FAV 5 Recommended Reading For Smart Entrepreneurs (August 23rd, 2016)

Hello Entrepreneurs,

Welcome to our FAV 5… recommended reading/watching to help you obliterate your business goals!

Worrying Is Making You Miserable And Sad [VIDEO]
Dr. Isaiah Hankel

Why Mobile Matters
Tony Robbins

Marketing in four steps
Seth Godin

The Inner Skills of Billionaires [VIDEO]
Robin Sharma

Why and Where You Should Expand Your Ecommerce Empire
Matt Orlic, Entrepreneur

Be amazing!

Nishi

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Posted in business, entrepreneur, Favorite Five, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Where to get Free Stock Photographs for your Blog and Social Media

free-stock-pics InstaIf you are an entrepreneur and have a business blog and use social media to market your business, you need to have access to quality photography.

Using photos will draw more people to your social media posts and improve your blog’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

In other words, adding pictures to your blog and social media posts will get you more web traffic and that will help you grow your business.

As with anything, you get what you pay for. But hiring a professional photographer is not always in an entrepreneur’s budget.

Luckily, we live in a day and age where there are many great online resources for business owners to turn to, and you can get quality photos for little to no expense.

Keep reading, and you’ll find a short list of free online resources aimed at helping you find photos that you can use – for free — for your business blog and social media posts.

I’ve curated this short list with the following criteria in mind:

  1. Photos are easily searchable

Some stock photography websites boast galleries of thousands, tens of thousands, maybe even millions of stock photos, but it can be an arduous task trying to find something that fits your specific needs. The best sites make it so you can easily find photos using key words, by subject, colour, or some logical way. I’ve limited the list to sites that are well-organized and easy to navigate so that you, my precious readers, will have an easy time finding what you want.

2. Photos are appropriate for business

These online resources for stock photographs will have lots of different images for you to choose from, but I’ve chosen sites that have content that will make sense for a business owner to use.

Artsy, abstract images can be gorgeous, but in the business realm, they might be confusing or get lost in online traffic. Remember that the image you select has an important job to do: it has to catch the eye of your target audience and entice them to click on something. The images will often be seen as small thumbnails in a cluttered social media stream, so you don’t want to pick a photo that needs to be large in order to be truly appreciated.

This doesn’t mean that you have to pick images that are too literal or “on the nose”, in fact it can be more fun and attention-getting if you don’t. For instance, if your blog is about awkward yoga poses, instead of choosing a picture of an athletic woman doing yoga (predictable, won’t stand out in a search or stream), you might find a funny picture of a giraffe awkwardly bending over to drink water (more light-hearted and funny… probably the only giraffe in a sea of yoga posts that come up in a Google search).

  1. Photos are good quality

Look, you’re getting something for free and in all fairness, you really don’t have much of a platform for complaining if the quality of the photographs don’t meet your high standards.

That said, you can’t use poor quality images for your business blog or social media, because doing that will damage your brand. Low quality photos will make you, your business, and your brand look inferior.

There are two important factors that make a photo good quality. First, make sure the resolution and size of the photo is appropriate for where you intend on using it. If the resolution or size of the photo is too low, it will appear pixilated (or blurry) and that will cheapen your brand. Most of the time, you won’t need very large or high resolution images, but for Facebook covers and LinkedIn blog banners for example, you will want relatively large photos with a resolution suitable for the web if you want your picture to look crisp.

The second factor to consider when choosing a quality photograph is the overall attractiveness of the shot. Don’t choose something that looks like your kid shot it on your phone (although, I have to admit, sometimes the new generation surprises us in this area). Pick something that at least looks like you paid for it.

  1. Photos are readily accessible

Some stock photo sites require lengthy registrations and logins. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

  1. Photos are legally free to use

I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, so while all the photos on the sites should be free to use, make sure you don’t have to attribute (give credit to the photographer) before using the photos you select. It should be blatantly clear before you download any image.

To be safe, use photos that are licensed under Creative Commons Zero. Basically, Creative Commons Zero means you’re allowed to copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, even for commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or the website the photo came from.

For what it’s worth, paying for stock photography doesn’t have to break the bank. And if you can’t find a photo that exactly fits your requirements, you can usually purchase a great stock photo for under five dollars.

Besides, photographers work hard and they deserve our dollars!

BY the way, speaking of FREE…

Sign up for my e-blast so you don’t miss out on free social media news and tips, as well as articles to boost your entrepreneurial mindset!

And now for that list of websites that offer free stock photos you can use for your business blogs and social media:

Albumarium

Canva

Hubspot

IM Free

Negative Space

Pixabay

StockSnap

Unsplash

Got a favourite stock photo site that isn’t mentioned here? Tell us about it in a comment below!

 

 

Posted in Blog, social media marketing | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

FAV 5 Recommended Reading For Smart Entrepreneurs (August 9th, 2016)

Hello Entrepreneurs,

Welcome to our FAV 5… recommended reading/watching to help you obliterate your business goals!

Stop Blindly Following Other People [VIDEO]
Dr. Isaiah Hankel

How to Be Successful By Being Yourself
James Altucher featuring Gary Vaynerchuk

The two risk mistakes
Seth Godin

The Small-Win Principle For Maximum Performance [VIDEO]
Robin Sharma

4 Data-Backed Strategies For Writing Email Subject Lines That Get Opened
Stephanie Vozza, Fast Company

Be amazing!

Nishi

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Posted in digital marketing, entrepreneur, Favorite Five, LinkedIn, Uncategorized, Videos, YouTube | Leave a comment

FAV 5 Recommended Reading For Smart Entrepreneurs (July 26th, 2016)

Hello Entrepreneurs,

Welcome to our FAV 5… recommended reading/watching to help you obliterate your business goals!

Listen To Your Inner Voice, Follow Your Instincts, Ignore Other People’s Opinions [VIDEO]
Dr. Isaiah Hankel

What have we become? (And what are we becoming?)
Seth Godin

What can we learn from shortcuts? [VIDEO]
Tom Hulme, TED

7 Stoic Mottos Every Entrepreneur Must Embrace
Daniel DiPiazza, Inc.

6 Ways to Use Facebook Live Video for Your Business
Christian Karasiewicz,

Be amazing!

Nishi

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Posted in Blog, business, entrepreneur, Favorite Five, LinkedIn, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Post a Blog on Instagram

Instagram TemplateMore and more entrepreneurs are jumping on Instagram to market their businesses. And it’s easy to see why.

After all, Instagram’s marketing appeal is undeniable: engagement on Instagram is better than engagement on Facebook and Twitter combined.

So if you have a business blog to promote, it makes sense to spread the word on Instagram, right?

There’s just one small hurdle…

Instagram makes it virtually impossible to post clickable links.

As an account holder, you can have a clickable link in your bio page – THAT’S IT.

But you can’t post clickable links in your photo captions or comments, and photos aren’t clickable either.

So how do you use Instagram to drive traffic to your business blog?

Here’s how…

Make the most of the clickable link in your bio

You only get one clickable link with Instagram, so make it a good one!

Post a clickable link to your blog in your Instagram bio.

You can easily change the link in your bio from your phone or desktop, so feel free to link directly to your latest blog post and change it up every time you write a new blog post.

Take things a step further and consider using a bit.ly link or something similar so you can easily track how many clicks you’re getting.

This will give you a good idea of what types of content, captions, images, etc. are working for you and what aren’t.

Be strategic with your photo caption

The most obvious way to promote your blog on Instagram is to cut and paste your entire blog post into the photo caption section of your Instagram post.

However, your entire blog post may not fit in the caption (you are allowed up to 2,200 characters), and even if it does, you might still prefer to drive traffic to your actual blog.

Therefore, it is worthwhile to just have a teaser or an excerpt in the caption, and then end with a call-to-action to visit your Instagram bio page and click the bit.ly link there to see the full story.

You should also tag yourself in the call-to-action like this: @nishi_sood. This way, your readers only have to click on your tag and they’ll quickly and effortlessly be transported to your bio page, instead of having to navigate themselves there. By doing this work for them, you’ll get more clicks to your bio page, which means you’ll get more clicks on your bit.ly, which means you’ll get more traffic to your blog.

Remember that Instagram is all about pretty pictures

Instagram has always been, and always will be, all about pretty pictures.

Never forget this.

Never forget the language of the platform you are using to market your business.

Do not assume that people are going to check out your caption, and find out there’s a blog to read.

The image you use should be attention-grabbing and make it obvious that there is a blog for the viewer to check out. Include the title or an excerpt of your blog within the image. Otherwise, your photo will get dismissed, your caption will go unacknowledged, and your blog will remain unvisited.

Don’t forget about hashtags

Hashtags are extremely effective on Instagram.

That is, if you know how to use them properly.

Do some research and find out which hashtags will drive the right people to your Instagram post.

If you’d like more of an introduction on what hashtags are all about, check out an older post of mine: “How to Use Hashtags”

Follow me on Instagram here!

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FAV 5 Recommended Reading For Smart Entrepreneurs (July 12th, 2016)

Hello Entrepreneurs,

Welcome to our FAV 5… recommended reading/watching to help you obliterate your business goals!

How To Stop Wasting Your Time By Learning To Say “No” To People [VIDEO]
Dr. Isaiah Hankel

First chance, best chance
Seth Godin

Give More Than You Get [VIDEO]
Gary Vaynerchuk

Potent Productivity Practices While Travelling [VIDEO]
Robin Sharma

From Car-Jacking To World Excellence
James Altucher

Be amazing!

Nishi

Sign up for my e-blast so you don’t miss out on free social media news and tips, as well as articles to boost your entrepreneurial mindset!

Posted in Favorite Five, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

How to Use Hashtags in Instagram

Instagram-squareThese days, more and more entrepreneurs are using Instagram to market their businesses.

And with good reason. With 500 million monthly active users, the rise of Instagram is undeniable.

More importantly, engagement on Instagram is better than engagement on Facebook and Twitter combined.

What does this mean for business owners? It means that even if you have fewer followers on Instagram, you’re likely getting more noticed on Instagram than you are on Twitter and Facebook… like, way more noticed.

One way to increase traffic to your business Instagram account (and subsequently increase your number of followers) is by strategically using hashtags.

Despite their effectiveness, many business owners under-use or misuse hashtags, in fact hashtags are often jokingly dismissed.

But increasing traffic to your Instagram account is NO joke!

Here’s how to use Instagram hashtags like a business owner…

 

1. Use Instagram’s search tool

Use Instagram’s search tool to look up which hashtags are currently being used and which ones are most popular.

Do this by typing in an obvious hashtag you want to use and then hover in the search window for a second or two. A dropdown menu will appear like magic and Instagram will SUGGEST alternative hashtags for you to use. What’s more, Instagram will even point out how popular these suggested hashtags are by indicating how many posts are currently using those hashtags.

In other words, Instagram has done your hashtag research for you. And it’s being given to you. For free. Take advantage of this feature!

 

2. Use as many hashtags as you can

You are allowed to use up to 30 hashtags in an Instagram post. That’s a lot of hashtags. Use them all! There’s no downside. There’s no hashtag tax. They let you use 30, so do your best to find 30 relevant hashtags.

 

3. Post hashtags under comments

Hashtags often get a bad rap is because they look overbearing (not to mention ugly and silly) when they’re piled on top of each other in an Instagram caption.

Although this is just an aesthetic thing, they can seriously distract from the caption itself.

You can avoid this issue by hiding your hashtags in the comments section. After you post your Instagram photo (or video), post your hashtags as the first comment. As more comments come, in, your hashtags comment will truncate and disappear. But the cool thing is, the hashtags will still work!

 

4. Include a branded hashtag

Every business that is marketing themselves on Instagram should have a branded hashtag.

A branded hashtag is one that you, the business owner create and it is unique to your brand.

If someone on Instagram wants to comment on their experience with your brand, they can use your branded hashtag in their comments and instantly be part of the conversation about your brand.

Having a branded hashtag is an excellent way to keep tabs on what people think of your brand and engage with your most loyal supporters. And this right here, is probably the most important reason why your business needs to be on Instagram.

If you’d like more of an introduction on what hashtags are all about, check out an older post of mine: “How to Use Hashtags”

Follow me on Instagram here!

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