November 30th, 2015

This new desktop computer comes with Windows 10.Computers are expensive. If you haven’t budgeted for it, purchasing a new machine means you may need to take a bit of a hit. It’s tempting to just keep trying to repair existing computers for as long as possible, but eventually the cost of replacing parts or otherwise repairing the machine will add up to more than you would have spent on a brand new one—and then, after all that, you’ll still have to purchase a new system when the old one dies. After a certain point, repairs can only delay a purchase, but not prevent it.

With that in mind, here are a few signs that you’ll need to purchase a new computer sooner rather than later:

Your company is growing, and you will soon have more employees than computers.

Although this seems like a bit of a no-brainer, it’s important to plan ahead. If you’re bringing on new employees before you have computers ready for them to use, you’ll just end up wasting their time and your money while they wait. It’s best to speak to your MSP about purchasing new workstations as soon as you know you’ll be bringing more people on board.

This is also a great time to review your existing infrastructure and make sure it can handle your expansion. You’ll want to discuss server capacity with your MSP before all of your new computers are up and running on the network in order to make sure that any upgrades that may need to occur are put in place before they’re needed.

An existing computer’s warranty has expired and it needs repair or new parts.

Sometimes it can be more cost-effective to repair a computer or replace a hardware part than it would be to purchase a new one. However, the amount that this will extend the computer’s lifespan needs to be taken into consideration. Most computers are projected to last anywhere from 3 to 7 years, but if you’re using your computers for more intensive work than just word processing and internet browsing, that number may come down a bit to 3-5 years.

The most clear sign that your computer’s hardware is about to fail is a new or louder noise coming from the system. Something may have come dislodged inside it and is causing damage to itself or to other parts, or the fan is having to work significantly harder to keep up with the work being demanded of it. Any change in the sounds you hear while your computer is running normally is a cause for concern.

If you’ve purchased an extended 3-year warranty for the computer and it experiences major hardware issues after this point, it’s likely time to consider whether you can get more value out of repairing the computer or purchasing a new one. Once it hits the 5-year benchmark, it’s highly unlikely that any repair will extend its life for much more than a year, and possibly even less.

It’s important to keep track of the age of the workstations at your company, because once their warranty expires, it’s time to start budgeting for their replacement.

New software can’t be installed because hardware specs don’t meet the minimum requirement, or you can’t install the latest operating system.

old computerAfter a point, old hardware is no longer compatible with new software. Old operating systems can also be problematic; Microsoft no longer supports Windows XP, for example, which means that they will no longer provide technical assistance or release security patches. It’s usually possible to install a new operating system, but there are hardware requirements for more recent operating systems that older machines may not be able to meet.

Rather than waste time trying to find workarounds for software that can’t be installed on an old operating system, and an operating system that can’t be upgraded due to limited hardware specs, it’s best to just purchase a new computer that won’t have these problems.

The computer is running more slowly than before, and there is nothing your IT team can do to fix it.

Computers run more slowly as they age. You know the signs: you can make a cup of coffee while it boots up, websites take longer to load than it takes you to send a text, and you can type half a sentence before any words start to appear on the screen. Up until a certain point, your IT team usually has quite a few tricks up their sleeve to improve your computer’s performance: rebooting the system to clear temporary files, run scans for malware, check for CPU usage and drive space, etc.

If your IT team has exhausted their options, and the system is still running slowly enough to impact your work, age may be the cause. If this is the case, then the only solution is to purchase a new machine.

In general, if your IT team strongly suggests that you replace a computer, it’s worth taking their advice into serious consideration. They should be tracking the number of issues your computer experiences, as well as the cause of these issues. If that number significantly increases, but it can be lowered by purchasing a new computer, they’ll let you know.

Remember—replacing a device doesn’t mean you have to completely retire it.

It can feel like a waste of money to recycle a computer that may still have a year of life left in it. If it’s functioning poorly, but still functioning, consider keeping it as a spare. Employees may need temporary replacements in case of unexpected hard drive failures, or if situations such as the Cryptolocker virus arise and their computer needs to be physically sent in to your IT team for them to handle. In these situations, a slow but working computer can get an employee through the few days it may take to repair their workstation or set up a new one.

If you’re unsure about whether you need to purchase new computers, it’s best to get in touch with your IT team. They’ll have intimate knowledge of your existing computers, and will be able to answer any questions you may have about their future functionality. They will also be able to advise you on your options for replacement.

Overall, you should err on the side of caution. In order to ensure stable and continuous workplace productivity, too many computers are better than not enough.

November 27th, 2015

AndroidPhone_Nov5_CSamsung Pay is just one of a number of services available to consumers and businesses looking to make the most of growth in the mobile payments sector, whether for the sake of greater convenience or enhanced bottom-line profit. Apple Pay and Google Wallet may steal most of the headlines when it comes to the mobile payments sector, but Samsung continues to show it is serious about getting its own slice of the action, too - most recently with its announcement of the integration of eight additional credit and debit card issuers.

Samsung Pay, which the company claims to be the most accepted mobile payment system around, already supports payment made through three of the major and most popular networks in the United States and elsewhere: Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. The latest development will be of most benefit to customers in the US, or those with accounts at these US-based financial institutions but who themselves are based overseas.

Among the newly supported payment methods are Visa cards issued through the American bank Chase and through the Navy Federal Credit Union, as well as MasterCard credit and debit cards held against accounts with the following US institutions:

    • Citizens Equity First Credit Union
    • Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union
    • Security Service Federal Credit Union
    • State Employees’ Credit Union
    • SunTrust
    • Virginia Credit Union
Other major banking institutions already supported for transactions processed through Samsung pay include Bank of America, Citibank, U.S. Bank, and Synchrony Financial. The growth of Samsung Pay, and the widening choice of options for making use of the service, are signs of the increased importance of the mobile payments sector - something that smart businesses are paying close attention to, in order to be able to identify how to best exploit the growth opportunities this presents.

Find out how you can make mobile payments work for your business - give us a call today and talk to one of our friendly team.

Published with permission from Source.

November 23rd, 2015

When listing your company’s assets, your blog probably doesn’t make the cut. Many businesses tend to ignore blogging - which is a real mistake these days. By putting time and resources into your blog, your can transform it from just another webpage to one of the most valuable things to your company’s growth. We’ve complied our own list of things you can do to make that happen.

We’re not here to judge. However, if any one of these scenarios resembles the current state of your blog, it might be time to do something about it. We know you’re busy and that the last thing you want to do is write about your business but, with content that is carefully crafted and curated, your company will have an unique asset that can help lead your marketing, by establishing you as an expert in your field, and promote sales efforts by driving people to your website.

You’re probably wondering where to begin. Well go ahead and reset the password for your WordPress or Tumblr account, because we have a few pointers to help you get started.

Use your blog to build your brand identity

For small and medium-sized businesses, it can be difficult to build a brand identity. You have your logo and colors, but what does your brand consist of beyond that? What is its personality, what characteristics does it have, and what is its tone? These are just a few of the questions you need to consider before you begin writing your blog posts, or having someone else write them for you, of course, which is a good option for busy business people.

A blog that reflects the personality of your business helps to give you a brand identity in the minds of readers by letting them know just what your company is. A hardware store is most likely going to want the contents of its blog to be straightforward, reliable and no-nonsense, while a marketing company is likely to have a blog that shows off its creativity, playfulness and skill at design and wordplay. This is your chance to develop your company’s identity, and explore just how you wish to be perceived by online readers.

Tip: Before starting to write posts for your blog, picture your business as a person, and write down what this person would say and how they would say it. This should be used as the foundation for each and every blog post.

Create a strategy and schedule for your blog

A clearly defined schedule and game plan for your blog will help make sure that once the ball starts rolling, it keeps rolling. Your goal from a scheduling perspective should be to have at least one new post a week. More is always better, but weekly posts will at least let both readers and Google know your site is still active.

In terms of a blogging strategy, don’t feel like every post needs to be a second coming of The Odyssey. Sometimes all you need to do is come up with a quick tip, or share a video you think is useful to people visiting your website. Varying the the length and type of content featured on your blog is a good way to keep things fresh.

Tip: At the start of each month, you should come up with blog topics and a deadline for each post. This should help make sure content is always going up on your blog.

Lead and inform, but do not sell

One of the biggest challenges for small and medium-sized businesses with a blog is to keep the content related to your company without putting on the hard sell. Realistically, the goal of your blog should be to point people in the direction of your business without pushing them into buying something. They should be able to reach that conclusion organically.

Let’s use an auto parts store as an example. A blog on the quality of the windshield wipers it sells is unlikely to generate a lot of interest. That’s because it is not something that resonates with a lot of people. A post on the dangers of driving with old wiper blades, however, will help get readers more interested in investing in new blades. And the good news for them is that they can purchase new wiper blades right, without even having to leave your website.

Tip: In addition to creating informational posts, don’t be afraid to add blog posts about your employees, especially if you do not have dedicated staff pages on your website. This can enable people get to know the names and faces behind your business, and help potential customers to feel more comfortable with your company as a whole.

You made it to our blog, so there must be something to this whole blogging thing. Get in touch with us if you want to know more about how blogging, or any other technology-related tools, can help add value to your business. And of course, feel free to keep reading our blog while you’re here!

Published with permission from Source.

November 23rd, 2015

Most people never think about their computer names. Some people affectionately name their machines like they would name a car, but very few actually bother changing the name the computer uses for identification on the network. Your MSP or IT team, however, relies entirely on this system of identification in order to keep track of all the computers they manage, and will likely put their own naming scheme in place for this purpose.

In businesses where the same computer can be used by many people, or one person may be using multiple computers, it’s important to be able to tell your IT team which computer is experiencing the issue you’re reporting. Although your IT team should be able to walk you through finding this information, knowing it in advance will save you time and will enable your MSP to solve the problem more quickly. Once you’re familiar with the process, it will only take you a few seconds to locate the name of any computer.

Here are five different ways you can find your computer’s name:

1. Press and hold the Windows key, then press the Pause/Break key.

Your computer name can be found under the “Computer name, domain, and workgroup settings” section of the window that appears. This window will look almost identical regardless of which operating system you’re running.

Find your computer name under the section titled Computer name, domain, and workgroup settings

If you use a full keyboard with your desktop computer, the Pause/Break key will be located to the right of your function keys in the top row. If you’re using a laptop, your keyboard may not include this key. In this case, you can use the following sequence to find the name of your computer:

2.  Press and hold the Windows key, then press the R key. Type the letters “cmd” into the prompt box that appears. Type the word “hostname” and press enter.

Depending on the permissions your IT team has put in place, you may not be able to open the Command Prompt window. If you run into this issue, you can try one of the following three options, depending on your operating system:

3. Windows 7: Click on the start menu, right-click on Computer, and select Properties.

This will open the same window as option number 1, allowing you to find your computer name under the section titled “Computer name, domain, and workgroup settings.” The information you’re looking for is just the computer name, not the full computer name.


4. Windows 8: Hover your mouse over the top right-hand corner of your screen. In the sidebar that appears on the right, click on the settings icon and select PC Info.

Windows 8.1 is a little different. If you’re running this version, you’ll need to right-click on the Start button and select System. If you aren’t certain which operating system you’re running, simple trial-and-error should tell you pretty quickly.

5. Windows 10: Open the Start menu and click Settings. Select System, then About.

Strangely, the newest version of Windows also requires the most steps to find your computer name. Fortunately, each click is fairly intuitive and shouldn’t be difficult to remember.

If you can’t find the name of your computer using any of these options, it’s worth sending a quick email to your IT team asking them if they know what your computer name is or if they’re able to walk you through finding it. Once you know your computer name, it’s best to memorize it or write it down somewhere so that you’ll have it on hand in case of an issue. After all, if your hard drive crashes or your operating system freezes, none of the above steps will be of much use to you.

November 17th, 2015

164_C_Int RepBetween the smartphones, iPads and desktops we all use, more and more people are spending hours of their day on the Internet. And at one point or another, someone is likely to say something bad about your business online. Whether it is true or not, you need to know how to respond when it happens so you can paint a positive image of your brand. Here’s how you can do just that.

Online reputation management mistakes

As long as you have a successful business or brand, people will always have something to say about it. And when it comes to online reputation management, the goal is to create positive engagement with your customers for the life of your business. So if the discussion about your brand swings negative, here are a few online reputation blunders to avoid.
  1. Ignore negative commentary - when you ignore negative comments or accusations about your brand, anger towards your business can fester, especially when there are a lot people rallying against you. Years ago, Nestle’s brand image was severely damaged by Greenpeace’s campaign against them. If they hadn’t ignored the problem at first, much of this likely would have been avoided. When it comes to your brand, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should respond to every negative comment. If someone is trolling your public discussion boards, then you can give their remarks a pass. However, if the negative post appears credible, you need to address it.
  2. Reacting emotionally - if your reaction to negative comments is to fire back with negative comments, it’s certain to make you look bad. Customers want to do business with a brand that is professional. If you react emotionally or negatively to a customer online, who’s to say you wouldn’t do the same in real life to the person reading it?

How to resolve negative commentary

While you may feel upset by a negative comment about your brand, don’t let your emotions get the better of you by posting something you’ll later regret. Instead, calm down, compose yourself, and follow these guidelines.
  • Figure out what the customer really wants - every customer wants their problem to be resolved, but how they want their issue fixed will vary. Some customers want an apology, others want a refund, and some may simply want the product they ordered but did not receive. Read the negative comment carefully to figure out what would make your customer happy, then proceed in the following manner.
  • Imagine you’re responding to your grandmother - you would never say something rude or hurtful to your grandmother, and you shouldn’t to your customers either. When a customer comes to you with a problem, rephrase it back to them to ensure you understand it correctly, and then explain how you’ll solve it. And just like you would if your grandmother came to you with a problem, be sensitive and do your best to help.
  • Stick to the facts - when engaging with a customer online, the initial comment can quickly turn into a back-and-forth discussion. If this happens, don’t get off-topic when addressing the problem. The customer may try to engage you in a he-said she-said battle, but avoid taking the bait. Respond with facts, stick to the matter at hand, and don’t get caught up in personal accusations.
  • Turn the negative into a positive - negative feedback is an opportunity to improve your business. So be honest with yourself and, if there’s truth in the comment, take a good hard look at your company. Did the commentator point out a glaring problem you can improve upon? Remember, a business is nothing without its customers, so it makes sense to do your best to please them.
To learn more about how to best manage your online reputation, or for assistance with any of your IT needs, get in touch with our experts today.
Published with permission from Source.

November 16th, 2015

Just a few weeks ago, we posted an article about malware based on the Cryptolocker virus that has been targeting businesses by holding their files for ransom. Since that article was posted, a new version called CryptoWall 4.0 has been discovered, and is actively infecting computer systems across the world.

What’s new?

From the perspective of someone whose computer has been attacked by CryptoWall 4.0, not a lot will appear different from previous versions. The malware still acts by encrypting files and demanding a payment in return for providing the decryption key for retrieving the files, although the number has jumped up a bit to $700. There is now some added condescension in its message, as it congratulates you for joining the “large community Cryptowall” before asking you to purchase a “software package” in order to regain access to your files.

The CryptoWall virus encrypts your files and holds them for ransom.

This version of CryptoWall also works much more quickly than before. Previously, if users paid close attention to strange behavior from their computer, there was a chance they could catch the virus before it finished encrypting their files. Now, the encryption can happen within less than a minute.

Most of the changes included in the new version are aimed at making the virus harder to prevent, harder to protect, and harder to recover from. These are concerns that your IT team will need to consider when continuing to develop their strategy for securing your network.

How do I prevent it?

Preventing CryptoWall is more difficult than ever. This may be the most dangerous virus in existence right now, solely due to the efficacy of its security system evasion measures. As with previous versions, antivirus software and email and web filtering can’t be relied on to block all attempts at infection. The best way to prevent a CryptoWall attack is to ensure that everyone is informed about the virus and are aware of what practices they should avoid in order to ensure their system remains infection-free.The CryptoWall virus is frequently sent through emails pretending to be job applications

CryptoWall can either be downloaded over the internet, or received as an attachment in an email. Previously, the attachments were either named “” or “resume.doc.” In the new version, attachments may also be JavaScript files using the extension *.js that will run an executable file when opened. The subject line of the email is also more likely to follow the following format: firstname_Cirriculum Vitae followed by a four-digit number.

Any files or programs that aren’t from reliable, trusted sources should never be downloaded over the internet. Similarly, emails from unfamiliar addresses, or from trusted email addresses but with strange content, should be treated with a high degree of suspicion. Hiring managers are at particular risk of infection because the virus frequently masquerades as a resume, so they should exercise extreme caution when reviewing applications.

Finally, it’s important that all employees save files on network drives instead of on their local machines, in order to ensure that system backups are accurate and complete.

What happens if I get infected?

Recovering from a CryptoWall 4.0 infection is identical to recovering from any of the previous versions, and relies entirely on recent, external backups having been made of all files. Your IT team will need to remove all files that were installed by CryptoWall, and potentially wipe entire computer systems clean, before reinstalling the operating system and restoring files from backup.

Back Up and RestoreThe immediate reaction to discovering a system has been attacked by the CryptoWall virus must be to turn off all infected computers, contact your IT support, and ensure that nobody accesses the network drives until the IT team has given the all-clear. Even if the virus has encrypted an entire computer, it can still be prevented from encrypting files on the server if the infection is caught in time.

Backups must also be kept physically separate from the machine. If an external hard drive used to store a backup is connected to the computer at the time of an infection, the backup can be encrypted as well.

With the release of Cryptowall 4.0, ensuring that your company’s data is regularly backed up is crucial, and should be treated at the highest priority level. If you don’t know whether your recent backups have been successful or not, it may be time to touch base with your IT team and ensure they’re doing everything possible to ensure that your business can recover quickly and completely from a CryptoWall infection.

November 16th, 2015

Implementing Business Intelligence (BI) software and other tools can help your company grown by leaps and bounds. However, it has to be planned for with the proper level of diligence and care to truly be beneficial to your business. Haphazardly installing BI software can result in an expensive misstep that sees you fall behind the competition. But with well executed BI planning and implementation, your company can grow in ways never imagined.

Quite a few business owners see other companies using BI software and tools successfully and hope to emulate those results. Unfortunately, BI goes far beyond installing a program on your employee’s computers and expecting them to churn out results because of it. In fact, without proper planning in place, you could end up losing money on your BI investment.

If you’re ready to bring BI software and tools to your small or medium-sized business but aren’t quite sure what your should be looking for, here are four things you need to consider during the planning process.

What data do you need to know

BI software is great at helping you obtain data and presenting it to you in all kinds of different ways. But it’s only helpful if you can actually use the information. Too many businesses jump on the BI software bandwagon because they hear about the great results other companies have achieved using these tools. However, if you don’t know what information you’re looking for or how to use that data to your advantage, BI software essentially becomes a toy for you and your staff to play with.

That’s why you need to fully understand what information and data your business needs before implementing any BI software. This will help you pick the best tool for your needs and then utilize it to great effect.

Create specific goals

When you are planning to implement BI software it is vital to have a specific endgame in mind. Increasing profits sounds great but it’s hard to utilize BI effectively when tackling a goal of that magnitude. Instead focus on performance metrics you can measure like higher closing rates or more online conversations. This will help make your planning easier and allow you to find the BI tools required to reach those goals as well as track your progress along the way.

Think about today and the future

It is important to not only think about BI software in correlation to your short term goals but your long term ones as well. You want to make sure your BI software is useful both now and in the future. Find something that can grow alongside your company over the long haul. You don’t want to constantly be changing or adding on to BI tools unless it is absolutely necessary. If possible, find BI solutions that are scalable and flexible so they can help over a longer period of time.

Keep it simple

Sometimes the desire to know more about your company can see you end up overloading your staff and employees with complex toolsets and data. The goal, especially for small and medium-sized businesses, should be data that is quickly accessible and easy to comprehend. This will allow you and your team to make speedy and informed decisions. Convoluting the process with unnecessary information or complicated process will only serve to negate what you are trying to do by installing BI software in the first place.

BI tools and software are designed to help you work smarter, not harder. When you plan to bring them to your company, this is something you will want to keep at the forefront of your decision making process.

If your company is looking to start utilizing BI tools, our team of experts can help. Together we can create a BI plan that works best for your business.

Published with permission from Source.

November 12th, 2015

Every time something goes wrong with one of your employees’ computers and they have to call their IT support, they lose time and your company loses money. MSPs understand this, which is why they work proactively to prevent problems before they occur. However, computers will inevitably experience technical or hardware-related problems, so it’s important that your employees have a basic level of knowledge that will enable them to recognize problems when they occur, allow them to try a few simple troubleshooting steps that may resolve the issue more quickly than calling IT support, and take a few easy steps to prevent small issues from blowing up into big problems.

With that in mind, here are the top three things that we think all employees should know about computers:

  1. When and why you should restart your computer

Restart your computer frequently.This is more extensively covered in a previous blog post, but the conclusion is simple: you should restart your computer at least once a day in order for it to perform at its best. Restarting your computer frees up memory space and clears temporary files that have been stored on it, allowing it to run faster. It can also resolve the following issues:

  • Frozen applications or frozen operating system
  • Disconnected network drives
  • Hardware issues such as loud fan noise or an unusually hot system

Finally, restarting your computer is required in order to install Windows Updates, and may be necessary to finish installing other software or software updates.

  1. How to recognize when you have a virus

Malware comes in many forms, including spyware, ransomware, keyloggers, and other malicious code. Listing the symptoms of every existing virus would be impossible, but as a general rule, it’s a good idea to run a virus scan every time your computer behaves unusually. Ignoring a virus or failing to recognize it for too long can have disastrous consequences.

This is an example of "scareware" that is actually attempting to steal your personal information.

This is an example of “scareware” that is actually attempting to steal your personal information.

If a computer starts running slowly and a reboot doesn’t speed it up, there may malware running in the background that is slowing it down. If you start receiving strange pop-up messages on normally secure websites, or when you aren’t browsing the internet at all, it’s an almost guaranteed sign of a virus. The same can be said for any time your default browser window is set to a strange search engine or other unfamiliar page, and almost every time a toolbar has been installed either without your permission or packaged as part of an unrelated software.

However, it’s also important to recognize when you are being tricked into believing you have a virus. Malicious code on websites frequently relies on scaring people into downloading a virus disguised as antivirus software. Another common tactic is to scare you into calling the scammer, who will use that opportunity to try to steal your personal information. If you suddenly receive a message while browsing the internet warning that you have a virus and need to download antivirus software or call a phone number, chances are you don’t yet have malware on your computer. It’s best to simply close the tab or window in which you received the message, then run a virus scan from an antivirus software you trust.

  1. Why you should save your files on the network

Most businesses today use a NAS to store network drives. Depending on what permissions are set, network drives can either be accessed by some or all employees, or can be restricted to a single user. When each user is given their own network drive, they are presented with the option to either save their files on the network drive or save them on their local machine (e.g., in their My Documents folder).

It is extremely important that all employees save their files on network drives instead of on their local computers. In case of a system infection such as the Cryptolocker virus, where all files are encrypted and held for ransom, or in another situation involving data loss, it’s necessary to be able to restore all information quickly and accurately. Loss of data can also lose companies time, money, and trust from their customers.

It’s important to always back up your files. However, if regular backups are made of data stored on servers but not on local machines, or if backups run more frequently on servers than individual computers, any files that were saved on an employee’s computer may not be recoverable, or may be restored from a much older version.A NAS, or Network Attached Storage device.

This is also the case for any system or hardware malfunctions that may render a hard drive unsalvageable. Files saved on the local computer may not be recoverable if the hard drive crashes, but it only takes minutes to connect a user’s network drive to a new computer without any loss of data..

Ensuring your employees know when to restart their computers, how to recognize when they have a virus, and why they should always save their files on the network, will significantly decrease the amount of time they spend on the phone with their IT team, and will help prevent potentially disastrous situations for your company. We would highly recommend including this knowledge as a part of the training process for all new employees.

November 9th, 2015

164_C_SMYou may think social media is designed for exciting brands like Google or MTV. And who could blame you, as these brands both have millions of followers. Because of this, you may think there’s no place for your boring brand on social media, right? Think again. Here is one brand that’s making some noise in the social media stratosphere, and some tips you can take away from their efforts.

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 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 Source.

Topic Social Media
November 3rd, 2015

Office_Nov3_COffice 2016 for Mac has arrived, and it brings with it several new features to Microsoft’s popular productivity suite and cloud-based services. Microsoft has fixed various bugs and functionality issues in its latest Office version, allowing users to fully make use of the software and integrate it seamlessly with their Mac platform. Here’s all you need to know about the new features of Office 2016 for Mac.

So what’s new?

The obvious change in Office 2016 for Mac is the user interface. You’ll experience a cleaner and more modern design that looks consistent across all core applications. The toolbars and icons have been redesigned with a minimalistic approach, resulting in less clutter and making it easier to find what you’re looking for.

Looks are not the only improvement. Office 2016 for Mac provides huge improvements to the performance of Microsoft’s well-known applications.

Word 2016

Apart from the interface changes, in Word 2016 multiple Mac users can now work simultaneously on the same document. When a user working on a file saves any changes, a notification that highlights the changes is sent to other users. This new feature is similar to that of Google Docs, where users can collaborate by sharing and editing files online. Word 2016 includes a style pane on the right-hand side of the screen. When selected, you can apply pre-set styles to texts and paragraphs. What’s more, Word 2016 also adds a nifty new navigation pane, allowing you to navigate through files based on the changes you’ve made, including comments, formatting, deletion, and more.

PowerPoint 2016

The most prominent change made to PowerPoint 2016 is the redesigned ribbon. Many ribbons have been removed, renamed, and given new icons. The new PowerPoint also has the very same collaboration features as Word, meaning you and your colleagues can edit presentations simultaneously. In addition, Microsoft has added 24 all-new themes to PowerPoint, and these aren’t just normal themes - with just one click, you can alternate between different color palettes, fonts, and background styles for your current theme. These new features are identical to the ones in PowerPoint for Windows, but they have more functionality and are much easier to use.

Excel 2016

As soon as you launch Excel 2016, you’ll be greeted by its modern new appearance. One addition is a slicer tool that greatly increases the performance of pivot tables. With slicers, you can create buttons that simplify data filtering in a pivot table report without the need to use drop-down lists. Another new feature worth mentioning is the inclusion of the Analysis Toolpak extension. This add-on is especially useful if you want to generate complex statistical and engineering data - the Analysis Toolpak offers a number of advanced formulas that were absent in the former Excel for Mac 2011.

Outlook 2016

The previous Outlook for Mac 2011 proved to be flawed in many areas. And if you find that Apple Mail is not living up to your expectations, Outlook 2016 will be a great alternative to meet your email needs. As with other Office 2016 applications, the new Outlook has gotten a visual revamp. Some notable new features include improved usability, such as a blue vertical bar spanning across unread messages, faster email search and filtering, and a more powerful database and mail server that enables you to send and receive messages much more quickly.

Want to learn more about Office 2016 for Mac, and how you can implement it into your business? Give us a call today; we’re sure we can help.

Published with permission from Source.