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6 Proven Strategies to Boost YouTube Subscribers 20 Twitter Content Ideas to Boost Visibility and Keep Your Followers Happy Top 8 Ways to Boost Your Instagram Engagement Rates Infographic: Social Media Images 2019 Size Guide

MotivationandSuccess.com October 2019 FREE

5 Ideas to Help Your Business Manage a Social Media Crisis

4 Ways Active Blogging Boosts SEO

Vicki Gunvalson UNSTOPPABLE


Autumn Is In The Air, Shotcallers! There’s something about the cooler weather that makes me feel nostalgic. During the autumn months, it’s not unusual to find me reminiscing about all the ways my businesses have evolved over the years. One such change many of us have experienced is the rise of social media for advertising and marketing. Over the past decade, social media has quickly surpassed many older ways of connecting businesses to customers. But the big difference between social media and more traditional methods of marketing is that social media offers consumers an equal opportunity to be heard. This is not always good news for businesses, and it can sometimes lead to social media crises. This month, we'll teach you how to walk the Twitter tightrope between boosting visibility and keeping followers happy. We'll talk about how to increase YouTube subscriber numbers and Instagram engagement rates and how to manage the dreaded social media crisis. We're also going to give you tips on how actively maintaining your blog can help your search engine optimization. In our Meet & Greet feature this month, we've got financial advisor and Real Housewife Vicki Gunvalson. She shares tips on getting through public adversity in business and gives us a lesson in adapting our companies to technological and social changes. It's a must-read for anyone who wants a business that lasts decades! Until next month, Dennis M. Postema Publisher & Founding Editor P.S. Got friends who could use Shotcallers to help their business? Send them this referral link to subscribe for FREE! The content in Shotcallers Magazine is made available on the terms and conditions that the publisher, editors, contributors and relatied parties; shall have no responsibility for any action or omission by any other contributor, consultant, editor or related party; disclaim any and all liability and responsibility to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident or any other cause; are not responsible in any way for the actions or results taken by any person, organization or any party on basis of reading information, or contributions in this publication, website or related product.

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Marketing Calendar - 3 20 Twitter Content Ideas to Boost Visibility and Keep Your Followers Happy - 4 5 Ideas to Help Your Business Manage a Social Media Crisis - 7 A Conversation With Vicki Gunvalson- 9 6 Proven Strategies to Boost YouTube Subscribers - 16 4 Ways Active Blogging Boosts SEO - 22 Can A Secured Credit Card Help You Establish Credit? - 25 Should You Be Worried about Identity Theft? - 26 Do You Have What It Takes to Lead?- 27 Is Fear Standing in Your Way? - 29 Fun Facts - 30 Infographic - Social Media Images 2019 Size Guide - 31


Marketing Calendar Plan your marketing messages around these upcoming holidays and proclamations.

October 6th - Noodle Day 9th - Beer & Pizza Day 9th - Stop Bullying Day 13th - Train Your Brain Day 13th - Father-Daughter Day 14th - Dessert Day 14th - Spider-Man Day 15th - Grouch Day 16th - Boss’s Day 17th - Pasta Day 17th - Get to Know Your Customers Day 18th - Chocolate Cupcake Day 18th - Newspaper Comic Strip Appreciation Day 25th - Frankenstein Day 26th - Make A Difference Day 27th - Mother-in-Law Day 28th - Chocolate Day 29th - Cat Day 30th - Candy Corn Day 31st - Knock-Knock Jokes Day

Adopt A Dog Month Breast Cancer Awareness Month Bullying Prevention Month Car Care Month Dental Hygiene Month Domestic Violence Awareness Month Emotional Wellness Month National Pizza Month Oct 14 - Columbus Day (U.S.) Oct 31 - Halloween 1st - Homemade Cookies Day 1st - Willy Wonka Day 2nd - Peanuts Day (Snoopy) 3rd - Techies Day 4th - Taco Day 4th - Vodka Day 4th - World Pet’s Day 5th - Do Something Nice Day

November Adopt A Senior Pet Month Aviation History Month Epilepsy Awareness Month Historic Bridge Awareness Month International COPD Month Lung Cancer Awareness Month Military Family Appreciation Month National Adoption Month National Alzheimer’s Disease Month National Diabetes Month Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month November 11 - Veteran’s Day November 28 - Thanksgiving November 29 - Black Friday November 30 - Small Business Saturday

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1st - National Family Literacy day 1st - Sports Fan Day 2nd - Cookie Monster Day

3rd - Daylight Saving Time Ends 4th - Candy Day 5th - Doughnut Day 6th - Nachos Day 10th - Marine Corps Birthday 10th - Sesame Street Day 11th - Sundae Day 14th - Pickle Day 15th - Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day 16th - Fast Food Day 17th - Take A Hike Day 18th - Mickey Mouse’s Birthday 19th - Rocky and Bullwinkle Day 22nd - Random Acts of Kindness Day 23rd - Adoption Day 23rd - Dr Who Day 26th - Cake Day 27th - Giving Tuesday 28th - French Toast Day 30th - Computer Security Day


20 Twitter Content Ideas to Boost Visibility and Keep Your Followers Happy

Twitter remains one of the most effective social media channels to engage with consumers in real time, but coming up with new ways to interact with your audience daily can be a challenge. If you have a Twitter account for your business, the following 20 content ideas should help to keep your Twitter feed more memorable and interesting. Use these suggestions to engage more users and grow your list of Twitter followers. 4

1. Extract Quotes from Long-Form Content If you’ve written a long-form blog post or whitepaper, make the most of the research you’ve already done. Share interesting excerpts, statistics, and graphical data in a series of tweets. Include a link to the original content to drive traffic and shares. 2. Ask Questions What do your followers like about your new

product? Who do they admire the most in public life? Whether they’re brand-specific or more universal, questions create conversations and help you learn more about your audience. 3. Showcase Older Content That blog post you posted a year ago will still be relevant to many people on Twitter. Give it a new lease on life by sharing a key fact from the article and linking to the post.


4. Post More Visual Content

industry.

According to Twitter research, people are three times more likely to engage with visual content on the platform (1). Post more images, videos, and GIFs to stand out in the Twitter feed and encourage shares. 5. Create a Long-Term Hashtag Campaign

Twitter polls are a great way to conduct market research and find out more about the needs of your audience. Use the questions to develop content ideas and share the results with your audience.

If you have an event to promote or a common theme for your content, attach a unique hashtag to each related tweet. By using a memorable hashtag, users will be able to track your content and follow the conversation. 6. Share Something Funny

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8. Create a Twitter Poll

9. Tease Future Content Post an excerpt from an upcoming blog post or video. It’s a simple way to build interest around your brand and start the conversation around a topic. 10. Join in with Trending Topics

tweet. Include a relevant hashtag that is used by the industry leader on Twitter to tap into their audience. 12. Behind the Scenes Post photos and videos of your team members and show your working environment. Reveal the everyday operation of your business and the people that make it all happen. 13. Show Your History Tell the story of your brand by posting old photos of your business. Highlight the important moments in the history of your brand. You can use the “#Throwback Thursday” hashtag to reach a wider audience.

Keep an eye on Twitter Is there something you’ve trends to see if there’s a seen online that made you conversation you can join smile? Share it with your in with. If the topic isn’t audience. It’s a simple way directly related to your to show the more human industry, keep it lightside to your business and hearted and avoid being build positivity around overly promotional. your brand. 11. Profile Industry 7. Be Informative Leaders

14. Share Other Content

You know your business better than anyone else, so use your Twitter account to share your knowledge. Provide exclusive tips and share interesting facts about your products or

15. Retweet Comments

Who are the leaders in your industry who you admire and have a large number of Twitter followers? Create a blog post that looks at their career and link to it in a

By following other Twitter accounts related to your industry, you’ll have access to a regular source of industry news and opinion. Pick some of the most informative articles and share them with your audience.

By retweeting other followers, you’re showing your audience that you take an interest in what people think. Do this


regularly and over time others will hopefully retweet you. 16. Join in with Daily Hashtags Using a popular daily hashtag is a great way to reach a wider audience and get involved in conversations. Here are some of the most popular: #mondaymotivation, #tiptuesday, #wisdomwednesday, #thursdaythoughts, #fridayfun, #saturdayshoutout, and #selfiesunday. 17. Reply to Comments Find positive - or negative - comments about your business and send a reply. Be honest and most people will appreciate the response. You could even post a video reply. 18. Announce a Sale or Promotion Twitter is a great way to tell your followers about your latest deals and promotions. Don’t promote too often as it can come across as spammy. 19. Celebrate Achievements and Anniversaries 6

It might be five years since you started your business. Perhaps your business has won a local award. Or it could simply be an employee’s birthday. Whatever it is, tell everyone on Twitter about it. 20. Seasonal Content The year is full of holidays and special occasions. Apart from Christmas, New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and Halloween, tweet about lesserknown national days that might be relevant to your business. Hopefully, these Twitter content ideas will help your business gain the attention it deserves. With some creativity and planning, you should be able to regularly update your Twitter feed and stand out from the competition. The bottom line is just have fun. You don’t have to be too serious on Twitter, but you do have to try to engage with others to get the best results. Don’t get too hung up on what you tweet - just start tweeting. With a little effort, Twitter will become a key marketing tool and help your business grow for years to come.

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5 Ideas to Help Your Business Manage a Social Media Crisis

The news is full of examples each day of big businesses getting social media wrong. Social media is best at amplifying news. Whether your company does something good or bad, it can get widely shared and amplified. When some hapless company gets caught having posted something tactless, it can be hard for anyone to look away. You need to ask yourself what might happen if a 7

bad tweet or tasteless message were to go out on one of your social media accounts. If your business is active on social media, you should have a plan in place for what do.

allowed to post, and what they should never think of posting. When you have a policy in place, you aren’t at as much risk of getting caught in a bad social media situation.

Have a social media policy in place

Become aware of crises early

Every company should have a thorough social media policy documented. Your policy should help your employees understand what they are

You should make use of social monitoring tools to become aware of negative mentions of your business on social media. You should have someone in


charge of social listening. Should there be a sudden increase in the number of mentions that your company gets on social media at any point, they can pay attention, and decide to take action. Create a crisis plan Prompt action is key to managing a social media problem. Ideally, your response should go out within the hour. It’s important to establish a crisis plan before you actually need it. Your plan should include information on the following: • Specify how everyone in your company will internally communicate about the occurrence. • Define what constitutes a crisis and sets it apart from just a situation that may just involve a couple of unhappy customers. • Create an approval system for what goes out on social media when there is a crisis.

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• Put someone in charge of crisis management.

You should understand that when there is a crisis, your audience will look to you for a response. You need to be prompt responding. At the very least, you should acknowledge the problem, and let your audience know that you will respond in detail before long. Stop all posts scheduled to go out If you have posts scheduled to go out in advance, you should pause all of it. If there is something serious happening, it may make you look insensitive to send out posts that appear irrelevant to the occurrence. Don’t get into arguments Public arguments are never a good idea for any business, especially in the middle of a crisis. You don’t want to get caught responding defensively or in an argumentative way. It’s usually best to simply say that your company will respond soon, and then to take your time to put out a mature and wellthought-out response. It’s important to take the high road even if there

are people baiting you on social media. Make sure that you don’t react insensitively by blocking or deleting comments. It’s also important to keep your brand’s voice and persona in mind when you respond. If your company has a carefully crafted public image you want to make sure that you do nothing to damage it in the heat of the moment. Once the problem goes away, you should slow down and think about it. Find out how it happened, what you can do to make sure that it doesn’t happen again, what you could have done better in responding to the situation. With more businesses on social media today than ever before, it’s only a matter of time before every company gets caught up in a crisis of some kind. It’s important to understand that you should have a plan in place, and respond quickly. The way you respond to a crisis can define your image in the mind of the public.


A Conversation With Vicki Gunvalson

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This month, I had the pleasure of speaking with Vicki Gunvalson, my coauthor on Let’s Talk Money: Women’s Guide to a Lifetime of Wealth. Vicki is the owner and founder of COTO Insurance and Financial Services. She is a retirement specialist, an Orange County five-star certified financial fiduciary, an Ed Slott Master Elite IRA Advisor and an international best-selling author. You may also know Vicki from her 14 seasons on The Real Housewives of Orange County. I know Vicki as an amazing businesswoman, a fun person to talk to and a good friend.


Dennis: Tell us your story. How did you get into the business?

$5 a week to $10 a week and increase their insurance benefits. And that’s what I did. When I came back with all these inVicki: It’s actually a great story. At 21 years old, I got creased policies, my manager was like, “What are married. By 23, I had two children, and at 27, I found you doing? We don’t get anything like this from our myself divorced. I was guys.” I said, “I just asked the girl who just wanted the clients if they could to have children and be pay $10 a week instead of at home and be a great $5 and double their insurmother. Be careful what you wish for, right? While I ance.” just wanted to be a houseI ended up being on a wife like my mom, my leaderboard right out life took an unexpected turn. At the same time, my of the gate, and my girlfriend ended up quitting, girlfriend, who was also leaving me as the only a single mother, had just female in a group of 40 gotten into the life insurmen. I would sandbag ance business. She sugall my policies till Friday, gested that I get into the business too, working days and then I’d go on the for my dad’s construction board and write them all down, and all the guys company and nights as were upset. They were an insurance agent, and I like, “How are you doing thought, well, okay. Why not? So, I went and did the this? You work full time for classes and took my exam your dad, and then you and I passed it on the first have children, and you’re sandbagging these politry. cies.” I blew them out of the water, and it was just I started working for incredible because I could Western & Southern Life make my own paychecks Insurance. It was a debit and not have an income business in the suburbs limit, ultimately proving to of Chicago, which meant myself that I could do it in I had to go collect prea man’s world. miums from clients in person. What agents were One night, I remember supposed to do was take these clients from paying still to this day, we were 10

instructed on cold calling, going through the white pages in a phone book. I started calling everyone with a last name in the As. We called this “dialing for dollars,” and it’s what our manager said we should do when we had nothing else to do. So, I got this man on the phone, and I said, “Do you have life insurance? I’m just calling people in your area. I’ve been able to help some of your neighbors.” And he said, “Actually, I don’t. I’ve got three little children.


My wife would not be happy with me if I spent any money on this, but I’m going to go ahead with it.” So, I went out and met him at his job site, signed him up, and his policy was approved preferred health four or five weeks later. Three months after that his wife called me, and she said, “We found your business card in my husband’s wallet. He was just killed in an automobile accident.” I told her I would be right over and immediately drove to her house. When I arrived, she asked me who I was and whether her husband had life insurance. And I said, “I just insured your husband three months ago.” Her next question was, “Am I going to be okay? I don’t work. I have three babies.” And I said, “The policy was $500,000, and it will be paid to you taxfree. This policy will cover your house payments and his salary for several years.” This happened 30 years ago, and she and I still stay in touch. That changed my life. That was where I ended up saying, “I am home,” and 31 years later, I’m still doing it. I was all in from then on. 11

Dennis: What are some ways you’ve seen the industry change over the decades? Vicki: I sold my first policy through the white pages. Back then, we didn’t have the internet; we didn’t have a cell phone. When we finally got cell phones, they were the size of our desks, you know? I had a big map on my lap to find houses. There was no GPS at that time. I had the Thomas Guide; it was thick, and I had to find the county and then go to the grid and go down. I was like, “What am I doing? I’m on the side of the freeway on the Eisenhower by myself, in the middle of the night.” It was not fun. Agents now have it easy compared to what I went through.

I ALWAYS have a reserve. Thirty-one years later, and now I’m in a high-rise building in Irvine, California, and I’ve got an office in LA and San Diego. It’s like, what happened? Be careful what you wish for. I just wanted to be a housewife like my mother. Dennis: When did you decide to stop working for a captive company and go out on your own?

Vicki: I know the exact day, and I know the exact time that that happened. At 32, I was working full time in Illinois with Western & Southern Life. I became a manager and mentored new agents. I wasn’t paid a salary; it was strictly commission. Then I met my future husband, Donn Gunvalson. He told me, “If you want to get married, we have to move to California.” It’s a little bit different now. And I’m like, I’m a Chicago girl, I am not going anyWe don’t do dialing for where. I sat down with dollars. We get the intermy mom and dad and my net; we have other ways father’s like, “You know of attracting clients and technology to help us lo- what? Look at it as an cate them. But it’s still not opportunity. You’re getting married at 32 years old. an easy business. It is not He wants to take care of for the fainthearted. I’m super conservative when you and your children, and it comes to spending, so I you won’t have to work anymore.” So I asked Donn, know there’s going to be “What do you think, do I bumpy bad months, and


need to work again?” He’s like, “No, I make $100,000 a year; we’ll be good in California.”

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About three days after settling in California, I took our new-to-me green minivan to a place called Costco. Today, everybody knows about Costco, but I didn’t at the time. My girlfriend down the street said, “You’ve got to go to Costco. You can buy food, you can buy basketballs, you can buy linens, groceries, anything you could ever imagine is in this one place. You don’t have to go to all these different stores.” So, I took my van and went out there with my kids,

Michael and Briana, who were seven and eight, and I thought the place was incredible. I bought basketballs, ice cream, Popsicles, corn dogs, roller skates, pool wiggle worms and everything I could imagine. I had two carts, both loaded, and I put everything in the newto-me minivan, shut the doors, and thought, “Oh God, I don’t work anymore. What’s Donn going to say when I get home with all this stuff?” I pulled into the driveway, and he was already home, so I opened up the back of the van and said, “Honey, look! I found this great

store. I can get everything I’ve ever imagined in one place.” He looked at me and said, “We don’t shop like this.” And I’m like, “Oh yeah, we do. I have two kids, and this is stuff they need.” I was a mess because I’d always had and always managed my own money. I’d put my money into the California house with him, and then one week later he was telling me I had to take everything back to Costco. We got in a horrible fight, and I called my dad and told him I thought I’d made a mistake in getting married to Donn and moving to California and want-


ed a divorce. My dad said, “No, no, no, honey, you don’t want a divorce. You go off and get your insurance license, and you go make more money than him, and he will never be able to tell you what to spend it on.” So I told Donn, “Listen, I’m going to shop, but I’m going to go back to work. I’m never going to have this again. I’m going to go back to work selling insurance, and I’m going to buy my own groceries for my family.” So little by little, I started my own insurance business and decided I didn’t want to be a captive agent anymore. I wanted to run my own show and work when I wanted to work so I could be there for my kids. That was the most important thing to me—to be a present mother. Dennis: Did the Costco event subliminally work on you so that when you opened your business, it was a place to go for all financial and insurance answers?

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Vicki: We do everything here. Anything here that you want that has the word insurance and investments in it, we do it here. We do auto in-

surance, homeowner’s insurance, business insurance, liability, Medicare, health, life insurance, and we love our annuity business. Lifetime income is a super important tool for me and creating a pension for those clients who don’t have one. I look at money as just a tool. I’m not emotionally connected to a stock, a bond, a mutual fund or a CD. It is just a tool to give us what we want. It’s like what Tom Henga says, “The happiest people in retirement have income, not assets.” If our clients could remember this: We’re creating income, we’re creating peace of mind, we’re creating a quality of life. We’re not going to get them rich quick. We’re going to be slow and steady like the turtle, and we’re going to be consistent.

this gentleman came up to me afterward and said, “I love everything you said, but I hate annuities.” And I said, “I’m not selling annuities. I’m selling a plan.” He agreed to come in with his wife for an appointment as long as we didn’t talk about annuities. So he came in, a 68-yearold ER physician working a lot of hours and not planning to retire until age 70 or 71. I asked him if he had any life insurance, and his 62-year-old wife said, “Yes.” He looked at her and goes, “No, we don’t. My 10-year term canceled last month.” And she looked at me and said, “He never told me that.”

The now-canceled policy had been for $1 million, and he insisted that he didn’t need it anymore. So I asked him what his Dennis: What would income was, and he said you say for the business $250,000 to $275,000 a owners, entrepreneurs year. His wife, however, is and executives who don’t a retired teacher getting understand the import$3,200 a month in her ance of life insurance or pension. So, I said, “What the importance of retire- would happen if your husment planning and are band didn’t bring home putting it on the back that $275,000 a year?” And burner? she said, “Oh my God, we would be devastated. Vicki: I did a workshop We’ve got credit card debt. about eight months ago in We bank on that check a beautiful restaurant, and


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every month. I don’t know. with a premium of $300 I have no idea how much per month. he has in his 401(k); he Five months later, after doesn’t share with me.” paying about $1,500 in So I asked him if there was premiums, the client had a massive heart attack a reason why he wasn’t sharing anything with his and died while he was at work. When his wife came wife, and his answer was into my office, she said, that he was managing “We don’t have life insurit all. Then I asked what ance, do we? We only paid would happen if he died, and he said his wife would $1,500 for that coverage, and I know there’s a twoprobably have to go live with their daughter in New year waiting clause.” And York. His wife said, “Are you I said, “No, that’s not true. He got approved preferred kidding me? Our daughplus, and everything was ter is in medical school, disclosed. There is no twoin a little apartment. I’m not moving to New York.” year waiting. You will get They argued for a bit, and $1 million tax-free.” She was so grateful, she was then I said, “Listen, I’m going to give you my rec- hugging me, and I just kept thinking, why doesn’t ommendation. You can take it or leave it. Let’s get everybody do this? an application in to see if So those stories, when you we can get you insured. change somebody’s life I think you should cover at least three to five years like that forever and ever, they resonate in me all day of your salary and then long. your house will be close to being paid off.” I wrote up the prices for about $3 Dennis: If you could give one piece of advice to million of coverage, and he said, “That’s too much. the Vicki who started her Let’s go in with $1 million.” own business however many years ago, what I sent it to underwriting, he was approved preferred would it be? plus, and he again said he wanted $1 million. His wife Vicki: I think, first of all, I’d tell her to have a really agreed and said, “That’ll good business plan and a give me $200,000 a year for five years.” He accepted good marketing plan. You cannot go door knocking. the $1 million in August,

You cannot go through the white pages like I did when I started. You have to have a proven system for how you’re going to attract those clients, whether it’s through workshops, postcards or the internet. You’ve got to surround yourself with a marketing company that can feed you those leads because you’re going to burn through them superfast. One example of this is my son, who’s 33. He graduated from college with a psychology degree, and he realized he didn’t want to be a psychologist, he didn’t want to work in a medical facility or anything like that. He was out looking for jobs, and he decided that he wanted to sell life insurance. It’s been 12 years now that he’s been in the business, and he finally turned the corner and is making about $20,000 a month working from his house in Pacific Beach. He works three or four days a week selling internet term life insurance. So I said to him, “You need to come into the office more, and you need to know more about what I do.” And his response was, “Why do I want to be stressed like you?” My response was, “I’ll get right back to you on that one.”


Facing Adversity in Business No stranger to adversity, Vicki has this to say about facing it in business. Surround yourself with good people because the bad people can drain you. They can smother you, and they can leach from you. They can hurt you. If you’re with good people who want you to be successful, then you’ve got this. But if you have so many dragging you down under the water wanting to, like, smush you, you have to tell them to go somewhere else and leave you alone. But that’s the hard part. Our minds can play tricks on us. Right? My former boyfriend, Brooks, was one of those bad people, and our relationship played out very publicly for me. When he said he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, I was like, what do we need to do? I’m here for you. Come to find out, he didn’t have cancer, and he scammed me of hundreds of thousands of dollars. It was just this huge scam I was in, and it was all televised. So many of the viewers turned on me, asking how I could be an insurance professional when I was in on a cancer scam. My response was consistent: “I wasn’t in on any scam; I was the one who got scammed.” He was a scam artist. He scammed me for money, for my sympathy and for my time. He said he didn’t have insurance because he couldn’t afford it, so everything was cash. I paid his child support, kept him out of jail, and paid his fictitious medical bills. I look back wondering why I didn’t see the signs. “Am I an idiot?” The answer is NO, I’m not an idiot, but at the time I was stupid and in love, and I thought he really cared for me. But the scandal and the way it was edited to appear doubled viewership on Bravo, ushering in a very volatile time for my business as my ethics were questioned. That was tough. The public didn’t know the truth; I knew the truth. At the end of the day, it was his word against mine. That was me being tested by my good Lord above. I was scammed, and I had to keep persevering. It was horrible, and my business was bumpy during that time, and I just had to keep pushing on. From time to time, I will see negative comments about me on the internet, and what I do now instead of trying to defend myself is to block and delete the comments. Sometimes people just love to hate on you. In closing, I wouldn’t change anything for the world. I’m engaged to a wonderful man, and I’m going to take that marriage leap one last time at the age of 57. My kids are now 33 and 32, and I am a grandmother of two wonderful boys, Troy and Owen. Life is good. I’m blessed to have a growing successful insurance agency surrounded by a great staff, loyal clients and a brand name that will live on for years to come.


6 Proven Strategies to Boost YouTube Subscribers

Every day, over 1 billion hours of video is watched on YouTube worldwide, representing an enormous opportunity for content creators and marketers. However, the competition for exposure and viewer share is fierce, and there are no shortcuts to building a large, highly engaged audience. Thankfully, there are some time-tested strategies to help boost subscriber numbers and set your channel apart from the crowd, and the good news is that many of them require no investment and very little effort to set up. Below are some of the most effective strategies for building an audience and boosting your subscriber count on YouTube. 16


Reply to Comments Internal data published by YouTube reveals a strong correlation between replying to viewer comments and subscriber growth, and it’s no surprise why. Taking the time to interact with your audience is an easy way to set your channel apart in a sea of creators who are chasing dollars and views by pushing out content as quickly as possible with no regard for the people watching it. The sense of community and audience participation that such interactions foster can easily lead to steady, organic subscriber growth. Take the time to reply to comments on your videos whenever possible, and be aware that time is of the essence - audience engagement declines rapidly the longer you wait to get involved.

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the description to help your channel rank better, it also serves as one of the first impressions that prospective subscribers have of your content, which means it also provides a crucial opportunity to grab their attention. A good channel description should tell viewers exactly what your channel is about and who it is for, as well as a general overview of the topics you cover. Your description is also a great place to include a strong call to action to subscribe to your channel.

magnet content on the end screens of each new video, put them at the top of any relevant playlists, or even use it as your channel trailer so that everyone who visits your channel page is exposed to the content that is most likely to turn them into a subscriber. Quality Over Quantity

There was a time when churning out video after video as quickly as possible was an effective strategy for building a subscriber base, but as the platform has matured and the competition has Identify Subscriber grown more intense, Magnets YouTube’s algorithms--and YouTube Analytics offers a its viewers--have come bevy of useful information to prioritize high-quality content. Your videos need for content creators, and to provide real value to one of the most useful things it provides is a clear- the audience, ideally in an engaging and entertaining cut look at which videos way that separates you are drawing the most from the rest of the crowd. views and subscribers. Videos that keep the Under your Subscribers Polish Up Your Channel viewer’s attention result in tab, simply look for the Description YouTube watch page and higher watch times, which When it comes to in turn means higher identify which of your boosting traffic and placement in YouTube’s videos brought you the subscribers, YouTube search rankings, so making most subscribers last channel descriptions are a month. This is what is high-quality content is the very useful but surprisingly known as a “subscriber surest way to boost your underappreciated magnet,” and once you’ve visibility and draw new tool. Not only can subscribers. identified it, the key is to you sprinkle targeted get as many eyes on it keywords throughout as possible. Feature your


Go Long It may go against the conventional wisdom, but several large-scale ranking factor studies have discovered a conclusive correlation between longer video length and higher search rankings. While many social media platforms are dominated by the idea of a short audience attention span, viewers are increasingly looking to YouTube for expert, indepth commentary on the topics they are interested in. Content creators who want to stay ahead of the trends should aim to make videos that are at least ten minutes long, and when it comes to maximum length, data suggests that

30-45 minutes is a sweet spot, though even videos that push over an hour in length see surprisingly little viewer drop-off. Promote With Your End Cards The end cards that cap off each of your videos represent a powerful opportunity to convert viewers to subscribers, as long as you are willing to put in a bit of time and effort to format them properly. One of the best ways to hook subscribers is to get them to watch multiple videos in a row; aim to set aside a full 10 seconds for each end card, and include a “next video” card that links to another one of your videos on the

same or a similar topic. As well, don’t forget to add a highly visible subscribe button directly to your end cards--if a viewer has enjoyed your content enough to watch a video all the way through, the odds are high that they can be converted to a subscriber with just a tiny marketing push. YouTube’s enormous amount of daily traffic and lengthy visitor dwell times present an enormous opportunity for dedicated and savvy content creators, but those same qualities are also what makes it so challenging to build a steady, organic subscriber base.


Top 8 Ways to Boost Your Instagram Engagement Rates At the end of 2018, Instagram reported over 1 billion users worldwide. That’s almost 13% of the planet’s population. On top of that, it’s still growing. Instagram has also proven to be an efficient channel for ad generation. Case in point, by the end of 2019, it’s expected to reach around $11 billion in ad revenue. Based on these statistics, it’s clear why analysts consider Instagram as the engine fueling Facebook’s growth.

and travel. Considering that around 50% of all Instagram users follow a brand, more brands are adopting it as their main platform for social marketing. Also, according to Forrester, Instagram is leading the road in terms of engagement rates, reaching a level of 4.21%. That value is about ten times higher than the engagement rate of Facebook and 84 times higher than Twitter.

Despite its constant growth, Instagram Instagram is still the center implemented a variety of changes to its algorithm point of social media across a variety of markets, to fight unfair practices. The updated algorithm including beauty, food, sports, fitness, healthcare, prevents the buying of 19

followers, brands from paying influencers to post negative reviews about their competitors, and “shadow banning.” So, to guarantee that your organic and paid marketing strategies provide mind-blowing ROI, here’s a list of the top 8 ways to boost your Instagram engagement rates. Use the Right Hashtags The hashtag symbol has changed the world of social media. Any online marketer acknowledges the importance of using hashtags in social posts to improve a variety of metrics. Beyond that,


considering that leading brands are using only a few hashtags in their posts, you should do the same. Also, you’ll find that most hashtags on Instagram are branded. On top of that, posts, which only include one hashtag, achieve a 12.6% higher engagement rate than those without any hashtags.

participate. It’s a win-win strategy.

as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or Pinterest. This will generate more traffic to your Instagram business profile. Also, despite your prospects not immediately following you, at least they know about your brand, and they’ll receive feeds about your business.

The most engaging contests also include hashtags. So, establish a specific and unique hashtag for your contest and track all submissions from your followers. Hashtags will also help you reach new prospects who Add Emojis to Captions may see posts from your Emojis are those small contest’s participants. emoticons, which you Also, before you start usually use for messages. Distribute Across All using hashtags, consider Brands have also started Channels broader ones so you’ll to use them in photo attract a larger audience. captions to increase To achieve better Just don’t overdo it engagement. Around engagement levels, you because you may not must increase the number 56% of all the profiles on stand out. On the other Instagram include emojis of your followers. The hand, if you narrow your because they increase solution is simple; you hashtag and make it engagement rates by should distribute your unique, you may risk not Instagram content across 2.07%. That’s because being found. So, aim for emojis add personality to somewhere in the middle. all other distribution your Insta-posts. channels you have. An The trick is to use nine hashtags on each post for effective social media To reach increased strategy will guarantee optimum results. engagement, you must that your followers also know how to create become your clients. Organize a Contest That’s what you should be captivating Instagram captions. So, include a callaiming for. Instagram contests are to-action in your captions, one of the most efficient To increase your following, such as asking your ways to increase your followers to comment you should embed your account’s engagement rates. It’s because contests Insta-posts via links in your by using their preferred email marketing strategy, emoji. promote user-generated refer to your Instagram content. What’s better Diversify Your Instaprofile on your blog or is that you’re offering Content website, and promote something for free to the winning contestant, which your Insta-posts on other You must always adapt encourages more users to social platforms such 20


your Instagram content format to meet users’ expectations. If you post photos, which are almost identical but only change the shot’s angle or caption, your followers will become bored. Who’d want to follow such a dull account? You can also be sure that you won’t achieve any engagement.

content because it’s more interactive than other post formats. That’s why you’ll find that videos generate more than twice the number of user comments in comparison to photo posts. Even though photos receive more likes, Instagram videos still reach an increased number of views.

Your best approach is to post enticing, attractive, funny, or intriguing content. Still, make sure that it aligns to your brand strategy. You can even publish edgy or controversial posts, which will grab your followers’ attention. Then again, don’t post anything, which might damage your brand’s image and reputation.

Add Subtitles to Videos

Share Videos

Post Photos of Faces

Instagram started out as a photo-only social platform. Video posts, were first allowed in 2013, but had a 15-seconds restriction. Finally, after several years, videos reached a 60 seconds limit. Users are now spending more time watching and commenting on videos.

You’re aware that you should have a consistent publishing schedule for your Instagram posts. But here’s the problem. Sometimes you can reach a backlog of inspiration. So, to prevent any risk of damaging your brand’s image, you should post photos with faces. According to Mashable, posts that include faces

Consumers prefer video 21

Adding subtitles to videos can increase your engagement rates by a whopping 12%. You’ll reach a wider audience and increase your views. On top of that, considering Facebook users view about 85% of videos with no sound, you can assume that the same happens on Instagram.

generate a 38% higher number of likes compared to posts without any faces. Wrap Up Any business owner can leverage Instagram’s lead generation and conversion capabilities by increasing engagement levels. You can use different tactics to reach higher engagement rates and attract more prospects on Instagram. For example, you should use the right hashtags for increased brand awareness, run different contests, and add emojis to your posts’ captions. Also, consider diversifying your posts’ format to avoid the risk of boring your followers. Figure out how to capitalize on the high conversion capabilities of videos. Next, when it comes to photos, you should focus on posts with faces, which generate 38% more likes than other photos. To help guarantee that your Instagram marketing strategy is a success, just implement the tips described in this article. You’ll soon reach your goal.


4 Ways Active Blogging Boosts SEO

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Having a blog page on your website is extremely beneficial. More importantly than that, however, is having an active blog page. Many websites that do not have active blogs may struggle when it comes to driving in more traffic. Although it sounds like actively posting blogs is time consuming, it can be as simple as putting aside one day every month to create a new post for your site. It is important to make blogging a priority in order to increase your chances of being visited by users by obtaining better search engine results. Here are four ways active blogging boosts your search engine optimization (SEO).

1. Fresh content Producing fresh content on your website is one of the most important steps when it comes to increasing your SEO. The easiest way to do this on your website is by posting blogs. Taking time to write even just one blog post per month can help tremendously when it comes to bringing more users to your site. Fresh content shows Google that your site is active and up to date, which in turn helps your ranking on Google’s page. Blog pages are also the only page that really make sense to consistently update and change. Users may get confused or thrown off if, say, a website’s

Homepage or Contact Page is constantly being changed. In order to avoid confusion, creating a blog page is the most efficient and logical way to keep your website fresh and updated. On the other hand, if your website is not consistently producing new content, Google might think your site is inactive, thus resulting in a lower ranking on Google. This makes it harder for users to find your site. Not only that, but if a user visits a site that has not produced any new content for an extended period of time, it might give them reason to believe your site contains outdated information or is no longer active at all.


This can result in users spending much less time on your website and potentially pushes them to visit your competitors’ websites. The amount of time a user spends on a website can be valuable information to Google when it comes to where your site ranks on their page. 2. Users will spend more time browsing your site As mentioned earlier, the amount of time a user spends on your site can be important when determining how well your site ranks on Google. If a site is only visited for a short period of time, Google may have reason to think that the user did not find that particular site useful. On the other hand, if a user spends a significant amount of time on a site, Google may conclude that the site has a lot of important and helpful information that the user was able to utilize. Posting blogs is a great way to increase the amount of time a user spends on your website. Users want to see new blog posts if they contain helpful and insightful information that is relevant 23

to your business and to them. Additionally, the amount of time it takes for a user to read through a blog post can in and of itself increase the amount of time spent on your site. Along with this, if a user enjoys a blog post they read, they are more likely to go back and read older posts as well, thus increasing the time they are on your site by even more. Another way to ensure users spend more time on your site is by including internal links in your blog posts. An internal link is something the user can click on within the blog post which takes them to a different page on your site. If a user is reading your blogs and they are interested in them, they are more likely to click on the internal links to find out more information about the topic and how your business is relevant to that topic. This is a good way to guide your readers in the direction of browsing your entire website without them even realizing that you are optimizing your marketing by utilizing their time spent on your site.

3. External linking and sharing on social media Not only can sites benefit from an SEO standpoint by utilizing internal links in their own blog posts, but external linking can also help. External linking is when another website links your blog post on their site. If you are actively updating your blog page, it is more likely that you will continue to produce valuable and interesting content that other websites may be interested in providing their visitors with. If another website externally links your blog post, it can tremendously increase traffic to your site by making that link available to people who may not have seen it otherwise. Additionally, if a site likes the content you are posting, they are more likely to revisit your site to link more blog posts because they value and trust the information you are posting. Having other sites externally link your site also shows Google that your site is trustworthy. If there are other websites that drive traffic to your site, it is clear to Google that your site is credible. This can help to improve where your site sits on


Google’s search page, essentially moving it higher up on the list. Along with other websites linking yours, it is important for customers visiting your site to share blog links on their social media accounts. When a user promotes your site, their followers on social media will see it and potentially garner more traffic to the blog post than if the link wasn’t shared. To make this even easier for users to do, you might consider adding a “Share” button at the bottom of the blog post for a fool proof way of promoting your site. Not only does this make it simpler and less time consuming for the user, but it suggests that they share the blog post without them even having to come up with the idea on their own. It is also extremely advantageous to share your site’s blog link on your business’s social media platforms. This ensures that your social media remains updated and current as well, thus showing your customers that you are consistently active across all platforms of your business. This is important in developing loyalty and trust from 24

customers, which essentially guarantees that they will be visiting your site again. 4. Connecting with customers Blog posts are a good opportunity to connect with customers in a more conversation-like environment. You might consider including an active comment section under your blog posts, so users feel comfortable interacting with you and your site. This also opens the door for customers to interact with each other on your blog post, allowing them to form a sense of community with other visitors to your site. If you do not think having an active comment section on your blog posts would benefit your site, you might instead want to consider a “Contact” button at the bottom of the blog post. This way, users are encouraged to contact you directly about your post and it still shows that you are eager and open to hearing feedback. It is important to remember to be efficient and timely when it comes to responding to customers’ comments on your blog posts, whether it be through an active

comment section or a direct approach. This also allows future users to see that you are open to hearing feedback about the content you are putting out there and might encourage them to recommend your site to others. Connecting with customers on a personal level by promoting your openness to conversate with them about your posts can increase traffic to your site. Customers who feel like they have a personal connection with a business are more likely to revisit a site and recommend it to others as well. This increases the traffic to your site which will ultimately improve your status on Google’s search page. Showing customers that you are consistently willing to give them important and insightful content shows them that you not only care about your business, but you care about the experience they have with your business. Although blog posts may require some time and hard work, constantly coming up with topics to blog about it is worth the work to boost your SEO and essentially drive more traffic to your site.


Can A Secured Credit Card Help You Establish Credit? by Kathryn Shrader

You are attempting to establish credit but do not qualify for a regular credit card – will obtaining a secured card help? If you have never had credit or need to repair a poor credit history a secured credit card may be the only way to establish credit or re-establish credit. First, exactly what is a secured credit card? A secured card requires a cash deposit which will be used as collateral for any charges you make with the card. In many cases, if you deposit $400 your credit line will be $400. Depending upon the issuing bank’s policies, this line of credit may be increased with additional deposits. You might be asking why get a card if you have the money to use as collateral? – to establish credit! Additionally, in many instances you need to have a credit card to make a hotel or plane reservation, just dealing in cash simply 25

will not work. Therefore, if you are unable to qualify for a regular credit card a secured credit card may be your only option. If you decide to obtain asecured credit card, shop around for the best rates and lowest fees. A secured credit card typically will have an annual fee but try to find a bank that does not require an application fee or monthly insurance fees. Check with the bank you currently do business with if you already have a checking or savings account. Also, many credit unions offer secured credit cards to their members with no application fees and lower interest rates. To make the best use of your secured credit card to establish your credit, charge a few small items per month and make sure you pay the bill on time each month. A late payment will defeat your efforts of establishing good

credit. When using your secured card as with any credit card make sure you pay off the balance each month so you do not incur any interest charges. Usually after approximately one year of using a secured credit card responsibly, no late payments and not charging over your established limit, the issuing bank may offer you an unsecured credit card in place of your secured card. If this happens your initial deposit used as collateral will be returned possibly even with interest. While a year might seem like a long time, if a secured credit card is the only way you have to establish credit a year with the issuing bank having your deposit as collateral will be a relatively small price to pay. Remember you are using a secured credit card as a stepping stone to obtaining a regular credit card and establishing a credit history.


Should You Be Worried about Identity Theft?

Dennis M. Postema

It’s easy to push the threat of identity theft away and out of your mind when it doesn’t happen to you or anyone you know. But with an average cost of $22,000 per victim, identity theft is one of those rare occurrences it’s worth guarding yourself against just in case you become one of the millions of people affected each year.

ible profile. If this isn’t possible, make sure to monitor transactions on that account regularly and change your password several times a year.

3. If you think your data has been compromised, consider putting an alert on your credit reports. Adding a fraud alert to your Transunion, Experian and Equifax profile Five Steps to Prevent will ensure that creditors Identity Theft are forced to gather additional proof of identity 1. Don’t save your login in- whenever you (or someformation for bank, credit one posing as you) apply card and other financial for credit. If you have no websites. This is especially indication that your important for any comput- data has been breached, er used outside the home, but you still want extra such as a laptop or work effort put into validating computer. your identity, consider placing an initial fraud alert 2. When shopping online, on your profiles. log in as a guest so the store doesn’t save your 4. File your taxes early. credit card Some thieves use stolen information in an accessSocial Security numbers to 26

file fraudulent tax returns. When you file early, you reduce the likelihood of them uccessfully doing so since your return will already be on file. 5. Shred your medical bills, prescription drug labels and insurance statements. Identity theft comes in a lot of forms, and medical ID theft is one of them. With the information on your various medical statements and drug labels, someone can have expensive medical treatments charged to you. They may even gather enough information to gain access to your financial accounts. It’s also important that you closely review all your insurance statements just to make sure that you and your insurer have only been billed for valid procedures and services.


Do You Have What It Takes to Lead?

Dennis M. Postema

Leaders take charge. They see a problem and know how to fix it. Of course, even great leaders occasionally have those days when they have no idea what they should do to move forward. Do you feel the same way? If so, don’t worry; this is something we all encounter from time to time. In order to get through it, start working on developing or strengthening the following leadership qualities: Decisiveness

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Good or bad, right or wrong, the best leaders make decisions every single day. Sometimes those decisions are right on

target and sometimes they cause a big old mess.

allowed others to take the fall for his or her miscalculations. Those are poor leaders! Forget That’s okay, as long as the excuses and the leader stands by justifications— his or her decision and acknowledge your admits when he or she mistake and move on. has goofed. A good Everyone is wrong once leader is not someone in a while and you will who’s always right; it’s be too. The difference someone who can between becoming admit their mistakes and a strong leader and learn from them, and allowing yourself to be then never make that a weak one is whether same mistake again. you acknowledge your Leaders take charge even mistakes and try to learn when they have no idea from them. what to do next. What they do know is how to Helping Others move forward. Become Their Best Accountability

Are you good at bringing out the best in people? Everyone has probably Can you see in others had or heard horror what they’re unable to stories about a boss who see in themselves? That’s


a sign of true leadership. Take the time to look and really “see” what others are capable of accomplishing and then support and encourage their efforts. Problem Solving This is the one where I have the most difficulty. I don’t always know the solution to problems that arise. Well, I do know

a solution, I just don’t always know if it’s the right one. Having the confidence to follow your instincts is another leadership trait that must be developed and will save a lot of mental back and forth. Attitude Good leaders are positive, energetic, friendly and outgoing.

This all stems from their attitude. Some people are born great leaders, while others must work on the skills necessary to develop these qualities. If you need a little help learning how to be a good leader, begin by working on the traits above.


Is Fear Standing in Your Way?

Do you believe that you deserve success and happiness? I always thought I did, but when it came right down to it, I had an internal, nagging voice that said I didn’t . Was it insecurity or disbelief? After a good hard look at myself, I came to the conclusion that it was neither; it was fear. I was letting fear get in my way of success. Every time I began to experience real success, I would get scared and pull back, stop moving forward or make a big mistake. I was up against a formidable enemy and it was winning. I wanted success. No, I craved success. So what was I afraid of? It wasn’t until I answered that question that I was able to move past the fear and the obstacles standing in my 29

way. My fear was of failing once I got started. The thought of failing partway through seemed too great to overcome—until I faced it. Then I was able to work through that fear in order to move closer to my dream. So, what are you afraid of? Here are some of the most common fears to look at when determining what’s standing in your way: • The fear of success: Crazy as it may sound, some people actually fear the responsibility that comes with success. This can be a hard one to overcome, but once you realize that’s what you are afraid of, you can get past it. • The fear of being criticized: No one can criti-

cize your efforts if you don’t do anything— right? Wrong! If there are people in your life who aim to criticize, they will find something to criticize. • The fear of failure: Like me, maybe you are afraid of being disappointed, either in yourself or your results. The point here is you won’t get what you want anyway if you never try. Fear has a way of eroding our confidence and keeping us stuck right where we are. Until you can acknowledge what you’re afraid of, success will be limited. Don’t hold yourself back—face your fears and get on with it! Dennis M. Postema


October is the tenth month in the Gregorian calendar, received its name from the Latin numeral octo meaning “eight”, because in the original Roman calendar it was the eighth month. Germany’s Oktoberfest originally began on October 12, 1810, the wedding day of King Ludwig I. October Milestones: • October 1st 1890 - Yosemite National Park was established by the U.S. Congress • October 1st 1971 - Walt Disney World opened near Orlando, Florida. • October 2nd 1950 - Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz was first published. • October 10th, 1971 - Sold, dismantled and moved to the United States, London Bridge reopened in Lake Havasu City, Arizona • October 14th 1926 - Winnie the Pooh, by A. A. Milne, was first published. • October 16th 1923 - The Walt Disney Company was founded by Walt Disney and his brother, Roy Disney

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