4 Simple Word-of-Mouth Marketing Tips to Boost Business

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Consumers are always interested in hearing about new and interesting products. Before making a purchase, consumers pay attention to what people are saying about it. Here are four must-have tips for word-of-mouth marketing.

1. Encourage User-Generated Content

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User-generated content is content created and shared by consumers about brands or products. It's honest, builds trust, and gives marketers extra collateral to work with.

How can you get users to generate content?

  • Have a unique hashtag to identify content created by customers

  • Incentivize creating and sharing pictures, videos, and GIFs on social media. Offer a free gift, discount, or feature

2. Share Customer Testimonials

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Customer testimonials and reviews can help reassure the performance, quality, and/or value of your service and product and can make consumers feel more comfortable doing business with you. Testimonials can be hosted on your website or pulled from review sites like Yelp & Angie’s list.

3. Offer an Incentive

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Giving your customers a reason to share with others can increase your word-of-mouth marketing as well. Big or small, people are always willing and likely to do something if they receive some sort of value in return. Consider giving your consumers a discount or a free gift in exchange for referrals.

4. Connect With Industry Influencers

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Influencers are exactly what their name suggests: individuals with a strong following and power to influence the behavior of fans and consumers. Because of their already established reputation, word-of-mouth marketing from an influencer is extremely valuable. According to Social Media Today, 40% of people say they've purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, or Youtube.

20 Amazing Marketing Tools to Help You Grow Your Business

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Are you looking for new tools to add to your arsenal? Whether you need them for account management, automation, analytics, or to just enhance your social media presence and investment, it's never a bad idea to learn about the tools available.

Stay ahead of the curve and check out this list of amazing tools to help you grow your business.

Schedule Posts

1. Sprout Social - Schedule social media posts and analyze performance

2. Later - Plan and schedule Instagram posts

3. Tweet Deck - Manage multiple Twitter accounts

Organize Your Work

4. Trello - Set and organize tasks

5. Station - All your web applications in one

6. UberConference - For conference calls and meetings

Find Keywords

7. Display Purposes - Hashtags for your posts

8. BuzzStream - URL meta tag extractors returns title tag, keywords, description

9. SpyFu - Competitors’ most profitable keywords

Manage Your Social Media

10. EmbedSocial - Embed social media feeds on your website

11. Tweriod - Learn when your Twitter followers are online

Get Publications

12. Expertise Finder - Find journalists interested in a comment

13. Smedian - Find platforms to publish your articles

Write Better Copy

14. Grammarly - Check your text for mistakes and readability

Manage SEO

15. Serprobot - Check your search engine ranking position

16. Screaming Frog - Audit your website from SEO perspective

Send Better Emails

17. SendGrid - Send emails, notifications, and password resets

18. HubSpot Email - Professional signature for multiple email services

Use Design Tools and Editors

19. Crello - Static and animated templates for social media posts, web, ads

20. TinyPNG - Compress images

3 Reasons Why You Should Create a Social Media Calendar

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It is no surprise that social media will drive you ROI if done correctly. According to Quick Sprout, 74% of marketers saw an increase in traffic after spending just 6 hours per week on social media and 78% of Americans say social media impacts their purchasing decisions.

A social media content calendar should:

  • Help develop your editorial strategy

  • Cut extra time out of your content marketing strategy and help you allocate your resources wisely

  • Help you consistently publish high-quality, performing content pieces

  • Organize the way you curate and create content

Why your business needs a social media content calendar

  1. It helps you keep track of what's performing, so you can upkeep your content quality and consistency.

    Strategy:

    • Perform routine checks on what kind of content your audience is interested in

    • Make regular adjustments based on these insights

    • Schedule specific times throughout the month to reevaluate your content and how it performs

    • Use this info to adjust your publishing schedule and social media content

  2. It keeps your channels from poorly timed posts and missing posting dates.

    Strategy:

    • Populate your content calendar with all the dates important to your business

    • Schedule out content for these important dates in advanced

    • Schedule content to go out on holidays that may affect your business

  3. Prevents you from posting poorly researched and written posts

    Fast Company surveyed 330 people on the most annoying thing on social media. 32.4% said "poorly written posts" are the most annoying thing.

    Strategy:

    • Schedule your publish date for your content and assign tasks to your content creator in advance, this allows for sufficient time to do proper research

    • Add protocol for proofreading for quality control

4 Apps to Help you Stay Organized

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With a jam-packed schedule each day it’s often times hard to stay organized, so it helps to have apps to simplify our tasks. Whether it’s reminding you to pick up a gift for an employee or pay your monthly power bill, these apps are extremely helpful in keeping you organized.

1. Evernote

Evernote is the ultimate note-taking app. The app acts as a virtual file storage system with multiple notebooks comprised of even more notes. By using the app, you have quick and easy access to share notes or notebooks with your team for feedback and collaboration.  A fun feature of Evernote is the camera function that allows you to scan, digitize, and organize your paper documents, business cards, handwritten notes, and drawings. The app also has a search feature to look up information that would otherwise take a long time to find in a paper notebook. Evernote is a great option to replace note-taking with paper notebooks and also store any important data or information. 

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2. LastPass 

LastPass is the best app for keeping up with all the passwords that you can never remember. All your account passwords are stored within the app and you can also audit your passwords to see which is stronger and create a more secure password. All you’ll need to remember is the master password and the app will autofill your passwords in your web browser and app logins.

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3. Wunderlist

Wunderlist allows you to be productive from anywhere. The app is available for your phone, smartwatch, tablet, and computer. Create, assign, and share your to-dos with the Today widget. With the Wunderlist app, you can also save web pages and articles for later with the Add to Wunderlist sharing extension. The app sets due dates and reminders to ensure you never forget important deadlines (or birthday gifts) again.

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4. Mint

Mint is the perfect app to stay on top of all your finances. Connect your different accounts from your phone bill, car insurance, rent, and other bills to see what you’re spending, where you can save money, and pay bills on time. The app will also set up your monthly budgets and will make you aware when you have exceeded them. Bonus! Mint will also provide you with a free Credit Score once a month, no credit card required.

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3 Tools to Research Your Social Media Competitors

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Spying on your competitors is now easier and cheaper than ever before. Nowadays, it is a company’s ability to track, monitor, and engage on various social media platforms which will help determine success. Below, you'll discover three free tools for researching your competition on popular social media platforms.

1. Klear

Klear is a powerful research tool that can help with your social media strategy. 

After your register for Klear, Simply search enter the competitor's name in the search box and use the autocomplete feature to select the competitor you're researching. It's a great way to get inspired by what they're doing.

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With the free version, you'll receive an Overview of the brand's social profiles, including influence level, engagement levels, actual reach of posts, influential topics, and data about their audience distribution.

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Klear also gives you the ability to view a profile's top posts to see where those posts appeared, how the brand engages on each post, and when the content was posted. 

2. Google Alerts

How do you keep up-to-date with all the mentions of you and your brand or competitors?

Google Alerts is a free tool provided by Google that will send you emails in real time, daily, or weekly when content is indexed that contains the keyword(s) that you have specified. It's a great way to keep tabs on your competition and gain an edge over their efforts. 

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Setting up Google Alerts is simple. You’ll need to be logged into your Google account, so if you have a Gmail address you have a Google account. Once you're there you can type in your search terms and further refine your results from there.

3. Likealyzer

LikeAlyzer is a free online service that helps companies measure and analyze the potential and success rate of a Facebook Page. It allows people to explore the possibilities of their Facebook presence by evaluating activity and dialogue to ensure success.

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Likealyzer is free, users don't have to register and there is no need for application authorization, they simply enter the URL of their Facebook page in the search box and press enter. Not only that, Likealyzer also has this great feature, where you can receive daily updated facebook statistics along with your competitor’s statistics.

How is your business following your competition's moves? Let us know the comments below!

4 Benefits of Using Dropbox Business

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From scrolling through cluttered email threads to opening your laptop on an airplane, only to discover that your files can’t be accessed offline, Dropbox understands and feels your pain. Find out how to overcome key productivity challenges you face in your day-to-day work below!

Conquer Big Files

Do you share mega-sized files with your co-workers or clients? As you’ve probably discovered, trying to send big attachments through email is generally a no-go. It’s easy to share even the biggest of files with Dropbox. Just create a shared link to your file or folder, then copy the link into an email, chat, or text message. Your recipient can then access, preview, or download the file, even if they don’t have a Dropbox account.

Work without Wi-fi

No signal on the plane or in the coffee shop? With Dropbox, access your files anytime and anywhere you need them—no Wi-fi connection required. Just mark the files or folders you want to access offline and they’ll sync automatically behind the scenes. You can even mark files for offline access on your mobile devices.

Preview hundreds of file types

Dropbox previews lets you or your file recipients view hundreds of types of files— including Photoshop, Excel, and Sketch files—without specialized software. With Dropbox Business, you can even preview MXF videos, EPUB, CAD, and ZIP files without having to open them.

Eliminate unnecessary emails

Dropbox helps ensure your team is always in sync with:

  • Commenting - With Dropbox, comment anywhere on an image or file— including Excel, Photoshop, and Sketch files—without special software. Send out notifications to collaborators automatically, eliminating the need for messy email threads.

  • Auto-sync for file changes - Get instant notifications when someone views, edits, moves, or deletes files and folders. This way, you’re always in the loop if something changes.

With DropBox Business, you and your team don’t have spend hours or days mastering the art of file sharing and folder organization.

How to Follow Hashtags on Instagram

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Instagram gives users the ability to follow hashtags the same way they follow accounts. When you follow a hashtag, related content will begin appearing in your feed and Stories bar. Find out how to follow a hashtag, either by tapping the hashtag on another user's post or by searching for the hashtag manually below.

How Do You Follow a Hashtag?

When you find the specific hashtag you want to follow, simply click the hashtag to navigate the dedicated page for it. You can also type in a hashtag you'd like to follow in the search tab, then select "Tags" underneath it. 

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Once you're in the hashtag's gallery page, tap the "Follow" button underneath its name to begin following that hashtag. You'll now see content in your Instagram feed and Stories (if any).


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Instagram will then curate your feed with the incoming content depending on how you interact with them and by what Instagram thinks you're interested in (that algorithm!). One downside of this feature is that hashtags can have multiple meanings. This means that you may see posts that you don't want to see. Fortunately, you can easily tap the ellipsis (3 dots next to the post) and choose the "Don't Show for This Hashtag" option or simply unfollow the hashtag.

Why Should Your Business Follow Instagram Hashtags?

The ability to follow hashtags gives marketers another way to reach new audiences, expand your brand messaging, and keep a close eye on competitors in your industry.

1. Follow competitors - If your competitor tends to use a certain hashtag, or even better, has created their own personal hashtag for their business, you can follow their hashtag without them receiving a notification that you’re following.

2. Keep up with trends and industry topics - In addition to following industry-specific blogs, thought leaders, and news magazines, you can now follow what’s hot in your industry by following various industry hashtags. A few popular ones are #digitalmarketing, #webdesign, #emailmarketing, and #SEO.

3. Follow the events - Attending a tradeshow, conference or event and want to keep up with what’s happening? Follow the event hashtag!

While advertising won’t be connected to the hashtags you follow, marketers will undoubtedly want to target consumers based on the interests they are passionate enough to bring into their main feed.

How to Find Facebook Groups With the Discover Tool

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With more than a billion Facebook users actively engaged in groups, there's no doubt that joining a group can help you connect and engage with like-minded people, and even score you, future customers. 

Facebook Groups are the most popular feature on Facebook other than the news feed. Groups encourage genuine discussion among members about their interests and share valuable insights on relevant topics. 

Here's how to easily search Facebook groups that strike your or your business' interests.

How to find and join relevant Facebook groups

Discover, within the Groups tab, will let you browse public and closed Facebook Groups by category, including Groups your friends are in and local Groups. You can see what's gaining traction in your circle, and in your city.

The Discover tab offers 25 different categories such as sports, food, parenting, photography, animals & pets, professional networking, outdoor activities, and much more. Facebook allows you to join up to 6,000 groups, which is obviously overwhelming and almost impossible to keep up with, but nonetheless, you have plenty of options to be a part of.

To use the Discover tab:

  1. Log into your personal Facebook profile

  2. In the left column, click on Groups. If you're already a member of different groups, you'll see a list here

  3. Click on the Discover tab at the top of the page. Facebook will bring up recommended groups based on Pages you've liked, your location, groups your friends belong to, and other clues from your activities on Facebook. You can scroll through various topics to find relevant groups for each subject

  4. Once you find a group that looks interesting, click on the name of the group to view the publicly available information, or click Join to become a member of the group. Depending on the privacy settings, you may become a group member automatically, or you may have to wait for your membership request to be approved.

Voila! Now, it's your turn to break the ice and introduce yourself to your new friends.

The 5 Best Websites to Make Your Own Infographics

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Studies show that we are much more likely to remember information when it is presented in a visually-appealing and organized way, but sometimes that presents a challenge. They also show that we remember 55% more of information when it is paired with a picture. It also makes content more shareable on social media. So how do you pull this off? With infographics of course!

Infographics are a great resource for marketing. While you can pay someone to make them for you, there are also many resources online that are very affordable or even free, that can be used to make stunning graphics. Here’s some websites that can help you take your visual marketing to the next level.

1. Canva

Cost: Free, with an upgrade available for $12.95/month or $119.40/year

Canva is incredibly easy to use and produces beautiful work. Canva can be used to make many other types of graphics as well as edit images. To create an infographic, just choose a template, then drag and drop in your own photos and add in text. Canva has approximately 1,000,000 images to choose from, in addition to uploading your own so the options of creating great content are endless.

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2. Venngage

Cost: Free, with paid packages available starting at $19/month

Venngage has some really great features aside from infographics, such as social media templates that allow users to create specific Instagram posts, blog headers and more, very similar to Canva. They have a solid number of infographic templates, organized by types, including timeline and statistical.  Like many of the others sites, they have templates that are only available to premium members, and in order to download most, you'll have to upgrade. There are also four tiers of pricing: free, premium, education and non-profit, which allows you to access specific features depending on your purpose and price range.

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 3. Easel.ly

Cost: Free, or Pro for $4/month

Easel.ly has a plethora of options to create infographics, but unlike the aforementioned sites, the only type of content you can create using this service is an infographic. Easel.ly is not quite as organized as the other websites, but still most templates are free and very easy to edit.

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4. Zanifesto

Cost: Free, with paid packages available starting at $14/month

Upon first entering, Zanifesto’s site is visually appealing and clean. In order to upload your own graphics (like a logo), you need more than just the free membership option, which makes Zanifesto a little more limited. Once you purchase a membership, there are a decent selection of graphics to choose from. 

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5. Piktochart

Cost: Free, with paid packages available starting at $12.50/month

Piktochart can also be used to make more that just infographics. The templates that they offer to make infographics are simple, yet elegant, and if you choose to upgrade to a “Pro Membership” then there are even more templates available. This also gives you access to higher resolution downloads and removed watermarks from images. Just like Canva, a user can download their own images to make things even more personal. You are also able to change text, colors, background and more to make a stunning infographic.

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5 Essential Tips for the Mobile Worker

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Working on the go is becoming the norm. Whether you're working on a plane, in a coffee shop, or at a coworking space, use these tips to make sure you're prepared.

While mobility used to apply mostly to business trips, many companies offer employees more flexibility to work wherever is best for them. That may be at home, a coffee shop, or a coworking space.

Pack list for an efficient mobile workspace

While every worker and mobile workspace differ, this list is a good starting place when you pack up to work on the go.

  • Laptop
  • Protective laptop bag with storage
  • Laptop charger
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Wireless mouse
  • External storage device (USB)
  • Headphones (so you can't be bothered!)

Mobile working tips, hacks, and tools

Put your headphones on -- Most people take this as the universal sign that you're busy and don't want to be bothered.

If you have to make a call, do it somewhere else -- Whether you're in a coworking space or a coffee shop, the people around you likely don't want to hear your call. Take the call outside or in a private space if possible.

Mask unwanted noise with myNoise -- myNoise is an app that allows users to create a customized noise machine to mask unwanted noise. This is especially helpful if you don't have noise-canceling headphones.

Block internet distractions -- Block mail servers, social media platforms, and other distracting websites for a specific time period with apps and extensions such as SelfControl, Focus, and StayFocused.

Protect your data -- Turn your sharing settings off, enable your firewall and only use WiFi when you need it. You may want to switch to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) while you work in less secure places.