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Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Marketing FAQs (from prospective clients)

Friday, June 28th, 2019

As a Marketing Consultant, I am always asked a variety of questions when networking or by prospective clients who want to know the finer details of the services Acorn Marketing (Cumbria) Ltd offers. I’m always happy to help with any queries so wanted to share the most popular marketing FAQs – and my responses here – to help any future enquirers and clients.

How much do you charge?

As every project we work on is different, there are no set fees for our services. Our primary objective is to discuss with prospective clients what their needs are from any marketing activity. It could be simply to manage all social media or a comprehensive package to run an entire marketing department. Until we understand exactly what the goals are and what is required to reach them, we cannot provide a quote. We like to meet up and chat about the business and its requirements and can then customise a package.

Is ‘marketing’ the same as ‘advertising’?

Marketing is so much more than simply ‘advertising’. The term ‘marketing’ encompasses a whole array of activities. Acorn Marketing can help businesses with the following:

Marketing Consultancy – a cost effective solution if a business cannot afford a full-time marketing manager, consultancy is also the ideal scenario when the team within a business doesn’t have the knowledge, experience or time to undertake all marketing work.

Marketing Strategy & Planning – we can customise a comprehensive strategy and generate a step-by-step marketing plan.

Social Media – we can help with ideas and training or manage your social media accounts.

Digital Marketing – from website design, content creation, e-newsletters, blogs, videos and online advertising, we can manage digital marketing needs.

Branding & Graphic Design – creating a brief and concepts, liaising with designers and printers to deliver impactful print work.

Public Relations – generating press coverage in local newspapers, magazines and online.

Event Management – we can plan and execute any event; from a product launch to an awards ceremony – however big or small.

And finally, Advertising – we can help to create and deliver your campaign, be it for print or online.

Which is the best social media platform?

There is no one answer to this question. The best social platform for your specific service or product will depend on what it is and where your potential audience can be found. Having a presence on all social channels will be a waste of time and money if your audience is not prevalent across all of them. Focusing on your biggest social audience and building the numbers is the best strategy of time and budget.

Where do you work?

Acorn Marketing is based in Cumbria, but this does not dictate where my clients are based. My current client portfolio is spread across the UK. I meet clients regularly and also have Skype meetings. My business is based from my home, so my overheads are low, and I cannot be impeded in getting to the office by traffic problems or bad weather, which is an advantage.

Why hire a freelance marketing consultant?

There are many reasons why hiring external marketing expertise is the best option. Some companies might not be in a position to employ a full-time marketing manager, others might just need help on a time specific project. On occasions, our services help individuals who are just too busy running other areas of their business and need the day to day marketing activities covered.

Delegate your marketing requirements to a consultant like me, who has the time and knowledge to join your team and get on with the tasks needed, freeing up time for you and your other staff members to do their roles.

Hopefully these responses will answer any queries you or your business may have regarding marketing. Should you wish to know anything more, please feel free to get in contact.

Important changes to Facebook marketing

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

So, have you heard the rumours as well?  There are some important changes to Facebook marketing afoot.  A few people had mentioned to me at the beginning of the year that Facebook marketing was changing and it was going to be harder for businesses to market their product or service through the social media platform.  With this in mind and the fact that I use Facebook marketing for a lot of my client marketing work, I had to investigate.

What did I find…

So, creator of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg posted on his Facebook profile at the beginning of January that things were changing.

“We’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.

[…] As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.[…] If we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too.”

Personally, I did a little fist pump as I sometimes get sick of loads of adverts, things that people share and random videos.  I just want to see what my friends are up to without all the ‘noise’.  I’ve started moving away from Facebook and using Instagram personally as it doesn’t have all the crap!

However, as a Marketer, I’m holding my head in my hands.  What is this going to mean for businesses?  Will they all leave Facebook and start using other platforms?  Is it going to mean that all businesses need to start paying for advertising?

What changes for Marketers?

Basically, the way information in the news feed is shown is changing – known as the algorithm.  Facebook signals how much engagement posts get i.e how many people comment, like and share.  A post that gets a lot of engagement is quality content, therefore this determines how Facebook shows posts in the news feed – the more engagement, the more priority a post is given.

Facebook will monitor if this engagement is between a person to person or a person to a page.  Person to person will again be given priority.

Facebook is also going to prioritise content that is given more time and care.  Facebook is basically giving the user a more ‘meaningful’ experience on Facebook, rather than users being bombarded with information they don’t really want to see.

However, this will have a significant impact on the way pages, businesses and marketers are able to reach their audience through facebook marketing.  This doesn’t necessarily mean businesses won’t be able to use Facebook for marketing, it just means we will need to work harder in what we post.  It highlights the importance to businesses of creating relevant and effective campaigns and how well planned out and interesting content can make a big difference when addressed to the right audience.

Getting seen on people’s News Feed is going to become more competitive!

Engagement Bait

The second update is ‘Engagement bait’.  We’ve all seen the types of posts that say ‘Like and share’ to win’ or ‘comment if you agree’.  This tactic is known as “engagement bait,” and seeks to take advantage of our News Feed algorithm by boosting engagement in order to get greater reach.   However, after years of analysing posts, Facebook has created a new model which will detect different types of engagement bait.  Posts that use this tactic will be shown less in news feeds.  Be warned!

It’s not all bad news though if you have a local business/page with which your users have a connection or interest and engages regularly with, you are likely to be largely unaffected by the changes.  Facebook has suggested that its new content prioritisation model will put more local news into users’ feeds.  Thumbs up!

What to do next in my facebook marketing?

Really think about what you post on your Facebook business pages.  Is your content quality and interesting to your users?  Do you spark conversations with users and generate good engagement?  If you do, then carry on doing what you do.

You should also encourage users to click the “see first” tab in their news feed preferences – this way they will always see the content you post.

Try not to fall into the ‘Engagement Bait’ trap and avoid leading users to ‘like/share or comment’ – it needs to be a natural engagement.  You will only get penalised!

Remember that photos and videos in your Facebook marketing are great at engaging with your audience, so try to utilise these as much as possible.  Even try ‘live’ videos which can lead to discussions with your users on average get six times as many interactions than regular videos.

Now, if my ramblings about the new changes to Facebook marketing don’t make much sense, watch this video from Facebook trying to explain why they are changing things…

Can you teach an old dog new tricks in Marketing?

Monday, June 26th, 2017

Teaching an old dog new tricks

The world of marketing changes all the time and it’s hard to keep up with everything; particularly now digital marketing plays such a vital role in marketing campaigns these days! To ensure I keep on top of my trade I became a Chartered Marketer and joined the Chartered Institute of Marketing in 2013.
Part of being a Chartered Marketer means I need to continually learn and develop my knowledge, so the marketing I do for clients is always up-to-date and I’m giving the best advice I can! Recently I’ve been learning a lot about digital marketing and it is a minefield! No wonder people don’t know where to start! I’d say if you want to learn the basics of how to use social media, websites or Google for example these can be mastered easily, but once you start digging around to try and do more advanced things it opens up a whole can of worms.
I’d say today I’ve spent 2 or 3 hours going backwards and forwards trying to learn new things and not getting very far. Its things I want to learn that sound relatively easy, but trying to master them is another story. I thought the idea of all this digital media/marketing was meant to make our lives easier, but I often seem to find stumbling blocks along the way!
As part of my job I have the time now and then to try and figure these things out and often find a little gem of information that revolutionises the way I work. Today is not one of those days! I just feel so frustrated…and I’d say I’m an active user, experienced and well versed in using all these platforms for doing marketing campaigns! God help anyone who is starting out…no wonder I get so many calls from people needing help.
Anyway, I am all for embracing new technology to develop marketing campaigns for clients – I just wish it wasn’t all so technical sometimes!

Twitter Turns 10!

Friday, March 25th, 2016

It definitely doesn’t seem like 10 years ago since Twitter transformed how we use social media, introducing ‘Tweets’ , ‘Trends’ and ‘Hashtags’ where we could compose our thoughts and emotions in no more than 140 characters (including spaces!!)

To celebrate Twitter’s 10th Birthday, here are some tips and tricks I have learnt along the way on how to make that 140 character limit stretch a little further!

1) Forget the grammar police! We all abbreviate on Twitter.

2) Simple – use contractions so ‘it is’ becomes ‘it’s’ and ‘cannot’ becomes ‘can’t’.

3) Use your characters, that means &s, +s, %s and #s

4) Every word counts. Scrap needless words, adjectives, additional pronouns.

5) Try word shortcuts. ‘Retweet’ becomes ‘RT’, ‘with’ becomes ‘w/’, you get the idea.

6) Use link shorteners. URLs waste vital characters, so reduce your links, reduce your characters. Google have their own URL shortener which is really simple to use. Most social media scheduling tools such as Buffer will do this for you.

7) Look at using 120 characters. If you are looking for followers to retweet and add a comment you must leave them space to do so.

I’m sure 10 years on many of you are pretty savvy when it comes to Twitter but here are some things to remember when it comes to Twitter for Business.

– Presentation and Appearance! Use your bio, profile picture and background image to your best advantage. First impressions count, use high quality images and optimise your bio (you only have 160 characters, so make them count), adding a URL to direct people to your website is a good idea.

– Even for business, Twitter is considered a casual platform. So add personality to your tweets, have a voice and use humour and a friendly tone people want to interact with.

– Content is always king! Reach out to your target audience with topics they will connect with, find interesting and hopefully interact with.

– Look out for trends. Obviously, be sensible and don’t over use hastags, (this can be annoying). Look out for trends in your region and among your target audience. Twitter is super easy to seek out emerging trends, just use the ‘Moments’ tab or search bar.

– Use the @ function correctly. If you @ someone at the beginning of a tweet, only people who follow you and them will see it. If you want all your followers to see it, then put a full stop before their name (like .@Acorn_lisa Hi Lisa).

Remember what your mum taught you – Manners cost nothing! Particularly, when starting out on Twitter it is important to be thankful to your followers. If people retweet you, thank them, it will encourage further interaction in the future.

Keep on Tweetin’ x 

Some Simple Tips for Building a Strong Online Presence

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

1) Remember, you have less than 5 seconds to capture the viewer’s attention. The majority of viewers are visiting your site for something specific.  So make sure your site is easy to navigate. Instead of writing blocks of text use short paragraphs, bulleted or numbered lists and bold words to highlight important information. Use simple, eye catching and appropriate design and images.

2) Use Analytics – find out how your website is performing at present. What are your target audience going to your site for? What information are they seeking? Then determine how you can make this information easier to find and present in an accessible, attractive format. Collating analytics can be time consuming, but recording the performance of your site is hugely beneficial to its progression – seeing the improvements and increased ‘hits’ is also really rewarding!

3) Write blogs – they are useful for informing, interacting, networking and socialising with the people you want to connect with. They add a personal touch to your website and allow people an insight in your working life. For Acorn Marketing, we love posting and celebrating the successes of our clients. As well as writing about the projects we are involved in and the things we are passionate about (usually marketing!) Don’t limit yourself to your own website, comment on other people’s site, accounts and blogs to raise your online presence.

4) Similarly, social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) is hugely important, so make sure you have business accounts which are linked to your website. Twitter is great for interacting with the public; it is informal, quick and simple. The use of hash-tags connects you to others who are interested in the same particular topic or trend.

5) Keep up to date – technology moves so quickly nowadays, with new devices, hash-tags and apps released almost daily. It can be difficult to keep up with the latest trends. But if this new trend, fad or news story has a link to your area or industry, there is an opportunity to take advantage of and increase your online presence.

5 Simple tips for building your online presence, why not give them a go!?

How social media played its part in the general election

Friday, May 8th, 2015

I don’t know about you, but I’ll be glad when all this election talk is over and things are back to normal.  Whatever your views of who is in power, one thing is for sure is that social media has had a huge part to play in this general election.

Many of my followers and friends have taken to social media to air their views.  I tend to refrain from sharing my political views, but there have been some really interesting debates to read and have often raised questions that I’ve not known the answers to.

For the political parties, social media has also been hugely influential more than ever before.  According to the

Figures have shown that the Conservatives benefitted from the most engagement on their Facebook page with 467,000 likes with supporters generating more than 50,000 comments.

It seems that people have been attracted to taking to social media to be able to engage with politicians on a human level, have discussions and ask questions which we’ve not really been able to do before.

There was also a bit of comedy thrown in there with Nicola Sturgeon’s #dollgate story which started trending on Twitter.  A story revealed in the Sun newspaper that she once hacked the hair off her Barbie doll when she was younger.   Some members of the SNP were worried this could be detrimental to their campaign, but Ms Sturgeon herself took to Twitter and said

For the record, I think my sister is misremembering. I’m sure it was a Sindy doll. #DollGate


I’m not proud of it, Linda, but I’ve changed. My niece’s dolls have never come to any harm. #DollGate

With the outcome of the General Election perhaps this social media story showed the human side of the leader and gained her a few extra votes?

Even as we all took to the polls, Facebook encouraged people to share that they’d voted and on twitter the hashtag #IVoted trended throughout the day.  There are many lessons that can be learned from how social media has been used in this election – it’ll be interesting to see how things change for the next election and perhaps how politicians can use social media in an even more engaging way in the future.