Posts Tagged ‘Marketing Seattle’

Get the Most Out of Your Branding – Twitter Cover Photos

Branding is one of the first marketing steps that a company usually takes. The basic questions asked start with ‘How do we want the customer to feel about our company?’ ‘What tone should the company take?’ Often, the answers to these questions boil down to a few words. Sporty. Out-going. Friendly. Professional. Trust-worthy. Wholesome. Everything which a company then does in terms of marketing, advertising and other forms of publicity and outreach are then done with this brief in mind. This used to be relevant mostly to print media, but, nowadays, we have to consider social media branding.

At the most basic level, social media branding is similar to regular branding. The most instantly recognizable aspect of a business is usually their logo, and this should be used somewhere predominate. For Twitter and Facebook, where users have updates scrolling past them faster than they can read, it’s best to have the company logo as the profile photo. It’s easier to spot a recognizable picture in a list of updates than it is to even skim-read users names.

However, now that both Facebook and Twitter have implemented ‘cover photos’, it’s possible to get creative with your homepage. Your Twitter profile picture will appear in the center of the Twitter cover photo, so using a team photo will often result in someone’s face being obscured – but it might be possible to use this to a humorous advantage.  For example, we’ve seen some pretty creative cover “hacks” like this one from Ryan Seacrest

This juxtaposition shows you exactly who Seacrest is in his cover photo.  Just make sure to estimate spacing for your tagline and webpage.

The cover photos on Facebook and Twitter are an incredibly useful tool when it comes to social media branding, as businesses are no longer limited to just a 180×180 square company logo. Cover photos can be used to indicate the purpose of the company in a fun and interesting way, or to show people interacting with the company in a positive way.

Have you integrated the new Twitter cover photos into your branding strategy?  Check out some quick twitter branding we did for artist, Wyly Astley!

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Why Social Media Makes Marketing Easier

What if you could reach five hundred local customers in just a couple of minutes? What if you could click just ONE button, and watch the product orders flood in? These are just a couple of promises made about why social media is going to be great for your business, and the kicker is – they’re true.

If you have 500 (or more!) followers on Twitter, then you can easily write and share a tweet in a couple of minutes. When you have engaged readers of your blog and website, you just have to hit ‘Publish Post’ to alert your community to the new, awesome, item you have, that will improve their lives no end.

Long-time readers of social media advice might notice that we left out a couple of steps. In order to get 500+ local, relevant followers on Twitter, someone has to put in a concerted effort to make your fan base aware of your online presence. The same with creating that blogging community, or finding Fans for your Facebook page. Social Media makes it so much easier to share news and information, but it’s no longer a case of ‘If you build it, they will come.’

Social Media Marketing needs to be fully integrated into all other avenues of marketing

This includes print and tv marketing, if you want to see your marketing campaign achieve its full potential. If you’re a big enough brand, then maybe people will make the effort to search for you on Facebook or Twitter, but smaller companies will need to make it as easy and as clear as possible to potential customers where they can be found on-line.

Integrating social media into a print or tv marketing campaign need be no more taxing than adding in your Twitter handle where you already have your address and telephone number onto your next batch of catalogues or flyers. Use traditional marketing to pull people in, and engage them on social media to keep them interested in and aware of your brand.

Have you successfully used traditional print marketing in conjunction with social media marketing? How did it go? 

Sales and Social Media Marketing: What’s the ROI

Here’s something we’ve touched upon before at RoryMartin.com, but which people quite often seem to forget: social media is not the place for sales. Saying this straight can cause businesses to throw up their hands and exclaim “What’s the point?”, but hear us out. Social media is first and foremost a marketing tool – and your social media marketing strategy should reflect that. Even people who use social media to tweet about their breakfast are still thinking about how they’d like the world to think of them – although they probably don’t have plans to become ‘Breakfast Food Consultants’. Social media can be used to build brand awareness and positive customer (read: potential customer!) engagement. Of course, social media can be used to make sales, but if your updates are chock-full of SALE! And OFFER! people will quickly switch off.

One of the reasons why social media is not a sales tool is because people don’t go to check their accounts thinking ‘I’d like to purchase something today, I wonder what that will be?’ Social media catches people far earlier in the buying process than, say, a storefront window. Followers and fans may not even be aware that they need your product or service, let alone want to purchase it right then and there.

However, this doesn’t mean that your followers and fans will never purchase a product or service from you via social media, but the process is a longer one. Social media marketing is a long-term sales strategy. Sending out five tweets in a row about your latest OFFERS and SALES everyday won’t make you any friends, but providing constant and consistent advice and information about your products and services will. Users typically turn to social media for entertainment and information, so give it to them!

A new Follower or Fan may not immediately make a purchase from you, the same way that someone in your internet store or on your shop floor might, but over time they will come to trust and respect your authority in your business niche. Then, when they do decide it’s time to get a glazier in, they’ll turn to a name they remember – yours.

Customers who discovered your services on social media are very high value after the sale as well. They can, and often will, turn to their accounts to praise, or demonise, your business. Make it easy for them to give a positive review, and that will influence their followers, and yours. With people turning to peer reviews before making their purchasing decisions nowadays, this is the true ROI when it comes to social media – positive feedback and an increased sphere of influence.

If you’d like to hear more about how social media can benefit your business, then email Rory Martin today.

7 Solid Tips to Boost Your SEO from RoryMartin.com

1. Know your starting statistics

When implementing any strategy, it pays to know where you’re starting from, so that you can easily see if rankings and conversions have improved at any point in your SEO journey. This document can be as simple as you like; even a handwritten notebook will let you immediately spot increases (and decreases) in statistics such as conversions and inbound links.

2. Create solid, good quality content

The perceived Holy Grail of content is to create something which goes viral, but as a long-term strategy it’s better to create solid, good quality content on a regular basis, than occasionally put something extraordinary out there, and bulk up your website with mediocre content in between. Like EdgeRank with Facebook, if you put out something less than great, people aren’t going to be that keen to share and promote it, so in between viral episodes, you’re more likely to lose followers and alienate your audience.

3. Keep an eye on what’s topical

What’s trending on Twitter? What are other people in your field talking about? That viral video, does it have any themes which you could work from? While we don’t suggest you hurry something just to piggyback on the current top trending topic, it’s a good idea to see what’s creating a buzz during the week, and see if anything which you do can relate to that. Stay mindful of your long-term plans and company branding though!

4. Cultivate relationships with other sites

This goes hand-in-hand with tip #3. If your link-builder is out there every day, sourcing websites for links, these bloggers and journalists and website owners are going to prefer to link to a site which is consistently putting out good content. Here is a fantastic piece on why many link-building strategies fail: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/why-link-building-strategies-fail

5. Check your road map

Once you implement a new idea, or build that relationship link with a site or person, check your statistics to see what the relationship does for you. Are you finding that your traffic is slowly but surely increasing, but you’re not ranking any higher? Find out what’s causing that, and fix it. Remember that the point of SEO isn’t only to boost your rankings, but also to increase conversions. How are these statistics looking?

6. Don’t hang out in bad neighborhoods

Search engines can easily pick up on linkfarms, and other such sites, and blacklist them. There is almost no security or surety in purchasing links from sites like these, as they could be disregarded by search engines, or even cast a negative light on the sites which they are linking too, as well. Stick to building connections and writing good quality content for yourself.

7. Make your actions clear

Once all of this traffic has arrived at your site, you want to convert visits into customers. Make sure that your site is easily navigable so that your newly interested audience can immediately do what you want them to do on the site. Your social media profiles need to be obvious too, so that these visitors can quickly connect with you, and share what a great job you’re doing of being you!

We at RoryMartin.com hope that these seven tips improve your SEO and rankings. If you’d like more advice contact our experts today for a free estimate.

Be Consistent in your Social Media Marketing Strategy

As Seattle-based consultants for social media strategies, one of the most frequently asked questions we receive from clients is “How much time should I spend on social media?” and what usually follows is “How many times a day should I post to Facebook? How many times should I tweet? Am I Pinning too often?” Our response is always the same – stay consistent. Perhaps this doesn’t sound like a straight answer, but consistency in marketing wins out over gimmicks every time.

Creating consistently good blog and website content will bring people back to your site over, and over again. Even if social media didn’t exist, people still have this habit of talking to each other about consistently great articles, videos, questionnaires or giveaways. A giveaway might sound like a flash-in-the-pan strategy, but not if you make it a regular feature every time a new product comes out. Customers will flock back, hoping to win that great new item, every time. Set yourself a schedule and post certain articles and videos regularly each week or month. This encourages your audience to return at certain times, whether prompted to by social media or not.

Handily, social media does exist and brands need to be consistent there too. It’s really no use setting up profiles on all social media platforms and then never updating them, or updating them sporadically. If people choose to follow or Like a brand, they want to know they are going to receive up to date information, regularly. If there are no updates on your Wall for the past three days, they’re going to look elsewhere. For optimum engagement on Facebook, post 2-5 times per day, but what’s more important on social media is frequency of updates. Post, tweets and updates should be spaced out throughout the day and evening (and night, if parts of your audience are in different times zones) so that followers and fans have less cause to feel annoyed and overwhelmed by a sudden influx of updates over the space of an hour (your allotted time that week to ‘do’ social media).

There are plenty of tools available to help businesses and companies to schedule their content and social media updates, or you can arrange a meeting with one of our Seattle social media experts to talk you through a consistent and engaging social media strategy.

Pinterest Influences Web Design Trends

Pinterest is big in the social media marketing sphere (Haven’t heard of it?  Click here to read about how businesses can use Pinterest), and it’s making waves in web design as well.  The unique layout Pinterest offers is becoming incredibly popular with businesses who are looking to reinvent themselves online.  In fact, some magazines from publishing giant, Condé Nast, are launching new designs using a grid-style layout, with minimal text and tons of pictures.  Not only are publishing houses looking at this new style, Flickr – the popular photo-sharing website – is set to upgrade and redesign it’s site within the month, to make it look more like Pinterest.

The success of this type of layout could be because Pinterest users say they need to create and curate, organize and compartmentalize ideas in an increasingly scattered digital world.

Companies are working to create sites that feel more like brand lifestyles than sales pitches and corporate information.   Mashable’s Community manager, Meghan Peters says that Pinterest allows users to “experience the web in a way that makes them feel productive and inspired”.  This is one of the bigger roadblocks to creating an engaging corporate experience.   In fact, Flickr has switched to this design style because, ““We see in our first metrics that people consume a lot more photos, they interact so much more with photos in this view.”

In web design and typeography, Pinterest is also inspiring designers – not through its layout, but through mood boards created by other illustrators, graphic designers, typographers, etc.   We’ve been using Jquery plugins that accomplish Pinterest-like layouts for the past couple of years. Our vertical layouts emulate the forward thinking of Pinterests vertical layouts.

What we do at RoryMartin.com is remain technology agnostic. Since we use the latest and greatest technology from the vast world of open source developers we can stay ahead of the times when it comes to making our customers’ users happy.

Pinterest’s success is an example of proving our philosopy; that new information architecture can and should be adopted based on what users tell us they want. In this case – Pinterest users spoke up – and we will continue to listen.

 

Build a Better Website with Tips from Rory Martin

Netcraft reported that as of November 2011, there were approximately 525, 998,433 websites out in Internet-land  – and many of them aren’t perfect.  Think about it:  when you look at your website, what do you see?  Do you see a sleek design?  Is it easy to navigate?  Do you see compelling imagery or a big block of text?  Are you missing the little things like SEO or a Footer?  Are you effectively using Social Media?  Or have you forgotten to actively add that element to your website?

To make your website more “perfect”, you need to think about all the things we’ve just mentioned.  Seattle Web Design and Social Media Marketing company, RoryMartin.com can help you perfect your website with a few tips on designing a better website.

It’s true that content is key when it comes to making an impact on the web, however design is also key.  There are a variety of browsers, processors and monitor sizes, so it’s important to design a site that looks great on all of them.  While you may use Firefox or Chrome, and so you may design for those two browsers, consider the fact that 40% of internet users STILL use Internet Explorer.  Cross-browser compatibility can be a difficult problem to solve, but producing a sleek design without all the extra bells and whistles can save you some time in trying to determine why this or that widget doesn’t work.

Design also plays a big part in your website’s layout and navigation.  Consider this – 60% of the time, users cannot find the information they’re looking for – and much of that is due to poor execution in navigation and UI design.  Making sure your site is simple but well-designed could save your visitors a lot of time and effort trying to find out where you’ve hidden that gem of information they’re looking for.  And where user interface is concerned, users report clicking away from a page that has pop-ups or plays music or video automatically when the webpage has loaded.

One big part of web design that is often overlooked is the footer.  Often, businesses forget all about the SEO properties and usability of their footer in favor of more visible elements like header images and information.  At RoryMartin.com, we build footers for clients that include copyright information, the company address and contact info, their business tagline and even quick navigation links for the web-user who’s made it to the bottom of your page.   We also recommend links to your social media profiles, because, as users arrive at the bottom of your page and want to know more, the footer can convert your web visitors into Twitter or Facebook followers.

Are you actively using social media?  Is it easy to find your social media links (and maybe even your Twitter stream) on your website?  Web marketing consultant Chris Brogan says, “Social Media puts the ‘public’ into PR and the ‘market’ into marketing.”  Social media is one of the easiest, most direct, and most prominent forms of both public relations and marketing, available to businesses today.  If you’re not using social media, and displaying your information prominently, you’re missing out on a huge target audience.  And, studies have shown that social media builds customer loyalty.

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is probably the biggest key to driving customers to your site.  Using a correct combination of keywords and search terms throughout your website in strategic places will help propel your website to the front page of Google.  Of course, being on the second page of Google’s search isn’t bad either – considering a quarter of all web searches progress to the second page of Google.  But keywords aren’t the whole story:  Though 42% of users click the top ranking link on Google, the text that shows up beneath your link is REALLY the driving factor.  It’s this text – copy pulled directly from your website, that truly drives traffic to each site, while your strategic keywords ensure you’re listed in those search results in the first place.

If you’re looking to update your website, grab the wide world of social media marketing by the horns, or just looking to manage brand communications, our skilled staff of social media marketing and web design experts can help.  Find out more about what we can do for you at www.rorymartin.com.

 

 

Twitter and Facebook Build Customer Loyalty

Twitter Image courtesy of Mashable.comAs a company that specializes in Seattle Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Marketing, the RoryMartin.com team likes to keep you informed about new studies regarding social media.  A recent study, generated by Chadwick Martin Bailey, states that Twitter users who follow brands on Twitter are more likely to buy from and recommend that brand.  The group also produced a previous study correlating Facebook users’ purchases with the brands they “like” on Facebook.

This is good news for businesses who are using social media networks to improve their marketing efforts, especially because Twitter and Facebook  users are some of the most frequent internet users in general.  The study showed just how Twitter users were interacting with brands, reporting that 84% of Twitter users who follow brands do actually read brand tweets, making Twitter an effective form of presenting your company and products.  Even better, approximately 1/4 of users who follow brands on Twitter do tweet about the brand.  1 out of every 4 users in your Twitter audience are likely to be talking about your brand right now.

Twitter is proving itself a very useful forum for customer loyalty.  It’s important to know your audience and to make sure you’re tweeting authentic content, though.  67% of users expect unique content from the brands they follow.  In the decision to follow brands on Twitter, customers cite exclusivity and promotions as some of the top reasons they follow brands. Here are the top five reasons users follow brands:

  • 64%: I am a customer of the company
  • 61%: To be the first to know information about the brand
  • 48%: To receive discounts and promotions
  • 36%: To gain access to exclusive content
  • 28%: To receive content/information to retweet and share with others

If your business is not using Twitter right now, you are missing out on a very valuable marketing method.  The report shows that businesses shoud be tweeting to their customers as a means of building brand loyalty.  Don’t know where to start?  At RoryMartin.com, we help businesses customize their social media marketing plans, provide customized facebook pages, overall website overhauls, web design, and perfectly timed tweets.

We can help you build a Social Media Strategy that reflects your unique brand and meets your business goals. From a one-time site analysis to full search engine optimization strategy and execution, RoryMartin.com makes social media simple.

Forbes: 10 Social Media Mistakes

We found an article on Forbes this morning listing 10 social media mistakes businesses commonly make.  They range from not addressing negative feedback, to skimping on social media time, to not measuring your return on investment.  Forbes tells you what to do, and at RoryMartin.com, we tell you how to do it:

Mistake No. 1: Not Having a Plan

Sit down with your marketing guru and map out where you want to be with your social media campaign and what you want it to do for you.  Be realistic about what you can achieve in 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 3 years.  Figure out how you’re going to do it and who’s going to administrate your accounts.  Map out your monthly social media calendar and estimate how much time you need to spend on each piece of the puzzle.  Great planning produces great results.

At RoryMartin, we create customized social media calendars for each of our clients, making sure we match our marketing recommendations with your marketing plan.

Mistake No. 2: Too Much Too Soon

You don’t have to do everything all at once.   Your plan (above) should work in waves.  That way, you have ample time to put into each step of your plan and nothing is missed.  If you follow your social media calendar you should avoid that overwhelmed feeling of trying to do it all.  Keep it simple, and only build when you’re ready to take on a new challenge.

If you don’t have the time to keep up with your social media accounts, consider hiring a company like RoryMartin.com, a search engine optimization, web design and web development, social networking, and social media marketing firm.

Mistake No. 3: Not Measuring Your Success and Return on Investment

You need to know if what you’re doing is producing results, right?  Get Google Analytics and become familiar with that tool.  Check out Google Webmaster tools (and yes, the two are very different).  Create Google alerts, email alerts and Twitter alerts to find out when, where and how your company is being talked about.  Analyze which avenues work the best and build on them, which will help you cut out the unnecessary steps in your social media plan.

RoryMartin.com specializes in helping businesses create social media strategies with the analytics and reports that help you see the effects of a good social media strategy.

Mistake No. 4: Underutilizing Social Platforms for Branding

Make sure you fill out every available field you can on those social media accounts.  It’s like talking about your company or touting your elevator pitch.  The more complete your profiles are, the more accessible your business becomes and the more transparency and brand value those sites have.  Won an award?  Manta asks for those kind of stats, and that can be the reference your brand needs to pick up that high profile account.  Got a blog that offers industry insights?  Put that into your LinkedIn profile, to make sure other professionals in your industry know about your blog and have the chance to stay up to date.  Make sure your Twitter account is linked to that blog, and to your LinkedIn, and to your Facebook.  Leave no stone unturned.

Mistake No. 5: Promoting Without Listening or Engaging

We’ve talked about social media engagement, here on the RoryMartin blog.  Social media is a communicative tool.  As with any form of communication the best thing you can do is listen. Listen to your audience, your competitors, and people you want to work with. Listen, or look for conversations that you want to be a part of. Listen to, and watch social media influencers and keep track of ways that you can contribute to become an authority.

Be a part of the conversation – the HUMAN conversation. Creating relationships in the social media world is important to creating trust between your brand and the world. Develop a deeply human relationship with your audience, and your audience will reward that relationship.

Figure out why your customers would want to befriend you in their social media networks.  They want to know “what’s in it for me?”  And you need to be able to answer that question.   At RoryMartin.com, we can help you answer these questions and show you how to engage your social media customers.

Mistake No. 6: Not Addressing Negative Comments or Feedback

Instead of responding with ire, or just ignoring this conversation completely, ask those negative commenters what you can do to “make better”.  Customer service is all about finding better ways to communicate and better serve your customers.  Look at those avenues of social media as creative ways to give better customer service.  Start a dialogue with your unhappy customers, and they’ll be a lot less unhappy.

Mistake No. 7: Not Claiming Existing Profiles

Your business is most likely listed in several places you didn’t know about.  And the info on those sites may be old, outdated, incorrect or incomplete.  The strategy here is to search for your company, across the web, to find out where you are listed and what needs to be updated.  After you’ve made a list, go through and systematically update your profiles to reflect your website, your address, your contact info and interlink your profiles – adding things like your Twitter account and Facebook page.

Mistake No. 8: Skimping on Time

Let’s face it:  Social media is a time investment.  It can take months for your social media efforts to pay off, and patience is key.  That’s why tip  #2 is so important.  Don’t bite off more than you can chew, and know that you’re going to have to block out chunks of time to monitor and engage in your social media efforts.  If you don’t have the time, hire a professional who knows the ins and outs of social media engagement, or look for a Social Media Marketing company like RoryMartin.com who can help you build and implement your social media strategy – so that you have more time to run your business.

Mistake No. 9: Lacking Passion

If there’s one thing we have here at RoryMartin.com, it’s passion for social media.  Without the passion, your social media efforts may fall flat – you know your brand and as a business owner, you more than likely love what you’re doing.  Try to channel that into your social media efforts, since social media is an extension of the way you promote what you love.  If you just can’t get jazzed about interacting on the social web, consider hiring social media professionals who have the passion and knowledge to be the voice of your brand.

Mistake No. 10: Not Knowing When Social Media Isn’t Right for Your Business

81% of entrepreneurs still don’t take advantage of social sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and 40% small and medium-businesses don’t even have a Web site.  That said, internet users spend approximately 22% of their Internet time in social media, making social media a priority for any company that wants to be visible.  Think about your target market and your audience.  Who are they and where do they spend their time.  Maybe social media isn’t right for your business, but how will you know unless you try it?

At RoryMartin.com, we’re focused on finding the right social networking and social marketing options that are right for you.  We do the work so you don’t have to, bringing social tools to every business, and making social media simple.

Make the Most of Linkedin for Your Business

As a web design and web developmentsearch engine optimizationsearch engine marketing and social media marketing firm, we like to keep on top of the trends – and exploring trends on LinkedIn is no exception.  We stumbled across this article that boasts 10 LinkedIn Tips for Professionals, that says:

Despite the hype over Twitter and Facebook, Linkedin offers the greatest opportunity for professionals to make connections that lead to business.

We agreed with Ian Brody’s article, especially the following tips

1. Don’t make your profile look like your resumé.  Brody says that the number one temptation when setting up a LinkedIn profile is to fill in all those prior job slots, but that’s ineffective where LinkedIn is concerned.   The business connections that you’re looking for are going to want to see solution-oriented details.  Add the business name and title, leave out things like,  “managed four people who perform business-related tasks.”   Explain where you went above and beyond the basic job task, improved something, saved money, or where you were excelled and were just plain awesome.

2.  Find Connections – Know your Strategy.  LinkedIn is social, and there are a lot of professional networks on LinkedIn, where you can flex your knowledge and show off your skills – for example, you might find us in the LikeSocialMedia.com group.  Of course, like any social network, it’s best to get a feel for the pulse of the community.  Listen, watch and learn; find out what other pros in your industry are doing and saying and be cautious at first about sharing dissent.  Like anywhere (or any social network) first impressions are lasting impressions.   And Ian Brody notes, “Create a connection strategy to build valuable discussion.”

3. Ian Brody suggests updating your status to remind people what you do, and what you’re currently working on.  If you connect with a lot of people, staying current with status messages can do anything from help you connect with someone who’s looking for YOUR expertise to keeping you up to date on news in your field, to helping you and your brand grow in ways that your clientele are looking for.

What do you think readers?  Have anything to add to Brody’s tips for LinkedIn?


If you’re curious about how to use LinkedIn for your business, contact RoryMartin.com to find a strategy that fits your social networking needs, as well as the social tools that simplify your social media integration.  We offer a comprehensive set of services from website design and web development to search engine optimization and search engine marketing and social media marketing.  If you need creative ideas, easy implementation, and a limited investment into your social media campaign, RoryMartin.com has experts available to assess your needs, provide excellent customer service and innovative marketing tactics before you’ve even signed a contract.

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