What Do A Pair of Shoes & A Digital Strategy Have In Common?

I am a member of a great networking group called BNI. We meet every week and trade recommendations for new business to each other. It is great. If you want to pop along one day, drop me a mail. Now, I am not writing about BNI today. In our weekly meeting, you have to stand up and give a 60-120 minute pitch about what it is you and your company do. I have been a member of BNI for 9 months now so it is safe to say that I have ran out of new and original ways to talk about digital marketing. 

Or have I? 

I have. So, I pulled this bizarre comparison out of my rear. 
What do a pair of shoes and a digital strategy have in common? 
Nothing. Obviously. One is footwear and the other is a plan to maximise your online potential.

But for the purpose of this blog, there are loads of similarities. Or three at least. 

I chat with business every day. Small to large. Some meetings are extremely exiting and the companies are eager to jump in and try something new with their digital presence. Others, not so much. Many brands / products / companies / magicians believe that their business is completely fine without a digital strategy. And they are probably right. 

For the moment. 

Technically, you do not need a digital strategy for your business. Technically, TECHNICALLY….. you do not need to wear shoes. You don’t actually need them, so why do we wear them? We walked around for hundreds of years without them. Hundreds of companies have survived and thrived without a digital strategy for years. Many companies have survived without them. Many survive without shoes. So what is the point of both? 

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 12.50.24.png

1. The Landscape has changed. 


We used to walk around the woods in our bare feet. Businesses used to solely rely on stellar work and word of mouth. Customers would wander barefoot into our business because they heard your product is of a quality standard or, you were just geographically close. The internet now allows people from all around the world to shop for your product, which sounds great, but the downside is the word of mouth can be drowned out by your vast competition worldwide. Your customers will research your product or services online to see what you are about. You need to have a crisp website, regularly updated, with a presence on social media. These factors can dramatically improve your brand reputation and awareness.


If your bagel store, “Bagel 2 The Grave” has the greatest Bagels in the world, why do you have no followers on Twitter or any copy on the website? Businesses must demonstrate why they are the best and why customers should use them. Blogs, articles and posts allow businesses to showcase their strengths (and improve search engine rankings). Post ingredients of your “Open Sesame” bagel to demonstrate how the reader can create the same dish, (offering useful information to the user) whilst allowing the user to salivate over your delicious bagel. 


The landscape has changed, my friends. But for the better. You run your business because it is your passion. Show people why you love your business in different and creative ways. How can you expect others to love you if you don’t love yourself? 

2. Appearance. 


As I mentioned earlier, the customer does their research online. Without a solid digital strategy, you will lose credibility. Unfortunately, in this shallow world we live in, you probably would not buy a product off someone who isn’t wearing shoes. And even more unfortunately, you probably need a very stylish and up to date pair of shoes to push the sale over the line. I would love to go to meetings in my Italia ’90 Ireland jersey but unfortunately, I can’t. I will lose credibility. Your digital strategy is no different. How do you expect customers to enjoy your high end Thai restaurant, “Shirts & Thai’s” if your digital presence is basic and outdated. If you are digitally basic and outdated, I will assume the same of your business. 

3. Competitors


I always try to avoid scare tactics when pitching to businesses, but it is true. Your competitors are developing a digital strategy as we speak, if they are not already underway. If your customer is waiting at the finish line, and your competitor is wearing superb running trainers and you are barefoot, who do you think will get to the customer first? And when you eventually arrive at the finish line, your customer will wonder; 

“Why the hell are you not wearing shoes?"

If you walk around without shoes nowadays, it is bad for your feet, and if you are operating without a digital strategy, it is bad for your business. 

WHAT YOUR STARTUP CAN LEARN FROM THE WORLD TRAVEL MARKET LONDON EVENT

This week, I was fortunate enough to attend The World Travel Market in London. What is the World Travel Market? It is a massive event for the travel industry. It was in theory a B2B event but there was plenty of things for consumers to enjoy. There were huge stands for each country with plenty of amusements. For example, we played with a virtual reality kit in Korea to promote the the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics. It was on the virtual Ski slopes of PyeongChang that I realised that I shall not be good enough to make the cut. Even for the Irish skiing team. I failed to get off the ground. I could sense the mockery from the virtual crowd. 

I eased the heartache with some chocolate from Ecuador. It did the trick. 

Anyway, I went to plenty of talks in the two days that I attended. I thoroughly enjoyed them all. It is always so interesting and crucial to attend things like these. They can open your eyes and I found many of the talks very inspiring. What is not inspiring about passionate leaders of industry talking about what they love? 

One of the best talks was about the state of travel startups. I am involved with a few travel startups and took some valuable tips from it. So, what travel startups (or any startup) can learn from the World Travel Market? 

- Be Wary of Destination Marketing Organisations or linking with other organisations. 

Linking up with a DMO may be awfully tempting very early in your growth but be wary. DMO's are great, don't get me wrong, but it depends on what your startup's mission statement is. Is your mission to disrupt the industry or fix it? If your startup's aim is to disrupt the industry, you really need to analyse who you are linking with. This organisation could be the exact type of operation that you want to disrupt, linking with them could create a conflict of interest and they could stop you from being as disruptive as your startup needs to be. 

I was in talks with a very well known travel brand about creating a podcast for them, but they thought the topics on my travel podcast were too extreme or edgy for their audience, which is completely understandable but it defeated the purpose of my mission statement, to create an absolutely mental travel podcast. So, if I went ahead with this organisation,  I would have ended up creating a vanilla/middle of the road podcast that no one is happy with! 

Cheap plug time: The great people at World Travel Guide have been stupid enough to let me create a mental travel podcast which shall be online very soon. Keep yo' ears peeled. 

- Early Funding May Be An Issue

Again, early funding for your startup sounds amazing! However, Alex Bainbridge of Tour CMS made a great point at the talk that getting funding too early can actually be a hindrance to your progress. In the early stages of Tour CMS, Alex worked 2-3 days in the travel industry to keep the company afloat and the rest of the time on Tour CMS. This meant that he could work on his own project but while still being very involved in the industry. It could be easy to get funding and just work on your startup. Maintain your knowledge and experience of the industry that you are attempting to conquer. Early funding can lead to you isolating yourself, working just on your project and ignoring the dramatically changing landscape outside. Keep evolving, baby! 

- Identify Who You Are Fighting For

Hailo is fighting for the cabbies, Tour CMS was fighting for local tour operators and Braveheart was fighting for Scotland. You need to discover who's life you will make better. If you find this market, get them to champion for you. If you fight for them, they will fight alongside. 

Many moons ago, I was in a semi-successful band. We managed to even make it into the Irish top 20. How great am I? Anyway, bragging was not the point of this point. Always good to slip it in though. The point is, we knew who we were fighting for. We were not the best band on the planet, far from it, but we created a community around the band. The band was very much "their" band as well. We achieved this by regularly interacting with our audience. Hang around before and after shows and thanking those foolish enough to purchase our merchandise. I am making this sound a little cold, we were extremely grateful for everyone who attended a gig or bought anything, this is more a theory. We didn't calculate all this beforehand. ANYWAY, because we built up a strong relationship with our fan base, they wanted us to succeed more and when the time came that we released our single, they were fighting for us! 

- Industry Experience Not Necessarily Crucial

The startup panel also allowed questions from the audience. One young man asked a question regarding his travel startup. He has founded a travel startup but doesn't actually have any experience in the industry. Honestly, originally I thought that was a stupid question and this chap is destined to fail. However, David Llewellyn of Hailo made a great point. David came from Skyscanner to Hailo. Two very different industries. David felt that this was his advantage as he could come to the industry with a fresh pair of eyes and apply skills acquired from a very different brand. However, it is crucial to know how to build a business! You can't just come in blind to the industry AND to business and it be a success. Luck, like that, doesn't exist

- Be Open To Change 

Don't get stuck in your ways. Kevin May of Tnooz recommended that startups should put a process in place with regular reviews. Sit down with everyone involved and check every month, two months or even weekly. It is vital to make sure you are constantly checking that you are heading in the right direction. It can be very easy to get swamped in your own stuff and realise that you are not where you need to be. 

So, there you have it. Hopefully you find this article somewhat as useful as I found the World Travel Market. Any other tips to recommend me? 

If you want any digital marketing advice, feel free to pop me an email to Brian@BrianTellsStories.com. 


IS YOUR WEBSITE BEACH BODY READY?

Summer is rapidly approaching. Thousands will be flocking to the beach. You better be looking your best. You don’t want the popular kids to make fun of your shoddy physique and poor use of font on your website. Yes, kids are different now. They care about weird things. No need to focus on lifting weights, time to put emphasis on lifting your search engine ranks. Preparing for your big day at the beach can be tricky. Red bikini or yellow? Speedos or mankini? Will your swimwear really make a difference to your appeal? There is a common misconception in the wonderful world of website design, one that makes the price of investing in one appear somewhat unjustifiable when looking to revamp your marketing strategy. Being a digital agency, it’s in our best interest to change that perception and prove otherwise. Here, we write about how beneficial a website could be to your business and the value of doing it properly. The mankini WILL make a difference and your website will also.

By investing in a website you are automatically minimising the cost of offline marketing. Magazine ads, billboards, lead generators & other offline marketing methods have become somewhat surplus to requirements. A website provides an online, easy to access platform where you can advertise and showcase your business. Even if you plan on using your website as a form of online brochure, the saving on costs for printing that information alone would likely stack up and be saving your business money in the long run. You are thinking; “That is ridiculous! You don’t know what you are talking about?! Go back to talking about swimwear!”. But, We did research to prove that what we are saying is true and we will come back to swimwear later. On average, it costs £40 for 1000 A4 printed flyers (unlikely to fit anywhere near as much information as your shiny new website would on it) & our websites generally see, on average, 1000 visitors per month. With an average cost of £2500 for a brochure site, within 5 years your business would be saving money on printing costs alone and will be getting better results. You wouldn’t spend money on delivery, distribution or design, all of these adding even more cost to offline marketing strategies. Now, what do you have to say about that, wise guy?

Another problem people face when looking to invest in a website is the cheap, easy to make template websites that are offered online. Something along the lines of ‘No upfront cost and just £49 per month for a website’. We’d be naive to think this offer isn’t one of two things, one, a plausible investment for a business that aren’t interested in making profit from digital/see their website as an expense and account for it. Two, for a business or person that are only using it to direct friends and family towards the website and naive to think the ‘cheap’ offer wasn’t tempting. There are various differences between a bespoke website and templated one. With the templated sites, the look and feel of your site is limited to the templates provided. Couple with the fact the design is limited, meaning it’ll be difficult for you to achieve a design that will make your brand stand out, the SEO capabilities of these sites are dwarfed by that of a custom built website. Custom websites, by their very nature, are more original. You will not arrive at the beach to see Patricia wearing the same flip flops. You purchased them first! Patricia is always copying you. Get your own sense of style, Patricia.

As we’ve said on more than one occasion, a custom built website brings endless benefits to you and your business. When investing in a custom built website you really can make your site work for you, make it act like another employee. The website can obtain data, attract new potential customers and even provide you with their contact details that will enable you to make a one on one connection with the potential customers. Something that would take an offline an employee a sizeable amount of time and rack up some sizeable expenses for your business. Get in touch with us and let’s put you on a strict digital diet to give you a healthy web physique. And eat a burger, because you are beautiful no matter what!

If you fancy a chat about all things digital or you want some tips & tricks, throw me a mail on brian@occamdigital.com. 

I wrote this for my old company, CHC Digital.

THE IMPORTANCE OF INSTAGRAM

We signed a new client last week. They are great and we are very happy to have them but in the pitch, the client asked what the importance of Instagram was? “Is it not just for selfies?”. Of course not, you fool. Well, it sort of is but it can be SO valuable. I decided to write a blog about why my client and your business needs Instagram. The client also said my new haircut was lovely. We shall blog about that next week. 

It’s not just where the ‘kids hangout’

Instagram, coupled with Snapchat, the social media platform most popular amongst the serial selfie taker and food photography extraordinaire (of course, we are being sarcastic). The fact Instagram is so popular amongst the younger generation and infamous for the place where teenagers can post content that business owners like yourself would see as pointless. Yes, Instagram does have a huge amount of people from a younger demographic but that isn’t the only age group that enjoy the platform. An incredible 110 million users are over the age of 18, 36 millions of these being over 30 and a further 12 millions are over 50! Instagram can be effectively used to target any age demographic. If you’re company isn’t on Instagram, it should be. Below, we have 4 more reasons why we believe this is the case.

High quality, easily digested content

If you’re a regular reader of our blogs, you’ll be familiar with the term ‘fish where the fish are’. We use the term when explaining the benefits of social media and that is one of them. Social media allows you to go to your potential customers and makes digesting your content easy and convenient for them. Instagram is possibly one of the most simple platforms out there; you post a picture or video (max 15 seconds) with the option of adding a caption & tagging friends if it’s a photo your posting. Instagram place the emphasis on the photo/video when posting and without a photo/video you can’t post. This means that the quality of content on Instagram is much higher than that of other social media networks because they make posting a photo or video compulsory. The concept is simple and the high quality content means that your content is much easier for your audience to digest. If you post content that’s relevant to your brand, people are able to scroll through your Instagram and effortlessly get an idea of what your business is about.
It’s not a ‘passing trend’. Instagram allows the opportunity to give the audience an insight into your company and supplies another platform to showcase why your company is awesome. 

There’s always new ideas for social media platforms popping up here and there, creating a small buzz and soon dying out. Instagram certainly isn’t one of these. With over 300 million monthly active users Instagram is a big player in the world of social media. Amongst these millions of users are 65% of the worlds top 100 brands. With that growth coming in under five years, it’s rapidly becoming one of the world’s biggest platforms. Instagram is here to stay and the amount of users is only going to increase, the sooner your business gets to grips with the platform and utilising the power of it, the better.

blog3.png

Tap into large audiences easily

The hashtag is a well known social media ‘buzz word’ and Instagram has fully embraced the hashtag. Instagram only allows you to search for one of two things, an account or a hashtag, this makes the hashtag much more influential and effective when used on Instagram. Finding out 2 or 3 hashtags that are popular and relevant to your business can give you access to thousands of people that are relevant and interested in you/your brand. A very effective way to quickly and easily market your business. Make sure when you get a haircut, to use #NewHairDontCare and tap into a huge vibrant online conversation about new haircuts. What is the point of getting a haircut if you are not going to post a picture of it on instagram? Heck, what is the point of doing anything if you are not going to post about it on social media?

blog4.png

Showcase a more casual side of the business

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that social media is a social space. Social media doesn’t just allow you to market your business and expand your customer reach further than word of mouth or more classic marketing techniques could, it allows you to be social. Social media brings a whole new dimension to the world of marketing, a dimension that having your name plastered on a billboard or an ad in the paper doesn’t have. Social media allows you to interact with customers one on one, in real time and make a genuine connection with them. You can show them pictures of ‘behind the scenes’ at your company and have a much more personal approach. When your company is personable, it will naturally instill confidence in potential customers and give them much more reason to invest in you/your brand.

If you fancy a chat about all things digital or you want some tips & tricks, throw me a mail on brian@occamdigital.com. 

I wrote this for my old company, CHC Digital.

POST #MOBILEGGEDDON: A BRAVE NEW WORLD

Duck and cover! It’s #Mobileggeddon!

It is the one week anniversary of the #Mobilegeddon tragedy that struck the digital landscape. As we trawl through the debris of awful and non responsive websites, is there anything to learn? Has your website survived? Do you have any idea what I am talking about? 

Well, Google’s most recent mobile update sent the digital world into complete panic. On April 21st Google announced: “We will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.” Google updates their algorithms on a daily basis to keep up with and try to outdo the intelligent SEO specialists trying to cheat the system. Most of the algorithms go unnoticed and unannounced but this one was different. The fact it was announced by Google shows the significance of this change & we have reason to believe that it has in fact, been the biggest change since 2011. The sirens began to sound. Panic filled the streets as websites came crumbling down. Please stay calm, team CHC are here to educate and assist. One at a time, we have enough rations for you all.

How does this affect you?

Selfishly, all you are interested in how does it affect you. Did you ever hear of women and children first? Anyway, if you are a Google user that regularly makes use of their search engine on your mobile, this will of course benefit you. The update means that mobile searches will rank mobile friendly sites higher than those that are not. This makes the browsing experience for Google’s users a much more enjoyable and easy experience. If you’re a business owner with a website that isn’t mobile friendly, on the other hand, you are probably going to resent this change. With 80% of the internets 3 billion users owning a smartphone, having your site penalised because it isn’t mobile friendly is likely to have a huge effect on the amount of traffic you receive via Google. Shame on whoever built your website to not make it mobile responsive in the first place. Having a website that is not mobile responsive is like having half a haircut and half a haircut will look stupid. I do not care what Paula’s parents let her do with her hair. While under my roof, my rules…..

How can I resolve this? 

Not to frighten you, but there is nothing you are able to do. Your business is doomed. 

I jest. As bad as it sounds initially, there is no digital problem that cannot be solved. If you have a website, mobile friendly or not, you’re still going to have an advantage over those that don’t. You’re also going to find making your website mobile friendly, much easier. This change means people are being given the long overdue kick up the backside to update their website and keep up with the advances in the digital world. Don’t get left behind. Resolving the problem that you and your business now face is as simple as making a small investment. This investment will give your site a well deserved face lift and bring it back to its prime. If you could go back to your prime… the teenage years, partying every weekend with not a care in the world, you would, wouldn’t you? Well, your poor website is a victim of ageing that is easily reversible. The poor thing looks drained, he’s struggling with his mortgage repayments, being hassled by the Mrs to get down the gym and stop eating junk food.

He doesn’t have to suffer like this, he can be young and free again. That, my friend, is something that you can change. So, don’t fear. Mobilegeddon is here, but it won’t affect you for long. Just by reading this blog, you have made a step towards digital excellence & reigning supreme once again. All you have to do now is send us an email (info@chcdigital.com) and we’d be happy to help! 

As we take time to think about those we have lost in #Mobileggeddon. Let us use this opportunity to build stronger, more responsive and shinier websites. Embrace the brave new world and repopulate it with pretty websites.

If you fancy a chat about all things digital or you want some tips & tricks, throw me a mail on brian@occamdigital.com. 

I wrote this for my old company, CHC Digital.

SOCIAL MEDIA MYTHS

Many philistines believe that they are social media experts. They hear one or two things about social media and assume that they “get it”. It can be a trickier landscape than you would think. On today’s blog, we are going to bust some common social media and general myths WIDE OPEN. Your life may never be the same. It probably will though. I wouldn’t worry.

Customers aren’t on Social Media

“My customers are not on social media”

Boy, oh boy have we heard this one before. As of the third quarter of 2014, Facebook had 1.35 Billion, yes a BILLION monthly active users! Twitters last release of their numbers in 2013 revealed they had 232 million monthly active users (wouldn’t be surprised if that number had doubled by now). Instagram (as of October 2014) had 300 million monthly active users & for all you B2B marketing enthusiasts, LinkedIn revealed they had over 300 million users in over 200 countries and territories back in 2013.

You mean to tell us that amongst those billions of social media users, there aren’t potential clients waiting to be found? Of course there are! With the right strategy implemented and the appropriate amount of time/money invested in to the use of social media you could start to find new customers in a matter of weeks. If that wasn’t the case, the wonderful world of digital marketing & the agencies (like us) that prosper from it wouldn’t be around. Your customers ARE on social media. You may be late to the party, but the party is raging and it is never too late to show up. Ask a family member to drop you around the corner though. It is totally embarrassing getting dropped to the party by a parent.

You can see the Great Wall of China from space

Sorry folks. Next time you are at a dinner party, best leave this fact behind. Just pray that someone else brings it up so you can take them down a notch. I bet Debra will bring it up. Debra thinks she is sooooo smart…..

Debra: “That reminds me of the time I went to see the Great Wall of China. Do you know it can be seen from space?”
You: “Sorry Debra! It can’t! It can actually be only seen from a low earth orbit and not with an unaided eye!”

That will teach her.

I need to be active on every social network

We can all (well most of us) name multiple social media platforms, even people with the most basic knowledge of the digital world; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest… The list goes on. Naming and knowing these wonderful platforms, each wonderful in their own way, doesn’t mean we have to be active on every single one of them. The key to successfully marketing your business online is being specific. Specific in targeting your audience, specific in the content you post & specific with what platforms you plan on using. Of course, this raises the question, how am I supposed to know what platform suits me best If I haven’t tried them all? By all means, create accounts on several platforms & give them a try but don’t commit to all of them. Become a master on the platforms that will benefit you most rather than a novices across all. If you’re still stuck, send us a tweet (@chcdigital) or drop us an email (info@chcdigital.com) telling us what your business is and who you’re looking to attract and we’d be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

Don’t eat and swim

“Do not go for a swim for an hour after you eat” our parents used to yell. Food does not actually increase the risk of cramps. A full stomach will leave you short on breath however. Who are these people who want to go for a swim after they eat anyway? After a meal, I prefer to wallow in self pity.

I need to choose only one platform

Yes, we said being active on every social media platform is unnecessary and yes we did say that you should be specific. We meant what we said, but lets be more clear. Social media platforms all have the same basic principles, a social space the allows people to easily connect with other social media users easily & interact with them. But then again, we could argue that all foods have the same basic principles, it’s all there to be eaten, right? Lets stay on the topic of food. Protein, helps our body grow and repair itself. LinkedIn, one of the more formal social media platforms, allows us to grow our business network & interact with other professionals. Fibre, it helps us digest our food. Twitter, with its 140 character limit, helps us digest information by making sure it is limited in size. You get the gist. The point we are trying to make is that social media platforms are fundamentally all the same but each have a different purpose & each have different styles. Some will suit you and your business, some won’t. We recommend finding 2 or 3 that suit your business and using them. Although it may not sound very ‘specific’, it is when finding those 2 or 3 platforms amongst 10’s of others.

Bulls hate the colour red

Bulls are actually colour blind. Bulls are merely reacting to the movements of the bull fighter as an interpreted threat. So, the bull does not hate the red, he hates you waving that annoying piece of cloth in his face. 

You don’t have to hashtag everything

If you hadn’t already noticed, we’re food lovers here at CHC and you guessed it. We are going to bust this 4th and final social media myth in a food related style. We’ve all been guilty of overindulgence in the past and will most likely be guilty of it again in the future. We, as food lovers know all too well, the challenge is knowing when to stop. Overindulging in your food is very similar to the overuse of hashtags. It is great to have a small amount of keyword hashtags when posting on platforms like Instagram & Twitter; It can help you tap in to a wider audience/conversations that are relevant to your content and most importantly, you and your business. Great! Then people start to get carried away, they can’t just stop at 3 pieces of cake. They have four, then five and before they know it the enjoyment of eating such tasty food has disappeared and already forgotten. All they can concentrate on is hoping that the nauseous feeling will pass much sooner than it did the last time they overindulged & ensuring they definitely don’t eat anymore food. Unfortunately, when people over do-it with their hashtags, they don’t have their stomach forcing them to stop. That’s why we’re here to tell you! In a typical post it’s best to limit yourself to a maximum of three hashtags and if they can be included in the caption, as opposed to after, that’s great too! Including them in the caption isn’t crucial, we just think it looks much better to do it that way. By limiting yourself to 3 hashtags you’re ensuring that they are relevant, capable of tapping into a larger audience and aren’t being overused. As for the overindulging on that cake, we can’t help you on that but next time it happens, send us a tweet & include 3 relevant hashtags. It’ll pass the time!

If you fancy a chat about all things digital or you want some tips & tricks, throw me a mail on brian@occamdigital.com. 

I wrote this for my old company, CHC Digital.

5 BRANDS THAT USE SNAPCHAT

Snapchat is yet another great way to ensure your business is ‘in tune’ with your target market. The use of it can allow you to go to them and allow them to see your content in a way that suits them. Not the other way round. One of the main benefits of social media is being able to go to the customer. It’s much easier to showcase your business to someone in an environment they’re comfortable with and an environment where they don’t have to do anything to see your content. People will be checking their social media platforms and be active on them with or without your brand’s’ presence, this means that by building a presence and coming to them, you make life easier for them. It takes the consumer less time to look at your social than it does for them to look at your website… you get the gist. 

We thought it’d be a good idea to show you how brands are using snapchat as opposed to just telling you so here we go… 5 brands that are using Snapchat, enjoy!

McDonald’s

McDonald’s, one of the biggest if not THE biggest fast food chain on the planet, have embraced Snapchat and clearly understand its value. They’ve been using the platform to broadcast behind the scenes footage and give their customers an insight in to life behind closed doors. No, when we say behind the scenes, we are not referring to pictures of them cooking their cheeseburgers and frying their chips. They’ve used it to post pictures and videos of well known celebrities and behind the scene snaps of their adverts being filmed using the ‘stories’ function of Snapchat. Snapchat allows you to show an image for 10 seconds. Ironically the same amount of time that it takes me to inhale a McDonald’s meal.

MTV (UK)

MTV used Snapchat to promote the new series of Geordie Shore (The British version of the US hit Jersey Shore). They, like most of the large brands on Snapchat, used the ‘stories’ function to post pictures of the cast before the show premiered & remind their audience to tune in. Geordie Shore makes me sad. I hope it ends soon.

Heineken

Heineken went one step further than most other brands, they used Snapchat to make one on one interactions with their customers and rewarded them with exclusive content. They launched a competition, exclusive to their Snapchat, called ‘SnapWho?’. People who correctly guessed the artist were given early confirmation of an act scheduled for the Heineken House stage. This made the brand more personable and rewarded customers for their interaction. A great way to generate positive conversations about your brand and remind people how tasty your beer is! How many times have we received a text message from a friend suggesting a beer which awakens the thirst?

Michael Kors

The fact that Michael Kors is popular amongst young girls is well documented and makes Snapchat a perfect place for them to be marketing their brand. Snapchat’s main age demographic is between 13 & 23. This makes Snapchat the perfect place for Michael Kors to be interacting with their fan base, that is exactly what they’ve done. MK have already accumulated over 25 million followers across multiple platforms so it was no surprise that their Snapchatting was a hit. Yes, numbers are great, but with a large audience comes a large amount of pressure for them to succeed. They did exactly that. They executed the launch of their snapchat excellently, right down to the timing. They announced their account just hours after their London fashion week show, meaning they capitalised on the conversations surrounding their brands and translated them into numbers. They then posted behind the scenes shots of the fashion show and made users feel like they were getting an exclusive insight in to the world of Michael Kors. An excellent example of a brand recognising their target market, what platform their target market are most active on and capitalising on it.

GrubHub

GrubHub used the story feature to post a series of tasty photos that act as a trail, leading to promo codes for their online takeaway service. Making this exclusive to Snapchat allows the brand to do two things. They are able to monitor how successful their marketing is on Snapchat and incentivise customers/potential customers to add them on Snapchat so they can access exclusive promo codes. Not only are the promo codes encouraging people to interact with them via Snapchat, it incentivises customers to purchase from them too. Snapchat removes your ‘story’ every 24 hours, this means users would be aware that the promo code would only last a certain amount of time, an excellent strategy when looking to increase sales over a short period of time.

Rewarding customers for interacting positively with your brand seems to be the common feature throughout. Whether it be financially, with exclusive content or by giving them an insight in to your business. Snapchat is proving to be a dark horse in the world of digital marketing and the brands we have listed are proving that it can be very effective when used properly. Depending on your target market, Snapchat could be a hugely beneficial platform for your brand.

If you fancy a chat about all things digital or you want some tips & tricks, throw me a mail on brian@occamdigital.com. 

I wrote this for my old company, CHC Digital.

WHAT YOUR BUSINESS CAN LEARN FROM MY TINDER PROFILE

For those of you who are unaware of Tinder (or pretending to be), Tinder is an online dating app that has taken the world by storm. The beast continues to rage with an estimated 450 million profiles rated every day and membership growing by 15% each week. Users are presented with photographs of other Tinderers and you swipe right if you like them or left if you don’t. If both parties swipe right, its a match and you can begin talking. Simple. 

We sat around the office joking about social media marketing and how it can apply to online dating. The foundations to a successful online dating profile are very similar to those of a good social media strategy for your business. So, I decided to use my Tinder profile as an example. Thankfully, your business is far more useful and attractive than me so you will be an easier sell! If I can get dates, you can get sales.

1) Professional Opening

My logic: With this image, the odds of me having a job are strong. It is clearly a professional photograph but I am smiling. I am professional but don’t take myself too seriously. And Most importantly, black and white is slimming. 

For your Business: Social media is a more informal landscape but you must have the basics correct. Make sure your logo fits perfectly on your profile and that the relevant links are leading the users to the necessary destinations. Social media allows companies to show more personality and be informal but you need to remain professional.

2) Be Personable

My logic: I am wearing a “wild” hat. This shows that I have a “wacky” side. I am also smiling in colour which shows that I have the ability to smile and that I am not black and white. I really should trim those eyebrows and get rid of those greys. 

For your business: As I keep mentioning, be personable. Do not try to sell to your audience the entire time. Engage with them. Let them get to know those in your business. The more personable your business can become, the more trust the customer will have in you. The more trust the customer has in your business, the more likely they will believe in your product/service and throw loads of money at you

3) Build a Community

My logic: Show a picture with some friends to demonstrate that I have the ability to have friends. This is positive PR as it builds the strength in the “Brand Brian”. These people like him, so why shouldn’t you? I am also a proud Irishman so this image very much on brand. 

For your business: It is imperative to locate your target market on social media. There is no point in buying “fake” followers. Many purchase followers as it allows you the opportunity to appear successful. You are only fooling yourself. Analyse your competitors, see what they are doing and who is following them. What content receives engagement and what doesn’t. There is an audience for your product on social media. You just need to locate them and plan how to arouse their interest.

4) Showcase the Experience

My logic: The background is very pretty. It may distract the female from the subject. By showing a beach, we can showcase the experience of being with “Brand Brian”. Perhaps the lovely lady will get the opportunity to walk on beautiful beaches and jump off tyres. This may trigger the memory of the earlier black and white image. “Maybe he is super rich and can take you around the globe?”. He isn’t and he won’t. But this can be discovered at a later date. This was also taken after a year travelling around South America so I have never been so tanned. My lack of tan is no doubt a huge disappointment to the dates upon first meeting. This shall be the first of several disappointments throughout the evening. 

For your Business: Social media offers a unique opportunity to showcase the experience of your business/product with a hugely vast audience. You can create an interactive brochure that can be placed in front of both active and passive customers/clients.

5) Highlight the Positive Side

My logic: Oh, I know. It is so cheap. Cambodian orphans. In my defence, I did work in a Cambodian orphanage for quite some time and it was an incredible experience. But I am fully aware at what a cheap point scorer this is. This image allows the member of the opposite sex to believe that I am not an awful awful person when in reality……

For your Business: Smiling people and social media go hand in hand. If your business is involved in any charity work, social media allows you to sing about it from the rooftops. This will generate support and good will for your business. Social media allows the opportunity drastically improve awareness to your particular charity (the ALS ice bucket challenge for example). Various social platforms also can be used to show the positive working environment in your business. Allowing the audience to see how enjoyable it is to work for and with you will make it much easier to recruit new staff. If your staff are all desperately unhappy, you can photoshop smiles onto them! 

Once these elements are implemented in your social media strategy, I have no doubt that all your customers will be swiping right! While your business flourishes, I shall continue in my desperate attempt to find love.

If you fancy a chat about all things digital or you want some tips & tricks, throw me a mail on brian@occamdigital.com. 

I wrote this for my old company, CHC Digital.

PREPARING FOR WAR (CREATING YOUR DIGITAL STRATEGY)

War! What is it good for? It is time to wage war on the online world. There is a huge digital landscape out there that is ready to be invaded, and by your business! It is time to create a strategy for your business to conquer the rolling hills of the internet. You cannot just say “I want to conquer Twitter”. It takes carefully planning and be realistic, Twitter is HUGE. You cannot compete but you can invade a small section that is relevant to your industry. You need to arm yourself with the correct equipment, train your soldiers for combat and most importantly, understand the terrain that you are planning to take over. 

It is your business. You know it far better than anyone and we keep this in mind throughout the battle. Your digital strategy will affect how you look and how you speak online. It is crucial that the strategy represents you and your brand. For example, you will want to stay away from a fun and quirky digital strategy if you run a tombstone business. Your clients are probably not in the best mood when shopping for your product. Throughout any digital campaign, we stay very close with your business to be positive that every message conveyed is suitable and relevant. We are also very insecure and seek constant reassurance that our clients are happy.

So how do we create a digital strategy for you? 

- Establish the goal

Every business wants something different from their digital strategy. Every business REQUIRES something different. What do you want to achieve from the campaign? Do you want to increase your brand awareness? Do you want to sell lots of tombstones? Before creating and implementing the strategy, you need to establish what you need. Each campaign needs to be carefully tailored to suit each goal. 

Are you selling to the public or are you business to business? For example, a particular political party may require it for propaganda. They can create a big audience to showcase what they can do for their potential voters. Potential voters have the opportunity to use a variety of different platforms as an interactive brochure. Alternatively you may just want to use different platforms to drive traffic directly to your online store that sells tanks and missiles. It can be confusing to work out what is needed and the best way to go about this, thankfully that is where we come in! We can craft a bespoke digital strategy that will get the best out of your digital potential. We have an impressive arsenal to chose from and we know exactly when and where to strike.

- Research competitors

It is crucial to understand what your competitors are doing in this space. It would be naive to enter the battlefield blind. We have a team of specially trained snipers in camouflage who will watch your competitors like a hawk before you launch. What are they doing right and where are they going wrong? Through analysing their online presence, we can maximise your online potential . As Pablo Picasso said “Good artists copy; great artists steal”. We shall steal and then sprinkle some original magic on top to give you a competitive edge. They won’t know what hit them.

- Create tone and content strategy

Do you want to motivate, entertain or educate? Every tweet, youtube video or update is how your business will be perceived. This is a wonderful opportunity to show the world how great your service is but it is also represents a possibility for a PR disaster if not done carefully. From establishing the goal and researching your competitors, CHC Digital are able to assess and recommend the best tone to adopt and the content that will interest your target market the most. Your target market may respond better with slow infiltration (building trust in the brand) rather than a high impact strike at the beginning (a big sale or discount to announce your business).

- Analyse Results

The digital world is constantly changing and evolving. What worked yesterday, may not work tomorrow. It is key to analyse every piece of content that is shared. Why did this work and more importantly, why did this NOT work? Constantly monitoring your performance can help drive the strategy and supply it with added momentum when required. Our social sergeants, content chiefs and distribution deputies analyse every move that is made to make sure the next siege on the digital landscape will be stronger than the last and takes no prisoners. 

Be careful out there, soldier. We are here to help every step of the way and there will be no friendly fire. We will remain in the trenches with you throughout. Never leave a good man behind.

If you fancy a chat about all things digital or you want some tips & tricks, throw me a mail on brian@occamdigital.com. 

I wrote this for my old company, CHC Digital.

4 REASONS WHY EMAIL MARKETING CAN ROCK YOUR WORLD

Receiving spam emails about products you do not want are really annoying. The challenge is to make these emails not annoying and make you think you want the product! Clever email marketing campaigns can re-engage with sleepy subscribers and improve interaction with your already active audience. Here are 4 reasons why email marketing is still as crucial as ever…..

1) Easy Way To Reach Mobile Customers

In 2014, the amount of mobile users surpassed those who use a desktop. Whether you like it or not, our mobile is now another appendage of the human anatomy. 80% of internet users own a smartphone. The fact is, for many, email is the most commonly used application on their smart mobile. Email is now mobile and released from the chains of the desktop, or even laptop any more. Smartphones are making it easier and easier to send and receive emails. You can interact with your audience on the device that they love/cherish/need the most. The audience WILL check their emails. It is just up to the campaign to make your email worth opening. It isn’t easy to keep the attention of your mobile readers. They will not read just anything. It needs to arouse interest and encourage engagement. Keep your content brief and to the point. Mobile users are exactly that, mobile. They are on the move and have better things to do. Make your message worthwhile and interesting. Your audience will thank you for it.

2) Won’t Break The Bank

Email marketing campaigns allow businesses to reach a far greater number of active and passive customers at a rate of pennies per mail. For small-business owners on a budget, this makes it a better choice than traditional and much more expensive marketing platforms (TV/Radio/Print). Email campaigns also avoid printing restrictions and costs (not to mention all the trees you are saving!). The glory of email marketing is that you can set any budget. You can spend as much or as little as you want. The reach and results will vary but you will have results!

3) Targeting, In-depth analytical and tracking tools

Depending on the size of the email database and the ability of the content creator, emails can range from simple to very complicated. Emails can be personalised to include the name of the user and even more. There is a wide variety of detailed and in-depth tracking tools, allowing you to see who has or hasn’t opened your email. It is also possible to see what links have been followed when in the email. A bit creepy? Yes. But it does allow you to profile your ideal customer and discover what stimulates engagement. Email marketing offers insight to those who are not engaging. This information can be crucial when revising your campaigns to better communicate with your audience.

4) Purchase friendly

We are already very used to receiving offers by emails. Customers have developed an acceptance when it comes to deals via email. They expect and anticipate it. This makes it less of a cold sell and therefore, an easier sale. If done correctly, an email campaign can add value to the customers online experience. You can make the customers life easier with your product while simultaneously educating them about your brand. This means they begin to not only expect offers from you, but to desire them. Email campaigns are a great way to attract active and passive customers while also maximising the opportunity to capture impulsive buyers. There are few digital marketing techniques which customers can go from being alerted of a product to purchasing an item within a few clicks. 

And remember, no matter what riches he may offer. Stay away from that Nigerian prince…..

If you fancy a chat about all things digital or you want some tips & tricks, throw me a mail on brian@occamdigital.com. 

I wrote this for my old company, CHC Digital.

4 ELEMENTS OF DIGITAL MARKETING

There are many, many, many strands of digital marketing. It can be very overwhelming to even know where to start. I have found many a business owner, hiding under a desk and sobbing over their digital marketing strategy. It is time to climb out from under that desk, wipe your eyes and get cracking. To make this mountain slightly easier to climb, I have broken down digital marketing into 4 elements. To make it even easier for you to understand, I am using the analogy of THE 4 elements (Earth, Wind, Water & Fire). How relevant each strand is to the element will be up for debate but lets suspend disbelief for a small period of time.

EARTH: Content Marketing (Blogs, Podcasts, Videos)

The basis of any digital marketing strategy. The launching point. The backbone. The earth we stand on. Content Marketing, a broader term than Social Media Marketing, is the marketing of any form of content online that is being used to attract and retain customers. The type of content varies, depending on the client/brand. It can be anything from blogs (useful for SEO), videos and podcasts. Blogs allow you to showcase your level of expertise and flaunt your business model. Videos are a fun way to present information to your target market, easily and conveniently & Podcasts allow you to show that you’re a thought leader and enable you to broadcast your personal views, company news & reviews to your audience. All of these, coupled with a good social media marketing strategy (to generate traffic to the content being marketed) can generate a huge amount of success for your business. Without a solid content marketing plan, you will not be able to fully maximise the other elements. Treat the earth well and your digital marketing strategy will have the potential to grow and grow!

WIND: Email Marketing

Many marketeers believe email marketing is still the most effective marketing technique. It is hard to argue against it. Like a huge gust of wind, your message flies off into the distance and directly into your audiences email. Email Marketing is a direct form of marketing to a large audience, using email. Anything sent to a potential customer/client can be considered email marketing but the form of marketing that is most commonly considered ‘Email Marketing’ is mass emails sent to a large email list about the latest you have to offer.

WATER: SEO Marketing

I have absolutely no idea how to compare SEO Marketing and water. What do they even have in common? My earlier attempts were pushing it at best but I fear I cannot make the connection with this one. Water and SEO are both………wet? It will have to do. SEO Marketing is all about your ranking on search engines (Google, Yahoo etc). The general aim is to be on the first page, anything below isn’t usually regarded as a successful ‘SEO Marketing’ campaign. The idea of SEO is to make your company website or related links to be pushed up the search rankings for various key word searches. For example, a flooring company would want their company to be on the first page when people search ‘flooring’.

FIRE: Social Media Marketing

The most dangerous & potentially lethal element. Social media platforms offers you the opportunity to reach thousands of potential customers. Social Media Marketing (SMM) is a handy service that entails using various Social Media sites to generate traffic to the clients website/their brand as a whole. SMM campaigns are usually based around producing high quality, interesting content that arouses interest in the brand and encourages viewers to share. SMM is a very powerful marketing tool that can be adapted to suit anyone or anything you desire. Social Media, unlike any other marketing technique, enables you to accurately focus on your target market and bring your brand to them. Your message has the possibility to spread like wild fire but be careful, social media platforms are also you voice so a silly mistake could leave you badly burnt.

If you fancy a chat about all things digital or you want some tips & tricks, throw me a mail on brian@occamdigital.com. 

I wrote this for my old company, CHC Digital.

“I DO” – SOCIAL MEDIA & THE WEDDING INDUSTRY

I, Digital Marketer, take the reader,
to be my potential client,
secure in the knowledge that you will be
my constant friend,
my faithful partner in business,
and my one true campaign.

Your wedding day, arguably one of the most memorable days of your life. Everything has to be perfect! Now, as much as people would like to think they can organise the perfect wedding all by themselves, it’s a hard task. That’s where wedding planners come in, wedding planners can take care of all your pre, post & wedding day problems to ensure you really do have the perfect wedding day. 

So, how can the wedding industry benefit from the use of Social Media?

Showcase The Experience

As a wedding planner, there’s no better way to showcase your service. Social media gives you the freedom to create & share content that’s relevant to your industry to people who are interested in your area of work. There are 387 million people with active social accounts in Europe alone, just creating an account online gives you the chance to tap in to such a large audience. Social media, when used correctly, can be used as an advertising platform that can give you access to thousands of potential customers at a much lower cost than you’d find in mainstream advertising (Billboards, Tube ads etc). Social media is a powerful tool and it is there to be utilised. You can create an interactive brochure to flex your wedding planning muscles and demonstrate why without your planning, their wedding will be a disaster.

Retweet, Monitor & Engage

The benefits of social media don’t stop at being able to showcase your business. Social media allows you to monitor your competitors, conversations about your industry and even conversations about your brand. You can retweet positive comments about the industry or your brand in particular and engage with people who share the same interest. The clue’s in the name, it’s a social space, be social! Share your thoughts on the latest events in the wedding industry, keep in touch with previous clients & recruit new ones. Sharing your thoughts and opinions allows you to be seen as a thought leader in your social space. You want followers to respect your opinion and see you as a resource. So, when the time comes for you to fix Max & Sarah’s wedding, they already are actively following and engaged with your brand. I fear there is no saving that wedding though. A Nickleback tribute band? Really Nick? If you are monitoring & engaging with online conversations based around your line of work, it will encourage others to do the same. If a previous client notices your online efforts, it will encourage them to share their experience of your service with their following. Turn your clients into brand ambassadors. This experience being posted will allow you to retweet, share or re-post it to your following and be seen by a potential customer.

Content

People don’t go on social media to look at the design of the site itself or enjoy the logo. They go on there for the content. The freedom of posting whatever you like means the possibilities really are endless when posting online. You can use your various accounts to share client news, pictures of the perfect wedding you’ve just planned or tips on planning the wedding itself. As mentioned before, people can showcase their experience with your service and you can include that in your content. You can run contests to boost awareness and increase the amount of people that see your brand & even run polls to get an accurate answer to a burning question your brand has for the public. You can then further showcase your brand by sharing the results of the poll with your following. You can even tap into well known celebrities fandom’s by posting content of their wedding day’s etc. 

The moral of the story is, we share everything nowadays. The dinner we cooked, the holiday we just went on and any preparations leading up to your/your best friend’s wedding. The conversations are happening. Get involved. Fish where the fish are! If you work in the wedding industry and interested in chatting about what social media can do for you, please get in touch!

For more fun digital tips & tricks, subscribe to our newsletter below or keep reading here

We shall end with easily the best wedding picture of all time.

If you fancy a chat about all things digital or you want some tips & tricks, throw me a mail on brian@occamdigital.com. 

I wrote this for my old company, CHC Digital.

WHY YOUR RESTAURANT NEEDS SOCIAL MEDIA

1. Allows you to showcase your food

We all have that one friend that can’t stop posting pictures of her food on Instagram, don’t we? Sure, it gets annoying but, it gets interaction doesn’t it? 

Now, Imagine that food wasn’t just something from the local takeaway or scrambled egg on toast that your friend made herself. Imagine it was restaurant quality food that was posted by an actual restaurant, that certainly wouldn’t be annoying, Would it? 

Social Media, when used correctly, can be a direct link to thousands of hungry people that could potentially buy your food. It will give your restaurant the opportunity to showcase your food & entice people into buying your produce. Allow the world to get a glimpse of your casino themed steak restaurant, “High Steaks”.

2. Enhances the customer experience

As mentioned in the previous point, we all have a friend that loves to distribute images of their food on social media & a restaurant is the perfect place for that friend to do that. Jane is dying to share pictures from your Thai restaurant that specialises in seafood, “Thaitanic”. When dining out, people aren’t just paying for their food. They’re paying for the experience. If you encourage your customers to interact with you via social media, you could be contributing to their restaurant experience. 

3. Build trust in your brand/restaurant

When encouraging people to share their experience online and your restaurant interacts with it, you are demonstrating transparency and building trust between you and the customer. It shows that you are so confident in the experience you are providing that you are keen for that experience to be shared. If you’re wondering what happens when people don’t enjoy their experience & share it online, our next point will explain how that can be managed too. How do you expect “Tequila Mockingbird” to get started without trust in the brand?

4. Manage customer reviews

So, you’ve had a bit of a disaster. A few of your customers are unhappy with the service they’ve received at your restaurant and have decided to take to Twitter to vent their frustrations. The way this is dealt with can have a huge impact on the restaurants reputation and could actually work out to benefit you in the long run. By being on Social Media, you can tackle this frustration head on by perhaps offering them a complimentary meal, Finding out the cause of their frustration and dealing with it or simply offering them an apology. Social Media allows you to interact with your customers and showcase the management of your reviews to more potential customers. A bad comment about your restaurant can easily be turned into an opportunity to show how good your restaurant is & how efficiently you deal with negativity. Do not let the haters get the best of “Frying Nemo”.

5. Online Table Booking

The beauty of Social Media is that it’s so flexible. Asides from the basic look & structure of Social Media sites, it is more or less controlled by the users. This means you are able to do stuff like online books via Social Media. People can just tweet the time, date & amount of people they want to book in for and you can pencil in that booking online. This brings something very valuable to the customer, convenience. People no longer have to go out of their way to book a table. They can do it whilst scrolling down their feed, something they’d be doing anyway. With, or without the ability to book a table. Make it as easy for guests to reserve a table in your bakery, “Bread Zeppelin”.

6. Fill up seats on a ‘quiet day’

So, you’ve not had many customers in the door and the day’s coming to an end. Why not let your loyal Social Media followers know that there’s a happy hour down at the restaurant, or perhaps offer a discount on their food if they provide a discount code that you’ve posted? Embrace the power of Social Media, don’t ignore it. 

There’s hundreds of reasons your restaurant should be putting more effort into the use of Social Media and we hope these 6 will encourage you to start doing so. Don’t pass up the opportunity to improve your restaurant and increase your customer base. Get in touch! and let’s Wok and Roll! 

For more fun digital tips & tricks, subscribe to our newsletter below or keep reading here

If you fancy a chat about all things digital or you want some tips & tricks, throw me a mail on brian@occamdigital.com. 

I wrote this for my old company, CHC Digital.

SOME OF TWITTER’S MOST ENTERTAINING TWEETS

January sucks, right? Christmas is over. The weather is getting worse and lets face it, your clothes are considerably more tight than before all those Christmas chocolates. CHC Digital care. We care about you. Yes, you. We want you to smile and not let January get you down so indulge us for a moment. Allow us to cheer you up….if only very briefly. When this blog ends, it will unfortunately be January. Unless you are reading this after January then……CONGRATULATIONS! Wasn’t January awful? But for the rest of us. We are live. In January. Anyway, let us have a look on the lighter side of life. 

Twitter, something that we all know and love, it is a great way to discover what’s going on in real time across the globe and famed for being able to show you small, digestible chunks of information on your timeline that are tailored to suit you. You choose who you follow, meaning, you choose what you see on your timeline. But if Twitter was just there to show you small bits of information then it wouldn’t be much fun, would it? For a large majority of Twitter users, it’s not just about the latest news or what Lauren’s watching on TV as opposed to doing her work that’s long overdue. It’s about the fact that Twitter has no structure, it is a place where people can see funny comments, photos or jokes about something relevant to them. 

Each year, we tweet nearly 200 billion times. This means that Twitter is such an active platform that when there’s tweets about something in the news or a particular event, there’s funny tweets in equal proportion. We thought we’d spend a bit of time finding some of these small chunks of laughter & quick wit to share with you. Enjoy!

Case closed.

50 Cent has clearly forgotten his roots. His grandmother has not.

Sean Cranbury has saved many people much pain. Thank you, Sean.

The perfect crime.

Priorities are everything.

But goddammit, we will look good in the mean time.

A point well made.

A new land. A new life. Good luck, Josh. I reckon you will need it.

Credit where credit is due.

Love can be a confusing emotion……and finally….

Argument OVER. 

I hope this helps ease your January blues. Be strong. Its over soon. 

For more fun digital tips & tricks, subscribe to our newsletter below or keep reading here

If you fancy a chat about all things digital or you want some tips & tricks, throw me a mail on brian@occamdigital.com. 

I wrote this for my old company, CHC Digital.

THE MOST PROMISING SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM OF 2015

Congratulations, you have made it to the second week of 2015! And whilst your mood might have declined ever so slightly being as you’re back in the world of work and inevitably, back to reality. The use of Social Media certainly hasn’t. It is time to put down the cake and get motivated.

So, now the Christmas festivities and New Year celebrations are over, it’s time to focus on what we can do to benefit our businesses in the coming year. Being a digital marketing agency, we thought, why not start with Social Media? How do we know what can benefit your business in the New Year? We here at CHC Digital can actually predict the future. Technically, we could just supply you with lotto numbers and you can become a millionaire but where is the fun in that? We would much rather help you make millions with your business! It will be far more rewarding. You will thank us in the long run. We will include some events that will happen in 2015 to get you excited for the new year. 

2015 Fun Fact – London Bus’s will be re-named to “Busy User Transportation Terminals” or B.U.T.T. The change will be relatively unsuccessful and will only last 3 months. The re-branding exercise proved to be a pain in the B.U.T.T.

Social media experts like ourselves are constantly looking for the best place to be in the world of social media and we thought we’d give you an insight into where that place actually is. 

Towards the end of 2014, Instagram reached 300 million monthly active users, 16 million more than its main rival Twitter. This growth has, of course, continued into early 2015 and gives us reason to believe it’ll do the same in 2016. Reason being, although Social Media giant Facebook has over 1 billion registered users, the amount of these that are active remains unclear. What is clear though, is the huge growth that both Twitter & Instagram continue to show. 

2015 Fun Fact – In an attempt to strengthen ties with South America, the President of The US will adopt a Llama. Mr. Obama will name his new pet “Osama”. This will inspire a reality TV show. “Barak Obama’s Osama the Llama” will be cancelled after 2 short weeks.

We feel that going into 2015, as a business, the best place for your company to be is on Twitter & Instagram. Facebook is a good platform to use but to see impressive results, an advertising budget and Facebook Advertising professional is required (in most cases that is). Twitter & Instagram, on the other hand, do not. At most, all that would be needed to see positive results on the both of them would be a professional Social Media manager. 

Twitter & Instagram don’t require any advertising budget to access your following, unlike Facebook who, once you’ve gained a large following, then make you pay for that following to see your content that’s being posted on their feed. This reason, coupled with the fact that these two Social Media sites are showing the most impressive growth in terms of active users means that using them in 2015 is surely a no brainer. 

2015 Fun Fact – You will get in touch! with CHC Digital & we will help your business reach the next level!

If you fancy a chat about all things digital or you want some tips & tricks, throw me a mail on brian@occamdigital.com. 

I wrote this for my old company, CHC Digital.

TURN YOUR WORDPRESS INTO A WORDYES! (3 SIMPLE TIPS FOR IMPROVING YOUR WORDPRESS WEBSITE)

1. Stylish AND Functional

Bad web designers often make the mistake of focusing their efforts on making a website look pretty as opposed to making it functional. This approach is a big mistake when wanting to create a beautiful user experience; a visitor requires functionality AND beauty. Not one or the other. Your Taylor Swift tribute website may look great with all the latest pictures from Taylor’s tour of Malaysia but if it affects the usability, I shall not wait around. I shall find a rival Taylor Swift fan site and never return. 

Yes, these fancy, unique designs are great but when not created efficiently, they are typically a usability nightmare. The average web user expects a certain standard and has a million other websites fighting for their attention. If your site is not easy on the eyes and the brain, it will frustrate the user and what do they do when they get frustrated? They leave. It’s like when Avril Lavigne started to add rap parts to her songs. Come on Avril, stick to what we expect. We appreciate the effort but seriously, stop. 

It takes two to tango! So make sure that your style and functionality are dancing to the same awesome beat.

There’s nothing wrong with sticking to the basics and using a standard blog layout (a header, followed by the main content and a sidebar, followed by the footer). These basic design layouts don’t stop you from standing out from the crowd. There is a lot that can be done to make them striking. Let’s face it, Pitbull has been releasing the same song for the past few years but with different titles and collaborations. I know Pitbull is not a great example but some people like him. If you have as many fans of your website as Pitbull’s music does, you are doing very well. Please make your website better than Pitbull and his music. Please. For the rest of our sanity.

2. Make Navigation Easy and Obvious

Navigating through your site should be effortless for the end user. They should have one or more navigational elements presented to them that make it easy for them to find what they are looking for. 

These are the navigational elements that users are familiar with. These are a safe bet when making your site easy to navigate through. If I cannot find the exact information about Vanilla Ice that I came to your website to find, quickly, I shall find somewhere else. Maybe that rival Taylor Swift fan site has a detailed list of stores where I can pick up a “Ice Ice Baby” dressing gown?

3. An informative Homepage

Most of the time your homepage will be, by far and away, the most visited page on your site. This is because it is an obvious entry point, much like a front door on a house. If you can walk through the door, you’re not going to try and climb through the windows, are you? If you generally enter houses through a window, you are entering houses incorrectly. You need to work on your basic entering property skills before you build your wordpress site. Priorities. 

In addition to being an obvious entry point, it is an obvious next step for people when they first visit your site through any page. 

The fact the homepage is the most visited page means that making sure it is easy to understand and informative is essential. The homepage should include the navigational elements listed above and be simple, but effective. Think of it as a news article headline, it needs to be simple enough for a person to easily digest, informative enough to give the person an idea of what to expect and intriguing enough to encourage the person to read on. 

In summary the essentials are: clean design & simple, easy navigation, informative homepage, be better than Pitbull and Vanilla Ice wholesaler information. If you can nail the above tips then you will be well on your way to having a thoroughly engaging website. Thanks for reading & good luck with improving your website! 

If you fancy a chat about all things digital or you want some tips & tricks, throw me a mail on brian@occamdigital.com. 

I wrote this for my old company, CHC Digital.

 

6 REASONS WHY YOUR WEBSITE IS UPSETTING SANTA

HO HO NO! Santa is not impressed with you, readers.

It is the most wonderful time of the year. All of us from CHC towers want to wish you a merry christmas but you will have to earn a happy new year. Word has gotten out that you barely made Saint Nick’s nice list. Mr. Claus admired your online attempts but he is very disappointed that you really did not kick on in 2014. 2015 can be your year and consolidate yourself on the nice list for eternity.

Santa has kept up with the times. So why haven’t you? Santa is on twitter, Facebook and instagram. He blogs, vlogs & podcasts. I have a sneaking suspicion that he is also on Tinder but keep that under your hat. You know how Mrs. Claus gets, especially with Santa’s recent amount of “working late” excuses.

But how do we get you & your small business back on Santa’s good side? Here are 6 reasons why we think your website is upsetting Santa!

1) Visually:

“I love your excessive use of yellow” – Said no one ever.

Is your website a Rudolph or a Donner? What does Donner look like? Yeah, exactly. No one knows. Donner could be sitting beside you on a bus and you wouldn’t know. It would be weird that a reindeer is sitting on a bus but that is not the point. Back to your website. You want it to make a great first impression. We all love developers but they often are not that design savvy. Their priorities lie in the smooth running of the website. A beautifully designed website can dramatically improve the user experience. Your message can roll off the screen and into the users heart.

Make sure your website designers believe in love on the inside and OUT!!

2) Lacks Focus & Message:

“I loved how long it took for me to understand what you were selling” – Yeah, no one said that ever either.

What is the point of your website? You only have a few seconds to capture and maintain your users attention. Especially when “All I Want For Christmas” by Mariah Carey is coming to an end on his youtube tab. For example, if you are selling anti-depressants for elves, it’s crucial that your user (Santa) knows who you are, what you do, how & where they can get the cure for low elf esteem.

Those elves need to get back to school to learn the Elf-abet! Too much time has been missed.

3) Hard to Find (Poor SEO):

“It is a great idea to make your website impossible to find” – Aye, same same.

Google is no longer just a search engine. It is a league table. The best place to bury a dead body is the second page of Google. There is very little point in creating a glorious website without anyone to see it. It may as well be at the bottom of the sea. What did the sea say to Santa? Nothing, it just waved.

Santa may find your well behaved children in the middle of the nowhere but the standard user will not find you or your business. However, the evolving nature of search engines means you may not keep reaching the top spot as your competitors adjust their search terms. Here at CHC, we offer advanced SEO. This is an ongoing service that ensures the continued development of your own search terms to keep you in the best possible position.

Santa has a clever way of using SEO. Mr. Claus tends to hire a smelly elf as CEO because he gets RANK.

4) Uses Flash:

“You know how everyone uses their phones to go online nowadays? I really commend you for not going with the flow.” – Nope. No one.

Flash does not work on Apple mobile devices and Santa is always on the go. St. Nick needs to check his various apple products throughout the Christmas period. The iPad alone represents a 1/4 of all web traffic and Adobe are kicking it to the curb for mobile devices. Think about it, is the dancing elf on your homepage really necessary? Just because you find it funny, doesn’t mean that everyone else does. Your website must suit everyone, you cannot be elfish about this.

Unless you don’t want Santa to find you. What are you? Claustrophobic?

5) Content:

“The last blog posted in 2005…..inspirational idea” – Someone might have said that, but very sarcastically.

Your content needs to be consistent. Plenty of small businesses are capable of creating brilliant and fresh content but will not do it enough. 1 blog a year is not enough. Your content is not Santa Claus. We expect it more than once a year. Consistent blogs will hugely help your SEO and help show the world that you are a thought leader. It is time to show off your knowledge rather than thinking it is your secret weapon. No more being a mince spy.

What’s Santa’s secret weapon? The fact that he is still able to go down the chimney despite it being declared unsafe by the Elf and Safety Commission. However, commuting via chimney does soot him.

6) Awful user experience:

“I spent so long trying to find the buy button…..it was so much fun” – You do understand sarcasm, yes?

The user experience is everything. Every successful company has a superb user experience. The experience must be easy and painless. How did Santa get so popular? It is no coincidence that all you have to do is write a list of things you want and place them up the chimney. It could help that Santa gives away free presents but the user experience, without a doubt, is superbly enjoyable. A great user experience can do wonders. It is proven to increase sales, brand awareness, improve Google search results and generate happiness even in the most scrooge like characters.

How did Ebenezer Scrooge win the football game? The ghost of christmas passed!

Merry Christmas from all here at CHC Digital. Get in touch! to talk about creating a website that will make Santa delighted!

Digital marketers want your website with a nose so bright, to guide the user’s sleigh tonigh

If you fancy a chat about all things digital or you want some tips & tricks, throw me a mail on brian@occamdigital.com. 

I wrote this for my old company, CHC Digital.

SANTA’S SOCIAL MEDIA NAUGHTY LIST

This is obviously a very busy time of the year for Santa Claus and we thought we could help the old boy out with his naughty list. Here are 5 of our lowlights. Hopefully lessons have been learnt, if not, see you next year!

1) Transport For London

TFL Overground (@LDNOverground), back in April 2014, felt that the best way to reply to a frustrated customer who was subject to delays would be to advise him on his travelling times:

Mr Brown later received an apology from the company but wasn’t satisfied with the apology and emailed customer services in the hope it was taken seriously. Social media is a great way to build up a warm fuzzy feeling around your brand. Through real time response and digital customer service, you can turn a negative into a positive. Alternatively, like Transport For London, you can turn a negative into a SUPER negative. You have been warned.

2) The Bonneville

The Bonneville (opened in June 2014) was, at the time, in its first week of opening and holding a launch party. During the event, someone was stabbed over the road and entered the pub asking for help. This unfortunate event led to some shockingly insensitive tweets from the pub:

Of course, in typical social media fail fashion, the company followed up their tweets with a very ‘sincere’ apology the next day. It is always nice to use articles like this as an educational launching pad. What can we learn about these dreadful tweets? You would like to think that poking fun at a stab victim would be fairly obvious but just incase you didn’t know……don’t do that…

3) Chrysler

Ever tweeted from the wrong account? Not much of a big deal when managing your personal accounts but when managing an account professionally it’s a disaster! Here’s an example of what can happen if you’re not careful:

After dropping the f-bomb, it’s no wonder the agency responsible lost Chrysler Autos as a client. I cannot help but feel sympathy for the poor individual behind it. Of all of the tweets for you to accidentally post on behalf of your client. No one would have minded if you accidentally posted about Chrysler’s love of ice cream. It certainly did not help that the Chrysler slogan at the time was “Imported from Detroit.”

4) HMV

If you’re looking at firing your Social Media Manager, make sure they no longer have access to the account. Here’s the reason why, courtesy of HMV:

I doubt this person had very much chance of a healthy redundancy payment after this online outburst. Change your passwords, people. And not to “password”.

5) Celeb Boutique

On the day of the famous Aurora shooting in the US, Celeb Boutique showed us exactly how devastating the lack of hashtag research can be. Celeb Boutique assumed that the “Aurora” trend was about a Kim Kardashian inspired dress of theirs. Little did they know, it was about a mass shooting at a cinema in Aurora, Colorado.

Unfortunately, it turned out that Celeb Boutique’s PR agency were not based in the US and were clearly braindead.

Social Media, like life, can be simple. Just don’t be an idiot and we can all have a good time.

 

If you fancy a chat about all things digital or you want some tips & tricks, throw me a mail on brian@occamdigital.com. 

I wrote this for my old company, CHC Digital.

 

WHY DO I NEED A WEBSITE?

Do I really need to explain why you need a website? Really?

REALLY?!

Ok, if you insist.

Yes, there was a time when people used the newspaper to see what’s on the telly and The Yellow Pages to look for their local plumber. For the large majority of consumers, That ship has sailed. The ship has sailed to the new world in search of new spices and to continue Spanish colonisation of the world but that’s a different story. If you want to read about that, buy a history book. This is a digital blog, stupid.

A large majority of consumers, from all age demographics, use the internet as their first point of contact when looking for information on something/someone. This includes businesses. It is the best way to find out the information you’re looking for quickly and easily. This makes having a website very important. I don’t want to frighten you but your rivals have a pretty brilliant website. It makes me like your rivals more. Your rivals don’t have a website? Excellent! You can be pioneers in your field. You can be like Christopher Columbus but instead of “discovering” America, you can set up a website.

A website is almost like an online, mass distributed CV for your business. It is an opportunity to show people what your company has to offer on an international scale. According to Profit Works’ 93% of business purchases decisions start with a search engine. This means, if you don’t have a website you could be limiting yourself to just 7% of your target market. Aside from that, the lack of web presence could mean that people who find out about your company offline could be deterred from your company. So, they’ve been told about your company and are pretty keen, they take to google to look it up and find absolutely nothing. How are they going to contact you? How are they going to find out more? They can’t.

A website means that you are no longer limited to the physical proximity of your business. Your business can be based in London and you could have consumers in New York. Of course, this depends on what type of business you’re running but it is one of many upsides to having a website that is worth mentioning.

At the very least, your website is a basic source of information that can be accessed easily. It offers an insight into your company and can be the deciding factor for a consumer when making their decision on what company is right for them.

Despite what’s been said in previous paragraphs, if your website hasn’t been done properly, it might as well have not been done at all.

With each sentence of this blog that you are reading, you are losing business. Quick! Stop reading this and hurry up! You need a website.

Seriously?! You are still reading this?!?! Think of the loss of earnings!

If you fancy a chat about all things digital or you want some tips & tricks, throw me a mail on brian@occamdigital.com. 

I wrote this for my old company, CHC Digital.

SOCIAL MEDIA: ADVERTISING OR PR?

Every business wants something different from Social Media. Every business REQUIRES something different from Social Media. It is key for your business to establish what is required. It is also key to set REASONABLE targets. The majority of agencies will not be able to make your wedding video a “viral sensation”. I am not saying that it is impossible but the odds of your wedding video being successful without you looking like a fool, will be low.

It’s always hard to know what to expect when investing in Social Media management for your business; the social landscape for marketers is still a place where rules are yet to be written. Some companies view their Social Media as a form of PR because of the convenient, fast paced interaction between brand and customer. Social Media is a real-time, open dialog between company and customers. This environment requires the kind of rapid turnaround and message controls that PR groups excel at. This means, you wouldn’t be wrong in saying Social Media is, in fact, PR. It is important to be VERY careful when playing with real time response and reaction. It is also very important to not be a complete fool, like our friends Kmart.

Sending condolences: Fine. Adding your promotional Hashtag: #NotFine

“I am very sorry for your loss. BUY MY PRODUCT!”.

Let’s not just focus on the negative and see how well it can be done.

Great job, Seamless. The food was still late but you can’t win them all. Let’s hope that Amy’s food arrived and was worth the wait.

On the other hand, Social Media also allows you to build a large following, sell and inform people. Social doesn’t have to be used to ensure that existing customers are happy, it can be used to attract new customers. If you’re pushing out information about your brand and what you offer as a company to a large number of people then that is, of course, advertising, So…In simple terms, Social Media can be used for PR and Advertising. It depends on what you’re expectations are and what you are looking to achieve from the use of Social Media and what goals you use to define success.

If you want to engage in conversation, build and maintain a healthy relationship with your customers and post information about the company then your effort on Social are probably going to be PR orientated.

If you want to build a large following, tap into real-time conversations in your area of business and make sales through Social then your efforts are going to be predominantly sales orientated.

Essentially, Social Media is both but you should put more emphasis on what suits your company without losing track of the other. Is it a cop out to start the blog asking if Social Media is PR or Advertising and end the piece with the answer being both? Yes. Definitely. Send your complaints to @CHCDigital and our customer service team will look after you.

Does your business require digital advertising & PR? What a coincidence! That’s exactly what we specialise in.

 

If you fancy a chat about all things digital or you want some tips & tricks, throw me a mail on brian@occamdigital.com. 

I wrote this for my old company, CHC Digital.