Category Archives: Social Media Marketing

Simple SEO Social Media Strategy for Business Bloggers

Simple SEO Social Media Strategy for Business Bloggers:A mistake that is commonly made by businesses is that they create a site and then leave it static expecting people to find it and purchase products or contact them for leads.  In terms of SEO, generally, the fewer pages on the site the less effective it can be and the less specifically it can match what people are looking for.

Another mistake then is that businesses put up loads of content up on their facebook pages, images, short messages, competitions etc. and though effective in the short term, they quickly move from the time line and there is no long term SEO benefit.  By following the strategy below you can get that quick win and also get some long term seo benefits.

The three key aspects of SEO are:

  1. Find out what customers are searching for
  2. Ensure the pages of your site match these terms
  3. Get links back to these pages

Finding out what people are searching for is pretty easy using tools such as the google keyword planner.  So once you know this you can then discover how many competitors you have and how well they are doing on the search results page.

With a standard site you can really only focus on key phrases related to the content on those pages and you are limited in terms of what you can target.  With a blog however, you can keep adding pages to your site, so following is a Simple SEO Social Media Strategy for Business Bloggers:

  1. Before you write the blog find out what people are searching for specifically
  2. Use that key phrase and slight variations of it when writing the blog, set the title to that, add it to the content, use it as the alternative description for images
  3. Be the first to share the blog entry on your facebook page or twitter account and ensure there are social share options on the blog so that they can share within their own networks.

You don’t necessarily need to write a blog about your business topics, though tips and tricks, guides, dos and don’ts can be helpful, but be creative.  One of the more popular blogs on this site for example is a ‘how to get to‘ type article.  This is very useful to people in my area and it will be potentially seen by someone looking to get a site done.  If they like what they read they may at a future date decide they need a website and they then are aware of or know about the brand and might feel like they can do business with me as a result.

The brilliant thing about wordpress is that there are plugins that assist with this functionality.  Plugins for social sharing, which facilitate sharing on practically all social networks and are highly configurable. Plugins for search engine optimisation, which provide keyword analysis, checklists and so on.  It can make life very easy indeed.

So in summary, before you make your next facebook post, think about whether it might be more beneficial for you to post it to your blog first and then share the link on facebook.

Urgent information for those seeking Financial Assistance for Website Development in Waterford

If you are interested in getting financial grant assistance to help you do business online then then you need to book a place at the information morning being held in Dungarvan on Thursday the 26th of June. As part of the National Digital Strategy the Local Enterprise Office are hosting a Digital Voucher Information morning in Dungarvan Enterprise Centre, from 8am to 1pm (free of charge).

The Digital voucher process is competitive and there are €62,500 worth of vouchers available in Waterford for this Pilot phase. In order to be eligible to apply for a voucher, you need to book a place on the Digital Voucher Information Morning in Dungarvan, Waterford.  Places are limited to 50 so book now.

Why the Initiative?

According to the LEO, there is an “ever increasing towards online spending it is estimated that only 23% of small Irish businesses are engaged in any meaningful way in eCommerce sales… It is now believed that of online purchases made in Ireland that 70% of these are done in overseas markets.”

With this in mind, The National Digital Strategy aims to get a further 2,000 businesses trading online by the end of 2015. The Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources (DCENR) has launched an Online Trading Voucher Programme and has teamed up with the Local Enterprise Offices to deliver this to Irish business. Following a successful first pilot phase in Dublin City, a wider pilot will now take place and businesses from Waterford can now apply.

Who can Apply?

Businesses in Waterford that wish to trade online or uprgrade their existing online presence are encouraged to attend the information morning to learn more about the scheme and to become eligible to apply for the voucher.

According to the LEO: “There is now an urgency to ensure that businesses recognise that this is happening and that they are encouraged and supported to correctly respond to this digital reality.”

What can the vouchers be used for?

  • IT consultation;
  • Development or upgrade of an e-commerce website;
  • Implementing Online payments or booking systems;
  • Purchase of Internet related software;
  • Purchase of online advertising (this purchase cannot make up any more than 30% of approved Voucher costs and can only be drawn down in one payment phase);
  • Developing an app (or multiplatform webpages);
  • Implementing a digital marketing strategy i.e. Social media marketing;
  • Consultation with ICT experts for early stage adopters of online strategy;
  • Training/skills development specifically to establish and manage an on-line trading activity.

What Assistance is Available

  • Vouchers will be available to a maximum value of €2,500 or 50% of eligible expenditure (Net of VAT), whichever is the lesser;
  • Voucher approval must be gained prior to incurring any expense;
  • Own labour is not an eligible expense;
  • Third party costs only will be considered;
  • All third party/supplier invoices must contain proper business details (e.g. Tax and Business Registration details).

Conclusion

If you are a local business and have an eCommerce/Booking/Sales element to your web site, you need to attend this information morning.  Book your place at the Digital Voucher Information Morning in Dungarvan, Waterford, today.

Please share/pass on this post to anybody you know that is thinking of building a site urgently as places are limited.  If you’re not in you can’t win.

Top 10 Tips for Self Publishing a Book

10-tips-self-publishingI was asked recently on Linked In some questions about publishing a book. Maybe you’ve made a resolution to publish the book that you’ve always had at the back of your mind?

The biggest decision you have to make when you wish to publish a book is whether to self-publish or not.  If you decide to go with a publishing company, and your book gets accepted by them a lot of the work is taken off your hands but so too is a lot of the profit, and rightly so because work should be rewarded through sharing profit fairly.

As a self published author of several irish slang books, I wanted to share my experience of writing and publishing my own books. The first book that I published back in 2007 was a book entitled “The Deise Dictionary of Waterford Slang.”

Here is the list of steps that I went through to get the book published and my tips for each stage:

  1. Research with Passion: Before writing a book you must research the topic adequately and become passionate about it, otherwise the book will not be written because the effort required is far more than you initially realise.
  2. Make a Plan:  You’ve got to have a plan for the book, content, chapters etc. etc.  In order to formulate a plan you should talk to others too.  I had great help from Tom Fewer of Ballylough Books to help me plan my first book.
  3. Write it:  Open up your word processor and begin writing.  It probably helps at this point if you format the page size of your word processor to match the dimensions of the book you want to write.  There will be less fiddling about at the end if you do.  Consider margins etc.  Perhaps even talking to a printing company at this point might be a good idea!  They will provide you with exact page dimensions and optimum margin widths.
  4. Review it:  You should get several third parties to go through the book to help correct grammar and other mistakes.  If it’s a novel you’re writing, this is especially important.  For me the most important thing was consistency.
  5. Design it:  Once you have the content written you need to design a cover, and maybe get some graphic design work done on the inside pages too. It’s probably best to employ a freelance designer for this or perhaps your printing company will have someone that can do this for you at a good rate.
  6. Get an ISBN number:  You need to apply to Nielson to get yourself an ISBN number. When I bought them I received a block of 10 that I can still use.  You then need to convert the ISBN number to a barcode.  Generally you can employ a company to do this for you, they will charge maybe €50 and you can pass it on to your printing company.  There are free tools online to create bar codes such as: http://www.terryburton.co.uk/barcodewriter/generator/
  7. Print It: You then need to go to a printing company and get the book printed and bound. Go to several as prices vary quite a bit.  They will help you choose the right format, paper quality and will give you a price. Normally the more you print the cheaper it gets per unit.   Before you print the final copy you will need to go through a proof of the book and fix any last minute mistakes.  If you’re sending physical copies of the book across the globe, consider the weight of the paper too.
  8. Publicise it: Once the book is printed you need to publicise it.  Create a buzz on social media, send copies to local media, papers, get a celebrity to champion it. I asked my school friend and magician Keith Barry (host of Tv3 show Brainhacker) to launch my book, which he graciously did for me.  In my case it was picked up by local and national media, including Ryan Tubridy, which was fantastic for sales.  The Deise Dictionary created such a buzz it actually sold out locally that Christmas (2000 copies). I managed to get a second batch printed quickly, and it kept selling well into January which is highly unusual.
  9. Get it on Shelves: I suppose publicity and placement in shops are a bit “chicken and eggish”  it needs to be in the shops before you publicise but it also needs to be publicised before shops will take it.  When it is in the shop, try and ask the shop nicely to position it well.  It will sell far more if it is more visible.
  10. Sell it online.  There are lots of opportunities to get your book promoted online via blogs, news sites, social media, youtube, discusssion forums and so on.  Consider your target market and where they are.  This is where you need to be.  You could create a site to sell the book via PayPal or get it on Amazon and other book selling sites.

Generating Profit

To make profit from a self-published book is difficult.  In order to get it printed you are looking at a cost of maybe 20% of the sale price.  Then you will need a distributor.  Argosy and Eason charged me in the region of 50+%, which included the shops commission.  If you are distributing yourself, typically, a shop will charge 20%-40% commission to sell your creation.

My advice on publishing therefore, is:

  • If you are exclusively selling locally and you can distribute yourself, then if you sell all of your books you can expect to earn potentially 40-50% of the the sale price.  If you go through
  • If you are selling nationally you will need a distributor, in this case if you sell all of your books you can expect to earn potentially 30% of the sale price.
  • If you go international, through a publisher, a lot of work will be taken off your hands in terms of publishing, printing, distribution, but you can expect a lot less than 30%. You will still need to do a lot of the promotion yourself.

Some more tips on selling your book online:

for-focal-sake-thumbThese days you can sell your book online also.  Consider creating a web page or blog to go along with your book and selling it online via PayPal.  For one of my books “For Focal Sake-A 32 County Guide to Irish Slang” I created a website to collect Irish slang from across the country.  I then published the book on the site and it’s promoted to this day via search engine optimisation.  If someone searches for a slang term and finds slang.ie, they are possibly someone in my target market.  Through this I have managed to sell this and my other slang books quite successfully.  Of course paypal take a small cut of the sale price and you have to add on shipping costs, but generally you can absorb these costs a bit better for your customer because you are not paying a large comission to get the book onto a shelve and you don’t have to worry about distributing, besides sending the items at your local post office.

If your book is something that people can relate to and you can provide extra information on a blog, some of your content could potentially go viral through social sharing (like button, pinterest pin, linkedin share, google+ etc).  This is a really good way of getting the word out there, but it isn’t easy to be successful.  You have got to find a niche and it has to be sharable, and you need to find a way to get the sharing process kickstarted. Also, once your book becomes popular, don’t forget channels such as Amazon for selling and getting reviews.  Send your book to popular blogs in your target market for review.

Happy writing and best of luck!

10,000 Missing Male Fiances in Ireland

I was demonstrating setting up a facebook ad today for a client who wanted to advertise to people in Ireland who had their relationship status set to engaged.

I was shocked to find out that of the 70,000 people engaged to be married, 40,000 were women and only 30,000 were men…

facebook

Yes there are more women, than men on Facebook, a ratio of approximately 125:110 which should put the engagement stats at around 40K-35K, but at the same time, every woman needs someone to be engaged to.

So what are the reasons behind this?

Here are a few possibilities:

  • Men are lazier about setting their relationship status
  • Men are more private about their relationship status
  • Some men don’t know they’re engaged
  • Many engaged men are simply not on facebook at all
  • There are a lot of female same sex engagements nowadays
  • Some women are fabricating their relationship status

Can you shed any light on this?  We’re pretty stumped.

Facebook Statistics Ireland – November 2011 Stats

A client of mine just asked me to research current Facebook stats in Ireland and so I utilised the facebook page advertising tool to collect some basic information.

At the time of writing (30/11/2011), there are 2,060,740 facebook users.

53% of facebook users in Ireland are Female.

46% of the entire population (4,484,300 according to CSO) are on Facebook

I’ve also created a summary chart with Facebook’s age distribution spread in Ireland for anyone that wants to download, share or use these statistics in presentations :-)

13-17 275,620
18-24 491,880
25-34 628,220
35-44 370,880
45-54 172,780
55-64 73,200
64+ 48,160

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a social network. On twitter people post short <140 character messages called tweets. The difference between twitter and facebook is that tweets are generally available for everyone to search on so it’s not as egocentric as facebook.

Even though tweets are public, most people follow others on twitter (people who follow are called tweeps). This means they get a quick view in their timeline of what tweeters they’re following are saying.

Features

  1. Timeline – shows what tweeters you are following are saying
  2. @mentions – see who mentioned you
  3. Retweets – see what others in your network have retweeted
  4. Favourite – save your favourite tweets
  5. Save searches – Keep an eye on your favourite topics
  6. Twitter Lists – Group users together to watch them
  7. Trends – Shows what’s currently popular

What are the #tags on Twitter?

On Twitter people can search and tweet based on the concept of #tags, where words that are commonly searched are simply preceded with a #. It is an unofficial symbol, i.e. not invented by twitter but it has become very very useful. As all tweets are public (on public accounts), #tags are used to give a topic an id e.g. #eurovision. Anytime anyone posts with this word included it can be seen in real-time by people who search for it. This is very useful for media / news companies. For example, in Ireland TV stations such as TV3 use the #tv3 tag, so if anyone posts a message containing this tag, their researchers can find it instantly during a live program.

The genius of twitter is its simplicity.

What is Internet Marketing?

Internet Marketing is a buzzword thrown around today like an old basket ball. It’s important if you have a business website to understand the basics so that you can score three pointers on your competitors.

Essentially it is any activity performed online that promote your product or service.

Here is a list of the top most critical Internet Marketing Activities:

  1. Search Engine Optimisation: You have to ensure that your website has the correct keywords embedded within it to have a chance of being shown on the search engine results page.
  2. Google Pay Per Click Advertising or Google Adwords: Using Google Keyword Research you can pay for your site to appear on the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Be careful here as you can pay a fortune for ads that aren’t optimised and remember to ditch terms that aren’t giving you a return. These ads can also appear on websites that use Google Adsense.
  3. Facebook Pay Per Click Advertising: Facebook advertising is very exciting for certain businesses as you can target customers by age, location, sex etc. It can be expensive but if you get a customer to join your facebook page you have access to them potentially indefinitely.
  4. Affiliate Marketing: Often there’s a website out there that provides information to your target market. It might be worth offering them a percentage of your profit if they can generate significant sales for you. There are many third party services that link affiliates with merchants such as TradeDoubler. If it’s a niche you could update your site to track who has generated sales for you.
  5. Social Media interaction: It is important to engage with your consumers in a non-salesy way so that they learn to trust you. Building up this kind of relationsip will influence a customer when it comes to future purchase decisions.
  6. Add facebook like button to your site: If people like what you’re offering they may well share it on facebook if you make it easy for them to do it.
  7. Google Places: Don’t forget to add your site to Google Places otherwise know as Google Local Business Centre. When people do local searches these results often do better than regular SERP entries.

There are lots more things that you can do to market your product or service online. This is just a taster of some of the more important Internet Marketing techniques that I use on a daily basis.

 

Should I add a Facebook like button to my website?

Short answer: Err… Yeah!

Adding a facebook like button could be the single best thing you do to your website this year. There are hundreds of millions of people using facebook today, and over 1.5 million active Facebook users in Ireland, hundreds of thousands using the mobile version on iPhones and Android based phones.

It’s a relatively simple thing to add to a site, you can add it to your homepage or to every page on your site depending on the content management system used.

Once you’ve added it, end users can like or recommend your page, which means that your page will appear on their facebook profile and can even appear on their friends’ walls.  This is a truly viral way of spreading the word about a web page.

The beauty of it is that if a page is likable, it will naturally spread. On slang.ie I added the like button to all slang entries and some entries have received 10s of thousands of likes and shares, significantly increasing traffic to the site.

I recently added a facebook like button to http://www.hartleypeople.com and it has already received many likes from the local community.

A facebook like button should not be confused with a like box.  A like button is a small button that appears  somewhere on a webpage that allows logged in facebook users to like a page. It will also show how many others like that page too.  A facebook like box however shows facebook posts embedded on a webpage.  On the Hartley People site you will see a facebook like button on the top of the content on the home page and on the bottom right you will see a like box.

What’s the difference between a Facebook User, Page and Group

When I meet a client and they ask me ‘Can I have more than 5000 friends on Facebook?’ it’s horrible to see the look on their faces when I say no to them.

With Facebook if you are likely to reach more than 5000 people you need to set up a page or group.

If you want to promote something that potentially has lots of ‘fans’ or more accurately ‘likes’ then you need to set up a page.  Some good examples here are products, companies, causes, celebrities etc.

The down site with pages is that you cannot message all your subscribers directly.  In order to reach them you must post interesting content that others will like and interact with.  The more interactions the more people will see it.  Should the post be deemed interesting by facebook it will appear on subscribers walls.

With a Groups, you  can message all of your contacts.  With a regular user account you must select members individually to message.  With groups you can message everyone, which is very useful. Groups are very useful for committees and clubs that need to message the entire group through email. Groups are also useful for inviting people to events.

Essentially, everyone needs a personal facebook user account as their control centre.  You can then set up multiple facebook pages and groups depending on your requirements.

My advice is set up a page for your subscribers unless you have the specific requirement to message all of your members on a regular basis.