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Mark Your Calendars, Folks: World Backup Day is March 31st

b2ap3_thumbnail_world_backup_day_400.jpg2015 isn’t the year to go without backups. If there’s anything 2014 showed the world, it’s that businesses can fall victim to data breaches when they least expect it. You want to be prepared in the event of a data breach or data loss, and the easiest way to do that is by taking advantage of an external backup. Unfortunately, even an essential solution like data backup can be forgotten amidst the everyday operations of the average business owner.

To help people remember to perform such an essential task, World Backup Day has been established. March 31st is the day designated to back up, or make a copy of your data for later use, both your personal and professional data, regardless of whether you’re a consumer or a business. Total Networks will discuss ways in which you can back up both your personal and your business’s data.

Types of Personal Data Backup
If you’re just an average consumer looking to make sure you have your files stored away in the event of a disaster or hardware failure, you have a couple of options available to you. One of them is an external hard disk drive, which you can connect to your PC to store files on. Most external hard drives can provide more storage than you’ll ever need, and are fairly affordable. For example, you can generally find an external hard drive with a terabyte of storage for under $100. According to PCMag, that’s room for 750,000 MP3s or photos, or 230 movies.

Another option that the consumer has is cloud-based storage. This is basically where you store your files online in a secure cloud for later access and review. There are various methods of doing this, like through Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and Apple’s iCloud. This lets you access your files securely from any online device, making it an ideal solution for those who need access anytime, anywhere. Keep in mind, using the public, consumer-based cloud solutions as having your own private cloud that you completely control. This is an important point to consider when data security is on the line.

Total Networks’s Backup and Disaster Recovery Solution
For businesses looking to get the most out of their backup, you’ll want more than just a simple external hard drive or cloud backup solution. Our BDR is an enterprise-level solution designed with the end user in mind. It takes continuous backups throughout the day and sends them to an external data center for secure storage. Additionally, our BDR can quickly restore your data in a moment’s notice. Your backups are continuously tested by our tech professionals to ensure that they will work when you need them most.

Whether you’re backing up photos of your family or mission-critical business data, the point stands that this information can’t be replaced once lost. It is fleeting, and must be secured and kept within arm’s reach. Total Networks can protect your business’s data for you. This World Backup Day, give us a call at (602)412-5025.

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Posted in: Best Practices

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Most Business Owners Only See 1-to-3% Consumer Engagement on Social Media

b2ap3_thumbnail_social_media_engagement_is_not_high_400.jpgYou’re surely aware of how valuable an asset social media is for your brand, but how much interaction are you really getting on your pages? No matter how many views, there’s always room for improvement. Well, you’ll be relieved to hear that even the large corporations don’t get too many hits on social media, despite the massive numbers in their favor.

The truth of the matter is that only an average of one percent will ever comment on or like something that they’ve found on the Internet. While this might initially sound pathetic, it’s very good in terms of consumer engagement rates. As reported by AdAge, engagement rates for the top 200 Facebook brands were around 1.4 percent, with Twitter rates being roughly the same.

If you look at it in terms of popular YouTube videos, the numbers seem to make more sense. For instance, take a look at this popular video dubbed Keyboard Cat:

Out of almost 40 million views, it’s only received around 240,000 likes and around 10,000 dislikes (gasp). That right there is less than one percent. Plus the comments (a modest 72,866), and it’s still less than one percent. Suddenly, that seemingly meager consumer engagement rate doesn’t seem so bad. Plus, as is the case with large companies, some businesses will pay to have their content boosted, which might be netting them a couple extra likes or comments here and there.

Don’t Worry So Much About Social Media
Inc. advises businesses to take a load off their plate and not take social media too seriously when it comes to consumer engagement: “Business owners and marketers shouldn’t be too worried if their engagement rate is near one or two percent, and they should be thankful when the rate is greater than three percent.”

First and foremost, it should be mentioned that it’s not that people don’t enjoy your content. Most people you encounter won’t want to take the time to interact with posts that they read online. Take, for instance, the editor of a newspaper. Consider how many letters to the editor that he gets concerning an article that was published. This number is dwarfed by the number of people who read the story and simply don’t want to respond.

Social media is merely a means to an end. It makes consuming content much easier than it previously was, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that people will be more compelled to respond to what they read. However, what social media does accomplish is spreading your content to more people, which means a higher consumption rate (and maybe more engagement).

Adding Media Can Drastically Improve Engagement
Social media websites are notorious for mixing content with other media, like photos, videos, or links. This can make advertising your content much more efficient. For instance, when browsing your news feed on Facebook, you might notice that an image with a caption typically gets more likes than a simple text post. The same is true for other media, and this concept works well on Twitter as well. Here’s an analysis from Webmarketingpros.com that shows some statistics concerning how useful media is when examining retweet rates:

  • 16 percent retweeted when a hashtag (#) was used.
  • 19 percent retweeted when a quote was cited.
  • 28 percent retweeted a video URL.
  • 35 percent retweeted a photo URL.

How’s that for improved engagement rates? High quality content mixed with other mediums is the key to helping your business achieve maximum outreach and engagement levels.

Whatever you do, don’t belittle your low engagement rates. Quality content in almost all circumstances will be the key to getting the maximum outreach with your social media. Marketing is an important aspect of business, but don’t put so much weight into your Facebook and Twitter account.

Basically, it’s not up to the business whether or not the audience wants to engage with them or not through social media. It might be frustrating, but you can’t force people to like your statuses. It comes down to encouraging them to do so with minimal stress put on yourself. Instead of worrying about getting more “likes,” you should be more concerned with responding in kind to those who do feel like engaging with you.

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Posted in: Business

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How Much is it the Employer’s Responsibility to Ensure Employee Productivity?

b2ap3_thumbnail_employer_responsibility_400.jpgEvery business owner knows what’s expected of them when it comes time to onboard a new hire. When the training videos are all watched and the new employee is lined up to kick butt and take names, is that when your job as overseer ends, or is there more that you can do to get more productivity out of your staff?

It’s an intriguing question to ask because the answer will reveal a lot about your business philosophy and management style. When it comes to managing your personnel, the two extremes that you will fall somewhere between are 1) you are completely hands off and expect your employees to follow established policies and meet quotas, or 2) you are highly involved and listen to every employee need and concern so that they can get the most done possible for your business.

Looking at the first extreme, we can see that, in every job scenario, there is a minimum set of expectations that a manager must meet:

  • Job training: A worker must know how to do their job before they actually do it.
  • Tools to do the job: For example, the team requires functioning workstations in order to work properly.
  • A working environment that fosters productivity: Is your office optimized for productivity, or does it suffocate innovation?
  • A paycheck: Is your team getting paid the agreed-upon amount for their time?

In other words, the employee expects their employer to provide these four basic services for their time and work in the office. This, of course, leads to another question: Do you provide only the minimal requirements for your team to accomplish their goals, or do you give them everything you can to help them destroy the competition?

Why ask this question? If the employee is working at their maximum capacity with the best tools around, they’ll feel more motivated to get more done. Whether or not you believe this as an employer will be apparent to your staff. For example, if you are mostly concerned that your team is meeting quotas in a timely manner, you might feel that they don’t need any additional support in order to perform their jobs properly; when in reality, they might be struggling.

However, if you go out of your way to improve the productivity of your staff, you might find that the benefits far outweigh the costs. This entails creating quality working environments for your team, giving them the tools they need to optimize workflow, and paying them salaries that are commensurate with their skills. This might sound like a lot of effort, but by showing your team that you believe in their potential, they’ll be far more likely to work harder and push out higher quality work. This leads to more profits, which increases your bottom line.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a challenge to increase workplace productivity. More or less, it requires taking responsibility for the work that your team pushes out. Understand what motivates each individual and what tools they would prefer for their work. Ask them what changes they would like to see integrated into your organization so you can help them perform their job better.

These discussions might shed some light on how your team functions, and what you can do to get the most productivity out of each of them. Maybe they work better on their own devices instead of the bulky workstation they’re provided with. Or, perhaps the current workplace doesn’t augment their individual work habits. For example, introverts might not appreciate the open office environment, and might get more done working at home than in the office. Or, perhaps the extrovert finds the cubicle environment suffocating and would prefer the open office.

Whatever you find out about your staff, you can be sure that you’ll be able to apply it to the workplace to help them accomplish the most within their scheduled time in the office. However, this is a benefit that isn’t going to produce itself. You have to take the initiative to help them achieve their best.

In fact, if you’ve never really considered asking your team about the state of their workflow with their current tools, you might realize that their productivity is suffering. If they are struggling to accomplish their goals due to not having what they need, their morale is drained, which isn’t good for anybody. If this is the case, it’s better to buckle down and get what your team needs to be productive. The profits will vastly make up for the expense.

If you simply have too much on your plate to perform these tasks, outsource them to Total Networks. We can make sure that your team is operating with the best tools available so they, too, can understand the benefits that the latest technology can bring to the office. We can also integrate mobile technology that’s designed to help your team accomplish their daily tasks remotely, and our professional IT technicians can troubleshoot and resolve problems with your company’s workstations to ensure they function properly.

If you’re ready to learn more about how you can increase the performance of your staff with technology, give Total Networks a call at (602)412-5025.

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Tip of the Week: 3 Easy Ways to Connect Your Business with Your Community

b2ap3_thumbnail_is_your_community_involved_400.jpgIt’s important for a business to be connected with their community. Even if you have a global market, it’s still important to invest in the city you’re headquartered in. It’s where you and your employees live, and if you can build relationships and connect with other organizations in your community, only good things can come from it.

Here are three easy ways your business can become more involved and respected within your community.

Give Generously to Local Nonprofits
As a business owner, your mailbox may be inundated with fundraising letters from your local nonprofit organizations. It can be tempting to toss them aside as junk mail. Before you do so, remind yourself that every letter represents a worthy cause that’s providing your community with an essential service, and that these nonprofits can only function if they have the help of for-profit businesses like yours.

Essentially, each side the equation needs each other, so don’t be overly stingy. From a societal perspective, your business plays a greater role than simply making money to line your pockets. Even if your motive to give is to improve your company’s reputation, that’s okay. A lot of good can come from that money, and a lot of good things come to businesses that are charitable.

Promote Your Business with Freemiums
When giving back to your community, you’re not just limited to giving money, you can give whatever products or services you specialize in too. The angle here is that you’ve got something that somebody wants; enough to pay for it. By giving away your valuable product in the form of a freemium, it can be enjoyed by another organization that may not have the funds for it. They will spread the word throughout the community of your generosity. In turn, you can promote the giveaway as a feel-good story which makes for great advertising.

Use Your Expertise as a Platform for Community Involvement
You’re already positioning yourself as a thought leader within your industry, but did you know that your local community can benefit from your expertise, too? For example, keep an eye on the headlines in your local newspaper, every once in awhile there will be a story that touches on what your business specializes in. When this happens (and it eventually will), your community will turn to its local experts for relevant answers.

Having the local spotlight shine on your business like this is great for your company’s reputation, and it will only happen if your community knows that you’re available to share your expert commentary. The only way that they’ll know that you’re available is if you’re involved with your community. This is just one of the many benefits of having your business involved in local affairs.

These are three easy ways for your business to connect locally. As you can image, there are many more ways to be involved in your community, the important thing is that you step up to the plate and do something. What are some ways that your business has successfully connected with your community? Share with us the best ways you’ve connected in the comments.

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