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7 Ways to Get More Engaged Followers on Social Media

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October 16, 2020 6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The pressure of managing your on can get stressful. From planning content ideas to learning new tools and trends and keeping the audience engaged, this may feel like you have plunged into a new job role with no known skill set. 

Related:  22 statistics that prove the value of personal branding

Here are seven ways to accelerate your personal branding from a mediocre to an impressive digital presence. 

1. Crystallize your purpose into content 

After setting an impressive profile picture and writing your bio, you would ask yourself, “What should my first post be about?” Rather than being broadly spontaneous, have a clear vision of defining your purpose to build your personal brand on the digital media and plan your social media content strategy accordingly.

● Create your website to connect with your audience professionally 

● Write blogs to tell your brand story and offer valuable information 

● Build trust by answering questions related to your specialization on social media platforms

● Share photos and video content regularly 

, the founder, effortlessly blends his personality with his professional life by living his brand name each day. From celebrating his employees’ efforts to sharing innovation stories of his business, Branson’s social media content is bold, emotionally appealing, and vividly speaks of his passion.     

Related: Why Building a Personal Brand is More Important Than Ever

2. Beautify content with visuals that create an impact 

Your personal branding should be visually appealing to capture the audience’s attention. As an entrepreneur, you are aware of the undeniable efforts of establishing a business identity, from brainstorming visual designs to writing catchy captions. Your personal branding includes similar elements.

● Create a logo that defines your brand personality 

● Use a consistent color scheme that reflects your brand proposition.

● Create high-quality photo and video content 

● Keep up to the latest digital media trends to enhance your visual content 

Statistics prove that people make a subconscious judgment about a product within 90 seconds of first viewing, and 62- 90 percent of that assessment is based on color alone. 

3. Tailor unique content for different platforms 

It is wise for time-pressed entrepreneurs to be selective of their social media strategy, depending on their business goals and audience. While Facebook and Instagram are ideal for building and attracting leads, LinkedIn and will help to connect with like-minded people and expand your professional network.

Here are three questions to ask before you post on your social media channels:

● Is my content relevant to my target audience on this channel? 

● How should I share content: photos, videos, text, or a combination of all? 

● What are my expectations by posting this content?  

prefers to actively use Twitter and Facebook to engage with her viewers with live polls and questions and later discuss the responses with real-time guests. This selective technique helps Oprah to use interactive tools and techniques to her business advantage and conveniently reach out to her target audience. 

Related: Your Personal Brand is Just as Important as Your Business Brand

4. Engage with your audience 

Your personal branding growth is directly proportionate to the time you invest in engaging with your audience. Influencers, particularly on Instagram and YouTube, make time to respond to the thousands of comments besides sharing content regularly. Digital media today is competitive, and one of the best ways to expand your reach is by interacting with the community of followers you are building. 

According to Mark Roberge, the bestselling author of The Acceleration Formula: Using Data, , and Inbound Selling to go from $0 to $100 Million, “Personal branding is all about building rapport at scale, and rapport is one of the most fundamental sales techniques that veteran salespeople naturally employ to close more deals with less effort.”

Here are some of the simplest ways to build rapport:

● Ask questions to make the audience feel that their opinions matter to you

● Share unique stories that break conventional norms

● Use tools such as polls, questions, and quizzes to encourage participation 

● Go live and spark a conversation with your audience  

● Express your opinions over comments or topics that catch your attention 

5.  Be real 

Digital media makes your personal branding highly transparent to a vast network of people who are observant of your actions, from what you share to how you engage with your audience. According to a study,  94% of customers are likely to be loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency.

Gary Vaynerchuk, New York Times bestselling author, speaker, and Internet personality, says, “You have to understand your own personal DNA. Don’t do things because I do them, or Steve Jobs or Mark Cuban tried it. You need to know your personal brand and stay true to it.”

Here is how you can highlight authenticity in your personal branding efforts 

● Keep your tone of voice consistent across your social media channels

● Share genuine content that makes the audience feel believable about your actions 

● Respond optimistically rather than reacting negatively 
 

6. Share personal experiences with a professional approach 

Personal branding in the digital space is different from your personal social media account, which is private to a close group of people. What you share on your public platform as a part of personal branding is viewed by millions of people and creates an everlasting impression about your personal brand. 

Before you decide to share content, ask yourself:

● What do I wish to gain from this? 

● Does this fit into my personal branding strategy? 

● What values does this reflect about me professionally? 

7. Consistency for the win 

Planning a long-term strategy is imperative to achieve your personal branding goals. Amidst busy schedules, when you tend to lose sight of how to manage your demanding social media branding, take a step back and ask yourself “Why did I start this?” 

Here is what you can do if you feel deadlocked:

● Gain inspiration from social media influencers

● Use apps and tools to organize content for all your social media platforms 

● Keep your goals relevant and straightforward 

● Dedicate time to create content and engage with your audience 

Travel influencers such as Alyssa Ramos have turned their passion for traveling into a full-time business by consistently writing and sharing content. In 2016 alone, Ramos claimed to earn $25,000 by blogging and posting travel-related content on her website and social media platforms.  

Related: How to Build a Business Plan for Your Personal Brand

With a vital purpose and a sense of direction, personal branding on digital media is one of the best ways to get closer to your audience and add value to your business. All you need is the dedication and passion for connecting your brand to the social world. 

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Conservative News Sites Fuel Voter Fraud Misinformation

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In the final stretch of the 2020 campaign, right-leaning news sites with millions of readers have published dozens of false or misleading headlines and articles that effectively back unsubstantiated claims by President Trump and his allies that mail-in ballots threaten the integrity of the election.

The Washington Examiner, Breitbart News, The Gateway Pundit and The Washington Times are among the sites that have posted articles with headlines giving weight to the conspiracy theory that voter fraud is rampant and could swing the election to the left, a theory that has been repeatedly debunked by data.

On Sept. 25, Gateway Pundit posted an article headlined “EXCLUSIVE: California Man Finds THOUSANDS of What Appear to be Unopened Ballots in Garbage Dumpster — Workers Quickly Try to Cover Them Up — We are Working to Verify.” The envelopes turned out to be empty and discarded legally in 2018. Gateway Pundit later updated the headline, but not before its original speculation had gone viral.

The Right Scoop published an article on Oct. 7 headlined “DESTROYED: Tons of Trump mail-in ballot applications SHREDDED in back of tractor-trailer headed for Pennsylvania.” The material was actually printing waste from a direct mail company. The publication later changed the headline to reflect that the claim had been debunked.

Another right-wing site, Daily Wire, posted a Sept. 24 article about ballots in Pennsylvania under the headline “FEDS: Military Ballots Discarded in ‘Troubling’ Discovery. All Opened Ballots were Cast for Trump.” Headlines on the same issue in The Washington Times were similar: “Feds investigating discarded mail-in ballots cast for Trump in Pennsylvania” and “FBI downplays election fraud as suspected ballot issues found in Pennsylvania, Texas.” A Washington Times opinion piece on the matter had the headline “Trump ballots in trash, oh my.”

Several days after the reports, neither Daily Wire nor The Washington Times appeared to follow up with articles on the announcement from Pennsylvania’s elections chief that the discarded ballots were a “bad error” by a seasonal contractor, not “intentional fraud.” Mr. Trump cited the discarded Pennsylvania ballots several times as an example of fraud, including in last month’s presidential debate.

Major polls have shown Mr. Trump lagging the Democratic presidential nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr., in an election that will have significantly more people than usual voting by mail because of the coronavirus. False claims about mail-in voting have been a staple of the president’s campaign. At last month’s debate, he claimed without evidence, “This is going to be a fraud like you’ve never seen.”

In June, Mr. Trump posted on Twitter that “Mail-In Ballots will lead to a RIGGED ELECTION!” He linked to a Breitbart article that included a transcript of Attorney General William P. Barr’s telling the Fox News host Maria Bartiromo that voting by mail “absolutely opens the floodgates to fraud.”

In August, The New York Post published an article that relied on one anonymous source, identified as a Democratic operative, who claimed that he had engaged in voter fraud for decades. The Blaze, Breitbart, Daily Caller, FoxNews.com and The Washington Examiner posted their own versions of the article. It was also promoted by Donald Trump Jr. and his brother Eric, the Trump campaign’s communications team, the “Fox & Friends” television program and Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show, according to a recent Harvard University study.

The Harvard researchers described a “propaganda feedback loop” in right-wing media. The authors of the study, published this month through the school’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, reported that popular news outlets, rather than social media platforms, were the main drivers of a disinformation campaign meant to sow doubts about the integrity of the election.

So far in October, Breitbart has published nearly 30 articles with the tag “voter fraud.” President Trump has posted links to several Breitbart articles on Twitter, including one in August in which a Republican-appointed poll challenger estimated that up to 20,000 absentee primary ballots had been improperly counted in Detroit, a city “known for voting heavily Democrat,” the article said. The Detroit News later reported that election officials in Michigan said the problems “weren’t examples of fraud and don’t call into question the integrity of the results.”

ImageCounting bail-in ballots this month at the Miami-Dade County Elections Department.
Credit…Saul Martinez for The New York Times

As the country faces a third wave of Covid-19 cases, tens of millions of Americans plan to mail their ballots, and more than 25 states have expanded access to universal mail voting. The voting system, stressed by greater demand, has struggled in places with ballots sent to incorrect addresses or improperly filled out. But intentional voter fraud is extremely uncommon and rarely organized, according to decades of research.

That’s true even though specific totals vary depending on the source. Among the billions of votes cast from 2000 to 2012, there were 491 cases of absentee-ballot fraud, according to an investigation conducted at Arizona State University’s journalism school. Election experts have calculated that, in a 20-year period, fraud involving mailed ballots has affected 0.00006 percent of individual votes, or one case per state every six or seven years.

In June, The Washington Post and the nonprofit Electronic Registration information Center analyzed data from three vote-by-mail states and found 372 possible cases of double voting or voting on behalf of dead people in 2016 and 2018, or 0.0025 percent of the 14.6 million mailed ballots.

Some conservative publications have nodded at the scarcity. In an Oct. 1 article about Facebook’s bans of ads that promote a narrative of widespread voter fraud, The Blaze noted “isolated reports of voter fraud in America in recent months.” A Fox News article on the same day pointed out a “false claim” by Mr. Trump that a mail worker in West Virginia had sold ballots. The Fox News article quoted a state official who said the incident had never happened.

Mr. Trump’s effort to discredit mail-in voting follows decades of disinformation about voter impersonation, voting by noncitizens and double voting, often promoted by Republican leaders.

Voting by mail under normal circumstances does not appear to give either major party an advantage, according to a study this spring by Stanford University’s Institute for Economic Policy Research. But many conservative outlets have promoted the idea that fraud involving mailed ballots could tip the scales in favor of Democrats.

Stephen J. Stedman, a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford, said he thought “about disinformation in this country as almost an information ecology — it’s not an organic thing from the bottom up.”

Last month, sites including The Gateway Pundit, The Washington Examiner and Breitbart followed a report from a Fox affiliate in Wisconsin about mail that had been found in a ditch and reportedly included absentee ballots. The story was promoted by the Trump adviser Jason Miller; the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany; the Fox News host Tucker Carlson; and the president himself.

After the outcry, all but unnoticed, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the batch of mail hadn’t included absentee ballots from Wisconsin and that it was unclear if there had been ballots from other states. The liberal media watchdog group Media Matters for America traced several other examples.

In a similar cycle, the Fox News host Sean Hannity and conservative publications magnified the reach of a deceptive video released last month by Project Veritas, a group run by the conservative activist James O’Keefe. The video claimed without named sources or verifiable evidence that the campaign for Representative Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, was collecting ballots illegally.

Mr. Stedman said right-leaning outlets sometimes conflated fraud with the statistically insignificant administrative mishaps that occur in every American election.

“The pandemic is making this a true administrative nightmare, where administrators who have never done this on this scale have just a few months to do it, and they now also have the Trump administration trying to take advantage of every single mistake to say, ‘See, that’s fraud,’” Mr. Stedman said. “It can’t end well.”

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With Vacation Rentals Empty, European Cities See a Chance to Reclaim Housing

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LISBON — Long before the coronavirus swept across Europe this spring, many cities had been complaining that a proliferation of short-term apartment rentals aimed at tourists through platforms like Airbnb was driving up housing costs for locals and destroying the character of historic districts.

Now that the pandemic has all but cut off the steady flow of visitors, many European cities are seizing an opportunity to push short-term rentals back onto the long-term housing market.

In Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, the city government is becoming a landlord itself by renting empty apartments and subletting them as subsidized housing. In Barcelona, Spain, the housing department is threatening to take possession of empty properties and do the same.

Other city governments are enacting or planning new laws to curb the explosive growth of rentals aimed largely at tourists. Amsterdam has banned vacation rentals in the heart of the old city; a Berlin official warned of a crackdown on short-term leasing platforms “trying to evade regulation and the enforcement of law”; and Paris is planning a referendum on Airbnb-type listings.

For years, properties rented out for short-term stays have put pressure on the housing markets in several European cities. Lisbon has more than 22,000 Airbnb listings, according to Inside Airbnb, which tracks listings in cities around the globe. Barcelona has 18,000, and Paris — one of the platform’s largest markets — has nearly 60,000.

When tourists are plentiful, renting a property on a short-term basis can be more lucrative for owners than a long-term tenant, something that city governments say has distorted housing markets in cities where supply is already tight. They also accuse online platforms of circumventing laws put in place to protect local markets.

“We cannot tolerate that accommodations that could be rented to Parisians are now rented all year to tourists,” the deputy mayor of Paris, Ian Brossat, said in a phone interview. Mr. Brossat also said he was hoping to cut the number of days per year that a property can be rented through platforms like Airbnb — currently 120. He accused the company of breaching even that rule.

“Airbnb pretends to respect the law, but it’s not the case,” said Mr. Brossat, who has written a book critical of Airbnb and its impact on cities.

Airbnb denies any wrongdoing, in Paris or elsewhere. “They’ve set the rules, and we’re following the rules,” said Patrick Robinson, Airbnb’s director of public policy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “Where there is a vigorous discussion about the right regulations, we’re part of that conversation, and ultimately that’s for local politicians to decide.”

He said that Airbnb provided registration details and other data to the authorities in major tourism hubs like Lisbon, Paris and Barcelona to help city officials enforce their rules. “We actually think that better access to data is the solution here.” In September, the company introduced City Portal, which it says will allow governments access to data that can help identify listings that do not comply with local regulations, such as unregistered listings.

The most ambitious initiative is arguably the one in Lisbon, which has started signing five-year leases for empty short-term rental apartments. These properties are then sublet at lower prices to people eligible for subsidized housing. The city government has set aside 4 million euros, or about $4.7 million, for the first year of subsidies.

ImageThe mayor of Paris is planning a referendum on short-term listings on platforms like Airbnb.
Credit…Christophe Archambault/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“We entered the pandemic with a huge pressure on our housing market, and we cannot afford to exit the pandemic with the same set of problems,” said the city’s mayor, Fernando Medina. “This program is not a magic wand, but it can be part of the solution in terms of raising the supply of affordable housing.”

The program is aiming to attract 1,000 apartment owners this year, and has drawn 200 so far. Mr. Medina said he was confident that the plan would meets its goal, since a rebound in tourism anytime soon seems increasingly unlikely as the pandemic drags on.

The plan has been welcomed by some neighborhood associations that had criticized local politicians for allowing the city to become a playground for tourists and wealthy investors, many of them drawn to Portugal by residency permits and tax breaks offered to foreigners after the 2007-8 financial crisis.

“The coronavirus has helped expose the negative aspects of Portugal’s recovery from the financial crisis, which was driven by real estate and tourism rather than a focus on the basic needs of local people,” said Luís Mendes, an urban geographer who is a member of a citizens’ platform called Living in Lisbon.

Above all, Mr. Mendes said, the lockdown restrictions used to contain the coronavirus put the spotlight on the housing imbalances in Lisbon. “How can you quarantine if you don’t have a decent house?” he said. “We now have a city hall that has put forward an interesting scheme and is at least aware that having a roof is a fundamental human right.”

Credit…Olaf Kraak/EPA, via Shutterstock

However, some homeowners do not consider the city government a reliable tenant. Portugal, they say, has a history of legal uncertainty and sudden rule changes whenever a new administration takes office.

“If you look at the track record of the politicians in Lisbon, it’s an absolutely hopeless one, of incompetence and often corruption,” said Rita Alves Machado, who owns three empty short-term apartments around Lisbon. “The city owes money all over the place, and I just don’t believe they will pay on time or stick to their own rules.”

The regulation of short-term rentals has been a drawnout affair in Europe.

In September, the Court of Justice of the European Union backed cities attempting to crack down on short-term rentals, after supporting a French court ruling against two property owners illegally renting out second homes on Airbnb. The court had issued a ruling in Airbnb’s favor last year, saying that it was an online platform rather than a real estate company, which would have required it to comply with housing laws. The European Commission is taking further steps to regulate the platform and others through a new Digital Services Act, which aims to modernize the legal framework for such services across the European Union.

The longer the pandemic hinders travel, the more likely initiatives like Lisbon’s are to gain traction, city officials and local property experts say. In the meantime, Airbnb has found itself on shifting ground.

Credit…Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press

In Lisbon, occupancy rates for Airbnb and Vrbo, a short-rental booking site that was once known as HomeAway, dropped 50 percent in May from a year earlier, according to AirDNA, which collects vacation rental data.

Miguel Tilli, the co-founder of HomeLovers, a Portuguese real estate agency, said he had been listing as many as 60 new properties a month in Lisbon — almost all of which had previously been rented through Airbnb but were now open to long-term tenants.

Rental prices in the city have dropped 10 percent since the start of the pandemic, but landlords who had previously let properties through Airbnb were still resistant to reducing rents.

“Many landlords are acting as if Covid is somebody’s else problem,” Mr. Tilli said. “That cannot last forever.”

Raphael Minder reported from Lisbon, and Geneva Abdul from Paris.

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How to Grow a Hydroponic Garden

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Emily Marsh, who lives in Sonoma County, Calif., always thought the best thing about gardening was the feel of soil on her fingertips. But last year she and her fiancé moved to a townhouse with an 8-by-12-foot concrete slab for a backyard. As lockdowns in California stretched into the month of May, and Ms. Marsh, 30 and a co-owner of a janitorial company, read about the surge in gardens, she felt the urge to plant her own. But her only real option was a hydroponic setup.

“I was completely against it at first,” she said, adding that it just didn’t seem like real gardening. Reluctantly, Ms. Marsh purchased a unit from Lettuce Grow, a company that sells ready-to-grow hydroponic kits. “Now it’s just my favorite thing,” she said.

As fall’s first frost strikes plants across the country, you can practically hear the collective moan of America’s gardeners: No more fresh herbs, zucchini or heirloom tomatoes until next summer.

Unless you bring your pandemic garden indoors.

Like urban chicken coops and backyard beekeeping, interest in hydroponics has surged during the pandemic. For Aerogarden, another company selling hydroponic gardens, sales jumped 384 percent in the two weeks of March, a time period that followed most state lockdowns. From April through June, sales were up 267 percent year over year.

“It has been a really amazing year for us,” said Paul Rabaut, the company’s director of marketing. A representative for Lettuce Grow said it was on track to do 10 times the sales compared with last year.

Meanwhile, D.I.Y.-ers are building hydroponic gardens out of PVC pipes and five-gallon buckets. When lockdowns began, Vicki Liston, 45, a professional voice-over actor in New Mexico, wanted to limit her trips to the grocery store and started construction on a pipe-based system. She worried about keeping a pandemic garden alive in her very arid backyard, but so far the project has been a surprising success, she said.

Compared with traditional in-ground gardening, “hydroponics grows more food in less space with less water and less time,” said Dan Lubkeman, president of the Hydroponic Society of America.

That is, if you get everything right. Hydroponics is about optimizing growing conditions: You must have the perfect amount of light and nutrition available at all times. Nail it, and plants can grow up to five times as fast as they would in soil outside, Mr. Rabaut said.

Ms. Marsh, who now has gardens indoors and out, can vouch for Mr. Rabaut’s assertion. She is constantly amazed at the vigor of her plants. “We planted three tomato seedlings, and so far we have gotten 350 tomatoes,” she said. “It’s insane,” she said.

There’s a downside, though. Soil is pretty forgiving — get overzealous with your fertilizer, and your cucumbers may suffer but the soil can buffer a fair amount of the damage. Water is much less forgiving, and the Internet doesn’t always have great advice, Mr. Lubkeman said. He recommends connecting with your nearest hydroponics specialty shop where employees are likely to be experienced growers, or buying a book on the subject.

That’s one reason many new-to-hydroponic gardeners opt to buy a plug-and-play kit: These kits tell you exactly what to add and when. If you’re feeling crafty and a little adventurous, though, you can easily build one yourself.

Here’s how to reap a lot of produce without so much as getting your hands dirty.

ImageA hydroponic garden kit, complete with tomatoes, from AeroGarden.
Credit…AeroGarden

Whether you construct it yourself or buy a kit, a hydroponic garden needs the following:

  • Seeds or seedlings. If you’re doing this inside, look for varieties that thrive in containers. This will ensure none of your plants get so big they take over your whole hydroponic setup.

  • A reservoir for the nutrient solution, which is made up of all the macronutrients (think nitrogen and phosphorus) and micronutrients (like iron and calcium) plants need.

  • An aerating pump for oxygenating your nutrient solution, since plant roots need oxygen, too.

  • A water pump to move water out of the reservoir and onto your plants throughout the day.

  • Light! More on this below.

  • A “medium.” Since you’re not using soil, you’ll need something to hold the plant’s roots in place. Many mediums also help keep roots moist between waterings. Mr. Lubkeman recommends a material called rockwool for beginners.

As with most hobbies, you can spend a little or a lot. Originally, Ms. Marsh wanted to go the cheap route. Setting up a medium-size D.I.Y. system with a few buckets and an aquarium pump can set you back less than $150. But Ms. Marsh worried about getting everything working correctly. Lettuce Grow’s container is made from recycled plastic, and for Ms. Marsh, that tipped the scales toward buying a premade kit, even if units start at $348 — no lights included.

Aerogarden’s smallest units, which do include grow lights, start at $99, with larger models going up to $600. Ultimately, the decision about whether to buy a kit or build your own comes down to whether you enjoy tinkering or would rather not spend a Saturday gluing PVC pipes and plastic tubing together.

Once your set up is set up, you may see seeds sprouting within three days, though some plants take longer. By two weeks, your seedlings should start to look like real plants. Which is when Ms. Liston realized that her hydroponic experiment was not going quite right. Just a few weeks in, her plants were dying.

It turned out her tap water was too alkaline. A pH buffering solution fixed the problem. (Water testing between 6.5 and 7.0 on the pH scale is considered ideal.) A setup like AeroGarden will tell you when you need to add fertilizer or adjust the pH of your water. If you built your own operation, you’ll need to remember to add nutrients and check the pH of your water (using testing strips) weekly.

“It’s been fantastic,” Ms. Liston said, adding that once she got her light, pH and nutrient levels dialed in, “it just exploded.”

If some plant nutrients are good, more seems as if it would be better, right? That’s not at all the case, Ms. Liston said. So far, she’s managed not to overfeed her plants, but too much plant food can result in dead or severely damaged plants. How often and how much you’ll need to feed depends on the type of nutrient solution you’re using. Read the directions on the bottle.

Credit…ONA Creative

You may be able to grow lettuce, kale or herbs in a sunny window, but as days get shorter, investing in a full-spectrum, grow light is worth the expense. These lights provide the same range of light as the sun and you’ll see much faster growth, Mr. Lubkeman said. In Ms. Liston’s case, adding a light and moving her plants next to her sunniest window resulted in a noticeable change in their productivity.

Ms. Liston’s favorite thing about growing indoors is that it’s bug free. While that means you won’t need to pluck slugs from your lettuce, you will need to take over for bees and do your own pollinating. For plants like peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers, Mr. Rabaut said some customers report getting decent pollination rates just by shaking plants gently every day or two. However, you’ll get even better results if you’re willing to play the part of the bee — using a Q-tip or small brush to sweep pollen from one blossom to another.

This is in your house, after all. While there’s no dirt involved, these setups can get a little funky. Ms. Liston does a thorough wipe down of the PVC plant holders every two weeks. If you buy a premade kit, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on cleaning.

Ms. Marsh tries to clip back greens and herbs at least two times a week. Many items — like basil — do need to be kept trimmed back or else they’ll go to seed and stop producing. While hydroponic gardens are significantly less work than their outdoor counterparts (no weeding!) you can’t neglect your plants completely and still expect them to thrive, Mr. Lubkeman said.

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