Posted by: Kristie Marchant On Monday, February 18th, 2013 - Google
| Pay Per Click
| Search Engines
| Social Media
As a business, you want to expand your popularity online. It is likely that you will want to gain effective results on a limited budget. Although having lots of money to spend is undeniably helpful, there are many things you can do to boost your online presence that do not come at a hefty price.
1. SEO: ‘Search Engine Optimisation’
SEO focuses on generating traffic to your website from the organic listings on search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. This compliments the paid search ads that appear at the top of search engines on a pay-per-click basis. However, do not be fooled – whilst it may not cost you money to increase your organic listings, it will cost you time.
Typical SEO activities include link-building (the higher the quality of the link the better) through content and distribution on forums, directories, guest blogs, online PR, social media etc…
Quality is the key for gaining success with SEO and relies on you putting in the time and effort. Although not as instantaneous as paid search this method will save you a lot of money and is more beneficial in the long term if you keep working at it.
2. Onsite SEO
This is the technical side of SEO. By completing a full audit of your site, you may be able to find quick wins to boost your natural positions on Google.
In order to do this successfully, you will need to keep up to date on Google’s algorithm changes and best practices, and carry out regular Onsite Reports.
3. Start a blog
A third way to help your organic listings is to invest time into your website. Creating quality relevant engaging content for your blog and website is a great way to be valued by Google. Remember – content creation has two values
- To be engaging, educational, relevant and timely to the intended audience
- To be “SEO-ed” to ensure that Google values the content that is being published.
4. Be sociable
Don’t underestimate the power of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. By regularly updating your profiles on these sites with engaging content that is relevant to your business area you will generate interest from your customers, which could ultimately result in conversions. If your customers appreciate your content then they are also more likely to share it with their friend lists which will help to boost your online popularity.
Another important element of social networking is to make sure that you follow and interact with other relevant businesses in your field. Not only will this help to increase your social media presence, but it will also help you to examine which content being created by your competitors is successful and could be implemented into your own social strategy.
5. Keep up-to-date with local search
More and more search results being returned on search engines are becoming localised. This is because search engines are beginning to realise that most users who search for a product or service require it to be close to their location.
Search engines compete against one another to return users with the most relevant results possible. For this reason, businesses who update their listings to include accurate and complete information on local search software such as Google Maps and Yahoo local will be prioritised by the search engine. They will also be more likely to attract customers from their competitors, as customers want to have all the information they need delivered straight to their screens without having to search all over the web for it.
Updating your business listing on search engines’ local search software is free. You can also try creating listings and filling in the relevant information on other online directory sites such as 192.com and Yell.com. Most of these sites will be free for a basic submission but you may be required to pay an annual fee for higher quality submissions.
And when all this is said and done… measurement!
It is vital that you continually keep track of and monitor your progress when building up your online presence using the above methods. Keep making small changes to see what is working and what isn’t. For instance, try using different keywords in your SEO process to generate traffic to the relevant product or service on your website. Also keep an eye on the types of tweets and status updates that are generating the most interest from followers.
A meaningful and rewarding online presence can make or break a business, and unfortunately, if you don’t have the budgets for paid search advertising, it can take a long time to build up.
Quite simply, if you don’t have the budgets, then make sure you have the time to invest in your website.
If you are looking to kick start your online business, but not quite sure where to start, feel free to call Digital Clarity on 0845 388 4071 or email email@example.com. We can build an effective marketing strategy around any budget, whether it’s training days to get you started, consultancy service to assist and guide your marketing teams, or full management to give peace of mind that someone is looking after your business.
Posted by: Reggie James On Thursday, February 14th, 2013 - Marketing
| Social Media
What’s that coming over the hill – is it a Social Media Monster?
It has been hard enough for many of our well known high street retailers at the beginning of 2013. Many of the names we grew up with that had a special place in our personal and business lives, have now gone.
Supply chain issues, staff retention and loyalty, logistics and distribution, competition and price points have all been contributing factors to the lack of foot fall that in part, led to the demise of these much loved brands.
Though these factors all probably existed before their demise, they somehow survived over the years, employing people, paying the rent and selling to customers.
When the Internet monster came along, many high street brands looked at the beast as a friendly platform that could be used as brochure to sell their wares and occasionally give useful information like opening times and location maps.
As search engines matured and Paid Search (PPC) ad platforms developed the behemoth grew and demanded attention and regular feeding but gave return to those who could train and manage it.
Now a new beast has entered our midst. It started like a playful puppy, rolling over and letting us tickle its tummy and made us all laugh. Now it’s growing up fast, demanding all our attention, time and money. It wants to play all the time and those who try and ignore will pay a painful and powerful price. This is the Social Media Animal.
Its Here – Dive In
Animal metaphors aside, the truth is that Social Media, in all its different facets is here and unlike the search platform before it, is not only integrated into search, but has crossed the personal/business divide right under our noses. Brands that ignore this social game shift will be left wanting as their customers embrace the new platforms and look for deeper engagement form their suppliers.
It’s the medium size companies that are ignoring the shift. The large corporates that employ the top graduates and bright minds from the top universities have listened to their business customers and consumers alike and have embraced and actively jumped feet first into the brave new world.
The fortune 100 top companies in the world are some of the biggest users of Social media – why? Because it prolongs the lifetime value of a customer and that customers tells everyone about the experience. The latter being the most valuable marketing around – word of mouth. Word od mouth is so important to brands now that it has its own organization – WOMMA
Some Big Company Social Media Facts
- Fortune Global 100 companies have more accounts on each platform than ever before with an average of: 10.1 Twitter accounts, 10.4 Facebook pages, 8.1 YouTube channels, 2.6 Google Plus pages and 2.0 Pinterest accounts.
- Seventy-four percent of companies studied have a Facebook page.
- Ninety-three percent of corporate Facebook pages are updated weekly.
- Forty-eight percent of companies are now on Google Plus.
- Twenty-five percent of companies have Pinterest accounts.
- Each corporate Facebook page has an average of 6,101 people talking about it.
Source – Burson Marsteller
Big Data is Not Just for Big Companies
The saviour for many companies has been the ability to splice and dice data in a way that can be used intelligently. Only now are companies making use of the large amounts of data that they collect as well as sit within their organisations.
By intelligently segmenting and reverse engineering the data, one can understand the real sentiment behind a company’s brand perception and sentiment. In essence you are creating a true portrait of your audience.
Working at The Speed of Opportunity
Accenture coined the phrase and it has been said in many different ways before but the agile approach to change whilst encompassing the new social business tools, can help organisations, especially businesses at the front–end like retailers, to really take the competitive advantage during this period of change. The opportunity is now and planning for the future should start across the whole organisation today.
Posted by: Hannah Gordon-Smith On Wednesday, January 16th, 2013 - Marketing
| Social Media
First things first, don’t compare Facebook Graph Search to Google, compare it to Google+. Facebook Graph Search is not a web search engine, but rather one that searches its own data with Microsoft Bing technology, to help it’s users to find new or long lost friends.
What does this mean as a Facebook user?
As a Facebook user, Graph Search will allow you to do in-depth search on information posted by friends, as well as public posts made by anyone else using Facebook. With more than “a billion people, 240 billion photos and a trillion connections” (Daily Mail) the Graph Search can pull and display information on four main areas;
- People: able to search by profession, name etc
- Photos: capabilities to find photos based on date ranges or locations
- Places: able to search for cinemas in Bristol or restaurants in Norfolk
- Interests: this can include anything like movies, TV shows, and brands
Not only will you be able to find long lost friends, but this search tool could act as a new platform for internet dating, potentially putting companies such as Match.com and eHarmony at risk.
At the moment, only a small segment of users have access to this new search, however upon learning of its success, I’m sure Facebook to start to roll this out to all its users.
What does this mean for privacy?
Facebook claims that despite this new technology, they have “built Graph Search from the start with privacy in mind, and it respects the privacy and audience of each piece of content.”
In other words Facebook claim that the information generated from Graph Search is still the same information you can already get. The difference is that with this new search software, you are able to make more in-depth searches and segment data more effectively.
For example, you will be able to search for “friends in London” or “people who are interested in Twilight”. To take it one step further; you can do a combined search like “friends in London that are interested in Twilight” or “Chinese takeaways liked by friends from Nottingham living in Bristol”
So word of warning!!! Make sure you double check your profile on what people can see. If you don’t want photo’s showing up on Graph Search – put your privacy settings on!
What does this mean as a business user?
Well, it can mean a range of things – but all in all, it is a positive change.
- Reduction of waste: Companies that advertise on Facebook can generate a much more targeted list of potential consumers
- Increasing Conversion Rates: Advertisers can deliver much more targeted and specific ads, to the right people
- Quality Recruitment: since the lack of interest in Branch Out (the professional network for Facebook) Graph Search enables recruiters to find suitable candidates with the right experience and lifestyle
How else can Facebook develop?
Facebook continues to grow and expand on ideas to improve usability and advertising revenues, but there are still areas that Graph Search can develop on.
- Search Graph to expand in other languages other than English
- API for app developers
- Search Graph to become ready for mobile users
- A PPC model for search results
- Search results to also include posts and actions from apps
For more information on Facebook Graph Search, or how to effectively use social media for your business marketing campaigns, feel free to call the Digital Clarity team on 0845 388 4071 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by: Joanna Wild On Wednesday, January 9th, 2013 - Social Media
Twitter has announced developments to its search function which will change how we discover breaking news. The 3 step process will help to solve the problem of context by using “crowdsourced human evaluators”, as up to now this problem has not been solved with computers alone.
As soon as Twitter’s algorithm identifies a popular new search term or hashtag, it will send this information to the “human evaluators” who will categorise the query, identifying if it is about a person or event, whether there are likely to be pictures shared etc. The engine is then taught the context of the term so that it can collect the most relevant live information to improve search results and better populate the Discover section, as well as improving the relevancy of ads displayed.
So for example, during the US presidential election campaigns queries such as “binders full of women” began trending, which a computer on its own would not be able to put into context. Using “human evaluators”, Twitter would know that this related to Politics, the US Presidential Election, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, rather than to office accessories. Twitter can then serve the most topical information in the search results, the Discover section and display ads by the electoral candidates instead of say, Staples. Read more about the developments on Twitter’s engineering blog.
Improving the context of search results is crucial for creating a relevant news destination and if other news sources want to keep up they had better move quickly. Google should be paying attention too; Google News will need to be kept up to speed with relevant results to be able to compete with Twitters real-time, relevant search results.
Posted by: Kristie Marchant On Friday, January 4th, 2013 - Social Media
Ever since my secondary school days and the lessons spent in essay writing, I have always been taught that quality is more important than quantity. When it comes to your social media following there’s a reason why less is more. Gone are the days of desperately trying to accumulate more and more followers as brands begin to realise that it is now about who is following you rather than how many.
There are millions of people on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter so it is important to try and identify the individuals who are going to benefit you. There’s no point collecting a huge list of followers through methods such as auto-follow or using apps that create chain follows. They won’t enhance your business in any way as they are all interested in the same thing as you – getting lots of followers. Stop worrying about how many followers you have and start focusing on their quality instead.
What makes a quality Twitter follower?
A quality follower is actually interested in what you have to say on Twitter. Because of this, they are far more likely to interact with your posts through retweets and replies and circulate your posts to their own friends who might also be interested and in turn increasing your reach and exposure to relevant audiences. However, finding quality followers is difficult since like any meaningful relationship it requires time and effort to prove to them that you are worth following.
How can you get quality Twitter followers?
There are a number of ways to go about finding quality followers on Twitter. Remember, however, that these tips aren’t instantaneous and you will need to keep working at it to ensure that these followers become interested in you and remain so.
Follow the leaders:
Start following the big names in your particular industry. You will notice that they have thousands of followers who listen avidly and circulate whatever they have to say. Start following some of these followers who engage with this big brand. The chances are they are interested in the product or service rather than just the brand itself.
As well as taking the time to follow the customers who are following your competitors, also make sure you analyse what your competitors are doing and saying via Twitter. Are they always successful and responded to by followers in a positive manner? Remember, big brands make mistakes too.
A recent example of this was when the luxury food and drink hamper company, Fortnum and Mason, received backlash from Stephen Fry based on a bad customer experience. Fans of Stephen Fry retweeted this message 343 times not to mention how many more of his followers saw this but didn’t respond. Keep in mind that friends of Stephen Fry’s followers would also have seen this message after it appeared as a retweet on their Twitter feeds. This is certainly not desirable publicity for the company to have as it may put off potential customers. However, cases such as this are a good opportunity for smaller businesses to get noticed (as some users have already taken the opportunity to do so) by using effective marketing in response to this tweet to highlight their own brand.
Provide quality tweets:
The chances are that people will look at your last few tweets before they click ‘follow’ so make sure you are tweeting regularly and that your tweets are interesting, insightful and relevant to your sector.
For more information on Twitter success, please read our other blog: 10 Tips on Twitter Success For Businesses
Hashtags and keywords:
Whilst Twitter’s search functionality has improved to the point where hastags are becoming less relevant for keyword searches, hastags can still be useful for a marketing perspective. Hastags can be used to start a topic or discussions, kick start a competition or host a tweet chat.
Keywords help you to search and be searched based on specific wording that relates to your business so that you can contact only the people who are relevant to you.
For more information on making your Twitter following valuable to your business, feel free to call the Digital Clarity team on 0845 388 4071 or email email@example.com
Posted by: Kristie Marchant On Monday, December 10th, 2012 - Social Media
Instagram have recently disabled a ‘card’ feature that helps their photos to be displayed on Twitter. As a result, any Instagram photos being posted to Twitter by users have been showing up badly cropped, difficult to view and some have ended up being deleted altogether.
In a recent press conference, Instagram boss, Kevin Systrom, tried to explain the company’s reasons for this decision: “really it’s about where do you go to consume that image, to interact with that image. We want that to be on Instagram.” The photo editing and sharing application are keen to expand their web presence and want to keep users from directing to other social networking sites in order to achieve this.
billion back in April 2012, sparking suggestions that Twitter felt threatened by Instagram’s new connection with their biggest social media rival. In July 2012 Twitter also blocked Instagram users from using their friend finding feature to build up their follower circles.
While the fact that both companies want to preserve their services for usage on their own sites makes sense from a business standpoint, what impact is this restriction having on the users of both social networking sites?
It is clear to everyone that, based on their recent actions, the intentions of Twitter and Instagram are purely to make money. However, focusing on what’s good for the company and keeping advertisers happy, is spoiling the experience for users.
The effect on users:
Most people use Twitter to follow their favourite celebrities and brands as well as promoting their own content. This is a great way of getting the latest news and information directly. Instagram’s decision to limit access to Twitter means users are missing out on the latest previews from shows and product releases via photo sharing.
Studies have shown that one of the most popular features on Twitter and Facebook is photo sharing. No one wants to spend time capturing, editing and sharing images with their friends and followers only to find that they are now being restricted from doing so. Users want to get the best of both worlds by sharing their content quickly and effectively across a range of platforms all at once.
This feud is ultimately preventing users from carrying out the fundamental purpose of social media platforms: the ability to communicate. There’s no surprise then that customers aren’t happy. Because for as long as this dispute rages one thing’s for certain, it won’t be Twitter and Instagram that are missing out, it’s their customers.
Posted by: Tom Collinson On Friday, August 17th, 2012 - Social Media
Twitter has more than 140 million active users and should see 250 million active users by the end of 2012 (Cara Pring). As more and more businesses take to social media, it’s important that you stay ahead of your competitors. To give you a helping hand we have complied the 10 top tips for Twitter success, so let us know what you think!
Posted by: Hannah Gordon-Smith On Thursday, July 26th, 2012 - Marketing
| Social Media
Some of our clients come to us with the frustration and age old question, how do I get more followers, and below we have written some basic guidelines to give your inspiration for your own social media pages.
The first thing to always remember is to put yourself in your customer shoes. Why do you follow businesses? Why did you go and find them in the first place? Why do you remain a faithful follower?
Identify the reason to follow:
Here are some of the reasons and approaches which may help when deciding to what to post and how to engage with users and get them to share your content:
Freebies – Any kind of competition, discount, coupon or freebie can gain interest and exposure as users will share it with their friends and followers if it is of interest.
Amaze them – By using great design, new tools or videos you can generate the ‘Wow’ factor and intrigue users to follow as well as share.
Teach them – “How to’s”, tutorials, guides and documents can be really useful and something that people actively look for. By offering the right information in an interesting format this can generate good content to be shared by users.
Solve a problem – Giving advice, providing a tool or software to solve a given problem can be a way of engaging although this may not be as relevant for all online businesses to use.
Make me Laugh – Using Jokes, games, cartoons and videos can be a great way of getting people to share your content although can be a slightly riskier strategy dependent on the brand.
Make them look good to others – by offering content or something which makes the users look good and improve their social status can be engaging. Giving them something or some way to show off! Again this may not always be practical or relevant dependent on the brand.
Integrate your approach
Remember: search drives social, social drives search. Combine your approaches and sync up your strategies to get the best out of your business.
For more information on social media and the best way to manage and integrate your strategies, feel free to call the Digital Clarity team on 0845 388 4071 or visit our website.
Posted by: Hannah Gordon-Smith On Tuesday, May 8th, 2012 - Social
| Social Media
BranchOut is a professional networking site on the Facebook platform launched in July 2011 with more than 25 million registered users.
Facebook are promoting this professional networking site, making it accessible to all users looking to network professionally and find new jobs. BranchOut Founder and CEO Rick Marini said “Online networking is not just for managers and executives. New college graduates, retail workers, nurses, software engineers and military veterans re-entering the workforce can all benefit substantially from having strong professional profiles on Facebook. We’re making it easier for our users to find jobs through their established and authentic Facebook relationships.”
The tool is primarily aiming at the recruitment sector, as it has partnered with StepStone and totaljobs.com, creating a platform where recruiters can get referrals, head hunt and generate candidates, and candidates can search for posted jobs and network with industry heads.
BranchOut offers 3 recruitment platforms
• Social JobBoard: share a job post with connections on Facebook and twitter
• CareerConnect: Create a job postings on a Facebook page
• RecruiterConnect: Search within the BranchOut talent pool
Below are some statistics on recruitment and social media, and how successful BranchOut could potentially be.
However how successful will this tool actually be? Facebook is normally regarded as a ‘personal’ platform where users post pictures of holidays, nights out and their private life. The question is, will users will want their potential new employers to see this side of them, or will they just continue to separate their ‘professional’ and ‘personal’ profiles between linkedin and Facebook.