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Help with Social Media Marketing is Imperative

A recent Business Insider article featured an image from a recent Buddy Media event, depicting just how out of hand the social media space has become.

Social Marketing Landscape

As a small business owner, how does one hope to stay on top of the current tools, let alone the daily changes of importance? 

One can't.

What about something as simple as "where should I put my online advertising dollars?" Did you know the average click-through rate for an internet ad is .1 percent?  Facebook's results - 1/2 that, .05%.  How about Google Ad Sense?  Quadruple the web average, .4% click-through.  Check out this infographic, the source of my statistics.  Google ads are 8 times more effective than Facebook!

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Backup Your Data Beat the Hard Drive Crash Blues

Losing your laptop/tablet/smartphone is only slightly worse than a crashed hard drive.  The former requires you purchasing new hardware (or going without), but both leave you feeling dark and empty inside.  Lost photos of your children/wedding/best vacation ever, missing address book information, and years of work down the drain... Its the worst. The worst, Jerry.

Usually it takes a corrupted, crashed, stolen, or lost hard drive to convince the average human of the importance of backing up.  If you're lucky enough to never have had this happen to you, please heed my warning.  The remedy is darned easy, you'll really hate yourself if you stop reading now.

We've previously extolled the virtues of backing up to the cloud, specifically using Dropbox (one of our Favorite Things). Well one of our favorite websites, Lifehacker did us a solid with a How To on backing up your data locally and remotely (a.k.a. "in the cloud").  

Lifehacker:

It's not a matter of whether your computer's disk will stop working; it's a matter of when. The question is how much it will disrupt your life—and it won't, if you have a backup copy.

 

Backing up your data is the dullest but most indispensable thing you do on your computer. Here's how to automate regular backups for your computer...

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Reduce Your Cell Phone Bill to $19 a Month

This seems almost too good to be true.  Seeming newcomer Republic Wireless is offering unlimited talk, text, and data "hybrid" mobile phone service for just $19/month.  

Republic WirlessThe service relies on available Wi-Fi networks, to which the user has access, falling back on Sprint's nationwide network when Wi-Fi is not available.  Republic estimates that Americans have Wi-Fi access about 60% of the time, and employs a "Cellular Usage Index" to monitor their subscribers' balance of activity across the two channels, and to let their customers know when their use of cellular, versus Wi-Fi, usage exceeds their "fair use threshold".  Even then, the site's current language is soft, indicating that the subscriber has a comfortable amount of time to adjust their usage habits, and that one could use a great deal of cellular data before reaching this threshold.  Specifically, "you could consume 550 minutes, send 150 texts, and download 300 megabytes of data without crossing the community’s fair use threshold."

Hybrid cellular not your cup of tea?  Geek | Chicago's partners are also offering the following deals.

Nokia E71 - 3G Smart Phone

HTC Sensation

New!  HTC EVO Design 4G for Sprint at Wirefly

No iPhone 5 Yet; iPhone 4S Looks Pretty Nice

iPhone 4GS

Geeks the world over have been hotly anticipating today's Apple Keynote at their headquarters in Cupertino, CA.  We tuned in to hear more details of iOS 5, check out how the line of devices (computers, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, oh my) might be changing, but mostly, we tuned in to learn the future of iPhone.  That future, as of this moment, comes in the form of the iPhone 4S, but not yet an iPhone 5.  

This Friday, October 7, Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint, yes Sprint, customers will be able to pre-order the new iPhone 4S, in 16, 32, and 64GB sizes ($199, $299, $399, respectively), for delivery beginning next Friday, October 14.  

The device, while appearing nearly identical on its exterior, contains all new parts - an A5 processor, new camera sensor and lenses, faster data speeds, and improved antenna, CDMA capability, and new software, iOS 5, which will also be available on (many, but not all) earlier generation devices. 

The Apple website and store have been up and down all day.  

The folks over at Engadget did a LiveBlog during the Apple event, which is where we got most of our up to date news.  Thanks Engadget!

Engadget has a ton of coverage related to the news - iOS5 and iPhone 4S news mostly.  

So, we Android-overs over here at Geek | Chicago have some decisions to make.  Do we get the iPhone 4S?  The HTC Amaze 4G (with many comparable specs, and available next week on T-Mo), or wait for the iPhone 5, which we're guessing will be announced in the spring?

Search Engine Optimization for Nice Guys

Image by Jeff Moriarty - http://www.flickr.com/photos/moriartys/Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Nice Guys is my more politically correct, or at least less NSFW title I've chosen to slap on my attempt to drive you to check out SEO for Non-Dicks, from Matt Gemmel's blog.  

In essence, Matt says you can achieve high search engine ranking by heading down two divergent paths - (1) game the system or (2) play fair and generate valuable content.

His tips include such standards as:

  • Use descriptive URLs (web addresses) that contain the article's title.  
  • Make sure page title (that's the <Title> tag) matches the article title.
  • Make your links descriptive, like learn more about everyday technology, rather than click here to read our blog. 
  • Most importantly, create rich, original, and meaningful content on a regular basis... something we struggle with around here at Geek.  (Its hard to be everything to everyone, you know?)

Gemmel derides dickish SEO, and one technologist/trainer in particular:

..this entire side of internet marketing and promotion makes me sad - and a bit angry. I fully acknowledge the value of, and need for, actual SEO; I just think that in many cases, the tactics employed under that title would better be described as Search EngineManipulation or even Abuse.

Matt Gemmel is a blogger and an iOS an Mac OS X developer in Scotland.  You can read more about how to succeed in SEO with ethics on his blog. 

Best Online Streaming for Movie and TV

Steve Jobs shows of streaming mediaWe are in Week 5 of our inaugural Everyday Technology for the Non-Geek class. That means we're talking about digital media, like Movies, TV, Music, and photographs. Much digital ink has been spilled in recent months comparing services like Netflix, Vudu, Hulu Plus, and the rest. We at Geek | Chicago haven't used them all, but we're getting there. In the meantime, here's the skinny from some of our favorite Geek sites:

Evernote to Stay Organized Wherever You Are - Favorite Thing

Our Favorite Things - Evernote

Sprouting HandsWe love our gadgets and our software over here at Geek | Chicago.  Of course we do, we’re Geeks!  I mean we really love them.  We love them, not just for the “wow factor” or because they’re new, but we love them because of the promise they hold.

New software and new hardware hold the keys to new efficiencies, better ways to communicate, and simpler ways to organize, and pave the road to the future.  When new technologies become old technologies, if they’ve done their job, their replacements are standing on their shoulders.  New ideas beget more new ideas.

EvernoteBack in March, Gini Dietrich, a personal friend and the CEO at Arment Dietrich, Inc. a PR firm specializing in online communication, reminded me how much I love Evernote on her site Spin Sucks.  I had installed and begun to use Evernote sometime in early 2010, but wasn’t tagging (organizing) my notes in a way that allowed me easy access to them, as my brain emptied and my Evernote repository filled. I had the software on my Android-powered phone, and used the web client on my PCs, but only occasionally used in on my phone.  When Gini talked about her love of journals, and the convenience of Evernote, my interest was renewed.

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How to Really Use Those RSS Feeds

RSS FeedRSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication" and provides a syndicated "feed" of site updates to followers.  Any website worth its salt has an RSS feed, these days - ours can be found here.  Just because the feed is "really simple", doesn't mean sorting through all that data always is.

So what do you do with those oddly (un)formatted RSS feeds?  You use them to bring content from all of your favorites sites into a single interface - or reader.  At Geek | Chicago, simplicity and convenience reign supreme when it comes to Newsreaders.  That's why we use Google Reader.

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Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).