June 19th, 2014
Which Metrics Don’t Matter – and Why!
The term “vanity metrics” has made its way into the marketing vocabulary lately, and for good reason. What many use to measure “results” can very often be misleading and due to this, it’s worth taking a look at some of the marketing metrics you could (and probably should!) ignore.
Here are a few you can safely ignore:
- Facebook Likes, Twitter Followers and LinkedIn Connections - Whoever has the bigger numbers wins, correct? If only. The truth is, more virtual bodies following you results in better conversions only when you are actively engaging with them, and creating a relationship. Having loads of likes or followers who never make the cross over to customers is essentially pointless.
- Comments - Again, with the goal being to raise conversion, merely creating a blog post that titillates and creates a large number of comments, but generates no leads, is a waste of a blog post. Make the reason they comment have something to do with leading them further along the path toward conversion, like a topical question.
- Impressions - Mainly used in your advertising, the sheer number of ad impressions is relatively useless, as it does not indicate any measurable action. Simply having your ad display in front of a couple of million computer screens is no real measure of how it performs. Rather, take a look at click-thru rates and conversion rates.
More on this can be found at HubSpot.
Those you ought to keep an eye on:
- Shares of your content - While this is not a concrete statistic, getting your content shared in whatever form is a step in the right direction. This means that that your content making an impression (the right kind!) and is being passed around.
- Social mentions and citations - Seeing that Google is now including social signals and citations into the search algorithm, this is an element that is very helpful. This aids your site in search, as well as authority.
- Conversions - The holy grail, as they say. If all your social media and content isn’t ultimately resulting in conversions, you should take a good look at it.
Read more about this at Mashable.
June 17th, 2014
Working out of the office can be frustrating–especially when you need to access a key file on your desktop computer and that computer sits many hundreds of miles away. Fortunately, iPad owners can access several apps that permit them to remotely access the files and data on their laptops and desktop computers, regardless of how distant from them they may be. Termed remote-access apps, these tools are available in a wide variety of price points. They also target a wide variety of iPad users, from those focusing on business to those who’re more interested in watching movies and playing music. Here’s a look at three of the most useful remote-access apps available today for iPad users.
GoToMyPc: Citrix has long provided GoToMyPC, a way to access your home computer while you are on the road. In fact, Citrix was offering the service before tablets and smart phones became the favored toys of tech-savvy consumers. Today, you are able to sign up for this service for $9.95 monthly for basic service or $99 for one computer for a year. Once you sign up, you’ll be given a free app for your iPad that lets you run GoToMyPC from a tablet. As the name suggests, you can use this service to remotely access your Word and PowerPoint documents, e-mail folders and file folders. PC Magazine recently reviewed the service and praised it for ease of use and effectiveness. The cost, though, is high. Many iPad users can find more affordable services that work equally well for their needs.
SplashTop Remote Desktop: The SplashTop Remote Desktop has become a top choice for iPad users. That’s because the system, as rated by CNet writer Matt Elliott, is straightforward to install and use. It’s also fairly economical, costing just $4.99. It also lets you stream both video and audio, something that other remote-desktop programs don’t.
LogMeIn Ignition: LogMeIn Ignition is yet another lower-priced alternative to GoToMyPC, though at $30, it is costlier than rival SplashTop. This program has also been praised by CNET for its being user friendly and effectiveness, but also for two nifty features. First, you can use LogMeIn to remotely wake up a sleeping or shut-down PC. Secondly, you may use the app to remotely move files from a PC to your iPad.
June 12th, 2014
Here’s what attracts cyber attackers: easy targets. Which means that you can leave your small business open to a cyber attack if you don’t defend your company’s Wi-Fi systems with passwords or if you trust in passwords that are absurdly easy to guess. In a recent story outlining steps that business owners can take to protect themselves from cybercrimes, Entrepreneur Magazine advises that you do the small things that may make most hackers move on to easier targets.
Entrepreneur recommends you first encrypt all of your important data, anything from bank routing numbers to credit-card account information to employee Social Security numbers. Hackers want to steal this data. It’s how they ultimately drain money from your small business. Entrepreneur’s advice? Turn on the full-disk encryption tools that are included with your computer’s operating systems. On Windows, this tool is named BitLocker. On Macintosh computers, it’s called FileVault. The tool, once activated, will encrypt every file and program on the drive.
Lock it Down
Most computers have a Kensington lock port, a small metal loop that users can run a cable through to lock them to their desks. If you want to truly protect your business, require that employees take this protection measure. It might sound silly, but the Entrepreneur story said that businesses are often hacked after burglars break in and steal laptops along with other devices. A cable strapping a laptop to a desk won’t stop all thieves. But it might scare away those who want to strike especially quickly.
Often the easiest way for cyber criminals to gain access to your company accounts is through your business’ Wi-Fi network. That’s why Entrepreneur Magazine suggests that you do away with Wi-Fi altogether and instead install a wired network. If you can’t do that, as a minimum protect your Wi-Fi accounts with passwords that are hard to compromise. A good bet? Long passwords comprised of an assortment of letters, numbers and symbols.
June 10th, 2014
Think you can’t use your tablet to share screens with your co-workers? Think again. There are plenty of apps now available that allow you to share your reports, images, documents and videos with co-workers and friends. With one of these screen-sharing apps, you won’t even miss that heavier laptop. Whatever screen sharing it can do, your tablet can now do, too. But which screen-sharing apps for iOS should you download? Miguel Leiva-Gomez, a writer for the tech site smallbiz technology, recommends three that should handle all of your screen-sharing needs.
The join.me app comes in free and “pro” versions. To make use of this app on the iOS operating system, you’ll need to spend about $20 a month for the “pro” version. But as Leiva-Gomez writes, the investment is worth it. The software allows users to share all of their screens with co-workers, and it does it without a steep learning curve. It’s exceedingly simple to operate. The program also comes with other bonus features, like instant chat capabilities, Internet calling and file sharing.
Leiva-Gomez states that this app will turn your tablet into a whiteboard with such features as multiple pages. Users are able to use images from their own libraries as the background of their whiteboard and they can make use of one of five different drawing tools. Users are also able to use Air Sketch to open PDFs. The program displays everything in real time, creating an environment well suited to collaboration.
The Conference Pad completes Leiva-Gomez’s screen-sharing all-stars, and with good reason. It is a no-frills screen-sharing app, but it’s also a potent one. The application is especially impressive with regards to zoom. Users can zoom into any area of their documents or images without having to sacrifice an iota of image quality. And like the other screen-sharing apps that Leiva-Gomez highlights, it’s an easy one to understand and make use of, meaning that tablet owners will be sharing their screens in no time.
June 5th, 2014
You’re on vacation but, unfortunately, work calls. You have to jump online to download a report or fire off a couple of e-mails. Unfortunately, the Internet connection at the lakeside resort is maddeningly slow. There’s hope, though: The Lifehacker Web site provides some pointers for boosting even the slowest of Internet connections.
Certain apps and plug-ins are bandwidth hogs, decreasing your already sputtering Internet connection. Turn these off to get an instant boost. Lifehacker suggests that you install such programs as FlashBlock and AdBlock Plus. These programs can keep bandwidth-sucking ads, videos and animations from slowing down your Web connection.
You might be stuck on a plane or at an isolated resort. To boost your Internet speed, optimize your Web. This could mean visiting the mobile versions of Web sites rather than the full-featured ones. It might also mean disabling images.
Change the way you work
In some cases, there’s little you can do to boost your Internet speed. In such cases, you’ll have to work smart. Perform those tasks that demand little bandwidth – for example sending e-mails – when you’re stuck with a slow connection. Don’t perform high-bandwidth tasks – such as editing videos – until you’re privileged with a speedier connection.
June 3rd, 2014
Typing on your laptop while you’re flying across the country isn’t much fun. But sometimes it can’t be avoided. What can be prevented is the back pain you often experience once your plane lands.
The Lifehacker Web site recently presented a key tip for easing back strain while computing in mid-air: Avoid hunching. That sounds basic, but it’s often difficult to not hunch when you’re working while traveling.
To solve the hunching problem? Lifehacker recommends that you buy an low-priced laptop stand. You can find these for $20 or less, and they’ll angle your computer so that you can sit back and work in a neutral position that avoids both neck and back strain.
But if you’re without a stand? Lifehacker recommends as a last option rolling up one of those Skymall catalogs and making use of it as a makeshift stand.
May 27th, 2014
How Can You Use Facebook Graph Search in Your Business?
Facebook is at it again, and this time it’s called Facebook Graph Search. It is their attempt to sway their search results from a keyword-based model like Google’s, to one where Facebook can use its greatest asset, the social interplay between all of its users. Still rolling out, Graph Search may not be open to you yet, (still only available in the US, and there’s a waiting list) but it’s on its way right around the corner. And if you have a business that uses Facebook at all, you must understand how this can benefit you.
So just what is Facebook Graph search?
Facebook Graph Search is a search model where you are served up results based not on any keyword you typed in, but instead results determined by your social spheres. For example, your search will highlight people who share your interests, photos and videos they’ve liked, and connections you share. These outcomes are unique to you as they’re based on you and your friend’s interests.
How can you utilize Facebook Graph search in your marketing?
One of the primary benefits here is apparently that Graph Search will reward those people who are making a genuine effort with their social media, engaging and interacting with their fans and followers. Facebook is mum in regards to the aspects of the actual search algorithm, but suffice it to say that it will do a lot towards removing pages that are trying to game the system. Fake Likes and fans coming from strange locations outside of your common spheres, will probably be viewed with skepticism.
Rather, this appears as if it is going to greatly benefit businesses making a genuine attempt at engaging with social media. Some ways you can be ready for Facebook Graph Search are to:
- Make sure your Facebook page profile is totally filled out with your information, so that users can locate and contact you.
- Make certain to engage, not sell your visitors.
- Go through what you’ve posted online, especially on Facebook itself, as your info will be more available than ever! Delete any embarrassing items before they come back to bite your business you know where!
May 22nd, 2014
What are #Hashtags and How to Use Them
If you’re like many new to social media marketing, and particularly Twitter, you might not have a keen understanding of exactly what a #hashtag even is. Let’s clear that up from the get-go. A hashtag is a convention used on Twitter, (although it may be used in other social media platforms to lead to Twitter) that organizes and categorizes conversations. They are symbolized by a # followed by a keyword with no spaces.
Some #Hashtags basic guidelines
Be sure to do your basic due diligence and see if the keyword you’d prefer to use is not being employed somewhere else. This is as simple as conducting a little research (a search on Search.Twitter.com) to find out if that #Hashtag is a good idea. Also, don’t try to make hay with misleading #hashtags, even if they may be seriously trending. This will almost assuredly blow up on you. And one more thing: make sure to proofread prior to when you create that #hashtag!
4 Ways to market with #hashtags
- Make your #hashtags short and direct - Keeping it brief and direct is the proper approach to win with #hashtags. If you wish to combine more than one, fine, but don’t string together a small army of them, as that will annoy readers and label you an amateur.
- Make them #hashtags to not forget - Great #hashtags are far more likely to be shared widely. Give consideration to this and you may get your wish and have it go viral.
- Use them on multiple social media channels - A #hashtag isn’t much use if it’s not shared. Although started on Twitter, #hashtags have become employed across multiple social media channels including Facebook, Google , LinkedIn and Pinterest. This assists to instill the #hashtag into the minds of their audience.
- Make use of keywords - When possible, work in your brand or major keywords. This is not always feasible, so choose judiciously.
Creating and making use of memorable #hashtags can keep your brand and conversation before your social media audience, and help perpetuate your campaigns. Give it a go today!
May 20th, 2014
Your phone is quiet. Customers aren’t sending you e-mail messages. Even worse, no one’s spending money at your shop. Your sometimes worry that you will soon be broke. There could be a host of reasons behind your small business’ struggles. But have you investigated the role your business’ website might be playing? A bad business website is often worse than no website at all. It might even be costing you business.
Help is on the way
Luckily help is on the way. Entrepreneur Magazine recently ran a feature providing business owners with the fundamentals that every company website should contain. Following this advice can turn your business website from a negative to a positive. And the first tip? Your site should explain right on its front page what your business is, what it sells or offers and who it serves. This will tell visitors that they’ve found the right site.
Not hard to find
A good business website ought to be easy to find, too. This means picking a domain name that’s easy to remember and intuitive. For example, if your company name is Steve’s Landscaping, your website address needs to be something like steveslandscaping.com. You might like the domain name GreenerGrass.com. Nevertheless the odds are that customers won’t be able to find your company website if they don’t already know your online address. The magazine also suggests using the .com extension – which is the one that everybody is familiar with – and to avoid including dashes or numbers in your Web address.
A clear map
Finally, don’t confuse your prospective customers when they reach your business website. Entrepreneur states that your home page needs to include clear links to your site’s sections. And you should include a site map that users can count on to find your site’s most important pages.
May 15th, 2014
How many Facebook messages from co-workers, past bosses and friends have you missed over the years? The number may very well be more than you thought, as a result of Facebook’s unfamiliar “Other” folder.
Uncovering the “Other”
New York Times technology columnist David Pogue recently explained the way the “Other” folder works. When users who aren’t registered as your Facebook friends send you a note, they can either pay $1 or agree to have their message deposited in your “Other” folder. Guess which option most people choose?
Messages land in the “Other” folder when senders who aren’t your Facebook friends send you messages. These senders can either pay $1 to Facebook or allow their messages to arrive at the “Other” folder. The majority of people, of course, choose “Other.”
Find these lost messages
You can locate your “Other” folder by clicking your “Messages” tab on the left side of your Facebook page. Look closely and you’ll see the grey word “Other.” Open it, and you will probably be shocked at how many important messages you’ve missed.