November 17th, 2015

164_A_Int RepThe majority of the population uses the Internet everyday. And when a customer feels they’ve been wronged, it is incredibly easy for him or her to go online and vent their frustrations. So when this happens, how do you handle it? Here are some tips as to how to react to negative brand criticism, so that you can paint a positive image of your business online.

Online reputation management mistakes

As long as you have a successful business or brand, people will always have something to say about it. And when it comes to online reputation management, the goal is to create positive engagement with your customers for the life of your business. So if the discussion about your brand swings negative, here are a few online reputation blunders to avoid.
  1. Ignore negative commentary - when you ignore negative comments or accusations about your brand, anger towards your business can fester, especially when there are a lot people rallying against you. Years ago, Nestle’s brand image was severely damaged by Greenpeace’s campaign against them. If they hadn’t ignored the problem at first, much of this likely would have been avoided. When it comes to your brand, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should respond to every negative comment. If someone is trolling your public discussion boards, then you can give their remarks a pass. However, if the negative post appears credible, you need to address it.
  2. Reacting emotionally - if your reaction to negative comments is to fire back with negative comments, it’s certain to make you look bad. Customers want to do business with a brand that is professional. If you react emotionally or negatively to a customer online, who’s to say you wouldn’t do the same in real life to the person reading it?

How to resolve negative commentary

While you may feel upset by a negative comment about your brand, don’t let your emotions get the better of you by posting something you’ll later regret. Instead, calm down, compose yourself, and follow these guidelines.
  • Figure out what the customer really wants - every customer wants their problem to be resolved, but how they want their issue fixed will vary. Some customers want an apology, others want a refund, and some may simply want the product they ordered but did not receive. Read the negative comment carefully to figure out what would make your customer happy, then proceed in the following manner.
  • Imagine you’re responding to your grandmother - you would never say something rude or hurtful to your grandmother, and you shouldn’t to your customers either. When a customer comes to you with a problem, rephrase it back to them to ensure you understand it correctly, and then explain how you’ll solve it. And just like you would if your grandmother came to you with a problem, be sensitive and do your best to help.
  • Stick to the facts - when engaging with a customer online, the initial comment can quickly turn into a back-and-forth discussion. If this happens, don’t get off-topic when addressing the problem. The customer may try to engage you in a he-said she-said battle, but avoid taking the bait. Respond with facts, stick to the matter at hand, and don’t get caught up in personal accusations.
  • Turn the negative into a positive - negative feedback is an opportunity to improve your business. So be honest with yourself and, if there’s truth in the comment, take a good hard look at your company. Did the commentator point out a glaring problem you can improve upon? Remember, a business is nothing without its customers, so it makes sense to do your best to please them.
To learn more about how to best manage your online reputation, or for assistance with any of your IT needs, get in touch with our experts today.
Published with permission from Source.

November 9th, 2015

164_A_SMFor many business owners who have dabbled in social media, they may think their efforts have been in vain and growing a large social media presence is impossible. They may go as far to believe that social media simply doesn’t work, especially when you don’t have an exciting brand like Nike or Google. The truth is you can succeed with social media, even if you have a boring brand. And here is one company that is doing just that.

Owning a “boring brand” is not an excuse for a poor social media presence

You've probably heard of 3M but may not know exactly what they do. However, there’s a good chance you may have some of their products in your house. If you have Ace bandages, Scotchgard, or Post-it notes lying around your bathroom or home office, then you are guilty of being an owner of 3M products.

So when it comes to social media, why does this company matter? Simple. They have 121,000 followers on Twitter, which may sound pretty remarkable when the name of this brand isn’t Apple, BMW or Taylor Swift. So how does a company like 3M succeed? Here are a few things they do well, and you can do too.

Invest in people

If you’re the sole person shooting out tweets, updating the status of your business’s Facebook page or writing articles to post on Linkedin - all while you’re trying to run your business - it’s no wonder your social media presence is failing. You know as well as anyone, that you don’t have the time for it. And for this reason, it’s impossible to put your full effort into growing a social media presence. So why not hire at least one expert (or maybe a few) to manage it for you? You’ll likely see a noticeable uptick in your followers. And even better, you’ll no longer be distracted with social media, and can focus on growing your business. What’s not to love about that?

As for may wonder, how many people do they employ to manage their social media presence? The answer is about ten, which is a very tiny percentage of the 90,000 employees who work there. Obviously, with 120,000 followers, their efforts are paying off.

Shoot for more content over quality content

Quality content is undoubtedly important, but quality should not be an excuse to avoid publishing content. As a business owner, that means you can’t review and approve every post and article that goes out. You need to trust your social media team to do their job. What’s more, you may fear that your team could commit some social media faux pas and accidentally publish content that outrages some of your followers. Here’s a news flash for you: it’s likely going to happen at one point or another. 3M publishes content quickly. Do you think they’ve posted content that some of their 120,000 followers have disagreed with? Of course they have. When you speak to the masses, there is no way to please everybody. So sit back, accept it and trust your social media staff. Mistakes will happen, but nothing engages your followers more than fresh, timely content. That is except for this last pointer...

Ask questions

Many social media platforms are all about engagement. If you’re aiming for more followers, you need to engage your customers and prospects. And a perfect way to do so is to ask questions. Not only does this create a connection between your brand and your customer, but it also attracts new followers. 3M posed the question, “what does science mean to you?” to their Twitter following with some incredible results. The tweet generated more than 500 favorites and 200 retweets. This is an example of the power of a question. So when it comes to social media, remember to ask questions, respond and engage. This is what many of the platforms are designed for.

What it comes down to is that your business already provides value and improves your customers’ lives in one way or another. If it didn’t, no one would buy from you and you wouldn’t have a business to begin with. So leverage that value and educate your customers on social media. You are the expert, and there are people out there who are interested in what you have to say.

For assistance with your social media presence or any of your IT needs, get in touch with our experts today.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Social Media
November 3rd, 2015

Office_Nov3_AFor Mac users who have been waiting with great anticipation, Office 2016 for Mac is finally available. The new version is worth the wait; Microsoft has implemented exciting new upgrades to improve the user experience. Office 2016 possesses far superior functionality and user interface than its predecessor, Office 2011. We’ve highlighted some of the new features of Microsoft Office’s core applications and cloud-based services that you need to be aware of.

So what’s new?

The obvious change in Office 2016 for Mac is the user interface. You’ll experience a cleaner and more modern design that looks consistent across all core applications. The toolbars and icons have been redesigned with a minimalistic approach, resulting in less clutter and making it easier to find what you’re looking for.

Looks are not the only improvement. Office 2016 for Mac provides huge improvements to the performance of Microsoft’s well-known applications.

Word 2016

Apart from the interface changes, in Word 2016 multiple Mac users can now work simultaneously on the same document. When a user working on a file saves any changes, a notification that highlights the changes is sent to other users. This new feature is similar to that of Google Docs, where users can collaborate by sharing and editing files online. Word 2016 includes a style pane on the right-hand side of the screen. When selected, you can apply pre-set styles to texts and paragraphs. What’s more, Word 2016 also adds a nifty new navigation pane, allowing you to navigate through files based on the changes you’ve made, including comments, formatting, deletion, and more.

PowerPoint 2016

The most prominent change made to PowerPoint 2016 is the redesigned ribbon. Many ribbons have been removed, renamed, and given new icons. The new PowerPoint also has the very same collaboration features as Word, meaning you and your colleagues can edit presentations simultaneously. In addition, Microsoft has added 24 all-new themes to PowerPoint, and these aren’t just normal themes - with just one click, you can alternate between different color palettes, fonts, and background styles for your current theme. These new features are identical to the ones in PowerPoint for Windows, but they have more functionality and are much easier to use.

Excel 2016

As soon as you launch Excel 2016, you’ll be greeted by its modern new appearance. One addition is a slicer tool that greatly increases the performance of pivot tables. With slicers, you can create buttons that simplify data filtering in a pivot table report without the need to use drop-down lists. Another new feature worth mentioning is the inclusion of the Analysis Toolpak extension. This add-on is especially useful if you want to generate complex statistical and engineering data - the Analysis Toolpak offers a number of advanced formulas that were absent in the former Excel for Mac 2011.

Outlook 2016

The previous Outlook for Mac 2011 proved to be flawed in many areas. And if you find that Apple Mail is not living up to your expectations, Outlook 2016 will be a great alternative to meet your email needs. As with other Office 2016 applications, the new Outlook has gotten a visual revamp. Some notable new features include improved usability, such as a blue vertical bar spanning across unread messages, faster email search and filtering, and a more powerful database and mail server that enables you to send and receive messages much more quickly.

Want to learn more about Office 2016 for Mac, and how you can implement it into your business? Give us a call today; we’re sure we can help.

Published with permission from Source.

October 30th, 2015

Windows_Oct13_AWindows 10’s Cortana is billed as the next generation of digital assistants, bringing a whole suite of capabilities to the fore in an attempt to upstage Apple’s Siri and Google Now. The latest is the extension of Cortana’s assistance to non-Microsoft services like Dropbox and Google Drive. The REACHit service, released by manufacturer Lenovo on its latest devices, allows Cortana to seamlessly search not only local content, but that stored on third-party cloud systems including Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box.

The Lenovo Yoga 900 convertible laptop device, expected to be released by the end of 2015, will be among the first to feature the REACHit app, available only on Lenovo PCs running Windows 10. At the heart of REACHit is an improved search experience that allows users to track down files across their various devices - meaning you’ll find what you’re looking for, regardless of whether you saved it on your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone - and cloud-based services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box.

These kind of comprehensive queries bear similarity to the deep Spotlight searches made possible in Apple’s latest operating system release, El Capitan. But REACHit can be used with both voice commands and plain-English typed search terms, something to be expected given it uses Cortana as a base upon which Lenovo and Microsoft have collaborated to develop additional functionality. The search flexibility means it’s possible not only to look for specific files when you already know the name, but also to specify parameters and find everything that matches. That includes finding photos, for example, based on where and when they were taken, who they’ve been shared with, and when they were last accessed. Perhaps most practically, this means REACHit can use date and location information to locate files even where they are not tagged in a way that would normally assist search execution.

Restricting the types of files that can be searched by REACHit, and the kind of information it uses to conduct those searches, will allow you to allay some privacy concerns - particularly prevalent given that the app is cloud-hosted. Certainly, REACHit signals further advancements in simplified natural-language searching across the numerous devices most of us now routinely use. It also exemplifies the increased importance manufacturers are attaching to an enhanced user experience that enables us to save valuable minutes in our workday.

Want to find out how effective implementation of Windows 10 in your workplace could help you boost productivity? Give us a call and we’ll show you.

Published with permission from Source.

October 27th, 2015

Office365_Oct20_AOutlook is considered one of the most powerful email platforms due to its ability to enable business users to manage emails, contacts, tasks, appointments, and so much more. But most people only use a small percentage of the features available in Outlook, without mastering the shortcuts and advanced features. We highlight some nifty tricks that will help you realize the full potential of Outlook and make the most of your email communications.

Filter emails

We all get bombarded with new emails every day. Finding relevant emails and messages that you really need to re-read can be time-consuming, especially if you have to keep going back to old emails in a huge inbox. That’s where the Filter Email option comes in. With this filter you can instantly sort your mailbox to show only certain types of emails, such as those with attachments and specific time periods. You can also type into the search box to drill down even further in your filtered view.

Write new emails instantly

This shortcut is designed to save you time from switching back and forth between Outlook and other programs. Regardless of what you currently have on your screen, you can create new emails, appointments, meetings, contacts, and tasks easily. Simply right-click on the Outlook icon to open a list containing these direct shortcuts.

Assign categories

If you receive a large number of emails every day, it certainly helps to create categories and assign emails to their corresponding groups. Outlook allows you to create color-coded categories such as green for Done, yellow for Pending, orange for Urgent, red for Due, and so on. This way you can quickly identify the status of each email and prioritize your tasks at a glance. To create a new category, right click on the Categories column and select All Categories from the dropdown list.

Create folders

This is one of the most basic and useful email management tips that is often overlooked. You can avoid cluttering your inbox by creating custom folders for specific emails. While there’s no limit to the number of folders you can create, the general rule of thumb is to create a folder for each client or subject. To create custom folders, simply right click on Outlook’s left navigational panel and choose New Folder from the dropdown list. Moving the emails from your inbox to a custom folder is as easy as dragging and dropping.

Email templates

If you have to send emails that contain the same basic information that is rarely updated, templates can save you a lot of time. Start by writing a new email message, entering essential information that you need to reuse, and leaving a visible blank space for new information that needs to be changed each time you send the message. Then navigate to the Files tab and choose Save As. From the dialog box, change the file type to Outlook Template (*.oft), and save. Whenever you want to use the template, head over to New Items > More Items > Choose Form... and select the template file that you have saved, then begin customizing it.

Outlook is a great email communication software that is included in the Microsoft Office 365 package. For more information about Office 365 and how it can improve your business’s productivity and bottom line, get in touch with our experts today.

Published with permission from Source.

October 14th, 2015

164_A_FbookWhile Facebook has been around for over a decade now, there are many tricks, tips and settings out there that the average user is completely unaware of. By utilizing them, you can enjoy more security and convenience when browsing Facebook. Here are a few lesser-known tips that are sure to help any Facebook user.

Know if you forget to logout

It happens to the best of us. You used a computer other than your own and are unsure if you logged out. So what do you do? No need to worry, Facebook makes it incredibly easy to find out which devices you’re currently logged in on.

Just navigate to Settings, Security and then Where You’re Logged In. From there, you can see all the devices you’re logged into, and logout remotely from any of them.

Save interesting articles for later

Have you ever noticed an interesting article in your news feed that you’d love to read, but don’t have the time to do so there and then? Have you tried to find that same article later with little luck? Never deal with this annoyance again. Many people are completely unaware that Facebook allows you to conveniently save articles for later reading.

To do this, click on the drop-down arrow in the upper right-hand corner of the article, and then click Save link. When you finally have a free moment to give the article a read, click on the Saved tab located under Favorites in the left-hand sidebar on the news feed page.

Export important event dates to your calendars

If you’ve ever missed a birthday or an event because you forgot to list them on your main calendar, this Facebook tip may come in handy. You can export all these important dates to your Google or Apple calendar.

To the left of your news feed, click on the Events tab. Navigate to the highlighted box at the very bottom of the right-hand side of the page, that reads You can add your events to…, and then click the Learn More link. This will take you to a page that explains how to export your events and birthdays.

Set alerts for new logins

Paranoid about someone hacking into your account? If so, you can easily set alerts to notify you right away if someone logs into your account from a new device.

Navigate to Settings, Security and then Login Alerts. From here, simply choose how you’d like to be notified of suspicious logins from new devices or browsers: by email, text message, or Facebook notification.

Lose the targeted ads

You may have noticed that ads of businesses you’ve visited on the web have somehow found their way into your Facebook news feed. This is by no means an accident. Like other websites that use targeted ads, Facebook uses cookies to determine which sites you’ve visited, and then shows you ads from those same sites.

If you’d like to turn ad targeting off, navigate to Settings and then Ads. From here you can change all the settings that determine the types of ads you see in your Facebook news feed. While there’s no way to completely turn off ads altogether, by changing your settings here you can make the ads you see more random and less personal. Essentially, your internet activity will no longer be tracked by Facebook cookies.

Interested in more Facebook tips? Want to learn how to leverage the social network to grow your business? Get in touch with our IT experts today.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Facebook
October 6th, 2015

164_A_Int RepOn Facebook, the number of likes your business page gets is currency. It shows authority and that your business is popular with customers. So, what would happen if suddenly a dislike button were released? How would that impact your business? You may have recently heard that a Facebook dislike button is in the making. Here’s what you need to know about this polarizing new feature.

For many years people have been clamoring for a dislike button on Facebook. But up until now, perhaps the world was not ready. According to research from Piper Jaffray and the Pew Research Center, the demographics of Facebook users have changed dramatically over the past decade. While 10 years ago the world’s most popular social media platform was frequented mostly by teenagers and early 20-somethings, today over 60% of Facebook users are over the age of 25. And you may have noticed that this change of user is reflected in the posts you likely see in your news feed. While users once posted more pictures of parties, now you’re more likely to see pictures of babies, news articles, or political stories.

So, why does this age difference matter? According to Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, he didn’t want the social media network to turn into a forum where “people are voting up or down on people’s posts.” This could quite possibly have been the outcome had Facebook introduced a dislike button while it had a younger fan base.

Will users be able to dislike your business?

It is highly unlikely this will happen. Remember, Facebook is a publicly traded company that aims to turn a profit. Advertisers and brands would not be too happy if their ads or businesses were suddenly disliked, and Zuckerberg is undoubtedly aware of this.

What’s the point of the dislike button then?

To clarify, Zuckerberg never directly came out and said Facebook is getting a dislike button. Instead, he said they are working on a new button that will express sympathy or empathy. And with a now-older user base that’s more likely to share emotive news stories or sad news about family matters, it makes sense for a button like this to be introduced now. Here’s what the Facebook CEO had to say about the new button: “Not every moment is a good moment, right? And if you are sharing something that is sad…like the refugee crisis that touches you…it might not feel comfortable to Like that post.”

Be wary of third party offers to download a dislike button now

Be aware that a dislike button is not available now. While you or your employees may see ads from third parties offering early access to the “dislike button”, do not be fooled by them. If you are tricked into installing or signing up for them, you could risk your computer being infected with malware.

Want more social media news and advice on how to manage your reputation online? Call us today to talk with one of our experts.

Published with permission from Source.

October 5th, 2015

Office_Sep29_AOffice 2016 has arrived, and it brings with it an array of new features and touched-up existing elements, all designed to make your business more productive. At the heart of those efforts is a renewed focus on collaboration, with features to enable your teams to communicate, share documents and work together more smoothly. Here’s what you need to know about the latest release and all that it could add to your operation.

Real-time collaborative editing

Office 2016 adds the collaborative feature that arguably makes its rivals as good as they are - it is now possible to co-author Office documents with colleagues in real time. Known as real-time presence, the feature works for documentations and presentations across both Word and PowerPoint. It also functions across multiple devices; an internet connection and access to Office 2016 are all that you need. In Word, you can also see others’ changes as they make them; to work in either application, though, the document must be stored on either OneDrive or SharePoint, rather than locally.

Simplified sharing

You can finally wave goodbye to the back-and-forth email tag that has been the mainstay of document sharing and collaboration for too long. You send your colleague a document by way of an email attachment, they download it and make their changes, save the file with a new name and then send it back - and so on and so forth. It’s enough to give even the most organized and tech-savvy among us a major headache. Office 2016 relieves this pain, and makes it simple to save files online with SharePoint or OneDrive, right from Office’s in-built ribbon pane.

More efficient email

Of course, for all the file-sharing features in the world, you’ll still need to email your business contacts on a regular basis. Office 2016’s Outlook makes it easy to filter out unwanted messages so that you can quickly see the emails that matter to you. Its Clutter feature learns from the way you use your email, and the way you deal with specific messages, to move to a special folder those messages that you are unlikely to need to deal with immediately. You can then navigate to the Clutter folder at your convenience in order to check through your emails to see which ones you need to take action on - daily and weekly notifications let you know what’s been decluttered on your behalf. Though Clutter won’t begin to do anything until it has a thorough understanding of your email behaviors (in order to avoid it incorrectly classifying useful messages as being of low importance), it’s of course possible to use it as another junk filter, keeping distracting messages out of view and you focused on your job.

While collaboration is at the center of the new developments built into Office 2016, the release includes plenty more besides that you’ll find useful. To discover more about Office 2016 and how to put it to use as a force for increased productivity in your business, just give us a call.

Published with permission from Source.

September 28th, 2015

164_A_SMDo you ever feel like your social media efforts are going nowhere? Does it feel like you spend more and more time marketing your small business on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms, but with little return? Well, a recent survey reveals just how much ROI small business owners are actually gaining from their social media efforts, and the results are eye-opening.

Survey details

The survey was conducted by a small business directory and support network known as Manta. They surveyed 540 of their small business members with the aim of learning how much ROI these companies are gaining from social media marketing.

The results

Based on data on the 540 participants, 41% of businesses are receiving a return from social media marketing, which leaves nearly 60% with nothing to show for their investment of time and money. And as for the businesses that are gaining a return, over 80% earn less than $1,000 a month from their social media efforts. More surprisingly, close to half bring in less than $100 a month.

As a small business owner, should these numbers be cause for alarm? According to the CEO of Manta, John Swanciger, part of the reason the return is so low for most businesses is that their social media priorities are misguided. He notes that social media is less about bringing in new customers, and more about community building. "For a long time, the mantra was that social media could bring in new customers,” he says. “In reality, social media is a community builder, and your biggest fans are your already-loyal customers. When small businesses treat social media as the new word-of-mouth community, the real return will follow."

One of the oldest marketing tactics around is word-of-mouth marketing. Every day, people recommend products, restaurants and businesses they love to friends and family members. And social media is the perfect platform to cultivate your fans’ love of your brand. But according to the Manta survey, less than 8% of business owners cited building community as their primary social media goal.

So how do you build a community on social media?

Besides the obvious investments of time and money, here are a few quick tips to get you started:
  • Regularly post content that is valuable to your social media following - the keyword here being valuable.
  • Ask your followers questions to start conversations, and then engage with them. This builds a connection between your brand and customers.
  • Show your followers that you genuinely care about them, and they’ll likely do the same for you with glowing recommendations to friends and family.
Of course there is much more to it than this, but these quick tips can help you get started. If you’re struggling with your own social media efforts and would like to learn more, we’re happy to point your business in the right direction. Call us today to speak with one of our experts.
Published with permission from Source.

Topic Social Media
September 23rd, 2015

WindowsPhone_Sep23_AWith October 6th’s much-anticipated Microsoft Event approaching, Windows Phone users are looking forward to the release of the tech giant’s new flagship - the Lumia 950. This latest release from the Lumia family is expected to come with powerful hardware and a premium polycarbonate body.

Microsoft has been working hard on developing the Lumia 950, the first smartphone to utilize its Windows 10 Mobile operating system. The rumors about the Microsoft Lumia 950, codenamed “Talkman”, have been around for a good while now. Here’s what you need to know about the tech giant’s latest smartphone product.

Design and display

Rumor has it that the latest Lumia 950 will come with a metal frame, coated with matte white or black polycarbonate, with a thickness of just 8.89mm thickness. The device will sport a 5.2-inch screen display, with a Quad HD resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels.


The Lumia 950 is going to boast a 64-bit Hexa core, most likely the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, as well as 3GB of RAM and an internal storage capacity of 32GB. Users have the option of expanding the memory with a microSD card.


Microsoft will integrate a powerful 20-megapixel PureView primary rear camera, capable of shooting high-definition video, and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. Additional features include optical image stabilization, autofocus, and social media geotagging.


It is said that Microsoft’s new Lumia 950 will incorporate Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 technology, allowing for faster battery charging (up to 60% within just 30 minutes). The Lumia 950 will be equipped with a detachable 3,000mAh battery, so you can expect it to last for a full day, even with heavy use.

Price and release date

Although Microsoft hasn’t yet revealed the exact price or a release date for the upcoming Lumia 950, the price point is expected to rival that of the iPhone 6s. The release date is most likely to be on October 10, the very same day Microsoft plans to launch its brand new operating system for smartphones, Windows 10 Mobile.

Overall, the Lumia 950 comes with plenty of improvements that Windows Phone fans will love. It is faster, lasts longer, and is more stable. Want to learn more about Windows Phone and how to use it in your office? Get in touch today.

Published with permission from Source.