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Fourth Of July: 9 Trivia Facts About Independence Day

Fourth Of July: 9 Trivia Facts About Independence Day

The Fourth of July is a spectacular day: barbeques, fireworks, fun in the sun (one hopes) and music, all in the name of our country’s freedom. While you’re out celebrating with family and friends, here is some strange Independence Day trivia to share, courtesy of ABC News, History.com and Fourth of July Trivia.

What day did most signers of the Declaration of Independence actually sign the document?

Aug. 2, 1776.

How many people signed the Declaration of Independence on July Fourth?

Two

Three of the first five presidents died on the Fourth of July:

John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. Adams, the second president, and Jefferson, the third, died on the same day in 1826, the 50th anniversary.

Which president was born on the Fourth of July?

Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president, in 1872.

What other countries celebrate the Fourth of July?

Denmark, England, Norway, Portugal and Sweden. Denmark  Danes and Norwegians celebrate American Independence Day because thousands emigrated to the U.S. in the early 1900s. Other European countries, like England, Portugal and Sweden, hold celebrations near American military bases and or spots frequented by American tourists to boost travel during early July.

How did the Nathan’s Fourth of July Hot Dog Contest begin?

It apparently started after a disagreement among four immigrants over who was the most patriotic.

John Adams would think the country is celebrating Independence Day on the wrong date:  

Adams wrote that July 2, the date the Second Continental Congress voted in Philadelphia to declare independence from Britain, not July 4, would be the day patriots celebrated their freedom. “The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America,” Adams wrote on July 3. “It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

When did the Fourth of July become a legal federal holiday?

1938

Is there something written on the back of the Declaration of Independence?

Yes. It might not be a treasure map as Nicholas Cage’s character claims in “National Treasure,” but there is apparently a message written upside down at the bottom of the signed document: “Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776.” It’s not known who wrote it or when. Since parchment was usually rolled up during the Revolutionary War years, it’s thought this memo served as a label.

Technology is Changing the Role of the Real Estate Agent

Technology is Changing the Role of the Real Estate Agent

103692870-GettyImages-486060175.1910x1000It may be hard to conceptualize, especially for first-time home buyers or those yet to embark on buying their first home, but 15 years ago, the real estate market was a different beast, information wise. When records used to be buried in file folders, it put buyers in a much different place than they are today, able to access detailed property records on their smartphones within minutes.

“Before, you spent a lot of time doing information gathering, and collecting, and response,” says Jeremy Wacksman, Chief Marketing Officer at Zillow. “The internet really opened the doors. Agents are freed up to help get the deals done. But now they have to be agent, negotiator, price setter, and a community resource.”

Wacksman sees technology shifting the role of real estate agent from an information arbiter to a local market expert and service provider (“It’s not about the data; everyone has the data now”), while brokers need to better leverage technology to help their team become responsive, active experts for their clients.

While there’s always been some frustration over the work of certain agents, demands have only become more pronounced when ever-present technology lets everyone do their own research. Many in the industry feel success is about reacting to evolving client expectations, and adapting as technology changes the buyer-agent relationship.

“Clients today are much more knowledgeable,” says Tamir Poleg, CEO and founder of Real, an app that allows agents to ditch the conventional brokerage model. “They do online research, know what they’re looking for, and know the neighborhood. I understand the frustration people have working with agents who can’t provide the services they expect, then collect a hefty check. They key is for agents to be more responsive, understand better what the client wants, and justify the money that they’re getting.”

download (1)The availability of data, an established market norm for years, requires agents to be on their best games, says Michael McGrew, treasurer at the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and CEO/Chairman of McGrew Real Estate on Lawrence Kansas. Consumer’s ability to educate themselves is a net positive, he says, but there’s still an important role for agents, especially when it’s time for financing.

“It’s one thing to go online and get curious,” he says. “It’s another thing to look at financing options. People realize they can learn the alphabet and language, but they aren’t necessarily fluent.”

While technology is disrupting numerous industries the idea of making a massive, infrequent, and consequential purchase such as buying a home without the help of a trained agent still scares many buyers, according to Wacksman. If recent stats showing the dearth of for sale by owners transactions is any indication—according to NAR stats, 87% of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker, a share that has steadily increased from 69 percent in 2001—it’ll be a long time before the human element is taken out of real estate. But that doesn’t mean tech isn’t changing how that relationship works.

McGrew feels technological automation and standardization aren’t necessarily right for the real estate industry, when every property is unique, but feels there’s a lot of room to integrate new technology into the buying and selling process (“all of us in this business have to be committed to making it work better.”) The National Association of Realtors is a big investor in Second Century Ventures, a company that funds startups in the real estate industry.

Wacksman believes new technologies, such as video and VR tours, as well as programs such as DotLoop (an e-signing service Zillow acquired for $105 million last year that takes much of the paperwork of real estate transactions online), will streamline the process even further. Technology-and-Real-EstatePoleg believes the as tech takes away barriers to information, the real issue is responsiveness and service. Technology will continue to provide more access to information, and agents and brokers need to continually be more responsive with clients. He envisions a time when bots become a tool to constantly respond to buyer request for updates and information.

“It you look at 2000 compared to today, the percentage of people using real estate agents is increasing,” says Poleg. “If someone said a robot could do your surgery, would you do it? Technology can replace a lot of things in a lot of industries, but real estate agent isn’t necessarily one of them.”

 

Sights and Bites: What to Eat While Touring Maui, Hawaii

Sights and Bites: What to Eat While Touring Maui, Hawaii

F3RK60 Mama’s Fish House Restaurant. Ho’okipa Beach Park. Maui. Famous Mamas Fish House with palms and beach in Maui Hawaii. Definitely

 Mama’s Fish House Restaurant. Ho’okipa Beach Park. Maui. Famous Mamas Fish House with palms and beach in Maui Hawaii.

Central Maui

Most trips to Maui start here, at the Kahului Airport, but visitors often rush through this area on the way to their oceanside accommodations. There are many things to discover in Central Maui, like the lush, green valley in Iao Valley State Park, shows and exhibits at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, historical tours at the Sugar Museum, or charming small-town shops in Wailuku.

Classic food option: The plate lunch is a Hawaiian staple meal, consisting of a portion of meat accompanied by sticky rice and macaroni salad. Da Kitchen in Kahului features plate lunches with huge portions of local favorites like loco moco, chicken katsu, and kalua pork. After browsing the shops of Wailuku, you can stop for lunch at Stillwell’s Bakery & Café. Enjoy some soup and a sandwich with the locals while being tempted by the desserts. Anything behind the display-case glass is good, but don’t leave without trying one of their famous cream horns.

Trendy food option: One of the best values on the island is lunch at the Leis Family Class Act restaurant. As part of the UH Maui College Maui Culinary Academy, the restaurant is run by students under the direction of chef instructors. On Wednesdays and Fridays, when school is in session, you can get a four-course meal on par with the finest restaurants on Maui for a fraction of the price. The menus have themes, like Asian, French, and Moroccan, that rotate throughout the year. Plus, it is BYOB, so you can bring a bottle of wine to round out the meal.

Unexpected food option: You might not expect to find the best shrimp on Maui at the side of the road, but locals and knowledgeable tourists line up at the Geste Shrimp Truck at the Kahului Harbor for their shrimp plates. The shrimp comes in a variety of preparations and is served with a generous helping of rice and crab-macaroni salad. If you like heat, the spicy pineapple shrimp plate is a perfect combination of zest and tropical goodness. You can sample all sorts of local fare every Saturday at the Maui Swap Meet at the University of Hawaii Maui College, where food vendors are joined by booth vendors selling all sorts of Maui crafts and gifts. Make a beeline for the Donut Dynamite stand before they run out of their Lilikoi Cream-Filled Malasadas. Be sure to taste some of the unique tropical varieties of Jeff’s Jams and Jellies before deciding which ones to take home. The swap meet is also the perfect place to pick up some of the freshest fruits and vegetables on the island.

South Maui

The South Maui coast, lined with picturesque beaches, is one of the sunnier and drier parts of the island. You will find some of the finest restaurants and resorts in Wailea, as well as some spectacular golf courses. Maalaea Harbor offers the chance for up close exploration of marine life at the Maui Ocean Center and is a starting point for whale-watching tours or snorkeling trips with crystal clear views at the Molokini crater. The winding ocean road to La Perouse Bay takes you to several great beaches and snorkeling sites and ends up at the edge of Maui’s last lava flow.

Classic food option: You will find “shave ice” in many locations on the island, but Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice in Kihei stands above the rest with its thinly shaven ice and mouthwatering flavors made with natural, local ingredients. You choose up to three flavors or try one of their favorite combos like Sunset Beach (guava, mango, and passion orange). You can even get your shave ice on top of ice cream or haupia (coconut pudding). If you are looking for a good breakfast, the Kihei Caffe near Kalama Park serves up some of the best on the island. This is a great spot to try the Hawaiian breakfast classic, loco moco, a beef patty on white rice, covered in gravy and topped with eggs. If your tastes lean toward the sweet, the French toast can be topped with island goodies and comes with a delicious coconut syrup.

Picture of pastries at Stillwell's in Maui, Hawaii
Stillwell’s dessert cabinet houses delectably sweet treats.

Photograph by Andrew Coleman

Trendy food option: Ka’ana Kitchen in the Andaz resort in Wailea features locally grown Maui ingredients in every dish. Enjoy the watermelon salad and the ahi tataki, then take a short stroll to the popular Ulua Beach. Monkeypod is up the hill from the ocean resorts of Wailea and offers a casual atmosphere and great food, along with an impressive wine list and 36 beers on tap. They have nightly specials of their wood-oven pizzas, but it is hard to resist the Bourgeois, with lobster and wild mushrooms and a white garlic sauce. Be sure to save room for their famous cream pies.

Unexpected food option: It would be easy to miss Coconut’s Fish Café if it weren’t for the crowds. Don’t let the line scare you—staff members at the order counter move fast, and the famous fish tacos with 17 different ingredients are well worth the wait. Despite being inauspiciously located in a strip mall next to a grocery store, Cuatro in Kihei offers an upscale dining experience in a cozy atmosphere. It’s BYOB, so you can grab a bottle of wine to enjoy with their award-winning spicy tuna nachos with truffle aioli and cilantro pesto.

West Maui

West Maui, with the historic town of Lahaina, was once the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Today, this area is bustling with resorts, shops, and restaurants, and it is the epicenter for a host of oceangoing activities. You can explore the rich history of the area along Front Street in Lahaina or head out on the water for whale-watching or a day trip to the island of Lanai. Kaanapali and Kapalua offer world-class resorts and golf courses, as well as scenic coastal views with great hiking options.

Classic food option: Merriman’s is the quintessential elegant Hawaiian restaurant set on a cliff overlooking the ocean. The views attract diners for pupus and drinks in the large seating area that extends to the ocean from the main restaurant. Happy hour runs from 3 p.mdownload. until 5 p.m., but you won’t want to leave before seeing the sunset. The focus of the menu is regional Hawaiian cuisine featuring local ingredients. On Wednesdays, catch an early meal here and then head to the nearby Napili Kai Beach Resort for a slack-key show from the masters of Hawaiian music. For a more casual meal, Aloha Mixed Plate in Lahaina offers authentic local food in an open-air setting at a reasonable price. You can find tasty dishes featuring elements of the many cultures of Hawaii accompanied by two scoops of rice and a scoop of macaroni salad.

Trendy food option: Pacific’O in Lahaina was early to the farm-to-table movement and was the first restaurant on the island to establish its own farm: O’o Farm in Upcountry Maui. The beachside location is the perfect place to have a drink just before sunset. The Pacific Rim menu has local fish delivered daily accented by local ingredients (there are meat and vegetarian options as well). The beautifully presented coconut mahimahi and hapa tempura with ono (wahoo) and ahi (tuna) are as beautiful as they are delicious. Star Noodle, located at the edge of an industrial park, serves a variety of noodle dishes and shared plates, each with a gourmet twist on a local favorite. This is a great place to order several different plates and share. Make sure to stray beyond the noodles and try some of the other dishes like the steamed pork buns or Vietnamese crepes.

Unexpected food option: Poke, a staple of Hawaiian cuisine, consists of bite-size chunks of raw fish seasoned with everything, spicy and savory, and when you find good poke, you keep going back! For this reason, it is a delightful surprise that a grocery store in Lahaina offers some of the best poke on Maui. The poke at Foodland Farms in Lahaina is well known for its selection and taste. The friendly staff offers generous tastings so you can decide if you want to go with something traditional or try some of their more exotic flavors like the sweet chili jalapeño. Although Maui is best known for its seafood, there is a long history of cattle ranching on the island. Teddy’s Bigger Burgers at the Lahaina Gateway shopping center uses 100 percent ground chuck for its award-winning burgers. Everything is prepared to order, so sit back and enjoy the wait.

Haleakala and Upcountry

There would be no Maui without volcanoes, and Haleakala and the surrounding area offer a unique alternative to the sun-soaked beaches below. Most visitors to this part of the island head to the top of the volcano for views of the island and the otherworldly cinder-cone crater. The high elevations around Haleakala are the agricultural center of the island and offer plenty of other things for visitors to discover, including botanical gardens and visitor-friendly farms and ranches. Make sure to pack a few extra layers since the temperature is often cooler at the top!

Classic food option: The Ulupalakua Ranch Store is one of the best places for lunch in Upcountry. The farm has been in operation since the 19th century. Inside the store is a small deli where you can order grilled sandwiches with meat from the ranch. Popular menu items include the elk burger, the Maui Cattle Company beef burger, or the Kalua pig served on a torta roll. You won’t find anything fresher and all of the meats are free of hormones and artificial ingredients. If you are wondering where to stop for breakfast after watching the sun rise from atop Haleakala, the Kula Lodge has a menu that matches its terrific views. The macadamia nut pancakes with coconut and maple syrups are a perfect way to warm up after the sunrise visit.

Picture of tacos in Coconut's Tacos in Maui, Hawaii
A coveted plate at Coconut’s Tacos looks ready to be devoured.

Photograph by Andrew Coleman

Trendy food option: You will find the cheeses from the Surfing Goat Dairy in stores and on menus all over Maui, but a visit to the farm is the best way to understand what makes this cheese so special and delicious. Take a tour to learn all about the operation and feed and milk the goats. The highlight here, in addition to seeing the goats stand on a surfboard in their grazing area, is the ability to taste a variety of the award-winning cheeses. After finding your favorites, you can purchase some to go for a beach picnic later on. If spirits are more your speed, the nearby Ocean Organic Vodka runs tours and tastings at its farm and distillery. Make sure to look up from your drink to enjoy the sweeping views of the valley below.

Unexpected food option: Yes, Maui has a winery. MauiWine, formerly Tedeschi Vineyards, was established back in 1974. While waiting for their first grapes to grow, they experimented with pineapple and released a Maui Blanc pineapple wine a few years later. They now produce a variety of wines made from grapes, pineapples, passion fruit, and other fruits. You can sample the wines in the tasting room, housed in the former guest cottage of King David Kalakaua. Back down in Kula, stop at the Alii Kula Lavender Farm for their gourmet picnic lunch tour. After touring the farm and learning about the 45 different varieties of lavender and how they can be used in different products and foods, enjoy a delicious lunch including lavender-infused dessert. You can pick up other lavender delectables in the gift shop, including spices, teas, and even dark chocolate. Follow your lunch with a tour of the Kula Botanical Gardens to experience a tropical paradise on the slopes of the volcano.

The Road to Hana

The east coast of Maui is lined with lush rain forest, dramatic ocean vistas, and countless waterfalls. The Road to Hana is the scenic drive that winds its way through this wild part of the island. Its more than 600 hairpin turns and 50-plus one-lane bridges take you through some of the most beautiful parts of Maui. Hana itself is a small town rooted in Hawaiian traditions. Just beyond Hana, you’ll find the easternmost end of Haleakala National Park, including the Pools of Oheo and the Pipiwai Trail hike to Waimoku Falls.

Classic food option: You’ll pass Mama’s Fish House at the outset of the Road to Hana, and at some point you will want to stop in. Mama’s is not just a meal, it is an experience. The grounds, dotted with palm trees, overlook the North Shore. Although you can’t see the sun set from this side of the island, it is worth getting here before dark, as the sky becomes illuminated as the sun goes down and the view from Mama’s is the perfect backdrop for your Hawaiian vacation photos. If you get there early, start with one of their tropical drinks in the bar. The menu lists the names of the local fishermen who brought in the seafood that day. Everything on the menu is excellent, but some of the classics include the Tahitian ceviche with lime and coconut, the macadamia-nut-crusted mahimahi stuffed with crab and lobster, and the Polynesian black pearl dessert. Even the almond-scented towel at the end of the meal is a treat. For a more casual lunch or dinner, stop by the Paia Fish Market in Paia. Locals and tourists share the communal bench seating to enjoy the popular fish sandwich and other fresh offerings.

Trendy food option: Most visitors will do the Road to Hana as a day trip, and there are limited choices for food along the route. A good option is to stop in the town of Paia in the morning and pick up a picnic lunch for later in the day. Mana Foods is the best natural-food store on Maui and offers a great variety of picnic options. The Hana Bay Picnic Co. and Kuau Store are other options for stocking up on food and drinks before the long drive.

Unexpected food option: There isn’t much of a restaurant scene along the Road to Hana, but there are many markets selling fruits and baked goods. If you can, hold out for Aunty Sandy’s on the Keanae Peninsula. She has been running this stand for 30 years, and the banana bread is the best you will find along the route (and maybe anywhere).

June Is National Home Ownership Month

June Is National Home Ownership Month

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Some Highlights:

  • Paying rent is not a good investment, but owning is a great way to start building family wealth.
  • Not only does homeownership allow you to provide your children with great education, but you can also decide whether or not your child grows up with a pet.
  • Owning a home provides you with tax benefits while also providing you with more living space to move around in.
10 Marketing Hacks That Will Save You Time

10 Marketing Hacks That Will Save You Time

You know you need to ramp up your marketing efforts.  Everyone is telling you so ― industry advisers, consultants, your sales team, your spouse. I’m sure your dog, if he could, would look up at you and say: “Dude, content marketing.”

The problem isn’t identifying the to-do items; the problem is finding the time to execute.

So, in the time-honored tradition of good, resource-saving hacks, here are 10 ways to help you get more out of the time you invest in your MSP marketing efforts.

1. 20 minutes to your key selling points: Write down the top three benefits you deliver that clients say are the reasons they selected you. Under each benefit, list the top three ways your company is better than anyone else at delivering this benefit.  Then, under each of these items, list the three to five tactics or actions you and your team do to make this happen.  There you go ─ benefits, features and functionality on one piece of paper.  You’re welcome.

2. This one crazy trick will save you hours: Whenever you start to write an article or blog, picture your favorite client – the smart one who gets it and is a joy to work with. Then ask yourself: Will he or she care about this post? If the answer is no, stop writing. The point of creating content isn’t just to fill up a page; it’s to create a blog or post that delivers value to your reader. So, instead of just writing till you feel like stopping, think about what angle on this topic would make your client care. Then, write about that. This trick will save you time, since you’ll 1.) stop writing generic, me-too content that gets you nothing for your effort and 2.) write your posts faster. Once you’ve tightened up your focus, you’ll know when you’ve made your point(s) and can stop writing.

3. Prime the pump for good content ideas: Tools like Buzzsumo and Google Trends can help you see the relative trending of different terms and keywords.  Even better, the results may spark ideas for new content in the future. Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 4.25.30 PM

4. Don’t bury the lead: Your reader may take 5 seconds on your content, so make sure they count. As someone with a technical, non-marketing background, I tend to build an argument in my writing point by point, so that the main conclusions come at the end ─ which is opposite of where they should be.  So, after I finish writing, I go back and put the concluding points right up at the top. Then, I list the supporting materials. Sometimes, the best way to do this is to walk away from your writing for at least a day to get a fresh perspective.

5. Craft clickable and sharable headlines: For fun, try TweetYourBiz or Portent.  For more serious feedback, check out CoSchedule’s headline analyzer.

6. After you write a good blog, don’t drop the mic and walk away: Instead, think how many other content items you can produce. Perhaps what you really have is a three-part blog that can be turned into a longer white paper. If you create a killer PowerPoint, share it via SlideShare–then write a blog about it, then post updates on your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter properties.

7. Easy way to improve SEO: Hack No. 6 also helps your SEO ratings. Blogging directly via your LinkedIn or Facebook accounts doesn’t help the SEO for your website. Posting the blog on your website and driving traffic there via social does.

8. Calls to action: What do you want a prospect to do after reading your collateral or blog? Great idea!  Have you clearly told the reader what that is? They aren’t mind readers, after all. Make the buttons big and clear and the text something to drive action, such as “Get My Free eBook.”

9. Simplify design: The best design hack is similar to the best writing hack. Simplify. Do less than you think you need. Don’t pretend you’re a good designer when chances are you’re not. Two colors and a font.That’s all you need and all you should use unless you’ve been trained. Remember, if you try to give emphasis to everything on the page, then nothing on the page has any emphasis. Make it simple, clean and, when in doubt, use lots of white space.

10. Remember to have fun: Marketing is important, but it’s also the place to have a little fun. For example, business cards are an overlooked venue for reinforcing the essential components of your brand and content. Moo.com offers business cards that can have a different photo or design on every card in a pack. (No, I’m not getting paid for this mention.) Create your own ― but if you don’t have the time or money to spend on your own design, you can explore the ready-made designs and see if any of them are right for your company.

I hope that least one of these hacks has triggered a light-bulb moment as you’re plan your marketing efforts going forward.

Of course, all your marketing efforts should synch with your time availability and abilities. If you would rather leave the marketing to someone else to do, Click here to contact us for a free consultation.

4 Hot Social Media Trends Now in mid-2015.

4 Hot Social Media Trends Now in mid-2015.

Social media has not only changed our lives but it has also transformed the marketing landscape. In the past year, social media bloggers are being featured alongside pop stars and Oscar winners on the covers of top magazines in the world and are making more waves than television of film.

People whom were virtually unknown have used social media to help brand themselves and reach people all over the globe with just a few posts a day. The millions of followers of bloggers and brands on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are hard to ignore.

No doubt, social media marketing is one of the most effective marketing tools out there today. But it can be hard to master it as it constantly changes and a single voice can be drowned in an ocean of millions.

The way to use social media to your advantage is to follow and act on emerging trends. Yes, trends! Know what trends are popular right now and make an impression in no time.

We’ve made it simpler for you so you don’t need to start googling away and made a list of 4 of the hottest trends right now in mid-2015.

1. Use LinkedIn to publish long-form content.

LinkedIn has established itself as the digital go-to place for professionals. It helps you connect with past and current clients and with industry peers. With over 347 million users, LinkedIn offers the opportunity to publish long-form content to foster your reputation.

Just as with a blog, you can publish content relevant to your industry and line of work, but with far less effort. The platform publishes your work on Pulse which is a curated news feed to its millions of users straight away.

Although the service was initially focused to industry big-shots called ‘LinkedIn influencers’ like Bill Gates and Ariana Huffington, it is now open to anybody who can write on professional experience. Articles written by you on business productivity can land right next to one written by Richard Branson!

Each post becomes an extension of your LinkedIn profile, beefing up your resume. Write about industry insights and tips which you as a professional have learnt on the job. Or share new research and trends you’ve read about elsewhere to let others know that you stay with the current.

2. Post native videos to Facebook

Facebook allows you to upload videos directly to the platform or share content from third-party sites like YouTube and Dailymotion. Research shows that there is 62 percent more engagement on video posts that photos.

The advantage of uploading directly to Facebook is auto-play. When a Facebook user scrolls down their newsfeed, a video which automatically begins playing is sure to catch attention. If they like the beginning of what they have seen, they can directly start watching it on Facebook without any distractions nor exiting to another site.

Upload videos which can be entertaining or useful to extend your reach in an organic, free way on Facebook.

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3. Use emoji hashtags on Instagram

We’re all fans of emoji. The little yellow faces and fun symbols has become a staple in our digital lives. Scientists say that people have learnt to respond to an emoji in an online conversation the same way they respond to a human face.

Emoji’s are a key favorite of adults and teenagers because it conveys the tone and expression which is so often lost in text-based conversations. Instagram, the photo sharing mobile app, reports that about 50 percent of all comments on the platform has emojis.

To keep with the trend, Instagram has announced that emojis can now be used in hashtags. Hashtags are a basic tool in social media marketing. They make your posts discoverable outside of your group of followers.

Experiment with emoji hastags. Since it is new, you can get ahead of the competition and get discovered quicker.

4. Target promoted posts on Facebook

3 years ago, the organic reach of a Facebook post was at 16 percent of total page likes. Today, that percentage has dwindled down to single digits. With 1.23 billion monthly active users, an average user can be quite overwhelmed by the number of posts on their newsfeed from friends and businesses, which can go above 1500 per day! Facebook has now limited that to a more appropriate number of 300. But in the process certain posts can never be seen by users, including yours.

The way to rise above the Facebook clutter and stand out is by strategically targeting your audience. This works for both organic and paid posts. Target your content according to the location, demographics, interests of the people who like your page and their friends (as they will too most likely fall in your target audience).

The outcome of focusing on your target audience is a higher rate of engagement. Promote unpaid posts which already have a high level of engagement. Take it as a good sign that they will perform better if promoted.

Post on updates to your business, new offers and deals, as well as, yourself. It’s always good to remind your followers that you exist as a person.

To help you in deciding a budget for promoted posts, Facebook will give you an estimate of how many people it will reach before charging you. The Facebook Insight feature allows you to track the success and effectiveness of that post.

So now that you’re on track with current social media trends, get posting and reaching new people!