Day: January 23, 2021
Beijing spreads conspiracies while impeding WHO experts.
It’s likely that social media marketing plays a vital part in your brand strategy. If that’s the case, you’re probably always on the lookout for new platforms and product features that enable you to interact with and engage your audience in different ways. This means you should know about Twitter Spaces.
Hot on the heels of launching Fleets, Twitter announced the initial rollout of Spaces, a new social experience built around audio-only chat rooms. It’s currently in the private beta phase, but it’s already clear that Spaces could offer numerous benefits to brands when it’s more widely available.
Here’s my take on Twitter’s latest feature.
What Is Twitter Spaces?
If you’ve got your finger on the pulse of social media, you’ve likely heard of a buzzworthy platform called Clubhouse, an ultra-exclusive, invite-only, audio-based social app that’s been a big hit with A-listers and Silicon Valley leaders alike.
Users have described it as akin to a live-action, free-flowing podcast where you can jump in and out of different rooms, listening to or joining in with conversations on a vast range of topics.
Spaces is effectively Twitter’s take on Clubhouse, except that it’ll (eventually) be available to everyone, not just a select few.
However, whereas Clubhouse has drawn criticism for its light approach to moderation, which makes it a potential breeding ground for online harassment, Twitter has made Spaces big on inclusivity. Its vision is to replicate the “magic feeling” of a “bomb dinner party,” where you don’t know all the guests, but everyone feels comfortable at the table.
At the time of writing, Twitter Spaces is still in the beta testing phase, with only a couple hundred users onboard, predominantly from groups prone to experiencing harassment and trolling. However, the initial reception has certainly been positive.
How Does Twitter Spaces Work?
Now, let’s get into the nuts and bolts of Twitter Spaces.
Only those in the beta testing group can create Spaces, but anyone on iOS can join one. Twitter promises to expand the list of people who can create Spaces over time. When you get access, you’ll be able to start Spaces in two ways:
- By long-pressing the Compose button, and then tapping the Spaces icon on the far left
- Or by tapping your profile image in Fleets, scrolling to the far right, and tapping Spaces
While there’s no ceiling on the number of listeners to any given Space, the number of speakers is limited to 10. However, Twitter prefaces this with the words “for now,” which suggests it may increase the capacity for speakers down the line.
The host of a Space can determine who’s allowed to join with speaking privileges by choosing from:
- People you follow
- Only people you specifically invite to speak (invites are sent as direct messages)
Once a Space is up and running, the host has the power to remove, report, and block participants, and they’re also the only person who’s able to end a session.
Now, more on that bit about removing, reporting, and blocking. In an ideal world, Twitter Spaces would be self-policing, with trolls immediately kicked out and reported for infringements, but that’s not the case here.
Twitter says it’ll retain copies of all Spaces for 30 days after they end, giving its team the chance to review the session for violations of the Twitter rules. If they find any violations, they’ll increase the timespan to 90 days to allow people to appeal if they believe a mistake has been made.
For as long as Twitter retains any given Space, the host can download a copy of the full session data. They also have the option to download a transcript of the session, as long as they enable transcriptions.
While it’s still early days, the Twitter Spaces team has also unveiled a handful of other features that are in testing, including:
- Hand gesture-style reactions
- Live transcriptions, although Twitter says it’s working with a “very early version” of this feature
- Sharing tweets in Spaces
How Organizations Can Use Twitter Spaces
Now you know what Twitter Spaces is, and you understand a bit about how it works. How can brands use this new feature to take their Twitter marketing to the next level?
These are my early impressions; I’d like to qualify them by noting that more use cases may become apparent once Spaces leaves the beta phase and gets rolled out more widely.
Gain Audience Feedback
Audience feedback is super valuable. It helps us iron out creases in our products, road test new ideas, and measure consumer sentiment toward our brands.
Traditionally, gathering feedback was all about running focus groups, but those in-person sessions take a lot of time to organize and, by design, only reach a tiny proportion of your audience.
As a result, brands have increasingly moved toward online customer surveys, often through tools like Google Forms. Surveys help you reach a much wider audience and make it easier to gather quantitative data that you can track over time.
However, surveys aren’t perfect, either. In particular, they lack the face-to-face, human touch that makes focus groups so effective. It’s easy to miss the nuance behind an answer when it’s typed into a form rather than delivered as part of a two-way conversation.
Twitter Spaces could be the perfect balance between the two:
- They’re digital, so you can reach many people without dragging them to a physical location.
- They allow for real back-and-forth conversation, which helps you get much richer, more nuanced feedback.
What’s more, because Spaces are part of Twitter, you can use social listening to track down the ideal people for your digital feedback sessions. Monitor Twitter for mentions of your brand, products, competitors, and other relevant keywords, and send invites to the most relevant, engaged users.
Roll Out New Features or Products to Followers
When it comes to gaining general audience feedback, it’s helpful to look beyond your existing customer base. This can help you understand how non-customers perceive you versus your competition.
However, when you’re planning new features or products, it makes sense to stay closer to home because the most valuable feedback to help guide those decisions will come from the people who use your product day in, day out.
Again, Twitter Spaces can assist you here, provided you have a decent social following. Set up a Space, add your followers, and then ask for their feedback. It’s faster and easier than sending out a survey, and it allows you to leverage your existing audience on Twitter.
Host Discussions on Trending Topics in Your Industry
Panel discussions offer a double win for brands:
- They position you as a thought leader with your finger on the pulse of your industry. Why does this matter? Research from Edelman found that thought leadership strengthens your reputation and positively impacts request-for-proposal invitations, wins, pricing, and post-sale cross-selling.
- They allow you to invite potential prospects to join your panel, giving you a chance to network with them, demonstrate your expertise, and nurture your relationship.
Additionally, Twitter Spaces could be an excellent substitute for in-person panel talks because it’s easier (and more cost-effective) to invite a group of people to a Space than to a physical event.
Because the host has complete control over who joins a session and who’s allowed to speak, and they have the ability to kick people out if they’re not playing by the rules, Twitter Spaces could be ideal for discussing trending topics in an environment that’s free from abuse and trolling.
Interact With Followers in Real Time
Once upon a time, brand communication was pretty much a one-way street. You’d launch a new campaign, sit back, and hope your audience laps it up.
That’s not the case anymore. Today, people expect genuine, two-way interactions with brands. Not only that, but 64% of consumers and 80% of business buyers expect those interactions to happen in real-time.
That sort of live engagement just isn’t achievable through most platforms, but Twitter Spaces makes it possible. Your audience can tune into your live discussions, react, and potentially even get involved in the conversation (as long as they’re selected as a speaker).
However, it goes way beyond just engaging your existing audience.
Because people in your Space are allowed to invite other participants, you can encourage your followers to share it with their followers, thereby getting you in front of a much wider audience.
With Spaces, Twitter appears to have retained many of the elements that made Clubhouse such a hit while addressing the harassment concerns. That makes it a safe and palatable space for brands to build and nurture a highly engaged Twitter following.
Any platform, tactic, or tool that helps marketers break down the barriers between brands and audiences is worthy of attention, so I’m looking forward to learning more about Twitter Spaces when the private beta ends and it gets a full launch.
Do you want help with your social media strategy? Contact us!
What do you think about Twitter Spaces? Perhaps you’re part of the beta trial and have hands-on experience, or maybe you’re just excited to try it out yourself. Either way, let me know in the comments!
If you’re like most business owners, you’ve invested resources in creating a Facebook business page that engages your customers. You may have spent years growing your following and building trust.
What if something leaves your business page vulnerable to a Facebook hack?
Here is what you need to know to protect yourself—and your business—from a Facebook hack.
How Often Do Facebook Hacks Occur?
Unfortunately, Facebook hacks are quite common. According to the New York Post, as many as 160,000 Facebook accounts are compromised each day. Users tend to be more relaxed about security when using social sites like Facebook, leaving them vulnerable to hackers.
How does this affect your business page? Facebook allows users to access business accounts through their personal profiles. Every person with admin control over your Page is vulnerable to a Facebook hack that could leave your page open to hacking.
Hackers typically gain access to Facebook pages through phishing scams, email attachments with malware, data breaches that reveal passwords, or users’ carelessness (such as not logging out of Facebook or using easy to guess passwords.)
Large-scale data breaches may happen less frequently, but the scale can be staggering. For example, in a widely reported Facebook hack and data breach, hackers gained access to nearly 50 million exposed accounts.
What Do Hackers Do With Your Facebook Business Page?
Hackers who gain access to your page can post their own links, attracting your fans to click on spam links—leaving them vulnerable to Facebook hacking as well.
They might create and approve ads via your Ads Manager to promote malicious content, with high spending that could cost you thousands before you can take action.
They could also use the information stored in your Facebook account for identity theft or to access other online accounts, including hosting, banking, or other social accounts.
All of this can cost you time, money, and the trust of your audience. While you may stop malicious activity relatively quickly and even recoup some costs, you could lose access to your page for a time. The opportunity cost of not being able to market via this platform can have a significant impact on your business.
9 Strategies to Protect Yourself From a Facebook Hack
Many strategies to protect yourself from a Facebook hack are standard online security steps you should use on every online platform. If you haven’t paid much attention to online security, start with the basics, then explore security features in each platform or app.
Hint: If you’ve been using the same password for years across multiple platforms, you’re long overdue for an update.
1. Make the Most of Facebook’s Security Settings
A look at your Facebook settings will lead you to a detailed section called Security and Login. Review each section for tips and information on best practices to keep your account secure.
Make sure to scan your computer for malware and viruses regularly. Antivirus software helps spot problems that might leave you open to Facebook hacks, such as keyloggers or redirect viruses.
Keep your software up to date; this ensures you are using the most secure versions of your browser and other apps, including any recent security updates or improvements.
Remember that your business page is only as secure as the people who have access to it. Protect your personal profile, and share security updates and best practices with your team.
2. Create a Strong Password
Passwords are the first line of defense in online security.
Your password should follow the guidelines on each site you use. This is likely a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Choose something unique to you, with a tricky combination of these characters to create a password others would find hard to guess.
Do not use the same password on every site. Instead, use different passwords for every online account. For example, you might use one for your secure financial accounts but a completely different password for your social accounts and other platforms that might be easily hacked.
In the case of a Facebook hack, you’ll at least be protected from the hackers using your Facebook password to access more secure accounts, like banking or retirement accounts.
Consider a password manager like LastPass or 1password so you don’t have to remember dozens of passwords. These platforms store all your passwords in one place so you only have to remember one password. They can also generate random passwords that are more secure.
Make sure you never enter your password anywhere except the Facebook app or at Facebook in your web browser.
If you’re using your internet browser, be careful entering the domain into your search bar. Hackers sometimes spoof domains close to the real Facebook domain to capture login information from users who aren’t paying attention.
3. Use Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication simply means if you ever log into your Facebook account from a new device, the platform will automatically ask you for your password and require an additional security check. This step usually includes entering a security code sent via text or email to a pre-approved address or number.
To set up two-factor authentication in Facebook, visit your Settings page, select Security and Login, and then edit the section labeled Two-Factor Authentication.
Facebook will prompt you to provide contact information to verify your identity when logging in. You’ll also get alerts if someone tries to access your account from an unfamiliar device.
4. Read Emails Facebook Sends Out
Facebook often sends out emails to verify suspicious or unusual activity. Make sure the email address on file is one you check regularly and read the emails you receive in case Facebook is trying to flag suspicious activity.
Staying on top of the risks, being familiar with common phishing attempts, and understanding the latest security recommendations from Facebook can go a long way toward keeping you safe online.
You can see a list of recent email messages sent by Facebook in your account settings under Security and Login, in the Advanced Section.
5. Have Multiple Admins for the Account
How else can you protect yourself from a Facebook hack? Give careful thought to the people you give admin access to for your business page.
It’s a good idea to have more than one admin for your page in case you ever lose access or are unable to log in. If your profile is hacked, another admin you trust can keep the page running and help you gain back your access.
However, that doesn’t mean more is better. Periodically checking to remove people who no longer need access to your page. If someone needs temporary access, grant it at the appropriate level, then remove it when their task or project is complete.
6. Use Proper Page Admin Levels
Facebook provides several page admin levels, which enables you to grant different access to different people. Be careful who you add, and only grant them access they need to complete assigned tasks.
Perhaps you need an employee to post to the page to carry out your Facebook marketing. Review the different levels and their permissions and only provide admins the level of access they need to do the job.
Giving every person you add as an admin the ability to remove and add other admins means they could potentially remove you—with little recourse to regain access. They could also add admins you don’t know and take over your page.
Only people you trust absolutely should have the ability to remove and add admins. This chart breaks down the permissions for each level:
7. Report Any Unusual Activity to Facebook
Report any unusual activity to Facebook to keep your account secure. You can report messages, profiles, or posts right on Facebook to let them know you have concerns about something you see on the platform.
Reporting can allow you to use Facebook more safely and flag any suspicious behavior to Facebook.
If you are uncomfortable with behavior or messages from another user, simply block them to ensure they are removed from your friend’s list or page. This action will also prevent them from messaging you on the platform.
8. Log Out of Facebook After Using Shared Computers
Have you ever used a computer at work, the library, or a coworking space? You’ll need to exercise extra caution to log out when you’re done. This step is critical to remember when using accounts that contain personal information.
If you’re using Facebook from a computer you don’t own, always log out immediately afterward. You have no idea who may use the device after you, and staying logged in leaves your account wide open.
If you ever can’t remember if you logged out after using Facebook on a device you don’t own, change your password immediately so your security is never in question. You can also log out remotely from all devices in Security and Login Settings. Protecting access to your accounts can stop a Facebook hack from happening at all.
9. Don’t Accept Friend Requests From People You Don’t Know
Hackers often gain information they need to guess your password by adding you as a friend on Facebook. They may even add mutual friends, making them look like a safe person who is already in your network. Or they may directly impersonate someone you know.
If you don’t know someone, don’t accept their friend request. If the request seems suspicious or duplicated, reach out to your friend by text or email to let them know someone is using their likeness or identity online.
Allowing access to your personal profile can provide access to information like your birthday or high school. This information makes it easier to hack into your business account or impersonate you to gain access to other social accounts, your friends, or even your audience.
Preventing Facebook hacks on your business page requires more than posting engaging content and creating Facebook ads. There are real security risks you need to be aware of to protect your investment—and your customers. Luckily, a few simple steps can help protect you.
Stay up to date on the security features of each platform you use, and protect your personal Facebook profile as well as your business page. Take advantage of alerts, emails, and other notifications to help you act quickly should a Facebook hack occur.
These steps will reduce your risk so you can enjoy growing your audience and connecting with your customers without expensive and stressful setbacks. If this seems overwhelming, connect with us for help so you can focus on running your business.
What steps can you take today to prevent a Facebook hack on your Business Page?
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You how they say everything in life is connected? It’s true. One thing affects another and another and another and before you know it, all the dominos have fallen. The same is true of the connection between getting a business loan, credit score, and fundability.
When it Comes to a Business Loan, Credit Score and Fundability Both Count
Most people only think about credit score when it comes to their ability to get a business loan. The truth, however, is much bigger than that. Credit score is important, but only in so much as it is a part of the bigger picture of fundability.
Business Loan Credit Score and Fundability: Understanding Fundability
What is fundability? In short, it is the overall ability of a business to repay debt, as viewed by lenders. If a lender sees your business as one that is fundable, they believe that you will be able to handle and repay the debt that they extend in a timely manner. Your business is seen as one that will profitable for them to lender to.
The thing that few business owners understand is, there is so much more to fundability than credit score. Lenders look at a number of things to determine whether or not they will approve a loan application. It’s true, when it comes to a business loan, credit score counts a lot. It’s not everything though.
How Business Credit Affects Fundability
To really understand the business loan credit score and fundability connection, it helps to think of fundability like a puzzle. Business credit is just one piece. It’s a little more complicated than that however. It is a very, very large piece, right in the middle, and it is made of little pieces all its own. It’s like a puzzle within a puzzle.
So yes, though many other things affect fundability, when it comes to a business loan, credit score is hugely important. This means it is vital to understand how to build business credit.
Establish Business Credit
Before you can build business credit, you have to first establish your business as a separate entity from you as the owner. This is a vital step in getting your business loan credit score where it needs to be. It is all in how your business is set up.
Separate Contact Information
Your business needs it own phone number and address. This doesn’t mean you need a separate building. You do not even need a different phone. You can get a phone number that works over the internet and will forward to the phone you are already using. For an address, you can use a virtual office. Some of these will even offer meeting spaces to hold face-to-face meetings.
The next thing you need to do is get an EIN for your business. This is an identifying number for your business that works in a way similar to how your SSN works for you personally. Some business owners used their SSN for their business. This is what a lot of sole proprietorships and partnerships do. However, it really doesn’t look professional to lenders, and it can cause your personal and business credit to get all mixed up. When you are looking to increase fundability, you need to apply for and use an EIN. You can get one for free from the IRS.
This is the most important step in fundability thus far. Incorporating your business as an LLC, S-corp, or corporation is necessary to fundability. It lends credence to your business as one that is legitimate. It also offers some protection from liability.
Which option you choose does not matter as much for fundability as it does for your budget and needs for liability protection. The best thing to do is talk to your attorney or a tax professional. What is going to happen is that you are going to lose the time in business that you have. When you incorporate, you become a new entity. You basically have to start over. You’ll also lose any positive payment history you may have accumulated as well.
This is why you have to incorporate as soon as possible. Not only is it necessary for fundability and for building business credit, but so is time in business. The longer you have been in business the more fundable you appear to be. That starts on the date of incorporation, regardless of when you actually started doing business.
Business Bank Account
You have to open a separate, dedicated business bank account. There are a few reasons for this. First, it will help you keep track of business finances. It will also help you keep them separate from personal finances for tax purposes.
There’s more to it however. There are several types of funding you cannot get without a business bank account. Many lenders and credit cards want to see one with a minimum average balance. In addition, you cannot get a merchant account without a business account at a bank. That means, you cannot take credit card payments. Studies show consumers tend to spend more when they can pay by credit card.
Building Business Credit
To build business credit, you have to get accounts reporting. This is how you get a business loan credit score that is strong. As you may imagine, getting someone to extend credit without first having strong credit can be quite difficult. There are a few options however. For example, you can talk to any vendors you may already be working with and ask if they will extend credit. Since you already have a relationship with them, they may be willing. Ask also if they will report your payments to the business credit reporting agencies. Then, your score will start to grow.
You can also talk to those service providers you already pay monthly like landlords, utilities, and phone and internet providers. They do not have to, but if you ask they may report your monthly payment to the business credit agencies. This can only help you build credit faster.
Credit Line Hybrid
This is a type of unsecured business credit financing. That means there is no need for collateral. Now, they will check your personal credit score, and it is best if you have established business credit. However, you can still use this to build business credit, even if you do not have good personal credit or business credit.
If you do not qualify, you can take on a credit partner who does qualify. Because the credit line hybrid will be in the business name, the payments will be reported to the business credit reporting agencies, and your business credit score will start to grow.
This is probably the easiest and fastest way to begin building business credit. However, do not be fooled into thing that just because it is easier and faster than the other options that it is either easy, or fast. All good things take time and effort and building business credit is no different.
Vendor credit comes from certain starter vendors that will offer net terms on invoices without a credit check. Of course, they will require other information to ensure they reduce their risk as much as possible. They may want to see a certain average balance in a business bank account, or they might want to see you have been in business for a minimum amount of time.
However, once approved for net invoicing, they will report your invoice payments to the business credit reporting agency and you will be off to the races. As your score grows, you will be able to qualify for more and more accounts with various creditors. As long as you handle the credit responsibly, your score will continue to grow strong.
Remember, business credit is only one piece of fundability, albeit a relatively large piece. What else affects fundability?
For a business to be legitimate it has to have all of the necessary licenses it needs to run. If it doesn’t, red flags are going to fly up all over the place.
These days, you do not exist if you do not have a website. However, having a poorly put together website can be even worse. It is the first impression you make on many, and if it appears to be unprofessional it will not bode well for you with consumers or potential lenders.
Other Business Data Agencies
In addition to the business credit reporting agencies that directly calculate and issue credit reports, there are other business data agencies that affect those reports indirectly. Two examples of this are LexisNexis and The Small Business Finance Exchange. While you may not be able to access or change the data the agencies have on your business, you can ensure that any new information they receive is positive. Enough positive information can help counteract any negative information from the past.
In addition to the EIN, there are identifying numbers that go along with your business credit reports. Some of them are simply assigned by the agency, like the Experian BIN. One, however, you have to apply to get. It is absolutely necessary that you do this.
Dun & Bradstreet is the largest and most commonly used business credit reporting agency. Every credit file in their database has a D-U-N-S number. To get a D-U-N-S number, you have to apply for one through the D&B website.
It may seem like a no brainer that all of your business information should be the same everywhere you use it. However, when you start changing things by adding a business phone number and address or incorporating, you may find that things slip through the cracks.
This is a problem. Tons of loan applications are turned down each year because of fraud concerns. When things don’t match up, lenders get nervous. Maybe your business licenses have your personal address but now you have a business address. Perhaps some of your credit accounts have a slightly different name or a different phone number listed than what is on your loan application. Do your insurances all have the correct information? If you use an ampersand in one place, you can’t change it to the word “and” in another. Everything has to be exactly the same everywhere.
Both your personal and business tax returns need to be in order. Not only that, but you need to be paying your taxes, both business and personal.
It is best to have an accounting professional prepare regular financial statements for your business. Having an accountant’s name on financial statements lends credence to the legitimacy of your business. If you cannot afford this monthly or quarterly, at least have professional statements prepared annually. Then, they are at the ready whenever you need to apply for a loan.
Often tax returns for the previous three years will be enough. Get a tax professional to prepare them. This is the bare minimum you will need. Other information lenders may ask for include check stubs and bank statements, among other things.
In addition to FICO reporting personal credit, you have ChexSystems. In the simplest terms, this keeps up with bad check activity and makes a difference when it comes to your bank score. If you have too many bad checks, you will not be able to open a bank account. That will cause serious fundability issues.
Personal Credit History
Your personal credit score from Experian, Equifax, and Transunion all make a difference. You have to have your personal credit in order because it will definitely affect the fundability of your business. The best way to get a strong personal credit score or improve a weak one is to make payments consistently on time.
You probably never considered this point. Many don’t. For example, think about the timing of your application. Is your business currently fundable? If not, do some work first to change that. Next, make sure that your business name, business address, and ownership status are all verifiable. Lenders will check into it. Then, make sure you choose the right lending product for your business and your needs. Do you need a traditional loan or a line of credit? Would a working capital loan or expansion loan work best for your needs? Choosing the right product to apply for can make all the difference.
Business Loan Credit Score and Fundability: It’s Not Too Late, Start Now
Wherever you stand with business loan, credit score, and fundability, its never to late to make a change. Taking all of this into account, get started now so you can ensure the best chance for your business to get the funding it needs.
The post The Business Loan Credit Score and Fundability Connection appeared first on Credit Suite.
Here are major companies whose stocks moved on the week’s news.
The post Netflix, Procter & Gamble, Intel: Stocks That Defined the Week first appeared on Online Web Store Site.
Democrats suddenly adopt the theory of the unitary executive.