Posted on: November 25, 2019 By: Sage Tourigny

Written by: Martin Hill-Wilson

Reflecting on a missed opportunity between marketing and service…

We are all aware of the overwhelming evidence that shows how impotent traditional marketing-led messaging has become to customers. A combination of low trust and increased self-sufficiency means most content is tuned out.

Unfortunately, this flies in the face of another home truth that marketers now struggle with: the never-ending demand for engaging content. Interestingly, a whole new software segment has been borne out of this very need to generate content able to trigger interaction.

So far this has proved culturally and logistically tough. So much so, that in spite of many rallying calls from digital marketing thought leaders, most pragmatic marketers have settled for ‘likes’ as evidence of success.

However, they do know the net is closing and this currency is now so hyper-inflated as to hold near zero commercial value. So what to do next?

Marketing and service can help each other out

If marketers were to look over the fence and swap stories with their service colleagues, they might notice some unmined opportunity that could help their cause. If marketing communications are trending towards much reduced impact, social customer service is moving in the other direction.

In fact, these social outcomes are weighted towards much more significant outcomes than brands are used to. But they are now catching on. For instance, Olaf Swantee is CEO of EE, the UK mobile brand. He now pops into his social media hub every Friday before leaving for the week to pick up the news.

Olaf and others in the C-suite are recognizing that this kind of social interaction provides a real time corporate mirror for all to see. Or as I have been saying a number of times over this summer, ‘Service has become a spectator sport’.

Obviously this can work both for and against the organization.  In terms of betting which way the sentiment will fall, research suggests it’s an uphill task.

I’ve seen a number of UK and US studies showing this. For instance, a recent one comes from Dimensional Research and Zendesk. Earlier this year they polled American consumers who had recently interacted with customer services in mid-sized companies. Their findings ring true on a human level of behavior.

  • 58% of respondents said they are more likely to tell others about customer service experiences now than they were 5 years ago
  • That figure rises to 61% among Millennials (18-35) and 65% among Gen Xers
  • Respondents who suffered a bad interaction were 50% more likely to share it on social media than those who had good experiences (45% vs. 30%)
  • 52% are more likely to share it on an online review site such as Yelp (35% vs. 23%). That’s particularly problematic for companies getting bad reviews
  • 86% of respondents who have read negative reviews claimed that the information impacted their buying decision.

On top of all of that, it seems bad experiences are also remembered for longer.

If you are in customer service, this is not news. It comes with the territory. However, as I said earlier, the reverse also happens. Great outcomes occur, sometimes from spectacular interventions.

These are the nuggets that both service and marketing teams should have a joint plan for leveraging. Both share a common interest here. Marketing needs credible content. What better than customers praising your organization? Service needs to find every opportunity to swing that sentiment barometer towards positive. They need some positive PR out in the market.

So to spell it out, here is the idea.

Whenever a social customer service interaction ends on a strong, positive note with some form of customer endorsement, there is a plan to ‘Harvest the Wow’.  Marketing and service work through a checklist.

  • Is it a one-off? Or is there a bigger story – has the brand now fixed a recurring issue? 
  • Is there a customer or colleague ‘back story’ worth retelling?
  • What are the messages around being customer centered we want emphasized?
  • What is the plan to promote and re-use this with other validations?

Just be careful not to trip off into unjustified fantasy!

When it is right to Harvest that Wow

Here are two service stories that are definitely in the ‘wow’ category which took place over social channels and provide examples of what I’ve been talking about.

My first story comes from an industry colleague, Ian Golding. It’s a story about sliced bread in the north of England. Within eighteen hours of the incident that caused Ian to tweet his complaint, a manager had re-organized his store layout and let Ian know what he had done as a result of his feedback.

This is a story of a brand with a clear intent to listen and act. As a result, they are also garnering the benefits. Ian’s meticulous post (he is a black belt ninja type after all) attracted 19 comments on his own blog and many retweets of which I was one. And that’s even before the marketing team turns up.

The full story is here and is well worth reading.

My second example is US-based. It’s all about real-time response. It’s another great story with an expert explanation.

The customer notices that her connecting airport has delayed planes from landing because of a fire. Yet the departing plane for her final destination was still scheduled to leave on time. Through a series of tweets pre-flight and during flight, the airline organized for her family to get to her connecting flight. They win her praise and attention of everyone who passes on that story to their own social networks. In my case, it just became a best practice example in my one day course on social customer service. With a little help from the airline’s marketing team, that story could stay afloat even longer.

So to bring matters to a close, service and marketing have yet another item to mark up on their One Agenda. Of itself, it will not entirely solve the marketer’s quest for engaging content, but it does start a valuable trading partnership that has the potential to change brand perceptions if executing with imaginative flair. Try it before others benefit

Posted on: October 10, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

Webinar – Wednesday, October 30, 2019 @ 1 pm ET

To optimize the inherent benefits of the cloud, a growing number of enterprise businesses are adopting cloud native approaches – including containers, microservices, Kubernetes, and serverless architectures – for both new application development and legacy production applications. However, while the cloud native trend is growing, several roadblocks are impeding the enterprise’s path to successful adoption.

In this live webinar event hosted by CNSG Platinum Supplier Expedient, William Fellows, VP, Research & Co-Founder of 451 Research, and Expedient’s Chief Innovation Officer, John White, will provide an overview of the cloud native market landscape, discuss challenges and opportunities, and look at two real-world enterprise examples of cloud native in action. Reserve your spot today!

 Attendees of this webinar will learn about:

  • Trends in cloud native adoption and the push to re-platform legacy applications
  • The benefits of cloud native for enterprise businesses
  • How cloud native helps both corporate IT and DevOps
  • Infrastructure options for cloud native deployment
  • Real-world cloud native use cases

Who should attend?

CTOs, CIOs, CISOs, VPs of IT, IT Directors, IT managers, IT administrators, Cloud Architects, DevOps Engineers

 Webinar Registration

Posted on: By: Carolyn Kuczynski

Emails pile into your inbox by the dozens—or hundreds. Notifications pop up on your desktop computer and phone. So do text messages. And both your desk and mobile devices constantly ring.

Sound familiar? If it does, you’re not alone.

Sometimes we feel like we work for our communications devices, not the other way around. They pull us in all directions when we just want to get some work done. In today’s work environment, we’re challenged to be productive and effective, sometimes in spite of the technology we use.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. Unified communications (UC) combined with smart, intuitive collaboration tools (UC&C) makes work easier, connecting us more efficiently with colleagues, customers and partners, all from one platform that can be accessed from any device.

Improving The Customer Experience

With UC&C, employees can connect with customers through any channel, no matter where they’re located. Envision this scenario: A customer’s flight is delayed two hours, so she misses her connection. After speaking with the gate agent, she resignedly wanders off to get a bite to eat, five gates away. Why shouldn’t she? She knows it will be a while before she’s rebooked.

In the meantime, the gate agent finds an alternative flight. He brings up the customer’s information from her reservation, finds her mobile number and, with a click, the system dials her smartphone. She answers, thrilled when the agent shares details about her new flight. After agreeing to the rebooking, she sets off to the new gate.

Improving Team Productivity

Your creative team is hard at work developing a new client’s marketing campaign. But before they can proceed, you discover they need a critical piece of information from an internal subject matter expert. Despite leaving a voicemail and sending an email, you’ve received no response. Wouldn’t it be nice to know if your colleague is even on this continent, let alone available to conference with the team?

Presence technology lets you see if the SME is available and by which means: voice, text, video or not at all. The system automatically routes calls from one number to another. On top of that, your colleague can see all communications with UC&C’s unified messaging. Whether he’s in his office, in the car or working remotely, by signing on via a shared cloud platform he sees all messages, including texts, voicemails and emails. If he’s not available, the team sees this immediately and reaches out to another colleague for the information it needs.

Improving Community Communications

It’s not only businesses that benefit from UC&C. Staff and teachers in the Lovejoy Independent School District needed a way to communicate both internally and with parents. After UC&C was implemented, they gained a phone and voice mailbox in each classroom with conferencing capabilities. One feature, the Time of Day Call Restriction, allows teachers to put the classroom phone into “meeting mode” at scheduled intervals. That way, they’re not interrupted by calls during class time.

When class is out of session, teachers easily make calls from any device, either with a single click from their contact list or by entering a name. They can also easily join conference calls. That’s particularly handy when someone can’t make a parent-teacher conference in person.

Improving Partner Collaboration

In product development today, speed to market is essential. To achieve it, employees must work efficiently with partners, involving them as early as a product’s design phase.

Imagine you’re an engineer developing a new battery for a prototype automobile. You need to collaborate with the vendors supplying the necessary parts. UC&C provides tools that not only let you manage the project – setting tasks, scheduling meetings, sharing documents and virtual whiteboards – but enable you to invite external parties to participate via a secure, web-accessible interface.

It doesn’t matter which communications tool the vendor uses. UC&C can send messages across multiple providers. It even allows you to build a digital twin online so you can conduct a deep dive into the product’s requirements, working side-by-side.

UC&C Drives Results No Matter Where You Are

UC&C is bringing organizational communications into a new era. Now, colleagues, customers and communities can easily communicate across devices, geographies and across applications.

Discover How Hosted UC&C Makes Good Business Sense. >

Posted on: October 8, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

We’re excited to announce that Acuity Technologies has been named to the CRN 2019 Fast Growth 150 list! As a brand of The Channel Company, CRN creates an annual list recognizing the fastest-growing technology solution providers, integrators, and IT consultants in North America. We’re thrilled to be on the list this year alongside other innovators that have also made remarkable accomplishments.

Bob Skelley, CEO of The Channel Company, said, “There’s a great deal of growth and opportunity in the channel, and these companies are proof-positive that hard work and a commitment to service can pay off — even in a constantly evolving and highly competitive market like we have today. These companies exemplify the best of the best; channel providers whose market strategies should serve as an inspiration to us all.”

2019’s list comprises channel providers that have experienced substantial growth between 2017 and 2018. We’re honored to be named to the list of companies that have generated a combined revenue of more than $55 billion over the past two years.

Josh Anderson, our CEO, said, “Businesses are increasingly leveraging mobile devices and apps to drive efficiency and productivity while improving both the employee and customer experience. We are committed to helping our customers optimize their mobile technology investments through management, security oversight, strategic guidance, and proprietary software which has been a significant factor in driving our growth.”

Our goal is to provide our customers with management and analytical tools that enable them to support their workforce and make the best decisions they can that maximize the value of their mobility strategies. We believe that enabling enterprises to streamline deployment and ongoing management of mobile devices through our integrated suite of mobility managed services and supporting software sets us apart.

Josh continued, “The relevance of this shift towards mobile adoption is also advantageous to our channel partners because it ensures they are well-positioned to create more value for their existing clients while driving opportunities for additional revenue with new clients.”

As technology advances so quickly, we make it our job to keep up while also keeping up with changing customer demand and preference. We’re excited to be a part of the growth and profitability of other esteemed technology integrators, especially as today’s channel is highly disruptive and fast-paced.

Posted on: September 23, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

Being a business owner requires a lot of expertise in a lot of different areas. And if things weren’t hard enough, to market your business successfully these days, social media is one of those areas.

The good news?

Vivial is always trying to find ways to make your life easier. Below you’ll find a collection of the top social media mistakes that small businesses make — and how you can avoid them.

If you read these mistakes and realize you are guilty of a few, don’t be upset! Social media is constantly evolving and so are the audiences who use it; your faux pas will most likely be forgotten once you hit your stride on social media. Not to mention the fact that the social media mistakes you made in the past can help you refine your strategy moving forward.

Social Media Mistake #1: One-way conversations

Many social media novices see networks as just another way to broadcast their sales promotions, products and services to customers. They don’t have two-way conversations that social media audiences are accustomed to, rather they replicate what would be a headline in an ad and speak at the customer.

Social media users don’t engage with businesses who speak at them, they engage with ones that have a conversation with them.

Solution: Go to the cocktail party

Social media gives you the opportunity to connect in real-time with potential consumers or current customers. If one of these people came up to you at your business you wouldn’t just talk to them about current sales and offerings, you would try to understand their needs so you can provide the best product and service for them. You should replicate this same mindset on social media.

Treat social networks as a cocktail party: connect with people in an easy-going manner where you talk more informally (and can subtly brag about your amazing business, too).

Social Media Mistake #2: Not posting consistently

Posting and monitoring social networks when it comes across your mind – which could be daily, weekly or once a month – is a surefire way not to gain any traction through social media.

Solution: Create a posting plan

Like most other things, social media needs a plan if you don’t want it to turn into an out-of-control mess.

Creating a posting plan will keep your social accounts active, your business open to conversations with consumers, and remind you to monitor your social accounts.

With Vivial’s Social Inbox, included in the Vivial Marketing Platform, it’s incredibly easy. In addition to letting you schedule social posts to all the major social networks, it also helps you monitor engagement and reviews in an easy-to-use “to-do” list — so you always know what needs to be tackled.

Not sure how often to post?

We have the best practices for small business to give you a place to start.
how often to share content on social media

Social Media Mistake #3: Not having a strategy for social media

Creating social media profiles without tactics or goals that support your larger marketing strategy is akin to getting into a car and hitting the gas without knowing where you’re going.

Solution: Spend 15 minutes on a strategy

You know your small business should be on social media, great start!

The next step is to create a social media strategy, which consists of:

  1. A mission
  2. Goals
  3. Tactics to fulfill your strategy

You already have an idea of what you want to accomplish on social media or you wouldn’t have created profiles at all. In just 15 minutes you can establish your mission, goals and tactics to create an actionable social media strategy. If you need extra guidance, check out our article How to Create a Social Media Strategy Template.

Social Media Strategy Mistakes

Social Media Mistake #4: Not responding kindly to negative reviews/posts

When negative reviews/posts show up about your business online, most people either choose to ignore them or respond with the same negativity and emotion as the original poster.

Solution: Create a review response guide

When negative comments are said about your small business it’s easy to react in kind, using that same emotion to defend your business as it was seemingly attacked with. However, negative emotion doesn’t help attract more people to your business in a good way — it simply triggers a ripple effect and increases the likelihood that others will share them.

While positive reviews are essential, customers actually trust businesses that have a few negative reviews more because it brings credibility to the reviews. After all, nobody’s perfect.

There is no winner if you choose to argue with the reviewer. Knowing how to handle negative reviews and posts before they occur is key. Reading negative comments with a rational mindset will help you respond in a respectful manner and minimize any damage that the reviewer has done.

We recommend our review response formula which walks through the actions you need to take to have a positive outcome from a negative review:

  1. Acknowledge the review and the feelings of the customer. Don’t be dismissive of their experience, but rather apologize for it.
  2. Ask to discuss things further away from the public eye (in email or on the phone).
  3. Resolve the case which may entail just apologizing or offering a reimbursement in some way (we don’t recommend this most of the time, but some cases it may be warranted).

Review Responce Formula

Social Media Mistake #5: Ignoring hashtag trends

Depending on the network, hashtags can be a powerful way to get in front of the right people. So not using hashtags is a mistake – but overusing, or using the wrong hashtags, can be even worse.
hashtag social media mistakes


Solution: Do some (quick) hashtag research

Networks like Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter use hashtags to compile content on a specific subject. If you’re confused about hashtags, think about them as the equivalent of a keyword search.

By completely ignoring the use of hashtags, you aren’t maximizing your potential exposure and not connecting with as many people on social media as you potentially could. However, if you use too many hashtags, your social posts may be viewed as disorganized, difficult to read, or even spammy – and also suffer from decreased exposure.

Social Media hashtag use mistakes
But you don’t need to just know how to use hashtags, but which hashtags are appropriate to your message.

Never jump on a hashtag simply because it’s trending.

You may want to jump onto a trend (which is a great idea to gain more exposure), but if you don’t do a quick search to see what that topic is actually about, you could be directing the wrong type of attention to your business. There have been many examples of companies trying to gain exposure by using a trending hashtag that ended up in bad taste because they didn’t do their due diligence beforehand.

The social media mistakes that we’ve listed here are faux pas that any business — large or small — could make.

But the good news is that all it takes are a few minor changes to your social media plan to see a big impact on engagement with your business.

Looking for a little help with your social media plan? Contact Vivial today.

Posted on: August 12, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

New commissionable products and services, more account managers and new sales tools to enhance our partners’ success.
By Lisa Heritage McLin – August 6, 2019


Delivering Fanatical Experience for our partners is the foundation of Rackspace’s Channel strategy, and that means we’re always working on improvements and upgrades to better serve you.

As we head deeper into the second half of 2019, I’m excited to share the innovative new resources we’ve been developing and invite you to join us. Leverage our brand to build yours!

First, a little kudos. The Rackspace Partner Network is currently experiencing approximately 10 percent quarter-over-quarter growth. This is thanks to the dedication of our entire team, but also the strategic work of Michael Stephens, who joined Rackspace in 2016. He has driven hyper growth through the agent community ever since then and will now serve as our Agent Channel Chief.

At the same time, we’ve also boosted the number of partner account managers across the U.S. and added an enterprise account team. These additions allow Rackspace to be more proactive and closer to our partners’ prospects and customers. We’ve also added new commissionable products and created new enablement resources to help you serve customers. Read on to learn more:

New commissions

Managed VMware Cloud on AWS is now a commissionable product. This unique cloud solution is a hybrid platform that offers access to public and private cloud, with the ability to shift workloads seamlessly between them. Companies can quickly add capacity to a new project or move workloads hosted on dedicated hardware to the cloud.

We also now offer commission for Rackspace Professional Services engagements. As customers seek more bespoke cloud expertise, Professional Services has become one of the fastest growing areas of our business.

[Read more: How to Get the IT Services You Need (Without Paying for the Ones You Don’t)]

Technical workshops

In response to partner demand, we’ve created Technical Partner Workshops, which will serve partners who support technology and product integration solutions for their customers’ digital transformation strategies. The workshops will be led by Rackspace Solution Architect Paul Croteau, who brings 25 years of experience in engineering, sales, technical training and account management to the task. Paul will help our partner solution engineering organizations find the best fit cloud transformation opportunities for their customers.

All Clouds Guide 

What if you could ask your customers a series of questions, then immediately get a customized cloud solution based on their answers?

We’ve got an app for that.

Our new All Cloud Guide is a sales tool that helps our partners quickly and accurately identify a customer’s needs, then get recommended cloud infrastructures choices based on those needs. Available as both a web and mobile app, the All Clouds Guide will recommend one or a combination of five infrastructure types: public cloud, private cloud, bare metal, server virtualization and colocation.

A sophisticated algorithm drives the All Cloud Guide, analyzing each answer by leveraging Rackspace’s two decades of experience. Quick, targeted videos offer support every step of the way, including:

  • Learn: “Why This Question?” videos will help our partners understand the importance of each particular question and the best way to explain how knowing this information will help navigate them to a “best fit” infrastructure.
  • Sell: Partners are walked through two main sets of questions, Business Background and Technical Deep Dive, to create an All Clouds Guide Workload report for their end client.
  • Share: The guide delivers its recommendation in real time, allowing you to immediately share with your customer on screen, via email, with a printout or PDF. Our partners can submit their workload report to Rackspace for fast follow up from our industry-leading experts.
  • Track: Keep up with all sales activity for your organization in easy-to-view lists and dashboards.

Want to learn more? Please visit the Rackspace Partner Network homepage. Already a partner? Reach out to your partner account manager or email

Posted on: August 7, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

Originally published on

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the healthcare industry is rapidly increasing—and for good reason. AI comes with promises of better patient outcomes, reduced operational cost and increased efficiency, but it’s not a perfect world, especially as healthcare organizations are struggling with implementation and use of AI and machine learning technologies.

And what’s more, with industry executives predicting that AI will be ubiquitous in the field by 2025, healthcare organizations are also grappling with limiting the use of technology in instances where a human touch is more appropriate.

At its roots, healthcare is still an incredibly personal industry that deals with the most important factor to everyone — health. When it comes to integrating technology into certain aspects of healthcare like communications, there will inevitably be a time when it makes sense for patients to speak with a live person face-to-face.

Consider an instance where a patient is repeatedly using telemedicine (a field increasingly adopting AI to improve upon patient interactions) to interact with their physician. There are foreseeable instances where a doctor may have to see their patient face-to-face. Finding the right balance of knowing when to use technology and when to supplement with human interactions is essential.

So how can institutions execute a successful “man-needs-machine and vice versa” outlook? Organizations need to consider these two new approaches as part of their AI implementation.

An IoT Approach

Wearables and health applications are much more widely adopted as they are driving patients to be more active participants in their own healthcare and giving them greater access to their medical data.

IoT technology, like sleep monitoring devices or fitness trackers, allow them to monitor their health, connect with their electronic medical records and share key health information with their doctor, all from their own devices. AI then takes this IoT-driven information and aggregates it for healthcare organizations to analyze and provide more personalized care.

This approach, centered around IoT, is about moving from a reactive business to a proactive business by leveraging new AI and machine learning capabilities to better predict outcomes. In the case of a sleep monitor for example, the device monitors a patient’s sleep habits and an adjacent interactive application coaches the patient by sending reminders and adapting to the patient’s individual habits.

This is great for those looking to monitor their health on an ongoing basis. However, once the technology shares predictive analytics and recommendations daily, it’s best that a physician monitors that data as well, to provide more effective treatment (perhaps once a year or more depending on the patient’s condition).

A Patient Experience Approach

In the unfortunate scenario of a fatal diagnosis, AI could be used throughout the patient’s diagnosis process — assisting physicians, saving time and improving critical outcomes. But when it comes to delivering the news that this patient is in a critical condition, interactions should be sensitive and come from a face-to-face conversation.

When using AI as part of the patient experience, it’s all about moving from a cost center to a profit center. This means making access to healthcare more convenient. The industry should approach healthcare services the same way companies such as Amazon, Uber, AirBnB and Netflix are meeting consumer demand for more convenient retail and subscriber services experiences.

Communications and customer experience technology can provide both proactive and reactive omnichannel experiences anytime, anywhere and across any device. Healthcare organizations should also use technology to automate tasks that take clinicians away from the more personal patient interactions that will always require a human touch.

These organizations can better use their clinicians to perform higher value work where AI cannot, like interacting with patients.  Communications and customer experience tools can also be used to provide personalized self-service and live agent experiences. This serves to meet some of the most frequent complaints about patient experience, including:

• Poor experiences with office staff

• The feeling that a patient is just a number rather than a person

• Difficulty scheduling appointments

By leveraging open API integrations with healthcare tools like Epic, both self-service and live-agent assisted conversations can be more efficient, effective and personalized. Integrating self-service customer experience tools into patient scheduling applications puts the power in the patient’s hands to manage their own appointment adds, moves and changes.

Moving Forward With AI

The great news is that AI has been democratized and made much more readily available to organizations due to the rapid pace of innovation. However, to best realize the benefits, healthcare organizations must not move toward a pure reliance on this technology. They should explore and implement new approaches to find the right balance between using technology in a smart way while preserving the clinician-patient relationship.

A critical component of this is leveraging AI to assist humans in their day-to-day, rather than replace humans altogether. AI is a natural extension of self-service that can be used to provide even more effective experiences leveraging natural language processing and machine learning abilities.

But AI is not the solution to every customer interaction, and there will always be glaring conditions where AI-enabled interactions need to seamlessly escalate to live-assisted human interactions. Healthcare organizations implementing (or considering) AI should already be thinking about what this will look like in reality, starting by identifying situations where a more human touch is required.

Learn How To Select The Right Communications Solutions For Your Healthcare Organization. >

Posted on: July 15, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

Search engine optimization is one of the more complicated and mysterious pieces of online marketing tactics. Small business owners and marketing professionals alike are often intimidated by the ever-changing algorithm updates and inherent uncertainties that accompany an SEO strategy.

However, the fact is, that while the intricacies of deep optimization for search can be challenging, there are some basic tactics that you, as a small business owner, can take to position yourself to be discovered through search.

Understanding SEO basics

Understanding how SEO actually works is the first step. While this won’t turn you into an immediate pro, learning a few of the basics can help demystify it.

In a nutshell, search engines crawl the internet looking for content to index and then use a complex series of variables to determine and verify what your content is, establishing which keyword searches your pages will show up for – and most importantly, where in the list you will rank.

To make these determinations, Google’s algorithm looks at both on and off-page SEO elements.

On-page SEO refers to what search engines can identify as the actual content and technical components of your site. In addition to the content itself, meaning the words/keywords that are part of your copy, on-page elements include:

  • Metadata / Title Tags and Header Tags
  • Image Alt Tag
  • URL
  • Internal linking
  • XML sitemaps and architecture

Off-page SEO elements are all about authority and authenticity. Basically, Google looks to external linking to verify that you are who you say you are. They look at all the potential inputs outside of your content and technical information on your website. The tactic of link-building is a key component to off-page SEO success and one that takes time to develop and expand.

Getting started with search engine optimization

Now that you understand how search engines function, you can move towards selecting the keywords and content that you want to rank for.

Utilizing SEO tools can assist greatly in this process as they help to understand what your competition ranks for and where your greatest opportunities lie. Be sure to consider the overall search volume and the “value” of a keyword when making these selections. There are many tools available, for those with time to spare, to help see how Google ranks your website. The information tracked ranges from your indexed pages, external links, rankings, and important keywords.

Keyword research and competitive analysis is an ongoing and time-consuming endeavor, so be mindful that these findings will come over time.

SEO Secrets

Here’s the most important thing to understand: SEO and inbound marketing have a synergistic relationship. SEO ensures content is discovered, which results in inbound marketing, and marketing enables search success by creating high-quality content that can then become discoverable.

Therefore, since content is king, most marketers focus on the written words on your page as the basis of an SEO strategy. But here’s the secret – SEO success is driven by much more than that.

Here are 5 tips on where to focus to enhance your rankings:

Secret #1: Business Listings Management

Businesses are listed in a multitude of online directories, well more than you may realize. As Google crawls all these directories, it’s imperative that your listings are consistent, right down to Street vs St. within your address.

Consistent listings prove to Google that you are one business and will help you show for search, specifically local search, which is when Google provides results that are specifically relevant based on location. Every local business wants to appear on Google Maps results, and consistent listings management is the first step to this.

We have a free tool that lets you check if your listings are indeed consistent, check it out here.

Secret #2: Google My Business

If you have a business, you’d better have a verified Google My Business (GMB) account! Google trusts and prefers its own platform (shocking right!) GMB listings tend to appear first in search results and use a large amount of digital real estate. These listing also appear at the top of mobile searches.

To maximize your exposure, your GMB profile must be relevant. This means you have claimed and verified your GMB page. You are posting content on a regular basis. Whether that is an article you recently published, answering questions from customers or creating events, the more content you publish, the higher you’ll rank. And finally, you need to ask for and respond to, reviews.

Secret #3: Blog Articles

Remember, content is king. But content is not just your web pages. It’s also what you write about in your blog. Posting blog articles, whether they are a section of your own site or on a 3rd party site, expands your content and keyword reach, allowing you to rank for terms that may not be optimized for on your main site. Blogs establish your business as subject matter experts, increasing your thought leadership profile within the industry. The more you write, the more you will appear to your prospects and customers when they are searching.

Secret #4: Social Media Profiles & Postings

In the same way that blogging expands your content reach, so does social media postings. As Google indexes tweets in real-time, your social media efforts will serve to broaden your visibility and reach. Social media also gives you the opportunity to expand and experiment with your messages to see what resonates best with your customers.

Secret #5: Review Site Responses & Replies

In the world of Yelp, Google and Facebook reviews, your customer base is relying on what others are saying about your business. We have covered the importance of online reviews many, many times, but the benefits of doing so also have SEO implications. Review responses expand your content reach and discoverability in searches both within and outside of the review platforms.

Measure SEO Success

Like all marketing tactics, measurement is essential to ensure your strategies are successful.

Track data around things like rankings, referrals, backlinks, and conversions in order to analyze your SEO strategy and optimize it for success. Most importantly, be sure that your SEO strategy is aligned to drive your business goals. It’s not just about discovery and visibility, but that your content is being clicked on and actioned in a way that drives value.

Overall, while search engine optimization is no doubt a complex process, it’s not an impossible one. Follow a few of these quick tips to see how you too can benefit from the power of search.

With tools like the Vivial platform, search engine optimization has gotten even easier. Our services will enable the critical tactics like business listing management, content creation, and reputation management, ensuring your business is well-positioned for success in your local market. Learn more about Vivial and the services we provide.

Posted on: April 5, 2019 By: CNSG Marketing

By: Cyberhat


Most of the country has just sprung forward into Daylight Savings Time. For many, this time-change signals more than just darker mornings and lighter nights. It signals the unofficial start of spring. With spring comes rain showers, flowers, spring break and spring cleaning. If you’re a business—spring brings its own set of implications. Whether you’re a business likely to be impacted by tourists on spring break or you’re a service business impacted by homeowners looking to make preparations for the warmer weather, here’s a couple of low effort, high-impact tips and tricks to try out as you spring clean your business.


Clean up your directory listings

There are hundreds of directories online which will list your business information. If you’re not the one giving them that information, they’ll get it wherever they can. Be the source of authority and develop a direct relationship with the major online directories to ensure your name, address, phone number and hours are all correct. As the spring tourism boom gets underway, the last thing you want is customers hitting up the wrong address, calling the wrong number or showing up when you’re closed. There are solutions out there that make managing hundreds of listings a snap.


Freshen up your Facebook profile

Put something cheery on your cover photo. Post a special deal. Run a spring contest. The sky is the limit when it comes to freshening up your Facebook presence this spring. Whether you’re a landscaper posting pictures of before-and-afters, an HVAC company offering a deal on spring tune-ups for air conditioning or a beauty salon sharing the hottest new nail colors for pedicures in 2019—every business has something that can make them relevant this spring season.

Fresh, new content brings your business back to the forefront of consumers’ minds if you’re a business that perhaps dwindles a bit in winter. If you’re a winter-driven business stay or get active on Facebook right now to remind customers that you’re still around and relevant even in the warmer seasons! Plus, make sure if your hours change by season, you’re updating them on Facebook as well!


Give your website a spring makeover

You’re clearly not going to redesign your website seasonally, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep it fresh! We’re big proponents of making sure you consistently update and add to the content on your website. Your website is often the first impression customers get of your business. If the last time you posted on your site was “Merry Christmas!” it might give customers the idea that you’re no longer in business or not interested in providing value or utility to them.

Further, the recency with which you have posted on your website has a decent impact on how well you rank in search results. If Google thinks your website hasn’t been updated in a while, it’s not as likely to list your website very high in the search results. So, freshness becomes key to getting found by potential customers when they’re searching. Update your business hours, feature spring-like imagery if possible, and even post a quick blog or deal related to spring.

Whether your business is seasonal or booming year-round there is always benefit in maintaining a fresh, relevant online presence. Directories, social media and your business website offer quick, easy ways to give your business that fresh, spring-cleaned appearance that’s sure to drive engagement and new business.