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Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2017

For all you Internet stat monkeys out there, this is probably the highlight of the year for you - the presentation of Mary Meeker's Internet Trends report.  And this year you have an absolute treat as she has packed 355 slides into this slide deck. 

Here's what some of the folks on Twitter have learnt/are saying about it:

And this one on newspapers:

And here's one on mobile usage - over 3 hours per day in USA

Someone identified that 69 of the 355 slides were dedicated to online advertising.

Whilst these guys found it interesting that Marketing topped the cloud services used.


3 Great Tools To Create Better Instagram For Business Updates

Every week there seems to be new developments in Social Media, designed to make the platforms easier to use or to create more functionality or as as ways to help you help them generate more money! Here are a few which are generally used on Instagram, but some can be used on Facebook, which will help offer a better experience for your customers. Instagram is definitely one channel that marketers need to consider, especially considering that there are 600 million "Instagrammers" and it is adding 50% more users per month these days than it had been over the previous two years.

Layout

Layout is an app by Instagram that lets you combine, flip and mirror multiple photos into a single image for a fun, one-of-a-kind take on your photos. You can do it all from your phone. Check out the video below to hopefully give you some inspiration and ideas for creating engaging photos. Download the app on iOS or Android.

Boomerang

According to Instagram with Boomerang "you can make everyday moments fun and unexpected with captivating mini videos that loop back and forth. All you need is a little movement, your phone and the Boomerang app for iOS or Android". A key ingredient for this app, along with the one below is movement.

Hyperlapse

Hyperlapse does away with the need for "bulky tripods and expensive equipment" - ideal in a world where most of us, and especially digital marketer, will have access to the latest smartphone technology. Hyperlapse seems to solve one of marketer's main bugbears and that is shaky video footage. And as Instagram says, "even the most common of subjects can turn into a cool, well-made video." Check out the video below and give the app a test drive on iOS or Android.


Social Media Spotlight On: Starbucks

I thought I'd begin a series of blog articles focusing on what some of the brands are doing on Twitter.  Starbucks is the first company that we'll point a spotlight on. Over the past few years Starbucks has featured in some form or other on most of our our Social Media courses. They are a company that really seem to get social media and are often at the cutting edge when it comes to new, innovative use of social networks. we must also remember that their products/stores easily lend themselves to the visual updates on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. As you'll see below they also garner a steady stream of likes, retweets and replies. Promoting a new seasonal initiative.

Wonderful use of gif images. Makes you want to buy one, doesn't it?

Neat way of getting some engagement. Notice the use of the hashtag.

Focusing on a worthy initiative - in a fun way, enraging way.

When Starbucks want to make a big impression they work with amazing animators like Rachel Ryle, who creates really special animated gifs.

Retweeting selected tweets. Like many brands Starbucks is careful in its selection of tweets to retweet. For the most part it tends to retweet text-only tweets like this one:

though once in a while when a Twitter user exploits the right mix of visual and text (story), Starbucks will retweet out (notice how this is a tweet from an employee, though).


Enter Our Spring Competition To Win A Free Book!



'Truly addictive'
Malcolm Gladwell * 'Brilliant' Susan Cain * 'Essential' Charles Duhigg

This Spring we thought we'd offer as a free prize Adam Alter's, Irresistible. You won't believe the number of times we get asked what makes social media and mobile so addictive. There are so many factors at play here and we hope that you'll find the answers in this book.

How many times have you checked your phone today? Why are messaging apps, email and social media so hard to resist? How come we always end up watching another episode?

In recent years, media and technology have perfected the lucrative art of gaining and holding our attention. This extraordinary feat has changed the behaviour of billions of people, and especially the young: by current medical standards, we are experiencing an unprecedented, global pandemic of addiction. But what exactly is an addiction? And what, if anything, might we do about it?

From cliff-hangers to earworms, from religion to pornography, and from the awesome allure of the 'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood' app to the unexpected benefits of the 'butt-brush effect', Irresistible blends fascinating stories with ingenious science to explain how and why we all got hooked. Revealing the surprising causes and sometimes bizarre nature of addiction, this book will equip you with the tools and understanding you need to navigate our irresistible new world.

To enter the competition to win this free book, please complete the form below. The winner will be notified on Thursday, April 13th 2017.


11 Benefits of Using the WordPress Blogging Platform

wordpress-logo-stacked-rgbWe have been involved in blogging since around 2003 and have been offering blogging courses for many years (starting in 2005). Over the last year or so we have been delivering WordPress courses. We think that WordPress is one of the most powerful blogging platforms out there and with its relative ease of use it is an ideal solution for those who have limited html experience. Here are some of the reasons why we think WordPress is such a great platform.

  1. It's free - WordPress.com is free and even downloading the 'kit' to develop yourself is free (hosting is something you will have to sort out).
  2. Scalable - both in terms of what you want to achieve and in terms of your knowledge. If you want basic functionality, why not start out with WordPress' hosted solution? Want more functionality? Host in on your own server (but you my need html knowledge unless you use a pricier like GoDaddy).
  3. Easy to use - understand how to use Gmail, Yahoo! or Hotmail? Then WordPress should come easy to you. This is one, very intuitive platform.
  4. Up-to-date - if you're using the hosted version of WordPress, you will be prompted to update to the latest version. If it's hosted by someone like GoDaddy or some other hosting company it's straightforward to update. These updates mean that you can always take advantage of the very latest advances from this platform.
  5. Browser not desktop based - you can access WordPress from any browser, desktop or laptop regardless of where you are.
  6. Search Engines love it - it's structured so well for search engines. Headlines become page titles and URL's and the underlying architecture is solid. Just notice how your pages start appearing for myriad searches on google, et al. But don't forget YOU still have to understand how SEO works to help. There are some plugins such as Yoast SEO for WordPress and All in One SEO Pack, which will AID you in your SEO efforts.
  7. 3rd party themes and plugins - both the hosted and self-hosted versions offer a wide variety of website themes and plugins to give the look and functionality of your site/blog. Check these WordPress themes and these WordPress plugins for starters.
  8. It's a blog and a website - WordPress has two key parts: pages and posts which allow you not just to write blog articles (posts) but also pages which can help to flag up products, services, contact us and about us pages.
  9. Mobile ready - we know that Google is a 'mobile first' company but WordPress also lets you create sites which are responsive and designed for both desktop and laptop viewing.
  10. Social media friendly - whether you want to connect up your channels on your blog or just allow visitors to share your content on their favourite platforms, WordPress already has this functionality built in. You can place your social media channel buttons where you wish on your template and add the most suitable social plugins to your blog articles or posts.
  11. Great administration - WordPress lets you add users, with different privileges, who can create, adminster or edit different elements of the site.

Related Course

WordPress Training Course (London and Cardiff)


Are You Making Digital Marketing Waves or Ripples?

Adobe Spark-5

Just before the summer I came across an interesting article from Darren Rowse, entitled How I use Google Analytics ‘Compare’ Feature to Motivate Me to Grow My Blog. Though it is around 3 years' old, the basic idea really resonated with me. In it Rowse highlights the 'hourly' feature of Audience Overview within Google Analytics. This interesting Analytics report splits the day into hourly segments and lets you view the number of sessions per hour (in the form of a graph). However, what Darren Rowse does is add an extra element - comparison of today against yesterday or the week before.

What grabbed my attention was the idea of trying to see how you could possibly make one hour, or a number of hours today, 'beat' the session count from another day. Imagine that you look at your graph and say, "it looks like 9.00 isn't performing as well as this time last week." Well, your challenge is to consider the tactical digital tools at your disposal, and boy there are MANY, which could improve on last week's rankings. Whilst this is very much a reactive exercise, it would well turn into a proactive one in the future once you know what works and whats doesn't for you.

One topic the we cover on our digital courses is the interconnectedness of many of your digital media channels.Taking your website as the centre of digital marketing activity we consider how you might go about 'making noise' or making waves through this digital network. For the remainder of this article we will explore how you can go about doing this.

SEO

Search Engine Optimisation is the foundation on which much of your digital marketing activity is built and making sure the your website is positioned highly on Google is a key objective. So, what should you be doing on a frequent basis?

Keyword Checking. Are you using the right combination of keywords? Are you going for highly trafficked keywords or focusing on the long tail? Let's say that I am looking at keywords for social media courses in London", do I go for the high volume (where there is potentially higher competition ) or for lower volume (where there MAY be lower competition but richer pickings)? Once you know the right keywords, you can start by placing them in key locations: page titles, content, links, headlines, meta descriptions and more.

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Page Titles. Are you using the right keywords in your page title? Let's assume that most people don't enter your website on the home page, then the company name/brand is not important at this point. Think about the theme of the page and change keywords accordingly.

Search Console. I wrote an article on Search Console last year so won't go into it in too much detail but from an SEO perspective these things are important:

    1. Search Analytics. Where are you positioned? How many clicks are you getting for your keywords but as importantly how many of the keyword impressions display "0" for you? 0 means that people are not clicking on your listing in Google but on someone else's which probably means you are not optimising your pages (on-site and off-site) for Google. This is a great opportunity for you to get untapped traffic, so get working on it!
    2. Fetch as Google. If you have created new pages or modified other pages (see below), then you might want to use this tool so that Google can identify your site in a matter of hours (not weeks!).
    3. Data highlighter. Offering events, courses, confernces? Well, you should be using this tool as it gives your website more visibility in the search engines. Check this out:

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Meta Descriptions - These are 160-character strings which allow a website to indicate what a page is about. They are often used by search engines to supplement your search results. We often say that they can mean the difference between someone clicking on your link and your competitors in the Search engine results. However, did you also know that social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook also use them when displaying information that you share (notice below)?meta

Email Marketing

So. you're harvesting email addresses for your mailing lists but are you telling your customers about the latest products, services and offerings that your company has to offer?  Use email marketing to flag up the following:

  • New products and services
  • Latest blog articles
  • Company news
  • Achievements (in our case congratulating students on passing their exams)
  • What about new staff?
  • Latest promotions?
  • Book offers?

Aside from using your email marketing package (such as MailChimp), have you considered using email signatures to flag up new articles, products, offers, etc? On my email accounts I often have different offers. So, someone who has already been on one of our courses will be invited to sign up for a special rate on another course.

Social Media Marketing

Each time I write a blog article or have a new product/service that I would like to promote, I'll fire up many of my social media tools. Let's go through how you might use each of the tools.

Twitter - OK, first thing you need to consider is what you are trying to promote and then consider crafting a tweet with some or all of the following checklist:

  • Image - have you sourced or created (possibly using Canva) an image that conveys the message of the article of page you wish to promote?
  • Link - have you made sure you have created a link on Bit.ly (probably using your custom link)?
  • Hashtag - have you identified the broad hashtag that sums up what the tweet is about and how about the 'granular' (or focused hashtag which may directly relate to your business)?
  • Call to action?
  • Keywords - have you thought about the correct use of keywords in your 140 characters?
  • Photo tagging - could you have tagged someone in the tweet (journalists, stakeholder, etc)?

In his book, the Art of Social Media, Guy Kawasaki invites Twitter users to try and 're-use' some of their tweets. Don't just tweet once, but use the same tweet at different times. Aside from tweeting another way to gain some traction for your tweets, and hence content, is to pay for Twitter advertising.  The potential benefit of using this to complement your tweets is that you can now expand the reach of your tweets outside of your followers. What about directing tweets at influencers within your industry (with the hope of a Retweet or alert a follow or reply)?

LinkedIn - I use LinkedIn on a few different levels. Firstly, I use it inform the people who are following me that I have added something new to my website - blog article, new service, etc. It is possible that I might  'repurpose' (or slightly change the updates) as we mentioned in the Twitter section. Images and links are vitally important and don't forget that LinkedIn sends 4 times as many people to your website than Twitter or Facebook. I also find that Sundays are pretty good days for pushing people to the website from LinkedIn. LinkedIn groups are another place that I will often go to, having published something on my website, just to flag up articles of interest for members. And don't forget to use your Company Page on LinkedIn. I find that many companies tend to neglect their LinkedIn company pages but don't forget your contacts/clients/employees/stakeholders are using this platform more and more so, why not use it to flag up stories of interest to them? And how about the good, old direct message? Consider who in your network might find your new content/offers/products of interest and then directly message them. It does work!

Facebook - this may not be your 'top' platform for 'professional social networking' but that doesn't mean that people don't use it to check friends/family updates during the day. They do - all day, every day! And, of course, if they're following your company page, they can also receive bang-up-to-date information from your website. So, why not create schedule those updates and get them to appear at peak viewing times on Facebook? Learn for your success full updates (check Insights). For certain posts that are working (engagement and reach) or those you think may need nudging, why not boost a post? Don't forget that organic reach for your Facebook posts may be as low as 6.5% and these boosts can help you reach either more of your Facebook followers or even those who are part of your potential market.

Related Courses

Social Media Marketing Course (London and Cardiff)
CAM Diploma in Digital Marketing


And, we have a winner!

ann-3d-3As many of you are aware, we have been running a book competition this month. The book we had on offer was Ann Handley's "Everybody Writes" and the two winners of the draw, which we held today, were Rhian Jeffs and Gemma Williamson. Well done to you both. Your books will be sent out to you in the post next week. And for everybody else, please look out for our special Christmas Draw over the next few weeks.


Win a Free Book This November!

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Everybody Writes is a go-to guide to attracting and retaining customers through stellar online communication, because in our content-driven world, every one of us is, in fact, a writer.

This month we are offering two free copies of this book*. All you have to do is enter your name and email address below and we will enter your name into the draw. This draw takes place on November 18th at 12.00 pm.

"If you have a web site, you are a publisher. If you are on social media, you are in marketing. And that means that we are all relying on our words to carry our marketing messages. We are all writers."

In Everybody Writes, top marketing veteran Ann Handley gives expert guidance and insight into the process and strategy of content creation, production and publishing, with actionable how-to advice designed to get results.

These lessons and rules apply across all of your online assets — like web pages, home page, landing pages, blogs, email, marketing offers, and on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media. Ann deconstructs the strategy and delivers a practical approach to create ridiculously compelling and competent content. It's designed to be the go-to guide for anyone creating or publishing any kind of online content — whether you're a big brand or you're small and solo.