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Why Does Your Business Needs Social Media?


Courtesy of Vicky Anscomb and the Eastern Daily Press:

"Social media’s a bit of a tricky one when engaging with a client for the first time. They’ll probably be familiar with (and keen to hear about) PPC, SEO and site design, but when it comes to social media, they may well lean forward with narrowed eyes and ask the dreaded question, ‘But why do I need social media?’

This is the time to stop wittering about ‘brand awareness’, ‘community cohesion’ and ‘moving forward with technology’, and time to bring out some solid reasons that companies should be on board when it comes to social media. It’s not enough to claim that everyone else is doing it, and it ‘makes a difference’. If you’re looking to impress in any upcoming meetings, the following points are sure to win over clients:

Firstly, there are mind-boggling numbers of people using social media. At the time of writing this, Twitter has over 100 million ‘active’ users (users who log in once a month) and Facebook has approximately 794 million users. These are people that you ignore at your peril - they’re out there, and it’s up to you to try to find them, and then harness their buying power. Refusing to engage with social media users is like knowing there’s a packed shopping centre in town full of browsing buyers, but point-blank refusing to set up a shop there just because it’s new and a bit daunting.

Secondly, you’ll be able to get a better idea of who’s interested in your brand - and you’ll know who to target in the future. Facebook Insights, Sprout Social, Brandwatch and other applications that measure social networking analytics can not only show you the gender of the people engaging with you, but their age, where they’re located, the main languages they speak, and the medium they’re using to surf the web. This is especially handy if you’re wondering why the app you’ve launched hasn’t taken off (users using desktop computers) or nobody’s writing lengthy chunks of text on your Facebook wall (smartphone users).

You can also get inside peoples’ heads. Not many customers will take the time to fill in a review or a long survey, but they may well respond to a tweet or update that asks them what they think of a new design. You’ll also find that you receive both good and bad feedback, and how you respond to this will shape how your customers see you. If you’re able to placate a furious customer with some excellent, speedy customer service, you’ll not only win them round, but anyone else who sees that you’re bending over backwards to assist them. Social media allows a level of transparency not often seen in communications between customer and vendor, so use this to your advantage.

Tools such as Twilert and Tweetbeep can let you know when people are talking about you - and you can set up alerts for people talking about the products you sell. So, if you see a tweet from a local person wondering where they can find [insert your product], you can neatly introduce yourself and politely ask if you can help. These tools enable you to be the butler at the party - you can overhear everyone’s conversations and step in when you feel it’s appropriate. Just be careful not to overdo this side of things, or your Twitter timeline will become a sad pool of desperation.

If you want to be seen as a leader within your field, you have to remember that your opinions are worthwhile - and you should respond to industry developments at the earliest opportunity. It’s far easier to send out a quick update on Google+ or Facebook than it is to draft a blog for your website, and your customers will see your passion for your business. If you’re making a particularly strong point, or one that generates discussion, all the better - your views will get shared, driving more people towards your social media - and your website.

If you’re looking for fresh talent, especially in the social media and online networking sphere, you should be using social media to try to find your next big star. More and more businesses are using their social media accounts to search for employees, as it’s free, the word is easily spread, and it’s a great way to drive people wanting new information to your website. Plus, it’s a very promising sign if you manage to find someone through social media as it shows they have a good understanding of the medium - and its potential.

Finally, don’t forget that the speed of social media can make it behave a bit like Lassie - it can let you know that something’s wrong long before you even have an inkling of disaster. If you receive many messages informing you that the same thing has gone awry with your product, it’s time to stop the production line and start your examination. It’s true that badly-run social media accounts have the capacity to damage your brand irreversibly, but they also have the potential to save it from a sticky end, so value your followers - they may end up saving your bacon."

http://www.edp24.co.uk/business/advice/vicky_anscomb_how_to_convince_your_clients_that_they_need_social_media_1_1351171



Published on 17-Apr-2012 12:00 with No comments  
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Join the conversation - the importance of social media


 When most people think of social media, they think of Facebook and Twitter. The impression is that these are places where teenagers and celebrities share photo's from nights on the town and whittle away hours on end, chatting with friends and strangers, sharing intimate details about their lives, which previosuly would have stayed behind closed doors.

Whilst undoubtedly there is a grain of truth in the myth, social media is much more than the common perception and offers businesses an unrivalled opportunity to increase their profile, build trust in their brand, position themselves as experts in their field, generate leads and interact with existing and potential customers alike in a cost-effective and efficient way.

Let us begin with the obvious; increased profile. Facebook alone has over 700 million individual profiles at the last count and the number is growing. A similar number are on Twitter and when you factor in the numbers on sites such as Google+, LinkedIn and the traffic frequenting YouTube everyday, you begin to realise the potential audience your business profile can reach. It is this audience size, which necessitates the need, not only to have a profile, but to manage it professionally. As someone once told us, you wouldn't let an intern put together a TV commercial for you, so don't let one publish messages on your behalf which have a potential audience of billions.

Other social media platforms such as the one created by EEDA, are used by businesses in the tendering process. Recently David Coulson from EEDA updated members of the Broadland and Breckland business forums, on how to register your business online for the chance to win some of the remaining London 2012 Olympic contracts. In his presentation David also informed our members that once the Olympics are run, Local Authorities, will be using the site in their own tendering processes.

A social media presence can also boost your profile in other, less obvious ways, particularly in terms of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). When an individual searches for terms on Google or Yahoo, the search engines not only crawl websites, but social media sites. This is in part because the main search engines are owned by, or work in close partnership with, social media sites (for example Google own both Google+ and YouTube, while they are great friends with LinkedIn) and will thus naturally look to those sites first. Search engines also work by ascertaining the relevance of a term in relation to a search, to provide it's users with the most appropriate results. it does this by not only locating the terms by searched for but the context they are being used in. As such, social media sites, which by their definition are social, allow you to engage with the terms, in a way that the search engines love. If you are having a conversation about a great place to buy music, search engines will pick up on the context and point searches for "music stores" to the content. If you link these conversations back to your brand and your website, you can be onto a winner. Social media sites, also allow you another platform on which to post your news, events, offers and vacancies, all of which can link back to your main site, driving traffic back to your site.

It is this involvement in conversations, that also allow you the chance to increase the trust in your brand and position your brand as an expert in your industry. By providing authoritative answers to questions, not only are you interacting directly with potential customers as they look to validate purchasing decisions, you are boosting your SEO, meaning people with similar queries in the future, are likely to be pointed to your answers. If you aren't there to answer the questions, a competitor will be and their brand, not yours will be front and centre as people look to make a purchase. Done correctly, a social media campaign can thus position your brand as a market expert, increase your SEO and influence purchasing, generating leads, all in one fell swoop.

Despite it's growing importance, one of the biggest challenges facing businesses is time allocation and experience in navigating the internet, whilst still doing the day job. With more and more businesses are using social media and other websites to promote their business, you cannot afford to be left behind and it is not as expensive, time consuming or as painful as it might appear. Spending a short amount of time getting up to speed with it, will ensure your business reaps the benefits long term.

If you are still unsure, do not have the time or would like a second opinion on the viability of your website which will include the loading of an EEDA web page for your business, if required, then give our Marketing Manager and Social Media guru, Andy at The Lively Crew a call on 01603 702374, or email andrew@thelivelycrew.co.uk and he will be able to advise you on, how your business can quickly become more visible on the internet, how to set-up quick business profiles, and a hassle-free way to use the internet and social media as an ongoing marketing tool for your business.



Published on 23-Feb-2012 12:00 with No comments  
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Still Time to Win Olympic Race with EEDA


For those of you who have attended one of our recent business forums and heard David Coulson explain how a presence on the CompeteFor website, can help your business attract tendering opportunities for the Olympics and other public sector organisation’s work, and have yet to upload your businesses profile - then you are not the only one.

On the front page of a recent EDP, businesses across Norfolk were being urged to sign up as there are still contracts worth millions of pounds up for grabs. If that was not incentive enough to set-up a profile, then remember that, at the very least, a business profile page on CompeteFor will improve the visibility of your business online, including in search engine results.

One of the biggest challenges facing businesses is time allocation and experience in navigating the internet, whilst still doing the day job. More and more businesses are using social media and other websites to promote their business and it is not as expensive, time consuming or as painful as it might appear. Spending a short amount of time getting up to speed with it, will ensure your business reaps the benefits long term.

If you are still unsure, do not have the time or would like a second opinion on the viability of your website which will include the loading of an EEDA web page for your business, if required, then give our Marketing Manager and Social Media guru, Andy at The Lively Crew a call on 01603 702374, or email andrew@thelivelycrew.co.uk and he will be able to advise you on, how your business can quickly become more visible on the internet, how to set-up quick business profiles, and a hassle-free way to use the internet and social media as an ongoing marketing tool for your business.



Published on 16-Feb-2012 12:00 with No comments  
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Social Media Offers and Work Experience Successes


 We are delighted to be able to announce the latest exclusive Fresh Pod offer for fans of the little green ethylene control wonder, across the social media sphere.

All you need to do to receive the unique code, earning you a massive 33% off is to follow Fresh Pod on Facebook and Twitter. We have even provided the links to do so to save you all that pesky searching. You're welcome.

The offer expires on 26th November 2011 - giving you just enough time to stock up on gifts for friends and family this Christmas.

In yet more good news, we are delighted to welcome our latest Work Experience recruit to the team. Daniel White has joined on an 8-week work experience placement from Norwich Jobcentre. Daniel is using his voice of an angel (find out why) to help us manage our Online Business Directory's.

We are delighted to have Daniel, who has proved willing to get his hands dirty (metaphorically) with a range of tasks and hope we can give him the experience needed to go on to a fulfilling career in his chosen field.

We have one more marketing, sales and events work experience vacancy available at the moment - for more information on how to apply please contact our Marketing Manager Andrew Lawn on 08456 345 185 or email him and he will be happy to help.




Published on 26-Oct-2011 12:00 with 1 comment  
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The Science of Google


 Google is a fascinating proposition.

If you discount for a moment the beautiful simplification of the idea in the first place. Discount, the fact that at the last estimate, it dealt with over 400,000,000 different queries EVERY day (that's over 4,600 a second). Even discount just how much knowledge (and skating boarding animals) Google gives us - Google remains fascinating.

As a result of the above; the science behind how Google determines who should sit top of their listing for any request is big business. Numerous companies, in numerous guises, pledge to send you to the top of Google in the blinking of any eye. Some of them may even do it. But the beauty is, no-one can ever guarantee it, because what puts you there, evolves as fast as the internet itself and remains firmly under lock and key at Google HQ.

Long ago, keywords were essentially (but not entirely) the be-all and end-all. The more your website said the words "marketing agency" the higher Google placed you. As such, clever SEO specialists would fill your site with invisible keywords (i.e. in white text on a white background) which Google would swallow up. Unsurprisingly, it did not take Google long to see through this cunning rouse and adapted their ranking criteria accordingly.

Today, the mix is much more subtle and designed to ensure that the user gets the most relevant information out of any search. As such Google looks far wider than keywords and in a far-more intelligent way than merely reading and counting. Now Google looks for everything. All the content on your site is judged by it's accuracy and relevancy to any given search. Therefore, unlike before, if your site says "we outsource to a marketing agency" and a user searches "marketing agency" Google will recognise the context of the keywords in that sentence. As such the quality of your sites content is more important than ever. No longer will it do to just say (or be a) "marketing agency".

Google will do the same thing with links. Both internally and externally Google will look at who is linking to your site and why. Not only that, bu the more illustrious Google deems those who link to you, the more your site will bask in that reflective glory. (Incidently this is why membership of our Online Business Directories is so valuable...).

Google manages the same trick with it's adverts, both on searches and in services such as Google+ and Gmail. Try it out for yourself - send an email to a friend and say you fancy a trip to the cinema and Google will populate the side panel with cinema listing websites. Say that you can't afford the cinema and Google will give you adverts for DVD rentals. The software is so advanced that in a recent research project I discovered Google can pick up on the emotion of an email and stops putting adverts in emails which talk about sombre subjects such as terminal illness or death.

In our opinion, all of the above makes Google the closest thing to artificial intelligence that we have produced - use it in your business and if you aren't sure how, speak to us as we could talk about it all day.



Published on 25-Oct-2011 12:00 with No comments  
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