Thursday, 16 February 2012

#Thought For Thursday

I've found an interesting guide to using social media websites to grow your brand presence and audience (found at on this blog - that's right, I'm blogging about something on a blog). 
Viral video's on youtube
- involve either babies or pets and you're onto a winner!

It's important to think of who your clients are (or who you want them to be) and applying your own knowledge of how much they may use a site and what they like to read, watch or listen to. Social media is all about getting involved in an online 'conversation' and getting your brand out there. Being involved should be an important part of any marketing strategy - your 'word of mouth' business can definitely be increased by getting involved - especially if you had something that went viral! [Obviously I mean a video or article - not that you're spreading swine flu like there's no tomorrow]

Take a look at this illustrated guide to get a better picture about what's going on in the interwebs - and where your business might find it's place:
An investigation of 'Tumblr' may be necessary...

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Safer Internet Day

With this blog, I'm betting my 'e-rep'
 has taken a hit! :S
In the interests of 'Safer Internet Day' I thought I would post a little image about why it's important to manage your personal reputation online (which I found on this blog) - whether you're a company or an individual it's important to be aware of the information you are posting.


And that's my small 'two cents' ! Over and out bloggers...

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Top Tip Twitter Tuesday


You may have noticed that in the past few months Vital Hike have been tweeting away like there’s no tomorrow (which of course there is and we know it better as “#WarningWednesday”). This Tuesday (one of my personal favourite twitter days) is our ‘Top Tip Tuesday’ – which means Vital Hike try and share some interesting online marketing tips with their followers. Over the past few months Tuesday tweets have ranged from tips such as, ‘Use keywords in GoogleAd content & Google highlights them when they appear!’ to ‘Marketing your brand with strong family values can increase business - especially in the current climate ( http://t.co/hUaXoj4L )’. As the months have flown by, tips have been mounting up and it’s starting to look as though there’s just not enough Tuesday’s in the year!
With that in mind, this Tuesday, we would like to give you not one, but (drumroll, please)…
An example of an incredibly
interesting and valuable tweet
 …SIX of our top tweeting tips!

1.       Tweet often
( – but only when you have something interesting to share!)

Many online tips and hints to tweeting may give you advice to turn into some sort of twitter maniac and tweet excessively about everything that happens to you in your daily life from, ‘Popping out to get some milk’ to ‘On my way back – got the milk’. Although tweeting frequently gives people a reason to follow you (as there aren’t many people who want to follow someone who never tweets – unless they’re Beyonce), you have to bear in mind that if your tweets take over their twitter feed and they don’t find them interesting – you’re likely to be ‘unfollowed’ faster than I can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (and I was a SERIOUS Poppins fan).

2.       Share interesting or useful tweets
(and don’t keep tips to yourself ;) )

Online social networking is essentially like an extremely large conversation – with millions participating at once. In order to grab the attention of people who are interested in what your business is about, it is important to leave behind the ‘sell, sell, sell!’ marketing mentality. Currently, the results of social networking are incredibly hard to measure as far as marketing tools go – someone may have over 1000 ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ but if 99% of these people are not a business’s target audience, it’s probably not that useful.

One way of reaching your target audience is to bear in mind what they will be searching for – put yourselves in their shoes! If, like us, your audience is searching for information in online marketingshare some information on online marketing! It doesn't have to be the secret ingredient to a family recipe – just something that they would find worth reading.

Think of why you follow others on twitter – usually you either find someone’s tweets useful, entertaining or interesting. If you try and apply these factors to your own tweets, you should be getting the right audience following you – and what’s more, they will be actively engaged in what you tweet about.


3.       When your tweet includes a ‘Trending’ hashtag 
       – make sure it doesn’t begin with it!

When a reader scrolls through tweets that are currently trending, some will have the trending hashtag at the beginning of the tweet. The main issue with putting a hashtag at the beginning of a tweet, is that it can sometimes make the tweet harder to read than one that starts with what you want people to read. So unless the hashtag is part of the sentence, it’s better to leave it till the end!

4.       Follow or Create a ‘list’

I wonder who twitter follow...
‘Lists’ on twitter are a fairly new concept and not everyone has got involved in them yet. However, they are a great tool to use, especially for people wanting to follow many various categories of tweeters (e.g. Vital Hike have a B2B Scotland list – where they follow many Scottish businesses).

You might only have your friends in your personal twitter feed, but with ‘lists’ you can also follow a group of celebrities you like or some companies you work with, so that you don’t have to be constantly inundated with what Lady Gaga’s latest dancing venture is, but you can check the ‘list feed’ when the mood strikes you. If you don’t have time to create your own list, you can also follow other people’s lists! So if you know your mother has the same taste in celebrities that you do, and she’s created a list, you can save yourself time and just follow hers (just go onto her profile and click the ‘lists’ tab above her twitter feed.

5.       Get your audience involved

The more you can offer your audience, the more they’ll want to get involved with your brand and business. Whether it’s information, a free gift or a competition – getting people talking about your business and your tweets should be your goal!

6.       Don’t use social networking as a sales tool

The main marketing purpose of social networking for businesses (although it is still in an experimental stage) is branding. This does not mean that platforms such as twitter and Facebook are only useful for the huge brand names – quite the opposite actually. As twitter and Facebook have very few advertising opportunities and everyone has the same limits and reach (the service is the same across the board) it means that everyone has a very level playing field – whether you’re Coca cola’s personal twitter PR team or a homeless man with an internet connection - you only have 140 characters per tweet to let the world know what's going on!

Every time you use twitter purely for sales..
...a little blue twitter bird dies :(
Why cruel world? WHY!?
From personal experience, I don’t tend to use twitter to buy anything. Maybe that’s just me, but I think that if you want more people going to your website to buy things then SEO and Google Ads (among other things) might be a better investment. However, I do think it’s important for your business to have a voice and be involved in the online ‘conversation’, because, once people who are interested in your business either start following you or become interested, it will mean that A) hopefully they will have a good impression of your business and may spread the word and B) when they or someone they know asks for a service or product such as yours they may be more likely to go to you or refer you to someone else.


Overall, the best advice I could give you would be to get involved in the conversation and don’t be scared to make a mistake – everyone does and it’s always the best way to learn (well, other than just getting it right first time)! It’s absolutely free to tweet and it might just be the best thing you ever did for your business - and if not, at least you've found a new way to see what Stephen Fry’s up to.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Last night I lost a dear friend. My I pod.


Last night, I decided to pack up 15 minutes before my train was due to arrive at my destination in case it was early (and definitely not so I could race everybody around me to get to the doors first. Because that's a childish game to play in my book. Even though I win every time anyway).

I may have to resort to this pipe
 if the puppy doesn't work
So I packed away all my things, put on my jacket and fancy new 'snood' and walked to the doors with my laptop bag and my suitcase. Admiring my new jacket in the reflection of the window I think, 'I look like the girl version of Sherlock Holmes in this jacket. Awesome. And who made it first to the doors of the train? I believe that's you, Mrs Holmes. Indeed Watson'. Strolling along without a care in the world, I head home in a taxi, where the driver rattles on about the economic crisis and I nod along politely while wondering if I would take him more seriously if he were wearing a Sherlock Holmes jacket. Probably. Definitely.

I get home and run around the house, throwing off my outerwear and bags and turn on the fire to warm myself up, feeling so pleased I made it home without being kidnapped and with all of my belongings. Then, as I unpack my laptop case to get straight onto Facebook (to check the world hasn't fallen drastically off course in the past 3 hours), a dreadful thought falls upon me. Where's my I pod? Oh dear god.

After frantically throwing my bedroom into even more chaos than it’s already in and rummaging through all my bags, of course including the ones that I didn't even have on the train, I have to come to the realization. It's really gone.
I have since tried to call the train companies and lost property offices but there has been no luck so far.

And now I bet you're wondering what on earth that has to do with marketing. So a thought occurred to me today, while I was wallowing in the depths of despair. I remembered that the last time I had felt like this was when I lost my favourite teddy when I was just a little girl. I was literally grieving for this piece of metal (with a gorgeous pink belkin case, in case anyone's seen it). Why did this thing mean as much as my most treasured childhood toy?

The site for all those who also
lost part of their persona today
Apple have done an incredible marketing strategy here. I have to applaud!  I know that many of the bigger brands, like Coca Cola and Heinz have been around a long time (since our parents were kids. SERIOUSLY). They are the brands that tend to trigger parts of the brain where we hold our nearest and dearest, which shows a strong indication that we really, truly care about them. We relate them back to our own childhood, when our parents would serve us that type of baked beans or that drink and we have warm, fond memories of them. They make us feel safe and warm, just as we did when we first tried them many years ago.

Those brands have developed those impressions over a long period of time and have made us really trust them over the years and generations. However, how did a relatively new brand, gain this same impression over such a short amount of time?

Certainly the simplicity of their products have made them at the forefront of new technology and very popular, but I have to wonder – is it only because so many of us own these items that we feel like this? I read today that people are much more likely to buy things they connect with, that they become an extension of our own ‘personas’. So I have come to the conclusion that if you can provide a product that suits people’s personas, you may be able to develop your own brand, that becomes part of the family and literally feels like an extension of your consumer. So last night folks, in a strange way, I lost a little part of Amy.

In light of this news, I’m going to be hitting the bottle hard and gambling tonight – aka a Redbull and a scratch card – to fill that little void. And maybe a puppy tomorrow. Cheers Apple.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Google Ad Marketing

It's now the end of the Christmas period and we're all back to work! I am weirdly excited by this because although there will be less lie ins and probably no presents, it means I get to get started on a new campaign! With new experiences ahead and feeling a little more experienced than before, I'm jumping into January head first!
Now we know where all the big money's made...
I have tip-toed into Google Ads with the help of my supervisors and it seems rather scary! The costs are complex to work out, but seem extremely cost effective as you can reach out to specific people who are searching for specific terms. So, unlike just spamming all of Google and annoying everyone who uses it, cleverly we can pay to only show up on certain searches. So when you search 'internet marketing fife' Vital Hike should be turning up at the no.1 spot on Google (if I've done my homework!). If you're searching to check I'm not having you on, by all means go forth onto Google, but please don't click on the ad! Or I'll be sending you the bill :D Unless of course if you need some internet marketing services or web design, in which case, click away and spread the word!
Running a Google Ad campaign has been very fun and I keep learning as I go. One tip which I've come across is that it's very important (especially for small businesses who don't have loads of cash to throw at advertising) to research how much traffic your keywords will attract and also to work out if the people searching that term are looking for your services. It's not beneficial for you or the person searching if your website turns up when that's not what they're looking for. At first I thought, ah 'seo' or 'search engine optimization' would be a great term! And in fact, it has a huge number of people searching it (including myself) every month – Globally 11,100,00 people,  1,000,000 of which are in the UK. One million people viewing your ad may rake in the customers, however, if you consider the number of things people might search SEO for (tips and hints on SEO, how it works, careers, courses and maybe even just to find out what it stands for) it might mean that a very low number of the people searching for that term are really searching for a business like ours.
The ROI or ‘return on investment’ is highly important. This is definitely reflected in the recent tables that have shown the highest ‘cost per clicks’ were found in insurance and loans companies. If it is worth over $50 for a click (let’s say one in every five people who click will buy insurance from the company) it must mean that they will make a profit on investing $250 per new customer.
For small companies and businesses that may not make that kind of profit from their services or products, it’s important that their Google Ad Marketing is done effectively. This can be a much harder job than it is for the big companies, but I think it will be a very valuable skill to master!
Sorry if that was all gibberish and you now feel completely bored, I’m just a very keen little marketing intern that finds these things exciting! If you are interested in developing your skills and are as much of a keen bean as I am, you might be interested in Google's 'Online Marketing Challenge'!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Does anybody use the yellow pages anymore?

Stop the murder of innocent yellow trees!
As part of my marketing project, one campaign will be targeting businesses who still use the yellow pages as a source of advertising.


The yellow page adverts (in the Dundee & Perth edition 2012) have a starting price of £361(for a quarter column ad in plain black) and a maximum price of £6928 (for a double page ad with more than three colours).
In an effort to help Scottish businesses spend their hard earned money in the right place, I have been trying to find the hard facts on how many people do use the the yellow pages, so I can contact customers who truly will see a benefit from changing their marketing strategy to a much more cost effective campaign online. However, I have hit a massive road block - it seems statistics and hard facts on people who use the yellow pages in the UK are pretty much non-existent!


I have found some facts from the US - in places like San Francisco and Seattle, environment concious city leaders have enforced an opt-in programme where it is now people's choice as to whether they want the yellow business directory delivered to their doors - but the situation in the UK isn't as transparent. In fact, yellow pages current statistics have a huge focus on yell.com usage and the only statistic I could find from them on the directory was 'The Yellow Pages directory is used by 80% of UK adults**' where the the statistics are taken from 2006-2007.


One good use for your yellow pages!
I smell a cover up! I personally don't use the yellow pages - I'm not sure who does these days! I shall carry on trying to find the hard facts - it's starting to look as though I'll need to run my own market research this time though! As far as the most useful way to use the yellow pages these days - I offer up this bloggers list of uses - obviously wrapping your Christmas presents is a great way to recycle and save money! Anyone with any helpful links - please message me! 

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Twitter

Over the past couple of weeks I have been given more and more responsibility at my fancy new internship, one such responsibility being the takeover of twitter! Unfortunately for me I was not yet an avid user of twitter but I have recently been trying to turn that all around.

I'm finding it all a bit mad, but absolutely addictive! Someone please pull me back into the real world! Reading about  what's going on just about anywhere is very exciting. I feel like most of us did after mobile phones started popping up - we didn't know we needed them until they were invented! I'm sure there must be a GREAT marketing lesson in there somewhere!

Along the lines of marketing, I'm wondering how twitter actually started up and became such a large company. I recently found out that the creator of plentyoffish.com created a multi-million pound empire (and currently runs said empire with just four employees in total) with a, probably over done (but badly done) idea of a dating website. It's success was largely due to the use of Search Engine Optimization. It is ever so exciting, I personally always thought Google just picked which websites were at the top of your search list through a magic wand (i.e. I never really thought about it) but it seems there are many, many factors involved (including relevant content and back links - not that I'm completely clued up on it all yet - it has only been three weeks)!

Although I may not be completely clued up on it all yet, I'm definitely ready to get involved in twitter more often. A smart phone will definitely be top of my Christmas list, I think.