Getting Social in this Growing Digital Age

Social Media Business Concerns

For some it’s tricky, but let’s get started.

by Bill Nolan

Is your business reaping the benefits of social marketing or are you still filled with doubt? With billions of daily users scrolling one platform or another, posting pictures here or videos there and listening to the latest and greatest podcast – you can be assured that your clients are out there. Social media should be part of your regular marketing strategy, and if it isn’t, you may want to change your marketing firm. And on the other side, if social media is your only marketing plan, then you may want to change your marketing firm! Like any other tool, you must be prepared to use it in conjunction with other outlets knowledgeably with a marketing firm or as a DIYer. Read more >

Social Spring Cleaning

Social Media Spring Cleaning

10 Tips To Get You Started

by Bill Nolan

Now that the days are getting longer and the weather is becoming much nicer, everyone is beginning to feel rejuvenated from the brutal winter. So, what should we do with that new found energy? Let’s get Social! It’s time to take a look at your social media accounts, clean up some of the old and freshen things up with some new. Many people fall into a rut during the cold months and their content feels the negative impact. Spring is a great time to pump some new energy back into those accounts… so here we go!

Social Media Spring Cleaning

I’ve compiled a list of the Top 10 Cleaning Tips to kickstart those lagging accounts…

1. It’s Time to Place New Header & Profile Images

Honestly, how long has it been since they’ve been changed? Of course they may have looked good 5 years ago when you started your account, but it’s time for something new. These images should really be changed more often than just in the spring, but this is a start. This is an excellent and premium marketing space lots of companies do not take advantage of.

2. Get More Involved

Have you been staying active on your accounts? If not, get out there and start interacting. FOLLOW, LIKE, SHARE and try COMMENTING on posts, and NO, I am not just talking about your own posts. You’ll be amazed at how well your engagement on other business’ posts will be received. This is extremely beneficial and will generate follows, likes, shares and comments on your own posts. Remember that it’s called social for a reason. We need to get the ball rolling on this one.

3. Security, Security, SECURITY.

Security has always been important but it’s even more crucial now. With all of the hacking going on lately, all over the news, it’s time to update those passwords and firm up security! This means using the word “password” as your password is not a good idea. And, if you have admins on your pages, make sure that they have the proper credentials… not just full admin rights. There is the reason social platforms like Facebook give you different levels of administrators. Oh, and delete that old employee as an admin. He hasn’t worked for your company in over a month. Know who your admins are and what level of damage they can do. And for goodness sake, change up your passwords.

4. It’s Campaign Time!

Considering that everyone is getting over their winter blues, and finally getting excited about life again… reach out and grab them. Take some time to create and implement a fun campaign for your business. Social media is about having fun with clients and potential customers. This is what attracts them to you. Do you have something new or even old you want to promote? Have a contest, questionnaire or regularly posted fun facts, for example, that promotes this ”thing.” If PLANNED RIGHT, you can have a lot of fun while promoting your business. And, don’t forget about your Call to Action!

5. Groups, The More the Merrier

You keep ignoring them, but it is time to try some group activities. Just about every social media platform gives you access to communities that cover just about everything under the sun and well beyond. Take advantage of this opportunity to start conversations, join in on conversation, educate, be educated, network and relate to new customers. It is so easy, and it is FREE! Find a community that you like and start a discussion! I know this may be scary, but trust me… you will be ok. Your business will thank you for it.

6. Write It, And They Will Come…

It’s a great time to start that blog you’ve been talking about doing for so many years. Whatever your business is, you apparently have a passion for it. Now is the time to start writing and spread your knowledge. Blogs communicate that you are the “go to” for this business. You don’t have to be a world renowned writer to have success. It is well known that most blog readers enjoy when the writing is down to earth and not overly technical. They want to feel like you believe and have passion for the topic. If they want a research paper, they can go back to school for this. Keep in mind, you may want your blog topics to relate to the type of business you are promoting in some way. Just saying…

7. Try A New Platform

It doesn’t matter what your best friend or girlfriend thinks of that social platform you’ve been wanting to try. This decision is about what is right for your business. Try Google+ for example. This beast is a sleeping giant about to awaken. Jump on board before you are running to catch up. It does not hurt to sample Foursquare or Pinterest for your organization’s marketing. Different businesses find their audiences in different locations. If you are a butcher you have a different audience than your banker. So why are you listening to him for advice on finding your social media audience? Get out there and use your instinct or a social media manager…

8. Give E-Newsletter A Chance

No, they are not dead. Neither is direct mail, but we won’t get into that here. E-Blasts and E-Newsletters, if done right, are a great way to increase your business’s exposure and get the results you have been looking for. Many people still underestimate the power of this tool, and those businesses are missing out. Don’t be one of them. Let customers know what is going on at your company. Educated them on industry news; let them know you really are the “go to” business for this service. Reach out to potential clients. Drive traffic to your website. And best of all, build SEO. Give e-news a chance.

9. Let’s Not Forget…

Get your glamour url in place and LINK SOCIAL ACCOUNTS TO YOUR WEBSITE PLEASE. This sounds silly to some of you, but these two items are easily overlooked. This little detail will obviously give your business a more professional look, and the linking is an obvious cross-marketing tool… that is if you have a website. Not to sound like a broken record, but social accounts should never be used as a substitute for websites. No, no, NO! If this is your case, then add “get a website” to this Social Spring Cleaning list.

10. Yes, A Website!

We went ahead and added it for you. What do you think the ultimate online marketing goal is for everything that you do? Besides buying your service, obviously, you want potential customers to visit your website. Speaking of which, have you even mentioned your website lately on your social media accounts? Have you even updated your website it lately? Ok, I may have to stop there for now.

Up next… Website Spring Cleaning!

Security Breach!

Hacked Security Breach

Are You Prepared?

by Bill Nolan

In case you haven’t noticed lately, the hacking of websites and social media accounts is on the rise and even the smallest breach can cause countless problems for you, your business, and your brand. Not to mention the fact that you’ll be left with that sick feeling knowing that someone was able to creep into your identity. The question is what measures are you taking to ensure that it won’t happen to you? Sure, a stronger password and some security software will provide you with a little peace of mind, but the fact remains if there is any intrusion on your social accounts, website, etc., then everything comes to a screeching halt.

Hacked Security Breach

Let’s face it, specially for small businesses, you can’t monitor all of your platforms 24/7. Neither can the Big Boys… let’s take a look.

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Not even the military is immune from an invasion. In January, hackers with an allegiance to the Islamic State took over Central Command’s Twitter and YouTube accounts and proceeded to post threats, propaganda videos, and even some military documents. Although none of the information leaked was considered classified, it left them looking extremely foolish to the rest of the world. What’s even more embarrassing is the fact that it took 40 minutes before the accounts were shut down! That’s an eternity in the digital age and it just shows how ill prepared they were to deal with it… too late, the damage is done!

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In February, Newsweek had their Twitter account infiltrated by a group similar to the one that hacked the U.S. Central Command accounts. Newsweek had their profile and banner image changed to a masked man along with the message Je su IS IS, which is another obvious reference to ISIS. In an apparent mocking gesture, they also tweeted images from the Defense Cyber Investigations Training Academy, and reportedly confidential images from the Pentagon. Oh yeah, threats to the Obama family were also tweeted. Now keep in mind that when I talk about creating exposure for your company, this isn’t what I’m referring to! The good news? Well, Newsweek did manage to catch it and shut down the site after 14 minutes of chaos, which is nearly a half hour quicker that the U.S. government could do.

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Everyone and their brother has heard about this recent breach and the fiasco that ensued. Obviously one of the most reported aspects was the hackers’ demand that Sony pulls its movie “The Interview,” but that just masked the real damage that was occurring. Sony was basically dead in the water for about a week as employees tried to work without computers, email, voicemail, etc. Their gaming system Playstation went down, Brad Pit’s movie “Fury,” which had already hit theaters along with multiple movies that hadn’t yet been released, were being illegally downloaded over 1 million times. An early version of the script for the latest Bond movie “Spectre” was released and that causes a nightmare for MGM which actually owns the script.

Enough about the Hollywood side, what about the employees of Sony? Well, they just had massive amounts of personal information leaked online for the world to see. Salaries, birth dates, social security numbers, addresses, emails, you name it, and it was leaked. A Human Resources file that contained personal information on employees spouses and children such as premature births, health conditions and more was shared online.

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Although it was only their website and not social accounts that were hacked, it’s estimated that around 80 million people had all of their personal information compromised thanks to poor security on behalf of Anthem. The worst part is that they don’t even really know when the breach occurred; therefore, they have no clue as to how long the data was exposed! I assumed that Anthem would have someone monitoring their internet security, but you know what assuming does to you and me.

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You may say you are not the Military, Newsweek, Sony or even the scale of Anthem, but hackers are everywhere large and small. You may have smiled at one of them strangely when they entered your store, it may be that they’re just bored, or possibly, they just need an account to practice on before hitting the Big Boys. Either way… everyone is vulnerable.

Many people incorrectly assume that only large corporations and celebrity accounts are at risk. In reality, it’s estimated that nearly =&5=&Hackers use sophisticated tools that crawl websites looking for weak links to exploit. These programs don’t differentiate a large company from a small one, which means that everyone’s accounts are fair game. Preparing now may help save you from the moments when you realize your website and social accounts are no longer your own. Even though there is no 100% guarantee your accounts will be safe from a breach, having the right team monitoring your accounts will definitely keep the damage and possible embarrassment to a minimum… get protection!