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How and where you spend your time sends a direct non-verbal message about what’s important to you and what your brand is all about. Have you ever heard of the phrase “walk the talk?” People believe what they see, not necessarily just what you tell them.

For example: If you say that spending time with customers is your most important priority and core to who you are and what your brand is all about – yet you spend all of your time in internal meetings and making process improvements, what are others likely to believe?

I urge my branding clients to analyze how they spend their time to make sure that it is working hard to build their personal brands.

  1. First, how do you spend your time today? Take a step back and keep track of the meetings you attend, how much time you spend answering emails, the work that keeps you occupied, the individuals and groups you meet with.Now compare these time commitments to your value proposition and the brand you want to build. Ask yourself: Where I am consistent? Where am I inconsistent? Where do I have gaps? What big or small observations do I have about where I spend my time?
  2. Second, how much time are you spending on emergencies, urgencies, and fire drills that distract you from building your brand? Unless you are a crisis manager, the goal is to be intentional about how much time you spend proactively building your brand versus reacting to crisis and executing work that just has to get done. For a week, keep track of how you spend your time. Do you have the right balance?
  3. Finally, what are the activities, meetings, events and other tasks that are important to building your brand? Make a list of the activities that you think you should be taking part in so that you can build your brand.  Are there key events? Meetings that you cannot miss? Time spent reading or analyzing material? So for example: If you are a technology thought leader, how much time are you dedicating to sharing your knowledge on social media?

Ultimately, your time is a precious commodity and critical for you to manage. You can influence your circumstances even though they may not actually be within your control.

Increasing your skill with time management, minimizing distractions, being proactive, and bringing value wherever you show up will all contribute to your brand.

The post Is Your Time Management Working for Your Personal Brand? appeared first on Personal Branding Blog – Stand Out In Your Career.

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Do you keep a finger on the pulse of your local economy? If your business depends on a local customer base, it’s important to stay in tune with what your target market is thinking, doing, and spending. In other words, what’s the local economic outlook?

Start with national measures of the U.S. economy—these can give you a birds-eye view of what’s going on. Here are some key figures to watch:

But it’s also essential to drill down to the local level and track what’s going on in your regional and local economy. To monitor the local economic outlook, one of your best tools is simply paying attention.

Open your eyes

One of my friends has taken a regular morning walk around her neighborhood just about every day of the week for the past 15 years. Here’s what she’s noticed.

During the Great Recession, more and more houses emptied out and were taken over by banks. Even the occupied homes became shabbier as consumers pulled in their spending and didn’t invest in home maintenance.

Fewer cars were on the road as more people lost their jobs. Since the last recession was disproportionately hard on men, a growing number of dads took over child-care duties, picking up children from school or taking babies for morning walks.

But despite all this, there was opportunity to be had.

  • Resale, consignment, and thrift shopping grew in popularity. Many of these businesses were able to take over abandoned retail space for a song.
  • Consumers turned to DIY for everything from haircuts and manicures to car repair. While salons and automotive businesses suffered, do-it-yourself products were hot.
  • Property managers profited from maintaining unoccupied homes to keep them from being vandalized.
  • Lawn-care companies made money spray-painting the brown lawns of bank-owned homes green to keep up the neighborhoods.
  • House flippers profited from snapping up low-priced homes.

Other Articles From AllBusiness.com:

Now, 10 years later, my friend says things are turning around, and she’s finally seeing her neighbors displaying some of the old economic confidence they had pre-recession.

  • Home improvement is booming, from house painting to major remodeling and construction.
  • New vehicles are popping up everywhere.
  • Homeowners are splurging on new holiday decorations.
  • Already, there are signs of big-ticket Black Friday spending (such as empty big-screen TV boxes in the trash).

Local economic outlook indicators to watch for

What are some of the economic outlook signs to watch for in your neighborhood? Here are a few things you can do to keep a finger on the pulse of your local economy.

  • Visit the local mall or shopping area. How crowded is the parking lot? Are the stores busy?
  • Are there lots of UPS and FedEx trucks making deliveries to residences? (This is an indicator of online shopping.)
  • Check out local restaurants. Are eateries crowded, with long wait times?
  • Are your neighbors patronizing personal services businesses, such as nail salons or hair salons?
  • How long are lines at the local Starbucks? Are consumers splurging on $5 lattes?
  • Are homes in the community well-maintained?
  • Are homes being upgraded—painted, remodeled, or re-landscaped?
  • How busy is street traffic during morning and evening rush hours? Are more people going to work?
  • Are new businesses opening up, or are for-rent signs proliferating?

By watching these and other signs of the local economic outlook in your community, you’ll know whether consumers are ready to open their wallets, and for what. Then you can take advantage of these trends to benefit your business.

RELATED: 4 Steps to Benefiting From Local Search

The post How to Successfully Market a Business to a Local Audience appeared first on AllBusiness.com

The post How to Successfully Market a Business to a Local Audience appeared first on AllBusiness.com. Click for more information about Rieva Lesonsky.

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How can a young founder signal or demonstrate their position as a thought leader and build their personal brand, despite their newcomer status?

Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

1. Create a Website

Creating a website is the first step to creating your personal brand. Find out who your target audience is and design the website in a way that will be relatable to them. Then, the work starts. You’ll want to create a blog and write posts that will attract that audience to your site. Speak directly to them, and help them with new information. – Chris ChristoffMonsterInsights

2. Share Your Point of View

If you’re a young founder or entrepreneur, the best way to demonstrate your position as a thought leader is to have a point of view and share it. The more clear you are on who you are, your ideas and what you feel is your expertise, the quicker you can start making a name for yourself. Write articles, join panels, do workshops, etc. Do as much as you can to get that point of view into the market. – Sunny BonnellMotto

3. Get Face Time in Your Industry

As a young founder new to the industry, you should do everything in your power to get face time. Whether that means attending industry events, writing a blog, doing a podcast or applying for any and all speaking opportunities, getting yourself out there and visible to your audience is a great way to position yourself and build your brand. The experience alone will help you grow. – Dave NevogtHubstaff.com

4. Showcase Your Skills

The first step in demonstrating your position as a thought leader is to build confidence, which, in turn, builds trust. Start by creating content that showcases your skills. Consider writing for as many industry-related publications as you can. As you progress, you get to expand your audience while refining your skills at the same time. The idea is to get your name out there as much as possible. – Derek RobinsonTop Notch Dezigns

5. Answer Questions

If you want to demonstrate your knowledge and thought-leading abilities, what’s a better way than answering questions? Spending some time answering questions on question-and-answer forums will quickly establish you as an authority on any given subject. – Bryce WelkerAccounting Institute for Success

6. Write a Book

Authoring a book is a great way to position yourself as an expert. As a young first-time author, self-publishing can be a great option. There are several companies that can help you get your book ready. After that, it’s easier than you think to get your work on Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s website. There are few things stronger than your own book to elevate your personal brand. – Brian GreenbergTrue Blue Life Insurance

7. Dispel Misinformation

Write often, and put the full work in to truly explore a topic. Long-form writing that is insightful and teaches something valuable is useful and helps you develop an audience. Look for gaps in knowledge or for common misconceptions about your industry, and work to dispel bad information. – Jacob Samuel AlexanderKono Store

8. Be Consistent

Post consistent and well-thought-out content on websites like LinkedIn and your own blog as well. Research should be involved since you’re a young founder, but you can also share personal anecdotes to bolster your points. Encourage discussion and feedback by responding to each and every comment.  – Andrew SchrageMoney Crashers

9. Leverage Your Passion

One way to gain a foothold as a thought leader when you’re just starting out is to find something you’re truly passionate about. Focus on finding angles of your interests that really excite you, and your genuine enthusiasm will separate you from the cacophony of other voices out there. A fresh perspective is often just what people are looking for, especially when it’s combined with real passion. – Ryan D. MatznerFueled

10. Know Your Value

There’s a reason for the saying “Out with the old, in with the new.” When we refer to fresh ideas and perspectives, this is something a young founder can bring to the table. Our world is constantly changing, so anyone can be a thought leader as long as they stay up to date with current affairs and can educate others within their field by exchanging information because information is valuable. – Stephanie VermaasThis Is A Love Song LLC

11. Keep Learning and Sharing Your Knowledge

If you have the drive to learn and simplify what you’ve learned in a clear way, your personal brand will grow. The trick is to keep learning. Sign up for industry newsletters, follow thought leaders on social media and constantly be reading books and articles. – Syed BalkhiWPBeginner

The post 11 Brand-Building Strategies to Become a Thought Leader appeared first on Personal Branding Blog – Stand Out In Your Career.

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The Top 2018 Instagram Trends for Small Business

Instagram is one of the most popular social channels available to businesses today. It’s growing quickly and evolving to meet the needs of its users. So for brands that use the platform, it’s essential to keep up with what’s happening.

2018 Instagram Trends

If your business has an Instagram presence or if you’re thinking about starting one this year, here are some of the top statistics, updates and trends from 2018.

Instagram Popularity

  • Instagram had about 800 million worldwide users earlier this year. That number has since grown to over 1 billion.
  • In fact, the app has more than 1 billion downloads on Google Play alone.
  • 95 million photos and videos are uploaded to the platform daily.
  • 53 percent of those who use social media have an account on Instagram.
  • And 61 percent of Instagram users said they used Instagram more often this year than they did during the previous year.
  • It’s also especially popular with young people. 50 percent of Gen Z social media users are on Instagram.
  • And it’s popular with consumers who are willing and able to spend; 31 percent of adults on Instagram earn at least $75,000 annually.

Instagram Stories

Instagram Engagement

  • Instagram users are fairly active. The platform has more than 500 million users daily.
  • In fact, Instagram users like more than 4.2 billion posts every day.
  • Additionally, Instagram has 58 times more engagement per post than Facebook.
  • While much of that engagement is between individuals, a lot of it goes to business accounts. Half of the users on Instagram follow businesses.
  • Additionally, 70 percent of Instagram users have searched for a brand on the platform.
  • And 68 percent of Instagram users said they interact with brands regularly.
  • Research has found that posting a video at 9 p.m. leads to 34 percent more interactions than content posted at other times.

Instagram Marketing

  • There are more than 25 million business users on Instagram.
  • Those users can take advantage of several different advertising options on the platform. But many don’t. There are more than 2 million advertisers on Instagram.
  • The market for influencer marketing on Instagram is projected to grow to $2.38 billion by 2019.
  • The market for freelancers and gig workers is also increasing. Gig spending on Instagram quadrupled between 2017 and 2018.

Instagram Updates

  • This year, Instagram introduced a number of changes that could impact business users. For example, the app now alerts users when they’ve seen every post in their feed.
  • It is also adding usage statistics that could be beneficial for businesses.
  • In addition, Shopify added a new Instagram integration early this year that could benefit small ecommerce shops.
  • Finally, Instagram also introduced “Instagram Lite,” which takes up less space and is perfect for users with low end devices or spotty connections.

More Resources

It’s important to stay informed about the latest updates and trends related to Instagram. This information can help small business users make the most of the platform and effectively connect with potential customers. But it can also help to follow expert tips and tricks. If you’re interested in improving your Instagram presence toward the end of 2018 and beyond, check out these additional resources.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Top 2018 Instagram Trends for Business Use” was first published on Small Business Trends

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How can a young founder signal or demonstrate their position as a thought leader and build their personal brand, despite their newcomer status?

Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

1. Create a Website

Creating a website is the first step to creating your personal brand. Find out who your target audience is and design the website in a way that will be relatable to them. Then, the work starts. You’ll want to create a blog and write posts that will attract that audience to your site. Speak directly to them, and help them with new information. – Chris ChristoffMonsterInsights

2. Share Your Point of View

If you’re a young founder or entrepreneur, the best way to demonstrate your position as a thought leader is to have a point of view and share it. The more clear you are on who you are, your ideas and what you feel is your expertise, the quicker you can start making a name for yourself. Write articles, join panels, do workshops, etc. Do as much as you can to get that point of view into the market. – Sunny BonnellMotto

3. Get Face Time in Your Industry

As a young founder new to the industry, you should do everything in your power to get face time. Whether that means attending industry events, writing a blog, doing a podcast or applying for any and all speaking opportunities, getting yourself out there and visible to your audience is a great way to position yourself and build your brand. The experience alone will help you grow. – Dave NevogtHubstaff.com

4. Showcase Your Skills

The first step in demonstrating your position as a thought leader is to build confidence, which, in turn, builds trust. Start by creating content that showcases your skills. Consider writing for as many industry-related publications as you can. As you progress, you get to expand your audience while refining your skills at the same time. The idea is to get your name out there as much as possible. – Derek RobinsonTop Notch Dezigns

5. Answer Questions

If you want to demonstrate your knowledge and thought-leading abilities, what’s a better way than answering questions? Spending some time answering questions on question-and-answer forums will quickly establish you as an authority on any given subject. – Bryce WelkerAccounting Institute for Success

6. Write a Book

Authoring a book is a great way to position yourself as an expert. As a young first-time author, self-publishing can be a great option. There are several companies that can help you get your book ready. After that, it’s easier than you think to get your work on Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s website. There are few things stronger than your own book to elevate your personal brand. – Brian GreenbergTrue Blue Life Insurance

7. Dispel Misinformation

Write often, and put the full work in to truly explore a topic. Long-form writing that is insightful and teaches something valuable is useful and helps you develop an audience. Look for gaps in knowledge or for common misconceptions about your industry, and work to dispel bad information. – Jacob Samuel AlexanderKono Store

8. Be Consistent

Post consistent and well-thought-out content on websites like LinkedIn and your own blog as well. Research should be involved since you’re a young founder, but you can also share personal anecdotes to bolster your points. Encourage discussion and feedback by responding to each and every comment.  – Andrew SchrageMoney Crashers

9. Leverage Your Passion

One way to gain a foothold as a thought leader when you’re just starting out is to find something you’re truly passionate about. Focus on finding angles of your interests that really excite you, and your genuine enthusiasm will separate you from the cacophony of other voices out there. A fresh perspective is often just what people are looking for, especially when it’s combined with real passion. – Ryan D. MatznerFueled

10. Know Your Value

There’s a reason for the saying “Out with the old, in with the new.” When we refer to fresh ideas and perspectives, this is something a young founder can bring to the table. Our world is constantly changing, so anyone can be a thought leader as long as they stay up to date with current affairs and can educate others within their field by exchanging information because information is valuable. – Stephanie VermaasThis Is A Love Song LLC

11. Keep Learning and Sharing Your Knowledge

If you have the drive to learn and simplify what you’ve learned in a clear way, your personal brand will grow. The trick is to keep learning. Sign up for industry newsletters, follow thought leaders on social media and constantly be reading books and articles. – Syed BalkhiWPBeginner

The post 11 Brand-Building Strategies to Become a Thought Leader appeared first on Personal Branding Blog – Stand Out In Your Career.