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  • Jun 17 / 2013
  • 0
Articles, Social Media

Obtrusive Digital Communication

obnoxiousHowdy NSquared readers!



Do you ever send and/or receive text messages? What about Facebook posts and twitter tweets? Well if so, you’re probably familiar with the fact that not everyone (or hardly anyone) uses proper grammatical punctuation during these conversations.




This isn’t really a big deal if we are talking about someone having a baby, i.e. (OMG Congratulations!!!), or we are communicating how excited we are for our weekend plans, i.e.  (Aren’t you excited for this weekend???).




However, a problem arises when we forget that not all digital communication is casual. Check out, E-mail Etiquette, below if you’ve been inundated with social media communication and need a refresher on the proper and professional way to communicate with colleagues and ask a question. Hint: This –> “???”, is not it. (Chances are you sound rude, not excited.)




“How E-mail Works



Most people wouldn’t think of being rude or obnoxious when they speak to colleagues, clients or their supervisor. But those rules can fall by the wayside when we use e-mail.


The opportunities for rudeness when using e-mail are plentiful and not always easy to recognize. Most people wouldn’t use foul language or derogatory terms in business communication. But what about raising one’s voice? Is that possible when using e-mail?


Here, we’ll discuss some business writing rules and tips for practicing e-mail etiquette.




People are busy, so:


  • Use the subject line. You might be tempted to bypass this part of the e-mail, but just remember: everyone is in a hurry, including the recipient of your e-mail. That person will appreciate the clue the subject line provides as to the message content. It helps them prioritize and organize.


  • Be brief and concise. No matter how clever and entertaining a writer you might be, your message recipients will appreciate brevity and clarity. Save the puns and witty turns of phrase for after birthday cards and toasts. State the message quickly followed by clear requests or instructions for any action needed by the recipient.


  • Keep it personal. Routinely copying others on e-mails clogs mailboxes and can lead to the main recipient wondering why you’re doing so. Unless you have a specific reason for copying someone, keep the conversation between sender and recipient.


  • Reply quickly. Don’t let e-mails sit around in your queue unanswered. Get back to the sender, even if it’s to say you need more time to respond.




People are sensitive, so:


  • Don’t over-punctuate. Adding multiple punctuation marks, such as ???? or !!!! after a sentence makes it seem as though you are shouting or frustrated with the recipient. Use normal punctuation rules.


  • Don’t use all capitals. Using all caps MAKES IT SEEM LIKE YOU’RE SHOUTING. Shouting is rude. Use normal capitalization rules. If you need to emphasize something, write “I’d like to emphasize…”


  • Read it, out loud, before you send it. While you may think you’re writing exactly what you mean, it pays to read some e-mails out loud to yourself, putting yourself in the recipient’s shoes, before hitting that “send” button. Once it’s in writing, it’s hard to take back. Also, never forget that the recipient has both a printer and “forward” button. Never write something you wouldn’t want to have circulated throughout the company or even beyond.


  • Don’t write when you’re angry. Perhaps one of the most common etiquette rules to break is firing off an e-mail to someone when you’re angry, either at them or a situation. See “Read it out loud” above. You can’t take it back once you “flame” someone, and it can come back to haunt you.




Not everyone is as hip as you are, so:


  • Keep the symbols to a minimum. Using “smiles” is a trendy way to communicate mood and meaning. But do you know the difference between a sarcastic smile and a mischievous one? And even if you’re sure you do, can you be sure your recipient does? It’s easy to see the potential to unintentionally offend someone using these symbols. Avoid using them.


  • Minimize abbreviated phrases. Using abbreviations such as IMHO (in my humble opinion). FWIW (for what it’s worth) and ROTFL (rolling on the floor laughing) can frustrate and confuse the recipient.


E-mail is like as a business letter. Ignoring basic rules can show disrespect for the recipient. Don’t let informality spoil the recipient’s opinion of you.




Contact us for all of your IT solutions and inbound marketing needs!!!!!!! <– Just joking. But really.


Until next time, stay polite NSquared readers!

  • Jun 12 / 2013
  • 0
Articles, News

Handwritten Notes Still Exist

pensIt’s true folks! Can you believe it? There are other ways of communication besides texting, tweeting, and face-booking.Check out 17 Handwritten Notes That Will Make You Smile…if you’d like to eh, well, smile!







“17 Handwritten Notes That Will Make You Smile




While handwritten notes can cause a lot of problems (see: Romeo and Juliet; your biology class), they haven’t lost their appeal. Especially when they’re sweet and sincere, like the ones below.





1. Found tied to a balloon — the most emotionally charged balloon since the one in Up.


Image courtesy of Reddit, ChrevanGohas




2. Found after the dog owner put the pet down. This kid has mastered the condolence card.


Image courtesy of Reddit, vexillifer




3. Found after a teacher confiscated a student’s note. If kids today are creating low-tech versions of classic memes, there might be hope for the next generation after all.


Image courtesy of Reddit, staplemaniac




4. Found by someone who now knows there are still good people out there.

Image courtesy of Reddit, flowhawke





5. Found by someone with an adorable mom — hopefully on top of a sandwich with the crusts cut off.


Image courtesy of Reddit, DovhPasty




6. Found on a car by a woman whose day was definitely made.


Image courtesy of Reddit, pamaci




7. Found by the girl who said yes; posted by the boy who’s still with her, years after learning the difference between “no” and “know.”


Image courtesy of Reddit, revulv




8. Found by a wife, 25 years after her husband’s death.


Image courtesy of Reddit, fistfullaberries




9. Found by a tired retail worker who now knows her work is appreciated.


Image courtesy of Reddit, CheckALLtheusernames




10. Found by a veteran whose sacrifice hasn’t gone unnoticed.


Image courtesy of Reddit, Jermny




11. Found in a book — without a followup note on just how righteous the concert was.


Image courtesy of Reddit, drummergirl103




12. Found by a grateful car owner.

nice guy

Image courtesy of Reddit, /untitledleaflets





13. Found by a fellow Redditor who discovered he’s not alone.

A stranger placed this note on my desk after my biochem class today... the guy quickly ran off before I could say anything


Image courtesy of Reddit, yanchanator




14. Found by a student with an amazing semester ahead.


Image courtesy of Reddit, halpiee




15. Found in an elevator.


Image courtesy of Reddit, Nechronic420




16. Found on the Golden Gate Bridge, for those who need it most.


Image courtesy of Reddit, V1llainHD




17. Found by a waiter, who now knows of his superior skill.

Classy kids.


Image courtesy of Reddit, dankNbeans12






Stay tuned for more quirky, happy, and informative “stuff”. Contact us for all of your IT and inbound marketing needs! Have a good one everybody.

  • Jun 10 / 2013
  • 0
Articles, Social Media

Say Cheese!

smeagduckfaceCheesy social media poses. You’re not guilty of them right? Of course not. Neither are we here at NSquared. We are way too hip for that…Gollum isn’t though.  He has had the duck face for a really long time.




Check out 13 Cliched Photo Poses You’re Totally Guilty of Doing for the best of bathroom selfies, duck faces, and girls giving each other eskimo kissies (so endearing, right?).








13 Clichéd Photo Poses You’re Totally Guilty of Doing




Looking cute in a photo can be tough.

Sometimes, the waiter taking a picture of your birthday dinner is standing so close that you know you’re about to look like a giantess. Or maybe you’re stranded without a drink to hold onto, no pockets and no idea where to put your arms.



When faced with such obstacles, most of us think fast and pull out one of the old standbys. Sure, they’re a little cliché. But when properly employed, they can look pretty darn good.

Here’s a roundup of the photo poses you’re totally guilty of falling back on.

1. The Skinny Arm

Image courtesy of Cat Rivera

We’ll start with the basics. Once you get going with this optical illusion trick, it’s not an easy habit to break. You have to admit, those arms look pretty phenomenal.

2. The “Candid”


Image courtesy of Facebook, Allison Reiber

Oh, is that a camera? LOOK HOW MUCH FUN WE’RE HAVING! Perfect for Facebook cover photos and framing for your living room.

3. The Mirror Selfie


Image courtesy of Facebook, Katy Haas

Driving iPhone case sales since 2012. Bonus points for a bathroom mirror shot.

4. The Eskimo Kiss


Image courtesy of Facebook, Julie Anson

Simply adorbs. Perfect for big and little sister moments, both biological and sorority.

5. The Awkward Hug


Image courtesy of Facebook, Elysia Botley

Sure, it may look a little forced, but the love is there.

6. The Knee Pop


Image courtesy of Facebook, Nicole Williams

Great for slimming and elongating those stems. And if it works for Angelina Jolie, it’s good enough for us.

7. The Sorority Squat


Image courtesy of Facebook, Hannah Paulsen

Adds dimension to a group shot and makes you look like one big happy Brady Bunch press photo.

8. The Ankle Cross


Image courtesy of Taryn Antoniou, Life of a Paper Doll

Elongate your legs and make your governess proud at the same time.

9. The Party Arms

Coachella 2010 - Photos


Image by Flickr, caesarsebastian

If you listen closely enough, you can almost hear the “WOOOO!”

10. The Thirsty


Image courtesy of Arielle Jordan, Little Mermaid at Sea

Because drinking from a straw makes the kissy face acceptable.

11. The Front-Facing Camera Selfie


Image courtesy of Facebook, Lena Lobel

Perfect for optimizing your best angles and taking 25 in one sitting so you can be sure you have a winner.

12. The Bro


Image courtesy of Facebook, Emmalaine Leibman

Fellas, you’re not off the hook here. Take a deep breath, puff up that chest and make a face like you just shoplifted a chain necklace from Macy’s.

13. The Duck Face (Duh)


Image courtesy of Reddit, watchesyousleep





Contact us for your IT and inbound marketing needs. Catch ya’ll next time!

  • Jun 07 / 2013
  • 0

Password Pill:Swallow, Touch, & Go!

passwordHowdy folks!


How many passwords do you have to keep track of? How safe are those passwords? Would you be willing to pop a “password” pill that would emit your own electronic password and allow you the freedom of never typing another password again? Check out, Would You Eat a Password Vitamin Daily to Log In, below:










“Would You Eat a Password Vitamin Daily to Log In?








Passwords: They’re everywhere, and most of us manage a half-dozen or so, at least. They’re also the weakest link in the authentication chain because humans aren’t great at creating passwords remembering them.

A Motorola executive (and former Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency head) Regina Dugan proposed a solution at the D11 conference: pills and tattoos.



“Authentication is irritating,” she said at the conference. “So irritating that only about half the people do it even though there’s a lot of information about you on your smart phone.”

One idea Motorola presented was the “vitamin authentication” pill. One of Dugan’s colleagues showed a small tablet that contains an electronic chip. After someone swallows the pill, stomach acts as an electrolyte in the chip’s battery and powers it.

The chip has a switch that turns on and off, generating an 18-bit signal like an electrocardiogram. Ones entire body would be the authentication token, just like the fobs that many office workers carry to get on corporate networks. The authentication could be activated by touch, since the human body conducts electricity — touch your phone or laptop and you’re in.

Ingestible sensors have been FDA-approved — a company called Proteus Digital Health makes the technology for medical applications, such as recording exactly when medicine is taken.

For Motorola, the question is whether the pill or a similar innovation — an electronic tattoo, which Dugan wore during the conference — can be adapted to other applications. (There isn’t currently any collaboration between Motorola and Proteus).



Of course, swallowing your authentication token every day would also mean passing it out of the digestive system (Proteus’ electronic pills leave your system in the normal course of digestion). It also isn’t clear that users will want to take pills every day — some people take vitamins, but most don’t.

Either way, it’s an attempt to think about a process that needs fixing – and at a minimum an attempt by Motorola to think big.”



Contact us for your password pills. Just kidding! But, we are here for all of your IT needs & inbound marketing. Stay tuned next week!

  • Jun 04 / 2013
  • 0

Awesome Websites You Need To Go To -II

copy-fa_headerHello again!  We are bringing you another site to escape work today.  This is is the best fake website you will ever see, fakeanything.com.  Fake Anything is an amazing site that is chock full of fake graphic art of TV Shows, Games and more.


You can browse your favorite shows and see the hilarious graphic art and even submit your own fake stuff.



You can get lost in here for hours.  Go, putz off, oh and your welcome!


And if you want to throw your hat in the internet ring to start a website or online marketing campaign, let us know, and we can help you on your digital journey. One pixel at a time.

  • Jun 03 / 2013
  • 0
Articles, Social Media

Social Networking Sites-Grow Your Network

funny-frog1Bonjour readers!


Do you use social media websites? If so, chances are you use them to connect with friends and family. However, you may also use them for your business (if you’re not, you should be)…


If you are using them for your business then ,This Simple Action Will Dramatically Grow Your LinkedIn Network, will be beneficial for you. Check it out below:








“This Simple Action Will Dramatically Grow Your LinkedIn Network



If you’re on LinkedIn, you want to grow your network. You want to connect with as many people as you can, because there’s some serious career-boosting power in those connections.



But there’s something you’re probably not doing, at least not on a regular basis — and it’s a move that will give you a far better bang for your networking buck.



Write a Personal Message



Most people don’t do this. Think about how many requests land in your inbox without a note — the majority of them, right?



And what about you? Do you add a personal note every single time you request to connect with someone on the network? Or do you hope that potential connection will recognize your name or connect on faith alone?



Since so few people write a personal note, that means opportunity for you. Because when youdo something differently, it helps you stand out.



But this tip is about more than being unique. It’s about making it as easy as possible for the person you’d like to connect with to say yes.



Make Yourself Memorable



A lot of the people you want to connect with have huge networks. That means they often meet new people, either online or in person, and they get a lot of LinkedIn requests. And inevitably, they won’t recognize many of the names of the people who want to connect.



Yes, even if you had what felt like a life-changing conversation with that person a week ago, she might not remember your name.



Or perhaps you never met the person at all, and simply read his blog, follow him on Twitter or are a big fan of his work. If that person has never heard of you, what’s the incentive to press “accept?”



While some LinkedIn users do accept any requests that come their way, most people prefer to establish quality connections. They want to know who they’re saying yes to.



That’s where the personalized note comes in. No matter how sure you are that the people you’re hoping to connect with should remember you, write a brief message reminding them how you know each other — or why you’d like to know them — and they’ll be far more likely to accept.



And yes, this works even if you’ve never met or interacted with that person. If you go the extra mile to let him know how you found him, why you love his work or simply make yourself look interesting, the person on the other end of that request will want to say yes.



Be Succinct, but Personal



So what should you write in your invite?



It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. In fact, it can’t be fancy because LinkedIn only gives you a few characters to get your point across. It just has to be more appealing than LinkedIn’s default “I’d like to add you to my professional network.”



Here are a few examples that could work.



“Hi Danny! It was great talking to you at Johnny’s party last Saturday. Hoping we can connect here! Thanks, Jane.”


“Hello Barb! We haven’t met, but I’m a follower of your blog and really admire your work. Would love to become part of your network. Thanks, Ron.”


“Hey Sam! I heard about you and your work through a friend, and I have a few ideas for how we might be able to work together. Hope to learn more about you here. Thanks, Susan.”



Get the idea?



This might sound simple, but letting potential connections know why they should bother connecting with you will make all the difference.





Take the Time



The best part? Implementing this networking tip takes a total of 30 seconds. LinkedIn makes it easy for you with the option to “Add a personal message” — you just have to put in the effort to do it.



If you’re smart enough to take 30 seconds to replace that canned message with your own personalized one, you’ll stand out from the crowd, increase your acceptance rate and grow your network far faster.”






Personally, we recommend getting personal.


Contact us if you want to start getting the most bang for your networking buck. Stay tuned folks!

  • Jun 03 / 2013
  • 0
Articles, Social Media

Make Money Using Social Media, Part III

catsandsmHappy Monday, readers! Welcome to part III of Make Money Using Social Media. Our last two posts explained why and how social media got so big, and why it’s important for you to develop a social media strategy. Here are a few ways to stay on the ball with your social media plan:






22% of Salespeople Don’t Want to Make Money








What Sales Reps Could Be Doing TODAY to Leverage Social Media



So how exactly does a salesperson get involved in an effective social media strategy? The first steps are knowing which messages to search for, who the most important people to look for are, and how to best respond to individual messages. Here’s how you (or that friend of yours in the 22%) could get started immediately with being a social seller.



Monitor Your Company and Industry Keywords


Regularly monitoring mentions of target keywords (often the same ones Marketing uses to optimize their content) and mentions of your company on social media platforms like Twitter can help to identify those leads who are looking for a service like yours. You might even find leads making direct comparisons between you and your competitors. This is the perfect opportunity to lend a helpful hand and reach out to those people who are asking sales-centric questions.



Monitor Your Leads


Even salespeople who are already on social media often find it difficult to uncover messages from those leads who matter the most. This problem can be solved by monitoring specific lists of social media messages only from your leads, in order to gain perspective on their challenges and needs from your business.



You can create manual lists of people to monitor in Twitter, allowing you to see only messages that are coming from specific people — like, say, a specific sales rep’s leads. Here at HubSpot, we use the brand new Social Inbox to do this. Social Inbox is integrated into the same contacts database a marketer uses to send emails, so we’re able to monitor specific lists, like a sales rep’s specific leads from a CRM like Salesforce. From there, sales reps can monitor everything their leads are tweeting, or filter it further to only deliver streams of messages containing mentions of your company, relevant keywords in your industry, or just about any other custom search term that you care about.



Gather Social Context


Social media can be a great place to gather valuable lead intelligence that fuels your more high-touch sales efforts, like phone calls or in-person meetings. For example, one IT consulting company, NSK Inc., uses social media to streamline their in-person networking events. They host various in-person events in the industry, and invite people to register for free to attend and learn about new technologies in cloud computing and other relevant topics. Before the event, sales reps are able to pull a list of their leads who are attending, and easily view a history of their interactions with the company, a picture of them sourced from Twitter, and a stream of only their tweets. When sales reps have this valuable information ahead of time, they can streamline their conversations to the aspects of their offerings that each person cares about, instead of showing off every feature or capability.



Engage in a Conversation


Though some behaviors have changed with the adoption of new technologies, one thing hasn’t changed: we all still like to be treated like humans. The philosophy of inbound aims to take Marketing and Sales back to square one, and put the person (in this case, a prospect or lead) back at the center of your strategy. That means engaging in helpful conversations, not in sales pitches. That means addressing the specific needs of each individual person, not blasting the same all-encompassing tweet or response. Here are a few tips for better, more personalized social engagement:


1) Answer the Prospect, Not the Competition



If a prospect sends a message out to the Twittersphere asking for experiences with your company versus your competitor, you should, obviously, do what you can to answer their question. You should not send them a message about how much your competition sucks (even if they do). Instead, you could send them a link to a case study or testimonial from an existing customer. If your email marketing client and web analytics are integrated into your social media monitoring tool, you could look into your contact’s past history with your company to better identify what their biggest challenges and interests are, and target your message toward them accordingly.



2) Develop a Personal Relationship


The real secret to social media is simple: be a person. People don’t want to do business with automated social media bots. Social media is an amazing opportunity to break down the faceless front of a company or brand and establish yourself as an actual person at the other end of the screen. This is the kind of rapport sales folks aim to achieve at the beginning of every phone call. Similarly, rapport can be established over social media, all the while having rich lead intelligence on hand to better understand and effectively address your potential customers’ pain points.



3) Don’t Be Afraid of What You Don’t Know


Maybe your leads are asking you questions you don’t have the answers to, whether they be technical or in the domain of another department. The best part about social media is that simply by answering your prospects’ calls, you’re already establishing great brand equity. If someone gives you a tough question, it’s better to tell a prospect that you’ll find them an answer and dig into it deeper with the people in your company that have the answers. Often, people can shy away from this level of uncertainty, but the openness of social media has invited a sense of transparency that, while uncomfortable at first, is preferred (and often demanded) by consumers.


Pretty low-hanging fruit, right? Feel like these are some changes you or someone you love in Sales could make today? (Hint: you totally can!) I believe in you, Sales. Become part of the 78%!




Thanks for sticking with us for this series! Hope ya’ll have a wonderful Monday. Contact us if you need a social media strategy, today!

  • Jun 03 / 2013
  • 0

Awesome Websites You Need to Go To

serious case of the mondaysDo you have a case of the Mondays?  Well never fear, NSquared is here to help you through this trying and often sobering day.  Through out the week we will bring you a site to help you escape work for a bit, and if your boss sees you surfing the inter-webz, just tell him this guy made you do it:

I made them do it!

I made them do it!



Okay, so here is a nifty site that claims it “has the hottest, most social content on the web. We feature breaking buzz and the kinds of things you’d want to pass along to your friends.”  We are talking about Buzzfeed.






They cover entertainment, politics, cute ducks, current news and what ever is a buzz on the internet (pun intended).  How can you go wrong with a site that lists articles on the front page like

The Stupidiest, Silliest, Most Senseless Barack Obama Ad Ever

31 Animals That Need To Calm The Heck Down


We love this site, most of the time.  I mean since it is a buzz (I can’t help myself) with trending topics, the politics can get a little polarizing.  But if you have ever perused Yahoo! news comment section, you should not be a stranger to that.


So go and enjoy a romp through the internet now to see what all the buzz is about.  Okay I was reaching that time.


And if you want to throw your hat in the internet ring to start a website or online marketing campaign, let us know, and we can help you on your digital journey. One pixel at a time.

Contact Us Today 928.566.5893 Contact us