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How to use Snapchat for your business

A growing number of small- and medium-sized businesses are turning to social media to help facilitate growth. The reasons are obvious, social media is easy-to-use and capable of reaching an enormous amount of users. That being said, you might be missing out on one of the fastest growing platforms available: Snapchat.

Over 71 percent of Snapchat users are under 34 years old; as of 2015, the social network boasted over 100 million active users. It’s an ideal marketing option for businesses targeting a millennial audience. If you’re still unsure about Snapchat for your small business, consider these statistics:

    • 58 percent of college students are likely to purchase a product from coupons sent over Snapchat
    • 65 percent of Snapchat users contribute content on a daily basis
    • Only 1 percent of marketers are taking advantage of Snapchat, which means you can be an early adopter and gain a competitive advantage
Snapchat is a social media application that allows users to send pictures and videos - called “Snaps” - to others. The media sent can only be viewed for 10 seconds or less (you can specify the length), after which it disappears for good. You can add a Snap or multiple Snaps to create your own “story” which can be viewed by others for 24 hours.

The reason Snapchat is getting the attention of marketers is that it allows users to personally interact with brands. Instead of regular content, you audience gets a candid, behind-the-scenes look at your business. Also, by using Snapchat regularly, you’ll be able to keep your brand in the forefront of your audience’s mind. Then, when they’re making a purchasing decision between you and your competitors, they’ll choose you because of the relationship you’ve established with them. Now that you know what Snapchat is, the next step is to gain followers.

How to grow a following on SnapchatUnlike other social networks like Twitter and Instagram, hashtags don’t suffice when you want to get your audience’s attention. They have to find and add you - not the other way around. Even if you want to add other users so they could add you back, you can’t base the search on vague terms -- you have to know their Snapchat username to add them. Basically, Snapchat has no native discovery features.

In order to gain followers on Snapchat, you’ll need to use your online presence as well as other social media sites to create awareness and entice others to follow you. Here are some easy methods to get the ball rolling:

    • The “Add Me URL” feature - share a custom URL on other social media platforms that allow other users to quickly add you as their Snapchat connections. To do so, replace “yourusername” in the following URL: https://www.snapchat.com/add/yourusername
    • Promote your username in your social media profiles - promote your Snapchat username by posting it in other profiles to encourage people to add you. You can also share your username in email signatures, blog posts, and even your company website.
    • Share relevant content - plan an interesting series of Snaps to share with your followers and post all the details on other social media accounts along with your username and/or QR code image, this gives followers an incentive to connect with your brand.
    • Snapcode image as your profile picture on other social networks - take a screenshot and crop your Snapchat QR code image (Snapcode) and set that as a profile picture on your other social media accounts. Anyone who points their Snapchat camera at the code will automatically add you to their friends list.
Snapchat is one of the newest social media outlets to date. If you start building your brand on it now, you’ll be taking a huge step ahead of your competitors - especially now that Snapchat is catching up to Facebook and other social media giants. If you would like to know more about what Snapchat can do for your small- and medium-sized business, feel free to give us a call!
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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The right social media platforms for SMBs

Social media marketing is tricky, to say the least. It’s difficult to allocate the resources that create the desired effect, especially when so many platforms are available. Facebook might be the biggest name in the industry, but that doesn’t mean it will suit your organization. Instead, business owners should familiarize themselves with all the available options.

FacebookAccording to the 2017 Wasp Barcode State of Small Business Report, Facebook is the most utilized social media of all the options. Out of the survey’s 1,100+ respondents, 68 percent used Facebook as an integral part of their marketing strategy, with LinkedIn coming in second at 39 percent.

One of the contributing factors to Facebook’s popularity is the fact that it’s currently approaching a total of 2 billion personal users, making it the first place companies go to when they want to increase their brand awareness. Other marketing-specific reasons businesses choose Facebook are social media referral traffic, terrific conversion rates for e-commerce traffic, and a huge impact on user purchasing decisions.

YouTubeYouTube is considered an undervalued social media resource for two main reasons. Firstly, although it’s the second-largest search engine on the internet, it still looms in the giant shadow of its rival Google Search. But when properly utilized, YouTube allows you to create channels for your products or services to be discovered by users, with little more than search optimizations.

Secondly, Google actually owns YouTube, and videos are reportedly 50 times more likely to appear on the first page of search results than other organic content. Keep in mind that video production quality is more important than ever, so your content needs to be well-produced in order to make an impact.

Google+Engagement and content on sharing might pale in comparison to Facebook, but an active Google+ page measurably contributes to the Google search ranking of your website -- just another way you can ensure your site’s position on the first page of Google results should be done. Also, Google+ has hundreds of millions of users and some of the platform’s features -- such as live Hangouts -- can be utilized to share content across all Google channels, including YouTube.

Snapchat and InstagramIf your target audience is on the younger end of the scale, Snapchat is the way to go. The important thing to keep in mind when you want to connect with 18-24 year olds is to always be fun and creative. Your content doesn’t need to be overly-polished or corporate. Currently, there are over 100 million active users on Snapchat.

As for Instagram, it boasts over 400 million monthly users as well as a more well-rounded user base in terms of age and geography. The content on Instagram should look more professional and more artistic, and there’s an added benefit of direct integration with Facebook every time you post a new picture or video.

YelpReview sites might not be the purest form of social media, but Yelp is another great way to connect with users and respond to (hopefully positive) feedback. If you’re concerned about the controversy and negativity that have arisen from Yelp reviews, the Yelp team is known for helping businesses improve their online status and rise above the harsh comments.

If you still have questions about social media platforms and how to utilize them to your advantage, feel free to contact us today!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Google’s cloud services has left beta phase

In today’s day and age, staying on top of your tech game is no easy feat, especially when new innovations pop up every single day. Today, many small- and medium-sized businesses have realized the benefits of adopting cloud database services for the betterment of their company. Google has recently announced many updates concerning its cloud services, all of which have surpassed the beta stage -- music to the ears of business owners.

Google recently came forward with an array of announcements regarding its Cloud Platform -- in particular, its various cloud database services. Major updates have been implemented to its budget cold data cloud storage service: Nearline, increasing disk volume speed and allowing users to use personal encryption keys to Cloud Storage.

On the database side, Google’s cloud database services have officially left the beta station. For example, the second generation version of Cloud SQL, a tool that aids in running and managing MySQL databases in the cloud, is now available after nine long months. Another NoSQL database, Cloud Bigtable, which focuses on large analytics and operational workloads, is now available as well.

Another service making its way out of the beta works is the API for Google Cloud Datastore, Google’s own web and mobile app workload NoSQL database. Cloud Datastore has been available for quite some time, yet developers were only able to use it as a part of the Google App Engine. With the introduction of the API, developers are able to utilize it outside of the Google App Engine as well. Favored by the likes of Snapchat, Cloud Datastore currently handles up to 15 trillion requests monthly.

Among the various additions to these services throughout the course of their betas, the one that users most look forward to is the SLA (service-level agreement) backing, which provides Cloud Datastore with 99.5% monthly uptime. Good news for those wishing to use Microsoft’s flagship database server within the Google Cloud, there are now (still in beta) SQL Server images with built-in licenses with the capability of bringing existing licenses onto its platform.

In order for Google to exceed Microsoft’s popularity in the running of cloud SQL servers, they must allow enterprise-level users to bring their existing applications and workloads to the cloud. Storage-wise, Google’s affordable cold data storage service, Nearline, is in direct competition with Amazon’s Glacier storage, which also provides low availability guarantees for an affordable price. In the past, Nearline users had to deal with data access latency of 3-5 seconds; but since the latency is gone, access is “almost real-time.”

On top of that, Google’s Persistent Disk volumes are faster with a maximum read and write IOPS (Input/Output Operations Per Second) that has risen from 15,000 to 25,000. This is useful to both database applications and other types of local data storage as well.

The Google team stated that “Today marks a major milestone in our tremendous momentum and commitment to making Google Cloud Platform the best public cloud for your enterprise database workloads.” If you thought Google wasn’t taking its Cloud Platform seriously, think again.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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