Getting to grips with Internet Trolls AND genuine criticism of your services.

 How to deal with internet trolls and bad online reviews of your business.Everyone’s a critic.
But are you handling any online criticism of your business and services in the most productive way?

Are you making a clear distinction between valid criticism and blatant Trolling?

Is it ever ok to delete critical messages or negative feedback on Social Media?

And are you responding to criticism in a professional and effective manner, or do you end up getting bogged down in long-winded online feuds?

Arming myself with a red hot poker (just in case), I’m heading out into the darker corners of Cyberspace today in search of the right answers…

Of course, online criticism is a very contemporary problem.
Way back in the mists of time, not that many disgruntled customers would have bothered to summon up the vast energy levels required to actually pick up the telephone and make a complaint.

Taking things one step further, I would imagine that hardly anybody at all would have been willing to march up and down the streets with a giant megaphone in a bid to air their grievances with as many other people as possible.

That last idea might sound a bit silly and over-the-top, but it’s not a million miles away from what unhappy customers can do today.
It now takes barely any effort at all to leave a scathing online review of a business, or type a quick negative comment.
There’s no longer any need to worry about face-to-face confrontation, potential awkwardness, or even just very basic everyday etiquette.

Nope. These days, we can just quickly upload our opinions into Cyberspace and put our negative words on very public display.
Dead easy.
Maybe even slightly too easy…

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Seven super-quick tips to keep your business information secure on Facebook.

PROTECT YOUR FACEBOOK BUSINESS PAGE. Seven super-quick tips to keep your business information secure on Facebook.How safe is your Facebook business page?

With over 11 million Australians using Facebook every single day, it’s becoming quite a worry that so many of us are slipping into bad habits and ignoring the few simple steps we can take to protect our accounts.

It’s an even bigger worry when Business Page owners get careless with security and end up putting all manner of sensitive information at risk.

I know of one respected insurance broker who left his mobile phone unattended and unsecured on a table in a bar, as he wandered off to quickly greet a friend.
He realised very quickly afterwards that his phone had been stolen.
But it took him a little bit longer to figure out that his Facebook page had also been stolen as a direct result!

From his unlocked phone, someone had taken the time to change the name of his popular business page to Mickey Mouse’s Insurance Swindle and then sent out loads of frankly offensive posts to all the loyal page followers.
I’m not sure that his Social Media presence ever fully recovered from the incident.
But he certainly learned to be a bit more careful with his next mobile phone.

That may seem like a wacky example, but there are all kinds of other serious implications if you get too casual with Facebook security.
You effectively risk losing control of your Facebook page, and giving away access to your advertising campaigns, billing, private messages, and any other sensitive information contained within your account.

The good news is that it’s quick and easy to stay safe on Facebook.
Are you following all seven simple steps below to protect your own Business Page?

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Is Twitter gearing up to drop the 140-character limit in your Tweets?

A LONGER TWEET? Is Twitter gearing up to drop the 140-character limit in your Tweets?Rumours and speculations have been spreading around the Twittersphere in hushed whispers over the last month.

And this time I’m relieved to say that they had nothing at all to do with the alleged leaked photographs of the Scooby Doo wallpaper in my office.

The latest rumour is that Twitter could be getting ready to ditch the 140-character limit from your Tweets.
And unlike the Scooby Doo wallpaper scandal, it does appear as if these particular rumours could well turn out to have some substance behind them…

But is this potentially huge new development something to be welcomed or feared?

How exactly is Twitter likely to implement such a drastic change, and could it have a huge impact on your business tweeting?

And in the meantime, how can you currently ‘cheat’ the 140-character limit with very little effort?

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Why you could lose out on BIG results by not setting deadlines in your business marketing.

Why you could lose out on BIG results by not setting deadlines in your business marketing.Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!
You only have the rest of your life to read this Blog article!
Act NOW before it’s too late!

No, wait, that doesn’t quite work, does it?
I think we may possibly require something that creates just a little more urgency…

But are you creating urgency in your own business marketing by setting out clear and genuine deadlines?

There was definitely a degree of urgency in Old Bert’s behaviour today.
He’d just heard that the local Sweet Pastry Shop was offering half-price Banana Nut Muffins until 2pm this afternoon.

Old Bert is not one to miss out on a good bargain.
I’ve never seen him move so fast in all my life.
He raced out of the Martin Print office so quickly that I didn’t get the chance to tell him that the offer was actually running yesterday.
I really don’t think I want to be here when he gets back…

But it’s fair to say that owners of smaller businesses can often have a relaxed attitude to setting deadlines and expiration dates for offers.

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But how many of your prospective customers will walk away without ever discovering the truth?

Your business is excellent! But are you explaining this in the right way to your potential customers?“I know that I run a truly outstanding business!
But why am I finding it so hard to convince my potential customers of this?
Most of them just seem to go with cheaper prices and lower quality elsewhere without ever even realising what they missed out on!
What am I doing wrong?”

It’s a common cry for help.
This particular one came from a business owner called Alex who was venting his feelings in my direction this week down at Smokey Joe’s Business Bar.
A bit weird and unexpected, really.
I’d only asked him if he had any loose change for the jukebox.
But there you go.

Here’s the thing.
I know Alex runs an amazing business.
His products and services are genuinely excellent. He puts his closest competitors to shame. He should rightly be hailed as the number one name in his field.

He should also be charging a lot more to reflect the quality of his services.
And the customers should be battering down his door to pay him this money!

But that’s just not happening.
Alex just doesn’t seem to be convincing his potential clients that his business is awesome.

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How the three latest Facebook updates could impact your Business Page.

How the three latest Facebook updates could impact the post reach and referral traffic from your Business Page.The latest updates from Facebook could potentially see a further decline in your post reach and referral traffic.

But what exactly are these three brand new updates and what do they mean for your Facebook Business Page?

There was definitely a sinking feeling down at Smokey Joe’s Business Bar when we first heard the announcement on new updates from Facebook which will change how content is delivered to the user’s news feed.

Even before we’d heard any of the details, we instinctively knew that it was going to be bad news for Business Page owners.
It always is.
I can’t remember the last announcement from Facebook which included any good news for Business Pages.

One business owner in the bar was still happy to admit that he was intrigued, though.
“I’ll be fascinated to see how they can make my post visibility go any lower than it already is!” he howled.

As the details were slowly revealed to us, it unfortunately looked as if our instincts had been right.
It certainly punctured the mood in the bar.
Such a shame after the pirate-themed Karaoke competition had gone down so well, too.

The new updates were officially unveiled in a new Facebook Blog post written by Product Manager Max Eulenstein and User Experience Researcher Lauren Scissors.

Most of the big changes relate to balancing the news feed content between posts from personal friends and ‘pages’.
As you can probably already imagine, it’s the ‘pages’ which are now walking away with a tougher deal and less visibility.

So let’s take a closer look at each of the three new updates in turn…

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Why failing to accurately identify your target audience is bad for your business.

How well do you know the character behind your typical customer? And why is it so important for a smaller business to accurately identify and understand your own target audience?You can’t please all the people all the time….can you?

A particularly ambitious business owner may well believe that his or her target audience is absolutely everybody on the planet!
And you can hardly blame an entrepreneurial spirit for thinking big.

But in the ongoing battle between corporate giants and smaller businesses, are we really in a position to make such a strategy work?
Or should we be adopting a different and far more focused approach?

In short, do you really know exactly who your customers are?

Down at Smokey Joe’s Business Bar last week, I was with a group of Small to Medium Sized Business owners.
I’m talking about the sizes of the businesses, not the sizes of the people.

We were gathered around a table drawing up detailed character profiles of our perfect ‘typical customer’.
I’m not quite sure now how or why we started to do this.
I suspect it had something to do with the Electronic Quiz Machine getting taken away for repairs on that day.

A few of us really got into the spirit of things and were able to draw up quite convincing profiles of our specific target audiences.
I’d like to think that my own profile for the perfect Martin Print customer – in search of premium-quality printing and results-driven design to boost their business marketing – was pretty detailed and accurate.
Although I now think I may have used the wrong colour for the hair.

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Why smaller Australian Businesses have an edge over the Global Corporate Giants.

Are you a small local Australian business? The encouraging findings from a new report reveal that you have a very powerful ally who could help you to fight back against the corporate companies; The Australian consumer.In the ongoing battle between smaller local businesses and giant international corporate companies, it can often seem as if the odds are stacked heavily against the smaller business owner.

But let’s never forget who ultimately came out victorious in the battle between David and Goliath.
(Spoiler alert! It was David.)

And if you’re beginning to feel like a downtrodden local Australian business owner who’s losing the fight against the heavyweight competition, you may be interested in taking a look at these statistics below.

The encouraging findings from The 2015 Westpac Australia Day Report reveal that smaller local businesses have a secret and very powerful ally who could help them to win the war;
The Australian consumer.

Down at Smokey Joe’s Business Bar, there’s a guy called Frank who’s always ranting and raving about his corporate rivals and how much custom they’re stealing from his local business.

Just last night, he was angrily complaining about how these bigger companies have slashed their prices even further and tempted away some more of Frank’s previously loyal long-term clients.

I can often see his point.
Realistically, corporate companies are a major threat, and there’s no point in denying this.
Some consumers are always going to be driven into a buying decision on price alone.

But is this threat always quite as big as we fear?
And could our complaining friend Frank be re-focusing his efforts into something more productive which might help his business become a serious contender again?

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How Selfies can help and hinder your Business Marketing.

Can a simple Selfie really help to give a fresh new human identity to your business marketing? Or can Selfies do more harm than good?

Is your Smartphone crammed full of Selfies, or do you get deeply irritated by the very idea?
Do you have friends, colleagues, or family members who seem to be obsessed with taking ridiculously similar photographs of themselves?

Yep, it seems like an odd concept, and I wouldn’t normally do that kind of thing my, er, self.
But can a simple Selfie really help to give a fresh new human identity to your business?
Or can they do more harm than good?

I had one of those moments earlier today when you know that something feels wrong in a blindingly obvious way, but you have to stand there looking foolish for several seconds before you figure it out.

My name was howling around the corridors of the Martin Print design studio.
It was Old Bert screaming out for my urgent assistance.
I dashed to the scene in case he’d got his fingers trapped in the toaster again.
But no, it wasn’t quite as drastic as that.

He simply wanted me to take a few ‘Selfies’ of him with the camera on his new phone, as he’d heard that it would be good way of bringing a friendly human presence to the Leaflets for his weekly Tap Dancing classes.

I stood there for a while with his phone in my hand, and I encouraged him to pull a variety of different poses. I love a tough challenge, and I felt determined to make him look sophisticated.

It took several seconds for it to sink in that we were actually going against the whole point of a ‘Selfie’.
I blame the fact that the Coffee Machine was out of order this morning, and we had completely run out of Froot Loops.

Even if you’re not a fan of Selfies, or the very idea of pointing a camera into your own beaming face makes you feel a bit uncomfortable, you can’t deny that the concept is universally popular.
It’s not just teenagers doing it now. The idea has caught on with celebrities, film stars, politicians, Presidents, excitable tourists, and even slightly grumpy caretakers who don’t really know what they’re doing.

But are they any good for your Business Marketing?
Here are a few snapshot pointers to bear in mind…

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This is NOT a Blog article about predictions for new business trends in 2015.

Looking ahead to new marketing trends and developments in 2015? Here’s what your business should really be considering in the new year ahead.If you’re an avid reader of Business Blogs, I expect you’ll have already skimmed through a whole stack of new articles and posts which make earnest predictions on the new trends you can expect to see in 2015.

Don’t panic. This is NOT yet another one of those crystal-ball articles.

Well, okay, I will be passing on a tiny slice of good news and a tiny slice of bad news about the year ahead for your business.

But I’d mainly like to put forward the suggestion that we shouldn’t be getting too concerned about the shape of the future, as we’ve already seen it.

Here are the points you should really be considering in 2015…

I got thinking about this topic during the Annual New Year’s Bash down at Smokey Joe’s Business Bar.
After several exotic cocktails too many, the evening usually drifts into a chaotic guessing game about what lies in store for us all during the year ahead.

This is the point when all the far-sighted entrepreneurs gather round a table and make their confident predictions about the new marketing trends, new developments, new gadgets, and new strategies that we’ll need to take into account if we don’t want to get left behind in the future.

It’s the highlight of the evening for some of us.
Smokey Joe used to have a Crystal Ball prop which he would place on the table for extra effect, but it got smashed during a clumsy fall from one of the wannabe fortune-tellers back in 1997.

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