Is Facebook the New Google?

According to Parse.ly data, Facebook is now the top referral source to news websites – surpassing long-time referral giant Google. In July, 43 percent of the traffic to the media sites surveyed came Is Facebook the New Google from Facebook clicks, while just 38 percent came from Google. While just one genre of websites was surveyed (news media), the study is very telling of a bigger trend: people are gathering more and more information through social media.

This shift is important for all businesses to acknowledge and understand, especially small ones who have always had a distinct marketing advantage through social media. Some important points to note:

Word-of-mouth is alive and well. Google’s algorithm has always been based on sites having more credence when they are clicked on more, or referenced through linking on another site. This is word-of-mouth referring in an abstract way – being told what is the most relevant to you based on the largest group of people or third-party sites.

Facebook is different because it is inherently more personal. The links that you see and click on are from people you actually know. When someone posts a link or product on Facebook, it is an instant recommendation (and one that you can click on immediately).

For things like news stories, it is a fast way to spread information that bypasses the typical Google algorithm wait. Small businesses that may not normally make the cut when it comes to that coveted first page of Google search may get a lot of attention from a single Facebook post from a fan.

Search results alone aren’t enough. Google does a good job showing searchers what a link is really all about before sending them to it, but it does leave some things lacking. The biggest of these? A personal connection between that site and the searcher.

Facebook has an advantage because when a person sees a link posted from a friend, there is generally some commentary that explains why the reader should care. Even business pages posting their own links, or sponsoring them, can add just a little bit of content to make those posts more engaging, and clickable.

People value convenience. I can’t believe that I’m even implying that typing in a search term and waiting a millisecond for results is in any way an inconvenience, but with the instant gratification of technology, it makes sense. It is why people are willing to give up some privacy in order to receive the best deals, or customized health data.

People are on Facebook anyway – from computers at work, to tablets at home, to smartphones everywhere else. Having links right in the feed that are relevant actually IS more convenient than looking something up on a totally different site.

Google and Facebook provide different services, of course, but when it comes to instantaneously being referred to articles, products or businesses that impact your real life, Facebook does have an advantage. Small businesses need to be sure that they have a strong presence that is both brand centric and convenient.

What advantages for businesses do you think Facebook has over Google?

Twitter Google Search – What it Means for You

Twitter Google Search

Early last month a deal was made to bring back Twitter Google search. Google will now have access to the Twitter “firehose” which will result in more tweets being found in Google search.

These two had an agreement between 2009 and 2011 where Google had similar access.

Twitter Google Search

If you’re an individual or business and benefit from being searched it’s time to start tweeting. This gives you another route to be found. With this deal your tweets can show in up Google search in real-time. That’s big.

While Google already crawls Twitter, having access to the Twitter “firehose” makes it easier for Google to get tweets seen in their search. A lot more tweets. Of course, this means that non-twitter users will see tweets in Google search. This is really good for Twitter, good for Google, and good for your business if you’re tweeting.

Twitter has a similar deal with Bing and Yahoo already.

What you should do so your tweets show up in Google search

If you’re not already on Twitter and tweeting consistently it’s something you should seriously consider adding to your marketing arsenal. If you’re a business you want to be found in search. Well this gives you another route to be found. If you’re not tweeting you will be missing a strong opportunity to be discovered, something at least one of your competitors will likely be doing.

The chances of your tweets showing up in Google search will dramatically increase if you’re active and consistent. This has been a challenge for many individuals and businesses. Tweeting should be like brushing your teeth if you want to show up in search. Do it daily, or have someone do it for you daily.

5 Quick Twitter Tips:

1) Be Consistent – Post 6-8 tweets daily at minimum, every day, throughout the day and evening
2) Include valuable content in your tweets consistently
3) Use Images – visual works
4) Use Video – Twitter native video was recently unveiled
5) Use some level of care when tweeting – Your tweet could end up in Google search

This is expected to start in the coming months, so get tweeting today. You don’t want to miss this opportunity.

Tips for Making Sure Phoning Customer Service is a Win and Not a Fail

 

If you have ever tried calling a customer service line before for help with an issue, you have probably experienced some of the frustration that comes along with this. Phoning customer service to solve a problem can sometimes be one of the best exasperating customer servicethings in the world.

First of all, it will take you a long time to simply find the correct number that you should call, as these numbers are not always prominently displayed in the most logical way. Then, when you finally contact the company you will be passed around to a number of different customer service assistants, many of which will have no idea how to fix your problem or what to do. You will repeat yourself five times, explaining the issue to every person whom you get passed to down the line. By the time you have spent nearly an hour on the phone (and a lot of money in premium phone line charges) you will have wasted a lot of time and you may or may not have received a satisfactory answer.

So is there any way that you can improve your customer service experience and receive better care when you are phoning up the company? Here are some tips that you can keep in mind, which will help to make sure that you get better customer service when you are phoning up a company:

Find a Direct Customer Service Number

Sometimes it can be difficult to find the right number for the customer service department, as the company hasn’t made this information easy to access. This means that you will waste a lot of time looking around and calling the wrong number, costing more of your precious time.

There are some services that offer a direct phone number to the customer service line, so you will not have to look around or struggle to find the right number. For example, if you are calling Sky you can find a direct phone number for sky, which will connect you to Sky Customer Services where you will be able to find help with your enquiry. It only costs £0.05 per minute from a BT Landline.

Get Through to An Actual Person

Your problems probably won’t be solved by a robot and if you wanted to talk to a computer, you would have just googled your issue. Getting through to an automated system won’t really help you at all, so your priority should be to get through to an actual human being.

Next time you have reached an automated menu such as “Press one for opening times, Press two for… etc.”, try waiting until the end of the list of options. They will usually have an option for “any other questions” which will direct you through to a customer service representative.

Another trick is to press “0” or pressing a series of numbers that the system doesn’t recognize, which will usually get you put through automatically to a customer service representative.

Research Your Problem in Advance

Before you speak to a customer service representative about your issue, take the time to look it up online and learn a little more about the problem. You probably aren’t the only person in history who has had this problem, so it helps to look online and find out more about the issue and what solutions are possible. If someone else has had the problem, they might have some advice on how customer service can best solve the issue when you phone them.

Gather Your Important Documents in Advance

When you are on the phone number with customer service and they ask for your account number, password or credit card number, you don’t want to be running around trying to find these while speaking to them. Gather everything in advance, so that you will have it ready when they ask for it. This way, you will be able to get through the phone call as quickly and concisely as possible.

Ask For the Supervisor

If you are not getting the results that you want, don’t be afraid to escalate and ask to speak to the representative’s supervisor. Often, the supervisor will be more helpful because they will have more authorization to do things that the first level of representatives don’t have. Make sure that you are polite and not rude, if you ask nicely you won’t turn the conversation sour.

Record the Call for Your Records

Sometimes customer service representatives will follow up on their word and do what you have asked them to, but other times the problem will not be resolved and you will have to follow up again. Even if the company says that they record their calls, it never hurts to have a copy of the phone call on your end as well, so that you can have the evidence on your side. Of course, you should make sure that you are recording phone calls legally and check with the regulations in your country for recording phone calls – as you might need to get the consent of the customer service representative on the end of the line.

These are just a few tips for getting better service when you are phoning a company. Of course, the one thing to remember is to be nice. You will catch more flies with honey than vinegar, so be friendly and polite and you are more likely to get better service.

 

Marcus Walker is a freelance writer and blogger. He writes about business tips, customer service, life hacks and communication. He lives with his girlfriend and their two dogs.