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April 2015 | Outsourcing Blog | BPO Industry Updates and Articles

How to Be a Twitter Pro in 7 Steps

by: Finella Kristle Panlilio

Thursday, April 30, 2015 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

Maximize Twitter for your Business

Twitter is a great platform for growing awareness of your business or brand, increasing your following, and making important connections. In this article is a list of what needs to be done to get the best results from Twitter.

1. Optimize your profile.
Make sure you have a complete profile. Individuals should use a professional-looking, close-up headshot as their profile picture, and fill their Twitter bio with skills and professional details. An effective profile picture for brands would be a high-contrast brand image. State your mission and don’t be afraid to show personality. Twitter lets you include links in your profile, so add your personal or business URL. Twitter’s header photo is now bigger and wider. You can use this space to list your expertise and services.

2. Structure your tweets.
Use this tweet structure for more likes and clicks: [key message] - [link] [#hashtag afterthought]. Keep your tweets short, mix funny/interesting tweets in with business tweets, and use content from a variety of sources to keep your audience interested. Headlines seem dull and lack creativity, so it’s time to stop tweeting them. Switch things up a bit and add thought opinion, use quotes from the article, or ask questions in the description of your tweet. To increase retweets, use images. Images result in a 35% bump in retweets, followed by videos at 28%, quotes get 19% in retweets, and digits and hashtags get 17% and 16%, respectively. Phrase your tweets to appeal to human behavior - choose words that nudge a person’s curiosity or desire for self-improvement.

3. Increase Twitter engagement.
Engage with others, especially with people in your niche. You can use lists grouped by industry or topic to follow people. If someone regularly retweets/replies to you, return the favor, but don't just retweet their tweets randomly. Share your opinions. Respond to questions. Tweet questions to encourage your followers to interact. Don't forget to use hashtags to make your tweets easy to find.

4. Avoid Twitter mistakes.
First of all, don’t spam by tweeting links to your blog at people. Second, don’t retweet every tweet you’re mentioned in - it’s just as spammy as constantly tweeting your own links. So is sending auto-DMs. People know a generic and insincere message when they see one. Third, don’t follow everyone who follows you. You’ll want to follow only those in the same industry and those who are relevant to you and your brand. Fourth, don’t overuse hashtags in tweets - 1-3 hashtags per tweet is enough. Fifth, don’t engage in long conversations outside of DM - 1-2 replies is enough, and if the situation calls for it, discuss privately via DM. Lastly, don’t engage with people being argumentative or bullying by responding in a negative manner that could cause your audience to turn away from you.

5. Optimize your Twitter stream.
Use landscape-oriented images with a 2:1 dimension for them to appear best on Twitter. Include an image in every third tweet so they stand out in a user's feed. Never post an important tweet just once - share important tweets four times a day to cover all time zones. It would help to plan a regular posting schedule and create a library of updates you can use so you don't scramble for content every time and miss peak time sharing opportunities.

6. Improve your Twitter presence.
Develop a posting strategy - know when and what to post. There are free tools like Tweroid that show when your followers are online and when they're mentioning you. Couple it with the analytics tool Twitter provides and you can determine exactly when to post for the most click-throughs, retweets, and replies. Plan a regular posting schedule once you have the data.

7. Run advanced Twitter searches.
Use advanced Twitter searches to find and engage with people and conversations you might otherwise have missed. Advantages of this feature include finding people interested in your product or service, hearing what they are saying about your brand, and finding complaints about something you can help them with.


2015 Trends in Global Healthcare Outsourcing

Whatech.com recently discussed in an article key events and topics in the global healthcare IT outsourcing industry. It was revealed that the healthcare IT segment currently presents countless capabilities and opportunities not only for healthcare providers but IT solutions companies as well. The industry covers a broad spectrum of technologies, including software-based solutions which are used by healthcare providers to keep up with the regulatory changes in the global healthcare industry.

The healthcare environment in major markets such as the US and the Big 5 in Europe is rapidly evolving, that is why some of them opt to go for a more economical approach which is outsourcing.  
Some of the countries that have been identified as credible IT outsourcing hubs are India, China, Indonesia, and Singapore where IT solutions and services relatively cost less and since outsourcing has become an option for companies looking for a specific skillset and a means to cut costs, it has helped boost several economies in the past couple of years.

Healthcare IT is vastly utilized in several areas such as biomedical research and development, which includes key processes like pharmaceutical research, genetics and proteomics, life science IT, biotechnology, bio simulation, and disease research. IT applications are likewise utilized in hospitals and healthcare facilities management, forensics, and insurance.

It is difficult to segment the healthcare IT outsourcing market since requirements and applications vary for each organization. North America is said to be the leading market for healthcare IT since the region is home to a high number of healthcare companies that require highly innovative and unique solutions.

The healthcare IT outsourcing industry is being driven by the demand for skilled management of big data, a more affordable solution to cut costs in research and development, the need for innovation and automation, and complex research tools in an increasingly developing healthcare environment.

Five Tips to Have a Mobile-friendly Website

by: Finella Kristle Panlilio

Thursday, April 23, 2015 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

Last February, Google announced two important changes: 1) This month (April 21, to be exact), they will expand their use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal, and 2) they will surface relevant app content more prominently in search. These changes in Google's algorithms are in keeping with the fact that more and more people are using mobile devices to access the internet.

Get your Website Mobile Ready

The mobile-optimized website has become a necessity, so if your website isn't mobile-friendly, expect a drop in your search engine rankings and eventually in your web traffic. If you aren't ready for the update, here are five quick tips to help you fix your mobile mistakes and prepare for the change:

1. Create a specific and well-placed CTA button.
The conversion percentage of mobile users who find your business online is nearly three times higher than the same search done on a desktop or laptop. According to SurveyMonkey Audience’s study on mobile behavior, 70% of mobile searches lead to action within an hour. But for this to happen, users need a clear and easy-to-spot call to action button.

Change the color of your CTA button to an attention-grabbing hue or add subtle animation. Then tweak your button copy to better communicate your value proposition. Create text that would motivate people to take action - and be specific. Adding just one word after “submit” can boost conversion rates by as much as 320%. Lastly, positioning your signup form at the top of your landing page, with engaging content, delivers maximum views to your form without requiring page visitors to scroll all the way down. Also, make sure your CTA button and all other buttons are large enough to be easily tapped from a mobile device.

2. Embrace social autofill.
It’s a struggle to remember the number of logins and passwords required to function in 2015. With social autofill, there’s an unparalleled potential to improve the consumer experience. According to janrain’s Industry Research on the Value of Social Login, 64% of users who frequently leave sites due to forgotten login information say social login is an option companies should offer. Reduce your customers’ time and give them the option to take advantage of social autofill features. As Formstack data shows, this increases conversion rates by up to 189%.

3. Reduce the content on your mobile site.
On mobile, less is more. According to one study, 57% of users would not recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site. Don’t be tempted to include too much content on a mobile site - it will only result in a clunky design that is difficult to navigate and frustrating to use. Note that the mobile screens are smaller, so it’s harder to scroll and impossible on many devices to scroll horizontally.

4. Make your Web forms mobile-friendly, too.
As you refine your website for a better user experience, don’t forget about on-site resources such as conversion-capture assets (e.g. forms). Forms are a critical part of your online real estate, so make sure they are as mobile-friendly as the rest of your site. Take note of the form length when optimizing for mobile - the average survey now contains 22 fields, according to Formstack’s 2015 Form Conversion Report. Unfortunately, 22 fields will be daunting to a consumer completing your form on a mobile device.

If you have a field-heavy form on your site that just can’t be shortened, try building a smart form that automatically shows or hides questions based on how users respond. You can also consider using a horizontal layout for checkboxes and buttons to create an illusion of a shorter form.

5. Be ready for all mobile devices.
There are different kinds of mobile devices. According to Gartner, Ultramobiles like tablets and hybrids are projected to take over as the main driver of growth in the devices market beyond 2014, with a growth rate of 54%. Make sure your mobile site looks as good on tablets of all sizes as it does on smartphone screens.


How to Boost Engagement on Facebook

by: Finella Kristle Panlilio

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

Small businesses are owning Facebook more than ever before. If you’re lagging behind and wondering how else to improve engagement and drive sales on Facebook, look no further! This article contains a list of what's working for small businesses in their posts that may work for you as well.

What businesses need to boost engagement on Facebook

1. Great Visual Content
Great visual content appeals to readers. Get creative. Most companies use their Facebook posts to drive sales, but they’re not lacking in entertainment as they incorporate fun ideas to mobilize their audience and invite them to be part of something special - like an exclusive community with offers of good deals on your products or services.

2. Facebook Party
Hold a fun Facebook party with gift certificates and discounts as giveaways to people who engage with each post. Use high engagement media like videos and images. Don’t forget to include tips or other educational content in your posts for extra engagement.

3. Personality
Who’s behind your brand? Show your audience the humans behind the brand they love; share a photo of the founder on a regular day, or photos of what the employees do backstage. Don’t hesitate to tag other brands appearing in your posts - using tagging and hashtags gets your posts more visibility.

4. Humor
People enjoy a good laugh. Inject clean humor that’s part of your brand in your posts (especially those that are text-only) for great engagement.

5. Fun
Writers sometimes wonder what to post about on Facebook. Just use the platform as it was originally intended: a social site where you let people know what you’re doing. Don’t be afraid to get personal or share things that you find funny. What’s important is that you’re having fun and sharing it with everyone.

6. Responsiveness
When you respond to comments quickly, you get more engagement with your posts. Make it a habit.

7. Facebook Event
Take advantage of Facebook events to engage and connect with your audience. If you have events on Facebook, re-share them and post in the events to get more visibility and encourage people to join them. Participate in fun trends like Throwback Thursday or Caturday. Ask your fans to share pictures in your posts or on your page to get more engagement.

8. Page and Profile
Post to both your Facebook page and personal profile to market your business. Posting about your business on your personal profile gives you extra traction if you’re already connected with people in the same industry as yours. Also, occasionally sharing your business page posts on your profile extends your reach.

9. Videos
Videos are now huge on Facebook. Use videos effectively on your page by having a featured video and regular quick videos to get a lot of views and engagement.

10. Great Local Content
Creating content takes time, but it can be a huge driver for awareness and new customers. Go a step further on your website and tell people to post directly to your Facebook page if they have something to add. This gives your website visitors a reason to check out your Facebook page, too.

11. Behind the Scenes
Apart from getting personal on Facebook, giving your community a sneak peek at something no one else can see is a great tactic.


Global Outsourcing Posts Slow Q1 Growth

by: Sarah Joson

Monday, April 20, 2015 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

Research and consultancy agency Information Services Group (ISG) recently released its Outsourcing Index™. The report measures commercial outsourcing contracts with annual contract value (ACV) of $5 million or more. It found that first-quarter ACV is down by 18 percent to $5.1 billion, the lowest first quarter since 2006 where ACV averaged $6 billion. It is one of the slowest first quarters over the last 10 years. This slowdown was actually predicted by ISG last year when several large contracts were closed at the end of 2014.

Slow growth for global outsourcing

The 305 deals closed in this year’s first quarter are seven percent short compared to last year’s figures. However, the number of smaller deals (ACV of under $30 million) is similar to the volume posted by the first quarter of 2014 with a total of 269 contracts valued at $2.5 billion. As for larger deals where contracts are worth above $30 million, it declined 25 percent in value ($1.3 billion) and volume (28 contracts) compared to last year.

According to John Keppel, partner and President of ISG, the low volume and value of contracts during the first quarter of 2015 is based on the activity they saw during the last year’s end. However, he said it is not a reflection of this year’s activities. Smaller deals are seen to remain on the positive side in the coming months. But he warned that everything that goes up has to come down at some point, especially with the remarkable performance of 2014’s first and last quarters.

Meanwhile, challenges are seen for the value space, but the volume aspect remains strong as clients are looking for the best deals in a buyer’s market.

The report also stated that the volume of new-scope deals in the first quarter is similar to last year - flat. As for the annual value, it declined by 19 percent year-on-year. The number of restructured contracts also dropped by 20 percent versus last year, with ACVs declining by 16 percent.

Keppel also said new scope deals, which are usually the foremost type of deals in the first quarter, posted a weak start since 2001. As for the decline of restructured contracts in the first quarter, he reminded that restructuring is normal and a part of a contract’s cycle, and that 2014 ended on a high note.

Per segment, information technology outsourcing (ITO) is down by 27 percent from last year, with $3.5 billion in ACV - the lowest total since 2004. On the other hand, the business process outsourcing (BPO) space posted a 13-percent ACV growth which pushed its value to $1.6 billion. It also posted an 18-percent growth in contract volume. This is the second consecutive quarter that the BPO segment posted an ACV of over $1.5 billion, therefore making up for previous declines.



Ways to Get the Most Out of the Cloud

by: Sarah Joson

Friday, April 17, 2015 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

The buzz about cloud technology is apparently getting louder, according to a study by Computerworld. It revealed that cloud computing is the second-fastest growing IT budget, and is the top IT priority for this year.

Guidelines to get the most out of cloud operations

A post at CIO.com explains the study and guidelines created by IDG Enterprise. It stated that a large number of IT companies are still analyzing which operations are suitable to be hosted in the cloud. The report also listed five ways firms can get the most out of their cloud operations:

1. Find processes that are typically made for the cloud.
These processes are usually the new ones that can be done purely over the cloud. If you see that service providers are able to offer superior functionality for a niche process that was previously offered in a packaged solution, then it’s also an ideal candidate. User-facing applications such as sales automation and collaboration are likewise ideal for cloud hosting.

2. Strive to decrease operating expenses.
By migrating processes to the cloud, companies are able to free up resources that are solely used in addressing operational issues, but are practically valuable for IT strategy and app development and progress of the company.

3. Free up space in data centers.
What some companies fail to realize is not all of their servers are fully maximized or even utilized properly. These unused servers take up space, consume power, and end up costing you more than you know. You can easily virtualize these processes yourself, but you must first know the current operating costs of your in-house data center before signing up for hosting services.

4. Be one of the early adopters of trends.
Trends exist for a reason. These have been effective for companies and are what the customers demand or more inclined to use. The rising trends in the cloud are email, collaboration, CRM, data storage, and human resources. The IDG enterprise survey also revealed that more than 50 percent of respondents are planning to move processes to the cloud in three years. These apps are believed to offer the top applications, and are widely used amongst businesses.
5. Reinforce your current operations with the cloud.
The cloud’s agility and usability are also driving adoption and investments. It may be used on projects that can be rolled out using a software-as-a-service provider and get seamless turnaround times. It will impress potential customers and could lead to more support for future cloud strategies.

How to Be One of the Top Brands in Social Media

by: Finella Kristle Panlilio

Thursday, April 16, 2015 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

Winning Habits of Top Brands in Social Media

Social media's top brands are those whose social media accounts are deemed smart and funny by potential customers, and are good conversationalists that actually listen to their needs. They are focused on content in their marketing and advertising campaigns. What else do these brands have in common? Here are the winning habits of a top brand in social media:

Invests in Facebook
Brands like McDonald’s, Coca Cola, and Red Bull have over 40 million Facebook fans each. These top brands have invested heavily on Facebook by publishing updates regularly, posting and sharing interesting and relevant content, and creating a variety of calls to action (CTAs).

Remembers different platforms = different content
There’s nothing wrong with sharing duplicate content across all your social media profiles, but familiarity breeds contempt. Top brands in social media produce original content appropriate for every platform and avoid posting the same content in every social network.

Schedules posts consistently
Posting randomly in social media is a thing of the past. Today, corporate advertising accounts post consistently and with purpose. LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook all offer content calendars for automatic scheduling of posts in an orderly manner that won’t irritate potential customers or let them forget about the product or service.

Tracks social media ROI
Top brands run online ad campaigns with frugality. To avoid wasting their budget and to know if they're making a good marketing investment, they use online tools like Buffer and Sprout Social to track social media ROI. These tools can give you an understanding of how your marketing campaign is doing on all major social media sites.

Focuses on decision makers
Make sure that your advertising campaign reaches decision makers - whether these are consumers or corporate. Networking possibilities in social media are endless. A good way to reach a wide market with disposable income and the power to make spending decisions is to have your CEO's LinkedIn profile complete and backed with recommendations.

Gets visual with Instagram
People like Instagram because it's a quick way to share experiences on a daily basis. Top brands offer photo contests on this platform and condense their product or service into 15-second videos.

Stays mobile-friendly
Top brands aiming at a younger demographic know that mobile app Snapchat is one of their growing obsessions - a reminder to old-school marketers that mobile devices capture a good share of the social media traffic right now. Tap into the popular mobile app and come up with creative 1- to 10-second video ideas for a chance to go viral. Viral videos beget shares, shares beget traffic, and traffic begets sales.

Stays on current trends
The people behind Friskies Cat Food have created authentic social buzz with their Grumpy Cat meme, and celebrities are made on Vine - just look at Jerome Jarre. Keep up with which social media venues are growing in influence and aim to create viral and great ad campaigns.


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