For many businesses, social media is an indispensable tool for finding and engaging with customers, improving sales, advertising and promoting products and services as well as gauging trends and offering customer service.
Social media has a significant role in helping businesses as it:
While 76% of direct sellers use social media for promotional purposes, 55% use it for recruiting new distributors and 42% use it for reactive purposes. Consumers are the most popular target for social media, followed by distributors and communities. Social media has evolved into a driver of strategy, and will become even more important in the future as customer relationships are improved and developed by listening and reacting to concerns. The transparency created by social media is enhancing trust and ethical organisational cultures. In addition, consumer brand communities are emerging that are increasing brand value.
1 – Facebook
This is easily the largest social networking site in the world and one of the most widely used.
Facebook was perhaps the first that surpassed the landmark of 1 billion user accounts.
An average Facebook user has 180 friends.
Apart from the ability to network with friends and relatives, different Facebook apps can be accessed to sell online and market or promote a businesses brand and products by using paid Facebook ads.
Facebook has incredible insights about their users and can target very specific demographics with very specific ads. Facebook ads are shown more regularly to advertisers who are willing to pay more than other advertisers targeting the same people.
This creates a bidding war and makes advertising campaigns that focus on a small niche more profitable.
Number of active users per month: approximately 1.7 billion
2 – Instagram
Instagram was launched as a unique social networking platform that was completely based on sharing photos and videos.
This photo sharing social networking app thus enables you to capture the best moments of your life, with your phone’s camera or any other camera, and convert them into works of art.
This is possible because Instagram allows you to apply multiple filters to your photos and you can easily post them to other popular social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. It is now part of the Facebook empire, with 1 billion registered users.
More than 80% of Instagram’s community lives outside of the U.S.
More than 300 million users check Instagram Stories daily.
Number of active users per month: 500 million approximately
3 – Twitter
This social networking site enables you to post short text messages (called tweets), containing a limited number of characters (up to 240), to convey your message to the world. With the growing craze for online shopping, Twitter makes it possible to promote your business and shop directly through tweets.
More political leaders use Twitter than any other social platform. 276 heads of state, government and ministries in 178 countries use Twitter.
68 million monthly active users are located in the U.S.
262 million monthly active users live outside of the U.S. (roughly 80%of all users).
42% of Twitter users use the site daily.
8% of US Companies use Twitter for marketing purposes.
74% of Twitter users follow small businesses to get product updates.
Number of active users per month: 330 million approximately
4 – Google+
Owned by the tech giant Alphabet (Google), this interest-based social networking platform enables you to stay in touch with people by sharing messages, photos, videos, useful links to sites and so on. It is estimated that it has a total of 2 billion registered users.
It also extends support for video conferencing through Hangouts and allows businesses to promote their brands and products through Google+ business pages.
Top 5 countries using G+ are USA, India, Brazil, UK & Canada.
Number of active users: 395 million approximately
LinkedIn is easily one of the most popular professional social networking sites or apps and is available in over 20 languages.
It is used across the globe by all types of professionals and serves as an ideal platform to connect with different businesses, locate and hire ideal candidates and more. It also boasts over 500 million members.
The more precise demographical data about people you are connected with is usually behind a pay-wall (a tool to monetize digital content securely and efficiently) such as on LinkedIn. 171 million users are based in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The U.S. has the largest national user base (146 million members), followed by India, China and Brazil.
49% of college graduates use LinkedIn.
45% of adults making more than US$75,000 per year are on LinkedIn.
More than 46 million students and recent college graduates use LinkedIn. They are the networking site’s fastest-growing demographic.
Number of active users per month: 250 million approximately
Love them or loathe them, social media platforms are a must for all business owners to use. Denying your business a presence on the right social media platforms could lose you leads, revenue and repeat custom.
If you are overwhelmed with where you should start, give Perfect Layout Digital Marketing a call to see how we can help build the right social media strategy for you.
Perfect Layout believes that sharing knowledge and experiences is a great way of helping each other learn how to run a business better. Interviewing local businesses is a bi-monthly ritual that we really enjoy as it allows us to become more known in the community and learn about how other businesses work.
We hope that sharing the personal experiences of these companies will give them exposure to you - readers, that may need their services as well as providing insights into what has worked for them and what they could do a little better…
This month, we interview Cyrus Mehta. An experienced Photographer that has recently taken the leap and become a full-time business owner.
How did your career in photography begin?
I have always loved photography from a very young age and dipped in and out of it over the years but my passion really reignited whilst working as a Project Manager for an events company that specialised in automotive press launches. We were away on a launch in Siena for about 4-5 weeks and during one of my weekends off I decided to explore the landscape and took the company digital compact camera with me. The Tuscan landscape is simply beautiful and I was totally hooked on capturing images of anything and everything from that moment.
During this trip one of my colleagues on the launch was due to get married when we got back to the UK. I was invited to the wedding and took the photographs throughout the day. I retouched them using Photoshop and the couple really liked them. I loved doing it! Then another friend asked me to do his wedding and I thought, if I’m going to do this properly and one day make this my full time career I have to invest in the right equipment. So I invested in a Canon DSLR system. It was my first paying wedding. I continued doing this alongside my main job.
How long have you been a photographer for?
I’ve been working as a part time photographer for over 10 years now. But I actually got my first camera when I was 10 years old and I was hooked from then. I also studied photography as part of my graphics course at college. I set up my own darkroom at home where I processed all my images. Even with a full time job and travelling for work, I managed to study O’level photography at night class.
What draws you to taking photographs for a living?
The passion for creating. I love the whole process of capturing the still image and then making a good image even better through post production … if the image needs it.
What did you do beforehand?
I was a Project Manager for an events company that specialised in automotive press launches.
How has the transition been from taking photographs part-time to doing it full time?
Exciting! I can now concentrate on getting things done as there’s no longer the distraction of my main job. Before, I had to book days off as holiday well in advance to make sure that I would be available for my clients. I would never want to let clients down. I have a lot of trust put on me to capture events like weddings for instance where you only get one chance to capture the whole day.
What type of pictures do you enjoy taking the most?
Mainly weddings as this encompasses a wide range of photography skills like portraiture, social interaction, fashion, landscape and architectural photography. Although my main photography avenues are weddings, portraits etc, I photograph a wide variety of subjects such as products. I recently shot a range of high end scarves for a client who is selling through her new website. I’m just about to do a shoot in Southend for an adventure playground who are revamping their website. So my photography is quite diverse.
What makes you different from other photographers?
I go out of my way to make sure my clients are happy with what they have hired me for. Retouching for me is also a big part of photography. It can really enhance an image and as a tool makes a difference to the quality of a photo. I go the extra mile with my post production retouching and the techniques I’ve developed over the years help me achieve the look I’m after. For example a wedding is a loving and romantic occasion and I try to convey that in every image I take on the day so that I can produce a digital story for the couple that they can cherish for many years to come.
Which ways are you promoting your business at the moment?
Through my website, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+. I post images as often as I can and slowly but surely I’m getting likes and my name out there. I’ve tried pay per click with Google before but that didn’t really work for me. I recently tried an ad campaign through Facebook with a very small budget over ten days. The ad reached over 2,500 people but unfortunately no enquiry’s. My next step is to go to wedding fairs and try to get business face to face with couples who are planning their big day.
Do you have a website?
Yes, which I built myself.
How did you find designing your website yourself?
I’ve been dabbling with websites for a number of years now so I found it relatively easy but with some major headaches along the way as the learning curve with my current platform provider was quite steep. I’ve now got the hang of it, so I can make changes quickly and whenever I want.
Which search engine optimisation techniques have you used?
Nearly every image is described with alt tags and keywords embedded. On each page I’ve also got relevant keywords in the text. I transferred my domain to my current platform provider as my previous site was old and non-responsive making my site not very user friendly. I’m also working my way through business directories and making sure all my details are correct on all the free listings.
Do you have a business plan?
To make it work! The plan is in my head regarding how I want it to develop and all the things I need to do. I think social media will play a big part but also bringing my portfolio up to date and going to wedding fairs … I need to attend face-to-face, live events which I know will bring in the business.
So, if you’re thinking about hiring a professional photographer for your next special occasion you can contact Cyrus via:
If you have a business that you would like to feature in this regular slot, why not get in touch? We’d love to hear from you!
You can contact us via the social media methods below or call us on 01708 578 015.
Christine Huntingford, CEO, Perfect Layout Digital Marketing will be one of the guest speakers at the Havering Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (HCCI) breakfast meeting this Friday (13 July). She will talk about how businesses need to invest in their website and digital marketing; in order to stay ahead of the competition. Breakfast meetings are free to members and guests are welcome too.
As a local business owner, it is likely that your days are filled working with for your customers with your specialist skill-set. If you are lucky to have a lot of referral work, it is likely that one day rolls into the next and one week into another and before you know it, that promise that you made to yourself that you will update your website, or that you will post more often on social media, falls to the way side.
If you are one you one of them, now is really is a good time to take stock and find out if what you are doing is really working for your business?
Ask yourself: when was the last time you really looked at your website? Does it really work for you in the way that you want it to? (- i.e. are you getting leads from it). Do you know how easy it is for potential customers to find you? Is your social media activity where it should be?
We all know that there is more that we can, and should, do. There are simple and relatively quick things that you can do that can make a big difference to your visibility online. Some elements cost you time, not money. And those that do cost money, can be scaled to what is affordable for you.
Come along on Friday 13 July to the Havering Museum in Romford and join the members and guests of the Havering Chamber of Commerce and Industry to hear Christine share ways for you to check if your website is easily found (or not); your website is the foundation of your digital marketing strategy and if that isn’t right, that is where you need to start first. From there we can build the blocks to ensure that you are engaging with potential customers on a regular basis.
The meeting starts at 7:30am for networking and the speakers will be presenting between 8am and 9am. There is a further opportunity to network until 9:30am.
Guests welcome: £10 on the door.
You may have noticed that the world we live in is changing…how we communicate, how we shop and how we do business. Many of these changes have come about as more and more people walk around with mini computers in their pockets. The owners of these Smart Phones range from the very young (many a lot younger than my 12 year daughter!) to the very old - my father wouldn’t thank me for mentioning his age (!). They have a worldwide appeal and their technology becomes more and more sophisticated with each passing year.
According to a recent survey of 170,000 adult internet users in 32 markets conducted by GlobalWebIndex 75% of adults that own a smartphone are using them to access the internet. That’s a lot of people!
If your business has a website that doesn’t convert for mobile users, you will be missing out on a massive market of potential customers and the real chance of increasing your profits. If you’re reading this blog and wondering how it is that you’ve never come across the term, ‘mobile strategy’ before – don’t worry, there is a way for you to catch up if you implement these 5 tips to creating a mobile strategy.
Tip 1 – ask questions
Before you begin creating your strategy, have a think about what you would like to achieve by asking yourself and/or your team some of the following. For example:
Tip 2 – do you want a mobile site or a mobile application?
If your business has a website you will want it to be mobile responsive. This means that users will not have to download anything to view your information properly. The mobile site can detect the user’s device and automatically format the content for optimal viewing on that platform.
Mobile applications require a device-specific download from a marketplace, such as the Apple App Store or the Android Market. Whether you choose to incorporate a mobile site or mobile application as part of your strategy, you will want to ensure that the information is clear and concise – thus easy to understand. Make the user experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible. You want to encourage people to return or recommend your service and/or product.
Tip 3 – combine the use of Social Media into your campaign
We all know the power and influence social media platforms have, so now it’s time to think about how best to turn their strength to your advantage. Each social media platform offers tools that enable you to listen to, engage with and monitor your audience.
Did you know that 40% of Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook users have purchased something after watching and sharing it? This means that your mobile strategy should integrate with your social media platforms. This includes sharing reviews, having social sharing buttons and creating content that is both engaging for your audience and promoted through social media ads.
Tip 4 – create different device campaigns
It’s common that households today have multiple laptops, tablets and smartphones that cater for the uses of all the family. According to KISSMetrics, “over 40% of smartphone users watch TV while browsing a smartphone.” Because people are now adept at multi-tasking on this level, it’s important that marketing campaigns are adjusted to take into account the device, location and time of day of the end user. This way, you will be able to maximise your return on investment by delivering content that is relevant to different members of your audience.
Tip 5 – send out timely alerts
Have you ever found yourself checking your phone even when it’s not made one of those little ‘ping’ noises? Well you’re not alone. If you have done your research and truly know your audience and the time they would like to receive these alerts, take advantage of people wanting to look busy by sending out notifications of your latest discounts, savings or next big event.
Please note that this list is not exhaustive and is offered as a starting point to help businesses create a strategy.
Have you found this article useful? Give us your feedback and let us know how you have implemented your mobile strategy. We’d love to hear from you!
It was back in January 2018 when I, Christine Huntingford, one of the founders at Perfect Layout Digital Marketing attended the Havering Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HCCI) networking event in Havering.
It was there that I bumped into Simon Lewin, Business Growth Manager (BGM) from Building Legacies. He got talking to me about how he, as a BGM, helped start-ups and young companies with business mentoring free of charge.
My first question was, what ‘free’ free? To which Simon said ‘yes’. He explained that Building Legacies is a fully funded business support programme, delivered in partnership by Newham College Centre for Innovation and Partnerships (CIPs) and East London Business Place (ELBP), that offers tailored solutions for London-based Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs) seeking competitive business advantage.
After the meeting I did some more research and found that Building Legacies is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) with the purpose of delivering a support programme that tackles gaps in SMMEs’:
This chance meeting with Simon was a serendipitous opportunity to acquire a business mentor that would guide Perfect Layout Digital Marketing to grow and expand both its business acumen and client base…all without charge!
We saw the immediate benefits and following the completion of some necessary paperwork, we met with Simon.
Our first meeting involved answering lots of questions about what we did, how we did things and the processes we had in place to help us do our work. He carried out a full business needs analysis.
Perfect Layout is a company still in its infancy. Whilst there is a lot that we have achieved on our journey so far, there are still many more things to think about, improve on and processes to put in place that will help us grow and succeed.
We came away from our first meeting proud of our accomplishments and achievements to date. It was a most worthwhile exercise that allowed us to focus on our business and have an experienced eye constructively critique how we currently do things. It also gave us the opportunity to cement the ideas that we had for the next stage of our business development.
Our BGM Simon, is interested and eager to see us achieve and do well. He can often be a tough cookie (meant in the nicest possible way!) but his intentions are good in that he constantly challenges our thinking and our processes. He offers valuable advice on matters that are currently affecting us and is happy to put us on the spot to do exercises and role play that could help us gain our next client.
Our task, following this meeting, was to develop our Business Plan in more detail. The Business Plan template that Simon presented us with was very comprehensive and we realised that much more research was needed as well as a more thorough look at our competitors.
It took time to work on the Business Plan but being firm believers in setting aside time to work on the business as well as in the business, we put our heads down and got writing. We headed into the second meeting pleased with the progress that we had made on the Plan.
Simon challenged us again with further questions - making us think even harder about our business. His points were valid and we discussed various ideas, some that we had already thought about but not yet actioned, others that were new and got us excited. We left that day exhausted but satisfied with our progress. On our to-do list that day was the task of preparing a Three-Year Sales Forecast, which we are currently working on.
Whilst it’s only been a couple of months, our journey so far with Building Legacies has been rich and rewarding. The support and areas of focus that we are currently working on is pushing us harder and faster than we would have done otherwise.
We have been provided with expert business guidance that has opened our eyes and encouraged us to focus on areas of the business that we may not have addressed at this stage. It has also provided us with the opportunity to think about ways of expanding our product offering.
We feel very grateful to have bumped into Simon at that networking event. Not only have we received great mentoring (as described above) we have also been offered the option to attend free training workshops and been introduced to business owners in need of new websites or help with their digital marketing.
Building Legacies offers this programme predominantly (but not exclusively) to companies in construction, digital/creative and care-related sectors. Their aim is to assist them in becoming better businesses by providing tailored solutions through:
For SMMEs that take part, they will find themselves considering; new and legacy market opportunities; locating new customer bases and identifying and capitalising on new opportunities to grow their business.
The Building Legacies business support programme is one that we would highly recommend. If you are in East London with a new business idea or your company has a turnover of less than £5m, seriously consider being mentored by Simon or one of his colleagues. It’s a challenging process that is extremely rewarding.
If you’re interested in taking advantage of this scheme, you must complete and return a registration form. To get this, email email@example.com or call on 020 7537 6480.
For more information visit: https://buildinglegacies.co.uk/
Come and join Perfect Layout Digital Marketing tomorrow for St Peter’s Primary School Summer Fayre.
If you’re free on Saturday 30 June betwen 11am - 3pm, have a fun day out with your family and help a local school provide better services for their pupils. There is lots going on in the Fun Zone, dedicated to the younger children, including a bouncy castle and a petting zoo. There will be face painting, arts and crafts too. for the adults, enjoy a glass of Pimms or Beer to go with your burger or sausage from the BBQ. The school is located on Dorset Avenue in Romford.
All monies raised by the event will directly help the Parents' Association fund equipment and activities for the children.