What Makes a Good Blog Post?

What makes a good blog post?

This week, I delivered a talk at Manchester University on creating a single blog post, and I thought I’d quickly share with you a few things that make a good blog post. Anything you’d add?

 

 

Your Social Media Story

This weeks Vlog is all about you and your social media story.  The power of your story is what sets us apart from our competitors.

Social Media is a perfect way to express your story with your customers with more than just words!

The dos and don’ts of using social media for your business

I came across this article a few days ago during my morning browse on the internet! If you use social media to promote your business these tips are going to be lifesaving for you and your business! A relatable situation is what we all need when changing something within our business. I hope you find these tips useful, putting them into practice is going to be easier than you think!

Social media is one of the best ways to engage with your target audience and increase your brand visibility.
One of the main reasons companies adore using social media for their business is because it’s extremely cost effective! Which business wouldn’t want to increase their brand following by using a range of affordable platforms?
DO: React to any posts
It is important to remember that social media is interactive and reactive, to gain a bigger brand following you must interact with current and potential customers. Each reaction from a customer could lead to a site visit, an enquiry and eventfully a connection.
DON’T: Ignore any interactions
You should never ignore any interactions from customers or potential customers, or even worse respond to a customer and ignore another! If a customer has directly connected you on social media they will be awaiting your response, if they see you have responded to someone else and not them, well you’ll have one very unhappy customer which may lead to one less customer.
Responding to every customer’s interactivity will promote the brands customer service and put trust in outside customers who may be viewing the conversation via their time line.

DO: Post at the right times
Scheduling is key to making your posts reach more people, you can easily find out what time customers are viewing your pages via analytics and then schedule your posts to fit in with the customers.
DON’T: Post too much
Each platform will have its own trends in terms of peak times to post, find out these times and stick to them! Don’t over post, this disengages customers and may lead to negative feedback.

DO: Think about what your audience wants to see
Your audience may not want to see what you want to see. You have to alter your posts to suit their needs! It’s all about building relationships online with your customers, this strengthens the foundation to your business relationship which eventually leads to more sales. Find out what your target audience wants to see and post it!
DON’T: Mix your personal and professional accounts
The worse thing that can happen is you posting a picture of irrelevant content to your feed. This could negatively impact the reputation of your business. Your customers won’t want to see how cute your new puppy is and they certainly won’t want to read about how much you love him.
DO: Keep thinking of ways to build your audience
One of the easiest ways to connect with a wider audience is to find out what they like and create a promotional factor which will engage them into your business. Create a customer incentive which gets the customer to “like” or “follow” your business who otherwise may not have engaged with you.
DON’T: Forget to post
The main purpose of having a range of social media platforms is to post and engage with your customers. If you’re not posting you’re not engaging! This will lead to less followers and a negative opinion towards your business. Always delete social media pages until you have time to update them daily.
DO: Maintain a loyal audience
To keep a loyal audience, all businesses need to do is keep giving the customers what they want to see! Nobody ever complained about getting what they wanted! Remember to analyse competitor’s social media, if what they’re doing is working…Do it too!

 

 

Automation 101: Time is Money !

The smallest jobs are often the ones that take the most time. When trying to maintain your social media presence for your business, time is a valuable asset!

Picture this: you’ve got some new awesome headshots made up for your social media. Imagine being able to change your profile pictures IN ONE GO.

With apps like IFFTTT and websites like Trello, you can set up your Twitter profile picture to change automatically when you change your Facebook, Instagram or Google + Profile picture. Neat!

It may seem silly, or like it’s not going to save you time. Maybe you’ve saved five minutes? Think of 5 more ways that you could use an IFTTT recipe and you’ve already saved 25 minutes of precious time that could be spent growing your business.

IFTTT stands for If This Then That, and it basically allows different social media apps and platforms to speak to each other. If you take a picture on your iPhone and you have dropbox, you can set up what’s called a “recipe” which connects the processes and saves each new iOS photo to your dropbox account. The possibilities are truly endless!

TRELLO is another gem when it comes to organising your business. If you work with multiple people or on different projects this could be the platform for you. Set up “Boards” to correspond with team members, tag each other in comments for immediate responses, and create checklists and ideas cards. Also, IFTTT can connect with Trello, meaning that organising your automations become even easier.

Whether or not IFTTT or any sort of automation system will work for you depends on how much you’re willing to analyse your current performance. This is often really tricky, especially if you’re working from home!

I’d suggest spend a day making a note of all the niggly jobs that mean you are having to switch back and forth between apps or platforms. At the end of the day, see how much time you’ve spent. This might be incentive enough to bring automation into your life in a small way.

It seems complicated, but the great thing is that once you get started, these platforms are easy to use. IFTTT in particular offers a range of ready- made recipes so you can get started right away. Without you having to lift a finger (well, maybe once or twice to click on the recipe and make sure you’re accounts are synced, but after this, it’s a leave it and forget sort of situation).

So what are you waiting for? Time is money; companies like IFTTT know this and want to save you money by saving you time.

What do you think? Would automating your daily routine help you save time? Or is this one step too far into the digital realm? Let me know what you think!

 

 

Connecting With People You Don’t Know on LinkedIn

Here’s my vlog on connecting with people on LinkedIn that you don’t know. I think people can be a bit wary of this, especially with the new Connect buttons which don’t let you send an introductory message to new connections. I say go for it! I’ve received loads of opportunities from accepting connections from people I don’t know “IRL”.

Also, sorry about the green streaks ! I’ve not got green hair, just green screen issues!

 

Gambling with Twitter Ads

If you don’t know your target market inside out, and you’re spending money on Twitter Ads, it’s highly likely that the house (Twitter) is winning! Here are some ideas on how to make sure you’re getting the most out of your promoted posts on Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

Power Up: Combining Your Email Marketing with Social Media

Hi there, Emily here again!

Last week I worked on a Facebook account for a friend and I was shocked at how many opportunities for a seamless Calls to Action they weren’t using. One way to easily rectify this was just popping a link to their site using Facebook’s Call to Action Button. Nothing new or ground-breaking there, but they were really shocked at the results.

This experience made me wonder… what other opportunities for engaging followers are people missing out on, simply because they think it’s going to be too complicated??

It’s not just a question for business owners or project managers. We’re creatures of habit, and in today’s 24/7 culture, we want things to flow with how we use technology. The two areas which are focussed on the most by businesses are email marketing and social media. It seems that the ways in which we operate our strategies in these areas are aiming towards the same thing – quick, easy sign ups, high converting optins, and social, sharable material.

My point is, businesses just can’t ignore the need for seamless processes in these two areas. But it seems that at the junction where social media and email marketing meet, things get a little…sticky.

I would argue that the more steps between your CTA and its goal, the less likely you are to see any results.

It’s also really important to think about WHERE your CTAs are taking place, and how this affects their usage.

For searching and social media, it’s always from my phone. Therefore, the kinds of CTAs that businesses or groups are putting out there will come to my attention when I’m away from my PC. I might be out and about and see a juicy mailing list I just HAVE to sign up to.

It’s doesn’t matter how good it is, I will give up if the process is more than one step. Oh, and if you redirect me to another page? Well now I’m just angry.

I know that if I’m on my PC and I receive a CTA to optin to an interesting mailing list, I’m more likely to sign up even if the process is more than one step long. I will still grumble though.

And then I saw Twitter’s Lead Generation Cards, and thought, wow. I’ve completely been missing out on the chance to build on existing lists with minimal set up. Most importantly, it’s just ONE, SEAMLESS STEP for my followers WITHOUT THEM HAVING TO LEAVE TWITTER.

This article lays out the step by step process simply enough – TLDR Version: Lead Generation Cards work through Twitter ads and create a one click optin button which is added on to your tweets.

Voila! Brittany says it took her about 15 minutes to set up using Mailchimp, and 30 minutes using Active Campaign, proving that combining the two most powerful aspects of your marketing process sounds scary – but it doesn’t have to be.

What’s Your Business’s Story?

Emily here!!Untitled design

It’s a busy week for the main social media platforms, with the big four all releasing improvements, updates and new features at the start of March.

As you know, Sam’s been getting her vlog on and sharing snippets of her social media sorcery with you, so I thought it only apt to share Facebook’s news since it highlights just how popular video is on the social media platforms but also how important it is for your business.

Facebook is an incredibly powerful tool for your business, to gain an audience, create a conversation and of course convert contacts into customers. More than three million businesses utilise Facebook for their company, with 70% of those businesses residing outside the US. The amount of businesses advertising on Facebook has rapidly grown by a further million since February 2015. More than one billion users on Facebook are connected to at least one business and there are more than 43 billion connections between people and businesses on Facebook, meaning the potential reach is huge!

You might have seen on personal accounts when people post ‘Your Story’ it’s a little video which pulls photos from your account and creates a slideshow of memories, well now you can create something similar for your business page, only not as cheesy and minus the terrible photos you didn’t want anyone to see ever again.

Writing in their News section last week Facebook announced that “To celebrate the businesses that use Facebook to grow, we created Your Business Story—a tool that makes it easy to create a video that shows what your business brings to the world. Because we believe the best way to tell the story of three million businesses is to empower each one to share their own.

Creating your ‘Business Story’ couldn’t be simpler, you choose 8 photos that are relevant to your company, what you’re in the business of and a piece of music and hey presto! You’ve created a really quick intro to your company without having to learn how to edit a video or become a composer. You can give it a go here!

If you’re still a bit stuck about where to begin with social media for business then we’ve got just the thing! Sam has created some fantastic, comprehensive online courses on how to use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to generate business. They’re perfect for beginner’s or those who need a little extra guidance or if you use social media and want to sharpen your skills! You can purchase them here.

Don’t forget to check back for the vlog on Friday!

4 Tips for Successfully Managing Multiple Social Media Accounts

Managing multiple social media accounts has never been easier.

1. Read more books2. Get a new hobby3. Try rock climbing4. Be more creative (2)Scheduling apps like Hootsuite, Buffer, and integrations between platforms (like the recent collaboration between Facebook and Instagram which allows adverts to be made for both platforms, all from Facebook Ads Manager) – all allow for your brand presence to be fine – tuned across your accounts.

Unfortunately, this also means things can start to look a bit samey. You might be missing out on the needs of the individual if your content strategy is too schematic.

Here are a few ideas to make the most out of each platform without compromising on your brandonality!

  1. Post exclusive content to a platform that won’t be shared anywhere else.

If you’re using analytics and listening to them, you should have a good idea of why your followers follow you, and what sort of thing they want to hear.

It doesn’t have to be something they’d expect, but whatever you post make sure it directly addresses the specific audience of that platform.

People are creatures of habit, and while many will follow more than one social media account for a brand, die-hards will always view the one they use the most more often.

So every now and then, post something that only they will see – whether it’s on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, each platform is very different and you should make the most of this!

  1. While you’re doing this, keep visually consistent.

When posting exclusive content you want to make sure, of course, that it’s recognisable to your followers and distinctive enough to stand out from the crowd.

You want people to know straight away that it’s YOU whichever platform you are on. Think colour schemes, filters (for Instagram), the types of images you post.

  1. Repurpose old content

This isn’t cheating! If you use blog writing in your strategy, or make informative posts of any kind, go back in your archives and find your most popular/successful content.

Make something new with it! It could be an infographic, a quick video of key tips, or a commentary on an old blog with your thoughts on it now. Using old content can be fresh and engaging, it all depends on how you do it!

Consider reworking posts to optimize them on different platforms – think about how they’ve changed since you last talked about them, and what would work better in the present.

  1. Realise you can’t do it all!

Searching for the content takes a lot of time, and so does engaging with your customers and followers. If you don’t carve out time in your schedule to do this, you’ll find your profiles will suffer!

As always, I suggest you make it easier on yourself by getting someone to help you, or employing some handy apps for content scheduling and organisation.

Sam loves Feedly for a one-stop shop for all the information, news and websites you use for your content. I like Flipboard for a quick overview of everything that’s going on online, as you receive highlights from chosen topics – good if you need inspiration on the fly!

Let me know what you think to these suggestions, and if you’ve got any methods of your own you’d like to share! – Emily

Your Christmas Social Media Checklist!

Christmas is next week! How did this happen? I hope you are all more organised with your gift shopping than I am – let’s just say I am very grateful for Amazon Prime right now..!

December is a super busy time for small businesses. But you need a break too! I’ve come up with a checklist to make sure that your social media accounts run smoothly and remain active over the holiday while you enjoy your time off…

Schedule ahead. You’ve got so much to think about this month! Don’t let your social media get left by the wayside. Spend a few hours scheduling posts across your social media accounts – whether its Christmas opening times, new deals, let your customers know that you’re still going!

If you can’t let go completely, allow notifications from your scheduling platform for example Hootsuite. Nicole Nelson does this and we think it’s a really good idea if you, like us, are a bit of a control freak! The knowledge that things are continuing to whir along can be just the thing to put your mind at rest so you can enjoy your holiday.

Let your customers know where you are – if you are taking time away from the business over Christmas, let them know! People will understand that you may be taking a few days to enjoy time with your family or get some well-deserved rest.

Post about what you’re doing over the holidays – Christmas is a perfect opportunity to show your customers that you’re a human being! Get into the spirit of things; post pictures of your staff’s Christmas jumpers, funny Christmas desk decorations…

Update your cover photo – there are loads of templates and fun festive overlays to use online for free if you’re not a techy web designer. We like Cover Junction. 

Schedule a Christmas message! You never know who’s going to be browsing social media on the Big day.

Christmas 2015 Social Media Checklist:

  • Schedule regular posts up until the New Year

  • Set up notifications to keep aware of what’s happening on your accounts

  • Consider hiring someone to babysit your accounts for you especially if you are going away for Christmas

  • Give your cover photos a festive update

  • Post about your holiday antics!

  • Do send a live update at some point over the break. Don’t let your customers forget about you!

Now you’re armed and ready to enjoy your holiday with the knowledge that your businesses social media presence is ticking over nicely. Come 2016 you’ll thank yourself for being so organised when your customers don’t notice you’ve been gone!

Checked everything off? Have a mince pie and a sit down…

Maybe even have a brandy or two. You deserve it!!