3 Ways to Encourage
Your Customers to
Interact with You

From Business, Social Media

Creating strong relationships with your audience is critical. After all, customers are the life blood of any business. So if you're wondering when your customers will start interacting with you online, the real questions is when will you start encouraging them to do so.

Here are 3 ways to help you get started:

1. Comments

You've taken the time to create quality content for your customers on your blog and on your website. Now is the time to allow them to comment on that content. Do they like it? Do they have questions? Do they want to know more?

Adding comments gives you the ability to get a sense of your customers' feelings and general understanding of your content. When you hear from your audience, you will be able to craft content that is truly relevant to them - content they want to consume.

2. Product & Service Reviews

Because of social media and the rise of the independent voice, reviews are more effective than ever. People rely on reading product and service reviews before buying.

78% of consumers trust peer recommendations.

The world's leading online retailers like Apple and Amazon use customer reviews to help sell their wares. Nothing helps a buying decision like reading the praises of other satisfied customers. This develops trust with your audience and increases sales.

3. Prominent Social Media

You're active on Twitter, Facebook, Pintrest, and other social media networks. Make sure your customers can find your social media profiles by prominently placing links on your website, on your blog, in your email signature, on your business cards, and on anything else you use to advertise information about your business.

So, how are you encouraging your customers to interact with you?

Use Social Media To
Humanize Your Brand

From Branding, Social Media

The whole idea of a "social network" is to be social. Be yourself and put your best foot forward. You are the face of your business and your social media presence should be the human side of your brand.

Humanizing your brand is a vast and wide topic that can't be solved completely with a single Twitter account, but you can use social media tools to help get you started.

The first step in humanizing your brand is realizing people are interested in human interactions, not business interactions.

People want to read exciting news that is relevant to them. They want to hear about funny things that you see, hear, and do. People want to hear about the inspiring things you do in your own community. They want to listen to a friend that keeps them "in the know".

To paint a picture for you, imagine that you are out for lunch with a new friend. You talk only about yourself, go on ad nauseam about your accomplishments, credentials, etc. Will you end up being good friends? Probably not.

On the other hand, you discuss your interests, experiences you've had, ask plenty of questions about your new friend, and discover you have much in common.

Friends?

Absolutely.

Star Wars &
Your Brand Identity

From Branding, Business
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We took a creative break and attended the Star Wars Identities exhibit. Imagine seeing original storyboards, actual costumes, models of the Millennium Falcon, Tie Fighters, even Star Destroyers, and of course Yoda himself.

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Instagram photos we took at the Star Wars Identities exhibit.

About Identities

Lucasfilm built a strong interactive element into the exhibit. Really clever. Not only did we get to see all of these artifacts, but we became immersed in Star Wars.

We chose a species (human, wookie, ewok, etc) and as we moved through the exhibit we made decisions that shaped our characters' identities. Everything from where we lived, how we were raised, and even the amount of the "Force" we each possessed.

At the end of the exhibit we were presented with our characters' fully formed identities.

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What Forces Shape You?

Moving through the exhibit and shaping our destinies got us thinking about what "forces" shape brands.

So here's the idea:

Your brand is a culmination of what you want it to be and what people say it is.

In business, just as in the exhibit, there are forces you can control: create a vibrant brand, talk to your customers, offer incredible customer service, make the best product you can. Start here and you know that your audience will take notice. Use the force.

2013 Color of the Year:
Emerald

From Design
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Since 2000, Pantone has been secretly meeting, twice a year, with representatives from various color standard groups from around the world to pick a color for the following year. This year it is 17-5641 Emerald's turn.

Expect to see emerald emerge in fashion, home décor, advertising, and other areas of popular culture in 2013.

Last year, Pantone teamed up with Sephora to create the "Sephora + Pantone Universe collection" that featured 2012's Tangerine Tango embellished makeup. I wonder what Pantone has in store for Emerald in 2013.

Lively. Radiant. Lush… A color of elegance and beauty that enhances our sense of well-being, balance and harmony.

Pantone.com