Not-So-Social Media: Benefits of Genuine Human Interaction

John Foley, Jr.
Posted on in Inspiration

When social media first made its way onto the scene, it was used primarily as a way for people to connect socially with one another. Don’t have time to connect with friends in person? No problem. Keep in touch through Facebook. Don’t want to hear an earful from your opinionated Aunt Betsy every time you call to update her on your life? That’s OK. Have her follow you on Instagram. But as social media picked up steam, businesses began to incorporate it into their strategies. The goal was to capitalize on these new channels through which companies could better connect with their customers.

Although this approach sounds ideal in theory, real customer service is best handled through real human interactions. Social media can be a perfect avenue for announcing customer contests, soliciting feedback and engaging with your brand in fun and playful ways. But if customers have a problem with your product or service, they don’t want to be tweeted a reply. Here’s a look at the two main reasons that person-to-person interactions equate to optimal customer service and life-long fans of your brand.

Prompt is No Substitute for Immediate

Even the most prompt responses to customer service complaints through email or social media fail to be as swift as another human being. Forrester Research states that 41 percent of consumers expect an email response within six hours, but only 36 percent of retailers answer them that quickly. What does that reveal? That consumers are consistently disappointed by unmet expectations with customer service online. Rather than looking to social channels to solve customers’ dilemmas, consider entrusting a multi-purpose call center for speedy and effective responses. Cloud-based customer service software enables efficient person-to-person communication.

Lost in Translation

You might think that the written word holds the most promise for clear communication, but in reality, a lot can be muddled when conversing via email or social media. Internet Retailer found that 94 percent of online retailers provide online customer service, but that at least 27 percent of these inquiries are answered incorrectly. Accuracy matters to customers, especially when they’re already in an unhappy state. When you rely on conveying an answer in 140 characters on Twitter, or through a convoluted comment thread on Facebook, you risk losing an opportunity to provide the right remedy for your customers.

Instead, provide a readily available phone number where customers can contact you, or offer a location where they can be helped in person. You’ll pave the way for problems — and solutions — to be transmitted clearly. Customers won’t suffer from increased frustration caused by being misunderstood, and your business will get the chance to get to the core of the issue.

If you’re already actively using social media or other online channels to respond to customer dissatisfaction, don’t fret. You can read about some basic ways how to tailor customer service to social media here. Also, work to shift the routing of customers’ issues to real, live individuals who can reassure them and take action immediately. Your social media presence can remain intact, just transition it from a place to share problems and solutions. Instead treat it as an engaging, fun platform. The real mission of any savvy business is to make customers happy, and the good news is this is easily achieved by offering genuine, human-to-human interaction. If your customers love how you treat them when they have an issue, they’ll love you even more in the good times and they’ll be more likely to remain loyal. Be truly social, and let people talk to people.

Online Colleges Studying Mobile Marketing

Posted on in Inspiration

Mobile marketing is an effective marketing tool that puts a company’s promotional efforts front and center no matter where the consumer is.

Because of its massive outreach capabilities, everyone is jumping on the mobile marketing bandwagon, including online colleges.

Here are just a few ways online colleges are using mobile marketing to reach potential students:

Showcasing Benefits

The challenge online colleges have to overcome is convincing potential students that their school is better than other online colleges – and traditional colleges too.

That’s where showcasing the benefits of the online college lifestyle comes into play.

Online colleges are using mobile marketing to promote their schools by concentrating on benefits like schedule freedom and low tuition costs.

By putting the advantages of online learning in the palm of potential students’ hands, online colleges are increasing attendance like never before.

Cost Comparisons

Working adults and remote learners are exactly who online colleges are trying to target. That said, the number of online colleges is growing every day, so marketers have to find new ways to set their schools a part from the rest.

By advertising cost comparisons on potential students’ mobile devices, online colleges are answering the first question that comes to everyone’s mind with college: how much will it cost?

On the go cost comparisons give potential students a frame of reference when on the hunt for an online versus traditional education.

Enrollment Procedures

There are a number of questions potential students have when it comes to the actual enrollment procedure for an online college or university. Marketers can answer this question by sending helpful enrollment tools to mobile users.

As the following article shows, whether it’s a brief tutorial on the enrollment process or an advertisement with an informative title like, “3 things you need to enroll in online college,” marketers are helping potential students understand exactly how the online college process works.

And, when students are better informed, they are more likely to take the next step, which is actual enrollment.

Course Options

Next to tuition costs, potential college students want know what their course options are.

Because there are so many online colleges out there, it’s important for college marketers to put courses front and center on their audience’s mobile device.

By promoting courses with informative descriptions and program highlights, potential students can read up on their school of choice from the comfort of their mobile device.

This kind of accessibility helps in the decision making process, especially for adult students who are too busy to sit down in front of a computer and research schools and courses.

Marketing Diplomas

Potential students want to know what kind of degree they are going to walk away with after graduating from an online college. Marketers know this and are therefore heavily promoting their available degrees and diplomas through mobile marketing.

Whether it’s a fully-accredited online college that offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs or a school that simply offers certificates, marketers are putting the degrees they offer in the mobile spotlight in order to attract more students.

When it comes to an online education, colleges are taking a mobile approach to get the word out about their programs.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including marketing and education.

Mobile Apps Putting Premium on Health Insurance Coverage

Posted on in Inspiration

According to an infographic created by Super Monitoring, 56 percent of people in the world have a smartphone and mobile users spend about 80 percent of their time on mobile using apps.

As the use of mobile devices becomes more prevalent, many health insurance companies have begun to develop mobile apps to better meet the needs of their customers.

These apps are a welcome addition to the health insurance shopping experience as they allow consumers to gain easy access to useful health insurance information and services.

Here is a look at how mobile apps are benefiting health insurance providers and consumers….

Educate Consumers about Health Insurance

Today, consumers are smarter than ever before, and they will try to obtain information about the products they wish to buy before they make purchasing decisions.

In order to stay competitive, health insurance providers need to satisfy the inquisitive nature of modern-day consumers by making health insurance information as easily accessible as possible.

Offering mobile apps is one of the best ways for them to provide a more informed shopping experience for their customers. Consumers can use the apps to find out a wide range of information about health insurance, including coverage options, policy terms, premiums, deductibles, co-pays and others.

According to an article entitled “5 Questions to Ask before Getting an Individual Health Insurance Plan“, doing some research about health insurance can help insurance buyers choose the right policies and save money.

Encourage Customers to Improve Their Health

Health insurance companies can significantly reduce their costs if they can help their customers stay healthy. As such, many of them have created mobile apps to provide useful health information for their customers.

One example of insurance providers that have done this is Aetna, which released a smartphone app called CarePass in 2013. CarePass enables Aetna’s customers to monitor their progress in achieving their health and fitness goals.

It is able to integrate data from certain wearable devices and apps, such as FitBit, MapMyRun and UP, and take into account factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, doctor visits and prescriptions to provide accurate measurements of its users’ health progress.

Consumers can use health apps that are offered by health insurance companies to get healthier and reduce their insurance premiums, while insurers can use them to calculate premiums more accurately.

Provide a Better Customer Experience

Mobile apps are proving to be very useful in today’s fast-paced world, because they can help people save a lot of time and effort.

Health insurance companies are also using mobile apps to enable their customers to perform certain insurance-related tasks more easily and quickly.

For instance, GEICO has created a mobile app that allows its customers to manage their policies, make payments and view their digital ID cards.

Mobile apps have radically transformed the health insurance industry.

As mobile technology continues to advance, health insurance providers will be able to create increasingly better apps for their customers.

About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing to Cloud computing.

Business Owners Saving Money with Mobile Options

Donna Vieira
Posted on in Inspiration

Many individuals are using mobile devices to stay on top of their budgets and manage their finances.

With numerous apps and many mobile-optimized websites for banks, credit card companies and other businesses, it is easy to manage your finances on the go. The same can be true for small businesses.

Monitoring Your Budget

A business often has a complicated budget.

It may require time spent sitting crunching numbers to determine where to put all of your money and how much to designate to different areas. Once you have a budget in place, you can monitor and manage it from anywhere.

Today’s business is not always conducted sitting behind a desk in an office.

People are busy, going to meet customers instead of waiting for them to come to the company. They have meetings and appointments that take them out of the office.

It is essential that you can monitor your budget at all times instead of waiting until you get back to the office.

As the article “6 Reasons Why Mobile Devices are Turning into Budgeting Tools” states, business owners and managers can do so many things with their budget on mobile devices:

- Check bank account balances
- Transfer money from one account to another
- Set up payments to vendors
- Send out payment reminders to customers
- Record transactions
- Scan receipts

In addition, they can review where they are in their budget versus where they are supposed to be.

Small business owners are often wearing many hats. They don’t have a lot of time so they must make every second count.

At the same time, managing the financial aspect of the business is essential. It is a task that often gets overlooked or delayed with the other urgent and important matters a manager must handle.

With mobile budgeting, a business owner can stay on top of things even though they are busy.

Save Money and Increase Profits

The two goals every business has in regards to finances are to save money by reducing costs and to increase profits. Budgeting with your mobile device can help in both areas.

If you are visiting with a vendor and he or she offers you a discount if you buy in bulk, you can quickly check your budget to see if enough money has been budgeted in. You won’t miss out on a great deal by waiting until you get back to the office.

In another instance, meet with a client who is behind on payments and set up a payment plan. Create a reminder in your accounts receivable on the spot to check back in 30 days. Immediately record a business luncheon with a prospective client so that it doesn’t get forgotten. Lastly, scan in the receipt for accounting purposes and set up a new entry in your accounting program.

These are just a few basic instances of how you can use quick and easy access to your budget to help improve your business’ bottom line.

With the improvements in how budgeting and finance apps work with mobile technology, it is easier to stay on top of your company’s finances no matter where you are.

About the Author: Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including business and technology.

Budget Your Mobile Marketing Needs

Posted on in Inspiration

According to a Pew Internet survey, 91 percent of adults in the United States have some form of cell phone, and 56 percent are smartphone owners.

The good news for businesses is that many mobile users use their devices to search for product information and make purchases. This means that you can reach out to more consumers and boost your sales and profits if you use mobile technology to promote your business.

Mobile marketing can be costly or inexpensive, depending on how you plan and execute your marketing activities.

If you are working with a tight budget, the following tips may be helpful to you….

Optimize Your Website for Mobile

Optimizing your website for mobile does not have to be an expensive overhaul.

There are a number of ways that you can make your website more mobile-friendly at a minimal cost.

First of all, you have to make sure that it is easy for mobile users to navigate your website. Your site navigation should be laid out in a neat and mobile-friendly format, and it should allow your mobile visitors to browse with just one thumb.

Additionally, the content in your website should be clear and concise. There is not enough room on a mobile device for displaying a large amount of text, so you should only use content that is truly essential.

It is also important that you show your phone number and location details in text form, instead of using an image. By doing so, you will make click-to-call functionality available to most mobile users.

If you wish to redesign your website extensively to make it even more mobile-friendly, you should try your best to stay within your budget. One way to do this is to use budget software.

According to an article entitled “Do Not Make These Online Budget Mistakes“, budget software can help you save substantial time and money, improve your financial management and set short-term and long-term goals.

Promote Your Business on Social Media

Social media is a great marketing tool that enables you to reach out to potentially millions of people and engage with consumers on a personal level.

In order to get the most out of your social media marketing efforts, you have to share content and interact with your followers on a regular basis.

The content can come in the form of blog posts, articles, news, images or videos. Social media marketing can also help you get valuable feedback from your customers, which can be used to improve your products and customer service.

Send Text Messages

Text messaging is another inexpensive and effective form of mobile marketing. It is the ideal way to send short messages to your customers, such as announcements of new products, discounts and incentives, promotions and events.

According to a Juniper Research study, about 90 percent of text messages are read within four to six minutes after delivery. This explains why many major brands are using text messaging as part of their marketing strategies.

Mobile marketing is one of the most powerful tools available to marketers and businesses, and it is worthwhile to spend more time and effort to build a strong mobile presence.

About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing to Cloud computing.

Teaming the Cloud and Mobile Marketing

Posted on in Inspiration

According to a report released by Pew Internet, about 58 percent of adults in the United States have a smartphone as of January, 2014.

With so many people using smartphones, it makes sense that more and more businesses are using mobile marketing to reach out to their target audiences.

However, mobile devices have limited computational power and battery life, and they may not be able to run heavy applications. The solution to this problem is to combine mobile marketing and Cloud computing.

Here is a look at how Cloud-based mobile marketing can help your business achieve better results….

What is Mobile Marketing?

Mobile marketing is a form of marketing that involves communicating with consumers via mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets and others.

It can be performed in a number of ways, including SMS, MMS, mobile Internet ads, mobile apps, social media marketing, Bluetooth marketing, check-in services and others.

This type of marketing is relatively cost-effective, and it allows businesses to promote their brands and products to a large number of people. It has been proven to be an effective marketing method, helping many businesses achieve high response and sales conversion rates.

What is Cloud Computing?

According to an article entitled “What is the Real Impact of the Cloud?” the term “Cloud computing” can be traced back to 1996. Although it is not a new technology, it only began to see widespread adoption in recent years.

Basically, Cloud computing refers to the act of accessing and storing data and programs on the Internet. It offers virtually unlimited storage, and it enables users to perform a wide range of computing tasks anytime, anywhere.

Using a Cloud service can help businesses reduce IT costs, because it does not require the purchase of costly equipment, and it is sold on demand, usually by the minute or hour.

Benefits of Teaming Mobile Marketing and the Cloud

When mobile marketing is combined with Cloud computing, data processing and storage will be moved from mobile devices to the powerful centralized computing platforms that are located on the Internet.

This will give your target consumers better access to your marketing materials and apps, allowing you to get your marketing messages across to them more effectively. They can get information about your products or services, interact with your company, download mobile apps and make purchases with minimal interruption.

By providing a more pleasant mobile experience, you will be able to attract more new customers and retain existing ones.

Additionally, cloud-based mobile marketing enables you to track your customers’ responses instantaneously, so that you will have a better understanding of their preferences and behaviors, as well as the effectiveness of your marketing strategies.

Such information can help you make the appropriate changes to get better marketing results and achieve greater customer satisfaction.

As people around the world are becoming more reliant on mobile technology, it is a good idea to start combining the Cloud and mobile marketing now.
Cloud-based mobile marketing is the way of the future.

About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing to Cloud computing.

Targeting Women with Mobile Marketing

Posted on in Inspiration

Honing mobile marketing strategies to target women is not only beneficial to businesses that exclusively sell women’s products; it can also help other businesses boost their sales and profits.

If you want to get the most out of your mobile marketing campaigns, you should try to make your website more appealing to female mobile users.

Importance of Having a Mobile-Friendly Website for Women

Time Inc. and Nuance Digital Marketing conducted a study to show why it is important for businesses to target women with mobile marketing.

Compared to men, women are generally more active on social media, and they have a greater tendency to engage with brands.

Also, mothers use mobile devices and social media more than any other group of consumers, and they like to recommend brands to their relatives and friends.

According to the study, 60 percent of women regard the mobile phone as the most essential device in their lives, compared to just 43 percent of men. About 72 percent access social media networks on their mobile phones and 55 percent use their phones to shop.

Men also make purchases with their mobile phones, but women tend to rely more on their phones to perform shopping-related tasks such as creating shopping wish lists, finding discounts, collecting coupons and sharing photos of purchases.

Since women are more likely to use their mobile phones for shopping purposes than men, it is a good idea for businesses to make their websites more mobile-friendly to women.

Create a Website that Appeals to Female Mobile Users


Some business owners think that women do not care about technical specifications or they prefer to read flowery descriptions of products.

However, in actuality, women are somewhat similar to men when it comes to looking for product information or shopping advice.

The written content in your website should be concise and persuasive, and you should include a clear call to action and provide guidance for navigating your site. It is important that you have some articles or blog posts that cater specifically to women.

For instance, if you are selling health insurance, you can post articles such as “Health Insurance Guide for Women,” “Why Women are Paying More for Health Insurance?” or “Getting Health Insurance While Pregnant”.

You can make your articles or blog posts more appealing to women by using a friendly and conversational voice in your articles, which women are more likely to respond favorably to.


Unlike men who prefer compartmentalized content, women tend to experience websites in a holistic manner.

If you want your website to provide a pleasant experience for women, you should use more white space and fewer boxes and dividing elements. Displaying images and videos of women on your website can also help you attract more female visitors.

Making your website more mobile-friendly to women does not have to be an extensive web design overhaul. If your website is well-designed, it should be appealing to both men and women.

All it takes to make it more female-friendly is a little tweak here and there.

About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing to Cloud computing.

Educate Yourself Online on Career Opportunities

Posted on in Inspiration

With advancements in technology and social platforms, everything from Facebook to LinkedIn and other social media sites can help you get a job or advance your current career. Even online video sites, such as YouTube, can help you meet your career goals.

As of 2013, YouTube had more than one billion users and four billion views each day. This number has only grown and has no end in sight.

Use this, and other video sites, to your advantage when it comes to your career.

3 Ways Online Video Sites Help Your Career

Videos are naturally a better way to get a job than just sending out a resume simply because the employer can actually see you, hear what you have to say and relate to you. Paper resumes just don’t have the same personal feel that an online video can provide.

So, how exactly should you use these online video sites to help you with your career?

  • Showcase your personality – Employers love to see passion in people, people that can laugh at themselves and people who are friendly. Most likely, you have a great personality that any employer would love to have. In your video, be yourself! Don’t be drab and boring, but instead try to bring life to the camera. Act as though you’re on an interview and having a conversation with the viewer, not just sitting in your living room in front of a webcam.
  • Be creative – Make a video that will stand out amongst the rest. Highlight your strengths while also making sure to state why you’d be a good fit for the job. Be specific in the type of video you create. In other words, create separate videos for each specific job instead of just one all-encompassing video (though, ideally you’ll have both). Think of the video from the employer’s perspective – would you want to watch what you just created? If not, rethink your goals and strategies for the video.
  • Use video sites as a learning tool – Video websites – including YouTube, Hulu, Vimeo, Ustream, Howcast, Vevo and more – aren’t just for posting your own videos, but they can also be used as a learning tool in helping you advance your career or further your education.

According to the article “YouTube’s Education Channels Offer Wealth of Lessons,” YouTube offers a variety of quality educational videos, including lectures from respected professors and short “crash course” style videos on a variety of subjects.

Who knew that YouTube and other online video platforms could not only help land you a job, but also help you gain knowledge and further your education?

Next time you get the urge to watch music videos or cute laughing baby videos, try giving an educational video a try.

You’ll probably end up fascinated, and you’ll definitely learn a thing or two in the meantime!

About the Author: Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer living in Charlotte, North Carolina. New to the city, she enjoys house-hunting, trying new restaurants and spending time outdoors with her husband and daughters. She writes on topics including social media, careers and personal finance.

Furnishing the Right Mobile Marketing

Posted on in Inspiration

Similar to other types of businesses, furniture retailers have to stay up-to-date with the latest technological advances in order to stay competitive.

Mobile technology has come a long way over the past decade, and it is now possible for consumers to obtain information about the products they wish to buy and make purchases with their mobile devices.

According to a Forbes article entitled “Fifty Essential Mobile Marketing Facts”, about 81 percent of smartphone owners have used their phones to do product research and 50 percent have made purchases with their phones.

An increasing number of furniture retailers are using mobile marketing to attract more customers and boost their sales, and they are getting great results from their efforts.

Provide Helpful Information for Customers

Home Depot was one of the first furniture retailers to realize the great potential of mobile marketing.

It launched its first mobile site in 2010, and it has made many improvements to it over the years.

In order to provide a more convenient in-store shopping experience for its customers, the company implemented a set of location-based mobile functionalities to enable shoppers to access store inventory on a real-time basis, get real-time pricing and find out the locations of products in any Home Depot store.

Additionally, its mobile website has more than 1,000 how-to videos, which are all displayed on lightweight pages that can load quickly.

Mobile technology also enables Home Depot to communicate with its target consumers on a more personal level. It can get feedback from its customers instantly and send appropriate offers based on their mobile profiles.

In the meantime, whether customers are interested in living room furniture, kitchen furniture or home office furniture, a major retailer like Walmart can provide personalized information and advice for them.

Help Customers Make Decisions

With so many choices available, consumers may have trouble deciding which furniture pieces are most suitable for their homes.

IKEA understands this challenge that consumers face, and it created a catalogue app that allows its customers to see how its products will look in their homes.

Customers have to download the app onto their smartphones or tablets, and use phone symbols to point their cameras on the pages of the catalogue to unlock interactive activities, short movies and photos that can be mixed and matched.

Since they can see how different IKEA furniture pieces look in their homes, they will be able to select the right products before they buy.

Monitor the Effectiveness of Marketing Campaigns

Ashley Furniture is another furniture retailer that is reaping big rewards from mobile marketing.

Other than delivering marketing messages and announcing special sales and promotions, the company is also using mobile technology to monitor its marketing performance in real time.

By doing so, it can make quick changes to its marketing efforts to get better results.

Mobile marketing is cost-effective and easy to implement, and it has helped many furniture retailers achieve their marketing goals.

Those that have not adopted this form of marketing should do so as soon as possible.

About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing to Cloud computing.

Is Your Website’s Graphic Design What it Should Be?

Posted on in Inspiration

With so many businesses turning to the web and creating stellar websites, your company should be doing everything it can to stand out among the digital crowd.

A website with a quality graphic design layout not only draws attention, it also keeps visitors interested longer.

In order to get you thinking about website graphics, here are a number of reasons why graphic design is important to your company website:

Consumers Respond to Professional Websites

More and more consumers are turning to the web for almost all of their shopping needs.

In fact, according to Statista, a leading statistical website, there are roughly 200 million online shoppers in the United States. By 2018, that number is expected to rise by an additional 50 million.

What does this have to do with graphic design?

Well, these online shoppers respond to professional looking websites when it comes to purchasing goods and finding services online.

With the right graphic design, you’re cutting through the competition by creating a website that consumers are more likely to respond to and engage with.

Quality Design Creates Brand Recognition

Your company’s website is a representation of your brand. Mediocre graphic design sends a negative message to your visitors and gives the impression that your company is a wayward business and not an established brand.

Luckily, an informed, professional graphic design layout can turn your company into the brand you’ve always wanted with just a few straightforward design elements.

Graphic Designers Add Value to Your Website

If you decide to take a professional approach to your website’s graphic design, then chances are you’ll need to hire a dedicated graphic designer.

As the following article shows, although schedule flexibility is just one of “3 Advantages to Getting Your Graphic Design Degree Online“, hiring a professional is your best bet.

With a professional graphic designer on your team, you’ll add a great look to your website that attracts a diverse clientele. All of this is to say that if you have the right graphic designer working for your website, the partnership will add value to your website and your brand.

Design Consistency is a Difference Maker

A website that’s not consistent from one page to the next is only taking away from what the business is trying to get across.

This includes content consistency, brand consistency, and graphic design consistency. With quality graphic design comes consistency in the appearance of your company’s website.

The design itself will draw consumers in, but the design consistency will keep them immersed in the pages of your website.

So, if your website looks like it’s a different site from page to page, then a well thought-out graphic design layout can help tie everything together.

Great Design Grabs Attention

Everything above speaks to one main point: graphic design, when done correctly, is a real attention grabber.

When a graphic designer brings their skills to the table, it will help your website transform from a stagnant site to an immersive, eye-catching, attention-grabbing online destination.

With graphic design on your side, your company can truly express itself through an attractive website layout.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including website design and technology.