Almost Half of Small Businesses Marketing Products on Social Media (INFOGRAPHIC)

According to this infographic that reveals how small businesses are using social media, About half are marketing their products.

Small businesses are waking up to the potential for using social media to market their products, a new study has found.

How Small Businesses Are Using Social Media

According to the report by SCORE, a nonprofit association for small businesses, 45 percent of these small companies use social media marketing to promote a specific product or service.

Apart from product promotion, small businesses use social media marketing for the following purposes:

  • To share information about sales and discounts (38 percent).
  • To gain likes and fans (38 percent).
  • To solicit/respond to customer feedback (34 percent).

Other purposes include providing videos to highlight products or services (29 percent), sharing a company blog post (20 percent) and establishing their personal expertise (23 percent).

Facebook: Top Choice of Small Businesses

Unsurprisingly, Facebook is the most preferred social networking site for a majority of small businesses (70 percent). Twitter (38 percent) and LinkedIn (37 percent) are a distant second and third choice.

Facebook’s unparalleled popularity among small businesses can be attributed to its massive user base, which allows businesses to connect with more customers. On top of that, the social networking giant has made its platform more business-friendly to help smaller firms leverage it for marketing purposes.

From time to time, Facebook introduces new tools and features to support small businesses’ marketing initiatives. Take the recently launched Lookalike Audience tool, for instance. Designed to help small businesses reach a global audience, the tool makes it easier for firms to expand their customer base.

“What I hear from small businesses around the world is their time and their money is precious, and we want to be the best minute and the best dollar that they spend every day,” Facebook’s VP of global SMB Dan Levy told Forbes. “We want to be number one growth driver for their business.”

Social media is all about creating that personal bond with your audience. Therefore, to make the most of it requires adopting a more personalized tone of voice. Humor works really well and any information presented in a simple to understand language gets maximum audience attention.

How can you make it simple for your audience to understand what you’re talking about? That’s the question you must always answer when you develop your content strategy for social media marketing.

Check out the infographic below for more information.

According to this infographic that reveals how small businesses are using social media, About half are marketing their products. 5

Image: Score

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

How to Crush It on the Top 4 Social Media Platforms

How to Crush It on the Top 4 Social Media Platforms by Learning How Businesses Use Social Media

You’ve heard it a million times.

Entrepreneurs and solopreneurs need to use social media to grow their audience and interact with prospects and clients.

It’s true. Social media is one of the most effective ways to get in front of the people you want to serve.

But so many entrepreneurs are doing it wrong.

If you’re not succeeding at social media, chances are…

  • You’re not using the right social media platforms.
  • You’re not effectively using each social media platforms.
  • You’re using social media just to deliver annoying sales pitches.

Of course, there could be other reasons, but these are some of the most common. That’s why you have to make sure you’re making the best use of each social media platform you work with.

This post is going to discuss some of the best ways to use the most popular social media platforms. When you put these tips into action, you will notice how much easier it will be to grow your audience.

How Businesses Use Social Media to Crush It

Twitter

With over 313 million active monthly users, Twitter is one of the most popular social media platforms for business. As a matter of fact, 29 percent of Twitter users have tweeted about a brand. It’s a great way to connect with customers and promote your brand.

It’s a great social media platform to use if your target audience is younger people. It’s also great if you plan to market to other entrepreneurs.

Here’s some tips on using Twitter to grow your business:

Find the Right Frequency

There’s no magic number for the amount of tweets you should post in a day. But unlike other social media platforms, Twitter’s timeline flows pretty quickly. The average life of a tweet is 2 hours. If you only post once or twice per day, then you’re not going to get the amount of exposure you want.

The average Twitter user tweets 22 times per day. I’ve seen many people recommend 4-5 tweets per day. If this works for you, then have at it!

For my business, I’ve tried a slightly different strategy. Since I saw how quickly a tweet disappears into oblivion, I decided to up my number of tweets. I probably tweet between 15-20 times per day.

Yes, I know. Sounds kinda crazy, right?

But it helped! When I started doing it that way, I started gaining more and more followers. I also noticed that I was getting more engagement on my content.

Also, don’t be afraid to tweet the same tweet more than once. Again, since each tweet has a shorter life, you can afford to repeat sometimes.

The key here is to figure out the amount of tweets that work best for your business. You want to find your sweet spot and then stay with it.

Use Twitter as a Listening Tool

You shouldn’t spend all your time sending out tweets. It’s a good idea to look at what others are tweeting as well. If you see a certain topic trending, you might want to contribute to the conversation.

Following hashtags is a great way to do this. Find out what the most relevant hashtags are for your industry and join in. Marketing expert Neil Patel recommends using hashtags to gain more exposure for your brand.

Here’s what he has to say:

“About a million to two million tweets include hash tags…meaning your tweets are more likely to be seen if you include a hashtag, thus generating more retweets.”

Hashtags are a great way to stay ahead of the trends in your industry.

Give Influencers Some Love

Want to get retweeted? Of course you do. You want more exposure. One of the most effective ways to get retweeted is to draw some attention to the influencers who create the content you’re sharing.

When you read a piece of content that you want to share, don’t just tweet it out. Include the influencer’s Twitter handle in the tweet. In many cases, the influencer will retweet the post to their followers.

Also, if you’re creating content — and you should be — try mentioning some insights from influencers you follow. After you publish the piece of content, send a quick tweet to the influencer letting them know that you mentioned them in your article.

Want an example? Remember when I quoted Neil Patel when I mentioned hashtags? Well, after this article posts, I’m going to let him know that I gave him some love on my post.

Not all influencers will retweet your post, but even if you’re able to get some of them to share it, it will still benefit your brand.

Facebook

As you already know, Facebook is the most popular social media platform. With over 1.71 billion monthly active users, it is one of the best places to gain exposure for your brand. 41% of businesses use Facebook for marketing purposes.

If you understand how to leverage Facebook for your business, you can build a stronger audience and earn more clients.

Here’s some tips on using Facebook to grow your audience:

Use Facebook Ads

If it’s in your budget, taking advantage of Facebook’s paid advertising can help you get in front of more people. If you adopt a viable Facebook ad strategy, it can help you drive more traffic to your website, get more subscribers and earn more customers.

John G. Mullen, founder and head personal trainer at TrainingCor has found Facebook to be a great resource for connecting with his audience.

“We produce content that helps our readers learn more about training and physical fitness. We promote this content on Facebook and it’s enabled us to engage more with our audience. Also, our current customers use Facebook to talk about the benefit we have provided them with.”

Facebook Ads allows you to make sure you’re targeting the right people with your content. This is important because you don’t want to be reaching out to people who aren’t interested in what you’re offering.

Monitor Your Engagement

If you’re going to gain more of an audience, you need to know what type of content resonates most with your readers. You can do this by paying attention to Facebook Insight. It’s a tool that allows you to see how people are interacting with your content.

Using Facebook Insight, you can see which posts are performance the best and which are not. This gives you a better idea of the type of content you should be creating and sharing. It’s a valuable tool that will help you create content that is the most relevant to your readers.

Google Plus

Okay, I get it. You’ve probably heard it said that Google Plus is basically dead. Many people scoff at Google’s social media platform.

It’s understandable.

They don’t have as many active users as the other social media platforms. But this doesn’t mean that Google Plus is a waste of time. As a matter of fact, Business Insider says that Google Plus is starting to increase the number of its active users. Google Plus can still be a valuable social media platform if you know how to use it.

In an article entitled “Why You Should Stop Asking Is Google Plus Dead,” Sprout Social’s Jennifer Beese says this:

“Instead of dismissing the platform and asking is Google Plus dead, let’s not forget that you always want to think in terms of quality and not quantity when it comes to successful social media marketing. So whether there are 22 million or 343 million people posting consistently on Google+, there are still millions of opportunities to engage.”

It’s true. Google Plus is great for connecting with others and forming relationships. It’s helped me form some great relationships with people I wouldn’t have connected with otherwise.

Here’s some tips on using Google Plus:

Engage Your Community

This is probably my favorite thing about Google Plus. There are various communities that you can join. There are several different types of communities for people with shared interests.

You can join as many communities as you like, although some might need to approve your membership in their community. What I really like about communities is that people are very interactive.

It’s easy to connect with the types of people you want to connect with. I’ve learned quite a bit from the connections I’ve made on Google Plus’ communities. It’s led to some wonderful opportunities for me. I’d highly recommend that you try it out.

Use Hangouts for More Than Just Chatting!

If you’re like most people, you only use Google Hangouts for chatting with friends, right? But that’s not all this tool can do. Google Hangouts. It’s a great way to record video content for your audience.

Maybe you want to record a short instructional video on how to achieve an objective. Or maybe you just want to say “hi” to your audience. Whatever your purpose is, Hangouts will allow you to record your video and upload it to YouTube. It’s quick and easy!

If you leverage Google Plus’ features the right way, you will be able to develop relationships that can help you move your business forward.

Instagram

Instagram is a great social media platform for those who create a large amount of visual content. It currently has about 77 million active users and is expected to surpass 100 million by 2019. If your business targets teens and younger millennials, you should be using Instagram.

Like Google Plus, Instagram is a great way to form relationships with others. It’s also a great way to get more exposure for your brand.

Here’s some tips on using Instagram for your business:

Build a Tribe

The key to succeeding on Instagram is to build a tribe. You want to earn followers and develop relationships with them. This will take some time, but when you have a relationship with your audience, you will have evangelists who are willing to share your content with their connections.

Over time, more people will see and share your content. When you invest time in building a thriving community around your brand, it will be much easier to turn your prospects into paying customers.

Connect With Influencers

Just like Twitter, Instagram is a great way to connect with those who already have a strong following. It’s a good idea to start interacting with influencers by commenting on their posts, sharing their posts, and mentioning them in the content you create.

When influencers see that you’re mentioning them often, they will be more likely to interact with you. You also want to connect with these influencers on Twitter because people who use Instagram typically use Twitter as well.

Conclusion

As you already know, social media is essential to the success of your brand. When you use social media the right way, it makes it easier to grow your audience and generate more leads.

If you’re using the social media platforms discussed in this article — and you should be — start implementing these tips. It will help you engage with your audience and earn more business.

Crushing Glass Photo via Shutterstock

More in: Twitter

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Sony PlayStation VR Goes on Sale, Brings Virtual Reality to the Masses

Sony PlayStation VR Goes on Sale, Brings Virtual Reality to the Masses

Sony PlayStation VR Goes on Sale, Brings Virtual Reality to the Masses
HIGHLIGHTS
Sony is betting that it has a better package for mainstream consumers
Sony has to sell a lot of devices to attract talented game developers
Early reviews have praised its design, affordability and comfort
When the PlayStation VR goes on sale Thursday, it won’t just be a test for Sony. As the first high-end virtual-reality headset aimed at the mass market, the gadget will also offer the first hint as to whether the technology can become a mainstream product.

For about $500 (roughly Rs. 33,500), consumers won’t be getting newer features or better performance than pricier headsets being sold by Facebook and HTC. Sony is betting that it has a better package for mainstream consumers, given the ease of use and ability to tap into a gaming and entertainment ecosystem built by the PlayStation franchise over the past two decades. The device is Sony’s best prospect to remain on the cutting edge of technology after scaling back in phones, televisions and other businesses.

(Also see: Sony PlayStation VR Hits Stores Shelves Thursday to Take on Oculus and HTC)

“The Sony release is the first real test of consumer VR,” said Dave Ranyard, a virtual-reality developer and former head of Sony’s London studio, which produced its main launch title PlayStation VR Worlds. “Nobody knows the rate of uptake, so this is the first significant indication.”

The debut also represents a classic gaming-industry dilemma. Sony has to sell a lot of devices to attract talented game developers, gamers won’t buy new hardware unless there’s quality content. Sony hasn’t lined up enough must-have titles to kick off that virtuous cycle, according to Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute in Tokyo.

“If an amazing game comes out and makes everyone want to buy PSVR, the situation will be different, but for now we’re not seeing that,” Yasuda said.

With more than 40 million people already owning a PlayStation 4 console, the novelty of VR alone may be enough to attract a large number of early adopters. IHS Markit and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. predict more than 1.4 million unit sales by the end of this year, while Ranyard is more conservative, expecting about 1 million in the first 12 months.

(Also see: PlayStation VR Is the First Real Mass-Market Virtual Reality Headset)

“This is the biggest innovation since the arrival of TV,” Atsushi Morita, president of Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan Asia, said at a launch event in Tokyo.
Sony shares were up 1.4 percent at JPY 3,431 in early trading. The stock is up more than 14 percent this year, compared with a 13 percent decline in the Topix Index.

Another key metric to watch will be how many games each player buys for the PSVR, Raynard said. The device will generate $134 million in revenue for VR content makers this year, about twice the $69 million it expects from Facebook’s Oculus and HTC’s Vive headsets, IHS estimated. Still, that would represent just a fraction of the total market for games software sales.

Early reviews of the system have generally praised its design, affordability and comfort, but a common criticism has been the lack of compelling content. There are about 30 titles available at launch, which are little more than environments to explore, or short games. Sony acknowledges as much, saying what’s available for now are mostly brief experiences that showcase VR technology instead of those with hours of gameplay.

(Also see: PlayStation VR First Impressions)

“The experiences we’re putting on offer are different from your 50-hour Metal Gear Solid experience,” said Shawn Layden, president of Sony Interactive Entertainment America, the unit overseeing the U.S. PlayStation game business. “You have a very intense 7 to 10 to 15 minutes of gameplay.”

Case in point: Job Simulator, a tongue-in-cheek launch title, lets people pretend that they’re working in a kitchen, office or convenience store. Jun Tamaoki raised eyebrows at last month’s Tokyo Game Show with Bandai Namco Holdings Inc.’s virtual-reality game Summer Lesson, which lets users become home tutors.

“It will take a longer time to find those eureka moments – oh wow, this is so fun,” Tamaoki said in an interview. “I would expect a gradual start for now.”

© 2016 Bloomberg L.P.

Tags: Sony, PlayStation VR, PS VR, PSVR, Virtual Reality, VR, PlayStation 4, Wearables, Gamaing

[“Source-Gadgets”]

How to Get Google Play and Android Apps on Your Chromebook Right Now

How to Get Google Play and Android Apps on Your Chromebook Right Now

HIGHLIGHTS

  • This method requires users to switch to the Canary canal
  • Toshiba Chromebook 2015 can find it in the developer channel as well
  • This method is very unstable

Google announced the arrival of Android apps on Chromebooks at I/O this year. However months later, only a handful of Chromebooks have received Google Play support, and Google is taking rather slow steps to make it available to all the compatible Chromebooks. Luckily, there is another cheat way to get Play Store to work on Chromebooks, and start using Android apps immediately.

Of course, before we begin to tell you the way, it is important to warn you that the method is unsafe. It requires you to use the Canary canal, which is extremely unstable. If the method backfires, it could cause some damage to your machine, and we recommend you to move forward at your own risk.

This method won’t work on all models, but should at least work on the 50 models that Google listed earlier in the year. If you have one of these laptops, and want Google Play installed immediately, enable developer mode on your Chromebook by pressing Esc+F5+Power. Then Press Ctrl+D and follow the instructions.

After the Chromebook boots, press Ctrl+D again to jump verification. Switch to Canary Canal by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T, and type Shell in the command prompt. Then type ‘sudo su’ and then enter ‘update_engine_client -channel=canary-channel -update’ to switch to canary channel.

Again press Ctrl+Alt+T > Type Shell > Type sudo su > then ‘echo ‘-enable-arc’ > /usr/local/chrome_dev.conf > mount -o bind /usr/local/chrome_dev.conf /etc/chrome_dev.conf’. Now press Ctrl + Shift + Q two times to log out. After signing out, sign back in and restart your machine. After the reboot, the Chromebook should have the Google Play Store installed.

If you do not see it immediately, browse through the Settings menu to see if there is an option to enable Google Play. This process was posted by Google Plus users, and was first spotted by Chrome Story.

Justin Slatten on Google Plus also notes that Toshiba Chromebook 2015 users need not switch to the Canary canal, and can find Google Play on the developer channel as well. 9to5Google has done a full video with step by step instructions as well.

User can switch back to the stable Chrome OS channel anytime, by hitting Ctrl+Alt+T > Type Shell > Type sudo su > Enter following command: update_engine_client -channel=stable-channel -update > and then press space bar at boot.

Tags: Google, Chromebooks, PCs, Laptops, Google Play, Android Apps

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Google Pixel, Pixel XL Leaked on Verizon Ahead of October 4 Event; Google Magic and Blue Colour Variant Revealed

Google Pixel, Pixel XL Leaked on Verizon Ahead of October 4 Event; Google Magic and Blue Colour Variant Revealed

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Site suggests the Google Pixel and Pixel XL will be offered in Blue
  • Verizon also mentions ‘Google Magic’ as one of the highlights
  • The phones will be offered in 32GB and 128GB storage options

We’re just a few hours away from the launch of Google’s Pixel smartphones and the leaks continue to pour in. After pretty much revealing all there is to know about the devices on UK retailer Carphone Warehouse, we now have a little more from Verizon. The listing on Verizon’s site unofficially confirms a Blue model along with Black and White options that was previously leaked by Canadian carriers Bell and Telus.

(Also see: Everything You Can Expect From the Google Pixel Event Today)

The listing, spotted by Gizmodo, also shows some highlights about the devices, which includes what Verizon is calling ‘Google Magic’, which could just be the site’s own marketing ploy, but could also refer to a new, unknown feature. The site further reveals that the Google Pixel and Pixel XL will be offered in 32GB and 128GB storage options. Lastly and unsurprisingly, the devices come with 4G LTE support.

A separate reveal by TheTrademarkNinja shows an EU trademark application filed by the company with an official logo that reads “G Pixel Phone by Google”, which confirms that the devices are in fact going to be ‘Pixel’ smartphones.

Based on the Carphone Warehouse leak, the Google Pixel is said to feature a 5-inch full-HD (1080 x 1920 pixels) Amoled display with a pixel density of 441ppi and Gorilla Glass 4 on top. The device is powered by a 2.15GHz quad-core Snapdragon 821 processor with 4GB of RAM.

Meanwhile, the Google Pixel XL is listed with a 5.5-inch Quad HD (1440×2560 pixels) display sporting a pixel density of 534ppi and Gorilla Glass 4 on top. Other than the size and resolution of the display, the rest of the features are similar to the smaller Pixel. Both the devices also feature a 12-megapixel rear camera and 8-megapixel front.

The Pixel and Pixel XL will run on Android 7.1 Nougat with Pixel Launcher. The listings also mention both 32GB and 128GB inbuilt storage variants. Storage expansion via microSD card is also listed, but this seems unlikely considering Google’s entire previous Nexus lineup. The Pixel is listed to sport a 2770mAh battery, and the Pixel XL is listed with a bigger 3450mAh battery, both with fast charging capability.

On the software front, the Pixels is likely to come with Google’s latest Allo and Duo applications preloaded. Carphone Warehouse also revealed the two devices will offer unlimited storage for photos and videos at full resolution with Google Photos.

Along with the unveiling of the Pixel smartphones, the event on Tuesday is also expected to see the launch of the Google Home smart speaker, alongside other rumoured products like the Google Chromecast Ultra, and Google Wi-Fi smart router. The Daydream VR headset unveiled at at Google I/O this year is also expected to make an appearance.

Google’s event is set to start at 9:00am PT (9:30pm IST) on Tuesday, and Gadgets 360 will be covering the event live from San Francisco – so stay tuned.

We discuss what you can expect from Google’s October 4 event, featuring Pixel smartphones, Andromeda, and more on Orbital: The Gadgets 360 Podcast. You can either subscribe to via iTunes or RSS or just hit the play button below.

 

[“source-ndtv”]

Weebly 4 Brings Websites, eCommerce, Email Marketing Together to Focus on Business Growth

Weebly 4 Features Websites, Ecommerce, Email Marketing Together to Help Businesses Grow

DIY website builder Weebly today announced a new version of its platform, Weebly 4, that expands the focus beyond websites and ecommerce and adds a marketing element: email.

Weebly 4 builds on the previous version, Carbon, by pairing the ecommerce engine with email marketing that creates campaigns on the fly based on customer actions. It also segments customers into groups automatically, to improve targeting.

“When we started Weebly, the challenge was building a website,” says David Rusenko, co-founder and CEO of Weebly, in the announcement. “Now with 40 million entrepreneurs and over 300 million monthly visitors to a Weebly site or store, we’re tackling the next hurdle of growing a site into a successful online business.”

Weebly 4 Features

As to improvements from the previous version, there are many. Here are the most notable:

Web Design

The web design function now includes the use of video backgrounds, to add animation. There is increased flexibility in designing headers and in adding sections to a page.

Weebly 4 Features - Video Backgrounds

Weebly 4 also offers a completely new feature: designer-built layouts.

Weebly 4 Features - Designer-Built Layouts

According to Rusenko, who spoke with Small Business Trends by phone, with Carbon, the previous version, users had to drag-and-drop each element.

“Weebly 4 makes it easy to add layouts for people who don’t know what to do, who are getting online for the first time and not sure how site supposed to look,” Rusenko said. “All the content is on there. We pre-start you with fully custom-built sites that fit what you need, making it easier to get to the finish line.”

eCommerce

Weebly rebuilt the eCommerce storefront entirely from the ground up Rusenko said. An upgraded tax engine does the work for the customer. The platform also configures shipping rates in real-time across carriers. An abandoned cart recovery function reminds customers to complete their purchase. Gift cards and coupon codes are available as well.

Weebly 4 Features - Ecommerce

Regarding shipping rates, Rusenko said, “In the previous version, you had a shipping engine and could set different rates, but it was time-consuming. You had to to make your best guess on rates. Now, the platform configures all that for the customer at checkout. It goes out to the shipping providers and calculates rates in real-time via an API.”

Email Marketing

The new email marketing component fully integrates with the website and store. Emails are customizable. Users can insert their logo, images, posts and products quickly and easily. Also, the platform auto-creates ready to send emails, to drive conversion.

Weebly 4 Features - Email Marketing

Full-funnel Analytics and Insights

The analytics component not only reports email open and click-through rates but also track sales transactions, enabling the business owner to how each campaign impacts his bottom line.

A comprehensive dashboard renders insights across the entire business that includes appointment scheduling, customer chat, accounting and email marketing. The mobile app enables business owners to run their site and promotions from anywhere.

App Store

The app store has more than 200 app and integrations, including an appointment calendar, live chat, accounting and more.

Search Engine Optimization

According to the announcement, Weebly 4 “demystifies” search engine optimization by providing expert advice via a PDF guide as well as a real-time SEO score card, with site-specific tips for improvement.

Conclusion

Rusenko said that Weebly’s goal with the new version was to provide the same functionality to small merchants that large retailers experience, to help grow their business.

“Right now the business of running a business is a real hassle, and our ultimate goal is to make it much easier for our customers, saving them time, helping them grow and be successful, and ultimately, helping them focus more on doing what they love,” he said.

View the full feature set visiting the Weebly 4 website.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Weebly 4 Brings Websites, eCommerce, Email Marketing Together to Focus on Business Growth

Weebly 4 Features Websites, Ecommerce, Email Marketing Together to Help Businesses Grow

DIY website builder Weebly today announced a new version of its platform, Weebly 4, that expands the focus beyond websites and ecommerce and adds a marketing element: email.

Weebly 4 builds on the previous version, Carbon, by pairing the ecommerce engine with email marketing that creates campaigns on the fly based on customer actions. It also segments customers into groups automatically, to improve targeting.

“When we started Weebly, the challenge was building a website,” says David Rusenko, co-founder and CEO of Weebly, in the announcement. “Now with 40 million entrepreneurs and over 300 million monthly visitors to a Weebly site or store, we’re tackling the next hurdle of growing a site into a successful online business.”

Weebly 4 Features

As to improvements from the previous version, there are many. Here are the most notable:

Web Design

The web design function now includes the use of video backgrounds, to add animation. There is increased flexibility in designing headers and in adding sections to a page.

Weebly 4 Features - Video Backgrounds

Weebly 4 also offers a completely new feature: designer-built layouts.

Weebly 4 Features - Designer-Built Layouts

According to Rusenko, who spoke with Small Business Trends by phone, with Carbon, the previous version, users had to drag-and-drop each element.

“Weebly 4 makes it easy to add layouts for people who don’t know what to do, who are getting online for the first time and not sure how site supposed to look,” Rusenko said. “All the content is on there. We pre-start you with fully custom-built sites that fit what you need, making it easier to get to the finish line.”

eCommerce

Weebly rebuilt the eCommerce storefront entirely from the ground up Rusenko said. An upgraded tax engine does the work for the customer. The platform also configures shipping rates in real-time across carriers. An abandoned cart recovery function reminds customers to complete their purchase. Gift cards and coupon codes are available as well.

Weebly 4 Features - Ecommerce

Regarding shipping rates, Rusenko said, “In the previous version, you had a shipping engine and could set different rates, but it was time-consuming. You had to to make your best guess on rates. Now, the platform configures all that for the customer at checkout. It goes out to the shipping providers and calculates rates in real-time via an API.”

Email Marketing

The new email marketing component fully integrates with the website and store. Emails are customizable. Users can insert their logo, images, posts and products quickly and easily. Also, the platform auto-creates ready to send emails, to drive conversion.

Weebly 4 Features - Email Marketing

Full-funnel Analytics and Insights

The analytics component not only reports email open and click-through rates but also track sales transactions, enabling the business owner to how each campaign impacts his bottom line.

A comprehensive dashboard renders insights across the entire business that includes appointment scheduling, customer chat, accounting and email marketing. The mobile app enables business owners to run their site and promotions from anywhere.

App Store

The app store has more than 200 app and integrations, including an appointment calendar, live chat, accounting and more.

Search Engine Optimization

According to the announcement, Weebly 4 “demystifies” search engine optimization by providing expert advice via a PDF guide as well as a real-time SEO score card, with site-specific tips for improvement.

Conclusion

Rusenko said that Weebly’s goal with the new version was to provide the same functionality to small merchants that large retailers experience, to help grow their business.

“Right now the business of running a business is a real hassle, and our ultimate goal is to make it much easier for our customers, saving them time, helping them grow and be successful, and ultimately, helping them focus more on doing what they love,” he said.

[“source-ndtv”]

AT&T, Apple, Google to Work on ‘Robocall’ Crackdown in the US

AT&T, Apple, Google to Work on 'Robocall' Crackdown in the US

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Google, Apple among members of the “Robocall Strike Force”
  • The strike force hopes to implement Caller ID verification standards to help block calls from spoofed phone numbers
  • Other companies taking part include Blackberry, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung

More than 30 major technology and communication companies said on Friday they are joining the US government to crack down on “robocalls,” automated, prerecorded phone calls that regulators have labelled a “scourge.”

AT&T, Google parent Alphabet, Apple, Verizon Communications and Comcast are among members of the “Robocall Strike Force” that held its first meeting with the US Federal Communications Commission.

The strike force will report to the FCC by October 19 on “concrete plans to accelerate the development and adoption of new tools and solutions,” said AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson, chairman of the group.

The strike force hopes to implement Caller ID verification standards to help block calls from spoofed phone numbers and consider a “Do Not Originate” list that would block spoofers from impersonating legitimate phone numbers from governments, banks or others.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in July urged major companies to take new action to block robocalls, which often come from telemarketers or scam artists.

“This scourge must stop,” Wheeler said on Friday, calling robocalls the No. 1 complaint from consumers.

“The bad guys are beating the good guys with technology,” Wheeler said. In the past, he has said robocalls continue “due in large part to industry inaction.”

Stephenson emphasized “the breadth and complexity” of the problem.

“This is going to require more than individual company initiatives and one-off blocking apps,” Stephenson said. “Robocallers are a formidable adversary, notoriously hard to stop.”

The FCC does not require robocall blocking and filtering but has strongly encouraged phone service providers to offer those services at no charge.

The strike force brings together carriers, device makers, operating system developers, network designers and the government.

“We have to come out of this with a comprehensive play book for all of us to go execute,” Stephenson said. “We have calls that are perfectly legal, but unwanted, like telemarketers and public opinion surveyors. At the other end of the spectrum, we have millions of calls that are blatantly illegal.”

Stephenson said technical experts representing the companies have had “preliminary conversations about short- and longer-term initiatives.”

Joan Marsh, AT&T vice president of federal regulatory issues, called the problem complicated. “We have been wrangling with this problem long enough to know there is no silver bullet,” she said. “Nothing by itself is going to do it.”

Other companies taking part include Blackberry, British Telecommunications Plc, Charter Communications, Frontier Communications, LG Electronics, Microsoft, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sirius XM Holdings, T-Mobile US and US Cellular Corp.

Consumers Union, a public advocacy group, said the task force is a sign “phone companies are taking more serious steps to protect their customers from unwanted calls.”

© Thomson Reuters 2016

Tags: Android, Apple, Apps, Google, Mobile, Telecom’
[“Source-Gadgets”]

 

Pokemon Go Bug Reportedly Affecting GPS Performance on Android Phones

Pokemon Go Bug Reportedly Affecting GPS Performance on Android Phones

Pokemon Go Bug Reportedly Affecting GPS Performance on Android Phones
HIGHLIGHTS
Game supposedly disrupts GPS even when running in background
Issue was spotted on the dated Nexus 5 smartphone
Reddit user says couldn’t find similar issue on newer devices
Pokemon Go created tremendous amount of interest and excitement at its launch and the game is one of the most talked about things of the year already. However, that popularity has begun waning. Now a Redditor has suggested that a bug associated with the game reportedly distorts the accuracy of your smartphone’s GPS.

A Reddit user who goes by the name ‘Cameocoder’ has said that a bug associated with Pokemon Go distorts the accuracy of your Android smartphone’s GPS and even prevents other apps from accurately gathering the location when the game in running in background.

(Also see: Pokemon Go Fever Is Fading in the US: Report)

Cameocoder was able to find out the issue with the game while using fitness tracking app Map My Run. “On the first walk without Pokémon Go my device was able to lock on to GPS satellites and track my location fairly accurately. The second walk, which was immediately after the first, I had Pokémon Go in the foreground and my device almost never acquired a GPS lock,” the user said in the Reddit post.

However, it should be noted that the user was using a Nexus 5 smartphone when he discovered the bug, and did not find the same issue on newer devices. It is not yet know if a similar bug is affecting the iOS version of the game.
(Also see: Pokemon Go Eggs Hurting Religious Sentiments’, PIL Filed)

Considering the issues regarding the game, it will be interesting to see how the development of the game moves forward as it is yet to be officially released in many countries including India.

Are you facing a similar GPS bug on your Android smartphone once Pokemon Go is running? What about your iPhone? Let us know in the comments section below.

Tags: Pokemon GO GPS Bug, Pokemon Go, Gaming, Android

[“Source-Gadgets”]

SpaceX Rocket Explodes on Launchpad With Facebook’s Internet Satellite on Board

SpaceX Rocket Explodes on Launchpad With Facebook's Internet Satellite on Board

SpaceX Rocket Explodes on Launchpad With Facebook’s Internet Satellite on Board
HIGHLIGHTS
The explosion destroyed the Israeli communications satellite
Mark Zuckerberg disapointed over SpaceX’s launch failure
The accident is the second of its kind since SpaceX was founded in 2002
An unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded on the launch pad during a test in Florida on Thursday, destroying a satellite that Facebook planned to use to beam high-speed internet to Africa.

The blast at Cape Canaveral – though it caused no injuries – marks a setback for the California-based private space firm and its founder, internet entrepreneur Elon Musk, who wants to revolutionize the launch industry by making rocket components reusable.

“Loss of Falcon vehicle today during propellant fill operation,” Musk tweeted. “Originated around upper stage oxygen tank. Cause still unknown. More soon.”

Dramatic footage broadcast by ABC News showed the rocket burst into a roaring ball of flame amid what appeared to be a succession of blasts – sending its payload tumbling to the ground as a dense plume of black smoke filled the air.

“At approximately 9:07am ET (13:07 GMT), during a standard pre-launch static fire test for the Amos-6 mission, there was an anomaly at SpaceX’s Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complex 40 resulting in loss of the vehicle,” the firm said.

“Per standard operating procedure, the pad was clear and there were no injuries.”
But the explosion destroyed the Israeli communications satellite that the Falcon 9 was due to deliver into orbit on Saturday — drawing a dismayed reaction from Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg.

“As I’m here in Africa, I’m deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX’s launch failure destroyed our satellite that would have provided connectivity to so many entrepreneurs and everyone else across the continent,” Zuckerberg said on his Facebook page.

Facebook was contracted to use the Amos-6 to provide broadband internet coverage for large parts of sub-Saharan Africa and other remote parts of the world as part of the social media giant’s Internet.org initiative.

“Fortunately, we have developed other technologies like Aquila that will connect people as well,” Zuckerberg said, referring to the solar-powered plane being developed by Facebook to make the internet available in remote areas.

“We will keep working until everyone has the opportunities this satellite would have provided.”

European satellite operator Eutelsat – Facebook’s partner in the project – said in a statement it was committed to expanding broadband access in Africa despite the loss of the Amos-6.

Heaviest payload
A Nasa spokeswoman told AFP that emergency services at the nearby Kennedy Space Center were monitoring the situation and conducting air quality tests to ensure there is no threat to the health of staff.

Officials at the center advised workers to remain inside until further notice, but Brevard County Emergency Management said there was no threat to the public from the incident.

The Amos-6 was the heaviest payload to date for a SpaceX rocket, with an estimated value of between $200-300 million (roughly Rs. 1,337 crores to Rs. 2,004 crores), according to John Logsdon, former director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University.

The accident – the second of its kind since SpaceX was founded in 2002 – comes just over a year after a Falcon 9 rocket failed after liftoff on June 28 2015, destroying a Dragon cargo capsule bound for the International Space Station (ISS).

Before that, SpaceX had logged 18 successful launches of the Falcon 9 – including six of 12 planned supply missions to the ISS carried out as part of a $1.6 billion (roughly Rs. 10,696 crores) contract with Nasa.

It had carried out another eight successful launches since June 2015, including last month when a Falcon 9 successfully placed a Japanese communications satellite in orbit, and then landed intact on a floating drone ship.

(Also see: SpaceX Propels Cargo to Space Station, Lands Rocket)

Before then the firm lost several rockets as it attempted to land them upright on an ocean platform at the end of a flight — a crucial part of its strategy for reusable spacecraft.

‘Valuable experience’
While the blast is likely to disrupt SpaceX plans for six more launches between now and January 2017, experts made clear that such incidents are a normal part of the space learning curve.

“It’s clearly a setback, but how great the setback is and how long the delay, it’s impossible to know until there is more information available,” said Logsdon.

He noted that the launch pad damaged on Thursday was distinct from the one that will serve to launch SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, intended to ferry astronauts to the ISS starting in late 2017.

Nasa said in a tweet that Thursday’s SpaceX explosion “reminds us that spaceflight is challenging. Our partners learn from each success & setback.”

Loizos Heracleous, a professor of strategy at Warwick Business School, said such setbacks were par for the course – and would not affect SpaceX’s stated long-term goals of slashing the cost of space flight through the use of reusable rockets, and eventually colonizing Mars.

“SpaceX is gathering valuable experience, and each accident brings lessons on how to enhance the integrity of the craft for future missions,” he said.

“Given that SpaceX is working to provide Nasa with a way to transport not just cargo, but also astronauts to the International Space Station, it is especially crucial that such learning takes place before that happens.”

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Tags: SpaceX, Falcon 9, Elon Musk, Facebook, Science, Internet

[“Source-Gadgets”]