Category Archives: Ideas & Insights

Marketing your business using social media: LinkedIn

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LinkedIn marketing

So many of us are on LinkedIn nowadays, but it's not just the place to go when you're job hunting. Did you know what a powerful (and free) tool it can be for marketing your small business?

Here's a brief beginner's guide to marketing your business on LinkedIn...

Why use it?
● Over 300 million users worldwide.
● More decision makers than Twitter.
● 227% more effective than Facebook for lead generation.
● It's about you AND your business.
● It's used for personal branding, selling your product or service, marketing your business, and recruitment.

Getting started
Set up your account properly. Create your personal profile first.
● Use a professional-looking photo of yourself.
● Profile photo between 200 x 200 and 500 x 500 pixels.
● Describe what you do rather than your job title e.g. ‘Manager’ – give keywords.
● Include your website and other social media links.
● Write a summary. Include a call to action.
● Use images where possible.

Top Tips
● Complete your profile.
● Connect with as many people as possible.
● Interact with your contacts: comment, answer questions, offer advice, say congratulations.
● Follow influencers and share their content e.g. Richard Branson.
● Follow lots of companies, including your competitors.
● Connect with people you have met or worked with.
● Put a personal message in your request to connect.
● Ask for recommendations – in the text box ask for recommendations for specific things.
● Endorse and recommend others.

Top Tips - Searching
● Use the search box, e.g Groups → web design, Posts → web design.
● You could find someone looking for your service e.g. “Can anyone recommend a web designer?”
● Advanced search for people, e.g. Marketing Manager within 25 miles of your postcode.
● Use speech marks for specific job title.

Groups are great for sharing posts and entering into a professional dialogue with people in similar industries.
● Actively participate in groups.
● Search for questions related to your area of expertise and answer them - include links to your related blog or website page.
● Join groups where your customers and prospects are and then create content such as articles, how-tos, guides and blog posts that feature subjects relevant to that group.

● Participants who comment on group discussions get four times the number of profile views.
● Maintain a 7/1 ratio - seven useful pieces of content to one promotional.
● Conduct market research by asking a question.
● You can send a request to connect to another group member without their email address.
● OR EVEN: Create your own LinkedIn Group - for a very specific group of people you would like to engage with regularly. Make it an 'open group.'
● You can also send newsletter e-shots to your group.

Set up a company page for your business
● Interests → Companies → Create a company.
● Use a cover image that reflects your branding and website (size 646 x 220 pixels when this blog post was written).
● Write a great description of your business. Use keywords, so people can find your LinkedIn company page through Google searches.
● Add products and services.
● Make sure your most important product is listed first.

Using your company page effectively
● If you have employees, ask them to connect with your page.
● Publish some company updates to make your Page look useful. Start creating useful, meaningful, interesting, or entertaining content that your target audience wants to read and see.
● Actively engage with your followers.
● Once you have over 100 followers, you can use targeted updates. You can target by company size, industry, function, seniority, geography or language.
● Check the Analytics section.

We're on LinkedIn ourselves, so why not follow our business page and perhaps we can start talking and sharing.

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10 things a social media manager should be doing for you

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Social media manager

Let's assume that you're a time-poor business owner, or you work in a marketing role. As the business develops, you may find that you no longer have the time or energy to maintain your online presence. Or you realise you need help to maximise this powerful marketing tool. So you hire a Social Media Manager (SMM) for your small business. Now what?

1. Tell all Tell your SMM all about your business upfront so they get a really good feel for what you do, and understand your values and brand 'personality'. Think of three or four words that sum up your brand. They don't need to be too deep and meaningful – for example you might want to be thought of as modern, friendly, and expert. It’s not necessarily the personality your business has now: it’s the one you want to become, and how you want your customers to describe you. This step is vital. Your SMM can now tailor all content so it consistently matches this personality.

2. Discuss your strategy up front Before the first Tweet is sent, you should agree your social media strategy with your SMM. They will be able to point you in the right direction. It needn't be complicated; you basically need to agree on (1) What you want to do and (2) How you’re going to do it. From this discussion you'll be able to decide between you which social media platforms will be most suitable for your business. We've written more about the various platforms on another of our blog posts about social media marketing.

3. Set clear and realistic objectives As with all areas of your business, you need to set some objectives. This will allow you to monitor the success of your social media management. You’ll never know what your return on investment is without first setting these objectives. For example, you could use these goals for Facebook marketing:

  • Growth of 'likes' (although check point 8 below!)
  • Reach – the number of people who have seen your post. Your post counts as reaching someone when it's shown in their News Feed
  • Engagement – the percentage of people who saw a post that liked, shared, clicked or commented on it
  • Leads and Sales – this may be harder to measure. For example, how do you find out if a purchase in a shop or a visit to a café was generated by a Facebook post?

4. Find out what they'll be doing Make sure your SMM is clear about how much work they will be doing for you. For example, will they be posting twice a day on Twitter and three times a week on Facebook? How much time will they spend growing the accounts? What level of interaction with followers will there be and how quickly will they respond to this interaction? The vast majority of social media managers will offer a range of packages to suit your requirements. Ultimately the price you pay will depend on the time they spend working on your behalf.

5. Keep an eye on it You're paying someone to look after your social media, so you shouldn't feel the need to constantly check that everything is in order. However, it's a good idea to cast your eye over your accounts now and again, just to make sure that you and your SMM are still singing from the same hymnsheet.

6. Give them lots of pictures Posts containing images are proven to be the most viewed, commented on and shared across all social media. This is particularly the case on Facebook. Share as many professional photos as you can – these will be best for the header images on your accounts. You should also supply as many other pictures as you can. They don't have to be professional – snaps taken on your smartphone can work really well (if this is appropriate for your business).

7. Give them notice If you've got an upcoming event, promotion, sale or special offer, make sure you give your SMM plenty of notice. This will allow them to come up with a calendar that ensures posts are consistent in the weeks leading up to the event. It's essential in a social media campaign to post often enough to keep the information fresh in customers’ minds without making content seem spammy.

8. Remember quality vs quantity Having 10,000 followers on Twitter and 5,000 page 'likes' on Facebook doesn’t mean a thing if there is no interaction between your followers and your company. Beware of the company who promises you huge numbers in a short amount of time. They are either buying in fake followers who will never engage, or will be expecting you to pay for an advertising campaign to boost numbers. Building a fan base takes time and a lot of hard work. It's better to have a smaller number of truly engaged people commenting on posts and retweeting content than a huge number that doesn’t participate at all.

9. Be prepared Discuss what you might do during a crisis, and ask how your SMM would respond if a customer complained about you on social media. You can't just put your head in the sand and hope it will go away! Their strategy should be to respond promptly and avoid aggression. For an ongoing problem e.g. an interrupted service, the following formula could be used: “Update/description + what is currently being done to fix it + call to action".

10. Talk! Make sure you communicate with your social media manager as much as possible. If there's something happening in your business that you want to share, let them know. It may seem insignificant to you, but could be of interest to others, for example the appointment of a new staff member, an award you have won, good feedback you have received or even relevant industry news.

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Pay-Per-Click advertising - is it for me?

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Pay per click advertising

Pay-per-click is a method of internet marketing whereby advertisers pay a fee each time one of their adverts is clicked. It’s a way of “buying” visits to your site, rather than earning those visits organically.

You basically bid for advert placement on a search engine results page. The most widely-used search engine is Google, and the most widely-used method of pay-per-click advertising is Google AdWords. Every time your advert is clicked and a visitor is sent to your website, you pay Google a fee.


  • There's no minimum buy – AdWords allows you spend whatever amount you want, with no minimum. You can run or test a campaign for as little as £25 - £50 a month.
  • Easy and fast creation – Once you set up an account, you can begin to create ads straight away.
  • Your ad goes lives almost immediately – Ads can start to appear within 20 minutes of having set it up.
  • Pay only for clicks – When a user views your ad, you pay nothing. Don't worry about your competition clicking away on your ad - Google's system protects against multiple clicks from the same user.
  • Bid system placement – How much does a click cost? That depends on what you're willing to bid and key phrase popularity. If you list a specific phrase like "summer wedding outfit Leamington Spa," you won't have to bid very much. A popular phrase like "wedding outfit" however could cost a fortune.
  • You can set a maximum cost per day – You can cap your campaign spending at a predefined amount per day. If you get a lot of activity, you can tell Google not to display your ad after a certain amount has been spent. Once this threshold has been reached, your ad will not display until the following day.
  • It's manageable – If you want to make adjustments, you can edit your ad at any time. You can also pause or stop a campaign at any time.

Interested in running a campaign? Check out one of our other blog posts to find out how you set it all up.

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Social media marketing for dummies

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Social media marketing for dummies

For small businesses, social media can be a valuable and cost-effective method of marketing communications if you know how to use it.

It's about involvement and brand-building, getting your name out there rather than as a direct sales tool. Compare it to being at a party. The person who stands there all evening telling everyone how amazing they are will end up talking to themselves. The other guests will get bored and wander off The person who asks questions, responds, gets involved and has interesting things to say will attract the bigger crowd.

To make the most of this opportunity, make sure you've worked out your social media strategy. This isn't as difficult as it sounds! All you need to do is ask yourself some questions:

1. Why am I using social media?
It could be to:

  • Gain website traffic
  • Increase conversions
  • Strengthen brand awareness
  • Create a brand identity and positive brand association
  • Communicate and interact with key audiences

...or all of the above.

2. Whose attention am I trying to get?
Okay, so you want to market that new line of products, for example. You need to know your target audience for that product, and try to engage with them.

3. Which sites do I want to use?
If you have enough staffing power to handle multiple social networking sites, that's great. If not, it's important to focus on one or two, or you could spread yourself too thin, and end up going days without activity. Your followers will notice.

4. Who's going to manage my page?
Would your social networking activity fall under a current employee's responsibilities, or do you need to bring on new talent? If you ever find yourself without the staffing resources to manage your page, don't stick your head in the sand, find the time to do it yourself or pay someone else to do it.

5. What's going to be the personality of my page?
You'll need to decide on the 'voice' of your social networking site. People buy from other people, not from other companies so it may be useful to pick someone to represent your business. Or do it yourself!

So now you've decided WHY you are using social media, you need to work out HOW.

  • Draw up a schedule – otherwise you'll either never use your social media accounts, or you could find yourself wasting time clicking from one link to the next!
  • Some small businesses seem to spend all day every day posting on social media sites, which can be fantastic for their profile. However this may not always be possible for you, time is often at a premium and you've probably got a million and one other things to take care of.
  • Using a tool like HootSuite or Buffer to schedule your posts.
  • It can also help to allot yourself time for your social media, for example 20 minutes at 9am, 10 minutes at lunchtime and 10 minutes mid-afternoon.

How do I use each social media platform?


  • Facebook has a casual, friendly environment.
  • It's a place people go to relax and chat with friends, so keep your tone light and friendly.
  • It's great for sharing images so useful if you are selling products.
  • Using Facebook for business revolves around furthering your conversation with audiences by posting industry-related articles, images, videos, etc.
  • TIP: Make sure your business is set up as a business 'Page' and not as a person profile – Facebook have recently been shutting down profiles that have been set up incorrectly.


  • Pinterest’s image-centered platform is ideal for retail, but anyone can benefit from using Pinterest for social media purposes.
  • Pinterest allows small businesses to showcase their own product offerings while also developing their own brand’s personality with some unique pinboards.


  • To kick off, follow tweeters in your industry or related fields, and you should gain a steady stream of followers in return.
  • Mix up your official-related tweets about specials, discounts, and news updates with some fun and quirky tweets.
  • Always retweet when something nice is said about you, and answer people’s questions when possible.
  • Twitter revolves around dialogue and communication, so interact as much as possible.
  • And if you integrate your Twitter feed onto your website's home page, this will help your SEO as your home page is being constantly refreshed.


  • LinkedIn isn't just an online CV for job hunters. It's also a powerful tool for business knowledge.
  • LinkedIn Groups are a useful venue for entering into a professional dialogue with people in similar industries and provides a place to share content with like-minded individuals.
  • Encourage customers or clients to give your business a recommendation on your LinkedIn profile. Recommendations make your business appear more credible and reliable for new customers.
  • Browse the Questions section of LinkedIn; providing answers helps you get established and earns trust.
  • Make sure you have a LinkedIn page for your business as well as for yourself. Brand it with your logo and images from your website.
  • You can upload posts in the same way as with other social media platforms.
  • Your LinkedIn business page even has an analytics section so you can see how many people viewed and clicked on your posts.


  • YouTube is the number one place for creating video content, which can be an incredibly powerful social media marketing tool.
  • Many businesses try to create video content with the aim of having their video “go viral,” but in reality those chances are pretty slim.
  • Instead, focus on creating useful, instructive “how-to” videos. These how-to videos also have the added benefit of ranking on the video search results of Google, so don't under-estimate the power of video content!

Location-Based Social Media Tools

  • Yelp and FourSquare are great for bricks and mortar businesses.
  • Register on these sites to claim your location, and then consider extra incentives such as check-in rewards or special discounts.
  • Remember, these visitors will have their phones in hand so they will have access to reviews which could help to grow your business.

Most importantly – don't feel that you have to use all of them! If you're a sole trader, for example, you might only have the time to use Twitter. If this is the case, stick to Twitter. Better to have one active social media account than three or four under-used ones. It will look like you're not engaging.

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