This article is a guest post provided by a third party, its content was added to Digital Ethos to help provide additional information for our readers and followers. While the Guest Blogger posts do not undergo the same scrutiny as Authors and lack sources, the content was reviewed and approved as valuable to our mission.

More Uses for Social Media in Business

http://blogs.technet.com/b/smallbusiness/archive/2012/10/24/top-ten-tips-how-to-use-social-media-to-win-new-business.aspx

http://blogs.technet.com/b/smallbusiness/archive/2012/10/24/top-ten-tips-how-to-use-social-media-to-win-new-business.aspx

When businesses look at the potential applications of social media they will often rub their hands together with glee as they realise all the marketing opportunities before them. There are countless ways you can use social media to network with potential customer and clients, and the interconnected nature of such sites and powerful infrastructure mean they’re perfectly designed for helping an idea to go global. Then of course there’s all the information that people who use these networks upload about themselves which makes these sites ideal for connecting with targeted audience. In short it’s really quite useful.

But there are other uses of social media too, and if your company is looking at social networking only in terms of marketing then you are missing a big trick. Here are some of the other applications of social media that are just as powerful but that can help other aspects of your business.

Communication

Social media is a fantastically powerful communications tool that has a lot of advantages over more traditional forms of communication such as post and e-mail. This includes B2B communication, B2C communication and also internal communication between your colleagues. If you need to give your entire team up-to-date information then why send out hundreds of e-mails when you could just create a group or page that everyone can access? While the cloud has become a source for storing information, social media is still a great delivery tool that brings content to people. While you can store files in could database, using groups puts that information with regularity into peoples hands and allows them to comment and even build a database of responses and inquires.

Collaboration

Social media can also be highly useful for collaboration, and there are a number of ways you can use social networks to get multiple people to work on the same project or to coordinate organization elements. Think about cross collaboration for creativity and generating new ideas, think about the benefits of things like Twitter Chats.

Feedback and Crowdsourcing

Using social media you have a connection with the very members of the general public you hope to become your customers. At the same time though it’s important to remember that this bridge is two way meaning you can also use it to get information from them that can help you to provide a better business model or come up with new ideas. Ask the people you are creating for what they want and you can’t really go wrong. And recently there has been a potentially even more useful form of social network too – crowdfunding sites that enable you to get funding from the very customers you’re designing your products for.

Networking

It’s not just the general public that you can connect with using social media, it’s also other businesses which can potentially benefit you in a large number of different ways. Using social media you can find potential business partners to help you with a range of aspects of your business. Sites like LinkedIn take great advantage of this fact and it’s a great way to advance your business. Think of LinkedIn connections as a reason to introduce yourself and tell people what you do, the product or service you offer and how you fulfill needs and wants.

Business Models

Finally it’s also possible to go one step further and to integrate social media into your very business model, or come up with an entirely new business model based on the capabilities of social media. This could mean you just launch your own social network, or it could mean that you create a business based around a social element in the vein of Groupon. Great businesses that find huge success often do so by taking advantage of technological developments in smart ways, so think about how you could build a business model or improve your current system by integrating web 2.0.

Ben Austin is an internet marketing expert and has been writing articles advising webmasters about how to optimize their sites. He is of the opinion that approaching a trustworthy link building agency is very important if one wants a good Page Rank for one’s site.

About Guest Blogger

This article is a guest post provided by a third party, its content was added to Digital Ethos to help provide additional information for our readers and followers. While the Guest Blogger posts do not undergo the same scrutiny as Authors and lack sources, the content was reviewed and approved as valuable to our mission.

How to Become a Better Graphic Designer

Drafting table with graphic design tools

Drafting table with graphic design tools used pre-computer design. © Alison Gilbert

Graphic design is a huge part of working on the web, and if you want to push your business further then being able to make crisp and professional looking digital images is an incredible edge to have. Many people will choose which products they buy and which websites they spend time on almost entirely by the way they look, and if your imagery is low definition and poorly designed then you’ll damage your reputation and make yourself appear amateurish.

It’s a great skill to have then, but not one that everyone is naturally gifted with. So if you need to improve your graphic design abilities, here’s how you can get better:

Get the Right Software

adobe master suite cs6 graphic designWhen I was younger I used to play the piano, and when my Mum got me my first Yamaha keyboard I remember suddenly feeling like Rick Wakeman (if that went over your head then look up Yes on Spotify…). The point is that with the right sound effects and beats anyone could sound amazing and Adobe has a suite of software that can help you do this. PhotoShop is kind of the same thing – adjust the colours, use a couple of filters, and even the ugliest picture will end up looking passable. Spend a little more time with it and you be able to crop, shadow and enhance just about everything you touch.

Learn the Features

Of course to really make the most of this though you’ll also need to know how to use the filters and the colour adjustment tools – and to do that you’ll need to spend some time watching tutorials online or getting a friend to show you. YouTube has a wealth of FREE knowledge on how to do just about anything and if you have a dual screen setup you find it goes even faster as you can work as the video progresses. A lot of it is just tinkering and messing around, so set aside some time to just experiment and see where it takes you.

Take Your Time

One thing you cannot be when you do graphic design is impatient. If you find yourself ever saying ‘that will do’ then your site or logo isn’t going to look great. You really need to spend your time if you want to end up with something that looks professional (you think Microsoft ever say ‘that will do’ when they design Windows icons?). As a best practice consider graphic projects like wine, sometimes you need to open them up let them airout before you can enjoy them. Try to at least put a few days between creating and the final design, it’s ev en better if you can work on something else in between.

Use Other Elements

If you simply don’t have time to make your image as intricate and smooth as you’d like it to, then one solution is to use another image as a resource. For instance a great way to make an abstract design is to take a photo out of a moving car and then enhance the colours/warp the image. Alternatively you can use a stock logo that’s in the public domain and then edit it to make it unique. It’s kinda like cheating, but it works. Stock images are a great sorce for jump starting creativity or bringing an idea to completiion.

Pay Attention to Details

It’s very important if you want your site to look its best that you pay attention to the minor details which means for instance things like the font. Often when someone designs an image they will forget that they’re using the default font and this can make an otherwise good-looking image appear very lazy. Create a check list and make sure you’ve done everything you can to make your images their best.

Outsource

Design still looking like a child drew it? Then it’s time to outsource your images and design and get it done by professionals. It might be a bit more money and a bit more time, but ultimately it’s one of the most important investments you can make for your business. Once you decide to go outside just be prepared to get what you pay for, riverr has lots of logo offers for $5 but don;t be surprised if they too look cheap or if you see them pop up on other sites looking sinmalr to your design.

James Sax is a technology lover and an avid blogger who is currently working as SEO manager for Link Wheel SEO You can follow him on Twitter to read his insightful tweets.

About Guest Blogger

This article is a guest post provided by a third party, its content was added to Digital Ethos to help provide additional information for our readers and followers. While the Guest Blogger posts do not undergo the same scrutiny as Authors and lack sources, the content was reviewed and approved as valuable to our mission.

Relational Database Design: A Best Practices Primer

database-design-development

http://www.riceconsultingllc.com/2012/database-building.php

Relational databases are the dynamic compartments of fundamental web and enterprise cloud applications. Relational databases normalize, sort and link data using tables and queries. The design is open to the interpretation of the database designer, but a poor database design can be disastrous for any business.

A poor design can slow performance, inhibit scalability and create bugs in an enterprise application. To avoid the pitfalls of poor design, a good design plan is critical.

Primary and Foreign Table Keys

Primary and foreign keys link tables together, so developers can query multiple tables in one Structured Query Language (SQL) statement. All tables require a primary key, and any tables that reference another table requires a foreign key to that primary key. For instance, if a database consists of customer information and the related customer orders, a primary key named “CustomerId” can be created in the “Customers” table and a foreign key named “CustomerId” is created in the “Orders” table. The customer ID field is always unique, so each customer is uniquely queried with its linked order. The result is that a programmer can query and display a customer with the customer orders.

Table Indexes

Essentially, the primary and foreign table keys create an index for the tables, but secondary indexes can also be created. Typically, indexes are created on fields that are used in the SQL “join” statements or columns where the programmer queries based on these column values. Indexes sort values for faster lookups and queries. Indexes can mean the different between a query that takes 10 minutes to run and 5 seconds to run.

Types of Table Relationships

Relational databases have two fundamental relationships: one-to-one and one-to-many. There is also the many-to-many relationship, but this type of relationship is not a normalized standard. Many-to-many relationships should be broken down to a one-to-one or one-to-many relationship.

A one-to-one relationship means one record in a primary table links to only one record in a secondary table. For instance, a customer can only have one login identity. The table design can include a main “Customer” table with the customer’s information, and then a “Login” table contains the customer’s login identity and password.

A one-to-many relationship means one record in the primary table links to several records in the secondary table. An example is the customer and orders relationship. A customer has one account, but a customer can have one or many orders. Linking the customer and orders table will result in several records dependent on the number of orders processed by the customer.

Table Normalization

Table normalization is standard in the industry, but each programmer and database designer has his own idea of proper normalization. Normalization is the process of reducing data duplication, increasing data stability and facilitating streamlined updates and deletions of data.

For instance, a new database designer might put “option 1” and “option 2” as database columns for a customer order. However, what happens if the customer has a third option or the business wants to expand to allow for a third option? This table design does not facilitate scalability for customer options. Using this example, the right way to normalize the database is to create an “Options” table and use primary and foreign keys to link the order and option tables. The “Options” table has a foreign key that contains the order number, and the SQL can link to an unlimited amount of options for the customer order.

After the basic database design is set up, there might be some tweaks and changes made to the layout after deployment. This is common with new database layouts, but these fundamentals will help the database admin fall into common configuration pitfalls that impede business growth based on the technology.

Jennifer Marsh is a software developer, programmer and technology writer and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting.

About Guest Blogger

This article is a guest post provided by a third party, its content was added to Digital Ethos to help provide additional information for our readers and followers. While the Guest Blogger posts do not undergo the same scrutiny as Authors and lack sources, the content was reviewed and approved as valuable to our mission.

Mobile Data Research Opportunities Grow

Gone are the days when all you could do on your phone was make calls and send texts, and you had to lug around a handset the size of a small brick. Now increasing numbers of us are using smartphones on which people can surf the internet, take photos and use apps as well as making calls and sending texts. Many marketers are seeing this growing smartphone use as a huge opportunity for market research and are approaching the concept in innovative ways.

Market Size

The market for smartphones is huge, and growing steadily. It is estimated that there are 6 billion smartphones being used around the world, and more than half of us in the UK have and use a smartphone. As handsets come down in price and contracts end, it’s fair to say that this number will rise even higher. The apps market has grown from almost zero in little over 5 years, and all major companies are looking at ways to interact with their customer base by using mobile apps and technology.

Research

Most companies are actively exploring the possibilities offered by mobile phone research as a new method of being able to interact with their customers. One of the major benefits is the speed of the information being relayed after purchase. Imagine you have a customer who has downloaded your research app into their phone, and by using GPS you know they have just gone into a major supermarket. They can then be immediately targeted with surveys relevant to what they are buying and why, and data can be more accurate when the purchase or decision is fresh in the memory. As well as the basic questionnaire, the smartphone also gives the market researcher the opportunity to ask participants to scan bar codes of the products they are buying or have rejected, take pictures of items or displays in the store or labelling on products. Some of the research doesn’t even have to involve answering questions. Apps can track where people go using GPS, track how long they spend in each store, and gather data about other issues such as how they manage their music collection, how long they spend taking photographs or how often they download new music or apps to use on their phone.

Getting People Involved

This all sounds great, but it does of course hinge on getting enough people involved and downloading the apps to be able to take the surveys. Perhaps surprisingly, over 80% of people surveyed in recent research said that they would be prepared to download the research app onto their smartphone and be targeted with surveys as they go about their everyday business. One of the main drawbacks of traditional or internet based research is that it can be skewed in favour of certain demographic groups and it can be difficult to get a representative sample. Young men, for example, are often reluctant to participate in traditional surveys but seem happy to complete surveys on their phone.

Creative Commons image source

This was an article by Kieran Graham of Mobile Enterprise Solutions. MESL specialise in Mobile Data Systems for delivery companies and supply chains. Follow Mobile Enterprise Systems on Twitter to keep up to date.

About Guest Blogger

This article is a guest post provided by a third party, its content was added to Digital Ethos to help provide additional information for our readers and followers. While the Guest Blogger posts do not undergo the same scrutiny as Authors and lack sources, the content was reviewed and approved as valuable to our mission.

How to Use Your WordPress Website in Mobile Marketing

wordpress-mobile-themesIt seems like everyone has some kind of mobile device these days. They’re so distracting that places like hospitals and restaurants are banning people from using them while inside those buildings.

Certain areas of the United States are passing laws that prohibit people from using them while driving. But all the people using these devices have one clear benefit, and that’s in mobile marketing for your small business.

If your small business website isn’t compatible with mobile devices, then you’re giving up the opportunity to reach millions of mobile internet users, some of who rarely if ever use an actual computer. Depending on the type of device they use, how your website appears to them could look very different compared to what you see on your computer screen.

Creating a Mobile-Friendly Small Business Website

WordPress is a great platform for small business websites. It’s a great place to start because it’s easy to update. Google likes WordPress. WordPress is updated frequently and there are a lot of features called plugins that you can just turn on. There’s even one to make your website more mobile-friendly by doing things like making your blog posts more readable.

A lot of the newer plugins have something called responsive web design. Those will actually reformat themselves based on the size of the screen viewing them. WordPress offers a lot of great solutions and if you already use the content management system, it’s going to be easier to give visitors to your site a nice viewing experience.

Designating an Employee to Update the Website

A lot of business owners are so busy, but they also have staff that can learn how to mobile-enable the company website. If this sounds like your situation and you aren’t technically inclined, consider signing up an employee for a class like Mobile Marketing for Non-Techies through

www.theschoolofinternetmarketing.com,  where people can learn to use WordPress to build their own site in a single weekend.

The benefit of signing up an employee for a course like this is that they’re probably younger. They are probably more internet-friendly. And best of all, they probably have a mobile device – or maybe even a plethora of mobile devices that they can use to see how your company website appears via those different methods.

WordPress is the Cost-Efficient Choice

The next thing to consider is, how practical is this? It’s not uncommon to run across someone who has spent thousands of dollars in an attempt to build a website that they don’t know anything about – including whether or not it’s mobile-enabled, or how to update it with that fresh content that Google loves. In that sense, WordPress is the obvious choice.

WordPress has all the functionality of software that would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars little more than a decade ago. Most of the plugins you need are free, or you might decide to invest a few dollars on a specialty theme or to learn how to get started. For a small business, WordPress is very cost effective.

Mobile Marketing Plugins for WordPress

Plugins are similar to an iPhone or Android app, where you download it and it extends the functionality of your smartphone, tablet, or other internet-ready device. A plugin is the same idea. It adds more functionality to your website, and most of the apps are free. Here are some plugins that help make your WordPress site more mobile-friendly.

  • DeviceAtlas – This little plugin packs quite a punch. It determines what type of device your visitor is using and then directs them to the mobile version of your site that is compatible with their device operating system.
  • WordPress Mobile Adapter – In just a few clicks, make your WordPress site readily able to support more than 5,000 we-enabled devices.
  • WordPress Mobile Pack – This plugin gives a lot of control. However, it has so many options that it can seem overwhelming at first.

When people are searching for you on your phone from Google or some other way, they’re going to wind up at your website first. So you want your website to look right without requiring them to download an app first. It’s inconvenient, and many will just move on to another site instead of going through the hassle of downloading an app.

One of the misconceptions people have is mobile apps versus mobile-enabled websites. People are used to downloading app, and apps are great. Everyone with a smartphone has used apps whether it’s to play Angry Birds or Draw Something, or just to use Yelp or Foursquare to find a restaurant. As a small business owner, you can do both but the starting point is to get your website mobile-enabled. From there, the possibilities are endless.

James Martell is an Internet pioneer who discovered the lucrative world of the Internet in 1999. He is a leading expert in affiliate marketing, SEO & outsourcing. He lives in White Rock BC, a suburb of Vancouver, with his wife Arlene. Follow him on Twitter @JamesDMartell

About Guest Blogger

This article is a guest post provided by a third party, its content was added to Digital Ethos to help provide additional information for our readers and followers. While the Guest Blogger posts do not undergo the same scrutiny as Authors and lack sources, the content was reviewed and approved as valuable to our mission.

SEO and Social Guide for Travel Niche

The travel niche is a fast-growing one where the web is concerned, presenting a slew of opportunities to talented writers given the wide range of people interested in learning more about the places they plan to visit.

Like any unique niche, being a travel blogger requires that you stay up on the latest in SEO, social media and other marketing tactics, helping you to rank among the best of your peers when it comes to attention from both search engines and potential subscribers.

Take your travel blogging game to the next level with this SEO and social guide for the travel niche:

The Devil is in the Details

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Before you can get down to the business of writing compelling, engaging content on the world’s wonders, you’ll need to set yourself up with the best platform to support your words. This will include focusing on a few key points:

  • Choosing a domain name. Any travel blogger worth their salt should register a top-level domain name for their website, giving it an air of professionalism along with a memorable address to get visitors to their home on the web. Try to find a good compromise between a name that clearly lets potential visitors know that travel is what you’re about, and a name that is catchy enough to find its way into their memory banks.
  • Choosing a host. Trusting your publishing efforts to someone else is as big a deal as it sounds, and this means that you should choose a host that you have reason to trust and depend on. Luckily, this trail has been blazed by millions of bloggers before you, so the web is rife with reviews on every hosting service imaginable, corporate giants and small-scale businesses alike. Take the time also to identify and cover your needs, ensuring that your host is offering the features that you require at a palatable price.
  • Choosing a publishing platform. Truth be told, this section can more or less be summed up with a recommendation of WordPress, the world’s favorite publishing platform. It’s free, trusted by hundreds of millions of people and offers every feature imaginable that a blogger could require, offset by millions of plugins that allow for even more functionality.

Determine Your Keyword Focus

Given the stiff competition that you’re up against in such a busy niche, you’ll need to pick and choose the keywords that you want to target very carefully, helping you to land the visitors best suited to the content that you’re offering. This doesn’t require scientific precision, but you will need to take the time to identify keywords and terms that people are actively looking for, using that knowledge to tailor your content to serve those needs.

The simplest way to do this is by using Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool, a handy search function for webmasters to narrow down the most popular terms being searched for among the more than three billion that take place on Google each month. This will allow you to identify some of the more narrow travel niches that are underserved, helping you to focus your content on the minute, but ever-so-important aspects of travel blogging that your readers will thank – and reward – you for.

The second aspect to keyword research is staying on top of things. While Europe may have been all the rage in 2012, it could be that current events sway the average traveler to interest in visiting Asia in 2013; when your visitor’s needs change, so should your content creation endeavors. In order to make sure that your travel focus is always cutting edge, set a weekly schedule of taking 30 minutes to use the AdWords Keyword Tool so that you can keep up with the changing tastes and areas of interest of your readers.

Great Content = Great SEO

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Even while you’re investigating and implementing the many particulars involved in properly optimizing your website for Google and friends, it is important to keep in mind that the most important aspect of SEO is good, quality content. This will encourage readers to share your content via social media, talk about it in online discussion forums and link back to it from their own websites, all crucial aspects of getting search engines to notice and reward your efforts.

Use the keywords you found by using the tips above to choose your focus and, for the sake of helping Google and friends to properly rank your blog, include those keywords in your content, but never lose sight of the fact that enjoyable, engaging and fun-to-read content is the best SEO of all.

Be the Epitome of Linkbait

One of the keys to good ranking and visibility on the web is backlinks – that is, obtaining a link to your website from another location on the internet. While there are a myriad of ways of obtaining backlinks, the best way is to encourage others to do the work for you.

“Linkbait” is often used as a negative term to refer to deliberately misleading article titles, but it also describes the ability of a writer to entice readers to get excited about their content by publishing words that generate passion. As a travel blogger, you can achieve this by provoking commentary with in-depth locale reviews, recommending destinations that are typically off of the charts of most travelers, or focusing articles on specific, exciting aspects of a given potential holiday; the possibilities are endless.

Let’s Get Social

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Once you’ve got a site structure in place that houses a good amount of quality content, it’s time for you to get the word out about who you are and what you have to offer, and social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and others offer you a fast, free and user-friendly way to do this. The ever-evolving social landscape will keep you on your toes with the new opportunities it presents over time, but here are a few key ways to take advantage of social media:

1. Gather Your Readers on Facebook

With more than one billion users, Facebook is the world’s biggest meeting place, virtual or otherwise. This means that almost all of your readers are probably already active there, making it a simple thing for you to encourage them to talk about your travel blog’s content in a natural, viral way.

The easiest way to achieve this is with a Facebook fan page, providing a platform-within-a-platform for people to seek out your content and share it with friends; given the general popularity that the travel niche enjoys, you’re certain to find new potential subscribers every single time someone publicly “likes” your links on Facebook.

Be sure to be personally active on your page, engaging readers and initiating conversation and debate that will help to draw attention to what you have to say!

2. Be a Travel Tweeter

Twitter has emerged as a strong number two to Facebook, providing you with a unique way to alert interested readers about your new posts. While you’re unlikely to find yourself in deep debate about a visitor’s favorite holiday destination here, the mere volume of Twitter’s user base will help you to get noticed, quickly and easily.

3. Pinterest for Travel Beauty

A relative newcomer to the social media world, Pinterest has quickly become one of the most talked about platforms on the web. With its unique focus on the sharing of photographs, it’s a particularly useful place for travel bloggers, allowing you to link your written content with the sheer beauty of the world’s endless list of travel destinations, making it much easier to entice visitors to your Pinterest board to continue on to your blog in order to learn more about what they’ve seen.

Conclusion

Everyone loves to travel, whether in reality or only in their mind’s eye, giving you a great head-start before you’ve even come out of the blogging gate! With an eye for detail, a solid plan for success and a good effort to produce enjoyable, reader-worthy content, you’ll find your blog a trusted source for travel news and opinions before you know it!

Jessy Troy is the social media consultant and enthusiast who love the freedom of working while traveling. Her favorite destination is Paris.

Image Credits: 1, 2, 3.

About Guest Blogger

This article is a guest post provided by a third party, its content was added to Digital Ethos to help provide additional information for our readers and followers. While the Guest Blogger posts do not undergo the same scrutiny as Authors and lack sources, the content was reviewed and approved as valuable to our mission.

3 Things You Can Do To Avoid Having Your Online Marketing Emails Marked As Spam

email_marketingWhen you decide to go into online marketing, you will find that there are many ways of going about it. One of the most effective of these is through the use of email marketing. This is a form of marketing that has been around for quite some time, so most people do not think of it as particularly innovative. However, if used properly, it can become an effective and yet cheap method of getting your products known by other people and increasing your sales.

But for it to work for you, you would need to ensure that you go about such a campaign by understanding how to avoid pitfalls. This is because it is very easy for most people to misconstrue your marketing as spam, which means that you may end up having your domain blacklisted as a spam site. To avoid this, you would need to consider the following:

Be careful about how you generate your mailing list

How you come up with addresses for your mailing list is one of the most difficult parts of doing online marketing through email. The reason for this is that getting prime emails is something that needs people to willingly submit their addresses to your organization, something that most of them may not be willing to do.

That said, however, you should make sure that how you get such addresses is as transparent as possible. For instance, when you are using a signup form to do this, you need to give the users an option to decline having emails sent to their addresses, so that they are not forced to accept them.

Make it easy for your users to opt out

Another way to avoid having your email marketing process to be marked as spam is by making sure that you give your users an easy way to opt out of the mailing list. For instance, you can add a link at the bottom of each email to make it much easier for them to simply click it to avoid receiving any more promotional emails. If you do not provide such a link or make the process of opting out to be overly complicated, they are simply going to mark your domain as spam, since this is much easier to do.

Be careful about the wording of your emails

When you are doing online marketing through email, you also need to pay attention to how your emails are worded. These days, most email programs can read the content of such emails, and then try to figure out the probability of them being spam. If you use words or phrases that are associated with spam, they are going to automatically be marked as such, which means that your readers may not get to read them in the first place. Some of the mistakes that you may make include the use of too many exclamation marks or frequent use of words such as “free”, “amazing” and “offer”, most of which are considered to be the hallmarks of spam.

Holly Sanders is an internet savvy person. She owns a blog where she gives useful and effective online marketing tips. She is one of the leading experts on internet marketing in Nashville.

About Guest Blogger

This article is a guest post provided by a third party, its content was added to Digital Ethos to help provide additional information for our readers and followers. While the Guest Blogger posts do not undergo the same scrutiny as Authors and lack sources, the content was reviewed and approved as valuable to our mission.

The Benefits Of Using Linkedin To Promote Small Business

linkedinLinkedin is a social network designed specifically for professional connections. lf you are a small business contemplating going online, you should add a social network like Linkedin into your marketing mix. Linkedin allows you to connect with other business leaders and professionals in your industry so that you can engage in conversation, make partnerships, enjoy mergers and strike other profitable deals.
Like any marketing avenue, Linkedin offers a unique platform that helps you promote your business and get in touch with people who can influence others and recommend your business.

1. Be smart .. Start as you intend to finish
This means once you join Linkedin, please set up your profile to be as complete as possible. including references, a professional headshot, your company details, links to your company websites and any other vital information in portraying the professionalism you want people to see. Remember, unlike Twitter & Facebook, a lot of the posts you see and discussions are by professionals in your industry. Your ability to join in with those discussions will determine the level of success you can reach.

2. Decide what kinds of people you wish to meet
lt is also important to develop a list of people and companies you want to connect to. Target these people or companies and add them to your connections. Remember for each connection you add, your network will grow and you will have the ability of adding more connections through each original connection you added. Your network and influence can grow into thousands.

3. Get the people you already know onto your Linkedin profile
A great start to networking on Linkedin is to add people who are already your customers. Simply ask your present and past customers to join you and if they liked your services to recommend you. You can gain a lot of positive reviews through campaigning with previous clients.

4. Consider your brand power
By utilizing Linkedin you have a network that you can leverage your branding. lf you have a brand, and you want to showcase it, then simply do this with your connections and groups.

5. Join Groups
The easiest way to start conversations with professionals in your industry is by joining some well respected groups. You can easily add your own voice to the discussions at hand and develop leading connections with people who are in your line of business. You can showcase your knowledge and ask leading questions which can turn into discussions. You can then add the people who reply to your connections.

6. Don’t spam
The easiest thing in the world to do is to deliver emails with sales pitches on Linkedin. This is frowned upon and rarely works. lf you want to touch base with someone,just leave them a welcoming personal note. Don’t attempt to sell your services. Instead build your relationships.

7. Add your other social accounts
You are able to add your Twitter account. Also add your other websites and blogs. This will ensure people can see a snapshot of your profile on various platforms all on one single page.
Once you have completed a company profile and added a few connections, you will begin to grow your network. Don’t be afraid to reach out and show off your credentials.

This is a guest post of Ludwing Hernandez, Young full time web entreprenuer. He like write about business promoting techniques. Follow Ludwing at Zinzz.com.

About Guest Blogger

This article is a guest post provided by a third party, its content was added to Digital Ethos to help provide additional information for our readers and followers. While the Guest Blogger posts do not undergo the same scrutiny as Authors and lack sources, the content was reviewed and approved as valuable to our mission.

How to Become a Better Graphic Designer

Graphic design is a huge part of working on the web, and if you want to push your business further then being able to make crisp and professional looking digital images is an incredible edge to have. Many people will choose which products they buy and which websites they spend time on almost entirely by the way they look, and if your imagery is low definition and poorly designed then you’ll damage your reputation and make yourself appear amateurish.

It’s a great skill to have then, but not one that everyone is naturally gifted with. So if you need to improve your graphic design abilities, here’s how you can get better:

Get the Right Software

When I was younger I used to play the piano, and when my Mum got me my first Yamaha keyboard I remember suddenly feeling like Rick Wakeman (if that went over your head then look up Yes on Spotify…). The point is that with the right sound effects and beats anyone could sound amazing and PhotoShop is kind of the same thing – adjust the colours, use a couple of filters, and even the ugliest picture will end up looking passable.

Learn the Features

Of course to really make the most of this though you’ll also need to know how to use the filters and the colour adjustment tools – and to do that you’ll need to spend some time watching tutorials online or getting a friend to show you. A lot of it is just tinkering and messing around, so set aside some time to just experiment and see where it takes you.

Take Your Time

One thing you cannot be when you do graphic design is impatient. If you find yourself ever saying ‘that will do’ then your site or logo isn’t going to look great. You really need to spend your time if you want to end up with something that looks professional (you think Microsoft ever say ‘that will do’ when they design Windows icons?).

Use Other Elements

If you simply don’t have time to make your image as intricate and smooth as you’d like it to, then one solution is to use another image as a resource. For instance a great way to make an abstract design is to take a photo out of a moving car and then enhance the colours/warp the image. Alternatively you can use a stock logo that’s in the public domain and then edit it to make it unique. It’s cheating, but it works.

Pay Attention to Details

It’s very important if you want your site to look its best that you pay attention to the minor details which means for instance things like the font. Often when someone designs an image they will forget that they’re using the default font and this can make an otherwise good-looking image appear very lazy. Create a check list and make sure you’ve done everything you can to make your images their best.

Outsource

Design still looking like a child drew it? Then it’s time to outsource your images and design and get it done by professionals. It might be a bit more money and a bit more time, but ultimately it’s one of the most important investments you can make for your business.

James Sax is a technology lover and an avid blogger who is currently working as SEO manager for Link Wheel SEO You can follow him on Twitter to read his insightful tweets.

About Guest Blogger

This article is a guest post provided by a third party, its content was added to Digital Ethos to help provide additional information for our readers and followers. While the Guest Blogger posts do not undergo the same scrutiny as Authors and lack sources, the content was reviewed and approved as valuable to our mission.

3 Design Mistakes That Kill Your Business Blog

Many businesses are turning to blogs as an extension of their marketing collateral. Blogs are a great way to provide insight to your audience, give them an easy way to get to know you and allow them to build a relationship with you so that you can achieve brand loyalty.

Some companies have very successful blogs. They produce the content their audience wants and they have an aesthetically pleasing design that makes their site easy to navigate.

On the other hand, there are some businesses that cannot find success with their blog. Most businesses assume that the content is to blame, but oftentimes, the problem lies in the design. The following are three common design mistakes that could end up killing your blog.

1. It’s too busy.

Though you may not think that it’s fun, a busy background and busy font can make people turn away the minute they land on your blog. Bright backgrounds with bright fonts can be hard for your audience to look at. Plus, if your background is too busy, they may not be able to focus on the content, which is the most important part of your blog.

Crazy fonts can also be hard for your audience to read. If you use something other than a simple font, your audience may have a hard time figuring out the words on your blog. And along with the font, you also want to make sure that the size of your font is not too small or too big.

2. The navigation is confusing.

You don’t want your readers to simply land on a blog post, read it and leave. You want them to land on a blog post, read it, and stick around for a while perusing past blog posts and possibly even getting back to your website. This is where simple navigation is essential. If your navigation is hard to find or hard to read, your audience is not going to stick around. Don’t be cute with titles for your navigation. If the navigation is leading to a page about your company, use “About Us” as a title. If your audience doesn’t understand where a link will take them, they’ll be hesitant to click on it.

You also want to make sure that your navigation is easy to find, such as along the top or along the left-hand side. This is how most websites are set up, and this is how most Internet users expect to see a site. While placing your navigation somewhere different shows that you’re unique, it can also frustrate your audience trying to find it.

3. Your audience can’t share your posts.

The more your blog content is shared, the more traffic you’ll receive. Thanks to social networks, sharing your blog content is easy, but if you don’t have share features on your blog, you’ll never see the virality that some blogs do. When a reader lands on a blog that interests them, they may be inclined to share it with their fans, friends and followers through social media. If you don’t have a share button, they’re not going to take the time to copy and paste the URL. Instead, they simply won’t share the info, which means that your blog posts aren’t reaching as wide of an audience as you possibly can.

Jacob Smith is a business owner and avid blogger.  He created his own business blog and used the wordpress themes business layouts.

About Guest Blogger

This article is a guest post provided by a third party, its content was added to Digital Ethos to help provide additional information for our readers and followers. While the Guest Blogger posts do not undergo the same scrutiny as Authors and lack sources, the content was reviewed and approved as valuable to our mission.

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