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Why the automotive industry should be using social media more

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Coloured cars in a jarTwitter, Facebook and Instagram are not just for teenage girls, you know! People from all sorts of businesses and industries are quickly learning that social media is your one stop shop for simultaneously building your brand and gaining new customers online, and when it comes to social interactions online the automotive industry is lagging behind.

 So car dealers don’t fret! Our top tips for using social media to boost your business should help get you on the right track.


Show off your products
Instagram and Pinterest are a car dealer’s ultimate secret weapons online. Not only do they let you build up a stylish and stunning looking portfolio of what you have on offer, they also allow potential customers to covet and share their dream cars with all their friends.


A happy customer says it all
Using the likes of Facebook and Twitter to share photos of happy customers with their brand new purchase will do wonders for your business. Not only will the customer and all their friends and family share the photo, loads of potential new customers will see this free publicity and become aware of your business. Good reviews and messages of thanks directed at your online profiles also give your business a good name.


Interact and engage
Up to date and engaging social media platforms give your business a more personal vibe that allows customers and potential customers to contact and converse with you directly. From asking questions about the cars you have on offer to enthusing about how great a new model is, social media is a great way to be a part of the conversation and get to know your target audience even better.



From driving sales to steering customers in the right direction, get online and get social today!




For more information please get in touch with us here at The Bright Click on: 08433 832732

Sanity, Not Vanity – Reasons Not To ‘Buy’ Fans

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Social mediaOne of our favourite phrases in The Bright Click office is ‘Sanity, Not Vanity’ and in no better case can this be applied than in terms of the number of followers that you have across your social media channels.

Of course it looks great if you’ve got hundreds or thousands of followers, and if you’re a big company or organisation then the chances are that you could well be enjoying that sort of genuine attention.

The main thing you’re aiming for across any social campaign though is to be able to reach a target audience – an audience who are into what you’re doing.

Look at your Facebook news feed – are you following anything that doesn’t interest you? If you were a massive football fan but hated rugby, would you follow rugby teams on Facebook? The likelihood is ‘no’.

So why do your fans follow you? Either because they’re already your customers (and in which case your advocates – incredibly powerful) or because they’re interested in what you have to say.

There’s the ‘sanity’ part – you’ve got an engaged audience who will likely interact / comment / share your content, and as a result, their friends, colleagues and associates become increasingly aware of your brand in an organic way.

So what happens when you have a page full of loads of followers who aren’t into what you do? Well, this is the ‘vanity’ part, and if this is your objective, then you’re probably wasting your time.

Facebook uses algorithms to determine which percentage of your followers see your posts. It’s a complex thing, and it evolves constantly, but only around a maximum of 25% of your audience will see your posts at any given time.

We always recommend adopting a paid strategy alongside your organic strategy too – it’s how Facebook makes its money but it’s also very effective, and probably a topic for another blog post!

However there’s two main things to note here.

The more followers you have, the more diluted your content becomes – if you have 1000 followers then around 250 will see your content.

But if only 100 of these are ‘genuine’ – there’s a good chance that the whole potentially engaged audience following you will miss your post entirely – and how crazy is that..?!

So, you’re not getting the engagement you were expecting and you boost the post. Great idea?

In theory yes, however you’re now paying to reach your 100 ‘interested’ fans, plus 900 who’ve never heard of you, and don’t care about your business, brand, or what you have to say… Not the greatest use of your marketing budget.

And that’s why neither is ‘buying’ fans.

You’ll see loads of sites offering you the chance to ‘buy’ fans and it looks too good to be true – £10 for an extra 1000 fans on your Facebook page seems like an amazing deal, but it’s a false economy and will cost you a whole lot more money, not to mention damage, in the long-term.

Concentrate on growing your audience organically by consistently providing great content, directly aimed at your brand advocates, with a paid boost here and there.

Sanity, not vanity.

Need help with your Social Media Strategy? Call us now on 08433 832732 or contact us here.

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. 

The Zoopla Power 100 – What’s It Really About?

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Social MediaProperty search website Zoopla recently announced the launch of its Property Power 100 – a list of the top 100 Estate Agents in the UK based on their Social Media output. We have several Estate Agents as clients so were very interested to see how the criteria for this was judged. Due to confidentiality agreements we can’t disclose who has come where in the table – however I was intrigued to see the criteria that Zoopla are basing their Power 100 on. 

The main criteria is as follows:

Retweets; Which can increase your influence by exposing your content to extended follower networks.

Mentions; People looking for your attention by mentioning you. We also take into account the differences in types of mentions (e.g: “via”).

List Memberships; Being included on lists curated by other users (demonstrates your areas of influence).

Followers; Follower count is another factor in your Score, however we heavily favor engagement over size of audience.

Replies; Replies show that you are engaging your network.

These are all relevant criteria, but looking through certainly the top ten of those listed, there seemed a real varying degree of how each agent was implementing these. The top agent at the time of writing seemed to be doing a lot of retweeting, rather than having much of its own content retweeted for example. It also seemed to be doing a lot of mentioning, rather than being mentioned. It did however have followers approaching the 20,000 mark.

The reason I find this list so interesting is that Zoopla is taking something as subjective as Social Media and forming a league table from it, and although there are of course a number of measures and reports that can be gained from Social Media marketing, by its very nature it is dynamic, changeable, and based largely on opinion and subsequent engagement.

And different forms of online marketing can mean different things to different businesses.

For example, one of Zoopla’s guidelines suggests not tweeting every property that you are instructed on, as users can find this boring and it can make them subsequently dis-engaged.

However if I was looking  to rent or buy a house, I think I would find it quite useful to have a full list of the very latest properties to be able to look at in real-time on Twitter. A separate account for this purpose could be doubly-effective and a great sales tool don’t you think?

When we have implemented this tactic for clients, we have seen a big uplift in traffic to websites from the respective Twitter accounts. And Google likes it when relevant traffic is coming from Social Media direct to company websites – in fact it’s now a major SEO factor. So from an SEO point of view, it can easily be argued that having a list of your properties on Twitter is a very good thing indeed, as our clients’ page one ranking testifies.

We have been advocating the use of Social Media by Estate Agents for a couple of years now, and we see some great results across the board, so for highlighting how important it is for Estate Agents to adopt, I applaud Zoopla wholeheartedly. However in my opinion, I think that the overall placements on the list should probably be taken with a pinch of salt.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Written by Matt Davis. 

What Google Wants Right Now – In A Nutshell

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Google LogoGoogle is constantly adapting and after the algorithm changes of 2012 it can become more and more complex and difficult for smaller websites and businesses to get noticed, especially when there are much larger companies and more established websites in competition. So how do you get ahead and make sure you still appear near the top in Google web searches? Well, 1st up on the list be, of course, do exactly what Google tells you to:

1/ DO WHAT GOOGLE TELLS YOU TO DO!

Don’t be silly. You cannot ‘outsmart’ Google. It’s waaay too powerful and important to your business. Do what it tells you to do, don’t do anything that you might think maybe it doesn’t want you to do, and everything else should be plain sailing. If you think you might need it, there are plenty of reputable internet marketing agencies out there that can help with optimization techniques.

2/ NO COPYING!

Whether you’re copying text from another website or have a range of websites with selling similar products, it’s all the same to Google. It’ll identify the repeat patterns and the sites will not be listed. Customers want choice and Google knows this. So it’s trying to prevent one company dominating a particular search by having lots of websites advertising the same product. Keep it original, keep it fresh.

4/ DON’T BUY DODGY BACKLINKS!

Google used to keep an eye on how many other websites had a link to yours and make an assumption that the more links you had, the more popular your business. Makes sense, right? Well, no actually. Because this could obviously be exploited as a good business opportunity by sharp entrepreneurs looking to sell lots of backlinks to companies in a bid to up their perceived popularity. And it was. A lot. Which was why when Google cracked down on this kind of behaviour lots of business shot down the rankings virtually overnight.  Don’t fall for it, don’t buy them. Organic (ie legitimate) backlinking does carry some weight still but is certainly no-where near the way forward as it might have been a couple of years ago.

5/ MAKE YOUR CUSTOMER YOUR FOCUS

A lot of businesses will reason that because Google are all powerful, it should be their primary concern with regards to marketing, forgetting all at once the key player in your business. The customer. Google after all, is constantly tinkering with its product to meet the demands of its customers, so this is what you should be doing. Create great, original, fresh new content regularly. Update your website with new ideas, new blogs, share interesting information and people will naturally be drawn to it. Get them reading, sharing and commenting on your content, and search engine traffic will increase as a result.

6/ CREATE A GOOGLE+ ACCOUNT

If you haven’t already, do this now. Then make sure that everything you produce has your name (and/or photo) and is linked to your Google+ account. Then, make sure that your Google+ account lists whatever it is within the contributor section of links. You are doing this because Google has recognized that social signals are a great indicator for search engine rankings. The more ‘shares’, ‘likes’, and ‘+1’s’ your content the higher up the rankings you are going to be. Plus if you regularly blog or post on a particular subject, and you get lots of comments, likes and +1’s, then you’re more likely to be ranked as an author in that particular field. You are using Google, you want Google to like you, so sign up to Google+ and show them you like them too. And make sure you engage on other Social Media platforms too – Google likes this. Social is BIG in 2013.

7/ KEYWORDS

Time was when a website, in order to be recognized in a search ranking, would insert ridiculous amounts of keywords relating to their business in order to fly up said rankings (or worse, from a customer perspective, be taken to their website when they actually wanted to be somewhere else). But Google, again, thinking of their customers, have tried to stop this. Customers don’t want to read reams of pointless keywords (in fact, they don’t, they just click the X and move on), so in order to change this up, Google will now recognize repeated keywords and penalize the offending website accordingly. Whatever you put up, read it back, aloud. Does it sound natural? Are you repeating keywords or phrases over and over again? Mix it up. Make it interesting. Using different words will not only make it far less boring for your customer to read (if they read it at all), but will also serve to increase your rankings in the other words.

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

Social Media 2012 – In Simple Numbers

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Catching up with a few things on this Sunny Monday morning we just came across this great slideshow that’s well worth a look.

The most exciting aspect of Social Media and online marketing in general is how quickly it evolves – it’s our job to stay on top of this and pass this value onto our clients.

In just a few short years the way that businesses are marketing online has changed completely… check out this slideshow and let us know what you think…

 

An Introduction To Online Marketing – Part One

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Most businesses in 2012 understand that they should be marketing online – people are spending increasing amounts of time online, the growing number of smartphones on the market is making mobile search more abundant and more important, and Social Media use continues to rise across all platforms.

The problem for businesses is knowing where to start, and what type of online marketing will suit them best, and give them the best chance of success.

So on this basis we plan to publish a series of regular blog posts to help businesses understand the different types of online marketing, and their subsequent benefits, in as simple terms as possible.

We will always try not to use jargon, and where we need to, we’ll do our best to explain what the jargon means!

And if there’s anything you would like more info on at any time, then please email the team at the following addresses:

matt@thebrightclick.co.uk | dan@thebrightclick.co.uk | hollie@thebrightclick.co.uk

We hope you enjoy the articles!

Online Marketing – Search Engine Listings

There are two main types of marketing approaches for search engine listings. The first is known as ORGANIC; these search engine results are natural or ‘free’ listings.

The second is PAID; search engine results appearing as paid advertisements are generally referred to as ‘sponsored links’ and usually work on a ‘Pay Per Click’ (PPC) basis – ie the person who has placed the advert only pays on the occasion that the advert is clicked on by the user.

Search engines will typically rank the most relevant results at the top of the page. This is determined by the searcher’s query – the ‘keywords’ that they type in.  Depending on the search engine, the relevancy of the search is calculated in different ways – and these are changed regularly in order to continually deliver the most accurate results, and also to deter spammers or those intent on cheating their way to search engine success.

On Google, both organic and paid results will appear for the same query, however the results are separate from each other. You will see the ‘sponsored links’ as the top three results in the ‘yellow box’ at the top of Google’s search results, and also some more of these along the right-hand side of the page.

The main advantage of a PPC campaign is that the advertiser can perform well and have a strong online presence, even if their site doesn’t currently rank as well in the organic search results.

SEO

SEO is a term that you will see a lot in relation to Online Marketing – it stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is essentially the process of either creating new websites or altering existing sites in order for them to rank highly in a search engine’s organic listings, when users search on terms that are related to the site’s content.

There are two type of SEO that you will generally hear referred to – ‘On Page’ and ‘Off Page’.

‘On Page’ basically refers to getting your website as geared up as possible for Google to ‘like’ it. This means using the main keywords associated with your website regularly within the content, implementing images and labelling them correctly and accurately, using strong headings, and other factors (we will go into this in more detail in a future blog) that will all improve the ranking results of your website.

Overall, it is vital to generate engaging content and appropriate keywords in order to maximise the chances of Google ‘liking’ your site when it crawls it.

‘Off Page’ means the amount of other sites that link back to your site – and the quality of these sites.

Google has traditionally considered links to a website to be a factor of how relevant and ‘important’ that site is – if a site had lots of links to it then Google made an assumption that this added to the relevance of the site.

However over time this has led to businesses creating ‘fake’ backlinks to their site and subsequently giving them a false advantage on the search results – these results often were based more on backlinks than on content, which is of course not how it should be.

Search results were coming down to who had the most SEO ‘tricks’ rather than whether the content on the site was relevant. When you consider that the very point of Google and other search engines is to deliver the most relevant results to the searcher, then something had to change – and it has in Google’s last couple of major updates, which they codenamed ‘Panda’ and ‘Penguin’.

Although backlinks still play a part, they are no longer as prominent and ‘fake’ links are being stamped out by Google on daily basis, with sites utilising them being strongly penalised.

Content and relevance are now very much king in the SEO world – so having your site set up properly has never been so important.

Please subscribe to this blog to receive our next instalment – or follow us on Facebook or Twitter to be kept up to date!

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 🙂