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The Future’s Bright, The Future’s Ello? 

“Simple, beautiful and ad-free”

Ello is an ad-free social media network with a simple and uncluttered interface.

It began as a response by a small group of artists and programmers against the increasing bombardment of advertising and personal details being sold for capital gain on the other main social media networks.

When compared to the other social media platforms, it is most similar in look and feel to that of Tumblr and Twitter. The features are also familiar; Comment, Follow, Unfollow and @Mentions.

One of the appeals of Ello is that it allows a more personal element to Social Media allowing users to choose any username they want, unlike Facebook where users have to give a real name. (Facebook enforced this rule in the Summer of 2014 causing uproar to the American Gay community and entertainment industries where many profiles are that of people with ‘stage names’).

 

Using Ello

The self-explanatory drag and drop format allows you to set up a profile picture and header image with the recommended size specifications noted in the space itself. The interface is intuitive; a fluid grid layout with a lot of white space – you can tell it was created by Artists and Web Developers!

Its simple to navigate and if at any time you want to read up more about how to use it you can scroll to the bottom right at click the heading; ‘WTF’.

From looking around at the user profiles, you get the sense that this social media network is a great space for people to display their personal creativity; The platform places a large focus on sharing images, video and written content created by its users – all media had to be owned or created by its owners.

To find friends and people to follow you use the search bar and when finding friends you might like you simply ‘drag’ the thumbnail to your ‘Friends’ or ‘Noise’ areas. Friends being of course people you share reciprocal content with and Noise being the space where you are able to see everyones activity at a glance.

 

How Are Businesses Using Ello? 

Though Ello holds an anti-commercial stance, it has no policy against business accounts.

There are a few examples of businesses who have embraced the new social media network; Penguin Books and a fair few small retail brands such as the company, Cheap Monday which is owned by H&M and even Ello’s Founder, Paul Budnitz has an account for his Bicycle business.

If you know who your target audience are; ie Early adopters, creatives, US market then it could be worth having brand presence on Ello but be aware that you may need to think differently about the type of content you post on here compared to say Facebook and Google+. People who have joined Ello have joined to not be bombarded by ads and sales pitches so go for the simple approach by taking a nice image of the product and captioning it then post.

 

The Future For Ello 

We have yet to see how this network develops worldwide but it has just hit over a million users worldwide and has also managed to raise a further $5.5 Million in funding (TechCrunch 2014).

In terms of Social Advertising, Ello has made a promise to always be ad-free and never sell the company on to someone who would use the platform to advertise, they also promise never to sell user data as they believe that they have ‘products and features that users would be willing to pay for’.

At the time of writing, The Company is now on Beta Version 2 with private messaging now enabled for users and the network rolled out a Mobile app version available for iOs and Android.

 

Are you using Ello? We would love to hear how you’re finding using the platform and what your think of it - Tweet us @CarvillCreative or drop us a comment below.

5 Ways To Integrate Social Media into your Events

Looking at ways to integrate social media into your events? Then this post looks at 5 simple things to consider to keep the conversation bubbling, before, during and after your event.

1)     Get connected. When taking bookings for your event – be sure give delegates the opportunity to share their social media account details with you. For example, when you ask for their email address, why not ask for their Twitter handle too. This way you can connect with them directly – keep them updated on what’s going to be happening at the event – even ask questions about what they’re looking forward to etc – before the event has even started.

2)     Brand with a hashtag. Create a hashtag for your event so that you can easily get everyone attending or engaged with the event in any other way connected – pre, during and post the event.  You can print the # on promo materials, ask speakers to include on all their slides, use for promotional purposes – eg: getting user generated content from attendees etc – the opportunities are endless. Of course, when creating your # do some research to see if anyone else has used it before – keep it short and memorable and, no brainer – relevant.

3)     Showcase social activity. It was no surprise that at the recent Digital Shoreditch event, there were some really innovative and highly practical uses of social media activity at play.  Speakers were encouraged to share their Twitter handles so that everyone could interact with them during talks, and at the beginning of every talk they encouraged audiences to talk to them and connect.  Plus there was a fabulous contraption; The Social Stock ticker

FullSizeRender (1) FullSizeRender

tracking and printing out (good old bus conductor ticket styley) all tweets using the event hashtag #ds15.  And of course, there were Twitter boards showcasing conversations alongside the main presentation screens. Lots of engagement, lots of content to retweet, share, use in follow ups.

4)     Create a social database. Back to the hashtag again – simply create a Twitter list of all the people that engaged with the event – either those that used the hashtag or mentioned the event name or retweeted etc. This way, the next time you run the event, you can let them all know that event 2016 is taking place via Twitter.  Create an open list and everyone else can see who else connected with the event –useful as part of networking opportunities.

5)     Continuous conversations. So we’ve talked about what to do to capture audience, talk to them and engage during the event. What about after the event? Give delegates a reason to stay connected – perhaps slides are going to be shared into Twitter following the event, or video footage which they may be highlighted in, or there’s going to be Q&A sessions over on Facebook with some of the speakers – so share your questions with us.

So that’s just 5 ideas you an use to integrate social media into your event activities – I’m sure there are many others that you could come up with – if so, feel free to share them with us – we’re all ears… @carvillcreative

 

@Michelle Carvill founder of Carvill Creative – a digital marketing and social media agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire and London.

 

 

 

Anybody there – and if so, do you care? The Importance of using Social Media Channels Effectively

hearandear

It was interesting to read a recent report stating that whilst many PR organisations are now including social media channels as part of PR activity for their clients, the way in which they are using them isn’t as optimised as it could be.

The critical flaw highlighted in the report – is the use of social media channels purely as broadcast channels. Pushing out updates, notices, press releases and news – good old traditional marketing methodology pushed into a conversational platform.  But surely effective conversations are meant to be two way – otherwise it’s not a conversation, it’s just noise.

And it’s not just some PR organisations that are getting this wrong.  We see activity on the social channels day to day where there’s a lot of ‘talking at’ going on – but not much listening and engaging.

Each time we see this, it breaks our little hearts – as social media channels are perfect resources for engaging with people.  Used effectively, they are wonderful channels to engage in authentic conversations, to compel others to connect and share content or your ideas, extending reach and brand awareness – and yet, even though these channels have now been around for a number of years – we continue to see masses of lost opportunity.

Perfect example of pushing yet not listening

For example, we were recently working on a campaign for a client that meant we were tracking a range of keywords to research relevant conversations. In doing this, we uncovered that the PR company working on the campaign (and again, not just getting at PR companies here –  there are some PR companies that do social exquisitely) – whilst they were sharing updates on social platforms around a campaign, they were not actually geared up to follow up on any engagement. This meant that questions were being asked, people were asking for more info, where they could find products in which stores etc – and yet no one was engaging. The channel was purely being used to broadcast – nothing more.

My question to you therefore is – are you listening? And if so – is that listening effective? Don’t just plan a campaign and set up a tweet bank to push out a whole bunch of timely tweets – that’s not social, that’s broadcast.  Focus your campaign on engagement.  Ask the questions:

  • How are you going to engage?
  • How are you going to encourage engagement?
  • How are you going to get the conversations started?
  • How are you going to keep conversations continuing?
  • How are you going to track conversations?
  • How often?
  • Who’s listening in?

Basic questions – but all too often this critical aspect is missing from social activity.

Listening is part of being social – let’s not forget that.

 

As always follow us on Twitter to stay up to date with social media news and tips @carvillcreative

 

@MichelleCarvill founder of Carvill Creative – a digital marketing and social media agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire and London.

6 Of The Best Free Social Media Analytical Tools

Magnifying glass in a handThere are many ways of analysing your social media accounts so we’ve decided to write a post offering some insider insight into the most popular ones whilst also shedding some light on the lesser known ones that are also free and do a pretty good job.

Many of these tools vary from being great ways of working out when to post onto your social media channels to analysing the quality of your current followers/fans.

  1. Twitter Audit – So first to Twitter Audit, This is quite a small offering in terms of information gained but very effective in getting a general idea of how many of your followers are fake and how many are real. The interface is modern, simple and easy to use, you simply enter your Twitter handle and you’re away.
  2. Tweepi – Tweepi is a great tool to use after using Twitter Audit as it enables you to wean out those fake followers notably the ones whose last tweet is listed as ‘unknown/never’ or hasn’t tweeted in years. The site gives you good insight into the quality of your followers; how many followers they have and when they last tweeted, as well as options to add them to one of your lists or unfollow them. You can also do many additional options but as part of a premium plan. Sign up or login via a Twitter account that you are already logged in with.
  3. Google Analytics – This one of course you probably already know about but do you really make good use of it? This is a really insightful tool especially for small business owners who tend to do most of the senior jobs themselves. Free to use, and once set up properly you would be able to analyse the quality of traffic coming to your website via your social media channels through the use of demographics, locations, times of day, bounce rate, click throughs and much more.
  4. Facebook Insights – Again, another tool that you probably know about and is fantastic when looked at properly; It shows you when your fans are more likely to be on Facebook so it tells you the most effective time to post. Also, a summary of your posts and the engagement it received so ultimately you can see at a glance which ones were more successful. Of course, you can see a bit more on the demographics of your audience and where they are located in addition to a lot of other bits and pieces.
  5. Twitter Analytics – Only recently have Twitter put a greater focus on analytics. Once signed in and from your Tweets page you can hover over the faded graph symbol inside each tweet to view the level of engagement; how many times a tweet has been viewed and how people have engaged; whether through Retweets, Favourites, Link Clicks.
  6. Tweetstats – This tool, although the website looks slightly suspicious, is actually a good egg and a great way of analysing other peoples accounts ie. Your competitors. Enter the twitter handle you want to analyse and wait whilst the ‘faeries work their magic’ then through the use of  lots of small but brightly coloured graphs and hashtag clouds you can see when the account is most active, what days, times and who with as well as hashtags that are most commonly used.

We hope you found this insight helpful. If there are any free tools you’ve found that you find really work for you share the knowledge and let us know in the comments below or tweet us! @carvillcreative

CASE STUDY: Luxury brand Burberry ahead of the competition with digital innovation

Image Taken From Burberry Website

Image Taken From Burberry Website

When it comes to digital there are a whole load of possibilities with how retail brands can choose to approach the area and how creative they can be.

This is a beautiful space that can offer brands the chance to shine and think out of the box in terms of marketing to their consumers. Where we are now is that the platforms themselves have developed hugely and social advertising is becoming more popular.

Brands are also making greater use of newer social media platforms like Snapchat which offers marketers a chance to target the younger consumer through images and short videos.

There are many good examples of retailers embracing social media and creating really good and creative content on a regular basis – Burberry is a great example of what could be achieved when digital is fully embraced. Not just placing themselves where their target audience is online but also engaging with them in a way that can open up a whole new shopping experience.

This post is based around a recent news article headline which said;

“Rival luxury brands have yet to catch up with Burberry on digital innovation”

So…. we thought it would be a good chance to analyse why they have done so well and see what sort of strategy they have in place.

Speaking to analysts for the company’s trading update for the last six months, Carol Fairweather acknowledged that rival brands were spending more on digital, but said Burberry’s “embedded” approach was a cut above the rest.

“Digital is embedded right through the organisation in everything we do. So yes, other people are beginning to invest in digital, but have they got the same advantage to the fact that it’s absolutely embedded in everything?”

This isn’t just a boastful statement, the financial figures speak for themselves;

  • Burberry have seen an exceptional rise in sales being “almost 14% higher than the rest of the luxury fashion market”
  • As well as accrediting a 9% year-on-year sales bump to their personalised efforts in this area.

And Carol Fairweather is right about another thing, it is literally embedded into everything; from the Company culture – 70% of the London HQ are aged 30 and under and are all encouraged to peruse Social Media on a daily basis. CEO Christopher Bailey often publishes webinars to all staff on how the company is doing and what creative initiatives are coming up next.

The stores themselves are digitally integrated; with digital chips around the store that activate as the consumer moves through the store, kicking off catwalk shows and fashion displays on mirrors.

Christopher Bailey (CEO And Chief Creative Officer) used an interesting choice of words when he said that he had wanted to ‘weave digital into the fabric of the business’.

From the conception of their first Facebook page in 2009 to having a presence on Google+,Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube and now Snapchat and by being present on all these different channels, the company have managed to harness the attention of their key target market.

Burberry have approached social media in the way they probably would when creating a new fashion piece; Taking an item and turning it into the best it can possibly be. They use social media to provide, behind the scenes footage, discussions with Christopher Bailey and live stream runway shows, giving followers an intimate insight into the brand.

In an interview with GQ Christopher Bailey said of the company digital approach;

“We had realised that we had created a lot of platforms that only exist online so we decided we had to bring these to life. Our approach to the store was to make a bridge between the online and offline experience. Today I think we’re less concerned about where we actually shop, and more concerned about the experience we have while we’re shopping.”

Through these activities it is clear that Burberry have fully embraced innovative marketing techniques and as a result have managed to almost blur the boundary between its online environment and physical stores by providing followers an all-round digital experience by marrying technology and retail environment in a fascinating, creative and intrinsic way.

At the time of writing, Burberry are due to launch a special Snapchat series from LA and all week have provided followers with short video teasers by Fashion Models Naomi Campbell, Jourdan Dunn and Cara Delavigne introducing the upcoming segment.

So it’s easy to see why Burberry have been so successful! By sharing so much with their special online fans they have managed to keep up with the modern digital age and in turn boost their profits too.

We look forward to keeping an eye on Burberry and how they embrace the newer social media networks and what creative they come up with!

As always leave a comment below and if you have any questions about how to market your business online using Social Media then you can drop us a tweet @CarvillCreative

WhatsApp – Fast, Personal and Highly Engaged

whatsappFirst things first – What is WhatsApp?

WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. Instant message is now hugely popular around the globe and has seen significant growth over the past few years. A new report from Juniper Research states that by 2018, instant messaging via mobiles will account for 75% of traffic – or 63 trillion messages! Accordingly to ComScore, WhatsApp is the most popular instant messaging service, followed closely by its Chinese equivalent, WeChat.

Who Can Use it?

Anyone with a smartphone. WhatsApp is available to download via the App Store and is available for all iPhone users, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phones and Nokia.

How is instant messaging free?

Because WhatsApp Messenger uses the same internet data plan that you use for email and web browsing, therefore there is no cost to message.

WhatsApp was Bought by Facebook in 2014 for a whopping $19bn. The platform is one of the buzziest around with more than 700m monthly active users and carries 30bn messages per day. ‘A survey of 4,000 smartphone users by On Device found that 44% of users in five countries used WhatsApp at least once a week’.* (*Telegraph – Jan 2015)

Currently there is an annual charge for WhatsApp of $0.99 – however, this is only applicable in the US. It is likely that as adoption grows and more people become dependent on the platform, given that the platform has vowed never to carry advertising – then it may be that this low fee is rolled out globally – or even raised to assist with monetising the platform.

Based on the stats above, we know for sure that people are using it. In fact it is now arguably one of the world’s fastest-growing communication apps. The question is – how many of us are using it for business purposes?

WhatsApp for Business

As a communication tool, WhatsApp ticks all the right boxes. Being able to communicate directly with employees, clients, customers and colleagues by:

  • Chatting in real-time
  • Sending multimedia
  • Receiving and sending of voice and video messages
  • Transmitting messages to groups of up to 100 people

How to get started with WhatsApp

From your smartphone download the app fro the App Store.  You can then add an avatar to set up your profile as you wish. And then it’s a case of simply connecting with people in your network who are already on WhatsApp.

Two great assets of instant messaging are the ease and speed. It is said that it takes just 90 seconds for someone to respond to an instant message – whereas the average is 90 minutes for email.

These attractive elements mean that more and more business are finding it a useful way to keep in touch with groups of customers and clients.

However it’s important to be aware and remember that this platform has not been set up as a business resource. It’s for this reason that direct advertising and soliciting business has been strongly prohibited and actually violates the terms of its service. There is absolutely nothing to stop you sharing blogs, images, and engaging directly with customers, as long as you aren’t deemed to be hard selling.

In this day and age engaging directly with your customer or client is imperative. Keeping the conversation going and listening to their needs is all part of being a modern online social business. WhatsApp can assist with that – as ‘Rare Diamond’ diamond creators have demonstrated:

Case Study: Engaging with your clients:

A story from The Telegraph this year explained how diamond maker ‘Rare Pink’ uses WhatsApp to keep up a rapport with their clients.

Diamond Pink found WhatsApp to be a very personal source of communication with their customers, allowing them to stay in touch 24 hours a day and at short notice. In the article Rare Diamond used the example of a female city trader, who was a client, choosing to use WhatsApp as her source of communication. The lady in question was in touch with her assigned Rare Pink consultant via WhatsApp as she was unable to make calls at work and her emails were monitored. WhatsApp allowed her to privately keep in touch with her consultant about final amendments to her ring and resulted in her spending a great deal with the brand. And of course, because the platform allows not only text conversation, with no character limits – and also enables the sharing of images and video – (WhatsApp sends and receives 500 million images every day, compared with Facebook’s 350 million) – a simple and quick way to share visual content, ie: the design and development of the bespoke item being design – and of course to get instant feedback from the client too.

Engaging with your team:

WhatsApp isn’t only great for client liaison, it’s also a great internal tool that can almost work like an intranet within your business. Allowing you to communicate and chat via real time with colleagues and employees. The group chat feature is arguably the most useful business aspect of WhatsApp – allowing you to chat within a group of up to 100 people at once.

To Start a Group Chat:

  • Open WhatsApp and go to the Chats screen.
  • At the top of the chats screen, tap the New Group button.
  • Type in a subject or title.
  • Add group participants by selecting +, or by typing the name of the contact.  You will automatically be able to add anyone from your contacts database – and so it may mean that you have to add contacts first. They will receive an invitation to join the Group chat.
  • Tap Create to finish creating the group.

Whether you are using WhatsApp to communicate internally with colleagues or externally with clients there are some other handy WhatsApp features that are worth knowing for business use:

You can email an entire message history to someone:

For iOS users go to Settings and chooseEmail chat history‘.

For Android, click on the menu option in a conversation (it’s on the bottom-right of the screen), go to ‘More‘ and select Email Conversation, before entering the address of the recipient.

You can back up WhatsApp conversations:

Go to the Settings menu, choose ‘Chat preferences’, and then click on the Chat history backup option.

You can broadcast a WhatsApp to many contacts:

If you need to quickly get a message out to more than one person at a time – e.g. ‘Emergency meeting at 12pm’ – the easiest way to do this is to ‘broadcast’ a message in WhatsApp.

Select the Broadcast message option in the more menu and select the contacts you want to send it to. Then type your message and hit Send.

Whilst WhatsApp purposefully doesn’t promote itself as a business platform – and the founders have vowed that it won’t run advertising on the channel – [even following acquisition from Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg has agreed to keep the platform ad free] – there are some useful ways businesses can utilise the service for business purposes, beyond the direct sell.

WhatsApp Chat Tips and Facts:

  • There is no limit to the number of groups you can create.
  • Every group has one or more admins. Only admins can add or remove participants.
  • Only admins can make other participants admins.
  • If the original admin leaves the group, a new admin will be randomly assigned.
  • Only message people you know – don’t ‘cold message’ anyone for business purposes.
  • Keep groups targeted. All members of a group receive all notifications. There is an option for any member of a group chat to Mute notifications for either 8 hours, 1 week or 1 year.

6 Tips On How To Improve Your Social Media Engagement on Twitter

Multicolored Group of Speech Bubbles

So you have your social media accounts set up and are updating on a regular basis but why are your accounts not receiving any likes or followers?

We have already written a Blog about what you could do to improve engagement on Twitter but this post aims to give you a few ideas on what you could do across all of your Social Media profiles.

1. Complete your Social Media profiles

It might seem quite obvious but this is an easy thing to overlook. Ensure all the relevant information is filled out such as your name, where you are and website links as well as uploading a suitable profile picture and cover photo. Thinking about the more common social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ you may need to add additional information such as interests, a short bio and more importantly, you might need to ensure your website is verified (specifically on your Google+ profile).

2. Research your Competitors

Do you know who your competitors are? Make a list on Twitter and add their profiles to that list – remember you don’t have to ‘follow’ your competitors in order to add them to this list. Bookmark the main social media pages for your competition in your web browser so you can pop in whenever you have the time and see how they engage with their audiences. What sort of content are they posting? How regularly are they engaging with their fans/followers? What is it they are doing differently? Is there anything you could learn here?

3. Connect with customers, influencers and other industry specialists

You want to make your social networks really work as a network.  So look at how you can be connecting with relevant audiences via social channels too.  You may already have quite a lot of information about your customers via your database – so if you have their email addresses, you can search for them on Twitter and other social networks that way too.

Also, if you know who your key influencers are from other marketing means such as website registrations and email subscriptions – you can also go find them on social media channels too.

Search for industry blogs and look at the main authors and contributors and add them to your social media profiles too. Take some time to do your research, seeing who follows who and topics being discussed.

4. Interact and appreciate your audience

Everyone likes a compliment every now and then so as well as posting on a regular basis remember to ‘Like’ and ‘RT’ or ‘Favourite’ others’  updates. And if people engage with your updates, take the time to send them a message or tweet them back to say thank you.  Also – you could take a look at their profile and find out what their interests are so that when you respond you can ask them something or say something relevant on a more personal level.

5. Find communities and participate in them

There are many groups and communities on Facebook and LinkedIn and a lot of them are easy to find via the search function. Type in industry relevant keywords and see what comes up, but don’t just join any old community, have a good look through to find out more about the community or group and how many contributors there are, in order to find out how active and up to date it is. Do note that some communities and groups are ‘closed’ – which means you may not be added to the group immediately as the group moderator will have to accept your request to join.  You’ll be alerted once you’re accepted – so keep a watch out for those.

6. Respond to your stats

Look at your Facebook Insights, what times are your posts more popular? Post at those times for a week and see if that helps engagement, if not, tweak it. Review what type of posts are more popular than others? It might be that a random post about FAQ’s proved more popular than one you posted about a cute looking cat (or vice versa) so use this knowledge to your advantage and give the audience what they want!

Hopefully, these tips have given you some ideas in terms of generating more engagement on Twitter. Let us know how you get on in the comments below and do share your tips for improving engagement too.

Tweet Us @carvillcreative

How To Get Your Twitter Presence Up To Scratch

Whilst Twitter has been around for 10 years, many are just starting out on their Twitter travels. Whether you’re just setting out, or have been on the channel for a while – take a look at these top tips to help you improve your Twitter Profile:

CC Twitter Page

Complete Your Twitter Profile –

Nobody likes an unfinished profile as it can look fake and your friends or customers might not know it’s you.It is highly recommended that you set a profile picture whether it be a logo or a headshot or item that is suitable to your product or brand. Twitter is all about people and people tend to like seeing who they are talking to.

When it comes to writing your bio our advice is to KISS. Yes, Keep It Short and Simple! You only have 160 characters so you should say a few key things that describe you or your business in a nutshell.

What is it you do? What interests do you or your business engage in? Most importantly; think about what it is you want people to know about you. And possibly what you don’t want people to know. If you’re stuck, have a look at some other profiles that get a lot of traction to see how they’ve positioned things.  Always a good idea to do your research and borrow ideas.

 Brand It, Own It –                                                                 

Does the colour scheme and imagery on your profile go with what you are about? The ‘Settings’ tab on Twitter enable you to personalise your profile from background image and profile picture – right down to being able to select a specific colour to use for wording and links. Also, the new cover photo space above the profile picture allows a little extra ‘promotional’ space for telling your followers a bit more about you. Make the most of your profile page now, as first impressions really do count.

Join The Conversation –

In recent years Twitter has been a great ‘go-to’ tool for users to read up on the latest news and goings on around the world in real-time. In fact, latest stats unveil that 40% of Twitter users never ‘tweet’.  Just going to prove it’s a wonderful news feed and research resource for many.  To find out the hot topics in your local region as well as the world – you can view the ‘trends’ section – and view ‘hot trends by country or region.

And if you do decide to go with the majority on Twitter and ‘join the conversation’, ensure you include relevant hashtags and Twitter handles of people you want to say something to. By joining in and making sure people know you’re part of the conversation – this drives the opportunity for retweets, new followers, and maybe even some favouriting your tweet!

Personal Tweeting vs Marketing Tweets –

In this cluttered world of communication we live in, our advice is that you don’t join in the ‘spam’ culture. Don’t make your tweets spammy and by spammy we mean posting a single link or constantly referring your followers to your products or services or offer. No-one wants to be bombarded with the ‘hard sell’ all the time. Think about your own browsing and engagement habits. If it all gets too spammy, you tune out. And so the same goes for those audiences you bombard too.

Sharing links to third party articles you enjoyed reading or watching is a good way to share. Content curation can be just as relevant and purposeful for your audience as sharing your authentic content.  And of course, add your own views to anything you share where relevant, keeping it a bit more personal.

Think Before You Tweet –

Questions worth asking yourself before clicking the tweet button should be;  is this newsworthy? Would my followers want to know this? Are there any typos? Have I included a correct link for my followers to click? Is there an image I could add to this that is relevant to what I am saying?  As we reported in one of our recent blog articles; tweets that include images can lead to a whopping 150% increase in engagement.

Hopefully these tips have given you some ideas on how to improve your Twitter presence. Check out this page from the Twitter website for extra support with setting up and personalising your profile as well as taking a look at other blogs we’ve written around optimising Twitter below.

Happy tweeting!

Have You Checked These 5 Things On Your Blog Post Before Publishing?

I love blogging concept

When it comes to blogging, there is a lot to consider. Writing the post and clicking ‘share’ is only half of it – and it can sometimes be easy to forget the checklist of things to help you optimise the post for reach and purpose.

Therefore we thought we’d round up some the most important things you need to check before you publish your blogs. By spending just a few minutes to look at these things beforehand, you can add more value to your content. These tips are especially useful for those of you who are just starting out with blogging

  • Have You Optimised Your Blog Post With Links?

Having links throughout your blog post not only makes it easier for it to be found in Google search. It’s also a great way to get people looking at other areas of your website and other blog posts you have previously shared – all you have to do is highlight the relevant keywords throughout the blog and add the hyperlinks to them. By doing so, it will help readers to better understand your blog post and help you to verify the points you are making. You will also be driving traffic back to other useful content, it could be your older posts giving them new life – or signposting the reader to explore your services, products or other relevant content. Remember – just because you’ve published a post, doesn’t mean you should forget about it – each post is a valuable asset in which you can give new life to.

Tip 1: Consider including other bloggers in your blog and link back to them – this will draw them into the conversation allowing you to listen and trade ideas with others.

Tip 2: Be sure to keep your links and sign posts going throughout the post. And don’t neglect the fact that many readers only read the first one or two paragraphs to get the gist of the blog to see if they want to continue reading on – so be sure to keep your links up top where they will see them.

  • Have You Proof Read Your Blog?

There’s nothing worse than finding a really good looking blog post that’s full of spelling mistakes! Having a blog full of spelling and punctuation mistakes only makes your business seem as if you are lazy and careless. If you want to be the ‘go to person’ in your sector, then showcasing a poor standard of content is the worst way to go about it.

Tip: Once you’ve completed your blog, start reading it out loud. You can’t know if your sentence structure and word choice are clear and easy to understand until you read the post out loud.

  • Have You Added A Photo or Image?

Not only is it important to add a photo or image to your blog post, but you need to make sure that it is an attention grabbing one. Having a highly engaging image will engage readers and make them want to read your blog post. There’s a lot of buzz about how many more views a social media update gets when there’s an image – and the same goes for your blog post. It needs to be designed as a piece of content compelling enough to share on social and any other channels – so it’ll need a captivating image too!

Tip: Don’t forget to also make the image pinnable. If people are pinning the photo on your blog post to Pinterest, then that will help to grow traffic even more.

  • Do You Have A Strategy In Place To Promote The Blog?

Don’t just assume that Google will find your blog and everyone will be sharing it. You need to make it easy for people to find. Start thinking about whether or not you’ve properly tagged the content – this means to check whether or not you have included keywords that are used often and are relevant to your blog post – and ideally use them in the title of your blog – as well as peppering the content with relevant keywords throughout. Think about what someone might search in Google that relates to your post. It’s also best practice to add categories to your blog; this makes it easier for you to check whether or not you’ve added the relevant tags.

Tip: Make sure that the post is social media friendly too! To encourage readers to share your blog, it’s important to make it easy for them by including sharing links for all social media channels – giving them choice to share as they like.

  • Can You Repurpose The Content?

You don’t just share a blog once do you? In order to make sure you get your blog seen by others, you should be sharing it multiple times throughout the week. Once a day would be fine as long as you put a different spin on it each time! One day you could use the title, one day you could pick out an important tip – just always remember to keep it light, and keep it interesting.

Tip: You could also think about sharing the content in a completely different way – through video perhaps? A short and sweet Vine video could even do the trick!

You don’t just share a blog once do you? In order to make sure you get your blog seen by others, you should be sharing it multiple times throughout the week. Once a day would be fine as long as you put a different spin on it each time! One day you could use the title, one day you could pick out an important tip – just always remember to keep it light, and keep it interesting.

Tip: You could also think about sharing the content in a completely different way – through video perhaps? A short and sweet Vine video could even do the trick!

Don’t think that after doing these 5 things you have done your job. These are key important elements to consider, but blogging is a continuous learning process. Aim to keep learning how to make a successful blog – tune in to other master and smart bloggers, review that they do and follow, helpful / advisory blogs to help you on your blogging journey.

Happy blogging!

Social Media – 4 Different Reasons Why Businesses Wanted to Work with a Social Media Agency

cc imaaage2014 was an interesting year for us as a social media agency.

It was the year that when pitching for new business, the dominant question ‘Justify to me why we should be doing social and just how much return on investment I am going to get from social media activity’ – was surpassed by  ‘We know we need to be getting involved with social, and we want to get it right, can you help us with that?

It was the year we saw a wider range of size of business and business sectors looking to get started with social media – from startups through to global and extremely niche business to business ones.

Have we reached the social media tipping point?  I’d still say, not quite – as there is still an awful lot of skepticism out there – and the appetite for becoming a ‘fully fledged social business’ is still really very small.

But… attitudes are changing – just as they did with email and ecommerce.

What’s interesting is that the objectives for what people want to achieve out of their social media activity varies – of course, in business most people are keen on bottom line results, however, they realise that’s not the sole purpose of social – and that there’s more to it – such as:

  • Targeting The Right Influencers
  • Building Relationships
  • PR
  • Building Brand Awareness
  • Customer Service
  • Customer Advocacy
  • Being Part Of An Multi-channel Marketing Approach

So I thought in this post, it would be useful to share just a few of the ways we are working with our clients – to showcase that ‘being social’ is certainly not a one trick pony – and to provide you with practical knowledge of some of the tactics employed:

  • Client A 

About: Large global corporation – EMEA division – Security Sector.

Objective:  Looking at developing influencer relationships in a particular product range to build relationships, broaden awareness and build brand advocacy – and ultimately referral.

Why: The organisation had seen significant and successful lead referral from a couple of key influencers in their sector. They were looking to capitalise on this activity by finding more relevant influencers, building relationships by providing engaging, relevant and purposeful content.

By researching their sector we were able to find the relevant influencers on social, track relevant conversations, share useful and purposeful content with them and start to build relationships with them – assisting in broadening ‘advocacy’ – as a means of more higher engaged referral.

LinkedIn and Twitter were dominant platforms used for specific targeting and given the niche nature of the sector.

  • Client B

About: New Product Line – Lifestyle (B2C).

Objective: Established organisation created a highly differentiated product line – new brand, new website, zero awareness.  Objective to build awareness and drive visibility, social PR, online traffic and ultimately sales.

Why:  The client created a new business to support a new product line for a completely different market. It therefore, wasn’t feasible to draw upon the current brand – as strength came from the differentiation. Therefore, the objective of social was to support the launch of a new brand / product into the market – growing awareness, tracking conversations and connecting with relevant people, influencers, tradepress, journalists – and generally building a brand story and sharing relevant, purposeful and appetising content.

Main channels used: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, G+

  • Client C  

About: Established brand in highly niche sector.

Objective: Getting closer to customers and building advocacy.

Why: Being a business to business supplier only, with a large field sales team – the brand / business had no real access to end users (in fact on their website they purposely made it very difficult to contact them directly because they have very limited internal customer support team – as this is managed via the field sales or their retailers).  However, they were aware that customers wanted to talk to them directly – and so ‘social’ seemed a sensible route.   The ability to track conversations and brand mentions, the ability to respond directly to the customer, the ability to build in their retailers into the conversations too – to assist in driving sales.

Main channels used: Facebook, Twitter

  • Client D

About: Global Manufacturer

Objective: Environmental Awareness Campaign

Why:  The client was keen to use social media channels to connect with the general public, relevant influencers, clients and partners, politicians and policy makers, both in the UK and overseas – to build awareness of a sector specific, environmental campaign which is becoming very much aligned to their brand.

Given the audience, social channels offer attractive reach – and clear opportunity to connect with key influencers and share relevant and purposeful content to educate and build awareness.

Main channels used: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.

There you have it –  4 completely different reasons as to how businesses are using social media.  Social media activity is just one of the many content and marketing touch points to grow engagement from your audiences.  If you need any help with your social media activity, blogging, creating content or any other digital marketing services – then do get in touch with us!

This blog post was brought to you by Michelle Carvill, founder of Carvill Creative, the online visibility experts and author of The Business of Being Social – A Practical Guide to Harnessing the Power of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn for all Businesses.

 

8 Common Social Media Mistakes To Avoid

Fotolia_61778996_XSIf you’ve made the decision to get your business started on social media, then it is important to be active on there in order to reach your potential customers. However it’s important to remember that one little error could hurt your brand’s reputation.

Some of the most common mistakes companies make with social media are related to lack of knowledge. It can be an extremely dangerous medium if not handled with care – therefore to help you out we thought we’d highlight some of the most common social media mistakes that are easily avoidable:

  1. Failing To Create A Social Media Strategy

When first starting off on social media, people often rush to set up a Twitter and Facebook account so that they can say their company is all over social. However it’s not as easy as that. There’s nothing worse than seeing a company struggling to create a social media presence – don’t just start posting random messages that you think is going to be relevant – have a strategy in place.

The best social media strategies are carefully planned out – clearly defining what your objectives are, the type of ‘voice’ you want to use, what kind of messages will be posted (content, content, content) and what channels are best for your company.

  1. Not Sharing The Right Links On Your Website

When we’re browsing the web we often come across company websites that make the ultimate mistake of having social buttons on their website that don’t link to their accounts, instead they encourage users to tweet or share the page. This is a big no no! You want your customers to know you’re on social yes – but you also want them to be following and interacting with you. And they’re far more likely to do this if you make it easy for them to find you by linking directly to your accounts.

  1. Paying For Fans

After creating an account – everyone seems to focus on increasing the number of followers and likes they have. Whilst it’s great to have a large following and looks impressive on your site – it’s not what you should be most focussed on. There are many accounts that pay for their 1000’s of fans – but these fake fans add very little to your community and they won’t be as engaged as real fans of your brand. There are no shortcuts in social media – you need endeavour to build authentic relationships with your audience before expecting anything from them.

  1. Not Creating Original Content

You want to build share of mind or establish yourself as an authority figure in your industry, as well as engage your audience. But you can’t do that just by sharing the work of others. That’s not to say it’s not great to share relevant articles or blogs that you think your audience might enjoy reading – it just means that you should also be creating original content too – that you know your target audience is going to love. When you’re able to balance your original content with content of others, you’ll increase traffic; gain new followers and fans – getting people to ‘like you, know you, trust you – ultimately do business with you’ (in that order).

  1. Talking Too Much

Posting too much about irrelevant things and sharing too many ‘salesy’ posts provides very little useful, educational or compelling content for your audience. Such posts rarely get a lot of attention. Remember that social media is about creating conversations – you need to talk less and listen more. (As we say, we have two eyes, two ears and just one mouth). People will be more drawn to you if you’re building discussions with your customers and actually listening to what they’re saying rather than forcing your sales messages upon them. Remember, the social channels are conversational channels – pushing traditional marketing messages directly into a conversational channel isn’t what social stand for.

  1. Spelling Mistakes

Making mistakes with your spelling and grammar can really nosedive your reputation. If you’re posting something that has either a grammatical or punctuation error – then you’re automatically sending out a red flag to viewers. Not only will this put people off your company, but it’s likely that no one will be commenting or sharing that post – or even worse you’ll get a number of people who feel compelled to correct your error – making you look a little stupid. So be sure to double check everything before you post – take a step back and re- read what you’ve written. Mistakes are highly likely to generate negative attention, so be certain that your work is flawless – otherwise you may never hear the end of it!

  1. Too Many Hashtags

There’s no doubt that you’ve used a hashtag here and there and that’s all very well, and is a useful way to join relevant conversations. However,  sharing too many hashtags becomes a problem. Studies have shown that posts that include more than three hashtags receive fewer actions to those only using one or two.

While we’re on the subject of hashtags, it is also best practice to make sure that you are only sharing hashtags on the channels that use them – by these we mean Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram. We often see people sharing the same message on LinkedIn as they did on Twitter and forgetting to take the hashtags out – this just looks messy.

  1. Not Tracking Your Activity

Your social media activity is almost pointless if you’re not tracking your activity. How do you know if your updates are reaching the right people? Are your efforts bringing return on your investment? Without consistently monitoring these things you’re unable to see the effectiveness of your activity or campaigns. Even if you’re just tracking your activity at the end of every month and comparing your results with the month before, this is still enough to give you an insight into how things are going, which content works and what you can be focusing on going forward.

If you can think of any other mistakes you have come across or made in the past, be sure to tweet us and let us know via @carvillcreative. In the meantime, we hope we’ve given you enough warning – don’t make the same mistake twice.

How To Sponsor Content On Your LinkedIn Showcase Page

If you’re not sure what LinkedIn showcase pages are, then be sure to have a read of our previous blog written earlier this year when we said farewell to LinkedIn’s ‘Products and Services’ page.

Meanwhile here’s a little reminder…

A showcase page, enables you to highlight a particular brand or product line and extend your company’s page presence. The aim is to get as many LinkedIn members as possible to follow your product’s page in the hope that it’s something they’re interested in. They’re useful for building long term relationships with those who want to follow specific aspects of your business.

The followers of your showcase page know to expect news about your product/service and are looking forward to hearing all about it. The updates on this page work just like company updates, but with added benefit of LinkedIn members being able to find the product or service through search.

Now that you’ve come to an understanding about showcase pages – the next step is to get people following and interested in your page. If you’re struggling to get people to following your showcase page, then it might be worth paying for some advertising – using ‘sponsored updates.’

Sponsored Updates

A sponsored update is used to promote a piece of content to a wider audience. Sponsoring a piece of content on your showcase page will help to get your message out to the right people as well as raising greater brand awareness, generating quality leads and promote deeper relationships with your audience.

In order to create the relationships that matter to you – the first step is to publish the content that you want to sponsor – directly in your showcase page’s feed.

Once you’ve published the content, you can then go on to targeting your audience. All you need to do is click on the picture in the top right hand side of your screen and scroll down to click on ‘Advertising.’

sponsor 1

 

 

 

 

Once your advertising dashboard is open, you need to make sure you have an account set up so that you can pay for the advertising on your sponsored page. Click on the drop down arrow where it lists your page names and select ‘create your business account.’

sponsor 2

This window will then open up and it is here where you can set up the advertising for your showcase page rather than your actual company page. Select the second option ‘Company Page URL’ – and then copy and paste the URL of your showcase page into the text box.

You can then go on to giving your business account a title – something that is clear and easy to remember – and don’t forget to also select the correct currency you’re going to be using. Once everything is filled out you can select ‘Create’ – this will then create a business account for your showcase page.

sponsor 3



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it comes to creating the actual ad, make sure the correct business account is selected at the top of the screen (preferably the one you’ve just created) – in our case we are sponsoring from ‘Carvill Creative Limited.’ You then have to pick between the two advertising options LinkedIn gives you – one is to create an ad for the page and the other is to sponsor content – the one you want to select is ‘Sponsor Content’.

sponsor 4

Once you’ve selected your ad choice, scroll down and select the piece of content you want to sponsor. This content should be something you think is relevant and will get people wanting to follow your showcase page – this content might be an important blog post, press, news item or simply a link to that product or service on your website. Click on the correct post and then make your way through the targeting options you want to use – you can target these ads by country, locations, seniority, function, business size etc.

Whatever you decide to sponsor – it’s often best practice to post that piece of content first and leave it to simmer for a while before sponsoring. This will then give you the opportunity to compare your sponsored post to your organic post and you can see how well your post is doing just by looking back and comparing the engagement rates.

Happy Sponsoring Folks!

Do You Know Who Your Competition Is On Social Media?

competitors

Carvill Creative Competition

When starting out with your business on social media, it’s often best practice to spend some time looking at what your competitor’s are doing.

When you and your competitors are both trying to attract the same audience, customers looking for the same thing are going to be torn between whose content is better. Therefore it’s good to review the kind of content your competitors are sharing, and if others are sharing it, if so – then there’s a good chance they’ll share similar content from your channels too – but you can work on it so that your content is even better! That’s why it’s important to research what content competitors are publishing as it will give you clues about where to gain the most engagement.

Take a look at three important things to be looking out for when researching your competition:

  1. Learn From Their Mistakes

In today’s digital word, as a small businesses you too have to go out and earn your brand’s reputation. One of the very first steps when starting online is to take a look at your competitors, and dig up the mistakes they have made in the past. Social media is any easy place to search and see what people are saying – so when you find mistakes that your competitors have made or things that didn’t sit well with your target audience – take note of it.

Tip: Aim to monitor your competitors weekly – look out for how often they post in comparison to you. You may be able to see some differences in what effects this has on your audience’s engagement. For instance if they are posting content a little more often then you and have a better engagement rate – you may want to test picking up the pace.

  1. Find Out The Best Ways To Interact With Your Target Audience

Your target audience should be the key objective when it comes to your social media strategy. How businesses interact with their social media audience will largely affect the kind of response they get. So be sure to investigate the customer acquisition approach your competitors have – then think about what you could be doing differently? Do you need to think about increasing your followers’ every day? What kind of voice do your competitors use? Keep in mind that humour always works well online – but of course it has to be appropriate for the business.

Tip: Don’t get caught up in the number of followers, likes, fans etc. that your competitors have – although these numbers are important, they’re not as important as the engagement rates.

  1. Find Out What Content Works Best

When researching your competition – be sure to look at what content works well for them – but clearly, your intention is not to copy them directly. You purely want to see what they’re doing to give you an idea on how you can make your content even better – so just take a quick look at their work and gain clues about your own content by seeing what gets the most engagement from their audience compared to yours. You’ll quickly be able to see whether those photos of you and your employees at the Christmas party were a good idea, whether you may need to post a video once in a while, or whether you need to use more images.

Tip: When following different theories to your competitors, it’s important to remember that just because they’re doing something new that appears to be working, there is a good chance that they have not tested it – so be careful and always use your best judgement.

As part of your social media activity, research and analysis is equally as important as sharing  content,  so take some time researching the ‘big players’ in your industry and be sure to take our tips on board and to consider how you can build in a process to critically analyse your completion now and again.

This blog post was brought to you by Michelle Carvill, founder of Carvill Creative, the online visibility experts and author of The Business of Being Social – A Practical Guide to Harnessing the Power of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn for all Businesses.

If you need any help with your social media activity, blogging or creating content or any other digital marketing services, then do get in touch with us.

Have You Noticed The Very Small Yet Useful Recent Facebook Update?

Sharing, liking and commenting as yourself (from your personal profile) on your business pages’ posts have never been possible on Facebook – until now.

Facebook now gives you the option to perform an action on one of your pages’ posts from another page or as you (from your personal profile).

Here’s an example: In order to ‘Like’ the post below on the Carvill Creative Facebook page from a personal profile –  you need to log in to Facebook as yourself and then search for the Carvill Creative page either in search or using the search bar. Once you’re on the page, you will then notice that each post now has a drop down arrow in the bottom right hand corner – this gives you the option to change who you want ‘Like’ and comment as.

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In oder to like the page as yourself (from your personal profile), you need to switch the account – in order to do this you need to click on the dropdown arrow and it gives you the option of what profile or company page you want to use to perform an action on this post (see below).

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Throughout the years, Facebook has made a number of changes to the newsfeed. The status updates that now appear in your newsfeeds are influenced by personal connections and activity on Facebook – this is usually the top 10-12% of your Facebook friends or pages that you interact with. The number of likes and comments received by a post will also influence its position in the newsfeed.

Therefore, this new feature will be particularly useful for increasing the number of people seeing your posts on your company page. By clicking ‘Like’ on your own company posts and updates via your personal profile, you will be exposing that post to friends who have not yet liked your company page as well as improving the posts’ ranking in the newsfeed.

This feature is great if you are hosting a competition or wanting to get the word out about a new product or service.

How To Choose Your Social Media Channels Wisely

social media channelsOnce your business has made a decision to jump on the social media bandwagon, the next decision is to decide upon what channels to use and how much time do you want to spend posting, tweeting, pinning, cricling, creating or following?

When making these decisions, businesses often make the mistake of signing up to all the most popular networks, hoping to have a business impact by reaching the right customers straight away. The reality is that it’s virtually impossible to do them all – or at least do them all well.

Businesses that do try, often go in all guns blazing, then after a week or two, due to the lack of responses to their online activities, the use of social media channels by that business rapidly dwindles – and they’ll often end up with a Facebook page with a couple of half-hearted posts on them, or Twitter feed with the latest tweets being 6 months old. This end result can actually be more damaging to your business than not having any social network presence at all.

The one piece of advice we can give you is to choose your channels wisely – don’t try to be everywhere! The important thing you need to figure out is which channels are dominant for your market.

In social media, it’s about quality, not just quantity. Doing two or three channels really well with consistent, highly engaging content is what will lead to conversion and customers.

Here are a few ways to come to the conclusion about the right social media channels for you:

  • Where does your business sit in the social media space?
  • Are you aiming to build a community presence? If so then Facebook, Twitter and Google+ could be for you.
  • Does your business use a lot of images? If so then perhaps Instagram or Pinterest is the way to go.
  • If you’re a business can provide professional and useful insights for others within your industry then get yourselves on LinkedIn.
  • Think about your target audience – where is your target buyer and what channels are they using?
  • Have a look at your competitors – what channels are they using? Are they doing well on social?
  • Do you have time to be working on all the social media sites? How many channels do you think you can do really well on?
  • Have a clear social media strategy in place – then you can work out a plan that you can realistically implement.
  • Keep in mind that social media takes time, especially if you want to build up a reputation – so don’t get frustrated if you’re not getting instant results.

It’s very important that you choose the right channel or channels from the outset and it’s equally important that you do not get distracted in trying to support your profiles on those channels.

Whichever social networks you choose to use, be prepared to sufficiently resource the activity – this will take some time, skills and prompt responses to build up the right social network for your business. Once you’ve learnt how to master one or two channels to begin with, you can than progress to the next one.

You’ll be surprised at how much time an effective social media presences takes up – so don’t overburden yourself initially, as that is a guaranteed recipe for failure.