GoToMeeting ranks high on our list of the best conference call services.
The platform has virtually all of the tools you’ll need to run a successful business meeting. GoToMeeting stands out for its exceptional call quality, robust features, and excellent customer service.
Whether you’re a small, medium, or enterprise-sized business, GoToMeeting has conference call solutions to fit your needs.
Millions of people have used GoToMeeting, including some well-known names like Make-A-Wish and Marketo.
If you’re in the market for new conference call software, GoToMeeting should definitely be taken into consideration. Use this guide to learn more about its benefits, plans, and pricing, as well as any potential drawbacks.
GoToMeeting Features and Benefits
GoToMeeting has a wide range of features for different use cases. I’ll highlight some of the top advantages of GoToMeeting’s software and service. If you want to just jump right in then I suggest signing up for the GoToMeeting free trial.
Whether you need to communicate with coworkers, customers, or prospects, GoToMeeting’s audio conference calling has you covered.
Any device with Internet access can be used to host or join a GoToMeeting conference call. So whether you’re using a Mac, PC, or mobile device, you can participate from anywhere.
GoToMeeting has taken the complexity out of business conference calling. From the initial setup to the call quality and meeting management features, it’s easy for anyone to use.
All plans come with unlimited web audio conference calls. So you’ll never have to worry about exceeding a limit.
GoToMeeting provides optional toll-free numbers for more than 50 countries. If you add-on this feature, you’ll only pay for what you use. This is an alternative solution to traditional VoIP phone services.
You’ll also get custom email invitations, reservationless connections, integrated scheduling, and one-click meetings with the conference calling feature.
In addition to audio calls, GoToMeeting provides HD quality video conferencing. This gives you the opportunity to host face-to-face meetings online.
Up to 25 users can use their webcam at the same time with GoToMeeting.
Other video conferencing platforms have confusing controls, syncing errors, and unexpected outages. But you won’t have to worry about any of these problems with GoToMeeting.
The platform enables cloud collaboration for both desktop and mobile.
Bandwidth is automatically adjusted for each user based on their resources and hardware, making it a seamless experience for everyone involved.
Using the video conferencing feature is simple. GoToMeeting allows people using the desktop app to edit their webcam preferences. So you can change the display format before going live.
Want to jump off of your camera without leaving or interrupting the meeting? No problem. GoToMeeting makes that easy to accomplish.
Online screen sharing with GoToMeeting will elevate the quality of your audio and video conference calls. You’ll be able to present your computer screen in real-time to meeting attendees.
This is the perfect way to enhance your communication when visuals are required.
Use screen sharing for things brainstorming ideas as well as team member training. You can also show conceptual designs or prototypes to your clients.
With screen sharing capabilities, you can turn any conference call into a full-blown presentation in seconds.
Another advantage of this feature is its flexibility. You can choose exactly what screen you want to share. Whether it’s your entire monitor or just a single app, GoToMeeting has settings to support your needs.
Meeting attendees do not need to download any desktop or mobile software to access screen sharing capabilities. GoToMeeting offers screen sharing from all Chrome web browsers.
This is perfect for people who are in a software-restricted environment or using an operating system where installing the app isn’t possible. These are both common scenarios for certain corporate firewall permissions.
You can share your screen from an iPhone or iPad as well. You’ll even be able to switch between iOS devices seamlessly. If a meeting is running late and you need to step away from your computer, just continue on your mobile device without leaving the meeting.
Transcriptions and Recordings
A common problem with virtual meetings is the ability to retain information. This is especially true for longer sessions featuring multiple presenters and participants.
Hand-written notes aren’t always practical. Plus, it defeats the purpose of using technology to your advantage.
GoToMeeting solves this problem with transcriptions and recordings. Simply click the record button. The presenter’s screen, along with everyone’s audio, will be captured. You can store these recordings locally or in the cloud.
The Smart Meeting Assistant will also transcribe the conversation automatically. So you’ll always be able to refer back to those transcripts.
There’s no reason to assign a designated transcriber to your meetings anymore. Instead of scrambling to write things down, you can actually pay attention to what’s going on.
The transcriptions and recordings are also highly beneficial to coworkers or clients who were unable to attend. They can re-watch the meeting on their own time as if they were there.
In addition to providing software, GoToMeeting also has all of the hardware you need for hosting high-quality meetings. They have hardware bundles available for huddle spaces, as well as larger conference rooms.
With Poly and Dolby Voice, GoToMeeting provides top of the line technology. The audio and video quality with these bundles is second to none.
These out-of-the-box conference room solutions are incredibly user-friendly. Installation is easy as well. You can get the entire system set up in less than 15 minutes.
There’s no reason to get your conference room hardware from a third-party provider. Bundling your solution with GoToMeeting is a cost-effective way to get top of the line equipment.
The modern workforce is always on the go. Remote employees aren’t always tied to a desk with a computer at their disposal.
GoToMeeting solves this problem by providing native mobile apps for iOS, Android, and Windows. Now you can schedule, join, or host a meeting directly from any mobile device.
The mobile app still gives you all of the features and benefits that we previously discussed. You’ll be able to share your screen and record meetings as well. It works for both audio and video conference calls.
Again, GoToMeeting will automatically adjust your bandwidth to ensure high quality, no matter where you are.
Other Considerations of GoToMeeting
GoToMeeting isn’t perfect. There are potential drawbacks that you should take into consideration before you sign up.
Stable Connection Required
If your Internet service provider is frequently pinging your modem, GoToMeeting might give you some problems. The connection must be error-free for the software to work properly.
Even brief interruptions can force a session to crash. Restarting a new meeting can be a pain, especially when there are lots of attendees. If your company experiences lots of Internet connection problems, you should switch providers before signing up for GoToMeeting.
The quality of the equipment being used for hosting and attending meetings matters. GoToMeeting prioritizes the most up to date solutions but doesn’t keep up with outdated technology.
If you’re using hardware that’s more than five years old, you’ll probably need an upgrade to get the full benefits of GoToMeeting. Fortunately, you can get a hardware bundle directly from this provider.
Added Costs For Premium Features
All features are not available for every plan. We’ll discuss the plans in pricing in greater detail shortly, and you’ll see what I mean.
But the entry-level plan is not all-inclusive. You’ll have to upgrade to get the most out of GoToMeeting.
Limited Chat Capabilities
Until recently, GoToMeeting’s chat was limited to meetings. Meaning you weren’t able to create chat rooms for on-demand instant messaging.
Now they launched Business Chat, which includes this feature. However, I don’t think it’s at the point where you can use it to replace Slack or similar real-time messaging tools.
Maybe this will change in the future. But for now, GoToMeeting is better for its conference calling capabilities, not chat functions.
No Free Plan
There are lots of free conference call services on the market today. However, GoToMeeting isn’t one of them.
They offer a 14-day free trial and provide discounts for annual contracts, but you can’t use the software for free indefinitely.
Compare GoToMeeting Plans and Prices
GoToMeeting has three different plans to accommodate businesses of all different shapes and sizes. I’ll give you an in-depth look at what each plan has to offer, including the price points.
GoToMeeting Professional starts at $12 per month per user with an annual contract. The month-to-month rate is $14 per month for each user.
This package allows you to host meetings and conference calls with up to 150 participants, which is more than enough for a small business.
In addition to the HD video, audio, screen sharing, and other benefits that we discussed earlier, GoToMeeting Professional comes with the following features:
You’ll also benefit from GoToMeeting’s 24/7 customer care team.
The admin center is a robust and intuitive dashboard for managing calls, users, and your account. You’ll also have access to diagnostic reports for all of your meetings. This allows you to track the performance on an individual user level for advanced troubleshooting.
Every update or change made within your account is tracked. You can view these logs with downloadable admin reports.
Even with the entry-level plan, GoToMeeting gives you unlimited meetings with no time limits for audio and video calls. It’s tough to find a better entry conference call plan on the market with so many advanced features.
Transcription and recording functions are not available with GoToMeeting Professional. So you’ll need to upgrade if you want those advanced features.
GoToMeeting Business starts at $16 per month per user with an annual contract. If you don’t want the long-term commitment, you can $19 per user on a monthly basis.
This plan allows you to host calls with up to 250 participants, making it an appealing choice for medium to large-sized organizations.
GoToMeeting Business has all of the features in the Professional plan, with extras like:
The meeting lock feature adds an extra layer of security to your calls. Once a meeting begins, late users need to wait until the host lets them in.
GoToMeeting Business comes with Smart Assistant. This tool uses machine learning technology to detect highlights and action items in a meeting automatically.
You’ll also benefit from the ability to take notes directly on the platform during a call or conference.
GoToMeeting recently launched a new feature that’s available on the Business plan called “Slide to PDF.” During a presentation, you can automatically capture slides and create a sharable PDF with everything in chronological order. This is just another way to stay organized after a meeting is complete.
As the name implies, this is an enterprise-grade solution intended for larger organizations with needs exceeding the limits of the other plans.
With GoToMeeting Enterprise, you can host meetings and calls with up to 3,000 participants. This is an ideal solution for organizations with dozens of locations positioned across the country or globe.
The Enterprise plan allows you to connect using your existing conference room system with InRoom Link (H.323, SIP). This provides an additional layer of security for your protection.
Aside from the 24/7 customer support you’re already getting, GoToMeeting will provide you with a dedicated customer success manager. You’ll also benefit from custom onboarding, training, and quarterly reviews.
GoToMeeting Enterprise pricing is customized for each organization. They provide volume discounts for extra users.
You’ll need to contact the GoToMeeting sales team to get your quote.
Overall, GoToMeeting is an exceptional conference call service provider.
They have solutions for small, medium, and large organizations. The plans are affordable and come with features that go beyond just basic audio or video calling.
Even the entry-level plan comes with unlimited calling with no limits for up to 150 participants. Other conference calling solutions won’t give you as much out of the box.
I like GoToMeeting because its technology is second to none. They are always using the most up-to-date equipment, and offer exceptional hardware bundles for businesses as well.
Whether you’re hosting meetings from the office conference room, or on the go with your mobile device, GoToMeeting has you covered.
Try GoToMeeting for 14 days with a free trial. You won’t even have to provide your credit card information, so there’s no commitment.
via Quick Sprout https://ift.tt/UU7LJr
February 21, 2020 at 10:06AM
3 Tips for Hiring Digital Marketing Professionals
From placing ads to creating content, you want your digital marketing team to be the best that it can be. But how do you find the talent, vet them, and bring them on board? Navigating the hiring process for any position can be difficult but there are a number of unique factors to keep in mind when hiring digital marketing professionals.
Here are 3 important tips to follow when you’re building out your digital marketing team to set your company up for success.
#1: Decide on Your “Dream Team”
There’s more to screening your digital marketing candidates than running the standard background check for employment (although it’s still essential to protect your business). When filling these positions, you need to take a strategic approach to finding the right fit. To build your ideal digital marketing team, first ask yourself this question: what roles do you need to fill? Some of the essential members of content departments include:
And more than that, what skills or personality traits do they need to bring to the team to help it operate at its highest possible level. If you’re running a small business, you may be working with a limited budget. If that’s the case, try to find someone with several or all of these skills.
Fortunately, you’ll find that many digital marketing professionals are cross-trained in these areas. However, you want to make sure whoever you’re hiring is an expert, not just familiar with the basics of these essential duties. As your business grows, you’ll likely want to fill each of these positions individually, but it’s a good starting point.
If your organization is just starting out and you’re not quite ready to dedicate a large part of your budget to these roles, there is also the option to bring on interns. However, due to the value these positions bring to your business’ overall success, it’s highly recommended that you hire experts in these fields as soon as possible.
#2: Know Where to Look for Top Talent
But how can you attract these candidates? This is one of the biggest challenges that businesses face during the hiring process, but when it comes to finding digital marketing professionals that are the best at what they do, this is especially important. To find the best candidates, it’s recommended that you rely on legitimate job boards or professional networking sites. Not only do these sites allow you to post job ads, but they also give you access to professional groups and connections that may lead you right to someone who will make a great addition to your team.
Since many professionals in this industry are very on top of their social media feeds, posting job listings and having other professional connections share them is a good strategy for attracting the most qualified candidates. If you have the budget, you could even place targeted paid ads on social media sites.
#3: Open Your Search
When it comes to digital marketing staff, it doesn’t make sense to narrow your search to just locals. Instead, broaden your search on a nationwide or even global scale to truly find the top talent for each position you need to fill.
You’d be surprised at the increase in viable candidates when you don’t restrict professionals in this sphere to working in-office. In fact, remote work has become a highly sought out perk, which can help your company beat out the competition when candidates are searching for employment opportunities. Fortunately, the work associated with these roles (especially those for higher-level positions) can be completed nearly anywhere at any time.
Starting with these three tips will get you on the right track to finding top-tier talent in the digital marketing industry. When you’re building out your team, you should also consider how these roles will need to work together and put expectations and practices in place to facilitate team collaboration.
via Social Media Explorer https://ift.tt/2onGYog
February 21, 2020 at 06:09AM
Messaging Matters: How to Attract Your Ideal Customers
Want to attract more of your ideal customers? Do you know which words and phrases resonate most with your prospects?
To explore how to come up with the right messages to attract your preferred customers, I interview Jeffrey Shaw on the Social Media Marketing Podcast.
Jeffrey is a brand message consultant who helps businesses attract their ideal customers. He’s the author of the book, Lingo: Discover Your Ideal Customer’s Secret Language and Make Your Business Irresistible, and host of the Creative Warriors podcast.
Jeffrey explains why certain words are more powerful than others in your marketing messages, and shares how to research your customers’ emotional triggers to develop messaging that appeals to them.
Attracting Your Ideal Customers
After attending photography school, Jeffrey returned to his hometown of Hopewell Junction, a small town a few hours north of New York City, with aspirations of becoming a high-end portrait photographer. One day, a woman came in to inquire about a family photoshoot.
Jeffrey pitched all of the things that he would do as a photographer and stressed the importance of preserving children’s moments and having photographs to hand down from generation to generation. The woman looked at him and said, “That’s great and all, but I don’t have the luxury of worrying about my children’s memories. I don’t know how I’m paying my rent this month.”
Jeffrey realized in hindsight that he should have known better. This was his hometown, which was a small, middle- to lower–middle-class community. He had been promoting his core message of long-term thinking: the importance of preserving life’s moments and having portraits to hand down to future generations. This interaction made him realize that if someone is struggling to pay their rent, the last thing they’re thinking about is anything long-term.
That’s when he learned the importance of matching messaging to the audience.
Jeffrey had been saying what seemed like the right things to him based on his own values and priorities. There was nothing wrong with those messages. There was just a mismatch: He was saying the right things to the wrong people. He realized that he could either change who he was and what he believed in, or he could find the people who valued what he had to offer. He chose the latter and has made a career of spreading that message to other businesses.
This is how to define your ideal customers: Find yourself and then discover who would love that. Jeffrey decided to unpack the affluent community because he realized that the only people who could afford his offer had the discretionary income to plan ahead.
Years after his photography business became successful, people began hiring Jeffrey as a speaker to teach them how to do what he had done. Once he was on photography stages, other people started hearing his message, and he saw the value in broadening his message beyond the photography industry.
In 2018, Jeffrey published his first book, Lingo: Discover Your Ideal Customer’s Secret Language and Make Your Business Irresistible. He uses the phrase “secret language” because lingo isn’t necessarily jargon. It’s simply the words you need to use to capture your ideal customer’s attention. To truly understand the lingo of your ideal customers is to understand the unspoken essence of who they are.
Jeffrey has found many parallels between photography and brand consulting. A photographer’s role is to understand the subject, capture their essence, and put it on display in the form of a portrait so that people who view it feel a connection to the people in it. Someone who’s looking for a family portrait is really looking for the photographer to create something that stops them in their tracks and gives them a feeling of connection to that moment in time with their family.
Brand message consultants do the same thing. They help businesses understand the essence of their ideal customers and capture that in brand messaging. Once you do that, your brand message will swoop up everybody else of a similar ilk and value system in a way that’s guaranteed to be broad enough to build a successful business.
Why Getting the Right People’s Attention Matters
Jeffrey feels that strong, clear brand messaging is especially crucial in our current culture. To get anybody’s attention and to be noticed by your ideal customers, you have to say a lot in very little time. It’s one thing to say the right things to the right people but Jeffrey helps businesses say the right things to the right people in as few seconds as possible. It all comes down to helping businesses create amazing brand messages.
Jeffrey doesn’t buy into the theory that humans have devolved to have shorter attention spans. He believes the problem is simply that not much in branding and marketing is worthy of attention. For the past several years, many businesses have focused on standing out by being louder, crazier, more annoying, and more different. But that doesn’t work because it stands out to too broad an audience, which doesn’t really serve anybody.
When Jeffrey speaks to companies or large audiences, he often asks how many people feel they’re working exclusively with their ideal customers. Hardly any hands go up. When he asks for a percentage, most feel that about 30% of their customers are ideal—meaning the most profitable and the easiest to work with. And 30% just isn’t good enough.
The world is so noisy that it’s hard to get people’s attention. You want to make sure you’re getting the attention of the specific audience you want to reach. And that’s where brand messaging that’s zeroed in, that speaks the lingo of your ideal customers, becomes imperative. You’re not standing out to a broad audience, you’re standing out to the people who feel like you get them, which is a much narrower focus. When your messaging isn’t fine-tuned appropriately, you’re probably attracting the wrong kind of customer.
Assessing Messaging Using the Lingo Review
Jeffrey says most messaging boils down to the home page. He goes through a process he calls a lingo review. The client first fills out a form so Jeffrey can hear what the company thinks they’re saying. He reads what they’ve written on the form and then he goes to their website. After reviewing hundreds of websites, Jeffrey can confidently state that approximately 98% of websites aren’t saying what the businesses think they’re saying.
The business owner or the company may have an idea of their ideal customer. But when Jeffrey starts unpacking what that customer’s values are, their lifestyle and behavior, he often finds that none of that’s coming across on the company’s website.
Brands think that because they’re standing out, or because they’ve done buyer personas and avatars, that they’ve somehow narrowed it down. But in today’s world, just standing out in itself is too broad. You don’t want to stand out to everybody or even just a large group. You really want to stand out to the people you resonate with.
If you can get your messaging right, then you can send a signal to those ideal customers that you’re for them and they’re for you. That’s going to increase the likelihood that you’ll attract more of those ideal customers.
Another factor that often gets overlooked is the use of mobile devices. More than 70% of people visiting your marketing materials, particularly your website, are on mobile devices. Behavior on mobile devices is entirely different. Technology became responsive but marketers forgot to respond to the behavioral difference. People on mobile devices don’t switch pages. They tend to sit on the home page because it takes too long to load interior pages.
But most companies have their juiciest and best messaging on the interior pages. They’ve treated the home page as an old-style gateway. But on a mobile device, that home page is everything.
Jeffrey believes that going forward, every page on a website will be a distinct home page. Jeffrey is a consultant offering a variety of services and he’s also a speaker. When someone inquires about speaking, he doesn’t send them to JeffreyShaw.com. He sends them to JeffreyShaw.com/speaking so that speaking page is now the home page to them.
He doesn’t want to confuse them with the general information on the home page; he wants them to get exactly where they need to go. The messaging on each page needs to be specific to the audience you want to speak to and the services you’re offering.
Understanding the Language of Your Ideal Customers
Most businesses have been built backward. Because we’re now such a content-rich world, the way businesses tend to be built is that somebody has an idea, they build a business, they have a logo designed and a business card printed, they launch a website, they fill it up with words and messaging, and then they spend years trying to hunt people down to fit them into the box they’ve created.
The right way to build a business is to deeply understand your ideal customer—not just any customer, your ideal customer—and then build all those marketing materials that speak their lingo so they’re drawn in.
Understanding your ideal customer is accomplished through five primary emotional triggers—perspective, familiarity, style, pricing psychology, and words—and they have to be considered in that exact order.
You simply cannot resonate with anybody—you can’t understand anybody, have empathy for them, trigger them emotionally, or understand their lingo—until you understand their perspective, how they see the world.
Jeffrey grew up in a middle- to lower–middle-class community and ended up being the photographer for some of the most affluent families in the country. He was able to do that because he understood their perspective. It didn’t matter that he didn’t come from money. Any business can serve anybody if they take the time to understand the perspective of their ideal customer.
Jeffrey needed to understand what his ideal client’s lifestyle was and what they valued. He studied this for months. He went to high-end brands, not so much to study the brands but to study the behavior of their customers. He explored how he would feel if they were his ideal customer: What triggered them, what were they seeing?
That’s what he means by perspective. He defines it as deeply stepping into—not a projection, not an assumption, but to literally experience—the life of your ideal customer, preferably in ways that have nothing to do with your business. How do they live their life, where do they go, where do they hang out, what do they value, what’s their behavior, and what’s familiar to them?
Years ago, Jeffrey went to Bergdorf Goodman, a one-of-a-kind exclusive department store on Fifth Avenue in New York City, just to see what it would feel like to be there. He noticed a lot of designer names. At the time, his photography business was called Light Images. That changed once he realized that in the lingo of the high-end brand identity, having a designer name had value. So he changed his business name to his own name, which, for Jeffrey, was the beginning of personal branding. He made Jeffrey Shaw a brand name.
Another difference Jeffrey observed was word usage. The word “discount” means nothing to higher-end consumers; discounts don’t motivate them to buy. But if you throw an upgrade at them, they’re all over it. That’s the entire basis for airport lounges: free food, free cheese, free water. In his photography business, Jeffrey did an annual promotion where he offered his clients the option to prepay.
This idea actually came from Starbucks. When Starbucks first introduced the Starbucks Card, it wasn’t originally thought of as a gift card. You preloaded it with money to buy your own drinks. That fascinated Jeffrey. They already had higher-priced coffee than anybody was used to paying for, and now they were convincing customers to pay for it ahead of time, before they even ordered the drink, with no discount. Where was the value in that? It made people feel cool, like they were part of an exclusive club.
Jeffrey took that idea and offered his clients an upgrade: If they prepaid several thousand dollars as a deposit for a portrait session to be used anytime in the upcoming year, he would upgrade them an additional 10%. If they wanted to pay $5,000, he gave them an extra $500 on their account. Instead of giving them a discount, he gave them a freebie, which, in this case, was more of his valuable service.
Understanding the lifestyle of your ideal customers is key to speaking their lingo. Jeffrey offered this upgrade every February when he knew his Wall Street clients all got their bonuses. His hook was, “If you want to be photographed this year, and you let me know which month, I’ll contact you 10 weeks before to make sure you get the ideal appointment because I have an 8-week waiting list.” This way, he guaranteed business with and for his best clients.
The other key component of this offer was that it honored loyal customers, which is an essential part of the relationship when you’re working with high-end customers. Many businesses on the lower end are only throwing discounts at new customers. That would be disastrous on the high end because those customers are all about building relationships.
Jeffrey didn’t assume that he understood his ideal client’s perspective. Instead, he went to places that allowed him to experience what it was like to be them, and he took cues from that and applied them to his business. Years later, Jeffrey has actually become an ongoing loyal customer of Bergdorf Goodman. He loves that he first went to the store as a poor 23-year-old to learn how to speak the lingo of the affluent market. As a result, his business became successful enough that he became one of Bergdorf Goodman’s customers himself.
Familiarity is one of the most powerful human emotions because we’re drawn to what feels familiar. Familiarity is so powerful that we’re sometimes duped by our own expertise.
When Jeffrey moved to Miami, he scouted out a few different neighborhoods. People kept talking about a neighborhood in Miami Beach called South of Fifth. Jeffrey didn’t really want to live in Miami Beach but everybody told him to check out this neighborhood, and when he did, he immediately fell in love.
There was a beautiful park in the center of the community with 180-degree views of the ocean. Smith & Wollensky, a high-end steakhouse with a well-known New York location, was also there. The fact that he was already familiar with the quality of their food helped Jeffrey be all-in.
He went to his new accountant and said, “So much for saving money moving to Florida—it’s just as expensive. My rent is the same as it was in Manhattan.” And the accountant said, “Well, you’ve chosen a neighborhood geared toward attracting New York money. The park is modeled after Battery Park and there’s a Smith & Wollensky steakhouse. That neighborhood was architecturally designed to attract New Yorkers with money.” Jeffrey felt duped.
Jeffrey ended up disliking living on the beach and later moved to downtown Miami. But the point is that the power of familiarity was so strong to him that he felt like he was at home and that he’d found exactly what he wanted. That’s a powerful thing for businesses to get to know about their ideal customers. Who are they already doing business with? What’s the culture of those businesses?
Understand where your ideal customer is going. Where are they shopping? Does your ideal customer go to Costco, Publix, Trader Joe’s, or Whole Foods? Without a doubt, we can all agree the vibe and what feels familiar in each of those brands is very different: Costco feels entirely different than Whole Foods.
The power of familiarity is in uncovering what they’re already experiencing. Recapture that in your brand message, brand image, and in the customer experience, and they’re in.
A common challenge for B2B businesses is figuring out how to create something familiar when they don’t necessarily have a community that clients can walk into. Jeffrey says we need to break down the division in our minds between B2B and B2C. B2B tends to think that everything’s different for them. But at the end of the day, businesses are all run by humans.
If your ideal customer is another business, that business has a culture. That business, and whoever the decision-maker is, has a personality. So you can still look at it the same way.
To learn about his ideal clients, Jeffrey went to brick-and-mortar places such as Bergdorf Goodman because the internet wasn’t really around. In some ways, it’s easier to do this research today because we have access to so much information on the internet. Where’s your ideal customer? What blogs are they reading? What books are they interested in? Where are they spending their time—either inside or outside their home?
Video in particular emphasizes the importance of the things we talk about and the way we say those things. Our audience is going to relate to what we’re saying or not, and that’s part of familiarity as well.
Jeffrey often shows a video clip of Taylor Swift during his B2B talks. A few years ago, Taylor’s team followed about 100 members of her core fan base on social media for a year to learn everything possible about their lives. At the end of the year, Taylor sent Christmas gifts to those fans. They were based on pretty intimate details. In the video, you see a gift tag that says, “Congratulations on your acting gig.”
When the fans received these gifts, can you imagine how blown away they were that a star as big as Taylor Swift took the time to understand not just their perspective but also the tiniest of details of their lives? That’s lingo through and through, knowing what’s familiar. We can find out so much of what’s familiar to people by just looking at social media.
Jeffrey sometimes questions the accuracy of direct surveys because people will often give you the answer they think you want to hear. But if you do it almost secretively—if you go through somebody’s Facebook page and just find out where they’re checking in to eat, for example, it can tell you a lot about the style of restaurants and their price point.
Familiarity is putting yourself in your customers’ position and asking yourself about the things they have in common or the things that are normal and familiar to them. What they have in common is a little tricky because you don’t want to stereotype people and throw them into a single bucket. But the fact of the matter is that there are similarities among large groups of people.
Jeffrey’s ideal customers were affluent families and there are common denominators among that clientele—but there are also nuances. To visualize this, the way money is displayed in the Northeast is quiet and subdued, versus in a place like L.A. or Miami where people are more inclined to show off what they’ve got. Jeffrey photographed these clients differently.
In the Northeast, he would never photograph a family with the big house on the hill, but in California, he would. A New England family would never send out portraits to their family members putting their wealth on display. But in Miami and L.A., that’s the primary objective.
Understand who they are but also understand those nuances. Don’t throw everybody in the same bucket but try to understand a broad audience by knowing the commonalities.
Style is the decision-maker and a lot of people don’t take it seriously enough. If you’ve ever shopped at a TJ Maxx or Nordstrom Rack or any other discount place, all of the medium shirts are in one section. What gets you to stop when you’re flipping through the hangers? The style. There’s something about that shirt that makes you more likely to take it off the hanger and say, “Wow, this is so me.” Something about that style speaks to you.
That’s an important understanding when it comes to getting people to visit your website or open an email. Understand what style resonates with your ideal customer that’s going to cause them to stop in their tracks. That’s how you get their attention.
Style is represented by brand voice—degree of humor, degree of formality versus casualness, storytelling, even right down to font and colors—because all of those elements give a feeling based on that style. Comedians do this really well. They’re not trying to appeal to everybody, nor should any of us. They know their audience has a similar sense of humor.
Style is about understanding what resonates with your ideal customer so you can stop them in their tracks. That’s how you get people to open emails: It all comes down to the subject line. Does that subject line capture them and make them feel like you’re speaking to them in their style?
Jeffrey’s observations when he went to Bergdorf Goodman were eye-opening because it was such a departure from what he was used to. Part of the reason why he’s able to do what he does as a brand message consultant is that he’s lived life on opposite sides of many fences, having grown up lower middle-class and then serving wealthy people. He can see definite differences.
The key to pricing any product or service in any market is to base it on how your ideal customers see themselves in the world. We have all chosen not to buy something because it was inexpensive for us; therefore, we perceived it as cheap. Somebody else saw that very same price and it might have been too high for them.
As consumers, we see pricing based on how we see ourselves in the world. You want to carefully position your pricing psychology to match your ideal customer. When it’s off, it can be one of the biggest breaks in business. That’s why you get situations where you’re trying to convince someone that what you have to offer is worth it and they don’t see it. Or they find themselves in a situation where they thought they could afford something and suddenly it’s a lot more expensive than they thought.
Jeffrey says that disconnect is almost always the business’s fault because they didn’t accurately portray their price point to match how their ideal customers feel positioned in the world.
At Bergdorf Goodman, Jeffrey observed that all of the prices were rounded off; there were no prices that ended in 97. Many people come to Jeffrey for help with their businesses and complain that their customers are trying to nickel-and-dime them. He looks at their pricing structure and sees that they’ve priced everything at $19.97, $4.97, $9.97. They’re the ones drawing attention to the fact that 3 cents matter so why are they surprised that customers are nickel-and-diming them?
If you’re selling a higher-end product to a higher-end audience, you should just make it $1,000 instead of $997. Round it off and keep it vague.
People contact Jeffrey for photography and ask how much he charges for his services. Jeffrey responds by asking them how many homes they have. If they have three homes, Jeffrey estimates about $15,000 because he’s found that his clients invest about $5,000 per home. He lets them know that it’s going to be a minimum of $5,000, up to $15,000, depending on if they’d like portraits in each of their homes.
Walmart’s pricing psychology is down to the 100th of a cent so their cost-conscious customers know they’re not paying more than 1/100th of a cent more than needed.
Most of us underestimate our value and price too low. It’s worth testing and seeing what works. If you don’t have anybody complaining about your prices, you’re probably too low. There has to be a certain percentage of people who are objecting; otherwise, there’s room to go higher.
Once you’ve got perspective from your customers by trying to understand their lives, understanding what they are and aren’t familiar with, knowing their style, and beginning to grapple with their pricing psychology, now you’re finally to the point where you’re talking about saying the right things to the right people in as short a time as possible.
As you’re going through these stages, keep track of repeating phrases and words that you’re going to use in your copy and hooks like “upgrade” instead of “discount.”
One thing Jeffrey discovered while working with bedding company Ogallala was that their bedding materials were actually made from milkweed, which is a hypoallergenic substitute for down. It’s also extremely breathable, which makes it a better material for anybody who gets too hot under a big fluffy comforter. Milkweed also grows profusely in the Midwest so there’s more than enough of it available.
But here’s the really cool thing. Milkweed is the only plant that Monarch butterflies lay eggs on—and they’re close to extinction. This was important. The company knew they wanted to capture the Millennial market. Millennials are very mission-conscious. Jeffrey was able to help change the company’s brand messaging: Not only are you getting a great product, you’re actually participating in saving Monarch butterflies.
They didn’t really have much brand messaging before. Like a lot of websites, it just felt like a brochure saying, “These are your options.” But now when you go to their website, ogallalacomfort.com, their brand message is, “Bedding that breathes and saves butterflies.” You’re getting that right up front. The retention rate went up around 147% and time spent on the website and sales increased by 33%.
Key Takeaways From This Episode:
Get Expert Social Media Marketing Training!
Want to keep ahead of your competitors? Need to master a social platform? Discover how to improve your social media marketing at Social Media Marketing World 2020, brought to you by your friends at Social Media Examiner. You’ll rub shoulders with the biggest names and brands in social media, soak up countless tips and new strategies, and enjoy extensive networking opportunities . Don’t miss the industry’s largest conference. Get in early for big discounts.
Event starts Sunday, March 1, 2020.CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE
What do you think? What are your thoughts on choosing the right messages to attract your ideal customers? Please share your comments below.
via Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner https://ift.tt/1LtH18p
February 21, 2020 at 05:05AM
Messaging Matters: How to Attract Your Ideal Customers - 394
Want to attract more of your ideal customers? Do you know which words and phrases resonate most with your prospects?
To explore how to come up with the right messages to attract your preferred customers, in this episode I interview Jeffrey Shaw. Jeffrey is a brand message consultant who helps businesses attract their ideal customers.
We'd love you to review our show on Apple Podcasts.
via Social Media Marketing Podcast https://ift.tt/1LtH18p
February 21, 2020 at 04:54AM
3 Ways Marketers Can Keep Kids Safe in the Smartphone Era
Children are a tough audience to reach. In the age of smartphones and social media, it’s not just about appeal; it’s also about safety.
Making the World Safer
Fortunately, there’s plenty that businesses can do to make the internet and smartphones safer. While all online entities accessible to general audiences — from content creators to product manufacturers — must adhere to state, federal, and international laws regarding child safety, the legal minimum isn’t enough.
To keep kids using smartphones safe, risk prevention and education are key. Let’s break it down:
1. Only Ask for What You Need
Imagine you’re a restaurant or retailer with a customer loyalty app. You might be tempted to collect all the information you can: full name, home address, birthdate, social media handles, and more. But the more you collect, the greater your risk — and the penalties for companies that mishandle minors’ data are stiff.
Set your app to collect only the data you truly need. For instance, you could use points attached to a username that’s then tethered to a phone number. This way, the user has all the information they need and you have enough information to verify that user in your database.
2. Educate Parents
Although parents could opt to keep their kids unplugged, there’s societal pressure for everyone to be connected. Children are naturally curious, and they can be steered by peer pressure toward content that isn’t appropriate for younger audiences.
Trying to keep kids from downloading certain apps on their smartphones is a losing battle. Encourage parents to seek device-level solutions, like Gabb Wireless’ child-friendly smartphone. The Android-based no-internet device can introduce kids to mobile technology without the inherent risks.
Educational content has a role to play, too. Develop resources for parents not just about your app or website, but around best practices in keeping children safe online. Arming parents with information about how predators and scammers target kids can prevent bad situations before they happen.
3. Encourage Healthy Social Media Habits
Social media sites may be popular, but too much of anything often turns out to be a bad thing. Although they’re valuable tools for personal connection, children who overuse social media may experience mental health issues. According to a 2017 study, those who spend more than two hours a day on social media platforms are twice as likely to develop or have social anxiety.
This is a great opportunity for a CSR campaign. Champion healthy social media use in your content, and implement check-ins that ask users who’ve been in the app for hours whether it’s time to take a break.
The post 3 Ways Marketers Can Keep Kids Safe in the Smartphone Era appeared first on Social Media Explorer.
via Social Media Explorer https://ift.tt/2onGYog
February 20, 2020 at 01:37PM
Daily Crunch: Twitter threads are getting easier
Twitter is rolling out a “continue thread” button, ViacomCBS has big plans for its streaming service and Morgan Stanley acquires E-Trade. Here’s your Daily Crunch for February 20, 2020.
Twitter is adding a new feature for mobile users to make it easier to link dispersed tweets together. Per 9to5Mac, the feature — which Twitter tweeted about yesterday — is slowly rolling out to its iOS app. (At the time of writing we spotted it in Europe.)
The feature lets you pull down as you’re composing a tweet to create a thread, or to see a “continue thread” option.
Until now, CBS All Access was of primary interest to Star Trek fans, but in today’s otherwise underwhelming Q4 earnings of the newly merged ViacomCBS, the company said the plan is to launch a new “broad pay” streaming service that will include CBS All Access content along with other ViacomCBS assets in film and TV.
News broke this morning that Morgan Stanley, a banking behemoth, will buy E-Trade, an online brokerage and financial services firm, for around $13 billion in stock. Meanwhile, Robinhood has about twice the accounts as E-Trade — but E-Trade probably has more assets under management. (Extra Crunch membership required.)
Data is often highly sensitive and out of reach, kept under lock and key by red tape and compliance, requiring weeks for approval. So the aforementioned engineers started Gretel, an early-stage startup that aims to help developers safely share and collaborate with sensitive data in real time.
Founded in the United Kingdom, where its service first launched in Nottingham, HungryPanda is now available in 31 cities in the U.K., Italy, France, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S.
The European Data Protection Board has intervened to raise concerns about Google’s plan to scoop up the health and activity data of millions of Fitbit users. Google confirmed its plan to acquire Fitbit last November, but regulators are in the process of considering whether to allow the tech giant to gobble up all of Fitbit’s data.
This week, the company reported its first-ever decline in Sling TV subscribers, with a drop of 94,000 customers in the fourth quarter. Dish says the streaming service ended the year with 2.59 million total subscribers.
The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.
via Twitter – TechCrunch https://techcrunch.com
February 20, 2020 at 12:18PM
Best Business Loans
Business owners need loans for a wide range of reasons. A loan can cover operating costs, purchase new equipment, buy inventory, or help with expansion.
From startups to companies that have been around for decades, it’s not uncommon for businesses to seek funding at one point or another.
If you need a loan and you’ve done any preliminary research, you’ll quickly learn that the market is flooded with choices. Banks, credit unions, and alternative lenders all have loan options for small businesses.
While you might be tempted to visit your local bank for a loan, take this into consideration. Big banks approve just 27% of small business loan applications.
This means you have just above one in four chances of getting approved. I don’t like those odds.
That’s why the best business loans for 2020 come from online lenders and alternative financing options. I’ll show you the top small business loans in this guide, and explain how to find the best loan for your business.
Top 11 Best Business Loans for 2020
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of business loans to choose from. But there are 11 business loans that stand out from the crowd.
I’ll review each business loan below. You can use this information to decide which loan best fits the needs of your small business.
The Best Business Loan Reviews
BlueVine is one of the first places a business owner should look for a loan. You can get approved for a loan in just five minutes, and they have interest rates as low as 4.8%.
Applying online will not affect your credit score. Hard credit checks are only performed after you’ve reviewed and accepted an offer.
With BlueVine, you can get a loan of up to $5 million or as little as $5,000.
Unlike other lenders on the market, BlueVine has three different types of financing solutions for business owners:
Line of Credit
More than 20,000 business owners have used BlueVine for a loan. The company has provided more than $2 billion in loans to a wide range of business types across all industries.
There are some eligibility restrictions to consider. For example, to get a line of credit, you need to be in business for at least six months, earn at least $10,000 in monthly revenue, and have a 600+ FICO score.
This makes BlueVine a better choice for an established business as opposed to a startup company.
Lendio is unique compared to some of the other lenders on our list. That’s because you won’t be borrowing money directly from them.
Instead, Lendio operates as a small business loan marketplace. They have a national network of more than 75 different lenders. PayPal, American Express, and Bank of America are just a few of the many companies that you’re familiar with. You’ll even recognize some names from our list of the best business credit cards.
Simply fill out an application, and you’ll be matched with the top lenders and loan terms to meet your needs. This is the best way to compare business loans from a single platform.
It takes just 15 minutes to apply, and there’s no fee or obligation. Once approved, you can have access to your funds in as little as 24 hours.
Lendio works with lenders providing:
Over $1.4 billion has been funded from 73,000+ loans in the Lendio marketplace. No matter what you need the capital for, Lendio is sure to have an option for you.
In some cases, Lendio will request additional information or documentation after you apply, which can sometimes be a pain. But if you’re not in a major rush to get a loan, this extra step is a non-issue.
OnDeck is a global leader in business financing. The company has loaned more than $13 billion to businesses across 700+ industries.
With OnDeck, you can access a term loan or a business line of credit. Here’s a quick overview of each option:
OnDeck Term Loan
OnDeck Line of Credit
To qualify for a loan with OnDeck, regardless of the loan type, you must meet the following minimum requirements:
With that said, the typical OnDeck customer has been in business for more than three years, has a personal FICO score above 650, and does $300,000+ in annual revenue.
There’s some conflicting information online about OnDeck. Some websites claim this is a good place for business owners with bad credit. But you’ll still need to meet the minimum FICO requirements.
OnDeck does not offer funding to businesses based in certain industries. For example, adult entertainment materials, firearms, drug dispensaries, gambling services, and vehicle dealers will need to seek a loan elsewhere. You can view the full list of OnDeck restricted industries here.
More than 100,000 businesses have trusted Fundbox to finance their small business loans.
Fundbox is known for its simplicity and transparent pricing. It’s a great option for small business owners who don’t meet strict qualification terms from other lenders.
To get approved for a Fundbox loan, you need to meet the following qualifications:
Fundbox specializes in trade credit, which is also known as vendor credit or net terms. In these cases, your company can continue to purchase inventory and supplies directly from vendors. But the vender will be paid by the lender, and your business repays the lender based on your term agreement.
You can get interest rates as low as 4.66% with Fundbox. They offer 12 and 24-week term options for repayment.
Funding Circle is a well-known and trusted name in the small business financing world. More than $10.9 billion has been lent to 77,000+ businesses throughout the globe on this platform.
It takes just six minutes to apply online for a loan from Funding Circle.
Access interest rates as low as 4.99% per year. You can borrow between $25,000 and $500,000 and pay it back between six months and five years.
This type of flexibility is one of the many reasons why Funding Circle is such a popular choice for small business owners.
Try the Funding Circle loan calculation tool on their website. It’s a great way to calculate your monthly payments based on the amount you want to borrow and the loan term.
One potential downside of using Funding Circle is that you’ll have to pay an origination fee. This fee ranges from 3.49% to 5.99%, depending on your term.
Funding Circle has loans specifically for minority business owners, businesses owned by women, business debt consolidation loans, and business acquisition loans.
Another reason why I like Funding Circle is because they provide excellent customer service. You’ll hear back from a personal loan specialist within an hour of applying. Once your offer has been approved and accepted, you can usually access funds the following business day.
Kabbage offers small business funding in the form of revolving credit. You can get a credit line of up to $250,000 from this online lender.
With Kabbage, the application process is simple. You’ll get a decision within minutes of applying online. With that said, you must connect your bank account so the system can review your business performance.
You have to meet the following minimum requirements to get a loan from Kabbage:
This is a great alternative for business owners who don’t qualify for stricter revenue requirements that we’ve seen from other lenders.
Kabbage offers 6, 12, and 18-month loan terms with no prepayment penalties. However, you will pay a fixed monthly fee in addition to the financing rate. The monthly fee ranges from 1.5% to 10% of the principal loan amount. The good news is that there are no prepayment penalties if you want to pay your balance off early.
More than 200,000 businesses have used Kabbage to secure financing.
Lending Club offers a wide range of loan options. In addition to business loans, they provide auto refinancing, personal loans, and patient solutions for healthcare bills. Altogether, over three million customers have borrowed $50+ billion from Lending Club.
$28+ billion has been loaned to businesses.
Lending Club is another loan marketplace, similar to Lendio, which we reviewed earlier. However, Lending Club stands out because it’s a P2P lending network.
The money you borrow can come from individual investors.
In general, P2P lending has a reputation for high-interest rates since it involves more risk for the investor. But Lending Club has rates as low as 4.99% for qualifying borrowers.
Lending Club has business loans for:
Another reason to consider Lending Club is the loan terms. You can get all of your capital in a lump sum upfront and repay it with fixed terms for up to five years. There are no prepayment penalties.
Loan amounts range from $5,000 up to $500,000. You can get funded in just a few days if you qualify.
To get a business loan from Lending Club, you must be in business for more than one year and have at least $50,000 in annual sales. You must own at least 20% of the business and be free of any recent bankruptcy or tax liens.
Loans over $100,000 require collateral.
Kiva is a nonprofit organization. This allows them to offer business loans at 0% interest. Yes, you heard that right; 0%.
More than 2.5 million people have used Kiva to raise $1+ billion.
This platform is designed to create opportunities for entrepreneurs in the United States.
Benefiting from 0% interest does come at a cost. Kiva can only be used for microloans of up to $10,000. There is also a lengthy process to apply and get funded.
First, you’ll have to fill out an application that takes up to 30 minutes. Then you’ll spend 15 days getting your friends and family to lend you money “to prove your creditworthiness.” Next, you can go public on the Kiva marketplace, where your loan will be visible to more than 1.6 billion lenders across the globe.
Basically, Kiva is a mix between crowdfunding and P2P lending. You’ll have up to 36 months to repay the loan.
If you need fast access to large sums of cash, Kiva is not for you. But for small business owners who aren’t in a hurry to get a microloan, Kiva is the best way to avoid interest fees.
In most instances, you’ll need to visit a bank to get an SBA loan. These are government-backed loans that give businesses access to cash at favorable rates.
Fortunately, you can get an SBA loan directly from banks in the SmartBiz marketplace.
SmartBiz has SBA loans for up to $5 million, with interest rates between 6.25% and 8.50%. Loan terms range between 10-25 years.
These favorable rates do come with stricter qualification terms. For example, get an SBA loan between $30,000 and $350,000 for working capital or debt refinancing, you must:
SBA commercial real estate loans between $500,000 and $5 million have even stricter qualification terms:
While it’s harder to qualify, you’ll benefit from favorable lending terms. SmartBiz has other loans that aren’t SBA-backed. But I’d only consider using this platform if you’re seeking an SBA loan.
Credibility Capital specializes in small business loans. All of their loans are bank-backed, which gives them the ability to provide lower rates than other financing options on our list.
Loans range from $25,000 to $350,000.
Each loan is paid back monthly over one, two, or three-year terms. Interest rates start at 8%. There is no application fee. However, Credibility Capital charges origination fees starting at 3%. Fortunately, there are no prepayment penalties if you want to pay the loan off early.
Here are the eligibility requirements for Credibility Capital loans:
The information on their website is fairly limited. You’ll need to start an application to see more details about your financing options.
CAN Capital has been served 81,000+ businesses for more than 20 years. During that time, they’ve loaned more than $7 billion to small business owners.
With CAN Capital, you can get access to funding quickly with minimal paperwork. Most decisions are made within a few hours of applying, and funds can be released as soon as the next business day.
They offer loans from $2,500 to $250,000.
In addition to short-term business loans, CAN Capital also provides merchant cash advance programs. A merchant cash advance is more flexible. The repayment schedule is based on a percentage of future credit card receivables.
This is an excellent option for business owners who don’t want to be locked into fixed daily payments, which is required for CAN Capital’s short-term loans.
Repayment terms range from 6-18 months, regardless of your loan type.
There’s an origination fee of up to 3% on short-term loans. All merchant cash advance loans have a $595 administrative fee.
How to Find the Best Business Loan For You
With so many business loan options to choose from, finding the best loan for your small business can be challenging. Getting a business loan is a big deal, so don’t rush through this process.
There are certain factors that must be taken into consideration when you’re evaluating a prospective loan or lender. This is the methodology that we used to narrow down the choices on our list. You can use the same criteria during your search.
All loans are not created equally. Some lenders offer a wide range of loan types, while others provide just one or two. Common types of small business loans include:
It’s important that you apply for the right type of loan. For example, certain loans can only be used for real estate. So you wouldn’t be able to use those funds to purchase inventory.
Decide what type of lender you want to borrow money from. Certain lenders offer more flexible terms or types of loans. Lenders typically fall into one of the following categories:
Qualification terms and interest rates vary based on the lender. For example, a P2P lending platform might offer loans to business owners with poor credit, but the interest rates will be much higher than an SBA loan from a bank.
How much money do you need?
This will have a significant impact on choosing a loan and lender. Some lenders on our list only provide microloans of up to $10,000. Others offer loans in the $500,000 to $5 million range.
Make sure you choose a lending option that can provide you with adequate funding.
Interest Rates and Loan Terms
Before you accept a business loan agreement, review all of the terms. Some platforms have great tools to calculate the amount you’ll pay, including interest and other fees, over the term of your loan.
Shop around for the best interest rates for your loan type. If you have excellent credit, you’ll be able to get more favorable terms.
Always try to get the longest loan term for the lowest interest rate. I only recommend loans with no prepayment penalties. So you can pay it off early to avoid added interest charges.
Some loans come with other charges, like a fixed monthly fee or an origination fee. While a 3% origination fee might not sound like much, it gets quite expensive as you start looking at six-figure loans.
Unless you have an outstanding credit score, you probably won’t qualify for every loan. Review the qualification terms before you apply to anything. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time.
Common loan qualification terms include:
These requirements are usually easy to find on every lending website.
How fast do you need money?
In some cases, you can fill out an application online in just a few minutes and get a decision within the hour. Other times, the application process is a bit slower.
Some business loans provide same-day or next-day funding once you’ve been approved. You’ll have to wait days, weeks, or even months (rarely) in other cases to get your hands on cash from some lenders.
Unless it’s an emergency, getting next-day funding shouldn’t be the deciding factor. I’d rather get a loan with lower interest rates and favorable terms, even if it takes a bit longer to get funded.
If you’re looking for a business loan, these are the top 11 options to consider:
I’ve included something for all types of businesses here. From startups to large organizations seeking financing for virtually any business purpose, there’s a loan for you on this list.
Whether you need $5,000 or $500,000, you can find a lender to meet your needs using this guide.
via Quick Sprout https://ift.tt/UU7LJr
February 20, 2020 at 11:12AM
Twitter adds a button so you can thread your shower thoughts
Hold that tweet — and add another one.
Twitter is adding a new feature for mobile users to make it easier to link dispersed ‘shower thoughts’ together — and another thing styleee.
The feature lets you pull down as you’re composing a tweet to add to your previous tweet by creating a thread or seeing a ‘continue thread’ option.
Tapping on a three-dots menu brings up an interface of older tweets which you can link the new tweet to — to continue (or kick off) a thread.
The feature looks intended to encourage more threads (from #140 characters to #280 to infinity tweetstorms and beyond!).
It may also be intended to address the broken thread phenomenon which can still plague the information network service. Especially where users are discussing complex and/or nuanced topics. (And Twitter has said it wants to foster healthy conversations on its platform so…)
The shortcut offers an alternative for Twitter users to being organized enough to tweet a perfectly threaded series of thoughts in the first place (i.e. by using the ‘+’ option at the point of composing your tweetstorm).
It also does away with the need to go manually searching through your feed for the particular tweet you want to expand on and then hitting reply to add another.
No, it’s still not an edit button. But, frankly, if you think Twitter is ever going to let you rewrite your existing tweets you should probably think longer before you hit ‘publish’ on your next one.
The ‘continue thread’ option could also be used as a de facto edit option — by letting users more easily append a correction to a preexisting tweet.
Whether the feature will (generally) work as intended — to boost threads and reduce broken threads and make Twitter a less confusing place for newbs — remains to be seen.
Happily it looks like Twitter has thought about (and closed off) one potential misuse risk. We tested to see what would happen if you try to insert a new tweet into the middle of an existing tweetstorm — which would have had the potential to generate more confusion (i.e. if the thread logic got altered by the addition).
But instead of embedding the new tweet in the middle of the old thread it was added at the bottom as a supplement. So you just start a new thread at the bottom of your old thread.
Good job Jack.
TechCrunch’s Romain Dillet contributed to this report
via Twitter – TechCrunch https://techcrunch.com
February 20, 2020 at 06:02AM
Social Media Reviews are Important for Content Writing
No matter what industry in which someone works, content writing is going to be important. This is because content writing is a critical part of marketing. Whether someone works in the legal, healthcare, business, sports, or beauty industries, marketing is going to be important for spreading the word about a business’s products or services. When it comes to finding the right content writing services, social media reviews are going to be important.
Social media has become an integral part of most people’s everyday lives. It seems that whenever there is a minute of free time, people pull out their phones. Then, their fingers almost reflexively navigate to the various social media platforms on their phones. This might include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and more. Because social media has become so integrated into people’s lives, it has become a key marketing tool. This is one of the key reasons why social media is such an important part of content writing services.
Therefore, anyone who is looking for content writing services should first look at social media platforms. Think about other people or companies who have used content writing in the past. Then, see if these individuals have put out any reviews on the services. Some of the factors that might be mentioned in a social media review regarding content writing include turnaround time, the quality of the content, how well the writer adhered to the various specifications of the assignment, and whether or not the links worked as designed. Indeed, the links are important for both search results rankings as well as driving traffic to the intended site. Be sure to take a look at social media reviews.
Furthermore, for the content writer, social media reviews are important. Social media reviews can serve as a form of marketing for the writer as well. When people see positive reviews on social media, they are more likely to trust the content writer. In addition, social media reviews are a way for people to spread the word about a certain content writer. Therefore, not only are social media reviews a judgment of the writer’s services but they are also a form of marketing.
Finally, social media reviews are also important for content writing because they might serve as a source of inspiration. Social media is often the birthplace of new ideas. People swap comments, pictures, and videos with each other. This might serve as a way to garner new ideas when it comes to content writing, marketing, and more. This is one of the key points of social media reviews.
Social media is only becoming more and more popular. Already, there are hundreds of millions of people who use social media on a daily basis. With the addition of new platforms and the growth of social media marketing, this is only going to be more important in the years to come. Therefore, anyone who is looking for content marketing services (or thinking about becoming a content writer), think about social media.
The post Social Media Reviews are Important for Content Writing appeared first on Social Media Explorer.
via Social Media Explorer https://ift.tt/2onGYog
February 20, 2020 at 03:31AM
Lack of big tech GDPR decisions looms large in EU watchdog’s annual report
The lead European Union privacy regulator for most of big tech has put out its annual report which shows another major bump in complaints filed under the bloc’s updated data protection framework, underlining the ongoing appetite EU citizens have for applying their rights.
But what the report doesn’t show is any firm enforcement of EU data protection rules vis-a-vis big tech.
The report leans heavily on stats to illustrate the volume of work piling up on desks in Dublin. But it’s light on decisions on highly anticipated cross-border cases involving tech giants including Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and Twitter.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) began being applied across the EU in May 2018 — so is fast approaching its second birthday. Yet its file of enforcements where tech giants are concerned remains very light — even for companies with a global reputation for ripping away people’s privacy.
This despite Ireland having a large number of open cross-border investigations into the data practices of platform and adtech giants — some of which originated from complaints filed right at the moment GDPR came into force.
In the report the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) notes it opened a further six statutory inquiries in relation to “multinational technology companies’ compliance with the GDPR” — bringing the total number of major probes to 21. So its ‘big case’ file continues to stack up. (It’s added at least two more since then, with a probe of Tinder and another into Google’s location tracking opened just this month.)
The report is a lot less keen to trumpet the fact that decisions on cross-border cases to date remains a big fat zero.
Though, just last week, the DPC made a point of publicly raising “concerns” about Facebook’s approach to assessing the data protection impacts of a forthcoming product in light of GDPR requirements to do so — an intervention that resulted in a delay to the regional launch of Facebook’s Dating product.
This discrepancy (cross-border cases: 21 – Irish DPC decisions: 0), plus rising anger from civil rights groups, privacy experts, consumer protection organizations and ordinary EU citizens over the paucity of flagship enforcement around key privacy complaints is clearly piling pressure on the regulator. (Other examples of big tech GDPR enforcement do exist. Well, France’s CNIL is one.)
In its defence the DPC does have a horrifying case load. As illustrated by other stats its keen to spotlight — such as saying it received a total of 7,215 complaints in 2019; a 75% increase on the total number (4,113) received in 2018. A full 6,904 of which were dealt with under the GDPR (while 311 complaints were filed under the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003).
There were also 6,069 data security breaches notified to it, per the report — representing a 71% increase on the total number (3,542) recorded last year.
While a full 457 cross-border processing complaints were received in Dublin via the GDPR’s One-Stop-Shop mechanism. (This is the device the Commission came up with for the ‘lead regulator’ approach that’s baked into GDPR and which has landed Ireland in the regulatory hot seat. tl;dr other data protection agencies are passing Dublin A LOT of paperwork.)
The DPC necessarily has to do back and forth on cross border cases, as it liaises with other interested regulators. All of which, you can imagine, creates a rich opportunity for lawyered up tech giants to inject extra friction into the oversight process — by asking to review and query everything. [Insert the sound of a can being hoofed down the road]
Meanwhile the agency that’s supposed to regulate most of big tech (and plenty else) — which writes in the annual report that it increased its full time staff from 110 to 140 last year — did not get all the funding it asked for from the Irish government.
So it also has the hard cap of its own budget to reckon with (just €15.3M in 2019) vs — for example — Google’s parent Alphabet’s $46.1BN in full year 2019 revenue. So, er, do the math.
Nonetheless the pressure is firmly now on Ireland for major GDPR enforcements to flow.
One year of major enforcement inaction could be filed under ‘bedding in’; but two years in without any major decisions would not be a good look. (It has previously said the first decisions will come early this year — so seems to be hoping to have something to show for GDPR’s 2nd birthday.)
Some of the high profile complaints crying out for regulatory action include behavioral ads serviced via real-time bidding programmatic advertising (which the UK data watchdog has admitted for half a year is rampantly unlawful); cookie consent banners (which remain a Swiss Cheese of non-compliance); and adtech platforms cynically forcing consent from users by requiring they agree to being microtargeted with ads to access the (‘free’) service. (Thing is GDPR stipulates that consent as a legal basis must be freely given and can’t be bundled with other stuff, so… )
Full disclosure: TechCrunch’s parent company, Verizon Media (née Oath), is also under ongoing investigation by the DPC — which is looking at whether it meets GDPR’s transparency requirements under Articles 12-14 of the regulation.
Seeking to put a positive spin on 2019’s total lack of a big tech privacy reckoning, commissioner Helen Dixon writes in the report: “2020 is going to be an important year. We await the judgment of the CJEU in the SCCs data transfer case; the first draft decisions on big tech investigations will be brought by the DPC through the consultation process with other EU data protection authorities, and academics and the media will continue the outstanding work they are doing in shining a spotlight on poor personal data practices.”
In further remarks to the media Dixon said: “At the Data Protection Commission, we have been busy during 2019 issuing guidance to organisations, resolving individuals’ complaints, progressing larger-scale investigations, reviewing data breaches, exercising our corrective powers, cooperating with our EU and global counterparts and engaging in litigation to ensure a definitive approach to the application of the law in certain areas.
“Much more remains to be done in terms of both guiding on proportionate and correct application of this principles-based law and enforcing the law as appropriate. But a good start is half the battle and the DPC is pleased at the foundations that have been laid in 2019. We are already expanding our team of 140 to meet the demands of 2020 and beyond.”
One notable date this year also falls when GDPR turns two — because a Commission review of how the regulation is functioning is looming in May.
That’s one deadline that may help to concentrate minds on issuing decisions.
Per the DPC report, the largest category of complaints it received last year fell under ‘access request’ issues — whereby data controllers are failing to give up (all) people’s data when asked — which amounted to 29% of the total; followed by disclosure (19%); fair processing (16%); e-marketing complaints (8%); and right to erasure (5%).
On the security front, the vast bulk of notifications received by the DPC related to unauthorised disclosure of data (aka breaches) — with a total across the private and public sector of 5,188 vs just 108 for hacking (though the second largest category was actually lost or stolen paper, with 345).
There were also 161 notification of phishing; 131 notification of unauthorized access; 24 notifications of malware; and 17 of ransomeware.
via Twitter – TechCrunch https://techcrunch.com
February 19, 2020 at 07:17PM