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Focus and Grow Your Business

focus on customers, products, quality and grow your business with the help of the Internet “In order to do a good job of those things that we decide to do, we must eliminate all of the unimportant opportunities.” – Mike Markkula

This simple statement can help you gain clarity on where to begin to create your web, mobile, social and email presence and marketing. If you are wondering who Mike Markkula is, he wrote the first business plan for Apple and owned one-third of the company for providing capital, business and marketing expertise. He became a father figure to Steve Jobs, a man I greatly admire for his ability to focus and create brilliant products.

In 1997 when Steve returned to Apple to focus on saving the company it was making dozens of versions of the Macintosh. After a few weeks of meetings he declared that what was needed was to focus on one desktop and one portable computer for the consumer and one desktop and portable computer for the professional. All other products were to be cancelled.

At first there was push-back, but Steve told the board “I can make it work”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Facebook Places and foursquare – Can your mobile customers find you there?

facebook places I just completed a workshop on Facebook Places and foursquare for business people at the BizConNH Social Media Community Monthly Meeting in the Monadnock Region of NH. Although people are not as mobile/social savvy here as say Boston or Manhattan, our group was engaged and could see the potential for mobile users to make shopping choices “on the street” and learned new ways to connect with customers. It’s important for these business to be found by “flatlanders” that come to town for the quaint towns and villages experience in Peterborough, Keene and surrounding towns, and as well as local mobile users. Mobile users share more in social media and can of influence others to come with their comments, photos and reviews.

Although Facebook Places with the Facebook user base of 750 million people is definitely the “Place” to be, there are other players in the geolocation market allowing customers to actively check-in to your business on their mobile devices. Do you know who they are? Are you doing anything to delight them? Local businesses that get involved can get ahead of the competition or at least stay in the game by doing so.

foursquare geolocation sharing service with checkins and 10 million usersFoursquare recently reached the 10 million user benchmark and Brian Solis gave an overview of their progress in his blog post Foursquare Now 10 Million Strong: Has Your Business Checked-in? Their growth rate has out-paced Twitter. Does this give you an idea of how important the mobile user engaged in social media is to your business? Read the rest of this entry »

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Lessons from: (Reuters) – The hacking of Sony Corp’s PlayStation Network has earned a place in the annals of Internet crime

A man walks on a floor advertisement for Sony Corp's PlayStation 3 game console at an electronic store in Tokyo April 27, 2011. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

A man walks on a floor advertisement for Sony Corp's PlayStation 3 game console at an electronic store in Tokyo April 27, 2011. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

Internet crime is on the rise and companies where you do business are reluctant to talk about it. There is a code of silence because victims want to avoid  embarrassment, public scrutiny and falling stock prices. However, it’s hard to hide when this effects 77 million people worldwide.

Be aware. The Reuters article on this topic mentions that a study done by MacAfee showed that the networks of 85% of some 200 power producing companies had been hacked and 1 out of 4 of those were victims of extortion. The 28 page PDF report In the Dark, Crucial Industries Confront Cyberattacks is available here. They are recommending that these industries move beyond passwords to tokens and biometrics indicators, use of network encryption and monitoring for anomalies, increased oversight of how the network is accessed, and effective partnerships with government. What should you do? Read the rest of this entry »

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New Facebook Pages – What’s Good, Great, and Slightly Annoying

Facebook Pages for business have got a new look. If you have received an invitation to upgrade you can click Preview and Take a Tour. Here’s what happens when you do:

new facebook page upgrade

You can see you can upgrade the Page you are on, or if you are admin for multiple Business, you can upgrade all. I like to take them one at a time. Here’s what the new Business Page looks like.  While you are in Tour mode, you can see what your Page will look like, but everyone else will see the old version of your Page until you Upgrade.

preview mode - what a new facebook page looks

You can switch back by clicking the “switch back” link at the top of your Page, but once you have upgraded you cannot switch back. Also, the switch option is only for a limited time. Beginning March, 2011 your Page will be automatically upgraded.

are you sure you want to upgrade now?

Let’s start the tour to see what you get. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Art of Collaboration

2d or not 2d - art inspired by poetry exhibit at sharon arts center, peterborough nhProducing a website is an exciting time to engage in the art of collaboration and reaching consensus. Our focus in this post is on our client, the Sharon Arts Center , a non-profit organization, and their exceptional work in reaching their mission “to support and serve artists and craftspeople, to engage our community in the artistic process, and to foster the relationship between artists and the community through education, exhibitions, the promotion and sale of art and craft, as well as through special programs and events.”

Today’s opening of the exhibit, 2D or not 2D: Art Inspired By Poetry, is no exception. Not only does the Sharon Arts Center fulfill on fostering the relationship between artists and the community in exhibitions and the promotion and sale of art in this exhibit with their collaborative efforts, the exhibiting artists are also 2 different collaborative groups of local and regional artists.

The Left Bank artists include Evelien Bachrach Seeger and Kim and Scott Cunningham, all of Hancock, as well as Peterborough residents Sue Callihan, David Dodge, Soosen Dunholter, John Sirois and Daniel Thibeault.

Three Squared artists include Kitty Cloud, Lulu Fichter, Erick Ingraham, Colette Lucas, Erin Sweeney and Pashya White, all of Peterborough, as well as Leah Kristin Dahlgren of Temple, Marcia Herson of Bedford, Jordana Korsen of Harrisville, Jane El Simpson of Dublin and Thomas Meyers of Hancock.

If you live or are traveling through the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire from now through December 31, 2010, take time to visit this exhibit. You can also help the Sharon Arts Center by becoming a member and liking them on the Sharon Arts Center Facebook Brand page, created and managed by the Sharon Arts Center.

The Art of Collaboration in Website Design, Development and Marketing

Reaching consensus is something that is so important to our process; it is why I named my company Consensus Technology. After years of working in the corporate world where authority was mandated from above or you could kiss your job goodbye, I left that world. One key reason was that the customer’s interests were sacrificed. My goal was Read the rest of this entry »

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To Really Live, Learn and Thrive in Social Media

You Need to Understand When 2 + 3 = 25

metcalfe's law illustrates the exponential value of add new devices (in social media that would be followers) to the network

Graphical representation of Metcalfe's Law for networks

How does a business gain critical mass in their social media network and get a return on investment? Let’s start with understanding social media beginnings. In a recent interview¹ with Jonathan Gourlay at the Monadnock Ledger –Transcript, we talked about Social Media, when it began and how it relates to business. In electronic media there were listservs where professionals could easily interact in a group discussion via email. Then there were online forums where communities could discuss the topics of the day.

Really the change from traditional to social media occurred when communication was not just broadcast or printed for many individuals to hear or read. It started when the audience could interact with the originator of the content. When that happened we went from a one-way to a two-way conversation. Talk radio was therefore an early form of social media. But the real power in social media occurs when communications go beyond Read the rest of this entry »

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Why you’re website doesn’t have a second

do people stick around on your site when they find you in a google search?

In the days of AMC’s Mad Men, it was said everyone expected problems to be solved in an hour, because television shows lasted an hour. In today’s world we all want everything done in  seconds. Guess what? This means your website doesn’t have a second to spare. Impressions are made about your website and your business in less than a second. Clients want to know much more about you before they trust you and choose to do business with you. Does your website stack up? Read the rest of this entry »

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Independent Film Distribution Transitions and Social Media

IFP Independent Film Week 2009

IFP Independent Film Week 2009

Independent film is one of the passions that unite Gerard and I.

Social media has now for the first time made it possible for filmmakers to connect directly to their audience. This was not possible before. Our clients, Buzz and Kris McLaughlin and Aaron Wiederspahn of Either/Or Films made us aware of changes in film distribution in the spring of 2009. We had invested in The Sensation of Sight, starring David Straithairn, Ian Somerhalder and Jane Adams in 2006 for several reasons. We were aligned with the vision and mission of the Either/Or Films, it was being filmed in our town, and finally Read the rest of this entry »

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Preface to Social Media: Confront who you are to your audience

Who are you in relation to social media?

representation of engaged social media audience

The very nature of social media is that it is a social interaction and not an advertisement. So before jumping in to new media conversations on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, your own blog, or the multitude of other social media networks, take some time to know your self and know your audience.

Who are you as an individual, a business owner, or part of an overall company? Who are you to your friends and family? Writing answers in a journal and reviewing your vision and mission statement will give you clarity in your communications and purpose. To add some entertainment into the mix, Read the rest of this entry »

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I am Alive – A Statement About Social Media Marketing

share this most popular social media iconsAt it’s very basic level participating in social media marketing is announcing to the world, communities in the world and individuals, “I’m alive,” I exist, I have something to say that may be of value to you.

Whether you are blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking, Blipping, YouTubing, LinkedIning or using any of the other social media applications, the first thing to consider is “What is my social media strategy, and how does it fit into my overall internet strategy, marketing strategy, business strategy?”

First, a definition of strategic planning is in order. Strategic planning, according to Wikipedia, “is an organization’s process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy, including its capital and people.”

We feel the time has come for our clients to include social media marketing in their strategic planning at some level.  We have added social media consulting services to our internet consulting offerings. Our blog will incorporate guidelines Read the rest of this entry »

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