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

How to Market a University in the Age of Social Media

Marketing a UniversityUniversity Marketing in the Age of Social Media By Cynthia Fobert

Research shows that people are suspicious of slick brand messaging and resent interruption advertising.  According to Martin Brossman, social media guru and co-author of Social Media for Business, they regularly block, skip or mute it.  Instead, consumers rely on what some anonymous reviewers say about your product or business online because these sources are assumed to offer authentic unbiased accounts. Unflattering comments on social media can override commercial marketing messages, and this phenomenon holds true for any branded entity, including universities.

It is not a stretch to suppose that if prospective students are checking reviews to decide where to go for lunch, they might also consult Google or Yelp regarding which university they should attend.  Although social media may be a preliminary source of advice when selecting a college, not all universities are paying close attention to what is being said about them in these online forums.

 To arrive at a plan to help turn around declining enrollment at a large, public, research-intensive university, I conducted an analysis of its social media profile.  Let’s call this institution U-One.  Searching Yelp for reviews of all universities in that city, I found two rival institutions were represented, but U-One did not appear at all. Certainly, in-state students would know about the existence of U-One from local media coverage and advertising, but for any out-of-state or foreign students for whom Yelp serves as a preferred platform for reviews, U-One was invisible.

 There were Google reviews posted about U-One, but these were problematic.  Not only was U-One’s overall rating weaker than its cross-town rival, the top three reviews and the only ones visible when you opened the window were scathing and unanswered. Although the effect of these reviews is difficult to measure, U-One was not in a position to ignore them.

 I recommended that U-One establish a system of monitoring and countering negative reviews with statements written and posted by students who hold very different opinions.  Social media staff should be in the business of canvassing faculty for successful students who might be called upon to write occasional positive reviews or to provide timely responses to attacks.  These responses must be real, honest and entirely authentic.  Little should be managed beyond the timing.

Just based on size, U-One’s Facebook and Twitter numbers should dwarf those of the small public university with which I am most familiar, North Carolina Central University (NCCU).  But this was not the case.  Despite having one-sixth of the student and alumni populations of U-One, NCCU had more Facebook likes and 14 times more Twitter followers.  A review of U-One’s Facebook content revealed why.

 Social Media Performance Comparison

U-One

NCCU

Student Population

55,000

   8,300

Alumni Population

250,000+

40,000

Facebook Page Likes

13,000

16,000

Twitter Followers

500

  7,000

 Prospective students will check out a university’s Facebook page to see what is happening on campus. It is a critical engagement and marketing vehicle.  At the time of my review, U-One’s Facebook timeline included a post of the CEO’s formal statement regarding an on-campus shooting.  Living 1,000 miles away, I would never have known about this incident had it not been for this post.  How many prospective parents and students learned of this episode this way?

 Other posts exhorted students to complete their senior surveys.

 Facebook offers a golden opportunity to showcase for prospective students what a vibrant and exciting life is in store for them if they choose to attend.  Consistent with the medium’s culture and message properties, content should be fun, social and full of great photos.  Posts should suggest things to do and see on campus and follow up with pictures and news about what they missed.  Primarily, the interests served by the posts should be those of your followers.  Otherwise, why should they follow you?

 Communication such as the CEO’s response to a serious incident on campus, crime reports, surveys and deadlines is better disseminated through segmented mass email.  Targeted email and web-page announcements are the workhorses of business communication. In an emergency, Twitter, phone and text messages, email, webpage alerts, and on-campus video and loudspeaker announcements get the job done.  Let Facebook be Facebook.

 U-One recently launched a slick, professional branding campaign with perfected photos and sanitized student, faculty and alumni statements. An illustration of the changing times in marketing today is the comparison of the number of YouTube views received by one of U-One’s professional marketing videos — less than 3,000 — with those garnered by an amateur, unsanctioned student production — 60,000 views.   How much less would it cost and how much more effective would it be for U-One to offer technical assistance to student interns to produce authentic videos marketing the university in a way that reaches those who regularly block, skip or mute obvious branding messages?

by Cynthia Fobert, a Graduate of The Social Media Management Certificate Training

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:
http://www.wral.com/website-takes-neighborhood-watch-online/12955853/

Link to an interview with the founder of Nextdoor Talks Growth, “Now Being Used In One In Six Neighborhoods In The US”
http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/19/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

ProNetworkingOnLine.com
Martin@ProNetworkignOnLine.com

 

How do I record Skype calls?

Record Skype CallsWant to add an audio interview to your website or social media post? Here’s one simple way to record Skype conversations:

1 – Download this free software “MP3 Skype Recorder” here: http://voipcallrecording.com/MP3_Skype_Recorder

2 – Set up the software.

3 – Use the software whenever you want to record a Skype conversation and take note of where the conversation has been saved on your computer. Make sure to let people know you are recording them and make sure you have permission.

4 – Optional:  Edit the audio file with Audaciy, which is a free open source audio editing program. You will need the LAME free encoder to create MP3’s.

5 – Optional: Upload it to SoundCloud.com  – This lets you share the files on the Web.

Here is an example of my being interviewed by Richard Grassi about artists overcoming their fear of expressing themselves in public, on his website called How to Paint with Acrylics, using this process:
http://howtopaintwithacrylics.com/interviews/martin-brossman-interview/

Also here is a link to other ways to record on Skype:
http://thenextweb.com/apps/2011/02/09/5-great-ways-to-record-skype-calls/

Also notice he added a transcription of the audio for Google to pick it up, for people who just want to read it instead of listening to the interview.

Martin Brossman