Creating a Social Media Style Guide
Keep Everyone on the Same Page
Maybe when your ecommerce business was just getting started, one person was doing all the marketing and social media, plus a whole bunch more. It’s easy to create and maintain a voice for your brand in this circumstance. But when your business grows, so does the needs for some formalized processes.
Why A Style Guide
The short answer to the why a style guide question is a consistent and clear voice to best represent your brand. The long answer depends a bit more on the specific needs of your business. A style guide can become the foundational building block of your entire social media and marketing strategy. Your style guide can easily become one of the most important and informative documents you create. Ultimately, your goal should be to create a go-to document that is constantly evolving with your business.
It’s almost that time for you to throw the party of the year: your Halloween party. Don’t be alarmed; it’s relatively easy to throw a party that encourages your best friends to dress up, and forget that they weren’t eating sweets this month.
The most important aspect of any Halloween party is, of course, the costumes. To prevent the the awkwardness of only having half your guests dress up, you should consider letting your friends know ahead of time that you’ll be handing out silly awards during the night. Giving out awards for Best Costume and Worst Costume, etc. is a great to way to make your party memorable. It’ll also encourage friends to go the extra mile with their costumes, just as you’re going the extra mile to distinguish your party.
In the age of endless YouTube cooking videos, there are many options for making Halloween treats for your party. You can find instructional videos for crafting anything from peculiar desserts that resemble ghosts and pumpkins, to simpler things like candy-topped brownies and cupcakes. Whatever you choose, just make sure you have plenty of treats, because after all, that’s what Halloween is all about. It wouldn’t hurt to put out small bowls of individually wrapped candies to encourage your guests to snack throughout the night.
As far as other essentials go, make sure you put a decent amount of time into decorating your space. No Halloween party is complete without plenty of pumpkins, so take the time to decorate and carve a few beforehand. If you aren’t great at carving pumpkins, encourage some of your friends to bring their own. You’d be surprised at how excited grown men and women get to carve a pumpkin this time of year.
It’s super fun and easy to get creative with common household items and recyclables to create decorations for your party. Of course, the Halloween staples include bats, webs, witches’ hats, ghosts, and skeletons, but don’t stop there. This is the time of year to fully express yourself in your truest form. Also, make sure your Halloween soundtrack ready to go, and don’t forget to play Monster Mash at least 3 times during the night—we're pretty sure there's a rule about that somewhere.
Lastly, if you’re daring enough to host a Halloween party, you’ll eventually have to take on the terrifying task of cleaning up once everyone leaves. Candy and sweets mixed with dancing and possibly a few adult-beverages can result in quite the mess. Prepare yourself for just that, and make sure that anyone you’re kind enough to crash on your sofa or in your guest room recognizes that they’ll be expected to join you in cleaning up when they wake up.
Most of all, have fun. That's really what Halloween should be about.
That Extra “S”—When HTTPS Pays Off
It shouldn’t take a massive data breach targeting one of the world’s largest credit reporting agencies to drive home the point that internet security is as critical as ever. But after the recent Equifax nightmare, more and more entities are examining their internal policies and web settings in order to avoid falling victim to a hack. Small- and mid-sized ecommerce merchants are not behemoth data aggregators, but even a single breach can spell disaster.
Virginia-based VeriSign, a key player in creating dual-layered security channels that make online interactions secure, was first up to bat. Working off of cryptographic patents, it went to work in 1995 developing digital authentication services to verify identities, bank numbers, and other data used to transact business online.
If nothing else, customers have become more tech-savvy and understand the markers of a secure site. The entry of HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) to replace or precede the www in address bars was the first step in demonstrating secure traffic. As technology advanced, an “s” was added, resulting in HTTPS, or HTTP plus Security.
The Sale Isn't the End
When the Sale Isn’t Final
We get the point: your work pace can be overwhelming if you’re operating a growing ecommerce business. Just because you aren’t ringing up merchandise in a brick-and-mortar joint, that doesn’t mean you aren’t busting your behind making sure orders are processed, filled, and sent on their merry way.
Ecommerce joins the 21st Century trend of somewhat impersonal interaction. The customer doesn’t lay eyes on cluttered aisles in the midst of inventory re-stocking. She doesn’t stand in line at the register. But if that were all a part of your business model, wouldn’t you be curious to know how satisfied she was with her purchase? If you spotted her perusing around town, would you be tempted to send a friendly greeting her way and get a feel for whether she’ll be back in your store?
Here’s where The New Era has advantages over traditional retailing. With access to an email address, your golden opportunity to reconnect with customers becomes essential. And in case you’re hesitant about this strategy, pay attention to these stats: Shopify.com estimates that fully half of all customers experience some form of second thoughts. Half. Make that work in your favor with a follow-up communication to ease their concerns.