29 March 2013

Video editing for Oliver!

I thought I'd do a quick post to show you a little video I pulled together to promote Lanark Amateur Musical Society's latest production of Oliver! 

At our last rehearsal I filmed some shots of practice and got some members of the cast to talk to the camera about the show, the part they are playing and to try and encourage people to come and see the production!

My trial of Premiere Pro ran out so I had to find another free video editor to use. After scouring around I found the AVS Video Editor which was reasonably easy to use.

If you're in the Carluke area and would like to come and see the show you can call 07771726438 for tickets.

9th - 13th of April
Carluke Lifetyles
Adults £11, Concessions £8
7.30pm (3pm Saturday) 

11 March 2013

Font-tastic: Some great font downloads!

Sometimes the difference between a good design and a great design is the font used to display text...Just imagine the Nike logo in Comic-Sans or Papyrus and you get the picture.

I was in 2nd year at University (cringe!) when I discovered that you could download fonts from the internet and worked out how to install them onto my laptop (wee bit about that later in case you've not tried it yet) The website I use the most now to download fonts for design projects is DaFont.com which I find to have a really varied selection of fonts which are categorised well so that when you don't know exactly what you're looking for you can usually gain some inspiration by searching around. I also discovered the Lost Type Co which provides quality + unique fonts and allows you to 'name your price' and donate anything you like to the creator and have downloaded some fantastic fonts from them recently. 

I've compiled a list of some of the best (mostly) free fonts from these two sites that you can use to jazz up any of your design work. Let me know about any fonts you love to use!

Lost Type Co - Mission Script (works well against block colours)

DaFont- Boris Black Bloxx (good for headline text - not too formal)

LostTypeCo - Cubano (also good for headline text)

DaFont- Hand of Sean (good handwriting text which is still legible) 

DaFont- A love of thunder (great bold + grungey font)

DaFont- Antipasto (slick and sophisticated) 

Lost Type Co - Carton (a great feature font)

Installing fonts

1. Download the font by clicking 'Download', 'Save' - this will vary per site. This will download a zipped folder to your set location.

2. Right click or Open the folder and select 'Extract all files'

3. You'll see a list of files but you want the one that is 'yourfontname.ttf' 

4. Right click and copy this file.

5. Go to start > control panel > fonts

6. Right click and select 'paste' and say yes to any permission pop ups.

7. That should be your font installed, you can check by going into a publishing programme such as Microsoft word and scrolling down the font drop down menu until you see your font.

Thanks for reading, please feel free to leave a comment :) (or even 'follow' this blog!)

5 March 2013

Using Facebook for business: Top 10 tips

Original article written for Lanark.co.uk

Facebook has taken the world by storm over the past few years and currently has a staggering one billion active members and over 40 million pages – four million of these are estimated to belong to businesses.
That’s a heck of a lot of potential customers and is one of the reasons that everyone from McDonalds to your local Butcher has probably set up a page for their business - or is thinking about it.

There are many reasons to set up a Facebook page for your business, but you shouldn't just do it because everyone else is and you think you should too.

All business owners will have objectives they want to achieve to influence the success of their business: Restaurateurs want to encourage people to dine with them; online companies want to drive traffic to their website and stores want to get people talking about their brand – having an online presence such as a Facebook page can help you achieve these goals.

Having a website is essential too, but in this day and age it’s not enough to just stick up a web page and hope that people stumble across it online – nowadays people want to be engaged and interact with you and your brand.

If you’re in the position that you’d like to set up a page for your business, but you don’t know your tagging from your poking then don’t fret – there is some great advice online about setting up your page online, and if you read on you’ll find some top tips for getting you started.

Facebook for Business: Top Tips!

1. Information is key
Head here  https://www.facebook.com/pages/create/ and pick what type of business you are.
When you set up your page make sure you fill in all the information fields with the relevant data, like your phone number, address and website - This will make it easy for your customers to find you and also allow people to ‘check-in’ if you have a physical location they can visit.
Once you get to 30 ‘likes’ you’ll be able to customise the URL of your page to something like http://www.facebook.com/mybusinessname instead of the numbers and letters gobble-de-gook.

2. Looking good
Once you’ve got the basic information sorted you need to make your page look good. You need a square image for your profile picture – your logo would work well here. You can also have a ‘cover image’ at the top – nice, visual, high quality images work best here. Check out this guide for the sizes of these images.

3. Facebook Features
Explore and make use of Facebook's features. Create events for special occasions, limited deals, offers, events in your business and invite people to them. Make use of milestones to populate your timeline with important and interesting dates from your businesses history. Also try out ‘pinning’ and ‘highlighting’ images on your timeline.

4. Advertising
If you’ve got some budget you can try out creating an advert on Facebook to promote your page, or specific posts from your timeline. You have a lot of options for targeting certain people and setting a desired budget so definitely think about it if you want to grow the size of your page fairly quickly.

5. Lay by the law
If you’ve got a personal Facebook page you’ve no doubt seen (and probably entered) one of these ‘Share to win’ and ‘like and comment’ to win competitions...these are actually illegal and although many pages do them, Facebook is starting to clamp down and if you’re caught your page can be shut down. Check out the Rules – Part E (you’ve been warned!)

6.  Gift of the gab
You want to be as responsive as possible on your page, and use a friendly tone of voice. People like to talk to someone who seems human! Try to respond to all comments and private messages and remember to @mention someone by name when replying and it will notify them you’ve responded.

7. Plan it out
Your posts will reach more people if you’re consistent in your posting. It helps to create a weekly plan to think about what you could do throughout the week - to start off about four main posts a week is good and you should try not to post before 11am.  Everyone will be different though and there are no set rules, it will be through trial and error that you’ll learn what days and times are best for posting and getting interaction from people.

8. Mix it up
It also helps to have a range of types of content to appeal to as wide a range of people as possible. Text based posts are Facebook’s favourite and these achieve the highest reach (are shown on most people’s newsfeeds). Photos get the most engagement and are shared the most. Links can be informative and videos can also be popular if the content is appealing.

9. Have a goal in mind
Always keep in mind your goal; what do you want people to do – come in to your shop? Eat at your restaurant? Visit your website? Hire you for a service?  Use your goal to form your key messages and write CTA’s (call to actions) in your posts such as ‘visit us now for...’ ‘Come in to get 10% off....’ ‘Call us now for...’ ‘Check out our new....’

10. Branch out
Facebook isn’t the only social network that could work for your business – there are many out there that can work really well for certain industries. Clothing retailers and Foodies/Restaurants should definitely check out Pinterest and Instagram for some visual marketing.

Thanks for reading.
Do you have any tips for using Facebook for business? Comment below!

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