Bridging the digital divide: Bringing technology into the workplace, Part I

By: Leandra Williams, Owner, Stingray Advisory Group LLC

Throughout my interactions with entrepreneurs and small business owners, questions always arise around using technology in the workplace. Between automating processes, promoting their business online and using cloud-based technology, business owners want to know what will work and how they can do it. As making the leap can seem challenging, daunting and confusing; we work with our clients to help them determine where the right fit is and implement a manageable, cost-effective plan.

The place to start is with your online presence. In this day and age, it is crucial for your business to be online in one form or another. Modern consumers, especially millennials, will first search online for a product or service they are interested in, read reviews and then make their buying decision. Stopping into a brick-and-mortar location may be the last step in the process, if it occurs at all. This presents several key areas to address when creating your online presence:

1)    Who is your target audience? This may seem like a simple question, but if the answer is not clear, you may spend countless hours focusing on the wrong online avenues. Answering this question will help you determine which social media platforms to focus on and why.

2)    Where should you share your business information? All businesses can, and should, list their company information on free online business directories such as YP.com and Yelp. Additionally, having social media accounts that are consistently managed and allow potential clients to learn more about your brand will be beneficial. Again, be sure to post where your target audience is!

3)    What does the public have to say about your brand? Being aware of what the public is saying about you and your brand is important. One way to know is by obtaining client reviews and testimonials. Satisfied clients should be willing to provide feedback. Ask them if you can include this on your website or if they’ll share it on your social media pages. Prospective clients like to know that a new business they’re approaching is reputable and has happy customers. Also, if you do receive negative feedback online, be sure to respond publicly and in a time fashion. This will show future visitors that you took steps to resolve the issue and care about client satisfaction.

These are three initial areas to consider when starting out online. The Internet can be very beneficial for small businesses looking to increase brand awareness. To help make the transition a smooth one, know who your audience is, make sure they can find you, and highlight your focus on customer satisfaction.

Be sure to check back for part two and three of this series. In Part II, I will share specific information about popular social media platforms to help you determine where to focus your energy. Part III will highlight cost-effective, user-friendly platforms that can assist with accounting, CRM needs and e-mail marketing campaign management.

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About Stingray Advisory Group LLC: Stingray Advisory Group LLC is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. By creating dynamic customized solutions for business growth, we empower businesses and entrepreneurs with the tools to further their development. To learn more or schedule a consultation, visit www.stingrayadvisorygroup.com. Follow us today on Facebook, LinkedIN, Google+ and Twitter for more helpful tips!

Contact the author, Leandra Williams, through email at Leandra@stingrayadvisorygroup.com

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