Archive | May 2017

The 5 Biggest Influencer Marketing Myths That Won’t Die

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3 Major T’s to Cross Before Starting Your Online Store

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By: Toby Nwazor

Consumers have come to expect the speed, ease and convenience of ordering online; they seem to like  sitting back and waiting for their merchandise to be delivered. What’s more, they don’t seem concerned about the fees they have to pay for shipping, either. Less stress in exchange for a token charge doesn’t strike them as such a bad deal.

So, yes, there’s a lot of money on the table for any aspiring entrepreneur to venture into establishing an online store. But, how does one start?

The best place to start

Fortunately, as more people venture into ecommerce, more materials are becoming available on the internet to help. Unfortunately:

  • A lot of that information isn’t good.
  • You’re likely to suffer from information overload.
  • You’re probably be more confused than  when you started out.

So, first, let’s clear about the obvious. An online store fundamentally is comprised of three components:

1. Your platform

There are many ecommerce platforms to choose from, but make sure you go with the one that is easy to set up and use. Go with something you’re comfortable with. You don’t need to have all the payment options that exist, but you still need to find out from your target audience members the type of payment method that would work best for them. For most people, the best option is to allow the use of major credit cards, and accept bank transfers as well.

Related: Ecommerce Basics: 10 Questions to Ask When Creating an Online Store

2. A functioning payment gateway

When choosing a payment gateway, look out for a processor that will enhance your gateway-user experience, that promises to grow with your business and that easily integrates with your current platform. If it doesn’t offer these things, you may have to change and upgrade your platform to make use of the new payment gateways. The most important thing is to get the one that works best for you and your customers irrespective of their location.

3. An effective delivery process

Whether you’re selling physical or virtual products, you need to make sure that your customers actually receive what they pay for, and on time. According to a survey by Dotcom Distributors, “Eighty-seven percent of online shoppers identified shipping speed as a key factor in the decision to shop with an ecommerce brand again.” To most customers, speed is therefore more important than price.

Assuming you have gone through this initial stage, you should get ready to launch. But before the big launch, don’t forget to cross the following T’s:

Set up a sales funnel. The idea behind setting up a sales funnel is to guide you through the whole process that will convert your leads to paying clients. To generate these leads, start by setting up ads on any of the social media channels. This will create a lot of awareness of your store and the products you sell.

Of course there will be some people who will visit your store and buy nothing. To bring those prospects into the fold, use retargeting ads. What this does is to drop something called a “pixel” into the browser of anyone who visits your store; that will make your ads keep showing wherever this prospect goes.

The aim is to keep reminding those people of your offers. Sooner or later, they will give in and buy your products.

Maintain a connection. According to this study by These Social Times, it is cheaper to retain a client than to get a new one. So, it is not enough to make your website SEO-friendly and get tons of first-time visitors. You also need to turn those visitors into repeat customers. And the key to doing that is to maintain a connection with them.

You can do this by boosting engagement on your various social media channels. People value relationships, and if you engage them, they are more likely to buy again. You can equally send weekly newsletters to your buyers, and talk about your latest offers or share useful tips. The more fun and relatable the emails are, the better the results you will get.

Improve your online review. You might take online reviews pretty seriously knowing that 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. In other words, you risk alienating the majority of your buying population when you don’t offer online reviews on your site.

Unfortunately, most people don’t leave reviews when they visit a site, unless it is to make a complaint. But that should not discourage you. You would be surprised at how many people will leave a review if they are prompted, especially if they are satisfied with your product or delivery time. All you need to do is ask.

Related: 6 Signs You Should Open Your Own Online Store

In conclusion, building an online store is no mean feat. But, it is not rocket science, either. These tips should get you started off, running in the right direction.

 

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How to Land Your First Job Using Social Media

 

After graduating college I remember dramatically throwing myself onto my (mother’s) couch and complaining about my unsuccessful job hunt.

“Every ‘entry level’ job wants ‘one to three years of experience’ but how are you supposed to GET experience if you can’t get an entry level job?!” I wailed.

Not only did I lack a wealth of job experience to back me up, I felt like my resume looked virtually identical to the resumes of everyone I graduated with. With my endless supply of free time, I began spending a lot of time on social media (Twitter in particular), following people in my industry who I thought I could at least learn from.

By developing these relationships, participating in conversations, and sharing content, I was unknowingly building a personal brand that filled the void of experience that my resume lacked.

As a result, I’ve had three jobs that can be directly attributed to Twitter—and each one happened in a different way. I used Twitter to build a relationship with someone who eventually became my business partner. I applied for a job I found in a Tweet and ended up moving across the country for it. And most recently, I reached out to someone I followed who worked at a company I wanted to work for (called Hootsuite) and they were able to put me in touch with a hiring manager.

Here’s what I’ve learned about landing a job using social media, and tips for how you can use it to demonstrate your own ambition, common sense, and curiosity—qualities that any employer should always be on the lookout for.

1. Make yourself discoverable

Recruiters use social media the same way everyone else does: for creeping people. When a potential employer searches your name, you want to be able to control what they find as much as possible.

Here are some tips for fine-tuning the SEO of your personal brand:

  • Make sure the name you use on your resume matches the name you use on your social media profiles.
  • If and when possible, use the same handle across all your social networks.
  • Ensure your profiles (especially LinkedIn) have the most up-to-date information about yourself on them. Using the same profile image consistently across each social network can make it easier for people to find you as well.
  • Create a personal website. Even the most simple site can increase the searchability of your name. Kissmetrics suggests creating a separate “profile page” on your site, (using  your name in the URL if possible) and having all of your social profiles link to this page. Services like Squarespace or Wix can make this really easy  to do.
  • If you don’t want to create a full blown website for yourself, Sumry is a webapp that allows you build a beautiful online resume that can also easily be downloaded as a PDF.

2. Balance the personal and professional

You may think you’re covering all your bases by having a squeaky clean social media profile that you link to on your resume and “private” accounts that you use to chronicle all your weekend debauchery. But nothing—I repeat, nothing—you post on social media is private. The day will come when you overlook a crucial privacy setting on Facebook, post something to the wrong account, get tagged in an embarrassing photo, or have a mutual friend in common with your new boss that makes your profile more accessible to them than you’d like it to be.

Instead of leading a double life, try to strike a balance between your professional and personal self on all your social media profiles. Don’t hide your sense of humor or quirky interests, but don’t post anything you’d be embarrassed by a potential boss seeing. This will help protect your reputation online while giving potential employers a glimpse of your personality—something that can help show them you’ll be a good culture fit for the company.

As Hootsuite’s CEO has said himself: “I do think the tide is turning and more people—and employers—are starting to understand that it’s okay to show emotion, vulnerability, joy, silliness, and the whole gamut of human experience on social media. The charade that we’re perfect little worker bees is giving way to an acknowledgement of the complexity and humanity that everyone brings to the table. This kind of honesty makes for a more open and more fulfilling office culture. It builds trust in a profound way.”

3. Write like you mean it

With 44 percent of hiring managers saying that a proficiency in writing is a top skill missing among recent college graduates, how you write on social media is an important reflection of your potential abilities.

You don’t need to Tweet as if you’re a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, but brush up on your spelling and grammar skills, use punctuation properly, and put some effort into the things you write. It won’t go unnoticed.

A great way of showing off your writing chops aside from your cover letter is by publishing posts on LinkedIn Pulse. To get ideas on what to write, browse through some of the most popular posts. Write from your unique perspective as a recent graduate and share your insights about the industry you’re hoping to work in.

4. Get your search on

Along with browsing sites like LinkedIn or Monster, monitoring Twitter is another great way to use social media to find potential job opportunities. Your best bet is to monitor both industry-specific hashtags (#prjobs, for example, is all about job postings for PR and communications) and location-specific hashtags (#austinjobs, #yyzjobs, etc).

Set up search streams in Hootsuite for these hashtags and you’ll be able to see a constant stream of Tweets related to the types of jobs you’re looking for. You can even geo-target the search results so that you only see Tweets posted from within a certain area.

How to Land Your First Job Using Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

  • Click “Add Stream” in your Hootsuite dashboard.
  • Enter your hashtag in the “search query” field under the “Search” tab.

How to Land Your First Job Using Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

  • Geo-target your search by clicking on the arrow in the search query field. It will automatically populate with the coordinates of your current location.

How to Land Your First Job Using Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

  • You can search within a larger area by editing the search radius (which is highlighted here).

5. Make real connections with real people

Instead of sending five emails a day to whom it may concern, social media gives you the opportunity to identify and connect with a real human being who can help move your job search along.

Introducing yourself on social media to a recruiter or hiring manager helps put a face to the name on your resume and keep you top of mind when new opportunities emerge. If introducing yourself to a stranger on social media apropos of nothing isn’t your thing, here are two ways you can ease into networking on social media (while learning a lot in the process).

Twitter Chats

Participate in Twitter chats about the industry you’re hoping to work in. Ask questions and try even sharing some answers when you feel comfortable doing so. Twitter chats are a great educational resource and an even better networking opportunity. Follow the people participating and introduce yourself. Thank people for their insights and ask if they’d be willing to answer any additional questions you may have.

LinkedIn Groups

Joining and participating in groups will allow you to learn directly from professionals in your field, make online connections that could turn into offline opportunities, and increase your visibility on LinkedIn for recruiters and hiring managers.

Browse through the directory of LinkedIn Groups and join a few that you think could benefit you in your job search. Join in on discussions and share relevant content you think the group would appreciate.

Most importantly, check out the “Jobs” tab in each group you join. This is different than the main “Jobs” section of LinkedIn, giving you access to job postings that are tailored for that specific group.

How to Land Your First Job Using Social Media | Hootsuite Blog
The “Jobs” tab is located under the box where you compose messages in your LinkedIn group. Screenshot via LinkedIn.

6. Aim for an informational interview

Along with recruiters and hiring managers, use social media to build relationships with people who can offer long term guidance and open the door for future opportunities.

An informational interview (which is just a fancy term for a conversation) is a way for you to get valuable insights into a particular company or industry and advice for beginning your career. Whether you chat in person, on the phone, or via email, these conversations will help turn your online connections into meaningful offline relationships.

You may instinctively want to aim for high-level executives but don’t ignore the people who are five years or less into their careers. They were in your situation more recently and may be able to offer you more practical advice as a result (plus, their schedules will be a lot more accommodating).

7. Have patience

Building a network, creating relationships, and propelling your career forward will take time—and it won’t always work. You’ll reach out to people and get rejected. You’ll nail a cover letter and never get a call back. You’ll go for an interview and you won’t get the job.

The good news is that social media moves at a lightning pace, meaning there are new opportunities popping up every day. Continue investing time and energy into your personal brand and relationships on social media, and you’re bound to reap the benefits.

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The Best Time to Post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

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4 Reasons to Consider a Domain Name Change for Your Startup

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By: Robert Bruce

Related: 12 Domain-Name Debacles: ‘Hillary Potter’ for President and More

That’s now so much the case that, these days, the best keyword domains in .COM are sold out, and that’s why I believe that new top-level domains (TLDs, meaning the last part of the website name, like .COM) are going to be the digital real estate of the future.

I’m not a domain investor myself, but, after spending 10 years in internet marketing working for companies like Expedia, the travel company, and Partner Fusion, a leading marketing and technology incubator, I’ve seen many signs pointing to the value of new exact-match domains.

For instance, a recent study found that choosing a relevant domain extension can potentially help a website rank well for specific keywords, resulting in dollars saved on paid marketing.

Ultimately, whether domains end in .COM, .INFO,.FORSALE, or .LIVE, they all stand on equal ground when it comes to SEO performance. I have to believe that Google’s search results will always value high-quality domain names because of someone like me. Specifically, I’m investing a lot in a domain name and am also likely to invest in developing a high-quality website that will be relevant to users.

The startup I’m currently building aims to modernize real estate marketing, and is scheduled to launch this summer. To position myself in the market, I opted for the exact-match domains www.homes.forsale and www.houses.forsale. They weren’t cheap, either: I worked with Name.com and purchased the domains for $90,000.

But I’m hardly alone in paying a premium for an exact-match new domain; others are being sold for five or six figures each, including<a “=”” data-cke-saved-href=”http://www.video.games/&#8221; href=”http://www.video.games/&#8221; id=”E247″ is=”qowt-hyperlink” qowt-eid=”E247″ target=”_blank”> www.video.games for $183,000, and www.personalinjury.attorney for $60,000. Companies like Stream.Live have even gone through a complete rebranding, with StreamLive spending $20,000 on its new .LIVE domain. These figures come from the domain company Rightside, which recently released a snapshot of many of its $10,000-plus “Platinum Domain” sales.

Our expectations of the online user experience are changing as we get savvier about navigating to exactly the things we want; and relevant TLDs are going to be a big part of that. People will see my Houses.forsale domain name and say, “Oh, that’s exactly what I’m looking for.” Of course, you can always pay for online advertising and search-engine placement, but we exact-match domain owners will have a huge advantage over the competition.

Related: How to Find the Perfect Domain Name, Create Infographics and More

The reason: A high-quality, exact-match domain means we won’t have to pay to get as many clicks. We saw some early evidence of this when one of our pages accidentally got indexed by a search engine while it was still in development. Within a day, we already had a potential client find us organically!

What I don’t think people realize is that there’s an entire world out there of domain investing going on behind the scenes; and it’s been going on for 30 years, back to the time when the first .COMs started popping up.

The most perceptive of those early domain investors made millions merely by identifying the highest-quality domains. And there’s still a tremendous opportunity to invest in TLDs, as the world moves beyond .COM. That said, I’m not just looking to buy low and sell high, although that option has been tempting. I feel that building-out a business on top of a brandable domain is where the real value is right now, and the right domain name can represent a huge amount of the equity in your particular business.

Overall, brandable new domains confer some amazing advantages to successful businesses, including:

1. Flexibility in choosing a name

The pool of short, memorable .COM domains is shrinking rapidly, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t secure an amazing name for your business. Overnight, new domains have increased the availability of possible names a hundredfold.

2. More memorable names

The potential uses for meaningful new domains, like .FORSALE, .SOCIAL, and .MARKET, are virtually limitless. Every word in your domain can and should be relevant to your brand.

3. Increased web traffic

When you use meaningful, relevant terms in a domain, people will be more engaged with your brand. That’s going to help drive more traffic to your site, and href=”http://rightside.news/free-seo-report&#8221; id=”E408″ is=”qowt-hyperlink” qowt-eid=”E408″ target=”_blank”> will boost your search result rankings.

Related: The Psychology Behind Choosing a Killer Domain Name

4. Reduced online marketing costs

Because new domains drive organic web traffic to your site, you’ll be less reliant on expensive search engine placement and other online ads.

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Want to Get Ahead at Work? Be Selfish!

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By: Rohan Ayyar

Humans are social animals, we’re taught. Nearly a third of the world’s population is hooked onto social media. Looking at pictures of “cute” babies and animals shared by friends and family on Facebook is quite an addicting drug.

Everyone wants to be part of this warm, fuzzy and ADD-affected world of sharing — and an ever-increasing number of “social” apps fulfill (and feed) their wishes by allowing them to broadcast their “visual stories” to random people who’re connected to them, or even just happen to be around. Naturally, one expects a familial, co-operative approach to life to be the most rewarding one.

Related: Be Self-Aware, Be Selfless, and Then Be Selfish

Ah, but that’s where we’re wrong. No doubt, we were taught as kids to share our toys and be kind to others. Yet, that seems to be advice for an older, less innocent age.

Kindness equals weakness in groups.

New research suggests that these very ideals of sharing, brotherhood and co-operation could be holding us back from achieving our true potential at the workplace. It appears that nice guys do finish last at the workplace.

Seemingly, it takes a certain cold, calculating mindset to succeed in the corporate rat race. A joint study by researchers from the Kellog School of Management, Stanford University and Carnegie Mellon University found experimentally that in group settings, people who were selfish were seen as being more dominant, and by extension more attractive, as leaders than those who were generous and kind. Though generous people are popular in groups, on a subconscious level we equate kindness to weakness. Conversely, people who exhibit selfish behavior are seen as aggressive, alpha personalities, clearing their path to leadership positions.

Related: How to Be the Nice Guy Who Never Finishes Last

When being selfish, group size matters. So do rewards.

More research published by Alexander Stewart and Joshua Plotkin from the University of Pennsylvania offers a mathematical explanation for how co-operation and selfishness arise in groups. Using a variation on the game Prisoners’ Dilemma, they found that in small groups, cooperative behavior offers the best payoffs. However, beyond a certain group size, the tendency towards selfishness becomes predominant and continues as the groups get larger.

The researchers also found that when players are given the option of deciding their own risk–reward ratios they tended towards more selfish behavior.

This mirrors everyday life, when people not only have the choice of co-operating with their peers at work, they also have the option of regulating how much help they’ll offer or how much time they’ll devote to someone else’s pet project. When people have the option of choosing how much they’ll risk for others, they tend to behave selfishly and opt out of being “team players.”

Don’t expect reciprocal generosity at the workplace.

Now, we are wired to think that people are inherently nice to those who are nice to them, based on Robert Cialdini’s famed Principle of Reciprocity.

However, Peter Belmi and Jeffrey Pfeffer of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, who carried out five experiments to determine the effect of generosity on people, discovered something very interesting. People were more likely to reciprocate generous behavior towards friends and acquaintances; when it came to co-workers and strangers, not so much.

They also found that the mere thought of one’s workplace made people more calculating and selfish in their behavior. The researchers concluded that in spite of social conditioning to the contrary, being selfish is actually a necessity in today’s workplace. Employees who act selflessly and count on their co-workers and organization to do right by them are more often than not, disappointed.

Related: 7 Amazing Things That Happen When You Stop Worrying About Nice

Look out for yourself.

So does that mean the only way to get ahead is by being mean to the people who work with us? For those of us who battle with the urge to be nice to people with the equally primal urge to stay ahead of the pack, here are a few pointers—

Learn to say No: Too many of us suffer from a chronic inability to say No to people. What this means is we’re overstretched doing things that are not vital to our existence and left feeling used and taken advantage of. Now that you know that scientifically, our co-workers are hardwired to give us the short end of the stick at the first opportunity, it’s OK to stand up for yourself and say the big N.O. every now and then. When helping someone out means your own work will suffer, simply turn them down with a gracious apology.

Prioritize your goals: There’s nothing wrong in putting your own goals above those of others, especially at the workplace. This doesn’t mean you forgo teamwork as a work principle, it just means tackling your individual tasks first and with most vigor before taking on group tasks that depend on multiple individuals.

Put aside time for self-improvement: Read more, take a course, learn a new skill, join a theatre group – you can do any of these and more to bring fresh perspectives to your workplace. The more you hone your skill sets as a professional, the more valuable you’ll become to your organization. No one wants the burnt out yes-man to be their new Vice President. The violin virtuoso who is a great manager and can code in his sleep is definitely a more attractive choice.

Keep an eye out for opportunities: Be your own champion. You do this by offering to take on new initiatives or jumping for new opportunities that will enhance your track record and open new doors. Don’t wait for a new responsibility to be entrusted to you; ask for it and your enterprising behavior will be remembered when the appraisal season comes around.

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