Do You Need A Facebook Page?

My daughter and I had our pictures made by my friend Kari Salo of Kari Salo Photography a few weeks back.  This was the first time Kari had done our pictures, and not only did she do an amazing job, but we became friends along the way.  Because I’m someone who spends a lot of time on the web, one of the first things I did was try to go friend her on Facebook and like her Facebook page.  She’s running a small business and I try to “Like” everyone I meet because the more “Likes” your page has, the better it is for you when prospective customers come visit your page.

But, Kari doesn’t have a Facebook page.  I emailed her and told her I’d be happy to help her set one up as a a kind of “Pay it Forward” thing, it only takes a few minutes to set up a Facebook page.  She emailed me back, thanked me, and then asked why she needed one?  She has a website which showcases her pictures, why does she need Facebook?  And, why does she need a Facebook page if she’s a local company?

Why does she need Facebook?  That’s a darn good question.

Kari is a smart and savvy business woman who knows her market.  Her website is informative and elegantly organized to not only showcase her photos, but to also make it very easy for prospective clients to see photos like the ones they are looking to have done.  So, if she has a website, why have a Facebook page?

Facebook is the fastest growing website on the planet.  When my mother is on Facebook and has almost more friends than I do, I feel pretty safe in saying that, yes indeed, “Everyone” is on Facebook.  Which means that eyeballs which might want your products and services are also on Facebook.

In my opinion, you don’t have a Facebook page instead of a website.  You have a Facebook page in addition to a website.

Have you ever heard of “Marketing Outposts”?  If you haven’t, allow me to explain.  For the rest of you, skip to the next paragraph ☺.  An outpost is any other place on the internet, or in the brick and mortar world, which showcases your product and then sends the consumer to your main website or store.  You know those kiosks in the mall that some companies use to showcase the products they feature in their regular store?  Those would be an physical example of a marketing outpost.

A Facebook page is really nothing more than that: A small place to show your “stuff” and then send your potential client on to your website where they can get more information.  It’s also a place where you can interact with your customers, be a real human being, and gain their trust.  So, I guess a Facebook page can also make you “real”.

In Kari’s case, a Facebook page can showcase photos in addition to the ones she has on her website.  And, as she posts them, these pictures show up on her friends’ “wall” so they see what she’s up to also.  Every time a set of pictures rolls by on their wall they remind themselves “Oh yeah, Susie’s birthday is next month, I need to call Kari and schedule a session.”  Or “Wow, she does pictures of couples when they are expecting? What a great idea!  I need to call her.”

So, do you need a Facebook page?  In my humble opinion, yes, you do.  It’s another place to showcase your work, it’s a place to show customers that your a person with a life, which makes you more approachable, and it’s another way for potential customers to contact you.  They see pictures they like they hit the message button the top of the page and you’ve got yourself a lead.  Also, a Facebook page has become what a website was ten years ago; if you don’t have one you simply don’t look relevant to today’s consumer.  Which is a scary thought for any small business person.

Facebook.  A “Like” in my book ☺.

Five Tips for Staying Safe on the Web

I ran across this excellent video by the wonderful folks at Google. Here are their five tips for keeping your files and computers safe and secure on the web.

1. Choose strong, unique passwords and don’t use the same password for everything. I’ve been totally guilty of this one because I found it so hard to remember all the different passwords for all of my different email accounts, forums, blog logins,etc, not to mention passwords and user names I need to remember for my clients. Be sure to use a mixture of case sensitive letters, numbers and characters. The use of characters like @, #, $, and & make it much more difficult for hackers and the software programs they use, to guess your passwords.

Additionally, change up your passwords at least twice a year. I know this is a hard one. It’s hard enough to remember all the username’s and passwords, but then to change them up? I understand this problem all to well, so I came up with two ways to remember and track all my user names and passwords. Have a look at my blog post Keeping Passwords Safe for my best two tips to keep track of your passwords.

2. Use two-step verification whenever possible. With your gmail account you can enable two-step verification, which means that every time you log in to your email account, you’ll enter your user name and password, and a code will be sent to your phone that you also enter. This will really stop hackers in their tracks.

3. Keep software, operating systems and browsers up to date as soon as a new version is available. Updates often have security updates included.

4. Be cautiously suspicious about links sent to you by friends and coworkers, or even services you’ve signed up with and, obviously, do not click on links sent to you from someone you don’t know, or from a company you don’t deal with. And, if your spidy sense is tingling about a link, don’t click it. Retype the link into a browser window and see if it’s the real deal. Keep in mind that Google or companies like you’re bank will NEVER email you asking for your user name and password.

5. Regularly Check computer for virues. My suggestion is to BUY a reputable product and use it. I know you can find free anti-virus software on the web, but I’m always suspicious of those types of things. It kind of seems like the perfect diabolical plan of a hacker to offer me free anti-virus software and then build himself his own little “back door” into my system. But, then, maybe I’m just cynical ☺.

For even more tips on how to stay safe on the web, visit www.Google.com/help/security.

Keeping User Names and Passwords Safe and Secure

I don’t know about you, but between clients, my business, and my personal “stuff” I have a LOT of user names and passwords and pins to keep track of.  I mean, sometimes all the things we need to remember just to Log In to a computer or a piece of software is ridiculous.  For example, for one of my clients, in order to log in to the customer management database I need a 1. My User Name which has to be ten characters long and contain one upper case letter, one lower case letter, a number, and one special character and 2. A password that is also ten characters and also contains one upper case letter, one lower case letter, a number and a special character and 3. A five digit pin and 4. A picture I have to pick out of about twenty on the screen.  And that’s JUST to log in to one piece of software I use at this client!

So, I came up with two ways to keep track of all of my user names, passwords and pins.  Each way is customizable and not obvious to a hacker or even someone in your company or household who doesn’t need to be accessing your computer or bank accounts or software, or whatever else you might want to keep secure and private.

The first way is to create a unique contact in your email account.  Most email accounts allow you to create a contact profile, you know, name, address, etc.  In addition to all the usual information, there’s also a place for notes about that contact.  This is where I store my user names and passwords.  Now, I don’t use my name as the contact name, nor do I call it “passwords” or something obvious like that.  What I do is make up a name that I will remember is my “Passwords” name.  In the past, I’ve used the maiden name of one of my great-grandmother’s.  This wasn’t a name that would jump out at anyone scrolling through my contacts (except maybe my mother).  Don’t use anything like “PeeWee Herman” or some other name that is obviously not a real person.  Use a name only you know, and, since the profile is in your email accounts contacts, it’s easily accessible.  In the event you work at a company, it’s also easily deleted when you leave, or you can easily cut and paste all of the notes into a word doc or email and forward to your boss.

The second way I’ve tracked user names and password is a little tip I got from my daughter.  You all know how much I love a nice color coded spreadsheet, right? ☺ But, I didn’t call this spreadsheet “Passwords” because that would be, well let’s just say short-sighted and leave it at that.  What I did was once again make up a name.  When my daughter started school each year, she puts all of her class syllabi (Syllabuses?), her annual school calendar, class schedule, school handbook, etc, into a binder that she called her “Everything Binder”.  This binder was her go to resource for that school year and went with her to school every day.  I took that idea and morphed it into a spreadsheet that I used to call “My Everything Binder”.  I’ve since changed that name, but you get the point.  This is a file that can sit right on your computer’s desktop and is easily accessible every day as you need it.  You call it whatever makes sense to you, that you will remember, and won’t be obvious to anyone else.  It could be “Mary’s To Do’s” or “Grocery List”, or anything else that makes sense to you, and someone else would pass right over.

Oh, one more thing, be sure to password protect the file.   Remember when creating passwords, use upper and lower case letters, numbers and characters.  Unfortunately, documents and spreadsheet passwords can be hacked, but there’s no reason to make it easy!

Best of luck, and let me know if this worked for you or if you have any other “Best Practices” for keeping user names and passwords secure!

Dropbox – Another Way to Safeguard Your Files

What Is Dropbox?

Dropbox is this really cool, super easy, online, free service that allows you to store your photos, files, documents, and videos on the web where you can access them from any computer in the world.  Perfect for a girl like me who wants to live in the cloud!

My wonderful, darling daughter introduced me to dropbox.  She started a new job a few weeks ago and the company she works for uses dropbox to send files to each other.  It’s fast, and it’s secure.  Plus, no more broken links and forgotten attachments.   When you need to send a file to someone, you literally drag it into the dropbox folder on your desktop, it syncs to the web, and, voilá, your done!  You just need to make sure you’ve designated the folder you put the file into as a shared folder, that you’re sharing with the person you’re sending the file too, of course, and that’s really all there is to it.

Access Files, Folders, Pics, Whatever From ANYWHERE in the WORLD

What I like about it is that I can create client folders and when I’m traveling all I have to do is drag the file to the appropriate folder and I’m sure the file will be there when I need it. I can access it from ANY computer that can reach the internet.  I can even check on the files and set up folders and lots of other stuff right from my phone if I need to.  And, it’s available on the iphone, ipad, Android, and Blackberry.

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