Author: Phil Aston

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Social Media – Do You Have a Strategy?

social media management

In a recent survey with business owners they were asked about what elements of marketing they felt had a clear and sufficient understanding.  Top of the list was ‘Social Media’ at 75%.  I wonder what the answer would have been if the same people were asked if they had a strategy for Social Media?

Recently I was at a networking meeting with over a hundred people, and they were asked who used Pinterest. It would be safe to say 99% of the people in the room put their hands up. Many said they were active every day on it.

The discussion then went on to follower numbers and how to increase it etc.  Then someone asked who had gained any work through Pinterest? This time no one put their hand up.
The next question was, who had a strategy?  Apart from ‘I post everyday’ there was little evidence of people having a strategy.

Posting on Social Media without a strategy is like whispering in the wind.  A strategy gives you a voice.

People follow for a reason, a strategy will give them one and ensure the time you spend on Social Media is constructive and meaningful.
I have used Pinterest in the example here, but it could be any social media platform.

If you are unsure whether you have a Social Media strategy (it can happen!) then ask yourself the following before you click send:

  1. Why am I doing this?
  2. Are my current or future customers here?
  3. Does my post help others?

There are other questions you could choose but, if you answer ‘don’t know’ to any of the above, you need a strategy.

If you need help developing a social media strategy then please get in touch.

Phil Aston

01736 719342

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Social Media Tips from The Seaside – Cross Posting

Cornwall Tourism Community on Google Plus – News Update 4

Digital Marketing Tips – Why should you should not auto past between social media platforms.

It may seem an idea that will save time, but auto posting from one social media platform to another could work against you.

Posting from Facebook to Twitter on auto gives you no control over what the post looks like.  For example, If you post just a photo all you will see in Twitter is a random link.  This tells your Twitter followers you really don’t care about them and posting from Twitter to Facebook makes no sense at all!

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Superfast broadband helps Penzance Business reach global audience

Superfast broadband has helped innovative business Genius Loci launch services that are attracting customers from around the globe.

Phil and Sue Aston set up their media and arts business, Genius Loci, in 2004. The business is based at their home in Goldsithney, near Penzance Cornwall.

Sue Aston composes violin music which is a blend of Classical and Celtic music, and has a large following overseas, generated by her YouTube channel and social media.
She has now developed another innovative way of getting music across to people. She has created a subscription based website, featuring video diaries and mini concerts, as well as selling music downloads online. Sue says: “So far as I am aware, this has not been done before – and it is the kind of innovation which is only possible because of superfast broadband. With superfast broadband, the sky is the limit.”
Sue says: “I was the first musician to stream a live concert from the UK on Google+, and one of only a few in the world. It can be tricky to get the sound perfect but thanks to my husband Phil’s technical wizardry we have achieved this, to the envy of the people who’ve tried it in the USA! I now have a regular world wide audience and have The Sue Aston show streaming live every couple of weeks.”
Sue adds: “With superfast broadband, I can now run teaching classes over Skype with students from around the globe. I have students in America, Japan, Italy and even a lady who lives on a boat in the Mediterranean. It is just as effective as a face to face teaching session and it has opened up the whole world as a potential market.”
Sue’s husband, Phil, provides website development services to clients, many of whom are based elsewhere in the UK. He says: “Now I use Hangouts for meetings with clients, saving travel time and increasing productivity. I have a colleague in San Francisco, who works with me on website coding and we can now work together as effectively and productively as if we were the same office. ”
Phil says: “Superfast broadband has been absolutely fantastic for our business and it has transformed what we can achieve.”
by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Why it is important to use a professional SEO company


SEO, Search Engine Optimisation, Digital Marketing (call it what you like) has changed.

What worked in 2010 can get you penalised now, in fact what worked 6 months ago is pretty flaky.  There is so much more involved.

It used to be about keyword research, meta tags, ranking and ensuring that your website pages were Google friendly.

SEO is now more involved – A cautionary tale

This is a story about a large brand that decided to hand over the SEO to their in house Marketing department and what happens when you follow out of date advice.

The company wanted to increase its ranking and so searched online for some SEO advice.  They found a document from Google and followed it exactly.  The problem was the document was dated 2010 and what they did was over optimise their website.

The results were dramatic with website traffic falling to almost zero within a couple of weeks.

We became involved in May of this year and could see what had happened and quickly took action (see graphic above) to not only reverse the situation, but do what they wanted in the first place and increase traffic and enquiries.

Clear brand positioning – Semantic Search is here now

We also went through the website content to ensure the vocabulary used was correct for what they were trying to achieve and make sure it was written for humans and not just search engines.

What Semantic search does is try and interpret the intent behind the search query. So you need to have a consistent and differentiating brand position so Google can understand clearly what we you are about. So brand consistency, tone of voice and imagery will help Google place context around your brand. 

Google studies the vocabulary you use across your web pages.  It does this based on the search term, the individual’s browsing habits, location and device used. Trying to get a web page to rank for several subjects will not work any more.

Social Media – Blogging is now part of SEO

It was also obvious when we were called in to help that the client had not posted on social media or updated their blog for several months.  With competitors in their market being busy on social media and updating their website regularly, it was clear that Google were no longer seeing them as an authority in their market.

Social media, blogging and having a content strategy is now part of SEO, it cannot be carried out in isolation. This is why we prefer Digital Marketing as the umbrella term for what we do.

Social media activity helps you generate a clearer message behind your content and brand.  When content is shared, commented on, liked, tweeted, re-shared and interacted with, Google uses this as an indicator of the quality of our content, particularly if it relates to your market. Basically, the more your content results in interaction, the more likely it will be presented to your customers.

Google Plus matters even more

One of the issues for any brand on this platform is getting any traction or even knowing how to follow people who are even active on Google Plus!   Our client here had little or no presence and many of the accounts they were following were inactive.  We were able to increase their followers, engagement and help with using Hangouts On Air to increase their visibility via video and YouTube.

Google Plus posts when put together properly can appear in local searches within minutes, helping people looking for your services find you very quickly.

A Delighted Client

The client was very happy to see their website traffic rising again and also seeing increased enquiries coming in from social media and blog activity.

Tip: How to choose your digital marketing agency –

  • Don’t sign up with anyone who has fewer followers than you. (This is especially true on Google Plus)
  • If their approach to getting you more followers is to buy them, just walk away and don’t look back.

Call 01736 719342 now to see how we can help you.


by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Knowing Your Tourism Business – radio interview with Phil Aston


How you can make your your business STAND OUT?

  • Why should I choose you?
  • Why YOUR business?
  • Why are you in business?
  • What’s the passion behind the business?
  • What is it that’s remarkable about your business?

These are the questions consumers and business purchasers ask every single day.

In the interview I talk about

  • Getting yourself out there with a goal in mind so you know what success look like?
  • How marketing has dramatically changed in the tourism industry. (Worthy listen if you are in the tourism industry)
  • To stand out we need to offer the what’s in it for the potential customer rather than talking about features. (Excellent advice)

Phil has over 25 years experience in marketing and 10 years in the tourism sector and has been involved in SEO since the mid 1990s.

Phil currently hosts and produces the following Hangouts On Air shows

  • The Genius Loci Business & Media Show
  • West Cornwall Business Club HOA
  • Google Plus or Cornwall Business Show
  • What’s In Your Music Collection?
  • The Sue Aston Show (live music event)

You can connect with Genius Loci on Google plus https://plus.google.com/+GeniuslociCoUk

The show was broadcast on Radio Horton 16th October 2014. Asking the all important questions is renowned copywriter and regular guest presenter Joy McCarthy.


by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Blogging Tips – How long should a Blog post be?

What’s a good rule of thumb if there is one?

This is a subjective subject, but these are my thoughts

  •  Remember you are writing for your readers not a search engine.
  • If you can get your message across with a couple of lines and an image, it’s still a blog post.
  • In some market sectors 70% of your website visitors are using smart phones, so shorter posts broken up with bullet points will be shared more and gain more traction.
  • Wild card  – use video.  A two minute video will equal a side of A4 but will be easier to digest and share.
  • If you are writing a blog post and it keeps getting longer you will find that you have covered  several points that could actually be shorter separate posts.


by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Photography through the eyes of your heart

As a photographer a recent post on Google+ by David duChemin really resonated with me.  He has captured in his short but passionate manifesto video the real aspects and the art of photography. (I have included a link to the video at the end of this post)

Photographs are made not taken. To some that phrase could mean there is too much post production work.  To me it is simply a tool to enhance what you saw through the eyes of your heart.
What I like about the video is the way it captures the true essence of photography, the passion for capturing a real moment beyond the usual background noise of camera type, competition, technical details etc.  Photography at that level is like HiFi buffs listening to the equipment rather than the music.

I am lucky in that photography is part of my livelihood. However, there was a time when photographic magazines would call me up (or photography students) and ask all sorts of technical questions about photographs they had seen on my website.   How did you set up the shot, what F stop, lighting do you did you use?
I felt saying like saying that I took it through the eyes of my heart, but that would sound rather fluffy and so I hunted for the technical details in the digital file.
We do need a basic knowledge of how the camera works, but much of what we learn in photography is by taking lots of photos and experimenting.  Using the music analogy again, we learn to improvise by stepping away from the notes on the page.

We still hear the phrase ‘he/she has a good eye for photography’ and this to me is still a true measure.  We can get lost in the technical aspects of photography and start to worry that we are doing something wrong and in turn lose some of our sense of wonder.

David also mentions having this sense of wonder and we can learn a lot from the first photos we took when we were younger or when you see photographs taken by children.  That sense of wonder becomes more apparent when you kneel down and look at the world as a child sees it.
A good photograph can stop someone is their tracks, without words it speaks to an inner desire.  It could be an inspirational landscape, a dish from a local restaurant or a hotel room.  Whatever the image it is an opportunity to share and connect to others, it is a gift.

Link to Video – David duChemin Craft and Vision Manifesto