Author: Phil Aston

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The Day I Deleted Ten Thousand Followers on Twitter

The last few days I’ve done something which might be seen to be a bit mad on social media. On Twitter, I’ve stopped following thousands and thousands of accounts. And I’ve also done that for Sue as well.
Now this might be seen as an absolutely crazy thing to do. Both of us have got accounts which have thousands and thousands of followers so why would we get rid of so many of them?

I just felt that in 2019 our social media activity should be about being ourselves, being authentic, having our own voice. And although on Twitter you can use lists so that you can make sure that what you look at looks sensible. Why should you have to do that?

When I look at my news feed on Twitter it was just crazy, there’s tens of thousands of accounts in there and I have no connection to them apart from the fact that I follow them and they follow me back. I don’t interact with them, I don’t get work from them, so what is the point? And many of those accounts just retweet other people’s tweets with no explanation of why they’re doing it, or any added perspective, they just retweet everything.
So I see multiple things multiple times. So I’ve made the decision to almost start again.

So I’ve unfollowed thousands of accounts, yes, I have had some feedback from people saying, I am a bot, and I’ve just got to a certain point and now I’ve decided just to unfollow everyone. I haven’t, it has taken hours / days to do this, and if people interact with me, then I’ll follow them back. But I think you shouldn’t have a news feed that you’re scared to look at.

I see a lot of successful (or so-called successful Twitter accounts) which have 100,000 followers and they follow 100,000 back and you think, where is the fun in that? What do they get out of that?

So, I’m not going down that route. So, this is an experiment and I shall report back on how things go. But at the moment, it’s early days, but my news feed is great again, I’m seeing people I haven’t seen for years. I’m seeing people I care about and I’m interacting with them and it feels absolutely fantastic so, that’s my thing for 2019 social media it’s having your own voice and not whispering behind someone else’s louder voice.

Phil Aston

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Facebook Announces Record Profits – But Are Habits Changing?

Facebook 2019

For a company in a so-called crisis, Facebook has just announced record profits.

It has seen revenue soar to $16.91 billion, with year on year growth of 30.4 per cent.
The net income of $6.88 billion for the quarter was Facebook’s best ever result.

Even with all the news of people leaving Facebook they have still increased users around the world.

In Europe, user numbers crept up from 377 Million to 381 million. This pales in comparison to the jump from 873 million to 947 million in Asia / Pacific.

However, to maintain this growth and profitability it depends on people sharing more stuff and being able to access that data for its advertisers.
This is where a change of habit is emerging which could threaten this growth.

How many of you now share photos and news via a messenger app?

In the Aston household we tend to do this more and for other groups of people, we have messenger groups so we can keep up to date but don’t share it on Facebook for all the world to see.

We are not alone and more and more people are taking their activity off facebook and communicating via messenger apps. You can see why Facebook want to combine What’s App, Messenger and Instagram Messages.

However, the biggest threat is from iMessage and the iPhone with more people avoiding Facebook altogether using Apple software.

This is a problem for Facebook as this kind of sharing, where we talk about family, restaurants, life events etc is a valuable source of Ad targeting data.

A Question To You

Are you finding yourself sharing more content via messenger Apps that you used to?

Thanks
Phil

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

The Gillette Ad – Humanity & Meaning in Marketing

The new Gillette Advert has caused quite a stir and at first glance seems to have divided people.  The initial press stories seem to focus purely on the negative reviews.

We have to remember we live in a time when data and opinions can be manipulated. I am not saying there was a lot of negativity towards the video but the way the negative comments were coming in (in bursts of 25 – 50 at a time) and almost using the same template it would be a good guess that these were being manipulated.

So why would Gillette produce a video like this?  Are they really acting on the #metoo movement or simply looking for a marketing angle?

We could be cynical but I believe we are living through a time of great change.  For all the negativity we see around us there is also a movement towards meaning and for wanting to be part of something that does bring change into the world.

The fact is brands need to appear more human, the time when simply the reputation of the logo would continue to build brand trust is changing.

For example older people may feel loyalty towards a brand because of what it means to them and the quality of the product etc.  It may be that their parents also used it.  For younger people I do not think this is enough anymore.

Younger people want to know more about what a brand stands for, what issues does it support?  What is its social conscious? How does it treat its staff and suppliers?  What is its approach to the environment etc. 

What people what to see is the humanity behind the brand, to see meaning and feel that they are actually helping to bring change into the world. 

I feel this is what Gillette is trying to do. For me personally I feel the Ad is very moving, excellently executed and engaging.  I sincerely hope that for every customer they lose, they gain another 10.

Phil Aston

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The Best Business Books for Entrepreneurs in 2018

best business books for entrepreneurs 2018

Not all of these came out in 2018, but they have all stayed within reach throughout the year.
Many business books become outdated very quickly, these contain enough evergreen content to make them an essential part of any entrepreneurs reading library.

1. Social Selling
(Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers)
By Tim Hughes and Matt Reynolds

This was the book that led me back to Linkedin to give it another go. Linkedin has been the biggest generator of enquires for me this year and we have won some prestigious clients from it. The book also has great ideas for building your community online and lots of tips on Twitter.

2. Known
(The handbook for building and unleashing your personal brand in the digital age).
By Mark W. Schaefer

I read this in late 2017 first and it became the basis of all my social media strategies and I also used it to help many clients create content and build their presence online.
There are lots of case studies and many of these are very inspiring. Mark is a very genuine guy and his writing style is very easy to follow.

3. The Sniper Mind
(Eliminate fear, deal with uncertainty and make better decisions)
By David Amerland

I put off buying this for a while because I thought it was not something I would align myself with. I am a great admirer of David Amerland and have all his other books so a few months back I thought I would give it a go.

I was so wrong. This is a life changing book based on such in-depth research, it really is fantastic. The stories, comparisons and teachings contained within these pages really show you how your mindset (and how you approach anything) can affect the outcome. It is also a very exciting read which is not something you can say for many business books.

4. They Ask You Answer
(A revolutionary approach to inbound sales, content marketing and today’s digital consumer).
By Marcus Sheridan

This was recommended by a client and I only bought this a few weeks ago. Already it has formed a huge part of our 2019 marketing strategy.
If you are looking for ideas for your blog, website and how to reach more customers this is a book I recommend for everyone.

5. Crushing It!
(How great entrepreneurs build their business and influence – and how you can, too).
By Gary Vaynerchuck

I kind of have a love/hate relationship with Gary Vee, his approach can be very abrasive and not for everyone. However, in book form, his personality comes across very differently.
What makes this book inspiring are the stories from actual people who followed the approach laid out in Gary’s earlier book ‘Crush It’. The way the book is laid out makes it easy to see how you can also use these approaches.

Thanks
Phil

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

How to fix the Visual Editor in WordPress 5

How to fix the Visual Editor in WordPress 5
(Video duration = 90 seconds)

If you have upgraded to WordPress 5 and use any form of visual editor you may find that your editing display is not working or you cannot edit or publish any new content.
Before you panic and think you will have to roll back to a previous version of WordPress or an older website backup – try this.

Go to Plugins and add the ‘WP Classic Editor Plugin’ once activated you may well find that you are back in business and can back to work.

NB: As new patches are released by WordPress and plugin authors update their software this should be a temporary solution. However, WordPress is going to maintain this plugin for at least a couple of years.

Thanks

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

What do you do when you can’t come up with something creative for your blog or social media posts?

(Video Duration 26 Seconds)

What do you do when you can’t come up with something creative for your blog or social media posts?

Just document what you are doing. Whatever you are working on, whatever you are doing to help your clients, write that down, and there are your blog post and social media feed for the day.

Phil

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Internet Marketing Has Changed Forever

 

Once upon a time, Your online business was your website. Now your website is part of your online business.

Here is a recent question I received from a potential client:

I want more traffic to my website, I understand you do SEO? I don’t really do Social so just want more organic visitors – thanks (client enquiry).

This question is not as uncommon as you might think so it is important to realise how the world of internet marketing has changed and how we got here.

SEO

I started in SEO in 1998. Back then it was an exciting field to be in because you could see the results of your work within hours.

Having your own website in the late 90s was quite new and web developers were seen as wizards (or webmasters at the very least).

A few changes to the title tag and keywords and you could be number one in Google within 24 hours.

Also, there were NO social media channels, internet connections were dial-up so no one watched a video and all your traffic came from search.

Social Media

Social Media arrived in 2006 but it took the next 5 years to really gain momentum. I remember being in a meeting with a very large and successful hotel and them saying ‘ Why would anyone want to be friends with a hotel?’ Also, the idea of looking at a website on your phone seemed ridiculous.

During the first years of social media, people liked pages very quickly and building a following was fairly easy and quick. This is no longer the case.

Google Ads / Facebook Ads

For a long time people ignored this, organic search and getting people to click on your links from social media seemed the way to go.

However, as every market became crowded, if you wanted to get in front of people’s eyes you needed to advertise.

In fact, on Facebook with exposure to your own following being down to less than 2% – advertising is the only real way to grow your business.

Mobile

Who could have imagined a world where everyone is on their mobile devices at work, home or out with friends? If you look at what they are doing most of them are not searching on google but communicating via social media and message apps. They are sharing their lives and interests with people they have never met.

Video

That same mobile device is now a movie camera able to stream live and share memories and thoughts with anyone in the world. Video is also the biggest growth area for consuming content.

Internet Marketing Has Changed

Back in 1998 the internet was still new, going online was exciting. People would wait for info to load because it was a new experience.

Now in late 2018, it’s not new, for many it has speeded up life beyond recognition. People are less patient, get irritated more easily and share their thoughts whether negative or positive with potentially 1000s of people.

Once upon a time, your online business was your website. Now your website is part of your online business.

Your business now also has a facebook page, twitter account, YouTube channel and Linkedin. You might also have a facebook group or other online communities. You are also available via business listings and message apps.

In fact, some clients now find you via social media and conduct all their business/communications with you without even visiting your website.

So just wanting SEO on your website is not going to cut it.

Coming Out From Behind Your Logo

In ’98 you could remain mysterious and hide behind your logo with a PO Box number. Now people what to know who you are and get in touch with you as a person. This is where video and appearing in front of the camera is so important.

Nothing builds trust faster than video and being real. So no super slick video,  just you in front of your camera can be enough.

SEO On Its Own Does Not Cut It Anymore

So to answer my client enquiry, I do offer SEO, but only now as part of an integrated approach using all the disciplines mentioned above. So your website and landing pages need to be ready as do your social channels and the targeted Ads you run on them.

You also need to be consistent, so a few days of scheduled social media posts and then nothing, because you are too busy, is not going to work either.

Get Back To What You Do Best

People come to me now because they cannot keep up with all the activities they need to do to market their business online. Plus nothing stands still and many times I have to delete a methodology because a platform or algorithm has changed.

I can do this in a moment because it’s what I do. The number of clients I have helped out after damaging their business from outdated information is huge.

My World Has Changed As Well

Back when I started there were not many people doing SEO or social media (when it started to emerge). Now the digital landscape is awash with agencies and digital marketing people. I have seen many vanish as well especially when their business was built on a specific aspect of SEO or a social platform.

I have been doing this for a long time and have a wealth of experience in what works and what does not. I will explain in plain English what you need to do and if it will actually help your business grow.

If you want any help with online marketing please get in touch. We will work with you as part of your team and take away any worry that you’re missing out or getting left behind in your marketplace.

Follow the link for more information – SEO Search Engine Optimisation with Phil Aston 

Phil Aston

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Business Tips for Entrepreneurs – Time Management

When you are self-employed your time is everything, what you can end up doing is working all the time.
This can be 80-100 hours a week, it can just happen!
You find you never switch off because there is so much to do, but you can start to feel boxed in.

One of the things I learnt (and it took me a while to learn this lesson) is when you do your ‘to do list’ at the end of each day you do not make it too long.

I used to get a piece of A4 paper and write down all the things I had to do the next day. And it is amazing how easy it is to just fill the whole side of the paper with tasks.

But guess what, you cannot do that many tasks, so you end up crossing off a few which makes you feel ok and then you just copy over everything left over onto the next day’s list.

There will also be some tasks that get copied over time and time again because you do not really want to do them.
This approach can start to really grind you down and you start to lose your creative edge.

So what I recommend is to have no more than three or four tasks on your to-do list. If you have a very large project split this into smaller chunks so at the end of the day all items have been completed.

This approach will also ensure you have time for those emails or phone calls that come in from clients that need to be actioned or even new enquiries!

Thanks

Phil

Genius Loci Media
www.geniusloci.co.uk

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Why Are We Called ‘Genius Loci’ and What Does It Mean?

One of the most frequent questions we get asked is why are we called ‘Genius Loci’ and what does it mean?
You do sometimes see the phrase used and it tends to be people connected to the environment or even architects. There is a reason for this. Genius Loci means ‘The Spirit of Place’ in Latin.
How we came up with this name is down to my wife and business partner Sue Aston. Sue is a well-known composer and 1999 recorded her first album ‘Sacred Landscapes’ inspired by the landscape of Cornwall and our love of the environment and nature.
The phrase ‘Spirit of Place’ described how this landscape spoke to us and Genius Loci was born.

We registered the name ‘Genius Loci’ then and started as a music label. We were one of the first independents to trade online. As well as selling music online our reputation quickly grew for SEO and online marketing as we were everywhere. The business moved to Cornwall and established itself very quickly as a leading consultancy for online marketing.

The fact we are a Digital Marketing Agency, the essence of the landscape, nature and being an ethical business is at the heart of what we do. Outside of our business both of us practice mindfulness, yoga and do our best to help the planet, reducing our use of plastic, palm oil and eating organically whenever we can.

This is the same in how we work with our clients. We have a very strong ethical bond with the people we work with. We want to help people be successful but not at the expense of anything or anyone else.
So Genius Loci – The Spirit of Place is what we are about. It is the bedrock on what we, the business, is built on.
We promote people and their businesses ensuring we help grow their business in a sustainable and ethical way.

If you want to know more about us and how we can help you then please get in touch and I would be delighted to talk to you.

Phil Aston
Genius Loci Media
Digital Marketing Support
www.geniusloci.co.uk

01736 719342

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

How Do You Get Started With Video?

So how do you start a video marketing campaign?
In fact, how do you even start doing video at all?

Do you have to get the right camera?
The best lighting?
Do you need a posh microphone?
Do you need more tech – perhaps a script?
What about what to wear or where you are?

The main thing you have to do is just start.
Just start by getting in front of a camera.

Like I am doing now in this video, I am simply in front of my phone. Simply talking on my phone.
Yes, I could have shaved a bit closer, my hair is not exactly tidy and I am not holding the phone as still as I could.
But does it really matter?

Somebody might criticise it and say it could be more professional. But does this really matter?

If I worry about what other people think all the time then it might prevent me from putting this content out there,
so stopping people from finding me and what I do.

The thing is with video is just to start and have a go.
Simply start recording, say something and don’t worry about ‘what have I got to say that’s special’ you have your own story to tell. Even if you provide the same services as someone down the road. The way you do it is your way.
It will be different, your experiences will be different and
your message and delivery will be yours.

So just have a go, start today, make a video.
It doesn’t have to be long.
Then put it out there and do it again and again and again.

Have fun.

Phil Aston
Genius Loci Media
www.geniusloci.co.uk

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