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  • Using Social Media To Get a Job? LinkedIn Isn’t Your Only Option

    Wednesday, July 20, 2016 by

    Using Social Media To Get A Job

    We’ve all spent countless hours “Like”-ing our friends new puppy and retweeting our fave celebrity tweets, but have you considered using these social media platforms to find a job?

    The social stats: Companies rely on social media to screen potential candidates. According to Adweek.com, 93% of companies use LinkedIn, 66% use Facebook and 54% use Twitter for recruiting. It’s way easier for a company to use social media and, on average, requires 20% less time for an employer to find a new hire.

    And get this: roughly 30% of the time if a job candidate doesn’t have a social media presence, they won’t get hired. Sure, it depends on the type of job, but better to appear socially savvy than not.

    [bctt tweet="30% of job candidates who don't have a social media presence won't get the job." username="hostgator"]

    When we think about social media and job-hunting, there are some dos and don’ts:

    Do: Retweet/share an inspirational TED Talk.

    Don't: Retweet/share an endless stream of Kardashian family photos.

    Listen, we won’t judge you if you dig the Kardashians, but think about which of those two options makes you a more appealing job candidate.     

    We recommend beginning with one social media outlet to start your job hunt and then progressing to other platforms. Be consistent, and remember that you are your brand.

    Which Social Media Platform is Best for Your Job Search?

    LinkedIn

    LinkedIn is the most widely used platform for job hunters and employers. Use LinkedIn to post resume info, interests and achievements. You can search LinkedIn to find people who work in your field or for a specific company. And did you know there’s an app for that? LinkedIn offers a free app you can use to search for jobs by keywords, location and industries while on-the-go. You can also follow your favorite companies and receive hiring notifications. The app syncs with your LinkedIn profile and can make job recommendations based on your profile. LinkedIn also offers a paid Premium account where you can compare yourself to other applicants and even get estimated salary info.

    Oh, and to look even fancier on LinkedIn, add your skills and get endorsed for them by your colleagues. Need more endorsements? Try endorsing others. People usually react in kind.

    LinkedIn Endorsements

    Twitter

    If you already use Twitter for fun, consider creating a separate Twitter account for professional use only. Use hashtags to follow industries and companies in your field. Let people know you’re job hunting by using hashtags such as #Jobs, #Hiring, #Careers. You can follow industry trends by using specific hashtags: #Marketing or #Accounting. Follow industry leaders and if you find a person who tweets good advice, tell them. Think of this as a networking opportunity. Don’t just be a follower but create your own following by tweeting industry-related facts that you’ve learned.

    Facebook

    Increasingly, employers are using Facebook to screen job candidates. If you don’t want that top five accounting firm to see what a crazy (I mean, crazy) good time you had in Cancun, make sure your settings are private and delete any questionable pictures or posts.

    If you want to stay public enhance your job profile by adding work experiences under the “About” section of your profile.

    Search for friends who know people at companies you like. Join groups from your college and high school and let them know you are job hunting. So you don’t bore your non-professional friends, create a professional group from your current Facebook friends and share industry-related news with them.

    Instagram

    Instagram is a must for creative professionals. And Instagram portfolios are a thing. You can even link your Instagram account to your LinkedIn profile so employers can see your body of work.

    Pinterest

    Awesome for consultants or freelancers, Pinterest is a great place to show off your copywriting and graphic design skills. Set up your profile with pics of your own designs, infographics, and industry-related products that interest you.

    If you’re really proud of the work you’re presenting via social channels, link to them from your resume. Social media gives job applicants the opportunity to show themselves as a thoughtful, well-rounded person; so much more than just a piece of paper.

    Snapchat

    Okay, maybe it’s a long shot, but Snapchat is becoming a more legit way for companies to make money and for people to get found. Just ask Michael Platco who turned his goofy Snapchat pics, drawings, and storytelling into a massively successful freelancing career with clients like Walt Disney World.

    In today's world, anything is possible, so get out there, get social and get the job of your dreams!

    Ever land a job through social? Hit the comments and tell us about it!

    Besides social media, a sure way to stand out among other job candidates is with your own website. Leverage your online presence by showcasing your work. Build your personal brand today with a web hosting plan from HostGator - starting as low as $3.95/mo.

    Get Started With HostGator!

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    Written by Jennifer Carlisle

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  • How to Use Instagram to Generate Sales

    Friday, July 8, 2016 by

    How to use Instagram to drive sales

    Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social media networks, and one that is becoming increasingly important to brands and businesses.

    Generating sales on Instagram requires re-thinking traditional marketing tactics, and using a more indirect style to create the necessary trust and loyalty.

    Grow your brand, build loyalty, and then generate sales

    Young consumers are a savvy bunch: They’re comfy with brands but they hate traditional advertising. They skip TV commercials and use ad-blockers on the Internet. What they want from brands, more than anything, is authenticity

    What does this mean for your Instagram presence? It means traditional sales tactics won’t work there - in fact, those tactics will probably alienate your newfound followers and turn them against you. So no hard sells, no constant “buy now” appeals - nothing at all that reeks of actual commerce.

    Instead, create an aesthetic your target buyer will love and a community to which they want to belong. Create beautiful images that don’t just show off your product, but that directly relate to your customers’ lives and aspirations.

    This is true across most social media. Nike’s Facebook feed, for instance, isn’t just nice pictures of shoes and jackets with links to their website. Instead, 60% of their feed is lifestyle content - images aimed directly at their core demographic of hardcore fitness enthusiasts.

    Nike Instagram

    Note: Nearly every post from Nike’s recent Instagram page has over 1 million likes. None of them expressly demands a sale or provides a call to action.

    Ironically, focusing on lifestyle content increased the effectiveness of Nike’s more traditional call-to-action posts, which received an average of 993 shares. (By contrast, Adidas, which posted much less lifestyle content, received an average of only 122 shares on their call-to-action posts.)

    By the way, Snappy’s adventure travels on the HostGator Instagram don’t exactly tell customers to “buy HostGator’s stuff!” It’s just another fun way of getting our brand out into the world, literally.

    HostGator Instagram

    Harness the mighty power of the hashtag

    Like all social media platforms, Instagram posts have a limited shelf life. A few hours after they’re posted, they basically drop off the face of the earth.

    Hashtags are a way to give them a longer life, and to put your brand’s content in front of users who don’t already follow you.

    Hashtags on your posts should be relevant and specific: For instance, #cookies will probably cast a wider net, but #snickerdoodles or #hamantaschen will put you in front of people with a real interest in your product.

    Don’t overdo hashtags, either - a few well-chosen ones will do nicely. Any more than that and you risk looking like you’re trying to sell something.

    Reward your followers with special promotions and secret sales

    In addition to posting content they consistently love, you should also give your followers a little something extra: early access to sales, special discount codes, and Instagram-only promotions.

    It’s another way to make your customers (and potential customers) feel valued, to make your business appear generous, and to generate sales without seeming to actually “sell” anything. Instead of asking for business, you’re bestowing a gift.

    Your followers are themselves a great asset: You can encourage them to post pictures of themselves using or wearing your product, along with a promotional hashtag that’ll help boost their pic beyond their own followers. That cements their attachment to your brand, and also puts your product in front of potential customers in a way that feels organic and, oh yes, authentic.

    Be patient, and the sales will come

    For those used to the old marketing models, generating sales on Instagram can feel counterintuitive. But by creating an engaging and active community, your Instagram feed will attract more fans and followers, and those loyal and engaged followers are more likely to become paying customers.

    [bctt tweet="3 #Instagram Tips for Biz: Use hashtags, share lifestyle content, reward fans with secret sales." username="hostgator"]

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    By Lauren Barret

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  • 7 Steps To Validate Your Business Idea By Building An Email List

    Tuesday, June 21, 2016 by
    Building an Email List You’ve read a bunch of articles on how to validate a business idea. You understand the importance of talking to your initial target customers, learning about their problems, and creating a Minimum Viable Product.

    Yet you continue to wait for the perfect idea because you have no clue how to actually execute what you’ve read. Or (just as bad) you incorrectly assume you’ve validated your idea, and spend your time on the wrong things.

    But what if you could leverage proven validation strategies from successful founders? Real life case studies with actionable advice you can follow.

    Validate Your Business

    That’s exactly what I’ll show you how to do in this article. You’ll learn:

    • How to validate your business ideas by building an email list
    • How to find out what problems your subscribers have
    • And how to deliver a solution people will actually pay for.

    Let’s get started…

    (Read all the way to the bottom to get 5 more strategies the pros use to make money BEFORE even having a product)

    Step 1: Find Your Target Audience By Being Your Own Customer

    Traffic doesn’t matter if the visitors aren’t targeted or don’t convert. Before you even have a business, you need to have an idea of the type of customers you want to target.

    One of the best ways to start a business is to solve your own problem and to be your own customer. By targeting an audience that shares similar traits as you, you’re marketing to yourself and will then have an idea of the needs & wants of your target audience.

    For example: I was an aspiring entrepreneur looking to start a low-cost business to gain experience. I didn’t have a programming background, didn’t know how to create a website, and had no previous entrepreneurial experience.

    By targeting myself, I had a good idea of who I’m targeting, everything that they believe, what type of lifestyle they lead, goals and dreams, challenges and fears.

    Step 2: Stalk Your Target Audience To Find Out Their Interests

    At this stage, you’re not trying to find out what your audience is willing to pay for. You’re just trying to find out what they’re interested in, so you can bring traffic to your website. To do this, I recommend doing market research on Quora.

    Quora is a platform where people ask questions. What better way to find out how to help your audience than being fed questions they have on the top of their minds? All you have to do is search for topics in which your target audience would be interested.

    Business Ideas

    For example: By searching for “business ideas”, I could see the specific questions that my target audience is asking. You can then dig deeper into each question and see which type of answers are the most popular.

    Do this several times and you’ll start to notice similar types of questions that are being asked. Those are the type of questions you’ll want to address because that’s what your target audience is interested in.

    Step 3: Build Your 80/20 Website

    The most important thing to remember is that you’ll want to do the bare minimum and take an 80/20 approach to building your website. There’s no point in spending hundreds of dollars on a professional website until you’ve validated your business.

    To build an 80/20 website, I first set up a domain on HostGator and installed Wordpress. I then downloaded the SumoMe Wordpress Plugin to create a landing page with Welcome Mat that took about 30 minutes and looked like this:

    Landing Page Example

    Once you have the general design of the site created, you need to make sure your website has an effective headline that makes it clear to visitors exactly what your website is offering. Use words that clearly explain the benefits your audience will receive by being on your website.

    Once your website is up and running, it’s time to drive traffic to it and get your first set of email subscribers.

    Step 4: Get Your First 100 Email Subscribers

    Many people have a tendency to try and keep their website “secret” to their friends. But if you were opening a restaurant, you’d tell all your friends and family to drop by. You should do the same for your website.

    To get your first 100 email subscribers, you’ll want to leverage your personal network. They might not be your target audience, but they may have friends that are.

    First 100 Subscribers

    For example: I sent a message to 223 people on my Facebook network that looked like this.

    Facebook Message

    As a result, 64% of the people I reached out to joined my email list, and many of them referred other friends who joined as well.

    Another benefit of leveraging your personal network is that you’ll gain some initial feedback on the type of words and problems your target audience has.

    Here’s an example of some feedback I received:

    Facebook Feedback

    Based on the feedback, I learned that some of my target audience were tired of their typical “9-5 desk job” and were having problems with gaining the “courage” to quit their job. I would use these learnings for ideas for articles, and also by leveraging the same language my audience uses in my sales copy.

    After signing up your personal network, you’ll need to get specific feedback from people you don’t know. You’ll need to start marketing your website to acquire your first 1,000 email subscribers.

    Step 5: Get Your First 1,000 Email Subscribers

    Why 1,000 email subscribers?

    Well, 1,000 subscribers is enough to notice common trends in the type of problems your target audience is experiencing.

    There are many ways to actually grow your email list. The right method depends on your industry, and it’s up to you to run experiments.

    I decided to create evergreen content to attract my target audience to my website. I would promote the content on Quora by answering relevant questions, and include a link to my site:

    2016 Business Ideas

    Once visitors were on my website, I collected their emails by using pop-ups. Pop-ups are still a very effective way to collect emails. From just one article, I was able to collect 147 emails (conversion rate 6%). Here’s an example of my pop-up:

    Popup Example

    By repeating the same process, I was able to grow my email list to 1,000 subscribers within a month. I now had a large enough audience to engage with to find out their main problems.

    Step 6: Find Your Audience’s Biggest Problem

    Once you have 1,000 subscribers, it’s time to find out what your target audience’s biggest problem is. And what’s the best way to do this?

    Ask them.

    Send an email to your subscribers asking them what their biggest problem is. Here’s what my email looks like:

    Survey Email Sample

    I would then get responses like this:

    Survey Email Responses

    Based on the responses from your subscribers, you’ll start to notice common trends and problems your target audience is experiencing. From these trends, you should be able to create a product hypothesis to help solve their problems.

    Step 7: Create A Product That Solves Your Audience’s Problem

    The subscribers who reply to your email are going to be your most engaged users. These are the people who are most likely to purchase a product from you.

    Before you actually spend the time to create the product, you’ll want to validate it by sending your subscribers a survey. For example, Bryan Harris would send a survey with details of his product to his subscribers to validate his online course:

    Survey Form

    The key question he was looking for was “do you want to buy the course?”

    If a subscriber answered “yes,” he would follow it up with a link to a sales page with an early bird discount.

    The results? He gained 39 pre-orders before even having a product ready.

    Pre-Orders

    Bryan only sent the email to 225 subscribers. You don’t need a massive email list to validate your business. By applying the same approach, you too can validate your business before spending too much time and money on an idea.

    Remember, the best form of validation is when people are compelled enough to pay you money, even when you don’t have a product ready yet. Only once you’ve tested your product hypothesis and validated it with pre-orders, should you begin to spend more resources on making the product and getting more traffic to your site.

    Get More Case Studies On How To Validate Your Business

    This is just one method to validate your business without having to create a product first. It might not work for your specific business, it’s up to you to gauge if this strategy will work for your individual circumstances.

    For more inspiration on how to validate different types of businesses (e-commerce, online course, subscription sites, and more), SumoMe has created a collection of five additional case-studies of how you can validate your business by making money before you even have an actual product.

    Get the free report with 5 more strategies the pros use to make money BEFORE you even have a product


    Wilson Hung writes actionable step-by-step guides for SumoMe. Join our Sumo community of over 450,000 subscribers to learn how to grow your website and build your email list. Click here for 5 more strategies the pros use to make money before even having a product.

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