FAV 5 Recommended Reading For Smart Entrepreneurs (May 23rd, 2017)

Hello Entrepreneurs,

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

The 3 I Mindset For Extreme Leadership [VIDEO]
Robin Sharma

Three ways to add value
Seth Godin

Are You Addicted To Feeling Guilty? [VIDEO]
Dr. Isaiah Hankel

The Winner’s Mindset [VIDEO]
Gary Vaynerchuk

How I learned to read — and trade stocks — in prison [VIDEO]
Curtis “Wall Street” Carroll, TED Talks

Be amazing!

Nishi

Get my free ebook, “How to Blog Like an Entrepreneur” now – CLICK HERE!

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How To Hack The Instagram Algorithm

It’s happened to all of us.

It’s happened to me.

I’ll never forget the first time.

I woke up one morning, and it was like every other morning.

Alarm. Bathroom. Coffee. Instagram.

By this time of day, I’d normally be closing in on around 100+ likes on my latest Instagram post. Instagram symbolizes likes with red hearts and – not going to lie – I love seeing hearts first thing in the morning. Makes me feel like I’m in a stable, loving (but not suffocating) relationship.

I’ll usually admire the hearts for a few moments and then take on the rest of my day. Everything will be good and right in the world.

But, not this morning. Something was off. Something was… different.

Only 20 likes.

Huh. Weird.

Must be a glitch, I told myself. Maybe Instagram was down overnight. Maybe the Internet broke. Maybe it was Mercury Retrograde.

They say the first stage of grief is Denial.

This was me in denial.

Sure, I was uncomfortable. Something wasn’t right. But Instagram and I had been through a lot together and I believed in us.

Until the next morning.

Alarm. Bathroom. Coffee. Instagram. AND OMG ONLY THREE LIKES. WHAT IS HAPPENING?!!?

I officially descended into the second stage of grief, which is Anger. Or perhaps more accurately in my case, Blinding Rage.

Was I being ghosted by Instagram?

What did I do wrong, Instagram? I thought we had it so good. Why did you have to ruin everything, Instagram? I didn’t change, did you change? Should I change? I can change.

I was now in the third stage of grief: Bargaining.

(That didn’t take too long.)

I hung out in Bargaining. Because that’s my job. I knew a new version of the Instagram algorithm must have surfaced and destroyed my account’s visibility.

There was only one thing left for me to do… hack the algorithm. Just like they do in the movies.

Except this was real life.

Okay – so no one can really “hack” Instagram, because the nerds who create and maintain social media algorithms are – let’s face it – smarter and better than most of us.

But there are things you can do to regain Instagram’s favor should the two of you hit a rough patch in your love affair. The key to spicing things up with Instagram, is to just give it what it wants. Just make Instagram happy and you’ll be reaping the hearts again in no time.

Here are just a few ways to hack the Instagram algorithm if this social media app suddenly decides to lose that loving feeling…

Post at different times.

The first thing you should do is try posting at different times of the day.

To get an idea of when the best time to post is, check out your Instagram Insights to figure out when most of your followers are online and engaging.

You will only have access to this valuable data if you have upgraded to an Instagram Business account.

Upgrading your account is free and if you’re using Instagram, you should absolutely have a Business account.

To learn how to upgrade to an Instagram Business account, click here.

Post more often, or less often.

One of the reasons you might see a dip in likes is because you are not posting often enough.

Or, you might be posting too much.

Experiment a bit either way, and see what happens.

Whatever you do, you need to post with consistency so that Instagram and your following realize that you’re a seriously engaged user.

Post something different once in a while.

If you’re posting the same type of content all the time, you might want to shake things up a bit.

If you usually post inspirational quotes, for example, try throwing in a photo depicting your personal life once in a while. The usual go-to subjects include: babies, travels, pets, food, and coffee.

Instagram was originally designed to showcase the day-to-day lives of real people, and followers tend to respond favorably to behind-the-scenes or personal photos, even if your account is for business practices.

Showing your hobbies and leisure activities will make you seem like more of a real person. Just mind your personal brand as you would your business brand.

Change up your hashtags.

Hopefully, you are already using hashtags to get more visibility on Instagram.

If you’re not using hashtags, it’s no wonder why Instagram hates you.

Learning how to use Instagram hashtags is not overly complicated, and it will get you results.

You can easily compile a list of hashtags by observing what your competitors are using, and also just by seeing what related hashtags come up in Instagram’s search option.

You’re allowed to use up to 30 hashtags per post, and you can change up these hashtags every post to maximize your reach.

Like and comment on other people’s posts.

Nobody likes a taker.

Engage with your followers as much as you’d like them to engage with you.

Like their posts. Like their comments on your posts. Respond to their comments. Leave comments on their posts.

Do this every day.

Don’t take the social out of social media. Be a giver, and you will be rewarded.

Create better content.

If the aforementioned tricks aren’t working, you may have to face the reality that the problem runs deeper.

Maybe it’s not them.

Maybe it’s you.

Harsh.

But the truth is, if your content isn’t that great to begin with, you’re never going to win over Instagram.

Do you know how to produce great content? It starts with knowing your audience, and then sharing information that resonates with your audience.

You might even have to go as far as revisiting your branding.

You will also want to make sure your Instagram posts include a firm call-to-action (CTA). A CTA can be as basic as “like my post” or “leave a comment.”

Don’t get depressed and do something stupid.

The fourth stage of grief is Depression.

Depression is serious. It’s also when we do a lot of stupid things.

Do not panic when you see a drop in Instagram likes and go out and buy fake followers and likes.

Remember when I said that algorithm nerds are smarter than most people… they will see right through this ruse.

Fake likes and fake followers have an adverse effect and actually harm your ranking.

Don’t give in to the allure of vanity numbers. They are shallow and meaningless.

Don’t embarrass yourself.

You are better than this.

Instead, concentrate your efforts on being of value, being engaged, and creating great content.

Accept that fluctuations are normal.

The fifth and final stage of grief is Acceptance.

Look – algorithms happen. Algorithms change. Just when you think you know an algorithm, they’ve decided they’re just not that into you.

If you experience a crash in likes, the sooner you accept what’s happening and take action, the better.

Furthermore, understand that you are never permanently off the hook.

There will be other algorithms, and they will catch up to you if you get complacent again.

The trick is to keep changing things up and try new things (videos are very hot right now on Instagram).

Always stay ahead of the game.

See other people platforms.

Never fall in love with any single social media platform, especially when it comes to business.

Redirect your Instagram traffic to clickable link in your profile for a free ebook or download enabling you to grow your email list.

Growing your email list will make you immune to fluctuations in your social media platforms that are all but out of your control.

If you see a sudden drop in your Instagram likes and overall engagement, you need to act quickly. Try posting at different times of the day. You can also try posting more often or lower the frequency of your posts. Post something different once in a while, and change up your hashtags. Engage more with your followers. Work on creating better content. Whatever you do, do not panic and do not buy fake followers and likes. Fluctuations in engagement are to be expected, and you can build an immunity to them if you focus on building your email list.

Get my free ebook, “How to Blog Like an Entrepreneur” now – CLICK HERE!

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FAV 5 Recommended Reading For Smart Entrepreneurs (May 9th, 2017)

Hello Entrepreneurs,

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

What A Former Google Manager Can Teach You About Your Company’s Bias Toward HiPPOs
Gwen Moran, Fast Company

Pre-existing conditions
Seth Godin

How To Spot A Manipulator [VIDEO]
Dr. Isaiah Hankel

The Best Business Ideas For 2017 [VIDEO]
Gary Vaynerchuk

In praise of conflict [VIDEO]
Jonathan Marks, TED Talks

Be amazing!

Nishi

Get my free ebook, “How to Blog Like an Entrepreneur” now – CLICK HERE!

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5 Bad Reasons Entrepreneurs Don’t Use Social Media

Many entrepreneurs know that they need a social media presence if they want to grow their businesses.

They know this, but they still hesitate.

Or they stumble.

Something keeps them from going all in.

This is very normal. But if you want to make an impact using social media, you have to be committed.

If you have your social media profiles online, and they’re all filled out, but you don’t regularly update them, or you don’t engage, or you don’t approach them with an overall strategy, then you might as well not be on social media.

Just because you have a Facebook page and you sporadically post what you had for lunch one day, and then a special promotion you have three weeks later, doesn’t mean you have a social media presence.

You’re not fooling anyone.

This isn’t a social media marketing campaign. This isn’t a strategy. This is silence.

Most business owners who are silent on social media will use the excuse that they just don’t have the time to maintain it.

While not having time is a valid excuse – more often than not, it’s not the real reason behind the silence.

Entrepreneurs are doers – if they really want to do something, they’ll typically make the time for it (or hire someone to do it for them).

The real reasons why entrepreneurs go silent on social media usually run deep.

It’s often one or more of these 5 culprits…

1.    You don’t know what to say

The “secret” to a great social media campaign is having great content.

Great content starts with knowing your audience.

Who is your audience? Who do you want to reach and engage? Who are these people who you’d eventually like to convert into paying clients or customers?

Once you know who your target audience is, you need to identify what problem(s) you solve for your audience.

The best content fixes your audience’s problems.

Next, you need to figure out what is unique about what you provide.

If you’re not the only person to deliver a particular product or service to a certain group, you’d better be doing it in a way that stands out.

And finally, knowing what to communicate with your audience is just as important as knowing how to communicate with them, and where.

Don’t be afraid to try new things and stay a couple of steps ahead of your audience!

2.    You’re overwhelmed

Overwhelm is real.

There are so many different social media platforms, and new ones are popping up all the time.

You do NOT have to be on every social media platform in existence. In fact, it’s better if you’re not, because if you go this route you’ll dilute your resources.

Your time, your money, your focus are all limited resources. It is much more effective to be present on a handful of social media platforms and do them well, rather than to spread yourself too thin.

So which platforms do you want to focus on?

A great place to start is to look at what’s commonly known as the Social Media Big 5.

Depending on who you ask, the majority will agree the Big 5 are: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

The Big 5 are social media’s current heavy-hitters because they have proven track records as powerful marketing tools for business owners.

These social media platforms aren’t disappearing any time soon, and pretty much everyone and anyone you are trying to engage is on at least one of the Big 5.

You don’t have to be on all five of the Big 5. Be on the ones that serve you best, and the ones that you enjoy being on.

3.    You’re stuck in your old ways

I see this one a lot with older businesses.

They’ve been doing things the same way for generations. Maybe about 10 years ago they shook things up and built a website and since then, not much else has happened in the marketing department.

These business owners have an especially difficult time understanding why they should shake things up and try social media, because things have been working so well for so long.

Why rock the boat?

Because things change drastically and quickly these days.

Nowadays, if a client or prospect has a question or issue with your product or service, they won’t pick up the phone or send you an email. They’ll call you out on social media.

They do this because it’s public and they know you’ll have to respond – and respond quickly. And if you don’t, or if you don’t have a social media page for them to interact with, they’re going to lose trust in you and tell everyone about their negative experience dealing with you.

You don’t just need to keep up, you need to keep ahead. You need to be cutting edge, or you’ll lose track of your target audience.

Not having a social media presence today is like not having a website 10 years ago – it’s ridiculous if you expect to stay in business.

Do not allow your business to get complacent and stuck in old ways just because something’s been working for you for so long.

4.    You are a perfectionist

This one is close to my heart.

Perfectionism is an admirable trait in a business owner. It means you have high standards.

But sometimes perfectionism can be debilitating.

Many perfectionist entrepreneurs fall into the trap of wanting to get their message – their branding – 100% perfect before they start posting on social media.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very good idea to get a strong handle on your brand first.

But it’s never going to be perfect.

You need to realize that.

And for some of you, this is going to be scary.

Just get your branding as close to 100% as you can and then launch your business on social media.

Whatever you do, DO NOT allow your perfectionism to stop you from launching. You won’t always know what works on social media and what doesn’t until you try it out.

At some point, you will have to bite the bullet and trust that you know all that you can at this stage of the game.

Launch.

Then, at some point, you will have to revisit your branding.

Accept that your branding will change based on feedback you get on social media. Pay close attention to what’s working and what’s not working on social media. Engage with your following and observe what comes up in conversations and comments.

Even bad feedback is helpful – just think of it as an opportunity to hone your brand.

5.    You are afraid of being plagiarized

I get a lot of clients who just flat-out don’t want to post anything business-related on social media because they’re afraid someone’s going to steal all their great ideas.

And that’s valid.

You know, it’s even happened to me.

Having someone steal your content is frustrating for a variety of reasons.

When earning likes, shares, and comments are imperative to your ranking, you can actually be looking at a dent in your online visibility when someone takes your articles, images, or videos and re-purposes them as their own.

In other words, it’s not just about bragging rights – those Facebook likes can translate into book sales, seminar engagements, product sales, interviews, and all kinds of related financial compensation. In business, stolen content is stolen dollars.

Besides, having your hard work ripped off is just demoralizing.

Know that there are things you can do to protect yourself from plagiarism.

Don’t publish anything you want to keep proprietary, know that you can contact the plagiarizer and reason with them, and if things get out of hand, you can always threaten legal action.

But you cannot use the threat of plagiarism as an excuse to not create content.

Get in the game, because that’s where you belong. Don’t be afraid to fight for what is yours.

When a business owner says they don’t have time to engage in social media as a means to grow their business, there are usually greater underlying issues than lack of time. These excuses include not knowing what type of content to create, feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of social media platforms that are available, being stuck in an old school marketing routine, being debilitated by perfectionism, or a fear of being plagiarized. None of these excuses are valid enough to excuse an entrepreneur from benefiting from a social media campaign. If you are a business owner, you need a social media presence if you want to grow your business – don’t let anything stop you.

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FAV 5 Recommended Reading For Smart Entrepreneurs (April 25th, 2017)

Hello Entrepreneurs,

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

Adventure as a Performance Fuel [VIDEO]
Robin Sharma

The best time to study for the test
Seth Godin

Don’t Be Friends With This Person [VIDEO]
Dr. Isaiah Hankel

Surround Yourself With The Right People [VIDEO]
Gary Vaynerchuk

Do You Use Video For Marketing?
Kerry Song, Robbins International Research

Be amazing!

Nishi

Get my free ebook, “How to Blog Like an Entrepreneur” now – CLICK HERE!

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How Long Should Your Video Be?

Looking for a way to boost your company’s social media presence?

Consider adding a video marketing component to your social media strategy.

You heard me – social media and video go together like Kanye and Kanye.

According to Responsive Inbound Marketing, social video generates 1,200% more shares than text and images combined.

That is an incredible ROI (Return On Investment) for any entrepreneur’s marketing dollars.

Of course, the bigger the production budget you have to create marketing videos to promote your business, the better – but not everyone has that luxury, at least not to start.

That’s okay.

While video production takes more time, effort, and finances than writing blogs, snapping pictures, creating memes, or other familiar forms of content, your investment doesn’t need to be through the roof, either.

As entrepreneurs, we are very lucky to live in an era where we can launch a corporate video series with little more than a smart phone and good lighting.

But just because videos are easy to produce, doesn’t mean you should just start shooting willy-nilly.

You need to have a strategy.

You need to plan out your videos.

One of the first things you’ll have to do before launching a social media video marketing campaign is decide how long your videos are going to be.

Seems kind of basic, but this is important – knowing how long your videos will run will influence a lot of other creative and strategic decisions concerning your video production down the road.

In other words, size matters.

(Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when deciding how long your business videos should be.

Shorter videos get more clicks and better engagement

The most popular videos on YouTube typically last around 1-10 minutes.

That is a huge window, and doesn’t really tell us anything about the most ideal length for social media videos, except that they should remain under 10 minutes. Ten minutes is pretty long, considering today’s online audiences have shorter attention spans than goldfish (true story, no exaggeration, research done by Microsoft).

“On an average day… we found that in the top ten most popular YouTube videos, the shortest was 42 seconds, and the longest was 9 minutes and 15 seconds. The average video length was 4 minutes and 20 seconds,” reported MiniMatters.

That said, video clicks are not as important as engagement.

Ideally, you want your viewer to stick around until the very end of your marketing video, as opposed to just clicking on the video and then quickly losing interest and getting diverted.

According to Wistia, a 4-5 minute video will retain only 60% of its audience by the end. A tighter video running only 1-2 minutes will still have 75% of its audience by the end.

Conclusion… aim to produce short marketing videos, preferably under two minutes.

Above all, offer value

While you want to go short, you don’t want to go too short.

After all, you still need to accomplish a few vital objectives in order for your business video to have impact.

First, you want to properly introduce yourself (or your business) in your video.

Next – and this is the most important part – you want to offer real value to your target audience.

Don’t make your business video too short, at the expense of providing real value.

The worst mistake you can make with your marketing video is to turn it into a sales pitch. If you do this, you will instantly lose your audience (specifically, in eight seconds or less).

The best video content fixes your audience’s problems.

Your video should address your audience’s questions, insecurities, and problems. It should resonate with them on an emotional level, and appeal to their values. It should entertain them.

Ideally, your video should also include a specific call-to-action.

A call-to-action is the part of your video where you ask your audience to do something for you. It can be as simple as getting them to subscribe to your YouTube channel or like your Facebook page.

Most calls-to-action (CTAs) happen at the end of the video, but as discussed, audiences drop out towards the end, so the sooner you can work in your CTA, the better.

Native videos get more engagement

When posting videos to promote your business on social media, it is always better to keep your videos “native”.

Native videos are videos that are uploaded directly to Facebook, for instance, as opposed to sharing a link to your video that is hosted on a different platform (such as YouTube).

Keeping your videos native is important because social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram will often give preference to native videos and that will earn you more visibility. And more visibility means more overall engagement (likes, shares, and comments).

According to a Quintly study, there were more than 4x more interactions on Facebook native videos than those shared from other platforms, including YouTube and Vimeo.

What does this have to do with the length of your business video?

Everything.

You see, while Facebook and YouTube allow you to upload pretty lengthy videos, other social media platforms, like Instagram and Twitter, restrict you to shorter video lengths.

Specifically, YouTube allows you to upload videos that are up to 15 minutes long. If you have a verified account, you can request permission to upload even longer videos, as long as the file size is less than 20GB. This basically translates into a video length of about an hour or so, with pretty decent quality.

Facebook, on the other hand, will allow you to upload up to 45 minutes of video (as long as your file size doesn’t exceed 1.75 GB).

Meanwhile, Twitter only permits your videos to be 140 seconds long. That’s a little over two minutes.

Think that’s short? Brace yourself…

Instagram only allows video uploads that are under 90 seconds. Don’t complain, it used to be a lot shorter!

So what this all means is that you need to plan in advance where you are going to post your social videos, and make sure you work within the time limits of each platform, so that you can reap the benefits of keeping your videos native.

If your video runs too long for Instagram and Twitter, you can always edit down a shorter version for those platforms, or create a teaser video with a call-to-action to visit Facebook or YouTube to see the longer version.

Once again, the benefits of keeping your marketing videos short are evident. If you produce a video that is 90 seconds or less, it will fit on more social media platforms with less hassles.

When deciding how long your social media marketing videos should be, consider the fact that audience attention spans are dwindling, and shorter videos get more clicks and better engagement than longer videos. That said, you don’t want your video to be so short that you don’t offer your audience real value. And finally, you’ll want to be aware of the video lengths permitted for native videos.

Get my free ebook, “How to Blog Like an Entrepreneur” now – CLICK HERE!

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FAV 5 Recommended Reading For Smart Entrepreneurs (April 11th, 2017)

Hello Entrepreneurs,

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

How to Pick Your Social Network [VIDEO]
Robin Sharma

Guardrails
Seth Godin

How Animal Instinct Protects Your Career
Dr. Isaiah Hankel

How To Stay Motivated [VIDEO]
Gary Vaynerchuk

Making Your Customers Happy
Kerry Song, Robbins International Research

Be amazing!

Nishi

Get my free ebook, “How to Blog Like an Entrepreneur” now – CLICK HERE!

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