Web Hosting, Social Media and the Future of Business
The growth of Facebook over the last several years has provided important marketing tools for business owners. But the negative side of having a Facebook page for your business is spam that people post to your page. So how do you deal with it?
In any medium, you will get spam. First and foremost you go to your Facebook page to the "edit page" drop down menu. Click "use activity log". This shows you in reverse chronological order all the comments that have been on your Facebook wall. It does not matter where they put them, you get to see them all. When you go there, you are likely going to see some spam. When you find spam, rather than simply deleting them, hover over the little "pencil" to the right. Hover over the pencil and choose "mark as spam". When you select that option, it will be reported as spam and Facebook will know that this person is doing spam and, once, if enough people report this person, Facebook will limit that person's ability to post on other people's pages or even suspend the spammer's Facebook account. Then select "ban this person" so that the person will never again be able to comment on your page. If you simply delete the post, then that person will just come back to your page and spam your wall again.
Engage People through your Website
Business owners have the challenge of engaging people and generating leads, which can result in sales. So where is the business world headed and how do marketers engage people in their business? What's next for business? Business can no longer operate as they did in the past because things are very different than they were in the past. The Internet is constantly changing and evolving. Businesses, therefore, need to adapt and change the way they create customer experiences. The future of business marketing, sales, and service has changed because customers have become increasingly connected and increasingly informed. Gone are the days that customers only only on Google or websites to make an informed decision. Instead, people use networks, friends, or apps for information before making a purchase. When they ask a question or begin a discovery process, looking for help or direction, its these shared experiences that define what the potential customer is going to do next. This is critical because businesses are not really designing their marketing, sales, service strategies around these moments.
In order to compete in the future, business owners need to be aware of the four phases of the buying process.
Four Phases of the Buying Process
- Zero Moment of Truth – Once there is a stimulus, spark, or need, the customer is going to Google it. In that moment, what comes back is the zero moment of truth. In the zero moment of truth, people can go to a social network, review site, or app and ask "What should I do", "Has anyone heard of this", or "What are your experiences" with this service or product. The zero component or moment is this critical instance in time. The customer did his / her research and narrowed down the decision to one or two products or services. This is referred to as the "Research Phase".
- The First Moment of Truth – This is when a person is ready to make a purchase. That person is affected by a box design or its position on the shelf, or its position among competitors, for example. Let's just say someone was bent on getting a specific product but when he gets to the store, there are a lot of other things that can sway the decision process. He did his research and narrowed it down to one or two products and this is the judging point when he is ready to make a decision, but that person is not absolutely sure which product or service he is going to choose. This is a critical step in the buying process and involves the phase when he goes to the store or a website to look at the one or two products / services that were narrowed down in the "zero moment". This phase is referred to as the "Cloudy Judgment Phase". It is the period during the decision process when a person is not one hundred percent sure which product or service he is going to choose. What does the box design look like? How does it feel? Does it live up to the initial expectations?
- The Second Moment of Truth – This is when the purchase is made and the customer takes that product home or to work. This phase is the experience that unfolds as the customer starts to use the product. Does it live up to what it had promised? Does it meet or exceed the expectations? How does that person feel about it? Does it still deliver over time? This phase is a "Feeling or a Sentiment Phase".
- The Infinite Moment of Truth – This is the last thing that a person does or feels that shapes what they do or say after the purchase. It shapes the impression of the product. It shapes what the person says and what exactly it does is impact the next person that is heading into the "zero moment". The "infinite moment of truth" is the shared experience. The buyer is going to have an impression about it. What does the buyer say and where? Let's just say your customer writes a blog post about your product and the customer loves it, but then he later needs to have it serviced, causing disappointment. So, the buyer writes another blog post about it. How does this affect the next person? People are documenting everything in status updates, blog posts, tweets, YouTube videos, Facebook posts, so that when the next person starts their journey in the "zero moment of truth", that information can come back to influence their decision. The goal for retailers is to influence the "infinite moment of truth". These feelings are very important to future, potential customers and they get an impression from feedback and it affects them. If people are sharing experiences around your product or service, then why would not you have people in your company intentionally design those responses? Businesses need to remain aware of:
- Nurturing the ongoing customer relationship
How has social media had an impact on the future of Internet and business?
These moments of truth are there. People are thinking in this way. It is a dynamic journey. Many businesses are using social media in very experimental ways. They are not defining what the experience is. They are trying to get views, impressions, clicks, and build up communities. Social media is still in a way disconnected from real-world business objectives. That is a problem. Many business are maturing over time to better align social with business objectives, but for the most part, many businesses are acting as if social is a marketing function, rather than a service functionality or sales approach that can generate leads or ultimate sales.
It is still experimental, but if you take a step back and realize that people are going to have a conversation with or without you, and if you could quite decide what people will think, experience, and share about your brand, then you are getting in front of those conversations. These companies go to great lengths to intentionally get you to notice and appreciate things about their products and services. Things are intentionally designed in order to generate a feeling and an experience that the customer has so that the brand has more control over what people encounter in the moment of truth.
Social and Internet Sharing to Benefit your Website
A lot of businesses are introducing Instagram areas so that people are actively sharing their experience while at their store or events. You can not just rely on the design, but rather you need to create these moments to encourage people to photograph, share, and tweet. You also have to monetize it and call it to their attention. Over time, you will see that it effects everything: the product, the service, how customers return the product if they need to. These are experiences that are designed by "the chief experience officer" of an organization.
Experiential Social Design
Disney is a wonderful example of how a business can create an experience. Everything about it is intentionally designed for you to feel, do, or see something. Its very intentional and therefore, they are hoping that these intentional experiences are what people tell their friends. And in a social and connected world, what people tell others becomes the very thing that influences potential buyers who are looking for information.
This generation is defined by a digital-first mentality. When we are making decisions, we have a lot of life experiences that influence us. In many ways, some people have many life experiences that bring them from analog to digital. With the "Generation C" group, however, they are digital first. Once you start to look at their behavior, and they pick up an iPad, or iPhone, they start to mimic the behaviors of other generations. Behaviors start to look similar in the decision making process. Really what we need to be thinking about is what people in the digital lifestyle are thinking about. If people in their 20's, 30's and 40's are exhibiting the same behavior, then you can not segment your marketing according to age, but rather by the digital lifestyle. The 'C' stands for connected. This is the largest demographic which represents the future of business. Of all the generations, Generation 'C' is the one which generates the most impact because it spans multiple generations. Digital and human nature become one and it only becomes more persuasive.
Targeting Generation 'C' for Business
Walk in the day of the life of your customers that you are trying to sell to. All the moments of truth need to be analyzed and those experiences need to be journey-mapped so you can see who your connected customers are.
Actions Steps for Businesses
Take a deep breath. There are a lot of data and a lot of reports that reveal the way businesses are using technology. In some cases, this data is not the way people want brands to use technology. So be aware that this is coming. The future of business is not a question, but it is an answer. Take your social media team and point them to listening. Look at what are the experiences that people are sharing. Are they loving it? Are they hating it? See where and why those things are happening. What you think people are sharing and doing is often not at all what is driving your strategy today. You need insight and empathy in order to track the moments of truth.
Web Hosting and your Website
Analytics is a critical tool to track the daily visits to your websites, including direct, organic and referral. Traffic types are analyzed such as feed, organic, referral, direct and e-mail. Your website's audience, behaviors, technology used to view your site, number of mobile visitors and even the flow that visitors take as they journey through your website are important analytics to study as a marketer. Which pages are most popular and which are the highest exit points are helpful to know. This is crucial so you, the webmaster, can mold your website to match the needs and desires of your visitors. By studying their actions, you can be in front of the buying process and the "zero moment of truth".