About Carl

Carl is the owner and founder of Carl Potts designs his interests include web design, MMO gaming, history, typography, old school dance music (especially acid house) he is currently trying to learn Russian

Bing Announce Mobile Friendly update

mobile friendly

(image scource:Flickr Takashi Hososhima)


This weeks blog post will examine Bing’s decision to develop a mobile friendly ranking algorithm, I’m quite aware I examined Google’s ‘mobile friendly’ algorithm which has since been nicknamed as ‘mobilegeddon’ by the Search Industry, however rather than go over old ground I wish to examine the concept of mobile friendly further this week

Mobile Friendly Factors

Now we’ll examine some of the factors, which determine if a site is mobile friendly,

Unplayable Content

Google helpfully identify a number of common mistakes on their Mobile SEO Webmaster guidelines this includes factors such as unplayable content which is a problem associated with technologies such as Flash, elsewhere Google advise

Most mobile browsers do not render Flash-based content. Therefore, mobile visitors will not be able to use a page that relies on Flash in order to display content, animations, or navigation. We recommend designing your look and feel and page animations using modern web technologies.
(Source: Google.com

This corresponds with general best practise not using Flash for Navigation purposes as it may render sites unusable, fortunately this is a web design trend, which has been consigned to the past, Flash only sites are thankfully rare these days.

Typography

The legibility of text is another factor, the aim is that the mobile user should not need to zoom in order to read website content on the website for this a value of 16px is recommended for body text, headings should be larger than this

Page Speed

Page speed is another factor where some websites fall down; there are a number of steps Google recommend for webmasters to ensure that sites load quickly

• Enable compression
• Reduce server response time
• Eliminate render blocking JavaScript & CSS in above the fold content
• Leverage Browser caching
• Prioritise page content

Some of these actions are best handled by your hosting company, others are the responsibility of your web designer, rather than boring readers by listing every factor which affects page speed (there are plenty) I’ll leave it by saying that page speed is an important factor when considering SEO & user experience.

Parting Thoughts

Microsoft’s decision to include a ‘mobile friendly’ algorithm underlines the growing importance of mobile computing. Research has shown that mobile users are an unforgiving lot with mobile bounce rates being noticeably higher than desktop equivalent (source:shareaholic.com)

if a site fails to take them into account they are only too happy to leave and visit another site, as it stands I need to ensure this site is faster loading so that’s another task I’ll need to complete for this site to be up to date

By |May 22nd, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The benefits of video for small business

video-cameraThis week’s topic has a foot in all three of the areas I normally cover in this blog these being social media, search and content; I refer of course to video which is a great way to promote your business in what hopefully an interesting way, video is a very powerful tool yet many small businesses fail to take advantage of it the Guardian states that ‘Small Businesses which fail to include it (video) in their internet marketing strategies do so at their peril (source: The Guardian)

‘People trying to figure out how to accomplish a home improvement project, fix their hair or prepare a recipe have helped grow YouTube’s “how-to” searches by 70 percent year-over-year.’(source: SearchengineLand.com

Cross Platform content

Research by bodies such as Ofcom have shown that popular video channels such as You Tube appeal equally to users of smart phones and tablets so its possible to produce content which will be enjoyed equally by all of your audience.

Why are Small Businesses not making better use of video?

I’ve done no hard research here but I’d imagine the reasons that prevented myself producing videos are quite widely shared

I. Lack of confidence in my ability to produce engaging videos
II. Concerns about quality
III. lack of time
IV. Skills & experience
a. Skills & experience are the most obvious barrier I’ve found personally in my dealing with video production, on reflection I failed to plan properly for creating video’s I have wanted to produce them for a while there’s a lot of factors to consider before going into video production such as
• branding
• lighting
• Sound
• planning
• editing
• workflow

At this time lack of expertise/experience prevents me from covering these topics in greater depth I really don’t want to give my readers poor advice, I’m happy to return to them in the future.

Parting thoughts

A few of the small business videos I’ve seen have been dreadful but some have been truly excellent (I suspect they have been professionally produced), Small Business videos really don’t need to feature actors and Spielberg standard filming/editing the fact they can be a bit patchy adds to their authenticity, when I’m choosing a local firm to do business with film star good looks are not part of my requirements

Given the growing popularity of online video it’s the perfect way for smaller businesses and its also good for search engine rankings, (Google own YouTube)’Video on social media can effect search results as well as be an entry point to your website (source:warroominc.com)

By |May 15th, 2015|Content, SEO, SME Online Marketing|Comments Off on The benefits of video for small business

How Agile Methodology will enable smaller businesses to compete effectively when creating content

agile development

(image:courtesy hubspot)

For a number of years the growing importance of content has been the dominant online trend, its all well and good expounding the benefits & necessity of good website content, these benefits are understood and appreciated by smaller businesses, yet the fact remains that many SMEs underperform with regards to content development, Search Engine Journal believe this could be due to a lack of planning &content strategy

61 percent of small B2B business owners said they plan to increase the amount of content they produce this year. However, only 44 percent have a plan for exactly how they’re going to do that. You see the problem?(source: Search Engine Journal)

b2b content challenges
Personally I feel the problem lies elsewhere with the emphasis placed on planning by Search Engine Journal displaying a larger company mindset it is this issue which we’ll be examining in this weeks blog post, we’ll examine why smaller businesses fail to develop content and examining practical steps which can be implemented to enable the content challenge to be tackled head on.

Why Content is important

There are quite a few benefits website content bring to a website these include

  • Improved Search Engine performance and hence more traffic
  • Establish Authority and trust
  • Boost Brand awareness/Loyalty
  • Content is Shareable (on social networks)

The Challenge facing Small Businesses

Research by the Content Marketing Institute has shown that lack of time is the biggest single challenge which faces SMEs when it comes to the development of Content, this would be consistent with my findings when discussing content & search Engine performance with clients, the two factors are inextricably linked it is for this reason, I personally feel the reasons are more complex than this, the desire for better search rankings is nearly universal in addition I feel its vital that any content strategies take into account the limited resources available to Smaller businesses, for this reason Agile Content Development would appear to be the best solution as its lightweight and fairly easy to implement, The Agile Software development principles are as follows, using these as a starting point lets look at adopting these to suit content development

Agile Software Development Principles

  1. Customer satisfaction by rapid delivery of useful software
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development
  3. Working software is delivered frequently (weekly rather than months)
  4. Close, daily cooperation between business people and developers
  5. Projects are built around motivated individuals, who should be trusted
  6. Face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication (co-location)
  7. Working software is the principal measure of progress
  8. Sustainable development, able to maintain a constant pace
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design
  10. Simplicity—the art of maximizing the amount of work not done—is essential
  11. Self-organizing teams
  12. Regular adaptation to changing circumstance(source: Wikipedia)

These principles, which comprise the agile manifesto, have been adjusted to suit content marketing by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), the following list contains the CMI amendments and the original Agile manifesto side by side so any adjustments can be easily noted.

Agile Content Development Principles

Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer
through early and continuous delivery
of valuable software.
CMI adjusted) Our highest priority is to impact the audience through timely and continuous delivery of valuable content.
Welcome changing requirements, even late in
development. Agile processes harness change for
the customer’s competitive advantage.
CMI adjusted) Welcome changing requirements, even late in content creation. Agile processes harness change for competitive advantage.
Deliver working software frequently, from a
couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a
preference to the shorter timescale.
CMI adjusted) Deliver content frequently, from a couple of minutes to a couple of months.
Business people and developers must work
together daily throughout the project.
CMI) Business people and content creators must work together daily throughout the project.
Build projects around motivated individuals.
Give them the environment and support they need,
and trust them to get the job done.
CMI) Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
The most efficient and effective method of
conveying information to and within a development
team is face-to-face conversation.
CMI) The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a team is face-to-face conversation.
Working software is the primary measure of progress.
CMI) Impactful content is the primary measure of progress.
Agile processes promote sustainable development.
The sponsors, developers, and users should be able
to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
CMI) Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, content marketers, and audience should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
Continuous attention to technical excellence
and good design enhances agility.
CMI) Continuous attention to writing excellence and good production practices enhances agility.
Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount
of work not done–is essential.
CMI) Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is essential.
At regular intervals, the team reflects on how
to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts
its behaviour accordingly.
CMI) At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly.

(sources: agilemanifesto.com, contentmarketinginstitute.com )

Parting thoughts

Most if not all Small Businesses wish to achieve better search engine rankings and good quality website content is the best way to achieve this. The agile methodology, which is pretty lightweight, offers smaller businesses with limited resources the chance to compete effectively in the content arena, the above framework offers them the chance to do this effectively

By |April 28th, 2015|Content|Comments Off on How Agile Methodology will enable smaller businesses to compete effectively when creating content

Why its important to be mobile friendly, how Google’s upcoming algorithm could affect your website

(image courtesy:hubspot)

(image courtesy:hubspot)


The attention of the SEO Industry is currently focussed on a notable change scheduled for April 21 it has as yet not been given a moniker by the SEO Industry, which is the usual practise (Google Penguin, Hummingbird, Panda et al it is however refereed to as the Google Mobile Friendly update it is this update we’ll be examining in this weeks post.

Why this update?

With the rise of mobile computing the nature of the web has completely changed over the last 10 years with mobile searches predicted to overtake searches from desktops & laptops in 2015,Search has had to move with the times to accommodate these changes, the problem is that many sites have failed to adapt to these changes (with only 2 – 10 % of sites being designed with mobile in mind (source:dreamscapedesign.co.uk) and it is these sites which fail to account for mobile users which will be penalised by the upcoming changes. Research has shown that mobile users have a low degree of tolerance for sites, which fail to accommodate them, and they will go elsewhere, with mobile bounce rates being roughly10% higher than desktop sites (source: https://blog.shareaholic.com)

What exactly is a Mobile Friendly website?

Google helpfully provide a tool for determining if a website is mobile friendly. One Concept, which complements mobile friendly is that of Responsive Web Design

Responsive Web design is the approach that suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behaviour and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation.(source: Smashing Magazine.com)

in practise this means that a site is easily usable whatever device it is viewed on. The amount of searches conducted on mobile devices is increasing all the time and this has influenced web design best practise. The Current trend is mobile first design where a website is first designed with mobile users in mind then adapted to take advantage of the extra viewing space on tablets and desktops

Mobile First is a philosophy created by Luke Wroblewski that highlights the need to prioritize the mobile context when creating user experiences. Source (bradfrost.com)

this approach uses techniques such as progressive enhancement to add features to the site so visitors on larger devices get a viewing experience which takes full advantage of their larger devices capabilities.

Parting thoughts

Small Business owners cannot afford to neglect mobile computing and the rise of the smartphone, the upcoming changes merely underline the importance of developing websites, which cater for visitors on all sorts of devices, failure to do so will soon be penalised by the dominant search engine, Id expect competitors such as Bing & Yahoo to follow suit, by ensuring that their websites are ready to accommodate smartphone and tablet users it will be possible to steal a march on your competitors, All the sites I develop are mobile friendly, to discover how I can revitalise your company website and to make it future proof contact me today

By |April 17th, 2015|SEO|Comments Off on Why its important to be mobile friendly, how Google’s upcoming algorithm could affect your website

The changing role of social media throughout the buyer’s journey

(image:courtesy hubspot)

(image:courtesy hubspot)


Although ‘buyer’s journey’ is a term I’m not particularly fond of, as a metaphor for describing how people reach decisions about purchases it’s perfect, that’s what I will be examining this this week. The buyers journey and how it relates to social media

Defining the buyers journey

Christine Crandell defines the Buyers Journey as

‘The buyers journey™ is a set of organising principles for aligning company functions and roles to enable, engage and establish enduring relationships with buyers’(source:slideshare.net)

the buyers journey is fairly similar to the sales funnel metaphor which has been in circulation since the 1920s so its not exactly a completely new concept

Stages of the Buyers Journey

Although there are many variations on the sales funnel & buyer’s journey for brevities sake I will stick to a fairly basic 3 stage model which is widely circulated online, these stages are as follows:

  • Awareness Stage
  • Consideration Stage
  • Decision Stage

Now lets examine these stages in greater detail …

Awareness stage

The awareness stage is where potential buyers will discover the existence of your company Marketing made simple.com suggest that

People can be made aware of your brand with or without the desire to purchase. Awareness can be based on a communications message, word of mouth or independent discovery.

it is during the awareness stage that social media can really help especially when developing brand awareness Jomer Gregorio at cjgdigintalmarketing.com suggests that

In a rapidly evolving digital age, businesses can get the same or even better visibility and exposure for their brands through digital marketing channels – foremost of which is social media – at the fraction of the cost traditional media requires. Creating greater awareness for your brand can be a bit challenging particularly for small and medium businesses(source: cjgdigitalmarketing.com)

Choosing which social networks to target is fundamentally important when developing a top of the funnel social media strategy. CEOs are unlikely to have snapchat accounts whereas Linked in and Twitter are a completely different story, it is for this reason that buyer personas are an essential tool, failure to target potential buyers will lead to wasted time & resources. Jeffrey Cohen argues that Top of the funnel social media content does not sell instead it educates potential buyers, this is a rather obvious shortcoming of the broadcast media approach of utilising social media where companies constantly sell or promote themselves on social networks, this can alienate people, I certainly find it off putting. Social media is primarily employed during the awareness phase

Consideration Stage

The Consideration stage is where potential customers are researching available vendors and solutions to their particular requirements. Marketingland.com call the consideration phase the education phase, this however is a more content marketing centric view of the phase, so it’s a great time to publicise educational content you’ve developed or curated, on your social media channels this is another argument for developing content, without any you have little or nothing to bring to social media, it’s at this a hurdle a lot of smaller companies fall at.

Decision Stage

Here the potential customer (I hate the term prospect) has nearly decided who to purchase from, Philip Kotler (2009) identifies potential factors(source:b2bmarketing.com) which may disrupt the purchasing decision these are things such as negative reviews and poor word of mouth, both areas where effective social media usage can make a difference, especially when social media is used for customer service

Parting thoughts

Social Media certainly has a role to play in the buyers journey with all three of the stages in the model I’ve used playing a significant if slightly different role in the nurturing of customers/leads. Carl Potts Designs offer social media management services, to discover how I can help your business contact me today

By |April 10th, 2015|Social Media|Comments Off on The changing role of social media throughout the buyer’s journey

The Role of Psychology in promoting content

contentpromotion
For this weeks post, I wish to revisit the idea of content promotion; this is one of the areas of my own marketing I’m keen to improve. I feel there’s a lot more to it than bang it on Facebook and hope someone likes it its that more I wish to briefly examine in this post so you can maximise the potential of your content, in my opinion it’s a skill worth taking the time to master. Developing great content is one thing, however it does not promote itself, as it’s a completely overdone quotation, I’ll refrain from referencing the film Field of Dreams (Which I’ve not actually seen) at this point of the post. That said effective Content promotion is an essential part of any content marketing efforts. If people don’t know your content is there they won’t visit it or recommend it to friends.

Obviously Social Media has a large part to play in the promotion of website content Curata.com argue that

‘When it comes to promoting content, social media is one of the most powerful tools available. However most content marketers fail to truly maximise its potential’ (source:curata.com)

Given the time, effort and cost of creating good quality content is a glaring shortcoming in any plans to utilise content as part of a companies marketing strategy, one its worth spending time to address properly, that’s what I’ll examine with this post.

The Psychology of sharing

The excellent study by the Customer Insight group of the New York Times investigates the ‘Psychology of Sharing’ in this they examine what motivates people to share content, within the study a number of sharer personas are developed, these being

1. Altruists
2. Careerists
3. Hipsters
4. Boomerangs
5. Connectors
6. Selectives

Each of these 6 personas has different motivations for sharing content
2 of these personas certainly describe my approach to sharing content. I don’t generally waste the time of friends & acquaintances by sharing what I regard as poor quality content(selective persona).Plus I genuinely like helping people without thought of rewards(altruist) On the contrary content has to be genuinely excellent for me to share it with friends, so in a way I act as a sort of content gatekeeper passing what I regard as superior quality onto my friends when I know it is a subject or area, which interests them. This is an approach I adopted from my time working at the University of Salford

Sharing is not a new concept its now moved online

The study highlights the fact people have shared content for years be it book, music or newspapers and that this sharing is part of human nature with an inference being drawn to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, this would certainly tie in with the anthropological view of online communities where a ‘gift economy’ operates ands status in the community is determined by the quality & regularity of the gifts ( in this case information rather than physical goods)

Personally I find the wisest piece of information in the study to be

Appeal to consumer’s motivation to connect with each other not just with your brand (source: The Psychology of sharing 2011)

Parting thoughts

In their Comprehensive guide to content promotion Hubspot recommend a 1:1 ratio of time spent promoting content: time creating content, its an excellent guide I feel is more targeted at large agencies than my company, the well structured strategies certainly gives me plenty of food for thought, i.e. content is not produced willy-nilly without any planning or forethought, I hope this blog post has given you an appreciation of just how important Content Promotion is if your company is using content marketing.

By |April 7th, 2015|Content, SME Online Marketing|Comments Off on The Role of Psychology in promoting content

Why developing a content marketing mindset will enable to you leave your inspiration woes behind

This week I wish to examine want to examine what I call the ‘content marketing mindset’ a year ago I would have thought there is no chance of me developing 40 odd weeks worth of blog posts, I’d say it’s the content mind-set and a bit of self discipline, I’ve turned creating a weekly blog post into a habit (yes, I am somewhat pleased with myself), I think that nearly every successful blogger has tapped into this vein of creativity, its what in previous ages was known as the muse

Ok, so what exactly is the content mindset?

This is similar to what some observers describe as ‘the publisher mind-set’ (source inc.com), which appears to be about regularly developing content, Personally I’d say the main focus of the content mind-set is slightly different it focuses on the needs of the customer rather than the need to be constantly publishing new content, I’m not an advocate of the content for contents sake approach it leads to a web full of underwhelming content, i.e. does this content answer a question my customers are asking? or will it enable them to develop a better understanding of online marketing and managing an effective website ,is there a concept or idea which causes a lot of confusion to those outside your industry? These concepts are frequently quite simple when broken down and explained properly, understanding this will enable people to make better-informed decisions, this is frequently

Easily overcome the most difficult hurdle

As with so many thing the biggest hurdle is actually getting started, finding a topic to cover or content to develop generally is that difficult first hurdle, fortunately developing a content marketing mind-set makes this a lot easier. I am constantly thinking is this a question or topic of interest to my customers? As with social media, listening is everything, listening to people either in face-to-face communications or via social media provides constant source of inspiration, to paraphrase the Guardian ‘learn to think like a customer’ I find that every day I am constantly attempting to view things from a customers perspective and looking for gaps in the content currently available on the web.

Parting thoughts

This week examined what some experts call the content mindset; my argument is that developing lots of good quality content does not need to be intimidating(I was very nervous about it at first plus I’ve only just begun to develop website content, it just requires a constant willingness to see things from a customers perspective this is a constant attitude personally I am always on the lookout for inspiration, especially when talking to customers or potential customers. If your site has lots of useful good quality content then both your customers and search engines will love you for it, so it’s a mindset well worth developing, personally I like helping people. Developing a content mindset is in my opinion an essential step on the way to successfully implementing content marketing within your organisation, without it you’ll be struggling to find inspiration.

By |March 20th, 2015|Content|Comments Off on Why developing a content marketing mindset will enable to you leave your inspiration woes behind

The Danger of SEO Misconceptions

image source :(Flickr India Amos)

image source :(Flickr India Amos)

This weeks post is inspired by a phone conversation this week, it concerned the lack of understanding the caller had about SEO, for those offering SEO service, as I do (the exact packages I will offer are currently being developed) I feel this could be a real problem, given the constantly evolving nature of Search Engines its completely unsurprising that the public’s perception of SEO is behind the time, SEO tactics which worked in 2005 are now (2015) markedly less effective, there appears to be a misconception that some arcane keyword related wizardry will boost search engine rankings and magically send you to the top of Google, sorry to disappoint you there is no shortcut if you are worried about poor search engine rankings of your website the solution is actually quite simple provide a website full of good quality interesting & useful content and you will attain good search rankings, anyone promising instant top page rankings in Google is a con artist trying it on, as this quote from wikimotive.com illustrates

For others, ones that have a peripheral knowledge of the field, they associate SEO with sketchy tactics, spammy comments, and just generally black hat tactics. The reality is that true SEO is nothing like that, but these kind of perceptions can be hard to get past. (Source: http://wikimotive.com)

by black hat tactics the author means SEO methods which Google do not approve of such as buying links & spamming the web with links, poor quality duplicated website content, I’ve covered black hat vs. White hat in a previous blog post so I don’t intend to examine the merits of both approaches here, white hat meaning SEO tactics the Search Engines do approve of such as good quality content & lots of it, this Content based model is not likely to radically change in the next few years although it will certainly evolve , I feel that if the SEO industry is to gain a better reputation these misconceptions will need to be addressed by practitioners.

Parting thoughts

What worries me is that someone will probably offer the caller or someone very like her a load of glib promises about being top of Google in next to no time as far as I know it doesn’t work like that historically it has been possible to use dodgy methods & tactics (some of which is regarded as black hat it violates Google guidelines), given the constantly developing algorithms leave less of these loopholes for this type of trickery to exploit, its you versus Google’s staff of 100s if not 1000s of PhD holders guess who is going to win. Dr Pete Meyers touches on this in his moz.com article, I feel the route problem is a lack of understanding from the general public and far too many people more than happy to exploit that desire for quick and easy great SERP rankings and widespread myths regarding the nature of SEO,I generally get one email a week from abroad offering me all sorts of services, many of which are no longer effective or never were effective or necessary, sorry you don’t need to submit your website to Google or have 100s of badly written articles submitted to various websites, a website cram full of good quality useful content is going to rank well in Search Engines

Quick Glossary

SEO – Search Engine Optimisation
Whitehat – SEO tactics which follow Google guidelines
Blackhat – SEO tactics which violate Google guidelines

By |March 6th, 2015|Content, SEO, SME Online Marketing|Comments Off on The Danger of SEO Misconceptions

Why Content requires Commitment

Original Image: Flickr Peter Mooney

Original Image: Flickr Peter Mooney

This weeks post was inspired by an article on the Searchengineland.com website, it is of interest because it examines where a number of regular topics here converge namely content marketing, search engine optimisation local search, my target customers are primarily small local businesses so this is of particular interest to me and I’d imagine of interest to small local businesses In the article Chris Silver Smith examines the types of content which produce tangible benefits and highlights strategies which are now much less beneficial such as guest blogging, this is a constantly evolving arena as search Engine algorithms develop over time to counter spammy tactics. I’m eager to develop website content and improve the Search Performance of this website, Silver Smith examines a few types of content and analyses the effectiveness of these tactics from a SEO perspective.

Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is a prime example of a now devalued tactic. I’m often inundated with emails offering blog posts & articles to be submitted on my behalf (which is why Google now place much less weight on blog posts for SEO purposes) I’ve covered this in a previous post on this blog

Blogging

Silver Smith suggests that

A blog can easily be a foundational element for performing content marketing and social media marketing, and they’re so easy to do that there’s little excuse not to have one.(source:searchengineland.com)

I often encounter quite a lot of reluctance to commit to maintaining a company blog, I’m not sure what the root cause is here, perhaps it’s a lifelong dislike of writing developed in school also there is an inaccurate perception of what blogs are about, many people seem to associate blogging with vitriolic rants obsessed with popular culture, sure some blogs are like that but the overwhelming majority are not, the web abounds with company blogs that stalled after literally a handful of posts this brings us to what I consider the most important message from the Silver Smith article, which is ironic because this very blog was stalled for quite a long time, lets say 6 months

Parting thoughts

Personally I feel the salient point of the article is the emphasis on the need for long term commitment to creating good content, its this hurdle I feel that most small businesses fail to clear. Chris Silver – Smith argues

Most of the time, content marketing requires steady, consistent production over time for the beneficial effects to noticeably accrue. I’ve seen a lot of businesses that publish 5-10 blog posts and then run out of steam. Perhaps they’re not imaginative enough to come up with ongoing topics to post about, but it seems more likely they lose the initial enthusiasm and motivation.(source:searchengineland.com)

This failure to Commit to long term Content creation has been noticed by other observers it certainly tallies with my own findings. Derek Halpern at social triggers.com implies that

It turns out that most people who start blogs quit within the first 3 months.(source:socialtriggers.com)

if content is to deliver, the results that businesses want (better website traffic, more engaged customers/visitors,better Search Engine results) then these results are NOT going to come overnight

By |February 27th, 2015|Content, SME Online Marketing|Comments Off on Why Content requires Commitment

Why SMEs don’t need to be afraid of Social Media

(image: courtesy Flickr Lara 604)

(image: courtesy Flickr Lara 604)


This weeks post is inspired by a conversation I had with a client over the last few weeks, it concerns the viability of social media for smaller businesses, the major reason this small business owner was wary of Social Media was the dangers of gaining a negative online reputation as one of this competitors had a nightmare with disgruntled customers online, this was in my opinion a real missed opportunity as his business served an extremely social media savvy demographic (students). Social Media books abound with tales of companies, which get it wrong on social media so I won’t soft soap readers with a saccharine vision of social media loveliness however I will examine the reasons why companies and brands generate such online anger from disgruntled customers and practical steps smaller businesses can take to reduce/eliminate these dangers, its not all bad news these customer problems also provide companies with an opportunity to shine, every cloud … Firstly lets examine the problems

Problem 1:Slow or no response to online queries

Times have changed, customers don’t rely as much on the telephone for customer service, these days they tweet and they expect tweets to be responded to in a prompt and professional manner, again Social Media books generally feature an example where companies have failed to provide a response on a hardly staffed twitter account, unsurprisingly this leads to angry and irritated customers some of who will be quite vitriolic about your company quite publically, as so often is the case online this is a two edged sword, Excellent customer service may be rewarded with quite visible praise which will give your company a positive online reputation and good word of mouth

Solution 1: effective listening with a smart phone

If you are overloaded with work the last thing you need is to be sat monitoring the company twitter account at your computer so lets examine ways that make it easy to monitor the companies twitter & Facebook accounts without tying you up, I’ll try to do this on a budget without signing up for expensive social media monitoring accounts

Solution1.1 Gmail

Gmail’s tabbed organisation makes monitoring social media updates (such as a mention or a direct message) in the social media tab extremely easy the good news is that its free and available for both iPhone and Android

Solution 1.2 Hootsuite

If Gmail is not enough then hootsuite makes a good addition, it’s easy to integrate all of your social networks into one easily monitored app(available both iPhone and android) this means even small businesses won’t be caught napping when someone tweets them with a customer service request, Facebook and Twitter both offer dedicated apps which mean its easily possible to monitor your companies social media accounts

Parting thoughts

Social Media doesn’t need to be a no go area for Small Businesses with a bit of forethought and preparation its easily possible to ensure that your companies social media accounts are adequately monitored, speed and the quality of your response is the make or break factor here

By |February 20th, 2015|Social Media|Comments Off on Why SMEs don’t need to be afraid of Social Media