Monthly Archives: July 2014

Nicola Peaty

Top tips on how to use Twitter for your business.

By Nicola Peaty

twitter_social_media_marketingTwitter is an instant public messaging platform on a microblogging network. For marketers, it is another way to engage and interact with customers. It can be used for brand awareness, to involve your audience with your company and essentially for you to enter ‘conversation’ with your clientele. It takes time, care and attention and planning to serve as a productive marketing tool.

Here are our top tips on what to consider when using Twitter for your business:

Profile:
Even when setting up your profile, you should consider how to present your brand and company details. This should be consistent with your other social media tools. Choosing whether to use your logo and/or a head shot can give your company a different persona. (Remember if using a logo to have it resized for the square box available on Twitter.) All account details should of course be accurate, but think of this as another marketing opportunity to give a unique profile of you and your business. As soon as you are all set up, make sure your account is integrated with your website, blog etc to ensure optimum use of shared content, traffic and followers.

Who to follow:
We would advise the following stakeholders as useful people to follow, in order to know the full picture of who is saying what about all relevant areas regarding your business:
* Associations
* Customers
* Suppliers/vendors/partners
* Competitors
* Industry experts
* Local companies
Twitter now has an advanced search which allows you to find local businesses with which to connect and network. The Twitter List also enables you to create separate groups of followers so that you can follow different types of conversations and threads.

Join the conversation:
It’s probably wise to follow and listen first, before you dive into creating new content. Spend some time getting a feel for what is being discussed in general and topically regarding pertinent information for your business. Use the hash tag search to find out about particular subjects and connected people. Also, use the search engine to find out if and what people may be commenting about your business. Build up an idea of how you can respond if applicable or add to existing conversations and even where there are gaps of information which you can address.

Plan:
You are now ready to create a communications plan. This is a purposeful, thought-through idea of messages, topics and discussions which have the ultimate aim of attracting potential customers. Rather than ad-hoc, reactive tweets, your plan needs to have objectives which fit with your brand and your business goals and integrate with all other marketing activity. Think about the frequency, subject matter, using keywords and don’t forget to mix it up! That means tweeting a variety of product news, industry views, new promotions, fun stuff like competitions, using media such as photos and videos.

Adding the shortened URL links will enable you to drive traffic to the full content on your website/blog. Make sure you track the variation of tweets and identify which type of tweets get the best results. Optimise your tweets with the Twitter widget on your website and Tweet button on all content for followers to share.

Getting the right balance:
Like all other forms of social media marketing, you must strike a balance between promoting your business as well as providing your customers with useful content which they will value. By following and listening to what your customers and peers are tweeting, you’ll be able to participate by adding your comment and opinion, sharing your views and advice and even solutions if applicable. You will then catch the attention of the right people in the right way which will then bring you closer to your target audience.

You can still promote your company and products/services, just make sure you make the promotional tweets a bit more personal and conversational and less ‘marketing speak’. 140 characters is not a lot but can be used in so many different ways. The language, tone and style of your tweets should be true to your brand and give the required voice and personality.

Twitter has its own useful information on specific marketing tools.
https://business.twitter.com/marketing-twitter
Find out how to:
* Target with precision to connect with the right people
* Find out more about who’s on Twitter and how to reach them
* Understand your results with analytics
* Integrate your marketing efforts with Twitter buttons and embedded Tweets
* Scale your efforts to maximize your impact
* Get results with successful promotional tactics and strategies

We also found this link which gives you the basics on Twitter if you need to understand about the messaging network in a bit more detail.
http://www.computerweekly.com/feature/Twitter-for-business-How-to-make-it-work-for-your-business


How to grow your business with social media



Nicola Peaty

Top tips on how Pinterest can work for your business.

By Nicola Peaty

OK, so now we have yet another form of social media we have to factor into the marketing mix! But at least this one is image based and basically a glorified digital scrapbook which can be rather fun. Firstly, you need to know whether Pinterest users are within your client base. If they are, then the question is, how can you best utilise Pinterest for the benefit of your company and brand? We aim to help with our top tips:

Showcase:
This is your chance to really promote and display images of your products/services in an eye-catching array of pictures. ‘Pinboards’ are great to follow themes which users can identify with, such as new product lines, particular ranges or specific market areas of development, news or ideas. Your aim is to get content shared as much as possible so it has to be something your users will find of real value in order that they ‘like’ and ‘pin’. This is also an opportunity to humanise your brand and company, so share images of ‘inside the business’, add elements of humour and entertainment if applicable.

Two-way street.pinterest etiquette
Don’t just push out blatant self-promotion all the time or you’ll have a short social media life. Users like you to engage and interact. This is when the productive conversation develops between brand and consumers. Make sure you like and pin other content as well, to show followers what you find of interest. You’ll stand a better chance of users noticing your activity and checking out your original content. However, you should ensure that anything you do pin is still in-keeping with your brand values and relevant to the business and your followers.

Mix it up:
Have a plan but mix it up. But that, we mean that you should have a rough schedule of what you are pinning and it should be a mix of marketing messages for example, promoting new products, sharing informative content and incentivised competitions. Whatever your plan, you should try and build a worthy presence which engages with your followers. Sometimes trying to find original content all the time can be difficult and time consuming, so it’s ok to repin other content. Just make sure it fits in with your plan and that you credit where applicable. PhotoPin and Flickr are great sources for images and don’t’ forget infographics which are the hugely popular form of educative pictures. See our blog on Infographics 

Track and test:
Spend some time tracking and analysing how many users you have following you and what type of content they like and are pinning. If done well, you can test certain products to see what their reaction is and what they are drawn to. For example, throw out some new product ideas and see which ones your followers pin. Also, track what your target market is already pinning so that you have a good insight into their likes. That should help you build your own targeted community by pinning similar type content or in fact enhanced content for them to pin.

Integration:
Whatever your plan of activity on Pinterest, make sure it is integrated with other social media platforms, your website, and any search marketing or email marketing, so that it all comes together for the optimum results. Monitor the traffic, especially if it’s for a specific promotional push. You need to know and track where the sources of users have come from, as you would for any integrated marketing. Some useful analysis will determine if and when your browsers have become buyers.

In the interest of sharing useful content, we found the below infographic useful.

top-10-ways-use-pinterest-business3

Nicola Peaty

What to look for when assigning a web developer for your new website.

By Nicola Peaty

In the words of our very own web developer, we believe there are four crucial points to web developerconsider when looking for someone to work with on developing your new website.

1. Communication.                                                       

You must feel you can discuss technical and other issues easily and openly, between account handler, design team and development team. This is where most things go wrong. If in doubt always ask for clarification and ensure everything is documented including critical decisions, timelines and actions.

2. Flexibility.

A developer must understand that the scope of projects can change, and be able to adapt. Only as briefing discussions take place will all parties be aware of what is really needed. There is no point using a sledgehammer to crack a nut (or vice versa). The appropriate scale and size of website must be agreed once all requirements and specifications have been clarified.

3. Trust.

You must have a sense of trust that the developer is choosing the right solution for you or your client. That means understanding your company, brand, aims and targets. What are you and your website striving to achieve? What is the tone and positioning? Do you want to compete on a technical basis or start with a presence in the market? A developer must have a full appreciation of your goals to develop exactly what you need.

4. Technical capability.

This is an obvious prerequisite. There are many things here that might be essential, depending on the scale of the project. It would be advisable to know the experience and breadth of expertise of your developer to know if they are able to meet your requirements. If there is something specific you know you require then your developer should show you previous examples of how to develop this specification. If you have a requirement which may be unique to your business, then it’s up to your developer to brainstorm different options to create and build and advise on how other sites have done something similar which has worked well.

computerweeklyWe thought you may also like to view the advice from ComputerWeekly.com Guides on some things to consider when choosing a web developer:

Assessing a portfolio

The greatest resource available for researching a web developer’s aptitude and suitability for the kind of work you have in mind is the portfolio of jobs they have done in the past. Qualities to look for include variety, originality and whether you consider the style of the designs appropriate for the sites in question. Be sure to give consideration to the functional and practical aspects of the sites under review as much as their visual impact. Does the site load quickly? Does it require any plug-ins or software downloads to operate effectively? It is well worth your time entering the site using different web browsers and connection speeds to test compatibility and adaptability, because these issues can make or break a web site and you’ll want to see how well the developer accommodates them.

Technical ability                                                                                                                   

Be sure to read any descriptions of the projects to get an idea of what was involved. Though you may not fully understand some technical aspects of what?s involved, this guide should give you a firm enough grounding to appreciate when a difficult problem has been solved in a particularly elegant or innovative way. It may also be helpful to see if any of their past work is similar to your project.

SEO

SEO – Search Engine Optimisation – is of vital importance if your website is to receive large numbers of visitors. Look to see if SEO was a part of any projects in the portfolio. You can easily assess how effective a developer’s  SEO abilities are by performing a few searches yourself and noting how easy it is to find the sites in the portfolio.

Getting references

Any web developer should be happy to provide you with a list of satisfied clients as references. This is possibly the most important step in choosing the right company to work with as talking to past clients will give you an idea what the company is like to work with in practice. There are a number of questions worth asking referees. How well did the developer communicate with the clients? Did they deliver what was required within budget and to schedule? Has the project stood the test of time or presented any technical problems and is it dynamic and adaptable enough that alterations to the content can be made without difficulty?

Size of the organisation

You will likely find that there are all sizes of organisations available for your project, from freelance individuals to multinational corporations. Which is best depends on you and your project and there are advantages and disadvantages to either. While a freelancer will probably give you a very high level of personal service, they may not personally be able to take on all of your tasks, and employ a third party, losing the personal touch. Large companies offer stability, capacity and guarantees, but you may not receive such personal service, especially if you are a relatively small client. Additionally, a larger organisation is likely to be more stable. Ultimately, you should be confident that the individual or company you choose can provide you with high quality work and the level service you want.

A good relationship

It may seem obvious, but having a good working relationship with your developer is vital. You will inevitably need to communicate a lot and effectively in order to achieve the result you want, so you must feel comfortable with them. It?s no good having the world’s most sought-after developer working for you unless you feel able to tell them that they’ve done something wrong or that you don?t like something they’ve created. A developer should be able to take constructive criticism and suggestions and be generally personable. Compatibility between client and designer is key to generating the best possible end result.

Stability

In this current climate, it is important to make sure that a company is solvent and has the ability to survive. You don’t want a company going bust midway through your website development. Our recommendation is to view the latest accounts to ensure they have made no significant losses recently. It is also worth considering using Equifax or Experian for company credit worthiness checks.