Facebook Hashtags are Finally Clickable (and Useful)

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Our feeds (and yours too) have been abuzz with news of recent Facebook updates. But of all of those updates, there’s one that we’re especially excited about.

Facebook hashtags are clickable.

Yep, they finally do more than just give me a headache. And all I can say is, “It’s about freaking time!”

You can now: 

• Search for a specific hashtag from your search bar. For example, #wedding. • Click on hashtags that originate on other services, such as Instagram. • Compose posts directly from the hashtag feed and search results.

Why are we so excited about this update? Facebook Hashtags have made it easier to bring strangers together because of a common interest, and not just a common connection.

As a professional photographer who needs to market your business, Facebook Hashtags give you a way to: • Share your content with strangers who will find it relevant • Engage in conversations with strangers who are actually interested • Gather information …

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5 Best Practices for Using Social Media to Attract Website Visitors

5 Best Practices for Using Social Media to Attract Website Visitors

Hold on just one second.

Before you skip to tips for attracting visitors to your website, it’s important to understand why attracting visitors to your website is valuable in the first place.

The common misconception among businesses using social media is that being popular equates to making money. It canbe profitable, I guess, but only if your profitabiity is calculated using total number of friends, fans and likes.

Chances are you haven’t figured out how to do that. (Let me know if you do!)

Until then, we’ll have to accept the truth that being successful on social media means much more than simply showing up and being liked. If you’re trying to make money for your business using social media, then your goal should be to attract visitors to your website.

Two primary principles shape our social media philosophy (and our marketing philosophy as a whole). In addition to applying the best practices introduced in this article, you can use these principles …

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4 Tips for Creating Blog Content that Generates Qualified Traffic

4 Tips for Creating Blog Content that Generates Qualified Traffic

If you want to generate qualified leads, you’ve got to start driving qualified traffic to your website. After all, leads don’t just appear out of nowhere! (Although, that’d be nice.)

How do you generate qualified website traffic? You guessed it…by consistently publishing content on your blog!

To truly find success generating qualified traffic through blogging, it’s important to tailor content to your target market. This way, your blog articles are relevant, compelling AND come up in search engines when your target audience is searching.

1. Identify Specific Buyer Personas

The first step to creating content that generates qualified traffic is understanding what qualified means to you. What is the “right” traffic? Create buyer personas to help you identify the traits that the right visitors have that you want to attract.

As a photography business offering services to consumers, you must identify the specific person you want to sell to, as well as the people who are the decision-makers.

For example, …

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4 Best Practices for Blogging to Generate Leads for Your Business

Generating_Leads_with_Blogging

In order to generate leads, you first need to generate traffic on your website. Good thing you have access to one of the most effective tools for generating website traffic — blogging.

Believe it or not, before blogging became a popular way for individuals to make money from advertising, it was invented as a way to create consistent content for search engine optimization.

Smart search engine optimization = inbound website traffic

Here are four blogging best practices for generating traffic and turning those visitors into leads:

1. Choose Topics Wisely

The topics you choose are key to generating inbound traffic through search engines. To be truly effective, they need to satisfy both search engines and searchers. Appeasing both of these groups will ensure that you’ll rank for the terms your buyers are searching.

When brainstorming topics, start by by focusing on:

The terms your buyers will be searching for using search engines. Your prospective buyer’s pain points.

Both of …

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To Glorify Your Own Success or Help Your Audience Find Their Own?

To Glorify Your Own Success or Help Your Audience Find Their Own?

When you run a small business, it’s hard to find the line where your business ends and you begin. Because of how closely linked you are to your business, it’s often easiest to focus on yourself and your company instead of creating content that’s client-focused and provides your audience with real value.

But what’s easiest isn’t always what’s most effective.

You’ve probably noticed that some lucky folks have built a large audience of fans and followers by focusing on themselves. They’ve done it mostly glorifying their success instead of showing others how to find their own success.

However, there’s a downside to making your audience want to be you instead of providing real value in showing them how to be the best version of themselves.

1. Fans and followers don’t always equate to big-picture business success.

Don’t be fooled by 1,000,000 Twitter followers! Just because 1,000,000 people find you interesting in 140 characters, doesn’t actually mean they’ll buy anything …

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Five Ways to Engage Your Audience Using Marketing Emails

aweber-email-marketing-metrics-opens

Some consider email an “old school” marketing tool, but it’s actually one of the most effective content marketing tools available because it delivers content easily.

But once your emails are delivered, how do you get your audience to engage with your message further, viewing it and clicking on links? After all, inboxes are inundated. How do you make your emails stand out?

Here are five ways to engage with your audience through marketing emails:

1. Start by letting your audience opt-in.

An email list of hundreds of willing subscribers is more valuable than a list of thousands of unwilling recipients. Willing subscribers are more likely to take action than unwilling recipients who will probably report you for spam!

To ensure that your email list consists of willing subscribers, use the confirmed opt-in method. When you let subscribers opt-in, you can be a hero because you’re giving them exactly what they asked for.

If it’s …

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Meeting Millennials: 5 Characteristics that Define Your Newest Customers

Whether you criticize millennials for being entitled, fickle and high-maintenance or praise them for their ability to think outside-the-box and make big ideas happen, the fact is that all business owners need them as either employees or customers.

Don’t want your business to die with the boomers? Then, get to know Generation Y, a generation of spenders and change-makers!

5 Important Characteristics of Generation Y, the “Millennials”

Understanding the characteristics and the consumer DNA that make Generation Y unique will help you identify ways that your business can provide value to them through products, services and of course, CONTENT! After all, providing value is the first step to gaining customers.

TIP: Use this information to help you get to know your target audience! 

1. Tech Savvy

Millennials grew up with easy access to computers, constant connection to the internet, and smart phones in-hand. They’re accustomed to using technology in every part of their lives and fully …

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The Danger of Abandoning Your Website for Facebook

Your website is a customer service and sales expert and a valuable asset for your business. It empowers you to build long-lasting relationships with potential clients and serve current clients.

But in the past year, we’ve seen businesses big and small abandon websites and turn to Facebook as a replacement. The problem with treating your Facebook business page as your new website is that by doing so, you give up control. Sure, you’re can change your timeline cover photo, customize your about text and even create Static FBML versions of your page, BUT turning your website over to Facebook still hinders your ability to perform four extremely important content marketing practices.

Four Reasons NOT to Replace Your Website with Facebook

#1 Unable to Focus on Content It’s extremely difficult to successfully implement your content marketing strategy when your website doesn’t cater to content first! The most useful tool that Facebook offers to host content is the notes …

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The Value of an Image

Meaningful Moments Captured by Wedding Photographers

“Photojournalism isn’t just an invitation to sit on the front row of global history, it’s also an invitation to sit on the front row of family history.”

-Rachel LaCour Niesen, Intimate Invitations: The Photo that Changed My Career

In the three weeks that I’ve been married, I’ve had the opportunity to remember our wedding ceremony through many conversations with family and friends. Without fail, in each and every one of those conversations I have been asked about my favorite part.

While I loved each and every part of our wedding day (weekend really), there was one piece in particular that stood apart from the rest.

We called it our “Unity Ceremony,” a time during our wedding where the communities that raised us came forward and gave us a meaningful token—something that we could keep and share with future generations.

One of these tokens was given to me by my Grandma, on behalf of …

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What Donald Draper Tells Us About Happiness

Photo by The Youngrens

Photo by The Youngrens

“Advertising is based on one thing: happiness. And do you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of a road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing is OK. You are OK.”

Donald Draper (Mad Men, 2007)

Even the old school ad guys got this one right.

My good friend Don (yes, the fictional character Donald Draper) knew that he was never just selling products, he was selling happiness.

In order to do this he had to figure out how what he was selling resonated with his ideal client’s unique idea of happiness.

Your products and services aren’t just products and services. They represent memories, legacy and happiness. And, they hold extreme value for your clients whether that’s a couple, a family or a business.

How are you painting a picture of happiness for prospective …

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