You can no longer ignore video as part of your marketing strategy

‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ now it’s ‘A picture is worth a thousand clicks’ and ‘A video is worth a million pictures’.

Without an image on your web page if someone shares it on social media it is less likely to be clicked and therefore less likely to be shared.

Along with static images short, concise, informative and fun video content can help you massively increase your reach. Important to remember it’s not just about creating a video, there are millions of videos on YouTube with just tens of views,

Important to remember it’s not just about creating a video, there are millions of videos on YouTube with just tens of views. It’s about videos with useful content for your customer helping build trust and putting you at the front of their mind when they come to buy.

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Should you respond to that social media comment?

Together with great benefits that social media brings, it can also be challenging. Social media can bring negative comments, often with good reason. But how do you tell the difference between a valid negative comment and a troll? When is a comment worth responding to or when is it not?

This infographic is extremely useful in giving you a decision tree for when and if to respond. Beyond this businesses need to look at how feedback from social media can help an organisation by changing business practices and identify opportunities.

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A couple of extra things to consider:

  • Never respond in anger (or after alcohol?). If the comment has annoyed you then maybe write down what you want to say, walk away and come back when you have calmed to see if what you were going to say still stands.
  • Be the better person. Others will read the comment and your response and you need them to come away thinking that you are being more reasonable.
  • Remember people don’t necessarily believe overly negative comments, and sometimes will come to your defence when people are unreasonable.
  • Keep perspective. Many of the worse trolls on Twitter have very few followers and even follow themselves from other accounts to give themselves some following. Even if someone has a few hundred followers the number who will see the post will be tiny – by responding you could be giving a troll a much bigger audience.

Facebook returns to normal – but will I block you?

Even prior to the EU referendum I had struggled how to deal with some of the people I am connected with on Facebook, who on reflection I would prefer not to be. I spent months, weeks and the last few days seriously considering what to say. Here are my words that I shared publicly on Facebook.

Following the EUref normal Facebook service has been resumed. Where I will continue being anti-racism, pro workers rights, supporting the Labour Party, for equality and full of hope for future generations.

If you don’t like my posts, do us both a favour and do the simple thing and select unfriend. We can return to exchanging cards at special occasions, smiling and doing small talk at social events – it’s what we did before Facebook so why change that.

And if you share ‘Britain First’ posts I will not bother writing to you asking not to post this crap anymore. Family, colleague or friend – I will block you. This is not because I don’t believe in democracy and debate. It’s because there is no debate in hate. You are regurgitating the vomit of some of the most hateful aspects of our society and if anything the EU ref taught me it is we need to stand up to and expose these views and those who hold them louder than we have ever done before. We need to call hate – hate, a racist – racist, a sexist – sexist… Guessing you get the trend. Otherwise we allow these views to grow again with far more dangerous consequences.

If you don’t understand my view, you don’t understand me – so go on, go on – do us both a favour. For all those that do, thank you for your friendship even though we may often disagree – as a great woman said – we have more in common than that which divides us xxx

Has Brexit killed your online friendships?

An unexpected outcome from the EU referendum has been Frienxit.

Frienxit is the sudden rise of ‘unfriending’ ‘unfollowing’ ‘muting’ or even ‘blocking’ people on social media sites, after people respond to alternative views.

During the EU referendum debate, millions have taken to social networks to share their views like never before – but it seems not everyone wants to hear them.

And now prior to the outcome on Britain possibly exiting the EU – many are exiting their digital relationships. It comes as people discover that their online friends, maybe are not the sort of people they’d like to spend time with – even if it’s only virtual time.

But why now? Well when many of us first ventured onto social media there was great enthusiasm to connect with people we know. These are people we may not have stayed friends with in the real world.

This has also been a very different debate from normal elections. People are not hiding behind party banners but ‘coming out of the closet’ on some of their more extreme political views.

Maybe because of fear of the online abuse we have seen politicians face, many are choosing to Frienxit these relationships as an easier option to tackling these views head on.

Initial responses to my Twitter poll shows a majority say they are not backing Frienxit, but a lot have. But the most important question of all (other than the
EUref result) – have you been Frienxited?

Top content marketing best practices by SMB marketers

The idea of sharing other people’s content may still be alien to some marketers. Like it or not, it is an essential part of making sure your social media feed is followable and shareable. This is especially the case if you don’t have a regular stream of engaging content of your own.

I have used the 80/20 rule for sharing: 80% other people’s content and 20% of your own. Though if you don’t have a great deal of content I would go further. I would look at as high as 95% of others people’s content.

Why would you do this? On social media, you need to demonstrate that you are a trusted source of interesting content. You will then gain followers and they will look out for your posts. When you post your own content, as a trusted voice, they are more likely to click on and view your own content.

This does not replace the need for developing your own content. Marketers recognise whilst content curation is important, posting your own is not far behind.

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Sort your visual strategy now or be lost in the stream

Words are not enough. A weird way to start a blog – but in the battle for attention images are everything.

Video, infographics, photography and animation are key to capturing your audience’s attention. In social streams, you are competing against a whole range of exciting messages. To fight for attention you need to stand out in those streams. This is where these visual tools can come to your rescue.

Research has found that 79% of marketers recognise that video will increase in importance. In all the visual formats, mentioned in the graph below, marketers predict they will increase in importance. Video clearly topped the poll.

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Don’t believe me (or my fellow marketers)? A few stats that might help

  • Posts with videos attract 3X more links than text-only posts
  • Tweets with images earned up to 18 percent more clicks – 89 percent more favourites –  and 150 percent more retweets
  • The number of videos appearing in Facebook’s news feed has increased 3.6X (Nov 2015)
  • Facebook posts from brands that included images earned 87 percent of all engagements

With the fastest growing social media channels visually based, the trend is set. Marketers need to adjust their strategy. They also need to adjust their budgets.

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This infographic shows how we are changing, and how you need to adapt… or get left behind.

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How content marketing can help you sell more

This infographic lays out some of the ways content marketing can help your business.

Sites that use content marketing via blogs get more pages indexed on search engines. This means potential customers are more likely to find their site.

Word of mouth plays a big part in how people decide where to buy. Many of these conversations are taking place on social media. To build a following you need interesting content which is a top 3 reason people give for why they follow.

Once you build your following 6 in 10 social users are more likely to recommend you.

Put simply: Content = following = sales

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Is the company website about to die?

Your customers don’t want to come to your website. Yes, I know in creating it you have spent huge amounts of time, money, sweat and tears. But in an online world dominated by social media and apps, there are far more exciting places to be.

Another huge problem you face is a lot of people don’t trust company websites. They look at your content and think ‘well you would say that’. Especially if you make bold claims that you don’t substantiate.

Whilst the company website is not dead, yet, it is not enough. I would even question if it is your first priority. Your customers often look first to social media to help them choose what to buy, and who to buy from. Go to your customer, don’t wait for them to come to you.

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And it’s only going to get tougher. With the growth of mobile and apps, customers want easier and simpler ways to get what they want. And they don’t want to trawl through your website to find it.

In short. Your company website is just one small part of your online real estate. It will shrink in importance and you need to now – before it’s too late – focus on your social presence. And if you haven’t already, work out how you can help meet your customer’s needs on mobile phones with an app.

The need for corporate websites will continue to reduce. I would argue for some there is little or no need now. New companies will choose not to create company websites and exist only on social and in apps. Benefiting by focusing their energy where their customers are, where their customers trust. Where their customers want to be.

Weather Warning: Media cannot be trusted

Talking about the weather is a common British trait, however recently it seems we are constantly having the ‘worse weather ever’ according to some media outlets, and it’s not just climate change that is to blame.

The media is well known for its sensationalists headlines, obviously designed to help sell newspapers. As the media increasingly transfers their focus to the digital age they are moving to a modern equivalent – Click Bait.

Click bait is described as ‘content, especially that of a sensational or provocative nature, whose main purpose is to attract attention and draw visitors to a particular web page.’ It is often a successful short term strategy in driving traffic to your website – however in the long term this tactic can diminish trust and damage your brand.

Back to the weather – as the headlines have shown this winter we have constantly been sold stories of impending doom, where often we have suffered from little more than what just is Winter.

Daily Star WeatherTelegraph weatherDaily express worse winter ever

And it is tempting to do this. I have seen that by sharing stories of impending doom about the upcoming weather these posts receive higher than normal rates of engagement and sharing. This in turn results in higher levels of organic views on Facebook as it’s algorythm sees these stories as interesting and shows them more often.

But is this a long term tactic for driving traffic? Maybe eventually people will wake up to the fact that many of the warnings simply don’t happen aka The Daily Express ‘Four Months of Heavy Snow’.

Daily Express commentsComments about weather reports

We can only hope that more people will realise and stop clicking these links, oh, and that the weather get’s better.

Don’t loose your precious digital memories

Photographic memories have always been precious, and like the printed versions digital photographs are at risk from fire or other losses. If you have only saved your digital photographs on a local drive, then if this drive fails you could quickly loose images that can never be replaced.

Backing up your digital photographs is the best way to make sure those moments in time are kept whatever happens. Watch this video where I tell you the best ways to make sure your digital memories are kept secure.

Measuring social media measurement

With the number of social media users projected to reach 2.5 billion by 2018 I would hope by now that even the most ardent social media denialists will be able to accept that social media is not going anywhere soon.

Businesses extensively use social media as part of their activities including for customer service, where efficiencies and savings can easily be demonstrated; and for marketing where both paid and earnt activities can have a huge impact on the reach of a campaign.

Despite the use of social media by businesses maturing, still many struggle to measure the impact of their social media. They struggle because often it is difficult to accurately attribute the benefits of particular activities, especially where you have activities across a number of mediums. It is easy to count the number of followers, retweets, post likes etc actual impact on the bottom line that you can directly attribute to social media is harder and sometimes impossible to record accurately.

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If you are experiencing the challenge of measuring the impact of social media on your business, as you can see from this survey by the CMO you are not alone. However as the share of marketing spent on social media increases the need to measure becomes even more important.

Important things to look at when measuring social media:

  • Put measurement in from the start of your campaign, not an afterthought
  • Agree what you are measuring against – what good looks like – otherwise the social media denialists will move the goalposts
  • Accept somethings cannot be measured accurately and see these as indicative measures
  • Attribute indirect influence by measuring trends over time
  • Keep it simple – by attempting to measure too much you will end up measuring nothing

Finally social media can be of huge benefits to your marketing activities, however where it cannot provide the measurement you would like to see – ask yourself if your other activities could provide that information before dismissing using social media for that purpose.

Holocaust Memorial Day 2016

January 27th is Holocaust Memorial Day.

To mark this day I will be featuring tweets throughout the day @Wellbelove that I hope will serve as a reminder not only of the horrors from this terrible part of our history, but of the importance of not standing by today in the face of modern day prejudice and hate.

A quarter of people in Britain have witnessed at least one hate crime or hate incident based on race or ethnicity in the last year. We have seen shameless prejudice against minorities by senior politicians and selfish ignorance of the plight of refugees. Far right groups continue to exploit fear and ignorance. Memories of the terrible consequences of this cocktail of hate seem to be fading in some circles.Holocaust

Whilst others suffer we must not stand by. As we now judge those from the past who did not do enough – others will sit in judgement of our own actions in response to the suffering we see today.

On 11 December 1946 the General Assembly of the United Nations resolved that genocide was a crime under international law. Millions have died since, as a result of genocide crimes. Millions more will die.

Don’t stand by.

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Stop making excuses – the real reason you are not on social media

The most frequent reason I am given on why professionals do not use social media is ‘I don’t have time’.

By contrast despite incredibly busy live the likes of Sir Richard Branson, Stephen FryEllen DeGeneres, Lady GaGa, Katy Perry, Scott Monty from Ford, Ralph Lauren, many senior politicians including President Obama and other notable ‘busy’ people can find time to fill 140 characters or more and post to social profiles.

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Admitidly some have assistants that help them, tmany of the names I have chosen directly post regularly themselves and have identified the benefits that social media can bring. So how can they find time when you cannot? Why have they made it a priority? Why do they think it is a worthwhile part of their daily routine – whilst you do not?

Some of the other reasons I am given include…

– People won’t be interested in what I had for breakfast
– Can’t see the point
– It’s just a fad (do not hear this as much anymore)
– I’m a very private person
– I am worried I might say something wrong
– I might be attacked

People may not be interested in what you had for breakfast, though the occasional post that shows you are a real rounded human being can do no harm. Social networks are not just about one thing and people are interested by a wide variety of things. The great thing about social media is the audience decides if it is interested or not, and you will soon see what engages people – so do not pre-judge what they will or won’t like..

Social media is now an extension of how we interact as human beings both in private and in the work place. If you do not see the point then you are effectively saying you are not interested in those who use social media both within your current circle of influence, and beyond through the ripple effect and wider realm of influence social media provides.

I totally understand people being cautious. However often people who tell me ‘they might say something wrong’ are professionals at the top of their game, who fully know understand what they can and cannot say as either a politician or business person in the public domain. After all they filter what they say everyday. A brief Google search will bring back nightmare examples of people doing stupid things on social media – but they are exactly that – stupid – and you should trust yourself to be able to make the right decisions about what you post. The fact you are concerned means you are less likely to post something you shouldn’t, and if you can’t be trusted it’s not just social media you should be worried about.

Yes you might be attacked. But does it really matter? I remember when I first posted some tech tip videos there were several nasty comments include one saying that I had funny eyebrows. Would have prefered that he had said something about the video to help me improve my presenting style, and was interesting he himself had an unique style of hair growth above his eyes – but it did not really matter and was nothing more than name calling in the playground. There are tools you can use to mute out some of the unconstructive comments, however the biggest challenge I have found is to get people to engage at all. Maybe they are not saying anything as they are worried too.

The biggest barrier to your effective use of social media is you and sometimes something as simple as your first post. If you are worried you may something wrong then say nothing at all and share something you find interesting which comes from someone else. Over time as you get to understand the community that you will become part of you will learn the unspoken rules which are mostly common sense.

Social media offers so many opportunities. I have learnt however for those who have multiple reasons for not taking part, and as you answer these concerns come up with even more, until they are willing to try it nothing I can say will change their mind. But until that time please admit the real reason you are not on social media – is you.

It’s not your fault your password is rubbish

In a now annual event, the media mocks us for using passwords that are criminally easy to guess. Despite this we continue to ignore the warnings and choose simple passwords but to be honest it is not our fault.

Why? Well online services both make it too easy to allow us to choose a common password, they could easily block these after all, and too hard by varying rules for what you have to use ie: including a capital or not from service to service.

Other reasons we pick rubbish passwords:

  • It’s too hard to remember a different password for every service
  • It doesn’t seem to be that important – until we are hacked
  • We fear forgetting them so try and pick something easy to remember

One policy that really annoys me is organisations who insist you change your password periodically. This often forces people to choose something even simpler as they know they will have to come up with something new in a month or so. It would be far better to encourage people to create a complex password they can stick with unless it becomes compromised.

I created this video for BT to help guide you on how to create a more secure password that is easy to remember, the formula for doing this is thanks to advice from presenter Leo Laporte.

Truth to be told, the only way this problem will be fixed is via biometric passwords and behavioural monitoring. As with the latest iPads and iPhones you will in the future be able to login via your finger or other biologically unique feature. Additionally behavioural monitoring will be able to add an extra layer of protection, learning about elements of how you use devices then requesting extra verification when these behaviours change.

Oh, and the most common passwords for 2015 are (with change on 2014 in brackets)

1) 123456 (unchanged)

2) password (unchanged)

3) 12345678 (up 1)

4) qwerty (up 1)

5) 12345 (down 2)

6) 123456789 (unchanged)

7) football (up 3)

8) 1234 (down 1)

9) 1234567 (up 2)

10) baseball (down 2)

11) welcome (new)

12) 1234567890 (new)

13) abc123 (up 1)

14) 111111 (up 1)

15) 1qaz2wsx (new)

16) dragon (down 7)

17) master (up 2)

18) monkey (down 6)

19) letmein (down 6)

20) login (new)

21) princess (new)

22) qwertyuiop (new)

23) solo (new)

24) passw0rd (new)

25) starwars (new)