Web Design Trends Beginning of 2017

We’re officially halfway through 2017 and you might have noticed a few web design changes on your favorite sites. Some design elements are more subtle, while others are bolder. Design is constantly evolving, meeting the needs of readers/consumers, so make sure you remain current and user friendly. Here are the 2017 trends we’ve noticed thus far:

 

  1. Content at the heart of design: This should be obvious, but there is a greater trend towards designing for the user- understanding the demographics, trends while on the site, etc- an incorporating this knowledge into the design flow.
  2. Bold type: This doesn’t necessarily mean bold typeface, but rather, a short description or statement that is awarded its own area to make a bold statement.
  3. Richer backgrounds and patterns: Think bright colors, geometric patterns, and moodier aesthetics.  These colors and designs make a statement on their own and are a contrast to the simple design previously dominating the landscape.
  4. Contrasting typefaces: Typefaces don’t need to have a flow, instead, they need to have a stark contrast. Again, this makes a statement just by being different.
  5. Animation: Visual tools hone in users and make the design more engaging. Watch for new tools to make animation more prominent, streamlined, and unique. This is not only visual, but also stimulating and educational.

 

 

 

 

 

Social Platforms for Your Business

Social media is huge right now, a single post can make or break a company, but how do you decide which platforms are right for your business? We have a few questions to ask your self below to make sure you’re advertising where you need to.

 

  1. Instagram: Do I have a visual element to my business? Is our product something consumers will be interested in seeing pictures of? If you answered yes to these then you DEFINITELY need to be on Instagram. Instagram is all about the pictures and short captions. Any company that has a visually appealing product, like a bakery, can succeed on Instagram. Products like ATMs that are not as visually appealing do not need Instagram.
  2. Twitter: Do you have events? Do you have something to say? One of the best aspects of Twitter is following events and watching them transpire, like the Frye Festival or Super Bowl. Live Tweeting is a common phenomenon where people tweet as an event unfolds. If you can get in on these sort of conversations, you’re golden. Otherwise, Twitter is a great place for short thoughts like quotes that align with your business.
  3. Facebook: Do I have something to say? I bet most people said yes to this simple question and that’s because Facebook is really the catch-all of social media platforms. It’s been around the longest, so it has a larger demographic and can be utilized in multiple ways. Businesses can post pictures, videos, long statements, menus and basic business information. Really, all businesses should be on Facebook.
  4. Pinterest: Is my product visually appealing? Is my product used in crafts, DIY products, or recipes? If yes, then definitely! Pinterest is sort of like Instagram, except more where people go to be inspired, whether that is with a home improvement project, a new recipe, event planning, or styling new outfits. Anything in this realm can be very successful on Pinterest, but do not, it is used far more frequently by females than males.

SXSW 2017 Free Events

SXSW is officially upon us, and if you find yourself badgeless this season, don’t worry- there are tons of free events. Merely being in the presence of all the innovation, food, artists, and companies downtown makes this event exciting and invigorating, but there are more ways to partake.

 

March 15-18: Waterloo Records Day Parties (Band parties in the parking lot)

March 15-18: South by San Jose (Live music and local vendors)

March 16: Bloody Mary Morning presented by KLRU and ACL (Free tacos, drinks and music)

March 11-12: Job Market (Business skills for musicians)

March 11, 13 and 14: Screenings Outside at the Long Center

March 16-18: Concerts at the Outdoor Stage at Auditorium Shores

2017 Predictions

2017 is here, and based on the trends thus far, we’re guessing the major theme trends for the New Year. This is guaranteed to be another big year in digital, but how will it change from 2016? What did we miss? Any other predictions?

 

  1. More live video: With basically every platform now offering a live video option, brands will continue to experiment and execute video ads.
  2. Personalized ads: Though creepy, personalized ads fare better. You may not want a random blue sweater, but don’t you want those brown boots you looked at this morning?
  3. Influencer marketing: This is a trend that was very popular in 2016 and will probably be fine tuned in 2017. Not every influencer is a good match for every brand, so sifting through and finding a perfect match will be key.
  4. Mobile first: Mobile is big. No explanation need, just make sure it’s first and foremost in your marketing strategy.
  5. Automation: Marketing automation is becoming more common and affordable, and who isn’t looking to scale their company?

Christmas Gifts for the Tech and Social Media Gurus

This year for the holidays, give your social media loving, tech obsessed friends the gifts they really want. We rounded up a few gifts that will make every tech lover smile. These are innovative gifts, full of cutting edge technology and a little quirk.

social media cookie cutter1. Sleep phones: These are perfect for those who like to go to bed listening to some music. They’re also a lot more comfortable than headphones or earbuds.
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2. Smart phone projector: Not only is this gift fun, it is useful, especially at those Christmas parties.
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3.Blue tooth speaker string lights: With these speakers, a magical evening can be created. Think mood lighting and mood music.
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4. Social media cookie cutters: Though it may not be a tech gift, it will render delicious, tech inspired goodies.

Instagram the Social Media Platform to Beat?

InstagramInstagram has been rolling out new features and designs recently and they just added a new feature that could revolutionize how retailers utilize the app. First, Instagram made their app more sleek with black and white minimalist design. Second, they added a stories feature to rival Snapchat. And now, Instagram is shoppable! They’re adding a feature where brands can tag products and link to their site, allowing for people to smoothly go from the app to the retailer’s website to make a purchase.

This was the most natural transition for the app that already cultivated inspiration, much like Pinterest. Instagram is edging out all other social media platforms. What do you think of this all-powerful app?

Digital Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

coffee-shopThe digital age requires a lot from small businesses to make sure they stay ahead of the curve. There are a few necessities to ensure a successful digital strategy, even with limited time. If you utilized the strategies below, you could grow your customer base and expand your business beyond the store front.

1. A clean, well-organized website: Visitors will want to easily navigate your website to find what they’re looking for. More than that, a properly optimized website can make you rank above your competitors, narrowing out the competition.

2. Online store: Online shopping is convenient and fast. Not to mention, you can expand your client base beyond your area location. It is a great way to grow your business.

3. Social media: Evaluate your business needs and establish a social media campaign to accomplish these goals. Social media is an excellent place to show of your product, culture and beliefs. Though, not every platform is correct for everyone. Find what works for you.

Google AdWords Expanded Text Ads

PPC and advertising concept in word tag cloudGoogle AdWords is releasing new specifications for search ads. These are called “Expanded Text Ads” and Google is marketing them as the next generation of text ads, designed with mobile search in mind. So what are the changes? They include:

1 There are two headline fields instead of one, which includes allowing additional text in your ads.
2 The two description lines have been merged into one 80 character field description, which encourages more flexibility and creativity with your ads.
3 The display and final URL are the same.
4. Ads are now mobile-optimized, meaning you no longer have to select the mobile device setting.

If you don’t update your ads, you will have the old style, but if you do, you’ll have an advantage over your competitors. Make sure you’re ahead of the competition!

Snapchat Memories

snapchat-backgroundFor the most part, Snapchat has remained stagnant. The largest addition was the Discover rollout a year and a half ago, that is until Snapchat Memories debuted a week ago. Now you can save pictures you take in the app and share them later. This may help broaden its appeal, as you can also share pictures and videos not taken in the app.

In the My Memories section of the app, you can also search old pictures by dates, places and things like “beach,” making it very easy to find your old pictures. You can also edit the pictures before you share them by adding filters and geofilters.

If you enjoyed Snapchat for its secrecy, there is a password-protected section called “My Eyes Only.” These snaps can only be accessed with the password, however, the password cannot be recovered, so make sure you remember it!

Snapchat is now straddling the world of forgettable, silly pictures and timeless moments you cherish. What do you think of the addition?

Social Influencer Pros and Cons

Type-of-InfluencerSocial media influencers have a great deal of persuasion and a wide scope. They have a large, devout following who trusts their opinions on products. However, this is not always a perfect relationship for brands. This month, we look at the pros and cons of using social media influencers for your brand:

Pros

1. Large audience.

2. More validity than a normal advertisement. Fans of influencers will trust their advocation for a product or service.

3. Easy and unique way to disseminate the brand’s message. Reposting or retweeting by the followers will make a great word of mouth campaign.

Cons
1. ROI not always obtainable. 100,000 likes does not translate into large scale purchases. It is a harder relationship to quantify the worth.

2. Not only are these social media sensation’s influene hard to quanitfy, they cost a decent amount. Most make these endorsements their career, so their backing comes at a price.

3. Your brand is subjected to their lifestyle and decisions. Make sure you research the person to make sure their ideals align with your company’s. Just because the influencer likes coffee and you are a coffee company, it does not mean this is a match made in heaven. Your company will be reflected in the media star’s personal decisions, and they share all of them (it’s how they got famous, remember?).