Monday, August 27, 2018

Yes, It Is Possible To Make 5" Confetti-Filled Balloons!

Everyone loves confetti and confetti-filled balloon decor, it is still very much a hot trend. But how many of us struggle to get the confetti inside a 5" balloon? 

5" confetti-filled balloons look fabulous in centrepieces, and are perfect for organic style decor, too, like this beautiful organic decor created by Shannon Kilford of Born To Party in Sydney, Australia — It really adds a sparkle to this beautiful balloon installation! 


Organic Balloon Decor by Shannon Kilford of Born To Party, Sydney, Australia
Organic Decor by Shannon Kilford of Born to Party in Sydney, Australia.


So to help you make these fabulous 5" confetti balloons, I have made a short video to show you how easy it is! 


You will need:

  • 5" Diamond Clear Latex Balloons
  • Hand Pump
  • Confetti
  • Cloth
  • Castration tool/castrating ring pliers/economy castration bander; the 4-prong version is the best. Probably the easiest way to find a supplier is to search the Internet using any of the keywords that I used above. 






Happy Ballooning

Sue
www.suebowler.com

Thursday, August 16, 2018

A Few Simple Steps on How To Build Your Instagram Following



Last year, I made a commitment to myself to work on my Instagram account. I have always been a Facebook kind of girl, but today, I find Facebook cluttered and a little overwhelming with the number of unwelcome posts, videos, and adverts that appear constantly in my newsfeed. Instagram, on the other hand, I find inspiring and filled with content that I want to view. I wonder how many of our customers feel the same way?


Like any social network out there, there are right ways to use it, wrong ways to use it, and clever ways to use it.






Let's begin with hashtags.


I have written about hashtags before, but this time I would like to be a little more specific. Using hashtags is one thing. Using the right tags is a completely different thing. 

If you want to tag your photos properly, you'll need to find and use the most relevant hashtags. This means doing the appropriate research to make sure you're using hashtags that not only describe what you do but are also being searched for on Instagram. So how do you do this?

Have you heard of Webstagram? Not only does it show you the most popular Instagram hashtags, but it also offers a free search tool that allows you to find all the top hashtags related to your post. 



There is also another free site called All Hashtag. It has a "hashtag generator." Be selective with your hashtags. Using the top-rated hashtags might mean that your posts get lost and never seen. 

The important thing is to build your own hashtag list. There are two types of hashtags: BRANDED and COMMUNITY.

Branded, is specific to your company - your company name, for example. It's amazing how many people don't hashtag their own company name, including me! 

Community, like branded hashtags, can connect like-minded users around a specific subject. But, unlike branded hashtags, community hashtags don’t need to be directly related to a business. They can be broader and much less focused. You might decide to do a #happymonday or #TBT (throw-back-Thursday) campaign. This is a great way to engage with a wider community.

A slightly sneaky but great way to discover new and trending hashtags is to check out the hashtags that your competitors and industry influencers use.


Using the right filters.



"Instagram filters can actually make or break your post. By choosing the perfect filter, and your picture can have huge success on Instagram. Choose the wrong filter, and your once beautiful photo with so much potential becomes a flop." - Quote by Olga Rado of Iconosquare

Listed below are the top ten filters according to Olga Rado's blog - The 10 Most Used Instagram Filters. Check out her full blog post for much more information on this fascinating subject! 
  1. Normal - no filter
  2. Clarendon 
  3. Juno
  4. Ludwig
  5. Lark
  6. Gingham
  7. Lo-fi
  8. Aden
  9. Valencia
  10. X-Pro II

Post on Instagram at the right times


Best Times to Post on Social Media: 2018 Industry Research by Alex York is a fabulous article from Sprout Social that gives in-depth details for posting best practices on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Alex suggests that:
  • The best time to post on Instagram is Wednesday at 3 p.m., Thursday at 5 a.m., 11 a.m., and 3 to 4 p.m., and Friday at 5 a.m.
  • Thursday is the best day to post to Instagram.
  • The safest times to post to Instagram are Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Sunday is the least engaging day for Instagram.

You could sign up to ICONOSQUARES (a paid for service), which is a leading analytics and tools to help you to grow your business on Instagram and Facebook. Or Hootsuite, which also offers comparable services plus the ability to manage multiple social media networks from one place. If this is something that you are interested in, I would recommend doing a comparison between the two to see which one works better for you - click HERE

You can also use Instagram Analytics, which is a free service for Instagram Business accounts.

Poach your competitor's followers on Instagram

This might not seem to be the right thing to do, but I assure you that it is very normal in the social media world. It's simple — follow your competitor's followers. To make an impact, you will need to engage with them. Like a photo that they post or, even better, make a comment on their photo. Hopefully, they will start to follow you back! 

There are many other things that you can do to build your Instagram following. Check out this fantastic Shopify Blog - How to Get More Followers on Instagram: 13 Reliable Ways to Grow Your Audience by Richard Lazazzera  Instagram Marketing - I have used many examples from Richard's post.

I really enjoyed researching and writing this blog post. I have read so many blogs and looked at many different sites and services that can really help you to develop your Instagram marketing success. 

For further reaching, check out some previous blog posts I wrote on the benefits of running a successful Instagram campaign.

Instagram — Are You Using It To Grow Your Balloon Business?


Happy Ballooning!

Sue


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Thursday, August 9, 2018

"Selling the Dream"

How we describe and present our businesses can have a huge impact on how our clients perceive us. I have said many times before; our job is not to sell balloons, our job is to sell the special memories that our balloons make, whether it's a beautiful bouquet of balloons that we deliver for a special occasion or amazing decor that we create for a corporate event, a wedding, or a party.

Last month I attended the Qualatex® Event in Shanghai, China. I had the honour of working with Lily Tan, of Myairtitude in Singapore, Jeff Wong, CBA, of Balloon Factory in Hong Kong, and TingYu Wong of Color Life Production, also from Hong Kong. It was also a great honour to meet some of the wonderful and very talented Chinese balloon artists who attended the event.


Balloon Decor by Jenny Wang of Bing Party Studio, China
So how does my trip to Shanghai have any relevance to my post topic, "Selling the Dream"?


Balloon Decor by Katie Jiang of ZUOYOU,
 Shandong, China.

I love to see the work of other balloon artists from around the world and was both inspired and excited to see beautiful designs created by some of our Chinese delegates. What really stood out for me was that every photograph told a story and shared a dream - a dream that could easily be turned into a wonderful memory.

Selling the dream is not just limited to creative industries such as ours. This is what companies such as IKEA do all the time. They sell the dream with all their fabulous room settings in stores. When people walk around the beautifully displayed rooms, they see a complete lifestyle rather than just a sofa or table. It's a clever concept, as I am sure that many people buy everything they see!






The photo above really brings the room to life! We all know that a celebration is not a celebration without balloons. This beautiful balloon bouquet adds the perfect finishing touch to this lifestyle photograph - the image would not look as vibrant and exciting without it.

Jenny Wang of Bing Party Studio really has a creative eye. Her photo really sets the scene for a romantic occasion - candles, wine, roses, and romance, but without the fabulous balloon heart, the photograph would not have the same impact. Equally, the heart would not have the same impact without the other elements. Being able to create images such as this is a true art that I would love to learn.


Design by Jenny Wang, Bingo Party Studio.

Here's another great photograph from Jenny Wang. A completely different dream setting, but this time for a child's party. What a fabulous photo backdrop!


Design by Jenny Wang, Bingo Party Studio.

Here are some more beautiful photographs that "sell the dream" -  As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words!


Design by Jenny Wang, Bingo Party Studio.

Design by Calypso Cheng, Nanching, China.

Design by Calypso Cheng, Nanching, China.

Balloon Decor by Katie Jiang of ZUOYOU,
in Shandong, China.



Balloon Decor by Moli Zhu of Bubble Double Balloon Studio, Shanghai, China.

In most cases these photographs are not set in elaborate locations, and the backgrounds are pretty neutral. It is the combination of designs and simple props that have made these images as appealing as they are. 

As much as they say that a picture is worth a thousand words, I do believe that words, too, are very important. Once again, I was inspired when I read these magical words on TingYu's "About" page on his Color Life Production website:
"We believe balloon brings happiness and balloon art brings happiness to others. Color Life Production keens to provide balloon art education and decoration services to different place, to turn every special moments into colorful and happy memories!" 
What a fabulous way to greet your customers and tell them that you are the right person to work with.

I hope that this blog post has inspired you as much as it has inspired me!

Thank you to all the wonderful designers who have shared their photographs with the Very Best Balloon Blog and to Soo Chin Goo who helped me greatly.


Happy Ballooning!


Sue 

www.suebowler.com