About Jason Longo

Jason is a highly organized and outgoing professional with years of experience in marketing, project management, event planning, leadership, graphic design, web design and development, social network marketing, sales, grant writing, and writing/editing. Sincerity, dedication, creativity, charisma, talent, and experience contribute to his ongoing success. He enjoys blogging about design and technology, and continues to serve clients and the community through his design / social media business, Celestial Studios.

Social Media Consultation, Management, and Training

Those of you who already know me are probably also connected on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, FourSquare, Instagram, and many other niche social media tools. I’m an explorer of the medium, and got my start on Facebook in 2006, Twitter in 2007 and even remember when MySpace was cool. My wife and I immediately saw the business potential of social media and dove right in with our company, “Doggie Cakes” by making profiles and finding ways to engage our customers, announce our events, and sell our products. We were soon, everywhere in social media – and learned a lot in the process.

Long story short, in early 2011 I was approached by my first social media client for some consultation and management of their online presence. As more referrals started coming in, I discovered and developed my systems for managing, monitoring, communicating, and reporting. I also evaluated a lot of management, scheduling, and evaluation tools in the first year. I must say, I now have my favorites – which you will hear about in upcoming blogs.

While building up my social media business, I continued with my graphic and web design projects, and also started gathering a trusted and talented support team of partners and contractors to help me in that area. Social media is the backbone of my business; however, so I launched a new page on this site that talks about what I do, and the two basic service plans that I operate.

For more information on how I can assist small business or individuals with social media, please click here.

WordPress Themes

StudioPress Premium WordPress ThemesI’m a huge fan of the Genesis Framework – a theme by StudioPress™ / Copyblogger Media LLC. This website in fact runs on Genesis and uses the child theme, Generate. Child themes are amazing, as they don’t cause you to have to modify your parent theme. In fact, there are plug-ins available for free that let you adjust every aspect of your design without even damaging your child theme. These essentially create new style sheets and rules that are interpreted by the theme for display. The best option below is the Pro Plus Package, as it comes with Genesis, most of the child themes below, and lifetime updates and support. At first I bought just Genesis and a child theme, then another, then decided that I needed to go for it.

I have found that every theme I implement, functions quickly and cleanly to the user, and is intuitive to update. The video tutorials, forums, and support from StudioPress™ are top notch, and are extremely helpful to being successful with WordPress. It’s a great development community with ongoing innovation and practicality.

For more information about Genesis, including screenshots of each available theme click here.

Social Fresh East Had Me at Hello

Social Fresh East wasn’t just a two-day conference held in Tampa starting on February 7th and ending on the 8th at Doubletree by Hilton. For me the engagement, learning, and benefits started way before the conference, at online registration, and continue daily online.

The event promised “2 days of advanced social media training from companies like Ford, RadioShack, Nordstrom and more.” I would say, that the “and more” is where I am getting the most out of the conference.

Shortly after registering online, all registered attendees were invited by Jason Keath, CEO, of Social Fresh to enjoy a free tin of cookies from the Doubletree; and to join the closed Facebook group to engage with other attendees, speakers, sponsors and partners. Closer to the event, we were all invited to join the “freshmakers” at a pre-event Super Bowl Party, and opening and closing receptions.

It’s not just in the conference content where one has the opportunity to learn, it is in the engagement and hospitality of our hosts, speakers, conference partners, sponsors, and our fellow attendees. If you attended; take note of not just the content; but the conference focus; website; and the communication before, during, and after. I have been taking note of these areas with Social Fresh.

The people that benefited the most from the conference came early and stayed late, were open to new ideas, and got involved in on-site and online networking. If you don’t ask a question, you won’t get the answer. Those answers came from social conversations and during presentations. Social Fresh as a company and this conference’s amazing speakers are still answering and posing questions. They are still “being human” and providing social media content that “has value.”

The ideas of being human and providing social media that has value were brought up by Scott Monty, of Ford Motor Company during his keynote. He also introduced a concept that I wrote down and need to keep in mind. His goal of integrating the “earned”, “owned”, and “paid” social media for his campaigns. “Earned” is the most exciting of the three, as it involves being re-tweeted, quoted, and a part of traditional news sources. It also would pertain to YouTube sensations whose videos have earned them viral status. Being human and providing value help with the earned.

What impressed me about all of the speakers is that they talked all of the social media platforms as tools, not a strategy. They discussed social media as a part of a larger marketing strategy and kept the idea of engagement, not numbers, at the forefront. Even the question of “what is your twitter strategy?” was dismissed.

The theme of targeting current fans of the product or company also was evident in talks by Scott Monty, Jay Baer of Convince & Convert, Christopher Penn of WhatCounts, and other speakers. Mr. Monty stated a brilliantly simple thing that “people like what they like.” That’s probably not an exact quote, but he built on this to say, you probably won’t “like” or “follow” Ford in social media if you didn’t already have a positive experience with them. When working on my own social media, and with the clients I assist, I plan to reach out to current customers more than people who have never heard of these companies and brands.

Also evident and important was blogging often, including guest blogging. I have been following some great blogs by Social Fresh, HubSpot, Argyle Social, WhatCounts, Convince & Convert, and other companies who were represented by very personable, funny, and knowledgeable speakers. I list the companies, but could just as well say Jay Baer, Christopher Penn, Eric Boggs, etc. because, they write blogs that are human and have value when representing their company.

I literally could, and may (but won’t), write an e-book just about what I learned from Social Fresh. If you had the benefit of attending or wish you did, you can still visit the Social Fresh East website and it’s speaker page. Explore and connect with these speakers in social media, on their websites, and subscribe to their blogs. You will absorb immense knowledge by reading and by observing their writing style, timing, and integration of resources. They re-purpose these great articles in e-mail announcements, Facebook pages, and on Twitter with headline variations at different times of the day. Exceptional lessons by studying their examples.

Thank you Antony Francis and Amber Osborne (Miss Destructo) of Head of Lettuce Media for selecting me as one of your distinguished attendees, Jason Keath and Corey Creed of Social Fresh for your hospitality and continued dialog on Facebook and Twitter, Shauna Causey of Nordstrom for the inspiration and friendship on Pinterest and Clipboard, and Chris Penn of WhatCounts for your LinkedIn connection. Chris, what you know about Google Analytics and analyzing ROI for campaigns, e-mail, and social media is truly something that I appreciate and aspire to develop in my continued studies.

In closing, Social Fresh has some amazing, FREE trainings on their website for Facebook, Twitter, and Corporate Blogging. These include the best blog resources out there, for these three topics, as curated by Social Fresh.

Social Fresh rocks! Props to Corey Creed for giving us a great tip on Social Fresh Academy. You can pay for a month, and download all the videos, transcripts, and bonuses; and can drop if that’s what you decide to do. The full membership does have ongoing fresh content, so Cory (and I) encourage you to stick around.

You can find me on Twitter @JasonLongo and at the next Social Fresh East of course.

Twas the Night Before Social Fresh EAST

Social Fresh is coming to Tampa tomorrow, February 6-7, 2012 and I’m going courtesy of my wining e-mail to Head of Lettuce Media, who are local marketing partners for this amazing event. Thanks Antony Francis and Amber Osborne (Miss Destructo) for the opportunity to attend.

The event has been using the hashtag #SocialFresh on Twitter, so you can catch the excitement by watching the countless tweets by speakers, organizers, sponsors, and attendees. The format is great, because it has top social media experts from national/international companies, and there are no break-out sessions. Everyone will get a chance to have the same experiences for two full-days.

Scott Monty; Christopher Penn; and Jay Baer are each providing keynote presentations. I’m also looking forward to hearing from Adrian Parker, Radio Shack; Chris Moody, Red Hat; Chuck Hemann, WCG; Eric Boggs, Argyle Social Media; Jane Quigley, Strategy JQ; Jesse Catlin, eMarketer; Kipp Bodnar, HubSpot; Matthew Knell, AOL; Shauna Causey, Nordstrom; and Corey Creed, Hippo Internet Marketing.

Learn more about this event online at SocialFreshConference.com and catch me on Twitter at @JasonLongo and follow hashtag #SocialFresh

I’m Back

I will be moving my old blogs from JasonLongo.net to JasonLongo.com and will be getting back into blogging. I took a break to work on my business and to get deeper into the microblogging at Twitter and Facebook, but I’ve always been a writer. I can’t wait to share my social media and design experiences and observations with you. We’ll get into vlogging this year too, and online video tutorials – but I’m getting ahead of myself. See that link on the right to subscribe? Do that, and I’ll stay in touch.

LarsER Arts – Website

I met Lars-Erik Robinson – Artist, about six months before I was contracted by him to assist with a new logo and website. We quickly became great friends after our first meeting, and learned a lot about each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and businesses. Lars is an amazing artist, with his own portfolio on Behance – but needed some advice on marketing himself as an artist and a help with a website that allowed him easy access and ability to update on his own – even from his cell phone.

The prior website had since become outdated in terms of technology – method of update, and in the portfolio of work that Lars was presenting publicly. My re-design had several goals: 1) Produce a professional website, up to the standards of such a fine artist and person, 2) Combine the functions of the necessary site components into one package, 3) Develop the site completely in a self-hosted WordPress system, so that in the future – Lars or anyone with minor training could continue to manage or develop this site. All goals were achieved, and the Lars and his fans are very pleased. I continue to advise Lars on WordPress and the function of his website, but he is maintaining his calendar, pages, blog, and portfolio images.The LarsERArts Logo is a collaboration between Lars and Jason in terms of goal, color, and design. We make a great team. I made sure that it has a graphic almost comic book pop, with additional text in the signature, phone number and Arts.com that look hand drawn. Having the phone number as a part of the logo is helpful to his marketing campaign.The website uses a purchased WordPress template, and lots of plug-ins for look and function. I created the header using Lars’ drawing and photo, and made most of the social media icons. The project was mostly about including all of the elements that Lars needed in a website, and in working with him on portfolio categories, copy, and in the addition of images that he felt represented his past work and current talents.View the website: http://www.LarsERArts.com
The LarsERArts Logo is a collaboration between Lars and Jason in terms of goal, color, and design. We make a great team. I made sure that it has a graphic almost comic book pop, with additional text in the signature, phone number and Arts.com that look hand drawn. Having the phone number as a part of the logo is helpful to his marketing campaign.
The main page on Lars’ website includes a live tag cloud with links to his portfolio and blogs, a rotating series of images to the right of that, five random featured images from his sixteen category portfolio, a live Google Calendar of his appearances, links to all of his social media, and a live Twitter feed with the two latest posts from @LarsERArts.
Lars’ portfolio is the centerpiece and showpiece of this entire website. His talents and range also span twenty+ years and two continents. It is always a pleasure to work on a website where content is king. The portfolio pages are basically blogs, categorized as “Portfolio” and displayed on this page dynamically and in a specified order. A click of each image or “View Project” takes the viewer to a page about that category with text slideshow and thumbnail images.
This is a page detail from Lars’ Studio Portraits page. At the time of this screenshot, there were 115 images in this slideshow. The slideshow advances automatically, but can be controlled by a mouse click on one of three sets of arrows or on the thumbnails themselves. An image click pops up a full size image as a part of a full-size slideshow. Lars’ artistic talents were the best asset in making this an amazing website.
Forms were created for contacting Lars, requesting a quote, and submitting a testimonial. Here’s an example of the styling. The results are automatically stored in a database, and e-mailed to the Lars.

Panache Vue’ Magazine – Website

Panache Vue’ Magazine contracted with me to develop a new website for them, keeping in mind that they were poised to launch a second magazine “Panache Vue’ Magazine – South Tampa”, in addition to their North Pinellas/Pasco edition.

The prior website was designed without a content management system, so required expertise in html and ability to ftp from a workstation. That made updates laborious, and at the schedule of one webmaster. Redesigned for a WordPress environment, several trusted individuals can make minor or major updates, based on their urgency and skills.

My re-design had several goals: 1) Produce a professional website, up to the standards of such a fine publication, 2) Combine the functions of the necessary site components into one package, 3) Develop the site completely in a self-hosted WordPress system, so that in the future – anyone with minor training could continue to manage or develop this site. All goals were achieved, and the the Publisher, staff, and subscribers are very pleased. I continue to manage the site by adding monthly articles, changing banner ads, updating the directory, and updating/developing pages as needed.

The Panache Vue’ Logo was designed by Shaun Drees. I enhanced a purchased theme with custom graphics, content, and plug-ins – as the theme perfectly matched the functional and visual goals for this site.

The original website, which was static, had nine pages in the Google search engine. This site, which included many new pages, categories, tags, and dynamic content generated over 150 pages found by Google in just over a week.

View the website: http://www.PanacheVue.com

This screenshot shows the entire homepage, including rotating banners, dynamic article excerpts from our main features, and two columns of articles from the current magazines for North Pinellas/Pasco and South Tampa. The articles are coded with categories for year, publication, and issue – I simply change the issue and the homepage updates itself.

The redesign, includes bios and photos of each talented staff member. A page of featured writers will be included in an update.

Great writing and photography makes for excellent web content. Eight to sixteen new articles are added monthly, along with photos, and links to external content. Standard and creative photo sizes are used to create interest. In the example above, I felt the article deserved this long, vertical photo.

The magazine generates a lot of interest and with it’s monthly contests: Baby, Kids, Pets, and Romantic Getaway. The original website included information on e-mailing photos, entries, essays for these contests, but I included forms for each one. The results are automatically stored in a database, and e-mailed to the staff at Panache. Readers can now upload photos, and essays (in the case of the kid’s contest) right on the website. The volume of entries has increased significantly. As so many nice pictures are available, a slideshow rotates the images on the contest pages for visual interest.

A massive directory of partners and advertisers was included in the website update. Companies are cross categorized, and include all contact information, and social media links. Google maps is integrated into the search results, providing maps and directions for each entry. Advertisers have the ability to include a logo and company marketing language/photos for an additional fee.

Forms were created for contacting the magazine, job applications, digital subscriptions, and all contests. Here’s an example of the styling. The results are automatically stored in a database, and e-mailed to the staff at Panache.

RAXA Inspires – Logos and Website

Contracted to design the logo and website for RAXA Inspires.

The logo is for a family business. They make t-shirts with inspirational sayings. Each letter is the initial of a family member. Rafael, Alba, Xavier, and Alexxi

The first sketch was right-on. No other ideas had the same impact. It’s nice when that happens. The family loves it, and are currently selling their printed shirts.

The website is a very customized, self-hosted, WordPress.org site.
Visit the website: http://www.RAXAInspires.com



I designed eight website banners, each, sliced into four images. The banners are part of the WordPress.org website that I created for RAXA Inspires. I used the theme 3COL-RDMBAN RR 1.5.3 by Eric Crooks (a 3 column theme based on the TAKTEEK01 theme. Most of the styles were changed, one column was eliminated, and navigation was added to the header. The last four banners retained a portion of the original background, as they were pretty cool and I wanted to leave a trace/homage to the original designer. I created the eight banners in one layered Photoshop document, so it is easy to update and export a new banner, graphic, or entire set.

The website is for a family business. They make t-shirts with inspirational sayings. Each letter in RAXA is the initial of a family member. Rafael, Alba, Xavier, and Alexxi. I decided to incorporate their photos and names in the headers. The family loved that, and the entire website. They desired that particular header to always appear on the “About” page. As a fix, I reduced the size and made it appear in the page body, and added a new family banner to appear in the rotations. This is visible in one of the screenshots below.

I made this at www.PatternCooler.com as a modern retro background for the RAXAInspires.com website.

This WordPress.org site uses the theme 3COL-RDMBAN RR 1.5.3 by Eric Crooks (a 3 column theme based on the TAKTEEK01 theme. Most of the styles were changed, one column was eliminated, and navigation was added to the header. This screenshot shows a banner with Alexxi and his dad Rafael. They are the “R” and second “A” in RAXA. The font in the quote and those in the header and titles are live CSS from the Google Font Directory – www.Google.com/Webfonts

Colors for the site are based on the heart logo which includes red/pink. Pink, mauve, and neutrals such as grey, white, black are used. The background also includes some faded earth tones such as brown.

This WordPress.org site uses the theme 3COL-RDMBAN RR 1.5.3 by Eric Crooks (a 3 column theme based on the TAKTEEK01 theme. Most of the styles were changed, one column was eliminated, and navigation was added to the header. Two of the shirts that RAXA Inspires created are visible in this screenshot. All pages and blog entries include the AddThis plugin, so that users can share items from the site in social media outlets. The sidebar pulls events directly from a Google Calendar, and the Twitter section uses RSS to bring in the five most current tweets.

This page includes a custom banner with the family’s photos, the vision, and mission of their company. The freestanding text is all live CSS, Including: “RAXA Inspires: Inspirational Clothing and More…”


This page pulls events from RAXA Inspires Google Calendar. Plugin “Google Calendar Events 0.4.1″ I updated the CSS to make it work best for this website. This plugin also has a list view, and sidebar widget, which is visible in this screenshot.


This page pulls events from RAXA Inspires Google Calendar. Plugin “Google Calendar Events 0.4.1″ I updated the CSS to make it work best for this website. This plugin also has a calendar view, and sidebar widget, which is visible in this screenshot.


This page includes the t-shirt designs by RAXA Inspires. I didn’t have all of the photographs, so added some products as text (the sayings on the shirts). Plugin “Cart66 Lite 1.0.5″ I didn’t edit any of the CSS, but did lay out the products using an old school table. The plugin also has a shopping cart widget, as visible on the sidebar; and created a number of other pages including those for cart and checkout. A PayPal account will be used to take credit/debit card payments. Inventory will need to be managed by hand.

Vector Design Creation and More at an Aviary in the Cloud

Aviary IconsI’ve been looking into the benefits of a Google Apps account lately, and was interested in trying out one of their free offerings – Aviary, a design suite. I signed up for the free account today, which is still being validated. While waiting for my account to become available, I searched for other completely web-based design programs outside of the Google Apps environment. I discovered that Aviary.com exists for all to enjoy. Aviary has an amazing collection of eight design programs that are all free and accessible via the web. This design suite has tools for vector design, photo editing, sound and music creation, and design effects. The site is easy to navigate, welcoming, and the icons and program names have flair.

My initial experiment involved Raven, the vector editor, and I’m very impressed. The features are very similar to Adobe Illustrator, and the vector images easily transfer to or from Illustrator or the design program of your choice. Raven can export files to EPS, PDF, SVG, and bitmap.

Being cloud-based, there is no software to install and your work can be saved in your online account. Aviary makes it easy to share your work in their gallery, Facebook,MySpace, Digg, Twitter, StumbleUpon, and Tumblr. My quick tour made me question how is this all free and so inventive. My guess is that they are building a foundation and user-base for future monetization.

Aviary is on a mission to make creation accessible to artists of all genres, from graphic design to audio editing. We’re a privately held company currently headquartered in New York City with team members around the world. Our founders also created Worth1000.com, a talented community of 500,000 digital artists that participate in amazing daily contests.

The screenshot below is just one of 290 hall of fame pages. There are already 5,800 works of this quality that were created with the Aviary tools. The collection may look intimidating, but hopefully it inspires you and illustrates the power of Aviary’s, cloud based programs. There are tons of tutorials on the website for each of the programs. Have fun.

Aviary


Using Gmail for Unlimited Domain E-mails

One Gmail account can check mail for up to five different e-mail accounts; however, there is no limit to the number of e-mail addresses that you can use to send mail. (See image one.) Where does this leave people that have fourteen or so e-mail addresses, yet want to streamline to one inbox and archive in the cloud? As I have many domains for which I check e-mail, I came up with a creative solution. I forward alias e-mail accounts to my main e-mail for each domain, as I generally only respond from one e-mail account for each. I set up my Gmail account to check mail for three other accounts, leaving room for two more. I also set up another Gmail account and forward additional e-mails directly from the domain servers. The sole purpose of that account is to then forward all mail to my main Gmail account. (See image 2 and 3.) Best thing about all of this is that each incoming e-mail is still from the original domain, and can be replied to as such. Using this technique, I don’t see a limit to how many e-mail accounts you can filter through and manage from one Gmail account.

Gmail Screenshot 1

Gmail Screenshot 1

Gmail Screenshot 2

Gmail Screenshot 2

Gmail Screenshot 3

Gmail Screenshot 3

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