A complete guide to Bitcoin


Over the past several years, a new type of currency has become popular. Bitcoin has been discussed in purchases of several items since its debut several years ago. One of its advantages is the ability to be used virtually. But, what is it, exactly? This following information will explain what Bitcoin is, how its price is affected, and how it can be used.

What Is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin has established itself as a popular – yet controversial – virtual currency for over five years. But, what exactly is it? According to The Telegraph, Bitcoin is a digital currency that is used for secure payments using “decentralized technology,” and it doesn’t require banks or people’s names. One of the reasons it was introduced in the first place was to “liberate money” just like the internet liberated information.

What Is It For?

This type of currency is used because people see value in government-free currency, which isn’t charged by banks for its use. It has been used for private, and anonymous transactions. However, there have been some negative ties to it. It is the payment of choice for illegal transactions including drug deals.

Yet, there have been numerous positive reasons to use it. It has helped to fund companies, invest cash, and transfer funds. It’s all done without paying any fees like you normally would with a bank. It can also be spent online, and at certain retailers.

Still, others are holding on to their bitcoins in the same way that people keep stocks. Since its price fluctuates, people can net huge gains. In fact, early investors have done just that.

How Does It Work?

Bitcoin works on a blockchain, which keeps track of all the transactions on a decentralized record. All bitcoin users have access to, and can update, this record.

In order to get involved, a user must generate a block on the network, which uses the user’s computer power. Doing so allows them to create the block, which lets the user earn “money” by keeping the network running. However, there are limits, which protect the value from being diluted.

Its Worth

For those that are skeptical of it’s value, there are some interesting statistics. As of July 2017, one Bitcoin’s value was estimated to be $1,268, which was more than one ounce of gold at the time. However, things have changed since then.

The Price 

Just prior to Christmas 2017, interest for Bitcoin decreased, and the price plummeted. It went from a high value of $20,000 to approximately $14,000, which has sparked trades, and concern. The price has fluctuated since its debut several years ago. While some are concerned about a “Bitcoin Bubble”, others see this as just the beginning for the currency.

Is It Worth The Investment?

One of the best things about Bitcoin is that users won’t have to deal with fraud or theft since it’s decentralized. Additionally, investors have seen huge gains of over $1,000. In fact, if you invested that much in 2013, you might be a millionaire today. However, it is worth repeating the price is volatile just like most stocks. So, patience could yield a big reward.


While Bitcoin has caused a conundrum for some, others are starting to see the value in the alternative currency. It’s independence from other forms of payment has sparked curiosity, and interest. The ability to pay for things without worrying about fees is a definite plus. However, like a stock, its volatile value makes it problematic for others. The information given in this guide should help answer the basic questions, which should allow you to delve deeper into your own personal investment adventure.

Best Social Media Practices For Your Franchise

Social media has transformed the way we do business. For example – word of mouth referrals have always been powerful. But it’s faster and easier to do so now when you can instantly post an opinion about a brand to your Facebook feed. And customers don’t make a referral decision based solely on experiences in brick and mortar stores. In fact 71% of customers are likely to recommend a company after having a positive experience on social media.


And this is only one of the MANY ways that social media has revolutionized sales and business. Whether your business is about to launch a profile, or want to improve on your current one – a great starting point is to study best practices. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel! Here are some social media best practices for your franchise:

  1. Choose The Right Social Network

Logically you’re going to reach the most people by being on EVERY social media site, right? Well maybe…but it’s more complicated than that. But content is not universal. Narrowing your focus gives you more time to curate posts that will be successful on THAT PLATFORM specifically. Just look at the differences between Twitter and Instagram. Instagram is an image-driven platform, while Twitter is focused on what’s relevant RIGHT NOW and communicating short, easy to digest messages.

If you are unsure which social network to focus on, just look at your franchise’s specific demographics. You want to be where they are.

  1. Take Part in “Social Listening”

Being interactive on social media isn’t just about posting content. It’s also about consuming content to better understand your customer. Listen when users tweet about your brand and point out issues. Instead of ignoring it as someone just ranting on the internet, ask yourself if there is some merit behind their criticism- especially if it’s a complain that you keep seeing again and again. You also have a chance to directly respond and ask follow-up questions, making them feeling heard and possibly even swaying their opinion

  1. Focus on Engaging

Of course you want more customers from being active on social media. But when that’s your number one focus – consumers can tell. They’re already being sold to by countless internet ads. If they’ve come to your social media page, they want to find some insight about your brand. They’re looking at the value you can offer them and how you treat customers. Social media is NOT the same as a sales call. 

  1. Be Consistent

Brands often choose one person to run their social media because this encourages consistency. Social media is the face of your brand. Let’s say your demographic is “hip and trendy.” So you post something with emojis and cheat speak to try to reach your consumer. But your NEXT post is long-winded, all text, with 4+ syllable words. See how this would confuse a user? You want to find a voice consumers can easily recognize.

  1. Humanize Your Brand

Social media is your chance to be stand out and form a relationship with your consumer. By responding to questions and complaints, you aren’t just a faceless company selling to the masses. Instead you’re creating personal experiences that build trust and credibility. It’s not just about responding – if you copy the same message over and over to every comment, you’re not truly interacting. But if you take the time to individually reply to feedback, your customers WILL take notice.


Success on social media is all about utilizing your magic formula. What does your franchise offer that no other brand does? Once you’ve answered that, you can figure out how to communicate it through content. Create a good social media experience, and you’ll attract loyal customers who refer you time and time again.

Pinterest Holiday Marketing Guide

Screen Shot 2017-01-19 at 1.02.39 PM

Pinterest is a powerful social media channel that maximizes marketing efforts. Using the power of Pinterest to boost your brand awareness is especially important during the holiday season.

There are more than 100 million users you can reach on the social media platform. And if your demographic is happens to be women, Pinterest is a valuable asset since 70 percent of their users are women.

Pinterest Leads the Social Media Marketing Charge this Holiday Season

Pinterest has become also surpassed Facebook and Twitter when it comes to revenue per click. On average, Pinterest users stay on site for 15 minutes with 75 percent of users making purchases.

Holiday Pins are certainly a valuable asset to your brand. It is estimated that 38 million people have saved holiday related Pins. Creating a holiday inspired Pinterest board is simply marketing gold.

A few fantastic holiday themed board ideas include:

  • “Pin the Halls” board
  • Holiday party decorations and festive themes like “Bad Santa” sweater party ideas
  • The 12 days of Christmas
  • Best holiday houses
  • Funniest or most bizarre holiday family photos
  • Holiday pets

Make Your Pinterest Holiday Marketing Plan a Success

There are a few important Pinterest strategies you should add to your holiday marketing strategy.

  1. Create Mobile Friendly Pins

Making your Pins mobile friendly is best practice, since 80 percent of Pinterest traffic is via mobile devices.

  1. Focus on Your Images

Pinterest is image driven, and if your images are uninspiring, so will be your brand engagement. Image Pins without faces net 23 percent more Pins.

  1. Make a Price Point Pins

When planning your holiday marketing strategy for Pinterest, ensure you add your prices. Research found that Pins with prices get 36 percent more likes.

  1. Pin Five Times a Day

The amount of Pins per day is another element of creating brand awareness this holiday season. Studies have found that five Pins per day is the magic number. And Saturday was found to have the most impact.

  1. Have Pinterest Sales and Giveaways

The holiday season encompasses gift giving, and everyone likes a good sale or giveaway. Multi-day giveaways are great for engaging with your audience. And having Pinterest only sales will generate more re-Pins from your followers who want to unlock your sales codes.

Leveraging Pinterest effectively this holiday season will increase traffic, drive engagement, and create a powerful call to action.

Check out all the wonderful ways you can boost your holiday marketing with this informational infographic by Brilliance:


QR codes, SMS & NFC, Oh My! How to Boost Mobile Conversion Rates

We’re not just interested in a quick way to transmit a clever ad slogan anymore. It’s much more than that. Brands are taking on complex personas, and brand recognition occurs not with a jingle, but with just a few notes. Messages are getting shorter, and tools like the QR code, the SMS, and the NFC are becoming vitally important with a growing m-commerce market.

In a survey of 1,000 consumers conducted by Lightspeed Research for Accenture. Fifty six percent of consumers said that mobile devices make the shopping experience more enjoyable.

According to a 2013 study by McKinsey, m-commerce is a big deal. It says:

“Now totaling $200 billion in global transaction value, mobile commerce is projected to grow by 35 percent annually over the next five years.”

There are three prevailing methods of reaching this market.


The SMS (Short Message Service) has been around since the early 2000’s and is still effective. They can send a short and clever slogan in a quick message, but can also contain links to redirect the user to a sight of interest. SMS services are simpler, do not require scanning technology and are often more compatible with devices in less developed parts of the world. This is important for marketers involved in international sales. And although simple in principle, it’s evolved to include services like “short codes”. A customer will receive an ad with an abbreviated number with which to become engaged with a brand. Besides messaging, it’s a way for marketers to attract visitors and redirect them to more content about your brand. Examples include:


Beyond words: One-dimensional barcodes were a great innovation, used for attaching product data to goods in a store, to make checkout at the register quick and easy. It also tracks a parcel of mail to your door. Because the amount of information was limited, it evolved into a two-dimensional “quick response” (QR) codes which could contain more information in a smaller area. As soon as smartphones had the ability to scan, the potential was quickly apparent and a new marketing philosophy was born. Now, you can easily create a QR code (for free) and get it out there quickly.


More localized communication: A more sophisticated form of communication is beginning to compete with the QR code. Near field communication (NFC) allows a user to wave a smartphone over a NFC compatible device, to send information: shipping addresses, locations, even business tools like invoices. There are no visual cues required and is easier to use than an optical scanner. Examples of applications include:

  • Grocery store checkout
  • Public service announcements on busses or trains
  • Secure online payments
  • Tagging exhibits at car shows or museums with a description/explanation

QR codes, SMS and NFC are inexpensive, effective, and easy to use technologies. In a nutshell, they boost mobile conversion rates because of how quickly the customer can become engaged. Keep that in mind when using them.

  • They should be easy to use and even easier for the user to become engaged.
  • Make them fun to use. This is a great way to entice visitors to engage in fun activities like Ikea’s Facebook tagging promotion, for example.
  • As with any other ad campaign, keep your returning customers in mind. This may be an opportunity to reward repeat customers. Increasing your customer retention by 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%.

Mobile conversions are now the first topic of conversation among experienced entrepreneurs with regard to sales. We know that when engaging customers, time is critical. The number of words and the quality of your message means the difference between a curious click and a sale. That said, it makes perfect sense that mobile marketing is eclipsing all other methods of customer engagement, and those who provide online business tools must be prepared for it.

Will the Mobile Revolution Smother the Trusty Desktop? | The State of 2015 E-Commerce

If a desktop computer could wear clothes, it would arise every morning at 6:30 a.m., don a blue shirt and khaki slacks, and hum the “Green Acres” theme song on its way to work – which is at Microsoft, of course. If a smartphone could choose its attire, it would look like a GQ hipster and wear a jacket in summer before it was cool.

This is serious stuff. Global business-to-customer (B2C) e-commerce reached sales of $1.5 trillion in 2014. Now drum roll please and a quick check of the sales analytics, in the United States, customers spent an estimated $480 billion on online sales. E-commerce has passed the tipping point to become mainstream, and its success depends on these two players: the white-collar PC and the urbane smartphone. Come 2015, what part will desktop devices, mobile phones, and shopping cart interface play in e-commerce?

Mobile and Desktop Device Ownership
In 1973, Motorola unveiled the world’s first smartphone for $3,995. That’s more than $21,000 in modern U.S. dollars. Today, everyone and his mother have phones. Ninety percent of Americans – and practically everyone under 49 – owns a cell phone. Eighty-three percent of those under the age of 29 own a smartphone, like an Android or an iPhone. The more urban, male, educated and affluent a person is, the more likely he is to own a smartphone. Differences in ownership by gender and ethnicity are negligible.

The mobile device newcomer is the tablet. In 2013, 200 million were sold. By 2017, pundits expect annual tablet sales to surpass one billion. That means one out of seven people, across the entire earth, would own a tablet. Approximately 12 percent of all time spent browsing the Internet occurs on tablets, and as will be seen, it is rapidly becoming the superstar of online shopping.

In the personal computer (PC) world, the three big players are Lenovo, HP and Dell. All report a dim future for the traditional desktop computer. The lion’s share of 2014 PC sales went to corporate businesses running large programs that require a PC, like companion diagnostics programs and personal medicine analysis, and the occasional cult of college gamers. For 2015, many predict that more people will buy tablets – not to mention smartphones – in lieu of traditional desktops and notebooks.

Synopsis: The PC is on its last tottering legs. The smartphone reigns king, and the tablet is the popular new kid on the block. Should businesses, therefore, spend the extra money to optimize website navigation and presentation for PC operating systems to entice business customers? Or should they build responsive websites and mobile shopping carts to woo the Millennial generation?

Mobile and Desktop Device Internet Usage
The third week of August 2014 held the answer. For the first time since mankind found caves, mobile devices brought more traffic to online stores than did computers.

Now, that trend comes with a soup of caveats. More desktop shoppers, for instance, used traditional search engines like Google and Bing, whereas mobile users preferred social media outlets like Facebook. That, too, comes with caveats. Antique collectibles and digital cameras are often purchased through Facebook. Home furnishings and specialty gifts, however, rarely are.

Here’s the biggest caveat of all: Mobile users may bring more traffic to online stores, but desktop users are more likely to push the buy button. Smartphone conversion rates often fall below one percent. Analogous tablet and desktop rates hover between two and three percent. This trend could be due to a dozen annoyances. Smartphones take longer to load web pages. Tablets can showcase more data per page. Desktop connections are viewed as more secure. Smartphones don’t have keyboards. Et cetera.

Perhaps the reason is simpler. Recent studies show that 77 percent of mobile users blame a poor or unsatisfying viewing or navigation experience with their unwillingness to buy from a site. For many businesses, responsive websites remain an afterthought designed for looks rather than ease of navigation. Building data-heavy interactive smartphone websites, therefore, could instantly improve conversion.

It is all well and good to know this information for the coming year. But how can a business get the data instantaneously, without waiting for pundits to crunch the numbers and paint ‘em pretty?

E-Commerce Software Programs
Meet Shopify, e-commerce software. Programs like Shopify allow users to monitor site traffic, visitor demographics, conversion rates and other metrics from the backend. It is like a digital surveillance program that does the math automatically.

A user can also hook up Shopify to third-party providers to exploit extra data. For example, a small business owner can create a dashboard with self-service analytics that enables her to transform her raw Shopify backend data into crisp, clean graphs. She can use these graphs to identify peak shopping season, customer demographic data, and her most effective marketing channels.

The mobile revolution has not yet claimed total victory. Desktop PCs, smartphones and tablets all bring billions to digital shelves. The savvy entrepreneur, therefore, will target all three devices – and buy an e-commerce dashboard to catch and crunch the salient numbers.

Image source: https://stocksnap.io/photo/VVSESFW1MS

Last updated by at .