Money Addax

Instagram

How did Instagram Start?

The Cinderella tale of Instagram goes from brand-new app to multi-million-user social media platform in a matter of months. Though the story is short—Instagram took only eight weeks to build and was acquired less than two years after its launch—it is a fascinating one of filling a niche and the convergence of industry and luck.

The History of Instagram

Instagram had fairly humble beginnings. Founder Kevin Systrom originally had a background in marketing and learned to code on nights and weekends. He started his social app Burbn, named for his love of bourbon and whiskey, which allowed users to check in at a location, share photos, and make plans.

In March 2010, Systrom met a few venture capitalists at a party in Silicon Valley. In a mere two weeks, Systrom went from discussing Burbn with the interested parties over coffee to $500,000 in seed funding for his new app. He quit his job to pursue development of Burbn full time.

An App for Sharing Photos

Soon after acquiring funding, Systrom brought on Mike Krieger, whom he knew from their time as students at Stanford. Together, they reassessed the app and pared it down to focus on the photo-sharing component. They added the social media elements of likes and comments, and Instagram was born.

The iOS version of Instagram went live in October 2010 and garnered 25,000 downloads on the first day. By December, that number of users topped one million. These numbers were likely fueled by the serendipitous launch of the iPhone 4 (which featured an upgraded camera) just a few months prior. 

After its initial wild success, more investors became interested in Instagram. In February 2011, Instagram received $7 million in additional funding. Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter, offered to buy Instagram for $500 million, but Systrom turned it down.

Acquisition by Facebook

By April 2012, the user base had expanded to 27 million and Instagram for Android was released. 

At that time, Facebook offered to buy Instagram for $1 billion in cash and stock—with the key provision that the company would remain independently managed. The offer was accepted, and Facebook currently owns Instagram.

Quora

How did Quora Start?

Former Facebook employees Charlie Cheever (engineer) and Adam D’Angelo (CTO) quit their jobs in 2009 to found Q&A site Quora. Since then, it has grown to over 300 million monthly users and a billion-dollar company.

When asked why the founders decided to start Quora in a Business Insider interview, D’Angelo said they were meeting an unfilled niche on the internet. There wasn’t a good, comprehensive, user-driven Q&A site. D’Angelo said, “We want to connect the people who have the knowledge to the people who need it.”

Read on to find out more about Quora’s short-but-fascinating history.

What Makes Quora Unique?

Before Quora started, other Q&A sites like Yahoo! Answers had a similar structure. But Quora’s unique offering was in who was answering the questions. Quora gave users direct access to experts in a myriad of fields. Even President Obama has been known to answer a question or two.

Quora also adds unique social media-ish elements. It has an open-source structure for edits like Wikipedia, comments like Facebook and Twitter, and upvotes like Reddit. Add these to the credible, educational, long-form content provided by expert users, and you have a recipe for a $1.8 billion company and one of the most popular websites on the internet.

The History of Quora

Cheever and D’Angelo developed Quora in June of 2009. By December 2009, they opened the site to beta testers. In June 2010, it was ready for the public.

By March 2010, Quora was valued at $86 million, despite the fact that it hadn’t made any money or even been released to the public yet. Quora went through a redesign of the interface in 2011 to make it more user friendly.

In 2014, Quora got a turbo boost, thanks to $226 million from 14 different investors. However, the company has always been more focused on its product than its profits. 

D’Angelo said he didn’t like the idea of running ads since they detracted from the user experience. However, he told TechCrunch that he saw ads as their eventual source of revenue.

Quora didn’t monetize until 2016. To start, they initiated a limited rollout of ads. They started with in-line ads so as not to distract from the user experience. 

2016 also saw the development of a Spanish version of the site. French, German, Italian, and Japanese followed in 2017, and Hindi, Portuguese and Indonesian followed in 2018. Many more languages have been released since.

Future Growth

Despite its limited profitability to date, Quora has grown to about 300 million monthly users in 2019. If Quora can balance the presence of ads for revenue with a pleasurable user experience, it may very well be one of the most influential and valuable sites on the web.

Facebook Page

Marketing your Business Facebook Page

Again, this process is a lot less daunting than it first appears. Over time, people will discover your business Facebook page through search engine traffic, but here are a few tips to market your page right away.

Step 1. Ask Friends and Family to Like your Page

If you already have a personal Facebook account, this is easy; an Invite Friends to Like Your Page section in the center of your Facebook page screen will populate with your friends, and you can click on whomever you want to invite to like your page. 

If you are new to Facebook, you’ll have to add your friends to your account first. (Here’s an explanation on how to do that.)

Step 2. Post Regularly

You don’t have to post something new every day, but if your customers go months without any updates, they’ll wonder if your business Facebook page (or the business itself) is still active. 

Consider posting when you do things like have sales, release new products, host an event, change your hours, or receive a great customer review.

Your posts don’t all have to be about your business. You can also post about local or current events. 

Step 3. Offer Helpful Information

If you offer tips or other helpful information to your customers, they’ll keep coming back for more. 

This can be anything from different uses or applications for your product or a video on how your products are made. Brand or product testing and review videos also provide value for those looking to make purchasing decisions.

Step 4. Engage and Ask for Feedback

Respond to the comments you get on your posts. Show your audience that you’re really listening and not just promoting your stuff. Ask for honest feedback from friends, families, and loyal fans you trust so you can make adjustments. 

How have you marketed your business on Facebook? Share your tips in the comments!

How to Create a Marketing Plan

How to Create a Marketing Plan

A marketing plan can be just as important as a business plan for your new business. There are 5 main components of any good marketing Plan. By following these steps in detail, you will be able to successfully create a marketing plan.

To write a good marketing plan, make sure you focus on each of these steps, as each step of the process is equally important.

Marketing plans are all about the customer.

Step 1: Current State of your Business

This is where you want to get into the details of where you are currently at with your company. Are you launching a new business? Are you trying to give new life to a stale business?

Be honest about the current state of affairs, as hiding any problems will only hinder your success. This is the step where you need to perform a situational analysis that is essentially a SWOT analysis. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Have you identified those four key categories of your business? If not, now is the time to do so.

To accurately know where you are at currently with your business, you need to perform this SWOT analysis. This will help you learn what your weaknesses are, so you can improve them, and learn to market your business better.

Step 2: Focus in on your Target Audience

Knowing your target audience might be the most important step of any good business or marketing plan.

Analyzing your target audience is paramount to the success of your business. If you try to sell ice cream in Wisconsin in January you might be far less successful than selling it at Disney World in July. Don’t sell women’s dresses in a men’s store. Sure, you might sell a handful of them, but your business would be more successful focusing on the audience in your store, and what men typically buy.

The more narrowly you can define your target audience, the easier it will be to market. Do not be afraid to narrowly focus your bracket. Just because you are focusing on a select market, does not mean you will not also devote some marketing to secondary target audiences.

Step 3: Set your marketing goals

Any good vision or plan starts out with a good goal. What is it you are trying to achieve with your marketing? Set tangible goals.

Define how much money you want to make. Set specifics. You want to strive to be both optimistic and realistic. While you should set goals that are a little bit of a reach, don’t set goals that are an impossible reach. Find a middle ground, but definitely use numbers and facts in your goal. For example, “I want to sell 20 pairs of shoes this month” is a better goal than saying “I want to sell a lot of shoes this month.”

By having tangible goals, you will be able to look back and know if you met them or not. How can you measure “a lot”? You can’t, but you can measure “20.”

Step 4: Do your research

Now that you have set your marketing goals, research them to make sure they are realistic. Also, research what your competitors regularly accomplish, as this will help give you an idea of what is realistic for your business.

Research your marketing tactics as well. What is the best way to market your product? Does your target audience respond well to email newsletters? Billboards? What types of ads do you need to use for your product, and how can you find ways to interact personally with your target audience to market your product?

The type of marketing you choose is also very important to the success of your marketing campaign and the cash flow of your business.

Step 5: Decide on how much you can spend on Marketing

A successful business model really comes down to cash flow. It’s about profit. Therefore, how much can you spend on marketing and still ensure your business is profitable?

You’ll want to analyze market trends. For every dollar you spend, how much money are you getting back with new customers buying your product? You will not have an infinite budget to spend on marketing. There is a balance to find between how much to spend on marketing in proportion to how much income your business is earning.

If you find yourself spending too much money on marketing, you can go back to step 4 and adjust your marketing tactic. Maybe find a cheaper way to market your product until your cash flow is streaming in at a higher rate.

Bonus Step: Assess your Competitors

You should take some time and effort to analyze your competitors. It’s possible that you can run a targeted marketing campaign aimed directly at your competitors. You might be able to attract some of their customers to your product instead.

Creating a Marketing Plan

A good marketing plan is going to use 5 key concepts and accurately spell out facts and figures to support your target audience. Hone in these 5 principles, and you will soon have a sound marketing plan drafted. Use this marketing plan to spell out what tools you’ll use to achieve your sales goals.

The steps you want to be sure to include in your marketing plan are: define the current state of your company, focus on your target audience, establish your marketing goals, research the goals you have set, and determine how much money you can spend on marketing.

Spend some time also analyzing your competitors, as it’s always a good business practice to know how to be one step ahead of the competition.

How to Use Twitter for Business

How to Use Twitter for Business

Twitter for business, like many other social media platforms, was created with the goal of connecting people far and wide. This particular platform relies heavily on hashtags and re-tweets in the interest of connecting people with the same or similar interests. Twitter is great for sharing information in real-time, making it a mighty social tool for businesses that can keep up with its speed.

With over 330 million active users worldwide, Twitter is easily one of the largest and most popular social media sites, despite appearing to be overrun by Facebook and Instagram in recent years. Whenever this many people are gathered in one place, it’s natural for business owners, builders, and managers to look for ways to use the platform to their advantage.

Businesses can use Twitter to market their products, drive traffic, collect subscribers, and generate revenue. They can also use it to educate their followers, share relevant news and interesting stories in their industry, and benefit from paid Twitter advertisements. You can reach a large number of people very quickly through this platform if you use it the right way.

To give you an idea of your audience, 34% of Twitter users as of 2019 were female, and the remaining 66% were male. These percentages may shift as Twitter continues to grow, as they’re expected to reach approximately 370 million users within the next year or so. North America and Asia Pacific are the most active regions on Twitter.

What’s even more impressive than the userbase growth is the amount of ad revenue that the platform brings in. From 2014 to the end of 2018, their ad revenue grew from 1.3 billion dollars to nearly 4 billion. This number is expected to continue steadily climbing higher. Clearly, Twitter is doing something right.

Now that we know a bit about their users and projected growth, we can move on to discussing how to use Twitter for business:

Use Twitter cards

Twitter cards are designed to increase a tweet’s effectiveness when it contains links to content on another site. There are different types and styles and you can use them to share content previews, increase traffic to your website, play videos, and more. These cards create a rich media experience for Twitter users, and they’ll automatically attach when users tweet links to your content.

This is a great way to spread the word about your products without it feeling too much like a sales pitch. Twitter cards will help your business and products stand out from others. They can be a creative, fun, and effective way to get users involved in the sales process if they’re created correctly. Make sure that they’re unique, colorful, and quickly grab the attention of searchers. Things move quickly on Twitter, so it’s important to keep up.

While you’re working on the structure of your tweets, it’s also a good time to add in some hashtags. Keep it to one or two so you can fit the rest of your content in the short character limit. Limiting the number of hashtags you use will also keep your tweet from looking cluttered or salesy.

In fact, you may be surprised to learn that tweets that contain one or two hashtags have been shown to increase engagement by 21% when compared to tweets containing three or more. Hashtags are great for creating visibility, increasing search success, and increasing engagement, but only when they’re relevant, so choose wisely.

Build your network

By following and encouraging your target audience to follow you on Twitter, you’re gaining visibility and potential customers at a tremendous rate. Building your network this way is much faster, cheaper, and easier than traditional marketing and sales methods. Individuals prefer to shop online now, and staying visible, engaged, and relevant will make your business a more attractive option.

The more Twitter followers you have, the more individuals you’ll have to engage with, and the more clicks will come through to your website. As your followers find you, it’ll also get easier for other people to encourage their friends and family to follow you, as well. You’ll have built a reputation by now and established your business as a trustworthy and present one. Social media is now the fastest way to increase your reach, and it’s generally pretty easy, too if you’re willing to do some research first and put in the work.

Engage with influencers in your industry

One of the easiest ways to find more followers and boost engagement and website traffic is to search out the major influencers in your field. After all, they’re already cultivated the audience you’re looking for. Building an online relationship with these influencers can help you attract attention, start conversations, and gain customers.

You can start engaging with influencers on Twitter by simply reaching out to them. Re-tweet things they’ve shared, favorite interesting ones, reply and ask questions. Keep the conversation going and try to find a way to add value to their account so that the relationship becomes mutually beneficial.

As you grow, remember where you came from and how many other individuals helped you along the way. The day may come that another up-and-coming individual reaches out to you as an influencer, and you’ll get to return the favor. Personal connections are at the base of just about every business. Most would fail without them, and remembering that helps keep us human and humble.

Let Twitter ads market to your existing customers

If your business is already established, chances are good that you’ve already developed a lengthy email list. If you haven’t yet, it may be time to start. Once your email list is established, you can share it with Twitter to increase your advertising success. These individuals have already signed on to hear (or read) more of what you have to say, so they’re an ideal choice when you’re looking for people to target with your ads.

If you’ve already created your ad(s), all you have to do now is upload your email list to the mobile app, Tailored Audiences. Twitter can then evaluate your email list, match them up with registered users, and specifically target these individuals when you’re promoting your products or services. Since they’re already fans or customers, the ads are more likely to be noticed and effective than they would be if they were shared at random.

Staying fresh in your customers’ minds on Twitter will help them choose you the next time they need the products you sell. They’ll be more likely to make repeat purchases, anticipate new products, and share their experience with friends and family members that will hopefully soon become new customers, too.

website traffic

How much website traffic do you need to make ad money?

If you’ve put the blood, sweat, and tears into creating a blog or website, you’ve probably asked the question, “How much website traffic do I need to make ad money?” You want to know when all your hard work will start to pay off.

The short answer is “it depends,” but of course we’re going to dig a little deeper than that.

Making money from web traffic generally comes from two different sources: paid advertising and affiliate links. Both are viable paths to making money from your website, and each has its pros and cons. The strategy you choose will determine how much traffic you need to make money from advertising on your website.

How does paid advertising (PPC or PPV) work?

PPC (pay-per-click) or PPV (pay-per-view, or per impression) ads are probably what you think of when you hear “web advertising.” These come in many forms: banner ads, sidebar ads, pop-up ads, in-line ads, and more. You see them on all kinds of sites, from recipe blogs to news outlets.

In this model, an advertising network compiles unsold ads. The network contracts with many websites, matching the target audience of the ads to the readership of the website. The largest and best known of these networks is Google Adsense, but MediaVine, AdThrive, Ezoic, Monumetric, and others are also big players in this space.

How much do PPC or PPV ads pay?

Website owners are paid when someone clicks on one of the ads (PPC) or when enough people view the ad (PPV).

Website owners can expect to make 68% of what the advertiser spends on the click with AdSense (the rest goes to the ad network). This payout can range from $0.20 to over $15—it’s all based on niche.

How often visitors click through your ads (known as the click-thru rate, or CTR) affects how much money you make. A good CTR is 1% or 2%; anything above that is excellent. So if 1,000 people come to your website per day, and 1% of them click on an ad (10 visitors) and you get $1 per click, you’d make $10 per day.

The PPV ad structure pays by the impression, or each time an ad is viewed. A typical rate is between $0.004 and $0.015 per view.

In either case, you need thousands of visitors per day to even dream of quitting your day job.

How does affiliate marketing work?

Affiliate marketing follows a more traditional commission structure; you write an article that includes a product along with a link to that product’s website. If the visitors to your website click the link and subsequently buy the product, you receive a commission on the sale.

As with PPV/PPC ads, there are affiliate advertising networks. The most famous and well used by beginners is Amazon’s affiliate program, but others like Shareasale, Clickbank, and GiddyUp compile affiliate offers from hundreds of companies. So even if your blog or website has little to do with physical products like Amazon, there are still opportunities to make money in affiliate sales.

How much do affiliate ads pay?

Again, this depends a great deal on your traffic, niche, what products you promote, and how good you are at converting visitors into customers.

The average affiliate rate will be somewhere around 5%-30% of the sale. As a general rule, expensive items will have a low commission percentage, while cheap items have a high commission percentage.

One advantage of affiliate ads is that you don’t need hoards of traffic to start making money. If even just one reader clicks your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you make money.

What ad strategy is best—PPC or affiliate marketing?

That’s like asking if apples or oranges are best; there is no objective answer, only what is best based on your preference and needs.

The same holds true for these PPC and affiliate marketing strategies. Both are valid business models. Both have pros and cons, and both can make you money.

But rather than asking which one YOU like better, you should be asking which will resonate better with your AUDIENCE. What kinds of ads will they respond to? Are there types of ads they will ignore? Will the audience rely heavily on your advice/experience/suggestions?

Check your website analytics and run the numbers. Then try out different kinds of ads on your site, and see what works best.

You won’t make money from annoyed, confused, or bored readers, so knowing your audience and how to present ads to them is key for deciding how to go about monetizing your website.

While this is a moving target, as your readership and their preferences will change from day to day, honing in on meeting the needs of your visitors will drive up your traffic and with it your ad revenue.

How Many Pageviews Should My Site Get

How Many Pageviews Should My Site Get?

Pageviews are one of the most important metrics for any online business. This number may tell you how often customers or potential customers are visiting your website, how many of those views (clicks) are being converted into sales, and how effective your content is, among other things. Tracking your website’s traffic can help you determine if you’re on the right track or if something needs to be tweaked.

Most of the time, you can drive business to your site, increase your pageviews, and increase your sales with the right content. A thorough sales and marketing strategy will often help, too. Some markets might be trickier than others, though. For example, you’ll probably have better luck driving pageviews if you’re selling products and services that are geared toward financially savvy millennials than you would if your business were more focused on adults over 60.

That being said, there are a few ways that you can increase your pageviews and boost your sales no matter what demographic you sell to. But first, let’s talk a bit about where your pageviews are and where they should be:

A high number of pageviews often equates to a valuable, high-quality, and well thought out website. That is as long as the sales back up the number of pageviews, of course. A high number of pageviews can also mean that people are repeatedly searching for something that they can’t find or the pages aren’t loading correctly, too. Pageviews are an important metric to track, but in order to be sure that they’re the right kind of pageviews, you’ll have to track some other important metrics, too.

Now, how many pageviews should your site get? Well, unfortunately, there’s no strict answer to that question, and pageviews can vary wildly, with all different levels of success that make them difficult to correlate to any one specific thing. Pageviews will go up and down for any number of reasons, including the target audience, the time of year, the seasonality of what you’re offering, the current market for your product or service, the cost, your content, and more.

As a general rule of thumb, new websites and blogs (less than a month or two old) typically tend to land at around 100-150 pageviews per day. If you get fewer than this number, it doesn’t mean that you’re not succeeding at what you’re doing. You could very well be getting fewer pageviews but making more sales than another company with more pageviews. Pageviews are only one metric to consider in the success of your business and they’re not always the most important one.

As your blog or business grows, your pageviews should increase with it. It may jump up to 200 pageviews per day or 600, or it may go up a few views at a time, but any growth is positive and something to celebrate. Slow progress is better than no progress, so keep at it, stay motivated, keep your online presence active and relevant, and watch the numbers grow. Each time you see the numbers go up, set a higher goal. Challenge and push yourself to see how high you can go, but always keep in mind that pageviews alone will not be enough to make a business successful. Keep track of your sales and subscribers, too.

If your pageviews are consistently staying the same or going down, it might be time to switch things up a bit. That being said, there will be a bit of variance in the number of pageviews for any business, so a little bit of up and down is nothing to panic about.

Here are some tips for increasing your pageviews:

  • Amp up your content – make it bigger, badder, more interesting, and impossible to ignore – hire a freelance content writer if you need to, but make it happen
  • Try to keep your articles or blog posts short and sweet – it’ll make them easier to read and encourage your visitors to visit multiple pages rather than just one
  • Include links in that content – aim for between two and five, with some bringing them to items on your website and others bringing them to other relevant content that you think they’d benefit from (or at least enjoy reading)
  • Add in some high-quality imagery and graphics while you’re at it
  • Use other relevant websites to get your name out there (guest posting)
  • Comment on other websites, blog posts, articles, and relevant social media content – this will help you increase your exposure to consumers and their exposure to your company and offerings
  • Ramp up your email marketing – send your subscribers newsletters, updates, and information on new products or services so they don’t have to remember to keep checking your website for it
  • Make your website easier to navigate
  • Create a promotion, contest, or giveaway to increase the amount of attention your website is getting
  • Network – when you connect with other people in this market or community, they’ll be able to put a friendly face to your company’s name and they might choose you over your competition next time
  • Promote your products or services on social media and include relevant, working links so that they don’t have to do any work to get to them
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for a little bit of help – enlist your friends, family members, and even your neighbors to scroll through your website and content and provide you with feedback. They may love it, hate it, or feel entirely neutral about it, but chances are good that they’ll provide you with something that you didn’t think about on your own yet

More importantly than all of these tips and tricks, don’t let self-imposed benchmarks trick you into thinking that you’re not successful. Try to grow your pageviews and sales organically and enjoy the process. Don’t force it scheming, plotting, and scamming like the social media bots that are currently running rampant online. You’ve got the skills, tools, and motivation to make your business better, so get out there and do just that.

How to Use Instagram for Business

How to Use Instagram for Business

It comes as no surprise to see that Instagram is now the second most popular social media network, right after Facebook. There are 1 billion active users on Instagram each month and 200 million users visit one or more business profiles each day. In addition to the massive userbase in the United States, Instagram is also incredibly popular in Canada, Russia, Indonesia, India, and Brazil.

Instagram boasts some impressive numbers, but they’re not likely to hold on to these ones for long, as trends show that the visually based social media platform will only continue to grow. The company also shows an impressive breakdown in the demographics, with a nearly equal use between genders (51% female and 49% male), unlike female-heavy Pinterest or male-dominated Twitter.

These statistics suggest that users prefer Instagram because it relies on visuals more than textual content, users are regularly searching business profiles to do their shopping in the same place that they’re searching travel pages, and the user base is wide and diverse.

So, we know that the users and the opportunities are there, and now it’s time to capitalize on that. Instagram can be used to market products to an already engaged audience, saving businesses on advertising costs. They’ve gathered your audience, and now you just have to reel them in.

Read on to find out how to use Instagram for business:

Creatively showcase all you have to offer

Don’t just focus on your products, aim to show shoppers and searchers that you can add value to their lives instead. There are too many posts already that are made with the sole purpose of selling a product, and creating content that looks like everyone else’s will have your business fading into the background in no time.

Instagram is all about visual content, so make sure you’re posting clear and unique pictures and quick videos to draw and keep the attention of users. Use this as an opportunity to get creative and show Instagram’s vast userbase that you’re different from the other businesses they’ve come across.

Another good way to stand out is to get personal. You can share photos of individuals within your company, using the captions to shout them out, share your mission, and present your unique company culture. You can also include links to your website. Whether it’s a direct link to your product, your website’s home page, or an article that you wrote, it can be used to keep shoppers interested. Your business will become more relatable, personal, and likable when you make use of these strategies together.

Share Instagram stories

Instagram stories are quick little videos that stay on the platform for 24 hours before they disappear and users can no longer re-watch them. Although they’re gone from the world of Instagram after one day, you can still save them if you want to re-use them later or on another platform. They may be fleeting, but Instagram stories can be incredibly useful for businesses and brands.

One of the biggest benefits of posting an Instagram story is that they show up at the top of users’ timelines, with only the Instagram logo above them. Sometimes, placement is everything, and being the first thing that users see when they log in can help to drive business. Otherwise, you may get lost in the shuffle of users who follow hundreds of pages that all post regularly and clog up timelines of potential customers.

Another benefit is that Instagram stories make it easy to share videos, pictures, boomerangs, and edited clips that aren’t as high quality as regular posts have to be. You can add as many pieces of content to your Instagram story as you want to, and they’ll all play in the sequence that you added them in. You can now even conduct polls and ask questions in your Instagram stories to get shoppers involved and excited.

Create a separate Instagram Business Profile

There’s always the option to use your personal Instagram profile for your business, and many people choose to start out this way. But here’s the problem with that: personal profiles are limited and often contain information that you may not want to share with all of your customers. We recommend creating a separate Instagram Business profile so that you can tailor it to your business. If you want to keep that personal touch, you can link to your personal page, too.

Once you’ve created your business profile, you’ll be able to add additional information to your profile, like your business hours, address, and phone number. You can also add a link to your website. You can now implement paid advertising, have access to real-time insights regarding the performance of your stories and posts, and use helpful third-party tools. One incredibly helpful tool for businesses on Instagram is Sendible. They help you schedule posts directly to Instagram so you don’t have to log in and do it through your mobile account or a third-party app.

When you share content through your Instagram Business profile, you can use hashtags to further extend your reach. Make sure they’re relevant and that you’re using five or less per post. Otherwise, it can get confusing, feel misleading, or look cluttered. When they’re used correctly, hashtags make it easier for users to find you.

Offer shoppers insight

Now, more than ever, shoppers are curious. They want to know more about where their products are coming from, how they’re made and distributed, and the individuals that built the business. You have the unique opportunity to share content that will give them insight into all of these things and more.

You can use pictures and videos to show the different stages of production, friendly faces at meetings, and what motivates you and your team to do what you do. This will go a long way in engaging your audience and creating an inviting relationship with them. Make the content unique to your business so it stands out. This might mean putting your thinking cap on and getting creative.

Get your team and trusted advisors and friends together to brainstorm the best components of your business to share on Instagram. If you’re looking to appeal to environmentally conscious millennials, it may be something that shows off your sustainable practices. If you’re marketing children’s products to parents, share photos of your own children using or wearing your products. There are many different ways to make your business more appealing through Instagram.

The Five Most Important Rules for Pitching your Startup

The Five Most Important Rules for Pitching your Startup

Getting involved in a start up business can be one of the most transformative and eye-opening endeavors you will ever take on in your life. From the freedom to create your own schedule to living out your dreams, the options are endless for doing what you love. However, in order to make your dreams a reality, you will have to convince others that your dream is worth investing in. To help you inspire others with your vision, here are the five most important rules to follow when pitching your startup.

1) Know your Product and Audience

When presenting your startup to a potential investor or client, you really need to know both what they are looking for and what you are able to offer to them. For your product, you need to know the ins and the outs of what you are creating so they know you are serious about what you talk about. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking they know their product because they made them and are left embarrassed after failing to deliver any concrete numbers to their investors and looed like a child talking about their favorite toy. Knowing the basics of your product is great for a short elevator pitch, but when money is involved, investors want the concrete numbers that show why your product will succeed. When it comes to addressing the audience, if you are able to research who you may be speaking to beforehand, that will better help you understand how to tailor your pitch to them. If you know their colleagues or friends, ask how they normally like to receive information and make sure to make a presentation that appeals to their personal style.

2) Keep Things Simple

As easy as it is to tell someone every detail of your company to try and sound impressive, you will leave them less interested after sharing too much if you fail to keep your pitch simple. Keeping a pitch simple doesn’t mean being lazy and making boring slides that look bad but keep things simplistic in appearance and context while still maintaining a level of professionalism and tasteful design. If you are just speaking to someone about your project, tell them the vary basic information first to get them interested and aware of what you can do, then provide them with more information if they seem interested in investing or helping you grow. There may also be cases in which you are presenting your information to a larger group who will decide if they are willing to invest. Making a slide show with less text and more value added will make your overall presentation much cleaner and not look like a jumble of letters on a screen.

3) Avoid Common Clichés and Buzzwords

Everyone has heard of a company that loves to use buzzwords and common clichés to describe what they do, and investors hear that kind of jargon every day. Words like “innovation” and “game changing” were interesting when they first had meaning and were used in moderation, but now every single startup seems to consist of driven innovators who want to change the world. It may be nice to have those values but using them to describe your company will just put you with the other groups looking for money without a good cause. If you really want to impress investors, avoid using the typical buzzwords and overused phrases and let your actions do the speaking for you. Using your data and logic to prove a point instead of relying on fun words to make you seem impressive will leave the investors feeling a sense of confidence in your ability to deliver a worthwhile project.

4) Practice, Practice, Practice

If you want to give a TED talk, wouldn’t it make sense to commit the script to memory so you could give the talk in your sleep? Many people think that practice makes perfect, but in reality, practice makes permanent. By committing your pitch to memory, you don’t have to worry about forgetting any important information about your product when you need to know it most. Depending on what it is your presenting and how long you have to present, you should write down a hard script that will outline what it is you want to speak about. By having a script, you will be able to memorize what it is you want to say most and are not just making things up as you go along. It’s great that you know a lot about your product and feel confident in giving a from memory overview of it, but a rigid script will give you confidence in knowing that you can give the same information every time without getting off topic. Practicing your script and timing yourself will give you an idea of how long you are taking and if you need to speed up or cut out fluff. Practice with friends so you can also lessen the stress of presenting in front of others.

5) Be Honest

No matter how much passion or faith you have in your startup, it is always best to be completely honest with yourself and your investors when it comes to what you can and cannot do. Honesty will keep you from selling a product you cannot live up to and will help investors know exactly what they are getting into. If you know your product can’t do something but you think it would sound impressive if you made it seem like it could, you are not being honest with yourself or the investors. Your pitch doesn’t need to give a list of potential setbacks that could hurt you, but you should make sure not to give any false impressions to people who you need support from.

Conclusion

No matter what it is you’re pitching or who you are pitching it to, these five rules will help ensure that your startup pitch is able to persuade others to believe in your dream.

What is SEO

What is SEO?

Anyone who does work for their business with the internet in this day and age will likely hear the term SEO being tossed around. The term stands for search engine optimization, which is the way that you get web searchers to organically find your website. Things like keyword research, backlinks, and ensuring that the content is filled with information that people actually need are all ways to increase your web traffic.

There are SEO tools available out there that can help bloggers, company websites, and online retailers to drive traffic to their site with the use of keywords in their text and links that help users get to their webpages when looking for the specific content mentioned there. This may sound simple, but with each business these days needing a well-run website to keep up with times, you will have some competition within your niche.

So, if you learn about the benefits and uses of SEO practices, you can help beat out your competition and keep your website full of customers and readers that will keep your web traffic consistent.

The Basics

There are a few things that you should keep in mind when creating content for your website and business, and with these SEO concepts making the text and images on your website are optimized for the highest amount of traffic, you can reach more users on the internet than ever before.

Keyword Research

There are a number of different free and purchasable options for keyword research tools that will help you find out which words to use in your text and content. Keywords are certain words that you can use throughout your content to make it rank higher on internet searches, and the right keywords can boost your SEO greatly if you do the right research.

These tools can help you figure out what type of phrases and words people are searching for so you can adapt to that and make content that people will want to see. This will help you get found on Google easier and help bring more users to your site organically.

Keyword Optimization

Having the right keywords is great, but using them properly in your website’s content is just as important. You have probably seen some articles or blogs that use the same wording or phrasing throughout every paragraph of its text, which feels unnatural and forced. This happens when you overuse the keywords and make your text too focused on the use of them instead of the use of the content itself.

You want the keyword or keywords to only be about 1 or 2% of the entire text. This will allow you the space to place them into the text naturally without it coming across as robotic. Focusing on making the keywords fit naturally into the article will assist you in blending them into the content.

Meta Descriptions

Taking control of your SEO means to focus on all areas of controlling web traffic to your site. Another way to do this is to write meta descriptions that will act as a small peek into what the content on your webpage will be about. Having a title and description will show up on the results page on Google and act as the first look at your site, and if it captures the user’s attention, then you can direct them to your page.

These descriptions should be interesting and stand out from other descriptions for other sites. Also, they should contain your main keyword in order to rank higher on search results for that keyword. Having these descriptions will help you get better results for your SEO.

Alt-Text For Images

Images are a major part of websites since the visual quality of the pages will entice readers to stay on your page. Images can help those who are scanning to find the correct part of the page that they need without reading the entire page. The alt-text for images are used to help describe the look and function of an online image.

As a function, this allows someone who is visually-impaired to read the description of a text instead of seeing the whole image at once. So, these alt-texts are shown on the screen when the image is not loaded.

However, though these are great functions themselves, this can also help your SEO by offering web crawlers who can’t see the image – and instead read the code – understand what it is. A picture of a man at a desk in an office can be misinterpreted by a web crawler and you may rank for keywords that you didn’t intend to, or possibly not rank at all if it doesn’t understand the image.

Alt-text takes out the guesswork and tells the web crawler what an image is by offering a description in the text. For example, the man at the desk in his office is not very descriptive, so you could instead say, “Middle-Aged Man with Coffee Cup Typing on Computer at Work.” This will rank for more specific keywords, like a middle-aged man or typing on a computer at work, and get you more web visits.

Write High-Quality Content

Although the idea of writing content with keywords in mind is a way to boost your SEO, you don’t want to sacrifice the quality of your page by writing subpar content that is only for placing keywords into. The content of your page should still be focused on giving readers information about your business or website that they should know.

If you are a blogger, which typically focuses on a specific niche, then ensuring that you have information for your readers that pertains to that interest and will be useful for them is still the key to success. However, ranking higher on search engines will just help you get to your readers faster than without it.

As I mentioned before, you want to have only 1 or 2 percent of your text to be your keywords, and you want to make sure that they are used naturally so they don’t sound blocky and forced.