Is Instagram losing its value among non-business users?

Instagram may well be on the way to losing its value and credibility as companies (namely new businesses) have been using it to force promotion directly to the common users who use Instagram strictly for personal purposes. This is seen as a form of invasive marketing as they are using what could be regarded as interruption marketing. Users are usually looking for authentic followers and likes. Having a follower that stays with you throughout your Instagram journey because they like the content you share is much more valuable than getting a follow from a company that will unfollow you as soon as they realize that you show no interest in them or, worse, after you have followed them. While it is recommended that you interact with prospects who may be interested in your products or services, liking, commenting, or following a person with no interest whatsoever in what you offer is useless. What’s worse than these? Private messages. Instagram is not the place for cold calling. Nobody wants to talk to a questionable account that allegedly belongs to a company. In reality, unless you provide the needed credentials, the average user will find it difficult, if not impossible, to tell whether your business is real or not. If you are a small restaurant from New York and you start liking ten photos from a French user’s Instagram feed, don’t expect him/her to show up the next day anywhere near your area. The same goes to shady clothing shops that don’t provide a link to their website. You can’t go around liking hundreds of pictures hoping to get more followers, likes, comments, and thus free promotion. You will get the followers you wanted, but the rise of your exposure to the general public can’t guarantee your conversions. Truth is that paid media/marketing are gaining momentum and it has become almost impossible for you as a business that uses solely free promotional methods to compete with the PPC attempts of others. A reputable company will use Instagram’s paid advertising service.

 

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Sponsored post example

 

In this way, your posts gain exposure to a number of users who will decide whether they are interested or not in what you sell. By following you, users agree to give you the permission to keep marketing to them because they truly like what you sell, they want your posts in their feed, and most importantly, they aren’t pressured to do any of this because you have persistently interacted with them before. As a result, you gain trust, leads, and even possible brand evangelists that are willing to promote your brand without you asking for this. Keep your likes for lead nurturing. Use inbound marketing techniques or PPC for lead generation and then delight your leads with the good old fashioned likes, follows, and appreciation comments.

Instagram power accounts

An Instagram business account should promote useful and quality products, ethical company values, and authentic feelings in a way that will make anyone who comes across your profile to start to following you without any representative of your company having to beg for this. Having brand evangelists is a different thing. These people promote your products and services because they were satisfied by what you had offered them and they share the same principles as your company. Valuable content, natural fan engagement, periodical updates, and great customer service are all ways of gaining publicity and recognition without having to spam users’ feeds. Keep in mind that your goal should always be earned media as a result of ethical advertising methods.

Combating spam

If you are an active Instagram user that posts regularly, you have definitely dealt with suspicious follows, bulk likes, and unwanted messages, such as “Want more likes?” or “Follow me to gain more followers.” Spammy interaction with users is not only dishonorable, but also unprofessional. Instagram remains one of the best ways for businesses to get access to free push notifications. If a user has the Instagram notifications turned on, whatever you like, comment on, or follow will show on their phone first. This is a sly way of getting your brand to the first page of where people go daily: their phone. Like any other trustworthy online service, Instagram provides an easy-to-use anti-spam option.

Fake Instagram accounts are a particularly great issue here as this is a photo-sharing community. Violent, offensive, or indecent photography can easily make its way to any feed and stay there until somebody reports it. In this case, you can help report an account for being inappropriate. This means the posts are not spam, but they do break the established rules of this social network:

Instagram spam

For more, refer to Instagram’s community guidelines.

As one of the leading social networks, Instagram is mainly used by individual users, and not by companies. This is why the app’s primary purpose will always be a personal one. Like in Facebook’s case, people go to Instagram whenever they want to unwind and this why they don’t want to see promotional posts anywhere unless they too can be disguised as useful and enjoyable content. As spam will not stop anytime soon, perhaps we should all take advantage of still being able to report spam and fight against the rising trend of spammy Instagram behavior. Take this opportunity to share your own thoughts on Instagram spam, tips on improving the users’experience on photo-sharing social networks, and/or alternatives to this type of unwanted marketing.

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30 Things You Can Learn From Seth Godin’s “Small Is the New Big” Book [Marketing Book Review]

Why small companies? Because that is where the employees are the ones who make the decisions. Compared to Seth Godin’s book “Permission Marketing”, “Small Is the New Big” gives more insights into the author’s own business experience than digital marketing advice. Seth proves himself to be very daring in choosing certain companies as examples to criticize for their poor marketing attempts. As Seth himself warns, do not read the entire book at once. It’s full of information, and you need to find relevant examples of what Seth shares in your own experience with marketing as you’re reading the book. Here are 30 useful things you may want to remember after reading “Small Is the New Big”:

1.  Implement change when nothing else works and to refresh your marketing approach. The people you work with and your clients might find it difficult to accept change or to adapt to it. However, you can choose to target the segment that actually wants to change something.
2. Asking for a name instead of a username reduces your chances of getting users and leads to reveal anything else about themselves. Anonymity creates more discussions and buzz. This is not always good. Online auctions are fraudulent, spam is a daily business, while false information travels across the Internet all the time. Unverified and erroneous advice can be harmful to users who act based solely on what they read on forums and group chats.
3. It’s difficult and risky to make a decision when you have no data available. However, risk is not deadly!
4. Successful people do not have more time than you do, and they are not necessarily more intelligent. Fear of failure or rejection by itself is enough to keep that success away from you.
5. Offer something valuable at all times. Whatever you give should focus on the client and his needs, not on yourself or your brand.
6. Do not miss a chance. Explore and overcome your limits and your fears. Do everything right from the beginning.
7. Start small, but don’t refuse big chances.
8. Plan and improve.
9. Your employees are your marketing department. There is no better marketing strategy than that of the word of mouth your employees provide.
10. Competence is not always what you need to look for when hiring. People who have experience with a previous company might find it difficult to adapt to yours. This is why many of today’s successful companies are owned and developed by young people who don’t necessarily have the needed experience in business but they have a strong will and they can creatively make use of their innovative ideas and knowledge.
11. Work during weekends together with your team.
12. Want to know more about your customers? Offer small rewards after they complete a survey. You learn something about your customers, and they use the coupon to actually buy something from your e-shop.
13. Create something worthwhile, then talk about it.
14. Make your clients your amplifiers. Offer them easy ways to promote your brand. Remember that your best and most active clients deserve more than the others.
15. People don’t care about you. They only want to satisfy their own needs and desires with the help of what you sell. You are in no position to command what they will or should buy. You can only guide your buyers.
16. Our ideas about the future are still changing.
17. Design is free. It costs just as much to use a hard to read font or an appealing one.
18. Rarity adds value.
19. Choose simple, clear, and easy to remember brand names.
20. The best marketers don’t ask for anything. They earn the attention they want and their leads.
21. Don’t expect success from the beginning. Also, don’t give up when you’re close to boosting your business.
22. Everything has or should have a story. Show why your product/service has a better story than that of your competitors. Good marketers tell authentic stories before they sell. If you’re lacking creativity, use a basic story people already know and adapt it to your own brand.
23. Urgency is not an excuse for a mistake or a bad decision. Make a difficult decision before you decide on the easier aspects.
24. Being able to create discussion around your product is efficient marketing. Conversations with your desired segments of interest occur whether you look for them or not. Make use of all occasions to find out more about your buyers and their shopping behavior.
25. Marketing is an investment; when done right, it can bring back what you have spent on it.
26. People buy what they desire, and what they want the most are the emotions and feelings that particular product or experience can bring.
27. Start from the presumption that all people are egoists, lazy, uninformed, and impatient. Aim to fix these problems.
28. Smaller companies interact better with their customers/clients. Small companies are the new success makers because they are prepared for the future and they are open to change and innovation.
29. What worked in the past won’t always work now. TV shows, for example, were much more valuable years ago since there weren’t that many to see. The mainstream phenomenon led to a decrease in the quality of everything we produce and consume.
30. People react more often to verbs because they want to see the action that can solve their problems or fulfill their desires.

Overall book grade: 7/10

Read more of Seth Godin’s ideas on his Typepad blog or check out some of his other books.

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What You Can Still Learn From Seth Godin’s “Permission Marketing” Book [Marketing Book Review]

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Seth Godin’s book revolves around the idea that, in today’s fast living society, the only way you can fully get someone’s attention is by asking them to allow you to market your product. As the father of permission marketing, he became an innovator of seller-client relationships while starting a new trend in the way of seeing and doing marketing. Overall, Seth Godin remains one of the most influential marketers not only because of his expertise in the field but also because of his ability to find and share the best case studies for every aspect there is regarding marketing. Although the book was written in 1999, its ideas and the concept of permission-based marketing have yet to be fully implemented in daily marketing tactics. Here are some of the marketing facts we can still learn from today:

  1. Nobody cares about traditional marketing anymore. We are too busy to even notice online banner ads or other marketing and advertising materials. Marketing more frequently, although boring, is the solution. Repeating advertisements can bring more leads and higher conversion rates. Still, you won’t be able to remember more than 10% of them.
  2. New products and services are always difficult to launch since people are used to the existing ones. Don’t expect results from a business that centers itself around a product or service that exists already on the market. Innovation is now the key to success.
  3. The reason you sees commercials on YouTube and even on websites is because marketers are adapting to the population segment that doesn’t watch TV anymore. This is the marketing world’s response to a generation that refuses to turn on the TV. What you can see while watching television is now on the Internet as well.
  4. People are actually interested in what you promote through permission marketing. It’s relevant to them, it’s more personal, and they are actively looking for that promotional material.
  5. Marketing is like a relationship. You have to get to know the person first. Analyze people before they become your customers in order to learn their demands.
  6. Always diversify your marketing methods.
  7. Interruption marketing is not dead yet.
  8. Having more clients doesn’t always mean a bigger profit.
  9. Advertise new products to your old clients.
  10. Focus on converting leads into clients, not on getting more leads. One hundred leads and fifty clients are better than two hundred leads and twenty clients.
  11. Present before selling.
  12. Gaining trust is difficult but essential.
  13. Banner ads have the potential to be fully customizable to an individual’s needs and interests in the future.
  14. Don’t trust that one piece of good content is enough to keep bringing new customers. Always update your website’s content!
  15. Experiment and test before it’s too late.
  16. Always offer rewards and incentives if you want to gain profit.

Overall book grade: 8/10

Read more of Seth Godin’s ideas on his Typepad blog (he is one of the few bloggers who don’t need visuals to create viral content) or check out some of his other books.

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42 Useful Digital and Social Media Marketing Quotes

Are you in need of some inspirational digital and social media marketing tips and suggestions?

Of course you are! Here are some of the best quotes for your upcoming marketing strategy:

(This post is also available as a SlideShare presentation)

1. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. — Peter Drucker

2. People ignore design that ignores people. — Frank Chimero

3. To accompany the four Ps of classical marketing, marketers would do well to instil the digital four Cs, around conversation, collaboration, culture and compensation. — Zaid Al-Zaidy

4. It’s almost impossible to make a name for yourself on the internet unless you do something scandalous. — Tom Wolfe

5. The success of a page should be measured by one criteria: Does the visitor do what you want them to do? — Aaron Wall

6. Your customers are not you. They don’t look like you, they don’t think like you, they don’t do the things that you do and they don’t have your expectations or assumptions. If they did, they wouldn’t be your customers; they’d be your competitors. — Mike Kuniavsky

7. Social Media is about sociology and psychology more than technology. — Brian Solis

8. Think like a publisher, not a marketer. — David Meerman Scot

9. Customer service and research should be the departments that first adopt Twitter in an organisation. Every brand should be listening when its customers talk, and every brand should be proactively engaged in resolving customer problems wherever they find them, and there are many to be found on Twitter. — Faris Yakob

10. Think twice before using simple Flash. Make sure your animation communicates rather than annoys. — Leah Spalding

11. Website reviews can help build retailer image / reputation and customer loyalty. Done properly, this strategy could result in higher profits. — Susanne Goller

12.The key ingredient to a better content experience is relevance. — Jason Miller

13. The number of clicks on display ads is not an accurate predictor of the effectiveness of online display ads. — Gian Fulgoni

14. Don’t be boring… think about your first brand impression: how can you make it awesomer? — Scott Edwards

15. SEO is not something you do anymore. It’s what happens when you do everything else right. — Chad Pollitt

16. Supporting customers through multiple channels is no longer an option for financial services organizations; it’s a necessity. — Sonny Singh

17. Search marketing, and most Internet marketing in fact, can be very threatening because there are no rules. There’s no safe haven. To do it right, you need to be willing to be wrong. But search marketing done right is all about being wrong. Experimentation is the only way. — Mike Moran

18. Even when you are marketing to your entire audience or customer base, you are still simply speaking to a single human at any given time. — Ann Handley

19. Doing well with blogging is not about writing one key post, it is about performing day- after-day and helping a few people at a time. — Aaron Wall

20. Clients don’t care about the labor pains; they want to see the baby. — Tim Williams

21. Not viewing your email marketing as content is a mistake. — Chris Baggott

22. Keep it short. No one reads more than the first paragraph. You have 10 seconds, make it count. — Eric Miller

23. Start with empathy. Continue with utility. Improve with analysis. Optimize with love. — Jonathon Colman

24. Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with your marketing. — Mike Volpe

25. Always provide value. Value builds trust. Once you have that trust, you have the ability to do some selling. — Mike Volpe

26. Be interesting. Tell the truth. And if you can’t tell the truth, change what you’re doing so you can. In other words, live the truth. — Jonah Sachs

27. Content is fire; social media is gasoline. — Jay Baer

28. You can buy attention (advertising). You can beg for attention from the media (PR). You can bug people one at a time to get attention (sales). Or you can earn attention by creating something interesting and valuable and then publishing it online for free. — David Meerman Scott

29. Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell. —Seth Godin

30. Search is an integral part of truly integrated marketing campaigns that ties offline and online elements together, pushing consumers to engage with static media, or giving them the option of responding to offers or ideas promoted by them. — Joe Mandese

31. An invitation to participate online is unlikely to provoke a negative perception of the brand involved, even if the respondent does not wish to participate. — Julian Smith

32. Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue. — Andrew Davis

33. By creating and publishing remarkable content in the form that educates, informs, inspires and entertains, marketers can begin to build relationships with prospects early on in the buying cycle. — Jonathon Lister

34. LinkedIn is a channel to increase, not a tool to replace, your networking efforts, and it is an excellent vehicle to facilitate some facets of your marketing and business strategies. — Viveka von Rosen

35. Do not address your readers as though they were gathered together in a stadium. When people read your copy, they are alone. Pretend you are writing to each of them a letter on behalf of your client. — David Ogilvy

36. Many advertisers are yet to be assured that online advertising can have an impact on branding, to positively shift attitudes and perceptions. To convince them, you need proof. — Christina Goodman

37.Build relationships, not links. — Scott Wyden Kivowitz

38. Focus on one content type (is it textual, video, audio, in-person), one platform (my blog/website, iTunes, YouTube, etc.), and consistently deliver relevant content to a specific audience, over time. That’s it. In the beginning I became so distracted about trying a little bit of everything that I wasn’t great at anything. — Joe Pulizzi

39. Take a risk and keep testing, because what works today won’t work tomorrow, but what worked yesterday may work again. — Amrita Sahasrabudhe

40. Transparency may be the most disruptive and far-reaching innovation to come out of social media. — Paul Gillin

41. Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your face (or logo) on it. — Erin Bury

42. Understanding how to behave in social media is easy: be nice or leave. — Faris Yakob

Back to you now. Share some of the quotes you found most useful below.

Originally posted on LinkedIn.

 

8 Killer Copywriting Secrets You Haven’t Thought About

There are already a lot of copywriting secrets that were revealed by experts, but there are times when these secrets just won’t work for you. If you are one of those people who are always trying to improve their copywriting skills, and you don’t want to settle for the so-called secrets that don’t really work in the case of your prospects, then it is about time that you learnt some copywriting secrets you may have never thought about before. There are a few secrets that you can start using to get more leads and eventually convert these leads into sales in the near future.

So, what are these copywriting tips? Well, take a look at the following ingenious content writing tricks:

1. Never lie to your prospects

In other words, always tell the truth and never forget to support your claims with real proof. Advertising must always focus on truth being told. Always back your claims with testimonials, statistics, surveys, success stories, results, or case studies to make your ads credible. Avoid unnecessary or exaggerated claims and superlative adjectives. Copy that comes without a verifiable background is never good copy. Authority is what people will always look for. Real and backed up content generates credibility. And it’s not just people. Google also loves authority. This means that high-quality content will always rank higher in search engine results than any other content with no solid background. A copywriter’s success story begins with the truth.

2. Fix the broken links on your website/blog

Broken links should be fixed as soon as they are found as they do more damage than good when it comes to SEO. You can use certain SEO tools to fix broken links (5 Tools To Check For Broken Links On Your WordPress Site). Remove or replace those links to keep your position in search engines. Don’t forget to check your oldest posts as well. Although this can be time-consuming, bear in mind that outbound links help Google crawlers identify what your post is about, and thus rank your site according to the right keywords. Related to this, there is also a great tip for getting in touch with influencers in your niche. You can either attempt to contact influencers through email by helping them fix their broken links, or you can help other writers who have previously linked to one of your own posts or websites that are not available anymore, leaving them with a broken link. Suggest replacing those links with similar ones on the same topic from your own posts. This is a win-win situation as you get a link, and they improve their site’s SEO.

3. Leverage the number of influencers within your chosen niche

Take time to fill your copy (without spamming) with references to quotes or posts made by influential people of the niche you’re interested in. Letting influencers know that you mentioned them and providing quality content regarding their products or services will encourage them to share your content. For more results, use best practices, such as being a loyal reader and follower of their blog, helping them with their own posts, or sharing their content with your own audience. If all else fails, you always have the option to contact one of the copywriting gurus for further instruction and aid in your career, or you can use their own experience in copywriting as guidance.

4. Improve the loading speed of your page

Your content is useless if no one takes the time to read it. People today want the posts they are looking for to load instantly. A slow loading page will only keep prospects away from your website’s content. Look for online tips on improving your website’s speed or refer to your company’s webmaster or SEO expert for further improvement. Meanwhile, you should also focus on keeping your content concise, with smaller images and less irrelevant videos, and removing plugins that can’t be used. This can easily help improve the loading speed of your page and let visitors view your content at once without waiting at all.

5. Use other media

Written content is often boring. Posts without images or videos work only if people are looking for educational or instructional content. On the other hand, viral and fun content is almost always accompanied by photos and videos. As much as possible, make use of other media in your content, but keep only what is necessary (for SEO reasons mentioned above). Use other useful media like infographics, e-books, PDF documents, SlideShare presentations, or Adobe Spark pages to attract and retain readers.

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10 Free Canva Design Features You May Not Be Using Yet

Here are some Canva useful creative design tips and tricks to get your visual content from #nay to #wow.

1. Use free photos.

Type “free” in the search bar and get a list of free to use photos.

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2. Texturize/Transparency.

After step 1, choose a photo, add to post, and select Arrange. Click on Back as many times as needed to get the desired result.

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Click on Transparency and adjust the transparency level.

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You can also apply transparency to text by selecting the text, clicking on More and then on Transparency.

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3. Edit photos inside Canva.

Select photo and click on Filter.

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Choose from the given filters or adjust the image’s appearance using the Advanced Options.

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Tip: You can also upload your own images for free.

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My Poetry’s Journey [INFOGRAPHIC]

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12 Things I Learnt During My 5-Year Experience On DeviantArt

I don’t really remember when I discovered DeviantArt, but it was surely back when people used it for playing games since there was nothing better around. It was not love at first sight, and I only made an account in May 2011. No idea why, but I suddenly started a 100-poems challenge that was supposed to take me one year, but instead ended up as a five-year project. I am now at the end of my five-year poetry journey, but I do not want to leave this welcoming art community. I currently have 113 deviations that I am more than proud of. The website certainly looks pretty much the same as it did 10 years ago, but it has more submissions you have to look through in order to find the best ones. Whether you are a DA beginner or just someone looking to learn more about this online gallery, I’m sure that you can learn from my experience:

  1. You will grow. Your work will get better, professional, and much more appreciated. You will learn new skills whether you want it or not. In my case, I learnt how to write haikus and how to make stamps, such as this one.
  2. You need great content. More than anything, interesting, relevant, and viral content is essential. The most famous DA artists are all experts at their craft, and they make sure they offer only their best to watchers. If you are seriously thinking of becoming famous on DA, go for what everyone wants to see, and do it right. You don’t have to be a perfect artist to get recognition, but you do need to offer consistent works, to create your network of supporters, and to promote your work wherever you can, without spamming.
  3. You will never have enough time. Don’t expect to be able to work on everything you would want to create. You won’t even get the chance to check out all artists. Most importantly, be aware that you will lose your ideas. This is particularly valid for writers. Unless you put down your ideas as soon as you have them, you might end up losing entire pieces of literature. In addition, I would not recommend deleting any of your art. Leave whatever you wrote as it is and work with what you have.
  4. People do care about your work. You may not get thousands of fans, get hired, or make money out of your art, but you will definitely get to the heart of some DeviantArt users. People will comment, add your art to their favourites, and write personal notes to you, but you may lose those fans once they leave the website. Make sure you thank every single one of them for their interest while you still can.
  5. No matter what your passion is, you will find your place in DeviantArt’s community. It doesn’t matter whether you are into painting, photography, web design, sculpture, literature, graphic design, fashion design, or if you are just an avid art fan. You will surely find something to do on DA’s website. However, bear in mind that arts such as painting, photography, or graphic design do get more exposure and receive more interest than literature, for example. You will get to experiment with other types of art, and sooner or later you will find your true passion and talent. DA’s users are usually very encouraging of whatever your endeavour is. You’ll also develop new interests. In my case, I became obsessed with Pixel Art.
  6. You will obsessively submit your work to related groups. Don’t worry if you’ll find yourself spending evenings trying to get your deviations into various DA groups. This is a normal and actually required part of getting more exposure.
  7. Your work will change in time. This is, in fact, recommendable. You’ll go from noob to pro in a few years ( if not months), and you will be proudly displaying your past and present work in the same place.
  8. You’ll draw the same thing twice, write the same poem twice, and take the same photo twice. This is fine. Looking back at my poetry, I found out I had written two poems with the same title. Shockingly, they were very different in both structure and theme. You learn a lot about your work’s evolution from such coincidences.
  9. You will receive positive feedback, as well as constructive criticism. This is perhaps the best way for you to learn more about your field of interest and about DeviantArt as a community. Accept and take into consideration whatever people write to you. DA is friendlier and more welcoming than most other online communities. Personally, I haven’t yet encountered any cases of hate or defamation.
  10. You will collect llamas. ^_^ Yep! Giving and receiving llama badges is a part of DA’s fun features. There are even groups for llama badge exchange.
  11. Your profile will go from personal to public. You may start your DA journey as a shy beginner, but you might just as well end up as of one of the most appreciated artists around. Don’t expect too much, however.
  12. You will always return to your first passions. DeviantArt is one of the few things you will never truly get over. Boredom is not part of this community. You’ll use DA’s art as your therapy, and you will always come back to your DA profile in the same way you would return home after a long journey.

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(Infographic) Mobile Device Usage Statistics [UPDATED]

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Why LinkedIn Is The Best Social Networking Site

LinkedIn is a business-centered website for professional multilingual networking. The site makes connecting on a global level easier than ever before. LinkedIn is used by both companies and individuals to establish new connections. Employers use this service to find and recruit suitable employees and vice versa. Compared to a traditional résumé, a LinkedIn profile allows you to fully showcase your skills, education, experience, projects, publications, courses, certifications, and online course certificates. With the help of a free account you can:

  • become a part of the largest community for professionals in a wide range of fields, connect and get in touch with them when all other methods fail
  • get in touch with millions of people worldwide
  • find the best people in your field of interest
  • exchange messages and contact information
  • develop your communication skills
  • become a part of a formal environment
  • promote your company or your services
  • increase your business’ revenue
  • find new volunteering and job opportunities
  • join interest groups and grow your network
  • find employees or employers
  • follow companies, influencers (i.e., influential people), news, and schools
  • share your profile with more people
  • connect with people you may now and ask a mutual connection to introduce you to them
  • stay in touch with your coworkers
  • find talent and sales solutions
  • connect your LinkedIn profile to your other social media accounts
  • share presentations using SlideShares
  • add links to your projects
  • stay away from the distractions provided by other social media sites

Not having a LinkedIn account reduces your presence in the business’ social media network, and lowers your chances of getting a job in the desired field. You can use this online service to build your career credentials and to develop your professional social network. Join now!

Connect with me on LinkedIn.

Feel free to share your opinions.

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