Blog

March 14th, 2016

2016Mar14_SocialMedia_BSocial media marketing can be time consuming. You may spend hours upon hours trying to get it right and still see little growth in your followers. So what can you do to be more effective and save time in the process? Here are ten tools that can streamline your social media efforts and even offer guidance.

Headlines

Let’s face it, most small business owners are not experts at writing compelling headlines. Thankfully, there are several social media tools that can help you get it right. Here are two of them.
  • Headline Analyzer - When it comes to spurring people to action, appealing to emotions can be very effective. This free tool analyzes and scores the emotional aspect of your headline and then informs you of which emotions are being communicated the loudest.
  • Optimizely - It’s one thing to hear a so called expert claim that a specific type of headline will work, and it’s another to see it for yourself. This tool enables you to A/B test your headlines, images or variations of them to see which are most effective.

Content Generation

When you’re generating new blogs, marketing messages and other content on a regular basis, sometimes the creative juices run dry. This is where these three tools can come in handy.
  • Portent - Whether it’s blogs, memes, videos or other social content, Portent provides easy idea generation. Simply enter a subject you want to create content for, and Portent will give you some ideas.
  • Hubspot Blog Topic Generator - Similar to Portent, but for blogs only. Enter three topics into this tool, and it will instantly give you a week’s worth of blog titles to write about.
  • Banner Ads Creator - Creating an effective ad can be a real pain in the rump. But this easy-to-use tool enables users to generate ads almost effortlessly in a matter of minutes. Use it to create ads for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, your website and more.

Management

Perhaps the most difficult part of social media marketing is the management aspect of it. These tools will help you be more efficient with your time and create maximum impact.
  • Social Rank - Curious to know which of your followers are most engaged? Well, now you can with Social Rank. This nifty tool enables you to identify, manage and organize your followers on Instagram and Twitter.
  • Riffle - Mingling with influencers can have a huge impact on the number of your followers. While doing that may sound easier said than done, this tool enables you to do just that. Riffle will help you find and connect with social influencers on Twitter, and engage with them when they’re active on the platform.
  • Hootsuite - How would you like to manage all your social media accounts from one location? That would probably save a lot of time, right? Hootsuite offers just that, and enables you to grow your brand by allowing you to schedule updates and engage with your audience from a single platform.

Video and Images

What many consider the bane of social media marketing, finding affordable images and videos on a weekly basis can be both frustrating and costly. These two tools will hopefully make your efforts a bit easier.
  • Unsplash - This tool gives you free access to thousands of high resolution photos that you can use however you please. And to ensure there is an influx of fresh new images to choose from, the service adds 10 new photos every day.
  • Mazwai - To go along with your free images, how about some free video? That’s exactly what Mazwai does, offering you the ability to download videos under the free creative common license. All you need to do is credit the video producer, and then you are allowed to use the footage.
We understand that for the small business owner, social media marketing can seem like a monumental chore, and we hope these tools will help make it a smoother process. If you need any advice or assistance with your own social media marketing, give us a call today.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
March 9th, 2016

2016Mar9_VoIPGeneral_BWhether we’re using a laptop, a mobile phone or a tablet, communication has never been easier. Thanks to increasingly stable and fast internet connections, Voice over IP (VoIP) services have replaced phone calls as a cheap and accessible alternative. This has caught the attention of many business owners and some have even adopted these VoIP solutions for their business. So when it comes to your company, you may be flirting with the idea of VoIP as well. If so, here are some things to consider before purchasing a particular service.

Flexibility or ease-of-use?

Choosing between a hosted or managed VoIP setup depends on the type of service your company is willing to pay for. Would you prefer flexibility or accessibility?

Managed VoIP means that your company is in charge of managing and maintaining the on-site system. While initial costs are generally greater due to hardware and maintenance fees, when it comes to managing your own telecommunications network, a managed VoIP system provides your business with more versatility and control.

On the other hand, with hosted VoIP systems, you leave the cost of new hardware and the maintenance of the telecommunications network entirely to a third party. This also frees your company from the burden of having to monitor and update your own telecommunication technologies. For many small businesses a hosted VoIP option is the more attractive choice as you only pay for the services you use from your hosted service provider, and these initial fees tend to be lower than the alternative.

Do you want to be more technically involved?

Deciding between a managed VoIP system and a hosted one depends on how much you are willing to be involved in the management and maintenance of your VoIP setup. Generally, many companies with limited IT knowledge tend to take the hosted VoIP option while those who have more resources to customize their own telecommunications network are more willing to go with an on-site VoIP setup.

Have you considered mobile VoIP systems?

With VoIP systems, telephony is no longer bound to a specific phone network. Modern employees now have a multitude of communication tools to choose from all while accessing them anytime and anywhere. Choosing VoIP systems that offer mobile integration can provide your workers with the ability to access video conference calls and answer direct calls even when they are not in the office.

Does your business intend to expand?

When choosing the right VoIP system, you have to make sure that the service provider can complement your company’s plans for growth. With so many mobile devices being made, selecting a VoIP service that is compatible with the latest technologies can keep you ahead of the game.

Cloud-based solutions can help ease your expansion plans because these services will constantly update your telecommunications network for you. This means you never have to worry about your technology falling behind in functionality.

Check your internet connection

Regardless of which VoIP provider you choose, it is important to note that a strong and stable internet connection is necessary in order to support your communications network.

Before purchasing from a specific VoIP provider, you should find out if your company requires a dedicated broadband or leased lines. While leased lines provide voice quality, opting for dedicated broadband services offer higher internet speeds.

How much does it cost?

An important point to consider for your business is how much you are willing to pay for a specific VoIP system. Firstly, check how much the hardware and installation of the service costs. Then look at how much a provider will charge for managing, updating and maintaining your telecommunications system.

Finally, make sure that a VoIP provider’s services meet your company’s communication needs. If the VoIP provider is offering a bundle of services that your company might not even require, then it might be in your best interest to choose a different provider that charges more affordable rates.

While picking and deploying VoIP systems can seem like a daunting task, they have become vital tools for any good business to function. If you are planning to install a new VoIP system, consider some or all these factors to ensure you’ve made the right decision. And of course, if you’re looking for a provider, our experts are happy to help in any way possible.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic VoIP
February 19th, 2016

2016Feb19_VoIPGeneral_BVoIP - the mere mention of the word can send shudders down a business owner’s spine. With such an odd name, it may make little sense to utilize something so unfamiliar in your business. You may want to know more about it before committing to a full blown system for you and your employees. Like, how does it work? And, how can it help your business? That’s why we’ve created this list of four apps that enable you to take VoIP out for a test drive.

WhatsApp

The increasingly popular WhatsApp provides more than just text chats between users. There is also an call option, the equivalent of VoIP calls with the option of using video. So if you’re texting with a business colleague, friend or spouse, and need to communicate more clearly or face-to-face, you can easily switch your text chat to a more personal voice or video one. WhatsApp texting and VoIP service is free to download and use, and is available for all major smartphones.

Skype

Even seldom Internet users and the non-tech savvy are likely to be familiar with Skype. This VoIP trailblazer was allowing users to place calls over the Internet long before many even knew what VoIP was. But for those who are unfamiliar with this service, Skype users can place voice or video calls to other Skype users for free. You can also call a landline or mobile that doesn’t use the app for a very small fee. As for new changes, you can now conduct conference calls with the group video calling function that Skype has recently added.

Viber

Like Skype, you can use this service to place free VoIP calls to other Viber users. You can also call non-Viber users for a low fee, which is usually less than most cellular service plans. And because Viber is primarily a mobile app, it also has some nice benefits if you’re using it on your cell. Unlike other free VoIP services, Viber doesn’t require a username. Instead, you simply use your cell number as an identifier, which makes it easy for you to call contacts on your phone. What’s more, it also doesn’t eat up a large amount of data per call, only using 250KB per minute.

Viber is available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone devices, and requires no registration to use the app.

Google Hangouts Dialer

If you’re a Google Apps user, you’re likely familiar with Hangouts. What you may not know, however, is that you can install an app, Hangouts Dialer, that enables VoIP calls. Once Dialer is installed to the Hangouts app, you can use it to call any phone number in the world, including landlines. Best of all, most calls to Canada and the US are free.

For business owners who are a bit tentative of VoIP, these four apps will give you an easy opportunity to test the waters. If you have any VoIP questions, or are ready to start saving money and install a VoIP system in your business, call us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic VoIP
February 17th, 2016

2016Feb18_MicrosoftWindowsNewsAndTips_BReputation and image management has come a long way from being the vapid process it was decades ago. It is now vital to those wishing to find wealth, trustworthiness and entrepreneurial longevity, and nowhere is this more important than on the Internet. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you establish your brand on the web.

Own the first page of search results

In his new book on online reputation management, Tyler Collins, a digital marketing expert for Fortune 500 companies mentions the importance of a company's search results that appear after pressing enter. These results make up the majority of a business or personal reputation online. For optimal results, it is advised that you occupy the first 10 spots (the entire first page of the search results), and within this number, there should also be a variety of related content such as positive reviews, media coverage as well as customer testimonials that contribute to the establishment of trust and credibility.

Paint the picture before the exhibition

Especially for entrepreneurs embarking on a new company, it is best to work on their online reputation before launching. This includes creating a brand, company name and message, all of which should help your business land the top 10 search results online. You should invest some time in thoroughly researching potential brand names to ensure your tentative company name has no negative associations.

Don’t forget the execs

Equally important to online brand management is the implementation of reputation management policies for key executives. While researching a company, potential customers don’t only take statistics and reviews into consideration but also the people that are involved with and leading the organization. This is why it’s absolutely essential that your key executives have a clean online reputation.

To achieve this, the company can create a dedicated bio for each executive that helps increase the search ranks of that particular executive’s name. The next step is to get (positive) media coverage whenever possible. Everything from blog posts to press releases and quotes in an online news story will help forge a strong and credible image for the individual, and in extension, for the company.

Ask for help when required

When times get tough, seek the expertise of specialists that help maintain and improve online images for a living. It is almost impossible to change a customer’s first impression of executives and the company, so investing in expert advice can turn out to be the most important step in creating and maintaining your virtual image.

We hope you find these four online reputation tips helpful. If you need more help creating a credible online image or are looking to utilize technology to establish a stronger online image, give us a call. Expert advice awaits.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
January 28th, 2016

2016Jan28_VoIPGeneral_BWhen a technology is released on the market that promises to cut the expense of your old technology in half, it certainly can raise some eyebrows. We all know, when a deal sounds too good to be true it usually is. So when it comes to VoIP, and its wild claims of radically reducing phone costs, what’s the catch? For many business owners who jumped into a VoIP system without a plan or chose the wrong service provider, there can be a big one. Here are a few common issues to be aware of when installing a VoIP system.

  1. Poor call quality
  2. Complicated and frustrating management of the VoIP system
  3. Negative on-hold experience for customers
You’re likely aware that a drop in call quality can tarnish the reputation of your business and result in a loss of profits. So obviously, issues like the three mentioned above may sound alarming. So does that mean that you should avoid installing a VoIP system altogether? Probably not. The thing is, VoIP isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it is likely the future of telephony service for many businesses around the globe. Any technology that has the power to dramatically cut costs, such as VoIP, is here to stay. And as the service continues to evolve, it will become even more powerful and versatile.

In the meantime, what can you do to ensure your business doesn’t suffer any of these three problems? There are a couple of solutions.

Know what you want out of your VoIP phone solution

If your business handles hundreds of customer service calls a day, your telephony needs will be different than a business that is mainly using their phone system as a method for internal communication. This is why it’s important to know exactly what you want out of your VoIP phone solution. Do you want your employees using it to make sales calls? Do you want to use it to simply answer a few customer service calls a day and communicate between internal staff? Will you be holding video meetings on it? If you know what you want out of your VoIP system in advance, it sets you up to have a practical discussion of your needs with a VoIP provider. And that leads to our next point.

Find an experienced, trusted service provider

When it comes to VoIP, who you choose as your provider can make or break the success of your new phone system. It really is that big of a deal. The three problems listed above can all be avoided with an experienced VoIP provider installing and maintaining your system. They can let you know the strengths, weaknesses and limitations of the technology, and give you realistic expectations of what you’ll get from the service. This ensures you aren’t let down and that you don’t suffer a bad telephony experience that irritates customers.

A trusted VoIP provider will have experience and has likely installed hundreds of VoIP systems. They can help you define a strategy that meets your business’s specific needs, provide recommendations on system design and management, and enable your business to get the superb call experience your customers expect. Additionally, the right VoIP provider will also provide training and support to ensure you understand how to use the system most effectively, and will be a quick phone call away to help you if problems bubble up.

And if you’ve already installed a VoIP system that’s turned buggy?

Although it’s better to consult with an experienced VoIP provider before your initial installation, it’s not too late to correct course. A trusted VoIP provider can help you resolve many of the issues you’re experiencing. Don’t settle for a VoIP system that hurts your business. You can make VoIP work for your business, and save thousands of dollars in the process.

If you need advice installing a new VoIP system or fixing your current one, don’t hesitate to call us. Our experts can provide you the consultation, support and service that enables your business to enjoy the costs savings and power of VoIP. Call us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic VoIP General
January 16th, 2016

SocialMedia_Jan11_BThere’s more to social media marketing than using Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. YouTube has rapidly grown from a small video sharing website for amateurs to the largest online video platform in the world. It offers an incredible opportunity for businesses to reach out to their current and potential clients through personalized, engaging videos. Are you using YouTube videos to market your business? We provide some nifty tricks to help you get better results.

Keep it short and simple

Most people have short attention spans and won’t watch videos that are longer than a couple of minutes unless they’re really interested. This means lengthy videos might not perform as well as you might hope, since viewers are likely to be turned off completely. There’s no fixed formula here, but the idea is to create videos that convey your intended message within five minutes at most. If you have the need for longer videos, simply split them into small segments - this is another great way to keep your visitors hooked and make them want to come back for more.

Use humor in your videos

Have you ever wondered why the funny videos on YouTube earn so many hits in such a short time? That’s because people love humor. We all like a good laugh. There are several YouTube channels out there that have had huge success by injecting humor into their videos. You don’t have to make your audience fall on their backs laughing - just flashing a little sense of humor will do the trick.

Consider quality over quantity

With the vast number of amateur and low-quality videos that come up on YouTube’s search results, you need to go the extra mile and make your video stand out from the competition. It’s worth investing in a high-quality video camera if you’re serious about YouTube marketing. Each of your videos should contain helpful and engaging content. And before posting it live, make sure to ask for a second or third pair of eyes to go through it again. This way you can take out the fluff and polish the videos so they’re appealing to viewers.

Set engaging titles

When it comes to YouTube marketing, this is perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind. Make sure you include relevant keywords in the title, so your viewers know what to expect to see in your video. The general rule of thumb is to keep it clear and concise, since long titles will be truncated in YouTube’s search results. Another thing is to refrain from using misleading titles that trick people into watching your video. Not only will your viewers hit the close button right away, this cheap trick will also have a negative impact on your video’s ranking.

Promote your videos

YouTube videos have a high chance of ranking well in Google, being the search engine giant’s subsidiary and following similar search algorithms. But this is no excuse to skimp on marketing. There are many ways to promote your videos to your specific target audience. Using relevant keywords and descriptions may help with organic traffic, but there’s also paid options like Google AdWords and Facebook Ads that will help you earn more exposure for your videos.

YouTube is a great tool to generate traffic and interact with your customers online. But do keep in mind that no matter how great your videos are, they won’t get seen if you don’t promote them well enough. If you want to learn how to maximize your YouTube marketing campaigns, get in touch with our experts today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
January 4th, 2016

SocialMedia_21Dec_BWhat would you do if you couldn’t access Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any of the other social media platforms that you rely on to keep you up-to-date with the ins and outs of your friends’ lives, current affairs and celebrity gossip? Would you miss it or would it be a blessing in disguise? If you’re tempted to think the latter, think for a moment about those countries where their citizens don’t have the choice. Take Iran for example, where the above three platforms are totally, or partially, blocked. So how do people communicate? Read on to find out.

While China is probably the most well known country for restricting their population’s ability to view certain websites, whether through a desire to restrict access to information that might harm the country’s image or because of industry competition, there are other nations which also exercise strict control over what their people can and cannot see online.

Take Iran for example. Its citizens are denied access to Facebook and Twitter while Instagram is partially blocked due to the fact that it is possible to block individual accounts whilst leaving other parts of the platform online. Of course, anyone wanting to update their Facebook status, send tweets or upload a risqué selfie can do so using a VPN. But most VPNs charge a monthly subscription for their services and even then the access can be sketchy at best. However there is one social media platform in Iran that is freely available and that is Line, the instant messenger chat application. Unlike China which has blocked Line (something that is more to do with it being direct competition to the homegrown chat app WeChat than freedom of speech), in Iran Line is big news. In particular its social media function, called Timeline, is connecting people throughout the country, and in some surprising ways.

Texting someone is yesterday’s news, and messaging apps are the primary form of quick communication for people everywhere. And in Iran the app of choice used to be Viber – at least it was until it was blocked by Iranian officials at the end of last year. In its place came Telegram, a Russian chat app which has almost 60% of its total users in Iran. Line doesn’t currently compete with Telegram when it comes to messages, but that could change at any time, mainly thanks to some users of the latter’s penchant for spreading pornographic content.

In direct contrast to that, the Japanese owned Line is intent on maintaining its wholesome image – and Iranian companies are recognizing that and using Line as a platform to market themselves. And it’s no great surprise when you look at the numbers: well known for being one of, if not the, biggest blogging communities in the world, Iranian citizens are devout readers and creators of online content. What is particularly attractive to marketers in Iran is that a staggering 90% of people in Iran who use Line are actually active on a daily basis on Timeline.

But using Timeline in an official capacity is not as simple as merely opening an account and updating your status as it is on say, WeChat, Twitter or Facebook. Line stipulates that anyone who wants to open an ‘Official Account’ – be they a corporation or a celebrity - must apply to be a Line Partner. Line can decide whether or not to accept their ‘partner’ and, if deemed a good match for the platform, the company or person in question will then be made to sign an agreement and pay a subscription – and periodic fees. Harsh as this may seem when compared to free platforms, it is precisely this which enables Line to ensure its content is continually updated whilst also being of a permissible standard. And it is this policy of control and moderation that allows Line to operate unfettered in Iran.

So who are the Iranian celebrities who have signed up for an official Line account? The country’s first adopter was AlireSaa, a viral celebrity famous for humorous musical clips and anecdotes. At the time of signing up with Line he had around 320,000 Instagram followers – a number which took him two years to build. But after just five weeks on Line he had already beaten this – and his number of followers doesn’t show signs of abating any time soon – his fan base is already tipping the 500,000 mark.

So why is AlireSaa so phenomenally popular on Line but less so on Instagram? The answer lies in the fact that, aside from being partially blocked in Iran (although AlireSaa’s account was not) there are a number of features that Line offers to its official account holders that other social media platforms do not. One of these is Line’s ‘On Air’ sessions which uses live chat. AlireSaa used this feature to run a video contest for followers. His fans were treated to a two hour long live chat with their hero and were able to submit videos of themselves performing one of AlireSaa’s musical clips.

A staggering amount of people engaged with AlireSaa, who let’s remember is not a global superstar - 50,000 of them in fact and 10,000 of them submitted videos during the two hour window. When he announced the live chat, AlireSaa had 215,000 Line followers – a number which exploded as news of the contest spread like wildfire on the app’s Timeline feature.

If you’re still of the opinion that social media is a waste of time and can’t do anything for your business, maybe it’s time to take another look. If you want to follow in AlireSaa’s shoes and become a viral success, why not get in touch with us today. We can’t promise to make you an Internet superstar but we can help point you in the right direction.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
November 24th, 2015

VoIP_Nov24_BMany businesses today are implementing Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems in their office, to replace traditional phone lines - and for good reason. VoIP provides significant advantages, including the ability to make and receive calls from anywhere and at any time, cost savings, a more reliable signal, and more. But before you start implementing VoIP, you need to understand the difference between FXS and FXO ports. We’ll help you get started.

FXS and FXO are the interfaces for analog telephony, also called POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service). Using these interfaces enables a call to be established - the ports provide the necessary electricity, dial tone, and call signal.

What is an FXS port?

FXS stands for Foreign Exchange Subscriber, a port that connects the router or access server to end-user equipment such as office phones, fax machines, or modems. In other words, it is a plug on the wall that delivers dial battery, loop current, and ringing voltage to the device, so that the analog signal can be transmitted.

What is an FXO port?

FXO stands for Foreign Exchange Office, a port on the end communication device, such as an office phone or fax machine. The FXO connects the device to the FXS port, as well as to the outside telephone line, requesting the dial tone needed to initiate a call.

How the connection works

In order for a call to work, a telecommunication line from an FXO port must be connected to an FXS port, and vice versa. The process for making calls is simple: when your FXS and FXO ports are connected, you will receive a signal from the telephone company through the FXS port in the wall. This signal is then transmitted to the FXO port connected to the device so that, when you pick up the phone, you hear the dial tone. Then you dial the phone number, which is passed as Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency (DTMF) digits to the FXS port, allowing you to make the call.

When you’re receiving an inbound call, on the other hand, the FXS port receives the call, then sends a ring voltage through the FXO port to your end device. The phone will ring, and you can pick it up to answer the call.

FXS, FXO and VoIP

The signal transmission process becomes more complex when you implement an additional network element, such as VoIP gateway. You need an FXS gateway to connect one or more lines to a VoIP system or provider. You’ll also need an FXO gateway to connect the VoIP system with analog phone lines, and to translate the analog phone line to a VoIP call.

In summary...

  • FXS is a plug on the wall, and FXO is a plug on the phone
  • FXS provides the dial tone, and FXO requests it
  • FXS is a port that receives a call; FXO is a port that initiates it
Want to learn more about FXS, FXO, or VoIP? Give us a call and our telephony experts will be happy to help.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic VoIP General
November 9th, 2015

164_B_SMAs a business owner, you may think social media isn’t worth the effort. You may have dabbled in Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn and seen minimal (if any) results. Of course there are other businesses that do well on these platforms - like Nike or Google - you may think. But these are exciting brands! What can a business owner with a boring brand do? Quite a lot actually. And to prove this point, here is one “boring brand” with a large following on social media that everyone can learn from.

Owning a “boring brand” is not an excuse for a poor social media presence

You've probably heard of 3M but may not know exactly what they do. However, there’s a good chance you may have some of their products in your house. If you have Ace bandages, Scotchgard, or Post-it notes lying around your bathroom or home office, then you are guilty of being an owner of 3M products.

So when it comes to social media, why does this company matter? Simple. They have 121,000 followers on Twitter, which may sound pretty remarkable when the name of this brand isn’t Apple, BMW or Taylor Swift. So how does a company like 3M succeed? Here are a few things they do well, and you can do too.

Invest in people

If you’re the sole person shooting out tweets, updating the status of your business’s Facebook page or writing articles to post on Linkedin - all while you’re trying to run your business - it’s no wonder your social media presence is failing. You know as well as anyone, that you don’t have the time for it. And for this reason, it’s impossible to put your full effort into growing a social media presence. So why not hire at least one expert (or maybe a few) to manage it for you? You’ll likely see a noticeable uptick in your followers. And even better, you’ll no longer be distracted with social media, and can focus on growing your business. What’s not to love about that?

As for 3M...you may wonder, how many people do they employ to manage their social media presence? The answer is about ten, which is a very tiny percentage of the 90,000 employees who work there. Obviously, with 120,000 followers, their efforts are paying off.

Shoot for more content over quality content

Quality content is undoubtedly important, but quality should not be an excuse to avoid publishing content. As a business owner, that means you can’t review and approve every post and article that goes out. You need to trust your social media team to do their job. What’s more, you may fear that your team could commit some social media faux pas and accidentally publish content that outrages some of your followers. Here’s a news flash for you: it’s likely going to happen at one point or another. 3M publishes content quickly. Do you think they’ve posted content that some of their 120,000 followers have disagreed with? Of course they have. When you speak to the masses, there is no way to please everybody. So sit back, accept it and trust your social media staff. Mistakes will happen, but nothing engages your followers more than fresh, timely content. That is except for this last pointer...

Ask questions

Many social media platforms are all about engagement. If you’re aiming for more followers, you need to engage your customers and prospects. And a perfect way to do so is to ask questions. Not only does this create a connection between your brand and your customer, but it also attracts new followers. 3M posed the question, “what does science mean to you?” to their Twitter following with some incredible results. The tweet generated more than 500 favorites and 200 retweets. This is an example of the power of a question. So when it comes to social media, remember to ask questions, respond and engage. This is what many of the platforms are designed for.

What it comes down to is that your business already provides value and improves your customers’ lives in one way or another. If it didn’t, no one would buy from you and you wouldn’t have a business to begin with. So leverage that value and educate your customers on social media. You are the expert, and there are people out there who are interested in what you have to say.

For assistance with your social media presence or any of your IT needs, get in touch with our experts today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
October 7th, 2015

VoIP General_Oct7_BSwitching from a traditional phone system to a VoIP one is actually easier than you might think. There isn’t much equipment necessary for installation, and training your staff doesn’t require all that much effort either. Of course, before you make the switch, you’ll need to give some thought to whether or not it will actually be of use to your company. These are a few of the signs that your business could benefit from VoIP.

VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, has been helping businesses communicate more effectively for a few years now. You probably use it in your personal life, with applications like Skype, but your company just might be able to take advantage of the technology as well. Look for these signs that might indicate your business is ready to make the jump to VoIP.

Your number doesn’t match your target area

As your business expands, it can be easy to forget that your phone number will stay static. This may not seem like a big deal when conducting business in your own neighborhood, but what happens when your company’s reach expands beyond its original area code? Chances are prospective clients who don’t reside in your current area code aren’t too inclined to call another one.

Despite the fact that most cell phone packages now include free long-distance calling, there is still a stigma around dialing those three extra, and unfamiliar, numbers, for fear of extra charges. The only way around this with a traditional telephony solution is to set up another office and install a new phone system in that area code.

However, with a VoIP telephony solution, you can get a number in just about any area code imaginable and have it direct back to your office. If your business covers a greater area, you can opt for a toll-free number which means customers everywhere will never worry about having to pay to call your office.

You employees use personal devices at work

It is commonplace for employees to use a cell phone to take work calls when they aren’t in the office. However, unless you have issued cell phones to your staff, there probably isn’t a reason for them to use their personal devices to talk to clients while at the office. If this is happening, there are two things you need to consider.

You first need to think about the fact that you have no way to monitor your employees’ phone usage and behavior. Are they dealing with clients in a friendly and polite manner? Are they keeping with your company’s message when speaking on the phone? Are they even talking to customers at all?

The second issue is figuring out why employees aren’t using your phone system. Chances are it has to do with some usability or performance issues that ought to be addressed. There is no point in spending money on your current phone system if it isn’t being used by your staff anyway.

Switching to a VoIP telephony solution can take care of both issues. For starters, it will provide an easy-to-use phone system for your office with far more features than you currently have.

More importantly, for staff who still wish to use their cell phones, calls can be forwarded from their work number to their personal device. This allows you to keep track of their usage without forcing them to give up their preferred method of communication. Since the call is still going through the VoIP phone system, you’ll also be able to monitor it should you wish to.

Clients can’t reach you

Sure, your clients probably have your work, cell and home phone numbers, but that doesn’t mean they want to call them all trying to get a hold of you. VoIP can give your clients anytime access to you with a couple of different features. The find me/follow call routing system will see your work phone ring a few times, followed by your cell and then home phone, until you pick up or the call goes to voicemail. You can also set it up to have incoming calls ring on all your phones at once - useful if you would rather be able to pick up your calls on whichever device is most convenient at the time.

Give us a call and we’ll show you how to pick up the phone on all types of VoIP and IT solutions.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic VoIP General