12 Essential Tips To Get Social Media Traction

Whether your company sells cookies, widgets, or consulting sessions, social media can be a force–and it’s not as hard as you think.

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I am still amazed at the number of companies that use social media badly (or ignore it altogether).  The rules of social media are simple, and if you ignore it you the risk the fate that befell those who ignored the telephone in the late 19th century and the Internet at the end of the 20th.

If you’re just getting started, you’re late–but you can still catch up. And I’m not just talking about trendy, consumer-facing companies. A study published in February by the CEB’s Marketing Leadership Council reported that 57 percent of B-to-B buyers research your company on their own online before they pick up the phone or email you for a sales pitch or more information. This stark reality makes it more important that you embrace social media–now.

Here are some simple tips I have learned as I have worked to master social media for my different enterprises:

1. Start

This is huge. Don’t be afraid: jump in. Yes, your first posts will be awkward, but you have to start somewhere.

2. It Takes Time

Many business owners I meet who are new to social media get frustrated with it too quickly. Building an authentic and engaged audience takes time. Don’t allow yourself to get snowed under by frustration–think of it as you would building any part of your business. Being patient is important to the success of this effort.

3. Don’t Try to Do Everything

Find the channel that feels the most natural and focus on it. I love Twitter and use it all the time. The short bursts and speed of information fit my style. I am a casual visitor to other social media channels and will often share what I learn in those avenues back to my first love, Twitter.

4. Be Helpful

Share content or information that you find helpful. If you are reading an article on a site or attending a conference and you find a piece of content compelling, others will too.

5. Don’t Focus on Feedback

Don’t be worried about getting responses. I am always amazed when I run into people who regularly read my updates and find them useful, but never respond to me.

6. Share Something Personal

Especially if you are tweeting from your own account. I often tweet about the funny things my daughter says and does–she’s affectionately known as “Teen” to my followers. These updates let others know that there is a person behind my account.

7. Avoid Social Media Blindness

As a business owner, only tweet things you have read. Resist the temptation to set up a feed that tweets everything related to a topic or an interest. Not only can this be very annoying to your followers, it lessens your credibility. It’s embarrassing when someone asks you about your opinion on something you shared and you have no idea what they’re talking about.

8. Ask for Advice

A secret tip that has worked for me is both asking for advice from others and intentionally looking to answer questions posed across social media. This is a great way to learn about a topic and start a dialogue with someone new.

9. Say Thank You

It’s true in life and it’s true on Twitter: If someone takes the time to retweet something you post–certainly if they take the time to make a specific comment–a simple thank you back goes a long way.

10. Pay Attention

It’s about lasting connections: If someone you follow posts something that interests you or moves you, be sure to reach out.

11. Encourage Sharing

Especially when you use Twitter, leave room for other people’s comments. You think 120 characters is tough? Well, the ideal tweet is 120 character or fewer.  Simply using the words “share this” have proven to be a strong call to action.

12. It’s About All of You

Nobody likes spam. When users decide whether to follow you, most evaluate the totality of your social media account. They will look at your last page or so of updates. They want to see that you are interesting, engaged, and that what you share is useful.

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15 Top Decorating Myths Debunked!

myths styles 15 Top Decorating Myths Debunked!Share on FacebookTweetComment

Over the years there were certain rules of thumb that one thought one had to abide by in terms of creating one’s perfect home. But fashion and decor, like the times, too must change to stay current. In many cases what’s old is most definitely new again, unless you’re talking about the rules of decorating. There are two trains of thought here – rules are meant to be broken, or there really are no rules when it comes to decorating anymore…

small rooms dark 15 Top Decorating Myths Debunked!

1. Small rooms must be white, or a pale neutral color

It was once thought that white or pale spaces would brighten up and make a small room seem larger than it is. And while this is in part true, the size and scale of a room have less to do with wall color and more to do with furniture scale and placement. And sometimes one wants to keep a small room feeling small, creating a space that feels warm, inviting, cozy and intimate. There is nothing wrong with a small room that is welcoming and comfortable. The addition of color to walls, in bedding, or in accessories will greatly warm up your small space.

myths small rooms large furniture 15 Top Decorating Myths Debunked!

2. Small rooms must have “small” furniture

This is perhaps the silliest of all the myths. Small furniture in your small space will make your home feel more like a dollhouse than a home. A small bedroom may not necessarily have the space for a king-sized bed, but if you can place a queen sized bed in it, do so. Instead of filling the room with several pieces of small furniture, one or two larger pieces will make the room appear bigger. Where space is limited think in terms of style and function. An armoire will make a statement and will serve as better storage than a dresser. An old steam trunk at the foot of a bed adds both storage and an elegant, classic look.

myths follow the rules 15 Top Decorating Myths Debunked!

3. You must follow all the “rules”

And we say that rules are meant to be broken! When decorating your home, you need to best represent your personal taste and style – That really should be the number one rule! What is it that you like? What are your favorite colors? Styles? Hobbies? What is your favorite type of artwork? Are you a modern gal or do you prefer the classics? Are you inspired by Asian influences? Are you a DIYer? Your home should be a reflection of your own tastes and passions, not those of someone else!

myths small rooms dark paint 15 Top Decorating Myths Debunked!

4. Dark rooms have a tendency to make your space look smaller

Dark rooms can add warmth, texture and dimension to your room. They can add a sense of sophistication, glamour and drama. Dark walls can be a wonderful canvas to work with. A piece of art, when hung on a dark wall, can make a much more powerful statement. It’s less the color of your walls that make your space seem smaller, than the placement and scale of the furniture within the dark walls. Keep furniture proportional to the room – if incorporating larger scaled furniture, use fewer pieces. Keep the room open to create and keep a perpetual flow. Rooms tend to seem smaller when they are cramped and crowded.

myths dark ceiling 15 Top Decorating Myths Debunked!

5. Dark ceilings have a tendency to make your room look shorter/smaller

As with the above statement, this is not accurate. Colorful ceilings add texture, dimension and drama. They can add a sense of sophistication or whimsy. In a smaller space you may want your walls or furniture in lighter shades than your ceiling, if you opt for a dark shade. But otherwise a painted ceiling should not make your room feel smaller. If you are worried about your space feeling small or not bright enough, you can always add decorative mirrors to reflect and create additional sources of light.

myth mixing colors and patterns 15 Top Decorating Myths Debunked!

6. Don’t mix patterns and prints!

And we say, why not? There’s no better way to add color, texture and to infuse your own personality than by adding various patterns together. Yes, stripes, checks, florals, plaids can all live together harmoniously! In order to do this successfully, however, you will need to stick to your chosen color pallet. Whether you’re working with blues and greys, pinks and greens or black and white, you absolutely can mix fabrics and patterns.

myth creating several focal points 15 Top Decorating Myths Debunked!

7. Stick to one focal point

Why? We are not one dimensional and neither are the rooms in which we live. Each living space has four walls, why must only one wall be your focal point? Is your bay window any more or less important than your fireplace? What about your great grandmother’s Picasso that you’ve just inherited? The windows, the fireplace and the grand work of art are all worthy of their own attention. By giving each wall a focal point you’re not only adding texture, and dimension to your room, you’re infusing your own sense of style and personality.

myths sticking to one decorating style 15 Top Decorating Myths Debunked!

8. Stick to one style

This is like telling someone to stick to one sport or one hobby… or one passion. We are multifaceted and therefore why shouldn’t our homes be the same. What if you’re a world traveler? What if you’ve collected artifacts from Greece, China, Japan and France? To say to you to stick to one style would be to tell you to choose your favorite collected piece, which you may very well have, but there’s no reason that your Japanese sculpture cannot co-exist beautifully next to your antique, classical French table. Or perhaps one lives in a modern style home yet has an extensive antiques collection. Blending, merging or infusing various styles gives your home a layered feel and is perhaps the best way to incorporate your sense of style and self.

myth focal point must be couch 15 Top Decorating Myths Debunked!

9. The most important piece of furniture is your couch

Unless it’s not! Maybe the most important piece of furniture in your home is your dining room table, a bookshelf, an old curio… or maybe it is your couch. But really this depends on your home and your lifestyle. A home boasting a young and highly active family will pay less attention to a couch than it might another piece of furniture. In this case, the couch might be more for function than fashion. The most important piece of furniture is the one you designate as being such. Some may argue and say that the dining room table or the bed is the most important piece of furniture. Now, because the couch is usually a focal point in your room, you will want to get something that is esthetically pleasing, but if it’s going to be in a room often utilized by young children, you won’t want this to be your big purchase. Save it for when the children have grown!

myths painting vintage furniture 15 Top Decorating Myths Debunked!

10. Don’t paint vintage furniture?

Why not? Recycling, or upcycling is becoming more and more popular. It’s environmentally friendly and what better way to breathe new life into something old.  Repainting vintage furniture is the perfect way to add a modern touch to a piece of yesterday.

myth matching table and chairs 15 Top Decorating Myths Debunked!

11. Dining room tables and chairs must match

In so much that fabrics and furniture must match… nonsense! You can absolutely incorporate different styles and textures to your dining room chairs. Do, however, stick to a common color – keep woods light or dark. Or if you do blend the two, and have blended styles consider adding seat cushions that are a unified color or fabric. The goal is to create texture without causing dizziness! By that same token, there’s nothing wrong with using different, coordinating fabrics on the cushions of matching chairs.

myths childrens art framed 15 Top Decorating Myths Debunked!

12. Children’s art belongs on the fridge!

If you have children in your home I say bring out their art work. Create a studio or gallery wall showcasing your petite artiste! There’s no better way to add color, wonder and whimsy to your walls then with a framed piece of art by your child or children. Sometimes the most simple of paintings can add so much to your room.

myth white furniture 15 Top Decorating Myths Debunked!

13. White spaces are uninviting

White space is what you make of it. White spaces can seem drab, empty and devoid of personality, yet they can be wonderfully tranquil. As we’ve noted above, texture and personality are key to creating a lush space. There are many shades of white, so when opting for a white room be sure to use several shades to add depth and warmth to your space. Ivory colored walls, linen couches topped with off white throws and pillows can evoke a sense of calm and tranquility. White doesn’t have to feel sterile and cold.

myths area rugs 15 Top Decorating Myths Debunked!

14. Limit your use of area rugs

Don’t! Area rugs are a wonderful means of adding color and texture to your floors. Layering them can add a sense of warmth to your room. They can soften hardwood floors and add depth and texture to wall to wall carpeting. Area rugs can tie pieces of furniture and living areas together wonderfully. As with any other fabric, as long as you stay within your color theme, you can layer patterns and textures to form a unified and cohesive, yet complex look.

myth rooms need a splash of color 15 Top Decorating Myths Debunked!

15. Every room needs a pop of color

You may want to add some color to every room, but it certainly doesn’t mean that this must be done. By using one color in varying shades and tones, take grey for example, enough variety, texture and contrast is creating so that the need to add color is no longer. If you were to stick with just one tone, then you would be best adding some color to create a sense of depth and texture otherwise your space could feel too flat and one dimensional.

Go ahead, break the rules -we defy you to!

Too many passwords to remember?

In today’s mobile world, we have access to numerous platforms, apps and even email accounts. This access demands creating multiple user names and with secure passwords. To add to the problem, reports of online identity theft and password hacking are on the rise, making secure access over the internet extremely critical. However, most of us either choose to keep the same password for all accounts or simple ones that are easy to remember, and just as easy to hack. So what is the solution?

The answer to the problem lies in Single Sign-On (SSO) solutions.

SmartSignin, a Toronto based company, provides one such cloud based SSO, Identity & Access Management solution with two-factor authentication. The service, launched in January, can perform one-click logins to all your websites and applications from a single secure portal. The company has its development center in New Delhi and a R&D wing at Ganita Labs, University of Toronto.

The SmartSignin Smart-Key (patent pending) algorithm will provide you with strong security by making sure that no one other than you can access your key. As the encryption and decryption is performed on your device, your usernames and passwords are not stored anywhere, wherein they can be stolen. The service also ensures that there is no single point-of-failure in the application.

An easy to use dashboard gives access to unlimited web-apps, with no collaboration required for third party and implementation is quick. The IAM (Identity and Access Management) Suite also offers customers a one-time SMS password, knowledge-based authentication (KBA, verification of previously submitted user information), along with the company’s Smart-Key authentication method making the 2 step authentication process extremely secure. The service can communicate with popular applications across the web-space like Google Apps, SalesForce, and others.

With company’s increasingly adopting the ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) policy, employees are choosing to bring their personal devices to work. In such cases the platform also acts as a secure portal for mobile access from these devices. If an employee wants to access company resources from any device, they must authenticate through SmartSignin. Once connected, your company’s policies can dictate how things go from there.

Organizations with multiple departments need to provide different levels of access to their employees. In such situation, SmartSignin allows you to sync users and map their permissions across many popular applications. Simply create a user and assign the user to a group. He or she can then access the required applications by simply clicking on an icon on the desktop.

SmartSignin currently has over 7000 professional users, more than 16 small and medium businesses and 7 enterprise customers registered.

The company insists they are far more secure than their competitors who use server side encryption and store all client data to enable their technology to work. SmartSignin meanwhile, does not store anything that is not encrypted. The encryption they perform happens on the user side and the keys never leave the user’s device.

SmartSignin also uses a cookie-less and token-less architecture in order to maintain complete privacy.

Content Courtesy: nextbigwhat.com

Stop Making These Silly Blogging Mistakes!

A lot of new (and even experienced) bloggers make silly blogging mistakes that could ruin their chances of becoming successful in their blogging endeavors. It is always important to learn all the silly blogging mistakes to avoid in order to making sure that you generate quality blog posts…all the time.

Blogging is indeed a fantastic way to build a reputation in your chosen field, as well as connect with new readers, and keep the old readers coming back for more. A lot of people have actually used blogging in order to grow their business.

silly mistakes in blogging

There are so many silly blogging mistakes to avoid, but I will just stick to highlight 5 blogging mistakes that every blogger should never make.

1.     Posting Blog Content that Are Downright Boring!

You need to make your blog content very interesting to read, nothing scares off new readers more than wasting their time reading a boring blog post. The content you generate for your blog should be engaging. Reading a very interesting blog post will make readers want to leave comments on your blog. Having a sense of humor goes a long way to helping you get new readers, and win the loyalty of old readers.

Whenever I write, I always want to show my personality and let readers know that I am real and they can count on me to help them learn a thing or two. One of the goals that you should have at the back of your mind when you are generating content for your blog is to make sure that the content you post is interesting to read. No one wants to spend their time reading a boring piece of article.

It is important to know what is considered to be funny as opposed to what many consider to be racist or religious jokes made in poor taste. I have been in front of people who have actually thought there were telling a funny joke, but all the while they were being very rude. There are so many ways you can make your blog post interesting without retorting to so-called funny jokes that would upset a lot of readers.

This is the part where some people would want to ask: “I write about business, so how can I make my blog posts more interesting?”  When it comes to writing interesting topics about business, I have found that what keep people glued to business posts is topics that address issues in business and how to solve them. People also want to read about how a fellow entrepreneur turned a teeny-tiny business into an empire.

If you are not connecting well with your readers, things could backfire. This brings me to the next point.

2.       Being Clueless about Who Your Target Audiences Are

You should know your target audience! Of course, no one is saying that you should know the names and addresses of your readers. But you should know the type of audiences that you wish to reach out to. In my case my target audiences are: online entrepreneurs, small business people, people who are interested in learning new things and people you are interested in personal development.  When you write for a specific group of people in mind, it would help you connect with them much more easily.

3.       Making Spelling and Grammar Errors – Yikes!

In one of my blog posts titled: Ultimate Guide to Blogging I pointed out how a lot of writers makegrammar errors. Okay let’s face it, there are times when we write in a hurry and a few typos slip through the cracks, but when your readers keep seeing badly spelt words, typos and poor syntax, then you can count on losing your readership base. I am a Nigerian, and English is not my native language; but back home in Nigeria, English is the lingua franca. Any Nigerian who attended primary school up to the university/polytechnic level would definitely be able to write and express themselves in decent English.

I started using American spelling when I began blogging, because I noticed that it was the norm. Instead of writing honour (which I learned in school), I simply spelt it the American way; which is spelt “honor”. But if you are not too confident when it comes to writing error-free English, you can pay someone to proofread the content prior to posting the write –up on your website.

According to the research I made some time ago, Matt Cutts from Google revealed that websites/blogs with better grammar and spelling rank higher in Google search results.

Read this very carefully, because I am only going to write it once: Poor spelling and poor grammar will leave a bad impression on your readers. Think about it, why on God’s earth should someone trust you when you cannot even spell the name of your company right, or when you are guilty of writing sentences packed with grammar errors and misspellings?! 

4.       Not Using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Techniques

Do not forget about search engine optimization when you blog. I do not mean that you should just stuff your webpage with keywords and keyword phrases! You need to write for readers and not just for search engines and learn the art of balancing quality writing with search engine  optimization – hey, do not worry, the process is pretty easy.

There are certain types of keywords that would not sound natural; so you should not worry if you cannot “squeeze” it into your blog post more than once. Learning how to tactfully add unnatural-sounding keywords into an article is a skill that can be acquired easily, especially when you are a naturally gifted writer. Google is getting better by the minute at being able to fish out spammy web pages.

5.       Not Promoting your Blog Content

Writing thought provoking and super interesting blogs is just not enough, you will also need to make sure that you promote your blog on social media websites such as facebook and Twitter.  If you do not have a facebook or twitter account, the best time to sign-up for one is NOW! If you already have different social media accounts, then you have absolutely no reason not to start promoting your website or blog!

These are just 5 of many silly mistakes, which happens unknowingly. If you are a newbie blogger or one of those blogger who are taking the leap of faith to become a successful blogger, you need to work hard on mistakes which you are making on daily basis. A good strategy is to learn from other people mistakes, and quickly jump ahead. Here I’m suggesting some of the articles from ShoutMeLoud archive, which will help you learn more about common mistakes which every blogger makes in his initial days of blogging:

I’m sure you will learn many new things today, which will change the way you blog. If you like to share some of your stories about mistakes that you used to make, feel free to add few via comments. Don’t forget to share this article with your blogger friends on Facebook and Google plus. I wish you success in your blogging endeavors :-)

Source: ShoutMeloud