Facebook – what the algorithm update will mean to your page.

I am sure by now you will have heard about the big change coming – Facebook is altering the algorithm that runs the news feed. The new goal is to help you “have more meaningful interactions”. Changes are always being made but this one is quite significant in terms of your Facebook marketing strategy.

It is important to remember that Facebook is a ‘social’ media platform.  It is all about people and personal connections.  A lot of businesses have missed the point and think of it just as a vehicle for sales. The problem is we don’t just want to be sold to do we?  Moving forward engagement will be the crucial factor that will determine whether your page’s content deserves to show up in the news feed.

This is your opportunity to show your human side and create content that resonates with your target audience. Hopefully this will mean that in the future time spent on Facebook will be time well spent!

If your strategy up until have been focusing on just generating awareness, perhaps by posting news stories then you need to start thinking about how you are going to change. Remember page posts that result in back and forth conversation will be prioritised so comments become key rather than just likes and shares.

Ways to maintain the success of your page will be:

  • Ask questions
  • Be engaging
  • Post timely relevant topics that users are sure to have an opinion on
  • Tell stories
  • Test different types of content
  • Create more live video (on average they get 6 x more interactions than a regular video)
  • Join Facebook Groups – they already operate based on audience engagement. Decide whether a Group is relevant to your business and set one up.
  • Advertising – It has been obvious over the last year that organic reach of a page post has been declining rapidly and we have been encouraged to boosts posts and create targeted ads to regain lost reach. After all Facebook is a business and they want us to pay to access their audience.

Engagement Bait

Don’t use ‘Engagement bait’ – this is a big No No.  Simply this is asking your audience to comment on a post.  Facebook will know you are doing this and continue to demote these posts as they are not meaningful interaction.

Remember these three key points:

  1. Your focus should be more on quality posts that spark conversations rather than quantity.
  2. If something isn’t working, then change it – use your Insights.
  3. Facebook is not the only social media platform available to you and a successful social media marketing strategy will include other platforms.

 

I hope you found this article useful.  Remember that it will take time for the impact of this update to be seen and things are constantly changing!

For more updates please join me on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/LittleAcornMarketing

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Why do you need professional photos on your website?

Tips for taking your own photos for social media and how to avoid copyright issues….

I am really pleased to bring you a guest blog by Pennie Withers of Photos By Pennie.

Are you having a new website built for your business? Or perhaps you have a great looking website, but are looking to freshen it up? Either way – you will need some cracking, beautiful website photos to really give it that WOW! Factor. You may also need photos for your social media posts.  Read on for some top tips as to how to get the best photos for your business.

Now obviously, I’m hoping you’ll look at my website (that’s http://www.photosbypennie.co.uk by the way!), immediately pick up the phone and book me for your business photos. However, even if you don’t book me, I would love to at least be able to convince you WHY you need professional photos on your site (and while I’m on my soap box, on your social media too!). If I’ve piqued your interest…..here’s why:

Apparently, our brains react differently to visual stimuli. This is because the brain deciphers images instantly, whereas words take more time to process. Photos or images are in fact, processed 60,000 times faster than text.

So – why should this matter to you?

Well, you can spend hours and hours creating a new website with fantastic, eloquent words, but I hate to break this to you, people rarely read website content word for word. However, have fantastic, professional photos on there and immediately, you are creating the impression that your business is professional. The photos reinforce your brand, they can show what you have to offer and in a nutshell, enable your business to create the right impression. In turn, people will want to do business with you. That’s good, right?!

On top of this – don’t forget that if you have a set of professional photos of your business, you can also use them in your social media. It’s a win:win – 2 jobs for the price of one! And if you don’t believe me, here’s some figures…..According to Media Blog – tweets that include a photograph, are 35% more likely to be retweeted. Add to this the fact that Facebook posts that have a photograph in will obtain on average, 87% more interaction. Make sense?

In case you’re not convinced, look at the photos below.  My client was Alison Harmer, a copywriter and. She was having a new website built and didn’t want generic stock images. So, we spent a couple of hours setting up specific shots and hey presto…..a unique website with striking professional photos. http://harmereditorial.co.uk/

So – hopefully you’re now fully convinced of the need for professional photographs on your website and social media posts. If you’d like to have a chat about how I might be able to help you, please give me a call on 07715 889457 or click here to send me an email.

While you’re here however – I promised to give you some tips for topping up your professional photos with some of your own which you can use on your blogs and social media posts. So, here goes:

Tip 1 – The rule of thirds: images where the subject is off centre are always much more interesting.  Divide your camera frame into 9 squares (see below) and place your subject on one of the intersecting lines – instantly your photo will look much better. E.g.;

Tip 2 – Use leading lines to create interest in your shot.  So – a bit like the rule of thirds, you are basically just making your shots that little bit more creative than just photographing from straight on. Here are some examples where things like walls, horizontal lines and a pathway are used to add that interest:

Tip 3 – Do NOT use flash!  If you are using a phone, the  flash is never any good and the photos end up looking really rubbish.  So – take my advice, take your photos on overcast days – you won’t get any shadows or rings under the eyes.  Or – if you can’t avoid a bright, sunny day, head for some top-shade.  This is created either by doorways or under trees.  Your subject will still be lit beautifully but won’t be blinded by the sun.

Tip 4 – on the same subject as top 3 (i.e. – lighting….) try to shoot your photos during the ‘golden hour’.  This is the time either shortly after sunrise or before sunset during which almost all photos look absolutely gorgeous.  (Think those holiday photos early evening when the sun is going down). E.g.:

pic 7

Tip 5 – Control Exposure. This is fairly limited on smart phones, but can still make a big difference. On I-phones when you have a photo you’d like to take, simply tap and hold the screen and you will see a slider, which allows you to increase/decrease exposure, and lock it. This can also lock focus – so you can decide what is in focus and what is not.

Tip 6 – minimize your editing effects. I’m a sucker for a filter on Instagram, and it can be fun to apply them but before you do it, ask yourself is it necessary?  Is it possible they detract from the image?  Sometimes, a simple crop, good lighting and composition are all that is necessary. Here is a photo that has been edited way too much!

pic 8

Finally, Tip 7 – Keep your lens clean! It may sound really obvious, but you’d be amazed what I see…..your phone sits in your pocket, your handbag, on your desk etc. and gathers finger prints and goodness knows what else in the process.  Before you take a photo – give it a little wipe and you’ll be guaranteed crystal clear photos every time!

pic 9

And now onto the thorny subject of Copyright.

When a professional photographer takes a photograph, they own the copyright.  Unless they explicitly give over the copyright (usually in return for a fee), they retain it.  All the images that I take are supplied to my clients with a full and unrestricted license to use them in any media over any time period. I retain the copyright ALWAYS. I have never found this to be an issue with any of my clients and indeed, have been fortunate enough never to find anyone using any of my images without permission.

One question you may ask however is, how can you find professional photos which you don’t have to pay for.  Whilst I wouldn’t particularly want to encourage this (!), I have to accept that sometimes there is a need for this kind of thing.  So – here are a few suggestions.

Dreamstime.com – you may have to pay for some of these, but they also have free ones. Pixabay – there are also some Shutterstock images on their site, which you must pay for but that is how they finance offering free ones. FreeImages.co.uk – this site is financed by paid for advertising however again, the images are free.

So again, I hope this was useful.  If you have any questions or would like to have a chat about photographs for your website or social media, do give me a call on 07715 8895457 or drop me an email on pennie@photosbypennie.co.uk.

Is your LinkedIn profile working for you?

When I ask for a show of hands for how many people have a LinkedIn profile it normally has a good response.  After all, at some point or another we have all signed up for a profile.  However, the question is – are we really taking this social media platform seriously?

Here are some statistics I have recently found on-line:

  • There are approximately 467 million users worldwide with 258 million in Europe/Africa.
  • 71% of professionals feel LinkedIn is a credible source for professional content.
  • 80% of all B2B leads that come from social media are from LinkedIn
  • Nearly 50% of LinkedIn members have decision making authority for their companies.

So, I think it is clear that LinkedIn is THE social media network for professionals.

Many people have no idea what LinkedIn is supposed to be used for or how they might benefit from being on it.  That is why there are so many abandoned profiles that haven’t been updated since they were created.

Here are my top tips for updating your profile so that you can start taking advantage of the power of LinkedIn.

Put a face to a name

I am sure you have all heard this before but first impressions count so make sure you have a professional profile picture.  Members that do have a picture receive 14 more views than those without.  But it is important to make sure that the photo really represents who you are.  Let me give you an example. I recently met someone who used to have a senior corporate role but now is a driving instructor.  His picture on LinkedIn was ‘suited and booted’ and did not reflect the image he was trying to create as a friendly, approachable instructor.

Create a punchy headline

Your headline is the first thing people will see after your picture.  It defaults to your current position but you can edit it.  You need to think about including keywords and make sure that it speaks directly to your target audience.  Don’t restrict yourself to one company or title – let your audience know who you are at your very core

Contact Information

You want your target audience to be able to contact you right?  So, have you filled out all the information in the contact section?  Make it easy for people to get in touch.  You can also add up to 3 websites so don’t forget to include not just your company website but your blog and your Facebook page as well.

Tell your professional story

Demonstrate your expertise in the summary section.  This is a great way to tell your story of why you are motivated to do the work you are doing.  You have up to 2000 character so you don’t need to restrict yourself but do remember to use keywords and phrases. This will help improve visibility on LinkedIn and Google search results.  Be aware though, that only the 1st two lines are visible on your profile so make sure they work the hardest to encourage someone to read more.

Showcase your work

Nothing shows your quality of work to potential business contacts better than rich tangible examples.  LinkedIn allows you to upload or link to work such as blog posts, presentations, images and websites, and give people a reason to engage with you. So think what visual content you could use.

So why not log into your LinkedIn profile today and do some small updates that could make a big difference.

Look out for my next blog focusing on what you can do to engage with your audience.

You may also be interested in my blog – Are you making all your testimonials work for you? This has a great tip for adding written testimonials to your LinkedIn profile. https://littleacornmarketing.wordpress.com/2016/03/23/are-you-making-all-your-testimonials-work-for-you/

Got any questions?  Please email karen@littleacornmarketing.co.uk

So what shall I post today?

How long have you been sitting looking at your computer screen, totally lacking any inspiration?

Constantly thinking of new content to post onto your social media platforms can be daunting if you are not great at planning ahead.  You want to keep your followers engaged whether on your Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn or in fact any social media.

Don’t worry help is at hand. Here are six ideas to get you kick started.

  1. Images – people love visual content. This is a great way to showcase your products or services. Photographs will increase visibility and help potential customers get more familiar with what you offer. Think – is there a picture you can take today and post?

Not everything has to be specifically related to your company’s product or services.  Do a google search for something inspirational that would be relevant to your audience.  There are some great free photo editing websites that allow you to overlay text on an image – perhaps add a quote or thought for the day.  I really like PicMonkey and Canva

  1. Guest posts – how about a collaboration? You can swap posting with people for a day so that you have the opportunity to get in front of a different audience.  Think about some people you could approach who would complement your business.
  1. Questions – do you ever ask a question or ask for feedback? It is a great way to get audience engagement and increase your reach.  Recently I saw a friend posting about the launch of their new website and asking for feedback. She was inundated with comments, likes and the post was shared several times.  Is there something you could ask?
  1. Links to your blog – if you invest time in writing a blog then you want to get the maximum mileage out of your content. Look back and see which blogs are still relevant and share again.  Have you posted them onto LinkedIn as an article? This has the benefit of then appearing on your profile.
  1. Events – are you hosting an event? Have you set up an event page on Facebook? This automatically generates a post and you can share the link on other platforms.  If you are attending an event give it some visibility by sharing the event information, using the event hash tag etc.
  1. Don’t forget to regularly check out your incoming social media updates. Retweeting on twitter is a quick way of posting.  Can you add a comment or reply?  Sharing a post on Facebook is easy and shows you appreciate what people are posting.  You are more likely to then have your posts shared too!  Take a look at your page feed with posts from pages you have liked. Is there something you could share right now? Remember it is nice to like content too and add a comment!

Hopefully this had given you some fresh ideas for posting on social media.  Obviously it is not an exhausted list.  Check out my previous blog  https://littleacornmarketing.wordpress.com/2015/06/11/help-i-dont-know-what-social-media-content-to-post/ for some more ideas. Do you have any other suggestions for things that have worked really well for you?

To discuss how to generate a social media content calendar please get in touch on 07988 676219 or karen@littleacornmarketing.co.uk

Are you making all your testimonials work for you?

As a business owner you will know that LinkedIn is a great B2B social media platform and an excellent place to showcase your experience. One key way to do this is by having recommendations. These are totally independent but unfortunately they do have their limits.

You can only be given a recommendation by another LinkedIn member.  For many of us this is absolutely fine but for some businesses this can be very limiting.  It maybe the nature of your work is confidential or perhaps your clients are just simply not on LinkedIn. For example if your clients were predominantly aged 65 plus.

So what can you do if this is the case for your business? This is a question I am commonly asked when training on LinkedIn.

Well LinkedIn now allow you to attach files to you profile.  This means that you can still ask for a recommendation and attach it to your relevant work experience section or even your main profile summary.  Your clients can give a written testimonial, anonymously if necessary which you can scan in to your computer.

Whilst in ‘edit mode’ on your profile, just click on the symbol highlighted below and follow the instructions for uploading a file.

add document to LinkedIn Profile

So why not look back in your files – have you got a fabulous client testimonial that is gathering dust? Scan it today and get it up on your LinkedIn profile!

If you would like more tips on LinkedIn I am running my next workshop – LinkedIn for the Small Business Owner on 28th April 2016.  For more information click here.

Help – I don’t know what Social Media content to post!

I have run out of ideas for social media content – this is something I typically hear people saying when they talk about their social media. Does it sound familiar?

There are lots of content you can post – you just need to be more creative and dare I say think ‘outside the box’!

So let me help with triggering some content ideas that hopefully you can start incorporating in your social media today.

Let’s start with – What are you doing today? Are you attending a networking event, going to a exhibition, having a 1-2-1 meeting or perhaps doing some training? Why not share what you are doing and link to other people you are meeting or you have connected with. You can post before you go and also afterwards. If you are going to an interesting venue don’t forget to take and post a picture.

Have you read a good book recently. Did you post about it?  People love recommendations. This is especially true at this time of year when they are looking for interesting holiday reads both fiction and personal/business development. Tell people why you enjoyed the book for example was it inspirational? You could take it one step further and write a longer review as part of a blog.  I recently read a brilliant thriller on holiday in Spain. When I got home I posted in a local Book Club Facebook group which stimulated a discussion, and even interacted with the author on twitter.

People like consistency so why not set up a structure of posting specific content on specific days.  For example on a Monday you could post an inspiring quote to kick start the week.  On Wednesday you could give away a top tip and you could finish the week with something fun like a ‘quirky picture of the week. This can all be planned and schedule weeks in advance.

Don’t forget to share important milestones. Have you just won or completed a major project?  Launching a new product or service?  Perhaps you have a new member of staff or formed a collaboration.  It could be that you are celebrating your 1st, 5th or 10th year in business. Tell the world!  Sharing this sort of information shows a human side of our business.

I hope you have found this useful. For more ideas on content for your social media why not get in touch at karen@littleacornmarketing.co.uk

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Tips For Creating A Professional Twitter Profile

I love using the social media platform, Twitter. I enjoy the challenge of putting my message across succinctly in 140 characters or less – it really makes you think. It offers a great opportunity for engagement and there is so much information your can glean from it.

Whilst many of my clients are familiar with Facebook I find that Twitter is not really understood and therefore overlooked as an option in a social media strategy.  With the constant changes  at Facebook and its dwindling post ‘reach’ it really is time to seriously consider if Twitter should be incorporated in your strategy.

So this week I am focusing on some tips for creating a Professional Twitter Profile:

  • Username: often referred to as a Twitter handle and limited to 15 characters. I recommend that you use your real name or company name but avoid using numbers.  If you name is already taken consider using an underscore e.g. John_Smith
  • Bio: This is important for both new followers, as they will check this out before deciding to follow and for Google search.  You’ve got a total of 160 characters and it is important to ensure you include your keywords.  It is an opportunity to tell everyone what you do, why you do it, and what interests you.
  • Profile picture: this represents you and your business. Not only is it on your homepage but it is also displayed every time you post a tweet. Remember that Twitter is a ‘social’ media platform and you want people to engage with you so use a good photo – it is really worth investing in a professional headshot to be used across all your social media for consistency. The recommended dimensions are 400×400 pixels. Whatever you do make sure you get rid of the default egg image.
  • Header photo: This is similar to the cover picture on Facebook. The recommended dimensions are 1500×500 pixels. Make sure your header coordinates with your branding doesn’t clash with your profile picture or make it difficult to read your bio.
  • Theme: Twitter provides a number of default themes with a variety of colours that can theme in with your branding but you can also upload your own custom background.
  • Website: Don’t forget to add your website address to your profile  If you don’t have a website or you don’t want to use it then you could include a link to your blog, your LinkedIn profile or your Facebook page.

Once your profile is set up and you are happy, then you are ready to get going.

The first thing you need to think about is who to follow.

I will be covering this and more in my next blog post but in the meantime why not follow me @KL_Creativity and for interesting and informative business info follow @10to12BizClub

If you would like help with any aspect of setting up your account please get in touch – karen@littleacornmarketing.co.uk