It's Hard Being a Woman in Business. - Written by a Man Who is Not a Feminist

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We always hear how hard it can be to function as a woman in business. But, most men discount this idea because they just don't experience what a woman goes through. At Sync, we service and help optimize a lot of LinkedIn accounts and here's what I've noticed.

By and large, men suck as disconnecting personal and professional. I can't tell you how often men InMail or message the female LinkedIn profiles we assist with, starting the conversation by saying, "Hey gorgeous" or "Hello hunny". 

Meanwhile, not one woman has ever messaged a man on the profiles we assist on with similar greetings. They are professional and courteous. This is already an indication of how men choose to treat the females they do business with. But, there's more ...

You have guys asking the women in business out on dates, and frivolous questions like, "What's your favorite flower?" There's also guys who try to covertly get lunch meetings, however can't help themselves but to drop small indicators that they are treating this more like a date. Guys, you may think you're cunning but women are far more seasoned in the game of flirtation than we are.

Here's the thing; regardless of whether you agree that the wage gap is real, or if women have to work that much harder to get to the same position as a man, I am offering first hand perspective how just one aspect is so much harder for a woman in business. Of the women whom we help on LinkedIn, they are are all deeply frustrated by the messages they get.

You know it is possible to see a beautiful woman and not react like a horny comic book fan, right? Physical characteristics should never play into the decision to do business with someone. Now, if you do business together and an obvious connection is there, then perhaps it's worth exploring, BUT ...

"I hope when I go on my LinkedIn or into the office today, that a bunch guys hit on me," is something that's been said by no woman ever. 

Think before you message, and treat your female colleges with the same respect you treat the males.

2018 Better Be the Year You Invest in Video Marketing

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2017 is coming to a close. Can you believe it? We're just months away from shutting down a very strange year in business, politics, sports, and pretty much any other subject. I'll make this short; at the end of 2016 I posted an article about needing to invest in video for marketing. That was based on the graphic below and internal polling.

Many companies still haven't jumped on the marketing trend. I know why. It can be pretty expensive when done right, there's a lot of uncontrollable factors, and it takes time to build great videos.

That's why you need a team like Sync to help you out, and catapult you into the marketing stratosphere. Video requires a long-term commitment, so don't even think about it if you can't commit to a plan and stick with it through the good, the bad, and the ugly. For our clients, the one's that took video strategy seriously, they saw definitive ROI. I mean, internet ROI (interaction such as likes) and actual ROI. Video posts clicked through to carts or reservation pages 38% more than graphics.

The moral of the story is, provide the world with engaging, entertaining, informative, and original content for your chance to relate to a potential customer. That was the moral of the story last year at this time, and I just thought it would be prudent to remind you.

Do you really want to be over 2 years behind on a trend that's creating revenue?

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Business Video Stats That Will Have You Pressing REC

Everyone knows by now that video has taken over as a top performing post type on social media. While you may have thought that video was a fad and everyone would return to reading, these stats prove otherwise. In comparison, these numbers were cut in half just 5 years ago.

This isn't a fad. Your business needs video, and you need it now to stay competitive. Take a look at these jaw dropping numbers.

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What I've Learn After a Year of Putting My Phone Down

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While I write this post I am wearing a Facebook shirt, working on my MacBook Pro which is in a room filled with Apple products. I run an online marketing agency and online ticket portal, amongst other online properties. My staff work remotely for the most part, meaning digital comms are the only way to reach each other 90% of the time. I'm 6'4" and I leave a mighty impactful digital footprint wherever I go.

The iProblem

That said, about a year ago one of the reasons my relationship failed was because I was never putting my phone down. My iPhone was essentially another limb. When a text would chime I would answer within seconds no matter what was happening. You could reach me at 4pm and 4am (I never sleep so I was okay with it).

In short, my phone was controlling me. But let's be honest, "phone" is an underwhelming term for the smart devices in our pockets. My iPhone has over 700 apps and connects me with the world. Truly, I could never talk to another living soul again, and I'd still know everything I need to know.

The iSolution

Enough was enough, and it was time for a change. I consciously made a few decisions and then built on them. The first was that just because I'm awake doesn't mean I need to be reachable. So, I put my phone on do not disturb mode after 7pm and only allowed family and my GM to have settings that would slip past it. Then, most days I turned the sounds off on my phone during the day. Those two decisions changed my life.

No longer can you always get a response from me within seconds, and the digital anxiety (I guess you could call it) brought on by a chime that I just had to get to, melted away. Then I noticed something interesting. I kept forgetting my phone at home when I was going out with family. This is something I would have never done a year ago, because it was always top of mind.

Through all of this, you know what I learned?

My businesses still run just as smoothly as they did before. My time with those I care about is so much more intimate now. My clients are happy. My friends and family are happy ... I am happy.

Basically, the work still gets done, but somehow in less time with less contact. Of course there are still plenty of days when emergencies pop-up and I have that phone stuck to me like guerrilla glue, but once those emergencies pass I'm back to being content without my mechanical appendage.

Life is just better. I hope you can do it too.

Written by Jay Hall, Chief Strategist

The Argument for Less Privacy

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In this ever evolving world you can go to sleep with one understanding and wake up in the morning needing to learn the "new way of things". With the digital innovations that fly at us at a rapid pace, it is an exciting time to be alive. However, as we innovate the public becomes more concerned about privacy.

Everyday on my feeds I see someone with real concerns about social sites and the use of their data, the government watching our every move, and other privacy related concerns. I get why you're so worried, but what you may not have noticed while sharing articles about the evil intentions of Facebook is that less privacy has actually made for a better life.

Now, I'm not saying we should give away our rights and allow everyone to know everything about us, but the current use of information is actually pretty constructive. If 9/11 proved anything, it's that the unexpected can happen at any moment. Data sharing and a more open society have helped aid agencies in preventing many different terrorist attacks around the globe.

Outside of a little less privacy keeping us safe, it's also keeping us sane. Remember the days before PVR when you'd actually have to watch TV commercials? It feels like the times of cavemen and striking sticks and stones to build a fire.

The reason we hated advertising so much is because it wasn't catered to us. Now, with a little less privacy and a technology called retargeting, ads are being served up to us based on our activities and interests. This means that while there are more ads popping up online, they are more relevant.

Letting go of some data through what is called a pixel is what we needed to make this future possible. The pixel installs a tiny scrap of data known as a cookie in your browser. It's hard at work around the clock so that if you're looking for a car, but not a house, you're not seeing a ton of ads from real estate agents. Instead, car ads will be popping up around the web (wherever you surf) and the Internet Gods will help you find that new vehicle you're dreaming about all day long.

I see this as a good thing. Not being a parent, I don't care about formula or diapers and I don't want ads for those items popping up all over the internet. Instead, I get ads for digital tech, accessories for my car, items I could buy for date night, and trips. That's what I want to see, and that is why advertising online is superior to real world advertising.

Now of course, in a perfect world there would be no terrorism and no advertising, but this less than perfect world of ours has both so we need to figure out how we co-exist with those realities. Let's face it, you're not doing anything wrong online and the only data that sites like Facebook, Google, and Bing can pull is the data you're putting out there into the world anyway. It's simple to keep your privacy in tact if you'd like, just unplug. Short of that, you'll have to make what some might call compromises, and what I call adjustments.

Absolute privacy can only exist if we share absolutely nothing, which isn't happening so instead of fighting it, look at the revolution of personalized ads and identification profiles within government agencies as progressive. Then, if any person or company steps over the lines of acceptable limits then punish them by taking them to task.

Domain Renewal Scams: iDNS Canada

You may or may not have gotten a letter from a company called iDNS Canada (also known as Internet Domain Name Services). iDNS is a company that preys on people who don’t fully understand the domain registration service by sending letters in the mail about their expiring domain and requests payment. This scam is very similar to the one that went a couple of years ago by the Domain Registry of Canada (DROC).

What this company is actually doing is scamming money from you and trying to transfer your domain away from your current provider, in order to try and scam more money from you later on. Here are some important things to note so you can avoid being scammed when it comes to your domain:

  • Real domain registration providers will never send you a letter in the mail.
  • Report any letters you receive to ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers)
  • Report all letters you receive for all domains to the Canadian Spam Reporting Centre

iDNS is not the first, or last, company to try doing this. If you are ever unsure about something, always ask your web provider first. Remember, if you are a Sync client, and we manage your domain, you will never lose it. So, you can sit back and relax because we’ll take care of it.

Example of the type of letter iDNS sends out:

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5 Apps to Make Your Job Easier

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Tech was supposed to make our lives easier, but it just seems like we're all so much busier. However, there is a silver lining to the integration of tech that has taken over our very being. Here, I list the top 5 apps that can make your 21st century worker bee lifestyle that much better. Dig in, and enjoy.

Trello

When you've got a team spread out throughout a city or even the world, it can be hard to keep track of a project or tasks. That's where Trello comes in, and surprisingly you get a versatile package for free. Of course, there are paid features, but truthfully we use Trello in the Sync office every single day, and it's kept us organized in a way that Evernote could never dream of.

Slack

The oddly named app is BBM, Whatsapp, and Facebook Messenger on steroids. Slack provides secure chat across various channels, and groups. There's also private messaging between colleges, file sharing, app integrations, and a plethora of other features. My only hang up is with the clunky sign-in and sign-up process. After you get past that though, you'll be hooked.

Google Drive

Gone are the days of Microsoft Office, their prices, and the headaches with their 365 products. Say hello to your new little but mighty friend. Google Drive is a free cloud based solution for document, spreadsheet, and presentation creation. There's a bit of a learning curve, but once you have taken the tutorials you'll wonder why Office still exists.

Dropbox

Still messing around with multiple hard drives, trying to make space on your computer, or emailing files? Say no more, because Dropbox is here to save your world. For a surprisingly low annual rate, you can have your own private piece of the cloud. It's important to note that you will need an external HD to run Dropbox because the app does save local copies of the files (except on mobile). Once you've jumped over that hurdle though, it's clear running towards the finish line. A side note: if you have a lap top and want to run Dropbox, get those no residue velcro strips, and affix your HDD to the back of your lap top. With Dropbox, your team will always be in sync, your files will always be available, and you'll never have to utter the words, "I'll send you that file when I get to my computer".

TextExpander

Find yourself sending repetitive messages, or typing the same content many times over? I have the solution for you. You may be thinking, "But Jay, I copy and paste with the best of them." Well, copying and pasting is so 2012. This is 2017 and automation runs the world. TextExpander allows you to formulate any sized content with the stroke of a couple keys. I personally have a piece of content that's 24,000 characters. I use it all the time, and all I have to do is hit 2 keys for it to appear. No more searching, copying, pasting, modifying, or messing around with multiple snippets in many different places. Just expand on your text.

Conclusion

So there you have it. 5 apps that will change your workflow for the better. Go ... play. You won't regret it.

Next blog, I'll touch on hardware to help you reach new heights of productivity.

Disrupting the Disruption that is Advertising Online

It's an age old battle—the consumer vs the advertiser. When you watch TV, you'll get up during the commercials. At a game, you'll often ignore the ads on the screens. Lit up signage on top of cabs are basically background noise. Then there's online advertising and sponsored content, which cannot be so easily ignored.

This is because the ads you see (if done right) stem from your activity. In the case of Facebook, go and search out restaurants in your area and then try to avoid ads for exactly that. It's next to impossible.

While there has been an overall improvement in trust in advertising over the last three years, digital ad distrust still hovers around 39 percent, according to a recent YouGov poll.

Your brand relies on social advertising and sponsored content to feed the top, middle and bottom of the buying funnel. While these platforms offer excellent exposure, there is an inherent risk of the presence of your ads resulting in a negative impression of your brand to some consumers.

My goal at Sync is to make it so that your ads compliment online platforms. This article will touch on some of those points. Portions of this article are excerpts from an article written by Dan O'Brien.

Integrity!

Even though other advertisers inundate users on social platforms and media sites with click-bait, don’t allow your brand to do so. Ensure that your ads and sponsored content are true to your brand’s core product or service. Resist the urge to promote any posts or content that will garner a lot of interest or clicks, but not accurately represent your brand.

A good rule of thumb to follow when promoting editorial-based content is to not force a hard sell upon the reader. Don’t lure readers in with informative content and then try to force them to convert.

Another is to produce content that will educate or entertain the reader and provide legitimate editorial value. When you follow these rules, readers will feel they are reading content from a brand that is authoritative and thought-leading in its vertical.

Be Authentic

This tip is one that I cannot put enough emphasis on; your headlines must accurately depict the experience that the reader will be led to after they click. Otherwise, you end up paying for unqualified clicks and an unsatisfied reader.

Here is a trick I have used in the past. Present your headline concepts to an unbiased/uninformed third party. Have the person(s) write a brief synopsis of what they envision the content to be, based upon the headline. If you find that the perception of your content is unclear from your headlines, adjust headlines or content accordingly.

Drill Down

Many social and native advertising platforms allow for some level of blacklisting of media sites where you do not wish your ads to show. The most common capability is to enable advertisers to blacklist categories of media sites (e.g., adult, political, tech) An example of this type of barring of ad placements can be enabled on Facebook and Instagram’s Audience Network.

Some native ad networks enable advertisers to reverse-engineer the blacklisting approach, with a targeted whitelisting approach identifying sites where you prefer your ads to be shown. For example, if your brand sells wearable technology and would resonate well with a tech-engaged audience, you could use this whitelisting tactic to target buckets of similar tech-focused sites, or even just one site, and optimize independently of your other campaigns.

Be Creative

You can always find ways to reach your audience more effectively, and adopting a continual test-and-learn strategy ensures that your ad dollars continue to be well spent. Analyze engagement signals like Facebook relevance scores and intent signals like click-through rate (CTR), and iterate upon what’s working well.

Pay close attention to frequency, and look for any signs of audience fatigue, such as a decrease in CTR or an increase in CPM or CPC (cost per click).

Pro tip: Some social and native ad platforms will provide an “x out report” upon request. Reach out to your account representatives to learn which of your ads or headlines are producing the highest rate of users wishing to no longer see your ad.

Lights, Camera, Action!

Do not focus your efforts on a vanity metric such as click-through rate to determine whether your social ads and sponsored content are being well-received by your audience. Instead, use back-end measurement benchmarks that signify a qualified and high-quality visitor to your site or app.

Depending on the objective of your social ad or sponsored content placement, the measurable actions will differ. For purely editorial promotions, you should measure elements such as time on site and page views. For advertorial and direct response objectives, these measurable actions will take the form of email signups, form completions and purchases.

Network

Word-of-mouth advertising is the oldest and often the most effective form of advertising. When a brand is recommended by a friend, reputable media source or an influencer you personally connect with, it carries more weight than a brand endorsing itself. Influencers, even when clearly paid to endorse a brand, do effectively persuade — particularly with millennials.

For your social and content marketing initiatives, do not be shy about leveraging any positive brand endorsements. Amplify positive brand mentions with paid advertising dollars to build credibility and social proofing. Also use “calls to authority” in your ad copy and creative, such as “featured in, as seen in…”

With these tips in mind, how will you actively work to make your ads less adversarial?

As always, if you need help with any element of your online marketing, let me know.