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Source: Strike Trader Elite – How  Forex Traders Looking to Grow Their Account Quickly | Online Marketing Tools

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The Best Blockchain Jobs And Careers Available Today – Bernard Marr

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Blockchain expertise captured the No. 1 position on the latest skills index by Upwork for being the hottest in the U.S. job market. This is just one of the many indicators of how high the demand is for people with blockchain skills. Blockchain may have begun in finance to support cryptocurrencies, but now blockchain technology and the solutions it can provide are being explored by industries from healthcare to insurance to manufacturing and more.

The only way companies can explore and achieve goals with blockchain is to hire those who have the skill-set to navigate this new technology. Here we’ll spotlight what blockchain technology is, who wants those with blockchain skills and some of the best blockchain jobs and careers that are available today.

What is blockchain technology?

Although blockchain technology was first developed to use with the cryptocurrency bitcoin in 2008, it is essentially a distributed database that can store any type of record. Users can only edit the parts of the blockchain they own, making it highly secure, but anyone with access to the blockchain can see it, so it is also highly transparent.

Some have described blockchain as the “internet of value”—anyone can send value anywhere the blockchain file can be accessed just like anyone can publish information that others can access on the internet no matter where they are in the world. Now that blockchain technology has expanded beyond the financial sector, many companies representing many industries are researching and exploring how adopting blockchain could help their business.

Where is the demand for blockchain skills?

Blockchain has become what the “cloud” was in the mid-2000s, poised to be the most highly talked about technology and one that offers tremendous professional opportunity. According to Upwork’s skills index, blockchain is the fastest-growing skill out of more than 5,000 on the site. Currently, demand is far outpacing supply. According to Burning Glass Technologies, there were more than 5,743 largely full-time job openings posted that required blockchain skills in the last 12 months.

Even though as a skill-set, blockchain technology is in its infancy, it’s in demand from start-ups as well as established companies such as IBM and Samsung. Organizations are exploring not only cryptopcurrencies powered by blockchain but how the distributed ledgers that are the backbone of blockchain can be applied in other areas such as supply chains, legal, contracts and more.

Blockchain research and adoption requires the leadership and skills of professionals who can build the strategy and develop the blockchain solutions. Here are a few of the hottest positions:

Blockchain Developer

Since there is virtually no industry leader who isn’t somewhat intrigued by the potential opportunities made possible through blockchain technology, blockchain developers who have the expertise to help companies develop blockchain platforms are in high demand. Blockchain development might offer the most robust career path at the moment, because until solutions are developed, all the benefits of blockchain can’t be realized. Some organizations call this role a blockchain engineer. This is a highly technical position that requires tremendous attention to detail.

Blockchain project manager

A blockchain project manager has the responsibility to connect the dots from an organization’s specific business cases for blockchain technology to blockchain experts (internal or external) who will develop the blockchain solution. This expert needs to have the traditional expertise of a project manager working in any industry plus the technological know-how to make sense of blockchain and communicate to non-technical people in the organization to provide effective updates and get resourcing.

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Blockchain designer

Now that blockchain is expanding to a variety of industries and being used not just by computer scientists but also by people who want to capitalize on its efficiencies, cost-savings and more, the user interface and design of blockchain solutions is becoming more important. Blockchain designers consider how to design a user experience that connotes trust and is appealing to an everyday user while also reflecting the very attributes that make blockchain special—no middlemen, a frictionless experience and more.

Blockchain quality engineer

Similar to quality assurance engineers in any development environment, a blockchain quality engineer has a responsibility to test and ensure all areas of quality in the blockchain development environment. The specialty of blockchain quality engineers is testing and automation and test frameworks for blockchain. They guide the test strategy for blockchain development and develop and maintain QA test standards.

Blockchain attorney or legal consultant

As organizations grapple with the implications of launching new technology, legal questions arise. Companies are increasingly looking for legal expertise on what they need to consider as they launch blockchain technologies with implications for how business and finance are handled, transactions are tracked and confirmed, as well as how identity is managed.

As blockchain technology continues to evolve, so will the professional opportunities it makes possible. Although it’s impossible to predict how it will all shake out, those with blockchain expertise will likely be in high demand for many years to come.

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Restaurant POS Lightspeed Announces iOS Integrations – Michael Guta

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Lightspeed has announced it is integrating Intuit QuickBooks Online and Planday so retailers and restaurateurs can efficiently manage their finances and workforce within the iOS ecosystem.

Lightspeed iOS Integration

Intuit is going to bring its payroll solution, while Planday will provide a workforce management platform. Together with Lightspeed’s cloud-based point-of-sale systems, the collaboration will give independent businesses in both industries a fully integrated finance and employee scheduling capability.

All three companies are Apple Mobility Partners, which will ensure a “compatibility issue free” integration. For many independent retailers and restaurant owners, who are in the small business segment, having the technology they choose work out of the box is extremely important. And the relationship between the three companies plays a role in this.

Julian Teixeira, VP of Sales, Lightspeed, explained the significance of the relationship in the press release. He said, “This relationship ushers in a new era of ease and innovation for our customers. With this integration, we are delivering one experience to retail and restaurant customers to help them save time, make more money, and improve data accuracy through automatic syncing of all systems.”

Benefits of the Integration

The applications of all three companies are going to be integrated into the iOS platform to deliver a seamless user experience. According to Lightspeed, this will save businesses time and money while being able to engage with their employees more effectively.

When Lightspeed users get on their iPhone or iPad, they will be able to deliver a better customer experience because they will be able to see a comprehensive picture of their business. Owners will have a centralized location where they can manage and report on their entire inventory.

Anytime there is a sale, the information automatically goes from Lightspeed into the correct ledger in Intuit QuickBooks Online.  And when it comes to scheduling your workforce, Planday lets owners plan shifts based on expected revenue while managing individual or group communications.

While these functions are taking place, the three platforms are communicating with each other. So the information on sales, worker times and attendance will go from Planday and Lightspeed into Intuit QuickBooks Online to run payroll.

What this means for the small business operator is no more wasted time creating reports for each task because they will be consolidated.

Christian Broendum, CEO, Planday, said it best as to how retailers and restauranteurs will benefit from this integration, “Ensuring the right employees are in position and with the right team size during busy or quiet periods is key to success, but this has been a real admin challenge for operators. The combined solution represents a significant step in solving this equation with the minimum of effort.

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Amazon Employees Ask Bezos To Stop Selling Facial Recognition To Cops – Thomas Fox-Brewster

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Amazon employees have written a letter to CEO Jeff Bezos in which they ask the company to stop selling its facial recognition tool to American law enforcement.

The tech giant’s sales to U.S. cops were revealed by an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) investigation earlier this month, as it emerged Amazon Web Services’ Rekognition tool was shipped to police in Florida and Oregon. The cost of the tool was also revealed to be remarkably low, as evidenced by a Forbes test of the product, in which a facial recognition project was set up for free across the publication’s Jersey City and London offices.

In a letter posted to an internal forum, first revealed by The Hill and published in full by Gizmodo, some employees expressed the same concerns as the ACLU about the power of Amazon’s Recognition being abused by American officers. The letter also called on Amazon to cease providing computing infrastructure to Palantir, the Peter Thiel-backed surveillance company, over concerns about the company’s work with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) department that’s been caught up in the furor over the forced separation of children from their parents at the border.

“Our company should not be in the surveillance business; we should not be in the policing business; we should not be in the business of supporting those who monitor and oppress marginalized populations,” the letter, signed off by “Amazonians,” read.

“We refuse to build the platform that powers ICE, and we refuse to contribute to tools that violate human rights.

“As ethically concerned Amazonians, we demand a choice in what we build, and a say in how it is used.”

 Employee activism is alive

It comes after a recent spate of protests across workforces in Silicon Valley about tech giants’ work with the U.S. government. As uncovered by Gizmodo’s Kate Conger, Google employees were up in arms about the company’s work with the Pentagon on an artificial-intelligence-powered drone footage analysis initiative known as Maven. Google subsequently decided to stop working on the project.

Microsoft staff this week called on the company to cease working with ICE. While CEO Satya Nadella slammed the practice of separating children and parents, he said the company was not providing any tech aiding in ICE’s work on separating families.

Palantir, which The Intercept last year revealed provides a $20 million Investigative Case Management service for ICE, has not responded to Forbes’ request for comment on its work for the immigration department. Recent contracts show Palantir received $250,000 from ICE this month and $12.2 million in May 2017, among many other orders.

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How To Boss It Like With Claire Davenport – Kitty Knowles

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There are a handful of business leaders and industry figures who are changing the world.

We’ve previously asked CEOs, founders and thought leaders like Alex Klein (the cofounder of Kano), Clare Gilmartin (CEO at Trainline), and Justin Rosenstein (cofounder of Asana), how they get so much done in an impossibly short amount of time.

Today we find out “How To Boss It Like” Claire Davenport, CEO at HelloFresh UK, the meal-kit company based in Berlin.

Davenport cut her teeth working in banking at Goldman Sachs and JPMorganChase, before going on to work for digital leaders like Skype, FutureLearn and VoucherCodes.

Today, when she’s not heading up HelloFresh’s British division, she’s sharing her knowledge at pivotal events like this week’s Etail Europe.

What time do you get up, and what part of your morning routine sets you up for the day?

Most mornings I get up at 7 a.m. and have breakfast with my two daughters before cycling down the canal from my house to Oxford train station. I pick a quiet carriage so I can catch up on emails and news and prepare for the day on my commute into London.

Two mornings a week I have breakfast blocked for mentoring or networking. Doing everything I can to level the playing field for people from different backgrounds—to realize their full potential in their career or with their startup—is very important to me. I try to help with introductions or advice or just giving a confidence boost where needed.

Saturdays and Sundays I run on Port Meadow in Oxford with my running buddy, Alison. We run 4-5 miles to stay fit and catch up on the week.

What smartphone do you have?

iPhone 7 with 128 GB capacity (lots of photos and videos). Normal black with a HelloFresh cover.

What apps or methods do you use to be more productive?

I have tried various productivity apps over time but find having a system I stick to with my emails and trusted Moleskine notebook works best for me.

Sometimes I like to be offline or away from my phone. Okay, that’s not true.

But sometimes I happen to be offline (train or tube or once I have gone to bed or when I am trying to set a good example for my daughters) and I still have ideas and thoughts I need to get down, so a paper notebook is essential.

How many people, outside of family, do you meet in a day?

Every day is slightly different. On any given day, there are normally around 100-200 people working at our Shoreditch office or around 200 at our distribution center in Oxfordshire.

Both workspaces are sociable places, and I sit in a different seat most days so that I can really understand what all the teams are up to. I like the variety of sitting in our customer-care area and listening and speaking to customers on the phone one day to spending time with our marketing team the following day.

We keep meetings short at HelloFresh so I have in-depth conversations with 20 people a day roughly. I regularly meet customers as we like to host events at our office to learn more about their experience with HelloFresh.

A couple of evenings a week, I like to meet up with friends or people in my network.

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What book have you read, either recently or in the past, that has inspired you?

The Emotionally Intelligent Manager by David Caruso and Peter Salovey is a book I return again and again. It really changed my thinking on EQ and people management. I’ve bought copies for our offices because I think it’s a book everyone can benefit from.

I also like Act Like A Leader, Think Like A Leader by Herminia Ibarra, which is great for people thinking about their leadership style and is lovely and practical.

What advice would you give for people who are eager to get into your industry?

Go for it. It’s better to take an opportunity and get the experience it gives you rather than procrastinating and losing time. You can always pivot when you see what you enjoy about the opportunity.

When do you work until? Are you still sending emails in the night? Or do you have a wind-down routine?

Most evenings when I don’t have events, we eat a HelloFresh meal together as a family around 8 p.m.

My husband or daughters often start cooking while I am commuting home—I am guilty of emailing or reading news or Facebooking until late, but then I listen to audiobooks to wind down before I fall asleep.

I have a history of waking up with an idea at 3:30 a.m. and, at one time, I had quite a reputation for the 4 a.m. email among my colleagues.

After a while, I learned how scary it is for my team to receive a 4 a.m. email from me, and now I just save it as a draft and, if it still seems as important in the morning (about 10% of the time), I send it then instead.

If you could ask your idol one question, who would it be, and what would you ask?

I’d ask Barack Obama for his best piece of advice on leadership and his awesome public speaking.

What do you think your industry will look like in 10 years? 

I think more and more people will rely on meal kits in the future as it’s just such a convenient way to cook and enjoy nutritious food. Personalized nutrition will become a bigger trend as consumers are able to access data and food that meets their specific needs. And delivery will continue to develop, and we’re likely to see more and more automation in this area.

I believe my grandchildren will be bemused by the idea of owning a car or going to a supermarket to shop for a week’s meals in advance!

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What It Takes To Make IoT Implementation A Success – Robert Plant & Cherie Topham

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Organizations around the globe understand the importance of IoT. In fact, in a recent Forbes Insights/Hitachi survey of more than 500 executives worldwide, over 90% said IoT will be important to the future of their business. What’s more, of all emerging technologies, executives said IoT would be the most critical, ranking it above others like artificial intelligence and robotics.

While executives acknowledge the importance of IoT, 49% remain in the early stages of planning or are only operating pilot programs. We spoke with John Magee, Hitachi Vantara’s vice president of product and solutions marketing, to get his perspective on this state of development and how organizations can make IoT a larger part of their strategy and operations going forward.

If an executive is looking to invest in IoT and understand the economics behind it, what does he or she need to know?

Most organizations are looking to IoT projects to either improve operational efficiency or drive new revenue streams. A lot of organizations are seeking to use the data they can get from IoT sensors and connectivity to provide better visibility and help them understand what’s going on in their operations. For product companies, they’re often looking to optimize how their products are being manufactured or used, and to offer new data-driven services with those products.

The goal for most of these companies is to transform the way they operate and the way they compete. For business leaders looking to take advantage of IoT, the most important thing is to begin with the business outcome goals first and then determine what data IoT can provide that can help deliver those outcomes. It’s the new data that delivers the business value. So that should be the starting point for any project. Then you can work back from there to the technology required to meet the objective.

For example, manufacturers might want to understand why quality issues are creeping into one of their manufacturing lines but not the other. Logistics companies may want to understand the location of parts and deliveries to optimize scheduling. Product companies may want to sell new value-added software services that help customers get more value from their products. Whatever the goal, by understanding what data you need to collect and who needs access to it, the technology requirements will fall into place more easily and you won’t over- or underspend for success.

When executives are thinking about what data is most important to achieving their desired outcomes, what do they need to know? How should they approach this?

IoT is essentially a rich source of new business data. Data that comes from machines and devices, and from the spaces and environments those machines operate in. In many situations, just having access to real-time data about what’s going on—in a manufacturing plant, on a remote oil rig or in a city train station—can be transformative. In most situations, though, some analysis of the data is going to be needed to gain the insights that lead to business value.

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This is where technologies like big data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence come into play. Analytics is the key to not just understanding what is happening but also learning and getting smarter so that your IoT solutions can predict when a problem will occur or find the root cause of product quality issues that would have been unsolvable without analyzing the mountains of data that IoT can deliver.

The right way to think about IoT is as an extension of the business analytics that your organization is probably already doing in other areas. At the end of the day, IoT is a means to accessing and interpreting more data. And data management, data integration and data science are all key enabling technologies for IoT, just as they are for most other areas of business today.

One new twist on IoT data that differs from traditional business data is the idea of a “digital twin.” The digital twin is the software representation of a physical device, such as a pacemaker, an elevator or a dump truck. As data streams in from the physical device, it is collected and stored in the corresponding digital twin. The digital twin knows everything about that asset: where it was manufactured, how it has been operated, when it was last serviced.

By using software to analyze hundreds or even thousands of these digital twins, data scientists can build powerful analytic models that can optimize the corresponding physical assets. Organizations are using this approach to enhance asset uptime and performance, extend the useful life of critical assets and optimize maintenance and operations.

Once you’ve aggregated data into a single version of the truth and are drawing conclusions, how can companies best integrate that information into broader networks?

There’s a sort of stairway to value in many IoT scenarios. The first step of the stairway is the physical devices themselves. The second step is the operations around those devices. And the third step is the business processes and ecosystem around those operations.

Think of a manufacturing plant. If you use sensors on critical plant equipment, you can get data that can help you operate that equipment more effectively. If you collect enough data, you can even start to predict when it will fail so you can service it before that happens. So that’s the next step – using the data insights about the equipment into optimizing your maintenance and repair operations.

But that data can also be useful at the next step in the stairway, which is how your supply chain responds to requirements for parts or materials being delivered based on the performance of the equipment and operations in the factory. The more data you have, the more visibility you have, and the more opportunity to optimize every part of the operation. Sort of like air traffic control for the factory.

This stairway, or hierarchy, of value—from asset to operations to business process—is one we see play out in industry after industry.

When it comes to IoT, which is a complicated endeavor, research shows that it’s best not to go at it alone. What should executives be looking for in a partner when they’re considering making this transformation?

Working with a partner who understands your industry and has a methodology to help you think through your data strategy are the real enablers for success. IoT is a hot technology right now, and it is easy to get caught up in the hype and invest in the wrong areas. Working with an experienced partner who has a pragmatic approach that starts with understanding how IoT data and analytics will drive the desired business outcome is the key to success.

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25 Sure Fire Ways to Boost Twitter Engagement – Brendan Schneider

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As a school marketer, you already are aware of the opportunity Twitter presents to you as a tool for reaching out to parents and prospective parents. With more than 330 million users on Twitter, it’s easy to see why it is one of the platforms most school marketers say benefits their school.

But here’s the challenge – how do you get the right Twitter users (also known as Tweeps) to engage with your posts and click on your content?

Almost every school marketer has been in the position where they are churning out a mountain of content, and no one ever seems to want to interact with it. It’s easy to get frustrated when the last three tweets linking to your latest genius blog post don’t get noticed.

In this post, I’m going to take a deeper dive into Twitter engagement. We will look at what Twitter engagement is, how to measure it and why it matters. I will also give you 25 strategies you can use to increase your engagement and click-through-rate (CTR) on Twitter.

Types of Twitter Engagement

Twitter engagement is when someone engages with the content that you post in your tweets. To be considered engagement, Twitter users can:

  • Reply to your Tweet
  • Engage with someone who replied to your Tweet
  • Retweet your Tweet
  • Like your Tweet
  • Direct Message you
  • Add you to a List
  • Add your Tweet to a Moment
  • Follow and unfollow you
  • Mention you in a Tweet by using your Twitter Handle
  • Click on your link

Engagement is one of the main purposes of having a Twitter account – to send interested, engaged traffic to your website and/or blog. Just remember that if someone isn’t following you, they can’t see your postings.

What You Should Know About Twitter Engagement

Before we get into the specific Twitter engagement strategies, it’s a good idea to understand the Twitter environment in which you are trying to engage. (Source: 61 Social Media Statistics to Bookmark for 2018)

  1. Twitter users prefer content and engagement

15% of Twitter users will unfollow a brand within three weeks if they are not making an effort to engage them, such as posting relevant content and engaging with them

  1. Active Twitter users are on Twitter every day

Out of all active Twitter users, 81% are active at least once a day, 15% access Twitter more than 10x a day, and 60% tweet at least once a day

  1. Twitter users like to engage with brands

49% of Twitter users are following brands

  1. Twitter users prefer to use Twitter for customer service

19% of active Twitter users seek customer support on Twitter

  1. Twitter users prefer visuals

Visual content (i.e., images, graphics, infographics, and videos) get 150% more engagement on average than text-only tweets

  1. Twitter users prefer to use their mobile devices

82% of active Twitter users accessed it through a mobile device

  1. Millennials are active Twitter users

81% of millennials in the U.S. view their Twitter account on a daily basis

Why Twitter Engagement Matters

Interaction on Twitter offers a great deal of benefits to your school.

Engagement on Twitter (except when it goes really wrong) will enable you to build and foster relationships with parents and potential parents. If they are interacting with your content, they are interested in your school, and may even be sharing it. This is especially true if you’re responding to them and having conversations, even if they are brief.

Once you start getting click-throughs to your website and/or blog, you will be gaining more visitors, inquiries, and enrollments.

Also, when you garner retweets or mentions, you’re expanding your reach – for free.

Twitter engagement can drive results, so it’s worth measuring the results and adjusting your campaigns to improve the performance of your Twitter campaigns.

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How to Increase Twitter Engagement and Link Clicks

Here are 25 strategies you can use to increase Twitter engagement for your school. You will want to test these strategies to determine what will work best for your school.

  1. Build an audience by following others

You want to consistently grow your followers by following others. Find the best followers by using Twitter Advanced Search to laser-focus your search criteria. Just remember to thin out your Followers (I use ManageFlitter to do this) because you want to maintain a balance between the number of people following you and the number of people or brands you follow. One strategy I like to use to build my Twitter audience is to find local influencers and search through their followers to find potential followers.

  1. Engage with other content

Yes, the Golden Rule works on Twitter. If you want others to engage with your content, you need to engage with theirs first. Like, reply to and retweet others content. When you engage with other Twitter users’ content, they will be more likely to pay attention to your content. This can help to build social proof over time, which is valuable on all social channels.

Not only will this increase engagement, but it will also help you build relationships with your followers, expanding your reach both on – and off – Twitter.

  1. Retweet other users’ tweets

Another golden rule and retweets are golden in the Twitterverse (yes, it’s a thing!)  Retweeting is a form of engagement that Twitter users value a great deal – not only are you saying you Like their content, but you value it enough to share it. Reciprocity is an important part of why people choose to follow and engage with your school. By retweeting, you will have a better chance of connecting with them.

  1. Keep your tweets short

Twitter only allows 140 characters in each tweet, to begin with, but the best practice is to keep your tweets really short – like 80 – 110 characters. This is for several reasons. Leaving space for more characters allows users the opportunity to add their own tags and @Mentions, making it easier for others to retweet. Several research studies have found that shorter tweets have a higher level of engagement.

  1. Share a variety of content topics that include links

While it is important, of course, to include links to your most valuable content, you also want to share curated content as well. With social media, you never want to make it all about your brand. No one wants to feel they are being “sold” to all the time.

  1. Respond when someone tweets you

This can be especially challenging for large schools that have a lot of engagement. However, it’s best to respond to users that engage with your school as soon as possible. Sending an actual response tweet is usually the most powerful and effective. If you receive criticism or they seem upset, respond to them quickly and make the conversation private (i.e., Direct Message) as soon as possible.

Responding when someone tweets you increases the chances they will engage with your future posts.

  1. Know the best times to post

There are certain times of the day or days of the week when your active Twitter followers are more likely to be online. You will get more views and engagement if you post during your peak hours.

Most studies have shown that posting between noon and 3 pm Mondays – Fridays is a peak time, while other studies have found that 5 pm Monday – Friday or noon and 6 pm offers the best CTR.

Most social media scheduling tools (I use Buffer and SproutSocial) make it easy to distribute content during the best days and times for your school. It’s always a good idea to test your posting schedule to ensure you are posting during the best times for your social media platforms and audience.

  1. Always provide high-quality content

People don’t want to waste time, especially on a microblogging site like Twitter. Schools should seek to provide value through information, inspiration or entertainment. Providing value, in whatever form you choose, is among the most important factors for success with content marketing. Value will keep potential parents coming back and staying interested, and, best of all, engaging with and clicking on the tweet you’re posting.

  1. Always use hashtags

Hashtags play an important role on Twitter. Just like with Instagram, hashtags are part of the Twitter culture. But they are functional too. Hashtags help people find what they are looking for when they are searching. Hashtags also are used to emphasize core points you want to make.

Tweets with hashtags are retweeted 33% more often than tweets without hashtags. However, less can be more. Tweets with only one hashtag receive 69% more retweets than tweets with two or more hashtags.

For this reason, it is best practice to use only one hashtag per tweet. Also, remember that using a trending hashtag will help increase engagement and impressions.

Want to know how to research the best hashtag for your tweet? Click here to learn more.

  1. Include images

Visuals are important on all social media channels; Twitter is no exception. Images are important on Twitter because you are limited to the number of characters you can use. Case studies have shown that tweets with images receive 313% more engagement.

While you can use up to 4 images per tweet, including at least one image will drive extra engagement.

  1. Post videos

While images can get more attention than plain text tweets, videos will outperform images. Twitter Video allows you to upload an existing video directly from your smartphone. The time is limited to 30 seconds, but you will lose most of your audience after 30 seconds anyway.

Most Twitter users – 82 % – watch videos right from the Twitter platform. Native videos will drive more engagement than videos from third party players.

Video is a great way to share stories about your school, offer a day-in-the-life look, evoke emotion and highlight your Twitter presence. Videos are a dynamic way to boost your engagement.

  1. Ask for retweets

Asking for retweets has been shown to be an effective strategy – as long as you don’t overuse it. When you have something really important you want people to share, say “Please RT” or “Please share” at the end of your tweet. If you use “Please RT” all the time, people will just ignore your request, so use this tactic sparingly.

  1. Don’t over tweet

If you tweet too much – especially if you tweet the same content over and over – you will see your engagement decrease. Most studies show that tweeting 1 to 3 times per day is ideal. Posting more than four times per day will negatively impact your audience.

  1. Space out your tweets

When you’re sending out your 1 – 4 tweets during the day, don’t send them all at once. Be sure to space your tweets out over the day. This will increase the number of people who see it and help to increase your engagement.

  1. Use simple, clear language

You are limited in the number of characters you can use, so don’t try to be clever or speak in riddles. Get right to the point and make it easy for people to grasp what you’re trying to communicate. You do want to pique your audience’s interest, so use language that will make others want to pay attention and take the action you are inviting them to take.

  1. Ask questions

This is a very common tactic for drawing people in. People want to share their opinions and experiences, so ask them! Asking questions will increase engagement and give you valuable insight into the type of content they are interested in and want more of in the future.

  1. Use power words

Using power words and superlatives in your blog will increase engagement. You want to provoke curiosity and evoke an emotional response from your audience. If you’re not sure what power words to use, or you just want some ideas, CoSchedule offers a free download of 500 power word for writing emotional headlines. They also offer a free headline analyzer you can use to evaluate your headline – or tweet.

  1. Talk about important people in your area

When you interact with an influencer in your area (i.e., school board member, mayor, etc.), it can help to get new eyes on you. On Twitter, talking about or tagging an important person can be enough to get more engagement and new followers. Use the @Mention feature whenever it’s appropriate; you might build a stronger relationship with the person you’re mentioning as well as getting more engagement.

  1. Use Twitter Cards

Twitter Cards are a great way to add more content to your tweet. You can use a summary card, photo card or product card. Twitter Cards are larger, which attracts more attention to it, as well as enriching your post. To learn more about how to set up and use Twitter Cards, link here.

  1. Use shortened links

Twitter has such a limited number of characters; you don’t want to waste them on long, ugly links. Most social media schedulers will have a built-in link shortener. Some WordPress themes come with a link shortener, or you can install a plugin like Pretty Links. Many social media managers use Bitly, Tiny URL, Goo.gl or Bit.do.

  1. Recycle your best content

If you posted content and it performed well, you can extend it by using it again. Many schools recycle their best content, making sure to get more eyes on their high-quality tweets, videos, and links. Most content is missed the first time it is posted; and even if people see it more than once, most won’t even notice the replication.

Many social media schedulers allow you to repost content and offer an easy way for you to change up the tweet. Make sure to stagger your postings when you are reusing content. Repost on different days, at different times and put a few weeks in between your posts as well.

Of course, you don’t want to recycle content that relies on timelines like breaking news, holidays, events or certain trending topics.)

  1. Include a call-to-action (CTA)

People want to know what they should do next after reading your post. Use action words to inspire Twitter users to, well, take action. Some examples include:

  • Learn more
  • Download
  • Follow Us
  • Please Help (good for nonprofits)
  • Visit Our Site
  • Place an Inquiry
  • Shop Our Sale

Use the word “free” whenever it’s appropriate is a good idea. Twitter users love giveaways and freebies!

  1. Alternate between “titles” and “text” copy

Switch up your tweet copy between using headlines and regular copy. If you have an attention-grabbing title, you will attract interest, but don’t forget about interesting statistics and data within your content. Often, that type of copy will increase engagement.

  1. Invest in Twitter Ads

Twitter Ads are a good way to increase your engagement, especially if you want to grow your follower-base. Twitter Ads do cost money, and can be more expensive than Facebook Ads. However, most Twitter users that invest in Twitter advertising have found that Twitter’s click-through rate (CTR) is higher than Facebook advertising. Promoted tweets are the best type of advertising for increasing engagement.

Create a Twitter Ad by locating the tab on the same dropdown menu where you find Twitter Analytics, which you can find by clicking on your logo next to the Tweet button in the upper right corner.

  1. Consider using a Twitter Conversational Ad

Conversational Ads are designed to increase engagement and brand influence. They are similar to promoted tweets, but come with the addition of a CTA that encourages users to tweet with hashtags you can customize and choose.

When a Twitter user clicks on the CTA, the tweet will open with a pre-populated message that users can then customize and share, after which they will be automatically thanked.

Twitter Conversational Ads are a great tool to use to grow engagement for your school.

Besides paid advertising, most of these Twitter engagement strategies are free and only require a small amount of extra time in addition to the content you may already be creating for Twitter. There are millions of Twitter users out there – you just have to find the right strategies to get your target audience to engage with your school.

As you continue to drive engagement and increase your CTR on Twitter, you’ll most certainly increase the number of inquiries over time by sending traffic to your website and blog. Twitter engagement will help you build rapport, trust and positive relationships with your potential parents, and ultimately, your school’s enrollment.

What strategies have worked best for your school to increase engagement on Twitter? Please share with other school marketers in the comments below.

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When It Comes To Success In Business, EQ Eats IQ For Breakfast – Chris Myers

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When I was younger, I bought into the fallacy that the “smartest” person always won. I pushed myself to achieve the highest scores, earn the most recognition, and excel in every field.

I worked as hard as I could, but I almost always fell short of my goals.

Growing up, I often found myself surrounded by people who were smarter and far more talented than I could ever hope to be.

This left me feeling as though I was destined for a life of mediocrity, forever destined to live in the shadows of others.

Despite this, I always seemed to excel in the workplace. Throughout my career, from my first internship to my stint in corporate America, I managed to gain the trust and respect of my managers and peers.

As I climbed the proverbial ladder, many of the peers who were undoubtedly smarter than me jeered. They claimed that the people I worked for were idiots and that I was merely lucky. Still, I continued to move forward much to their chagrin.

I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately, as I’m working to find the right school for my son, Jack.

Jack, it turns out, is exceptionally bright. With an IQ of 145, he’s in the top percentile of intelligence in a traditional sense.

You’d think that having such raw intellectual horsepower would make life easy for him, but it’s quite the opposite. He has all of the typical emotional challenges of a normal seven year old, and then some.

While his IQ is high, his EQ or emotional quotient, is lower than average. As a father, it’s my job to try to raise as well rounded of an individual as possible, and that’s why I spend so much time trying to nurture his EQ.

It turns out, success in both life and business is a matter of emotion, relationships, and character, rather than raw intelligence. In fact, throughout my career, I’ve learned three facts that every successful person seems to remember.

EQ trumps IQ   

Maya Angelou once remarked, that “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

This certainly holds true in the realm of business. People buy emotions, not products. Teams rally around missions, not directives. Entrepreneurs take on incredible challenges because of passion, not logic.

Fortune follows people who demonstrate a high degree of emotional intelligence, or EQ. While IQ might be largely determined by genetics, EQ can be learned, developed, and refined.

Individuals with high EQ can speak to the soul of another person and ultimately influence their behavior. In the workplace, EQ trumps IQ every day of the week.

Humility goes a long way  

Human beings crave status and recognition above just about all else. This is especially apparent in the workplace, where many buy into the belief that self-promotion is the path to success.

I’ve found that the opposite is true. Humility, it turns out, is central to success.

Everybody falls at some point. You stay humble so that the people around you want to help you up, not knock you back down.

As a leader, I’ve found that people who demonstrate humility in thought, word, and deed tend to rise quickly inside of an organization because people are naturally inclined to help them succeed.

Arrogant, entitled, and prideful employees, on the other hand, tend to fail rather spectacularly. They may be smart, but they’re unable to garner any loyalty from the people around them.

It all comes down to grit

Perhaps the most important factor in determining success is grit.

Grit is just another word for strength of character. An individual or team who displays grit is someone who can take a hit and just keep on going, no matter what.

It’s this resilience that enables successful teams to avoid the pitfalls of depression, lethargy, and apathy that people tend to run into when faced with adversity.

As I look back on my career to-date, I can honestly say that I never gave up. I pivoted and evolved, but I never capitulated.

Many highly intelligent individuals are so afraid of failure and hardship that they never take risks. Instead, they sit back, comfortable and safe while others drive the world forward.

These trailblazers stumble, fall, and fail more than their more risk-averse counterparts, but grit keeps them moving forward.

As Winston Churchill once said, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

Nothing is simple 

My advice to  my son, as well as the students, friends, and team members I mentor is always the same: nothing in this life is simple.

It doesn’t matter how smart you are. What matters is how you’re able to connect, understand, and inspire other people.

Never think too highly of yourself just because you’re smart. In the end, it’s the people who understand feelings, not facts, who win the day.

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4 Pitfalls to Avoid When Choosing Tech for Your Business – Jonathan Herrick

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Technology is often thought of as the antidote to business woes. Once you get the right tech in place, the thinking goes, you’ll start doing whatever it is you do much faster, better and more efficiently. The thing about technology, though, is that new advancements hit the market daily.

Just think about how much artificial intelligence has advanced in a very short period of time. We went from Microsoft’s now-iconic Clippy to Google unveiling a chatbot with humanlike tendencies, Apple releasing an augmented reality upgrade to counter smartphone addiction and researchers from Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania developing an autonomous robot that can complete high-level tasks by sensing its surroundings.

Innovations such as these aren’t just fueling competition in the tech industry. They’ve made many companies question their relevance. Some would argue that they’ve led to a full-blown fear of missing out on the latest tech.

So not only are the options near endless (Harvard Business School professor Clay Christensen estimates that upward of 30,000 products launch each year), but the pressure can also be so strong that you might invest in a solution that isn’t a great fit. And when you’re lacking the underlying strategy that ensures technology adds value, you have no real way to tell whether it was worth the investment at all.

An ounce of cure?

Even when you do pull the trigger on tech, the right choice may not stabilize the business like you thought it would. Sure, chatbots can provide 24/7 customer service, even using a caller’s preferences and past order history to inform interactions. But if you often have to engage in complicated, nuanced conversations with your customers, a chatbot probably won’t be able to deliver.

Similarly, smart devices can provide companies with real-time data. If you were to install sensors in your brick-and-mortar store, for instance, you could track customer traffic patterns to determine the best locations to place displays. But at the same time, employing them opens you up to risk. Should sensitive information in your system fall prey to hackers, you could be looking at a class-action lawsuit.

All that’s to say: If you’re going to chase technology, you must ensure that it’s not only a good fit for your business needs, but also that you fully understand the risks and rewards. This, then, leads to the question: How do you choose and use tech advancements to move your startup forward? The following tips are a good place to start:

1. Go full Sherlock on the competition.

Competitive analyses have been around for decades, but even still, few companies widen the scope beyond potential threats, barriers and vulnerabilities. If you already monitor rivals, why not see what technology they’re leveraging? AI has a way of making all things equal and allows a startup to go head-to-head with its Moriarty. Besides, more than 50 percent of business and tech professionals are considering implementing AI, according to Forrester Research. But again, invest only in technology that fills a hole or makes business sense.

2. Seek validation from your VIPs.

You know your customers. Most marketing, communication and product development decisions are already based on what appeals to them. But these customer insights can also help prioritize your technology needs and shed light on where to improve the user experience.

For instance, statistics from Kik reveal that chatbots have a fairly limited audience, with 60 percent of users being in their teens and the majority (81 percent) living in the United States. So if you speak to an older audience, chatbots might not be the best fit. Think long and hard about your product and audience before investing in any technology.

3. Make your money matter.

Choosing tech is like any other business decision: You need to do your due diligence. Yet research from the Queensland University of Technology published in The Conversation has shown company leaders often make poor decisions when it comes to technology because they don’t accurately weigh the benefits with the costs. You’ll be bound to your investment — and it’ll be an investment — for years to come. So consider what you gain by choosing one thing over another. Will it free up time to focus on other priorities? Or is it just a novelty with a short shelf life?

4. Don’t assume your job is finished after implementation.

Many advanced technologies require more than a financial investment; they demand your time. You can’t rely on technology to take over completely. When machines are left to generate tailored messaging from customer data, for example, there’s definitely room for error. Remember when Microsoft’s AI chatbot set off a racist tweet storm?

To avoid such a mistake, you must add a human component to all interactions and constantly do A/B tests to determine the best options. According to the previously mentioned research from the Queensland University of Technology in The Conversation, businesses grow when technology and human capabilities come together to meet consumer needs.

Trying to be on the cutting edge of technology is a great ambition for any business — big or small. But as you sleuth out your options, make sure to spend some time actually evaluating whether this tech will move your company forward.

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Amazon Is Getting Ready To Crush LaCroix – Alison Griswold

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Amazon and Whole Foods are about to shake up the US seltzer market.

Whole Foods is currently offering steep discounts on 12-packs of flavored sparkling water by 365 Everyday Value, its private label, at stores in the San Francisco area. The $3.99, buy-one-get-one-free deal is exclusive for Amazon Prime members who download the Whole Foods app and sign in with their Prime accounts. It’s also a clear shot at LaCroix, a popular seltzer brand among American millennials, a 12-pack of which retails for $5.99 at Whole Foods stores in San Francisco.

The deal highlights how Amazon is using Whole Foods, which it bought for $13.7 billion in June 2017, to go after some of the hottest brands in consumer-packaged goods. Whole Foods introduced 365-branded canned sparkling water in September 2017, a month after Amazon closed the acquisition. The drink is available nationally in five flavors—lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, and “pure”—with a new ginger flavor set to launch this September, a Whole Foods spokesman told Quartz.

“I’ve got to laugh when they do grapefruit,” said Barry Joseph, author of the forthcoming book, Seltzertopia. “LaCroix made grapefruit a standard flavor for seltzer. If someone’s putting out seltzers that include grapefruit, they’re clearly going after the market that LaCroix developed, even if they don’t call it pamplemousse.”

A deal for Amazon Prime members on 365 sparkling water at Whole Foods in Berkeley, California.

More Americans are drinking seltzer than ever before. From 2008 to 2017, sales of unflavored carbonated water more than doubled in the US to 770 million gallons, according to data from industry research firm Euromonitor.

The frothiest company in the market is National Beverage Corp., LaCroix’s parent, which reported $827 million in sales during its 2017 fiscal year, up 17% over the previous fiscal year. Once a favorite of Midwestern moms, LaCroix has been reborn a millennial status symbol whose shiny pastel cans fill the fridges of Los Angeles screenwriters and Silicon Valley startups, and have even inspired a line of T-shirts.

“WOW… what a year!” declared Nick Caporella, National Beverage Corp.’s 81-year-old chairman and CEO, in the 2017 annual report. The company’s stock price (ticker: FIZZ), rose 90% in the 2017 calendar year, hitting an all-time high of $126.40 in September.

Whole Foods’ 365 seltzer line was in the works before the Amazon acquisition, a spokesman told Quartz. Late last year, Whole Foods named sparkling water as a “top food trend” for 2018.

“Some people say LaCroix was the peak of seltzertopia,” Joseph said. “When we see things like Bubly from Pepsi and this from Amazon, it’s clear that we’re just moving up toward the next stage of the national battle over flavored seltzer.”

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