Giving Tuesday – B. Udelle Friedland Memorial Endowed Scholarship

Giving Tuesday

B Udelle Friedland Memorial Endowed Scholarship as a student B Udelle Friedland Memorial Endowed Scholarship getting her doctorate B Udelle Friedland Memorial Endowed Scholarship for u of md

For Giving Tuesday, I’m hoping for donations to the scholarship fund in my Mom’s name at the University of Maryland. The photo in the middle is the day she received her doctorate in Counseling and Guidance from WVU.

Visit B. Udelle Friedland Memorial Endowed Scholarship to make a donation.

Started a few years ago by my brother David, the scholarship fund is a way for my family to remember my mother and at the same time to give back to a deserving student in need.

Thank you in advance for your generous donation!

If you are interested in applying for the scholarship next year, the link is also on the scholarship page. To receive the B. Udelle Friedland Memorial Endowed Scholarship you must be a returning student (someone who had to leave school for some reason and is now coming back to finish his/her degree) in the social sciences.

Here is a video from the first recipient of the scholarship:

Offering Value


newsletter of social squids

Offering Value

November 2018

 

offering value to clients

In addition to what they pay for, what value do you offer your clients? Do you go above and beyond what they expect from you?

There are lots of things you can do that give extra value to your clients and prospects.

Monthly newsletters

Do you send a newsletter with useful information? Newsletters are a simple way to keep your name in front of your clients while offering them something they can use at the same time.

Time sensitive information, sharing about an upcoming holiday, season or event, is excellent for newsletters. Evergreen information, something ongoing that is handy all of the time, is also good to use. The information can be a how-to, a demonstration or a narrative.

You Tube channel

The same information you send in written form can be done in video form for a You Tube  or Vimeo channel. If it’s a demonstration, you can go through the steps as you explain it.

Guest blogs

By either sharing someone else’s blog or having a guest blogger, you can give value to your clients and page visitors without working very hard. It’s good for you and the guest blogger because now you are both getting information in front of your clients and potential clients.

Ebook

If you have something to say, but it’s too long to be a newsletter, consider the format of an ebook or PDF file to send clients. Give them useful information or a sourcebook on a topic of interest. They don’t have to be 100 pages, but could be if you wanted. Usually they are around 8-20 pages. You will often see them on websites where it will say, “Join our mailing list and receive our free ebook on _______.” Some websites refer to them as white papers.

You write the booklet once, but by giving it to new clients or new people on your mailing list, you get continuous use of it. The information can become outdated, so you might have to update it regularly.

Get togethers

Have in-person get togethers where you meet and greet clients and have a speaker. When you offer clients and prospects information that is handy within your field it is meaningful to them. They are more likely to recommend you when they have good experiences associated with you and your business.

These get togethers can be networking events, lunch and learns, speaker series, client parties, etc. You are not limited in what you can do to get people together. At the beginning when you introduce the speaker you have a chance to thank everyone for coming and throw in a little info about yourself and your business.

Thank you notes

When you have a reason to send one, handwritten thank you notes are appreciated by everyone. These notes let your clients know you have been thinking about them and taking time from your busy schedule to thank them personally.

Giving people value when they don’t expect it is a way to keep your name in front of your clients and prospects while doing something good for them. They tend to remember those experiences and that can lead to referrals.

Dealing with emails

Dealing with emails

newsletter of social squids
As a business owner, I’m sure you get a ton of emails every day just like I do. Keeping up with emails can take a good chunk of time every day.

Dealing with the junk

The first thing I do is clear out the junk. I set up rules (which you can do on a Mac) to send mail from spammers to my junk or trash folder and they’re gone forever.

I don’t unsubscribe from emails from people I know, but I get added to mailing lists all of the time and they are not emails I want or need. So I unsubscribe.

If you set up an account with a company where you buy things online, don’t subscribe to their emails unless you really want them. Many of them send daily emails, or at least weekly emails that can fill your inbox quickly.

You might get notices from social media sites, you can limit them by changing your setting in the social media site to not receive email notifications from them. Of course, don’t delete the ones you need. I like to know when someone messages my business pages so I can respond to them quickly.

Responding to emails

A good rule of thumb is to wait to open emails until you have time to answer them. Don’t open an email and think, “I’ll get back to him later.” Do it now and be done with it. People lose business every day because they don’t get back to people.

Make sure people know you are answering the emails and not a bot. Create a signature with your name, website, phone number and any other pertinent information they might need. That shows the sender you are responding and not an underling.

Put the sender’s name in the greeting (and always write a greeting) when you respond and be personal. If the email is coming from your website contact page, it’s just as important as a direct email.

Be sure to plan time in your schedule for responding to emails so you don’t get behind. They add up quickly and will end up costing you a good bit of time to get caught up again.

11 tips to make the most of your Facebook posts

newsletter of social squids

Grow your following

We all have Facebook pages, but getting new followers is can be tough. Here are some tips to increase your following and engagement of your posts.

1. This one is obvious. You can buy page likes. However, when you buy followers, they might not remain followers. Some will follow for a short period of time and then disappear.

2. Using the correct demographics for your business when buying followers can help with retention, but the further you narrow down your audience, the more expensive the ad will be. In the end, however, you get higher quality followers.

3. A good way to encourage post sharing is to have a contest where people have to share in order to have a chance at winning. You can pick a winner at random, use the funniest caption or come up with another way to pick the winner. Another contest idea is to have customers/clients post pictures with your products and pick the post with the most likes as the winner. Best snowman during a snowstorm, best Halloween costume, cutest pet, etc. are also good contest topics. The prize can be anything from your products, services or even a Target gift card. People love winning!

4. Respond to all of the comments on your posts, even (and especially) the negative ones. Explain your point of view in your return comment and then send them a private message trying to make them feel better. Many times the person who posted the negative comment will then post a positive one once they are appeased.

5. Combine forces with someone who has an adjacent or complimentary business to yours. Each of you post things and tag each other so that the post will appear on both pages. You will get some crossover viewers. It is especially helpful if you find someone who has more followers than you.

6. Become a name dropper! If you mention a well known business or person, eat at a popular restaurant or go to a function at a big night spot tag the person or business in your photo and/or post so more people will see what you have to say.

7. Make sure all of your social media pages have links on your website. It’s surprising how many people don’t do this.

8. Comment on other pages with meaningful content. Picking pages with lots of followers gets more engagement.

9. Add a link to your Facebook page to your email signature so everyone you email has a link to your page.

10. Figure out what is working? Monitor your results when you run an ad, have a contest or try another method of boosting your following. Look at the “insights” on your page to see if there is a spike in new likes.

11. Post often and consistently so people know you are seriously involved in your business.

*BONUS TIP* Don’t ask your friends to like your comments, ask them to like and SHARE your comments. When someone shares a comment, it goes to all of their friends and you can reach exponentially more people that way. This is the best way to get new fans, but is often the least used!

Good luck! Please keep us informed on how these tips are working for you by sharing your thoughts and ideas on our page.

DNA Day

DNA testingToday is DNA Day and there are so many reasons to find out about your DNA. In my family, my brother had it done, along with a couple cousins. For me, since I already knew where my family came from, finding out in which countries my ancestors lived was a lot less important that the other information from DNA testing.

DNA for family

The great news is, we discovered new first cousins we didn’t know were out there’d. We have connected online and are meeting in person in a few weeks. I’m sorry my uncle isn’t around to get to meet his children.

I started a family Facebook page and everyone is sharing photos and stories. It’s been a lot of fun reminiscing. Some of the older relatives helped me identify some unknown people in photos where I either didn’t know who the people were or couldn’t remember. The new cousins told their stories and shared photos with all of us.

Knowledge is power

Finding out about genetic illnesses like the bracha breast cancer gene can be a way to find out if you might have that disease. Of course, you can still get breast cancer even if you don’t have the brachia gene. People have made the decision to have a preventative mastectomy to lower their risk once discovering they did have the gene.

Isn’t science great?

 

If a website is there and no one looks at it…

… does it really exist?

SEO will help your ranking

Why don’t more people see my website?

You listen to everyone’s advice and you got a website, but no one is visiting. Why does it matter whether or not you have a site or not?

The truth is that you just never know when a prospect may look to see exactly what is on your website and what you do. Almost every business, big or small, has a website. It’s just something you need to do as part of your marketing in today’s world.

The mistake many people make is they think a stagnant website is enough. It’s not.

One of the things the search engines, like Google and bing, look for is activity on those pages and sites. The more active you are, the better.

Websites are ranked by a lot of factors, but one of them is activity – new pages and/or posts and the updating of existing pages and/or posts. If you have a blog and never put anything on it, that’s a negative. If you post regularly it’s a plus.

SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, is a method by which you can make changes on your website to have the search engines look more favorably at it. How do people search for you? What terms do they use? For example, in my case it is social media, Baltimore, Maryland, Social Squids, graphic design, writing, websites, etc. Those terms are called keywords.

Search engines frequently change their algorithms in order to fight against people trying to cheat the system. The algorithms are getting smarter so people are forced to be more legitimate in how they put words on their sites. That old, tricky tactics made for some terrible writing on websites.

If you use WordPress for your website, there is a handy plugin called Yoast SEO. It works really well by giving you pointers on how to add or subtract things to your site in order to make the SEO better and thereby help your search engine ranking. It focuses on keywords, outbound links, images and other components that will improve the flow and look of your website while helping the search engines find you and send people your way. Yoast uses a red, amber, green light system like traffic lights. The idea is to get all of the pages on your site to be green in the SEO category. There is also a “readability” category that gets a score.

Whether you use Yoast or other software, amping up your site for search engines is important if you want to stay competitive. Social Squids is here if you need us with help for SEO or writing for your site.

How do you define success?

how do you define successAfter watching the Barbara Bush funeral on Saturday, I have been thinking about legacies. What will your business leave to the world? How do you measure whether or not your business, and you as a person, are successful? How do you define success?

We had a discussion in my networking group today about this topic. Of course, there is the money definition. A successful person is one who has a financially successful business, or is financially successful himself.

But if you look a little deeper and think about how you define happiness, the money is only one small component. Don’t get me wrong, it certainly helps make things easier. However, it’s not the barometer most people use to measure happiness or success.

People who have a happy family life consider themselves a success. Those of us who are lucky enough to work at a job we love, that gives us fulfillment – and yeah, money too – consider themselves successful.

Others define success as having enough money to travel and do the things they want to do in life with their families. Is a difficult thing to define, but it’s worth a thought.

Someone in the networking group mentioned that as we get older, our priorities change. The nice car, the house in the “right” neighborhood and other status symbols seem to lose their pull. People are less interested in things and more interested in experiences.

When it’s all said and done, your material things are not that important. In fact, there was a controversial article within the last year about how kids no longer want their parents’ stuff. Millennial have less desire to take those hand-me-downs over getting something new.

Living a good life, having good friends, being of service to your clients, loving your family – those are things that matter more than anything else in the end.

 

There’s something to be said for networking in person

networking

While I love social media and doing everything online, at the same time I see the benefits of networking and meeting people in person too. Social Squids can do work anywhere in the world as long as people pay in US dollars, but talking to people in the flesh, seeing their body language and shaking their hands creates a connection that just isn’t possible online.

Meetup and Eventbrite are good places to seek out networking events that might be of interest to you. Looking for you local chamber of commerce is another source of networking events where you can meet other marketing people or business owners.

Posting on social media sites and engaging with people on Facebook, Twitter LinkedIn and Instagram is wonderful. You have the opportunity to meet people all over the world and exchange ideas with them. You can have your brand get a lot more exposure than you would if you only concentrated on meeting people in person.

Of course, meeting and engaging with people in both ways is best for marketing yourself and your business. Just don’t forget about the human contact part of the marketing picture in your haste to get your message to as many people as possible.

Dangerous spam

newsletter of social squids

 

 

 

 

Lately there has been a lot of talk about hacking. Criminals are getting into corporate databases and getting people’s email addresses or even credit card information. For those hackers who get your email, they may send you something that can wreak havoc on your life.

We’ve all received suspicious emails without knowing whether to open them or not. If you’re in doubt, do not click on any links or attachments!

There is annoying spam, which is harmless. However, in the past couple years there have been more and more cases of dangerous spam. Cases of ransomware – holding your personal data for ransom – are the most frightening. Some breaches require software to be added to your computer in order to fight back.

Most of us are familiar with the Nigerian prince scam, but there are many others out there including lottery winners, tax scams, expired warranty claims, religious, fake contest winners and all kinds of other ways to bilk hard working people out of their money.

There are some easy ways to spot dangerous emails. If you receive an email from a credit card company, bank, investment firm or any other company where you do not have an account that talks about your account – that is suspicious. The content of the email may mention how your account is overdrawn or some other problem. You know you don’t have an account with them, so you can’t be overdrawn. Simply delete the email.

If you look at the first image, you will see an email I received recently. It claims to be from Wells Fargo. I no longer have an account with Wells Fargo, so that was a red flag for me.

dangerous spam is in your mailbox

Secondly, it says “Dear Member.” Banks always have a custom greeting that includes your name. That was red flag #2. The next red flag was the first sentence. It is not written in plain language. Banks are clear and concise with their messages. If there are misspellings (there are none in this one), that’s another red flag.

Absolutely, under no circumstances, click on an attachment if you are unsure of the sender!

In the second image, you will see that if you click on the sender’s name, you will see their email address. Obviously, that email is not coming from Wells Fargo. A real email from them would be from wellsfargo.com and not some foreign country. Sometimes they get tricky and have an email that might have Wells Fargo within the email address like wellsfargoaccounts@gmail.com, but if it’s not from wellsfargo.com, it’s not from them.

dangerous spam email

If you get what you think is a suspicious email and it’s from a company where you do have an account, don’t reply to it. Never click the link in the email if you are unsure. It can end up putting a virus on your computer. You can call them or go to their website and ask them if they sent the email. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

I used to try to report suspicious emails to companies when I received them, but found it was incredibly time consuming. Many times banks, cable companies, phone companies, etc. have places where you can report suspicious emails to help them put a stop to the activity. Unfortunately, most of the time, it is difficult to find that information on their sites. I have often reported suspicious emails to PayPal as their information was easy to find. You simply forward the suspicious email to spoof@paypal.com. The address for suspicious Comcast emails is abuse@comcast.net.

When you forward an email, it contains all of the header information (who sent it and from where it was sent) so the company can try to stop these people from hurting anyone.

There is virus protection software that will weed out at least some of the bad emails. Avast is a free anti virus program that works for Mac and PC computers. It used to be that Macs were such a small part of the home computer market that no one attacked them with a virus or malware. Today everyone needs to have some form of protection.

If you have older family members using email, it is important to let them know how to spot suspicious emails and to be leery of them. That demographic is the most vulnerable. Be safe with your emails and use common sense before responding to emails from large companies or opening any attachments.

Fake news

avoid being sucked in by fake newsA couple weeks ago one of my Facebook friends posted a news bulletin announcing the death of an actor. I had seen the actor that very morning on live television and I doubted the post was real. A few of the person’s contacts doubted it as well. We all responded to the post saying we thought it was fake. She took it down immediately, but I’m sure many people posted the same story on their pages.

The 24 hour news cycle has its downfalls and fake news is the biggest among them. Social media users are confused about how to tell what is real and what is not. It is important to know that what you are sharing is real. We need to know the truth now more than ever.

There are a few ways anyone can verify if something is real or not.

At Social Squids, we love social media. When I see a rumor reported by someone on Facebook, I rarely take it at face value. Too many people, my own friends included, are taken in by fake stories and claims. If I see that someone has died or news of a plane crash or someone got a DUI, I immediately go to the two big social media sources for news – Facebook and Twitter. Twitter seems to scoop everyone on news so I generally start there. Is the news item trending?

I love Twitter, but sometimes they get it wrong too. After I check Twitter I go to trending topics on Facebook. Next I check the news media sites. If everyone is running the same story, I feel like it’s probably true.

If you can’t find a big story on CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC or Fox, it’s probably fake. Breaking news stories might not be online right away. But for the most part, the major networks know about breaking news almost immediately.

Try to find the original link or source of the story. Is it a reputable site? If you’ve never heard of it, that’s a red flag. The story might be a fake.

Is the news a parody or satire? Sometimes parts of stories like ones on The Onion are taken out of context and reposted as news. NewsMutiny and the Borowitz Report are also popular parody sites.

Clickbait is news that is a question or statement is so titillating that you feel compelled to click on it. You then fall down the rabbit hole and end up reading a story that never answers the question you originally found intriguing. It’s a form of fake news, a teaser headline with no actual story to back it up.

Other fake news might have a headline that doesn’t match the image or video. It may claim that one person was arrested, but the video is actually of different person getting arrested. It can also show a current story with images that are from a long time ago and obviously the two don’t match. These stories are both misleading and untrue.

Foreign URLs are another tip off to fake news. If it’s something happening in this country, but you can’t find the story on the major news networks, check out the URL of the article.

Be responsible and question everything you read. Verify news with multiple sources before you believe it. Try your best not to spread rumors that have no basis in truth. In the world we live in today, you have to be a skeptic.