SEO, Web Design & Marketing, High Wycombe
Social Media Marketing: Part 4 - So Why Bother With All This Social.. Media.. Stuff?

Is Social Media a fad? Could be; it depends on your definition of the word “fad”. Was email a fad? How about the Internet as a whole? Or computers?

More importantly, it is worth focussing on the fact that new products & services come along at a tremendous rate on the Internet these days. If they prove useful though, they tend to stick around. 

How can Social Media Work for You?

So what is so useful about Social Media for business right now? Here’s a summary:

  • Social Media can bypasses the “gatekeeper” (e.g. a company receptionist) and allow communication directly with the decision makers. This may change in the future, but for now, it is a great benefit.
  • There are millions of bloggers & “Twitterers”. They have the capability to influence others. If you encourage positive interaction through social media, your positive reputation can potentially spread virally. Social Media is effectively an online channel facilitating word of mouth referrals and recommendations.
  • Over time, you are able to reduces your marketing costs without reducing your number of leads. 
  • Part of the reason that costs are reduced is that your marketing efforts can be so much more focussed and deliver a higher success rate. Social Media campaigns *can* offer significantly increased conversion rates. For example, CTRs on links sent via Twitter DMs or mentions can be pretty high. Note: this does not mean that you should adopt a “SPAMMY” aproach to social media marketing and blitz 1000s of users with @ mentions. This will NOT benefit your business long-term.

Real Life Social Media Marketing Case Studies

So these are a few reasons for getting involved with Social Media for your business. But does it *really* work? The logic seems sound, but what about in practice; in the real world? Well, here are some positive examples we have experienced:

  1. We conducted a localised search on Twitter for people tweeting about topics we were interested in. Over time, we followed several people using this method. We also sent personal (non-automated) @ mentions to some of them. Several 2-way conversations were started. On some occasions, we outlined what we offered (sometimes it is better to wait until you are asked - your profile should explain what you do so people you connect with can find out what you do if they really want to). A month or two after initiating these connections, one user expressed an interest in getting a quote for a project they had in their pipeline but wouldn’t be able to handle in house. This relationship has the potential for long-term benefits including repeat business.
  2. We regularly tweet about what we’re up to and what technologies we use (e.g. Wordpress, Magento E-commerce etc…). We generated a fresh enquiry for a new e-commerce project via our Twitter account from one of our followers who we had met and engaged with via Twitter only. In fact, the interest was on behalf of someone they knew (word of mouth in action!).
  3. We are members of several relevant groups on LinkedIn. I occasionally set aside half an hour or so to go through some of the most relevant & active ones and post comments to existing discussions and occasionally start a new conversation if I think it would be of interest to other members (e.g. a popular Blog post relevant to the group in question). One of these posts of mine generated a fresh lead from a LinkedIn member we had never communicated with before relating to the technology that we had posted about.
  4. I decided it would be a good time to start a LinkedIn group related to Internet Marketing for professionals & buyers within a certain geographical region (Look us up on LinkedIn - we’re called the “Thames Valley Internet Marketing” group). I promoted this on Twitter and our Blog. I also invited a select few of my existing LinkedIn connections to join, one of which I had connected with 6+ months previous but had not managed to work together yet. The invitation to the group nudged them into asking for assistance on a potential project in their pipeline.

As your targeted follower network grows, the number of incoming leads will naturally increase also. It’s all about getting in front of people, and staying in front of people, without getting in their way and becoming annoying!

What often discourages people is the on-going effort required. This can turn out to be quite minimal though, if planned & managed properly. The most important thing is to have a plan; a strategy for your social media marketing. You will not see results over night.

Interested to learn more? Talk to us!

Tel: +44 (0)1494 259 141

Email: info@acuras.co.uk 

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Social Media Marketing: Part 3 - Twitter… Engage & Enjoy!

Our previous article focussed on LinkedIn and how to setup your profile. This article moves away from LinkedIn and onto Twitter. So how can you use Twitter to benefit your business? Here is a high level step by step guide to getting setup and then making use of Twitter as an on-going Internet Marketing tool. 

Getting Started with Twitter

First of all, you need to register for an account on the Twitter website. First off, register your personal / company username immediately on Twitter before it becomes unavailable. The more popular a platform becomes, fewer username handles become available.

If you are completely new to Twitter, after you have registered your main Twitter account, don’t touch it. Yep, you heard me correctly! Why? If this is going to be your main Twitter account, you want to avoid looking like a complete novice in front of those already using Twitter as you could damage your reputation, leading to… yep, you’ve guessed it… lost opportunities! And we don’t like lost opportunities!

For this reason, setting up a “test” account for you to mess around with is a good idea. This relieves any pressure to understand the whole thing from Day 1. Spend some time looking around and following people to see how they use Twitter etc…

Setup Your Twitter Profile

Assuming you’re ready to roll with your main Twitter account though, you will need to setup your profile effectively. Don’t forget to:

  1. Upload a profile picture (ideally your personal photo or a company logo)
  2. Add an informative description. What you do, and where you do it!
  3. Link to your website. Silly not to.

Grow Your Network of Twitter Followers

The next steps involve growing your network and actually tweeting. 

So how do you grow your number of followers? A good starting point is to follow people you know. Also, follow people you don’t know but who are tweeting about relevant subjects to you or who are prospective customers (e.g. people who are local to you - can be effective in connecting with new people just around the corner from you). 

You can also include your Twitter account on business cards, other stationery, email footers / signatures. Growing your network of connections on Social Media platforms is an ongoing process so have fun promoting yourself to other Twitter users! But remember, don’t SPAM and don’t force Twitter upon prople who aren’t ready for it yet!

What to Tweet?

But what should we tweet about? Twitter is all about tweeting… suprisingly! You won’t be able to grow your network very effectively if you don’t tweet anything or if you only tweet spammy sales messages. Here are some ideas of what you can tweet about:

  1. Latest news within your industry
  2. Useful tips & hints
  3. Tasteful humour. Show that you’re human!!
  4. Interesting quotes or phrases (use sparingly)
  5. Be social - say hello, good morning and goodnight!
  6. What you’re up to (preferably related to your profession, rather than your daily eating habits!)
  7. Listen and engage - read other people’s tweets (listen) and respond with @ replies that either express gratitude or agreement with their thoughts (engage). It’s not worth picking fights on Twitter, but politely putting across your own thoughts on a topic can be a great way to start a discussion.

Hope these points proved informative. Part 4 of our “Social Media Marketing” series will be coming soon.

Want to learn more? Talk to us!

Tel: +44 (0)1494 259 141

Email: info@acuras.co.uk 

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Social Media Marketing: Part 2 - Your LinkedIn Profile & Recommendations

In our previous article in this series on Social Media Marketing, we gave an overview of Social Media and the important part it plays in being found ahead of your competitors. We particularly looked at LinkedIn as a platform for growing a network and building a sustainable pot of contacts which can generate leads.

This article aims to run through some important features of your LinkedIn profile which you should be making use of. An incomplete profile can turn potential customers off and result in missed opportunities. So how can you maximise the effectiveness of your LinkedIn profile?

  1. Upload a Profile Photo - This is an important part of your professional profile. It allows potential customers or employers to put a face to the name. It encourages trust and shows you to be a “real” person who takes networking and new opportunities seriously. Uploading a company logo is acceptable but really you should be using LinkedIn to forge personal relationships which can lead to new business opportunities. Admittedly, I’ve been guilty of resorting to using the Acuras logo instead of my mug-shot. This is definitely on my list of to-dos to change! LinkedIn has a whole section devoted to companies so your company logo and details can be added here instead of your personal profile.
  2. Include an informative “Professional Headline” - Explain what you do (and where you do it). As an example, “Internet Marketing Consultant in High Wycombe” could be classed as a good description. Sure, it could be tweaked or added to, but it gets the message across and will benefit you when people search for “Internet Marketing in High Wycombe”. A poor example of a personal tagline would be “MD of Acuras” all on its own. This doesn’t tell viewers of your profile anything about what you do or where you do it.
  3. Make use of your extended description. In the “Summary” section of your profile you can add in more details about what you do and what services you offer. Make sure you cover all of your main offerings, again, to avoid any missed opportunities. Don’t miss out your “Specialties” either.
  4. Fill in details of your past experience - You should add previous jobs and experience to your profile in order to build a more complete profile. Relevant jobs and experience are preferable as they show potential buyers / employers what experience you have relevant to their needs.
  5. Fill in details of your Education (past & present) - Professional qualifications can boost your personal image, and show you as academically accomplished. It can also be a nice way to build common ground with potential customers if they have been to the same schools or universities as you. You’d be amazed at how such a simple thing can act as a great starting point for a conversation and open up new opportunities.  
  6. Get personal recommendations - Last time I checked, getting 100% profile completion according to LinkedIn requires at least 2 recommendations from other LinkedIn members. Obviously the LinkedIn “Profile Completeness” guage isn’t the be all and end all, but it’s a nice indicator. And just to be clear, once you get to 100% completeness according to LinkedIn, don’t stop requesting recommendations! So how do you get recommendations on LinkedIn? A good way is to recommend other professionals you know and who you feel deserve a recommendation (worthwhile clarifying this!) and likely they will reciprocate. Requesting recommendations from a few key clients with polite covering notes explaining the reason for the request can also be beneficial. 
  7. Integrate your LinkedIn profile with your Twitter account & Blog - Remember that an important part of Internet Marketing is about being seen and in front of your prospects on a regular basis. Keeping your profile up to date with regular status updates and Blog posts etc… is an unobtrusive way of staying in front of those who check their LinkedIn network activity (either by email or on the LinkedIn website for example).

In the last point above I mentioned Twitter, so how exactly should Twitter play a part in your Social Media Marketing strategy. Tune in next time for Part 3 of this series to find out! Nothing quite like a cliff-hanger to end an article! I hope you enjoyed the read and you’ll pop back again soon…

Interested in learning more? Talk to us!

Tel: +44 (0)1494 259 141

Email: info@acuras.co.uk 

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Social Media Marketing: Part 1 - LinkedIn & the Importance of Search

Why is Search Important?

It is now a well established fact that most B2B buyers use “search” to find suppliers. Before we race ahead of ourselves though, “search” does not just mean Google! Google are incredibly important when it comes to online searches, but other platforms play a key role as well.

Social Media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, or business networks such as LinkedIn, include search as a key component of their platform. They can all be used and abused in different ways.

If you think about the reasoning behind Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), the goal is to rank highly for relevant keyphrases so that potential customers can find you before they find your competitors. The same principle applies to the social networks. If a potential buyer searches LinkedIn for companies in your region that do what you do, can they find you? or do your competitors steal the show?

How to use Social Media as a Marketing Tool

Marketing your business effectively on Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn etc… requires a tailored approach to each platform, yet the underlying principles remain the same:

- Be Helpful

- Be Seen

- Don’t spam!

How to Use LinkedIn

So how do we apply these principles to LinkedIn marketing? Well, success on LinkedIn starts with having your personal profile set up effectively. There are plenty of articles and tips out there on how to do this, so I won’t go into the details here (subject of a future blog post no doubt!). 

So once you have your profile setup, you need to start building your network. The obvious way to get this started is to connect with those you know. You can import your address book into LinkedIn and let them fire off invites to all those you wish to connect with.To grow your network beyond those you already know on Day 1 can obviously be acheived by connecting with individuals you meet in your business dealings or face to face networking. 

Expand your Network & Make New Connections

What about being able to expand your network and target new prospects without having to leave your laptop though? Anti-social? Perhaps! But let’s not forget that many (most?) successful business relationships can be sparked from an initial online encounter (of the good kind!). If you strike up new business relationships online, this doesn’t mean they have to stay online!

So how can we make these new connections? This is where LinkedIn Groups and LinkedIn Answers comes in useful. We’ll focus on LinkedIn Groups for now. LinkedIn Groups are effectively self-contained social networks within the larger “global” network of LinkedIn users. Groups are normally quite specific to a certain topic, industry or profession and allow like-minded professionals to meet and share ideas. They also allow buyers (or employers) to connect with potential suppliers (or employees). 

Be Active, Helpful & Professional

If you show yourself to be active, helpful, and well informed on what you’re talking about, prospects will be more inclined to contact you. As long as you keep on being helpful, you will have the freedom to occasionally advertise (althought I prefer the word “mention”) what you do. This can sometimes act as the nudge for someone to get in touch. But remember not to overdo it. There is no excuse for SPAM. Plastering a group with adverts for your “amazing” company will not only turn customers away, it will damage your reputation, and likely result in you getting banned from that group.

It’s all About the Right Kind of Visibility

Finishing on a positive note though, LinkedIn can offer a wealth of opportunities for making new connections and capturing new business. It’s all about visibility (being seen) and adding value (being helpful).

Remember, If you’d like some assistance with getting to grips with LinkedIn, do let us know. We can be contacted via email on info@acuras.co.uk or you can call us on 01494 259 141. We’ll be happy to help.

Next Time

We’re already looking forward to publishing Part 2 of this “Social Media Marketing” series next week. We’ll keep you posted!

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SEO Strategy: Let’s Stamp out Mindless Link Building! Let’s Educate!

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is NOT a brute-force technique that results in success based on quantitative results. Quality is key.

Unfortunately there are too many “SEO companies” out there touting their link building services promising big numbers of links. They even claim to deliver high quality links, which sounds great.

But… first rule, if it sounds too good to be true… then research, research, research! Ask questions, get real, live examples of past work. Ask HOW they do their work.. if they won’t tell you, walk away.Unfortunately, because of the nature of Search Engine Optimisation, it is tempting to market SEO “products” or services around numerical values (e.g. number of links). But this is not what gives the most positive long-term results.

Because some companies are marketing SEO as a “numbers” game, how can we expect potential customers to demand anything different?We need to educate customers as to what high quality Search Engine Optimisation campaigns typically involve. Rarely would any two SEO campaigns be the same. Mindless link building is not the way forward. Intelligent SEO strategy is the way forward…

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SEO Strategy: Let’s Stamp out Mindless Link Building! Let’s Educate!

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is NOT a brute-force technique that results in success based on quantitative results. Quality is key.

Unfortunately there are too many “SEO companies” out there touting their link building services promising big numbers of links. They even claim to deliver high quality links, which sounds great.

But… first rule, if it sounds too good to be true… then research, research, research! Ask questions, get real, live examples of past work. Ask HOW they do their work.. if they won’t tell you, walk away.Unfortunately, because of the nature of Search Engine Optimisation, it is tempting to market SEO “products” or services around numerical values (e.g. number of links). But this is not what gives the most positive long-term results.

Because some companies are marketing SEO as a “numbers” game, how can we expect potential customers to demand anything different?We need to educate customers as to what high quality Search Engine Optimisation campaigns typically involve. Rarely would any two SEO campaigns be the same. Mindless link building is not the way forward. Intelligent SEO strategy is the way forward…

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New Thames Valley Internet Marketing Group on LinkedIn

Just wanted to share with everyone the new LinkedIn group that has been created with Internet Marketing professionals in the Thames Valley in mind.

Say hello on the Thames Valley Internet Marketing Group here: http://linkd.in/InternetMarketingUK

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Local SEO Strategy & Usability: Text Telephone Numbers a No Brainer!
Including a local telephone number on your business website is typically a “no brainer”. Including it as text (instead of an image) means that the search engines will pick up on the number in their indexing. Now… this *may* have positive effects on your search engine rankings in local searches.

Having a number with a local area code may be noticed by Google etc… as an “on-page trust identifier” which could help you rise above the competition who do not display a local telephone number on their websites. At the time of writing, there is no conclusive proof of this (we don’t know Google’s algorithm!) but there have been some interesting studies into this potential ranking factor (among others). There is also something to be said for including your telephone number in your meta title and/or descriptions; the thinking behind this being that your telephone number will show up in the organic search engine results. Why is that useful? Well, arguably it can set you apart from the crowd, particularly if telephone sales are important in your market.

From a “standard” SEO point of view though, even if a local telephone number doesn’t yet affect the search engines’ rankings, there’s a good chance it may well do in the future, so it’s a good idea nonetheless.From a usability point of view, it is wise to include your telephone number and contact details on your website in a prominent location, ideally on every page.

There’s some good further reading on SEO & Usability related to local telephone numbers and contact details below. Enjoy!Further Reading:
http://www.seosmarty.com/how-to-optimize-your-site-for-phone-calls/
http://www.goodusability.co.uk/2009/06/providing-contact-details/
http://www.searchenginejournal.com/is-there-such-a-thing-as-on-page-trust-factors-poll/10696/

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5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. 1.. we have lift off!!

Yep that’s right folks… the day has finally come!! Almost a year in the making (ouch!), we have finally launched our brand spanking new website: www.acuras.co.uk

We feel it is a real step in the right direction for Acuras and will push us forward in 2011. We have distilled our main offerings down into a more concise (and hopefully clearer) list of services:

Give us a visit and let us know what you think. As always, if we can help with anything, just let us know!

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Multi-language Drupal Website Builds

Over the last couple of months we have been working on a large multi-language Drupal CMS website build with a partner internet marketing company for their client.

Drupal is an open source Content Management System (CMS) which is ideal for building flexible and robust websites. 

From the Drupal website:

Drupal is free, flexible, robust and constantly being improved by hundreds of thousands of passionate people from all over the world. 

We have been involved in the following Drupal work on this project:

  • Template coding and integration into Drupal
  • Installing necessary Drupal modules (Translate module, SEO / Meta Tags module etc…)
  • Setting up site structure for 4 languages with 25+ pages for each language

Got your own Drupal build / customisation project in the pipeline? Get in touch if you’d like a competitive quote from Acuras on delivering the build for you or your client.

We look forward from hearing from you!

You can email us on:
info@acuras.co.uk

or call us on: 
+44 (0)1494 259 141

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