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Businesses are slowly transitioning to the Internet and many people know by now that social media is a great place to advertise.

Customers can reach out to business owners directly and list any concerns they may have with the product. In addition, building a strong fan base is essential to establishing a social media presence and a loyal following.

Take a look at makeup brands such as Pixi or KKW — not only do they post regularly and engage with followers, but they also partner up with other influencers to raise sales and recognition. You can link products directly from an Instagram post or swipe up on Stories to go to a specific page.

However, this may seem pretty daunting — and the truth is, it can be very hard to start out on your own platform. Here are seven tips you should absolutely follow to make your voice heard.

Research your platform

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If you don't have any experience with social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, make sure to do your homework. Most of these sites have business tools you can utilize to your advantage. Pay attentions to how other successful brands are posting and find trending hashtags and themes.

Research your competitors or others in your industry — what are they doing successfully? Don't copy them outright, but try and understand what's working for them and how you can replicate it for your brand.

Build your personality

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No one wants a plain old businessman — or woman — trying to sell them something. You want to create a brand for yourself, or rather, a personality for your followers to latch onto. For example, if you're business focuses on health and good living, try building your brand around inspirational quotes and pictures. Let your culture and personality show through your social media presence.

Post consistently

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You can't expect results in just a few weeks — be consistent in your posting and your community outreach. Find people and businesses similar to your target demographic to follow, learn from, and engage on your own platform.

Target your audience

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If your brand is selling all things baby-related, narrow down your search to parents, grandparents or prospective mothers. Facebook has business tools that allow you to choose your target demographic from age, education level, job, salary, interests and more. Narrowing down your customer base will help inform your branding strategies.

Partner up

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If you have friends or acquaintances that own successful social platforms, call in a favor for a shoutout or a feature on their page. If you don't know anyone like that, many pages will do the same for a price — depending on how popular they are. This tactic will likely gain you followers, and in return, a bigger customer base.

One thing that is not recommended is buying followers — not only is it completely untrustworthy and discredits your brand, but these are not real people you can sell to, thus this will not aid in growing your business.

Use social media tools

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You may not have time to manage your social platforms for hours every day, so use apps that can do it for you. There are tools to help you plan your Instagram feed so that everything stays aesthetically pleasing and ordered, like Preview. This app even lets you schedule posts at the most optimal times during the day to increase views.

When growing your brand and your audience, the most important thing to keep in mind is that growth won't come in a day. Most brands take months and even years to develop, but once you have a small fan base, it's easier to grow.

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Over the past month, both Haiti and Afghanistan have been pummeled by tragic disasters that left devastation in their wake.

In Haiti, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake erupted, leading over to 2,189 deaths and counting. A few hours later, in Afghanistan, Kabul fell to the Taliban just after U.S. troops had pulled out after 20 years of war.

In many ways, these disasters are both chillingly connected to US interference. The United States invaded Haiti in 1915, ostensibly promising to restore order after a presidential assassination but really intending to preserve the route to the Panama Canal and to defend US creditors, among other reasons.

But the US forces soon realized that they were not able to control the country alone, and so formed an army of Haitian enlistees, powered by US air power and intended to quell Haitian insurrection against US controls. Then, in 1934, the US pulled out on its own, disappointed with how slow progress was going. Haiti's institutions were never really able to rebuild themselves, leaving them immensely vulnerable to natural disasters.

Something similar happened in Afghanistan, where the US sent troops and supported an insurgent Afghan army – only to pull out, abandoning the country they left in ruins, with many Afghans supporting the Taliban.

In both cases, defense contractors benefited by far the most from the conflict, making billions in profits while civilians faced fallout and devastation. While the conflicts and circumstances are extremely different and while the US is obviously not solely to blame for either crisis, it's hard not to see the US-based roots of these disasters.

Today, in Haiti and Afghanistan, civilians are facing unimaginable tragedy.

Here are charities offering support in Afghanistan:

1. The International Rescue Committee is looking to raise $10 million to deliver aid directly to Afghanistan

2. CARE is matching donations for an Afghanistan relief fund. They are providing food, shelter, and water to families in need; a donation of $89.50 covers 1 family's emergency needs for a month.

3. Women for Women International is matching donations up to 500,000 for Afghan women, who will be facing unimaginable horrors under Taliban control.


4. AfghanAid offers support for people living in remote regions of Afghanistan.

5. VitalVoices supports female leaders and changemakers and survivors of gender-based violence around the world.

Here are charities offering support in Haiti:

1. Partners in Health has been working with Haiti for a long time, and they work with the Department of Health rather than around them, which is extremely important in a charity.

2. Health Equity International helps run Saint Boniface Hospital, a hospital in Haiti close to the earthquake's epicenter.

3. SOIL is an organization based Haiti, "a local organization with a track record of supporting after natural disasters." They are distributing hygiene kits and provisions on the ground to hospitals and to victims of the earthquake.

4. Hope for Haiti has been working in emergency response in Haiti for three decades, and their team is comprised of people who live and work in Haiti. They focus on supporting children and people in need across Haiti.

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When the new Tiffany's campaign was unveiled, reactions were mixed.

Tiffany's, the iconic jewelry brand which does not (despite what some might be misled to believe) in fact serve breakfast, featured Jay Z, Beyoncé, and a rare Basquiat painting in their recent campaign.

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Road trips can be a lot of fun — but they can also drain your wallet quickly if you aren't careful.

From high gas costs and park admission fares to lodging and the price of eating out every night, the expenses can add up quickly. But at the same time, it's very possible to do road trips cheaply and efficiently. Without the headache of worrying about how much money you're leaking, you can enjoy the open road a whole lot more. Here's how to save money on a road trip.

1. Prepare Your Budget, Route, and Packing List in Advance

If you want to save money on a road trip, be sure you're ready to go. Try to count up all your expenses before you hit the road and create a budget. It's also a good idea to plan your route in advance so you don't end up taking unnecessary, gas-guzzling detours. And finally, be sure to pack in advance so you don't find yourself having to buy tons of things you forgot along the way.

2. Book Cheap Accommodations — Or Try Camping

All those motel rooms can add up surprisingly quick, but camping is often cheap or free, and it's a great way to get intimate with the place you're visiting. You can check the Bureau of Land Management's website for free campsites. Freecampsite.com also provides great information on If you don't have a tent or don't want to camp every night, try booking cheap Airbnbs or booking hotels in advance, making sure to compare prices.

Camping camping road tripConde Nast Traveler

If you're planning on sleeping in your car, a few tips: WalMart allows all-night parking, as do many 24-hour gyms. (Buying a membership to Planet Fitness or something like it also gives you a great place to stop, shower, and recharge while on the road).

3. Bring Food From Home

Don't go on a road trip expecting to subsist on fast food alone. You'll wind up feeling like shit, and it'll drain your pocketbook stunningly quickly. Instead, be sure to bring food from home. Consider buying a gas stove and a coffee pot for easy on-the-go meals, and make sure you bring substantial snacks to satiate midday or late night cravings so you can avoid getting those late night Mickey D's expeditions.

Try bringing your own cooler, filling it with easy stuff for breakfast and lunch — some bread and peanut butter and jelly will go a long way. Bring your own utensils, plates, and napkins, and avoid buying bottled water by packing some big water jugs and a reusable water bottle. Alternatively, try staying at hotels or Airbnbs with kitchens so you can cook there.

4. Avoid Tolls

Apps like Google Maps and Waze point out toll locations, so be sure to avoid those to save those pennies. (If it takes you too far off route, you might have to bite the bullet and drive across that expensive bridge).

You can also save on parking fees by using sites like Parkopedia.

Road Trip Road TripThe Orange Backpack


5. Save on Gas

Gas can get pricy incredibly fast, so be sure that you're stopping at cheap gas stations. Free apps like GasBuddy help you find the most affordable gas prices in the area. Also, try going the speed limit on the highways — anything faster will burn through your tank. Be sure that you don't wait till you arrive at touristy locations or big cities to fill up.

6. Get a National Park Pass

All those parks can get really expensive really fast. If you're planning on visiting three or more parks, it's a great idea to get an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass. For $80 you can get into every National Park for one year.