Online monitoring using Google Alerts

For monitoring what’s going on in your industry online and topics of interest, what people are taking about or saying about you and your business, this is such an easy and simple way to get this information regularly without any fuss.

A Google Alert generates search engine results, based on a search you request, and sends it to you by email.   This means you can keep up with what is new about a topic, company, industry and see what is being shared online about you and your business without having to go actively searching for it.    You can use this information to make sure you don’t miss anything being posted about you and/or your business, to create new content or comment on new developments in your field, or just share new or interesting information on your social media channels.

It’s VERY simple to do, just go to Google Alerts.  You can decide how often you want to be notified, what language, region and which type of results you get in ‘Sources’.   If you leave it to Automatic you’ll get a mixture though, if you prefer a particular format you can select to receive news, web, video, blogs etc.

It even gives you some Alert Suggestions and a preview of the kind of content you will be getting depending on your search terms, so you can change or improve what you are wanting to receive before you confirm the alert.  You can select how often you receive them too.  We suggest you set some up and alter then alter them to suit until you start receiving exactly what you’re looking for.

It’s such an eady and simple way of improving your online presence and knowledge.  Just try it out at Google Alerts, and if you really need full step-by-step instructions find them here at WikiHow.

 

To keep up with us at Dot Social, if you’re local to Croydon you could meet us at one of our events, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

Facebook Messenger App

I’m not sure why there has been a sudden flurry of scepticism about the Facebook Messenger Android app while I’ve been away (only for a few days) as it isn’t exactly new, it originally launched in 2011!

At Dot-Social we’re all on iOS and want the latest version of most things to keep us all up-to-date.  I personally believe Facebook make changes to enhance what we do, to keep us all on there!  The difference is that the Android version of the app is having to play by Google’s rules and declare all it’s capabilities which, when spelt out, seem quite alarming and possibly intrusive, using all kinds of data from your mobile.

This article from Mashable helps with the detail of what people are concerned about and should help decide whether you should be worried. It’s aptly named, Don’t Freak Out About the Facebook Messenger App.

Facebook’s own blog on this, Why is the Messenger app requesting permission to access features on my Android phone or tablet? explains why they need the permissions stated.  Even if you don’t really understand it all, you can get the gist.

You’ll see in the first blog post that they advise these permissions already applied to Facebook’s main app, and many of them are standard for social media apps like this anyway. It was in April this year when they split the app and started rolling it out.  The app reduces the different ways in which Facebook has to handle messages in its standard app and, “It would be too cumbersome to add to the standard app.”

In very basic terms, within Facebook if you want to send someone a picture from your android mobile, you’ll need to have given the messenger app permission to access your photos.  However, if you still don’t want to use the Messenger app, you can still access Facebook messages by accessing the site through a mobile browser.  You can then access and respond to your messages without using the Messenger app.

Local social marketing tips

Because us Dot Social ladies come from Croydon, we know people who work or worked at Nestle and/or have a connection with Nestle because they used to have their UK Headquarters here and were the main private employer in Croydon.   They’re now down the road near Gatwick.  The Nestle building is part of the Croydon skyline, literally, and they lit up the Wellesley Road building at night with coloured lights.  They’re an American giant, but we have an indirect connection with them because they are local.

As online marketeers, we know the best way to gain positive attention is to provide great content and be a source of information relevant to our audience.  The problem is that nearly everybody (well, anyone with any sense!) is doing it.  This means even your best content may get lost in the crowd.

A very good way to stand out, especially if you have a local base, or connection with a particular area is by focusing your efforts locally.  Remember the saying, ‘Think globally, act locally‘.   Think about the big picture but if you’re starting out or a small business, you need to start small, and local.

Consider marketing yourself to smaller groups rather than targeting larger ones.  You can do this by joining discussions in local LinkedIn Groups, Facebook Groups, in smaller local Google Communities, or even at smaller business networking events.

People who know you are local are far more likely to read your posts and respond to them, connect with you and remember you if they feel that local connection.   We explained this at our recent Social Media workshop, that it can fall right down to the specific area in a town if you are a small, local business.  London is a big place, as-is Surrey, so although you might be intending to market to a global audience, if you are based in Guildford or Bermondsey, then say so.   Name the particular place and people will think of a connection with it, and it is that that makes it feel more personal and memorable.

With the corporate world and big businesses being seen sometimes in a negative light now and people turning to look out the bespoke, small, local business you’ll find, like us, a lot of people would rather do business with a local business than a big global corporate.  We see this all the time with requests on Social Media for recommendations for anything from a local plumber that needs to be local to a web designer, who doesn’t.

By the way, we can produce beautiful WordPress websites ourselves, but we don’t do plumbing – well, not yet!!

So don’t forget to talk about your specific location, your connection with places and also where you’re heading or where you’ve been.  Mention this on your social media channels as well as looking out suitable places to share your content with people online in smaller localised groups.   Think about your business according to both local and global considerations.

We organise Tweetups, which are a social gathering in Croydon. If you’d like to come to one and/or meet us, see the next dates and any of our other events on our Events Page.

3 Ways to integrate Social Media into your website

 

We regularly see people using Social Media platforms, sometimes really well, but without any real integration into their overall online strategy, connecting one with another and to their website.  Yes, we’ve clicked through to have a look!!

That’s what’s good about Social Media.  People interested in you, your business and what you’re saying WILL sometimes follow the links on your Social Media posts or profiles to find out more about you!  What about the other way round.  When they come to your website, can they find, follow and interact with you socially?

Here’s how you can integrate social media into your website relatively easily.

1.  Add follow buttons.  So they can connect with you, keep in touch or just watch what you’re doing.

2.  Add Share buttons.  So they can share with their contacts what you are posting about.

3.  Show your streams.  So they can see easily what else you are posting on your social media channels.

You can get buttons from each of the social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+.  If you aren’t able to do this yourself, ask your website  developer to do this for you!

There are many sites, separate to the social media networks themselves offering to make all the buttons for you. FREE! For instance, you could try AddThis or Social Button Maker.

Social Media Examiner show here, how to ‘Customize your Share buttons‘.

If you want to create streams (showing the current posts/conversations going on on your Social Media channels) then you might consider creating them individually through the social media platforms themselves again, or try Social Stream Widget.com.   You could even have a whole page of your website dedicated to all your social media platform streams with RebelMouse.

Making it easy for your visitors to connect, share and engage with you on Social Media can only make it work for you quicker, easier and better for you.

You can share this post using the buttons below, or connect with us using the buttons on the top of this page!

 

 

 

Blogging for Business – Tips

Blogging for business can be about sharing useful insights, tips, an overview of your expertise or views on your industry news and products that will help your audience and give them reason to engage with you.  To get them into your marketing funnel you want it to mean they want to link up with you by following you, subscribing, or looking for more information about what your business offers.   A well-written blog is no good on it’s own though.

To engage people you need to make it easy to read, provide ways to find out more information on the topic, either from you or elsewhere.  Great pictures, video or info graphics to help show visually what you’re talking about will really enhance your message.    

Everyone is short of time, so be careful with the length of your blog posts and videos.  When it comes to the writing, remember to cut, cut cut!  That means cut out ALL the words that are unnecessary and anywhere where you are repeating the same message.  When it comes to visuals, make sure they’re relevant, engaging and attractive.   Video should be short and either a summarised or entertaining version or addition to your blog. 

Don’t forget to make it easy for your readers to follow you on their preferred platform.  Share your Blogs regularly yourself on other platforms too.  Actively suggest people subscribe or follow your blog, so they’ll get notified when you write a new post.

Most importantly, as with all marketing, be consistent.  Keep going.  There’s nothing worse than going to a website or connecting with someone because you liked their Blog and then they stop writing it, for no apparent reason!

If you’re still not sure you can do this.  Here’s 5 reasons to blog for your business on Social Media Examiner.

We write blogs on all kinds of social media, marketing and online news and about what’s going on in and around Croydon.  Subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss out posts, or connect with us using the buttons below.

If you think any of your followers will like this information too, use the share buttons below…. See how this works?!

10 easy ideas to post on your Social Media

A lot of people we meet who aren’t yet using Social Media or haven’t fully integrated it into their marketing plans ask us what they should post on their Social Media channels.

There are literally hundreds of things you can post about but for some simple outgoing post suggestions for your social media, see below.   We recommend the 80/20 rule i.e. 80% sharing useful information and content and engaging with your audience and just 20% directed to your business.

1.  Promotional offers for your products/services

2. How your product/services solve your customers’ problems or help them

3. Comparisions of yours to other similar products/services

4. Reviews of your products/services or testimonials/case studies

5. Best of, top sellers or customers’ favourites

6. Your USP

7.  What you’re working on right now

9.  Industry news

10. Share photos or video of your people doing their work or using your products

We’ll post some more suggestions in the future, but hopefully these will give you some inspiration if you’re struggling with what to talk about.  Don’t forget, we’re very social and happy to join you in conversation, especially on Twitter, so do follow us @DotSocialise and

Wendy Ager @WendyAnnAger

Stephanie Darkes @StephanieDarkes

Ania Wilk-Lawton @AniaWL

Social Media Marketing for Croydon’s Meanwhile Use

 On Wednesday, 26th we shared our Social Media knowledge at the Meanwhile Use Croydon Marketing Day at Matthews Yard.    We were asked to provide advice on setting up a social media strategy and social media profiles.   

We stepped-in and ran the whole morning session based on our two presentations, with networking and coffee between.   Stephanie talked on creating a successful social media strategy and Wendy talked about social media profiles and improving your online presence.  There were a real mix of people in the audience, from those with an interesting idea for the Meanwhile Use Croydon scheme and some others interested in Social Media marketing for their businesses.  

It was the last day of workshops and finished with Sally Williams talking from Retail Revival.   The final applications for the Meanwhile Use Croydon competition are due in by 30th March.   

We are happy to connect you with a very supportive local online community in Croydon for campaigns, ideas and companies, so if you are on/join any of the Social Media platforms do connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+.  

 

What do you love best about Twitter, Facebook, Linke….

What do you love most about the platforms you use?  It’s great to find out how other people use Social Media.   Often it shows us a new perspective, an insight or even a great tip we can use.

Here’s what I love most about the platforms I use most:

Twitter is by far my favourite because it’s full of conversations, quirkiness, news and information. It’s not limited like some of the others in that it’s reach is far and wide because anyone can ReTweet your message and one of their followers can ReTweet it again and so it goes on.   As much as it’s extensive, it can also be very localised, if you want it to be, by chatting with locals and using local searches.  You don’t have to be following someone or them you to be able to interact or share information with you, so the reach of your message is almost infinite. There’s always something interesting happening there too.    See more on this on my own blog How Twitter Changed My Life.

Facebook is where my friends are, well most of them, still.  It is where we catch-up, chat, share photos & organise things in groups from days outs to events and parties.  That’s what I do personally on Facebook.   In some business groups and on Pages I share relevant and useful content and find some very useful information, mostly from pages I’ve liked and am interested in.

LinkedIn really is for business and where I mostly find out most about my networking contacts, their background, their business, expertise and experience, if they’ve completed it! I also use the search facilities on there quite a bit and post in local groups, contact people through their message system who I haven’t got or stored their contact details.  You can also get quite hooked on ‘Answers’, where you can pose or answer questions on specific topics.

For photos I love Flickr for displaying, grouping, sharing and more and I’m beginning to see the excitement of Pinterest now.  I never got into Instagram and don’t see the point of re-duplicating uploading my photos again and I really don’t want to click through to them from Twitter either!

YouTube searches are phenominal now, and I am often looking up How tos and more on there.  With AdBlocker on Chrome it’s even slicker to use now too.  I’ve also blogged about whether it’s a good or bad thing to block online advertising. It’s not often convenient for me to watch video, which is why I still read much more information than listen to or watch online myself.

Google Plus still feels like a new playing field to me, with most people I see posting being ones I recognise from one of the above platforms.  Circles and Communities, to me, are just a replica of groups on Facebook or LinkedIn.  I know some people who say they absolutely love G+ but, as a friend & Tweeter recently said, “What gap does it fill?”.

So, what do you do on/with the platforms you use?  

What’s your favourite and why?

10 tips on using Hashtags

 

The basics: A hashtag is a great way of grouping information together.   Just use # directly before a relevant work or phrase (with no spaces).  On Twitter it helps show up those words more easily in Twitter Search & you can also follow them on Facebook and Google+.  If you click on a hashtagged word in a message, it will show you all other messages with that hashtagged word.

For the basics, read this simple explanation by the Twitter Help Centre.

Our Tips:

1. Use a hashtag yourself where it makes sense, like current trends and topics.

2. Use the correct hashtag when joining a discussion or following a particular event/show/conference.

3.  Use hashtags to make recommendations like #GreatRead #NowPlaying 

4.  Use a hashtag to add context or irony to a message, like #fail and #justsaying or make one up to be quirky e.g. #funnythingsoverheardonatrain 

5.  On a Friday, use #followfriday or #ff to Tweet a message of support to people who you like to follow but PLEASE say why.  e.g. “#ff @DotSocialise team,  for great blogs on social media” – because it gives people the reason to follow them. 

6.  Set up your own hashtags, for events or for specific discussions create a Twitter Chat

7.  Try not to use more than 2 hashtags in one Tweet or it looks like spam and makes the Tweet difficult to read.

8.  It’s not imperative (hashtags aren’t case sensitive) but for ease of reading add capital letters e.g. #PurleyBreakfastClub (refer back to No 4!)

9. If there’s a trending topic relevant to your business/brand use the hashtag in your relevant Tweets to join in.

10. Read up on hashtag fails so you don’t get caught out.

 

For further reading for getting technical with Hashtags have a look on  Hashtags.org 

Coming soon: Online lie detector to test social media rumours

From the royal wedding announcement on Twitter, to the rumour of Rwandan President, Paul Kagame’s death, these days lots of news stories break and rumours originate from Social Media.  So, is it any wonder that a lie detector is currently being developed to help organisations including emergency services effectively respond to Social Media by verifying online rumours.

The project, called Pheme after the Pheme of Greek mythology,  is being funded by the EU and worked on by five Universities and four businesses including  Sheffield, Warwick and King’s College London.

They claim that the system could have helped verify online rumours during the London riots

Dr Kalina Bontcheva, Lead researcher from the Department of Computer Science at Sheffield University says:

“There was a suggestion after the 2011 riots that social networks should have been shut down, to prevent the rioters using them to organise. But social networks also provide useful information – the problem is that it all happens so fast and we can’t quickly sort truth from lies. This makes it difficult to respond to rumours, for example, for the emergency services to quash a lie in order to keep a situation calm. Our system aims to help with that, by tracking and verifying information in real time.”

The system is set to analyse the text of posts on Twitter and Facebook to get to the truth and route out accounts set up to share false commentary.

The project is set to last for three years and the hope is that from it a specialist tool will be produced for journalists.

It will be very interesting to see what comes of it – watch this space..

 

Related stories

EU project to build lie detector for social media

9 Breaking News Tweets That Changed Twitter Forever