As you know, Pinterest has become the social network for day-dreaming, shopping, and most importantly inspiration. Therefore, it was no surprise when Pinterest came to the realization that vacation and travel were among the biggest topics they saw being created within their boards.

Welcome to your introduction to Pinterest Places or Place Pins.

Place Pins is a nifty feature added for the adventurous traveler (or crafty business owner) in November 2013. The feature allows Pinners to create boards with the ability to add a location and keep track of all the places they have traveled or plan to travel. It is as easy as editing your board to add a map.

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Everyone’s doing it. And when it comes to social media, you should be too. But as a newbie entrepreneur, your plate is already full. How do you navigate the online atmosphere to find out how to best use social media to market your business and which platforms make the most sense? While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, a few general guidelines will help you find your niche.

1. Start With the Most Popular Sites
The most popular social media websites include LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Account setup on each platform is simple, but you’ll need to customize content for each one. Be blunt about your expertise on LinkedIn and keep it professional. Facebook allows you to be less formal and more conversational. Here you can elicit consumer feedback with polls and giveaways, for example. Since tweets are limited to 140 characters, use Twitter to post links to articles on your blog or concise snippets of information about your company or product.

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Inspired by the upcoming National Dance Day this Saturday, July 26th, I have decided to reflect upon the social media habits one of my favorite reality shows, So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD).

Over the last 11 seasons, SYTYCD has accumulated quite a following on Twitter with well over 200,000 followers. Personally, I have enjoyed the integration of social and TV for this show. Each season, the show ensures every contestant has a Twitter handle, which allows users to get to know the contestants better; I can tweet about my favorite dances or dancers (with the potential of them tweeting back at me) and get a more engaging experience with the show. Years later, I still find myself following old contestants through their successes of reaching Broadway or seeing them as back-up dancers for a variety of artists.

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2020. Remember when that was a year in which science fiction writers would set their stories in order to make them seem so futuristic that anything was plausible? Now 2020 is so close at hand that we can already make accurate predictions about the trends that will shape the way we work every day.

Further exploring that topic, Top10OnlineColleges has created an infographic exploring the state of trends and technology right now, and how they will determine who is successful less than a decade from today. They identified six drivers of change:

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While we have always told you defining your goals on social should be your number one priority, measuring your efforts to reach those goals is just as important. Unfortunately, it has historically been difficult to measure that success on Twitter given the limited access to the data needed to prove it.

But today, we are happy to share with you that Twitter has finally improved their analytics page by adding a slew of long-awaited metrics for business.

Here’s what is new:

Previous Twitter dashboard:

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Whether it was the original intent or not, Twitter’s brief debut of a ‘Buy now’ button has created quite a buzz among the social media press. Was it a leak? Was it a test? Has Twitter finally figured out social media monetization?

It looks like we’ll have to wait for the answers to these questions, as Twitter has not come out with an official announcement just yet. The company sparked some debate at the end of June when a new ‘Buy now’ button appeared on several tweets showing images and links to products. The button disappeared as quickly as it came, but it left an impression on curious marketers.

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Time and time again, you will hear how important goals are to building a successful brand on social. And SURPRISE – this post will be no different.

Today, let’s focus on Facebook. To reach your Facebook goals, whether it is through a few ‘likes’ or several purchases, you must construct the perfect post that resonates with your audience.

So what does that perfect post look like? It’s simple – you must first A/B Test.

What is A/B Testing?

When you think of a science experiment, there is always a Control and a Test Group. The Control Group is a common practice (In this case, a normal post you would publish) and the Test Group changes one element from the common practice, leaving all other elements unchanged, to find if the change effects the results seen from the common practice. For example, changing Buy Now to Shop Now and receiving more purchases.

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Most small businesses start out as sole proprietorships, and a great many stay that way for a long time. The business owner fills every role – from CEO to accountant to marketer and everything in between. As businesses and budgets expand, entrepreneurs will find themselves with the need and ability to seek outside help. This can mean hiring full-time employees, bringing in seasonal help, or retaining a professional agency.

While it’s always great to have another pair of hands helping you keep the lights on, entrepreneurs would do well to be prepared for the whole new set of challenges that bringing in other people can present. While you may have worked in an office setting before striking out on your own, collaboration is a whole different beast when you’re the boss.

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In October, I wrote over on the Webs blog about the introduction of advertising to Instagram and how you can optimize the social platform for your small business.

In 2014, Instagram made a series of updates to their platform expanding this opportunity for businesses to attract customers and gain revenue even further. Most notably, they added tagging, creative tools, and Instagram Direct, a feature that allows a user to send private messages (much like Twitter DM).

However, despite all of these new features, brands didn’t fully jump on the Instagram marketing bandwagon. Sure there were a few attempts – like Buffalo Wild Wings with Instagram Direct, and Mazda with their Interactive Roadmap – but in actuality, most brands still struggled with how to make these features connect with their business goals and make spending time on this platform worthwhile…

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