Posts about: search engine marketing

Promote your social media with Fell Promotions – Promotional items, printed and embroidered clothing.

27 November 2014
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Fell Promotions has been a well established promotional company in Huddersfield for over 12 years specialising in embroidered clothing, print and promotional goods. However, in the last few years the company has shown significant growth and is now attracting customers from all over the country. Fell’s success came with such momentum, that it was difficult at times for the company to keep up with and so the media element of the company was left slightly neglected.

Aware of the importance of brand image in the promotional industry, Fell embraced the world of social media to attract more clients and to engage with their customers. Since January 2014 Fell have been actively using social media to promote new offers, products and company updates. Sales have risen by an estimated 25% since then. To identify where the extra sales were coming from staff were told to ask new clients where they had heard of us and sure enough the main sources were twitter and Facebook.

Fell maintain high production values as they rely heavily on word of mouth to attract new business as the local embroidery company. This is fantastic for the company locally but the problem with word of mouth is it doesn’t project everything we do as a company – which is exactly what social media can do!

Impressed with the wave of customers social media had brought our way, we decided it was time to celebrate our success via a re-brand to solidify our new image across all channels. This was also a great opportunity to practice what we preach by showing how social media and promotions can go hand in hand to create more sales!

Since social media has been such a credit to our success we’ve had a big push on trying to encourage our customers to include their social media details on their clothing, promotional items and stationery. It sounds obvious to include those details but a lot of companies shy away from doing so because they don’t have many likes or followers, but it’s important to build on that and show that you are active!

Like most businesses involved with design we too notice different trends in how companies market themselves. A popular idea at the moment is to only include social media details on promotional items, to tempt the receiver into finding out more about them. A lot of companies direct traffic to their website through social media, with the intention of gaining more likes and followers. Social media symbols are being increasingly popular on embroidered and printed company uniforms particularly for events because it enhances the idea of a large following.

In  January 2015 we are  launching our re-brand in conjunction with our new website so it is super important that we promote the launch as much as possible through our social media outlets and by using our promotional expertise! Combining the two we have come up with a Christmas Promotional gift that not only thanks our customers but rewards them on their next purchase and invites them to engage with us via social media.

We have replaced the Christmas cards with individually branded Santa hats with the logos of the companies we have done work within the past 12 months. The idea behind this is to wish our clients a Merry Christmas and show our appreciation by making them bespoke hats that they can use to promote themselves.

We also wanted to take this opportunity to reward our customers by offering them 10% off their January order when they tweet us a picture of themselves in their hats! Great opportunity for both parties to get their brand out there and the fun element captures the essence of the festive period! This offer is presented to them in celebration of the launch of the new website which is also in Janaury – perfect time to have a look for what is new to order!

Engagement with our clients is something we really want to push for in 2015 with the inclusion of social media buttons and review pages on our new website. We really want to push the products that we are not known for at present which includes safety workwear, fashionable workwear and to show the huge range of promotional giveaways we have to offer! We’ll be following these products up with regular blogs to give customers ideas for their business promotions.

Over the past year Fell Promotion’s social media has played a massive part in its development as a business. Signing up to the search and social media course has provided us with the skills and confidence to create a high ranking website and the knowledge to maintain it! Our hope is that our 2015 re-brand will set an example to our customers and inspire them to promote themselves with our services.

Keep up with our progress

www.fellpromotions.co.uk                          @fellpromotions

Connect with me

@pro_pecks

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The SSMM Formula for Digital Success

27 November 2014
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Formula for Digital Success

Formula for Digital Success

 About Me

I joined Search and Social Media Marketing as I wanted to learn how to enhance the online presence for our company. After a truly fascinating 9 weeks I am leaving the course with a great range of  new knowledge and ideas. I also appreciate now more than ever that the task ahead is going to take a great deal of hard work and dedication to get the online presence to where we want to be, which  leads me to my first major question- where exactly is it we want to be??

 

 1 Strategy

To generate an excellent online presence I first need to complete a review of activities undertaken so far and identify the key areas of interest. Without an online digital strategy I have no way to  review if we are achieving our aims. As a result a key task will be to generate a series of SMART objectives, ensuring that we have clear targets to guide us through the process of digital  improvement.

With a better understanding of Google analytics, webmaster tools, open site explorer and Semrush to name just a few I can really start to understand the existing company website and how we can move forward.

After many weeks of learning about producing engaging content it is now time to review the content available from Rowe Hankins and Cudis and consider the ways in which we can improve these to make the websites more useful to the customer.

 

2 On-Site Optimisation

Developing an on-site strategy is important to optimise a website and ensure it appears within the first page on the Search Engine Ranking Page. However the main objective for great content is to make the website useful for your target user.

Generating content stuffed full of keywords for the sake of it is not going to be helpful to the user thus is not going to make them want to read on and potentially follow a call to action. Instead the content needs to be natural, informative and useful to attract the customers attention, encourage them to develop an interest in the product, nurture the interest into desire and ultimately prompt them to take a desired action.

By conducting keyword research using online marketing tools such as Google Adwords we can ensure that the content included on the website is relevant for the website user.

In light of Google’s new ‘mobile friendly’ label it is clear that a website needs to be optimised for use on a mobile device, conversely BMON highlighted in a recent article that between 5% and 15% of their B2B clients’ website visits currently originate from mobile devices. With Google now showing the label at the side of search engine results identifying if a website is ‘mobile friendly’ this highlights that it is becoming more and more important to ensure a website is optimised for mobile and needs to be a key part of any B2B website developments.

 

3 Off-Site Optimisation

Link Building

Research will need to include reviewing the industry thought leaders and assessing if our company would be of interest to them to share. Gaining ‘link juice’ from building relationships with key industry influencers will greatly improve the credibility of a website, thus helping to improve visibility within the SERPs.

To attract the influential thought leaders of the target industry a great deal of thought and effort will need to go into producing an appealing content strategy discussed above, no easy task. One clear opportunity is to develop useful content that key competitors are not currently producing, enabling the website to get one step ahead in the process.

 

4 Social Media for B2B Websites

After discussions with the SSMM group it has become clear that the most important social media websites for B2B companies are primarily Linkedin, Twitter and Google+. It is also clear that the social media pages need to include a good mix of company information and useful content for followers to use and interact with.

If content shared is all just company posts then followers and connections could get bored and ignore the information provided. Alternatively, if content is just focused on sharing news and information the social media websites will not generate awareness of the company’s products or websites, thus we need to strike a balance sharing relevant useful content whilst raising awareness and driving traffic back to your website.

Planning ahead will also help to organise the social media presence of a company, by offline creating a plan or chart to provide structure to the content you want to use and online using platforms such as Hootsuite social media communications can be scheduled across multiple platforms days or weeks in advance.

 

5 Review

With excellent tools available for reviewing how the online activites are progressing there is every opportunity to review and update the digital marketing strategy, Adding google analytics to the company website and testing the new content we can see if the strategy is working. It also gives us the opportunity to review what is not working and we can update and review our strategies accordingly.

Also by understanding how a user arrives at our website, where they are from and what key pages they land on we can continuously develop the online marketing strategy to suite user needs thus continuously completing the SSMM digital marketing circle.

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The ever changing digital landscape

27 November 2014
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When I graduated from university in July earlier this year I didn’t expect to be back in a classroom so soon, however when the opportunity arose for me to attend a Search and Social Media Marketing Course at Salford University, I couldn’t wait to get started! For the past two years whilst studying I’ve worked as a Marketing Executive within a specialist digital marketing recruitment agency, witnessing first-hand this thriving sector evolve, change and grow. It’s this change; as well as the demand from employers for candidates with specialist skill sets that reinforced the importance of keeping an up to date knowledge of digital marketing techniques.

digital marketing trends

So what’s changed?

Working within a busy recruitment agency that services the North West’s leading media agencies and client-side employers, I’ve noticed a number of things change. For starters there are more and more jobs in this growing community; something that we are seeing more regularly is that businesses are embracing digital and creating full service in-house teams. Rather than outsourcing their digital marketing requirements or ignoring it all together, companies are looking for the brightest individuals to integrate into their businesses and deliver the marketing activity. From financial companies to law firms, businesses need an online presence and if they are going to compete in these challenging market places they need a specialist team leading the way. Highly sought after candidates including PPC and SEO, so if you can get real hands-on experience and a Google certification it’s likely you’ll won’t be looking for a job for long.

As part of my role within the agency I am responsible for writing compelling and search engine optimised job descriptions. It’s safe to say I’ve written a lot of job specs over the past two years and I can easily say this year has been all about the content! Surprised? Probably not, we’ve all heard the term “Content is King”, but content is no longer the “it” word being thrown around at digital marketing conferences, it’s now in the Job title. This past week alone new jobs have appeared in the form of Content Strategist, Content Co-coordinator, Content Writer and SEO Content Strategist…. And I’ve got a sneaky suspicion it’s all because of Google and their ominous (to some) updates. What else have I noticed? Well if there is something that goes hand in hand with great content, its PR and more specifically Digital PR. The increase in digital PR, blogger outreach and SEO outreach jobs was another new trends for 2014 and one that doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.

The digital sector is clearly very exciting and something that everyone wants to be a part of! But with this increased demand, how to we supply?

At The Candidate we are optimistic and very good at what we do, but the digital skills shortage is a real issue that needs to be addressed. We surveyed the digital sector in the North West and our findings revealed a staggering shortage of skilled digital professionals. Factors linked to training, recruitment processes and education are all causes why some truly exciting business are struggling to find the right staff.

I’m sure the future of digital is a very bright one & it’s help to fantastic courses like Search and Social Media Marketing and all of the enthusiastic and forward thinking people I’ve met whilst attending! Let’s see what 2015 has in store!

Harriet Wright 

@harri_hat

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Seven reasons for a Career Change to Search and Social Media Marketing?

27 November 2014
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Written from the view and experience of a budding digital marketer, @Maxine_Skelton

After 11 years running a small business in curtain retail I was looking at new ways to promote my business. I turned to digital marketing. To understand it better, I went to the many media exhibitions and joined an enlightening organisation, Manchester Digital. Along the way I met some great inspiring people, in an industry which I find very appealing.  This September I decided to commit to the Search & Social Media Marketing foundation course run by the University of Salford as a taster.  I immediately upgraded to the full professional course.  My mind was made up, career change and out of my comfort zone – scary, but exciting.

 

1.) Digital Marketing covers many skills

 

There are jobs that will appeal to many. Whether you are an introvert or extravert, a mathematics academic or a story teller, digital marketing covers so many types of marketing;

  • Social Media Marketing
  • Quality content writing
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Inbound Marketing
  • Copy Writing
  • Analytics
  • Web design and Development
  • Advertising

 

2.) Age is irrelevant

Passion, ability to learn and interpersonal skills will get you far.

 

3.) Skills

There is a shortage of skills in the industry. This benefits you by making it easier to get a foot in the door.

 

4.) A Great Future

The digital universe is doubling in size every year. By 2020, it is predicted that there will be a stack of iPad Airs reaching from the earth to the moon 6.6 times over. As a general rule, growing industries present opportunity and job security.

 

5.) Potentially some good salaries

In the North West, Starting as a Social Media Executive averages £25,000, to a Digital Director averaging £100,000. Get good at your game and getting an internship with the big social players in the US, for $1000’s a month.

 

6.)  Technology is always evolving

Media is set to be everywhere. Built into kitchen worktops, on watches and many other places. Gadgets will get smaller and faster. Changes in design such as a see through phone

 

7.)  Selfless opportunities

Opportunity to help others, especially in supporting struggling small internet businesses and charities.

 

Why I chose University of Salford to help me on my journey?

Having limited knowledge of Search and Social Media Marketing and wanted to fast track my skills and knowledge. I selected the course at the University of Salford, as it covered the full Digital Marketing spectrum. They offer support and guidance during and after the course has finished, there are regular talks from experienced industrial speakers and it is in a great location.

If you decide to take the step. Promote yourself digitally and you may never need to go to a job interview again, they’ll come looking for you.

Good luck and I hope this blog has been of help.

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The development of lallathechummyvegancook.com

27 November 2014
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In the process of my blog development, I have focused on two aspects that are fundamental in creating a successful website: on-site and off-site optimisation. Firstly, “on-site optimisation” refers to the work that can be done directly on the website, so that it can become friendlier to both search engines and users. Secondly, “off-site optimisation” is the process of promoting the website in order to improve rankings on search engines and attract visitors from different 3rd party websites.

The on-site optimisation process is wide ranging, and one of the main factors to form the process is the choice of keywords and how to place them in site’s content, title-tag, meta-description tag etc. In order to implement this aspect on my blog: www.lallathechummyvegancook.com, I have installed a special plugin called WordPressSEO by yoast. This plug-in helps bloggers to optimise their site’s content, title, meta-description, url-content-title and heading, by adding the keyword in the right place and limiting the meta-description and title length.

Furthermore, to make a website even more search engine friendly it is imperative that a sitemap is submitted to Google and other search engines through Google Webmaster tolls. This helps search engines to better index your website. WordPress has several plugins to automate the sitemap generation process, so “Google xml sitemap” was chosen to be utilised on my blog. The indexing of a new website, as with my blog, can take weeks and I must say that after two weeks only 6 items out of 17 have been submitted. Hence, this may be a little frustrating, but patience is required with this plugin, as it is the best one that I have utilised so far.

Moreover, I can also highly recommend a different plugin that I have installed called 404 to start, which sends a “404 page not found error” directly to the start page of your website (or any other page/site) to overcome problems with search engines. Therefore, if one user incorrectly writes your URL , due to this plugin, then they will be redirected to your website.

When you spend time and put effort into the optimisation of your website it becomes necessary to have a reword for that .The return of investment (ROI),( time investment in my case), needs to be at least a constant increase in the number of users. According to Google Analytics I have 67 users at the moment and this is a big improvement from when I started 1 and half months ago and only had 10 users. However, this is not adequate, which has made me analyse the reason why users might follow my website. The answer is quite simple: It is quality content.

“Yes, but how can i write quality content?”

The answer is even easier still; I should focus my writing effort on my target audience and what could appeal to them. Therefore, I am creating a niche in writing to and for vegans. This kind of audience not only is interested in recipes for meals made without eggs, milk and meat, but is also concerned about being healthy and aware of what they are eating in terms of aliment properties. This is precisely why I have created a page called vegan product review, where I write about the nutrients and properties of the products that I have tried. Moreover, in the future I would like to create a new section that deals with vegan cosmetic that are not tested on animals, which I have personally tried.

An additional matter is the vital role that media, as a form of content enrichment, plays in the success of a website. Therefore, Poor quality media would be better avoided (such as too dark images or ones that are blurred or too bright), so to improve the quality of our pictures we should use specific programs. As for pictures, the most well-known program is the so called Photoshop. This program corrects the imperfections of the pictures and makes them prettier to look at. This is an aspect that I have to improve, as I know that the pictures that I use are low quality. In fact, they are taken with my mobile and I do not have any kind of program that can improve them. Additionally, it is necessary to note that more than 60 % of my blogs are made up of photos, and if I want to make my blog experience more appealing for customers I must take this into account.

Unfortunately, a blogger does not always have the time to write new content that has all the characteristics stated above. Therefore, they should also take content from other websites, blogs and so on, as this practise helps them to share content and to simplify their lives. I personally do it in order to provide as more useful information as possible and because I am not an expert in aliment properties, which means I have to conduct some research in relation to this topic from authoritative websites.

In regards to the off-site optimisation, I haven t properly started yet, as firstly I wish to create a great content to provide people with an incentive to link to my website. Nevertheless, I have started to promote my blog on Twitter and Facebook. On Twitter I usually post the pictures of a fresh dish that I have just made, and I announce when I am going to post a new recipe. What is more, I give my personal thoughts about life, veganism and so on. Simultaneously, on Facebook I have created a page that is called “lalla the chummy vegan cook” that should promote my blog to the Facebook audience. Moreover, I have linked all these social networks to my website so that they can promote it.

When all these points are taken in to consideration, I can say the optimisation of my website is at a good stage, although I am still aware that a lot is required to be worked upon in order to get more traffic and a better position in the organic research.

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Social Media Marketing for Brands

27 November 2014
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I’ll begin by introducing myself, my name is Wes Clarke and I’m a Senior Account Executive at an Advertising and Marketing agency called C21 Creative Communications based in Altrincham, South Manchester. I’m also responsible for our social media accounts and assist our clients with their social media and SEO needs.

Brands of all shapes and sizes can be found in the world of social media.

I thought I’d share a few things I particularly like about social media as a marketing tool and some examples of brands ‘doing’ social media well!

Cheap

It’s free to create accounts and post content. The only cost is time and the price of creating the content to post. A brand or individual can reach more people through a simple tweet than it can through expensive advertising in the media. Ellen DeGeneres’ ‘most re-tweeted’ tweet is currently at 3,370,159 re-tweets with over 2 million favourites to boot! That’s a boost for Ellen DeGeneres’ brand, The Oscars ceremony itself, not to mention the Samsung phone Ellen used to take the photo.

Another great example of maximum exposure for minimal cost was during the Super Bowl 2013. During a 30 minute power cut in the Superdome, Oreo’s marketing department instantly saw an opportunity. They knocked up a simple ad joking with their 472k Twitter followers, ‘You can still dunk in the dark’. This simple post picked up 10,000 re-tweets within the hour, as well as an abundance of praise and positive PR from bloggers and media outlets who claimed Oreo had ‘won the night’. So whilst other brands had spent millions on trying to better each other’s adverts and buying time slots in the coveted commercial breaks, Oreo made sure they were ready to react to any event in real time and use their creativity to steal the limelight for next to no cost! Which takes me nicely to my next point…

Responsive

The beauty of Facebook and Twitter is that people use these whilst they are watching television at home, usually communicating with their friends about how funny Cheryl Cole’s dress looks or Steven Gerrard slipping up. This presents brands with a great opportunity to engage with fans or potential customers about what they are interested in at that exact moment. Cadburys took their chance to talk about that hat Pharrell wore to the Brits earlier this year, with a nice ‘hats off’ message. When people see these kinds of timely posts from brands, they are more inclined to share or engage with them as content is so relevant. It also humanises a brand to its audience, it becomes another friend in your timeline watching and laughing at the same things as you.

Funny

The internet can be a very funny place. From memes in comment sections to viral videos, to your friend on Facebook sharing their latest calamity, its nice to come home at the end of the day and be made to smile. Their are some brands who capitalise on this aspect of our social media desire. Paddy Power spring to mind when it comes to using humour in their social media strategy. From live tweeting a hilarious ‘wrong number’ text conversion with an unknowing Steve, to convincing the world they had chopped down some of the Amazon Rainforest for a World Cup ad, they are constantly proving they ‘get’ their audience’s sense of humour. I suppose that is the real key for any brands using social media, knowing and understanding your audience. ‘Getting’ your audience will enable your communications to cut through, in a world where everybody is fighting to be heard.

Thanks for reading my thoughts, at the very least I hope some of the examples I’ve shared have made you smile!

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Generating a Social Currency in a Social Media Jungle

27 November 2014
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Generating a Social Currency in a Social Media Jungle

Generating social currency is one of the most important investments an organisation can make to their social media strategy. In today’s ‘social media jungle’ it is crucial that every business strives to create value to their brand. With this is mind, just how can you make your company standout from the rest by tempting your followers and consumers to share and talk about your product with others?

The aim of this blog is to investigate best practice in generating a positive social currency for an educational brand, ie a university or training company, often stereotyped as being ‘uncool’, ‘boring’, and ‘sensible’ with todays ‘generation Z’ society, a society which dominates a large proportion of social media…

I work for an organisation called Salford Professional Development (SPD), a training and events company which is a subsidiary of the University of Salford. In a sentence, SPD essentially manages professional development (CPD) events and conferences aimed at professionals hoping to advance their careers in a wide range of sectors. A great company to work for, but just how easy is it for us to ensure people follow, like and share their event experiences with their ‘friends’, colleagues and like-minded people, thus maximising brand recognition and ultimately ROI?

Salford Professional Development Logo

SPD Logo

In week 8 of my Search and Social Marketing training course, Tom Mason @totmac from Delineo delivered an excellent presentation to the class focusing on social currency and why people share information about themselves and products they wish to be associated with. The key points I took from this were:

People share content online to make themselves look good to their friends and colleagues

  • 40% of content that people share is talking about themselves
  • The reason for people sharing is to reinforce their identity
  • People are vain and want to show off
  • Exclusivity – To show that they are different to others

When considering the above influencers, the next and most challenging aspect to consider is knowing how best to communicate and tap into your audiences with an ongoing emphasis on influencing them to share their positive experiences of your brand with their friends and colleagues.

A social marketers dream is for people to follow and like your Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin pages for the shear fact of knowing if they do, they will be engulfed in  a community of like-minded people open to networking, sharing best practice, talking about your service, and generally building a buzz and positive feeling around your brand. In reality, it is rare for this to happen without lots of hard work (or money) thrown at it. While reading around this topic, I feel that the below points are the key triggers to encourage social currency and increase brand awareness:

  • What story are you going to tell them? What is your USP?
  • What content are you going to create to explain this message?
  • What value are you going to add?
  • What do you want them to do?

In the case of Salford Professional Development, our USP is the high quality service that we consistently deliver on 100+ events a year. Delegate feedback is almost always positive, therefore a good strategy to use throughout would be to not only tell the world about it, but also to influence our customers to tell their world about it. With this in mind, how about:

  • Tweet your experience of the event and receive 50% off the next time you sign up with us
  • Share a photo on Instagram or Facebook and automatically enter a monthly prize draw for your organisation to receive 7 free conference tickets over the next 12 months
  • Tag yourself in the forthcoming event logo and enter a prize draw to win £200
  • Set up a google reviews function on your web page, further advertising previous our customers positive (and negative) experiences with the company. If you have faith in your product, this should bring trust and authenticity to potential new customers

A recent article on Buzzfeed stated that what people express through sharing content online is how they’d like to be perceived. Readers want to show that they have an interest in the real human world and that they can provoke a positive emotional reaction. This is crucial for SPD to play on and also demonstrates the importance of capturing the customers positive experience, hopefully resulting in them sharing this with their friends and colleagues. A long standing theory is that word of mouth advertising is the best form of advertising!

In conclusion, the rise of social media has meant a massive increase of information about products and services. But what drives people to promote products and services on social media?

The psychology and tapping into the desire of people to appear knowledgeable, attractive, or just generally appealing to their friends while using your brand and service is crucial.  If you adopt a combination of promoting a positive product experience along with a relevant social media platform for your audience to share their experiences, you should be well down the road to generating a healthy social media following, if not a social media empire!

Posted by Mark Almond – m.almond@salford.ac.uk  uk.linkedin.com/in/markalmond1/

 

 

 

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Why I chose the Search & Social Media Marketing Course

27 November 2014
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SSMM – Search & Social Media Marketing

 

Hmmm… So, which course?  These were my initial thoughts.  Do I do a long distance course or do I stay close to home and come to the building.  By opting for the SSMM (Search and Social Media Marketing) at Media City, I now know, I made the perfect choice.

 

salford university media city

University of Salford Campus – Media City

 

It had all the aspects that I was hoping for and none of the ones I feared.  I didn’t want to just do ‘a course on seo and social media’… I wanted the course that would add value to my skillset.

 

When you leave University and/or Further/Higher Education, the question usually is… “What experience do you have?”… This is usually followed by an answer consisting of erms, buts and opportunity.  In other words, doing your best to prove you are willing to learn.

 

For probably only the second time in my life, I found myself on the other side of the argument.  As, somewhat fortuitously and serendipitously I found myself knowing a lot about SEO, social media and digital marketing, but didn’t have the academic or professional qualifications or accreditations to back up my experience or prove what I knew.  So it was important on my part that I showed evidence of Continued Professional Development (CPD).

 

I work in the charity and voluntary sector, so it is vital to spend the limited resources we have in the most productive, efficient and effective way possible.   This just happened to involve social media, website building, search engine optimisation and other aspects of digital marketing.  This is because, these activities can be done on a very limited budget; the challenge being, knowing what to do and having the time to invest.

 

So began my journey into the world of social media, website building and SEO.  It started off as a hobby with the website/organisation I founded called, Positive About MS (www.positiveaboutms.com) and it’s social media following which now reaches out to about 10,000 supporters!  Subsequently I developed a website called, The Luggie Scooter (www.theluggie.com), which features on the first page of Google and in some cases features in the coveted Golden Triangle section of Google on page1!

 

So you can see SSMM was something I fell into and something I just happened to enjoy too, not realising at the time it would become Web 2.0.

 

However, all this experience didn’t give me what I needed, which was a way to quantify what I know and give me a recognised professional accreditation and/or qualification.

 

The Course

 

Right from the first week of the course I liked what I saw.  From the email communication prior to arrival, to the structure and general feel of the class.  It was just what I hoped it would be.  There was a structure to the whole course and it was clear what the course would give you.  I thought it would be more formal and not as comfortable, but I was pleasantly surprised.   I really liked the layout, atmosphere and the general way of teaching.

 

One of the reasons I opted for the course, was the opportunity of interaction with the course leader (Alex Fenton @AlexFenton) and the chance to ask questions in person.  This also exceeded my expectations.  You could speak in person, via social media, on private linkedin groups or by email.  It gave you further reassurance that you weren’t just going to be given course notes with a presentation.

 

Guest Speakers

 

The format of giving you a presentation on the subject matter, followed by a talk and Q&A session from an industry professional worked really well and I got more than I expected from it.  We got the opportunity to hear from the likes of Phil Morgan (@PhilipMorgan) & Tom Mason (@totmac) from Delineo (@Delineo), Aisha Choudhry (@AishaZulu) from Fast Web Media (@FastWebMedia),  and the UK’s Number 1 best selling small biz marketing author; Dee Blick – pictured (@DeeBlick) of www.themarketinggym.org.

 

dee blick pic

Dee Blick – Guest Speaker

 

 

I also felt the course was well pitched and did exactly what it said on the tin!  Initially I was apprehensive that parts maybe too basic or complex, however this was not the case and it was helpful that Alex Fenton would sometimes spend more time on certain subject areas than others, based on the group and what we needed.

 

It was never a case of times up and that’s it, you got a chance to review what we’ve already discussed and check your understanding.

 

One of the many revelations to me personally was the benefits and features of using Google Drive, something I was neither keen nor found necessary to use before I went on the course.  Google Drive allowed you to revisit slides and talks from previous weeks and made it very easy to review course notes.

 

I found it very refreshing and useful that information on the course and was freely shared by Alex, and that was what I had hoped for.  If there was something you were not sure on, there was always the opportunity to revisit it out of class time, with informal group sessions.

 

Overall, this course has filled in those missing gaps from my own learning’s and has also introduced me to industry terms and given me a chance to quantify what I already knew, by putting names and phrases to the processes I was practicing.

 

Furthermore it has opened up my eyes more to the idea of Web 2.0 and the importance of Digital Marketing.

 

Hopefully, this has helped you regarding your professional development course choice.  Feel free to share this post or share your views, I am @mrkazlaljee on twitter and you can use the hastag #ssmmUoS

 

More information & booking details for the Search & Social Media Marketing Course  &  Salford University location at Media City UK – Video

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Social Media Marketing for the Haters.

27 November 2014
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Tapping the Social Media apps on my phone has become more of a habit than a conscious decision. Whether it’s to check out the persistent notifications for a picture I clicked ‘like’ on days ago; or to answer a private group message about a friend’s birthday meal. I no longer need to simply wonder how an old friend is doing, as their profile picture and status updates will tell the story of their relationships, hobbies and interests. Status updates can be akin to a diary extract; often telling us a lot more than we care to know.

Everything is Good by David Shrigley

Everything is Good by David Shrigley

Pew Internet’s research has shown that, “As of January 2014, 74% of online adults use social networking sites.” Whilst we live our private lives in the public eye, it’s important to consider that a respective new employer is able to scope us out before that life changing job interview. They will have already have made an opinion based on our online public persona. Perhaps due to this ‘social’ nature of Social Media, some companies aren’t taking it seriously enough and are reluctant to use it.

If you choose to use it to your advantage, you could be just one social media campaign away from beating your competitor to the number one spot in Google rankings. You will be better connected to your customer base, promoting your business to a wider audience all whilst being inspired and quite possibly entertained.

Choose Life, choose a Social Media platform

Consider the strengths within your company and use them to your advantage, but firstly…

  • Who are your target audience?
  • What’s your unique selling point?
  • What objective are you trying to achieve?

Once you have established all of the above, you will be able to determine the correct Social Media platforms to use. Here are some of the usual suspects:

  • Facebook

Facebook is still, far and away, the most popular social media platform. According to Statista.com, ‘As of the third quarter of 2014, Facebook had 1.35 billion monthly active users’.  It speaks volumes really. You can set up your company and wait for the ‘likes’ to come in, or if you have the capital, use pay per click adverts that work on pay per interaction rather than pay per impression. This is a real advantage over some of the more traditional online advertising techniques, where Return on Investment (ROI) can be low.

  • Twitter

Despite being, arguably, the second-most recognized platform out there, Twitter is fourth in usage. The ultimate, real-time conversational micro-blogging platform; perfect if you like to keep your posts short, sweet and less than 140 characters.

  • Instagram

If you are an ‘image heavy’ company this is an excellent medium to use. It’s fun, requires little management, just maintain a good level of high quality images.

  • Tumblr

Hosting some 188 million blogs, Barack Obama took to the ‘micro-blogging’ platform to discuss issues such as national security, instantly dispelling previous perceptions that the site was little more than a hub for playground discussions between teenageers. Tumblr gives you ‘gofollow’ results, which is SEO GOLD! You can also use Google Analytics to track key metrics.

You can use ALL of the above, or just one, depending on how much time you available to dedicate. If you can spare at least half an hour a day to Social Media, make sure you use the platform that will create the most engagement. You can use a Social Media dashboard, such as Hootsuite to put out the same content  all the platforms at once, you can even schedule a suitable time in the day; reaching your audience in the USA when they are drinking their morning coffee. This will save you from setting your alarm for the middle of the night to send a Tweet.

To rank at the top of Google, you need to have a fresh unique website which is updated on a regular basis. A neglected page will make you drop off the first page on Google faster than you can say, ‘sneezing panda’. Set time aside each week to update the website. Try adding blog posts from guest bloggers, who have their own suitably engaged followers who can link back to your site.

Here’s a stinky statistic for you; according to Mashable, “There are 6.8 billion people on the planet. 5.1 billion of them own a cell phone, but only 4.2 billion own a toothbrush”. This shows how imperative it is to have a mobile friendly website, we are all using our mobiles to view Social Media.

Be a Smarty Pants

One of the many fun things about Social Media is you can be a bit of a smart ass. There are so many things you can do, beyond basic tweeting and using the correct hashtags. Google trends is an excellent way of engaging with your desired audience, this will help to stay on top of trends relating to your business. It will inspire you to write a tweet at the perfect time. The best timed tweet I ever did was for my DJ collective project, Dance Lady Dance, (shameless promo) during the World Cup which got us 52 new followers. Thank you Miley!

Dance Lady Dance July tweet

Albeit, more football fans than music fans followed us…. which swiftly leads me to my next point:

Find the right audience 

Buying Twitter followers, or going on a follow-frenzy, is not going to be beneficial to your company. Locate your audience, who do they follow? This may be your competitor; if so ‘follow’ their followers, they may soon follow you back. Use an appropriate hashtag # that relates to your business and follow the latest followers who are tweeting about related topics. You’ll soon have a relevant audience who are ready to interact with you.

The best Social Media Marketers are creative thinkers who take risks. SEO and Social Media Marketing is ever changing, so there really is no guidebook on how to do this; its trial and error. Youtube hosts countless videos on unsuccessful marketing campaigns. Only the very best campaigns will go viral via Social Media (or ones with cats playing instruments).

You are ready!

Remember that your profile picture and cover photo is the first thing your audience will see, you have about five seconds to win them over, so make it count. Use something that represents your company and what you have to offer; always have a link to your website in your profile.

Follow the steps, keep your content updated and you’ll soon find that people will follow you whenever you go.

Connect with me @louloupembers

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social media for a small business in the uk.

26 November 2014
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When I started my first business in 1988, a men’s fashion store, it would be 7 years before I first touched the internet. In 1988 there were few options for free publicity for a new Micro- Business. It’s a different world in 2014. I explain here the basics of social media for a small business in the uk.

If you are starting a business, there are a few things that you should do yesterday. First up put yourself on the map, Google Maps to be exact. Google is the most powerful search engine on the planet and nearly every potential customer has access to Google Maps through their smart phone, laptop or PC. If they’re searching for a perm for their poodle in Portsmouth and your business can help, you need to make sure they can find you. You’ll need to set up a Gmail account and Google+ before moving over to Google Local to set up a G+Page for your business. Before you know it, Penelope visiting Peter in Portsmouth from Paris will be able to find your Poodle Parlour, or a competitors.

Now for Facebook. You’ve probably got your own personal Facebook account but for your business you’ll need a separate Facebook Page, which you can claim from your existing account. It’s a straightforward procedure that will ask you quite a few questions about your business. Answer them in as much detail as possible as it’s often a really useful information point for new customers. I helped the Grouse Pub & Chinese Restaurant set up theirs. Its amazing what a difference easy access to opening hours, a telephone number, address and in this case a menu can make to a new business. The Grouse also started getting really good feedback from day one which went viral locally from one persons 200 local friends to another persons 500 friends etc. Facebook is really good for communicating with Joe Public, Coca Cola can’t be wrong can they?

Next up is Twitter. No, its not full of people talking crap about Arsenal FC. My 2 favourite uses of Twitter are B2B and competitor research. My own business in2wrk was surprised to find out that one of the great things about Twitter was communicating with Job Centre Plus offices. JCP send us many of our customers and they recently appointed a digital champion in each office. We tweet them (and our followers) information about our courses and they tweet us information about job vacancies. Once you’ve set up your Twitter account your first step might be to follow your suppliers, interesting personalities connected with your line of business and potential customers. The next step is to interact with them. You might choose to set up a phony Twitter account to follow your competitors. Your smartphone will have the ability to handle multiple Twitter accounts.

Now its movie time and your business may be the star! While you’re getting all social on Facebook, Twitter and Google + why not share some home movies on YouTube. If you’ve already set up a Google+ account it’ll be a cinch to set up your You Tube account. While you’re thinking about some content of your own, subscribe to and share some movies relevant to your business and customers. Maybe you sell DJ gear, how about a few words from a Superstar DJ, a major manufacturer and a “useful how to”. There’s a phrase bandied around in the digital world, “content is king” and the way that applies to video is that your video doesn’t need to have a Hollywood budget; it just needs to be interesting and relevant. Go on, get that Smart phone out, Camera! Action!

That’s the basics done, when you have the time, and depending on your business, (certain social media channels are better for certain types of business) here’s the best of the rest. But first pop over to 123reg and buy a domain name. You might even have time to set up a web site one day.

Instagram: A great place to store and share (square) photos.

Pinterest: Another photo site, great for things like fashion, jewellery and food.

LinkedIn: A place where people look for jobs, and jobs look for people.

That should keep you busy for a while. If you get stuck, theres almost certainly an instructional video that will help you out on You Tube. One last tip, be a little careful what you post, you wouldn’t want a PR disaster would you?

If you live in Leeds or Manchester and you’d like to learn more about social media for a small business in the uk, We are running a 1 week training course called “Social Media for Small Businesses” in January 2015.

 

Richard Hallam is MD of in2wrk. Find him @richardhallam and it @in2wrk on Twitter. He has run a training business, in2wrk.com since 2002 that delivers learndirect training mainly to Jobseekers.

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