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Published on January 8, 2014
Tags: Web Development London
Facebook is great for many things such as keeping in touch with friends and families, sharing photos, seeing who’s checked in nearby to you, and so on. It’s also great for business – not just as an extra online presence, but as a way of actually gaining customers (and keeping them). Consumers use social networking sites to follow their favourite brands, as well as recommending particular products and services to their online friends (a digital kind of word-of-mouth that can reach many more people than normal word-of-mouth ever could). It’s been said that every ‘like’ which a company gains is equivalent to just over £100 of business, and while this would clearly be different for each brand, it’s worth putting in a bit of time and effort to make sure you get as many likes as possible. As long as you’ve already got a Facebook profile set up, it doesn’t have to be a huge job to increase the number of likes you receive. Here are just a few tips.
Separate your ‘Facebook’ self from your ‘Business’ self
This may sound odd, as it’s your business you’re trying to promote, but social networks are a place to be… well, social. Users don’t want the generic sales spiel or marketing messages which they get from your official company website, they want something different, something more interesting, something fun. While some businesses may moan and groan at the idea of having to portray their ‘fun’ side, it can actually be a really good opportunity to get creative. Interact with your existing and potential customers not as a business executive or manager, but as an actual person they can relate to. Post interesting videos on any products you sell (without the boring business talk), run contests that people can really get involved in, and ask users their opinions on certain aspects of your business.
Make Use Of Facebook Analytics
Facebook offers brands the opportunity to look at the basic stats for their page. On the ‘Insights’ tab, you’ll be able to look at information regarding who’s looking at your page, how old they are, where they live, and more. The four options under ‘Insights’ are ‘Overview’, ‘Likes’, ‘Reach’, and ‘Talking about this’. By analysing this information and seeing who responded to which posts, you’ll be able to tailor your future posts, including any images or videos you post onto your profile. If something’s not working, stop it.
Promote, Promote, Promote
Like with any aspect of marketing, you’ll need to promote your Facebook page as much as possible if you want the likes to start rolling in. To start with, this doesn’t have to be anything really big; it can just be a case of adding your Facebook link to every piece of outgoing publicity. Add it to your email signatures, your business cards, link it to your website, your blog, and any other social media profiles you have. You can also make use of QR codes that lead not to your website, but to your Facebook page.
Whatever you do on your Facebook profile, make it stand out from the crowd. If your page is clearly run by real people with real personalities, users will start to respond and trust you as a brand.
Published on January 8, 2014
When it comes to getting your website to the top of the search rankings, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is big business. But what if your business is small? Getting to the top of a search engine’s results page (SERP, if you’d like another acronym) can be costly, both in time and money. Large companies usually have the big budgets and numerous staff members in order to do this in-house, but smaller businesses often have neither of these things. So how do you go about it? How do you ensure that your business website stays ahead of your competitors’ pages? Here are a few tips for the small business owner who sees the big picture when it comes to online marketing.
1. Be Aware Of The Rules
Gone are the days when website owners try and get the most amount of links as possible to their site – poor links (especially lots of them) now actually lead to the website getting penalised by Google and other search engines. If you’re going to look into SEO yourself, be aware of what counts as good SEO practise and what are referred to as ‘black hat’ SEO techniques. Along with link farming, this includes using hidden content and stuffing keywords and phrases into both content and meta tags and descriptions. The best way to avoid these and stay on Google’s ‘good website’ list is to go for top quality, original content. This means no duplications, as well as offering the user something unique that they won’t get on other sites. Doing your research into popular keywords related to your business will also save you from being penalised – don’t stuff your page with words, use them sparingly and naturally within your text.
2. Get Social
Social SEO is where you make use of your social media profiles (and the content on them) in order to boost your website. Comments made on Facebook and Twitter will be original (a tick in the ‘good SEO’ box), and as long as you keep your profiles updated, they can help to optimise your site to an impressive degree. Make sure you fill out the ‘About’ sections of your profiles as thoroughly as possible (including the popular keywords from your research), and make sure your contact info is up to date (for local searches).
3. Consider Hiring An Expert
Optimising your site for the search engines is an ongoing process; the rules are constantly changing (especially with search giants Google updating their algorithms and redefining what good SEO practise is every few months) and there’s always something new to learn about getting your page to the top of the results. If you don’t have the staff capacity or the time to figure out SEO for yourself (as is often the case with small businesses), there is the option to hire an external agent to do the work for you. Digital marketing specialists or a online web development company will be able to give you advice on the best course of action for your business, and you may well find that with the results that SEO will give you, it could be the best investment you could make with your marketing budget.
Published on January 8, 2014
Putting it extremely simply, a lot of businesses these days are international, so why shouldn’t your online marketing strategy be? Optimising your site for search engines all around the world is a big step – one that shouldn’t be taken lightly – but most business owners think that in the years to come, it is going to become a necessity for large businesses who want to go (or who already are) global. If, for instance, you’re focusing all your SEO efforts on Google, you’re missing out on a huge number of people on the other side of the world. For example, Chinese search engine Baidu is the most popular search site in the country, and considering the amount of internet users in China (540 million internet users and 388 million mobile internet users), it would be foolish to leave it out of any international campaign.
Of course, international SEO isn’t for everyone. If you own a small company with only a small number of staff and a small marketing budget, it may not be in your power to invest money in a global campaign. It’s also worth noting that without a viable PPC (Pay Per Click) campaign in place, any international SEO efforts could be a waste of money. Investing in PPC ads, relevant landing pages, and SEO can be pricey, and it’s a big risk if you haven’t worked our your online marketing strategy right down to the very finest details.
Published on January 8, 2014
Tags: Web Development London
With so many users on popular social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, they can be great places to target potential customers for your business (as well as keeping your existing clients happy), but this can be an expensive way of getting traffic for your site – both in terms of money and the time it takes to build up effective campaigns. Large companies with enough employees (and ones with the right skills) can easily incorporate social media networking into their digital marketing budget, but what about smaller companies? If you don’t have a huge number of staff – or if you’re just starting out in your business – it can seem incredibly daunting. So what are the options?
Do It Yourself
One way to approach this is to start simple and build up your social media presence over time. You can do this yourself, but it will take a good few hours out of your working week, every week. It isn’t just setting up the profiles that takes time; in order to make it worthwhile, you need to be updating your social media pages on a regular basis. This includes posting statuses and pictures, responding to individual questions or requests, and engaging with both existing and potential clients. On top of all this, there’s also the advertising side. If you haven’t already done so for other PPC (Pay Per Click) campaigns, you’ll need to spend time analysing keywords, phrases, and the types of people who use your business in order to target your adverts effectively. This can be incredibly time consuming, and if you do it wrong, it could cost you a lot of money in clicks that don’t turn into conversions.
Hire A Freelancer
Another option is simply to hire a professional web development freelancer to carry out the work for you. Obviously, the downside to this is the cost, but once they’ve done the groundwork with regards to which keywords etc to use in your adverts, you may be able to carry on with the work on your own afterwards.
Pay A Company To Do It For You
Another option – one which some businesses might not be aware of – is to use a company who specialises in doing your social media marketing for you. There are several firms out there who offer these kinds of services, one of which is Social Flow. Based in New York, the start up offers both earned media and paid media options, and have recently raised $10 million in a round of financing. Their services include scheduling Tweets and Facebook posts to reach the correct people at the correct time, targeting users in a specific time-frame in order to generate the most conversions. The main advantage of using a company like this is, of course, everything is done for you. The main disadvantage is that it can cost a lot of money, so only large companies may want to consider this approach. Whatever you decide, it’s worth doing in-depth research into the different options to see which the right choice is for you.
Published on April 15, 2013
Tags: Internet Communication
Businesses of all shapes and sizes have come to rely on Google Places in order to manage the information that appears in search results concerning their company. Generally, it’s a great way of allowing local customers to find out more about your business before they visit you.
There were mixed reactions when Google started to replace their Google Places tool with Google+ Local; businesses – especially small ones – could now be easily found by potential clients, and they could promote their business while interacting with their existing clients. On the other hand, Google+ Local was found by some to be unreliable and just plain confusing. The whole process of updating the way listings are managed from Places to Google+ Local has been slow and frustrating, but there’s now a new step in the process that should help business owners to manage their existing listings.
So what updates have Google introduced in order to make Google+ Places a more viable application? Basically, a staged upgrade has begun in the Google Places Dashboard which offers some new functions and also keeps within the themes of the Google+ design in general. Here is a quick run-through:
The new dashboard shares several features with Google+, including the possibilities of using the social aspects such as sharing images and posts. This, of course, will only work if the business owner has already signed up for a Google+ account, but it is well worth getting an account for. This integration means that users will be able to smoothly navigate around the dashboard without getting stuck when they try to incorporate content from Google+.
The new update means that the dashboard now resembles other Google layouts; for example, the navigation links are in the left-hand column, and the rest of the page is more consistent with the Google+ design. Separate tabs for AdWords, your Google+ Local page, and listing information management should also make the dashboard much easier to use.
Faster Data Updates
Speed was a big issue before – it could take far too long for simple edits to appear on a business’s Google+ Local page. The updates should help make this process quicker in general, but Google has also said that updates will be much faster, too; in fact, all updates should be completed in less than 48 hours. This could be the most important update to businesses who rely on getting customers through Google; before, even just a week of having the wrong phone number on their listings could damage their business and push away potential clients. Now, any changes should appear within just two days.
There are also other services that the new Places for Business dashboard will be incorporating: for the first time, businesses who don’t have their own location but who travel to their customers will be able to list their services, opening the door for many more small businesses and sole traders to start using Google+ Places.
Whether the dashboard will be a total success remains to be seen, but these updates could prove to be extremely useful for business owners of all types.
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