Blog

August 29th, 2016

2016August29_SocialMedia_AFishes are known to travel together in schools. They do so as a defense mechanism against predators or as a means to find a mate. Rarely do we see a fish making its way through the ocean unaccompanied. Schools of fish are the Twitter equivalent of celebrities or public figures, whereby lone guppies are SMBs struggling to make a splash in terms of their online presence. Allow Twitter’s latest stand-alone dashboard app to lend your business a helping hand.

According to Noah Pepper, Twitter’s product and engineering manager, “For businesses, Twitter is a place to share news, tell stories, and have conversations that support, educate, and delight their customers.” On top of that, he states that “It's a place for authentic interactions – but we know that creating these kinds of connections isn't always easy for businesses that are time and resource-constrained.” Because of this, Twitter has developed a brand new application that helps lighten your social media load -- enter Twitter Dashboard.

Twitter Dashboard specifically caters toward small- to medium-sized businesses, helping them to establish a fast, efficient and affordable means to manage their online presence. It helps you easily track and engage with audiences. The free app is still in the beta phase but is available to all businesses in the United States via iOS devices. There’s also a desktop web version as well.

With the help of Twitter Dashboard, social media managers can schedule tweets and set up customized feeds with the sole purpose of tracking what’s being said about a particular business. There are tools in the app that aids in tracking keywords as well as brainstorming ideas for potential tweets.

Here are some examples from Noah Pepper:

  • Say you work at a restaurant. You can come up with something like, “Your team is as unique as your business. Tweet a surprising fact about one of your team members.” This helps remind you to share some of the recent recognition your chef has received.
  • Or if you are an interior designer, when you see the tweet “Share the love. Like and Retweet kind words from your customers,” you’re prompted you to Retweet the next customer’s reaction to one of your projects.
Twitter Dashboard may not be of much use to savvy online marketers, but for those who have just dipped their toes into social media, it might help build the confidence needed to take flight. And this is exactly what Twitter needs if it's aiming to increase overall platform engagement.

Small- and medium-sized businesses should seize every opportunity they can to grow. Leverage the power of social media and see your company spread its wings and fly, soaring amidst the chirp of the blue birds tweeting. For further questions about Twitter Dashboard, feel free to give us a call, follow us, tweet us or give us a direct message -- we’re always ready to help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
August 15th, 2016

2016August15_VoIP_AVoIP is the funny-sounding phone system that’s been around for over two decades. Though that may seem surprising, it actually makes sense, because that’s about how long the internet has been mainstream, and “Voice over Internet Protocol” needs internet in order to function. So what might the future hold for small-business telecom if these two technologies continue to advance in sync?

Before we check our VoIP crystal ball, we’d like to give you a quick rundown of what small- and medium-sized businesses get from a robust Voice-over-IP internet calling plan today:

  • Convenience - it’s easy to manage
  • Scalability - it’s even easier to expand
  • Economy - calls over the internet are cheap
  • Portability - access from anywhere with high-speed internet
  • Efficiency - attach emails, send efaxes, conduct virtual meetings, etc.
These are, in brief, the core qualities that make VoIP systems so beneficial to SMBs. But how will value propositions like these be affected by future telephony trends? Could advances in internet technology possibly have adverse effects on VoIP, or will the two continue moving in harmony?

Here’s a look at three ways we envision VoIP and internet coming together in the not-too-distant future.

The Cloud + VoIP

Many companies’ first step away from their traditional phone system is to a premised-based VoIP system. It’s a great option, but one that may not fully capture all the benefits of VoIP such as the lower expense and easy expandability.

A better solution, and the one that seems poised for preeminence in the future, is commonly referred to as “Hosted VoIP.” This translates to a “cloud phone system” that offers low upfront costs, lower maintenance costs, and the lowest hardware costs. Have you considered the potential for virtualization of your office environment?

Social Media + VoIP

Present-day online applications like Skype, Line, and WhatsApp - which deliver an internet-calling function as part of the package - are present-day syntheses of social media with VoIP functionality. In the future, perhaps through a service called a “chatbot,” this combination could transcend everyday personal use and make a big impact on small businesses.

Imagine if you could program a chatbot to engage interested customers through Facebook, “converse” with them via an automated Q&A session to find out their needs, and end by inviting them to connect with your CSR via video chat. A VoIP/CRM integration could easily handle it, bringing you that much closer to potential clients and closed deals.

IoT + VoIP

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a term given to the variety of devices, gadgets, vehicles, and household products transmitting information over the internet. Think of data from earthquake early-warning systems delivered to first responders, or your bpm numbers sent from a wearable heart monitor to your cardiologist’s office.

The Internet of Things has the potential to coalesce with VoIP in many productivity-enhancing ways, such as by sending notifications from your calendar app to your VoIP interface; mobile-phone text messages can be programmed to drop into your VoIP mailbox; or GPS information can be used to automatically update employee statuses on their VoIP extensions.

You + VoIP

The future of VoIP may seem far away, at least as it pertains to its compatibility with the cloud, social media, and IoT. The reality, however, is that it’s actually starting right now.

So if you think your business would benefit from a cutting-edge VoIP solution, give us a call today, over the internet or otherwise.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic VoIP
August 8th, 2016

2016August8_SocialMedia_AFacebook’s most recent monthly active users numbered over 1.7 billion. Billion, with a ‘b.’ Since creating and managing a page for your business is free, there simply isn’t an excuse to put off doing so another day. Whether your page is being neglected because of low traffic or ROI on the time you invest in it, 1.7 billion is too large a number to ignore. Here are our six tricks for making your page a worthwhile endeavor.

Use video whenever possible

Recently, Mr. Zuckerberg himself was caught opining about the value of video in social media. And while there hasn’t yet been any news about newsfeed algorithms giving preference to video, it’s definitely a safe bet when compared to texts and graphics. Facebook Live is an excellent way to engage your subscribers, and there are several ways to leverage it for increased profitability. Whether it’s an Ask Me Anything segment or a promotional announcement, hit that record button more often for more engagement.

Facebook only promos

While we’re on the topic of promotions, make sure you’re creating some that are only available through Facebook. If you’re simply reposting those from your website or e-commerce store, it’s harder for followers to justify maintaining any interest in your page. Use Facebook Live or a pre-recorded video to introduce a better-than-usual discount on your products or services. The key here is getting customers to actually visit your page, so make sure it’s not a coupon code or a link they can just pass on to friends. Ask the first 100 viewers to post their email address in the comments section of the video. If their increased dwelling time doesn’t make a lasting impression on them, it probably will make an impression on their Facebook newsfeed algorithm.

Facebook CTAs: use them and update them

Unbeknownst to most, the ‘call to action’ button on your business page can be edited to display more than a dozen different messages. Experiment with the different messages and where they link to. You’ve probably stared at the CTAs on your .com page for hours, hoping to come up with a hard-hitting sell -- why wouldn’t you do the same on Facebook?

Don’t just link to yourself

The most insightful page will always be the most valuable one. If someone has already liked your page, they know you exist and they have a decent idea of what you sell. Make sure to take a break from posting links to your site, and include relevant news and information that relates to your field. If your merchandise is videogames, inventory updates aren’t going to provide much value to your followers. Post third-party reviews of items you stock or industry news that readers will find interesting.

Pin to top function

When you find the post that keeps followers coming back for more, why bury it beneath more recent and less popular posts? Click the arrow in the upper-right corner of the post and select Pin to Top. This will keep it above everything else and impossible to miss for anyone visiting your page. It could be anything we’ve already discussed in this article: promotions, videos, popular third-party content -- anything timely and relevant.

Be personal

Lastly, use your company’s Facebook page as a place where followers can engage you on a personal level. There are countless opportunities for stiff, formal business language and attitudes, but social media isn’t the place for that. Post fun, behind-the-scenes photos of your business, respond to comments in a conversational tone, make jokes -- anything that sets your page apart from your customer service accounts.

Facebook may be free, but that doesn’t mean a profitable page is a walk in the park. For all the latest tips, trends, and features, you’ll need an expert. Exploiting social media for your bottom line is a slippery game, but it’s one we play every day. For a partner who can turn your ‘Likes’ into dollars, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
July 25th, 2016

2016July25_VoIP_ATo VoIP, or not to VoIP, that is the question that many small- and medium-sized businesses have been asking. And with good reason, since placing calls over the internet with a “Voice over IP” system is an increasingly viable option for SMBs given the robust features, ease of use, and cost savings. But does VoIP guarantee crystal clear local, international, and intra-office calling?

Phones are an absolutely essential aspect of any company’s communications arsenal. And after Alexander Graham Bell made the first coast-to-coast long-distance call in 1915, it was clear that this was technology that had the power to transform business. But as with all emerging technologies, there were some kinks to work out.

Those earliest phones had power and leakage issues surrounding the wet cell batteries; more recently, cell phones have had their failings as well, such as dropped calls and short battery life; and today, VoIP technology has to deal with some minor complications, too.

The keyword, though, is “minor,” and our aim today is to help you identify these relatively slight hangups and help you optimize an already superior telephony solution.

Voice Echo

It’s fun to hear your voice repeating throughout the high-walled canyon you’re hiking, but not so great when you’re having a quick chat on the phone. And while VoIP echo won’t totally disrupt your conversation, there are a few things you can do to reduce it such as adjusting volume and gain settings, upgrading your USB headsets, or even implementing VoIP echo cancellation software.

Static

Many VoIP systems use an ATA, or Analog Telephone Adapter, to convert analog voice signals to digital signals. This sometimes produces static during calls, with the culprits usually being incompatible power supplies or feedback from the phones plugged into the ATA. Easy fixes include unplugging/replugging the ATA and/or the devices connected to it, or switching to IP Phones which require no analog/digital conversions.

Choppy Voice

The main factor in disjointed, start-stop sounding messages in a VoIP environment is packet loss, which occurs if individual data “packets” are lost in transmission. When this occurs, the gateway at the receiving end of the call tries to predict what’s been lost, but when it can’t, the gap in data remains empty. With a simple tweak to your VoIP system’s bandwidth settings, sending and receiving voice data will become smoother and significantly reduce these interruptions.

Post-dial Delay

Commonly referred to as PDD in VoIP parlance, post-dial delay is fairly self-explanatory. It refers to a delay between the time the caller finishes dialing and when they hear ringing, a busy signal, or some other kind of “in-call” information. It can be a nuisance when, instead of the ringing being delayed, it never actually occurs and you suddenly realize that your call has been connected. This is actually an externality from a vital piece of VoIP technology known as SIP. At the moment the only solace we can offer is that its widespread nature means you’re not alone, and a solution should be coming along soon.

By now it’s clear to most SMBs that a VoIP phone system can benefit their business, even with the occasional delayed ring or scratchy call. Because what we’ve learned from previous telephony advances is that inconveniences like this are manageable; and we can help you manage. From VoIP planning to installation to optimization, contact us today for more information.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic VoIP
July 11th, 2016

2016July11_SocialMedia_AIf you’re like us, you’ve always got a finger to the wind when it comes to search engine strategy and internet presence. If you’re not like us, that’s okay too, because we’ve got a breezy little article here to bring you up to speed on 5 of the latest SEO and Social Media trends that are blowing through the ether.

Everyone knows about death and taxes, the two most famous certainties that we must endure. If there were a third, surely it would be that without robust up-to-date search engine optimization (SEO) and social media strategies, your business will fall behind.

And since there’s no time like the present, we’d like to put forth some of the things that your business should consider taking into account this year in order to increase awareness of your brand, drive more traffic to your websites, and ultimately boost conversion rates.

1. Conversational search

With the success of digital assistants like Apple’s Siri, and the relatively recent roll outs of Amazon Echo and Google Home - two virtual helpers for the home - voice recognition is becoming much more prominent. For businesses, this means adapting your site’s content so it’s detectable by spoken phrase searches in addition to simple short keyword searches.

2. Social publishing

There’s tons of content published on social media, but what’s changing is the convenience with which it can be consumed. Users are ever more at ease with the videos and full-length articles dropping into their feeds - and with not having to leave the comfort of their favorite social apps to see them. The new challenge for companies will therefore be to publish high-quality content through social channels first.

3. Real-time customer interaction

Having interesting videos on your social media channels is practically old hat. Nowadays, given our speedy and seemingly omnipresent internet connections and our on-demand expectations, the move is towards live, streaming, “in-the-moment” interplay with customers, which has been shown to capture users’ attention for longer periods of time than recorded video content.

4. Increasing emphasis on apps

Mobile users spend nearly 90% of their time in mobile apps and just 10% on mobile websites. It’s not surprising given their relative ease of use, and this disparity could become even greater as social media platforms continue favoring apps and search engines like Google continue developing a “web of apps” - something that just might mean the end of traditional websites in the mobile environment.

5. More rich answers

“Rich answers” are Google’s attempt to provide search results that are sufficient enough to eliminate the need to click through to a website for more information. Their prevalence is on the rise, which could significantly reduce the amount of visits to your site. But it does provide an opportunity to use “structured markup,” a protocol that allows search engines to display your site’s data in more creative ways.

As always, the fast-moving advance of ways to optimize your internet presence is keeping us on our toes, and these 5 trends will likely make a difference for you in 2016 and beyond.

So if you sense a need to enhance your company’s SEO and Social Media strategies - but you’re not entirely sure about what to do first or how to do it - remember what Benjamin Franklin once said: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

We’ve got the knowledge, call us today and start collecting on those dividends right away.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
July 8th, 2016

2016July8_VoIP_AFewer and fewer people are taking phone calls for granted. That is to say, more and more of us have become discerning when it comes to ringing up our friends, family, colleagues, and customers. And the reason for this is simple: we no longer have to rely on traditional phone companies and pricey calling plans. We can now use VoIP.

In technical terms, VoIP is a broadband phone service that uses the internet instead of a public switched telephone network (PSTN) for things like voice calls and video conferencing. In simpler terms, VoIP stands for “Voice over IP” which is another way of saying “making phone calls over the internet instead of over traditional telephone lines.”

Here are some statistics on internet-based communications that really show where the trend is heading:

  • Telecom companies are losing an average of 700,000 landline customers per month.
  • Skype’s 300 million users spend an average of 3 billion minutes per day on calls.
  • During its annual stockholders meeting, Apple CEO Tim Cook stated that there are 15 to 20 million FaceTime calls every day -- and this was back in 2014.

Why the big numbers?

Surely you’ve noticed that you incur no charges when using an application like FaceTime for that quick face-to-face with your associate who’s away on business, or for the video conference with your clients who are stuck at LAX after a cancelled flight.

But phone calls for free aren’t the only advantage of VoIP. Many of us utilize it because it has features and benefits that make it a more attractive alternative to the phone company’s usual mobile calling plans.

Take the VoIP functionality in Apple’s latest version of its iOS operating system (iOS 10). Apps like Skype and Facebook Messenger are so well incorporated that they work just like the iPhone’s own phone application. Incoming/outgoing calls interface just like your regular phone, your contacts are fully integrated...You can hardly tell the difference.

So as consumers and businesses continue to recognize the benefits of VoIP and default to applications like FaceTime, Skype, Facebook, Line, or Viber for their calling needs, will conventional providers like AT&T, Verizon, Rogers, Bell Canada, etc. get squeezed out?

Can you ditch your legacy voice plans altogether?

It’s food for thought, and even if you don’t abandon them entirely, there are plenty of reasons to make broadband internet phone service a part of your day-to-day operations. And not only on your smartphones and other mobile devices.

Did you know that small businesses that change over to a VoIP network can save up to 40% on their local calls and up to 90% on their international calls? Or that a recent piece in PC World indicated that a business with 30 users on its calling plan saves nearly $1,200 per month when switching to VoIP?

Add in features like call recording, call-routing, conference call bridges, auto attendants, and virtual faxing and it’s easy to see why roughly 31% of all businesses now employ some type of internet-based VoIP telephone system.

So if you have a good-quality internet connection and you’re intrigued by the prospects of moving your business away from your local phone company’s services, we’re here to help. Call us today and together we’ll develop a robust VoIP solution that delivers cost savings, provides state-of-the-art functionality, and presents a professional image to the world.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic VoIP
June 21st, 2016

2016June21_SocialMedia_AIn today’s modern age, the speed in which your reputation can change almost as fast as the speed of light. For example, your reputation might be stellar one day and completely flop the next - meaning that striking a balance isn’t no walk in the park. In order your business to reach its peak, it’s important to understand how to utilize reputation marketing to establish much-needed consistency. Here are ten tools to help get you on your way:

ConsumerAffairs

Businesses can forge a strong online reputation and boost revenue with an array of advanced features. Namely, unpaid business plans along with third-party accreditation programs coupled with powerful software as a service (SaaS) platforms - offering companies various resources to convert customer engagement into cash.

BazaarVoice

Ideal for companies with deeper budgets, BazaarVoice extends the online marketing potential of customers’ voices to shopping portals, offline channels as well as natural search. Customers are also able to leave reviews, rating, questions and other customer-generated content on client websites which will then be shared on social media.

Better Business Bureau

Suitable for entrepreneurs and SMBs, not only does this non-profit group mediate and resolve customer-business disputes but also helps you to personally interact with customers - other networking services are also available at an affordable price.

Yotpo

The mechanism behind this ecommerce-oriented plug and play solution is that if you have made online purchases via Yotpo, after receiving them you will get an email asking you to review the product(s). This Mail After Purchase (MAP) provides more verified reviews since they are sent directly to the customer.

Cision

Focusing more on public relations, Cision allows your company to connect with over 1.6 million contacts and outlets, including influential journalists, bloggers and social influencers that would normally be inaccessible.

Percolate

Create campaigns, store files, create content and manage your business’s marketing efforts with Percolate. It takes into account all your details, target audience, brand identity and objectives, after which it provides a cross-channel marketing calendar that helps you plan ahead and eases the process of sharing content with consumers on social media, the Internet and other methods.

Reputation Loop

Similar to Yotpo, Reputation Loop primarily works by automatically emailing customers for product reviews but with this tool, additional features such as real-time reporting, review monitoring on Yelp and Google+ are at your brand manager's disposal.

TinyTorch

Utilizing social influencers and user-generated content (UGC) to build your online profile, TinyTorch is a social platform that allows brands to identify, monitor and manage their online presence. The tool helps you locate your most influential customers and redistribute their stories and photos across multiple marketing channels.

HootSuite

This social media management platform allows your business to monitor and sync all social media accounts onto one interface. HootSuite makes it easier to monitor customer feedback on their social media accounts and share positive reviews across multiple social media networks at once.

TrustPilot

TrustPilot is ideal for businesses looking for something simple to work with. Users get to leave business reviews on its website while offering both free and paid brand listings. It’s an easily-navigable site equipped with an assortment of analytic and engagement tools,

Building a credible and consistent brand reputation might not be easy, but it isn’t an impossible task to complete. Whether or not you have one, it’s never too late to start. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding the efficient tools that’ll help you get started on creating your own company’s reputation.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
June 17th, 2016

2016June17_VoIP_ABig data is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot these days, but rarely in conjunction with SMBs. VoIP has often been touted as a way for small businesses to access enterprise-level functionalities, and better access to customer data is one of the many ways to do exactly that. Keep reading for coverage of the best ways to leverage your VoIP data to increase conversions and provide better service to your clients.

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_AWe all know you can buy ad space on Facebook. And while ads on the world’s largest social network are generally quite affordable, they still cost money - which as a small or medium sized business owner, may be in short supply. Thankfully, there are many ways to market your business for free on Facebook. Here are a few of the most 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_AAs SMBs continue their steady transition away from traditional telephony services in favor of VoIP, threats of cybercrime and fraud are more common than ever before. Risks to VoIP systems are distinctly unique from those posed to your other networks and understanding how to combat them is critical. Here are 5 tips for securing your organization’s internet-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