How to Collaborate Effectively if Your Team is Remote

There are many great benefits to working in a remote team. As long as everyone is on the same page, it seems like all the team members are working in the same office, one right next to the other. Ideally, this is how you want your team to function. Everyone’s workflow should be synchronized, even if they all work a little differently.


However, if you work in a remote team, you’ve probably had your fair share of hiccups along the way, too. Let’s be real, there are tons of obstacles that get in our way, and they’re not always easy to overcome. Perhaps the most overwhelming issue is the lack of effective collaboration. In a remote team, you can’t simply walk down the hall and hold a quick meeting. You have to schedule these things in advance and they usually take place online. With that in mind, here are a few tips and tools to make your life a little bit easier.

File Sharing

File sharing is an important part of working in a remote team. Emails just aren’t cutting it anymore. Sure, you can send an email with an attachment, but if you’re working with multiple people or need to send lots of files, then it gets complicated. In order to tackle this file sharing obstacle properly, you’ll need a tool capable of doing the job.


Dropbox is the perfect tool for this, as it’s speeds and service are unmatched. They offer plenty of features to help you get through your day without any hiccups.


Communication is the single most important aspect of remote collaboration. It is vital that you and your team are communicating regularly whether it be email, video chat, phone calls, or messaging.


It’s equally as important to know what channels to communicate with. No matter what size your team is, you should all have a go-to method of communicating with one another. If someone needs to communicate with another person, they should have a guaranteed way of getting into contact with that person.


Using your communication methods, take the time to get to know everyone on the team. Understandably, this can be hard in the larger teams, but it’s still really important to have that connection outside of work. Find out common interests and birthdays. The more you’re all familiar with each other, the more smooth collaboration will be. We do, however, have to keep in mind that we’re after effective collaboration. As important as it is to know your team, you don’t want to be standing around chatting all day. Find the appropriate time to have friendly talks.

Manage your time correctly

It goes without saying that if you’re in a remote team, it’s up to you to manage your time yourself. Undoubtedly, this can be a little hairy. For this, Toggl is a great tool. Toggl is an online time tracker that makes keeping up with work hours easy. This is especially important for anyone working hourly.


The best benefit to using a time tracker in a remote team is that everyone feels like they manage their own schedule, and for the most part, they are. As they’re able to keep track of their own time, they’ll be able to pinpoint weaknesses in their performance and fix them as needed.

Remote team building

Team building exercises can help your team function much more effectively. Although it can be harder to accomplish in a remote team, there are definitely some options out there:


  • Facts about yourself

This is probably the most basic game anyone can play, but it does involve getting to know one another a little more. It doesn’t have to be extensive, or even all at once, but get everyone on the team to give a few words about themselves.


  • Common things

Divide your team into small groups and have them write down and submit some things that they have in common. The team with the most in common wins.


  • Office tour

An office tour can both tell you a lot about a fellow team member and give them the opportunity to express themselves.


  • Create a chat channel for funny images

Create a Slack channel dedicated to funny GIFs and images. This is another great way for people to express themselves.


  • Virtual coffee break

If you’re remote, you don’t have the opportunity to get coffee like normal colleagues do. In this case, you can always have a video chat coffee break. Start up a general conversation, and treat it like you’re all in the same coffee shop.


There are lots, I repeat lots of ways you can get your team involved in activities together. You can go as wild as you want, all that really matters is that everyone is getting to know each other better. Once you learn about how people function outside of the workplace, you can better understand how they function within a work environment.


Remote work is difficult, there’s no getting around it. There are obstacles and challenges that come along with the job that most average office employees would never have to face. However, there are plenty of tools out there that allow remote teams to collaborate effectively, even though they don’t see each other every day.


This is a sponsored post for Dropbox. All opinions are my own. Dropbox is not affiliated with nor endorses any other products or services mentioned.


Read More at How to Collaborate Effectively if Your Team is Remote

from Web Design Ledger

7 Tips for Building a Highly Effective Agency Content Collaboration & Productivity


Whether you’re new to your industry, or a hardened veteran, you’ll probably admit that your job isn’t always a walk in the park. There might be ways that you wish you can improve your workflow, even if it’s just a little. For that reason, we’ve put together a simple list of 7 tips for building a highly effective agency. Some of them might seem a little obvious, but there’s always room for improvement. Without further ado, let’s get this party started:

1. File Share And Access Permissions

Sharing information regarding a project is essential for progression. Fortunately, we don’t have to rely on emails and face-to-face interactions anymore. Now, we have helpful tools like Dropbox for file permissions and shared links which are available to Dropbox Professional and Business customers.

Dropbox allows everyone on your team to share and receive information faster than you can blink. The tool offers tons of online features to make sure your information is safe, and that it gets to where it needs to go quickly. Dropbox destroys the competition with their speed and service.

2. Track your time

If you aren’t already time tracking, you should stop what you’re doing now and look into it. There are a few reasons why time tracking is so important for everyone on your team:

  • For team members paid hourly, it ensures an accurate paycheck
  • It helps you better calculate time estimates for future clients
  • It helps you organize your day by keeping track of how long daily tasks take to complete

Keeping track of your time ensures that you’re not wasting time, therefore being as productive as possible.

3. Communicate

You know what they say, communication is the key to any relationship. The same can be said for team collaboration and productivity. You and your team should be communicating regularly and keeping each other in the loop. It can be so easy to lose track of a project if everyone isn’t caught up to speed.

From the start, your team should know exactly how to get into contact with each other. You should establish what channels everyone should use, and give them a specific purpose. You might have one line of communication open for quick comments, and another for emergencies only.

4. Know your team

Whether you’re remote or in a physical office, it’s important that you know exactly who you’re working with. You should take the time to get to know each and every one of your colleagues as best as you can. Learn their preferences, how they organize their desk, what their favorite sports teams are, and their birthdays. Being familiar with each other helps productivity levels simply because you’re not just working with a stranger anymore.

Because the methods for knowing your team vary wildly depending on whether you’re remote or on-site, we’ll split them up accordingly. Let’s start with remote team building ideas:

  • Video chat coffee break You don’t have to meet in person to enjoy a nice coffee and a friendly chat. Pull up a chair, and pretend that you’re both in the same coffee shop.
  • Virtual office tour A virtual office tour helps people understand how you organize your work day. It may not seem like much, and you may feel obliged to clean a little before the grand tour, but recording a quick little 5 minute walk around of your office is a very easy way for your colleagues to feel connected.

Now, let’s name off a few ideas that can help on-site teams get to know each other a little more:

  • Organize office birthday parties Throwing a simple birthday party for a colleague is an easy way to get everyone chatting. It’s a great excuse to order pizza, too.
  • Facts about yourself Listing some facts about yourself, interesting or not, is a great way for both remote teams and on-site teams to connect and learn a lot about each other.

The great thing about team building is that you can be as simple or creative as you want. There are tons of great team building exercises out there to try. The real idea is to get your colleagues familiar with the way they all function.

5. Make sure you hire the right people for the job

Let’s be honest, the market can be flooded with candidates for a job you’re trying to fill. The best tip anyone can give you as far as this topic goes is to take your time. It may seem like it’s taking forever to find the right fit, but I can assure you that the time spent finding the perfect employee will be more than made up for if they do their job correctly.

6. Encourage feedback

Nobody will learn anything if problems are ignored. You and your team should be open to giving and receiving feedback on everything. You have to remember that you have a specifically assembled team of experts in front of you, their opinions should matter just as much as yours.

7. Be ready for change

Ask anyone in any industry and they’ll tell you that plans change… a lot. You should welcome change by embracing it, not running from it. As much as you’d like to be perfect, the reality is that there will be some times where you aren’t, and that’s okay. The best thing to do is to prepare yourself in advance. Take some time to look for faults in your plan and adjust it accordingly.

Change should never be avoided. If a project is going in a certain direction, you should be capable enough to handle it. Just take a breather, and charge full steam ahead.

The end, or is it?

There are essentially a limitless amount of tips anyone can give you to help you build your agency effectively. What works for some might not work for others. Do your research and find the perfect fit for you and your team. It might involve a little trial and error, but you’ll get it in the end, and you’ll be so much better off for it.

This is a sponsored post for Dropbox. All opinions are my own. Dropbox is not affiliated with nor endorses any other products or services mentioned.

Read More at 7 Tips for Building a Highly Effective Agency Content Collaboration & Productivity

from Web Design Ledger

Arsehole ruins Christmas after flying drone over Gatwick Airport’s runway

Flights at London’s Gatwick Airport are suspended after drones were seen flying over the runway, the BBC reports. The two drones were spotted hovering near the runway late on Wednesday night, causing flight cancellations and diversions. According to the BBC, some airlines rerouted their aircraft to Amsterdam and Paris, as well as other domestic UK airports, namely Cardiff, Luton, and Manchester. Gatwick reopened the runway at 3:01 this morning, but was forced to close it again a mere 45 minutes later, after a further sighting of drones. At the time of writing, flights to and from the airport are still…

This story continues at The Next Web

from UK – The Next Web

13 Social Media Experts Share Their Biggest Piece of Marketing Advice

When in doubt about your marketing strategy, turn to the social media experts. Often the best way to learn about a craft is from someone who has been in your shoes before.

Social media marketing is becoming increasingly pivotal for businesses around the world. More emails are being sent and more blog posts are being published on a daily basis than ever before in history.

But where are marketers to go for reliable insights?

Today we gathered 13 of the world’s leading social media experts and asked them to share their best advice for marketers.

Let’s dive in!

13 social media experts share their biggest piece of marketing advice

Host note: What follows is a lightly-edited transcript of the Buffer Podcast episode #125 for your reading pleasure.

Hailley: Social media is now a key piece in the decision-making process for consumers, particularly among upcoming generations such as Millennials and Generation Z.

Brian: One study shows that 70% of millennials base their decision to buy a product based on recommendations made by their peers on social media.

Buying Process

Another study shows that 60% of consumers have been influenced by a social media post or a blog review while shopping at a store.

Social media truly is engrained in all aspects of our lives.

Hailley: Which is exactly where we hope to help.

Instead of asking you to take our word for the most effective social media marketing strategies and tactics, we thought we’d ask the experts.

So we scoured the web and read more than 300 pieces of advice from today’s top social media experts….

Brian: We dwindled down the more than 300 to 13 of our favorites.

Keep in mind that each piece of advice we’re about to share is from someone that has helped to build a successful brand or business using social media in throughout their careers.

Pat Flynn

Pay Flynn

Hailley: First up, fellow-podcaster Pat Flynn says to treat social media marketing like you’re going to a party, which I think is a great way of thinking about it.

Just like at a party, you wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) go around posting about your brand and product all over the place on social media. That’s very much like approaching a group of people at a party and introducing yourself using your sales pitch.

Instead, pay attention and listen to what your audience is talking about first.

Brian: In other words, Pat is advocating for adding value to the conversations already happening within your niche.

Ask your audience genuine questions on they care about and share great stories only after you’ve listened.

Eventually, people will begin to take notice and want to find out more what you have to say.

James Scherer

James Scherer - Social Media Experts

Hailley: James Scherer, lead editor at Wishpond, shares marketers frustrations with the fall in organic reach for brands on Facebook (especially with the announcement from the platform in January of 2018).

But he also understands that Facebook is a fantastic way for businesses to drive quality traffic and engagement.

Brian: For Facebook marketing in 2019, James recommends continuing to publish high-quality, engaging content (content which creates conversation within your community), while acknowledging the truth of the matter: Facebook Ads are the only way for your business to expose your content to a large, targeted audience on Facebook.

Sunny Lenarduzzi

Sunny Lenarduzzi - Social Media Experts

Hailley: How about someone that we had on the show way back in episode #29 – Sunny Lenarduzzi who has grown a huge community on social media – and she can’t stress the importance of planning on social media enough.

Sunny points out that this is one of the most significant time wasters when it comes to social media marketing.

Brian: We’ve heard from tons of businesses on the importance of planning ahead as well.

If you wait to the last minute or ignore creating a content calendar, at least for the month, your content on social media will suffer because you’re rushing everything. So thanks for that one, Sunny.

Donna Moritz

Donna Moritz

How about Donna Moritz from Socially Sorted?

Hailley: Donna’s is a great one because it really speaks to long-term thinking on social media.

She says to not get caught up in all the trends and ever-changing social media platforms – they’re just part of the bigger picture and what works for someone else may not work for you.

Instead, focus instead on creating quality, core content on a platform that you own (your blog/website, podcast or video) that helps solve your audience’s biggest challenges.

Brian: Use that content to grow a quality, engaged email list of people who are interested in what you have to share. If you do that, your social media success will fall into place because you’ll have a library of engaging content.

Which I think it so true and such a useful piece of advice.

Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk - Social Media Experts

Moving on to arguably one of the biggest influencers and social media experts of our generation, Gary Vaynerchuk.

Hailley: When asked about all of the content he puts out in a recent interview, Gary Vee said:

“My show and my social accounts are not a platform from which I talk about what’s important to me. It’s a platform from which I talk about what’s important to you.”

Which I think is another great way of phrasing how important an outward focus is on social media.

Brian: By focusing on his audience and not himself, Gary is able to continually grow his audience and credibility because he gives his time, energy, and effort away without asking anything in return.

It’s a huge reason why he’s seen the success he has over the years. Well, that and he’s really good on camera, which is a tough skill.

Judy Herbst

Judy Herbst

Hailley: Another piece of advice I found really valuable was in a Forbes interview with expert Judy Herbst.

Judy talked about how your brand’s mission statement needs to be one that works across all channels.

The best missions are in the present leading to the future and are meaningful to all audiences.

Brian: Judy goes onto say that they are achievable, so people can see progress now, and emotional, so people can connect with them in meaningful ways.

And she gives the example of a business that’s built to help women achieve success with transparency, trust and fairness.

The key here is to find your mission statement.

Lisa Dougherty

Lisa Dougherty - Social Media Experts

That reminds me of the advice from Lisa Dougherty of content marketing institute.

Hailley: Lisa talks about how you can never really predict what social media algorithms are going to do next, so if we’re constantly chasing trends, you’ll always be one step behind.

List suggests to really get to know your audience, so you can write copy that speaks to their desires, needs, and interests.

And don’t get greedy – remember it’s not about reaching the most people, it’s about reaching (and moving) the right people.

Brian: She also recommends avoiding things like stock photos that dilute your brand. Opt instead for real-life pictures and custom visuals for a more authentic connection.

Finally, include a unique, clear, and compelling value proposition – one simple sentence that explains how your readers will benefit from your offer.”

Rachel Pedersen

Rachel Pedersen - Social Media Experts

Hailley: Speaking of reaching the right people, Rachel Pedersen, CEO of SocialWorks Digital had some great advice on using Facebook ads.

She talked about how not everyone has several thousands dollars per month to spend on ads.

If you can spend $150-200 each month for advertising, you can build a warm audience for marketing your products in 2 easy steps!

Brian: Step 1: Host a Facebook Live or record a video of you or someone from your company talking about the backstory of your product and post it to Facebook – it doesn’t need to be longer than 5 minutes!

And step 2: Boost the video with $5 per day on a video views objective. That’ll start to rack up the views.

Then create a custom audience of the video views (Facebook will dynamically update the audience) and run whatever other ad to the warmed video views audience.”

Hailley: We’ve done that exact technique here at Buffer and it works like a charm.

Molly Pittman

Molly Pittman - Social Media Experts

Which leads us to Molly Pittman’s advice on advertising. Another one of our guests here on the show back in episode #42.

Molly talks about how important it is to align your lead magnet (or offer as we know it) with your caption, your URL and your landing page. You don’t want them to feel like they’ve landed on another planet after clicking your ad.

Brian: I remember that episode well, Molly was so knowledgeable on Facebook and Instagram ads. Would highly recommend checking out her work.

She talked about how critical lead magnets are in advertising. You’re essentially giving people something free in exchange for the permission to follow up. These could be templates, a checklist, blog posts, white papers, ebooks or lots of other great things.

So not only should your messaging align from ad to landing page, but your offer has to be compelling enough to make people actually want to click. In other words, are you doing enough to stand out?

Rand Fishkin

Rand Fishkin - Social Media Experts

Hailley: Let’s take some advice from Rand Fishkin.

You may not know it, but Google indexes every tweet (which makes it a great tool for search engine optimization or SEO).

Most importantly, Rand talks about how you can’t ignore that 60% of a business’s or brand’s followers are likely to purchase or recommend after following them on Twitter.

Brian: Rand suggests limit how often you share links – Research has shown that tweets without links perform better and get more engagement, surprisingly.

And engage with as many people as you can on Twitter. It’s all about building a community on Twitter, not blasting out your message to as many people as you can – it’s really an investment in the long game.

Lee Odden

Lee Odden - Social Media Experts

Hailley: On the topic of investing in your brand on social media, let’s talk about the advice from expert Lee Odden.

Lee says that the most important element for all marketers in 2019 is “truth.” Truth, not in the sense of buzzwords like “authenticity” or “transparency” but as a response to empty marketing tactics that have forced consumers to get wise to being “sold” to.

Consumers are getting smarter about spending and partnering with brands. They are looking for brands that don’t just make quality products, but that are conscious of supporting the wellness of humanity as a whole.

Brian: This is something we’ve noticed as well this year and that’s the rise of what we’re calling purpose-driven marketing.

If you really want to set yourself and your brand apart, you have to stand for something that makes people’s lives better. Think of companies like Patagonia that have seen unbelievable success over the years by taking a stand. I really do think that’s the future of marketing.

James Cohane

James Cohane - Social Media Experts

And long the same lines is the advice from growth expert, James Cohane. James’ take is all about the importance of finding the right partners.

Hailley: The best part about social media, or anything marketing-related, really, is that you don’t have to go at it alone. Brian, I know you’ve seen this first-hand with partners like Mailchimp and Square and Animoto that we’ve worked with over the last few years.

By hand selecting a group of key partners to launch various co-marketing campaigns with, you’re greatly increasing the chances of success as well as the potential audience for your content.

Even something as small as a social media takeover can expose your brand to a new set of targeted customers.

Brian: It’s amazing what two brands can do together rather than trying to do everything yourself.

And if you align with the right brand in terms of messaging, and content, and values, it can really help to amass an audience quickly, which we’ve experienced first hand here at Buffer.

Adriana Tica

Adriana Tica - Social Media Experts

Our last expert piece of advice from Adriana Tica, CEO of marketing agency, Idunn.

Hailley: Adriana believes that switching things up and keeping your audience on their toes is a surefire way to grow your following and engagement on social media.

And to do that, she recommends content curation.

But don’t just share any content you come across or because it’s from an influencer or a big brand. Make sure that it’s on-brand and provides real value to your audience.

Brian: Adriana calls it going for underground’ content.

As you might expect, everybody reads content from top publications and influencers – so that’s nothing new. Spending some time to find unique content will help your brand stand out.

And if you want to automate a part of this process, you can always use tools like BuzzSumo and Curata, which I personally love. But the trouble is that those tools aren’t so great for ‘underground’ content.

My go-to sources for content that hasn’t been overshared are Reddit (there’s literally a subreddit for anything) and Hacker News. In fact, episode 112 is dedicated to finding great content in strange places.

How to say hello to us

We would all love to say hello to you on social media – especially Twitter!

Thanks for listening! Feel free to connect with our team at Buffer on TwitterBuffer on Facebook, our Podcast homepage, 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 Science of Social Media podcast

The Science of Social Media is your weekly sandbox for social media stories, insights, experimentation, and inspiration. Every Monday (and sometimes more) we share the most cutting-edge social media marketing tactics from brands and influencers in every industry. If you’re a social media team of one, business owner, marketer, or someone simply interested in social media marketing, you’re sure to find something useful in each and every episode.  It’s our hope that you’ll join our 18,000+ weekly iTunes listeners and rock your social media channels as a result!

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

8 Tools Every Designer Needs in 2019

Tools Every Designer Needs

Online tools are designed to help us with our jobs. Whether you’re an accountant or a designer, there are plenty of tools out there to help you. But, there lies the problem. There are often so many choices, that it can be hard to decide which one suits you. Sure, you could sign up for free trials, but that could still take ages to sort out which one you prefer. It might sound daunting, but rest assured that this article has you covered. It might not be the longest list of helpful tools, but it’s certainly got the best of the best. Let’s jump right into it. Here are 8 tools every designer needs to know about:

1. Teamweek’s budget calculator

As a designer, it’s pretty common to have very busy times and times that, well, aren’t so busy. For that reason, it’s insanely important to keep up with your budgets. The online project management software called Teamweek offers quite a few helpful features, but for this, we’re going to focus on the budget calculator feature.


It’s really no secret that it’s important to keep up with your budget. After all, we have to make money somehow. The Teamweek budget calculator is a powerful and simple tool that makes it easy to calculate and estimate your budget for your next big project, and it’s a great tool to have in your arsenal.

Tools Every Designer Needs

2. Photoshop

You can’t really talk about tools every designer needs without mentioning Photoshop think everyone, regardless of their career choice, has used or seen Photoshop at some point. Photoshop is one of those tools that everyone just knows about. As a designer, it’s pretty mandatory to have editing software, and Photoshop is definitely one of the best. The only drawback to Photoshop is the amount of time it takes to learn how to use it. Yes, it’s a powerful tool, but it is packed full of every feature and shortcut you can imagine. My advice would be to take a few online courses and set time aside each day to make sure you know every little secret that Photoshop has to offer. It’ll be worth it in the end.

Tools Every Designer Needs

3. Dropbox

As a designer, I’m sure you’ve had your fair share of files to send and receive. It helps to have a tool dedicated to making sure you get those files to where they need to be on time. Dropbox is the perfect solution for you file sharing needs. They offer a few different packages with varying amounts of storage, but what really sells it is the speed and security. Your files are safe, and they’re shared with lightning fast speeds.

Tools Every Designer Needs

4. Keynote

Presentations are powerful visual tools to help you sell your services to clients. Keynote has been praised by its users for years. Although it’s only available for iOS, it’s a very comprehensive tool that takes your presentations to the next level. Whether you customize your own, or use a template provided for you, Keynote is the fastest and most useful tool for creating engaging presentations to bring your work to life.

Tools Every Designer Needs

5. Flipsnack

In the design field, there will always be a need to make brochures, ebooks, online magazines, and things related to them. There’s something about flipping the pages of a book, whether is digital or physical that will always bring a smile to people’s’ face. Flipsnack is a simple and powerful tool that allows you to bring the familiarity of a book to the digital word. You can use it for anything really, but you’ll be able to create interactive brochures and flyers for your customers to enjoy.

Tools Every Designer Needs

6. Skitch

When you’re with someone, standing right next to each other, it’s fairly simple to point something out. All you really have to do is point and speak. However, online, it’s a little more complicated. Skitch allows you to highlight the important parts of any online publication, but it doesn’t stop there. You can use Skitch to markup a PDF file, snap a screenshot, add annotations to a photo, or even draw up something completely new. Skitch is one of those tools that you don’t realize you need until you’ve actually used it.

Tools Every Designer Needs

7. Pexels

If you’re ever in the need for stock photos, then look no further than Pexels. You can shop (for free btw) for literally thousands of photos. Visuals are super important in any project, and Pexels makes it easy to find the image that you’ve been looking for. They’re all completely free, and all it takes is a quick search at the top of the page to browse images based on your keywords.

Tools Every Designer Needs

8. Coolors

Have you ever had a hard time with deciding the color scheme of a project? Not anymore. Coolors was designed specifically with designers in mind. It’s a super quick color scheme generator that has saved tons of time for designers across the world. There are an infinite amount of color schemes that you could get, and it’s all based on your preferences. Once you’ve found the right colors, you can export them and save them to your profile easily.

Tools Every Designer Needs


We could go on and on for days about these tools every designer needs, but you’ll never really find out exactly how great they are until you use them for yourself. So, with that said, go and take advantage of those free trials, and let us know what you think!

Read More at 8 Tools Every Designer Needs in 2019

from Web Design Ledger

10 Typography Trends for 2019

Typography Trends

Can you hear that? That’s the sweet sound of jingle bells followed by the explosion of fireworks. The combination of these two sounds can only mean one thing: 2019 is right around the corner. That might sound a little scary, but I can assure you that this article contains nothing but good vibes and happy thoughts.


As a designer, you’re probably pretty aware that you should be keeping up with trends, right? I certainly hope so. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t put a little personal flare on those trends. For the purpose of this article, and because the title already says typography trends for 2019, we’re going to discuss… you guessed it: typography trends for 2019. This list is in no particular order. It will contain new trends and a few classics that you totally need to stick with. Fasten your seatbelts, explorers, we’re diving straight in.

Handwritten fonts

We’re going to start this list off with a style of font that will most likely be a trend for many years to come. Handwritten fonts are great because they allow you to put your own touch on your brand, and they bring with them a sense of detail that other fonts can’t. Granted, a handwritten font may not look so great on the side of a corporate office building, but they certainly are a great way to reach out to your audience on a more personal level.

Typography Trends

Vintage fonts

Vintage fonts are also a timeless classic that deserves a spot of any typography trends lists ever. The reason people are so drawn to vintage fonts is very similar to the reason they’re so drawn to handwritten fonts. The difference here is that the audience is most likely already familiar with the font, as it is vintage. Instead of making new connections using a handwritten touch, you renew old connections by going vintage.

Typography Trends

Watercolor fonts

Watercolor fonts have risen in popularity almost side-by-side with handwritten fonts because they go so well together. Watercolors have recently existed mainly in the background of a few web pages. But now, people are starting to use them in the spotlight. Watercolor fonts are a great way to portray calm, cool, and collected vibes. They take away from the seriousness of business and add to the homely feel.

Typography Trends

Serif fonts

Serifs again are nothing new. In fact, they’re probably one of the oldest typography trends we can dig up. They are, however, a trend that’s making a comeback. Serifs can vary depending on how extra you want to be, but they’re another great way to put a little more flare on your work.

Typography Trends

Big and small font types… together?

Yes, it’s true. A lot of people are instantly attracted to things that match or at least are the same size. The idea behind using both big and small fonts together isn’t exactly a new thing, but it has made great headway over the years. Because the letters in the font don’t match up, it can grab someone’s attention quicker than a buy-one-get-one sale at Old Navy. plus, it’s a creative way to put emphasis on a particular part of your brand or logo.

Typography Trends

Variable fonts

In addition to the variation in size, the mix-match of different font types has become a design phenomenon. I mean, why stick to just one font if you’ve found a few that you like? If done correctly, you’ll be able to mix a number of different fonts together and create your own personal masterpiece. Just try not to be too overwhelming.

Typography Trends

Color fonts

For too long black and white fonts have haunted our screens! Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but sometimes we just need a little color. Color fonts have been popular on and off for forever, and they’re starting to make a massive comeback. Color fonts allow us to be that much more creative with our projects. They can say as little or as much as you want them to about the letters that they’re highlighting. They’re the perfect way to snag someone’s attention in a crowd full of black and white.

Typography Trends

Cutouts and overlays

Everyone wants to add layers to their designs, and it’s for good reason. People don’t want to sit and stare at a flat-looking, boring, underwhelming webpage. They want to be wowed and wanting more. Cutouts and overlays are a great way to give that 3-dimensional effect without having to wear the glasses that hurt your eyes after 30 minutes. They give you yet another layer to be creative with, and thus attracting more attention.

Typography Trends

Geometric fonts

While handwritten fonts and different sized lettering are cool, perfectly straight lines and rounded corners will always be one of the typography trends, too. Don’t get me wrong, though, geometric fonts leave plenty of room to be creative. Geometric fonts have grown exponentially over the past year or two, and I don’t see them slowing down anytime soon.

Typography Trends

Customize everything

If you have the extra cash to shell out, customizing your brand is a great way to set your own trends. I’m not talking about just logotypes here, I literally mean customize everything. What better way to give people a new experience than to create one custom for your brand? You’re a designer, challenge yourself!

Bring in the New Year right

Again, these typography trends aren’t in any particular order, but they are all super duper sweet. Trends are made every day. While some of us choose to follow those trends, others create their own path for us to follow in the future. The #1 rule of design is to be yourself and create your best work. Design something that you’re proud of, and show it off to the word.

Read More at 10 Typography Trends for 2019

from Web Design Ledger

How to Use Video Content to Raise Brand Awareness and Sell Your Product

Video content is one of the most popular mediums for businesses today, and for good reason. Video is more engaging, more memorable, and more popular among consumers than any other type of content.

And there’s data to back that up, too!

For example, did you know that 76% of businesses say video has helped them increase sales? Or that 80% of marketers say video has increased time spent on their website?

This week we’re looking to help you increase brand awareness and product sales using the highly-engaging format of video. No matter what industry or vertical you’re in, video can help you promote your business in fresh and effective ways.

Let’s dive in!

How to use video content to increase brand awareness and sell your product

What follows is a lightly-edited transcript of the Buffer Podcast episode #125 for your reading pleasure.

Table of Contents

Hailley: As marketers and business owners, one of the most common roadblocks we face is trying to drive engagement and traffic around our key products. It’s common across B2B and B2C! We think that video is one of the best way to solve that challenge.

A warm welcome to the show – Let’s kick it off.

Brian: The stats supporting the effectiveness of video marketing go on and on.

  • 81% of people have been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video.
  • 85% of people say they’d like to see more video from brands in 2018.

And get this, when both video and text are available on the same page, 72% of people would rather use video to learn about a product or service.

Video Content and Video Marketing Guide

Hailley: Of course, the number one question we get about video (and one we struggled with in the past) is: where do I start?

Where to start with video content

We’ve talked about using video on social media in episodes 90 and 110, but we’ve never really gotten into the specifics of using video to do one of the most important things for your business – actually selling your product.

Brian: It’s what pays the bills after-all.

Everything we’re about to share applies to selling your products with video. These videos can then be shares on social media, of course, as well as your website, landing pages, blog posts, etc, etc.

So with that being said, let’s get started with the very first video principal and that’s showing your product in action.

Showing your product in action

Hailley: One of the best things you can do to increase the success of your videos is to help people visualize what their lives would be like with your product.

Giving viewers a sneak peek of your product can be a nice visual companion to a landing page or product description.

Showing your product in action will make your video more interesting for users to watch. It also makes the video valuable because it shows us how the product works and what we can expect in real life.

Brian: First thing that comes to mind here is a product tutorial.

Utilizing product tutorials

Believe it or not, people LOVE product tutorials just about anywhere they can find them. Social media, your website, YouTube, you name it.

Just think about BuzzFeed tasty and their recipes. That’s essentially a tutorial sped up to make it fun. Speeding things up does seem to make them more fun!

Hailley: The best part of tutorials or explainer videos, is that it helps to move people quickly down the funnel into buyer consideration.

Again another argument for the power of video. Instead of reading 1,000 words on why your product works or why people should buy it, they can watch a 15 second video and get the exact same amount of information.

Brian: The last two things I’ll say about tutorial videos are one, they help to sell your product without sounding like it’s a sales pitch. You’re simply showing them how the product works, not saying “hey buy my product.”

A great example from company MuleSoft:

The second thing is that they work for both physical products and services. With services, it’s a bit tougher to show in action, but you can get creative with things like Q&As, ask the experts, an educational series, and more.

It just takes a little bit of brainstorming to open up the possibilities.

Featuring customer testimonials

Hailley: Next up, if you’re looking to sell your products or services with video content, is to create customer testimonials.

If you have raving fans who are always singing your praises, or even other industry experts who would be happy to give your business a testimonial, then these are an awesome addition to your overall video content strategy.

What customer testimonials help to do is show proof of demand, which is a valuable type of social proof showing others that you have lots of happy, satisfied customers.

Brian: As many of you know, social proof is absolutely critical in selling your product.

Studies show nearly 70 percent of online consumers look at a product review prior to making a purchase.

Even more telling is the fact that product reviews are 12-times more trusted than product descriptions and sales copy from manufacturers.

Hailley: Customer testimonials don’t have to be anything too fancy.

Even something simple like shooting a video content with your customers in-store and asking them their favorite products or opinions, and then mashing up the results into one video can work great for this purpose.

Or you could incentivize people to send you a video review with coupons and prizes. Or host a contest on social media.

Brian: At the end of the day, all your potential customers want to know is that your product can (and will) solve their specific problem.

One of the best ways prove this is by creating case study videos that feature your satisfied, loyal customers. These people are your best advocates.

Developing entertaining and unique product video ideas

Hailley: Moving on in our video journey, let’s talk about using entertainment and creativity in product videos that help to sell your product.

As we talk about all the time, online audiences love short, snackable content.

With this shorter format, you can create entertaining videos that make your audience laugh or get inspired or take an action.

It’s important to remember with entertaining videos, that they should be created as a part of a larger campaign, showcasing your business’s high-level vision, mission, or products and services.

Brian: Right. And that’s the key part. We’re not saying to go out and create the next viral animal video content, but we do believe there is a way to get creative with video with the goal of attracting an audience that will be interested in purchasing your products.

Naturally, that starts with an understanding of your core audience. Research where they hang out online. Where they shop. What they watch and listen to. What they purchase and what keeps them up at night.

I know that sounds creepy, but there is so much information online today that it’s possible to know your audience on a granular level.

Hailley: Once you know that, you can create videos that your audience will enjoy watching – videos that will imprint your brand in their mind and keep them coming back for more.

So I know that all sounds hypothetical at the moment, which is why we’ve gathered a few examples of what that might look like.

A great one is Starbucks that created an adorable animated video series called 1st and Main. The video series entertains the audience and showcases Starbucks as a ‘the third place’ between home and work.

Brian: There’s another example I saw recently from a company called LucidChart. LucidChart is a software system that allows businesses to visualize charts. And they created this hilarious video content about different kind of snakes (or what they call “sneks”) and named them all sorts of funny things:

And it’s not until the very end of the video where they finally say, “visualize your sneks and anything else with LucidChart.”

It’s just brilliant and goes to show how entertaining videos can capture your audience’s attention and make them want to find out more.

Hailley: The key point here is that videos like these work because they make your brand non-intrusive, and they let you have fun with your target audience. No matter what type of business you are, this kind of content is a perfect way to strengthen brand rapport.

And the last point here is to remember that while entertainment videos aren’t necessarily the strongest content for the bottom part of your funnel, they are great for the attention stage of the buyer’s journey. And equally important part!

Brian: I think many of us try to skip that attention/awareness stage and it becomes tough to make the sale down the road.

But anyways, quick summary. We’ve talked about tutorials, testimonials, and entertainment, but we haven’t covered one that I think is crucial for brands when it comes to advertising, and that’s your “commercial” for lack of a better word.

Creating your brand’s video “commercial”

Think Dollar Shave Club or Chatbooks – videos that went viral, but still focus on the company’s core product.

Hailley: Your branded company video or commercial like you said, Brian, can be whatever you want it to be. And these can be used to sell your product just about anywhere.

They can be funny, emotional, or inspirational and are a great way to portray your product in an artistic way or link it to a particular lifestyle.

Similar to what we were talking about with showing your product in action, this combines all of that.

Brian: In order to create a compelling brand video you’ll want to make sure it tells some sort of story with a beginning middle and end.

You should be able to communicate a coherent narrative through images, footage, and simple editing.

What is your business all about? Who are the people that use your product? What about your product makes their lives better? Why would they choose your product over another?

Hailley: Exactly but it’s important to not simply provide people with a bullet point list of reasons of why your product is great.

You have to convey your brand message in a way that is creative and doesn’t come across as sales-y.

That Chatbooks example you mentioned is a great one. Instead of saying “hey, you can create beautiful photo albums in minutes because our product makes it easier than our competitors.”

They feature a Mom in a house full of children and why SHE would use it.

Brian: Videos bring the product to life in a way that wouldn’t otherwise be achievable.

It’s also super relatable for parents!

Alright so a few quick tips on the video content creation process before you go:

First is that shorter is usually better. Unless you’re diving into a complicated tutorial, shorter is better when it comes to most things on social media, and that’s true for most video as well.

Hailley: Depending on what the video is, you’ll have different maximum time lengths you can get away with. A purely promotional product video? Twenty seconds or less is best. If you’re creating a video tutorial, a minute is a good point, but if it’s really appropriate you can go up to around a minute and thirty seconds.

Another thing to keep in mind, and I know we sound like broken records here, but a majority of videos are watched on mobile devices.

Create your videos in square or vertical format to make sure it looks and feels native to the platform you are posting to.

Brian: Finally, we recommend staying nimble and trying a bunch of different types of video content.

Chances are you probably won’t strike gold with your first product video.

Keep experimenting with formats, style, content, themes, and stories until you find one that resonates with your audience. You can quickly test the performance on social media organically or with ads, which is exactly what we do here at Buffer.

Hailley: We hope that 2019 is the year where video content marketing becomes a staple part of your overall marketing strategy.

How to say hello to us

We would all love to say hello to you on social media – especially Twitter!

Thanks for listening! Feel free to connect with our team at Buffer on TwitterBuffer on Facebook, our Podcast homepage, 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 Science of Social Media podcast

The Science of Social Media is your weekly sandbox for social media stories, insights, experimentation, and inspiration. Every Monday (and sometimes more) we share the most cutting-edge social media marketing tactics from brands and influencers in every industry. If you’re a social media team of one, business owner, marketer, or someone simply interested in social media marketing, you’re sure to find something useful in each and every episode.  It’s our hope that you’ll join our 18,000+ weekly iTunes listeners and rock your social media channels as a result!

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

Can Twitter Threads Increase Reach, Engagement, and Referral Traffic? An Experiment

How can you increase Twitter reach and engagement?

That’s something that many marketers are thinking about, including Rand Fishkin, the founder of SparkToro, who has been wondering if Twitter gives tweets with a link less visibility than tweets without a link. And recently I’d been wondering the same.

Then I heard about Aytekin Tank’s 17-million-impression tweet.

Just a few months ago, Aytekin, the founder of Jotform, repurposed one of his popular Medium posts into a Twitter thread. He also promoted it with Twitter ads to see if he could increase the reach of his Twitter thread — and the engagement rate was as high as 20 percent!

So he continued to promote the Twitter thread. Eventually, it received 17 million impressions and the original Medium post (linked in the thread) got more than 35,000 visits.

When I learned about this story, I started wondering how Twitter threads could help marketers.  Could this be the new way to reach more people, drive more engagement, and get more referral traffic? Could Twitter threads be effective without ad promotion?

We ran a small experiment to find out.

A Twitter Thread Experiment

A Twitter thread experiment

What is a Twitter thread?

According to Twitter, “A thread on Twitter is a series of connected Tweets from one person. With a thread you can provide additional context, an update, or an extended point by connecting multiple Tweets together.”

Below is an example of a Twitter thread. If you click on the tweet, you’ll see the additional tweets connected to it.

The plan

The objective of the experiment was to test if repurposing our blog posts into Twitter threads can 1. increase our Twitter reach and engagement, and 2. drive more traffic to our blog than tweets with a link.

Our plan of execution was very straightforward:

  1. For each blog post, publish a Twitter thread and a simple link tweet (ideally at the same time, a few days apart).
  2. Record the stats after one to three days

The next step was to draft out the threads and publish them. For this, I worked with our amazing social media manager, Bonnie Porter. I repurposed 10 blog posts into threads while she published them at our best times to tweet.

Here’s what our collaboration document looked like:

Twitter threads experiment document

So how did the experiment go?

The result

I think there’s an evidence that Twitter threads perform better than tweets with a link!

Twitter thread experiment data

A quick explanation of the data

For the Twitter threads, I looked at only the number of impressions and engagements of the first tweet and the number of link clicks of the tweets with the link (usually the last tweet of the thread). The actual total number of impressions and engagements of the threads (i.e. a summation of the impressions and engagement of each tweet in the thread) is much higher.

But as the impressions and engagements are likely from the same followers, and to simplify our analysis, I considered only the impressions and engagements of the first tweet and the link clicks of the tweets with the link.

Here are the patterns I see from our results:

1. Twitter threads tend to get more impressions

The number of impressions was higher for all the first tweet of the Twitter threads than for the tweet with a link. On average, the threads received 63 percent more impressions.

Perhaps Rand Fishkin is right in that Twitter gives more prominence to tweets without a link. He found that “Tweets without URLs definitely correlate to more engagement+amplification (but this could be a result of user behavior, not intentional network design)”.

The respective link was not included in the first tweet of the Twitter threads but mostly in the last tweet of the threads. Threads could be a good way to increase your reach on Twitter while still sharing a link.

2. Twitter threads tend to get more engagements

The number of engagements was mostly higher for the first tweet of the Twitter threads than for the tweet with a link. On average, the threads received 54 percent more engagements.

An interesting pattern I spotted is that engagement tends to be the highest for the first tweet of the threads and would decrease until the last tweet, where there would be a spike in engagement. My hunch is that most people only engage with the tweets when they first saw the thread (i.e. the first tweet) and when they finish reading the thread (i.e. the last tweet), and not when they are reading the thread.

The higher number of engagement could have also caused the Twitter algorithm to surface the threads to more people, and hence, more impressions.

3. Twitter threads tend to get fewer link clicks

This is where the experiment didn’t go as expected.

While the Twitter threads, on average, received eight percent more link clicks than the tweets with a link, most of the threads received fewer clicks. (If you were to look at our data, you can see that the average was skewed by two threads that received much more link clicks than the respective link tweet.)

Here’s my guess: For the Twitter threads, the link was attached to the last tweet or in the middle. Our followers don’t see the link immediately and have to scroll through the whole thread before seeing the link. This might have caused the lower link click number.

But as Twitter threads seem to get more impressions than a link tweet, it might be possible that Twitter threads would get more link clicks. More data is needed to verify this.

4. Overall, Twitter threads seem to perform better than link tweets

On average, the Twitter threads received more impressions, engagements, and clicks than the respective tweet with a link.

While this is true based on our data, our sample size is tiny and the number of clicks fluctuated quite a bit. I wouldn’t say it’s conclusive that Twitter threads always perform better than tweets with a link in all aspect. But it seems fairly plausible that Twitter threads get more impressions and engagements.

Limitations of the experiment

  • While the blog post for each set of Twitter thread and link tweet was the same, the content of the thread and link tweet was different. This might have a bigger influence on the result than the content format. (More on this below.)
  • As it was challenging to run a large-scale version of this experiment (think thousands of blog posts) with just one brand account, we decided to test only 10 blog posts. As this is a tiny sample size, the results might not be replicable all the time (i.e. Twitter threads might not always perform better than link tweets).
  • The sequence of the two tweets could influence the results. People might be less responsive to the link tweet if they have seen the Twitter thread. But the effect of this should be minimal as we have already shared those blog posts before.
  • The day and time of the tweets could also influence the results. We tried to publish the Twitter thread and the respective link tweet at about the same time of the day to minimize the influence of this factor.

Lessons from our Twitter threads experiment

1. Experiment with different content formats

Does this mean you should post only Twitter threads from now? Not quite.

One of the key takeaways for me is the importance of experimenting with different or new content formats. While it’s the easiest to share a link, it might not always be the best way to get results. Twitter threads are one of the many things you could test. Others include images, videos, live videos, GIFs, and retweets.

For example, we recently found that retweeting our top tweets is an easy way to extend the lifespan of the tweet and increase its performance.

Buffer retweeting experiment data

2. Content is key

We found that it takes much more effort to publish Twitter threads than simple link tweets. You have to craft multiple tweets rather than just one. You have to manually tweet the threads while you can schedule link tweets.

But I think that might be why Twitter threads seem to perform better.

I believe that the content itself plays a big part in determining whether a tweet/thread does well. Crafting Twitter threads forces me to narrate a story over several tweets, and that might have encouraged me to write better tweets. On the other hand, I’m so used to sharing a link tweet that it’s easier for me to unintentionally craft a less-than-perfect tweet.

From her experience, Bonnie found it helpful to have the Twitter threads plan out in advance in a document. It makes publishing threads less of a hassle when you have everything ready to go.

3. People prefer native content

Brian Peters, our Strategic Partnerships Marketer, once said how social media platforms should be viewed as the destination for your content rather than the means to get to your content.

How does your audience want to consume your content? Do they prefer getting all the information they want through your social media posts, or do they want to click on a link and be directed to another page before they can find the information?

It depends on the content but my hunch is most prefer the former.

That might be why native content (e.g. Twitter threads, videos) tends to perform better than social media posts with links. People want the easiest way to consume content, and social media posts like Twitter threads and videos make it much easier than for them. They can get more information through the native content before deciding if the link will be relevant and valuable enough for them.

Over to you

Will you experiment with Twitter threads?

If you will or if you have, share your best-performing Twitter thread in the comments section below. It’ll be great to learn from one another’s experience. Thanks!

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from Social

Millions of Brits can’t access mobile internet as O2’s data services go down

One of the largest UK phone networks, O2, is investigating a network outage that has rendered mobile data inaccessible to the company’s 25 million customers. The issue is also impacting customers of MVNOs that piggyback on O2’s infrastructure, like GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile, and Lyca Mobile. This means that the number of impacted customers is, in reality, likely to be much higher than 25 million. In a tweet, the network said that the issue lay with one of its third-party suppliers, and recommended that users switch to Wi-Fi wherever possible. Outage Update: One of our 3rd party suppliers has identified a…

This story continues at The Next Web

from UK – The Next Web

Errand service TaskRabbit launches in six new UK cities

TaskRabbit today announced a massive expansion to its UK operations and is now available in six new markets: Brighton, Cardiff, Coventry, Reading, Oxford, and Liverpool and Warrington. The company also plans to launch operations in Edinburgh and Glasgow by early 2019. The on-demand app, which IKEA acquired in 2017, connects people with others who’ll do their tedious household tasks. This includes things like cleaning, assembling flat-packed furniture, mounting TVs, and delivery. Think of it as like Uber, but for the “man in a van” (or woman) of this world. TaskRabbit first launched in London five years ago. For the most…

This story continues at The Next Web

from UK – The Next Web