• Gardiner Online

    Gardiner Online
    Gardiner Online

    I got to know about Rosalind Gardiner from one of the Internet Marketing guru’s site that I frequent. After reading about how much money this lady made with Affiliate Marketing, I headed straight to her website. I was impressed with the site and it did convince me to invest USD 47.00 to download this Super Affiliate Handbook.

    Rosalind Gardner is one of the most well known and respected Affiliate Marketers in the world today. And I was sold because I want to find out how this lady managed to earn that much money with Affiliate Marketing. She is leading a lifestyle for which I longed for – to live on others!

    What about this eBook?

    The Super Affiliate Handbook is 233 pages long and contains 235 screenshots that will show you how to become a “Super Affiliate”. Though not everybody reading her eBook will be one “Super Affiliate”, the knowledge gained from the eBook will however show you how to pick the best programs, negotiate a commission raise and save time, money and effort on everything from affiliate software to web hosting.

    A bit of disappointment is that I find that The Super Affiliate Handbook is more suited for beginners, although experienced marketers can canvas some useful information from the book. Rosalind Gardner’s book is mainly for those who already have their own website or who are thinking of setting one up for the purposes of affiliate marketing. The eBook provides a rich harvest of details about the various affiliate networks and explains how to choose products and programs that are most suited to you.

    For those who are new in Affiliate Marketing, this eBook will teach you how to set up a plan for your internet business before you just dive in and trying to make it big. This is a very important step and you will be shown what to do so that your business becomes a success. It will guide you through the specific process of identifying and researching profitable ideas for your business while highlighting useful resources and affiliate networks where you can sign up to become affiliates.

    Rosalind tells you everything you need to know to create your own affiliate marketing business. Everything is organized and easy to read. Rosalind has primarily earned this income by marketing affiliate products and services targeting the dating market. She sells other peoples products found on sites such as Clickbank. Rosalind also highlights some important no-nos. You can quickly get into trouble with online marketing if you don’t follow the right protocols.

    Conclusion

    This eBook show details of how Rosalind Gardner built an affiliate marketing empire from scratch, without any online business experience. However, do note that this is not a ‘copy and pasted’ material that you see in those ‘get rich quick’ products on the market. It is more like a step by step guide for anybody who wants to start Affiliate Marketing. Rosalind Gardner’s Super Affiliate Handbook is great news for any beginners wanting an excellent overall tutorial for making money with affiliate programs.

  • Gardiner Expressway

    Gardiner Expressway
    Gardiner Expressway

    My summery biking adventures through Toronto continue. This morning I packed my backpack and as usual I entered the Taylor Creek Park system. Heading down into the lush green river valley that is fully closed in by trees and bushes on both sides is always such a great feeling, as if the big city was miles away. Yet, I was riding right in the middle of East Toronto, in the heart of Canada’s biggest population centre.

    A few kilometers west my trail joined up with the Don Valley biking trail and I started to ride south. But instead of heading all the way down to Toronto’s lakefront, I saw an old road branching off to the right north of Pottery Road and I thought I would just ride in there and see what I could discover. I had never before left the main trail and was curious to explore this new area. Actually, I thought I would arrive at the Don Valley Brickworks, the leftovers of an industrial brick making complex dating back to the late 1880s that was closed down some time ago. The bricks from this quarry were used on many famous Toronto landmarks, including Casa Loma, Osgoode Hall and Queens Park (the Ontario Legislature building). The green space surrounding the empty buildings has been turned into a public park by the city.

    But as I continued the road turned into a narrow pathway that crossed a field and the path started taking me in a northwesterly direction, away from the Brickworks. Now I was really wondering where this path was going to lead. After crossing some more meadows the path took me into a forested area where the narrow trail continued, sometimes over roots and stones, sometimes beside some railway tracks. Now you might think that it could be quite dangerous for a woman by herself riding these trails, but I actually felt quite safe. The only people I encountered were a father and daughter team who were enjoying their own little mountain bike adventure.

    I kept riding through the forest, up and down and at some point I saw a road just above the embankment that I was cycling beside, but my suspense grew as to where I would actually end up. Finally I saw an opening in a fence at the edge of the forest and I realized I had popped up at the southeastern end of the Loblaws Supermarket in Leaside. This was quite a bit further north than I had anticipated.

    So back on city streets I decided to ride through the residential area of Leaside, one of the most popular residential areas in Toronto. Settled as early as the beginning of the 19th century by the Lea family, the Town of Leaside came into being in 1913. Today many houses from the early 20th century remain and are being renovated or expanded. Leaside has become particularly popular with real estate investors who buy some of the small single story bungalows and convert them into two or three story mansions.

    Bayview Avenue marks the western boundary of Leaside and is a popular entertainment area with lots of retail stores, cafes and restaurants. I cycled south on Bayview to the Intersection of Moore Avenue where there is a local landmark: a concrete moose that is located in front of a company called IntegraCare, a private nursing company.

    From April to October of 2000, the City of Toronto was graced by 172 moose sculptures that were located all over the city and painted and decorated by local artists. The event was called “Moose in the City” and similar in idea to other animal sculpture campaigns in places such as Chicago, Mexico City etc. After the completion of the campaign the moose were auctioned off for charitable purposes and more than 75 local charities benefit from this unique fundraising idea. Events like “Toronto’s Running of the Moose!” and “Moose Jam on City Streets” enlivened the campaign and entertained the public.

    I figured Integracare must have purchased one of these moose sculptures and after doing some research on the Internet I found out that the moose’s name is “Florence Moosengale, RM (Registered Moose)”, her name obviously inspired by Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. Three Integracare employees regularly create new costumes for the moose which has been dressed up as Santa Clause, a witch for Halloween, a pink Easter Bunny, a prison inmate, a lady bug, and in many other outfits. Currently Florence is dressed up as a rider in the Tour de France, complete with a yellow jersey and an oversized bicycle.

    Well, this moose always makes me chuckle and I truly applaud the efforts of the three ladies at Integracare in brightening up the intersection of Bayview and Moore Avenue. From here I rode into the Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto’s largest cemetery which stretches from Bayview Avenue in the east to Yonge Street in the west. Originally conceived in 1873, the cemetery opening in late 1876 and became the final resting place for more than 160,000 Toronto citizens.

    The cemetery holds many local celebrities, including Frederick Banting – the co-discoverer of insulin, Timothy Eaton – a Canadian department store magnate, Hart Massey – a 19th century tycoon in the farm equipment business, Robert Simpson – another Canadian department store magnate, pianist Glenn Gould and W. Garfield Weston, a business magnate and member of one of Canada’s most wealthy families. By accident I came across the grave of William Lyon Mackenzie King, one of Canada’s longest-serving and most influential prime ministers.

    Although inline-skating is prohibited it is possible to ride a bicycle in the cemetery and many people also use this beautiful environment to go walking or jogging. The gravestones in the western, older section of the cemetery are particularly beautiful, and its large tree collection makes it one of North America’s finest arboretums. Many large flower gardens, sculptures and memorials add to the beauty of this location. While I reloaded my camera with a new memory card, an elderly gentleman with a walker stopped and educated me about the fact that this cemetery features countless different species of trees and pointed out a rare Gingko tree, a species that I did not even realize grew in Canada.

    I then crossed Yonge Street and rode west along Heath Street in order to avoid the busy traffic along St. Clair Avenue. The surrounding Forest Hill neighbourhood is one of Toronto’s most affluent areas. Today many huge mansions grace the neighbourhood and two elite private schools, Upper Canada College for boys, and the Bishop Strachan School, a prestigious day and boarding school for girls, are also located here.

    Underneath the canopy of leafy trees I turned onto a street called Lower Village Gate and unexpectedly found myself in Toronto’s Ravine system. One of the most distinctive features of Toronto’s topography is a multitude of deep ravines that criss-cross the city, have remained largely untouched by development and provide a natural oasis in this densely populated metropolis. These ravines were formed when rivers and creeks cut deep gouges into the glacial deposits that were left over after the last ice age about 12,000 years ago. Due to the danger of flooding these ravines are largely uninhabitable and have remained virtually completely in their natural state. Today, Toronto’s ravine lands are protected by municipal bylaws.

    Cedarvale Park is located in one of those ravines and riding westwards I looked up to admire the structure of the Bathurst Street Bridge. I arrived at the western end of Cedarvale Park where a cricket match was in full swing. Back on city streets I cycled south into a St. Clair West neighbourhood called Hillcrest Village which was just celebrating Latin culture with its big annual festival: Salsa on St. Clair.

    First launched in 2005 Salsa on St. Clair has become a popular street festival that features all sorts of Latin music performances, street vendors, Latin American delicacies and special events. Salsa lessons, jumping castles, children’s soccer competitions and all sorts of free samples and giveaways enchanted the crowds.

    From here I cycled south on Christie Street and then headed over to Ossington and south to Queen Street. In a small neighbourhood park I ran across a large group of teenagers dressed up as medieval knights who were practicing their jousting skills. Sometimes Toronto is truly like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re gonna get…Once on Queen Street I cycled past recently renovated landmarks like the Drake Hotel and the Gladstone Hotel into the Parkdale neighbourhood, one of the most colourful areas in Toronto.

    In the late 1800 Parkdale was an upscale residential suburb of Toronto that featured great Victorian mansions and superb views of Lake Ontario. The neighbourhood underwent a serious decline and today features a large amount of low-income housing. The Parkdale Village area close to Lake Ontario became one of Toronto’s poorest neighbourhoods and in the mid 1980s many mental patients that were discharged from the Queen Street Psychiatric Hospital ended up in the low rental housing in this neighbourhood.

    Today the neighbourhood is being revitalized due to its beautiful architecture, established trees and favourable location close to downtown and Lake Ontario. Signs of gentrification are noticeable everywhere.

    The Victorian mansions on Cowan Avenue impressed me and as I got closer to the Lake I can only imagine what a beautiful residential district this must have been in its heyday. I crossed the railway tracks and the Gardener Expressway near Jameson Avenue and arrived at the multi-purpose trail in Marilyn Bell Park on Toronto’s lakefront. From here I joined the substantial crowd of bicyclists and inline skaters and headed west to Sunnyside Beach.

    Close to a century ago this was one of the most popular areas in Toronto and featured a large amusement park from 1922 onwards. The area was drastically changed in the 1950s with the construction of the Gardiner Expressway which essentially reduced the parkland in half and led to the destruction of the amusement park. Today, the only original buildings remaining from this era are the Palais Royale (a recently restored ballroom and banquet facility), and the Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion which houses a popular waterfront café.

    Despite these changes, Toronto’s western waterfront in Humber Bay is hugely popular with people. Walkers, picnickers, inline skaters and bikers make extensive use of the Waterfront Trail. Three beach volleyball nets grace the narrow strip of sand in front of the café and a boardwalk made from recycled plastic invites for a walk on the waterfront. I grabbed myself a slice of pizza and relaxed a bit on bench, watching the comings and goings in a beautiful sunny spot by the water.

    I then started heading eastwards along the Waterfront Trail past Ontario Place, a multi-purpose entertainment and seasonal amusement park. Opened in 1971 Ontario Place consists of three artificial islands that feature walking trails, food and drink concessions, an IMAX theatre located in a geodesic dome-shaped structure, an amusement park for children and an outdoor concert facility, the Molson Amphitheatre.

    Immediately adjacent to Ontario Place is Coronation Park, a park centered around a royal oak tree that was planted in tribute to King George VI. Right in front of the park is a marina that houses hundreds of sailboats. Cycling further east I passed by the recently renovated Tip Top Tailor Building, a historic property built in 1929 in true Art Deco style. This building was recently completely restored and has been converted into loft condominiums.

    From here I snaked onto Queen’s Quay and made a stop at the Toronto Music Garden, a waterfront garden that was inspired by Bach’s First Suite for Unaccompanied Cello and designed by internationally renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma and landscape designer Julie Moir Messervy. The Toronto Music Garden features spiral-shaped walkways surrounded by lush shrubs and flowers and is highlighted by an outdoor amphitheatre that offers free concerts to the public. As I was riding by, dozens of music enthusiasts were sitting in the outdoor concert facility, intently listening to a free classical concert.

    My ride continued to Harbourfront, a popular entertainment area at Toronto’s waterfront. Harbourfront Centre, a former warehouse, today holds a high-end shopping centre, commercial office spaces and condominiums. The bottom level also features restaurants and outdoor patios that look out on the docking facilities for the many tourist boats that depart from here for harbour tours.

    Free concerts are held every weekend at Harbourfront on the Concert Stage while the World Café and the International Marketplace feature foods and merchandise from around the world. Additional cultural offerings are provided by the Power Plant Gallery, the Premiere Dance Theatre, the Enwave Theatre and the York Quay Centre. A Cuban music group was enchanting the crowd at the Concert Stage. I pushed my bike a bit further east and sat down with an ice cream to enjoy the beautiful view across the harbour to the Toronto Islands and to watch the colourful promenade of people strolling by.

    Finally, after an action-packed day full of explorations and almost 60 km of riding I got on my iron horse one last time to make the 45 minute trek home along Toronto’s lakefront. Summer in Toronto is amazing; I had cycled from secluded nature areas, through a Victorian-era cemetery to a Latin festival, enjoyed the waterfront and caught two more free concerts in or near Harbourfront. There is so much going on in this city in the summer and the bicycle is the ideal way to explore it.

  • Gardiner Museum

    Gardiner Museum
    Gardiner Museum

    Toronto is the largest city in Canada. It is situated on Lake Ontario’s northwestern shore and offers a scenic view. This clean, cosmopolitan and hip city is home to a large number of immigrants. Book your flights to Toronto today and be a witness to the confluence of cultures. You’ll be simply fascinated to see the Greeks, Irish, Poles, Russians, Chinese, Italians and Germans intermingling with each other. These immigrants who have made Toronto their home have flocked here for centuries. The diversity with its distinct communities that this city has to offer its visitors keeps them awestruck. Head off to Toronto now to get a feel of Chinatown, Little Greece, Little Italy, and the like. A plethora of cultural festivals and fused cuisine are the hallmarks of this modern, lively and ever buzzing city.

    Toronto is frequented by a large number of tourists from all over the world year round. The city holds myriad attractions for its visitors. Some of the famous attractions here include Toronto’s waterfront, Harbourfront, the CN Tower, Rogers Centre, Toronto Zoo, Canada’s Wonderland, and the Toronto Islands.

    The city also has a number of museums and art galleries. Some of the famous museums that merit a visit here include the Royal Ontario Museum, Bata Shoe Museum, Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, Hockey Hall of Fame, Design Exchange, Textile Museum of Canada, Fort York, CBC Museum, Canadian Air & Space Museum, and the MZTV Museum of Television.

    Spend some time visiting the Bata Shoe Museum and the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art. These museums are a treasure house of knowledge and take you down the memory lane. You will get fascinating glimpses into how the famous Bata Shoe evolved and this branded footwear was marketed world over.

    The Bata Shoe Museum has a history of its own. It presently has a collection of over 12,500 shoes and related items. housed in a uniquely designed 39,000 square foot building, this depository was opened on May 6, 1995 and is being managed by the Bata Shoe Museum Foundation. This world class specialized museum is thronged by scores of tourists from across the world.

    A visit to the Bata Shoe Museum will offer you glimpse of four impressive galleries celebrating the style and function of footwear in unique manner. You will find all kinds of footwear on display here ranging from ancient Egyptian sandals to Chinese bound foot shoes to chestnut-crushing clogs and glamorous platforms. A semi-permanent exhibition ‘All About Shoes’ reflects over 4,500 years of history of the shoes. The exhibition also displays a collection of 20th century celebrity shoes.

    The Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art is yet another museum that must be visited during your visit to Toronto. This is North America’s first specialist museum of ceramic art. Opened in 1984, the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art houses an interesting collection of ancient American artefactual as well as European pottery and porcelain.

    Apart from these, there are other museums in Toronto that are waiting to be visited. All these have their own story to tell and will keep you engaged throughout your stay here.

  • Gardiners Furniture

    Gardiners Furniture
    Gardiners Furniture

    A mighty Finnish design era came out of the rubble of WWII and was granted decisive impetus by the International Triennial’s of 1951 and 1954 which clearly set up the concept of Finnish design. By officially blending design into production, materials from Marimekko had achieved international consideration with their distinguishing of a select market receptive to the large Finnish design look.

    Marimekko started in Finland in 1949 after buying Printex Oy, which was an oilcloth factory outside of Helsinki. Armi and Viljo Ratia started the company and it is known for the production of the highest quality textiles for clothing and home furnishing. They brought back the old technique of silk-screen printing by hand on cotton.

    This approach, distinguished by its resultant irregularities and duplicated patterning, made every design appear hand-made. While production methods have long since been automated, the corporation still prints to a level of manually-produced quality. By utilizing its distinctive patterns and natural fibers, it underscored its commitment to Scandinavia’s love of nature.

    With Armi as its design director, the firm moved away from the standard approach of the other fabric designers in Finland at that time, utilizing an assortment of patterns which incorporated the abstract graphics of various artists rather than realistic images. Their original collection of basic women’s dresses, which debuted in the city of Helsinki back in 1951, was a means of showcasing the corporation’s printed cottons.

    Wraparound and front-button garments were included, thus accentuating textiles instead of styling. This collection was known as Marimekko, blending the old-fashioned Finnish girl name Maria and the word mekko, describing a tow shirt, open in the back and then worn as if it were a pinafore. Since that time, “Maria’s little dress” expanded into home furnishing textiles, with some international licensing agreements begun in 1968 for bedding, wall covering, decorative fabric, table linens, paper products, furniture, kitchen ware, glassware, ceramics, and rugs.

    By the close of the 1900s, Marimekko had already succeeded in re-establishing itself in the United States. It offered American purchasers popular textiles and interior design merchandise (for interiors and exteriors alike), including wallpaper, bedding, area rugs and lots more via a network of licensed firms. While it may not be quite as famous as numerous other fabric companies, its striking and distinctive patterns and characteristic choices of vivid colors are easily recognized and give it a unique identity which is as alive today as it ever was.

    By formally integrating design into manufacturing, textiles from marimekko acquired international attention through their identification of an exclusive market responsive to the strong Finnish design aesthetic. Wraparound and front-buttoned garments were included, accentuating the textiles rather than the styling of the garments. “Maria’s little dress” expanded into home furnishing textiles, with overseas licensing agreements (initiated in 1968) for wall coverings, bedding, decorative fabrics, paper products, table linens, kitchenware, furniture, ceramics, glassware, rugs, and wall coverings. These products included fabric for interior design such as wall coverings and rugs, as well as bed linens and much more.

    By formally integrating design into manufacturing, textiles from marimekko acquired international attention through their identification of an exclusive market responsive to the strong Finnish design aesthetic. Wraparound and front-buttoned garments were included, accentuating the textiles rather than the styling of the garments. “Maria’s little dress” expanded into home furnishing textiles, with overseas licensing agreements (initiated in 1968) for wall coverings, bedding, decorative fabrics, paper products, table linens, kitchenware, furniture (möbler), ceramics, glassware, rugs, and wall coverings. These products included fabric for interior design such as wall coverings and rugs, as well as bed linens and much more.

  • Gardiner

    Gardiner
    Gardiner

    H. Marshall Gardiner (1884-1942) was born on September 18, 1884 into a photographic family led by his father, W.H. Gardiner. Apparently some sources list his first name as “Harry“, other sources list him as “Henry“. Born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada his family immigrated to the United States circa 1890. Once the family was settled W.H. Gardiner opened two photographic studios, one in Detroit, Michigan during the winter months and a second at Mackinac Island, Michigan during the more tourist-oriented summer months. Recognizing the potential of Florida’s rapidly growing tourist trade, around 1894-95 H. Marshall Gardiner moved with his family from Detroit to Daytona, Florida which proved much more accommodating to the family’s photographic business during the colder winter months.

    H. Marshall Gardiner learned many of his photographic techniques from his father prior to going out on his own at a relatively early age. Whereas his father generally used wet collodian negatives, technology had advanced to where H. Marshall Gardiner was able to use gelatin dry plates in his earlier years. And in the later years he was able to utilize the less expensive and much more convenient roll film.

    Another very important lesson Gardiner learned from his father was that one of the keys to operating a successful photographic business was to set up shop in a tourist resort. Early in his career Gardiner traveled to Bermuda. There he shot a series of beautiful Bermuda scenes that he hand-colored and sold to the Bermuda tourist trade. Sold there over a considerable period of time, these Bermuda scenes provided a nice revenue stream as the years went on. They proved so popular that we have even seen some with pre-printed (vs. hand-signed) signatures suggesting a significant-enough sales volume to justify the considerable expense of pre-printing mats.

    Around 1910 he first traveled to the island of Nantucket, just off the coastline of Massachusetts’s Cape Cod. He was around 26 at the time and the year-round population of Nantucket was just over 2500, not nearly enough to sustain a photographic business for the entire year. On Nantucket Gardiner opened a joint Photography and Art Supplies Store. Working as Nantucket’s exclusive agent for Eastman Kodak, his business expanded to include the island’s only photo-finishing service. However, with such a small year-round population, even the addition of a Gift Shop to compliment the hand-painted photographs, general portrait & photographic services, and art supplies couldn’t sustain him on Nantucket year round.

    So during the winter months he helped with the family’s photographic businesses in Daytona and Mackinac Island. And upon his father’s death in 1935, Gardiner took over the family business in Daytona on a full-time basis.

    H. Marshall Gardiner was married twice. His first marriage was to a Nantucket “Macy” who was a descendant of one of the founding families of Nantucket. She died after eight years of marriage and he then married Bertha Coffin Chase, a descendant of another Nantucket founding family.

    H. Marshall Gardiner’s hand-painted photographs are very similar to those by Wallace Nutting and the other leading New England photographers. That is, most are matted, usually on white mat board having a platemark indentation around the image, signed “H. Marshall Gardiner” lower right beneath the image, and titled lower left beneath the image. And most are framed in thinner frames, also in the style of Wallace Nutting.

    From the perspective of a hand-colored photography collector H. Marshall Gardiner produced works in three primary locations…NantucketFlorida…and Bermuda. And the desirability of Gardiner’s work with collectors generally ranks in that order.

    H. Marshall Gardiner’s Nantucket hand-painted photographs are undoubtedly his most desirable works. Money generally lives on Nantucket and both full-time and part-time residents, as well as visitors and tourists, love to collect Gardiner’s hand-painted Nantucket photographs. Scenes with buildings and people are often the most desirable. Seascapes and location-specific Exterior scenes are also highly collectible. His more generic Exterior scenes are probably the least collectible of his various Nantucket views. Although for a short period of time around 2000-2002 prices were topping $1,000 for the rarest Nantucket scenes in the best condition, the high-end market has softened somewhat and today the better Gardiner Nantucket scenes will more commonly bring in the $250-$500 range. Apparently the Gardiner Nantucket market on eBay was driven by only a small handful of collectors and, once they either acquired a desired title or dropped out of the market, top prices started to fall back into line. More common Nantucket titles and those in damaged condition can bring considerably less.

    Gardiner’s Florida hand-painted photographs are becoming increasing collectible to both hand-painted photography collectors as well as general-line Florida collectors. Most of Gardiner’s Florida scenes are more generic (palms, coastlines, hanging moss, streams, sand, etc.). Location-specific pictures will generally bring stronger prices than will the more generic Florida scenes and you can typically expect Gardiner’s Florida hand-colored photos to bring in the $100-$250 range.

    And his Bermuda scenes, although the least collectible of the three primary Gardiner categories, are still highly prized by collectors. However, since we have seen fewer “Bermuda” collectors than “Florida” or “Nantucket” collectors, prices for Bermuda scenes will generally run $75-$150 at our Auctions.

    Gardiner’s postcards are also widely collected. Unlike his hand-painted photographs which can command a premium price today, his Nantucket postcards are much easier to locate and are much more affordable. And if you like the photography of H. Marshall Gardiner, you will be able to find considerably more views in postcards than in hand-colored photographs. Most of Gardiner’s postcards were produced by the Detroit Publishing Company using their “Phostint” patented printing process. Although some B&W postcards may be found, his most popular and numerous postcards are color. Generally H. Marshall Gardiner postcards will bring $2.50-$10.00 each although certain ones may bring somewhat higher prices.

    H. Marshall Gardiner died on December 4, 1942 and is buried on his beloved Nantucket

    RECOMMENDED READING: For further information on H. Marshall Gardiner we would refer you to a book by his daughter, Geraldine Gardiner Salisbury titled H. Marshall Gardiner’s Nantucket Postcards: 1910-1940.

  • Social Media

    Social Media
    Social Media

    A great social media manager is, as Ron Burgundy would say: “The balls“.

    It’s an undisputed fact that every business needs to be active in social media. The ever-changing demands of the modern day consumer requires brands to think fast and adapt quickly in order to stay one step ahead.

    The role of a social media manager has appealed to the mass generation of socially-active internet users. It’s hard not to. Especially when some might think that you can earn big bucks from posting Facebook updates. Hardly.

    Being a social media manager is kind of like being a stand-up comedian. You have to quickly understand your audience and your engagement with them is vital. In order to accomplish this, you need to know if the audience is laughing at your jokes and you need to know this in real-time. If you can do this, then you have already won the crowd.

    So, how do you become a social manager? More to the point, how do you become a great social manager?

    The answer will be surprising to some. Firstly, you have to want it. Second, you have to love it. Third, you have to learn it. And even if you tick all these boxes, you should ask yourself: “Am I a social person?” If the answer is no, then becoming a social media manager is probably not for you…

    So let’s take a look at the stats.

    • LinkedIn shows 57,910 results for “social media manager”
    • Social media has now overtaken porn as the number 1 activity on the web
    • 97% of all consumers search for local businesses online
    • 71% of consumers receiving a quick brand response on social media say they would likely recommend that brand to others
    • 93% of marketers use social media for business
    • In terms of difficulty of execution, nearly half (49%) of B2B marketers put social media marketing at the top, followed by content marketing (39%), SEO (26%) and mobile (25%)
    • 77% of B2B marketers use a blog as part of their content marketing mix
    • On average, 25% of marketing budgets are now spent on content development, delivery and promotion
    • 78% of small businesses attract new customers through social sites
    • When asked to rank their company’s social business maturity on a scale of 1 to 10, more than half of global business executives gave their company a score of 3 or below

    But the statistic that is most relevant to this article is:

    • Just 12% of those using social marketing feel they actually use it effectively.

    Being a social media manager brings with it some key benefits within a freelance setting. The most recognisable being the fact that you are your own boss. You make the decisions and answer to no one. You send the invoices and you set the policies. Heck, you could sit in your underpants all day on the computer if you wanted to.

    The other is money. It is an in-demand role, but one that companies are still struggling to come to terms with. Some companies realise and understand the value social media could bring to their enterprise and are willing to invest heavily in robust social media campaigns. Being your own boss, you can decide how to set your costs and price accordingly.

    Another attractive reason is the low barriers to entry. With low start-up costs and plenty of online resources (like this one!) to rapidly decrease the learning cure, anyone can launch a freelance social management business within a short space of time.

    I’ll tell you my story shortly but first, let’s explore the essential skills you’ll need to become a great social media manager..

    Fundamental Skills:

    Marketing Knowledge

    You should have a good grasp of the basic marketing principles. Some education in marketing would be beneficial, but otherwise you can find many quality resources online.

    Experience

    Your experience doesn’t necessarily have to be limited to life experiences. Have you managed your own social media profiles for a while? Do you know how to effectively maintain your own social accounts and understand what clients expect?

    Sociable

    I touched on this at the beginning of the article. If you are not a sociable person – someone who doesn’t like communicating much and isn’t very outgoing, then becoming a social media manager just isn’t for you. Sure, you can hide behind a keyword and monitor for a while, but clients will usually want to meet, speak on the phone, or have Skype sessions at some point.

    Project Management

    You don’t have to have a Prince2 certificate, but you do need to be able to manage projects and your time well. It’s typical for social media manager’s to work with multiple clients at any one time. Keeping tabs on everything is important so that it doesn’t get overwhelming.

    Technological

    Social media exists online. Therefore, you need to have a certain degree of computer literacy. Having good knowledge of social technology will enhance your services and ensure you are keeping up to date with the latest social trends and developments.

    Interpersonal Skills:

    Communication

    It kind of goes without saying that if you’re going to be representing a company and engaging with their customers, then you will need to have strong communication skills.

    Personality

    Companies tend not to want to hire people with no personality to act on behalf of their brand. It doesn’t resonate well with them, or their audiences.

    Responsiveness

    I’ve touched on this a few times – social media is very fast-paced. Imagine if one of your social assignments was largely focused on customer service and you didn’t respond to customer complaints or queries for weeks. People online want rapid responses. Being able to fulfil these needs can stand your client (and you!) in good stead.

    Entrepreneurial

    To become a social media manager in a freelance capacity, you have to be a self-starter. You should be willing to go the extra mile and take a few financial risks along the way. If you don’t land a job that pays enough in one month, how will this affect you?

    Multitasking

    A great social media manager must be able to effectively carry out a wide range of tasks.

    Organisation

    You should always be very well organised when delivering social media management services. I use all kinds of traditional tools like calendars, white boards and task lists to keep myself organised. I also use many online organisational tools, such as: Thunderbird for accessing all my email accounts in one place, Dropbox to easily share documents with clients and bookmarks to keep track of all the websites I frequently visit.

    Strategic Thinking

    Being able to think campaigns through before they happen and sometimes thinking outside the box when needed, are great asset to have as a social media manager. Clients tend to want to know how you will do something before letting you do it, so being able to present a clear and concise strategy is essential.

    Flexible (with travel)

    Contrary to popular belief, a freelance social media manager has to leave his office sometimes! If this is a problem for you, then you should think about starting another profession. Nearly every sizeable project I undertake involves multiple meetings with the client. You should have reasonable pitching skills, as you may be required to sell your services face to face too, before being hired. You may even opt to take on in-house work.

    Wider Skills:

    Copywriting

    Every good social media manager is a great writer. Writing forms the foundations of many aspects of online marketing, be it creating ads, writing blogs, engaging with customers, scripting sales copy or writing press releases.

    Graphic Design

    Pretty much all social media platforms provide the functionality to customise the interface and incorporate your own branding. If you are sharp with Photoshop (or similar design software), then you are in a good position to offer these services as part of your social media package. Similarly, creating content such as infographics, banners or images is standard practise for a social media manager.

    Advertising

    Every social media manager should have sound knowledge of advertising. Be it Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising or banner advertising, you should know the ins and outs of each discipline and understand how to optimise each format.

    PR

    Public relations is closely tied to social media marketing, in the sense that both involve managing the spread of information between a business and the public. You may start out not needing to have a deep knowledge of PR, as it is typically managed by larger brands who have an interest in persuading stakeholders, investors or the public to maintain a certain point of view.

    Statistical

    Everything in marketing should be measured. You should periodically measure and analyse your social marketing performance and produce reports to your clients to demonstrate your value.

    SEO

    Understanding how social media affects search engine optimisation will ultimately improve campaign performance. In 2012, there was an average of 5,134,000,000 searches on Google every day. If you think SEO doesn’t matter to your social activities, think again.

    Traditional Marketing

    Even though you generally won’t be involved in traditional marketing practises while undertaking a social media management role, you should understand how both forms of marketing affect each other and how each can be best leveraged to complement the other.

    Video Editing

    This will probably be the least used of your wider skills, but nevertheless it can assist you in your social marketing positions. I’ve had a few clients that required presentations or demonstration videos to be edited before being used within their social media campaigns. I’m for sure no expert, but having a reasonable level of knowledge in using Windows Movie Maker (or similar video editing software) can turn that video file straight from the camera into a beautiful, YouTube-ready video.

    Even if you possess all the necessary skills to become a social media manager, there is still scope to improve your services by using different social tools and software. I’ll quickly recap on two different pieces of software I use that may help you in becoming a great social media manager:

    • Hootsuite: I wrote an in-depth review of Hootsuite on my blog that also includes a video tutorial which should provide all the information you will need to know about Hootsuite.
    • BuzzBundle: This is my favourite and most valued piece of software I’ve ever used. I use it mainly to find keywords around my content subject from across a huge range of blogs, forums and social sites and stream all this information back to me in one interface. I can then see who is discussing my topic and jump straight into the conversations to add my two cents.

    What You’ll Be Expected To Do…

    So, what does a social media manager actually do? As you can probably tell by now, the role of a social media manager is diverse. It’s not a case of “Well, I post updates to Facebook.” Here are a few general activities that social media managers will be expected to execute:

    Strategy

    You will be required to formulate campaign and platform specific strategies that meet the business objectives. You will create actions plans, content calendars, set metrics and KPIs, undertake various research activities and perform different types of analysis.

    Content Creation

    Content creates the foundations of any marketing campaign. How you decide to execute your campaigns will depend on the different forms of content you produce. As you would have no doubt already heard from someone, content is king. Believe them.

    Community Management

    Managing accounts also means managing communities. You should be the go-to person when representing brands in social domains and continually reach out and engage with your audiences. You will need to constantly strengthen social relationships in order to develop long-lasting followers.

    Audience Building

    Marketing to the same people over and over will not widen your scope and social reach. You should be increasing readership and your level of influence within your target audiences.

    Customer Service

    Many companies use social media as an instant channel for customer service. You will have to be responsive and helpful in your social activities, regularly being the first point of contact. You will be representing the brand and managing their customer perceptions.

    Measurement

    Every effort that consumes investment will need to be measured and analysed. I’vve previously written tutorials that demonstrate how you can set up your Google Analytics account on my blog.

    Reporting

    Once your efforts have been measured and analysed, your clients will want to understand how their investment has performed. This can take the form of visual aids for meetings or digital reports. Reporting is a key ingredient of any social media manager in order to prove your worth and demonstrate the value you have added to the business.

    How I Became A Social Media Manager

    I’ve been active in social media since July 2007. This was before the time of all the latest social marketing tools and software that nowadays are ingrained into all social marketers everyday life. Resources or tutorials weren’t as widely available that could help speed up the learning curve.

    I did find an online course that looked pretty good in teaching me how to turn my social skills that I had been practising on my own accounts into a fully fledged business. I invested £600 on this online course to learn the basics and now that some years have passed, I can look back and say the value wasn’t all that great, but the ideas were there. It pushed me to think outside the box and motivated me to start my trajectory towards becoming a social media manager.

    So before I had decided to turn my love for social media and networking into a freelance opportunity, I attended Brunel University where I completed my BSc and MSc in Business Management. It was at this time when I jumped on board with the poker boom and started playing online cash games and tournaments. Poker really helped me to develop my own time management, money management and analysis skills. I always knew I wanted to start my own business so this was a good platform to get my feet wet. Throughout my time playing poker, I was always engaged in online social discussions and even wrote a few guest posts for poker sites.

    Before I knew it, I was a fully-fledged freelance social media manager…

    So to kick-start my freelance social media work, I joined a bunch of freelance sites like Elance, oDesk and Freelancer. I still use some of them today.

    After a few years of freelancing on small one-off projects and developing my social marketing acumen, I was hired by an online business services company to run their social media campaigns, as well as handle all their own clients social marketing campaigns. I still work with them today, which just shows the power of forging good working relationships.

    I managed to attract clients in most months for the next few years and each project ended up being pretty diverse from the next. This allowed me to develop wider skills that I have since found almost a necessity in order to provide a well-rounded social media marketing service. I mentioned some of these wider skills required to become a great social media manager towards the middle of this article.

    I also kept maintaining and building my own social media profiles. It’s important to practise what you preach and showcase your expertise on your own domains. My social profiles have regularly attracted clients, which keeps work coming in and builds up my networking potential.

    I have been writing on my blog for a few years, but only recently updated my site. My own social activities also serve to build traffic to my sites, where I generate passive income. I like to “listen” to the social environment and engage with people who are already looking for my content. This serves well in building and strengthening connections, as well as attracting targeted traffic.

    I have also been a keen guest blogger. I believe that writing articles for other relevant blogs only serves to increase your scope and exposure. Once or twice, I have had my articles featured by online magazines and publications, which was always nice.

    Keeping my ears to the ground and getting myself ‘out there’ was one of the things I promised myself I would do, even though I knew the vast majority of my time would be spent in my home office. I tried to regularly meet up with business connections and clients to make sure they could match an online persona to a real life face. The vast majority of the time, I even managed to remember my business cards!

    A strategy I’ve always tried to employ while freelancing is to try and turn one client into three. What I mean by that is word of mouth is the most powerful advertising there is. People do act on solid recommendations that their friends make. I found that taking as basic an approach as asking clients at the end of projects if they knew anyone who could benefit from social media marketing, worked out surprisingly well.

    As social media is such a dynamic environment with start-ups booming and busting every few months, I knew that it was essential to keep up to date with social developments. Every so often, a client would ask me to set up profiles or campaigns on sites that some social media managers would have never heard of. Keeping tuned in enabled me to have at least some knowledge and experience in using these platforms, which dramatically lowered my learning curve and ultimately lead to better performing campaigns.

    Around a year and a half ago, I decided to broaden by service offerings and set up a web design company with my business partner. “Thinking Forwards” was born in the summer of 2012. Websites and social media go hand-in-hand, so this enabled me to up-sell my services both ways.

    So that brings me loosely to where I am now. Just to be clear; I have never used paid advertising or SEO for my own benefit while being a social media manager. My progression came solely through content marketing and guerrilla marketing tactics.

    To Summarise On How I Became A Social Media Manager:

    • Joined freelance sites
    • Practised what I preached and actively maintained my own social media profiles and blogs
    • Kept consistently networking and building my contact lists
    • Continually created my own content on my own sites
    • Took my content straight to prospects
    • Proactively kept asking if people needed my assistance
    • Guest blogging and featured articles
    • Attended networking events and met up with clients and business contacts
    • Tried to turn one client into three
    • Kept up to date with new social networks and developments
    • Started other initiatives where social media services were complementary
    • Never turned down any work or networking opportunities
    • Worked long hours, sometimes for small rewards, to build reputation, authority and presence

    I thought I would leave you with some final advice from things I have learnt from my own experiences being a social media manager.

    Remember that…

    • Sometimes you won’t be right for a project, even if you think you are
    • It’s OK to work for less than your desired amount, if the benefits warrant it
    • You won’t win every contract, so don’t beat yourself up if you get turned down
    • Things change really quickly in social media, so you will have to continually adapt
    • You never know as much as you think you do!

    Starting a career in anything takes time and effort. If you think it’s easy to become a great social media manager, then think again…

    I wish you all the best in your future endeavours!