Urban Computing, Inc. http://www.urbancomputing.com Tue, 19 Aug 2014 17:22:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.4 Another Massive Hacking Attack Puts Millions At Risk http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/19/another-massive-hacking-attack-puts-millions-at-risk/ http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/19/another-massive-hacking-attack-puts-millions-at-risk/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 15:00:00 +0000 http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/19/another-massive-hacking-attack-puts-millions-at-risk/ 2014 has been a very bad year for companies on the receiving end of hacking attacks. Earlier this year, the State of ...]]> password-222331_640(1)2014 has been a very bad year for companies on the receiving end of hacking attacks. Earlier this year, the State of Montana’s records were breached, and the data of essentially every person in the state stolen. Now it has come to light that Community Health Systems, a company that operates hospitals in twenty-eight different states, has also been breached. The company believes the attack occurred between April and June of this year, and exposed the personal data of some 4.5 million of its patients. This data includes, names, addresses, phone numbers, and most significantly, social security numbers.

What It Means For Those Impacted

It’s possible that at least some of the people whose information was stolen will feel no ill effects from it, but hackers steal this kind of information for a profit. The way they turn that information into profit is by selling it to people who will steal the victim’s identity, open fake credit cards, max them out, and then just never pay the bill, essentially ruining the victim’s credit.  It’s known as Bust Out Fraud.  Anyone whose personal information was stolen in this heist is at risk for that, and the worst part is that there’s little they can do about it.

The company has vowed to offer identity theft protection to all those who have been impacted, which will help to mitigate the damage, but at this point, it’s too late to stop the damage from occurring. It has essentially already been done, and is now playing out in real time.

The Number Of Attacks Is Growing

Not only is the total number of hacking attacks continuing to increase, but the level of sophistication of those attacks continues to gain new heights. It is becoming increasingly difficult to stop a determined hacker, and that will continue to be the case for the foreseeable future. One of the major reasons for the ease of penetration is the two-edged sword that the Internet of Objects represents.

The burgeoning number of objects on the internet is a boon for the massive amount of data they give us, but sadly, only a tiny percentage of these new internet objects have even the most rudimentary protections in place. That means that they are weak points in a network’s architecture, and hackers always look for, then attack the weakest part of your structure. Having unprotected, or nearly unprotected objects in your network is like leaving your back door unlocked and nailing a large neon sign above it, showing the thieves the way in.

Until we fix that, you can expect the frequency of successful breaches to continue increasing. Even after we start providing our new internet objects with the same basic protections we give to our PC’s and handhelds, breaches are certain to occur, but we owe it to ourselves and to the customers who use our services to make it as difficult for the hackers as we possibly can.

Identity theft is a very real crime. It’s one of the fastest growing crimes on the planet, second only to cellphone theft. Even if a breach occurs in an industry that’s completely unrelated to yours, you should pay close attention to it, because it is a harbinger of problems to come that may well impact you, as legions of new fake credit cards will hit the market soon after.

Used with permission from Article Aggregator

http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/19/another-massive-hacking-attack-puts-millions-at-risk/feed/ 0
When Only A Fax Will Work http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/18/when-only-a-fax-will-work/ http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/18/when-only-a-fax-will-work/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 15:00:00 +0000 http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/18/when-only-a-fax-will-work/ Quite often when you’re sending files from one place to another, a simple email attachment or Dropbox link share will work, but ...]]> printer-28081_640Quite often when you’re sending files from one place to another, a simple email attachment or Dropbox link share will work, but every once in a while you’ve got to send a fax. If you’re mobile and on the go, you might be miles from the nearest fax machine, which are, by the way, getting increasingly hard to find. So what’s a busy, on the move professional to do? Fax from your phone, of course.

Why would you want to fax? Some organizations still want faxes, and if they do, and you want to do business with them, then the customer – or valued supplier –  is always right.

Below you’ll find a collection of apps that will let you send your documents via fax. They’re not all free, and service charges may apply, so check each one closely to make sure you understand what if anything you’ve got to pay. However, when you’ve got to send a fax, as the saying goes, “there’s an app for that!”


When you download this app, you can choose to use it in a couple of different ways. You can either sign up for a free fax number or you can opt for their free trial online fax service (charges apply after the trial period ends). You get a dedicated fax number that you can distribute to your list of contacts so you can star receiving faxes, and where sending is concerned, you can forward email messages or use files from cloud based storage. You can also eSign any forms sent via this service, and export any incoming faxes as pdf’s to your cloud based storage location.


This app works on a credit based system. You buy credits from the Google Play store, then spend them when you fax something. You can fax files directly just by highlighting them and entering the fax number to send to. PDFs or image files can be faxed with ease, and the actual faxing runs in the background, so once you’ve told the app what to do you can move onto the next thing.


iFax is billed as the most popular fax app for the iPhone,  but it’s also available on Android devices. It gives you an incoming fax number, allows you to sign documents, fill out forms and faxes. It also allows faxing of images and includes in-app controls to adjust for brightness and hue. Additionally, it is Dropbox integrated, allowing for sending direct from the popular cloud service.

PC Fax

This faxing service allows you to send a free one page fax each day and can send to fifty different countries. It is especially useful if you’re sending faxes overseas, because it’s likely that the country you’re sending to is already on the list.

There you have it. A quartet of apps, each with its own set of features, pros and cons, each capable of turning your handheld into a fully functional fax machine. Increasingly, handhelds are becoming all in one devices. It’s a phone, it’s a camera, it’s a collaborative device, now a fax machine, and a personal secretary wrapped up into one.

Used with permission from Article Aggregator

http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/18/when-only-a-fax-will-work/feed/ 0
How To Take A Screen Shot http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/16/how-to-take-a-screen-shot/ http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/16/how-to-take-a-screen-shot/#comments Sat, 16 Aug 2014 15:00:00 +0000 http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/16/how-to-take-a-screen-shot/ A picture really is worth a thousand words, and sometimes you need to show a thing rather than tell about it. You’d ...]]> screen-capture-23236_640A picture really is worth a thousand words, and sometimes you need to show a thing rather than tell about it. You’d be amazed though, at how many people aren’t sure about how to go about taking a screen shot. If you’re in that crowd, fear not. I’ll explain how to go about it just below.

Where to Start

Actually taking the screen shot is pretty easy. Get the screen that you need the picture of on your monitor, and press the “PrtScrn/SysRq” button on your keyboard. It’s one of the three buttons just above your ten key number pad that you never pay any attention to.

A caveat here. If the image you want to capture is from a web page, I would recommend going full screen before you snap the picture. To do that, you press the f11 key at the very top of your keyboard, above the top row of numbers.

You’ll need to give it a few seconds to adjust to full screen mode, but the advantage here is that you get a better image. There’s no task bar at the bottom, and no menu bar at the top, so what you’re left with is a bigger, better image than you’d have otherwise had. After you’ve entered full screen mode, just hit that “PrtScn/SysRq” button.

Now You’ve Got It, Send It

That saves the image to your clipboard, but now, you need to actually do something with it. The quickest and easiest way to turn the information in your clipboard into an actual image is to open lowly MS Paint. Even if you aren’t an artist, and don’t have a copy of PhotoShop, PaintShop Pro, or GIMP installed on your computer, if you’ve got Windows of any flavor, then you’ve got MS Paint, so put it to good use.

Open paint and dust off your keyboard shortcuts. Hold the control key down, and press the letter ‘v.’ That will paste whatever is in your clipboard into the current application, which is of course, MS Paint. At this point, you should be staring at a lovely copy of the screen you were just looking at.

MS Paint allows you to save this file in a variety of formats, but if you’re going to be sending it to someone, the two best options here are JPG or PNG format. They both produce fairly small files, so are great for emailing or transferring via Skype or some other application, and both can be opened by the default image viewers on any computer. My personal preference is for PNGs, because that is what’s called a lossless format, meaning that it doesn’t sacrifice image or color quality, but it really comes down to personal preference.

Click file, then save as, pick your file format, and give the image a name. Save it where you can find it easily, the ‘My Pictures’ folder is always a popular choice, and you’re all set. Screen shot taken, and you can now manipulate it, or send it to anyone who needs to see it.

Note that while you’re in MS Paint you can play with the image, adding lines to underline a specific section, or text to highlight something of special import. Just remember to re-save the file after making those changes. And that’s it. You are now an expert at taking screen shots from your computer.

Used with permission from Article Aggregator

http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/16/how-to-take-a-screen-shot/feed/ 0
4 Easy Ways To Send Money Safely Online http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/15/4-easy-ways-to-send-money-safely-online/ http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/15/4-easy-ways-to-send-money-safely-online/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 15:00:00 +0000 http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/15/4-easy-ways-to-send-money-safely-online/ We live in a hybrid digital/real world, and the lines are blurring. Soon, it will be impossible to tell where digital reality ...]]> money-163502_640We live in a hybrid digital/real world, and the lines are blurring. Soon, it will be impossible to tell where digital reality stops, and the real world begins. Millions of transactions are completed digitally online every single day. As a natural part of this new digital reality, we want, and indeed require the means to move funds from person to person quickly, safely, and securely. Below are some of the best and safest means of transferring money from one person to another online.


Paypal remains the defacto standard for internet commerce. Anyone with an email address can set up a free account, and with it, you can transfer money to anyone via email address, assuming of course they they also have a Paypal account for the funds to go. It’s safe, secure, and free provided that you send from an existing Paypal balance. This is as simply as tying your bank account to your Paypal account to move funds back and forth with ease.

The great advantage of Paypal is that virtually everyone accepts it. Even if someone you’re doing business with doesn’t accept it, you can use a Paypal debit card that is free to own and use. It even gives you a kickback in cash for using it at all.

Google Wallet

Similar to Paypal, you can send to anyone funds via their email address. It is safe and secure, but Google Wallet comes with a few downsides you don’t see with Paypal. First, it’s not as widely accepted, so if you receive money this way you’ll want to make sure you can spend it somewhere. The second drawback is that it is surprisingly difficult to get your money from your Google Wallet into your bank account. Safe and secure, but not without its drawbacks.

Chase Quickpay

This is a fantastic service that is completely free to use. No fees for transfers in either direction. Some have complained that this service is completely useless unless both parties have Chase accounts, however, you can still send someone funds if they do not have a Chase account – it simply takes a few extra days. This system is run by a well-known institution, is as secure as it gets, and is rising in popularity day by day.


This is safe and secure, so it certainly satisfies the requirement, but it comes with two caveats. First, it’s by invitation only. The only way you can get an invitation is by someone sending you money. Second, they charge a flat fee per transaction: a whopping fifty cents. That’s not so great if you’re sending small sums, and insignificant if you’re sending larger sums. The invitation requirement seems a bit silly, but in practice, it’s not much different than the others. At the end of the day, both parties in the transaction still need to have an account.

No matter how you decide you need to send money online, you have options. Choose which one you think will fit your needs.

Used with permission from Article Aggregator

http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/15/4-easy-ways-to-send-money-safely-online/feed/ 0
How To Create Great Social Media Images http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/14/how-to-create-great-social-media-images/ http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/14/how-to-create-great-social-media-images/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 15:00:00 +0000 http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/14/how-to-create-great-social-media-images/ The best social media images are those that are shared. The number of times an image is shared is the only metric ...]]> earth-317830_640The best social media images are those that are shared. The number of times an image is shared is the only metric that matters. If the image is being shared then your message is being shared, which is the entire point of the exercise. Creating an effective social media image is at least as much science as it is art. Below are some guidelines to help you craft the best, most effective social media images possible.

It Starts With Your Brand

Any image you craft should first and foremost be a vessel for your brand. That means that it should bear your company’s colors and logos featured prominently in the body of the graphic. It won’t matter how many times your image is shared if nobody knows it was you who released it into the wild to begin with. The whole reason for creating such images is so that they can serve as virtual sign posts, pointing the way back to you. Make sure everybody who sees your creation knows where to go. To that end, at a minimum, you’re going to want to have your website’s address somewhere on the image itself.

An Eye Catching Hook

Every image needs a central theme; a hook to draw the viewer’s eye and attention. The hook should be relevant to the message you’re trying to convey in your image and immediately understandable by your target audience.

Comsumable Information

Even though a picture is worth a thousand words you’re going to want some sort of written message to be a part of your image. The important thing here however is to be sure that the information is presented in a context suitable for social media.

For good or for ill, social media messages tend to be short and punchy. Some people may argue that social media is ruining our attention spans, but whether that’s true or not, the point remains that if you want your message to be shared then the information it contains needs to be presented in short bursts of text, rather than a big wall of text. You can do this by:

  • Creating lists
  • Displaying quotes
  • Using screen shots
  • Embedding charts within your core image

The Right Size For The Right Platform

Your image size is going to depend on what social media platform you’re using. The specs below are optimal for the major social media platforms you may be using:

  • Facebook post: 940×788* Facebook ad: 1200 x 444* Facebook Cover: 851×315
  • Google+ post:800×600* Google+ cover: 2048×1152
  • Instagram: 612×612
  • Pinterest Pin: 735×1100* Pinterest: 600×600
  • Tweeted Image: 1000×500
  • YouTube Video thumbnail: 1280×720

If you follow the guidelines above, your images will become increasingly effective. You message will be seen and shared more than ever before,and as your skill improves, you’ll see an ever growing response from every social media post you make.

Anyone can learn to create effective social media images. It is simply a matter of practice, and the studious application of a few basic principles. Oh, and pretty girls help.

Used with permission from Article Aggregator

http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/14/how-to-create-great-social-media-images/feed/ 0
Why Microsoft Recommends Reusing Old Passwords http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/13/why-microsoft-recommends-reusing-old-passwords/ http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/13/why-microsoft-recommends-reusing-old-passwords/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 15:00:00 +0000 http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/13/why-microsoft-recommends-reusing-old-passwords/ New findings in an extensive research report reveal two surprises that run against everything you’ve heard about your passwords and their safety. ...]]> password-397652_640New findings in an extensive research report reveal two surprises that run against everything you’ve heard about your passwords and their safety. The first is: write them down. The second is: reuse them.

The research results are raising a lot of eyebrows for obvious reasons, but there may be something to it.

What About Conventional Wisdom?

Of course, conventional wisdom holds the exact opposite. We’ve been told for as long as we can remember not to write passwords down, and absolutely not to reuse them. Those rules make sense in an office setting, but people are unlikely to break into your home looking for password information, so writing them down and keeping them in a safe place at home doesn’t carry the same kind of risk as it does in the workplace environment.

As to reusing old passwords, the key is to do so selectively. The research recommends breaking your internet accounts into two groups: sensitive and not-so-sensitive. Make highly complex passwords for your sensitive accounts and don’t reuse these.

For your not so sensitive accounts, simpler is usually better, and for these, it’s fine to reuse old passwords. It just makes it easier to remember so you can focus on making really complex passwords for the accounts that matter.

A Simple System

If you can’t quite break out of the old habits, and can’t bring yourself to start writing passwords down and don’t want to reuse them, then here’s a simple mnemonic trick that will help you keep everything straight. For your not terribly sensitive accounts, pick a password. Could be anything. As a prefix to the password, add the first three letters of the site you’re logging onto. As a suffix, use the @ symbol and some number, then increment the number if and when you change the password in the future.

For example, if you’re one of the six remaining humans who still uses hotmail, and your chosen word is bananabread, then your password for hotmail would be hotbananabread@01. You could then recycle that scheme for every other site and thus create fairly complex passwords that are also not hard to remember.

You Need To Create A Balance

In any case, the reason for the research and the reason for all the concern is that hacking attacks are becoming increasingly prevalent on the internet. Their increasing frequency has more and more people thinking about security and trying to find ways to create an optimal balance between security and the time invested in it. Yes, it is possible to engineer a virtually hack-proof security system for yourself. Doing so might cost an arm and a leg and eat up an inordinate amount of your day, but you could do it. Having done so, however, you’d likely drive yourself batty trying to maintain it, and live within the self-imposed parameters that such a system would shackle you to, so clearly a balance must be struck.

That was the ultimate reason for the research, which represents the latest attempt at finding, then striking that balance between reasonable security and reasonable time commitment required. It’s not perfect, but is an excellent place to begin.

Used with permission from Article Aggregator

http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/13/why-microsoft-recommends-reusing-old-passwords/feed/ 0
If You Left Your Company, Would Your Employees Want You Back? http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/12/if-you-left-your-company-would-your-employees-want-you-back/ http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/12/if-you-left-your-company-would-your-employees-want-you-back/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 15:00:00 +0000 http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/12/if-you-left-your-company-would-your-employees-want-you-back/ Everybody is a good, effective and popular leader in their own mind. The question is, are you really? If you were to ...]]> business-men-295469_640Everybody is a good, effective and popular leader in their own mind. The question is, are you really? If you were to leave or be voted out of your company tomorrow, would your employees rally behind you and insist on your return? Well, that’s exactly what’s happening in a small grocery store chain in the New England area.

What’s Going On?

The company is called Market Basket. Its long time CEO is a man named Arthur T. DeMoulas. He has had for years a contentious relationship with the company’s board of directors, who recently decided that they had had enough of the rocky relationship and voted him out.

Their plan did not go as expected. What started out as a bit of board room politicking has turned into a flashpoint that has rallied company employees from stockmen to middle management, all standing in support of their wildly popular CEO.

Shipments to the stores have virtually stopped. There’s no one to receive them and no one to put the goods on the shelves. The company has resorted to firing employees, but even after they have been fired, they continue showing up at the rallies. Local politicians are even calling for a boycott of the store. Needless to say the employees have demonstrated their power and real financial harm is being done to the company.

Despite threats from the board the rallies continue unabated and the employees have made it clear that they will not relent. Hand in hand with this, Mr. DeMoulas has offered to buy a controlling interest in the company to resolve the matter. There is no word yet on whether or not a settlement has been reached.

Board Room Politics, Not A Company In Trouble

A cursory glance through the company’s financials reveals a company in good health during the time that Mr. DeMoulas was the CEO, and it seems clear, based on the overwhelming employee support, that he had the backing and full confidence of those who worked for him. That being said it’s reasonable to conclude that the board’s decision had more to do with personal feelings and a general dislike than in some specific mishandling of the company as a whole.

DeMoulas is now being rewarded for his exemplary leadership, and those who formerly worked for him are standing up for him. They are making it known that they will not accept this change. It is likely that the employees will ultimately prevail here. The board will bow to the financial pressure they now find themselves under, and will accept DeMoulas’ offer to buy a controlling interest in the company.

When that happens you’ll almost certainly see the newly reinstated CEO re-hiring every single one of the employees that the board has fired, because that’s the kind of man and leader he seems to be. So we return to the question asked earlier. If you suddenly found yourself on the outside of your own company looking in, would your employees rally to your defense and demand your reinstatement?

If not, why not? Food for some serious thought about leadership style and effectiveness here.

Used with permission from Article Aggregator

http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/12/if-you-left-your-company-would-your-employees-want-you-back/feed/ 0
Is Open Source Right For Your Company? http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/11/is-open-source-right-for-your-company/ http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/11/is-open-source-right-for-your-company/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 15:00:00 +0000 http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/11/is-open-source-right-for-your-company/ It might surprise you to know but you’re probably already using at least some open source software. The server that hosts your ...]]> gear-403502_640It might surprise you to know but you’re probably already using at least some open source software. The server that hosts your website is probably running Apache, which is open source.  Perhaps you’re using Open Office to compose word documents, which is of course also open source. You may even have some of your workstations running Linux as their OS, and that’s open source too. The internet is an amazing place. It is the richest cache in the entire world of free open source software that can drive all manners of creative enterprises. If you’re not currently using much of it, perhaps you should consider doing so.

What’s The Big Deal With Open Source Anyway?

If you’ve not yet gotten your feet wet with open source, here is a bit of background. The single largest repository of OSS (Open Source Software) on the web is sourceforge.net. Once you get to the main page you can search the site for whatever it is that you’re looking for. There are thousands of projects to choose from. Everything from a staggering array of productivity apps that run the full gamut from note taking software to full blown office productivity suites, graphics engines, art and design software, CAD/CAM solutions, you name it. If you’re looking for some entertainment during your downtime, you’ll also find a variety of games and other distractions in every genre.

Open source projects are dreamed up, developed and maintained by enthusiasts who create their software for the sheer love of doing so. By its definition the source code is freely available, meaning that people interested in the software can download the source and “fork” it, which is to say, they can make modifications to the software so that it better suits their individual needs. You absolutely can’t do that with off the shelf software you buy from a vendor. If you want or need the software to do something different, you have to submit a request, jump through a number of hoops, then wait until they decide whether or not your request warrants their attention; but why bother with all that?

Infinite Flexibility

If you’re running your own business, and you find some software that you like and that gets the job done, just have your code guys modify it as needed and go! You don’t need anyone’s permission and even better, depending on the software, you’ll likely find a vibrant, thriving community of users that has grown up around it who are more than willing to help you work through any technical difficulties that might arise with either the software or the coding.

The other chief advantage is that if your business becomes reliant on some or other off the shelf software solution, and the company should one day decide to discontinue it, you’re stuck. No more support and no more upgrades, and of course since the source code is proprietary, you can’t access it, so you can modify it yourself.

If you haven’t considered open source as a viable option for your company, you might want to give it a look. You’d be amazed at the number of high quality software solutions out there, just waiting for you, and absolutely free.

Used with permission from Article Aggregator

http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/11/is-open-source-right-for-your-company/feed/ 0
How To Create Great Facebook Page Content http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/09/how-to-create-great-facebook-page-content/ http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/09/how-to-create-great-facebook-page-content/#comments Sat, 09 Aug 2014 15:00:00 +0000 http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/09/how-to-create-great-facebook-page-content/ The yardstick by which all social content is measured, regardless of what channel you’re referencing, is whether or not that content is ...]]> man-404376_640The yardstick by which all social content is measured, regardless of what channel you’re referencing, is whether or not that content is shared. In this piece, we’ll stick with an examination of Facebook, based on the fact that it is the largest of all the social media platforms, but the lessons here can be made to apply to any social media channel. It may need a few tweaks, but the information below is sound for any social media network.

So What Makes Great Facebook Content?

The short answer is anything that makes that content share worthy, but there are some particulars we can dive into. Creating share worthy content is half art, half science. You need both halves working in tandem to consistently create content that your viewers and readers will want to share with their own networks.

Think Visual

You’ve got to think visual. Walls of text are seldom shared. You need an image component to your message, and it’s got to be something compelling.


If your message isn’t relevant to your business, then it doesn’t really matter if it gets shared or not. If you’re selling handheld accessories and posting cute kitten videos, unless you can find a clever way to tie those two concepts together, it’s probably not helping you.


For better or worse, the internet is shortening attention spans. Nobody wants to read the Facebook equivalent of “War and Peace.” Keep it brief, keep your message concise, and make it interesting.


This means that you need to stage or stagger your postings. If you post something at 6pm Eastern time, everybody on the west coast is still at work. You’ll need to post it again then so that it shows up high on their news feed. In order to properly stage your posts, you’ve got to have an ironclad understanding of the demographics of your fans. Figure out where they are and when they’re on Facebook; then plan your posting schedule accordingly. The bottom line is it doesn’t matter how good or how shareable your message is, if your fans never see it, they can’t share it.


Finally, in addition to all of the above, the content needs to be invitational. To do this you don’t necessarily have to have an in-your-face call to action, though you can do that once in a while if it suits you, but you do need to leave the door open for a conversation to grow out of your content. Part of that means responding to comments left by your fans of the content in question.

People use social media because of the social aspect, not the media aspect. They want a connection, they want a conversation, and frankly, they want to be entertained. If you give them what they want, they’ll give you want you want by spreading your content far and wide and bringing more customers to your door.

Used with permission from Article Aggregator

http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/09/how-to-create-great-facebook-page-content/feed/ 0
Facebook’s Profits Jumped – Can Yours? http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/08/facebooks-profits-jumped-can-yours/ http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/08/facebooks-profits-jumped-can-yours/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 15:00:00 +0000 http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/08/facebooks-profits-jumped-can-yours/ Facebook just posted some excellent profit numbers that has Wall Street and financial experts talking. It is usually helpful to follow the ...]]> fall-163496_640Facebook just posted some excellent profit numbers that has Wall Street and financial experts talking. It is usually helpful to follow the strategies of the industry leaders, so you may want to take a moment to understand what they did and how they boosted their earnings.

Mobile Is Marvelous

Overwhelmingly, their earnings came from mobile ads. That’s fitting and even predictable in some ways. Sometime in the next twelve months there will be more mobile devices on planet Earth than there are people living on the planet. In a word, mobile devices have taken over. The PC has been dethroned.

If you don’t yet have a mobile strategy, you need one. Not only do people take their mobiles with them wherever they go, but they’re also shopping with them, researching products with them, and compellingly, they’re communicating with their social networks with them.

You need to be a part of that story; you need a mobile strategy, to be immediately followed by a mobile presence. That can take a number of different forms, and what form it ultimately takes comes down to three factors. Those three factors will be outlined in brief below to get you started.

Your Market/Target Audience

Before you can build your mobile presence the first thing you have to do is to deeply understand who your customers and future customers actually are. Are they predominately men or women? What age groups are they? What average education level do they have? What income level do they enjoy? All these and many more factors matter in terms of shaping your strategy and the message that will go with it.

How Your Customers Use Their Tech

Are your customers more prone to use their gear to make in-store purchases, or are they likely to just buy online and have the product shipped? Depending on your answer here, that’s going to shape your strategy. One will involve the building out of an in-store app, while the other can rely on a more traditional eCommerce storefront, optimized for mobile users.

A Means Of Engagement

Forget monetization strategies. You’ll get sales if you engage with your existing customers and those whom you’ve targeted as future customers. The mechanism that will lead to those sales though is your customer engagement. For that you need a consistent voice and a message, but more than that, you need to open the door to a conversation. Your message is simply the greeting. It’s the ice breaker that starts the conversation. The goal here is to not only begin a dialogue with the people who use your products and those who are thinking about using your products, but also to enable them to make your company and its products and services part of their story.

If you give them the opportunity to do this they will, and that’s the most powerful form of advertising you can ask for.

You may not be able to achieve Apple’s level of success in this regard, but they should be looked at as the Gold-Standard of customer engagement. Apple doesn’t have customers, they’ve got fans. They’ve got fans because their products are intuitive, sexy, fun to use, and because Apple makes them part of the story. That’s the magic you’re after, and it will drive your profits upwards. Facebook has recognized that and focused on its mobile advertising strategy.

Used with permission from Article Aggregator

http://www.urbancomputing.com/2014/08/08/facebooks-profits-jumped-can-yours/feed/ 0