Thursday, 18 August 2016

Most Profitable Marketing Tactics for SMEs

Marketing tactics are constantly changing so it’s important to keep up-to-date with all the hottest trends. That’s why pop up stand supplier Display Wizard surveyed over 10,000 UK SME owners to find the most profitable marketing channels in 2015. The results shown in this infographic reveal digital marketing and face-to-face marketing as the top channels for the country’s small businesses. Check out the infographic below and see if you are missing out on any of these marketing channels.

SME Marketing Tactics Infographic

Thursday, 28 July 2016

5 ways social media can be improved with great mobile marketing efforts



One of the best and worst things about Instagram is that it’s hard to get to from a laptop or a desktop.

That’s because the image-sharing social media channel is ideally used from a mobile device, where there are plenty of tools available to easily take a photo, import it, edit it and post it to your page. Your mobile device can also make it easy to look at and interact with other people’s pages.

Other common social networks are more versatile, being able to be used on desktops and mobile. But still the mobile experience is becoming more popular as more people discard their desktops and conduct all of their business and pleasure through their smartphones.
For instance, Emarketer.com projects that 86 percent of Facebook users will access it with a phone this year, and 52.9 percent of phone users will log on at least once a month with their phone. Other platforms such as Twitter and Pinterest also seem to function better when used in a mobile environment.

For marketers wondering what kind of mobile trends are ahead, look to social media.

1. Keep on hashtagging. The concept of making several one word summaries to serve as reference points and side conversation topics isn’t new. But how and when they’re used is increasing like crazy. What originally was a feature unique to Twitter can be now be used in the same way on Facbebook, Instagram and Pinterest. According to Trumpia, unique hashtags can also be created and utilized for specific marketing campaigns. You can include it in your marketing materials, or even tell people to text that phrase to you to enter contest or win prizes 

2. Keep up with advertising. People realized a few years ago that putting together campaigns to boostFacebook posts or pages really wasn’t as hard or expensive as they once feared, especially if it puts your message in front of more people than you could reach organically. You can set up or make changes to a campaign via phone, or check your results. Even better, other platforms are developing a similar “pay for better visibility" models for their customers such as Twitter, which is working on a way to see sponsored Tweets higher than standard ones. 3Beards.com expects to see more social media advertising opportunities, including Snap chat, a streaming video service. 

3. More collaboration between social media channels. Instead of the ‘silo’ method where there’s a focus on developing and selling one particular product or service, today’s sales model involves making customers aware of and excited about several items at once.  Hospitality.net suggests that social media channels share information about interesting things on other channels, such as telling Facebook audience members to check out a fun contest on Instragram, or texts to subscribers with links to several channels worth checking out. 

4. More face-to-face interactions. Just because social media is increasingly popular doesn’t mean we have to lose all of our interpersonal relationships. A study by Display Wizard in the United Kingdom found that the marketing channels that offeredservice like face-to-face communication were more popular than the ones that were more promotional or news sites. No matter how advanced things get, there’s not much that can replace enthusiasm and energy. However, this isn’t to say we don’t need other channels – many of these can be handy for mass communications, general social interaction or business networking. 

5. Consumers want deals. Free stuff or discounted goodies can both appeal to shoppers, no matter their economic status. Mobile phones can send digital coupons or links to downloadable or digital coupons. You can text the coupon out to your text subscribers, and discuss that it’s available on some of the other channels. Or you can create a VIP club for your customers that includes regular discounts and coupons.

What's Next? 

What's your social selling strategy this year? Make sure to share them with us in the comments below!

Author Biography

Sophorn Chhay
Sophorn is the marketing guy at  Trumpia, the most complete SMS software with mass text messaging, smart targeting and automation.
Follow Sophorn on Twitter(@Trumpia), LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+
       Jumpstart your business by grabbing your free copy of his powerful MobileMarketing Success Kit.
       Watch Trumpia's5-Minute Demo on how to execute an effective mobile marketing strategy.

Monday, 25 July 2016

30 Tools That No Designer Can Live Without



Designers are extremely busy people. Fact. Not only do they have to make time to find inspiration for their next project, manage feedback, attend meetings, and communicate with their clients, they also have to find the time to actually sit down and do the work.

Let’s not forget the time and effort they have to put into mocking up an idea, creating a visual for sharing or keeping abreast of modern design trends. The role of a designer is so much more than just ‘colouring in’.
To ease the workload of time-poor designers, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the best software, apps, tools, skills, websites and resources that no designer can live without. Each of these tools has been carefully selected for its ability to help you streamline your work, find inspiration easily, show off your amazing design skills, and make collaboration easier.

We’ve broken the guide down into the 10 key areas so you can instantly find what you’re looking for — you are busy people after all. Check it out and feel free to let us know if we’ve missed any off the list.

Hardware

If you’re serious about design, there are some essential pieces of kit you will need. We have listed the top 3 pieces of hardware for designers below.

iMac or MacBook

Strictly speaking, now that most design software is available on both PC and Mac, it doesn’t particularly matter which platform you choose. However, the Mac’s pedigree, its powerful and intuitive OS and its built-in support for design peripherals make it the overwhelming favourite for design professionals. Did we mention they also look great in any creative workspace?
Your choice of desktop (iMac) or laptop (MacBook Pro & MacBook Air) will obviously depend on whether you will be travelling a lot, or indeed whether you like to work from home or in coffee shops. If you prefer to be flexible, we would always recommend the MacBook.

DSLR Camera

You may not always want to use your own photography in your design work, but it’s definitely worthwhile having a good DSLR camera on hand so you can easily document ideas and capture images to use for textures, backgrounds and more.
One of the most widely used DSLR cameras is the Canon EOS 1200D, predominantly for its relatively low cost and its ability to deliver 18MP images.

Moleskine

With all this technology available, you still can’t beat good old fashioned pen and paper to brainstorm ideas and concepts. So why not do it in style and treat yourself to a decent sketchbook from Moleskine or Field Notes? Keep it in your bag so you can quickly jot down ideas wherever you are.


Research Tools

Now that we’ve taken a look at some fantastic pieces of hardware, you’ll need to get your creative juices flowing.  In this next section, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best resources available that will help you to get inspired.

Dribbble

Dribbble is billed as “show and tell for designers”. In a nutshell, it is the premier resource for discovering and connecting with designers around the globe. Designers can upload images and GIFs (or “shots” as they are referred to on Dribbble) and other users can ask questions, provide feedback, and debate a designer’s visual choices.

Computer Arts Subscription

Ever since its inaugural issue back in 1995, Computer Arts has been the go-to magazine for anyone into graphic design. Each and every issue is jam-packed with advice, opinion, recent projects and an abundance of inspiration, making it an invaluable resource for any creative professional. If that wasn’t enough, you can also get your fill of Computer Arts Magazine in print, a fully-interactive iPad edition or both.

Niice

Niice is a fantastic tool for gathering ideas and expressing your ideas faster. Its highly intuitive drag and drop interface allows you to create mood boards in a matter of minutes. You also have access to a private personal space where you can collect images and inspiration without worrying about them showing up in public searches.

Layout Tools

Unfortunately, no one has yet to develop a tool that will design a layout for you. However, there are some tools that can help make the process easier.

Modularscale

One of the most common challenges for any web design project is determining accurate ratios for font sizes. This is where Modularscale comes into its own. This app helps you to decide on accurate ratios for your font sizes, as well as providing CSS font size codes for when you have to copy and paste into a stylesheet.

Responsify

Online grid generators are extremely handy for custom responsive HTML/CSS templates and Responsify is arguably the best of the bunch. Key features include the ability to generate your own grid, or even use these grids as a reference so you can create your own from scratch. You can also use Responsify as a great visualisation tool to better understand the use of white space between columns and page content.

Golden Ratio Calculator

Although not necessarily a new innovation in the world of design (it is almost 2,400 years old after all), the golden ratio is found almost everywhere in nature and it applies to design composition as well. It states that “two elements are in perfect harmony when measured to the ratio of 1:1.618”.
Obviously, you don’t need to achieve this ratio for every single relationship in your design work, but understanding it’s value as a timeless design fundamental is certainly worthwhile. This handy calculator should help you to calculate and scale the golden ratio for any workspace.
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Branding Tools

A logo is a visual representation of what your company stands for and therefore acts as the “face” of your business. This makes them a fantastic way of promoting your brand both on- and off-line, and a fantastic way of standing out from your competition. Unfortunately, getting them right can be tricky.
If you’re struggling with your branding, we’ve compiled a list of high quality logo creation tools to help you create your brand.

Spaces

Spaces is a fantastically simple to use tool for creating striking logos in a matter of minutes. All you need to do is input your company name and use a few keywords to describe what it does, and Spaces will automatically generate hundreds of relevant logos. You also have the option to make minor alterations such as colours and typography to create a design that truly reflects your brand.

GraphicSprings

Another powerful logo creation tool is GraphicSprings. In fact, it’s probably the most powerful on our list, which is mainly down to the sheer number of customisations and alterations you can make. One of the most useful features is the option to categorise possible logos based on your business type, such as food and drink, sports and abstract. If that wasn’t enough, you can also hire one of GraphicSprings’ in-house designers to create an entirely custom logo for you.

A Pen and Paper

Although we have included a few handy tools for logo creation in this section, most designers would argue that the most important tool a designer could use to create a logo would be pencil and paper. This is because your idea has to come from an initial thought process, which is then roughed out using a pencil and paper. Unfortunately, going straight to the computer can remove this critical thought process. Once you have your rough idea, you can then use software to fully flesh out your logo designs.
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Typography Tools

Typography is one of the most challenging yet rewarding parts of any design process. Not only do you have to choose a suitable typeface, you also need to decide on appropriate line spacing, height, point size and so much more. Getting your typography right will make your design work more powerful, more readable, and generally much more effective. If you’re still not convinced by the power of typography, a recent study revealed that people are significantly more likely to agree with statements that are written in Baskerville than in Comic Sans or Helvetica.

Typewolf

Typewolf was launched in 2013 as a response to a general “lack of good resources for choosing fonts for design projects”. Everything about Typewolf has been meticulously approached from a designer’s perspective, most notably the ability to see how real type performs on actual websites as opposed to endless lines of “lorem ipsum”.

Typekit

Typekit is a subscription-based font service that curates thousands of fonts from a range of high-quality foundry partners into one library. This makes it perfect for simple browsing, use in presentations or on the web. It’s an endless source of typographic inspiration.

Typecast

Typecast is a tool for designers that provides accurate and standards-based typography on the web. You have over 23,000 web fonts at your disposal, allowing you to combine and compare looks side-by-side. You can also expand your type pairs into fully scaled, web-ready, kerned and colourised stacks of real content thanks to effortlessly simple visual controls.
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Colour Scheme Tools

In the highly unlikely event that you have carved yourself a niche in creating nothing other than monochrome designs, at some point in your design life you will need to work with colour. Thankfully, we’ve gathered together some fantastic tools to help you perfect your colour choices.

Mudcube Colour Sphere

Although not the most glamorous of names, the Mudcube Colour Sphere is an extremely useful colour resource tool for designers. It’s allows you to build up a colour scheme from one chosen shade, while also providing you with the hex numbers for each colour.

Pictaculous

Pictaculous is a fantastic tool from the makers of MailChimp. It allows you to upload any image and Pictaculous will automatically generate a colour scheme from the colours within the picture.

COLOURlovers

COLOURlovers acts less like a colour selection tool, and more like a Pinterest board for colour. It’s a community designed solely for the sharing and appreciation of colours, palettes and patterns. It is a superb source of colour and palette inspiration.
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Photography Tools

VSCO Cam

VSCO Cam is both a powerful photo-editing app and a way of connecting with amazing photographers from around the world. It comes with a range of great performance features, including a plethora of pre-set filters and multiple high resolution imports. It will also show you before and after comparisons of your photos so you can show how you built up your edits.

PicLab HD

PicLab HD from MuseWorks is a nifty little app that enables you to quickly and easily layer text over your photos using attractive typefaces. All you need to do is choose an existing photo from your library or take a new photo, then work your magic. Although at face value the app seems pretty straightforward, there are actually a wide range of powerful features under the hood. You have a range of fonts at your disposal, as well as complete control over positioning, size, opacity and colour. If that wasn’t enough, you can also layer illustrations and other design elements on top of your image.

PicMonkey

PicMonkey is a really useful tool for sprucing up your blog post images without the need for Photoshop. PicMonkey lets you intuitively add borders, text, additional graphics, and re-colour your images without the need to download other software.
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Illustration Tools

The iPad can be a fantastic design tool to have at your disposal, especially if you also have a good stylus. You can sketch out ideas while on the move, or create a piece from start to finish. Even better, there are a range of powerful apps that can help designers make the most out of their tablet. Here, we’ve highlighted the ones that are definitely worth downloading.

Paper by FiftyThree

Paper is a stunningly designed sketchbook app that is perfect for sketching up designs and doodling on the move. It utilises something called an “expressive ink engine”, which basically means that even when you’re using your finger to draw in the app, it reacts to your movements so the lines generated are reflective of a more natural sketching experience. You can also send pages from the Paper app directly via email, or even publish them straight to Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr.

Astropad Graphics Tablet

One of the main benefits of the Astropad Graphics Tablet is that it works as both an iPad app and a corresponding Mac app, effectively turning your iPad into a graphics tablet. This nifty feature allows you to use your iPad to draw directly into Photoshop or any of the other design applications on your Mac.

Adobe Illustrator Draw

Adobe Illustrator Draw gives you the ability to draw vector illustrations on your phone or tablet — but that’s just the tip of the iceberg! There is also a wide range of other tools to make your job even easier. You will also be able to draw perfect lines and curves, incorporate images from multiple sources and enjoy a 50-level undo & redo feature.
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Presentation Tools

You might not think it but your presentation skills are as important as your design skills. In fact, a sloppy presentation of your design project could mean rejection. Thankfully, there is a wide range of presentation tools that will help to avoid “death by PowerPoint” and allow you to show your work at its best.

Prezi

Prezi is an extremely innovative online presentation tool, which lets you incorporate videos, images and text, and animate them using a wide range of effects. It also allows you to run your presentations as executable files, as well as supporting all the main desktop and mobile platforms. Even better, the final presentations can be shared directly from the app across all major social networks.

Placeit

Although not a fully-fledged presentation-creation tool, PlaceIt is extremely useful for showing lifestyle images of your designs in action. Simply upload your designs and they will be placed directly into Creative Commons-enabled stock photo templates, bringing your work to life.

Visme Presenter

This free tool is an all-in-one application for creating dazzling presentations using a range of intuitive drag-and-drop options. If you’re running low on creativity, there are also a number of beautiful presentation templates that you can tinker with and adapt to your heart’s content. One of its key features is its speed and flexibility, as well as the ability to access your presentations anywhere on any device.
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Working Environment

It goes without saying that the spaces you occupy help to shape who you are and how you behave. This can also have a knock-on effect on your creativity and productivity. As a designer, you will invariably spend years working in the same room, or indeed at the same desk. Therefore, it makes sense to create a workspace that is conducive to your requirements.

A Comfortable Chair

Pulling an all-nighter to meet a tight deadline is a rite of passage for a designer. On top of that, the demand for designers to work long hours in general means that you will be spending a lot of time sat in your chair. This means that it is important that you have the right one. For the crème de la crème of seating options, go for the Herman Miller Aeron chair, which offers ergonomic comfort and adapts naturally to your body and seating position. It’s also pretty darn stylish. A word of warning: some models cost over £900.

A Good Desk

Even if you have a good chair, sitting down all day can be pretty bad. However, no one wants to be standing up all day either, despite the current chatter about standing desks. Why not have the best of both worlds and invest in an adjustable desk? The Varidesk Pro sits on top of your existing desk, which you can then lift up to a standing position in a few steps. When you want to return back to a seating position, simply reverse the process and you can sit in your seat again. The slightly high price point is nothing when you compare it to the health benefits. Your back and your feet will thank you!

A Good Pair of Headphones

A pair of over-ear headphones can be seen as the modern-day version of the thinking cap. They allow you to achieve zen-like focus, making them ideal for your commute or buckling down at your desk. For the ultimate in focus, the Master & Dynamic MH40 over-ear headphones are designed to cancel out each and every noisy work distraction. They are also way too cool to leave in your bag – give them pride of place on your desk or wherever else you find your inspiration.
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New Tools to Look Out For In 2016

A recent survey into the popularity of design tools showed that Photoshop is slowly losing its popularity among designers. This suggests that designers will always be open to new tools, providing they make the design process easier. In the section below, we’ve highlighted three trending design tools you should try in 2016.

Ceros

Ceros is a new tool for content creation that is perfect for designers and marketers alike. Using this tool, you will be able to create a range of engaging interactive content, including the likes of magazines, microsites, infographics, eBooks, banners and much more.

UXPin

Although not necessarily a new tool – UXPin is currently used by thousands of designers around the globe. UXPin recently announced that they are working on a complete overhaul of their collaborative wireframe and prototype tool, which looks very promising indeed. Thankfully, you can sign up to the waiting list now to get notified about the release.

Fuse

Fuse is an intuitive UX tool suite for both app developers and designers. One of Fuse’s key features is the ability to create and update the look and feel of native apps in real-time on multiple devices at the same time. The downside is that it’s only currently available for Windows and OS X users.
So there you have it. Hopefully this guide has pointed you in the direction of a few more design tools that can help you streamline your work, find inspiration more easily, show off your amazing design skills and make collaboration easier. Get in touch if you think we’ve missed anything off this list!


Did you find this guide helpful? Why not pass it on to your friends by sharing on social media or downloading our handy PDF!

Friday, 24 June 2016

Making the Most of your Online Strategy

Does your business have a successful online marketing strategy? Can there really be anyone left out there who still needs convincing that their web presence really matters?
There are many businesses now who are doing one of the things that this infographic advises, but have you considered all the options?

Follow this step by step guide to online happiness. These steps include creating a website, blogging, search engine optimisation and  making a social media account to boost to generate more leads to your business. Do you need to do all of this? You certainly need to consider the options.

Follow these steps and tell us how you get on in the comment section below, or contact Art Division today, the digital marketing experts who can tell you, all you need to know about marketing.



impactbnd inbound marketing process FINAL resized 600.jpg

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

What your Instagram filter says about you



Are you one of the 100 million active users generating 40 million photos a day on Instagram? Instagram is well known for its various filters that transform the look and feel of your photos. The truth is, the filter you choose says more about you than the picture you take. We have found this infographic below which explains the psychology behind the top 10 Instagram filters, and profiles the personalities of the photographers who use them. So, what filter best describes you? 


What Your Instagram Filter Says About You

Monday, 17 August 2015

Our top 5 social networks for businesses

Image credit:
Since Friends Reunited - the first online social network to achieve prominence - was founded here in the UK in 1999, social media has evolved into a crucial business tool.

Business owners now know the significance of engaging with their customers and prospects online. But which social networking platforms are best for business, rather than finding long lost friends and relations?

Here’s a list of social media networks, we think could work best for you…

  
Image credit:
LinkedIn
What many consider the social network for business, LinkedIn has been accused of being the platform where people you don't know ask you to recommend them to people you barely know.

But it’s a great place for making connections and spreading the word about your business activity. Just beware, though: The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary now defines "procrastination" as "working on your LinkedIn Profile."

Addictiveness: 5 (Market yourself and your business)

Fun factor: 3 (Almost devoid of amusing pictures of people or cats, but the misspellings can raise a smile)

Usefulness: 8 (LinkedIn is a great way of grow your B2B network)


Image credit:
Twitter
There are more than 284 million monthly active users on Twitter, which is why it’s a powerhouse networking tool. Twitter is a bit like marmite, you either love it or hate it, but here at Mission Imblogable we are going to convince you fall in love with it.

Twitter is an amazing tool to engage in different conversations happening over the social web and to meet new customers and leads. Did you know 51% of active Twitter users follow companies, brands or products on social networks? What are you waiting for?

Addictiveness: 9 (Some users have been known to forget to eat and drink while engaging on Twitter)

Fun factor: 10 (You can get retweets from celebs)

Usefulness: 9 (Used well, Twitter can amplify your digital marketing)


Image credit:
Facebook 
Now more than 10 years old, Facebook is the granddaddy of social networks that remains one of the most popular. And it is going from strength to strength following the purchase of WhatsApp messenger.

Marketing on Facebook can help you reach all of the people who matter most to your business, it allows users to generate awareness. Creating a page to introduce business ventures, products, events or services is worth the time and effort.

Facebook also offers a company page, which provides companies with a huge platform to endorse different types of events.

Addictiveness: 7 (Can you name a single day when you didn’t take just a peek at Facebook? We can’t either)

Fun factor: 7 (There is so much to LIKE about Facebook)

Usefulness: 9 (Facebook is the true test of your popularity)


Google+
Image credit:
The new kid on the block, Google+ is an extension of the search giant’s power. Unlike Facebook ,Twitter and LinkedIn, which are primarily social platforms, G+ is combined into every Google facility, such as Gmail, YouTube, Maps, Google Drive, AdWords, Blogger and more.

And while you use Facebook to connect with contacts, G+ allows you to find new friends through the power of your posts on the network – plus it drives traffic to your own site.

And have you heard of the term Google Authorship? Well, this gives users the ability to link their written content on a domain to their G+. Therefore this allows Google to recognise who you are and what you’ve published online.

Addictiveness: 5 (It can take time to get the hang of G+)

Fun factor: 8 (We can’t start to describe the feeling a satisfaction when someone you don’t know plusses your post on the network)

Usefulness: 8 (As a means of finding new friends and contacts, G+ is unbeatable)

Ok, we’ve given you the low-down on some of the best social networking channels, it’s now your turn to get out there and GET SOCIAL!

Friday, 31 July 2015

Is Twitter really good for business?

Listen, we love social media here at Mission Imblogable. Twitter is totally our thing (although just to confuse you, we tweet as @artdivision). But take your eye off the ball for a while, and all of a sudden you're spending 60% of your time tweeting and only 30% doing actual work. (The other 10% is reserved for playing Candy Crush Saga, obviously.) Which doesn't make for a very merry business.

So is Twitter a help or a hindrance to your business?

How often do you tweet?


Let's be honest: Twitter is only useful if you actually use it on the regular, like our pals at @PropertyDvision. Posting multiple times a day is the only way you're going to be able to have meaningful conversations and get noticed. If your tweets are few and far between, you should probably get your act together and make a good go of it, or quit altogether – because nothing says “I don't care about my business” more than a derelict Twitter account.

The downside of launching a full-frontal Twitter attack, of course, is that you might not have enough time leftover to get all your work done and play Candy Crush. And there's no way you're giving up Candy Crush, so your work will suffer, right? There's a fine balance between tweeting just the right amount and not letting it distract you from your actual work. But third party apps can help... or can they?

Are you using third party apps effectively?

Third party apps that allow you to schedule tweets in advance, such as Buffer and Tweetdeck, can be super handy for making sure you keep up with your tweeting without letting it take over your life. Lining up tweets for the whole week in one short blast can be a mega time-saver that allows you to continue on with your work as normal throughout the rest of the week. But it's not all butterflies and rainbows...

If you rely wholly on scheduled tweets, you're kind of missing the point. While knowing your tweets are taken care of for the rest of the week can be a welcome relief, it won't necessarily play well with your followers. Are you checking in to see if anyone responds to your tweets? Or are you ignoring your loyal followers, ensuring they don't remain loyal for long?

Some people can spot buffered tweets a mile off, and if yours are particularly obvious it might not end well for your reputation. The whole point of Twitter is to grow user engagement, have conversations and make connections – which doesn't really happen if you're only checking in once a week to line your tweets up.

What content are you posting?

So you've nailed the fine balance of tweeting just the right amount while still getting your work done, and you've figured out this whole buffering thing while still managing to check in every day and have conversations with people. But none of that matters if you're posting useless content.

Your tweets should be a nice variety of text, pics and video. Witty one-liners are all well and good, but if it's all you post, your followers could tire of you quickly. Posting photos and videos is a great way to boost engagement, so take advantage of the tools at your disposal: Vine is a fabulous little app for posting videos, and uploading a photo on occasion isn't exactly hard, is it?


While we're on the subject of your tweets' content: make sure you don't just share your own fabulous work, you selfish thing, you. Retweeting others and sharing useful, interesting articles that are relevant to your target audience is a great way to provide value to your followers. And that's what it's all about really, isn't it?

Image credit:  Master isolated images at www.freedigitalphotos.net

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