Category Archives: General Business Advice

Is your website mobile friendly?

Why does your website need to be mobile friendly?

In 2015 52.7% of the global mobile phone population accessed the internet from their mobile phone.  This figure is expected to grow to 61.2% in 2018.  Statistic from Statista.

On 21st April 2015 Google added whether a website is mobile friendly as a ranking signal, the reason for this is that Google wants to help its users to access quality websites and based on the statistic above accessing websites via a mobile is a significant demographic of its users.

If someone finds your website while accessing the internet on their smartphone, you want that person to be able to read and use the navigation of your website because if they can’t they will find a website that is easy to read and use on their mobile, and you will have lost a prospective customer.

How do I know if my site is mobile friendly?

Go to https://www.google.co.uk/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly and add your webiste’s url to test whether your site is mobile friendly.

Google mobile friendly test

Here is what it will look like if your site is mobile friendly.

Mobile friendly site

This is what my site looks like on mobile.

Social Media Lincs Mobile friendly

However, here is what Google will tell you if your site isn’t mobile friendly.

Not mobile friendly

As you can see from the image above some of the problems with viewing a non mobile friendly website on your mobile are as follows:

  • Text being too small to read easily
  • Content wider than the screen so you have to scroll across
  • Navigation around the site can be difficult, if the menus don’t work well on mobile

These things affect the user experience on your site when it is being viewed on a mobile, so this may mean there is a great bounce rate when people are viewing via mobile than when they are viewing via a laptop.

A third of UK internet users see their smartphone as the most important device for going online, from a 2015 article on the Ofcom website

Checking whether your website is mobile friendly and make the changes it needs if it isn’t, could help your site be found on Google and for your clients and prospective clients to have a better experience when visiting your site via their mobile.

Do non-mobile friendly sites annoy you when you are using your smartphone?

Top 5 reasons for using Social Media Marketing to promote your local business

Are you using Social Media Marketing to promote your local business?

  • Do you have an independent shop or business on a high street of a town or village in the UK?
  • Do you want more people to come through the door of your shop or restaurant?
  • Do you have a business that serves local businesses?
  • Do you want an affordable way to market your business?

Lots of bricks and mortar businesses don’t have a good presence on social media and are missing a great way to get people to know about their business and to buy from them.  Whether it is because they think social media is only worth doing if you have a website or maybe they are too busy in their business to get the proper training.

There are many benefits of using social media marketing to promote your business, which I cover in another blog post What is Social Media Marketing? However, here are my top 5 reasons why your local business should be using social media marketing as part of your marketing strategy:

1) Social media helps you get found online

If you haven’t got a website then having good profiles on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter will help people find your business, when they search for businesses similar to yours online.  If you have a website you can use social media sites to direct traffic back to your website.  Also when people search for your business online your social media profiles will appear as well as your website.

2) Use a business Facebook Page as your main online presence

Following on from my first point, if you don’t have a website you can use a Facebook business page to provide information you might have on a website such as contact details, opening times, special events that you are hosting etc.  Although I would always advise people to have their own website as that is where you have control of what you want to achieve online.

3) Tell people what products you stock

A well thought out Facebook page with good quality images of the products you sell or services you provide will communicate to prospective clients what you do.

Recently I was going into local businesses doing a leaflet drop and telling business owners about my business.  In the village that I was doing the leaflet drop there was a small health food shop, that I often walked past thinking I must pop in there one day, when I have time.  When I popped into this health food shop to tell them about my business, I found out that they stocked products I usually bought online, because I hadn’t found any other local Health Food shops that stocked them.  If this shop had a Facebook page and had a logo in the window saying they were on Facebook, I would have followed their page and found this out a lot sooner.

4) Keep loyal customers up to date

Facebook and Twitter are great tools for keeping your business in the mind of loyal customers, as long as your content is high quality and relevant to your customers they will love seeing your updates appear in their timeline.

5) Allow loyal customers to recommend you to their friends

One of the biggest advantages of social media is that happy loyal customers can easily tell their friends and family about your great business and products.

Another bonus to using social media marketing for your business is that it is highly likely that your competitors might not be using social media yet.

However, before you set up a Facebook page and Twitter profile for your business, I would advice you to get some quality training from a social media consultant like myself, as training from an expert will help you get quicker results from your social media marketing.   Also working with a social media consultant to formulate a social media marketing strategy for your business will help you save time, enable you to measure how well your social media is performing and whether it is getting the results you want for your business.

I also help my clients to think how their clients might search for what their business provides and give ideas on what content those clients might find useful and engage with.

Are you a bricks and mortar business that gets good results with social media marketing?  If you are a hotel or B and B you might find my post about using social media to promote your holiday accommodation useful.

Do you use images on Social Media and your Blog?

Using images on Social Media can help your posts be seen and help you to stand out.  Images are also crucial on your blog for both breaking up text and adding interest.

I use a selection of my own photos and stock images to create images with text on to use on Social Media and for blog post images.

Here are some of the images I have created.

It does not matter quote

The quote above was created using Pablo, using a stock image from the site.  You can also upload your own images to Pablo and add your own text.

Watch your thoughts quote

Above is a quote image I created using a stock image and Canva.com

The quote image below is a photo I took using my smart phone and then I have added the text using Canva.com

Do not go where the path leads quote

 

Learn to use Social Media graphic

This graphic was created using Canva and a stock image.

Do you create your images for your blog or do you use stock images?

What are your favourite tools for creating images?

The Basics of an All-Star LinkedIn Profile

The basics of an All Star LinkedIn Profile

Basics of an All-Star LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is a great social media site for business people, especially if your ideal clients are business owners.  Some people think of LinkedIn as just an online CV but it is far more powerful than that, it can be used to connect and have conversations with the decision makers in businesses.  I use LinkedIn to connect with people I have met at networking events and stay in contact between networking events.  Also if you are an employee it can be a great way to find a new job.

To get LinkedIn to work for your business you need to have a great profile and have all the basics in place, so that when you send connection invitations and people look at your profile they see you as a professional and expert in your field, not someone who is just on LinkedIn.  You also need to use LinkedIn in the correct way, LinkedIn isn’t Facebook for business, the content you share on LinkedIn should be high quality and relevant to the field you work in.

Basics of a LinkedIn Profile

1) Photograph

This should be a recent professional head and shoulders photograph, not a selfie taken in the bathroom.  The photo should be an accurate representation of you now, so that when someone meets you they recognise you.  If you can’t afford a professional headshot then ask friends to see if any of them are good at taking pictures or ask at a local college to see if any of the students would be able to help.

Jackie Elton LinkedIn Profile

My profile with a recent professional head and shoulders picture and a Headline using keywords

2) Headline

The headline is very important and is 110 characters, this should tell people what you do and how you help your clients, owner/director at my business name is not the best use of those 110 characters.  Ensure you use keywords that your ideal clients will be searching for when looking for the services you offer.

3) Summary

The summary should expand on what you put in your headline and be used to tell people how you help your clients and what key skills and experience you have.  You can add images and video to your profile in the summary section to give more information and break up the text.

4) Experience

In the experience section list relevant positions and jobs starting out with your current business and then following on with previous jobs and companies that you have worked for. Under each position list key skills and achievements for that job, you can add images and video for each job as well.

Experience section on LinkedIn

5) Skills and endorsements

In this area you can list your main skills and your connections can then leave an endorsement for those skills they have experience of.  Some people leave endorsements for people in the hope that people will return the favour.  Although I think there is more significance in people giving you a recommendation, it still looks good if you have a number of endorsements from people, also by giving endorsements your picture will be seen as an endorsement on the profile of the person you endorsed.

Getting these 5 basic elements of your profile looking good will mean your profile will look professional when people visit it and people should want to connect with you.  If you want help developing your LinkedIn profile and creating a strategy to get leads from LinkedIn, please get in touch.

Networking groups in Lincolnshire

Networking Groups in Lincolnshire

Networking groups in Lincolnshire

Attending local networking events is one part of my marketing strategy, it is a great way to get known locally and find out about other local businesses.  Networking can be time consuming, so it is important that you get the most out of the time you spend at events and that you assess whether attending local networking events works for your business.

Here are my top tips for attending networking events and some of the networking events I attend regularly in Lincolnshire.

Networking hints and tips:

  • Be organised make sure you take a pen and business cards with you
  • Prepare your elevator pitch, work it so you can do it easily in 60 secs
  • If there is a delegate list take notes on the attendees when they do their elevator pitch so you have I idea of who you would like to chat with
  • Ask people open ended questions about their business and what they think of the event
  • Listen to people – use the time to find out about other people and their business
  • Follow up with people after the event, find them on LinkedIn or other social media sites and connect with them
  • Communicate with people between networking events
  • Organise to meet for a coffee and chat, with people that you think might be useful contacts

Networking events in Lincolnshire that I attend

Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce local events

I have recently joined the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce and attend their local networking events, the Boston Chamber (Boston Business Club) have breakfast networking meetings every other month and different local businesses host the events.  The 2 Boston events that I have attended so far have been well attended with 20-30 people attending.  The next event is the 26th of May check the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce website for details of networking events in your area.

Boston Business Club Networking

Boston Business Club Networking at Boston Audi

Imps Premier Plus

Imps Premier Plus is a free networking event on the 2nd Wednesday of the month 6-8pm at Lincoln Football Ground, Sincil Bank.  The event includes a free buffet and drinks, there is a chance for everyone to do their elevator pitch and a Premier Plus member will give a 15-20 minute talk about their business.  At the last 2 events I attended there were 25-35 business people attending, the next meeting is on the 11th of May, email jakelongworth@lincolncityfootballclub.com for more information or to book on to the next event.

Imps Premier Plus Networking

Nick Hargreaves of Hargreaves First Aid Training at Imps Premier Plus Networking

Lincoln 777 networking

Lincoln 777 networking is another free networking event, however this is networking with a difference, hosted and organised by Russell Payne & Co, 70 minutes, 7 speakers, 7 topics. It is fast paced and very interesting.  The event is held quarterly in January, April, July and September at BG University, Lincoln and includes free danish pastry and hot drink, it is well attended with 30+ people in the room.  The only down side is you don’t get an opportunity to stand up and do an elevator pitch, so you need to be able to work the room and get to talk to as many people as possible before and after the speakers.  Check out lincoln777.co.uk for more details.

Lincs Connect Networking

Lincs Connect Networking is held on the first Friday of the month at 6pm at a lovely venue, the Petwood Hotel, it costs £5 and you buy your own drink at the bar.  The Lincs Connect meetings are an extension of the Twitter #LincsConnect, it is great for meeting people in person that you follow on Twitter.  This event is quite informal and very friendly, therefore if you are new to networking this is a good place to start, attendance varies between 10-15 so it is good for having more in depth conversations.  The next meeting is 6th May 6pm at the Petwood Hotel, Woodhall Spa.

Link 4 Growth

Link 4 Growth has free networking events all over the country, in Lincolnshire there are events at Weston near Spalding, Bourne and Crowland, there are also events just across the border in Peterborough.  These are great informal and friendly events, just buy yourself a drink and start chatting with people.  The events vary in size, I tend to go to the event at Wimberley Farm Cafe, Weston near Spalding, which has recently had about 20 or so attendees.  No delegate list or elevator pitch just chat with people.

There are other networking events in Lincolnshire but these are the ones that I attend, so feel happy commenting on, as I attend new events I will edit this post and add the details.

How easy is it to find your business online?

Do you ever check how easy your business is to find online?

One of the ways I market my business is attending a number of networking events, some networking events can be very busy and you don’t get an opportunity to talk to everyone, so I use the delegate list to find people online after the networking event or should I say I try to find people.  Some people and businesses are easier to find online than others, how easy is it for your prospective customers to find you and your business?

Where can people find you online?

  • Do you have a website?
  • Are you on LinkedIn?
  • Do you have a Facebook page?
  • Are you on Twitter?

Do your social media sites have the same version of your business name?  And is that likely to be what people are searching for?

For example my business name is Social Media Lincs, so my usernames on social media are either Social Media Lincs or SocialMediaLinc and I also use my name on my Twitter accounts, which means if someone can remember my name but not my business name they should still be able to find me.

Do you attend networking events? Do you follow up with people after these events? Or do you just wait to see them at the next networking event?

Connecting with businesses on social media after networking events can be a great way to stay in touch with people between events and to build relationships with other businesses.

Later this month I will be writing a blog post about how I use LinkedIn to connect with businesses after networking events.

 

What is Social Media Marketing ?

What is Social Media Marketing

What is Social Media Marketing?

When I searched for “What is Social Media Marketing?” in Google the first result I got was this definition from Wikipedia.org, which is a simple description of Social Media Marketing.  In this article I will tell you what I think Social Media Marketing is, the benefits of Social Media Marketing for your business, some common mistakes that some businesses make and how to avoid them.

What is Social Media Marketing?

I think this definition is part of the reason why more businesses don’t use social media marketing, as it seems to be saying that it is for businesses that have a website and are based online, I believe all businesses can use social media to increase awareness of their business from small independent shops in villages and towns to large businesses.

Social media marketing should be part of every business’s marketing strategy.  Social media should be a part of your marketing whether you have a website or not,  and for those businesses that don’t have a website, it is essential to have a good presence on social media so that people can find your business if they search online.

Social media marketing uses various different social media sites to promote your business and services to other businesses, existing clients and prospective customers via two way communication.  Social media marketing should not be used to just broadcast your promotional updates, special offers and buy now messages.  You need to be sharing quality content and information that is so useful or entertaining to your customers and ideal clients, that they share it on their favourite social media networks recommending your business or products to their friends, family and followers, thereby amplifying your marketing for you.

Benefits of Social Media Marketing

Here are some of the benefits to social media marketing:

  • You are in control of what content you share and in what format that goes out.  For example if you share some marketing content and the results for that content aren’t good, then you can change it and try something different, without having to wait till you can change an advert in a magazine or on the radio.
  • Social media marketing is one of the most affordable ways to market your business and products, if you learn how it works and how to do it well.
  • You can use social media marketing even if you don’t have a website.  In fact a well thought out Facebook business page can be used to provide some of the information you would have on a website such as opening times, contact details, address, products and services you provide etc.
  • Social media marketing is a great way to increase brand awareness and connect with other businesses and ideal clients.

Is your Social Media Marketing on track

Common mistakes businesses make with social media marketing:

  • They assume that just because their business isn’t on social media that nobody will be talking about their business on social media, big mistake.  People could be talking about your business, you just don’t know what they are saying, whether it is good or bad.
  • Businesses do not have a social media strategy, they don’t know what their goals are or what to measure to see if they are meeting those goals.
  • Being on the wrong social media site for their business
  • Being on lots of social media sites but not doing any of them well or strategically
  • Broadcasting their business message rather than having two way conversations with their followers
  • Automating everything and not ever being on social media
  • Sharing mediocre content rather than original top quality content that stands out
  • Having a social media strategy but not integrating it with the business’s main marketing plan

There are many other mistakes businesses make on social media but most mistakes can be avoided by getting appropriate training and having a social media marketing strategy in place.

If you would like to work with me to create a social media strategy for your business or you would like training on a certain social media site please get in touch via my contacts page.

 

How to use Social Media to promote your holiday accommodation

 

Social Media for tourist accommodation

Social Media is a great marketing tool for any tourism business, whether you are a B & B, Hotel, Self-catering let or tourist attraction.  It can save you money on your advertising budget and get better results, if done well with a strategy behind it.  Social Media can increase brand awareness, be used to add value for customers and prospective customers and helps your business stay in existing customers newsfeed, so that when they are planning their next holiday there you will be.

However, sometimes you are so busy working in your business that you haven’t got time to think about Social Media and it is just easier to continue paying for the adverts that you have always done, especially when everyone else is doing the same thing.  But with a little extra time and thought you can use Social Media to help your business stand out from the rest.

Therefore, I have written this article to get you thinking how you could use Social Media to promote your business to your ideal customers and get better results from the time you put in.

Social Media works best if it is fully integrated into all your other marketing activities, whether they are online or offline, make sure all your marketing material such as leaflets or adverts include follow us on Facebook, Twitter @….  Equally make sure that there are links (and they work) to your Social Media accounts on your website, on your email newsletters and at the bottom of the emails you send out.

Facebook Page

Use your Facebook page to tell people what is going on in the area.  Share information about things that are happening this week and weekend, for visitors who are staying with you, to give them ideas of what they could do during their stay.  Also share events that are happening in the future for people that are planning a holiday in the future.  As someone who uses Social Media to research and plan holidays, this is very valuable for prospective clients and if I came across a holiday let sharing this sort of information, that made my life easier and saved me time, I would be more likely to book my holiday with that place.

Here are some ideas of the sort of things that prospective customers would be interested in:

  • Places to eat
  • National Trust properties
  • English Heritage properties
  • Local attractions for children
  • Local Market days
  • Good places to go shopping
  • What’s on at the Cinema and the Theater
  • Things to do on a rainy day
  • Museums and galleries
  • Local shows and festivals
  • Swimming pools
  • Indoor play areas, ten pin bowling, laser quest
  • Local beaches
  • Nature reserves

Below is the type of Facebook update you might want to share.

Visit Lincoln Steak & Chips

Think of all the different types of leaflets that you might have available to visitors and see which ones of those have links to their Social Media.  Hopefully you will have an idea of the sort of things that your ideal visitors like, whether they are families with small children or older people without children, so you will be able to tailor the content to what they will be interested in.  If you aren’t sure what your ideal customers visit the area for, why not send a short questionnaire out to visitors that have stayed with you in the past.

You can follow other local attractions pages via your page so that you can easily and quickly share their content, you could also create a list of dates of certain annual events so you are sharing the right events in plenty of time.

Don’t forget to share content that is relevant to your establishment, such as the beautiful view from the bedroom window or pictures of the lovely homemade cake and cup of tea that is available on their arrival or the yummy breakfast full of local produce.

Twitter

Follow lots of local attractions, places to eat, local tourist accounts that share great content and retweet their tweets about what is going on locally.  Then sprinkle in your own tweets about the best places to shop or have a cream tea in your local area, again always think of how you can add value to existing and prospective visitors.  Also by retweeting other people’s content they may retweet your promotional tweets.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a site that is very good for any tourism related businesses, as there is nothing better when you are planning a holiday or weekend away to pin a few things to your places I want to go board, there to refer to when you are actually ready to book the holiday.  Pinterest is a site where you can organise and pin images from a website, so that you can refer back to them at a late time.  The site is very inspirational and aspirational and some people use it to organise things they want to do or own some day.  If an image is pinned properly, when you double click the image on Pinterest it will go straight to the page on the website it was pinned from.

If you have great images on your own website you could create a board all about your property, then have boards for places to eat locally, things to do, places to see etc.  Giving your clients an online brochure of things to do when they come and stay with you, similiar the image of the boards below.

Pinterest Boards Lincolnshire

Instagram

Instagram is great if you have the time and love taking pictures with your phone, Instagram posts gets lots of engagement via likes and comments but unlike Pinterest there is only one clickable link and that is in the person’s or business’ profile.  You can type links into a description but it won’t be clickable.  Also unlike other Social Media sites sharing other people’s post can’t be done within the app itself, you have to use a regram app and you have to have the permission of the other person to regram their pictures.  That said Instagram is great for increasing brand awareness and is great if your ideal customers are under 30.

I hope this article has given you some ideas on how you can use Social Media to promote your business and give your clients and prospective clients useful information about the local area.  If you would like to work with me either for training on a specific Social Media platform or to work on your Social Media strategy do get in touch or take a look at my Social Media Services page.  Also if you have found this post useful please do share it via your favourite Social Media site.

Twitter Tutorial – How to Tweet

Twitter for beginners – How to Tweet

Twitter is a great tool for marketing your business, however lots of businesses set up a Twitter account and then don’t learn how to use Twitter effectively.  If you haven’t used Twitter for a while, when you log back into your account it is highly likely that things have changed, so you need to re-learn how to do certain things.

In this short video I show you the different ways to write and send a Tweet.  I also give some advice on what to Tweet about, as people often say they don’t know what to tweet.

If you have found this video useful, then check out my 30 days to Twitter Success course that will help you spend less time on Twitter and get better results.

Online and in person Networking in Lincolnshire with Lincs Connect

Networking with Lincs Connect

LincsConnect-Twitter

When you are starting out on Twitter it is sometimes difficult to get going with it, especially if you aren’t getting anyone retweeting your tweets or chatting with you.  Finding a local Twitter networking group with other local businesses and people to tweet with is very useful.  Networking hours are good but can sometimes be full of self promoting automated tweets rather than people chatting and retweeting.  Also it maybe difficult to attend if the hour clashes with other commitments, so using a hashtag such as #LincsConnect, which is 24/7 is a great alternative.

Lincs Connect started out on Twitter and the idea is to follow @LincsConnect then use #LincsConnect in your tweets and some people will retweet your tweets.  If you retweet other peoples tweets with #LincsConnect in then you are more likely to get retweets and people are more likely to chat with you.  Below you can see that these tweets have been retweeted.

LincsConnect-TweetsLincs Connect has now expanded and has a monthly networking meeting at the Petwood Hotel, Woodhall Spa, usually on the first Friday of the month from 5.30pm.  However this month it is on the 11th of July at The Petwood 5.30pm onwards.  It is a really friendly group and helps you get to know the people behind the Twitter names and build relationships with those people.  It is also good fun and we have a laugh.

There is a great mix of people that attend and support Lincs Connect from small businesses like myself, to volunteers from various Lincolnshire charities, crafters and bloggers.  Some people have lots of followers on Twitter and some are fairly new to Twitter.  So here is a bit more about some of the great tweeters that attend:

Mandarin-Leisure

Mandarin Leisure

 

@MANDARINLEISURE Martin knows a lot of people and is a great supporter of Lincs Connect regularly attending the meetings and retweeting people’s tweets.

Maple-Tree-Cottage-Southrey

Maple Tree Cottage Southrey

 

 

 

 

The lovely Ann @SouthreyCottage is a keen gardener and tweets about what is going on around Lincoln.

 

Lives-HQ-Lincolnshire

Lives HQ

 

 

@LivesHQ regularly attends the Lincs Connect meetings if he isn’t busy around the county saving lives.

Aggie-Moore-Twitter

 

 

 

@AggieMoore is a very busy lady also tweeting for @WoodhallSpaShow, a keen photographer and baker of yummy cakes, regular #LincsConnect & #clubhectare tweeter

 

The-Manor-House-B&B

 

 

@themanorhousebb Christ is a generous and positive retweeter, great supporter of farming and Lincolnshire #clubhectare #LincsConnect & #LincsHour

 

 

Other lovely people you might meet at a Lincs Connect meeting are:

  • @RuralPics – James a rural farming and agricultural photographer
  • @suddenadultdeat – Teresa a dedicated volunteer and mum raising money and awareness about Sudden Adult Death
  • @WoodhallSpa1 – Country Girl Katie lovely local with her finger on the pulse of what is happening in Woodhall Spa
  • @GaryBosworth – Horse behaviour expert
  • @SamCollins100 – lovely lady who makes fantastic vintage button necklaces
  • @thelocalprinter – Woodhall Printer Michael can help you with your business stationary and much more
  • @pmountainmbe – Pauline a lady who is passionate about helping Lincolnshire carers
  • @GinzandTonic – Gini a poet blogging on WordPress for a year or more?
  • @CVleaflets – Leaflet distributer based in Lincoln covering the whole of the East Midlands
  • @Sunshinecoach – Wendy Tomlinson who can help you live the life you want

There are lots of other lovely people that attend and you don’t have to be on Twitter to come along and network.  So why not join in the conversation at #LincsConnect on Twitter and pop along to The Petwood Hotel, Woodhall Spa on Friday 11th July 5.30pm, for a drink and a chat.  Lincs Connect putting the Social into Social Media.