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Microsoft Solves The “Reply-All” Dilemma, Instagram And Facebook Adds Features…And Other Small Business Tech News

By May 18, 2020 No Comments

(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — Microsoft now blocks reply-all email storms, ending our inbox nightmares.

Microsoft announced this week that they are introducing a new reply-all block feature that will keep our inboxes from getting inundated with unnecessary replies in Office 365 and Exchange Online. The addition will primarily help out bigger companies and will first be introduced to help identify 10 emails that fall into the reply-all category and are sent to more than 5,000 people within an hour. Microsoft’s new feature will remain on for the duration of four hours once it’s activated, keeping unwanted replies and responses out of inboxes. (Source: The Verge)

Why this is important for your business:

Thank Goodness! Because how annoying is it when people insist on unnecessarily replying to everyone on an email instead of just to the sender, right? Microsoft’s fix is designed for bigger companies (5,000 people on an email) but assuming success I would expect similar solutions using artificial intelligence to make their way down to smaller businesses, which should improve productivity and – at least – reduce my blood pressure.

2— Instagram and Facebook have rolled out more features for small and mid-sized businesses.

Facebook and Instagram shared this past week that they will be rolling out new features in order to assist midsized and small businesses handle the difficulties brought on by COVID-19. (Source: AdWeek)

Why this is important for your business:

Some of the features include the Support Small Business sticker to help raise awareness for a business through Instagram feeds, Facebook’s #SupportSmallBusiness hashtag to help spread awareness and support in addition to its Businesses Nearby function to help locate local establishments for specific services, COVID-19 resources and information for SMBs, and an updated Facebook Messenger feature allowing businesses to message directly from their page.

3 — Twitter announced that employees will be allowed to work from home ‘forever’.

This past week, Twitter announced that they will permit their employees to work remotely ‘forever’. The company was one of the pioneers in allowing their employees to work from home when the COVID-19 outbreak first began. While employees who wish to work in the office will still be able to, they will need to wait until restrictions are officially lifted. Individuals who want to work from home instead, will now be able to do so for as often and as long as they’d like as long as their role and circumstances allow it. (Source: The Guardian)

Why this is important for your business:

Kind of surprised that tech companies like Twitter haven’t been doing this for a while. My expectation is that a lot of companies – including many small businesses – will be expanding their work from home policies. And then after a few years, scaling them back when they realize that face-to-face interactions is what really makes an innovative company grow. But we’ll see…

4 —Slice raised $43 million to help pizzerias go online.

Online ordering company Slice recently raised $43 million in funding. The platform was created to assist smaller pizzerias in competing with bigger pizzeria chains by supporting pizzerias through providing the marketing, customer service, payment systems, and necessary technology to make it all happen. (Source: Venture Beat).

Why this is important for your business:

Through the platform’s dashboard, restaurants are able to receive data regarding each of the orders placed, as well as added features to help manage promotional codes, set hours of operation, edit menus, as well as other important administrative tasks. There are a lot of pizza shops in this country that could use this kind of help. If you’re one of them, this is a technology to watch.

5 — LinkedIn is merging its live-streaming Events tools for virtual events.

LinkedIn’s Events option will now be accessible by every company page, allowing event organizers to continue on with hosting virtual functions in place of events originally cancelled or postponed due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The networking platform is hoping to strengthen capacity in order to allow professional events to be hosted more efficiently and will do so through the addition of LinkedIn Live, allowing companies to fully air virtual events directly into Events. The new feature will work just like LinkedIn Live, only with the addition of allowing companies to invite in only attendees or company employees (Source: Social Media Today).

Why this is important for your business:

I know a number of clients and other small business owners that are using LinkedIn for more live-streaming an online meetings and events. It makes sense because that’s where our professional networks reside, so reaching out to them to promote an event is easier.

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