Blog

January 26th, 2016

2016Jan26_Office365_AThere is no doubt that Microsoft Office 365 is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to programs that are being used in today’s modern office. With timely updates and releases of new features, users and competitors alike find it hard to keep up. But are you confident that you are harnessing the power of Office 365 the right way? If the answer is no, then read this article to get some top tips.

When an enterprise purchases certain Microsoft Online services such as Office 365, there is usually a Microsoft Partner of Record that is linked to the enterprise account. One of those is MessageOps. According to Chris Pyle, CEO of MessageOps, based on the data and feedback that they have gathered from Office 365 customers, they have concluded that not all business owners understand the true power of Office 365 and know which apps are most useful. Below is the list of apps that are must-haves for the businesses of today:

1. Sway

Although still in its early stages, one app that is quickly becoming popular is Sway. This is a presentation program that is being used for website creation where users can fuse together text and media. This program, which is included in the Microsoft Office app arsenal, is widely gaining popularity among the business owners and employees who've taken it up.

2. OneDrive for Business

If you’re familiar with Dropbox, then you probably know how OneDrive for Business works. It is a single location where users can save, sync, and share their files anytime, anywhere. Some businesses use this together with Dropbox, which is a paid app. Businesses that do this essentially double their cost as they are already paying for the same functionality as OneDrive, an app that is already included in most Office 365 plans.

3. Skype for Business

Hard to believe but there are still a lot of enterprises who pay for additional meeting and communication solutions that they have already paid for with Skype for Business. This app, which is already included in many Office 365 plans, goes beyond meeting and call purposes. It can also let you know which of your contacts is currently online, and you can also launch communications from Word and Powerpoint. What’s more, your communication is kept safe with the use of encryption and authentication processes.

4. Office 365 Groups

This app is very much popular with enterprises that require sharing of ideas from a group working on a project. It provides for a single place where the group can share documents, communication, and notes. This is predicted to become a complete replacement for SharePoint team sites as it is more user-friendly, more manageable and can be set up easily, although it is just as functional as SharePoint.

5. Intranets

With the help of SharePoint Online, intranets are making a comeback. The SharePoint intranet not only enhances communication and collaboration in the office, but the end-result is an effective streamlining and organized storage of information.

Harness the power of the Office 365 in your business. We have experts on standby anticipating your every question and ready to help you with the setting up, maintenance and management of your IT infrastructure. Give us a call.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Office 365
January 18th, 2016

164_A_MWIf you’ve ever been in the car with a child constantly asking, “are we there yet?” you know how annoying a repetitive question can be. Unfortunately for Windows users, Microsoft has decided to take this method of annoyance to their own customer base, constantly nagging them to upgrade. If you’re as sick of this as thousands of other Windows users are, then here’s how you can zip the lid on Microsoft’s prompts.

If you’re like many people who are happy with their current Microsoft operating system, you may have no desire to upgrade to Windows 10. And while Microsoft seems to be doing everything they can to force your hand, like no longer offering security updates for Windows 8, upgrading is still avoidable for now. So if you’d like to get rid of the annoying prompts that are likely pestering you on a regular basis, it is possible to do so. And believe it or not, Microsoft themselves have released instructions on how to do this and they can be found their website.

How to block Windows 10 prompts

To block Windows 10 popups, you will need to dig into your PC’s registry and disable the upgrade path. However, a word of warning before you start: editing your registry incorrectly can cause serious problems to your PC. Before you make any modifications, back up your computer and registry in case anything goes wrong. In other words, at this point you're proceeding at your own risk.

If you are a Windows 7 Pro, Ultimate or Windows 8.1 Pro user and have admin permissions on the computer, follow these steps.

  1. Open up group policy editor (gpedit.msc)
  2. Browse to Computer Configuration>Administrative Templates>Windows Components>Windows Update Policy
  3. Switch on the Turn off the upgrade to the latest version of Windows through Windows Update setting
For users who are on a non-Enterprise version of Windows 7 or 8.1, you will need to input the below registry key in manually:

Subkey: HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Gwx DWORD value: DisableGwx = 1

And that’s all there is to it. Now you will no longer be bothered with popups bugging you to upgrade to Windows 10.

That being said, if you are currently running Windows 8 you need to make sure that you've upgraded to the latest “8.1 Update” version of the software so that you can enjoy continued 'Mainstream Support’ (including new features) until 9 January 2018 and ‘Extended Support’ (security patches) until 10 January 2023. If you're running the original Windows 8.0 you will no longer have support and your systems could be at risk.

If you would like additional assistance in blocking Windows notifications or help with other IT related needs, we are happy to be of service. Get in touch with us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

January 16th, 2016

SocialMedia_Jan11_AYouTube is one of the most powerful tools for video marketing out there, especially for businesses who want to create an online reputation in order to generate more leads and revenue. It allows you to introduce your company’s unique brand and personality to the online community. And the best part? It’s free! Here we provide some useful tips to make sure that your YouTube marketing campaign is a total success.

Keep it short and simple

Most people have short attention spans and won’t watch videos that are longer than a couple of minutes unless they’re really interested. This means lengthy videos might not perform as well as you might hope, since viewers are likely to be turned off completely. There’s no fixed formula here, but the idea is to create videos that convey your intended message within five minutes at most. If you have the need for longer videos, simply split them into small segments - this is another great way to keep your visitors hooked and make them want to come back for more.

Use humor in your videos

Have you ever wondered why the funny videos on YouTube earn so many hits in such a short time? That’s because people love humor. We all like a good laugh. There are several YouTube channels out there that have had huge success by injecting humor into their videos. You don’t have to make your audience fall on their backs laughing - just flashing a little sense of humor will do the trick.

Consider quality over quantity

With the vast number of amateur and low-quality videos that come up on YouTube’s search results, you need to go the extra mile and make your video stand out from the competition. It’s worth investing in a high-quality video camera if you’re serious about YouTube marketing. Each of your videos should contain helpful and engaging content. And before posting it live, make sure to ask for a second or third pair of eyes to go through it again. This way you can take out the fluff and polish the videos so they’re appealing to viewers.

Set engaging titles

When it comes to YouTube marketing, this is perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind. Make sure you include relevant keywords in the title, so your viewers know what to expect to see in your video. The general rule of thumb is to keep it clear and concise, since long titles will be truncated in YouTube’s search results. Another thing is to refrain from using misleading titles that trick people into watching your video. Not only will your viewers hit the close button right away, this cheap trick will also have a negative impact on your video’s ranking.

Promote your videos

YouTube videos have a high chance of ranking well in Google, being the search engine giant’s subsidiary and following similar search algorithms. But this is no excuse to skimp on marketing. There are many ways to promote your videos to your specific target audience. Using relevant keywords and descriptions may help with organic traffic, but there’s also paid options like Google AdWords and Facebook Ads that will help you earn more exposure for your videos.

YouTube is a great tool to generate traffic and interact with your customers online. But do keep in mind that no matter how great your videos are, they won’t get seen if you don’t promote them well enough. If you want to learn how to maximize your YouTube marketing campaigns, get in touch with our experts today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
January 12th, 2016

While ‘rant’ sites are not new, for many small and medium-sized business owners, the words found here from unsatisfied customer can sting. Of course the hurt from words pales in comparison to the damage done to your organization’s online reputation. For businesses with a limited online presence, these ‘rant’ sites can even turn up on the first page of your search results which means it will be highly visible when people Google your company. Of course, you are not helpless in these situations and here is how you can fight back.

You’ve probably seen websites like Ripoff Report and Complaints Board give upset clients a sounding board to voice their frustrations. These unverified reviews are almost always negative and can damage a company’s online reputation. This is especially true if these reviews show up on the first page of an organization’s search results where it will appear to anyone who uses a search engine to look for information on a company.

Businesses are not powerless when it comes to dealing with these ‘rant’ sites and the negative content they contain. While you won’t be able to have this content completely removed from the internet, if you are smart with your online reputation management (ORM), you can push it further down the search results rankings where most people will never come across it. We compiled some useful advice to help you fight back against ‘rant’ sites that may be hurting your company’s online reputation.

Don’t engage site or users directly

When many business owners read one of these negative reviews, their first instinct is to start sending out strongly-worded emails that demand to have the content removed. A few will also try to engage with the person who posted the content in an attempt to resolve the issue. We would recommend against both when it comes to a ‘rant’ site where both users and content posted are not verified.

That’s because there have been reports of users posting fake reviews in an attempt to solicit money from businesses who they criticize. A few of these websites also claim to offer paid programs to mediate negative posts but business owners should be extremely wary of any website offering to remove or edit a review in exchange for cash.

Get on social media

If one of these negative reviews makes its way onto the first page of search results for your business, you will want to start up social media accounts to help bury it. Not only do social media accounts hold greater weight in search result rankings, they also provide your past, present and future clients with better information. Even if you already have a Facebook and Twitter, don’t be afraid to expand beyond that with an Instagram or LinkedIn account. It’s also a good idea to get on Foursquare, Google+ and any other sites where reviews are verified by real users and not nameless people who don’t have to be accountable for what they say. Just remember to update these regularly to ensure they stay at or near the top of the search result rankings.

Encourage positive reviews

While people are quick to post negative reviews, sometimes you need to cajole customers to post positive reviews on verified websites. Depending on what your business does, sites like TripAdvisor, Foursquare, Angie’s List or even Facebook can be great places to have satisfied customers leave reviews. Of course getting them to do that can be difficult.

That’s why you should consider offering a discount to customers who post a review of your business on any of these sites. It truly is a win-win situation as you get to build a positive online reputation, have more reputable sites gain traction when it comes to search result rankings and build brand loyalty with customers who will be more likely to return because of the discount offered on their next visit.

Don’t let a negative review on one of the ‘rant’ sites get you down. There are plenty of ways to get a positive message to people through online and social media channels. Let our team of experts show you how it's possible.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

January 4th, 2016

Multiethnic Group of People Meeting with SymbolIt’s possible you take your access to Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms for granted. Maybe you’ve never thought about what a world without news feeds and constant updates and selfies from your friends and acquaintances is like. While there are moments when we’re all fed up of so-and-so’s latest attention-seeking Facebook status or their endless stream of glamorous vacation photos, the stark reality is, if our social media platforms were suddenly taken away from us, many of us would be at a loss. So what is it like to live in a country where many of these forms of communication are banned?

While China is probably the most well known country for restricting their population’s ability to view certain websites, whether through a desire to restrict access to information that might harm the country’s image or because of industry competition, there are other nations which also exercise strict control over what their people can and cannot see online.

Take Iran for example. Its citizens are denied access to Facebook and Twitter while Instagram is partially blocked due to the fact that it is possible to block individual accounts whilst leaving other parts of the platform online. Of course, anyone wanting to update their Facebook status, send tweets or upload a risqué selfie can do so using a VPN. But most VPNs charge a monthly subscription for their services and even then the access can be sketchy at best. However there is one social media platform in Iran that is freely available and that is Line, the instant messenger chat application. Unlike China which has blocked Line (something that is more to do with it being direct competition to the homegrown chat app WeChat than freedom of speech), in Iran Line is big news. In particular its social media function, called Timeline, is connecting people throughout the country, and in some surprising ways.

Texting someone is yesterday’s news, and messaging apps are the primary form of quick communication for people everywhere. And in Iran the app of choice used to be Viber – at least it was until it was blocked by Iranian officials at the end of last year. In its place came Telegram, a Russian chat app which has almost 60% of its total users in Iran. Line doesn’t currently compete with Telegram when it comes to messages, but that could change at any time, mainly thanks to some users of the latter’s penchant for spreading pornographic content.

In direct contrast to that, the Japanese owned Line is intent on maintaining its wholesome image – and Iranian companies are recognizing that and using Line as a platform to market themselves. And it’s no great surprise when you look at the numbers: well known for being one of, if not the, biggest blogging communities in the world, Iranian citizens are devout readers and creators of online content. What is particularly attractive to marketers in Iran is that a staggering 90% of people in Iran who use Line are actually active on a daily basis on Timeline.

But using Timeline in an official capacity is not as simple as merely opening an account and updating your status as it is on say, WeChat, Twitter or Facebook. Line stipulates that anyone who wants to open an ‘Official Account’ – be they a corporation or a celebrity - must apply to be a Line Partner. Line can decide whether or not to accept their ‘partner’ and, if deemed a good match for the platform, the company or person in question will then be made to sign an agreement and pay a subscription – and periodic fees. Harsh as this may seem when compared to free platforms, it is precisely this which enables Line to ensure its content is continually updated whilst also being of a permissible standard. And it is this policy of control and moderation that allows Line to operate unfettered in Iran.

So who are the Iranian celebrities who have signed up for an official Line account? The country’s first adopter was AlireSaa, a viral celebrity famous for humorous musical clips and anecdotes. At the time of signing up with Line he had around 320,000 Instagram followers – a number which took him two years to build. But after just five weeks on Line he had already beaten this – and his number of followers doesn’t show signs of abating any time soon – his fan base is already tipping the 500,000 mark.

So why is AlireSaa so phenomenally popular on Line but less so on Instagram? The answer lies in the fact that, aside from being partially blocked in Iran (although AlireSaa’s account was not) there are a number of features that Line offers to its official account holders that other social media platforms do not. One of these is Line’s ‘On Air’ sessions which uses live chat. AlireSaa used this feature to run a video contest for followers. His fans were treated to a two hour long live chat with their hero and were able to submit videos of themselves performing one of AlireSaa’s musical clips.

A staggering amount of people engaged with AlireSaa, who let’s remember is not a global superstar - 50,000 of them in fact and 10,000 of them submitted videos during the two hour window. When he announced the live chat, AlireSaa had 215,000 Line followers – a number which exploded as news of the contest spread like wildfire on the app’s Timeline feature.

If you’re still of the opinion that social media is a waste of time and can’t do anything for your business, maybe it’s time to take another look. If you want to follow in AlireSaa’s shoes and become a viral success, why not get in touch with us today. We can’t promise to make you an Internet superstar but we can help point you in the right direction.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
December 31st, 2015

 The functionality of Microsoft Office has yet to be beaten. And while it is known for its straightforward productivity, there are quite a few add-ins for your favorite Office application that just might improve your experience further. Whether you want to add a cool infographic to an Excel spreadsheet or need to set an Uber reminder from Outlook, here are four add-ins that can help change the way you use Office.

You probably use Microsoft Office on a daily basis but, if you aren’t utilizing plug-ins, you are missing out on a world of cool features that can improve your favorite applications. Microsoft calls them Office Add-ins, and they can be found in the Office Store. Log into your Microsoft account and download the Office Add-ins you want. After that, open the Office application the add-in is meant for. Once open, go to Insert > My Add-ins, and then pick the one you want. That’s it.

Of course, knowing how to do it is just the first step of the equation. You also have to know which add-ins are worth installing. If you are using Office 2013 or later, here are some of the add-ins you might want to check out.

People Graph

For: Excel Price: Free Excel is a great way to share numbers and vital data. However, your traditional spreadsheet can look a bit boring, and in particular it can fall short if you need certain figures to stand out. Apart from making them bold or larger, there aren’t a ton of options at your disposal. This is where People Graph comes in. This add-in lets you take those simple numbers and transform them into an engaging infographic that lets the data really stand out.

DocuSign

For: Word Price: Free Trial (subscription required after trial) If you need to sign a lot of documents, the process can be a complicated one. DocuSign removes all the hassles by letting you drag and drop your eSignature right there in Word. No longer will you have to print out a document, sign it, and then scan it back onto the computer. DocuSign also meets all legal standards when it comes to eSignatures, so security or validity won’t be an issue.

Uber Ride Reminder

For: Outlook Price: Free Raise your hand if you’ve scheduled an Uber ride, only to then forget about it. Chances are there are a lot of hands in the air, ours included. With the Uber Ride Reminder add-in, you won’t have to worry about that happening again. When you schedule a ride, you can place it in your Outlook calendar, and also have the option to setup a mobile reminder from the add-in. New users of the add-in might even be eligible for a free ride, too!

Translator

For: Word Price: Free If you work with bilingual clients, or simply want to quickly translate some text into another language, it normally involves a lot of copying and pasting from Word to an internet browser and back again. The Translator add-in cuts out the middle man, and lets you perform translations in over 40 languages right there in Word. While we can’t always vouch for the accuracy of the translations, it can at least help you get the gist of the message.

Believe it or not, there are tons of tools, tips and tricks out there that will let you and your employees get more out of Microsoft Office. Let our expert team show you how your company can get the most out of them and other Office features.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

December 28th, 2015

WindowsPhone_Dec16_AThere are over 600,000 Windows Phone applications that have been produced to date. Yes, many of these apps are of bad quality and outdated but, if you look through the Windows Phone Store carefully, you’ll find that it has everything you need for your day-to-day business activities. There are apps for you whether you’re looking to stay productive when you’re away from the office, schedule meetings with business contacts, or store files securely in the cloud. Here’s a list of our top recommended Windows Phones business apps.

Box

As the name implies, Box is an application that handles all of your file storage needs. The free version gives you 10GB free storage and supports over 100 file formats, including Word, Excel, PDF, PSD, and more. Box makes it easy for you to securely store, manage, and work with all of your files and documents whenever and wherever you are, whether it’s from your desktop, smartphone, or tablet.

GMaps+

While many smartphone users are familiar with the famous Google Maps application, it is not available on the Windows Phone platform. But GMaps+ is a great alternative, offering users a complete Google Maps experience with many additional features, including a revamped design, 3D maps and 3D compass mode, live traffic conditions, the ability to view directions through third-party apps such as Waze and Nokia Drive, and so much more.

LastPass

Do you have trouble trying to memorize all the passwords for your various online services and email accounts? Then LastPass can be a real lifesaver, with its ability to securely store access credentials on your Windows Phone. LastPass features multi-factor authentication, password generation, and password sync. The only password you have to remember is LastPass’s master password, because it will fill your account IDs and passwords for you.

CamScanner

The CamScanner app essentially transforms your Windows Phone into a portable scanner, allowing you to scan, store, sync, and collaborate on paper documents, bills, receipts, physical business cards, and more. Recognized as the industry’s most powerful document scanning and sharing app, CamScanner truly makes digitizing physical documents as easy as opening the app and taking a picture.

Time Stamp

Time Stamp is a powerful work time tracker app that has an intuitive user interface and is rich in functionality. It allows you to track your work time in just two taps on your Windows Phone device. Time Stamp’s detailed reports show your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly work time accrual. You can also use Time Stamp to track overtime work, record public holidays and leave days, and export data in Excel format.

Zoho Expense

For many companies, expense reporting and reimbursement processes come with many challenges, such as lost receipts, long processing times, and violations of expense policies. With Zoho Expense, you can easily automate business and travel expense management, dramatically reducing the time required to record receipts and prepare expense reports by digitizing your papers. Zoho Expense is ideal for sales reps, managers, and finance departments.

Want to learn how to implement Windows Phone into your business? Contact us today - we’re sure we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

December 11th, 2015

Office365_Dec11_AMicrosoft Office 365 is growing in popularity as more and more businesses make the move to the cloud. However, without proper planning and testing beforehand, you could get stuck in the middle of the migration process, end up with duplicated data, or even have to abort the transition completely. Needless to say, all of these scenarios could result in serious network downtime. But you can easily avoid a migration nightmare by considering these key points before making the switch to Office 365.

Do your research

Researching Office 365 can seem a little overwhelming at first, but it will certainly give you a good idea of how everything will work, and what you can expect before, during, and after the migration process. You should understand and anticipate how your business’s daily operations will change when you make the move to a cloud-based platform. You also need to be aware that traditional Microsoft Office programs and Office 365 applications are completely different in terms of functionality, features, and interface.

Create a checklist

Most businesses fail to create a comprehensive migration checklist, because they tend to focus on the technical aspects without addressing other areas that are critical to the migration’s success. These include elements such as training, informing users, and gathering adoption feedback. You can start by drafting a step-by-step plan that clearly defines the phases of the migration process, and then keep refining the plan until everything is covered.

Check email settings

For a seamless transition, you need to synchronize accounts between your active directory domain and Office 365, by using Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory Synchronization tool. Don’t forget to point your company’s mail exchanger record to Office 365, so new emails will be sent directly to the new mailboxes in Office 365. Misconfiguration of email sync during the migration could flag your organization’s email as spam, disrupting the communication process with your clients and partners.

Choose your migration

Each migration plan looks different, and you should choose the one that best fits your needs. Generally, Office 365 migrations can be divided into three categories:
  • Cutover migration - this is a single provisioning and transfer of mailboxes, users, contacts, and mail groups to Office 365. The cutover process can handle up to 2,000 mailboxes, and the migration time depends on the number of users and mail volume.
  • Staged migration - if you don’t want to migrate all your resources at once, staged migration is a good alternative. It allows you to move mailboxes in smaller batches over a much longer period of time.
  • Hybrid migration - this type of migration is perfect for organizations that need to move more than 2,000 mailboxes and wish to run local Exchange servers and Office 365 simultaneously.

Test everything

Once you have broken down the whole migration into various phases, it will be easy to design a testing procedure for each phase. Standard testing processes include migrating a small amount of data, sending and receiving emails, and application trials, in order to ensure that everything works as expected. The more components you can test before migrating to the platform, the less chance there is of your company facing issues afterwards.

If you’re considering an Office 365 migration, why not let our expert technicians do the job for you? We can migrate your resources seamlessly and smoothly without disrupting your business. Get in touch today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

December 11th, 2015

164_MW_AWouldn’t it be grand if you could afford to hire your own personal assistant? Someone who could take care of menial tasks, sing songs to you, and generally just make your life more pleasant? As technology develops, we are getting closer and closer to virtual assistants who are just as good as their real-life counterparts. In fact, Cortana, the assistant for Microsoft Windows 10, can do all three of the tasks mentioned above (yes, she’ll actually sing for you) and a whole lot more. Here are some handy tips and tricks every Windows 10 user should know about their new virtual assistant.

Get directions

Let’s start with something very practical that nearly anyone can use - directions. Simply put, Cortana makes it easier to get them. All you have to do is ask her “How do I get to Tony’s Pizza?” She’ll then paste your location and destination into the Maps app, and wallah! Instant directions.

But when it comes to getting to a destination, Cortana can do more than just directions. She can also provide you an estimate as to how long it’ll take to get there. Simply ask her, “How long will it take to get to xyz?” and she’ll tell you. Better yet, if your default method is bus or train, she’ll also tell you which number or line to take.

Set an alarm

While setting your own alarm isn’t the most tedious task in the world, it is certainly easier and quicker with the help of Cortana. To get some alarm-setting assistance, simply tell Cortana, “Set an alarm for XXX”. She’ll then display your alarm entry to ensure she got it right, and at this point you can edit it if there was any misunderstanding.

Make decisions for you

Whether you’re trying to decide what type of sandwich to order at lunch, or the color of a new shirt you’re going to buy, Cortana can help. How, you might ask? Simple - she uses the tried-and-true method of a coin toss. Ask her to “flip a coin”, and you’ll never struggle again when it comes to making menial decisions.

Set reminders

In this busy world where many of us are constantly on the move, it can be easy to forget tasks, errands, and other important things we need to do. Cortana can be really handy here, as she can provide a set of reminders based on either people or location. Here’s how it works.

Let’s say the next time you’re at the grocery store you want to remember to buy milk and eggs. All you have to do is tell Cortana to “Set a reminder”, tell her to remind you to “buy milk and eggs”, and then give her the location details of where you want to be reminded. The next time you’re at that grocery store, an alarm will go off reminding you to buy your desired items.

As for the people reminders, these work in the same way as the location-based ones, but instead for the contacts in your phone. To activate this, tell Cortana “The next time I call Amy, remind me to talk with her about work”. The next time you talk with Amy on the phone or via text, your reminder will appear on the display.

Check the weather

No virtual assistant would be complete without being able to act as the weatherman and tell you if there is a chance it’s going to rain, snow or sleet. And Cortana does just that. Whether you need to know the weather right now or next week, Cortana can provide you with the forecast for anywhere in the world. All you have to do is ask.

Switch on your PC remotely

How nifty would it be if you could turn on your PC remotely and save precious time at work, just by telling your smartphone to do it? With Cortana, now you can. First you’ll need to download the free app VoiceWake for both your smartphone and PC, and you’ll also need to change some settings in the BIOS. This is undoubtedly a bit technical, so make sure you know what you’re doing before you get started.

Interested in learning more about Cortana or other Windows 10 features? Toying with the idea of installing some new IT in your office? Get in touch with our experts today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

December 8th, 2015

164_FB_AIf you’ve tested out Facebook ads, or are thinking about it, you may be struggling to get the results and feedback you were hoping for. So, with the holiday season underway, and potential customers open to commercial messages, there is no better time to right the ship, get your ads working, and start making sales. If you’re at all curious about Facebook ads or could use some guidance with your current strategy, here are a few ways to take your Facebook ads to the next level.

Know your audience, and talk directly to them

If you try and target everyone, you will end up sounding like every other vendor out there. And if you sound similar to hundreds of other people, how likely are you to stand out from the crowd? Think in fresh new terms and be prepared to target your audience. You know what you are selling, and you know what your customers need. So speak directly to them. By doing so, you become unique, and unique catches the attention of your similarly unique prospects.

Target fans of similar brands

Facebook allows you to target followers of specific brands. So if you don’t know who your audience is, try targeting those of similar brands. Chances are the followers of that brand will be nearly the same as your target prospect, so you’re likely to see some results by doing this.

Get to the point quickly, and be concise

No one has time for long sales pitches at this time of year, so be concise in your copy. Your time is valuable, and your current and potential customers are busy. You only have a short window to catch their attention, so make your opportunity to do so count. Write clear, concise copy that speaks directly to them and quickly explains your offer.

Optimize your images

Christmas and the New Year are about family and making personal connections. According to marketing guru Dan S. Kennedy and author Kim Walsh-Phillips, ads that feature people are more likely to be clicked on, provided you adhere to the following two rules:
  1. Use an image of a person smiling and looking straight into the camera. According to Dan and Kim, this has proven to work time and time again in their own tests.
  2. Have the person wear a red shirt. For Dan and Kim, red shirts tested 75% of the time better than other colors. And speaking of tests...

Test, test, and test again

Scientist test their ideas for a reason. It’s a proven way to discover if their theories are correct. The testing principle should also be your guiding light when it comes to Facebook ads. So set apart a portion of your budget and create several different versions of your ads to test, and see which works better. Specific areas of your ad to be tested include the headline, copy, and images. You will likely find that one version of your ad is working better than the other. And once you do, put the rest of your budget towards that specific ad.

Give a visual of the reward

Just like using a headline to give a teaser about an article, you want to let your target know what reward is in store for them if they click on your link. When you’re advertising a product, you absolutely want to do the same thing. Whether that’s a coupon, video, free report, or pair of shoes, make sure to show an image of it in your ad.

Mind your relevance score

Last but not least, don’t forget to pay attention to your relevance score. Why is this important? When your relevance score is high, you get more visibility for a lower price - and therefore more bang for your advertising buck. If you have a low relevance score, then it’s time you went back to the old drawing board, hoping for better luck next year. We can't say this enough - test, test, and test again. Test different headlines, test images, and test copy to see what gives your relevance score the bump you’re looking for.

If you’re interested in more Facebook tips, or new technology for the new year, don’t hesitate to call our IT experts. We’re happy to help in any way we can.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Facebook