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How to use Twitter for Marketing Purposes

Published on April 15, 2013
Tags: Internet Communication

It may seem that social media sites may not bring a great deal of customers to your business – compared to search engine results or pay per click campaigns, for example – but Facebook and Twitter are your word-of-mouth publicity for the digital age, and you shouldn’t underestimate them. Creating a Facebook profile and sharing photos and videos is usually the first port-of-call for businesses trying to build a social media presence online, but Twitter can be just as useful a tool for engaging with your existing clients as well as any potential customers. Here are just a few tips on how to use Twitter when marketing your company.

Build Your Brand

At its most basic level, Twitter allows you to expand your brand to another area of the internet. Twitter is hugely popular, and although it can be a challenge getting your message across in 140 characters or less, it gives you a chance to communicate with people on both a mass and individual level. Making use of hashtags and trending topics will also help you to locate users that could be interested in your business but who don’t yet know who you are. It’s also an opportunity to be a bit more creative and show your company’s fun side; post unique images, ask your customers questions, or start a Twitter contest in order to gain new followers. The characters you can type may be limited, but that doesn’t mean your ideas have to be.

Improve Your Customer Service

Twitter is great for communicating with customers. Don’t just follow your clients back, though; engage with them. If they ask you a question, reply (as soon as possible) – they’ll remember this and think of you (rather than your competitors) the next time they want something that your business sells or provides. You can make use of private messaging for more individual requests, but replying via a Tweet will show others that you care about your customers, and that you take the time out to respond to them on an individual basis.

Create Useful Online Relationships

This can be both in terms of customers and other businesses; Twitter can help you to build relationships with others that will benefit your company. It can be as easy as following users back, Retweeting their messages, and encouraging others to follow them as well. If you help to promote one of your suppliers, for instance, they’ll more than likely return the favour, and it may help your communications in the future if you need to discuss business matters with them.

None of this is rocket science, but it can end up taking up a lot of your time, so be selective in what you use Twitter for; some businesses Tweet about all kinds of irrelevant things that go on in their office, for example, but if you don’t have the time, don’t do it – it can make a company seem ‘cool’ and ‘real’, but it can also annoy your followers.

By Chelsey Evans

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Google+ Sign-In Introduced

Published on April 8, 2013
Tags: Web Design London

Google+ has received mixed reviews from the online community – both from individuals and businesses – and it seems that Google has taken the negative comments on board in order to offer brands a reason to use the social media/business marketing platform. They recently introduced their Google+ Sign-In feature, an authentication method which works in a similar way to other social networking authentication tools such as Facebook Connect. It allows users to sign into a website via Google, taking along all of their personal information and preferences. So why should businesses be interested in Google+ Sign-In? Here are a few ways it differs from its rivals.

 
It has the backing of several top brand names
 
Google has enlisted several popular launch partners in a bid to engage with customers and get them to use the Sign-In Feature. These include USA Today, The Guardian, Flixster, Shazam, and more.
 
It takes mobile platforms into account
 
The Google+ Sign-In feature works well with mobiles – especially Android devices – giving mobile users several advantages. For example, an Android user will be identified by websites when they use Sign-In, and will be asked to download the corresponding Android app which will update itself without being instructed to by the user. As many mobile users are turning towards apps and away from mobile sites, a business who uses apps will undoubtedly get ahead of their competitors when it comes to mobile marketing. Sign-In also makes use of interactive posts, enabling shares via any Google+ authenticated site or app.
 
User Control
 
Other social networking sites – such as Facebook – publishes the activities of users without giving them any say. This can include statuses, games they’ve played, articles they’ve read, invites and so on. There are no different privacy settings and the user is left with no control over what gets sent out to their online friends. Google+ Sign-In actually allows users to have more control over the information that is shared on their behalf – their content will be able to be shared ‘publicly’ or ‘privately’ (just within their Google+ Circles). This level of control will no doubt attract new users to Sign-In.
 
Data, Data, Data
 
Google+ Sign-In will prove to be invaluable to brands, in terms of how much data they will be able to gather on users. This exchange of data already occurs with other social authentications (such as Facebook Connect), but businesses will be able to access a whole range of data in the Google API: the full name of the user, their online ID, information about their contacts and their Circles, their profile pictures, and other demographics such as their language and age range. The sheer amount of information that can be gathered (additional services on Google such as Gmail and the Calendar can also be accessed – through a consent dialogue box) gives brands valuable data about their customers that could drastically improve their online marketing strategies.
 
There are some downsides to Google+ Sign-In (such as the limited amount of data regarding keywords that can be gathered on users through search), but generally it looks like it could be a game changer for Google, using the ideas of existing social networking authentications and taking them to the next level.
 

By Chelsey Evans

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Mobile Advertising: Paid Search on Smartphones & Tablets

Published on April 8, 2013
Tags: Web Design London

The popularity of smartphones and tablets has rapidly increased over the past few years, and this huge change in how people are using – and searching – the internet has forced businesses to improve and adapt their marketing strategies. Those companies who ignore the potential of mobile platforms for their business could end up losing a lot of their customers as they flock to other firms who can offer them what they want, when they want it – which, with mobiles and tablets, is all the time. Customers even use their mobiles to search online while they’re actually in a physical shop, making sure they’re getting the best possible deal or just to compare the physical products in front of them with what they could be buying online. 

 
With Google Adwords, businesses can set their online advertising budget depending on keywords that their target customers use when searching for specific products, but how much budget should you be setting aside for searches from mobile devices? Smartphones, in particular, have completely revolutionised the way in which customers interact with brands and decide on what they’re going to buy, and so you need to make sure that your marketing strategy fully incorporates mobile platforms – especially with regards to paid searches.
 
So how do you make sure you stay ahead of the game?

With smartphones and tablets soon expected to make up a third of the paid search clicks generated by Google, advertisers need to ensure that they are constantly developing their search campaigns in order to accommodate these mobile users.

 

  • Make sure you are optimised for mobile platforms. So many business websites are still not embracing the need to have a mobile optimised website – unreadable text, difficult navigation and slow loading times will put users off. This can be easily remedied by making use of responsive web layouts, and minimising the steps needed for a user to make a purchase. User experience must be considered at every step of the development process.
  • Track your sales conversions. Of course, you will already be doing this, but separating sales made through your main website and those made through mobile devices will allow you to change your budget accordingly. Are customers using your click-to-call function in order to complete a transaction or to find out more information? Do they look at the map for your physical store with a view to visiting the shop when they’re in the local area? Just how much revenue are you generating through your mobile-optimised site?
  • Constantly review your marketing strategy. With more and more people using their smartphones and tablets to browse – and purchase from – the web, you need to make sure you’re aware of all the latest developments that could help your company. Keep on top of the best mobile-optimised website designs, and be creative with offers and rewards targeted specifically at your mobile users.

 

Some reports estimate that by 2016, Google could be generating over $20 billion just from mobile devices, so make sure you get in on the action now and re-evaluate your mobile advertising budget. 

 

 

By Chelsey Evans

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Tips for Creating Effective Video SEO

Published on March 25, 2013
Tags: SEO

You’ve heard of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to improve traffic to your business website or blog, but are you aware of video SEO? With YouTube being the second largest search engine on the net (after Google), it is not surprising that companies of all sizes are getting in on the act and not only creating business videos, but optimising them for search as well. Just like with your webpage, you need to ensure that your videos are being found by your target audience – the relevant people who are most likely to buy your products or use your services. Here are a few tips to help get your videos to the top of the listings.

 
1. Make It Engaging, Relevant and Short
 
As with any content you create for your business, ensure that any videos you produce are engaging, relevant to your brand and your customers, informative and short. Videos longer than five minutes generally won’t be watched all the way through, so you have to grab your viewer’s attention early. If your video must be longer, you can break it into small parts, or create ‘bite sized’ videos for each aspect of your business.
 
2. Give It a Good Title
 
A catchy, relevant title is essential in attracting the right kinds of viewers to your video. You can include popular keywords in your title as long as you incorporate them naturally; a keyword-stuffed title will just put people off.
 
3. Make Use of Keywords at Every Opportunity
 
Carry out some research into what your potential customers are searching for – and how they’re using the words – and then incorporate those keywords and phrases into your video description, tags, category listing, captions, and anywhere else you can change the content of the page. Search engines often display text pages along with videos, so make use of any and all text areas. 
 
4. Encourage Links and Indexing
 
Always ensure there’s a link back to your company website from your video page; put your URL in the first line of the video description as it will be easy to click on and will be displayed before the rest of the description is cut off. Provide transcripts of your video as well to encourage higher listings (search engines still like HTML content).
 
5. Include a Call to Action and Encourage Sharing
 
As with other marketing content, ensure you include a call to action in your video or on the video page; giving people a specific next step will increase the chances of them carrying out the desired action. Submit a sitemap to Google to help with indexing, and provide a code that allows people to embed the video on their website. And of course, place the video on your social network profiles and blogs to get it ‘out there’.
 
Videos are becoming an extremely popular way to promote businesses – especially with the rise of social media sites and the ability to quickly and easily share videos online – so if you don’t already use video in your marketing, it may be time to start thinking about doing so.
 

By Chelsey Evans

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Tips on Using Pinterest for Business Marketing

Published on March 25, 2013
Tags: Web Design London

Compared to some other social networking sites, Pinterest is relatively new, but over the past year or so it has gained millions of users and become one of the most popular ways to promote businesses in a fun and interactive way. As you probably know, the site allows people to create virtual pinboards, where they ‘pin’ their favourite images to express themselves and share their interests online. It can be used to help organise events such as weddings, save inspirational images for future ideas, and collate useful-looking businesses and products. 

 
Here are just a few tips on how to get the most out of Pinterest when promoting your business.
 
Optimise Your Pins
 
As with other content marketing, you can apply SEO techniques to your pins and actions on Pinterest. Add categories, keywords and phrases, hashtags, URLs and other relevant text to both your pins and your profile – make it as easy as possible for potential clients to find you amongst all the other businesses listed. Planning the content you place on Pinterest is just as important as, say, planning which articles you’ll put on your blog. Creating unique, interesting, creative new ways of promoting yourself through photographs and images may be challenging, but the more you think outside the box, the more repins you’ll get. Include a call-to-action on your pins to ensure users carry out the desired response – visiting your site, repinning, etc.
 
Make Use of Business Tools and Features
 
Pinterest has recently created business accounts, so make sure you’re signed up properly and are aware of all the tools and features available to you. Use the verification badge to verify your site – this allows users to find your business easily in the search and to identify your brand as being a high quality content source. Make use of the buttons and widgets Pinterest provides: these include the follow button, pin it button, profile widget and board widget, and will help you to gain more traffic to your website and interact with users (or ‘pinners’). With a business account, you’ll be able to keep up with new management tools, and you can download the Pinterest app for mobile to keep in contact with pinners on the go.
 
Research and Review
 
Like with any marketing technique, you need to carry out some research before you start with your Pinterest campaign: take a look at what your competitors are doing (and think of ways to do it better and more creatively than them), and make a note of what your target audience are pinning and repinning. You can track ‘Recent Activity’ to see repins, comments, followers etc, and Google Analytics will be able to tell you more about the traffic you gained from Pinterest. 
 
Pinterest won’t be right for every single business, but if you have products to sell – and interesting, unique photographs of them – it can be an extremely useful marketing device for your company. And with the site recently updating their policies to offer business accounts separate from personal accounts, it’s now easier than ever to get your business up and running on Pinterest.
 

By Chelsey Evans

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