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Social Media Tips & Hints
Tuesday 31st July 2012 12:50 PM
Social Media tips
Many small business owners I encounter are either too busy for social media, or they don't truly understand Facebook, Twitter or social media. So they choose to delegate these tools to admin staff or just don't bother. This may not always be in the best interest of the company.
Social media provides a unique opportunity that businesses should not ignore. That opportunity is a direct way to "talk" with your clients and community on a daily basis. After all, people are what brought you into business in the first place - aren't they?
Here are a few key points you should consider.
Listen to your customers
Social media has little to do with you; it's all about your audience, customers, or whomever you're trying to reach. Marketing lesson no.1 says to think like your customer thinks. And the same holds true in social media.
Not sure where your customers are on the social web? Just ask-you can let your customers show you their way.
Is social media really free?
Social media is attractive to small businesses because of its perceived price. You can set up a Facebook account, business page, YouTube account and Twitter account without paying a penny. There's no expensive software, or costly equipment to buy. However, even though there's a low price tag to get started, social media is far from free. It requires time, energy, and effort. It's a never-ending commitment to create interesting content, listen to conversations, and respond. Instead of rushing to join any and every social media network out there, take the slow and steady approach. Pick one or two that are thought to be effective in your market. Determine your key goals and define who will be responsible for keeping activity going day in and day out. And just remember that your time is valuable. This new marketing is far from free.
Success by follower counts - I don't think so
British Airways have more than 178,000 followers on Twitter. You probably don't, and that's OK. As a small business, you shouldn't get caught up in the numbers game or try to keep up with the big brands. Growing your base is important, but you should be focused on who's engaging with you. I know it's tempting to pay for a service to deliver thousands of followers literally overnight. However, in the long run it's more important to have a devoted following. Be patient. It's organic growth that matters. Things don't (and won't) happen overnight.
Social media isn't JUST for self-promotion
Most new comers' first experiment in social media isn't too successful. They spend all their time posting and tweeting about their company, their company news and services. Then the process quickly becomes incredibly frustrating as they see little results for their efforts. You need to realise one fundamental:
You need to focus on your customer's interests, and not yours.
Learn from what has already been done
Put on your customers shoes for awhile and take note of the various social media campaigns, or just general interactions that appeal to you. You could try bookmarking and noting particular blog posts or company responses on Facebook or Tweets.
But, you can't just copy what somebody else has already done. This poses an effectiveness issue. Just because something worked for one company doesn't mean it's going to work for your audience. You've got to learn from the work of others, while tailoring their experiences to your own particular needs, goals, and customers.
Don't lose your identity
You hire employees to specialise in or take care of certain areas of your business, and you may contract outside help for other jobs as well. There's tremendous value in hiring SM experts to help you, BUT you shouldn't expect to hand over the reins entirely.
By working closely alongside clients in their social media campaign(s), they should also be showing you how to learn about the various social platforms & communities & by spending just a little bit of time each week/month with you, you can learn how to use the platforms and interact with communities. As a result, you'll become more comfortable and proficient using these tools yourself. At the end of the day, it will result in more authentic interactions. More than anything, the key is to get in there and try. You have to start somewhere.
Posted 12:50 PM | Permalink
Monday 23rd July 2012 3:40 PM
Contd from Serif News post on 17th July " Why Do I Need a Website?"
Once you feel you have grasped and noted the basic concept and aims of your site, the next stage you need to approach is how you would like the content to appear. Will you make use of images, what are your keywords, in what way will you structure the site. For example, look at the front page of any newspaper - this in essence is the approach you need to take for your homepage, or page you want visitors to land on first.
For a heads up on the way content is organised within websites you could search for websites that have a similar interest as yours - this will help you decide what you like and don't like, could you improve on an idea of theirs. Take note of a page that leads to which other page, is it relevant to the previous one, did it help you find what you needed, are there clear tabs that help you navigate easily?
Bear in mind that you don't exactly know what a person is actually looking for when browsing, you can only assume, so with that in mind you need to ensure that a viewer can get to any section of your site within at least 2 clicks (also known of as having a 2nd & 3rd level to your site)
Next week I will touch upon the Structure of a website
Posted 3:40 PM | Permalink
Labour MP Fabian Hamilton cycles to Berlin from Leeds
Tuesday 17th July 2012 12:20 PM
Each year Fabian aims to raise money by bringing together two passions in his life, cycling and raising awareness of worthwhile causes within his constituency. Last year Fabian raised more than £3000 for St Gemmas Hospice in Moortown by cycling from London to Amsterdam, this year's cycling challenge will take him from the Marjorie & Arnold Ziff centre in Moortown on 20th July, to the British Embassy in Berlin and aims to complete this feat in just 8 days. All costs to complete this trip will be paid for by Fabian himself which means every penny raised will go directly to his 2 worthy charities.
The 2 Charities
Heart Research UK which is a Leeds based national charity 2nd only to the British Heart foundation in terms of size has been running for 50 years and continues to invest money into the causes, prevention and cure of Heart Disease. Fabian has been a trustee of the charity since 1988
They have been broadcasting over the AM frequency and the internet to the Leeds Jewish community for some time now and relies heavily on volunteers. Fabian is a regular broadcaster at the station and is hoping to help it keep running & gain an FM licence, which even with generosity from volunteers is a costly exercise, and his main reason for making them one of his charitable causes.
Posted 12:20 PM | Permalink
Why do I need a website?
Tuesday 17th July 2012 11:31 AM
Why do I need a website?
A question that is worryingly still being asked today - so let's see what benefits are gained in having one.
Due to the huge varying nature of businesses and organisations around today there wouldn't be enough time in the day for me to cover all the benefits of having a website for each case. Therefore I will use the 'charity' sector to highlight some valid reasons.
To raise awareness of their cause and organisation
Allowing for an easily accessible (worldwide) location for others to view their campaigns and news
Increase their ability to fundraise -create sections to donate or become a volunteer and sign up to take part in a campaign
Data capture and membership
Present media coverage, supporting film/radio material etc
Good communication - Interaction with supporters/subscribers
listen to real time feedback and discuss, thus enhancing their reputation and loyalty
There will be a huge number of other charitable and non-profit organisations out there whose noise you will be competing against - therefore the emphasis again is placed on your website being good.
So if you require your website to be successful, effective and useful...
Your Website will need to be
Visually appealing, yet not drowning in information and colours
Navigation through your site HAS to be easy and intuitive
Able to get your message across and understood
Planning your Website
People generally have an idea of how they want something to look before they set out buying it -for eg, a car they want, or a new outfit for a special occasion etc, BUT when creating a website this is not as important as you think. You need to ask yourself, what keywords do we think people will search for if they don't know our web address (URL), who are we targeting, who is the website for, what do we want to achieve, what information NEEDS to be included and how should the information be presented etc?
My point is the more planning research and preparation you do at the beginning, the easier it will be for you to make the decisions on design, fonts, images and how you feel the viewer should navigate through your website, later in the development.
Having this basic information and an understanding of the requirements and processes involved in getting your website up and running will save you a great deal of time, frustration & more importantly money in the long term. So, when you do decide you need to call in the web specialists the information and knowledge gained will aid you in communicating your ideas effectively and having everything ready and in place for them (us).
Your main aims before commencing with the build of your website, should be:
What are we hoping to achieve
Who are we targeting
What, if any, does our site fall into- ecommerce, informational, educational, social (our example is obviously charitable & non profit making )
How visually appealing does our website need to be for effect
Content, should it be witty, simple, and/or complex?
Are we selling, raising money - both?
Does it need to be interactive - 2 way
What is the lasting impression we want of ourselves/organisation
Will we need sound, images or video etc
This list is not definitive; it is just to help you understand the kind of angles and thought process you will need to go through.
Next week I will talk about content for your website.(POSTED ALREADY ON MON 23RD JULY)
Posted 11:31 AM | Permalink
Blog is great for SEO
Thursday 5th July 2012 10:59 AM
Blog is Great for SEO
If your company wants its customers to be aware of what your plan is for the next few weeks or months, or even historic events/milestones, you might want those who visit your website to be aware of your latest news. This can feature in a blog. The content which is found in a blog can be structured in a way which will help to promote not just your business's services but any products which are about to be launched. Courtesy of an SEO blog, this will update a user instantaneously.
When writing an SEO blog, there are many factors which should be considered. Only writing material which is relevant to YOUR business is recommended, as is adding links to specific pages. For example, if a link for children's toys is placed in a topic about children's bikes, users will become frustrated. Keeping the content similar to what other web pages are like will help to make a website appear as professional as possible.
When a blog post directs users to a social media site which a business has, this can also help to increase traffic. Having a Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter account is vital in the digital age. However, if customers are not aware of them, they aren't being capitalised on. By including a simple link in the blog at its very end will alert readers about how they can find out further information about your company.
However, if you want a leading copy writing company to compose an SEO blog for you, this can be done. With their experienced professionals on hand to write material which is well-structured and researched, they will be able to answer any queries which you have. By taking into consideration any ideas that you have about an SEO blog which they are writing, a copy writing company prides themselves on the expert results which their team produces.
Contact Serif for more information
Posted 10:59 AM | Permalink