VERY SPECIAL CHARITY CAR WASH TAKES PLACE IN LETTERKENNY TODAY

first_imgA very special charity car wash takes place for a very special cause in Letterkenny today.Get along to the car wash at George Sweeneys in Letterkenny today.A group of 8 Donegal-based cyclists will leave on August 28th from Mizen Head and arrive at Malin head 4 days later on August 31st having completed 677 kms.To support the cycle, a charity carwash will take place today aid of Jigsaw Donegal at George Sweeney’s Top Service Station, Ballyraine, Letterkenny. There will be 5 Top Oil Fuel vouchers up for grabs for anybody who comes along to have their car washed.The car wash from 12 noon to 5 pm approx. See you there! VERY SPECIAL CHARITY CAR WASH TAKES PLACE IN LETTERKENNY TODAY was last modified: August 23rd, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:George Sweeney. car washJigsawletterkennylast_img read more

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Knowing Mandela: a short book about a big man

first_imgThe world celebrated Nelson Mandela’s life in many different ways. (Image: Shamin Chibba) • Sello Hatang • CEO • Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory +27 11 547 5600 www.nelsonmandela.org • Milestones in Mandela’s long walk • Memories of Mandela • Places to visit on Madiba’s Journey • It’s not easy to talk about Madiba – Ahmed KathradaLucille Davie“This is a short book about a big man I was fortunate to get to know, Nelson Mandela.”With these words respected British journalist John Carlin begins his book Knowing Mandela, a record of the years 1990 to 1995, when the late Mandela “faced his most daunting obstacles and achieved his greatest triumphs; it was the time when the full flower of his genius as a political leader was most vividly on display”.Carlin spent those five years reporting on Mandela’s feats, trials and tribulations for the London Independent, and was one of the few foreign journalists at the time to cover both the former president’s release from prison and his early years in the presidency.The book draws on conversations with Mandela, and interviews with those close to him, and writes about Mandela, with his flaws and his gifts, “neither superman nor saint”.The 141-page book is Carlin’s second; the first being Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation, which focused on how Mandela used the 1995 Rugby World Cup to unite a scarred nation by encouraging the Springboks to win the cup, which they did. The book was made into the movie Invictus, focusing on how Mandela used the 1995 Rugby World Cup to unite a scarred nation by encouraging the Springboks to win the cup, which they did.“My hope is that readers will come away from this book with a more profound understanding of Mandela the individual and of why he has been the towering moral and political figure of our age,” writes Carlin in the preface to Knowing Mandela.Carlin meets Mandela in his Union Buildings office shortly after he became president, and is charmed that the president remembers his name, greeting him with “Ah, hello, John!” with what Carlin describes as “genuine delight”. They start the hour-long interview with Mandela saying sorry: “I must apologise. I feel certain we have obliged you to work very hard these last weeks.” Carlin responds by saying: “Not as hard as you have been working, Mr Mandela, I am sure.” And the quick response is: “Ah, yes, but you were not loafing on an island for many years, as I was.” Mandela was using self-deprecation to help relax Carlin, and it worked. It would be a tactic he used often elsewhere, with great success.Mandela’s first press conferenceMandela had called a press conference the day after he was released from prison, on 12 February 1990, and Carlin recounts his words: “I am absolutely excited at getting out and I am also excited to have the opportunity of addressing you because throughout these difficult years in prison the press, both local and foreign, has been a brick to us. I think it was the original intention of the government that we should be forgotten. It was the press that kept the memory of those who have been imprisoned for offences they committed in the course of their political activities; it was the press who never forgot us and we are therefore indebted to you. I am happy to be with you this morning.”Carlin was impressed from the beginning. “The press conference lasted forty minutes, and was an exercise in seduction from start to finish.” Mandela recognised the South African journalists’ names, having read their bylines in the newspapers while in prison, and greeted them cheerily.It appears that not only was Mandela cheery but he seemed as “healthy in body as lively in mind”. Carlin had been allowed to interview Madiba’s doctor, who confirmed that the 71-year-old was as fit as a man of 50; the “fresh air, regular diet, the unstressed routine of life, and even the forced labour had done him much good”.Mandela was asked whether he harboured any regrets or bitterness after 27 years in prison. He replied: “I have lost a great deal over these twenty-seven years. My wife has been under all sorts of pressures and it is not a nice feeling for a man to see his family struggling without security, without dignity, without the head of the family around. But despite the hard time we have had in prison we have also had the opportunity to think about problems, and it is an opportunity which is also very rewarding in that regard. And you learn to get used to your circumstances. In prison there have been men who were very good in the sense that they understood our point of view and did everything to try and make you as happy as possible. And that has wiped out any bitterness that a man may have.”He was not bitter and revenge was not on his mind. Carlin writes: “He would now take charge openly, for all to see. Dashing all doubts, his first press conference as a free man was a tour de force, a master class in political persuasion.”Carlin was bowled over – in 30 years of reporting on politicians he witnessed something he’d never seen before: some 200 international journalists burst into “spontaneous, heartfelt applause”.Townships on fireCarlin recounts how Mandela plunged into the challenges of the first years after his release, and before he became president. The townships around Johannesburg were on fire, with nightly murderous raids by hostel dwellers leaving dozens dead, in a bloody war between the right-wing Zulu Inkatha Freedom Party of Mangosuthu Buthelezi, and African National Congress (ANC) members. The situation was exacerbated by the assassination of Chris Hani in April 1993, a year before the first democratic elections. Hani was a South African Communist Party leader, and a leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the ANC’s military wing.Mandela showed his statesmanship: he saved the country from near civil war by going to television and radio, bringing the situation under control. “With all the authority at my command, I appeal to all our people to remain calm and to honour the memory of Chris Hani by remaining a disciplined force for peace.”Several months later Mandela had to calm the situation again. He went into the volatile Katlehong Township outside Johannesburg, but this time the battle to control the crowd was more difficult. For an hour he went back and forth, winning them over, then shocking them, telling them that they were not disciplined, and killing innocent people meant that they didn’t belong to the ANC. Their task was reconciliation, he insisted. The crowd was restless and didn’t want to hear this message.“Listen to me! Listen to me!” Carlin reports him as saying. “I am your leader. As long as I am your leader I am going to give leadership. Do you want me to remain your leader?” Mandela challenged them, but had to repeat the question, and after some thought, the crowd yelled back in the affirmative. “Mandela responded with a ghost of a smile and curt nod of the head. Then, with a sharp, ‘I thank you,’ he declared the proceedings over.”The violence receded and three months later South Africa’s constitution was ratified. Mandela said: “We are at the end of an era. We are at the beginning of a new era. Together we can build a society free of violence. We can build a society grounded on friendship and our common humanity – a society founded on tolerance . . . Let us join hands and march into the future.”Talking to the far right wingBut Mandela had another challenge before elections could take place in April 1994: the far right wing in the shape of the Afrikaner Volksfront, led by General Constand Viljoen, had thousands of followers, armed and combat ready, standing by to fight to the death to stop the elections from happening.While in prison Mandela had taken a two-year correspondence course in Afrikaans, and used it to disarm people like Viljoen. It took him six months to work on Viljoen, but in the end Viljoen had his men lay down their arms and vote in the elections. He said: “That first impression Mandela made on me made it less difficult later for me to make my decision. The important thing when you negotiate with an enemy is the character of the people you have across the table from you and whether they carry their people’s support with them: Mandela had both.”Viljoen managed to get a third of the Afrikaner vote, and went to parliament. Ten years later, once Viljoen was retired from politics, Carlin asked him whether he would like to see Mandela again. “Yes, I would. I would love to see him, though I do not wish to impose. But, yes, yes. I would love to see him again. He is the greatest of men.”Carlin contemplates whether Mandela’s behaviour to old enemies was self-serving, with a political motive, or to ensure that people who worked for him served him loyally. “Certainly, Mandela had a clear political purpose with these deliberately staged acts of public forgiveness.” But he discounts it. “Mandela was big-hearted and generous in the use of the power he commanded, and as a man, too.”He says he had learnt two things in particular from South Africa’s first democratic president. One was to be kind. “The second lesson Mandela taught me is as simple as it is rare to find: that one can be a very great politician and a very great person at the same time.”last_img read more

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Indian women golfers ‘tee off’ in Srinagar

first_imgMore than 50 women golfers from across India gathered in Srinagar on Saturday as part of a novel initiative to promote tourism in the Valley – its first-ever women’s golf tournament.Held at the picturesque Royal Springs Golf Course (RSGC), the organisers hope the event would help promote the Valley as a tourist hotspot and a viable alternative to the more popular destinations in Europe for domestic tourists.”The concept is to make RSGC a preferred holiday destination for golfers. Why go to Europe when you have such a beautiful golf course around and with all kinds of facilities,” Netu Bansal Agarwal of Golf Boutique, a Delhi based organisation that seeks to promote women’s golf, said.”We are planning to organise such tournaments in different states throughout the country. We thought it would be a good idea to start from Srinagar,” she added.Agarwal said the Valley’s favourable weather conditions and the “excellent” turf at RSGC prompted them to organise the event in Srinagar.Nuzhat Jehangir, the turf manager of the course, claims RSGC is among the best in India.Situated adjacent to the Chesmashahi (royal springs) gardens that were built by Mughal emperor Jehangir, the golf course was designed by Robert Trent of the United States. Overlooking Kashmir’s iconic Dal lake, RSGC is located on the foothills of the Zabarwan mountain range and boasts of four royal springs.The springs are known for their soft, sweet water.Apart from the obvious scenic beauty, the golf course has all the ingredients for a grand golf vacation, with two marshes, a club house, comfort stations, tea shelters, a heritage house as well as a maintenance yard. The 7,089-yard area of the course was carved out of forest land.advertisement”We would like to have more and more such tournaments,” Jehangir said, referring to Saturday’s golf fest.Ritu Dawan, one of the sponsors of the event, said, “It is a learning process for all of us. We hope these events would be regular feature.”last_img read more

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Shashi Tharoor: A ready-reckoner

first_imgWho is Shashi Tharoor?Born on March 9, 1956, Shashi Tharoor is a Member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram. He has been appointed Minister of State, Ministry of Human Resource Development in the latest Cabinet reshuffle on October 28, 2012. Political CareerUntil 2007, he was a career official at the United Nations and rose to the position of Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information. He resigned after he lost the 2007 election for UN Secretary General to Ban Ki-Moon. Upon his return to India, he joined politics in 2009 and served as Minister of State for External Affairs. He resigned from the post less than a year later following a controversy generated by one of his tweets. Literary CareerA prolific author, he has written numerous books most of which were best-sellers. His book, The Great Indian Novel, is currently in its 28th edition in India and his latest book The Elephant, The Tiger and the Cellphone has already undergone seven hardback reprints. Tharoor is not just an author, he was a successful actor also and played Antony to Mira Nair’s Cleopatra in a 1974 production of Antony and Cleopatra. Personal lifeFollowing his divorce from his first wife, Christa, a Canadian working at the UN, he married Sunanda Pushkar at his ancestral home in Elavanchery village in Kerala’s Palakkad district in 2010. ControversiesIn September 2009, he was accused of staying in luxurious 5-star hotels at the government’s expense. He, however, clarified that the money was being spent from his own pocket for the accommodation. Another controversy erupted when, while responding to a question as to whether he would travel in “Cattle Class”, he answered in the affirmative, thus equating the travelling public to cattle. His tweet was also a tongue-in-cheek dig at his party, the Congress, over its austerity drive. He again courted trouble when he said that people should work on Gandhi Jayanti instead of staying at home taking a holiday. In January 2010, he was reprimanded by his party for criticising Gandhi and Nehru for their vision on Indian foreign policy by the Indian media. He was also involved in a controversy regarding the Kochi IPL team’s franchise owners, Rendezvous Sports World (RSW) group. In his tweets, former IPL chief Lalit Modi had mentioned that he was asked by an influential Union Minister not to get into details of Sunanda Pushkar, who was given sweat equity of 4.5 per cent in Kochi IPL team. Tharoor, however, denied having made any gains from the sale or having pressured Modi in any way.advertisementlast_img read more

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How Dynamic Content Makes Your Marketing a Helluva Lot More Personal

first_img Smart Content Smart content leverages the valuable insights your visitors, leads, and customers have provided you with: their interests, preferences, and historical behavior. Make sure you put that knowledge to work by guiding and supporting your prospective customers with personalized content. Every potential buyer should be recognized as an individual with unique and evolving questions; smart content is one tool in your arsenal for creating marketing that’s more personalized and tailored to their needs. To learn more about smart content or get additional personalization ideas, take a look at my new ebook, An Introduction to Using Dynamic Content in Your Marketing .Image credit: sucamara The first time Amazon introduced me to the perfect book for me via their recommendation engine, I was completely awed. The idea that a website could not only recognize a return visitor, but also discern their interests and alter their site experience accordingly, felt like nothing short of magic.Since then, data-driven personalization has become more common, though not entirely pervasive in the marketing space — perhaps due to a lack of understanding around how it really works. I mean, just what drives all this highly adaptive content? And how does it affect a lead’s decision-making process? In this post, we’ll break down the concept of “smart” or “dynamic” content — that’s what all this personalization revolved around, after all — and explain what it is, how it works, and even give you some strategies for incorporating it into your marketing.  What is Smart Content? Also referred to as “dynamic” or “adaptive” content, smart content is a term for the aspects of a website, ad, or email body that change based on the interests or past behavior of the viewer. It creates an experience that’s customized specifically for the visitor or reader at that moment. One of the most well-known examples of smart content is Amazon’s recommendation engine, which we talked about in this post’s introduction. Other forms, however, range from personalization fields in emails to entire images or offers on a webpage that shift based on who is looking at them. How Smart Content Works  The key to dynamic content’s effectiveness is its relevancy. Research has repeatedly demonstrated that marketing that is targeted and more relevant to the end-recipient tends to see better results. For instance, relevant emails drive 18X more revenue than broadcast emails ( Jupiter Research ). Eighteen flippin’ times more revenue! And leads who are nurtured with targeted content produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities ( Annuitas Group ). That’s nothing to shake a stick at.Relevancy is all born from information. Not just demographic and contact information, but saved insights about the materials that have mattered to a particular lead or customer across their relationship with your company. That data then fuels the technology and set of rules that assigns the right content to the right person at the right time . Some of the technology involved includes: A Centralized Marketing Database:  Your marketing database is the brain behind your dynamic content. It stores your contacts’ download and interaction history with your site. A Smart Content Generator: Informed by the database, a smart content generator will show or hide content (blocks of images or text) based on rules you set.  Malleable Web Pages: A dynamic site has to be one that is easily editable and typically marketing-controlled, rather than run through another department like IT. An Integrated Email System: Extending smart content to the emails you send will require an email system that is tied into your contact database. Smart Content Marketing Strategies Now that you know what smart content is and how it works, you should use it all the time without discrimination.Just kidding. Actually, the bottom line with smart content is to make sure you’re purposeful and intentional about its use. Smart content should create a better experience for your leads and customers. When you’re integrating smart content of any sort into your marketing strategy, start with the question of how it will improve potential customers’ time on your site or with your emails. Here are a few places to start if you’re having trouble envisioning how to integrate smart content into your marketing. Eliminate Repeat Conversions If a website visitor has already downloaded a particular lead generation offer or purchased a particular item, use smart rules to remove that offer from their view. The result is two-fold: you’ll create a website or shopping experience that never gets old for your customers, and create an opportunity for you as a marketer to expose fresh offers and products that boost reconversions.  Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Sep 10, 2012 2:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 Tailor to Lead Lifecycle Stage If you’re new to the concept of “lifecycle stage,” it doesn’t mean whether the visitor is a senior citizen or college student. A lead’s lifecycle stage refers to how far along the visitor is in his or her decision-making process. Is this their first visit? Are they ready to buy? Are they still evaluating options? Taking what you know about how much experience a particular lead has can help you avoid over-selling to someone who is in the early stage of their research — or perhaps worse, missing out on an opportunity to sell to someone who is ready to make a purchase.We’ve talked a lot on this blog about mapping content to the stages of a potential customer’s buying cycle . This is typically done through a series of gradually evolving emails in a lead nurturing campaign. Smart content tools, like HubSpot’s smart CTAs , can also extend this adaptability to your website and landing pages.   Help Loyal Customers Skip Excess or Unnecessary Steps Many B2B companies offer content behind a form in order to generate leads. While this is a nice way to get to know new leads, it’s also a huge hassle for customers who may be interested in the content, but have already filled out your forms on a number of occasions. Rather than having a customer fill out yet another form, using smart or dynamic content can enable you to recognize a visitor as a customer, and give them a call-to-action that either minimizes the form fields or lets them bypass the download form entirely. Adapt to Reflect Different Industries or Personas Most companies serve a number of different personas from a variety of industries. While it may be difficult to tailor to every different industry you touch, dynamic content can help you create a highly customized experience for your highest-value industries.Start by talking with your sales team about the different personas or industries with whom they have had the best success. Then pick one or two industries to focus in on at first as a test. Use smart content to set a default, and then another set of images that reflect your top industry segments. In the example below, we’ve selected two images — one to represent the manufacturing industry, and another the healthcare industry. When anyone from those industries lands on a given page, this image will change to reflect that context. Topics:last_img read more

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Got 5 Minutes? Use It to Find a New Prospect on Social Media

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Do you remember the children’s book Where’s Waldo? C’mon, you know — the one where each page is filled with a busy scene full of people but you’re always looking for the same, brown-haired, red-striped-sweater guy? Well, social prospecting is a lot like Where’s Waldo?. No, seriously.Let me explain.It’s 2013, and now, more than ever, the pressure on businesses to determine the exact value of social media marketing is high. Depending on who’s asking, engagement can be subjective. Without the right tools, measurement can be murky.Download 37 Tips for Social Selling on LinkedInEven so, from the top down, everyone wants to know what the ROI of social media is — and more specifically, how many prospects and eventual customers your social media team generates with the time they spend engaging on various channels. Finding Leads Quickly Can Be DoneAs a social media manager, it’s your job to figure out how to find who those prospects are and get them to your sales team — and fast. You know they’re out there, but it’s not always easy to find them.Social media can be quite noisy, and sometimes, prospective customers can be buried in a sea of look-alikes. But never fear: With a little effort, the right keywords, and some strategizing, they’ll pop up faster than Waldo at the beach.Here are some tips for finding prospects on your favorite social media sites quickly, and some insight as to how I search for leads on each site listed below.TwitterTwitter is a certified gold mine for prospecting, ready for you to shake your pan and let the leads fall out, as noted by Gary Vaynerchuk in his recent LinkedIn article, “13 Tweets a Real Estate Agent Should Have Answered, Not Me.”Vaynerchuk indicated how easy it is to use Twitter’s search function to attach industry-specific keywords to Twitter users who may be interested in what you’re offering.As he notes, it doesn’t matter what you do for business or what industry you are in — anyone can use the search function and see quality results.You can even take your Twitter-mining one step further with HubSpot’s Social Inbox. As Vaynerchuk mentioned, social media prospecting is about creating context with people so that your social interactions might eventually lead to a sale.Social Inbox helps you track who is who in your Twitter list and searches by showing your contacts database of leads, opportunities, and customers, and merging it with your social media activity. Utilizing this tool means moving the most enticing prospects on Twitter bubble right up to the top.How I Locate Leads on Twitter1) In terms of finding the right leads for HubSpot, the first thing I do is write down my top 3 or 4 keywords I care about.2) Then, I head on over to Twitter search and plug those keywords in, a few different times in a few different variations, to see who is talking about our keywords and, based on their profile, if they are potentially a good fit as a prospect.3) If they are an ideal lead, I can strike up a conversation with them and either offer content they may be interested in or myself as a resource for any information on those keywords.(HubSpot customers: For this task, Social Inbox can save you loads of time and give you the information you’re looking for immediately.)  FacebookEven though Facebook may seem pretty consumer-focused on the surface, HubSpot found that 52% of all marketers sourced a lead from Facebook in 2013. This is great, but it also tells me there are marketers out there who aren’t part of the 52% — and should be.For marketers unsure of how to engage businesses via Facebook, just know it can be easy to identify the right prospects — thanks to Facebook’s new(ish) search functionality, Graph Search.If you’re not familiar with Graph Search, here’s a quick overview of how it works. What’s unique about Graph Search is that gives you search results based on very specific long-tail search queries. A good example: “Marketers in Boston looking for inbound marketing software.”See where I’m going with this? Because Graph Search pulls information from Facebook users’ profiles, it’s a premier way to discover prospects who don’t already live in your news feed.How I Locate Leads on Facebook1) I can update the keywords used on Twitter search earlier to become long-tail search queries, like “marketers looking for inbound marketing software” or “marketers looking for marketing analytics software” and type them into Graph Search on Facebook.2) Using my first query, I actually find about 10 Pages that are relevant, 2 people in my network talking about my search terms, and other possibly useful information from the site’s other features: Events, Apps, Places, and Groups.3) Now, I have countless ways I can follow up on this search: I can message a person, Like a Page to keep tabs on it, and much more.PinterestThis year, 9% of marketers found a customer from Pinterest, according to our annual inbound marketing digest. Don’t let that small percentage fool you, though.In its Digital Marketer Benchmark and Trend Report, Experian said Pinterest is now the 3rd-most popular social networking site behind Facebook and Twitter. One feature that Pinterest has in common with Twitter (and Facebook now, too) that can help you find and sort prospects is hashtags.When Twitter took off, hashtags also bloomed as a thread to connect the millions of posts from around the world into groups and categories. Today, hashtags on visual Pins are like clues into the mind of the Pinterest user due to the visual nature the post.For regular users, hashtags are a way to connect with other Pinterest users on their favorite topics. For you, they make it easy to pull out pins that users have deemed related to the keywords you use in your marketing.How I Locate Leads on Pinterest1) For Pinterest, I went back to my keywords that I used for Twitter, added a hashtag, and used Pinterest’s search functionality to see what I could find (Note: Don’t forget you have to log in!).2) The hashtag “#inboundmarketing” gave me countless search results, so after a quick glance, I paired it with “#analytics” and “#strategy” (two other hashtags that popped out a lot).3) Once this pairing is done, I can drill down on about 30 Pins that could very well lead me to the prospects I’m looking for.LinkedInBased on our State of Inbound Marketing report, we know that 43% of marketers generated a customer from LinkedIn in 2013. But being the social-media savvy marketer that you are, you know that LinkedIn is the most business-friendly social media channel and that its users are a bit more wary about strangers connecting with them than meets the eye — that is, unless, you’ve got the secret ingredient for finding leads and prospects on LinkedIn: Groups.Did you know that 53% of LinkedIn users join 10 or more groups? It’s a top-10 favorite feature of LinkedIn users. It’s also the best place to insert yourself into relevant conversations and provide useful advice, tips, and content to get you noticed and attract potential prospects to you and your business.What’s even better is that searching for these Groups is beyond simple.How I Locate Leads on LinkedIn1) Knowing I had my keywords set, I immediately signed into LinkedIn and to the left of my top search bar, I selected “Groups” from the drop-down icon menu, which will search all LinkedIn Groups. “Inbound marketing” alone gave me almost 300 groups.2) Now, I can whittle down my results as I please. I can look in Groups that have my Connections in them or are members-only, or even sort Groups by Language. Since LinkedIn is where business professionals go to network, I know there are some prospects in these Groups waiting to be found.Like I said before, social prospecting is a lot like Where’s Waldo?. Your prospects (in other words, Waldo) are out there, in the noisy, busy world that is social media. But don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and dig through the noise with the tips above.Do you have any other tips for social media managers who want to jump into social prospecting? Let us know in the comments!Image credit: Jason Howie  Topics: Originally published Sep 24, 2013 3:30:00 PM, updated August 26 2017 SEO and Social Medialast_img read more

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Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly? 3 Tools to Help You Prepare for Google’s Next Algorithm Update

first_img Originally published Mar 31, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Mobile Optimization Google is about to update their algorithm again, and this time it could have a big impact on your business. I mean, really really big. For context, when Google initially rolled out the Penguin algorithm update, it affected approximately 4% of global searches on desktop and mobile. When they rolled out Panda, it affected nearly 12% of English searches. This time around, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst Zineb Ait Bahajji says that this algorithm update will be bigger than Penguin or Panda.What’s the new algorithm update about? It will use mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal — if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you could get dinged in the SERPs when someone is searching Google using a mobile device. So if you want to make sure that you’re prepared for this change, keep on reading. We’ll dive into more details on what the update will entail and give you some tools to help diagnose your site’s mobile-readiness.What Is the Mobile Algorithm Update?Think back to the last time you landed on a site that wasn’t optimized for mobile. Chances are, you needed to zoom and then swipe side-to-size to even read what was on the page. And when you went to go click on something, your fingers could barely select the tiny links. I’m going to bet good money that you just bounced from that page — with all the information on the internet, you didn’t need to waste your time on a website with a really poor user experience.Google’s realized how frustrating this whole experience is and decided to change their algorithm accordingly. Soon, when someone’s searching on a mobile device, Google will serve up sites that are easy to read, make navigations and links easy to tap, have images appropriately sized for the device, and more generally, make information easy to find. (Want to see some mobile sites already doing this right? Here are 15 examples of great mobile websites.)Back to the algorithm update. At the moment, Google denotes which sites are mobile-friendly in their mobile search results (below is an example of what that looks like). But in a few weeks, they’ll be actually rewarding and penalizing websites for their mobile experience. This will be rolled out during the week of April 21st, so you’ve got some time to figure out if your website is mobile friendly and get your ducks in a row. Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly? 3 Tools You Can Use to Find OutIf your website uses responsive design, like those on the HubSpot Content Optimization System (COS), your website should already be prepared for the upcoming algorithm changes.But if you’re not sure if your website is ready, there are a number of free tools you can use to figure it out. I would recommend running your site through multiple tools as they may highlight different issues that you may need to be address. So let’s dive into some of our favorite tools below.1) Google’s Mobile-Friendly TestEnter your website’s URL into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and it will let you know if you’ve got a mobile-friendly page on your hands. If the website you entered passes Google’s test, you will see a green banner indicating the website is mobile-friendly. If the website does not pass, Google will let you know the page is not mobile-friendly and give some reasons why.Many of the common reasons why a website isn’t mobile-friendly is because:The content is wider than the screen: This requires users to scroll side-to-side to read the page.The text too small: This means the user must zoom to read text on the page.The links too close together: On a smartphone, links should be easy to tap with your fingers — this means that the links should be big enough and in natural location to tap. Most smartphone users hold their phone in their right hand and tap links with their thumb. The mobile viewport isn’t set: This is a little more on the technical side of things, but the mobile viewport controls the width of the page for the device. If your website displays a desktop landscape when smartphone visitors land on your page, then the viewport is not set for mobile on that page. This is an extra special case where responsive design comes in handy — responsive design will automatically adjust the viewport based on the device.2) W3C mobileOK CheckerThe World Wide-Web Consortium (W3C) has their own mobile-friendly test, mobileOK Checker, that provides more technical insight and recommendations for your website. In addition, they provide a severity rating for each of their findings so you can address any mobile problems with your website by their importance. This is a comprehensive and actionable tool to use if you’re familiar with some of the technical components of your website.3) HubSpot’s Marketing GraderIf you want to quickly analyze your mobile-readiness and the rest of your marketing efforts, check out Marketing Grader — it assess your blog, SEO, social media accounts, and mobile optimization.To start your analysis, simply enter your website URL and email. Then, Marketing Grader will analyze your site and give you a score out of 100 — the closer you are to 100, the better your site is. In the mobile component of the report, Marketing Grader will show you a preview of your page on mobile and some suggestions on how to improve that page.Have you used any of these tools to get ready for the mobile algorithm update? What other tools would you recommend people use? Let us know in the comments. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

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How to Make Great Videos for Instagram Without Breaking the Bank

first_imgThanks for reporting a problem. We’ll attach technical data about this session to help us figure out the issue. Which of these best describes the problem?Choose oneVideo plays but frequently stuttersVideo has poor qualityVideo fails to playOtherAny other details or context? Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack About WistiaReport a problemCopy link and thumbnail Social Media Video message CancelSend Originally published Jul 18, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated November 29 2017center_img So, you want to push the envelope with Instagram video but you don’t have the budget, resources, or expertise to get the job done, right?Wrong.Sure, you may have noticed an array of dazzling and creative Instagram videos on the platform, but don’t let mega-brands with huge video teams and endless budgets get you down.Grow your business using Instagram Stories with help from this short video series.Carving out your piece of the pie doesn’t have to be scary, time-consuming, or even expensive. In fact, there are a ton of tips and tricks you can use to produce noteworthy video content without all the fuss. Don’t believe me? Let’s walk through it …How to Make Great Videos for Instagram Without Breaking the Bank Ready to ‘gram?Any business can take advantage of video on Instagram, it’s just a matter of experimentation. Remember to keep your technique varied so that you can identify which types of videos perform the best, and don’t forget to revisit your KPIs. Follow these best practices and you’ll be on the track for success in no time. Iterate on your videos and let your creativity flow.Remember: Instagram is all about keeping things lighthearted and fun, so don’t overthink it.  0:00 Topics: 0:09last_img read more

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How Psychological Safety Creates the Best Teams

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! Originally published Dec 28, 2016 5:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Topics: When it comes to devising solutions to challenging problems, a room full of bright minds working towards a common goal is almost always more effective than working alone.Under the belief that the composition of a group influences the quality of its work, Google has spent years hunting for the key to what makes teams truly great. The tech giant is known for tapping its prodigious brainpower to solve complex problems with creative solutions.Whether it’s revolutionizing search, email, or exploring the possibilities of driverless cars, Google provides a welcome example of a company focused on maximizing the potential of collaboration.Project AristotleOver the past five years, Google has been engaged in an extensive undertaking to engineer the most productive groups possible. This endeavor, referred to as Project Aristotle, involved years of extensive observations of how employees at Google collaborate in group settings, according to The New York Times.Project Aristotle’s findings suggest that many of the factors we’d expect to influence the outcome of a project actually didn’t actually have a significant impact on whether or not the group was successful.Having a shared versus designated leadership structure, including employees from diverse employment backgrounds, and whether or not group members socialized outside of work did not necessarily determine a group’s chances of success.Overall, there was one central trend which appeared in almost every successful group: feelings of psychological safety.Psychological safety, according to Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson, is the “shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking,” and “a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject or punish someone for speaking up.”In the majority of successful groups Google studied, participants identified feeling comfortable sharing ideas and asking questions. These feelings of psychological safety were not unique to any type of group or leadership dynamic. As Charles Duhigg wrote in the New York Times, the most productive teams listened to — and were respectful of — the ideas, feelings, beliefs and suggestions of their peers.Early Education as a ModelThe corporate model of psychological safety is not all that different than the one you had in grade school. When students are comfortable enough to share their ideas freely and don’t feel afraid of being rejected, they are able to learn better and take interpersonal risks.While businesses and elementary schools are certainly not universally comparable environments, the importance of ideological and interpersonal safety is universally paramount.To make a space safe for intellectual exploration, agencies must make concerted efforts to foster an open atmosphere of acceptance. As discussed in a 2014 TED Talk by Harvard Business School professor and author Dr. Amy C. Edmondson, individuals are often very worried about appearing incompetent or ignorant, and thus are more likely to keep their questions and ideas to themselves.This not only stifles an individual’s creative potential, it also limits the potential for innovation in collaborative group settings. Imagine trying to learn new skills or ways of working in an environment where it’s intimidating to admit what you don’t know, much less share ideas that challenge established norms.In competitive agency environments built on creative critique, often only a few leaders make decisions on ideas, clearly limiting the potential voice and contribution of team members.With participation from more team members comes more ideas — and quite possibly a better product. Expanding critique and other opportunities requires that employees feel safe to speak up and participate within groups.Applying Psychological Safety at AgenciesMaintaining an open and safe dialogue often goes against the grain of both corporate culture and human nature, but the companies that will thrive in the coming years will do so through their collective creativity and ability to innovate, rather than relying on the opinions of a few individuals.Almost paradoxically, to survive in the ever-increasing competitive environment of today’s digital economy, agencies need to create intellectual safe havens that are more akin to your third grade classroom than any scene in AMC’s Mad Men.Sweeping organizational culture shifts will not occur overnight, but change can start tomorrow. Here are five steps to start fostering a safe, productive workplace:1) Stop the unhealthy practice of responding to new ideas with unproductive negativity.You do not have to love every idea your peers put forward, but demeaning the idea and its creator is unnecessary, counterproductive and sometimes downright hurtful.Research and personal experience tell us that sometimes we don’t voice our opinions because we fear embarrassment, looking dumb or feeling intellectually inadequate.2) Always celebrate good ideas.This is the counter approach to the previously mentioned unproductive behavior. The merit of this step applies for both teams and individuals. But seriously, who doesn’t appreciate being complimented for their hard work?3) Acknowledge that the entire team effort goes into good work.Great ideas, regardless of size, often come about because of the genius and hard work of at least a handful of people. So, when celebrating new ideas and innovative work, recognize the whole team, not just the manager or creative with the highest title.4) Get those in power on board with psychological safety.While change does not always have to come from the top, the behavior that managers, directors and executives model directly impacts and influences the actions of those below them. Therefore, change is only sustainable with a commitment from those in power.5) Break down organizational silos to promote collaboration, communication and progress.This is not to say everyone must work equally on all projects, but rather that teams should consider themselves multidisciplinary so employees of varying titles feel comfortable contributing. Organizations with healthy interpersonal relationships are more likely to have uninhibited idea sharing, increased collaboration and a better end result. Collaboration/Teamworklast_img read more

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How to Be Productive After a Long Weekend

first_imgHow to Be Productive During a Four-Day WeekBefore you sign off1) Reorganize your schedule for a four-day week.Before you head out for the long weekend, take a look at your calendar for the week ahead. Reschedule your appointments that fall on the day off. Then, reorganize the rest of your week so your schedule isn’t overloaded with meetings the second you get back to the office.I like to use Trello for my to-do list and my calendar so I can see my meetings and my action items all in one place. Its responsive interface makes it easy to move tasks and meetings around so I’m not swamped the day I get back.2) Set expectations with your out-of-office message.If you know you won’t be able to respond to emails until the end of your first day back, tell people that in your out-of-office auto-reply. If you want people to flag urgent matters for you, ask them to write “Urgent” in the subject line. Whatever your style is for getting back to work when you’ve been away from your inbox, let people know so they can help you stay sane when you get back into the office.Here’s my one of my favorite out-of-office messages from HubSpot Principal Marketing Strategist, Sam Mallikarjunan:3) Block off time for responding to emails in advance.Book yourself off a window of time to dedicate solely to replying to emails. If you schedule this before you leave the office, you won’t be scrambling on your first day back trying to balance everything you need to do.Plus, this system helps you avoid multitasking, which is estimated to cost businesses billions of dollars in productivity loss each year. Check out some of the data on this from Fuze and Visual.ly:Source: Fuze4) Create a reasonable to-do list for your return.While it’s fresh in your mind, make a list of what you have to prioritize when you get back into the office. It’s easier than trying to remember it three days later, and your future self will thank you for getting organized in advance.Again, I like using Trello, but there are various tools and strategies you might use to keep your list organized and doable. I also use the on-paper bullet journaling method to keep track of tasks that are in progress. This method leaves more room for personal style and creativity, too.5) Schedule emails, blog posts, and social media posts that need to go out on the holiday.Don’t forget to schedule marketing emails and social media content to go out while you’re away from your desk. If you’re a HubSpot Marketing customer, you can use Social Inbox and the email tool to schedule these items, or you can manually schedule them using the social apps themselves.When you get back to work5) Check in with your team.Whether it’s virtual or in-person, have a quick stand-up meeting with your team to review what everyone’s focusing on to ensure that nothing slips through the cracks. The meeting also gives you all a chance to catch up on how you spent your time off and how to prioritize the week ahead.Make sure you’re holding a productive meeting by keeping the meeting short and making sure to recap with follow-up materials via email. CT Business Travel also suggests setting an agenda ahead of time so everyone in the group can prepare to talk, which is especially helpful for introverts who may not feel as comfortable speaking off-the-cuff in a group.Here’s an example of what the HubSpot content team’s meeting agendas look like, with a helpful breakdown of how much time will be spent on each topic for maximum efficiency:6) Prioritize your to-do list.Take a look at your to-do list. It’s probably a bit longer than on a typical Monday, right? Sort through your list and determine what needs to be prioritized and what can wait until the next day.Behavioral scientist Dan Ariely says that the two hours after waking up in the morning are the most productive time of day, when you have the greatest capacity for higher-level decision making and cognition. Take a couple minutes when you first get into the office to review your to-do list and determine which most important tasks should be taken care of first thing in the morning, and which can wait until the afternoon.I use different-colored Trello labels to designate which items are the highest priority, and which I can push until later in the week:7) Triage your email inbox.We also encourage organizing your inbox using multiple inboxes, which help you organize you sort messages in a way that makes them easier to wade through when you get back into the office. Use labels like “Needs Action” or “To-Do List” to easily visualize which emails are of highest priority.When you log back into your email, sort and label your messages according to which need replies immediately, and which can wait until later in the week. You might need an entire day to read every single email you received, but by using this system, you can quickly sort through your inbox and skip ahead to the messages you have to return ASAP.8) Don’t burn out.You might feel stressed at the prospect of only four days in the week to accomplish your entire to-do list. However, there is such a thing as working too hard, and burnout could end up sabotaging your productivity as the week goes on if you don’t take enough breaks.Remember tip #6? Prioritize your to-do list and determine what can be accomplished by one person over the course of a workday. You could try the Pomodoro Technique, which calls for 90 minutes of work, followed by 30 minutes of rest to regroup and recharge. This technique helps you align your most and least productive times with your working and resting periods, respectively, and there are timers you can download to keep track of your status.My method for not burning out over the course of the workday is slightly different but still effective: I downloaded an app called Daily Water that reminds me to drink a glass of water once per hour. When the reminder goes off, I get up from my desk, drink water, and walk around. Taking regular breaks achieves greater productivity than working nonstop, and so do drinking water and exercise. Here’s what my hydration break schedule looks like:If you’re feeling dehydrated and want to try this method, other apps include Waterlogged and Hydro Coach.Have a Good WeekendWhen possible, try to unplug when you have time off and make the most out of your time off by doing other fun activities outside of your role. With the help of these steps, we hope you have a great holiday weekend — and a great next week, too.What are your strategies for getting organized after a long weekend? Share with us in the comments below. Don’t forget to share this post! What could be better than a three-day holiday weekend? Whether you decide to staycation at home or take advantage of the time off by visiting a new place, most people would agree that getting an extra vacation day is a good thing.The trouble is, once you get back into the office to a deluge of emails and only four days left to get your job done, it can feel overwhelming.Download our complete guide here for more tips on improving your productivity.Trust us, we’ve been there too. That’s why we’ve put together our best tips for getting back on track after a three-day weekend — without derailing your four-day workweek. (And if you don’t have time to read the full blog post, we understand — here’s a quick video summary.) Originally published Feb 21, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017center_img Productivity Topics:last_img read more

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