Microsoft and Facebook Have New Tools…And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

FILE - In this Thursday, May 11, 2017, file photo, Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group, speaks at the Microsoft Build 2017 developers conference, in Seattle. Microsoft has begun rolling out an update to its Windows 10 operating system, hoping to spark enthusiasm for the company’s ambitions in virtual and augmented reality. The Windows 10 update became available Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

FILE – In this Thursday, May 11, 2017, file photo, Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group, speaks at the Microsoft Build 2017 developers conference, in Seattle. Microsoft has begun rolling out an update to its Windows 10 operating system, hoping to spark enthusiasm for the company’s ambitions in virtual and augmented reality. The Windows 10 update became available Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

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

1 – Microsoft introduces a few cool small business tools at its Build conference.

Microsoft’s annual developer conference, Build 2019, attracted 15,000 programmers, developers, partners and coders to hear about all the new tools that the company is introducing to help them build better solutions for their clients. Although most of the stuff the company announced are technical tools, there were some announcements that will impact small businesses very soon.  They are improved Power BI and Power Apps, Microsoft Search and Ideas in Word. (My company is a Microsoft partner but I’ve received no compensation to write this). (Source:  Venturebeat)

Why this is important for your business:

Power Bi is Microsoft’s reporting and analytics product. Power Apps are add-in tools for Microsoft applications developed by their developer channel. Both now have new tools for easier creation, updating and integration with other applications. Microsoft Search has been enhanced with AI to search just about anything on your corporate network. Ideas in Word will be providing an natural language processing editor that will make real-time suggestions and help protect your workers from writing anything politically incorrect or sensitive.  All of this should improve your company’s productivity and the quality of its communications.

2 – Facebook introduces four new tools for small businesses.

In honor of National Small Business Week, Facebook introduce a few tools specifically targeted at small businesses, including automated ads, appointments, new video creation and editing tools and training courses. Its automated ad functions are the most powerful and include a wizard-like Q&A interview, suggestions, multiple ad versions to choose from as well as customer targeting and budgeting recommendations. It’s video editing tools include automatic cropping, video trimming and image and text overlays.  The appointment features gives Facebook businesses a self-service option that their customers can use. (Source: Marketing Land)

Why this is important for your business:

Tens of millions of small businesses rely on Facebook for their sales, marketing and customer service. Advertising, in particular, has always been a mystery and oftentimes requires the expense of a consultant. Hopefully, these tools will improve your experienced with the social media platform…and cut costs too.

3 – A survey warns that although Google My Business is popular, don’t abandon your website.

Google My Business has grown in popularity. So does this mean you should abandon your website?  According to a new survey, probably not. Of the customers polled by marketing software provider BrightLocal, a majority of consumers feel that the website of a small business is likely more accurate than their Google My Business listing.  (Source: BrightLocal)

Why this is important for your business:

There’s no question that you should have a Google My Business listing – it’s easy to setup and will help get your company found. But this doesn’t mean that you should be using your Google listing in place of your website. Not only does your website have more functionality but the perception is that it’s more accurate. And it probably is.

4 – An online video creation platform is making YouTube video ads more accessible to small businesses.

Tel Aviv-based Promo.com has introduced new tools to help small businesses post branded video ads across Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube that they say is more affordable than hiring a video production team.  The company boasts 12 million pre-created videos across many topics along with pre-built templates for customers to add logos, text, fonts and colors, as well as pre-licensed music. (Source: ZDNet)

Why this is important for your business:

YouTube and Instagram both have billions of users and can be a potential huge source of customers for many small businesses. But creating videos for these platforms can be time consuming and expensive. Promo.com’s offerings may be an potential way to get your message out without breaking the bank.

5 – More than 7,000 Robots will work in construction by 2025, according to a new report.

A research firm called Tractica said there will be a $226 million market for construction robots by 2025. What will they be doing? According to the firm they’ll be handling “demolition, bricklaying, drilling, 3D printing, and rebar tying, plus a few exoskeletons and assistant robots for lifting loads.” (Source: Robotics Business Review)

[“source=forbes”]