Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

What is a Freakshake and How Can It Be Used to Market Your Small Restaurant?

Monday, April 22nd, 2019

Should You Add a Freakshake to Your Restaurant Menu?

Have you heard of the Freakshake trend? Freakshakes refer to huge milkshakes loaded with ice-cream, cream and flavored sauces. But they also include unlikely ingredients. Think donuts, cake, biscuits, brownies and other sweet delights. Freakshakes have become huge in the food service industry.

Small restaurateurs should consider capitalizing on the freakshake trend. Put this deliciously popular type of milkshake or dessert on your menu?

What is a Freakshake?

Want to create a Freakshake for your small restaurant? Fill a large glass jug with a luxury milkshake. Make this with ice cream and chocolate, strawberry or another flavored sauce. Then pile up goodies that look as delicious, striking and ‘sinful’ as possible.

These goodies include cake, donuts, waffles, marshmallows, fruit, chocolate and more. Then throw a handful of sweets on top for good measure.

Want to know how far the freakshake phenomenon has gone. Well, some restaurants even offer savory freakshakes. And they include ingredients like cheese and pulled pork replacing donuts and waffles.

Where Did Freakshakes Originate?

This high calorific dessert supposedly originated in Australia in 2015. A café in Canberra seems the likely creator of the drink.

The savvy café owners in Canberra designed the freakshake for a very specific purpose. They were created to be “so ridiculous and over-the-top that people just had to take a photo of it before they ate it.”

Thanks to the sharing power of social media, these oversized, ultra-sweet milkshakes quickly became a global sensation, with cafes, restaurants and customers delighting in sharing their freakshakes to followers, and the more flamboyant, striking and gastronomically sinful, the better.

Freakshakes and Instagram

These brightly-colored edible creations are made to be photographed and shared around the world on social media, with the photo-sharing portal Instagram being a favorite channel for restaurants and freakshake-happy customers to share their freakshake images.

View this post on Instagram

Fridays are for #freakshakes Cheers to the weekend @ree7amsterdam ? #amsterdamfancyfood

A post shared by Amsterdam Fancy Food (@amsterdamfancyfood) on Apr 5, 2019 at 5:32am PDT

A mere search of #freakshake on Instagram brings up more than 50,000 posts, each trying to outdo each other on the flamboyant stakes.

View this post on Instagram

SMORELICIOUS vs COOKIE MONSTER ???? if you HAD to choose, which one would you go for?! ?

A post shared by Snowopolis (@snowopolisco) on Apr 16, 2019 at 10:30am PDT

Rather than being pictured toasting with a glass of bubbly or a pint of beer, social media users are posting pictures of themselves raising their freakshake glasses, accompanied with their location in the world and often the name of the establishment that has served them the delicious freakshake.

The Opportunities of Freakshake Marketing

It’s not uncommon for the biggest, boldest and most daring of freakshake posts to go viral. The trend to share images of outstanding freakshakes on social media presents a wealth of marketing opportunities for restauranteurs, cafes and ice-cream shops.

Serving over-the-top freakshakes to your customers will encourage them to share the mouth-watering milkshake/dessert that lies before them on social media, meaning your creation is shared around the world and could event go viral.

Boost Your Restaurant’s SEO

Research shows that around 126,000 Googles searches are made for ‘freakshake’, meaning if your website, online menu, social media profiles and other digital entities includes the word ‘freakshake’, your rankings on search engines like Google could significantly improve, helping you pull in more customers as a result of your freakshake marketing.

As well as being a powerful marketing force for ice-cream businesses, cafes, restaurants and bars around the world, the great thing about freakshakes is they’re not difficult, too timely or expensive to make.

All you need is plenty of ice-cream, cream, sweet sauce, sticky sweet treats, sugar, sweets and whatever other deliciously sinful treats tickle your fancy, thrown in with some creativity and daringness and you’ll have a masterful culinary creation your customers will love you for.

Given the popularity, trendiness and potent promotional potential of freakshakes, ask yourself – is a freakshake something your business can afford to ignore?

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, “What is a Freakshake and How Can It Be Used to Market Your Small Restaurant?” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Thinking about Better Project Management Templates? Check out Excel

Monday, April 22nd, 2019

Using Excel for Project Management, and Where to Get Templates

Managing a project requires a combination of communication and leadership skills. But you need the right tools too. Even though some people look down on using spreadsheets, they are still popular. Here’s a list of where to find the best Excel project management templates for small business plus tips for using them.

Tips for Getting Started

There are few things that you need to do before you can manage projects using Microsoft Excel. Here’s a few starter tips to get you going in the right direction.

You need to define the scope of your project. That means looking at the goals and objectives of what you want to do.  Putting everything down in a project statement makes it all easier to work with.

Define Your Tasks

Then you’re ready to start using the templates. Define the tasks you want to accomplish for each goal. This makes it easier to break everything down into tasks. These can be assigned to teams.

After putting your plan together, you can start assigning deadline dates. These come with milestones to gauge your progress along the way.

Microsoft Excel Project Management Templates

Following are just a few of the more popular excel templates specifically designed for small business:

Work Plan Timeline

If you’re looking to get started with something simple, this is the perfect template. The worksheet included will automatically update the data.

Simple and easy to use for the small business that’s looking for a straight line to results.

Project Tracker

This has specific categories for whom the project was assigned to. There is even a spot for a short description. You can also fill in the hours and days spent on each project.

This is a good template for project managers who have more than a few balls in the air.

The hours and days feature allows you to report the ROI on each project as it unfolds.

Milestone Tracker

Every project your small business works on needs to have a deadline. This template allows supervisors and small business owners to list their milestones. Once you have those plotted, you can measure them against a graphic that tracks your progress.

Project Schedule Template

A little bit like the milestone tracker with some different features. This scheduling template allows project managers to monitor each project by the hour.

There are categories for estimated as well as hours remaining. One of the difference makers here is the cell that shows the percentage of hours used.

Project Review Template

One of the interesting features here is this template includes risk management details. There’s an issue description cell and one for any proposed changes.

Vertex42

These folks boast a collection of over 400 templates to choose from. They specialize in high-quality Excel templates like a ‘To Do’ list teams can use. If you get stuck, they even offer consulting services.

Gantt Charts

Gantt charts first came to be around 1910. Safe to say, they stood the test of time. In fact, they’ve made the transition to the digital world successfully and use Excel. Smartsheet promises it can help your small business make a Gantt chart in any version of Excel.

Wrike

Looking for a budget planner fashioned with Excel? This company lists Google and HootSuite among their customers for client reporting and project management.

ProjectManager.com

Pricing starts starts at $15 a month and goes up to $25 for the business features. Your small business can get the advantage of real time dashboards. You’ll also get instant Excel reports that you can share in a variety of formats including Word and PDF as well as, of course, Excel.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, “Thinking about Better Project Management Templates? Check out Excel” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Sick and Tired of Other Businesses Disrupting Your Industry? Read This

Monday, April 22nd, 2019

How to Be a Disruptor Inside Your Own Industry

Disruption in your industry has become a sure thing. And it poses a dangerous threat to your company. Because historically, the most successful disruptors come from outside the industry. Think Uber for car services and Netflix for at-home movies. So how can you become the next disruptor, instead? Make sure your competition doesn’t beat you there.

How to be a Disruptor

On this week’s Small Business Radio Show, we’ll hear from Mike Maddock. Maddock founded innovation consultancy Maddock Douglas. He discusses how you can be a consistent disruptor in your own industry in his latest book, “Plan D: Lessons from the World’s Most Successful Disruptors”.

Disruptors typically come from outside the industry according to Mike. Because “you can’t read the label when you are inside the jar!” He states there is an expertise trap where you know how things are always done in your industry. But then someone comes along that doesn’t have a bias. And this just “blows it up for the good of the whole”.

Mike believes that disruptors, under pressure, become critical thinkers, not lateral ones. They just don’t complain about fixing an industry problem, they act on a solution even if they don’t have the experience to fix it. Disruptors move from a complainer to a fixer very rapidly.

Consistent disruptors effectively use preset frameworks according to Mike. This can also work for people that don’t see themselves as innovators. For example, a hiring and firing framework can be used to ensure that everyone in your company has the same core values even if they are excellent at their jobs. In this framework, companies only hire and retain employees that support their culture and have outstanding work skills.

Mike also points out that all successful disruptors have a “soul mate.” One partner is the innovator and the “idea monkey”. The other is typically the operator or the “ring leader”. He recites current examples such as Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook and Bill Gates and Paul Allen at Microsoft. However, the problem is as companies grow, the operators usually takes over and forgets how to make mistakes and take chances. In this way, they then fall victim to the expertise trap and are vulnerable to innovation coming from outside their industry.

Listen to the entire episode of the Small Business Radio Show.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, “Sick and Tired of Other Businesses Disrupting Your Industry? Read This” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Facebook News Feed Dies, What Marketers MUST Know

Monday, April 22nd, 2019

Facebook Business Marketing Tips

The Facebook News Feed is dead. It’s official.

Gone. Extinct. Poof. Nada. Oblivion.

In this article, I’ll tell you why I’m making this assertion, the conspiratorial events leading up to the death of the News Feed, what it all means for the future of Facebook marketing, and four solid takeaways that will superpower your marketing in a post-News Feed era.

After reading this article, you’ll be light-years ahead of most marketers. You’ll learn the unicorn moves in the brave new world of Facebook Messenger marketing — a world where the News Feed is a relic of history.

Facebook’s News Feed Is Dead: Here are the Facts

Let me lay out the issue in a single sentence: Facebook is restructuring all the leaders of their business to support a new focus on messaging and privacy.

The News Feed has been in decline for years. It’s final, gasping moments are at hand.

The ones to suffer most from the demise of News Feed are publishers — us, marketers, storytellers, businesses.

We get it. People don’t see our organic posts anymore.

But why this new round of outrage about the News Feed’s demise?

In the past, when the News Feed got dinged, it was usually preceded by a Mark Zuckerburg jeremiad about the loss of “friends and family at the core of the experience,” or a variation on that theme.

 

Facebook Business Marketing Tips

Of course, these laments masked the cold, hard truth for us publishers who got screwed by the algorithm changes.

But now, it’s more than laments. It’s more than algorithm tweaks.

It’s people.

Zuckerburg has made moves. Bold moves.

What kind of moves? Here’s the Facebook shuffle that has all taken place within the last year.

These names may not be familiar to you, but basically, a whole lot of billionaires were just let out to pasture. Taken together, they tell the shocking story about how Facebook is changing.

WhatsApp Cofounder Jan Koum Left Facebook a While Back.

Koum mushroomed into a billionaire when Facebook bought his and co-founder Brian Acton’s startup, WhatsApp.

Facebook Business Marketing Tips

Now, Koum is spending more time playing ultimate frisbee than he spends tweaking his app. And Brian Acton jumped ship, too.

Facebook Business Marketing Tips

It was no secret that Koum and Facebook’s old guard crossed swords when Facebook started tinkering with WhatsApp’s most notable feature — ironclad encryption.

Chris Daniels just Resigned (March 14, 2019) after Recently Being Installed as the Leader of WhatsApp.

Daniels became Koum’s replacement but not for long. On the day that Fast Company called “ugly Thursday,” Daniels cleared out his desk and walked out the door.

Facebook Business Marketing Tips

That’s a pretty big move for a guy who just got the equivalent of a Facebook corner office.

Chris Cox, Third-highest at Facebook also Resigned.

This is big news.

Cox was engineer hire number 13 at Facebook and he spent 13 years at Facebook. (Let’s not go all superstitious about the string of 13s.)

However, Chris Cox is the highest ranking company officer ever to resign. He held the Chief Product Officer role, just one door down from Ms. Sandberg, Facebook’s COO.

 

Facebook Business Marketing Tips

Chris Cox was a legend at Facebook — one of the most admired, and most trusted leaders the company knew.

Facebook Business Marketing Tips

His leaving is no morale booster, that’s for sure.

Those are just some of the changes that have been going on in Menlo Park. In his typical saturnine style, Zuckerburg described a few of those changes in a Facebook Newsroom post.

  • Fidji Simo now heading up the Facebook app.
  • Chris Cox’s role remains unfilled!
  • Will Cathcart is the new head of WhatsApp.
  • Javier Olivan is behind the plan to integrate Messenger, Whatsapp, and Instagram.
  • The VPs of Instagram, Messenger, and Whatsapp will all report directly to Zuckerburg.

Zuckerburg doesn’t upset the applecart for no reason.

As one Facebook insider reported, this “was a burn the boats moment — a symbolic point of no return intended to rally the company around a new existential imperative.”

The News Feed has reached the end of its influence as a Facebook feature. The Verge explained, it “[has] already peaked, or will soon.” And since Zuckerburg knew this, Zuckerburg killed it.

Folks, this is a very big deal.

What Does All of this Mean?

To put it simply, these organizational changes indicate a massive new shift in Facebook’s direction.

News Feed will most likely disappear entirely and be subsumed by the primacy of messaging.

Facebook Business Marketing Tips

The News Feed has been a fixture of Facebook almost since the very beginning.

Thus, its sunsetting seems to make zero sense. Why would they bury it? It’s like Apple killing off the iPhone or Coca Cola discontinuing their Coke product.

One reason needs to be stated right off the bat.

The News Feed is really controversial.

If you think back on some of the momentous and headline-making news in recent years, Facebook’s News Feed has been caught up in it.

  • Russian meddling in the United States elections
  • Mental wellness and healthful social relationships
  • Privacy controversy
  • Live streaming horrific acts of hatred
  • The rise of fake news

It’s hard to blame the News Feed directly for the outcome of the 2016 United States elections or as the cause for bloodshed in New Zealand. But the News Feed was there all along, and it’s no longer viewed as the bringer of truth and connection that it was intended to be.

And that needs to change. An algo tweak isn’t the change we’re talking about.

A dead News Feed is the kind of change that Facebook needs.

The News Feed is an existential legal threat to Facebook’s ongoing viability in the modern age.

So, that’s the negative side of things.

But obviously, Facebook is presenting a more positive standpoint.

Zuckerburg explained it (sort of) in his newsroom note. Here are the highlights from that release that shed light (sort of) on the rationale for the shakeup:

  • …we organize our company to build out the privacy-focused social platform
  • …new product efforts
  • …clear plan for our apps, centered around making private messaging, stories and groups the foundation of the experience
  • …the next chapter of our work [is] building the privacy-focused social foundation

In his rambling shpiel, Zuckerberg used derivatives of the word “privacy” seven times, and derivatives of the word “messaging” four times.

Is it beginning to make sense?

We saw this coming. We called it.

Look, as much as Mark Zuckerburg talks about human connection and family and friends, Facebook is a business. Businesses have to make money.

Facebook Business Marketing Tips

Facebook makes money, not from grandmothers fawning over photos of their grandbabies, but from businesses — the institutions that want to sell stuff.

And we businesses fork over a load of cash — billions of dollars each year.

The shift to privacy and messaging will contribute to a bigger and more solid revenue stream for Facebook. It has to. It’s the nature of business.

Instead of the News Feed, Facebook offers businesses the potential to use messaging to more effectively reach their customers. And, with all three messaging apps merging under a single infrastructure, businesses can reach more customers than ever before.

Facebook Business Marketing Tips

What’s more, as we’ve recently seen, Facebook is testing a business-exclusive messaging inbox.

Facebook Business Marketing Tips

That’s a major nod to business revenue being the driving force for Facebook’s epic change.

It just makes sense. Business sense.

But there’s another reason, and it comes as no surprise to Facebook. Email as a marketing channel is slowly dying.

Facebook Business Marketing Tips

Every email marketer that I know is disgusted with abysmally low open rates and clickthroughs. Email is just not working.

Who’s responsible for poisoning the well of email marketing?

Messaging apps.

And the biggest culprit? Facebook Messenger.

Rather than get all huffy about it, though, smart marketers are out there churning out Facebook Messenger chatbots, creating Messenger drip campaigns, sending chat blasts, and basically living in unicorn land.

Facebook Business Marketing Tips

What does this mean for the future of Facebook marketing?

The future is not dire. The future is bright with unicorns prancing in fields of delicate purple and pink wildflowers.

Facebook Business Marketing Tips

In fact, if you’re using Facebook Messenger marketing with chatbots, you have absolutely nothing to fear.

(But if you’ve been hoping that organic Facebook posting is going to cut it, then you’ll have to adjust your expectations.)

We’re in a new era of marketing ruled by Facebook Messenger, not the News Feed.

Facebook Business Marketing Tips

Here are four Facebook Marketing Power Tips that will add unicorn power to your marketing efforts.

Facebook Marketing Power Tip #1: Start using Facebook Messenger Chatbots Immediately

If the News Feed is dying, what are you going to do?

Find a way to reach your customers that does not involve the News Feed, right?

Yes, and the most effective way to do this is through Facebook Messenger.

 

Facebook Business Marketing Tips

And the most effective way to use Facebook Messenger is with Messenger chatbots.

Chatbots are the future of marketing. And the future of marketing is now, especially as the News Feed sails into the sunset.

Facebook Business Marketing Tips

Sign up for MobileMonkey, and you can start creating Facebook Messenger chatbots today for free.

Facebook Marketing Power Tip #2: Do not Rely on Organic Facebook Posting Any Longer.

The days of getting tons of clicks, likes, and engagement from your organic posts are gone.

Yes, gratefully, there are loopholes that allow you to stay alive.

 

Facebook Business Marketing Tips

But the hottest opportunity of all is Facebook Messenger.

Quick disclaimer: Boosting posts is a legitimate method for maintaining your Facebook marketing presence as long as the News Feed gasps its final breaths. However, you need to be strategic about this.

Don’t just boost a post for kicks.

Boost posts that have a comment guard on them.

With a comment guard, also known as a Facebook post autoresponder, anyone who comments on your post is invited to join your Facebook Messenger list.

Facebook Business Marketing Tips

Facebook Marketing Power Tip #3: Aggressively Create and Deploy Messenger Chatbots to Supplement and Outdo Email Marketing.

I’m not suggesting you fire your email person or delete your email list.

am suggesting that you start using Facebook Messenger marketing in addition to email marketing. (And if you have to back off of email marketing to do it, go ahead.)

The reasons for this will become obvious if you Google “facebook messenger vs email.”

Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Anything you can do with email marketing, you can do with Facebook Messenger marketing only better.

Drip campaigns? Check.

Facebook Business Marketing Tips

Start a drip campaign and nurture your contact list on through to conversion.

Facebook Business Marketing Tips

What’s that? You’re staring at the read rate of 81% and the response rate of 53%?

Oh, nbd. That’s typical for Facebook Messenger drip campaigns.

What about using a chat blast instead of or in addition to an email blast?

Also possible.

Facebook Business Marketing Tips

Easily create a blast that pings your Messenger contact list with news, tips, or a topic that’s on your mind.

Once again, with engagement rates like these, it’s unfathomable that you would not use Messenger bots.

Facebook Business Marketing Tips

The death of the News Feed signals a new beginning for messaging. Facebook’s pivot to messaging is concurrent with the nadir of email marketing’s effectiveness.

Now is the time to jump into messenger marketing like your marketing success depends on it.

Because it does.

Facebook Marketing Power Tip #4: Supercharge Your Facebook Messenger List Building.

Back in the day, email list building was everything.

I spent enormous amounts of money getting potential customers’ email addresses in exchange for free apps, trial memberships, data, reports, analytics, ebooks, and newsletters.

Those days are long gone.

Today, I focus on Facebook Messenger list building.

It’s easier, cheaper, and the results are far more effective.

Every month, I gain around 5,000 new Messenger contacts. For free.

Facebook Business Marketing Tips

Most of this happens on autopilot. I’m sure you’ve seen the chat widget in the lower right-hand corner when you’re on the MobileMonkey website.

Opening a conversation adds you to my contact list.

If you have a WordPress site, you can add the chatbot to your website for free.

Facebook Business Marketing Tips

Messenger list building is the new frontier of marketing because that’s where your audience is, that’s where they’re most active, and that’s where you’re going to have the highest engagement rates and conversions.

Build your Facebook Messenger contact list using chatbots.

It’s as simple as that.

The News Feed is Dead. Long Live Facebook Messenger Chatbots.

One of the most innovative and powerful tech companies in the history of humankind is shifting its focus right before our eyes.

Facebook is killing off its most innovative and enduring feature.

They are pivoting to messaging.

This reality shapes the way that you engage and connect with your customers. Stay ahead of the curve by building your presence on Messenger, creating Facebook Messenger chatbots, and making marketing progress like you’ve never experienced before.

Republished by permission. Original here.

Image: Shutterstock

This article, “Facebook News Feed Dies, What Marketers MUST Know” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Apply These 14 Expert Techniques to Make Your Job Postings Stand Out

Sunday, April 21st, 2019

How to Make Job Postings Stand Out
The job hunt can seem like a never-ending stream of applications and interviews for candidates.  And it can feel that way for the companies posting jobs too. AmdIn order to stand out from competitors, keep the job posting fresh for as long as possible and, ultimately, find the ideal fit for the position, companies need to continually refine their job-posting processes. That’s why we asked entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:

“What is your preferred method for making job postings stand out for as long as possible? Why does this approach work so well?”

How to Make Job Postings Stand Out

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Target Specific Personalities

“Know the type of potential employee you are targeting. Understand the persona you’re looking for — the type of person who will fit in with your company culturally and professionally. Use language that would be receptive by this type of person. Are you looking for someone fun, creative and quirky, or technical and by the book? Tailor your listing accordingly so it sparks a connection with readers.” ~ Stephen Beach, Craft Impact Marketing

2. Emphasize Perks

“We like to highlight the benefits of working for us, like remote work and flexible schedules. We also emphasize our culture. [And] we show that this is a place you want to work. Also, a lack of culture fit is just a waste of time and energy because the person will end up leaving or we will have to pull the plug. It works because the perks draw people in and the cultural aspect helps refine the search.” ~ Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

3. Highlight the Skills

“Our job postings start with a list of skills required, taking a different approach from the traditional description-based posts. We are a software company, and we need candidates with the same tech stack as ours. The skills-based posting format effectively automates candidate sourcing and drastically compresses time-to-hire, especially for roles that require a set of must-have technical skills.” ~ Sean Hinton, SkyHive

4. Encourage the Team to Circulate Postings

“I’ve seen an incentivized newsletter list be quite effective at catching people who can find quality candidates. Offering something in the realm of $200 for a successful applicant is a good way to get people to consistently read the posting and to share it with relevant people.” ~ Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting

5. Make It a Social Ad

“We turn our job posts into ads on various social networks so they can appear at certain times and remain top of mind. This also allows us to target certain audience segments that may be looking for us like we are looking for them.” ~ John Hall, Calendar.com

6. Incorporate Different Media Formats

“Instead of making your job posting just a wall of text, incorporate different media formats. Add photos, videos or even infographics that either help to describe the job position or help showcase your company culture. Adding different media formats will not only help you stand out for longer, but it will keep candidates engaged as well.” ~ Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

7. Add the Word ‘Remote’

“If you truly want to stand out and find the best talent, let them work from home. A lot of candidates these days are only choosing to apply to remote jobs, so having someone come in to the office every day will limit the amount of interest your post receives.” ~ Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

8. Use the Job Board’s Easy Way to Apply

“If you integrate your posting with the job board, your posting will stand out more. For example, if you give users the option to apply via LinkedIn’s “Easy Apply” button, passively looking candidates will be able to filter and find your posting much easier, and then conveniently apply to your job opening.” ~ Jared Atchison, WPForms

9. Keep It Simple

“Job postings that stand out are simple and easy to get through. By using tools like bullet points, italics, numbered lists and the proper use of paragraphs, your posting is more likely to be read through to the end. Remember, just like you probably look through lots of resumes when hiring, the same goes for job seekers. Make it as easy as possible to read your posting.” ~ Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

10. ‘Pin’ Them to Everyone’s Social Profiles

“The most effective tactic we have for awareness on critical roles is asking our team and advisors to “pin” the job posting to their profiles. On Twitter and Facebook, this can literally live up top on an individual’s profile. On other networks, we just ask for consistent reposts. When you identify something as your first priority, people listen and try to help, which leads to great referrals.” ~ Aaron Schwartz, Passport

11. Share Business Info

“Including business information in a job posting is a great way to stand out. Most companies are overly specific in their job postings, in terms of tasks and actions they need from the employee. If you share the business background first, tell more of a story, then explain the role, you’ll find it more compelling to more candidates.” ~ Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure

12. Update the Posting

“I will update the job posting about once a week. Many employment advertising services will move the post to the top of their list and treat it as a new posting every time it is updated. This trick is very helpful but does not work with every employment service. You will need to check with each service you use to confirm.” ~ Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.

13. Make It Interesting and Add a Twist

“With job postings, we highlight our company, culture and the challenges the role will take on, but we also add a twist to the post to give it personality and filter out applicants that don’t pay attention to detail. We’ll add what we refer to internally as an Easter egg to the post; it may be something like: “Let us know what your favorite movie, book, etc. is when applying.”” ~ Brian David Crane, Caller Smart

14. Don’t Follow the Typical Format

“Most job posts follow the same type of format and they all look pretty much the same. So if you want your job posting to stand out from the crowd, don’t follow the typical format. Show some personality or humor, add extra detailed information about your company or fun facts. Whatever you do, just do it a little differently and you’re sure to stand out.” ~ Blair Williams, MemberPress
Image: Depositphotos.comw

This article, “Apply These 14 Expert Techniques to Make Your Job Postings Stand Out” was first published on Small Business Trends

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The Ultimate Small Business Guide to the Most Popular Social Media Apps By State

Sunday, April 21st, 2019

Most Popular Social Media Apps in Each State

Knowing how and which social media platform your audience uses is an important data point. Identifying this information will improve your engagement level and marketing efforts. And according to a new report by CenturyLinkQuote, the platforms vary from state to state.

The data from this report is especially important as people spend more time on their smartphones accessing social networks. According to a 2018 Nielsen report, adults in the U.S. spend close to half a day interacting with media. And social media takes up 45 minutes of those 11 plus hours.

As a small business, you can optimize your social media marketing so you can squeeze your brand in those 45 minutes. And the CenturyLink research is one of the many resources you can use to make it happen.

Most Popular Social Media Apps in Each State

The Importance of Social Media in Business Marketing

Social media is as relevant today as print, radio, and TV was in the past. But it provides more tools for interacting and analyzing how, where, and on what device consumers are engaging.

Whether you are a small business or a large corporation, the technology is a must-have in a digital ecosystem. Best of all, it is an affordable/free solution anyone can use to increase the awareness of their brand.

Creating a strong social media presence can communicate authority, show authenticity, and encourage engagement. The platform also allows small businesses to provide personalized customer support without the cost of call centers.

If properly optimized, social media will help you connect with your customers and boost leads and sales.

Most Popular Social Media Apps in Each State

In last year’s report, Google Plus was one of the top-searched social media apps nationwide. So much so, it tied with Snapchat for the first place.

The graph below shows the 2018 data from CenturyLinkQuote.

Most Popular Social Media Apps in Each State

CenturyLinkQuote said this year Google Plus didn’t even show on the map. This might have to do with the platform shutting down in August of 2019.

Snapchat

With Google Plus out of the way, Snapchat claimed the number one spot by itself this year. It was the number one search in North Dakota by far, but it was also number in 10 other states.

  • Arizona
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Michigan
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin

Snapchat achieved the top spot even though it experienced slower growth numbers in 2018.

Pinterest

At number two, Pinterest was the top platform in 10 states. It was the top platform in Montana but also ranked first in Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, and Minnesota. The remaining five states are:

  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Wyoming

While Pinterest doesn’t get the headlines like other social media channels, the company has carved out a niche with certain industry segments. Time will tell how Pinterest performs moving forward as the company just went public at $19 a share.

Instagram

Coming in at number three is Instagram, as it beat its parent company Facebook and took its place from last year. This year it was number one in nine states.

California had the most Instagram related searches this year. Some of the other states were Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, and Hawaii.

Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, and New York rounded up the top states for Instagram.

Facebook

Facebook came in at number four. With 1.5 billion active daily users it is a very well-known brand, so this may be a reason it is at this spot. Users might just go directly to the site and not search for it like they do other platforms.

Another issue may be the long list of scandals the company faced in the past couple of years. But even with these problems, Facebook still has more users than any other platform.

In this report, Facebook was number one in eight states, with West Virginians searching for the app more than anyone else. The other top states for Facebook searches are:

  • Alabama
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Ohio
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee

Reddit/Youtube

Tying for the fifth spot are two of the oldest platforms on the list. Reddit and YouTube are different than the other social media channels, but they nevertheless have a huge following.

When it comes to Reddit, the community it creates around specific topics makes it a very popular destination for like-minded people.

People in the state of Washington made Reddit the top destination. But Colorado, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Virginia also prefer the platform above others.

For YouTube, the people in Mississippi tuned in to its site the most. However, the residents in Alaska, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania also made it their preferred destination.

Twitter

The fact Twitter didn’t register as the top search in any of the states is surprising. What is not surprising is it was number one in Washington D.C.

With President Trump using Twitter to communicate directly with the people, it is somewhat appropriate it garnered the number one spot in the center of the country’s political hub.

These are the number one apps overall across all states.

Most Popular Social Media Apps in Each State

The Future of Social Media

The GlobalWebIndex (PDF) says close to half of internet users follow a brand they like or think about buying something from on social media. And in most instances, the smartphone is the device of choice.

Brands with a social media presence using images and video will have more success connecting with users. This is because consumer behavior has changed.

According, Simon Kemp, Global Consultant at We Are Social, “With 4 billion people now online, we’re already seeing new digital behaviors emerge. Keyboards will be replaced by voice commands and cameras. Visual content will dominate social and messaging, and new technologies will offer richer digital experiences for people everywhere. To keep up, brands need to rethink their strategies, build new capabilities, and quickly adapt.”

Having a strong social media presence is a great start.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, “The Ultimate Small Business Guide to the Most Popular Social Media Apps By State” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Upcoming Training Workshop Teaches You to Better Listen to Your Customers

Saturday, April 20th, 2019

The ability to listen to your customers more effectively has introduced new challenges and opportunities.

Because of digital technology, your customers can let you know how they feel on your website, social media channel, blog, and other outlets.

Applied Marketing Science (AMS) is holding a training workshop titled, “Listening to the Voice of the Customer” to teach you how to listen and use the information for better engagement.

According to AMS, the course will present the Voice of the Customer (VOC) market research. With this research, attendees will learn how to use the data to accelerate innovation in their markets.

The interactive format of the workshop has practice exercises for building skills through hands-on activities. The company says participants can expect to execute VOC within their organization after the workshop.

The event will take place on April 23-24, 2019 in downtown Boston.

Use discount code SMALLBIZ and you can get a $100 discount.

Register Now



Featured Events, Contests and Awards

Listening to the Voice of the Customer WorkshopListening to the Voice of the Customer Workshop
April 23, 2019, Boston, Mass.

Join Applied Marketing Science (AMS) for the next open-enrollment session of “Listening to the Voice of the Customer,” our acclaimed training workshop, on April 23-24, 2019 at the Sheraton Boston Hotel located in the heart of downtown Boston. Led by veteran product development and market research experts, Gerry Katz (AMS Vice Chairman), and John Burns (AMS Principal), this course will introduce Voice of the Customer market research and teach you to use it to accelerate innovation in business-to-business markets.
Discount Code
SMALLBIZ ($100 Discount)


Beachpreneurs Beach Camp 5Beachpreneurs Beach Camp 5
April 26, 2019, Daytona Beach, Fla.

For starters, we’re for Women Entrepreneurs only. During Beach Camp, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to learn, apply and mastermind with warm successful women.
You’ll also have time to sleep in and you’ll get long breaks to relax and walk the beach or go for a swim. We didn’t create a conference at the beach just to lock you away in a conference room from dawn til dusk. Beach Camp is a lifestyle focused event so you’ll be spending as much time enjoying your life as you will be focusing on your business. Join us today!


#SmallBusinessWeek Hackathon Event#SmallBusinessWeek Hackathon Event
May 03, 2019, Washington, DC

Visa and the U.S. Small Business Administration invite you to bring your ideas and your laptop to the Inclusive Innovation Incubator, 2301 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001 from May 3rd to May 5th, 2019. Spend a weekend creating solutions to help small businesses recover or prepare for sudden impacts of natural disasters.
Team up with entrepreneurs, designers, and developers to build apps and solutions that will help small businesses prepare and/or recover from major natural disasters such as hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, tornados, snowstorms or earthquakes.


National #SmallBusinessWeek Awards Ceremonies: Facebook Live EventNational #SmallBusinessWeek Awards Ceremonies: Facebook Live Event
May 05, 2019, Online

Watch live on SBA’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/SBAgov/) on May 5th at 6pm ET as the SBA announces the SBA Resource Partners awards. Join us!


National #SmallBusinessWeek Awards Ceremonies: Facebook Live EventNational #SmallBusinessWeek Awards Ceremonies: Facebook Live Event
May 06, 2019, Online

Watch live on SBA’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/SBAgov/) on May 6th at 12:45pm ET as the SBA announces the Exporter of the Year, Federal Procurement, Small Business Persons of the Year, and National Small Business Person of the Year awards. Join us!


National #SmallBusinessWeek Virtual Conference EventNational #SmallBusinessWeek Virtual Conference Event
May 07, 2019, Online

The U.S. Small Business Administration and SCORE will host a 2-Day Virtual Conference during National Small Business Week. The conference will take place Tuesday, May 7 – Wednesday, May 8 between 11:00 AM – 5:30 PM Eastern / 8:00 AM – 2:30 PM Pacific each day. Registration is FREE to the public. Learn new strategies, network, and chat with industry experts! This 2-day event will include webinars, business advice, giveaways, free resources, and networking chat rooms for business owners and entrepreneurs.


Listening to the Voice of the Customer Listening to the Voice of the Customer
October 16, 2019, Chicago, Ill.

Led by veteran product development and market research experts, this course will introduce Voice of the Customer (VOC) market research and teach you to use it to accelerate innovation in business-to-business markets. The workshop uses a lively, interactive format with numerous hands-on activities and practice exercises to build skills and will also expose you to the latest applications of these techniques in areas such as machine learning and journey mapping.
Discount Code
SMALLBIZ ($100 Off)


More Events

More Contests

This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends.

You can see a full list of events, contest and award listings or post your own events by visiting the Small Business Events Calendar.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, “Upcoming Training Workshop Teaches You to Better Listen to Your Customers” was first published on Small Business Trends

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10 Strategic Tips to Help You Earn More Income from Your Business Online

Saturday, April 20th, 2019

Today’s businesses have so many opportunities to earn an income online. Whether you use your website, social media or platforms like YouTube, it’s important to have a strategy to help you optimize your revenue. Here are some tips from members of the online small business community to help you do just that.

Increase Website Earnings through Ads

Some businesses see their website simply as a tool. But your site can actually be a major source of income for your business. Ezoic recently shared this video that includes insights from Small Business Trends publisher Anita Campbell about increasing website earnings.

Earn Money on YouTube

You probably know that YouTube has an advertising program that allows popular video creators to earn some revenue. However, earning an income from the platform can take a lot of work. In this post, Richard Franklin of The Money Guy goes over some of the details and other ways you can supplement your YouTube earnings.

Find the Right Number of Follow Up Emails

If you do any selling via email, following up is essential. But how many sales emails should you send to customers before giving up? Cody Slingerland offers some insights in this Nutshell post, along with tips from various industry experts.

Set Social Media Goals That Generate Leads

Your social media strategy should always revolve around finding actual customers for your business. To set goals that actually generate leads and help your business grow, read this Strella Social Media post by Rachel Strella. Then see what BizSugar members are saying about the post here.

Power Omnichannel Marketing Efforts with Content

To sell as much as possible online, you probably need to use more than one platform or channel. If you’re going to enact an omnichannel marketing strategy, you may want to consider what type of content will support your goals. Diana Adjadj elaborates in this Wigzo post.

Integrate Voice Search into Your Marketing Strategy

Potential customers often search for what they’re looking to buy online, which is why search marketing is so important for your bottom line. But today, voice search is really disrupting the landscape. If you want to continue selling to customers online, here are some tips from Nick Nelson of TopRank Marketing for baking voice search into your online marketing strategy.

Refine Your Amazon Advertising Strategy

Amazon has such a large built-in customer base that it makes sense for ecommerce businesses to at least consider using it to reach customers. It can also be a powerful place to advertise your products. Learn more about creating a successful strategy in this Marketing Land post by Himanshu Jain.

Follow These Affiliate Marketers Online

Affiliate marketing offers a simple way for online businesses to increase their earnings. In order to make the most of this strategy, you need to learn from the experts. This Search Engine Journal post by Julia McCoy includes some industry experts to follow.

Convert Social Media Followers into Customers

Some businesses spend a lot of time focusing on gaining social media followers. But those followers can only help your bottom line if you can turn them into customers. In this Social Media HQ post, Shariq Toor details how you can convert followers into paying customers for your business.

Try These Underrated Social Media Platforms

If you want to find really targeted leads on social media, it may help you to use some platforms that aren’t as prominent as Facebook and Twitter. Beatrice McGraw goes over some overlooked social media platforms you could try in this Pixel Productions post. And the BizSugar community offered thoughts on the post here.

If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to: sbtips@gmail.com.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, “10 Strategic Tips to Help You Earn More Income from Your Business Online” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Finding Targeted Training for Your Team Doesn’t Have to be Hard, Check Out These Resources

Saturday, April 20th, 2019

Easy Ways to Build Loyalty, Boost Competitiveness with Targeted Training

Two of today’s critical employment trends make offering ongoing training crucial for business success:

  1. The job market is tight and finding outside qualified candidates is difficult, and
  2. Professional training is among the most highly valued employment benefits for Millennials.

Before I detail some excellent sources for ongoing education and training, let me also say that you would be wise to invest in yourself. Don’t let the hurly burly of running your business prevent you from acquiring greater knowledge and abilities — you’ll need them to take your company to its next levels of success.

Targeted Training

And as a final word of management advice: Be sure your training aligns with your needs and also with the desires of your team members. Sometimes people take a job that isn’t an exact fit so they can get their foot in the door. They hope to be able to move to their preferred area one day soon.

This is where those “Where do you see yourself in five years?” conversations come in handy. For example, if you have someone in production who would eventually like to be in marketing, consider a training path in marketing rather than one in supervisorial skills.

Online Courses

There are many providers of online business courses today; so many, in fact that sorting them out can be overwhelming. That’s why I like Class Central.

Class Central is like an online clearing house for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). It lists and categorizes MOOCs from colleges and universities around the world. Any topic you would expect to find at a major university is available, including, of course, business and technology courses.

I like Class Central because it uses the power of social proof. For example, you can browse its frequently updated list of the 50 most highly rated courses, where you’ll find some great classes designed to boost technical skills and data analysis. You can also quickly drill down to business courses.

Another great place for practical business courses is the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Learning Center. The emphasis here is more basic and especially helpful for anyone who is new to business management or entrepreneurism.

Related to the SBA are the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC). There are offices all around the country; I’m sure you would find one within easy driving distance…and maybe just around the corner. They frequently offer on-site seminars, but also have a lot of “eLearning” courses. I checked out one area and found certifications in customer service, sales, marketing, and Quickbooks, among others.

Other sources for training include some of the major online businesses. Hubspot, for example, has a wide range of online training resources available in its Academy, and you don’t have to be a Hubspot customer to use them. Some of these lead to a certification, others simply deliver important information and help develop skills.

Grow with Google is the behemoth search engine’s effort to train us. Many, but not all, of the training tools offered here will help businesses. Knowing how to best leverage Google will help any business today and fortunately, Google provides a lot of great information.

More Formal Training Resources

Two-year and four-year colleges around the country offer business and technology classes all year long and often they include special courses for working professionals. Giving some of your motivated employees release time and reimbursing them for specific job-related classes can go a long way to boosting loyalty while at the same time raising the skill levels of your team.

Big companies will sometimes pay for employees to get their MBA degrees. It seems like a substantial investment, but might actually be a bargain when compared to hiring an MBA from outside. The locally-grown MBA will have inside knowledge of your business that it would take an outsider months or years to pick up on.

Of course, it’s not just local colleges and universities where you can find resources to benefit your business. Even prestigious overseas institutions put together programs that appeal to US business owners and entrepreneurs, like the Oxford Summer School. In addition to the educational experience, the networking opportunities at a program like this can be invaluable, especially with the growing importance of the export market.

A program like this would benefit yourself or your top management. And while I’m not a tax attorney, certain training and work-related educational costs are tax deductible. Check with your tax/financial advisor and see how you can best leverage these tax benefits.

Employee loyalty has received a lot of attention in recent years, and rightly so. A loyal, talented, and knowledgeable team gives your company its best chance at success. So as you consider the various ways to build loyalty, put training and continuing education near the top of your list.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, “Finding Targeted Training for Your Team Doesn’t Have to be Hard, Check Out These Resources” was first published on Small Business Trends

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In the News: Study Says Remote Workers Feel More Left Out Than They Would in the Office

Friday, April 19th, 2019

If you have virtual employees or even people who work remotely just some of the time, you’ll want to hear this.

A new survey of those people this week revealed many of them feel left out of the workplace.

The report comes from the company Igloo. It found 70% of remote workers feel left out from the traditional work setting.

You’re likely wanting to keep those employees or contractors where they are. Them being where they are probably saves you the money to afford their services.

But if they’re feeling left out, you need to work on their buy-in.

Check out more from this Igloo survey and what else remote workers are saying about your business.

And be sure to check out the rest of this week’s big headlines for small businesses in our news roundup below.

Employment

Study Shows How Apprehensive Younger Employees Are About Drug Screening

The drug laws across the country are currently in a fluid state as more communities relax the rules they have in place. For small businesses who want to carry out drug screening tests of their employees, these are challenging times. A new report from JDP analyzed how young workers are coping with the issue of drug screening in their workplace.

Green Business

Will a New Oregon Bill Prevent Small Restaurants from Handing Out Plastic Straws to Customers?

The Oregon Senate passed a bill Thursday that would ban restaurants from freely handing out plastic straws to customers. Oregon Plastic Straw Bill Customers dining inside must explicitly request a straw to get one. The rule does not apply to drive-through customers.

Retail Trends

5 Things Customers Want from Retail Stores and How You Can Deliver

The world of retail is changing — perhaps faster than at any time in history. How can a small retailer keep up with what customers want? One way is by keeping up with the latest retail insights from retail consulting firm BRP. The company does a wealth of consumer surveys to find out what today’s shoppers want from retailers.

Small Business Loans

How to Make Your Business Credit Score Amazing – From an Expert

Most small business owners don’t realize. But their personal and business credit scores affect their company. And credit has become a 100-year-old business filled with all the mystery of a cold case. Business credit scores remain separate from your personal score. But three large credit bureaus manage all personal credit. They include Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

Small Business Operations

Fascinating Small Business Security Tactics that Can Help Your Business Grow

Managing your business is an undertaking that requires you to pay attention to many different factors, and it’s not always easy to keep up with them. One of the areas that are critical to the survival of your company is security. Unfortunately, many small business owners are not aware of the many different threats that could impact their companies.

Startup

Top 10 Reasons to Get an All-in-One System to Operate Your Business

Do you have the software blues?  That’s when you are trying to leverage technology to operate your business — but finding that software isn’t helping meet your goals.  In fact, technology gets in the way. You’re looking for efficiency, speed and money savings.  What you get instead is more complexity.

Sick  and Tired of the Things that have Traditionally Held Women Entrepreneurs Back? Read This

Traditionally, women seem less likely to own businesses than men. Commitments at home prevented this in the past. And more modern hurdles include lack of access to funding, mentors and training. But women today have become slightly more likely to start businesses than men. And technology has provided some of  these opportunities.

Technology Trends

The Hidden Mystery Behind Using AI to Create Awesome Customer Experience

Artificial intelligence (AI) changes the way we go about our everyday lives. Consider Apple’s line of mobile devices with Siri. And think about Amazon’s smart home products featuring Alexa. They make us comfortable interacting with a virtual assistant. These forms of AI make our lives easier and help us perform hands-free tasks.

This article, “In the News: Study Says Remote Workers Feel More Left Out Than They Would in the Office” was first published on Small Business Trends

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