9 Top Security Tips For App Fanatics

9 Top Security Tips For App Fanatics

Just because “there’s an app for that” doesn’t mean you’re safe downloading it!  

Apps are game changers. They’re life hacks for easier and more productive daily task performance. With millions of apps present in both Google Play and Apple Stores, it is safe to say that there’s an app for almost everything a person needs.  

However, it’s undeniable that some of these apps have security issues and vulnerabilities untold, and some are even used to maneuver hacking attacks. 

As an app fanatic, be extra careful in pursuing the things you love! 

ALWAYS SPOT THE FAKE APPS 

Hackers exploit the popularity of apps among millions of users worldwide by creating and publishing impostor applications on Google Play, Apple App Store, and other app markets. 

You thought you were one step ahead of hackers by installing a security tool on your computer and mobile. But it turns out, you actually aren’t! 

An example is last month’s viral discovery of 32 fake malware-filled apps for Google Mobile OS. These android apps were found to ask for excessive permissions in order to spy on victims, access tracking locations and use the camera covertly. Through this, hackers could read information about users’ contacts and also secretly make phone calls. 

The news further explained that such apps had one thing in common – they were about the popular online game — Fortnite. And this threat has been the focus of a recent study by Top10VPN. 

 

Simon Migliano, Top10VPN 

Our biggest concerns relate to the excessive permissions. We found apps that can be used to spy on people by tracking location, reading contacts, using the camera – even secretly making phone calls. None of these permissions are present in the official Fortnite 

 

Luckily, catching these fake apps isn’t rocket science. 

Below are some reliable ways to spot these poseurs, and what you can do to safeguard yourself. 

1. Double check the developer’s name.  

Before you download an app, ensure the developer’s name comes from a reputable company or someone you recognize. Check the spellings. Remember: some hackers also use similar names as the trusted ones. Although it doesn’t guarantee total security, doing so can help you stay away from vicious authors. 

The image above is a possible pitfall to a security breach if left unnoticed. 

2. Beware bad grammar and typos. 

Many fake apps are created hastily by non-native English speaking developers. A poorly written app description could be an indication of a phony app, so you’d better read it thoroughly. 

3. Check the reviews all the time. 

Reviews are made purposively. Generally, an app with more reviews means a legit one. Make sure to check both sides of the opinion coin and read the negative reviews first before the 5-star ones. Why? Users who read those bad app reviews first would know the reason behind negative feedback and then can use this knowledge to make smarter decisions. Yet, always take note that reviews can be easily bought.

4. Shopping discounts? On apps? A big no-no! 

That’s a massive red flag! Any similar offers from apps promising instant shortcuts and discounts are just too good to be true. Designers are businessmen, and while some major companies can offer free apps, there’s always a cost even if it is “just” the presence of ads.

5. Go directly to the app’s official website. 

For a quick solution, download the app straight from the company’s website. 

6. Always verify permission requests. 

Learn to deny permissions to an app asking for access to all data on your device and the websites you visit. Check if the permissions requested are relevant to the apps’ nature of service. You wouldn’t want some random hacker savoring your private images and data just because you were reckless about permissions. So, take time to read meticulously what you are about to give. 

 

Gabriel Wood, NextAdvisor:  

Be especially careful with any app that asks for the administrator permission, as this gives the app the ability to do really nasty stuff like change your password, encrypt your storage and make itself undeletable. 

 

7. Read the user’s agreement and privacy policy. 

It may seem a tedious process, but it’s the optimal way to find the real intention of an app and the purpose of all its demands. 

8. Research before you download. 

Researching takes up time and is sometimes inconvenient but it saves privacy and security, nonetheless. There are many apps that do not belong to well-known developers, though, that are legitimate as well. The only way to still enjoy what other developers can offer—especially those from virtuous new developers—is to check their past apps and review what online forums are saying. 

9. Watch out for free apps. 

People love anything that is free and that’s the reason behind the growing billions of app users worldwide. But did you know that some free apps do rubbish acts like collecting data more than what you thought you’ve allowed? This is the biggest reason why everyone should check permission requests as written earlier. Your personal information becomes the product hackers and scammers sell to the darknet when you don’t check the permission requests. 

Conclusion

We live in a world full of wonders: good and bad. Though the latter may crunch our passion and enthusiasm on the marvels of technology, it doesn’t have to be bad enough to stop us from keeping on top of it. 

Cybercriminals may try to take advantage of people’s weaknesses. But the good thing is, companies are prompt in coming up with the best solutions for security risks. 

At Flint Technologies Solutions, we understand that the weakest link in the security chain is among the people using it. Nevertheless, Our goal is to help you do business better and at the same time live your tech life better, so we prepared cybersecurity measures such as app protection, hybrid walls, multi-factor security authentication, data encryption, cloud backup, etc. to help you protect yourself and your business’ information.  

Yes, there are millions of legitimate apps out there and I know you’ve been using two or more. That’s great! As long as you apply all the lessons you’ve learned above, you’re ahead of the safety curve.

Which PowerApp is best for you?

Which PowerApp is best for you?

In my Last post, I discussed “What is Microsoft PowerApps” and why businesses should use it. In this post, I’ll discuss the types of PowerApps available to build and how to choose the one suitable for your requirement.

PowerApps is a platform which provides us the capability to build a feature-rich, no code, platform independent app in near no time.

PowerApps are of two 2 types: Canvas based PowerApps and Model-driven PowerApps

Canvas apps have been here from the beginning whereas Model-driven apps are the one newly introduced.

Canvas Apps

Canvas Apps are pixel perfect apps which are designed by dragging and dropping elements on a platform just like a slide of Powerpoint. You can use excel like formulas to define logic and can use over 200 connectors to connect to different services. Canvas Apps are designed keeping in mind the end user platform like mobile phone or tablet on which it’ll run and designed accordingly. For mobile phone and tablet, a separate app needs to be designed as Canvas Apps sick to their size once designed and can’t remodel themselves according to the screen.

Canvas Apps give you freedom of customization the design as per your requirement for each screen and component and connecting to an available set of connectors.

Key Features of Canvas Based Power Apps can be summarized as :-

  1. Design-oriented where components need to be dragged and dropped on a canvas to design an app
  2. Can connect to over 200 connectors of different services
  3. High customization/design scope available
  4. Comes with Power app plan 1 ($7 per user per month) Ref: pricing

Model Driven Apps

Model-driven apps are built on the top of the data model-building up from the shape of your core business data and processes in the Common Data Service to model forms, views, and other components. Model-driven apps automatically generate great UI that is responsive across devices.

In simple words, here you need not design pixel perfect UI, the platform itself generate a nice UI according to the data you keep on forms and the process you design. Also, the model-driven app changes their orientation according to the device they are running at like mobile phone, tablet or web application.

Model-driven apps are built and managed from the PowerApps Portal similar to how canvas apps are built and managed.  There is a mode switch to the lower left corner which allows switching between the canvas and model-driven design modes.

Key Features of Model Driven Power apps can be summarized as :-

  1. UI is driven from the data model rather unlike canvas based app where pixel perfect UI needs to be designed
  2. Model-based apps work on CDS (common data service) data source and can’t connect to as many connectors as canvas-based apps can.
  3. Comes with Power app Plan 2 license (40 $ per user per month) Ref: pricing

 

Now as you have a fair idea of both type of power apps, it’s time to understand how you choose one type of power app over other.

Canvas based apps are capable to connecting over 200 connectors and let designer design app as per his creativity and requirement in terms of UI. So if UI customization, low cost and specific connectors (which you want to use) are your main concerns, you need canvas based power apps. Keep in mind, canvas-based power apps takes time in development as each screen along with its component need to be specifically designed and tested against data operation.

On the other hand, if you defined data model and process in D365 which you want to convert to power app and doesn’t necessarily want pixel perfect design and system generated design is fine, you should go with model-based power apps. The advantage with model-based power apps is that you don’t need to design each screen, unlike Canvas-based apps. You design CRM forms and those forms are automatically rendered as power app screens.

In my next post, I’ll be building a simple Canvas App to show how can you quick start building power apps.

I hope this post was helpful. I’ll be waiting for your questions and comments.

 

Facebook breached, 50 million affected

Facebook breached, 50 million affected

“Facebook on Friday said an attack on its computer network led to the exposure of information from nearly 50 million of its users. The company discovered the breach earlier this week, finding that attackers had exploited a feature in Facebook’s code that allowed them to take over user accounts. Facebook fixed the vulnerability and notified law enforcement officials.”

Source

These breaches aren’t a surprise anymore. Literally almost every week we learn of some major company, some million (billion!) dollar firm which, despite its amazing assets, has had its security breached, and the information of trusted clients/users compromised.

Stop thinking it can’t happen to you, stop thinking your company is too small to attract attention. The simple fact is that if a billion dollar company, with literal MOUNDS of money devoted to security can be hacked, you stand little chance against the actors involved.

Unless you employ a team of certified and experienced defense professionals, who are backed by a billion dollar company, but free to implement the newest safeguards without the fear of responding to stockholders. You need a team committed to not only detection and defense, but also backup and renewal.

Since most breaches influence companies for months before detection, and once your information is compromised it becomes truly life-changing to reset your information and recover (if you can) your identity and that of the clients who trusted you, the key lies in early detection, segregation, and elimination.

That is what we offer.

online security

 

Power Apps; Understanding What it is and Why to use it

Power Apps; Understanding What it is and Why to use it

Businesses today don’t want to stick around bulky applications which they have to log in using their computer and enter the data. They want beyond that, they want things to move quickly on their fingertips. They want to punch in things on the go, while traveling, just like browsing another app.  They want to drive their business their way, not just according to products capabilities and limitations.

So to suffice such requirements of businesses, power apps comes into play.

(more…)

Accelerate your GDPR compliance journey with Microsoft 365

Accelerate your GDPR compliance journey with Microsoft 365

Navigating toward GDPR compliance requires an approach that will allow you to get the most out of the process. The capabilities of Microsoft 365 can accelerate your journey to GDPR compliance. With a deep understanding of GDPR and its implications on organizations, Microsoft is set up to help you navigate the murky waters. Don’t attempt to swim through the regulations on your own. At Flint Technologies Solutions, we can help guide you on your journey. Contact us for more.

View: Accelerate your GDPR compliance journey with Microsoft 365

Don’t get stuck with cousin Wilbur, use Managed Cybersecurity

Don’t get stuck with cousin Wilbur, use Managed Cybersecurity

Dave had a dream; he started his own business.

Dave’s business grew quickly when he started a website and did digital marketing. And added an e-commerce option so that his customers could pay online. Dave’s family was so proud of him, and Dave was very happy.Customer satisfaction, marketing, goals, cybersecurity

Then one day Dave’s customer reported that her credit card had been charged for a trip to the beach that she never took. Another customer who lives in New York was charged for dinner in Colorado. After several more customers reported mysterious charges, an investigation was started which revealed that Dave’s e-commerce system had been hacked. Many people’s identities were stolen, and nobody trusted Dave anymore. Dave became very sad. 

Now, Dave works for his cousin Wilbur, and cousin Wilbur is…difficult.Managed cybersecurity, cybersecurity, managed services, Bad bosses

Don’t get stuck working for cousin Wilbur. Leverage Managed Cybersecurity and have someone constantly checking to see if your security is up to date, if there have been any breaches, if there are any weak points that need to be made stronger, and ready to respond immediately if something does happen in order to segregate the problem, minimize the damage, and restore your system to health. Managed security backs up your data too, so not even a fire will cause you permanent loss.

Take the Flint Tech Solutions Cyber-Assurance Package for a 30-day free trial, and rather than being stuck with him, have a great relationship with Wilbur since you’ll only be around each other for visits. 😉

Write to info@flinttech.com or use the chat over there on the right!

Free Trial of our Dynamic Information Protection Package!

Free Trial of our Dynamic Information Protection Package!

At the end of this piece, I’m going to make a security offer to you, and you’re going to want it. You’ll click on this link to get it. Watch; you’ll see. First though, about your kids…

As a parent, I’m confident that you take your kid (kids) to the doctor for regular checkups to prevent any harmful conditions or diseases from hurting them. You also take them to the dentist so that they can keep their teeth cleaned (preventing the buildup of dirty, stinky plaque) and in case a cavity starts to form the dentist can take care of it before the pain of it brings your kid to tears. Hopefully, you’re visiting the dr. regularly for your own health, too. So here’s the way things typically go;

You…

Take the kids to the doctor for checkups and preventative measures and if needed, treatment.

Take the kids to the dentist for checkups and preventative measures and if needed, treatment.

Take yourself to the doctor and the dentist for preventative measures and if needed, treatment.

but then you…

Completely ignore the cyberhealth of your team’s network because it would cost money to keep it healthy, and besides, the system isn’t coughing, so it must be healthy, right?

You can’t tell if certain diseases hit your bloodstream unless you visit the doctor because they work quietly in the darkness until the damage is significant. Sometimes, horrible things escape our notice for a while.

Remember the frightening number of stories about families and individuals being spied on by a landlord or in a motel and how long these individuals got away with it?

Even governments spy and are spied upon for long periods of time before the breach is discovered.

Are you being spied upon by something beneath the surface?

Verizon commissioned the “2018 Data Breach Investigations Report, 11th edition”, a report so shocking it made our whole team do a doubletake when we read it. One of the stunning revelations was that 68% of breaches were discovered months or years after the initial compromise.

68% of breaches were discovered months or years after the initial compromise.

                                      MONTHS OR YEARS AFTER!

That’s a long time for a parasite to be buried beneath the surface, wreaking havoc without anyone knowing. Hackers don’t tend to install flash script to announce their arrival. You wouldn’t know when they breached your system until the damage was significant.

The Verizon report unearthed that most breaches are discovered by a 3rd party. As the doctor finds your illness and prevents worse, a cybersecurity manager would find your cyber illness and prevent worse. There is another 3rd party too, one that you absolutely do not want to be the party who discovers your breach; your clients. Even worse, the media.

There’s a high cost to doing nothing.

There’s a high cost to your physical health from doing nothing. There’s a high cost for your cyberhealth from doing nothing, and it affects more people than just you. Cyberhealth absolutely requires

  • preventative medicine
  • regular checkups
  • updated vaccinations

Scary enough, the Verizon report also revealed that the top external actor (perpetrator) group in breaches is organized crime! The top internal actor group in breaches is your system administrator! Who protects you?

Email breaches remain among the chief inroads of disease vectors into your system, and the Verizon report exposed the sad fact that people who experience a breach due to clicking on a phishing email tend to continue clicking on phishing emails! Does this describe you, or does it describe your team members?

It certainly describes someone in your organization.

Now the encouraging news; we have an opportunity for you to examine your cyberhealth now, and apply the practices you need to stay healthy. We want to help you be as vigorous as you can be, so like when doctors offer free clinics, we’re offering you a 30-day free trial of some very good medicine.

The Flint Tech Solutions Information Protection Package is yours free for 30 days when you sign a managed solutions agreement with us. If at the end of that 30 days you don’t believe our health plan has improved your cyberhealth in guarding your email, you can end the agreement without penalty and see if you can find support elsewhere.

Your Flint Tech Solutions Information Protection Package includes 24/7 personal protection management of your email system (no, we don’t read your emails or documents like the free services do, we just make sure they get to their destination safely), and;

  • Real-time protection
  • Holistic protection and trials of the amazing collaborative tool Microsoft Teams, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, Sharepoint Online, and OneDrive for Business.
  • Safe Attachments utilizes advanced machine learning to protect you in real time by preventing malicious attachments from impacting your messaging environment, even if their signatures are not known! It isolates and examines attachments before sending them to recipients, nice and clean.
  • Exchange Online Protection protects your environment when users click on links by instantly examining the URL in real time, and either warning you of a risk in visiting, or blocking it entirely. Reporting allows you to see which users clicked a link and when they did it!
  • Rich reporting gives you critical insights into who is being targeted in your company, what types of attacks you’re facing, and the ability to trace and report malicious links.

Use this service to defeat malware, assure compliances, for data loss protection, and dress your server in armor!

This is a powerful and amazing package under the direction of Flint Tech Solutions CISSP Brian Rupp, and we’re happy to offer it to you for 30 days at no cost to you! Simply click HERE to start your free trial!

Update; we’ve decided to add something to our giveaway that you can get, and keep forever. Microsoft provided us with a fantastic Whitepaper on Shadow IT. In a nutshell, Shadow IT happens when you or your team tweak your device with any unauthorized piece of software, whether that software adds value or not. That’s the tricky part; if you don’t know what apps are being added to your carefully crafted system, you can’t know what they’re affecting, what data they’re moving, if your security covers their actions…nothing!

You can have this whitepaper just for clicking through, ’cause we truly do appreciate your time, and want to see you in control of your business from top to bottom!

Did you know…?

Managed Services are the best way to control spending in your company. The pains you’re feeling now over trying to handle all aspects of your daily business, like cybersecurity, operating systems, compliance, upgrades, relocations, and expansions, can drain your finances, morale, and the time you have available for your customers and the healthy growth you need.

It’s almost certain that you have spent money you didn’t need to spend, and lost growth you should have gained because you were spending time and resources in an area that was not the right use of your team.

Let Flint support you in handling ongoing services and special projects. We have the specialists you need to do it right the first time, do it efficiently, and without interrupting your business. Our managed cybersecurity solutions guard your business 24/7, and can effectively lower your overall costs of operation!

There’s a high cost to doing nothing. Don’t pay that price. Do something. Do business better. Ask us how.

Flint Tech Solutions Signs New Director of Cyber Security

Flint Tech Solutions Signs New Director of Cyber Security

Sept. 5, 2018, 1100

Flint Tech Solutions Signs New Director of Cyber Security!News, cybersecurity, CISO, CISSO

Brian Rupp, CISSP to lead Flint Tech Solutions cybersecurity division

Wexford PA— Sept. 5, 2018Today, Flint Tech Solutions is pleased to announce the appointment of Brian Rupp, CISSP, Certified Information Systems Security Professional!

“Brian is an awesome gain for our company,” said Kenneth Barrett, CEO at Flint Tech Solutions.

Positive Customer Impact

Flint Tech clients will benefit greatly from Mr. Rupp’s extensive background in developing and perfecting approaches to military, state, and private sector cybersecurity. His commitment to excellence as a leading figure in the security field tremendously elevates Flint’s ability to provide cyber and physical security. Already a superior, “born in the Cloud” security provider, Flint’s ability to provide top-notch security and security teaching regarding the safest measures for any given setting is now separated from most SMB providers by the presence of such a skilled and experienced CISSP and complete CISO services.

Product Availability

Flint Tech Solutions offers SMBs and Enterprise companies the rare and valuable circumstance of having all four pillars of Digital Transformation under one roof; Cyber Security is our first concern, adding Digital Marketing, IT Managed Solutions, and DevOps/App Support, eliminating the need for dealing with multiple companies, multiple representatives, and conflicting contracts. Lower your overall operating costs while receiving optimal care toward helping you do business better.

Founded in 2013, Flint Tech Solutions is focused on Managed Cybersecurity Services with a complete in-house team that supports it through Digital Transformation of business to Engage your customers, Empower your employees, Optimize your operations, and Transform your products, all while reducing your overall costs of operation!

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Flint Tech Solutions operates in 6 countries, observing and helping clients maintain full national and international compliances, including GDPR, HIPPA, PCI DSS, and others. For more information, press only:

Mark Brown

Flint CMO

1.412.301.7948

MBrown@flinttech.com

For general questions write:

Info@FlintTech.com

SEM and SEO – What You Really Need to Know to Take Your Business to the Next Level

SEM and SEO – What You Really Need to Know to Take Your Business to the Next Level

If you are into content marketing business, you must have heard the words SEM and SEO around you. You might have been into conversations with your colleagues, whereby, these words may have casually sprinkled and freaked out at the thought that someone might be asking you talk about it too! Well, SEM and SEO are two very commonly used marketing terms, but do you really know what the words actually mean?

SEO and SEM do not have the same meaning!

The purpose of SEO and SEM is to increase the visibility of a website, but you cannot use these two words interchangeably. Speaking of the main differences between them, SEM is all about paid search tactics, whereas, SEO makes use of organic techniques to shape credibility for the search engines. Does that make sense? No? Let’s dive into the topic to clarify you regarding SEM and SEO.

So, what is SEO?           SEO, SEM, Intelligent SEO, Digital Marketing

The full form of SEO is Search Engine Optimization. It’s a process that makes use of different types of techniques to make a webpage appear in a higher rank in search results. The good thing about rising your search ranking will also raise the traffic to your website.

Basically, we can conclude that good SEO is equaled to more visitors equals to more customers and thus, more sales!

Bear that in mind that Google is always changing their algorithm. As a business, it is your duty to keep up with the top search engines trends. SEO is all about patience. It is a constant process that progresses with time.

And what’s SEM?

SEM refers to Search Engine Marketing. The purpose of this is to bring in appropriate traffic from the search engines through sponsored ad listings. More often than not, SEM is about pay-per-click (PPC) advertising slash marketing. There are a lot of PPC platforms in search engines and social media, however, Google Adwords beats them all by becoming the most popular and successful platform. The purpose of SEM is to help online advertisers to gain more popularity in the search engines and push the right traffic without having to delay. Remember, if you want to be successful with SEM, it is important to have a strong and dynamic SEM strategy that would get the optimal return on your investment.

The Big Question; Where to Start?

Your expert marketer friend might have told you that SEO is the best and that’s the way to go because of the higher quality leads that it offers at a cheaper rate compared to SEM. It is not so simple! Your friend may have been talking about a business that is different and has its own unique needs. Your friend might have been talking about his startup, which is still a small business and may not have much of a big advertising budget. Plus, the business might also be lacking the proper resources needed for doing successful SEO.

It’s best for you to gain clarity as per your business requirements. Get a clarification as to what you should choose for your business and why. Build a strong online marketing strategy that is suitable for your business. Once you have the right marketing strategy, you can proceed with gathering the right information. You’ll know what your target audience is looking for and which is the best way you can reach them. Don’t worry if your business is still small and new. What matters is the type of audience you are about to reach and how you actually reach them.

Read ahead to know about the advantages and disadvantages of both SEM and SEO that will give you a better idea of what to expect from these two and channel that is meant for your business. 

Why Use SEO?

You may have come across a lot of online marketers who swore that SEO is the most effective. Since Google has upped their game, things are no longer so easy. Nowadays, it’s more about the kind of quality and the quantity of value that you’re capable of delivering.

Improve your website for search engines and get organic traffic instead. Here’s how:

  • More Branding: While your competitor brands are up to making commercial search terms, you can look for topics related to your niche. Making the topics more relatable to the potential customers. When they will find out that your content is much stronger, it will have an indirect positive effect on your branding. Google itself is used by numerous internet users as a tool for research that helps them make better purchasing decisions. No matter which market you are in, creating useful content will help you build a better brand.

 

  • More Trust and Credibility: Google will never let you down. They always work hard to bring you only the best websites on the first page. Google is undeniably highly reliable in terms of service. When you click on the first page, you are automatically transmitting credibility and trust points from search users. Admit it that most of the time you would be ignoring sponsored ads and be looking for organic search listings. If your business also includes more organic search listings, it makes it easier for you to stand against the paid and sponsored ads. Just another additional tip; if you are running a business that is very much dependent on reviews, try to be visible in Search Engine Results Page (SERPs). The bunch of positive reviews will enormously help your business gain credibility.

 

  • Lower Costs: As a business, these are the best words you can always want to come across. Plus, another thing you would willingly want to come across is having to invest very less but getting greater results. Yes, that’s what SEO is all about! Of course, there are costs involved when running a successful SEO campaign, but comparatively, they are much lower. If you’re already wondering how is that possible, it’s because the height of brand awareness that you are to create with SEO and the traffic that you can pull off will cost you with other marketing methods. Although SEO is not at all cheap, it’s reliable and most importantly justifies the costs. With SEO, it’s always a win-win!

What happens if you prefer to use SEM?

Most content marketers literally believe in SEM (or PPC). But before you rush into implementing SEM, look at these reasons and verify whether your business is suitable for SEM.

  • Better Control: With the use of SEM, there is no way you are limited in any way because SEM is more result driven and you have total control over your sponsored listings or PPC. Test and tweak every detail of your ad and you can improve the performance of the campaign in general if you feel it’s necessary to. Unlike SEO, SEM content can be more promotional and persuasive. To get the highest click-through rate, you are free to customize each and every element of your ad.

 

  • Get More Views: When you are doing SEO, chances are that the right people might not be visiting your website. SEM confirms that your ads are laser targeted towards the audience who are really looking for your product or service. And that makes you get more views, boosting your brand’s visibility. Don’t expect people to immediately click on your ads, but eventually, they will search for your product when they are in need. Therefore, in every way, paid ads are what taking your business places by filtering out people who are not a part of your campaign and getting potential target audience.

 

  • Keep your Budget Under Control: While SEO might be needing the least costs associated with online marketing, SEM or PPC is a bit different than that. Since you are investing money in SEM, you are able to control each and every cent at every step. This helps you save money in the long run. Using SEM, you are able to control your daily budget, whereby, you can start off with a very small amount. When you figure out which tactic is giving you the best return on your investment, ramp up your budget and make the most out it without having to worry about incurring losses.

 

Additional Tips for SEO and SEM;

The Dos of SEO:

  • Emphasize on creating high-quality and well-written content that is engaging
  • Study the right keywords and incorporate them appropriately
  • Include photos, videos and GIFs, which are thought to make content interactive. Ensure that the photos are resized to enhance the page’s loading time
  • Insert third-party links that are credible sources

The Don’ts of SEO

  • Don’t stuff your content with keywords
  • Don’t pay for links as they do not add any value to your content
  • Avoid repeating the same title and meta descriptions for different articles. Always come up with something new!

The Dos of SEM:

  • Make use of the SEM tools at its best
  • See what your top competitors are up to
  • Continuously keep researching your audience
  • Share your own content
  • Keep an eye on the details to find out what ad copy is the most effective

The Don’ts of SEM

  • Don’t overlook the power of ad extensions because it makes it easier for customers to interact with your website
  • Don’t just focus on one group of people. As an alternative, write different content for diversified demographics
  • Try not to use too much punctuation marks. If you think to add extra exclamation marks or capitalizing every other word would emphasize your point, it’s not right. In fact, it comes off as irritating.

What Do I Exactly Need to Know?

We’re absolutely sure that you now know the complete difference between SEO and SEM. Make use of these terms correctly and wisely. You may initiate a conversation about this topic at your dinner table. Okay, maybe not that far, but at least don’t be confused. Figure out how you can implement SEO and SEM strategies to improve your site.

If you already have a website and are puzzled about what to do next, we would suggest, start adding new content that combines keywords well, links and calls to action. And if you’re yet to start, you already have the guidelines to start constructing the most successful one so far.

Sources:

SEO vs. SEM: What You Need to Know, Express Writers

Search Engine Marketing (SEM): What It Is & How to Do It Right, Word Stream

 

The Flint Tech Solutions digital marketing team is expanding, and ready to help you move to the next level of success, Marketing, branding, social media management, content creation, and copywriting are the things we’re known for, and if you ask us about Intelligent SEO, you’re going to hear something that might surprise you. Hit us up at info@flinttech.com, or use the chat over there on the right!

7 Industries Headed to be the next big Digital Disruptors

7 Industries Headed to be the next big Digital Disruptors

The past few years have been stellar. The rapid growth of technology has helped several industries to grow into major businesses, and it is believed to be all for the better. About a decade ago, going on a road trip would mean flipping through pages after pages to find which direction to head towards. Today, we can take the fastest, shortest and even toll-free routes with utmost ease. Even getting a taxi has become so much easier. Gone are the days standing on the side of the road, either burning under a scorching sun or getting wet in the rain. Thanks to the transportation industry that has revolutionized so much for their digital disruptors like Uber.

Digital Disruption, Digital Transformation, Customer Service

What is Digital Disruption?

Digital Disruption is making use of digital technologies like social media, mobile phones and analytics to challenge the status quo. Typically, it’s about improvements on ideas that haven’t been thought about. Digital disruption is almost everywhere. But unlike traditional systems, they do not intend to be disrupted themselves.

The pace at which technology is rapidly growing and evolving, digital disruptors are almost everywhere and moving quickly to every corner of the world. What do you think is the next big disruption? Other than the automobile industry, here are 7 other industries that will experience an upheaval soon in the clasp of digital disruptors:

7 Industries That Are Headed to be The Next Digital Disruptors

  1. Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality, seriously? You must be thinking we are talking about the most commonly used applications of video games and TV. However, did you know there is plenty of R&D being done on this technology with millions of dollars of investments behind them? Virtual Reality is paving its way for innovation.

It may seem like a far-fetched idea right now seeing as we are not there yet. But with the heavy investments, it will usher in another revolution that leaves us wondering how we managed to live so long without such a technology by our side. From virtual tours to tourism to video conferencing or even distance learning, virtual reality simulations are on their way to making a HUGE breakthrough!

  1. Healthcare

The healthcare industry at present is deprived of “pleasant experiences.” This is where the role of digital disruptors come in. They are on their way to a massive development in making the consumer experience more comfortable, fast and useful. There is more to come.

Although there is heavy regulation, it is predicted that the healthcare industry is going to be one of the next big disruptors in the digital space. Right now, you may be experiencing a lot of pain in the healthcare side, but the days are not far when digital solutions will enable you to have better experiences in fulfilling your health needs.

  1. Professional Services

With technology exposed to more innovation, you will soon find that the tasks that were originally done by people in the professional services industry will be done by computers and robots. You might already know that this is what will happen in the future, but here’s the deal: think about booking your flight tickets through an artificial intelligence-driven app/website.

This is how digital will disrupt the traditional professional services industry by making use of computers to do the work. In the future, the professional services industry will extend towards advisory and consultancy services as well.

  1. Experiential Marketing

Imagine it’s 2040 and the customer loyalty, hyper-targeted, and brand loyalty marketing strategies are all exhausted. In fact, you do not need to go that far. After a few years, these tactics will lose their effectiveness. And businesses are fully aware that the engaging tactic that works well today will not work tomorrow.

While everyone is talking about hyper-targeted marketing strategies and segmented data, did anyone notice the huge growth in the online presence of experiential marketing? It’s the online engagement, online presence and online splashes that everyone can share and talk about, which makes experiential marketing a digital prodigy.

  1. Manufacturing

What’s a world without manufacturing? This industry has been powerful for a very long time now. The manufacturing industry is controlling what you are holding in your hand, what you are using to communicate with, and how you are keeping yourself entertained. The manufacturing industry is pretty much all about how you will go about your lives.

Think of smart home appliances facilitated by the use of the internet, which is where manufacturers decide to play their role in the digital world. With the technological advancements that are currently pacing through, it will be exciting to see what the manufacturing industry has in store for us.

  1. Insurance

When you see a guy selling insurance, you are almost always in a hurry trying to get away from him! A few years from now, you won’t have to do that. In fact, the change has already started. Startups like Insurify use the Facebook Messenger chatbot to provide automated insurances.

Furthermore, Lemonade’s smartphone app gets their user’s rental insurance done in minutes. If you are worried about falling victim to fraudulent activities then fret not! These companies spend more than $40 billion a year to fix these loopholes. Artificial Intelligence is changing the way insurance companies run their business.

  1. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the real game changer. To tell you the truth, this is the next big digital disruptor. Have you seen the impact it has already created in the society? While you may be frustrated by the way a customer care executive has behaved, AI can change all of that.

It aims at helping to deliver a more conversational experience with the company’s consumer, creating conventional dialogues by building connections. AI is already helping you with your digital marketing by delivering more personalized ads to the right consumers at the right place and at the right time to drive in more customized experiences.

How can you Succeed at Digital Disruption?

Don’t get terrified if your business is on the verge of facing digital disruption. Here are some solutions that will help you thrive during digital disruption:

  • Don’t Be Afraid to Bring in Changes: Was your business structured during the pre-digital economy? In that case for you to survive, you need to adapt to new processes and habits. For example, Uber has changed the entire taxi industry by remaking a more personalized mobile experience. If the taxi industry wants to survive, they need a complete surgery in providing their service.

 

  • Focus more on Solutions, Not Products: It really doesn’t matter what products you are selling. What matters is how you are selling it. If you are selling something highly profitable, it will bring in more competitors in the industry. To battle such competition, you may consider changing your production style or improving your quality.

 

  • Step Ahead with a Digitized Platform: Move a step ahead with a digitized platform. The best companies are learning on grasping their market with a great digitized platform that enables a high-quality transaction, efficiency, innovation and consumer intimacy. A good example of this would be Amazon. They are constantly raising the bar for their competitors by still remaining the top choice for their customers.

 

  • Hiring a Digital Officer Won’t Solve Your Problems: If you think that hiring a marketing head, HR head, and a chief digital office would bring you success, then you may be wrong! That’s because the problem of digital disruption is bigger than that. It requires all the part of the business to work closely together, something they might never have done before. Instead of hiring a chief digital officer, learn the capabilities of your business. You might need to initiate changes and bring in new roles in a department itself and restructure the goals of your business to make success happen.

In Conclusion…

…there are exciting times ahead! Digital disruptors are affecting each and every industry. While you might not be acting on it right now, your competitor might have already believed in the changes and started working on them. You see, it is important to have enough technological skills for individuals to tackle the new technology in order to succeed.

Whatever happens, you can count on these 7 industries to become the next digital disruptors. Do you agree with us? Let us know what your thoughts are on this in the comment section below!

 

Sources:

The Coming Wave of Digital Disruption, Strategy-business

7 Industries That Are Headed to Be The Next Digital Disruptors, Business 2 Community

11 Industries Poised To Be The Next Digital Disruptors, Forbes

 

The Flint Tech Solutions digital marketing team is expanding, and ready to help you move to the next level of success, Marketing, branding, social media management, content creation, and copywriting are the things we’re known for, and if you ask us about Intelligent SEO, you’re going to hear something that might surprise you. Hit us up at info@flinttech.com, or use the chat over there on the right!

8 Digital Marketing Platforms Entrepreneurs Love

8 Digital Marketing Platforms Entrepreneurs Love

Congratulations on launching your startup! Now that you have reached this far, you should be placing your brand in front of every single eye possible. There might be a hundred other launches, selling the same product as you, so what makes you stand out? Everyday consumers are bombarded with the same kind of generic marketing messages. Although you should be working to create a unique image for your brand, don’t stop there! You must simultaneously look for popular digital marketing platforms to market your brand.

Let’s Talk Social…    Digital Marketing, Social Media,

Undeniably, social media is one of the most cost-effective ways to publicize your startup that will leave an impact on your audience. Not only that, it’s a platform that allows your brand to grow by offering an easier way for promotion and customer services.

Here are 8 affordable and valuable digital marketing tips and tricks for your startup, that are heavily recommended by entrepreneurs.

  1. Facebook

Most digital marketers use Facebook to advertise for their clients. In fact, Facebook is the most favourite platform of digital marketers because of its grainy targeting ability to find the perfect target market. Facebook is the only platform that allows such in-depth marketing capabilities. By 2018, Facebook has counted to have 1.9 billion users, 75% of whom spend more than 20 minutes on Facebook every single day! It’s the best platform to reach Millennials and Generation X (ages 18 – 49) as it has been accounted that they spend over 7 hours a week on social media. With the constant improvements to its algorithm, Facebook is becoming more and more user-friendly that gives a better user experience.

  1. LinkedIn

Did you know that LinkedIn is highly customizable? As a digital marketer, you can target your buyer persona as its unique features allow you to target your ad towards a person’s profession instead of making it available for a group of people, unlike Facebook. With almost a monthly user of 106 million, typical LinkedIn marketers are less likely to use other social networks. That’s because the new Lead Accelerator tool enables lead nurturing for marketers to show their ads only to the people who are targeted at the right time (depending on where they are buying and what they are buying). There, LinkedIn is very organized with their ad campaign strategy and optimizes the best way to move towards their targeted audience. LinkedIn has been accounted to help numerous companies all over the US by decreasing their costs-per-lead and increase their transfer rates by 50%.

  1. Google AdWords

Google AdWords is increasingly gaining its popularity and there’s no way you can embrace digital marketing without the use of Google AdWords. Whatever you learn from Google AdWords campaign will help you tackle your campaigns well on other digital marketing platforms. Google AdWords is an incredibly powerful advertising platform that you can use easily to almost every type of business. Don’t insist yourself on comparing Facebook Ads to Google Display Network because they are two similar platforms and show should be used in harmony, not in opposition.

  1. Instagram

Whether you believe it or not but Instagram has paved its way to the best advertising platform for sales. Instagram is all about influential marketing. Once you have your product and know your market, Instagram will help you target the suitable audience and increase your engagement. Plus, all the other platforms will require you to spend on huge ad budgets while you get very little in return. Out of 600 million unique users, 53% of them follow brands, whereby 90% of them are below 35 years of age. There you go! This is an amazing platform if you want to target the millennials.

  1. Quora

Whenever you type and search a question on Google, there are high chances that the first few results that appear are likely to be from Quora. That’s what Quora is all about! This question-answer social media platform is easy to navigate, making it a great way for companies to create a network with the industry influencers and boost their company’s image. Marketers use this platform to gain a reputation as a skillful industry expert by answering relevant questions that were posted by users. Not only that, they connect with other people in their space who can help them with word-of-mouth marketing about their brand. Just so you know, Quora has 190 million users monthly – and it’s growing more than ever. They launched their ad features in 2016, but only for a limited number of advertisers. If you combine Facebook and Google through remarketing, this will go a long way to fulfill your marketing needs.

  1. Twitter

How can we not mention about Twitter! Digital Marketers love it because of its ridiculously easy growth with so less effort. Since not many people are on Twitter, hence, it allows you to connect with the most influential people all around the world. Take advantage of Twitter Ads for letting your brand grow with the most influential people in your space. Twitter will give you the same visibility that you are looking for, but with a better return on your investments.

  1. Reddit

If you have heard about Reddit and never thought of it as a digital marketing platform, it’s high time you start considering it as one. Why? Reddit is digital marketers one of the best-kept secrets. With over 250 million users, this content-based social platform runs entirely on its user’s activities. Sounds strange, right? The user’s activities are separated precisely into content communities known as “subreddits”, where the users themselves can post their own content and “upvote” or “downvote” another people’s post to make it appear in a higher or lower place on the trending list. And there lies your advantage! Upvote your sponsored posts that turn up in different subreddits for effective branding for your own brand. This makes it easier for you to interact with potential consumers of your brand.

  1. Pinterest

Pinterest is on its way to achieving its position among the well-established social media platforms. It is said that people on Pinterest are 10% more likely to make online purchases via e-commerce than other social media users. From 18 – 64-year-old, Pinterest offers a huge collection of over 5,000 interests and categories that allows digital advertisers to be more specific, obvious and niche. You’d be surprised to know that Pinterest can be very effective in terms of advertising by increasing brand awareness, traffic, engagement and thus boosting sales for your brand. By clicking on your ad, users will land into your e-commerce page, making your campaign successful.

Additional Tips:

Here are some tips on how you can do your best with your startup in terms of Digital Marketing:

  • Influence your followers and keep them engaged

Make your followers feel like they are valuable members of your brand. If they have any complaints, don’t be afraid to approach them. Showcase your brand’s customer-service competencies. As a brand (or even a startup), strategically win your customers over with the best products and good customer services and you’ll go a long way!

  • Don’t go for big investments on social media yet

We know how keen you are about spending on digital marketing to get the best exposure for your brand. But don’t go for big investments yet! Take baby steps and make use of Facebook ads, LinkedIn Premium, and Sponsored Tweets. These will provide a higher engagement with lower investment.

  • Your content still matters

You may wonder, why is content so important? Well, it’s because, through your content,  your message is being conveyed to your audience. If your message is not well formulated, there are fewer chances for you to succeed.

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram might be known as the powerhouse of social media, it’s still a good idea to make noise and connect with other potential customers via the lesser-known platforms alongside the most popular ones. Who knows, your competitors might not be using them and you could be the ruler of that platform? As a startup, you might have to worry about your budget, but keeping your marketing costs moderately low and financing proper digital opportunities are likely to bring you success. Improve your brand’s visibility without suffocating yourself on large budget campaigns.

Sources:

8 Tips for Bootstrapped Startups, Entrepreneur

8 Customer-Rich Platforms Your Marketing Efforts May Be Overlooking, Entrepreneur

8 Reasons Facebook Will Beat All Other Channels This Year, Entrepreneur

The Flint Tech Solutions digital marketing team is expanding, and ready to help you move to the next level of success, Marketing, branding, social media management, content creation, and copywriting are the things we’re known for, and if you ask us about Intelligent SEO, you’re going to hear something that might surprise you. Hit us up at info@flinttech.com, or use the chat over there on the right!

Flint Tech partners with ContentMX to present Odo, the most awesome content sharing platform ever!

Flint Tech partners with ContentMX to present Odo, the most awesome content sharing platform ever!

If your team is too busy or too inexperienced to manage your marketing, get excited because ContentMX and FlintTech have joined forces to offer you this unique storytelling platform that ensures your company or local franchise is sharing well-crafted content on a regular basis and growing your influence!

Allow me to introduce you to our newest tool for your success, Odo; a storytelling platform that is Prescriptive, Automated, Personalized, and grows your business. (Hit us up right now to find out how it can help your business grow!)

                                      WOW!

Often, franchises fail to leverage the power of sharing regularly with their community, the information they do share is inaccurate, or isn’t compelling.  Help your franchises share your story by providing them with a marketing automation solution that is content first and foolproof to use!

With Odo, you simply log in, select where you want that day’s media to be shared, click the share button, and enjoy the feedback from your customers! If you prefer the automated route, set it up once to perform those steps and it becomes a marketer for you, posting what you want, where you want it, without you lifting a finger! Watch this short video to see how simple it is to post, using LinkedIn as an example;

With a content and media management program like Odo, partners have reported the following results:

  • A 225% increase in sales leads;
  • Annual revenue attribute of 40%; and
  • Improved relationships and engagement with prospects.

Odo is localized yet ensures corporate branding, can be automated as we produce content for you to share whenever you’re ready, or easily managed by the franchise to personalize the messaging even more.

Any way you choose, this new storytelling marketing platform will help your franchises stay noticed and engaged with their customers leading to increased revenue. It’s Odo, say it with me…

Oh, dough!”

This is the most flexible and simplest content sharing platform I’ve ever seen! – Ken Barrett, Flint Tech Solutions CEO

Odo helps make you an expert marketer. Get in touch with us now at info@flinttech.com, or use the chat right other there on the right. Put this powerful, flexible, and simple platform to work for your company, and grow your company!