Category: advice


When making out your Christmas shopping list, keep in mind what values your dollars support.  If you support processes that cripple the economy, you are creating an economy that will cripple your children.

That said, take a few minutes to research the items on your family’s gift lists.  For instance, much was made during the election of jobs being outsourced to China.  One of China’s biggest manufacturing firms is Foxconn who makes tablets for Apple.  Read More…

(Credit: Apple)

If the only thing holding you back from buying an iPad was the price or size, the iPad Mini is for you.  All the features and sleekness of an iPad with less price and bulk (7.2mm thick and only .68lb), make this a must-have for you.  Hurry, go get one now.  Read more…

So, your business is on a tight marketing budget and you want to leverage Social Media.  Know going in that it is comparable to entering the bear cave with a club and flashlight.  Neither will help, you need better tools.

Where to start?  Well, that actually depends on your goals and strategy.  Techsnoop is here to tell you where not to start.  Don’t buy Twitter followers or Facebook Likes.  These are bogus accounts set up by spammers with automated tools and they do not give you credibility.  The entire point of social media is to establish yourself as reliable and trustworthy in your field.  Having spammers on your accounts opens up your followers and fans to spammers as they now can access them.

Read more…

social mediaWhy blog?

Many small business owners and freelancers are confused by the multitude of social media options and how it can increase their reach.  Blogging is one way to increase the reach of any business provided the blog offers useful information presented in an engaging way.

Read more…

Branding is a complex process that involves a number of people and trial and error.  However if you are a small business start up you likely do not have funds to hire professional branding firms or to undertake extensive market research.

Read more…

This is a tale of hubris run amok.  Apple has lost some of their glamour.

Massive patent lawsuits, manufacturing woes, public image hits, actual customer dissatisfaction and loss of focus have left the giant stumbling.  And now, their advertising is lame.  These commercials are not bad per se, but they lack the focus that creates genuine desire for a product.  They fail on selling the service aspect by depicting the potential customer as idiots.  But you judge.  Let us know what you think in the comments.

Ever wonder why ads you see while browsing the web are for items you recently looked at?  Ever had an account hijacked by spammers?  Does fear of identity theft prevent you from using the web’s most powerful features or getting bargains online?  Techsnoop is here to help with a little education and ammunition.

Computers are tracked by IP (internet protocol) addresses which are generated by your computer or assigned by you internet provider (ISP).  This address can give general location information and more specific browsing history to those with access.  Who has access?  Your ISP, the government, marketers and even hackers.

Unless you take specific steps to block tracking, assume everything you do and say online is public.  Yes, Facebook, Twitter, Google and other sites have privacy policies but these policies do not protect you from marketing and tracking companies who profit from your browsing activity statistics or from hackers.

Using strong passwords, a great firewall and antivirus and regularly changing passwords is a great way to block hackers.  But what about marketing and tracking companies?  Blocking this activity will require additional steps to secure your privacy.

Turn off cookies in your computer to keep sites from tracking you.  This step also clears out any “keep me logged in” sites as they use cookies to do this.  Set your browser to clear your history on shutting down your computer.  Again, this has drawbacks if you visit the same sites daily.  Also turn off auto-complete for logging in on sites, especially if you are using a shared or public computer.  All settings are in your browser settings or options.

Use a proxy server service which routes your browsing through anonymous servers so activity cannot be traced to your computer.  Proxy.org has a list of good ones or use a VPN (virtual private network) like Hotspot Shield which comes in a free or paid version.  Or use a browser plugin like Do Not Track.  which is compatible with all major browsers and notifies you if a site is trying to track you.  The option to allow becomes yours, giving you more complete control.

If you frequently surf on computers that are shared or public or use public Wi-Fi, you may want to use a software that is kept on a USB drive.  This means it is portable and can be used anywhere.

SurfEasy is a tiny flash drive for your USB port that plugs into your computer and launches a browser.  It is password protected and already configured for privacy.  A great option for the tech-impaired.  It costs $59.99 and will mask your IP address and use a proxy network.

If you need a free solution, use Tails, a software you can download on your own flash drive and run on any computer anywhere.

Which ever solution you choose, know your privacy options online to keep your information secure.  Happy Surfing!

Twitter UnfollowEvery Social Media platform has its own rules and accepted practices.  Some of these are spelled out by the platform owners, but some norms are developed over time by the users.  Once developed, accepted behavior is rewarded by followers and unacceptable behavior gets you labeled annoying or a spammer.

Techsnoop has recently noted a disturbing trend on Twitter.  The practice of users following a large number of people, then unfollowing them after they follow back.  This seems to be especially true of some small businesses.

Techsnoop has no objection to people or companies not following back when they are followed.  Some followers may not fit into your niche or strategy.  Unfollowing as a means to clean up your feed is also acceptable.  If you don’t engage with some followers you may want to add others that you will engage with.  But following someone just for a follow, then unfollowing them after they follow you is just rude.  If you want new followers, either post interesting content that will get retweeted and gather followers, or be prepared to follow those you engage with a follow first through the long term.

There are several ways to grow your Twitter audience.

  • Have strong and engaging content or offer freebies that others will want to stay up to date with.
  • Buy followers from one of the many, many services on Twitter.  This can backfire as most of the “purchased” followers will not have engaging content and will not care about yours.  Anyone selling their follows is probably not the quality engagement you need.
  • Build steady growth of quality followers by offering engaging content, being interested in those who follow you and seeking out others on Twitter who have the same or compatible interests.

This last method will not gain you 10,000 followers in one week, but your followers will be better quality and engage with you on a higher level.  Slow and steady is also more time consuming, but like anything worth having, is worth the rewards.

Please, please don’t follow/unfollow to gather users.  Not only is it rude, if you gain a reputation for this behavior, it can ruin your Social Cred.

Surf Nicely.

Social Media can be a daunting maze for the new small business owner.  With all the details of starting a business and actually providing service to customers, who has time to learn how to connect on the myriad platforms?

To simplify things, Techsnoop has gathered some basic steps to go over when deciding when, how and how much to jump into the social media pool.

First, develop a social strategy by deciding where your target market will spend the most time.  You can find out general demographic information on the various platforms here

Next, decide what you are willing or able to offer your audience.  People need a compelling reason to follow you.  Great expert content is one reason, but you may not have the time to put this together.  Instead, maybe offer discount codes for newsletter signups or Facebook likes.  Be sure to put an expiration date or time limit on any coupons or discounts.  Also, have an online privacy policy in place with website security.  Whatever you offer, make sure your audience will want it.

Finally, remember that social media is about socializing.  If you don’t interact with followers, they won’t interact with you.  They may not drop you, but they may ignore your content.  Having 200,000 followers or friends is useless if only 3 of them actually read what you are offering.  Ask questions, request feedback and give shout outs to those who help you or provide great content.

It used to be enough to just have a Social Media presence, now you must engage your followers and offer them something they want.  If this post helps your small business, leave a comment.

Stay tuned to Techsnoop for great social media tools to keep you organized.

Now get social!

If you have not heard, LinkedIn was recently hacked and some passwords were posted on a hacker site.  LinkedIn has responded very well, but this is an opportunity to take the time to change all of your social networking passwords.  Additionally, download AVG Linkscanner, a free software that alerts you if a link you click on is a potential threat.

To make your password more secure;

  • Use something you have not used in the past
  • Use a combination of letters and numbers
  • Use a capital letter
  • Use one special character if allowed
  • Don’t share your passwords.
  • Don’t use your name or children or spouse names.

Online security is vital.  One small intrusion can create problems from your computer being used to route spam to depleting your life savings.

Make changing passwords part of your spring cleaning routine.  Or, use daylight savings time changes to cue you to update passwords.  Have one type of password for low level sites such as Facebook and Twitter and a much more complicated password system for online banking or personal information sites.

Surf Safely!

Techsnoop

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