Tips (from the big brands) to add the festive spirit to your Christmas marketing campaign.

Do you want to add the spirit of Christmas to your marketing campaigns?

Christmas marketing campaigns seem to become more elaborate each year for big brands. Heart-warming, tear-jerking, cute or laugh out loud, it’s big business. They’re all looking for the top spot in TV Ads and most shares online. As a small business, there’s a lot that can be learned from big brands to build your own seasonal marketing campaign, even on the smallest of budgets.

Storytelling is a fantastic motivator, just look at the big brand ads like John Lewis and Marks & Spencer. Avoiding a hard sell, they promote the essence of the brand values, they tell a story guaranteed to capture the Christmas spirit and spark an emotional response.

Let’s look at the (now) eagerly anticipated John Lewis adverts. In 2015, they gave us The Man on The Moon and last year there was Buster the Dog on the trampoline. Although The Man on the Moon advert received 174,717 video shares within the hour, it left some consumers feeling a little sad thinking about the lonely man. Buster saw a huge 218,330 video shares, making it John Lewis’s most shared Christmas ad of all time. Why? Because it made us smile, it made us feel good and shared the spirit of Christmas.

This year, we meet Moz the Monster that lurks under the bed and befriends a child who is afraid of the dark. Whilst the overall consumer response was 86% positive, it had mixed reviews from senior marketers who thought that it should have focused on the giving of a present rather than receiving, and there was some criticism that the parents in the story didn’t find out why their son was so unhappy. This didn’t articulate the love and cheer we associate with the festive season. SourceThis year, John Lewis have used Moz the Monster in its Christmas marketing.

What these ads have in common, is that they emotionally engage with their fans. The festive season is a very emotive time and emotions are a huge driver when it comes to making buying decisions. This article from The Independent explains the emotionally manipulative techniques behind Buster the Boxer.

So, when you are constructing your next advert or promotion, it’s worth bearing in mind that people tend to make purchasing decisions based on emotional thinking rather than rational thinking.

Here are some practical tips to start your seasonal campaign:

  • Cover images Update your cover image to get your audience into the seasonal spirit. Whilst reflecting your brand values, it’s great advertising space for any special offers or gift ideas. And don’t forget to update the covers on all your channels!
  • Give people a reason to buy if you give people a good enough reason to buy, they will. Fear of missing out can trigger a reactive purchase rather than a measured shopping around. Envy is another motivator.
  • Show the magic of giving An idea that is becoming increasingly popular is using social purpose. When quality and prices are on a level, social purpose becomes the most important factor when making a purchase decision. An international study by Unilever earlier this year revealed that a third of consumers are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good.
  • Wish your fans a Merry Christmas Don’t think Christmas Day is a holiday for your social media accounts. Your fans will be online to send best wishes to their friends and family, so it’s the perfect time to wish your fans a Merry Christmas!

Need some guidance?  Get in touch with the Concise Digital team.

How to use social listening to benefit your business

How to use social listening to benefit your business

What is social listening?

Social listening is the process of monitoring what people are saying about you, your industry and competitors online. The insights you gather from these conversations can be used to enhance your business. 

Why is it important?

You don’t have a relationship with an online business without building some sort of rapport. Conversations about your business give people reassurance that your brand, service or product is reliable.  If you listen, you can evaluate customer experiences, likes and dislikes and use that feedback to create more appealing offers or enhance your services.

At Concise Digital, we use tools to track conversations across our customers’ social media platforms.

How can you use it for your business?

Monitor opinions and attitudes Businesses can’t control what people say about them on social media but it is important to listen before engaging with your audience to gain valuable insights.

Customer service Businesses use social media to respond to questions and complaints about their products or services. Social listening provides an opportunity to convert an unhappy customer into a satisfied one if the response is reasonable.

Increase engagement Consider which posts attracted the most engagement… why?  Take a look at strategies that worked on social media (including your competitor’s posts) and think about how can you replicate or adapt them for your needs.

Check out the competition – Use social listening to see what your competitors are talking about and learn from seeing what type of posts gain the best response.

Find influencers – Use social listening tools to identify key influencers for your industry and try to make alliances with them to reach your desired audience.

 5 Tips for success:

  1. Choose a social listening tool that’s right for your business and expertise
  2. Listen regularly and often
  3. Don’t just listen on the channels you are active on as this can limit your view of what is actually being said about your business
  4. Respond quickly to comments and don’t forget to thank people for their feedback
  5. Don’t get put off by the numbers look at the stories behind the figures

Do let us know how you get on in the comments section below.

Using images to boost engagement

Using images to boost engagement blog.

“There can be no words without pictures“ Aristotle.

Last week, Twitter stopped including images in the 140 character limit giving users more freedom with their messages. This got me thinking about how best to use images on social media. 

It is widely accepted that images boost engagement and encourage shares (which is good for business as this increases exposure):

  • Tweets with images are 34% more likely to get retweeted than tweets with no images. (Source)
  • Content with images gets 94% more views than content without images. (Source)
  • Photo posts get 39% more interaction. Not only do photo posts get more engagement, they account for 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook. (Source)

What sort of images attracts the most engagement?

Visual content enables people to discover more about your brand and encourages them to make a personal connection. Some of the most appealing images make the audience think about how they see themselves – these are often known as ‘aspirational’ images. They can also provoke an emotional response that dictates what we do next.

Only last week, Kim Kardashian-West once again tried to “break the internet” by posting a naked picture of herself on Snapchat. Aside from the obvious appeal of these images to many, consider the image of the young Afghanistan girl, Sharbat Gula by Steve McCurry for National Geographic. This image is arguably the most iconic image on social media of all time. How does it make you feel?

In recent years, there has been a dramatic rise in the popularity of image-based social media channels. Marketing is about where your audience is and this year, its on Instagram and Snapchat!   Source.  In case you don’t know, Snapchat is one of the fastest growing networks. Whilst very popular with teens, there are a growing number of adults using the channel, especially millennials. (Source).  However, with 100 million users, Pinterest is becoming a major player in social networking. It has a strong focus on design ideas providing a platform to be creative. 

Examples

  • With over 1.5 million followers, Starbucks uses Instagram to bring the brands personality to life and encourages its audience to share images of themselves drinking their coffee creating an emotional connection with their products. 
  • Amazon uses Snapchat to send gift ideas, recommendations and exclusive deals that disappear in seconds. 
  • Surprisingly, Arnold Schwarzenegger has a good following, he travels the world, meets interesting and important people and shares his experiences on Snapchat.
  • IBM gives its Snapchat followers an inside look at the company’s facilities, as well as an insight into the atmosphere at various events where its technology is being used.
  • Pantone provides colour systems on Pinterest and is one of my particular favourites.  Colour inspired boards depicting an array of beautiful images providing a feast for the eyes.
  • In terms of popularity,  Evelyn~ (who “loves family, travelling, reading, and being a goofball) has a whopping 6,925,848 followers on Pinterest. 
  • The most popular brand on Pinterest is Harper’s Bazaar just pipping Nordstrom with over 4,533,167 followers.
  • Kissmetrics remains one of best in the business for creating infographics. Here is a super infographic on Social Media by Demographic. We also have a great collection of infographics on our Pinterest channel. 

Tips for your use of images across the channels

  • Use relevant images with names and captions that are search engine optimised.
  • When it comes to selling a product online, customers are more likely to purchase if there is a high-quality image.
  • Make sure your images are properly optimised for the channel you are using. Unfortunately, one size does not fit all!
  • When it comes to image sizes, think big to retain quality. Many people are under the impression that images need to be reduced down in size for social media. An image 1600 pixels square will upload successfully to Facebook.
  • Use positive images – positive images bring about positive emotions.
  • If you are using images to promote products, make sure you have high-quality close-up shots so people can see what they’re buying.
  • Before and after pictures are a great way to promote a service that you offer.

Photos / images of animals are a good way of attracting engagement to your social media posts. Photos of animals, children and food attract good engagement levels; why don’t you try to work some of these shots into your content? 

Don’t be afraid to inject some fun into your posts.  This shows personality and helps your audience connect with your brand.

Have a look at this cheat sheet for the correct images sizes.

Updated 11/8/17

up to date social media image cheat sheet 2017.
Social Media Images Sizes – Cheat Sheet was created by wearetop10.com

If you need help finding or creating images that are right for your brand, contact us to find out about our image bundle packages.

Which clubs are challenging for the Premier League of social media?

How do football clubs use social media? In our latest blog we look at which clubs are challenging to be in the social media Premier League.

With Twitter announcing recently that they have teamed up with Sky Sports to show Premier League highlights, it got me thinking about how social media has become an essential tool for football clubs to interact with their supporters.

It is no surprise that in terms of followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, 4 of the 6 teams that have won the Premier League are in the top 5 of the most followed English teams. Current Premier League Champions, Leicester City has seen their total social media audience increase to 7.8 million, more than the likes of well-supported, established clubs such as Newcastle United and Everton.

Club

Facebook Followers

Twitter Followers

Instagram Followers

Total Followers

Manchester United

70.2 million

8.3 million

12.4 million

90.9 million

Chelsea

46.2 million

7.1 million

7 million

60.3 million

Arsenal

36.6 million

7.7 million

7.4 million

51.7 million

Liverpool

28.7 million

6 million

3.1 million

37.8 million

Manchester City

21.4 million

3.4 million

3.3 million

28.1 million

Fan base and success has a huge influence over the number of followers football clubs attract and it provides them with the potential for each post, video or tweet to be seen by a huge audience. Football clubs have to stay at the forefront of all the social media channels and have to react quickly to changes.

What kind of content are football clubs sharing?

The content that football clubs post has got to be engaging. Manchester United’s social media audience is higher than the combined population of France and Canada, so they are going to receive a lot of criticism if the content they share is not what their audience want to see.

The content has to enthral the audience and captivate their attention. Here are some examples of what clubs are sharing on social media.

Match Highlights

It’s what most clubs will share on a daily basis. Anything from highlights of the previous weekend’s match to highlights of games past such as a game played ‘On this day’ or ‘a game of the day’.  The global TV rights restrict the clubs, so the highlights for the most recent game may not appear until a few days after.

Twitter Polls

Clubs will often create Twitter polls in which they ask their followers to vote for the man of the match or their favourite former player. Clubs are wary of the questions they ask on Twitter polls as they can be easily infiltrated by rival supporters.

Preston North End are regular uses of Twitter polls. This example is from a recent game where they were after their followers to vote for their man of the match.

Behind the scenes                 

This is where clubs have really started to push the boundaries with social media and really create unique and engaging content.  Clubs will create and share videos of the players training during the week, arriving at the stadium on a match day, exclusive interviews and players playing pranks on each other or club officials.

Images

Football clubs are never short of photographs to share and Instagram is the obvious channel for them to be viewed. The opportunities for photos are endless with club events, match day build up and behind the scenes at a club being some of the most used images.

Arsenal unveiled their new replica kits for this season to their 7.4 million Instagram followers last month.

Which clubs are challenging for the Premier League of social media? blog - image 2

Unique Features

Manchester City recently launched a new feature called Pep’s Taxi. A young supporter was getting into a taxi expecting to go on a tour only to find that the new Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola, was joining him. This video received over 13 million views on Facebook.

Manchester City have used social media to share unique content. Recently a young fan got to meet new manager, Pep Guardiola.

Live Video

Live video channels such as Periscope and Facebook Live have become key components of football clubs’ social media strategies over the past 12 months. From player interviews, kit launches, supporter interaction and pre-match build up, the videos allow the followers to be directly involved and they can engage directly with the club.

Everton have used Periscope to allow their followers to view pre-match warm ups that normally wouldn't be seen by anyone not attending the match.

Match Updates

Football clubs know that it is not just the 50,000 people in the stadium that are taking an interest in the match, there are potentially millions more around the world who will be eagerly awaiting the latest updates. Match updates are critical to a football clubs success on social media so it is important they are posted as soon as the goal or action happens. Supporters will expect to hear about it from the club first, rather than via another source.

Supporters have a voice too

Social media has given supporters the opportunity to engage and connect with their respective football club. They can comment and share updates that their clubs post across their social media channels.  There have been instances where issues or grievances have been dealt with, such as ticket problems.  Some clubs have even set up designated Twitter accounts to handle supporter queries.  

In some instances, controversial club decisions have been reversed by the feedback received from supporters. In 2013, Cardiff City supporters started a social media campaign over the clubs decision of changing their club colours from blue to red. The support across social media was overwhelming and eventually in 2015 the club returned to their traditional blue. 

How does your favourite team engage with you on social media?  Is it working?  We would love to know in the comments below.

Six options for managing your social media profiles whilst you are on holiday.

Who manages your social media profiles whilst you are on holiday? Here we explore a number of tools that can help you.

If you’re going on holiday you may look forward to disconnecting from your social media profiles however it doesn’t mean to say that your networks need to go silent. Social media is ‘on’ 24/7 whether you are connected to it or not. Here are six options to consider:

  1. Delegate a member of staff to manage your social media profiles
  2. Check-in whilst you are way
  3. Set up alerts
  4. Schedule updates
  5. Outsourced content management
  6. Tell people you’re going away
  1. Delegate

If you choose to ask a member of staff to manage your profiles it is important that they are well briefed. Ensure they have all the necessary login details, an outline of requirements (content / tone / frequency / key people) and guidelines for what to do if something goes wrong.

  1. Check in whilst you are away.

Assuming you have access to wi-fi you may choose to check in to your networks once a day just to make sure that there are no urgent matters to be dealt with.  You may consider limiting your time online so that you don’t get distracted by that funny cat video your friend posted. 🙂

  1. Set up alerts

Keep informed of content that is important to your business by setting up Google alerts to email you notifications for certain keywords and phrases.

  1. Schedule updates

There are a number of tools available that enable you to schedule content before you leave or you may consider outsourcing to a management service (we’re happy to oblige!). We favour Hootsuite for managing and scheduling updates across many of our networks, particularly Twitter. There is also a handy RSS feed powered by the HootSuite Syndicator app to provide a healthy mix of scheduled and real-time content. You can schedule updates manually in advance or in bulk using the auto schedule function.

  1. Outsourced content management

If you outsource your social media management, make sure your outsourcing company has a plan for when they are on holidays.  You might want to consider outsourcing for short periods of time when you are particularly busy or on holiday.  Concise Digital’s social media content management service offers a flexible option.  We work with you to provide an engaging presence when you need us. Get in touch if you would like to find out more.

  1. Tell people you’re going to be away

Let your clients and key people know that you are going to be away and when you are due back. This manages their expectations and provides peace of mind that there is a contingency plan in place if something needs attention.  You could, even … shut down for a few days, after all, everyone deserves a holiday, don’t they?

What are your plans for managing your social media profiles whilst you are away?  Do let us know – and have a fantastic holiday!

Can I use Pokémon Go to market my shop / museum?

Can I use Pokémon Go to market my shop / museum?

Even if you are not a player yourself, you can’t have missed the amazing numbers around the recent Pokémon: Go release.  After the initial launch on July 6th in Australia, New Zealand and the US, it launched last week in Germany, the UK, Spain and Italy and is now available in 34 countries. Survey Monkey estimated on July 15th that just under 26 million American played Pokémon Go (a top 10 app by daily active users).  Numbers aren’t available yet for the UK – but I’m sure they will be similarly impressive – I know I’ve seen an increase in people walking around looking at their phones in my local area.

What is Pokémon Go?

At a very basic level, it is a sophisticated Sticker Album.  Once you have downloaded and set up the app, you need to walk around your local area and catch Pokémon (Cute little monsters).  There are initially 250 different Pokémon to find which appear as you walk around.  Free to use – and don’t we all love collecting things! 

A screenshot showing the Pokémon that are available to collect.

Once you find a Pokémon, you have to catch them by firing a ball at them.

This image shows a Pokémon that you are trying to catch. To catch a Pokémon you have to fire a ball at it.

Clearly, some of the 250 will be rarer than others and some will appear frequently.  As you capture more Pokémon, you more up gaming levels.  This will allow you to encounter Pokémon that are harder to catch.  

PokéStops are places to visit to get items (to help you catch Pokémon) and Eggs (which will hatch into Pokémon after you have walked a certain distance).  PokéStops are important places in your area – my local area has PokéStops that are maps, statues, etc.  When you get to a PokéStop, you can collect items for free to assist in the capture of more Pokémon.  You can purchase these items with real world currency – but you don’t need to.

When you achieve level 5 (by catching duplicates of the same Pokémon) you can join a Gym. Again gyms will be available around your local area and may be landmarks, museums, status etc.  Joining a gym allows you to train your Pokémon, take part in battles with other Pokémon players and will allow you to collect rarer Pokémon.

As a business owner, why would I care?

Well, the jury is still out – but at the moment this game is popular and it might be an opportunity to take advantage.  

  1. At the very least it is worth finding out whether there is a PokéStop or Gym nearer your place of business and telling people about it.  They have been allocated seemingly randomly at the moment, though I’m sure there will come a time when you can apply (and pay) to be one.  This will cause more people to appear at your shop / museum – why not ensure your store front will catch their attention.
  1. A lure is an item that you can get to ‘attract’ more Pokémon than usual for 30 minutes.  They will appear on player’s game maps so they might travel to your store / museum to get more Pokémon – why not have a special offer to coincide?  This is what L’Inizio Pizza Bar did to see a 75% increase in business.  This picture is from NBC Los Angeles illustrating the interest in a lure to a separate business!

This picture showing Pokémon Go players, is from NBC Los Angeles illustrating the interest in a lure to a separate business!

  1. When Pokémon users, join a gym, you need to pick one of three teams to join.  How about offering people on your team a discount.
  1. If you have a gym near you, encourage your staff to join your team and ‘own’ the gym. Challenge customers to take it over and battle them.  Alternatively, offer discounts to any trainer that walks in your store.
  1. Use social media to tell people about the Pokémon you have found in your shop / museum. This is what the Children’s Museum have done in the Indy in the US.
  1. Reward users who share pictures of the Pokémon they have found in your store on social media.
  1. In time, there is bound to be an opportunity to sponsor locations.   

As an aside, remember, to catch Pokémon, people have to walk around.  Charity Miles is an app that will allow you to earn money for American based charities while you are walking.  A number of organisations have pledged to donate money depending on the amount of miles achieved by individuals.  I really like this idea and would like to see something similar in the UK.

What do you think? Let me know if you use Pokémon Go as a marketing tool.

Ride the visual roller coaster

Ride the visual roller coaster.

Consider the roller coaster – There’re ups and adrenalin loaded downs and just when you get used to the ups and downs there’s a sharp curve and you’re wondering when the next surprise will be. You are captivated, you are engaged in the process.

On social media, we are exposed to a constant cycle of messages on a daily basis. How do you keep your customers entertained and break through all the clutter?  Why not take your customers on a visual journey with twists and turns ups and downs? Visual imagery triggers an emotional response and boosts engagement. It is not a coincidence that the fastest growing social networks such as Pinterest, Instagram and SnapChat focus on visual content.

It’s important to include how you are going to use images as part of your social media strategy. Be aware of the vast array of images and messages on social media, audiences are becoming desensitised therefore it takes extra effort to get engagement.  Attention grabbing, eye-catching graphic design provides a visual route to impress your audience. Well-designed images give your business a more professional persona and can strengthen the brand.  Branded images displayed across several social media networks fuels brand recognition and awareness. 

A collection of our header images that we have designed for Concise Digital over the past few months.With the constant stream of messages and images, it is important to post regularly and consistently. At Concise Digital and Concise Training, we have focused on developing a strong consistent, visual brand to reach as wide an audience as possible and retain their interest.

This year we have made an effort to promote a new theme each month with branded headers across all our platforms and related content to retain and grow our fan base with interesting, useful and fresh ideas. Our fans are recognising and engaging with our content that is easily identified by our consistent, high-quality images.  

What have we learnt from the exercise?

Consistency is the key to creating branded content.1.  Consistency is the key to creating branded content:

  • Use a consistent colour palette
  • Choose images with a consistent theme, this can be a tonal range, background, genre or perhaps choice between using vector or bitmap images.
  • Stick to a few fonts that reflect your brand personality.
  • If using text to relay a message, make sure that it is easy to read

 

You need to ensure that your images sizes are correct.2.  Take time to ensure the image sizes are correct

    • Each channel has its own unique image size both for status updates and ads.  Make sure the images you create are produced in various sizes.
    • Sizes for ad images are different again – make sure you know what the image is going to be used for.
    •  Images on mobile devices might appear slightly differently. Don’t put writing too close to the edge to ensure your message doesn’t get cut off.

 

An example of how we share our social media tips. This one has been themed for Wimbledon so it will be posted during Wimbledon fortnight.3.  Use your own designed images

    • Stock images are OK – but is it obvious they are stock images and therefore, may not represent your brand.
    • If you are going to use stock images, make changes to ensure they are branded with your colours, style and fonts. Please also check whether you need to attribute the image to the source. 
    • Create template ‘cards’ like our Wimbledon version which you can use in a number of ways by adding small text questions, tips or facts.

 

4.  Minimise text

    • Don’t allow your words to crowd out the image, people won’t take the time to read a lot of text.
    • Watch the use of fonts – make sure they can be easily read when fans are scrolling through their feed.

 

Adding variety to your visual content is a must. People will get bored of seeing the same thing over and over again.5.  Variety

    • Use a range of visual content, people don’t want to see the same thing over and over again. try screenshots, infographics, quotes and try adding your own photos for a personal touch. 

 

Do you want to improve the social media images you share? We can offer you images for our Business e-learning course, or we offer a package to design and create branded digital images for you.

Is your social media marketing hitting the back of the net?

Is your social media marketing hitting the back of the net? Our latest blog looks at how your social media may be missing the mark.

Most businesses understand that social media needs to be incorporated as an integral part of their marketing plan. Many businesses spend countless hours and investment fuelling their social channels but without clear goals, their efforts are unlikely to move them very far up the table.

Question:

“How do you get your social media marketing efforts to produce back of the net results?”

Your goal

Focus your efforts on the goal – your target audience and how they use social media.  The types of audiences you could be looking for should include customers or prospects, associates of customers, suppliers, industry related media, bloggers and thought leaders.

Social Media Marketing Tactics

Its well worth spending time exploring tactics.

Step 1 – Think about who you need to connect and engage with on social media. What is the profile of your ideal customer? 

  • Consider which industries your target audience works in
  • What is their age range?
  • Who are their motivators and influencers?
  • Which social media channels are they most likely to use and when do they use them?
  • What information do they share on social media?
  • What type of device do they use?

Step 2 – Then think about who these people might be associated with. Social media is one of the best forms of referral marketing, therefore, make connections with those that have links to your target audience. These are your key influencers. They could be people that stand out within your community, people with interesting opinions or thought-leaders. Look for the Cristiano Ronaldos of your business sector, those people that talk a lot about their area of expertise but also walk the walk. A google search will reveal who has a lot to say about your industry and your channels will reveal who listens to them.   

Step 3 – Once you’ve profiled the people you want to connect with, you need to find them.  Send your scouts out to spot the talent and ask your connections where to find them. There are also many tools available; let’s look at the premier league.

Twitter

  • Search.twitter.com is useful for finding people on Twitter
  • Use tools like SocialBro (now Audiense)
  • Focus on active users. You wouldn’t sign a player that never actually plays and it may sound obvious but filter out those people who haven’t tweeted in the last 60 days. 
  • Use hashtags – what hashtags would your audience use?
  • Look to your competitors; who are they following?
  • Once you’ve found profiles based on your keywords, hashtags and locations organise them in lists. There are plenty of tools available to help such as Audiense, Tweetbe.at and Tweepi.com.
  • After you build your segments, you’re ready to interact with them. Use a dashboard such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck.

Facebook

Use the find people tool by popping your email address in. It finds all those people in your address book that are using Facebook. Search for pages in your subject area and browse other fans there.

  • Page Image – Having an attractive page is the foundation of attracting your target audience and you are in control of what people can discover about you.
  • Great content – Having completed your perfect customer profile you will have a good idea about the sort of content that will appeal to them.
  • Be likeableThis is your press conference! Build rapport by thanking people who like or share your content. Connect with them and be a valuable resource. Connect them to people who can help them reach their goals and aspirations. Be a Jurgen Klopp not a Kenny Dalglish.
  • Be consistent – Connecting with people once every now and then will not win fans. You need to connect with people regularly and consistently to maintain marketing momentum.
  • Engage – Ask your audience questions, encourage them to engage with your content – that way Facebook will show them more of your content.

LinkedIn

Search for the names of those people you’ve already identified by name using LinkedIn’s search box. Also, make the most of the advanced search feature. You can search for people by their email address and via keyword, company, school and relationship.

  • Be personable – create personalised invites to invite people to connect and then keep in touch with your key influencers and prospects by liking, sharing and commenting on their content.
  • Added value content – share interesting updates and published posts that are worth reading and help your audience.
  • Be a good finisher – complete your profile to ensure you offer the best side of you to your audience.

Support:

  • Your audience will need to see your message a few times before they believe it. Also, you will need to re-post content regularly to ensure that your audience sees it amongst the noise of the crowd. Make sure that you regularly post winning content.
  • It is important that you are active on your channels when your audience is present.  This is not always practical therefore use the tools available to schedule your content in advance. On social media, you need to perform for your supporters.
  • Don’t limit your social media activities to just the obvious ones as you may be missing opportunities that are a good fit for your business. Every now and then an opportunity will come along for an uncontested shot at goal – be ready to take that opportunity by listening to what is being said on social media.

If you need help growing a following of raving fans do get in touch with the team at Concise Digital!

What can the Royal Family teach us about authenticity on Twitter?

What can the Royal Family teach us about authenticity on Twitter?

The Queen of England officially celebrates her 90th birthday on June 11th. In 9 decades of life, she has seen many technologies come and go but none of these will have been as quick to establish themselves as the meteoric rise of social media. She would be forgiven for ignoring this technology at her stage of life but the Royal Family have embraced it as this recent job advert shows:

A recent job advert for a social media manager at Buckingham Palace.

The Telegraph newspaper commented on this job advert and mentioned in their article two different Twitter accounts:

@KensingtonRoyal

@BritishMonarchy

If you search Twitter for the terms “The Queen”, “Queen Elizabeth” or “Royal Family” you can find a lot more accounts (some of which are followed by a very large number) that claim to be the Queen or Royal Family:

@RoyalFamily

@Queen_UK

@queenelizabeth

@TRH_BritRoyals

@britishroyals

@theroyalfamily

@Britishbackup

Some are obviously not official accounts but at first glance, it is not always easy to tell – especially when the account has a very healthy following.

Twitter is used extensively by celebrities, politicians, businesses and “normal” people. The thing is, anybody can set up a Twitter account in the name of somebody else and unless the real owner of the title successfully complains to Twitter, it is very difficult to distinguish a genuine and authentic profile from one that is fake.

One of the first challenges for the new head of digital engagement for the Royal Family will be to make sure that the official Twitter accounts are easily recognisable as such. The first thing that I did when I saw this Telegraph article was to find the official Royal Family website to see which Twitter accounts are mentioned. There are tweets from @RoyalFamily shown:

This image shows a tweet sent by the Twitter account @RoyalFamily.

So this must be the official Twitter account? This one is also linked to from the website’s menu so I think it is safe to say it is. What about the others mentioned by The Telegraph? These are not mentioned anywhere on the official Royal Family website so how do we know they are official?

According to Cosmopolitan Magazine the @KensingtonRoyal account is actually that of Kate, William, Harry and Charlotte so where does that leave the @BritishMonarchy account? It seems that this doesn’t exist anymore although a huge number of Twitter users are still using it in their tweets because this hasn’t been communicated to them very well.

What lessons can we learn from this?

Lesson 1

Your profile summary must be very clear about who you are so that people realise that it is genuine. Avoid saying things like “the real account” or “the official account” as this makes people doubt the authenticity of the account.

Lesson 2

If you represent a brand or business or are lucky enough to be an “important person” you may be able to get your Twitter account verified so that the Twitter Verified badge appears next to the name in your Twitter profile:

This image shows the @RoyalFamily Twitter account profile image which includes a blue tick which indicates a verified account.

Lesson 3

Make sure that you link your Twitter profile to your website and make it obvious on that website which Twitter account is yours.

Lesson 4

If you change your Twitter account make sure that you tell everybody! Put it in your newsletters, tweet everybody and highlight the change all over your website. Be aware that when you are no longer using a Twitter username it may be possible for others to use similar usernames and be mistaken for you – just do a quick search of Twitter accounts using @BritishMonarchy to see what we mean.

Lesson 5

Use images that are difficult to fake in your Twitter header – you at your business premises or pictured at an official event. This will add credibility to your account especially for those that have visited your premises before or have met you in real life.

Lesson 6

Give your account authenticity/credibility by tweeting wisely. A mix of tweets with a little human personality and those about your business is good but don’t use your business account for late night tweets from the pub. Even if you don’t say anything untoward, it will make people doubt whether your account is the genuine account for your business.

Let us know how you ensure that people know you are you on social media? Have you had any accounts mistaken for you? Are People impersonating you or your brand?

Choosing the right WordPress theme

In our latest blog, we explore choosing the right WordPress theme.

There are many different types of websites that you might want to create, from a personal or business blog to a business website, e-commerce site, directory site, community site, not for profit (charity) to portfolio websites.  We firmly believe WordPress is a cost-effective, user-friendly way of getting websites up and running.  

To make WordPress installations different from each other and relevant to your brand, there are two choices.  It is possible to create a bespoke look and feel by coding a theme (or design) from scratch or you can use one of the thousands of themes that have already been coded and customise them to your requirements.

Different WordPress themes are available, some paid and some free, each of which can cater for a different market. For example, we are currently investigating themes for a real estate site at the moment – and need to include the ability to search for available houses by different criteria.  If you are starting out to create your WordPress site, do take some time to make sure you research the themes available and select the one that will work for you.  Your research should include:

  • Supported plugins – Make sure your WordPress theme supports popular plugins, our favourites include Gravity Forms and Yoast SEO.  If you will be opting for an e-commerce site then your theme needs to support your preferred shopping basket plugin.  We would always recommend Woocommerce for e-commerce functionality.
  • SEO friendly – your WordPress theme plays an important role in your site’s SEO. Make sure you can easily optimise each page and that it generates decent HTML5.  You can check with via the W3C Markup Validation service.
  • Technical support – Many free themes do not come with any support so if you mess it up, you’ll have to work out how to fix it on your own.  The WordPress forum is a useful source of help, but you might want to pick a theme with evidence of good support and regular updates.
  • Reviews and Downloads – It is worth looking at the reviews that a particular WordPress theme has received.  Clearly reviews can’t be taken at face value but they should give an indication of whether the theme does meet its expectations.  Also, look at the number of downloads – a theme that has been download over 8,000 times is probably more stable than one downloaded 5 times 🙂
  • Mobile friendly – Responsive websites are no longer a ‘nice to have. Google ranks mobile friendly websites higher than non-responsive sites. You also want your website to look just as good on a mobile or tablet as it does on a desktop – would you stay on a site that doesn’t display content properly? WordPress themes are responsive by default but there are still a few options that offer fixed width layouts. A simple check to see if your theme is mobile responsive is to resize your browser screen, just drag the width in and you’ll see how the layout adjusts.
  • Browser compatibility – Don’t assume everyone uses your preferred browser! People use all sorts of browsers these days – not just the most popular ones like Chrome, IE, Firefox, and Safari. Most template providers make themes cross-browser compatible but it is still worth checking  compatibility before launch.
  • Layout – Many themes come with all sorts of colours, layouts, and dynamic functions but do you really need all that? Look for a theme that has a design layout to suit your objective and target market. User experience should be high on your list of priorities, visitors need to be able to easily navigate your site so choose a theme with clean and intuitive navigation.  With so much competition out there you don’t want to lose visitors who have clicked on your site because they can’t find their way around it. 
  • Customisation – For a business your brand is important as it distinguishes you from your competitors.  It therefore, stands to reason that you will want your website to reflect your brand. When choosing a WordPress theme, consider if it is easy to customise.  Explore the advanced options to check it includes the functionality you might need (e.g. slider or portfolio), what sort of page layouts are included, can it accommodate your logo easily and how many fonts or colours are at your disposal?

Share with us

As a general rule, we like the StudioPress Genesis themes, but we will look for different themes depending on what site we are being asked to create.  Do share what themes you have used.