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Big Changes at LinkedIn – ‘Products & Services’ Page Retires

LinkedIn are constantly evaluating their platform to ensure they are creating timely and engaging content to their members. This sometimes results in the retirement of certain features and this time, they have come to the decision to remove the ‘Products & Services’ feature as of April 14th.

So what does this mean for your LinkedIn Profile? And, where can you share content about your products and services now?

The great thing about this change is that you’ll now have two new alternatives for sharing your ‘Products & Services’ content – these are through ‘Company Updates’ and/or new ‘Showcase Pages.’

  • Company Updates

‘Company Updates’ are updates that appear on your company page and in your followers’ feeds. These are key to building relationships with your page followers and show up when they engage with your updates – when they do, it spreads your message to their networks (through their newsfeeds), therefore spreading your message even further!

Not only do company updates let you share images and information about your product but also lets you share compelling visual content, including videos that play directly in the newsfeed and directly in members customised landing pages.

  • Showcase Pages

Showcase Pages enable you to highlight a particular brand or product line and extend your company page presence. They’re also useful for building long term relationships with those who want to follow specific aspects of your business. (So, far more targeted content).

The followers of your ‘Showcase Page(s)’ know to expect news about your product/service and are looking forward to it. The updates on this page work just like company updates, but with the added benefit of LinkedIn members being able to find the Product or Service through search.  This is a key change – so you want to ensure that the names for your ‘Showcase’ pages are keyword search friendly.

Currently, LinkedIn will allow you to have a maximum of 10 ‘Showcase Pages’ before you have to start paying for them!

What you’ll need to get started with a LinkedIn Showcase Page:

  • A new cover photo for each page – they are a different dimensions to the one you used on your Products and Services tab before so these will probably need to be re-designed.
  • A name for each page
  • A very short description about the product/service you’re showcasing

Here’s how to get started:

1. Identify the business areas that need a Showcase Page.

2. Click the “Edit” menu on the top right hand side of your Company Page. Click on the dropdown arrow and Select “Create a Showcase Page.”


3. Create a ‘Showcase Page’ box (as shown below) appears – here you’ll need to have a name prepared for whatever it is that you’re showcasing. You’re also given the option to add other administrators to that particular page (these are usually the same people that are admins on your company page).


4. Now you’re ready to start sharing your content!

If Showcase Pages have any advantage over the previous ‘Products & Services’ tab, it’s that they really will allow you to forge closer relationships with different customers, because you’ll be able to target your content at them more narrowly. And of course, the fact that they can now be found in LinkedIn search is a potentially significant advantage.

The only disadvantage that we can think of is that you may have more than 10 pages to promote (potentially costing you more money).

Overall, LinkedIn Showcase Pages offer you the opportunity to really showcase key products and services – and enables other people / businesses to tune in to the updates they want to receive from you.

For more information and queries, we recommend you have a look at the LinkedIn ‘Showcase Pages’ FAQs page

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.

Michelle Carvill delivers Social Media Talk to Chelsea Design Club

Really looking forward to next week’s Social Media Talk at the Chelsea Design Club.

I’ll be talking about the numerous ways social media can help businesses grow their online visibility.

If you would like me to come and talk to your networking group, association or club to share insights around social media and online visibility, then do get in touch.Chelsea design club social media talk by Michelle Carvill

10 Ways to Optimise Your LinkedIn Profile – via Google Hangout

Following on from our recent blog post 10 Tips to Leverage LinkedIn for Business – if you prefer to listen and watch the tips via Google Hangout – here’s the recording of a recent webinar with Business Training Made Simple – featuring Carvill Creative’s director @michellecarvill sharing insights.

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10 Tips for Leveraging LinkedIn for Business

  1. Change your LinkedIn URL to your name. This way you have a public URL which you can promote and share on email footers or business cards – to showcase you.   And be sure to add other URLs such as your Website, Blog or Twitter URL too. Consider this your ‘personal PR profile’ where people can find out everything about you that you wish them to know.
  2. Create a Search Friendly ‘Does what it says on the tin’ Headline.  You get 120 characters to create your ‘Headline’ on LinkedIn. Your Headline is the first thing people get to see when looking at your profile. Your photo and your headline. Therefore, make sure it makes sense.  If it just says something generic such as ‘Partner at Blogs and Co’ or ‘Product Manager’ – then that’s not specific enough. People are likely to search for you including some form of sector or specialising eg: Construction and Dispute Resolution Expert Lawyer and Partner at Blogs and Co.  ‘Product Manager in Leading Inbound Marketing Software organisation Blogs & Co’.
  3. Optimise your profile with relevant ‘Keywords’.  Following on from point 2 – be sure you continue to build the rest of the content within your profile keeping those all important search keywords in mind.  This will help your profile to appear as high as possible on Google and LinkedIn searches.
  4. Get to All Star.  Keep your profile as ‘full’ as possible– LinkedIn provide you with a gauge of ‘completeness’ (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert, All Star).  Strive to be All Star – it really should take you no more than an hour to get your profile to All Star.  Getting to All Star means that you show up more in searches – and it looks more professional too – who wants to be a beginner on the largest professional network in the world?
  5. Personalise all messages when inviting people to connect (don’t use the standard message).  Research has shown that people are more likely to accept and appreciate the connection if you provide some personal context – eg: Great meeting you at ABC the other day – I’d like to keep in touch by connecting on LinkedIn.
  6. Endeavour to look at your Profile Page everyday.  Every time you update your profile and show activity – you are ‘visible’. In the off-line world of networking there is a saying: Visibility + Credibility = Profitability. In simple terms – the more you are visible in your contacts’ minds the more they know what you are up to the more likely they are to contact you or think of you for a relevant reason – which may lead to business referral, hence profitability. Participation is key.
  7. Don’t attempt to spam or directly sell. People will disconnect with you faster than you know if they think you are just there to sell your wares. Think of offline networking, you wouldn’t start a partnership or conversation by trying to sell someone something – engage, listen and nurture your contacts – don’t spam them. If someone is specifically discussing something you have a solution for – then sure, engage – but listen in first – don’t spam. Relevancy is key. I often get spammed about social media training – or do I want a marketing plan! Er no thanks – have you even bothered to look at my profile!
  8. Be targeted. You may want to promote a product or service directly into an audience. And the beauty of LinkedIn is that the demographic information is really very granular (more so on social networks than on any other medium). The Advanced Search feature gives you an idea of what you can drill down to beyond age and title. It may be that you consider running a LinkedIn Ad whereby you serve advertising to a highly targeted audience.
  9. Grow your authority. Join relevant groups and get involved in relevant discussions and share your knowledge. With groups you can add a new topic to garner opinion or advice. If there isn’t a relevant group for what you do – then you can easily create a group and then search for relevant contacts and people and invite them to that group. If you’re not directly connected to a person – then you can always ask one of your contacts that is connected to invite them. The ‘get introduced’ referral process is very powerful for that purpose. See the Groups tab to create a Group – and search Groups to find relevant groups.
  10. Get recommendations. Asking contacts, colleagues, peers, clients, delegates etc for recommendations couldn’t be easier on LinkedIn. It’s a very simple process. Click your Profile and Recommendations and then you can simply select which contacts you want to get Recommendations from. There is research to say that those users with recommendations grow credibility and are more likely to get requests for advice and to be found in searches – and of course, you can use the recommendations in other marketing materials and on your website etc.

So – there are my 10 quick tips for Leveraging LinkedIn – any other tips or tactics you may have, then please do share – always keen to hear more.

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.

How to Set Up and Host a Tweet Chat

Carvill CreativeThe chances are that you will have already come across an occasional ‘Tweet chat’ being held on the platform. Tweet chats are scheduled gatherings of people on Twitter who discuss a particular conversation and use a particular #hashtag to keep track of that conversation. The chats are usually recurring and on specific topics to regularly connect people with similar interests.

It is a great way to interact with your fans and followers to better understand and grow your community quickly, as well as promoting your brand and creating engagement. They’re very powerful if executed in the right way – so let’s take a look at some of the tips and tricks to you get you started when it comes to running your own Tweet chat. What to do before, during and after:

What to do before:

  • Choose Topic and Hashtag

You need to be clear on what you want to discuss in your topic. Pick something that is going to relevant to the people you are targeting and something that you can easily carry the conversation on.

The hardest part is then choosing the hashtag – this is the most important part as it’s the hashtag that pulls the whole thing together. Once selected it will be very difficult to change – so be sure to choose wisely!

Tip: Make it unique – search Twitter beforehand to check that there’s no other associations with the word you have invented for your hashtags.

  • Arrange a Day and Time

Plan ahead – think about a date and time that will work best for you and your audience – it may be that Tuesday’s at 8pm is the best time – so ask the question and find the best time. Once you’ve decided on this, it’s useful to do a bit of research beforehand to be sure that there’s no other Tweet chat on a similar topic happening on the same day that you have scheduled your event for.

  • Announce and Promote Your Tweet Chat

Give plenty of notice for your users to participate – once you’ve decided on your set time and day to hold your chat, you should work on getting the word out. Start promoting a few weeks beforehand to get as many people interested as possible. Use all available media i.e. you own blog, all of your social media accounts and press releases etc. to announce your upcoming Tweet chat.

Tip: Make it easy for your followers to promote your Tweet chat by creating all sorts of promotional media (making it easy to embed and share).

What do to During:

  • Welcome Intro

Introduce yourself and what the chat is going to be about – it’s also helpful to try encourage people to introduce themselves (this makes everyone feel more comfortable chiming in).

  • Create and Ask Engaging Questions for Discussion

Create your questions ahead of time – these will help facilitate conversations during the Tweet chat. Just remember, pacing is key – make sure that the questions you ask flow! As well as this it’s also important to make sure that each question has some great engagement and interaction between Tweet chat attendees.

Retweet and summarise the most important points and responses as you go along, so that those ideas aren’t lost among other tweets. And don’t forget to tweet your own thoughts and ideas on that topic too!

Tip: When asking your questions, label them as Q1, Q2 etc. – this makes it easy for your chat participants to answer and encourage discussion.

  • Announce The End of Chat

Announce when you are running out of time and thank everyone for participating. It’s also useful to leave a few minutes before the end to round up and tweet the chat’s conclusions – discussing all the key topics and answers that you’ve found from the chat.

Tip: Don’t forget to announce the next chat day/time and topic so that those who participated are more likely to come back and discuss their opinions further at the next one.

What to do after:

  • Summarise and Let the Chat Live On

So the chat has come to an end and some really great things have been said and new connections have been made. One thing you need to make sure doesn’t happen is to not let the conversation disappear! Each Tweet chat will be a great resource for your business – therefore it makes sense to make the most of this content by repurposing it.

Tip: Use it as blog content – this allows you to both update your blog regularly whilst also being able to spread the word about your successful Tweet chats (just make sure you’re using the hashtag in the title).

  • Follow up

If everything went well, then you will have made a new connection or two. Follow-up in the coming days with a friendly tweet and continue the conversation that was started – by doing this you’ll begin to build new relationships. And don’t forget to inform them about the next upcoming Tweet chat!

After you finish your chat, participants may still use your hashtag to engage in conversations – so make sure you’re still monitoring these discussions. This is useful as it will help identify followers who may be a more useful lead and may even give you an idea for the next Tweet chat.

Some useful regular Tweet chats for you to tune into to get a feel for how they work in practice

#agrichat

#blogchat

Your Tweet chat will grow from week to week. It will take time for your Tweet chat to become “popular”.  So just give it some time and keep tracking your progress!

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.

Competition – What Do You Love About Social Media?

With February being the month of love we hosted a competition where we asked our audience to share the social media love and tell us their 5 top reasons why they love Social Media.

We shared the feature in our Newsletter, and now we’re pleased to announce our top 5 winners (in no particular order) who we think gave us the best answers to the question:

What do you love about Social Media?

Congratulations to…

  • Jilly Clark
  • Segun Garuba
  • Lee Williams
  • Kathryn Cook
  • Zoe Holiday

You’re our top 5 winners and will be receiving a copy of the social media book of the year ‘The Business of Being Social’

Here are a few of our favourite answers from the competition:

“The reach is incredible – the range of people and organisations you can interact with is massive”

“Share images straight away of new facilities and techniques”

“Instant access to the top talent, superstars and celebrities”

“Gives you the ability to connect and reconnect with people you have not contacted for years”

“Great for selling/advertising”

“You can find out the trending topics the day before they hit the newspapers or tv”

“Allows me to connect with other like-minded people in similar industries”

“It helps grow and market my brand in a very affordable way”

“Cost effective way to build your brand”

“Brings new partnerships and opportunities”

“It provides me with marketplace insight into other brands, information and customers”

“Social media enables you to make the most amazing connections”

Once again we’d like to thank everyone for taking part in our competition and sharing the Social Media love!

Are you another social media lover? We’d love to hear your reasons! Tweet us at @CarvillCreative

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.

Video – The Most Consumed Media Online! What’s Your Video Strategy?

I went over to Google’s St Giles office yesterday to talk YouTube, video and content strategy.

Of course, when training for Business Training Made Simple, video content and YouTube (and Vine, Instagram and other channels) are covered as part of video content as part of our social media training courses.

This means our knowledge of YouTube (the second largest search engine in the world) – has to be right up to date.

Having met with the team at Google to talk about the latest advertising trends and opportunities available – it was good to hear stats we regularly share in our training straight from the horse’s mouth (so to speak).

So here’s a reminder of the latest online video consumption and YouTube stats to keep you up to date too:

  • 5% of our time online is spent in ‘search’ (ie: usually searching something on Google).
  • This means a whopping 95% of our time is not spent searching – but instead, browsing, watching, emailing, being social.
  • If your strategy is to dominate search – then that’s considering only 5% of the time spent online.  To pervade other areas – your ad strategy – or content strategy should consider other vehicles (eg: YouTube and other  social networks).
  • 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute.
  • Consumption of content and video via mobile is growing at 84% – much quicker than any other platform.
  • The average length of a video (of all the millions of videos online) is 3 mins and 8 seconds.  However, we know people drop off after 30 seconds, 60 seconds etc – so endeavour to keep your messages succinct. That said, if you have something worth watching – people will watch.
  • Ensure the first 5 seconds of your video are the most compelling and engaging. Decisions to continue watching are made in the first 5 seconds so be sure to bring your great content to the fore and not to bury it 50 seconds in.
  • 54% of consumers research online before they buy online.  (Personally, I would say this is higher but I’m not going to argue with the mightly ComScore).
  • YouTube has 28 million monthly users which puts it on a par with TV Channels Dave and E4.

It’s worth doing some research in YouTube to see what your competitors are up to – or indeed, just type in your keywords and see what comes up.  This simple research phase is important in understanding the content that is already out there, the quality of it – and indeed any gaps you can fill.

Be sure to be objective with your video content.  Our mantra is that you consider what matters for the audience.  What’s compelling, entertaining, educational, useful and purposeful for them.

Think about pain points – frequently asked questions – what is it that you have that can fix problems for others.  Showcasing this in a visual way can provide far more insight into your product that listing out features and benefits.  And of course – think about the power of advocacy.  If you say it – does the audience believe it – if you get one of your customers to say it – then that’s likely to be far more convincing.   Testimonial videos speak volumes.

As we say, ‘if you sell someone something they may remember you again – but if you teach someone something, then you are building trust and share of mind.

As with everything you do – Plan, Listen, Analyse before you Engage.  Do the research, understand what the objective of your video content strategy is – and then start to plan and build the content in line with key objectives.

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.

Are You Guilty of Making the Most Common Mistake on Twitter?

There is one major mistake that’s being made all the time on Twitter!

The culprit is evident right at the very start of a Tweet.

Starting a tweet with someone’s Username  (ie: their @ Twitter handle) is a big no no!

For example if we tweet: “@BOBSthebook says…” without something in front of it, Twitter sees this as a reply and the tweet will only be seen by a limited number of people.

Starting a Tweet with the @handle – who sees what?

If you start a tweet as outlined above with the @handle – eg: @carvillcreative – then only the sender and the person mentioned and those who follow both you and the @handle you are sending the tweet to – will see the tweet.

Of course, if that’s your intention – then great. It may be that you are intentionally being ‘niche’.  It’s often a good workaround to send a direct message to someone when they are not following you – where you can’t do an ‘official direct message’.

In order to turn such a closed tweet into a regular public tweet, (for all to see) you simply have to add any character in front of the “@” symbol. This is commonly done by adding words such as “Hi there @BOBSthebook…” or “Great post @BOBSthebook…“

Simply adding characters prior to the @handle means that your tweet is then visible to all. And the people you have ‘mentioned’ will be notified in the usual way.

If you’re already pushing 140 characters, you can simply put any punctuation at the beginning. People often choose a  fullstop – probably because it’s small, simple and most eyes are likely to pass over it – eg: .@michellecarvill

So from now on, if you’re going to tweet with a Twitter @handle– make sure that the “@” sign is not the first character of the tweet, so that all your followers can see it in their timelines – no matter what the tweet is about!

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.

Social Karma – Doing Someone a Small Favour Creates Advocacy and Makes Good Business Sense

We received a request via our website  for a quote to assist someone with uploading images to their LinkedIn Company Page.

A 5 minute phone call later, we quickly ascertained that it was probably a resizing and formatting issue.

We advised that we could fix things very quickly for them – and of course, we were asked, ‘How much will it charge – as I will have to get a PO approved before we can go ahead.’

The job was realistically a 10 min job to fix – and all in all we probably spent  a total of 30 minutes end to end.

We could have charged a fee for this task – however, as an agency, whilst we’re commercial, we’re also fair and reasonable.

Instead, we said, there’s no charge. It’s a small job, won’t take more than 10 minutes – and instead, tell people how nice we are.

We fixed the problem – and by the time we’d fixed the problem – they had made a post on our Facebook Page, their own Facebook Page, personal Twitter and business Twitter accounts – sharing the news that we were indeed; friendly, personable, knowledgable , refreshing and impressive – and come highly recommended.

It transpires that the person we spoke to is a consultant – and works with many organisations – and so she too will be spreading the news beyond that organisation and recommending us to her other clients.  In her words – I’ll return that favour over and over again.  Thank you so much.

Had I tried to pay for such promotional advocacy – then it would have cost much more than we would have charged for this small job.  And it would have given her a very different viewpoint on who we are as an agency.  Penny pinching charge by the minute – or who we are, fair and reasonable.

So, next time, you’re asked to do a small job – think about the advocacy factor – I guarantee doing a good turn for someone once, will pay much higher dividends in the end.

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 creating content or anything else then do get in touch with us.

Scarcity is a Wonderful Thing – Lessons from ‘Flappy Bird’

Today is Tuesday – and yesterday morning, I had no idea that Flappy Bird even existed.

Now remember, I’m pretty ‘switched on’ online – I’m on Twitter throughout the day, every day, spend my life watching blog feeds and social channels – and yet, I still remained unaware of the app.

Yesterday I noticed my Twitter feed started to mention ‘Flappy Bird’ – and my feed in from Mashable headlined an article. And my ‘What’s App’ conversations were filled with friends talking about how many devices they had ‘Flappy Bird’ installed on.

‘What is this Flappy Bird’ app that everyone is flapping about – I asked myself.

I had back to back meetings followed by a battle with flood frazzled trains home – and so had more pressing things on my mind – however, when I got home, I was greeted by my 11 year old – advising that her phone (with Flappy Bird installed on it) – could now be worth up to $90,000! (Don’t believe the hype).

Why?  Well of course, the news that was causing the Flap was that the Vietnemese app creator, Dong Nguyen, had taken Flappy Bird off the app stores. Removing the option for anyone to purchase it.  Why he removed it is still unclear – one story is he was fed up with ‘hate mail’ about the addictive and highly frustrating app – and so decided to remove it all together, another is that there were legal infringements via Nintendo?  Who knows.

Of course, scarcity often causes a sense of urgency – and is a well used marketing tactic – (only 5 places left, only 2 days to claim etc) – however, in the case of Flappy Bird – there was no warning – the app was removed and now – guess what – EVERYONE wants it.

Intrigued, I asked my daughter if I could have a play – and yes, it’s simple, fun, frustrating and a little bit addictive.  (My highest score still only 3 after about 50 plays!).

Yesterday myself (and indeed probably hundreds of thousands of other people) didn’t even know Flappy Bird existed.

Since pulling the app – whether intentional or not – the App Creator has created an online and offline media frenzy which is dominating global search.

Even I am now watching updates to see whether those Flappy Bird will be brought back to life due to social demand (it’s an interesting case study).

Or indeed, will those with it installed on their devices genuinely sell their phones for the thousands of dollars cited on Ebay?

The marketing lessons for all of us:

  • Scarcity breeds demand. (And in this case, not just demand, but a frenzy.) – are you creating a sense of urgency in your messaging?
  • Take something away from people and they make a noise – if it’s the right noise, that can raise a significant amount of awareness.
  • Social media is a powerful resource. It’s the power of social that has caused the frenzy. The whole conversation was started on Twitter with the App Creator making his announcement via the network and the conversations continue on Twitter – there are Twitter petitions to bring it back .  What can you do on social to harness the power of the crowd?

Flappy Bird – and the law of scarcity.  Lessons for us all.

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 creating content or anything else then do get in touch with us.

Following on Social Media – is your follower activity planned and strategic?

Being ‘social’ – whichever, way you consider it – means, connecting with others – and socialising as part of a group.

Therefore, when you jump onto the social channels, to build a social group, you initially set out by following others (in the hope that they may follow you back).

Who you follow and who follows you determines what you see and who sees your social musings, therefore, it’s really important that you think about who you want to socialise with before you dive in and start following others.

On Twitter, you can search for people, brands – and simply hit the ‘follow’ button – and et voila, that’s it, you will start to see their tweets in your Twitter feed. Unless you already have a social presence (i.e.: movie star, soap star, pop idol, politician, comedian – or some other public figure), then it is likely that growing your following will be based on the formula, the more people you follow, the more likelihood of getting others to consider following you.

And so, this is where strategic thinking needs to come into play.  Ask yourself, who do you really want to socialise with?  Who is important to you and your business?  Who would it be great to connect with?  Who are the people / businesses out on Twitter, who are connected to the right type of audiences?  Who are the people / businesses  that influence your business.   Having a follower strategy can really make the difference between your social activity being a cacophony of noise versus being a really useful networking channel.

Follow wisely – be targeted and work hard at making the right connections.  Target influencers, trade press and the media and companies or people that over time you would like to follow you.

Take a look a your Twitter account and review who you are following – are you receiving useful, purposeful information – or just a whole load of irrelevant noise?  The good news is, you can unfollow anyone at any point – so if your network isn’t currently working – consider getting strategic.  And if you haven’t started out on Twitter yet, then start as you mean to go on.  Think strategically and target those that can help you achieve your objectives.

If you need any help with creating content or anything else 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.

If Social Media is Fire and Content is Fuel – How effective is your Fuel?

If you are on social networks – then beyond my question to you of ‘why’ are you on those channels.  Is another important question ‘What are you going to share with your audiences?’

Content matters. Words matter.

What have you got that makes you so different to the millions of pieces of content readily available online?

My advice is that you create content that matters to the audience you are trying to earn the attention of.

Whether that audience is your customers, prospects, influencers – think about what they need, what there pain points are – what is it that you have that you can be sharing that will ‘earn’ their attention.

Content is everywhere – make sure yours stands up and stands out.

Think, plan, listen before you start talking about stuff people just aren’t interesting in – such as the latest cheese sandwich you had for lunch.

Do you find this blog post useful? Feel free to share it using the buttons below.

If you need any help with creating content or anything else 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.

Are the Social Icons on Your Website Sharing rather than Connecting?

I had an interesting meeting with an exclusive member network – discussing putting together an event for their members to educate them on how they can be using social networks, blogging and digital marketing to enhance their business’s visibility.

As part of my research for the type of people that would be attending the event, I took to their membership list and had a quick look through – to see what their websites looked like and also how active they were on the social platforms.

Out of the 149 member websites we looked at – 30% showcased social media icons.  This led me to believe that they had social accounts that I could connect with – to keep up to date with their activity.

However, when I clicked on the Twitter bird icon, or the F icon, instead of being taken through to their relative social accounts – instead, the application actually formulated a ‘tweet’ or a ‘facebook status update’ – for me (the viewer) to post on my social networks.  So, whilst I could share their homepage – I couldn’t actually connect with their social accounts (assuming they had any).

Whilst social sharing buttons on blogs and on certain website content makes total sense, having those social icons on your homepage is usually an indication that you have social networks – and that’s how people can connect with you.

If you want to showcase to the world at large that you are on social – then be sure that the icons you add to your website – actually connect to your social accounts – rather than create a lame message for a user to share.

In the examples I looked at – it would appear that there was a significant amount of confusion around the icons – with only a few actually connecting to the social accounts and the majority opening up a tweet stating something ‘Sharing ‘link’ – [with no relevant message or call to action] so pretty pointless.

If you visit our website www.carvillcreative.co.uk – you will see in the top right masthead a range of icons which easily connects you, the reader, to our social accounts.

 

 

 

 

If you look at this blog and other blogs posts – you will see that we include really simply sharing icons, so you can share our content on Twitter, G+, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest.  You’ll notice that when you click to share – the message makes total sense.


So be sure your website’s social icons are doing the job you want them to do.

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.

Where are you heading in 2014 – What’s your Vision?

The creation of your business may have been down to many factors – timing, a brilliant innovative idea, discovering a gap in the market, an invention – however, whatever it was, to bring your business to life and ensure its longevity, then knowing where your business is heading and having a vision, which you can ‘share’ with employees, investors and customers – is an all important, yet often overlooked, part of the business planning process.

The Visioning Process is really the critical starting point – if you have a clearly set out a vision for where your business is heading, you have something that you can live by – and any other stakeholders, can easilyvisioning process michelle carvill at carvill creativing online visibility and social media experts understand. After all, if you have everyone associated with your business singing from the same hymn sheet – all clearly focused on the direction of the business – then you are ahead of the game in getting there.

Visioning isn’t simply about creating an inspirational ‘tag line’ such as ‘Be the best’ – it’s about the processes which are implemented and the values that underpin what ‘being the best’ means.

I recently read a case study about the vision at Motorola – their vision is very simply ‘wireless’ – simple, yet hugely ambitious.   3M focuses on ‘solving unsolved problems’.  These statements are simple enough to be shared by all team – and they are clear in saying what the companies should not be doing. Try showing up at Motorola with a wire and see what happens!

Visioning is an important strategic process – which whilst may take a bit of time to implement, it is certainly worth doing –  ensuring that you are 100% clear on where you are heading.

There’s a great saying; “People who set out without a target hit it with remarkable accuracy!” – so let’s take a look at a step by step framework for the Visioning Process

Step 1:Where are you now?

1.Do you have a vision?
2.Could you write a brief statement of your own vision?
3.Do you or your team have a mission of purpose statement? (Do they know what the business is focused on?)
4.Do you have a unique competence? (And unique is the word here).
5.What strengths, weaknesses, and areas of special skill do you or your team bring to the business?
6.What is the scope of your business? (Current products, services, markets and customers).
7.From number 6 above, can you identify what will be expanded or dropped in the future?
8.What distinguishes your business or products/services you provide.

Going through the ‘Where are you now’ questions helps you to consider a framework for your Vision.

Step 2: Preparing for Change

You’re now into the design phase of your Vision. You’ve probed and asked questions of yourself and your business – and now you need to create a vision which is clear and focused.

1.What is the direction of your future?

2.What future range of responsibilities, skills and new or expanded services will you consider?

3.How will the current and future ranges of skills or products differ?

4.What key capabilities and resources will you need to succeed?

5.How will your vision impact your businesses growth?

6.If you could create the future, what future would you create for yourself?

7.How many categories of future development can you identify that will impact your vision?

8.Can you make a list of expectations for each of those categories of future development?

9.Can you prioritise that list of expectations for each of those categories that would have the greatest impact onyour vision?

Step 3: Pulling together your Vision

With all the ‘background’ analysis undertaken – you are now in the position of putting your vision together. This is the combination of your intuition, personal vision, experience, judgement, information, values and culture.

Of course, your vision has to be shared with those associated with your business. Therefore, the vision must be distinctive and establish standards that employees and partners find necessary to follow. Doing this is no easy task – but the steps below provide a useful model for ensuring you have considered all areas:

Review all the information and materials you have compiled. This information is valuable and insightful – however, don’t ignore ideas you may be avoiding – consider all possibilities.

  1. Consider all your driving forces:
    • Products or services offered
    • Users/customers
    • Markets served
    • Low cost production, capability, capacity
    • Marketing/sales methods
    • Technology
    • Method of distribution
    • Return/profit
    • Size/growth
    • Natural resources
  2. Prioritise the key elements within your vision. In your view are your strengths, driving force and culture and values consistent? Is consistency important – or is change a higher priority?
  3. Having prioritised, and satisfied yourself that this is the vision you really want. By this stage, you should be able to put it into a really short, easily understandable statement that focuses and reflects:
    • An exciting future
    • The creation of value for you and your team
    • Standards of excellence and reflect high ideals, standards and uniqueness to everyone that you and your team interact with
    • Clear criteria for decision making and evaluation
    • Enthusiasm and commitment

Step 4: Cementing your thinking

You’ve gone through the information gathering and analysis process – and created your vision for a new direction. And so at this point – it’s a time for reflection:

  •  Is this the best vision?
  • What are the chances for its success?
  • If it fails, what can I salvage?
  • Should we even try?

Whilst these questions may seem hard-going – it’s important to ask yourself these questions in order to remove any doubt that your vision inspires commitment and enthusiasm. Do YOU really believe in it? Is it right for everyone who will interact with it, will it lead to business success and improved performance?

Doubt and uncertainty are inevitable when considering a new direction – so resolve this doubt by asking the following:

  •  Does everyone clearly understand the vision?
  • How does the current situation compare with the new vision?
  • How will the vision affect the business and team?
  • What changes, if any, will be required to make the transition to the new vision?
  • Will your new vision require new or additional resources, technology, skills?
  • Have you set a timeframe – it is realistic?

And of course, if you are not wholly confident of your Vision – test it – get a small group of people you trust to be honest to act as a sounding board.

Step 5: Implementing your Vision

Of course, your Vision Statement is nothing more than words until it is put into action.Whilst the words are important – it’s implementation that changes your business direction. So many times, time is given to an important strategic process – be it, business planning, strategic planning, marketing planning etc – and yet the all important implementation – the getting on and doing it, just doesn’t happen. It starts – but then fizzles out… loses energy.

There is a strong and relevant  ‘mantra’ – lead by example.  And indeed – for any change of Vision and business direction to happen, you have got to ‘live’ it. And I suppose this is where passion comes into play – because if you are truly passionate about something – then you are more likely to pursue it than let it ‘fizzle out’.

In what I believe is an important ‘Futuristic’ business book – Funky Business (written some 11 years ago I must add, but still highly relevant) – they cite examples of organisational vision being driven top down – such as: the multi-billionaire founder of Ikea still travels economy and stays in ‘value’ hotels, rather than the1st class and 5 star –  some may expect.  Is it okay for senior management to travel first class when those not part of that tranche are tasked with saving money on paperclips?  Over to you… But at Ikea – the founder is living the vision.

To put the new Vision into action you need to:

  •  Demonstrate a personal commitment to the vision.You are the direction setter, the change agent and even coach.You are the visionary leader – and therefore, you must consistently apply the vision to all your actions and decisions.
  • Commit to communicating the significance of the vision to everyone.Your team need to know that your vision is working – and know that your commitment is true. It’s important to regularly communicate and demonstrate how the vision is impacting the business.
  • You are the primary communicator of the vision. Beware! It is doomed if your actions and words fail to reinforce it.

Step 6: Keeping your vision alive!

There are no set rules as to when to re-evaluate a vision – but 6 monthly reviews are probably sensible. Of course, by definition, all visions are always ‘just beyond reach’ – and therefore, you need to be assessing that this is the case – refining and revising in line with ongoing environmental changes. Remember, your vision needs to be keeping ahead of the rapidly changing times and technology – so reaffirmation and support for the vision are crucial.

Clearly, a vision statement is far more than a ‘paragraph’ – it’s the starting point for quality management and continual improvement. It captures an ideal, unique and attractive image of your future and answers the question,

“What do I want to create”.

For more information about the Visioning Process – Building a Shared Vision, by C Patrick Lewis is a great resource.Many of the stages of the visioning process included within this article are gleaned from his book, which provides a practical framework for effective vision creation.

For more marketing advice, news, ideas and tips why not subscribe to our blog or follow me on Twitter.

Michelle Carvill is founder and Director at Carvill Creative - an online visibility agency covering all aspects of digital online marketing, social media and website design.

How to Add a Pinterest Tab to your Facebook Apps

Have you got Pinterest yet? If not then you may want to jump on the bandwagon now! Pinterest drives sales and is catching up with Facebook and Twitter quickly – so do some research and work out whether you think your business could benefit by being on Pinterest.  If it’s a YES, then you can check out our Pinterest blog for a step by step guide to getting started.

Once you have set up a Pinterest account – created some boards and gained a following, it’s a great idea to add a Pinterest tab to your Facebook Page. Adding Pinterest to your Facebook tab is a simple way to get additional Facebook followers, likes and comments going to your Pinterest account (clearly, this works in reverse too).

There are many different ways to add Pinterest to your Facebook tabs – but we’re going to show you the most simple and effective way. Here’s a simple illustrated step by step guide:

  • In the search bar type ‘Pinterest Page App’ (shown below) and click on the page.





 

  • Once you’ve clicked, Facebook may ask you to continue as your personal account’s name. Click ‘Continue’ and you should see the screen below:

  • Here – you are given the option to choose which Facebook page (if you have more than one) that you would like to add the Pinterest tab to. Once you have selected the page you want click ‘Add Page Tab.’
  • Your page should then look similar to this:

  • When your page looks like this – all you have to do is type in your Pinterest account’s URL – so all we would type here is ‘carvillcreative.’
  • Then click on the green button at the bottom ‘Save Settings’ and Facebook will inform you that ‘your settings have been saved.’
  • You can then close this page down and go back to the Facebook page that you set this up for and you should now see the Pinterest symbol. Click on the Pinterest tab and you’ll be able to see all of your Pinterest boards which you can open up and view within the Facebook App.

It’s as easy as that!

Other apps can be applied in the same way. We’ll keep you posted if there are any others that are different and more complicated to add to your Facebook Page.

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.