Tag Archives: small business

Don’t Leave your Facebook Messages Unanswered

Your Facebook business page is awesome, isn’t it? It’s like sharing updates and pictures, but to your customers instead of family and friends who don’t want to hear about your opposing political views.

But maintaining this page is more than just posting information about a discount on an item. Visitors will use this medium as another way of engaging with you. And if you don’t reciprocate, the consequences can range from losing a customer, having people speak poorly about you, driving away future customers, and a negative reputation. All of these result in revenue not going into your business.

According to Locowise, 65% of pages that enabled the publishing ability didn’t respond to any of their posts. Up to 87% of all posts went completely unanswered.

Your Facebook business page is a great opportunity to engage with people who are taking the time to ask you questions, and to show how responsive you are to their questions or issues.

For example, let’s say that Bill ordered a pair of pants online from an online retailer. The ordering and checkout process went smoothly, and the order arrived at his doorstep on the day it was promised. However, the pants were not in good condition.

Instead of calling the 800 number, Bill decides to go to their Facebook page to post a complaint. This way, he can also show pictures of how the pants looked when they arrived.

The company responds to Bill’s post in a professional manner. The solution can be any number of things, from sending Bill a coupon or discount code, to refunding his purchase, to sending a new pair of pants to replace the defective pair.

There are other ways to respond, such as asking Bill for more information, and asking to take the conversation into private messaging.

The point is, the company sees a situation in which a customer of theirs is unhappy, and works to resolve the issue. This interaction, seen in the Visitor Posts section, can leave a positive impression on those who visit the Facebook page.

But what happens if you don’t respond?

A couple of days go by after the initial post, and the company doesn’t respond. Bill’s frustration, which existed already due to receiving the bad pair of pants, is now growing because nobody is helping him. Did the company just take his money? Did he get ripped off?

He posts again, with a more agitated tone. Again, no response from the company.

Now, other visitors are seeing the lack of response from the retailer. That’s terrible that Bill isn’t being helped, they think. Since they’re probably not masochistic, they will save themselves the trouble and shop elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Bill is leaving a 1-star bad review of the company online, after leaving a third post.

All of that equates to the company’s reputation taking a negative hit on their reputation. A bad reputation means lost revenue.

What does this all mean?

If you’re going to maintain a Facebook page for your business, then treat those that communicate online with you the same way as you would if they were face to face. Engage with them, and they could possibly turn into loyal customers.

The Cons of Using Website Builders

Previously, I talked about the advantages of using a website builder, such as Wix and Weebly, to name a few.

And for certain people in certain situations, they can be very useful.  Maybe you’re too busy running your small business and don’t have the time or the money.  Maybe you need something right away, or you just don’t know anything about what it takes to build a website.  If so, then a website builder may be for you.

But if you want the best possible website you can get, then you should stay away from them.  Stay far, far away from them, like you should from a Nigerian member of royalty who is more than happy to want to deposit a seven figure amount into your bank account.

Why?  Here’s why.

You Can’t Always Take it With You

What if you’re unhappy with the service, or the company that offered it to you?  If you go all Cartman on them and say, “Screw you guys…” then chances are you will have to move your website.  But it isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Chances are, you used one of their templates for your site.  But those templates were made strictly for that website builder.  So if you move on to another company or professional, you’ll probably wind up losing the look and feel of your website.

And your text and images as well, if you weren’t smart enough to keep copies of those.

Are you down with starting from scratch?  Because that’s the risk you’ll be taking.

Branding and Ads

See the text link or badge at the bottom of the website?  Website builders, such as those from GoDaddy, VistaPrint and Homestead, will proudly tattoo their name either discretely (such as a simple line of text) or as a graphic at the bottom of the website.  A graphic that is somehow so distracting that it can be seen from space.

You can’t remove them, as there might not be an option available to do so.  And even if you knew a little bit of CSS to try and hide that sucker, you could be in danger of violating the company’s TOS agreement.

And yeah, many ad agencies, web design, and marketing firms and individuals will include some sort of ad at the bottom of the website they created.  But they didn’t drag-and-drop some solid-colored elements, type your company name with some generic font, lean back in their chair and call it a day.  They worked hand-in-hand with you throughout the entire process of creating your website, from establishing your goals to customizing the source code, also known as that mish-mash of letters, numbers and symbols that you won’t understand.

Limited Flexibility

A website builder will offer you several different templates to choose from.  And while you’ll have the option of choosing different colors and sizes for graphics and fonts, the worst case scenario is that you’ll have a small list to choose from.  You can try to upload some pictures, but if the file size exceeds the limits imposed on you and you don’t know how to optimize them, then you’re up a certain creek with a four-letter name that rhymes with ‘bit.’

Oh, and did I mention that other businesses who use website builders may choose the same template as yours?  That means that your website layout may look awfully similar to other websites.  Way to stand out from the competition.

Your website is like an interactive advertisement for your business.  You should treat it as such.  You should budget it as such.  You should take the time to write down your goals, gather your ideas for structure, functionality and content, and then talk to a professional.  Whether you use an agency or an individual, or even keep it in house, your website is a part of your business.

The Pros of Using Website Builders

In this day and age, having a website is essential for nearly any sort of business. They go together like Kanye West and comically-priced t-shirts. A website for your business can instantly tell any potential customer more about you and your business, where you’re located, what you offer, and more. If you don’t have one, then you might as well be living in the ’50’s, gramps.

Today, many small business owners use website builders to create their site. This solution has several advantages to it. Let’s go over some of those, shall we?

Here, I’m defining a website builder as an web-based tool that allows you to design a website with little to no knowledge of web design or coding. Typically, they’re offered by web hosting companies as a free or low-cost service.

Cost and Time Efficient

You’re an owner of a growing business. You’ve got so many things to keep track of, from budgets and supplies, to making sure none of your employees go joy-riding in one of the company vehicles. You don’t have the time or the money to sit down and hash out a plan for creating a website, with a professional, that will only make you feel stupid when you ask him anything web-related.

Alan Cumming - Goldeneye

“For the last time, no more LOLcats!”

That’s where website builders can come into play. They offer a quick solution for the CEO on the go. You can choose from several standard templates and upload your company logo. You can insert your phone number, write some copy about what your business offers, and upload. Boom, done.

And many of these website builders offer various low-cost packages. Some places even offer them for free if you purchase other services. They are a good solution for those who are in the beginning stages of living the dream of being your own boss, but with little to no budget.

Drag and Drop

Even if you don’t know the first thing about the guts of a computer, most of you know how to use a mouse, right? From quickly hiding the adult material from anyone about to walk by, to the accidental deletion of critical company files, knowing how to use the mouse is half of the battle right there. Many website builders offer a drag-and-drop method of creating web pages.

You can literally drag nearly any element onto a designated area of the page. Forms, pictures, text blocks, and social media icons can be positioned without breaking a sweat.

No Knowledge? No Problem

Everyone who knows anything about web design and development, from XHTML and CSS to WordPress and anything database-related, was either self-taught or went to school to learn it. Unless you can put a book to your head and gain knowledge through osmosis, you don’t have the time for all of that fancy book-learning. You have a business to run, money to make, and a family to feed.

Website builders to the rescue!

You don’t need any sort of web design experience, come from a coding background or be a Photoshop wizard. They will handle nearly all of that stuff for you. Just choose your template, add your content and you have a website that your mom can be proud of.

Ed O'Neil, Sofia Vergara, Rico Rodriguez

“I want you to be proud of me…mom”

Overall, going down the path of using website builders can be advantageous depending on your unique situation. You may find yourself in a similar spot. Have no money, no time or knowledge? Then a website builder might be for you.