Using Instagram for Selling Products

Somebody said that Instagram was great for promoting new products. We were just getting into using social media to promote our business. We did some campaigns and were not really pleased. I figured that a visual campaign on a social media platform that relied on visuals might make more sense. Instead of telling them, I wanted to show them. However, it seems that in order to get a quick consumer buzz about something going on the social media platform, we needed to buy real Instagram followers. We just did not have enough followers yet to make a real impact. We needed people liking and commenting on our images. In order to do that, we needed a lot more followers fast.

We found different companies online that promised to deliver real Instagram followers fast. We were a bit concerned about paying for a service like that. We did not even know how it worked. However, we did know that we needed to buy real Instagram followers fast, especially when we already had some marketing campaigns ready to go. Continue reading

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Do End Users Deserve a Profit Share

Discovering that it’s possible to buy real Instagram likes was the first step into my quest into becoming self sufficient solely through digital media. It took some digging into realizing that the vast majority, if not every single one, popular website on the web is owned by a handful of publishing companies. These publishing companies curate the content that’s found on sites like Instragram, Reddit and Twitter in order to drive advertising companies to market their customer’s products on those websites. The higher quality the content, or in the case of Reddit the sheer quantity of content, the more likely those platforms are going to be utilized by web users. Continue reading

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2 tips for working with IoT and big data

Is your company looking to get started with IoT and big data, or are you looking to improve on how you’re handling it now? Here are two tips from the pros that should help anyone:

Clearly define your business goals before beginning a project. If you don’t clearly define what business benefits you expect to gain, there’s a chance the project will likely take a very long to deploy, says Vin Sharma, Intel’s Director of Strategy for Big Data Analytics, Data Center Group. Crisp, clear definitions of the business problem and hoped-for solution, on the other hand, lead to smooth deployments.

Use the right people. Data scientists are in short supply and get very sizable salaries. But you don’t need to hire data scientists, says Andrew Brust, Senior Director of Technical Product Marketing and Evangelism at Datameer, a big data Analytics and Visualization company. Instead, look at your existing staff for people with data warehouse and IT experience, and are willing to learn, and train them.


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Tips for using LinkedIn to network and grow your business

inQ: I’m new to LinkedIn and have an account, but haven’t done anything more than accept a few connections. I know it’s a good tool for my business, but what else should I be doing?

A: In this age of social media as a communication tool, LinkedIn is one of the most compelling for business people.

So many users get started by creating a profile and accepting connections from those they know, but not much else. In fact, many people comment that they don’t accept connections from people that they don’t know.

I equate this to saying “no thanks” when someone attempts to give you their business card at a networking event.

LinkedIn is not Facebook; connecting with business people you don’t already know is why it’s so powerful. While it’s certainly possible that you’ll connect with overzealous salespeople or even spammers, you can easily block or remove the connection if they turn out to be less than desirable.

Some of the more common uses of the network include researching people or companies, connecting with former colleagues, creating new relationships with potential customers and influencers, finding employees or employment opportunities and — my personal favorite — to amplify your traditional face-to-face networking activities.

Think about how many times you’ve met someone at a networking event or just in your daily travels that handed you their business card. What happens to that business card?

Unless you’re a hardcore networker, it probably ends up in a briefcase, desk drawer or some other collection zone and essentially disappears. Imagine how useful your networking contact list would be if when you were handed a business card, you got into the habit of immediately finding them on LinkedIn to stay connected.

With smartphone apps being such a huge part of our lives, this habit is pretty easy to adopt. In some cases, I’ll even ask to connect on LinkedIn in lieu of exchanging business cards, because there is so much more information available than what can fit on a business card.

If you haven’t uploaded a photo and completed your profile, you can be viewed by others as someone that doesn’t get it, so make sure you do.

The keywords from a completed profile will also dramatically increase your chances of being found when someone is searching LinkedIn for your specialty, skill set or industry background.

Sharing an update (like you would on Facebook) or publishing a post that’s relevant to your business is how you show the LinkedIn world your expertise and encourage engagement from others.

Think of it as your opportunity to have your own interactive syndicated newspaper column, with over 380 million potential readers. What information could you share that might be helpful to your prospects or potential employers?

As with any other social network, engagement is the key, so observing what others are doing is a great way to learn the ropes.

There are many other suggestions such as joining groups and creating company pages that are basic tactics that experts, such as Wayne Breitbarth, can help you learn at his excellent blog.

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9 Networking Tips For Introverts

I’ve held a lot of jobs in my life — from summarizing old Doctor Who episodes in my teens to a five-year stint as a sex columnist — and everyone one of them has been done via telecommuting, a situation that has always suited my introvert personality. I’ve never met most of my bosses in person, and when it comes time to do on-the-ground hand-shaking to further a project, I always fear that I’ll panic, accidentally say something offensive or strange, and then have to flee like I’m escaping a house fire. Networking is not, shall we say, my forte — but despite all that, I know how to get important networking done without causing a diplomatic incident or requiring my own disappearance from the country.

And it’s important that you learn how, too. From college onwards — indeed, in some cases earlier — you’ve probably heard messages about the importance of building a professional network. You may imagine that this leads to piranha-ish cocktail parties where everybody circles each other, trying to figure out how they can feed off everybody else. Those kinds of parties do exist — but they are the exception, not the rule, and you shouldn’t avoid networking just because you fear it will always be like that. Especially because, later in life, networking becomes an asset, no matter what career path you choose: your next cool job, opportunity to contribute to an amazing project or invitation to do something insanely awesome could come from it. So yes, even introverts need to do it, but no, it isn’t going to kill or exhaust you — as long as you strategize properly.

Here are nine ways to network when you’re also an introvert, taken from both research and my own life. And no, just going home and sleeping isn’t actually one of them (much as I wish it were).

1. Try To Go One-On-One As Soon As Possible

Chances are good that you’re much better at (and less easily exhausted by) interacting with someone one-on-one than you are at trying to draw someone’s attention in a huge crowd. So avoid those huge “networking” events where everybody wears name tags and looks faintly upset. If you’re in an industry where those gatherings are the norm, though, use them as an opportunity to collect numbers, emails and whatever — and then use them to arrange one-on-one meetings or phone conversations at a later point. Don’t be rude about it, but don’t worry; many people will be trying to talk to as many people as possible at the event, and they’ll be happy to keep your initial interaction brief.

2. Go For Social Media

If even one-on-one meetings are kind of stressful to you, you can try to take person-to-person interaction out of the equation altogether. Using social media will likely do less to drain your energy, so focus on having professional interactions on places like LinkedIn, GooglePlus, Twitter and anywhere else you can keep things short and snappy. The downside is that you’ll likely competing with a lot of other stuff for your future connection’s attention, so if you’re cold-connecting with them, make sure to reach out to them in a way that is memorable and smart.

3. Gather Friends For Support

If there’s absolutely no way you can get out of attending a professional event, bring along a friend for support. I do attend regular writer events where it’s possible to meet publishers or other awesome potential connections, and I hate the whole thing — unless I have a garrulous, charming extrovert friend on my arm, doing some of the work for me. Let an extroverted friend take on the social energy and act as your PR person: it makes you seem important, and it also gives you a little breathing space for when it’s time to make a connection yourself.

4. Get Business Cards

This helps. Even if you’re in a no-business-cards profession, I swear that it helps. Business cards mean you don’t have to go over your contact information and other professional details yourself; the basics about where you work and what you do will be much more easily communicated this way, particularly if you’re exhausted and want to connect with somebody but can’t summon the social strength. It’s actually a bonus if you’re in a creative industry, because so many people who work in these fields don’t have business cards or anything similar; it makes you memorable.

5. Know How To Sum Yourself Up In Twenty Seconds

Keep your pitch about yourself short. It’ll reduce your own energy expenditure and any anxiety about not knowing how to communicate yourself. And yes, you are perfectly allowed to prepare in advance and practice talking about yourself: in fact, utilizing your short-term memory instead of thinking on the fly every time you have to describe yourself and your work is going to save you precious strength. Try not to sound like a robot, but I guarantee a little prep will help you out.

6. Ask Questions To Fuel Conversation

If you’re flailing and desperate to go home and escape all these people Wanting Things From One Another, but know you haven’t yet connected with the person you really wanted to network with, ask them about what they’re doing. Questions are often a lifesaver for introverts in professional situations; they allow us to sit quietly and listen, rather than actively participate in a more engaged way. You’ll still have to expend your energy interacting, but at least they’ll be flattered at the same time.

7. Know Which Connections Might Help You

Make a game plan. Sometimes the best connections are the ones you can’t plan for; but if you’re an introvert, a little knowledge about what you’re looking for can go a long way, and let you focus your interactions on the kinds of people you need to know right now. Sounds calculating, but think of it as a kind of shortcut on the highway; you’re just trying to preserve fuel.

8. Don’t Only Focus On Professional Goals

Work events, even if they’re small and pretty relaxed, can still feel pretty rough for introverts. Just relax; sometimes being Master Networking Machine isn’t the only point of attending these things. Give yourself other things to think about. OK, sure, you want to connect with other gaming developers who might have ideas about how to implement the great idea you have — but you also want to meet people who might want to join your volleyball team, or hang out with your workmates, or whatever. Even if you only achieve one of those things, it’s still a social win. So don’t be too hard on yourself.

9. Find Others Who Hate Networking And Connect

This is actually the best networking tip I know: very few people actually like doing it formally. The best networking happens naturally, when so-and-so introduces you to XYZ, who knows a person who’d be into ABC. When you’re forced into a more rigid networking situation, though, find the people who look like they hate it as much as you do. It’s high school dances all over again, and chances are that you’ll find your fellow introverts — and that some of them might prove to be pretty fantastic contacts.

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6 social media networks, and a tip for each one

3256859352_cf35412c5f_-social-mediaI get a lot of questions based off my So Social columns, but there’s one theme that keeps repeating itself:

What’s one thing I should do when I use _____________?

And that got me thinking. Why not combine some of those answers in one piece and share them with a wider audience?

Why not indeed? So here’s a list of social media networks followed by one important tip to try or thing to know about each.


Become familiar with lists. Sign in to your account, and go to Subscribing to lists or creating your own is a great way to see the most important things first. And because you can have multiple lists, you can narrow them as much as you want. So for example, I have multiple lists for news, but I also have lists for things I’m interested in, such as social media, Apple, weather and all things 80s.


Because the popular livestreaming app is owned by Twitter, it works with Twitter.

When you broadcast, your Twitter network will be made aware. And you get the opportunity to connect with people all around the world in a very visual way.

If you have a Twitter following, your broadcast automatically gets shared on your Twitter profile. Periscope is proving to be a massive opportunity to network and meet people around the world.


Look beyond friends and consider followers.

You can interact with people on Facebook who are not your friends. Go to for more and to activate, but letting people follow you means they see content that you make public; if you share something with friends only, they won’t. It’s a great way to separate your content for different audiences.


Because it’s impossible to choose, here are five tips disguised as one.

Post regularly, never discount emojis, research hashtags to find the most popular ones that connect with your subject matter, like other photos often and comment on those photos too.


Once you get used to pinning stuff to your Pinterest boards, it becomes second nature. Here’s an easy way to make the second-nature part come even faster. Add Pinterest’s ‘Pin It’ button to your browser bookmarks, preferably to your bookmarks bar. Pinterest makes installation easy. Just go to the goodies page at to find it along with widgets for your website and links to the iPhone and Android apps.


Just get on board. It’s not terribly difficult to get started, but it can be a little difficult to understand the point of photos and videos that disappear after a short period of time. However, it’s not difficult to understand why it’s important based on this stat from Snapchat: As of May 2015, Snapchatters were sending 2 billion photos and videos per day. That was six months ago, and that’s an eternity in the social media world, so that number is only going to grow by leaps and bounds.

Let me know what you think of this format, and we’ll repeat it semi-regularly to maximize the number of tips. I realize I didn’t get to every network in this column, so feel free to reach out to me with your specific questions — I’m always on the lookout for them.


Photo by Rosaura Ochoa

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Practical tips for working with OpenStack

bziTo build your own cloud and take advantage of the power of the open source powered OpenStack project takes dedicated resources and a good bit of learning. Due to the size of the project and the pace of development, keeping up can be difficult. The good news is that there are many resources to help, including the official documentation, a variety of OpenStack training and certification programs, as well as community-authored guides.

To help you keep up, puts together a list of the best how-tos, guides, tutorials, and tips every month. Here are some of our top picks for the last month.

  • First up, let’s take a look at a piece from the CERN OpenStack cloud team on scheduling and disabling cells. Cells are a way of partitioning your cloud infrastructure into smaller pieces which can be controlled independently of one another. For large installations, they help make operating the cloud easier, but they also introduce some new restrictions. In this post, learn more about configuring and using cells.
  • Next, if you’ve been thinking about ways to make your OpenStack network work with containers, you may be interested in checking out a project called Kuryr. Kuryr works with OpenStack’s Neutron networking project to provide networking capabilities to Docker containers. By working with Open Virtual Network (OVN) as a plugin backend to Neutron, your containers can talk to each other on your virtual network. Here’s a look at how to get all of the pieces in this setup integrated.
  • If you’ve been wanting to learn how to use Ansible to manage parts of your OpenStack network, you’ll be pleased to hear that several new Ansible modules specifically designed for working with OpenStack have recently been released. Learn about these new modules, what they do, and how to use them in this handy walk through.
  • Ceph is one of the most popular open source storage solutions for using OpenStack, and a new patch to the upstream Nova project makes using Ceph for taking VM snapshots easier than ever. Take a look at the underlying architecture and see just how easy it is to enable on your cloud.
  • With OpenStack’s fast release cycle, being able to keep your workloads up and running through an upgrade is both critical and challenging. OpenStack’s Nova has made huge strides at making live upgrades easier in recent years, and in many cases upgrades can be done without perceptible effects to end users. In this series of deep dives, learn how Nova handles live upgrades and what steps you needs to take with objects, RFC APIs, and database migrations to keep your applications up and running through an upgrade.

Itching to learn more? Check out our complete roundup of OpenStack tutorials for more great resources, including links to almost one hundred community-generated guides. Are we missing one of your favorites? Please let us know so we can consider it for our next collection.

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Four networking tips from senior women at Sky and

handNetworking has become a dirty word, associated with the distinctly un-British qualities of insincerity, self-advancement and (urgh) ‘connecting’.

But doing it, and doing it well, is vital to a successful career, according to some of the most senior women in UK business.

Speaking at the Inspiring Women conference, held by Marketing’s sister title Management Today, senior female leaders from, Sky, Ford Retail Group and digital networking service Personal Boardroom give their four tips on building a strong network, without the cringe.

Think in a structured way

It’s likely that you already have a network in place, even if you think you don’t. The key isn’t just to keep up relationships, but to identify who plays what role in your life and consult them accordingly.

According to Zella King, who is CEO of Personal Boardroom and has a PhD in Occupational Psychology, your network can be split roughly  into power roles, information roles and ‘anchoring’ roles.

Those in power roles are influencers – they are likely to be the senior leadership in your company, board members, or those who dictate how budgets are allocated. Someone in a power role can help champion your career as well as ensure you have the resources you need for particular projects.

Those who hold information roles can help you navigate your industry – they can give you sector expertise, or introduce you to useful people. They can also guide you to people who hold the power roles.

Finally, someone in an anchoring role has your best interests at heart, and keeps you true to your personal values. They’re interested in your personal development and  will give consistent feedback.

King said:[Your network] is a room with maybe six or 12 people, each with a role to play. What roles do you need to draw on? It can be useful to ask, am I drawing on right people for right things?”

Find peer coaches

Networking isn’t just about people who are more powerful or influential, but peers within your organisation.

Bella Vuillermoz, director for women in leadership at Sky, said finding peer mentors was helpful in navigating a larger organisation.

She said: “The idea is that if they help me, I’ll help them. It might be trying to work through a project or issue in your day job or a personal challenge. Peer mentoring is really important.”

Don’t wait for your Prince Charming mentor

The role of mentor has become mythologised, but finding someone to advise you doesn’t always pan out. They need to be willing to mentor you, and to have an exit option if it’s not working out, says  Zella King.

King cites Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg who writes in her book, Lean In: “I realized that searching for a mentor has become the professional equivalent of waiting for Prince Charming.

“Now young women are told that if they can just find the right mentor, they will be pushed up the ladder and whisked away to the corner office to live happily ever after. Once again, we are teaching women to be too dependent on others.”

As King notes, a mentor won’t always work out – and it’s best to accept it with dignity if it doesn’t.

Don’t just take

Networking can play different roles throughout your career, according to Celia Pronto, group marketing and e-commerce director at Ford Retail Group. That means taking advice and contacts, but also giving it.

She said: “Networking helps you benchmark against other women, and other people who are out there. It can give you confidence.”

Pronto added: “You’ve got to be consistent at it, and invest in the relationships. You also have to be helpful – it’s not just about expecting something of the people you’re meeting, but being useful to them.”

Brie Rogers Lowery, deputy managing director and Europe and UK managing director of, added: “It goes beyond networking.

“Push yourself to the edge of your comfort zone. It might be networking or public speaking – seek advice on how to do it.”

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Tips from a Hacker to Improve Network Security

hackAaron Hayden is an information systems analyst with CliftonLarsonAllen, a large certified public accounting firm. He’s also an ethical hacker, one of 40 in the organization. And they are 100 percent successful hacking any business except a bank.

Organizations hire the firm to hack their information networks. An internal auditor at the targeted organization will know of the coming attack and will schedule it, but no one else will know until the hacking is done and the results are presented.

In the era of increased privacy and security concerns, CliftonLarsonAllen has done 4,000 penetration tests across multiple industries. If a hacker is good at phishing, which is the art of fooling an unsuspecting individual into giving up network credentials, the hacker will have a success rate of 100 percent, Aaron told a large audience during the 2015 AHIMA Convention.

Hayden recently phished a CEO after sending an email purportedly from the CFO that paved the way for getting the CEO’s computer credentials, and took control of her machine.

Once in control of one computer, a hacker can assume the identity of the person being attacked. If the person is an administrator, Hayden can install software to read the database password on the computer, as well as passwords from other computers on the network. Once in a network, a hacker can establish persistence—a home—and inject code into startup processes to stay in the network. One university, Hayden said, had 8,000 routable addresses that he could see.

Another trick: Once he controls your computer, Hayden can send a false announcement from HR of changes to the company’s health insurance plan and get you to fill out new forms with the carrot of getting a Starbucks gift card when finished. The card doesn’t work, but it does take over your computer.

Password guessing is one of the easiest ways of initially penetrating a large network. Believe it or not, if the month is August 2015, there is decent chance somewhere on the network will be a required password titled, August 2015.

Hacking techniques work well in healthcare for multiple reasons, Hayden said. Employees are readily tricked and need more training, there are too many passwords to manage (with physicians the worst), some employees are lazy at changing passwords according to policy, hackers assume a known identity, and incident response is rarely practiced and almost never tested.

Hackers also take their time, creating queries in a network and pulling little bits of data over time and encrypting the data so it is not detected. Those little bits of data that you don’t know the hacker has add up over time to be a giant load of data. “You can empower employees, train them and make them more vigilant,” Hayden said. “Propose structural accountability to doctors and you will be more secure.”

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Tricks for building a Wi-Fi network that covers your entire house

asusWe all love Wi-Fi, but Wi-Fi routers can also be one of the most annoying pieces of technology in your home if not set up correctly. There are some ways a poorly configured wireless network can hinder your entire wireless Internet coverage, including spotty coverage in certain areas of the house and poor download speeds. Thankfully, there are some straightforward measures you can take to make sure you have the best possible Wi-Fi experience at home.

As detailed in Popular Mechanics, while configuring your home’s wireless networks might sound like a complex chore, it’s actually a lot easier than you think. All you have to do is make sure you understand a few simple concepts related to Wi-Fi speeds, router placement related to house size, and security.

First of all, make sure you get the right router. To do so, you should assess the maximum speed of your wired Internet connection and then buy appropriate gear. That means you have to be familiar with the various Wi-Fi standards: 802.11ac is the fastest standard available with speeds of up to 1Gbps while 802.11n gets you 600Mbps. To take advantage of maximum data transfer rates, however, you also have to make sure your PCs, smartphones, tablets and other Wi-Fi devices can support the same wireless data speeds. For example, your 802.11n smartphone won’t get 802.11ac speeds.

Because you’ll want excellent Wi-Fi coverage anywhere in the house, including the kitchen and bathroom, you’ll have to place the router in a central position, within wiring distance of your ISP’s Ethernet modem.

Depending on how big your home is, you’ll also have to consider buying a Wi-Fi extender to place in an additional location in the house (a different floor, the basement, and other remote areas).

Now, once you’ve determined the kind of wireless Internet speed you need, and the number of extenders you should purchase, you should buy the right equipment. The more you pay for the router – and some of them are more expensive than others – the better experience you’ll get. So if you want to get a decent connection and futureproof your network, you’d be better off investing some money in this particular gadget.

Setting up the network might sound like the hardest part, but it really isn’t. Each router comes with precise instructions so you should be able to set it up fairly quick. You need to power down your Internet modem that comes from your ISP, plug in the new router into the output port, and plug the router into your primary computer for initial setup. Instructions on the screen should help with the installation (you might be required to use an install disk in the process). Once that’s done, you’ll be able to use your newly created network.

To hook up the extender, you’ll have to connect it to the wireless network, but that shouldn’t be too hard. Just make sure the extender can see the wireless network before you place it in your desired connection.

Finally, and this is an important part of the installation process, make sure you set up a secure password for your Wi-Fi network during setup. That way, at least you’re taking steps to protect the security of your network and make sure your neighbors aren’t taking advantage of it.

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