Amazon to Buy US Grocer Whole Foods Market for $13.7 Billion

HIGHLIGHTS
Amazon to acquire Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion
Whole Foods Market will continue to operate stores under its brand
The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2017
Online juggernaut Amazon is buying Whole Foods in a deal valued at about $13.7 billion (approximately Rs. 88,300 crore), a strong move to expand its growing reach into groceries.

Amazon.com Inc. will pay $42 (approximately Rs. 2,700) per share for Whole Foods Market Inc., including debt. That marks an 18 percent premium to Whole Foods’ closing price on Thursday.

The deal comes a month after Whole Foods announced a board shake-up and cost-cutting plan amid falling sales. The grocery store operator was also under pressure from activist investor Jana Partners.

The grocery chain, known for its organic options, had been facing increased pressure from rivals, including European grocery chain Lidl, which is planning to enter the East Coast market, along with Aldi and Trader Joe’s.

Amazon to Buy US Grocer Whole Foods Market for $13.7 Billion

Amazon, meanwhile, has been expanding its reach in goods, services, and entertainment.

Whole Foods will keep operating stores under its name and John Mackey will as CEO, with headquarters in Austin, Texas.

The company, founded in 1978, has struggled to differentiate itself as competitors also now offer a plethora of fresh and organic foods, and has said customers may be choosing “good enough” alternatives closer to home. In addition to other natural and organic grocers, it has cited pressure from restaurant chains, meal-delivery companies and traditional supermarkets such as Kroger.

The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2017.

NASCAR's first lady of racing Louise Smith is the inspiration for 'Barnstormer' in 'Cars 3'

“Cars 3” character Louise “Barnstormer” Nash was inspired by real-life racer Louise Smith.

Before Janet Guthrie and Danica Patrick, there was Louise Smith — pioneering race car driver and NASCAR legend. As the first woman inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1999, the “Good ‘Ol’ Gal” from Greenville, South Carolina, is also the inspiration behind Disney Pixar’s “Cars 3” character Louise “Barnstormer” Nash (voiced by Margo Martindale). The name serves as a tribute to the driver and her infamous No. 94 1950 Nash Ambassador. Known for her flair and fearless crashes, Smith’s success and style made history in the racing world.

Her journey began with the support of a then-young promoter, Bill France Sr., the eventual co-founder of NASCAR. France helped launch Smith’s career, and she quickly fell in love with the sport.

She gained national notoriety in 1947 at the Daytona Beach and Road Course race, where, legend has it, Smith went to watch but ended up on the track. Entering her husband’s new Ford coupe in the race, the “Barnstormer” wrecked and landed herself on the front page of newspapers across the country.

Known as the “First Lady of Racing,” Smith crashed several cars and broke innumerable bones. In fact, one wreck left her with 48 stitches and four pins in her left knee; others are claimed to have nearly taken her life. Her boldness and spectacular speed took the racing world, and many of the men in it, by surprise.

Smith won an impressive 38 races across four divisions from 1947 to 1956, when she retired. She remained active in the racing world for nearly four more decades before her death in 2006 at age 89. Her legacy lives on with “Car 3,” which hits theaters on Friday.


Louise Smith
ISC Images & Archives via Getty Images

Smith posed in front her car after a crash at North Carolina’s Occoneechee Speedway in the late 1940s. Her car went airborne into the surrounding woods. It took rescue workers more than a half-hour to free Smith from the wreckage.

Louise Smith
ISC Archives/Getty Images

At the first NASCAR Cup Series in Daytona Beach on June 19, 1949, Smith accepted the trophy for sportsman win. Daytona Beach was instrumental in the formation of NASCAR, home to several of its earliest events and the sport’s first track: the Daytona Beach Road Course. Smith was one of three women to compete in the race.

Louise Smith
ISC Archives and Research Center/Getty Images

In another accident at Occoneechee Speedway during the inaugural NASCAR Strictly Stock Series on Aug. 7, 1949, Smith emerged with several injuries from the crash but crawled back into the crushed car for a photo op. Most early NASCAR races, including this one, were held on dirt-surfaced short tracks or dirt fairground ovals. The race was renamed the Grand National series in 1950.

Ethel Flock Mobley, Sara Christian and Louise Smith
ISC Images & Archives/Getty Images

Ethel Flock Mobley and Sara Christian were the two other female NASCAR drivers to compete in the circuits of that era. Before a race at Philadelphia’s Langhorne Speedway on Sept. 11, 1949, the three posed in their rides for a publicity photo intended to attract women to the sport. Mobley drove No. 92, the ’48 Cadillac. Christian, middle, wheeled No. 71 — the ’49 Oldsmobile — finishing best of the three at sixth place overall. Smith sported a ’47 Ford.

Louise Smith
ISC Archives/Getty Images

Smith standing next to her Leslie Motor Co. Nash Ambassador at Occoneechee Speedway on Oct. 29, 1950. Her famed No. 94, the car she raced in the NASCAR Grand National Series in both 1949 and 1950, was the inspiration for the style and name of Disney Pixar’s “Cars 3” character, Louise “Barnstormer” Nash. Smith was both the driver and the owner of this car, an extraordinary claim for a woman behind a NASCAR wheel. She finished 19th in the 200-miler, holding her own against some of the sport’s early greats including Buck Baker and Flock brothers Tim and Fonty.

Louise Smith
AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain

Smith, the first woman inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, showcasing memorabilia in her Greenville, South Carolina, home in 1998. After retiring in 1956, she returned to the racing realm in the 1970s as an owner, sponsoring cars and supporting drivers. Her decades-long involvement in the sport is captured in this room.

On Shania Twain's 'Life's About to Get Good,' We Have No Choice But to Take Her Word for It

There’s something just so inherently delightful about the prospect of a brand-new Shania Twain single, from an upcoming brand-new Shania Twain album, in 2017. The last time Shania released an album, LeBron James had yet to even make his NBA debut, and after endless false-start rumors and reported delays, it was starting to look like she might not release another until well after he retired. It’s not an exaggeration to say there’s been no substitute for her barnstorming country-pop while she’s been gone, either: No star to appear in her wake has matched her effortless charm, her global ambition and her absolute sledgehammer hooks.

This is all to say that “Life’s About to Get Good,” released Thursday (June 15) as the first taste from Now, due in September, didn’t have to actually be all that good to still be a welcome presence in our lives, especially going into the warm-weather months. Luckily, it is anyway; a rollicking anthem of folk-pop perseverance with a gently throbbing pulse, a sing-along-by-song’s-end chorus and an inscrutable, almost quacking hook on the verses that sounds like it should be marking a Naked and Famous song. It’s marvelous, it’s irresistible — it’s Come on Over-worthy, which 20 years later is still pretty much the highest compliment you can give to a song of its ilk.

It is also — rather quietly — completely devastating. If you don’t know about the drama Twain has undergone in her personal life since she’s been gone, a quick summary: She separated from superproducer husband Robert “Mutt” Lange after nearly 15 years of marriage, with Lange alleged to have been having an affair with Twain’s best friend, Marie-Anne Thiébaud. Shania bounced back quickly, however, and within two years she was remarried — to Frédéric Thiébaud, former husband of Marie-Anne. It’s the kind of stuff that would’ve been deemed over-the-top even in a classic country song, and it’s unignorable context when considering the alternately heartbreaking and heart-filling lyrics of of “Life’s About to Get Good.”

Despite the song’s sunny sonic demeanor and Twain’s unwavering delivery throughout, the verses are a pretty big downer from the opening lines: “I wasn’t just broken, I was shattered/ I trusted you so much, you were all that mattered.” The second verse gets even more brutal: “The longer my tears fell, the wider the river/ It killed me that you’d give your life to be with her.” And then the absolute killer at second verse’s end, as the singer resolves to move on despite her wallowing instincts, declaring “It was time to forget you… for-e-ver.” The pause before the final word and way she extends it to emphasize all three syllables sounds like she’s still considering pulling it back at any second, and it’s spine-tingling just to hear her reach the end of it.

Shania Twain performs on the Toyota Mane Stage during day 2 of 2017 Stagecoach California's Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club on April 29, 2017 in Indio, Calif.

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Shania Twain Announces New Album ‘Now’: Listen to the First Single

But that’s where the chorus comes in, and thank heaven. The refrain is such an instantly familiar affirmation that it threatens to overwhelm the nuance of the preceding verses, as Twain rhapsodizes (with sturdy backing-vocal support), “Life’s about joy/ Life’s about pain/ It’s all about forgiving and the will to walk away.” She soldiers on with newfound determination: “I’m ready to be loved/ And love the way I should/ Life’s about, life’s about to get good.” It keeps the song from ever becoming a drag — Shania would never, not with a lead single — but has just enough lived-and-learned bruising to steer clear of being pat, either.

And when it comes to the chorus… she would know, wouldn’t she? It’s always dangerous to read too much real life directly into pop music, but with a story like Twain’s it’s pretty hard not to, and the music and delivery sells both the hurt and the healing with such crackling alacrity that it almost seems insulting not to assume she knows exactly from what she speaks. It’s exactly what fans would’ve asked for from a Shania comeback single, and it makes its title one of the year’s most gleeful self-fulfilling prophecies.

YouTube Go for Android Review: Delivers on Its Promise

HIGHLIGHTS

  • YouTube Go is a stripped down version of the YouTube app
  • It shows you how much data will be consumed by any video
  • You can download videos and share them with friends

We first heard about YouTube Go last year, when Google announced the offline-first YouTube app, and then a few months later YouTube Go entered Beta. It’s designed to work in areas with low connectivity or no network – there is a lot of focus on downloading videos instead of streaming, and it even shows you the size of video files before you even play something, so you know just how much data you’re going to use at any point.

At Google I/O 2017 last week, with the focus on the new Android Go project, the company talked about YouTube Go again, and Sameer Samat, VP of Product management for Android and Google Play, highlighted to Gadgets 360 the smaller APK size, and data optimisation features in YouTube Go.

YouTube Go for Android Review: Delivers on Its Promise

We tried out YouTube Go for a while to see what the experience was like, and it looks and feels exactly like what it is – a stripped down version of YouTube. There are only two tabs – Home and Downloads – there’s none of the extras such as Subscriptions, Uploads, Purchases, or Playlists.

YouTube Go has just a single scrolling list of videos, thumbs one after another based on what’s popular, and nothing more. Tap on any video, and you’ll see a series of thumbnails, showing you a sort of preview of the video, along with details on how much storage is available on your phone at that moment. You have the option of selecting either basic quality or standard quality, and in both cases, you can see the amount of space that the file will occupy on your device, which is also how much of your data will be confused when downloading.

Once you’ve selected the size, you have two options – play, or download. It doesn’t default to either option – you have to manually choose each time. If you choose to play a file, it starts streaming right away at the chosen quality, and you can see more videos below.

In the regular YouTube app, you have the option of minimising a video while it’s playing, and browsing for the next one. In the case of YouTube Go, you have no such luxury. You do one thing at a time, or not at all.

That’s almost all there is to YouTube Go, save for one last feature. As we already mentioned, you can choose to download a video instead of playing it. If you do this, you can play it again any time you want, obviously, but you also have the option to share that with another YouTube Go user. The devices seem to perform the initial connection process using Bluetooth, and it’s easy to get started.

youtube go sharing youtube go

When you open the downloads tab inside YouTube Go, you can tap on either send or receive. To transfer a file, the person with the file has to tap Send. This makes it start looking for the receiver. Then, the person who wants the file taps Receive. Once that’s done, the actual file transfer seems to happen over a peer-to-peer Wi-Fi connection between the two devices, which means it’s fast, and doesn’t use your Internet data.

The file has to be verified on the Internet before it can be watched on the phone that received it – after the verification, downloaded files can be watched anytime you like, as long as you connect to the Internet at least once a month.

In YouTube Go, everything is very simple, and it works supremely quickly. There are no wasted animations or complicated UI elements to slow things down. The message is clear – this app trims all the fat that it can find, and then some more, to provide the smoothest experience possible.

This shows in the file sizes of downloaded videos as well. A four minute video takes up 2MB at the basic quality setting. A 21 minute clip took up just 12.1MB.

At standard quality on the other hand, a 1 minute clip took up 4.8MB. The same clip is 558Kb on basic quality. The difference in file sizes is tremendous, but the difference in quality is also pretty palpable. YouTube doesn’t reveal the resolution that it’s using for basic and standard quality videos, but standard quality looked pretty good on the 5-inch screen of a Redmi 3S Prime.

Rewatching the same clip on the full YouTube app, our best guess is that standard quality is 360p, while basic quality is 144p, though this is just a guess made by looking at the video under the various different settings and trying to guess what looks most like a match.

youtube go download youtube go

Depending on how must storage you have on your phone, and how much data you want to use for the download, you’ll be able to choose what size you prefer; and as mentioned above, since the YouTube Go app does not default to any preference, you get to make an informed choice for every single video.

That might sound a little tedious, but there’s a distinct difference in the quality. Depending on what video you’re downloading, that’s something you’ll want to consider, particularly if you’re toting an entry-level device, as most of those have improved on most fronts, but storage remains pretty limited.

All in all, the YouTube Go app is a pretty good option for people who want to use less data, and don’t want the app to take up as much of a footprint on their devices. That being said, we do wish that you could see your subscriptions. Instead of playlists, the user of such an app might prefer to download the videos instead, but subscriptions would make it easier to find content you like.

With the YouTube Go app, discovery remains an issue – you can either browse through the videos which may (or more likely may not) match your interests, or rely on search entirely. Subscriptions on the YouTube app right now help you to find the content you like, and that would definitely be appreciated with YouTube Go as well.

Blogging for bliss – part II

US TALKBlogging for bliss - part II

Sadaf Zarrar

Fashion | Lifestyle

Blogging was self-expression for us. We had a point of view and wanted to share it. Every comment and like that we receive is rewarding. We put our heart and soul in the content. It’s very personal to us which is why appreciation from people means everything.

I was on a career break in 2011 with a lot of time at hand and thought I should channelize that time to do something productive. The result was SiddySays.

Blogging is a labour of love. Write about something you love and feel passionate about if you truly want to stay for a long time. Take time to understand why you want to blog, what makes you different, how your point of view will impact others, etc. Be mindful of what you do as a blogger.

Only good content could guarantee success. If you write things that people want to read, you’re in business. Find your beat, and then create a uniform social media footprint.

www.siddysays.com

Rabeeyah TungekarBlogging for bliss - part II

Beauty | Food | Lifestyle  

Blogging is very close to my heart and there is no ulterior motive behind it. I write in my own comfort zone, and that’s when I enjoy writing the most. For me, it’s like painting; you need space and temperament.

I had always wanted to share my knowledge of beauty and makeup so I decided to start a blog. I was passionate about helping others select right products. It was then and it’s now, I still love helping people.

I don’t believe in catchy names. If you can’t come up with something, just start with your own name, it is the best thing. If you want something catchy, always go for what describes you and what you will be writing about.

When it comes to the content, keep it simple and original. You want your readers to read the entire post and come back next time. Keep a little drama in the writing, but don’t go overboard with it. Take good quality pictures to supplement your writings.

To get recognized, do not run after brands and PR. Shine with your work and let that get the attention.

www.rabeeeyah.com

Omayer EmghadBlogging for bliss - part II

Entertainment | Lifestyle | Travel

Blogging is a way of reaching out to more and more people with your opinions on what’s happening around. It allows us to tell them what we truly feel about a certain issue and why we feel that.

The reward comes when your voice reaches to a mass audience and makes a difference. In terms of money, it is quite rewarding given the increasing demand but that only comes after a lot of hard work and a good amount of time. Since we’ve started it recently, it will take some time before we reach to that position. However, we’re delighted and consider it an achievement when readers appreciate our work and support us. This encourages us to stay true to them and keep entertaining them.

To those who are starting out, make your presence strong on as many social media sites as possible and don’t forget to insert relevant hashtags as they allow you to reach to a wider audience.

@Hawwsips

Hawwsips.wordpress.com

SherinaBlogging for bliss - part II

Lifestyle | Beauty | Entertainement 

On my blog, there is something for everyone. I never wanted my blog to be limited to any one specific category; instead, I wanted to have a variety and discuss topics which I feel get neglected, such as comic books and gardening, for example. An experimental aspect of my blog is that even though it is an informatory forum with factual reviews and discussions, my posts are kept as reader-friendly as possible, so that the readers can personally relate to them and feel as if they are hearing from a friend rather than just reading an article.

Blogging in itself is therapeutic for me. The entire process of thinking what to blog about, writing and perfecting a post, is comforting and a fun activity, really.

It thrills me to hear back from my readers – their suggestions, their feedback, their queries, etc. There is a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction every time a reader expresses their gratitude towards my work and/or how it has helped them. Acknowledgement also comes in the form of brands or individuals from various sectors contacting and extending out opportunities for me and my blog, which come with their own respective rewards.

Through blogging, I got a chance to meet amazing people and make good friends. This, essentially, is what blogging is all about – people coming together on a common platform and sharing ideas and experiences.

The inspiration for my blog traces back to 2008 when beauty-related content opened up on YouTube. I used to watch videos of some of the pioneer beauty gurus of the time, all day long, and they used to make video content as well as blog on their respective websites. That is when I developed my love for blogging and aspired to be a blogger someday. Unfortunately, at that time, I was too young to start so I had to wait.

To all the aspiring bloggers: just do it! Start today and don’t over-think and over plan for your blog. Had I not procrastinated and taken so long to plan the details of my blog, I would have started a lot earlier too,. Have a general framework in mind regarding what your blog will be about, whether it will be specific to one category or several, who will the target audience be, which primary social media platform your blog will operate on, etc.

Your blog’s name is your identity; picking a good name requires careful thinking. Play with the language: use puns and metaphors, try quirky names to seek attention. Still, don’t dwell too much on it and focus more on the execution of your blog.

Bloggers start from scratch and eventually make their way up, so don’t get discouraged and focus on delivering unique content which will interest and attract long-term readers. With a secure following, engagement will grow and it will definitely be noticed. I do not discourage posting content that is for PR/advertising purposes, in fact I think it may even be essential for beginners to do that in order to establish their online presence and also derive motivation. But you have to balance the promotional stuff with your own unique content. There is no fixed formula for blogging; it is all trial and error. You just have to find your personal style which works best for you.

Twitter Starts Rolling Out New Look for Web, Apps, TweetDeck, and Twitter Lite

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Changes designed to make Twitter feel lighter, faster, and easier to use
  • Update brings bolder headlines and more intuitive icons
  • Users’ profile images changed from square-shaped to round

Twitter has unveiled a new look, and much like some previous changes the company has made to its short-messaging service, it’s not going over so well with the Twitterati.

“Today, with lots of feedback and ideas from you, we’re refreshing our product too and making it feel lighter, faster, and easier to use. We listened closely and kept what you love,” Twitter said in a blog post announcing the new design.

The San Francisco company says the new design emphasises simplicity, making it faster and easier to use, with bolder headlines and more intuitive icons. It also changed users’ profile images from square-shaped to round. On its apps and TweetDeck, tweets will “now update instantly with reply, Retweet, and like counts so you can see conversations as they’re happening,” Twitter added.

twitter ios app redesign twitter

The company said the new user interface will roll out on twitter.com, Twitter for iOS, Twitter for Android, TweetDeck, and Twitter Lite in the coming days and weeks.

Twitter users immediately responded Thursday by tweeting jokes and memes critical of the changes. There were almost 30,000 tweets about the new user interface, or UI, within hours of the change, the vast majority of them either complaining about the new look or mocking it. A popular image was a suddenly round SpongeBob SquarePants.

twitter ios redesign twitter

Twitter also took heat from users last year when it changed its algorithm that orders the tweets users see. Users also tweeted their dismay when the company rolled out its Moments feature, and when it got rid of its star icon signifying a “favorite” tweet, in favor of a heart icon, similar to Facebook’s “like” button.

The redesign is Twitter’s latest attempt to freshen the messaging service, which has struggled to attract new users at the same pace as Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. Twitter revenue growth has stalled for years, and the company has cut costs and shuffled executives while still never posting a quarter of profit.

Plex App for Android Will Now Let You Play Files Stored on Your Phone

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Latest Plex update will play mostly any video file on Android
  • You won’t need a third party app to play videos
  • App will fetch metadata for your media file

Popular media server Plex has just brought a major update to its app for Android. You can now open and play pretty much any video file stored on your Android device or SD card, and you no longer have to play it through a third-party player. The company says that with this update, you will no longer face the problem of opening video files stored locally.

Plex App for Android Will Now Let You Play Files Stored on Your Phone

The latest update for Android will now let you play local video files including .MP4s, .MKVs, .AVIs, .WMVs, and .WMDs, among other formats, within the app. The Plex app for Android already lets you scheduled live TV recordings, offering a DVR-like function, and with this new update, the app has a stronger case to take on apps like VLC.

The ability to open practically any video format will come in handy as users may sometimes find themselves downloading files from torrent sites that can be difficult to play on mobile. In addition to locally stored files, the latest update also lets you open files stored in third-party apps like Dropbox. You can also open video files from the Web browser, Downloads app, or a file explorer app.plex android update playback plex

Notably, the Plex app will also automatically fetch metadata for your media file. If the file is recognised, the title, artwork will show. It is able to do this by matching the videos based on the filename and other details. But sometimes there could be an error in getting the right details for the video. In that case, you can tap on the three dot icon below the video and select the ‘Unmatch’ option to hide the metadata.

Most of the playback controls will be available when playing a local file, like pausing, skipping or stopping the tracks. The update (v6.0) is rolling out to Android phones and tablets and can be downloaded via Google Play, and will come soon to the Amazon App Store.

Foodpanda Will Now Deliver All Orders For Partner Restaurants, Regardless of the Source

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Foodpanda announces Dash, a logistics service for restaurants
  • After a three-month pilot, Dash is going live now in 7 cities
  • It will deliver orders originating from any source, not just Foodpanda

Online food ordering and delivery firm Foodpanda on Thursday said it will provide third-party logistics services to its restaurant base across major cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, and Gurgaon. Foodpanda has already been delivering its orders from some partner restaurants for two years now – accounting for nearly half the orders it receives. As part of the new development, restaurants can use Foodpanda delivery services even for the orders which have not come through the Foodpanda channel.

According to the company, this expansion of the delivery ecosystem by Foodpanda is aimed at optimising efficiency of existing on-ground fleet, which was initially used only for orders placed through the brand.

The deliveries were first started as a pilot three months ago, and the initiative is now live across Delhi, Mumbai, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore, Foodpanda said in a statement. This includes a fully integrated offering, where orders come via Foodpanda, and are delivered, as well as delivery on a need basis. restaurants will be charged per order, the company added.

Foodpanda on-boarded more than 500 partner restaurants and the number is expected to reach around 1,500 in the next three months, the company said.

Foodpanda Will Now Deliver All Orders For Partner Restaurants, Regardless of the Source

“With our new delivery product offering, we intend to be significant support system for our partners by easing hassle of delivery for them and extend best-in-class service levels to more customers,” said Foodpanda India CEO Saurabh Kochhar.

“The new business partnerships with the restaurants are aimed to provide better services and to further expand our delivery network across the country,” added Kunal Suri, COO Foodpanda India. “We are currently able to deliver orders within 35 mins on average, which we further plan to improve on. With Dash we plan to extend this benefit to our restaurant partners thereby strengthening the delivery ecosystem across the nation.”

Written with inputs from PTI

10 Must Reads for Improving Your Online Marketing

Having a good website and clear online marketing strategy is very important in today’s business world. But there’s a lot that goes into building an online strategy. So we rounded up some of the best tips and related posts from members of our small business community. Read on for the full list in this week’s Small Business Trends community and information roundup.

Create a Welcoming Website

(Barefoot Basics)

What do your customers see when they go to your website? Do they see a site that is welcoming and professional, or one that is confusing and difficult to navigate? This post from Rochelle Stone explains the importance of creating a welcoming website and some things to consider in order to accomplish that goal.

Correct These Google Analytics Blind Spots

(Marketing Land)

If you have a website for your business, then you probably use a service like Google Analytics to measure its performance. But there are some website features that Google Analytics doesn’t help you with. This post from Brian Massey outlines some of those Google Analytics blind spots and offers solutions for correcting them.

Make Your Web Content Live Up to Its Promise

(Premier Content Source)

Writing great headlines and promoting content is very important to finding online success. But your actual content needs to live up to the hype. Here, Nicole Beckett shares some thoughts on creating great content. And the BizSugar community discusses the post further here.

Use These Tips for Your Holiday Facebook Strategy

(Competitive Edge)

When the holiday season rolls around, many businesses take the opportunity to spruce up their social media promotions. In fact, there are many different ways you can make your Facebook page more inviting for holiday customers. This post by Shantha Wetterhan shares three strategies for optimizing your holiday Facebook presence.

Measure Your Social Media ROI

(Stuart J Davidson)

When you use social media in your marketing efforts, it can be difficult to really tell what you are getting out of it. But this post from Stuart J. Davidson shares some methods for measuring social media ROI. And BizSugar members talk more about the post here.

Avoid These Online Marketing Mistakes

(Belle Communications)

So you’re marketing your business online. That’s great. But there are plenty of roadblocks that can negatively impact your online marketing efforts. Here, Kate Finley shares 10 of the most common online marketing mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Update Your Content Marketing Efforts

(Griot Digital)

Content marketing is a constantly evolving field. It’s not just the tools that change though. Businesses also need to update the methods they use for trying to reach customers. This post by Nadia James includes some thoughts on content marketing along with a helpful infographic.

Tell a Great Story

(Resonance Content)

It’s important to tell a story with your online and in-person marketing efforts. Part of that story is to explain who exactly you are. Here, Rachel Parker shares some methods for telling your story effectively. And BizSugar members talk more about the post here.

Use These Internet Security Tips in the Workplace

(Internet Billboards)

Online security is becoming increasingly important, particularly for business matters. In this post, Agnes Marylinn shares some tips for improving internet security in the workplace.

Get Your Great Content Noticed With SEO

(XEN)

If you want to get your website or blog noticed, you need to have great content. But if no one ever sees that content in the first place, it still won’t do any good. This post by Kerry Butters shares some thoughts on balancing SEO and great content. And the BizSugar community shares some thoughts on SEO as well.

12 Rules for the New Economy

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking at a holiday event. Instead of one of my usual (but awesome) presentations, I wrote some thoughts on a piece of paper and shared what I thought these businesses needed to know to align themselves for 2015. Here’s what I shared. I hope these rules (guidelines) help you.

1. Word of mouth alone won’t work — relying on word of mouth for all of your marketing is “ok”. However, if you want to boost revenue, increase profits and take your business to new heights, you MUST create a purpose built marketing plan. Word of mouth alone won’t cut it.

2. Sales as usual is not enough. You need to educate with content marketing. — While traditional sales will always be important, you must also learn how to SELL through education. This means that instead of FIRST asking for money, FIRST take the time to understand the customer’s needs and educate them on the value your product or service has for them. Online content is a GREAT way to show value and educate your customers.

3. Barrier between small businesses who do use technology and those who do not. — While many business owners are leveraging the power of technology, there are still many business owners who are falling behind. These business owners are afraid of technology, don’t appreciate it’s benefit to them, fear it’s too expensive or some other reason. Which side of the technology barrier will you fall on? The tech laggard or those who use technology as a strategic asset?

4. Every business is ripe for displacement — this is the Uber economy. See what Uber has done to the taxi industry. See what Hulu, Netflix (the Internet) and RedBox have done to Blockbuster? Well it’s how OLD SCHOOL technologies have been disrupted and displaced by NEW technology and NEW ways of doing things.

5. Customers expect convenience, speed and efficiency. — Your customers are used to using apps to check in to airlines, having the Starbucks barista ask for their name, etc. If your business is not able to adore your customers and shower them with love and speed of business you’ll lose.

6. Personal brand solidification is a must (The Local Celebrity Entrepreneur) — Sure Nike has spent billions so we all know “just do it”, but you don’t have billions. You probably don’t even have a few thousand a month to spend on marketing. However, you MUST invest the time (and maybe some dollars) to build your personal brand. Be The Local Celebrity Entrepreneur in your market.

7. The phone is the tool of choice for everything (mobile web site and apps). Take your phone out — look at it. That tiny computer is POWERFUL. Ensure your web site is easily viewable on it’s tiny screen and enable your customers to interact with your business on their phones. Can they check orders on their phones? Can they use your app to engage deeper with your company?

8. Hyper local targeting — not targeting everyone. Instead of trying to go BIG it’s best to go even more narrow. Master marketer Casey Graham speaks about this with me here and Seth Godin most recently wrote about it here. Local does not just mean geography but it also refers to specialization.

9. Social media is not everything, but it’s important. F.R.E.A — Frequent, Relevant, Engaged, Analytics. You can read more about my thoughts about social media marketing here.

10. Your marketing must change — Attract. Sell. Wow. The principles of Infusionsoft’s Lifecycle Marketing — are VITIAL in how your marketing mindset needs to change. Check out my presentation on it here.

11. Design, how you look, is important. Logos, clothes, branding, business cards, etc. — Listen, how you LOOK, how you SPEAK, how you SMELL is important. Not just your personal appearance of course but also your overall branding — business cards, logos, web site and more. Upgrade yourself and OVERALL LOOK better!

12. Deeper connection to customers. (Wow) — Finally, beyond making it easier to work with you, you must always work HARDER to ensure you know your customers. What are their needs, their challenges and the problems YOU can solve for them?