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Facebook Buys Kustomer for 1B

The acquisition continues the social media juggernaut’s push to help companies use its platforms for business.

In another major acquisition for the social media juggernaut, Facebook has purchased Kustomer, a startup specializing in customer relationships. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but people familiar with the matter said it would value New York-based Kustomer at a little over $1 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported.


Kustomer’s technology gathers conversations from different channels, such as customer-service platforms and chatbots, and displays them on a single screen. It’s a helpful tool to examine the history between a company and its customer and will fit quite nicely in Facebook’s ever-growing offering of platforms for companies to do business online, especially during the pandemic. In May, the company launched Facebook Shops, which lets businesses create online stores through Facebook and Instagram.

Prior to the acquisition, the companies already had a relationship. Kustomer allows businesses to aggregate and respond to customer inquiries that come in through Facebook Messenger. In October, Kustomer said it also began integrating with Facebook’s Instagram messaging. Messaging companies on social media rather than picking up the phone is becoming the preferred method of interaction for customers. For example, Facebook said more than 175 million people reach out every day to businesses using its WhatsApp messaging service.

Kustomer was founded in 2015 by Brad Birnbaum and Jeremy Suriel, two entrepreneurs who sold a previous company to Inc. Kustomer was valued at $710 million in a private funding round roughly a year ago, according to PitchBook.

How to Manage Your Reputation Over Social Media

Five practical tips for protecting your brand on networking sites.

1. Acknowledge Errors
If you make a small mistake in a post or tweet, such as a spelling error, and you catch it quickly, delete the post and repost with the corrected spelling. However, if the post has some engagement on it, or if you tag the wrong company, delete it and repost while owning up to the mistake in a pithy, lighthearted tone. Audiences like to see brands that have an authentic, self-deprecating side. Acknowledging the error shows you’re not too proud to admit there are imperfect humans managing the brand’s presence. Also, consider enlisting a few more people at your company to look at posts and tweets before they’re published to mitigate the chance of errors.

Social Media

2. Tread Lightly
Recent discourse surrounding diversity practices presents an opportune time for brands to express their support for minority communities. But be careful – posting your own support for the cause over social media can look like tokenism or jumping on the bandwagon. Before publishing anything that alludes to current events, especially if they’re controversial and elicit strong emotions, consider running the post by a few people whose opinion you trust. Ask them for an honest assessment of how it sounds. If there’s any chance it could sound like opportunism, edit it accordingly or don’t post it at all. Just one tone-deaf post can severely harm a brand’s image and result in fallout that then needs to be managed.

Only 54% of companies have a plan in place to deal with a social media emergency.
(Reputation Management)

3. Respond to Complaints
If you receive negative feedback about recent posts or customer service over social media, determine if it’s worth responding. Some people head to social just to voice their opinions, but if someone has a legitimate complaint, respond in a measured way that’s not accusatory or critical. You can be sure that others are watching to see how you handle yourself. Try to defuse the situation by affirming the complaint and asking if they’d be willing to continue the conversation in a direct message, email or phone call. Delete complaints only if they contain offensive language, and post explanations about why you had to take action. Otherwise, let the post stand, whether you’ve decided to respond or not. Taking posts down looks like you have something to hide.

4. Enlist a Social Media Manager
Social media moves fast, and it’s become a key aspect of marketing strategy. Consider hiring a full-time social media manager who knows best practices across multiple platforms, posts consistently in the brand’s voice, and quickly addresses complaints. It’s a mistake to think it can just be put in the hands of a Gen Zer who needs a job; it should be more than a part-time internship. They need to know the ins and outs of a company to keep the tone consistent and be empowered to respond to queries. Keep social managers in the loop as to what’s going on at the company and ask them to report regularly on their ongoing strategy.

5. Create a Crisis Plan
If something negative happens – a tone-deaf post goes viral or people pile on a complaint – have a plan in place for addressing it. Deleting comments isn’t a strategy. As a precaution, develop a template for a statement so you can act quickly in the event of a crisis. This is a time to be upstanding and professional while acknowledging the gravity of the situation; avoid any attempts at humor. Make sure it’s approved by leadership and proofed by trusted colleagues. Then, determine the chain of command for putting out subsequent fires. Also, consider consulting with a crisis communications expert for developing a plan.

4 Business Costs to Cut During COVID-19

Also, three areas you should maintain investment in.

Even though traditional promotional products categories are slowly returning to prominence, the industry is still in the midst of its greatest challenge.

Evans Manufacturing

COVID-19 has disrupted everything: the workplace, travel, recreation, communication, you name it. As companies try to adapt to the new normal, changes need to be made to survive. Counselor has reached out to business leaders and experts on which costs to cut and which areas to maintain investment in as the pandemic continues.

Cut: Travel
With events and trade shows going virtual, there’s no need to fly anyone across the country. As for face-to-face meetings, although they’re still important, maybe you should limit them to once or twice per year. “We’ve all learned there’s so much business we can conduct remotely that we don’t need to incur as many hotel and travel expenses,” says Alan G. Lefkowitz, managing director at CFO Strategies, LLC.

Cut: Office Space
One of the best ways you can save money right now is to continue working from 亚洲真人娱乐home. “Financially, you are going to be better off not using that space to work in, as it requires a lot of maintenance and support for the people working there,” says Ethan Taub, CEO of online marketplace Loanry. “With everyone working from 亚洲真人娱乐home now, you don’t need to worry like you did pre-COVID.”

Keep: Outsourcing
If you’ve implemented a hiring freeze, you can outsource tasks to freelancers. You’re not expected to provide them with employee benefits, and they pay their own taxes, which means savings for your business. “Virtual designers, web-based accountants or remote marketing services are just a few of the professions to consider when outsourcing to save money or time,” says Jim Pendergast, senior vice president of specialty lender altLINE.

Cut: Non-Earning Assets
When business is booming, companies tend to spend on equipment, vehicles and office amenities. But when you’re not busy, those asset sits idle. “You have a non-earning asset you either paid for and are not earning from or you have a loan against it and you’re paying principal and interest payments,” Lefkowitz says. “Selling those assets frees up cash flow when you need it most.”

Keep: Customer Service
Focusing on your existing clients means being there for their questions, concerns and complaints. Customer service – actual human beings available by phone, email, video or social media – will be more important than ever. “Finding new clients is more expensive than retaining existing ones,” says Ian Wright, CEO of Bequests. “Build strong relationships with them, and as you provide them with excellent customer service, they will stick with you and even tell others about your business.”

Cut: Staff
This should be your last resort. Don’t just take an ax to your staff, though. Joseph Meuse, founder and president of consulting firm Business GPS, recommends looking for areas where you can strategically reduce your workforce. “Eliminate any redundancies or nonessential positions,” Meuse says. “If that’s too painful, you can also change full-time positions to part time or make salary reductions across the board.”

Keep: CFO/Controller
One position you absolutely shouldn’t cut is your chief financial officer or controller. “You always need somebody to manage your operations and have financial oversight,” Lefkowitz says. “Most entrepreneurs are great at their core business and selling but tend to not have that strong financial background. They need a trusted advisor, especially to navigate a challenging time like we’re currently going through.”

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