social-media-facebook

Technology and Marketing are Changing at the Speed of Light and Social Media is Driving the Change

We’ve always said here at Spry Squared, that “technology and marketing are changing at the speed of light.” Read this article and learn how and why social media is driving these changes, and how Facebook is a perfect example of that very phenomenon.

social-media-facebook

Most of us would agree that we never imagined how social media would change our lives. Even 19 year-old Mark Zuckerberg, Founder, and CEO of Facebook had no idea about the future impact of his company and social media. In a 2004 CNBC interview, he described “TheFacebook: as, “an online directory that connects people through universities and colleges through their social networks there.” He also said, “You sign on, you make a profile about yourself by answering some questions, entering some information, such as your concentration or major at school, contact information [like] phone numbers, instant messenger screen name, anything you want to tell,”

Little did he know that in 2019, Facebook would have over 2.3 billion subscribers.

Social Media Provides Uncensored Open Forum for Discussion

In a recent Wired article, Facebook is struggling to adapt to the many challenges that have surfaced due to the very nature of social media. Social media was always intended to benefit the “good of the people” by providing an open forum where users can share and express their opinion on just about any topic including:

  • Social issues
  • Physical health
  • Mental health
  • Politics
  • Pets
  • Family
  • Relationships
  • Sharing experiences, hobbies, interests
  • And so many more…

No one can argue that social media has brought us together. Do you really think you would have found your best friend from fifth grade without social media? It’s a great way for families and friends who are separated by miles or even oceans, to stay connected. Social media is truly connectedness at its best. Marketers are taking advantage of the reach and ability to market to specific customers on social media. And it isn’t limited to just Facebook. Other popular US channels include:

  • YouTube
  • Instagram (owned by Facebook)
  • SnapChat
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Reddit
  • Twitter

The Dark Side of Social Media

As much as social media has benefitted society, it has also created problems that we, as a society have never faced before. Somewhere along the line it became okay to throw away our filters and say things that we would never (most of us anyways!) say to someone to their face. Today, it’s fairly common to see a lack of respect for other’s opinions, name-calling, and outright rudeness. Most disturbing of all is the trend to record and post gruesome violent crimes and suicides. Here are some examples of some of the negative side-effects of social media:

  • Cyber-bullying
  • Political divisiveness
  • Under-age children being exposed to inappropriate content
  • Horrific crimes aired either in real time or as recordings
  • Fake news
  • Unwanted advertising
  • Cybersecurity issues

Traditional Media Regulations

Traditional media such as TV and radio are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  This federal government agency oversees all communications laws and regulations pertaining to television, wire, phone, satellite and cable in the United States, including all U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. The FCC has levied heavy fines to cable and phone companies, TV networks, and celebrities who have violated these laws. Among other things, the FCC regulates these issues:

  • Offensive language
  • Obscene material
  • Sexual content
  • Unfair trade practices
  • Licensing applications and violations
  • Consumer information and education
  • Other regulatory programs

As social media isn’t under any federal or local government regulation most of the inappropriate content isn’t filtered or caught before it’s posted. Social media outlets rely on their staff and public outcry to remove offensive posts. At that point, its too late—the harm has been done. Additionally, as there are no clear cut regulations for offensive or obscene content on social media, much is left to human discretion. So, what that means for users of social media is, what’s offensive to me might not be offensive to you. The attitude on social media is if you don’t like it—then leave. But human nature is never content to go with the status quo and is always pushing the boundaries. What might have been considered offensive 5 years ago, is now considered normal.

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Even Mark Zuckerburg is advocating for government regulation. From the Wired interview, Zuckerberg said, “There are some really nuanced questions … about how to regulate, which I think are extremely interesting intellectually.” He continues in a Washington Post opinion piece, “I believe we need a more active role for governments and regulators.” Zuckerberg specifically identified four areas for government regulation:

  • Harmful content
  • Election integrity
  • Privacy
  • Data portability

In the Washington Post, Zuckerberg also admitted that Facebook holds too much power regulating speech on the internet.

“Lawmakers often tell me we have too much power over speech, and frankly I agree. I’ve come to believe that we shouldn’t make so many important decisions about speech on our own. So we’re creating an independent body so people can appeal our decisions.”

Social Media and Cybersecurity

Lowering the bar for what is considered acceptable behavior is just one side effect of social media. Another equally dangerous trend is the ease at which cyber-criminals use social media for data mining. Hackers regularly targeted social media such as Facebook to mine their data for users’ personal information. Hacker technology is fast out-pacing security measure employed by social media security.

Here’s why cyber-hackers love to target social media:

  • 81% of all people in the US have at least one social media account
  • 6 million social network users in the US in 2018
  • Of the 4.5 billion data records that were hacked in the first half of 2018, 56% were attributed to social media
  • A report by Gemalto showed that lost, stolen or compromised records increased by 133% in 2018 as compared to the same time frame in 2017
  • While social media breaches make up less than 1 percent of total incidents, social media has the highest number of records hacked according to Gemalto’s Breach Level Index

Gemalto’s Breach Level Index

There are many documented and reported instances of social media hacking.

Is Facebook Having a Mid-Life Crisis?

As the reach and scope of Facebook has grown, so has its responsibilities and its policies. Mark Zuckerberg has flip-flopped on many of the policies implemented to protect users, as circumstances have forced change.

In the past, Facebook asserted that they would begin to de-emphasize their news feed, instead focusing on content from family and friends. Facebook also tried to partner with other media outlets and provide a dedicated news feed, but the project was aborted. In a flip from previous policy, Zuckerberg recently announced Facebook is considering delivering a new offshot exclusively for quality news feeds. While not many details were released, it is speculated that Facebook may pay publishers directly to share their news stories.

Live Streaming of Crimes on Social Media

Another huge challenge facing Facebook is the live murders, suicides, rapes and other crimes. In 2016, Facebook invested millions of dollars in developing this live video platform. Zuckerberg said that live video “create new opportunities for people to come together.”

live-streaming

The current policy relies on Facebook staffers or users to report inappropriate content. With the introduction of videos, it is impossible for even Facebook employees to watch a video until it is posted. There have been suggestions that artificial intelligence could be used to help monitor videos. But even that solution is a daunting task. It takes time to train AI to recognize offensive human behavior and there are many complex nuances to human behavior. Will AI be able to tell the difference between real violence being streamed live or a paid ad for a movie trailer for an action movie?

Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg said they were “exploring restrictions on who can go Live depending on factors such as prior Community Standard violations.” 

Despite the pushback from users and advocate groups, Zuckerberg is resisting implementing a “delay” like the 7-second delay the FCC mandates for television and radio. During an interview with George Stephanopoulos, in response to the New Zealand mass shooting, Zuckerberg defended his live stream policy, stating, “It would also fundamentally break what live streaming is for people.” However, Zuckerberg did admit during the interview that a live stream delay could have prevented the wide-spread sharing of the New Zealand mass shooting.

In response to the many live suicides, Facebook has implemented a real-time suicide intervention program to help those who may be considering suicide.

What About Facebook’s Policy on Politics?

Facebook recently announced that they are making big changes in how political ads and ads supporting specific issues are presented on their platform. According to a Facebook blog posted by Richard Allan, VP Global Policy Solutions, “ We are introducing some new tools to help us deliver on two key goals that experts have told us are important for protecting the integrity of elections — preventing online advertising from being used for foreign interference, and increasing transparency around all forms of political and issue advertising.”

Further steps to be taken by Facebook include ensuring transparency for political ads:

  • All political campaigns must register and complete an authorization process before running their ads
  • All political ads will be clearly labeled including the “Paid for by” disclosure, allowing the user to see who is paying for the ad, including contact information
  • These ads will be added to an Ad Library for ease of access and review, with a “See Ad Details” for more detailed information such as how many times the ad was viewed, budget for that ad, and demographics (age, location, gender) of the viewers
  • Increased scrutiny on ads that are perceived as political but are not labeled so

What About Your Privacy on Social Media?

It’s not just Facebook where protecting consumer privacy is at risk. Virtually all social media outlets have had security breaches. And generally, there’s a good reason for that. There are no rules for social media. There is no FCC equivalent for social media. Because there are no established set of rules or regulations, and therefore no consequences there is a certain “business as usual” mindset. For years there have been reports of data breaches and a “loosey-goosey” approach to protecting users’ private information. No harm..no foul…right? In the past other institutions such as banks, retailers and restaurants have faced lawsuits when their data was breached. Now lawsuits have been filed against many social media companies in order to hold them accountable for any harm done when users’ personal information has been compromised. The problem lies not only with data breaches themselves, but with the manner in which social media platforms policies and practices don’t protect your personal information to begin with.

Did you know that Facebook:

  • May terminate your account—sometimes without providing a clear reason
  • Shares your information with third parties
  • Uses tracking cookies (whether you’re logged into your Facebook account or not)
  • Allows third parties to track your web usage (to collect data for targeted advertising)
  • Knowingly allowed and encouraged children to make unapproved purchases for on-line games using their parents’ credit card (Class Action suit settled in 2016)

In May of 2018, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was created so that there is one set of data protection regulations consistent for all companies operating in the European Union (EU). This infographic helps explain how this new regulation will help protect users in the EU. There is speculation that it won’t be too long before this type of regulation will be implemented in the US.

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European Commission – General Data Protection Regulation (BDPR) Data Breach

Social Media is Here to Stay

This is by no means an article to bash Facebook or any other social media platform. Social media has really revolutionized how we communicate and isn’t going away! However, along with the good—we must also look at the not so good. It is in our best interest to learn and understand the challenges that social media has presented. Then we are better equipped to deal with them on a personal level and take personal responsibility. But we must also hold the creators and owners of these social media companies accountable for the problems that inevitably arise. And remember—this technology is changing at the speed of light!

So, what’s your opinion—should the government regulate social media? While we have no control over the future of social media, we can help you have some control over your company’s cyber security and help to protect your data. Contact the Managed IT Services experts or call 720.724.7730 to talk an experienced IT consultant today.

 

 

Fonts

Resume Writing Tips: What’s the best font to use and why

Your job search begins by looking for the right position. Then, you send in a resume and wait, sometimes never getting a reply. Could it be your resume is the reason your phone isn’t ringing? Is it the content? Possibly. But it could be that your resume isn’t making a very good first impression.

“Most people realize they only have one chance to make a first impression,” said Karie Gunning, Director of Talent Management for Spry Squared, Inc. “What they don’t realize, though, is that their first impression is their resume. When a recruiter or hiring manager opens a resume, those first few seconds are critical. If the font is difficult to read, then recruiters or hiring managers are more likely to move on.”

There are many decisions that go along with searching for a new job. But one of the easiest to master is how your resume looks and that includes your choice of font. While there are literally thousands of fonts, in reality, there are but a few that recruiters and hiring managers rely on to get candidates to the next level.

“You’ll want to make sure, whatever font you choose, that it is scannable and easy to read,” Gunning said. “Aside from the content, scannable and easy to read are two of the most important aspects of a good resume.”

Which font is right for you?

Fonts fall into two distinct categories: Serif and Sans Serif. Each has its own set of characteristics. For instance, Serif typefaces have decorative strokes that extend from each letter. Many call these “feet.” Sans Serif fonts don’t have these strokes. Serif typefaces are among the oldest in existence. Sans Serif fonts are considered more modern.

So which fonts are best for your job search? Here’s our top 15 list along with brief explanations of why these fonts will give you an edge in your job search and may help you advance to the next level.

  1. Serif versus Sans Serif
    1. Calibri (Sans Serif) — an excellent option for a safe, universally readable sans-serif font. Hiring managers especially like how smooth this font renders on computer screens. This modern font is also the default font of many email programs, so it’s familiar to the eye of many a hiring manager. At 12-point it should produce 500 to 750 words on a two-page resume, making it the perfect size.
    2. Cambria (Serif) – Microsoft commissioned Dutch typeface designer Jelle Bosma for this typeface back in 2004. Since then, it’s been one of the main fonts distributed with Microsoft’s Windows and Office products. It was designed especially for on-screen reading. One of its strong suits is it scales well and looks good even at a smaller resolution such as 8- or even 6-point.
    3. Verdana (Sans Serif) – Another Microsoft commissioned font, but back in 1996. Verdana is known for being a clean and modern font that’s even easier to read because of the slightly wider spacing. Verdana was designed to be readable at small sizes on the low-resolution computer screens of the period. The bold weight of Verdana is thicker than would be normal with fonts for print use, suiting the limitations of onscreen display.
    4. Garamond (Serif) – this font is named for its developer, the 16th-century French type designer Claude Garamont. Garamond is a group of many old-style serif typefaces. Today, the most common digital font named Garamond is Monotype Garamond. This typeface was developed in the early 1920s and has been bundled with many Microsoft products for quite some time now. Those seeking positions in academia might consider this typeface instead of the others.
    5. Didot (Serif) – Those in creative industries such as fashion or photography should seriously consider using this font. The most famous Didot typefaces were developed by the Didot family in France between 1784–1811. This font is specifically styled for style and sophistication. A recent Canva Design School blog post called this serif font “distinctive and classy,” praising its upscale look.
    6. Gill Sans (Sans Serif) – Simple, yet sophisticated. Gill Sans was designed in England in the 1920s. As such, this font is widely used in England. This font was originally intended as a display typeface that could be used for posters and advertisements. It has morphed into one that is appropriate for all types of documents. With this font, you’ll get a look both classic and modern, surely setting your resume apart. This font is currently distributed with Mac OS X and some Microsoft products. You’ll most likely find it as Gill Sans MT.
    7.  Georgia (Serif) — If you want a traditional-looking alternative to the oft-overused Times New Roman, consider switching to Georgia. This is another typeface commissioned by Microsoft. This one, back in 1993. The intent was to develop a serif font that would be elegant but legible when printed on smaller, lower resolution screens that were popular in the early 1990s. A Colorado Technical University infographic on Mashable recommended using Georgia because of its readability.

    “The right font can make your resume stand out above all the rest,” said Stephen Spry, co-founder and Vice President/COO of Spry Squared, Inc. “After all, isn’t that the goal? A crisply written, visually attractive resume tells recruiters you have a lot going for you. They’ll remember that and will want to push your resume to the top.”

    1. Helvetica (Sans Serif) — This clean, modern, sans-serif font is a favorite among designers and typographers. Wikipedia describes Helvetica as “a neo-grotesque or realist design, one influenced by the famous 19th-century typeface Akzidenz-Grotesk and other German and Swiss designs. Its use became a hallmark of the International Typographic Style that emerged from the work of Swiss designers in the 1950s and 60s, becoming one of the most popular typefaces of the 20th century.” It is still widely popular today, appearing in numerous corporate Georgia fontbrand logos (Jeep, Panasonic and Lufthansa, among others) and even on New York City subway signs. In an article on Bloomberg Business, typography expert Brian Hoff of Brian Hoff Design described it as “professional, lighthearted and honest,” noting that it reads as “business-y.” Helvetica comes preloaded on Macs, but PC users will need to download it from the web.
    2. Book Antiqua (Serif) – has its origins as a roman typeface. It is based on pen-drawn letters from the Italian Renaissance. This typeface has a distinctive and gentle style that is great for anyone looking to use a serif font without having to rely on the oft-maligned Times New Roman. Since it’s readily available on Microsoft machines, this typeface will be easily read on a screen, making it easier for hiring managers and recruiters to learn more about you.
    3. Trebuchet MS (Sans Serif) – Another Microsoft creation back in 1996. This typeface has an interesting backstory. It was developed by Vincent Connare and named after the trebuchet, a medieval siege engine. As the story goes, the name was inspired by a puzzle question that Connare heard at Microsoft headquarters: “Can you make a trebuchet that could launch a person from main campus to the new consumer campus about a mile away? Mathematically, is it possible and how?” Connare “thought that would be a great name for a font that launches words across the Internet.” Job seekers who want a sans-serif typeface but don’t want to use Arial or Verdana can switch to Trebuchet MS. Hiring managers like this font because it is textured and modern looking, unlike other, more traditional fonts.
    4. Goudy Old Style (Serif) – This typeface, which dates to 1915, is suitable for text and display applications. Goudy Old Style matches the historicist trend of American printing in the early twentieth century, taking inspiration from the printing of the Italian Renaissance. Named for its designer, Frederic W. Goudy, who designed more than 100 typefaces. This font is his best-known design. Goudy said he was initially inspired by the cap lettering on a Renaissance painting. This font will give your resume a flair that other fonts can’t provide.
    5. Tahoma (Sans Serif) – Very similar to Verdana, but with a narrower body, smaller counters, much tighter letter spacing, and a more complete Unicode character set. Designed for Microsoft’s Windows 95 product, Tahoma remains one of Microsoft’s most popular sans serif typeface families. Original Tahoma consisted of just two Windows TrueType fonts, regular and bold. Now there are four fonts in this family: Tahoma regular, italic, bold and bold italic. Tahoma is ideal for use in situations requiring the presentation of information on the screen.
    6. Lucida Sans (Serif/Sans Serif) – This is a font family, meaning there are many variations. It was designed by Charles Bigelow and Kris Holmes and began to be released in 1984. The family is intended to be extremely legible when printed at small sizes or displayed on a low-resolution display – hence the name, from ‘lucid’ (clear or easy to understand). The family has both serif and sans serif characters. Lucida is suitable for books/text, documentation/business reports, posters, advertisement, multimedia and, of course, resumes.
    7. Bookman Old Style (Serif) — According to linotype.com, the origins of Bookman Old Style lie in the typeface called Oldstyle Antique, designed by A C Phemister circa 1858 for the Miller and Richard foundry in Edinburgh, Scotland. Many American foundries made versions of this type which eventually became known as Bookman. This is a legible and robust text face. A serif typeface, it is known for being a wide and legible design. It was particularly popular in the 1960s and 1970s but is enjoying a renaissance in the early 21st Century.
    8. Constantia (Serif) — Constantia is a serif font suited for text in both electronic and paper publishing. The design responds to the recent narrowing of the gap between screen readability and traditional print media. The typeface was designed by John Hudson and commissioned by Microsoft. It is relatively new, having been released in 2006. Constantia is part of the ClearType Font Collection, a suite of fonts from various designers released with Windows Vista. All start with the letter C to reflect that they were designed to work well with Microsoft’s ClearType text rendering system, a text rendering engine designed to make text clearer to read on LCD monitors. The other fonts in the suite are Calibri, Cambria, Candara, Consolas and Corbel. Explaining its name, Hudson wrote: “I can’t remember all the possible names I came up with, each of which ended up rejected after international trademark searches…I’d been singing some psalms during vespers and noticed the word Constantia. Hey, I thought, that starts with C!” Writing in 2011, Hudson commented, “I actually don’t like the name Constantia very much, and every time I see the seabirds on the dock while I’m waiting for the ferry. I wish I’d thought to call it Cormorant.”

More Resume Writing Tips

As you prepare your resume, feel free to experiment with these various fonts to see which one would work best for you. And, if none of these are to your liking, there are other fonts you can also consider. Some of those are: Bell MT, Bodoni MT, and Century Gothic.

And remember, there are other factors to consider besides font. You should also be aware of the size of your font and the formatting of your entire resume.

You’ll probably want to stick with 10-point for your typeface. Some experts suggest using 11-point as the sweet spot. And, most certainly, you will not want to go any larger than 12-point for the body text of your resume. Avoid using an 8-point typeface. It is too hard to read and most Applicant Tracking Systemsfont size (ATS) won’t be able to read it. As for headings, those should be proportionate to your body text and large enough to stand out. Many experts suggest going as high as 16-point for your headings, but most experts suggest using 14-point as the maximum. Also, feel free to use underlining to showcase any other text you’d like to highlight. Use bold for headlines and sparingly otherwise. After all, you don’t want a resume full of bold-faced type. A bold-faced font is very hard to read, and your resume may not make it past the recruiter.

Don’t forget to consider the job when putting the final touches on your resume. Every job for which you are applying should get your full attention. That means you should tailor your resume to match each job. Don’t forget to research the appropriate keywords in regards to each job. This will ensure you make it past the bots controlling the ATS many employers use these days.

And remember, sometimes you can benefit from the use of a less popular font. For instance, if you’re looking to get into a more creative field, it might be acceptable to use more unconventional fonts.

Spry Squared, Inc. Is Here To Help

So now you have a good understanding of how a font may impact the first impression your resume will make. But selecting the perfect font is just the beginning. After all, the goal is to pique the interest of the hiring manager, so you can get an interview. After all, the interview is where you’ll shine and show the skills that will make that employer want to hire you.

While there are many recruiting firms out there, Spry Squared, Inc. stands out among them with superior service and dedication. With attention to detail and hands-on attention, you can be assured you have aligned yourself with a staff that will go above and beyond to help you in your job search. To learn more about available job opportunities, please visit Spry Squared, Inc.’s careers section.

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Navigating the Waters of Social Media 2017

Here we are, nearly half way through the year and we’re always looking for ways to use social media in bigger, better ways that will grow our business. The internet has been ripe with predictions at the beginning of year as to what would be the next big thing in social media trends. Here are a few that we’ve seen so far that can help you connect, engage, and retain customers.

Live and 360 Video

When Facebook rolled out Live Video last year there were a few quick hits. And unfortunately, there have several horrible incidents that have given Facebook Live Video a black eye. Now it’s getting more attention than ever, and whether that is good or bad we have yet to see. But companies are using it to their advantage, living streaming events, and even highlighting new products. Journalists are promoting stories using both Live and 360 Video. We can only imagine how it will be used for the rest of the year, but we can’t wait to see the interesting and innovative ways that are yet to come.

Paid Reach

The old days of Facebook are over, when creating good, fun, and vibrant content was a great marketing tool. But now, if you only try to reach your audience organically you’ll find the numbers very disappointing. Social media reach is moving toward dependent paid content to reach audiences to sell products or services. Even B2B marketing is impossible without spending some of your marketing budget on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. If you haven’t been using paid social media advertising you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much more engagement you get with a very modest budget.

Commerce Moves to Social

Driving potential customers to your website to purchase your product or services has always been the end goal of social media and on-line marketing. However, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are offering ways for users to purchase products directly from their apps. This practice isn’t as wide spread as some of the others listed, but within the year it could change the way products and services are traditionally bought and sold.

Brand Social Media Engagement is Changing

Often companies use social media to highlight their products and hopefully drive people to buy. Now, many savvy companies are challenging that idea. Brands are filling up their social media feeds with posts that have nothing to do with their products. Instead, highlighting employees or culture, or finding new fun ways to engage with their audience. All of these tactics drive are deployed to develop brand trust, loyalty and engagement, which eventually leads to conversions.

Are you ready to take your social media marketing campaign to the next level? Contact the experienced social media specialists at Spry Squared and let’s get to work!

Branding_Collateral

Is Your Brand Telling Your Story?

Brand has become an empty and often confusing buzz word in the marketing community. It’s used to describe everything from a company’s logo to their social media presence. Though your brand does include these things, it’s far more than that. It is the story of your company.

You may be  asking the wrong questions about your product or service. Instead of asking:

  • What is my product or service?
  • How do I sell it?
  • Where do I sell it?
  • Who wants to buy it?

You should be answering “Why?”:

  • Why are you selling your product?
  • Why should your customer buy it?
  • Why does it matter to your customer?

Think of it like this, when you buy an Apple computer you are buying more than a machine that gives you access to the internet or allows you to create a great work of art. You are buying the brand identity that Apple has created around their products. You’re edgy, hip, and thinking differently. You are outside of the norm of the usual computer user. It sets you apart from Microsoft users.

It may sound a little strange at first, but your brand is the persona of your company. Treat your company’s brand as a living being and you will be able to better define your message and your company. As your company grows, your brand will evolve. Unique branding gives you the edge so you will be more memorable to your customers and they won’t confuse you with the other guy. But, equally important—don’t allow your brand to become stale and dated.

When developing or thinking about your brand ask yourself:

  • Why did you start your company?
  • What do you want your first impression to look like?
  • What’s your company’s story that sets you apart?
  • Who are your customers?
  • Who do you want as customers?
  • What do you want customers to know about your company?

While it may take a lot of words to convey this message, appropriate branding can do this in a split second. A splint second—because that’s all you have to make a first impression.

Let Spry Squared sort this out for you. We’ve been doing this for over 30 years. Helping our clients stand out from the crowd—it’s what we do best! We can help you create, define, or rejuvenate your brand. So, let us do what we do best—and you can get back to doing what you do best—running your business. Contact us today and let’s get started on getting you noticed!