The MustRead for Sunday, 15 October 2017

1. If you only read one thing…

Google is cracking down on insecure sites this month. If your site doesn’t have an SSL certificate, denoted by that little green lock, users will soon see this:

You gotta fix this. Most good website hosting companies now offer free SSL certificates. Here is a user-friendly article on why and what needs to happen. If you get stuck and can’t figure out why you can’t get a green lock, go here. And if you’re a WordPress user, you may find this plugin helpful.

This is the most important digital update you can do this week.

2. Twitter is better with pictures.

This is something I see all the time. If you’re integrating Insta with Twitter, you need the pics, not just words. It’s way easier than you think. Head to IFTTT, set up a free account, and do this.

3. And while we’re talking Instagram

When was the last time you DM’d (direct messaged) a customer? Insta DM’s are an under-utilised (and therefore still appreciated) way of reaching out to fans and friends. You can send a special offer, thank them for a great post, or simply wish them a happy birthday. Just remember, be real; no corporate-speak allowed.

4. Invasion of the Bot-ty snatchers.

(total dad joke, amirite?)

Geekery: A chatbot is a service, powered by programmed responses and machine learning, that uses natural language to interact via a chat interface.

If our goal as digital marketers is to use tech to recreate the cellar door/tasting room experience, then the chatbot is our virtual front-of-house. They allow us to answer common questions and engage with users on their schedule, and pleasantly buffer any delay in person-to-person responses. They’re darned useful, people like them, and with few wineries using them, you’ll look very clever if you have one.

Here are two of my fave bot-apps, both for Facebook.

ManyChat is a good starter bot, being super easy to implement. Chatfuel is a little more time-consuming to set up, but the option to add payment processors is worth it.

This will surely take more than five minutes, so add it to your to-do list one weekend when you can open a nice bottle and relax. And let your inner bot be freeeee!

5. I’ll leave you with this…

“Consumers are statistics. Customers are people.” –Stanley Marcus, former president, Neiman Marcus.

I know it’s easy to fall into business-speak and industry-jargon when we talk to customers, write posts, create content. And, let’s face it, many of us grew up with the keyboard as our vehicle for erudition. But that’s all changed.

If I can impress one thing upon you this week, it’s that customers are people, just like you and me. They aren’t data or buyers or users; they are parents and teachers and young adults who want to feel appreciated and respected. When in doubt for what to write, step away from the keyboard, grab your voice recorder and simply talk, share your story as if it was a dear friend standing before you, and you won’t go wrong with your digital content.

Happy Sunday, friends. See you next week.

Also published on Medium.