Alternatives to Google Plus

Google announced this week that they will be closing down Google+. Some people were left wondering what Google+ was, while dedicated fans were wondering what they are going to use now. Here is some background on Google+, why it is being shut down and what are the alternatives.

What is Google+?

In short, Google+ is like Facebook but from Google. This social media platform was launched in 2011 to replace their other services including Google Buzz, Google Friend Connect and Orkut. One feature that made it different to Facebook was the ability to put your friends in different circles. This allowed users to keep their work colleagues separate from their friends and family (something that Facebook has since added).

Many people don’t realise they have a Google+ account, basically anyone who has signed up to Google services has a Google+ account. This includes Gmail, Youtube, Google Home and Android Smartphones. Despite there being millions of accounts, not many people actually used Google+, with most people only using the platform for a few seconds at a time.

Why is it Shutting Down?

What made Google finally decide to shut down the service, was a security breach that earlier this year. Google found a bug in the system that allowed app developers to access personal data of Google+ users. Google claims that no one has taken advantage of this bug and no data was comprised. They will still shut down the service to prevent future breaches.

Despite the limited amount of regular users, they are loyal to the service and disappointed about the decision by Google. There are also many support groups, troubleshooting groups, education panels and discussion boards providing advice to interest groups. With the shut down of Google+, years of accumulated information will be lost.

Alternatives to Google Plus

  • Facebook: This is the most obvious choice. With over a billion users, it is unlikely to be closing down any time soon. This also means that there is more chance of people joining your discussion group or liking your page. Facebook would be best for gaining more brand awareness and gaining potential customers.

  • LinkedIn: This is the social media platform for professionals. It provides similar features as Facebook but focused towards business. Use LinkedIn for attracting potential B2B clients and possible future employees. Also great for keeping employees connected.

  • Google+: You were just reading an article that said Google+ is shutting down, now it is saying to keep using it. Well, the service is still alive, but now is focused on business use. You will need a G Suite account to access it. This business/enterprise account will give you access to Google’s other paid services too. Many businesses use this service to keep their employees connected.

  • Slack: This service calls itself a collaboration hub, rather then a social platform. It is focused on getting employees connected, working on projects together and providing support groups. There are free and paid versions of the service, and it can connect to third party apps.

  • Trello: This is another collaboration service. Trello sorts topics and groups into cards and boards, which can be shared among employees. Also integrates with third party apps.

  • MeWe, Pluspora and Mastodon Social: These are multiple services that are being created by fans of Google+ that are separately trying to save their data. These services also focus on privacy more then the larger social networks. As these are smaller then the other options listed above, it is uncertain how long they will last or what support a business will get when using the service.

  • Build your own: Choose this option if you want full control of the system. You don’t have to worry about the service selling your data or loosing your data when they go out of business. Unfortunately, for most people this option is quite a challenge, especially for people who are not technically minded. If you are interested in this option, Pixel Layer can speak to you about the process and build the system for you. We will take charge from analysis, development and support. We also provide web hosting, email social media and content creation solutions. Please go to our contact page to arrange a time for you free consultation.

Mature female with document sitting in cafe

Automated Marketing

Over the last ten years social media marketing has been increasing in importance. It is an activity that all business should be doing. Unfortunately, many small business owners get caught up in the day to day running of the business and neglect to be active on social media and maintain their blog. Fortunately, there are tools available to automate many social media and marketing activities.

Timing is important when posting to social media such as Facebook or Twitter. The time you post will determine how many people will see and respond to your article or important announcement.

The correct time to post will be dependent on your industry and customer base, but many business owners will be too busy running their business to be on social media at the right time to post. Therefore a scheduling system is a great solution. It will let you create posts outside business hours but only release them to the public at a better viewing time.

  • Klout: This is a service for personal accounts and business as well. You can link multiple accounts including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. You can then write posts and then schedule the posts to be released simultaneously on multiple social media sites. Klout also gives a Klout Score, which is way to compare your business popularity with other businesses and celebrities.
  • Facebook: If you have a Facebook Page for your business, you can schedule posts. Write the post as normal, but instead of pressing the post button, select the schedule button. You can then select a time for post to appear on Facebook.
  • Tweetdeck: This tool allows you to manage multiple Twitter accounts. You can schedule tweets to appear on Twitter at a selected time.

Content Curation
If you want people to become aware of your brand, you need to be constantly posting links of interesting articles and your own product information. You also need to send out targeted communications such as newsletters. There are tools that can help with finding and distributing interesting content.

  • MailChimp: What started as a email marketing service has become an integrated automation tool. Articles from your blog automatically become the content in your newsletter. The content from your newsletter then can be used to create posts and ads for Google, Facebook and Instagram. In online stores, if a customer adds an item to a cart but then does not buy it, MailChimp will email the customer a reminder to complete the purchase. You can also add a MailChimp page to you website to act as your contact form and customer database.
  • Hootsuite: This is a paid service that allows you to manage over 35 social media sites on a single dashboard. You can schedule posts, like other people’s posts and perform analytics. You can also set up alerts on topics relevent to your business.
  • Google and Twitter Alerts: In Twitter you can select hash-tags for topics of interest. With Google you select keywords and topics you are interested in. You will then be notified when certain topics are mentioned online. This allows you to only look at tweets and articles that is relevant to your business.

Original Content Services
Ultimately what will make your business stand out is the creation of your own original content. Writing your own content (instead of reposting other people’s articles) has many benefits. Not only will your business be able to display it’s expertise, you are able to customise the information to suit your customer base. Also, the more articles you put on the your website, the higher your business will rank in Google searches.

Unfortunately, this can be the most time consuming part of social media marketing. You can spend hours doing research and writing the content. The solution is to hire a content creation writer, such as Pixel Layer. We take the time to find out what your business is about and do the research necessary.

We can handle all phases of your marketing strategy. We will build the website, write the content, make the promotional videos and share it on social media.
Fill in our contact form or call 0490 011 585 to speak to us about your business needs and get a free quote. We will come to your office anywhere in the Melbourne suburbs.

Japanese Lessons on Customer Service

One of my favourite news stories of the year was about a train in Japan that did not depart the station on time (full article). Most people in Australia would wonder why such an occurrence is newsworthy. Happens all the time here.

What makes this interesting is that trains run on time in Japan. In fact, the train only departed 20 seconds earlier then scheduled. This discrepancy was enough to warrant an apology from the authorities for the “severe inconvenience”.

This incident highlights a broader issue, customer service is different in Japan. So what can Australians learn from Japan about customer service?

Punctuality and the Long Term

In Japan, timing is important. If a business meeting is at 9am, you better be there. Don’t come 9:05am. Having efficient systems in place will allow the business to be more productive, reliable and stable.

The Japanese also think about the long term. When they plan business strategy, they are thinking decades and even centuries ahead. They know how today’s actions will have consequences in the future. Organisations that have been around a long time are respected because they can be depended on and be trusted.

Relationship vs Price

Western society has a large focus on price. Customers will go where the product or service is cheapest. This in turn causes businesses to find ways to cut costs. The result is a lower quality service or product. Employees will have inadequate training and be less enthusiastic about their job.

In Japan relationships are an important part of doing business. People spend most of their time visiting clients and checking on employees. Even when there is no business to discuss, people will just drop in to say hello. A lot business gets done over lunch or dinner.

Expectation and Omotenashi

In Japan there is the concept of “Omotenashi”. This is a form of customer service and hospitality that focuses on value and respect for the customer. Omotenashi is such a large part of the Japanese culture that customers come to expect.

In 2017 American Express conducted a survey on customer service (full article). They discovered that worldwide an average of 30% people would shop elsewhere after one bad experience in a store. The main exception to the trend was Japan, where 56% of people of would shop elsewhere after on bad experience.

Therefore if a business wants to retain customers, they must practice Omotenashi.

Experience and Convenience

When walking into a store, customers need to feel welcome. The business needs to show it appreciates customers coming into their store.

Employees will always greet customers as they enter the store and say thank you as customers leave. If a customer walks up to employees while in conversation, the employees will stop talking and fully concentrate on the customer. Eating in front of customers is a big no-no, especially if employees are serving customers with their mouths full and have greasy hands.

Convenience is also important. A customer should feel that the process of buying products and services has been simplified. Employees will anticipate a customer need and be ready to help. They will help customers carry their bags out the store. They will fill the customer’s car with fuel and clean the windows at the same time. They will wrap your gifts. They will clarify anything the customer is unsure about. Businesses will appoint a single contact person so clients don’t have to speak to multiple employees before something gets done.

Enthusiasm and Improvement

Japanese approach their job with enthusiasm and meaning. When an employee speaks to a customer about products and services, they are genuinely interested. They have taken the time to listen to the customer’s needs and are knowledgeable on the ways the business can meet those needs. Rather then saying “no”, they always look for a way to say yes.

What is Digital Brand Management?

Online Marketing Puzzle Shows Websites, Blogs, Social Media And Emails

A brand is an identity that lets consumers distinguish your business, products and services from other competing options in the market. Common examples include your business name, logo or slogan. It even extends to less obvious things such as the colour of the walls and the way customers are treated.

Your brand is an asset, like any property or money that the business may own. Your brand also is an investment, which has a value that can increase or decrease. Your ability to sell the business, put it on the stock exchange or attract investors will be dependent on the value of your brand.

A business brand identity is developed through communication. If mismanaged, the consumer impression of your business will be different to what you hoped, usually in a negative way. It is possible that consumers won’t even be aware that your business exists or that it provides what they need.

All business need Digital Brand Management, it is an important part of a marketing strategy. It focuses on using websites, online stores, social media, blogging, video streaming, direct email marketing and online chat to engage with consumers and add value to the brand. It needs to take into consideration target markets, consumer trends and what makes the business unique.

There are many online platforms available to promote your business and develop brand identity. Businesses not only have to create content for these platforms, they also need to respond to comments made by customers and monitor what people are saying about the business. Constantly updating your website and social media profiles can take up a large amount of time, as there are multiple social media sites catering for different audiences.

Many people start their own business because they have a skill or see a niche in the market. These entrepreneurs did not start their business to spend half their day scrolling through Facebook, or dealing with IT problems. Hiring a Digital Brand Management specialist will allow the business to focus on providing its core products and services while letting a professional handle the internet of things.

Pixel Layer is a Digital Brand Management specialist. We help business to build and manage their websites, online stores, social media, blogging, video streaming, direct email marketing and online chat. We also provide photography services and graphic design of printed materials. Click here and get a free quote. Pixel Layer will meet you at your place of business anywhere in Melbourne and discuss your needs.


You Need Pixel Layer

Looking to get more customers through the door? Want people to be talking about your business? Looking for more ways to reach your customers? Want to manage your online presence? Then you need Pixel Layer!

Pixel Layer specialises in creating websites and videos then integrates them in to social media. This gives businesses the time to focus on what they do best.

Why your business needs to be online by Pixel Layer
Why your business needs to be online

Pixel Layer Officially Launches

Pixel Layer Logo (Red Background)Pixel Layer has officially launched! Pixel Layer is a “digital media integration” service provider. They specialise in creating websites and videos then integrating them in to social media. Pixel Layer also creates online stores, photographs and written content.

Pixel Layer are based in Melbourne. The owner, Kevin Tuyau, has degrees in Business, IT and Media; This gives him the unique opportunity to understand the integration between web development, video production and social media for businesses and individuals alike.

Why would you need the services of Pixel Layer? The importance of digital media for business is increasing. If your business does not have a digital media presence, your business is missing out on sales. 90% of people search the internet for product information before buying a product and 46% of people look at social media when making an online purchase. People who viewed a recommended video were 97% more likely to buy the product.

We will come to your place of business (within Melbourne suburbs) and discuss what is right for you. If your are interested in more learning more digital media facts, and working on your digital media strategy, please visit the Pixel Layer website.