Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

Social media and SEO tips from ionSearch

Social media and SEO tips at ionSearch

ionSearch at the Electric Press, Leeds

As soon as I heard about ionSearch – the search marketing and social media conference in Leeds – I wanted to go. The line up of speakers was fantastic and, as a copywriter, I knew the conference would present a valuable opportunity to learn more about SEO.

I was lucky enough to win a pair of tickets through a social media competition so I headed off to the Electric Press with my PR associate Nikki.

The conference was every bit as informative as I hoped it would be. For those who couldn’t make it, here are the most useful SEO and SM tips and stats that I picked up from each speaker:

Lee Odden of TopRank Online Marketing

  • Paths to purchase: One per cent through social media alone. 51 per cent through search alone. 48 per cent through a combination of search and social.
  • 16 per cent of queries on Google have never been searched for before.
  • Know your target audience: how they discover information, what they consume (eg video), how they consume it (eg tablet or mobile) and how they engage.
  • Use a blog or website as a hub with your social media activity as spokes all relating to it.
  • Develop an editorial plan for your blog content six months in advance and use a combination of fixed and dynamic content so you can react to current events.

Tim Grice of Branded3

  • Understand the people who are already finding your website and how they get there.
  • Think: why would people want to link back to this page?
  • Good content gets more social shares than it does links.
  • Different people like and share – try to get those who do both.
  • Google wants fresh, relevant, unique and up-to-date content.

Andy Atkins-Krüger of Webcertain Group

  • One third of activity on mobiles is search.
  • The third biggest growth activity on mobile is retail – people are buying things.
  • A tablet is best treated as if it was a desktop – don’t use Adobe Flash.
  • $25M is spent per day on Newsstand on iPad alone.
  • 25 per cent of all apps on Apple are free. 75 per cent of all apps on Android are free.
  • The most popular apps are entertainment, games, business, news and weather.
  • Two things drive traffic to apps – the amount of downloads and how much people use the app once they have downloaded it.
  • Apple bought out Chomp in February for $50M – they’re going to use it as a search engine for apps.

Danny Gray of Google (speaking about Google+)

  • 77 per cent of brand content is created by consumers.
  • Brands who are having success on Google+ are creating different circles for different target audiences.
  • Use Google+ ripples to see how your content has been shared.
  • The best way to use Google+ is to share valuable content and hold hangouts (video-chats).
  • Promote your page with badges and offline marketing.

Dave Snyder of Steelcast

  • We’re about to hit a renaissance in SEO, mixing science (more traditional SEO) and art (quality content).
  • The key is to create highly shareable content and media with depth, and finding it a home.
  • Learn what each social media platform has to offer and what content will work.
  • Facebook API tells you so much information about your target audience.

I really hope you find some of these useful – please get in touch at fiona@wordsbyfionakyle if you want to talk about any of them further.

Get your LinkedIn summary right

In January 2012, I reached 200 connections on LinkedIn and decided to mark this milestone by offering some advice on how to make the most of your LinkedIn profile. Or, more specifically, the summary section at the top.

I went through the LinkedIn profile of every one of my 200 connections to see how they were using this opportunity so that I could share some tips on how to write the best summary and common mistakes to avoid.

I was shocked to discover that 79 of the 200 profiles (now, I’m no mathematician but that’s over a third… I think!) had no summary at all. If someone turned to you in the elevator of elevator pitch fame and asked you what you did, would you just stand there with your mouth closed? To me, that’s the exact equivalent! You are being given an amazing opportunity to sell yourself and, by extension, the company you work for, to anyone who happens to view your profile – why wouldn’t you take it?

Top 5 most common mistakes

  1. Misuse of apostrophe in ’10 years’ experience’ – most people use no apostrophe at all, someone had written ’10 years’ of experience’ (the ‘of’ makes the apostrophe obsolete) and I even saw ’10 year’s experience’.
  2. SME’s – SMEs should not have an apostrophe.
  3. Lead rather than led – eg ‘customer lead solutions’and ‘I have lead’.
  4. X company name provide (rather than provides) – a company is singular – imagine saying ‘the company provides’ instead.
  5. 1990’s – there shouldn’t be an apostrophe in this, or 90s etc.

Top 5 over used words

When you read 200 profiles in a row, you start to notice the same words cropping up again and again. If you want your profile to stand out, consider avoiding the following:

  1. Passion or passionate
  2. Key (as in key clients)
  3. Creative thinker
  4. Bespoke
  5. Engage or engaging

Top 5 typos

Please proofread your profile before you publish it! Or, if you don’t feel confident enough to do it, I’ll be happy to look at it for you. The worst mistakes I spotted were:

  1. Breif
  2. Prvate sector
  3. Marketting
  4. Hamds on work
  5. Piece of mind

What makes a great LinkedIn summary?

After having studied so many LinkedIn profiles, the ones that stood out for me were:

  • Concise – Any more than three short paragraphs is too much – some of the best ones were just one, very succinct paragraph.
  • Clear – If you do something technical, try to avoid using jargon that people won’t understand. If you do two very different jobs, try and keep them separate and consider explaining how they fit together or how you moved from one industry into the other.
  • Full of personality – People buy from people and the summaries I remember gave a real flavour of the person who was being described. And make sure you describe yourself here, not your company – there’s plenty of space for that further down.
  • Up-to-date – If you changed jobs, don’t forget to update your profile.

Remember – this could be your big chance to make a great impression – grab the opportunity with both hands! If you want any advice about writing a stand-out LinkedIn profile, please get in touch on fiona@wordsbyfionakyle.co.uk and, to see how else I can help, please visit my website.

LinkedIn summary

An example of a LinkedIn profile including summary

Twitter – what I have learned

Recently, several contacts have asked me for help with social media, Twitter in particular. I have a few workshops booked with old and new clients  to help them make the most of this fantastic marketing tool.

I don’t claim to be an expert and this is not really a service that I market. However, I have won quite a bit of business through my Twitter account and people are just curious to know how I did it. So I thought I’d tell you!

Get involved

Unless you are a multinational company or celebrity that people will actively search for, there’s no point setting up a Twitter account if you don’t tell people you are on there. Shout it from the rooftops! Link it to your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts (although I would advise using different updates for each platform – see below). Get involved with conversations – it doesn’t have to be relevant to what you do, you just need people to know you are there and start talking to you. The more people who start following you, the more chance you have of your messages getting ‘retweeted’ (click here for glossary) and reaching a larger audience. If people like you and enjoy interacting with you, they may suggest other people follow you by using the #FollowFriday hashtag. And, don’t forget, you can learn as much – if not more – from a competitor as you can a potential client.

Share, share, share…

This so important – the more knowledge you share on Twitter (and indeed all social media), the more value you add for your followers and the more you will get back. It’s a fantastic opportunity to place yourself as an expert so, even though it can feel unnatural to give away all your trade secrets, give people information that will genuinely help them. And help out other ‘tweeps’ by retweeting interesting and useful information that they have shared.

…don’t sell, sell, sell

Limit the amount of overt selling of your services that you do on Twitter. That’s not what it’s there for. It is for building relationships so that when someone is looking for the service you offer, you are already in their heads. Just like real life networking should be. I know some people who will stop following you immediately if you publish a sales tweet. Personally, I think it’s ok in small doses every now and then – especially if you have a new service or special offer to promote.

Target your communications

Before you write a tweet (or any kind of communication) have a quick think about what you are trying to achieve. If you’re looking for business then think very carefully before sharing any personal information that might put potential clients off. And swearing is a bit of a no-no in the Twitter business community, it looks unprofessional. There are applications which let you write one message to update several platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc) but I would advise against this as all three have quite different audiences and tones of voice. Also, it can get pretty annoying having your newsfeed on LinkedIn full of someone’s tweets about the weekend.

Little and often

People often ask me how often they should tweet, worried about how much time it might take. There is no definitive answer but as with everything concerning Twitter, the more you put in, the more you get back. Try and tweet a few times a day and keep an eye on your @mentions (people who have mentioned you) and respond to them fairly quickly. Twitter moves on so quickly that conversations can soon feel stilted and out of date. It really is not a time-consuming thing to do and it is a very low-cost way (just your time) to get your messages out there.

Make lists

Something I have only started doing relatively recently is to use the list function. I follow over 1,000 people and it is impossible to read everything. So, I have created lists for people I want to keep an eye on for one reason or another – clients, potential clients, local businesses, PR agencies and journalists for example, all useful for my business.

Most of all, be yourself

It is very difficult keeping up a persona other than your own. Just be yourself. Professional, yes, but not overly corporate if you want to build up relationships. One of the best things about Twitter is you can meet people who will become genuine friends – I have been lucky enough to meet clients like this on it. It’s fine to chat about X Factor or whatever conversations take your fancy (often The Wire in my case!). Just always keep in mind that you are representing your business. So have fun, enjoy it and make some friends!

A tale of two coffee shops

Picture the scene: York station 8.30am Friday 7 October. It’s FREEZING and the unseasonable 29 degrees from earlier in the week is long gone. A steady stream of shivering commuters. Two coffee shops.

The first coffee shop has posters of an ice cool drink trying to entice customers with a slogan using the words ‘summer coolers’. The second has a blackboard outside it with pictures of autumn leaves and the slogan ‘Settle back in’, a picture of a mug of warm frothy coffee and then the words ‘Perfect for right now’.

Which coffee shop would you go into?

I not only went into the second one, I bought the very drink pictured on the blackboard – it looked and sounded too good to turn down.

See how powerful marketing can be? Five days earlier, the temperature had been sky high and I’m sure a ‘summer cooler’ was exactly what everyone wanted. But not that morning and one of the outlets was quick enough to adapt their marketing.

Another example of how this unpredictable weather has caught out a company with their marketing campaign is a flyer I received through the door from a holiday company promising ‘winter warmers’ when it was almost 30 degrees in Yorkshire. I was quite warm enough thanks! The flyer went straight in the bin.

So when you’re planning a marketing campaign, make sure it is relevant not ony to its audience but to the climate in which they will receive it. Be sensitive when you’re offering expensive goods during these difficult economic times. Don’t send a newsletter out to your employees celebrating success if there has just been an unemployment announcement. Every single piece of communication should be targeted – from a newsletter to a blog to a tweet. I wrote this blog on Friday night, for example, but who would read it then? So I held it back to publish on Monday.

If you’re planning a marketing campaign and would like some advice, please drop me an email on fiona@wordsbyfionakyle.co.uk

The power of professional photography

Importance of professional food photography

Professional food photography makes these pancakes look so appealing (Phillip Shannon Photography)

I have been lucky enough to spend several years working on newsmagazines for companies like Procter & Gamble and Honda, the pages of which were adorned with beautiful, professional images of their employees and their products. For organisations like this, a photography budget is often a given when embarking on a new magazine, brochure or website.

For a smaller company with a limited marketing budget, professional imagery might be lower down on their list of priorities. But in my opinion, it is one of the most important items to spend money on. A company that produces, for example, food or high-end products that they make themselves, should think twice before taking their own pictures. With the best will in the world these pictures often turn out dark and unappealing. And why would someone want to spend their money on a product that looks like that?

If you are planning to send out a press release about your business then sending a professional image with it significantly improves the chances of your story making it into the press. Check out my previous blog post for more about this.

I spoke to Phillip Shannon of Phillip Shannon Photography based in Leeds to find out his opinion.

He said: “Choosing the right person or trade for the job is a rule which most people adopt. When you are running a business, you would hire the right staff, accountant or managers to make sure that the running of your enterprise is economic, successful and, of course, profitable.
 
“When it comes to photography, the ‘image’ of your business, brand and reputation rests upon the quality of the work produced. In times when you may be looking at saving costs, don’t be tempted to go down the DIY photography route. Unless you possess the experience, skill, and equipment of a professional photographer then the result may be far from acceptable. Marketing and promoting your company’s product is all about the visual and how it looks to the potential customer. The power of an image should not be underestimated.
 
“Say you run a food business, for example, and you may use the finest ingredients from local sources, but if the food photography on show to your clients and customers is poor and shots are produced without the skills of an experienced food photographer then the results could be terrible for your business.”
 
Mike Tattersall of Indie Ices, Leeds, is a client of Phillip Shannon Photography. He said: “Working with Phillip to produce the images of my product is always money well spent. You receive the great skill of a professional which reflects in the images produced. I often receive great comments on the images and, as people eat with their eyes, I get sales and leads into companies when we produce them.”
 
So, from a client’s perspective, the costs associated with buying commercial photography is an investment in the future success of your business. The results achieved by using a skilled professional photographer with the right experience is money well spent, and can produce real, measurable results.
 
Why not get in touch with a photographer, chat through your brief and at least find out how much the charge would be? It may well be less than you think and, in my opinion, the question you should be asking yourself is: “Can I afford not to use professional photography?”.
 
For more information about Phillip Shannon Photography, visit http://www.phillipshannonphotography.com/