Blog

June 17th, 2016

2016June17_VoIP_BMost of us have heard of the wonders that VoIP can provide to businesses, cheaper telephony, more diverse functionalities and increased mobility -- but have you heard about the better access to customer data? As technology continues to connect us in new and exciting ways there is an endless supply of data to interpret. VoIP is no different, which is why we’re going to outline 5 innovative ways to make your VoIP data work for you.

Time/Date Data

One source of information that nearly any VoIP system should be able to easily access is time, date and duration of calls. As a small or medium-sized business, you probably work on a tight budget. Properly analyzing this data can be invaluable when deciding how many staff you need on the phones and on what schedule.

For example, you may notice that on Mondays you get a rush of calls in the morning, but by Tuesday afternoon the lines are dead. Just asking your employees when the phones are dead may work, but consider looking for more specific trends to better assign call responsibilities to your staff. You may find that there is a particular combination of time and day that simply doesn’t generate a need for anyone to work the phones.

The more agreeable the person on the other end of the line is, the more likely they are to vote for your company with their dollars. If you’re making outbound calls, pay close attention to when you see the most success. Everyone knows that no one likes to get a call during dinner time, VoIP allows you to take this one step further and find other stress points in your call schedule.

Location Data

Location data is also easy to track and a simple way to make your call strategy more agile. Understanding how purchasing or support habits differ between different locations can improve your marketing, customer service and client retention.

Ask your VoIP service provider about call-routing options so that whoever answers your phones is an expert on the area the caller is from. With the right amount of preparation you can help a client on the other side of the country as if your company was right around the corner, and there are few things as valuable as being helped by a local.

Customer Intelligence

Combining your VoIP services with your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software opens up entirely new data points. How many times have you called a support line with an issue and have had to explain all of your history with the company? Even if you somehow did win the customer service lottery and got the same representative every time, the chances of them remembering you and your story are slim to none. With proper CRM integration, your VoIP system can route callers to the same service representative every time they call and provide your staff with a detailed support history.

Customer Habits/Personalities

Analyze client call habits and predict how to contact them and offer assistance before they even realize they need it. Does your data show that one of your clients generally calls once a week, but missed last week’s? Give them a call and check up on them.

If you want to really get in the weeds with your data, you can begin to match clients with your service and sales representatives based on ‘personality’ data. Data points like staff’s age, gender and average call time can potentially be used to route customers to the best possible representative.

Product/Service Trends

Whenever possible, tie data to specific products and services in each call and look for the most consistent patterns that result in a successful contact. If you notice that most of the customers that buy your flagship product come back and buy an accessory to it within three months, stop dumping money into marketing the accessory products during the original sale and trust what your data tells you. Follow up in a month and ask if they’re interested in that ancillary product.

You may be thinking that some of these data points were accessible with your legacy systems by simply logging the information separately. Tracking data that way is prone to user error and requires a pre-meditated plan. VoIP services track all of your data, all the time. Your SMB can easily view and analyze up-to-date data in no time. This agility and efficiency can revolutionize how you design your customer interaction strategies.

Do you feel like you could be getting a better ROI from your VoIP services by taking another look at your calling data? It could be as simple as better organizing your usage statistics, or as intricate as installing specialized analytics software. Regardless of how you want to go about it, we’re the ones to do it -- contact us today!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic VoIP
June 1st, 2016

2016June1_Facebook_BMost small and medium sized businesses have a tight marketing budget - especially when it comes to social media. So if you’re looking to get noticed on Facebook, you may be reluctant to spend cash on an ad campaign. Luckily for you, there are several ways you can market your business on Facebook that won’t cost a dime. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular methods.

Get your friends on board

A business is nothing without its fans...at least on social media. So after setting up your Facebook business page, your first order of duty should be to invite your friends to “Like” your company page. Bear in mind, we use the term “friends” broadly here. Really, you should be telling pretty much everyone you know about your business. This includes family members, colleagues, that random parent you chatted with at your son’s baseball game, and any acquaintances from all walks of life. The goal of this is to create a foundation of followers to build upon as you grow your business.

Create your brand identity

On Facebook, your brand needs to do more than simply sell a product or service, because no one wants to interact with a company they feel is constantly trying to sell them. This is exactly why your brand should have a persona and human characteristic. In other words, you need a brand voice. So ask yourself, how should your brand sound? Should it be funny, easy-going, serious or inspiring? Once you’ve figured it out, ensure this voice is consistent in all your posts as it will help your audience form a relationship with your brand as they get to know it better. While you can and definitely should advertise different products or services your business offers, most of your posts should aim to entertain, inspire, and encourage social interaction. As your followers get to know your brand better, they will develop shared interests with it, which will eventually lead to trust. And when your audience finally trusts you, the sales will start to come in naturally.

Exploit algorithm changes

If you thought Google was the only platform that changed their algorithms, think again! Just like Google, Facebook also uses algorithms to determine the amount of organic reach your updates get. This raises an interesting question...how do you discover what algorithm changes Facebook has on the docket? Well, they occasionally post them on Facebook’s newsroom, so regularly check there to stay updated.

So once you’re aware of an upcoming algorithm change, how can you exploit it? Let’s look at an example. Back in the Fall of 2014 Facebook announced they’d begin to favor link posts with an image attached, over photo posts with the URL in the caption. Users who were aware of this change in advance and implemented it accordingly, were reportedly getting three times as much organic traffic by February 2015. Those who missed the announcement were left scratching their heads wondering what happened to their traffic.

Check your data

Many people believe there’s a best time and day of the week to share a post. While this is true, the actual day and time that’s best may be different from what you expect. While some people are quick to proclaim Tuesday and Thursday mornings are the best time to post, the reality is the best time to post depends on your unique business. Everyone’s audience is different, and results will vary from business to business. So while some SMBs may discover they have their audience's full attention on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, others may learn their customers are most engaged on Thursday and Friday evenings. So how can you find out when your audience is watching? Check your page’s Insights tab. This will provide you a plethora of information about your customers, including the days and times when they’re on Facebook.

While all these tips to market your business on Facebook are free, bear in mind you’ll need to invest a significant amount of time if you want to see results. To really succeed with Facebook marketing, you need to regularly interact with the platform - and not just treat it as an afterthought.

To learn more about how your business can leverage Facebook and other social media platforms, give us a call.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
May 23rd, 2016

2016May23_VoIP_BNot that long ago, VoIP services were a new and revolutionary concept. Nowadays, internet-based voice communication is commonplace among SMBs, which means it’s time to turn our attention toward improving their security. Without a thorough understanding of what is needed to protect your VoIP systems, you could be vulnerable to cyberattacks. Let’s take a closer look at 5 important tips for protecting your web-based communication devices and services.

Types of threats

The majority of VoIP services involve live communications, which often seem far more innocuous than stored data. Unfortunately, your business has just as much valuable information moving across VoIP networks as it does hosted on company servers. Internet-based calls are far more vulnerable to fraud compared to more traditional telephony services and face threats from identity theft, eavesdropping, intentional disruption of service and even financial loss.

24/7 monitoring

A recent study by Nettitude reported that 88 percent of VoIP security breaches take place outside of normal operating hours. This could be attackers trying to make phone calls using your account or gain access to call records that contain confidential information. This can be avoided by contracting outsourced IT vendors to monitor network traffic for any abnormalities or spikes in suspicious activity.

VoIP firewalls

Every VoIP vendor should provide a firewall specially designed for IP-based telephony. These protocols will curb the types of traffic that are allowed, ensure the connection is properly terminated at the end of a session and identify suspicious calling patterns. Consult with your VoIP or IT services provider about which of these features are available and currently in use at your organization.

Encryption tools

One of the reasons that eavesdropping is so common is because a lack of encryption. Inexperienced attackers can easily download and deploy tools to intercept and listen to your calls. Although some services claim built-in encryption, be sure to investigate how effective they really are. Many of these protocols require the same VoIP client on the receiving end of the call -- something that’s much harder to control. Encryption should be compatible with as many other software clients as possible to effectively prevent anyone from undermining the privacy of your calls.

Virtual private network

Virtual private networks (VPNs) create a secure connection between two points as if they were both occupying the same, closed network. It’s like building a tunnel between you and the call receiver. In addition to adding another layer of encryption, establishing a VPN can also overcome complications involving Session Initiation Protocol trunking, a recommended VoIP feature.

Password protection

Usually password protection refers to requiring password authentication to access sensitive information. However, in this case it actually means protecting the passwords themselves. Eavesdropping is one of the easiest, and most common, cyber attacks against VoIP networks and even with all of the protocols above, employees should be instructed to never give out any compromising information during a VoIP call.

VoIP is as important as any of your other network security considerations. It requires a unique combination of protection measures, and we’d love to give you advice on implementing any of these protections or managing your VoIP services. Give us a call today to get started.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic VoIP
May 13th, 2016

2016May13_SocialMedia_BIt can be discouraging for any business to post a thoughtful tweet in the morning just to see that it barely has any retweets by the end of the day. Even after hours of compiling the best 140 characters your company can think of, are you still not getting any hits? There are many tricks to maximizing your tweet’s exposure and if your company’s Twitter account is hungry for retweets, consider using a few of these tactics to increase your chances.

Schedule your tweets

There is absolutely no point in tweeting out any content if your audience isn’t even awake for it. That’s why it’s important for you to tweet at the right time to get the most retweets. Usually people won’t be retweeting in the morning and are more likely to retweet around 2pm to 6pm EST. However, if your followers live in different time zones and countries, the time you should be tweeting may vary. Twitter tools like Tweriod track down the geographical distribution of your audience and pinpoints the optimal time you should be tweeting to get the most retweets.

Use links

The next time you tweet out something, try embedding a link in your post. Whether it’s news, sports or celebrity updates, people will put some effort in keeping up-to-date with their interests. Studies have also shown that links to instructional posts get the most amount of retweets as well. The problem is, 140 characters is not enough content for your followers. So by satisfying your audience’s curiosity, you motivate them to pay you back by sharing your tweet out to their friends.

Ask for retweets

This is perhaps the most obvious tactic to get some retweets. Using call to action phrases such as “please retweet” significantly increases your chances of a retweet. Of course, you probably aren’t the only one asking for retweets. Adding something to sweeten deal, like a prize for one lucky person who retweets you, gives people incentive to do so.

Use visuals

Intriguing images can inspire retweets. Images are a great way to convey a lot of information in a short amount of time, and social media users love that. Some have found that, using colorful images and infographics in their tweets significantly increased their engagement rates and found that more followers were retweeting their content. It’s probably because there’s just more content to engage with other than a witty 140 character thought.

Use retweetable words

Research has shown that some words are more retweetable than others. Words like you, twitter, please, retweet, post, blog, social, free, media, help are the top 10 most retweetable words. However common-use words in any conversation such as “lol, haha, work, sleep or watching” are less likely to get retweeted. Unless you’re someone incredibly famous, it’s best to avoid using conversation filler words and stick to the buzz words that encourage people to share your tweets out to everyone they know.

Use quotes

Quotes express a lot in one simple line, making it perfect for any Twitter posts. Depending on your audience, a thoughtful quote can really move their fingers to click that retweet button. The next time you’re running out of ideas for tweets, dig up some good quotes relevant to your topic to get those retweets going. However, don’t continuously plug in quotes into your tweets. The trick is to do it occasionally, so you don’t risk people tuning out of your tweets.

#Hashtag

You’ll notice that the more popular tweets tend to have at least one hashtag. Using hashtags on keywords helps categorize your tweets with similar ones, giving your posts a bit more reach and, hopefully, more retweets. Just make sure you don’t overdo it as #thiscanbequiteannoying.

We get that small business may find it tough getting their name discovered among so many social media accounts. But if you consider some or all of these Twitter tactics, you have a better chance of getting more eyes on your tweets. If you want to learn more about useful Twitter tactics to increase your exposure and engagement, give us a call today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
May 9th, 2016

2016May9_VoIP_BSo you’ve noticed that the work rate in the office has been slowing down lately. Perhaps it’s because the job is too stressful. Or maybe most of your employees live far away from the new office. Whatever the reason, it’s probably best to try something new. But what can you do to get your employees to be more productive? As VoIP systems gear companies towards a more mobile workforce, work at home strategies can be just the solution you need. Here, we explain how small businesses and their employees can benefit from work at home strategies paired with VoIP.

It’s good for business

Many businesses have misconceptions about their employees choosing to work from home. They assume that their employees will be less productive if they are not within the office environment. However, this is far from the truth. As a matter of fact, according to a Harvard Business Review study, work at home policies for your small business tends to be more beneficial for your company. This is thanks to the combination of cloud computing and VoIP technologies, which can easily migrate the office environment virtually anywhere with an Internet connection. Along with this, VoIP services can empower your small business and work at home employees in a number of ways:
  • VoIP technologies allow you to keep your employees on track with an array of management tools like barge, monitor and whisper which allows you to coach and micro manage your employees.
  • The cost of business resources, furniture, space and sick days are reduced when there is an effective way for your employees to work at any location.
  • VoIP services promote continued collaboration between employees even if some of them are not in the office, allowing workflow to be more efficient.
  • As a business owner, VoIP gives your company more opportunity for growth. You can communicate and hire people from different countries with minimal cost.

Perks for employees

Work from home policies with VoIP systems isn’t just good for business either. It’s also good for your employees. As more of their workload is digitized, working from home or anywhere else has never been easier. In fact, studies have shown that employees who took days to work from home were actually more productive. Part of this is because it gives them a break from the stressful office environment and, with a VoIP service readily available to them, they feel as if they haven’t missed a day’s worth of work. With the right VoIP systems installed, employees can easily collaborate with co-workers.

Using VoIP at home also saves your employees from long and costly commutes in the morning. They can simply pick up their VoIP device and join the conference meeting without physically being in the boardroom. Furthermore, employees who want to recall important events during conferences or seminars can use the VoIP call recording feature. This way, employees can make sure they are correctly approaching their work in their own time.

VoIP requirements for remote workers

If you’re convinced that working from home is a good solution for your company, it is essential that the VoIP service provider that you choose offers the features listed below:
  • Voicemail: a must for any VoIP device. This feature will record a missed call and send you an email of the audio file.
  • Call forwarding: allows your employees to simply take and transfer calls between VoIP devices and their smartphones.
  • Whisper, monitor and barge: allows you to check on your employees. If they’re in a business call you can still contact them without disrupting the call. This is also a good tool for call coaching.
  • VoIP integrated to shared documents: products like Office 365 let your employees access Skype while collaborating on a Word document. This means your employees can give instant feedback and correct each other without the need to send emails.
Many companies are now benefiting from a mobile and remote work environment. Although work at home strategies may seem like a risky venture, making the most out of your VoIP technologies will keep your employees happy and productive. If you want to learn more about the VoIP services that we offer and where it will fit in your company, give us a call.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic VoIP
April 25th, 2016

2016Apr25_InternetSocialNetworkingAndReputationManagement_B500+ LinkedIn connections can seem like a lofty goal. You have a business to run, and probably don’t have much time to dedicate to the platform. However, carving out the time to grow your LinkedIn network can prove invaluable as it will provide social proof to yourself or organization and presents the opportunity to connect with new clients. So how can you get to 500+? Here are some ideas to get started.

Network every day

If you’re struggling to grow your LinkedIn network, you may not be spending enough time on the platform. If you want to become a power player, you need to use the social network often. So dedicate 15-30 minutes a day to network on LinkedIn, and make it a goal to reach 500+ connections.

Join and participate in groups

Utilizing LinkedIn groups presents an opportunity to meet other professionals (and eventually add them as connections) as well as learn and share valuable advice. The point is not to just join a group, but actively participate in them. This requires a degree of focus and smart selection.

How many groups should you join? Shoot for around ten. This will ensure you have time to participate in each group and connect with its members. As for the groups you join, you’ll obviously want to join those in your industry, but you should also diversify. So choose five within your industry and five that relate to your other interests or provide you an opportunity to learn from its group members. Some suggestions to consider are an alumni group for your university, groups that represent causes/charities you care about, and groups that relate to a new skill you’re hoping to learn. Obviously, all the groups you join need to be active. If members only post in a group once a week, this is a red flag to avoid joining.

Once you’ve joined, you should spend some time each day contributing in at least five of your ten groups. You can ask questions, provide advice, or share valuable articles or original content you’ve created. Once you’ve developed a rapport with group members, you’ll have an easy, non-awkward way to connect with them.

Personalize your “Connect” request

The less you know a person, the less likely they are to connect with you if you send a generic connection request. You know the one: “I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

Many people will simply ignore requests like this. This is why it’s important to include a quick note that either refreshes that person’s memory of you, mentions a common interest or connection you might share, or simply introduces yourself and your reason for connecting. The more personal your note the better.

Use keywords in your profile

Just like Google, Bing and the other search engines, keywords help you get found on LinkedIn. Plant these keywords in your professional headline, profile summary, and skill endorsement section. How do you know what keywords to use? Think about what you want yourself or your business to be endorsed for. What skills do you have to offer your clients? For example, if your business specializes in web solutions, some keywords you may think about using would include SEO or “web content”. As for your skills, be careful not to choose keywords that are too narrow. For example if your business is in the financial services and tax preparation industry, don’t use the names of niche tax solutions you specialize in like “estate taxes” or “small business taxes” as your endorsed skills. Instead, choose more general words like “tax preparation”. By doing this, your connections will be more likely to endorse you as it’s a broader category.

By following these tips and spending at least 15 minutes a day on LinkedIn, you’re sure to see the number of connections you have grow. And the more connections you make, the less work you’ll have to do to grow your network as more and more people will send you connection requests instead. This will provide more business opportunities and chances for you to meet new clients. If you’d like more ideas how to improve your social media efforts, feel free to email or give us a call.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
April 19th, 2016

2016Apr19_VoIP_BWhen considering a VoIP solution, many small business owners have a lot of reservations. What if the call quality is unsuitable? What if your staff struggles with the technology? What if you have to deal with the headache of installing an additional network? All these assumptions can prevent business owners from giving VoIP a try, but are they legitimate? Absolutely not. Here’s how you can avoid them while optimizing your VoIP solution.

Use the same network for voice and data

A popular reason many businesses choose VoIP is to cut costs, which is exactly why you should run voice and data on the same network. Running them separately will significantly increase set up and running costs. And doing so will add an extra layer of complexity to your business that is completely unneeded. Regardless, choosing to combine your voice and data does take a bit of thought to ensure you don’t bump into unnecessary issues. So ask your provider the following questions before getting started:
  1. Will you be able to scale the service as needed?
  2. How much bandwidth will you need to cover both data and voice? Does your business have enough?
  3. Can you make modifications to the network?

Prioritize voice communication

VoIP saves you money. But you don’t want to do so at the cost of the integrity of your business. If you have unreliable voice communications with clients and colleagues, this can tarnish your reputation. This is why voice needs to take priority on your network over applications and other Internet activity if a bottleneck occurs. You can do this by setting the QoS (Quality of Service) on your router to prioritize voice and VoIP traffic. This can help provide clear voice communications without lag or interruption.

Provide comprehensive staff training

As with most technologies, VoIP has a learning curve. While many business owners are happy to give a few quick tips to their employees along with a brief manual, the training often stops there. However, what if your employees encounter problems with the technology while they’re on the phone with a customer? With proper training you can avoid such scenarios. What’s more, your training also gives you an opportunity to share some of the more advanced features VoIP has to offer such as in-call coaching, hot desking, and call screening.

To ensure your staff can maximize their VoIP experience, your training should include the basics of how the software, hardware and data flow operates. You should also include the procedures to take when encountering a problem with the technology and how your voice and data staff can work together for optimum VoIP performance. Once you’ve done that, don’t forget to test your employees on what they’ve learned and answer any and all questions they may have.

VoIP presents a unique opportunity for your business to gain a more advanced telephony solution while cutting costs. Call quality does not have to take a hit. If you’d like to learn more about how VoIP can improve your business, call us now.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic VoIP
April 5th, 2016

2016Apr5_Facebook_BLove, Haha, Wow, Sad or Angry. If you’ve been on Facebook recently, you’ve probably noticed that Facebook has finally added five more ways for you to react to a particular post. Many businesses will find this feature important since these new emoticons now provide a way for you to know what users feel about your service instantly. Here are some more ways your social media page can make the most out of Facebook reactions.

Ask your audience for reactions

Sometimes, audiences won’t know how to react to your posts. You can point them in the right direction by giving call to ‘reaction’ phrases like “Did you learn something new? Give us a ‘wow’ by hovering over that like button”.

As Facebook reactions are a relatively new feature, you can increase the total engagement of your posts by simply asking your fans to use one of the six available expressions on your post. This will not only increase your overall engagement and reach but will also give your fans the opportunity to learn about the new Facebook reactions.

Soften the blow of negative reviews

If your service ever experiences any technical difficulties, reactions can be a lifesaver. Back when there were no Facebook expressions, people would often resort to negative comments or trolling when they are unhappy with a particular post. This could lead to a toxic page environment and may encourage others to do the same or even unfollow your page entirely. With Facebook reactions, you can minimize the effect of negative reviews with a more innocent ‘angered’ or ‘saddened’ emoji. Overall, this looks better on your page rather than lines of nonsensical text in all caps.

Gain more visibility with your page

Commenting and reacting to other local pages on your business’s Facebook account increases your chances of being discovered by potential customers. And, as an added benefit, engaging with other local pages can encourage them to return the favor.

Use reactions as constructive feedback

Facebook reactions add an extra level of depth to measuring how well your posts are doing. Before, more likes would mean more engagement. But now, reactions show that people are invested in your content.

What’s more, you can now measure what people feel about your content. This allows you to tailor your next post so that it gets the most engagement. For instance, if you notice that people are leaving more ‘Haha’ reactions to your posts, then this could suggest that your audience engages with your posts if they see more humor included in your content.

Check out your competition

You should note that page posts are public and can be see by anyone, even those who haven’t liked your page yet. This also means you can review your competitor’s posts and find out how people are reacting to their posts. This is valuable information to gauge what type of content, announcements, or status updates work for your target audience. Or if you find that your competitor is only getting likes rather than reactions, you can try experimenting with creative posts to get people to engage with your content instead.

Facebook reactions create a new and exciting way for people to express how they feel about certain posts. While some social media marketers would not pay too much attention to this feature, focusing on reactions can give you an edge when it comes to measuring how your target audience feels about your service. So the next time you’re going to make a new post, consider some or all of these tips to make the most out of those Facebook emojis.

Need more advice on managing your Facebook page? Contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
March 30th, 2016

2016Mar30_VoIPGeneral_BVoicemail, Do Not Disturb, and call recording are among the few reasons why companies choose VoIP services to solve their communication needs. However, there are features that can be overlooked by small businesses such as customizable hold music or in-call coaching, to name a few. So if you want to get the most out of your VoIP service and ensure a more efficient work flow, it’s worth checking out these underutilized features.

Busy lamp field

Nothing too fancy about this one. The busy light simply notifies you when people can’t take your call and frees up some time to wait for them or call someone else. With this feature, you avoid disrupting someone from an important phone call. It also saves you time from walking across the office just to see that the person is already occupied with another call.

In-call coaching

If you would like to give your employees some training on how to speak with clients over the phone, you can now do it virtually. Using add-on services like barge and whisper, you can help point your employees in the right direction when they’re dealing with a client. Barge enables you to silently monitor your employee’s phone conversation with a customer. While whisper allows you to provide comments on how your employees are doing while they are on call and without the customer knowing that you’re there coaching your staff.

Hot desking

With hot desking, you can potentially take calls from any IP phone without having to be at your desk. Imagine, for example, you’ve been transferred to a new office for a few days and can’t be bothered to set up a new IP phone. Hot desking solves that by transferring your phone preferences over to another IP device -- meaning, your voicemail, speed dials, number extension, and other customized settings can be accessed wherever you happen to be working from.

Hold Music

Sometimes what determines whether or not a client is willing to be put on hold is if the music is entertaining enough to keep their ear on the phone. Certain VoIP services allow you to customize your hold music so your customers will no longer have to listen to cheesy background music.

Hidden conferencing features

Many companies go to VoIP providers because it’s a cheap service that reduces the need to travel to meetings. However, a lot of people don’t use the other features that can help make a video meeting operate more efficiently. In the same call, you can mute other people, organize internal voting systems, and more.

Hands-free dialing

Hands-free dialing saves you from having to look someone up in your phonebook. This feature adds a button above someone’s email address that will let you call that person. From here you can redirect the call to your phone or better yet, connect with your clients over a video conference.

Call screening

Often a forgotten feature that is provided by many VoIP services, call screening displays the caller ID on your device and allows you to take whatever action you’d like before picking up the call. If you are getting a personal call you can simply choose to transfer the call over to your cell phone. Alternatively, you can also choose to hang up if it’s someone you don’t want to talk to.

Click-to-call

Click-to-call is a website widget that allows your website visitors to call you by simply clicking on a button on your page. This helps make call to actions effortless for the visitor since they don’t have to physically dial your number on their phone. You risk losing potential customers who don’t want to look at your contact us page to access your services. With click-to-call, they only have to tap on their smartphone to get a hold of you.

Analytics

Nowadays, cloud-based VoIP services excel in providing you with methods to analyze your data usage. It can show you a database of who is calling you the most, who you’re calling the most, a geographical distribution of your customers, and cost. With this data you can choose to focus more of your company’s efforts into a particular client or customer.

The next time you wonder if there is an easier way to do something when you’re in a phone call, take comfort in the fact that there are several features that can really make organizing your communications systems a lot easier. Consider using some or all of these features to get the most out of the VoIP service you paid for. To know more about the latest in VoIP trends and services, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic VoIP
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