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5 Things to Do With an Old Smartphone

Your old smartphone still works, but you’ve just upgraded to a new and faster model.  Now, you’re wondering what you can do with your old phone.

Instead of throwing it away, why not try these 5 things?

Help Mother Earth By Recycling

mobile phone in hand

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Whatever you do with your old cellphone, don’t throw it in the dumpster. You won’t be contributing to a greener environment and a safer one for the future generation.  It doesn’t take much to properly recycle your old gadget. For instance, you can hand it over to the nearest recycling center so they can take it apart, reuse it or harvest for individual components. Or, you can take it to a recycling programme that gives you in-store credit, gift cards or cash by turning old branded tech.  It’s certainly better than having your old gadget end up in the landfill and pollute the earth by leaching toxins into the ground.

Help Organisations by Donating

A functioning phone that can make calls, send SMS or browse the web may still be useful to other people. Think about who or how you’d want to donate your gadget for a good cause.  It could be your local church, a goodwill centre, an animal shelter, library or hospital. The staff welcomes any serviceable tech they can use to do their jobs. The same goes for old laptops, tablets, computers, fax and printers.  You can also give it to your co-worker, neighbour or favourite relative the next time you meet. Make sure to gather the cable, charger and any accessory so they can fully enjoy the gift.

Re-Use Your Phone As A Backup

Find your old phone’s charging cable and power it up. Activate the cellular network so you can start making calls or sending messages with it. When it’s full, put it in a sturdy case and somewhere easily accessible, e.g., in your locker, car or bag. You’ll be safer knowing that you’ll have a backup phone in case something happens to your main unit.

Turn Old Into New

Did you know that you can create an mp3 player, an eBook reader or maybe a portable TV with your old phone? Here are some fun projects you can try:

  • Portable TV. Install YouTube, a streaming app such as Netflix, Amazon Prime or Twitch and you have a dedicated video app for entertainment. If you have kids, load it up with their favorite cartoons and a video app so you’ll have something to distract them with.
  • Remote Control. Never lose a remote (and precious time) again when you turn your old tech into a remote. Search through the App Store or Play Store and download the corresponding remote for your Smart TV, Apple TV or Roku device.
  • Music Player. Get Google Music or iTunes and some of your favorite songs into a workout playlist. Attach a Bluetooth speaker or some wireless headphones and you’ll have a dedicated music player when you’re exercising at home or outside. You can also turn it into a static sound system by placing it on a charging dock and plugging in wired speakers.
  • eBook Reader. Do you love to read books? How about your partner or kids? You can turn your old tech into a storybook, a virtual magazine shelf or a library, depending on what you prefer. All you need is to download the Kindle app (or similar programs), magazines or eBooks and voila! A personal eBook reader. On the same note, if you prefer audiobooks, get the corresponding app and listen to podcasts or software that can read classic books aloud, for example.

Sell Your Gadget For Cash

Last but certainly not the least, you can turn your old mobile into quick cash by listing it up online. Popular sites such as Amazon, eBay and Facebook do have sections where users can advertise their secondhand items and sell them for money.  Simply upload a nice photo, details about the phone and its condition, then set a price. Wait for offers to come in, and when the price is right set up a meeting and you’ll have money to spend.

For easy and direct transactions, you can turn to online tech recyclers to sell your tech for money. Fill up an online form, send the item in and wait for them to receive it. You get fast cash and a straight appraisal right away.

 

Note: This is collaborative post
Features

Our Favorite Places for Virtual Reality in Tukwila

It seems like you’ve been hearing about virtual reality for a long time, whether in the news or in sci-fi movies. Maybe it’s all your kids are talking about, or perhaps you’ve developed a curiosity about it yourself. It may surprise you that this technology has been around for a few decades, even though it didn’t become widespread and commercially available until just several years ago.

The first modern VR headset was invented in the late 1960s. Early VR projects were built out of scientific curiosity, or for practical purposes, such as training pilots. These projects were heavy and bulky. Plus, they weren’t available for the public to use, unless you happened to be invited into a scientific computer lab. Although technology advanced over the years, VR headsets as we know them today only entered the mainstream in 2017. So compared with other long-time favorite activities you’ve enjoyed at our Family Fun Center, VR seems pretty futuristic. But that’s what makes it exciting!

New technology is inspiring. Imagine what the future can bring.

VR Around the World

Indeed, many computer scientists and engineers all over the world are taking this technology to greater heights and creating cool new experiences for people that wouldn’t have been possible even five years ago.  In southern Australia, for example, a museum allows you to take virtual tours of nature. Slip on a pair of goggles, and you can go swimming along the Great Barrier Reef. You can even get up close with prehistoric animals. What child wouldn’t want to reach out and touch ancient ocean creatures?

At a Copenhagen theme park, guests have the option of getting fitted with VR headsets before riding a roller coaster. Instead of riding a “boring” old roller coaster, you can fly up and down hills, ducking from dragons and demons along the way. Talk about adding a few thrills to the ride!   In Beijing, a whole virtual reality theme park is being prototyped. What looks like an empty space when you’re standing in the room by yourself, suddenly turns into a place where you can battle monsters and travel through time once you put your headset on.

And video game companies are starting to come out with VR systems you can use right in your own living room. This can bring the whole family into the mix and give grandma and grandpa a chance to check out the technology at the same time as the grandkids.   Since it’s a new technology, home systems can be pretty expensive; they aren’t for every family on the block. Also, they aren’t as immersive as what you can find at entertainment centers, as the technology has been broken down to be more suitable for home use.

But don’t worry if Australia, Denmark, and China are too far away, or if you’re not in the market for VR in your own living room. We know where you can experience virtual reality in Tukwila for a fraction of the cost.

VR Challenge at the Family Fun Center

VR phone image

Pic Credit: Pixabay

At the Family Fun Center, we offer our VR Challenge attraction. Come play our newest Star Defense VR experience. Just put on the headset, and we’ll have you and your family protecting the universe against drones that are threatening to take over the earth.  When deciding to bring a virtual reality experience to you, we’ve gone with a system that will give you the best virtual experience possible. Why do we love our VR Challenge attraction so much?

It’s responsive, which makes you feel like you’re really a part of the action. Details like a vibrating motion floor system and responsive controllers help you feel like you’re somewhere else entirely.  It’s intelligent. The headsets and hand controllers we have in our VR experience are lightweight and wireless. The headset is easy to put on and wear. And you won’t get drawn out of the action by getting tangled up in wires, as you might have with older VR technology.

It’s also a benefit that our VR experience allows you to play in two ways: as an individual or along with other people. Our attraction allows for multi-player games so that you can work together with friends and family. Bring a whole group and experience it together!  We’re proud to offer state-of-the-art virtual reality in Tukwila. Be among the first in the Pacific Northwest to try it out! Note that you must be 52 inches or taller to enjoy the attraction.

6D XD Theater at the Family Fun Center

For those who don’t quite meet the height requirement, our 6D XD Theater is almost as immersive. You must be at least 44 inches tall to go on this attraction, and of course, teens and adults will also enjoy it.  Our XD Theater provides seats for up to 10 people, so your family and friends can have virtual adventures together.  Will you plunge into jungle river rapids only to find pirates along the way?  Will you have close-up encounters dinosaurs and try and escape from them?  Ride on a roller coaster, in a minecart, or fly with a jetpack?

Or try to rescue a baby rhino?

No matter which adventure you go on, you’ll be immersed in the action. The special seats in our theater move with the action of the film. You’ll also experience special effects like wind, lightning, and other weather. Surround sound tops off the immersion. It puts you into the action like no other movie you’ve seen.   We currently have eight different shows, meaning you can experience this attraction multiple times and never get bored. Even if you take in the same show multiple times, it’s never the same experience. You’ll be whisked off to a new land with new players, new ideas, and new choices. This is truly one family experience that never gets old.  The Family Fun Center is just one of our favorite places to easily experience virtual reality in Tukwila.

No matter whether you choose to experience our state-of-the-art VR Challenge here in Washington, or if you choose to travel the world and visit other innovative VR experiences currently offered, they will allow you to escape the everyday and go on fantastic adventures.

Where will you end up next?

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Features

Building a Life around Helping Others: Learn How to Become a Professional Caregiver in 5 Steps

taking blood pressure

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Have you ever thought about becoming a caregiver? Do you have what it takes to be one? Caregiving is a rewarding profession, but it can be more challenging than anyone could have ever imagined. If you have never done it full time, you may be surprised at how challenging and exciting caregiving can be. You could be an excellent cook back at home and love to make meals for everyone in your family, but even so, that does not mean you are meant to be a chef. Becoming a caregiver will require preparation and knowledge in a variety of things. Here are some steps to consider when you are planning to become a professional caregiver.

  1. Consider What Motivates You

Before you can set your journey into this profession, you need to know why you want to become a caregiver. Do you have the traits and interest to make you successful in the job? If not, you need to consider a different profession.

  1. Ask for Feedback

Once you are confident that this is what you want to do, you can talk to a professional caregiver so you can learn about the money and time investment in education. You can also ask about the salary range and career trajectory. Additionally, you may consider volunteering at a reputable organization to get a sense of the working environment as well as the challenges and rewards.

  1. Explore the Options Available

If you are determined to be a professional caregiver, you can attend classes on caregiving to learn the basics. Consider starting as a companion through companies such as FreedomCare which offers caregiving support. You can also apply to work at a home care agency because a good number of these organizations offer training in this field. Moreover, you can look for organizations that offer seminars, workshops, and classes for those who want to become professionals in the field of caregiving.

  1. Get Training or Degree

While having a degree is not necessarily a requirement when you want to become a caregiver, training is imperative when you are looking for clients to work with. There are some colleges that offer training courses for those looking to become caregivers. Take a relatively fast course and get the certification you need to become a reputable service provider. You can search the internet for different courses in home health aide and nurse assistant training within your area of residence. If you decide to advance to a degree, you can pursue nursing, certified nursing assistant, or the licensed practical nurse.

  1. Determine Salary

Before you can decide to become a fully-fledged caregiver, make sure you are comfortable with the salaries offered. Salary payments usually vary with facility, location, and degree. When you want to make the most from this profession, you can search for jobs that allow you to work directly with a facility or family since you will not be working through an agency that charges a fee on your salary.

Final Word

The above are five steps you can consider when you want to become a professional caregiver. Commitment makes it possible to succeed in this profession. If you are not committed to what you do, it will be challenging to become the professional you want to be.

Features

4 Sleeping Positions: Which One Is the Best for Your Health?

sleeping

Pic Credit: Pixabay

You know that getting enough sound, quality sleep is a critically important aspect of your life. However, did you know that your sleeping position can either negatively or positively affect your health and the quality of your sleep? Whether you want it or not, sleep dictates how conscious, happy, positive, and products you might be during the day.

Getting at least one bad sleep can literally ruin your whole week, not only a day. Unfortunately, the majority of people fail to get enough sleep. Moreover, their sleeping position might not be the best one for their health. The way you sleep can drastically impact your well-being – both medically and psychologically. Generally, there are a few factors to consider before you go to bed: from frequency, length to depth and quality. What you’re more likely to ignore though is your sleeping positioning.

How often do you wake up in the morning with a backache, a cricked neck, and heartburn? Do you wake up feeling exhausted and sleepy or refreshed and alert? Multiple studies have shown that a sleeping position is usually to blame. Every one of us has our own preferred sleeping position, which helps us feel comfortable while we sleep. Although that position might feel natural, it might not be healthy. Check out four sleeping positions below and learn which one is the best for your health.

Sleeping on your side

One of the best sleeping positions, side sleeping is ideal for your digestion, particularly if you tend to sleep on the left side. Sleeping on the left side improves blood flow body-wide. The spine is still elongated in this sleeping position, and if you snore, it can reduce your snoring to the minimum. If you’re pregnant, your doctor will tell you that you should learn to sleep on your side, as it improves blood circulation to the fetus.

Side sleeping has its drawbacks, though. First of all, all that whole-night face smashing results in facial acne, fine lines, and premature wrinkles. If you suffer from acne and sleep on your side, ensure you change your pillowcase regularly and keep your hair clean. You can ward off fine lines and premature minimize wrinkles by sleeping on a pillowcase, which is e made of smooth material, such as satin or silk to decrease friction. 

Side sleepers typically don’t have trouble falling asleep. Sleeping on the side isn’t recommended for women with large breasts, too. Side sleepers should sleep on a thick pillow to fill the space above the shoulder and support the neck and head in a neutral position.

Sleeping on your back

Sleeping on the back is considered to be the best position for reducing pressure on the spine and thus ease and prevent back pain. When you sleep on your back, it helps you to keep your back and neck relaxed and in a light alignment. Sleeping on your back can reduce the likelihood of breakouts and acne as well as premature wrinkles and fine lines, as your face doesn’t touch your pillow. 

Women with big breasts can reap the benefits of back sleeping, too. This sleeping position supports the breasts and wards of their sagging. The bad news for snorers, though. If you snore, it’s best to avoid sleeping on your back. Consider the side sleeping position, instead.

Sleeping in the fetal position

With an estimated 41 per cent of people sleeping in the fetal position, it’s also one of the most popular positions for sleep. This is when you sleep on your side with your knees bent and your torso hunched. The fetal position is recommended for pregnant women and snorers. This sleeping position enhances blood flow in the mother’s body and the fetus, preventing the uterus from putting pressure on the liver that’s located on the right side. Sleeping in the fetal position has its drawbacks, too. For instance, if you sleep tightly curled up, it can negatively affect your breathing in the diaphragm. If you suffer from arthritis in your back or joints, sleeping in the fetal position can make you feel a little sore when you wake up in the morning. 

Rather than pull your knees up high and tuck the chin into the chest, straighten out your body as frequent as you can during the night. Or, place a pillow between your knees to relieve strain on the hips. Moreover, make sure you sleep on a plump pillow to support your neck and head.

Sleeping on your stomach

sleeping

Pic Credit: Pixabay

The most comfortable sleeping position for a great number of people, stomach sleeping is actually the worst way to enjoy your sleep. However, this position aids in preventing snoring. In case you suffer from a dangerous condition like sleep apnea, sleeping on your stomach might be good for you. In general, stomach sleeping is bad for your neck, back, breasts, and face.  

Sleeping on your belly each night can result in nerve irritation in the neck, especially if you sleep on a thick pillow with your neck being at a sharp angle. Over time, this habit will lead to chronic neck pain, numbness, and tingling. If you have trouble falling asleep and any other sleeping position except a stomach one make you feel comfortable, consider sleeping on a natural latex mattress and a stomach sleep pillowYou need to get the whole-body support to ease pressure on your body and prevent the pain triggered by stomach sleeping.

Despite the fact that it’s impossible to change the sleeping position, it’s still possible to do it. Consider gradually including the first three sleeping positions in your pre-sleep time. You might feel uncomfortable at first, but don’t give up. Allow your body to adjust to those positions. There are also a lot of devices and pillows and mattresses that help to learn how to sleep correctly. If you still can’t teach yourself to sleep in a healthy position, use pillows to reduce the negative effect of bad sleeping positions.

 

Features

Getting the Spice Back into Your Relationship

Having kids is one of life’s best gifts. But let’s face it, the presence of small people can play havoc with your romantic life. Whether it’s lack of sleep, lack of time, or lack of willingness, often couples suffer from a ‘love-life slump’ after having children.  The good news is that this can be turned around.

Why it matters

First of all, take comfort in the fact that this is normal. Commonplace, in fact! Plenty of couple go through the same thing, and most come out the other side unscathed. This is even the case when negative emotions are involved; for example, frustration or resentment.

However, while it may be common, it’s important not to ignore the matter. Romance and intimacy are what brought you together in the first place, so it’s vital to reignite those feelings, to ensure that your relationship becomes stronger than ever.

holding hands

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Intimacy doesn’t always equal sex

If you’re suffering from a serious lack of libido (exhaustion and hormones can do that), accept that this is a stage you’re going through. Romance shouldn’t always focus on sex; it’s about forging a meaningful connection and enjoying one another’s company.

If you feel like this, it is a good idea to talk openly about it, though. Lack of communication can leave your partner feeling undesirable or unwanted, and they could probably do with some reassurance.

How to get the va-va-voom back

There are a variety of ways you can inject some romance into your relationship. These include:

  • Spending an evening together (away from the kids). It’s good to have an evening that’s completely child-free. Do what you used to do together; whether that’s going to the cinema, watching a band play, or simply going down the pub. Take the time to dress up for it too; which includes splashing on your favourite scent (if you’ve run out, Copycat Fragrances for her have some inspired-by perfumes for a reasonable price).
  • Working on your self-confidence. If your self-confidence has taken a dip after having kids (Again, this is common), think about how you can feel good about yourself again. A new haircut might make you feel better, or if you’re concerned about your figure, take up a new form of exercise, like running or swimming. Let your partner know how you’re feeling too – they may be able to help.
  • Making life ‘fun’ again. Don’t spend all evening tidying the house or preparing the kids’ lunch boxes for the week. Those things can wait. Instead, pour yourself a glass of wine and chat to your partner. These little moments of reconnection make a big difference. 
  • Get physical. This could be anything; from holding hands while you’re out for a walk, to giving your partner a cuddle if they’ve had a rough day at work. Physical contact is a great way to feel connected to someone, even if it’s only a tiny touch on the arm or a pat on the back! Eye contact is also valuable.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Features

Tips For Improving Health This Spring

smoothies

Pic Credit: Pixabay

With the arrival of spring, it is time to get back to a healthier you. If you make a few simple changes in your daily routine, it is possible to see dramatic results. A good start is to evaluate your eating habits, get your annual physical, walk instead of driving short distances and exercise more in general. 

Spring Eats 
Nice weather means that it is time to stop buying comfort food and focus on healthier eating habits. Most people put on at least several pounds over the winter months. This is quite easy to do given the relative state of hibernation everyone incurs during the colder months. As you work to make healthier eating choices in the spring, try to focus on seasonal foods. These have the most nutrients and best flavors. Plus, as an added bonus, seasonal food is less expensive. When you eat out, head to the patio and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. It will make it easier to choose salads and lean proteins over heavier, fatty dishes. 

Annual CheckUp 
Just like a car, your body needs a tune up each year. Why not do it each spring? An annual physical should be an essential part of your preventative health care strategy. By completing an annual checkup, you can stop minor problems from becoming significant and scary problems that will disrupt your life on a massive scale both personally and financially. It is just a wise step to take. And be sure to get yourself tested for everything, including STDs

One Step at a Time 
You may have fallen out of your exercise routine during the winter as the weather has been less enjoyable. Or perhaps it is time to establish an exercise routine. Do not fret. A simple walk or bike ride to the supermarket will give you the vitamin D you require to boost your mood and it will help burn the calories you have built up over the winter. Try to walk more to places that are less than a mile away. You will save money on gas and improve your health tremendously. It will also help you feel better overall and help you sleep more soundly.

Other Essentials 

Pic Credit: Pixabay


Do not forget the importance of sleep and water. By drinking plenty of water throughout the day, it will help you determine whether you are full or just thirsty. Many times, when you think you are hungry you are actually thirsty or even slightly dehydrated. It is a great idea to always bring a refillable water bottle with you everywhere you go. A lot of public places have water fountains specifically designed to refill water bottles. And sleep is critical to your health, mood and overall ability to function in life. Eliminate screens from your bedroom and you are off to an amazing start. 

This spring, it is time to restart your health routine. Be sure to eat right, exercise, get to the doctor, drink plenty of water and sleep enough. At the end of the day, as long as you treat your body right it should treat you right.


Thanks to Author:  Paige Jirsa- Who works with Top10.Today, a shopping comparison site, where we strive to help consumers find the best quality and priced products.

Features

How a Pet Helps You Feel Better When You Are Sad

If you already own a pet, then you’re likely to be well aware of the uplifting effect that a pet can have on your mood when you’re feeling sad.  But have you ever wondered why this is?

Here are a few scientifically-backed reasons as to how a pet is genuinely able to make a person feel better when they are feeling down…

FEEL-GOOD BRAIN CHEMICALS

Your brain produces a number of different natural chemicals that each have their own effect on your mood.

One of these chemicals is called oxytocin. When the brain releases this, you immediately feel happier and more loved.

Not only that, but the oxytocin then sends signals to the other neurotransmitters in the brain, encouraging it to release other feel-good hormones, such as:

  •     Serotonin             
  •     Dopamine     
  •     Adrenaline
How are these feel-good brain chemicals linked to pets? 

Well, research shows that when you stroke a pet, this triggers your brain to produce and release an increased amount of oxytocin. This, in turn, will quickly have an uplifting effect on your mood.

In fact, you don’t even necessarily need to stroke a pet to experience these benefits…

Simply looking into your pet’s eyes can have similar effects!

couple walking dog

Pic Credit: Pixabay

COMFORT AND EMPATHY

Not only can many animals sense your emotions, but they can also tell whether you are feeling happy or sad. This is a concept officially known as emotional contagion, and it is something that is being increasingly studied.

While research may still be ongoing, what we do know is that pets, whether they can sense your sadness or not, offer so much comfort and empathy.

Your pet will be there to support you whenever you are feeling down, and your pet is also guaranteed to be one of the best listeners you will ever find! Just talking to your pet about whatever it is that is bothering you can actually increase your problem-solving abilities, meaning that you may even find a logical and productive way to overcome your sadness.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

While a fish or a hamster may not provide this benefit, other pets, such as dogs and cats, do tend to encourage their owners to spend more time outdoors.   This is especially the case with dogs, and dog owners will likely find themselves outdoors so much more than they would have been, all because of their dog. Did you know that spending more time outdoors can have a direct effect on how happy you’re feeling?

Even if you just spend half an hour a day at your local park with your dog, you will experience:  

  •     Less stress         
  •     More empathy         
  •     Increased concentration and creativity         
  •     An increase in physical fitness         
  •     An improvement in overall health    

As you can imagine, when experiencing all of those different benefits, your sadness will soon disappear!

Pets add so much to our lives, and the fact that an animal can almost immediately make a person feel happier is a huge added bonus for pet owners. Whether you own a dog, a cat, a fish, or anything else, try turning to your pet the next time you are feeling sad for an instant mood lift.

WHY ESA’S ARE AN IMPORTANT OPTION

Out of the world’s entire population, one in four people will suffer from a mental condition at some point in their lives. For one in 25 adults, this condition will be quite serious, and will interfere in some way with at least one of their regular daily activities.   With mental illnesses becoming so much more prevalent, it only makes sense that people are now exploring a wider variety of treatment options, one of which are emotional support animals. Certapet.com is a great resource to learn more!

Note: This is a collaborative post
Features

Growing your Instagram some tips and tricks from the experts

When I started out on this blogging journey back in 2015, I had no clue about any of the technology side of blogging, hosting, SEO, domain name were all foreign concepts to me. However knowing I loved to write but wanted an audience to read my writing I made a concentrated effort to further my own knowledge. There is a wealth of information available on line to help upskill in this area. For examples sites like myemma.com provide invaluable sources of information on everything from SEO, to trends in marketing and social media. You could spend days perusing the wealth of information. However key is knowing how to put it into practice.

One of the social media platforms which I admit im still very much behind the curve on is Instagram. I love it to look at and enjoy other peoples content, I do however find growing my own audience hard work.  Blogging is a hobby for me and I don’t want it to become a chore. One article from myemma.com which stood out for me was about Instagram and making it work. Did you know there are 500 million users on Instagram a day!!! That is a pretty mind blowing statistic and in equal measure its a captive audience waiting to be reached. I have been very kindly given permission to reproduce the article in question below however to see it in its home place, please see here.

A Sink or Swim look at Instagram

(credit: myemma.com)

Social media advertising has steadily grown in popularity ever since the opportunity to display promotional material on these platforms became available. It’s been a once you pop, the fun don’t stop type of trend.  But creating these targeted advertisements might be unfamiliar for many digital marketers. There are a number of complexities involved in these platforms, and it can be hard to have insight into your return on investment. That being said, the benefits to advertising on social far outweigh the negatives (as we’re sure you know). And Instagram is no exception to that rule.

500 million users log into Instagram every day. Yes—every day.

This visually-heavy platform is an immediate attention-grabber. And it’s an easy platform for consumers and brands alike to browse through thanks to its aesthetic appeal. These factors alone make it a great platform for advertising—again, not to mention the 500 million daily users.

Instagram advertising is booming, and it’s time to jump on board.

How Instagram marketing works

Instagram launched in 2010, and by 2013, the popular social media platform was acquired by Facebook. Any good social media advertiser understands the staggering benefits of Facebook ads. And that success easily transfers over to this image-focused platform.   From traditional posts to sponsored content, IG Stories and more, there are copious opportunities for marketers to take their brands to the next level through visually stunning advertisements.

And with 200 million users visiting at least one business profile every day, your brand has very tangible potential to make an impact on consumers by promoting products and services through images, videos and even long-form content.

And yes—it sells.

In fact, Instagram mobile ad revenue hit almost 7 billion in 2018. Those numbers will grow through 2019 and beyond.   Much like its parent company Facebook, marketers can create a variety of content and target it accordingly. But there’s one thing that differentiates Instagram from Facebook and other platforms—its sorting algorithm.

How does the Instagram algorithm come into play?

Instagram feeds aren’t the chronologically ordered feeds of social media past. Instead, there’s an algorithm in place that sorts and sifts through posts and accounts. This algorithm is customized to each user, putting content from real people before content from brands.

There are three key indicators that dictate how Instagram organizes a user’s feed:

  • content quality

  • personalization

  • post engagement

Let’s dive a little deeper into each so your marketing team knows what to do when setting out to create Instagram ads.

1. Focus on content quality.

Just like Google and its Facebook counterpart, the Instagram algorithm focuses heavily on content value. It won’t just promote your post because your brand posted it. Instead, the content needs to make an impact. It needs to tell a story. And it needs to drive action.

Your posts have to say something and tell a story in order for Instagram to promote it on a user’s feed.

Some users follow thousands of accounts, with hundreds of businesses included in those numbers. They don’t actually want to see all of that promotional content. Likewise, your brand shouldn’t be posting ads that are too promotional either.

Focus on answering questions or starting conversations. This gets more people—potential customers—involved, and gives your brand a better chance of scoring a top spot.

2. Personalize your Instagram ads to your audience.

This is where Instagram’s nifty native ad functionalities come in. With these Instagram advertising options, you can personalize your content to your specific audience.  And that’s important, considering consumers want more personalization when it comes to their interaction with brands. Only 22% of consumers are happy with the level of personalization they experience from brands.

Be better and give your audience what they want in the form of innovative and personalized messaging, targeting, and imagery.

3. Get your audience engaged.

The last, big-ticket factor in the Instagram marketing and advertising algorithm centers around engagement. The more people engage with your posts organically, the higher they’ll rank on a user’s feed.

Similarly, if you post an ad with high engagement, it’ll be promoted to more people and shared in a way that gets more views, drawing more eyes to your products and offers. Whether you’re using Instagram in the traditional social media marketing way, or you’re using it for paid advertisements, keep these factors in mind when it comes to content creation.

That being said, here are some more tips to develop an Instagram advertising strategy that drives results.

3 tips to boost your Instagram advertising strategy

1. Up your visual design skills.

80% of users follow at least one business account on Instagram. What’s better? 75% of users visit a website to learn more about a product or service they saw on the social media platform.  That means that your brand is already in front of your target audience. Consumers want to follow brands on social media platforms—especially Instagram.  But they’ll continue to follow you to see what visual assets you can bring to the table.

Yes, Instagram is all about the aesthetics. So you need to make sure that while your audience is there and ready to absorb your content, they’ll actually stick around to interact with it. This means you may need to invest heavily in your visual designs, or at least your design skills. Whether you’re promoting images, videos, photography, or graphics, they need to be eye-catching and engaging. There needs to be a very clear design plan in place for your designers, animators, and producers to follow.

It’s your visuals that’ll stop people in their tracks. If your ad is on a user’s feed that knows nothing about your brand, you need to grab their attention with eye-catching images and video. Yet as foundational as that sounds, this takes time, patience, and creativity.

Your first step in creating an Instagram ad is finding the right visual medium to get people interested. One brand doing a great job using eye-catching imagery in their ads—and in their Instagram strategy as a whole—is ONYGO.

The German fashion brand uses high-quality photography, enthusiastic videos, and a clear color palette to entice viewers and lead them on a fantastical journey that takes them to their website. This visual mastery immediately grabs attention and aligns the brand as a fun, flirty, and vivacious leader in millennial fashion.

ONYG) visual mastery
Image Source: Instagram

2. Make use of hashtags.

Hashtags are a very low-maintenance way to instantly boost results: Instagram posts with at least one hashtag see a 12.6% increase in engagement.

Hashtags are a vital tool in the Instagram advertiser’s arsenal. Hashtags target specific groups, conversations, and audiences. There are people who are spending their time searching for these hashtags, or that follow an individual hashtag in their main feed.

Similarly, advertisers can target these hashtags through their ads and posts. Make sure your team is utilizing hashtags in all posts. There’s a sweet spot for every brand, but it’s important that you research and come up with hashtags that makes an impact on your audience.

Another effective way to make a splash with hashtags in your Instagram ads is by creating a branded hashtag. Think about your brand, its name, and its core values. Use this research to come up with a hashtag that can accompany all of your posts and compel audiences to use it in their own posts as well.

This opens up the possibility for conversation, which brings us to the last tip to break through for Instagram advertisers.

3. Start and jump in on conversations.

Fact: 72% of users have bought a product they saw on Instagram. So if you can get your product in front of your audience, there’s almost a 75% chance that they’ll take this information and run with it. They’ll Google your brand or visit your website, and this will lead them to learn more, and then ultimately to purchase.

I’m sure you can attest to this—almost certainly you’ve seen products on Instagram and immediately wanted to buy them.

But in order to sell products, you have to have the right messaging. And in most cases, that messaging involves asking questions, starting conversations, and giving your audience something to talk and think about.

This falls in line with the part of the Instagram algorithm that focuses on engagement. Instagram wants to facilitate relationships and conversations, so use your ads to get inside the heads of your audience and get them interacting.

MeUndies effectively started a conversation with its Instagram ads. This underwear brand used its Instagram presence to eliminate stigma around underwear and make people more open to talking about it—and shopping for it online.

MeUndies instagram ads

Image Source: Instagram

Wrap up 

Whether you’re using Instagram to market more traditionally, or you’re using it for paid advertisements, you need to be aware of the complex algorithm that sorts your content. More than awareness, use our explanations and tips to use it to your advantage!

From here, focus on your visual imagery—whether that’s a photo, an animation, an illustration, or a video. Make sure to use hashtags to engage with more audience and demonstrate that you’re an approachable brand.

Then it’s time to have fun! Engage in conversations, start discussions, and use your content to create a dialogue between you and your audience. This establishes trust and lets your audience know that you’re more than just a corporate entity.

 

There is some really fantastic tips in the article above and certainly lots of food for thought, perhaps 2019 will be the year I double my Instagram following, let hope so.

Features

Spring Fashion – What’s Going to Be Big This Season?

lady on boat

Pic Credit: Pixabay

As the snow and ice grips the country, what better time to look ahead to the warmer, lighter months of spring? It may feel like a long way off, but spring fashion is just around the corner. If you’re hoping to get on trend and rock the latest spring 2019 fashion trends, below you’ll discover what’s set to be big this season.

Celebrate the season with neon colours

There’s a lot of colour trends kicking off the spring 2019 fashion, but neon is one of the major players. This bold trend has been kickstarted by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian in 2018 and it’s set to carry on throughout this year too. Just some of the catwalks neon has been showcased recently include Henry Holland, Naeem Khan and Christian Siriano. Basically, anything which comes in a bright, bold neon colour is what you’ll want to aim for.

This trend is also set to continue throughout the summer too so start stocking up on your neon clothing now to get ahead of the trend.

Leopard prints

Worried you might end up looking like a highlighter pen following the neon trend? Another colour scheme taking over this season is animal prints, or more specifically, leopard prints.

crochet jumper

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Animal print clothing appears to be a hit year after year and the trend shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, since 2018, it’s actually increased in popularity by a staggering 50%. All of the leading brands are joining in such as Burberry, Calvin Klein and Gucci. So, you shouldn’t have a problem stocking up your spring leopard print wardrobe.

Crotchet clothing

Now we’ve covered a couple of the colour schemes to focus on, what about the type of clothing you should be investing in? Well, crotchet style clothing is one of the biggest Spring 2019 trends to pay attention to. Creating a soft, chic beach look, crotchet style tops are especially all the rage this season. You could team crotchet clothing with a pair of spring sandals from a company such as DAMART.

Shirts

I suspect as a result of Megan Markles love of the shirt and jeans combo this look will remain a top trend.  For me for many years my all time favourite shirt either for work or more casual wear is Ralph Lauren, there is just something about a crisp white shirt, navy jeans and heels, timeless.

So, there you have it – some of the key spring 2019 fashion trends you’ll want to keep an eye on. Whatever your usual style, you’ll easily find something to match it in the season’s latest fashions. Or, why not try something totally different and go with one of the more unique fashion trends, such as neon?

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Features

The Challenge of Finding Plus-Sized Clothing

mens clothes shop

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Men are starting to spend money on their clothing, and a lot of those men are plus-sized. So why is it so hard to find men’s plus size clothing? Shouldn’t brands have figured out a way to create something these men will proudly wear?

It’s tough to find nice men’s plus size clothing. Mainstream stores never seem to have the right sizes. If you’re anything above a 38-inch waist, forget about finding clothes at places like Eddie Bauer or Gap. It’s just not going to happen.

Looking Good

There’s no reason that big and tall men can’t look good. While it is a challenge to locate men’s plus size clothing, once you do, find clothes that make the man. A nice white button-down shirt and a good looking pair of slacks is a great start for any man’s wardrobe.   Make sure you don’t get pants that are too tight around the waist. The last thing you want is bunching and creasing. This only serves to draw attention. At the same time, you also don’t want bulky draping fabric hanging off your frame. Looking for something that hugs you without making you look like you’re wearing a muumuu.

Take Your Time

The unfortunate reality is that finding men’s plus size clothing isn’t easy. It’s time-consuming and can be frustrating. Remember that you might not find something that works for you at the first store you walk into. Plus size clothing just isn’t that popular. Yet. Take your time, but don’t give up. 

As a matter of fact, you might be better off going online to find what you need. Head to a tailor to get accurate measurements, then browse online until you find something that will make you look good. Since online clothing isn’t limited by physical space, you’re more likely to locate what you want.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post