Posts about: social media

Secret Book Art: 10 Enchanting Fore-Edge Paintings

4 December 2013
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At Wigan Lane Books we love interesting and unique books of character.

There are types of books that may look normal to the naked eye, but can actually have a hidden secret.

A secret that was only recently rediscovered and popularised by Colleen Theisen at the Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa in the USA.

The secret in question is that a select few books actually contain hidden artworks along the fore-edge of the book.

These fore-edge paintings can only be revealed once the pages of the book have been fully fanned out.

The sides of the book page edges have been painted in gilt, what is unnoticed by the reader is that each separate page has been uniquely painted that forms a picture when fanned. A clamp was used to create the fore-edge paintings.

The clamp holds together the book into the fanned position to make it easier for the artist to paint the picture. When the pages have been released from the clamp, the painting disappears. The for-edge paintings often depict countryside landscapes with characters in the background in various situations.

Here are some examples of fore-edge paintings from the University of Iowa Special Collections and Archives. The first four books are all by Robert Mudie. Each book has a different seasonal theme: autumn, winter, spring and summer.

Autumn


Autumn; or; The causes, appearances, and effects of the seasonal decay and decomposition of nature, 1837. By Robert Mudie.

The above image is from a book that was published in 1837, by Robert Mudie, taken from Colleen Theisen’s original tumblr blog post.


Autumn; or; The causes, appearances, and effects of the seasonal decay and decomposition of nature, 1837. By Robert Mudie. - animated version

Animated version of the same book, also from Colleen Theisen’s blog post.

Winter

Winter by Robert Mudie / Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa

Winter by Robert Mudie / University of Iowa.

Winter by Robert Mudie / Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa

Animated version of the book above.

Spring


Spring by Robert Mudie / Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa

Spring by Robert Mudie / Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa.


Spring by Robert Mudie / Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa

Fore-edge Painting from Zach Stroh on Vimeo

Animated version of the book above.

Summer


Summer by Robert Mudie / Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa

Summer by Robert Mudie / Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa.


Summer by Robert Mudie / Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa

Animated version of the book above.

John T. Beer – Cardiff Rare Books Collection


“John preaching in the Wilderness”:John T. Beer’s illustration on an early 16th century Latin Bible.

“John preaching in the Wilderness”: John T. Beer’s illustration on an early 16th century Latin Bible.


The “open” scene on Fox’s journal. The artist would have fanned the pages and gripped them in a vice before applying the watercolour.

John T. Beer – Open scene on the Fox’s journal.

Boston Public Library Fore-Edge Collection


The People of Orleans Greet Joan of Arc

The People of Orleans Greet Joan of Arc.


The Modern History of Hindustan, by Thomas Maurice, 1802

The Modern History of Hindustan, by Thomas Maurice, 1802.


Stonehenge - The royal kalendar, and court and city register

Stonehenge – The royal kalendar, and court and city register, 1849.


Fore-Edge Frankenstein

Fore-Edge Frankenstein.


About Wigan Lane Books

Wigan Lane Books is an online book store based in the Chorley, UK, specialising in rare books and books of interest.

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Why Digital Marketers Need A Personal Blog Site

28 November 2013
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When you’re responsible for digital marketing for a large company, it can be hard to try out new ideas, which is why you should have a personal blog site to use as a tester.

That way, you can use it to experiment without needing to get things signed-off by senior managers or provide definite ROI, and without waiting for internal IT or external agencies to implement your suggestions.

New Adventures In Hi-Fi

Having your own personal blog site gives you the change to be at the cutting edge of digital marketing, even if it’s harder to get there in your day job.

This is even more important if you are looking for work and don’t have a company site to work on.

You need to prove your skills are up to date and providing results, so where else but on a site of your own?

So , while I’ve been on the Search And Social Media Marketing course, instead of trying out the new things I’ve learned on my company’s website (which is in the process of being redeveloped anyway), I’ve been testing them on my own blog site.

If you don’t already have your own site, here’s some top tips:

  1. Think carefully about what you want to write about
    If you are genuinely passionate about something, it’s a lot easier to motivate yourself to keep the blog updated and the content you write will be more engaging. If you’re writing content that people want to read and you have the enthusiasm about it to work hard promoting it, you’re more likely to succeed. If you can find a niche area, even better.
  2. Get it set up properly
    If you’re serious about running the blog as a tester site, you need to set it up as a hosted site, rather than going for the free option. So if you’re using WordPress, it’s from WordPress.org, not WordPress.com. You should aim to use a hosting company based in the UK rather than the US, to help boost your site’s speed, but obviously check reviews to find out about reliability. If you’re using WordPress, installing plugins like Yoast’s WordPress SEO is basically essential, as is getting Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools set up.
  3. Halloween movie features

  4. Write good, engaging, original content
    Before starting to write, it’s best to try and do some keyword research – using Google Keyword Planner, for example – beforehand to work out who your audience might be, what they might want to get from the article and what keywords and phrases you should include. Before Halloween, I wrote content aimed at people who were trying to decide what horror movies to watch, so I published reviews and features around that theme, fitting in phrases that people would search for, while obviously keeping the content fun and informative to read.
  5. Promote it (with money)!
    There’s two routes to go down.  One is to pay for advertising via Facebook or Google, etc, but given that this is a personal blog, you’ll be spending your own money and aren’t likely to make it back. But it’s still worth having a play with it. You’ll need to set up an AdWords account to use Keyword Planner anyway, and for about £30 you can run a campaign that will bring people to your site and give you an idea of best practice for if you run ‘real’ campaigns at work. I did this on Google Ads and Facebook Ads for my Halloween content, with ads based around helping people decide what to watch, and saw a big upturn in traffic.
  6. Promote it (for free)!
    Social media is your friend here. It’s easy to find your audience on Facebook or Twitter or Google+ or Pinterest with just a bit of research, and then you can use those platforms to build up traffic to your site. Google+ might not seem an obvious one to go for, but it’s becoming increasingly important in SEO terms (setting up Authorship is a must) and there may well be a Community on there that would welcome your content with open arms and clicking fingers.
  7. Link build
    This used to mean lots of grey hat activities, like buying links or signing up to link farms and directories, but these are potentially disastrous nowadays. You need to earn good, authoritative links through promoting your site in the ways mentioned above. Tactics like guest posts can still work, though you might well end up with a ‘no follow’ link, thus denying you link juice, you’ll still get traffic through it. I’ve done contributions to sites like the Huffington Post and BuzzFeed and have had decent levels of traffic coming through both. Using tools like Moz’s OpenSite Explorer will let you know what kind of quality links you’ve got coming through, while Webmaster Tools can help you identify any problems.

Most of all, if you’re doing this for yourself, you need to have fun and not be afraid to experiment. If you learn from your mistakes, it’ll stand you in good stead to get things right the first time when it really counts.

ABOUT JAMES ELLABY

James is Digital Marketing Manager for Manchester Solutions, having previously worked as an online football journalist and charity Communications Officer. He also runs film, TV and music blog New Adventures In Hi-Fi. You can get in touch with him through Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+

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The Power of Social Media in Events Marketing

27 November 2013
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We are all aware that social media plays a key role in marketing and business communications. Through growing up in a generation where everything was discussed online, whether it be homework, love interests or music, it was evident that online social networking had provided the general public with an opportunity to reinvent themselves entirely from behind a computer screen. The new quick and easy method of converting through an instant messenger, uploading photos and finding out information, without having to visit the local library, was revolutionary. Everything became easier. People could communicate with each other from anywhere in the world – and from this, millions of potential customers became accessible.

In the field of events, this created a huge opportunity. The old marketing techniques of sending out press releases and contacting local media was no longer the key to boost your attendants. People were relying on social sites to gain feedback from others in order to consider attending an event. Therefore, once your target audience had been identified, all you had to do is go to the sites where they would typically visit for information – and promote.

Social media had provided the public with a platform to create potential connections before, during and after an event had taken place. It had given potential attendants the opportunity to network, share topics and join discussions, giving the event organizer the chance to monitor these interests and create relevant content in order to involve their audience.

Why did I choose to talk about events marketing?  Because I had seen living proof of the importance of social media after I managed an event myself.

Before I took the Search and Social Media Marketing Professional course, I had graduated from my Music Journalism degree at The University of Huddersfield this year. During my time studying, I had gained experience in various roles outside of university i.e. I had volunteered at an LGBT radio station and worked on a programme of my own, I had written countless music articles and reviews for websites and I had worked as a volunteer Press Officer for an independent record label for almost a year. Sitting in a cold, stone-walled office writing press releases in a leaky old building covered in graffiti near Great Ancoats once a week, dealing with stroppy musicians with no direction, and sorting out drunken old rockers who refuse to pay the entry fee on gig nights, I can honestly say – it was fun while it lasted.

However, during my time working for the label, to mark their two year anniversary I managed and organized an event in the Huddersfield area with a fellow peer from university. During the marketing stage of the event, I managed the Facebook and Twitter accounts to give potential attendants the opportunity to invite others and network with each other, while I would continuously post content and updates relevant to the event. Through this, we were acknowledged by students who blogged about it, and published it in the student newspaper. Then word reached the Huddersfield Examiner who wrote an article about the event. During this time, we also had the musicians and record label promoting the event through other websites and social platforms; therefore, through all of the promotion we generated online, we managed to fill the venue to the brim with attendants. Although the venue was facing the university and fairly popular, the staff informed us that they had never seen it so busy in their time of being open. In the end, it had worked wonders for our sales and we had made a fantastic profit – accomplished entirely through the use of social media and online marketing.

I began working for Salford Professional Development as a Marketing Officer in August. Since I began working for SPD, I focused my attention to the social media platforms immediately and brought up the Likes, Connections and Followers noticeably in a short period of time.

I was also managing the social media for the Salford Media Festival, and through continuously posting and tweeting updates and news, we were generating more interest, supporters and even some ticket sales through Twitter and LinkedIn. I took advice from a social media expert and ran a campaign to give away two free tickets to the festival in exchange for Follows and Retweets on Twitter, in just two weeks we gained up to 200 more Followers and, as predicted, people were Retweeting like no tomorrow. An important rule in marketing – people love free stuff! In conjunction with this, we paid for a temporary Facebook advert, which almost doubled our current Likes in just 3 weeks of being live – this gave us a good head start to build Likes. Through continuously posting news and updates on social media, we began to see the traffic coming through to our websites on Google Analytics. Approximately 6% of our click rate traffic for the Salford Media Festival website was referred from social media, namely Facebook and LinkedIn. It doesn’t seem much, but it makes a visible difference. Interestingly, although the most visible activity and interaction we receive is through Twitter, there wasn’t any noticeable traffic coming from this platform, as followers preferred to Retweet, rather than explore links. I would advise to keep Twitter for interacting with your audience in simple ways – by using Retweets and hashtags – as Twitter users like to keep things straightforward, but ensure your content on Facebook and LinkedIn is appealing and engaging enough to generate clicks to your website links.

In Events Marketing, it is vital to share, post and tweet continuously and consistently. Generating excitement and anticipation towards the lead up to an event is important. Link building and contacting relevant websites to help with the promotion is also a good way of branching out and reaching a wider audience, as it generates more interest and response. We offered various media-based websites discount codes off ticket prices to promote to their members for Salford Media Festival, which proved successful for our revenue.

I chose to attend the Search and Social Media Professional course so that I could develop in the area of online marketing and social media enough for the company to see a real difference from the marketing generated by myself. I didn’t have experience in Search Engine Optimization, therefore the SSMM course seemed like the perfect opportunity to progress and put some new skills into practice.

I took the course simply because, although I entered my teenage years during the explosion of online interaction, SEO and social media marketing are completely different notions. They involve technical strategies and consumer awareness, rather than just socializing and sharing. In order to reach business success, there’s more that needs to be considered when marketing in the virtual world.

Overall, the course has taught me how to build links effectively, how to engage your audience through social media content and create effective campaigns, how to make use of keywords, how to use Webmaster Tools to keep up to date on your click through rates and what interests your audience, and to make use of all social media platforms to create brand awareness. I intend to integrate all of these tactics into my work.

In today’s digital world of sharing and networking, marketing your services online can take The Water-Cooler Effect [or Word of Mouth Marketing], to a powerful new level. Campaigns can go viral overnight. The key is to think outside the box, identify with your audience and research their needs, and never underestimate human emotion. The recent Christmas ad campaigns by John Lewis and Sainsburys will tell you that.

I already have many plans and ideas for SPD, through taking the course, in order to create brand awareness and generate more sales, and I hope to continue my progression in the field of Online Marketing, using the experience and knowledge I have gained –hopefully accomplishing some noticeable results.

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Sherlock, hashtags and a Twitter frenzy

27 November 2013
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On Saturday we were all treated to the new teaser trailer for Sherlock Series Three, which created quite a fan frenzy on Twitter about Sherlock’s return to the small screen.

#SherlockLives - Hashtag Frenzy

Hashtag Frenzy (Picture: YouTube/BBC)

After the bloody end to series two that saw Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) fall to his death, audiences have been waiting in anticipation for his return. The first teaser trailer concentrated on the reactions of a moustached John Watson (Martin Freeman) and Mrs Hudson (Una Stubbs) as he returned to Baker Street after his faked death. But this new 30 second trailer focuses on the fans and the Twitter frenzy rather than juicy plot details. Read more…..

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SEO & Social Media Marketing Essentials

26 June 2013
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SEO & Social Media Marketing Essentials

Wednesday 24th July – Book Now

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Social Media Optimisation (SMO) are no longer an optional choice for many organisations competing for the increasingly internet savvy consumers. Do you have a digital strategy and a social media policy? Do you know that if you don’t manage your social media presence chances are your customers will manage it for you and not always in a most favourable way.

As part of the University of Salford’s commitment to delivering the best digital training available, Salford Professional Development have developed a one day ‘SEO & Social Media Marketing Essentials‘ course. This course is aimed at busy executives who want to have theoretic understanding as well as some basic hands on practical exercises which will highlight the essentials in SEO and Social Media Marketing. This knowledge will enable you to develop a better understanding of your customers behaviour online and help you to develop long term plan and implement basic techniques for management of day to day social media engagement. Working from your business objectives you will be able to draft some key performance indicators for your online presence, identify key social networks for your organisational use as well as conduct some basic Social Media Optimisation. The main focus on this course is to offer you a broad overview of search and social media marketing and help you to start working on your long term digital marketing strategy as well as plan for use of techniques.

Tutor:

Aleksej Heinze - http://businessculture.org

The course will be taught by Dr Aleksej Heinze, Aleksej is a co-director for the Centre for Digital Business which is part of The University of Salford’s Business School. He currently works on an international projects Passport to Trade 2.0 which helps businesses to understand International Business Culture and develop new business opportunities in Europe using social media networks.

Guest Speaker:

The course will also feature Martin Cozens who is the Managing Director for Banc Media. Based in Old Trafford, Manchester, Banc Media are a Search Engine Marketing company providing Pay Per Click & Search Engine Optimisation. They specialise in a measured & transparent approach, focussing on ROI for our clients through researched search engine marketing.

Martin Cozens: “We develop close relationships with our clients, proving to become an integral part of their business, smashing targets set by them and showing real return on investment in the products we supply and the search results they gain. Developing these relationships is what makes our business stronger and helps our team grow further to providing the very best service.”

Their clients include:

  • Lufthansa’s business rewards air miles scheme SACP
  • Cruise1st – a leading cruise holiday provider operating in the UK, Ireland & Australia
  • FADS.co.uk – the nationally known online furniture retailer that was on the high street in over 800 stores
  • Breens Solicitors – a renowned law firm operating out of Merseyside for both private and business clients.

Venue

SEO & Social Media Marketing Essentials is based and delivered at the state of the art teaching and training facilities in the heart of the UK’s Media hub at MediaCityUK, University of Salford. This cutting edge facility is on close proximity of the BBC, ITV and many other top digital and media agencies.

Price

This course costs £299 + VAT.

Want to know more?

If you wish to enquire about this course, simply get in touch with Robert Goodison at Salford Professional Development on 0161 295 5407 or email R.Goodison@salford.ac.uk.

This course is aimed at busy executives who want to have theoretic understanding as well as some basic hands on practical exercises which will highlight the essentials in SEO and Social Media Marketing. This knowledge will enable you to develop a better understanding of your customers behaviour online and help you to develop long term plan and implement basic techniques for management of day to day social media engagement. Working from your business objectives you will be able to draft some key performance indicators for your online presence, identify key social networks for your organisational use as well as conduct some basic Social Media Optimisation. The main focus on this course is to offer you a broad overview of search and social media marketing and help you to start working on your long term digital marketing strategy as well as plan for use of techniques.
This course draws on the content used as part of the ten week evening course in Search and Social Media Marketing but does not include the level of detail necessary for senior individuals who are responsible for managing strategic plans
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How to make a video viral? Jonathan Berger’s STEPS in “I feel Good” campaign

7 May 2013
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Have you ever wondered why certain online digital marketing campaigns go viral? As part of our MSc Marketing course at Salford Business School we created a video and tested how Jonathan Berger’s STEPS concept works in real life projects.

We were introduced to Jonathan Berger’s idea of STEPS during our Search and Social Media Marketing module guest speaker’s Denise Brooks presentation.  Berger suggested that going viral is not just luck, its science based on psychology of talk.

Jonathan Berger’s STEPS concept

The key 6 STEPS in creating a viral video using Jonathan Berger’s idea of STEPS are:

  1. Social currency
  2. Trigger
  3. Emotion
  4. Public
  5. Practical value
  6. Story

Here is bit more background on the concept from Jonathan Berger himself:

I feel Good – viral video campaign concept

Our task was to create a viral campaign to promote Salford Business School to future applicants. The question we faced was – “How to make a video viral?”. We decided to take an interactive and lively approach to the campaign and link it to the online community of those following the ‘I feel good’ song by James Brown as a base for the viral video. Using keyword research we identified that “I feel good” is a popular search term, which taps into an existing community of interest online.

Through this song we emphasised that Salford Business School has great facilities and it is an enjoyable place where students feel good when they are better placed. People from different backgrounds have sung the verse showing the cultural variety that could be found in Salford Business School. This video linked to current campaign of the University of Salford – ‘Be better Placed’ and anyone interested to study business management courses at Salford Business School. At the end of the video we used a call to action message: You feel good when you’re better placed. Salford Business School… Be better placed. What makes you #IFeelGood? The idea here was to get people to share their own stories and get the video “viral” so that students would create their own footage and post it using this already existing hash tag on twitter  – #IFeelGood.

Jonathan Berger’s STEPS Framework application and results

The video contains 4 key Jonathan Berger ideas: It has social currency as the video uses humour which makes people feel good and encourages people to share. This is because of well-known trigger, the song, which becomes associated with the positive emotions that could be achieved studying at Salford Business School. It kindles the fire to share as ‘feel good’ emotions are embedded in the song. The video has a public message as it shows how Salford Business School community is beneficial for studying business in an interactive environment.

“I feel Good” campaign results

The “I feel good” campaign ran for one week during which time we were competing with five other student teams. By integrating this video with social networks sharing and organic search optimisation we achieved over 500 views in just over a week! This was associated with an incredible number of re-tweets, shares on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+, comments and various social media platforms.

Our campaign integrated Social Media Optimisation (SMO) with YouTube video optimisation. YouTube optimisation was done using a keyword rich video title, video description and keywords in video tags so that we have had a good stream of organic traffic coming from different searches.

This practical project as part of our Search and Social Media Marketing module proved that a viral campaign could be easily managed through a controlled message and a plan without a budget!

What do you think about Berger’s STEPS framework? Is it a science that makes it contagious or just luck? Please share and comment below.

Diana is on LinkedIn: Diana

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How to make your video go viral?

6 May 2013
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Are you new to digital marketing and interested in launching a viral campaign? Then you could learn something from our experience in running a viral campaign as part of our Search and Social Media Marketing module. This module is shared by MSc Marketing and Salford MBA postgraduate students at Salford Business School.

Launching a viral campaign is a great cost-effective way to connect with a wide and otherwise unreachable audience. The only real barrier to entry in this context is being able to construct an engaging idea.

How to create a viral video?

Our challenge was to create a viral video, but how can we do it? Our client for our campaign was the University of Salford Business School, and we chose to target our campaign at EU/home students looking to study for undergraduate business management degrees. We were given the overall aim of building awareness of the clients brand and generating leads to the course application webpage. To achieve this, we had to combine certain ‘brand consistencies’ given by the client, as well as the ‘creative’ elements that we thought would have characteristics of being viral.

Viral Video Content Research and Development

We began our work by looking at competitors online strategies, researching online trends, reading journals and blogs on viral marketing strategies and analysing past viral marketing successes. After gathering enough research we were set with the most difficult task of a viral campaign, creating original and engaging content that our target audience would be willing to share with their friends.

Our attempt at going viral was a video to be posted on YouTube and shared through international social media networks Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Reddit. The storyline is about a frustrated student looking for the right place to study business, who finally finds the website with the help of his Lego figures. While it may sound very unusual and irrelevant to use Lego in a university business school campaign, our rationale was that the stop-motion animation that we created would grab the attention of our target audience because of its relative originality. This was also backed up by the fact that online videos which include Lego stop-motion animations are particularly popular on YouTube with our target audience which made it more likely to go viral.

Halfway through the development of the video, feedback received from our client pointed out the absence of a clear call to action in our campaign, which we addressed by adding an extra scene where the Lego characters construct our new core message ‘Build your future’. We also added a pun into the title of the video to give a better description of the content.

Viral Campaign Launch

The revised version of our video got positive feedback from the client so therefore we decided to launch our campaign. The video was posted through the clients and our personal Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as through Instagram and Reddit personal accounts. In 6 days the video gained 700 views, 30 ‘Likes’, as well as positive comments, however, that is far from our aim of going viral.

How to make your video go viral - integrated communications

What we have learned about how to create a viral video?

To conclude, we have learned that the process of making a video go viral is a challenging task, part of which is beyond our control. Due to the nature of the client demands and because of the nature of the content itself (i.e. business education) it is challenging to combine the aspects of a ‘viral’ video with a client that demands a certain level of neutrality and messages open to a universal audience. It is evidently difficult to attempt to produce a video of viral nature which also has the broad objective of promoting the business school, which seems to contradict the inherent nature of viral videos themselves.

If you have any questions or experiences you would like to share, feel free to comment!

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SEO Experiences: A Freshman’s Perspective

29 March 2012
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Journey Into The Unknown Or Silent Assassin?

When signing up for the Search and Social Media Marketing Course at the Manchester Salford Business School, I had precious little knowledge of how SEO worked – this, despite working as a freelance journalist and therefore attuned to promoting ‘brand awareness’ over the last four years for an industry-leading motorsport website. Journalists and writers tend to chase the next story and are much less concerned with keywords and search rank – rather leaving it to the organisations they are loosely connected with, or represent, to get on with task of improving results within SERPs.

improving results within SERP

Therein lay the problem – I didn’t understand SEO and how to maximise the opportunities that being creative presents. I enjoy my part-time writing work much more than my regular job, working within the warehousing and logistics sector as a forklift truck driver. At the start of this year my personal life reached a crossroads and this was the perfect time to do something about it. Learning SEO and Social Media marketing seemed a logical step forward and armed with a healthy Twitter following and enthusiasm to learn another skill, I signed up.

Information Superhighway

My eyes would be opened over the next six weeks much more than I could imagine. What became clear very quickly is that with any good business, success begins with planning, research and building the foundations to work from. Studying the competition, keyword research through Google and Google AdWords is a great place to start and can give you so much information in just a few minutes. Without a clear structure and plan of how you want to go about improving search rankings, failure to achieve the maximum is likely. In my case, I had just lost a deal to supply detailed written Formula 1 motor racing weather forecasts to the site I was affiliated with. The choice was either to stop completely and give up what I love doing – or to find another outlet to share my views and knowledge with others.

The #SSMM course – run by Aleksej Heinze – is the perfect educational tool to take your website on the road to major SEO improvements and a better search rank. Citing previous creative examples, students are guided through the do’s and dont’s of planning, keyword research, creating widgets, social media engagement and social media asset management to name but a few topics – all with you in mind. Prominent industry speakers are backing this course and give talks, adding further insight and giving information openly on how you can change things on your own site to help improve visibility and search ranking potential.

The road to success

Many people like myself, prior to enrolling on this course would be entitled to think that 99% of companies and website owners have their systems already optimised to the maximum, and therefore it would impossible to go and work as an SEO, or to create your own site as an independant. After all, SEO has been around for several years. When you actually conduct the research and examine the competition of your chosen field, you may be surprised. I certainly was. The best endorsement that I could give this course, is to demonstrate that in just 15 days from starting my own blog, I took http://f1weather.com to second in Google’s worldwide search for the short-tail keyword ‘F1 Weather’.

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SOCIAL MEDIA & PLACEMENTS WORKSHOP

9 March 2012
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Passport to trade

How to maximise the use of social media, and student placements to grow your business through exports


Join us at this FREE workshop organised by the Passport to Trade 2.0 project team from University of Salford, Salford Business School and associated partners – Salford City Council (http://www.visitsalford.info/locate/events-and-networks.htm) and Latitude Digital Marketing Limited. The cost of this session is worth £500 per person but it is free to you as this project is funded by the European Commission.

Is this workshop for you?

It will particularly benefit established Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs), who already use social media but are looking to increase their return on investment. The particular focus is on the increase of trade with Europe and how Social Media networks can help in developing business opportunities. Additionally, the seminar is also looking to develop a better understanding of student placements and highlight good practices. Participants will be able to identify ways of offering student placements as a means to increase their growth.

How is the workshop structured?

  • 9:15 – 9:30 – arrival and refreshments
  • 9:30 – 11:00 – focus group evaluating past experiences with Social Media networks and student placements and the identification of participants’ training needs
  • 11:00 – 12:30 – How to use Social Media to identify appropriate business contacts
  • 12:30 – 13:15 – Lunch provided
  • (The practical sessions will be informed by the findings of the focus group)
  • 13:15 – 14:00 – Best practice in the use of Facebook
  • 14:00 – 14:45 – Best practice in the use of Twitter
  • 14:45 – 15:00 – Refreshments
  • 15:00 – 15:45 – Best practice in the use of LinkedIn

How to book?

Places are limited, please book by 12 noon on 23rd March using http://p2t2.eventbrite.com

For more information please contact:

Angela Lowry on 0161 295 6393 A.Lowry@salford.ac.uk
Elena Vasilieva on 0161 295 3510 e.vasilieva@salford.ac.uk

Download event flyer and share with your friends

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Did the Queen of Shops Get it Wrong?

27 February 2012
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In December 2011 Mary Portas published her report into the on-going decline of the British High Street. In her report she clearly identifies the upward trend in eCommerce as one of the main reasons why sales and footfall on the nation’s high streets are in free-fall.  Mary makes 28 recommendations all of which are valid but I am left wondering why she doesn’t encourage the small trader to believe that they have as much right to profit from the opportunities of eCommerce, Social Media and Search Engine Marketing as the big boy multiples with their enormous digital marketing budgets?

Who am I to have an opinion?

I am essentially Mary’s cause – Queen of my own shop and the proud owner of Venus Flowers.

Florist in Manchester

A Manchester City Centre florist – a somewhat unusual sight in Manchester City Centre these days – a small independent retailer who engages in a daily battle to survive if not thrive in the brave new world of post credit crunch depression.

Like most small businesses I recognised years ago that I needed an on-line presence and have since lost count of the amount of time and money I have spent engaging with ‘experts’ in the field of web-design.

I am now onto the third developer and the third version of my site the previous two being utter disasters the details of which I don’t have the time or energy to go into.

I have literally lost thousands of pounds and at times my faith in humanity.

Sadly, I know from talking to other small business owners that I am not alone.

Taking Back Search Marketing and Social Media Control

At the end of 2011 I discovered by accident a huge mistake in the development of my current website (quickly acknowledged and rectified by my current developers) which was the final straw – I had an epiphany…

I realised that without knowledge I would never have control, I understood something of every other area of my business why not this one?  So after some research (web based of course), here I am attending Salford Business School’s Search and Social Media Marketing Course, a slightly nervous florist/business owner/complete novice.

My eCommerce Journey So Far

Blogging

Here I am four weeks in writing my first blog-post, but more than that, understanding why blogging is important and how I can respond to some of my potential customers long-tail searches and build links to my website by writing interesting and authoritative blogs on subjects I understand and enjoy (GET ME!).  For example this beautiful picture of a brides bouquet we made a couple of weeks ago which is lingering on my iPhone:

Spring Brides Bouquet image from Venus Flowers Manchester

now gets a title of “Spring Brides Bouquet” (in response to a small but significant number of long tail searches I found when I was developing my keyword plan), and becomes a part of venus flowers blog I am writing on the subject, this will include a video of us making a Spring Brides Bouquet as well as links back to my wedding page where brides to be can click on a link to request a no obligation consultation – impressive hey? In the meantime I have been able to share this image with our Twitter Followers.

eCommerce – importance of Keyword Research

Using Goolge Adwords to research how people are searching for your products and services has to be the simplest but the most revealing part of the course for me. Why is it when I have paid thousands to have an eCommerce site developed I have been asked to write my own content “so it will be more authentic” without so much as a reference to the importance of keyword research?

I am ranking third for “florist Manchester”:

Florist Manchester search result with Venus Flowers

This ranking is more by luck than judgement, but I rank nowhere for “flower delivery Manchester” which has far higher search numbers – time to write some content!

I have also learned that my industry language isn’t necessarily the language of the searcher, when writing I would always use the term Sympathy Flowers believing this to be more grammatically acceptable, however my Google Adword research revealed only 480 monthly searches for this term and over 12,000 for “Funeral Flowers” – time to get back to plain English and write even more content!

Suffice it to say that encouraged by my tutor and our guest speakers industry experts like the mind-blowingly brilliant Mark Johnson from Latitude and Dan Taylor from Seowned both of whom have restored some of my faith in the integrity of the industry, I now have a fully researched keyword plan. This along with a carefully considered Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaign for the areas I don’t yet rank organically for means that hopefully I should get a return on my course investment in the near future.

eCommerce and importance of Links

Having spent ages agonising over why a competitor who (in my humble opinion) has a poor website and isn’t actually anywhere near as good as we are consistently out-ranks us for some key terms. Using tools and techniques I have learned over the last four weeks like using google link query and SEOToolbar, I have been able to compare our sites and it’s clear that the only reason for this is the number of links into their site.  Link-building is somewhat more time consuming and complex than keyword research and content writing, it also involves good old fashioned relationship building and networking. I however understand how vital this is to Google and also how to go after links with authority – quality rather than quantity.

Watch this space competitors I’m on your case!

Manchester Florist Venus

Like Raef and Stuart from Channel 4′s Celebrity Wedding Planner you can follow us on twitter or Facebook where I will be sharing our latest flower pictures, stories and offers from Venus Flowers:

So…eCommerce and the High Street – Crisis or Opportunity?

Having read my blog tell me what you think, do you think that eCommerce can help small business owners to stay on the High Street or are you with Mary Portas and believe that eCommerce will mean the end of British High Street? Please share your views in the comments section below!

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