can read your tweets directly.  You cannot read their tweets unless you follow them back.  You do have an option to approve those who are following you.  Go to Settings/Account and scroll to Tweet Privacy to update this option if you would like.  Note: Individuals wanting to follow you will see that you need to approve their follow request and this may potentially deter people from following you.  If you do not want this, leave the standard settings when you set up the account.
  • Following – Refers to the people you are following.  The people that you choose to follow will have tweets that will be shown in your twitter feed.  Your twitter feed will also show tweets that your followers have replied to and re-tweeted as well.
  • Twitter Feed – The image below is a sample that you would see when you begin to follow people.  The white area is your twitter feed – similar to your “wall” in Facebook. You could also refer to it as the home page for your twitter account.  It is the page that you will be viewing most of the time to see tweets from those that you are following.  From this page you can also view your recent mentions, view a list of current activity from people you are following, view searches that you have saved and lists that are following you.  They are the additional tabs beside “Timeline”.

Twitter Feed

4. Using the symbols and shortcuts of Twitter: @, #, RT and short links such as can be confusing to someone just starting on Twitter.  Here’s a description and usage for each:

  • Reply -  Use @ to reply back to another tweet, or quite simply, if you want to comment on a tweet, select the reply link that is shown when you select the tweet (see image).  As you can see, the @circle is blue in colour and it is a clickable link.  This allows you to find potential interesting followers from tweets of others.  When someone mentions you in a tweet, it is good practice to reply to their comment.

  • Mention – Also use the @ to mention someone in your tweet, as in the image below. Start typing your tweet, then type the @, followed immediately by the user name of the person you are following – they’re name will show up in a drop down list and you can select them.  Continue typing the remainder of your tweet.  The person you mention will see that you mentioned them in their twitter feed and so will all of their followers.  When someone else mentions you, you will be notified if you settings are set to notifications.

  • Re-tweet – If you find a tweet interesting to your business that another has tweeted, you can re-tweet as well as comment on their tweet. Highlight the tweet and select the re-tweet link that appears in blue (see image).  You will see the letters “RT” appear in front of the original tweet – that stands for re-tweet – it’s also how you tell if tweets in your twitter-feed were re-tweeted.  You can add your own personal comment in front of the RT letters, as long as it all stays under the 140 character maximum.

  • Favorite – When you see a tweet that you like, for example, one that links to an interesting article yet you do not have time to read it, you can favorite that tweet so it will be saved for you to look at later. Select the tweet and choose the Favorite link in blue (see image) that appears.  Then, when you need to access it, go to your Profile tab, then Favorites tab to see everything you have marked as a Favorite.

  • Messages – You can send personal messages in Twitter.  Go to the Messages tab in the top menu (see image) and select New Message to send a personal message to another individual.  I typically would use this in the case of responding to someone who has mentioned you in a tweet where you don’t want all of your followers to read it.  It still allows you to respond to a tweet, while remaining professional and discreet with a response.

  • # – Hashtags as they are called, allow for a community of people to easily see what everyone is talking about.  For example, you attend a conference.  You will find conferences will ask you to tweet using the hashtag they provide, for example #ADT.  That means anyone attending the conference uses the #ADT hashtag and if you select the hyperlink that appears, it will take you to the list of all people that have tweeted #ADT that are at the conference.  You could then use this information to follow new businesses and people that are involved in your industry. A great way to connect!

Twitter Hashtag

  • Links – You will see blue links to other websites, interesting articles, etc in a tweet.  To view them, just click and in a new tab you can read the article (see image).  If you would like to insert a link into one of your tweets, all you have to do is copy and paste the url – twitter will automatically make it a hyperlink.
  • Bitly – For more useful information, you can use a website associated with Twitter such as Bitly to keep track of stats on how many people have clicked on your link.  This allows you to know whether the information you are posting in valuable to your follows or whether you should change what you are saying.  Bitly is free and all you need to do is sign in with your existing user name/password for Twitter.  When you input your url link into Bitly, it re-labels it as a trackable link for you to enter into your tweet.  You can tweet directly from Bitly.

 5. Use it Professionally: If your intentions from the start are to use this Twitter account for business purposes, then that is what you have to do.  Personal contacts are fine, if they help promote your business.  We all know word of mouth is a powerful tool and your friends and family are your best resources because they support you.  A potential client/customer will not necessarily know that Jane Smith is your best friend, but they will see that Jane Smith loves your products/services.  The following are the benefits that Twitter brings from a professional standpoint:

  • Industry contacts – make new contacts, whether colleagues or competitors.  Twitter is great for networking.
  • Industry news/functions – stay in the loop with what is going on in your industry.
  • Competitor’s info – the phrase “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” is true in the Twitter world, just as in business.  From a marketing standpoint, knowing what your competitor’s are up could potentially help guide decisions for marketing your business.  They also are a nice way to get inspired to promote your business.
  • Inspiration – Let’s face it, everyday we need something that stimulates us and makes our jobs exciting to do.  Twitter can be that resource.  If you follow the right people, you can gain a great deal of inspiration from things that others have to say.  You never know a comment from someone else could trigger an idea on how to improve your business.

6. How to get more followers: While you can’t guarantee that people will automatically find you interesting and follow you, I believe you can make small steps over time towards adding more followers to your list.

  • Make what you say interesting by being yourself.  Your true personality should shine and that way people will find you interesting and follow you.
  • Don’t always post the same style of tweet.  For example, a retail chain that only posts about sales they are having.  While yes, I may follow them because I am interested in their sales, they may become even more interesting to a larger set of people if they also tweet about community events they’re involved in, how they’re improving environmental standards, etc.  Diversify your tweets to appeal to a larger audience.
  • You have to put in time to see a result down the road.  Spend time researching through the search menu or hashtags to find industry people that are similar to what you do and most likely they will follow you as well.

 6. What NOT to Do: I would hope that as a professional this would be quite obvious, but to state the obvious, when thinking about what to tweet about:

  • No profanity
  • Keep it professional
  • Don’t say too much that gives away trade secrets or crosses lines with non-disclosure agreements

 7. Link it Up!: Like all other social media pages, if you promote your Twitter on your website, blog, Facebook and Linked in, then it allows the traffic you receive through those sites to also follow you on Twitter.  This is a must do, as soon as you have a basic twitter page set up.

At the end of the day, Twitter will not guarantee that new clients are going to be banging down you door.  It will however, allow you to keep a good temperature of the industry that you are involved in and to remain current with everything from technology upgrades to industry events.  The path that you choose to select through your followers can be a powerful tool in the marketing of your small business IF you use it to your best advantage.

When in doubt, just jump in and try it – remember, if you don’t use it regularly, you’re not using it to your advantage and the people following you will become bored with what you have to say.

Good luck and happy tweeting!  Follow me @lkroll


Facebook: More Than Friends

Does Facebook fit into the social media plan for your business? If not, it should, even on the smallest scale.

What is the benefit? Facebook is another link that allows people to find your web page and see images of what you can do in another environment. Facebook has 750 million active users, half of which sign in more than twice a day. That is 14 times more active users than Twitter.  It’s a free website that promotes your work and links you up to your website which raises your level of online traffic. All you need is a little time.

It’s everywhere! Check out all the commercial advertisements you see on television in one night.  How many now show a Facebook page URL instead of a website? Whether you’ve experienced it or not, the world is saturated in Facebook and Facebook is a world unto itself.  The levels of useful tools that an individual can interact in such as game applications, contest promotions, sharing videos and photos, and groups to follow account for hours of time spent in the program.  It also provides a very high rate of potential individuals interested in something your business does.  So use it!

There are various ways to use Facebook to your advantage for marketing your business.

How is it done? At the very least, with a personal profile set up on Facebook you should post interesting updates about things going on with your business, such as new projects completed.  For example, when I’ve had a new illustration completed for a client that I can promote in my portfolio, I post it on Facebook for my family and friends to check it out.  In turn, they view the illustration and drive traffic to my websites which helps with search engine optimization.  They also can comment, like or share my new illustration with their friends and even more people have seen what I have done.  It’s that easy.


If you want to do more… If you know Facebook fairly well and are interested in using it to promote new work or hold contests for art prints, then setting up a Facebook Page would we worthwhile. You can have other individuals “Like” your page and they will receive updates on their personal Facebook wall.  It’s a great way to promote your work to a dynamic viewing audience.

Update often! To keep those that “Like” your page interested and coming back, regular updates are important.  It’s easy to let time pass and forget about updating your social media pages that are set up and just “there”.  But, there really is no point going to all this work if you’re not going to provide new info or ideas on a regular basis to keep your audience engaged.

Facebook Page

What to say? If you’re wondering why someone would be interested in “Like”-ing your page, here are a couple of tips when thinking about what to post:

Be Yourself: Authenticity will draw a crowd and the best way to be authentic is to do what you do best.  It’s a challenge to see so many other interesting things out there, but to really strive for excellence in what you are providing to a readership, it has to come from you.

Be Accessible: Showing potential clients that you are involved in your industry and documenting ideas allows you to be accessible as a potential asset that they could use.

Add pictures or videos: Everyone loves a pretty picture and exciting video.  It’s what gives your social media page life.  It shows the character of what your business is and showcases your content. If you can tie in a visual from your website and blog, and then on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. you will be able to brand your business across all digital media platforms.  This in itself will provide a professional look to potential clients, even on Facebook.

Listen to feedback. Take into consideration any comments about items you post and tailor what you have to say to suit your business’s marketing needs. The best advice comes from those who put in an effort to say something directly to you.

Post it often! The more items you post, the more your ideas can be shared with others and the more your name becomes visible online.

“Like” it or not, Facebook is an undeniably useful platform for promoting your small business!



Professional Blogging

So many people have blogs.  Personal ideas out there for anyone to read.  So, how do you create a blog that builds traffic for your business and why should you have one as the basis of your social media plan?

First, keep it professional. A blog is still a first impression of how you run your business and sometimes it may be the first website a potential client could hit, even before your website. Knowing that, keep it interesting and professional.  Like an onion, slowly peel away a couple of layers at a time and make it interesting so they keep coming back.

Hesitant about calling it a “blog”? The stereotypical perception is that blogs are only read by friends and family and that it’s only an editorial site that dictates a certain point of view.  Yes, that is how some people use their blog. But, your intent from the start should be to keep it professional.  If you feel the title “blog” is not accurate to your business, why not call it something else, such as “News”, but power it through a standard blog site?  That way, you can use the positive features of a blog to your advantage, while your client views you as a professional.

Leanne Kroll Blog

Why Blog for business? From a professional standpoint, a blog can be a very useful tool for marketing a company.   Blogs are text driven and allow Google to find you easier with very searchable key words.  A blog should be directly linked to your website and this will help with your features for search engine optimization.  To keep it simple, blogging is just another way to be found online.  If you are too busy (as most of us are nowadays) to update your website on a regular basis, at the very least your blog could be a source for your most recent work.

How do I blog professionally? If you’re afraid you just don’t know how to blog properly, below are a couple of tips to entice people to read your blog:

Be Yourself: Authenticity will draw a crowd and the best way to be authentic is to do what you do best.  It’s a challenge to see so many other interesting things out there, but to really strive for excellence in what you are providing to a readership, it has to come from you.

Be Transparent: Allow a little more information about your business that shows what you stand for and what you have to bring to the table.  To stand out against the crowd, we all need to be more transparent, but without giving too much away.  Remember, your competitor’s are also online and could read what you are writing.

Be Accessible: Showing potential clients that you are involved in your industry and documenting ideas allows you to be accessible as a potential asset that they could use.

Add pictures: Everyone loves a pretty picture.  It’s what gives your blog and your article life.  It shows the character of what your business is and showcases your content.  Create custom images and a custom layout based on the best template that reflects your company’s branding.  If you can tie in a visual from your website to your blog and then twitter, facebook, etc. you will be able to brand your business across all digital media platforms.  This in itself will provide a professional look to potential clients.

What to Blog About? What do you want your blog to say about your business?  Is it featuring new projects that have just been completed, or is it writing industry articles that are more opinion pieces on how your business would solve a specific problem?  From the start, you should have a direction that you want your blog to go and begin with that.  From there, don’t be afraid to step outside the box that you have created and do something different from time-to-time.  Perhaps add a completely new section on the blog a year into it.  Anything you do that shows flexibility makes it more interesting for your readers to utilize as a resource.

Too much to say? Think you talk a lot and have too much to say? I know I do. If possible, always get a neutral third party to read your posts over before going live.  Or, split subject matters into multiple posts to keep it short and interesting to readers.  Doing this also creates more traffic back to your site if someone is truly interested in your subject matter. Win-win, right?

When Should I blog? How often to blog will depend on how much you have to say.  The more the better, obviously to get traffic to your site.  Don’t let your blog become stagnant because readers will lose interest and it will lose it’s potential.  A major feature I would look for is a blog that I can write articles in advance when my workflow is slower and where I can schedule the posts to go live.  That way, I’m not pressured in to turning around a new article every week or two.  Ultimately, only post an article if you have something decent to say.

What Stats? A great feature on blogging sites are free stats that you can use to analyze the data of where your traffic hits are coming from.  Depending on which blog website  you choose, the stats you receive can vary.  I would recommend you make sure you receive stats, that way you can effectively review, alter and improve your writings as you progress with your blog.

How do I start? First off, you need to choose the website that is going to give you the platform for your blog.  There are a large number of free websites.  The top features I look for are template design, available stats and ease of use. Some of the most popular are:

WordPress – My personal preferred, but also one of the most popular. Blogs are provided free of charge and managed by the developers of the WordPress software. The software includes custom design templates, integrated statistics, automatic spam protection and much more.

Blogger – A free weblog publishing tool from Google, for sharing text, photos and video.

Tumblr – A feature rich and free blog hosting platform offering professional and fully customizable templates, bookmarklets, photos, mobile apps, and social network.

TypepadA premier blogging service. Create a blog in minutes – with stunning designs, reliable hosting, real-people tech support, and lots more.


Blogetery – Free weblog hosting with subdomains and instant activation. Offers revenue share, multiple template designs and plugins.

Blogsome – A host offering blogs based on the WordPress multi-user edition. Many design templates available.

EdublogsIt lets you easily create & manage student & teacher blogs, quickly customize designs and include videos, photos & podcasts. – A host service with free and paid plans available. Features include one-click publishing and photo albums.

Of course, there are so many other platforms, including paid options out there, as blogging has become very mainstream.  Do your research and choose something that suits your business the best and is easy to use.

Little Things Matter. Additional features to think about when writing an article include:

Link it up. Links within your article to additional websites or images should open in a new window.  The last thing you want to do is allow your visitor to get distracted reading another article and never make it back to your site.  Opening your links in new windows allows them to always get back to your site.

Tag it. Tags should be added to each blog post to assist with your search engine optimization.  Tags also allow someone on your hosted site (for example, WordPress) to search and find anything tagged with that keyword (ie. illustration).

Get a real URL.  Most of these sites allow you to utilize a URL such as  If possible, a more professional approach would be  Believe it or not, something this small reflects on your image as a business.

Link it now. Add links to your blog that allow your readers to find your website, twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and any other social media account.  In return, also add on all your other social media sites a link that allows your readers to get to your blog.

Promote it. Part of your social media plan is using all avenues to promote anything new and exciting.  Is a blog post on a new project exciting?! Heck ya! So, tweet it, blast it on Facebook and tell everyone on every social media platform you are on.  That way, a larger audience will potentially read about it.

Respond to it. If someone took the time to comment on your post, respond to it.  It shows a professional courtesy, no matter what the comment is.

No matter what, just start it! Get your blog up and running, brand it similar to your website, keep it real and keep it professional!  Good luck!



If you don’t have a website, you don’t exist.  FACT.

In today’s digital age, without a website, no one has any way of knowing who you are, no matter how amazing your talents.  Seriously, when’s the last time you picked up that yellow thing called a phone book?  To be in the “who’s who” of digital media, it all begins with a simple, professional website.

Your website is a first impression into who you are and what your business does.  It doesn’t need to be all flashing with so many bells and whistles.  If that’s not you, then don’t try to make it that.  Just as you are when you meet a potential new client or business partner, your website should reflect and “feature” your best attributes.

Need inspiration? Or a swift kick in the butt to get started? Start looking around you at what’s already out there.  There are tons of inspiring websites to get the creative juices flowing.  Personally, the quickest way for me to get into action is to get inspired! Start looking at your competitor’s websites and other businesses in your field and see what they are doing.  Make notes of what you like and don’t like about other sites in order to understand how you would like your site best designed with layout and content.

Get your website online! This article is in no way a tutorial on how to create a website (sorry folks), rather the realization that your website is the focal point of your business branding and marketing, as well as your new social media plan.  Your website allows your new clients to take you seriously as a professional, whether you’re a starving artist, an amateur photographer looking to break-out or a brand new business start-up.

Once your up and running, link up all your social media. The best way to expand your “web-ability” is to promote your social media pages on your website, whether through the icons that sites use such as Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin provide, or through text hyperlinks.  Whatever draws your viewers to the world that is you, do it!

Online image is everything.  What’s does yours’ currently say about you?



Social media… what the heck is it about and how can you use it to your advantage in a marketplace that is saturated with so many other businesses online?

Social Media Options

The secret ingredient to success: Just Start It…. NOW!  No one ever becomes successful sitting on their butt. Read, learn, do.  That’s the best way to keep up with this ever-changing digital media we have at our fingertips.  Use it to your advantage.

There are countless websites (free and paid) out there to use to promote yourself or your small business.  But, which ones are the best to use? That is what I am hoping to help with.  I have previously worked with illustrators as well as small businesses with their social media start-up plans.

The idea behind Project Brain Freeze is to help you with your long term social media plan, including identifying what sites could work for you.

Every Friday I will review and provide my opinion on a new social media site, giving insight into how small businesses can use social media to their advantage.

Let’s call it Brain Freeze Fridays.  From now until December 2011, I will be discussing websites, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Google+.

How will it work? The chart below is a list of the same posts under Social Media Topics and Portfolio Sites tabs at the top of this site.  I will cross off each week the posts that have been written.

Any feedback and all thoughts on various social media sites are more than welcome.

We all know brain freeze from a slurpee hurts the head, but using social media for marketing should NOT!

Brain Freeze Friday! A new article every Friday.