Internet,Music

Site: Melissa-bel.com

Category: Singer/Songwriter site

Features: Interactive multimedia content, social media integration, mobile friendly, blog and info to easily keep her fans up to date

Summary: Melissa Bel approached me while I was working at E1 Music and asked if I could create an artist site for her that not only represents her at her presence stage in her music career, but will also allow her to keep her fans up to date on when and where they can see her live, her albums, see her videos and photos from her tour and read her blog. The result is something she can easily update and allows fans to subscribe to her email list so that they can receive her email newsletter, as well as read her blog about what is happening in her life performing live and touring. They can also easily access her social media presence through her handy widgets.

Total Project: Web-site design.




Blog,Internet

Site: FirstSteptoMaximumWellness.com

Category: Personal Trainer/Health & Wellness site

Features: Testimonials, ability to register for the site to receive an email newsletter (that is also integrated and sent through her site), easy click to contact for no-obligation fitness assessment, easy to update blog, photos and description of business

Summary: When Lisa Maxwell spoke to me about her personal training business I could sense her passion for health and wellness and her excitement about the opportunities ahead. We discussed the look and feel of her site and what kept coming across was that she wanted something clean, user friendly and clutter free. What resulted is a site is not only elegant, be is also one she can use to easily demonstrate her business and one that can grow in the years to come.

Total Project: Web-site design, logo design, business card and flier design, studio sign design, and more.




Blog,Dogs,Internet

Site: PawsitivePetCare.com

Category: Dog Walking, Pet Care and Pet-sitting site

Features: E-commerce shop for services, book services online, contact form, read reviews from other customers, description of services with prices

Summary: Pawsitve People Pet Care was a business I created while living in Oshawa. I was working from home at the time and had a dog of my own, but noticed that during the day a lot of dogs went unwalked and uncared for because their owners didn’t have options for services. I wanted a web-site that allowed visitors to view the service options, they could book them and pay for them all online without worrying. I also wanted the ability to advertise specials (via a scroller), communicate with visitors (through a guestbook), and visitors could read reviews from other customers.

Total Project: Web-site design, logo design, business card and flier design, product design, and more.




Internet

Site: ChillsDjs.com

Category: DJ Collective site

Features: Interactive multimedia content, social media integration, mobile friendly, blog and easy to post event info

Summary: The CHILLS DJs have been around for many years but only recently decided to ramp up their web-presence with an updated website. They wanted a site that featured information about each of the members, discussed the events they have coming up, talked about their past events, allowed fans to sign up for their fan-club and also displayed their social media presence. The result is something that not only captures their branding, but also represents them as a DJ collective.

Total Project: Web-site design.




Internet

Site: LisaBassett.com

Category: Personal Web-site/Portfolio site

Features: Interactive multimedia content, social media integration, mobile friendly, blog and easy to post web portfolio

Summary: I’ve been working towards a site for many years now that accurately portrays my career, my skills, talents and professional success stories. It will always be a site in the making but I’m happy with how far this site has come. I wanted something that demonstrates my skills in web-design, content management, graphic design, social media, video, journalism and more. What has resulted is a site that I’m very happy with and is a unique work in progress. Every day I find new things I can add or change about my site that streamline it more and more.

Total Project: Web-site design, logo design, business card and more.




Internet,Music

Site: LadyBass.net

Category: DJ Web-site

Features: Interactive multimedia content, podcast, social media integration, mobile friendly, cross posts to twitter and facebook

Summary: Lady Bass wanted a site that she could easily update with audio, video, mixes, podcasts and more. She also wanted something that demonstrated her extensive social media presence, as well as her unique style and personality. The result is an easy to update and navigate WordPress style blog/web-site where her fans can subscribe to her blog, monthly newsletter, podcasts and more!

Total Project: Web-site design, logo design, business card and flier design, product design, social media, podcasts, and more.




Blog,Internet,Links,Music

Today’s musicians, both mainstream and indie, are using social media to connect with fans, build anticipation, and generate revenue in new and unique ways. The products range from singles to mix tapes to digital six-packs, even oddly shaped USB sticks, vinyl, and the occasional traditional album. But how are these artists reaching their new fan bases online through social channels? Much like the business world, social media promotion for musicians is still a very new game, with no exact recipe for platinum success. There are however, some innovations being put forth, and a new connection is being formed between artists and fans — a connection that empowers both to give each other what they are looking for.

mixing board imageGreg Rollett runs a music marketing company from his laptop in Orlando, FL. He is an advocate of the New Music Economy and very hopeful that artists can still live the rock star lifestyle in the digital age. Connect with Greg on Twitter, @g_ro.

Today’s musicians, both mainstream and indie, are using social media to connect with fans, build anticipation, and generate revenue in new and unique ways. The products range from singles to mix tapes to digital six-packs, even oddly shaped USB sticks, vinyl, and the occasional traditional album.

But how are these artists reaching their new fan bases online through social channels? Much like the business world, social media promotion for musicians is still a very new game, with no exact recipe for platinum success.

There are however, some innovations being put forth, and a new connection is being formed between artists and fans — a connection that empowers both to give each other what they are looking for.


Fan-Funded Projects


Kickstarter Image

We have all heard about the success of micro lending organizations like Kiva, which use multiple small payments to contribute to a larger goal. The same process is being applied to creating an album or a music-based project.

One such project is the Washington D.C.-based indie hip-hop group Panacea. The producer/MC duo listed their project on Kickstater, a funding platform for artists, designers, filmmakers, musicians, journalists, inventors, explorers, and others.

The project was posted on the morning of February 26th. According to Jeremy Calvery, the group’s Director of Digital Media and Promotion, “We were at $1,000 before the end of the first day. We had to increase the number of $200 packages from three to five over the weekend because people were e-mailing and literally begging for the chance to ‘buy’ the whole back catalog. Less than five full days from the first e-mail to the list, we had reached the funding goal of $3,800, which was set to be just a bit more than what the minimum press of 250 vinyl copies was going to cost.”

Another hip-hop outfit, the Get Busy Committee, also launched a project on Kickstarter. In their drive to raise $3,218, they included one premium pledge level at $1,000 — an investment that netted the donor a song about him or herself to be included on the record, as well as a platinum plaque. They sold this spot within 24 hours.


Using Video to Create Buzz


Another approach musicians are taking is the use of web video series. Indie pop artist Mike Posner has been telling his story over the course of a video series titled “One Foot Out The Door.” Daniel Weisman, Mike’s manager, stated that he was attempting to create an income stream for Mike while he was finishing college and working on his debut album.

Daniel and his management company Elitaste were approached by the shoe company Puma about integrated artist campaigns. Puma ended up sponsoring Mike’s last semester in college, and provided a camera crew to follow him from classes, to the studio, to shows all over the country.

Daniel wanted to do something special for the Mashable (Mashable) readers when I reached out to him, so fresh off the upload, here is the premier of Episode #10 of “One Foot Out The Door.”

Live streaming has also been worthwhile for big announcements. Underground artists the Kottonmouth Kings turned to Ustream to tell their fans all about their new album and when they could expect it in local stores.

The video was watched live and formatted like a press conference, with fans getting the chance to ask questions and share their feedback. It was a smart way to bring their fans into the experience and give back to the community that has supported them for 10+ years.


Creativity From the Fans


Mulba 2.0 ImageRob And Kal are a pop/rock act from the UK who are taking fans inside their studio and the music creation process. They call it Mubla 2.0, which Rob defined as “our interactive recording project where we come up with song ideas and you help us develop them with your comments, suggestions and musicianship.”

So far they have five songs in progress with fans like Adam saying, “I just feel the intro has a little too much going on and 2.33 to 2.56 I almost want the piano to play and pull at the heart strings.” Another commenter named Russell gave tips like, “Think drums and a bit more of heavier guitar would go down nicely particularly near end.”

This concept empowers fans and gives them a product they feel responsible for and connected to. The project can only strengthen the bond between fans and artists, and result in an easier sale when the time comes to release an album.


Reaching Out to Non-Music Bloggers


Glasses Malone ImageGlasses Malone, a new artist signed with Cash Money Records, is turning to bloggers to get the word out about his new album “Beach Cruiser.” What makes his campaign unique is that unlike traditional artists who look to get their tracks on highly trafficked MP3 blogs and review sites, Glasses and his team are focused on adding value to bloggers whose primary focus is not on music.

A marketing rep for Glasses told me, “These bloggers are more open to running contests and integrated campaigns than traditional music bloggers because they are not accustomed to being pitched by a major label artist. We have found blogs that love unique and fresh content that will separate them from their peers and competition, and it is working out very well for us so far.”

Armed with a research team, they have been targeting biking blogs, college blogs, beach lifestyle sites and more, all with the hope of driving new traffic to Glasses’ site and generating some pre-album buzz.


Conclusion


No matter what the labels and corporations are doing, musicians are taking it upon themselves to use social channels to connect with fans, offer value, and create relationship. This has ultimately led to new business models and revenue streams from sponsorships, touring and live appearances, custom products, and social monetization through advertising.




Blog,Internet

Collaboration and crowdsourcing are the realities of today’s public Internet, and the trend is now gaining real traction in the workplace. Smart companies increasingly understand that their richest source of insight, ideas, data, and information is within their own employees. They are the ones whose talent, work, and daily interactions with the product make the business what it is.

I found this article on Mashable and found it extremely interesting. From personal experience we use social media to make better, more educated business decisions. Enjoy!

business network image

Collaboration and crowdsourcing are the realities of today’s public Internet, and the trend is now gaining real traction in the workplace.  Smart companies increasingly understand that their richest source of insight, ideas, data, and information is within their own employees. They are the ones whose talent, work, and daily interactions with the product make the business what it is.

Just as so many of us look to the Yelp community to figure out where to make our dinner reservations, companies are increasingly looking to the employee crowd for the knowledge and insight to make better business decisions.


Enterprise Social Networks


salesforce chatter image

“If only HP knew what HP knows, we would be three times more productive.” – Lew Platt, Former CEO of HP

As the social enterprise builds momentum, the big question is: How will companies effectively tap the employee crowd to become more productive?

Enterprise social networks arm companies with social media functionality, allowing them to collaborate with their employees around up-to-the-minute information. Late last year, Salesforce stirred up some buzz around enterprise social networking with the announcement of its Chatter Collaboration Platform.  Currently in beta, Chatter aims to bring together elements of Facebook, Twitter and other real-time services. By integrating profiles, feeds and groups across its platform, Salesforce offers its end users the same functionality they already use to share ideas and information on public social networks.

While social networking functionality excels at connecting teams around projects, information, and qualitative data, it falls short in its ability to drive quantitative, actionable insights — the holy grail for project managers and enterprise forecasting groups.


Prediction Markets


Prediction markets are all about tapping the crowd to source hard, unbiased quantitative metrics about the future of projects and business initiatives.  A prediction market works like a stock market of sorts, allowing employees to anonymously place “bets” on key forecasts: When will the product really ship? How much will we sell in Q1? Will our competitor enter the market in 2010? And so forth.

Business leaders rely on metrics and data to inform decisions around new products and opportunities, but traditional forecasting methods suffer from bias and lack of first-hand information. That’s why business forecasting is an ideal target for the application of crowd wisdom.  While bets are made anonymously, some prediction market software applications have built-in reward systems for accurate forecasters. And the accuracy of prediction markets over traditional forecasting methods is proven again and again.


Crowdsourcing the Next Big Idea


My Starbucks Idea Image

There’s a good chance that a company’s next big idea could be hidden within the people who are most engaged with its product and brand. More companies are turning to the crowd for ideas on all aspects of their business by creating online public forums. In 2008, Starbucks launched a major initiative to enhance their services with a website called My Starbucks Idea that polls members on decisions that would most directly impact them.

This kind of innovation sourcing applies to the enterprise as well.  Companies like Brightidea and InnoCentive are helping their customers tap resources to inspire, gather, and manage ideas and innovation from within their employee ranks.


The Future


As collaborative technologies gain traction, the future of enterprise will include internal social networks, prediction markets, and idea management platforms.  In this vision, social networks will be the default location for a collaborative employee community. Think of it as a wide and deep pool of employee knowledge and ideas.

Prediction markets will then aggregate this knowledge to produce actionable, people-powered forecasts. The result is an ultra-rich information source that will lay the foundation for smarter, better-informed company decisions. We are already seeing the first movement towards this integrated vision with products like 12sprints from SAP.

The ability to manage and profit from employee knowledge through social networks, idea funnels, and prediction markets will be the defining competitive advantage for this decade.  Employees will have a voice and enterprises will truly leverage their most valuable assets.




Blog,Internet

Fortune 500 companies got into the Twittering act in a big way last year, according to a study released by the Society for New Communications Research. Thirty-five percent of Fortune 500 corporations had an active Twitter account as of last year (i.e., one with a post within the past 30 days), according to the study.

Fortune 500 companies got into the Twittering act in a big way last year, according to a study released by the Society for New Communications Research.

Thirty-five percent of Fortune 500 corporations had an active Twitter account as of last year (i.e., one with a post within the past 30 days), according to the study.

Among the top 100 companies on the roster, 47 percent had a Twitter account. Twenty-two percent of all Fortune 500 companies had a “public-facing corporate blog,” and more than eight in 10 of those linked directly to a corporate Twitter account.

Four of the top five corporations — Walmart, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and General Electric — “consistently post on their Twitter accounts,” according to the study, titled “The Fortune 500 and Social Media: A Longitudinal Study of Blogging and Twitter Usage by America’s Largest Companies.” (ExxonMobil was the exception.)

In a breakdown by industry, 13 of the Fortune 500 insurance companies had an active Twitter account, making that sector the most likely to tweet. Eleven of the food-related companies used Twitter.

Elsewhere on the new-media front, the study found 19 percent of Fortune 500 corporations using podcasting and 31 percent using video blogging. The rise in podcasting from the previous year was fairly modest (up from 16 percent). But the rise in video blogging was steep (from 21 percent in 2008). The study did not include comparative data from 2008 for companies’ Twitter usage.

The study was conducted by Nora Ganim Barnes, senior fellow and research chair of the Society for New Communications Research (as well as a marketing professor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth), and Eric Mattson, CEO of Financial Insite, a Seattle-based research firm. —Mark Dolliver, Adweek




Blog,Internet

Because I get this question all of the time – I thought I’d post something I found online to help with how to create backgrounds for sites like youtube, myspace and twitter. Enjoy!

HOW TO: Create Custom Backgrounds for Twitter, YouTube, & MySpace

If you’re using your social media profiles to promote your personal brand or business, chances are that pre-made themes and watermarked templates just won’t cut it. You need a custom design to make your profile stand apart from the rest and convey important information about who you are.

Some of our favorite social networks afford us this customization, but there are a few tricks that may save you some time and frustration when creating a custom profile background. While none of these can replace the eye of a great graphic designer, they should help you get a sense of the layout you’re after.


Choose an Image Editor


To start, you’ll need an image editor. Photoshop is probably best suited for the task, but there are plenty of free alternatives on the web.

Gimp is a free, open source image editing and compositing tool that has many of the layering and filtering abilities of Photoshop.

gimp image

Aviary’s Phoenix is another great free tool that is entirely web based. You can edit and layer images in a Photoshop-like environment right in your web browser, then save the finished product to your desktop.

aviary image

Photoshop.com also offers a free, “lite,” web-based version of the popular editor.

photoshop image

Once you’ve chosen your tool, it’s time to get to work.


Twitter


A great Twitter background makes an impression on potential followers. It should communicate who you are and what people should expect from your tweets. Here are some examples of great Twitter backgrounds:

Dimensions: The column that contains your tweets and profile information will always take up about 760 pixels of screen real estate. What’s left for the background will be determined by the user’s monitor. Everyone viewing your profile will see it a little differently, depending on the resolution of their screen. A safe bet to ensure that your background will not be cut off or tiled at most resolutions is a 1680 x 1200 pixel image. The image resolution should be web standard 72 dpi.

Maximum File Size: 800 KB

Layout: Accounting for the 760 pixel center column, the space left over on either side will depend on the visitor’s resolution. The space at the top for the Twitter logo will remain constant at about 65 pixels, and a good rule of thumb is to leave about 200 pixels at the left for your design. This will accommodate most monitor resolutions.

Twitter aligns the background image to the top left, so it is important to focus your main content in that area as shown. The further to the left an element appears, the least likely it will be cut off on a low resolution monitor.

There are a few tools that may help you determine what your layout will look like at different resolutions. To quickly determine your own resolutions as a reference point, jump over to whatismyscreenresolution.com.

For FireFox users, the Web Developer add-on will resize your browser to fit common monitor resolutions so you can see what your layout might look like for other users.

Screen-resolution.com is also a handy tool for popping URLs into resolution-specific browers windows.

Design Tip: Don’t clutter your background with too much information. Because URLs are not clickable in a background, this space is better suited for logos, photos, or other clean graphic elements that express who you are. If you’re encouraging people to connect with you outside of Twitter, make sure the one URL in your profile links to your contact information.

Also, be sure to choose text and link colors that compliment your background.

How To Add It:


YouTube


A branded YouTube (YouTube) channel is a great way to identify yourself to viewers when they land on your video pages. Here are some examples of great YouTube channel designs:

Dimensions: YouTube channel backgrounds work similarly to Twitter backgrounds in that they must account for the fixed width of the channel content. The area that displays your videos and profile information is 960 pixels wide. Note that the top area that displays the YouTube logo and search is not taken into account with regard to your background. Your background image will begin below the white YouTube bar, so all content should be started near the top of your image.

Like Twitter, screen real estate depends on monitor resolution. A good image size to work with is 2000 x 2200 pixels total.

Maximum File Size: 256 KB

Layout: It is important to understand that YouTube will center your background image behind your channel content. This means that your important image content should appear just to the left and right of the 960 pixel center column. It also means that people with large or widescreen monitors will see much more of your image stretching out to the right and left of their screen. This is why it’s good to use a very wide image (2000 pixels, in this example).

Whereas your Twitter background should be focused as far to the left as possible, the content in your YouTube background should be as close to the central 960 pixel column as possible without going behind it. Again, test different resolutions with the tools above to see where viewers might be cropping your image and adjust accordingly to account for variation.

Design Tip: Because widescreen monitors may view much more of your image on the left and right, it may be useful to incorporate a fade to a solid color on each end. Then, make the page background that same color to avoid an unsightly “break” in the design.

Also, be sure to implement complimentary box and text colors.

How To Add It:


MySpace


Though MySpace has fallen out of vogue in recent years, it is still a viable platform for younger users and a destination for many bands and music sharers.

If you’re looking to make a statement with your MySpace page, a well-tailored background could do the trick.

Here are some impressive ones:

Dimensions: MySpace’s “Profile 2.0″ customization is actually very flexible and allows a few options. You can change your content size between 960 pixels, 750 pixels, or 100% (which wipes out the background entirely). Decide which layout you like best and build your background to match. The full size should account for large monitors, so something in the neighborhood of 2000 x 2200 pixels should work here as well.

Maximum File Size: Any, but best to keep it under 500K for quick load times.

File hosting: Unlike Twitter and YouTube, Myspace will not host your background file, but simply reference it from a URL. If you don’t own web space, there are plenty of places you can host an image for free, including PhotoBucket and ImageShack . Upload your image to one of these sites and paste the image URL into MySpace’s layout editor.

Layout: Again, MySpace is surprisingly flexible, and the advanced layout editor allows you to align your background against any quadrant of the screen, or center it. It’s up to you how you want to approach the layout. Simply account for your content column (750 or 960 pixels) and design around it. Then position your image accordingly. The best designs fit their graphic elements snugly against the content column so that they’ll be visible at any resolution.

How To Add It:


Others


The two other big dogs of social networking, Facebook and LinkedIn, don’t offer background customization options. While this may be a disappointment to some, many would argue that the clean, uniform look of these sites has contributed to their success.




AUTHOR

  • profileLisa Bassett is a Digital Marketing and Social Media professional from Toronto, Canada.