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September 29th, 2016

By guest contributor, Margaret Tung, co-founder and CEO of

About Vesper: Vesper eliminates the headaches of turnover and bad office management by providing outsourced office management services and expert admin staff to SMBs. Vesper Office Managers assist with everything from procurement, calendar management, and event planning to ad-hoc projects, like office moves, and more.

At Vesper, we might be biased, but when it comes to looking at what assets are valuable to a well-run company, an office manager comes up pretty high on the list. Office managers are jacks-of-all trades – they help ensure the logistics of the office run smoothly, they’re team cheerleaders and morale boosters — and they’re also there to jump in and handle a slew of unforeseen responsibilities as they arise.

If you’re running a small company that’s growing – or one that’s just getting off the ground – you may not have experienced the wonders of having an office manager yet. But if you’re looking to get bigger, or make office life easier and more manageable, it might be time to consider bringing in an office manager (or a second one). Check out some telltale signs that your office could benefit from some office management help below; if these sound like what your company is experiencing, it’s probably time to take the leap.

Four Signs it’s Time to Hire an Office Manager

1. Your CEO spends too much time handling administrative duties.

Most startups start with just a few people – and rely on those few people – to handle all of the company responsibilities. But as a company starts to grow, it’s more important for its executives to focus on the important stuff: like securing funding, meeting investors, and marketing new products and ideas (etc., etc.). If your head execs are spending time doing administrative things like ordering lunches, planning cocktail hours, and tracking employees’ days off, it’s probably time to hire some help. This will not only ensure that company leaders can focus on growing the company, but also that all logistics stay organized – and nothing slips through the cracks. According to a study of startup hiring done by Plivo, most startups in the Bay Area hire an office manager when they have somewhere between 5 and 20 employees.

2. Problems in the office linger.

Life in the office can get crazy busy – and sometimes there’s just not enough free time to stop and fix the AC, un-jam the printer, or replace the broken coffee machine. If there are problems with the physical office space that go unfixed for more than a week, it’s time to get someone to help you manage it. One of the most important office manager duties is to maintain the office space, and keeping the office in good shape (especially the office kitchen) is a way to keep team morale high – and productive. (Unhappy employees have been shown to cost the US between $450-$550 billion each year due to lost productivity!)

3. Your cash flow is a mess.

Staying on top of cash flow is key for a successful business. However, it can be hard to keep track of how much money is coming in and simultaneously make sure that all wages, bills, etc. are paid on time. Hire an office manager to help set up a payment system for your company; that way, everyone will get paid on time, and you’ll know how much money your company actually has in the bank.

4. You’re constantly rescheduling meetings.

Being disorganized in the office has been shown to cost executives $177 billion each year. If you feel like you’re constantly rescheduling meetings because you’ve double-booked people, haven’t been able to keep your calendar straight or are drowning in clutter– an office management service can help you out. Having someone to help maintain schedules will help make sure that you make all of the important meetings and — skip the hassle of trying to keep all your appointments straight.

Do you think you’re ready for an office manager (or a second one to help out)? Or, maybe you just want to learn more about outsourcing office management services? If so, get in touch with Vesper. Our experienced office managers can help you stay on top of all the administrative stuff at work, so you can focus on what really matters.

Topic Articles
September 29th, 2016


On September 7, Apple announced “real time collaboration” syncing with iCloud for its iWork office suite which will soon be available. Watch the announcement video courtesy of Digital Trends, featuring Apple VP, Susan Prescott.

Apple’s annual September media event in San Francisco focused largely on the release of the iPhone 7 and 7+ with a dash of Twitter humor over the new AirPod wireless earbuds. (We’re still wondering if there’s a Find Your AirPod app…) However, the less extolled take-away could be big for small business.

Apple announced they were taking iWork to the iCloud to attempt to compete with Microsoft 365 and Google Docs for office product market share. iWork is Apple’s counterpart to Microsoft Office which offers three component apps – Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. CloudPro reports, “The move sees Apple play catch-up with Microsoft and Google, and underlines Apple’s aim of becoming more of a player in the enterprise market.”

While the “real time collaboration” presentation probably would have seemed more innovative three years ago as other office software products were going to the cloud, the key for Apple users is iWork’s cross-platform use and real time collaboration. According to Apple, people can work collaboratively in real time across devices (from an Apple laptop, iPad or iPhone). iWork in iCloud has been available in beta format for over a year, and while there is no official release date for the finished product, the company says it will be launching “soon.”

According to CloudPro, “The collaboration also features private and public modes with a participant list that shows who is working on the document, each user sporting a different colour. The public and private modes determine when iWork syncs files.”

Bringing Apple’s iWork into the cloud for real time collaboration across devices is a big start – albeit a long overdue one – toward capturing the enterprise market. However, PCs are still prevalent in the workplace and while Apple has opened up iWork to PC users who have an Apple ID via iCloud, people will have to see a clear and immediate benefit to changing their office software. Early adoption of Apple’s iWork for iCloud in the classroom may help pave the way for iWorks future.

In his keynote speech, Tim Cook noted that education has always been a focus of the company. With Apple’s iWork, this becomes a smart long-term strategy for capturing the next generation of consumers as students begin adopting the software in the classroom. According to Digital Trends, “Apple’s contribution to President Obama’s ConnectED initiative has been extended to 114 schools, including classroom and device support for 4,500 teachers, to whom Apple has donated MacBooks and iPads for use in the classroom.”

While Apple waits for this next generation of consumers to bring their iWork habit to the workplace, it will be interesting to see if Apple’s iWork for iCloud provides enough benefits that people are willing to “unlearn” what they know about Microsoft Office or Google Docs to adopt this new solution. The price tag may help entice people to give it a try: iWork will be free for anyone who buys a new computer or device from Apple, or anyone who has already installed it. Upgrades, essentially, are free as would be the case on iCloud. Otherwise, iWork apps are $20 for each computer or $10 for an iOs device.

Topic Articles
September 29th, 2016

This is the seventh in a series of articles addressing top technology challenges facing nonprofit organizations. If you have a suggested topic, please email us, and we will try to address that topic in an upcoming article!

At Sinu, we have guided our customers though the process of developing and implementing strategic cloud migration plans. We have identified several opportunities with benefits that most of our nonprofits can realize immediately, whether it is through cost savings or reducing the risk of data loss or downtime.

Before migrating any of your infrastructure to the cloud, it is important to consider the following:

  • What are your organizational goals and how can technology help achieve them?
  • What is your current infrastructure and where is your hardware in its replacement cycle?
  • Do the critical applications you are currently using meet your needs, and do they offer cloud solutions that can offer the same or increased functionality?

Once you assess this information, communicate your vision for a cloud strategy to your management team. If they understand what you want to achieve when moving applications to the cloud, whether it’s cost savings, increased functionality, remote access, reduced risk, or a combination of all these benefits, any changes will be more easily embraced and implemented by your team.

Look for opportunities to immediately mitigate the risk of data loss and potential downtime. For nonprofits with less than 1,000 employees, we suggest moving at least 80 percent of your basic infrastructure into the cloud over the next three years. Email and backup are critical and should be migrated immediately. Payroll is another critical application that can be moved to the cloud to help avoid disruption of compensation for employees even during local outages or disasters.

During the process of developing a cloud migration plan, you will need to assess your current technology, including your hardware and software. For instance, if you have an in-house server that needs to be replaced in the next six months, this is an opportune time to consider migrating that infrastructure to the cloud because it will likely save on the capital expense of replacing that server while reducing the risk of data loss.

We have developed a free Cloud Migration Worksheet you can download today which outlines several opportunities and considerations when developing a strategic cloud migration plan. We hope you find the brief helpful and please contact us if we can answer any questions.

Topic Articles
September 21st, 2016

2016september21_security_aAs with all technology, trendy phrases come and go with the passing of every IT conference and newly released virus. And when dealing with cybersecurity, keeping up with them all can mean the survival -- or demise -- of a business. If you’re looking for a list of the industry’s most relevant terms, you’ve come to the right place.

Malware

For a long time, the phrase ‘computer virus’ was misappropriated as a term to define every type of attack that intended to harm or hurt your computers and networks. A virus is actually a specific type of attack, or malware. Whereas a virus is designed to replicate itself, any software created for the purpose of destroying or unfairly accessing networks and data should be referred to as a type of malware.

Ransomware

Don’t let all the other words ending in ‘ware’ confuse you; they are all just subcategories of malware. Currently, one of the most popular of these is ‘ransomware,’ which encrypts valuable data until a ransom is paid for its return.

Intrusion Protection System

There are several ways to safeguard your network from malware, but intrusion protection systems (IPSs) are quickly becoming one of the non-negotiables. IPSs sit inside of your company’s firewall and look for suspicious and malicious activity that can be halted before it can deploy an exploit or take advantage of a known vulnerability.

Social Engineering

Not all types of malware rely solely on fancy computer programming. While the exact statistics are quite difficult to pin down, experts agree that the majority of attacks require some form of what is called ‘social engineering’ to be successful. Social engineering is the act of tricking people, rather than computers, into revealing sensitive or guarded information. Complicated software is totally unnecessary if you can just convince potential victims that you’re a security professional who needs their password to secure their account.

Phishing

Despite often relying on face-to-face interactions, social engineering does occasionally employ more technical methods. Phishing is the act of creating an application or website that impersonates a trustworthy, and often well-known business in an attempt to elicit confidential information. Just because you received an email that says it’s from the IRS doesn’t mean it should be taken at face value -- always verify the source of any service requesting your sensitive data.

Anti-virus

Anti-virus software is often misunderstood as a way to comprehensively secure your computers and workstations. These applications are just one piece of the cybersecurity puzzle and can only scan the drives on which they are installed for signs of well known malware variants.

Zero-day attacks

Malware is most dangerous when it has been released but not yet discovered by cybersecurity experts. When a vulnerability is found within a piece of software, vendors will release an update to amend the gap in security. However, if cyber attackers release a piece of malware that has never been seen before, and if that malware exploits one of these holes before the vulnerability is addressed, it is called a zero-day attack.

Patch

When software developers discover a security vulnerability in their programming, they usually release a small file to update and ‘patch’ this gap. Patches are essential to keeping your network secure from the vultures lurking on the internet. By checking for and installing patches as often as possible, you keep your software protected from the latest advances in malware.

Redundant data

When anti-virus software, patches, and intrusion detection fail to keep your information secure, there’s only one thing that will: quarantined off-site storage. Duplicating your data offline and storing it somewhere other than your business’s workspace ensures that if there is a malware infection, you’re equipped with backups.

We aren’t just creating a glossary of cyber security terms; every day, we’re writing a new chapter to the history of this ever-evolving industry. And no matter what you might think, we are available to impart that knowledge on anyone who comes knocking. Get in touch with us today and find out for yourself.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
September 15th, 2016

2016september15_socialmedia_aHow many times have you heard the saying “It’s not about what you do but who you know”? -- probably too many to count. Regardless of whether that’s your current business mantra, it's hard to ignore the advantages of tapping into your network. From landing jobs to furthering your career, the benefits of building relationships are undeniable. If you’re thinking, “Well, that sounds easier said than done,” you’re right. But here’s a tool that can lend you a helping hand: LinkedIn Alumni.

Get started

Access the Alumni tool by going to the homepage and hovering over “My Network.” Then select “Find Alumni.” From there, you are free to perform any search for individuals who have attended your school. You can apply one or more of the following filters:
  • Where they live (geographic location)
  • Where they work (company)
  • What they do (job function)
  • What they studied (major)
  • What they’re skilled at (LinkedIn skills)
  • How you are connected (first- and second-degree connections, group members, etc.)
On top of that, you can also identify alumni by the year they attended school, or you can conduct a text search for specifics that don’t fit in any of the listed filters.

The benefits of LinkedIn Alumni

Imagine that you’re looking for work in a new city. Let’s say you're looking for a marketing job in Texas. With the Alumni tool, select “Dallas/Fort Worth” area under “Where they live” and “Marketing” under “What they do.” If you are interested in a specific area of marketing like social media, you can refine your search by selecting “Social Media Marketing” for the “What they’re skilled at” filter. The more you target your search, the more relevant your results will be. From there, you can sift through profiles and send messages to those you want to have an actual conversation with. You can dip your toes into the water first by setting up an informational interview or exchanging questions via email.

If you’re looking to change careers but don’t know anyone in your new sector, all you need is filter for your alma mater. It shouldn’t be hard to reach out to anyone who went to the same school as you, because going to that school is what you both share in common. If you want to know how others made the leap toward where you’re headed, you can use the “What they studied” and “What they’re skilled at” filters for further information. You might also be able to find an individual with a nontraditional background, but who’s nonetheless working in the industry you want. This person may have insight into how to land the job without possessing the typical required experience.

Know how to contact the candidates

After narrowing down your search by utilizing the appropriate filters, you now have a list of individuals you wish to connect with. Technically, you’re just about done with the “Alumni Tool” portion of the process, but you’re not at the finish line just yet. All that’s left is to reach out to the people in your list and make the most out of the search.

If you have a first-degree connection with certain people, message them by clicking on the envelope icon found below the job title. Without a first-degree connection, you’ll see a silhouette and plus sign below the job title. From there, look to the bottom right of the profile photo; if there’s a Venn diagram, hover over it to see the connections you share. If you have a good relationship with one of these mutual connections, you should consider reaching out to see whether he or she would be willing to make an introduction.

There are a few ways to connect even without mutual connections. One option is to leverage your school’s alumni database to find contact information. Another is to send a personalized connection request. In the message, politely and briefly explain your reasons for wanting to connect. That should do it!

When used properly, networks truly are the keys to success. Like any other untapped resource, you must proceed with caution and know how to fully utilize it. If you have questions or concerns regarding LinkedIn’s Alumni tool, don’t hesitate to call in or send us an email. Let us be a part of the success that awaits you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
September 14th, 2016

2016september14_businesscontinuity_aDelta is paying big for the IT outage that occurred last month: millions of dollars in damages, 2300 cancelled flights, and significant reputational damage. Despite the harsh cut to the airline’s bottom line, Delta will probably still survive. But the real question is this: Can your business survive after long periods of downtime? A natural disaster, power outage, or successful hack can be the downfall of many small- to medium-sized businesses. But if you learn from the lessons of Delta’s IT mishap, your organization has a good chance of staying on its feet.

Strive for 100% redundancy According to Delta’s chief information officer, a power failure caused the company’s data center to crash, grounding thousands of would-be passengers. Although power was restored six hours after the incident, critical systems and network equipment failed to switch to a secondary site, corrupting valuable data in the process. And while some systems failed over, other vital applications didn’t; this created bottlenecks, decreased revenue, and diminished customers’ confidence.

Delta’s case is a massive wakeup call not just for the airline industry but for every business -- large and small. Companies must implement disaster recovery plans for their data centers, on-site technology, and Cloud applications to continue servicing customers while fixing the main issue with their primary systems. Companies also need to get rid of the false notion that redundancy plans to assure service continuity is restricted to larger corporations. DR and business continuity solutions are extremely affordable today, and a partnership with a provider can help you in more ways than one (more on this later).

Always test your backups

So although Delta had a plan to bring its business back to normalcy, the DR plan left a lot to be desired in practice. This begs the question as to whether the airline company is actually testing, reviewing, and reinforcing its vulnerabilities to different disasters.

The point is that even though your company may have a failover protocol in place, that protocol adds no value to your business unless it has been rigorously tried and tested. In order to avoid the same fate as Delta, make sure to find out whether your disaster recovery plan is capable of running mission-critical applications like email and customer service applications before -- not after -- downtime occurs.

Account for different types of vulnerability

In an interview with the Associated Press, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said, “We did not believe, by any means, that we had this type of vulnerability.” Indeed, it’s often hard to foresee what threats and vulnerabilities a natural disaster, power outage, or hacker can produce. But it’s not impossible.

By conducting a comprehensive audit of your data center security and disaster protocols, your business will be more aware and adept at minimizing the risk of potential disasters. This also means evaluating and preparing for disasters that are likely to happen to your business depending on its geographic location. Southern US, for instance, is prone to hurricanes and flooding.

Call for help

These lessons and strategies are all crucially important, but pulling off a DR and business continuity solution on your own may be difficult. For this reason, it’s critical to have a planned partnership with a managed services provider that can assess, plan, test and install the continuity solutions your business needs in order to minimize the impact and avoid encountering a Delta IT outage of your own.

To find out more about business continuity and guaranteeing complete IT redundancy, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic business
September 2nd, 2016

2016September2_Security_ARemember in 2012 when Dropbox’s data, which contained details of around two-thirds of its customers, were leaked? At the time, Dropbox reported that a collection of users’ email addresses had been stolen, but it wasn’t until recently that the company discovered that passwords had been stolen as well. So what does this mean for Dropbox users?

Despite the unfortunate incident, Dropbox has implemented a thorough threat-monitoring analysis and investigation, and has found no indication that user accounts were improperly accessed. However, this doesn’t mean you’re 100 percent in the clear.

What you need to do

As a precaution, Dropbox has emailed all users believed to have been affected by the security breach, and completed a password-reset for them. This ensures that even if these passwords had been cracked, they couldn’t be used to access Dropbox accounts. However, if you signed up for the platform prior to mid-2012 and haven’t updated your password since, you’ll be prompted to do so the next time you sign in. All you have to do is choose a new password that meets Dropbox's minimum security requirements, a task assisted by their “strength meter.” The company also recommends using its two-step authentication feature when you reset your password.

Apart from that, if you used your Dropbox password on other sites before mid-2012 -- whether for Facebook, YouTube or any other online platform -- you should change your password on those services as well. Since most of us reuse passwords, the first thing any hacker does after acquiring stolen passwords is try them on the most popular account-based sites.

Dropbox’s ongoing security practices

Dropbox’s security team is working to improve its monitoring process for compromises, abuses, and suspicious activities. It has also implemented a broad set of controls, including independent security audits and certifications, threat intelligence, and bug bounties for white hat hackers. Bug bounties is a program whereby Dropbox provides monetary rewards, from $216 up to $10,000, to people who report vulnerabilities before malicious hackers can exploit them. Not only that, but the company has also built open-source tools such as zxcvbn, a password strength estimator, and bcrypt, a password hashing function to ensure that a similar breach doesn’t happen again.

To learn more about keeping your online accounts secure, or about how you can protect your business from today’s increasing cyber threats, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
September 2nd, 2016


In its (11/1/12) article, “5 Unusual Ways Sandy Victims are Charging Their Cellphones,” The Blaze reported “A Blaze reader from Hoboken, N.J., sent us this photo of a makeshift charging station outside someone’s home.”

This is the fifth in a series of articles addressing top technology challenges facing nonprofit organizations. If you have a suggested topic, please email us, and we will try to address that topic in an upcoming article!

Business continuity planning includes developing policies and procedures your organization can use to mitigate risk and ensure that your operational work can continue should there be disruption to your technology solutions, whether it’s caused by human error or natural disaster. An important part of business continuity planning is identifying which operations are essential and to map out what technologies must be set up through back-up plans or redundant systems to enable your work to continue.

As an example, in 2012, the Northeast, including New York City and New Jersey, was faced with the worst disaster in over a century. Many nonprofits whose very mission was to assist those affected by Hurricane Sandy were disrupted by the flooding, electrical outages, and lack of public transportation caused by the storm. For those organizations that housed their data and IT infrastructure in-house and did not have cloud backup solutions, remote access was impossible and precious constituency and donor data was, in many cases, lost. Even though some of our customers were without power in their physical locations for three weeks, and we were out of power at the Sinu offices here in Tribeca for nearly a week, our customers did not lose data and they remained connected to their emails and other mission critical services. If they could charge their devices and get online, they could continue to function. It was during this disaster that our nonprofit customers truly understood the value of business continuity planning.

The cornerstone to preserving business continuity is to create and deploy data backup protocols for your daily operations. Below we have outlined some information about online backup services to help support business continuity and data security.

What is online file backup?

Online file backup is the process of storing the contents of your computer’s hard drive, such as your important documents and media files, through the Internet using a third party online backup service. If your hard drive crashes, your computer is stolen or damaged, you accidentally erase important information from your computer, or you otherwise lose access to important files, online backup services give you the ability to quickly restore any lost information.

Is online file backup secure?

Yes. Online backup services utilize the same security measures that financial institutions use to protect sensitive data. This means that the data you store with an online backup service is as secure as your bank account or credit card account information.

How do online backup services work?

Online backup services allow you to download a small computer program on your laptop or desktop computer. This application will allow you to select which files you would like to backup and set-up automated scheduled backups of your files. With Sinu, we take care of all the logistics for you and your employees.

How do I restore my files using an online backup service?

The process of restoring lost files differs depending on the service provider. In most cases, it is as simple as accessing your online account and downloading the files you have backed up. The amount of time it takes to download your backed-up files varies based on the amount of data you have stored with your online backup service. It can take anywhere from a few hours if you have a small number of files backed up to several days if you have many large files to recover.

Isn’t in-house backup safer than the cloud which I hear is getting hacked all the time?

No. Small businesses and nonprofits just don’t have the resources to invest in securing their data the way the large cloud data storage do. These cloud service providers spend millions of dollars to provide safe backup and data storage and their very reputation and revenue depend on it. Breaches in security would seriously harm their reputation, as well as that of the industry itself. As such, they have considerable incentive to ensure the protection of their client information through security investments, expert talent and fast adaptability protocols.

Don’t forget your laptops!

Most organizations regularly backup their servers, but do not have a system to backup data from the laptops that are increasingly being used in the workplace by employees. Because people using laptops often store data on the local drive rather than on the server, mobility poses a data security risk if not mitigated. We recommend an online file backup solution for each laptop.

The cloud has made disaster recovery a natural extension of data management by making online backup services accessible for most organizations. At Sinu, our goal is to make data security and data backup seamless for our clients and their employees. We automate virtual data backup, ensuring your staff can stay focused on the mission critical services your constituents need. Should Mother Nature strike, your operational data will be secure and accessible when you need it.

September 2nd, 2016


IBM’s Phil Gilbert is leading the company in the “design thinking” way. Photo Credit: Sandy Carson for The New York Times as reported in the article “IBM’s Design-Centered Strategy to Set Free the Squares,” 11/14/15.

The Internet is challenging the very way companies think about their product design. In the rush to bring the Internet of Things (IoT) to, well… everything, companies are discovering that being connected for the sake of being part of IoT isn’t enough. Savvy consumers are looking for products that are functional and make their lives easier in addition to the convenience of connectivity.

For example, Whirlpool recently launched a line of smart appliances, only to discover consumers saw little value in what was being offered. The Washington Post reports:

“We’re a little bit of a hammer looking for a nail right now,” Chris Quatrochi, Whirlpool’s global director of user experience and connectivity, said last week at a conference hosted by tech blog Gigaom. The buyers of web-connected washers, more than a year after launch, are still “not at all widespread,” he said. “Trying to understand exactly the value proposition that you provide to the consumer has been a little bit of a challenge.”

IBM, by sharp contrast, is recalibrating its product development and centering it around consumers, hoping that by lining up products with the self-identified needs consumers request, they can begin turning around their profits. According to the New York Times, IBM’s general manager of design, Phil Gilbert, is leading a new initiative called “design thinking.” They note, “Among other things, design thinking flips traditional technology product development on its head. The old way is that you come up with a new product idea and then try to sell it to customers. In the design thinking way, the idea is to identify users’ needs as a starting point.”

This consumer-oriented approach is something we at Sinu have adopted for over 15 years. We understood long ago that providing more technology just for the sake of it would do little to improve the lives or save time for the people we serve, and it could add unnecessary cost to our “all-in-one” solution.

“Over the years, we have built our customer support infrastructure in response to what our customers need,” explains Sinu co-founder and COO, John Christie. “We provide proven tools with unlimited support to increase employee satisfaction and efficiency. Then, we take it a step further by monitoring all the systems and prevent problems before they occur.”

The result, Sinu consistently beats its competitors in national industry averages for customer satisfaction.

Now as for Whirlpool trying to hit the mark with its products, the company’s global director of user experience and connectivity said: “If I could actually [build] a connected solution that folded the clothes, we could all retire.”

August 29th, 2016

2016August29_SocialMedia_AFishes are known to travel together in schools. They do so as a defense mechanism against predators or as a means to find a mate. Rarely do we see a fish making its way through the ocean unaccompanied. Schools of fish are the Twitter equivalent of celebrities or public figures, whereby lone guppies are SMBs struggling to make a splash in terms of their online presence. Allow Twitter’s latest stand-alone dashboard app to lend your business a helping hand.

According to Noah Pepper, Twitter’s product and engineering manager, “For businesses, Twitter is a place to share news, tell stories, and have conversations that support, educate, and delight their customers.” On top of that, he states that “It's a place for authentic interactions – but we know that creating these kinds of connections isn't always easy for businesses that are time and resource-constrained.” Because of this, Twitter has developed a brand new application that helps lighten your social media load -- enter Twitter Dashboard.

Twitter Dashboard specifically caters toward small- to medium-sized businesses, helping them to establish a fast, efficient and affordable means to manage their online presence. It helps you easily track and engage with audiences. The free app is still in the beta phase but is available to all businesses in the United States via iOS devices. There’s also a desktop web version as well.

With the help of Twitter Dashboard, social media managers can schedule tweets and set up customized feeds with the sole purpose of tracking what’s being said about a particular business. There are tools in the app that aids in tracking keywords as well as brainstorming ideas for potential tweets.

Here are some examples from Noah Pepper:

  • Say you work at a restaurant. You can come up with something like, “Your team is as unique as your business. Tweet a surprising fact about one of your team members.” This helps remind you to share some of the recent recognition your chef has received.
  • Or if you are an interior designer, when you see the tweet “Share the love. Like and Retweet kind words from your customers,” you’re prompted you to Retweet the next customer’s reaction to one of your projects.
Twitter Dashboard may not be of much use to savvy online marketers, but for those who have just dipped their toes into social media, it might help build the confidence needed to take flight. And this is exactly what Twitter needs if it's aiming to increase overall platform engagement.

Small- and medium-sized businesses should seize every opportunity they can to grow. Leverage the power of social media and see your company spread its wings and fly, soaring amidst the chirp of the blue birds tweeting. For further questions about Twitter Dashboard, feel free to give us a call, follow us, tweet us or give us a direct message -- we’re always ready to help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media