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5 Effective Communication tools for Microfinance Institutions
Submitted by mffocus1 on Wed, 09/21/2011 - 13:35
Microfinance Focus, September 21, 2011: Communications is an important aspect for business. Business communication is an umbrella term for a variety of topics including marketing, branding, customer relations, consumer behavior, advertising, public relations, interpersonal communication, online communication etc.
With the progress of technology, a lot of business communications can be done on the Internet. The Internet provides many tools for microfinance institutions (MFIs) to employ. This article recommends that MFIs explore these 5 communications tools: Skype, Wikipedia, Blogs such as WordPress and Blogger, GoogleWave and SlideShare.
Skype is a software application that allows users to make voice and video calls and chats over the Internet. Calls to other users within the Skype service are free, while calls to both traditional landline telephone and mobile phones can be made with a fee. Skype has become popular for instant messaging, file transfer and video conferencing.
MFIs should employ Skype that helps make communication much easier and cheaper. Communication would be much cheaper and it eases long-distance communication. This will be useful for MFIs who intend to expand nationwide and become international.
Make calls now with Skype: http://www.skype.com/intl/en/w
Wikipedia is a free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project. It has become the largest and most popular general reference work on the Internet. It has 19 million articles, over 3.7 million in English, written by volunteers all over the globe. As of July 2011, there were editions of Wikipedia in 282 languages.
MFIs could use Wikipedia to create an article for their company. Hence, when someone does a search for their company, one of the first few pages available would be the Wikipedia page. The benefit of a Wikipedia page for a company is that it summarizes all the information according to categories. Therefore, it is easy for the reader to understand and get to know the company with much ease. Wikipedia puts out information about the company to a vast group of audience.
Learn how to write an article for Wikipedia about your company: http://webtrends.about.com/od/
3) Blogs: WordPress and Blogger
Blogs are websites that are usually maintained by individuals with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other materials such as graphics or videos. Blogs are interactive allowing visitors to leave comments and even message each other via widgets on the blogs. Blogs can manifest in many forms such as a photoblog, video blog, MP3 blog etc.
MFIs should use blogging as a communication tool for them to post latest news and updates. Also the blog can be used as a platform of discussion amongst people.
WordPress is the most popular CMS in use on the Internet. Here are some reasons why WordPress would be good for MFIs. First, WordPress provides good search engine optimization (SEO). There are so many SEO benefits one can get from WordPress. Second, WordPress is easy to use. It is easy to update content and manage the site. One does not need to have knowledge of HTML. Third, there is a large pool of developers creating themes and plug-ins. Therefore, one will have free access to business themes or the ability to extend the website with polls, contact forms, ratings etc. Fourth, it is easy to get help and support on WordPress. It is so widely used, that help is only a Google search away. Last, many hosting providers provide quick installs.
Start your own blog with WordPress: http://wordpress.org/
The reasons why one should use Blogger are similar to the reason for WordPress. First, Blogger is easy to use and update. Blogger offers easy blogging tools to get started. Second, Blogger is a low-cost alternative to having a web presence. For MFIs, this can help them save costs for they need not hire a designer or web developer. Blogging is an inexpensive method to get your company’s name out on the Internet. Third, having a company blog provide MFIs with a chance to share their expertise and knowledge with a larger audience.
Start blogging: www.blogger.com
Google Wave is a web-based computing platform and communications protocol, designed to merge key features of media like e-mail, instant messaging, wikis, and social networking.
There are many useful business applications for GoogleWave, especially in situations that call for collaboration with a group or managing a project. GoogleWave can easily allow users to dispense with the formalities and expenses of meetings, phone calls, travel etc. and instead make it easy to collaborate across time and space.
First, GoogleWave can support conferences and professional development. A company with limited funds could send one person to a conference and use Google Wave as a reporting mechanism. Or if several people attend, they can divide/conquer the event and post their ideas and comments in one place. Second, using GoogleWave for decision-making and problem solving could be very beneficial - especially when all of the players aren’t located in the same place. Third, GoogleWave provides an opportunity for collaboration when you have a project and need to collaborate not only with internal stakeholders, but an external supplier. Fourth, GoogleWave is a good tool for brainstorming and idea cultivation as it collects a series of conversations between various professionals. Lastly, technology helps to reduce travel and allows virtual meetings.
Start communicating through GoogleWave: www.wave.google.com
SlideShare, a slide hosting service, is the best way to share presentations, documents and professional videos.
SlideShare has a business service called LeadShare; LeadShare allows businesses to connect with customers through their content. The content, such as slides and documents they share can be turned into a two-way conversation between them and their end viewers. The conversation can take the form embedded within, depending on what questions you decide goes into that form. Then, the end-viewer can get in touch with you through this form. You can go to your LeadShare dashboard anytime and view the leads you have collected.
MFIs can also opt to market their company on SlideSharePro. SlideSharePro helps to make their content go viral. It’s a channel that helps them find business partners. MFIs can customize their channels to meet their own goals. SlideSharePro allows businesses to use zipcasts for web meetings.