Tag Archive: Google


Techsnoops Helper Marketing UpgradesStep Up Your Small Business Game

So, you have a small business and need to increase your marketing presence. What actions offer the most “bang for the buck” or great ROI? If your marketing budget is small, start with the basics to increase your reach on Google Local Search.

First, if you do not have a custom domain name, buy one now. Your domain name and business name must be unified so that customers can find you quickly. More than 70% of customers do local searches on their smartphone when looking for services. You must be listed. And if you have not formally registered your name, do it now. You don’t want to have to change your branding later if someone else takes your name.

Next, if you cannot afford professional web design just yet, make sure you create an attractive LinkedIn company page using your business and domain name. Park a simple template landing page on your domain name with contact phone number and email so customers can connect with you. Although not optimal, a template landing page is better than not being found.

Webdesign Ninja Techsnoop

Professional Email

A branded, professional email is important to distinguish you between hobbyists and serious business professionals. In fact, without a professional email address, LinkedIn will not allow you to create a company page. There are also many services on the internet that won’t accept your registration with a generic email address.

Yet another reason for a professional email address; Yahoo mail has had over 54 outage issues since January 1, 2017. This means if you are using a Yahoo address for business, you are missing messages. Since timely response to customers is a major reason for customers to switch, you cannot afford this. Techsnoop loves Yahoo and has used them for years, but not for business.

Cheap Marketing Upgrades

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Use 2017 as the year you narrow the gap between your business and the big box stores. Create a seamless online experience for your customers.

Skynet is Destiny

Let’s face it, a Google/Apple showdown was destined to happen. With all the recent moves Google has with Glass, self-driving cars, Nexus, and fiber optic internet all powered by Android, Apple had to swing back. Well, the gloves are off and the fight is on.

Disclaimer: Techsnoop believes Apple makes good products. Just not superior, and they’re overpriced for value. Techsnoop’s main objection to Apple world is their invasiveness. If I buy a product, I own it. Don’t shackle me to your way of life. Rant over.

According to Mashable, Apple feels they can meet your needs with seamless cross-device integration. Phone, tablet, laptop, TV are all powered and connected with the same familiar interface. Leave off email or movie on your phone and pick it up on your laptop or TV.

Android vs Apple

Innovation Fail

Hello? Where is the innovation in this? Google has seamlessly integrated across devices already. Ever heard of Google Docs, Google Voice, Calendar and Maps? (Have you picked up a Samsung phone lately?) All of these apps are connected through the Android system and are just as easily accessed from your Windows laptop, tablet, or PC. Oh yeah, and that little Google owned platform called YouTube.

Once again Apple has taken someone else’s great idea, tweaked it a bit and yelled INNOVATION! Thinking that if they yell loud enough and slap enough slick Apple logos on it, no one will notice they copied (stole) from some one else.

The upside is that Google will certainly fight back with a tightened up Android universe and some goodies to boot.

Taking a look at some of Apple’s “innovations”, check iCloud Drive with 5GB of free storage with larger amounts available for monthly or annual fees. This sounds remarkably similar to Google Drive, yet Google offers 15GB free. But, hey, you can now auto back up your photos in iCloud. A feature that Android has had for four years.

Does Techsnoop think some of the Apple software tweaks are good? Absolutely. And, frankly, Apple fans deserve the overdue upgrades. But Techsnoop needs an ice pack for the headache that comes in when Apple claims innovation when all they did is take a bunch of great ideas from other companies and scoop them into the Apple universe. But, if you are an Apple Fangeek, you’re in for some awesome treats that Android users have  enjoyed for five or more years. Congratulations.

Let Techsnoop know if you are a Droid or Fangeek.

Social Media graph

Credit: Custora

Everyone knows you can’t be in business without a social media presence.  Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn are absolute musts to engage your audience and expand business presence.

But did you know that good ol’ e-mail marketing still beats the crap out of all platforms in actually making sales?

According to CNN Tech “Custora found that customers who came to retailers from search were more than 50 percent more valuable than average” and, more importantly, “E-mail customers were nearly 11 percent more valuable than average

Why?

Possible reasons; people want to be active purchasers, not sheep being force-fed useless stuff.  Social engagement creates closeness with current and past customers.  Trackable purchasers are more likely to be new customers.  Engagement is about conversation, the brick and mortar equivalent of “I’m just looking“.  It becomes a way to turn browsers into buyers, but is a slower process.  And finally, social engagement is about awareness and learning.  Social media platforms let followers know about you and your business reputation and expertise.  These things all lead to sales eventually, but it is almost impossible to track this behavior.  Click and buy behaviors track directly.

Customers may use a search engine to find your site after following you on Twitter for 6 months.  But now Google search gets the credit for making the sale that you have “massaged” for months.  So don’t drop or neglect your social media.  Redirect social marketing energy.

Action Plan

So, what does this mean for the small business owner?  First, put your social media specialists’ hours into cultivating and maintaining a robust email list.  Right now.  Craft and execute regular e-blasts to your list and post to other platforms on the benefits of subscribing to your e-blast.

Next, keep your social media posts focused on your goals.  If it is to drive traffic to your website, post links to interesting information on your site.  (You do have interesting information on your site, don’t you?  If not, contact DKemp Designs right now for help).

Finally, SEO is king.  Work on your search rankings to get them and maintain them.  Ironically, social media is good for this.  So have your social media person work on making your company a household word with posts and web content.

Social Fights Back

Don’t think social media is taking this sitting down.  Twitter and Square have joined to create product cards that essentially act as instant ways to purchase products posted on Twitter feeds.  The product cards can also be posted to other platforms such as Pinterest.

This new model of selling directly through social media platforms will not only create opportunities for entrepreneurs, but allow business owners to track their sales better.

Let us know in the comments what tools you use to track sales.

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!

 

socialmediaIf you are a small business owner, reaching the maximum audience is critical to success.  Without the budget for splashy TV ads and mass mailings, social media is the great equalizer.  Developing a laser targeted social media strategy is the key to leveraging this powerful tool.

First decide what audience you want to reach, then research the metrics for the various platforms.  Google has a wealth of website tools to track traffic and research SEO.  Create a message that can be communicated quickly and easily but encourages interaction and follow up.  Choose a tool that can manage your messages and your interactions without taking all your time.  After all, you have a business to run.

Equally important to your marketing efforts is your digital footprint.  How easy is it for customers to find your business and are the search results accurate?

  • Track your digital reputation by making frequent internet searches for your business name.
  • Note how many links come up and what rank they are.
  • Make sure all links are yours and are positive.

If your customers can’t find you, you lose sales.    Contact the search engine to remove any that are not you.  Yes, spammers will hi-jack your business name to re-direct traffic to their sites.

One great tool is Brand Yourself a web app that allows you to control what links appear in search listings for your business.  By following a number of steps, Brand Yourself walks you through getting useless links away from your search results.  This allows your positive links to rise higher on search rankings.

With both free and paid versions, this is the must-have app for small business and freelancers.

Next, choose one or more management tools to keep up with your social media news, followers and postings.

communit2Commun.it is a good product if you are unfamiliar with Twitter and trying to get the hang of who to follow, who to engage, who to list.  The dashboard gives views of your followers, engaged Tweeps and groups.  Recommendations are made for follows, unfollows, thank yous and engagement.  There are free and paid versions so you can try it out to see if it meets your needs.

Crowdbooster is a good tool for managing both Twitter and Facebook pages and multiple accounts.  It tracks growth, engagement, allows you to schedule tweets and posts and stats can be exported.  There is a free trial period, but no free version.

Let us know in the comments if you have a favorite tool so we can check it out.

social mediaIf Social Media has your head spinning, Techsnoop is here to help sort out some of the mystery with a list of what to use to keep up.  Social Media strategy depends on your small business goals and niche.  Review here and on the previous post to determine what will work for you.  And all apps are FREE!

Google+ is gaining in popularity, but still finding it’s social media footing.  While used by bloggers, news sites and small business is gaining, widespread audience is not as compelling as most forums.  It is however, important to be found on this site as having a Google+ presence guarantees rankings in the search engines.  Think of Google+ as a posting board to get information out and share stories.  Don’t devote excessive time to it unless you are a blogger.

LinkedIn is the choice social media site for businesses and professionals.  The site and its groups have little tolerance for spammers and fakers.  If identified as one of these, you will be ousted quickly.  Join groups and make sure you like and post on topics of interest.  You can make connections with group members, but have a follow-up or thank you note policy in place when they accept you.  Manners are KING in this group.  Don’t spam, use poor grammar and spelling or make negative comments.

LinkedIn has recently added new features and functionality that allow small businesses to post fan pages that look remarkably like the FB timeline pages.

Businesses and recruiters check this site for you above all others.  Keep your reputation clean and make sure you have a company page.  Post updates of informative articles or company milestones every week to keep current.

Techsnoop’s latest favorite Social Media tool is BufferApp.  This little plug in for browsers allows you to instantly tweet content as you browse the web, but schedules it so you are not spamming followers.  For example, you can tweet this article and use the buffer button to have it automatically listed in a que you set up.  You set the times of day for your tweets and BufferApp sends them out at the next available slot.  There is also a chance to add hashtags and notes to the tweet and it works with Facebook.

A little simpler than TweetDeck, you don’t have to leave your current page or specify times, they are preset and can be updated by logging into your online account.  Nothing to download or install.

If you are a small business person or freelancer, you may want to re-think Instagram.  They have changed their privacy policy to allow them to use and sell your photos to advertisers without compensating you.  This is a copyright violation for small business owners.  You may want to switch to Flickr.

If you have other useful tools to keep your social media organized, please share it in the comments.  Happy surfing!

Hacker“Aw, Crap”.  You may find yourself using this phrase or something stronger if your website or blog gets popular, and you find yourself hacked. Hacking can take many forms from phishing (spoofing your URL), to redirects where the hacker uses your site to direct traffic to their own, or spamming where the hacker inserts their own keywords on your site to boost their own Google rankings.
Google is aware of these tatics and will flag your site in search results if you are hacked.

DO NOT ignore these flags. Click the instructions and check your site for malware. If there is no malware, you may have one of the hacks mentioned above.

Since most bloggers are not web developers, Techsnoop has a quick and simple fix.
Find out when your site was hacked and restore all files from a date prior to the hack. Then change all passwords. Your blog and web host passwords. Make them completely different and stronger.  It is OK to write down your website passwords as long as you keep them offline and somewhere secure.

Techsnoop was recently hacked with a “Pharma” attack.  This code was placed in my site, invisible, but searchable by Google and making my blog look like spam (links & inappropriate words removed);

One italian study looking at the Levitra Online.. diagnoses of wall street. Representation appellant represented order to give Insight Into The Payday Loan Process .. them major pill viagra. As noted the size locations presence or by Generic Cialis Online .. dewayne weiss psychiatric pill communications. Service connection on and are addressed cash loan .. in treating erectile mechanism. Eja ..medicine of disagreement nod Viagra .. in adu ..problem? Isr med assoc j montorsi giuliana meuleman e ….Unsurprisingly a long ..in place by Cialis .. an ..devices have obesity. Effective medications it can be attributable to Viagra .. change your doctor may change. Thus by tulane university researchers published in july the secondary condition the two matters the arteries.

WTH?  My blog is on technology, design and movies.  But spammers use your search rankings to get their own increased.  Since Google is on to them, it doesn’t work long, but it makes your rankings suffer.

If you catch this right away, you can preserve your standings.  So,

  1. Search your sites every week and check your Google Analytics to make sure your site is not going down in the standings.
  2. Use the “remember your password” function of your browser so you are not typing in your password every time.  This makes them accessible to keylogger viruses.
  3. Scan your computer frequently to clean out any malware or viruses that may be dormant but sending out your information to hackers.

Because Techsnoop checks search rankings and Analytics every week and so only had this for one week.  Imagine if you are hacked and don’t find out for months?  The damage to your rankings would take months to repair.

So, as Techsnoop blogged earlier this week, Security is critical for small business.

Multi-ScreenThe latest trend in marketing and social media is the rise of user multi-screening.   Tech Crunch says more customers are using several screens together for a richer information experience.  For instance, a customer may start looking up a product on their smartphone and continue the purchase on a PC or laptop.  Or they may begin watching a movie on TV and finish up on a tablet as they have to become mobile.  Small business must transition to make this experience as seamless as possible.  Failure to account for user changing metrics will spell failure for your business.

What does this mean to you?  Well, when contracting for digital services, more money will need to be budgeted to get a service or professional that offers responsive web services.  Also, all platforms will need to be integrated for seamless movement from one to the other.  This means SSL will become necessary to collect user information so they can keep connected.

The presentation below shows how Google thinks this trend is important.  And if Google thinks it is important, we had all better take note.
Multiscreenworld Final

Techsnoop just participated in the Chase/LivingSocial grant challenge.  This event was entirely social media driven in that all entrants had to receive a number of votes from Facebook users to get to the review process.  The event was also a great way to evaluate the power and response of the various social media platforms.

Techsnoop utilized four platforms in total; Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and WordPress blog to request votes.  Although evaluation was not the intent of the challenge, Techsnoop can unequivocally state that Twitter was hands down, the most effective venue.  Facebook reached more people, but the responders were 80% Twitter users.  And not all respondents were followers, the entire Twitter community joined in to help boost businesses they had never heard of into the voting process.

What does this mean for your business?  Well, if you have a message or product you need action on, Twitter is clearly the platform to utilize.  Facebook and Google+ users seem to just cruise content without taking action.  Blog readers may not review the post in a timely fashion.  But Twitter is an immediate, actionable platform where users tend to act on requests and information.

Perhaps it is the very brevity of the messages that drives the rush to act, or maybe it is that posts fly by so quickly that users know they cannot come back to the post later.  Whatever the reason, if your business needs action, use Twitter to get the word out.

Take it from Techsnoop, Tweeps Rock.