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Social CRM is at the Heart of Small Business

 

Nimble Solution Partner C7groupSmall businesses can be social businesses. This means small business can use social technology and tools to do their work better and serve customers better. Social Customer Relationship Management (SCRM) is at the center, and a critical component of our solution.  Although we are a “strategy first,” consulting company, we’ve been exploring software in this space for years.  Recently we took a look at all of the lower cost solutions for small business and selected Nimble as a software partner.  Our criteria included integration with Google Apps and public social platform integration.

There were many other features that we wanted to see, but these were the central pieces. Integration with social platforms life Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter also had to include discovery.  This means that once our software  had contact data and an email address, it would suggest online profiles for our contact. Essentially, it is automatically listening to the social web for relevant information that pertains to prospects and customers that might influence a deal. Social integration in CRM also meant a unified Inbox, allowing communication with customers on email, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn without leaving the page. We’re always looking for solutions that offer the “fewest tabs open in a browser window.”Social Listening on Nimble  - Solution partner C7group Social business

Nimble has recently rolled out it’s integrations with Hubspot, Wufoo and Mailchimp, making it an even more attractive puzzle piece for managing  small business with Internet based tools.

There are real time and cost saving solutions available. How can your business use social networking technology for internal communication and streamlining customer communication across all channels?

Let us know if you want to check out Nimble or learn more about how we can use social business to increase net profit!

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Infographic: Generation Mobile

social-network business consulting graphic connected enterprise nodesThere’s no question that the avaialbility of high speed data on a mobile platform has a lot to do with today’s social adoption.  Social business platforms must be available to the mobile user. And, as business needs to continue to appeal to the workforce of tomorrow – we better pay attention to how they want to communicate.  Thanks to Hack College for this great depiction of how mobile has changed life on campus

Generation Mobile
Created by: HackCollege

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Microsoft Shares Vision for Office Productivity [Video]

This is quite a fantastic vision of the office of the future. there’s no doubt that it gives some hope for the ideas that are flowing in Redmond. We have to wonder, how much is art and how much is true ideation?

 

Microsoft has consistently done a great job of catching up to the visionary plays and still doesn’t have a solid offering in the mobile space as compared to Google or Apple. And, we don’t include them as a contender, currently, as a social business software platform for business communication or collaboration. We consider that other platforms and tools must be able to “play nice,” in terms of integration with Microsoft Office and Sharepoint – but that there is no current Microsoft offering that has what others like Jive Software, Drupal Commons or Socialtext do. We love the concepts though and are all geeked out over another indication that interactive holographic extensions of the traditional screen concept might not be all that far away?

What strikes you as exciting or interesting!

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Forbes: Colleges that Do Well On The Web

This is a fun and interesting info-graphic that gives grades and offers statistics about Colleges and Universities and their usage of online properties. Although much of the data in the graphic seems like a continuing trend toward the not-so-useful (focus on number of likes and users instead of engagement for example), there is some valuable data behind the pretty picture.  It’s definitely relevant to see that Forbes created an overall rating based upon their panel of “experts,” evaluated each institution’s website in terms of three major factors: design, content, and usability. Forbes then took submissions of grades from users of the sites and factored them in. Find the links below to all the data.

Schools That Rule the Web
Created by: Best Education Sites

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How Small Businesses Are Using Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC]

How Small Businesses Are Using Social Media – crowdSPRING
Crowdsourced Logo and Graphic Design by crowdSPRING

This infographic tells an interesting story about social media adoption by small businesses; perhaps most interesting are the stats near the bottom of the graphic. Namely, it’s the ability to marry social media activities to business metrics like customer engagement, intelligence gathering, external and internal collaboration, and lead generation that really matters. If a business can’t point to tangible results from their social strategy, it might be time for a fresh look.

“Taming the social beast can be a real challenge for business owners who are already spreading themselves thin,” says C7group VP of Communications, Shelly King. “The need for a clear strategy and roadmap, and the right tools to execute it, is more pressing than ever.”

C7group has created a Small Business Social Integration service that is designed to help small businesses take their social presence beyond marketing and create a truly social business, from customer service and retention to employee collaboration and workflow improvement. If you’d like to know more about how we do that, click the link above to request more information or give us a call today.

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C7group Announces Launch of New Offering for Small Business

Since its formation, the C7group has worked to help business owners and executives, from enterprise to SMB, understand that making the move to social is about more than ust using social media platforms for marketing and customer acquisition. A true social business engages customers and employees across the organization, from customer service, to innovation, to employee collaboration.

Small Business Social Business Integration SacramentoToday, we are pleased to announce the launch of a new social business offering designed specifically with small businesses in mind. The Social Integration for Small Business Suite from C7 Group brings cost saving and revenue producing tools that have previously only been available to enterprise level organizations, as well as the expertise to properly implement them, to small and mid size businesses.

C7 Group founder and CEO, Jeff Marmins, says, “We looked around right here in our own backyard, Sacramento, CA, and realized that there was a huge void in the marketplace; no one was talking about how small businesses could, with the right tools and training, compete with much larger organizations by adopting a social model.” Marmins lists the advantages small businesses have over their larger counterparts: speed, agility, centralized decision making, lower overhead. He also acknowledges that many small businesses jump into the social space haphazardly, with no clear idea of how to use the available tools to retain customers and make more money. “We’re a small business. We understand how confusing the digital landscape is today. C7group has taken advantage of cloud based software and social platforms such as Google Docs, the Google Apps Marketplace, Hootsuite, Nimble and others. What combination of the hundreds of offerings are right for you? We can help with the roadmap and tool selection.”

Marmins cites some astounding statistics to make his case (from a study conducted by C7group software partner, Jive): businesses that have adopted a social model have seen a 27% reduction in email sent, a 26% decrease in time needed for meetings, a 30% increase in employee satisfaction, a 42% increase in customer communication and, perhaps most impressive, a 27% increase in sales to new and existing clients. The path to that kind of productivity can be tricky, though, Marmins warns.

“There are a lot of ‘overnight experts’ that have jumped into social media,” Marmins says. “If you don’t know what to look for, you could easily get burned by an amateur looking to make a quick buck or that is looking at marketing in a vacuum. Where can you really create leverage and increase net profit? What should you do first?”

And while other firms have attempted, with varying degrees of success, to assist their small business clients in adopting the use of social media for marketing and PR purposes, C7group is the first consulting firm in Sacramento to offer an end-to-end package that covers employee collaboration and document management to workflow and process improvements and, of course, social media marketing.

“What we’re really taking about is social technology and related practices, not just social media marketing,” Marmins states. “We can show you that the difference is bigger than you might think.”

Get more information about the new Small Business Digital Services Suiterequest a consultation with a C7 Group social business expert or call (916) 538-3767.

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C7 Group CEO Jeff Marmins to teach LinkedIn for Business

Social business is changing the way your business interacts with customers, generates leads, and collects business intelligence. LinkedIn is the leading public social media platform for Business-to-Business (B2B) relationship development. Many business owners and salespeople, though, are confused about how best to use LinkedIn to contribute to client acquisition and retention.

C7 Group CEO, Jeff Marmins, will make a free public appearance as the lead instructor in the Sacramento Social Media Club‘s quarterly workshop, LinkedIn for Business. Jeff Marmins, Melissa Washington of Smartnet Strategies and special guest Christopher Baccus, Executive Director of Digital and Social Media at AT&T, will instruct a hands-on workshop in advanced LinkedIn practices and concepts to showcase individual credibility, expand networks and make valuable business connections.

For more information and to get your name on the waiting list for this class, click here. The event will also be broadcast live online via the Drexel University School of Graduate Studies.

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The Evolution of Workplace Collaboration: This Is Not Your Father’s Usenet

Last week, C7group CEO, Jeff Marmins shared an infographic demonstrating that the web has always been social.  As social tools move to the forefront of business, though, it’s becoming clear that one of the biggest gains from this progression will be the impact on workplace collaboration.  The ability for employees to work together on projects over great distances and without regard to time zones is becoming a key competitive advantage.

Have a look at this video from our partner, Jive Software:

Did you catch the vision? The business of the future will do more than use the latest social media tools to keep in touch with customers; forward-thinking businesses are already implementing tools like Jive to build internal teams that know no borders.

Think of the the impact that something as simple as sharing internal documents can have on a team. There was a time in the not-too-distant past when team members had to rely on email to share documents, make edits and updates, save new versions, make sure they sent back the *right* version, then start the whole chain over. It was time-consuming and messy, and God forbid you moved the wrong version to your laptop for the big presentation.

Now, documents are living, breathing things with a safe place, probably somewhere in the cloud, to call home. Team members can access, edit, and use the same document from any web browser anywhere in the world and at any time of the day, and they’ll always be using the latest version. That’s just one example of the kind of strides collaboration has taken in the social business model.

Are you engaged or is something holding you back from taking the plunge? Share your thoughts about the potential risks and benefits you see!

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