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Facebook Launching Timeline For Pages

Facebook has begun to role out Timeline for Pages.

Page administrators have been met with the following message when they log into their page:

Coming Soon: New Facebook PagesOn March 30, 2012, all Facebook Pages will get a new design. Preview your page now to see what it looks like and try out the new features.

This means a drastic change in the design factor of your current brand page.  A change that many business owners are not happy with.  RyCOM, however, is ready and willing to embrace this change.  Facebook has made a lot of changes since it began, not many of them accepted openly, but all of them proven to be beneficial to its users.

The biggest change your potential customers and existing fans will notice is the profile pic and new “cover”.  Instead of featuring an image up to 200 x 600 pixels (the current profile pic size), you will now have a “cover image” plus a square profile pic.  If you are one of the businesses that utilized the full real estate for your profile pic, your pic is not going to work after March 30th.  You will have to redesign your profile pic, or deal with one that just doesn’t look right.  Plus, Facebook has some limitations as to what can be put into this new “cover”:

You CAN NOT put any of this into your cover image:

  • Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”
  • Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section
  • References to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features
  • Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”

These things are what many other designers will throw into their designs, which can sometimes congest the image with too much content, making the image ineffective in its purpose.  What is needed now, and enforced by Facebook Policy, is a more creative approach to communicating your branding & marketing message.

Now, more than ever, its imperative that you work with a designer than can help achieve the desired result without compromising the quality or legality of your Facebook Page.  You cannot feature a special price, or ask people to “like” the page…these are some staples for almost every welcome tab and profile pic out there…and now you can’t have them on the most prominent feature of the new Facebook Page.  Your cover must communicate a specific message, without using these kinds of visuals, and RyCOM knows how to get that done for you.

Additionally, the new layout will come with changes to the tabs system, its dimensions, and how they are found by potential fans & customers.  Gone are the days where you can have a list of custom tabs on the left of your page, just waiting to be clicked.  Your page will now only feature 4 total tabs, requiring an additional conspicuous click to reveal the rest (up to 12).  Which apps (tabs) will you feature?  Which should you feature?  Which should you get rid of?  These, and other questions, are what RyCOM will help you answer.

SPECIAL OFFER FROM RYCOM

RyCOM is offering a special for March, to help local businesses embrace the change to Timeline for Pages.

Your facebook page is a big part of your marketing, and RyCOM can help make this transition easier. For only $50, RyCOM will create a custom cover and profile pic, designed to work perfectly on the new timeline layout. This special is for March only, so act now. Your business could be one of the first to have a great looking new Brand Page. Separate from the crowd and Call RyCOM today.

 

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Are Business Cards Relevant Anymore

Are Business Cards Relevant Anymore?

To remain relevant in their markets, businesses are forced to integrate their time tested systems with a new interactive social mindset created by the boom of the internet and its media outlets.  Many professionals find themselves wondering if it’s worth the investment to utilize ageing traditional marketing tools.  Furthermore, for those that still believe, online sources for low cost (typically sub-par) printing have diluted the quality of these resources, making many wonder: “Are business cards relevant anymore”?

I’m here to tell you the answer is “yes”.  However, only a good business card is worth the effort.  Keyword: “good”.  A bad card could actually do more harm than good.  We will cover the difference between good and bad design later.

The History of Business Cards

The history of business cards goes much further back than your dad’s first sales job.  The modern day business card is the product of cultural evolution dating back to the 15th century.  The Chinese began using “visiting cards” to introduce themselves when visiting another house.  Over the years this practice caught on in other cultures.  By the 17th century the French & English adopted “calling cards” for use in polite society to announce oneself.

Soon enough, trade cards became very popular, and everyone was using them to advertise their stores and shops.  Naturally cards became a staple in the business community to introduce yourself and your business.  Professionals would carry their cards everywhere, touting their latest business venture, or their newest title.

How Business Cards Have Fallen

Years ago, just having a card was a big deal.  If you could afford to print 1000 pieces of paper with your name on them, you were a big deal.  Then along came the internet and its quick print shops.  Since then over 25 million cards are created every day.  90% of them end up in the trash within 1 week.  Considering the rise of social media outlets such as Facebook, many have formed the opinion that business cards are a small, if not superfluous, part of their branding and marketing tools.  Social media is basically free, so why pay for cards when you can tell someone to find you on Facebook?

Mobile technology has put a lot of pressure on traditional media.  Text message advertising, internet ads, CPC and SEO approaches seem trendier.  For companies looking to modernize their business, many take print, ie. Business Cards, and replace it with techy, sexy, mobile and internet based campaigns.  Technology has changed the zeitgeist of business marketing.

Can Business Cards Still Be Effective?

Years ago, cards would end up in a wallet, rolodex, binder or other reference device.  Today these tools are no longer used as much, if at all.  They have been replaced by online search, mobile apps and general disregard for traditional print materials.

Focus has shifted from long term reference to immediate impression, but don’t settle for just a one-time impression.  Why not go for gold?  Business cards can be effective long term tools if they are designed properly.  A well designed business card will create a solid impression.  Your cards are a marketing tool.  Marketing is communication.  Your cards can and will communicate for you, both during and after the moment in which you pass them on.  Its up to you what they communicate.

What Makes Your Business Cards Effective?

Out of the cards you exchange, the ones remembered are the ones that were industry relevant, high quality & inventive.  I remember seeing cards for an environmental consultant.  These cards were actually random recycled materials such as used paper & torn cardboard, stamped with their contact information.  Now that is an effective card.  It not only creates a conversation, it was industry relevant and memorable to the point where I still remember it in detail today.  That’s effective marketing.  You want effective marketing…I know you do.

Marketing is more than just words on paper.  Your business cards should be too.  A mechanic may consider a card of metal with a screw driver tip.  A tailor may consider a card of linen with a hem line.  Cards like this don’t get thrown out, they get talked about.  You want your business to be talked about.  Its good for your bottom line.  Cards that invoke thought are effective communicators.  Your cards must do more than just look good, they must be good in every way.

Like I said before, only a good card will be effective.  Template cards are not good.  They are generic designs that end up in the trash.  Studies show that custom, colorful and inventive cards are 10x more likely to be retained.  However, cards can be “over designed”.  A card that has too much will confuse its reader, and separate you from your intended result.  An immediate response of “this is a pretty card” may seem good at the time, but “pretty cards” with too much color, images and wording will confuse its reader and diffuse its effectiveness.

Business Cards are still a very large part of your brand identity and marketing scheme.  Don’t sacrifice your cards at the altar of trends.  Let your cards separate your business from your competition by setting the trends.  Business cards are one of the oldest forms of traditional business communications.  Make sure your cards are say what you want them to.

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RyCOM Offers Smart Advice in Jan. “The Voice”

The January issue of The Voice paper featured an article written by RyCOM owner Ryan Rydell.  We strongly suggest you go get a copy of the paper yourself.  It always contains a lot of great news, views and information useful to all types of business professionals and the community in general.

For those of you that don’t or won’t get a copy, here is the article written by Ryan:

HOW TO THINK “OUTSIDE OF THE BOX”

Creative thinkers such as Graphic Designers have to approach this problem daily.  Faced with new marketing needs and diverse assignments, a good designer can and will achieve a solution that others wouldn’t.  Its the separation between a designer and a person with a computer program.  Creative thinking begets effective solutions.

However, creative thinking isn’t exclusive to the fields of design and writing.  Creative thinking is necessary in all aspects of business and personal life.  You know this because you hear the cliche from every angle possible:  “Think outside the box”.  Frankly, its an over used term, mostly because people have failed to truly understand what it means.  On the other hand, the phrase has a lot to teach us, and those that do understand its meaning, the “creative thinkers”, utilize this understanding to benefit themselves and their clients.  So…what exactly does it mean to think outside the box?  Furthermore, what is the box?

WHAT IS THE BOX?

First, a disclaimer:  “The box” is not square, it will be different for everyone.  Sometimes its a matter of education.  Sometimes is a matter of philosophical or religious belief, maybe even personal life experiences.  The box isn’t a universal shape applying to all people equally.  Realizing this is the first step in know what the box is – for you.

Originally the phrase grew out of the idea of conventional, bland and “square” thinking.  Its rooted from somewhere around the 60’s and 70’s when more and more people where challenging the norm.  It’s OK to imagine it as a square cardboard box.  Cause really, that’s what people end up with when thinking “inside the box”…a bland cardboard box of an idea.  In application though, its much more metaphorical than that.

“The box” is what limits your thinking to your own understanding.  “The box” is approaching problems the same way you always have.  “The box” will make you want to think stereo-typically with a closed mind (without you even knowing it) – and with more automation than imagination.  In simple terms, “the box” is everything that is typical, normal, simple and obvious.  The box is bad.

WHAT IS OUTSIDE THE BOX?

A round earth, gravity, electricity, the telephone, the Internet…At one point all of these were outside the box thoughts.  Ideas otherwise thought impossible, crazy and weird.  We know that bland is inside the box, therefore we can assume that bold is outside the box.  A mold breaking thought is almost always a creative one made by an “outside the box” thinker.  Thinking inside the box is an easy way of being, in sorts, obtuse and naive to the intricate world around us.  Thinking outside the box is the acceptance that anything is possible with an open mind.  That there is more to the world than what we see and understand.

When you are able to think without preconceptions, full of imagination and creativity… forgetting what you “know”…that is when you are “outside the box”.  Children have the easiest time thinking this way.  They have little imprinted knowledge to rely on for automatic thinking.  They are a sponge ready for all sorts of information.  They are free thinkers not worried about how others will accept their ideas.  Children just keep rolling their imagination without hesitation.  They are outside of the box.

GETTING OUTSIDE THE BOX.

We all wake up everyday inside the box.  We’ve been put there by many things.  None of them worse than the next.  All of them limiting us to bland.  No one likes bland.  Bland is “The Box”, and “The Box” is bad.  It takes a conscious effort to break that mold.  It can be done.  To do this, you must accept that you don’t know everything, that you haven’t thought of everything, that someone else is better than you and that you have much room to grow.  A humble mind is the most open.

Many people say that creative exercises get them outside the box.  Reading backwards, drawing abstractly, observing mechanical devices, etc…  Others say that music changes their perspective.  Who knows, maybe food will do it for you.  Whatever it is that triggers the switch, you will know its been triggered when you stop using conventional tools for creative results.  If you want new ideas, new discovery, creative problem solving techniques, than you must learn to use non conventional tools.  Approaching a problem from a childish perspective is a great way to free your mind.  Thinking of how a solution will effect people outside of your circle will create a new perspective as well.  With creative thinking, the sky is not the limit…you are.

To obtain a new perspective…a creative thought, to be an “outside of the box” thinker, you must realize the grand observation of Marcel Proust:  “The only true voyage of discovery is not to go to new places, but to have other eyes.”

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