Tag Archives: social media consultancy

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

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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.

Why a Blog is a Central Part of your Social Media Marketing Activity

In my view – (and I’m sure there are some exceptions), every business should have a blog.

Blogging enables you to unlock what’s going on within your business – and share it.

  • Case studies
  • FAQs
  • Client wins
  • New team
  • Events you’re creating
  • News items
  • PR announcements
  • New services
  • Changes to services
  • How things work
  • Why you do what you do
  • Who you are
  • Customer service fixes
  • Your expertise, though leadership
  • Your viewpoints
  • Your advice

All of the above provides just a quick list of the types of content you can be sharing about your organisation. And what better place to share them than via a blog, which ideally sits within your website – encouraging traffic and eyeballs back to your site to explore more about your organisation.

Two areas that all businesses should consider when it comes to blogging:

1)      We are now in an age where businesses (and people) have the resources to publish content at the touch of a few buttons. Setting up a blog (via wordpress, blogger or typepad and other blogging platforms) is a relatively simple process and provides businesses with a platform to share diverse, purposeful, educational and entertaining news via one central platform – (via mobile if you wish) enhancing your online visibility in many ways.

2)      People (ie: consumers) are increasingly fed up with ‘push’ marketing – they don’t trust the advertisers, instead they trust themselves and the content they come across and that people are sharing and talking about when they are out there on good old Google searching for the products, services or information they require.  Very simply the more relevant and purposeful content you have out on the net – then you have more chance of being found.

How does your blog tie in with social networks and social media?

Your blog is ‘social media’ – and provided that you enable your blog to be sharable by others – including the share buttons on your content – then you have created media – and that media is socially enabled.

The media you create for your blog – can be a mix of written articles, video, audio, images – it’s over to you.  My advice is to keep the format of your content mixed (a mixture of written word, audio, video, images etc) – just to keep things interesting. However, having said that, your content should be focused on helping you to deliver your business objectives – and therefore, what you create is more important than the format you create it in.

Once you’ve created your ‘media’ – and posted it to your blog – (which is socially enabled allowing anyone who reads or interacts with that content to be able to share it onto their audiences), then you can also start sharing it via your own social networks too.

Take a look at the following video to illustrate sharing and traction process via blog content

We hope this blog and our video help you to better understand why blogging is central to your social media activity.

Any views, questions – do get in touch.  In the meantime, be social and share…

 

Michelle Carvill is author of The Business of Being Social – A Practical Guide to Harnessing the Power of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn for all Businesses – and is also the Founder of Carvill Creative.   

 

 

Blogging Generates New Business – Fact!

Being a regular blogger, blogging for around 5 years now – I’m always surprised to find that a huge proportion of businesses and websites I come across don’t have any blogging presence.

In an age where 76% of consumers search for products and services online via search engines and social media platforms, (just think about your own consumer behaviour and what you do when looking for a new product orsocial media advice consultancy marketing service), then being ‘visible’ online is now business critical.

Having a website presence is one thing. However, in order for you to ensure your website doesn’t become a ‘billboard in the desert’ (as 40% of all UK websites are and received zero, yes, zero, traffic!), then you have to work at driving online visibility.

There are a number of ways to assist your online visibility – here are some of the key ones:

SEO (search engine optimisation) –  I’m not going to get into detail about SEO – however, enough to say that there are two key elements to SEO,  1) ‘on page’ – which relates to the content on your website, meta, site structure, navigation etc and ensuring all that is optimised.  And then, 2) ‘off page’ – which is the far more labour intensive means of growing credible and relevant ‘back links’ to your website.

The overall objective is to ensure that when someone types in those all important keywords when searching for a product or service eg:  ‘forensic accountant London’ – then you are visible on Page 1 of the search results (ideally in the top 3 organic search results – [after all, do you look beyond those or switch to Page 2 of search results?]).

Online advertising – When someone types in those all important keywords eg: ‘social media consultant London’ – you are paying to top the bill. You are bidding on keywords so that you become visible in the sponsored links. Again, ideally you want to dominate the sponsored listings – so that you have more chance of being ‘clicked’ on.  Results show that the top 3 positions receive the most traffic from sponsored activity.

Social Media Networks – Rather than putting all your eggs into one ‘online’ basket and simply having your website presence being the main means for audiences to find out about your business and services – now you can leverage a plethora of social networks to create a broader online presence.

Not only do social networks provide you with more opportunity to grow a presence online – but they also enable you to target specific people, influencers etc – and talk and converse and provide insight into what you and your business are really about.  This fundamentally enables you to showcase what you do for others via case studies, testimonials, track conversations, grow thought leadership by sharing opinion and expertise, grow fans and advocates who spread the word for you (to name but a few of the many uses of social).

Of course – the challenge with ‘Social’ is that you have to put something ‘out’ (share it) in order to attract people ‘in’.

Unlike advertising or optimising – social is the place whereby you ‘earn’ attention by the nature of what you share.

Therefore, you need to have something ‘sharable’ – and a method to consistently and simply share those all important insights into you, your business and your products and services.

This is where ‘blogging’ comes into play.

A blog, in my humble opinion, is a MUST for every website – and yes, I believe EVERY website, even those focusing solely on ‘ecommerce’.

The blog is the ‘mouthpiece’ for the business and brand. This is the place where you can share more than you can say on Twitter or Facebook – and of course,  provides you with unique, purposeful and relevant content to share on those social networks too.

Fundamentally, social isn’t about direct sales, it’s about getting people to ‘know you, like you, trust you, talk about you – and ultimately do business with you’.

In order to grow this relationship and get people to know, like and trust you – you’ve got to provide content that is useful, purposeful, authentic and from the heart of your business – so that you ‘earn’ attention.

Your Blog is your Broadcast Station

Your blog is indeed your broadcast station. Everything the business wants to share, believes in, has done for others, people get excited about etc – can be shared via your blog.  And of course – where does that blog sit? – on your website.

  • When people visit your website they see your blog (particularly if you’re smart and have it visible on the home page). They see that you’re alive and that you have opinions, advice, testimonials, case studies, view points, expertise, authority, a personality etc.
  • When people read your blog, they get pulled back to your website. Where they can explore more blogs or products or services or hit the call to action you included in your blog to encourage them to get more involved with your business by subscribing to your blog or downloading your latest Social Media or Marketing guide etc.

It’s the perfect ‘engagement’ and ‘broadcast’ tool.  It works beautifully for social media – as it gives you something to share – and it’s an authentic view on you and your business.

If a business isn’t blogging – then they don’t have much to say.  And in a world where being ‘vocal’ matters – then blogging assists with your online visibility.

Ok, so if we dedicate time and resource to blogging regularly – what’s the ROI?

At Carvill Creative we keep a track of all enquiries – whether they come via our online ‘Get in touch’ form or via phone or email.

Out of submissions from the last three months – 50% were via Google Search and 50% said:

I can confirm that from those that contacted us via seeing our blog – 60% have so far translated into new business compared to just 18% of those that made queries via Google Search.

Also – a client, Westbury Accountants – grew traffic to their site 386% when they picked up their blogging activity.  You can read their Blogging for Success Case Study here.

My questions to you are:

  • If you’re not blogging – why not?  If it’s a resource thing – then work with a company like Carvill Creative where we either train you and your team to blog internally (as we did with Westbury) or indeed we learn about your organisation and personality and regularly create content for your blogs.
  • If you have a blog how regularly are you blogging and are you measuring its effectiveness? Do you track where leads come from, do you monitor Analytics on your website to review traffic via your blog?

Blogging isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. Focus on the end in mind. You’ll find lots of tips and tactics for getting started with blogging here in our Blogging Masterclass in A Blog Post article – and of course, if you want to start a blog and don’t know where to start – get in touch. We’d be delighted to get you blogging.

 

@Michelle Carvill is owner and Marketing Director at Carvill Creative – the online visibility experts. A digital marketing and design agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire.  The agency covers all aspects of marketing strategy and online visibility – covering social media marketing and social media training, user focused website planning and conversion focused website design.

Want to talk to the team at Carvill Creative about your social media activity or training needs? We’re happy to chat, so simply ‘get in touch’.

Finally, why not download our useful Social Media Marketing Planner and Marketing Plan. They’re totally free to download and use.

Two Simple Ways to Combat Social Media Eye Rolling

The more mainstream social media channels become as key communication channels for business and brand engagement – then the more people I meet who say ‘So come on then tell me about this ‘social media’ thingy then’.  Usually with arms folded and rolling eyes in tow.

Resistance is still there – and the terms ‘social media’ seem more passé than the words ‘Fifty Shades’.

However, what social media stands for is anything but ‘passe’.

So instead of talking ‘soshall meeja’ – I talk about the things that CEOs, business owners and board members get.  You may want to consider talking about social media in this way too:

1)      Shift in Consumerism

There’s no way of denying that there has been a significant shift in how we consume products and services.

Ask people the question, ‘What do you do when you are looking for a product or service’.

Do we now wait to see a TV or press ad or receive a phone call from a telesales person – or do we get onto our mobile, tablet, desktop or laptop devices and seek it out via Google and other trustworthy sources?

I have trained over 1600 people in the past year – and each time I ask the question ‘Who here now searches for products and services or what they are looking for via search engines as a first port of call?’ – unequivocally, every single hand rises.

Therefore, being visible online is now very important. And Social Media is one important part of creating effective online visibility.

And it’s not just about visibility but also about reputation and referral.  Online the consumer has a wide range of choice – the consumer is king. If a website doesn’t look engaging or trustworthy – we are unlikely to hang around for very long. It’s not as if we have to drive to the next village to find an alternative – we simply hit the back button and et voila, masses of choice is at our fingertips to explore. Effortless.

We are now in the Recommendation Generation – we’ve stopped believing the ‘hype’ of push marketing – billboards, advertisements etc (only 14% of us believe that the advertisers are saying) – and instead, we trust and believe peers and often complete strangers (70% of purchases are made following an online recommendation).

Reviews matter, testimonials matter, positive sentiment matters.  People can share and talk online effortlessly.  My question to businesses who are ‘eyerolling’ about social media is ‘Do you know what the often ‘always on’ consumer is saying or reading about you?’  ‘Are you listening?’ ‘Are you responding?’.

The second powerful way to combat Social Media Eyeball Rolling is to talk about the fundamental ways to grow a business.

This is a very simple lesson I learned back in my days of The Results Accountants’ Systems ‘Boot Camp’.

2)      There are just 4 Ways to Grow a Business

And they are:

  • Increase the number of customers
  • Increase frequency of purchase
  • Increase value of purchase
  • Systematise your processes to make the business more efficient

Social Media activity compliments every one of the key drivers above.

Increase the number of customers

Social media activity has the opportunity to amplify your communications into far reaching audiences. Way beyond your database or typical reach. Providing opportunity for new customers.

It’s simple for people to share and pass on your messages, offers etc – it’s simply a touch of a button. So if they advocate what you’re saying, you’re broadening your team of marketers – as by retweeting on Twitter or sharing something on a Facebook Page – the average Jo is helping you to market your business.

And if you tune into key influencers and create relevant relationships – then they can be amplifying your message into a targeted new audience.

Increase frequency of purchase

There are a number of ways to increase purchase frequency, which effectively focuses on getting people to buy more often from you. Through nurture communication programs, keeping customers in touch with what you do – staying on the radar.  Discounted offers, time limited – and sometimes triggered by an activity. Eg: Thank you for purchasing – we’re giving you 15% off any of our products throughout December.  And products that have ‘add ons’ – refills, complimentary products or services.

I’m sure there are other tactics too. However, if we just take the ‘staying on the radar’ element. Social Media is a perfect resource to keep you in front of key influencers, customers and potential new customers.

Social Media enables ‘continuous conversations’ – sharing updates, listening in and responding, asking and answering questions. Effectively, you can advise people on a one to one basis – but on a one to many platform – building awareness and thought leadership.

Effectively, you are building ‘share of mind’ – when they are looking for your products or services – or indeed any of their friends are, then being on the radar enables you to potentially become their first point of reference.

Increase value of purchase

This activity is typically linked with increasing fees (ie: people are willing to pay more for your services as you provide more added value or simply, getting people to buy more things from you at purchase point).

Going back to our recommendation generation – and how clever ecommerce sites work already (think Amazon, people who bought this also bought – or point of sale, McDonalds ‘would you like fries with that’).

From a social media perspective, as consumers we’re increasingly influenced by reviews and comments we see online. Comments and feedback from real time tweets can be streamed into your website or ecommerce page, or you can include plug ins to see others on Facebook that like this product or bought the bundle – can provide what is called ‘social validation’.  This validation has been show to encourage others to do the same.

And of course there are opportunities to share into your social audiences special Twitter or Facebook promotions. Encouraging them to buy more through unique ‘social’ offers.

Systematise Processes to Make Your Business More Efficient

And finally, making processes more efficient, which increases overall business effectiveness.

Many businesses I speak with turn to social as they see it as a more cost effective way to reach their audiences and beyond.  Streamlining often fragmented, costly and decentralised marketing activity – and creating a clear focus via social media channels.

Personally, I’m an advocate of social media activity complimenting traditional activity in the quest to make campaigns more effective, efficient and long living.

Either way – social media channels present ways to leverage opportunities which traditionally may have been off the radar due to budget restrictions or global reach. Any business can have their own TV channel via YouTube, their own Community to showcase the heritage of the business and the brand personality via Facebook – target and network with key influencers around the world – and listen in to key conversations via Twitter – and again, target key influencers and network via LinkedIn. (Just to mention 4 of the thousands of social networks around).

So, if or when you are met with ‘eye-rolling’ sceptism, perhaps stop talking ‘social media’ and instead, focus on terms that matter for all businesses.

If you have more examples of Social Media and the 4 Ways – then do share. Would like to keep that part of the post growing.

Til my next rant…;)

Michelle

@Michelle Carvill is owner and Marketing Director at Carvill Creative – the online visibility experts. A digital marketing and design agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire.  The agency covers all aspects of marketing strategy and online visibility – covering social media marketing and social media training, user focused website planning and conversion focused website design.

Want to talk to the team at Carvill Creative about your social media activity or training needs? We’re happy to chat, so simply ‘get in touch’.

Finally, why not download our useful Social Media Marketing Planner and Marketing Plan. They’re totally free to download and use.

 

Focused listening –v- Unfocused publishing

What I mean by this is very simply, if you have listened to customer need you are now prepared to publish content which is going to be meaningful.

Rather than simply sharing content around what you think your customersSocial media training, social media advice, social media consultancy, social media listening want to hear about – then rather, you have listened in, done your homework and found out what matters to them.

Creating  content and solutions around a need – is surely a far more targeted approach to creating compelling, newsworthy and shareable content.

Case in point: 

A company was very keen to create regular video as part of their content mix.  They regularly had to create product demonstrations; they already had in-house resources which they could leverage to create video on a regular basis.

They set about creating a suite of videos – all based on things that they thought would be useful to their audience. 

Whilst the videos were very well put together – the level of engagement from their customers was disappointing.  That’s when they reached out for some advice.

We encouraged them to do some focused listening as to what was happening in their space. Reviewing what their competitors were doing, feedback on customer forums and listening in to real time conversations on both Facebook and Twitter.

What we found was that there were a number of clear ‘pain points’ around a couple of the products (the products were technical devices). Recurring themes were around upgrade features and practical elements such as transferring data from one device to another.

Armed with this information, the company created a suite of videos which focused on these very challenges.

Focused listening, resulted in creating content which was highly engaging. Not only for their customers, but for others having similar issues with competitor services using the same devices.

The traction to the videos was significant – far surpassing their usual web traffic levels.

This confirms that in many cases, it’s powerful to respond to a shared need rather to push out content which isn’t targeted.  Targeted content really does show who’s been listening.

Are you listening?

 

@Michelle Carvill an experienced marketer and founder of Carvill Creative – the online visibility experts. A digital marketing and design agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire.  The agency covers all aspects of marketing strategy and online visibility – covering social media marketing and social media training, user focused website design and conversion focused website design.

Want to talk to the team at Carvill Creative about your social media activity or training needs? We’re happy to chat, simply get in touch.

Finally, why not download our useful Social Media Marketing Planner and Marketing Plan. They’re totally free to download and use.

 

 

You Are What You Tweet

The Social Marketing channels present us with opportunities to share our content and get our messages across. social media consultancy social media training

Plus, given that the social channels are superbly designed to make sharing and tapping into other networks simple – then they have the potential to be far reaching, extending beyond our usual ‘databases’ – as they present opportunity for advocacy.

If people love what they’ve read, seen or heard, they can share the content on to their networks too.  Helping a wide audience to get to know about you, like you, trust you, share your messages, and ultimately, even do business with you.

And of course, sharing isn’t an onerous task, but simply a case of hitting a button; ‘like’, ‘share’, ‘retweet’ etc.

Given how potentially far reaching the social platforms can be, therefore, you need to ensure that you are not wasting the opportunity these far reaching channels provide by talking about the latest cheese sandwich you just ate. (Unless of course you’re Pret and it’s a tactic you’ve employed to showcase a new product!).

Businesses of all shapes and sizes now need to be getting their ‘content house’ in order.

Ask yourself…

  • Have you got a strategy for regularly creating fresh and acceptable content which meets specific business objectives?
  • Have you got a blog that you regularly update for your business?
  • Are you regularly creating videos for your business – how to videos, sharing FAQs, customer testimonials, new product and service features?
  • Have you got any research information that others would be interested in – could it be turned into an e-book and provide potential for data capture?
  • Are you a lead authority in a specific area – can you create ‘whitepapers’, industry reports etc?

Content is all around us, from our websites, to service standards, to internal training, to product demos, new products, case studies, testimonials, video interviews (I could go on) – and so it’s a case of ensuring that you employ a mechanism for regularly collating the content within the business so that you can leverage it effectively.

@Michelle Carvill is owner and Marketing Director at Carvill Creative – the online visibility experts. A digital marketing and design agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire.  The agency covers all aspects of marketing strategy and online visibility – covering social media marketing and social media training, user focused website planning and conversion focused website design.

Want to talk to the team at Carvill Creative about your social media activity or training needs? We’re happy to chat, so simply ‘get in touch’.

Finally, why not download our useful Social Media Marketing Planner and Marketing Plan. They’re totally free to download and use.

 

 

Content – Feed your Hungry Social Media Platforms

content strategy social media marketing consultancy training
Click on Image to Enlarge

Ok, so you’re all over social.  You have a clear understanding of your objectives and what you are setting out to achieve with social – and each channel is therefore, optimised accordingly.

You’ve got a Twitter channel, or two or even more – Facebook is set up and your Timeline is a heritage piece and also a showcase of your brand and business’ day to day life. Your LinkedIn Company Page is product and service optimised and you’ve spoken with all your team about the importance of their LinkedIn personal profiles being 100% and optimised – and linking through to your LinkedIn Company Page effectively.  Google+ is set up and optimised and you’re leveraging that platform for social search.

You may even be leveraging other platforms such as Pinterest and Foursquare (to name just two of the many) to further leverage your online visibility.

Effectively, the tool kit is all in place, each channel knows  its purpose – and so the base is well and truly grounded.

Each social channel has been designed to enable people to share very quickly and simply. What that translates to is that messages can spread quickly, people can advocate your brand, business, service, product and share to their friends. Therefore, your message has the opportunity to extend its reach beyond your usual database and the noise level has the opportunity to be significantly amplified.

The channels are clever bits of kit that’s for sure – however, what’s important is what you put through the channels.

We love the saying from Stowe Boyd:

“It’s our dancing that makes the house rock, not the planks and pipes. It is us that make Twitter alive, not the code.”  

And the same sentiment could be said about each of the social platforms.

The social channels, as you will find, are content hungry. You have to be sharing ‘something’ – and that ‘something’ needs to be compelling enough so that others share it and engage with it.

Your content needs a lot of thinking and planning. Like any conversation, some of it is scripted, some of it we’ve said before, some of it we’ve rehearsed, much of it is responsive and spontaneous.  It’s always wise to ‘think’ before you open your mouth. And the same applies to your conversational content.

Our advice, throughout every element of social is to think about your objectives, plan strategically and be prepared.

This Content Road Map should help you on your way.

@Michelle Carvill is owner and Marketing Director at Carvill Creative – the online visibility experts. A digital marketing and design agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire.  The agency covers all aspects of marketing strategy and online visibility – covering social media marketing and social media training, user focused website planning and conversion focused website design.

Want to talk to the team at Carvill Creative about your social media activity or training needs? We’re happy to chat, so simply ‘get in touch’.

Finally, why not download our useful Social Media Marketing Planner and Marketing Plan. They’re totally free to download and use.