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Social Media

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Social Media Marketing – Choosing An Agency

social media marketing - choosing an agency

Social media is now an every day part of any business’ marketing strategy and most people still don’t know how to to use it properly.

This period of time reminds me of the early days of SEO with agencies popping up everywhere making promises which are not only unsustainable but offer very little ROI.

There is a misconception that social media is free – it is not.  Even if you do it yourself, your time is your most important asset so are you achieving your goals and getting a return on your social media activities? I see many businesses delegating Social Media tasks to the younger member of the team (because they get it), or automating their social media and cross posting thinking that will work!

It is after many people have watched with dismay their follower counts stagnate or get little interaction with their posts that they either pull back their social media activities (big mistake) or look for a way or outsourcing their social media marketing to an agency.

Choosing an agency for your social media marketing is a very good idea.  However, in a world where everyone is now a social expert or pivoting from the old world of marketing there are some things to look out for:

The Agency you don’t want can fall into the following camps:

  1. The over complicated approach – This agency will put 10 people in a meeting room to discuss brand voice and then ask for 30 days to compose a tweet for your approval.
  2. The Social Media Experts Agency – This agency possibly started less than a year ago, has a few hundred followers and posts once a month.
  3. The Cheap Seats – This agency will offer to send 15 + tweets a day for £20 per month.
  4. The offer of 5000 new followers for £10…..just walk away from this and don’t look back.
  5. Delegate the task to their junior staff or cross post to several platforms at once.

As a general rule ‘never take advice from someone who has fewer followers than you’.

The Agency you do want will do this:

  1. Target your audience on the platforms where your customers hang out.
  2. Build a following with people interested in your product / service.
  3. Target keywords, users and brands.
  4. Share your content with their own network (Look for how much interaction their own posts get).
  5. Grow your audience with real followers.
  6. Set up and manage targeted Ads as required.
  7. Bring more traffic to your website and increase enquiries (verified via analytics).
  8. Design graphical posts using images and video as required.
  9. Have a background in SEO as Social Media is a key part of Search.
  10. Offer advice on new Social Media tools such as live streaming and use them themselves.

Here is a snapshot of our Twitter activity for the first 7 days of July 2016.

If you would like help with your social media strategy please get in touch.

Our achieved Social Media reach is over 165,000 (May 2016)

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Social Media is SEO

I get many enquiries from people asking for help with their SEO.  My first question I ask is ‘What is your social media strategy?’ This is usually followed with, we don’t have one or we have a junior member of staff who does that for us.

When I ask ‘How did you find me?’ the answer is more often than not, that they saw a video on Facebook, or a post on Twitter, Google Plus etc.

I help my clients get found online, and social media is a key way I now do this. Look at people in restaurants, train stations, airports or just anywhere – what are they doing?  They are looking at their smart phones and they are not searching google, they are on social media. If that is where they are looking then that is where you need to be as well.

If you want help bringing together your internet marketing then get in touch.

Phil Aston

 

 

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Video Marketing – You Can Use Your Mobile Phone

Video Marketing is now very important and on social media people watch more than they read.

500M People Are Watching Facebook Videos Every Day

This video was shot entirely on an iPhone. No tripod was used and all the footage and interview was captured handheld by myself.  Filming took about 8mins.  The idea here is to show what can be achieved when telling a story on video. 

There is still an important place for corporate client videos, but this video was put together to show you that video shot in this way is idea for social media, and your Blog

We are now in the age of attention and trust.  Video will help you build your brand and gain attention more quicker than simply text based posts and content.

But what about editing?

You can do this yourself but we are helping more and more clients with this part of the process.

Simply send your clips via dropbox and we will:

  • Add branding
  • Edit your film clips
  • Super impose any interviews on a background (like this example)
  • Add titles / transitions
  • Export and render your video for use on YouTube & Facebook

We can also send you special edits for Twitter and Instagram. 

To find out more please get in touch – contact – Phil Aston

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Facebook Business Pages – Audience Optimisation

Social Media News  

You can now self-moderate how visible your Facebook Business page content is to your fans

The brand-new Audience Optimisation tool is an organic targeting tool set to help pages ensure that posts are seen by the users who are most likely to engage with them.

How to switch this option on and use it:

  1. Go to your Facebook Page
  2. Click on ‘Settings’ – top right
  3. Click on ‘General’ – top left
  4. Select News Feed Audience and Visibility for Posts and save changes
  5. When you next compose a post select the targeting option – this will bring up the screen below.

Clicking the above option will then activate the targeting option below.

Save your options and post!

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Discover Your Cornwall

discover your cornwall

This is our new Google Plus Community which celebrates the best of Cornwall from Arts, Food & drink, accommodation, offers and culture. Formally known as the South West Tourism Community we look forward to helping to promoting your business to a new audience.

To Join The Discover Your Cornwall Community – please click here

Video Announcing the launch from a very windy Perranuthnoe Beach

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Video Marketing with Blab, Periscope and Hangouts On Air

blab

No one can dispute that video marketing is going to more important than ever as searches on mobile devices overtake those made on a desktop.  What would you rather do, click play or read?

Producing video for your brand is getting easier now with the number of free live streaming Apps now available.

These are the Apps we are using for Genius Loci and our clients. We have deliberately left out Meerkat as it is a platform we do not personally use.

Google Hangouts On Air

Hangouts are still the best for music streaming and YouTube but are desktop based. More complex to set up but they are very powerful and you can achieve full HD video and audio. Branding is also easier with lower thirds and links to your website.  The level of interaction is also very high with the ability to use a comment tracker.

Hangouts also have a pre-broadcast area where you get guests settled before going public or live.

Hangouts do not work well over wifi or mobile.

After the broadcast the broadcast is available from YouTube.

It is a brilliant platform for reaching your Google Plus and YouTube audience.

Pros

  • Broadcast in HD Video and Audio
  • Studio Codec for live music
  • Up to 15 live guests
  • Unlimited viewers
  • Can be set up in advance
  • Green Room facility to brief guests before going live and after finishing the broadcast
  • Additional Apps for adding a lower third, adding links, Camera filters, Comments
  • Live streaming on YouTube
  • Can be embedded on your website
  • On YouTube just a few minutes after the broadcast finishes
  • Very polished and professional
  • Trailers  and branding can be added
  • Integrated into Google Plus

Cons

  • Can be prone to technical gremlins
  • You need to allow time (at least 30mins) before going live to set everything up
  • Does not work well on Wifi
  • Needs at least 3mbps upload (I think you need 10mbps)
  • Very difficult to get people outside of Google Plus to join the audience
  • Ideally you need to buy a separate Microphone, WebCam and lighting to get the best out of the system
  • Ethernet cable required
  • Fairly steep learning curve that does not stop

Periscope

Periscope works on mobile only and is great for taking people on a journey. Brilliant for any business in tourism. Excellent for reaching your Twitter audience. Broadcast cannot be scheduled, they really are in the moment.

I do like this platform a lot.  I can take people down a little known path on a secluded beach and with the camera in front of me they are seeing what I am seeing without leaving their home in real time. I can give background info and as it is live they are part of the experience. The fact that it only lasts for a short time adds to that experience.

You can download the video after the event otherwise it is available for 24hours via Periscope.  Quality is variable depending on your connection and you can attract spam comments.

Pros

  • Mobile friendly
  • Works on low bandwith
  • Integrates with Twitter
  • Ideal for news updates and especially tourism,  live reviews, training
  • Integrates with the maps on IOS
  • Easy to start
  • Video can be downloaded and saved

Cons

  • Portrait only
  • Mobile only
  • Cannot be set up in advance
  • There are a lot of low grade quality broadcasts
  • Potential for spam
  • Video only available on replay for 24hours
  • No facility for guests, interaction is one way

Blab

Blab works well on desktop and mobile. Very easy to use, targets your Twitter audience, comment tracker is built in, Blabs can be scheduled and recorded.
I also like the fact that after the event you are sent two files – one for video and one for audio. So you can upload to YouTube and use the audio for a Podcast.

Hangouts win on picture and sound quality but lose on ease of use. Blab wins on ease of use and being able to set up / join from anywhere. Less bandwidth is required although ear buds are required as without them an echo loop can occur. There is no privacy on Blab so even if you are not recording you are live the instant you start.

I have noticed people setting up HOA events but actually broadcasting on Blab, so you can also target your Google Plus audience.

Blab works very well on desktop also, but picture quality is not as good as Google Hangouts, but guests joining and following comments is a breeze.  The platform is very new and the developers are adding new features almost every day.

Pros

  • Works well on Desktop and mobile
  • Very easy to set up and start
  • Can be scheduled
  • Built in comment tracker
  • Easily shared on Twitter
  • Up to 4 guests
  • Works on low bandwidth
  • Can be recorded or just be live when broadcasting
  • Recorded files sent as video and audio only – so ideal for YouTube and Podcasts
  • Lots of new subject headings being added to help with indexing

Cons

  • No camera control
  • No branding opportunities
  • No studio codec for music
  • Video quality not brilliant
  • Headphones are required to prevent echo
  • Camera setting is portrait so if you like having two people in view, it’s cosy!
  • If you are using a mobile, it will get very hot and drain the battery very quickly

Obviously this is a fast moving area and with Facebook trialling their own live streaming App called ‘live’ – we are in for some interesting times.

Phil Aston

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Google Plus and the Nature of Change

google-plus-changes

I am a great fan of Google Plus and it has been a tremendous asset to me and my business in helping me to network on a global scale and win new clients. However, it is a platform that has been described as dead or dying since it first rolled out in 2011.  It is far from dead, but it is changing, and each time it does the ‘dead headlines’ return as do all the people saying it was fine as it was.

We live in a world where change is happening so fast that there is barely time to document each change without looking very out of date within days.  The facts are if you run a business then you need to be able to adapt, remain agile and look for the positives in each situation.

Learning to let go

In the mid 90s I was working for a large marketing company with offices all around the world. I was in charge of the global roll out of ISO9000.  Getting people to read paper manuals and follow procedures was very difficult so I came up with the idea to utilise ‘Help’ in Windows. So, with the help of a developer, we built a system where all the procedures and manuals could be accessed via any PC and could be updated in real time.  I won the top award for business development that year.

Within weeks of winning the award and rolling it out the company started developing an intranet, and using browser technology soon replaced any need for programming in Windows ‘Help’.  I could have seen this as the end of my idea as it became obsolete almost overnight.  The fact was, the content was still relevant but the delivery system could now be far more user friendly with graphics and video.

What I learnt was the ability to let go of any specific outcome and realise in this fast changing world you cannot control anything but your own perception of an event. Had I stuck my heels in and insisted that Windows Help was the way to go, I would have been seen as a dinosaur just as quickly as I had been seen as an innovator a few weeks earlier.

The right tool for the job

The most important piece of real-estate you have for your business is your website / blog.  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus are tools to help you spread your message and for you to reach out and connect with others with similar interests and help them.  They are not the best place to set up home and put all your content.  They will change, become more or less popular or suddenly not meet your business requirements.

The recent changes within Google and Google Plus I feel offer more opportunities to engage and find people with similar interests.  The key thing as always is to approach change with an open mind, then the opportunities to your and your business will be easier to spot.

Phil Aston

If you want help with social media or any aspect of internet marketing please get in touch.

TEL : +44(0)1736 719342

 

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Auto Play Video Arrives on Twitter

twitter-video

Twitter have been working on this for a while now

This will work very much like Facebook. When users scroll through their Twitter feeds and see a video, it will begin to automatically play with the sound muted. Clicking on the video will start it to play it in full with the full-screen viewer with sound.

To use this facility you will need to upload your video content directly to Twitter. It will also work with GIFs and six-second Vines.
We always advise our clients to upload to to Facebook and YouTube separately as videos from Youtube will not auto play this will the same for Twitter.

Useful Links

Twitter Finally Rolls Out Auto-Play Video (Wall Street Journal)

 

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

Genius Insights – Instagram Tips

instagram

Instagram is becoming ever more popular and a less formal way for you to stay in touch with your customers and guests.

Here are three insights that will help you get even more from this platform.

How to Add Paragraph Spacing to Your Instagram Posts

Instragram is all about visuals so when you come across a long photo caption that is one large paragraph of unbroken text it can really turn you off.  Here are some great tips from ‘Social Media Today’ which show you how to avoid this.  Read More

7 Ways to Build an Engaged Instagram Following

We all want to get more engagement from our Instagram followers and there are plenty of great tips out there to get you on your way.  Here are some great tips from Social Media Examiner  Read More

Instagram Launching New ‘Highlights’ Email

If is has been several days since you last logged into your Instagram account then trying to stay on top of the latest posts can be a real pain (especially if your follow a lot of people).

However, you can now subscribe to a brand-new email from Instagram that will help keep you up to date when you can’t check in on a daily basis. Read More

Phil Aston

Follow Phil Aston / Genius Loci on Instagram

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