How to Stay Safe While Using Online Classified Ads

November 18th, 2013 by admin No comments »

How many times have you heard the horror stories about using classified ads? Stolen identities, missing cars, robberies, and misguided up-front payments are just a few of the things that can go wrong. Fortunately, these are not the norm, and most of us experience good people and honest dealings. Unfortunately it’s easy to fall prey to scams of all sorts when dealing with classifieds because most of us are trusting and believe in the goodness of others. In the case of the latter, there are some simple things to keep you safe while buying or selling in the online classifieds world.

One of the most important ways to protect yourself is to use as little personal contact information as possible in your ad. A good way to do this is to utilize the email the classifieds sites provide called ‘anonymized’ email so you remain ‘anonymous’ until you are comfortable sharing your private information. If you do need to add contact information, be careful when people contact you not to give out more private details until you are ready. If people need to see the item and it happens to be at your house, have friends or family present so you aren’t alone or show them the item in a public place. If that isn’t possible, be on your cell when they arrive and keep someone on the other end. This is not only a safety precaution, but it also makes you feel more confident when a buyer tries to negotiate beyond your comfort level.

A common scam that runs through classified ads is the money scam. The scenario is usually along the lines of someone who just needs ‘a little extra help’, but says they really wants to buy what you are selling. They ask you to go through a third-party for exchanging the money. You receive emails that the transaction has been completed, so you send out the item you are selling. Next thing you know, you no longer have the item but you don’t have the money either. If any part of a transaction seems strange, trust your instincts. Heed the warnings that most classified sites offer: Buy and Sell locally – it can often keep things on the up and up.

So, follow a couple simple precautions and listen to that nudge in the back of your mind that tells you something isn’t quite right. Keep your personal contact information private and don’t go along with any money transactions that sound even slightly out of the norm (generally that means no money without having what you are buying in your hand). If something makes you feel uncomfortable, it’s OK to say you aren’t interested. Now, have fun, stay safe, and find great local deals, there are a lot of them out there. » Read more: How to Stay Safe While Using Online Classified Ads

Offline Businesses Can Benefit From Social Media Too!

November 18th, 2013 by admin No comments »

Your brick and mortar business does just fine using traditional advertising, thank you.

Why go online? Shouldn’t you stick with what you know? Nope.

Unless you want to be like Scrooge. Join the 21st century. You must get on board to be a player.

Starbucks is a great example of how an offline business leveraged itself to higher profitability through strategic use of social media.

With proper integration of Twitter, Facebook, Google Buzz, Foursquare, Google Places and other, similar venues, just say ‘yes’ to more traffic and more revenue.

Here’s what you need to know to take the leap:

  • Quality counts. If you’re going to ‘play,’ do so enthusiastically. Don’t just throw together a Facebook or Google Places page and let it sit on the sidelines like a wallflower. You’ll leave the dance totally disappointed. Engage your reader in conversation, post interesting content and pursue connections. Update your pages as a regular practice. Be utter fascinating, dahlink. Just like the coquette at the ball batting those eyelashes. Flirt.
  • Have fun. Create a game that drops interesting trivia about your business. Give people the thrill of the hunt to learn about you. If they are having fun while gaming, they won’t click away. Give out samples and as prizes.
  • Ask your audience how you’re doing. “How do you like me now?” Ask people to ‘like’ you on Facebook. Use the same query on receipts and invoices.
  • Check out your competition. It’s a lot like being sure that no other girl is wearing the same dress to same event as you are. Horrors! Keep up with what’s going on. Once you know what your competition is doing, you can do something a bit extra.
  • Don’t get complacent. You can never rest on your laurels. Not in today’s business world. Make sure you have an ear to the wall and know what your customers are saying about you. You can even ask them directly. Keep track of your results, analyze them and learn.
  • Build your community. Make your customers feel like a loved member of the family. Host offline events at your physical store by promoting the event online. Support a charity. Build your community by doing good. It also does your business well.
  • Don’t try too hard. This is a marathon, not a sprint. You are in it for the long haul. As social media enters its teenage years from its bombastic infancy (happening now), overnight successes are going to be rarer. That doesn’t matter. Your business was never intended to be an overnight success.

Ok, you found me out. The keys to using social media for an offline business sound a lot like dating advice. They are.

If you understand the rules of engagement, your beaus will find you irresistible. Why, Ashley Wilkes, how you do go on! If Scarlett could do it, you can too, only this time with integrity instead of coquettishness. Your offline business will reap the benefits. » Read more: Offline Businesses Can Benefit From Social Media Too!