Top tips for a fail-safe electronic financial transaction

When you use electronic financial transactions such as Online banking and phone banking in your everyday enterprise, always take note that you are placing yourself at risk of fraud and security breaches which could lead identity theft or worse to an expenditure of your entire bank account balance.

electronic financial transactionsTo protect yourself from all these dangers, always remember these helpful tips when doing electronic financial transactions.

  1. Always install security programs provided by your financial establishment.
  2. Do not record or expose your personal information such as in a diary or your wallet where they can easily be seen by anyone and do not give out your personal information to anyone including the employees of your financial establishment.
  3. Always use a different login or password for your bank accounts and certificates. Reset and change them occasionally for added protection.
  4. Visit financial transaction websites by typing the URL unto the address bar or through the use of your Favorites link.
  5. Avail and register for the service which notifies you of electronic transaction history.
  6. Always remember to avoid accessing Online banking from public places such as Internet cafes or from shared computers.
  7. Do not open spam or suspicious emails that could contain phishing links. Always see to it to scan files before opening or storing any email attachment.
  8. If you received notices or emails concerning bank loans, promos or an anomaly in your account always see to it to contact your financial establishment for confirmation.

Simply follow the tips above and you are assured of a worry- free electronic financial transaction every time.

Advertisements

One Step Closer To Its Grave: Google Starts Removing Links To Reader From Its Top Menus

Reposted from  FREDERIC LARDINOIS

GoogleReaderLogo

Google is shutting down Google Reader on July 1 and to say that quite a few people are unhappy about this move would be an understatement. Today, Google Reader moved one step closer to its grave as Google is now quietly removing links to it from the black menu that graces the top of virtually every core Google product. Google Reader itself, of course, is still available for the time being.

For now, it seems the link is only gone from Gmail. It’s still available from other products (including Reader itself) and the main search page, but judging from the reaction on Twitterand other sites, it’s clear that this was the main gateway to Reader for many of its users. Chances are, it’s just a matter of time before any mention of Reader will be gone from all of Google’s menus. These changes, after all, always tend to take a while to propagate across Google’s properties.

Oddly enough, Google is still allowing new users to start using Reader, but that may just be because there is nobody left on the team to make any major changes to its code.

Google didn’t waste any time after it announced the closure of Reader. Right after Google’s CEO Larry Page made the announcement, Google already removed its official app from its Play Store and we’ll likely see more of this in the near future.

tweets

How Brands Could Benefit From Pinterest’s Recent Changes

BY

How Brands Could Benefit From Pinterest's Recent Changes

Like pretty much every other social media platform these days, Pinterest is changing its look to become even more visual.

In a recent blog post, Pinterest says, “Pins are bigger and we’ve added more information related to pins, so it’s easier to find things you’re interested in. For example, on each pin, you’ll see pins from the same board, other boards this pin was pinned to, and a whole slew of related pins.”

The platform is seeking volunteers to be among the first to try the new look, so savvy brands looking to be early adopters might want to take advantage of that here.

They also improved the functionality and made the navigation “more intuitive,” so look for those changes to roll out over the next few months.

In the wake of Facebook’s switch to the timeline format about a year ago, platforms such as Twitter and Tumblr have been going the way of larger images. This has forced brands to make sure all of their assets are high resolution.

With related content now showing up next to pins, some see cross- and up-sell opportunities.

From digital marketing and ecommerce research and training company Econsultancy:

“By highlighting other content and even users related to an original pin, there’s an increased chance that your account will be found through a users’ organic connections, and a chance to showcase more of your products, services, and even those all-important influencers who already engage with your product.”

It could also point to potential for more monetization of the site. After all, who wouldn’t want to pay to have their content show up next to some of the top-performing pins on the site? With Pinterest’s growth rate slowing, it will need to continue to evolve the site to appeal to those willing to pay to play.

image credit: Inspired Magz

 

5 Daily Habits for Effective Social Media Marketing

posted by:

5 Daily Habits for Effective Social Media Marketing

image credit: Shutterstock

The number of recommended actions and suggested tasks that social media managers must engage in can seem downright overwhelming. Not only are you supposed to update dozens of different profiles every day, you have to connect with potential new followers and monitor your company’s branded keywords in order to manage any negative mentions you encounter. And more.

To prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed and unable to get anything done at all, refocus your efforts on the following daily social media habits made up of tasks you know you can complete. Doing so should help you to form positive brand recognition and responsive follower bases — without driving yourself crazy over everything you could be doing.

1. Check the pulse of your social profiles. As a social media manager, the first thing to do every day is to log into your social profiles. Although this seems like a fairly common sense recommendation, many companies create their social profiles only to let them lie dormant for weeks or months on end.

So whether your company has chosen to focus on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Google+ — or any combination of these and other social networks — your first step every day should be to simply log in. Once inside, you’ll be able to complete your goals, all of which play an important role in effective social media marketing.

Related: 3 Low-Cost Tools for Managing Social Media

2. Respond to direct interactions from followers. One of the most important things you can do within your social profiles is to respond to any direct messages you’ve received from followers or potential fans. These interactions come in a number of different formats, including:

  • Facebook messages
  • Posts to your Facebook wall
  • Facebook status or picture tags
  • Twitter direct messages (DMs)
  • Twitter “@” replies

What’s important about these interactions is that they represent people who have put forth the effort to engage with your brand on a higher level than simply observing your content. While these interactions may be good or bad (as in the case of negative reviews), it’s important that you respond to them out of respect for the initiative these followers have shown.

3. Post stimulating content to encourage conversation. After you’ve responded to any direct interactions that have occurred since you last logged into your social profiles, take a few moments to post a status update or message that’s designed to encourage interaction among your followers. For example, you could:

  • Ask a provocative question
  • Share an interesting blog article
  • Comment on a recent news item
  • Post an inspirational picture or quote
  • Request follower feedback on the specific products or services you offer

As you create these messages, make your call-to-action obvious, as social followers are often so overloaded with media inputs that it takes a clearly-defined request to encourage action. Pairing your stimulating content with a statement such as, “Let me know what you think” or “Share your thoughts in the comments” can prompt the type of action to make your social profiles appear more welcoming and engaging to potential new followers.

Related: Early Test: Facebook’s Graph Search a Dud for Marketers

4. Seek out new followers. Ideally, the bulk of your new social profile followers should be coming from people who love your brand and your website content so much that they can’t wait to hear more from you on social networks. But sometimes — whether your website is new or your company hasn’t built the necessary market traction to attract followers naturally yet — you’ll want to be a little more proactive when it comes to building up a follower base for your business.

One way to do this on Twitter is to seek out the profiles of authority figures within your industry. Then, follow people who are following them, and whose profiles indicate that they’d be interested in your company as well. A number of these people will most likely follow you back automatically, increasing the size of your follower base.

Attracting new followers on permission-based websites like Facebook can be more challenging, but the same principles apply. Seek out those who have demonstrated an interest in your industry and the authority figures you follow, make your introductions through direct message and see what happens.

5. Search for your company’s branded terms. One final daily habit is to conduct a quick search for any of your company’s branded phrases, including any common misspellings or abbreviations you’re aware of.

Specifically, what you’re looking for are instances where users you aren’t immediately connected with are mentioning your company’s name. These mentions could be left as unsolicited reviews or questions seeking clarification. Either way, proactively seeking them out enables you to connect with potential followers and create the impression of an engaged, customer-centric brand.

 

Read more stories about: Bookkeeping, Virtual Assistant, Blog Writer

Facebook’s Graph Search Holds Promise for Social Marketing

Facebook's Graph Search Holds Promise for Social Marketing

If you’ve ever tried searching Facebook for a specific piece of information, you know how clunky it can be. You might have to navigate to multiple pages before you find it, and even then it may not be exactly what you’re looking for.

Facebook took a big step this week in making search within the social network much easier by announcing the launch of Graph Search. Graph Search is an internal search engine that allows you to find things based on the interests and recommendations of friends and also their friends. You’ll be able to search on things like restaurants, movies you should see, businesses you might like or photos of your friends taken in a specific city. For example, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained how you can search for “Indian restaurants liked by my friends from India” or “my friends who live in Palo Alto, California and like Game of Thrones.” If you’re recruiting for a specific job, you could search for friends of a particular person who works at the company you’re recruiting for.

So what does it mean to businesses selling a product or service? It’s important for a couple of reasons:

1. Purchase decisions. People who search for things on the web tend to be in a purchasing mindset so there’s never been a more important time to ensure your business is on Facebook.

2. Advertising. Graph Search will likely offer an opportunity to advertise next to search results, much like you can with Google or the other search engines. This could be a huge revenue opportunity for Facebook, but doesn’t look to be an immediate focus. “This could potentially be a business over time, but right now we’re focused on building a good user experience,” Zuckerberg said.

Related: The Best Days to Post to Facebook, Based on Industry (Infographic)

Facebook is rolling Graph Search out slowly to a limited number of beta testers and will first focus on four main areas — people, photos, places and interests. The company wants to see how people use the search engine and refine it before launching it “very slowly” to a greater number of users. If you’d like to be among the first to try it, you can sign up for the waitlist.

It’s worth noting that Facebook is also taking the issue of privacy seriously with the new function. In a press release, the company explained “we’ve built Graph Search from the start with privacy in mind, and it respects the privacy and audience of each piece of content on Facebook. It makes finding new things much easier, but you can only see what you could already view elsewhere on Facebook.”

image credit: Facebook

Beyond Pinterest: 3 Emerging Social Photo-Sharing Sites for Business

BY

Beyond Pinterest: 3 Emerging Social Photo-Sharing Sites for Business

image credit: Olioboard

Hundreds of businesses have turned to social photo-sharing site Pinterest as a new way to promote their products and share ideas. Last week, Pinterest even announced several new tools to help businesses share more content on the site.

But as popular as Pinterest is, using it to convert followers into customers isn’t always easy. Photos by individual users don’t always lead back to a retail source. Even when they do, there’s no clear path for potential buyers. There are no “buy” buttons and no indication that two clicks will take you to the photo source.

That’s not the case will all photo-sharing sites. These three sites shorten the distance between you and your customers by combining the pinning action of Pinterest with the functionality of an online store.

Related: How to Drive Sales Through Social Media

1. The Fancy. From a stingray inspired rocking chair, to Batman chocolate molds, The Fancy is a photo-sharing site for cool stuff and innovative gadgets. Unlike Pinterest, The Fancy has a clear shopping component. When users see something they like, they add it to a single shopping cart for purchase. Once they check out, the third-party merchants are notified of the sale and they each handle shipping for their portion.

Any merchant who deals in the unusual can apply for his or her own branded space on the site. Though it’s open to a wide range of products, The Fancy primarily deals in high-end, luxury items, pop culture toys and gadgets.

2. Nuji. This U.K.-based site is unique because it rewards members with points for sharing product photos from online retailers. Points can be redeemed for discounts at one of Nuji‘s more than 50 partner stores.

Nuji specializes in boutique stores from all around the world. It primarily handles fashion and accessories but there are also a small amount of designer furnishings and art. Store pages are entirely user generated but once someone uploads an item from your store Nuji automatically creates a page, which you can then claim and customize.

Related: 5 Free Tools for More Powerful Pinterest Marketing

3. Olioboard. This interior-design site invites users to create 3-D “roomscapes” by dragging and dropping photos of furniture and accessories onto a blank canvas. Pre-loaded items are tagged with details and a ShopIt button that takes you off site to purchase the item.

Users can also upload their own photos or tag items from anywhere on the internet. Completed boards can be posted, shared and entered into Olioboard‘s monthly contests.

If you’re in the home décor business there are two ways to get involved with Olioboard. From your online store, you can upload your full line of merchandise onto the site for a flat fee of $250 a month. If you already use an affiliate program such as Commission Junction, Olioboard will forgo the flat fee in exchange for a referral cut starting at 8 percent. You can also promote brand awareness by sponsoring a design contest on Olioboard.

What other social photo-sharing sites would you recommend for businesses? Let us know in the comments section below.

How the White House Became a Social-Media Powerhouse

BY

How the White House Became a Social-Media Powerhouse

Macon Phillips, the White House’s director of New Media
Photo courtesy of The Associated Press

Want to reach millions of Americans instantly? Try using the hashtag #BarackObama in a tweet.

Even before Barack Obama was sworn in as the nation’s 44th President, he was a big fan of social media. On Election Day in 2008, for instance, Obama had 380 percent more Facebook fans than his rival John McCain (R., Ariz.). So it’s little wonder why today’s White House has an entire staff dedicated to operating a YouTube channel, filtering photos on Instagram, crowdsourcing petitions on We The People, hosting Q&As through Twitter and even hang outs with voters on Google+.

I spoke to Macon Phillips, the White House’s director of New Media, to discuss why the current administration is all a buzz over social media. Here’s how his team is using social tools to engage with the public in the digital age:

How do you engage with the public differently on Twitter vs. Facebook?
Just after the president gave his speech on the nation’s state of the union, we held a series of Twitter Q&A sessions with more than 30 senior administration officials. We were able to do that because Twitter is a much more conversational medium. Facebook, rather, is a better place for sharing rich content. We see that people regularly share our “photos of the day” and videos on Facebook.

What is the strategy behind your use of YouTube?
We’ve put together a series called “West Wing Week,” which offers an update on the President’s weekly activities such as when he travels and meets with foreign dignitaries, business groups, veterans or staffers. In addition, we have another video series called “The White House White Board,” where we look in depth at an issue like tax policy.

What is the White House’s most popular content to socialize?
We worked with the White House Photography Office early on to set up our President on Flickr. As a result, people can go to Whitehouse.gov and sign up to get a photo of the day, which will hit their inboxes every morning.

The President recently made headlines after his Google+ hangout attracted thousands of questions. What did you learn from the experience?
The hangout session is something we are planning to do more of, but it doesn’t always have to involve the President to be meaningful. In fact, we held a hang out right after that for Startup America with Gene Sperling, the director of the National Economic Council; Steve Case, the chairman of Startup America and Aneesh Chopra, the White House’s chief technology officer. They were able to have a face-to-face conversation with business owners around the country about what they’re doing on the frontlines and how the Obama administration can be as responsive as possible to their needs.

What are the top social strategies you’ve learned that entrepreneurs can also use to grow their businesses and following?
Go out early and often. When it comes to social media, we do have goals in mind. But we don’t sit around for weeks cobbling together an iron-clad plan before we act. We go out there, listen, get feedback, iterate on that and try to improve. It’s as important to listen as it is to speak.

Timing is vital. One the most significant campaigns we ran on Twitter was the #40dollars hashtag, which helped crystallize how people viewed extending the payroll-tax cut. It’s about being aware of what’s going on and understanding that in the age of social media, you’re just a participant. It’s not something that you can control.