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Facebook Groups Approval System changed

At the end of last year, if you manage a Facebook group, you may have noticed a change to the approval system. If your group is set up in such a way that you have to approve posts, previously there was an option to approve all future posts of certain individuals.

This was helpful (in cases where the group may have many people that you do not know being added to them) in ensuring there were no unnecessary posts or spam. In other words, when the individual posted a few appropriate posts, they could then receive auto-approval (their posts would automatically be approved).

This has been removed, we assume, as once you “auto-approved” them it could not be revoked and this caused some issues. However, many people with larger groups have found this made the groups harder to manage

On the plus side, Facebook also introduced an “Auto-report” system.

Auto-report by Facebook

The Auto-reported by Facebook robot works by automatically detecting and reporting disturbing and pornographic content to the administrators of a Facebook Group, so they can review and remove the violating content.

Group Administrators can also approve the automatically reported content for it to continue to display on the Group they manage; assuming the content was automatically detected in error and does not violate Facebook terms.

There have been positive and negative experiences with this little bot. What has been your experience? Tell us in the comments below

Thank you! …and our Annual Summer/Christmas Holiday has started!

I just wanted to take a moment to say “Thank you” to all my valued clients. This year has flown by and there have been many changes, including moving to our new offices in Sun Valley (so blessed to be sharing an office with Cindy from Yes Printing!).

I look forward to working with you in 2017 and hope that your festive season is blessed and beautiful, that you get to spend some time with family and that you will make big and better goals for 2017.

Also, just a reminder that The Web Assistant is *technically* on holiday from today. We will, as usual, offer skeleton services all through the holidays and will continue with our current/urgent projects. We will once again open on the 11 January 2017.

Thank you for your support, have a blast, keep safe and we will make more magic happen in 2017!

New Webpage launched: Rone Arendse

rone-arendseGoing Old School, we agreed on a static Webpage for this client that started their online journey 5 years ago and never completed it! Take a peek at http://psychologycapetown.co.za.

Rone Arendse is a registered Counselling Psychologist (HPCSA) who has been in private practice for over a decade. She holds a Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of Stellenbosch. She established her practice in 2001 and is currently based in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town.

 

New Website Launched: Jacqui L’Ange

We have just launched Jacqui L’Ange’s website. Jacqui is the author of The Seed Thief. She has also authored, ghosted and edited many other books.

Jacqui has been a writer for many well-known TV shows such as Isidingo, Hopeville and Snitch. She also volunteers as part of Book Dash creating interesting stories that are available free to many children all across South Africa.

If you would like to catch her this week, visit the Open Book Festival in Cape Town.

Jacqui is a lovely person and such an incredibly talented author. I feel honoured to have been able to assist her with this part of her creative journey. You can visit her new website here: http://www.jacquilange.com

Startups: How to deal with losing a Client

Losing clients is not something that any of us want to have happen or deal with. What is even more difficult is losing a client without a word from the client. Perhaps you don’t even know about it until you connect with them to take their order or make contact with them as you usually do OR notice that they have someone else as their main supplier or service provider.

Mark Suster, on “Both Sides of the Table”, speaks about how he “hates losing“. He says:

I think about it for months, often years. But I embrace losing. It is how I learn. I relive the moment so many times over in my mind wondering if I could have done this differently or if I shouldn’t have said or done this or that. I talk to trusted sources about it. I ask for feedback. I hate losing. I don’t want to lose next time.

He gives some good advice which I totally agree with and try to implement in my own business. I will share some of these ideas later on in this post.

What is Failure? Is Losing a client considered a Failure?

On this subject… I recently heard this idea, which I would like to share with you, taught again. In my own, quirky wording it comes down to this:

So, back to Mark’s advice. What do we do when we lose a client or contract.

Mark and I (Ha!) suggest you do the following:

  1. Ask your customer why you lost. Tell them that you’d like to learn so that you can improve. Be gracious. Write things down. This is very important! If you don’t know why you lost a client or contract, you can’t learn and grow.
  2. Learn. And don’t make the same mistake twice. Obvious, but I find that some people just never learn. See what products or services you could change/offer to better assist your client. Sometimes, there is nothing much you can do but if there is some room for improvement or a lesson to be learnt, grab it with both hands…just don’t get stuck there. Learn and move on!

Just a Reminder: our Annual Winter Holiday is around the corner!

We’re all going on a Winter Holiday.

Just a reminder that we are going on our Winter Holiday from the 24 June 2016 – 24 July 2016. We will only be offering Skeleton Services during this time. If there is anything you require during this time, please feel free to pop me an email at hello@webassistant.co.za.

New Website Launched: Palm Lodge Mthatha

New Website Launched.

Sue, owner of Palm Lodge Mthatha Bed and Breakfast, has been a long-time client of mine and is one of the nicest people I have yet to meet (face-to-face should I say). We recently decided it was time to update her site.

Many years back before we knew what responsive was, we had created a beautiful, neat, user-friendly site for her but it was time for an upgrade and redesign as many of her guests are accessing her website from their mobile devices.

I love working with awesome people who love what they do, it always inspires me. In fact, she loves it so much that she has opened Palm Lodge #2.

Sue’s new site is fully responsive and has a handy call button on mobile devices so that they can contact her quickly and easily

If you are visiting Mthatha, please do stop by for a visit! In the meantime, please show her new site some love by visiting http://www.palmlodgemthatha.co.za.

New Website Launched: QLG Photography

New Website Launched.

I am really enjoying working with Quintin, helping him develop his online presence. I adore his photography. Quintin is more than just a photographer, he is a story teller. Each of his shoots tell a story in the most beautiful way. He is also amazing at making you feel at ease (especially for those of us that shy away from that). I know this because he recently did a shoot of mine.

We have just launched his website this afternoon, have a peak – go to http://www.qlgphotography.co.za. Maybe share some positive feedback with him on his blog. We will be adding even more of his work in the days to come and I am excited to see what else he will share.

Quintin’s range is anything from weddings to portraits to interiors and more. He is not only a talented photographer but also an interior architect and if you are wondering why there is a random picture of me featuring on this post it’s because it was taken by Mr QLG himself.

Quintin’s website is fully responsive, so you can view his work from your tablet, phone or laptop – whenever, wherever you are. You can then contact him (because I know you will want to) via his user-friendly contact form.

Quintin opted for a clean, modern look for his website to highlight his photography in the best possible way and I think it works really well. What is your style? Share it with us in the comments below.

5 Ways Small Business can compete with Big Business

As a Small Business Owner, you may be frustrated by the seemingly unfair competition presented by Big Business. Often, they are able to offer products and services at more affordable prices. Sometimes this is due to a compromise on the level of service and quality, sometimes not.

Customers flock to these Big Businesses who have built a name for themselves over the many years they have been in business. The question that comes to mind is – Can you compete with Big Business and survive?

IGNITE YOUR SUCCESS QUICKLY

Pam Moore in her article “10 Ways Small Business Can Compete in a Big Business World!” explains that many Startup and Small Business leaders get intimidated in a competitive market place but they must know what levers they can pull to ignite their success quickly. I will share 5 “levers” that stand out to me later in this article.

smallbusiness-vs-bigbusiness

GO AFTER ONE SPECIFIC MARKET

Russell Fujioka shares some Big Business Strategies that Small Businesses can use in his article 5 Big Business Strategies That Will Help Launch Your Startup on Inc.com.

Big business strategies can be complicated, convoluted and take entire armies of employees to implement. But the theory behind some of them can be extremely useful to small business owners, especially when they’re working on becoming more productive. Here are a few strategies big corporations use and how to take that thinking and apply it to your small business.

He says most businesses that have grown to become big businesses usually started by going after one specific market, dominating it and then moving onto the next vertical. He points out that they all focused on the customer and how to make them advocates, generating sales and loyalty.

It doesn’t cost a lot to change the way you think about your small business but it can help you become a big business, or at least act like one, sooner.

HERE ARE THE 5 LEVERS I MENTIONED EARLIER:

  1. Personal Brand
    You are your brand when you are first launching a business. It is all about relationships and how you are positioned in the market already. This will determine if you be able to quickly enter with success or not, particularly if you don’t have a lot of cash on hand to make it happen. Pam warns if you don’t have a Personal Brand, do not wait until Launch. Work on it now!
  2. Agility
    Make use of your small size to start and stay agile. Small businesses don’t have the red tape of big business. If you see you are headed in the wrong direction, make a quick pivot. Pam says: “Don’t be afraid to take risk. Learn to fail fast and learn from each success and failure along the way.” I really like that – Learn to fail fast!
  3. Service
    This will always be on the list for me and it should be for you too. You have something that Big Business can’t offer in quite the same way. You can use your personal brand, personal relationships and human touch to make your customers feel special. Now that is something magical!
  4. Plan for scalability now and save time later.
    I understand the need to keep costs low but don’t always buy the smallest server, lowest version of tech you need to implement. Instead plan for growth. If you can, choose options where you can easily upgrade later if the best fit it isn’t feasible now. Pam says you should believe in yourself, your vision and that you will achieve your goals and warns that what seems like a short cut or cost savings now could really become a problem later down the road.
  5. Slow down to speed up
    Pam encourages Small Businesses to take time to plan, set goals, research your market and kick some serious butt! Putting yourself on a turbo track to market before you have a product, know your audience, have built your brand architecture is only going to set you up for failure, not success. At the same time, she warns that you shouldn’t over analyze and fall into analysis paralysis!  You must embrace imperfection perfection. Sometimes really good is good enough.

So the question was, can you compete with Small Business and succeed? I believe the answer is yes. Yes, you can compete. You can look at what they have done successfully and where they could improve, what they lost over time and what you think is important that your business never loses.

Share your thoughts in the comments below or give me a shout on Twitter @webassistantza

Small Business Owners: 3 Tips on how to Disrupt your Industry and find Success

As a Small Business Owner, you have a great passion for what you do and who you serve PLUS you have something else – the ability to Disrupt your industry in the most fantastic and magical ways!

 

WHO AM I?

My name is Denise van der Merwe, I am a Cape Town Web Designer and Online Strategist with a passion for small business (I am also a night walker…well, I mean a night time student who binges on Coursera and currently NU Social Marketing. I study, clear the clutter and give you the information you need!)

 

WHAT IS DISRUPTION?

Larry Alton, Freelance Writer and Former Entrepreneur, recently shared an article on Entrepreneur.com with the title “How Purple, Uber and Airbnb Are Disrupting and Redefining Old Industries”. He explains a little more about what disruption is.

The word “disruption” is largely misused in entrepreneurial circles. Over the years, entrepreneurs have confused innovation with disruption. And, while disruption certainly involves a lot of innovation, they are not one and the same.

Whereas disruption turns an industry on its head by offering customers something that previously didn’t exist, innovation merely makes an existing value offering better, cheaper or faster. Do you see the difference?

Larry shares some examples in his article of companies that have recently caused quite a bit of disruption in their respective industries, such as Purple, Uber and Airbnb. All of these companies were not just innovative with what structures were already in place but rather changed the game completely. He also made it pretty clear that most companies that are causing disruption are taking the social aspect of consumerism into account when planning their way forward.

 

disruption-wheel
Some of the technology that has caused disruption in the 21st century. View the wheel with explanation here.

 

DISRUPTIVE PRODUCTS DON’T HAVE TO BE CHEAP

Andy Rachleff, President and CEO of Wealthfront, in his article titled “The truth about Disruption” on Techcrunch.com explains the two different kinds of disruption.

Christensen, a Harvard Business School professor, defined “disruption” in The Innovator’s Dilemma. In short, a disruptive product addresses a market that previously couldn’t be served — a new-market disruption — or it offers a simpler, cheaper or more convenient alternative to an existing product — a low-end disruption.

An incumbent in the market finds it almost impossible to respond to a disruptive product. In a new-market disruption, the unserved customers are unserved precisely because serving them would be unprofitable given the incumbent’s business model. In a low-end disruption, the customers lost typically are unprofitable for the incumbents, so the big companies are happy to lose them.

Thus, the innovator’s dilemma. Incumbents appropriately ignore the new product because it is uneconomic to respond, but the incumbents’ quiescence can lead to their later downfall.

Andy also explained that disruptive products don’t have to be cheap. A low-end disruption doesn’t have to be lower priced than existing products. A low-end disruption must be simpler, cheaper or more convenient. In other words, it must have some ‘edge’ to it.

 

UNDERSTANDING DISRUPTION CAN LEAD TO SUCCESS

Andy points out that business models, not products, are disruptive. In order to succeed, he says, you need to not just have a better product but you must also disrupt the industry.

Understanding what disruption is and identifying ways to disrupt your Industry may lead you to creating that successful business that you want. Here are 3 tips that will help you on your journey:

  1. Do some Research. Research what your customers’ needs and wants are and find unconventional ways to provide them with the service/products they need.
  2. Make it Easy. Find ways to make access to your business, services or products quicker, easier or more convenient.
  3. Remove Something (or make it Simpler). What happens when you remove film from a camera? You have the digital photography industry.

You have the opportunity to disrupt your industry, grow your business and change the very ways your industry does anything and everything. That, to me, sounds like an exciting challenge!

Tips for Messaging on your Facebook Page

There have been many changes made to the Facebook Pages messaging system and Facebook has shared some smart tips:

  1. Turn on messaging when you’re ready

    Messaging is a feature that Page admins can turn on and off for their Page, and once you’ve enabled messaging for your Page, people will expect you to respond. So turn on messaging only when you can commit to responding to messages. Learn how to enable messaging for your Page.

    It’s often been said that no presence is better than a poor online presence. Turn on messaging when you are ready to answer messages. Even if you only check it once a day, you must make the time to answer incoming messages.

  2. Have a plan in place to be responsive to incoming messages.

    Depending on how many messages you anticipate, assign a person or a team of people to take the lead with monitoring and responding to messages. Bear in mind that if you are running adverts with the “Send Message” call to action, you may receive quite a few messages from people.

    If you are a small business or individual, initially it may just be you. As you grow and you have more queries it may work better to have a particular person, who understands your brand and vision, to answer queries.

  3. Set a response time to set expectations.

    Response times are notes that show up in the About section of your Page and in the chat window when someone messages your Page, and they tell people when they can expect a response from your business. Page admins can choose to show that they respond either “within minutes”, “within an hour”, “within hours” or “within a day”. Set a response time for your Page that is accurate to set expectations with people who send you messages.

    Set a longer time than you expect, you never know what may happen and you don’t want to disappoint potential/current customers.

  4. Use Instant Replies to greet customers.

    When you have messaging enabled for your Page, you have the option of turning on Instant Replies to send an automated reply to anyone who messages your Page. Where appropriate, this feature can be used to greet customers and thank them for reaching out before someone is able to respond personally. Learn how to turn on Instant Replies.

    This is great way to confirm that their message has been received and that you will reply in time.

  5. Write the way you’d speak to someone in person

    Messaging is a direct and personal communication channel, so make sure that your tone is friendly and respectful. Write to your customers in the same way that you’d speak to them in person. It’s also important to think about the context of messaging before you reply to or initiate a message with a customer. Messages are immediate by nature, meaning that they have the ability to get the attention of the recipient straight away. So we suggest using messaging to provide updates, such as shipping notifications and order confirmations, and for other conversation topics that are best discussed in real time.

    Be approachable but professional, people like to talk with people not robots and your personal approach will help you gain return business and referrals.

  6. Be helpful and to the point

    Facebook messages don’t have a character limit, but we still recommend keeping your messages short and to the point. Be clear about which question you’re answering and which action you recommend. You may also consider signing your messages with your name, not just the business name, to personalise the communication.

What do you love/dislike about the new Facebook Pages messaging system? Have you used it to help your business? Share your experience in the comments below.

3 things you should not give up on when Marketing your business online

Ugh, the dreaded January month – you may be thinking. You come back to work or open your business again and you have to start everything all…over…AGAIN! You have to start marketing all over again!

 

FIND WAYS TO DELIGHT YOUR CUSTOMERS

Now, you can look at this from a positive or negative point of view. You can look at this from the perspective that you have the opportunity to start afresh, do something fantastic with your business or job and find ways to delight your customers. You can also look at it from the perspective that it seems that you need to work twice as hard to achieve the same results.

 

DON’T GIVE UP!

Don’t give up! Don’t feel despondent. It is normal to feel down and low in energy, especially at this time of the year. Many people have/are even considering throwing the towel. First and foremost, don’t beat yourself up about this! Everyone can relate in some way.

One thing that makes most entrepreneurs and business owners successful is not giving up when you fail (a fail is not failure) and to keep going, forcing yourself to be productive even when you don’t feel like it. Let’s be real – we all have those days!

 

“FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT”

Sometimes you need to have to just “Fake it till you make it”. There is a reason that saying is so popular. Sometimes, even when you are not seeing immediate results – you need to just be a little patient. One of the biggest obstacles we often face is self-doubt. Keep believing in yourself and your efforts and realise that sometimes you need to wait a little longer to see results especially when it comes to your marketing efforts.

Celebrate your small successes to keep you on your journey. Remember, most of the time, marketing requires – constant steady work, dedication and not giving up too quickly. Most people fail in marketing online, because they give up too early.

 

HERE ARE 3 THINGS YOU SHOULD NOT GIVE UP ON WHEN MARKETING YOUR BUSINESS ONLINE:

  1. Don’t give up on Blogging. Sometimes it takes significant effort, many hours creating quality content and practicing various approaches but don’t give up because you are not seeing immediate results. The secret, perhaps, is to enjoy the journey while not focusing so much on the end result. Have a goal but then focus on the now.
  2. Don’t give up on Social Media. There are no social media shortcuts that will produce the results that you require. Social Media Marketing requires commitment, patience and consistency. If you’re posting quality content, engaging with clients and other business owners via their own social media pages, you will reap the rewards – just give it time.
  3. Don’t give up on Promoting your business. When trying to boost your content efforts, follow the 80/20 rule: spend 20% of your time creating high-quality content and 80% of your time in the promotion of it. Your content can only trigger conversion if people are actually reading it. You need to take time promoting each piece of content you produce. Some ideas to get you started are: Email people mentioned/quoted and invite them to share with their networks & create graphics which will capture your audience’s attention which you can use on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook.