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Let’s Get Personal: Branding on Instagram

Instagram. This wonder of an app has totally changed how we share and post photos – more specifically, it’s changed our standards on what is worth a “like” or not. However, an aspect of Instagram that we tend to forget about (just like we forget how we got to scrolling through your friend’s cousin’s girlfriend’s insta feed) is personal branding. Instagram is an app all about personal branding. What you post, the frequency of your posts and youre post’s content all contribute to how your followers and potential clients perceive you and your business.

So, next time you decide to whimsically post that “risqué” photo onto Instagram – think. Is this post contributing to my personal brand in a way that reflects how I want to be perceived?

First, think about your brand’s aesthetic. What comes to mind? Is the photo you want to post going to contribute to that aesthetic or picture in your mind? If you are unsure of your brand’s essence, your followers will be unsure too. Make sure you know #whoyouare before clicking post.

Going off of that hashtag, use them! Hashtags can help your posts reach a whole new demographic of followers if you know how to do it properly. Make sure all your hashtags are #relevant and #concise to your business. And don’t overdo it. Sometimes less is more.

Next, know your voice. When posting for your business, change your personal voice (just a tad!). I’m not saying to lose you completely, but clean yourself up. Make sure your language is professional, appropriate and represents your brand standards. #Imperative

Finally, be active. Post frequently (3-5x per week) to keep your followers engaged and seeing continuous content from your business. Also the more you post, the more you can practice your hashtags and refining your voice. #PracticeMakesPerfect #AmIRight

Being a new social media strategist here at DFSCC, I was excited when Dorothy gave me the task of taking over social media account strategy (though we all present and weigh in, and aren’t on an island). It was on me to present to our team my knowledge of best practices can be put to good use for the benefit of those we serve. However, after lots of industry and company specific research, teamwork, developing the company’s voice, understanding their audience and knowing their personal brand #goals, I have come to truly love putting these puzzle pieces together and seeing the metrics and analytics to prove the success.


Don’t Let Your Personal Brand Consume You

You must read this article I found in the New York Times. After having just finished Joshua Meyrowitz’s book No Sense of Place (nerd alert!), I’ve been really interested in how today’s media market, particularly social media, emotionally and interpersonally affects us.

It seems counterproductive for a blog post from a marketing/public relations firm to be preaching about the potentially damaging effects of social media and the wrong kind of personal branding. But, I feel that it is also our duty at DFSCC to educate and guide our clients (and our readers) towards healthy relationships with social media. Knowledge is power, and if we can be upfront about the no-so-pretty aspects of personal branding, the more time we have to rule the world. Can I get an “amen”?!

Anyway, after several recent conversations with peers about this topic, I have learned a lot about how social media can easily dictate how we view ourselves and our relationships. And, consequently, I’ve had a lot of time to think about how we can prevent putting too much stock in that little number next to that little heart under that little picture on that little app.


The Social Media Monster

Again, I’m not here to undermine the awesome and powerful ramifications the world has experienced since the emergence of social media. Social media has brought us awareness, inspired innovation, facilitated tough conversations, and connected friends, old and new. Social media is not inherently bad. It is a really, really great thing. But only if we treat it for what it essentially is: an accessory for who we are, not entirely who we are.

My first encounter with the sad realities of social media was in the middle of nowhere in western Pennsylvania. I was a camp counselor to 10 precious young girls who were sitting on their bunks as we talked about self worth one July night. I did not expect the before-bed conversation to last longer than twenty minutes, so I opened with “Alright, where do y’all think you put your self worth?” Without hesitation, one of my campers piped up and said, “My social media presence.” Immediately, the nine other eleven-year-olds nodded in agreement.

My heart broke for them.

These girls, much like Clara in the NYT article, put their contentment and satisfaction with who they are at the mercy of their followers, 75% of whom they probably don’t even personally know. If a photo does not get enough likes in 15 minutes, they delete it out of embarrassment. If they want to post a selfie because they know it will get a lot of attention, they slap on an irrelevant quote from an author they’ve never heard of but found on Google to give it some justification. And they post photos of their lattes because it gives that urban, cool girl vibe, even though they truly don’t like coffee.

In particular, Instagram has become a vehicle in which we can display our pseudo-selves. We so carefully can edit and tweak a photo-and-caption-combo to give an impression of who we are. And, all too often, we are not entirely truthful out of fear of appearing worn down, disappointed, and honestly human.


The New News Feed


Since middle school, I have followed tons of bloggers. (Talk about perfect social media presence…) They have made careers out of using social media to brand themselves, and I admire them for that.

One of my favorite “media trends” that rippled through bloggers a few years ago was “The Story Behind The ‘Gram” (or something like that). Basically, the bloggers re-posted an Instagram and told the “true” story of what was going on in their lives when the photo was taken. I was in shock at some of the things I read. Jobs were lost, family members were ill, and hearts were broken while so-and-so was posing pretty in a gingham dress on a cute bike in a tropical place. These posts reminded me of the inescapable humanness we all possess, and I think this should be celebrated.

Our obsession with likes and follows and mentions has revealed a deeper issue our society is facing: we long for affirmation. But we are finding it the wrong places. Social media is so fleeting. Before you know it, the accounts on apps we’ve slaved over will fall to the next big thing. It’s the natural life cycle of today’s media.

So, I propose that we keep using social media. Use the heck out of it. Brand yourself as best you can and work hard on your websites/photos/profiles. BUT, do it for you. Let it wholeheartedly reflect you. You don’t have to outline every shortcoming or dilemma in your posts, but do not ever let your social media “success” define how you feel about yourself, or, in reference to Clara’s NYT story, define your relationships.

You, my #GirlBosses, are worth so much more than your likes. You are so full of power and ambition that cannot possibly be contained by an Instagram account. So, go ahead and post away knowing your followers are not the boss of you. YOU are the boss of you. You, after all, are a #GirlBoss.


6 Ways to Being a Better Listener

Being a #girlboss can sometimes be exhausting. The constant grind, working to get it done, and staring at a computer screens can really drain your energy. When we finally have human interaction, it can sometimes be hard to pay attention and listen to the other person.

Do you ever zone out while talking to someone and allow you mind to drift off to a project that’s due in three days, or a meeting you have to be to in an hour, or maybe a tropical island with a delicious drink in your hand? (Okay, the latter of the three might come to mind more often than not…) Of course you do! We all have been there. It’s hard talking to people and listening to what they have to say. It’s one thing to talk to someone and respond to them, but it’s another to really absorb what they’re saying and relate to it.


Here are 6 tips to help you in future conversations so that you can really allow yourself to listen.


Tip one: listen to learn, not to be polite. Sometimes we allow ourselves to become wrapped up in a conversation out of generosity, not curiosity. Instead of feeling like we are gifting someone with our presence and conversation, we should instead engage in conversation in order to truly listen to what the person has to say. We should be learning something about the person. Each day we should ask ourselves: what we are curious about and what we are wrong about. Editor Steward Brand says that this allows our ears to be opened and it gives us a beginner’s mind-set when walking into a conversation.


Tip two: try to quiet your agenda. Instead of thinking about the meeting you have in an hour and the project due in a few days, you should try to quiet your mind while in a conversation (meditate that mind). Keeping your mind clear helps to allow new information to flow. Instead of blocking out the conversation, you are allowing it to take hold in your mind.


Tip three: more questions! As my former high school literature teacher frequently said “the more questions you ask, the more you learn.” This couldn’t be more true. When someone asks questions of another it builds trust, allows one to be open and honest with you, and it shows people that you care about what they have to say (and who doesn’t love that).  Not only does it show you care about what they have to say, but you allow yourself and others to become more open.


Tip 4: Pay Attention! Always remember the 2:1 listening to talking ratio when in a conversation. As much as we want to share things about ourselves and dominate the conversation, we should allow others to talk more and we should try and engage on the subjects they bring to the conversation.


Tip 5: Repeat back what you hear. I am currently having flashbacks to zoning out and having an undergraduate professor call on me, “Can you explain to the class what this passage we just read means to you?”… Well, no I cannot; I am exhausted and was dreaming about chocolate fondue. (Sorry.) Unfortunately, in the business world, you can’t afford to zone out in a conversation. The response “I’m sorry what page are we on?” does not work. Be alert and attentive when listening to others and be able to repeat what was just heard.

Tip 6: Let the other person finish talking! As much as we want to input our thoughts into a conversation, we have to remember that the other person wants to do the same. We must remember that one important thing about listening is patience. As difficult as it may seem to find the perfect moment to formulate a response to what someone has said, it can be done.

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Influencer Marketing: Strategies to Improve and Succeed

Influencer marketing has made serious traction over the last few years, causing companies to begin to turn their heads in its direction. We live in a new era where certain bloggers and people’s personal brands (not to mention companies’ brands) have more following than traditional print media does – changing the game of marketing all together. Luckily, there are certain tips and tricks your company can utilize in order to make you influencer marketing campaigns more effective and successful!


Evergreen content is a must

For those of you not familiar with this term, it essentially means a piece of content that does not expire in a short time frame. In turn, it helps a business establish major credibility and gives customers great information.


Build and nurture relationships with influencers

Once initial connections have been established, make sure you maintain these relationships over time. This way, if you decide to launch a new product or idea, you can use influencers in a focus group or involve them once again on your campaign. If the influencer starts Incorporating your products into their daily lives, you can expect positive reactions from others.


Don’t be afraid to use an agency (cough, DFS Creative Concepts, cough)

Agencies are a great way to connect with the right people for the specific need you have. It can take a lot of time to find the perfect influencer, and even more time to reach out and develop a connection with them. Instead, sit back and let and agency do the work for you.


Reuse your campaign in cross promotions

Don’t let people forget about what you’ve done just because your campaign has ended! Promote it on websites ,blogs, and other social media channels. The paid tool of a Facebook promotion post is also a way to ensure your post reaches more viewers.


Allow creative freedom

Influencers are popular for a reason. Clearly, their lifestyle resonates with their followers. Let them have some creativity with how they market your brand—odds are, they know what they are doing! 

#DFSquad: Get to Know Megan


Photo Creds: Angela Cox Zion

Happy weekend eve, #GirlBosses! We are back with another #DFSquad bio on a girl who is equal parts sassy, fabulous, and hardworking. Megan Womble has a particularly special place in my heart because she introduced me to the DFSCC world, so I am eternally indebted to her. Megan is a workhorse and always has a positive attitude. Read below to find out how she does it all:

What is your morning mantra?

“It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” Basically, IT AIN’T OVER UNTIL IT’S OVER! We have to go through the motions to get where we are supposed to be. We go along a journey with our clients to help them reach their goals. In life, we have to take each day as it comes! 

Who is a #GirlBoss you admire?

I admire the #GirlBoss that pushes herself, the #GirlBoss who is an inspiration to others, the #GirlBoss who works hard, and the #GirlBoss who is the best version of herself.

What draws you to PR/marketing?

I love this type of work! It’s constantly growing and adapting to changes in trends/audiences/platforms. I love the challenge it brings. 

Your go-to office outfit:

Booties are a staple piece in my wardrobe– DFS has taught me how to mix patterns and textures to spice up my daily work outfits while being polished and professional. No tight buns and pantyhose here! Outfits are an extension of our personalities– look good, feel good!

Best piece of advice Dorothy has given you:

“Divorce it from your life.” Do away with what is negative in your life. Only surround yourself with the best!

Describe your experience working at DFSCC in one word:

Indescribable. I LOVE my job and everything/everyone/every experience that comes with it.

Favorite think about the Village:

Greenville’s little hideaway is constantly growing, plus The Village Grind is a staple in my work routine. The Village has its own personality!

Coffee or tea?

COFFE over tea, always. Caffeine is a must for the life of a #GirlBoss. 🙂 I have been experimenting with a pump of mocha in my usual morning cup and I 100% would recommend. 


Thursday Tidbits: Claudia Bove

Image Source: Angela Cox Zion Photography

It is just after hump day and we are THRILLED. We’re pondering starting the weekend early with some rosé and hightailing it to Mexico. Who’s with us?

I thought it would be fun to get to know the “DFSquad” beyond the bios on our website. Our first gal is the effortlessly chic Claudia Bové. She. Is. Cool. Makes sense, because she is from Southampton, New York. She brings her minimalist, Northern vibe to our office with her sleek clothes and gentle spirit.

CT: What is your morning mantra?

CB: I don’t know if I really have a morning mantra…I’m typically not a morning person but I always like to jam to some music when I’m getting ready to get me in a good mood for the day!

CT: Who is a #GirlBoss you admire? Why?

CB: My mom is the ultimate #GirlBoss – she has her own company and has continually worked so hard my entire life. I wouldn’t be as motivated and self driven if I didn’t have her as my role model growing up.

CT: What draws you to PR & marketing?

CB: I love that work can be fun and creative! I’ve always had an eye for detail and have taken art classes at different museums and programs since before I can remember, so this feels natural for me. I also love to travel, and I get a lot of my inspiration from foreign cultures.

CT: Thoughts on where you’d like your PR/marketing to take you?

CB: I would love to find a job in this field! My *dream* is to one day move to Europe and continue working there.

CT: Your favorite office snack?

CB: Salt and Vinegar chips!! My all time fave.

CT: Your go-to office outfit?

CB: Totally depends on the weather, but typically pants, booties, and a blouse or fun jacket! I love that our office is so artistic and that we can express ourselves in our clothes at work!

CT: Best piece of advice Dorothy has given you:

CB: What piece of advice from Dorothy isn’t the best?! I don’t think I can pick one specific example, but I would say that all of her advice has an underlying tone of believing in yourself and staying true to who you are. I think in this field especially it’s so important to embrace your unique perspectives and ideas and I love that Dorothy encourages us to do that.

CT: Describe your experience working at DFSCC in one word:

CB: Rewarding!

CT: Favorite thing about the Village?

CB: Watching it grow! Every time I come to work I notice something new or different about it.

CT: Coffee or tea?

CB: Tea! My pantry is full of it.

We sure do love our sweet Claudia! #YGG

Thursday Tidbits: How to Get Ahead

There may be one key factor that is missing in your equation for the perfect job; your attitude! Even if you’re doing your job perfectly, if you have a bad attitude, no one is going to want to promote you. So what makes someone have a bad attitude? Five of the things that can give someone a bad reputation in the workplace are entitlement, a “can’t do” attitude, no drive, gossip,or playing the blame game.

Have you ever been upset when a coworker gets the promotion you felt you were more qualified for? Well you may be exhibiting some of the signs of entitlement. Don’t get upset if this is you, we’ve all been there! The little green monster of jealousy sometimes just latches on and never wants to let go. If you ever catch yourself starting to slip into this, remind yourself that you are doing the best you can do and that your time will come soon. As hard as it is to wait for your time to come, being patient and diligent is the best way to show your boss how much you care about your job.

Having a “can’t do” attitude can also give off the vibe that you aren’t willing to put in the work necessary to excel at your job, or that you lack the confidence to go out of your comfort zone and try something new. The same goes for having no drive. If your boss gives you a project to work on and you give excuses as to why you can’t work on it, then your boss isn’t going to assign you more projects, won’t promote you, and might possibly fire you if you can’t handle the heat of a fast pace job.When one lacks motivation in the workplace, other people notice quickly, and no one wants to be labeled as “the lazy one” in the office.

As much as I love the show Gossip Girl, gossip in the workplace is a strict no no. When gossip starts, all it can do is cause harm to other people and yourself. As addicting as it can be, it will almost always come back to haunt you. I remember when I was on a mission trip in Costa Rica back in 2013, one of the boys started gossiping about one of the leaders on the trip.Once the rumors spread, it created a division in the team that became irreversible. This made our task at hand extremely difficult to do because no one trusted one another and everyone now had preconceived ideas about our trip leader. This made a lot of our mission work hard to do because this person was no longer seen as a strong leader. When gossip starts, it always ends up hurting another person. Gossip creates division, and as we all know, a house divided cannot stand.

Lastly, playing the blame game is never a game worth playing. We all know someone who hasn’t owned up to their mistakes before or who has blamed someone else for something they’ve done. Once we see this side of an individual, we never want to work with this person again. Why is this? Because it destroys any trust or faith you may have had in that person. No one likes the coworker who is out for themselves and willing to put others down in order to build themselves up. Don’t be the one who pulls people down in order to get yourself higher; instead, help lift up other people who can lift you higher in return. Creating good relations and networking with others is one key to success that we cannot afford to leave out.

Now that you understand what not to do in the workplace, go be the awesome #GirlBosses that you are!

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Feedback Makes the Group Grow Stronger

At DFS Creative Concepts, we take pride in our team. We are a team of doers, thinkers, creators, and as we like to say, girl bosses (or women entrepreneurs). Each member brings something unique to the table. We are from cities all over the map and each of us has attributes that contribute to our strength as a team. Furthermore, we all possess different specialties that, together, help us to produce the best work for our clients.

Caroline is our master of prose and eloquently expresses her thoughts through her words. Megan is our spirited organizer and Julia is our inspired go-getter. Barrie is our “get it done” gal; she is speedy yet very thorough with her work. And these are just a few of our fearless girl bosses! In terms of our work as a team, we recognize each other’s critical roles. We have recognized the strengths in each of ourselves, and we willingly seek to learn from one another.

With that being said, feedback is major part of our daily work at DFS Creative Concepts. When necessary, we offer constructive feedback and we receive it. In our minds, feedback is not something we see as negative or offensive; rather we see it as a gift. At DFSCC, no member of our team is better or more skilled than another. It does not matter who has been with the company for the longest amount of time or who was the lead coordinator on last spring’s major event. We view feedback as one sharing wisdom they have gained in an area and using their experiences to help another master it as well. Sharing our wisdom not only helps one another to gain valuable experiences but also fosters our relationships as team members. As a whole, we have a passion for marketing and communicating our clients’ brand messages to the greater public. Our relationships and goals as a team must be strongly established in order to work well together. Feedback helps to promote this group cooperation.

On our little side street in The Village of West Greenville, we share feedback and accept it in our daily work. Each of us has something special to bring to the table yet by communicating ways to improve in each other’s work, we are doing wonders for our productivity and development as a group. So from our team to yours: make feedback a habit and a source of daily inspiration. A more well rounded version of you and your team will be the end result!

Conquering Fear Like a #GirlBoss

What are you afraid of?

Do you pursue your dreams?

For most of us, the answer is probably more complicated than it should be. In fact, if you didn’t answer with a resounding “Yes!” than this blog post pertains especially to you (don’t worry, you’re not alone!).
Fear is a complicated emotion which has a tendency to influence us in the worst way. It can cause us to second guess ourselves, freeze up, and miss opportunities that we know we should have taken. So, how do we combat this negative thinking? The answer is simple.
The next time you are fearful to take action, whether it be due to fear of rejection, anger, or failure, recognize your emotions and do it anyway.

Now, I realize that this is obviously easier said than done, but it is essential to begin to understand that while your emotions are valid, they are only emotions. Don’t let a primal instinct be the reason you miss the opportunity to apply to an amazing new job, or open your own business, or pursue that client you’d never think you could get. Fear is meant to keep us safe, but by doing this, it holds us back from making decisions that may be risky but can bring forth large rewards.

So, together let’s conquer our fears and reach our #GirlBoss potential. Step out of your comfort zone and don’t be shy. You will never know the consequences of your actions until you make a choice. One of my favorite quotes reads, “The greatest mistake you’ll make in life is to continually fear you will make one.” So let’s vow to increase our confidence and take advantage of every opportunity, no matter how fearful or apprehensive we may be. Success is bound to follow.

The world is your oyster. And I don’t know about you, but I love some nice pearls.