Why Your Small Business Has the Motivational Edge Over Big Companies

motivational edge0Are you looking to hire employees this year, wondering how you can keep the employees you do have from heading off for greener pastures, or struggling for ways to keep them motivated?

Sometimes it seems like small businesses are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to hiring, motivation and retention, compared to big corporations that can offer higher salaries, posh benefits plans and luxurious settings. But a recent article by McKinsey (targeted, ironically, at big companies) points out the advantage small businesses have that they may not realize.

McKinsey looked at how business leaders can develop and encourage top performers in their workforce and found that, while both IQ and EQ (emotional intelligence) are important skills for bringing out the best in your team, what truly matters is the “meaning quotient” (MQ) – in other words, offering them the chance to do work that’s meaningful to them.

How can you create meaning at work?

McKinsey makes three recommendations that are far more easy and natural for a small business to implement than a big one:

Don’t Just focus on How a Person’s Work Benefits the Company

Focus on how it benefits four other elements:

  • Society as a whole.
  • The customer.
  • The work team and the individual worker.

When you drill down to the individual level, whether that’s the customer or themselves, employees become more motivated. In a smaller business, it’s easy to think in terms of smaller groups and units and to see how what you do on a daily basis affects those around you.

If Steve in fulfillment doesn’t pull his weight, Cindy in shipping suffers for it.

Let Employees Write Their Own “Lottery Ticket”

In other words, let them choose what they want to work on and how they want to improve themselves and the company.

While you can’t give employees unlimited freedom here, you can (and should) encourage them to think about what aspects of your business they want to learn more about, what new skills they want to develop, where they want to be next year and the year after – and how this can benefit your business.

Motivate Employees with Small, Unexpected Rewards

Can’t afford to give a big bonus at year-end?

The good news is maybe you don’t need to. McKinsey cites studies that show smaller, random rewards given at unexpected times can prove just as effective.

In fact, because they never come to be seen as expected, such “surprise” rewards can be even more valuable in motivating workers. A thank-you note, small gift or random afternoon off are examples of ways to motivate with the unexpected.

Of course, the bigger picture when it comes to creating meaning at work is that as a small business owner, you’re closer to your employees. You can learn what matters to each of them, and what meaning they find in their jobs – whether that’s solving customers’ problems so they leave with a smile, meeting increasingly higher sales quotas every quarter, or helping the others on their team.

Then, you can make sure each person gets more of what gives his or her work meaning.

How do you create meaning at work in your business?

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Why Your Company Should Be Using Responsive Design

using responsive design

Is your website or e-commerce site using responsive design? If not, now’s the time to make a change.

An increasing amount of Internet traffic is coming from mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. Not only are users doing social networking, checking and sending email, and surfing the web on mobiles; they are also making more purchases from these devices.

However, conventional web designs rarely account for the small screen sizes and different ways people use mobile devices. Responsive design corrects for these issues. It makes websites more functional and attractive whether visitors access them on desktops, tablets, or smartphones.

Benefits of Responsive Design

Adding responsive design to an e-commerce site is a wise investment for businesses of any size and in every industry. When a site readily accommodates any screen size, the benefits are:

  • Increased traffic — When customers are on the go, they often pull up websites they can view quickly and easily to obtain the information they need. Responsive sites make this possible, which results in visitors that come more often and stick around longer. 
  • Improved customer satisfaction — Websites that don’t incorporate responsive design often appear clunky and disproportionately small. Text may be hard to read and links difficult to click. With responsive design, reading and navigating a site becomes a snap, which instills confidence in potential customers. 
  • Higher conversion rates — Website visitors are often looking for a way to distinguish you from your competition and purchase your product. The easier you are to locate, learn about, and place items in a shopping cart, the more likely your site will convert visitors to customers.

How Responsive Design Works and Why it’s Important

Modern websites need to accommodate users of a variety of devices, says Google. Although traditional websites may appear on mobile screens, they often do so at such small sizes that users must manually expand content to find what they need.

If you have responsive design, your website becomes capable of automatically retracting and expanding according to the screen size of the computer, tablet, or smartphone being used.  See image above for examples.

According to recent analytics, the average website received 40 percent of its traffic from mobile users in 2013. This number had doubled since the year before.  It seems only likely to increase into the future. With more than 60 percent of mobile users in the United States currently carrying smartphones, these devices are fast becoming the primary method of Internet usage.

Considerations for Implementing Responsive Design

As companies make the transition from traditional to responsive websites, they often do so over several stages. Stages go from (1) contemplation, to (2) implementation, to (3) evaluation. Along the way, they use several considerations to guide their decisions:

  • Determining value propositions — When companies take the time to clearly define a compelling reason for audiences to visit their websites and become their customers, they end up with designs that better what they need.  What is the customer looking for? What value does the customer get?  Everything from your product to your service to your website functionality — all should work in conjunction with that value proposition.
  • Considering a mobile website — Depending on the complexity and types of features on your site, it may not work well on mobile devices, even with responsive design. Should this be the case, a separate mobile website offers a useful alternative. Customers can choose which version of the site they prefer, which enables them to customize their experience.
  • Examining competitors’ sites — Although each company’s website should be unique, look at competitor websites. This is a smart way to understand what mobile customers might expect. You may also discover ideas for functions and features that would work well on your own site. 
  • Selecting a design — When it comes to responsive design, simple is best. Many modern responsive websites incorporate larger, high-quality images along with minimal text. They use features such as cards to organize information. Regardless of the design, it should work with the functionality of the new website.

Which Type of Responsive Design is Right for Your Site?

According to DigiTech Web Design, deciding how to include responsive design in your website “depends on multiple factors, including your website’s unique characteristics, staffing capabilities, how much time you have, and your budget.”

These details help businesses choose between one or more of the prevailing responsive design adoption techniques, including:

  • Mobile-first responsive design — Companies designing a new website — or doing a complete overhaul — may want to consider this strategy. It molds the desktop site to its mobile design for a simpler, cleaner look. Mobile-first responsive design works well for companies whose audiences use smartphones and tablets as their primary device.
  • Responsive mobile sites — When a website proves too complex to translate into a responsive version, companies opt instead to build separate mobile sites from scratch. This helps the site retain its unique aesthetics.  It takes into account the separate user experiences of mobile versus desktop users.
  • Responsive retrofitting — When a website already has features conducive to responsive design, programmers change things around on the “back end” to make the site responsive without having to do a complete redesign. This often presents a more affordable option for companies who have a limited budget, or those who have already invested a great deal in web design.
  • Piecemeal responsive design — Websites may offer certain pages that are more appealing to mobile users than other pages. Rather than designing the whole website for the desktop or mobile user, a piecemeal approach treats each page separately. This option can help companies save money, if all they really need isto change a few pages.

Once you’ve decided on an approach, using responsive design will likely pay out dividends in increased traffic, happier customers, and a healthier bottom line.

Will you be a “leader of the pack” among your competitors in incorporating responsive design?

Remix of responsive design illustration by Shutterstock

[“source-ndtv”]

41 Percent of Your Competitors Are Going Mobile – Here’s Why You Should Join the Crowd

41 Percent of Your Competitors Are Going Mobile - Here's Why Mobile Apps May Become the Next Source of Competitive Advantage

As more and more consumers begin to rely on their mobile devices for personal and business use, instead of a more traditional means like a desktop computer, the need for a mobile app is rapidly growing. With 2015 being dubbed the Year of the Mobile, small businesses without a mobile app planned for the future will continue to fall farther and farther behind.

There’s typically only one reason that is causing these businesses to continue to hold out: money.

The Cost of a Mobile App

About a year and a half ago, a survey of a number of leading mobile app developers was conducted to determine the average overall cost of building an iPhone/Android app, including the factors or variables that affect cost the most. This data collected by Clutch reported that the average cost of mobile app development was between $37,913 and $171,450. For a small business, even the lower end of this price range is a hefty price to swallow, especially without an immediate return on investment.

Lucky for these small businesses, this price range has drastically decreased. While the numbers may be out of date, the data is still helpful for identifying the features that carry the highest cost when developing a mobile app. Most often these factors were typically the infrastructure, features, and design of the app, while less expensive aspects were things like planning, deployment, and even testing.

Why Mobile Development is More Accessible Now

What many business owners fail to understand is the average price range for a mobile app is vastly out of date. Remember technology changes so fast that as soon as data is distributed, newer technology makes development more accessible — thus lowering cost. This is the case when it comes to developing an app for your business.

As mobile development has become more and more popular and important in today’s business world, the number of app builders and development teams has also grown. More app builders means more competitive pricing; there are more options to choose from, and some of these options are remarkably cheap compared to the prices we were seeing just a year or more ago.

Also on the rise is app development software. Some of these software or app development services are designed for a small business to make their own mobile app(s) at a very, very low process. As long as a business owner is willing to take the time and effort required, these hyper user-friendly tools can drastically reduce price.

It is almost identical to the trends we’ve already seen surrounding web development through its infancy and beyond. In the early stages of the internet, having a website became an undisputed necessity for businesses. Yet, this new development was costly. Web development was a costly investment because there were only a small number of developers and designers available. Now, there are a number of inexpensive services that allow anyone to make their own functioning website, with relative ease.

Future of Small Businesses and Mobile Development

With a mobile app becoming a much more reasonable investment for a small business to swallow, the future looks very positive. Recent data reported by Clutch, an independent research firm,  shows that roughly a quarter of small businesses already have a mobile app and another 27 percent of them have plans to enter the mobile world in the next year or so.

There is still a large percentage of companies that are unsure or even feel it is unlikely that they will have a mobile app in the future. Yet, as prices go down and accessibility goes up, the detractors of mobile development could quickly find themselves convinced that it is now a viable option.

Part of this conversion from uncertainty to convinced and planning is simple education. Some of these detractors may have been quoted for a mobile app a year ago or more and still believe it is out of their price range. Others do not believe mobile is for them because they fail to see how it will impact their business or what a mobile app could be used for, within their specific industry or business.

What Mobile Development Can be Used For

When you look at the wide range of mobile apps on the market, you can quickly see the number of different applications of mobile development. At the core of all business apps, there is one of a number of key drivers. These factors include accessibility/visibility, improving internal processes and productivity and enhancing the customer experience.

Accessibility and Visibility. As mobile search volumes continue to grow, adopting a mobile platform is more and more important to remain accessible and visible to your audiences. If they cannot find you or interact with your brand in the mobile environment, they may defect to a competitor that they can see on their device. Alternatively, attracting new customers without a mobile app could become harder and harder, as you are not only harder to find, but also without a key tool to keep you up to date and stay competitive in your industry.

Internal Processes and Productivity. While we often think of apps in terms of creating a new platform for our customers to engage with, mobile development is also worth exploring to improve internal processes and productivity. Many companies utilize desktop software to facilitate certain day-to-day business processes. A mobile-centric version of this software could further enhance these processes, in some companies. After all, mobile is, well, mobile, which means you can perform these processes on the go, instead of having the interruption of needing to sit down and use a desktop module.

Customer Experience. Without mobile, a customer’s relationship with your brand or company is interrupted the moment they walk out the door. By providing a mobile app experience, that relationship does not have to end. Your brand is more accessible, appears more personable and can stimulate more communication. Improving the customer experience ultimately drives increased brand loyalty and reduces churn.

All of these factors and others have direct relationships with profits. The more visible you are, the more likely that new and existing customers can find your business and make new and future purchasing decisions. Internal mobile apps to help processes boosts productivity and, perhaps more than ever, time is money. Lastly, a mobile app is key to enhancing the customer experience, which is becoming more and more important to audiences. It is no longer about offering the best product and quality, you also need to provide the best experience and mobile is one of the most important facets of that experience.

Conclusions

The mobile world took off like a rocket. In only a few short years it developed from a trend and a business luxury, to an accessible and vital dimension of the modern business. In the past, small businesses could not afford to invest in this rapidly growing, mobile world. However, as mobile has grown, so has the number of app developers and services available, which has thereby caused mobile adoption to become much less expensive.

Mobile Apps May Become the Next Source of Competitive Advantage

Even though only about a quarter of small businesses have entered the mobile app world, more expect to join in the next year plus. The remaining small businesses that believe it is unlikely for them to join the mobile game anytime soon, may be convinced otherwise as prices go down and accessibility goes up. Some may just require a little bit of education towards understanding how a mobile app can increase profits through improving visibility, productivity and the customer experience.

Smartphone Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-ndtv”]

Do You Have a Blog For Your Ecommerce Site? Here Are 5 Reasons Why You Should

Do You Have an Ecommerce Blog? Here Are 5 Reasons Why You Should

The internet is so highly saturated with blogs that starting one now can be intimidating and feel pointless. After all, what’s another blog when thousands of similar blogs exist? Who would even read it? Is it worth it? If you’ve ever been curious about starting a blog but have found yourself stumped by questions like these, it may be time to take the next step on creating a blog for your business.

Adding a blog to your business/e-commerce site can impact your brand in ways that paid advertising can’t and that consumers are eager to respond to. In fact, choosing not to participate in the blogosphere could be putting you at a disadvantage and stunting your business growth. If you’re not sold on the idea just yet, here are 5 compelling reasons your ecommerce site needs a blog.

Why You Need an Ecommerce Blog

1. Blogs Build Trust

Ever been to a website that’s selling products or services but has no trace of real people anywhere? An impersonal presence can be particularly detrimental to e-commerce websites, because it strips the buyer experience down to bare bones. Blogs are a great way to restore that consumer trust and interest, because it gives you a place to add a personal, relatable flair on your website. Take, for example, Birchbox.

An Ecommerce Blog Builds Trust

Birchbox is a popular brand among my fellow twenty-somethings that sends a box of beauty products to try with a monthly subscription. What attracts women to this brand over going to the mall and buying their own beauty products is not just the appeal of getting a monthly package in the mail, but rather a trust in the authority Birchbox has. Their blog is a carefully curated display of tutorials, beauty tips, brands to watch and more that asserts a powerful message: you can trust Birchbox to send you your beauty products, because they know what they’re talking about. The blog is relatable, fun, and enforces the message of their products.

You can do the same for your brand by populating a blog with tips, tricks, and news relevant to your products or services. In doing so you’ll demonstrate to users that you’re an authority worth trusting and investing in.

2.  A Blog Can Grow Your Following/Consumer Base

Not everyone who sees your blog will be instantly inspired to purchase something from your e-commerce site. But in keeping with the build-up of trust, you could amass an enormous following through your blog that will gain you the recognition of other industry authorities as well as consumers who are more interested in making purchases.

It can also lead to beneficial relationships, if not with consumers then with other professionals of similar disciplines. After developing your blog and letting it grow a bit, you can start seeking out guest blogging opportunities to get noticed and feature other useful bloggers on your website. For example, pretend you have a business website that sells subscriptions, gifts, and cases of wine. You could invite a popular sommelier to write a guest post on your blog about pairing wines with certain foods, cooking with wine, etc. Your users would gain the tips and advice from your blog and come back to reference you for more helpful information. Even further, the sommelier may share the guest post across his or her personal network, giving your brand exposure, and even feature your business on their own blog. It may be a hypothetical situation, but real opportunities like this are opened up when you have a blog.

3. Blogs Attract New Leads

Adding a blog component to your website opens up new pathways for customers to reach you that might otherwise not exist. By having a blog that consumers can interact with, you can better understand their preferences, styles, concerns, habits, trends, etc. There could be an entire niche you’re unaware of or insights you’re missing due to a lack of customer interaction.

Blogs open up a portal to not only communicate with your client base, but also create share-worthy content that attracts attention from leads you might have previously failed to target or overlook.

4. Blog Content Will Boost Your Site Rank and Grow Links

Long form content doesn’t always have an appropriate place to reside on ecommerce websites, which is why having a blog component is so helpful. You can populate the blog with keywords, phrases, and internal links that search engines can easily crawl and respond to.

Strictly from an SEO standpoint, having a blog for your business site is definitely considered a best practice and is one of the surest ways to out-perform your competitors. The sheer quantity of links produced from a blog shows search engines that your site is active and is getting significant user traffic.

5. It’s a Built-in Content Marketing Tool

Channeling your content marketing efforts towards your blog is a great way to cut your time spent strategizing in half. You can focus on promoting high quality, utility-based information that will sustain publicity across social media and professional platforms. The content generated by and for your blog can be shared across the internet and used as a catalyst for getting your brand the attention it needs to be successful.

Blog Photo via Shutterstock

More in: Publisher Channel Content

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Why Handmade Matters

shutterstock_356475533

We live in a world where many things are mass produced. Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with that. It’s great that some things are manufactured in massive quantities in order to fill a worldwide demand for them.

But it’s also wonderful that more people everywhere are beginning to embrace things that are made by hand in small quantities. In case you hadn’t heard, here is why handmade matters.

Options Are Why Handmade Matters

1. Handmade is the New American Manufacturing

The past few decades have seen a consistent decline in traditional American manufacturing. It’s sad on one hand. On the other, it has paved the way for a new type of American manufacturing … one that embraces human potential and gives individuals a voice they might not otherwise have. To buy a handmade product is to affirm and give continues life to that human voice. When done throughout a community, multiple times over, an entire city can find new life. We see it happening all across the nation today and it’s making our nation a better place, one community at a time.

2. It’s Human Nature to Value the Creative Spirit

“Art and love are the same thing: It’s the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you.” – Chuck Klosterman

When you make something, you leave a part of yourself in it. When you are finished creating, you take pride in the work partly because you see yourself in it. When you buy something someone else made, you yourself are reflected in that purchase. Whether it’s the color, the texture, the shape, or just the mood you happen to be in, an item that has been crafted as an expression of the creative spirit person who made it is treasured and valued far beyond an item that was made for worldly mass consumption.

3. Handmade Items are Crafted in an Environment of Joy, Honor, and Respect

Have you ever studied the work space of a person who creates for a living? Their creations are almost always made in a space of joy, honor, and respect. Those same values somehow find their way into the very fiber of a handmade item. For example, consider that every inch of the yarn that forms a hand knit garment once flowed through the fingers of the Maker who knit the garment with intention and purpose. Who wouldn’t take extra special care of such an item.

4. A Handmade Item Cannot be Duplicated

No two handmade items are exactly alike. Variations in color, shading, texture, shape and grain are inherent in a handmade item. No two items are alike, so that every single one is one-of-a-kind. This means that every handmade item you purchase is also one-of-a-kind. What’s not to like about that?

5. Everything is More Beautiful When it’s Made with a Heart

You can serve your guests a frozen, mass produced pound cake or you can treat them to the one your mom made. The frozen one will do in a pinch, but only the one your mom made will touch the very heart of every one of your guests.

A consumer shift is happening. A movement if you will. More and more, people are willing to be educated about the value of a item that is made by hand.

People are starting to dream about things that don’t exist, but should, and then making them come to life.

This is why handmade matters. Surely everyone can understand that.

Want to learn more? Log onto your favorite search engine and search for “artisan local handmade in [your city, state].” Find something wonderful. It won’t take long, I promise. Go out and buy it. Then come back here and tell me all about it in the comments below.

Why do you think handmade matters?

Cabinetmaker Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Why Apple Can Take a Bigger Stand Against Trump Than Its Rivals

Why Apple Can Take a Bigger Stand Against Trump Than Its Rivals
Whatever happens at the Republican National Convention next month, one thing is clear: It won’t be brought to you by Apple. The firm won’t be providing any funding or support for the convention, according to news reports.Apple has been more outspoken on public policy issues than many of its peers in Silicon Valley. A report from Politico said that its latest move is because of the rhetoric of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Many of Trump’s positions, particularly on immigration, clash with the political stances of tech firms.

Apple, which declined to comment on the reports, is arguably in a unique position among tech companies to take big political stands. Not only does its size insulate it against some backlash, but it is also protected because expressing political opinions does little damage to the reputation of its products.

That’s not true for many other tech titans. Facebook learned emphatically this election cycle that the appearance of impartiality counts. After the controversy with “Trending Topics” and accusations of conservative censorship – accusations, it should be said, Facebook denies – it makes sense that the firm would tread lightly to maintain a sense of neutrality. So, despite the fact that chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has taken a pretty clear and public swipe at Trump, Facebook itself is sticking to the central path.

“Facebook will support both the Republican and Democratic conventions in a similar manner and without endorsing any one candidate, issue, or political party,” Erin Egan, Facebook’s vice president of US public policy, said in a statement to The Washington Post. “We believe encouraging this ongoing conversation is important because an informed debate about the candidates and the issues is essential to the democratic process.”Meanwhile, Google is in a similar position with its search engine. The firm has strenuously denied reports that it biases its search engine results to favor Hillary Clinton. Google will provide the technology to live-stream the Republican and Democratic conventions, but has not commented on whether it plans to sponsor events or make other donations.

Apple, however, is still largely a company that makes phones and the personal stuff that comes with them, rather than dealing in information. Although Apple is making inroads into the publishing business with Apple News, its platform doesn’t have nearly the reach of Facebook or Google – and therefore, people don’t look to it to be an arbiter of information in the same way. And so, despite the growing activism of Apple chief executive Tim Cook, there are still plenty of people who use iPhones and don’t agree with Apple’s stances on political issues.

There’s also certainly no love lost between Apple and the Trump wing of the Republican Party. Trump has repeatedly criticized Apple for its reliance on foreign labor as well as for its stance – widely supported in Silicon Valley – to oppose FBI demands to unlock the phone of San Bernardino, Calif., shooter Syed Rizwan Farook. Still, it does seem as though Apple is committed to making friends on both sides of the aisle – Cook will host a fundraiser for House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., according to a separate Politico report.

Trump does seem to be the sticking point for Apple, as seems to be true for other companies as well. Apple’s decision also falls in line with a broader campaign from the political action committee for advocacy group ColorofChange, which has asked several companies to divest from the Republican convention to protest Trump’s remarks.

Among tech firms, Hewlett-Packard has also said that it will not make cash donations to the convention. Microsoft has said it will significantly cut back its participation. Motorola has said it will not donate to either convention.

Non-tech firms that have said they will either not participate or cut back their participation in the Republican convention include Coca-Cola, UPS, Ford, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo. Organizers for the convention did not respond to a request for comment.

ColorofChange spokesman Rashad Robinson said that his group has focused on tech firms to take a stand because they deal in the business of being forward-looking — and, his group believes, Trump’s rhetoric is not. This is not a campaign that the group plans on running every four years, he said, but one that it felt it needed to run to combat comments that Trump has made about women, Muslims and immigrants.

The advocacy group has directed ads at tech company employees — targeting the IP addresses of prominent firms – to drum up popular support among Silicon Valley’s rank and file.

“Tech companies in many ways are signals of the future,” Robinson said. “They’re creating the innovation and the tools of what we will use in the future. And if you think about the America that Donald Trump is attacking, it’s the America of the future.”

And although he said he understands that firms such as Facebook and Google have to be careful about appearing biased, he also thinks that it would be possible to take a stand by denying financial donations without compromising their neutrality.

“We understand the role of those platforms have for covering events,” he said.

© 2016 The Washington Post

Tags: Apple, Apple News, Apps, Donald Trump, Encryption, FBI, Facebook, Google, Hillary Clinton, Internet, Laptops, Microsoft, PC,Tim Cook, Wearables
[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Why Facebook Suddenly Blacked Out All Ads in Thailand

Why Facebook Suddenly Blacked Out All Ads in Thailand

Facebook is taking a very unusual step for a company that makes it money off advertisements: It will stop showing ads on its network in the entire country of Thailand in a gesture of respect for the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The social network announced the decision on its blog for advertisers, saying that it is removing ads in observance of a “cultural custom”:

“On October 13, we turned off all delivery of ads to the country of Thailand. Thailand is in a period of mourning due to the death of the King and removal of ads is a cultural custom. We don’t yet know the duration of the mourning period. We’ll keep you posted of any additional details as they become available.

“Note that ads will continue to deliver as normal in other countries, and that advertisers in Thailand can continue to run ads outside of Thailand.”

Why make such a drastic move to pay respects to this particular beloved world leader?

Facebook hasn’t said why outright, but Thailand is a significant market for the social network and is home to some of Facebook’s most engaged users. When the company first opened an office in Thailand last fall, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg noted that Thai users tend to post three times more often than the global average. At the time, an estimated 37 million people in Thailand were using Facebook – most on mobile.

Facebook ads are also particularly well-received in Thailand, according to a report from the Thai newspaper The Nation. (That paper has adopted a monochrome design to show its respect for the late king.)It’s not clear how much money Facebook is forgoing as a part of this decision; the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The ad research firm eMarketer estimated that Thai advertisers would spend $81.7 million (roughly Rs. 545 crores) on Facebook advertising by the end of 2016, making Facebook the largest ad platform in the country.

That suggests that Facebook could be letting go of $6.8 million per month, though that is a very rough estimate. It does not factor in how much Facebook could be making from ads bought by Thai companies and shown outside of the country.

As Facebook said, it’s not clear how long the moratorium on ads will last. The Washington Post’s Annie Gowen has reported that the mourning period for the late king will last a year.

The move is a first for Facebook, but not unprecedented in the ad space. Yahoo last year turned off ads for Singapore after the death of noted leader Lee Kuan Yew, CNN Money reported.

© 2016 The Washington Post

Tags: Facebook, Facebook Thailand, Facebook Advertisement, Social
[“Source-Gadgets”]

Pokemon Go International Release Delayed – Here’s Why

Pokemon Go International Release Delayed - Here's Why

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Pokemon Go has been down for a number of users
  • This is due to overcapacity of its servers
  • Until this is fixed, Pokemon Go will not release in other regions

While Pokemon Go is officially available in Australia, New Zealand, and the US, it’s yet to make its way to other nations such as India and Japan. This has resulted in a slew of fans the world over to sideload the game. Well, at least on Android.

(Also see: Pokemon Go International Release Date Soon: Report)

The impact of these players, in addition to those in countries where Pokemon Go is available, is that the game has been uplayable for a vast number of people due to its servers unable to deal with the load. So much so that developer Niantic who made Pokemon Go along with Nintendo and The Pokemon Company is delaying its release in other markets till this is fixed.

“We thought the game would be popular, but it obviously struck a nerve,” Niantic CEO John Hanke saidto Business Insider, stating that the launch in other countries has been “paused until we’re comfortable”. Despite the rabid interest the franchise has generated over the years, something Niantic is aware of, it has been caught by surprise.

x

(Also see: Playing Pokemon Go in India? Here’s Everything You Need to Know)

Earlier this week, the game was discovered on Australia and New Zealand app stores. Usually, most developers use these markets to test out certain aspects of the game such as microtransaction prices and certain design elements. We’ve seen that with titles from other big name publishers like Rovio and EA. Chances are, the same applies here. The US launch seems like a knee-jerk reaction and server overloads seem like a result of this. The fact that the game is easily accessible on Android for those not in the aforementioned markets simply compounds matters.

Nonetheless, we’ve got the game working just fine. You can check out our impressions here.

Tags: Android, Apps, Games, Gaming, How to download Pokemon Go, How to play Pokemon Go, Install Pokemon Go,John Hanke, Niantic, Nintendo, Pokemon, Pokemon Android, Pokemon APK download, Pokemon Go,Pokemon Go Android, Pokemon Go APK download, Pokemon Go free download, Pokemon Go India Release Date,Pokemon Go Release Date, Pokemon iOS, Pokemon iPhone, Pokemon UK Release Date,Pokemon Worldwide Release Date, The Pokemon Company

 

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Here’s Why You Should Be Publishing on LinkedIn

linkedin

Finding success as a producer of content is often a hit-or-miss endeavor. With such a flood of content being produced by so many people on a constant basis, getting your name out there as an effective author can be incredibly challenging. Whether you’re writing for a personal or professional blog, strategically producing content for specific campaigns, or practicing engagement with pre-existing content, it’s important to contribute to the Web in ways that will ultimately drive other users back to your own content.  Publishing on LinkedIn is one way to do it.

Publishing On LinkedIn

While there’s no shortage of ways to get content on the Internet, one of the most effective places to do so is on LinkedIn, specifically the Pulse. Millions of users read through the Pulse at a constant rate all day and are comfortable commenting, sharing and engaging with content because the nature of the LinkedIn platform encourages it. This serves as an outstanding resource for authorship that holds considerable potential for broadening your audience, expanding the reach of your personal brand or the brand you represent, and giving your name the clickable appeal it needs to drive your overall Internet visibility.

One of the most attractive aspects of using LinkedIn’s Pulse as a platform for exposure is the way the broad categories facilitate high visibility. In publishing something in a category on the Pulse, you expose your content to millions of users who are deliberately seeking a multitude of opinions and perspectives on the topic you’re writing about.  In utilizing this platform, you can essentially take a megaphone and shout your brand across the Web in ways that have real value for real people.

To put this method into practice, a good starting point would be to publish two articles on LinkedIn per week about things that aren’t necessarily related to the goods or services you’re promoting. In doing so, you can connect with people on a level that encourages interest in your content more naturally. If you’re constantly producing the same kind of content, you run the risk of having a spam-like image. But by participating in news-worthy discussions and weighing in on the topics that are getting the most attention, you can assert yourself as an authority of quality content.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Why Hugging Your Haters Matters, and How to Do It

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Your customer experience should be transparent, direct, and social. It should be proactive and reactive, and you should engage with everyone, regardless of the types of insights they share. That’s the premise behind recently-released book, Hug Your Haters, by Jay Baer, who has provided data-backed metrics to support the reasoning that it helps to engage with your customers.

Not only does it support the notion of customer advocacy, it also makes your brand approachable.

Put simply, even if someone is just posting on social media for the attention (and as Jay establishes in his book, people are more freely using social media to complain about products today than ever before), if the brand engages, they could turn that customer into a real fan. But ignoring them means you don’t want to deal with them as a customer and want the problem to go away. (It doesn’t always go away.)

The whole mindset behind approachability is something that not all brands have embraced. Some brands in particular are notorious about purposely being unreachable.

Know what I’d do as your prospective customer? I’d hope you have a competitor I can put my dollars into.

And so I’d like to outline a few steps that help make your brand more approachable, so that you, too, can “hug your haters.”

Establish a Social Media Customer Service Policy

It’s important to really focus on having customer service via social media. This is where people like to yell the loudest about the most mundane things just to have an audience, according to Jay.

It’s something that even social media service-agnostic brands have recently embraced, with previously-completely-silent Apple now taking the helm in social media with a new(ish) support-specific account that already has nearly 300,000 followers and which tweeted more than 500 times in its first few hours, engaging an audience on all matters related to Apple product support.

If you’re responsive to your customers in a social media realm, which as we recall is a public realm, you are also giving off the impression to these customers’ fans that you are there for them. That’s an important message to convey.

Let’s reiterate what we said in the previous section: If you had to choose between a customer-focused brand (as far as you can tell on social media) and a brand that has not engaged in, well, ever, would you go with the former over the latter, with all other things being equal?

Rumor has it that customer service is going to be a much bigger deal in 2020. Just ask the author of Hug Your Haters.

Take that Mindset to Your Website

The idea of having a website that makes customers able to engage with you is an even newer idea that needs to be explored.

This is especially true because most companies don’t even know about this!

Facebook has been around since 2004. Twitter has been around since 2006. And new website in-app messengers have been around since 2011, with Intercomlaunching then followed by the freemium tool, Nudgespot.

How many of you were really doing social media marketing in 2006 when Twitter had just come out? What about in 2009 when people started writing books about it? (I wrote this book.)

Right. Most of you probably didn’t. And what did you see? Social media was probably a lot of smoke and mirrors when you started late. The early adopter got the worm.

You’re in a position right now with customer experience, which still has a very low bar, to engage with customers and truly rock it.

With tools that are super easy to integrate like Nudgespot or Intercom, which simply requires a little piece of code to be pasted on your website, you can be up and running to create a significantly powerful tool for engaging with your customers on all facets of your business, from sales to marketing to support.

Make it easy for people to approach you. Once you have the framework in place, it gets people excited; they know how to get in touch and you can really create amazing experiences for them where they will tell people about the experiences that they had with you.

Best Practices for Profitability

Just because something happens on a social media platform doesn’t mean that you need to bend your policies to address the needs of the loudest complainer. It is important to make sure your responsiveness style is the same whether on a social platform, an email platform, a phone platform, or on your website.

I’ve certainly seen people come to me in a social customer service capacity who are upset by the response given to them by customer service agents who did exactly as they were supposed to do per company policy and procedure. Yet if the customers don’t hear what they want to hear, you are a bad service provider and they’ll let you know about this via a different venting platform, most notably, social media.

It’s important to stick to your policies and procedures here, and not change your tune just because the venue of disapproval has changed. Again, once you have that audience, any customer watching you communicate with that customer is going to want the same treatment.

You wouldn’t want to change the policy for one person, only to have another customer catch wind of you giving in, especially if that customer had the same issue and also wants you to give in. Customers will do that, especially because they do talk to each other. And companies that make too many exceptions where it’s not profitable to do so could really get hurt by the repeated bending of the rules.

If it works for you, by all means, go for it. It’s not lucrative for smaller businesses on slim profit margins to do, but then again, there’s an uptake in advocacy if you do something like this, which could amount not only to customer retention but to creation of brand ambassadors.

It would be better to create a cohesive customer service policy that ensures that team A (your email team) knows exactly how team B (your social media team) is handling matters, and that team A doesn’t deviate from the protocols that are used by team B. Customers respect policies, even if they’re not ideal. They will be thrown off if you flip-flop across departments and may lose trust in you as a brand.

The choice of your best practices for profitability is yours. The decision to engage with your customers, however, is a no-brainer. It’s important to build relationships with your customers, especially when they reach out with the objective of getting your attention and to have them respond to you. Don’t miss the opportunity to build bridges with your customers, because those customers can ultimately build your business.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]