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Limit your Social Media Presence for Best Results

Limit your Social Media Presence for Best Results

We’ve all heard the mantra that you have to be on as many social media channels as possible and must be continually updating them and engaging with your potential audience, or you’re leaving loads of potential business on the table.

But is it actually true?

Simple answer – no.

There are certainly multiple benefits to be had from implementing an effective social media strategy, but for myself I’ve never been in favour of the “headless chicken” approach to marketing, which generates lots of activity but very little return.

What you should really do is focus on the social media outlets that will provide you the best return from any activity you engage with on them.

I always recommend businesses use Twitter, as I believe it to be a very useful method of promoting your website content and finding new Followers in a process of continuous expansion of your audience (more on social media marketing here). But beyond that, I’m not convinced that Facebook works very well for those not in a business to consumer industry – so for business to business firms I recommend LinkedIn, Facebook being more aimed at the retail market or those who wish to target and engage with potential customers to develop a personal relationship (eg musicians, writers).

As for the other social media sites, do you really need an Instagram account? Or Pinterest? Or Vine? Sure, these are well-populated media with plenty of activity, but you should really think about where you want to focus your attention before you get involved with throwing everything at the wall in the hope it will stick – there’s nothing that says “we don’t care about you” more than a ghost town social media account.

Google Update Chatter

Google Update Chatter

There’s often a lot of talk amongst SEO professionals about Google updates and potential updates, with many of them seemingly spending their whole working day analysing the tiniest variations in the data they see to determine whether “the big G” has made an update or not.

Indeed, when Google first became the dominant force in the world of SEO, there were multiple websites and forums dedicated to trying to detect what used to be known as the “Google Dance” – a regular revising of the Search Engine Results Pages that saw a site rise or fall in the rankings.

Things have definitely changed in some respects – the Google Dance being a thing of the past due to ongoing change and non-universal SERPs rankings – but not in others, as there are still lots of people determined to pick up on a Google algorithm change and post about it first.

Each to their own, but with Google making almost continual changes, I prefer to stick to the tried and tested principle that has worked throughout the history of search engines:

Content is King

– a statement that will attract derision from those who are obsessed with minute data variations, but will see the most successful internet marketers nodding their heads in agreement.

New Year New Content

New Year New Content

As we move into another new year (2015 already!), you’re probably thinking the same as I am:

My site needs some new content!

One of the things I’ve come up against repeatedly over the last few years is business owners telling me they know they should be updating their site, but they just don’t get the time. So, with that in mind, I’ve revised my own offering on this site to focus solely on the type of content marketing solutions that businesses and organisations are most in need of:

1) Blog Updating – keeping your site fresh and interesting with unique and engaging posts through my blog writing service.

2) Marketing Strategy – devising the best method for you to pursue your goals over the year with my internet marketing strategy service.

3) Content Repurposing – the one people often get most confused about, I’ll revise and refresh your existing or ongoing blog posts, pdf downloads etc with my service – Contact me for more details.

Here’s looking forward to filling the internet with “contentment” throughout the year!

Internet Marketing hits the Mainstream

Internet Marketing hits the Mainstream

With the announcement of this year’s winner of the TV reality show The Apprentice, it seems that internet marketing has become somewhat more mainstream than it used to be. I received no fewer than 4 text messages from people asking me if Mark Wright, the newly-crowned winner, was planning to setup a business that operated in the same field as me. And yes, it seems that Lord Alan Sugar’s new business partner is going to be trying to develop a business that offers internet marketing assistance to small and medium sized companies.

MarkWright{Photo Credit: BBC web page about The Apprentice}

So is it possible to develop a truly scaleable internet marketing business in the manner Mark Wright wishes to? I’d have to say “possibly” is the only answer I can provide here. My own experience suggests that the personal touch is a key element in any relationship between business owners and their internet marketing consultants. Sub contractors have their place and can be useful, but the main point of contact needs to be up to speed with all the latest developments in SEO (to help get sites “up the pecking order” as Lord Sugar calls it) and other digital marketing elements.

I certainly wish Mark well and hope he can justify the investment he’s secured, but I just wonder if the model is going to have to change somewhat in order to be successful. In the same way that I have to invest a lot of my own time in ensuring my clients are well-served by my efforts, I feel that Mark may have to surround himself with a team of equally experienced experts that could ultimately prove too expensive to evolve into anything other than a boutique digital agency targeting higher value clients, rather than the small business end of the market he wants to pitch himself into from the outset. (Small and medium sized businesses comprising the market I’m extremely familiar and successful with myself).

Seeing Search Engine Optimisation being talked about on one of the country’s favourite TV shows did make me think that we’ve come a long way from the days of 1998, when I first started in the industry and had to spend most of my time evangelically promoting search engines as a business tool, as back then people were far from convinced that the internet was here to stay!

So congratulations to Mark Wright, this year’s Apprentice – and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to one and all.

SEhOhoho – SEO for Christmas

SEhOhoho – SEO for Christmas

Conventional wisdom dictates that, for a website to be properly optimised in time for Christmas, the work has to be put in from May onwards, as there can be a 6 month lead time before it bears any fruit. All very sensible and believable, but is it actually necessary to plan this far ahead?

SEO Christmas

Well, I’m certainly of the opinion that the more effort you put in, for the longer a period, the more successful you are going to be with SEO. However, it is certainly feasible to achieve decent Christmas-related rankings (if we can actually suggest there is such a thing as a universal “ranking” anymore) without having to start the ball rolling in the spring.

One of the methods for achieving these “instant rankings” is to try and get your fresh content recognised by Google. For instance, by writing a blog piece about a currently trending news item. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are 2 very obvious examples that jump to mind here – though obviously you’ll be competing with many other sites that are also trying to get some Google Love around the same topic.

Something slightly more “out of the box” might be to comment on the annual stories about terrible / amusing / naff Christmas cards that celebrities put out at this time of year. And, of course, there was the traditional “winter wonderland” disaster story a couple of weeks ago that could provide some food for a topical blog post.

In general, though, I’d suggest that the reality of when you need to start your Christmas optimisation process is at latest halfway between the conventional wisdom and the topical news version – ie around August-September time, giving you 3-4 months of traction.

A few things to bear in mind:

1) Christmas comes round every year. (Like, duh!). What this enables you to do for your website, of course, is to have a Christmas-related page / section that can be updated every year but will retain some historical value from having been around longer and hopefully built up a pile of inbound links each year.

2) Attracting Christmas themed links in August may not be especially easy, but is certainly not impossible with a bit of creativity. Ideas such as “Our Top Tips for Christmas Best Sellers” etc can be decent link bait even if your target market is still basking in the sun on its summer holiday.

3) Continue to add relevant content to your Christmas page/s and blog posts – utilising the internal linking capacity of your blog to point to your specific Christmas page/s, so that when the time comes round you’ll have plenty of ammunition with which to top those Christmas charts.

So if you can’t take advantage of topical news stories, make sure you plan ahead for next year – the earlier the better!

Other Social Media Sites

Other Social Media Sites

Any business knows that the power of social media can have a major impact on your business and getting your online presence recognised. Everyone knows, and uses, Facebook and Twitter and these are great but there are others that work equally as well, if not better in some circumstances. For the purpose of this article I’m going to look at another 5 to enable you to make an informed decision as to which best suit your needs.



The social media site of choice for many businesses. LinkedIn doesn’t have the social aspects of Facebook in that you don’t have a time line clogged up with pictures of your contacts kids! After creating your professional profile you can build up a contact list of people you know, and trust, in business as well as building new business connection. It is also a highly useful research tool and serves as a good way of finding out about somebody before you start doing business with them.



Working on the premise of the current buzz word of visual impact, the membership of this site has soared in recent years. This site revolves around images, and by making contacts and following people, a la Twitter, and getting to follow you, your business can sell itself through images. What you sell, what you offer in the way of services, there is no limit to what you can promote through Pinterest. Even the best known global brands in the world are now using this site, as you can see from the image, so you know you are in good company.



A highly useful social news site which has been designed to help people share their own, and discover, new content from anywhere on the net. Once registered users can submit stories or links and other user then comment and vote on them. By voting on the content it is effectively being ‘dugg’ or ‘buried’ depending on whether the vote is positive or negative.



Let’s get something straight from the outset; YouTube is NOT just for music, in fact, that is only a small portion of what this great video sharing site is all about. Businesses can create their own YouTube channel and get their message across using the power of video as opposed to the still image or written word. Once you have uploaded your video it can then be viewed and shared by others. You can imbed the code into blogs, other sites etc as a direct link to your video. This is fast becoming the #1 platform for delivering business news in a fun way that attracts attention from the right people, and the site offers guides to how best to promote your products or services through this medium.



Unlike other social media sites is packed with listings of absolutely anything and everything that makes up your average community.  Once you have listed on Yelp you can ask customers and clients to review it. The lists on here cover everything from restaurants, shops and hotels to museums, freelancing services and ecommerce. Working on the premise of all publicity is good publicity, many companies have incorporated their bad reviews into their marketing strategy, so don’t get upset if you get a bad one or two.

Social Media Horror Stories!

Social Media Horror Stories!

With Halloween already becoming a distant memory we will all have packed away our ghoulish costumes for another year. Sadly, this isn’t the case in the business world as they have to suffer a degree of horror all year round, particularly in the world of social media. Many have discovered to their chagrin just how black the dark side of social media really can be and the results of those public outcries can be very hard to come back from. Here are some right clangers you may or may not have been aware of.

The wrong way to promote your service

worng way to promote service

4AutoInsuranceQuote pride themselves on being on the cutting edge of providing the best auto insurance quotes online, shame they didn’t read the dictionary for the meanings of tact and diplomacy. The entertainment world was rocked in November 2013 when it was announced that the Fast and Furious actor Paul Walker had died in a horrific car crash. While everyone was in mourning this company decided it would be a good idea, the day following the crash, to post on Twitter that they hoped he had auto insurance, even posting directly on Walker’s own Twitter. Not content with that they went on to post the same question on numerous media sites. The public backlash was of epic proportion and rightly so, some so called digital marketing guru deserved a kick in the pants for that clanger.



One side of social media which has taken off big style is ‘complaintvertising’ where users who haven’t received satisfaction from the companies themselves buy advertising space on Facebook, Twitter etc in order to air their grievances and taunt brands. BA discovered the power of this when a hair care entrepreneur from Chicago used the Twitter self-service advertising platform to post a Tweet, which was featured, declaring “Don’t fly @British_Airways their customer service is horrendous”. He and his father had flown business class to Paris with BA and the company had lost dad’s luggage. When they failed to respond to his complaints he took the matter into his own hands. The ad cost $1000 and was viewed by over 50,000 Twitter followers in the US and UK where the ad was promoted.

Auto-Tweet Nightmare

Auto Tweet nightmare

Most corporations who Tweet seemingly constantly have auto tweets set up in advance and set to post at regular intervals. The failure to check these auto tweets proved to be extremely costly for Tesco. When the horse meat scandal broke and it was the only news in the media one of the supermarket giants auto tweets said that “It’s sleepy time so we’re off to hit the hay”. The complaints flowed in in their thousands and Tesco were forced to respond with an apology that the tweet had been scheduled before the situation had come to light and it was never their intention to make light of it. The following day several full page adds appeared in the national dailies apologising for the ‘unacceptable situation’ and vowing that the company would never make that mistake again.

Time those Q & A’s

Pocket watch with timing sign

Live ‘tweet ups’ where company CEO’s take part in the social media equivalent of a question and answer service are hugely popular as a way of raising the profile of a company and making it seem human. Timing of these is key and needs to be strictly managed, they should not be held on the day a company has announced a 10% price hike as British Gas did. Customer Services Director Bert Pijls was the unfortunate soul hosting this tweet up and you have to wonder who was behind this social marketing strategy and whether it was done on purpose.

Blog Post Inspiration – part 4

Blog Post Inspiration – part 4

OK, so following on from my previous 3 posts about getting inspiration for what to write on your own blog, Facebook, Twitter etc. – here’s another couple of example client industries, with another fantastic source of potential ideas.

The 2 clients I’m looking at are a firm of solicitors and a restaurant.

The solicitors firm is a fairly easy one to find content inspiration for, as there are literally loads and loads of news stories everyday relating to legal issues. But outside of the news, there are plenty of other places you can find ideas, such as Wikipedia.

For example, a Wikipedia search for the word “solicitors”, gives a page dedicated to explaining various facets of the profession, including a whole range of links to other relevant pages. It’s this extra linking that can provide most of your ideas, as there are so many other relevant pieces of information available that can be turned into a post or series of posts from your own point of view.

Looking at the restaurant industry, Wikipedia gives us plenty of inspiration regarding such things as the history of restaurants (where you could presumably slot yourself in somewhere along the line), the number of restaurants around the world etc, along with a large range of links to other relevant pages that can provide even more ideas for you to work on.

And then we come to the king of the internet – Google itself. having seen what we can do with Wikipedia, Google News etc, we can translate these ideas into performing a simple Google search in order to find ideas to write about. Obviously a simple keyword phrase such as “restaurants” or “solicitors” will bring up the websites of potential competitors, so I recommend going a bit more in-depth here; and in paticular making use of Google’s “predictive search” facility, which will show you currently popular searches when you type words into the search box.

For instance, the word “restaurants” has plenty of suggestions for what other people are searching for, including such things as “restaurant reservations” – which could inspire a post about top tips for securing a reservation at particular restaurants.

So there’s plenty of methods for finding ideas – especially for those of you who’ve read the book I mentioned in my first post, A Technique for Producing Ideas by James Webb Young – and I hope you’ve found some inspiration of your own in theses pages.

How to Get Blog Post Ideas – pt 3

How to Get Blog Post Ideas – pt 3

Continuing from my post the other day, in the next 2 posts I’m going to look at some other client industries, finding the inspiration from places that aren’t a daily newspaper such as The Times.

First up, Google News, and the industries I’ll be looking at are an online retailer of a specific GPS tracking product for cats or dogs; and a firm operating in the building / house repair market.


This is obviously similar to the newspaper idea, but it’s so much more immediate and has the great advantage of being searchable. For example, a search for “cats” brings up several relevant news stories that could be turned into a post:

1) Apparently it’s National Cat Day (in the US) – fairly obvious how we can utilise this for a blog post.

2) A group of people trying to track down possible cat theives have put together a map of where cats have gone missing from in Ipswich (a story that is almost tailor-made for our product).

3) Also – and this is the kind of thing that happens more frequently than you’d imagine once you’re attuned to it – a couple of weeks ago there was a BBC2 series entitled “Cat Watch”, which followed cats around all day (the cats wearing mini cameras to record their movements). Another fairly obvious association we can make for this product.

Regarding the building trade client, another Google News search (for “damp proofing”) provides the following stories for inspiration:

1) A parent in Sutton Coldfield is concerned by mould in her home which could damage her children – something a damp proof course could fix.

2) A funny story about a bridge with no damp proofing being recounted at the Scottish International Storytelling Festival.

3) And, of course, there are innumerable TV programmes that are based on renovating houses or building a dream home from scratch, such as Grand Designs, Homes Under the Hammer, DIY SOS etc.

So it’s not difficult to see how we can use Google News and TV programmes to provide us with ideas for posts – even short ones including links to the original story for things like Twitter.

Getting Blog Post Ideas Part 2

Getting Blog Post Ideas Part 2

In the last post, I suggested I’d be demonstrating the process I use to come up with ideas for blog posts using some clients of mine as examples. I’m not going to point you in the direction of their websites (as most people want their site visitors to believe they are coming up with the blog content for themselves), so what Ill do is give you 3 examples of particular industries that actual clients of mine work in.


Client Industry – Project Management

Possibly one of the easiest industries to find ideas for. Pretty much anything you care to think of to do with business is ripe for making an association with project management – which is what we wish to be doing, so we can come up with a fresh blog (or Facebook / Twitter) post that is triggered by something that at first appears unconnected.

And you’ll almost certainly find that there are more specifically-relevant things you can utilise than you would expect. For instance, my particular client has a speciality within the Agile project management sphere. And last week The Times newspaper had a whole pullout section focusing on Agile practices. OK, this is a fairly extreme example, but I have no doubt I’ll be able to find several things I could use as the basis for an article in today’s newspaper, too, something I shall look at now.

And indeed, having flicked through today’s copy of The Times, there are quite a few things that immediately strike me as providing material for blog posts:

1) In the Business section, there’s a story about the company Innocent Drinks suffering a massive fall in profits, despited a record number of sales. This could easily be turned into a blog posts about having to keep an eye on the bottom line when expanding into different markets, as Innocent are currently doing through their owners, Cocal-Cola.

2) Of course, The Times has a good reputation for its business pages, so there are likely to be quite a few articles of relevance to this particular client on a daily basis, inlcuding another article about the supermarket firm Morrisons having to renege on a price promise it made earlier this year – leading to a possible article about how to handle rising costs such that you don’t end up with egg on your face about things you said previously.

3) But the whole point of the process I adopt is that the inspiration can come from anywhere, with associations being made from seemingly unconnected elements in order to provide the source material. There’s an article in the news section about some doctors being able to earn £100,000 a year just working on the weekends – stimulating a thought process about the best use of time for consumers (patients) as well as providers (doctors), as plenty of people will be keen to see a doctor at the weekend so it appears the market is working quite efficiently in this instance, thus showing a successful project at work.

4) In the letters page, there are arguments for and against the British Summer Time practice of putting the clocks forwards and backwards at different times of the year – again providing potential source material for an article debating the pros and cons from a project management perspective.

Of course, you don’t have to read The Times to find this kind of inspiration. Nor do you have to be working in an industry that lends itself quite so nicely to piggybacking on multiple news stories. So in my next post, I’ll look at a different industry and add in some other sources for getting ideas.