Top 11 Reasons to Use Social Media in Business

Over the past few years, to say social media has exploded would be an understatement. Members of social media sites have discovered it's the easiest way to find, learn about, and share information that directly influences their purchasing decisions. It is this reason alone that every business should be on multiple social media sites in an effort to reach as many people as possible.

Below are the top 11 reasons to use social media in business:

  1. Build relationships – personal and professional; connect with all types of people – past and present coworkers, current clients, prospects, vendors, competitors, and marketing professionals to build your network
  2. Share your blog posts; share interesting and useful articles, other blogs, webinars, podcasts, presentations, and poll / survey results with your fan base
  3. Gather valuable information – research similar products / services, competitors, prospects, marketing tips, blog ideas, create your own poll / survey – the amount of information available is endless
  4. Join a social network of like-minded individuals or start a new interest group where you can further brand your product / service, build relationships, and share ideas and information
  5. Stay current with the latest trends – write a blog or join a discussion on a trending topic; become aware of new social media sites that might fit the needs of your business
  6. Land a great new job – using your new connections on various social media sites, you can get the inside scoop on companies that are hiring, as well as resume and interview tips
  7. Discover a new passion in life, become a volunteer, or start a fundraising event
  8. Get found by prospects by using inbound marketing tactics – spread the word about your product / service through social media sites; to form a complete marketing plan, combine this with outbound techniques (interruptive marketing)
  9. Build business reputation and brand – constantly add value to all your posts and become a trustworthy leader in your industry; to quote Bob Burg, "All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like, and trust."
  10. Build a marketing department inexpensively – for start-ups, employing inbound marketing tactics is a cheap way to start marketing your product / service; most social media sites are free to join, while others have a minimal monthly or annual fee
  11. Help increase conversion rates – use social media and inbound marketing to steer more organic traffic to your website and convert more leads into sales; the average conversion rate is 2.3%, but varies by industries according to ClickZ, Marketing News & Expert Advice, http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/1691779/benchmarking-average-conversion-rate .

I recommend choosing a useful of sites to manage and start getting your feet wet. Not every social media site available will be right for you or your business and it would overwhelming to try them all. For example, consistently maintaining a blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ pages, a YouTube channel, as well as a Twitter account might be a great place to start. Depending on the type of business, a Pinterest, Tumblr, or Flickr account might or may not be worthwhile, but obviously they are great certain brands.

If you need help getting started, there are countless different types of resources. I have used the An Hour a Day book series on Facebook Marketing, Twitter Marketing, and Social Media Marketing. They address each entity in a step-by-step fashion that is very user-friendly. I also find Hubspot to be extremely helpful. They are continuously publishing user guides that contain valuable information, tips, and tricks. Lastly, when creating your profile on the various social media sites that best fit your marketing plan, it's a good idea to connect with other marketers to check out what they are doing to boost business.

Do you have a tip or trick to share with newcomers to social media? Share it with us; you are more than welcome to post questions and / or comments here!

Why Internet Marketing Videos Are Leveling The Playing Field In Internet Marketing

This article outlines a popular video marketing strategy and also discusses how average people are becoming internet superstars through the power of internet marketing videos. Part 1 of this article discusses how internet marketing videos are enabling many people to grasp concepts that they normally would not be able to assist. Part 2 of this article goes into detail about an effective video marketing strategy

What could be more enticing to the aspiring internet marketer than to look over someone's should while watching an internet marketing video tutorial? That's why video tutorials are fast becoming the most popular way to learn any subject matter. If you use screen capture video recording software like Camtasia, then you can make as many video products as you want.

More and more offline businesses are using video tutorials to support their customers and train their work force. When it comes to online marketing, it just makes sense to have videos to help your customers and clients understand the concept you're trying to teach as an information product creator. The reason that internet marketing videos are leveling the playing field for the aspiring online marketer is that that makes it easier to rasp some new concepts. The understanding and understanding is now attained simply by watching a video.

There's no shortage of these internet marketing videos out there now, and people are actually selling master resell rights and private label rights to their videos. That's a pretty clear sign of how popular the videos are becoming, when people can make them so quickly and easily that they're selling the rights to them for not a lot of money. To learn as much as you possible can about internet marketing in the shortest amount of time, I highly recommend these internet marketing videos . And that's how these videos and lifting the playing field. It's a visual style of learning that is the closest you can come to step-by-step training.

Part 2 of this article deals with an effective video marketing strategy.

You have heard of YouTube before, right? Well, that site is extremeley popular right now because of the entertainment value it brings to thousands of people every day. If you look in the How-to section, you'll see some internet marketing videos there. The reason that many marketers put their videos up on YouTube is not just for the traffic from YouTube viewers. They put their videos up there to use YouTube's bandwidth instead of their own. Here's what some enterprising marketers are doing:

They make a video sales page and put it up on YouTube, then have as many people as possible comment underneath it so that it looks like it's getting good press. You'll see this in action when you go to a sales page and there's a video on there playable from YouTube's site. Putting a video up on YouTube for a product launch is a smart video marketing strategy. This means you do not have to use use your web server's bandwidth to play video, plus YouTube allows comments to be made underneath the video player. These comments can add credibility to the video and product it's selling.

The best thing for you to do as an aspiring marketer is to watch as many internet marketing videos as possible in order to get up to speed quickly. As a product creator, using Youtube's bandwidth is a good idea for now, since it helps your videos load quicker and you can get more expsoure for your sites this way. Just be aware of the fact that YouTube is starting to change their policies a little.

Adirondack All Weather Furniture – Choosing the Right Wood Type

Few people are aware of the fact that the idea for quality Adirondack all weather furniture began with a quest to find the perfect chair for relaxing on lazy summer evenings. This is why comfort is one of the very first things anyone thinks of when imagining an Adirondack chair or lounger. Aside from comfort, the other feature that most comes to mind when thinking about Adirondack all weather furniture is durability … why else would they call it all-weather !?

Because the original Adirondack chairs were originally designed for outdoor use at some lake cottage or similar retreat-the furniture had to be durable and was made from woods such as:

1. Cypress

2. Pine

3. Cedar

The use of cypress for construction purposes dates all the way back to ancient Egypt when the wood was a material for the construction of caskets for the first pharaohs. Today, cypress is a very common wood and used to make outdoor furniture like swings and various deck accessories. Cypress is also commonly used to make doors and windows as well because it has a conservative within the wood grain that helps it naturally repel insects and resist rot and decay which is why it is a popular choice when crafting quality-made Adirondack chairs and patio furniture .

Pine is another common wood used to make quality Adirondack all weather chairs and other seasonal outdoor furniture. Because of its abundance and reliably quick growth cycle, pine tends to be cheaper wood and is used extensively in the construction of many outdoor furniture pieces, including tables, benches, swings, chairs, and loungers. Pine tends to have a relatively low oil content and bids to that dry out easily, making it susceptible to cracking. However, when properly maintained, pine can be used to make premium Adirondack all weather furniture.

Cedar is a great wood when thinking about quality Adirondack outdoor furniture. Having a reddish brown color, cedar wood tend to be somewhat knotty and is actually a softwood. Cedar is naturally insect repellant and tend to have a very distinct aroma which can be managed with a sealer. However, quality Adirondack all weather furniture made from cedar is both beautiful and very durable making it an excellent choice when buying patio or deck chairs, tables, or accessories.

Life Insurance 101, An Explanation of Various Types of Life Insurance

TERM LIFE INSURANCE – Life insurance for a set number or years. You can choose from 5 to 30 year terms. No cash value, if you die during the term you collect the death benefit. The policy dies after the selected term has ended and you receive nothing unless you have a, return of premium rider or you convert the policy to some form of permanent insurance.

RETURN OF PREMIUM TERM INSURANCE (ROP) – A term insurance policy that returns all or a portion of premiums paid at the end of the term if the death benefit has not been paid.

SIMPLIFIED TERM INSURANCE – Term insurance which uses a simple application. Underwriting is done electronically. No underwriting requirements by the applicant unless red flags arise out of the electronic underwriting process. Policy is usually issued much quicker than regular term. There is a limit of death benefit for this type of policy ($350,000 or less) depending on the insurance carrier. This type of policy is generally more expensive because of additional risk by the insurance carrier. Less underwriting =more risk.

CRITICAL ILLNESS INSURANCE – Applied for as a stand-alone policy or as a rider to another life insurance policy. Pay immediate benefit for a covered illness even if death does not occur.

ACCIDENTAL DEATH INSURANCE – Pays benefit in event of a covered sudden accidental death. Applied for as a stand-alone policy or as a rider to another form of life insurance.

MORTGAGE PROTECTION INSURANCE OR DECREASING TERM INSURANCE – Term insurance that pays the balance of your mortgage should death occur. The amount of death benefit decreases to match the amount owed on mortgage. The insurance is set up to end at the same time your mortgage is set to end.

UNIVERSAL LIFE INSURANCE (non variable) – Flexible premiums. Can be a permanent insurance as long as premiums are paid and policy is funded properly. Investment policy in which risk lies with insurance company.

Has a minimum guaranteed interest rate which differs by company. This policy has the ability to gain contract value. The death benefit can be set to level (death benefit stays the same throughout) or increasing (death benefit increases as contract value rises). You may obtain loans or make withdraws but you must be careful, if the policy is not funded, it will collapse.

VARIABLE UNIVERSAL LIFE INSURANCE – Agent must have securities license to sell. Very similar to non-variable universal life. The difference is that the policy owner assumes investment risk. There is no guaranteed interest rate. Policy can collapse if investment does not do well and policy is not funded properly.

WHOLE LIFE INSURANCE – Simply put, you pay the premium and the policy will last your whole life. You usually have an option to borrow against the policy, amount depends on the value of the policy. This type of policy is usually much more expensive than the universal life policy.

GRADED BENEFITS WHOLE LIFE – Partial or no benefits paid until a named or tiered waiting period has passed. If you die before the waiting period has passed, you usually will receive the return of your premium payments with some sort of interest.

FINAL EXPENSE WHOLE LIFE INSURANCE – This type of whole life insurance is aimed at burial and funeral expenses and other final expenses. Usually, no medical exam required and death benefit is limited to $50,000 or less.

SINGLE PREMIUM WHOLE LIFE – This whole life policy is paid for by a single lump sum payment. In return the beneficiary receives a larger death benefit than the payment.

THINGS TO CONSIDER: You may be interested in mixing and matching different types of policies. For example; There is a need for 500k immediately. As time goes on, the kids have graduated college and are out of the house, the house is almost or totally paid off. Now the need is less. In this example you may want to purchase a 330k universal life and a 20 year 200k term. This plan will save you money and still protect your family for life.

Or, you may want to mix term, critical illness, accident, universal life, or whole life in various ways depending on your needs.

RIDERS:

Waiver of Premium Rider – pays life insurance premium if you become disabled and can’t work. There is usually a waiting period and rider usually expires at age 60 or 65.

Critical Illness Rider – Rider is explained above.

Return of Premium Rider – Rider is explained above.

Guaranteed Insurability Rider – this rider allows you to purchase an additional amount of life insurance at a later date without having to prove insurability again or take another medical exam.

Term Conversion Rider – allows you to convert a term insurance policy into a permanent policy without proving insurability again.

Accelerated Benefit Rider – this rider is only for permanent life insurance policies. This rider is usually included automatically for free. It allows you to collect a portion of your policy’s death benefit if you become terminally ill with a short life expectancy, usually one year. The portion paid out is subtracted from you policy’s death benefit.

Accidental Death Benefit Rider – This rider pays in addition to the death benefit if you die from an accident.

Child protection Rider – Usually used to pay final expenses if the unthinkable happens. Often, at a nominal cost and purchased in units of $1,000.

UNDERWRITING: requirements depend on insurance carrier, type of policy, amount of death benefit, age, build chart, gender, medical history, medications, family history, motor vehicle report, and other factors.

An application is always required, although, non-medical policies usually have a simple application.

Requirements could be: Paramed (certified medical processor or nurse comes to your place of choosing, takes you through a medical questionnaire, measures your height and weight, takes blood and urine sample, possibly EKG either resting or non-resting), Medical information from your physician or hospital, Medical exam, etc.

HEALTH CLASSES – Typical health classes would be, Preferred Best, Preferred, Select Standard, Standard, and then different nicotine classes such as, preferred nicotine, select nicotine, and standard nicotine.

It is possible to be rated less than standard depending on health and underwriting factors.

You must qualify for a health class. This is chosen by the underwriter after the underwriting process is complete. The agent can only quote you the different health classes but this can change with the underwriting process.