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Posts Tagged as social networks

How Social Networks Help Small Businesses have a Bigger Voice

Smaller businesses usually face the difficulty of having their voices heard in the market today. While traditional marketing and advertising methods cost a lot more than many of these firms can afford, an effective alternative has arisen that is both efficient and cost-effective: marketing through social networking. One of the most difficult challenges smaller businesses face is having a bigger presence in the market. While many of these companies offer good, quality services at much more affordable rates, they are many times overshadowed by larger firms that have bigger budgets to spend on marketing, advertising, and the like. Things have changed, though, with the advent of social networking. What was once a simple, social, get-to-know-each-other tool between people on the internet has now evolved into a tool that small businesses can take advantage of in order to get their voices heard. The gist of social networking for business is the simple concept of reaching potentially millions of people at a mere fraction of what is normally spent on advertising and traditional marketing. The wide reach of social media allows businesses to find their voices and showcase what they can do. The playing field then moves from an unfair balance of advertising budgets to a battle of service quality and value for money, as it should be – and many smaller firms can compete effectively in this arena. There are many ways to tap into the social networking phenomenon to boost your online presence and aid in your marketing. If you are interested in knowing more about this, please contact us and we’ll be glad to assist you in developing strategies that fit your specific requirements and needs.

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MS Outlook Now Integrated With Social Networks

As the social networking phenomenon continues to grow, not only for personal use but for business purposes as well, business email staple MS Outlook now allows for integration with popular social networking websites. Outlook has long been the staple in many business communications – it is truly one of Microsoft’s feats of genius given how prevalent it is in professional correspondence between businesses and organizations today. In order for the platform to conform and adjust to current norms, the people behind MS Outlook have now integrated social networking into the entire system through what they call the Outlook Social Connector (OSC). What the Outlook Social Connector basically does is enable the user to connect his or her email account with his or her LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, and Windows Live accounts. You’ll be able to receive updates from these social networking websites through MS Outlook. Outlook Social Connector is compatible with versions of MS Outlook beginning with 2003 and up, and boasts features such as adding friends into social networking websites through the new Outlook People Pane, as well as receiving updates from friends and contacts whose email address is also listed in their social network account. Also, like a social network, the OSC allows you to set privacy settings and select the kind of information you want made public.

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Hackers Target Email, Blogs, Social Networking Sites

In a report by security firm Websense , an alarming rise in the growth of malicious websites was identified in 2009 as compared to 2008 – almost 225 percent. The study also found an increased focus among hackers and spammers on targeting social media sites such as blogs and wikis. Social media or so-called Web 2.0 sites allow user-generated content , which can be a source of vulnerability. Researchers identified that up to 95 percent of user-generated comments to blogs, chat rooms, and message boards are spam or malicious – linking to data stealing sites or to downloads of malicious software . Email also continues to be a target for malicious activity with tens of thousands of Hotmail , Gmail and Yahoo! email accounts hacked and passwords stolen and posted online in 2009, which resulted in a marked increase in the number of spam emails. For our clients on our Managed Service plans, we work hard to ensure your systems are protected from harmful or malicious activity coming from the Internet. If you’re not under our Managed Service plans perhaps now is a good time to talk – let’s make sure your systems are safe in 2010. Related articles Top search results riddled with malware ( Email phishing attack spreading say experts ( Fraudsters Go Phishing For Victims’ Friends (

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What You Should Know Before Embracing Social Networking

If you have decided to use Social Networking technologies for your business in your marketing, public relations, employee relations, or any other initiative, congratulations – it’s a good move. However, bear in mind that there are some issues you should be aware of before starting. As we pointed out in a previous post, social networks allow people to create communities on the Internet around shared relationships, interests, and activities. In business, social networks can be used as tool for marketing, public relations, sales, customer service, employee relations, and more. Many case studies show how companies are able to use social network services to generate new leads, strengthen relationships with customers and employees, and improve their business operations. Here are some guidelines for avoiding pitfalls when implementing a social networking campaign: Filter information. Actively filter personal or private or sensively information about yourself, your company, your employees and partners, and your customers from the information you or your employees post online. Make sure that none of the information you post is covered by any non-disclosure, patent applications, or contractual agreements, which could quickly get you into hot water. Provide value. Post only information relevant to your audience online. Before any post, ask yourself: Is this information interesting and useful to my audience, or does it only serve us? Your audience will quickly tune you out if you continually post marketing fluff and self-serving promotional ads. Be truthful. Be as forthright and honest as possible. Remember that these types of media are interactive and can quickly get around. You’ll find that unhappy customers and disgruntled employees are not shy in posting negative comments about you and your company for all to see – especially if they find you evasive or less than truthful. Be vigilant. Social networking sites are a target for malware, hackers, and all sorts of online fraudsters. Before joining a social networking site, make sure to read their terms of use and privacy guidelines. How secure is their setup? Are they vetted by third-party security and privacy assurance services? Will they share your information with third parties?  Do mechanisms exist to allow you to control who can and cannot see what you share online? Find out and to protect yourself. Provide clear guidelines. Take a cue from IBM and provide clear guidelines on what is and what is not acceptable, and who does and does not speak in behalf of your company. Make sure your employees know the guidelines and follow them. Let them know that whatever they post online can remain there for years to come and could come back to haunt them later on. Despite the risks of using social networking services, there are risks of not using them as well. If you don’t shape your image on the Web, people will do it for you. Social networks make it quick and easy to set up a basic profile, and that’s the first step toward gaining control of your business’s reputation online.

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Social Networking Websites Your Business Should Use

Social Networking websites are usually associated with consumer services such as MySpace and Facebook . But did you know that there are literally dozens of social networking websites out there specifically targeted toward businesses?’s editors have compiled a list of the top “50 Social Sites That Every Business Needs a Presence on” which is available online at their website . This list is divided into five categories: Social-Media or Social-Bookmarking Sites, which allow users to share their favorite websites or track and vote upon various online articles and resources. Professional networking sites, which allow networking among organizations and individuals for business purposes. Niche sites, which target a specific community of users in a particular industry, profession, or with specific shared interests. General social media sites, which have business applications such as the popular Twitter service. Job sites, which are geared towards recruitment and talent management. Head out to to find out more. Related articles: Social Networking And Your Business ( Social Networking and Technical Communicators | On the Write Road ( B2B Social Media: Got Your Toe Wet, Now It’s Time to Swim (

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Using social networking to win customers

As a busy small business owner, you may not have had time to learn much about social networks. Or, you may think that social networking is just a way that teenagers “meet” other teenagers through the internet using applications like FaceBook or MySpace . However, many small businesses have found that social networks are a great way to get new customers and retain existing ones. According to Forrester Research (November 2008), membership levels in the leading social network sites are as follows: Bebo : 40 million Facebook : 120 million LinkedIn : 30 million experienced professionals representing 150 industries MySpace : 110 million Reunion : 32 million Second Life : 16 million Twitter : 5.57 million What is social networking? Social networking web sites allow you to connect with friends, family, and colleagues online, and to meet people with similar interests. The largest social networking sites have millions of members. Common to most social networking sites is the viral nature of building contact or friend lists and sharing with them. It is an exponential process. Mary knows ten people who each know ten more people – and soon there is a network of hundreds of people communicating with one another about what is happening in their lives. When new members join a social networking site, they provide profile information about themselves and their interests. They also have the option to join groups that have similar interests within the social networking space. For example, on MySpace there are 34 group categories, each with tens of thousands of separate groups. Many individual groups have over 10,000 members. People in the groups and forums provide information to one another about their experiences and thoughts. For a small business, the utility of social networks comes from these groups with similar interests. Here is a sample comment about a local dentist I found on a recent forum post: “Awesome Orthodontist (name withheld)! He’s got a great staff and they all have a great sense of humor … I live downtown Dallas and it’s worth the drive”. This type of unsolicited endorsement, read by potentially thousands of people, is worth much more than a paid ad. Social network members will trust words from people just like them more than they will believe slick advertising or yellow page listings. Social networking success story This recent news story illustrates the power of social networking: “ Electoral triumph built on a Web revolution ”. As Barak Obama considered running for President of the United States, he had a meeting with Marc Andreessen, the founder of Netscape and a board member of Facebook. Obama wondered if social networking could help him. “It was like a guy in a garage who was thinking of taking on the biggest names in the business,” Andreessen recalled. “What he was doing shouldn’t have been possible, but we see a lot of that out here and then something clicks. He was clearly supersmart and very entrepreneurial, a person who saw the world and the status quo as malleable.” The rest, as they say, is history. How your small business can take advantage of the power of social networking Tune in to what is being said about you on social networking sites. If someone asks a question that is within your expertise – help them. Track online comments about your organization or your products. If there is misinformation, provide corrections. Register with LinkedIn – this is a site specifically committed to linking businesses and professionals. Join in. Add your own comments to the blogs or upload short videos. Who is more qualified than you are to talk about your company? Small business owners are very busy people, and monitoring and interacting with social networks may seem like another task on your already full plate. This is where your IT consultant can help. By setting up monitoring and tracking alerts on your system, you can optimize the time you spend on these important activities. Your IT consultant may also suggest software services that help you assess the return on your investment.

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