Emerging Technology

WHAT WE LEARNED THIS WEEK: Investigate social platforms before using them

Patrick Stafford /

Businesses are often told to get on Twitter –and here at TechCompany we’re no exception to that – but a report this week suggested real estate agents are abandoning the platform.

A survey by the REIV found that Twitter was of little use in attracting new clients. “Social media, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter had practically no value, endorsed by only 1% to 3% of respondents,” chief executive Enzo Raimondo said.

In a way, this is two lessons. The first is that clearly real estate agents don’t have much use for social media. It’s a reminder that businesses need to identify which social networking platforms are good for them, and ignore others. It’s good to avoid being overcrowded in social media.

But it’s also a sign that maybe real estate agents aren’t exploring Twitter to its full potential.

Before you dismiss a social media platform – which is fine if that’s the right business decision – you need to explore some options. Try and think of creative ways to use it. You may end up coming up with a lucrative social media plan.

Creating artificial demand is harder than it looks

You may have noticed Apple launched the iPhone 5 last week. It was something of a big deal – it sold five million phones in its first weekend, an all-new record for the tech giant.

There have also been the usual claims that Apple is reducing supply in order to create a surplus of demand, thus generating even more buzz for the gadget.

Apple can do this because it’s a huge company. Smaller businesses cannot.

If you’re going to manage demand, then manage it well – but don’t make your prospective clients wait too long. It’s all well and good to make yourself appear busy and create some buzz, but it’s another to actively damage yourself by putting off too much work.

You’re not Apple. Don’t try to be. Create some buzz, but don’t hurt yourself in the process.

Pick up the customer service flag

Consumer group Choice has released a survey this week of the major department stores and how they perform when it comes to customer service.

While some have performed well, including Bunning’s, others such as Myer and David Jones have fallen behind. It’s a shame; especially considering these companies defend themselves by saying customer service is an advantage against online-only stores.

This is an opportunity for online stores. Given customer service appears to be so shabby in bricks and mortar, online companies need to take this opportunity to invest in more customer service. Kogan Tech, for instance, has staff available for chat 24/7. Online companies have a variety of ways to help customers, and it doesn’t need to be over the phone.

If you’re an online business, don’t neglect customer service. It can serve as an opportunity to stand out.

Control your SEO properly

Google got into a spot of trouble this week, with a legal battle in New Zealand opening the company up to defamation claims.

This has happened before – companies have sued Google for linking to material that somehow damages their reputation.

While Google may be open to claims here, it doesn’t negate the importance of managing your company’s reputation properly through SEO management.

Do you know what happens when you Google your company’s name? What comes up on the front page?

If it’s bad news, you need to deal with that by adopting a comprehensive SEO strategy. Work towards getting your content on the first page, otherwise you’re going to get yourself into a world of trouble – and you can’t just blame Google for it, either.

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Patrick Stafford

Patrick Stafford is a freelance journalist and a former deputy editor of SmartCompany.

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