Tag Archives: social media

Social Media As A Business Tool – First, Engage You Buyers

This guest post is contributed by Grady Winston. Grady is an avid writer and Internet entrepreneur from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing, and advertising – implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.

imageIs there a better way of getting your brand, product or service out to people? In our ever-expanding world of digital advancement, the ability to find and share content has grown by leaps and bounds. Businesses in the know understand social media isn’t just for teens and college kids anymore.

While businesses are capitalizing on the impact a strong social networking presence can have, there’s still a hard line when it comes to actual interaction.

Many businesses still work on the premise of “if we build it, they will come.” Though this approach may have worked in the past, people aren’t just interested in what you’ve built, but what’s inside. The point of social media isn’t just to keep talking about your company and its services; consumers want to know what makes you tick.

If you’ve made a video that promotes your company, employees or services you provide, consider including a behind-the scenes look at making the video, including a gag reel or bloopers. Marketing data and spreadsheets mean little to the average consumer. Show your customers the heart, soul and human side of the company they choose to support.

“Going viral” is a popular turn of a phrase related to the sharing of pictures and videos across social networks. Thanks in part to sharing, “Gangnam Style” made Korean rapper Psy a sensation in the United States.

Memes are another one of those viral cases, in which something is elevated through the use of pictures or words. Former presidential nominee Mitt Romney had at least two of his awkwardly worded statements turned into viral memes as the 2012 presidential race heated up.

Why did these videos go viral in the first place? The case could be made that Romney was famous, being a former governor and presidential candidate, but Psy was an unknown singer and rapper.

While something to strive for, going viral isn’t just about putting up content for people to find. Anyone can upload a video; the difficulty is in knowing what that content should be and how to attract viewers who ultimately share it. It goes without saying that social media is one of the biggest pushers of content, from Facebook to Twitter to rising star LinkedIn and newcomers like Google+ and Pinterest.

Understanding these platforms is first and foremost the most important thing when trying to get people to your business. Facebook is not Twitter and, despite their perceived boxing match, Google+ is not Facebook. Being on just one social media site isn’t enough; a business needs to be on all platforms that will work towards its business and customers.

Another crucial step is learning about your customers. Many businesses try to market to everyone without regard to their actual consumer base. Why market material of scantily clad women on top of cars when a customer base is mostly women? Or senior citizens? To this end, not only is it important to know your consumer but, know what they will like and most likely share. As the saying goes, “content is king” and, not having interesting and engaging content is a deal breaker for many.

Memes are popular because they make current events humorous. Animal videos, from cute kittens snuggled together to pandas getting wellness checkups, make people happy and more productive. Clearly not all marketing will benefit from the use of a meme or a video of a hedgehog toddling across a countertop, but interesting content spurs people to share with their friends, family and coworkers.

However you market to your customer base, be sure to engage your buyers. Social shares can drive sales and bring great success to a company that invests time in learning its customers’ interests and the kind of media that will make them go “Aww!”

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Filed under Business Development, FaceBook, Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, Twitter

How to Protect Your Privacy on Social Media

Guest writer Sarah Clare tackles the thorny issue of Internet privacy and offers spot-on advice  to help you keep your online information private.

imageThis week, social media was abuzz over reports that Instagram’s new terms of service allowed the photo-sharing site to hock its users personal photos for advertisements and other promotions. The story prompted outcry about the privacy that members can expect (or not expect) on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook, which purchased Instagram and which has a spotty history when it comes to its users’ privacy.

Understanding your rights and how you can protect your privacy on social media is important. The things you do online leave a virtual footprint that can be traced back to you for years to come. If you really want to protect your privacy on social media, here are a few things you can do:

Use a Dummy E-mail

One of the easiest ways that other users can find you on social media is by searching for your e-mail. You can make it harder, if not impossible, for people to find you by using a dummy e-mail. That way, only your close friends or family who you give the e-mail to can find your profile. Be sure to use an e-mail that does not include your name and that you only use for this purpose.

Use a Fake Name

Of course, even if you’re using a dummy e-mail, if you’re using your real name, anyone can find you. Make it harder for others to connect your profile to you by using a fake name. An easy way to do it is to simply drop your last name, using your first and middle name instead. Or you can use a nickname instead of your first name. Or you can make up a new name entirely.

Again, be sure you keep this name private and only give it to close friends and family who you want to know about your profile. Don’t use the name for any other purposes.

Set Privacy Options

Every social network has options for allowing you to control what you share with your network and with the public. You can control your privacy settings for your whole profile and for individual posts. Take the time to investigate your options and to set what you can to private. In many cases, you can lock down all your information so that it is visible only to your contacts (or even only to yourself).

Keep Business and Personal Separate

Most of us want to maintain some privacy online to protect our professional identities. You can help do this by using one profile for your private connections and another profile for your business connections. Of course, you would use your real name for your business profile and would share little to no personal information on it. You can then share personal information on your personal profile kept private through the previous steps.

Control What You Share

Of course, the easiest way to keep your information private online is not to share it. No matter what you do to protect your information, there will be some way for businesses or other people to see it. Keep your information private by keeping it offline, especially personal photos, information about your children, or thoughts about your political or religious beliefs.

Online privacy is a serious issue, and one which requires a greater level of personal responsibility as the options for connecting online continue to expand. These tips can help you to keep your personal information private while you connect with friends and business contacts online.

Sarah Clare is a writer and oversees the site projectmanagementsoftware.com, where she has recently been researching bug tracking software. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys cooking and scrapbooking.

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Filed under Guest Writers, Internet Safety, Online Privacy, Social Networks

Digital Sheep – Grazing on the Internet

imageWith the Internet and social media providing instant satisfaction and entertainment, it’s very easy to get caught up in consuming an absurd amount of information. Instead of being spoon fed commercials and media from a handful of television channels, now it is coming from everywhere and directly to your person at all times. Though people still have the freedom to comment and believe what they will, the vast majority of internet users have simply evolved into digital sheep devouring content constantly.

In the modern age, digital sheep are information technology users (more specifically, Internet users) who are happy and satisfied to “graze” off the vast information fields available on the web. In other words, they’re just consumers, not bothering to produce anything—but more importantly, are unaware of the potential consequences of their attitude and behavior.

“But, wait, now,” you might say, “haven’t most people always preferred to be consumers rather than creators? Isn’t it true only a handful of people have written books, magazines and newspapers for the general population?”

For sure, media from the beginning has been lopsided—i.e., the many have always consumed what the few have created. The Internet, however, has greatly changed the playing field, and not just in terms of aesthetics or of professional responsibilities.

The Internet is a place where people come to not only be entertained, to socialize and to be educated, it’s also a place where they come to work, to share information and to connect with other people in ways that go beyond “socializing.” In other words, people now have an opportunity to participate more meaningfully in the process called “media” than ever before.

Beyond that, being just a consumer carries with it a few negative connotations and dangerous burdens. For one thing, it means that people are accepting what they read, often without analyzing it for accuracy and acceptability; it also means that they are following rather than making any attempt to lead or to at least participate meaningfully in the process.

The question everyone has to ask is, “Do I want to be ‘digital sheep,’ or do I want to actually participate in the information creation and evaluation diaspora?”

The fact is that few people, given the chance, would formally elect to be “digital sheep.” In fact, one might say that this is one of the mishaps of the information age—i.e., having people who have fallen into the role, without having been given much of a choice. On the other hand, everyone has a choice. The problem is that some people aren’t exercising it.

If you wish to avoid becoming (or presently being, as the case may be), digital sheep, these suggestions may be of use:

1. Become aware of the burdens and responsibilities inherent in Digital Asset Management (DAM) marketplace. By becoming better aware of the technology, you might better avoid becoming a victim of its intricacies and demands.

2. Don’t fall into the “follow the information Pied Piper” syndrome. Always look at what you read closely, deciding if you really want to follow, challenge what you read, or build on what is offered.

3. Listen to peers on your own level or beneath you (in position or training), not just so called “A-list” experts and pundits.

4. Don’t just attend networking events attended only by big shots—you can get important information from other venues as well.

5. Expand the quality and versatility of your reading material. Sticking, for example, to technical blogs or certain news sources may hamper your intellectual growth.

6. Read material beyond what you catch on the Internet. And don’t just focus on the material on the first few pages put there by search engines. Search engines have their agenda—it shouldn’t necessarily coincide with your yours.

7. Strive to write blogs, articles or even responses to materials you read. By doing so, you’re engaging with, not just consuming, material on the Internet.

8. Strive to become more technologically savvy. Find out, for example, what’s going on within the phone app developing industry. This will help to keep you educated within one of the fastest growing industries: the mobile device industry.

9. Become more of a risk taker. Digital sheep are content to just exist and don’t want to take any unnecessary risks. Well, risk is usually involved in any great achievement opportunity.

10. Meaningfully connect with people, establishing relationships that will mutually enhance lives. When you connect with people, you’re less likely to treat them like sheep; by the same token, people are less likely to treat you as sheep if they look up to you and respect you.

This guest post is contributed by Grady Winston. Grady is an avid writer and Internet entrepreneur from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing, and advertising – implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.

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Filed under Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, Point of View, social networking

The Never Ending Debate: Does Social Belong in Business?

Guest writer Grace Kang takes a look at social media, and lays out a logical and persuasive case for employing social media tools as a business builder. 

imageThe term “social” may sound like it belongs anywhere but the office, but the truth is, the success of the world’s best businesses can be traced to their leadership’s reliance upon increasing their workers’ networking, relationships and and transparency.

Instead of having individual employees focused on completing tasks alone, by encouraging employees to expand their own networks formally and informally, businesses are able to leverage their employees’ communications for better growth. Business collaboration software and online tools can help make the process easier.

Why does social belong in business?

  • People everywhere are choosing to communicate through social media. In a survey by Central Desktop, the participants indicated that 49% were using document collaboration tools, 19% said internal social networking tools, 18% were using wikis, 9% using discussion threads, and 5% using activity feeds.
  • Social media is a great place to build long term relationships
  • It makes it easy to engage prospects and customers with games, contests and more. In the survey, 22% said they used social tools to connect with customers, and 18% to win customers.
  • Social software for business is getting better. To see the evolution of social collaboration tools, check out “The State of Social Collaboration”, a neat infographic that illustrates how social tools have changed since they were first introduced in the 1970’s.
  • Its only going to get bigger, and you need to be there.

Even if a business is physically spread out across the country or even the globe, using social networking within the organization can have a dramatic positive impact on the company’s current and future returns. Collaboration software and online project management meld together through Central Desktop, which is a social software for business that provides employees who are located at separate locations a cohesive means of sharing ideas, planning projects and ultimately adding value to their shared business.

As transparency increases between groups located on different continents and between business units and functional centers, efficiency also will increase. Concerns that would normally have to be fed up and down their respective feeding chains are shared immediately for a fast response from the appropriate personnel.

Avoiding triangulation, wherein a the party in need of assistance goes to a third party instead of the party who can actually assist him or her, reduces staff time devoted to a project while empowering employees to take ownership of their work. As a result, employees take more pride in their work, act more efficiently and are more likely to produce a high quality product.

Social Collaboration Promote Employee Ownership and Morale

Employee ownership of work also makes it easier to identify supply chain problems early on and correct them before they snowball into larger concerns. The increased communication between departments bleeds into increased communication within departments. Greater clarity of duties, concerns, issues and other tasks at all levels reduces the chances that employees will spend their time working on the wrong types of projects, while increasing employee morale.

Allowing employees to mingle at a virtual water cooler means fast tracking discussions of interdepartmental issues, so that resolutions can be found in a timely manner.

A business group located in Buenos Aires, Argentina, can benefit greatly from learning about the solution that a group located in New York City or Hong Kong implemented, rather than working to try to figure out a solution to the problem themselves, which would take more time that they may not have to spend on the problem. Business collaboration software and tools like Central Desktop are leading the way.

Bio:

Grace Kang is a writer for Central Desktop, the leading social collaboration software solution for mid to large sized businesses.

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Filed under Collaboration, Communication, Enterprise Applications, Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, Networking, Productivity Software, Social Networks, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

Boosting Your WordPress Blog Site’s SEO And Traffic Tips

imageIt can take some time before you get a large amount of views on your blog, but there are ways to increase the chances of internet users finding your site. You can’t just rely on referrals and traffic links – your blog needs to be optimized.

This article looks at some of the easy and basic steps you can take to improve your site’s SEO and visibility.

WordPress is by far the best site to host your blog. Even if you have a blog on your own site, you can still boost your own site with another blog on WordPress. All you need to do is create links to your original site and all your work on your WordPress blog will be working for your main business website. In this way, you are creating crucial inbound links for your website – all on your own.

So the question arises, how do you make your WordPress blog rank higher? Luckily, there are a number of plug-ins and tools you can use to boost your blog.

Here’s a look at some simple techniques related to search engine optimization that will greatly improve your blog visitor numbers.

  • Use Your Own Domain Name. Domain names actually can have a lot of influence on the way your blog will come up in a search. Purchasing your own domain name and setting it for your WP blog is very easy. You want to make sure you know how to choose the right name. Do some research before you commit.
  • SEO Tools. There is a range of plug-ins to improve your blog’s onsite search engine optimization. Some plug-ins allow you to track the rank of the keywords you are focusing on, while other sites will improve the way your whole blog is viewed by Google.
  • Video. Videos on Google’s YouTube are a great way to get rapid results and rank high in searches. By posting your videos on YouTube, and linking your blog as a part of your video description, your chances of ranking higher are greatly increased. Always embed your own YouTube videos on your own blog, and make sure you have plenty of content with crucial keywords for Google around your website.
  • Social Media.WP makes it very easy for your blog posting to interact with your social media. Add each of these functions so that you are automatically sharing your posts on your main social media profiles. Adding buttons on each of your blog pages is very simple and will make it very easy for others to share.
  • Commenting On Other Blogs. By commenting on other blogs and leaving your link, you are showing interest in other people’s work, and showing a way for them to see yours. You will find that there will be many comments and links on your own site before too long. Be careful you do not start following the practice of many on WordPress, which essentially equates to spam. Spending the time to create quality relationships is essential.
  • Keep it Regular. Regular posting and interactivity is essential. A new visitor will view the validity of your site by how regular you post. If you have not posted in a while, users may assume you are not there any more. Current content gives validity to your older content. If you don’t have current content, it is easy for users to assume all of your content is no longer valid.
  • Submit to Blog Directories. There is a huge array of blog directories, which allows internet users to see a list of blogs on a particular topic. Constantly keep listing your blog with all and any directories you can find. The more directories you are listed with will mean a higher chance of being found.

Above all, be yourself. Keep your topics fresh. If you are interested in something, your posts will reflect that. Write when something is of interest, and keep those posts for later. Forced writing to keep to a schedule may mean you are not writing good content. Online marketing and SEO is something you build over time. The need for patience and consistency cannot be stressed enough.

Guest article from Sachin.

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Filed under Blogging Tips, Blogging Tools, Free Blogging Platforms, Guest Writers, SEO, Social Blogging, Software, Web Site Design, Website Builders

Social Media – Advantages for the Business Owner or Marketing Executive

Guest writer Bryan Keller, gives business owners the lowdown on social media  and explains how taking advantage of social media and online business communities, can positively impact the bottom line.

imageAs recently as only 2-3 years ago, very few business owners took much of an interest in becoming part of the growing number of social media or online business communities that have exploded across the Internet in recent years.

Today however, most if not all business leaders, from the very smallest sole proprietorship to the very largest corporation, are aware of the fact that the Internet is quickly becoming the average consumer’s first resource in locating and choosing the party they ultimately choose to do business with.

Electing not to participate in this expanding progressive electronic evolution, would and surely will, have a very severe negative impact on those businesses that are not fully invested in the experience.

The number of professional user groups on websites like Facebook and LinkedIn has grown more than 10 fold or over 1000% over the past two years. Dismissing this trend as pure fancy would be an unwise maneuver for any savvy business owner or marketing executive.

These professional networks can provide many benefits to every type of business. And, the benefits are not only applicable to the business owners; belonging to a social network also provides numerous benefits to all of the other members (and prospective customers) of the social network as well.

Benefits of Social Networking from the Standpoint of the Business Owner:

Building or Increasing Company or Product Awareness – Social Media Sites provide a tremendous asset that allows custom tailored delivery of timely assessments of the types of services or products that a business provides, supplies, or offers.

Additionally, press releases describing exciting new changes taking place within a business serve the business and the consumer alike. A business forum can also be a fantastic way to provide consumers with near real-time helpful information on the steps needed to be taken in the advent that someone may be experiencing some sort of a problem with a particular good or service.

Observe and Track – Because Social Media Networks are designed to allow two-way communication between its participants, as a business owner you will have the luxury of seeing what other members of the online community may be saying about your brand, product, service and competition in virtually ‘real-time’.

Engage (Current Customers) and Entice (New Customers) – Do not neglect the opportunity to involve existing customers and network subscribers in all manner of interesting and topical debates, quizzes and feedback forums and blogs. When doing so the benefit is manifold as this process has the added effect of enticing new customers and subscribers simultaneously as they get drawn into the discussions.

Assist and Support – Here is the perfect opportunity for a business to demonstrate to its valuable customers in a substantial way, the benefits and advantages of using their goods and services. A great way to accomplish this is by providing valuable support in near real-time for any difficulty, problem, confusion, or question an existing customers or prospective customer may be experiencing with regard to the company’s products or services.

Attract and Qualify – By including the appropriate keywords and tags in the social media site profile, blog posts, articles and forum discussions, the result will be many, many, new potential customers who will be directed to your content automatically by the search engines as they search the Internet for relevant information that happens to match your niche (and these prospective clients are pre-qualified as strong potential leads – they found you because you offer something they were searching for and are obviously interested in).

Increase Your Bottom Line – Marketing 101.

Creating a Call to Action: (A Perceived Sense of Urgency)

Give a deadline which is clearly defined and visible in many advantageous locations throughout your business website. One effective way to achieve this is to create a deadline by which time certain featured products or services must be purchased or agreed upon due to the fact that the price for that good or service is scheduled to and will increase beyond a specified date and time.

It is imperative that you follow through on the price increase as well. An angry customer is one who is told that a price will go up on a product, after which they rush out and purchase said product or service, and then low and behold the deadline passes and the product never changes price. No one likes being lied to. Stay true to your word. Honesty and Integrity go hand and hand with trust and loyalty. You can always discount products again at a later date.

Always precede any price increase with many highly visible notices allowing your customer to take advantage of the current rate before the increase is scheduled to go into effect.

Trial offers are also a fantastic way to allow a consumer the chance to try on a limited basis the product or service you are offering. (If you are offering truly outstanding products and services, then obviously you would want people to have a chance to learn that first hand.)

For a Trial Period to be effective it should be offered as what is called a ‘No Risk’ trial. In other words let your customer know that if for some reason they decide they are not satisfied with your product or service within the trial period they can cancel the agreement without being charged for anything (no questions asked).

Freebies are also a great way to entice people into trying a product or service. They are best used as an added feature to a package of goods or services that your potential customer may be contemplating buying.

Be Creative, think of other ways to create that sense of urgency such as ‘If you order our system within the next ten days we are going to throw in at no extra charge 5 free video tutorials that speed you through the process of learning our course (regularly $99 value!)

Remember these are merely examples; the only limit is your imagination!

Guest writer Bryan Keller:

I own a Computer Repair and Data Recovery business in San Antonio, TX, San Antonio Computer Repair. I spent 10 years in database development. I am now also providing Website Development, Hosting, and SEO services. We use the Joomla CMS. Altogether I have been involved in computer programming for over 30 years.

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Filed under Communication, FaceBook, Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, Networking, social networking, Social Networks

Canada’s Super Spies “Discover” Cybercrime is a Threat

image Canada’s Security Intelligence Service, CSIS, (Canada’s spies), according to a just released, heavily censored “TOP SECRET” memo, (no, I’m not making this up), has ferreted out a startling fact on cybercrime – it’s growing!

I can appreciate why this startling discovery needed to be designated “top secret”. Panic in the streets, possible riots, a reverting to pre- Internet days, are all conceivable outcomes should the average Canadian become aware that CYBERCRIME IS GROWING!

Here’s a sampling of the content from this “top secret” memo – “Compromises of computer and combinations networks of the Government of Canada, Canadian universities, private companies and individual customer networks have increased substantially”.

These “top secret” spies didn’t stop with just recognizing this previously unknown threat to Canada’s safety and security. After all, these are highly trained spies who, you have to know, are the cream of the crop.

No, they went on to craft a well thought out, highly creative response to this newly identified cyber security threat, and focused on this advice – “the federal government needs to take urgent action or risk being targeted by hackers who use social media, such as Twitter, to steal secret government or corporate information.

Wow, this is startling news. Hackers using social media, including Twitter. Who knew!

image

The Canadian Government responded to this newly discovered threat in its usual forthright and non-compromising manner, by assuring Canadians “they are working to develop a framework to deal with cyber-attacks”.

When I read this statement, I was overcome with a huge sense of relief. I felt like standing up and shouting “hurrah”. Yes!

Not only has my government put its best and brightest to work identifying this previously unknown threat, but it’s prepared to take action – at some point. I must admit, I was impressed with this.

What more can a citizen expect than to have a government which is, “working to develop a framework to deal with cyber-attacks”.

Now, if you’re a Canadian, I’m sure you must feel safer knowing that your government, assigned its “James Bond” department which used the latest high tech and secret tools (to secret to disclose here), to hammer down what had previously been just a rumor, that CYBERCRIME IS GROWING!

If you’re elsewhere in the World, and you have even a modicum of knowledge of the current Internet environment, and the enormous threat to your personal safety and security cybercrime represents, and has represented for some considerable time, you can now sit back and LYAO.

How clueless, and  inept, is a government which classifies as “TOP SECRET”, what is common knowledge held by anyone who can click a mouse button. If you’re a Canadian, then at the next election consider throwing these bums out.

Only in Canada, eh!

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Filed under Bill's Rants, cybercrime, Interconnectivity, Personal Perspective, social networking, Tech Net News, Windows Tips and Tools