International stories and articles from our Flipboard mag.

DEC
08

Visual Personal Branding: How to Build a Loyal Following With Images

Want to create a strong connection with your followers?

Wondering how to capture photos that authentically tell your brand’s story?

To explore how to develop your visual personal brand on Instagram and beyond, I interview Jenna Kutcher.

More About This Show

The Social Media Marketing podcast is an on-demand talk radio show from Social Media Examiner. It’s designed to help busy marketers, business owners, and creators discover what works with social media marketing.

In this episode, I interview Jenna Kutcher, host of the Goal Digger Podcast. She’s formally a professional wedding photographer. Thousands of people have taken her online course, The Instagram Lab.

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DEC
07

Top 5: Reasons to pay attention to your company's audience on social media

If your company has social media accounts, you have an audience. Even if you don't, your customers use social media, and they may be talking about your business anyway. Here are five reasons you need to pay attention to what they're saying:

1. It helps hone your message.

When you know the mood of your customers you have a better chance of making yourself understood. Read the room people. The Internet is your room now.

SEE: Job description: Social media analyst (Tech Pro Research)

2. You can make decisions before you're forced into it.

If you see what's driving your customers, you can anticipate what they might need or want next and be ready.

3. You can change a bad experience into a good one.

If you understand why your audience feels the way they do about your product you can fix it and tell them in a way they'll here. Hopefully before the dissatisfaction spreads.

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DEC
07

The Real Way to Build a Massive and Engaged Social Following

Do you get the feeling that the world of social media is experiencing a big shift? For example, Instagram content has become so repetitive that a styled photo isn't enough to stand-out anymore.

It feels like power is flowing back to those influencers who created, or are creating, a real following of engaged users. This shift will mean that the engagement of one's account is more important than the size of its following.

Now that the Instagram robots are virtually marginalized and the "growth hack" tips and tricks are obsolete, how do you build a massive following of users who are actually engaged? I don't have the answer, so I interviewed someone I know who does: Matt Gottesman of Hustle & Deal Flow.

I first met Gottesman when he interviewed me on his podcast - and I've followed him ever since. I admire how authentically and quickly he's built an engaged community of more than 135,000 followers on Instagram

If you're just launching a new brand, or want to take your brand to a new level, you should consider these 5 big secrets for building a strong social media following.

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DEC
06

7 Digital Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Digital marketing is a field that evolves at a rapid rate, but it is essential that you keep on top of things as a business owner. The online world seems to be one that will only continue growing in popularity, so your company needs to be ready to be at the forefront of any changes and developments that occur. While you are likely to have already read a lot of information about digital marketing strategies that you should take, you may not have read all that much about things you should avoid doing. This is what we will be focusing on within this article.

By reading about some of the most common mistakes that companies make, you will put yourself in the strongest position to avoid repeating them. Trial and error is an approach that occurs naturally in a lot of businesses, but if you can cut back on the errors as much as possible, you should find that the path ahead of you is much smoother. So, let’s get going with the top five digital marketing mistakes that your business should avoid.

1. Failing to establish clear goals

Like any strategy that you put in place, you need to have a clear idea of exactly what you are trying to achieve. Otherwise, you won’t have any measure of what you are working towards and you are likely to directionless in your approach. Rather than vague aspirations, your goals should be clearly measurable as much as possible so that each of your objectives is clearly supported. When you have these goals, you can also evaluate how challenging they have been to hit and whether or not you need to shift your approach. After all, a digital marketing strategy is made up of a number of different components so you need to decide which aspects take precedence over others.

2. Not looking closely at your analytics

A digital marketing campaign is not something that you can simply set in motion and leave to run its course. You need to be monitoring things on a regular basis, ensuring that its performance is meeting the required level. There are plenty of analytical tools out there which allow you to monitor exactly where traffic is coming from to your site.

That doesn’t mean that you need to be worrying if there is a drop one day, but you should be looking at the wider trends that will make a difference to your overall strategy. As an example, the channel that is providing the highest volume of traffic may be returning the lowest quality of leads. Therefore, you need to be focusing your attention on converting the traffic you are obtaining into buyers rather than browsers.

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DEC
06

18 web design tools to speed up your workflow in 2018

The right web design tools can streamline your workflow, helping you work smarter – rather than harder – and more efficiently. After all, you want to invest your energy in solving problems, delighting users and creating beautiful designs. You don’t want to waste it on dull, repetitive and soul-sapping tasks. 

Thankfully, new web design tools are being released all the time to help you simplify processes, and reduce time and effort – most notably in UI design. 

Here, we look at 18 brilliant web design tools for 2018 that will help you become more productive in the coming year. Some are brand spanking new; others have been around for a while. But all have the potential to save you time, energy and budget in your web design projects.

01. Sketch

Sketch is rapidly replacing Photoshop as the UI design tool of choice

We’ll start with the most obvious. Yes, we know everyone’s heard of Sketch – Bohemian Coding’s vector UI design tool – but anecdotally it seems there are still a lot of web designers relying on Photoshop for UI design (and that's despite the release of Adobe XD, Adobe's shiny new prototyping and wireframing tool – one of the newest additions to Creative Cloud – which comes in second on this list). 

Rory Berry, creative director at Superrb, rightly feels that using Photoshop for web deign is a mistake. He made the switch to Sketch in 2017, and highly recommends it. “Having been a user of Photoshop for over 10 years, it was hard to change and learn something new,” he says. “But literally after the first day of using Sketch, there was no looking back. I’m a total convert.”

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DEC
05

Microsoft and Qualcomm unveil Always Connected PCs with built-in LTE and battery life measured in days

At the Qualcomm Snapdragon Tech Summit in Maui today, Microsoft and Qualcomm announced Always Connected PCs, Windows 10 computers that can turn on instantly, offer built-in LTE connectivity, and feature battery life measured not in hours but in days. Partners Asus and HP announced the first Windows 10 devices powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon chipsets: the Asus NovaGo and the HP ENVY x2. Lenovo is also working on its own Always Connected PC, but the company isn’t yet ready to share details.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because Microsoft has tried running Windows on ARM before with its Surface RT tablet running Windows RT. That project was largely a failure, but the company is trying again.

A year ago, Microsoft said it was working with hardware partners to build Windows 10 computers powered by Qualcomm chipsets. At Build 2017 in May, a session showed off Windows 10 running on ARM with support for existing Win32 apps (unlike Windows RT, which only worked with apps specifically compiled for the OS), but otherwise there were very few updates. Now, Microsoft is finally ready to talk, and let its partners show off devices. But they’re still not quite ready — general availability is slated for spring 2018.

Still, Microsoft and Qualcomm want to talk about the three features that Always Connected PCs boast over other computers:

The screen turns on “instantly” whenever you pick up the device. Unlike other Windows 10 PCs, you never have to wait for it to wake up.Built-in LTE means you are online everywhere you have cellular service. Anywhere your phone has data, your PC is also connected.Battery life that lasts days means you can charge your PC as little as once a week, and not have to carry around power cords.

Microsoft has worked closely with Asus, HP, and Lenovo to “push the boundary of a Windows PC,” Matt Barlow, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Windows and devices, told VentureBeat. Barlow noted that these are truly Windows 10 computers that have everything you would expect: Start Menu, Windows Hello, File Explorer, Paint 3D, Office, Minecraft, and so on.

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DEC
05

Make your old home security system smart with this simple kit

Startup Konnected found a use for your janky old wired home security system -- to convert it into a SmartThings- or Home-Assistant-powered security system via its $69 Alarm Panel (roughly £50 and AU$90 converted). 

Expected to ship to backers globally in February 2018, the Alarm Panel has raised over $115,000 on Kickstarter. Konnected's original funding goal was just $25,000; two weeks are left on the campaign. 

Here's how it's supposed to work. Remove your system's existing circuit board and replace it with Konnected's version. Each port is supposed to correspond to a particular door/window sensor, smoke alarm, motion detector or other piece of home security hardware. 

While this doesn't sound like the simplest installation, it (in theory) is about the same as setting up a thermostat. Swap out the circuit board behind your old security system's main control unit, install the Konnected Alarm Panel in its place and return the same wires to their corresponding ports.

Note: Always consult a qualified professional if you have questions about the installation. 

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DEC
05

Apple introduces a new pay-per-install ad product called Search Ads Basic

Apple today is introducing a new way for app developers to acquire users for their apps: it’s launching a pay-per-install advertising product called Search Ads Basic. The “basic” branding signals that this product is being aimed at smaller developers compared with the existing Search Ads product, which is now being renamed to Search Ads Advanced.

Launched last year, Search Ads have been one of the biggest changes to date in terms of improving discovery of mobile applications on the App Store. The idea with the original Search Ads product was to help developers better target potential users using specific information – like location, gender, keywords, and whether or not they’ve ever installed the app before.

After configuring a campaign, those ads would then appear at the top of the App Store search results when users searched for a keyword or terms, like “games,” or “war games,” for example.

Developers paid for these ad placements when users tapped on them.

That product, now called Search Ads Advanced, isn’t going away. Instead, it’s being joined by a more entry-level option, Search Ads Basic.

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DEC
05

YouTube is cutting access to Amazon FireTV on January 1

YouTube is cutting access to Amazon's FireTV and Echo Show CNET

If you've got an Amazon Fire TV, say goodbye to using it to watch YouTube.

The Google-owned video service is cutting access to the Amazon device on Jan. 1, a Google spokeswoman said on Tuesday. YouTube is also cutting access Tuesday for a second time to Amazon's Echo Show video device.

The moves signal that the ongoing battle between the world's biggest search engine and the world's largest online retailer may get messier in 2018.

"We've been trying to reach agreement with Amazon to give consumers access to each other's products and services," the Google spokeswoman said in a statement. "But Amazon doesn't carry Google products like Chromecast and Google Home, doesn't make Prime Video available for Google Cast users, and last month stopped selling some of Nest's latest products. 

"Given this lack of reciprocity," she said. "We are no longer supporting YouTube on Echo Show and FireTV. We hope we can reach an agreement to resolve these issues soon."

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DEC
05

Apple Pay Cash lets you send money via Messages; here's how to use it

After a bit of a delay, Apple Pay Cash is now live for users in the US, which means you can use your iPhone to send and receive money from friends right within Messages. Transfers go straight to your virtual Pay Cash card, so there’s no need for additional apps.

The feature requires iOS 11.2 and is compatible with the iPhone SE, iPhone 6 or later, iPad Pro, iPad (5th-gen), iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3 or later, and Apple Watch. It’s presently rolling out in phases to users of the latest iOS beta, so you may not immediately be able to try it. Oh, and you’ll need to have two-factor authentication turned on, and be over 18.

MacRumors notes that transactions between Apple Pay Cash cards and debit cards don’t attract any overages; however, if you’re using a linked credit card to send money, you’ll be charged a 3 percent fee. Money that you receive is routed to your Pay Cash card, which you can either use for purchases wherever it’s supported, or you can transfer it to a connected bank account.

If it’s active on your device already, here’s how to set it up:

Open the Wallet app.Tap on the Apple Pay Cash card.Follow the on-screen instructions to set it up, enable Apple Pay, and confirm your details in Settings.The activation process will then begin, and take a few seconds. When it’s done, you’ll spot an Apple Pay Cash card in Wallet that you can access and use.

To send or request a payment in Messages:

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DEC
05

Beware of Relying on Fake Social Media Followers. Ever Heard of 'Shadowbanning'?

A few months ago, Mediakix ran an experiment by creating two new Instagram profiles, one using photos of a local model and one using stock photos. The company then filled both accounts with purchased followers, likes and comments. Before long, each account had secured paid influencer deals with brands, despite reaching a grand total of zero real people.

Related: Forget Hacks -- Here Are the 2 Things You Need to Do to Grow Your Following on Social Media

On the one hand, this shows how easy it is to grow your numbers rapidly if you're willing to resort to fake traffic. But on the other hand, it shows just how big the problem of bot accounts and illegitimate traffic has become for everyone involved -- marketers, brands and social media platforms.

While marketers might feel good to see their follower count rise, those who rely on empty traffic will inevitably suffer the consequences. By relying on the automation of inauthentic engagement, including automatic likes, comments, follows and unfollows, the only thing you'll gain in the long term is frustration. Here's why.

The new social media standard

Although sniffing out bot accounts remains challenging, Instagram closely monitors services that claim to help users game the system, and it punishes all those involved, users and third-party services alike. Brands that rely on spam accounts to boost followers, or even "like" other content pages to strengthen their own followings, are at risk of being shadowbanned (a Instagram penalty that makes your hashtags undiscoverable).

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DEC
05

Don't Buy Anyone an Echo

Amazon/Gizmodo

Three years ago, we said the Echo was “the most innovative device Amazon’s made in years.” That’s still true. But you shouldn’t buy one. You shouldn’t buy one for your family. You definitely should not buy one for your friends. In fact, ignore any praise we’ve ever heaped onto smart speakers and voice-controlled assistants. They’re bad!

What’s challenging about this holiday season is that the futuristic gadgets are just so damn easy to buy. We’ve also given glowing reviews to several smart speakers and especially the Google Home devices. They’re so pretty! Right now, smart speakers are cheaper than ever, too. Both Amazon and Google have slashed $20 off the price of their cheapest smart speakers, the Echo Dot and the Home Mini. That’s $30 for gift that you could wrap and give your cousin and expect a “Wow cool, I always wanted one of these!” If you really want to impress them, you can get the full-sized Amazon Echo or Google Home for $80 a piece—a discount of $20 and $50, respectively. Such savings!

Let me make this point dreadfully clear, though: Your family members do not need an Amazon Echo or a Google Home or an Apple HomePod or whatever that one smart speaker that uses Cortana is called. And you don’t either. You only want one because every single gadget-slinger on the planet is marketing them to you as an all-new, life-changing device that could turn your kitchen into a futuristic voice-controlled paradise. You probably think that having an always-on microphone in your home is fine, and furthermore, tech companies only record and store snippets of your most intimate conversations. No big deal, you tell yourself.

Actually, it is a big deal. The newfound privacy conundrum presented by installing a device that can literally listen to everything you’re saying represents a chilling new development in the age of internet-connected things. By buying a smart speaker, you’re effectively paying money to let a huge tech company surveil you. And I don’t mean to sound overly cynical about this, either. Amazon, Google, Apple, and others say that their devices aren’t spying on unsuspecting families. The only problem is that these gadgets are both hackable and prone to bugs.

Before getting into the truly scary stuff, though, let’s talk a little bit about utility. Any internet-connected thing that you bring into your home should make your life easier. Philips Hue bulbs, for instance, let you dim the lights in an app. Easy! A Nest thermostat learns your habits so you don’t have to turn up the heat as often. Cool! An Amazon Echo or a Google Home, well, they talk to you, and if you’re lucky, you might be able to figure out how to talk back in the right way and do random things around the house. Huh?

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DEC
05

How to Never Run Out of Content Ideas Again

It’s the time of year when everyone who does content work for a startup or tech company here in the Bay area wants to talk about how to generate story ideas. They know I do this work for a living and they want tips as they prepare their 2018 content strategies.

It’s safe to say that if you’re fully committed to content marketing, you have to write a boatload of content. And constantly coming up with new topics and ideas for this is no easy task.

There are many strategies you can use to find new topics. Some of my favorites involve monitoring what your audience is saying online: through visiting industry forums, Q&A sites like Quora and your blog and social media comments.

But even with these strategies, it's not uncommon to run out of ideas. This post will offer an alternative process you can use to guarantee that you never run out of content ideas again.

Related: 11 Things To Write About When You Don't Know What to Write About

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DEC
05

This Is the Content Strategy I Use to Dominate Your Facebook Feed

The problem with most content marketing strategies is that they place content as king. But, content isn't king, and this is why ...

It isn't to say creating quality, relevant content isn't important. It is. Without this you have nothing, but even if you create the most high-impacting content around, it means little if nobody sees it (or if the right people don't see it at the right time).

Related: 10 Hidden Facebook Marketing Hacks You Can Try Today

As such, content isn't king; distribution is.

But, you've heard this already, which is why you place so much focus on social media, email marketing, bookmarking sites and all that jazz. This is the wrong approach to take, and in this article I will show you why.

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DEC
04

Influencer Or Imposter? A Quick Guide To Influencer Marketing

Co-written with freelance Megan Leung

Influencers Chriselle Lim, Aimee Song and Camile Coelho attend Coach Spring 2018 fashion show. (Photo by Lars Niki/Getty Images for Coach)

First there were influencers. Then came micro-influencers. What next? Nano-influencers?

As the trend carries on and brands get a whiff of influencer marketing, one question haunts many: What makes someone a so-called influencer?

The Cambridge Dictionary defines influencer as “a person or group that has the ability to influence the behavior or opinions of others.” By and large, this isn’t a new thing. For centuries we’ve had philosophers, artists and activists. They were the influencers of the past.

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DEC
03

Banks Build Line of Defense for Doomsday Cyberattack

U.S. banks have quietly launched a doomsday project they hope will prevent a run on the financial system should one of them suffer a debilitating cyberattack.

The effort, which went live earlier this year and is dubbed Sheltered Harbor, currently includes banks and credit unions that have roughly 400 million U.S. accounts. The effort requires member firms to individually back up data so it can be used by other firms to serve customers of a disabled bank.

...
Original author: Demos
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DEC
03

Getting data from the web: scraping

library(tidyverse)library(rvest)theme_set(theme_minimal())

What if data is present on a website, but isn’t provided in an API at all? It is possible to grab that information too. How easy that is to do depends a lot on the quality of the website that we are using.

HTML is a structured way of displaying information. It is very similar in structure to XML (in fact many modern html sites are actually XHTML5, which is also valid XML)

Process

HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is the basic building block of the World Wide Web. It defines the structure and format of content on web pages. The HTML code is stored on a server and retrieved by your computer when you visit a web page.

The web browser sends a request to the server that hosts the website.The server sends the browser an HTML document.The browser uses instructions in the HTML to render the website.

Components of HTML code

HTML code looks something like this:

<html> <head> <title>Title</title> <link rel="icon" type="icon" href="http://a" /> <link rel="icon" type="icon" href="http://b" /> <script src="https://c.js"></script> </head> <body> <div> <p>Click <b>here</b> now.</p> <span>Frozen</span> </div> <table style="width:100%"> <tr> <td>Kristen</td> <td>Bell</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Idina</td> <td>Menzel</td> </tr> </table> <img src="http://ia.media-imdb.com/images.png"/> </body></html>

HTML code consists of markup code used to annotate text, images, and other content for display in a web browswer. As you can see, the code above consists of HTML elements which are created by a tag <>. Elements can also have attributes that configure the elements or adjust their behavior.

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DEC
02

Google is cracking down on apps collecting info they don’t need

Google is rolling out a number of changes designed to protect users on Android. Earlier this week, we reported on new rules that banned apps from displaying ads on your lock screen. These could potentially trick users into downloading unwanted software or sharing data that they don’t want to. Now, Google is cracking down on apps that share information it shouldn’t.

The Safe Browsing team is laying out new restrictions on how apps collect a user’s data. Under the new policy, apps must provide their privacy policy and prompt users to share their data. This applies to everything from a user’s phone number to the list of apps installed on the phone.

Applications which collect and transmit personal data not required for the app to function must tell users how the data will be used.

If an app collects and transmits personal data unrelated to the functionality of the app then, prior to collection and transmission, the app must prominently highlight how the user data will be used and have the user provide affirmative consent for such use.

The new requirements will apply to all functions of an app. For example, if an application wants to send analytics or crash reports, it cannot transmit the list of installed packages unrelated to the app unless it discloses that and gets permission from the user.

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DEC
02

Facebook Will Lock Account And Require Account Holders To Upload A ‘Clear Selfie’ To Prove Identity

Facebook may ask you to upload a clear selfie of your face to prove you are not a robot. According to Daily Mail, a screenshot was shared on social media that asked the user to upload a photo that clearly showed their face. Some users claimed that they were locked out while Facebook was reviewing the picture they uploaded.

A Facebook spokesperson stated that this new security rule would help them catch suspicious activity at various points of interaction on the website, from creating an account to sending friend requests, to creating ads for their business pages.

At this point, it isn’t clear how long Facebook has been using this method, but some social media account holders say that the practice goes back to April.

When Facebook detects suspicious activity, they will ask the owner to prove that they are a real person by uploading a clear picture that clearly shows their face. The review team will check it against the pictures on the account, then delete the image from the server.

Another reason Facebook has been using this method is to determine if the account is real. Apparently, the social media giant claims that many accounts have been proven to be fake accounts. This method helps weed out the fake accounts.

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DEC
01

Influence: The 4-Step Process for Selling Anything to Anyone

Influence is described as "the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something." However as subtle as some forms of influence might seem as they appear in both verbal and non-verbal cues, the ability to have influence over someone, especially in the area of sales, can quite literally transform your business and your finances.

As a decades-long student of psychology, I've long been fascinated with the areas of human behavior. From subtle gestures of body language, to the usage of a particular color in a call to action, I analyze and I notice the non-conscious drivers of our action. It's a useful skill to have whether you're a poker player, an ardent litigator or a savvy entrepreneur looking to negotiate your next deal.

However, my understanding of areas such as neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), a science that helps us understand and shape human behavior to our will, pales in comparison to some of the greatest purveyors of influence of all time. Richard Bandler and John Grinder who gave birth to this science that was championed by the likes of Tony Robbins, have crafted an entire arena of human development and understanding that's advanced significantly in recent years.

Why is NLP so important? Well at the basis of selling anything to anyone is your ability to influence that person to buy from you. When you have a wholehearted understanding of the proper approach, not only can you sell, but you can likely outsell just about everyone. And if you're a salesperson or entrepreneur anywhere in the world, then the following information could quite literally revolutionize your business and your ability to exponentiate your income.

Related: 7 Key Selling Habits All Sales Professionals Must Develop

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