Trivera's Tom Snyder Maintains Busy Speaking Schedule

The new year is shaping up to be as busy as the old one for Trivera Founder and CEO Tom Snyder who will be speaking at several Midwest events.

On February 2, 2012, Tom will be presenting "Managing Social Marketing" at the Metropolitan Builders Association Business Management Symposium at their headquarters in Waukesha. The event is open to members and non-members. Details and registration information can be found on the MBA Site.

The following week, on February 9th, Tom will be presenting "Twitter: Fun and Games or Powerful Business Tool?" at the Sales Progress 2012 Kickoff held at the Milwaukee Athletic Club. The event also includes other seminars, followed by a large networking session, and free soda and food.  The event is free, but registration is required. Details are here.

Later in the month, Tom will be presenting "Getting to the Top in Google – Your Blueprint for Search Engine Success" at the Wisconsin Association of Home Builders 2012 Builders' Conference, at the Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells. The event runs February 22-24, 2012, with Tom's presentation kicking things off first thing on the morning of the 22nd. The event is open to members and non-members. Details and registration can be found at the WHBA site.

Watch for more opportunities to hear Tom and other Trivera team members to speak and present at events throughout the Midwest in 2012. Or contact us to have a Trivera team member speak at your event.


9 Questions Your IT Guys Need to Answer Before You Host Your Own Website

16 years ago when I started our web development firm, I had to decide where we were going to host our client sites. At the time there were really only a couple places in Milwaukee that offered website hosting, and none of them offered up-time guarantees or provided much in the way of service or support, even for companies like ours that would be sending them dozens of clients.  But we had to choose one. So we did, and hosted all our client websites there.

After 2 years of frequent and extended down times, poor support and clients calling us to solve problems we couldn’t fix, we decided to set up our own hosting operation. We’ve been hosting our client sites ever since.

Occasionally, we have a new client who wants to host with a large, cheap, national commodity hosting company. We explain to them why it’s unwise to put their website somewhere with slow load times, poor (or non-existent) support, chronic downtime and/or a value proposition of being the hosting provider whose commercials tease you with a chance to see Danica Patrick and Jillian Michaels naked. They usually see the light and let us host it.

But, lately, we’ve been seeing another growing trend. Clients who proudly tell us they’re going to host the site themselves. The effort is always driven by an internal IT person with one of several predictable motives, none of which include an objective decision to put the site on the best hosting service possible.

If you’re thinking about hosting your own corporate web presence, and have your IT guys insisting  that you can, or even should, host it internally, you’ll want to ask them these 8 questions to determine whether that’s the direction to go:

1.) Does your internal hosting solution include guaranteed power backup capabilities?

We’re not talking about a little consumer level APC battery backup, but a system that automatically flips to batteries and/or generators with private fuel contracts that assure your site will remain up without any interruption, even in the event of a power failure that lasts for days. Or weeks.

2.) Are they willing, able and available to provide the service and support a website requires?

That doesn’t mean just 8am-5pm on weekdays. Real website support means someone who is available 24/7/365 to immediately respond to phone calls or emailed issues related to outages and other server problem. It means having those phone numbers and email addresses on every page of your website. It also means a commitment not to let those problems wait till it’s convenient to fix them, but a proficiency, willingness and dedication to restore a crashed server within 20 minutes, no matter when it happens.

3.) Do they understand everything necessary about making a hosting environment PCI-DSS compliant?

This means knowing when to update all the hosting infrastructure-specific packages (OS, Web server, Database, compilers and platforms, SSL handling, etc.) , and understanding what is necessary to protect credit card and other critical personal information.

4.) Are they so confident in their security expertise that they are comfortable providing a potential backdoor to your company’s entire internal network to the world? 

There are armies of hackers, crackers, pirates and other miscreants who pride themselves on being superior to your IT people when it comes to web security. They scour the web with bots and spiders to find vulnerable systems they know they can exploit, and when they find them, they tunnel in as far as they can go… not just stopping at your site, but also taking advantage of typical network infrastructure to gain access to your data. All of it. Are your guys absolutely certain that your systems would be safe?

5.) Do they know how to stop or, better yet, prevent a distributed denial of service attack (DDOS)?

The solution to having your site bombarded and overloaded with thousands or millions of hits from IP addresses all over the world is not doing an emergency Google search when it happens to figure out how to make it stop.  By the time you find your answer, your site, your server and your network may already be suffering damage from which it might not ever recover.

6.) Does your network connection provide redundancy in its connection to the web?

We’re not talking about dual T-1?s coming in through the same pipe, but rather redundant physical connections from multiple physical entry points to your building, each providing a different path to the Internet backbone to eliminate site outages to portions of the country in the event of a main trunk outage on any one of them.

7.) Does your connection provide the necessary dedicated bandwidth that websites need today?

With thousands of site visitors these days with broadband speeds of 20, 30 or 50 MBPS, one or even two T-1?s aren’t enough.

8.) Is it really worth it to make your company pay more for the development just so you can host it internally?

Your web developers are more efficient when they don’t have to develop your site in an unfamiliar, improperly equipped and potentially misconfigured environment, and have to deal with a server administrator that’s not familiar with their needs. Your cost to develop the site will be more if it’s hosted at your company.

So what if you ask your IT guys the above 8 questions, and they say “yes" or “yes, we can" to all of them? Ask them this one:

9.) Can you do all of this as a budget line item of less than a couple hundred bucks a month?

Even if your IT staff and internal hosting infrastructure is capable of the above, you need to ask yourself if it’s worth the expense. Add it all up. Can you really get all of this for anything close to the couple hundred dollars a month for a virtual dedicated server fully managed by your web development vendor, and even less for a site in a shared hosting environment in the same facility?

The logic is simple. Let your IT people focus on maintaining your internal network infrastructure and security and leave your website hosting to the guys who do it for a living, and have been for a long time. It’s too important to do anything less

Trivera's Tom Snyder Speaks at ISACA Event

Everyone is buzzing about Social Media. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, YouTube, blogs and other Web 2.0 sites and applications are the new face of the Internet.  Because Social Media is having a game-changing impact on how people make their buying decisions, businesses are rightly concerned. While Marketers view it as an amazing opportunity, others within most companies aren’t as enthusiastic.  Legal departments view it as a source of potential liability. For HR, it’s a ball of confusion. Accounting can’t figure out the return on the investment. Employees are unaware of its true impact on their career. And for IT, it’s just one huge pain in the rear.

Initiated as a consumer-oriented technology, social media is increasingly being leveraged as a powerful, low-cost tool for enterprises to drive business objectives such as enhanced customer interaction, greater brand recognition and more effective employee recruitment. While social media affords enterprises many potential benefits, information risk professionals are concerned about its inherent risks such as data leakage, malware propagation and privacy infringement. Enterprises seeking to integrate social media into their business strategy must adopt a cross-functional, strategic approach that addresses risks, impacts and mitigation steps, along with appropriate governance and assurance measures.

To educate professionals on the topic, Trivera president Tom Snyder presented The Risky Business of Social Media for the Kettle Moraine chapter of the The Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) on Wednesday November 16, 2011.

Event was presented LIVE  in BROOKFIELD, broadcast remotely to MADISON and the FOX VALLEY and available virtually via WEBEX.

Tom is available to speak for your event. Contact us for details

Trivera Websites Win National Design Competition

Trivera Interactive, one of the Milwaukee area's most established digital agencies, has been recognized by New York-based Graphic Design USA for its excellence in website design.

Seven websites created by Trivera were recognized for outstanding work in internet and interactive design. They include:

. "The 2011 American Graphics Design Awards attracted a remarkable 8,000+ entries; a very select 15 percent are recognized with an Awards Certificate of Excellence," said editor/publisher Gordon Kaye.

'We are thrilled to have our work recognized as part of this national competition," said Tom Snyder, President/CEO of Trivera. "Our designers have been doing great work for clients since our founding in 1996, and it's great for them to be recognized on a national stage" Snyder added. Andy Frahm and Ian McDowell are Trivera's designers who will be listed, along with examples of the winning designs, on the Graphic Design USA website and in a full-color 300-page annual in the near future.


Graphic Design USA has presented national design competitions that spotlight areas of excellence and opportunity for creative professionals For nearly five decades. The American Graphic Design Awards is the origi­nal and the flagship, open to everyone in the community: advertising agencies, graphic design firms, corpo­rations, institutions, publishers and more. It honors outstanding work across all media: print and collateral, advertising and sales promotion, corporate identity and logos, internet and interactive design, packaging and p-o-p, broadcast and motion graphics.

Trivera Interactive has been helping businesses re-enforce their brands by leveraging Web technology since 1996. As one of the Midwest's oldest and most respected digital firms, Trivera continues to lead the way in Web and application development, Search Engine Optimization and Marketing, Email Marketing, Social Media and Mobile Web and Applications creation from their location in the historic Mill Building in suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

For more information, contact Tom Snyder, 262-250-9400

Trivera's Tom Snyder speaks for Small Business Series

Join Trivera President and CEO as he presents an extensive 2 hour "Twitter for Small Business" seminar on Tuesday, September 20, 2011 as part of the UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education Small Business Seminars in partnership with UWM Small Business Development Center.

Usually his Social Media Overview has about 20 minutes on Twitter. From time to time he does a one hour Twitter seminar, and always seems to run out of time. This time, Twitter gets 2 full hours. Everything from tools to tactics and beyond:

  • Creating your Profile
  • Monitoring your Space
  • Building your Flock
  • Engaging your Twibe
  • Establishing your Cred
  • Marketing your Stuff

If you own or manage a small business, or are responsible for your company's marketing, you can't afford to miss this.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 Continental Breakfast included at 7:30 a.m. Seminar: 8:00-10:00 a.m. Research Park/Wauwatosa Chamber 10437 Innovation Drive Classroom 121 Wauwatosa

Chamber Member Price: $20 Community Member Price: $30


Sign up here, or call call the UWM School of Continuing Education at 414-227-3098

Trivera Covered in Local Patch Article

Menomonee Falls Patch editor Carl Engelking stopped by recently to see what was going on in one of the oldest, and coolest spaces in his beat. What he discovered gave him material for a front page article on Trivera and its president, Tom Snyder. Carl talks about the process that brought Trivera from its founding as a small website firm 15 years ago to one of the major Social Media and digital services firm in 2011.

See the entire article and photos here


Lights, Camera, Actually Good Video.

There’s no doubt that from an informational, persuasive and viral standpoint, video can be an important part of your marketing strategy.  And just like your website, presenting your brand the best way possible in this medium requires a professional. But as a business owner, I do understand the need to sometimes be forced to do things on the cheap.  That however, does not give you an excuse to create videos of the awful quality I see so much of online. It takes more than just the cheap cameras available today to produce a decent video yourself.  I know that there’s a “prevailing conventional wisdom" coming from a lot of Social Media “gurus" these days that says that rough, home-made video makes you more “authentic."

I say “Hogwash! “

You may think the information contained in a bad video may be helpful enough to the viewer that they’ll overlook bad production. I say this over and over: your brand is not your logo, it’s the promise of an experience. Everything you do either reinforces or erodes that brand. And simply put, bad video erodes your brand.

If you MUST create your own video, make sure that it reinforces your brand with these pointers:

1. Length. Video should be no more than 15 minutes with opening and closing credits. You’ll likely be posting your videos to YouTube as a part of both a storage/delivery solution and a component of viral distribution and 15 minutes is the maximum length YouTube will accept. If the topic cannot be completely covered in 15 minutes, create a series with 15 minute parts. Remember the Chinese proverb that says “The truth can be told in few words."  Understand that attention spans are short and the longer the video is, the less likely that people will stay engaged all the way through.

2. Subject matter. The goal is not to cram as much information into 15 minutes as you can. Online video is more compelling if the idea is simple. People are easily distracted when watching a video, so you can’t try to put too much into one. Try to convey one or two ideas at the most. Begin by telling people what you’re going to tell them. Then tell them, ideally using 3 points. Finally, tell them what you told them. Remember, you may be the expert, but the focus of the message is not you, it’s the viewer. They have a situation, a question, a problem or a curiosity, and you have the solution. Communicate that solution to them clearly, genuinely and enthusiastically. You’ll keep their attention, earn their appreciation and potentially win their business.

3. Content. If it’s about your brand, content should always be family-friendly.  You never know when a prospective customer will have a little one on their lap or looking over their shoulder, so make sure your content and language is appropriate for viewers of any age.  Don't disparage other products, services, people or organizations, and don't make inappropriate comments about age, race, gender, disability, sexual orientation or ethnicity. Don't advocate for any political organization or party or promote or recruit for any religious denomination. And don’t demean any of them either.

4. On-camera Presence. You are the authority. The way you come across needs to re-enforce that. If you’re not comfortable, it will show, and your viewers will be uncomfortable, too. You’ll undermine your own credibility. Practice to work on eliminating the “umms" and “uhhhs" so you sound confident and professional.

Then practice again, focusing on the camera. Unless you need to look at something you’re demonstrating, don't let your eyes wander anywhere else but directly into the lens. If you’re going to be sitting in the video, sit on a chair that doesn't swivel and practice to avoid squirming. If you’re standing,  practice to keep from rocking back and forth.

Practice enough times so that you’re not just reading copy, but actually communicating the information in a personal and conversational manner.

Practice, practice, practice.

5. Audio. Nothing screams “unprofessional" like a cheap microphone feet away from the speaker. Invest in a good clip-on microphone. Try to eliminate any distracting ambient room noise. If you’re shooting outside, make sure your microphone has a windscreen. If you'll have more than one person speaking, try to provide a microphone for each individual, and ensure that everyone's audio level is equal.

Your message is important. Do all you can to make it easy to hear so it can be understood.

6. Lighting. Lighting is everything. Digital video can’t have enough light. But if you’re shooting outside, try to do it on a slightly overcast day. Bright sunlight causes shadows and makes you squint.  Some cloudiness eliminates both.

If you’re shooting indoors, several lights aimed at the walls and ceiling will light you without blinding you, casting harsh shadows or reflecting off your face. Construction site lights actually work well if you’re on a budget.

7. Camera. Create your video in High Definition (720p or 1080i, ideally recorded at 29.97 or 24 frames per second). Even cheap video cameras (and even many still cameras) these days are capable of shooting video with that resolution. Don’t get cute with someone shooting while constantly moving around you, zooming in and out or circling you. This isn't MTV. Use a tripod, and put the camera close enough so you are the predominant image.

8. Stills slides and Edits. While not necessary, still pictures or slides with information  can be added. They are a good way to set a scene or help with transitions. But beware of video editing programs. If you don’t already know how to use them correctly, they can be a huge time suck. Keep your edits simple. Use edits primarily to remove extraneous and unnecessary footage, not to add wild transitions or effects. Less is more.

9. Music. Use background music only for scenes where you’ll be demonstrating something without narration or commentary. A music bed under the entire video will likely detract from your message and make it seem more like a commercial. You must have the author's and composer's permission to use any copy written music in your video. Don’t think that using your favorite smooth jazz instrumental won’t get you in trouble. Within minutes of your upload to YouTube, you’ll be getting a warning from them about copyright violation. Yeah, they find out almost immediately.

A big list, I know. But if your ultimate goal for creating a video is to position your brand as one based on quality and commitment to excellence, sweating the details on the production will be critical.  If the above list is overwhelming and intimidating, your limited time will be better spent maintaining your focus on your product or service and leaving the video to the pros.  But if you think you have an aptitude in this area, and are willing to heed the advice you may still be able to produce brand re-enforcing media yourself. While production values won't rival those you see on TV it may still be good enough.  If you're OK with your brand being represented by a happy medium it doesn’t take expensive equipment, just a little attention to detail. At least it won't be an embarrassment.

Jumpstarting Your Business with Social Media - Free Event

The leading Social Media firm in Southeastern Wisconsin is teaming up with the newest hotel in Menomonee Falls to help local businesses take advantage of the Social Media phenomenon. Trivera Interactive presents "Jump Starting Your Business with Social Media", Thursday, July 14th from 4 to 6pm at the new Radissson Hotel, Main Street and Hwy 45, in Menomonee Falls.

The two hour event, begins in the Radisson Ballroom with Trivera President and author Tom Snyder presenting: "Social Media - Fun and Games or Powerful Business Tool." Snyder is a regular speaker on the topic of Social Media and Web marketing at events like the Biz Times Biz Tech Expo, Metropolitan Builders Association, Social Media Breakfast, the Nonbox Winter Marketing Summit, and many other trade group and association events. The presentation will cover how to develop your strategy to determine which Social Media sites present the greatest chance for success, and then giving a brief overview of the most common uses of Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, YouTube and more.

Following the presentation, Snyder and other local experts will be on hand in the RBG Bar and Grill Restaurant, also at the New Radisson, for an hour to provide hands-on training and one on one Q&A. Sign ups for upcoming lunch and learns will also be available.

Since 1996, Trivera Interactive has been helping businesses leverage the power of Web and Social Media. Clients include Mitchell International Airport, Usinger's, Potawatomi Bingo Casino, Regal Ware, Frabill, the Metropolitan Builders Association, ZBB Energy and dozens of others. In 2009 Trivera's Social Media University, Milwaukee's first large Social Media training event drew 400 attendees. Trivera President is also the author of The Complete Idiot's Mini Guide to Real-Time Marketing Using Foursquare, published by Penguin Books and available at

The brand-new Radisson Hotel in Menomonee Falls, WI offers a beautiful, urban-design. Hotel features an array of outstanding amenities and services including complimentary Wi-Fi access, a Business Center, on-site Fitness Center, heated indoor pool and whirlpool, meeting facilities, and on-site dining and room service. The Radisson is just minutes from downtown Menomonee Falls and only 14 miles from Milwaukee's city center.

The event is free and open to all local businesses. Cash bar, appetizers and food will be available for purchase. Seating is limited. Please Register at

Trivera’s Tom Snyder Speaks at MBA Women’s Council

Trivera President and CEO Tom Snyder spoke at the April 2011 MBA Women's Council Lunch and Learn, on April 13, 2011. The event was presented by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Builder's Association Women's Council. The presentation, "Social Media, Fun and Games or Powerful Business Tool," included an overview of Social Media, including the need for a Strategy, an analysis of the various general uses of Social Media, and a look at the major tools and sites.

Details of the event are here, and the PowerPoint Presentation is here!

Trivera's Tom Snyder Speaks at Local Conference

Tom SnyderTrivera President and CEO Tom Snyder spoke at the 2011 Building Science Conference on March 23, 2011. The event, presented by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Builder’s Association covered a wide range of topics relevant to builders and the vendors who support the construction industry. The presentation, “Build your Bottom-Line with Social Media," included an overview of Social Media, including the need for a Strategy, an analysis of the various general uses of Social Media, and a look at the major tools and sites.

Details are here

Update:  Powerpoint presentation is available here.