Data safety is serious business, and several surveys published this year have shown that the biggest risk to data safety is your employees.

The notion that your employees hold your business’s security in their hands is a scary one. Fortunately, the surveys have also suggested that it is usually out of ignorance, rather than maliciousness, that employees compromise data.

This means that employees just need some training and motivation to implement proper data security measures. Below are several steps business leaders can take to encourage their employees to make data safety a critical part of their roles within the company.

Run a security audit to see where the weak links are

This first, essential step helps you clearly identify the weak areas in your data security. Of course, most of the weak areas will have something to do with your employees. A study by Osterman Research found that 58% of respondents said malware was unknowingly downloaded by workers browsing the Internet, and 56% blamed the malware and phishing found on workers’ personal e-mail accounts for data security breaches. (read more…)

With the online marketing revolution that’s taking place in the professional services industries, social media can’t be ignored. It’s a means to build business relationships, increase firm reputation and visibility, and generate referrals. And while many firms recognize its importance, they’re still struggling with reaping social media’s full benefits. If this rings true for your firm, take a look at our five steps to develop a social media strategy that aligns with your other marketing efforts.

1. Determine the purpose of your social media program

You need a strategy, but what it will be is dependent on your firm’s specific needs. Are you looking to develop new relationships with industry influencers or your target audiences? Will your strategy be based around promoting educational content and new ideas, or are you hoping to attract more visitors to your website? Are you trying to recruit new talent or wanting to learn more about your competitors’ position in the marketplace? (read more…)

It’s no secret that making the most of social media is integral to the marketing, branding and customer services goals of any business. For small businesses, this can be especially true. In many cases, though, worthwhile social media management is easier said than done. Sometimes, taking a look at the way larger brands utilize their social media accounts can often be insightful. Take a look at the following examples.

Oreo – Brand identity/tone

Oreo’s social media accounts have very particular and cleverly constructed personalities. By posting a combination of puns, one-liners, random facts, pictures, vines, etc., as well as information related to their product, Oreo has developed a laid back, witty, and affable online personality for their brand. Having a casual and bubbly tone of voice makes the brand more approachable and relatable to customers.

Delta Air Lines – Customer services

Delta Air Lines is well known for the use of its “face-saving” Twitter account. (read more…)

Every day, businesses launch and established companies make the decision to re-brand in order to stay culturally relevant. So how do you ensure your brand has a strong voice and compelling content that best reflects your key messaging?

How do you convince consumers to actually care about your product or service in this highly competitive climate? The first step is to decide what your brand story is, be consistent in telling it and consider three vital elements:

1. Provide an excellent consumer experience

If your brand fails to meet expectations, consumers will become confused and abandon your brand for another that does, so it is important to continually deliver messages across multiple platforms that support your brand promise.

Take Warby Parker, for example. The company hit its first-year sales targets in three weeks and has continued to grow. In a recent interview, co-CEO David Gilboa said that the company is growing at a rate of 150% per year. (read more…)

To be a business owner, you’ve got to have thick skin. Sooner or later — and probably sooner — somebody’s going to offer a word of criticism, and whether that criticism is right or wrong, you’ve got to keep from taking it personally.

We all know this, but it’s hard to abide by it; no matter how tough we are, it hurts to have someone speak critically about something so important to us. When it comes to online reviews, however, the problem isn’t just that they can bruise the ego. Online reviews can actually have a major impact on the business’s bottom line.

The importance of social reviews

Statistically speaking, 70% of all consumers now consult with online reviews and use those reviews to inform their purchasing decisions. Social networks like Facebook and Google+ are certainly aware of the increased prominence of online reviews, which is why — in an effort to be all things to all people — they’re steadily boosting the role of online reviews in the social experience. (read more…)