Posts about: social media

Finding Student Accommodation in Cape Town

7 May 2015
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The Room Link

Student Accommodation in Cape Town and other South African cities is scarce.  So, how does attending an Search and Social Media Marketing (SSMM) course in Salford lead to starting up a company to find  student accommodation in Cape Town?  And, more importantly, finding a solution to the student accommodation crisis in South Africa?  What is the best way to use search and social media when starting an internet business?

If TheRoomLink was conceived on the SSMM course, it was born on a late winter’s day in a cosy hotel bar in Ilkley.  We’d had a few ideas for internet businesses based around the sharing economy.  The idea we liked best was flexible renting.  The idea was simple.  Some people have spare space; they need income and other people need accommodation.

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Copywriting for SEO, Social Media, and Charity Ducks

7 May 2015
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Soap home page

Although I’m a content writer I’m also expected to lead Soap Media’s social media marketing campaigns and, naturally, I’m Copywriting for SEO – page rankings are always in mind. Some established Copywriters lament the new generation and complain about where the talent’s gone, but Copywriting with Google’s algorithms in mind is now the way of things, and content is primarily about SEO, keywords, and Call to Action (CTA) buttons.

It’s a complex time, and this is what I’ve learnt after four years of SEO, and following two months of The University of Salford’s Search and Social Media Marketing (SSMM) course…

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Get a Job in SEO – 4 Tips for Beginners

6 May 2015
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Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is extremely important for any business and their website, yet SEO careers have no easy entry point nor clearly defined route on how to get a job in SEO.  I’m at a point in my SEO time-line where I need to implement some important tasks (my 4 ‘top tips’) in order to maximize my potential for employment within the SEO industry.

Get a Job in SEO Tips for Beginners

Get a Job in SEO Tips for Beginners

My story isn’t your typical one that begins with a foundation in web design. I came from a degree in Audio Technology, to starting a photography business, to now studying SEO, PPC (Pay-Per-Click advertising) and Digital Marketing.

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Social media and small businesses in the UK

6 May 2015
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It appears that according to Google, Social Media and small businesses is a combination that does not lead to ecommerce purchases in travel related business, and they are not even useful for promoting brand awareness!

The web page that seems to suggest this is called “The Customer Journey to Online Purchase”. This page allows you to select a country, an industry and a business size it then displays a diagram which places icons representing various channels along a line leading to purchase online.

If you select “Travel”, “UK” and “Small” you get the following diagram;

Small Travel business UK

The Customer Journey to Online Purchase

It appears that the nearer an icon is to the right hand side then the more likely an interaction will result in a purchase, and entries nearer the left are good for getting your brand known about.

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Social Media Marketing: The Making of a Brand

5 May 2015
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Having spent my teenage years publishing an endless collection of holiday snaps, documenting my every thought and updating those somewhat embarrassing relationship statuses on Facebook, the role of Social Media Executive for an e-cigarette brand did not seem a mean feat.

[caption id="attachment_4823" align="aligncenter" width="540"]The Art of Social Media (CC) by mkhmarketing The Art of Social Media (CC) by mkhmarketing[/caption]

But oh boy, was I wrong. I soon came to realise that those years of attempting to portray the perfect image of myself on social media carried far fewer obstacles and incredible opportunities than those available to a brand. With the help of social media courses such as Search and Social Media Marketing at the University of Salford, I came to understand the degree to which social media marketing had now become the cornerstone to every company.

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The Death of SEO

4 December 2014
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That’s it. Shut the doors, disconnect the phone. Prevent the dog from barking with a rubber chicken.*

For SEO is dead and we don’t have jobs any longer. Damn.

At least that’s what some people will tell you, and as others ask whether this is indeed true, search engine optimisers, web developers and business owners must learn to separate the wheat from the chaff; fact from fiction. SEO; the very mention of these three letters is enough to turn some potential customers’ and digital industry sceptics’ stomaches. ‘But isn’t SEO dead and gone?’ you might have heard them ask, quickly qualified with ‘Anyway, it’s all some kind of dark art, isn’t it?’.

Having sat and thought about these two questions a great deal (likely when I should have been doing something more productive and sociable, such as watching Game of Thrones) I’ve come to the conclusion that the answer to both is ‘no’. Easy, right off to the pub.

Oh, you want proof…

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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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Why I chose the Search & Social Media Marketing Course

27 November 2014
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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.

[caption id="attachment_4358" align="alignnone" width="293"]salford university media city University of Salford Campus – Media City[/caption]

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 Search and Social Media Marketing 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.

 

[caption id="attachment_4357" align="alignnone" width="300"]dee blick pic Dee Blick – Guest Speaker[/caption]

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.

[caption id="attachment_4349" align="aligncenter" width="250" class=" "]Everything is Good by David Shrigley Everything is Good by David Shrigley[/caption]

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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“Inside Rolls-Royce” on Channel 4

8 May 2014
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[caption id="attachment_1080" align="alignnone" width="400"]Inside Rolls-Royce Rolls-Royce[/caption]

“Take the best that exists and make it better” 

These were the words of Sir Henry Royce, one half of the Rolls-Royce auto-mobile empire. “Inside Rolls-Royce” is a new documentary on Channel Four which examines what goes on behind the scenes of this exclusive company. It reminds me of a quote from my former head teacher Mrs A.K. Agwu. “Whatever is worth doing, is worth doing well” – one that has stood me in good stead over the years. It has also helped me maintain my resolve to continuously make advancements in every facet of my life.

One of the characteristics of this company is its attention to detail. Perfection or the quest for excellence, comes at a price. Sir Henry Royce’s quote should be mirrored in our attitude to life – relationships, personal development, business and so on. We can always do better, we can always help others advance; we can always contribute positively to a cause in our community.

I write this to emphasize – not the glitz and glamour – but the passion for continuous improvement that the Rolls-Royce brand embodies; which I think is far more important. You’ll find that as you adopt this ethos of continually improving (kaizen), in manageable ‘chunks’, you’ll begin to see noticeable differences in your life. Interestingly, you may also unwittingly ‘attract’ advancement in other aspects of your life as well; areas where you may have previously overlooked.

Thinking Big  à la Rolls-Royce

At the Dubai Motor Show in 2009 – which I attended, I remember being almost in awe of the vehicles on display. China, the US and the Middle East respectively, are the company’s largest buyers. Abu Dhabi now boasts the world’s biggest dealership.

We can all dream and think big just like this duo must have done. Why settle for the sky when there are stars and galaxies to explore? It’s a little more hard work initially, but soon becomes second-nature like everything else that you soon get used to. Towards the end of the Inside Rolls-Royce documentary, a reporter interviews a potential customer about to go for a spin; “… have you driven one before?” Man: “I own 7”. The average Rolls-Royce customer already has 7 other cars, so he definitely picked the wrong guy :)

Form Symbiotic Partnerships Just Like Mr Charles Rolls and Sir Henry Royce Did

I now live in the city where Rolls-Royce first started and was at the Midland Hotel not too long ago, where Charles Stewart Rolls and Sir Henry Patrick Royce met 110 years ago (May 4th 1904) to form the partnership which birthed the Rolls-Royce empire two years later. A relationship that wouldn’t have lasted very long had they not needed each other’s expertise.

A visual history of Rolls-Royce can be found at Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), which I visited with my family on the day this article was originally published – possibly why I decided to finally finish this blog post four weeks after its first draft; highly recommended: the visit – not my proclivity towards procrastination :)

“Inside Rolls-Royce” was quite revealing and is testament to our innate desire for continuous improvement. This resource  has helped me and thousands of business owners worldwide immensely; check it out and you just might end up inside a Rolls-Royce that you bought with your hard-earned money!

Till my next blog post.

Sotonye Afiesimama

 

 

 

 

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