Posted on: October 8, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski
We’re excited to announce that Acuity Technologies has been named to the CRN 2019 Fast Growth 150 list! As a brand of The Channel Company, CRN creates an annual list recognizing the fastest-growing technology solution providers, integrators, and IT consultants in North America. We’re thrilled to be on the list this year alongside other innovators that have also made remarkable accomplishments.
Bob Skelley, CEO of The Channel Company, said, “There’s a great deal of growth and opportunity in the channel, and these companies are proof-positive that hard work and a commitment to service can pay off — even in a constantly evolving and highly competitive market like we have today. These companies exemplify the best of the best; channel providers whose market strategies should serve as an inspiration to us all.”
2019’s list comprises channel providers that have experienced substantial growth between 2017 and 2018. We’re honored to be named to the list of companies that have generated a combined revenue of more than $55 billion over the past two years.
Josh Anderson, our CEO, said, “Businesses are increasingly leveraging mobile devices and apps to drive efficiency and productivity while improving both the employee and customer experience. We are committed to helping our customers optimize their mobile technology investments through management, security oversight, strategic guidance, and proprietary software which has been a significant factor in driving our growth.”
Our goal is to provide our customers with management and analytical tools that enable them to support their workforce and make the best decisions they can that maximize the value of their mobility strategies. We believe that enabling enterprises to streamline deployment and ongoing management of mobile devices through our integrated suite of mobility managed services and supporting software sets us apart.
Josh continued, “The relevance of this shift towards mobile adoption is also advantageous to our channel partners because it ensures they are well-positioned to create more value for their existing clients while driving opportunities for additional revenue with new clients.”
As technology advances so quickly, we make it our job to keep up while also keeping up with changing customer demand and preference. We’re excited to be a part of the growth and profitability of other esteemed technology integrators, especially as today’s channel is highly disruptive and fast-paced.
Posted on: September 23, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski
Being a business owner requires a lot of expertise in a lot of different areas. And if things weren’t hard enough, to market your business successfully these days, social media is one of those areas.
The good news?
Vivial is always trying to find ways to make your life easier. Below you’ll find a collection of the top social media mistakes that small businesses make — and how you can avoid them.
If you read these mistakes and realize you are guilty of a few, don’t be upset! Social media is constantly evolving and so are the audiences who use it; your faux pas will most likely be forgotten once you hit your stride on social media. Not to mention the fact that the social media mistakes you made in the past can help you refine your strategy moving forward.
Social Media Mistake #1: One-way conversations
Many social media novices see networks as just another way to broadcast their sales promotions, products and services to customers. They don’t have two-way conversations that social media audiences are accustomed to, rather they replicate what would be a headline in an ad and speak at the customer.
Social media users don’t engage with businesses who speak at them, they engage with ones that have a conversation with them.
Solution: Go to the cocktail party
Social media gives you the opportunity to connect in real-time with potential consumers or current customers. If one of these people came up to you at your business you wouldn’t just talk to them about current sales and offerings, you would try to understand their needs so you can provide the best product and service for them. You should replicate this same mindset on social media.
Treat social networks as a cocktail party: connect with people in an easy-going manner where you talk more informally (and can subtly brag about your amazing business, too).
Social Media Mistake #2: Not posting consistently
Posting and monitoring social networks when it comes across your mind – which could be daily, weekly or once a month – is a surefire way not to gain any traction through social media.
Solution: Create a posting plan
Like most other things, social media needs a plan if you don’t want it to turn into an out-of-control mess.
Creating a posting plan will keep your social accounts active, your business open to conversations with consumers, and remind you to monitor your social accounts.
With Vivial’s Social Inbox, included in the Vivial Marketing Platform, it’s incredibly easy. In addition to letting you schedule social posts to all the major social networks, it also helps you monitor engagement and reviews in an easy-to-use “to-do” list — so you always know what needs to be tackled.
Not sure how often to post?
We have the best practices for small business to give you a place to start.
Creating social media profiles without tactics or goals that support your larger marketing strategy is akin to getting into a car and hitting the gas without knowing where you’re going.
Solution: Spend 15 minutes on a strategy
You know your small business should be on social media, great start!
The next step is to create a social media strategy, which consists of:
- A mission
- Tactics to fulfill your strategy
You already have an idea of what you want to accomplish on social media or you wouldn’t have created profiles at all. In just 15 minutes you can establish your mission, goals and tactics to create an actionable social media strategy. If you need extra guidance, check out our article How to Create a Social Media Strategy Template.
Social Media Mistake #4: Not responding kindly to negative reviews/posts
When negative reviews/posts show up about your business online, most people either choose to ignore them or respond with the same negativity and emotion as the original poster.
Solution: Create a review response guide
When negative comments are said about your small business it’s easy to react in kind, using that same emotion to defend your business as it was seemingly attacked with. However, negative emotion doesn’t help attract more people to your business in a good way — it simply triggers a ripple effect and increases the likelihood that others will share them.
While positive reviews are essential, customers actually trust businesses that have a few negative reviews more because it brings credibility to the reviews. After all, nobody’s perfect.
There is no winner if you choose to argue with the reviewer. Knowing how to handle negative reviews and posts before they occur is key. Reading negative comments with a rational mindset will help you respond in a respectful manner and minimize any damage that the reviewer has done.
We recommend our review response formula which walks through the actions you need to take to have a positive outcome from a negative review:
- Acknowledge the review and the feelings of the customer. Don’t be dismissive of their experience, but rather apologize for it.
- Ask to discuss things further away from the public eye (in email or on the phone).
- Resolve the case which may entail just apologizing or offering a reimbursement in some way (we don’t recommend this most of the time, but some cases it may be warranted).
Social Media Mistake #5: Ignoring hashtag trends
Depending on the network, hashtags can be a powerful way to get in front of the right people. So not using hashtags is a mistake – but overusing, or using the wrong hashtags, can be even worse.
Solution: Do some (quick) hashtag research
Networks like Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter use hashtags to compile content on a specific subject. If you’re confused about hashtags, think about them as the equivalent of a keyword search.
By completely ignoring the use of hashtags, you aren’t maximizing your potential exposure and not connecting with as many people on social media as you potentially could. However, if you use too many hashtags, your social posts may be viewed as disorganized, difficult to read, or even spammy – and also suffer from decreased exposure.
But you don’t need to just know how to use hashtags, but which hashtags are appropriate to your message.
Never jump on a hashtag simply because it’s trending.
You may want to jump onto a trend (which is a great idea to gain more exposure), but if you don’t do a quick search to see what that topic is actually about, you could be directing the wrong type of attention to your business. There have been many examples of companies trying to gain exposure by using a trending hashtag that ended up in bad taste because they didn’t do their due diligence beforehand.
The social media mistakes that we’ve listed here are faux pas that any business — large or small — could make.
But the good news is that all it takes are a few minor changes to your social media plan to see a big impact on engagement with your business.
Looking for a little help with your social media plan? Contact Vivial today.
Posted on: July 26, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski
Business owners are always looking to create a stronger bond with their customers and prospects – particularly through the use of social media and online platforms.
It’s important that you understand where and how your customers and prospective customers spend their time online.
An optimal social media strategy requires knowing:
- What each channel does best
- Which demographics each attracts
- How those demographics align with the majority of your current and prospective customers
- How audience behaviors change on each platform.
Social media posts are an excellent way to interact with customers in real-time. Twitter provides a platform for announcing news or sharing brief thoughts on a topic that’s trending. Facebook posts can offer snippets—teasers—that drive traffic to full posts on a website’s blog.
Use the same content but best presented on each channel.
Understanding the function and audience of each platform helps you get the most from your time and effort.
The goal shouldn’t be to simply amass followers. Instead, measure the engagement of your followers as an indicator of interest, connections, relationships, and loyalty. The more engaged people are, the more likely they are to see the content you create as a resource rather than a sales tool.
Relate to your customers’ and prospects’ needs, offer them relevant value exchanges, more information, white papers, demos, entertainment, etc.
For a closer look at how to leverage the internet and your online presence to own the customer experience, download the full white paper here.
Posted on: June 27, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski
The St. Louis Blues were huge underdogs to win the Stanley Cup entering the playoffs, but after a thrilling Game 7 win last Wednesday in Boston, they are the NHL champs. Unfortunately, small businesses are often considered to be the underdogs of the business world, but as the Blues recently showed, just because you are labeled an underdog doesn’t mean you can’t achieve the ultimate success.
Last week’s blog discussed the advantages of having multiple social media platforms, this week we’ll discuss how your business can grow and distinguish this online presence. Don’t be considered the underdog this year, follow these simple strategies to boost social engagement and exposure to make your business the champs!
Timing is Everything – Know when and how often to post
While each business industry is unique to its marketing strategy and target audience, every social platform from Facebook to Google+ has peak times of activity throughout the day. Referencing these averages is a good starting point for small businesses to gauge their appropriate posting times. In doing so, the odds of gaining greater exposure to current and potential customers can nearly double.
When it comes to posting, not only is it important to know when to post but also how often to post. Timing is everything. Consumers do not want their social feeds consistently filled with updates and posts from your business. Repetitive posting is a big mistake to avoid, especially when attempting to grab an audience’s attention. A simple solution is to plan your content and schedule your posts ahead of time (reference the provided charts for a guide on when and how often to post).
Social media management is a difficult task to take on – but a key tool to your company’s success. Create a plan that works best for your business and stick to it. In no time, you will see impressive results!
Get Creative – Express your voice and have fun
There is a lot of pressure currently surrounding the posting culture on social media. Have no fear, it is a great platform for communicating and expressing yourself. Get creative! The best way to boost business interaction is by posting original, unique content that catches the eye of your audience. Visuals—including stock photos, infographics, and videos—are great ways to portray your message without overwhelming the customer with paragraphs of information.
While written content on certain social platforms, such as Instagram, is less common, it is still a popular method of online communication. When your business does decide to use written content, remember to keep true to your business’s culture and voice. Don’t take your social accounts too seriously; the easiest way for people to relate and share is a joke. So have fun and give your social platforms an online personality that can relate to your audience.
You don’t have to be a social media expert to master the art of posting. Turn your business into a social media champ by using these simple strategies to distinguish your online presence from your competitors.
Posted on: April 5, 2019 By: CNSG Marketing
Most of the country has just sprung forward into Daylight Savings Time. For many, this time-change signals more than just darker mornings and lighter nights. It signals the unofficial start of spring. With spring comes rain showers, flowers, spring break and spring cleaning. If you’re a business—spring brings its own set of implications. Whether you’re a business likely to be impacted by tourists on spring break or you’re a service business impacted by homeowners looking to make preparations for the warmer weather, here’s a couple of low effort, high-impact tips and tricks to try out as you spring clean your business.
Clean up your directory listings
There are hundreds of directories online which will list your business information. If you’re not the one giving them that information, they’ll get it wherever they can. Be the source of authority and develop a direct relationship with the major online directories to ensure your name, address, phone number and hours are all correct. As the spring tourism boom gets underway, the last thing you want is customers hitting up the wrong address, calling the wrong number or showing up when you’re closed. There are solutions out there that make managing hundreds of listings a snap.
Freshen up your Facebook profile
Put something cheery on your cover photo. Post a special deal. Run a spring contest. The sky is the limit when it comes to freshening up your Facebook presence this spring. Whether you’re a landscaper posting pictures of before-and-afters, an HVAC company offering a deal on spring tune-ups for air conditioning or a beauty salon sharing the hottest new nail colors for pedicures in 2019—every business has something that can make them relevant this spring season.
Fresh, new content brings your business back to the forefront of consumers’ minds if you’re a business that perhaps dwindles a bit in winter. If you’re a winter-driven business stay or get active on Facebook right now to remind customers that you’re still around and relevant even in the warmer seasons! Plus, make sure if your hours change by season, you’re updating them on Facebook as well!
Give your website a spring makeover
You’re clearly not going to redesign your website seasonally, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep it fresh! We’re big proponents of making sure you consistently update and add to the content on your website. Your website is often the first impression customers get of your business. If the last time you posted on your site was “Merry Christmas!” it might give customers the idea that you’re no longer in business or not interested in providing value or utility to them.
Further, the recency with which you have posted on your website has a decent impact on how well you rank in search results. If Google thinks your website hasn’t been updated in a while, it’s not as likely to list your website very high in the search results. So, freshness becomes key to getting found by potential customers when they’re searching. Update your business hours, feature spring-like imagery if possible, and even post a quick blog or deal related to spring.
Whether your business is seasonal or booming year-round there is always benefit in maintaining a fresh, relevant online presence. Directories, social media and your business website offer quick, easy ways to give your business that fresh, spring-cleaned appearance that’s sure to drive engagement and new business.
Posted on: August 16, 2018 By: admin
15 Networking Experts You Should Be Following on LinkedIn is brought to you by Cato Networks.
The areas of enterprise networking, SD-WAN, and networking security are fast-paced and changing as our enterprises digitally transform. Analysts IDC expect SD-WAN, in particular, to see major growth. This blooming industry is bringing with it experts that cover both the technical and business aspects of using the technologies. They offer advice and know-how into real-world applications and use of the technologies as well as insight into the emerging side of the industry too. Below, we’ve listed 15 of the top experts in enterprise networking and SD-WAN who we recommend following on Linkedin. These are industry leaders that we look to for the latest developments in the world of enterprise networking. These are all experts with strong experience in the field, and when they speak about enterprise networks, it’s always worth hearing what they have to say.
Brad is the Technical Account Manager for AWS and before that an engineering Architect for VMWare. Brad has extensive hands-on experience and specializes in Cloud networking, data center infrastructure, and network security. Check out an interview with Brad on VMWorld TV.
Greg is one of the co-founders of Packet Pushers which is a weekly podcast about data networking by networking architects. Greg is a veteran of networking and a prolific writer. Sign up for his networking newsletter which gives the latest news on networking infrastructure and great hands-on advice too. Greg stated recently on Twitter: “Gonna talk about SD-WAN in 2018. It will be kind of ranty. Ok, maybe a lot ranty.”
Andrew is a Gartner Analyst specializing in Networking and SD-WAN. He has a blog which he writes in regularly, with a mix of industry insight, technical advisories, and predictions such as “Predicting SD-WAN Adoption”. In this post he discusses the prediction that by 2019 30% of enterprises will be using SD-WAN. His tweets include: “In our world, the network API is a change request ticket”
Matt runs the blog “Standalone Sys-Admin” where has offers a mix of technical how to’s and more personal views such as “Stop hating your work”. Matt also is the Linux Systems Administrator for SpaceX where he combines his love of science and engineering. Matt has a Github repository where he hosts projects and experiments that may be helpful to networking professionals.
Erik’s specialties include SD-WAN, Network Design, and Engineering and IT Security. In a recent LinkedIn article on “Achieving a Lean Branch with SDWAN and Cloud Security Services” he talks about the use of SD-WAN when optimizing security. Erik also has a column at Network World where he writes on networking technologies such as SD-WAN and how they can be embraced by the C-Suite.
Steve founded the global consultancy firm SD-Wan Experts who offer expert consultation on networking technologies like SD-WAN as well as IT security. Steve has a column at Network World where he offers his expert advice. One of his latest articles looks at the importance of choosing the right ISP for your SD-WAN, focussing in particular on the the quality of their Internet connections.
Ashish is the Program Director, Computing Platforms, for analysts IDC. He spends his time doing research into networking infrastructure, storage systems, and Cloud data centers. Ashish uses his Twitter feed to keep us up to date with the networking world. Ashish was a speaker at the 2017 IDC at VMworld, where he spoke on “Digital Transformation in the as-a-Service Era”.
Simon works across a number of areas and on projects such as Hyperledger and OpenForum Europe. He also advises corporations and governments alike on how to successfully deliver technology. Check out Simon’s talk at GOTO 2017 on “Why the Fuss about Serverless”.
Ben is a Global Executive & IBM Security Partner as well as an NTSC Advisory Board member with over 25 years experience in the tech industry. Ben occasionally writes for Security Intelligence magazine where his article on “Secure SD-WAN: The First Step Toward Zero Trust Security” looks at how to apply the model of zero-trust in security to SD-WAN.
Russ White is a member of LinkedIn’s Infrastructure team with 25 years of networking experience. Russ publishes his thoughts on networking on his blog and has also published a number of books on network architecture. In a recent blog post, he discusses how the fast pace of network innovation is causing uneducated customers to invest in overly complex networking solutions.
Marcel founded Ancoma which is an innovation and consulting network focusing on business infrastructures. Marcel has a number of specialty areas including ICT, Information technology and telecommunications. He has immense business experience across sectors such as telecoms. Marcel will be speaking at WAN Summit in London in October 2018.
Simon works for New York Mellon Bank as Vice President of Unified Communications Engineering and leads the EMEA team for Network Engineering. Simon is exploring how SD-WAN could benefit Mellon bank and will be talking at the WAN Summit in London later this year.
Matt is a cloud and network specialist with over 15 years of networking experience. Matt currently works as an independent contractor and publishes a blog with helpful explainer videos and posts on a variety of networking topics including SD-WAN, the Internet of Things, and Cloud security.
Tom is a networking analyst at Foskett Services and the creator of networkingnerd.net where he offers an irreverent take on networking news and trends. In a recent post on wireless networks, Tom explains why so many customers aren’t willing to pay for quality wireless and how this leads to mediocre service for consumers.
Robin is a storage analyst, consultant and blogger. Robin writers for ZDNet at ‘Storage Bits’ where he focuses on the SME marketplace. His ‘look back’ article for 2017 “The best emerging storage tech of 2017” looks at the best storage technologies to come out of 2017.
As networking technologies evolve, keeping up with the changes is an ongoing task for networking professionals. Experts like our 15 above can help you do that by passing on their knowledge, industry insight, and hands-on experience in blogs, at shows, and on Twitter.
This article was written by Dave Greenfield. Dave is a veteran of IT industry. He’s spent more than 20 years as an award-winning journalist and independent technology consultant. Today, he serves as a secure networking evangelist for Cato Networks.