Assisting You

By Barbara Lowe 12 Jul, 2017

You’re so busy in the summer you barely have time to read this. But you are because you know there are some great tidbits in this newsletter that can help your business thrive. Did you know that now  is the perfect time to gather content for new customers to view? It is! Your schedule may be overloaded at the moment, but if you want to keep those jobs coming all year long, now is the time to make that happen.

The bulk of your business might come in the summer, but people still need your services throughout the year. They’re going to be looking online for the right company – your company, so why not give them something great to see! This summer, while providing your customers with amazing products and services, consider taking pictures to post later on social media or your website. Potential customers LOVE seeing samples of your workmanship. Snap pictures of the tools you use, before/after shots and your team. Simple how-to videos are extremely popular and easily created with your phone when you’re on the job site. It doesn’t need to be fancy, just hit that record button and explain how to solve a common problem that you run into in your industry. Do you work with people from complimentary professions? (like a realtor working with a mortgage broker or electrician with a plumber) Interview them! Again, this doesn’t have to be formal, just ask them easy questions like “What’s the most common problem you run into” or “How have the industry standards changed”. You’ll be surprised how many people actually enjoy talking about their job, even on camera.

Over the summer you’ll acquire some great material. Once things slow down a bit, start posting the images and videos on your website or social media platforms. Stats show that about 92% of all purchase decisions are starting with online research now. When you have a solid internet presence which showcases your professionalism, people see you as an authority in your field, someone they can trust, and make the decision to contact you.

If you have any questions about the impact that social media marketing can have on your business, feel free to contact  Assisting You at 705-300-5565  or

By Barbara Lowe 14 Feb, 2017

There may still be snow on the ground, but with the school holidays just around the corner, many families are already talking about their summer vacation plans. After a recent conversation with Kevin Leonard from Huronia Alarms , I thought I’d share an important warning about how to use social media before, during, and after your vacation.

By Jim Lowe 10 Jan, 2017

If you already have a LinkedIn account, congratulations, you get to jump past this intro and go directly to “ The Good Stuff”!  As for the rest of you (frankly, the folks that really need to read this article), why the heck aren’t you on LinkedIn ?

LinkedIn  is a business oriented Social Media network. ( Hey – I heard that groan as you thought to yourself, “another damn Social Media network to worry about”. Stop complaining – this is important! ). LinkedIn has been around for more than a decade and has more than 400 million users worldwide.

What separates LinkedIn from Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter is the business focus. Whereas businesses are essentially “advertising” to users on other Social Media platforms (who are there for non-business reasons), the very soul of LinkedIn is “business networking”.

Put simply, LinkedIn allows you to get in front of other business people, making it a powerful tool for marketing, networking, and employee recruitment. To get on LinkedIn, you need to set-up a personal account. Once you’ve done so, you can also set-up a page for your business.

By Jim Lowe 02 Dec, 2016

Last week, my Facebook newsfeed suddenly filled up with lots of friends saying “Thanks” to Loblaws and sharing a link on their walls for a “Free” $100 Loblaws gift card.

Although the good folks at Loblaws quickly released a  statement confirming that the promotion was bogus , the damage was done – thousands of unwitting users had fallen for the bogus contest and provided their contact details to the online scammers.

How the scam works

Loblaws is simply the latest company to have their brand exploited by this common scheme. I’ve seen the same scam run using dozens of brands including Tim Hortons, Costco and (perhaps most famously) Apple. There are two key parts of the ploy.

The first part of the scam is good, old-fashioned “ Like Farming ”. Unlike Twitter, Facebook doesn’t simply feed you a real-time stream of news, instead using a complex algorithm to provide you with content that it believes you want to see. Two key factors in that algorithm are popularity (likes) and engagement (shares / comments). So, by requiring users to like/share/comment, the scammers increase the popularity of their post, exposing it to even more users who then also like/share/comment, generating even more popularity until, suddenly, it feels like half the people you know are thanking Loblaws for a bloody gift card that doesn’t exist.

Like Farming doesn’t just create temporary noise in newsfeeds.   Consumer Affairs noted last year that, “once the page has a sufficiently high popularity rating, the like-farmer either removes the page's original content and replaces it with something else (usually malware or scam advertising); leaves the page as is and uses it as a platform for continued like-farming in order to spread malware, collect people's marketing information or engage in other harmful activities; or outright sells the highly liked site to cybercriminals in a black market web forum.”

Part two of the scam is where things go from annoying to invasive. Clicking the actual link takes the user to a survey (or often a series of surveys) asking for detailed personal information such as telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, and date of birth. News flash – that info isn’t going to Loblaws, unless that’s the name of the Russian hacker maintaining the offshore database!Next come the “Reward Offers”, items that you must purchase, sign up for, or subscribe to in order to remain eligible for the gift card. These offers can wind up costing more than the value of the gift card which, of course, you’ll never actually get anyway. As  reminds readers, “often such adventures in clickjacking also result in the download of trojans and other viruses onto the computers of those looking to score the promised goodies”.

How to protect yourself

A frustrating side-effect of fake gift card spam is that it makes people question the validity of any promotion that they see on Facebook. That’s a shame, because there are many awesome giveaways on Facebook. Heck,  Assisting You  helps clients run social media contests and giveaways all the time! The good news is that a little common sense can allow you to participate in valid Facebook promotions without becoming a victim of the latest  FaceCROOK scam .

  • Be wary of promotions that rely on “Like Farming”.  Facebook’s page guidelines explicitly ban the use of Personal Timelines and Friend Connections to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend's Timeline to get additional entries”, and "tag your friends in this post to enter"). Many small businesses unwittingly break this rule all the time but national chains do not. If the promotion requires you to share the post on your timeline, proceed with caution!
  • Check the source and cross-check the company’s official page. The funniest part of the Loblaw’s fraud was that the promotion was in celebration of the company’s 50th Anniversary. The thing is, Loblaws was founded in 1919, not 1966. The lack of any mention of the anniversary – OR THE CONTEST – on the real Loblaws page should have been a huge red flag.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Facebook has approximately  14 million  daily Canadian users. If even 10% of those folks took advantage of the offer, the cost to Loblaws would be $140 million. I know that Galen Weston is a  charitable fellow , but come on!
  • When in doubt, Snopes is your friends. If you aren’t sure if a contest is valid, online resources such as Snopes and Facecrooks are a great resource.

Help solve the problem by reporting suspected scams to Facebook.

Even if you share this article (sorry, no Assisting You gift card for doing so!), some of your friends won’t read it. Some of them will continue to get hooked in by the lure of “free” stuff, blindly hand over their credit card information, and giddily fill your newsfeed with their gullibility. Here’s the thing. Every single post in your newsfeed (or on a page) has a small arrow in the top right corner. Clicking that arrow gives you the option to report the post and allows Facebook to quickly deal with the scammers. The more people who do so, the faster the specific scam disappears. Just like Whack-a-Mole!

Jim Lowe  is  Assisting You’s  Blogging and Social Media Content Specialist. Jim helps your small business connect to customers by writing and designing content that speaks with your voice.  Contact him today at / 1-866-776-9376.

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