Mar
26

5 Social Media 101 Tips for Businesses

Networking is no longer just updating your business card and dispersing as needed. It has become more than just rubbing elbows with fellow business owners at the annual banquet and making calls to potential clients. Today’s definition of networking includes an array of virtual options that are becoming common-place in the communication mix, and we are left with social networking. Providing an abundance of options, opportunities and potential, social networking or social media, can become very overwhelming. Great Plains Communications would like to share just five basic tips to keep in mind when starting up your business’ social presence.

  1. Pick the right platform for your business.  Don’t feel like you have to utilize every social media outlet. First figure out your demographic, and plan accordingly. If you are targeting an older market, Twitter might not be the best use of your time. Instead of quantity, focus on the quality of content you are publishing.
  2. Keep it updated and consistent.  One of the biggest unspoken rules of social media is to keep your information up-to-date. This means information from your past experience on LinkedIn, to office hours and company values on Facebook. You must also keep it consistent. By keeping the ‘About Me’ of your company consistent on all social networks, you build branding and association for the customer.
  3. Start the conversation.  Plan out your content and make sure you are present on your sites. This doesn’t mean you need to spend hours on Twitter or constantly checking Facebook. Rule of thumb, a minimum of three Facebook posts a week and five tweets a week.  It is different for every business, but never posting can look worse than not having a site at all.
  4. Share the love.  Just as you ask friends to like your page or follow your account, reach out and do the same for other businesses. When you retweet, you get retweeted. This comes from the ‘I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine’ mentality. If you see a post that you think your customers would benefit from, share it.
  5. Track results and adjust.  All social networks have some form of analytics or tracking feature to let you see just how well your posts are doing. Don’t take it personally if you don’t get retweeted, or if nobody likes your post. Social media is about trying new things and figuring out what works for your business and your customers. Take the results, adjust and try something else. Don’t give up.

 

Mar
24

Stay Informed with Severe Weather Awareness Week

It’s Severe Weather Awareness Week and Great Plains Communications wants to remind you of some important tips and procedures to help keep you and your loved ones safe during severe weather situations.

We provide local Weather on Channel 2 through GPC-TV, bringing you 24/7 access to up-to-date weather information. Weather on Channel 2 tracks weather at the national and local level via advanced satellite imaging along with the five-day forecast.

One of the most important factors to severe weather safety is understanding and receiving up-to-date warnings. Are you in a Watch or Warning, and what does that mean for you?

 

Watch

A watch is just that, when the conditions are favorable for the development of severe weather and should continue to be tracked. At this time, it would be best to take precautions and make sure you have supplies prepared should bad weather arise.

Warning

When a warning is issued, severe weather is either occurring or impending. At this point, you should immediately take action to protect yourself, your family and your property.

 

To keep you updated, GPC-TV’s Weather on Channel 2 uses an easy to understand color guide alert in the case of severe weather. The feature will shift the general color of the channel to yellow if there is a watch issued in the area, and to red if there is a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning.

You must be a Great Plains Communications Cable subscriber to have access to GPC-TV and Weather on Channel 2. Check the GPC-TV website for a list of communities with Weather on Channel 2 availability. If you would like to sign-up or have additional questions, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483, and a representative would be happy to help you.

Mar
19

Throwback Thursday: Great Plains Communications Comes to Blair

The year 1925, Main St. Blair, NE

As a Throwback Thursday, Great Plains Communications (GPC) would like to look back on their beginning in Blair. As a four-generation company with 105 years of experience, GPC is proud to service 90 communities throughout Nebraska with nearly 200 employees. Not only do they provide residential services of broadband Internet, high-definition cable television and local and long distance calling, but they have greatly expanded their business services as well. The company has grown to providing business services into the neighboring states of Kansas, Minnesota, Wyoming, South Dakota and Colorado.

 

 

E.C. Hunt and his wife Vera

Looking Back

E.C. Hunt purchased the Bell Telephone and Farmers Telephone in Blair, Nebraska and the move was final. He and his family came from Walthill to run their new business. In 1927, Frederick S. Stott, an architect from Omaha designed a new telephone building providing space for the consolidation of the two Blair telephone exchanges. The approval granted by the Nebraska Railway Commission came later that year, allowing Hunt to purchase Bell’s lines and ensure that Blair, Kennard and Fort Calhoun would receive telephone service from the Blair Telephone Company.

Mar
17

5 Fun Facts about St. Patrick’s Day

No matter if you are 100% Irish, 10% Irish, or just enjoy the land of Saints and Scholars, St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday enriched with history and culture. Great Plains Communications wants to highlight five fun facts about St. Patrick’s Day and the origin of the holiday.

  1. St. Patrick, in which the holiday was named after, was not even Irish. He was in fact born in Britain around A.D. 390. At a young age, Patrick showed no desire for Christianity or religion. It wasn’t until he was kidnapped and forced to tend sheep as a slave in the countryside of Ireland, that his strong Christian beliefs took root.
  2. The myth of St. Patrick driving away all the snakes of Ireland is just that, a myth. According to National Geographic, the myth is said to have developed through a metaphor representing Patrick ridding the country of its “old, evil, pagan ways”. There were in fact no snakes to begin with, due to the frigid cold of the island.
  3. The parties and green overload started in America, not Ireland. What started as a small religious holiday in the 18th and 19th century in Ireland, took on a whole transformation with the migration of Irish immigrants to America. They showed their pride and celebrated their home country on March 17. The popularity of the holiday didn’t find its way to non-Irish Americans until well into the 20th Century.
  4. The three-leaf shamrock is more than a decal. It is said that the three-leaf clover, or shamrock, originated when St. Patrick used it in explaining the Christian Holy Trinity. However, there is no evidence to support this legend and others believe it was due to their annual spring budding.
  5. Corned beef and cabbage is more of an American dish than Irish. When many think of St. Patrick’s Day, the traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage comes to mind. However, beef was not often used in Gaelic Ireland, but more often pig was in its place. The true Irish dish still today is made up of either lamb or bacon with cabbage. 

Mar
12

Spring Cleaning your Computer

Has your documents folder become the junk drawer of your computer? You don’t notice until your once fleeting load time has become more of a bathroom break between tasks. Well, it’s that time of year. Open up the windows, let the fresh air in and clean out those pesky untouched programs, services and files. It’s time to spring clean your computer.

Great Plains Communications has some specific steps and programs to consider when starting the process.

-          Erase Unwanted Files

Get rid of those research papers from college, memes you found funny a year ago and any pictures you could keep on a USB flash drive. By deleting files, you clear up storage space making it easier and faster for the computer to find information.  For Windows users, CCleaner is a free app that could speed up the process. Click on the link to find out more information, but be sure to read through the entire process, as the program does much more than just deleting files.

-          Update Software

By not keeping your software up-to-date, you aren’t allowing your computer to be the best version of itself. Skipping multiple updates will cause your loading times to increase rapidly. Make sure to keep not only your software updated, but also your virus protection. For computers with built-in virus protection, sit back and relax while your software update does all the work for you.

-          Defrag Hard Drive

Defragmentation is simply speeding up read times on the hard drive, by moving sequential data physically closer together so that it doesn’t have to search the entire drive to find specific data. The easiest way to do this is by using the free program Defraggler.

An additional option would be Great Plains Communications’ Tech Home. With Tech Home, you are provided with world-class security for all devices, home and on the go, while also having access to 24/7 “Live” tech support. Tech Home costs just $14.99 a month with all tech assistance free of charge. It provides the support you want and the protection you need around the clock, to ensure your computer won’t be bogged down and is functioning at its full potential.

There are multiple ways to increase performance speeds on your computer, but take the time this season and find which ways work best for you. If you would like more information or would like to sign up for Tech Home, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

Mar
10

Troubleshooting Home Network Issues

Having problems with your Internet connection can be frustrating and confusing. After your first 12 tries at the refresh button, you restart the device. All that does is gives you a few minutes to contemplate just how frustrated you are. It still doesn’t work. Great Plains Communications wants to give you a few tips on how to troubleshoot the problem to either solve the issue, or provide you with helpful information for tech support in assisting you further.

First off, what are you having an issue with?

Email

When having problems with your email, ask yourself the following questions before panicking and continuously hitting resend.

-          Did you go over your quota in your mailbox?

-          Is it not sending to a certain email or to all email accounts?

-          If you send group emails, are you getting an error stating you sent too much mail? If so, are you registered for mass email agreement with Great Plains Communications?

Modem & Router

If you don’t have an Internet connection reaching any of your devices, it might be your modem that is causing the problem. Your modem is what allows data to travel over a phone line from your device to the Internet. The router then connects all other devices to the modem. So if the only problem seems to be the connection to your tablet or laptop, the issue is more likely in the router.

-          Is your ADSL or DSL light flashing? This means the modem is not connected.

-          Is there a red Internet light on? This means your DSL modem is not getting an IP to connect.

-          Is your Ethernet light on or off? This will determine if the connected device is online.

Specific Website

If you are having problems with a specific website that will not load or is continuously giving you an error, the first step you could take is entering the link into “Down For Everyone Or Just For Me.” This site will help you determine if the problem is with your device. If it comes back that the problem is with your device, there are numerous things it could be, from something in your computer stopping the stream of data reaching the Internet to really anything along the way.

These are just three of the many common problems users may experience with their home networks. If troubleshooting the problem on your own does not work, follow these last few steps in contacting our tech support and they will be happy to help you.

-          Make sure you have your account number ready.

-          Be sure to be in front of your computer, to enable you to walk through tech suggestions step by step.

-          Expect to be on the phone for a minimum of 20 minutes, as it can take some time for a tech to pinpoint the exact issue.

-          Have all your findings from doing your own troubleshooting ready.

-          Call 1-855-853-1483, Option 1

Mar
03

What Sunspots Mean for You

As you watch a thunderstorm, it’s hard to miss the immense power from a strike of lightening. Most people aren’t aware that the Sun also has the ability to create a magnetic disturbance similar to lightening. When energy from the Sun expands, solar flares are created, better known as sunspots. For around two weeks each fall and spring season, you might notice some channels periodically showing a fuzzy signal, sparkles, or even a total loss of signal. Typically lasting 5 to 15 minutes, the sunspot activity should not cause any worry, as it will pass.

What this means for you as a Great Plains Communications customer and your satellite channels:

Date

Start Time

Duration

Start Time

Duration

Start Time

Duration

3-Mar-15 12:10 PM 8 minutes 3:01 PM 7 minutes 3:19 PM 7 minutes
4-Mar-15 12:09 PM 9 minutes 3:00 PM 9 minutes 3:17 PM 8 minutes
5-Mar-15 12:09 PM 9 minutes 2:59 PM 9 minutes 3:17 PM 9 minutes
6-Mar-15 12:09 PM 9 minutes 2:59 PM 8 minutes 3:17 PM 8 minutes
7-Mar-15 12:10 PM 4 minutes 3:00 PM 6 minutes 3:18 PM 6 minutes

So what exactly causes the disruption in your channels? As the satellites orbit, they eventually will align between the Earth and Sun. As a result of the mini-eclipse the satellite has formed, the Sun’s rays overpower the transmission from the satellite. It is important to note that the effects brought on by sunspot activity is not a cable outage and there is nothing Great Plains Communications, or any other cable provider, is able to do. The Sun outages are often country-wide, and the only thing we can all do is wait for it to pass. Luckily, after 5 to 15 minutes of disruption, your program should, as before, air as normal.

If the problem does not subside after 20 minutes, please call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 and they will be sure to have our technicians look into the issue. For more information on sunspots and the current level of solar activity, visit NASA’s website at http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/SunspotCycle.shtml.

Feb
26

Tech Home – Keep Your Technology Secure

Living in a world of technology has made it easy for us to stay connected. We have friends, businesses and online information all at our fingertips. Our lives have become a constant stream of emails and newsfeeds connected between multiple devices. Great Plains Communications wants to make sure you understand just where those connections are going and make sure they are all protected, with a new service called Tech Home.

The program provides world-class security for all your devices, home and on the go, with web security and antivirus systems. Gone away is the worry of lost files when your device crashes or gets damaged. With Tech Home you will be able to sync and back up all your files, photos, contacts and additional important information. No matter where you are, or which Wi-Fi you connect to, Tech Home will have you covered with a cloud-based protection keeping your personal information secure and convenient.

With round-the-clock technicians, you will always be provided with help to setup, test, fix and enjoy your network. Up to four computers, laptops, phones or tablets are covered through Tech Home, with the low price of just $2.99 for an additional mobile device and $4.99 for an additional laptop.

With Tech Home, you’ll have the support you are looking for and the protection you need. For more information on the new product, call 1-855-853-1483 or visit our website at https://www.gpcom.com/residential/internet/techhome.

Feb
24

Where is your Bandwidth Going?

Complaints of slow or poor Internet service are becoming increasingly prevalent in our technology driven society. Files are taking too long to download, videos keep buffering and the refresh button just doesn’t seem to be doing the trick. Great Plains Communications wants to shed some light on the disappearance of your bandwidth, and help you see where it could be going.

For starters, how does bandwidth work? Bandwidth measures how much information an Internet connection can move at a given time. That is why, when you have a large amount of bandwidth available, you will experience a smooth, responsive experience and the opposite follows suit.

Let’s say you are watching an HD video on Netflix, your 10 Mbps will be plenty. But if you are sharing a connection with your spouse and two children, with one watching YouTube videos and another streaming music while taking an online quiz about what Disney princess they would be, your 10 Mbps won’t get you very far.

When your wireless router splits the bandwidth between all the devices in your home, you may experience a slight lag in performance. Don’t jump to buying a new router, instead check to make sure you don’t have a bandwidth hog left running. Update files overnight. Look into upgrading to a speed that better fits the Internet habits and appetite of your family.

If you have any questions or would like to upgrade your services today, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 and a representative would be happy to help you.

Feb
19

Don’t Forget to Bundle!

 

Stop waiting around for each of your bills, to start your monthly budget. Bundle with Great Plains Communications and experience the convenience of just one bill a month. Get High-Speed Internet, Cable Television and Local & Long Distance Telephone services while saving up to 40%. It’s as simple as choosing the combination of services that best fits your family’s needs and enjoying unity, choice and value with your new bundle. Our bundle plans offer you special, low-cost pricing and just a single monthly bill through one company.

One company means one relationship, one bill and one great value.

Find out what services are available in your area on our website and start bundling today. If you have any questions or would like to sign-up, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

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