Creating Images for your Social Media Posts

When you are browsing different social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, you are likely to see images with text on them – these can be inspirational, informative, or just plain fun. Having your message on a colourful image will catch your customer’s eye more effectively than just using text alone.

However, if you are a small business owner, you probably don’t have the budget to hire a a graphic designer. Luckily, there are plenty of options on the market today to help you create the graphic yourself for minimal time and effort.

Quozio.com

Quote software - www.quozio.com

Quote software – http://www.quozio.com

‣ Type or paste your quote text,  then add name of who said it.

‣ Pin and save it to your computer.

‣ Quozio has a greater selection of images than some other freebie sites.

Pinstamatic

pinstamatic

‣ Using this software you can create quotes, reminders, a Twitter Profile image, a date
on a calendar or upload your own image.

‣ There are 6 styles of fonts to choose from.

‣ Takes screenshots of websites you want to pin,  Twitter profiles you want to follow, and even Spotify pins of your favourite album and its artwork.

Picmark

picmark
‣ A brilliant site for branding, watermarking or adding a caption to one of your own
graphics.

‣ Upload your image, choose frame style, and  add text.

‣ Pin and save it to your computer.

LiveLuvCreate

livluv.JPG

‣ Select from a variety of design layouts (can be 1 image or a collage of multiple images)

‣ You can upload and use your own images or choose from the site’s library.

‣ You can have up to 3 text areas, and the text style can be edited.

‣ Borders, filters and effects are also available.

Canvacanva1

‣ This application is brilliant for creating different styles of graphics. From Facebook cover photos, to posters and invitations, Canva has step by step instructions.

‣ It is also linked to Facebook, and it can have access to your photos and pull them into the software. Or you can upload any image.

Top Tips

1. Use Contrast to ensure your graphic stands out (choose 2 contrasting colours)

2. Choose your font palette (Try using different fonts for the heading, the subtitle and

body text for a more professional and attractive appearance)

3. What’s your colour scheme? (Choose colours that reflect yours / business personality,

start with 2-3 and go form there – use these colours consistently to encourage

continuity throughout your branding)

4. Keep it simple (Avoid clutter, fresh and plain is the best when it comes to graphic

design)

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Email Marketing – can it boost YOUR business?

Email Marketing – An effective, low cost method of promoting your business.

Are you wondering if email marketing can boost your business?

Do you want to know the benefits of email marketing?

mail contact

Social Bee is here to help you find out more about this powerful marketing tool.

Email marketing is sometimes overlooked by entrepreneurs and small businesses. It shouldn’t be, especially where marketing budgets are tight. One of the most compelling reasons to use email marketing is its return on investment (ROI). It can be a very effective, low cost method of promoting your business online. Mailing lists are typically made up of subscribers who have willingly chosen to hear more about your business, and that offers a unique opportunity to promote targeted messages at people who want to hear from you.

So how can email marketing help your business? Let’s outline the benefits:

  1.  Increase sales.

Ultimately this is usually what your marketing efforts are all about. By sharing the right information about your business through emails, you help customers see how valuable your product or service is. If done right, this will lead to increased sales. The best way to increase sales through email marketing is to send a variety of emails to your customers. Promotional emails about new arrivals, discounts, sales and offers will entice the customer if they feel they are getting a great deal. But remember, make it easy for them purchase by providing a direct link to the product or service on your website.

2.  Maintain brand awareness.

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Email marketing can help your product or service to remain at the front of your customers mind on a regular basis. Emails can serve as gentle reminders about your business. If you run a restaurant for example and regularly email your customers about special offers and promotions, where your customer want to book their next meal, your business will spring to mind because of your regular targeted contact. Company newsletters are a great way to keep your customers up to date about news, tips, how-to guides, events and offers. A variety of information will make the newsletter valuable and informative.

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3.  Build lasting relationships

emaikl

Emails help you establish and nurture a lasting relationship with your customers. If you want to build a loyal customer base that will return time after time, you must win their trust. Emails give you a chance to make a personal connection. Whether you are reaching out to new customers or engaging with loyal followers, an email campaign is one of the best ways to build a relationship. For example, when a new customer signs up for your email list, a welcome email can introduce them to the company and its products or services. Sharing customer reviews and testimonials is also a great way for your customers’ to reaffirm they have made the right decision in choosing your business.

Email marketing is an inexpensive, cost effective way to communicate with your customer and works very effectively when delivered alongside a coherent social media strategy. Building an effective email list inevitably takes time and persistence, and a certain amount of strategic planning is involved.

Social Bee can help you make the most of every email you send. We can expertly create and execute targeted email marketing campaigns using reputable, secure platforms such as MailChimp.com. If you’d like to know more about how Social Bee can help your business, please get in touch!

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Five Signs Your Content Needs Updated

This week we are delighted to have a guest blogger,  Claire Savage, sharing her words of wisdom on updating your content.

CSE

5 signs your content needs updated

Unless you’re a start-up business with a snazzy new site, or have content creation down to fine art, the chances are, your website content probably needs updated.

Connected!In this non-stop digital age, new content is created online everyday – on social media,  websites and blogs – so to have any hope of standing out from the crowd, or at least to be in amongst that crowd, you need to be doing the same.

At the very least, your website should show recent activity, otherwise today’s web browsers might just pass you by.

From a personal perspective, I prefer to do business with, or buy from, someone who has an active online presence. It shows they recognise the need to communicate with their customers and an awareness of how best to do this, which is increasingly in cyberspace.

So, how do you know if your site needs refreshed content? Here are my top five reasons:

1. The content was written five, 10, maybe even many more years ago, and has outdated information about your company, as well as outdated/overly formal language

2. Your sales pages show products you no longer sell/services you no longer offer

3. Press releases you may send out haven’t been uploaded to your website

4. The news/events section of your site shows old information

5. Your business blog hasn’t been updated

These are just a few red flags that show your website needs new and updated content.

Why update content?  

Google loves fresh content

Google loves fresh content

1. Google loves fresh content – if you update it regularly, you’ll rank better

2. People want well-written, easy-to-read content that’s relevant – lots of sites that are years old are brand rather than customer-focused

3. Not uploading press material to your site shows a lack of continuity and people wonder what’s going on when information doesn’t match up

4. Nothing is more frustrating for a customer/visitor to your site than finding an old news page or sales page – they can’t find relevant information about you and if they want to buy something you no longer provide, then you’ve wasted everyone’s time

5. Blogs last written a month or more ago make people ask questions. Why have you stopped?  Are you still operating as a company? Why can’t you be bothered to engage when your competitors are…?

You don’t want to put anyone off visiting your site, so if it’s been a while since you last had a read through what your content actually says and indeed, how it says it, then maybe ow’s a good time to do it.

How to update your content

Customers

– Check what pages are outdated – what can you dispose of and what do you want to keep?

– Prioritise what your key business message is and how you want to say it

– Know your customer base, so you can create content that will appeal to them

– Create a content strategy for blog posts/press releases/news articles on your site

Ultimately, you’re missing a trick if you haven’t updated the content on your website in the last few years. If your competitors are on the ball and are pushing out regular blogs, articles and updated site content, then your website just won’t get a look-in. You may have a loyal customer base already, but business is about growing – about hooking new customers, raising your profile and giving something back to those who are already buying from you.

With so much more out there in cyberspace, you have to make sure you have something to offer your customers that compels them to stay.

Thanks to Claire Savage for guest blogging this week – visit Claire’s blog for more information and advice on copywriting.

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LinkedIn – are you making connections?

LinkedIn personal details

LinkedIn Profile – connect today! 

When it comes to LinkedIn, many people sum it up as Facebook for professionals, a platform designed on building relationships and making business connections. And they are right! LinkedIn is an excellent tool for finding like-minded individuals with the industry or job experience that you are interested in or require.

Just like Facebook ‘friends’, or Twitter ‘followers’,  growing your LinkedIn ‘connections’ (your professional network) is essential to make the most out of this-+ platform. So here are a few tips and pointers on how to create and interact with connections.

How to Connect…

  1. Adding Email Contacts
LinkedIn Email

Finding email contacts for LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a fairly ‘user friendly’ site. Navigate to the ‘Connections’ tab along the top of the screen.  From this dropbox, select ‘Add Connections’ and you are given the option to import existing contacts from your email account. This is a quick and easy way to invite current email contacts to become LinkedIn connections.

  1. Search Bar

linkedin1

Similar to any browser search functionality, you can search for specific individuals to link with. To improve efficiency, LinkedIn have also incorporated filter criteria to narrow down the results. For example, you could search only for ‘Joe Bloggs’ in Belfast, United Kingdom so you won’t have to sift through ‘Joe Bloggs’ from all across the world.

  1. People You May Know
Suggested Connections

LinkedIn offers you suggestiong for people you may know through your career.

LinkedIn is excellent at peppering their site with hyperlinks to allow users to increase their connections with just one click of a button. When you have a handful of connections, and return to the home screen, the right hand side of the screen will display suggested connections with people whom you may know through a mutual existing connection.

How to Interact with Connections…

When you click on the profile of a connection there are various things that you can do to interact with them.  Firstly, with a 1st degree connection, you can send them a direct message which can be typed in a similar layout to an email. This is a private conversation between 2 LinkedIn profiles.
It is important to remember that that you will also want to interact with your connections on other social media platforms. This is very easy if their profile contains hyperlinks to their accounts on Facebook, Twitter etc.  There is also the ability to share your LinkedIn status updates on Twitter, extending the ‘reach’ of your updates to all your Twitter followers to view, in addition to LinkedIn connections.

As a LinkedIn profile is laid out as a digital CV, with an overview of skills and qualifications for connections to view, there are also hyperlinks to other profiles or businesses if they have been included in someone’s profile.  This is a brilliant advantage that cannot be achieved with a paper CV.  The dynamic nature of your profile quickly comes to life and you can quickly interact with new connections.

Online CV - LinkedIn

Using LinkedIn as your online CV, building up recommendations from clients

Receiving an invitation to connect from someone you don’t know can be off putting for some people. Well, LinkedIn have the perfect solution. If you would prefer, there is an option to ‘Get Introduced’ to another LinkedIn user, where you can explain why you want to be introduced before becoming connected.

Once you get started on LinkedIn, there is a whole world of connections at your fingertips. Growing your professional network can raise your profile, increase brand awareness and generate leads for your business. So get started today!

Social Bee NI offer bespoke training on LinkedIn both in person and via Skype – if you would like to know more, get in touch by emailing Louise@SocialBeeNI.com or connect on social media.

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Is Social Media ‘Good’?

Is Social Media ‘Good’ ?

I was reminded once again this week of the amazing influence that social media can have as a force for good. In summary, by interacting with a local community group on my Facebook news feed I quickly became involved with some ad-hoc charity work. This would simply not have happened as quickly as it did a world without social media.

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So this led me to ask the question ‘Has social media influenced our life and society in a good way?’ Naturally, as a Social Media Consultant I’m an advocate of its positive influence, but in what other ways is social media ‘good’?

‘It’s for charity, Mate !’

It is clear that not-for-profit organisations are seeing the benefits of using social media for their awareness campaigns. Sites like Facebook and Twitter for example are a cost effective means of spreading the word and getting support. Not to mention socially shared petitions from sites like Change.org which can reach hundreds of thousands of people and have a huge impact on people’s lives.

‘You can feel connected’

Social media has definitely made us feel closer to other parts of the world. We can contact anyone around the world, at any time, with just a few clicks. We can share personal stories, photos of ourselves, friends and families. We can feel connected to another person’s world, even though distance may keep us apart. ‘Knowledge is power’

Social media has made it possible for like minded individuals to discuss important topics, widen their personal knowledge and discover things they never knew before. For example, young people around the world are now more involved than ever in their country’s politics. Social media has contributed to that increase in a big way. ‘You can say what you feel’

There has been a paradigm shift in how people communicate with businesses. Customers can now tell companies how they feel about their products (good or bad), when they feel it, in real time. Before social media, customers could spend hours on phones getting more and more frustrated when they had a problem or complaint. Businesses can then use this information to tailor their products and give their customers exactly what they want. In the past, a business might have had to spend a significant amount for this kind of marketing data.

And remember ‘Being good online can mean good business’

People on social networks often gather as an community on the premise that meaningful interactions will be mutually beneficially. LinkedIn for example, can speed up the process of building a professional relationship with your connections. Showing them respect, being nice, being polite are essential for gaining (and keeping) their business. Establishing a reputation as a ‘giver’ with no set agenda other than to serve your connections, friends, and followers will over time reap great rewards

So there is no doubt in my mind that there are many reasons why social media is ‘good. So embrace it, do good and know that you will be rewarded eventually , be it through an introduction, a testimonial, or just the simple pleasure in knowing that you’re helping someone.

Do you agree? Is social media a good influence is your life ? Let me know your thoughts?

About the Author: Louise Brogan is a Social Media Consultant and Owner/Director of Social Bee NI.

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Twitter Lists – are you using them?

twti

link to the YouTube vid here – thanks to ConstantContact!

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Facebook – Getting it right for your business!

Facebook

Facebook – where the party is!

Facebook is the most popular social media site with approximately 1.49 billion registered users, that’s 71% of all internet users!  If you’ve decided to use it as a marketing platform for your business you will know that it takes time to build up an active and loyal customer base. To do this in the most efficient way possible, here are some of the top mistakes and how to avoid them.

It’s ‘Business’ not ‘Personal’ !

Many businesses use a ‘personal profile’ as the face of their business on Facebook. This is not best practice. This results in customers accepting friend requests rather than an invitation to like your page. This means your  ‘personal’ business account will become clogged with each of your customers personal updates.

By using a ‘Business Page’ you can more effectively reach your customers and promote your business. You will also have access to additional functionality such as Facebook Analytics to help you evaluate the success of your social media marketing efforts.

Don’t wing it !

Your social media marketing efforts should be carefully aligned to your business goal and objectives. A clear and concise social media strategy should have clearly defined, specific and measurable goals. Success can then be measured and your strategy refined in order to ensure on-going success.

Keep your content relevant.

Facebook users want information on their news feeds that is relevant to their lives, so it is important that posts about your business engage your fans. First and foremost Facebook is about friends connecting with friends. It’s about building a community. The same is true for businesses, but the main objective to get your customer talking about your product or service by engaging with them in an authentic way.  If a page isn’t focused on the target audience in a genuine way, they will see right through it.

Show the right personality. 

It is important to remember that your Facebook content must communicate the same branding and personality as other marketing activities . Although more casual in it’s approach, your Facebook strategy should align with your overall business objectives. Content should be relevant to customer profile and your brand. Start with an attractive, well designed, Facebook cover photo. This is the first thing customers will see when they land on your page.

It’s not just about selling !

Ultimately, the objective is to increase sales. But you have to strike the right balance. Engagement helps to build customer loyalty, generate leads and hopefully convert leads into paying customers. If you constantly posts that are directly selling your product, customers will lose interest and your strategy will fail.

Use a clear ‘Call to Action’

What exactly do you want from your Facebook ‘fan’. Make sure you are absolutely clear about how you want your fans to interact with your page. If you are aiming to grow you email list, a clear call to action might be ‘Sign Up Now’ or ‘Register Here’.

Don’t be boring !

Using the same content  format can become repetitive and your customer may lose interest. To avoid this, a business can experiment with different post formats in order to boost engagement. For example, videos, memes, links or interactive questionnaire posts.

Timing (as well as content) is important.  

Planning the posts and their timings is an excellent way to stay on top of the content. Once you have identified a target audience it is essential that you look at the most appropriate schedule of posts for that audience. For example, if your community would be likely to be at work without Facebook access between 9-5 hours, then it would be more suitable to post early in the morning or in the evenings.

Consider Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads are a powerful way to grow your page and does not necessarily require significant expense.  But you must have clearly defined goals form the outset. Is it about building your Facebook page, driving traffic to your website or growing your email list.? If you know what you are trying to achieve you will get better results.

By educating yourself on some of the most common mistakes and how to avoid them, your business can use Facebook in the most positive and productive way.

If you need help to plan, execute or manage your social media strategy then please get in touch with Social Bee NI.

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