create + innovate

I recently discovered incredibly creative and innovative design collective, Berg. This design company really pushes the envelop when it comes to experiencing elements of modern day digital use. Their current collaboration with Dentsu London, Making Future Magic, showcases how color and style from the everyday world can be created from new design must-have, Apple's ipad and a little inspiration.

Whether you are a design collective like Berg or a shop owner who curates vintage finds, your online presence should make your readers, clients and passerbys feel good - yes! Thoughtful style and connection can be infused into your digital world. Click here to learn a lot more about Berg to pick up some serious inspiration.



A Sweetline Status

After a very busy summer, I am able to catch up a bit and restyle my dedication to the Sweetline and the Sweetline blog with new content, new interviews, new ideas and more. I am definitely still in a bit of an overdrive but am currently taking steps to create even more balance in my work life and real life. Often, as many of you small business owners know, these things cross over. I wanted to take a moment and share what Sweetline is and how I can work with you. I also will be sharing a fab client launch and some social media style that I've been working on for the last few months for iconic brand, DKNY.

*Sweetline's Services*
Sweetline is a consulting-style company for companies and brands looking to create, evolve or grow their online presence. I work with both small companies (a shop owner, a pr firm, an interior designer, etc) and large brands (DKNY, Fast Company, etc) I am the person for you if you need helping defining your editorial voice on your professional site, social media 101 or if you want to create new social media communities, strategy and style.

*A Sweetline client launch*
The very lovely and very talented, Rachel Gill, of La Bella Bungalow has just launched her online presence for her brand new e-decorating company. Already a lovely blogger and stylist, Rachel was ready to take her love of design style to the professional level by launching a business to help people virtually decorate their homes in both an affordable and chic way. I worked with Rachel over the summer to concept and define her editorial voice on her professional website. Click here to check out La Bella Bungalow and hire this girl - she knows design + decor!

*Influence & Apples*
I've been working with a cutting-edge production and creative company in San Francisco that is doing some very cool + innovative viral and community projects. Two of these are The Influence Project for Fast Company and the DKNY Fragrances facebook community launch. While the brands are both huge, the social media work and style is very personal - the sign of the social media times.

*Extending Blog Out Loud even further*
I've also been keeping Blog Out Loud going with a fantastic NY event this past June and an upcoming LA event next Tuesday, 9/21. I am so proud of BOL and the community. I started this last year purely because so many people wanted to learn about how to use and integrate social media into their own businesses. What better way then listening to people that are already doing it - and doing it well. This next panel is very exciting - a true lifestyle panel with the fashion, food, travel, culture, cool mom and home remodeling verticals represented. Yes!

And in other news....for tons of fabulous social media inspiration, click here to enjoy the Shine Online series. Also, my home office where I run Sweetline was featured on Unplggd - check it out right here. And I was also sweetly part of Nesting Newbies 4th issue and also the premiere issue of Rue magazine for loving. living. small. and Sweetline.



:: what happens online does not stay online ::

A Sweetline Story

If you told me four years ago (pre-Twitter and Facebook but some time after Friendster) when I started blogging that I would have tons of new real life and true friends that I would have dinners with, parties with and great conversations with, I wouldn't believe you. After all, I started my small space design blog, loving. living. small. to digitally chronicle my own design inspirations and I would sit alone after work, write a post, publish it, well, so I could read it. I didn't even realize that people were "reading" my blog until I received my first comment two weeks later from someone other then my mother. But the truth is now - in 2010 - blogging and social media communities are fantastic places to meet new friends and connect with real people both on and, most importantly, offline.

I want to encourage all of you to GET OFFLINE! Take your connections and e-relationships to the next level in life and continue to trailblaze and inspire with your new friendships. Many of us immersed in the daily regimen of social media conversations understand and accept that the social media platforms like twitter and facebook are just another type of platform to communicate. Like the telephone or email, tweeting and posting are ways to talk to each other and relate. But I feel there is a point where you can evolve those e-friendships and engaging in real life, in person can solidify these relationships. Whether it's on the phone or at a great new restaurant, enjoying an e-friends company is where it's at.

So how do you do this? A fantastic way to meet online people, offline is at events, like Blog Out Loud, the network I co-founded that holds offline events for creative people interested in learning more about social media. While the Blog Out Loud events are to inspire and inform new-to-social media people, we are also all about meeting and connecting with people in person. There's something honest and comforting by observing that the you are not in this blogosphere alone. Even incredibly successful bloggers have time management issues, not always nice comments and some days just get overwhelmed. I know I do! Like anything, by seeing that you are in good {and very nice} company, you are given an extra push to keep going and creating. So attend events that stem from digital media - they are very popular. I also suggest taking those DMs to email or the phone. I've had amazing business opportunities for Sweetline and loving. living. small. via Twitter by simply responding to a DM with a "Let's take this to email and chat".  And if a blog inspires you, send the blogger an email and tell them in a simple and honest "Hey I love your blog" way. Keep that new email relationship going and remember that you have the blog genre in common and you have already connected.

Overall I hope everyone embraces being online as an opportunity to connect offline. There's always opportunities to meet new, like-minded people in sincere ways and take it into real life.

Speaking of Blog Out Loud, we are hosting BOL7 in Los Angeles on Tues, 9/21 at Rose Tarlow Melrose House. Click here to RSVP and attend to meet our incredible panel of lifestyle bloggers and tastemakers.



:: social media should spark real life inspiration ::

lately I've been "faning" facebook communities of brands, stores, even restaurants that I like. Why am I doing this on my personal fb page? because their feed comes into my wall and I often get updates, funny notes and exclusive leads on happenings and style in their respective communities. I look, I click, I read, I may enter a contest and I am pretty much done. I hardly every go to the store or visit the site from their fb page. does my contest participation measure success?

And how does this translate to real life?

I have been wondering the real reason why there are these social media communities and after reading an engaging article about "social media success" I can see I've been along the right track. the purpose of these platforms is to a) connect with like-minded people and b) inspire REAL LIFE situations with these brands that are positive. I can say that A) is happening but is B)? And what is more important for these real brands - people talking about them (A) or people experiencing them (B)?

The article, written by Augie Ray, is questioning the difference in succeeding in social media marketing (that would be A) or social media (that would be B) ???

The answer is B. Or it should be. So why are more brands not doing this but rather focusing A - or their marketing strategy. What about their actual product? Yes, it's popular and smart to have a fb community and, yes, it's popular and smart to engage, share, connect. But it's equally  important for your community to realize the brand instead of talking about how cool a contest was. I do believe there is a C) option - something of a hybrid of the two and I am looking forward to seeing that become the norm. More to come...I am sure.

Read the entire article on the Forrester Marketing site right here.



:: Social Media Week Los Angeles | 9.20 - 9.24 ::
Sweetline is on the advisory board

We are thrilled to be part of Social Media Week Los Angeles as an Advisory Board member. This inaugural week will be a fantastic series of panels and events focusing on social media impacts, style and love through the lens of Los Angeles brightest social media stars. Social Media Week is a global platform that connects people, content, and conversation around emerging trends in social and mobile media. Delivered primarily through a network of internationally hosted conferences and online through social media, Social Media Week literally connects hundreds of thousands of people every year through learning experiences that aim to advance our understanding of social media’s role in society.

Click here to learn more and stay tuned for information about our upcoming panels. 



:: shine online ::
christine kirk | social muse communications

Hello Sweetline friends! Hard to believe it's nearing the end of July?! There have been a lot of neat things happening at Sweetline and quite a busy summer. It's good to be back on the blog and I'll be sharing all of these events with you. I also am happy to present a pretty amazing and fab SHINE ONLINE interview with the savvy, smart and lovely Christine Kirk, owner and visionary of Social Muse Communications. Christine runs a one-stop shop for PR and online communications 3.0. With years of lifestyle and brand experience, Christine can shape and extend your brand to the masses with elegance and style. Let's hear what she has to say about social media, authenticity and encouraging companies to jump into the social media mix.

You are the owner of Social Muse Communications, a social media/PR company that consults luxury travel, restaurant, technology and lifestyle brands looking to extend beyond traditional PR efforts and embrace and engage in social media tools and communities. What was the inspiration behind your company?

My clients are the inspiration for my company. New technologies, social media, and the recent economic downturn, have changed the face of the media landscape for good. Social media isn’t just a fad, it’s the biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution. Over the years, I have heard complaints from many clients that a traditional public relations campaign just isn’t cutting it for them anymore. There is no one way to reach your target audience. Simply securing a placement in a glossy magazine is not going to cut it anymore. A brand must get in front of consumers through many different channels of media – print, broadcast, online, blogs, and social networking sites. Social Muse Communications provides the ultimate in PR and Online Communications 3.0 – a unique blend of traditional media relations, online marketing, online advertising, and social media strategy.

Social media has grown rapidly in the last year and is an important role in a company's brand. What would you say to companies that are hesitant to getting into the social media mix?

A brand doesn’t have a choice whether or not to get involved in social media. If your brands not already engaging in social media, I guarantee that your customers and consumers are already engaging on your behalf. People are talking about your brand online whether you like it or not. What are they saying about you? The choice a brand has, is how well it engages with those people online, how it propels positive conversations forward, and how it responds to negative feedback. An expert online communications professional can help a brand navigate all that and more. If a brand is not actively engaging in social media, they are giving up control over conversations consumers are already having. By participating, you can help steer the perception, and make sure that your competitors aren’t swooping in and engaging with your customers…and ultimately stealing them away.

Many smaller companies and brands feel overwhelmed when it comes to engaging in social media - there's so much going on…all the time. What advice would you give for cutting through the "noise" and really connecting and e-relating to like-minded people?

Engaging with the public online requires a certain amount of finesse, and even a level of psychology, to be effective. Taking old PR and advertising messages and applying them to social media is not going to work. You’ll be ignored or even deleted from a user’s lifestream. It’s important to work with an online communications professional who understands how to be conversational with a brand’s fans while maintaining the brand’s integrity, and how to be engaging by being an excellent content producer, and creating online videos, photos, blog posts, etc. on behalf of your brand.

Authenticity and keeping it real are key elements for successful + quality social media. Like any relationship, being sincere is important. Many people want to share their products/services with their communities without coming off as pitching or salesy. What are tips for balancing messaging - personal and pitch?

I always recommend looking at the content a brand posts online in increments of 25%:
  • 25% of the time: Provide information completely unrelated to the brand but that is relevant to the overall industry the brand is in
  • 25% of the time: Respond directly to incoming comments and feedback from your fans
  • 25% of the time: Post engaging content that fans can relate to – online videos, photos, blog posts, etc.
  • 25% of the time: Announce company news. Yes, you can use more formal sales tactics here. If you’re doing all the other parts 75% of the time, users won’t mind being pitched once in a while.

Time management is a big challenge for many small business owners. People often want to just connect all of their social media platforms for efficiency. What are do you think about this and what are some tips for making this happen?
I dissuade anyone from doing this. Each social network is different and how you use Facebook vs. Twitter vs. LinkedIn vs. MySpace should thus be different. To sync them all together (meaning where you update one to update all the others) is missing the point of social media. Your Twitter followers might be a different demographic that your Facebook fans – they don’t want to hear the same things. Also, on Twitter, it’s acceptable and even encouraged to Tweet multiple times a day. On Facebook, most people don’t care to hear from a brand multiple times in the same day. Treat each social media tool and its users with respect, and learn what works, and what doesn’t work for each. Or, just hire an expert! Brand’s have dedicated staff for all sorts of positions, and social media is now one of the most significant forms of communications that spans across advertising, marketing, customer service, and brand reputation management. Doesn’t that deserve specific attention? It’s not about if you participate in social media, it’s about how well you’re doing it.

Thank you, Christine!

Click here to check out Social Muse Communications and to contact Christine. There are tons of goodies on her site. Christine also has a fabulous twitter community - you must follow her @luxuryprgal

Want to read more interviews from digitally savvy folks?
Click here for a full list of past SHINE ONLINE interviews on the Sweetline blog.



:: twitter meets real life ::
how a simple tweet can impact your brand

Sweetline's been chatting about twitter quite a bit on the blog because next to your website, twitter is the most important online tool for your business. here's a story that will inspire you to get on twitter and connect with like-minded people that can be potential business partners, clients or supporters.

When I was in NYC a few weeks ago for a little R & R, I had a business meeting in mid-town. As I wandered a bit through the chaos of Times Square, I noticed a tent in the middle of the square with Key To The City on the awning. Right away I knew what it was because of Twitter. One of the brands I enjoy following on Twitter is DKNY because I like the brand and because I like the gal who's managing the twitter account. She's fun, fab and frank - love that combo. A few weeks ago, she was tweeting all day about various destinations all over Manhattan and the other boroughs, mentioning Key To The City as she went. I mentally compartmentalized it for a later digital date and - boom - walking by the tent, there it was! I immediately went over to investigate further because I hadn't had the chance to go online to see what it was. Created by Paul Ramierez Jonas and produced by Creative Time, Key To The City is "a citywide public art project that allows every New Yorker and visitor to open spaces in all five boroughs." Yes! I got my very own booklet and an actual key (see my photo above) and was able to spend some time during my trip to check out the provided places, each one having a special lock to use your key on - super cool!

By simply following a brand I like on Twitter, I was exposed to an incredible free art project that has expanded my love for this type of work and has inspired me to find more. I also checked back on the site and have become a fan of many of the sponsors of the art project, including Creative Time. People are reading and retaining your tweets so keep it going or jump on and connect with your community.



:: a Sweetline check-in ::

It's been two months since Sweetline launched and we wanted to do a little check in with you and share some thoughts about our company, our process and our projects. We've already spoken with and met so many talented and creative people - we love this work!

Our Company ::
Sweetline is an online brand project management company that offers two lines of interaction -
1 :: We work with lifestyle clients to get their online presence up and running
2 :: We work directly with brands to do online ideation, strategy and social media engagement for specific projects and/or overall brand building and extension.

We work with lifestyle clients - shop owners, product makers, artists, photographers, creative types - by collaborating and guiding the online presence in three ways. We You can package them together or go a la carte ::
  • Defining and concepting your online voice for your professional site
  • Teaching your how to jump in to social media and build your own community and also how to engage in others
  • Project managing the website design and build with a 3-party vendor
Our marketing and ideation work is for companies looking to engage with their communities in specific ways and targeted way.

Our Process ::
The Sweetline process can go quickly. We can get you up and running in 4 - 8 weeks, depending on the scope of work. We want you to get up online so your presence can do it's magic and your community can engage with you - that's what we are about.

Our projects are collaborative and we ask that you dedicate your time to the timeline. (We will be right there with you the entire way!) There is work on your part too and you will actually view your own company in a new light. Think of Sweetline as part-sounding board, part-manager, part-cheerleader and part-partner in the process. Your biggest client is YOUR OWN and creating an online presence is key.

Our Clients ::
We couldn't have asked for better clients to begin this adventure with so thank you for jumping in and taking this journey with Sweetline AND (of course) for your own online presence. We are currently working with lovely and talented clients - a soon-to-be launched e-decorating company, a high-end kitchen & bath hardware company and a vintage home decor shop owner. Sites and social media to be launching soon so stay tuned!

We welcome meeting you :: contact Sweetline if you are looking to get your online presence defined, created and custom built to launch online.

visit :: Sweetline's official site

follow :: @sweetlineagency

email :: rebecca@sweetlineagency.com