Spartan Ventures is a strategic venture capital partnership firm with a focus on fast-tracking value for creative entrepreneurs and innovative products. Combining the perceptive vision and awareness of our seasoned team, we identify strengths in businesses that meet unmet consumer needs and then act as investors that add real value. We provide both capital and business expertise to decrease risk, enhance product development and secure successful exit(s). Spartan Ventures fills an important funding gap for businesses of all sizes, making investments of time, money and high-level consultation over the life of an investment. The firm hascollaborated with more than 30 seed or early-stage companies, nearly half of which have already realized successful exits, such as acquisitions, IPOs, partnerships and other liquidity events.
Originally published on Mashable; see the full article here.
Below are the 5 best tips for achieving your own magazine-ready iPhone photographs.
1. As far as HDR Mode can see
The sensor on the iPhone allows for HDR or "high-dynamic-range," an extra push for even more vibrant photos. The idea here is to replicate what the human eye sees and to get a lot more luminance.
2. Dim lighting? Use this trick.
You're in a dark alley at midnight up to nothing good. Your model muse (a.k.a. your girlfriend) is ready to pose but is shrouded in terrible low light. Simply use the smart slider to adjust brightness in the preview pane with a simple slide, to find just the right lighting for your photo.
3. Maximize your resolution.
Most iPhones may come with only 8MP. But what if you want to blow your photograph into, say, a billboard on Sunset Blvd.? High-resolution Panorama Pano mode lets you take higher-res panoramic photos at up to 43MP. You can also use dynamic auto exposure as you shoot to capture your most epic shots with incredible clarity. Just tap the arrow on the right-hand side in the Camera app to take the panorama from right to left.
4. Don't forget about iPhone's own awesome filters.
No need to use Instagram to filter out your photographs. Fine-tune your edits with Apple's own — some of which are superior to the photo sharing app.
5. Too much caffeine? Stop the jitters with this.
Chances are that if you've zoomed in too far or drank a little too much coffee, your iPhone photos are less than clear. For these instances, use the optical image stabilization (iPhone 6 Plus only) feature. It will deliver the best photographs, especially in low-light settings.
Want more? Click here to see our favorite social media enhancing apps.
Originally published on Instagram.
Today [Instagram is] excited to announce two major updates to Instagram that will help connect our community to the world as it happens: the all-new Explore page, with trending Tags and Places, and more powerful search that makes it easier to find the people, places, and tags you’re looking for.
With more than 70 million photos and videos posted to Instagram every day, wherever something is happening, chances are you can see it here. Whether it’s behind the scenes at the NBA Finals, on the runway with the latest fashion trend at a favorite club with a local band, people are capturing moments large and small on Instagram. But, until now, there’s never been an easy way to find these moments.
[Instagram has] completely reimagined the Explore page to make discovery on Instagram immediate and effortless. The new Explore now surfaces trends as they emerge in real-time, connecting you to events and conversations both near you and around the globe.
Through trending Tags and trending Places, you can experience moments like #bonnaroo or #fathersday from every perspective. Rich visual content captures everyone’s unique take — not just what the community is talking about, but also what they’re doing and seeing.
In addition, at the top of the Explore page you will find new curated collections that will be updated regularly, featuring interesting accounts and places, from musicians and extreme athletes to stunning architecture and gorgeous beaches.
To start, these updates to Explore will only be available in the United States. We’ll work to bring it to the rest of the world after we fine tune the experience and set it up to work well in other countries.
For everyone on Instagram, we’ve dramatically improved the ability to find what you’re looking for. With the new Places Search, you can now peer in at just about any location on earth, allowing you to scout out your next vacation spot in the South Pacific, get a look inside that hot new restaurant or experience your favorite music festival — even if you couldn’t make it this year. The new Top Search also lets you search across people, places and tags all at once.
To learn more about the all-new Search and Explore, check out the Instagram Help Center.
Instagram for iOS version 7.0 is available today in Apple’s App Store, and Instagram for Android version 7.0 is available today in Google Play.
If you live in LA or you're traveling to LA, chances are you're looking for a restaurant to try. Prepare your tastebuds for a roundup of our 10 favorite Los Angeles Food Instagram accounts documenting their latest meals & sharing them with hungry followers.
Welcome to the Curated's Appy Hour series where we showcase our favorite apps. In this week's edition we are featuring our favorite social media enhancing apps to use on your phone. Pump up your social media content with these fun apps!
1. Layout by Instagram | Cost: Free
Instagram's newest app lets you create fun, one-of-a-kind layouts by remixing your own photos and sharing them with your friends. It’s fun, it’s simple and it gives you a new way to flex your creativity.
2. Hyperlapse by Instagram | Cost: Free
Create amazing time lapse videos with Hyperlapse. Using Instagram’s in-house stabilization, Hyperlapse shoots polished time lapse videos that were previously impossible without bulky tripods and expensive equipment.
3. PHHHOTO | Cost: Free
Instant moving pictures. PHHHOTO® shoots moving pictures you can share everywhere! Fun for creating gif-like animations.
As published on Forbes:
According to Hubspot, 92% of marketers in 2014 claimed that social media marketing was important for their business, with 80% indicating their efforts increased traffic to their websites. And according to Social Media Examiner, 97% of marketers are currently participating in social media—but 85% of participants aren’t sure what social media tools are the best to use.
This demonstrates a huge potential for social media marketing to increase sales, but a lack of understanding on how to achieve those results. Here’s a look at the Top 10 Benefits Of Social Media Marketing:
1. Increased Brand Recognition. Every opportunity you have to syndicate your content and increase your visibility is valuable. Your social media networks are just new channels for your brand’s voice and content. This is important because it simultaneously makes you easier and more accessible for new customers, and makes you more familiar and recognizable for existing customers. For example, a frequent Twitter user could hear about your company for the first time only after stumbling upon it in a newsfeed. Or, an otherwise apathetic customer might become better acquainted with your brand after seeing your presence on multiple networks.
2. Improved brand loyalty. According to a report published by Texas Tech University, brands who engage on social media channels enjoy higher loyalty from their customers. The report concludes “Companies should take advantage of the tools social media gives them when it comes to connecting with their audience. A strategic and open social media plan could prove influential in morphing consumers into being brand loyal.” Another study published by Convince&Convert found that 53% of Americans who follow brands in social are more loyal to those brands.
3. More Opportunities to Convert. Every post you make on a social media platform is an opportunity for customers to convert. When you build a following, you’ll simultaneously have access to new customers, recent customers, and old customers, and you’ll be able to interact with all of them. Every blog post, image, video, or comment you share is a chance for someone to react, and every reaction could lead to a site visit, and eventually a conversion. Not every interaction with your brand results in a conversion, but every positive interaction increases the likelihood of an eventual conversion. Even if your click-through rates are low, the sheer number of opportunities you have on social media is significant. And as I pointed out in my article, “The Four Elements of Any Action, And How To Use Them In Your Online Marketing Initiative,” “opportunity” is the first element of any action.
4. Higher conversion rates. Social media marketing results in higher conversion rates in a few distinct ways. Perhaps the most significant is its humanization element; the fact that brands become more humanized by interacting in social media channels. Social media is a place where brands can act like people do, and this is important because people like doing business with other people; not with companies.
Additionally, studies have shown that social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing, and a higher number of social media followers tends to improve trust and credibility in your brand, representing social proof. As such, simply building your audience in social media can improve conversion rates on your existing traffic.
5. Higher Brand Authority. Interacting with your customers regularly is a show of good faith for other customers. When people go to compliment or brag about a product or service, they turn to social media. And when they post your brand name, new audience members will want to follow you for updates. The more people that are talking about you on social media, the more valuable and authoritative your brand will seem to new users. Not to mention, if you can interact with major influencers on Twitter or other social networks, your visible authority and reach will skyrocket.
6. Increased Inbound Traffic. Without social media, your inbound traffic is limited to people already familiar with your brand and individuals searching for keywords you currently rank for. Every social media profile you add is another path leading back to your site, and every piece of content you syndicate on those profiles is another opportunity for a new visitor. The more quality content you syndicate on social media, the more inbound traffic you’ll generate, and more traffic means more leads and more conversions.
7. Decreased Marketing Costs. According to Hubspot, 84% of marketers found as little as six hours of effort per week was enough to generate increased traffic. If you can lend just one hour a day to developing your content and syndication strategy, you could start seeing the results of your efforts. [If you're having trouble devoting time to your social media, we can help!]
8. Better Search Engine Rankings. SEO is the best way to capture relevant traffic from search engines, but the requirements for success are always changing. It’s no longer enough to regularly update your blog, ensure optimized title tags and meta descriptions, and distribute links pointing back to your site. Google and other search engines may be calculating their rankings using social media presence as a significant factor, because of the fact that strong brands almost always use social media. As such, being active on social media could act as a “brand signal” to search engines that your brand is legitimate, credible, and trustworthy. That means, if you want to rank for a given set of keywords, having a strong social media presence could be almost mandatory.
9. Richer Customer Experiences. Social media, at its core, is a communication channel like email or phone calls. Every customer interaction you have on social media is an opportunity to publicly demonstrate your customer service level and enrich your relationship with your customers. For example, if a customer complains about your product on Twitter, you can immediately address the comment, apologize publicly, and take action to make it right. Or, if a customer compliments you, you can thank them and recommend additional products. It’s a personal experience that lets customers know you care about them.
10. Improved Customer Insights. Social media also gives you an opportunity to gain valuable information about what your customers are interested in and how they behave, via social listening. For example, you can monitor user comments to see what people think of your business directly. You can segment your content syndication lists based on topic and see which types of content generate the most interest—and then produce more of that type of content. You can measure conversions based on different promotions posted on various social media channels and eventually find a perfect combination to generate revenue.
These are the benefits of sustaining a long-term social media campaign, but if you’re still apprehensive about getting started, consider these points:
Your Competition Is Already Involved. Your competitors are already involved on social media, which means your potential social media traffic and conversions are being poached. Don’t let your competitors reap all the benefits while you stand idly by. If, somehow, your competition is not involved on social media, there’s even more of a reason to get started—the field is open.
The Sooner You Start, the Sooner You Reap the Benefits. Social media is all about relationship building, and it tends to grow exponentially as your followers tell their friends, and their friends tell their friends, and so on. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be able to start growing that audience.
The longer you wait, the more you have to lose. Social media marketing, when done right, can lead to more customers, more traffic, and more conversions, and it’s here to stay.
[Originally published on Forbes]
Tell us in the comments below how social media has changed your business. Need help with social media for your business? Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Arielle Vey is a photographer & designer based out of San Diego, California. She captures everyday Southern California life in the most perfect way. From ocean shots to colorful sunsets, we are constantly inspired by Arielle's Instagram feed.
GOLDWIRE is comprised of photographer Arielle Vey and stylist Dani Colombatto (featured above). Together this duo is cultivating a brighter perspective on eating, cocktailing and living. Current blogging and branding antics take place in San Diego.
Welcome to the Curated's Appy Hour series where we showcase our favorite apps. In this week's edition we are featuring our favorite photo editing apps to use on your phone. Since visuals are so important to marketing and social media, it's important to make sure you are putting out beautiful content. Happy shooting!
VSCO is the "standard of mobile photography." VSCO Cam is the premier way to shoot, edit, and share your photographs. The app allows you to manually fine tune elements such as: Exposure, Temperature, Contrast, Crop, Straighten, Fade, Vignette, and more, allowing you to define the look of your photo. In addition to adjusting elements, VSCO offers stunning filters. You can browse a stunning array of preset packs available for purchase in the in-App store. From vivid colors to faded black and whites, the store offers the best mobile presets on the market.
Afterlight is the perfect image editing app for quick and straight forward editing. Their simple design, paired with powerful and snappy tools, will give you the look you want in seconds. Afterlight is equipped with 15 adjustment tools, 74 filters, 78 textures, cropping & adjustment tools and frames.
PicTapGo offers an array of filters, with the ability to store your favorite combination of filters as Recipes. Your “Recipes” folder will contain your saved recipes, as well as the last three recipes in your History. PicTapGo learns what you love and will place your most frequently used filters in the “My Style” folder.
Have a different favorite photo editing app? Let us know in the comments below.
On a recent trip to New Orleans, I stopped in the newsstand at the airport to pick up a copy of Entrepreneur. I was thrilled by the fact that almost every article made mention of social media. From Millenials in the workplace exchanging social media tips for mentorship to new apps, social media content was woven into the entire magazine. Social media is own category on Forbes.com, articles about social media are featured on Fast Company daily and news outlets like Social Media Today are devoted entirely to the field. It's safe to say that social media is here to stay and it is vital to your business!
Here is a list of 7 benefits to hiring a social media manager for your business via Small Business Trends.
1. Business Marketing
Business marketing is an important benefit of hiring a social media agency. Our agency promotes products and services of a company by devising effective strategies. Marketing is the main function of a social media agency. We manage a brand’s presence on all social networking sites while working to get the attention of the maximum audience possible.
2. Building Brand Recognition
We are dedicated to getting a brand widely recognized on all social media platforms, and to getting your brand talked about among influencers. Not every individual is aware of social media trends and changing techniques. So, it’s useful to hire an agency to take your brand to the next level. We know where to start, which platforms to use, and which type of content. It can take all of this knowledge to get your brand before its desired audience.
3. Getting Clientele
No matter how big or small you business may be, we will concentrate and making your brand more accessible. For this, our agency can engage social media managers to carry on social media activities, create posts, do sharing, likes, and tweets etc. The emphasis is on capturing visitors’ attention and turning them into buyers or permanent clients. The service helps to generate traffic for a Web business and to improve brand recognition. These are the things, of course, that will lead to more customers or clientele.
4. Projecting Brand Values
We are skilled at projecting and maintaining the value associated with your brand. This includes promoting the emotional, practical and other benefits of a company, product or service. Social media managers are trained to promote the positive images of your brand, without compromising brand values. We are also skilled at helping social media users discover these values in a way most convenient for them.
5. Brand Promotion
Brand promotion is the top concern of any social media agency. And hiring an agency can be the most effective way of promoting your brand across all channels, not just well-known networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+. There are many other channels like Pinterest, Flickr, Instagram, and Stumble Upon.
6. Dealing with Competition
We are skilled at dealing with competitive environments. So hiring an agency will help your business not only promote its brand, products and services but help place it ahead of other brands of similar or equal visibility.
7. Achieving Goals in Less Time
The ultimate goal of a social media agency is to help a business effectively promote its brand across social media channels more effectively in less time. This can ultimately save a business time and money by outsourcing a time consuming but necessary part of the marketing process letting a company focus on what they do best, providing quality goods or services.
It can often be advantageous to hire an outside agency for branding purposes on social media platforms. This allows businesses hand off social media marketing chores to professionals while focusing on what’s most important.