BeReal: Is There Marketing Potential?

Let’s be honest, social media has gotten pretty fake and curated strictly for algorithms and likes these days. However, BeReal, with its simplified layout and unique premise, might be the solution many are looking for.

 

BeReal is quickly gaining traction with Gen Z, but its staying power is unclear. Even though it was founded in 2019, 75% of the app’s downloads have come in 2022, signaling that existing platforms might be growing stale with the younger demographic, or at the very least, that demand for new ideas is high. The concept combines aspects of Snapchat and Instagram, but this platform is unique for a few reasons. First, you may only post once every 24 hours and it must be within a two-minute window upon receiving a notification. Secondly, posts from your friends are locked until you yourself post. This is clearly different from other platforms where you could create an account and post as frequently or infrequently as you please, can use photo filters liberally, and can “like” others’ content. Additionally, where TikTok and Instagram have become increasingly optimized for video content, BeReal is strictly photos.

 

At Fortress, we like to stay up to date on social media trends as they relate to marketing, and the emergence of BeReal begs the question: is there room for brands and digital marketers to use BeReal, or should they stick to more traditional and proven platforms? A few members of our marketing team answered this question along with their general thoughts on the app:

 

Tiffany Mullins – Senior Content Strategist

 

“I feel like it’s a counterproductive way to showcase real lives. When we are having fun and living in the moment, a phone notification telling you to ‘be real’ accomplishes just the opposite. Right now, I don’t see BeReal being useful in marketing. Usually, when brands hop on apps like this, it comes across as forced and ingenuine. I do see potential with influencers using BeReal to boost their personal brands by building a more intimate relationship with their follower base, but for advertisers like us, BeReal does not align with our goals, at least in its current iteration.”

 

Anthony Sprunk – Content Creator

 

 

“I think it can be both genuine and fake depending on the user. It becomes more staged when people wait to post their BeReals late – until they’re doing something “cool” – which is something I’ve seen quite a bit using the app myself. As for marketing, I have seen some funny TikToks and tweets about the app, but I have yet to see brands using it as an online marketing tool. I’m just not sure it’s the right app for marketing content.”

 

 

 

Leo Koenig – Content Writer

 

“I don’t use BeReal personally, but I tend to think it is not going to last like other social media apps have. I’ve heard some complaints about the BeReal app itself being glitchy or slow, which is fixable, but also may have turned people off from the start, making it hard to win them back over. However, I do think there is potential for certain brands to build a following on BeReal by posting “behind the scenes” content from employees. This will work best for restaurants and smaller businesses where the average employee is relatable to the masses. This may be hard to accomplish, as service workers are often the ones with the least amount of time on their hands to be posting online during their shifts, but it is not impossible. I think we need to give the app a bit more time before we write it off entirely from a marketing standpoint. After all, if we think back to the early days of Instagram, the potential for marketing was quite limited, but that has since changed dramatically.

The general sentiment from our team is that in its current iteration, BeReal is ultimately not an effective tool for brands, and not accomplishing its goals for general use either. In other words, we don’t think it is not a good sign that we are so increasingly detached from reality that we need an app like BeReal to purportedly provide it for us. However, while our team at Fortress may not see BeReal as the next big thing for digital marketing, we should point out that there are some success stories for how brands have used BeReal for product placement, sales boosts and general brand awareness, and one of these is Chipotle.

 

 

Chipotle has always been quick to hop on social media trends and stay on brand while doing it. Maintaining an edgy, entertaining, and fun voice throughout their marketing, Chipotle is never afraid to take risks. So earlier this year, when BeReal began ascending, Chipotle ran an introductory ad campaign where they posted a reusable promo code, awarding the first 100 people to use it with a free entree.

 

 

It was a success. They have since built a modest but active follower base, giving them one more outlet for engagement with their target demographic.

Come back to this page for more insights into the ever-evolving digital marketing landscape, and if you have a project you would like to collaborate with the Fortress team on, get in touch today.

Chicago DNA: How Our Work Mirrors Our City’s Values

Being a Chicago-based agency is about much more than where our office is physically located. It’s an acknowledgement of our hard work, hospitality, and humility, values that are shared by Chicago as a community. Our work has always mirrored these traits we share with Chicago, and our recent projects are no exception. 

 

Kam Buckner for Mayor

 

Chicago is a city where everyone has a story. That’s why we fit right in, because we understand the importance of storytelling in digital marketing. Take the Kam Buckner for Mayor project for example. Prior to our work with Kam–which consisted of building a website, a launch video, social media marketing, and more–we had never worked on a political campaign as an agency. But we saw how committed Kam Buckner is to making a difference in the city we love as much as he does. So, we put that mutual passion to work and told the story of Kam’s Chicago roots and his track record of fighting for Chicagoans. Take a look at the launch video here:

 

 

 

EverThrive Illinois

 

Another recent campaign we worked on was for EverThrive Illinois. EverThrive is an organization dedicated to reducing maternal mortality in African-American communities in Chicago. African-American mothers in our city are at a dramatically increased risk of dying during or shortly after pregnancy. We are honored to be a part of raising awareness about this issue through a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. Our efforts included branding, web design, and video production. Here is a look at the video we produced for EverThrive that focuses on their “The Gathering” initiative, a support community for expecting mothers: 

 

 

 

Walner Law

 

Another example is our client Walner Law who has committed to serving the city in the legal space. A staple of Chicago personal injury law since 1973, this firm needed help building their online presence to match their real-life legacy. Walner has won hundreds of millions of dollars for their clients who have been injured unjustly, and we’ve assisted them on several fronts over the years. These projects have consisted of social media marketing, a brand-new website, podcast production more recently, and many more marketing, branding, and web development efforts in-between. Walner and Fortress are a true, mutually beneficial partnership of companies who are proud to represent Chicago. Check out an episode of the Words With Walner podcast. Filmed inside Fortress’ studio, this episode discusses how Chicagoans can get help if they are in a truck accident:

 

 

We’re also proud to say that like Chicago, we are not a monolith at Fortress. The diverse perspectives we bring to the table at each client kickoff meeting and at every stage of a project are what makes us unique. With this strong in-house diversity, we are at our best when we are together; in sync with our surroundings and aligned on the tasks at hand. That’s the reason we haven’t bought into the work-from-home revolution, because we see our office space as a home in itself. It’s a home for collaboration and honest conversation, both internally and with our clients. 

 

Chicagoans know our city isn’t perfect. It can be unforgiving, and it has a way of humbling you. Our industry is the same way. But it’s that humility that keeps us going. And rather than pretend everything is perfect, Chicagoans like us get up early, go to work, and hustle every day to see things through and deliver. In our case, that means changing our clients’ lives by transforming their brands.

Fortress – Behind the Name

[Written from the perspective of Joel Mathew.]

Strength. Safety. Stability. 

Fortress embodies all of those and more. 

Our rock solid foundation is built on genuine relationships, consistency, and respect for our company and clients. We are a family. We are a team

I built this company after experiencing a discouraging work environment, a dog-eat-dog world where my colleagues and employers were focused on money alone. After witnessing a toxic atmosphere where creativity is stifled and voices go unheard, I knew I needed to make a change. And when I couldn’t find anything better in the corporate world, I decided to build my own business with its own culture.

Here at Fortress, we do the opposite. We steer clear of that culture, eliminate that selfish environment, and replace it with something stronger. Our company name is a symbolic representation of that. We are a fortified place, a stronghold, and a place of comfort and peace for both our team and clients. We dedicate our time and energy to building genuine relationships and treating people with the respect they deserve. 

We respect, care, and love our people. For that reason, the words employer and employee are rarely used here. You will only hear us use one word: team.

When people hear the name Fortress, we want this same sense of respect, comfort, and security to be felt. I want them to trust who their dollars are going to – people who are client-success obsessed, who possess unmatched energy and passion, who operate differently and authentically, who value integrity, rest, and generosity. 

Because of this mindset and attitude, we have built a strong foundation that cannot be shaken. After starting out with nothing, carving a path for ourselves, and fighting through the pandemic, we are stable amidst chaos. 

With our core values at the heart of all our work, we will always be a fortress for our team and our clients.

Joel Mathew | CEO & Founder

“Truly he is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.”

Psalms 62:6

Fortress Wins 3 Telly Awards!

We’re Proud to Announce Our 3 New Telly-Award Winning Productions!

We’re thrilled to have won three Telly Awards for our commercial productions – “Imagine” General Admission Spot for Southern Illinois University, “Imagine” Hispanic Latino Spot for Southern Illinois University, and “On Chicago’s Side” for Walner Law. 

The Telly Awards, founded in 1979, honor excellence in local and regional broadcast and video commercials across all screens. Each year, the Telly Awards receive 12,000 entries from all 50 states and from 5 continents. We are honored to have been chosen as award recipients in their 43rd year. 

Our commercials for Southern Illinois University – “Imagine” General Admission Spot and “Imagine” Hispanic Latino Spot – were each one of just three winners for the production of Regional TV for a school, college, or university. Additionally, our production of Walner Law’s “On Chicago’s Side” was also just one of three winners for Local TV regarding law and legal services. 
 

Taking Our Video Production Capabilities to the Next Level

After winning our first Telly Award in 2021 for another Southern Illinois University commercial titled “It’s Our Turn,” we were even more determined to keep up the momentum, producing top-quality commercials for our clients. Winning three more Tellys in 2022 is a testimony to the time and energy put into producing captivating, professional, and visionary videos. 

This is a proud moment for our team. However, the real reward is seeing the positive impact that these commercials have had on our clients’ businesses. As with everything we do, we will continue to improve, advance, and innovate to bring success to our clients. 
 
Take a look at our production reel which showcases all of our video capabilities, from animation to full-production commercials.

 

From Script to Screen, We’ve Got You Covered

In addition to video production, Fortress also specializes in the placement of commercials on broadcast, cable, and OTT. 

From script to screen, Fortress has you covered.

If you have any questions about how video production can help build your brand and drive leads to your business, contact us.

SEO Is Complicated: Here are Four Common Mistakes Brands Make

With some aspects of digital marketing, winging it might – just might – get you by. For example, social media is a space for bold experimentation and can be left up to each brand’s discretion, and the same could be said for some types of email marketing. With those, driving home a compelling narrative is more important than individual word choice. However, when it comes to SEO, you are dealing with a whole different beast – Google. Google, and other major search engines, have the power to determine whether or not your site will be visible to potential users. According to Ahrefs’ recent study, 90% of sites don’t receive any visitors from Google. At all.  Ensure that your site will be part of the 10% by avoiding these common SEO mistakes.

 

SEO Mistake #1: Using Too Many Highly Competitive Keywords

As a web user, when was the last time you did a Google search and scrolled past the first page of results? It’s probably been a while, if ever, right? The second page of results is not where you want to be as a brand, and, oftentimes, a site ends up there because there are too many high-competition keywords on the page and not enough niche ones that make your website unique.

This is not to say avoid competitive keywords like the plague – because they are competitive for a reason – but without the right balance, you risk drowning in a sea of websites that look too much like yours in terms of keyword use.

The best way to avoid this mistake is taking advantage of the many search engine optimization resources available like Google Analytics, Keywords Everywhere, SE Ranking, and more. These services often feature metrics that will tell you how difficult it is for a specific keyword to rank on the first page of Google, thus increasing your organic traffic. It will be well worth your investment, especially if you own a site with a low domain rating.

 

SEO Mistake #2: Overlooking Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions

Metadata is crucial in helping your web page rank high on search engines. So what exactly is it? Well, the root “meta” refers to “the self.” Essentially, metadata is data that references or describes other data. It is the text that informs the reader about what they are about to read if they click onto the site. You’ve seen it before. Here’s an example of what effective metadata looks like:

 

 

So why is it important to make sure you include and optimize metadata in your SEO strategy? The answer is user convenience. You can see how Fortress strategically uses keywords in its meta descriptions, informing interested readers about what we do. These descriptions are important because they not only build up our credibility but also introduce readers to our distinct voice, right there in the search results. The goal with these descriptions is to simultaneously answer initial questions a reader might have, such as “Who in Chicago can help me get my brand developed?” as well as invite them to peruse the site in full. Once they’re in, you’re in business.

SEO Mistake #3: Not Integrating Social Media with SEO

The year is 2022. The reality is that some of the old rules of thumb regarding search engine optimization have lost some of their relevance. Namely, brands can no longer get by without pairing their SEO strategy with social media. Building up social media profiles by creating consistent and unique content is absolutely essential to driving up traffic. It establishes your reputation. It increases visibility. Here’s proof: research was recently conducted by CognitiveSEO that revealed a link between the number of engagements on social media and site ranking.

While there is no direct link between social media and SEO, that does not mean brands can ignore the clear indirect link social media has in boosting site traffic considerably. 

SEO Mistake #4: Neglecting the Mobile Experience

Search engines take into consideration how mobile-friendly your site is when determining its ranking. When we talk about SEO evolving, this is a huge part of that, because everyone knows the most common way we access sites is on our mobile devices. Whether it’s ordering a Lyft, browsing for a new apartment, or quickly perusing a restaurant’s website before deciding to dine, we are attached to the convenience of our cell phones.

The way to avoid this mistake is to constantly remind ourselves that SEO is not strictly a conversation about keywords. Staying on brand is just as important. Websites with high-quality design are engaging in more ways than simply with their written content will perform better. Unequivocally.

As you read these mistakes, make note of them and how to avoid them, but most of all remember the general rule of always keeping your user in mind: UEO – User Experience Optimization, if you will. Your customers and clients will thank you.

Influencer Marketing: How it Works and Where it’s Heading

When are you more likely to be interested in a product or service? Is it when a stranger representing a company is selling it to you in a traditional advertisement? Chances are you will hit “Skip Ad” right away or scroll past. 

But what if the person you see is a familiar face, someone you admire in some way – or at least recognize? Then there’s potential, and that’s where influencer marketing comes in. In this blog, we’re going to highlight what strategies have proven successful in the past and forecast what trends will make waves in influencer marketing in 2022.

 

How and When Does Influencer Marketing Work?

Influencer marketing works best when the chosen influencer has a consistently devoted base of supporters. This should come as no surprise, because by definition, an influencer is someone with an established level of credibility in their field. 

They have reached their elite status by being people-pleasers. Let them do the work of adding credibility to your brand. Here’s the truth: chances are they’re better at it than you. Nielsen has reported that 92 percent of people trust recommendations from individuals over brands. 

 

Plan Your Strategy

Once you’ve decided to adopt an influencer marketing strategy, then comes the time to set a plan about how you’re actually going to implement it. One option to strongly consider is prioritizing the use of short-form video in your strategy. 

Short form video has been proven to be an effective way to get through to consumers. As we have referenced in a past blog, short-form video has the highest return on investment of any marketing strategy in the social media space. 

 

Predictions – Where Will Influencer Marketing go in 2022?

It can be hard to keep up with the constantly evolving landscape of social media. However, if you look closely enough, you can make note of the direction things are headed in terms of what marketing approaches are growing in popularity.

One of these emerging trends is the use of college athletes as influencers. Until very recently, college athletes were not allowed by the NCAA to profit off their name, image, and likeness. Now that that has changed thanks to a Supreme Court ruling, it will give more brands the ability to use athletes to promote their products and services.

Professional athletes are often at a premium, but college athletes are, on average, easier to acquire and work with. Take Braelon Allen as a recent example of this in practice. Allen is a freshman running back for the University of Wisconsin football team who is coming off a tremendous season.

At just eighteen years old, he’s already a big-time ambassador for a company called Iron-Joc, a clothing brand based in Wisconsin. Since bringing him on as an influencer, they have tripled their sales, according to their founder and owner, Paul Hanson. 

Expect to see more and more of similar uses of college athletes as influencers in 2022 and beyond.

Another trend that we predict will be significant in the future of influencer marketing is the advances that platforms like Tik-Tok are making in their live-streaming capabilities. 

Imagine a live Q&A session with an influencer regarding a product instead of a pre-recorded video message. You just can’t beat that kind of engagement between influencer and consumer, so expect to see more of that across all social media- whether it be Tik-Tok, Instagram Live, Facebook Live, or Twitter’s “Spaces” feature.

 

Takeaways

The key universal takeaways here are to know your audience, stand for something, and establish goals for what you are trying to accomplish in using influencer marketing. 

Know your audience, meaning think about the demographic that is inclined to be interested in your product. As is the case with short-form video, in general, younger audiences are more likely to be won over by influencer marketing.

Stand for something, meaning make sure your content is promoting a message that people are likely to support. It is more complicated to try to get consumers to identify with brands that are irresponsible with or dismissive of concerns regarding environmental sustainability, as an example. Make space to reassure your base that you care about what they care about.

Establish goals, meaning know what your ultimate intentions are in developing your strategy. Are you looking to increase brand awareness, encourage people to try a product, simply gain followers, or increase sales?

Short-Form Video is Taking Over Digital Marketing in 2022

People in 2022 expect their interactions to be efficient and brief. Commuters expect their trains and buses to arrive on time, and their coffees to be made fast. The realm of digital marketing is no different. When these same people browse the internet searching for content to consume, their attention spans are short. It is crucial for brands to realize this and examine the helpfulness or short-form video to boost their site traffic sales, and clientele. 

 

Social Media and Short-Form Video

 

According to HubSpot, in their 2022 Marketing Industry Trends Survey, short-form video has the highest Return on Investment (ROI) of any marketing strategy involving social media. They found that thirty percent of social media marketers plan to invest in short-form video more than any other trend in 2022. 

This isn’t shocking when you take a look at just how powerful and popular the platform Tik-Tok has become in the world of social media. Specializing in these short-form videos as opposed to still images or longer-form videos, Tik-Tok has over one billion active users. For comparison, Twitter has 186 million daily active users. Even more noteworthy, teenagers in particular are hooked on Tik-Tok, spending an average of 80 minutes per day on the platform. 

For an example of how powerful influencer marketing on Tik-Tok can be, look no further than Chipotle. Tailored toward the key Gen Z audience, Chipotle has created numerous “challenges” for followers to complete and brought in major influencers to spread the word. In one of these challenges, called the #ChipotleLidFlip campaign, Chipotle partnered with influencer David Dobrik, resulting in 111,000 submissions in the first week of the campaign, and hundreds of millions of views. Your brand may not be as big as Chipotle, but the lesson is clear; tailor your short-form content on Tik-Tok toward the demographic that uses it the most, young people. 

 

What does effective use of short-form video look like?

Finding success with short-form videos will depend on your company’s overall content strategy, but there are a few things to highlight that can be useful for all brands. First, use short-form video to invite engagement. If on social media, invite users to comment and share your video and incentivize them to do so. Think about any promotional content your company could produce, which would drive strong engagement and create the reposts and retweets you’re looking for. In a similar vein, short-form video can be productively used for things like product teasers and supplementary information embedded in website content.

Here is an example of an effective use of short-form video, from one of Fortress Consulting’s clients, Chicago-based Falafel and Shawarma restaurant, Benjyehuda. It’s a simple idea being executed here, but it’s effective, nonetheless. When the user sees the overhead shot of the employee putting together a meal, they themselves, while scrolling through their Instagram reels feed, can envision making a trip to Benjyehuda for a meal. 

Here is another example of short-form video and how it can be effective, from Fortress.

 

Short Form Video for Website Content

Another slightly different but equally important example of how short-form video can enhance your brand is seen with this webpage from another one of Fortress’ clients, Action Injury Law Firm. Action’s goal in including multiple case studies on their website is to show their potential future clients just how dedicated they are to the success of the individuals they represent. As you can see on the link provided, they included a clip of their client, James Gibson, speaking about his case. The video is about ninety seconds long, but its effect is just as strong, even if the average user only watches thirty seconds of it. What this video does is provide true testimony to the work Action does, from a client themselves, not a company representative.

While we tend to think of social media as the main place for short-form videos to thrive, the Action Injury Law Group example shows that all companies, regardless of their presence on social media or the services they provide, can benefit from incorporating short-form videos into their digital persona.

 

Takeaways

Remember that short form video is your friend, regardless of the size of your business. Tik-Tok presents an immense opportunity for smaller brands to reach wider audiences. This is because their algorithms allow posts to go viral regardless of how many followers the account who posted the video has.

While some content is better than no content when it comes to short-form videos, the best practice is to be as creative and engaging as possible. Thinking about how to tailor your videos towards a younger audience.

Rebranding: When, Why, and How

Defining Your Business From the Inside, Out

 

A rebrand is more than just a new look, it’s an opportunity to make fundamental improvements to your business. Nothing great remains the same. If the times are changing, your brand should be, too.

 

Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve

 

How you look should be about who you are. If you don’t know who you are, it will show in your brand. If you look at your brand and something feels off, take that as a sign that you need to revisit who you are. 

 

Your business is not the same as it was 10 years ago. By redefining your mission, vision, and values, you can reconnect with yourself and the people you serve. As a result, a rebrand will just make sense—elements like a new logo, website, and mission statement will simply fall into place.

 

At Fortress, our new look was motivated by our new mission. When our mission changed, so did we. Our daily operations have improved, the way we interact with clients has changed, and how we view ourselves has evolved. A new logo and website is only an outward expression of that.

 

Nice to Meet You, Again

 

Your brand not only represents you, but it represents your audience. If you fall out of touch with what your audience wants, you’ll lose them. Once again, this is about more than just visual appeal. Your ability to connect with your audience ultimately comes down to your ability to serve them.

 

That means that a rebrand is also a great time to take a look at the services you provide with a magnifying glass.

 

  • Ask yourself what services are still relevant to your audience and which are not.
  • Determine how the services you provide can change and improve to better serve your clients.
  • Identify any new services that you are capable of providing and that your customers will benefit from.

 

The services you provide your audience will help to shape how your brand looks, feels, and sounds. As a result, you will be placing your customers at the foundation of your brand and will connect with them on a deeper level.

 

Don’t Wait for Your Brand to Come Back Into Style

 

Your brand is not like fashion, it won’t come back into style no matter how long you wait. If it’s been more than 5 years since you’ve revisited your brand, you might want to change that. If it’s been more than 10 years, you must change that. 

 

Not every brand will need to make drastic changes, but frequently checking in with your mission and audience gives magnetic confidence to your brand. Even if it’s changing something small like a line of copy on your website or the images that you use in your monthly newsletter, when your voice comes through in every detail, people will gravitate toward your brand.

 

Take a client of ours, Walner Law, for example. Jon Walner has been representing Chicago people for nearly 60 years. Over that time he became well-known as one of the city’s best personal injury lawyers. The problem was that his brand did not represent that rich history. Walner Law had used the same logo since 1988, and it was no longer resonating with the firm’s audience—the people of Chicago.

 

 

With the help of Fortress, Jon Walner was able to rebrand himself as “Chicago’s Personal Injury Lawyer” with a brand new logo, one that symbolized the firm’s commitment to Chicago, and a powerful ad campaign that communicated Jon’s passion and experience.

 

Regardless of the amount of success your business has had in the past, it can still benefit from a rebrand. You may discover a new audience, new services, or a more powerful voice—everything it takes to keep growing your business.

 

How to Rebrand, Step-by-Step

 

1. Revisit and redefine your mission.

2. Get in touch with your audience and seek out new audiences.

3. Reevaluate your services and add new services to better serve that audience.

4. Let the “new you” speak for itself through web design, logos, content, and social media.

 

In reality, the redesign aspect of your rebrand is the simple part. That is if you put in the work to truly know yourself and define your goals. Still, we know how important amazing design is to communicating that story you have worked so hard to develop. That’s where Fortress comes in. 

 

You are the hero in your story, let us help you tell it. Start a project with us today, or explore more of the brand transformations we have helped our clients achieve.

When Facebook Falls, Don’t Let Your Business Go With It

October 4th’s Facebook Outage Shows Businesses the Importance of a More Diverse Digital Marketing Strategy

 

Love it or hate it, Facebook is one of the best places to advertise and grow your business. 3 million businesses advertise on Facebook to an audience of over 2.14 billion people, and a lot of these users are customers who use Facebook to find information, ask questions, and stay connected to businesses. Nearly 67% of Facebook users will visit a local business page at least once a day looking for information. With numbers like that, Facebook has become essential to most businesses, especially small and local brands. 

 

It may be tempting to put all of your eggs into Facebook’s basket, but what happens when Facebook is no longer accessible?

 

On October 4th, 2021, Facebook (and Facebook-owned Instagram) shut down for almost 7 hours. It might not have been a big deal for you personally, but for the millions of businesses that rely on those social media sites to conduct business, 7 hours can cause a lot of damage. 

 

If it happened once, it can happen again. Is your business able to stay operational without platforms like Facebook and Instagram? If your answer is “no”, or even “maybe”, it may be time to focus some of your marketing efforts elsewhere.

 

A Facebook Page is NOT a Website

Somebody had to say it: a Facebook page is not a website. 

 

If the most important information about your business is only found on social media, you are missing out on potential customers. 

 

While Facebook—or any major social media platform—has remained a tremendous tool for growing your brand and reaching new customers, you would be shooting your business in the foot by relying on it as your sole internet presence.

 

Social Media Drives Business, Websites Do Business

Billions of people have a Facebook account, but that doesn’t mean they are using it to make buying decisions. Most people will Google your business looking for a website to back you up. If the only thing they find is a Facebook page, your brand loses both credibility and professionalism. 

 

During an outage like Facebook’s, you’re abandoning the audience you already have and giving them no way to find information about your business. This is why websites for your business are essential. With a website, as long as your customer has internet access, they have access to your business. 

 

This is not to say you should ditch Facebook altogether—you certainly should not. However, any social media should only be a supplement to your digital presence. Facebook will help you to grow an audience, but a website is where you build brand recognition, credibility, and conversions. 

 

Diversify Your Marketing Strategy

A smart investor would never place all their money into a single stock. So why would you conduct business on a single, volatile platform?

 

Facebook offers a large audience, but it is not a fully comprehensive one. To reach a more diverse and complete audience, it is important to diversify your marketing strategy.

 

Allocate some of your marketing budget to other platforms such as Google and YouTube. You should also consider email marketing which can help you stay connected to the audience you already have, and gives you a means of communication during Facebook blackouts.

 

Get Noticed

When you finally get your business’s website up and running—or if you’re looking for ways to improve your existing website—make sure it breaks through the noise. Fortress provides a free marketing audit, which will identify areas of improvement within your website’s SEO, social strategy, Google rankings, and overall marketing performance.

 

Don’t have a website yet? We can help with that, too. Start a project with us, and let’s work together to set your brand up for success in an ever-changing world.

The OSI Model: 7 Layers of Security

The OSI model is an essential tool for understanding how a network operates. It’s also an essential tool when it comes to cybersecurity. Understanding the 7 stages of the OSI model and the cyber threats that exist at each layer will greatly improve your network security. A layer-by-layer approach to cybersecurity following the OSI model is one of the most thorough and effective methods for conducting penetration testing, allowing you to identify and remediate any vulnerabilities in your network and prevent cyber attacks.

 

What is the OSI model?

 

The Open Systems Interconnection model, or OSI model, describes the way a network system communicates, or how data is exchanged between point A and point B. It breaks down the flow of a network into 7 different stages. Below, you’ll find basic descriptions of each stage.

 

1. Physical

 

At the base of the OSI model is the physical layer. This layer represents the electrical and physical components of your system. These components include cables, routers, modems, and other physical requirements.

 

2. Data Link

 

This layer manages data and information that are exchanged across the same physical network.

 

3. Network

 

The network layer is where most router functions occur. This is the exchange of data and information between different servers.

 

4. Transport

 

This layer coordinates the transfer of data between systems and hosts. It defines how much data is being sent, the rate it’s being sent, where the data is going and more.

 

5. Session

 

When two devices, computers or servers communicate with each other, a session is generated. The session layer sets up the session, coordinates the responses and terminates the session when it ends.

 

6. Presentation

 

The presentation layer is where data is translated from its network form into its application form. In other words, it presents data to the application. This is also where encryption and decryption happen. (Take a look at our blog on SSL Certificates, which are a large part of the presentation layer.)

 

7. Application

 

This is the layer that the user directly interacts with. Applications include web browsers, Microsoft Office, Skype, and many more.

 

Why is the OSI model important to cybersecurity?

 

Wherever there is a function being performed, there is a possibility for disfunction. There are several possible cyberattacks at each of the seven layers of your network. Listed below are just a few of those potential attacks:

 

Physical – When you think of “cyber attack” you might not associate it with something tangible, but threats do exist at the physical layer. Attacks at the physical layer are usually DoS, or Denial of Service, attacks. The goal of these attacks is to stop all network functions. Examples of DoS attacks at the physical layer include a wire being cut, or a wireless connection being interrupted.

 

Data Link – Attacks at the Data Link layer come from within the local network, or LAN. It’s important to educate all your network users on how to prevent cyber attacks. Otherwise, they may unknowingly put your network at risk. Data Link attacks may include MAC Flooding or ARP poisoning, which are usually a result of unhardened routers.

 

Network – Network layer attacks, unlike attacks at the Data Link layer, can be performed over the internet. There are more DoS attacks possible at this layer such as ping floods or ICMP attacks.

 

Transport – The main threat at the Transport layer is port scanning. This attack seeks out open or unused network ports and exploits these weaknesses in order to access your data.

 

Session, Presentation and Application – The attacks that occur at these layers are primarily related to flaws in code. As a result, attackers can implement their own code into your network and extract data. An example of this is SQL injection. Again, educating your team on best practices is crucial to preventing these attacks.

 

How do you implement the OSI model into your own security plan?

 

The OSI model is a valuable tool that will help you identify cyber threats wherever they exist and effectively secure your network. However, cyber protection does not end there—it is an ongoing process. Beyond the OSI model, there are additional tools that should be implemented into our cybersecurity plan in order to achieve complete protection. This can be a complicated and time-consuming process if you try to go it alone. Employing experts to help will save you time and give your network more intensive protection.

The cybersecurity team at Fortress has the industry knowledge that you may lack to help secure your network. Not only does Fortress approach cybersecurity using the OSI model, but they also employ other industry-leading tools to further strengthen your network. In addition, we provide support online and on-site, and educate you and your team on how to better protect yourselves in-house.

Don’t wait for an attack to happen before securing your network. Visit our cyber page at gofortress.com/cyber to learn more about the powerful suite of Fortress cybersecurity services and to request a free security audit.

START A PROJECT

MAKE YOUR MOVE.

Fill out the form, tell us about your project, and we'll reach out to you.

    Services

    LET US HELP TRANSFORM YOUR BRAND.

    START A PROJECT