7 reasons why you should be using Twitter for your business

It’s 2015 and if you haven’t started using Twitter for your business yet, why not?!  Here are 7 reasons why you should make getting Twitter active your new year’s resolution:

1, People buy from people

We have all had crappy faceless customer service from big brand companies and been left feeling dejected, frustrated and put off.  Twitter – on the other hand – often gives us the opportunity to speak directly to retailers / designers / business owners about their products and it gives you, as a business owner the opportunity to show off your skills and speak directly to your customers. People are more likely to buy from you / into you if they feel like they know you.

2, Customer service

Following on from point one, Twitter is a great tool for customer service and more and more people are using it to approach businesses, I regularly use it to ask questions / find out more about services or complain and get good results.  There are some great tips here on how to use Twitter for customer service and support.

3, Brand awareness

You need to be where your customers are and if you are developing great content on Twitter that people are sharing you will expand the awareness of your brand and the more people that know about you, the more potential customers you have.

4, Educate your customers

Twitter is a great way to tell people about what you are doing, how your business works or why your business is unique.  It gives your customers the opportunity to know more about you, share information that make you shine.

5, Networking

Offline networking is great, combine it with online networking and you’ll supercharge your efforts.  Twitter is a great place to learn about meet ups, get involved with local business groups and just plain network!

6, SEO: Google loves social

I probably don’t need to tell you this but Social Media can have a dramatic effect on the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) of your business, being social is often the fasted way to increase your online reach.  Here’s a great article explaining more.

7, It’s a social world!

We meet and hang out offline and we meet and hangout online, people are social animals, we need each other and as Bob Hoskins said in that BT ad

“It’s good to talk!”

bob hoskins

What are you waiting for?

What you can do with the iOS8 update by Apple

So, we’ve had a few days to play with Apple’s  iOS 8 up-date and here are our favourites and top tips to use regularly.

The double-click –  Use the double click on the home button from anywhere to see your favourite contacts now at the top.  You can also scroll through what apps you have open here too. To set up your Favourites or change the order so your top three or four appear first, go to Phone, then Favourites and edit them by dragging them up or down using your finger to the right of the screen.

Quick Reply –  For me this is an ‘at last!’ update.  You can now pull down the message and type a reply without having to load the messages app.  When you’ve replied you are straight back to whatever you were doing.

Taking photos – There’s a new timer and time-lapse mode.  Don’t forget our previous blog on using Pano mode too.

Edit photo  Now you can improve your photos right on your phone.  Change any skew by rotating in degrees and adjust brightness, contract and exposure etc.  It’s like having a little version of Photoshop on your phone.

Sending photos – It’s now really easy to send a recent photo you’ve taken without leaving the message screen.  Click the attach photo button, scroll along your recent photos to send, or tap to open your full photo library.

Predictive text –  QuickType’s suggestions of words or phrases can even now follow your usual written style, even down to the difference in the way you might type more casually in text messages and more formally in an email. The more you use it, the more it learns how you type and how to spell special words you use, names and phrases.  Personally, I’m loving this so do give it a good go but if you really don’t like it you can hide this QuickType bar by touching anywhere on the bar and sliding it down. You’ll see a line that you can swipe upwards when you want it back.  Apple say you can tap and hold the globe button on the keyboard to enable predictive input in any app. It doesn’t seem to be available in all my apps yet.

Quick voice and video clips in messages –  Now this is Inspector Gadget kind of stuff! In a message, hold the microphone or camera icon to record a quick voice message or video to send.  You can play them back and/or delete and re-record them before you send.  These messages will self-destruct after being played, unless the recipient saves them, in order to save storage space. I’m finding this a great addition. It’s ideal when you have something more complicated than a text to send, or want to show someone something but you know they might not be able to listen or answer their phone right when you are ready to send it.

‘Hey Siri‘ – When you’re phone is plugged into a power source you can just say ‘Hey Siri’ and talk to your phone. This is great if you are busy typing a blog and want to get planing a route to a meeting at the same time, or if you are in the car and want to look something up, or get directions whilst driving.  I still find it difficult sometimes to instruct Siri, but it’s learning and improving.

“What song is playing?” Siri is now Shazam so you can ask Siri what music is playing and Siri should be able to tell you.

‘Details’ in Messages.  From any conversation, top right you’ll see ‘Details’. Here you can see all attachments you’ve shared with someone by scrolling down, and share your location. This is very helpful if someone is trying to find you to meet up. You can permanently, or for a limited time, allow them to see your location.  This, for me, replaces the Friend Finder app I use with my husband so I know if he’s left work or how far from home he is etc without having to contact him.  I can even have the kids run to the window to see him walking home from the train station and excitedly open the front door to him!

From Details in Messages, the Do Not Disturb allows you to mute a text conversation if you don’t want to get involved right then and there and read them later.  This is useful if you’re in a group conversation that’s going on a bit and you’re busy!

There’s loads more.  Apple themselves feature, on their ‘Whats New‘ page, improvements to Photos, Messages, their smartest keyboard ever, family sharing, iCloud Drive, Health, connecting your apple devices, and new Spotlight features to find out stuff!

What have you found most useful about the changes or are eager to try?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A great photo mode you could be using on your mobile

To create a great panoramic photo we used to use an image-stitching software tool for creating panoramic photos.  Basically, you take a set of pictures of the view, which is normally a big expanse before you, and use software such as AutoStitch to merge them into one panoramic shot afterwards when you get back to your PC. 

However, there is, for most of us, a great mode on our phones to do this right then and there.

The Pano setting is brilliant.  Find it!  It should give you basic instructions or guidance.  Sweep across the view to get the same effect.  The above picture was taken with an SLR camera and stitched, but with a good camera on your phone you can get a great Pano shot easily with no faffing around.   It will even, in some instances, cope with people moving around as you sweep across the scene.

This Pano mode is also great for a group shots close-up as well as for views.   You can even use it vertically to capture tall buildings.   You don’t have to all the way, you can stop where you want. You can get a bit of distortion depending on how wide a view, how close you are etc but do go and have a try in various situations if you have the pano setting.  It’s great for catching a group or crowd close together (preferably if they’ll stay still for a moment!) when ordinarily you couldn’t fit them all in, taking a picture of someone posing at the bottom of a tall building, and panoramic views.

You may find uses with this to show of your next exhibition stand, crowd at an event or workshop if you are running a business too.   Tweet them to us @DotSocialise

iPhone Pano

iPhone Pano

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.

New changes to Facebook rules – HURRAY!

Facebook like, dislike image

Facebook like, dislike image

As a user, I was extremely pleased to read about the new Facebook Platform Policy (7 Aug, fully effective on 5 Nov 2014) stopping Pages apps requiring you to like a Page in order to enter competitions etc.  Like-gating, as it’s known, is now prohibited by policy.

What is it?

It’s when competitions and promotions require you enter by following their request of liking their Page.

However, there are many Pages not following the rules that already apply to promotions and offers.  This could be due to lack of knowledge and understanding, blatantly ignoring them or attempting to get hundreds of likes.  The latter doesn’t particularly help your marketing because if the person doesn’t really ‘like’ your Page, they with either unlike it or remain dormant, limiting the reach of your posts.  Remember it’s about quality not quantity.  You want an engaged audience, not huge figures of uninterested people on your Page.  After 5 November even if an existing app requests a Page like, it will be disabled by Facebook (in effect) and not count whether the entrant has or hasn’t liked the Page!  For a new app, we believe this is in effect already (from 7 Aug 2014) and some have 90 days to comply.

There have always been strict rules around competitions on Facebook.  To summaries these:

  • you must show all the terms, rules and eligibility to enter etc
  • must include an acknowledgement that it is not associated with Facebook
  • not request use of personal timelines (e.g. ‘Share on your Timeline to enter’ is not allowed)

See the rules in full in the Facebook Pages Terms.

Hands up if you are surprised by these rules?  There are plenty who don’t abide by them!

Another interesting rule that you may not have heard of is that third-party advertisements on Pages are prohibited, without Facebook’s prior permission.

The new rules that sparked this post applies to apps.  ‘You must not incentivise people to use social plugins or to like a Page.   This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page.   It remains acceptable to incentivise people to login to your app, checkin at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s Page.’   Read this and about the changes to Games apps here under Changes to Platform Policy .

So, in theory, we should see a lot less of the ‘Like our Page to enter’ competitions in our personal timelines.

As a Page owner if you have created a campaign or social strategy based on incentivising page likes through apps you may find have work to do!  But, in the long run, you will find other actions, probably more effective ones, to ask your audience to do, to replace that one.

The controversy over this is move by Facebook is really interesting. See the comments under the Facebook Blog, and Socially Staked.

When you consider how many Pages each individual has liked, narrowing down who sees what has got to mean users only really do click to like, in the future, those pages that you are really interested in, not just because they want to enter a competition.

We think this is a good move. What do you think?

 

 

Croydon Tech City, Just Croydon and our Tweetup

IMG_6825 IMG_6777

On Thursday, Wendy attended the Croydon Tech City season finale meeting at Matthews Yard, Croydon.  This is a movement founded by Jonny Rose, now joined by Sarah Luxford and Nigel Dias, promoting the growth of tech companies and start-ups to come and work in and/or from Croydon.

There are great, free, monthly meetings (though there’s not one in August, hence it being the season finale this month!) with presentations from players large and small involved in tech, tech start-ups or with views or influence over them.  Since the inception, 16 months ago, there’s been a Croydon Tech City Summit and social gatherings, the Code Club movement is expanding, giving the opportunity for kids from primary school-age learning to code and lots of networking and partnership discussions.

There’s always a really positive vibe, interesting people to meet from the large group of technically-minded people to other marketing companies, ideas people, to the odd financier.

We also discovered from one of the presentations on Thursday that the Just Croydon website had launched just 2 days before, a new social site for Croydon, and that their launch night is the same as our next Tweetup.   So, we would really encourage anyone and everyone interested in getting connected and improving Croydon in person, or online, to come down to Matthews Yard on 13th August.   The Just Croydon Launch is from 6.30pm for 7pm start in the studio with talks from Jonny Rose, Councillor Tony Newman and the Mayor of Croydon, Manju Shahul-Hameed.  

The Tweetup is just a social event, free and everyone is welcome to come along.   It starts from 7.30pm, or join up with us after the Just Croydon event, on 13 August.  See full details of the August Tweetup.  

Stephanie Darkes and Wendy Ager from Dot-Social will be there and we’re normally at the bar or outside.

 

 

 

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.

How to see ALL the Activity on your Facebook Page

 

When you arrive at your Facebook Page there’s a menu at the top showing Page, Activity, Insights (stats on who’s visiting etc) and Settings (where you can alter privacy and notifications etc).

If you want to see all the activity, and maybe show some more, delete some or highlight others comments/posts, you can go to the URL at the end add /allactivity to see all of it clearly.

For example; for us, we’d need to be logged into our page and change the URL at the top to be http://www.facebook.com/DotSocial/allactivity

You can then see all your Page Activity in a clear list.  Click on the pen icon next to them to do various things eg Highlight, Allow, Hide, Remove a Tag, Delete etc. Here you can also change their visibility by clicking on the world icon.

This can help you with highlighting positive or useful comments and feedback about your business on page by others, as posts where people who have @Mentioned your page will show up here, as long as it’s not been shared privately of course!

We hope this is useful and if you’d like to share it with others, please click the sharing buttons below.  To connect with us online, use the buttons at 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.

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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