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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Staying Relevant for 2012 in the Social Media Arena

Every business needs a social media strategy. It is as simple as that. A new generation of consumer is upon us and they are engaging with social media in increasing numbers each year. Smartphones and other technologies has become a consumer’s go-to device for information.

Small and large businesses can benefit from a comprehensive social media strategy to engage and inform their customers. Your goal needs to be organizing a clear and compelling marketing strategy to garner a greater market share in 2012. Angela West of PCWorld offered businesses five hot tips for developing and navigating the social media market and how to put your business on the path to social media success.

Develop Clear and Precise Monthly Goals
Businesses need to determine what they want to achieve with social media. Are you strictly looking to drive sales, inform customers of product, or simply increase traffic to your website, or are you seeking to blend all three goals? Once you organize your goals, set about defining the goals and committing resources to achieving them. A well-trained staff can influence and target key goals to advance your campaign.

Name Your Numbers
Ms. West suggests products such as Google Analytics and Hootsuite to determine and measure your results. These products can track visitors and give you detailed page hits and origins for free. Recently, Google Analytics included real-time tracking to increase your ability to offer relevant customer information based on consumer needs. In addition, Klout offers a free suite of analytic tools to provide you with data.

Getting to Know You
A successful campaign requires that you engage and inform your customers with relevant and interesting information. This requires you to look beyond Facebook and Twitter and develop sites on LinkedIn and Google+ to increase your web presence. Directories are available to attach links to drive your website traffic and increase your visibility with search engines.

Time to Hire a Professional
Hiring a professional social media marketing firm might be your best bet. Typically, small and midsize companies have a limited workforce and each employee’s job description and workload is full. Spend the resources to hire a professional and let your current staff maintain their positions promoting sales and providing customer service.

An outsourced social media marketing firm can increase and promote your business to its fullest potential. Ask other business associates or your web designer to recommend a firm. During the interview process, ask them to provide references, to quantify their results, and ask what plan they will put in place for you.

Let’s Get That in Writing
Social media is all about subtle self-promotion, so don’t forget to include your sites on all your printed business material. Add your links to Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ on your fliers, business cards, brochures, and any printed material your company uses. Having these links on your printed material will make it easier for consumers to find you on the web.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Last Line of Social Media Defense: How to Protect Against Online Attacks

The importance of protecting your business against hackers and other technologies which can destroy your business and personal data can not be overstressed. Your social content is vital and you risk losing the investment of hard work as well as money through cyber attacks. Take these important steps to ensure you build a wall that is difficult to breach and begin assembling an arsenal of tools to combat hackers.

Yahoo Finance recently offered six specific tips for countering attacks as well as safeguarding important content. Protect your bottom-line as well as your content with these companies who provide advanced protection against online attacks:   
  • SocialSafe.net: SocialSafe.net offers a comprehensive service that backs up your data from a UK-based company, iBundle. It allows you to create an online as well as offline digital journal for photos and entries. Users can trace their social media profile and view changes. There is a free version that offers a limited Facebook back-up, and users can purchase the standard upgrade for $3.49 a year. This is a bargain considering you can transition from your Twitter and Facebook profiles to save messages and photo comments. SocialSafe.net also offers a professional upgrade, which includes Google+ and Viadeo for $6.99 year. If you are interested in backing up all your content, including your Facebook business pages, they offer a $13.99 a year upgrade.  
  • My Facebook Account: Businesses looking for a free tool to save their Web pages from Facebook should look to Firefox and their free tool that allows users the ability to download this add-on and save messages, friend lists, photos, events, groups and notes as well as additional Facebook content directly to your hard drive.  
  • My Twitter—My Tweets are Safe: Facebook is not the only media site with free backup available. TweetBackup from Triop provides Twitter users with the ability to archive up to 3,200 tweets and store their followers. No password is required so this application offers additional appeal to users who have been compromised before.
  • My YouTube: The YouTube Downloader lets users download video from YouTube and convert them to different formats, such as MP3 and MOV files. And, the best part is this program is free.   
  • My Blog—Yes, My Words are Important: Another import to the United States from Triop is BlogBackupr, a back-up program for bloggers. This application requires no software installation and automatically restores blogs from Blogger.com and WordPress.
  • My Head is the Clouds—But, More Importantly, So is My Content: Backupify.com is a cloud-based service that regularly backs up content stored on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others. Users can protect their photo albums, messages as well as online profiles for a cost of $4.99 a month to $19.99 a month, depending on how many accounts you hold as well as your data storage needs. Backupify.com also offers users a free version to secure up to one gigabyte of data and three accounts.
Taking the Necessary Steps
Planning a course of action and taking steps to preserve your valuable content will pay large dividends in the future. Don’t run the risk of hackers destroying precious data. Search these sites to find the best program for your unique position. 
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