A recent post by Lloyd Shepherd on the Guardian books blog serves to highlight the step-up of importance in social media over the last few years. Lloyd’s book, The English Monster was released in March and his article compares the influence that both traditional sources (newspapers) and unofficial sources (such as reader reviews on Amazon) have had on the sales of his book.
It would seem that official reviews in newspapers are a hugely powerful tool in exposing your work and for a debut writer this is good news, whether the review is positive or negative. Online reviews are a different beast but the negative impact can be catastrophic with one writer citing a 70% drop in sales after a negative review. Social approval or disapproval is exerting a huge influence on book sales and the same can be said of other business sectors.
We have been advising our customers to get on board with social media for a while now, and it appears this will become increasingly important as Google adjusts its position yet again on the way it values web sites and ranks them. The key aspect of social media is that your web site, product or service is receiving an unbiased review from an impartial source. This is seen by Google as being more powerful than a self-endorsement and it follows that the more positive points you get from other people, the more Google will like your site.
It is worth speaking to your SEO provider about pushing your social media campaign forward if they haven’t already. eSterling offers competitively priced social media packages to suit all budgets. Your SEO team will discuss the best methods for you and get you started. You’ll get out what you put in, so be active and concentrate on making those customers happy.
The Easter break is looming and that means a long weekend – hooray! If like me you’re making the most of this and taking an extended holiday, the last thing you’ll want to worry about is looking after your blog and social media accounts.
Luckily there are simple things you can do to make it easier to run your accounts during your down time and keep things ticking over whilst you are tucking into your Easter eggs.
The key here is preparation – make sure you plan any blog posts or social media campaigns early so that you’re ready to roll come Good Friday.
- Write any blog posts before you go away. Most blogs (WordPress and Blogger included) have a schedule function, so that you can set a date and time for your post to show.
- Consider linking your blog to your Twitter and Facebook account. This will then automatically alert your followers to a new blog post.
- Go mobile using your smart phone and tweet or post to Facebook on the move.
- Try Twitter scheduling software to post tweets for you automatically. Hoot Suite and Tweet Deck are popular choices.
You could also see the Easter break as an opportunity to get creative with your social media accounts. For example, a virtual Easter egg hunt using your social media accounts could be a way to engage followers during the holiday.
Whatever you decide to do with your social media accounts – eSterling wish you a Happy Easter!
Due to popular demand, eSterling has launched a social media training course for our clients.
We have found that many of our clients are aware of the value of social media sites, but are unsure how to use them for their business. Many also find that they haven’t got the time to spend getting to grips with the technology and therefore keep putting it off for another time.
That’s why the team at eSterling has devised a three-hour training session that will get you up and running. The aim is to give you the confidence to run your Facebook or Twitter account without feeling overwhelmed.
eSterling social media training is jargon-free, with everything simplified into terms that you can understand. We actively welcome your questions during the training session and you will be given handy worksheets to take away so that you can refer back to your notes.
Our training course is one-to-one and can be tailored to suit which social network(s) you are interested in, whether you are looking to use Facebook, Twitter or another site such as Pinterest. As each training session is tailored to suit your needs, you can request topics of interest that you would like us to cover.
Examples of topics covered include:
- Twitter/ Facebook layouts
- Twitter trending topics
- Suggestions of what to share using social media
- How to increase followers
- Social media reporting
As we predict that social media will have more of an influence on Google rankings over the next two years, it really does pay to get ahead of your competition and make a start with social media.
To book your training session please call Cassandra on 0121 766 4080 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year we’re bringing you a little light relief on the eSterling blog with Fun for Friday. There are so many weird things on the internet; we thought we might as well share them with you all.
Today’s Fun for Friday is good clean fun – the Facebook shower curtain. If you’re someone who checks Twitter on the toilet, this social media bathroom accessory is just the thing you’ve been looking for. All you need to do is put your face in the transparent ‘profile picture’ window and set your status to ‘I’m in the shower. LOL’.
The social shower curtain is available to pre-order from website www.spinninghat.com.
In my last post about Twitter for business, I talked you through the layout of Twitter and how to construct your first Tweet. Hopefully you have already had a look around Twitter to see how this works in practice, and the next thing you’ll want to know is how to gain Twitter followers.
You can see the number of followers you have on the right hand side of your Twitter homepage. Next to this you will also see how many people you are following. If you are familiar with using Facebook, it might be helpful to think of other Twitter users as ‘friends’ – but remember everything you broadcast on Twitter is public and should be professional!
So how do you gain followers?
- Start by following Twitter users that interest you or work in the same sector as your company. Some of these users will return the favour and follow you back. You can search for users using the ‘Who to Follow’ tab and over time Twitter will recommend accounts based on who you follow.
TIP: Don’t forget to ask your friends and family if they are on Twitter – this is an easy way to get some followers!
- Once you’ve picked up a few followers, start to follow people you want to follow you. Interact with these influential people by replying to, or re-tweeting their Tweets. They might then start to follow you.
- Make sure your own Tweets are interesting and provide relevant, useful and interesting content. Link to your own blog or product pages to encourage people to visit your site – but make sure you don’t overwhelm your followers with constant promotion.
TIP: Humour works well on Twitter – don’t be afraid to be funny!
- Provide your followers with insider information about offers and discounts and give out coupon codes or discounts to your Twitter followers. Competitions work brilliantly on Twitter – try asking your followers to re-tweet one of your tweets to be entered into a prize draw.
- Pay attention to trending topics. These are shown to the right of the Twitter homepage and reflect what Twitter users are talking about. If a trending topic is relevant to your business, you could include a link to your website in your tweet about that topic. Use the hashtag (e.g #Birmingham) to convert the trending phrase into a link.
- You can also use the hashtag to Tweet about a live event. On a Saturday night, you could Tweet about the #xfactor, for example.
- Take part in Follow Friday with the hashtag #ff. Using #ff you can recommend other Twitter users to your followers. Always tell your followers why they should follow the user you are recommending – e.f ‘#ff @eSterling group because they did a great job on my website’. The people that you recommend for Follow Friday will be likely to start following you, or re-tweet your recommendation to their own followers.
The more you put into your Twitter account, the more you will get out of it. Don’t be put off if it takes a while to gain followers. Just concentrate on Tweeting about interesting, relevant, humorous and valuable topics as well as interacting with the users around you. Your Twitter account will soon get off the ground.
Many of you know that when it comes to new technologies I like to figure them out before I believe in them fully. Twitter is one of the things that I’m beginning to see the benefits of for use in the commercial realm.
For those of you unfamiliar with Twitter, it is a social networking site that is often referred to as a ‘micro-blogging’ platform. This is because Twitter users issue tiny updates to their followers that are no more than 140 characters – this is called a ‘tweet’. Other users can reply to a tweet, or forward it to their followers by re-tweeting it. In other words, a single tweet can be interacted with and passed on to others – and this is where Twitter has value for your business.
Once you have set up your Twitter account and you have gained a few followers you will be amazed at the snowball effect. More people will begin to follow you – especially if you can offer something of worth. This is especially evident for companies that use Twitter to offer exclusive discounts, promotions or competitions, as your followers will be more likely to re-tweet your messages.
Twitter has 200 million users so it makes sense to promote your business using this medium. It doesn’t take long to set up a Twitter profile and eSterling can help you to customise it so that it really stands out to your followers. All you have to do is get tweeting!
I have long way to go until I’m fully Twiterate (Twitter literate that is!) but I believe that if something might benefit your business then you should go for it!
This week Google have launched a new feature on Google+, called Google+ Pages. This allows businesses to set up Google+ accounts as a way for them to interact with their customers through Google’s social network.
Up to now Google+ has been purely a people-to-people social network, but this is the internet giant’s first attempt at using the network to connect people to businesses.
The pages are similar to company pages on Facebook and will work in similar way. Customers can already +1 your page providing you have a +1 button on your web site, but now they can also add you to their “Circles”. This means they will be kept up to date with whatever you put on your Google+ pages.
If you want to get your business on Google+ or wish to discuss any aspects of using social networks to connect with potential and existing customers give us a call and speak to one of our social media experts.
We’re all familiar with the term ‘e-commerce’ when it comes to selling products online. Now f-commerce (the ‘f’ stands for Facebook) is becoming more and more popular with brands and consumers alike.
If you’re an online retailer, it is essential that you understand the impact that social media is having on e-commerce. Unique selling opportunities now exist on Facebook and other social media platforms. These networking sites allow you to engage with your customer base – and in the ideal scenario have them promote your products to their network of friends.
At the simplest level, this can be done by the addition of Facebook’s ‘Like’ button to your website, which acts as a simple content sharing device. When someone clicks on the ‘Like’ button on your site, this information is posted to that person’s Facebook wall and this will be viewable by their friends. As the average Facebook user has over 100 friends, this simple action could have a snowball effect as more and more users ‘Like’ your brand.
This communication is not just one-way. A page on your website can pull information from Facebook to show the names and profile pictures of people who have ‘Liked’ your product. This way you can find out more about the customers that are interested in you.
The opportunity now exists to take further steps forward to integrate e-commerce with your Facebook page. This means not just engaging your customer through your social presence, but also inviting them to buy products (in part or in whole) over the Facebook platform.
To achieve this, the look of your Facebook page can be tailored to look less like the profile page familiar to most users and more like a standard web page. This also allows you to integrate e-commerce elements, either by pulling product information onto your page using an API, displaying your shop through an ‘Iframe’ or even creating an App to perform the whole process through Facebook.
A number of online retailers have already rushed to take advantage of this new opportunity. Brands like Max Factor, Heinz, Thorntons and JD Sports have all made the transition from promoting their brand to selling goods through their Facebook pages.
The time internet users spent on Facebook in 2010 surpassed the time people used both Google and Yahoo. It is therefore essential to use social media platforms to find a bigger audience for your goods. Large brands such as Coca-Cola get more than 10% of their traffic from their Facebook page and this figure is only growing.
The Facebook platform is currently completely free and businesses can take advantage of this to set up a page with no hosting charges, fees or percentages paid. Call eSterling today to find out the ideal social media and e-commerce strategies we can offer you so that you can make the most out of f-commerce.
This week Facebook launched its latest updates which has drastically changed the layout of the news feed.
So far the update has received very mixed reviews. It seems that lots of people are finding their new feeds overloaded and complicated, while others like the news ‘ticker’ as it offers a real-time experience even when you’re not on the home page.
Whatever your views on the update, most people doubt it is coincidence that this latest Facebook update has come in the same week that Google+ opened its doors to the public. Some might even suggest that the Facebook bosses aren’t concerned with whether you like the update or not, as long as your status is about Facebook (and not inviting people to join you on Google+).
While there is no doubt that Facebook is still the number one social network in the world, Facebook must be starting to worry about their status as top dog. Now that Google has joined the social networking revolutions Facebook is facing competition from the biggest name on the internet. Google is a massive brand and the billions of people that use Google on a regular basis for other purposes will surely be tempted to try Google +.
As Richard’s post last week explained, the use of social media like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ should be a major part of any company’s online strategy. Ask us how to upgrade your website so that it is social media friendly.
Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder): “If I had to guess, social commerce is the next area to really blow up”
The race is now on to monetise the network of relationships between people by tapping into the influence they wield over their friends’ purchasing decisions. Companies are looking to build social interaction into e-commerce; from group-buying sites through to product-recommendation services.
Transaction is now becoming more entwined with word of mouth communication. Social networks are turning products into conversations. Retail was in the last decade transformed by e-commerce. In this decade social media will transform e-commerce.
People thinking of ways to spend their money are often looking at what their friends – people they trust – have bought. The idea is that pressing the checkout button isn’t the end of purchasing online – there is another stage where you share what you’ve purchased with friends. Which, in this day and age, means sharing on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
But what exactly is Social Commerce? It is e-commerce that involves social media, supporting customer input and interaction to assist in the online buying and selling of services and products. This includes adding features to your website such as ratings and reviews, social media integration and marketing through Facebook and Twitter, forums and communities, sharing and referral buttons, support for social shopping features and mobile based applications that link into your site.
Involving customers means increased engagement. Sites that have added social shopping features have reported sales increases of up to 50%.
Research has shown that just by adding customer driven ratings and reviews, traffic volume and order value can be boosted up to 25%. On-site customer reviews need to be distinct from external review sites, which have not shown as much impact. Believe it or not, negative reviews have little to no impact on sales.
Endorsements by friends show double the conversion rates but you need to influence the right people. The efficiencies and scale of the social internet can change retail or service businesses overnight.
How do you tap into this ?
You need a strategy for engaging your customers.
You need a strategy for targeting the right people.
You need a strategy for building trust in your company.
Talk to eSterling about building a social commerce presence. Either through social network marketing, integrating with Facebook, or even adding a distinct social presence into your site build.