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2015

FB_page_best_practices_body.jpgBy Cathie Ericson.


Do you “like” how your Facebook page is performing? Probably not: research has shown that for every 100,000 followers on Facebook, only 130 people will click on an organic post. The good news is that Facebook recently rolled out new tools designed to help the 45 million small businesses with a Facebook page. We talked to some smart small business owners who shared some of their favorite strategies:


1. Show your face

“I updated my profile picture by swapping out my company logo for a picture of me holding a magazine I was quoted in,” says Jennifer Martin of Zest Business Consulting in San Francisco. She found this simple change yielded a noticeable uptick on clicks and engagement.

 

2. Get personal

Posts that showcase the company culture invite the most attention for Kelsey Goeres, social media and marketing manager of MyCorporation.com in Calabasas, Calif. “When we post a photo of our employees celebrating a birthday or enjoying a team-building event, we always get a huge response from our customers and supporters,” she says. “Your audience is reminded that there are real people behind your business, and enjoy sneaking a peek into their lives."


3. Be creative with your page name

“Instead of naming your page after your business name, use your keywords in the customized URL that you select,” says Bob Bentz, president of Philadelphia-based ATS ATS Mobile (Advanced Telecom Services, Inc.),ATS Mobile (Advanced Telecom Services, Inc.),Mobile. “Something like Facebook.com/carpeting-Harrisburg can help you land on the first page of search results and drive local traffic.”


FB_page_best_practices_PQ.jpg4. Go local

Be a voice for the community, says Crystal Kendrick, president of Cincinnati-based Voice of Your Customer marketing firm. She shares everything from job opportunities to arts and entertainment events and tributes to local community leaders.


5. Make it easy

“I advise my clients who sell products online to connect their store to Facebook with an app like Bigcommerce, says Lynne McNamee, president of Lone Armadillo marketing agency in Plano, Tex. “When people are on Facebook, they want to stay there, and are more likely to complete that impulse buy if they don’t have to leave the site.”


6. Start a conversation

“We ask for our followers’ opinions on a new book or newly released album,” says Jordani Sarreal of Zebra Social who works with Pacific Studios, a recording studio in Tacoma, Wash. “Try to spark conversation so you become a spot where your followers can come together and interact.”


Bank of America, N.A. engages with Touchpoint Media Inc. to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Touchpoint Media Inc. is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Touchpoint Media Inc. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.

 

©2015 Bank of America Corporation

Apps_for_Biz_Travelers_body.jpgBy Erin O'Donnell.


When Sanjay Nasta started his technology training firm, MicroAssist, in 1988, he took his trusty manila envelope on every business trip. It held his all-important stack of itineraries, tickets, and client notes. And it was awkward.


Today, mobile technology has replaced Nasta's unwieldy envelope with smartphone and tablet apps that handle everything from travel planning to meeting notes and presentations. Based in Austin, Texas, MicroAssist designs, develops and delivers training to clients in medicine, public health, public safety, and other verticals.


Nasta's favorite app is TripIt ($0.99 basic, $49/year pro; available for iOS and Android devices). Travelers forward reservation and itinerary emails to the app, which distills and organizes the data into an easy-to-follow format. Users can also share their plans with fellow travelers, staff back at the office, and even family and friends, if desired. TripIt also alerts users when something changes, such as their flight status or airport gate.


"It replaces the assistant that none of us has any more," Nasta says.


Apps_for_Biz_Travelers_PQ.jpgMobile apps have revolutionized business travel, and as a result, they level the playing field for smaller businesses. Apps like TripIt help condense travel prep time, freeing up small business owners like Nasta to prepare for that meeting or conference itself. And once on the road, there are apps to provide instant access to your contacts and documents, track your expenses, and even complete a sale or sign contracts.


Here are more must-have apps for the small business traveler:


Hotel Tonight: For the last-minute traveler, there's Hotel Tonight (free; iOS, Android, Windows). Hotels with excess inventory post them here for deep discounts, and travelers who need rooms on short notice reap the benefit. Brandon Baker, owner of Loveletter Cakeshop in New York City, says Hotel Tonight has helped reduce both the stress and expense of business trips; he travels two to three times a month."I've been so impressed by HotelTonight that I purposely book my hotels at the last minute," Baker says. Nasta used it with success when he had to stay an extra night in Omaha and his original hotel was full.


Evernote Business: The organizational app's business version allows teams to collaborate in real time wherever they are ($12 per user, per month; for iOS, Android, Windows). Evernote helps manage projects by keeping all research and notes in one location, for everyone to access in the cloud. Business users can access notes when offline and turn notes into presentations. The app also lets you save web links and emails into project files, scan business cards, annotate PDF attachments, and secure data with encryption.


Handshake: Known as "Salesforce for wholesale," Handshake is a handy partner for trade shows. Make a sale on the road, and start the fulfillment process right away. (iOS only; annual subscriptions start at $29.95.) Salespeople praise the app for eliminating the need to carry paper forms and catalogs everywhere they go; they can show products on the iPad app with multiple views.


DocuSign: Whether you need to sign a contract on the road, or a document back at the office needs your signature, there's DocuSign (business packages start at $20 per user, per month when paid annually; for iOS, Android, Windows). Upload documents from your computer or any cloud-based storage site such as Google Drive or Dropbox. The app's eSignature format is legally binding in 188 countries. You can specify multiple signers and order of signature, and accept signatures in person.


Nasta says MicroAssist is in the business of keeping pace with technology so that the firm's clients can, too. That's especially true with mobile tech. "It makes your life more agile, because you're doing things at the point of need," he says.


And as our dependence on mobile apps grows, remember this caveat from Nasta: Always carry a backup battery.


Bank of America, N.A. engages with Touchpoint Media Inc. to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Touchpoint Media Inc. is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Touchpoint Media Inc. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.

 

©2015 Bank of America Corporation

 

SBC Team

Mobile Device Security

Posted by SBC Team Oct 14, 2015

Mobile-Device-Security-Thumb.gifWith the proliferation of mobile tablets and smartphones, business opportunities abound. But the more the mobile lifestyle takes hold, the greater your need as a small business owner to increase your mobile protection. Get the background you need – and the tips you need to move forward – in our new infographic, “Mobile Device Security.”


Click here to view the infographic.  


You can also download a PDF version for
printing by clicking here.


Facebook_Security_body.jpgBy Jennifer Shaheen.


Many business owners aren’t aware that their company’s Facebook page can be hacked. It is entirely possible for a third party to gain control of your account, which gives them the ability to post anything they’d like—including fraudulent links or content that your customers would rather stay private.

Social media security is every bit as important as website security and on par with the physical safety of your business. Just consider: You’d never leave your company’s offices at night without locking the door. In the same way, there are regular, essential steps you should take to protect your Facebook page.


Step One: Understand how hacks happen.

One of the most common ways for a Facebook page to be hacked happens when an individual learns or guesses the password of someone who is in the administrator role on your Facebook account. This often stems from poor password security. Most people select words or phrases that are personal and can be gleaned from a Facebook profile. Be sure to use a more complex password consisting of 12 or more characters, including letters, numbers, and symbols. Once a hacker has administrator level access, they can change your account settings, including blocking you from accessing your own page.


Facebook_Security_PQ.jpgStep Two: Limit administrator access and account sharing.

To minimize the chances that your page will be hacked, set fewer Facebook page administrators. Do not give out your Facebook login information to others. Give individuals who need to work on your page limited access on an “as needed” basis, based on their role in your company or as a guest. Facebook explains permission and posting rights here.


Step Three: Set up stronger verification settings.

Facebook offers page and account holders the ability to set up multiple levels of protection. These tools provide you with a much stronger layer of protection. Adding your mobile phone to your Facebook account and requiring an unauthorized device to be verified with a code that is sent via text to your phone is a great way to cut down on a hack. Turn on the login notification feature and Facebook will notify you with a text when someone logs into your account.


Step Four: Monitor your account.

Facebook applications are great tools to monitor your accounts from your smart phone. Business owners should have the Facebook mobile application Pages on their phones with push notifications enabled. Periodically review your security on Facebook and check your approved browsers, apps, and login locations. If something looks off you should log out and reset your password.

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Touchpoint Media Inc. to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Touchpoint Media Inc. is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Touchpoint Media Inc. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.

 

©2015 Bank of America Corporation

 

 

Website_Elements_body.jpgBy Jennifer Shaheen.


A recent report released by SCORE, the nation’s largest network of small business mentors, showed that although 97 percent of all shoppers search for products and services online, more than half of all small businesses don’t even have a website. Among those businesses that do have a website, 37 percent report that they only generate between one and five percent of their business from it.

 

If you’re having a website built for you for the first time, or having your website upgraded in the hope of increasing sales, you want to be sure to include these four essential elements:


1. Fast loading on all devices

Consumers expect websites to load instantly, whether they’re on their phone, tablet, or laptop. One out of every four visitors will abandon a website if it doesn’t load in four seconds or less, according to Shaun Anderson, an internet marketing technology expert. Google uses site load speed as one of the many factors it considers when determining site ranking. In other words, the slower your load speed, the harder it becomes for potential customers to find your business. Have your web developer test your site’s load speed on a number of different devices. You can also test it yourself using free tools from Google.


Website_Elements_PQ.jpg

2. An engaging experience

Ideally, a visit to your website should be as satisfying to your customer as a visit to your brick and mortar location. Make sure your site is visually and emotionally aligned with your in-store experience. Integrate features such as video or animated elements, and consider gamification elements such as quizzes and social media games so your web visitors are entertained. The goal is to pull the user in as part of the experience. Be sure to think about the touch factor as you add tabs and buttons on your site; most visitors use their fingers, not a mouse, to navigate.


3. Clear, easy to understand navigation

Let your customer know where they can find essential information about your business with clear, easy to understand navigation. These elements need to be designed to work on mobile devices as well as desktop computers. As a best practice, stick to no more than four to six navigation items. Talk to your web developer about sticky headers, which allow the navigation bar to travel with content, staying in place as the site visitor scrolls down. Or consider expandable navigation to make mobile browsing clear and user friendly.


4. Contact and social share tabs

Make sure your customer can get in touch with you—or further their relationship with you by connecting on social media—by including click to call features as a contact item or links to maps for directions. Also, be sure you are including social sharing buttons on blog posts or products. Social links are not only a good best practice, they can help increase the amount of business you receive to your website.

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Touchpoint Media Inc. to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Touchpoint Media Inc. is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Touchpoint Media Inc. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.

 

©2015 Bank of America Corporation

 

 

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