Sword Spark Effect in Photoshop


In this tutorial, we’re going to learn how to add a sword spark effect in Adobe Photoshop.

The Steps (1-6)

1. Open your main image in Photoshop.


2. Source an image of some sparks on a dark background and open this image in Photoshop. Press Cmd/Ctrl + A to select the entire canvas, and go to Edit > Copy, to copy the sparks image to the clipboard. Switch over to your main image and go to Edit > Paste to add the sparks into the image on a new layer.


3. With the sparks selected, go to Edit > Transform > Free Transform to adjust the Size, Rotation and Position of the sparks in relation to where you would like them to appear within your main image.


4. Double-click the sparks layer, give it a name of your choice, and set the Blending Mode to Screen.


5. Create a New Layer and position this layer underneath the sparks layer. Next, select the Brush Tool and choose a large feathered brush with a Hardness of 0%.


6. From the Colour Picker select a yellow/orange similar to the colour of your sparks, and Left-click to start adding the brush effect over your main image. Set the Blending Mode to Soft Light and adjust the Opacity as desired. This effect simulates a glow coming off of the sparks.


Download Adobe Photoshop.

Read More at Sword Spark Effect in Photoshop

from Web Design Ledger https://webdesignledger.com/sword-spark-effect-photoshop/

Launch Your Own Web Studio in 61 Days!

templatemonster marathon

You know what? We have got a bit of great news for you. In fact, it’s just something sensational.

We have been planning for this day carefully, and finally this day has come. TemplateMonster welcomes everyone who wants to change their life for better to join our Marathon, called “Your Own Web Studio in 61 Days”.

Everybody is free to take part in this Marathon and start a successful business in the web design industry.

templatemonster marathon

Ready For The Marathon?

If you want to get in, pay attention – the enrollment is open till the 25th of September.

What we need from you is the desire to learn and create something new, and the ambition to make more money. The Marathon is absolutely free, and it begins on the 26th of September.

What will you get? A free online course full of smart hints, tips, and tricks which will enable you to create your own web design studio.
Forget about all those “How to Make 1,000,000 Online” articles! What we offer you instead is an actionable step-by-step guide for those who are ready to work hard and achieve their goals. There is the only point we’d like to mention: it’s obligatory to follow and complete all practical tasks of the course.

templatemonster marathon

In 61 days, we will reveal all of our hidden secrets which will help you set up a great website and learn how to sell it. As soon as all the necessary tasks are fulfilled, you will get your own web design studio, and, what’s more, you will gain an opportunity to work from any corner of the world.

The greatness of our Marathon will knock the socks off every participant, for sure. In addition to design and development, you will learn about creating budget plans that actually work.

templatemonster marathon

Give it your best shot, follow the guidance of our experts, and complete all of the lessons on your way to building your private business.

One more thing, all the participants who reach the final will get a valuable prize from TemplateMonster. Great news, isn’t it?

So, are you ready for our Marathon? If the answer is a firm “yes”, join us in our quest to make the Web more beautiful. Determine what it is that you want to achieve and design your success with TemplateMonster.

Read More at Launch Your Own Web Studio in 61 Days!

from Web Design Ledger https://webdesignledger.com/launch-web-studio-61-days/

Why Personal Branding is the Most Important Thing You Can Do for Yourself [SSM005]

Building a personal brand on social media is one of the best ways to become a thought leader in your industry. Whether you’re looking to change roles or simply advance your career, developing a personal brand is a great place to start.

And we’d love to share some tips on how.

Duke University professor Dorie Clark — a bestselling author and consultant for various Fortune 500 companies —  is an expert in the field of personal branding. Recognized as a “branding expert” by the Associated Press, Fortune, and Inc. magazine, her most recent book, Stand Outwas named the #1 Leadership Book of 2015 by Inc. magazine and was a Washington Post bestseller.

We had the pleasure of speaking to Dorie about her unique approach to personal branding on social media and why developing a brand of your own is becoming critical in today’s global environment.

A huge thank you to Dorie for packing this episode with incredible wisdom and takeaways for social media managers and marketers looking for great ways to develop their personal brand and become a thought leader in whatever passion they choose to pursue.

How to listen: iTunes | Google Play | SoundCloud | Stitcher | RSS

This episode is available on:

In this episode, here’s what you’ll learn:

Dorie Clark takes us through her vast knowledge and expertise in the world of personal branding on social media.

  • What a personal brand is and why it’s your most important professional asset
  • How to define and align your personal brand with your professional career
  • The 3-step process to reinventing yourself on social media – “Big R” vs. “little r”
  • How social media truly fits into creating your personal brand
  • Tips on staying agile in your career while maintaining a personal brand

3 Personal Branding on Social Media Takeaways from Dorie

In Dorie’s words…

1. The importance of creating your own content

It’s useful and powerful to be a curator of other people’s good stuff. But, if you really want to establish an expert reputation, the fast ticket to do that is creating your own content.

2. Communicating frequently and regularly on a small number of channels

It is more important to go deep than it is to go wide. If you are Coca-Cola, yes you need to be on every social channel. But as an individual, you’re not a global brand in the same way, and people understand that you can’t be everywhere at the same time. So it’s more important to do a good job on two or three social media channels.

3. Understand the overlap of where your skills and target audience overlap

Take time to figure out what type of content that you are really good at creating. If you’re not good at creating a certain types of content, don’t make yourself do it. Don’t do things that make you miserable. Gary Vaynerchuk is a great example of someone who focused their skills in an area where they excel. Decide how to reach your audience, but in a way that is optimal for you so that your best traits can come forward.

Mentionable Quotes and Shareable Snippets

Personal Brand, personal branding, dorie clark interview, dorie clark

“Your personal brand is what other people say about you when you leave the room. It’s essentially your professional reputation. I think sometimes people get thrown off because they hear the word ‘personal brand’ and they think that sounds so phony. Why do I have to be a brand the way that Tide is a brand? But if we re-frame and bring it back to first principles … This is your reputation and very few things in business matter more than your reputation.”

Show Notes and Other Memorable Moments

Thanks a million for checking out this episode! Below are the websites and other tidbits that were mentioned in today’s podcast about personal branding on social media. If you have any questions for us, feel free to drop us a line in the comments and we’ll respond right away!

Dorie’s Downloadable Resources

Great Quotes

  • “For the majority of people, the first thing that businesses will do when considering you for a job will be to look you up online. That could be something you leave to chance, or it is something you can control by creating your own content.”
  • “The best thing about being proactive about your personal brand is that you can be presenting a really coherent, cohesive picture of yourself as a knowledgeable professional.”
  • “Lower-case r (reinvention) allows you to make those moments when there’s a big shift more exciting and less painful … You’re priming yourself for future career reinventions.”
  • “If you are able to create a frame for how your interests fit together, I think that’s a very powerful way to think about branding.”
  • “The biggest mistake that people make with regard to personal branding is that they don’t spend enough time explaining their narrative. You need to set the terms of the discourse by communicating with people.”

How to Say Hello to Dorie (and us)

Dorie is quite active on Twitter at @dorieclark and also has a shining example of a personal branding website at www.dorieclark.com.

Thanks for listening! We’d love to connect with you at @buffer on Twitter or with the hashtag #bufferpodcast.

Enjoy the show? It’d mean the world to us if you’d be up for giving us a rating and review on iTunes!

About the Show

The Science of Social Media is a podcast for marketers and social media managers looking for inspiration, ideas, and results for their social media strategies. Each week, we interview one of the very best in social media marketing from brands in every industry. You will learn the latest tactics on social media, the best tools to use, the smartest workflows, and the best goal-setting advice. It is our hope that each episode you’ll find one or two gems to use with your social media marketing!

The Science of Social Media is proudly made by the Buffer team. Feel free to get in touch with us for any thoughts, ideas, or feedback.

from Social https://blog.bufferapp.com/dorie-clark-show-notes

European Commission hopes to abolish roaming charges with its latest proposal

Following the European Commission’s withdrawal of a proposal that would limit the number of days consumers can use their mobile phones abroad without paying additional charges, Andrus Ansip, Vice-President of the Digital Single Market in the European Commission, has today announced a revised approach. The latest draft aims to protect operators from customers abusing their “Roam like at Home” services by introducing a few safeguards. There will, however, be no limit imposed on the amount of time and data users can process while they’re abroad. They simply have to stay within their monthly allowance to not incur any added fees. If…

This story continues at The Next Web

from UK – The Next Web http://thenextweb.com/insider/2016/09/21/european-commission-hopes-to-abolish-roaming-fees-with-its-latest-proposal/

Placing a Video Within a Circle in Adobe Muse

Muse For You - Placing a Video within a Circle in Adobe Muse - Adobe Muse CC

Place a Video within a Circle in Adobe Muse. No Coding Skills Required.

Muse For You - Adobe Muse CC Adobe Muse CC Logo

In this tutorial I will go over how to place a video within a circle in Adobe Muse using the Ultimate Video Widget 2.0 found at http://museforyoushop.com. We will also be using Adobe Photoshop to create the transparent circle.

Adding the Video

1. From the Library Panel drag and drop the “Ultimate Video Widget – Add First” and place at the top of your Adobe Muse website. If you do not see the Library Panel go to Window > Library.

2. From the Library Panel drag and drop the “Ultimate Video Widget ” and place below the “Add First” widget.

3. Open the “Ultimate Video Widget” and add the following files to the widget:

  • .mp4 video
  • .webm video
  • .ogv video

To convert your .mp4 files to .webm and .ogv you can use the following video converter: Miro Video Converter.

4. Create a rectangle in Adobe Muse and fill it with the video poster image. The video will fit inside of this rectangle so make it as small or as large as you would like.

5. Assign the Graphic Style Name that is in the widget to the rectangle via the graphic styles panel in Adobe Muse. If you do not see the graphic styles panel go to Window > Graphic Styles. There is a small icon in the bottom right of the graphic styles panel that allows you to create a new graphic style from the element selected. Once this button is clicked the graphic style name will be “Style.” You will want to double click on this graphic style and rename it to the graphic style name that is in the widget. In this case it is “video1.”

6. Preview in the browser to see the video within the rectangle.

Muse For You - Placing a Video within a Circle in Adobe Muse - Adobe Muse CC

Creating the Transparent Circle

To place the video within a circle we need to create a transparent circle. We will be using Adobe Photoshop for this.

1. Open Adobe Photoshop.

2. Create a new file preferably 1000px by 1000px.

2. Create a new layer.

3. Select the rectangle tool in the toolbar and draw a white background over the new layer. The rectangle must fill the entire canvas. The color of this rectangle must match the background color of your website. In this case the background of the website is white so the rectangle is white.

4. Right click on this new layer and select “Rasterize Layer.”

5. Select the “Elliptical Marquee Tool” in the toolbar. Hold down the shift key and create a perfect circle over the layer with the white background. It can be as large or as small as you would like. The video is going to fit in this circle.

6. After the circle is created hit the “Delete” key. Then hide the first background layer in Photoshop by going to the layer and selecting the eye icon. You will notice that we now have a square with a transparent circle in the middle.

7. Save this file by going to File > Export > Save for Web and saving as a transparent PNG image.

Muse For You - Placing a Video within a Circle in Adobe Muse - Adobe Muse CC

Placing the Video within the Circle

1. Go into Adobe Muse and create a rectangle over the video rectangle.

2. Fill this rectangle with the image that was created in Adobe Photoshop.

3. Scale this image to fill and center it in the middle.

4. The video is now within the circle.

5. Preview in the browser to see the video within the circle.

6. Done.

Muse For You - Placing a Video within a Circle in Adobe Muse - Adobe Muse CC

View the video above for a live demonstration on how to place a video within a circle in Adobe Muse. For more video tutorials and widgets for Adobe Muse visit http://museforyoushop.com.

Happy Musing🙂.

Read More at Placing a Video Within a Circle in Adobe Muse

from Web Design Ledger https://webdesignledger.com/placing-video-within-circle-adobe-muse/

We Didn’t Know How to Promote a Podcast. So Here’s All We Learned

Before we launched our Buffer podcast, so much of our time and energy (99.9% of it, I’d wager!) was spent getting the sounds and feel just right. We did all the podcast things we were supposed to do in order to make a really great podcast — the interviews, the mixing, the uploading — and now that the time had come to press publish …

… we needed a plan to promote the podcast.

How do people promote podcasts? We didn’t know. We’d never promoted a podcast before!

So we went to work, researching all the best tips and strategies for getting a podcast seen by as many people as possible, downloaded as many times as possible, and maybe hopefully listed on iTunes’ New and Noteworthy list.

Here’s all we found and all that we’re excited to try. We’ll be sure to report back with what works!

The #1 Goal: Do Really Great on iTunes!

iTunes is responsible for as much as 70% of a podcast’s listens and downloads


In the process of researching how to promote a podcast, much of the advice kept centering on iTunes as the key channel for growth and attention. I hadn’t realized just how key iTunes really was!

Nieman Lab claims “70 percent of podcast listening happens through iTunes or the native iOS Podcasts app.”

Scott Britton says, “Listens on SoundCloud and YouTube are pretty insignificant compared to iTunes.”

Erik Diehn says, “There’s basically Apple and then everybody else.”

I’ve heard similar rumblings from others, too. When we launched our culture-focused podcast, CultureLab, my teammate Courtney’s primary goal was getting to a good spot in the iTunes listings. She was our oracle: iTunes is really important.

We’ll report back with the specific numbers that we find for The Science of Social Media podcast. If you notice that a majority of the advice in this post is iTunes-related, now you know why. 🙂

How to promote a podcast: 10 strategies to try

Many thanks to the people and brands who have been generous to share their podcasting tips online. Some of the best advice I found dated all the way back to 2012, which shows just how long some folks have been excelling in the podcast game. I’ll link to some favorite resources at the end of this article as well.

Here’s the big list of podcast promotion strategies we’re keen to try.

1. Leverage your guest’s audience

Make it easy for guests to share by creating snippets and quote images

We’re fortunate that our podcast has an interview format, where we get to talk to amazing people like Rand Fishkin of Moz and Meghan Keaney Anderson of HubSpot.

These people have big audiences.

Rand has over 335,000 Twitter followers.

HubSpot has over 1 million Facebook fans.

What we’d love to do is make it easy for our guests to share and promote their podcast episode. One idea is to send them a note on the day their podcast goes live and include a series of shareable media:

  • Pullquotes
  • Images
  • Links
  • Prewritten tweets and status updates

Here’s an example of one of the images we made for Meghan’s episode:

Meghan Keaney Anderson quote - get hired on social media

Here is the email we sent for Rand’s first episode (feel free to copy it if you’d like):


From this thread on Growth Hackers, there’s some interesting advice to treat podcast promotion like you would content promotion, an area in which we have a bit more experience. Here are the specifics from the Growth Hackers thread:

  1. Quality > Quantity
  2. Solve a problem
  3. Provide actionable insight
  4. Hustle just as hard to distribute as you did to create
  5. Leverage your guest’s audience

^^ It’s this last one that we’re excited to experiment with in some fun ways.

2. Promote on social media … in a dozen different ways

Share rich media, soundbites, video, images, teasers, evergreen — anything you can think of

We’re so lucky to have the amazing social networks that we do. There’s just so much creativity and fun to be had with promoting a podcast on social media.

For starters, share an update when the episode first goes live. 

Then, keep sharing.

Here are some ideas:

> Pin your episode tweet or Facebook post, featuring the iTunes URL.

> Create quote images in Canva or Pablo. Share these as standalone social updates with a link to iTunes.

Here’s the Canva template that we’re using.

> Create 15-second soundbite clips. Upload to Soundcloud. Then share on Twitter.

Twitter has a really neat implementation of Soundcloud audio specifically. People can play the audio right from their Twitter stream.


> Tease the next episode 24 hours ahead of time.

> Reshare the podcast episode multiple times. 

We do 3x to Twitter the first day, 2x to Facebook the first week.

> Talk about the behind-the-scenes stuff in an Instagram story.

3. Release at least 3 episodes on launch day

“I actually received negative reviews from people who had listened to the first episode and were upset that there was only one.”

The above quote is from Pat Flynn, the founder of Smart Passive Income. His advice about launch quantity is right in line with the best tips from others, too.

Publish 3 to 5 episodes when you first launch.

From our research, the very minimum number of episodes to have at launch is three. In general, the more the merrier. We had seven interviews complete before we launched our podcast, with three episodes planned for launch day and two apiece for the following two weeks.

This multi-launch strategy is a key part to Jason Zook’s plan for hitting the New and Noteworthy section of iTunes, which, as we mentioned above, is a huge way to get traffic.

Jason’s plan hinges on these two concepts:

  1. Record and release several podcasts on launch day (3-5)
  2. Build your audience before launching if possible

4. Convert the audio to a YouTube video

Name your video “Interview with …” for potential SEO

One thing we’d love to be able to do with the podcast is to repurpose it in as many ways as possible. Some companies do neat things, mixing live video (on Facebook and Periscope) with the live podcast interview. We’re excited to try a slightly different route.

We’re keen to add every episode of the podcast to our YouTube channel.

With a YouTube version, you get a handful of benefits:

  • Video to share on social media
  • Closed captioning and transcripts automatically from YouTube (great for accessibility if you’re not going to transcribe)
  • SEO benefits

This last one is really exciting.

In some cases, Google values video 53x as much as text.

So while we’re hopeful that our show notes help us rank a bit for long-tail terms in Google, we’re also excited that having a YouTube version could boost our rankings as well.

Scott Britton used this strategy to good effect with his interview podcast, choosing a specific strategy of ranking for “[Guest Name] Interview.” So for us, this might look like:

  • Rand Fishkin interview
  • Interview with Rand Fishkin

By adding this to the YouTube title, fingers-crossed, we’ll see some good results!

To convert audio (.mp3 for instance) to video (.mov), you can use a variety of different tools. Google’s support center recommends iMovie for Mac users and Windows Live Movie Maker for PC users. I quickly hopped into Screenflow to build a fast video version of our podcast.

  • Choose a canvas of 2,560 pixels wide by 1,440 pixels tall for best viewing at 2K resolution (there are a handful of other ideal dimensions here if you’re not interested in 2K)
  • Grab free stock video footage from Videvo or Pexels. Looping video is best; search “loop.”
  • Include a quick thumbnail either of your show’s logo or of your guest (or both)
  • If you’re feeling especially proactive, you can annotate the video with links, cards, and more from within the YouTube creator studio

Here’s one we made for our first podcast episode:


5. Submit your podcast to podcatchers and aggregators

Podcatchers — a pretty cool name, right? — are simply apps that play podcasts. The most popular one is the main podcast app in iOS; it’s the one with the purple icon and a picture of a microphone.

Beyond the iOS podcatcher, there are dozens of other apps that collect and play podcasts, and there are a host of websites that feature new podcasts and assist with discovery.

Here’s a quick list of 10 of the more popular ones:

  1. Overcast
  2. Stitcher
  3. Podcast Addict
  4. Podcast subreddit
  5. PodcastLand (your podcast is automatically listed here if it’s in iTunes)
  6. TuneIn
  7. Bello Collective
  8. Castro
  9. Podcast Republic
  10. Downcast

PodcastLand has a featured podcast of the month, which is chosen by user votes.

(In many cases, your podcast will work great with any of these services, particularly if you’re already on iTunes. The best bet is trying each app out for yourself to ensure a smooth experience for your listeners.)

6. Transcribe the audio

Try a service like Rev.com ($1/minute) or Fiverr ($5)

A lot of highly successful podcasts offer a full transcript of the entire show. We’re choosing to take a slightly different route with this, pulling out highlighted portions of the transcript and including these in the show notes.


Would you rather have the full transcript? Or selected excerpts?

The transcript is great for SEO benefits and as a place to collect leads (you can add lead capture forms and links to your show notes page). We hope to capture some of these benefits still, while saving time and money from doing the full transcription.

7. Throw a two-week ratings party

One of the most significant factors in driving a podcast up the charts in iTunes (and into the New & Noteworthy section) is the rate at which you collect downloads and positive reviews in the first couple weeks.

You have eight weeks from when your podcast launches to get to New and Noteworthy. The first two weeks of these are especially crucial.

Here are a few party-planning components that can help make these first couple weeks after the podcast launch feel like an event:

  • Run giveaways (more on this below)
  • Throw a real party on launch day, either in-person or virtually via Facebook Live
  • Publish two weeks of podcast-themed blog content. This post is an example!
  • Switch out the email signatures on your personal email and on your team’s support emails
  • Get your teammates and company execs to post and tweet about it
  • Email 10 friends per day

8. Run a giveaway contest

How to enter: Leave a review on iTunes

The allure of free stuff and discounts can be a powerful motivator to get more listens to your podcast. And here’s the clincher: Ask for a review on iTunes as part of the entry requirements for your giveaway. This will hopefully earn you more reviews, which will boost the social proof on your podcast and get iTunes to take notice.

If you have the budget to allow for it, these might make some great giveaways:

  • T-shirts
  • Product discounts
  • Stickers

And if you don’t quite have the budget:

  • Mention in the show notes
  • A shoutout at the end of the show
  • A 5-minute guest spot on the podcast

The best way to go about this is to simply kick off the contest either on social media or by mentioning it on the show. Ask people to leave an iTunes review in order to enter.

One of the tricky things with this is how to get in touch with someone who leaves a review. There’s no straightforward way to do it, but the good news is that most usernames now are a close enough approximation of someone else’s social media handle that you are likely to be able to find them, DM them, and get in touch.

Here’s one we did on Instagram where we hoped to spread the launch of the podcast by encouraging people to @-mention their friends.


9. Find partners to mention you

Mention brands in your podcast. They might just mention you back!

This strategy has roots in content marketing where there’s often a reciprocal effect when you mention a business in a blog post. You’ll often find that business then mentions your post on their social channels.

For podcasts, it can work in a similar way. If you mention any businesses or brands in your episode, this provides an opportunity to reach out to those brands afterward to give them the good news of being featured.

Or, if you see a connection with your podcast and another brand, a simple email might be enough to do the trick.

Scott Britton of Life-Long Learner tried this outreach with Feedly, and it worked like a charm:

In addition to Facebook and Twitter promotion, I got Feedly to feature my show’s audio feed as the 3rd ranked recommendation in their “entrepreneurship channel.” This is essentially a curated list of content sources for people interested in Entrepreneurship.

They included my show for a few weeks and it resulted  into 1k+ feedly subscribers to my podcast feed.

10. Be a guest on other people’s podcasts

Just like movie stars hit the talk show circuit to promote a new film or politicians travel the country before an election, you can head out on a podcast tour and make guest appearances on podcasts in your niche.

Booking guests for regular, weekly podcast episodes can be a bit of a challenge. We’re noticing just how much work this advanced planning can be as we fill out the interview calendar for the Buffer podcast.

Many podcasts are likely to appreciate the proactive outreach. Any who take you up on the offer will make for a great promotion opportunity for your new show.

To find a listing of podcasts in your niche, you can visit the iTunes listing page and view podcasts according to dozens of categories. In the “Business” category alone, there are nearly 240 shows!


Bonus: How to get in the New & Noteworthy of iTunes

The New & Noteworthy section of iTunes is one of the most highly visible spots within the iTunes podcast area. You have two months (eight weeks) to get there before your podcast joins back with the rest of the podcast listings.

Though they don’t release the specifics of how podcasts are chosen for New & Noteworthy, iTunes seems to weigh the following factors quite heavily: number of subscriptions, downloads, and reviews in the eight weeks after launch.

There’s a lot of great advice out there from people who have successfully earned the New & Noteworthy distinction. Much of it we’ve covered here in the post. Here’s a quick recap:

  1. Build an email list or outreach list before your podcast launches. This can be blog readers, product users, social media followers, etc.
  2. Record 3-5 podcast episodes before you launch.
  3. Pick a launch date. Note: It can take 2-4 days for iTunes to show your podcast after you’ve submitted it.
  4. Create assets like images, clips, and shareable quotes.
  5. Launch day!
  6. Message your list to ask them to listen and review.
  7. Keep publishing new episodes consistently. 


Further reading:

Everything You Need to Know About Podcasting – Inc

What You Need to Know to Launch a Successful Podcast – Smart Passive Income

How to Promote a Podcast – Inbound.org

How to Get Your Podcast to No. 1 in iTunes – Chris Drucker

Over to you

I’ve been really lucky to have heard lots of great podcast advice over the past few months from a handful of readers and Buffer customers. I’d love to keep learning! If you have any tips or wisdom to share about what has worked for you and your podcast, it’d be awesome to learn from you here in the comments.

Or, if you’re keen to share any thoughts on our Buffer podcast or promotion strategies (which ones feel good to you, which ones feel like too much), that’d be great, too!

Excited to keep the conversation going!

Image credits: UnSplash, Pablo

from Social https://blog.bufferapp.com/promote-a-podcast

What Is User Generated Content and Why Are Top Brands Doubling Down Now? [SSM004]

Sharing your brand’s story through user-generated content (UGC) is one of the best ways to build an authentic and engaging community on social media. It takes the old-school marketing approach of “brand to consumer” and turns it into a way for your audience to connect one-on-one with each other through shared content.

Dom Garrett – marketer at BTC Revolutions (one of Inc.’s top 500 fastest growing private companies in America), social media manager at CMX,  and managing editor at The Only Colors, has personally witnessed the power of user-generated content in action for some of the world’s top brands.

We had the pleasure of speaking to Dom about his unique approach to community building on social media and why user-generated content is a great strategy for brands and businesses looking to build real connections with their audience.

A huge thank you to Dom for packing this episode with amazing insights and takeaways for social media managers and marketers looking for great ways to develop a user generated content strategy.

How to listen: iTunes | Google Play | SoundCloud | Stitcher | RSS

This episode is available on:

In this episode, here’s what you’ll learn:

Dom Garrett provides real-world examples of the power of user-generated content and how it can help to build a vibrant and engaged community on social media

  • Why user-generated content is such a powerful tool on social media
  • How some of the world’s largest brands implement user-generated content in real-life
  • Why we use the word “influencer” in marketing today and why it’s important
  • How marketers and brands can start user-generated campaigns of their own

3 Community-Building and UGC Takeaways from Dom

In Dom’s words…

1. Take advantage of the fact that you are agile

If you are a small business or individual, take advantage of the fact that you are agile, take advantage of the fact that you are small. People are automatically on-edge and defensive against large brands. So if you are small and you don’t have a ton of budget, that’s awesome. Use that to your advantage.

2. Listen first and be a fan

People sometimes expect for marketers to be fake. The radar that people have to be able to tell if somebody is doing something in a self-serving way is really high. User generated content is a way to showcase what someone else is doing and talking about in relation to your product.

It’s a great feeling when people can see that content. Both the feeling that it provides to the person that shares it and then the message that it sends out to the people that see it as well.

3. Measure twice, cut once

Being agile doesn’t necessarily mean flying by the seat of your pants. Being agile just means that you can change quickly. Think carefully about how you are going to respond to situations and react to change.

Change and react based off strategic decision to move with what people are talking about.

Mentionable Quotes and Shareable Snippets

The Science of Social Media on User Generated Content

“That’s that difference between old-world and new-world thinking when it comes to marketing… It’s not just a bunch of somebody saying, ‘Hey, I know what’s best for you.’ The reason we say the word ‘influencer’ now, as often as we do, is because of this buy-in for user generated content. And this buy-in from saying, nobody wants to pay attention to the Fortune 500 company talking. The thing that actually breaks through all of that noise is when ‘Steve,’ who you have followed on Twitter for a long time, is sharing a picture of themselves at a specific restaurant.”

Show Notes and Other Memorable Moments

Thanks a million for checking out this episode! Below are the websites and other memorable tidbits that were mentioned in today’s podcast. If you have any questions for us, feel free to drop us a line in the comments and we’ll respond right away!

  • “It’s the idea of the Dale Carnegie model. You can make more friends in two months by being genuinely interested in them, than in two years trying to make them genuinely interested in you.”
  • “Facebook even starting implementing user-generated content with their ads. If you like a specific page or brand, they’re building that word-of-mouth feature within the News Feed itself.”
  • “Work with influencers and develop conversations around specific marketing initiatives. Highlight a specific person’s content and that will help to take the extra step for others to buy-in.”
  • “You have to listen and pay attention to what people are sharing and what they’re talking about. Take those findings and see how you can leverage that knowledge in marketing towards your target market.”
  • “Get down into the details and listen. Really be a fan of what others are producing.”
  • “You don’t have to have a visually-stunning product to implement a successful user-generated content campaign. If you are a marketer, you are a storyteller.”

 How to Say Hello to Dom (and us)

Feel free to say hello to Dom on Twitter at @DomGarrett or at @BTCrevolutions.

Thanks for listening! We’d love to connect with you at @buffer on Twitter or with the hashtag #bufferpodcast.

Enjoy the show? It’d mean the world to us if you’d be up for giving us a rating and review on iTunes!

About the Show

The Science of Social Media is a podcast for marketers and social media managers looking for inspiration, ideas, and results for their social media strategies. Each week, we interview one of the very best in social media marketing from brands in every industry. You will learn the latest tactics on social media, the best tools to use, the smartest workflows, and the best goal-setting advice. It is our hope that each episode you’ll find one or two gems to use with your social media marketing!

The Science of Social Media is proudly made by the Buffer team. Feel free to get in touch with us for any thoughts, ideas, or feedback.

from Social https://blog.bufferapp.com/user-generated-content-on-social-media

A Few Things Web Designers Can Learn From Hillary Clinton


The US presidential election is right around the corner. While some candidates are leveraging their eccentric personality and their bold attitudes to gain followers, and yes, I’m talking to you Mr. Trump, some of them invest massively in their online presence.

Which brings me to Hillary Clinton.


Hillary Clinton’s campaign staff knows exactly how to approach an audience, and they go all in to do so. In every single aspect of her digital campaign, you sometimes see tiny details that contribute on creating actually engaging content. From “God’s” voice (Morgan Freeman) in her bio video, to the awesome and bold logo with the subliminal-ish arrow symbolizing forward thinking, action and progress.


Speaking of small details, you can find the logo even in the source code of her website.

Hillary Clinton logo

Her digital marketing campaign is hands down, one of the best I’ve seen in a while. Her logo, the quality of her videos, and the methods she used to tackle certain subjects is simply mindblowing. To be honest, I don’t know much about politics, but I can safely assume that she is digitally addressing most of the controversial topics built around her. From the enduring email problem to the Benghazi case and everything in between, Hillary’s staff defended herself with creative and professional copy and compelling visuals.

But enough with the political crap. Let’s cut it to the chase and talk about the things that actually interest us, the designers. Her website’s design.


Right off the bet, the first thing we see on Hillary’s homepage, is a pop-up asking you to agree upon the fact that Donald Trump is one dangerous man. Although the pop-up’s design is rather simple and with a clear and distinguishable Call to Action, some people are not very happy about the straightforwardness of it.

“When I land on the website, I’m immediately met with a popup that wants my email if I disagree with Donald Trump. It doesn’t mention why it wants my email or what it’s going to do with it – it just wants it.” – Max Robinson, Aims Media Web Design, http://www.aimsmedia.co.uk

Hillary Clinton Pop-in


The reason why Hillary wants your email so badly is obvious. I full heartedly believe in the power of email. I happen to manage Bannersnack’s email marketing campaign and we leveraged email to convert old users, keep in touch with the customers and even run contests and surveys. Now, although they aren’t a Saas product, they are using email marketing exactly the same. They are constantly reminding you to support Hillary and help defeat the dreaded Donald.

Attacking Donald is the smartest marketing campaign and they know that. They are using email, video, and any available channel to bash and emphasize who Donald Trump is and why he would be a bad choice.

Hillary’s website changed a lot in the past months, and man they are really trying everything. It takes just one trip down the memory lane of the internet (Wayback Machine) and see all the changes on her website. The mesmerizing thing is that if you want to see the web design trends from a specific year, just take a peek at how her website used to look like that year.

From 2015 until a few months ago, the Hero image has been a crucial element of her website. Depending on the social-political events, the image kept changing trying to convey the message Hillary believes in and what she stands for, or who stands for her.

Hillary Clinton's website design


Hillary Clinton's presidential website


A few weeks ago, they ditched the hero image, and went for something more popular, more powerful.


Just like the way they’ve been changing the hero image, the video plays an important role in illustrating certain changes, beliefs and causes she fights for. The thing that surprised me the most is how much they are leveraging the video format in order to convey the right message. While writing this article, in the past three days the main video changed three times and they’ve just redesigned the whole homepage. They’ve ditched any other elements that could distract you from the important items of the website, namely, the video, the donation box and the image of her with the “If you’re with her, chip in to support Hillary now” message.

How to design websites like Hillary Clinton - Footer


From a leads perspective, the site does a good job of enabling the capture, the email addresses of visitors. There are at least two form fill pop ups that come up before you can advance to the site. Only when clicking on the small logo on the top left are you able to bypass the first form fill (which populates the entire screen when you first land on the site.) Clearly, the site’s primary purpose is to gather leads. So, that’s well done.

However, there are a few inconveniences that shouldn’t be left unnoticed.

From a user’s perspective, it is a bit off-putting that I can’t just browse the site without being asked for my email address. For the swing voter who is just browsing and doesn’t want to be placed on an email list, this could get them to bounce before they even get to the content.

Another thing that changed drastically is the footer. Every single social media channel was listed on the website’s footer and then a minimalist box emphasizing the “PAID FOR BY HILLARY FOR AMERICA” slogan.

Footer Hillary Clinton

And then this happened…

I’m not saying it’s bad, it is just a bit too much. The call to action is a bit confusing, and the bulky social media text could’ve been easily replaced with some minimalistic icons. On the pros side, placing secondary navigation to less important areas of a website is also a great way to utilize the footer, as it can help declutter the main navigation, which in turn aids usability.


The site’s design is a good mix of visuals and content. It’s clean, photo and video heavy, and easy to navigate. It’s the right site for the audience they’re trying to reach which are voters who want to know what Hillary stands for and what are they going to get if she’s elected president. They’ve done a good job of letting the photos and content drive the site, and not slick design.

Read More at A Few Things Web Designers Can Learn From Hillary Clinton

from Web Design Ledger https://webdesignledger.com/things-web-designers-can-learn-hillary-clinton/

Longer Tweets Are Coming: All You Need to Know About Twitter’s 140 Character Update

Twitter is about to make a big change to the way tweets work.

From today, it’s reported that Twitter is cutting back on what types of content will use up its 140-character limit.

It’s expected that @names in replies, media attachments (like photos, GIFs, videos, and polls) and quoted Tweets will no longer be counted against the valuable 140 characters that make up a tweet. This allows for richer public conversations that are easier to follow on Twitter and ensures people can attach media to tweets without sacrificing the characters they have to express themselves.

Twitter first announced this update back in May but didn’t quite confirm a date when these changes would reach Twitter’s 300m+ users. However, The Verge has now confirmed it’s expected these updates could be launched today (September 19th).

Editor’s note: At the time of publishing, these updates aren’t live. We’ll add a note here when they’re publicly available to all Twitter users 🙂


What’s changing? Full details on Twitter’s 140 character update

This update has been much anticipated by many Twitter users and on their blog, Twitter shared the full details of what’s changing:

  • Replies: When replying to a Tweet, @names will no longer count toward the 140-character count. This will make having conversations on Twitter easier and more straightforward, no more penny-pinching your words to ensure they reach the whole group.
  • Media attachments: When you add attachments like photos, GIFs, videos, polls, or Quote Tweets, that media will no longer count as characters within your Tweet. More room for words!
  • Retweet and Quote Tweet yourself: We’ll be enabling the Retweet button on your own Tweets, so you can easily Retweet or Quote Tweet yourself when you want to share a new reflection or feel like a really good one went unnoticed.
  • Goodbye, .@: These changes will help simplify the rules around Tweets that start with a username. New Tweets that begin with a username will reach all your followers. (That means you’ll no longer have to use the ”.@” convention, which people currently use to broadcast Tweets broadly.) If you want a reply to be seen by all your followers, you will be able to Retweet it to signal that you intend for it to be viewed more broadly.


How will ‘new’ tweets be displayed

The diagram below, shared by Twitter on their dev blog, shows the high-level change to Tweets:


This diagram shows that when displayed to users, @mentions, URLs and media will all appear outside of the tweet itself, leaving a full 140 characters to play with when composing the text for your tweet.

Also, when a tweet is posted in reply to another account, the name will be displayed in a format similar to below graphic, giving the feel of a threaded conversation (when a Tweet is in reply to multiple people, the name of the person whom the author is directly replying to should be prioritized):


5 Ways to Make Full Use of Twitter’s 140 Characters

1. Provide more context in replies

One huge benefit of this update is the fact that user @names will no longer count against your 140 characters. Now, whenever you start a tweet in reply to another user, you still have room to say everything you wanted to in your tweet, without having to consider the length of their Twitter handle.

This opens up more space to provide additional details that previously may have taken a couple of tweets. For example, if you’re responding to a customer service question, you could share your reply in 140 characters, but also add a GIF saying “Thanks for reaching out” or a screencast video to further explain how to fix their support issue.

2. Utilize visuals more often

Visuals are a great way to stand out on Twitter. Studies have shown that visual and media attachments on tweets are a big factor in boosting engagement and retweets. One study by Twitter found that photos average a 35% boost in Retweets and videos get a 28% boost:

However, until now, it’s been tricky to convey the message you’d like in your tweet text and also include a media attachment in 140 characters.

When these changes are rolled out, Twitter users will be able to utilize the full 140 characters to share their copy and still include media, without infringing on that limit. For marketers, this means more opportunity to include stunning visuals, videos, product demos, and more within our tweets. For customer support teams, it also provides the chance to share additional content such as screenshots and screencasts to help customers with their support tickets.

3. No more need for the .@ to begin tweets

These changes bring an end to a long-standing Twitter peculiarity where tweets that began with usernames were visible only to users who followed both the person tweeting and the person named. This lead to many users beginning conversations or tweets that mention other users with a ‘.’ before the @name, for example:


This quirk has always been a little confusing for some of Twitter’s users, both new and old. And Jack Dorsey hopes this change will help to make Twitter a bit easier to grasp: “Unfortunately those rules are hidden, and then they find out later,” Dorsey said to The Verge. “So then they have to learn this weird syntax that kind of looks janky. So we want to take that away first and foremost to remove some of the confusing aspects of the service.”

4. Quote yourself to share longer thoughts

It’s become fairly common to break up a tweet into a couple of sections to fully elaborate and share thoughts. However, with Twitter’s quote option, you can share two tweets that are intertwined and easy to follow – meaning users won’t have to scroll in the timeline of visit your profile to see the first part of your tweet. This gives you 280 characters to play with.

How does it work? Simply share your first tweet, and then quote that tweet and add the rest of your message in the 140 characters available to you in the second tweet.

5. Opportunity for better conversation

Twitter, at its heart, is all about conversation and connecting with others. One of the most important factors in this update is that we now have the opportunity for better conversation on the platform. With usernames not counting against character counts, we can fully embrace the 140 characters available to us to express ourselves.

Previously, having a conversation with two or more participants could become a little difficult as usernames could take up anywhere from 5-20+ characters, leaving little room to get your thoughts across.

In an interview about these changes and how they’ll benefit conversations on Twitter, Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, told The Verge:

“Generally, we want to make sure we’re encouraging a whole lot more conversations on Twitter. This is the most notable change we’ve made in recent times around conversation in particular, and around giving people the full expressiveness of the 140 characters. I’m excited to see even more dialog because of this.”

How this update affects Buffer

Here at Buffer, we’re keen to ensure everything works as it should when Twitter roll these changes out. The updates have a significant impact on tweets, and we’re working to have these changes in place when Twitter open these character count adjustments up to the public.

Over to you

It’s incredibly exciting to see these changes come to Twitter and I can’t wait to see how everyone begins to make the most of their 140 characters alongside all the great media-based content that’s shared on Twitter.

I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on these updates in the comments below: What are you most excited about? Will these changes affect how you use Twitter? I’d love to continue the conversation with you. 

from Social https://blog.bufferapp.com/longer-tweets-coming-twitter

Samsung kicks off the Galaxy Note 7 exchange program in the UK

Samsung has just announced that its Galaxy Note 7 exchange program is now live in the UK. Customers are instructed to power down their device and return it to its original place of purchase at their earliest convenience. Fortunately, there aren’t too many Galaxy Note 7’s in the hands of consumers in the UK as Samsung halted sales of the handset immediately after reports started to emerge regarding devices catching fire while on charge. The only people believed to be in possession of the phone are those who pre-ordered and took advantage of the firm’s offer to get their mitts on it three…

This story continues at The Next Web

from UK – The Next Web http://thenextweb.com/gadgets/2016/09/19/galaxy-note-7-exchange-uk/