While Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus are excellent tools to engage existing customers, they serve a different function in the eyes of prospective customers than independent review platforms. Everyone knows your fans and followers love you; the best online review platforms are seen as more impartial and better places to research the quality of a business before making a purchase. That said, you can still leverage your social media presence into a compelling online review presence. Based on our observations of the 45,000 businesses with reviews on SiteJabber, below are our four best bets for doing just that.

Ask for reviews

Your Facebook fans and Twitter followers likely have profiles on leading review sites. Simply ask them to write you a quick review. You’ll be pleased to see that many are more than happy to — it just never occurred to them without your prompting.

Run a contest

Just like you may have offered giveaways or other discounts to gain fans and followers, do the same for reviews.…

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Every Monday, SmartBrief on EdTech features Product Showcase, a section highlighting new products and services designed to support teaching and learning. Starting this month, we’re pulling all those solutions together into a product roundup, featured here on our Connected Teaching and Learning blog.

It’s been a busy month for ed-tech solution providers – lots of interesting new products, tools and services for schools and classrooms. Here’s a quick look at our top picks for November:

SGAP app. The hands-down most popular new release this month came from the Student Governmental Affairs Program — its new SGAP app. Available at no charge for Android and iOS devices, the app aims to helphigh-school students to learn more about their government system. Students can use the app to learn more about their elected officials, engage in discussion with other learners, and earn points by participating in civic activities.

Hack Your Teaching. This short 1:30 video, from Edvantage outlines five quick tips for infusing energy into the classroom.…

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A warm late December evening in Miami awaited the 163 passengers who traveled on Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 from New York to Florida. During the otherwise uneventful trip, marriage proposals were made, a young couple looked forward to introducing their newborn baby to awaiting grandparents, and college students headed back to school after the holidays. But in a few hours, over 100 of the passengers and crewmembers would be dead. The tragically simple cause of their death will not only shock you, but as the leader of your organization, will also provide a fair warning lesson in the problem of over-focusing on one issue or problem at the expense of other risks.

On Dec. 29, 1972, Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 left New York’s JFK Airport and was approaching Miami International Airport at approximately midnight, when the nose landing gear indicator did not illuminate. The pilots had to identify whether the landing gear had indeed failed to extend, or more likely, if the indicator bulb in the cockpit had simply burned out.…

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On Wednesday, Nov. 19, 110 of the nation’s top superintendents, U.S. Department of Education officials and representatives from a myriad of organizations, convened at the White House for the Superintendents’ Summit, declared “ConnectED to the Future,” by President Obama. The event was an an extension of the ConnectED Initiative launched earlier this year.

Obama kicked off Future Ready, a bold new effort to maximize digital-learning opportunities and help school districts move quickly toward preparing students for success in college, a career and citizenship. In his speech, he said that it’s time to “yank our schools into the 21st century when it comes to technology, and provide the training and tools our teachers need” and that “every child deserves a shot at a world class education.”

In his concluding remarks, the Obama led all 110 superintendents in a digital pledge signing ceremony, where they joined over 1,100 additional superintendents, from all 50 states in a promise to transform their districts into ones that better prepare students for their future.…

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When it comes to healthy foods, knowledgeable consumers are now the norm. Food manufacturers are making efforts to communicate nutritional benefits and most recently, protein has been gaining attention as a health trend with more consumers seeking out innovative new products that will keep them satisfied and healthy. One doctor who saw the potential of protein as far back as the 1970s is Robert Atkins, who founded the Atkins Diet, which though controversial, rose in popularity in the early 2000s. We talked to Joe Scalzo, president and CEO of Atkins Nutritionals, Inc., about current health and wellness trends in grocery and how the industry is — or isn’t — addressing those trends.

What are the three biggest trends you’re seeing right now as far as consumer demand and the health and wellness category go?

The health and wellness landscape has been rapidly changing over the past few years. Bestselling books like Nina Teicholz’s “The Big Fat Surprise” and Dr.…

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