Monthly Archives: October 2014

Nicola Peaty

Top tips for successful networking

By Nicola Peaty

Networking groups have become increasingly popular and readily available in recent years. If used effectively, they can be a great way to meet contacts that can either help your business or become potential clients.

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Here are some top tips in how to make the most of networking groups:
1. Decide which groups are best suited to your needs. Before you turn up at each and every group going in your area, make sure you know the type of people attending the groups. There are some specific to just business women, some just for a local town, some for selected industries, and some for start-up businesses. So it’s important to chose the ones which closely match you and your company.
2. Know why you are going. This possibly sounds a bit strange but you must know why you are attending so that you come across as focussed and with clear business intentions. Is your goal to generate a specific business link to help a particular part of your company? Or, are you purely marketing yourself and raising brand awareness? Whatever your goal, be prepared and stay with your intended purpose.
3. Have a clear message. Once engaged in conversation, it’s so much more professional to convey your purpose if it is thought through. Waffling will get you nowhere and it doesn’t reflect well on you or your company.
4. Listen as well as you speak. All attendees will be there to communicate their intentions. It’s important to listen to others in order to properly engage and ascertain whether they are of any interest. Do not go round like a walking advert announcing the wonders of your company without giving others a chance to talk.
5. Ask relevant questions. A clever line of questioning will allow you to dig a bit and find out potential useful connections. Avoid closed answers questions which give you a yes or no and ask open-ended questions which stimulates more conversation.
6. Give some free advice. If the opportunity arises in your discussions where you are able to impart snippets of useful business information that could help your contact, then that will show your expertise and how your company could be of use to their company, without any overt selling.
7. Be genuine. People buy people and first impressions matter. So make sure your manner is friendly, calm and professional. This will immediately put the other person at ease and allow the conversation to begin much more easily.
8. Move on politely. Let’s face it everyone at the networking group wants to get the most out of it, so if it becomes quite clear in any discussions with new contacts that there is little potential or relevance between you, then it is perfectly acceptable to politely end the conversation and move on.
9. Follow up with contacts. If you manage to make some useful connections at the groups, then don’t wait too long before you follow up and make the next contact with them. This is especially true if you at any point, mentioned you would send them details or call them for a specific purpose.
10. Convert contacts into database and LinkedIn. Post event, make sure you make use of the business cards you collected by entering details into your contact database with relevant notes attached. Plus, if applicable, link in on social media such as LinkedIn and invite contacts to like your social media pages.

 

 

Nicola Peaty

Top 10 Tips for YouTube

By Nicola Peaty

For anyone questioning whether or not their business should be using YouTube, I thought I’d let this great infographic do the talking!

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Video is huge and has so many benefits than posting a thousand words. Please see my blog on the reasons to use video to help market your business. http://www.vgandassociates.com/using-video-for-marketing/

This blog is about how to specifically use YouTube with our top ten tips covering some main points to consider when uploading your range of creative and quality videos for your business.

1. YouTube allows you to control the title and description of your video which means you can use specific keywords for SEO purposes. Choose words which people will be searching on and related to your video such as topics, products or even company name. As the second largest search engine, YouTube should be treated in the same way as if optimising content for Google, except this is video content.
2. YouTube still has the same social networking aspects as other social media platforms. Use this to its full use to interact and engage with customers and build online communities.
3. You can either share your videos publicly or for a targeted audience on YouTube, so this is an opportunity to segment and select specific customers for specific videos to ensure total relevant content marketing.
4. YouTube allows you to embed your videos with your website or any social media including blogs. This means you can fully integrate your multimedia marketing as long as your message and brand remains constant and you fully track all platforms to measure impact.
5. You can turn the commenting system on or off with each video. If you are able to monitor all feedback posts and how viewers rate and share your videos, then this is a great way to interact with potential customers. It opens the communication channel for both parties to exchange thoughts, opinions and advice. If however, you do not have the capacity to invest time and effort into this, make sure you turn the commenting facility to off, otherwise your viewers may get annoyed that they have not received a response to their feedback.
6. YouTube channel allows you to bring together all your videos. You can customise with your branding and complete the ‘About’ section with your business profile and even create your own URL for the video channel. See a couple of well branded channels below.
7. YouTube advertising gives you the opportunity to target and promote your videos to a specific profile audience with selected demographics. It is on a pay-per-view basis, so you pay a certain amount every time someone views your video. This must be planned and monitored well to be fully effective and test whether it’s worth the expenditure according to the results and quality of customers responding.
8. YouTube Analytics are useful in tracking views, uploads, referrals, comments and demographics of viewers. As with all marketing, where possible it’s advisable to measure, and so anything else you can do such as Call to actions will give you that insight into the success of your video marketing. Using promotional codes and giving links to go to your website or a purpose built landing page, gives you that added chance to monitor whether your video message has had impact.
9. Place YouTube buttons on all your social media and website in prominent positions to drive traffic to your YouTube channel. As long as you keep the channel up-to-date with quality content and monitor analytics to and from the channel, this could be an effective lead generation source.
10. Use YouTube to search already existing videos on topics related to your business especially from competitors. Depending on their content and quality, you can decide whether to produce something different, better or with a unique angle.

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How to grow your business with social media



 

Nicola Peaty

The Dos and Don’ts when using LinkedIn as a marketing tool.

By Nicola Peaty

LinkedInNetoworlProfileSocial media platforms like Facebook and Twitter tend to market to consumers who are already familiar with the company and its products/services, and can potentially mix up the tone and content of their marketing messages. LinkedIn is a purely professional social network. LinkedIn concentrates on business networking by building useful contacts and leads which can influence their company and convert into paying customers.

Here are some ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ to get you to get your business started using LinkedIn:

Do: Create your company page in line with your brand. It should be an extension of your website in terms of how it looks and what you say.
Do: Ensure all employees have created their profile on LinkedIn. They should include details about their current role and how they help your company, complimentary references, job history and experience and a suitable photo. The summary part is very important and gives ‘outsiders’ an insight into the people behind the company, so ensure this is done with careful consideration.
Don’t: Blatant promotions will not go down well on LinkedIn. This is a professional platform which conforms better with exchanges of useful content and contacts.
Do: Use the search facility to your full advantage. This is the chance to find key individuals or companies who you wish to target. Even search by keywords relevant to your business to see who are connected or subjects being discussed.
Don’t: Marketing rules still apply, so don’t forget to follow the same etiquette when generating and nurturing leads. Think about how you wish to make contact and keep the messaging professional and relevant especially with the first email message. Think about the reasons for making the contact and include mutual benefits to encourage the connection.
Do: Invest time and effort updating your posts so that you are front of mind and staying part of topical issues and discussions.
Do: Plan who you wish to target. LinkedIn can open the doors to current and potential customers, stakeholders, industry bodies and associations. You can even target companies by type, size and market.
Don’t: Posting for the sake of posting is not the ideal plan. Quality content is what will help you stand out and position you as a voice of authority and with a good knowledge of your market.
Do: Make the most of the Groups either by following them or creating your own group. You can join groups of your target audience to follow their discussions and offer advice. You can join peer to peer groups to help each other and exchange opinions. Once you’ve been accepted as a member you can message other members which gives you the opportunity to connect with useful prospects and influencers. You can also invite these contacts to your own Group. By administering your own group, this is a great way of offering quality content, finding out thoughts on topics and targeting a key audience to its full potential.
Don’t: Don’t ignore what connections are saying about your company or market. Use LinkedIn to listen to what is being discussed on posts and group so that you are aware at all times. You can then join in and offer your view, acknowledge and challenge if necessary.
Do: Integrate LinkedIn as part of the overall marketing mix with other social media messaging. Be consistent with content across all platforms and monitor and measure response where applicable.
Don’t: Chances are that you can use LinkedIn to keep track on competitor activity. Don’t take your eye off what is being said or discussed about them so that you are aware of how they are being viewed and their influence within your market.

For specific details on LinkedIn services go to:
http://www.onlylinkedinmarketing.com/linkedin-services.aspx?gclid=CJKRl-OPi8ECFUjHtAodL2sARg