Five Social Media Mistakes Businesses Must Avoid

Social media is an incredible chance for your brand to interact directly with your audience and grow it even further. If you’re not able to manage your social media marketing properly however, you’ll simply waste time and resources, or worse, actually harm your brand’s reputation.

Here are five key social media marketing mistakes that your business must avoid at all costs:

Discussing Hot-Button Topics
Some topics, especially political and religious ones, are simply not worth bringing up. This is especially true in today’s divisive political environment.

You’ll end up dividing your audience and perhaps even bringing negative attention onto your brand. It’s better to avoid these issues altogether and playing it a bit safer with your choice of topics.

Winging It
Social media marketing is the same as any other digital marketing strategy. You need to know what you want to get from it. If you don’t have specific goals for your social media strategies, you’ll never know exactly what to do or when they’re successful.

Take the time to think about what you really want from each social media platform, and brainstorm about what you must do to get there.

Posting For the Sake of It
Research has found that the number of social media posts you need to be making on a daily and weekly basis is quite frequent in order to truly engage with and grow your audience.

On Twitter, for example, you may need to Tweet up to 15 times per day. However, you cannot forego quality for the sake of quantity.

Treating All Platforms the Same
It’s likely that you have a presence on a wide variety of social media platforms. At the very least, Facebook and Twitter, and then probably a couple out of Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, etc. The problem is when you treat all social media platforms the same. The average audience on Facebook and Twitter are much different. People use Instagram differently than they use Pinterest. If you want to truly thrive on social media, you need to understand each platform and what your audience is looking for on it.

Ignoring Negative Activity
It’s critical that you don’t get defensive on social media, but you cannot simply let negative feedback go unanswered. Not only does it further harm the relationship between you and the individual complaining, but it also adds some legitimacy to the complaint for everybody else to see.

After all, if you had a reasonable response to the complaint, why wouldn’t your company voice it? Make sure that you have dedicated customer service resources handling your social media comments in a professional, expedient manner.

By avoiding the key social media marketing mistakes listed above, your business will be in a great position to not only survive on social media platforms, but thrive on them. Your audience will be engaged and energized, and you’ll reach more people than you ever thought possible!

Digital Display Boards: For You Or Your Clients

Ron Cochran is Help Desk supervisor for Tech Experts.

With the advancement of technology, magazine racks and fish tanks have been replaced with phones and tablets. But what if I told you that, instead of your clients or customers paying attention to their phones, they could watch content that you would benefit from them watching while waiting for service?

Wireless connectivity has sprouted a new way to connect devices of all types.

Take, for instance, an HDMI dongle that can connect wirelessly to any PC or Mac that is also connected to the same network. After a few short minutes, it is set up and ready to start displaying what you want it to.

Your display board could show anything from a movie to informational slides, videos, or promotional pricing. You could even have customer reviews streaming on the board to let new customers know that you are a well-respected addition to the community.

You can also set them up for internal business use by utilizing the display board and wireless connection for conference room meetings, employee training sessions, or displaying productivity/metric reports.

The days of pulling the TV cart out of the closet with that cumbersome CRT TV and dealing with all of the wires and connections are a thing of the past.

There are a few different ways you can set up a display board. You can have as many display boards as you want and each one would have their own assigned ID.

You could then start the streaming process by launching an application from your computer, company server, or even have a small form factor computer dedicated to each display board.

Let’s say you want to have your server control the display boards because you want to have four display boards throughout your place of business.

You can have the server send, in example, a slideshow of reviews. You would launch the application, select which display boards you want to stream to, and now you’re connected.

In order to start streaming the slideshow, you would open up the program that you use for the slideshow or picture viewer and press play. Once you press play, the slideshow will play on the display boards you previously selected.

Now, let’s say you wanted to use the display boards for company productivity and metrics reports. You would first set up your KPI dashboard software the way you want it displayed.

Once you have that set up, you would open up the connection to the HDMI dongle or display board connection and connect to the desired display boards’ IDs. Just like magic, everyone in the building that is in view of the display boards can see why everyone is getting that quarterly bonus and why.

So, if the thought has crossed your mind that you might want to have a couple TV’s replace your magazine rack or that fish tank that requires expensive monthly maintenance, then give us a call today and we will discuss your options after hearing your concerns and business needs.

5 Effective Lead Generation Strategies To Consider In 2017

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

Looking to grab new leads? Forget the more traditional marketing approaches. The majority of them are no longer as effective as they once were. Instead, try something new.

Here are five extremely effective lead-generation strategies for 2017.

Blogs
Although the suggestion to start a blog is hardly groundbreaking, it remains one of the best methods of generating leads and one that is all too often overlooked, even today.

Publishing regular articles provides you with an opportunity to reach your audience and establish your expertise.

In addition, you can encourage readers to sign up for your newsletter or input their email address to access some high-value content. [Read more…]

Four Technology Tips To Enhance Your Small Business

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

Technology has transformed the way small businesses operate, and making full use of the tools that are available can mean all the difference between success and failure in the competitive business environment of today.

Here are four tools that every small business owner should make full use of to transform how they do business.

Video
Video has been proven to increase conversions, enhance customer trust, add personality to a brand, and educate consumers about your products and services.

In addition, the use of video on your website can appeal to the Google search algorithms and significantly improve your chances of ranking well for a given keyword or phrase. Using a video in your local Google or Google Maps listing can also provide a huge boost to your online presence. [Read more…]

Three Great Ways To Capture Feedback On Your Website

Businesses gather and utilize customer feedback in their business strategy to ensure the products and services they produce meet customer needs. Here are three ways to gather client feedback from your website visitors.

Email is an immensely valuable method of securing honest feedback from customers. However, many organizations neglect to consider the customer experience when designing email channels. There are three things you should take into consideration when communicating with customers via email:

1. Ensure you respond to customers in a speedy fashion: A recent study found that 81% of customers would be more likely to leave feedback, if they thought they would get a rapid response.

2. Develop an organized system by which customer feedback is handled. Keep track of what feedback you have received from whom and use this information to guide future customer interactions.

3. Follow up on all correspondence in an honest and open manner.

Surveys are very challenging to develop; however, they can provide extremely useful insights. Test long and short surveys to find out which are the most effective in providing with the feedback you need. Tools like Qualaroo are great for short surveys, while Survey Monkey is ideal for longer questionnaires.

Customer interviews provide direct feedback from your customers and allow you to develop a more personal relationship with them. When planning the interview process, it can be useful to focus on user attitudes toward the problems they typically encounter and employ a critical incident method to encourage customers to recall specific problems.

How to Build A Strong Online Presence For Your Business

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

Statistics released by Google confirm that 97% of consumers now use online search to find local businesses. So what does this mean for your company?

If you want to reach potential customers, you absolutely must have an established online presence. This has two main benefits. The first involves outbound marketing. A functional website will reinforce your brand, explain your products and services, and communicate how you can solve your customer’s problems. Second, establishing a portal of high-quality online content, known as inbound marketing, will help you establish your brand as an authority and will attract new customers.

There are three simple steps involved in creating a functional and effective online presence.

[Read more…]

Why Do I Keep Seeing The Same Ads On Multiple Websites?

This is the result of an online advertising approach known as site retargeting which tracks your online behavior to offer you targeted advertising. At first glance, this may seem like it is posing a security threat, but there are assurances that tracking is done anonymously.

Site retargeting is based on a pretty simple concept. Whenever you visit a website that may want to show you an advertisement, it puts a digital tag called a cookie on your browser. Then, when you visit another site with an area to display paid advertising, the information on that particular and other tags is used to choose an advertisement you would likely be amenable to click or watch. The hope is that, while you may have missed an opportunity to purchase an item once, you may be more inclined to complete a purchase at a later date.

If you don’t appreciate being such a target for advertisers, there are ways to block and delete cookies and to stop ads from reappearing. To delete existing cookies on your browser, choose the option to delete cookies under the settings. Also, if you see an icon that says AdChoices next to recurring advertisement, you can click that icon to stop the reappearance of that particular ad. Most browsers also have a Do Not Track option in their settings, which prevents your browser from being tagged in the first place, but that also means you can’t save passwords or use other tools that are also dependent on cookies. You could also surf the web in private browsing mode (accessible through your browser’s settings) or use an ad-blocking service like Ghostery or AdBlock Plus.

How to Up Your PowerPoint Game

Back when PowerPoint first came out, it didn’t take a lot of finesse to create something visually appealing and exciting. Now, however, PowerPoint and its similar counterparts like Keynote and Prezi, are old hats. It is no longer sufficient to add some generic photos and bullet points that outline your speech to grab your viewers’ attention.

In fact, such uninspiring presentations have led to the coinage of the phrase “death by PowerPoint” to describe PowerPoint strategies that fall flat and leave those forced to watch them on the verge of sleep.

Presentation slide templates for your business with infographics and diagram set

Presentation slide templates for your business with infographics and diagram set

Here are a few things to keep in mind when crafting your next presentation:

• Avoid the following kiss-of-death PowerPoint photo types. Some images have been overused to the point of having little to no meaning. This, consequently, leaves viewers bored because the photos add nothing to the material covered in the presentations. Archery targets, cogs, business people preparing to race or grouped around a monitor, jigsaw pieces, hand gestures, and globes are among these types of images.

• Instead, think outside of the box when choosing photos for your PowerPoint presentations. For example, pass over an image of a handshake to represent a partnership and choose something more untraditional like cheese and crackers or a needle and thread.

• Don’t hesitate to use some of Microsoft’s newly released tools to showcase your images. For example, you can create animations using Morph or try things like frames or transparencies. However, when using such tools and enhancements, make sure they fit the overall theme and feel of your presentation.

As such, your extras will be a seamless part of your PowerPoint and not stick out like a sore thumb.

• Most importantly, focus on the content of your PowerPoint presentation. That is, after all, the purpose – to inform and effectively convey ideas. Your photos are meant to complement your content, not overshadow it.

Internet Security: Beware Of “Malvertising”

Michael Menor is Vice President of Support Services for Tech Experts.

As if Internet use wasn’t already troubled with cyber perils, users now have to add “malvertising” to the list of things from which they need to protect themselves.

“Malvertising,” like the name suggests, means “ads that contain malware.” Some mal-ads aren’t dangerous unless you click on them – but others can do “drive-by downloads,” sneaking their malware onto your computer simply because you’re viewing the page on which the ad appears.

While most malvertising is on websites, it can also show up on other ad-displaying apps, such as Facebook, Skype, some email programs, and many games.

The reason that malvertising is more of a problem than other malware approaches is that it can be spread through online advertising delivery networks like Google DoubleClick to legitimate sites that users routinely visit, like the New York Times, Huffington Post, and Yahoo, as well as routinely-used mobile apps that show ads. Malware-bearing ads can be “injected” either by hacking ads at the provider end or by buying and providing mal-ads. In most cases, there’s no way for a user to tell just by looking that an ad has been compromised.

The Potential Damage
The dangers of advertising-delivered malware are the same as those from malware you get any other way. Malware can steal account usernames and passwords, bank and credit card information, and other sensitive data.

It can encrypt your data and “hold it for ransom.” It can, in turn, infect other computers on your network and turn your computer into a “zombie,” spewing out spam and malware to the Internet.

July_2015_MalvertisingLike other viruses and malware, malvertisements take advantage of security vulnerabilities on users’ computers and mobile devices. These may be anywhere from the operating system, to web browsers and other applications, to add-ons and extensions like Java, JavaScript, and Flash.

How do you know if your computer has been infected by malware? One sign is that your web browser shows unexpected pop-ups or seems to be running slower. But many malware infections remain “stealthy,” possibly even eluding anti-malware scans.

Legitimate ad creators and ad delivery networks are working on ways to detect and prevent malware from getting into the digital ads they serve. Otherwise, people have even more reason to not look at ads or block ads entirely.

But, assuming it can be done, this won’t happen for a year or more. The burden is on companies and individuals to do their best to protect their networks, computers, and devices.

What Can Companies and Users Do?
Although malvertising is a relatively new vector, the best security practices still apply; if you’re already doing things right, keep doing them. But what does “doing things right” look like?

  1. Avoid clicking on those ads, even accidentally.
  2. Maintain strong network security measures. Next generation firewalls at the gateway can often detect malware payloads delivered by ads, block the ads entirely, and/or detect communication from already-infected devices.
  3. Regularly backup systems and critical files so you can quickly restore to a pre-infected state if your systems and data are compromised.
  4. Deploy endpoint security software on every device so that it’s protected on and off the network.
  5. Ensure that all operating systems and client software (especially web browsers) are fully patched and up to date.
  6. If you suspect a computer has been infected, stop using it for sensitive activities until it’s been “disinfected.” Again, many security appliances can help you identify and quarantine infected devices.

It’s unfortunate that even more of everyday Internet use is potentially unsafe, but the steps to fend off malvertising are essentially security precautions that companies and individuals should already be following.

How Can You Use Google Trends For Small Business?

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

Google Trends is a tool that has been around for a while, and has great potential for improving exposure and sales for businesses. It is entirely free to use, and its simplicity makes it accessible to virtually anyone with basic computer knowledge.

Here are some specific ways in which you can use Google Trends to enhance your small business practices:

Brainstorming Topics
For instance, if your business website contains a blog, it’s common to quickly run out of content ideas that will not only interest your readers but also tie into the products or services your business offers.

Choose a phrase that describes a broad idea for a blog post, and Google Trends will show you how popular that phrase is and also suggest related topics. With one simple search, you could potentially come up with ideas for dozens of different blog posts, and relevant content is the best way to build your business website. [Read more…]