The Big Switch!

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It has been quite some time since I have blogged or posted about things in a while, and many apologies to those who read my blog. But, now I do have something to write about and it is about making the #switch to a Windows based phone.

A Connected World

A little history here. On my Verizon account, I have been carrying 2 separate phone lines. One for personal and the other line for my small business. In the beginning, both lines were Android, but then I switched one of them to the Apple iPhone 4S. Now, initially, I was impressed with the 4S from Apple. This was my first foray into using Apple products, and I must say that they do possesses a certain level of simplicity of use and fluidity of motion. And, I in no way will take away from them the fact that, for the most part, the mobile world does revolve around Apple. And therein lies the problem. Because my world (both personal and business) has always been Microsoft, and not Apple.

Mixing Apples and Oranges (in a manner of speaking..lol!) 

Microsoft Operating Systems have always been on any PC or laptop that I have owned, so there is a sense of familiarity about it. Working with it as long as I have, either just as an end-user, government employee, or a  college instructor, there has always been a version of Windows that I have used to be productive, entertained, and organized. With that being said, when I added the Apple iPhone 4S into the mix, it was not a matter of a poor choice, but rather a “seeing what is out there” type of choice.

Apps, OPs. and Oops!

For my social networking life, there are just three apps that I use with any amount of frequency. They are: Facebook, Google Plus , and Twitter. And with any search in either Android, Apple, or Windows Apps store, you will find these three apps. So, why the switch? Simple. Office 365 and One Note. With Android and Apple mobile OPs, you have One Note, but, no Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. With the large amount of my documents being in MS Word format, having a way to bring them up in native format was a BIG PLUS. Now, I would not propose to create an entire document on my mobile phone, however being able to edit it, make small changes, and save it in native MS Word format is a wonderful thing! Also I tend to toss my phone around a lot, and with an iPhone, this is not a good habit to have..lol.

In the end, its all about the movies…

The final selling point for me, I didn’t actually find out about it until I came home with the phone. And that is – 32 GB internal storage and Carl Zeiss lenses. From my early days of photography, I was the proud owner of a Contax brand camera. Excellent camera, beautiful pictures, and the Carl Zeiss lens made your photos look outstanding. Now, take that lens and put it in a mobile device coupled with 32GB of internal storage for all my music, videos, and movies? You have got me sold! So now on my daily commute, I can chose to either listen to music, watch music videos, or any one of my favorite movies that I have downloaded to the phone (“Smokey and the Bandit” anyone?) Oh, and the looks I get from my fellow commuters is priceless because not everyone has a Windows Nokia phone. So, is any cell phone the perfect cell phone? No, not really. But having tried all three platforms, I can say that the Windows 8 phone fits perfectly into my life, my media, my social networking, and in my pocket!

What was there before the Internet?…

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Life, Love, and pursuit..

Sorry for the delay in between post, but have been taking some time out to tighten up my social media, and also to take a little time to reflect. Personally, I think it is a good idea sometimes to just unplug from the Internet and social media, in order to take a step back and remember life before Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, and blogging. A time to re-energize yourself, put priorities in order, and regain your focus. Hence, the writing of mine at the top of the page.

“Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto”

On my Facebook page, I stated that in this age of technology, we live all aspects of our lives online. From ordering our groceries to finding our life mate, so much of our daily lives are online. And I wondered – “What would happen without the Internet?” Do we remember enough of our basic social skills to still be able to hold a conversation without the assistant of Google, Pulse, or any other news feed for a topic? Did we retain information in our memory to again go to a store, purchase a card and gift, and deliver a birthday message in person? When we relax, do we remember how to pick up an actual good book, or do we automatically reach for our iPad, Galaxy Tab, Nook, or Kindle, and just download the latest seller? Or even something simple as writing a letter to a friend, do we type it or do we take out pad and pencil and write them a letter and (gasp!) mail it to them? I remember, in 2003, there was a large blackout on the East Coast, lasting for at least a few days. No cable T.V, no satellite radio, and of course, no Internet. Now, as Shakespeare would say – “Therein lies the rub” – because even though there was no way to access the information, local radio stations would report the standard reply – “For more information on the progress of repairs. you can follow us on (insert web address here!).

“By the clicking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes..”

The blackout showed me exactly how habit-forming looking to the Internet for our information has become. No longer do we call the operator or look in the Yellow Pages. We now Google or Bing a business to inquire about their hours or products. When we look to make friends, we search our online social media feeds or any number of dating sites. Not that there is anything wrong with that, the thought on my mind was that we are quicker to friend someone online rather than the person we see everyday. And shouldn’t be the other way around?

“Try a little tenderness..”

So, try a little experiment of your own. The next time you want to get in touch with a friend, don’t text or even call, totally surprise them with a visit. On someone’s birthday, buy the card early and mail it to them and take the gift there in person. If you know someone that enjoys reading, buy them an actual Barnes & Noble gift card, instead of a digital one! You may realize that you have forgotten just how pleasing these little acts can be.

As always – Take care, have fun, be safe, and trust me…there is always a reason to smile!

A little late to be relaxing..but, oh well..

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Busy, busy week!

This weekend was a welcome one to see. It was nice to be able to take some time off and just take a nice stroll and have a relaxing day. Taking time to reflect on some recent changes and life happenings and all that kind of mental relaxation.

Just doing me (as the hip kids say..lol!)

Most importantly, took some time out and concentrated on making the best of my social media connections. About a month ago, LinkedIn allowed me to have a Premium Membership. And over the weekend that membership was used to reach out and connect with individuals in the fields of marketing and social media. The membership allowed me to send direct email to heads of social media and marketing departments in firms such as: SMG Venue Management, Rock and Roll Museum and Hall of Fame, and a couple of major movie studios. And when I did that, an amazing thing happened – positive replies were received back! Now, this is not an endorsement for LinkedIn, but I do have to say, that using direct email within a professional platform like LinkedIn, was pretty cool, if only for a while.

Using Social Media to be socially productive!

For me, this is what I have always thought social media was for. To reach out, be productive, and make contact with individuals in the career fields you are most interested in. And with the Internet making it easy to find the names of those who work in various fields, its a shame not to reach out to them. Even if you get no answer back, you have been bold enough to make the first move, and with some power-players, that bold move can not only get you noticed, but also help them to remember you.

Make sure they can see the real you.

So as you reach out to professional individuals no matter what platform you use,  be Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, or any other platform, be sure to present a professional look to not only yourself, but your content as well. Do you have to start deleting friends? No, rather instead focus your posts on the fields you are interested in, and maybe start a blog to increase your web presence. Be bold, but also be respectful as you reach out to professionals in the career fields you are interested in. You may be surprised as to who will answer you back.

 

 

 

 

All work and all play on a Happy 4th!

Hoping that everyone is having fun and wonderful BBQ filled 4th of July celebrations wherever they are on this day! And if you are staying in to celebrate, don’t forget that on the Syfy Channel (http://www.syfy.com) is their annual “Twilight Zone” 4th of July marathon, over on Turner Classic Movies (http://www.tcm.com) the film version on the Broadway musical “1776” starts at 1:30 p.m. EST. Also, you’ve got NASCAR (http://www.nascar.com) over on Fox Sports Channel and keeping the kids busy over on Nickelodeon (http://www.nick.com) is the “Fairly Oddparents” , followed by “Fairly Oddparents:All Grown Up”!

If it is good weather in your area, like here in Blue Water area, you’ll probably find parades, fireworks, outdoor concerts and festivals, some farmer markets, and so much more. So grab your comfy shoes, pack a lunch for the family and head out!

If your day leans toward social media, as mine always does..lol!, then later on you can head over to my company’s blog at http://contentmarketingcreations.wordpress.com/.

There you’ll find hints and tips on how to use social media to help your business grow (quick tip: Ask your friends and family to “like” your Facebook and Google+ business pages) and what the latest trends are.

So again, have a great 4th of July, a great weekend, and we’ll “catch up on the flip side, Good Buddy!”

Summertime equals employment time!

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In most areas, summertime can either be the best time to find a job, or the worst time! For the best, a vast majority of the chain restaurants usually do their hiring due to an increase in customers. Some that I have noticed in my areas has been:

  • McDonalds
  • Burger King
  • Taco Bell
  • Tim Horton’s

The advantage to this increase is that, in areas where there is an increase in tourist traffic, you are more likely to get hired. Now, as we both know, there are two side to each coin, so let me say that in a “non-tourist” area, the likelihood of getting the job decreases and this is where job tools come into play!

1. LinkedIn

One of the most ever looked tools in your job search can be your LinkedIn account. And, if you do not have one, take a moment and get one. It’s free, it’s a great way to get professional connections, and can be invaluable in your job search. Once you have your LinkedIn account all set up and have made a few connections, you are now ready to use their resume building tool to help create a professional resume based on the skills and employment history you have listed. Just follow this link to get to the link! http://resume.linkedinlabs.com/

2. Google +

Google + (https://www.plus.google.com) is sometimes referred to as the “other social media platform”. But is some ways, they are more helpful in a job search than Facebook. Now, all your friends may not be on Google+ (which in a job search can be a good thing..lol!) However, what you will find on Google+ is a more business like atmosphere, and more groups geared toward helping individuals find a employment in their area. Another helpful area is Google Groups and Hangouts. This can be a great tool for long-distance job interviews and a way to connect with people in business.

3. Facebook

Facebook (https://www.facebook.com) can also be a great tool in the search for a job Whether it is a local job or f you are looking to relocate to a new area for a job. You can search and find many listing for jobs on many community pages that people set up to focus on job openings in certain areas. Now, a word of caution here – in searching for a job from Facebook, make sure that your Facebook account reflects the person you would like a perspective employer to see. (translation equals – “might be time to take down the “frat house party pictures”!..lol)

4. Indeed

Indeed.com (https://www.indeed.com) is major job listing board that you find jobs by typing in the zip code for the area that you are interested in. When the results come up, most of the employers will have a link to the website were you can fill out an application for the position that you are interested in.

5. Your College Career Office

Most colleges now days, has a career guidance office where recent graduates can take a look at employment opportunities in the area. The advantage of this approach is that some companies will list job openings with a college instead of placing them in newspapers employment section, because they are seeking a certain type of applicant for the job listed.

Don’t forget you can also use the summer to brush up on your technical skill set. A number of employers today expect job applicants to know how to correctly use a computer, have a understanding of basic math skills, and how to use popular office management programs, software, and technical skills such as:

  •  Microsoft Office
  •  Internet Explorer
  •  POS systems (Cash Registers)
  •  Knowledge of sending and receiving email from your “smart phone”
  •  HTML 5 (web design)
  •  Business communication and customer service skills

This is just a short listing and many of these skills can be learned by taking courses at your local college (some even offer free classes in the summer), your local library, or you can check out YouTube (www.youtube.com) also. For Microsoft Office training, if you sign up for an outlook email account (www.outlook.com), you can get access to Microsoft Office online (www.office.com) and take your own time using the programs to see how they work!

Well, hope this helps in your summer job search and some important things to remember are:

  •  If possible, always apply for jobs in the morning. Lets them know you can be counted on.
  •  Apply for the job as if you are ready to work! If applying for construction,  a “3-peice suit” is not necessary. Any customer service or retail job, Guys –  a button down shirt, khaki pants, and dress shoes can go a long way. Ladies – a nice blouse or top with a matching skirt, and comfortable shoes (if heels, make sure not too much of a high heel) can be a great way to show a professional look.

Hope these tips help you in the search for a summer job and may the summer job turn into a job that becomes a career for you!

Good luck and take care!

 

Branding Your Business on Social Media

Starting your own small business can be a wonderful, exciting, and yet often very scary task! And getting your business noticed, can be an even bigger task. There are so many ways to gain attention for your business and your brand that it can be a job in and of itself to figure out the best way to get that done.

Be Consistent!

For me, I think the first rule in “branding” with your business is to be consistent! If you have a company logo, be sure to use that photo in every internet profile that you create. Taking that small step can help potential customers associate that logo with your name and what services that you have to offer to them. And be sure to follow that up with the naming of your social media accounts. Strive to stay as close to your business name as you can. For some platforms, it may be needed to shorten the name to confirm with their particular naming schemes, but do try your best to have screen name reflect the name of the business.

Which platform for my business?

This can be a crucial question for many a small business.  Because all of the platforms have their own merits as to what they can offer to a small business. First a word of caution: When creating an account on any social media platform, always check to see if there is a “business option” available on that platform. A social media business page will almost certainly offer you better ways to engage, track, and communicate with your customers over the “personal page “option.
When choosing your social media platform, take a look and see what your are comfortable with! Facebook has the “comfort level” that brings the most people on-board. You may already have a personal page, so using it create a business page would not be a stretch for most. If your business is more of a visual medium, try taking a look at platforms such as Instagram, or consider Pinterest if your business is that of arts and crafts, or a restaurant! For the more adventurous, open a YouTube channel for your business to post “how-to” videos.

Location, Location, Location!

For many small business owners today, sometimes the task can be getting noticed. Many consumers will just check for a business on their smartphone using Google Maps, Search, or Yellow Pages. A simple step many business owners forget to take can help them in search engine results. That simple trick is “verification”! If you google the phrase – “Google for Business” you will be given a link to where you can actually verify all the information about your business to make sure that it is correct! You will also be given the option to receive a postcard from Google with a verification number on it. This lets Google know that the business is in operation and ready to go! You can also follow the similar steps for Microsoft Bing. The folks over at Yelp and YP.com have a free basic listing that will allow you to offer customers coupons for percentage off at your business. And a Foursquare account will allow your customers to “check-in” and spread the word about your business.
There are a number of avenues for businesses both large and small to use social media and local services that are internet-based to “brand” and attract, retain, and engage customers and bring them to your door and to inquire about your services.  Taking just a little time to look over each one, can be one of the most important tasks a business owner can do!
If you have any questions, you can can use our company contact form!
Charles
“Your business is our passion”
810.488.0060

Need a Facebook page for your business?? Here are some tips and hints!

You’ve got the business ready to go and now you want to create that all important social media platform page! And you say to yourself, “Hey, I’ve already got a Facebook page, I’ll just create one for the business!” So you click the “Create Page” button, then off you go and your business Facebook page is up before your cup of coffee gets cold. But, did you make the right choices when you were sitting up a page for a business?

Business or Personal..there is a difference!

The quickest way to see if you set up your business Facebook page correctly is to check two things. One: Does your page have an “About” button located under you Facebook cover photo. And two: does your page have an “Admin Panel” If those items are not present, then your page was created as a Personal Page.

As a personal Facebook page, there is no tools that are available to you in order to monitor the performance of your posts, who sees your page, or to be able to promote your own business page.

Let’s Get Started!

When you make the choice to create a Facebook page for your business, the first item to consider is: “What type of business am I?” Because the answer to that question defines the catagory you should use for your page. Once you have decided the type of business, now you can “Create Page”!

Actually Easier Than You Think!

First, using your favorite Internet browser, type www.facebook.com in the address bar and press enter. Once you are logged in, click on the “gear icon” on the page and you will see a menu. The “gear icon” is located on the top right-hand side of the page. There are many choices in this menu, but we are only concerned with the one that reads – “Create Page”. Click that one! You are now looking at a page with six (6) boxes on it, and each box has a different name or choice.

Boxes, Boxes, Oh Why So Many Boxes!

 For the purpose of this writing, let us say that you have a physical location for your new business; in that case you would click the box labeled “local business or place”. When you click the box, you are presented with a new menu! Choose a category for your business by clicking on the arrow and scrolling until you find the type of business you are opening. Then fill in the rest of the information, and agree to the terms and conditions. Once you have all the information filled out, Facebook will let you add a photo. The ideal choice is to use your company logo. For best results, the photo should be 180 pixels by 180 pixels ( you can modify the photo in MS Paint by using the Resize function!) Now you can fill in your “About” section. Tell the public a little about who you are, about the company, and what the company can do for them! You get about 2-3 sentences, so put important information in there including a link to your company website (so they can find you right from your Facebook page!)

Admin Panel

 Now you will have an Admin Panel which is used to edit and manage your page. From here you can add individuals that manage your page. Be sure to read the description of each type of manager so that you give the right level of control to the right person.

Cover Photo

Now it is time to change the standard Facebook cover photo. The cover photo will need to measure (in pixels again) 851 x 315.  

First Post!

 

WooHoo!! Now you are ready for your first post! Be creative, be funny, be welcoming, but above all..just be yourself. This is your company, something to be proud of! (Hint: Clicking the little star in the upper right will “highlight” the post to give a more prominent space on your timeline!)

Done and done!

 

Well, look at that, on your way to becoming a “Facebook Guru”! Created a business page, made a cover and profile photo and made your first post and highlighted it! And all in less than one day! Pat yourself on the back, have a cappuccino, and smile and feel good about the job you have done! Feel free to stop by and take a look at the Facebook pages I have done. My company Facebook  page is at: www.facebook.com/contentmarketingcreations and the Facebook  page I did for a client is at www.facebook.com/ShoeMaze