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Sites for Free Stock Photos That Are Perfect For Start-ups

As the Marketing Manager of a start-up for start-ups I need a lot of stock photos for our website, social channels and print collateral. I have a set budget for marketing and I don’t want to waste it on getting cheesy stock photos. I think that aligns pretty well with the challenges start-ups face when it comes to stock photos so I’ve compiled a useful list of the best places to find stock photos for start-ups. I even sorted them in a handy way. You’re welcome.

The requirements:

  1. They have to be free because ain’t nobody got money for that.
  2. They can’t just have a bunch of white guys shaking hands because the world doesn’t actually look like that and no one wants to see another one of those bad stock photos.
  3. It has to be really really really re-hee-eealy easy to figure out if you are going to get a strongly worded letter about using it.

person-woman-apple-hotel-largeI Need Something Specific

Pexels

This is my personal favorite, being mostly in tech this site has a huge selection of pictures of phones, laptops and tablets to use.

StockSnap.io

The search on stock snap is great. The tags are easy to use to find high quality royalty free stock photos.

Pic Jumbo

There is a ton of variety on Pic Jumbo. You’ll find a few borderline cheesy stock images but for every one of those you can find 10 really great ones.

 

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Scratching a Niche

These guys do one thing and do it well. Working in a niche? Scratch with one if these sites.

Foodie Feed

Warning! Do not browse before lunch. This site is full of appetizing food photos fit for any food based start-up.

New Old Stock

Looking for a great vintage photo? Browse the archive of vintage public domain imagery at New Old Stock.

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Send Me Inspiration

Even the best marketers run out of ideas from time to time. Sometimes you need to find something specific and sometimes you need something to spark a little inspiration. Get these stock photos right to your inbox to get your creative juices flowin.

Unsplash

Receive 10 high quality artistic stock photos everyday from Unsplash right to your inbox.

Snapwire Snaps

7 hand-picked snaps every 7 days that are completely free to use.

Death To Stock Photos

These guys are sending you packs monthly. Be sure to follow them on Instagram to watch them travel the country in search of the best stock photography.
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I’m Just Browsing

These sites let you get lost in the never ending scroll of beautiful imagery.

 

Magdeleine

These user generated photos are gorgeously curated for your viewing/using pleasure.

Refe

Get user generated photography for free from Refe.

 

Do you have a favorite free stock photo go to? Leave it in the comments, I am always on the hunt for more great places for images.

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Campfire Show & Tell | Showcasing Tagboard

josh-decker-nteIt’s that time again! Join us in the second floor lobby at our Redmond location on Wednesday, December 10 at 4:00 pm for our monthly Campfire Show & Tell event! This month, new thinkspace member Tagboard will be joining us for some Christmas cookies and craft brews at our Holiday Happy Hour.

Tagboard offers hashtag-based curation, collecting posts from the social media platforms that you already use. Why hashtags? According to Tagboard:

No other social discovery mechanism has the same speed, versatility, and widespread adoption as the hashtag. It may seem geeky or trendy to some, but the hashtag is a powerful tool that unites people around common interests and goals. We believe every community needs a hashtag, and every hashtag needs a tagboard.

You’ll want to be on time for this one. Tagboard’s founder and CEO, Josh Decker, will be kicking off the event with a short presentation, to be followed by Q&A, as well as the opportunity to sign up for a free trial and group training session.

everymoveIn case you need another reason to be on time, our friends from EveryMove will be here to motivate you to get moving! Come learn about their @Work program, where you can compete in challenges, earn points and win prizes! Read more about it here.

We’ll see you on Wednesday for some seasonal goodies, free giveaways and holiday cheer!

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52 Books in a Year: Week 8

twitter4goodA few months ago, I attended a simulcast of The Justice Conference in Bellevue.  One of the speakers at the conference was Claire Diaz-Ortiz.  Claire (@claire) has worked at Twitter since 2009 and manages Twitter’s social good initiatives, including the Twitter for Nonprofits and Twitter Ads for Good programs.  She is also known as “The Woman Who Got the Pope on Twitter” (Wired). Her book, Twitter for Good, references the T.W.E.E.T. model that Claire uses all around the world to teach organizations how to excel and be effective on Twitter.

T (Target): Why Tweet?
W (Write): Why You Should Tweet Like Kanye
E (Engage): Tools to Win
E (Explore): Finding Everybody, and Bringing Everybody to You
T (Track): Making Sure You’ve Hit You’re Mark

Claire believes that “it is not the obligation of an organization to engage in social change, but rather the opportunity an organization has to innovate in extraordinary ways, with this unique real-time information network.”  I love Claire’s perspective that social media can not only be a tool for non-profit organizations and “change the world” causes, but that it provides an opportunity for more to engage and respond.  This book is an advocate for strategic tweets.  Especially the ones that matter.

What else have I read during my yearlong reading project?
–> Week 1  –> Week 2  –> Week 3  –> Week 4  –> Week 5  –> Week 6   –> Week 7

Social Media & The 2012 Presidential Election

It’s obvious how technology is becoming increasingly pervasive. It connects us to the world through our desktop computers, mobile devices, and even some of our appliances. It’s almost impossible to avoid a screen with an active connection to the Internet these days. It only stands to reason that the Internet’s influence over our political viewpoints and experiences is also on the rise.

Today’s Presidential election is undoubtedly the election most influenced by the Internet to date. Social networks are flooded with opinions from all sides of the conversation, people are sharing information and news at an increasingly accelerated rate, and it’s becoming far easier to find out what the people you look up to feel about politics than ever before. Social networks are a place where inhibited speech often brought on by the possibility of face-to-face confrontation is broken down by the quasi-anonymous separation the Internet offers.

We may never have heard about our friends’ or family’s opinions on politics if it weren’t for the digital soapbox that is Facebook. For even the most uninformed of Americans, there are memes appearing almost constantly in our social feeds. How many people with Facebook or Twitter accounts didn’t hear about Gov. Mitt Romney’s plan to “kill” Big Bird? It’s feasible that that this year’s election could be determined (at least in a small part) by memes.

Remember that video of President Barack Obama swatting a fly during an interview? It spread around the Web like wildfire with the caption, “Our Ninja President.” For someone with a very limited scope of the current political issues of the day, this type of video would be one of only a handful of experiences that person has in relation to the President.

Mash-ups, remixes, and auto-tuned songs are also heavily circulated around the Web. These clever videos are fun to watch, and their content might have an influence over the viewer. It sounds ridiculous, but just head out to a busy street and ask who the Speaker of the House, last appointed Chief Justice, or the name of the current governor of their state is. The percentage of people that don’t know those answers would shock you (or, maybe not.)

That isn’t to say the Internet is a breeding ground for ignorance. It’s actually a great resource of information so vast that no single individual in history has had as much information readily available at their disposal than those currently online. Immediate access to past legislation votes, opinions on various topics, and fact checks against debate talking points is available to just about anyone with a browser and a Wi-Fi connection.

While the Internet’s influence over this year’s election is clear, imagine the world in 2016, when politicians might actually spend more money in online advertising than they do on billboards and television today. It’s obvious how important of a comprehensive social media strategy is becoming – and how the winner may well be decided by which candidate’s campaign has the best grasp of technology and the Interent.

5 Types of Tweets To Get Your Startup More Attention

No matter who you are or what business you’re in, it’s hard to deny that Twitter has changed the landscape of communication between companies and customers. It has opened the doors for open and personal exchange, and now your startup can build a personal relationship with a growing amount of people with a minimal amount of physical effort.

Because interactions are limited to 140 characters, it doesn’t take very long at all to answer a question or break down that invisible barrier and have some direct contact with your audience.

Here are five types of tweets that can help you get more attention on Twitter.

Thoughtful Questions
People love thinking about insightful questions. Depending on the type of business you’re in, these questions can come from a broad range of topics and ideas. A science fiction community might enjoy discussing what color their lightsaber might be, or which planet they would most like to see from orbit. Likewise, a car dealership might ask its followers to list their favorite car movie.

Either way, it encourages an open dialogue and breaks down that business/individual barrier. It’s very easy to expect nothing but self-promotion from a startup’s Twitter account. This makes it all the more surprising when they find themselves retweeting your question and sharing their own answers.

Mentioning Members of the Community
Wouldn’t you feel more inclined to pay attention to someone if they were actively paying attention to you? By taking a moment to scan your followers’ accounts for witty or useful information, you may find something worth sharing or drawing attention to.

Did one of your followers tell a funny joke? Share it and make sure to call attention to that follower. You may even benefit from regularly featuring customers and/or followers and encouraging your audience to follow them.

Twitter is also a great platform for thanking people for taking the time to check out what you have to offer and/or making mention of it to their own audience. By replying to them directly, only the individual and anyone following both of you will see it, unless someone views your page directly. This helps you avoid flooding people’s streams while still maintaining that extra personalization that could make a world of difference for your follower.

Useful Tips and Information
If you’re tweeting to a mostly local audience, take a moment to find some interesting local events and share the news with your community. The more useful your account is, the more likely your followers are to recommend it (and your business) to their own community.

Useful tips are also extremely sharable. That means you stand a better chance of having your brand shared with a greater number of people if what you’re tweeting has value. Keep it pithy and keep it useful. People will appreciate it and respond accordingly.

Promotional
Let’s be honest – Twitter is, at its heart, a very promotional tool. At best it’s an abbreviated form of mass communication. While you really shouldn’t self-promote all the time, it’s expected and understood that people follow you because they want to know what’s going on with you and your startup.

Try to keep self-promotion down to about 20% of your total non-reply tweets. Just because someone gives you a follow doesn’t mean they necessarily want to hear just about you and your brand every time you tweet. Remember, just having your Twitter handle pop up in their stream at all promotes you. The contents of your tweets should be relevant to the needs of your target audience.

Personal
Perhaps the most important tip in this list is that Twitter is best utilized when it’s personal. If you’re tweeting on behalf of a brand, that’s fine. But try to break down that fourth wall and let your personality shine through.

While people may have a difficult time connecting with your startup, they may feel a bit more inclined to relate with the actual people at your your business – especially if they know that these people are directly behind the Twitter account.

This doesn’t mean you should tweet about these people – or anyone else at your startup – should tweet about lunch every day. But it could make an impact on your potential customers by by emphasizing the emotional impact of whatever it is you’re interested in. Ask followers what they think about something. Take a moment to interact with a few of them directly.

The problem most startups, corporations, and even individuals have with Twitter is that they miss the mark on keeping a two-way line of communication open. It’s easy to fall into that trap of throwing out one-way promotional material.

The real trick to maintaining the attention of your audience is to surprise them by letting them know just how much you appreciate that attention. Personalization, relevance, and value makes all the difference.

If you’re a startup reading this, what types of tweets do you think work best? Be sure to let us know in the comments!

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Why Having A Social Media Department Is A Bad Idea

When you think about the rise of social media and it’s prevalence in today’s business world, you would think that a company with the right resources should have their own social media department, if not only as a part of the marketing team.

That’s just plain wrong. A dedicated team for social is not the way to go about it and the numbers prove it. The idea is to create a social culture with people who have the tools and knowledge to drive authentic sharing, blogging, and a lively community without it being a huge burden on any one person or group.

The existence and adoption of social media platforms proves that humans by nature, want to share. Your employees are no different. Train them to do social regardless of the department they may work in and you’ll end up with a diverse group creating content that is going to appeal to a wide range of people. Not only that, you automatically get access to the combined social networks of all your employees because they want to share what they are up to and what they create with their friends and family.

Don’t departmentalize, teach everyone to socialize. You will find that you have a treasure trove of hidden talent and social superstars at your disposal. The authentic content that they create will drive traffic, brand recognition, culture, moral, and yes, fans, friends, followers and sales.

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social media department, twitter, facebook, social media integration, how to do social, social media, social media marketing, social media business, authenticity, authentic, content, salty waffle

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Your Social Life Is At Risk, Save It With SocialSafe [Back Up Facebook and Twitter]

Your 'digital diary'.

It’s something most of us don’t think about on a regular basis, but the safety of your online data is always at risk. Twitter has well publicized up-time issues and even the behemoth’s like Facebook and Google have a little kinks in the line once in a while.

When you start thinking about the possibility of losing all that you have in social media, the thought of losing it gets scary. Pictures, wall posts, conversations, your memories. You never know when a server crash might result in the permanent loss of your data. Rebuilding would be a pain and gaining back your social media influence might be impossible. If your social networks are your primary place for sharing photos, videos, or meaningful interactions with friends and loved ones, you really don’t want to lose it all.

Thankfully, a service called SocialSafe recognizes the importance of your online memories and has created a service dubbed a ‘digital diary’ to help you preserve them in the event of disaster. SocialSafe can back up memories from Facebook and Twitter, with more services coming soon that include WordPress and Flickr.

Data losses happen, a while back Yahoo deleted a bunch of images from their server, the Sony PlayStation Network suffered an attack and may never be the same, and it’s only a matter of time before one of Twitter‘s crashes loses your account somewhere in digital wasteland.

SocialSafe has a free account that you can try their service out with. I backed up my Facebook and Twitter because I know how valuable my social networks are for anything from keeping up with family to my professional life. The free version allowed me to save my profile, photos, friends, and status updates. An upgrade (only $6.99, that’s a crazy good deal) let’s me save tagged photos and all wall posts. Set up was a snap and I feel much better!

Don’t rely on others to keep your data safe, if you want to make sure you have all your online memories safely backed up, SocialSafe is an awesome bet. If you have heard of or use other services like this one, let us know!

Also note that Facebook somewhere along the line put a native option for downloading your photos and videos. Check out what you can do with that and how over on Salty Waffle. The nice thing about SocialSafe though, is that it covers other networks like Twitter too.

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Twittiquette: A 21 Point Checklist For Better Tweeting

Etiquette is as important on social networks as it is at interviews and fancy dinners. You don’t wear cut-off jeans to formal events or chew with your mouth open at a business dinner, so don’t do the equivalent by forgetting your twitter manners!

Hit a Twitter Blackjack! Time to double down!

There are certain things that you can’t get away with on Twitter. Twittequette is an organic set of rules and expectations that have developed since the dawn of the Twitterverse, be a good twitizen and follow them. Hit a blackjack on all your tweets with this list of 21 Twitter rules, manners, guidelines, and expectations.

  1. Always use shortened links: Nothing more hideous than a long url pasted right in there. It’s gross. It wastes valuable room for you to tell people about your link and is an eye sore. People really don’t like long links, they are hard to ReTweet and violate one of the basic laws of the Twitterverse.
  2. Never span one message over multiple tweets: EVER. This violates what is at the core of Twitter, a micro-blogging site. It’s just wrong and makes people dig for the second half of your tweet. The 140 rule is there for a reason. Its almost as ugly as a un-shortened link.
  3. Don’t send out a DM to the public: If you want to send a private message (or message of your privates), make sure it’s private. Anthony Weiner, nuff said.
  4. Use hastags appropriately: Hashtags are awesome for helping you get into a conversation. If you have something to share that applies to an ongoing conversation, offer it up and use the hashtag, it makes it really easy for those monitoring that conversation to find it.
  5. Tag people judiciously: Don’t tag randomly just to try and boost traffic numbers. Tag people if you legitimately believe they would have an interest in what you are tweeting and don’t bomb them, if you need to tag them in multiple tweets, space them out.
  6. Don’t just push products, share knowledge: No one likes a Twitter spammer, you’ll get unfollowed real quick. It’s OK to advertise and market, just do it sparingly and be sure you are a solid and respected contributor to the conversation before you try coming in hot with ads and product placement.
  7. Change it up, keep it fresh: It’s OK to be random! If you use one type of tweet every time or share the same things consistently, that is all well and good, but also use the freedom to share something fun if you want. People will appreciate you keeping their stream on it’s toes.
  8. Don’t USE ALL CAPS: Because it’s really ANNOYING AND UNNECESSARY.
  9. Don’t use 2 many instant message style shortcuts: If someone has to translate your tweet before reading it, they aren’t going to like it. Adjust your tweet so that you can use real and complete words while still sticking under the 140 character max.
  10. Tweet statistics and lists: People like to share tweets that teach them something quickly. Tweets with statistics and top 5 or top 10 style lists generally get ReTweeted more often and will make the Twitter skimmers really happy.
  11. Don’t follow more than follow you, keep it about 1:1: This isn’t so much about individual tweets as it is about respectability. If you follow way more than follow you, you lose respect, you’re new and obviously just follow in hopes of being followed right back. Sure, you can boost followers this way, but those people aren’t the ones that are really listening. On the flip side, you don’t want to have a ton of followers and follow no one. Why? Twitter is about a conversation man, yours is clearly one-way if you aren’t listening to anyone else and that’s just rude.
  12. Don’t have extremely long personal conversations: Go ahead, connect! Have conversations, that’s what it is all for, just don’t have a personal tea party in my feed. If you want to have a more in-depth or long-running conversation with another individual, connect somewhere else or use the DM feature so you don’t clog your followers with something that probably has nothing to do with them. It’s like having a really loud cell phone conversation in the middle of a restaurant; everyone can hear and they probably don’t want or need to and…oh yeah, you become that guy.
  13. Follow basic grammar and puncuation rules: It’s Twitter, sure you can toss grammar aside a bit and use acronyms and even the occasional shortcut word, but make it readable. Punctuation makes tweets so much easier to read and there is proof that tweets with more punctuation are ReTweeted more often.
  14. Space out your tweets: Tweet often, but keep them spaced out. Don’t clog people’s feeds with too many messages all at once, the likelihood that they will be skipped over greatly increases. Tweets can be can come much more frequent that Facebook posts, but still be careful not to over do it.
  15. Give credit, site if it’s a RT: If you are ReTweeting something and choose to edit the tweet and share the same link, be sure not to cut out who you got it from. Cutting out the person you are ReTweeting from is rude and makes it look like you are trying to steal the sharing cred.
  16. Don’t say the same thing twice: Not to be confused with rule number 6, this rule applies to using the same exact text in multiple tweets. It’s easy to just tweet the title of your article and burst it out 5-6 times a day, but it shows laziness and no one appreciates the same tired tweet popping up in their stream time after time. Say something compelling and highlight different aspects of the content you are sharing with each tweet. This also broadens the people you may end up appealing to with your tweets.
  17. No cursing, use NSFW warning: It’s fine to be a little risque, dirty even, just don’t curse. It’s like shouting out expletives at a meeting, it can make things awkward. Also, if you plan to share something better left for private viewing, make sure to mark it NSFW or ‘Not Safe For Work’ so that someone doesn’t click an inappropriate link with their boss [or children] standing nearby.
  18. Don’t multi-RT: This is bad: “RT @saltywaffle: RT @mcuevasm: RT: @nicoledonnelly”….just RT the first identifiable source.
  19. Leave room for ReTweet’s: If you are looking for a RT, leave room so it can be done in one click. Hootsuite and others give you a warning when you get close to maximum RT length. It takes a few characters for people to RT, so make it easy for them, if they have to edit the tweet to shorten it down before being able to RT, the chances they will do it drop dramatically.
  20. Get an avatar: Don’t go naked. If you have a Twitter account, get a picture. Leaving your avatar as the default Twitter given one shows you don’t care enough about your account to even adjust one of the basic settings. Plus, it just lacks personality ya know?
  21. Say please and thank you: When someone helps you out, let them know you appreciate it. There is a lot of psychology behind minding these simplest of manners. If you really want a RT, say please, it helps, just don’t beg.
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10 Reasons To Do Social Media The Right Way [Stats]

social media, social media marketing, social media classes, community, salty waffle, social media advertising, social media factsWe live in a world surrounded by ads, that’s clear. With more methods of advertising, come more ways we learn to block them out. We are numb to many types of push marketing techniques, those types of ads and campaigns that saturate and annoy. Thankfully, we also live in a world where social media offers a way to avoid expensive, annoying, futile ad efforts.

With a well done social effort you can connect your brand on a personal level. People will seek out a connection with you via social media versus you seeking the customer’s attention by other means, potentially irritating them. When you pull versus push, word of mouth and the community is on your side. Check out the numbers on pushy marketing and look at the potential for extending brand loyalty with social:

  1. $4.26 billion will be spent on social media marketing globally in 2011
  2. 43% of Facebook users who “unlike” a brand do so because of too much push marketing
  3. 64% of Facebook users have liked a brand on Facebook
  4. 25% of social media users are more likely to look into a brand advertising on social media (15% of these users are more likely to purchase from social media advertisers)
  5. 41% of users who have unfollowed a brand on Twitter did so because they were over-marketed to
  6. 78.6% of consumers have joined a company’s community to get more information on the company
  7. 71% of community members say they are more likely to purchase from brand
  8. 66% of company community members note that the community has made them more loyal to a brand
  9. 63% of corporate community members note that they will recommend brand to friends/family
  10. Ford’s 2011 Explorer launch on Facebook generated a 200% greater return than a Super Bowl ad
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Google Is Going Through Changes, Here’s 3 You Need To Know About

With a crazy number of projects launching from Google Chromebooks to Google+, along with a few more clandestine endeavors, it’s easy to lose the less sexy stories in the shuffle. Here are 3 changes that are going to affect your business and search in huge ways starting….now.
google eminem

...goin' through changes

  1. Google+ Brand Pages: Looks like overwhelming demand for a place for businesses on Google+ has hustled Google along on this. Google+ for businesses will be launching before the end of the year with some awesome looking features. Look out for Google+ pages from Mashable, Ford, and others in the next couple of weeks.
  2. Yelp Reviews: Google continues their fight with Yelp and just recently removed all third-party reviews from Google Places pages. Google says it’s all about local search, some claim it’s because the quality of Yelp reviews has declined, but the bottom line is, no more Yelp reviews on your Google Places page. This is bad for you if you don’t have a bunch of native Google Places reviews already. It’s going to become necessary to get reviews for your Places page if you want reviews to show up on what is most likely one of the top results for a search on your business. Not only that, Google Maps will pull Google Places reviews, so you’ll want Maps users to see sparkling praise of your business, not a blank slate of sadness. Could this also be more evidence that Google Places is going to become part of Google+, as in Google+ for businesses? Maybe…
  3. Authorship: Further efforts to provide better search results and reward good content has led Google to place some focus on the authors. It’s in trial mode right now, but Google will display the author’s information and thumbnail image right in the Google search results. It’s easier to see than it is to explain…The benefits of this are many: Instant recognition, instant credibility, and an improved reputation for your blog’s authors that will likely give them a significant boost in social media influence as well, leaving them more powerful proponents of the content on your site. Make sure to get set up to display author information.
google+, social media, authorship, salty waffle