About the author Michael Tishman

Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Marketing

Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Marketing

There are millions of people on a variety of social media platforms every day. As a business owner or marketing department manager, this should be on your radar. Here are 10 suggestions for starting or improving your social media marketing efforts (and gaining access to millions of new prospects $$). Reproduced in part by our friends at BB&T.

 

1. Use the right social media platforms for your business

Find out which social media platforms your customers prefer, and strengthen your presence there. As you know, each platform is different, so you’ll want to craft your message to span across multiple platforms if possible. Take for example if your target audience is a younger crowd, you wouldn’t focus on Facebook, as they are more prone to hang out on Instagram. While it’s useful to have a presence on all platforms, spend the most time and energy on the ones that best reach your target audience. And if your time or resources are limited, focus only on one or two that will make the biggest impact to your bottom line.

2. Follow a strategy and a plan

Don’t just throw stuff out there and say you have a social media presence. Take the time to create a meaningful social media plan for your business, including which platforms you’ll use and how often you’ll post. Be sure to establish measurable goals for the year—what is it you want to accomplish? Maybe you want to boost website visits or increase sales. Whatever you decide, create a calendar to schedule your strategy, and do your best to follow it.

3. Don't forget who you are

Develop a specific voice on social media that reflects your company’s brand, interests and values. Make sure you’re reaching the right people and speaking their language. Your customers should identify with your message.

4. Be consistent

Post regularly—but don’t overdo it! If your social media strategy includes posting at certain time periods or intervals, you should be able to create maximum impact without turning people off. Consider using a social media scheduling tool to post when you’re busy, or think about outsourcing this part of your business so you can ensure consistency.

5. Quality over quantity

Your followers would rather read high quality content than have their social media feed overflowing with meaningless posts. Give your customers informative, engaging content that serves their needs. If your content is intriguing, your followers will want to visit your website to learn more about your products and your company.

6. Follow your competitors

You may want to follow your competitors’ social media platforms to see what they’re posting. This could also give you ideas about of the type of content your customers may be interested in.

7. Make access a priority

Include links to your company website on all your social media platforms and posts. You want customers (and potential customers) to head to your website via your social media posts, so make it easy for them.

8. Create visual excitement

Use eye-catching photos and short video clips to encourage consumers to stop and explore your site. You could attach a how-to video about something relevant to your business or take a few pictures of an event at your office—or even a new employee. Whatever it is, the more flair you can add, the better.

9. Respond to comments

When customers or followers ask questions or make comments on any of your social media platforms, you need to reply—and quickly. Think of social media as a conversation. Keeping the back-and-forth exchange alive makes your company seem active and connected. This also means you need someone (either you or an employee) to regularly monitor your social media platforms for interaction.

10. Measure your results

As with any type of marketing, your social media strategy is only as good as its results. So you need to measure the impact that social media makes on your business. Use analytics to measure audience response, including when the optimal times are to post and what posts received the most action (whether clicks, likes or shares). Then use this information to create your strategies for the future. Use your strategy to engage customers Utilizing social media to spread awareness of your company, your products and your vision is a powerful and inexpensive marketing avenue. But a strategic plan will help you use your business’s resources efficiently while engaging your consumers online.

 

As a trusted technology partner to small businesses across South Florida, we are happy to say that we’re here to help with all your social media & digital marketing needs. When you’re ready, call, click or text us and we’ll started. (800) 639-1046 / (954) 616-8023 / contact@8thdomaintechnology.com

Windows 10 Privacy & Security Alert

Windows 10 Privacy & Security Alert

Of all the technology insights we at 8th Domain Technology have to share, this article is one the most important in our humble opinion. It has to do to privacy. YOUR privacy. And right now your business and personal information is at risk.

If you’re using Windows 10, depending on how your computer was setup, it provides an open door to Microsoft (and other 3rd parties) for everything on your computer and everything you do with it.  What does “everything” equate to you might be thinking?  Hold onto your hats… Here we go… Let’s start with access to all your contacts, access to your calendar items, connections to your contacts networks, and even a history of every keyboard key typed. Yikes!!!  Did you know this? Did you also know all this information is being stored in the cloud. Microsoft says they use this information to enhance your experience while using the computer. Humm.

If you set your computer using Microsoft’s recommended options (to make setup faster they say), you are exposing yourself far beyond what is “normal” in our opinion. If you have an IT staff or outsourced IT service provider, how did they setup your computers? Do you know? It maybe something worth asking.

Sounds alarming doesn’t it? It does, and it is. But there is a light at the end of this tunnel. And there’s no need to throw your computer into the trash and move to Montana {just yet}. Let’s take a look at these original setup options so you can see what you signed up for along with recommendations for disabling them.

First, when presented with this screen (pictured below) we suggest, again, not using the recommended install options and clicking on the “custom settings” link. If you are already using Windows 10 and either you or someone else setup your computer, we’ll show you how to alter these settings to get your privacy back towards the end of this article.

On the next setup screen (pictured below) we recommend turning off every item. Take a moment now to read, really read, each of these items.

The next screen (pictured below) deals with browser and protection settings, as well as connectivity and error reporting. Again, we recommend turning all these items off. Worth noting the first option for “smart screen services” pertains only when using Microsoft’s Edge browser to access the internet. We recommend this not just be turned off, but that you use either Google Chrome’s Internet browser or Mozilla Firefox’s browser. From our experience, these are both much safer than using Microsoft’s older Internet Explorer browser or their newer version called Edge.

Now what?  How about a fix 🙂

If you (or your IT support provider) previously chose these express settings to set up your windows 10 computer and you want to opt out of some or all of these, all is not lost. You can still go into the settings and change things.

To turn off the first item found in the Personalization settings, you will need to open the Privacy group in Settings and then “Speech, inking, & typing”.

Click or tap “Stop getting to know me”.

To turn off the “advertising ID” and “send typing and inking data” options, you will need to do that in the General privacy section. You will also find the option to turn off (or on) the SmartScreen filter here.

The Location settings can be turned off under the “Location” section.

Now let’s modify the “Network & Internet” settings to prevent others from gaining access to our network.

Tap or click “Wi-Fi” and then (if necessary) scroll down to “Manage Wi-Fi settings”.

Then tap or click “Off” the two options shown in the screenshot below.

Finally, there’s one more spot in the privacy settings called “Feedback & diagnostics” where you can adjust the final option in the customized setup to NOT use the recommended option.

 

There ya go!  You are safe once again from the prying eyes of big brother. Keep vigilant and keep tuned to 8th Domain Technology’s insights blog for news and updates that are actual useful. Both at work AND at home.

Want us to do this for you? We’d love to help get your privacy back. Give us a call at (800) 639-1046 or email us at contact@8thdomaintechnology.com and we’ll be there.

SEO Tip – NoFollow Tag

SEO Tip – NoFollow Tag

One would think that having links on your website would be a good thing; like to your clients, partners, vendors, friends and whatnot. And, even having them link back to you on their websites as well. This should help with SEO, right?

Unfortunately the answer is no. Not always. It could actually make things worse. Fortunately, there is an HTML programming tool – the “nofollow” tag – which can be coded to tell the Google and Bing SEO robots and spiders to not continue following the path of a hyperlink.

Why do this? The long answer, which we won’t delve to deep into, relates to a domain’s authority rating. Here’s a more English friendly explanation:

If the website you are linking out to has a not-so-great reputation (as defined by Google & Bing), you will actually reduce YOUR domain’s authority rating and lower your rankings. Your reputation is based in part on the company you keep. Sounds familiar huh.

What to do? If all this is sounding Greek and you’d like help increasing your search engine rankings, call us at (800) 639-1046 / (954) 616-8023 we’d love to help out. Otherwise, jump right on in yourself and start fine tuning your website pages. First – assess the domain authority ratings of all the websites you are linking out to, and for those sites with low ratings, add the “nofollow” tag to their hyperlinks. That’s it!

In summary, it’s tough enough to increase your search visibility, the last thing you want is to go backwards.

Real Cost of IT Support

Real Cost of IT Support

One of the greatest challenges among small business owners today is making the decision about IT support and maintenance of the information system; whether to hire an in-house IT tech or to outsource IT support for their business. With the relatively recent availability of Managed Services for small business, the list of choices – and decisions – has grown once again. Let’s take a look at the IT support choices currently available, as well as some of the costs involved. (Although we have tried to give you some idea of the costs involved, please remember that these are merely estimates based on averages, and that the actual cost of IT support services can vary greatly, based on needs.)

Option (1) Self-managed IT Support:

According to PayScale.com, the national median income for an in-house IT tech is currently running at a bit over $50,000 per year, with the upper end of that range reaching nearly $70,000 annually. For more experienced technicians, the median pay rate is above $56,000 annually, with the upper range much closer to $75,000 yearly. These pay ranges include salary, bonuses, and profit sharing for in-house employees, but do not include benefits, such as health insurance. If we choose a salary of $55,000 for the purpose of this comparison, we must then add benefits, sick pay, vacation time, and your annual payroll tax. These will total approximately $15,000 a year. Total cost of salary and benefits for your new IT specialist would be about $70,000 per year, though it could be more.

Option (2) Outsourcing your IT Support:

For many small business owners, outsourcing their IT support needs may seem extravagant due to the hourly rate that such companies charge. However, this type of support can be extremely cost-effective because of the expertise being purchased, the experience the techs who visit are able to offer, and the backup provided by the team that supports them. Further, as a small business owner, you should easily be able to budget for the monthly expense, based on the system evaluation and recommendations of the company you employ as your IT support team. A responsible IT support company will always begin with an objective assessment of your information system, along with recommendations for the work they will perform to meet your needs. In other words, they will not “pad” the bill, but will only perform the tasks you request of them. This can greatly reduce the cost of IT support for your small business, rather than hiring an in-house tech and paying an annual salary, as discussed above. Beyond this, a reputable IT support company will guarantee the expertise of the tech they send you. The tech will also possess a great deal more experience than an employee, as they deal with a variety of systems every day. In most cases, there will be little they have not seen, which will allow them to handle your specific needs more efficiently. Further, they will most likely assign a particular technician to your account, someone who will visit you regularly, allowing them to become intimately familiar with your information system and the needs of your business, and with whom you will build a relationship of trust over time. Best of all, your service will always be hands-on, with a live human being in place to answer your questions. The cost of this type of support can vary greatly, depending upon the age and number of servers and desktops being used in your organization. However, you will usually be able to save money by purchasing blocks of time in advance and only using the hours purchased on as as-needed basis. For the average small business, you should probably budget for something between $500 and $1000 per month, a vast savings over hiring an in-house IT tech.

Option (3) Managed Services IT Support:

With remote monitoring of your small business information system now available 24/7, 365, this option has become one of the more cost-effective and appealing choices among small business owners in today’s marketplace. For a flat rate monthly fee, business owners and IT managers can now purchase pro-active monitoring and maintenance of servers, desktops, and remote machines being used by their company. In addition to this, a business may also subscribe to this type of service in a graduated, piecemeal fashion; perhaps beginning with managed antivirus protection, then gradually adding email monitoring for spam and continuity, email archiving, desktop monitoring, mobile device monitoring, online data backup services, and more. By using such a service, your small business will find it very easy to budget for them. Because of the flat rate subscription fee you will pay each month, there will be no budget-busting surprises. As each of the managed services you’re using begins to save you money, by reducing system downtime and increasing productivity, you’ll be able to add another layer of protection, without having to invest in expensive an all-in-one package. The most important benefit of a managed services program is that it is fully automated and never rests. The system is working on your behalf 24/7, 365, monitoring and maintaining your information system even while you sleep. You will also receive notification of impending problems, allowing you to intervene before your system goes down. Once again, the cost of a managed services package for your small business will have a number of determining factors. Beginning with the age of your equipment and software, as well as the number of machines and users, to the selection of the various management and maintenance services to which you subscribe these will determine the monthly cost of your choices. For the average small business, your monthly cost may range from $1000 to $2000 per month for ‘round-the-clock protection of your information system, data, and workstations. You should consult with an IT support provider for more information on a managed services package features and costs.

IT Support Service Packages – Summary

For most of our South Florida small business clients, a combination of outsourcing their IT support to us, along with one of our proactive managed services packages has been the ultimate solution to their IT needs. This type of cost-effective combination of support services has provided them expert IT support when needed on-site, as well as the 24 hour protection of their information system that they need for their peace of mind. “It’s good to sleep again at night!” they tell us. If this information has been helpful, and you would like to know more about how Managed Services and IT support service packages from 8th Domain Technology could benefit you and your business, the IT experts at 8th Domain Technology are here to help you with all of your South Florida Small Business IT support needs. Please do not hesitate to contact us with your IT service request for help with your operating system, apps, servers, VoIP system or any other IT issues you may have. Contact us online or via phone at (800) 639-1046 | (954) 616-8023 for a free estimate today.

Management, Ethics and the Human Spirit

Management, Ethics and the Human Spirit

Management, Ethics & the Human Spirit

Have you ever noticed how different people are? Now I’m not talking about race, religions, political views, hair styles, languages spoken, abilities, disabilities, and whatnot. I’m talking about DEEP DOWN. We are each very unique in our own special way. We are characters aren’t we? So how do we all get along, work with each other and actually get stuff done? The answer I believe lies in the one thing we all have in common. We are all Free Spirits! Frolicking about the planet. Some (myself included) think this is actually the “reason for our existence”. Our authentic selves, our free spirits, engaged in recreational display for entertainment. To have fun. As such we don’t like being told what to do, how to do it or when to do it. Right? So if this is true the question arises again, “How do we get anything done?”

Let’s look at the most common strategy – Managing other people to get stuff done. Hummm, for those who honestly think they can manage people (or the human spirit) – in my humble opinion – you’re either fooling yourself or you are actively practicing the all-too-often management style of fear and intimidation (e.g., “Do what I say or you’re fired!”). Really motivational right? And although this management style does work, it is only temporary, it gets suboptimal results, it’s demoralizing, and it creates a toxic environment for all involved.

So what’s the alternative? Let’s look at Ethics and the Human Spirit. Starting with you. Are you tasked with leading a department or a team? What excites you? Is it the feeling of accomplishment? The intrinsic value of helping someone else? How about the possibility of getting paid a reasonable rate for your efforts? Maybe it takes the form of a raise, maybe a day off, or simply some appreciation? If you are thinking any of these things, one might speculate that the same thoughts are going thru the minds of everyone else around you?

Assuming this to be true, could you now rally the troops to accomplish a common goal? With clear and realistic goals and expectations that benefit EVERYONE in the process (the client, the company & yourself)? And now hang-on a minute, before barking instructions to your team, ask yourself, “Why are they going to do what you want them to do?” Is it simply because you told them to do it (or get fired), or are they going to get onboard because they want to help? Because they believe in what you are trying to get accomplished? This is what leaders and effective managers do. They facilitate collaboration and generate positive energy in the room. What’s the “feeling & atmosphere” in your workspace? Is it positive or negative energy?

Elevate your game, relationships, and project results by recognizing your authentic self and who your team players (really) are. Then go have fun!

Relationships

Relationships

No boyfriend or girlfriend stuff here, sorry. I’m talking relationship with your computer. Really. Stay with me for a moment…

Are you ‘friends’, ‘casual acquaintances’ or ‘enemies’. This relationship will very much have an effect on your daily productivity (and your health and well being).

For me, I love my computer. I’m nice to it and it returns the favor by not breaking down and it creates wonderful projects that allow me to make a living helping others with their technology needs. It’s a great two-way win-win relationship and it’s pretty much stress-free.

Now how ’bout you? Do you find yourself swearing at the computer, or worse yet pounding on the keyboard because it’s not responding as fast as you’d like it to? How much time are you putting into the relationship? Do you expect the world from your computer but don’t do any training to learn how to use it or the software on it better? That’s kinda one-way thinking isn’t it? Do you have unrealistic expectations about how fast it should respond to your actions, even though you may have purchased it over 5 years ago and filled to the brim with junk? Yikes, I can just imagine the frustration. We see it every day. And all technology aside, this adversarial relationship is unnecessarily stressful and not healthy.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s a mindset really, and it has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with the way you treat and act towards others. Computers included.

Arm-chair technology counseling available FREE 24/7/365 by contacting us online or via phone at (800) 639-1046 | (954) 616-8023.

Who Likes Change?

Who Likes Change?

Can I see of show of hands of everyone who likes “change”. I’m referring here of course to changes in your daily routines at home or at the office. Hummm, I’m not seeing a single hand raised. I think it safe to say that the majority of people don’t like change.

Now consider this – have you ever wished things were different, like;  your hairstyle, your relationships, your clothes, car, house, salary/job, sales numbers at the end of the month, etc… Why aren’t things changing, why aren’t they improving?

The answer may reside in the reality of our resistance to change. “If you change no-thing … No-thing will change!”

Now you maybe thinking what in the heck does this resistance to change have to do with Sales & Marketing or Technology? A lot actually – especially if you’re the business owner or if you’re responsible for the success of a department or team. Your resistance to change is directly impacting your growth. Almost guaranteeing stagnation.

Take for example these three typical scenarios…

  1. If you wanted to improve operational efficiencies with managing inventory, it may be time to change from using your “familiar” Excel spreadsheet or QuickBooks accounting software to using an actual supply chain management software package.
  2. If you want to better manage your sales process, it may be time to change from using that “familiar” Outlook email program and start using a real relational contact management system. Or,
  3. If you’re frustrated with that friend or relative who has offered to help you with your website, social media or digital marketing endeavors, but seems to only work around their schedule, it may be time for a change and hire someone who has your best (business) interests in mind.

Change doesn’t have to hurt and it doesn’t have to break the piggy bank either, but it does need to occur if you want to make a positive change.

As a trusted technology partner to small businesses across South Florida, I’m happy to say we’re here to help with the transition from old to new. It’s time. Give us a call, click or text us and let’s get started today. (800) 639-1046, (954) 616-8023, https://8thDomainTechnology.com, contact@8thDomainTechnology.com, @8thDomainTechnology, #8thdomainTechnology

Power of Emotions

Power of Emotions

Here’s a thought to ponder… Take a guess at how most people make up their minds when presented with a challenging question?  Most folks believe they use their brains to contemplate and consider potential outcomes, pros and cons, ramifications of not doing something, and the like.  However, since we are spiritual beings (if I may even talk about this aspect of humanity), we more often than not make our decisions using our hearts and not our brains. Yep. Emotions seem to magically trump logic, and for a very valid reason.  Ultimately, we are making a connection (or possibly not connecting) with that ”thing” being considered. This even includes the decision to buy a product or service being offered by another.

Hopefully by now you can see where this conversation is going.  We are talking about Marketing.  And, if we can all agree – even just a little – that our hearts have this special power over our brains, then it is probably in our best interest to leverage (but not take advantage of) this connection. Right?

So how do we do this? It’s easy actually. And no trickery is needed. All one has to do is take into consideration the potential buyer’s wants and needs when trying to package and promote your product or service.  Make a connection!  Show me you understand what’s it’s like to walk a day in my shoes and how your product or service can help make my day and my life easier. Don’t give me a list of the 10 thousand things it can do. Tell me how it is going to help me. That’s it!

This is also not a new marketing method by any means, but it is one that requires more work be done on the seller’s part to learn more about the needs of their buyers before starting any new marketing campaign. A much overlooked method if you ask us.  If you do this one thing you will not just increase your sales you will be providing a loftier service to help out another human being.

Need some help with your next digital marketing campaign? We’re here to serve however we can, from strategizing new ideas to tactically bring those ideas to life. Call us, we’d LOVE to help.  (800) 639-1046 / (954) 616-8023