My Rotarian Friends,
Last year I attended a Rotary function with about 700-900 Rotarians in attendance. During that event I would estimate there was under 10 people that actively were tweeting about the event and sharing information, photographs and how great it is to be a Rotarian.
Those people that did tweet, had no concerted effort or strategy to uniformly discuss the event they were in. It was just a bunch of random tweets.
Twitter has a way of sharing information called “hashtags” which would have been an ideal way of creating a streamlined message for that event.
I believe strongly that planners of Rotary events need to come up with an “Event Hashtag” and have it published and well known, prior to the even starting.
But first I will explain a few things:
- What is a hashtag?
- What is an event hashtag?
- How do I select a GOOD hashtag for my event?
What is a hashtag?
A hashtag is in it’s most simple explanation a Keyword. This is a keyword you can search for on the twitter website. A hashtag can be anything you want and to denote a hashtag you simply type in a normal message and put # in front of the word you wish to turn in to a hashtag.
Here is an Example Tweet:
“I’m down in Vancouver visiting a wonderful #Rotary convention, I can’t wait to hear RI President Tanaka speak!”
In my example, “#Rotary” is a hashtag. Everyone in the world can now search twitter for the word hashtag #Rotary as see my message. This method of annotating your posts is extremely useful for denoting location, events, organizations and so forth.
Another example would be:
“I always look forward to visiting my #Rotary club in #RichmondBC – We meet every Wednesday at 12:15.”
This message makes it obvious our club meets in the city of Richmond, BC, Canada — A lovely city by the way.
What is an event hashtag?
Now that we understand that a hashtag is simply a word that is easily searchable, prefixed by a “#” we can now start to apply it to our messages to work together as a community. An event hashtag is simple, just like my examples above, we can say something like, “I’m at the Rotary Club of Richmond’s #GalaDinner” — so if everyone knew ahead of time that #GalaDinner was the hashtag to add to their messages then we could easily communicate at the event, streamline photo distribution, and media coverage.
If everyone knew they could watch #GalaDinner on twitter and get a live streaming feed of the event, as far as messages posted by those at the event, pictures being taken and shared, then you have now build something useful and exciting!
How do I select a GOOD hashtag for my event?
There are a few really important factors in selecting what hashtag your event should use, but I have a few tips that are helpful in deciding.
- Make it Short
- Make it Easy
- Make it Catchy
If your event is called “District 5555 Mega Cheese and Wine Night”, don’t think that calling it #MegaCheeseAndWineNight is a good idea. It’s too long, it’s too hard to type on a phone and it’s kind of Cheesy.
I like to keep event hashtags short, after all, a message on twitter can only be 140 characters, the longer the hashtag, the less you can write in your tweet!
Be creative, there is no right answer, but something simple and short is much better: #MCWN #WineCheese #CheesePlease would all be a lot simpler and have more effect.
The power of social media can be really harnessed for such amazing good. It connects us, to other Rotarians and to the rest of the world. If we learn to understand how it works, and how to use it effectively we can leverage it to further Rotary Internationals vision and continue to do great things in the world!
Perhaps one of the most frustrating things is building a website and having no website visitors. We spend hours working on our sites, graphics, content and message but then we see little or no result. I have built a number of websites in the past, and even before the mass adoption of Internet Marketing techniques, Website Optimization, if you wanted to have a great website you needed to provide people with a useful experience.
People will take the time to read information that is useful and relevant to them. If your site doesn’t educate, entertain or somehow improve the readers life, then you might as well not bother.
As I mentioned in the introduction, content is an import way of attracting readers. Useful content will keep them coming back. But creating on going content for your website can be a difficult chore. It is important to plan your posts, dedicate yourself to a certain number of posts per week or month and stick to it.
While it is an ambitious goal, if you were to post 1 article per day on your website, you would have 365 pages of useful, potentially customer generating pages per year. As they say, “A journey of a thousand miles, starts with a first step,” and content generation is that first step.
The First Step
Planning your content is an important first step in ensuring a consistent marketing message. Decide on what keywords are relevant to your business and build content around those keywords. Deciding on the keywords and phrases for your business can take a bit of researching, but it is important to spend the time and do it right from the beginning.
Once you have decided on the topics, keywords and what your over-all website purpose is, it’s a matter of sticking to a content development plan and releasing regular information. This will serve you well in a number of ways:
- New Content for your visitors
- Search Engines will see regular updating
- Search Engines will see a larger site
- More potential content for other people and sites to link to
Things to Avoid
Don’t get preachy in your content. Don’t try to always be the salesman. People have a thousand options to get information from you, or someone like you. Stand out as an expert in your field and the traffic and referrals will grow organically over-time. Building your online presence takes time, it’s not a matter of a few weeks or months. It is a long concerted effort for long term gain, and you need to persevere be resolute in your vision — not just in it for the quick gain.
To my Rotarian Friends;
I’d like to introduce myself, I’m @KenDennis from the @RichmondRotary in #RichmondBC which falls in @District5040. Over the past year I’ve been to quite a few Rotary events, including the Pacific Northwest PETS, some local district meetings, and of course the local club and board meetings. While in these various venues I’ve noticed a distinct lack of understanding for Social Media in general. While I believe people understand very broadly what it is, I think that the overall power and scope of what it could be to Rotary is really lacking.
I’ve decided to write this small post to try and encourage Social Media use in Rotary, as well as make a few points on how best to use it. Of course I invite you also to join my Newsletter and Follow me on Twitter, but more than anything, I would like this page shared as widely as possible, in e-mail, facebook, twitter, newsletters, club websites and any other way you can communicate it.
The Rotarian Potential
On the Rotary International website it states that we are in 200 countries, 33,000 clubs, and about 1.2 million members globally. When I log on to the twitter website I monitor several key words and hashtags that should be zooming down my page at a fantastic rate. But it isn’t…
If you monitor these phrases they do have a few hundred posts per day, but given the massive number of Rotarians around the world, it should be flowing non-stop across the screen.
Sad Fact: If you monitor the word Rotary on Twitter, about 1 in 15 is relating to Rotary TELEPHONE’s.
Here is some potential
If we had only 10% of our 1.2 million members (120,000 Rotarians), each post one single comment per day, we could create a massive and powerful flow on constant, positive public relations on the good works and plans of RI, and our local clubs!
Club versus Personal Social Media Accounts
I would like to preface this by saying any club or district who has invested the time and effort in to building a Twitter account, Facebook page, you are doing wonderfully. However, club and district pages are not where our power comes from. The PEOPLE, the Individuals, are what makes Rotary Clubs powerful, not the name of the club — and the same holds true for Social Media.
To illustrate this better, most clubs have one PR Director. That PR Director posts club messages on their Facebook, Twitter, and Website. These accounts are generally followed by club members, and maybe a few other people.
What I believe we should be doing is having ALL members have their own accounts, and this is my reasoning:
Your friends, Family, Business connections, Co-workers do not care about your Rotary Social Media accounts. BUT, they do care about YOU. If you were to start putting information about Rotary, your Club and what YOU are doing on your pages, people will take notice, people will CARE.
Let’s look at what I mean
Club A – Has a Club Website, Facebook and Twitter account, No Members use social Media.
When you post a message your scope is limited, let’s say 50 people see the website, 100 people see the Facebook Message and 300 people see the Twitter message.
The total scope of your message is about 450 people (Most of whom are probably your club members).
Club B – 5 Members of the Club regularly post about Club activities, Events on their own personal Social Accounts
The “Average” person on Facebook and Twitter probably has 100-500 Friends or Followers. Let’s use 250 (combined in twitter and facebook just for simplicity sake).
Now your club has an event, your 5 members post both on facebook and twitter to all of their friends and followers: 5 x 250 = 1,250 is your new scope!
But now let’s say the did it once per week. That number is now 5,000 per month.
Let’s say 10 members of your club did it once per week: 10,000 per month
By doing this on your Personal Social Accounts you are letting the PUBLIC at large know about Rotary and what we do.
This is how we can move forward, increase membership, increase participation, and do more good in the world!
Here is even more reasons
When you post on social media, people “retweet” (Resend your message), people “Share” on facebook. Suddenly your 10,000 might turn in to 100,000!
Imagine if your local newspaper, radio show or business organization resent your message to it’s friends and followers?
What I do Personally (and wish other Rotarians did)
I use Social Media extensively for both personal and my own business, I post on average 30-50 times per day. About 1 in 20 or 1 in 30 of my messages is an information update about Rotary International, End Polio or my Rotary Club of Richmond. If we started to embrace Social Media as a means to educate the public and communicate regularly, we can get our message out to such a large audience of people.
My Goal and Hopes
Over the next few months, I’m going to start writing some extremely basic “how-to” documents specifically for Rotary and how Clubs can use social media to further their Public Relations endevours. So please follow me on Twitter and watch this website for more articles on the subject. I know that Social Media can be daunting and difficult to understand at first. Twitter can seem useless, who can read all those scrolling messages? But once you understand the concepts, the ways to manage information I think most people will enjoy the new way of communicating.
Keyboard shortcut keys can massively increase the speed at which you work. Cutting and pasting information with the mouse can be painfully slow, but integrating keyboard shortcuts will help you work faster and more efficiently. Windows has many built in shortcuts that have been part of all Microsoft Operating Systems for many years. The following are the most common ones:
Control + C – will copy any highlighted information, leaving the original information intact.
Control + X – will cut out the currently highlighted information, removing it from it’s original location
Control + V – Will paste the information from the previous Copy or Cut commands to where ever your cursor is currently located.
Control + Z – Will undo the last thing you just changed. Such as a Cut, Paste, Delete. You can press it multiple times to undo a series of changes.
Control + F – Open the “Find” (Search Box) in the program you are currently in. If you are trying to find keywords on a large document or website this is a great way.
Control + S – In most programs, like Word, Notepad, etc, this command will save your document, or open the save document box.
Control + A – If you are trying to highlight a whole document before you cut/copy, or want to copy an entire folder (photos for instance), this short cut key will highlight all the documents in your current window. Typically it would be followed by a Copy, Cut or Delete command.
Home – This key will take you to the beginning of the line within the current document you are working on.
End – This key will take you to the end of the line within the current document you are working on.
There are a lot of really great keyboard shortcuts, as well as shortcuts for specific programs you work with every day. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but a short list of some of the most common shortcut keys that are useful to the average person.
What is TweetDeck
- TweetDeck is a service that is owned by Twitter, that allows you to have a multi-column interface for interacting with your Twitter account. Instead of having one screen constantly scrolling with endless tweets, TweetDeck will allow you to group messages by certain criteria, while also giving you your standard information such as who you are interacting with and your “Timeline” (which is all the messages).
Why is this useful
- Twitter is a non-stop flood of information, and it feels like it is entirely useless when you first get started. Learning to use Lists, Searches and other more advanced features of twitter will allow you to manage it and make it relevent. Tweetdeck is nothing more than a different way of viewing your twitter account, it makes it more logical, more segregated and logical in my opinion.
- While it is a bit difficult to account for all the system specific differences, this guide will help you interact with #RotaryChat using the free Tweetdeck Service on a Microsoft Windows computer, running Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Firefox Web Browser.
- This walkthrough assumes that you already have your own Twitter account, and that you know your Username and Password in order to login to it.
Here are the Steps on How to Configure Everything
Have your Twitter login information ready.
Go to the website: http://tweetdeck.com/
Click on the “Sign-up” Button in Yellow
On the Sign-up Form, fill in your e-mail address and enter a new password, then again in the “confirm password” location. If you are on your own private computer, I would recommend leaving the “Keep me signed in” box ticked. Then click on “Sign-up”.
A Box will open to “Authorize Tweetdeck”, this is how it communicates with your Twitter account, enter your Twitter e-mail address and password (for Twitter account, not Tweetdeck), and then click “Authorize App”.
Step 9 – A
Step 9 – B
This will make a white text box appear below, and there will be a blue “Add Column” button you can now press.
To compose a brand new message click on the Blue Compose Icon in the top right, which will then open a box to create a new message. Don’t forget to add the #RotaryChat hashtag to the end of your tweet!
Enjoy #RotaryChat and Rotarian Fellowship!
I run a small business in Burnaby, B.C. and I need to upgrade my old Internet Router, there are so many available, and the prices vary dramatically. We currently have 10 staff in our office and we do work from home from time to time, but accessing our information on our servers is not always easy. Which router would be best for me?
There are a lot of routers available from retailers, but I think it is very important to assess your needs, and potential future needs before you invest your money in a new product.
In the cases of extremely small or home offices, under 5 people, I tend to recommend a consumer grade router like a Cisco/LinkSys that you can pickup at any best buy or future shop, however as businesses get a little larger then more factors come in to play that make investing in a better product a more viable solution.
One of the all-around good products that I recommend to my clients is the Sonicwall TZ series of routers. They offer a variety of models, with or without wireless capability, but give you the ability to do a lot of advanced features such as:
- Multiple wireless networks on one device (Security for Guest networks)
- Ability to handle multiple Internet connections (Redundancy)
- Expandable Wireless Integration (By use of their SonicPoint Access Points)
- Highly Configurable Settings
- VPN Access (Secure remote access from home/laptop)
- VPN Access (Between multiple locations)
- Gateway Anti-virus/spyware Protection
- Content Filtering (Keep staff from Porn/Social Media etc)
Price and Investment
Sonicwall Routers will run you anywhere from $850-2000 depending on the hardware and software options you require. However, they tend to be really rock solid routers, often when you purcahse lower-grade ones, you replace them every few years, and you don’t get nearly as many features as listed above.
Out of all the reasons listed above, I would say the most common reasons for going with a higher end small business router would be the ability to have multiple internet connections (automatically fail-over from Shaw/Telus or “bond” the connections for a higher maximum speed). The VPN Access works in a few ways, the first is residential or offsite workers can connect to the router securely and access the network as if they were in the office, the second is if your small business has multiple offices, retail outlets, teleworkers, you can have a dedicated VPN that runs 24/7. This means the location is essentially connected to the main office, an extension of it (a Site to Site VPN Tunnel). The last reason people like these is the content filtering, having the ability to easily block websites, or types of websites such as facebook or social media in general allows you to ensure your staff aren’t goofing off and wasting your time.
At the end of the day, it is important to take a good look at what you want to accomplish with your business and how you operate it. Then you can make an informed decision about the correct device to suite your business. KDTS provides consulting and technical support to Small businesses throughout Vancouver’s Lower Mainland and we would welcome the opportunity to discuss your needs with you. Please give us a call at (604)285-0117 or Support@kdts.ca
KDTS is extremely happy to announce that we will be expanding our service offerings in Burnaby, BC.
Our company provides Business Computer Support to companies with 10-40 users, providing you with a full service outsourced IT Department without the full cost of hiring your own. KDTS Specializes in building rock solid networks that you can depend on. Our goal is to keep your network running like a well oiled machine, so you can concentrate on your own business growth.
KDTS already has a number of great clients along the Lougheed Highway area between Willingdon and Boundary and are looking to further expand our client base.
Small Business Computer and Network Support:
- Desktop support and Repair
- Network Troubleshooting, Diagnostics and Upgrades
- Server Administration
- IT Consulting / Project Planning and Implementation
For great tips and free small business technical information, please sign up for your newsletter.
We look forward to working with you Burnaby!
President – KDTS
My computer died, and thankfully I had a good backup plan in place, however now I have a dead computer I want to get rid of and I’m worried about my business information and e-mails getting out.
Data security is a very important issue that many people don’t take the time to address correctly.
Very frequently when computers reach their end of life, either they are too slow and are replaced, or have a hardware failure, people simply toss them in the garbage, or give them to a local electronics recycling depot.
I’m going to answer this question in two ways, in order to ensure we cover off a couple of scenarios.
My computer is old, but still works
If your computer is still functional, it is important to delete the information from the hard drive to ensure that the data is safely destroyed. However, simply deleting information from Windows and emptying the recycling bin is not sufficient in order to ensure it can’t be recovered.
There are many very simple programs on the Internet that can easily recover that you have deleted. Essentially when you delete information from your computer, you tell the computer to ignore that data, but the physical information is still on the Hard Drive inside your computer and stays there until it is over-written with new information, even then there are special tools and programs that can recover it.
In order to securely delete information you need to do a hard drive wipe, there are many free applications to do this and I will list a couple at the end of this article. What these wiping tools do is write information over and over to your hard drive to ensure that it can’t be recovered. Often these programs will over-write your information 3-7 times to make it impossible to recover.
Most of these programs are made to run off Bootable CD’s, where you simply put a special CD in your computer, then reboot. When prompted you boot on to the CD and start the wiping program. This process can take many hours, and I tend to start them in the evening or as I’m on the way home for the evening, so it will be done by morning.
My computer is broken, and I can’t run a wiping program
Very often when a computer doesn’t work, it doesn’t necessarily mean the hard drive (the physical piece of hardware that stores information) is broken, so there is a strong possibility your full information is still within your broken computer.
Because the computer won’t turn-on or load, you often cannot run one of these “wiping” programs to clear the information from your computer. So in these cases, I recommend physically opening up your computer and removing the device that stores your information, the hard drive.
Generally speaking opening your computer is either a matter of opening the sides panels, or top of the case by unscrewing about 4-5 screws. Some computers like Dells often have buttons you need to press in order to open the computer.
Once you have opened the computer, you will need to remove the Hard Drive (or drives if there are multiple). This again is usually a matter of unplugging to cables and unscrewing a few small screws.
Once you have the drive(s) out, either store them until you can destroy them later, or enjoy taking out your frustrations with a hammer. The goal is to mangle the drive so the physical rotating disks within it are damaged, a few strong hits with the back end of the hammer tend to be sufficient. Of course you should be doing this as safely as possible, eye, hand protection etc.
Personally, I never dispose of my computers with hard drives in them. I make it a habit of removing all hard drives from every single computer I recycle. While I trust wiping programs to remove my information, I’m simply paranoid enough that I like to see the physically damaged drive that cannot be reused.
How many times have you heard in the media where old computers shipped in mass to India or Africa had government or corporate information on it? This could just as easily have been your private information, so take disposal of your IT assets seriously.
I own a small retail business with 2 back office computers, I regularly print about 5-10 pages per day, but I seem to be spending a small fortune on ink. What can I do to reduce my costs?
Most people when they start a small business, or have only a few computers tend to opt to purchase a cheap inkjet printer, but often the cost of ink for these is incredible and they just never seem to last.
Small Inkjet printers often have 4-5 little ink cartridges in them and each one of them seems to cost $20-40 to replace, and they often don’t yield many pages.
My recommendation is generally to invest more money in a newer (better) printer, and while spending a lot on a printer seems to be a bad idea when money is tight, you will generally save yourself in the long run because of the cost of ink.
Instead of getting an Inkjet printer, get a Laser printer… and here is a few reasons why:
- You get a Better Quality Printing
- You get a larger page yield per cartridge
- You get a higher quality and longer lasting printer
- You will likely be able to print a lot faster
- You can buy either strictly black, or colour
A decent Laser Printer can be purchased for $400-$800, Ink ranges from $45-150. But often one cartridge will last anywhere from 3,000-15,000 pages.
When I purchase printers for my clients I always research the cost of ink and present that as part of the quote. You always want to know the long term costs associated with your purchase before you get it.
Local Vancouver based Renewable Cartridge company Digitech Laser is a great company to make a recommendation on a printer, as well provide you with affordable, delivered to your door ink. I strongly recommend their services if you are in the Lower Mainland.
Most people think that a websites purpose is to display products or information about your business or organization, but in today’s web based environment you really need to go a step further in order to attract new clients and website visitors.
For a long time the phrase trumpeted by SEO (Search Engine Optimization) companies has been “Content is King” and it certainly seems to have been consistently the best way to regularly attract organic website visitors (as opposed to paid visitors).
Content Marketing works on a number of levels which play in your favour.
One of the most important aspects is that it positions you and your company as an authority on a particular subject matter. Everyone loves to get freebie information, by providing educational articles on things that are important to your clients you are well positioned to convert them from interested readers in to active clients.
Writing articles about particular subjects means you are creating content on your website which will then be available in search engines for people to find. The more content and relevant articles and keywords you have, the more likely you will be successful in search engine results.
Volume and Updates
Internet visitors and search engines alike are hungry for new quality content. People revisit your website, sign-up for newsletters, and actively engage you and your company. Search engines rewards those who regularly update their sites with information and by increase the total page count you become more relevant to the search engines.
Writing web content is not an easy thing to do. It takes work and dedication. But imagine for a minute if you were able to write two small articles per week for your website. Over a one year period you would now have over 100 articles on your site, each one of which is searchable, and a potential page for a new customer to find.