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Katie’s Top Tip for Businesses – Digital Marketing Services

Calling all entrepreneurs! Our very own founder and managing director Katie has contributed to an article on creative business site The OnRamp. When asked how she fought through the fear that entrepreneurs can feel during the infancy of a business, she cast her mind back to the founding of her digital marketing services company and replied:

‘When first starting out, if I was worried about the future of the business I would stay late at the office after everyone had left and take time to reflect. Often I make my best decisions at the end of the day when I’m tired, hungry or just want to go home, as this adds a sense of urgency to the decision making process!
So far all the decisions I have made this way have helped drive the business forward immensely.’

You can read the other 11 hints over at The OnRamp’s site.

Katie is able to offer consulting and mentoring as part of I Say! Digital’s full-service digital marketing services, so if you want to know how to get your new venture off the ground, give us a call.

YouTube: What Can it Do For a Business?

YouTube and Digital Marketing

A discussion broke out earlier this week in the office about YouTube.

We were talking about life before the site, and how as recent as 2005, we dreamed of a place on the internet which would act as a magical wishing well for whatever niche or interest you had: ‘I want to watch my favourite childhood TV programme’ or ‘I want to see that goal again’. With YouTube, these aims are achievable. Yes, we probably use it mainly for cute cat videos or the latest film trailers, but one shouldn’t exclude YouTube from any discussion of useful social media.

How Social is YouTube?

Yes, YouTube is more widely considered a video-streaming site (which it is); but there is a huge social element too, which gets lost in the shuffle. Visual items, such as video and infographics, are a lot more likely to be shared and go viral than a long, wordy article; and because social is becoming more and more decisive in SEO, creating something that people will want to show off to friends is becoming vital. YouTube users have a profile which they can play around with; made easier with its integration with Google, to the point where you can now have your own name (which will please anyone who came up with an immature username at the age of 15). Unfortunately, a strong majority of users don’t bother to contribute or even read comments, because they’ve already seen a related video that they want to click on to. You’ll have your usual trolls with their all-caps, swear word-infested arguments, but you can find some very thoughtful, well-structured back-and-forth replies as well. You just have to scroll.

Like Facebook or Twitter, you can also see relationships built up over time. Someone posts a video here and there; someone else replies with a ‘cool video dude'; more people see it, and want to throw in their two pence or expand on your reply. A comment strikes a chord and gets a “thumbs up”. If you keep at it as a creator, promoting your video on the other proper social networks, and tagging your video properly, your uploads will spread further. People will post a link on forums, or even sites like Reddit, and in turn, YouTube will register that your upload is getting a lot of views, and give it a nudge.

Soon you’ll have subscribers (i.e. followers) who’ll look forward to your next upload. They can even see it pop up by making YouTube’s homepage a port-of-call, along with Facebook or Twitter. If they’ve decided to follow you on those platforms, you can post a link there to remind them you’re still around and have uploaded fresh content. Like the concept of ‘followers’, ‘subscribers’ assumes that even if you don’t personally know someone, it’s socially acceptable to follow their activity. So whereas some businesses struggle to earn likes from those beyond their friends and family, YouTube is a bit more lax in that you don’t have to wait for someone to accept your request. This way, strangers can observe you from a distance for a while before making a decision to take on your services.

How YouTube Can Be Used By Business

Only a small majority of our clients use YouTube, because it captures a visual element of their services which they wish to demonstrate and which is not as applicable to other industries. How-To tutorial videos, for instance, builds up authority as a knowledgeable or capable source if you’re in the building trade. Viewers can put a face to a business and get to know you as a personality – which can be endearing, provided you pick the right person to represent you on camera. Videos are also an alternative route to posting images on their own on Pinterest or Facebook; putting together a slideshow to music can be easier on the eye, and show that much more effort has been put in.

If you’re interested in seeking out this, or another of our services, browse our services or get in touch with us.

 

Instagram For Business: Power of the Visual

We’ve recently jumped on the Instagram-wagon (terrible, we know). As well as making us all point our smartphones at our meals or look like tourists in the street, we’ve unlocked some great possibilities when it comes to producing content for clients.

We all know the famous line ‘content is king’; or ‘content is kingmaker’ as Yousaf Sekander recently stated at Brighton SEO. For people to actually follow you, you need to have your content reach them, and to do that you need to encourage those who do follow you in the beginning to spread it around. If you can produce something completely unique that can transcend the field or niche you’re in, you’re onto a winner.

Instagram has a bit of a reputation as being the tool for wannabe photographers who think adding a filter to any old photo makes them trendy. Yes, those people do exist but Instagram also an easy and free way to jazz up an image. It can separate you from the hundreds of images that an individual sees each day. It also feels a bit more personal and the filters can stir feelings of nostalgia which people instantly gravitate towards. Unlike something like a YouTube video which requires you to put in time to consume, a picture is a bite-sized chunk.

I also came across Pinstagram, where you can actually view your photos on a desktop which you can’t do at the moment through Instagram alone. You can also easily upload these to Pinterest. On these kinds of sites, with the right bit of filter-magic, mundane products like door locks, which we take for granted, can be transformed into gothic masterpieces.

So who could Instagram benefit? Well, like Pinterest, those who work in a field whereby their product or service relies on the visual, would benefit largely from a presence here. Those services where the finished product captures an audience and floods them with possibilities in their own life. Interior design or home improvement sites give themselves up to material which can instantly stir a reaction in someone and prompt them to click ‘Like’ and want to share it with others. And as we were taught at Brighton SEO, if you can get in with the right “influencers” to relay your content, you’re onto a winner.

That’s what is so great about social media, especially for business. Many incorrectly view it from the outside as something which teenagers sit on updating each other about what sandwich they’ve just made. YouTube is a social media site or at least is a video-streaming site which has integrated social media aspects into it’s interface so you can follow or subscribe, comment back and forth, create your own profile and more. The active element sometimes gets overshadowed by the passive nature. For businesses, there is a wealth of tools available (and more being made every year) to be utilised and get your message across.

So think about the possibilities for your business to make an impact through a visual form. Words are important in the form of web-copy and article-writing, but there are many other avenues to go down.

Four Things That Turn Off Twitter Followers

 

If you’re trying to get ahead on social media, specifically Twitter, you need followers. To encourage those followers to jump on your bandwagon, there’s a few things you can do to attract them, and have your tweets spread a bit further. However, there are just as many things you shouldn’t do. Without going into too many boring details and giving away our services completely, here are a few to start you off:

1) Re-tweeting Everything

People want to follow you; not YOUR followers, otherwise they would just cut out the middle-man. While it’s always acceptable to re-tweet the occasional good read, consider whether a strong majority of your followers would enjoy it too. What do they want to get from you? If you want to RT something that you personally like, then fine; but accept that not everyone will want their feed constantly cluttered up.

2) Tweeting Too Much

Originally I thought Twitter was just the Facebook status, and that was about it. Well it is to some extent, but I now appreciate it more as a quick chunk of bite-size information or entertainment. Just like on Facebook, tweeting every little detail in your day is incredibly boring. Move on!

3) Bad Hashtags

Hashtags are great for specific events so conversations and comments can be collected and viewed together in one go. However, if you’re in the habit of coming up with really convoluted or overly long hashtags, these can be a bit silly and unnecessary. Hashtags should be phrases that deserve to catch on, a bit like a mantra or ideology. It could be a joke, though only if your followers will ‘get it’ (and even RT it). Be careful to confine hashtags to Twitter, as using them on other platforms reeks of blind posting.

4) Speaking Generally

Saying ‘Hey followers’ is quite formal and general. It puts a barrier between you and your followers. If you have an idea who follows you, like a certain demographic, speak to them in their language. It’s not a bad thing to tweet specifically to them every now and then. It expands your reach and appeal, and shows to those you’re not addressing that you’re a popular Tweeter.

We are currently offering a free Twitter drop-in session for anyone to come along and learn the basics, with professionals who use this daily for work and place. Come along, network, eat biscuits and learn how Twitter can help you; whether as a business owner wanting to improve their publicity in 2012, or simply as an individual wanting to learn something new and show off.

Why an Active Social Media Presence is Important For Businesses

We’ve already discussed on our site the benefits of social media as well as the services we can provide, but the question came up several times recently. Last Friday, Katie and I attended a networking event in Lewes with the First Friday Network to meet local business owners in the East Sussex area and see if anyone was in need of our wonderful services. As usual, though fortunately for us, there were several people who owned their own businesses and yet were not on Facebook and Twitter; or what we like to call, the social biggies.

Most squeezed their shoulders in, cringing as if they were thinking of a big spider crawling onto them while they were asleep. ‘Oh I stay away from that’, or ‘my kids have it, but I just don’t have the time’, were two popular responses when we asked them why they didn’t have an active social media presence. It is perfectly understandable for many traditional individuals, but being surrounded by these networks every day, it still comes as a surprise when we encounter an outsider who consciously avoids Facebook and Twitter to expand their reach. We spoke to Leon Banks of Elbee Services, who informed us many of those he worked with found a majority of their clients through their Facebook, rather than their site.

How Customers Can Find You On Twitter

The other reasons for discounting social media that come up is that they don’t see how their business can be benefited by Facebook, or simply they aren’t good with computers and technology (someone else does that for them). In the case of the former, we explained that with the two biggies, it’s simply about going to where people are, and where they can be exposed to what you offer. For example, if someone posts a rant on Twitter about struggling to find a trustworthy estate agent, we would likely come across that when searching for “#EstateAgents” as part of our daily tasks, and get in contact with them to refer them to our client’s site.

Becoming an Authoritative Source

When people come across your website out of hundreds in the same field, they need some indicator that you know what you’re talking about. Testimonials can work well but if everyone has them, then what’s the point? People will be much more likely to take you up on your services if it’s clear that you’re passionate about your area or niche; that you spend extra hours working or reading about the latest changes and news in that area. If you can prove yourself as to be an authoritative source, people will care about your opinion and that is when you can offer your services. As part of our social media and copy-writing services particularly, we can regularly update both your site and social media accounts so you’re involved in the kinds of conversations where the most eyes are and demonstrate your knowledge and dedication to what you do. Through info-graphics and videos, you can quickly educate amateurs to your field who have no knowledge about your kind of work. If you have especially creative, funny or moving content that appeals to a wider audience, then it can even go viral and spread quickly through forwarding in emails or sharing through social media; and when people view it, they’ll see your logo and how to contact you.

How Social Media Is Good For Your Brand

Having active social media accounts, whether just Facebook or Twitter, or more cutting-edge platforms such as Pinterest, allows you to show the world that you’re anything but archaic and old-hat. In fact, social media usage can demonstrate that you’re relevant to the changing needs of today’s customers. Sometimes you can just pop in to make a comment about a recent world or sporting event, and to let people know you exist. In this way, social media should not be seen as a fad but a useful device to carry out PR. We can’t comment on where these specific social media platforms will be in 10 years time, but we can say that we’ll be there with the expertise to keep you in the game, whatever that game will be.

We are currently offering a Free Twitter For Business – Beginners Course for anyone who wants to learn how to use Twitter themselves, beginning with the basics, and moving up to more advanced options. This session would be of huge benefit to those who want to take the reins for the social media for their business or organisation themselves and learn from a real person who deals with the accounts for various clients from different fields. Hugely beneficial for your business and a good opportunity to network with others in the area. Plus, it’s completely free!

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