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matt davis media

Event – So How Does Social Media Work?

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Juniper Event Panel

(l-r) Jane Mancini, Kevin Williams, Matt Davis

Last night I was fortunate to be asked to sit on a panel of industry experts as part of a presentation by Nicki Kavanagh at The Juniper Co to 35 business owners in Aldershot and the surrounding areas.

It was a superbly constructed event, with a great presentation by Nicki, punctuated by questions to the panel (which consisted of myself, web design expert Kevin Williams from Servon Design, and branding expert Jane Mancini of Wag Design, and lots of engagement and interaction from the audience, which created a great atmosphere.

A wide range of topics was covered including branding, which social media platforms you should use for your business, blogging, web design, customer engagement and much, much more.

You can view the original presentation here and you can find out more about Nicki and The Juniper Co here. 

Give Your Website A Spring Clean Today!

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I’ve noticed a few things about the change in weather this week. 

Firstly, it seems to make everyone a little bit happier when the sun comes out – all over Facebook and Twitter at the weekend were pictures of people out in the sunshine, kids eating ice creams – yes it was only a little bit of sunshine and a few degrees warmer but it made a big difference.

However I then realised that this change in attitude has a bit of a knock-on effect. Green Lawn - The Bright Click

The sun shining in through my living room window highlighted the dust settling on my blind – honestly I have no idea of the last time I dusted it! Also, the grass in the garden suddenly looked much too long, so I went to grab the lawnmower from the shed but there was loads of other stuff in the way where I hadn’t had to use it for a few months.

Then when I started mowing the lawn, I found loads of little toys under the long grass that I had to keep moving for fear of breaking the lawnmower by running one of them over. So it took twice as long as it should have.

Now it’s not really practical to mow your lawn throughout the winter as the weather doesn’t always permit you to, but it got me thinking that if I had mowed the lawn just once on a dry day in November, and again on a dry day in February, it would not have taken me so long this time.

If I had dusted the blind before the sunlight so embarrassingly illuminated it for me, it wouldn’t have taken me so long to clean (it took FOREVER!).

And then it occurred to me that the same really does apply to the maintenance that you carry out on your website – when was the last time you gave your website a spring clean? 

But more importantly, what do you do weekly to keep your website ticking over as it should? 

Because making these changes daily or weekly not only saves you time and hassle in the long run, it also keeps Google happy and lets the search engines know that your site is relevant, topical and dynamic.

Broken Link Example - The Bright Click

A Broken Link – Google Doesn’t Like These

Here is a brief list of the sort of thing you should be doing daily / weekly on your site:

  • Check for broken links – we’ve all done it – linked from one page to another (which Google loves) and then later on deleted one of the pages, forgetting that it was linked somewhere else (Google’s not so keen on this). Think of the user experience – you don’t want people landing on your site and within a couple of minutes getting the dreaded 404 page – nip this in the bud nice and early by using Google Webmaster Tools to highlight any broken links for you to fix. There’s also a handy WordPress plugin that does this too. 
  • Make sure your meta descriptions are up to date and relevant – that snippet of descriptive  information that you see on Google searches stems from your website’s meta description – there’s not a huge amount of SEO value to these but you’ve got 140 characters to accurately describe your website to the person who’s searching so try and make it worth reading! Email me today for an awesome ninja trick that you can use on your meta descriptions – you won’t believe how simple and effective it is…
  • Check that your images are all alt-tagged – you know that little yellow box that appears above images when you hover the mouse over it? Google takes notice of this and loves it when they are correct – make sure you get a keyword or two in there too…
  • Write a blog and then tell everyone about it. This takes a bit more effort and I’ll go into more detail on this in a future post but blogging is the best way to tell Google how important your website is AND it gives you great content to post on Social Media too…

So – a few things to be getting on with and if you spread these out throughout the year then you won’t have to do them all at once – keeping your website visitors and Google happy at the same time!

I’m off to clean out the barbecue… 🙁

Need advice on keeping your website up to date, dynamic and Google-friendly? Drop us a line or call us on 08433 832 732

Written by Matt Davis

How can Pinterest be helpful to estate agents?

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How can Pinterest be helpful to estate agents?

–          Pinning great advice on buying/renting properties. Uploading articles, videos and links chock full of tips for first-time buyers, people will take notice and follow your board.

–         Expert advice on selling your home.  Handy tips on ways to sell your home; what works, what doesn’t work i.e colour schemes, less clutter, keeping the garden tidy etc. And other advice on what can help boost your home appeal.

–          Use Pictures and Videos– Upload pics and videos of homes (kitchens, living rooms, bathrooms etc) people will get an idea of what kind of homes you sell, even if the pics are of past properties, it’s still good to get a feel of what homes you can offer.

–          Green cleaning solutions -A board on how to be more environmentally friendly by reusing products and green cleaning ideas to make your new home spic and span. Ideas on how to save money on cleaning products and quick fixes for your home. Also, if you have a short supply of storage space, ideas on how to make the most of the space you’ve got.

–          Repin and follow– Follow people and boards on Pinterest that you like i.e a living room set, a nicely decorated room, a beautiful garden etc, people will start to get an idea of what kind of homes you represent, also people can then follow you off the back of it and will be aware of the properties you have available.

–          Repin products you love– repining or uploading products that you feel your customers will like i.e a cute cushion, a retro teapot, antique furniture, funky wallpaper etc the Rolfe East profile will become a lot more personalised and people will repin or like what you upload, a great way to engage with your audience.

–          Pictures and information of the areas the estate agents represent– Estate agents deal with property in several different areas, it would be a great idea to repin or upload pictures or any info about those areas.

 

Using Twitter To Win More Business

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Social Media marketing can be used for a variety of different purposes – the most important thing to do when starting any marketing campaign is to set objectives – to know what you want to achieve from the campaign.

This enables you to determine whether or not the campaign was a success.

Marketing of any kind should not be about ‘ticking boxes’ – for example – Facebook Page? Tick. Twitter Account? Tick.

These platforms can be incredibly powerful if used properly and it’s on this subject that I wanted to post an article from Sarah Blenkinsop at Golden Frog PR.

Sarah and I have been working in collaboration for a little while now and are getting some great results for our clients.

However it’s the story of how Sarah gained three new clients through Twitter that I really want to highlight – she has learned through trial and error how to best utilise the platform for her needs, and now she has a solid Social Media strategy she is seeing some incredible results – I’ll let her take up the story:

“When I first signed up to it, I wasn’t sure what the use of Twitter was – I was a bit delayed in getting involved to be honest, despite my profession.
I spent the first little while working out how it worked, and then decided to follow a load of people to see if they followed back. To my surprise they did! One day, when feeling rather philosophical I posted my favorite saying – If you live today thinking about yesterday you don’t let tomorrow happen. It was re-tweeted all over the place, and my following got huge! I guess as a result of having more followers I got more followers, and now I fluctuate between 3500 and 4000.
I have realised that some things make followers disappear. For example I lost 500 in one day by posting details of a sale that one of my clients was having. I learnt not to do that again!
The best thing about my engagement is that it has won me three new clients. I do fashion PR – it’s hard to win new clients as there are a lot of people out there doing what I do. One client approached me direct and asked me to pitch, which I did, and won. Another client tweeted that he wanted free PR, so I got in touch and we worked out a way he could afford it.

And the last was hunted out by me – I had loads of cross promotional opportunities and so tweeted offering some free PR, and approached specific companies with the offer. One took me up on it, and added a retainer on top! I never thought that Twitter would amount to actual contracts. It’s subtle, but if you play it right it can translate into serious commercial sense, for what amounts to a few minutes a day.”

It’s a fantastic case study and proof that if you do things right using Social Media then you can achieve amazing results.

Have you got a Social Media success story that you want to share with us? Let us know in the comments box below or over on our Facebook Page.

You can follow Sarah on Twitter here or The Bright Click here.

Have a great day!

Matt

Five Tips On Getting Facebook To ‘Like’ Your Timeline Cover Image

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Just a quick blog post from me this week but one that I hope you will find useful.

Facebook launched their Timeline for Business Pages at the end of last week – we were well prepared for this and the clients we look after all had great cover images in place in good time for the switch over.

All business pages now have the new layout and if you have yet to implement a cover image then please let me know and I’ll be happy to advise.

Unfortunately I’ve also seen some businesses this week (including other Social Media agencies!) who have installed some great-looking cover images, but which fail to adhere to Facebook‘s guidelines on what these images should contain.

Here are five simple steps to make sure you get your Facebook Timeline cover image right first-time:

1) Try and choose an image that best represents your page – don’t be afraid to be creative and why not ask your fans what they think of the image to gauge opinion..?

2) Avoid using any calls-to-action of the image such as ‘tell your friends’ or ‘click on the link below’

3) Similarly – Facebook doesn’t want you to encourage the use of any of its sharing features through the cover image – so don’t use a ‘like’ button image, or ask people to ‘like’ or ‘share’

4) Again on much the same lines, anything that you would normally put in the ‘about’ section of your Facebook page needs to stay right there – so don’t include a phone number, email address or even website address on your cover image.

5) Finally – don’t use the image as an advertisement or promotion – so offering discounts or promoting specific items is a no-no.

As with most aspects of Facebook, play by the rules and there won’t be any issues at all – but when any new aspects are introduced on Facebook, it’s always worth checking the rules and the small-print first – I’ve seen businesses burnt by mis-using Facebook in the past and if you’ve spent time building up a big fanbase then it can be a long way back.

For more advice on setting up your Facebook Page correctly please contact myself and my team: matt@mattdavismedia.co.uk and we’ll be very pleased to help.

Have a great Easter weekend!

Five Things You Should Know About The New Facebook Business Timeline

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Facebook LogoFollowing the introduction of the Facebook personal profile Timeline back in October, it was only a matter of time before these were rolled out to Facebook Business Pages too – and in the early hours of this morning, this became a reality.

This changes a great deal about your Facebook Business Page but there’s no need to panic – the new page designs don’t go live until 30th March 2012, although you can choose to publish yours before then if you wish to.

Pretty much the entire layout has changed – it won’t be to everyone’s taste immediately but I think it’s a decent improvement on what we had before.

Here are the five main things you need to know: 

1) The most startling change is the new cover image. Gone is the small image in the top-left corner of the page, or the ‘skyscraper’ image running down the left-side. These have been replaced by a comparatively huge image at the very top of the screen, which you can customise with your business branding and other images. There’s some real scope to be creative here too as you also have use of a smaller image which overlaps the cover – this also acts as your thumbnail when you post comments and updates.

Be careful when designing this though, as according to Facebook’s terms and conditions your new cover image cannot include the following:

  • Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”.
  • Contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section.
  • References to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features.
  • Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”.

Facebook Timeline Example2) You can use the ‘Pin To Top’ button to highlight a favourite post as one of the main posts on your timeline. It’s simple too – just click on the upper right corner of your chosen post. It’s a great way to highlight a current offer to new and current fans landing on your page and it lasts for seven days only so it easy to stay on top of too. This feature is particularly welcome as Facebook have taken away their ‘landing tab’ feature, where previously you were able to choose which aspect of your Facebook page people could land on when visiting for the first time. You can now only send people directly to specific tabs using Facebook Ads, although the tabs are still manually accessible through the timeline.

3) You can now add ‘Milestones’ to your business page. For example this could highlight the day you opened for business, or a specific launch of a product or service. You can also add images relating to these milestones to make them really stand out and effectively record the ongoing history of your business in real-time online.

4) Audience engagement just went up a notch as fans of pages can now directly message businesses through the page itself – this used to be one of my main issues with Facebook business pages. It’s potentially a brilliant and effective call-to-action, as rather than picking up the phone or sending an email, there is now the opportunity to simply click on the ‘message’ button and send a direct message to the business immediately. Likewise, businesses can now directly message their fans in this way too – a very welcome feature.

FB Admin Panel5) The Admin section of the page has been completely redesigned, meaning that with the new ‘Admin Panel’, everything is in one place for page admins. This includes insights (to get an instant at-a-glance view of how your page is performing), new ‘likes’, notifications and also messages. Plus there is a handy ‘audience building’ tab included where you can easily invite email contacts or create an advert.

Due to the phasing-in of this change, there’s plenty of time to get used to the new features and to prepare yourself with the right images – if you need any advice on image sizes or structures then please do get in touch and I’ll be very happy to help.

Facebook have also implemented a very handy ‘preview’ feature where you can see what your new page will look like before it’s officially published as the timeline on 30th March 2012. This also means that if you’re happy with how your page looks and you’re ready to go, you can simply click the ‘Publish’ button, and you’re away!

What are your views on the timeline? Can you see additional benefits that I haven’t mentioned above? I’d love to know your thoughts – why not comment over on my Facebook page…. Thanks so much for reading 🙂

 

Three Ways To Deal With Unhappy Clients Using Social Media

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Many businesses are sceptical about using Social Media as they fear it will open up a ‘can of worms’ – giving their customers the opportunity to complain publicly on the rare occasions that things don’t quite go to plan.

However I would suggest that the opposite is true.

Think of it this way. Over 28million people in the UK use Facebook, and the number using Twitter is creeping up on a daily basis – your clients and customers are among these people, as are their friends, clients, and customers too.

If someone wants to complain about your business then they will – and they will most likely do this online. I’m not great at remembering truisms but one that sticks in my mind goes something like “If a customer is happy with your service they will tell one person, if they are unhappy they will tell ten”.

Social Media is essentially today’s word-of-mouth‘ – and therefore customers will most likely tell more than just the ten people they are unhappy – if they post this as a status update they are more likely to be telling hundreds!

And as we all know in business, things can go wrong, it’s impossible to please all of the people, all of the time (although I try :-)).

But these negatives can quickly be turned into positives – if somebody is unhappy with your service levels then you want to hear about it right?

Well having a business account on a Social Media platform is a great way of achieving that – as rather than just name your company, the unhappy customer is much more likely to seek you out and look to link to your social media account within their complaint. If they are already a regular customer, they may well follow you on these platforms already. I’ve seen this scenario on a number of occasions across my entire client range – but this is a good thing!

You have the chance to quickly and publicly respond – immediately demonstrating great customer service by showing your customer that you do care, and seeing how you can put it right.

As you engage in dialogue with your customer, their friends, clients and customers can see the conversation and see the lengths you are going to in order to get things right. And although people complain – it’s often spur of the moment and by responding positively you can quickly promote a ‘change-of-heart’ from your customer – it can often even lead to an apology from the customer for complaining in the first place!

So don’t bury your head in the sand. Whether you agree with Social Media or are yet to be convinced, take my word for it, your customers are talking about you online and surely you’d much rather know about this and be able to address it than not..?

Dominos Pizza

Here are my three top tips for responding:

1) Find Out In The First Place.

If you’re on Facebook and Twitter in particular then you will be alerted to anyone who links directly to you in the complaint so you can respond very quickly. However, I would suggest using regular keyword searches on these sites to check for general mentions of your brand regardless. Free software like the fabulous Hootsuite enable you to manage up to five accounts on the same dashboard and also run real-time keyword reports so you’ll never miss a mention. If you’re not one of the Social Media converted as yet, you can still use tools such as Google Alerts to notify you of online mentions of your brand. Remember – you can’t respond to complaints that you can’t see!

2) Act Personally and Quickly

It’s a good idea to respond as quickly as you can, even with a quick – “Thank you for your message and I’m sorry to hear that – my name’s Matt and I’m looking into this for you. I’ll respond in full as soon as I’m able to”. This gives a human element to your business (as I write about in my ‘Humanise Your Business‘ blog post) and also stops the complaint from escalating any further from your customer’s point of view at that very point. If you feel that the subject matter of the complaint isn’t appropriate to deal with in the public domain, then at this point you could also request an email address or phone number using a direct message. If you’re happy to discuss the matter publicly (which hopefully you are!), then this is perfect forum to take steps to put the experience right for the customer, and show the world that you’re doing so.

3) Apologise Properly – And Don’t Get Into An Argument!

Ultimately, it’s a good idea to apologise and do it well. If you’re in the wrong, take full responsibility and involve the customer in how you put it right. The customer already has the upper-hand from the start as they have made the official complaint and are unhappy – they also know that ideally (in most cases) you don’t want to lose them as a customer. All you can do is try and engage them in conversation and not respond to derogatory comments. If the customer should become abusive then it’s a difficult one for you to win – just stick to your principles, re-enforce your apology, and move on.

Finally here is a great example of an apology done well using Social Media. FedEx get everything right here, an apology from the top, and on the same Social Media platform (in this case YouTube) that the original complaint was posted. Let me know what you think.

I hope you find the above information useful – if you’d like any further advice or want to know how this type of thing can be managed for you, then please contact me.

 

Complaint:

Response:

Social Media Marketing: The Other X-Factor Winner

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Little_Mix_FacebookSo the X-Factor juggernaut reached its conclusion last night, after two gruelling hours that could probably have been condensed into ten minutes (but where’s the money in that? :-)) girl band Little Mix were announced as the winners, beating Liverpudlian Marcus Collins by gaining 48% of the vote to his 42%.

For me in particular, it was really interesting to see how the artists, the programme and even the venue (Wembley Arena) promoted themselves and the event through their respective Social Media channels.

For those of a betting nature, a great indication of the final result could be seen on Facebook, as Little Mix (with 150,000) had nearly 1/3 more Facebook fans than Marcus (around 100,000). But then the shrewd amongst you would probably have checked Twitter as well, which could have thrown your gambling plans into disarray as Marcus had nearly half a million Twitter followers, tens of thousands more than Little Mix!

Marcus_Collins_TwitterThis difference is certainly interesting to me, it could well mean that Facebook attracts an overall younger audience than Twitter, with Marcus being slightly older and therefore attracting a different demographic than the four girls. Or it could be down to Marcus being regularly re-tweeted by mentor Gary Barlow, who has nearly 1million followers himself…

Little Mix were also busy with the hashtags, particularly #littlemixers – which is how they refer to their fans and has been prompting a flurry of activity throughout the final.

X-Factor themselves were also working overtime on their Facebook page, which has an incredible four million fans (give or take a couple), and in terms of promoting the ‘Cannonball’ single (#cannonball) they have an incredibly engaged audience to market to – they probably don’t even need to do any traditional advertising such is the way that this is all working for them, along with TV and radio appearances from the band themselves.

However they were bang on the ball – within seconds of Little Mix being announced as the winners their Facebook page had a new Landing Page advertising the single, as did the X-Factor page, and perhaps a little harshly, Marcus’ page too! All three landing pages were click-able and linking directly to the single download on iTunes. Nice.

Wembley Arena Facebook UpdateA couple of minutes later and Wembley Arena were in on the act, congratulating Little Mix, commiserating with Marcus, whilst linking to both of their Facebook pages within the update.

Coldplay weren’t messing around either, providing a link to a YouTube live video of their track Charlie Brown on their Facebook and Twitter profiles just minutes after performing the song live to 16million people watching at home…

Both Little Mix and Marcus have been tweeting and updating all day from various studios across the country.

It’s ten years since Will Young beat Gareth Gates to win the first Pop Idol, and blimey it’s all come a long way since then – but the way that Social Media has been not only embraced but used so powerfully in this year’s competition surely underlines that it’s where your fans are – not just if you’re a pop star in the making but whatever your line of work. It’s surely the future of marketing and advertising and I think that this goes some way to proving it.

 

 

 

The Benefits Of Using Facebook For Business -To – Business

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Facebook LogoIn terms of Social Media marketing, Facebook’s strengths lay in being able to engage with your customers and clients, offering great customer service, being able to deal with complaints, and of course get your message out there too.

However Facebook is often overlooked in terms of its business-to-business benefits in favour of Twitter (who announced today that they are to launch brand pages) and of course the business-orientated LinkedIn.

You could argue that’s fair enough, LinkedIn was designed with business in mind, and is also considerably more engaging these days than it was just a year ago.

However, don’t rule Facebook out from a B2B perspective. It has several key benefits but I’ll start with the main one.

Facebook has approximately 30m users – near enough half of the population. So even if your business isn’t on Facebook, or a business that you want to engage with isn’t either, there is a reasonable chance that a business owner or decision-maker is, and by the very nature of how Social Media works, there is an excellent chance that they could come across your business page, and potentially engage with it.

Think about how many businesses you see on Facebook on a daily basis and think about how you respond to compelling content. Even if you don’t engage – the awareness factor is certainly something to take into consideration here…

Facebook has also made it very easy to create business pages, add tabs to these, essentially you can now create a version of your own website within Facebook! As above, Twitter are moving onto this gradually, but LinkedIn’s functionality is still a little way behind this, although has improved greatly.

This article is in no way to the detriment of Twitter or LinkedIn – far from it – if you’re a business in 2011/2012 then you need to be on these platforms.

Just don’t rule out Facebook just because you’re not customer facing or retail – the benefits can be huge, and if you want to know more then why now email me at matt@mattdavismedia.co.uk .

Have a great weekend!

 


 

If Your Password Is ‘Password’ – You Should Probably Read This

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The most common passwords used in 2011 have been published – incredibly by the hackers using them – and show a frightening array of people using the same passwords across all platforms for ease of use.

It’s easily done and something we’ve all done at one point – particularly in the early days of the internet when security was nowhere near as much of an issue as it is now.

So here comes the list (source: SplashData inc) – if your password features on it, it’s definitely time to change!

  • password
  • 123456
  • 12345678
  • qwerty
  • abc123
  • monkey
  • 1234567
  • letmein
  • trustno1
  • dragon
  • baseball
  • 111111
  • iloveyou
  • master
  • sunshine
  • ashley
  • bailey
  • passw0rd
  • shadow
  • 123123
  • 654321
  • superman
  • qazwsx
  • michael
  • football
Also you should try not to use things directly related to you – for example your favourite football team. If you feel you have to, then put a random number in there too to make it that bit harder for people to figure out. 
Some other useful tips include:
  • Make passwords eight characters or more, with a mix of characters, letters, numbers, symbols.
  • Separate short words with spaces or other characters, e.g., “drink tea at 3!” (not all sites allow spaces in passwords however)
  • Don’t use the same username/password combination for multiple websites.
  • Use a password manager if you have trouble remembering your passwords. SplashData makes one called SplashID Safe.
Need more help? Drop me a line at matt@mattdavismedia.co.uk