Tag Archives: social media advice

Facebook Advertising Tips, Tricks and Shortcuts from a seasoned Pro!

As part of our first series of Facebook Lives on our free social media and digital marketing group, Social Souls – Sarah Kerrigan, social media evangelist and trainer at Jellyfish Agency, joined us for a LIVE. Sarah shared so many gems about how to optimise your Facebook Advertising campaigns. Talking, audience segmentation, how to optimise audience insights, getting your head round the practicalities of working with the Facebook Pixel and more… tune in here: 

Got any questions – come over and join the conversation over  Social Souls . 

STOP ‘Social Media’ RIGHT NOW!

STOP SOCIAL MEDIA NOW!You or your business may already be fully engaged with social media. All may be going brilliantly. Your social activity is a huge success. Your audiences are engaged. Your campaign and channel strategies thriving. Your ROI clear and positive. If this is the case, then STOP reading this article, as it’s not for you.

This article is for those that are frustrated with social media activity. That frustration may manifest from personally feeling that you’re not doing enough, not knowing where or how to start or that you’re just not getting the results you desire. Or it may be the case that you’re frustrated that social isn’t being given any headspace in your organisation. There isn’t any buy in from the CEO or senior management.

If you’re still reading – then right now – I want you to think differently. I want you to forget the words ‘social’ and ‘media’ – and instead, I want you to contemplate the following words:

  • Customer Engagement strategy
  • Customer communications strategy
  • Customer outreach / feedback strategy

Perhaps these words / concepts aren’t as ‘current’ as the two words we’re forgetting right now – but if you think about the bigger picture – they give a far deeper meaning to the tweets, posts and pics shared as part of ‘social’ ‘media’ activity.

Every strategy should start with the question – why? Why are we/you doing this?

This approach helps you to uncover your purpose. You can then work backwards from your purpose. Figuring out the various steps required to get there. Helping you to be specific and bring some clarity to what you’re looking to achieve via social channels.

So your question right now is Why? Why are you doing/wanting to do social media?

The answer you get then steers all that you do. If you’re doing social because it’s 2017 and that’s what all businesses now do – then I suggest you stop doing it and go back to asking the ‘why’ question. Doing social just because everyone else is – is not a strategy.

For CEOs or senior leaders that consider ‘social media’ as nothing more than a time wasting, non-direct revenue generating distraction – (whether that’s your thinking or you’re hopeful to change someone else’s thinking) – opening your eyes to the deeper meaning and talking of client / customer engagement, communication strategies, outreach / feedback strategies, can help to overcome the short-sightedness.

Social media channels are enablers. Enablers to assist you to achieve necessary client / customer / new business engagement. Used as part of an integrated campaign or channel plan, they can steer or enhance activity. You may lead some activities via social channels – or you may plug-in social to support other channel activities.

Let’s face it – without getting caught up on B2B or B2C – let’s just contemplate P2P – people to people. There are more than a billion ‘people’ logging into Facebook daily. (And that’s just Facebook – remember there are many other channels where people spend serious amounts of time). Some of them will be your customers or your potential customers. If social media is where your customers are – then shouldn’t you be building the channels into your communication / engagement plans?

If you’ve got stuck in your thinking of what social is and why you do or don’t do social media – I ask you to step back and really answer the ‘why’ question from a strategic perspective. And then do a bit of a business reality check to address any potential gaps:

  • What’s your customer engagement plan / program?
  • How do you actively listen to what customers are saying about you / your business?
  • Where do you source ideas for relevant and engaging content?
  • How do you engage those customers/prospective customers who are active on social channels?
  • Is there an integrated communications strategy in place?

To those that still think of ‘social media’ as activities which are not business critical, then calling these important endeavours ‘social media’ – isn’t really doing anyone any favours.

So stop calling it social media – and step into the bigger picture.

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

Michelle Carvill, best selling business author, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill – the social media agency focused on creating authentic engagement. For information about how the team at Carvill can help you – simply get in touch or visit our website.

 

Social Media – What’s the Real ROI?

Zig Ziglar - Those that aim for nothing quote

Whilst we can all get bogged down in ‘doing the doing’ – I find it so rewarding and energising when I take the time to get out and about to talk to people.

The last couple of months have seen me doing a number of talks – all about a similar and popular  topic.

February saw me talking at The Chelsea Design Club about the practicalities of making social work for design businesses.  Early March I joined Robert Harding at The Photographer’s Gallery to speak to a room of photographers about ‘getting social’.  And just last week I joined the team at LinkedIn in the UK HQ to talk about social and ROI – and last week I joined Richmond Event’s Digital Marketing Forum – again, focusing on ROI.

There’s no doubt about it – social media ROI is indeed a hot topic.

So, what’s the magic ROI formula? What should people be measuring and what should they expect to see?

Of course, in all realms of digital marketing we’ve got data coming out of our data. Big data truly exists – and there are dashboards a plenty that will enable us to track our customer’s every move.

As a marketer, I do love data – BUT I only ‘truly’ love and respect data that is really useful.

Measuring what matters

And so that brings me to what I consider is really key for measuring ROI when it comes to social media.

I love the saying by Zig Ziglar – ‘Those that aim for nothing hit it with remarkable accuracy’.  And I find this is particularly true when it comes to measuring what matters with social.

With social channels, you get a lot of data – much of which is highly visible. Followers, retweets, shares, engagement etc – and of course we can be measuring these aspects. But to really understand social media ROI – I believe you really have to be very clear on what it is you are looking to achieve at the outset.

It’s common knowledge that it’s unusual for social channels to behave as direct marketing channels – so sales directly achieved via Facebook and Twitter are unlikely to be anywhere near as direct as from other sources. So stating that you want 50 direct sales is potentially unrealistic (however, this does depend on activities and sector).

So, it’s about being realistic about what can be achieved via social and where social makes an impact. The wonderful Gary Vaynerchuk  aligns social media ROI with the brilliant question, ‘What’s the ROI of your mother?’ – however, whilst I agree with much of what Gary V states – I do believe that there are some practical ways to measure social media ROI.

To review some of the more practical aspects of social activity:

  • Increase Brand Awareness
    • Here you may very well be asking:
    • Are we growing relevant followers? Note that relevant is a key word here.
  • Establish Credibility and Trust
    • Are we getting endorsements/shares from influential people?
    • How is our audience responding to these influencers?
    • Are those influencers extending the reach of our audience?
  •  Connect with your Audience
    • Is your audience responding well to your content?
    • Is the content you share encouraging engagement?
    • What levels of shares, reach and discussion is our content achieving?
  • Find New Leads/Drive Sales
    • Is social activity bringing people back to your website?
    • Have we achieved a certain amount of sign ups / downloads etc.
    • How is social helping us to convert to sales / customers?

The above areas are by no means the only aspects you need to be considering – each campaign activity you undertake will have it’s own objectives. For example: you may set a target of partnering with 10 key influencers in your space – or connecting with influential bloggers.  Once you have identified metrics that really matter – and have set off with the end in mind. Then, and only then, can you have any idea whether or not your endeavours are truly hitting the targets. (Remember, what Zig said – right!).

Having objectives at the outset can really steer your activity:

I have a very simple ‘let’s clarify objectives’ model:

  • What does success look like? What objectives / outcomes are we looking to achieve?
  • What metrics / evidence do we need so that we can measure progress?
  • What discipline will we apply to ensure we are continuously monitoring and learning?

Of course, these aspects don’t just apply to social – and once you know what it is that you want to achieve – and what those metrics / indicators look like – you can even start to apply a monetary value to them so that you can you work out exactly what ROI looks like.

Let’s create a rudimentary example to clarify the £ point:

Let’s say landing a guest blog on a pre identified influential blog has a monetary value to you of say, £500.   If you therefore set a target of 5 such guest blogs over the quarter – then if you achieve the target – the monetary value (return) is £2500.  Make sense?

In the world of social media – finding return on investment is possible – particularly if you have set out with very clear objectives.  Therefore, don’t just dive in an engage – before you do – remember to do your planning and set out those objectives – start with the end in mind.

That way – measuring the ROI of social is a whole lot simpler.

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

Michelle Carvill, best selling business author, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill – the social media marketing agency. For information about how the team at Carvill can help you – simply get in touch or visit our website for more information.

How to get yourself noticed on Instagram

This week I did a talk to a group of photographers focusing on how they could be utilising the social platforms to help them achieve objectives.

It was no surprise that Instagram was the most popular social platform for the photographers – however, it was a little surprising that not one of them had heard about Instragram’s ‘Weekend Hashtag Project’ – a great engagement campaign from Instagram, that could make all the difference to your visibility.

So let’s walk through what happens:

Every Friday Instagram announces the weekend challenge.  As you can see – last week, it was all about sights and sounds – the goal to make videos with interesting or ambient, or natural sound.

Instagram's Weekend Hashtag Project #WHP
Instagram’s Weekend Hashtag Project #WHP

You then simply add the relevant hashtag- (in this case #WHPsightsandsounds) to photos and videos when uploading them over the weekend.

You can only upload your own visuals and we believe (although we haven’t tested this as yet) that only images and video actually shot over the weekend are eligible. (So you can’t upload from a past library) – which makes sense right – because after all, it is a ‘weekend project’.

The weekend project challenge is announced every Friday via the Instagram blog – and the team here @carvillcreative  stay tuned via tweets from the Instagram Twitter account (@instagram). The #WHP is always consistent – so you can take a look in Instagram using the search tool to see the vast range of projects executed so far.

Every Monday Instagram then selects some of their favourite ‘projects’ and showcases them on their blog and social platforms – which can ignite some serious attention. Those featured (and it’s arbitrary) – they really don’t just showcase popular Instagrammers with thousands of followers, as you’ll see – people with as few as 10 followers have been showcased.

So, if one of your objectives it to get noticed on Instagram – then start tracking the Weekend Hashtag Project – it may just be that all the fun you have taking part in the project, may just reap some serious rewards.

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

 That’s all for now – happy hashtagging this weekend.

Michelle x

Michelle Carvill, best selling business author, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill – the social media marketing agency. For information about how the team at Carvill can help you – simply get in touch or visit our website for more information.

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

hearandear

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

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

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

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

Perfect example of pushing yet not listening

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

6 Of The Best Free Social Media Analytical Tools

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

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

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

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

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

Image Taken From Burberry Website
Image Taken From Burberry Website

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WhatsApp – Fast, Personal and Highly Engaged

whatsappFirst things first – What is WhatsApp?

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

Who Can Use it?

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

How is instant messaging free?

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

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

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

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

WhatsApp for Business

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

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

How to get started with WhatsApp

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

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

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

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

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

Case Study: Engaging with your clients:

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

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

Engaging with your team:

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

To Start a Group Chat:

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

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

You can email an entire message history to someone:

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

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

You can back up WhatsApp conversations:

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

You can broadcast a WhatsApp to many contacts:

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

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

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

WhatsApp Chat Tips and Facts:

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

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

I love blogging concept

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

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

  • Have You Optimised Your Blog Post With Links?

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

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

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

  • Have You Proof Read Your Blog?

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

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

  • Have You Added A Photo or Image?

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

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

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

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

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

  • Can You Repurpose The Content?

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

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

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

Happy blogging!

How To Sponsor Content On Your LinkedIn Showcase Page

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

Meanwhile here’s a little reminder…

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

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

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

Sponsored Updates

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

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

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

sponsor 1

 

 

 

 

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

sponsor 2

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

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

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

sponsor 4

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

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

Happy Sponsoring Folks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How To Choose Your Social Media Channels Wisely

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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.

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