Price comparison for IT support?

Small businesses rely on their technology more than bigger businesses?  Controversial statement?

Let me put it into context so you understand where I am coming from.

If a small company has an IT problem that means a few people cannot work effectively, they make up a big percentage of the workforce. This means there is a big chance that the business was adversely affected.

Aligning the technology with the SME’s business plan will mean the IT problems will be significantly reduced, but that isn’t what I want to talk about here.

Price comparison websites have been around for years and we call know about the meerkats and the cartoon woman with seriously dodgy hair (confused.com in case you were wondering). All of these are for consumers and help them get the best deals but where are the price comparison sites for businesses?

After you’ve pinned down exactly what you are looking for from an IT support company, there is little more confusing than working your way through multiple meetings and getting a number of, usually, complex technical documents that are designed to partially sell and partially confuse.

Smart Tendering is a service that I have recently come across that could make choosing your IT support provider so much easier.

Imagine having all your proposals lined up so you can compare easily!

Follow SME_Needs on Twitter

Know who your friends are

How do you make sure that the people you are connecting to on social networks are connecting for the right reasons?  Do you automatically connect on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn?  Why?

There are many tales, particularly within LinkedIn, of people asking to connect and then spamming your connections with something along the lines of: “I see you and I share Bob as a connection. He said I should get in contact with you as there is something I can do to help your business”.

Would you share a client list with a member of your network before you had a good idea of what they are all about as I know I wouldn’t.  All I’m saying is don’t automatically connect to everyone who invites you to.  Ask them how you can help each other and what they are looking for.  The chances are they won’t reply at which point, simply delete the invitation.

LinkedIn Tip No.4

Use the advanced search

The question James gets asked a lot is “What is the most important bit on LinkedIn?” – to find the people you want to meet it has to be the advanced search. LinkedIn is just like a big room full of people, over 100 million now.

 

LinkedIn Tips – No.3

Do unto others …., share, help, don’t sell and don’t spam

Manners and etiquette is often talked about around social media but I prefer to think of it within a room full of people. If you were to meet your closest friends and colleagues in a room I would hope you wouldn’t leap into ‘sales mode’ pushing your benefits and trying to close, close, close.

So why do it on social media? You’re only a screen and keyboard away.

You have to engage with people, invest in them, share with them and yes help them before they will appreciate you, your value and your efforts. Go on invest a little, the returns are fabulous.

 

Every Good Business Deserves Facebook

While the above article title not only echoes the handy way by which musicians can remember the E,G,B,D,F notes of the treble clef musical scale, it might also serve to remind website owners of the recent announcement by global social network giant, Facebook, to the imminent launch of their own dedicated, news journalist resource.

It has not gone unnoticed that the hugely successful social media, micro-blogging site, Twitter, has been remodelled by its’ worldwide use as a critical reporting tool to circulate key news messages across an expanding range of platforms from mobile, smartphone, laptop to traditional PC.

To date, online businesses have only slowly been coming around to accepting the online marketing potential of the medium if properly understood and implemented within integrated company link building campaigns. However, with social network goliath, Facebook, claiming a whopping 300 per cent increase in referral traffic to online media enterprises in 2010, and the instant 140 character soundbite tweets also increasingly featured on TV and radio broadcasts, published in physical print formats, and just about everywhere else, inbetween.

It’s not surprising, therefore, that Facebook, look to cut themselves in on a slice of the news reporting action by launching a ‘Journalists on Facebook’ page. Overnight, social media has come to dominate news reporting, whether applied to eCommerce, business, community, organisation or individual products or services, in any field.

The power of interactive feedback via ‘tweet’, ‘like’ and ‘share’ and now Google’s +1 button, has led to the latest step by Facebook to stake a vital space as the essential news desk resource for the growing number of serious, professional journalists currently interacting and live sourcing on the network.

As the emphasis on providing original, quality content continues to gain importance for both search engine algorithms and human consumers, attempts to cleanse the web of the widespread abuse of spam content is increasingly on everyone’s radar. Ethical and relevant link building involving blogs, messaging and other key seo copywriting content are intrinsically bound to credible marketing strategies.

Best practice engagement to disseminate quality news and information content across search and social channels benefits all onDemand web users. The market reach potential for online brand identity using high value content by reputable web marketing agencies is now within reach of site owners.

Interaction via Facebook with a staggering global audience of more than 500 million people is web business, which can no longer afford to be ignored by sceptical site owners – they need to remind themselves that Every Good Business Deserves Facebook !

LinkedIn Tips – No.2

Review your home page every day and update your status

LinkedIn runs a bread crumb trail of all the activity of your closest connections right on your homepage on LinkedIn. Every network update, every status message, connection and question you ask or answer appears there, as do all your closest connections.

If you do nothing else then put a message up telling everyone else what you’re up to, its value and the outcome you’re generating.

Thank you again to James Potter, The LinkedIn Man, for providing these

 

LinkedIn tips – No.1

Ensure your profile is full of value
Most profiles are full of facts, which we all assume people reading our profile will translate into value – wrong. We need to stop being so very British about it and share the outcomes, difference and successes we bring through the ‘facts’ on our profiles.

More facts to follow on almost a daily basis

Google’s Discontent With Missed Content!

Google algorithm has been on the march again! This time to crawl the acres of endless illegal links and spammed content clogging up the furrows of a potential green and pleasant online land. Content is getting a shakedown, and not before time too!

Undoubtedly, writing content for websites, blogs, articles, Twitter, Facebook, PPC ads and for every other type of online reading is coming of age. It’s time businesses start to face the realities of the specific and various writing skills really required for today’s multi channel and platform environment.

Creating web copy is not just for the purpose of inserting SEO keywords to pagerank. Nor is it about creating long paragraphs of industry insider jargon to impress other industry competitors or potential customers – because they won’t even bother to read beyond the first line if it looks a dull slog!

Most site owners are now beginning to understand the difference between today’s skim reading from a PC screen and yesterday’s lingering over every sentence in the glossy print company brochure. But the process has become more complex because of the different, niche audiences on different channels and platforms, each requiring different approaches. A blog is not a web page, a PPC ad is not a tweet, yet they all need to be optimised for both human and algorithm.

Creating a web presence is about link building a cross-channel / platform brand identity and web presence in an organic, social media network of ongoing and integrated online marketing engagement. It’s about creating the interactive space where you offer valuable content, to be quickly and easily accessed, responded to and shared if liked.

It’s not about focusing on putting all the budget into designing a wizzy looking website – y’know lots of Flash animation – and thinking you can save money by trawling through other websites and cobbling together your own copy by simply changing the company name, inserting your products or service, dropping in a few URLs as they used to do in 1995!

The online landscape is changing in ways that are not necessarily obvious to eCommerce owners in a hurry to rank for their widget keywords and cut costs on writing content. The way we read from a PC screen is not only different from a mobile or tablet screen, our search behaviour alters according to intent. Not everyone reads in the same way all of the time.

According to research studies, around 80 per cent of screen search is most likely to be simply skim reading from standard website pages but a significant 16 per cent will spend time to read more closely and attentively, if reading a blog or small article. This means that copy content needs to be created in specific instances for both possible types of readers who can absorb the information on multiple levels.

Content has always required to be tailored to specific market niches, demographic segments, interests with a corresponding call to action. But now, emergent technologies are allowing interaction to be played out across different screen formats for different purposes and, therefore, demands consistent brand positioning, tone and content technique adapted to destination and fit for purpose.

The key to successful web marketing strategies is to encourage interaction and positive response, which leads to conversion. They can only do this, if they can read what you say, understand and agree and be encouraged and confident to act by return.