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After Black Friday Comes Giving Tuesday | Learn How Your Non-Profit Can Benefit

When the chaos that is Black Friday is over, and things are getting back to normal (or, normal for the holiday shopping season), it is time for an important day in your not-for-profit calendar: Giving Tuesday.

Set up as a reaction to the quite often literally rampant consumerism on Black Friday, Giving Tuesday is a day for individuals and businesses to give to charities. Unsurprisingly for a movement that prizes civility and public-spirited giving over macing your neighbours to get at a 70%-off waffle iron, the idea is big in Canada (you can read more about it here.) This year Giving Tuesday will be held on November 28th.

How can your non-profit use this time to encourage people to give back to the community, country and world?

Start Early (And Set Goals)

At the risk of repeating advice from our Black Friday blog post, starting the preparations for Giving Tuesday early is important. Giving yourself a few weeks or even months to plan, prepare and spread the word will reap dividends.

Shout It Out

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are guaranteed to be trending topics on any social platform you care to name for their respective days, so a good thing to do in the days and weeks preceding Giving Tuesday is get on your social platform and talk about it. People are more likely to engage with a not-for-profit with their wallets if the charity engages with their lives- give them the idea that they can (and probably should) give back on #GivingTuesday and they’ll associate you with a good thing in their life, and reward you accordingly.

Engage Locally

Your local community is a great source of exposure and networking, so make it a priority to promote there first. From a purely marketing standpoint, a ten-thousand-dollar donation to the Red Cross doesn’t have as much of an impact on local people as a fun run at a local park (which is not to say that you shouldn’t do it.) Try to find local events you can partner with on Giving Tuesday, and if you can’t find them, make them: wash cars, organize a #giveback day, partner with other local businesses. You don’t need to shout about it in more than a few blog or social media posts, but it will have an impact, especially if you can multiply that impact by…

Networking

Retailers are going to be in the same boat as you on the Black Friday week- their marketing efforts drowned out by the big stores, the discounts they can offer limited by their ability to buy in bulk. But, by joining together on Giving Tuesday with other smaller, local not-for-profits you can level the playing field. Team up to promote Giving Tuesday across your social media channels, organize a big charity event with local partners, design a poster for #GivingTuesday that can be in every store in town. Your ‘competitors’ are often not really your competitors when compared to Amazon and the like, so by joining together you can massively expand your reach.

Every Little Bit Helps

If you have retail partners then a donation box at the checkout can gather a few dollars for you, but why not expand on that? Businesses want to give back for PR purposes, so reach out and see if any are willing to organize a fundraising day or give a percentage of their profits over a period, and (depending on their POS system) can often add the option for customers to make a donation on top of their purchase. Businesses can also add this option to their online sales with apps like this one.

Make It Fun

Nobody likes feeling guilty about giving, so instead of plastering your building with pictures of starving orphans, come up with a fun name for your particular campaign, hire a dunk tank and make some money by dunking your boss, play music, hire a face painter for the kids.

Integrate It

If you’ve been working on a marketing message for the past year it doesn’t make sense for you to suddenly switch up your message when Giving Tuesday comes around. Keeping your tone and imagery consistent won’t just prevent tonal whiplash when you’re moving from one tone to another, it will enforce the idea that charitable giving is an intrinsic part of a successful community.

 

Giving Tuesday is getting bigger every year- $177 million was raised in 2016. You can contribute to breaking that record, and we want to see your non-profit succeed on this day!  If you’re ever looking for advice on not-for-profit marketing (or how you can access free advertising dollars as a registered charity) then get in touch with us 🙂

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday: Tips for Retail’s Biggest Week

So you’re looking for a Black Friday Idea…

People climbing over each other for a juicer, old ladies pushing children to the floor to get at a Swiffer mop, at least one fatality, and at the centre of it, all consumer goods priced low, low, low!  Black Friday is here again folks!

The biggest retail day of the year started as a distinctly US phenomenon but has now spread to the whole English-speaking world. Just like Christmas, it keeps getting earlier each year, with weeks of deals and flash-sales leading up to the big day itself, which has been joined by the eCommerce-centric Cyber Monday and self-explanatory Small Business Saturday.

So how do you come up with a Black Friday Idea that can benefit your retail business, hopefully to the point that people are camping outside your doors at5 am?

Realize That People Kind of Don’t Like Black Friday

Everybody complains about Christmas getting earlier every year… then put their lights on in mid-August anyway. Because of the riots and tramplings, Black Friday has not gotten a great reputation- but those deals though. You can connect with your customers by giving them a little wink via social media or in-store signage that says ‘hey, we know that this is crazy, we get it, but did you see this stand mixer?’ One company even completely boycotted Black Friday but paid their employees all the same.


Send emails and social posts out several weeks before the big day, even if you don’t know exactly what your plans are, then ratchet up from there as your plans become more concrete. You’ll be competing for a lot of attention on Black Friday itself, so make sure that you have a plan to grab as much attention as you can.

Start Early

Send emails and social posts out several weeks before the big day, even if you don’t know exactly what your plans are, then ratchet up from there as your plans become more concrete. You’ll be competing for a lot of attention on Black Friday itself, so make sure that you have a plan to grab as much attention as you can.

Be Funny

Sex is supposed to sell, but more often than not it makes people feel gross. Shock is supposed to wake people from their complacency, but really it makes 90% of people turn off. Sentiment should speak to universal human truths, but mostly it just sounds schmaltzy. That leaves humour: provided that you’re not punching down, being vulgar or just plain weird then humour is the best way to reach audiences on a gut level. Using consumer’s own uneasy relationship with Black Friday, a deep knowledge of your audience and whatever inspiration you can find you can craft something that people are going to remember.

Pay For It

If you’re already making deep cuts into your profit margins by offering staggering deals then paying more for advertising might have your accountant breaking out in a cold sweat, but in today’s competitive attention economy it might be the only way to get in front of enough eyeballs to get that coveted line-out-of-the-door. Facebook advertising allows you to create highly-targeted multimedia ads, and many other platforms offer similar functionality (although Facebook remains the largest.) Don’t discount traditional media either: plenty of people will still respond to a well-made newspaper insert.

How should you set up a great social media campaign for Black Friday? Here’s a sample idea:

  • Post a great video to your company’s Facebook page.
  • Pay to promote that video to your followers (no more than $100 of spend should be necessary here depending on the size of your market.)
  • Build a retargeting ad campaign- a type of Facebook ad campaign that shows ads to people who have already done something on your page or website. Here, you should create a campaign that targets anyone who watched more than half of your video.
  • Go hard and spend big to target those people with ads about your Black Friday deals- they’ve shown that they are engaged.

Tighten Up Your eCommerce

Cyber Monday is a huge day for eCommerce, and it’s not just the big players (or, rather, player- Amazon). Any company that sells online can jump on the bandwagon, but to do so you’ll need a rock-solid eCommerce solution. You may be able to attract more people, but the same rules still apply: make sure that there are no errors, make sure that it’s easy to add items and pay for your order, make sure that the shipping options are transparent- free shipping is a major incentive at any time of year. It’s probably the wrong time to switch from Shopify to Magento or vice-versa, but might be the right time to add some plug-ins that tighten up the checkout process- provided that you’ve got plenty of time to test it and work out any bugs.

Also, because you’ll have an influx of new customers, it’s important to convert them into fans instead of just taking their money once a year and hoping they come back the next. Follow-up emails, incentives to sign up for social media and add-ins for the packages that build goodwill- all of this will convert a few Black Friday bargain-hunters into regular customers.

6) Go Mobile

A large portion of shoppers will be browsing on their mobiles instead of a desktop, which offers a host of opportunities- and problems. Obviously, on a seven-inch screen, you’re not going to be able to show as much or incorporate the same level of text description- a couple of sentences should be sufficient. Mobile also allows you to employ push notifications: it may seem a little intrusive, but eCommerce vendors have found that a pop-up message about an abandoned shopping cart or a notification of a flash sale is a valuable addition to your company’s eCommerce operations.

Stay Small

On Black Friday you’ll be up against big box stores that can afford deep, deep discounts and pyramids of HD TVs; on Cyber Monday you’ll be up against Amazon, who has been taking on the high street and winning for the past twenty years. To level the playing field, consider skipping Black Friday/Cyber Monday altogether and going straight to Small Business Saturday. It might not have the small multi-billion dollar clout as its cousins earlier in the week, but it does allow you to leverage the goodwill people have towards small businesses and their antipathy towards the big retailers.

With a little imagination and the willingness to go the extra mile to provide compelling discounts for your customers, the Black Friday – Cyber Monday shopping period can be the most lucrative shopping period of the entire year. On or offline, you’ll be up against the big boys in retail, from Best Buy to Amazon, so come up with a great Black Friday idea and use what makes you special- you’re small, you’re local and you can build a following by going directly to your customers.

 

If you’re ever looking for marketing strategy advice, be sure to come by and visit our crew here at Octopus Creative!

Happy World Octopus Day 2017!

It’s World Octopus Day 2017, so we thought we’d do a little storytelling to celebrate.

So there was an octopus in an aquarium in the US. His handler fed the octopus buckets of shrimp then went back to his desk in another room. A little while later, a single shrimp was thrown onto his desk. The octopus had seen that one of the shrimp had gone bad, picked it up, escaped its tank, crossed the hall, found his handler’s office amongst many others, and was mad that he wasn’t getting good quality shrimp.

Let’s think about what that means: it means that the octopus could have escaped at any time but chose not to, that it can recognize one human face amongst the thousands it would have seen at a busy aquarium, that it can navigate a man-made environment and that it gets indignant like a middle-aged lady in a restaurant asking to see the manager when the food is sub-par.

Other octopods have flooded aquariums by dismantling valves, performed juggling tricks, and tap shrimp on their shoulders to trick them. It’s been theorized that they aren’t just smart, but they can make plans, build homes, communicate, use tools and even have a sense of humour. That doesn’t mean that their minds are anything like ours- their brain is distributed between their head and their nine arms, all of which can move independently if severed.

It’s not just their brains that are amazing: the only solid part of their bodies is their beak, so they can fit through anything that their beak can fit through—that means that a 600 pound, 16 foot long giant Pacific octopus can squeeze through a drainpipe. The Blue-Ringed Octopus is crazily poisonous, and if it doesn’t kill you outright its specific poison, tetrodotoxin, can induce ‘zombie-like’ symptoms in humans.

The take home point is: Octopods are cool as hell and we should appreciate them, so happy World Octopus Day 2017!

How 5 Kinds of Interactive Content Can Raise Your Marketing Game

In a previous article we talked about how interactive content is the current state of the art in content marketing: rather than asking your audience to sit through a video or remember one of the thousands of pictures they might see in their Facebook feed each day, you can give them an easy activity that produces a result, much like a game.

 

People are wired to do things in order to get results, not to sit passively and get told what to do. Video game designers talk about a ‘hedonic treadmill’, the steady drip of rewards at regular intervals that keep a player engaged. You can use the same principles to design experiences that keep people engaged:

 

Buzzfeed Badges

 

Quizzes: Buzzfeed has become famous for its quizzes that ask often bizarre questions to come up with a weird, non-sequitur answer. What makes them fun is that every question is surprising and entertaining- there’s usually no ‘pick your favorite colour’ or animal questions and they’ll often go on strange tangents rather than taking a predictable path. Facebook has an app that allows you to put quizzes on your page for your current and future clients.

 

Calculators: Businesses from real estate to financial services often use calculators to work out the cost of a mortgage or return on an investment. Any company with a variable cost for their products can help their customers with a calculator: find the cost of getting a granite countertop based on the square footage and material, design a log cabin and get a quote on the price. Using graphics and interactivity to make calculators more than just spreadsheets will encourage their use.

 

Trivia: Everybody loves to feel smart, and trivia quizzes allow them to do so and share their results with their friends. The rule with trivia quizzes is to avoid trying to promote your company (‘Mountain Dew is a) refreshing, b) delicious or c) deliciously refreshing’). Just entertain people: once they start having a good time with your brand the sales will follow.

 

Tournaments: A simple ‘who would win’ survey with multiple rounds and brackets is something guaranteed to get people coming back: people get invested in ‘their’ answer, they get into arguments (which you’ll have to moderate if they get too heated) and they come back to see who won. Anyone who has seen how engaged people get with sports will know how powerful a tournament can be in terms on engagement.

 

Octopus Infographic

 

Infographics: We’ve probably all seen an infographic at one point in our lives, and they have become so prevalent that there are websites devoted to nothing but making them, like Canva and Venngage. Static infographics are all well and good, but they can be enhanced with interactivity, movement and even video to become a fully-featured experience.

 

Your audience is getting more resistant to marketing all the time, almost as if they’re acquiring immunity to each new mutation of the marketer’s playbook. Well-designed interactivity draws people in by giving them exactly what they came online to find: fun.

 

If you’re interested in Content Marketing for your business, click here to find out more!

What You Can Do With 360-Degree Photography For Business

Before you read any further, take a look at this incredible example of 360-degree photography (if you have VR goggles handy, put them on now):

Wow, right? That was all done with a Sumsung Gear 360, a handheld 4K camera that records in a 360 degree arc around the camera. A lot of that wow came from the technology at first, particularly if you were watching in VR, but after that wore off you were probably wowed by the Cloud Forest’s cascading greenery and vertigo-inducing aerial walkways. It started off as an advertisement for a camera and ended up as something the Singapore tourist board could have commissioned.

 

Your business could benefit from 360-degree photography too, and we can help.

 

You could create virtual tours of your business, walk prospective home buyers through a new home, allow tourists to see a destination as if they were there. ‘The only limit is your imagination’ may be a little bit of a cliché, but, well, the only limit here is your imagination.

 

You’ve probably been hearing about the value of photography for your brand for the last decade, and some of you might have gone and made content for your companies. 360-degree photography is the next step: it offers all of the advantages of photography alongside one key difference- interactivity. Nobody ever looks at these images without interacting with them in some way, moving the camera around or zooming in and out, and plenty of people will view images multiple times to make sure that they caught everything (some companies have even made 360 scavenger hunts to capitalize on this trend). Interactive experiences stay in the memory for a long time, so if you have something to say 360 photography is one of the best ways to do it.

 

We’ve already done 360 tours for our clients, and we are a Google Business View Approved Agency. We love working with this technology, so if you to get the ball rolling on 360 photography get in touch with us here.

8 Revealing Reasons You Need A Digital Marketing Sidekick

Let’s be honest here. The internet dominates our lives from the time we wake up until the time we hit the sac. We have tiny little hand-held devices that allow us to search for whatever pops into our mind and all we have to do is twiddle our fingers! As a business, you should be where your audience is, and today that’s online. Maintaining an online presence can be all-consuming. Trying to stay ahead of the wave while also running a business is like trying to row a boat upstream with a broken paddle. Sure, it is possible, but you probably won’t enjoy it. That’s where a digital marketing agency floats over and hoists you out of troubled waters.

  1. Websites Say What?

Typically, your website is one of the first places your audience will learn about your business. With 87% of internet users browsing the web on their smartphone, having a is beneficial. Websites require maintenance and security that protect not only your content but any information your potential customers’ input, including their email address or payment information. CSS, HTML, OCTCRE (you caught us – that last one isn’t real!) are just some of the languages digital marketing agencies speak fluently to help you create a killer website.

  1. Let’s Get Visual, Visual!

People process visual content faster than they process words. If a relevant image is paired with writing, we retain 65% of the information three days later*. Hiring a digital marketing agency means you’ll have a one-of-a-kind website that has been designed to showcase your entire brand. Of course, having professional images of your product or service is an incredible asset and totally outshines flip-phone camera pictures (does anyone use flip phones anymore?).

  1. Your Tricked-Out Wooden Leg

Hiring a digital marketing agency will give your online brand the personal touch that could be causing you difficulty. We know it sounds counterproductive – how can hiring a marketing agency make your brand more personal? Our job is to know your business inside and out. We have to know where you currently are and where you want to go. We have to know your competition. Working with a digital marketing agency can uncover aspects of your brand you were unaware of previously – like your brand voice. Online marketing has to be personalized for your business because no two businesses are the same.  Sometimes that outside perspective can do wonders for your business and give you the leg-up that you need. 😉

  1. Diving into Social Media

Alberta has some of the heaviest users of social media in Canada, with 75% of Albertans* using Facebook regularly. If you’ve avoided social media marketing because it’s confusing, you’re missing out on a boatload of opportunity to interact directly with your customers. Facebook has so many features that it can make your head spin. Pages, groups, ads, offers, friends, followers; what does it all mean? Embracing digital marketing solutions means businesses can target with incredible precision, gain a better understanding of their audience, and have measurable marketing!

  1. Pull Out Your Periscope

Your business is like your baby and you dreamed it into reality. When you love something as much as we know you love your business, it can be hard to remove the rose-coloured glasses look at it objectively. Having another person (or crew of people) to bounce ideas off of can be just what you need to break through the glass ceiling.

  1. No Floaties Required

When you hire an employee, you have to train them. It takes time for a new employee to understand their role and the expectations required of them. With an agency, there is no training required, freeing you up to focus on what you do best – running your business.

  1. Swimming in a Sea of Gadgets

Part of a marketer’s job is to stay up-to-date with current trends, and that includes technology. One of the most recent cool gadgets is the Google 360 camera, and guess who has access to one? Your digital marketing sidekick, of course! Marketing agencies have access to premium-level services, software and analytical data reports and can interpret the data to help you make uber-intelligent decisions about the next step your business takes.

  1. It’s Okay If You Don’t Speak Pirate Fluently

Writing is a creative tool you can use to connect with your audience and excellent writing always leaves people wanting more. The secret to incredible writing is in the planning. A full strategic plan should be in place before you even sit down to write a single sentence. Without establishing your brand voice, rule sets, or deciding your audience, your content will be left without direction.

 

Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and admitting that can only be beneficial to your business. Whether you need help with graphic design in Lac La Biche or content writing in Cold Lake, a digital marketing agency sidekick is the best way to navigate the world wide web. Rather than spending your time being frustrated with social media, you could be focusing on other aspects of your business. Hiring an agency means you’ll have an entire crew of people to help sail your ship through choppy waters. A captain doesn’t get far without a crew behind him!

If you’re perplexed by Facebook, struggling with content, have no free time, are worried about your website, or need help with graphic design in Lac La Biche, we can be the marketing sidekick you need in the Lakeland, that way you can #StickToYourThing.

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

  1. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/visual-content-marketing-strategy#sm.000ezgot317iuf9aqdm2kkzewpy6x

2. http://www.6smarketing.com/blog/survey-alberta-facebook/

Could Your Home Router Really Be A Security Risk?

Earlier today, Wordfence released a blog highlighting a current trend amongst hackers; accessing home internet routers and turning them into weapons to target WordPress sites.

According to Wordfence:

“These IPS switch on, perform a few attacks and then switch off and aren’t heard from again for a month. What we have found is a botnet that is distributed across thousands if IPs. Each IP is only performing a few attacks, those attacks are spread across many websites, and the attacks only last a few minutes or hours.

The attacker controlling this botnet is using several evasive techniques. They are spreading their attacks across a very large number of IP addresses. They are using low-frequency attacks to avoid being blocked. They are also spreading their attacks across a large number of WordPress sites.”

At this moment in time, the hackers in question are targeting countries such as Algeria, India and the Philippines, but you never know where they’ll strike next. If a hacker manages to infiltrate your home router, they can access everything on your home network: your workstation, mobile devices that use WiFi, and other internet controlled devices like climate control systems and home security systems. Once they’re in, anything connected to the compromised router could  That’s not even touching on the damage they can do to the web globally, through your router and IP.

The botnet that Wordfence uncovered was built to take WordPress sites (which make up 25% of the internet) offline by flooding them with traffic from thousands of compromised routers. The routers themselves might slow down for a short time during the attack, but otherwise, their owners will never know that they’ve been compromised. The owner of a targeted WordPress, however, will lose their website, email and any files being kept on the same server for as long as the attack lasts. Unscrupulous companies can take their competitors offline using so-called ‘Testing’ services for as little as $40 per hour.

 

What can you do?

Wordfence found that the attackers were able to access Algerian routers through a known vulnerability in the router’s firewall software. Your home or business router probably has some security software like a firewall installed so make sure that it’s turned on and do a quick google search to see if there are any known vulnerabilities- there’s a quick guide to setting up your router for maximum security here. Hackers are going to be particularly interested in penetrating the routers that ISPs give away free- they know that millions of people will all be using the same router, so break one and you’ve broken them all. Consider buying a new router– it’ll probably speed up your browsing and extend your wireless range in addition to making you safer.

We always recommend backing up your files and keeping them on an external hard-drive, or you can kick it old school and keep paper copies within a filing system. Google Photos is a handy app that will automatically sync your photos to the app from your mobile device and store them on a private, password-protected site for you to access from anywhere through your Google account. That way, if your mobile device is compromised, you won’t lose all your photos! Make sure that you have Two-step verification enabled on your Google account to make it harder

Here at Octopus Creative, we keep your online brand safe, and security is never an add-on option– we consider it a necessity.

 

Easy Tips To Network Your Way To Success

With the rise of social media, we are quite literally, the most connected generation ever. With one-third of the world using social networks regularly, information is always just a click away. With the swipe of a finger, we can speak with friends and family on the other side of the world. While this has simplified our life somewhat – you can interact with the world while lounging on the couch in your pyjamas – an online presence doesn’t eliminate the need for face-to-face communication. Small business networking is vital to establishing your company within the market.

No one will ever take lounging in your PJs away from you, but sometimes, you have to put on your pants, smile and get yourself out there. The market is always changing, and no one knows what the future will bring for their business. It’s important to connect with people both in your field of expertise and outside. While you may not need their assistance now, you could benefit from their advice later on – or an opportunity could arise to work together!

Whether you’re a self-proclaimed ‘people-person’ or you find social situations uncomfortable, networking will always be vital to maintaining your business. Select the events you attend carefully. Ideally, you want to be as comfortable as you can in the situation. If you despise wearing a tie, avoid black-tie events and stick to casual meetups. The more relaxed you feel, the more approachable you’ll be – which is key to successful networking!

When participating in small business networking, you want to build relationships. Relationships are an equal amount of give and take; if you’re willing to receive, you have to be prepared to give. Don’t be afraid to speak up and offer your experience if it will help! Building a successful networking relationship takes time and effort. If you hit it off with an individual at an event, don’t be afraid to shoot them an email to catch up, or send an interesting article their way! Meeting someone new can open up opportunities to learn and grow – both personally and within your business.

Set your sights high when you’re building networking relationships. Dive in, and strike up a conversation with a person that intimidates you. Often, we can learn the most from people that are different from ourselves. Differing business views can allow you to see a different perspective, and once you’ve achieved that, imagine the difference you can make!

Small business networking can open the doors to opportunities you were unaware even existed. Often, other companies will be seeking out specific opportunities through back door channels – like networking. A vast majority of the options available to you, you won’t even know they exist until you ask! Think of it this way: if you had two people applying for the same position, with equal skills and experience, what would differentiate the candidates? Your personal ability to interact and build a working relationship with them. And that, friends, is precisely why small business networking is vital to establishing and maintaining a successful business!

You might not be able to control the wind, but you can adjust your sails! Combine face-to-face networking with social media marketing, and you’ll always catch the breeze. Create a Facebook business page and utilize it by interacting with other local businesses. This will help get your name out there and make your business more recognizable to the public. Facebook is an excellent social media tool that allows you to interact directly with your target audience. You’ll be able to get first-hand opinions, and you’ll be able to respond directly. With 73% of people using Facebook as a professional tool, there’s a multitude of options available for you to take advantage of. Search for networking groups, groups related to your industry, and more! Build an online presence that your audience will come to know and trust.

LinkedIn is the only major social media platform where the 30 to 49-year-olds dominate the usage rates. With LinkedIn, you can directly communicate with industry leaders, who are often ready and willing to offer advice to small businesses.

Make 2017 the year you take the leap and build professional relationships that can see your small business through all the ups and downs. Remember, the compound effects of networking are significant and long-lasting.

Website Security Tips To Keep Your Website & Brand Safe

Your website is typically the first connection you’ll make with potential customers. With 2.6 billion smart phone users around the world, and 81% of shoppers conducting online research prior to making a purchase, a good website is ideal for generating sales. You’ll want to ensure that it’s easy to navigate and not confusing, and that any information a person could want to know about your business, is relatively straightforward.  This includes your store and/or office address, contact information, links to social media accounts, and ultimately, what sets you above the rest. The design should be interesting enough to keep their attention, and the content should be written in a way that highlights your unique brand.

When it comes to websites, design is usually the first thing you think about, and it makes sense. But ultimately, in the grand scheme of the internet, ensuring that your website is secure should be a top priority.

Many small businesses assume that hacking won’t happen to them because they’re too small to be noticed. However, hackers don’t discriminate when it comes to breaching websites and they’ll even use automated tools to find vulnerable sites. Your website embodies your brand, and as the first contact with customers, ensuring it’s security will save you from potential disaster in the future.

Hacking threats can come in many forms – infecting a website with malware in order to spread that malware to site visitors, stealing customer information (such as names, email address, and even credit card information), and even hijacking or crashing your site. As a small business owner, a single security breach could destroy customer trust.

In the past week, over 1.5 million websites have been hacked after a vulnerability was utilized in the release  of WordPress 4.7.1. Quietly, and then very publicly, WordPress released version 4.7.2 to rectify the situation. But for those nearly 2 million websites, it was already too late. While it’s not yet clear how the WordPress sites are getting infected in the first place, it’s possible that login credentials that allow the site content to be changed aren’t being locked down, or there’s an unknown vulnerability in the CMS, or operating system they run on. What we do know, is that once a system is infected, the malware installs a variety of backdoors on the webserver – a feature that’s causing many hacked sites to repeatedly be infected.

There are many ways that you can protect yourself, including running premium security plug ins and having daily back ups with a proper security plan in place with your provider. Most managed hosting providers will be able to show you how they keep your website secure if you ask. If you’re running a business, security should never be a support option – it should be included with your hosting plan!

 

A Few DIY Tips For Your Website Security

With the goal of keeping it simple, here are a few options that you can implement now to to help maintain the security of your website.

  1. Keep Your Website Updated. Hackers are always thinking deviously when it comes to gaining access to websites, and developers move just as quickly to block them. Ensuring that your website is always up-to-date on a weekly, or even daily basis, will address those security fixes as they happen, in turn, lowering your risk!
  2. Use Stronger Passwords. Remembering a complicated password can be difficult, but as many as 8% of websites that have been hacked, were because people didn’t utilize a strong password. Try creating a password that is a minimum of 6 characters and a combination of letters, numbers and symbols! Don’t forget, passwords are case sensitive so you also utilize both uppercase and lower case letters!
  3. Select Your Website Host Carefully. Nearly 41% of the websites that were hacked were because the hosting service didn’t put the necessary importance on security! Before choosing a hosting service, make sure you ask about their security protocols and find out if they have the necessary firewalls and malware scanning.

Here at Octopus Creative we keep your online brand safe, and security is never an add-on option, it’s an absolute necessity. Get in touch with us if you have questions about your online security or if your web provider recently told you that YOU have to pay for a new site because of their security vulnerabilities!

LinkedIn Launches New Company Pages

Social Media has been increasing in popularity for years now. With the introduction of Facebook years ago, various social media platforms have popped up ever since, trying to gain the same popularity that Facebook still controls today. Occasionally, there are a few that stick around, Twitter and Instagram for example. But then there are the ones that seem to get lost at sea. Does anyone remember MySpace?

More and more, our world and the internet are colliding at high speed. Using Social Media as a marketing tool has opened an entirely new world of opportunities. More and more, businesses can take advantage of this unique platform to increase their audience reach and have the capability to interact with customers individually.

LinkedIn has slowly become an incredible tool for the business world. A social media platform dedicated to networking, specifically for the business community. Your LinkedIn profile is essentially an incredibly in-depth version of your resume. It emphasizes your skills, employment history, and education. You’re able to ‘connect’ with current and past co-workers, professional acquaintances, and classmates. Networking has always been an integral part of building your career and opening doors for you. With LinkedIn, you have the ability to endorse your connections skills, which can impact their future career options.

Through LinkedIn, you’re able to build and maintain a professional network. You’re able to reconnect with colleagues and classmates, and it offers you information about companies and industries that will help you further your career.

Understanding that businesses require more specific options to expand their Company Page, LinkedIn has decided to build a new experience in Company Pages. With a brand new design that makes it easier to introduce your company to other LinkedIn members, more companies will be able to use this to their advantage. Now, you’ll be able to have a dedicated admin experience, with an expanded analytics dashboard to make it easier to track the impact of your content, and to optimize the performance of your company page.

The best part? LinkedIn will automatically transfer all your existing page content over to the new Company Page layout – all you have to do is to upload a cover image, update your company logo, and add a tagline for your business.

The admin centre is entirely designed to make it easier for you. Within the admin view, directly on each post, you will be able to find the number of impressions, the engagement percentage, number of clicks and how many social actions occurred on each post. The left-hand side tracks your engagement for the past seven days, giving you a brief overview of the week. The analytics section provides detailed report on each post, on every single day, this will be an incredible opportunity for businesses to understand who they’re reaching, and what kind of content goes over best with their networking community.

The opportunity is there to increase your reach easily, and gain more networking connections, which will be an incredible option for furthering your businesses.

As always, LinkedIn has been about building your professional network. Turning professional relationships into opportunities can make all the difference for small businesses. Octopus Creative is pumped to learn the ropes of LinkedIn’s new Company Pages! Are you as pumped as we are?