09 Jul

Google’s I/O announcements

Tech giants like Google are constantly working on what seems like a million projects and ideas at any given time. One way they get these developments out to the public is to announce them at a big event. Google usually showcases some major products or devices at their annual developer conference, I/O. This year, I/O was held in late June and true to form the company talked about a bunch of concepts businesses can benefit from.

During I/O, Google announced a ton of new products and features, while also holding seminars and sessions all related to developing programs and solutions using Google’s various programs and devices. The most popular event however is the keynote, where the company provides a high-level glance at the most exciting developments to come in the next year or so. Here is a brief overview of the five most business-relevant announcements.

Android L

Overall, Android has grown immensely over the past five or so years. It’s now the world’s most popular mobile operating system and there are a wide range of businesses using Android devices. On an almost yearly basis, Google has announced a new version of Android, but over the past few years there hasn’t really been a major overhaul to the system. Google aims to change that this year with Android L.

The next version of Android will feature a redesigned User Interface that is not only more modern but also smarter and more colorful. Using a new layout system, called material design, Android L aims to provide a consistent look across all apps and devices. For example, the Gmail app will look the same on a tablet as it does on your phone.

Aside from a new look and interface, there are also a number of features introduced with Android L, including:

  • A new way to display notifications – These will also be displayed on your locked screen.
  • Increased dependence between apps – Google is aiming to make it so that apps work better together. The example showcased at the conference displayed a Google search for a restaurant using Chrome, and a search result allowing you to book a table directly from another app, without having to close Chrome and open the table booking app.
  • Faster operation – Google has developed a new way to put the OS together, which will allow apps to run faster, smoother, and more efficiently on the same hardware.
  • Better battery life – A new mobile project Google is working on, called project Volta, will allow app developers to track and easily see where their app is using increased battery power. This can then be investigated and changes implemented wherever possible to limit this energy drain. This will help ensure better battery life overall. There will also be a new power saving mode, allowing users to lengthen battery life by up to 90 minutes when their device’s battery is low.

There are also likely to be a slew of new and improved features introduced when Android L is released which, according to Google, should be sometime in the fall – likely late September or October.

Android Wear

The company noted that they were going to get into the smartwatch game earlier this year, and at I/O they introduced a number of new smartwatches and an Android Wear app you install on your phone that gives these watches functionality. Think of these watches as an extension of your phone; showing relevant information and notifications. In other words, they are really kind of like Google Now on your wrist.

In the demo we saw, your watch will show upcoming events and information related to your location. So, for example, if you have a flight in three hours, you will be able to access your flight information, boarding pass, and even receive updates about the status on your watch, without having to look at your phone.

It can also function as your notification center. You can set your phone to buzz when you receive a new email and read it without looking at your phone. You can even interact with it using your voice. For example, you can dictate emails or even Internet searches.

There are currently two watches available to order, with a third coming later this summer. Because these devices are new, it’s not easy to tell whether they will be useful for all business users. However, if you spend a lot of time on the road or out of the office, this could prove to be a good way of keeping track of your day and important notifications.

Android Auto

Governments around the world are increasingly implementing tough laws regarding the use of mobile phones whilst driving. While safety is paramount, the restrictions can be tough for those who spend a lot of time traveling with work.

In an effort to make things safer, Google has introduced Android Auto. This system is designed to be integrated into new cars and connect to your phone. With Android Auto you will be able to access your phone’s music, notifications, contacts, and messages while on the road. The idea is that these will show up on your car’s navigation screen and can be interacted with via steering wheel controls or your voice.

In the demo shown at I/O, the driver received a text message which was read to him aloud, and he then responded using his voice. He was also able to set reminders, play music and find directions – all without picking up his phone.

Generally speaking, when this system starts to show up in cars later this year, it should allow you to interact with your phone while still focusing on driving and not breaking any distracted driving laws of course.

New features for Drive

I/O wasn’t all about Android however, Google also talked about a slew of new features and an overhaul to their popular cloud storage and collaboration platform, Google Drive. In the new version, the overall platform is quicker. You will be able to see file information at the click of a button, and open new files by double clicking on them. You can also select multiple files, just as you do on your computer, and easily add these to one folder or action the files as a group.

Possibly the biggest, and most useful, feature in the new version of Drive. This version will bring enhanced editing options, which are available in the three main collaboration apps – Slides, Sheets and Docs. In the new version, you should see a pencil icon in the menu bar above the document. Click on this to access the new editing options. For example, Suggesting will allow you to edit the doc, but instead of the edits being made, they will show up as comments that need to be approved to implement the suggested change.

With the update, a common issue with Drive was also fixed: The ability to add and edit Microsoft Office documents. Now, Google says, you will be able to add Office files and edit them directly from Drive, without having to convert them to their Google equivalent. These features should be available now in Google Drive, or will be within the next month or two, so be on the lookout.

A premium option for Google Apps

Finally, at the I/O keynote, Google talked about a new version of Google Apps they like to call Google Drive for Work. This package, aimed at getting businesses to move over to the paid version of Google Apps, is a premium version of the basic version of Google Apps.

For USD 10 a month, users get unlimited cloud storage, enhanced audit reporting and security controls. For companies with less than five users however, the storage amount is set to 1TB per user. If your business is seeing an increase in the amount of data you need to store, this new premium account could be right up your alley.

Looking to learn more about the products and updates announced by Google? Contact us today to see how we can help.

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09 Jul

6 Cloud Solutions for Small Business

The cloud, once an obscure concept, has become one of the most widely demanded and integrated tech solutions of the past half decade. It has become so important to computing that many business processes, like email, document creation, and even music services are all offered over the cloud. For some businesses however, there is an uncertainty as to what processes they should be moving to the cloud.

Here is an overview of some of the more popular cloud solutions small to medium businesses might want to implement:

Email

All businesses, regardless of their size, rely on email these days. In the past, many businesses wanting individualized email addresses needed to host the email client on their own servers. This demanded an IT staff and investment into an email specific server, which many simply couldn’t afford or manage themselves.

The cloud has changed all this for the better, by allowing you to move your email hosting to a cloud-based solution whereby you don’t have to manage or invest in the hardware needed to run your email as the host is usually responsible for that.

What many business users enjoy about cloud-based email is that it is usually more affordable than an on-premise solution, especially if that existing set-up is an aging one. Switching to email in the cloud will reduce costs. On top of this, because these services are usually managed by a skilled IT company, you can guarantee that they are not only up-to-date but also secure.

File storage

Mention the cloud and many people automatically think of cloud storage services. These are a dime a dozen and are often the most popular type of cloud solution employed in businesses.

There are many business oriented cloud storage services that offer ample storage as well as the security needed to ensure that critical data is secure both on the service and when it is in transit between your systems and the cloud.

Much like email, many of these services are managed by IT professionals who ensure the system is up-to-date and secure. Also, some offer a storage rate that is on a par with, or less expensive than, physical hard drives, which can help you save money in the long run.

Hosting servers

Some businesses require numerous servers in order to support operations. A problem with physical servers is that they require in-house IT staff in order to manage them. They also can be quite bulky and resource demanding, which can lead to high IT bills.

One option many small businesses are embracing is the cloud-based server. The idea is that the same capability is delivered over the Internet, without the need for a server to be located at your physical business. This frees up space, while allowing for easier management.

When many business owners do due diligence on different server solutions, they quickly find out that cloud-based servers are often more economical in the long run, especially if the business is running older hardware or operating on a lower budget.

Ecommerce

Ask any business owner who runs an ecommerce business how resource intensive it is, and they will be quick to tell you that managing an in-house solution is not only costly, but can be inefficient, especially when you try to scale your store.

Over the past few years, a number of powerful cloud-based ecommerce platforms have been introduced that not only allow you to easily manage an online store, but also scale without the costly hardware investment. Beyond this, because the servers that host the cloud solutions pool resources, you can be sure that your store will always be available online, even if you are experiencing heavy traffic. This could crash on-premise solutions found in many small businesses.

Like many of the other cloud solutions, ecommerce cloud solutions can be managed by an IT team, leaving you to focus on running your business.

Document creation and collaboration

A common trend in many businesses is the increasing reliance on remote workers. If your company employs remote workers there is a good chance that you have run into at least some productivity issues. If you are using a traditional document creation system, time will have been lost passing different versions of documents back and forth and ensuring everyone is using the same version.

There are a number of great cloud-based document creation services available to businesses. These services offer features that ensure that documents are always up-to-date on all systems, while promoting collaboration.

Because these services are accessed over the Web, you don’t need to purchase expensive licenses for each user, but pay a minimal monthly fee instead. In general, companies that have moved to a cloud-based document suite have seen a ROI in excess of 300% and an overall increase in productivity.

Backup and recovery

Believe it or not, your business is constantly facing disaster. Not every disaster will be enough to wipe your business out, but even a small one, like a hard drive crash, could be enough to put a damper on your overall business success and profits. It therefore pays to be prepared with a Disaster Recovery or Business Continuity Plan in place.

One of the most essential elements of these plans is a backup of your data. Because cloud solutions are off-site, you can backup your data and systems so these backups are available, should disaster strike and you can’t access your data.

Many of these backup solutions can be automated to ensure systems are backed up regularly, and also offer speedy recovery time. Some businesses have seen their critical systems back online in as short as half an hour after re-establishing network connection.

If you are looking to move your business into the cloud, contact us today to learn more about our products and cloud services.

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07 Jul

How to Add Address Books in Outlook

Microsoft Outlook delivers more than many business people perceive it to do. More than just an email application, this program can also handle important notes, reminders, and details of business matters through Outlook Address Book. Though it is more often used to pull out the email addresses of your contacts, the address book is also a great tool to organize and sync client details to another application.

Since Outlook’s Address Book is the go-to application for many distribution lists, email addresses, and other important contact details, knowing how to use it can be really useful. However, before you create a new address book, it is a good idea to keep in mind that Outlook Address Book is NOT your list of contacts but a collection of different folders containing different sets of contacts.

This does sometimes confuse, so to help you understand more easily, here are the types of address books you can create in your Outlook profile:

Global Address Book

This can only be used in conjunction with a Microsoft Exchange account. Global address lists are a collection of all the names connected to your account in Microsoft Exchange Server.

Outlook Address Book

This is used interchangeably with Contacts although they are different in context to each other. Your Outlook Address Book is a collection of your contacts with details added in the e-mail and fax number fields.

Internet Directory Services (LDAPs)

The Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, or LDAP, is used to find email addresses that are not in your local directory. This can only be accessed with the use of a steady Internet connection.

Third-party address books

You can set up address books from third party service providers through their given setup program.

To create an address book for a specified list of clients you can:

    From the Info tab, go to File then click Account Settings.
  1. Two options will be listed in the dropdown menu – Account Settings andSocial Network Accounts. Choose Account Settings and click Address Books from the pop-up window.
  2. Tick on New then Add Account.
  3. In the Add Account dialog box, more options will appear – Internet Directory Service (LDAP) and Additional Address Books. ChooseAdditional Address Books and click Next to continue.
  4. You will be directed to the next window with options Outlook Address Book or Mobile Address Book. Mobile address books will create a list of names with the mobile number field filled in. Choose between the two and hitNext.
  5. Your chosen type will be automatically saved to your Outlook profile and to be able to use this, you will have to restart your program first.

Outlook Address Book not only helps sync your business database to several applications but also makes the client database organization an easy task. Understanding how to work this to your advantage can really help streamline and organize your contacts.

We can help you apply better technology tools to your business, so get in touch!

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07 Jul

Google Slides app for Android released

Google Docs is becoming an increasingly popular tool for many business users, especially due to the fact that the solution offers a powerful suite of productivity apps like Docs and Slides. Earlier this year, these apps went mobile, with Google releasing standalone mobile versions of Docs and Sheets. The popular presentation creation app Slides was missing however, with Google explaining that it would be released ‘later’. Well, Google has delivered on their promise and released a Google Slides app for Android devices.

What exactly is the Google Slides app? I thought it was part of Google Drive…

As many who use Google Apps know, productivity apps like Slides, Docs, and Sheets are part of Google’s cloud storage app – Drive. If you have used the Drive app on your phone or tablet, you likely also know that you can create, edit, and share documents via this app.

This development is an effort to extend the capabilities of Drive, while simultaneously making it easier for users to access their individual files. For example, if you are a heavy user of Slides it can be a little annoying and time consuming to open the Drive app, search for the file you want, open it, and start editing. Now, if you have the app installed you can open it for immediate access to your related files, in this case Slides.

The key here is to think of the Slides app as a branch of the Google Drive App, as all of your files are still linked to Drive. Create a presentation using the Slides app and it will show up automatically on Google Drive as well as in the app. This app has all the same features as the Drive version, it is just that the app has been specifically written for mobile devices and designed for ease of use.

What can I do with this app?

As we stated above, the main focus of the Slides app is to allow you to create and edit presentations from your Android device. As such, there are a number of useful features:

The ability to create and edit presentations offline.
As long as you have accessed a Slides presentation while online, it will be made available for you to open and edit offline as well. You can also save individual presentations to your device’s hard drive and have the file updated when the presentation is.

Advanced sharing features.

You are able to share your presentation from a mobile device and have users on their devices or computers collaborate on the same file.

Automatic saving of presentations created and edited on the Web.
As long as you have an Internet connection, changes made to files via the app will be synced with Google Drive and reflect on all versions of the presentation. If you are offline, the changes will sync when you are next online.

The ability to open, edit, and save Microsoft PowerPoint presentations directly from the app.

This is a big feature, largely due to the fact that many businesses use PowerPoint instead of Slides. What this means for you is that you can view these files without PowerPoint installed on your device.

Full editing capabilities.
You are able to create slides, add text, edit slide order and the overall format of your text and slides.

Present directly from your device.
You can run presentations on your device or connect to a projector using adapters that can usually be purchased for your device.

Where can I find the Slides app?

This app is available now on Google Play. To install it you can:

  1. Open the Google Play app on your device.
  2. Press the magnifying glass and type in Google Slides.
  3. Tap on the app and select Install.
  4. Open the app when it has been installed.

When you open the app, you should see all of your slides related to your Google account pop up in the app.

If you are looking to learn more about Google’s apps on your Android device contact us today at 1-866-BIT-WISEto see how we can help ensure that you get the apps your business needs most.

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17 Jan

5 financial apps for your business

One of the more tiresome, frustrating and often dreaded business functions that small business managers and owners have to deal with is their company’s finances. While you may not enjoy or excel at this area of business the fact remains that looking after your revenue in an ordered, proficient way has to be done. One solution may lie in mobile apps that aim to make finances a bit easier to deal with.

There are many financial apps out there on the market. Here is an overview of five of the most popular to help make your life a bit easier.

1. FreshBooks

An app is for small business owners on the move. With powerful features like the ability to take pictures of receipts and bills for filing of expenses, to being able to bill or invoice your clients from nearly any mobile device. When you log into the app, you are able to see how much money you are owed and can access features like billing, time tracking, estimates and reports.

Because this system is based in the cloud, it is always up-to-date and is available on nearly any device that can connect to the Internet. Combine this with the FreshBooks accounting system and you have an incredibly powerful, cloud-based accounting system at your fingertips. The app is available on both iTunes and Google Play.

2. Intuit Online Payroll

Intuit’s accounting software is among the most popular software used by small businesses and personal users. While most mobile apps allow users to invoice and track expenses, few actually allow you to complete the other half of finance: Paying people. With this app, you can pay your employees, contractors and if you are in the US you can pay your taxes from almost any mobile device.

The app is available on both Google Play and iTunes and starts at USD $20.00 a month for the basic package which allows you to pay your employees.

3. Expensify

If you or your employees travel for business, chances are high that they struggle with keeping accurate records of their expenses and filing expense reports when they get back to the office. Expensify is an app that makes the expense process easier.

With this app you take pictures of bills, specify which account they should be filed under, and the app takes care of the rest, creating an expense entry where you can enter a merchant and price. When you are back, simply submit your report and you are done. The app is available for free on iTunes, Google Play, BlackBerry and Windows Phone.

4. Square

Square is the mobile cash register solution that has started to gain traction with businesses around the world. By attaching a reader to your mobile device, you can accept cash and debit cards, as long as you have an Internet connection.

Other options include a full POS that can be run on a tablet and even dongles that function as a wallet, allowing customers to pay without their credit cards or cash. The app is available free on Google Play and iTunes. Once you download the app you then sign up for the card reader and swiped transactions cost 2.75% of the total transaction.

5. Mint

While keeping track of your company’s finances on a mobile device may seem like a good idea, what about your personal finances? It’s not uncommon for people to have more than one bank account and multiple credit cards, and keeping track of these can be a tough job. Mint is an app that allows users to monitor their various accounts from one platform.

With this app you can see your investments, bank balances and even retirement savings from your mobile device. You can also set up and maintain budgets, which definitely makes managing personal finances easier. The app also keeps track of your expenses and provides easy to read reports with overviews of how much you are spending and on what. Mint is available for free on Google Play and iTunes.

If you are looking for more solutions to help with your finances, why not contact us today? We may have one that fits your business needs.

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21 Oct

Format hard drives on Mac to work with Windows

Apple’s systems are commonly called a ‘walled garden’. Systems operating within this so called garden just seem to work together without any effort. Try to integrate a system from outside this ecosystem however, and problems usually arise. One such example of this is trying to get a hard drive – USB or external – to work on both Mac and Windows systems.

On the surface, the files and folders of both Windows and Mac do the same thing and are relatively similar. The main difference comes in the file systems used by operating systems to control how information is stored and received on hard drives. This information is represented to us as a file structure – files and folders. Without a file system, we would not be able to tell the difference between information and data stored on the computer.

While it makes perfect sense to have only one type of file system, there are actually over 20 in use today. The most popular are:
•HFS+ – The main file structure used by OS X. All Mac hard drives that the OS is installed on are formatted using this structure. Windows does not natively support this file structure, meaning that when you plug in a hard drive formatted using HFS+, Windows will not be able to read it without installing a third party app first.
•NTFS – The main file structure preferred and recommended by Windows. OS X machines can read files and information on NTFS formatted drives but they cannot write (transfer) files onto them.
•FAT32 – An older file system that is supported by both Windows and OS X. This means that both systems can read and write files to drives formatted using this system. The limitation of FAT32 is that it has trouble supporting files larger than 4GB.
•ExFAT – A newer version of FAT32, sometimes referred to as FAT64. This system was developed to eliminate the file size limitations of FAT32. Windows systems can support this system as can Mac systems running OS X 10.6.5 and above.

Because OS X and Windows don’t support the other’s main file system, it is advisable to ensure that you format your external hard drives and USB drives to be either FAT32 or exFAT. The optimal choice would be exFAT.

How to format your external hard drive or USB on a Mac

If you work in a company that uses both Windows and Mac machines, or would like to be able to transfer files between systems using an external drive, you should first format the drive so that it can be read by both systems. You can do this on a Mac by:

1.Plugging in the drive you would like to format.

2.Clicking on the Magnifying glass in the top-right of the window and typing Disk Utility.

3.Opening Disk Utility by clicking on it from the results and selecting the drive you would like to format.

4.Selecting Erase from the right box.

5.Clicking on the button beside Format and selecting ExFAT.

6.Entering a name for the drive in the box beside Name, left-clicking on Erase and following the prompts

Warning: Before your format any drive, you should be sure that there are no files you need or would like to keep because they will be erased and will be unrecoverable.

If you are looking to learn more about how a Mac can fit into your office, or would like to know more about formatting hard drives please contact us today to see how we can help make this happen.

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21 Oct

How to increase battery life In iOS7

In mid-September Apple launched the newest version of their mobile operating system, iOS 7. This update was pushed to almost all newer iPads and iPhones and brought with it some pretty big changes. Now that it has been out for a while, there are reports that users are seeing reduced battery life, with some devices not even lasting a day.

If you have noticed that the recent update to iOS 7 has caused a drop in how long your iPad’s battery lasts, here are five things you can try to improve the time between charges.

Turn off AirDrop
AirDrop for mobile devices was introduced with the iOS 7 update and allows users to share files with others without using an Internet connection. Like other file sharing systems, when AirDrop is activated it is actively searching for other devices and therefore draining your battery.

If you don’t use this feature, or only use it occasionally turn it off to increase battery life. You can do this by swiping up from the bottom of the screen to open the Control Center and tapping on AirDrop. The text will be white to indicate AirDrop is on, and should turn to black when it is off.

Bonus tip: Tapping the Bluetooth button (middle button in the top row of Control Center) will automatically turn off AirDrop and all Bluetooth connections which will further increase battery life.

Check your Wi-Fi settings
Many users connect to trusted Wi-Fi connections at work or at home in order to save data or simply go online. When they are out of range of these devices however, they leave their iPad’s Wi-Fi radio on. When you do this, the device constantly searches for open connections to connect to.

This constant searching is actually a huge drain on the battery, so it is best to turn it off when you are not near a trusted network. This can be done by swiping up from the bottom of the screen to open the Control Center and tapping on the Wi-Fi button (second button from the left on the top row). The Wi-Fi symbol should turn black to indicate it is off.

Bonus tip: To really conserve battery life, try turning Airplane Mode on. This will turn all communication – Wi-Fi, Data, Bluetooth, notifications, etc. off and will drastically increase battery life. On the downside, you won’t be able to connect to the Internet or receive notifications.

Change your Location Services settings
Many apps request that your device provide them with location information on a regular basis. Some, like Maps actually require your location, but many more don’t. If you have multiple apps open that constantly require location updates, you will likely see an increased drain on your battery.

The solution is to change what apps are allowed to receive location information. This can be done by tapping on the Settings app, selecting Privacy, followed by Location Services. From there you can select which apps can use your device’s GPS, Wi-Fi or mobile connection to detect location. Chances are high, you can turn off at least half of the apps.

Bonus tip: Turning off Location Services completely (slide the tab beside Location Services to Off) will also conserve battery life.

Check what’s running in the background
Multitasking received a big overhaul in iOS 7. Sure, it can still be accessed by double tapping the home button, but now the open apps are presented in cards with a screenshot of their last state. Tapping on the screenshot opens the app. The thing is, it takes battery power to keep all of these apps open and updated.

What’s more, some of these apps will actually refresh in the background which could further increase battery drain. If you aren’t too worried about having constantly open apps, why not close those you aren’t using. Simply open the multitasking menu and swipe up to close apps.

Bonus tip: You can completely turn off background app refreshing (the service which keeps the information shown in the multitasking screenshots current) by opening the Settings app and selecting General, followed by Background App Refresh and sliding the button from On to Off.

Turn off parallax
Parallax is a new effect introduced in iOS 7 where the apps on your homescreen appear to float above the wallpaper and look almost 3-D. They will also move a bit when you tilt the tablet. While this is a cool effect, it isn’t overly useful for many business owners. Powering this movement and near 3-D rendering does put more strain on the battery, causing a drop in how long it will last.

You can turn this effect off by going to Settings, tapping on General, followed by Accessibility and Parallax. Slide the button from On to Off.

Bonus tip: Almost all modern mobile devices, the iPad included, use lithium-ion batteries. These batteries work their best when they are constantly topped off, or charged. In order to get the most out of your iPad’s battery, you should be charging it on a regular basis and not letting it get below 50%.

If you are looking to get more out of your iPad, or to learn about iOS 7, please contact us today to see how we can help.

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16 May

4 non-marketing benefits of social media

To many business owners, social media is one of the most important marketing tools at their disposal. It’s true that a well executed social media strategy can make all the difference, while also giving smaller companies a way to compete with industry giants. What many may not realize is that social media can be much more than just a marketing platform.

Below are four non-marketing oriented uses of social media that businesses could benefit from.

Hiring
LinkedIn is a social network dedicated to helping professionals and organizations connect and find jobs and new talent. Most social savvy companies will have a presence on this network and may even hire exclusively from here.

If you are looking for new employees, it wouldn’t hurt to have a LinkedIn profile. To find the best talent, you need to forge and maintain connections (usually starting with people you know), and be somewhat active in groups and on message boards.

It’s also important to not forget the other major networks when it comes to hiring. Tweeting a job opening on Twitter, or posting ads on Facebook could also help you find your next employee. Facebook can be particularly useful because you can pay to target ads (in this case, job openings) at specific demographics.

Internal communications
Communication is an important part of business, and most people choose to communicate using email. You have probably seen emails with jokes, invitations to after work events, lunch orders, etc. sent to the whole company and also received the many replies that go with it. This can get very annoying, and also confusing.

Why not utilize social media for non-essential (aka. not related to work) communication. Set up a Facebook group where your employees can share content, invitations to lunch or after work gatherings, interesting stories, etc. That way you can limit email to more important, business-related aspects.

Using social media for internal communication is also beneficial for companies with younger workers. Most already see Facebook, Twitter, etc. as their main form of communication, some even feel more comfortable communicating over this medium as opposed to speaking out in meetings. Having a group portal or Facebook page could give less-empowered employees a way to voice their ideas, and maybe even improve on them with feedback from others.

Learning
A common complaint of many business owners is that they have a tough time staying on top of ever-changing trends and what currently interests their customers. Using social media to connect with your customers can be a great way to learn not only hot trends but also about new ideas.

Customer service
When it comes to social media, users will often complain publicly on their wall or through their tweets. This is bad for you, as the reach of this complaint can go a long way and make you look bad. Some companies have decided to confront this head on by having specific customer service accounts. If a customer complains, has an issue, or even compliments you, be active and respond using that account.

If done properly, over time, you will see more and more people reaching out to your customer service account through social media. This also gives you another way to please clients or turn around negative customer experiences.

Social media and the various platforms are not only great for marketing, but can be incredibly useful for other business functions. Do you have any other ways you use social media? Let us know. Or, if you would like to learn more about how it can help your company, then contact us today.

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