Category Archives: Facebook

Social media: How do you use yours?

social-media-explained-559x466

Social media is the ‘cool kid’ in town when it comes to online marketing and expanding businesses via the internet, but it is far more complicated than simply setting up a facebook page and asking your friends to ‘Like’ your stuff. Using social media platforms should be a strategy you use to gain klout and strong back links directly to your website as well as expanding business and building connections and by simply giving your company a bit of personality you will stand out on these various sites, gaining more followers etc.

When using a social media sites there are a few things to consider when adapting your approach on each platform and using each website to favour your business and maximise the potential social media could have for your business. Tweeting should be treated as a totally different concept to blogging, liking on Facebook and re-pinning- remembering the etiquette for each will not only benefit your business but ensure you are using social media to the best of its potential. Utilising each site as a tool to connect directly with customers, potential customers and B2B contacts is a great strategy for enhancing your marketing as long as you approach them in the right way.

Twitter- Businesses tend to use Twitter to interact and respond with customers and potential customers as it is a direct, short and instant social media site- perfect for immediate connections. Twitter forces users to use 140 characters which is great for a business to keep interest by asking direct questions, encouraging people to reply, retweet and favourite your posts. Companies benefit from using Twitter as it gives large corporations a ‘friendly’ human face to a product or company which people can relate to and feel valued when they give a response. Remember you don’t need to strictly use Twitter just to appear professional and business-like, it invites businesses to get involved with Twitter trends such as #FF and other other trends relevant to the day.

Facebook- Facebook is notoriously more difficult to gain likes and following as a business as the users tend to only be interested in connecting and communicating with their friends and families, not businesses. Try to use this as an opportunity to engage your friends with longer status updates, competitions and blog posts, engaging people to read and react on your facebook page. Share articles amongst other businesses and spend a bit more time building your facebook page with pictures which will encourage people to ‘like’ and comment. Facebook allows your business to have more of a personality too so use this to the best of your company’s advantage

Tweeting, blogging and facebook ‘liking’ can sometimes be seen as a waste of valuable time for a business, especially a smaller company who perhaps need to spend the time doing more constructive activities. However businesses are beginning to see how much customers appreciate and enjoy the interaction on social media sites, especially when the posts and likes are un-work related. Bringing banter from a company profile will make you more following just through being entertaining and interesting. Of course this does not suit every businesses tone or approach and would need to be carefully considered by the executive before a personality is decided when using social media. The method of bringing a company’s quirky side out via twitter and facebook has proved very successful for the likes of Innocent smoothies and even Heathrow Airport, so if its good enough for their business then why not consider it as an approach for your own.

What Social Network is right for your Business?

social network

If your business is yet to tap in to the social networking market then perhaps it’s a matter of picking the right site for your business.

Despite its advantages not every social networking site will be suitable for your business, whilst bigger brands may be able to spread time and resources over several sites, a smaller business may be looking to concentrate on one or two sites that are relative to their business model.

The key for smaller business is to devote as much time as possible finding it which site is right for them, luckily we’ve prepared some info that should help you decide.

social network

Facebook:

With one billion active monthly users Facebook is still the dominant force in social networking, despite other sites making inroads in the market.

Good for;

  • Connecting with your current customers
  • Sharing visual information
  • Communicating with the largest audience in social media
  • Business to consumer companies

Negatives;

  • Hard to build a reputation without brand identity
  • Customers will usually only ‘like’ trusted brands
  • Not as contextually focused as other sites
  • Difficult to break in to social circles

research tools

Twitter:

Twitter is Facebook’s main rival, making the most significant impact on social media in recent years experts suggest that this site is better prepared for the future as far as the mobile market is concerned.

Good for:

  • Sharing contextually related information
  • Quick, real time, microblogging
  • Targeting a relevant demographic
  • Building a following quickly

Negatives;

  • Followers have to click through to images
  • Limited to 140 characters
  • Easy to spam your audience

google+

Google+;

Google+ is a newcomer to the social networking sphere but it already has 400 million users, its presence is only going to improve with the search engine giving precedent to its own social network, Google+ is set to become an SEO ranking factor.

Good for

  • Business Communities that allow discussion on relevant topics
  • SEO Rankings
  • B2B businesses

Negatives;

  • Not as popular for B2C
  • Social Media newcomer
  • Not as widely recognised as others

linkedin

Linkedin;

Linkedin is rapidly expanding, adding millions of new users every month, the site is becoming a must have for any business looking to network.

  • The most highly targeted B2B site on the web
  • Extremely professional
  • Serves as a directory for businesses

Negatives;

  • Difficult to network, require permission to connect with other users
  • Not as ‘social’ as other sites
  • Difficult to make connections without brand recognition

Pinterest

Pinterest;

Pinterest can be a very good asset for a business that can share products and visual imagery and was the fastest growing social network in 2012.

  • Great for B2C businesses
  • Excellent for advertising products
  • One of the most visually targeted social media sites

Negatives;

  • Unsuitable for B2B businesses
  • Difficult to market without a visible product
  • Not so effective for service based businesses
  • Difficult to share text based content

So there you have five major social networking sites on the web, as you can see not every site will be suitable for every business, this largely depends on your product and the nature of your business but each site has distinct advantages.

Using Facebook to maximise your marketing

facebook

A recent survey has suggested that Facebook receives 3.2 billion likes and comments on average every single day, these figures are incredibly impressive and should not be dismissed when considering the use of Facebook to maximise your business online.

With the impressive usage as well as ever-strong branding Facebook has globally, it is no wonder this free and easy to use social media platform is one of the most popular form of marketing for any business.

Free to use- Creating a page on Facebook page for your business can happen within five minutes and costs nothing but can make all the difference to their profit. With such easy access to a powerful social media platform it makes sense to utilise Facebook as a free, easy to use tool to enhance your business potential and expand your network quickly.

This is particularly useful for smaller companies and businesses on smaller marketing budgets as social media can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool when utilised properly and they all still remain completely free to use.

Invest the time- Investing the time in your Facebook page not only makes your readers ‘share’ and generate interest around your page but it increases the growth of your business with little to no effort. By investing a small amount of time on your company’s Facebook page and creating a strong presence with ‘likes’ you are securing your company’s inclusion in conversations and acquiring connections with people online.

Generate interest on your page for free with images and videos that attract and grab attention, they don’t have to be related to your business but just something that will generate interest and activity on your page and encourage people to talk about your company and mention your business.

Visual aids- As mentioned previously Facebook actively encourages people to interact and generate interest with images and video sharing. Pictures keep people interested and are far more popular than lengthy blogs and by creating interest around your business’s account with quirky imagery your popularity on Facebook will quickly increase.

This also refers to the branding of social media sites such as Facebook as the logos have become very powerful brands in their own right. Seen everywhere from adverts on television to posters on the street, the social media icons are powerful enough to appear on the front page of your company’s website and people will immediately know what they are.

Recently SEO experts have found that strong and regular activity on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, generates more traffic on the business website and therefore enhances your page ranking. By maintaining any sort of presence on these huge social media sites can make all the difference when it comes to SEO and page rank and are all completely free to use.

Linking your business’s homepage to your social media sites and vice versa will not only ensure a better flow of traffic and general visits but enhance your page ranking overall, maximising your SEO and presence as a business.

How Do You Judge a Business?

how do you judge a business

Let’s say for instance you’re searching for an Online Marketing consultancy service, you’re certain to go through all the usual steps, Google searches, Online Directories etc.. but how do you judge a business based on their online identity alone.

This can be applicable for any kind of business query, whether you’re searching for an outsourcing company or a plumbing service.

Before the dawn of the digital age you’d find yourself wading through a yellow pages style book, with no real idea of what you were getting.

When you’re faced with pages and pages of choices online, how do you select what potential business partner is the right one for you? You essentially need to get in the mindset of the consumer or your potential client.

This is what we’re attempting to find out, there are numerous aspects to consider as far as a business’s online presence is concerned.

SEO

Perhaps the most important aspect of finding a business, is their place on a SERP (Search engine results pages). After all, you don’t need to be a web wizard to figure out how important Google is for finding anything from businesses to the meaning of life.

The fact is the higher you rank for a specific search term, take the phrase “online marketing agency” for example, the more interest you’ll attract to your business.

As far as the user is concerned, is a business’s ranking relative to its success?

Getting on to Google’s front page is a potential goldmine as far as businesses are concerned, and it’s the chief purpose of the SEO industry, if you offer SEO as part of your business it’s essential that your business lives up to its name and is optimised accordingly.

The Website

Whether you’ve been recommended a website via word of mouth or through Google’s results pages, clicking the page is the next step. Your website represents your online presence and your overall brand, this is why major brands dedicate a massive amount of their budgets for web design, content management, web hosting services and blogging.

First impressions are crucial when it comes to your website, that means that the style, colour and usability of your website are all taken in to consideration.

Having an outdated website can instantly turn away visitors from your business and can give your competitors the edge.

Of course it goes without saying that the content on your page should be informative and relative to what your business offers too, if a user takes the time to read your website make sure they’re aware of your business set-up, your personnel and the services you offer.

Social Media

how do you judge a business

How important are followers when judging a business?

This one of the most recent and intriguing questions asked by SME businesses, one thing is for certain your Social Media presence is becoming increasingly important in twenty-first century business.

We aren’t talking specifically about businesses related exclusively to Online Marketing here, having an effective or at the very least an active Social Media marketing campaign signals to potential clients and customers that you’re a modern, dynamic business that’s able to react to technological and cultural changes.

Having an engaged, loyal ‘fanbase’ lets other know that you’re a trusted business that’s likely to deliver good product/service, creating a unique selling point for your business.

Other contributing factors

Locality; Being local is a determining factor for some businesses, if your potential business partner is based close-by then you’ll have more of an opportunity to meet face to face.

The proximity of your business relates back to SEO, optimising your website so it targets your local area can be beneficial for many businesses but restricting for others offering a global service.

The importance of locality does depend on the nature of the business, particularly in the digital age. It’s now possible to communicate with almost anyone in the world seamlessly over the web, so this can be considered a minuscule issue when it comes to outsourcing companies and online marketing agencies.

Who runs the business:

Don’t be surprised if a user does some research in to the identity of the business owner, highlighting the importance of business profiles. Linkedin accounts in particular offer a glimpse in to your professional working life, how many connections you have, your previous work experience and even your endorsements can be taken in to account.

If you run a small business your online identity has to convey an impression of trust and effective results.

In Conclusion

In this day and age almost every aspect of a business can be taken in to account if you’re offering a service or a product the user has to be fully confident that your brand can deliver.

All of these aspects to pose an interesting question as to what is the most effective way of judging a business?

Online Marketing – The fresher of the Marketing world

marketing

Only six years ago the idea of marketing online was simply a pipe dream, spoken about with apprehension but not fully understood and hardly ever practised within business strategies. Fast forward six years and most businesses are benefiting highly from and using some form of online marketing. From free, easy-access social media platforms such as twitter and Facebook, to simple website building and instant blogging. Online marketing has simplified and enhanced business and business strategy to such an extent, some companies are solely online and can generate money simply with their online presence.

With such a fresh and popular response, it is no surprise companies are recognising the importance of a strong online presence as it is globally used by millions of consumers. Through this online presence alone, customers are able to contact any company with issues and concerns they have with a simple click of a button, forcing businesses to act fast to keep on top of demand. Social media platforms such as twitter and Facebook have enhanced business simply by boosting profile and awareness with various promotions and competitions. This then expands the business awareness as more customers choose to access their own social media site, for free, being instantly exposed to the campaigns etc. For such a new and innovative form of marketing, online has proved one of the most effective and fastest methods, bringing business and customer together in a direct and less intrusive manner. Unlike traditional methods with newspapers, leaflets, promotional posters etc. online marketing targets consumers and customers directly, advertising something similar to an item they have ‘liked’ or ‘followed’ via social media. This also targets potential new customers, as companies are able interest them with similar products and messaging based on search terms and other related items they have looked up.

The long-term exposure of online social media marketing heavily outweighs other traditional methods as well, profiles and various campaigns and adverts have the opportunity to go viral and will remain online forever unless a company decided to take it down or the stop the advert. Whereas posters and adverts printed in papers etc. only last as long as the publication and are more likely to be forgotten as they offer a lot less exposure. As well as being incredibly popular and globally recognised, social media has introduced a savvy and demanding new consumer when it comes to marketing, as people search for reviews and opinions as well as researching reputations of companies before purchasing anything. Sites such as twitter and Facebook have meant companies need to work extra hard in building good communications with their customers as consumers are able to directly complain or give negative press as well as positive response on public forums and social networking sites.

With social media being so easily accessed and globally used in modern society it is no wonder more and more companies are choosing to use platforms such as twitter and Facebook for their marketing campaigns, with such a high success rate.

By Emily Isaac

Don’t Just Count Your Likes

facebook

Many businesses measure the strength of their Social Media Marketing campaign by the number of likes or followers they have however sometimes the stats can be deceiving…

Take Facebook for example;

Over the years you may have fought tirelessly to reach 1000 likes on Facebook, of course this is an achievement for any small business or start-up company, after all it can be difficult to gain any sort of online presence without any existing concept of brand identity.

But How Many of those followers are actually viewing your content?

The fact is that many people will ‘like’ or ‘follow’ your content looking for their own purposes, they’ll want you to like their page and follow them back.

Some will like your page initially but the information you share may not be what they hand in mind, they may even resort to hiding the information from their news feed.

So how do you measure the effectiveness of your SMM strategy?

It’s all about engagement

There’s simply no use boasting about the thousands likes you have if you’re audience isn’t engaging with you. Comments, retweets and sharing are vital.

So ideally you need to focus your strategy on getting followers that are part of your demographic, they can be localised, of a certain age group or interested in a particular concept.

There are some simple rules to stand by as far as maintaining your followers:

  • Don’t Spam; Regurgitating information repeatedly or repeatedly asking your followers to purchase your product will likely clog up their news feed and force them to click “unfollow”
  • Keep it light; Social Media users don’t always want to be reminded of heart disease or death for instance, no matter how much it may raise the chances of them buying your product.
  • Focus on Engaging not Selling: Begging your followers to buy your product or invest in your services will almost definitely turn them away.
  • Keep it Visual: It’s no coincidence that videos and images are shared the most through social media, as human beings we’re far more likely to digest visual information than text based content.

No matter how much you want to brag about your Facebook friends or Twitter followers as a business they’re simply not as much of an asset if they don’t engage with your brand so you should always focus on maintaining your audience’s interest.

Last Year Facebook Mobile Users Exceeded PC Users

facebook mobile

For the first time on record, in the final quarter of 2012 Facebook recorded more mobile users than those on a PC device.

There were 680 million mobile monthly active users compared to the overall total of 1 billion.

157 million of those only accessed the site through their mobile.

Facebook’s mobile presence has been rapidly increasing in recent years, largely due to the overall development of mobile technology.

  • There were only 245 million monthly mobile users in 2010.

Evidently however it’s clear that businesses have had to adapt their strategies to conform to the ever growing presence of mobile technology.

The company boasted over £800 million pounds in ad revenue in the final quarter of 2012, nearly £200 million of that was generated via mobile.

Experts say that this growth in mobile revenue will show progress to investors in the future.

What does this mean for Small businesses?

Smaller businesses have to follow suit, ignoring mobile users means you’re significantly reducing your potential audience.

Making your site mobile friendly is easier than you might think; here are some simple ideas to implement.

  • Make your site more visual, think videos, images and infographics
  • Increase your font
  • Increase the size of click through buttons on your site
  • Simplify your homepage, think the minimalist approach

Have a look at this post on making your page “Tablet Friendly”

The amount of users accessing your page through a mobile device is only going to increase, so make sure users aren’t frustrated by an ‘unfriendly’ mobile site.

The Top 10 Web 2.0 Sites

Web 2.0

A web 2.0 site is a name that was coined in the early days of the internet for sites that use technology beyond that of regular static pages. The name comes from O’Reilly Media’s Web 2.0 Conference that was held in 2004. Although the name suggests that Web 2.0 is a newer, updated version of the internet that’s familiar to the public it’s simply the name given to the ways software developers have modified the initial version of the work-wide-web.

What does a Web 2.0 Site look like?

Web 2.0

Instead of viewing a website passively, a web 2.0 site could allow users to interact with each other through Social Media as well as allow user-generated content.

This can be found in social networking sites, video sharing sites, web applications, blogs and more.

So, to give you an idea of the type of website that uses this format, Here are 10 of the most popular Web 2.0 sites out there.

1. Facebook: Unsurprisingly Facebook is the most popular web 2.0 site, Facebook has become one of the most widely recognised brands in the world and has been described as a website that defined a generation, the website thrives on user-generated content, images, applications, video and more. The website now generates an estimated 750 million visitors per month, with around a billion users world wide.

2. YouTube: Although some are unfamiliar that the website is a Web 2.0 site, like many other sites on the list it focuses on user-generated content rather than content of its own. It’s estimated that the site receives 450 million visits per month making it the second most popular site on the list.

3. Wikipedia: The Internet’s chief free online encyclopedia thrives on content from well-informed (though not always) users on an enormous variety of topics. Users are free to add and edit information as they please, pending approval by the site. Contrary to many other sites on the list, the website thrives on volunteer donations. Nevertheless the site generates around 350 million visitors per month.

4. Twitter: This social networking site is perhaps the most improved social media brand of the last two years making massive inroads in to the domination of Facebook. The site is estimated to be worth around 7 billion pounds and gets around 200 million unique monthly visitors.

5. Craigslist: Is a classified advertisements website for products, services, jobs and CVs. The site was invented by Craig Newmark in 1995 and has become increasinly popular in the United States and throughout the world, generating around 160 million visitors per month.

6. WordPress: (Which I am using as we speak) Is the perfect example of a Web 2.0 site, it allows users to manage and create content for their own websites, it is an extremely useful tool for web and content management. WordPress generates an estimated 150 million unique visitors a month.

7. IMDB: The “Internet Movie Database is an online database for movies, television shows and video games. Users and critics alike use the website to review visual entertainment as well as individual actors, the site is owned by Amazon and generates around 100 million unique visitors a month, it also has a rapidly developing mobile presence!

8. Flickr: Is a popular image hosting and video hosting website that boasts an impressive online community. The site was purchased from Ludicorp in 2005 by Yahoo! The website thrives on user generated content, whether it’s images, videos or when used as a tool for bloggers. It’s estimated that the site receives around 90 million unique visitors per month.

9. Blogger: Is a blog-publishing website that allows users to create and promote Blogs. The site was bought by Google in 2003, the blogs are hosted by Google via a subdomain at blogspot.com. The Site has an estimated 75 million visitors per month!

10. Tumblr: Is a social networking website and a microblogging platform that allows users to post multimedia and other content. Users can follow each other’s blogs or make their blogs private. It was estimated that in 2012 that the site had over 77 million blogs live on the site. It now generates an estimated 60 million visitors per month.

So there we have the 10 most popular web 2.0 sites on the internet, these websites focus primarily on user-generated content and social media which is why they have become some of the most visited pages in the world today.

 

Is your Social Media Marketing strategy working?

Social Media

Both SME and industry giants have increasingly turned their attentions (and investment) towards Social Media. Social Media Marketing (or SMM) has become a strategy of its own as a bi-product of marketing itself. Businesses are convinced that Social Media will eventually deliver monetary results, this is often the case, there’s no disputing that SMM has extraordinary potential to attract revenue but importantly the strategy has to be delivered correctly.

In recent years businesses were reluctant to invest time and money in an SMM strategy, now even the most stubborn “old school” business man or woman will find it hard to dispute its potential.

Statistics show only 6% of businesses believe SMM is a waste of time that will not result in a Return on Investment (ROI).

In this post we’ll look at businesses attitudes towards social media in 2013 and what exactly makes a successful SMM strategy.

For example 64% of businesses are confident that their current SMM strategy will deliver a return on their investment. This means that the majority of businesses in the twenty first century believe in the potential of social media to market their products or services, they also believe that the strategy they are currently utilising will result in revenue.

Clearly most businesses out there are confident, but how exactly can you measure the “success” of a social media strategy? You’ll have to take many factors in to account including;

  • Followers/Likes
  • Sharing, forwarding, retweeting and commenting
  • Visits to your page
  • Increases in Sales
  • General Brand awareness

Luckily for you we’ve got some tips to find out how effective your strategy really is.

  • Try measuring the effectiveness of your different social networks collectively and individually to see what medium is helping you the most, what’s generating the most traffic, revenue and interaction. Perhaps you’ll get more interaction from your 1000 Twitter followers than your 5000 Facebook followers for example.
  • Track how many visits to your site actually come through Social Media and how many lead to any sort of conversion.
  • Monitor the behaviour of your isolated social media traffic, explore how social media “leads” enter, explore and spend time on your page. Are they simply passing by or researching what your business actually offers.
  • What content on your web page gets the most traffic, try tailoring your SMM strategy to what’s getting the best results.

For more information on Social Media, how to implement your SMM strategy and the benefits social media can bring in traffic and revenue, take a look at some of our previous entries on the blog.
 

7 Tips for Marketing your Facebook Business Page

Facebook Business and Marketing

How to market your Facebook page

Your Facebook page, or “Timeline” as of 2011 is your window to an audience of around 900 million people, that’s why it’s incredibly important to utilise this space in the most effective manner possible. For a small or medium sized business Facebook represents the opportunity to appeal an unparalleled audience, for free. Thus Facebook represents a viable solution as a marketing tool for any business lacking the resources to advertise a product service on prime-time television on a Saturday night.

There are some Facebook practices that should be common sense, update your content, provide information, be friendly and reply to fans. Here are some tips to increase the presence of your Timeline, the foundation for any Facebook marketing campaign. If you’re a small or medium sized business, you may find this guide provides useful information for the initial set up of your Facebook profile.

1. Images are Important

With the development of the Timeline in place of the regular page, imagery has become increasingly important on your page. Social Media naturally makes brands more accessible to the public, use imagery to capitalise on this. Social networking provides a good way to market the ‘social’ side of your business, giving the public a way to see behind the slogans and technical aspects of your company.

2. Make the most of your Cover Photo

“The new cover photo captures culture and essence of a brand and can showcase their products — it’s the first thing people will see when they visit a brand’s page” – Facebook spokesperson.

Think of your cover photo as the first impression your business makes on your potential customers. You don’t have to be an online marketing genius to realise that the cover photo is the most eye catching feature on your Timeline, it’s therefore important that the photo you use is appealing, relevant and also a high resolution image.

Your profile picture is located within your cover photo, this makes an ideal location for your logo or another relevant thumbnail style image, this smaller image will accompany you in comments and posts so make sure you’ve made a suitable choice.

3. Pin or Highlight your most important posts

As a result of the update, the content on your page is no longer sorted in chronological order alone, it’s possible to highlight the posts of your choice to get them where your audience will see them. You can do this by selecting the star in the top right corner of any post on the page. It will then become larger and promoted higher up on the Timeline.

4. Organise your Apps

Just below your cover image you’ll see the space for apps, this may include photos, videos, notes and thousands of other options such as customised apps. This space gets more visibility than anything below on your Timeline.

5. Provide Exclusivity

Giving exclusive offers to your customers provides an incentive for them to engage with your brand, competitions can give your followers an incentive to engage with your product as well as encourage others to ‘like’ your page. Keeping the competition simple with a tempting reward will encourage a lot of submissions on your page and will increase your overall online presence.

6. Milestones

You don’t want the early months of your Timeline to look like a graveyard, populate your Timeline with memorable milestones. This is a good way to inform your customers of what your brand has achieved, for some this may be as small as hiring a new employee for others it may be reaching 1 million likes. Updating your milestones is an effective way of letting your followers know how your business is doing as well as celebrating your achievements.

7. Love your fans

Engaging with your fans should be the foundation for any social network strategy. Through utilising all of these tips you should be able to build a strong fan base that is engaged and passionate about your brand and therefore willing to invest in your product or services. Understanding the important of Facebook opens up a huge opportunity to find and interact with potential customers.