Forget Twitter, Now Everybody’s Piling Into Instagram

It only seems like a few months ago that businesses were implored to get on Twitter and reach out to their customers. But thanks to a bunch of recent free speech scandals where Twitter has been targeting people with political opinions they don’t like, the platform has seen its share of the overall social media market fall.

Now many marketers are asking themselves whether there is a better platform out there.

Recently we also got the news that engagement on Facebook is also declining, That’s strange since the number of people hooked up to the internet is growing every year. It suggests that something monumental is happening in the social media market.

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Truth be told, it is. There’s a new social network in town: Instagram. And although it’s been around a while, it’s power is finally being felt far and wide, especially by those in the marketing community. It turns out that the form of social media communications on Instagram is uniquely suited to people. Most of our brains are dedicated to processing visual images: we find it particularly easy. This is essentially what Instagram is: a giant visual image repository where individuals can interact with one another and follow each other’s feeds. And it’s a massive opportunity for marketers. Here’s how to make your business a success on Instagram.

Tip #1: Build A Balance Of Fun and Business Images

Building a following on Instagram takes a bit of cunning, There’s no point just spamming your customers with images from your company and hoping that they will go viral and grow your audience: they won’t. What builds audiences on Instagram are a mixture of fun and professional images. You want the odd picture of a dog doing something weird interspersed with the rest of your content. Cute animals sell these days, especially on sites like Instagram. Of course, it doesn’t just have to be pictures of animals. McDonald’s recently caused a stir on its Instagram account by turning a zebra crossing into a work of art that looked just like one of its famous cartons of fries.

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Tip #2: Cultivate Your Following

Building a following from scratch on Instagram is difficult, just like it is on your other social media sites. Experts recommend, therefore, that businesses use tools, like Socifollower, as well as connect their existing fan bases to their new accounts. If you’ve got a large following on Facebook, get them to sign up for your Instagram feed. Show them that Instagram can deliver a higher quality experience.

Also, work on engaging with others by liking their photos. And finally, use relevant and popular hashtags to drive your content and take advantage of what is trending right now.

Tip #3: Use Video

Twitter is really feeling the heat right now. It used to have a video platform called Vine, but it never really took off in the way that they company hoped, and CEO Jack Dorsey announced that it would be shutting down at the end of last year.  Some of that may be because of the new live video platform Twitter owns called Periscope.

In its place, Instagram video has emerged. It’s actually a much more sophisticated platform. You can apply filters, delete the last clip, do image stabilization and create photo maps. What’s more, videos can be up to 15 seconds long, which is significantly more than Vine’s 6.5 seconds.

Tip #4: Always Follow Your Followers Back

Following your followers in no way puts you at a disadvantage, and it helps to grow your network fast, even if some of the people following you are only doing so in order to get a follow in return. It’s a good idea to have plenty of people following you so that new users know that they have found a quality account that will provide them with value.

The best links to make are, of course, those people who are related to your industry or likely to benefit from your product. If you run an interior design company, for instance, you might want to target things like “mommy blog accounts” as the people behind them are most likely to have followings who would be willing to spend money on your service.

Tip #5: Create A Posting Plan

Posting to Instagram every day would be time-consuming, It’s hard to get great photos taken on a daily basis, and even if you could, you run the risk of saturating your followers’ feeds.

Instead of doing that, make a decision about what you have ready to post and create your own schedule. A couple of posts a week is usually enough to keep most people happy. Remember, you’re a business, not a blogger.

Oh No, Not SEO Again!

You might be getting sick and tired of marketers going on and on about SEO. But, if you want your business site or blog to be a hit, you have no choice but to pay attention to SEO trends. If you don’t, you’re going to struggle to get anywhere close to your maximum potential as a business owner. Here’s why SEO is so important for any businesses online.

SERPs Are Better Than PPC

You might be thinking about abandoning organic SEO in favor of something like PPC. But you have to remember that if you use PPC your site is essentially an ad. That means that you will be directly marketing towards consumers and this doesn’t always pay off. It could explain why around thirty percent of users click on PPC ads. The rest head straight for the organic results.

Social Media Isn’t Better Than SEO

It’s part of SEO! This tackles the absurd notion that social media marketing and content promotion has become more effective than SEO when marketing online. But If you are using social media and content, you are going to be impacting SEO. It only makes sense to use the same tricks of the trade in your content or posts to get the best result.

You Can Get The Edge

If you know certain little details about SEO, you can get the edge over your competition who may not be as wise. For instance, did you know that you can optimize images as well as text? It’s true, and you can find out more about that in the following info-graphic.


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Engaging Marketing that Works

Whether you’re a small or big business, one thing that seems to bother people the most about advertising campaigns is how exposed they are. You might have an excellent logo and a great team behind your social media accounts that are doing a fantastic job at spreading the word, but even they’re making a difference and giving your business more exposure, don’t you feel like you could be doing better?

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Advertising is an aggressive game. To succeed with a campaign you have to beat out your competitors and you do this by getting into the face of your customers more often that your rivals. You can usually do this by purchasing more advertising time and throwing more money at advertisers to get more attention, but ultimately it comes down to how engaged your customers are.

Why Engagement is Important

Did you know that the majority of users on social media access the platform via mobile devices and tablet devices as opposed to a PC? Think about the number of people you see during your daily commute to the office or back home that are using phones. They’re either playing a video game to pass the time or they’re browsing social media to catch up with the latest trends, fads and to chat with their friends. As they flick through Twitter messages and Facebook posts, they’re exposed to a number of different advertisements that are tailored to their needs.

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By using your likes and dislikes and interests, advertising companies can target specific audiences that are related to your advertisement. This means that you don’t need to try and appeal to a wide audience with a very general and very broad message or banner. Instead, you should be trying to appeal to your audience by giving them a reason to click on your advertisements.

How to Engage Users

Users are drawn in by pretty advertisements and clear messages. There are some fantastic digital marketing designs firms that can guide you on how to design and style your campaigns, working on everything like the logo design, website design and even social media marketing services. If you’re not a digital marketing expert, then you probably won’t have a clue about how to engage users, utilize SEO optimization tricks or use complimentary colors that won’t clash on a website and make it look nicer.

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Something that many business owners and marketing firms often miss, however, is the fact that many people will view those websites and advertisements on a mobile device. As mentioned before, the majority of social media users access the platform using a mobile device. Trying to view an advertisement on a mobile device that was designed for a computer with a larger screen will usually make it impossible to view the entire message or image.

As a result, you have to design your advertising with mobile in mind if you want to engage your potential customers. Make sure you test your advertising campaigns on every device you can get a hold of, and aim to engage your customers and give them something to think about or consider with your promotions instead of just screaming about your product.

Computers for Cash: How Technology Can Make You Money

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There are plenty of guides out there telling you how to save money by embracing technology. Whether it involves using an Excel spreadsheet to keep tabs on your finances, or automating parts of your sales pipeline to reduce overheads. But what about actually making money in the first place?

The digital economy is booming and offering such a wide variety of jobs that it can be difficult to know exactly which role would suit your skill set. If you’re a bit of a technology nerd, or are simply interested in a career change, here are a few ways that you can use computers to make a living.

Web design

The number of websites on the internet continues to grow, with figures now well in excess of a billion. However, these sites aren’t simply wished into existence, they are created by talented web designers.

Web design is one of the digital careers than combines creative expression with technical know-how, which makes it a great way of making money if you find other technological pursuits a little bit… boring.

In addition, because this job only requires that you have access to an online connection and the right software, it offers a lot of freedom. You could join a web design agency for full-time work, or opt to go freelance, seeking out clients yourself and working remotely.

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Software development

Software development is vital for many of the things we now take for granted. You expect to be able to take out your phone and post your photos to social media with the click of a button, or open a web browser and purchase gifts from the other side of the world in seconds. Without software developers, this wouldn’t be possible.

In order to get into software development, strong coding skills are a must, and many countries are now placing greater emphasis on this in schools in order to create the next generation of software engineers. Making money from this pursuit has changed in recent years, however, and it’s good to be aware of this. Advertising revenues and subscription fees are now the predominant methods of paying for software, rather than purchasing a physical copy.

White hat hacking

That’s right, you can actually receive payment for hacking into businesses and government agencies, but only if you are doing it for the right reasons. White hat hacking is the ethical version of breaking and entering in the computer world and can prove quite lucrative, if you have the right skills.

Ethical hackers are most often employed by government agencies or very large businesses, where they are tasked with finding weaknesses in their cyber-security. The reason that this position is so useful is that it helps organisations find out about security flaws before the bad guys do. So, instead of having to pay out thousands of dollars due to a ransomware program, suffering huge reputation damage, and watching the media talk about how poor your security is, you just employ a white hat hacker instead.

In order to secure a position like this, you’ll need a broad knowledge of different types of web and software attacks and a detailed understanding of the most commonly used operating systems, like Windows and Linux. However, you should be aware that to become a white hat hacker, you cannot simply start infiltrating corporate networks and then proclaim your good intentions.

Ethical hacker positions are formal roles at large companies, but they are few and far between. Instead, some businesses offer reward programs for anyone that finds a vulnerability in their computer systems. This can be a great way of seeing if ethical hacking is right for you and you get paid for it!

Become a YouTube sensation

This career is not the easiest to achieve, but it is one of the most rewarding, financially at least. YouTube pays its content creators based on the ad revenues that they generate, so getting a lot of viewers is the first step to becoming a YouTube sensation. Of course, in order to do that you need to offer something interesting, educational or entertaining to your audience. The bad news is: there’s a lot of competition.  The good news is: you can choose to video whatever you want.

You can become a successful YouTuber offering guitar lessons, language learning tips, interior design ideas, playing video games, or just by vlogging about your life. As long as you stamp your personality on it, have a video camera and some basic editing software, you’re ready to go. Remember to offer something unique to what’s already out there if you don’t want to get lost in the crowd.

YouTube success can also lead to further career opportunities. There are examples of YouTube sensations that have gone on to land book deals and other sponsorship opportunities – so what are you waiting for, get filming!

Trading

Technology has had a huge impact on so many industries, and the stock market is certainly one of them. The days when trading stocks and shares involved putting on a suit and shouting, “sell, sell, sell,” loudly in Wall Street or London are long gone.

Instead, complex computer systems now manage hundreds of trades in a fraction of a second. You can even take part in market trading simply by using your smartphone, with a number of dedicated apps in existence to help you get started.

The foreign exchange (or Forex) is the largest financial market in the world, simply because every transaction that takes place between more than one currency relies on an exchange process and rate. For traders in Forex, it is vital that they can keep a constant eye on currency exchange rates as they can be very volatile. Doing this manually would not be particularly efficient or practical, which is why technology is often used instead. Investing in a cheap Forex VPS (virtual private server) will provide you with 24/7 up-time, so you’ll never miss the opportunity to buy low or sell high. You can also utilize automatic trading to maximize your profits even if you’re preoccupied.

Sell your wares

Even if you’re not the most tech-savvy, the internet provides a valuable outlet for anyone wanting to make money, whether they’re seeking a full-time job or just some cash on the side. One of the ways that you can do this is by selling products online.

Auction sites like eBay provide a customer-base in the range of millions, meaning anyone can start selling unwanted items with much greater reach than they would have offline. However, the internet is not just useful for clearing out your junk – it can also be the start of a professional retail business.

Webpages like Etsy allow you to express your creativity by making products and selling them to others. You can then use this to gather an online following and start becoming recognized as a brand in your own right. Ultimately, you could begin an online retail platform of your own, using your own web design skills or paying for a digital agency to help you.

Sell your knowledge

Earning money using digital technologies can be rewarding in more than just a financial way, particularly if you get to pass on the gift of knowledge. There are currently a number of websites that enable you to earn money as an online tutor. Udemy and SkillShare, for example, provide you with an opportunity to teach your favorite subject, whatever that may be.

You can design your online course however you like and have the benefit of teaching it in your own time, and in your own unique style. What’s more, you don’t have to stick to traditional subjects like History and Mathematics, you can offer classes in cooking, crafts or anything that you think your students will find useful.

Data analysis

The amount of data being created each day is enormous. Our website clicks, smartphone use, debit card transactions and many other everyday activities all create data. However, making sense of this deluge of information is not easy, which is why data scientists are becoming highly sought after.

A career in data analysis would suit someone with a strong mathematical background, an eye for detail and an understanding of statistical modelling and its associated software. As well as a passion for numbers, data scientist must also have an awareness of how the data they are working with can be used to benefit their employer, because data without insight is just a collection of numbers.

If you’re looking for a career using digital technologies that is more future-proof than most, then data analysis is a good one to choose. The amount of data at our disposal is already huge, but will surely continue to grow in the years to come. With the Internet of Things on the horizon, data volumes will increase once more, creating an even greater need for data analysis.

Technology provides a great way for us to express our creativity, watch movies or simply catch up on the news, but it is also so much more than that. It offers a broad spectrum of career options and money-making opportunities, no matter what your interests are or where your skills lie.

 

Tips on How to Improve a Business’s Cash Flow

Does your business suffer from cash flow problems? This is a problem that affects thousands of businesses and it has the potential to eventually destroy a company. Despite this widespread business problem, there are many ways you can reverse this situation. Below are the most effective ways you can improve your company’s cash flow, starting today.

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Improve Your Business Skills

If you’re a business owner or a business decision maker, you may not be aware of how to manage the financial aspect of your organization. Rather than continuing to make the same financial mistakes, you should look for ways to develop your business skills and knowledge so that you can address any cash flow problems your company faces.

For instance, a wide range of online MBA options are available that cover all areas of a business, including accounting and financial management. Before you start a course like this, finding out how detailed the financial advice will be is one of the most important online MBA questions you should ask.

Reduce or Avoid Offering Credit to Customers

Many businesses are too generous when they deal with their customers and offer credit when they really can’t afford to do so. Each customer may only owe your business a small amount of money, but this soon adds up to a significant figure when you have a large number of people who each owe you a small amount of money. Instead, you should look for upfront payments or reduce the amount of credit you are willing to offer your customers.

Increase Product or Service Sales

The more sales a business makes the more money it generates and the healthier its cash flow situation becomes. You can increase sales in a number of different ways.

First of all, you can sell more products or services to existing customers. When you have repeat buyers like this, it reduces the amount of money you need to spend on advertising and marketing to attract new customers.

Secondly, you can increase product or service sales by reaching out to new customers. This usually requires a business to invest in marketing and advertising activities that will attract the attention of people who have never dealt with you and your business before.

Provide Multiple Payment Methods

The more payment methods you offer, the more customers you will be able to cater for. Some customers like to pay by traditional methods such as cash or check, while other customers use the latest payment methods such as credit cards, mobile apps and a range of different online payment processors.

Discounts for On-time and Early Payments

In some businesses, you can encourage clients to pay early or to pay on-time by offering certain discounts. This is an attractive proposition for customers, especially if they have the funds available to make a payment. Both parties win because you get paid and your customer saves some money on their purchase.

Improving the cash flow in a business can be achieved in a number of different ways. You need to educate yourself and continue to look for ways like those mentioned above, to ensure that money keeps flowing through your business so that it can survive and grow.