Social Media Dos and Don’ts for the New Year


Social media is definitely a quickly-changing and adapting technology. We’ve seen countless changes in social media over the last year. Just think back to what Facebook looked like on January 1, 2013 – it’s a lot different than the social media giant’s homepage looks right now.

So in the spirit of change, I think that people and companies should be always evolving in their social media strategies as well. Do you notice people on your Facebook timeline who post what seems like the same thing over and over again? I do! So to ring in 2014, let’s evaluate our social media practices and retire some things that people are frankly getting sick of. Here are a few dos and don’ts for the New Year:

Don’t feel the need to comment on every news story – brands in particular seem to feel the need to weigh in on every national news story via social media (Twitter seems to be particularly popular for this). Unless the story is directly related to your company or industry (and even that can be a stretch) then it can come across as disingenuous to offer your thoughts.

Don’t masquerade marketing materials as content – while it’s fine to incorporate marketing ideas and collateral into your social media pages, be upfront and honest about what they are. Followers and/or customers don’t want to be lured into reading or commenting on something that is merely a ruse for marketing.

Do have great customer service via social media – take the time to formulate a strategy for social media customer service that includes fast response times and legitimate answers to questions. No brushing off customers or forcing them to email or call instead of having their questions answered where they asked them – on social media.

Do post quality content, often – make sure that you are posting things that you genuinely think your followers will be interested in. This can include linking to outside sites, other people’s pages, news articles, and more. Just make sure that what you are posting is relevant to those who are following you. Don’t just post any old thing that you think is interesting – think like someone that you want to follow your brand.

We all know that social media is a great tool. Make the most of it for your company in 2014!

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Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

How to Make a Difference Online


When it comes to your time online, you should show your support both to people and businesses. But how do you make someone else’s day a little easier or brighter while you’re spending some time on the (ahem, often time-sucking) Internet?

In my opinion, before the advent of the Internet as an everyday tool, helping others commit a RAOK (random act of kindness) could take more effort. Yes, paying for the person behind you in line when you’re getting coffee or taking a donation to Goodwill is still a really great thing to do, but you can commit these small acts even easier just by using the Web. While we just missed national Make A Difference Day, taking the time to make a difference every day is still an easy thing to do.

Here are a few ways that you can make a difference online:

  1. Offer specific help to a friend or acquaintance. I don’t know about you, but I am guilty of breezing by sad Facebook statuses with just a “aw, that’s no fun.” Instead, take the time to think of something specific that you can do for the person that appears to be having a rough go of it. You can post on their status or tweet them back, or send a private message or text. While yes, sometimes people are posting for attention, sometimes they can really use the help!
  2. Choose people or organizations that you respect to follow. Even if you don’t necessarily have the time or money to contribute, by sharing their statuses or tweets you can potentially help them to find people who are able to contribute.
  3. Share something inspirational. While yes, the Web is now completely overrun by quotes, memes, and Ecards, sometimes they can still be generally inspirational. Don’t overwhelm your fans and followers by posting six quotes a day, every day. But a few here and there can definitely have an effect on someone who is having a bad day and needed a pick me up.
  4. If you do have the resources to contribute, donate to a crowd-funding project that you find worthwhile. Personally, I find that giving money to a cause that’s closer to me gives me the warm fuzzies more than donating to something that’s still worthwhile but more obscure when it comes to everyday life.

These things are not just for individuals either – you and your business pages can do the same. Not only will it perhaps help someone feel better about their day, you’re boosting your online reputation. Just make sure that you are coming from a giving place sometimes, and not always a sales position.

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Maddie Heinen is a regular contributor to She is a freelance writer who specializes in blogging, content creation, and social media. When she is not working, she is taking care of her two kids, husband, and home in Central Florida. Maddie enjoys reading, shopping, and is interested in real estate. She is currently working on establishing her own internet-based media company, Red Hibiscus Media, which will specialize in both online content as well as print material.

Will You Upgrade This Holiday Season?


Oh, the holidays. A time for turkey, jingle bells, and retail madness. In the past few years, the holiday season has also been one of technology upgrades. Many tech companies conveniently choose the early fall to debut new and upgraded products, just in time for the holiday season. I think it’s safe to say that there are new cell phones or tablets under many, many Christmas trees each year.

So will you upgrade this holiday season? Here are some of the new offerings to consider:

iPhone 5S or 5C – Apple is undeniably a giant when it comes to phones and tablets. Their newest phone offerings come in two versions – the iPhone 5S and 5C. The 5S is what you would expect from a typical Apple upgrade, with fancy new colors and fingerprint technology. The iPhone 5C is basically last year’s iPhone 5, repackaged in a colorful plastic housing. Rumor has it that so far, the iPhone 5C is not selling as well as anticipated.

iPad Air – The iPad Air is the most recent Apple offering. While it seems as though a lot of the specs of the iPad have only gotten minor tweaks, the look of it is very different. Weighing in at a sleek one pound, the iPad Air is even more portable than its predecessors. The newest iPad also boasts a bigger screen.

iPad Mini with Retina – The iPad mini has gotten an upgrade, too. While the look of the device is basically the same, it now has the same technology as its larger sibling, adding Retina display.

Galaxy S4 – Samsung’s direct competitor for the iPhone is their Galaxy line. The newest model, the Galaxy S4, has a few changes from its predecessor, the Galaxy S3. It has a larger screen (5” instead of 4.8”) although the size of the phone itself has only become slimmer, not bigger. Along with these changes, it also features an upgraded display and new apps that are formatted specifically for the S4.

Galaxy Note 3 – Samsung’s Galaxy Note series is something of an anomaly in the cell phone world. It’s huge, almost tablet-like display definitely isn’t for everyone. But for those who don’t mind its large size, the new Note 3 has some cool features. The Note 3 is available in 3 colors, which is new. Users say that the Note 3 has one of the best displays on the market.

Google Nexus – Google’s Nexus line is still a bit of a mystery. They have not yet unveiled their new products, likely to be the Nexus 5 phone and Nexus 8 tablet. Hopefully we will hear more about these products soon, as they are likely to be major players in the holiday tech-buying frenzy.

So which of these new gadgets will you be buying or gifting this holiday season?

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Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.