Password Pick-Ups: Keeping Secure in the Digital World

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By Brittany McNicholas

Maybe it’s just us, but sometimes keeping up with managing passwords these days is a very real struggle. And that’s just in regards to personal accounts…the problem only gets worse when you’re a business owner. It’s hard enough keeping tabs on all those platforms and accounts—E-mail, Twitter, LinkedIn, payroll systems, and more!—let alone remembering how to access each of those. There’s also the question of keeping things safe and secure from hackers and internet never-do-wells. So how can we manage our passwords to keep our business accounts accessible to us, but keep out online hoodlums as well?

Keep it Cryptic

Why isn’t “beef stew” a good password? Because it isn’t stroganoff!

We’re often tempted to use something simple and memorable—say, our favorite dinner like beef stew, or the name of a beloved pet—in order to keep from forgetting our log-in information. However, this technique will leave you vulnerable to anyone looking to access your information. If it’s easy and straightforward to you, it will be to any would-be hackers as well. Even worse, if you use the same accessible password across all of your accounts, if someone gets into one platform they can access all of them. The more unguessable you can make your password, the better. A random assortment of numbers, letters, and symbols are the best option.

After you’ve changed all your passwords to a jumble of letters, numbers, and symbols, and made a new password for all of your accounts, what comes next? How do you keep track of everything?

Outsource it

The absolute last thing you want to do is keep a document or spreadsheet on your computer to keep track of all your passwords. This makes them vulnerable to any hackers. To avoid that problem, perhaps you’ve written them down on a sticky-note or in a notebook—you can’t hack paper, right? Maybe not, but they can still be found by prying eyes who may do some very real damage on your accounts. So how to keep track of all those passwords?

Easy—consider using a password management service. There are a variety of them, each offering different versions of a similar service. There are even many that are completely free for you to use, and the majority of them work across all devices from phones to laptops. These password management services will generate a single “master password” that you use to access your various accounts and store your originals—keeping everything locked down and secure.

Make it Personal

But maybe you’re wary about giving up control to a password management service. Or maybe you worry that the generated master password will be, in itself, too difficult for you to remember without writing down and making a record of it somewhere. But don’t worry—in the world of passwords, you can have your stroganoff and eat it, too. Follow these steps to build your own cryptic, personalized password system:

* What you use this website for: Begin with what is important to you on this specific platform. Is it to make a purchase? Is it to deal with medical issues? Whatever the purpose, choose one syllable from the word. Let’s say you choose BUY.

* Personal touch: Now is the time to bring in your personal details. Let’s say your childhood cat’s name was Maggie, and you met your significant other in 2008.

* Break it up: Split up the syllables. For instance, if a website uses no security requirements, you’ll be golden with Maggie2008. To meet security, try MagBUYgie2008. When you need to update, keep it consistent: MagBUY!gie2008, MagBUY!*gie2008, and so on.

It’s the wild, wild west on the frontier of password management. When it comes to keeping your accounts secure, it’s good to evaluate your current practices to look for places with room to improve. From using a password management site to developing your own code, there really is no wrong answer. Take steps today for a more secure tomorrow.

You’ve Got Mail (No, Really!): Greeting Cards as a Marketing Tool

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By Tricia Allenson

In this fast-paced, increasingly internet-based world, it can be easy to lose yourself in a marketing whirlwind of FaceBook pages, e-mail blasts, LinkedIn profiles, Twitter updates, and—wow! We’re exhausted even reading that list, and there are more platforms available to you than we have time to list out! While social media is one of the most cost-effective and wide-reaching methods of marketing your business, sometimes it’s good to take a step away from the screen and back into the tangible world. If you’re looking for a way to reach out to your client base in a way that’s more analog than digital, consider using a tried-and-true standby: the greeting card.

Making Things Personal

Most customers make their decisions based on emotion and then justify those decisions with logic. They want to be assured that they’re more than just a number in a list. Customer based want to know that you see them as a valued member of your corporate community. And, with the majority of communication happening through screens, those feelings of validation are becoming ever more rare. You can stand out from the crowd through the use of a personalized greeting card. As a result, customers are more likely to feel loyal to your brand. After all, by sending a greeting card, you are both saying and implying that keeping current customers is more important than chasing new business, inadvertently abandoning your current base. You can strengthen your relationship with your base. Besides, in this techy age, who doesn’t love to come home from work and find mail sent specifically for you to read? We know we do!

Top of the Heap

Sending out greeting cards may feel old-fashioned, but there’s a reason this particular marketing tool sticks around. First and foremost, you’re putting your company’s name and logo directly into customers’ homes. However, unlike companies who send out heaps of letters, brochures, and pamphlets, you are leading with a personal touch. A greeting card presents the perfect opportunity to follow up to past conversations as well as providing information about services that this specific customer made find useful. You are not sending junk mail to Dear Valued Customer, but reaching out to an individual and creating a positive association with your brand.

In Sight, In Mind

We often believe the opposite sentiment—out of sight, out of mind—so we can accept that this is most likely also true. People tend to keep greeting cards around longer than other mail. They let them out on tables, display them on mantels, magnet them onto the front of the fridge. This means that by sending a greeting card—versus an easily deleted e-mail, or a form letter, or a flier glanced at and tossed into the trash—you keep your name and brand around for longer.

We so often get caught up in chasing the next best thing, the fastest way to get something, establishing ourselves on the newest social media trend. But sometimes, the older or more traditional way of marketing is worth considering. By taking the time to make a personal connection, you can make your client base feel valued and seen—which means they’ll be more likely to stick around with you for a long, long time (and just maybe even refer new business to you).

Looking to breathe some new life into your marketing strategies? Contact Limelight Marketing Systems today to get started!

THe Magic Mix of Facebook Posting

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By Tricia Allenson

It’s been fourteen years since Facebook first went live on the web. It’s grown from a small east-coast startup to an axis of modern-day communication. Everyone is on Facebook these days, from eleven-year-olds checking their feed in elementary schools to retired octogenarians liking pictures of their grandchildren. 

With such a wide audience already interacting with the site, it’s only natural to consider using Facebook to further your business. One of the questions we get asked most is, "should I post personal information on my business page?" and "can I post business information on my personal page". The short answer to both of these is - yes. However, it can be a slippery slope so proceed with caution and BALANCE.  

Inter-Networking

Facebook operates on people connecting with one another as individuals. This makes it operate differently than traditional paid advertising or marketing. When we write radio commercials or even create targeted Facebook ads, we are working on a business-to-person basis versus a person-to-person one. With Facebook, you’re not presenting but rather looking to engage your audience—in this case, your friends, family, acquaintances, clients, and prospective clients—in a conversation.

Think of Facebook as something closer to attending a conference. What do we do at conferences? We network! We interact with each other as people BEFORE moving onto the shop talk. Facebook can humanize your brand by mixing in a little personal with the professional.

Posting Etiquette

Whether you are posting on your personal page or your business page, be mindful of your content. Too much business-related content and you’ll flood your friends’ feed with unnecessary information; too little, and you’ve lost any gains you may have made by using a Facebook page in the first place. 

Equally important, remember that whatever you post is no longer just your opinion: it is now the opinion of your business. Use the Grandma Test—is this post something your grandmother would approve of seeing? If yes, post or share it! If no, move along.

You want to strike a good balance of the personal and professional. If you only post about your business, people will soon lose interest. Over-saturation is the real deal! We all like to buy from people versus corporations. The more human you can make your business, the stronger your desired clientele will respond. 

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Keep your content varied. Aim for the majority of your posts to be industry-related, resourceful interesting and helpful content, then about a third advertising your products specifically, and for the final 10% of content? Don’t be afraid of sprinkling in some unrelated content such as fun quotes, anecdotes, or something inspiring - - just because.  This is Facebook, after all. It’s hard to go wrong with a cute puppy picture.

Striking the right balance of content can be difficult, but it’s definitely doable and well worth your time. If you’re looking for help on how to walk that line, or in varying your marketing practices in any way, give us a call at Limelight Marketing Systems. We’ll make you look good.