Tag Archives: Twitter

Better Business Blogging (part 2) – Why, When, How

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A Note on WordPress

WordPress is one of the most popular blog-publishing applications in the world used by millions of individuals, businesses & organisations. It allows up to 10 users – enabling different people to post different blogs at different times. Each user may be authorised with different privileges, e.g. publishing, editing, etc. It integrates elegantly with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other platforms. You may use templates, search-engine friendly links and widgets (drag-and-drop sidebars, Facebook Like boxes, etc.)

It automatically skim reads your content and suggests relevant or popular keywords (as do Podcasts) to tag your articles with. You can publish material retrospectively based on original date, e.g. existing testimonials/blogs. You can make special blogs ‘sticky’ – which means you can choose what to promote regardless of publishing date and it give you free analytics to measure the impact of your blog and traffic to your website.

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5 Social Media What Not To Dos

Social Media: a Free Lunch or the Thief of Time? | Soci@lite BlogThese days, it can be hard not to feel bombarded by Social Media, what with 900 million active users on Facebook and 200 million plus on Twitter. The majority of the small business owners I train or work with certainly feels a heightened sense of obligation and urgency to navigate the Social Media landscape. But, in the rush to, they invariably end up making critical and costly mistakes for their businesses. Check out these five common mistakes and Soci@lite’s suggestions for how to avoid them:

1.  The Best Things Online Aren’t Free 

Social Media does not cost anything other than in time and effort. It’s free to join Facebook, create a Twitter profile or set up a blog – fantastic news for small businesses, right? Not once you factor in the constant commitment that Social Media demands, from updating your channels with fresh content to engaging with your followers and industry peers, not to mention keeping tab on your competitors.

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Let’s Talk Business Interview: Feeling flummoxed by Facebook & turned off by Twitter? Discover the insider secrets of Social Media with Katherine Hanson

Here is the third in a four-part series of interviews I gave to Alan Coote of local digital radio station 5 Digital for his weekly business programme Let’s Talk Business (@ltbshow)

Alan: With the Social Media landscape constantly changing, managing it can seem like a full-time job. It’s all too easy to get it wrong and waste valuable time. So how do you get it right? Online guru Katherine Hanson from Soci@lite is here to navigate us through the Social Media maze. Katherine, there seems to be pressure for people to constantly update their profiles. Is this a common phenomenon?

Katherine: Yes. Probably the most common one I come across. People feeling the obligation to post but also the obligation to be on lots of social media channels, which isn’t necessarily the advice I would give them.

Alan: It’s almost like a weight around your ankles, this social media thing. What can we do about it?

Katherine: If you’ve been using social media, it’s about taking a step back and appraising what channels you use, how you’re using social media –, how often you’re on it, what sort of response you’re getting from people. I would say it’s better to use one often than lots of them sporadically because you’re not really committed if you’re not using it very often and it will appear half-hearted to your followers. I know a lot of people who say, right, I’ve got a Twitter account and I’ve got facebook, but I haven’t touched facebook for three months because I prefer twitter. Well if that’s the case, only use Twitter and don’t be on facebook.

Alan: Well that’s good because the alerts I get on Facebook are slightly annoying on my phone all the time. That probably is a good point; do people have their favourites as well? It might be the wrong favourite that they have, come to that.

Katherine: I don’t think there’s a right or wrong. You need to be where you feel comfortable because ultimately it’s your voice. You may be writing predominantly about your business but the person following you isn’t doing so because they want to know purely about your business. They want to get an insight into the person or people behind the business; it’s that age old mantra of people do business with those they know, like and trust. I believe that however technologically advanced we become that will never change. So be where you’re comfortable being, where you feel realistically you can be posting and being active often.

Alan: The other side of that coin is that there’s no point in being somewhere where your customers aren’t, in a way.

Katherine: Exactly. If you really want to get technical about it there are ways in which you can have a look at where your customers are. But it’s a case of looking at what’s best for you and what’s best for your business, not which social media profiles are on trend or where everybody else is telling you that you should be which I often come across with businesses.

Alan: You mentioned being technical about it. Are there places on which you can analyse where people are talking about you on social media, or where you need to be on social media?

Katherine: At the very base level if you have Google Analytics for your website or you have somebody managing it on your behalf, you can simply add a social element to those analytics. You can sync it with Facebook, Twitter, whichever social media profile(s) you have and it will then tell you what traffic is going back and forth from your website through social media, what people are saying on facebook for example, which posts that you’ve written are getting the biggest response from people. But within the social media channels themselves there are also tools you can use to analyse what’s going on with what you are writing about, what’s resonating with people. Additionally to that, you can use tools such as Social Mention which provides real-time social media search and analysis. In other words, it will tell you everything that’s going on around a topic or key phase – that may be something as simple as your business name or your name and anything that’s online which mentions it, social mention will tell you about.

Alan: You have to have followers whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or any of them; you’ve got to have people interacting and wanting to interact with you in the first place to get that social proof. How is that done?

Katherine: Yes, that is a bit chicken and egg. I think the first place to start is with what I call your captive audience. So that may be connections you have on LinkedIn who are completely separate to what you want to promote, it may even be as simple as your friends and family on your Facebook profile. Sharing your content to those people to begin with is a really good place to start because they are a captive audience; they are connected with you because they want to be. But whilst to you they may be friends and family, there are going to be people among them who are business owners themselves or who know other business owners and so on. You don’t know who someone knows.

LTB

14 October 2013

 

 

 

Let’s Talk Business Interview: How Should Small Businesses Approach Social Media?

Here is the first in a four-part series of interviews I gave to Alan Coote of local digital radio station 5 Digital for his weekly business programme Let’s Talk Business (@ltbshow)

Alan: It’s hard to imagine that Social Media has been around for over ten years. It seems that business has only woken up though to its possibilities in the last two. Many businesses struggle or don’t bother. Katherine Hanson runs a Social Media training company called Soci@lite. I managed to grab her for a few minutes straight after one of her presentations. How should small businesses approach Social Media?

Katherine: Firstly they need to look at their goals, what they want to achieve from Social Media and then put together a strategy. So, be it to increase awareness of their website, to introduce people to new products and services, to update people on developments. There are really are lots of different ways you can use Social Media but you need to be clear from the beginning.

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Let’s Talk Business Interview: Is Your Business Using Its Twitter Account Properly?

Here is the second in a four-part series of interviews I gave to Alan Coote of local digital radio station 5 Digital for his weekly business programme Let’s Talk Business (@ltbshow)

Alan: As I mentioned earlier, I also caught up with Social Media guru Katherine Hanson to ask her whether businesses are using their Twitter accounts properly?

Katherine: In some instances yes and in a lot of instances no. I think it’s all about the mind-set and the approach to Twitter. As with any Social Media profile you need to think about the people who are going to be reading what you’re writing – not necessarily what you want to say but what other people want to hear and what they’re likely to find interesting and share with other people. That’s what it’s all about – spreading the message and engaging.

Alan: It’s amazing how 140 characters can go so far. What sort of advice would you give to people? To put as much information in as possible or to reference other stuff? How’s best to use those 140 characters?

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Ding Dong the Social Media Manager is Dead (?)

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According to Nielsen’s 2012 Social Media Report, more than 50% of consumers now use Facebook, Twitter and other Social Media tools such as to contact companies with questions or complaints. Yet, according to Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite, the Social Media jobs market has undergone a marked decline behind which the slowdown ‘in Social Media managers is a sea change in the way that Social Media itself is used within organisations’.

The paradox however is that integrating Social Media in the workplace is hampered by a skills shortage. Social Media as a phenomenon and marketing skill hasn’t been around long enough for that. In other words, the demand for Social Media managers is there but as part of another role for which there aren’t yet many candidates. Companies more and more are expecting job applicants to already possess the skills, perhaps because of a misconception of how Social Media is and/or should be used for business. Whilst I have always been an advocate of the premise that websites are about a business and Social Media gives you an insight into the people behind the business, there’s a big difference between being a regular user of Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends, and using language and vocabulary effectively to communicate your business’ marketing messages and brand awareness through a Facebook Business Page, for example.

“The notion of a single person who spends their entire day on Twitter creating hashtags is dead”, says GigaOM. Being social is “part of everyone’s jot, or soon will be”. So much so that it could almost be seen as the people’s platform in that Twitter, Facebook and the like are no longer the almost exclusive domain of online pundits, rather they are gradually becoming everybody’s responsibility.

One could argue the positives of this, in that it means organisations are finally seeing the integral role Social Media plays in an organisation’s overarching communications and marketing strategy rather than an obligatory annoyance that gets in the way of the day job but which they either haven’t got the funds to finance somebody else’s management of or they lack the time and inclination and instead offer a lacklustre and ill-thought out series of messages and communication to their followers. In fact, a recent Harvard Business Review survey revealed that just 12% of companies using Social Media felt that they actually use it effectively *.

This is why, if are considering your business’ Social Media in-house, is to source the right training provider. And it may not be as simple as just hiring a specialist who is ‘good at Social Media’ or seeing one or more of your employees on a workshops in how to use Social media, but perhaps thinking about engaging with a niche specialist. Somebody who say, specialises in Social Media for accountants or solicitors if that’s what your business is, who has the testimonials and the case studies to back up this specialism. Using Social Media does not equate to using it well.

This can however be attributed to what I like to term the problem with Social Media being Social Media. In that it is an umbrella term many feel is not attributable to their line of work, i.e. the words Social Media are for them not synonymous with business. People like to put labels on things and perhaps a rethink of the job description ‘Social Media manager’ is also now necessary to ensure that whilst the role itself remains of paramount importance and vital to many businesses, it does not become obsolete or extinct because the terminology has got lost in translation.

Katherine Hanson is Owner & Managing Director of Soci@lite who provide Social Media Management & Training solutions for businesses.

Social Media: a Free Lunch or the Thief of Time?

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You wouldn’t do your own books if maths isn’t your strong point or design your own website if you barely know your way around Microsoft Office, so why would you even attempt to manage all of your Social Media? And, as a business owner, you invariably lack the time and inclination anyway, right?

If you’re going to commit to Social Media then you need to truly commit because infrequent participation will not work; the immediacy of Social Media also dictates that your content should never really be more than three to five days old.

Yet, that Social Media is free remains one of the biggest misconceptions surrounding this form of marketing. The platform(s) you use might be but your messaging is not. Even if you are looking after all of your marketing internally the cost is still there in the form of your precious time. And, the more invested your business becomes in its Social Media presence, the more resources and time you need to devote.

Whether you outsource to a Social Media Manager or use somebody internal, the reality is that as a business you need a dedicated person to push all of these efforts. Regardless of how much time your business is spending on Social Media, make every moment count so that it doesn’t become the thief of your time.