Tag Archives: business marketing

Video Still Rules In 2018!

We’re pretty much at the start of a brand new year. And while we are on the subject, I’d like to wish you a very Happy New Year – are you looking forward to 2018? I certainly am!

I predict exciting developments ahead for marketing and social media this year – and if you take a look around at those predicting which trends are likely to have an impact, they agree.

So, what are the top predictions I hear you cry! Well… the main standout so far is yet again, video – both live streaming, recorded and ads – and how ‘video’ is set to continue to dominate our social media feeds.

At the beginning of last year Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, had said, ‘I see video as a mega trend’ – and sure enough here we are 12 months down the line and video consumption continues to rise. In fact Cisco forecasts that by 2021, 82% of all consumer internet traffic will be video.  An incredible figure, but it doesn’t feel like we’re so far off that right now.

The amount of time people spend on social media continues to increase year on year – we only have to take a look at our own behaviour as well as those around us to work that out – and so the opportunities to attract and engage with new and existing customers using video are certainly set to increase.

Social Media Video

The majority of the time we spend on social media is via our mobile devices, so the battle for mobile video attention will only get tougher. And of course, whilst the platform of video is one thing, it’s the content aspect which is the all-important factor. To truly engage, content, regardless of media, has to be relevant. The challenge we as publishers face is not just about getting video views and clicks, (but that too is a factor), but primarily it’s about getting that relevant video in front of your target audience and understanding what they do after they have watched your video. Analytics in Facebook and Instagram Lives currently give you some decent indications on how many people have  viewed the video content, when, and for how long. And undoubtedly improved forms of analytics will evolve to be able to help businesses to achieve specific, and more importantly effective, business outcomes.

Jump forward a year and it will be interesting to revisit where we are with video in our feeds and indeed in our marketing and communication strategies.

Here at Carvill, whilst I love to get my musings down in written format – so too will we be picking up the pace with video. Facebook Lives, online training videos, webinars and even a podcast are all on our broadcasting horizon.

We’ll be using video for personal branding, thought leadership, training and education, how to, problem solving, FAQs, demos – it’s pretty much on the agenda to ramp up our competence and activity with video in all of these areas.   And encouraging our clients to either start or build upon their video activity.

My question to you therefore is – what you are doing around video content and how can you make video work as part of your communication strategy?

As always – any questions tweet me @michellecarvill or email michelle@carvillcreative.co.uk 

Here’s to 2018


Michelle Carvill, business and marketing consultant, author of The Business of Being Social, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill Creative

Just finalised my third book: Get Social – Practical Strategies and Tactics for Leaders – to be published by Kogan Page in May 2018.

For information about how team Carvill can help you or your team with building meaningful connections with your audiences – simply get in touch.

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WhatsApp – Fast, Personal and Highly Engaged

whatsappFirst things first – What is WhatsApp?

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

Who Can Use it?

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

How is instant messaging free?

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

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

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

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

WhatsApp for Business

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

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

How to get started with WhatsApp

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

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

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

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

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

Case Study: Engaging with your clients:

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

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

Engaging with your team:

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

To Start a Group Chat:

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

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

You can email an entire message history to someone:

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

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

You can back up WhatsApp conversations:

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

You can broadcast a WhatsApp to many contacts:

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

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

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

WhatsApp Chat Tips and Facts:

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

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.

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.