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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!

How We Use Social Media: Meeting the Team Part 3

This week, we meet Ashley, our current intern; a big music fan who is training to run a marathon at the moment.

Hi Ashley, what is your role at I Say! Digital?

I’m the intern. It’s only my first month but I’m dipping my toe in a lot of areas. At the moment I’m writing a lot of blogs and articles for our clients hoping my inquisitive style can draw traffic to their respected sites.

What social media networks do you use? What’s your favourite?

Twitter and Facebook. At the moment Twitter is my favourite as it allows me to keep up to date with what is currently happening in the music scene and current affairs, whether that be on a local or national basis, new bands, old bands etc. At the same time as well, Twitter allows me to keep in touch with friends from around the globe.
My routine with social media tends to surround my commuting to and from University/Work and general breaks I have in my day.

Is there anything about social media you don’t like?

With Facebook I feel at times your privacy is no longer your own. Obviously your settings can be changed to control who sees what, but sometimes this isn’t enough for me.

Why is social media important to you?

Being on the move so much, it allows me to keep up to date with current affairs, career opportunities, and plain and simply see how my friends are doing back in the North.

Why did you want to make social media a career?

With the industry still being in its earliest days I feel this is the chance to jump into a field with so much growing potential. In the past five years we have seen how social media has crept into everyone’s life from “liking” a celeb on Facebook to following a discussion on Twitter using the hashtag feature. Just look at how many people now use Facebook; even my technophobe Mum has her own account now.

How do you see social media changing in the future?

As we can already see now more and more organisations are using social media to promote their organisation and product, I think this will continue and expand. Even educational institutes are using Social Media to advertise and educate their own students. I think this will allow further avenues into the training of an organisation’s staff on how to make the most of Social Media. I believe video blogging/graphics will take a stronger hold within Social Media, leading to users getting involved in a more interactive way.

Facebook Introducing Ads into Your News Feed

Looking at the ads on the side of your  newsfeed could represent a funny glimpse into how Facebook perceived you and what you may be interested in. Sometimes, this would be very suitable whereas other times it could be wrong or just downright depressing (ads beginning with ‘Still single…’). The question is, how many people have actually acted on these ads?  In June Reuters answered that with a poll on Facebook ads that said 80% of users had never clicked. This is just one bit of bad press for the social network this summer, with claims that a large section of their users are fake profiles, and a disastrous floatation that has seen their shares plummet 48% from their initial offering price.

In order to fix this and increase their income from advertising, Facebook are test-running ads for pages that users have not subscribed to. How intrusive this will be is yet to be see. They will look like normal posts as if you’re subscribed to the page, but will be marked as “sponsored” like a print advertisement.

If you watch The Social Network, no doubt you will chuckle at the scene where Mark Zuckerberg drinks Scott Parker’s kool-aid about Facebook being the cool party that everyone wants to be at; and that monetising the site through advertising would put people off and dilute perception of it as a “hip” product. Oh, how times have changed.

We get it though. Facebook is no longer the brainchild of some undergrad in his dorm, upset because he can’t get into a fraternity. Now, it’s an investment for many, and a way of life for many more. Like a fictional work released to the public, it no longer belongs to the creator.

Facebook constantly updates its look or features and most of these changes are met with instant dislike. Maybe some people have used Facebook less and less since the updates,  but few make the big step and actually deactivate their account. I can say from personal experience that the place Facebook has in my life has changed exponentially from what is was 2 years ago. However, that happens with most things, as circumstances change; the fact that I’m no longer at University is probably the reason I don’t have a thriving social life to manage on Facebook, in the form of society events and procrastinating from studying. It’s the same with a majority of my friends; we just don’t have the same time or needs to use Facebook in the same way. The question is: when we do decide to check in, will we have time to stare at sponsored ads?

Depending on the frequency of the ads, I don’t think it will be all that bad. I have many friends who post things I don’t care about or at which I shake my head; all I do is simply scroll down and ignore it. I guess it’ll be the same with the ads.

If these ads are somewhat tailored to our interests then that would be better. As long as my feed isn’t plagued with stories from pages I have no interest in, then I can live with this next change. Facebook needs to do something to counter what has felt like a very turbulent month for them. The move seems to say more about the big picture of where Facebook came from and where they are now, as is the case with many businesses and the problems that come with expansion.

Facebook advertising is just one approach that we can help you take to promoting your business online. For more info, check out our services page.

How We Use Social Media – Meeting The Team Part 2

Following on from the first entry, today we meet Aidah and I ask her about what she does at I Say! Digital and how she uses social media.

Hi Aidah, thanks for setting aside some time as I know you’re very busy. So, tell us what you do at I Say! Digital?

My position is that of SEO Executive and that can include a lot of different tasks. This includes wider, big picture things like developing and implementing SEO strategies or launching social media content, to smaller tasks which just have to be done and are essential, like keyword research, article writing and publishing, or client reporting.

And you enjoy it?

Absolutely! I spend a of time on different social platforms and I think it’s great that I can use my skills to help companies grow their business by acquiring more clients online.

What social networks do you use? Do you have a favourite?

Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest mainly. Facebook is probably my favourite; I use it mainly to keep in contact with my family and friends in France. I’ve never really thought about which one is my favourite too much but that tends to be the one I use most. I’m also on LinkedIn but really ought to check it more often than I do. Just today I received a message from an old university friend who works in Scotland now; he saw from my profile that I work here and suggested working on something together, so I’ve replied back so to see where it goes.

Your thoughts on Social Media in general?

I like everything about Social Media as it allows everybody to express themselves and connect with other people. For companies, like those we work with, it is the best to be closer to their clients, know what they’re thinking, and therefore provide them better services or products.
You can express your satisfaction or dissatisfaction directly with a company where everyone can see. For instance, you can connect with a favourite author, find out more about them or their influences, their future projects, what makes them tick etc.

How do you see social media changing in the future?

I think that social media has become so powerful that if your business is not active on these platforms there’s no way you can compete within your market; they’re probably on them anyway so you need to be active on them just to remain competitive or be seen. In the future, those who choose to not at least try Facebook or Twitter to see if it works for them will find it very difficult to remain in the game.

How We Use Social Media – Meeting the Team Part 1

Recently here in Peacehaven, we have undergone some changes; we have said goodbye to Cat (congrats on the wedding!) and are awaiting the arrival of our new intern and dog (two distinct members, I assure you). In this new series of blogs, I decided that, following this re-structuring, we would get to know each member of the office, looking at how they use social media in their day-to-day lives.

I thought I would begin by interviewing…. myself, so we could ease in to things slowly. So here we go; I promise not to sound too much like Jekyll and Hyde.

Paul

So Paul, what is your role at I Say! Digital?

I began an internship here in May, and have recently been offered a full-time position as a team co-ordinator. I perform quite a range of tasks from content writing which includes proof-reading, corresponding with contributors, managing social media accounts, some PPC, proposals, maintaining our own site, offering ideas to increase business and the odd bit of taking things to the recycling point. Pretty much anything that helps business chug along day-to-day. Going forward I’ll be a project manager on a few things too.

And what social media networks do you use?

Well Paul, I use the biggies like Facebook, Twitter and Google+; though with G+ it has taken me a while to get into and integrate into my routine. It was more when I began my internship here and started to follow those in the SEO and social media industry, that it became a worthwhile pursuit. I’m also a keen Redditor, because it collates everything that appeals to me in one site, and I like the idea of an internet democracy which votes on what is quality content.

Any that you stay away from?

I’ve never really used things like Foursquare because I didn’t have a smartphone until recently so it seemed a bit pointless to just sign in to being at home or work. I’ll probably start using that a bit more especially when going to conferences, like Brighton SEO, in the next few months. I’m not a huge Pinterest fan either as it all seems a bit disorganised and random to me, though I occasionally come across a really great image that becomes my screensaver.

What do you gain most from social media?

I’m a huge television geek, and watch loads of obscure shows from America. I like being able to stay up late when they’re broadcast over there, and see what people on Twitter are saying while a show like Breaking Bad or Community airs. Because I don’t really know anyone who watches the same shows as I do (everyone else has a social life), and don’t have the proverbial water-cooler around which to talk about them, I can bring the water-cooler to me, so to speak. I like the idea of getting instant reactions rather than wait the next day. It’s also really cool to see the variety of places that bands I like are in at that moment. It took me a while to get into the way Tweets were so fragmented and broken up but now it’s plain sailing.

Why did you choose social media to be a part of your career?

I never really considered it because, to be honest, it seemed too good a prospect to even consider a viable option. It was only through being an administrator for a music society at University, where we used social media to plan for events and get discussions going, that I gained my first experience outside of my personal leisure. I had a really terrible experience in my first grad job, which wasn’t media-related, and realised that doing something that you really get a sense of fulfillment and personal satisfaction out of  means so much more and so I looked into it. It’s been hard starting over and learning a lot of background that I didn’t previously in my degree, but it’s been completely worth it and I actually enjoy listening to podcasts about SEO and social media in my free time; on my commute, I can easily go through ten episodes of geeky chatter about relevant updates.

So you use social media during your day?

Pretty much from when I wake up to when I go to sleep, more so now I have my snazzy phone. I can keep in touch with what my friends are up to without sending a long message to each of them with the same questions. What is quite nice is a lot of the tools or sites I use at work are different to those I use in my free time, and with changes occurring every month in this industry, it’s a cat-and-mouse game of grabbing people’s attention. The best part is when you completely forget that not everyone is in tune with social media, especially in our line of work where many business owners don’t realise the potential in having an online presence. Walking clients through the fundamentals of our SEO services is enjoyable, but when you can see how passionate they are about their own business and you show them that they can express this in a way that can actually impact their bottom line, it’s fantastic. Often the perception is that a social media or SEO strategy will be additional work which is completely the wrong mind-frame.

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