Tag Archive: LinkedIn


Techsnoop is a Web Designer. I live, breathe and love web design. Techsnoop is also a front-end coder and graphic designer. I read and dream code and pictures.

DKemp Designs Workspace

Because social media and SEO affect the usefulness of design, Techsnoop has had to become proficient in these areas. But they are not my passion. They are necessary tools to meet goals.

Enter Facebook. Undisputedly the wooly mammoth of social media, as Facebook goes, so do other platforms. Which brings me to; Facebook Sucks.

No one in web design expects the status quo to remain for any length of time, however changes should be geared towards usefulness, capturing audience and integration of new technologies. Facebook ignores all of that. Their changes are arbitrary and only direct energy toward making moolah. This means catering to Big Business and their desires. How to squash ads from small businesses and start-ups and make sure all you see in the feed is Big Business seems to be their new development mantra.

Techsnoop has more than one Facebook business page. Since the implementation of new FB algorithms (a word Techsnoop had hoped was dead after college), post reach has plummeted. Regular followers are not seeing valuable content from Techsnoop just because of FB’s pandering techniques.

Keep in mind that part of what drove massive use of FB was small businesses and start-ups creating pages and having lots of followers. Big Business jumped on board after they saw the results of small business usage. So, in effect Facebook says “thanks for helping us grow, now shove off”, to small business. Not a gracious thank you.

Techsnoop has no problem with any business making money. Hey, money is central to keep a business alive. BUT, turning on the audience who helped you grow and selling them out to come-lately followers with big pockets is bad business and, frankly, rude. This is especially true because small business cannot yet afford to leave FB.

Notice the “yet”. Yes, there are grumblings afoot in the social world to replace FB in the holy trinity line up (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) with something more small business friendly. Welcome Pinterest and Instagram. While neither has overtaken FB yet, they are growing. Even more telling, the youth market has largely moved to Instagram, Snapchat and other platforms to share with their friends.

So, what’s an up and coming entrepreneur to do? Fine tune your audience, know what social channels they use most for purchasing. Focus your time and marketing budget on the top two or three only. You may find that LinkedIn or Twitter are more profitable in ROI than FB. Don’t ignore FB, just don’t spend a lot of your time and money there.

And the most important thing you can do for your business is have a mobile optimized web site that gets customers to you. Location, contact information and specials need to be prominent on the home page for smartphone users. If your web site is not mobile ready, contact a great designer like DKemp Designs now. Google will not be forgiving of non-mobile ready sites after April 21. This means one URL, readable and clickable on all devices and no flash. Sorry, HTML5 video only. And don’t forget about the great customers who supported you when you were small.

Meanwhile, Facebook is making more and more work for less return, so Techsnoop is on FB, but if you want to really contact me, hit me on Twitter @dkempdesigns or @dkempanimations where I have great conversations with great people and, make meaningful (read; profitable) connections.

DKemp Designs Be Mobile

(Originally published on LinkedIn by Dorthea Kemp)

If you are a small business owner, congratulations!

You are part of what keeps America growing in this fast changing economy. You anchor communities, give local teens jobs and provide competition. We all thank you.

The good news is, small = agile and able to respond quickly to market shifts and customer demands. Close relationships with customers translates to stronger referral business. The not so good news is one or two missteps can end your enterprise. So, what can small business owners do to bolster themselves for the long term?

Mobile Investment.

The amount of consumers using mobile to research and compare businesses before ever making a purchase is over 50%. Further;

72% of tablet owners purchase online from their tablets each week*.
95% of smartphone users have searched for local information.**
60% of mobile shoppers use their smartphones while in a store, and another 50%
while on their way to a store.**

Small businesses have to leverage every available tool to compete against the mega-corporations endless marketing machines. Mobile technology is the pebble that levels goliaths.

Mobile access is the single most important step in small business success today.

Having a properly strategized mobile presence allows business owners to collect information, create and execute marketing campaigns and stay in close touch with their customer base. Repeat customers in the local area are small business bread and butter.

A mobile presence allows small business to cultivate the close caring relationships customers like and respond with low inventory and overhead to customer demands. A strong mobile presence includes a responsive site, landing pages, social integration, SEO optimization under the newest rules and listing on the major search engines. This is a strong combination to cultivate your market area.

Mobile Works.

One customer had been in a community for 10 years. Yet when we published their website, walk in traffic increased by 15% in only 60 days. The most frequent comment was “I never knew you were so close, I was driving out to other cities for your service when I could have walked”. So a mobile web presence instantly boosts your market without any other efforts.

But, don’t stop with publishing your site. Just as one customer can find you, allow others to locate you by using current SEO, social media and other low-cost efforts to ensure your site is found in the area you cover.

*http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/infographic-2013-mobile-growth-statistics/
**http://www.mobify.com/blog/13-stats-to-convince-your-boss-to-invest-in-mobile-in-2013/

DKemp Designs Perfect

(Originally posted on LinkedIn by Dorthea Kemp)

I recently read Tom Stevens’ post “I Don’t Care Anymore (Do You)?” which got me thinking, what does it mean to truly not care? Do I care? I mean, I don’t think Tom really doesn’t care about anything. But I believe that he, like so many of us is tired. Bone, brain, deep tired.

We are tired of always being on. We think it is a good thing, but it is exhausting. As if we are at a perpetual cocktail party. Dress or suit perfect, hair styled, teeth white with no food stuck between. All day, every day. We’re not just ready for our close-up Mr. DeMille*, we’re ready for our Selfie.

We’re tired of being body slammed with negative information. News is always telling us somebody died horribly, somewhere is at war, some child is missing or our favorite food is killing us. Now, information is important, but I don’t want to see a 12-car pile up while looking at my best friend’s second-cousin’s wedding pictures. The constant slam of horror during everyday activities generates a roller coaster of hormones that leaves us wrung out emotionally.

So, how to keep light spirited and excited with all the attitude and negative information weight? Here is my 5 step plan;

Unplug Regularly

Don’t be available all the time. Turn off your ringer and use your phone to read while blocking calls. Carve out specific times during the week when you just don’t answer your phone. That includes Facebook feeds, Twitter, texts and any other social media.

Soak your feet, take a nap, hem some pants, or make a plan to leave a dead end job. Just do it without the phone ringing or checking your “feeds”. Allow your brain and emotions time to process and absorb information in a peaceful environment.

Turn Off the Noise

Yep, we all do it. The TV is on for noise, not information or entertainment. If you’re not actively watching, turn off the screens. This controls the flow of passive information raising your stress level unconsciously.

Bask in quiet or talk to your family or neighbors. Actual face to face conversations. Pour a tall cold glass of Coke or iced tea and discuss the length of the grass or the meaning of the universe. Enjoy quiet pauses and smile.

Your brain and mood will love the break. Too much news can lead to depression ** and/or dampen empathy responses. If we are always responding to crises, we become immune.

Take a Class

Learn something new or expand your current skills. Learning a new skill or a trick with an existing skill generates excitement and passion. Doing something faster or better than you have before gives you a Superman boost. You have Mastered something. Yeah! Udemy has free classes and YouTube also has lots of great free tutorials. And don’t overlook Pinterest for DIY projects from headbands to making your own furniture.

Using something on a daily basis that you created or improved with your own hands gives you a really happy feeling. I reclaimed a butcher-block topped dining table to use as a desk and it became my favorite place to hang out.

Cook From Scratch

Make one meal per week using no processed foods. If you have a crock pot, it’s not even that hard. You can make everything from homemade bread to pot roast and vegetables in a crock pot. Frankly, after you find out how easy crock pots make meals, you may need more than one.

Chopping and measuring can be a Zen experience. Don’t obsess, throw everything into the chopper (I use a Ninja) and dump. Or, put on your headphones and rock out like a mini spin class without the sweat.

Put in the liquid, turn on the pot and read a good book. Soon the house will draw your family to the table with the smell of fresh cooked food. No yelling needed.

Play With a Toddler

Nothing refreshes your world view like talking to a 3 year old. They have an innate sense of right and wrong and everything is new and fun. Warning: this can lead to hearing the title song from Frozen a couple dozen times. Just go with it. Don’t schedule a play date or any structured activity, grab some bubbles, chalk, crayons or magnets and go (no screens allowed). The toddler will find something to do. Just follow.

I garden and my daughter doesn’t, but on Mother’s day while outside, my granddaughter picked up my spade and started stirring dirt in one of my pots. No prompting, and she was neat with it. We talked and I explained the plants. A good time was had by all.

These activities may not work for everyone, but try one or two during the week and see if your level of excitement or caring about the world increases. Or maybe you’ll invent something or just de-stress. The brain can be refreshed with any good music, learning, and face to face interactions. These processes all increase positive neural actions and hormones.

Tom’s remedy to withdraw physically sounds great and I hope to try it one day myself. Unfortunately it may not work for everyone who needs to rejuvenate, but anyone can do the 5 things listed above. Any combination of them can be used for a mini vacation to revive your brain cells. And that’s where excitement begins.

* Gloria Swanson, Sunset Boulevard
** Bad News Burnout

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.

socialbar_buttonsSocial media is changing.

From Facebook’s new feed to LinkedIn’s revamped interface, the look and function of social media sites is changing.  In addition, engagement trends and fan behavior are changing.  What does this mean and how does the small business or freelancer keep up with these changes?

Strategy

Everything in social media boils down to strategy.  No matter the changes on the platforms, small business owners have to keep their focus on the end game.  Your strategy determines what media and platform you use to engage with your target market.  Keep up to date with information specifically relating to your market, not the multiple social media networks.  Find out when and where your market chooses to engage and what content they prefer.  Focus your efforts on meeting the audience needs.

Engagement

Yes, you need to sell stuff.  There is no other way to make money, period.  Social media is not a sales venue, rather an opportunity venue to introduce your business, the business values and the benefits to your audience.  Compare it to a demonstration or free sample.  Serve content your audience will care about and share with others.  That’s engagement.

ROI

Ditch the ROI of social media.  There are many tools and methods that claim to measure the ROI of social media.  None are completely accurate.  Rather, understand that social media is a reputation tool.  Reputation cannot be measured, but proves invaluable when customers make a purchase.  And is priceless when gone.  Social media used effectively, establishes you as an expert in your field and builds confidence in your audience when interacting with you.

Marketing vs. Social Media

Marketing is showcasing your product or service.  Shining it up and parading it to the masses and begging for approval and purchase.  Or, creating a desire so strong the public feels they cannot live without your offering.

Social media is personal.  Who are you.  Why should I trust what you are offering?  Social media answers these questions in subtle ways.  How fast and satisfactorily do you answer customer concerns?  How durable and reliable are your products and services?  Social media allows you to operate transparently and build confidence in you.  It speaks to morals and values.

Gimmickless Marketing

Fans of brands on social media like to be entertained, but will quickly turn on gimmicks.  There’s a fine line between cute and gimmick, but brands must master this.  Until a small business has enough capital to hire professionals, it is best to stay away from anything that could be a gimmick.  Be honest, open and you will build a following.

SmuttysocialmediaA Picture…

In social media, a picture may be worth a thousand words, but a meme or video is priceless.  Serve up bright and compelling visual content that can be shared and re-shared.  Keep copy snappy, short and relevant.  Use metrics to post at the appropriate times of day for your audience.

Get Help

Finally, if all else fails, hire help.  Social media is part of business branding and cannot be left to wither.  If there is no one in your business who can successfully take on the social media duties, hire an intern or new business.  This is a win-win.  They get experience and a portfolio, you get affordable expertise.

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!

Social Media can be a daunting maze for the new small business owner.  With all the details of starting a business and actually providing service to customers, who has time to learn how to connect on the myriad platforms?

To simplify things, Techsnoop has gathered some basic steps to go over when deciding when, how and how much to jump into the social media pool.

First, develop a social strategy by deciding where your target market will spend the most time.  You can find out general demographic information on the various platforms here

Next, decide what you are willing or able to offer your audience.  People need a compelling reason to follow you.  Great expert content is one reason, but you may not have the time to put this together.  Instead, maybe offer discount codes for newsletter signups or Facebook likes.  Be sure to put an expiration date or time limit on any coupons or discounts.  Also, have an online privacy policy in place with website security.  Whatever you offer, make sure your audience will want it.

Finally, remember that social media is about socializing.  If you don’t interact with followers, they won’t interact with you.  They may not drop you, but they may ignore your content.  Having 200,000 followers or friends is useless if only 3 of them actually read what you are offering.  Ask questions, request feedback and give shout outs to those who help you or provide great content.

It used to be enough to just have a Social Media presence, now you must engage your followers and offer them something they want.  If this post helps your small business, leave a comment.

Stay tuned to Techsnoop for great social media tools to keep you organized.

Now get social!

If you have not heard, LinkedIn was recently hacked and some passwords were posted on a hacker site.  LinkedIn has responded very well, but this is an opportunity to take the time to change all of your social networking passwords.  Additionally, download AVG Linkscanner, a free software that alerts you if a link you click on is a potential threat.

To make your password more secure;

  • Use something you have not used in the past
  • Use a combination of letters and numbers
  • Use a capital letter
  • Use one special character if allowed
  • Don’t share your passwords.
  • Don’t use your name or children or spouse names.

Online security is vital.  One small intrusion can create problems from your computer being used to route spam to depleting your life savings.

Make changing passwords part of your spring cleaning routine.  Or, use daylight savings time changes to cue you to update passwords.  Have one type of password for low level sites such as Facebook and Twitter and a much more complicated password system for online banking or personal information sites.

Surf Safely!

Techsnoop

stars in galaxyBusiness competition for customers is at a premium today, so it’s critical to stay on the cutting edge of new trends and technologies, except one.  There is a huge trend toward using texting slang and atrocious grammar when posting on business related sites and blogs.  As small business owners, putting on a polished on-line appearance can create opportunities and increase the respect we receive as a group.  One of the primary attractions of freelance work is the ability to work in sweats or jeans, but no one on-line needs to know how casual your dress is.  Projecting  an on-line persona that is pin-striped suit sharp every day makes your business look larger and more globally oriented.

I was inspired to write this post after reading several months of painful statements on major social networking sites.  Many requests for work seem as though they are made by 13 year olds to their friends.  Browse some of the posts and comments on LinkedIn by people seeking jobs or freelance work.  The websites and portfolios of these individuals show their talent, but their communication skills are below high school level.

As small business owners (freelancers this means you), let’s make a group commitment to always use proper grammar and spelling in all business posts.  This means on your business Facebook page, business Twitter page and any other sites where you refer to your business, seek referrals or post as your business.  Use all the tools at your disposal; Dictionary.com, Thesaurus.com, spell check, and if necessary, translation tools from Google and Yahoo for other languages.

Reach for the stars in 2012.

social mediaIt was all so innocent.  The internet was a bright, shiny new toy waiting to be unwrapped with the first sprinkle of snow on a Christmas morning.

I opened a Yahoo e-mail account.  There my friends could send me the jokes we could not share at work.  Slightly naughty, but fun limericks, rhymes and – gasp! cartoons.  I was in.  Along came iVillage, iWon and others who offered your own web page, discounts and fun prizes.  I was intrigued.

Suddenly, there was MySpace.  I turned up my nose like the cute girl at the bar.  I could not be enticed or impressed.  I had my favorites.  Still, there was the pull of the crowd, but I resisted on principal, “that’s for kids”, I said.

I made do with Reunion.com and Classmates.com to hook up with old school friends.  But something was missing.  I succumbed to MySpace.

And then I spotted the bright sparkly strip that was Facebook.  An old friend invited me and I accepted.  Other friends found me and invited me to free games.  What harm could there be?  Ha, Ha.

From one game to 20, in no time flat with a friend list topping 600 and unable to keep up with the gift requests and quests, I soon began to feel the stress.  Then the privacy issues, Augghhh!  I opened another page, just for family and close friends.  I removed personal info from the gaming page and closed ranks on the family page.

Uh oh. I started a business.  Can’t post on gaming page and don’t want to limit like the family page.  I opened another.  Starting a business forced me to LinkedIn and Twitter.  No self-respecting business would be without these.  Now, what to Tweet?

Start a blog.  Ok, simple.  Uh, no.  Blogs need an identity, and I had too many.

Continued next week.