Advice

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

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

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

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

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

On Social Media, who should you be on each platform?

This is a question I got asked this morning and the answer is not as obvious as you think.

Let’s think about your website first of all. Your website is more corporate, It has your ‘about page’, your services, your products, your offers, latest news etc. It’s official, it is stating facts for people who find you and telling them how to contact you.  Your Blog is again information but it can be a bit less formal.

With Social Media, the key is in the word ‘Social’.

Facebook
Your Facebook page is less corporate than your website. So it is more chatty and friendly. So you do not just broadcast ‘we have this product at this price’ type of post. It is better to ask questions and interact with people.

Twitter
This is for news. It is like the social media version of busking. So if you have an offer or late availability, put it on Twitter with a couple of key hashtags.

Instagram
I like to see this as more behind the scenes. What people tend to do is get the same photos and put them on every platform. The thing is if you put stock photos on Instagram, you will get very little engagement. This is because the Instagram community expects all the images and videos to be from you – you did not just download them from another source.

For example, let’s say you are doing a short video for a new blog post or offer. You could show behinds the scenes photos from the shoot which are quite informal. Perhaps include these in your Instagram Story. This gives a chance for people to get to know you.
Then when the official video goes out via your website on YouTube you can have different edits/text for Facebook and Twitter and you have included your audience in the whole process.

So do not put the same thing on every platform. Think about each audience. Even if you have the same followers on each platform they are going to get a different aspect of who you are, as a person, or your brand.

Thank you.

Phil Aston

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

GDPR – Don’t Panic

GDPR, I guess many people are already fed up with this.

I just want to say don’t panic. The main thing I want to draw people’s attention to, (because I can see this happening) is when we reach May 26th there are going to be scammers everywhere sending you emails saying you do not comply, you could get fined etc. But if you pay us a fee we can help you out. Please don’t fall for this.

As you know we work in SEO and it is a bit like those online SEO audits which can find fault or errors with any website. Most of these errors are false positives. For GDPR there are already websites which can check your website for cookies and then tell you that you are none compliant.

A lot of GDPR is common sense. From what I know there will be about 60 people enforcing GDPR and they are not going to come after all small businesses just because you are not quite ready.

You do not have to stop using companies or software because you are worried they are not compliant. They are also working towards it. Use what is best for your business.

Also, have a statement about what you do use personal data for and how long you keep it. For example, if you use PayPal for your online sales and you use their system you might only print off the customer’s address to stick on a jiffy bag.

I was a lead auditor for ISO9000 in a past life and what we used to look for was the intent that you were working towards the standard. Not everyone is going to have everything in place by May 26th, but you can have a lot ready.
If you can show evidence that you are putting procedures in place to comply that will go a long way. You should only worry if you are doing something dodgy!

Essentials are making sure your Privacy Policy is up to date, you know what cookies you use and why. There are plenty of WordPress Plugins which can help here.

So

  • Update Your Privacy Policy
  • State what Cookies you use – analytics etc
  • Have a document that states what data you keep and for how long – most probably this will be for tax reasons so document this and don’t panic.
Thanks Phil
by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Don’t Put All Your Eggs Into Social Media – Your Website Is Still King

Phil Aston

A few days ago I almost lost my Twitter account. This was due to an error on Twitter which locked me out of my account.  I then spent a very worrying 24 hours talking to the Twitter Support Bots trying to get it sorted out.  Don’t Google Twitter Support, the stories will not fill you with confidence at all!

The worst part was when the automated support message from Twitter said.  ‘We suggest you open up a new account and start again’. After spending almost 9 years on the Twitter platform and with 30K followers the idea of just starting again was a bit depressing, to say the least.

It did make me think about how much we rely on Social Media platforms to expand our business.  We have to remember we have no control of these platforms and they can change at a moments notice.  For example, having 100, 000 followers on Google Plus meant a lot in 2013 and now not a lot.

All of us use social media now more than we have ever done before and we can sometimes neglect our own websites. For many of us, our discussions now take place on Social Media. The fact is your website should still be the centre of your content universe.

You have to remember that you don’t own the real estate you have on any social media platform, the only place you can say that you do is with your website. Here you have control, it’s your domain name and your content.

If a social media platform decides to change it’s algorithm or change its terms of service you could easily lose part of your revenue or audience. Make sure that you don’t put too much of your business on one Social Media platform.  Safeguard yourself in case anything happens by building up an audience on several platforms and keep up-to-date with trends and where your audience is.

With your website at the center of what you do you can post out to the different Social Media platforms with links to your website.

If you do get locked out of any social media account make sure you have backups of your passwords, email, and phone numbers.  If you update your phone number make sure you update your social media accounts if you use additional verification.

Phil Aston

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