Things that really grind my gears

Many years ago, I was one of a two-member team of graphic designers who co-workers called “Bitch” and “Moan.” We had a 30-minute ride to work together in the same car, so by the time we stepped from the elevator into the advertising department of a well-known retailer in Youngstown, Ohio, we had ourselves worked up into a tizzy. The elevator doors would open and the lingering stench of 100’s of cigarettes that had been smoked the day before would hit us full force. Our howls of disgust were usually the first sign that yes, we had arrived.

Image by <a href="">Gerd Altmann</a> from <a href="">Pixabay</a>

I’d like to think that along with smoke-free workplaces, I’ve come a long way since then and am no longer either “Bitch” or “Moan”... I never quite figured out which I was supposed to be. Perhaps it changed from day to day? Anyway, today there are still a few things that really grind my gears. 

Like the falicy that brand identity design begins with a website or logo. Business owners often ask me for a logo design for their new website. What they really need is a brand strategy—which is the first step in creating a valuable brand identity.

If you’re starting a new business or wanting to strengthen your brand, click to download “10 Basic Tools For Building A Valuable Brand.” It’s the steps that I believe should be taken before diving into social media, purchasing ads or sending out direct mail. 

I hope that it saves you considerable time, money and frustration.

My social media addiction

I have an embarrassing secret to share with you. I recently kicked a 10 year addiction to social media. It started innocently, I was looking for an easy way to promote my business and, according to “the experts,” social media was the way to do it. This is especially embarrassing for me because I’ve managed social media pages for clients and should know better.

The online mantra is that to be a successful business you must be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, YouTube, and that you need a blog, an email campaign, a digital newsletter and a video. Sound familiar?

So back in 2009, I started a Facebook business page, opened a Twitter account and began to blog. I was already on LinkedIn and later I would add Instagram, experiment with Pintrest and even open an Etsy Store.

I bought an iPhone and downloaded all the social media apps onto it. I set alerts to tell me immediately when someone commented on my social media posts. I would get up at 4 a.m. with my husband for his work and while he watched the morning news on TV over his coffee, I checked my social media on the phone. I commented, shared and linked posts, plus, planned exciting and creative ways to promote my business.

I ran Facebook contests giving away $100 VISA gift cards, my Twitter account was impressive and I was even getting calls from social media gurus asking what my secret was.... I was also posting to my blog daily, at least for awhile, and taking amazing photos and posting them too.

A total stranger approached me at an Advertising Awards dinner to tell me that she had seen my post on Twitter saying that I would be there. She said that her reason for attending was that she wanted to meet me... As flattering as this was, I found it very unnerving and spent the rest of the evening looking over my shoulder for stalkers.

Last year I listened to a Ted Talk from an Instagram Superstar, her name I’ve since forgotten. She told of having 100,000 followers on Instagram and how she had not made a dime from any of it.

I began to question how much I was getting from all of this? I certainly wasn’t making much money or growing my business from it, at least not in ROI of my time. I realized that for me, social media had become an all consuming force that needed to be reckoned with.

I closed my Facebook business page, my followers were only interested in $100 gift cards. My blog had already fallen by the wayside because I could only juggle so much. I stopped posting to Twitter and Instagram and guess what? Nobody noticed! I still kept getting new Followers and “likes” and comments from my old Followers, go figure.

Social media is not a one-size-fits-all package. Every business is different. Today my social media is limited to LinkedIn, my personal Facebook page and this blog. I can’t get back my wasted time or energy, but I can turn it into a “don’t let this happen to you” example for my readers.

Next week I’ll begin sharing with you what I have learned from all of this with my list of “10 Basic Tools Needed To Build A Valuable Brand.”