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The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Ads for Hustling Entrepreneurs

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Having been on Facebook for a while, you must have bumped into a couple of ads. And if you think like a true businessman, then you are definitely wondering how you can also put your ads out there. However, simply being able to put up a Facebook advertisement would not cut it, you would need to be able to create ads that are worth it.

To help you out in your attempt to make it big on Facebook advertising, we have come up with this ultimate guide. We hope this can help you get started with advertising with the most effective social media platform for marketing.

What you need to know about Facebook Ad Types

There are many ways on how you can make use of Facebook for advertising your brand. Facebook has come up with a number of different advertising tools that you can use for spreading the word about your brand and your product offerings. Knowledge of these tools will help you strategize what campaigns you can do using Facebook.

Here are the different types of advertisements that you would be able to do on Facebook:

1. Facebook Feeds

These feeds are where you can see posts from your friends, and pages you follow. Users tend to scroll along with this page in search of something interesting. Because of this, Facebook allowed the placement of in-feed ads.

It is a highly-recommendable ad type because a lot of Facebook users really do cross along the feeds, giving a high opportunity to be read. It is actually the first type of Facebook Ad that you should dive into before trying other ad types.

There is also a variety of in-feed ads for you to choose from: a photo post, a video post, or even a carousel post where you can post multiple photos or videos.  Another variety, canvas ads, is a new addition and is only available for mobile. Canvas ads are full-screen ads that are integrated into the Facebook interface, thereby eliminating the need to trigger the opening of a mobile web browser.

There are also lead ads, which allow you to get the email and name of a user to be able to download an e-book or something, but also right into the Facebook ecosystem. Finally, there are offer ads, which can even notify users in their email address that the offer will be expiring soon enough. This ad is free but you can pay to boost it.

“Good advertising does not just circulate information. It penetrates the public mind with desires and belief.” – Leo Burnett

2. Instant Articles

Instant articles are those content that would normally open an external website, but instead, opens a window from within the Facebook app, and opens it there. Instant articles help you bring website content into Facebook in an efficient manner. Ads can also be placed in the Instant Articles space.

Instant Articles is great in itself because content that would normally require a web browser can now be easily and quickly opened, and without leaving Facebook at that. Facebook allows you to monetize the use of your ad space, which means you can advertise on other page’s instant articles, and you can also earn for allowing other ads on your own instant articles. It is a good idea to learn more about how Facebook instant articles work so you can maximize its potential for advertising.

3. In-stream Videos

If you like playing videos on Facebook, then you should have bumped into video ads somewhere in the middle of a video. These in-stream video ads are usually 15-30 seconds long and may appear before, during, or after watching a video.

There are in-stream video ads that are non-linear, which means that the ad would not stop the playing of the video that the user is actually watching.  In-stream videos are great because it really gets the attention of the audience. It may sound quite irritating, but it really is an effective way to reach out to your potential customers.

4. Audience Network

A network of apps and websites out of Facebook, Audience Network allows you to share Facebook content outside of the platform. With this, you can also tap into the users of other apps and social networking sites.

Audience Network is basically a network of apps and websites that make use of content from Facebook, including ads. With audience network, you will be able to accomplish the following:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Reaching out to your target audience
  • Improving engagement with your target audience
  • Installing apps
  • Playing videos

“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” Steve Jobs

5. Messenger Ads

Ads also find their way to the messaging system of Facebook. Facebook messenger can be integrated with messenger bots which can help provide to your potential customers the answer to the following functions:

  • Tell the product offerings of your business.
  • Provide discount coupons
  • Reach out to a potential customer who abandoned his cart

With an ever-increasing user base, messaging apps have in fact surpassed social media apps in number of monthly active users. If you’re looking to start using Facebook Messenger ads, you should take note of the three primary features of Facebook Messenger ads:

  • Messenger Destination – This allows advertisers to make ads that lead people from posts and ads seen in their Facebook Newsfeed into starting a conversation with your page within the Messenger app.
  • Messenger Home Placement – Ads can also be placed in the Messenger homepage, making it more prominent since users immediately see your ads when they open the app. The calls-to-action of Messenger Home Placement ads can be customized and compel users to install your app, shop on your e-commerce site, or get in touch and start a conversation with your page.
  • Sponsored Messages Placement – Considered one of the most straightforward ad types in Messenger, this ad placement actually appears as a message in the Messenger, and is effective in getting the word out about offers and promotions you may currently have.

With a number of different ways to utilize Facebook for advertising purposes, you might end up using the wrong tools for the wrong reasons without doing intensive research first, which may affect your organization. Effectively utilize Facebook Ads for your business with guides like this to help sustain your business’ growth and hit your targets!

What experience have you had using Facebook advertising? Comment below!

Working for an e-commerce fulfillment, Outreach Community Specialist Juliette Anderson is dedicated to educating businesses in internet marketing, e-commerce management, and fulfillment. Equipped with knowledge from managing several e-commerce companies for four years, she knows how important it is for businesses to understand online marketing and more.

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3 Things to Keep in Mind When Improving Your Brand Visually

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how to visually improve your brand

Visual branding is one of the key assets when it comes to presenting yourself to your audience. This way you are letting them know who you are and how they should perceive you. Let’s say that your page has a whole bunch of photos from your office showing how everything works behind the scenes, this will tell your visitors that you pay a lot of attention to making your employees satisfied. Or, if you use a lot of images of nature, along with some motivational quotes, your audience will see you as someone who wants to encourage and inspire others. The fact that images say a lot is why Instagram has become so popular as a business platform.

Basically, it is essential that you use visuals in order to present abstract ideas to your audience. Nothing shows what kind of a business you are better than the visuals that you implement and incorporate. It’s also all about color and font choices, text size, and the general feeling that your design brings about. Not only is all this essential for presenting your brand, it is also an area where you mustn’t make the wrong choices, as they will make your brand look unprofessional and leave a bad taste in the mouth of a visitor who comes to you hoping they would find a solution.

Here are 3 things to keep in mind when trying to visually improve your brand:

1. Make an emotional connection with your audience

One of the essential ways of leaving an impression on your users which is going to last more than a day is to make an emotional connection with them. If you manage to do this properly, you will actually make them find pleasure in commenting on, liking, and sharing your content. This is where visuals kick in. The fact is that people are visual beings, and this kind of stimulation is what they respond to the most. So, if you present your users with images that will affect them, they will make the association between that emotion and your brand, and become loyal to you.

There are various visual elements that incite either positive or negative emotions. These are color, words, texture, style, shape, and usability. For example, if you focus on using symmetrical elements in your images, people will perceive a sense of order. On the other hand, if you focus on the opposite, you will incite feelings of uneasiness and chaos. If you are aiming at making people feel optimistic and happy, then you should think about using warm colors such as yellow, red, and orange. There is also the difference between close-up photos and those taken from a distance. The former feels more intimate, while the latter incites a feeling of isolation.

What you need to know is that happiness is the main factor which makes people share your content on social media networks. Therefore, you should focus on inciting this emotion and making your content go viral as a result.

“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.” – Jeff Bezos

2. Visuals are everything

As we have ascertained, visuals are essential when it comes to your brand. An important feature of your visuals needs to be consistency. You want your users to feel like they have a relationship with a coherent brand, not a disconnected mess which they don’t know how to relate to.

Make sure that all your channels equally represent who you are. For starters, pick a color palette that is going to be unique to your brand design. Everything starts with your logo image. The way that it is colored and designed is going to impact the rest of your images and other design elements. Every post that you share should contain a color that brings your logo in mind. For example, Coca-Cola focuses on red and white, and you will notice that all of their posts include these colors.

When talking about your logo, it is essential that it is the same on every network that you use. It’s a representation of your company, and generally, the first thing that comes to mind when people think about your business. So be consistent, and make it memorable.

As for your images, consistency comes down even to using the same filters. If every photo has a different filter, your content will seem like it doesn’t really have a proper organization, and it will feel like your brand is a visual mess. Determine which filters fit your images the most, and then stick to them.

3. Use a different kind of visual for different audiences

Consistency is essential, but it doesn’t mean that you cannot use different kinds of visual elements in order to attract different kinds of audiences. Determine which kind of content works the best for a particular product or service that you are offering. Cause, in the end, different people prefer different forms of visual content. It can be photos, GIFs, infographics, macros, comics, videos, slideshows, quote cards, graphical data, memes, etc. Post them on different social networks and determine which are best suited for each platform according to the response.

“Social media is about sociology and psychology more than technology.” – Brian Solis

So, as you have realized by now, your visual brand identity is more than just the images you use. It is, in fact, the sum of all your visual elements put up together for your audience to see. When they are grouped like this, they tell a story about who you are. What is essential is that this story can either acknowledge what your core values are or hinder them. Remember to remain consistent throughout all your channels, as if your brand is a single person dealing with all your users.

How are you making sure people know your brand and have positive feelings about it? Let us know some of your struggles or tips in the comments below!

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Age Is Just a Number: 7 Young Innovative Entrepreneurs That Made a Difference

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In today’s world, we’re surrounded by innovators and people who want to change the world. Whether it’s about the IT industry, medicine or just giving back to the community, the one thing you can be sure we’ll never run out of, are ideas and I’m sure you have some too. That being said, ideas sometimes are just not enough. What you need to have in your mind is a path. A clear path to get to where you can turn your idea into a reality successfully.

And that’s exactly what these 7 entrepreneurs have done at a very young age. If you were looking for some motivation to get yourself on track, this is it:

1. Jack Kim

At 16, Jack started Benelab, a non-profit Internet search startup. Jack was born in Korea but moved to the USA when he was just in sixth grade. During his freshman year of high school, Kim got into making websites to generate money online. After some practice, he decided to use these methods of generating money online for charity. That’s when he founded Benelab, with six other high school students.

A non-profit search engine designed to make philanthropy easier by generating donations. Just like Google or Yahoo, advertisers pay money to display their advertisements on their websites. And all the income goes towards something good. Although Kim was unsure where Benelab would lead after high school, and is target of $100,000, you can see now that it’s still up and running!

2. Milan Kordestani

Milan, 19, is the CEO and Founder of Milan Farms. He established Milan Farms in early 2015 aiming to create an organic system to raise poultry and grow 100 % pure saffron. How it started was that Milan just wanted consumers to have a pure and honest option when it came to choosing products that went into their body.

He intends to provide an honest option to the consumer with complete transparency as to how the poultry was raised and how it comes to you. Although it’s still just a startup, Milan Farms has expanded to three separate farms distributing saffron worldwide and eggs all across the west coast.

Milan is currently focused on innovating and researching hydroponic, and aquaponics systems with growing saffron and experimenting on different salinity levels to ensure purity and quality of their crops. Now, that’s not something you see young kids doing every day, is it?

“Either you run the day, or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn

3. Catherine Cook

At the young age of 15, Catherine Cook and her brother Dave, 17 came up with the idea of developing a free interactive online version of a yearbook. They were flipping through their high school yearbook and were not able to get any useful information to find out if they recognized anybody. But it ended up as a terrible tool!

So they decided on making a much better tool to know people by putting it online. With the help of her elder brother Geoff, who is 11 years older than Catherine and was a budding web entrepreneur back then, they created MyYearbook.com in 2005, a social networking site based in Skillman, N.J.

They merged with Quepasa in 2011 which was a $100 million deal, $18 million cash and the rest stock. As yearbooks didn’t matter outside the US, the combined company was renamed to MeetMe to make their social discovery platform reach the world! Perhaps the next Mark Zuckerberg?

4. Rachel Zietz

Rachel Zietz founded Gladiator Lacrosse at 13, an online retail store. She was disappointed with the cost, quality and the lack of selection of existing product offerings. Her company was on track to top $1 million in revenue within less than two years of launching. She made a revenue of $10,000 from her equipment at a local tournament. Her sales reached $200,000 in the initial year.

Running her company doesn’t feel like work for her, she takes pleasure in it. Rachel also made it to Time Magazine’s Most Influential Teens of 2016 and Fortune Magazine’s List of Entrepreneurs Under 18. She has also appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank. So, if you’re having trouble finding clothes you like, why not just build a new brand?

5. Ben Pasternak

Ben, 20, born in Sydney, is the co-founder of the American technology and social media company called Monkey. It was launched in 2016, and acquired by Holla Ltd. in December of 2017. When he was in high school, he created two viral iOS games, Impossible Rush and Impossible Dial. He created Impossible Rush while he was bored in science class at school.

Benjamin Pasternak was described as a young innovator changing the world by Fortune Magazine and was also named one of the Time Magazine’s Most Influential Teens of 2016. As a teenager who cares about the world, he was included in Crain’s New York Business Magazine ’20 Under 20′ list. His app, Monkey, has been used to make over 1,000,000,000 calls and has over 3,000,000 users!

“It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.” – Scott Belsky

6. Haile Thomas

When Haile was just 12 years old, she founded the Happy organization. Her father was diagnosed with Diabetes Type 2 so her mom began researching about how her husband can avoid taking medicines, as diabetes drugs have serious side effects. Haile started watching documentaries on nutrition. She also started cooking vegan meals with her mother. This paid off and her father’s health started improving greatly. This made Haile realize the value of healthy eating.

She then launched Happy, a youth health organization. The Happy Organization provides cooking lessons, informational workshops and summer camps for 6-13 year old kids. Haile Thomas is a vegan chef and youth health advocate. She has given TEDx talks and was even a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama at the 2013 State of the Union Address.

7. Ollie Forsyth

Ollie was picked on by bullies in school for being dyslexic. Being bullied can destroy one’s confidence to the point where they want to end it all. On the contrary, Ollie dug deep to explore the energy to beat all the odds and become an entrepreneur. He started his first business, Ollie’s Shop, an online gift shop, at the age of 13. His shop turned over $18,700 in its first year which has doubled turnover every year! Now, come on, is that not a little motivating?

He co-founded another startup, UniBell – a university platform, where students buy and sell products at the university campuses. At the age of 16, he opened his second online shop, Charmou. Ollie currently has three businesses, an online gift shop Ollie’s Shop, fashion retailer Charmou and a sideline in classic cars.

So, what else?

Well, now it’s your turn. No matter the age, through creativity and innovation, anyone can become a success in business. Challenges can be overcome and the results are amazing as we see in each of the above entrepreneurs’ case. These young entrepreneurs have proved that entrepreneurship has nothing to do with age.

Which of these young hustlers do you love the most and why? Comment below!

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7 Things Productive Entrepreneurs Have Stopped Doing and You Should Too

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It’s quite common these days to read success stories or social media posts about how someone worked 60-70 hours a week to be who they are today. Many who are part of the younger generation tend to study, work and indulge in a hobby every day.

The idea behind all this is to try to work harder than everyone else, which is positive on the surface but sometimes time spent doesn’t always translate into productivity. Time is very much a limited resource so how we allocate tasks and optimize our routines is crucial.

We can sometimes have a rather confusing picture about entrepreneurs. I am sure many successful ones we’ve come across say that they work their socks off while many others are also extremely happy that they work a lot less. Irrespective of whether you are a business owner or someone who is climbing the ranks, there are things you need to stop doing to achieve success quicker.

Here are 7 things you can stop doing now so you can start working smarter:

1. Working overtime

Ever wonder where the 9 to 5 came from? Whilst it’s true that that particular lifestyle isn’t for everyone its origins are pretty interesting. The 40 hour work week (9 to 5 over 5 days) was the result of a productivity experiment by Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, way back in 1926. He found that scaling back work hours tended to increase productivity.

Typically, its sleep that suffers when you need to work overtime. If you feel that you haven’t been as productive as you could this could be one of the underlying causes. A well-rested mind can be the source of positivity and will allow you to empathize with your surroundings better.

If you are one of the 70% that don’t get enough sleep try to organize your day so you never compromise and work overtime. In reality, there are some days where working extra is inevitable but try to make those days’ isolated events in the big picture. Keep yourself accountable and ensure you develop habits that foster positivity.

2. Scheduling a series of meetings

Try to not schedule many business meetings unless it’s absolutely essential. A sure fire way to lose productivity is to turn business meetings into high school group project meetups. We are often faced with a paradoxical situation where we try to use social media to socialize but end up interacting with devices more than people.

Having face to face meetings and lunches are undoubtedly beneficial but ensure that you stick to timings and not let it turn into a casual event during work hours. Look for solutions before opting to meet or have multiple solutions prepped so you can get straight into it. Use video conferencing tools like Facetime and Skype to your benefit instead of spending hours away from your desk.

3. Handling every aspect of the business

Aspiring entrepreneurs, this one is for you! Many of you who own a brand or a service might be trying to do too many tasks. When I started my first website, I often found myself running the social media accounts for it, writing content and answering support requests.

You can be fooled into thinking that no one can do a better job than you (like I was initially). This is certainly not the case and many people you work with can open your mind to possibilities you didn’t see coming.

Automation is another avenue you can look to explore. This works for repetitive tasks and other mechanisms which are more refined these days so take one eye off the day-to-day running of your work and setup these aids. Make sure you delegate the tasks that are repetitive and short-term so you have time to look at the big picture.

“When you delegate work to a member of the team, your job is to clearly frame success and describe the objectives.” – Steven Sinofsky

4. Compromising on health

The clock is ticking. You’re right on time to finish a task your said you will finish by 3pm, when you realize that if you skip lunch today you can get it done by 1:30. This scenario can sound all too familiar for many folks out there. Another would be trying to cram more into a work week than ideally possible.

While you can complete tasks this way, it’s a highly unsustainable lifestyle even in the short run. Compromising on meals or opting for cheap unhealthy alternatives to save time can really take a toll on your ability to focus and your energy levels. Make time to prep some meals and workout. In “The Millionaire Next Door”, Thomas Stanley and William Danko talk about how most millionaires spend at least 2 hours of their day exercising.

5. Giving too much importance to response time

Nope, we aren’t talking about the stat Facebook messenger throws at you when you try to chat to a business which goes something like “typically responds within an hour”. We are referring to things like emails and messages you receive on your phone or computer. You might agree with me when I say notifications can make you anxious.

A sure fire way to boost productivity is to turn off notifications or filter them so that only time sensitive issues are brought to your attention. It’s better to reply to people at a time that’s convenient for you and not for them.

6. Working without taking a step back

Stepping away from work and taking time to reflect on or recap everything you’ve done so far can be hugely beneficial. Instead of opting to go all out for your entire work session duration, schedule some time that’s not so focused on being productive.

It can be quite hard to form healthy relationships or have empathy towards other people when you’ve been glued to a computer screen for days straight. Use this time each day to interact, gain some ideas and focus your energy on whatever makes you happy in life.

“There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.” – Alan Cohen

7. Going with the flow

This is almost a lifestyle choice each and every one of us has to make. Do we want to be proactive or reactive? It’s often the former that really shines during tough times. While winging it can help in some situations, practicing everything that you do repeatedly without being a perfectionist can help you deliver in the clutch moments.

Also make sure your preparation is thorough. Ask someone to play devil’s advocate on ideas you’ve come up with. This way you don’t over prepare or waste time focusing on issues that are highly unlikely to occur.

All-in all, these are just some of the things successful entrepreneurs have stopped doing to raise their game. Don’t fall into the trap where you are constantly adding things to your plate. Removing some can hold the key to success. The work environment is often fast paced so split testing or engaging people to help you stay accountable can help you weed out the unproductive elements and help you shine.

How do you stay productive throughout your day? Let us know in the comments below!

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10 Key Tricks to Successfully Start a Blog in 2018

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Blogging isn’t what it used to be. Years ago, people started blogs to tell personal accounts of their lives detailing travel adventures or other exciting feats. While these types of blogs still have a place on the internet, the purpose and audience reach of blogging has significantly grown. Today, everyone from self-starting entrepreneurs to large corporations can use blogging to tell their stories and promote awareness of their brand.

Whether it’s your first time blogging or you’re looking for new ways to improve your strategy, focus on these 10 key tricks to get you there:

1. Understand Your Brand Message

A great online presence starts with the key messaging built behind-the-scenes. This messaging is what people remember when they think about your brand. Whether you’re a freelancer building your personal brand or a huge company wanting to better relate to customers, what do you want your brand to say about you?

Before you write a single word, nail down your brand message. Write down a few sentences describing what you want your company to be known for. Then, filter to a few key adjectives describing your brand.

Once this is solidified, everything written thereafter should relate to this original message. This message can adapt in time, just like any business adapts to the changing needs of the customer. However, you want it to carry that same original theme.

2. Create a Blogging Schedule You’ll Stick To

When starting a blog, one of the most challenging parts is to put out content on a continual basis, but this is the most important part. One of the reasons that blogging is so powerful is because it helps you quickly climb higher in search engine results.

Due to the higher volume of content produced through blogging, Google notices your site building a larger online presence. All of your articles help grow this presence by publishing content with the same theme. Whether your blogging schedule is daily, weekly or monthly, make sure you’re consistently putting out content that strengthens your brand awareness online.

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos

3. Tell Stories that Further Promote Your Brand Message

Marketing no longer tries to catch customers’ attention by interrupting them with ads that will get the most views. Instead, the focus is to tell a story that pulls the right potential customers in. This is a much more pleasant experience for all parties involved because the message gets in front of the right people.

There is no need to cast a wide net by reaching out to a countless individuals. Contrarily, the objective is to promote stories that organically draw the right people in and speak to their specific needs.

4. Use Keywords that Align with Your Brand

The best way to create an online presence is to tell the same story across all content. Every time you write a blog post, the title should accurately depict the article’s content. What words or phrases might your target audience use to search for you?

Starting with who your potential customer or reader is, you can pinpoint why they would be looking for you. Once you’ve nailed down a list of keywords, use these throughout your blog post titles and content. Continually producing articles that highlight these keywords will help you to be recognized for the right thing.

5. Utilize Long-Tail Keywords to Attract a Niche Audience

When implementing a keyword strategy, you can target words with the highest volume or drill down to longer phrases that pull the right audience in. It’s always best to begin your keyword optimization targeting long-tail phrases.

You can still go after more general keywords as long that are a good fit, but this shouldn’t be your main priority. You’ll be able to rank higher quicker for more specific phrases since you’ll have less competition and will be a relevant search result.

6. Speak the Same Language as Your Ideal Reader

Your English professor might have asked you to write more eloquently, but you have to use a different mindset to attract your ideal reader. Think of the way you search on Google, you don’t waste time writing scientific sentences. You probably write in a more casual tone similar to how you might talk with your friends.

Whether or not your ideal reader speaks in a more formal or casual manner, make sure you write articles speaking to them. What would a conversation with your reader sound like? Mimicking this tone will help you to attract the right audience.

7. Create Blog Url’s that Align with Your Title

In line with your successful keyword strategy, make sure your blog url’s are utilizing long-tail keywords. Your article titles should contain a long-tail keyword phrase that bring in the right readers. Use this title as the end of your url, separating each word with a dash.

For instance, in this article’s title the long-tail keyword phrase is, “Successfully Start a Blog.” This way, when someone searches for how to start a blog, this article will have a higher chance of showing up in the results. The keyword phrases that readers use to search for your article do not need to be exact matches to your article’s title. If they are slightly reworded, they still have the same meaning.

8. Promote on the Right Social Media Platforms

Once you’ve done all the hard work of creating your content, you now have to get the right people to view it. With the countless number of social media users out there today, you can quickly get the word out. However, take a minute to think about which platforms would be the best fit to get to your target reader.

Which social media platform would you find your target reader spending the most time on? If your content best aligns with LinkedIn, then use that as a means to get to your reader. Getting exposure on the right social media platforms will help to find your target audience where they already are.

“Your premium brand had better be delivering something special, or it’s not going to get the business.” – Warren Buffett

9. Use Social Sharing Buttons

Word-of-mouth is one of the oldest forms of marketing. It exists today greater than ever through online conversations others are having about your company or brand. More than ever, we have the ability to learn about new companies by what our friends are sharing.

Once your reader finds your content, make it easy for them to share. By adding in social media sharing buttons around your article, you give the reader an opportunity to amplify your message. If this message aligns with their passions and interests, then you want to give them the ability to share amongst their friends. What better way to get the message out?

10. Extend the Reach of Previous Blog Articles

Once you’ve successfully published and shared an article amongst your network, don’t let it die just yet. If an older article lines up with your current brand message, extend its shelf life by reintroducing it to your network. Of course, you’ll want to reword your social media post to liven things up. But, you never know how relevant your article might be still today.

Every single blog article you write helps to further your online presence. Instead of just consuming content online, create something that matters for years to come.

What message will you leave behind? Use these 10 key strategies to help you build something great.

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The Inspiration Imperative: Finding Your Recipe to Inspire the World

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An undeniably beautiful facet of the human condition is the responsibility we all share to make each other’s lives better. Inspiring others can be an incredibly rewarding and efficient means to that end. After all, helping others is the spice of life and inspiration allows us to exponentially increase our output of “help”, residually, long after we move on to something else. (more…)

Prem Kumar is the Director of Product at TINYpulse.com, an employee engagement company that empowers organizations to build world class cultures with real-time people data. Prior to TINYpulse, Prem spent 10 years at Microsoft working in a variety of product capacities in areas such as HR Technology, New Ventures, Dynamics 365 and Office 365 bringing countless products to market and being honored as a "Key Talent" at the company. Follow me on Twitter @premkumartweets.

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3 Things to Keep in Mind When Improving Your Brand Visually

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how to visually improve your brand

Visual branding is one of the key assets when it comes to presenting yourself to your audience. This way you are letting them know who you are and how they should perceive you. Let’s say that your page has a whole bunch of photos from your office showing how everything works behind the scenes, this will tell your visitors that you pay a lot of attention to making your employees satisfied. Or, if you use a lot of images of nature, along with some motivational quotes, your audience will see you as someone who wants to encourage and inspire others. The fact that images say a lot is why Instagram has become so popular as a business platform.

Basically, it is essential that you use visuals in order to present abstract ideas to your audience. Nothing shows what kind of a business you are better than the visuals that you implement and incorporate. It’s also all about color and font choices, text size, and the general feeling that your design brings about. Not only is all this essential for presenting your brand, it is also an area where you mustn’t make the wrong choices, as they will make your brand look unprofessional and leave a bad taste in the mouth of a visitor who comes to you hoping they would find a solution.

Here are 3 things to keep in mind when trying to visually improve your brand:

1. Make an emotional connection with your audience

One of the essential ways of leaving an impression on your users which is going to last more than a day is to make an emotional connection with them. If you manage to do this properly, you will actually make them find pleasure in commenting on, liking, and sharing your content. This is where visuals kick in. The fact is that people are visual beings, and this kind of stimulation is what they respond to the most. So, if you present your users with images that will affect them, they will make the association between that emotion and your brand, and become loyal to you.

There are various visual elements that incite either positive or negative emotions. These are color, words, texture, style, shape, and usability. For example, if you focus on using symmetrical elements in your images, people will perceive a sense of order. On the other hand, if you focus on the opposite, you will incite feelings of uneasiness and chaos. If you are aiming at making people feel optimistic and happy, then you should think about using warm colors such as yellow, red, and orange. There is also the difference between close-up photos and those taken from a distance. The former feels more intimate, while the latter incites a feeling of isolation.

What you need to know is that happiness is the main factor which makes people share your content on social media networks. Therefore, you should focus on inciting this emotion and making your content go viral as a result.

“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.” – Jeff Bezos

2. Visuals are everything

As we have ascertained, visuals are essential when it comes to your brand. An important feature of your visuals needs to be consistency. You want your users to feel like they have a relationship with a coherent brand, not a disconnected mess which they don’t know how to relate to.

Make sure that all your channels equally represent who you are. For starters, pick a color palette that is going to be unique to your brand design. Everything starts with your logo image. The way that it is colored and designed is going to impact the rest of your images and other design elements. Every post that you share should contain a color that brings your logo in mind. For example, Coca-Cola focuses on red and white, and you will notice that all of their posts include these colors.

When talking about your logo, it is essential that it is the same on every network that you use. It’s a representation of your company, and generally, the first thing that comes to mind when people think about your business. So be consistent, and make it memorable.

As for your images, consistency comes down even to using the same filters. If every photo has a different filter, your content will seem like it doesn’t really have a proper organization, and it will feel like your brand is a visual mess. Determine which filters fit your images the most, and then stick to them.

3. Use a different kind of visual for different audiences

Consistency is essential, but it doesn’t mean that you cannot use different kinds of visual elements in order to attract different kinds of audiences. Determine which kind of content works the best for a particular product or service that you are offering. Cause, in the end, different people prefer different forms of visual content. It can be photos, GIFs, infographics, macros, comics, videos, slideshows, quote cards, graphical data, memes, etc. Post them on different social networks and determine which are best suited for each platform according to the response.

“Social media is about sociology and psychology more than technology.” – Brian Solis

So, as you have realized by now, your visual brand identity is more than just the images you use. It is, in fact, the sum of all your visual elements put up together for your audience to see. When they are grouped like this, they tell a story about who you are. What is essential is that this story can either acknowledge what your core values are or hinder them. Remember to remain consistent throughout all your channels, as if your brand is a single person dealing with all your users.

How are you making sure people know your brand and have positive feelings about it? Let us know some of your struggles or tips in the comments below!

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Age Is Just a Number: 7 Young Innovative Entrepreneurs That Made a Difference

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In today’s world, we’re surrounded by innovators and people who want to change the world. Whether it’s about the IT industry, medicine or just giving back to the community, the one thing you can be sure we’ll never run out of, are ideas and I’m sure you have some too. That being said, ideas sometimes are just not enough. What you need to have in your mind is a path. A clear path to get to where you can turn your idea into a reality successfully.

And that’s exactly what these 7 entrepreneurs have done at a very young age. If you were looking for some motivation to get yourself on track, this is it:

1. Jack Kim

At 16, Jack started Benelab, a non-profit Internet search startup. Jack was born in Korea but moved to the USA when he was just in sixth grade. During his freshman year of high school, Kim got into making websites to generate money online. After some practice, he decided to use these methods of generating money online for charity. That’s when he founded Benelab, with six other high school students.

A non-profit search engine designed to make philanthropy easier by generating donations. Just like Google or Yahoo, advertisers pay money to display their advertisements on their websites. And all the income goes towards something good. Although Kim was unsure where Benelab would lead after high school, and is target of $100,000, you can see now that it’s still up and running!

2. Milan Kordestani

Milan, 19, is the CEO and Founder of Milan Farms. He established Milan Farms in early 2015 aiming to create an organic system to raise poultry and grow 100 % pure saffron. How it started was that Milan just wanted consumers to have a pure and honest option when it came to choosing products that went into their body.

He intends to provide an honest option to the consumer with complete transparency as to how the poultry was raised and how it comes to you. Although it’s still just a startup, Milan Farms has expanded to three separate farms distributing saffron worldwide and eggs all across the west coast.

Milan is currently focused on innovating and researching hydroponic, and aquaponics systems with growing saffron and experimenting on different salinity levels to ensure purity and quality of their crops. Now, that’s not something you see young kids doing every day, is it?

“Either you run the day, or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn

3. Catherine Cook

At the young age of 15, Catherine Cook and her brother Dave, 17 came up with the idea of developing a free interactive online version of a yearbook. They were flipping through their high school yearbook and were not able to get any useful information to find out if they recognized anybody. But it ended up as a terrible tool!

So they decided on making a much better tool to know people by putting it online. With the help of her elder brother Geoff, who is 11 years older than Catherine and was a budding web entrepreneur back then, they created MyYearbook.com in 2005, a social networking site based in Skillman, N.J.

They merged with Quepasa in 2011 which was a $100 million deal, $18 million cash and the rest stock. As yearbooks didn’t matter outside the US, the combined company was renamed to MeetMe to make their social discovery platform reach the world! Perhaps the next Mark Zuckerberg?

4. Rachel Zietz

Rachel Zietz founded Gladiator Lacrosse at 13, an online retail store. She was disappointed with the cost, quality and the lack of selection of existing product offerings. Her company was on track to top $1 million in revenue within less than two years of launching. She made a revenue of $10,000 from her equipment at a local tournament. Her sales reached $200,000 in the initial year.

Running her company doesn’t feel like work for her, she takes pleasure in it. Rachel also made it to Time Magazine’s Most Influential Teens of 2016 and Fortune Magazine’s List of Entrepreneurs Under 18. She has also appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank. So, if you’re having trouble finding clothes you like, why not just build a new brand?

5. Ben Pasternak

Ben, 20, born in Sydney, is the co-founder of the American technology and social media company called Monkey. It was launched in 2016, and acquired by Holla Ltd. in December of 2017. When he was in high school, he created two viral iOS games, Impossible Rush and Impossible Dial. He created Impossible Rush while he was bored in science class at school.

Benjamin Pasternak was described as a young innovator changing the world by Fortune Magazine and was also named one of the Time Magazine’s Most Influential Teens of 2016. As a teenager who cares about the world, he was included in Crain’s New York Business Magazine ’20 Under 20′ list. His app, Monkey, has been used to make over 1,000,000,000 calls and has over 3,000,000 users!

“It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.” – Scott Belsky

6. Haile Thomas

When Haile was just 12 years old, she founded the Happy organization. Her father was diagnosed with Diabetes Type 2 so her mom began researching about how her husband can avoid taking medicines, as diabetes drugs have serious side effects. Haile started watching documentaries on nutrition. She also started cooking vegan meals with her mother. This paid off and her father’s health started improving greatly. This made Haile realize the value of healthy eating.

She then launched Happy, a youth health organization. The Happy Organization provides cooking lessons, informational workshops and summer camps for 6-13 year old kids. Haile Thomas is a vegan chef and youth health advocate. She has given TEDx talks and was even a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama at the 2013 State of the Union Address.

7. Ollie Forsyth

Ollie was picked on by bullies in school for being dyslexic. Being bullied can destroy one’s confidence to the point where they want to end it all. On the contrary, Ollie dug deep to explore the energy to beat all the odds and become an entrepreneur. He started his first business, Ollie’s Shop, an online gift shop, at the age of 13. His shop turned over $18,700 in its first year which has doubled turnover every year! Now, come on, is that not a little motivating?

He co-founded another startup, UniBell – a university platform, where students buy and sell products at the university campuses. At the age of 16, he opened his second online shop, Charmou. Ollie currently has three businesses, an online gift shop Ollie’s Shop, fashion retailer Charmou and a sideline in classic cars.

So, what else?

Well, now it’s your turn. No matter the age, through creativity and innovation, anyone can become a success in business. Challenges can be overcome and the results are amazing as we see in each of the above entrepreneurs’ case. These young entrepreneurs have proved that entrepreneurship has nothing to do with age.

Which of these young hustlers do you love the most and why? Comment below!

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7 Things Productive Entrepreneurs Have Stopped Doing and You Should Too

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It’s quite common these days to read success stories or social media posts about how someone worked 60-70 hours a week to be who they are today. Many who are part of the younger generation tend to study, work and indulge in a hobby every day.

The idea behind all this is to try to work harder than everyone else, which is positive on the surface but sometimes time spent doesn’t always translate into productivity. Time is very much a limited resource so how we allocate tasks and optimize our routines is crucial.

We can sometimes have a rather confusing picture about entrepreneurs. I am sure many successful ones we’ve come across say that they work their socks off while many others are also extremely happy that they work a lot less. Irrespective of whether you are a business owner or someone who is climbing the ranks, there are things you need to stop doing to achieve success quicker.

Here are 7 things you can stop doing now so you can start working smarter:

1. Working overtime

Ever wonder where the 9 to 5 came from? Whilst it’s true that that particular lifestyle isn’t for everyone its origins are pretty interesting. The 40 hour work week (9 to 5 over 5 days) was the result of a productivity experiment by Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, way back in 1926. He found that scaling back work hours tended to increase productivity.

Typically, its sleep that suffers when you need to work overtime. If you feel that you haven’t been as productive as you could this could be one of the underlying causes. A well-rested mind can be the source of positivity and will allow you to empathize with your surroundings better.

If you are one of the 70% that don’t get enough sleep try to organize your day so you never compromise and work overtime. In reality, there are some days where working extra is inevitable but try to make those days’ isolated events in the big picture. Keep yourself accountable and ensure you develop habits that foster positivity.

2. Scheduling a series of meetings

Try to not schedule many business meetings unless it’s absolutely essential. A sure fire way to lose productivity is to turn business meetings into high school group project meetups. We are often faced with a paradoxical situation where we try to use social media to socialize but end up interacting with devices more than people.

Having face to face meetings and lunches are undoubtedly beneficial but ensure that you stick to timings and not let it turn into a casual event during work hours. Look for solutions before opting to meet or have multiple solutions prepped so you can get straight into it. Use video conferencing tools like Facetime and Skype to your benefit instead of spending hours away from your desk.

3. Handling every aspect of the business

Aspiring entrepreneurs, this one is for you! Many of you who own a brand or a service might be trying to do too many tasks. When I started my first website, I often found myself running the social media accounts for it, writing content and answering support requests.

You can be fooled into thinking that no one can do a better job than you (like I was initially). This is certainly not the case and many people you work with can open your mind to possibilities you didn’t see coming.

Automation is another avenue you can look to explore. This works for repetitive tasks and other mechanisms which are more refined these days so take one eye off the day-to-day running of your work and setup these aids. Make sure you delegate the tasks that are repetitive and short-term so you have time to look at the big picture.

“When you delegate work to a member of the team, your job is to clearly frame success and describe the objectives.” – Steven Sinofsky

4. Compromising on health

The clock is ticking. You’re right on time to finish a task your said you will finish by 3pm, when you realize that if you skip lunch today you can get it done by 1:30. This scenario can sound all too familiar for many folks out there. Another would be trying to cram more into a work week than ideally possible.

While you can complete tasks this way, it’s a highly unsustainable lifestyle even in the short run. Compromising on meals or opting for cheap unhealthy alternatives to save time can really take a toll on your ability to focus and your energy levels. Make time to prep some meals and workout. In “The Millionaire Next Door”, Thomas Stanley and William Danko talk about how most millionaires spend at least 2 hours of their day exercising.

5. Giving too much importance to response time

Nope, we aren’t talking about the stat Facebook messenger throws at you when you try to chat to a business which goes something like “typically responds within an hour”. We are referring to things like emails and messages you receive on your phone or computer. You might agree with me when I say notifications can make you anxious.

A sure fire way to boost productivity is to turn off notifications or filter them so that only time sensitive issues are brought to your attention. It’s better to reply to people at a time that’s convenient for you and not for them.

6. Working without taking a step back

Stepping away from work and taking time to reflect on or recap everything you’ve done so far can be hugely beneficial. Instead of opting to go all out for your entire work session duration, schedule some time that’s not so focused on being productive.

It can be quite hard to form healthy relationships or have empathy towards other people when you’ve been glued to a computer screen for days straight. Use this time each day to interact, gain some ideas and focus your energy on whatever makes you happy in life.

“There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.” – Alan Cohen

7. Going with the flow

This is almost a lifestyle choice each and every one of us has to make. Do we want to be proactive or reactive? It’s often the former that really shines during tough times. While winging it can help in some situations, practicing everything that you do repeatedly without being a perfectionist can help you deliver in the clutch moments.

Also make sure your preparation is thorough. Ask someone to play devil’s advocate on ideas you’ve come up with. This way you don’t over prepare or waste time focusing on issues that are highly unlikely to occur.

All-in all, these are just some of the things successful entrepreneurs have stopped doing to raise their game. Don’t fall into the trap where you are constantly adding things to your plate. Removing some can hold the key to success. The work environment is often fast paced so split testing or engaging people to help you stay accountable can help you weed out the unproductive elements and help you shine.

How do you stay productive throughout your day? Let us know in the comments below!

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10 Key Tricks to Successfully Start a Blog in 2018

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Blogging isn’t what it used to be. Years ago, people started blogs to tell personal accounts of their lives detailing travel adventures or other exciting feats. While these types of blogs still have a place on the internet, the purpose and audience reach of blogging has significantly grown. Today, everyone from self-starting entrepreneurs to large corporations can use blogging to tell their stories and promote awareness of their brand.

Whether it’s your first time blogging or you’re looking for new ways to improve your strategy, focus on these 10 key tricks to get you there:

1. Understand Your Brand Message

A great online presence starts with the key messaging built behind-the-scenes. This messaging is what people remember when they think about your brand. Whether you’re a freelancer building your personal brand or a huge company wanting to better relate to customers, what do you want your brand to say about you?

Before you write a single word, nail down your brand message. Write down a few sentences describing what you want your company to be known for. Then, filter to a few key adjectives describing your brand.

Once this is solidified, everything written thereafter should relate to this original message. This message can adapt in time, just like any business adapts to the changing needs of the customer. However, you want it to carry that same original theme.

2. Create a Blogging Schedule You’ll Stick To

When starting a blog, one of the most challenging parts is to put out content on a continual basis, but this is the most important part. One of the reasons that blogging is so powerful is because it helps you quickly climb higher in search engine results.

Due to the higher volume of content produced through blogging, Google notices your site building a larger online presence. All of your articles help grow this presence by publishing content with the same theme. Whether your blogging schedule is daily, weekly or monthly, make sure you’re consistently putting out content that strengthens your brand awareness online.

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos

3. Tell Stories that Further Promote Your Brand Message

Marketing no longer tries to catch customers’ attention by interrupting them with ads that will get the most views. Instead, the focus is to tell a story that pulls the right potential customers in. This is a much more pleasant experience for all parties involved because the message gets in front of the right people.

There is no need to cast a wide net by reaching out to a countless individuals. Contrarily, the objective is to promote stories that organically draw the right people in and speak to their specific needs.

4. Use Keywords that Align with Your Brand

The best way to create an online presence is to tell the same story across all content. Every time you write a blog post, the title should accurately depict the article’s content. What words or phrases might your target audience use to search for you?

Starting with who your potential customer or reader is, you can pinpoint why they would be looking for you. Once you’ve nailed down a list of keywords, use these throughout your blog post titles and content. Continually producing articles that highlight these keywords will help you to be recognized for the right thing.

5. Utilize Long-Tail Keywords to Attract a Niche Audience

When implementing a keyword strategy, you can target words with the highest volume or drill down to longer phrases that pull the right audience in. It’s always best to begin your keyword optimization targeting long-tail phrases.

You can still go after more general keywords as long that are a good fit, but this shouldn’t be your main priority. You’ll be able to rank higher quicker for more specific phrases since you’ll have less competition and will be a relevant search result.

6. Speak the Same Language as Your Ideal Reader

Your English professor might have asked you to write more eloquently, but you have to use a different mindset to attract your ideal reader. Think of the way you search on Google, you don’t waste time writing scientific sentences. You probably write in a more casual tone similar to how you might talk with your friends.

Whether or not your ideal reader speaks in a more formal or casual manner, make sure you write articles speaking to them. What would a conversation with your reader sound like? Mimicking this tone will help you to attract the right audience.

7. Create Blog Url’s that Align with Your Title

In line with your successful keyword strategy, make sure your blog url’s are utilizing long-tail keywords. Your article titles should contain a long-tail keyword phrase that bring in the right readers. Use this title as the end of your url, separating each word with a dash.

For instance, in this article’s title the long-tail keyword phrase is, “Successfully Start a Blog.” This way, when someone searches for how to start a blog, this article will have a higher chance of showing up in the results. The keyword phrases that readers use to search for your article do not need to be exact matches to your article’s title. If they are slightly reworded, they still have the same meaning.

8. Promote on the Right Social Media Platforms

Once you’ve done all the hard work of creating your content, you now have to get the right people to view it. With the countless number of social media users out there today, you can quickly get the word out. However, take a minute to think about which platforms would be the best fit to get to your target reader.

Which social media platform would you find your target reader spending the most time on? If your content best aligns with LinkedIn, then use that as a means to get to your reader. Getting exposure on the right social media platforms will help to find your target audience where they already are.

“Your premium brand had better be delivering something special, or it’s not going to get the business.” – Warren Buffett

9. Use Social Sharing Buttons

Word-of-mouth is one of the oldest forms of marketing. It exists today greater than ever through online conversations others are having about your company or brand. More than ever, we have the ability to learn about new companies by what our friends are sharing.

Once your reader finds your content, make it easy for them to share. By adding in social media sharing buttons around your article, you give the reader an opportunity to amplify your message. If this message aligns with their passions and interests, then you want to give them the ability to share amongst their friends. What better way to get the message out?

10. Extend the Reach of Previous Blog Articles

Once you’ve successfully published and shared an article amongst your network, don’t let it die just yet. If an older article lines up with your current brand message, extend its shelf life by reintroducing it to your network. Of course, you’ll want to reword your social media post to liven things up. But, you never know how relevant your article might be still today.

Every single blog article you write helps to further your online presence. Instead of just consuming content online, create something that matters for years to come.

What message will you leave behind? Use these 10 key strategies to help you build something great.

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