Facebook Messenger Is Now a Platform — And Open For Business

Facebook Messenger is open for business — to businesses!

"David Marcus on stage at Facebook's F8 Developers Conference 2015" by Maurizio Pesce via CC BY 2.0

“David Marcus on stage at Facebook’s F8 Developers Conference 2015” by Maurizio Pesce via CC BY 2.0

One of the biggest announcements made at Facebook’s F8 Developers Conference last week is that Messenger is becoming a platform and is open for business. As business owners and consumers, we’re excited. Why?

Peer-to-Peer Payments Feature

Facebook is adding a feature to Messenger that will allow you to send payments to other users, including businesses. At this time, the social media giant has no interest in moving into the payments business, so it’s not looking to make money from the feature. No fees! This could be a game-changer for small businesses. While credit card payments are convenient, the fees can and do add up, especially on frequent, small projects. Would you ask customers to pay via the new Messenger Platform instead of PayPal or credit card? Learn more.

Businesses on Messenger: Communicating Clearly

As a company that helps brands communicate with their audiences, we’re excited that the new Messenger Platform will help streamline communications between these parties. You’ll be able to have individual, private communications with your customers and prospects without the hassle of email or trying to reach someone on the phone. After making a purchase, you can ask to receive follow-up communications via Messenger. Your receipt, order acknowledgement, shipping notice and follow-up messages will all be in one safe place, where it’s convenient for you to access them. Have a question? Ask and receive a personalized response without waiting on hold. Learn more.

“The second thing we want to talk about is making Messenger a place where you can easily communicate with the businesses you care about.”  -Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO

Related reading: Mark Zuckerberg at F8: 3 Innovations Facebook Inc is Working On

Comment on Facebook’s New Features

What part of the new Messenger Platform are you looking forward to?

Will you use Messenger for business reasons?

What announcement from the F8 Developers Conference has you the most excited?

p.s. If you need help making Facebook work for you business, we’d love to talk!

Cheers,
Jaime

Join the conversation (on Facebook & elsewhere): 
Facebook logo Twitter logo Instagram logo Pinterest logo LinkedIn logo

4 Ways to Control Your Social Media Destiny, But Not Your Fate

Social media is a two-way street, a conversation between brands and consumers that’s never been possible before. Every brand dreams of having an active, engaged online community that shares opinions, discusses its products and invites others to join. Until it happens, that is. Then the brand starts to get nervous. Why?

"I can control my destiny, but not my fate."

You can control what you say on social media, but not what others say about you.

To truly get social, you have to give up a little control over where the conversation goes. You can give direction, suggest topics and even try to steer your community down a certain path with incentives. But you can’t stop members of your community from taking a conversation down an unexpected path, making negative comments about you or associating your brand with undesired topics or people. And that scares brands, understandably.

What can you do to keep the conversation civil?

  • Stay Positive — Discuss what you (and others) do well, and stay away from negative mentions of competitors. Respond to community members who take the time to comment, even disgruntled ones. Oftentimes, a simple acknowledgement of someone’s distress and apology (if your brand caused said distress) will calm down upset members. If additional action is needed (i.e. replace a faulty product), take it. Always communicate what you are doing, so others can see you being responsive.
  • Be Honest — Don’t try to mislead your audience about your brand in any way. In the digital age, that won’t fly. Transparency and honesty lead to trust, which is the new business currency. If a community member asks a question, tell the truth. While all brands should strive to be good corporate citizens, no one is perfect. Lying to your audience or overstating your efforts won’t build trust in your brand. Editor’s Note: This doesn’t mean that you have to allow incorrect information to be shared about your brand. Feel free to step in and correct anyone (with a smile) who is misleading others about your brand.
  • Acknowledge Differing Opinions — Community members can disagree with your brand (or other community members) without being hostile or uncivil. Perhaps some members don’t like your new website layout or a new product. Listen to these members, as they may have valid points that can be useful in future discussions. At least acknowledge them and let them know that you value their voice.
  • Do Your Research — Some brands have had issues with their hashtags for new campaigns or chats being hijacked. A little research into current consumer sentiment about your brand can prevent this awkward situation. Is your brand the subject of negative PR at the moment? That may not be the best time to throw your CEO on Twitter for a chat. Test the temperature of the market’s feelings about your brand before holding a special event or launching a new campaign online.

With a little foresight, patience, honesty and positivity, your brand can build and enjoy a thriving online community. Just remember that you can’t control fate, or the conversation. If you’ve built trust with your audience, the conversation about your brand will be one you’ll want to share.

p.s. We’d love to see you in the CCC community! Click the Subscribe button at the top of the page, and visit our social networks below.

CCC’s Head Superhero,
Jaime

Join the conversation:
Facebook logo Twitter logo Instagram logo Pinterest logo LinkedIn logo

3 Ways To Embrace the March Madness Spirit For Your Business

Two games in, and my bracket’s already busted. Oh hey, welcome to the CCC blog. I’m trying to sneak in some work today around the NCAA Men’s Tournament games. Sound familiar?

March Madness brings excitement!

Fans storm the court as Kent State beats rival Akron for the MAC East crown.

March Madness. As a basketball fan, sports junkie or gambler, you love it. As a business owner or manager, you may hate it. How do you make the most of this productivity black hole?

  1. Embrace the excitement. Approximately 40 million Americans will fill out more than 70 million brackets in 2015.* If you try to keep it out of the office, you’re missing out on the excitement it creates. Have an office pool, and encourage employees to display their brackets with pride. Have a “Tip-Off” party to commemorate the start of the tournament, complete with a basketball day luncheon of hot dogs or coneys, chips, nachos, other finger foods and all the trimmings.
  2. Bring the competition into your business. Hold contests for your various departments (most sales, most billings processed, highest amount of collections, etc.), and utilize the bracket format. Who’s going to #SurviveandAdvance to the next round? Recognize round winners, underdogs succeeding, MVPs, and of course, overall winners. Give meaningful prizes, such as a day off, lunch at a nice restaurant or coveted branded swag.
  3. Create a winning atmosphere. Beyond just displaying their brackets, encourage employees (or departments) to decorate their workspaces. Team paraphernalia, #1 foam hands and motivational sayings are all great ways to get in the spirit. If possible, allow employees to dress the part with their favorite team apparel. Allowing dress down days during a fun event doesn’t cost you anything but is appreciated by employees. Take your efforts one step farther by handing out basketball-themed promotional items complete with your brand. Branded water bottles, basketball stress relievers and rally towels are fun items that recipients can continue to use long after March Madness is gone. Offer higher end items, such as a tone-on-tone embroidered pullover, to contest winners.

Embracing the spirit of March Madness is a win-win. Your employees are happy yet still productive, and you end up on the right end of the final score.

Related reading: Sports & Leisure: Scoring Points & Creating Fans

Fan Feedback

How has your company embraced March Madness?

Who do you have cutting down the nets on your bracket?

Who’s your favorite college basketball team?

p.s. If you need any marketing, writing or social media help while you’re enjoying March Madness, we’ll be your biggest fan!

*Statistics courtesy of the American Gaming Association and GfK Custom Research North America

CCC’s head coach,
Jaime

Join the conversation: 
Facebook logo Twitter logo Instagram logo Pinterest logo LinkedIn logo

Spring Cleaning? Don’t Forget Your Business

Spring is in the air! Maybe it’s the rising temperatures or longer days, but optimism abounds this time of year.

Spring is in the air! CCC can add a breath of fresh air to your communications.

Spring cleaning? Don’t forget your business! CCC would love to help you freshen up your communications.

If spring cleaning is on your to-do list, don’t forget about your business! How can you spring clean your business? Try these tips:

  • Get Organized — Go through your paper and electronic files and form a system. The point is for you to be able to find what you’re looking for quickly and efficiently. Try alphabetizing file folders or creating sub-folders to further corral all of your pictures and electronic documents. Don’t forget to back up your electronic files!
  • Review Your Online Home — Take a fresh look at your website or blog, or ask an unbiased third party to help out. What catches your eye? Is your site easy to navigate? Does the look and feel still work or is it time for a change? If you don’t have a blog, now’s a great time to start one.

Related reading: A Simple Step-By-Step Guide to SEO // Do You Mow Your Blog? // To Blog, or Not To Blog: That Is the Question

  • Get Social with a Strategy — Review your social media presences. Do you like what you see? Be honest — are you providing your community with value? Are your efforts producing the results you want? If not, step back and think about what you want to accomplish.
  • The Right Fit — While we all want to grow our businesses, sometimes downsizing can help spur growth. Are you stretched too thin on social media? All platforms aren’t the right fit for all businesses. Choose your platforms wisely to get the highest return on investment. Remember, social media isn’t free!
  • First Impressions Matter on Social Too — Your profile, profile picture and cover photo are often the first impressions that a visitor — potential customer? — has of you on social media. Make a favorable first impression! Refresh any profiles, profile pics or cover photos that need it. Note that some platforms have changed dimensions for 2015.

Related reading: Have you found your social media voice? // Should You Slim Down (on Social Media)? // What’s in a social media profile? Everything.

  • Revisit Your Customers — Take a fresh look at your customers. Are you providing the right products or services to help them achieve their objectives? Do plans or strategies need a fresh look? Is your customer still a good fit for your business? Companies and brands change, so you need to be fluid too.
  • Look in the Mirror — Look at your brand: your logo, colors, font(s), name, reason for being… everything that makes you who you are. Does it still fit? Has your brand evolved but your look and feel stayed the same? It may be time to rebrand or just refresh.
  • Freshen up Your Communications — Has your message grown stale? Are you having trouble reaching your target audience(s)? Are you sending out the same emails, newsletters and blog posts? Freshen up your content to re-energize your brand and re-engage with your customers, prospects and employees.

Related reading: Why You Should Think Like The B.A.U. // Branding Is A Feeling, Not A Noun // The Power of the (Red) Pen

We hope that you enjoy the related reading links, which should help you tackle some of the aforementioned business spring cleaning tasks. Or you can search the CCC blog in 3 ways: search box (upper right-hand corner), Categories and Tags (scroll down the right-hand sidebar). If you have a question about your particular project or a subject in general, just ask! We’re here to help. Not sure how we can help you? Check out a sampling of the marketing, writing and social media services we offer.

“I always find something I’ve lost when I do my spring cleaning. This year it was my mind.”  -Maxine, Hallmark character

What part of your business are you going to spring clean?

Whistling while I work,
Jaime

Join the conversation: 
Facebook logo Twitter logo Instagram logo Pinterest logo LinkedIn logo

Gender Equality: Making Progress But #NotThere Yet

March 8th was International Women’s Day, and this year’s celebration made me think.

Make it happen! International Women's Day 2015

Making progress one day at a time thanks to ladies such as Maya Angelou.

It was inspirational to see the tweets, posts and updates across social media celebrating achievements by women. I f*cking love science‘s #WomenYouShouldHaveHeardOf campaign was downright educational. How many of these ladies did you learn about in school?

It was also a little dispiriting in 2015 that we still have such a long way to go. Glass ceilings and cliffs, gender stereotypes and marginalization are all alive and well today. Where do we go from here?

The good news (for women and men) is that more people than ever are discussing the problem, which is how problems are solved. Adam Grant, author of Give and Take, explained to Inc. why unfair gender norms around giving — where women are taken for granted while men are rewarded — are bad for businesses. Have two minutes? Listen here.

Elsewhere, the HeForShe movement is bringing together men and women in the push for gender equality worldwide. The movement’s goal is to “bring together one half of humanity in support of the other half of humanity, for the benefit of all.

No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project

While we’ve made progress toward gender equality, the No Ceilings initiative reminds us that we’re #NotThere yet.

“Women’s rights are human rights.” -Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Secretary of State

No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project, co-founded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Clinton Foundation, is bringing a data-driven approach to gender equality. And the data shows that while significant gains have been made in women’s rights in the past two decades, we’re not there yet.

That was the topic discussed by Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chelsea Clinton and Melinda Gates during Not There Yet: A Data Driven Analysis of Gender Equality, an event held on March 9th. Miss it? Watch it here.

Inching closer but not there yet… That seems to be the status of gender equality today. My hope? I want to live to see the day that we achieve true gender equality. An ambitious dream, but a worthwhile one.

Moving forward one day at a time,

Jaime

Join the conversation: 
Facebook logo Twitter logo Instagram logo Pinterest logo LinkedIn logo

A Subtle Dash of Branding Can Make Your Customers Smile

It’s amazing how what you do shows up throughout your life, even when you least expect it.

Anthropologie understands it's brand!

A subtle, unexpected touch of branding can form an emotional connection.

For example… I was opening my mail yesterday after a long day spent catching up at home and in the office from traveling to a client’s conference last week. To my surprise, I received an early birthday gift from a longtime friend (who has wonderful taste, by the way).

As I opened the box, I was excited to find a beautiful bottle opener, a practical and eye-catching gift. I also noticed two other objects in the box which I pulled out. One was a full color card advertising the company’s gift registry. The stock was a nice weight, and the piece reminded me of an invitation or ‘Save the Date’ card, which probably wasn’t an accident. The other was a tone-on-tone embossed white envelope with an old-school tie clasp containing the shipping list/return form. I was impressed!

Anthropologie understands its audience.

Why? Anthropologie is a company that I’ve long thought to be on point, branding-wise. In its 22-year existence, the retailer has stood out from its competitors by focusing on the stories of its products, the communities it operates in and its partners. (It’s name is no accident; look up the definition of anthropology.) By offering a mix of signature products, outstanding service and community support, Anthropologie understands its audience and serves it well. The big-hearted retailer has no interest in being another mass-market discount superstore.

So it shouldn’t have surprised me when the company that seems to think everything through, captured the smallest detail. The shipping list and/or return form is often an afterthought, thrown in the box at the end, so it’s the first thing you see — and associate with the brand — when opening your package. Not here. It was neatly tucked into the subtly branded envelope, keeping it safe if needed, yet out of eyesight if not. Upon opening the envelope and discovering its contents, I received another surprise: two more beautiful pieces are on the way.

By thinking of every last detail, Anthropologie made me smile three times while opening a gift from a friend. With a subtly branded envelope and some ingenuity, this brand-conscious retailer lured a potential customer in without ever walking in a store or going on its website. Remember, a subtle dash of branding can make your customers (and prospective customers) smile.

How do you promote your business in subtle, unexpected ways?

What’s a small thing you’ve done (or can do) to make a customer smile?

A branding believer,
Jaime

Join the conversation: 
Facebook logo Twitter logo Instagram logo Pinterest logo LinkedIn logo