LinkedIn has become a valuable social network for recruitment and job searches. Since 2004 it has also had LinkedIn Groups which enabled professionals to network and discuss business and common interests. To make them more useful, a new iOS application will be released on October 14th, 2015, and on the same day all Groups will become private.
The iOS phone app (And an Android version also being worked on) will be a standalone app for LinkedIn Groups which will offer notifications and updates for the groups you belong to.
But the bigger change is to make all Groups private – only members will be able to contribute and see what has been posted, and search engines will be blocked.
The hope is that the move will reduce spam, and encourage more productive communities – member-only groups already see up to five times mroe participation and conversation. In the future, you can choose to run a Standard Group, which allows members to invite their connections, or Unlisted Groups which won’t appear in any searches, on profiles or allow members to send invites – only owners and managers.
LinkedIn is also introducing better content filtering, improvements to the moderation in groups, the ability to include images and use @ to mention other members by names and removing Sub Groups.
Reasons to Use LinkedIn Groups:
There are several good reasons for small and medium-sized businesses to use LinkedIn Groups. As a professional network, it’s a good way to connect with suppliers, customers, potential buyers and other business owners in your industry – as well as being a great tool for recruitment. And it’s obviously a great way for business-to-business companies to be more social in a setting which is more relevant than Facebook, for example.
Join Groups Your Prospective Customers and Clients Are Using: It’s a great way to research the concerns your customers have, answer common questions, and establish your business as one which really knows about the industry.
Consider Starting Your Own Group: If there isn’t a specific group for your industry, then it’s worth considering starting one. The key questions to ask are whether you can devote time to promoting and maintaining a group, but it can become a hugely valuable resource – as as the founder, your business will be seen to lead the discussions and community.
Focus on a Small Number of Key Groups: It’s easy to end up belonging to lots of groups, and not have enough time to contribute properly to any of them. Pick two or three of the most relevant and active groups and concentrate on meaningful contributions to them.
Conduct Market Research: You can identify new business opportunites and products, perhaps servicing other businesses in your industry by identifying common problems.
Encourage Your Colleagues and Staff: Contributing to Groups to raise the profile of your business doesn’t have to be the work of one person. With a little advice and training, your employees can get involved in not only promoting your company, but also in using Groups to find answers and solutions to problems they may encounter day-to-day.
Ultimately with any social network the results from interacting will depend on what you put in. It’s important to make the most of your LinkedIn Company Page regardless of any effort you put into LinkedIn Groups, but combining the two can make a far bigger impact.
Facebook has launched a Business Page Verification service which will give you an official check mark of approval. The grey checks are then displayed next to your business name, and will apparently help you to appear higher in Facebook search results.
It’s a useful service as there are now 45 million business pages on Facebook, and there are often duplicates and multiple entries confusing people who might be trying to find your company. Currently the option is rolling out to companies who list and display a physical location on their Facebook page, but it will eventually be accessible to all businesses.
How to Verify Your Facebook Business Page
The business page verification is now available in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. You can find the option by going to the Settings for your page, and it’s near the top of the General settings menu.
When you click to Verify, you can choose for Facebook to place an automated phone call to your publicly listed business number. If that’s not appropriate, then you can choose to upload an official document from the following list;
-Business utilities or phone bill
-Business tax file
-Certificate of formation
-Articles of incorporation
The important thing is that you scan the document including your business name and address, and then upload it via the Business Documentation option. Using this method does take a little longer – Facebook estimate it could be up to several days for your business page verification check mark to appear.
The Facebook help pages have already been updatred to include information on business verification, and celebrities, sports teams, media and entertainment brands will continue to be verified with a blue badge, as opposed to the new grey option for other businesses.
Click to follow the Smart Domain Group on Facebook
It’s worth getting verification organised as Facebook has already rolled out Business Page Improvements for Mobile, and is sure to continue to evolve the options available for small and medium-sized businesses in particular. It’s a key area in which they can potentially compete with Google and increase the usage/revenue they get from a large number of companies.
Facebook has stated than more than 1 billion people visit Pages every month, and many of them are looking for specific businesses on a mobile device. And the direct Buy options being made available mean that customers can now purchase from your business from within Facebook.
So being verified, and making sure your Facebook Business Page is optimised has never been more important.
If you’re running a small or medium-sized business, you’re probably extremely busy. But while it can be hard to find time, you can integrate two or three quick and easy tasks to help your marketing become much more effective.
You might manage all promotion yourself, or have someone like us to help you. But either way, the more you can build quick and simple steps into your business, the better results you’ll get.
And they’ll not only help with your digital marketing and driving traffic to your website, but you’ll also have more material available when you want to promote your company offline as well.
It’s never been more important to respond quickly, politely and helpfully to customer complaints and queries. The internet means that a problem can escalate quickly – spreading across forums, blogs, and social networks.
The answer isn’t to try and avoid the internet altogether – that doesn’t stop your customers being able to talk about your business, whether good or bad. The best action is to respond quickly and catch potential problems before they become a bigger issue.
Around 70-80% of customers will put their trust in online reviews and make purchases based on them. So it’s a good idea to be aware of what’s out there.
Fortunately it’s quick and easy to monitor. If you have business profiles on social networks, then make sure you have notifications set to alert you when someone gets in contact and you check them regularly. Meanwhile to check for new mentions of your company on the entire internet, you can use Google Alerts.
If you’re getting good reviews already, then it’ll be a pleasant task to take a look at lunchtimes, or the end of the working day. And if you do have an unhappy customer, then respond courteously to resolve the issue. Even if you believe that the complaint is unfair, getting into an argument online never ends well. But if you can explain the situation, solve the problem, or even just demonstrate that you’re listening, that can pay big dividends.
Especially as people who have converted from negative to positive views about a brand often become their biggest promoters.
Grab Photos Throughout The Day:
Not everyone works in a glamorous office surrounded by models. Or feel comfortable having their photo on the company website. That’s why stock photography has become so widely used.
But even finding the right stock image takes time. And while it will solve the problem for generic office photos, it’s harder to find the right image for specific work tasks. Plus they don’t display what you’ve achieved, or work so well on social media (including Instagram, which can be great for small businesses).
The simple solution is to make sure everyone in your company knows they should try to take photos of any work in progress, happy customers and anything else interesting during the course of the day. It doesn’t require a professional photo shoot – just a quick snap on a mobile phone camera is generally good enough quality, and they can then be emailed or uploaded.
If you’re taking photos of people, it’s worth printing out some image release forms, and making sure you have permission to use those shots in your marketing. You can always incentivise permission with a freebie or a discount for future purchases, and having real customers pictured in your promotions is much more likely to attract new customers.
Ask for Testimonials After Each Good Job:
Customer or client testimonials are also a great way to add content to your website or marketing that will help you win over new business. Encourage your colleagues to ask for testimonials or recommendations after a good job, and you’ll build up a ready supply of good quality testimonials for future use.
Again, you can reward anyone taking the time to submit a testimonial. Just make sure it’s purely for their time, not a bribe for them to be kinder than they might have been!
They’re not just useful for testimonials, either. Make sure you’re asking how people found your business and why they chose it for informal survey information to help you spend your advertising and marketing money wisely in the future. And asking whether they’d recommend you in the future is a great way to see if business is likely to keep improving in the future.
10 Minutes Marketing Per Day Soon Adds Up:
It doesn’t take a huge time investment to start making a difference, especially if you’re also working with some like us to handle the majority of your marketing. Spend just a few minutes checking reviews and taking pictures each day and it’ll soon start making a difference. And even just a couple of new testimonials each week will keep your website and promotional material refreshed throughout the year.
Instagram just keeps on growing, having now reached more than 400 million monthly active users. And it’s become a great way for small businesses to build awareness and reach new customers – as well as helping to keep existing clientele entertained.
And it doesn’t have to be ridiculously time consuming – a quick picture uploaded to Instagram can also be automatically shared to other networks including Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Making it an efficient way to produce brand-related material
One reason for the popularity is that Instagram has always been mobile-focused, making it quick and easy to use. And as mobile phone camera capabilities have increased, it’s enabled almost anyone to take great looking photos and easily share them.
More than 80 million photos are uploaded each day on average, making for a grand total of over 40 billion pictures shared so far. So how can your small business use Instagram effectively?
Our Top 10 Instagram Tips For Small Businesses:
1. Set up your small business properly on Instagram:
Take a look at existing brands, and ensure you have decent assets to set up an attractive profile page for your company. That includes your username, logo and optimised profile description.
Decide if you want to post to other social networks automatically, including Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. If you’ve been using your account for a while, consider going back and tidying up by removing any sub-par images when you were starting out – and consider also starting a personal Instagram account to allow you to have a place to experiment.
2. Define your purpose:
Why do you want to start promoting your business with Instagram? Is it to raise awareness, drive sales, retain existing customers or a mix of all three? In which case you’ll want to deliver a mix of content, with each individual photo or video answering a different need.
3. Use hashtags:
Hashtags are far more important and integrated than on any other social network. Although some accounts and brands have been hugely successful without them, it makes it simple and easy to reach new customers. Just be aware that while using 10+ hashtags is perfectly fine on Instagram, it might have a different effect if you’re auto-posting to Facebook, for example. And always make sure any hashtag you use is appropriate.
Set a consistent company/brand hashtag. And encourage user submitted content by promoting and monitoring a specific term for contributors.
4. Share a balance of content:
Instagram allows you to post both photos and short video clips. Use both appropriately to share a mixture of content around your business and topic areas. Although a simple feed of products for sale may work, especially in fashion, you’re more likely to be successful sharing a mixture of product/service, inspirational and behind-the-scenes content.
5. Tell your story and celebrate colleagues:
We’ve recently highlighted why small businesses can get an advantage by telling their story. Instagram is the perfect medium to give people an insight into what makes your company interesting and special – including a great way to highlight your colleagues and employees. If they’d rather not appear in front of the camera, why not let different people run the account each day or week?
6. Network and collaborate:
Find other Instagrammers to follow by searching for topics and hashtags related to your business. Don’t just follow them, but have a look and ‘Like’ their pictures where deserved – and leave comments. Make use of mentions and messages to build a relationship with them, and try a collaboration by swapping accounts for a week, or working on a series of photos together for example.
7. quality and perspective:
Want to achieve Instagram success? High quality photos are a good start – make sure your camera or phone is set to capture the best resolution images, and try to find good or interesting locations and lighting. Take a moment to get the setting right – for instance, invest in some plain white card for a handy neutral background for product shoots.
Another way to stand out from the 80 million other photos uploaded each day is to get a different perspective on even everyday objects. Don’t be afraid to lie on the floor or nip up a ladder for a better photo.
8. filter or no filter:
Experiment using the different filters and image editing effects available within Instagram or other third party photo applications. You may find you tend to revert to the same 2 or 3 filters all the time – so try something different or even going filterless occasionally #nofilter.
You may not have all filters available by default – choose which ones you’d like to have available via the Filter Settings tab which is found at the far right of your filter list.
You’re also able to change the colours, tints and other aspects of your photos, as well as adding a Tilt Shift effect, so there’s no real excuse for posting something dull or lifeless.
9. Reward your followers:
There are a few ways to reward people for following your business on Instagram. You might be able to give them an exclusive preview of upcoming products, services or events.
Alternatively you can run photo competitions – make sure you have the terms and conditions easily available on your website, a clear and simple entry procedure, and that you follow up with any winners.
10. increase content consistently:
When you’re happy with using Instagram, you might want to start ramping up the amount of photos and videos you’re sharing. It’s best not to bombard followers with 20 photos all in 2 minutes – instead spread them out to give yourself a consistent posting schedule.
The top brands on Instagram tend to post between 5-6 times per week. Be strict about only posting the best images you’ve taken, and spacing them out appropriately.
Ultimately Instagram is about being true to your business and also having fun. The more enjoyable it is to do, the more you’ll be inclined to stick with it and grow your audience over time. And all social media takes an initial investment of time and effort to gain momentum.
You don’t have to follow our Top 10 Instagram Tip for Small Businesses to the letter, but hopefully they’ll help if there’s anything you’re unsure about. And we’ll be covering more image-related social media in the future, including the best photo tools and how to integrate Pinterest into your digital marketing.
Obviously if you’d like more help, we can advise you on the best strategy and approach for your business, the best tools to use, and how to get started.
When you search for a product or service you might use a company name, or just one or two words to describe what you’re looking for. But as we’ve all become more internet-savvy and impatient, the trend is to get more and more specific in describing what you’re looking for.
Long Tail Search describes when three, four or more words are being used for a more specific search query. And Long Tail keywords can be enormously valuable for a business, as they tend to indicate someone is likely to then buy a product or service – and there can often be less competition than the one or two-word alternatives.
‘Cars’ is searched for more than 3,350,000 times each month globally on average. But is someone searching to buy a new car? Or looking for car news, pictures and videos?
‘Used VW Cars’ gets searched for around 1,000 times per month. But it’s more valuable in terms of information, especially if you happen to be a car dealer with VWs in stock.
‘Used VW Golf Gti’ is down to around 400 enquiries monthly. But it shows that someone already knows what they want to find, and is more likely to buy the right example.
‘Used VW Golf Gti Mk1 Cabriolet’ may only get a handful of people looking for it around the world. But if you have a convertible Mk1 Golf GTi for sale, those people are the most valuable customers around. And that’s why the Long Tail is particularly important for small businesses.
How to target Long Tail Keywords
Finding the right Long Tail search terms and phrases is a mixture of two things – knowing your customers and research.
If you run a business, you’ll know the questions customers often ask. And when there are specific queries about the exact products and services you offer. Whether it’s about the potential benefits and value, or the problems they might worry about, these are all opportunities to attract new customers who share the same thoughts. If someone has reached the stage of specific research, they’re most likely looking to buy from whichever business can answer their questions and reassure them with the best advice.
There are also a number of research tools available for finding what people are searching for. We’ll ask for your input and brainstorm what customers may look for, and then combine that with information from search engines like Google and Bing, and third party tools. That leaves us with a long list of short, medium and long tail search keywords and phrases from which we can find the best opportunities for you.
The end result is a set of search terms which give you the best combination of relevance, opportunity (looking at where there might be less competition), and results (which terms are most likely to get you a sale).
The next stage is then to create the right content on your website to enable you to appear highly in the results for those long tail searches, which is where our SEO Copywriters step in.
The result is an increase in relevant potential customers to your website, which is how we’ve delivered not only more traffic to clients, but also more sales.
The holiday season will see a big boost for businesses. Retailers will expect to see an increase in sales in the run-up to Christmas with new products and promotions aimed at gift buyers. And the seasonal weather also means potentially big demand for heating engineers, plumbers and other related services.
But with everyone competing for sales in the season of goodwill, you need to start planning early to make the most of the opportunity.
Think it’s too early to worry about Christmas in September? Think again! Large companies will have been planning their Christmas campaigns since the first moment the Easter Eggs came off the shelves – in the hope they’ll win the annual television ad campaign battle and get a massive sales increase.
But customers are also getting their inspiration and plans in place. Not only will anyone looking to get away be planning their breaks, but Pinterest has released some statistics on how their users are already in the Christmas spirit.
Apparently 38 million people have already saved holiday-related pins on Pinterest, which include 170 million examples for home decor, 50 million for fashion, 42 million for food, and a whopping 3 million pictures of ugly sweaters. And 92 million pins have already been added specifically for holiday gifts.
In general around 39% of shoppers start buying their Christmas presents and supplies before the end of November. But it’s 47% for Pinterest users, meaning half of them will probably have bought almost everything they need before December will even start.
Even if you’re not actively using Pinterest yet, there are reasons to get your Xmas act into gear.
Many companies will be planning holiday time, and will need to make sure clients and customers are aware of their availability in December. And office party season may be a great time for maintenance and renovation along with cleaning services and possibly hangover cures.
So you need to ensure that your details are updated on your website, and on all relevant social media profiles and listings.
If you’re banking on an increase in search traffic to your website, then you’ll also want to be planning ahead – it takes a little time for search engines like Google to visit and crawl your site, so the earlier you get your Christmas-related information up, the more chance you have of getting it found, indexed, and shown in search results.
Finally, there’s one very important reason to get your Christmas Marketing plans in place nice and early. It means you can relax and focus on enjoying yourself during the holiday season!
Starting your own business is tough. We’ve been there, and know the effort it takes to become established. It’s one of the reasons why we like to work with small and medium-sized businesses – the respect we have for anyone striking out on their own.
Some people are lucky enough to come up with a new idea which doesn’t have a lot of competition. But most businesses face a lot of competition from the moment they start trading. So how can you help your firm to stand out?
Small Business Marketing: Tell Your Story
The story behind every business and owner is slightly different. No matter what industry you are in, it’s almost guaranteed there’s a story or two behind your decisions, and that can make your company stand out.
Some of the stories are obvious ones. If you’ve started a business to pursue your passion for cooking or carpentry, there’s a nice story to tell. When did you first realise that you loved working with food or wood, and how did that develop to starting your own company?
But there may be other reasons. Perhaps you saw a gap in the market and launched a business purely to make money?
In which case, don’t focus on what your company produces. Focus on that fact that you love running a business itself, regardless of the product.
Maybe you don’t enjoy your trade, but you love interacting with your customers?
Or you worked for a large company and decided to strike out on your own to have more control over your future?
Did you want to get a better work/life balance to spend more time with your family, or so that you could spend more time pursuing your hobbies or interests in addition to your business?
Not only can sharing your story build a better relationship with your customers, but it can also lead to press coverage. National and local media often want to share examples of small business owners for articles about any of the reasons listed above.
A National Example of a Business Story:
Hiut Denim make selvedge jeans which cost from £100-£200 for a pair, with competitors offering similar products around the world. Premium denim is a growing industry, already worth more than $1.4 billion globally.
So how does Hiut stand out?
The company was started to bring revive denim production in the UK. Cardigan in Wales produced 35,000 pairs of jeans for 30 years with 1 in 10 of the town population working in the industry. Then it all stopped.
So Hiut was formed to bring denim production back to the area and re-employ the vastly experienced jean makers. That’s the story and focus they share, and which has led to press coverage around the world, and continued sales growth.
A local example in Kent
The 10:50 From Victoria is a relatively new micropub located in Strood, Kent. It serves a range of real ale and cider in a space located under the arch of a railway bridge.
At a time when the pub industry has suffered from lower sales and closures, it seems pretty brave to open up a small venue with no music, food, TV, or even lager.
It’s not even open all day – just afternoons and evenings. And yet since opening the clientele has grown and grown, to a pub started and operated by three pensioners – a former joiner, a former plasterer and a former chef.
Just like Hiut, they shared the reasons for starting their business and what makes it different. And it’s working for them.
Need help writing and sharing your story?
You don’t need to be an author to share your business story. All you need to have in mind are the key details and how they tie into your company. We can craft it into content which can be shared on your website and social media, and help your business attract new customers.
An SEO copywriter should create text for your website that allows it to rank well in search engine results for relevant queries. Partly they require the writing talents of a traditional copywriter in producing content which will engage readers and lead to sales. But they should also have a set of optimisation skills, including keyword research, utlising images and video, and creating the right metadata to compliment the text on the page.
The best SEO copywriters often have experience or qualifications in journalism (as ours do), marketing, advertising or similar fields. And also a working knowledge of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), as a minimum requirement. There are numerous opportunities for a page to indicate relevance and gain rankings – and a good copywriter should know which techniques legitimately work.
Know Your Customers:
It’s important to know who to write for. This will mean your content is relevant and will be ranked for search terms which will drive enquiries and sales. It also means your SEO copywriter can target your ideal customers with the words and phrases most likely to attract them to buy from your business.
There are big differences between content for teenagers looking to spend their disposable income, and homeowners requiring a solid investment for the future, for example.
This comes from a combination of experience, research data and tools, and getting your insight into your business and customers.
Write Magnetic Headlines:
Great headlines have driven the sale of newspapers and magazines for years. And they achieve the same results for websites via search, social media and any other marketing opportunities.
It’s important to know which techniques are likely to attract attention, whether that’s creating numbers lists, mystery, or outrage (Headlines and Clickbait via Moz). A good SEO copywriter will be able to choose headlines which fit with your brand in addition to attracting readers.
Use Attractive Formatting:
The use of bold and italic text, bullet points and other stylistic choices won’t affect your SEO rankings. But it will make it easier and more pleasurable to read your website, making sales more likely.
Internet users are increasingly demanding longer, more detailed text, as are search engines. Correct formatting, and shorter, skimmable paragraphs work best. They also give an opportunity to use sub-headings, which can help indicate relevance to search engines.
And that’s before we get into typography and font choice with our design colleagues. If you’re interested in those areas, try this article on How We Read at A List Apart.
And as the same search engines increasingly pay attention to engagement metrics like the time spent on a particular page, it will only improve your search rankings in the future.
Understand Good Grammar and Great Phrasing:
SEO copywriters will be capable of creating interesting content. It will be spelt correctly, and at the right level of readability suitable for visitors and search engines (which don’t favour overly complex language). In fact, the Flesch-Kincaid readability test was first used by the U.S military to ensure their intructions were easily understood..
They’ll also be aware that using the same keyword repeatedly through an article will irritate both humans and search engines. Rather than ‘keyword stuffing’, they’ll use the right related terms and phrases to make use of semantic search indexing.
In plain English, it’s important to include your keywords or phrase on your page or article. But it’s also important not to overdo it, and to use all the alternative words and phrases relevant to your business. This also has a benefit in attracting ‘long tail’ searches – the more detailed search terms usually associated with someone looking to buy a specific product or service.
It’s important your content is as unique as possible, and isn’t copied directly from elsewhere on the web. A good SEO copywriter will make sure you don’t end up in trouble due to plagiarism.
Be Mad About Metadata and MarkUp:
Do you want your headline to appear in search results – if you page has a headline at all? By setting a Page Title, an SEO or SEO copywriter can control what appears when your website is included in search results, even if it’s slightly different to what visitors actually see on the page (Although it can’t be unrelated or misleading).
In the same way, Meta Descriptions appear in search results as a way to encourage people to click on your listing rather than your competitors. So setting a custom Meta Description can be more enticing than leaving Google to simply take the first text they find on your site.
Content can also be further improved by using code which indicates specific information, known as Schema. While a good SEO copywriter won’t be able to add the required code to your site, they should be aware of how to use it.
Integrate Images and Video:
Photos, graphics and videos can all help to keep people interested in your website and increase sales. And if they’re optimised correctly, they can also help with your search efforts.
Again, it’s about creating great captions and descriptions, and adding relevant and clear meta data. This allows you to benefit from Google image search (Great for visual products and services), and to pick out the right elements with video (as search engines can’t index moving visuals quite yet). In some cases you may be able to transcribe an entire video, but often you may just need to quote the key points in plain text on the page to help search engines – and visitors who can’t have sound playing on their office lunchbreak, for example.
Be a Linking Wizard
There are 3 main ways in which linking helps your website.
– Linking internally within your website to relevant sections, pages and articles to help people and search engines go to the right places.
– Linking externally to the right non-competitors to add authority and usefulness.
– Great content can attract links from external websites. A good SEO copywriter should be aware how this works, and what potential pitfalls to avoid when new links come in.
They should also be knowledgeable on the best ways to reference authors and photographers where needed, and what licensed content is OK to use with or without permission to avoid copyright issues.
Above all, a good SEO copywriter should be someone you can trust to combine the unique, authentic voice of your company with the ability to attract new customers and keep existing ones.
There’s a difference between being able to write, and being a great writer. And there’s a further gap between writers and those capable of also integrating the requirements of SEO and digital marketing. Which is why the best SEO copywriters are highly prized and trusted to produce results for companies.
Facebook is now rolling out improvements to more than 45 million Business Pages to deliver a better experience to mobile phone users.
Around one billion people visit Facebook Business Pages every month. And they’ll now see a much more prominent Call To Action when they’re on their mobile. New action buttons are also being tested, including ‘Call Now’, ‘Send Message’ and ‘Contact Us’ so you’ll be able to choose from a wider range of appropriate buttons to prompt customers to act.
Facebook Business Pages will also get some new sections to enable you to share better information. There will now be a new Shop section for retail businesses to promote product ranges. And a new Services section for companies to list the available options.
If it’s appropriate, you can use both:
The new Facebook Page layout for mobile will enable people to move between tabs more easily and allow for more information on a single page. That means more will be accessible by users scrolling on their mobile, rather than having to use links to move between Page sections.
The Facebook Business Page updates will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks. Keep up to date with the latest guides and tips on creating and managing the best Facebook Business Page for your company with our blog, or by following us for updates on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
Twitter can be an incredibly useful tool for any business. But it can also be off-putting for new users, especially when you’re under pressure to deliver results.
By using some simple tips, you can start getting more return on your Twitter time. And that includes raising awareness for your business, providing customer service, and keeping an eye on what’s happening in your industry.
1. Get The Most From Your Twitter Profile:
It’s important to make a good first impression. Your choice of username is likely to be your brand, but your profile information is a good place to mention relevant words and phrases to get yourself found. Twitter information is also indexed by Google for search results, so you want to pick the right keywords.
Twitter has recently removed custom backgrounds from some views, so your profile image and the main photo on your page need to be good. Make sure logos are big enough to be recognisable, and the photography you use reflects your brand appropriately.
Obviously you’ll want to include your website address, so make sure it’s the right one.
And when you’ve got some tweets to choose from, it can be worth ‘pinning’ a suitable example to the top of your feed – for example a current special offer or the latest product or project you want to share (Make sure you have a great photo to go with it!).
2. Twitter works best with a mix of content:
It’s easy to get caught up in the pressure of constantly having to create something to tweet about. Or to fall into the trap of repeating the same sales message over, and over, and over again.
Don’t be afraid to Retweet and share relevant content from other people related to your business. Industry organisations and news sources are great for interesting content which will help increase your standing and authority.
As an example, we share our latest projects and articles, but also include relevant information from marketing, design and technology sites which we think is useful for everyone.
Make sure you also share different types of content and see what works. Don’t just rely on text, but add photos, animated GIFs and videos when it’s suitable.
You can also send more than one tweet based on a single piece of content. Try sharing a text update first, then follow up later in the day with a tweet based around a photo from the article, for example.
3. Getting engaged on Twitter:
You need to put the social into your social media marketing. Hopefully you wouldn’t turn up to a party and talk about yourself without at least asking about other people. And Twitter works in a similar way.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to people publicly (via an @username message) or privately via a Direct Message. Use Twitter as a way to make connections with notable people in your industry and keep in touch with customers. The more approachable you are, the better response you’ll get, including using it as a way to offer customer service quickly and easily.
When you want everyone to see your @username messages, make sure the username is at the end of your message, or include a full stop before it. Otherwise it will be hidden under the Replies tab on your profile.
Be aware of hashtags – using a # symbol before a word makes it stand out, and by following a topic you can see all the latest information from people you don’t already follow.
And you can then apply the relevant hashtags to your own messages. Just doublecheck the tag means what you think it does, and it’s appropriate, to avoid any confusion or issues.
4. Build your Twitter followers and lists:
To attract followers you need to be consistently posting useful or entertaining content. But you also need to be pro-active and find those people who are likely to benefit – but might not have heard about you yet.
The ways to find people include searching for relevant information in their profile, people following the relevant hastags, and those following similar accounts.
As you build the number that you follow, you might find that the stream of updates become harder to keep track of. Which is why Lists are so important on Twitter.
Part of your following process should be to create appropriate lists and add people to them to allow you to separate and segment your stream into something far more manageable. For instance, you might want a list for friends and colleagues, news sources, or suppliers. And by setting them up from the start, you save yourself having to go back through a couple of thousand profiles in the future.
5. Keep Track of the Best Times to Tweet:
The best times to update will depend on your audience. You can check the response to your content via Twitter Analytics or third-party Twitter tools, but aim to schedule or post updates at the right time.
In general you’ll find tweets are more productive just before people start work at 9am, when they’re on a lunch break around 1pm, and around 5.30pm. Whether or not weekend updates will work depends largely on your industry and content.
You’ll also tend to find that news and information-related tweets work better during the start of the week – but the audience builds up as people begin to relax towards the weekend, and entertaining updates (quizzes, competitions and comedy pictures) work better on Thursdays and Fridays.
Those are just 5 simple Twitter tips to help get your started, or to improve your current efforts. We’ll look into each element in more detail in the future, along with the range of Twitter tools and services which can make it easier to get successful. You can keep up with our latest posts on the blog by following us on Twitter, Facebook and G+.