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How To Resolve Conflicts At Work

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When you have a group of people working on multiple projects for a long period of time, conflicts are inevitable.  Even though you screened your team members and hired them after a thorough vetting process, conflicts arise. While they may have all the right answers to your questions on how to handle conflicts, they aren’t always equipped to deal with the situation in real life.  If you have faced this situation at work on more than one occasion, then here are steps you can follow to resolve conflicts:

1. Don’t avoid the problem

In order to start solving the problem, start by embracing the situation.  The more you avoid it, the bigger it becomes and the harder it becomes to deal with the conflict in question.  To get around the dispute, sit your team down and ask them what the issue is first. Set up a time and talk about the problem uninterrupted.  Don’t assign blame, instead, talk to your team, understand the problem and get to the root of the situation. The minute you understand what happened, you can figure out a way to get to a solution.  When you deal with the problem at hand on mutual ground, it reduces the amount of tension and gives you the best possible outcome not just for your team, but for the project as well!

2. Keep your conversations focused on the goal

When you are looking at resolving a tough situation, make sure that your conversations are centered around the end goal.  Sometimes, when you have discussions with multiple people at the same time, the conversations tend to go all over the place.  When you are sitting down to resolve conflicts, this cannot happen because you lose sight of the end goal and this usually leads to more conflict.  Prepare a rough set of talking points before entering the meeting and have an agenda in place so things don’t go haywire. The more focused your discussion is, the quicker you solve the problem!

3. Listen

Most conflicts are usually resolved when you start listening to what other people are saying.  When the other person is coming to you with their grievances, listen to them carefully. Wait till they finish what they have to tell you and only then, voice a suggestion.  Once the person has finished, don’t offer your opinions to them. Instead, let them find the answers. You could say something along the lines of: “So your basic problem with them is this, but you would like to solve it another way?”  Through this approach, you let the other person know you are open to letting them fix the problem themselves.

4. Find  middle ground

When you are dealing with solving a conflict, the conversation mainly centers around  disagreements. However, if are going to solve the problem, focus on the details, which help in solving the issues at hand.  This step works when you have listened to either side and figured out where the two parties have common interests. When things get too heated, turn the conversation back to the middle ground.  By doing this, you not only cool the situation down, but also show your team members you care about them.

5. Give them a path

The final step in solving a conflict is to provide a route to solve the confusion.  While you aren’t directly giving your group a direct solution, you are taking them to the answer by guiding them along the way.  You can do this by talking about the positive points of letting go and why getting over this scrimmage is actually in their favour.  Chart out a course of action and tell them to try out the plan for a specific duration, say, 2 months. Revisit the problem after the specified duration and look at what worked and did not.  By doing this, you get a clear understanding of how deep the problem goes and if it can not be worked out immediately, then chart out a different course of action. Whatever it may be, you can solve the issue at hand only with a clear understanding of the problem and the path ahead.

As a leader, solving conflicts and resolving arguments is one of your key responsibilities.  If you think there are different ways you could solve a problem, comment and let us know!

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How To

How To Generate More Sales On Social Media

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How To Generate More Sales On Social Media

If you are a frequent Instagram user, there is a high likelihood of stumbling upon a business ad which interests you.  There are also high chances of you making a purchase from a business whose ad you might have seen on Instagram.  As the social media penetration into our daily routine gets deeper each day, businesses are realising the opportunity to sell their products on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat to name a few.  In the current day and age social media is one of the top avenues to generate solid sales and also gives a good return on investment.  However, figuring out a good approach for a business does not come easy and requires some time and effort to figure out how a social media platform works.  In this article, we explain some simple techniques to generate more sales on social media. A good organisation which has a proven track record in this arena is Whacked Out Media based out of Hyderabad.

1) Understand where the target audience is:

It is very important to understand what social media platform your target audience uses.  If your target audience prefers to use Instagram over Facebook, then it makes sense your ads should be running on Instagram.  The easiest way to find out where your target audience is is by identifying the right hashtags which are relevant to your product or business and find out where it is being used.  Once a business understands where their target audience is, it will be much easier to drive online sales.  Online streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon prime Video are known to promote their content on platforms like Instagram and Facebook in order to gain new subscriptions. 

2) Working with influencers

Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing involving endorsements and product placement from influencers, people and organizations who have a purported expert level of knowledge or social influence in their field.  Influencers have a very high chance of generating sales on social media for your business.  Having an influencer tell a unique story about your brand or product, having influencers give honest reviews about your product or something as simple as an influencer promoting a unique discount code can drive sales effectively.  Noted South Indian actress Samantha Akkineni is known to partner with organic food businesses to promote their products.

3) Turn customers into brand advocates

When you make a sale on social media, it is ideal to request the customer to post reviews of your product or service should they like their purchase.  This will turn your customers into brand ambassadors and at the same time generate more organic sales.  It will be helpful if you can provide relevant hashtags to be used so as to accurately identify leads.  Take the case of mobile phone manufacturer OnePlus, which regularly posts or shares their customer photos and product reviews on their social media platforms.  OnePlus believes in storytelling through customer testimonials and customer content.  #NeverSettle is the hashtag which is most commonly used by the OnePlus brand to identify content relevant to them.

ALSO READ: How To Increase Online Sales Of A Business

4) Share customer generated content

More often than not, if a customer is satisfied with their purchase they will post it on their social media accounts.  For a business, identifying these posts and sharing the customer generated content on their own social media accounts will improve the authenticity of their products.  Prospective customers visiting your social media page can see honest customer reviews which will in turn bolster chances of a sale.  This is also an easy way to increase loyalty with your existing customers, and to add credibility to your brand whenever potential customers visit your social media profiles.

5) Creating content around products/inventory

It is highly recommended to create content around the products which are being sold on social media accounts.  For example, if you are a clothing brand, it will be helpful for customers/leads if they see content on how to mix and match various dresses, or what dresses can be worn in spring or summer.  This establishes a broader context for your brand and will also boost engagement with prospective customers.  This kind of content will also provide a reason for customers to buy your products.

There is no hard and fast way to figure out social media sales and each business should take the plunge themselves to figure out the best approach for themselves.  However, the above mentioned tips will definitely help the chances of success in getting sales.  Alternatively there are plenty of organizations which provide consulting services to businesses in order to help them with digital marketing and sales.  

 

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How Does WhatsApp Generate Revenue

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How Does WhatsApp Generate Revenue

If you own a smartphone, there is a very high chance that you are a WhatsApp user.  The simple and lightweight online messaging application has embedded itself into our lives and has become indispensable.  Family groups, friend groups, office groups, play groups and many other groups like these see millions of conversations happening on a daily basis.  But have you ever wondered how this leading online messaging application makes its money?  There are no ads on WhatsApp and if that is the case from where does Whatsapp generate its revenue?

The answer to the question goes back to the beginning of WhatsApp which was founded by Brain Acton and Jan Koum, both of whom were ex- Yahoo employees.  When Whatsapp was first developed and deployed for public use it became an instant hit with users but the founders quickly realised they required data centers to handle the huge volumes of data from the user conversations to keep WhatsApp running.  So, they set a price of $1 for some countries and for some other countries it was free for the first year but charged $1 for renewal from the second year onwards.  In short this was a subscription model and Whatsapp had 700 million users at the peak of this model which meant it was generating 700 million dollars in revenue.

Facebook ended up purchasing WhatsApp in 2014 for $ 19 billion but one of the founders Jan Koum decided to leave WhatsApp because of a disagreement with Facebook over its use of user data and its desire to allow advertisements on WhatsApp.  Both the founders were vocal supporters of user data privacy.  As of 2020, WhatsApp has over 2 billion users, the second largest user database after Facebook.

ALSO READ: 4 Useful And New WhatsApp Features That Released During The COVID-19 Lockdown 

But How is Whatsapp generating its revenue now since there are still no ads on display in the mobile app.  In a 2016 blogpost WhatsApp said “Starting this year, we will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from.  The goal is to have people communicate directly with their banks, airlines, etc. over the app, while the businesses pick up the bill previously paid through subscriptions.”  Facebook also uses the data from the user messages in WhatsApp to increase the reach of its ads on Facebook.  However, a user has the ability to turn off the settings which allow Whatsapp to share the data with Facebook.  According to a Forbes estimate, WhatsApp is generating a revenue of $ 5 billion at an average revenue of $4 per user.

Facebook is benefiting from Whatsapp by generating a huge wealth of consumer behavior data which inturn is being used to improve the ads on Facebook.  WhatsApp has a growing revenue stream because of the new users it keeps adding to its database and still has a lot of room to grow.

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How To Identify Your Target Audience

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How To Identify Your Target Audience

Startups are created when there is an existing problem which needs to be solved.  Startups often spend years in moulding and creating a product or a service which aims to address a need or a problem.  However, it can be easy to lose track of the end goal if the product or the service is not in the hands of the actual target audience.  Target audience is a group of people you want to reach with your publication, advertisement (ads) or a message.  For example ads related to non vegetarian food would not do any good if they are placed in areas with a high vegetarian population.  Ads related to high end cutting edge computers would not do any good if they are not placed in areas which have a high density of industries.  Simply put identifying a target audience will translate into sales for your product or service.

Target audiences can be identified by following three simple steps

1. Creating a customer profile:

The first step in identifying a target audience is to assign certain characteristic attributes to the audience which include

  • Age: What is the age demographic that is most likely to use your product or service.  This is important because customers across different age groups think differently, which would mean the marketing campaign needs to be tweaked accordingly.
  • Gender:  This is an important metric to be established because a product needs to be able to address these differences.  For example, it does not make sense for a male grooming product to be advertised to the female gender.
  • Spending Capability: The ability of a target audience to spend greatly affects marketing strategies.  People who are able to afford spending luxuriously respond well to marketing campaigns which stress luxury and exclusivity.  For example, OnePlus the mobile phone developer positioned itself as a flagship killer with the features of a flagship.  It was able to appeal to the middle class spectrum which in turn translated into a huge volume of sales.

Other key characteristics can include marital status, geographic location, hobbies, interests and many more.

ALSO READ: How To Ensure Team Meetings Are Productive During Work From Home Due To Lockdown

2. Conduct market research

A lot can be gleaned from conducting primary and secondary market research.  Primary research involves learning about customer buying habits through direct contact like surveys, interviews and focus groups.  This is why a lot of startups and businesses usually ask customers to answer survey questionnaires when they make a purchase. Secondary market research is a kind of a market research method that involves collecting information or data from secondary sources.  This means a business collects and uses information that has previously been collected by some other person or entity.   A simple example would be food delivery platforms like Swiggy and Zomato asking feedback about a recent food order.  The purpose of this is to curate a better restaurant selection experience for you when placing a new order.

3. Observing competition

It is safe to say that no product or a service would be a monopoly as new players will keep on emerging in the market.  It is always a good idea to know what your competitors are doing with their businesses. This would offer fresh insights related to your marketing strategy like what other offerings could be added to your portfolio, or how a marketing campaign can be changed to tailor the ever changing customer demands.  Analysing a competitor can lead to valuable modifications to your offering and yield new business.  An example here would be how Zomato acquired UberEats thereby making them the market leader in the food delivery industry in India.  Previously Swiggy used to rule the market by holding a majority share in the market.  Zomato realised that instead of putting in resources to penetrate the market, acquiring UberEats would give them the advantage.  Zomato now holds around 50% of the market in the food delivery business in India.

Target audiences will need to be reassessed periodically on a regular basis.  The customer profile needs to be refined regularly and the marketing campaign changed accordingly.  As the market trends keep constantly evolving, one can stay ahead of the curve by doing their due diligence in gathering market research data.  Start defining and understanding your target audience so that you can make the most of your precious time.

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