Category: Free Stuff


Even if it doesn’t result in a same-day sale, social media can be an important part of a customer’s decision to purchase.

 DKemp Designs Social Media Marketing Matters

DKemp Designs Social Media Marketing MattersIn a recent Manta poll, 45% of small business owners said they invest marketing dollars in social media. Social media marketing can help you build awareness and engagement with customers by posting interesting content on popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others. But can social media marketing really help you increase sales?

The short answer is yes, social media marketing can help small business owners and contractors increase sales, but it often takes time to see positive effects.

“Social marketing efforts that are done consistently over time will absolutely generate business, but it’s not an overnight thing,” said author and small business expert Melinda Emerson. “It takes at least seven and as many as 21 quality interactions to turn an online connection into a paying customer. Social media credibility must be built over time.”

Business owners often get frustrated trying to calculate the elusive ROI of social media. Tools like Google Analytics can help you better understand how social media is (or isn’t) leading to sales, as well as which platforms and posts are most effective.

“Make sure you understand what role your social efforts play in your customer’s path to purchase,” said Brian Jensen, CEO of Congruent Digital. “We’ve found that for many industries, social plays more of an assist role, or acting as a touch point during either the awareness or consideration phase.”

The bottom line is that customers are watching what your business says and does through social media. Not only can these interactions drive sales, they can inspire loyalty. At the same time, neglecting the social media channels you build can limit growth and even create a negative reputation for potential customers.

So choose just a couple of platforms to focus on and engage with your audience in a transparent manner. This is the best way to build loyal customers who will recommend you. For a friendly, free consultation, contact DKemp Designs and get up to 30 minutes of advice and no high pressure sales tactics.

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Superhero SEO Help

Are you a small business owner completely confused by SEO? Does the new Google algorithm keep you awake at night? Well this great infographic from VAYU Media should help sort out the confusion. While SEO is best left in the hands of professionals, your web designer should be savvy enough to get you started. And if you are short on budget, you can always hire an intern or recent grad part-time to get set up.

Once you are raking in the dough from your newly optimized, mobile-ready website, hire a professional to boost you further. And remember, DKemp Designs is always happy to give you a free 15 minute consultation on your web presence.

Questions? Post them in the comments and Techsnoop will be happy to help.

The SEO Puzzle

July is ending and the rush to prepare for back-to-school has begun. Technology tools are high on the list of essentials for K-12 and college students. Among the tools available are apps for smartphones and tablets. Android users have a huge amount of apps available to choose from. Luckily, many are free or have free trials. And to help, Techsnoop has rounded up some great premium paid apps you can get for FREE.

Today and tomorrow (July 31 and August 1) Amazon is offering a group of productivity apps for free, including Essential Anatomy 3, a great app offering a wealth of health and anatomy information in a beautiful 3D format.

back to school by Techsnoop

Also available is the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, a $30.00 value, FREE! It includes voice search and response so you can find a word even if you can’t spell it properly. What a great gift for bloggers.

Language Coach and MathsApp Graphing Calculator are great back to school apps that save parents money twice. The app is free and you don’t need to purchase an expensive calculator, just have your student use the app on their smartphone. It also frees up the all-important backpack space for snacks.

And last but not least, the super app for the people who have to keep track of all the school and extra curricular activities; Keep Track Pro. With the ability to create categories, tasks and set alarms, you now will appear to have Superpowers! Never miss a practice or event again.

Let Techsnoop know in the comments if any of these apps have simplified your life. Techsnoop will have a cappuccino now and relax, it’s on the schedule.

Get a Taste of Geek

If you don’t understand the geek trend, May is a great month to test run your inner Geek. Try out some comics, movies or dress up as your favorite super hero.

Free Comic Book Day

Wonderworld ComicsIf you missed Free Comic Book Day, stop into your local comic store and talk to the staff. Chances are they still have some free stuff and some deals on popular story lines. As a newbie, they will be happy to catch you up on the latest. Techsnoop’s favorite store is Wonderworld Comics, located on Ecorse Road in Taylor, Michigan. The staff is ultra friendly and knows everything comic-related. Click here to find a store near you. As a bonus, most comic shops are small businesses and supporting local small business is great for everyone.

May The Fourth Be With You

Finally, celebrate today with a marathon of Star Wars movies. They were all released in May and the tag line is catchy. Here’s a salute from Techsnoop’s pal #SmuttyCat.

SmuttyCat Jedi

 

 

If you are in the Detroit, Michigan Metro area on Saturday, October 26, you’re in luck. Make time in your schedule to meet up with some fantastic small business owners at the Pi Banquet Hall in Southfield from 11 am to 3 pm. The first Women’s Lifestyle Enrichment Expo hosted by Beyond 40 and Fabulous is being held. This is a great opportunity to support local Small Business by starting your Christmas shopping early!

There will be entertainment, fun, food and best of all, admission is FREE. Yes, you can have all this fun for free. Better yet, if you have been thinking of starting your own business, this is a great time to get some support and gather resources to make your own dream real.

Techsnoop will be there with DKemp Designs covering the event and chatting with some entrepreneurs and feeling the positive energy of taking your destiny in your own hands.

Join us and say hello, you may make the Techsnoop news!

expo flyer

If you have been sad since Star Wars The Clone Wars ended, try getting your fix in the games.

SWTOR, or Star Wars The Old Republic is now a free-to-play game with intensely rich and beautiful graphics.  Lightsabers, blasters and jetpacks, oh my!

The characters are detailed and richly colored, the ships and space stations are nearly real-world level.  In addition, the characters and objects are expertly animated so the movements are smooth, not jerky.  And of course, the sound has that other-world quality we have associated with Star Wars since Episode I.  Even on the free level there are great stories to follow and action to enjoy.  As with all free-to-play games, there is fine print or restrictions.  Read them here.

But what makes this game great are the graphics.  You feel that you are in a movie especially if you opt to plug into a large monitor or HDTV.

Click the image below to view the video trailer for SWTOR.  And let us know if you had fun playing.

star wars the old republic

Multi-ScreenWhen it comes to technology, the budget can quickly get out of hand.  Between buying the tech itself and content and subscriptions to make it useful, a trickle of money can soon grow into a river.

Techsnoop is here to help with tips on what to buy and not buy.  As a card-carrying geek, Techsnoop has trouble deciding what to buy and what to skip in the gadget world.  But one thing is a deal-breaker for tech Techsnoop buys.  Freedom.

This means that software, content and apps are the choice of Techsnoop, not the manufacturer.  Techsnoop is a control freak and cannot be held hostage to specific sites or fixed prices for content and tools.  For example, the HTC EVO 4G LTE smartphone allows you to install apps from Google Play, Amazon app store and even copy books from a computer to the phone all while offering superior phone service.

To Stream or Not to Stream

For streaming, decide what content you view most frequently, then review the offerings of each service.  Don’t buy separate streaming boxes unless you ditch your cable box.  The cable box and wireless router allow you to stream directly from each site so no extra device is needed.  Generally Netflix offers movies and older TV episodes, Hulu focuses on newer TV.  Each comes with a trial period to test out the offerings.  Due to the full Star Trek content and new Disney deal, Techsnoop is a Netflix junkie.

Mobile devices on the Android platform have many free options.  For instance, Amazon offers one free app a day on the App Store and many free books from new and established authors.  Visit the App Store each day to get the free app.  Google Play also offers free books, apps, music and more.  Sign up to receive email notifications of specials.

Multi-Tasking Monster

Whenever possible, purchase items that are multi-functional.  Don’t walk around with a Bat-belt or people will take pictures of you and post them on social media.

If you need a tablet mostly for reading, email and low powered game apps, consider a large screen smartphone and great bluetooth headphones.  A good set of headphones coupled with voice service allows you to make and receive calls hands-free as well as listen to music while reading or checking email.  Spending an extra $50 to $100 on a phone can save you the whole “which tablet” question.  Check out some great deals and options here.

For more high-end computing, try one of the newer tablets.  Some are heavier than a regular tablet, but lighter than a laptop.  The Microsoft Surface Pro comes with full Windows 8 and has lots of power for updating and collaborating on the go.  Samsung has just released a slew of new tablets that justify a look over.  From serious gaming to business applications, the new tablets may have you leaving your laptop at home.

CNET’s video on the top 5 money sucking tech should help you decide which services to keep and which to ditch.  Let us know in the comments what you tossed overboard.

 

 

 

Social MediaTechsnoop was at Social Media Day Detroit 2013 with DKemp Designs yesterday and there was something for everyone.  Food, fun, games, and free swag were all part of the experience.

Looking for a job? U-Haul is hiring at several of their branches.  At the U-Haul booth on the main floor you could create a Vine video for the chance to win a great bike.  The Opportunity Detroit booth had great reusable shopping bags and a fun staff.

Have a business that needs recognition? Contact Core Detroit where they feature one business everyday.

Looking to volunteer your teens for the summer?  Contact Gleaners Food Bank, they help hungry families all over Michigan.

Media group MLive had a Tony Hawk game to play for prizes and lots of fun was had at the Yelp booth where checking in was rewarded with a spin of the wheel for prizes.  Keep your eye out for MLive, they are expanding in the Detroit area.

The diversity and number of businesses who sponsored or held booths shows that, in Detroit, social media is taken seriously.  But fun and social is still the name of the game.  Social media has made marketing an activity that draws crowds instead of boring customers.

What You Missed

A big thank you to all the booth staff who were kind enough to pose for Techsnoop’s photo gallery.

Little Caesar

Little Caesar

Opportunity Detroit

Opportunity Detroit

Yelp

Yelp

Core Detroit

Core Detroit

 

Press Swag

Press Swag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spotted in the Crowd

Andrew HumphreyOne of my favorite tweeps, meteorologist Andrew Humphrey was in attendance, as well as Little Caesar and, fellow designer and another great tweep, Monsieur Robert who apparently enjoyed the Starbucks table.

Techsnoop did not see Coca-Cola and missed them.  Maybe they’ll be there next year.  What with all the can holders that were given out, they would be a natural partner.

Live Music

SWAG You Missed

great swag

Great Swag

But most of all, SMDay Detroit was a chance to meet with social media experts nationwide, network, meet social media contacts in real time and make friends.  Twitter, Google and Mashable were all represented and brought fun to the event.  And most important, score great swag.  The freebies were beyond fab and all participants were creative in providing everything from sunglasses to frisbees.

Social Media events like this one allow the industry to continue to grow and add value to the companies they represent.  If you missed it, #SMDay #Det on Twitter to get the updates and make plans now to attend next year if you are serious about creating and executing a social media plan in your business.

Let us know in the comments if you made it and Techsnoop will plan to meet you there next year!

 

HackerToday’s post deviates a bit from the norm, but Techsnoop believes that small business owners should learn from the mistakes of large business.  Small business owners have thin margins for error so it pays to keep an eye on and learn from, Big Biz.

During the late 80s and early 90s, many employees explored flexible work options with employers to assist in balancing their work and family responsibilities.  One option was job sharing where 2 employees would share one full-time job.  Another was the ability to complete work tasks from home.  The work from home option required a solid plan on the part of employees where they could demonstrate responsibility and capability to actually be productive outside the office.

Once it was proven that employees working from home were actually more productive than those in the office, employers embraced this option on a larger scale.  Not only was it good for productivity, it allowed businesses to increase staff while keeping square footage overhead low.  A true win-win policy, work from home allows employees to accept smaller monetary compensation due to lower commute, lunch and wardrobe costs.  In a flat financial economy, both business and staff are able to reduce costs and exist on lower margins.

Fast forward to 2013

As more start-ups and small businesses use work from home policies to recruit top staff and keep overhead low, Yahoo bucks the trend and decides to eliminate this valuable policy.  The official word is that the productivity of some work from homers is low.  However, this “toss the baby with the bathwater” management approach has been proven to be unsuccessful.

When a business has under performing employees, managers need to directly meet with offenders armed with an objective list of actions that are not meeting standards.  A discussion then needs to outline the expected corrections, acceptable outcomes and results of meeting or not meeting the targets.  The manager then sets the target date for the improvements to be reached.

Should the targets not be met, the employee is let go.  Period.

When a company tries to correct individual behavior by imposing changes on an entire group, the employees who are not abusing the policy become upset and their productivity drops.

Those employees who in good faith, took a work from home position and are meeting and exceeding productivity levels, are being punished.  Even the most faithful will suffer from a morale drop and a feeling that they are being cheated or unfairly punished.  When employees feel they are not being equitably compensated, they will try to level the playing field by reducing productivity or other behavior.

No one likes to be group punished for the errors of others.  Yahoo, take note; this is a dangerous path.  Your superstar workers will be disgruntled and start looking to move to the competition.  Additionally, this move does not address the actual problem; low productivity of some workers.  Just being in the office does not raise productivity.  What actually will happen (Techsnoop predicts) is that the slackers will find ways to make their problems seem to be someone else’s fault.  Dissention will grow in the ranks and a toxic environment will ensue.

Lessons Learned

One way small businesses can keep their costs low is to use independent contractors whenever possible.  These freelancers require no benefits, pay their own taxes and are highly motivated to complete projects timely and professionally.  But if you are successful, at some point you will need an actual employee.  An employee is one whose schedule and duties are directed by the company and/or manager.

The ability to work from home, at least some of the time, can be a big selling point for a job with a company that has fewer benefits and lower payroll capability.  This nets you higher quality workers for lower wages.  Technology has made work from home jobs a great option for workers and employers.  Employers who choose to go backwards with options reveal a culture that will drive away the talented and creative workers needed to be successful.

Multi-ScreenIf you are an avid eBook reader like Techsnoop and use several sources, it can get very frustrating trying to find a particular book.

Well along comes Calibre an eBook reader, manager and converter.  The Calibre application can read nearly any format of eBook and even convert from one format to another.  This works for books, comics (yah!), news and magazines.  If any of your books is missing data or covers, you can edit the metadata to add this information.  But the best thing of all is not having to search through 3 or more applications for a book.  You can add them all to Calibre and browse in one window for your next great read.

Calibre works with all readers, PCs, phones and tablets.  Calibre has all the usual functions such as resizing text, but it also allows you to tag books for even more searchability.

And the most important, it is FREE.  But consider donating to the creator as this is too great to lose out on.

Happy Reading!