Social Media Marketing Tools for Business

Business changes are often born out of necessity. The things we view as innovation are sometimes nothing more than a basic need to use less to do more. Social media marketing is the perfect example. The current economic state has made it that much more important for businesses to limit their spending. We are now more aware of what can be done with hard work and initiative. Let’s take a look at some of the social media marketing options available in 2012.

Social Networking Sites

Most business owners wish to aid the development of their business by using social networking sites, nevertheless it can be overwhelming. Let’s take a look at four of the most popular social networking websites.

Facebook: This free website allows users to create a profile, make friends, send messages to these friends, and post anything they like (within reason) on their “wall.” The wall acts as a message board, connecting the user with other connected members. Facebook is one of the most used social networking websites and has over 800 million active users, according to Wikipedia.

Twitter: A free microblogging and social networking site that lets users send messages of 140 characters or less. These messages are called “tweets” and they allow individuals and business owners to let people know what they are thinking or doing at any time. You can also keep up on what others (including your competition) are doing. Twitter had acquired over 300 million users as of 2011 and continues to grow.

LinkedIn: This website is geared more towards business users. As of November, 2011, LinkedIn had over 135 million users. Known as one of the top websites for business networking, LinkedIn allows users to create and post a profile, photographs and pertinent information about their skills, as well as any services they provide. Once trusted contacts are made, users can then share ideas, information, knowledge and opportunities with other professionals.

Google+: This is actually a collection of tools that help users stay connected with personal and business contacts. This is done through Google+ social tools, like Sparks, Huddle, Hangouts and Circles. The network was originally operated on an invitation-only basis; you would have to be invited to join a person’s social network. No other social network is growing faster, as there are currently 62 million users, a figure projected to grow to 85.2 million by February, 2012.

Social Bookmarking Sites

The benefits of social bookmarking for news and blog website publishers are astounding. You can introduce your websites, or sites that interest you, to those with similar tastes. This can drive traffic directly to your website and create valuable backlinks. Some of the most popular bookmarking sites include StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicious and Technorati.

In general, these sites allow communities of users to share content they find interesting or valuable in some way. Through a combination of voting, link sharing and specialized searching, these communities have the power to bring large amounts of traffic to otherwise obscure sites.

Blogs

The most familiar aspect of social media is the blog. Short for “weblog,” the blog has become a powerful tool for individuals and businesses alike, however businesses have been slower to adopt the medium.

Blogs have several unique advantages that make them especially beneficial for business use. They can be used as an effective platform for both internal and external communication, and they provide the user with complete control over publicly published content. A blog is also more intimate than other types of communication. It’s a direct link to the blogger’s thoughts, something which many readers appreciate. That appreciation can lead to establishing a blogger as a thought leader in a field, as well as fostering greater brand loyalty.

It’s important to note that blog posts need to be genuine. Thinly-veiled advertisements masquerading as informative blog posts will have effects opposite of what’s intended.

Social Media Marketing

YouTube: When you think of social media, the first things that come to mind are websites like Twitter and Facebook. The video options offered by YouTube are often overlooked. How valuable can YouTube be? Over 560 million hours of online video are viewed each month in the United States. See the value yet?

5 Tips for Keeping Your VPN Service Safe

In corporate networks remote access is typically granted to trusted employees and key customers. Access to the corporate network is possible, for example, through the use of VPN service. Maintaining a secure network containing virtual private networks is a demanding task. Every remote and uncontrolled computer, creates a potential loophole for Internet attacks. Here are five safety tips for VPN software users.

1. Enforce the use of strong passwords. If you are not using effective authentication methods, such as cryptographic smart cards or tokens, you must reckon with the fact that static password can be easily guessed or stolen. EBay has lost hundreds of user accounts because someone was able to guess banal passwords. Block trivial set of words and numbers(such as “admin1234”), which might be easy to remember, but bear a serious threat to network safety. Check if your VPN software allows the use of whole sentences as passwords; if yes, find a method to encourage the users to use them – they can be stolen, but it is virtually impossible to simply guess them. If VPN user authentication is password-based, never use the same password for email, since most email programs remember passwords, and extracting them from the OS registry is as easy as pie even for an inexperienced hacker.

2. Protect users from viruses and Trojans. Enforce the use of anti virus programs and personal firewalls on client computers connecting to the VPN. When connected to your network via VPN, even one infected computer can infect all the others. Do not give full access to the uncertain computers. If a remote consultant desires to connect to your network using a VPN server and you are not sure about safety of his operating system, do not give him full access until you make sure that it is not spreading viruses or Trojan horses.

3. Define clear policies for Internet use. Some companies are forcing remote users to connect to the Internet via VPN, others allow you to enter the Web through a separate user’s connection, , using VPN service only in the corporate network. The first solution is obviously safer, yet the latter is faster for the user. If – because of security requirements – the users can access the Internet through corporate proxy server, then make sure they connect to the VPN server from business notebooks only, on which they cannot change the VPN client configuration.

4. Use the strongest data encryption protocol available. Security breaches can be prevented with great success rate by using commonly accepted protocols such as IPSec – including ESP (Encapsulation Security Payload), SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and TLS (Transport Level Security).

5. Do not forget about the WLAN on the client’s side. Many people use low-cost WLAN access-points, whose default security measures, such as WPA (Wifi Protected Access) are disabled, or which have only weak WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy). An intruder in your home network can quickly and effortlessly invade the corporate network. Educate users on proper WLAN security, and tell them how to enable simple but effective security measures such as WPA-PSK (WPA Pre-Shared Key).

Computer Networking Services for Small Business

Computer networking services is an in-demand job in the small business world. This position consists of setting up and organizing computer networks within an office environment. Establishing security and resolving IT issues are also part of the job. There are several main tasks that computer networking services for small business will handle.

Security
No matter what size business you have, internet security should be at the top of your list. It is very easy for employees to access non work-related websites without proper security in place. Working in computer network technician, you will need to set up and maintain a security system on all computers in the office. The first task in ensuring network security is blocking any inappropriate sites from the server. Typically programs can be used to black list any websites that fall under unwanted categories such as entertainment, social media, shopping and adult. During the set up process you may also want to establish websites that are allowed, called a white list or a safe list, to ensure they do not get blocked accidentally. Additionally, it is important to set up security passwords and user accounts on office computers. This helps keep data protected and keeps private and shared files separated.

Employee Monitoring
As an IT specialist, it is also possible to setup employee monitoring systems on office computers. If a manager is concerned about employees staying on-task, this might be a big part of your computer networking job. It can be difficult for a manager in charge of multiple employees working on different computers to keep track of everyone. Employers can utilize employee monitoring to ensure that staff members are doing their job accordingly during work hours. A tracker can be installed through the network to establish when work is being completed and when it is not. This will help employers better monitor their staff and promote or demote them accordingly.

Internet and Networking
In the small business world, the network technician is also responsible for setting up a stable internet connection. In the average household, a family may use up to five or six devices on their internet router at one time. In an office setting, it is sometimes necessary for hundreds of computers to operate on the same internet infrastructure without crashing the system. By setting up different types of network connections, the IT specialist is able to give a business the internet and networking capabilities it needs without sacrificing speed or quality of the service. Most small businesses that house multiple computers need all their devices to have the same accessibility to programs and information across the network. In many cases, it is also important for employees to have remote access to the system as well. Computer networking services can handle making that important connectivity possible.

Computer networking services is an incredibly relevant career that many people are choosing to pursue. As technology continues to grow, this position will continue to be important and in high demand. Positions in computer networking and IT are offered by companies worldwide, so this type of career can open doors to opportunities around the globe. These positions offer ample transfer opportunities to other countries within large corporations such as Microsoft and earnings can be quite lucrative. It is estimated that people working in computer networking services will maintain a salary between $60,000 and $300,000 per year depending on the company they are working for, the location, and the job demands. As long as computers are playing an integral role in modern business, computer networking services and IT specialists will be needed by companies large and small.