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Category: Business Talk

06 Jan

SociaComm

Hi, Everyone!

Well, it’s been a while since I have written but believe me, I have not been idle.  There are many changes that have occurred in my life and I’ve been meaning for so long to sit down and write this note.  As you know, I learned a ton about social media and blogging by simply starting this blog back in 2007 and being immersed in promoting it.

In time, I was asked by several companies to help them with their blogging and social media and this coincided with the general downturn of the economy.  But the defining moment came when I was doing a 40′ x 20′ long ceiling, all glaze.  You know what happens with glaze, right?  You can’t stop because you’ll get those dreaded lines.  There were 3 scaffolds side by side with 2 team members on each scaffold and we all worked in a line glazing.  Well, at about 35′ down the line, I was exhausted and I literally stumbled on the scaffold.  I barely made it to the end and it hit me — what was I going to do as I got older? It was at that moment I realized I needed to start finding a way to still work in this field  that I am SO passionate about but actively get away from the physicality of it.  As I filled in the empty slots of time in between decorative painting projects with social media and blogging work for creative companies, it became a new reality for me.  Plus, I loooove to write and research and have been dreaming of making both a bigger part of my life.  Thus, SociaComm was born.

These days I help my clients — all revolving around the Decorative Painting, DIY and Interior Design industries — maximize their digital marketing and blogging efforts.  I count among them Royal Design Studio, Modern Masters, Annie Sloan Unfolded and have helped design companies such as Roos International and bloggers such as Perfectly Imperfect as well.  Garay Artisans (both the decorative painting and the mirrors) are being managed by one of my most trusted friends who is an amazing artist and it’s going strong.  I still paint, finish and draw as I’m revamping my house and love the pace and consideration I can give it!  I use my decorative painting experience daily and am so passionate about this industry — I still look for the latest and greatest, still scout out great artistry and design trends, still love learning beautiful new finishes and products. But now I do it from a more personal and creative marketing point-of-view.

So, on that note, I am formally “closing” Fauxology. BUT. I will still be writing about decorative painting and design over on SociaColor, the blog for SociaComm.  There will also be social media, digital marketing and blogging posts too — all tailored to help the Creatives. I will be writing at the SociaComm Facebook page and you can still join me on Pinterest, Twitter and Google+PLUS. I’ll be writing regularly over at the new Paint + Pattern blogazine launched by Melanie Royals of Royal Design Studio.

So c’mon over to SociaColor and Paint + Pattern as I look forward to writing for you regularly again on all things decorative painting, DIY, design and creative marketing.  I hope you’ll join me.

Warmly,

Regina

12 Apr

Finding the Original Source of an Image on Pinterest

Straight from Regina’s Laptop. Word!

I don’t know if you know this about me, gorgeous ones, but I really enjoy Pinning.  I do know, though, that I’m not alone.  Most of us also enjoy sharing proper credit and give a virtual high-five to our fellow creatives — but then you click on an image’s link and find yourself at a site where there is no information whatsoever.  What to do?

I thought that today I’d give a short tutorial on two ways to find the original source of an image and/or credit, especially for a site such as Pinterest.

SRC IMG BOOKMARKLET

The first way is super quick and easy.  I must give a huge round of thanks to Lynne Rutter for clue-ing me into this in her recent post about wonderful blog policies to keep in mind.  She mentioned a “reverse image look-up tool called Source Image” — and that opened a whole new world to me.  Src Img is a free tool that does the image research for you.

Simply go the site, drag the link to your Bookmarks tab and Voila!  The next time you come upon an image where you would like to know the original source, click on the Src Img link in your Bookmarks tab while the picture is open on your browser.

(above) I’ve used one our studio’s Venetian Plaster projects as an example.  The bookmarklet will bring up multiple white squares with questions marks within them.  As you hover over them, they will individually turn black (like so) and once it does that while you’re over the image you want to research, click on it.

(above) It will then bring up the best guesses for that image via Google Images.  As you can see, it includes Pages and Visually Similar Images.

Sometimes, it will bring up the true original source, other times it will bring up a blog or website that featured it and provides accurate information for you.  The pages it brought up for this image — my Home Workshop guest blog post Venetian Plaster Demystified and my Pinterest page — both lead back to my studio, Garay Artisans.

GOOGLE IMAGES

Let’s say you have an image on your hard drive and you’d like to know the source or you don’t want to install the bookmark.  For this, you can go directly to Google Images itself.  Here, I’ve used an image I had for the post on the book, Living in Cuba.

(above) I paned the Windows side by side, clicked on the image and “dragged” the photo onto the Images bar.

(above) It’ll look like this…

Google Images then gives you it’s best results for that image.  Please note that both those pages come back to Fauxology, where I would definitely have provided proper credit.

~ ~ ~

Sometimes it takes just a few more clicks into the pages given to find the right source, but I think it’s worth the extra few seconds if only to provide the proper information and credit.  I always think “What if it could lead to a project for them?”.  I like that thought. :)   Let me know if you have any questions or if there’s anything else I should cover.  Have a great day, lovelies!

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06 Mar

Fauxology on Google+

We love social media here at Fauxology!  It gives us the ability to share our love for both Decorative Painting and Interior Design and also introduces us to more kindred spirits — whether they be fellow artists, bloggers, design enthusiasts or a beautiful mix of all.  Imagine not knowing all the incredible friends you’ve made because of social media…the world would seem less colorful and open, no?

Today, we wanted to let you know that we started a business page for Fauxology on Google+ and we hope to see you there!  Dana Tucker recently wrote a fantastic overview on Google+ for us.  I found another great series specifically for creatives put together by Colleen Jorgensen of Mural Maker & More. Colleen constructed it as a 5-Part series and the first part tackles What is Google+ Anyway?  — the links to the four remaining articles in the series are at the end of the article.  Mashable also shared Google+: The Complete Guide. All are great reads!

If you’re on Google+, let us know — and, of course, share your page with us as well.  Look forward to seeing you there!

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29 Feb

Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport

About seven years ago, my brother and I decided that our company, Garay Artisans, would actively pursue hospitality commissions.  Hotels, boutiques, spas, restaurants — these all fall under the hospitality design umbrella.  Since then, we’ve worked on a number of these projects and although wonderful, they require a certain mindset.  Over a year ago, we were consulted on a large number of columns for a hotel and in the back of my mind thought that if we did the work, I would post about it on the blog.

In a recent chat with Michelle Lopez of Sparkle Faux Designs, she asked me about the columns.  (How cool is that? Being asked about something you wrote on the blog?) I said that yes, indeed we received the approval but that the finish ultimately chosen did not represent well in photographs and so I was probably not doing a post about the commission.  She suggested doing a post on running a hospitality project as opposed to showcasing the actual commission as the focus.  So, I’m taking her advice.

Picture of the Hyatt taken during our very first meeting.

The column project was for the Hyatt Regency located within the Orlando International Airport.  There were 38 pillars to finish and each about 10′ – 12′  height, with varying widths and either made of metal or concrete.  They all had fading and peeling light wallpaper on them and so we needed to coordinate the wallpaper removal, cleaning, prepping and finishing of all the pillars.  Two of them would require a lift (those two were about 20′ high) and coordination with airport security as the lift base would be parked right in the area of where security checks are held.  Thankfully, we’ve worked at the airport before so we were familiar with their procedures.

You can see a few of the 38 columns within the scope of the project...

If pursuing projects such as these, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • TIMELINE:  In hospitality design you will overwhelmingly be discussing a project about a year (or a bit less) in advance.  Such was the case with this one – we met the wonderful Hyatt team in January and the work was done in August.  The design teams plan well in advance either because they need to time all the trades correctly and/or they need to schedule the work perfectly in between confirmed events at the location.  We are currently in the midst of negotiating two that are about a year away and one time, we started working on a project 2 years in advance. Sometimes it’s a bit surreal.
  • SCHEDULE: In all our initial talks, we discuss the schedule and the clean-up.  There have been very, very few hospitality commissions where we worked normal hours.  There was one project where we worked 8 am – 8 pm virtually every day for a little over a month — there was a grand opening to consider and a lot at stake.  That being said, we more work the 10 pm – 6 am shift.  We usually set up at 10 pm and breakdown at 6 am, leaving absolutely no trace that we were ever there.  We call it “Stealth Faux”.  (…and btw, you meet the most unusual folks at that time. The stories I could tell you…)

Finished Columns

  • BUSINESS FORMS & COMPLIANCE: Have your insurance and licenses up-to-date.  For these projects, they are not optional – they are mandatory and you will be passed over if you are not sufficiently covered. This goes for your team members as well.  Also, ask if you need to add any companies as an “additional insured” right at the beginning.  This will save you time and monies as some insurance companies do charge for this extra feature.  If using scaffolds or lifts, I always make sure we are following OSHA guidelines to a T.
  • FINISHES:  There are so many fantastic finishes out there and hospitality commissions can be wonderful canvases for these.  You do need to think long-term, though.  These are spaces where thousands of people will pass through and be inspired to touch.  The staff will go by with carts and nick the bottoms of your walls or columns. Housekeeping will use strong cleaners on your finishes.  Guests will touch, tear, write with pens, scratch, scar with their luggage, spill their drink, bang their chair — you name it, it can happen.  The finishes may be gorgeous but they must also be ultra-tough and relatively ease to patch up.  We usually plan to train the Engineering staff on how to touch up the finishes, provide them with written instructions and a guide on where to purchase the products in the future and how to contact us if things get out hand.  It proves very helpful to the client.

Finished Columns

For this project, five of us worked the overnight shift for three weeks. On Week 3, we started calling ourselves the Zombie Nation.

I came in to ensure our finishes looked good during the light of day and found the Hyatt staff setting up for a beautiful lunch in the midst of an area we had just cleared a few hours before! It was a great moment to realize how valuable great communication and organization with the design team can be. We all knew the products dried quickly and it kept the hotel's pace intact. Most of the columns you see are finished.

We went with a heavy but smooth application of lustery plaster over the columns.  It hit all the points specified: a) neutral but with a shimmery elegance; b) durable; c) relatively easy to fix and d) nestled perfectly within budget.  We originally had another finish slated with a more pronounced shimmer — but while it looked incredible in the evening lights, it did not look appealing in the sunlight.  Sometimes, you have to change your direction very quickly to complete the job well.

All in all, a wonderful project!  One more thing — and I cannot stress this enough — it is imperative to be surrounded by a good team, a happy team, during a hospitality commission.  When hiring for large projects, we look for talent and a fantastic attitude. There will be that day when you will have all sorts of things going wrong and to have a group that has a great disposition, some who are able to project manage while you put out fires, artists who are nice to one another at 4 am, people to laugh with and moan about coffee together, all pulling each other through the “zombie” hours — that is Priceless.  For that I thank Mary Childs, Monica Arrache, Roger Herota and NEVER least, my brother, Jason.  They, as well as the Hyatt’s executive staff, are extraordinary. The right people will make your hospitality commission that much more pleasant — to visit and to recall in memory.  Hope this has proved helpful — have a great day!

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23 Feb

Google + for Artists & Designers

Today’s post is written by guest Fauxologist, Dana Tucker, of Nashville’s Bella Tucker.  Dana and I taught the Building Your Online Brand workshop together last year at the IDAL convention.  She has also written posts for us on Pinterest, Social Media Netiquette and a recap of the Design Bloggers Conference that we attended together in Los Angeles.  She has also recently started her own Internet Marketing Agency, Forest Home Media. I think my dear friend is a fantastic person to guide us through Google+ — take it away, Dana!

I usually pride myself on being an early adapter to technology. I jumped in with both feet to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogging and Pinterest. As a matter of fact I am a little obsessive about checking in with my online friends. I am one of those people who keeps their phone within reach at all times. If I get a minute I will sneak a peak at my email and social networks. I LOVE being connected. So when the new social network Google + rolled out  last summer I fully expected to jump right on the band wagon. google +BUT, by the time I finally got my invitation, I was tired. I was up to my eyeballs in connectivity. I had more online “friends” than I could physically manage. I had all the bases covered with all my other social networks, right? WRONG!

I read a lot of blogs from some very smart online marketing folks. They all kept preaching about Google +. I started really paying attention to what all the experts were saying. What I hadn’t previously considered was the way that actively participating on Google + can boost your Search Engine Results. Google, the world’s largest search engine responsible for around 65-70% of all online searches had invested time, money, resources, and egos into building it’s own social network. You better believe that they had big plans up their sleeves. The #1 search engine in the world who also owns the #2 search engine, YouTube is now paying very close attention to what people are doing and sharing on Google +. Factor in that Facebook does not currently allow Google to index its posts and you can start to see how it could be beneficial from a Search Engine Optimization perspective to have an account on Google +.

Here is an introductory video on Google +:

So how does it work? Here is the Cliff Notes version of Google +:

The single most important thing you can do on Google + is to completely fill out your profile. google + profileThe most important piece of your profile is the “Employment”. This is what people will see when they hover over your name to decide whether or not to add you to their circles of people or businesses they are following. You should make the copy informative and clever. This is your elevator pitch on why someone should connect with you on Google +.

  • Circles: This is the way that Google + allows you to organize the people you follow and how you share information with them. Adding people to a circle gives them permission to see something that you post. You won’t see what that person is posting unless they choose to follow you back. When you are setting up your circles please take the time to pay attention to how you are categorizing people. I promise this will come in handy later. Another great feature is that you can actually SHARE your circles. Send me a request and I’ll be happy to share my painting and interior design circles with you.
  • Posts: This is like your Facebook status update. This is where you will share photos, videos, curated content, blog posts etc. When you post you will have the option of choosing who to share it with: “public”, “your circles”, “specific people”, or “specific circles”.  For me, I like having control over who sees my posts. This is something that is hard to do on Facebook unless you have built a specific private list of friends. Another word about posting, Google will index your publicly shared posts. Use this to your advantage.
  • Share: This works much like the Facebook share button. You can share relevant content with your circles.
  • Comment/+1: Right below the posts is a comment box. This is where you jump in and join the conversation. That is the #1 way to build friends and circles on Google +. Also below the posts is the “+1″ button. Think of this as the Facebook “like” button. You would “+1″ anything that you would “like” on Facebook.
  • Hangouts: This is a really cool concept. It is basically the ability to do a “Skype” type video chat with a group of people. You can also “share screens” like on Go To Meeting.
  • Chat: This is Google +’s instant messaging service. You can chat with people right inside the Google + window.

Why you should join Google + today:

  1. Google is trolling Google + looking for relevant content to serve up in its Search Engine Results.
  2. Google is not indexing “Tweets”, “LinkedIn” posts or “Facebook” status updates. If you are using these as the sole means of your online marketing you are missing a HUGE potential audience.
  3. An effective Search Engine Optimization strategy needs to include organic search efforts. You have to do the leg work.
  4. Social signals are already influencing Google’s search results. It is predicted that in the future of SEO, social connections might be more important than gathering links.
  5. Pages and blog posts shared on Google + are crawled and indexed by Google’s search engine very quickly (under an hour in most cases) This could take months to happen otherwise.
  6. Let’s face it, you know you will end up with a profile eventually. People change. They move on to the next big thing. A few years ago everyone moved from MySpace to Facebook. Believe me, Google + is the next big thing, especially for businesses.
  7. Listen! It’s a great listening device. You can search by topic and even save searches for your keywords.
  8. There are also Google + business pages. These are very similar to Facebook pages but with the added bonus of being able to really help your organic search results when you link the two together along with your website. This creates authority for your website and online profiles.

Just like any other social network, Google + is a relationship building tool. People do business with people they know and trust. Invest the  time to listen, comment, get to know people and share. It will provide huge rewards. Ready to start? You can “CIRCLE ME HERE”. I promise to circle you back.

Cheers!

- Dana

 

09 Feb

Pinterest Tips & Tricks

Dana Tucker introduced me to Pinterest early last year — in fact, she wrote an introductory post about it for Fauxology back in June 2011.  Since then, I’ve gone a bit nuts but have learned a thing or two.  If you are just new to Pinterest and need to learn your way around, The Yummy Life wrote a fantastic and thorough tutorial on what all the terms mean and how to get the lay of the land.  Artisphere Online recently shared a post that had some very valuable tips as well.  I’m going to go out on a limb and assume you’ve installed the bookmarklet, are familiar with Pinterest and we’ll take it from there.  You may know some of these tips or all.  Here we go…

Bigger is Better

When seeing a pic, we like to really figure out how they did that analyze a space or finish. Small pics don’t let us see much — and that’s why we want as big a picture as possible.  Some blogs and sites will make their pictures smaller and when you pin it, it’s small as well.  Here’s my quick get-around.

Here are two side by side pics from that awesome blog, Fauxology.  One has yummy canvases and another the furniture close-up. If you were to pin either as is, they would show up in their smaller state.

I click on the image I want to pin — in this case, the canvases — to make it larger…

While enlarged, activate the bookmarklet and now see your “new” sizing options.

Please note that in some cases, the same image will show up twice with both sizing options and in other cases, the largest pin will show up as the last image option.  Just be on the lookout for that.  BTW, if the site really did start with a small image, that’ll be your lone option–  and a bummer.

Copy and Paste

I like to include project information with my pins.  To include as much as possible without having to keep going back and forth to check for information and spelling, I highlight the text I’d like to pull from…

…and when I pin my chosen image via the bookmarklet, the text I highlighted shows up automatically in the description box.  I then edit it by adding my own opinions/commentary and the information I want to keep.  Voila!

Pinning from Facebook

So many great images on Facebook, no? Of course, try to pin them and the dreaded The bookmarklet can’t pin images directly from Facebook. Sorry about that. comes up. Yeah, I was sorry about that too, Pinterest, until a ray of heavenly light shone down on me courtesy of AG Beat.

If you right click on the picture (or Control + Click on a Mac), you will see “View Image” or in the alternate, “Open Image in New Tab”. Choose either and it will open the image in a new tab.  You can pin it from there.  Yay!  A note, though — since Facebook images are not for the general public (like say a blog or a website), I would definitely obtain permission before pinning pics that are not your own.

Search and Ye Shall Find

The search engine for Pinterest is a bit hit and miss for me but I do use it. a) Quite by accident, I found out that I could run a search on it using my native language, Spanish.  It’s how I’ve discovered a myriad of other images and blogs. Something to try? b) By the way, if you’d like to see the pinned activity from a particular blog or site, let’s say Anthropologie, just click on their name from the pin.

Now you can see how many pins come from a particular website or blog — try looking for your own.  Fun fact: the resulting URL reads http://pinterest.com/source/anthropologie.com/ – I’ve substituted other websites instead and it works, too.

c) Finally, you can add hashtags at the end of your description to help it be found.  For instance, let’s’ say you are about to pin an image of pink bunny cupcakes.  Instead of  describing it as “mmm…delicious” try this instead: Love this strawberry cupcake recipe from Martha Stewart! The bunnies are so pretty! #Easter #dessert #bunnyisgoingdown Now, that image will come up when someone uses those highly-searchable words you inserted for your description and hashtags.  One note: Overuse of keywords and hashtags can seem spammy so use them well.

The Price is Right

If you sell gifts or products, online or otherwise, add a $ value to the description and Pinterest will automatically add a sash to it with the price and place it under the Gifts category for you.

Group Hug!

You can tag your friends on Pinterest just like you do in Twitter and Facebook — a) simply by adding a @ in front of their name. If you do so, it will bring you a drop down menu where you can choose the right person and then once done, they will be notified of the pin and it will link back to their profile.  It works on comments, too — you can see I’m about to respond back to Carmen Benoit.

b) Also, if you and your friends have a joint interest, you can create a board together.  The board will duplicate in each of your accounts.   Go to Edit Boards…

You can see how I may choose to add contributors to the board, such as Theresa Cheek.  Any person added can choose whether or not to join and the board itself can be promoted via the group’s individual accounts.

Mix and Match

  • If you are sharing your own work, workshops or products you provide and/or pinning from your website, I suggest to cover all bases by adding, on the description itself, a small bit of information and that the work is from your studio.  Many times, an originating source site may not be looked at, but your description will be.  In the Artisphere Online article, Pat Ganino also suggests adding graphics or credit onto the pic itself. As it goes along its pinned adventures far and wide, your studio’s name will (hopefully) go along with it as most people won’t edit out a credit.
  • In terms of effectiveness, I also like to test pinning times to see what garners the most activity.  Late nights and weekend mornings are great re-pinning times for those leaning towards design while DIY tends to be more active during the weekdays and Saturday mornings — personal observances.
  • An image may belong on more than one board and so I do pin them to all the ones applicable — but at different times. One, a pinner who is not following all your boards may see it pop up since it’s now on a board they do follow and secondly, it maximizes the chance of it being seen by those who follow all your boards.
  • Finally, when you pin from a blog, do make sure you are within the exact blog post itself and not the main site.  This will make it easier for you and your followers to find the exact original link.

One last thing…

I did want to touch upon credit.  If I’m including an image I found on Pinterest in a blog post, I make every attempt to locate the right credit and avoid the generic “Image via Pinterest” as much as possible.  As to pinning: All my initial pins had descriptions like “amazing” and “great ceiling!”.  Since then, I’ve opted to scan the original post (click on the pic itself) and write a bit about the artist, designer, location, photographer and/or project itself, if the information is available.  Why? First: it maximizes the search potential for the image; and Second: Although source links are automatically embedded in each pin, most artistry and design are being featured on someone else’s site. It’s wonderful to include the information so they get the credit for their work.  You never know where a pin may lead, so, consider doing for other creatives as you would want them to do for you.

~  ~  ~

Tell me, dear Readers, did I miss any good tips?  Was this type of post helpful?  Please do let all of us know in the comments.  I’m continually learning myself as Pinterest is still something to be explored and as they are making changes as well.  By the way, you can find me on Pinterest as well as my Fauxology blog buddy, Peggy Pardo.  Talk soon!

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26 Jul

#DecArts Twitter Chat

Do you find your online time takes on a mind of its own?  That managing it — the pages, the tweets, the posts, the e-mails — really digs into the time you need for creativity?  Well, I have good news for you…

If you recall, we had the #DecArts Twitter Party a few weeks ago.  That was just a beautiful ice-breaker so that artists could mingle and meet one another — we had a fantastic turnout!  Well, we are having these chats once per month and they will fluctuate between business topics and creative topics for the decorative painting & design industries.  We kick off the monthly chats with a business topic and our special guest is designer Lisa League.  Our chat subject?

Tips and Tricks that allow you to spend more time on artistry, less time on tech.

Doesn’t that sound greatThe chat is this Thursday, July 28th at 8 pm EST on Twitter.  The hashtag to follow the conversation is #DecArts — be sure to put that on each tweet so that we can all “see” each other during the chat.  In fact, you can use that hashtag at all times if you’d like to get a message out to the participating decorative artist community.

I do hope to see you there as I think it’s going to be an incredible chat for artists.  I’ll be co-hosting the event and we’ll all be helping to guide questions to Lisa and make sure everyone gets the information provided.  It’ll be a fantastic time!  Join us?

ABOUT OUR SPECIAL GUEST: LISA LEAGUE

Lisa takes to tech like a fish to water.

As interior designer for hotel developer The Kessler Collection, she depended on technology to sell her ideas and make her designs buildable.

Now she’s using her marketing and design background to manage web and social media for a select art and design clientele.  Recent projects include the freshly redesigned site for mosaic powerhouse New Ravenna, her husband, encaustic artist Jeff League and Florida gallery, Arts on Douglas.

Within a client’s limited time and budget, shortcuts and time savers make a difference — and she seeks out those to share with you during the #DecArts Twitter Chat.  See you there!

 

 

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