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The Free Stock Photos Sites You Need to Know About

Trying to supply your blog, website or social media advertising with good photos is always difficult. Photo sites like Depositphotos and Shutterstock can get very expensive and searching online for “free” photos usually tends to send you to sites that are far from free. Luckily, there are some great photo sites that have curated stock photos that are truly free for personal and business use.

This list is by no means exhaustive but offers some of the best free stock photo sites you can use with no strings. All of the sites listed offer downloads of photos that are free of copyrights under the Creative Commons CCO.

 

Pixabay

doll-free-stock-photo

pixabay.com

This site has over 300,000 images. Listed in easy to find categories

Free Nature Stock

sunset-free-nature-stock

http://freenaturestock.com/

This site has high resolution photos all with a nature theme. Photos are added daily and can be used any way you please.

Stocksnap

Pug-stock-snap

https://stocksnap.io/

Created by Snappa, this site has a great search tool and hundreds of new photos are added weekly.

Public Domain Archive

public-domain-images-vintage-mugshots-1920s-nswpd-0095-copy

http://publicdomainarchive.com/

Updated weekly, this site has some great artistic and vintage images

Foodies Feed

foodiesfeed-com_fresh-fruit-in-summerii

 

https://foodiesfeed.com//

All food. Need we say more?

Gratisography

skateboard-art-free-stock-photo

 

www.gratisography.com

This site has some really funky photos added weekly

Pexels

Blue-Beach

Pexels.com

This site has a great search engine and lets you search photos by colour.

 

budget-friendly-desktop

5 Ways to Promote your Business When You Don’t Have Much Money

Trying to promote your business can be a daunting experience when you are on a small budget. The cost to advertise can be beyond your means and social media can often be overwhelming as you try to figure out the best way to make your budget stretch and although you need some budget to promote your business, there are some great ways to indeed get your business known without costing you any money.

Join Online Groups

Facebook and LinkedIn have a plethora of groups you can join within your niche. Look for groups that can be not only beneficial to your brand but that you are knowledgeable about. Contributing your knowledge will get you noticed.

Create a Google My Business Account

Google My Business is free! This tool allows you to add all your information that lets others know all about you when they search on Google. From map location to adding photos, this tool should definitely be utilized allowing you to manage your online presence throughout Google.

Post Interesting Stuff

Regardless of the social media platform you like to use, make sure you are posting interesting information. Don’t just promote your business. Share interesting articles and blogs of others that you know your audience will like to see. Building an interesting page keeps people interested and in turn, makes your brand known.

Join Local Networking Groups

There is nothing that can replace face to face contact. Find local groups where you can network and meet others. Check your local Chamber of Commerce and look online for groups in your area. The contacts you make can be invaluable to your small business

Keep Your Website Fresh and Interesting

Don’t just make it and leave it. Your website should be a great reflection of your brand and should be a constant work in progress. Make sure your information is concise and clear and your site speaks to your potential clients. Visit your own site regularly to be certain your information is still up to date and your site is working well.

Four Social Media Apps That Are Just Plain Scary

  • cynthia_contini

Are Your Teenagers Using These Apps?

Do you ever question what your kid is really doing when buried in her smartphone while you are trying to talk to her? Do you just assume she is texting her buddies? Maybe just an innocent chat with the boy she has a crush on at school?

Only a few years ago it was very easy to keep track of your kids internet usage when the only form of online access was a computer or laptop. With the explosion of smart phone usage among young people that has all changed and sadly, parents are burying their heads. While many parents try to negotiate the apps that make their lives easier like integrating all their work in the cloud, Kids are downloading and using numerous apps that are at the very least worrisome and some are downright dangerous. These are only four that you need to know about.

Tinder

Tinder is an especially invasive app for teenagers.  It is a dating app that uses GPS to track matches. Users can set a specific radius, and they will have the option to match with anyone that is within that distance. Tinder uses Facebook profiles to gather basic information and analyze what is called a user’s social graph, which then matches candidates who are most likely to be compatible. It is based on geographical location, number of mutual friends, and common interests. Here is the Wiki definition of a social graph.

“The social graph in the Internet context is a graph that depicts personal relations of internet users. In short, it is a social network, where the word graph has been taken from graph theory to emphasize that rigorous mathematical analysis will be applied as opposed to the relational representation in a social network The social graph has been referred to as “the global mapping of everybody and how they’re related”

Yikes!!

Tinder allows the users to anonymously like or reject potential matches using a simple swiping gesture. If two users are interested in each other, it is a “match” and Tinder introduces the two users and allows them to chat. The fact that it uses GPS should scar all parents. These are matches made in your backyard!

Whisper

Whisper calls itself “an anonymous social network that allows people to express themselves, connect with like-minded individuals, and discover the unseen world around us. With Whisper, you can anonymously share your thoughts and emotions with the world, and form lasting and meaningful relationships in a community built around trust and honesty. “

Here are some of the problems with Whisper. The app requires access to smartphone features such as the camera and the user’s contact list and is disclosed when the app is downloaded on the Android platform.

The Guardian reports that Whisper holds data in a central database and has developed an in-house mapping tool that allows its staff to filter and search GPS data, pinpointing messages to within 500 meters of where they were sent. Whisper has a policy of sharing user data with law enforcement and privacy experts have noted that the company appeared to require a lower legal threshold for providing user information to authorities than other tech companies.

Whisper also has the ability to target the area of users who have disabled their geographic location.

Ask.fm

This app is set up as a question and answer site and is extremely popular amongst young people. This site has been considered the most dangerous of all sites allowing anonymous cyberbullying to run amuck and was, in the past, entirely unmonitored.

Recent high profile criticism of this app has forced them to put some policies in place and they have published a “safety centre” with guidelines for teens, parents, educators and law enforcement but they do not go far enough in protecting young people. Some of the more worrisome parts of this app:

  • The app allows users to log in using Facebook and Twitter and share postings
  • Privacy Policy notes that the service will still have a record of all questions asked by registered users but cannot track guest users.
  • Blocking users only “blacklists” them but still allows them to see a user’s profile and questions asked.

Snapchat

Snapchat is a very popular app and can be great fun for kids. It is even being used by UNICEF to highlight the lives of 800,000 children who have been forced to flee their homes in northeast Nigeria.

Snapchat is an app that allows users to take photos, videos and drawings to other users that are displayed for a short period of time and then erased. Users set a time limit for how long recipients can view their Snaps from 1 – 10 seconds. Users are not supposed to be able to save anything that comes through and Snapchat sends alerts if a screenshot is taken. The problem with this app is that there are many workarounds that can be employed to avoid Snapchat’s screenshot detection and there are numerous blogs showing users how to avoid detection and save snaps and apps are easily available to download .

Parents, wake up and check those apps on your Teen’s and Tween’s phones. Facebook and Instagram aren’t the only games in town!

 

Sources

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_graph

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/16/-sp-revealed-whisper-app-tracking-users

 

Why Grandma Needs to Use Social Media

  • cynthia_contini

 

There is no question that social media has become an integral part of most people’s lives and with the move to tablets and smartphones the popularity of social media has grown exponentially.

The senior population has begun to adopt social media but is definitely one demographic group that lags.

The Pew Research Center has posted some interesting and important data from 2013:

  • 59% of Americans over 65 had online access.
  • 27% of older adults use social networking sites such as Facebook.
  • Usage of social networking sites by older Americans has been steadily increasing in recent years but has not yet reached majority status—among older adults who use the internet, 46% use social networking sites such as Facebook, well below the national average of 73% of adult internet users.
  • Older women are more likely than older men to use social networking sites. Half (52%) of female internet users ages 65+ are social networking site adopters, compared with 39% of older men.
  • Age within the senior population is important. Some 54% of internet users ages 65-69 use social networking sites, compared with just 27% of internet users ages 80 and older.

The most important and most telling of all the data Pew Research Center shared is the following:

  •  81% of older adults who use social networking sites say they socialize with others on a daily or near-daily basis.
  • 71% of older adults who go online but do not use social networking sites say they socialize with others on a daily or near daily basis
  •  63%. of older adults who do not use internet or social media say they socialize with others on a daily or near daily basis.

“This correlation between social networking site use and increased socialization with others persists even when we control for common demographic factors such as age, income, or geographic area of residence.”

Social networking sites such as Facebook give seniors a chance to share in family and friend’s lives on a level they may not have otherwise. The findings of the Pew Center shows that seniors who have social media access enables them to be more social on other levels. Giving seniors the tools and training to be online and social is something we should make a priority to help combat the isolation and loneliness so prevalent in our golden years.

Read the full report here:  http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/04/03/older-adults-and-technology-use/

Don’t Understand Social Media?

  • cynthia_contini
_________________________________________________________________________________________

Does Social Media Overwhelm You?

The idea of setting up a social media marketing strategy can be a daunting task and many small businesses are ill prepared to embark on such a strategy. I hear time and again “I already have a website and that is good enough for now. I just don’t have time for social media too.”

Well, yes it is a start but having just a website is woefully short sighted. Websites are only as good as their presence. What does that mean? Well if you have a great website but nobody ever sees it then it is just a nice site. Period

Chances are, if you have a website you have heard the word SEO. SEO is the optimization of your site in order to make it have a presence on search engines like Google and Bing. Why do you want to be found on Google? So that people click on your site. You want visitors. You want business.

Here is where social media comes in. Although it is important to have an optimized website, social media can help you with your presence. Posting on social media sites gives you the opportunity to drive clients to your website. People click on your site and you get visitors. The more visitors means you have better chances of converting them to clients. You get business. Whether you spend many hours a week or just a few hours a week on your social media it can only help you get business. Even if you hire a social media agency to manage and maintain your different platforms you should know the basics of each platform you are communicating on.

What is the secret to building a good social media presence?

Understand your client. Pick the social media networks best for your business and start with just one. Work within the time you have not the time you have to make. If it feels like you can’t keep up you will be overwhelmed and you will give up. There is a platform for every business. Time to get social.

Some Social Media Statistics

Some Social Media Statistics

The Facebook Changes You Need To Know About!

Do you frequently push your business information and advertising through regular posts on Facebook? If you do you need to read this!

Although Facebook is the number one social media platform on earth, it is still in the business of making money and as of January 15th 2105 Facebook has changed how newsfeeds are managed.

Facebook announced that it is limiting the amount of promotional material people see in their newsfeed. They are basing this on feedback received from users about organic posts. According to Facebook, users consistently report they want to see posts that are less promotional and more content that is relevant to them.  They discovered “that a lot of the content people see as too promotional are posts from Pages they like, rather than ads.” Facebook notes 3 consistent findings in their survey of users:

  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

As a result, pages who post too much of this content will see a significant fall in their organic distribution.

This does not mean that business pages must cease to use Facebook’s organic newsfeed to drive traffic but rather business page owners must become more creative in what they share on newsfeeds. A more interactive, social approach will be necessary, while keeping the direct advertising of their business reserved through advertising campaigns.

Facebook Business notes that Pages are an important destination for their current and potential customers and are increasing their investment in business pages. “Given the substantial traffic to Pages, we are exploring ways to build more features into Pages. A lot of this is in response to how we’re seeing people interact with business Pages. Some of these interactions include messaging to communicate with a business directly or browsing video and photo content. We’re also exploring ways to better customize Pages based on the industry a business is in.”

So in a nutshell, if you are using Facebook as part of your marketing strategy you are going to have to rethink this strategy in order to keep your presence on the newsfeed. You are going to have to become more social. Your content will matter and you will have to become more engaging. A mixture of engaging social posts combined with a well thought out marketing strategy will help ensure a successful presence on Facebook.

 

Facebook for the Newbie

Scared of Social Media? Not connected? Facebook can fix that for you.

If you are a small business owner it is becoming almost impossible to avoid some kind of social media presence and for many people it is a scary other-world best left to either teenagers or big companies. Indeed social networks can feel extremely overwhelming – Twitter with the hashtags, Instagram and photos, Linked-in for business and networking  and for anyone who did not jump on the social media train in the last few years, it can seem like an insurmountable, scary  task.

If you are one of those social media phobes Facebook can be a great entrance point in to that scary world. According to Digital Insights Facebook has 1.89 billion active monthly users. A crazy huge number that I am sure as a social media phobe not only scares you but may make you feel stupid. Really stupid. You may feel like you and your great- grandma are the only two people on earth not on Facebook.

Facebook is Easy

The truth is Facebook is easy. It is the one social network where you can set up an account and easily find friends. Maybe you already have a Facebook account that your niece set up for you some years ago that is sitting there collecting cyber dust. Maybe you have never set up an account before. Regardless of your ranking on the newbie scale, Facebook can fix your phobia.

Setting up a personal account on Facebook and getting comfortable with it is the perfect entrance to the social media world. You don’t need to share enormous amounts of personal information and you can begin to build your confidence enough to eventually open a business page. If anything, you will not be one of the few people left who does not have a social media presence. You can stop feeling like a pariah. You will have kicked the doors of the cyber world and you might even enjoy it. You might even get hooked.

A few easy guidelines to keep you from being overwhelmed on Facebook

  • Get someone who knows Facebook well to help you set up your account. It shouldn’t be hard with 1.89 billion people using it. Have them check your privacy settings to make sure you are protected.
  • Find a few close friends you know who are on Facebook and send a friend request. Start with 10. After they have accepted your request you will start to see other requests and people will may start posting to your timeline
  • You don’t have to answer back.
  • Don’t be embarrassed to like other people’s postings you see on your newsfeed. If you see a friend’s post that is interesting or a photo they have posted that makes you happy, like it. People want their posts to be liked.
  • Search your friend’s Facebook page for other pages they like. This is a good way to find all kinds of interests that you may have. Your favourite magazine, news channel, local restaurant. You can also do a search. Very easy.
  • If you are not comfortable posting you can always share things you find interesting that come through your newsfeed. A friend posted a funny video that made you laugh, a relevant blog, a recipe? Click share and post it to your timeline.
  • Birthdays are always a good way to get used to writing on Facebook. You will get notifications that it is a friend’s birthday and an opportunity to write a message to them. Do it. You don’t have to write a note. Just a quick happy birthday will show on their timeline and will make them happy.
  • After you get more comfortable you may want to post a status. If you don’t wish to then that is ok too. Like and share other’s posts

These are just a few suggestions for the newbie. Start small. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Spend a few hours a week getting comfortable with Facebook. Look at what other businesses are posting and within a few months you will be ready to manage your own business page.