Why Google Drive is Attracting Small Business

Google Drive for Small Business

If reducing or eliminating cost, simplifying operations, and maximizing efficiency sound like a good game plan for your business, consider using Google Drive for document creation and cloud-based file management and storage. Formerly known as Google Docs, Drive contains an integrated suite of productivity applications able to assist businesses with organization, communication and collaboration. Available Drive applications are similar to Microsoft Office and include Document, Spreadsheet, Presentation, Forms, and Drawing software. No need to purchase and install expensive business application programs.

Five reasons that Google Drive is the way to go for small business:

1.     No more expensive file servers, software licenses, and IT support costs! Google Drive file storage is available for free, or for a low monthly fee depending upon your storage/business needs. Individual users receive 15 GB of free storage which is shared across Drive, Google Mail, and Photos. While uploaded or synced documents and e-mail attachments use up storage space, Google documents and e-mail do not. Not enough space for you? Consider establishing a Google Drive for Work account with unlimited storage and custom domain e-mail addresses among other business features. Concerned about backup of important business documents stored in the Cloud? Both the new Google Drive and Google Drive Classic can be downloaded to your computer and documents synchronized between the two. Changes made to your online documents are automatically synced to those stored on your computer and vice-versa. Use your local Google Drive for those times when the Internet is not available. The next time you’re connected, the local Drive will sync up with the cloud. When using Google’s free to low-cost solutions, money can be allocated to other business needs.

2.     Do you find that you are increasingly doing business remotely while on the go? Google Drive provides users with flexible, secure, cloud-based access anytime, anywhere from mobile and traditional Internet-connected devices. Simply open your Internet browser and get started. In addition, Google offers reliable band-width and server up-time. Last year Google Drive was available an impressive 99.985% of the time according to experts. Is security a concern? Google encrypts data while in transit and in storage.

3.     Compatible with Apple, Android, and Windows operating systems, Drive eliminates issues with creating and sharing documents across a variety of platforms. Simply upload your document or convert it to a Google Doc for editing, and export or e-mail, if desired, as the original document-type. No more worries about file compatibility.

4.     Ease of use is important to employee productivity. Google Drive/Docs are feature-rich, but easy to use and recognizably similar to other popular software applications. Documents may be easily organized and managed within the Google file directory structure. No more “Oops!” Google’s auto-saving feature prevents users from accidentally losing data. Parlez-vous français? Google Docs will easily translate your client’s document into one of forty-five different languages! And if you enjoy Google’s search capabilities, you’ll love the ability to research and locate resources from within the various productivity applications. Drag that link or image right onto the page from the research pane. Looking for other time-savers? Checkout the library of Google templates. Chances are another business owner has shared a template for you to use. Even better, Google Drive is part of a suite of Google Apps that includes E-Mail, Calendar, Hangouts, Chat, Voice, Maps, Sites, Google +, YouTube and more-all available by single sign-on from the same account. Time saved is money earned.

5.     Probably the best feature of Google Drive/Docs is the ability to share file folders and documents with as many as two hundred people. No more e-mailing documents back and forth for input or time spent merging documents. Imagine sharing a project spreadsheet during your remote meeting while team members simultaneously view and edit data collaboratively in real-time. In addition, Google offers great version control tools for tracking/managing changes or rolling back to previous configurations.

For any business, Google is a great option, but especially for small businesses and start-ups. As work becomes more and more mobile and your organization’s demands more costly, consider the features and flexibility of Google’s cloud-based solution to improve your ROI and to move your enterprise successfully to the next level.

 Learn more about Jeanne Munoz at www.linkedin.com/in/jeannemmunoz

Snapchat for Business



Ask the nearest teenager what Snapchat is and the answer you get might not persuade you to consider incorporating it into your business’s marketing plan. However, Snapchat is on the rise and with millions of “snaps” being sent every day, it’s time to start watching carefully to see how to be on the forefront of this mobile revolution.

What makes Snapchat different is the time-sensitive nature of the media sent. You can send pictures or videos lasting up to ten seconds, and after the time is up, they’re gone unless the user takes a screenshot. Businesses already on Snapchat (such as Taco Bell, the LPGA and Audi) have used this self-destructive mobile app to promote their business and encourage customers to participate in their brand.

One way to get customers engaged is to set up coupons or discounts only available through Snapchat. Send a picture of a product or of the business along with a caption (Snapchat lets you type a short caption or draw one) describing a promo code or coupon that Snapchat users can receive. Since the main appeal of Snapchat is that the pictures disappear, businesses can make the deal a one-day offer, to add to the feeling of fleetingness.

Snapchat is also extremely popular with the 18-30 year old demographic, and businesses like Taco Bell have used this to their advantage. Taco Bell used the app to send daily teasers about their new products, eventually unveiling the product via Snapchat. They also encourage users to photograph themselves with their food and they screenshot their favorites and display them. It’s a cheap way to access an audience that doesn’t like advertisements, but will watch a ten-second video or picture series from a business that sends them one.

Users feel as if they’re getting an inside look into what goes on behind closed doors—the pictures aren’t high quality, glossed-over representations of the business, they’re taken off the same mobile devices that the customers are viewing them on. It’s close, it’s personal, and it’s more attractive than a daily or weekly email reminder about products.

Why Your Business Needs Instagram

Instagram for Business

Instagram for Business

Instagram isn’t just for selfies anymore: companies that incorporate it into their social media plan are increasingly finding a use in posting daily pictures with descriptive captions and original hashtags. Visuals capture the attention like nothing else, and when you can easily promote your brand with an app that many smartphone users have at their fingertips, why not try it out?

One of the huge benefits of Instagram is the ability to develop and share your specific brand identity with an audience of millions. Snap a picture of your employees at work, a new product coming soon, or even of the view from an especially scenic office window—customers want to see the everyday workings of a business they support, and it’s a good way to draw in new business as well. It brings the business closer to the customer, and the customer gets to know the business better by seeing daily or weekly visuals relevant to the brand. Teasers of new products or daily pictures leading up to a reveal inside the business are intriguing to the everyday Instagram user and will get them talking about the brand. Feeling a personal connection to the business is important for the customer and makes them more likely to recommend your services to others.

Using hashtags is a big part of Instagram as well. Mixing it up and using hashtags specific to your brand as well as general hashtags that people may search is a simple way to keep it balanced. Hashtags are how people find what they’re searching for—don’t use one that’s too complicated or unrelated to the picture. You can track your customers this way as well by searching the original hashtags you create specifically for your brand.

If customers write comments on your pictures, comment back! It’s thrilling to get a comment back from a brand that seems faceless, and it adds a personal touch that is hard to achieve in some cases. If someone compliments the picture or asks a question, it’s a nice touch to send a quick note back that shows you’re not disconnected from your audience. This is also an easy way to post a picture asking for opinions or questions (ex: “What’s your favorite color for this product?”) and to get people to engage and talk about your business. You can respond to your favorites or insert a quick comment to stimulate conversation.

Instagram photo contests are an easy way to get your followers talking to their friends about your product. Start a contest where the best photo relating to your business in some way wins a coupon or something similar—use hashtags to track the entries and promote the contest daily. Customers are always looking for a way to save, and this gets them involved in promoting your business with your specific hashtag.

Choosing Instagram as a social media site for your business is a smart decision, especially if you’re lacking a personal touch with your customers. Take a few pictures every day, apply a creative filter and attach a few thoughtful hashtags and your Instagram will start to take off. Communication with your audience is key to maintaining and building new contacts, and it’s as easy to begin as downloading a free app available on the App Store.


by Blair Callahan on LinkedIN at: www.linkedin.com/in/blaircallahan

How do I use If This Then That?

If This Then That, IFTTT by Cara McLeod @caradmc

If This Then That - IFTTT

If This Then That – IFTT

 Social Media is constant and it never sleeps. That’s why we are all trying to “manage” social media. If you are not on top of it you miss it!  I missed a tweet from one of my favorite local stores about a deal they were offering. Because I didn’t see the tweet I missed the deal. I wanted to find a solution to try and keep on top of information from my favorite sources.

That is when I discovered If This Then That or IFTTT. Their motto is, “Put the internet to work for you.”  You write what they call recipes. Recipes are essentially logic models with triggers and actions.

So I wrote my very first recipe:

 If @tastybeverage tweets, I will receive an email. Below is the recipe.

Picture 1

Pretty simple! Now whenever @tastybeverage tweets I receive an email and I never miss a deal.

 Then I started thinking about the other uses. I have blogs that I follow and wanted to make sure I was notified when they had new content. So I wrote another recipe:

Picture 2

That is how I used the recipes from a consumer stand point. Then I started thinking, how can I use this as a social media manager? Content curation is the first thing that came to mind. We are constantly trying to create new content for our consumers. Why not share information from other followers on Twitter?

 If you have organizations or people you follow that are social media influencers, you can retweet their content automatically. I work with a group of runners. When the magazine Running World tweets information out, I automatically retweet the information. I would use a word of caution, because it is automatic, you want to make sure you are working with trusted sources. I know that Running World is a trusted source that puts good information about running and nutrition.

Another option is when you have a new follower add you on twitter, write a recipe that says thanks for the follow! You can also write a recipe when people retweet your messages that says thanks for the retweet.

 Once you start using IFTTT you can see the recipes are endless! Check out their website at https://ifttt.com/ and Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/ifttt. There are users that share their recipes and new tips and tricks. I encourage you to try and “manage” your social media using this new tool.

Connect with Cara McLeod on Twitter @caradmc Also found on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/caramcleod Cara McLeod is also a graduate of The Social Media Management Certificate Training at NC State Technology Training Solutions

What is the NextDoor app?

NextDoor App

NextDoor App

I learned about the Nextdoor App from someone that was talking about their neighbors like they just all met together the other day at someone’s house. I asked how they stayed so connected

I realized it was not an in-person meeting but a smartphone app called Nextdoor. I had heard of it before but that thought “one more app and thing to do” stopped me from trying it out at first. I have since met many people that use the app to stay connected as a homeowners’ association and love the app –you do not have to be in a homeowners’ association   to use this app. I have now joined it and am working to get more of my neighbors to download it and join.

The Nextdoor App is explained well by cnet, “It’s designed to help neighbors connect and communicate online about important information, services, and goings-on in their specific communities. Being neighborly has somehow gotten lost in the digital era. Nextdoor is working to reverse that.

Nirav Tolia, Nextdoor’s co-founder and CEO, told CNET, “People are using the technology to bring back a sense of community.” And that’s a good thing considering the majority of Americans only know some of their neighbors names and 28 percent don’t know any of their neighbor’s names, according to a Pew Research report.

I remember when I visited japan many years ago I found that they had very low crime. It was not because the police were more effective but all the neighbors were paying attention and communicating. Nothing could happen in my friend’s town Maebashi Japan without someone knowing about it and reporting it as suspicious. Our neighborhood watch is a very good idea but often is just a bunch of signs that people ignore over time.  Email lists can be of value but most of us are overwhelmed with email and it can get a bit spammy if you always say reply to all. The Nextdoor App seems to be filling a clear void. You can participate as little or as much as you want.

How does it work and how do I sign-up?

Go to your app store on an iPhone or Android phone and search for Nextdoor or you can sign-up on-line at https://nextdoor.com/ then download the app and sign in. The app will ask for enough information to do its best in verifying that you live where you say you live. Here is a link to see a demo of it in action:http://demo.trynextdoor.com/news_feed/ . Take a little time to learn about using it and maybe talk in person to another neighbor that has it. It has categories like: lost & found, free items, crime & safety and much more. Including who has Christmas lights to see for the Holidays.

I know some of you are asking: “Is it perfectly secure, can you guarantee that?” No I cannot, but neither is your front door, the internet, your car or especially an email list (that can be easily hacked or shared with anyone) 100% secure. As someone that has been consulting and teaching Social Media for businesses for now 7 years I can say that they have made every effort to keep it safer and more secure than email, Craigslist or anything else we use on the web or your own home/car.

Once you have fully set up your Nextdoor App you can set the level of updates and emails you get by going into the “Settings” and then checking or un-checking Notifications.  On the Android “Settings” is found selecting the menu area in the lower left hand corner of your phone. On the iPhone it is found off the main menu by selecting the 3 lines in the upper left corner under “Invite Neighbors”.

Check out the website at https://nextdoor.com/ and watch the video: http://bit.ly/nextdoorvideo . I hope to see you on the Nextdoor app if you are in my neighborhood!

A video about how a neighborhood is using it to make their area safer:

Neighbors Stay Safe Thanks to Nextdoor App.

 Neighbors help neighbors with Nextdoor app

Explaining NextDoor:

How to change the settings in the Nextdoor.com page:

Link to a article by WRAL in Raleigh NC about Nexdoor – Website takes neighborhood watch online:

Link to an interview with the founder of Nextdoor Talks Growth, “Now Being Used In One In Six Neighborhoods In The US”
How are you using the NextDoor app?

Steps if you want to use it;

1) Get the app from you app store on your smart phone or go on line to: NextDoor.com and sign up. You will need to prove you live in the neighborhood.

2) Invite your neighbors and ask them to invite their neighbors, explaining why you want to use the NextDoor app.  If you want to share this article you can by sharing this short URL on your phone: http://bit.ly/ndpost .

3) Find the settings to control what and how many messages you get.

4) Use NextDoor and help your community!

5) Post below how NextDoor has helped your community

by Martin Brossman
(919) 847-4757



3 Ways to Support Buying Local for the Holidays Using Social Media

Checking-in on Social MediaIf you have a business or just enjoy supporting your community by buying from local-owned businesses, you keep money in your community and help your neighbors feed their families. When you share that you bought local on social media, you let your friends know it is important to you, and it inspires them to do the same.

I invite you to join me and others in sharing more on social media that you are buying local.  Now I don’t expect you to stop shopping at Target or never get another cup of coffee from Starbucks. But I do want to encourage you to make an extra effort to see if you can spend a few holiday dollars at a locally-owned business and share it online. For those who already do this, thank you!

 Here are a few ideas for buying local for the holidays and sharing it via social media:

1)     When at a local-owned business, please just make sure to check-in on Facebook, Foursquare, Yelp or Google Local, to name a few.  When checking in on Foursquare you can post to Facebook and Twitter. I also add the hashtag #BuyLocal when checking in just to get it to stand out, and on Twitter it can then be searched.
Here is a search link to see who is using the #BuyLocal hashtag from among the people that you are following right now on Twitter. Maybe you will be the first to use the #BuyLocal hashtag! https://twitter.com/search/timeline?q=%23BuyLocal&src=typd Also, here is the search link to see who is using the #BuyLocal hashtag on Pintrest:

2)     Post pictures on your social media page when shopping or eating out, highlighting specific things of interest while adding that it is a local-owned business and/or #BuyLocal to get the post to stand out. This could be on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest,

3)     Appreciate businesses that have given you good service this year or, if you are a business, appreciate other business allies. Like a random act of kindness to a business, as Pat Howlett suggested, on-line. You can do this as an individual or as a business posting on their Facebook page. You can also just “mention them” on your own business page (or personal profile) and/or link to their business page.

On Twitter you may re-tweet a post of someone talking about buying local or someone at a local-owned business that you like. On Pinterest you can even have a “local-owned’ or “buy local’ board and pin pictures that support local businesses.

I know there are many other ideas –I would love to hear yours in the comment area below.  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and thanks for all the caring you have done for others this year.

Examples of people encouraging people to Buy Local (this will be updated so post your below in the comments and I may add it here):


See my other article about buying local with Christine Alexander – Transform Your Community — One Purchase at a Time by Buying Local!



Social Media Training Raleigh NC

Also learn about Anora McGaha and Martin Brossman’s new Social Media Training:




Looking forward to your comments and please connect to me on-line as well:
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Linking Into Sales by Martin Brossman and Greg Hyer

Left to right - Martin Brossman, Greg Hyer and Gary Thomlinson at the launch of Linking Into Sales

Martin Brossman has collaborated with local small and microbusiness professionals in producing three books on social media.

His first, Brossman’s Social Media and Online Resources for Business Directory, was an introduction for business owners who were not using social media, or had just started. It was distributed locally in the Raleigh, North Carolina area and helped launch a number of micro businesses through teaching them how to get free quality exposure on the Internet.

Linking Into Sales by Martin Brossman and Greg Hyer

Linking Into Sales

The second book, is this one, Linking Into Sales, with Greg Hyer (center in the photo). Linking Into Sales is a step by step guide to using LinkedIn for sales and networking. They share exciting examples of how powerful LinkedIn is.

How are they qualified to write this book?

Martin Brossman has been offering Sales Coaching and Training since he left IBM in 1995 with a focus that integrates web resources to enhance trust and support the Sales Cycle.

Greg Hyer is the founder of Hyer Media, LLC and several online networking groups such as the Linking the Triangle and Linking DC groups on LinkedIn.com. Greg organizes networking events and conducts training on social media tools like LinkedIn.com.


Gary Thomlinson, on the right in the photo above, is a business strategy and execution consultant. He reviewed Linking Into Sales. Gary Thomlinson’s review. Below is a quote from Gary’s review.

“For example their book will help you discover some incredible ways to get the most out of your profile by enhancing it with a better format and infusing it with keywords so that you’ll be found. It will show you how to target customers, give and receive recommendations, join relevant groups to interact with and design your own weekly LinkedIn action plan. The lesson plans, throughout the book, are designed for the reader to take action. This goes beyond just being told what to do…it tells you how to do it.”

Martin Brossman and Greg Hyer maintain a podcast series on Linking Into Sales on the website recorded in a a recording studio with high quality audio. Topics include:

The Gift of Transparency

It’s Fake I Tell Ya!

Google Plus Overview and Insights

Old School is New School

Click on the white triangle on the grey bar labeled Podcast below the text in the post.

Check and see if the 20% savings on the book is still offered for liking their Facebook Fan Page. http://www.Facebook.com/linkingintosales

Visit the Linking Into Sales website. http://www.linkingintosales.com/

Listen to the Linking Into Sales Podcast Series – High quality and current audio recordings by Martin Brossman and Greg Hyer

View the book and reviews on Amazon.com.

Like Linking Into Sales on Facebook and get updates from the authors.

Follow us on Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/linkingin2sales

Find Martin Brossman and Greg Hyer on LinkedIn.

Martin Brossman’s third book on social media was a collaboration with Anora McGaha, and that’s Social Media for Business.