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5 Tips To Involving Your Team In Social Media

In Public Relations on November 9, 2020 at 5:12 pm

McKeeman CommunicationsAccording to a WordStream article, more than 56 percent of adults online use multiple social media platforms; 75 percent of men and 83 percent of women who use the internet are on Facebook; there are more than 500 million user profiles on LinkedIn, and nearly 80% of all social media activity is taking place on mobile devices.

With these figures, organizations should have realized by now the importance of maintaining a presence – and engaging – on social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are not going anywhere anytime soon, and they provide instant, 24/7 access to their target audience.

If you are on top of your company’s marketing strategy and are working with PR firms in Raleigh NC, you could encourage the rest of your team to advocate for your brand through social media. Here’s why it’s important, according to everyonesocial:

  • Employees have an average of 1,090 social connections
  • Employees have 5x more reach than corporate accounts
  • Their followers are 7x more likely to convert

A Nielsen study found that 84 percent of people trust recommendations from people they know over other forms of marketing.

While your company’s social accounts are important for sharing, interacting with customers/clients, and establishing a brand presence, PR firms in Raleigh NC will tell you that it is your employee’s social connections that will increase brand visibility, generate quality leads, and drive web traffic.

And yet, employees have reservations about engaging in social media. Some of the factors that hold them back include not knowing what content to share, not having time to post on social, not wanting to share work-related content; and believing that they don’t have enough followers to create a difference.

It can be challenging, but there are ways to get your team onboard and engage on social media on behalf of your company. Here are a few tips:

  1. Educate your team. Make them aware that the likes, shares, and comments on the content they post all contribute to the brand’s success.  

Teach your team the basics of good content creation. McKeeman Communications, a top PR firm in Raleigh NC, shares some video recording advice: phones should be held horizontally, the video should be shot in a quiet location with a distraction-free backdrop (bonus points if the company logo can be subtly included in the shot), and there should be generous amounts of natural light. There should be pauses between questions and answers to allow space for editing.

  1. Have a clear social media policy. Before asking team members to be brand advocates, simple and straight to the point social media guidelines should be in place. Vague instructions on what – or what not – to post will make them reluctant to share anything on social media. Make sure they are visual examples and all policies have been reviewed as a team.
  1. Communicate early and often. Sharing the company’s mission is just as important as having a clear social media policy. This will serve as the rationale behind social media initiatives and how these initiatives help achieve the organization’s overall goals. 

Build trust by being transparent with your goals, having open communication lines, and sharing monthly reports on social media efforts. Knowing that they are making a difference will encourage your team to participate more.

  1. Make it easy and fun! While social media participation should not be mandatory, make it fun for those who do participate by giving them incentives. It could be anything from a free lunch to gift cards, extra time off, donations in their name, or a recognition. Setting up a leader board brings out everyone’s competitiveness, driving participants to share more.

PR firms in Raleigh NC suggest keeping team members engaged through entertaining 

            polls or quizzes. Start conversations on trending topics, and interact with their posts.

  1. Allow for collaboration and feedback. Schedule regular meetings with social media participants to ask for feedback, report observations, answer any questions, share best practices, and assess what’s working and what isn’t. There are no right or wrong answers; keep the discussion casual so everyone remains open to suggestions for improvement.

While employees won’t mind sharing company-related content, they also do not want to sound like a hard sell. PR firms in Raleigh NC recommend allowing them to share quality third-party content. This helps employees showcase their knowledge, paving the way for bigger professional opportunities.

With careful planning and encouragement, the best brand champions can be found right there in the workplace. Your team can help your brand build rapport and overall trust with their social connections.Looking for top PR firms in Raleigh NC? McKeeman Communications is an independent PR agency working with companies that are experiencing rapid growth or change.  We help localize and share messaging that builds awareness and trust for their brand. We can help you take on a total team approach when it comes to your social media strategy. Sign up here to receive a copy of our Social Media Policy Guide.

Help Your Child Avoid Mid-Semester Slump

In Education on October 9, 2020 at 2:23 pm

Currey IngramFrom the euphoric, first-day “high,” students eventually feel their energy and enthusiasm waning mid-semester. It takes longer to complete tasks, time management begins to falter, and grades start to dip.

Brentwood private school Currey Ingram Academy shares tips on how you can help your child beat the mid-semester slump.

Improve time management skills

Help your child become more realistic with how he or she uses time by asking him or her to estimate how much time is needed to complete a certain task and compare this to the actual amount of time it takes. Let’s say your child thinks the estimated time (ET) to finish reading a chapter of a book is 15 minutes; he or she should then keep track of the actual time (AT) it takes. Students with poor time management skills often have disparate ETs and ATs. The closer these times become, the more they are able to realistically manage their time.

Teach them to prioritize

Students might feel overwhelmed with all the things they have to do: homework, projects, school play rehearsals, after-school sports practice, playdates, and more. Teach your child to identify which of these are more important to them than the others; what’s considered important should be prioritized. If your child has an upcoming exam, a paper to write, and a scheduled dinner with classmates, ask him or her to make a priority list. In doing this, he or she may realize that there’s not enough time — or energy — to do everything and decide to cancel what’s least important. 

Break tasks into bite-sized pieces

Big projects can be daunting and your students might be at a loss on how to even begin. To overcome that feeling of helplessness, teach your child to break tasks into smaller pieces. If a major presentation is due in three weeks, map out which tasks should be completed on a daily and weekly basis. Put this plan in a calendar and commit to it. Not only will the presentation be more manageable; ticking off to-do’s every day will also give your child a sense of accomplishment and a well-deserved confidence boost.

Beat the blues with rewards

When schoolwork seems endless and there are long nights of studying at hand, it’s best to give your child something to look forward to. Ask your child what rewards excite him or her; it could be a video game session, a movie break, a favorite snack, or a favorite meal. The reward could be given after completing all reading assignments, for example. This helps break the monotony of studying and can better prepare the child for a more successful adulthood.

Meditation helps

Meditation can help your child relax. Ask your child to lie on his or her back or sit still for five minutes. Have him or her place their hands on their belly to feel their stomach rise and lower as you instruct them to inhale through the nose for four counts, hold their breath for four counts, then slow exhale for another four counts. Repeat this process for five minutes or longer, as long as the entire exercise is relaxing and not causing extra tension. Ask your child to ignore any external thoughts they may have and to just focus on the breathing.

It’s not unusual for some students to feel anxious and stressed mid-semester, especially during unprecedented situations like what we are currently facing. Be there to help your child build the mental fortitude to believe that this season will pass and he or she will successfully overcome it. 

A private school in Brentwood, Currey Ingram Academy supports and empowers students with learning differences to achieve their fullest potential – academically and socially – within an environment that fosters holistic student development. Get in touch by calling (615) 507-3173.

Replacing Security Guards With Cameras

In Security on August 28, 2020 at 11:17 pm

ICU SecurityStatics reveal there are more than a million security guards working in the United States. For business owners and residential property managers, having a security guard on-site is reassuring as it can help ensure the safety of property, employees, customers, and residents. Not many realize, however, that there are risks involved in relying on security guards alone. 

Lack of training. Many states mandate that security guards receive approximately eight hours of pre-assignment training, 8-16 hours of on-the-job training, and eight hours of annual training. Unfortunately, there are a lot of companies that hire undertrained security guards, hoping they will learn the skills they need as they go along. They do not always follow the proper protocols, which endangers lives and property.

Physical limitations.  A security guard cannot be in different places at the same time. Even if the guard focuses on identified hotspots, there are still details that can be overlooked. Hiring a team of guards entails costs that some businesses can not afford.

Bias. Over time, security guards form relationships with the people they are hired to protect, such as tenants and employees. This might affect their objectivity on the job.

Human error. When emotions are running high, lapses in judgment are more likely. A guard might act inappropriately or escalate a situation unnecessarily when under pressure.

Time and time again we’ve heard of security personnel involved in bribery cases. Security guards are sometimes exposed to situations where their integrity can be compromised.

Occupational hazards. Because of the nature of their job, guards are more likely to be fatally injured than the average worker. 

Left unchecked, these risks can lead to costly consequences.

Live remote video monitoring

As technology continues to evolve to become more efficient and affordable, more companies are augmenting or replacing traditional security guards with live remote video monitoring. The system lets managers of apartment complexes, industrial hubs, and office buildings view on-site cameras from virtually anywhere, which can aid in identifying and preventing crime before it happens.

Remote video monitoring is just as effective as security guards, if not better. Traditional guards have a limited view of the premises, especially in larger sites. Video monitoring technology allows operators to cover multiple areas simultaneously and see what’s going on from angles that might be difficult for guards to access.

Businesses benefit from additional savings, as remote video monitoring systems only cost a fraction of what it would entail hiring a traditional guard. Incident response time is also faster. Operators can see any suspicious activity as it happens, which lets them make judgment calls in real-time.

Surveillance systems can be calibrated to meet different security requirements; businesses can set what views they want to access and determine what the response levels are for different situations. Surveillance systems can also be equipped with audio deterrents to warn trespassers they have been detected. 

Remote video systems monitor 24/7. Having archived footage is very useful especially if video evidence is required to move an investigation forward. Unlike guards, video systems do not stop. Moreover, remote video monitoring systems take the guesswork out of surveillance as these provide a factual portrayal of what actually happened. Guards might forget some details while recalling the incident.

Security camera installation expert ICU Security works with video surveillance solutions provider Stealth Monitoring to provide Nashville-based businesses with cutting-edge remote video monitoring systems. ICU Security can assign a team member to operate the systems as needed and provide a bull horn to deter property intruders from going any further.

Established in 1999, ICU Security are Nashville-based security camera installation specialists serving communities in  Brentwood, Murfreesboro, and Franklin, TN. Get in touch by calling (615) 208-2891.

 

 

 

 

The Big Pivot: Technologies to Support a Fully Remote Workforce

In Uncategorized on June 26, 2020 at 10:21 am

ImageQuestIn this day and age, people expect to be able to work from anywhere. This requires an easy and secure way to access their files and accomplish their jobs. Moreover, remote working will be the norm for at least as long as COVID-19 remains a threat, or even longer. A Gartner survey of Chief Financial Officers revealed that 74 percent expect to shift some of their employees to permanent remote work.

VPN may soon be a technology of the past

Often defined as private gateways to the Internet, organizations have long relied on Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to access their in-house network from remote locations. VPNs encrypt and decrypt data traveling between two endpoints, such as an employee’s laptop at home to a server in the office.

The increased amount of people working remotely has brought to light the limitations of this 30-year old technology. Files don’t load as fast as needed when there are a lot of users connecting to it, creating frustration and workflow breakdowns. VPNs can also be out of date and pose potential data security risks. 

The time has come for organizations to explore new solutions.

Ensuring remote work productivity with DaaS and Microsoft Cloud

Cloud-based solutions offer more secure ways to access networks remotely: Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) and Microsoft Cloud. Access to servers is provisioned per worker and is not controlled by a VPN bottleneck.

With DaaS, all business applications, data, processing, and storage are hosted in the Cloud. There are no on-premise servers; these reside in a secure data center. Nashville-based Cloud computing service provider ImageQuest recommends DaaS for companies with massive data processing requirements such as insurance companies or healthcare institutions. A remote worker logs on to a data center through a laptop with DaaS access software. All functions take place at the data center and not on the device. Because files and software are in the same location as the data center, data processing is just as fast as when a corporate desktop is used.

Ideal for companies accessing software via the internet, Microsoft Cloud stores all documents and data on the Cloud. Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations, for example, are stored securely in Microsoft data centers spread across the United States and are constantly updated. Workers can download files to their devices and collaborate in real-time using Microsoft’s Cloud tools.

Communication and collaboration tools essential for remote work

The prevalence of remote work has led to the popularity of video technology, which is now the go-to for meetings and webinars; and Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which provides remote workers with an office number that routes calls to their mobile phones, delivers voicemails over email, and keeps them connected wherever they are. Additionally, collaboration tools like Teams, Trello, and Slack enable teams to communicate internally and stay on top of ongoing projects.

Cloud-based solutions optimize business operations

Cloud data centers provide automatic patching and software updates – teams can be sure that they are using the most updated version. 

Storing data on the Cloud is an effective business continuity strategy. Measures such as Multi-Factor Authentication, system-wide updates, regular security patching, and stringent access controls reduce the threat of hacking, malware, and cyber attacks that could wipe out company and client data. In the event of a disaster, businesses can easily access and restore all data from any device with little or no downtime.

A Cloud data center can help meet regulatory data compliance requirements. Located in Nashville, Cloud computing service expert ImageQuest uses data centers with a SOC 2 Type 2 attestation, which means their data practices and policies are audited annually to ensure they follow best practices in data security and data privacy compliance.

Moreover, Cloud usage can be reduced or expanded depending on current operational requirements. This gives businesses the agility to adapt to changes in the economic landscape as they are not burdened with unnecessary equipment or outdated (and taxable) legacy systems. The Cloud offers on-demand IT capability at a lower cost compared to investing in an in-house IT infrastructure.

Bear in mind that the implementation of these solutions requires thorough assessment and planning. Remote workers must have access to broadband internet, which is currently defined by the Federal Communications Commission as 25 Mbps download annd 3 Mbps upload. Internet speeds slower than that will hamper productivity and defeat the purpose of the intended technological upgrades.

Businesses also need to consider the worker’s home internet security. What devices are used for work? Are these devices shared among family members? What security apps are installed on these devices? Teams might have to be provided with company-issued devices to ensure data security.

Being on the Cloud will be just as essential as having a business website. This will ultimately help grow your bottom line and keep you a step ahead of the competition.

If you are looking for a Managed IT company that’s in the best position to provide counsel on Cloud computing services in Nashville, Louisville, or Bowling Green, visit ImageQuest online or call 888.979.2679 for more information.

ImageQuest Clients Seamlessly Transition to Remote Work Amidst COVID-19 With DaaS

In Cybersecurity on April 17, 2020 at 12:26 pm

ImageQuest

Nashville-based cybersecurity service provider ImageQuest shares that remote work technology systems such as Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) have helped nearly 3,200 workers transition to a remote working environment amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The new virtual desktop environment is working great,” says Tom Richardson, Director of Information Technology for Houchens Insurance Group. 

“Our employees have been able to transition to working from home seamlessly during the social distancing situation. We have received a lot of positive feedback and have quite a few working from home today.

“This situation would have been a nightmare if we hadn’t have migrated to the virtual desktops. Thank you and your team for getting us here!”

Another client writes, “Thankfully we implemented the DaaS last year which is allowing us to have a portion of our teamwork remote to hopefully prevent contagion.”

DaaS is a cloud-based model that allows users to work from anywhere using any laptop or device. Multiple users can access files and software applications, all of which are hosted on a third-party cloud provider. DaaS providers manage virtual desktop infrastructure deployment, maintenance, security, upgrades, data backup, and storage. 

More enterprises are adopting DaaS solutions because of the following benefits:

It is flexible. Workers can access desktops and applications from virtually anywhere, ensuring productivity.

It is scalable. Businesses can scale up or down depending on their requirements, and they can augment their workforce during peak seasons or when deploying satellite offices.

It reduces business disruptions. Enterprises can stay up and running even in the event of a natural disaster since there are no hardware dependencies.

It is cost-efficient. DaaS providers offer monthly or annual subscription models; businesses only pay for what they use.

It is secure. DaaS offers secure user access points and simplifies desktop and app management processes.

For organizations working with proprietary information such as intellectual property, personal and health information, and trade secrets, it might take some time to deploy DaaS since it requires more in-depth preparation and planning than Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). While VPNs allow users to download data to their devices so that the user can work without an Internet connection, there is a higher risk of data theft, and businesses would be dependent on their workforce to keep devices updated and secure.

DaaS ultimately empowers teams to work safely from anywhere, even at home. Data remains in the cloud, away from unauthorized downloads, duplications, and transfers – providing the same level of protection as a corporate environment.

Servicing Nashville, Louisville, and Bowling Green, ImageQuest’s curated suite of technology solutions include managed IT, cybersecurity, IT compliance, and IT consultancy.

Why Is Audi So Special? We Asked And Got The Answer

In Automotive on February 11, 2020 at 10:49 am

GPO TuningDriving down the road a few weeks ago, one of our staffers noticed that the logos on the cars next to him weren’t all just Ford, Nissan, and GMC. He took special notice of the number of Audis that passed as he waited to turn at a red light. This raised a question about why, suddenly, were there so many German imports gracing the streets of his hometown. Living in Nashville, our correspondent reached out the Audi repair shop GPO Tuning to find out.

This is what the Audi service professionals in Nashville had to say.

Q: Why are Audis all of a sudden so prevalent in Nashville? As an Audi repair shop, you must have noticed an influx of imports. 

GPO Tuning: We have been providing service and repairs for Audis here in Nashville since 2003. Over the last 17 years, we have noticed more and more of these cars coming through the shop bays for oil changes, scheduled maintenance, and service. The reason is likely quality and an influx of people from other parts of the country, where Audi vehicles have been historically more popular.

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Nashville Business Broker Debunks Buying And Selling Myths

In Business on February 11, 2020 at 10:37 am

Beacon Exit Advisors

Nashville is ranked as one of the top five cities in which to open up shop. Because of this, people flock to Nashville’s Music City to buy a business, and many current entrepreneurs are eager to sell for a hefty profit. We recently sat down with Nashville business broker Beacon Exit Advisors to find out if buying and selling are as easy as the city’s growth would lead potential buyers and sellers to believe. What we found out was that there is a lot of work involved and that many people have incorrect notions about both sides of an M&A transaction.

Q: Thank you for answering our call today. We have many readers who want to sell or buy a business in Nashville before the Athens of the South explodes. We would like to talk about the buying and selling process.

Beacon Exit: Absolutely. But the fire has already been lit. Back in January, the Nashville Business Journal reported that not only is Nashville the fastest-growing city in the south, it is also the fourth-best location in the US to open a business.

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Nashville Business Broker Says Technology Can Boost Valuation

In Business on February 4, 2020 at 6:03 pm

Beacon Exit AdvisorsUnless you proactively keep up with the latest trends, there is a chance that your business’s technology is a bit behind the times. However, according to one of Nashville’s-based business brokers, Beacon Exit Advisors, a small investment in technology now might make it easier to sell your business when the time comes. In today’s expert Q&A, we discuss a few key ideas that business owners should keep in mind when selling is on the horizon.

Q: Hello, and thank you for sitting in with us today. We recently had a question posed by a reader asking how long it takes to sell a business, and what they could do to ensure a smooth transition. The topic warrants more than a simple answer, so we would like to dive a bit deeper.

Beacon Exit Advisors: Absolutely. That is a very open-ended question. The best first piece of advice if you are looking to sell is to partner with an experienced business broker. It does not matter if you are in Nashville or San Francisco, an entity with multiple experts on hand can guide you through the process and make recommendations on ways to speed it along.

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Game Fencing Explained By Alabama’s Straight Shooter Game Fencing

In Business on January 21, 2020 at 6:30 pm

Straight Shooter Game FencingGame fencing isn’t something that many people think that much about. However, this type of boundary makes up an important part of the American landscape. We recently sat down with the experts at Alabama’s Straight Shooter Game Fencing to find out what, exactly, a game fence is. 

Q: Good morning, we always appreciate when experts are available to answer our questions.

Straight Shooter Game Fencing: It is no problem at all, and we were thrilled to receive your call.

Q: We had a reader send us a rather interesting question a few weeks ago, and we thought you might be the perfect people to contact for the answer.

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Success is Built On A Foundation Of Failures

In Education, Private School Brentwood on January 14, 2020 at 7:32 pm

Currey IngramIf you are a parent, you already know that watching your children suffer the consequences of mistakes is hard. After all, they are our perpetual babies, and we only want them to be happy. However, the experience of trying, failing, or making a bad decision is a crucial part of the growing up process. Not only does failure mold a young person’s personality, but it is also an opportunity for self-reflection and gives them the tools to be more confident at home and at school. We recently reached out to a few boarding schools for advice on letting teens and tweens make mistakes. Currey Ingram Academy, located in Brentwood, TN (a city near Nashville), responded with plenty of practical advice.

How mistakes play a role in adolescent development

Mistakes come in many shapes and forms. As our children grow into young adults, they must learn to be responsible for themselves. The mistakes they make along the way to adulthood are an opportunity to learn about independence. For example, your child fails to read an assignment rubric all the way through and misses a crucial component. Their paper is well written, but they receive an F because they neglected to include the requested information. As a parent, one of our first reactions might be to contact the teacher to request leniency and a passing grade.

What does this do for the student? Unfortunately, it only teaches them that they always have a safety net and are not fully responsible for their own actions. Instead, allow them to take a failing grade and whatever consequences come with it. They might have to miss out on classroom rewards, but they will soon learn from this mistake and come out on the other end a better student.

Teachers who understand the special needs of school-age children with learning disabilities know that watching mistakes unfold is emotionally wrenching. However, young people must have missteps in their history as they serve as the building blocks of basic problem-solving skills. While teenagers still need guidance as they learn about the world around them, allowing them to make age-appropriate blunders builds confidence. They can also lead to resounding successes.

History is full of examples of ways that making a mistake turned out to be the best possible action. Teabags were the result of a misunderstanding between a vendor and a customer. The vendor packaged loose tea samples in a silk pouch; the client did not remove the leaves from their tiny bag before dunking it in hot water. Cornflakes were a manufacturing mistake, Post-it notes were created from a failed glue experiment, and penicillin was born when Alexander Fleming failed to properly sterilize Petri dishes in his laboratory. The point is that if mistakes were never allowed to happen, the world we live in would be much different today.

Teaching healthy responses

Administrators from the boarding school in Brentwood explain that teaching young people how to handle mistakes starts with modeling acceptance behaviors. When they see the adults in their lives accept the consequences of their actions without negativity, they learn to respond in kind. As a parent, you can showcase the practice of mistake acceptance by not overreacting when you make a misstep yourself. Forget to pick up eggs and need to bake a cake? Avoid the temptation to grumble about an extra trip to the store. Instead, load everyone up and talk about how fun your kitchen time will be.

Another way to encourage a healthy response in the face of adversity is to show empathy for errors, whether they were intentional or not. If your student gets angry with a friend and calls them the name and then feels guilty about it, listen to them. In this scenario, they may have let their emotions take over. While there are hurt feelings on both sides, this is simply a lesson in anger management. When situations like this happen at boarding schools, staff typically do not intervene but are instead on standby for moral support. 

Educators from the Nashville area special needs school often teach that making a mistake is like using a GPS. When you are driving a vehicle and miss your turn, your vehicle’s internal guidance system tells you to make a U-turn as soon as it is legal and safe. The same principle can easily be applied to make mistakes. In the above-mentioned plot, the student might need to turn around and go back to where they began, which is with their friend. Chances are, a heartfelt apology will be accepted, and they can move forward with their friendship.

Another idea is to make a point to share your own mistakes. Dr. Jane Hannah, the Brentwood boarding school’s Upper School Division head, suggests opening up a conversation about mistakes at the dinner table each evening. Talk about the challenges of your own day and how your first response may not have been the best one. Make a point to emphasize the lessons you learned along the way.

One of the most important things teens can learn is that it is okay to make mistakes and that a single bad decision is not going to ruin their lives. Teach that mistakes are not failures until the person making it refuses to take the blame.

Currey Ingram Academy is a boarding school for students with learning differences. Located in Brentwood, Tennessee, the 83-acre campus houses students from 33 states and eight countries. Visit www.curreyingram.org for more details.