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Archive for the ‘Guides’ Category

Jun10

How to use a big event (like the world cup) to your Social Media advantage.

It’s a known fact that the biggest thing happening on Social Media is the brands and companies who are being reactive, quite possibly the most talked about tweet of all time is the reactive tweet from Oreo which was a reaction to the blackout at the 2013 Super Bowl. There can be a great advantage for your business in using big events and reactive tweets to help promote your company. The Oreo reactive tweet got over 15,000 retweets which would probably give it an audience of hundreds of thousands if not millions, which is an incredibly wide reach for the company, and from this their followers increased by 8,000. So you can see the appeal for companies to latch on to the big events that have wide audiences.

So here’s a look at how to prepare yourself for probably the world’s largest televised sporting event in the world, the World Cup and prepare yourself for any eventualities that you may be able to use to your favour.

First off, both Twitter and Facebook have launched features surrounding the World Cup which can help you to get involved in conversation. Twitter have added a feature to their sign up which will allow you to set your profile picture as your countries flag for the competition. They’re also adding a useful feature which will put all World Cup information in one place, simply by searching the #WorldCup hashtag. It will link to all the competing teams’ accounts as well as custom timelines for each match being played. They’ve also reintroduced ‘Hashflags’ which allow you to tag a country’s flag in your tweet with a simple three letter country code. eg. #ENG – This could be especially useful for live-tweeting about matches, as it’ll appear instantly clear to followers which match you’re discussing.

Facebook have launched a similar ‘hub’, a World Cup trending section which shows the latest trending stories surrounding the world cup as well as stories from your friends about the matches. It also shows information on the sidebar which includes the time and teams of the next upcoming match, teams that are playing now, and an interactive fan map which shows where fans of some of the top players come from. This could also be useful for watching popular stories unfold, if you see something interesting in this feed, jump on the story right away, whether it just be a re-share of an article or whether you can come up with an original piece to work with the story.

The best way to be prepared for any ‘event’ that may happen at the World Cup is to keep very aware, following all relevant news sources as well as more general areas surrounding the competition. Keep tabs on hashtags, possibly set up alerts (Google alerts are especially useful), as long as they won’t be buzzing every 30 seconds.

Prior to the event think about the best things that could come from the World Cup that would be easily linkable to your business, this will give you a head start on other companies. Maybe already have some tweets/images/videos prepared in the eventuality that one of these things does happen (if it doesn’t take too much time). Also I wouldn’t suggest you make a celebration video for England winning the World Cup, we all know it won’t happen.

Keeping a keen eye on your competitors is another good shout, they may break some news that you think you could give a better angle on. As well as keeping an eye on cultural style news sites like Mashable and Buzzfeed (even Reddit), they often break news before other traditional news sites, especially Reddit as it’s a community led site.

Basically, make sure you have an eagle eye out for everything, following the #WorldCup hashtag, setting up Google alerts and pre-planning are some of the best advice I can give you to appear truly reactive whilst in the midst of the World Cup.

A quick suggestion also so as to keep reactive content relevant to your company, is to think about the event you’re reacting to tonally, how does it represent your company, does it fit with previous content and will it relate closely to the topic and your business. Also, you’ll have to think about the media of your ‘reaction’ will it be a text post, an image, a video or a social media campaign? Work out what’s right for your business and stay alert, and don’t forget to enjoy the football!

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by Helen Stirling

May14

How to adjust your business to the digital age.

Yes we all know it, the digital age is already here, but is your company or small business still living a little in the past? If your boss still thinks that SEO is job title or that social media ‘will never catch on’ then perhaps you should re-think the business’s strategy. Keeping your company up to date with the digital age will not only improve your reach to the right audience but will likely boost all aspects of your business.

Website

One of the first things to consider is your website. Do you have one? Has it been updated regularly? If you don’t or it hasn’t; then updating the website is the first thing to do. A refresh of your website every now and then not only makes it more interesting for repeat visitors but also ensures that all of the information included is kept up to date.

Obviously you don’t have to go about this website overhaul yourself, there are many professionals out there who can take on the project for you, for a price of course. This will give you a slicker and more professional looking finish than if you were to learn HTML and do it yourself. Though if you are still getting a good amount of  leads from your website then you may be ok with your current setup.

SEO

SEO is so important these days to get  your business noticed on the internet. Search Engine Optimisation allows your business to rank higher on Google (and other search engines) search results. The idea behind this is that you are emulating what you think people will search to find your business and making sure that the search terms will allow them to find it. So the important thing here is keywords.

Keywords should be used in your website a fair amount to make sure that they are picked up in search terms. Make sure not overuse them though as Google will penalise you for spammy use of  keywords. As long as they fit in well where you are using them and part of full sentences then it should be fine. There are many other things, other than keywords which can also help boost your search engine rankings, such as regular blogging, videos and pictures.

Social Media Management

Social media is a huge part of our world now, whether you like it or not. Brands regularly interact with customers online as well as small businesses, and you can too. There are many marketing and social media companies these days that can help you get up and started, or can manage your accounts for you, or if you’d rather many offer social media training so that a direct employee can be trained in running the accounts to their full potential.

People now enjoy interacting with brands and businesses online, whereas before it may have felt a bit like the business was trying to hard to close a deal with customer; the emergence of fun tones of voices have changed a great deal for brands online and they continue to make their presence felt long after their first interactions. Using Social Media is also a great ‘word-of-mouth’ tool in that if one person shares a post of yours online that instantly opens up a whole new audience of people who may be interested in your business, and then it can happen again and again so that your reach on the internet will be vast.

So there we have some simple tips to bring your business into the digital age. Especially don’t forget the importance of SEO and Social Media in making your company have a larger audience reach.

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by Helen Stirling

Apr23

The Best Inspirational Twitter Accounts to Follow.

We all like a good inspirational story or a bit of motivation to make us want to get up and do something. This is the thing you should be reading. We’ll share with you some of the best Twitter accounts to follow to feel like you can tackle anyhting and to fill you with inspiration. These are in no particular order.

1. @_StephensStory

 

We’re going to start with this Twitter account after we shared a story early about Stephen and his fight against terminal cancer and the fact that he has now successfully raised £1 million for The Teenage Cancer Trust. Stephen tweets out daily about his struggle and his zest for life, and is attributed to such lovely quotes like the one above. The fact that his dedicating the rest of his life to raising money for others is admirable and though he sadly believes he is nearing the end of his life I’m sure his family will carry on his amazing legacy.

2. @SimonSinek

 

Simon is an author and a leader,  his tweets consist of uplifting and motivating messages about leadership as well as simply being human. The quotes he comes up with are truly inspiring and just having a quick scan down his twitter feed I already feel more powerful and motivated. If you don’t feel the same, well I don’t know what to say to that really!

3. @Oprah

 

The classic, Oprah is known for her inspirational stories that she shares as well as her spiritual advice and guidance. Her twitter feed is no different, she often sends out positive messages to her 28 million followers, though she does often share different sorts of tweets around her TV shows and channels, but the majority of her updates seem to be motivational.

4. @AdmireMyInspire

 

This Twitter account is literally just set up for inspirational quotes. They’re definitely plentiful too with several posts a day. Many posts are quotes attributed to other people or are retweets of other quotes that they have seen. I can guarantee that they’ll make you want to be a better person.

5. @TonyRobbins

 

Tony Robbins is famous in America as a life coach, self-help author and motivational speaker. As you’d expect his timeline on Twitter mirrors that; with posts about reaching for success as well as links to other motivational articles. He must be doing something right as he has over 2 million followers!

6. @TheJeetBanerjee

 

This a more business based account for motivation; if you want to climb the ladder of success then look no further than here for inspirational articles about success in the workplace. Jeet is only 21 but his advice is sound, he’s already been a TEDx speaker and is a best-selling author. On his feed you’ll find lots of links to articles which can help you improve on the road to success as well as his own personal quotes and he is very active at replying to those interested in what he has to say.

7. @DixieDynamite

 

Dixie is another life coach who shares her life advice on Twitter, her words are again motivational and inspirational, as the others but Dixie seems to be very active in chatting with her followers. She often shares advice from other followers well which is great for a larger perspective on life and musings about it.

8. @PersDevQuotes

This account does what it says on the tin. It’s chok-a-block full of quotes to inspire you towards your own personal development. This is in all capacities, whether it be success, happiness or confidence.

9. @0

Yes, @0 is a real account and it is all about motivation and inspiration. Most of the posts on this account are quotes on pictures but sometimes it’s just nice to see an inspirational quote picture… not that they really get me going. Though the quotes that are shared are very good.

10. @BeFitMotivation

 

A lot of fitness motivation quote Twitter accounts can have way too many photographs of skinny women posing in gym gear, but this one balances it out well, there are great quotes to help you keep motivated for your workout or your Gym trip.

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by Helen Stirling

Apr16

Quick tips to refresh your Social Media

It’s Spring, well ok we know it’s already halfway into Spring but now is most definitely the prefect time to give your Social Media a good old spring clean and hopefully refresh it enough so that you may gain new followers and get a whole new outlook on your accounts. So here we are to help you out, we’re like a handy feather duster that you need to reach those dustiest parts of your accounts. Or well, something like that.

1. Update, update, update

Everything, and we mean everything needs to be updated!

Bios: on Twitter, Facebook pages, Instagram, LinkedIn, anywhere, check them all and update them to something you think will get you noticed. Sometimes bios can be left for so long that things like ages, jobs and names have changed! Make sure people know who you are and what you’re about.

Pictures: now I’m not one to talk about this, because my Twitter picture has been the same for about 3 years now. But it is good to update your picture regularly, again especially if you have any noticeable changes in your appearance. I find that if someone on Twitter changes their picture and they tweet I really notice it, mainly as I’m scanning tweets all day so I’m used to the normal colours and patterns of the people I follow. So when I see a picture I don’t recognise I really notice it and it can often make me look twice at their tweet. Though there could be a downside to this, that people will notice you and could possibly think ‘why am I following them again?’ and unfollow you.

You may also want to think about updating your cover photos, and background images, theses are especially important on Google Plus and Facebook pages as they draw the main attention on your page when you visit it initially.

2. Refresh your content

You may have a long-running system that you get your content from the same websites over and over again, I know I’m often guilty of it. Give things a bit of a mix-up by looking up some new sites and gather some new content as well as giving your musings on life. A good way to gather up new news sources quickly is by using an RSS feed like Feedly, it means all you news is in one place, and you can easily categorise the sites into topics so you can find the sort of stories you’re looking for.

3. Do some spring cleaning!

It may be cut-throat but now is the time to clear out some of your followers. Those that are either inactive or fake *gasp* need to be rid of, people aren’t stupid these days and know if you’ve been boosting your numbers by paying for them. Also it’s a good idea to clear out your follows that may not serve any value to you any more, do you find yourself skimming past their every tweet? Might as well get rid of them! Obviously don’t announce your cull like some obnoxious accounts do, but do make sure you’re making the right decision, if they’re still providing value and conversation then keep them in the forefront of your social activity.

4. Reach out (and touch me!) 

Don’t really, but do put the effort in to push conversations, try and find more time to reply to tweets that interest you, if you aren’t already! This is especially easy to do if you’ve paid attention to the above tip, as everyone in your timeline will hopefully be saying something interesting! I can’t guarantee it though. As well as replying to others try and make a concious effort to start conversations, a good way to get initial interest is using hashtags, I wouldn’t recommend on Facebook though. Google Plus and Twitter are great for hashtags as that’s how most conversations are formed, and they both have trending topics which you can take advantage of too.

So there we have it, a few quick and easy tips to freshen up your content, go forth and Febreeze your Twitter, Hoover your Facebook and feather dust your Google Plus.

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by Helen Stirling

Apr09

How to manage all your social accounts from your phone.

So you’re regularly on the move and you’re having trouble keeping all your social media in check? Well no fear because we have some great tips to help you manage all your social accounts on mobile. With even more ‘everyday’ social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google Plus it’s hard to keep track of what’s happening where and to keep your schedule of putting out messages and statuses.

We’re obviously assuming you have a smartphone here, if you don’t you should probably stop reading as I don’t think I’ll be able to help you. However if you have a phone with apps then you are in the right place.

social apps

The first thing to take note of are social media management apps, one of the most famous and possibly the most used desktop versions is Hootsuite, which is also available as an app. As a personal note, I am not a massive fan of the Hootsuite app layout, I feel like it needs a cleaner interface, that said it does work well, and you can switch between different notifications by swiping and you can easily see all your accounts on the home page.

The other options available in the management tools market are Seesmic, an app which helps you to manage your Facebook and Twitter accounts in much the same way as Hootsuite, it is available as a free app but more features are available in the paid version which costs £1.89, a good investment if you’re a Facebook and Twitter addict. Buffer is another great management tool, it allows you to schedule posts for all the major social networks, not just Facebook and Twitter, the app is free for a short period of time, but after that there is a monthly subscription fee which allows you to have two logins ad up to 12 accounts on it. This app is especially useful for people who work in Social Media.

Another great app is SocialOomph which has the ability to scheduled your tweets for the whole day, as well as auto-follow any new followers you gain during the day. The app can also help you schedule blog posts, track keywords, promote profiles shorten urls and loads more.

Now then, looking at apps that aren’t management tools, you can choose from all the official apps of the networks, most of which are the best versions of themselves. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram etc all work perfectly and most of them have the options to turn push notifications on and off which will allow you to not be hassled by constant beeping all day long. Another great app made by Facebook themselves is the pages manager which has an easy to use interface and allows you to keep track of all of your Facebook pages, see the insights, schedule posts and events. This is especially useful on a mobile device as pages for bands or artists may need to create last minute events to post to fans.

If you decide to use all the official apps, which is what I do as I prefer their interfaces, it can be a good idea to group them all in a ‘Social’ app folder so you have them all in one place, and it makes it more likely that you’ll notice an app you haven’t checked in a while.

So there we have it, some of the best ways to keep all your social media accounts in check on your phone. Go forth and tweet!

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by Helen Stirling

Mar04

Starting Up on Social Media: An Introduction to Twitter

What is it?

This is where breaking news happens. Real-time micro blogging, however tweets are limited to 140 characters. You share observations and articles of interest to you with people who choose to follow you. Your whole message doesn’t have to fit into 140 characters, this can be your headline and you can link to a fuller article, blog post, video or photo. You follow people and businesses that interest you and your business.

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What’s happening?

How many people use it?

Over 900 million

Why should I use it?

As you’ll hear us say over and over again, don’t feel you have to use social networking sites if you don’t have the time to invest in them, or if you don’t think they will work for you. They are all very different, so if something is working of r you on Facebook, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work for you on Twitter.

As Twitter is so fast paced, it can be a lot more forgiving than Facebook, and it also gives you the opportunity to try out a number of different strategies to find out what works. You’re obviously limited to the number of characters that you can use in a tweet, which means messages need to be kept informative, yet concise.

How do I get a return?

Twitter is great for raising the profile of your business, it can generate business leads and get visitors over to your website. You can create a ready-made audience for your promotions, business news and new product releases. It also helps you to search for other relevant people, and even potential customers.

Twitter is also becoming an important customer service tool, with businesses having Twitter accounts manned full time to answer queries and sort problems. It has become common for users on Twitter to complain about a brand, and being involved in the conversation can quickly prevent damage.

To get return on your Twitter activity you need to have a well thought out campaign that’s attention grabbing. Having a social media strategy in place, alongside a detailed content plan can take away a lot of the headache, and gives you a detailed timeline to work to. This also means you can establish the way you’re looking to portray your brand online.

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A Social Media Agency’s top tips for Twitter

1.Update your Twitter account regularly. At least 10 times a day if you can manage it. Don’t worry about keeping content super specific to your business, share what you think is funny and interesting and this will help to build your follower base.

2. Engage in conversation. Talking to other people can help build your follower base and get your name out there.

3. Share content. Pictures and videos are far more likely to be shared by others, so why not share a picture with that news story?

4. Don’t overuse hashtags. These can be great for joining in with conversation, like #Sherlock or #Oscars, but don’t hashtag everything you do. No-one cares if you’re using a new #OliveOil in the #Kitchen, unless you’re Jamie Oliver.

5. Don’t link your Twitter and Facebook accounts to post the same thing. People don’t want to see the same updates twice, and the same content doesn’t work across both platforms.

What are you waiting for?

Twitter.com

 

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by Iona St Joseph

Mar03

Starting Up on Social Media: An Introduction to Facebook

What is it?

Facebook is a social networking service which has just celebrated its 10th birthday, having launched in 2004. It allows users to create a personal profile, add other users as friends, and exchange messages, including automatic notifications when they update their profile. As the most popular social network out there, you’ll undoubtedly have heard about it before. However, don’t worry if you’re not sure what you should be doing on there.

Generally seen as a more personal way of social networking, as you associate more with your friends on the site, rather than users you don’t know. However, this is one of the reasons why Facebook is so popular with brands and businesses. If you can create content that is deemed as shareable on Facebook, then you have a great way of reaching a large number of consumers, by targeting people and their friends.

Despite the fact that you see links on Twitter to Buzzfeed what seems like every single minute of the day, it’s actually Facebook where the majority of their shares lie. During December 2013, they had 5,637,393 shares on Facebook, and that probably isn’t going to show any sign of slowing down.

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Facebook is a social utility that connects you with the people around you.

How many people use it?

Approximately 1.2 billion, as of December 2013.

Why should I use Facebook?

As with any social media network, only use it if you plan on updating it on a daily basis. No Facebook page looks much better than one that hasn’t been updated for six months. Saying that however, we would recommend land-grabbing your business name across all social media networks, just to make sure that no-one else can get their hands on them.

If you’re looking to appeal to a wide range of people and their friends, then Facebook is where you need to be. However, be aware that people will let you know what they think if you open your business up to them on social networks.

Facebook advertising can be a great way to get your business out there, and is far cheaper than traditional advertising. You can target people by demographic and location, so it’s handy to be able to target the very customers you want to sell to.

How do I get a return?

With the biggest audience on any social network, using Facebook means that you can reach huge numbers on your page. Starbucks have over 36 million people on their page, whilst Skittles have 24 million, and that’s a lot of people to be talking to everyday. It’s important to remember that building up an audience and community takes time. You don’t have the same resources, or the same recognisable brand as Starbuck and Skittles, so working your way up to 36 million likes is going to take hard work.

Starbucks' Facebook Page

Starbucks’ Facebook Page

Anything is possible on Facebook thanks to the wonders of iFrames; you can get email sign ups, take bookings, sell tickets, the world is your oyster. Anything your website does your Facebook page can do, and what with the recent changes to the way competitions are run on the site, it’s now easier than ever to do promotions on your page (albeit with strict guidelines).

Facebook can be integrated into your website and marketing in other ways too, thanks to Facebook’s OpenGraph. You can have Facebook comments included on your businesses blog or news section. Timeline apps are of increasing importance as well, just look at the number of times you see what your Facebook friends are reading on The Guardian or what they’ve pinned on Pinterest.

When it comes to a social media strategy, Facebook is one of the foundations.

A Social Media Agency’s top five tips for Facebook:

1. Don’t link your Facebook and Twitter accounts. There’s a high chance that people are going to follow you on both, and they aren’t going to want to see duplicated content.

2. Remember to post at least three hours apart, otherwise your posts will be lumped together in people’s news feeds.

3. Facebook isn’t the same as Twitter. Three updates a day is ample.

4. To quote every douched social media conference out there, content is king. Make sure you’re sharing images and video, not just status updates, in order to increase engagements.

5. If someone is posting or commenting on your page with complaints, direct them offline. Get them to email you with their problem, and remove it from the public forum asap, so dirty laundry isn’t being aired in public.

What are you waiting for?

Facebook.com

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by Iona St Joseph