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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

On a very funny note:

There are 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don't.
  1. How many programmers does it take to change a light bulb?
    None. It's a hardware problem.
  2. A SEO couple had twins. For the first time they were happy with duplicate content.
  3. Why is it that programmers always confuse Halloween with Christmas? Because 31 OCT = 25 DEC
  4. Why do they call it hyper textToo much JAVA.

Faces of the Cloud




Infographics are great for providing clarity. As the one below illustrates, the role of IT workers is rapidly transforming — and IT executives are keen on building the optimum IT organizational structure for the software-defined data center (SDDC).

If you want an agile, business-responsive, service-driven IT organization, the role of IT must change from a reactive, rigid structure to one that is proactive, innovative and dynamic. The key to the success of this is a symbiotic partnership between IT and the business, driven by executive leadership.

Consider 2Create360 as your IT Partners in success




Cloud


INFOGRAPHIC: Changing Faces of #Cloud. The roles #CIOs should start staffing NOW. #VMware |Contact www.2create360 if you have any questions |

History of the Cloud



Web APP development Process (InfoGraphic)


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Top Platforms for Building Mobile Apps




If you've ever wanted to build an app for your business, blog, product or service, but the heavy investment of both time and money put you off, you're not alone.

The good news is that entering the mobile market no longer necessarily requires thousands of dollars and months of work. There are many mobile platforms available to help you build an app on a budget — quickly, and with no coding knowledge required.

This article as it appeared on Mashable.  Edited based on the Authours opinion

Appery.io  https://appery.io/


Appery is a cloud-based mobile app builder that you can use to create apps for Android, iOS and Windows Phone, and includes Apache Cordova (Phone Gap) with access to its built-in components.

Since the builder runs in the cloud, there's nothing to install or download, and it's easy to get started quickly. It includes a visual editor using drag and drop components to build the UI. You can connect to any REST API and use it in your app, and instantly add a cloud database and backend to your app if you need to store data.

You can add powerful functionality with the Appery plugin catalog, or create your own custom private plugins to use in your apps. Collaboration is simple, allowing you to share your mobile project with development teams, business users and customers in real time.

Price: Plans start at Free and go up to $180 per month for Premium

Mobile Roadie  http://mobileroadie.com/


Mobile Roadie is an app creator that allows anyone to create and manage their own iOS or Android app. The platform supports all media types, with automatic importing of RSS, Twitter or Google News keywords, and an auto-refreshing fan wall through which users can chat with each other in real time.

You can use the free Mobile Roadie Connect app to preview your app accurately, just as your users would on their devices. The app also guides you through the submission process, with Mobile Roadie checking the quality and appropriateness of your content.

You can push content straight to your app and pull content from it to your own site or blog. The API is language agnostic, so you can pull data in a variety of formats, including XML, JSON, PHP, CSV and HTML. You can easily craft a custom look and feel for your app and apply that to all platforms, and use the suite of marketing tools once your app is launched.

Price: Plans start at $125 per month (Core) and go up to $667 per month (Pro).


 TheAppBuilder  http://www.theappbuilder.com/



TheAppBuilder provides a suite of apps to suit employees, clients, events and brochures, with two different approaches available. You can build the app using the online toolkit, and either the training provided or TheAppBuilder itself will work with you to define and build the structure of the app and populate it with initial content.

Using the dedicated AppLibrary, you can provide your users with a window into multiple apps and even customize it with your own branding. You can protect both public and private apps with usernames and passwords, and distribute them via the app store, making use of TheAppBuilder's Active Directory integration to enable login with existing credentials and user groups.

Updating the structure and content of your apps is easy, even after you go live, because you can make unlimited updates and publish on multiple mobile platforms in one click. The platform supports native iPhone, iPad and Android, with updates going live within 60 seconds of submitting a change.

 Good BarberPrice  http://www.goodbarber.com/

Good Barber provides a platform to build iPhone and Android apps, allowing you to take control of every detail of your app without producing a single line of code. Nine colorful, highly customizable design templates are available to get started, with 350 beautiful icons and access to over 600 Google Fonts.
Along with native iPhone and Android apps, you have a free web mobile version, which users access from their phones' browsers. You can also link this to your domain name, if you want it to become the official mobile version of your website.
You receive immediate visual feedback every time you adjust any parameters in your app. Send unique, actionable push notifications and convert your readers into contributors by letting them submit articles, photos and videos. You can also organize your app and add sections ranging from videos, photos, sounds, live events and more.

Price: Plans start at $16 per month and go up to $32 per month for the Full Plan


 Appy Pie  http://www.appypie.com/


Appy Pie is a cloud-based DIY mobile app creation tool that allows users without programming skills to create an app for Windows, Android and iOS, and publish it to Google Play or iTunes. There's nothing to install or download -- just drag and drop pages to create your own mobile app online. Once it's complete, you receive an HTML5-based hybrid app that works with all platforms, including Blackberry.

All revisions are in real time, with the ability to send push notifications, monetize with ads, see live analytics, and track location with GPS. You can also integrate social media feeds, blogs, websites, audio, radio and more.

The appointment scheduler is especially useful for businesses such as Doctors, Salons or Spas with contact features such as one touch call, QR codes included. Using the code page you can embed custom code and embed iframes.

Price: Plans start at Free and go up to $33 per month for Platinum



 AppMachine http://www.appmachine.com/


AppMachine is an easy-to-use platform to build and design professional native apps for both iOS and Android. Using the drag-and-drop interface, you can combine different building blocks that offer a variety of features, such as information, photos and video.

The building blocks also let you link your app to Facebook, Twitter, or online stores. You can design the app in your own unique style and choose your navigation paths, colors, fonts and icons, taking complete control of layout and watching your progress using the Previewer.

Test your app as you build it and check its progress on your computer, mobile or tablet. Once your app is fully tested and ready to go, you can publish and promote your app, and analyze the user data. AppMachine takes care of everything you need to get your app into Apple's App Store and Google Play.

Price: Plans are one-time fee only, and start at $499 (Gorgeous) and go up to $899 (Designer). A $1299 option (Developer) will be available soon.


 BiznessApp https://www.biznessapps.com/


BiznessApps provides a platform to help create mobile apps for businesses a very simple process. It provides a wealth of features, including food ordering, shopping cart, loyalty programs, dynamic content, third party integrations, push notifications, comprehensive analytics and more.

The easy-to-use content management system allows you to create an app in minutes, and customize everything using pre-built designs or your own. There are also real-time previews to check your progress as you design and develop your app.

You can instantly update your app online, and modify everything inside, without having to send your app for a lengthy update with Apple or Google. There are weekly webinars on how to build beautiful mobile apps using the BiznessApps platform, along with access to hundreds of tutorial articles, to help make the process even easier.

Price: Plans start at $29 per month for mobile website and go up to $59 per month for mobile app



 AppMakr https://www.appmakr.com/


AppMakr is a DIY app creation platform that lets anyone craft iOS, Android and HTML5 apps, with no coding knowledge required. It was founded in 2009, and recently acquired by Infinite Monkeys, to now form one of the largest DIY app publishing platforms worldwide.

You can make as many apps as you want, with unlimited updates, and utilize a number of features, including push notifications, high resolution photo galleries, live updates, music and video streaming, chat rooms, Google Maps integration, shared events calendars, in-app shopping, and much more.

You keep track of all your apps through the Dashboard, easily customize your app's looks and functionality, add content with tabs, preview your app in real time and publish it to the markets with a single click.

Price: Plans start at Free and go up to a $99 one-time fee for Self-Publish



 ShoutEm  http://www.shoutem.com/


ShoutEm offers an app builder with complete content management, powerful user engagement tools and monetization options, coupled with a seamless publishing process, to provide a robust solution for most requirements. T

The interface builder offers many customization options, and each app can be tightly integrated with existing content sources such as WordPress, Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud and more. The multiple monetization options means you can quickly create a revenue stream from your app, providing an e-commerce experience, in-app subscriptions, deals and coupons, with support for all major ad networks included.

You can publish your apps under your developer account to both iTunes and Google Play, and update your app or content in real-time. ShoutEm also offers regular auto-updates, to ensure your app is always ahead of new iOS and Android updates.

Price: Plans start at $19.90 per month and go up to $119.90 per month for Unlimited

This article as it appeared on Mashable.  Edited based on the Authours opinion

FOR DEVELOPERS

U Ifyou are a hard core developer and would like to dive into code without using the tools mentioned above then here are some recommendations
for mobile application development. Google tjem


  • iOS SDK
  • IBM Worklight
  • Android Air
  • Java ME
  • Appcelerator
  • Blackberry
  • Android
  • Visual Studio
  • Apple
  • MoSync
  • RhoMobile
  • WidgetPad
  • Buzztouch
  • Verivo Akula
  • Mocana MAP


Monday, November 16, 2015

The Internet of Things: Opportunities for Businesses

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects or "things" embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity, which enables these objects to collect and exchange data.

 The Internet of Things allows objects to be sensed and controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure, creating opportunities for more direct integration  between the physical world and computer-based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit.

 Each thing is uniquely identifiable through its embedded computing system but is able to interoperate within the existing Internet
infrastructure. Experts estimate that the IoT will consist of almost 50 billion objects by 2020.

While it’s a cool idea, the implications and benefits of an ultra-connected world aren’t always obvious to business owners. In fact, one recent survey by security software maker AVG found many small-business owners still don’t even know what the “IoT” means. But the concept could very well revolutionize small businesses in three major ways:

1. More efficient, real-time operations

Being able to connect more devices to the Internet will allow businesses greater intelligence and the ability to bolster the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations. According to a recent Microsoft report on IoT:

An intelligent system is transformative. Point-of-sale scanners on a retail floor are connected to warehouse systems and analytics software at headquarters for industry-leading efficiency in inventory. Robots on a factory floor send production and maintenance information directly to those who need it, for unparalleled reliability and uptime … In each case, new insights are generated that drive the organization’s objectives forward on many levels.
Many small businesses will likely upgrade their equipment in coming years and install “smart” machines and devices that can be hooked up to the Internet.

2. New business opportunities

The Internet of Things doesn’t just offer greater efficiency—it also opens to door to many new business opportunities and revenue streams that entrepreneurs can seize upon. It has the potential to change the way businesses and consumers approach the world, and, in turn, they will need new devices and services that help them navigate this changing, ultra-connected landscape.

3. More cybersecurity and privacy concerns

One drawback to this ultra-connected world is cybersecurity. The more data that’s collected online inevitably means there’s greater potential for thieves to hack into online data troves and steal valuable and sensitive business information. Privacy advocates also worry about how much information is being collected by businesses. According to a recent article on TechRadar, small and mid-sized businesses will have to consider how they secure their data collection methods:
Connected devices are considered vulnerable to hacking because many of them use the Linux operating system - which isn't patched in the same way as licensed services such as Windows.
Therefore, firms must approach IoT in the same way they do all IT systems, by updating them regularly and using identity management and authentication.

Cloud Computing: Advantages for Small Businesses

Introduction


The cloud continues to take the software industry by storm. A major component of the cloud is SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). New software providers host their products themselves and provide customers access through the Internet.

This model challenges the traditional on-premise method by which a provider installs and runs their software in your own data center. The convenience of low-cost, cloud-based infrastructure services has transformed many fundamentals of business, making it possible for IT to deliver some of the same capabilities to their internal and external customers.

For IT professionals, a stream of new cloud capabilities and innovative ideas to provide value to various audiences presents a lucrative opportunity.

Part of the cloud’s primary appeal is easy access and a pay-as-you-go pricing model that works as well inside an enterprise as it does outside in the general market.

This contrasts with the large upfront payments required for traditional software and can allow IT to provide more visibility into internal organizational consumption, regulate usage, and better control budgets and chargebacks.


Key cloud customer benefits 

  1. Fast time to value by using the software quickly, typically in minutes or a few days at most
  2. Low upfront cost due to no upfront license fees or server infrastructure
  3. Lower upfront cost of ownership (TCO) from a subscription-based payment model
  4. Accounting advantages from expensing software as an operating expense (OpEx) instead of an upfront capital expenditure
  5. “Try before you buy”, since it is easier for SaaS vendors to let prospective customers try the software before committing to a purchase
  6. Free software via SaaS provider’s freemium model, which allows users to delay payment for high functionality until there is actual need for it.
  7. Effortless upgrades, with SaaS vendors managing the upgrade process on their own platform; no customer effort is required.
  8. Mobility Users may access most SaaS services on smartphones and tablets




Sunday, November 15, 2015

On a Funny Note: Software Project. You know this


 Hillarious :-)








On a Funny Note: Tweeting and Relationship

This is hillarious ( somewhat )







IT Jargon: B2C

Business-to-Consumer (B2C)

Business-to-consumer (B2C) is an Internet and electronic commerce (e-commerce) model that denotes a financial transaction or online sale between a business and consumer. B2C involves a service or product exchange from a business to a consumer, whereby merchants sell products to consumers.

B2C is also known as business-to-customer (B2C).

A business that sells online merchandise to individual consumers is categorized B2C. Experts have suggested that online B2C activities played a vital role in shaping the Internet, despite the dotcom bubble burst in the late 1990s. While many online B2C business websites shut down at that time, an electronic customer surge occurred shortly thereafter, which helped catapult e-commerce activities. Companies took advantage of this by creating electronic storefronts after discovering they could sell larger volumes of merchandise through B2C models.

IT Jargon: B2G

Business-to-Government (B2G)

Business-to-government (B2G) is a business model that refers to businesses selling products, services or information to governments or government agencies.

B2G networks or models provide a way for businesses to bid on government projects or products that governments might purchase or need for their organizations. This can encompass public sector organizations that propose the bids. B2G activities are increasingly being conducted via the Internet through real-time bidding.

B2G is also referred to as public sector marketing.

Governments are contained within the federal, state and local arenas. Governments typically work with prenegotiated contracts and they've usually vetted out contractors they've used before or for whom there are standing contracts that might be grandfathered in. Types of B2G techniques called integrated marketing communications encompass Web-based communications as well as strategic public relations and electronic marketing.

Government bids are solicitations that originate from businesses that have something a government needs. The solicitations may be in the form of reverse auctions where sellers are competing to obtain business. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has spurned the use of B2G.

Social platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can be part of this vertical market, although businesses largely neglect this form of B2G selling. Businesses can provide documents such as a "Statement of Capabilities" which outlines the abilities, products and services of a company that wishes to contract with government agencies. This document will frequently accompany a "Proposal of Service" that can be supplied when submitting contract bids.

On a Funny Note: Bloggers will understand.

This is funny.
Bloggers would understand.





IT Jargon: Gorilla Arm


What does Gorilla Arm mean?


“Gorilla arm” is when someone who is using a vertical or standing touchscreen experiences fatigue or their arm starts to hurt, because of the awkward and not very ergonomic positioning that is required. It is called "gorilla arm" because of the similarity to the way a gorilla or other primate might interact with these vertical screens. Understanding gorilla arm and its use in the context of ergonomics reveals a lot of design elements that have driven new consumer products like tablets, two-in-one laptops, and other kinds of new touchscreen devices.

Gorilla arm is also known as gorilla arm syndrome.

Gorilla arm is what happens when the user interacts with a vertical touchscreen for a long period of time. The arm becomes tired, and it becomes more difficult to interact with the interface. One excellent example is the use of a floorstanding kiosk, the kind you might find in an airport library. Short-term use is relatively easy for most users — but as time goes on, the burden of raising the arm and making selections causes a certain kind of fatigue, since the arm is not physically supported in any way.

It might seem like a small detail, but the gorilla arm phenomenon has driven specific design elements in the most popular user devices on the market. For example, Apple does not include unsupported touchscreen technology for its devices because of user research on gorilla arm. So this term actually has a lot to do with how people physically interact with others on the Internet, or over other networks.

IT Jargon : Google Stalking


What does Google Stalking mean?


“Google stalking” is a term for looking up in-depth information on someone using the Google search engine on the Internet. Because Google is the predominant search engine that most Web surfers use, Google stalking has come synonymous with getting basic online research on a person, or on any other kind of topic or subject.

One of the tricky points about Google stalking is the ethics involved. In general, there is no ethical standard for Internet search. However, some people argue that Google stalking may run counter to certain forms of "netiquette" or Internet etiquette that some people think should be practiced online.

Google stalking can also come in many different forms. In some cases, people are just looking for images or clues to someone's appearance. In other cases, they may be acquiring background information or demographic information such as age, marital status and other personal indicators. In a lot of cases, it is possible to build a much more detailed portfolio of information on someone including current and past addresses and phone numbers, criminal background and family history, as well as a thorough survey of that person's hobbies and personal preferences. Because Google is a public tool, and there are few restrictions on its use, Google stalking is generally seen as something that is an accepted way to gather information about someone.

On a Funny Note: Social Media Madness

Social Media Madness


Sadly this does reflect the true madness of social media. Have no fear..2Create360 is here.  We will help you navigate the murky waters of Social Media.



Mobile App Marketing

Benefits of Mobile App Marketing vs. Other Marketing Mediums

On average, people have 26 apps installed on their phones. What does this mean for you? You are competing with 26 other apps for attention. But don’t worry; that’s nothing! Think about how many websites you compete with online. Hint: It’s in the MILLIONS.

Social Media vs. Mobile Marketing

Social media is still a somewhat new medium (relatively speaking) and many small businesses are just starting to test their own Facebook and Twitter accounts. The competition here is steep, though, and it’s not just about your retail competitors. When users are on social media, they usually aren’t looking to make a purchase. They are there to catch up with friends, check on what’s happening in the world or post updates about what is happening in their lives. This puts your profiles in direct competition with numerous things that your audience may find more interesting (sorry).

Email Marketing vs. Mobile Marketing

Email marketing is an old standby that still works today for many businesses. But even if someone subscribes to your list, there’s no guarantee that they’ll see your email. And if they see your email, there’s no guarantee that they’ll read it. With mobile apps, you have something called a “push notification.” These are the updates that you get on your smartphone to let you know something new is going in within one of your apps. With Facebook, you may get a push notification to tell you that someone tagged you in a post or sent you a message. Your calendar may send a push notification to remind you of an event. Your app may send push notifications for any number of reasons that you will specify. But although push notifications occur for various reasons, there’s one thing they all have in common. The get read.

According to Silverpop’s Email Marketing Benchmark study, about 20 percent of emails are opened by the recipient and only about 5.4 percent of people click on a link within that email.

In contrast, push provider Xtify revealed that 30 to 60 percent of users open push notifications and about 40 percent interact with the app immediately following the notification.

Three Things You Stand to Gain from Developing a Mobile App

Time to answer the question, what’s in it for me? There are more than three potential benefits, but these should get you thinking about how to put the right app to work for you.

1. Earn money – Whether it’s with ads or in-app purchases, smart retailers monetize their apps to create another stream of income.

2. Reach a new set of customers – Let’s hope that a good number of your current customers download and use your app, but there’s also the potential to reach a whole new audience who are experiencing your brand for the first time.

3. Showcase products and services – Although your app will have a purpose, a benefit to the end user, it will also act much like a not-so-obvious ad for your business.

It’s Anyone’s Ballgame

Although you may be an early adopter among your peers of mobile marketing, it’s important that you know that there’s nothing holding your competitors back from getting started. All you really need is some creative thinking and smart planning and you can have an app of your own in almost no time flat.

And by using tools like the ones we’ve developed, you can create an app for a small fraction of the time and financial investment it would take to have one built from the ground up.

Isn’t it about time that someone stepped up and caused a little chaos in your industry? Disrupt the norm of Google Ads and walking sandwich boards. Create your very own mobile app and start engaging your audience today.

We’ve never met a business owner who has regretted their decision to build a mobile app, and you aren’t likely to be the first.

Social Media Challenges for Small Businesses


Challenge #1: I don’t have enough time to manage social media


Managing social media doesn’t have to be completely time-consuming. There are numerous ways to efficiently manage whatever you do on social. Once you have these methods established, the time usually spent on social media management can now be used to listen to your customers more effectively and to work on other aspects of your business.

Tip #1: Plan ahead and use Scheduling

When planning and executing your social media strategy, it helps to save time by scheduling pre-planned content. This not only helps to build an audience, it also prevents you from inundating your follower’s feed with too much or not enough information. Scheduling helps you maintain a steady flow of content being published throughout the day.  Another advantage to scheduling your posts is that you still can continue to share news, updates, and content in the event that you are busy or away from the office.

Tip #2  Use Automation Tools

There are many robust tools like HootSuite, IFTTT, ZAPIER etc that you can leverage to automate your Social Media Engagement and Scheduling.

Challenge #2: When is the best time to tweet?

Knowing the best time to tweet allows you to increase reach of your Tweets and increase engagement. To find out the best time to tweet, getting to know your audience’s social media behavior will help.

Tip #1: Your geographic location matters

When discovering the best time to tweet, make sure you factor in both your  own geographic location and the location of the customers you are targeting. Tweeting at 9 am Vancouver, Canada time won’t necessarily render the same results if your customer base is in São Paulo, Brazil.

Tip #2: Use the right tool


For small businesses, the best times to tweet can be found using various tools.

Tip #3: Make sure you engage on social media

Knowing when the best time to tweet for your company’s Twitter handle starts with social media engagement. In other words, if you are taking the time to tweet, take the time to engage with your followers as well. Initiate conversations, provide value to your audience by sending them tips and take note on the times of day your audience responds the most.
Extra Reading: For more information about the best time to tweet, check out this blog post.

Challenge #3: How do I create a social media marketing plan for my business?


If you are trying to set up your business for success on social media, setting up a social media marketing plan is essential.

Tip #1: Clarify Your Business’ Social Media Goals

The most important part of your social media marketing plan is defining clear goals. All decisions are informed by these, so without clearly defined goals, your marketing plan will also be scattered and/or ineffective. To prevent this from happening, start by writing down at least three social media goals for your business. Make sure each goal is specific, realistic and measurable.

Tip #2: Audit Your Current Social Media Status

Once you have established your goals, conduct a search for both officially sanctioned and unauthorized pages representing your company.  These range from fan sites, fake sites posing as your company, or your official brand sites. Figure out how many followers you have, how many visitors you get to the sites and whether everything is up to date. Remove all spam and unimportant content.

Tip #3: Develop Your Content Strategy

The previous two tips should now create a framework for you to develop a comprehensive content strategy for your marketing plan. Within your content strategy, you should include what type of content you intend to post, how often you will post content, who your target audience is, who will create the content, and how you will promote the content.

Tip #4: Use Analytics to Track Progress

Once your social media marketing plan has been implemented, it’s now time to check the appropriate metrics and see how your content is performing. Find out when your fans are online, how many are seeing your posts, who’s sharing or responding, and who’s viewing and engaging with your web pages.

Tip #5: Adjust Your Strategy as Needed

Once you’ve analyzed your current campaign, resolve to do more of what is working and revise things that are not working. Re-write your content strategy based on your analysis to reflect your new understanding. You will need to keep developing your strategy and content, and use analytics to guide your next steps throughout your social media campaign.

Challenge #4 : What is social media engagement? And how do I know if I am doing it right?

People are more likely to recommend a business that engages with them on social media compared to a company that has no social media presence. That being said, many companies overlook proper social media engagement and miss a major business opportunity.




Tip #1: Proactive Social Media Engagement Can Go A Long Way

To take your engagement a step further, be proactive, listen and respond. Don’t let interaction with your audience be a passive experience. Reach out to your audience instead of waiting for them to reach out to you. Find those who are mentioning your business and thank them for their time; you can also offer them your take on industry news, as well as share tips or special offers.

Tip #2: Include Social Media Monitoring In Your Social Media Strategy

Social media monitoring, also known as social listening, involves monitoring what people are saying on social media about your business and the issues that affect it. Seen by us as one of the biggest missed opportunities for businesses today, social listening allows you to not only identify opportunities as they happen but also gain invaluable insight into your customers, competitors, and industry influencers. Effective social listening will help you build strong relationships with your customers, keep you one step ahead of your competition, as well as give you insight on how your social media engagement is performing.

Tip #3: Retain Existing Followers and Clients Through Social Media Engagement

As long as you share content that is valuable, your business will attract new followers on social media. The magic, though, is in retention. Neglecting to retain existing followers is also a missed opportunity. It’s simple—the more effort you put into your social media engagement, the more reward your business will receive. Take the time to reach out to your existing followers. Thank them for listening and ensure that if they have questions, you answer them promptly.


Challenge #5: Do I need to spend money on Facebook and Twitter ads?

Facebook and Twitter have become daily destinations for millions of consumers. As a result, businesses are taking advantage of this, and have started to launch ad campaigns on both platforms. As social media advertising is fairly new, it can be a complex process that requires effective planning, testing, and measuring. Below are a few tips to help you navigate both Facebook and Twitter Ads.

Facebook Advertising Best Practices

  • Determine your objectives before you start
  • Similar to goal setting for your social media marketing plan, determine your objectives before you start your ad campaign.
  • Get granular with your audience targeting
  • The nature of Facebook ads allows you to target specific people that you consider quality leads. Facebook will also use your email list to find people that they deem as probable customers. This will then help to inform your messaging so you can tailor your content specifically to that group of individuals.
  • Rotate your ads regularly
  • Prevent ad fatigue with your customers by regularly rotating your ads every 3 to 5 days. This helps you keep your content fresh and engaging, and prevents people from becoming bored of your ads.

Twitter Advertising Best Practices

  • Test your content organically first
  • It’s simple: if your ads have great content in them, they cause tons of people to click your Tweet, and your Twitter ads become cheaper.  In more complicated terms, “Twitter rewards advertisers who create compelling content by lowering their cost per engagement (CPE) based on the click through rate of the Tweet.”
  • Understand Tweet differences, and know when to use hashtags. 
  • Depending on what you are trying to achieve with Twitter ads, hashtags make a huge difference in the response rate you are looking for. For example, if you’re looking for a direct response or conversions, don’t use hashtags.
  • Refresh your Tweets
  • As with Facebook ads, Twitter ads also need to be refreshed every 2-3 days. Aside from preventing ad fatigue for your audience, Twitter will actually shut down your ads after a set period of time to try and prevent content from going stale.
  • Don’t “Automatically promote”
  • Don’t assume that all the content you publish is an effective ad. Rather, measure which Tweets resonate the most with your audience and craft your ads based on these observations.

Challenge #6: Should I outsource my social media management?

The decision to manage social media internally or to outsource this job, should be weighed carefully. As social media essentially shapes how your company is received, there are a few details to consider before making such a decision for your company. Instead of tips in this section, we have outlined the pros and cons to outsourcing your social media management.

The Cons

1) Losing Authenticity
If you decide to outsource your social media management, your business is at risk of losing the authenticity that you once built. Authentic voice, tone and style aren’t easy things to replicate.
2) Slower Response Rate
Outsourcing also creates a wall between yourself and your audience. Previously, your customers had a direct line to your business if there was something wrong. Now if they contact you on social, they have to go through your agency or consultant in order to get your help in handling their concern.
3) Another Layer of Complexity
Often, keeping things simple is the best way to keep a handle on your marketing efforts. By outsourcing your social media management, it adds a layer between you and your social accounts, and prevents you from running an agile marketing plan.

The Pros

1) More Time For Your Business
The most obvious advantage of outsourcing your social media management is the time it saves you. These extra minutes leave you time to focus on other aspects of your company.
2) Valuable Expertise
If you outsource your social media management to an agency or marketing professional the expertise knowledge they bring to the table can be invaluable.
3) It helps you scale
If don’t have the capacity to manage your own social media, outsourcing provides you with instant access to manpower. The best part is you can still stay in the loop with a tool like Hootsuite, which allows agencies and business to collaborate.

Challenge #7: There are so many social networks out there—how do I know which one to use?

Knowing the purpose of the social networks you own allows you to know exactly what to post to each.  With this in mind, the following is an overview of the main social networks. Once you understand what the playing field is like, you can choose which specific networks you would like to focus your attention on.

Facebook


Facebook has over 1.3 billion users. Facebook users come from every demographic, using the friends and coworkers. Facebook also has a specific place for businesses called Pages. Facebook Pages can  help create awareness, generate excitement for campaigns, and keep the conversation going with your customers. You can also use your Facebook Page as a hub for you customers. Often Facebook pages are also uses as an avenue for customer service or product feedback.



Twitter

Twitter is an open social network with over 232 million users. People converse in short messages (favourite celebrities, people are using Twitter to connect with individuals and brands. Twitter profiles are exactly the same for everyone, meaning there aren’t separate pages for businesses. Keeping in mind the mere fact that the network’s approach to social media as a whole is a test in brevity, your Twitter profile also should be kept clear and simple. Use Twitter as a place where you can build relationships with your audience, share content and make professional connections. Don’t just use Twitter as a sales platform; rather, share valuable stories and use it a place where customers can connect with you directly.
Tweets) of 140 characters or less.

Google+

Google+ is a fast growing social network with over 300 million active users. The majority of users are young professionals, but this is changing as more businesses are using Google+ Pages as a way to market their brand. Because Google+ profiles have a role in Google search results of your name or brand, it is important to make sure your company has a solid presence on Google+. This way you can leverage Google+ Pages to enhance your discoverability on Google. Also, Google+ is a part of the Google family, use their other tools like Google Hangouts as a video chat forum to connect directly with your customers, coworkers, or new connections.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is known as a professional network, with over 250 million members. Individual professionals use LinkedIn to grow their network and explore career opportunities, while brands and businesses can expand their online presence through LinkedIn Company Pages. If you business has a LinkedIn Company Page, your customers can follow you and stay up to date with your latest news, product updates and/or industry best practices. Use a LinkedIn Page to connect with the largest online network of job seekers, employees, potential customers, and partners. LinkedIn is also a great place to establish your brand’s industry expertise.

Pinterest

With over 70 million users and over 2.5 billion monthly page views, Pinterest provides significant value to businesses looking for a simple tool that engages customers effectively. A highly visual Pinterest, is to host user-generated content contests. For example, with photo-pinning contests, get your followers to pin photos showcasing creative uses your products. This not only creates direct connections between you and specific customers, it also encourages them to focus on using your product.
platform, Pinterest allows you to organize images and videos into personalized visual collections, known as Pinboards. You can also browse through public pins and follow boards created by other users. One effective way to use








Saturday, November 14, 2015

On a Funny Note: This is Photoshoped

This is too Good :-)



On a Funny Note: Engineering a Demand

Engineering a Demand

Creating Demand for Products, Services, and Ideas that Have Little to No Existing Precedence





On a Funny Note: A typical digital project.


A Typical Digital Development Project



Technology and Small Business :Cloud, mobile and security in 2016



Cloud, mobile and security top the list of technology trends in small business again for
the coming year. But this is no business-as-usual report; these trends come with refined twists that pack a wallop. In other words, it's not just about using cloud and mobile; it's about data convergence and reimagined work. And while security earns intensified focus this year, it also comes with new mandates from some of your biggest customers.

Here's what you need to know about cloud computing, mobile and security to stay on top of new business demands and opportunities in 2016.

1. Small Business Trends in Cloud Computing

It's no secret that small businesses are flocking to the cloud. Indeed, 92 percent of
small businesses use at least one cloud business solution, according to SMB Group analyst Laurie McCabe's blog post.

The most common use of the cloud thus far is subscription software. Increasingly, small businesses subscribe to software rather than purchasing it outright and installing it on company computers.

Subscription software, otherwise known as Software-as-a-Service or SaaS, not only reduces the cash outlay for software, but it also lets you and your employees remotely access the data from home office desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

While small businesses pay more over the life of the subscription than they would if they purchased the software outright, the monthly "rental" model is easier on cash flow, includes automatic software updates, and places the onus of IT maintenance on the vendor rather than the small business owner. The "use anywhere on any device" flexibility also untethers SMB owners and workers from their desks, which increases both productivity levels and workflow options.

But that's just the beginning.


Subscription software whetted the SMB appetite for more remote access to the company data. This year will see more SMBs moving data to the cloud precisely for that purpose. Both plentiful and cheap, cloud storage makes adding hardware to the company data center an unpalatable choice in most cases. Although some companies use a hybrid approach—wherein some data resides in the cloud and other data in the companies' on-premises servers—primarily as an additional security measure.

Small businesses are also turning to the cloud for infrastructure services. "Eighty-seven percent use at least one cloud infrastructure solution," says McCabe in her post.

"In 2015, cloud solutions are poised for hockey stick growth as more SMB decision-makers turn to a cloud-first approach that not only supports existing business models, but also enables them to develop innovative new products, services and business models."

All of these changes will result in the restructuring and repurposing of small business IT staff. According to McCabe, this is the year that "SMB IT staff and channel partners evolve into cloud managers."

In a statement to the press Steve King, of Emergent Research and co-author of a joint Intuit report, Small Business Success in the Cloud, said:

"Today, the U.S. and global economy is going through a series of shifts and changes that are reshaping the economic landscape. In this new landscape, many people are using the power of the cloud to re-imagine the idea of small business and create new, innovative models that work for their needs."


How the Cloud has Redefined Small Business



But the cloud isn't just making work easier and more productive; it's changing how small businesses attack business opportunities and threats too. According to an Intuit study, small businesses that find great success in the cloud fall in four broad categories:

Plug-in Players

Small businesses will increasingly adapt to the cloud by taking advantage of specialized services that they can seamlessly integrate into back-office operations. Instead of spending time and effort on the nuts-and-bolts of finance, marketing and human resources, cloud-adapted small businesses will plug into cloud-based providers who deliver comprehensive, tailored solutions, giving small business operators the ability to focus on mission-critical areas of business.

Hives

Cloud-adapted small businesses will increasingly be made up of individuals who share talent to form a team. These businesses will operate virtually, with employees working in different locations, and increasingly flexible staffing levels will rise and fall to meet project needs. For example, independent contractors will use virtual spaces to connect and market themselves. On Main Street, small manufacturers and producers may share a commercial facility.

Head-to-Headers 

A growing number of cloud-adapted small businesses will compete head-to-head with major firms, using the growing number of platforms and plug-in services to reach markets once only accessible to large corporations. This is already happening with platforms such as AirBnB, which provide individuals with the ability to reach a mass market through community infrastructure.

Portfolioists

Successful cloud-adapted freelancers will bring together multiple income streams to create a career portfolio. These largely will be people who start with a passion, or a specific skill. They're motivated primarily by the desire to live and work according to their values, passions, and convictions. They will increasingly build personal empires in the cloud, finding previously unseen opportunities for revenue generation.

2. The Convergence of Mobile, Cloud and Data

Small business data is on the move—thanks to the cloud—and mobile devices provide far more than a standard means of communication. Two prime trends breaking on this front: mobile payments and using geo-location in mobile advertising
and marketing.

"We're seeing the use of geo-location—meaning pushing out ads to people within a given radius of a business," says Ken Wisnefski, founder and CEO of internet marketer, WebiMax. "It used to be a difficult prospect to incorporate people's vicinity to your business into your Internet marketing and advertising campaigns. But social media makes this simple and cheap, for example using Facebook's Local Awareness Ad product, you can create ad campaigns for as little as $5 a day."

In short, mobile isn't just about getting your work done; it's about attracting customers to your business in myriad ways, too.

Mobile payments are on the upswing too, in ways that go beyond the usual services such as Swipe, Square, Dwolla, and PayPass. New services, such as Apple Pay, require that small businesses have a POS system that supports the NFC chip. It will be awhile before the mobile payment services industry goes through a shakeout that will shorten the list of options an SMB must accommodate. For now, Current trends in mobile payment options mean that accepting mobile payments in almost any form is essential.

Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs are on the rise in small businesses, too. But these days, small businesses want to store company data in the cloud rather than on mobile devices to increase data protection should devices be lost, stolen or broken. It's also easier to block a former employee from accessing company data that way.

"A growing majority of small businesses now regard mobile solutions as essential business enablers, with 60 percent saying that mobile solutions are critical to their business," says McCabe. "Eighty-six percent of SMBs agree or strongly agree that mobile apps are a complement to traditional business applications, and 71 percent believe that mobile apps will replace some traditional solutions entirely."

As mobile and data converge, rather than operate as two independent tools, they become more central to how business is done. And this, of course, requires renewed attention to security.

3. Security: A Top Priority, But SMBs Lag Behind


While small businesses notoriously assume that they're too small to attract cybercriminals, the opposite is true. Hackers often view SMBs as the best entry points to a larger organization. That was the case in the infamous Target breach, where hackers gained access to Target's data via an unprotected small company's access to Target's vendor portal.

But access to big companies is not the only appeal in attacking smaller companies.

"The cost of entry into an organization for a cybercriminal is decreasing and commercialization of malware and advanced persistent threats (APT) in particular grow at a rapid pace," says Mark Bermingham, director of global B2B marketing at Kaspersky Lab.  "As a result, small businesses will see attacks from a wider range of sources."

"However, small businesses today are not very aware of this trend and are extremely vulnerable to an attack," he added. "Small businesses need to be aware that cybercriminals, especially as malware actors become more prevalent, will follow the path of least resistance. In addition, the concept of the cyber-mercenary is very real today. As a result, we expect to see larger operations and more surgical strikes against small businesses."

Because of this cybercriminal shift in focus, SMBs can expect their customers, particularly customers that are big companies, to insist that they meet security standards. SMBs that cannot prove they have adequate and reliable security measures in place will lose business in droves this year.

That's the year ahead. Are you prepared for it?

Technology Strategy for Small Businesses

The technology trends most likely to affect the small business in the next year look remarkably similar to those of a year or two ago.

Mobile, cloud, and software automation (particularly of marketing) remain dominant forces at work. But they are stronger, more pervasive, and more affordable—and thus more irresistible—than ever.

Let's take a quick look at what small business technology trends you can expect to draw your attention—and potentially your budget—and help your business prosper and grow.


Abandon or Reduce On-Premises Technology

Over the last 15 years, the way small business operates has changed markedly. Offices host an often dizzying array of desktops, printers, monitors, servers, and network switches and other technology paraphernalia. But the cost of buying and maintaining all that hardware has severely dented the bottom lineMaybe it isn’t worth hanging on to all of it. As IT equipment ages and pricey upgrades or service contract renewals loom, weigh the value proposition of moving some of that IT infrastructure to the cloud. Compare the cost of running some of those functions in the cloud to the time and budget required by retaining them in-house. You may well relieve some of the burden and expense.


For some small businesses, it will make sense to "get rid of as much on-premises technology as possible and rely on the cloud instead," said Greg Schulz, an analyst with Server and StorageIO Group. "Others will need to figure out which IT functions they can move to the cloud to reduce complexity and cost—and do so as a complement to their on-premises equipment and software."

Start New Projects in the Cloud

If you're happy with your current in-house technology, e.g., it works and provides value, consider using the cloud for new projects—perhaps for mobility, to analyze the customer database, or other IT
functions.

"The cloud will continue to grow as the default platform to launch any new project, whether a hot new mobile or social app, or rebuilding a legacy internal system," said Greg Arnette, chief technology officer and founder of cloud-based email archiving vendor Sonian.

Increased Cloud Backup and Recovery

An obvious area of expense and internal resources is backup and disaster recovery. Mike Karp, an analyst at Ptak Associates, expects a sharp uptick in small businesses that look to the cloud for data backup, data recovery, data archiving, and disaster recovery. Companies that want to invest in such off-premises services, he said, should keep these two issues in mind: the cost of the service, and how rapidly the cloud provider can deliver your data when a recovery is necessary.

Karp also said that small businesses should not rely completely on the cloud to safeguard them in the event of a disaster.

"Any company sending data to the cloud would be wise to keep a local copy of the most recent backup" said Karp. "Keeping the most recent backup locally makes data recovery much faster than recovering from the cloud."

Sensible Data Archiving

Certain businesses have a legal requirement to keep every piece of data they generate or receive. And as the price of storage continues to plummet, it has become the norm to store everything and keep it for posterity.

But many SMBs don’t need to hold onto everything. They can actually delete large quantities of data and only retain vital business data, such as customer information and financial records. As more companies store data in the cloud, a growing trend involves lowering cloud costs by being highly selective about what data they keep.

"If data provides value to your business, then protect, store it, and treat it as a business asset," said Schulz. "But if there is no value, why are you keeping it?"

Mobile Technology is a Must


As younger workers enter the workforce, they demand the ability to run business applications via smartphones. Similarly, bosses and staff who own the latest tablets or smartphones want to use them at work. There is simply no point in fighting the mobile wave—resistance is futile.

"A growing majority of SMBs regard mobile solutions as essential business enablers with 60 percent saying mobile solutions are critical to business," said Laurie McCabe, an analyst with SMB Group. "Mobile solutions also account for a growing share of small business technology budgets when we compare findings over the past four years."

Automated Marketing

The primary reason most new small businesses fail in the first two years is generally attributed to a lack of marketing savvy. Companies that make it past that initial period must continue best-practice marketing to remain operational. But with bigger competitors using all sorts of sophisticated marketing technology to attract customers, it is time for many small business owners to up their game. Thanks to a plethora of cloud-based marketing applications, small business marketing costs are much more affordable.

Laurie McCabe says that choosing the right automated marketing tools may be one of the most important decisions a business makes.

"Many vendors offer a solid, valuable approach for small businesses, but because they're designed for different types of SMB requirements; there is no one-size-fits-all solution," says McCabe. "Thoroughly research different solutions to determine which best suit your business. Develop a short list that includes solutions that offer the capabilities and services you need, as well as integration with other solutions your business requires."

McCabe cautions SMBs against blindly buying into the marketing hype that most vendors serve up. The best way to progress is to attend a webinar or an on-site event where you can ask questions, and take advantage of free trials. Ask for references from customers that are similar to your business, and talk to them to find out about their experiences in deploying, using and getting value from that product.

"Try to test-drive at least a couple of different solutions to get a better idea of the options, as well as which type will work well for your business," said McCabe.

 Integrated Marketing


A study by Software Advice, a company that helps buyers find the right software, found that small businesses in the U.S. are realizing the importance of connecting with customers throughout the entire buying cycle. As a result, they're looking for integrated sales and marketing functions, typically provided within a Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM) suite.

Software Advice numbers show that 62 percent of small-business CRM buyers are still looking for basic contact management as provided in a standalone application for sales force automation (SFA). That’s no surprise. SFA is typically the first step for businesses to organize their customer data and track customer interactions across the sales funnel. As such, it’s long been the first thing small businesses look for when it comes time to adopt a real CRM technology strategy.

"However, we also found that 42 percent of small-business buyers in the U.S. were looking for an integrated suite of multiple CRM applications, as opposed to a single standalone solution for just sales force automation, just basic marketing automation, or just customer service," said Jay Ivey, an analyst with Software Advice. "That number has jumped from 7 percent in 2013."

Of U.S. buyers seeking an integrated suite, 88 percent want a combination of sales and marketing automation. Bottom line: more small businesses want fuller-featured CRM to better align marketing and sales. Further, 71 percent expressed a preference for cloud-based over on-premises CRM systems—up from 48 percent in 2013.

CRM: Skip the Social Bells and Whistles

Social technology has no doubt been a great benefit to some small businesses perhaps a blog that attracts new clientele or a Facebook page with thousands of followers. But many small business forays into the social scene bear little fruit. It just doesn’t make sense for them to integrate their CRM applications with social media channels.

"Rather than social functionality, we found that most buyers request basic CRM integration with popular email clients, such as Microsoft Outlook or Gmail (58 percent), or calendar apps, such as Google Calendar or Apple’s iCloud Calendar (36 percent)," said Ivey. "The ability to keep all professional calendars synchronized helps employees stay on top of follow-up reminders, tasks and meetings, regardless of whether they’re working within their CRM system or not."

Leveling the Playing Field

Whereas traditional software products were frequently categorized as "enterprise" or "small business," cloud software is becoming an equalizer as vendors settle on user-based pricing. Software that might have been accessible only to large enterprises in on-premises form due to pricing models is now available to companies of all sizes (a small business can buy a single Salesforce license, for example).

"Expect vendors to continue driving this trend, as it allows them to target functional areas within companies, regardless of their size," said Chris Neumann, CEO of  data analysis vendor DataHero.

Increased Security Awareness

While cloud computing paves the way to greater functionality and lower costs, it can also open the doors to outside attack. Businesses of all sizes must pay more attention than ever to security. But don’t just take a technology centric approach.

Security Awareness Training is particularly important in a cloud-based world. It helps make staff aware of attack avenues such as various scams that entice employees to click on a link or to open a document that gives the bad guys an all-access pass to your company data.

"Even when an organization has published policies and has implemented many security procedures and technologies, it still needs to train its employees," said Stu Sjouwerman, CEO of security training firm KnowBe4.

Showing a few PowerPoint slides during a lunch-and-learn session isn't enough, says Sjouwerman. Instead, he suggests regular and repeated training followed by simulated attacks. Prior to the training, his organization sends fake emails to how many employees click on a link or open an attachment. After educating employees on the various tricks of the trade, Sjouwerman's company launches another fake attack. Over a few weeks, the number of employees messing up drops to near but not quite zero—thus the need to remain ever vigilant.

"The rule is: think before you click," says Sjouwerman.