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Instagram Ads Will Be Arriving Soon To The U.K

It was always inevitable that advertising on Instagram was going to happen at some point – after all, they need to start earning some money from somewhere.

Earlier this year, they announced that they were going to start advertising in America and later this year, ads would arrive in Canada and Australia. Lucky for us they have also announced that they are coming to the U.K.

It’s normally the big boy brands that have an account on Instagram rather than the smaller businesses – however, Instagram ads will provide a new window of opportunity for smaller businesses to get their name out and get people interested in their brand.

Instagram want their ads to be creative and engaging, therefore have just started with a handful of brands that are already doing great things on the social platform.

What Will They Look Like?

You’ll’ be able to tell what a photo or video advertisement looks like as you’ll see the ‘Sponsored’ label  in the top right hand corner of the post, where the time stamp would normally be.

If an ad comes up that doesn’t interest you, you can tap the ‘…’ below it, to hide that ad. Instagram will then ask you to provide feedback about why you didn’t like it – this helps them to only show you the ads that they think you will find interesting.

If you haven’t already seen an Instagram ad, then look out for that sponsored post that will be breaking the new, which looks like this…

instagram ads 123

 

 

 

 

 

Underneath the post, Instagram announce: “Over the coming weeks we will slowly begin rolling out advertising in the U.K. We’re starting with just a few businesses that are already great on Instagram to make sure the ads you see are creative and engaging.”

After people started seeing this taster ad, Instagram said that genuine adverts will be arriving after. Some of the bigger brands that already have access to the advertising on the platform are Starbucks, Cadbury, Channel 4, Rimmel and Waitrose. The hope is that these sponsored ads will be of an exceptional quality and feel like native content, which users are then happy to interact with in their feed.

Despite the test ad receiving more than 18,000 likes, many users have expressed their frustration online about the arrival of ads. To have your say on the subject, let us know how you feel about Instagram ads by tweeting us at @carvillcreative

Twitter tests ‘Promoted Videos’ to take on Facebook

promoted videos 123We all love a video, that’s for sure. In fact, video is the most consumed content online. And so of course, all the major social networks have ensured that video is shareable and accessible via their platforms.

Last year Facebook tested out targeted video ads. And if you’re on Facebook (who isn’t these days) – then you’ll have seen how they work. Effectively, once the ad hits the target audiences feed, the 15 second video ads play automatically without sound, and you have to click on the video to hear the sound.

Now – the social network Twitter seems to want to rival Facebook as they have begun testing similar targeted video ads of their own.

They seem to work in a very similar way to the Facebook video ads – however the difference is that, currently, these videos will not automatically play as a user scrolls down their newsfeed. Users have to press the play button to see the video.

With this feature – promoted video ads will work on a cost per view buying model. This means that Twitter users need to click on a video in order for it to start playing. And the marketer will only get charged when a user presses play to view the video ad.

Promoted videos will be marked in the timeline by a promoted banner and the promoted video program offers marketers a wide range of analytics including completion percentage and a breakout of organic versus paid video views.

The new ad format will be similar to the most popular ad product, Promoted Tweets – which are ads that look like tweets and appear in a users content feed – the only difference is that they will be embedded into the tweets via a Twitter Card that supports other media rich ads.

Twitter has always been a text heavy (if you can call 140 characters heavy) service – therefore this type of content will significantly change the look and feel of the social platform. Tests have even shown that tweets containing video create more engagement and more video views.

Not only this but online videos are an important marketing tool especially at a time when the internet continues to introduce new channels into the buying process – therefore this is an important feature to consider.

Although these tests are only available to a ‘select’ few of content publishers and verified users – we thought it best to get you to start thinking about these early. We’re still awaiting a date where this feature will be made available to everyone.  We’ll be sure to keep you posted.

5 Twitter Advertising Mistakes To Avoid

twitter advertising 123Advertisements have always played a big role in the world of marketing. Whether bill board advertising, press advertising, direct mail – or now social advertising.

The thing with advertising is that it’s usually pretty pricey – and so you want to ensure you get it right. Nothing worse than your latest ad going out with zero call to actions or a dreaded incorrect telephone number or glaring typo.

Of course, we’re only human and many of us often make mistakes – whether it be a small spelling mistake or perhaps tweeting the wrong thing at the wrong time –mistakes are very important to avoid, particularly on social – where one little error can be shared to a mass audience in a matter of seconds.

To avoid any future mistakes when creating social ads on Twitter, check out the following 5 Twitter ad mistakes that companies should avoid:

  1. Don’t Forget To Use Hashtags

Hashtags are a great way to get the attention of your target audience and highlight exactly what it is you’re tweeting about. They are a great way for businesses to insert themselves into conversations and trending topics.

Using a new ad or product image can stand out, however if you use strategically chosen hashtags in your promoted tweet, you can help your business find their target audience, reach non followers in large numbers and help grow your influence.

  1. Don’t Take Away User Anonymity

People don’t like it when companies or brands use too much targeting. If the user clicked on an ad and then see that ad everywhere, then they are likely to get annoyed. Seeing a thousand ads similar to the one then clicked on could be a turnoff for the user. So keeping some kind of anonymity is essential.

  1. Use Images To Your Advantage

Images on Twitter ensure that tweets take up more space on the feed and therefore, help to drive engagement. It’s important to include images when you’re sending out a promoted tweet. Tweets that include an image receive 200% more engagement than tweets without images.

Although an image may not be appropriate for every tweet, companies should try to include them wherever possible to help draw attention to their message.

  1. Don’t Take Advantage Of A Users Connections

Every user will have both personal and professional connections – and more often than not, many social media platforms take advantage of that and tend to make recommendations to a user based on what their friends like or based on their professional connections. Some users may find this too meddling – so try not to go overboard when using this tactic.

  1. Try To Use A Consistent Voice

When creating ads, it’s important to consider the objective of the ad. Whilst unique and chatty messages can make a Twitter account seem more ‘human’- depending on the message you are trying to convey, sometimes being chatty or cheeky may not be appropriate and could push your platform off-message and create a backlash. Another point to consider – don’t let your account sound like a robot stuck on repeat – repeatedly sending out the same messages can create problems from consumers too. The key is to find a happy middle ground where your message is clear and your voice is consistent, caring and human at the same time.

We hope you found our tips useful – and, why not share your Twitter Advertising tips with us too.

Twitter Advertising – Levi’s weather Glitch – and The Importance of Relevant Content

When it comes to Twitter advertising you need to make sure you find the balance that satisfies the advertiser without upsetting or being intrusive towards your target audience.

It may seem like an obvious thing not to do – but you’ll be surprised at how many big brands end up getting themselves into hot water over the silliest of things.

Here’s one recent example involving Levi’s (see below)

levi jeans mess up

 

Seems like a clever enough tweet to post, but their downfall was that on this particular day, it wasn’t sunny at all – in fact it was raining all day! And here are just a few of the responses they received (see thread snipped below):

replies to levi

If you look at the date of the original tweet – July 29th – then it probably was a beautiful day when they shared it. But when they ‘reused’ the same content – via a sponsored / promoted tweet – then it clearly hit on a day when the Great British Summer wasn’t at its best.

Let this be a lesson to us all.  When thinking of reusing any previous content – make sure that content is still relevant!

It’s so important to avoid silly mistakes on social media as people are listening all the time – so our advice to for you to use relevant, up to date content and be vigilant at all times.

If you want to know more about Twitter Advertising mistakes then be sure to check out our blog on ‘5 Twitter Advertising Mistakes To Avoid.’

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.

10 Tactics to Increase Twitter Engagement

twitter-bird-logo-hed-2012Twitter can be an incredibly useful platform to promote your business and do some great social marketing. It can also prove useless if you’re not ensuring you focus on good engagement tactics – therefore in this blog, we are going to give you 10 tactics to use on Twitter to help build your engagement.

1. Keep your tweets short. Tweets that have approximately 110 characters get 17% higher engagement. This is because users often like to retweet and add their own commentary, which is much more difficult to do if the tweet is longer. This can then mean the user has to edit the tweet, which is more time-consuming and they may decide they cannot be bothered. And if you think about it – 80% of people using Twitter do so via a mobile – and so editing tweets can be tricky.  It’s best therefore, to keep your tweets at 80-110 characters for optimum engagement.

2. Tweet during daytime hours. Make sure you are tweeting when your target audience are awake, during their daytime. Your tweets will have 30% higher interaction between 8am and 7pm, for the time zone where your audience is based. A great tool to use to find out exactly when your audience is most active is Tweriod.

3. Keep tweeting over the weekend. Never stop tweeting over the weekend – your followers will still be checking Twitter. Even if you aren’t at work, schedule the tweets in so  you are still active on Saturday and Sunday. Engagement can sometimes even be 17% higher on weekends than weekdays!

4. Share your images. Including pictures or videos in your tweets can lead to a 150% increase in Twitter engagement, which is a huge incentive. Find images relating to the wording of the tweet, or include a relevant   or Vine video. It may seem like more effort to do compared to just a regular tweet, but if you want the increased engagement, it’s completely worth it.

5. Ask for Retweets. Surprisingly, less than 1% of businesses have asked for retweets, but doing so means you are more likely to get them. Users are more likely to respond when you use the full word ‘retweet’ rather than the abbreviation ‘RT’, with the retweet rate for the full word being 23 times higher. More retweets mean more people can see your tweets, leading to higher engagement.

6. Use Hashtags. This is a vital Twitter tactic, and a very easy one to do as well. Despite only 24% of people using hashtags, using them can double your engagement rate. They can give your tweet much more visibility. However, don’t overuse them – keep to 2 or less per tweet! Otherwise the tweet becomes cluttered, and it has been proven that tweets using more than 2 hashtags have a 17% drop in engagement which would not be good. Keep informed on trending and use industry-related hashtags where you can to increase your engagement.  Be authentic with your hashtagging though, don’t just jump on a trending hashtag if there’s no clear relationship between the content you are sharing and the hashtag. People that do this – usually get bad press i.e.: when an intern at Habitat used # relating to the new Apple iPhone to showcase items in their sale.  Uh oh – #fail

7. Include Links. 92% of all Twitter interaction happens when users click on links. They are an easy thing to include and can easily boost your retweets as tweets that include links tend to get 86% more retweets. It is suggested that you include links in 60-80% of your tweets, as a quick and simple way to get regular retweets which, as previously said, can hugely help your engagement. Twitter now automatically reduces long URL links for you – and if you are sharing from another platform – be sure to shorten your links (via Bitly and other tools) to ensure you are not eating into your already limited tweet characters.

8. Avoid Lifestyle Tweets. Remember, you are a business, not a celebrity. Don’t get carried away with talking about your day-to-day life as users are not usually interested. The fact you’ve just had a yummy cheese sandwich for lunch may be interesting to you – but most certainly isn’t for others.  Focus on marketing your brand. Try not to use words such as work, home, watching, tired and tomorrow – they aren’t relevant. Use words that will make a reader interested in your brand and want to engage.

9. Use Strong Calls to Action. Asking users to do something can hugely increase engagement. Words such as please, retweet, help, follow and how to are examples of the most retweeted words, giving a high sense of engagement. This is because they make the reader feel like they are the focus of the tweet, therefore persuading them to want to get involved.

10. Send 1 to 4 Tweets a Day. Many companies think that the more they tweet, the more they will be seen. Although this may be true, people are less likely to engage with the tweets as they see so many. Keeping the number of tweets down to a steady stream means you are likely to be producing tweets of a higher quality and therefore achieve higher engagement levels. Go ahead and respond to @s and DMs, but definitely don’t over-tweet.

We hope these Twitter tactics will help you to make your brand’s Twitter more successful, enabling more engagement and interest from readers.

Do you have any other tips that you can add to our list? Let us know 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.

Facebook Launches New ‘Save for Later’ Feature

You know what it’s like – you’re flicking through Facebook and you see a few articles that look really interesting – but you just don’t have the time to read them at that moment.

Well, Facebook’s latest feature now lets you save the articles you’re interested in – so you can catch up on them later.

Unfortunately, ‘save’ doesn’t work for everything – it currently works exclusively with link posts. So if a friend posts a status update with a picture and a link to an article, you won’t be able to save that for later (at the moment). Annoying, we know. However it does let you flag things like links, places, movies, TV and music.

To ‘save’ an item, all you have to do is click the drop down menu in the upper right hand corner of the post you want to save. If you’re looking at a place or music page then a ‘save’ tab will be available to you (appearing just under that page’s profile photo).

google posts to put in

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To go back to review the content you saved – you have to click on your ‘Home Feed’ tab – then on the list on the left hand side under ‘Events’ you will see the option ‘Saved’ – click here and all your saved items will appear.

saved items

 

For now, these ‘saved items’ are private, meaning that only you can see the items you’ve saved, unless you choose to then share them again with friends via your timeline.

This new feature brings a much needed element to Facebook – which has made steps towards becoming the go-to place for consuming news. There was no easy way to revisit a post in a News Feed before – and given that Facebook’s algorithm doesn’t surface items chronologically,  a story you wanted to read later might never have resurfaced.

You can compare this feature to the likes of Twitter ‘favourites’. Twitter doesn’t offer an explicit “save for later” feature, but users can favourite a tweet and then easily revisit that list from their profile. Using the feature to bookmark/save things that you want to reference  but  don’t necessarily want to share to all of your friends and followers.

So have a go – save your favourite posts and never miss an article 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.

Google Remove G+ Photos From Google Authorship

Just recently, Google decided to remove the Google Plus photos from their Google Authorship feature.

now g authorship

This bit of news has been a shock to many – and the big question is why – why would Google kill a feature that is meant to help make our valuable content stand out?

Google authorship is a handy tool which add some unique information to your content when it pops up in search results, including your picture and the number of followers you have.

Since Google Authorship was implemented, we’ve seen a number of eye tracking studies which additional attention is given to search result articles which display the Google+ photo feature.

We’ve also seen a number countless articles of research that shows results saying that those with Google authorship photos have higher click through rates than those that don’t.

The fact that Google have decided to take this differentiating factor away from us has definitely stirred up mixed feelings amongst content creators.

Not only has Google announced that they will be removing profile photos, but they will also be removing the circle count from search results too.

BUT Why?

Google is constantly changing the way they display their search results with the aim of becoming more and more indistinguishable from natural results.

The reason for this change is to create a more consistent look across all devices and create a simpler and less cluttered design. Google are trying to enhance their overall appearance of search results on mobile devices.  In other words, picture and follower counts were cluttering up prime real estate on Google searches.

However they’ve said that the new layout won’t affect click through rates as the new layout will be similar to the SERPS (search engine results pages) that included author photos.

So Will Google Authorship Still Be Worth It?

Having an image show up in search results was certainly one of the most compelling reasons for using authorship. Now that the feature has gone, some may think fewer people will take the time to set it up – but should we abandon it?

The answer is no!

Your sign off line will still appear in search results and even though it won’t be as attention grabbing as your image, there is no downside to having your Google profile associated with your blogs and articles – it can still make a difference in your website traffic. Especially if you are an authority in a particular subject, then it’s still useful to have your name displayed in search results.

Also – it’s another way of letting Google know that you exist – and Google stresses the importance of businesses showcasing their authority on certain topics.

Although Google’s actions have created a great deal of debate online – despite the changes, it is still best for companies to keep creating quality content and making the most of the benefits that Google Authorship still provides to us.

What are your thoughts about the new changes? Leave comments below to tell us your thoughts or 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.

How to Follow the World Cup via Twitter

So the World Cup is upon us, and this year has become as much of an event in the digital and social sphere as it has on the pitch.

No matter where you are, whether you want to know about the World Cup or not – social media weaves us all together giving us all a second screen experience. One you can’t miss!

Major brands have also come out in full force to get involved in the World Cup through a social media perspective – so be on the lookout for competitions, blog posts and tweets – and quite rightly they should, as this is the most social sporting event we’ve seen so far.

Keep Track of the Action

Twitter has made it easy to for you to figure out how to keep on track of all the action during the World Cup by publishing lists of all players and team accounts.

One of the crucial ways to keep your eyes on the game is to follow those key players. Be sure to also look out for all the other voices out there including commentators, journalists and websites etc. Some of these can be harder to pinpoint on Twitter but due to the fact that they are crucial to the World Cup conversation, you will find them!

Twitter Introduces the Hashflag for World Cup Tweets

The hashflag has returned – this was something that was an instant hit during the 2010 world cup. And now Twitter has announced the return of hashflags which are bound to add a little national pride and colour throughout our Twitter feeds.

A ‘hashgflag’ is exactly what it sounds like – a hashtag flag. It allows users to use the world’s flags, as a new form of hashtags in their tweets.

hashflags

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So throughout the World Cup – when fans tweet a ‘#’ followed by their county’s three letter abbreviation, a flag will appear in the tweet. For instance if you’re rooting for England (which we hope you are), you would tweet #ENG – and the country’s flag will appear after the text.

They have been introduced not only to brighten up your Twitter feeds but to make the World Cup come to life. Twitter has estimated that around 90% of users will be watching the tournament – therefore has focused on making discussions centred around the event – more accessible for us all.

Show Your True Colours

Noticed a banner at the top of the screen when you first log in to your Twitter saying – Excited about the World Cup?

Twitter are giving you the chance to share with the world – your true colours!

Here you get to pick the team you’re supporting throughout the World Cup – where you will unlock some new customised World Cup features which allow you to personalise your profile.

It’s another way of getting involved in the World Cup where you can use your Twitter profile to represent your allegiance.

Once you’ve chosen your team – Twitter will then give you the option to add a team profile photo and header that you can pick from their library of customised images.

So what are you waiting for? Get your Twitter profile involved with the World Cup – look the part, follow the right people and stay on top of all the real time scores and highlights.

There’s also bound to be a whole lot more going on with the World Cup in the social sphere – so if we’ve missed anything – feel free to share any other ones that have caught your eye!

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.

Facebook Redesign for Company Pages

Back in March, Facebook announced that they will be introducing a new homepage design for company pages. Their aim being to make it easier for people to find the information they want and give page admins easy access to the tools they use most.

Not all pages were introduced to this feature, but as of the 19th of June – this will be the norm for all Facebook company pages.

Currently, Facebook has 30 million active small business pages worldwide – and now, these pages will have a refreshed design to help give managers more control over the functionality of their pages.

When you first get the new redesign of your page, you’ll probably wonder ‘where did the tabs go?’

Don’t worry though – they’re still there but they have just been tucked away. Facebook knows how important this tool is for marketers to draw attention to a contest or to get users to visit other entities belonging to that business. Therefore they are still there but have just been tucked away.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s take a closer look at the other changes that you should expect:

More control

Along with the refreshed design of your page, you’ll also have more control of the functionality of your page such as…

  • Adjust Sections of Your Page

Adjust the placement of sections in the top navigation menu or via the left column menu. All you have to do is hover your mouse over the section and wait for the pencil icon to show, then press ‘Manage Sections.’ This gives you the chance to put the sections you think are most important at the top of your page as well as making yours look unique.

Facebook pages update

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The Right-hand Side Tabs

This makes it easier to see the interactions of the timeline –with reach figures and notifications bundled together, it’s a quicker way for you to know what it is that you’re going to be measuring for your page. It is also a faster way for managers to see who is sharing, interacting and posting links on your page.

This is a big improvement, as it was previously easy to forget to switch between ‘highlights’, ‘posts by page’ and ‘posts by others’.

Facebook pages update

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Design

  • Cover and Profile Image

This is the one aspect that people tend to worry about the most whenever there’s a social media update – whatever the platform. However for this particular updates, there’s no need to worry about redesigning any images! Your cover image and apps will all still work perfectly – the only change is that they will be repositioned.

  • Single Column Timeline

The new design includes two new columns, similar to the old version however it is the right column which is the only part which acts as the page’s timeline. The left column includes all the other information about the business.

There’ no denying the fact that this new design is a lot simpler as it’s a lot easier to scan a single column format. In the previous design, both columns served as a timeline and posts were staggered between the left and right columns as a user scrolled down, dragging their eyeballs all over the place. Therefore the return of one column focuses the attention of your content.

Facebook pages update

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So why not change your Company Facebook page now and check out these features while they’re still fresh in your mind – it’s all going to change as of the 19th anyway.

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.

Lessons any brands or business on Twitter can learn from Xbox

As a trainer and consultant in social media – I’m always looking for case studies and best practice to share.

Even though I’ve never entered the ‘gaming’ world personally – I certainly think they know a thing or two about developing and engaging communities.

Their products enable you to be ‘social online’ and virtually ‘play’ with likeminded friends or complete strangers (new competitors) who all share the same interest and enthusiasm for gaming.

Beyond the actual social element within the product – then there’s of course the ‘social’ media networks which many of their target audience are aligned with.

So take a look at Xbox on Twitter – and consider some lessons we can all learn:

A Targeted Approach

  • Rather than one global Xbox account – they have recognized that their ‘followers’ have different needs.  You’ll see that rather than have one corporate account and push all messages via it – due to the size of the audience they’ve segmented their accounts on Twitter to serve specific needs.  Their main Xbox account  promotes their product – features of the product, competitions they are running, partnerships they have in place and any latest news.  Exactly what you would expect from a corporate account.
  • Service, service, service.  Xbox has a dedicated Xbox Support Twitter Account – take a look at this profile and you will see that they rightly boast about holding the Guinness World Record for ‘most responsive brand on Twitter’.

Also, you’ll see a list of the team who make up their support team – so as a customer, you can see who you are talking to at any one time.

Take a look at their conversations in this thread and you’ll see high levels of engagement, responsiveness, relevant promos and competitions.

My guess is that their service / support levels have potentially become far more efficient and easier to manage via opening up the support service via Twitter.  Support is now visible to all their followers – and so they have to be great at it – and great service and visible praise from your audience adds momentum to continuously improve your service levels.   Also, Support is now one to many instead of one to one – whilst still retaining a personal positioning.  If a number of their customers have the same issue – one global message can communicate to many that they are working on the issue and keeping people informed of progress.

In my view, Xbox offer all of us something to learn on how to engage a community and continue to service a community via Twitter which focuses on key facets that are relevant to any business.  Simple marketing really – 1) know your audience and segment content / engagement accordingly  and deliver the content and messaging you know your audience want to engage with – and 2) deliver excellent service to grow advocacy and nurture retention and brand loyalty.

Do let us know your thoughts and opinions on this topic – share your comments below or simply 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.

Social Media – Great – But Don’t Kill Yourself

According to the BBC, a recent RAC survey found out that 20% of 17 to 19-year-olds admitted using Facebook or Twitter while driving.

That’s a huge number of people who can’t resist checking their social media news feeds mid car journey.

We all know what it’s like to be stuck in gridlock traffic, bored out of our minds with nothing but the radio to entertain us, but boredom shouldn’t cause us to act dangerously. Even taking your eyes off the road for 10 seconds can cause a car accident – no matter how much of an experienced driver you feel that you are.

To add to the distraction, most modern cars now have dashboard phone holders, leaving your phone in view and making notifications more visible and even more of a distraction.

Of course, whilst we are huge social media fans and believe in the power of fast engagement, we in no way support ‘Tweet-driving’.

Many new cars enable you to plug into your social activity – providing ‘Status Updates’ on the go – safely.  It’s our need for constantly keeping up to date with what our friends and networks are doing that has driven this new ‘in car’ social innovation.

But surely there are risks with this too – interruptions to our core task of driving safely – and what about any emotional impact.  Getting wound up by an update could be detrimental to our behaviour behind the wheel.

So we ask you, be honest… How many of you have checked your news feed mid-drive ? And what are your views on being plugged in to social behind  the wheel?

Do let us know your thoughts and opinions on this topic – share your comments below or simply 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.

Is LinkedIn Following the Footsteps of Facebook too?

Many of us have come to the conclusion that Twitter’s redesign brings it in line with Facebook but is LinkedIn also following in similar footsteps?

Although LinkedIn haven’t gone as far as Twitter in announcing a big redesign – they have made a few changes to their homepage.





LinkedIn are clearly looking for ways to improve the way content is shared within the feed – making sure that job related information stands out in the homepage.

Their updated homepage takes advantage of the separation of stories shared with easily digestible updates from your connections.

You can now customise everything you want to see directly from your LinkedIn homepage – where you can segment your updates by ‘all updates’, ‘shares’, ‘connections’, ‘profiles’, ‘news groups’, ‘companies’ and ‘jobs’. This feature makes it easier to see what’s going on as it allows you to view what’s happening in your network from each different perspective (Twitter brought out something similar with their redesign).

Another feature that LinkedIn have applied, that is also similar to Facebook, is the ‘hide feature’ – this is where you can hide someone’s updates from your homepage. For those people who continuously post similar and repeated updates which hit your feed – whilst you don’t necessarily want to lose them as a connection, you don’t necessarily want to see everything they publish – so you can hide their updates. To action the ‘hide’ feature – all you need to do is scroll over their name in blue (in the homepage) and the hide button will appear to the right.

Images also seem to have increased in size – and you can now clearly see images of your connections or clearer images of the articles that they are sharing. Not only this, but there are larger ‘share’ and ‘connect’ buttons, making it easier for users to network interact and broadcast status updates.

It seems that every social media platform is setting out with the aim of everything looking bigger, and everything being made easier for users to share and view stories/status updates.

So, with all of these changes being made to LinkedIn – have you noticed the similarities to Facebook?

Do let us know your thoughts and opinions on this topic – share your comments below or simply 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.

Twitter’s New Look – Get Your Profile Ready for the Switch on May 28th

Are we the only ones thinking it – or do you also think that every other social media platform seems to be morphing into Facebook?

In recent years Facebook has been mocked for copying key aspects of Twitter such as hashtags and @ tagging, but now the tables have turned. Twitters biggest ever redesign rolls out this month and, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it pays Facebook a great compliment.

Facebook’s News Feed is always improving – they are constantly updating their algorithm to surface more “high quality” content, whilst also trying to create the idea that your stories are as easy to read as a newspaper, their aim is to make it easier for us to find and engage with the stories that matter to us. However now, like Facebook, it has come to our attention that other social media platforms seem to be following the same idea – especially now with Twitter’s redesign.

Let’s Take a Closer Look at the Twitter Changes and What They Mean for You:

Twitter has recently changed how its profile pages look and operate, the new profile page is meant to create the image of ‘what’s new about the new you?’ At the moment you don’t have to change your profile page to the new layout, but by May 28th whether you like it or not, everyone will have Twitter’s new profile design. So let’s take a look at the changes we’re about to be faced with:

  • Header Image and Profile Photo

Twitter now places far greater emphasis on your profile and header images – the header image appears full width along the top of the screen, with your main profile picture on the left hand side.  Your profile picture now has larger dimensions of 400pixels by 400pixels and you are prompted to pick a larger background header. Twitter scales the header image automatically but it should be at least 1500 pixels wide and 500 pixels in height – that is if you want to avoid blur on larger screens.

  • Best Tweets

This is a pretty cool new feature where the tweets that have received the most engagement will appear slightly larger and photos are given more prominence therefore making your content easier to find. The redesigned Twitter will also highlight tweets which have received greater engagement – this is measured in replies, retweets and favourites. Their aim is to make your most popular content easy to spot (just like they do with your stories on the Facebook Newsfeed).

  • Pinned Tweets

Make it easier for your followers to find out what you’re all about and Pin one of your tweets to the top of your page/profile (just as can you would on your Facebook Page).  This new option allows brands to take control and create a first impression of their Twitter content so that this is the first thing people will see when clicking on your profile.

Tip: Try to pick a tweet that has high engagement – with a lot of Retweets. Twitter has realised that you may not want your best tweets to be so quickly hidden in chat – so here’s your chance to showcase your best tweets!

  • Filtered Views

When visiting someone else’s profile, you can choose how to view their tweets, the options are: tweets only, tweets plus replies, or tweets with photos or videos. Twitter is determined to make users’ profiles easier for those visiting your profile to gain a deeper and more focussed insight into the content you’re sharing – and to allow them to filter out the irrelevant content that they’re not interested in seeing e.g.  by separating tweets from replies – however, a ‘tweets and replies’ categories does exist for those who still want to see everything mixed together.

Take a look at this image we found of Zac Efron’s Twitter and Facebook personal profile:


 

 

 

 

 

Can you spot many differences between the Facebook and Twitter profiles?

Not only does Twitter seem to be following Facebook’s footsteps, but LinkedIn also seems to have had some slight changes too …

More on that in our next post.

It seems that every social media platform is setting out with the aim of everything looking bigger, and everything being made easier for users to share and view stories.

That’s just our opinion however – what do you think about the new Twitter design? Can you spot many differences between Twitter and Facebook profiles?

If you use them, tell us why – share your thoughts and the comments with us – by leaving your comments below or Tweeting 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.

Is It Time You Gave Your Social Media Platforms a Spring Clean?

Spring has arrived. The days are longer and it’s finally time to come out of hibernation and organise that once a year spruce up of your home – and your social media platforms.

Below we have highlighted our top 5 tips for a social media spring clean,

1.     Rethink your goals for social media

Businesses are constantly changing and adapting, perhaps your business plan has changed or you may have found a new target audience. If there have been any relevant changes within your business these should be reflected and updated amongst your social media.  Our advice is to evaluate your goals for social media, it may be that you need to change the levels of engagement with your audience, or that you need to refresh your follower activity.

Take the time to evaluate how well your pages are doing and if there’s anything you can improve on

2.     Look into the best ‘Dashboard’ option for your business

Tired of jumping to and from different platforms? It may be that you have two different Twitter pages; one for customer service and another for overall business activity. If you have multiple accounts you may find a social media dashboard really useful. At Carvill Creative we favour HootSuite.

HootSuite is fantastic for organising Twitter feeds; you can have all of your Twitter accounts on one easy platform. This dashboard also lets you create lists, so you can save certain hashtags which may be relevant to your business. Below you will see that we have saved the search term ‘#socialmedia’.  Searching for keywords or hashtags in HootSuite and saving them as conversation streams, enables you to pick up on any conversations which may be relevant to your business and get in touch with potential new followers or customers.

Carvill Blog Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Among many fantastic features HootSuite also offers a scheduling option. This allows you to schedule tweets in advance so you are never stuck in back to back meetings worrying about your social media activity.

This is particularly helpful over the bank holiday weekend – HootSuite will send out your tweets whilst you’re laying back in the sun with a Pimms.  Fantastic.

Want to find out how to set up HootSuite?

Do be mindful that there are other social dashboards and scheduling tools you could use such as; Facebook pages manager, Tweetdeck, Sprout Social etc. They’re all pretty good – so it comes down to personal preference.

3.      Refresh and update your content

Without a lot of hard work and elbow grease, your house won’t become magically clean this April. Without good content, your social media platforms won’t do their job properly.  Content needs to be researched, organised and concise.  Unless you are a food blogger then your followers aren’t going to be interested in the cheese sandwich you just had for lunch. Tailor your content to reflect your business values and to what your followers would want to hear.

For more information on content, see our blog.

4.      Take a look at who your following and connecting with

It’s a myth that the more people you follow the more followers your business will gain and your sales will go up. Targeted following is the only way forward when it comes to promoting your business on Twitter. You are who you follow.

In turn, by following too many irrelevant accounts- not only will your social media feed be clogged up by irrelevant cheese sandwich stories, but you will be faced with useless information which your business can’t harness.

Be specific and targeted and connect with people strategically.

5.     Don’t forget to update your website

So, your social media feeds are now looking fantastic and polished, but it’s important to make sure that you update your website too. Remember, you want to refresh and update the whole online brand, not just one part. You could update any recent testimonials, upload photos or even update your services if these have changed.

To ensure that your site it constantly refreshed with relevant and purposeful content, we recommend a business blog. By blogging, you’re updating your website frequently with fresh information for your audience to see and inevitably building your thought leadership and increasing brand awareness on key search engines.

Carvill- big spring clean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We hope you like our ‘spring clean tips’ – what are your tips for a social media spring clean? Tweet us @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.

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.