Basic social media marketing tips for small-scale businesses: How to build your brand to reach your target market

With the advent of social media itself, most brands across the globe heavily rely on this powerful marketing tool. It has created a huge impact in the business world, making every life of entrepreneur relatively easier and convenient. Here are the basic, meanwhile, helpful tips you might want to consider:

 

Image source: pixabay.com

 

Establish business goals

 

Social media – a business platform that has a lot to offer in terms of business ideas and marketing schemes. In which you must certain your goals and objectives, beforehand. Realistically, the business may rise and fall every now and then, but having a clear direction to where your business is heading in, can help you achieve a positive outcome and reap future rewards.

 

 

Optimize social media presence

 

Being the most efficient and effective marketing tool in terms of cost and convenience nowadays, it becomes relatively easier to make your brand visible to your customers worldwide. Optimizing social media presence may take time, but let it be the large chunk of your entire investment without putting your money at risk.

 

Understand your customer’s behavior

 

Apart from learning the demographics of your targeted customer, it is vital to understand their buying behavior online, which includes their habits, needs and wants. Customer satisfaction is highly important. It can also be a key to establish a long-term relationship with them.

 

Repost: How elite investors use artificial intelligence and machine learning to gain an edge

Many large financial firms are eyeing AI because of it’s significant potential in the industry. According to Christine Qi, Domeyard’s co-founder and partner, “We rely on the help of machines to make easier and faster predictions of what will happen in the next second or minute.” Find out on CNN Business for more insights:

 

Artificial intelligence and machine learning might sound like the stuff of sci-fi movies. But hedge funds, major banks and private equity firms are already deploying next-generation technologies to gain an edge.

 

Citigroup (C) uses machine learning to make portfolio recommendations to clients. High-frequency trading firms rely on machine learning tools to rapidly read and react to financial markets. And quant shops like PanAgora Asset Management have developed complex algorithms to test sophisticated investment ideas.

 

“It takes emotion out of it. Everything is rational,” Mike Chen, an equity portfolio manager at Boston-based PanAgora, told CNN Business from the sidelines of the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit in Grand Cayman.

“We’re not crazy pointed-hair scientists,” said Chen, whose quantitative investment firm manages about $43 billion in assets.

 

Much of the technology that elite investors use isn’t really new. Financial firms are just better able to harness the power of AI and machine learning because today’s computers can process information much faster. And there now exists vastly more data than there did years ago.

 

The rise of machine learning

 

Still, technology is rapidly disrupting the financial industry — and will continue to do so.

 

“The rise of machine learning will really make our industry unrecognizable in the future,” said Anthony Cowell, head of asset management for KPMG in the Cayman Islands. His clients include some of the world’s largest asset managers, hedge funds and private-equity firms.

 

For instance, Citi Private Bank has deployed machine learning to help financial advisors answer a question they’re frequently asked: What are other investors doing with their money? By using technology, the bank can anonymously share portfolio moves being made by clients all over the planet.

 

“Traditionally that kind of information was sourced from your network. You might have had a few coffees or heard about it over a cocktail,” Philip Watson, head of the global investment lab at Citi and chief innovation officer at Citi Private Bank, told CNN Business. “Now, we can share insight that is very valuable.”

 

Citi also built a recommender engine that uses machine learning tools to advise clients. The platform recommends tailored research reports, solutions and even alerts clients of major events such as the maturity of a bond in their portfolio.

 

 

Continue reading HERE.

 

 

Repost: February’s Market: Volatility, Geopolitics And Earnings Are On Watch

Here’s the latest global stock market and economic updates from Forbes:

 

  • Brexit, Shutdown Add to Uncertainty
  • Earnings Season Kicks Off on Mixed Note
  • Fed Takes a Backseat in Investor Concerns
  • Treasuries Buck Economic Trends
  • It’s not too early to prepare for Tax season

 

Michael Nagle/Bloomberg© 2019 Bloomberg Finance LP

 

February could bring a heaping plate of geopolitical drama to markets around the world, potentially helping to end a brief calm that settled over January.

 

As the month starts, markets were basking in the Federal Reserve’s decision to hold interest rates steady, along with better than expected earnings results from Boeing and Apple. In fact, many Wall Street analysts have indicated they now expect no interest rate increase at all this year after the Fed said it will remain “patient.” So stocks begin February propelled in part by the ongoing earnings season and the Fed’s dovish tone.

 

Still, several question marks hover over the next few weeks. First, the U.S. and China only have about four weeks until their self-imposed early March deadline to get some sort of trade agreement in the books, or we could see tariffs jump. Of course, any more trade tension could likely put the market in a tailspin in both countries and perhaps around the world. As of late January, optimism seeped in around positive developments, but there was no word of an imminent deal.

 

That’s just one reason why volatility—which surged in December as investors fretted about a possible global economic slowdown—could once again become a factor into February. The markets spent January recovering from December’s sell-off, but as a new month begins nothing is certain. Even the government shutdown—which ended with stopgap funding through Feb. 15—could resurface if lawmakers don’t agree on an immigration and border security deal.

 

As of late January, the S&P 500 Index was up approximately 7% year to date, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up about 7.2% and the Nasdaq was up 8.2%. At the end of last year, key sectors like info tech, financials, and transports had remained under pressure, signs that investors apparently had doubts about U.S. and global economic growth. But those sectors showed much more buoyancy throughout January. The fact that COMP is leading the major indices might be an early sign of investors starting to embrace more risk, since it’s dominated by tech and biotech names. In addition, the small-cap Russell 2000 had the best start to a year since 1987.

 

Continue reading HERE for more insights.

Repost: Global Markets Rally February

For the latest global market and economic updates, check out LOM Financial:

 

Image source: LOM Financial

 

Global markets rallied last week. The MSCI World Index gained 1.43% while the SPX Index gained 1.62%. The ex-US markets were a bit more subdued. The Nikkei was flat 0.08% (in local currency), and the FTSE Euro ETFs (reported in USD) gained 0.95%.

 

Weakness in China

The week opened down as weakness in China caused chipmaker NVIDIA (-9.63%) and construction company Caterpillar (-4.35%) lowered profits forecasts. A sizeable portion of revenues, 70% and 22% are attributable to the Asian region for NVIDIA and Caterpillar, respectively.

 

United States Government Shutdown Ended

The longest government shutdown in US history ended after a 35-day standoff. The Congressional Budget office estimated the shutdown cost $11 Billion in economic activity. ABC News polls showed the average American was disproportionately blaming Trump and the Republican party. Unsurprisingly, this was split along party lines with independents explaining the difference. Ending the shutdown backfired amongst the President’s base, who view this as an outmanoeuvring by the opposition. We should see some makeup on spending since paychecks have been restored, though some of that spending will not be recovered. This is unlikely to have an impact on the 2020 elections as we are too far out.

 

Macroeconomic Data

Macroeconomic data was generally positive, beating or meeting expectations in 73.5% of key global metrics. This should reinforce the notion that part of this rally is justified.

 

 

Continue reading here for more insights.

Repost: 11 best safe investments with decent return in 2019

Choosing the right and safe investments is quite tricky, especially during volatile times in the market. These low-risk investment recommendations from Bankrate might help you decide which investment you must consider to meet your financial goals.

 

Runstudio/Getty Images

 

Why low-risk investments?

After a volatile end to 2018, wary investors may be searching for stability in 2019. Even for aggressive stock market fiends, an investment portfolio that’s diversified with less-risky assets is vital to ensure your earnings see growth over time.

What to consider

The trade-off, of course, is that in lowering risk exposure, investors are likely to see lower returns over the long run. That may be fine if your goal is to preserve capital and maintain a steady flow of interest income. But if you’re looking for growth, consider investing strategies that match your long-term goals.

Risk tolerance and time horizon play big roles in deciding how to allocate your investments. Conservative investors or those near retirement may be more comfortable allocating a larger percentage of their portfolios to less-risky investments to minimize risk. These are also great for people saving for short term (about five years or fewer) or intermediate (around a decade) goals.

Those with stronger stomachs and workers still accumulating a retirement nest egg probably can fare better with riskier accounts, as long as they diversify. Be prepared to do your homework and shop around for the accounts that fit both your short- and long-term goals.

If you’re looking to minimize your portfolio’s risk, here are a few of the safest investments to consider.

Overview: best investments in 2019

1. Certificates of deposit

Certificates of deposit, or CDs, are issued by banks and generally offer a higher interest rate than savings accounts.

 

These federally insured time deposits have specific maturity dates that can range from several weeks to several years. Because these are “time deposits,” you cannot withdraw the money for a specified period of time without penalty.

 

The financial institution pays you interest at regular intervals. Once the CD matures, you get your original principal back plus any accrued interest. Today you can earn as high as nearly 3 percent interest.

 

Risks: CDs are considered safe investments. However, they do carry reinvestment risk — the risk that when interest rates fall, investors will earn less when they reinvest principal and interest in new CDs with lower rates. The opposite risk is that rates will rise and investors won’t be able to take advantage because they’ve already locked their money into a CD.

 

Consider laddering CDs — investing money in CDs of varying terms — so that all your money isn’t tied up in one instrument for a long time. CD returns are inching up as interest rates are on the rise, but it’s important to note that inflation and taxes could significantly erode the purchasing power of your return.

 

Liquidity: CDs aren’t as liquid as savings accounts or money market accounts because you tie up your money until the CD reaches maturity — often for months or years. It’s possible to get at your money sooner, but generally you’ll pay a penalty.

 

 

For more investment ideas, continue reading HERE.

Repost: Oil CEO says prices are more likley to hit $90 than $40 during 2019

Here’s more update from CNBC for Oil prices:

 

Image source: pexels.com

 

Oil prices should sit around the $60 to $80 a barrel range throughout 2019 with volatility set to remain in the energy markets, Crescent Petroleum’s chief executive told CNBC Thursday.

 

Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Majid Jafar, CEO of the United Arab Emirates-based oil and natural gas producer, said prices were subject to huge fluctuations and predicting prices was as hard as it had ever been.

 

“(Prices are) the most volatile in 30 years. That’s partly because of certain tweets but also because there isn’t much spare capacity and that’s where you see volatility,” he said.

 

 

Jafar said he remained optimistic of a trade deal between the U.S and China and that the global economy was still growing “pretty well.” The CEO said that should provide a decent base for oil prices across the 2019 calendar year.

 

“It will be in this $60 to $80 range. It will be volatile, but $90 is more likely than $40,” he said.

 

 

Continue reading HERE.

Repost: 2019 Real Estate Forecast: What Home Buyers, Sellers And Investors Can Expect

Real estate is arguably the largest industries in most developed countries across the globe. Thus, many investors are considering real estate as a great long-term investment option. If you’re planning to invest this year, learn more on Forbes:

 

An illustration of a house sinking into the water.Getty

 

There’s no doubt about it: the 2018 housing market has seen its ups and downs.

The year started with sky-high home prices, historically low mortgage rates and a definitive upper hand for sellers. In recent months though, home price growth has faltered, rates have risen to their highest point in nearly eight years, and favor has started to shift from seller to buyer.

 

Will these trends continue? Will housing experience the same wild ride in the new year? Here’s what experts predict will happen in 2019 real estate market:

 

Mortgage rates will continue rising.

 

“Despite steady climbing for the past two years, mortgage rates remain lower than they were during most of the recession and below average for the type of strong economic growth we’ve been experiencing. That will change in 2019, as the 30-year, fixed rate mortgage reaches 5.8% — territory not seen since the dark days of 2008 when rates were racing downward in response to the housing crisis.” — Aaron Terrazas, director of economic research for Zillow

 

Millennials will keep buying homes — despite those rising rates.

 

“The housing market in 2019 will be characterized by continued rising mortgage rates and surging millennial demand. Rising rates, by making housing less affordable, will likely deter certain potential homebuyers from the market. On the other hand, the largest cohort of millennials will be turning 29 next year, entering peak household formation and home-buying age, and contributing to the increase in first-time buyer demand.” — Odeta Kushi, senior economist for First American

 

“Millennials will continue to make up the largest segment of buyers next year, accounting for 45% of mortgages, compared to 17% of Boomers, and 37% of Gen Xers. While first-time buyers will struggle next year, older Millennial move-up buyers will have more options in the mid-to upper-tier price point and will make up the majority of Millennials who close in 2019. Looking forward, 2020 is expected to be the peak Millennial home buying year with the largest cohort of millennials turning 30 years old. Millennials are also likely to make up the largest share of home buyers for the next decade as their housing needs adjust over time.” — Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com

 

 

Continue reading HERE.

Repost: The 8 Best Retirement Plans to Use in 2019

The best thing to kick off your 2019 is to create a financial plan – especially for your future retirement. Here’s a few recommendations from The Balance:

Image source: pexels.com

 

If you want to retire with the same standard of living in your golden years, it is important to studiously save for retirement. Consistently putting away at least 10% to 15% of your income every payday should put you on track to a great retirement.

 

The best type of retirement plan for a large number of Americans is the 401(k) plan. This type of retirement plan is named for its section of the IRS code that explains how it all works. Most importantly, you should understand your investment options, how your retirement plan influences your taxes, and how to get the biggest impact from every dollar of retirement savings.

 

Depending on your employer, you may or may not have access to this type of retirement plan. Many education workers rely on a 403(b) plan, which has similar rules. Public employees of government agencies typically have a 457 plan in addition to a pension. But 401(k) plans are the biggest and most common employer-sponsored retirement plan.

 

If you are a small business owner, an HR manager evaluating 401(k) providers, or an in-demand worker comparing multiple job offers, it helps to understand the criteria that make a retirement plan the best retirement plan.

 

When looking at 401(k) plans, try to find one that minimizes fees while maximizing investment choices across diverse, low-fee mutual funds and/or ETFs that align with your needs. For this reason, some of the biggest investment brokerages and mutual fund providers set the standard for the best retirement plans available today. And the difference between expensive plans and low-cost plans can easily lead to tens of thousands of dollars in your retirement, if not more. A recent study found the average fee is around 1% of assets, but high-quality plans charge significantly less.

 

It’s also important to consider employer matching. This is up to your employer, not the plan provider, but it’s an incredibly valuable piece of the total compensation puzzle and you’ll want to keep it in mind. Many large employers match around 3% to 6% of an employees gross pay.

 

Now that you know more about what to look for in a 401(k) plan, which is very similar to a 403(b) or 457 plan for education and government workers respectively, here is a list of the best retirement plan providers you can choose today.

Continue reading HERE.

Repost: A Volatile Start to 2019

The stock market had a rough year ender just last month. Check out today how the market kick off 2019 on LOM Financial:

 

 

We started 2019 with a rollercoaster in the stock market. The S&P ended the week up 1.90% while the MSCI World Index gained 1.81% in the shortened trading week. Emerging markets were up 1.15%.

 

Apple Cuts Guidance

Apple cut its revenues forecast for the first time in 16 years as the Chinese market slowed and demand for the iPhone dropped off. There may be a bit more going on here. Apple products have been a status symbol over the past decade. Part of this was well deserved. Apple was one of the first companies to implement a touch screen display and helped innovate the $0.99 song (compared to buying a collection on a CD). Their innovation had allowed them to charge a premium for their phones. At this phase in development, the company has innovated less. The Apple Watch and various minor changes to the phone and tablet space are not providing the same levels of growth for the company.

 

Apples decision to push off 5G integration makes sense for the US markets. The infrastructure is still being developed state side. Internationally, this strategy places Apple at a disadvantage. For those looking to replace their phones, a 5G ready device should be more desirable as it can operate at 10x the speed of a 4G network. The average life of a cell phone is a little over 2 years. Why would someone buy a phone that costs more and is 1/10th the speed of a generic brand? Apple is aiming to transition into a more services driven brand though it is unclear what that will look like.

 

Continue reading HERE.

 

 

 

 

Today’s Most Dominant Tech Giants in the Stock Market

Historically, Technology is one of the largest sectors based on its economic growth globally. In fact, its profitability continues to rise in recent years, generating billions of revenue each year. And, who would have thought that these tech companies will become the world’s largest stock markets, today? 

 

Image source: pexels.com

 

 

  1. Apple

This iconic technology company has made a large impact in history. With its greatest innovations from devices to software products, Apple is now considered as one of the largest and most valuable publicly traded corporations across the globe. In addition, Apple was able to reach $1 trillion dollar market cap valuation in early August.

 

  1. Amazon

Amazon plays a significant role in both technology and e-commerce industry. Apart from being a relatively huge online retailer, this tech company became a favorite shopping destination by most consumers especially in the U.S., nowadays. In 2017, Amazon’s revenue has skyrocketed to $177.9 billion.

 

 

  1. Microsoft

A well-known Washington based Technology Company that focuses on developing advanced computer software, for decades. With over $110 billion in revenue as of this year. Despite the constant market volatility lately, Microsoft has remained robust and firm to continuously attract many investors.