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  • Google+ Moves Forward

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014 by

    Most businesses opt to use Twitter or Facebook as a means of communicating with their customers, or their potential customers; though there are those that are willing to utilize G+, they often do so as an afterthought, making it a nice place for many of us to hang out who don’t like dealing with advertisements in our news, information, and social escapades. Still, with Facebook starting to trail behind the others, as it increases the amount of advertisements and decreases in popularity, many users are starting to turn to G+ as the next big platform.

    Google Plus
     

    What Does This Mean For Businesses?

    You may want to get on board with G+, and Google’s making that easier than ever for you to do now. All e-commerce business owners use some form of analytics in order to determine the best moves for their business, allowing them to find out where they want to take things from here, so to speak.

    While this has been somewhat possible through social media as well, many business owners find that they don’t want to pay the additional fees needed in order to access this information, leaving them questioning as to whether or not they are doing things right on the social media platforms. Well, no more!

    G+ now offers businesses the ability to access all of the analytic information that they need in order to determine the best methods of connecting with customers, identifying what is working and what is not, and, perhaps more importantly, works to increase the amount of control that small businesses have over their promotional activities. Offered as a part of the service now known as “Google My Business,” small business owners are able to manage many aspects of their online presence, including search results, maps, directions, reviews, and the analytical data offered to them through the use of G+.

     

    Time To Make A Change?

    Google’s always worked to try to provide users with all of the information that they could ever possibly need or want (and then some), but now it appears as though they are working to take care of not just individuals but businesses as well. With all this available readily at your fingertips, perhaps it’s time for you too to consider making a change; if not permanently, at least working to include G+ in your retinue of tools.

  • Why Customer Service Matters

    Friday, July 25, 2014 by
     
    customer service
    Sure, everyone says that customer service matters, and that customer service is important to the way that they do business... but how many times do you feel like the above situation is what’s actually happening when you’re dealing with a company? The most common perception is that no matter what the party line is, the fact of the matter is that companies today just don’t care. Most people get annoyed with it, but few people actually take the time to think about how those perceptions transfer to their business.  

    Does this Sound Familiar?

    You have an issue with a product you’ve purchased from a company, something frustrating in and of itself, and, already irate, you attempt to contact the company regarding the issue you’ve experienced. You want the company to take responsibility for the faulty product and take the time to get the matter resolved. Instead you either get an automated response, or, worse, the company tells you that it’s your fault that the issue arose and you’re out of luck, placing the blame on you for the issue with the product, regardless of whether or not it’s your fault that the issue occurred. You rant, rave, maybe even cuss, and get blown off in return.  

    Why it matters

    Your business won’t last if you don’t have any customers, and the introduction of social media to the business world makes this all the more important, as all the other customers of your company can see and talk about all of the issues that have occurred with your business in a medium that is directly tied to your business. The more negative that is said, the less likely that new customers will deign to use your products or services because they don’t want the same experience; business will continue to decrease until either you do something to correct the problem or until your company is down the drain.  

    What you should do

    Don’t make it simply a party line. Make customer service actually matter. Take the time to treat each customer as though their issue is unique (even though most will not be), and take the time to get it resolved correctly the first time. If you sell second hand appliances and you swear you’ve tested them out, don’t blame a customer when a thermostat breaks less than a month after they’ve bought it from you. If a product got damaged in shipping, apologize; don’t blame it on the post office. Always apologize for the issue. If it’s an issue of damage or an issue with a defect, ask for the product to be sent back, or ask for a picture of the issue, depending on what the issue is and what the product is. Have a system in place of working to handle issues. Resolve whatever the issue is promptly, and resolve it the first time. Treat each customer as though their business matters, and as though you value their opinion. Keep all negativity about the situation or about the customer to yourself. Treat each situation as though it could make or break your business, because it could. Once you’ve made customer service your priority, you have a solid foundation upon which to grow your business.  
    Image Source: Zetta. (2014). Customer Support Matters. Retrieved from http://www.zetta.net/images/Customer%20Support%20Matters%20at%20Zetta300x197.jpg
  • Social Media Is Important, If Done Properly

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014 by

    Social media allows individuals to stay in contact with each other. That was the the original premise for its creation, also allowing folks to make new connections and friends across the vast open space that is the Internet. In recent years, however, social media has evolved into being utilized as a means of allowing organizations to promote their products to individuals, interact with their customers, and spark discussion and debate regarding the different products that are being offered.

    social_media  

    The Benefits

    This type of access, allowing brands and companies to interact with their customers in this manner is a great boon to organizations, providing them with information and insight into consumer preferences in ways that never would have been possible in the past while also allowing them to obtain personalized and direct responses and information from consumers regarding how their product performs, along with additional information about the desires of the market.

     

    The Crux of the Matter

    In spite of all of this positivity, there is one issue that is arising with increasing frequency: spam. Not spam in the traditional sense of the word, which relates to unsolicited email messages, but a new equivalent. I, personally, had avoided Twitter for years, but recent events prompted me to finally set up an account. I was almost immediately spammed with requests from companies to “follow” them. Companies that I had never heard of, whose requests were sometimes not even in English, but I’ve never heard of these companies and, to my chagrin, I hadn’t even filled out my interests yet!

    These businesses mostly just wanted follows, though some asked me to “retweet” information on their business to get their name out there. These were clearly generic requests, sent out automatically. Now, some businesses may think that this is a good thing, that it’s an alright business practice, acceptable even, after all isn’t the whole point getting your name out there?

    No. It’s not okay at all. Not only did I delete every single one of these, I also blocked those companies from contacting me. This is not the type of publicity for which businesses should aim.

     

    The Nitty Gritty

    Social media should be used by the business not necessarily to solicit, but to let their brand speak. It’s fine to send messages to those who have expressed an interest in your company via social media, but if you’re just randomly hoping to contact someone who might take the time to like or follow your organization, this is arguably spam. You want a user to want to talk about you in a positive manner. You want that individual to like your company or follow your company, expressing to their network that your business is worthwhile, but if you do nothing to engender that feeling, you’re shooting yourself in the virtual foot. Use social media strategically and your company has the potential to go far.

     
    Image Source: LinkedIn. (2013). Social Media. Retrieved from http://blog.linkedin.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Social-Media-and-College-Admissions.jpg-1024x701.jpeg
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  • What Is The TPP And Why You Should Care

    Monday, June 30, 2014 by
    tpp Over the last year the news has been filled with more and more information on the TPP, or Trans-Pacific Partnership. Some people are for it, some people are against it, and some wish to receive more information about the TPP before they decide. There are a few issues with this. The TPP is, at its core, a trade alliance, one that if agreed upon will create a partnership between twelve countries. Now, we have many different trade alliances between the U.S. and countries around the world, and there are those that argue that this is just one more. It is someone else’s responsibility to know what’s going on, they might argue, or they, mistakenly, believe that it doesn’t concern them. We let you know about SOPA back in 2011, and now we’re letting you know about TPP, or, to be more accurate, we are letting you know what it is possible to know about the TPP. There are many different areas covered, from food to imports and exports, but the reason we bring it to your attention is due to its potential effects on the internet.  

    A Secret?

    As a precursor, it is important to note that there is a distinct lack of transparency associated with the TPP; unlike other trade agreements of the past, this one is being done in secret, and very little information is making its way to the public eye, all of which has been leaked. From those documents, however, it is possible to see that many of the principles of SOPA that we disagreed with so strongly have been included in the TPP. Though it will do far more than this, and affect far more areas than just the Internet, the most important thing for Internet users to pay attention to is the fact that it will work to decrease the online rights of companies and users alike, reducing Internet freedoms and working to increase the likelihood of net neutrality disappearing into the mists of time, something spoken of as a myth that never was. These online freedom restrictions would not only work to restrict, and in some cases, remove freedom of speech from the internet, but, in essence, the parties who are in agreement with the TPP would have to abide by the same laws as the country with the strictest control over their users' internet usages; an approach that would include the necessity of users to take down pages without question and remain down until such a time as the site owner could prove the right to post it, instead of applying the traditional laws that require the hosting provider to provide proof to the owner that the site must be removed and must provide the owner with a reasonable amount of time to do so before blocking access to the site itself.  

    Things Continue to Unfold

    As more and more information on the TPP is leaked, more users are working to take action, lobbying politicians to take action against approval of the TPP. Google’s placed considerable time and effort into doing so, and now the AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations – a national trade union center) is pushing for the government to decline to participate as well. As we said back in 2011 – “We here at HostGator support a free internet. An internet in which free information and unhindered distribution of said information is an unalienable human right.” We still stand by this statement and we believe that you need to know what is occurring in regards to this most troubling piece of legislation.  
    Image Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation. (2014). TPP Banner. [image online] Available at: https://www.eff.org/sites/default/files/TPP-banner.png [Accessed: 27 Mar 2014].
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  • The Internet Is More Than Memes

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014 by
    When you think of the Internet there are a few things that come to mind, among them: cats, procrastination, and memes. Some people spend hours online looking up all kinds of random information, parodies, and a host of other nonsensical information. There are people who don’t know that the man in the meme shown is Gene Wilder, or that this is from the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Ensuring that Gene Wilder is remembered for more than just a picture with a funny caption should be the least of your concerns, however.
     

    The Internet Really is More than Memes

    The fact of the matter is that you should stop thinking of the internet as just for memes, as just for killing time on Imgur, or as a means of checking to see what the latest drama is on Facebook. The internet isn’t just about killing time; it’s about benefitting your business.  

    How can the Internet Benefit MY Business?

    The Internet can only work to benefit your business as much as you let it. If you don’t have an online presence, the Internet can do virtually nothing for you. If you have a website, it won’t help unless you let people know it’s there, and if you don’t keep your website updated, it can’t work to benefit you; people will check it out once or twice, see that it never changes, and forget about it. It takes a lot of time and effort to work to promote your company online, setting up advertisements, keeping your site up to date, and generally working to stand out above the rest. The more you do, the more your online presence can benefit you, and the more that other people too will be able to see that the internet is for more than just memes. Create a blog, setup profiles on the different social media sites, setup advertisements, or offer promotions in keeping with holidays or even simply because you feel like it. You can even make up a reason for a promotion! As long as you work to keep your online presence strong, through self-promotion and the promotion of others, the Internet will become more than just a means of keeping you occupied at three in the morning – it will become a gateway into bigger and better things for you and your company.  
    Image Source: Troll.me. (2014). More Memes. Retrieved from http://www.troll.me/images/creepy-willy-wonka/i-see-you-know-more-memes-than-me-you-must-lead-an-exciting-life.jpg
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