Facebook’s latest update shows less text and more links and images

Facebook has made yet another update to its News Feed algorithm which will downgrade text-only posts from brand pages after testing showed users are more likely to engage with posts that contain links and images.

Facebook announced a slight change to its News Feed algorithm.  Starting today you will begin to see more “text-only” posts from friends in your News Feed.  You will also see LESS text-only posts from Pages in your News Feed (because Facebook noticed text-only posts from Pages were not getting much engagement).

Facebook also announced  that they will start to push more “link-share” posts from Pages into the News Feed of our fans.

What’s “link-share”? Well,  lots of people put their  links directly into our status updates, however Facebook says that’s no longer effective.  So, stop posting updates that look like this:

FB1

Instead, your posts should look like this:
FB2

How? Well, when you add a link to a status update, the image with the title and description should automatically get pulled into the post, thus creating a “link-share” post. You can then delete the link in the status update box because the image and the description are now clickable. Simple as that!

Facebook is hugely important for businesses – and so, it’s really important to keep up to date with the latest changes and updates! This latest change is good news for Pages managers as now Facebook will probably be distributing more status updates from Pages that are media- or link-based, as opposed to text-based.

You can read Facebook’s full explanation for the changes here.

 

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Facebook and Twitter for Business Training Course – Cork

Course: Full Day Facebook and Twitter for Business
Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm
Date: Friday, February 28th 2014
Location: Cork International Airport Hotel, Cork
Cost: €90 per person (lunch included)

What will be covered on the day?
Introduction to Social Media Marketing

  • Leveraging your social media platform based on key facts and figures for each specific platform
  • Identifying which platforms work best for your brand
  • Developing goals for each specific social media platform

Facebook for Business

  • Optimising Facebook pages and presence including graphics
  • Creating a conversation on Facebook and increasing engagement
  • Selling on Facebook
  • Growing your Facebook community
  • Facebook analytics and insights

Twitter for Business

  • Optimising Twitter profile and graphics
  • Creating a conversation on Twitter and increasing engagement
  • Selling on Twitter
  • Growing your Twitter community
  • Hashtags, Twitter chats and all Twitter lingo explained
  • Twitter analytics and insights

Content Creation and planning

  • Creating content for your social media platforms
  • Developing a tone of voice for your business
  • Planning your social media updates to achieve better response and engagement

There are a limited number of places available, so that there is more opportunity for interaction, questions and learning.

Your place is only confirmed once payment has been received. A 50% cancellation fee applies if you cancel 48 hours or less before the workshop. Payment of €90 can be made by bank transfer or cheque.

For more information, just give Aoife a call on 085 788 3247 or email info@aoiferigney.ie

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Online Safety Tips for parents and teens

Lots of people will have received iPads, laptops, tablets, games consoles and smartphones this Christmas. It has been a busy year for technology; with new consoles like the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, as well as cheaper-than-ever smartphones like the iPhone5c and budget tablet devices. I don’t want to sound like a kill joy but Christmas holidays mean you (and your children) will be spending vast amounts of time tracking their friends on Facebook and trawling the Internet for entertainment. So it’s timely to remind parents to update their online safety awareness!

online safety xmas

A huge concern of mine is letting children use these devices without educating them on the dangerous associated with online socialising. In order to educate the children and teens, we first must educate ourselves, the adults and parents. You can’t always be watching over their shoulder so consciousness of the risks and self-awareness ideas for protection is vital. The Internet is a great place where kids will explore and learn. The problem with today’s most popular search engines is they can surprise the user with shocking images and other content that are unexpectedly associated with the search query. Popular search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo provide easily configurable options that allow the blocking of most explicit images and results from appearing. Do this on the browsers of your child/teen device today.

Telling a child not to use Facebook, is not going to stop them. Telling them the dangers associated with let’s say “checking in at home” using a public profile however, may just stop them in their tracks!! Research by Disney Club Penguin published in the Telegraph has found that four in five parents are planning to buy their children an internet-enabled device this Christmas, but half of parents are not intending to put online safety measures in place! Take a look at the Disney Club Penguin to put together a guide for parents about internet-enabled devices like tablets, smartphones and games consoles to get some great tips and information.

online safety tips

In the meantime, I urge you to talk to teens and kids about online safety.  Try these helpful steps:

1. Get involved in your children’s digital activity. Talk to your children about technology and safety, ask them about privacy online. Ask them if they are on Twitter, Facebook, Vines, Snapchat and so on.
2. Get to grips with the terminology and the technology. You can’t expect your kids to be safer online if you won’t even understand the first thing about computers, the device or even the internet in general. Make sure you know what functions the device has; you could get your child to show you what they like to do, or play a game together.
3. Use the tools and resources available to you. Most devices have parental control tools that can help you, for example by preventing in-app purchases so you don’t get any shock bills. Plus you can contact your home internet provider who can help you set up free filters and give you great advice.

If your kids have an Xbox One, check out this advice from Microsoft. If they have a PS4, check out this advice from PlayStation. Here is a great resource from Vodafone with lots of great tips about smartphones, downloading music and apps. Don’t forget to ask when you’re buying any internet enabled technology about the protections that it offers.

Finally, here are 4 quick things your kids/teens need to know…
1. Never give out personal details online, such as your real name, address, age or phone number. Even posting information about which school you attend can help the potential bully find out more.

2. In addition to making sure you don’t post your personal details online, make sure to keep your actual profile private, or at least ensure that only known friends can view it.

3. Make sure you are familiar with the security measures available to you by the various social networks. Take particular care to ensure you understand how to block numbers and email addresses.

4. Be careful about even the most basic of information. Whilst the temptation may be to share everything about your life online, you should try and avoid putting anything there that could get twisted or used in a manipulative way. Don’t “check in” everywhere you go, or when you are home!

You and your children need to be alert to the potential dangers when enjoying the Internet and know what to do should anything unpleasant happen. That way your family can continue to benefit from the world of information and opportunity as safely as is possible.

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#CorkChristmas – Tweet and Support Local Businesses in Cork this Christmas

#CorkChristmas Poster

Here are some of the offers & deals so far, check back again tomorrow for more updates!

 

Delighted to be included in Miriam Donohue’s fantastic article in the Irish Independent about supporting local businesses and keeping it local this Christmas! Read the article here: http://shar.es/O3fIy

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Guest Post: David O’ Connor outlines key points from Budget 2014 which will Impact Businesses

david o connor

David O’Connor of O’Connor & Co., Chartered Certified Accountants & Business Advisors outlines the key points from Budget 2014 which will impact businesses;

  • Tourism:

A welcome relief for the tourism sector as the lower 9% VAT rate will remain intact. This measure was due to end this year and this sector faces a significant challenge next year in the absence of the gathering initiative.

  • Real estate:

Capital Gains Tax exemptions for properties purchased prior to 31/12 2013 has now been extended by another year.

  • Home renovations:

An incentive scheme on renovations and refurbishments to properties should help the construction sector and offers a rebate for home owners for work completed with registered contractors. Spend must be over 5,000 euro and lower than 30,000 euro net of vat.

  • Capital gains tax relief:

A lower Capital Gains Tax regime for business leaders if they are prepared to re-invest the proceeds of their gains, back into their businesses. By investing gains into production or training they can lower reduce their capital gains tax liabilities

  • Job creation:

An individual who is on the live register for 15 months or more can become self-employed and exempt from income tax for the first two years up to 40K in wages.

  • VAT:

– Cash receipts basis threshold increased to 2m euro from 1.25m euro
– Disallowance of VAT reclaimed where invoice not paid with SIX months.

  • Other issues:

– Dirt ( tax in interest earned on savings ) increased from 33% to 41%. This will be 45% for self assessed income tax payers from 2014.
– There were no changes to income tax although the one parent family tax credit will be allocated to the principal carer of the child ( children )
– The “old reliables” were increased by the following;
Wine – 50 cent
Cigarettes – 10 cent (give them up! )
Pint – 10 cent
– Health Insurance – No tax relief for policies over 1,000 euro.

IMPORTANT: Please be aware that the finance act when published enacts the budget into law and this is when the true impact of the budgetary measures become known.

If you have any queries in relation to the budget and how it will impact on your business, contact David today!

 

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10 Tips for Planning Your Christmas Digital Marketing Campaigns

I know it’s only September but if you are a business hoping to sell to Christmas shoppers this year, then it’s time to start thinking. In fact it’s time to start planning! Yes, online shopping has become extremely popular, but why not remind online customers to buy local and support Irish businesses? Build up that relationship with your customers, get to know them and show them that you care about the products they want to buy this Christmas.

Christmas Digital Marketing Campaigns

1. Plan ahead

This is number one for a reason; the first step for creating a Christmas digital campaign should be planning. Think of what you would like to include in the content, any special offers and so on. What are your key messages? Plan your website content (and blog posts) as well as a schedule of Facebook/Twitter updates. Of course, it is also very important to integrate your digital and traditional marketing campaign.

 2. Design for Christmas

Update your social media graphics (Facebook cover, Twitter header etc.) to have a Christmas theme.  Consider sending out an email newsletter to your customers this Christmas perhaps including a discount or free gift. Use the Christmas theme throughout all your marketing efforts.

3. Analyse last year’s Christmas Campaign

When planning your Christmas or seasonal marketing programme, start by taking a look at the same time period in previous years. We’re all only human after all, so learn from your previous mistakes, build upon previous successes and make this year’s seasonal period the best one yet for your organisation. Take note of any good points and any bad points from the digital marketing campaign including content, graphics and engagement on social media as well as reviewing the analytics for your website and do a keyword analysis. Look and what you did last year, then modify it to make it even better.

4. What are your competitors doing?

Subscribe to competitor newsletters to see how they are running their Christmas email marketing campaigns. Maybe go on Twitter and search for “newsletter” to get ideas from other companies running email campaigns. A good idea for the retail sector could be to run an email campaign under the theme of “12 Days of Christmas” with a different discounted product every day, or a different prize everyday on Facebook and so on. Look at your competitors blogs from last year, what did they write about? Check them out on social media. Who were they talking to? Listen to your customers. Ask them what they would like. Search for keywords on Twitter or on Hootsuite and see what people are saying. Perhaps be “different” and do an alternative Christmas.

Christmas Digital Marketing Campaigns

5. Share important information

Don’t forget to let everyone know opening hours over Christmas to make everyone aware of any days that you are not operating. Also include any latest dates on ordering products to make sure they can be delivered in time for Christmas. These are important pieces of information which may have a big impact on purchases made online!

6. Don’t just sell

Make sure you have other content in your digital campaign, like any blog posts that are relevant to your products or service or any helpful content on your website or company news. Ensure that if you are running a competition on your social media that the normal everyday posts continue and don’t just get replaced with Christmas competitions and promotions.

 7. Email your market

In order to increase online sales through Email Marketing this Christmas you need a good schedule, tempting deals and optimise campaigns for mobile and social. Email marketing stills provides excellent ROI compared with other marketing tools.

8. Don’t Forget your Mobile Audience

Don’t forget about mobile users when posting to social networks, blogging and email marketing. Always analyse your web analytics to monitor mobile traffic and which devices are used most often. Remember that with one in three emails being read on a smart phone or tablet it is critical that they are optimised to be read on these devices. Remember that “register”, “sign up” and social media “follow” buttons need to be “thumb-friendly”.

10. Don’t flood your customers with too many updates

Timing is key! Planning your Christmas campaign early is essential. Executing that plan too early may annoy your customers. The first week of November is an acceptable time to start. If your Christmas promotional updates begin too early, you run the risk of a rise in unsubscribes, unfollows and unlikes, so keep your campaign short and sweet! Best thing to do is start working on engaging with your customers and building up that relationship, then when the time comes, you will have plenty of brand advocates to spread the Christmas cheer 😉

When do you start your Christmas campaign?

PS. I can’t believe I have Christmas and Christmas pictures up on my blog in September!!!

Christmas Digital Marketing Campaigns

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Announcement: Shortlist for the Blog Awards Ireland

I’m absolutely shocked but delighted to announce that my blog has made the shortlisted for the Best Blog of a SME from The Blog Awards Ireland.

The shortlist for this category is here: Best Blog of a SME Shortlist, and as you can see I really am up against some of the best business bloggers in the country. When I saw I was listed in the shortlist, I had to look twice – I really wasn’t expecting to make the cut!

The next stage is the final. The list of finalists will be announced on 29th September and the winners will be announced at the Blog Awards on 12th October.

The aim of my blog is not to show off what I know, nor is it a “simple SEO exercise”  but instead it is hoped that each blog gives all business owners simple, easy to follow tips and advice about all things Digital Marketing and Social Media. Thanks for reading my blog and sharing my tips!

blog_awards_2013_badge_shortlist

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Email Marketing: 6 tips for creating subject lines that get opened

A subject line seems like such a simple thing, but it’s the difference between your next email being opened or trashed. The average person is bombarded with dozens if not hundreds of email subject lines every day. Most of us have developed the skill of tuning out when we sense an email subject line is trying to sell us something! Email MarketingHere are six tips for creating subject lines that get opened:

  1. Ask Questions: Engage your reader with a question that encourages them to open the email to find the answer e.g. “Are you free on September 19th?”
  2. Keep It Short and Sweet: Mixing up the length can keep people curious. They can’t simply assume to know what you’ve included in the email. Try one word subject lines where possible!  According to MailChimp, subject lines that are 28-39 characters have the highest open rate.
  3. Tone: Talking to your customers in a conversational way can make your emails more relatable and less sales-pitchy!
  4. Make it Personal: Including a name in the subject can help the user feel personally addressed e.g. “Mary, join us at our free training course next week.” Even better is segmenting your lists by area, such as “Mary, join us at our free training course in Cork next week.”
  5. Appeal to your subscribers: There was a reason why your subscribers signed up to receive your emails – give them what they want. E.g. discounts, free resources, tips or information etc.
  6. Include Action Words: Including a call to action is a great way to motivate people. Join, start, visit and meet are all ways of encouraging people to act.

As with everything, it’s a matter of trial and error so test, test, test! Also, the open rates differ depending on your industry as well as your relationship with your subscribers. The folks at MailChimp say it perfectly: “When it comes to email marketing, the best subject lines tell what’s inside, and the worst subject lines sell what’s inside.”

MailChimp is brilliant at email marketing and they have a great guide to subject lines here: http://bit.ly/eHIgJf

Do you receive emails from companies? Do you open them?

blue-website-buttons-2-4-1369223-m

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Third-Party Apps No Longer Required To Run Facebook Promotions

**Big news announced by Facebook on 27th August 2013**

According to the announcement posted here by Facebook: “We’ve updated our Pages Terms in order to make it easier for businesses of all sizes to create and administer promotions on Facebook.
Now, promotions may be administered on Page Timelines and in apps on Facebook. For example, businesses can now:

  • Collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like a Page post
  • Collect entries by having users message the Page
  • Utilize likes as a voting mechanism
As before, however, businesses cannot administer promotions on personal Timelines.”
Facebook continued on to say that they hope the new updates will enable more small/medium businesses to run competitions on Facebook. For more information regarding the changes to promotions policies, check out Facebook’s downloadable Promotion Guidelines, which include FAQs and best practices for running promotions through Facebook.

While I personally love using apps for competitions, for so many reasons… I think this is good for SMEs who just don’t have the budget to run competitions using apps. I also believe it will encourage people to use 3rd party apps more – there is more functionality and ROI with an app than there is by running a competition on your page!

What do you think of these latest changes?! Are you a business who will now run more competitions?

Stay tuned here for another update with lots of competition ideas for your business page!

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Privacy Tips for Social Media

Every day we use our favourite social media channel to communicate, engage, and to maintain our relationships with friends, family, and colleagues.

If you do things in public be aware of social media – most people have a smartphone with good camera and instant access to the internet and social media. Social Media has changed the way people interact. If its not something you would be happy for your parents or employers to see or witness then think twice. In today’s world of social networking, it is hard to strike a balance between staying connected and maintaining a measure of healthy privacy.

How to make your social media more private:

  • Be aware and educated. Everyone needs to be more aware of social media – tagging photos or uploading photos is now a part of everyday life.
  • Adjust the privacy settings on each social media platform you use. Check which third party apps have access to your social media profile and what information they have access to.
  • Change your passwords on a regular basis. Use a combination of symbols, letters and numbers. Also, it’s advisable to use a separate password for each social media network.
  • Ask your friends to consider the ramifications too before they post or tag any images of you on the internet. Don’t forget that Facebook uses facial recognition software to offer automated photo tagging now.
  • Keep up to date with the Privacy policies which change frequently from site to site so make sure you regularly watch for updates and review your privacy settings.
  • Do not post information that would make you vulnerable, including your birth date, physical address or other details that help identity thieves.
  • Protect your privacy online and remember that photos are searchable by employers so always think twice before uploading. If you’d rather pictures of you weren’t shared online, then tell your friends.
  • Be careful about “checking in” on Facebook and Foursquare. Don’t share travel plans! Some sites will allow other individuals to check you in to geographic locations. Many people don’t mind this option, but remember that when you tell people where you are, you are also telling them where you aren’t – at home.
  • Be selective about instant sharing on social media, think before you post!
  • Before you click “post” or “share” think about the consequences. Could this embarrass you or damage your career prospects? You need to manage your personal brand, this includes a certain amount of self censorship!
  • Use your judgement when it comes to the digital world, just as you would in the real world.
  • If something posted about you and you don’t like it or want it there, report it to the social media site immediately.
  • Remember, anything you post online can “go viral” and removing a something is not a guarantee it’s gone. People often take screen shots of these “viral posts”.
  • Don’t post anything online that you want kept private.
  • Don’t put on social media what you wouldn’t put on a billboard!

Think about it — social media has been integrated into our daily lives, and it is now as simple as picking up your smartphone, starting up your favourite social application, and sharing an update to your network. Think carefully about your social media engagement approach.

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Blog Award Nomination!

I’m delighted to announce that my blog has been nominated for the Best Blog of a SME Business from The Blog Awards Ireland.

The full list of nominees in the category is here, and as you can see I am up against lots of really brilliant bloggers. So fingers crossed I will make the short list on September 8th!

Until then, thanks for reading my blogs!
blog awards ireland

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Social Media Wake Up Call

This week I attended the Cork Chamber Business Skillnet’s seminar entitled Social Media Wake Up Call.

The seminar was chaired by Colm O’Regan, Stand-up comedian, broadcaster and author of “Isn’t it well for ye”, The Book of Irish Mammies and creator of the @irishmammies Twitter phenomenon. Colm facilitated a panel discussion and Q&A discussion at the end of the seminar.

The speakers included: Pat Mullins – Mullins Lynch Byrne Solicitors, Conor Lynch – CEO of SocialMedia.ie and Krishna De award winning communications strategist, commentator and mentor.

So, here are the tweets from the event:

  • @CorkChamber: Social media is not the whole story, it’s a tool but people like tangible things too @colmoregan
  • @corkbiztraining: Social media policies are critical – make sure they are legitimate and bespoke for what you want @mlbsolicitors
  • @CorkChamber: You should have an email, computer, internet, intranet & social media policy -Pat Mullins explains
  • @corkbiztraining: You need to have email, computer, Internet, intranet and social media policies
  • @CorkChamber: What are you trying to protect and prevent in your social media policy?
  • @ClaireBergin: Pat Mullins clearly stating that all org’s must have a social policy-some of his examples seem obvious however have clearly happened
  • @CorkChamber: Constitutional right to privacy, compensation issues, incitement to hatred, defamation – complex issues linked to social media
  • @CorkChamber : If you are going to use social media for business, do not let the kids use it without instruction -Conor Lynch
  • @corkbiztraining:: Cardinal rule: don’t drink and tweet, put the phone away. Don’t say something you wouldn’t put on letterhead. You can’t take it back
  • @CorkChamber: Hashtag hijacking could lead to a hashtag becoming a bashtag
  • @corkbiztraining: Social media is about the ability to share content @KrishnaDe Make sure you have the right to share images
  • @KrishnaDe : How to manage your personal online reputation in 6 steps http://bgn.bz/6df  for delegates at today’s
  • @corkbiztraining: Policies for when you will delete content is necessary. Have you published policies to protect your online communities?
  • @CorkChamber : In the US 42% of consumers expect a response within 60 minutes – what does this say for your social media protocols?
  • @corkbiztraining: Can you respond to an emerging online issue or crisis within 60 minutes?
  • @socialmedia_ie: Social Media Screw-Ups – The Definitive Collection – What’s your favourite? http://ow.ly/nuWDZ
  • @CorkChamber: If you are going to use social media for business, do not let the kids use it without instruction -Conor Lynch
  • @aoiferigney: “Audit your identity. Manage your privacy settings. Review your digital profile. Educate others.” Super tips from @KrishnaDe
  • @CorkChamber: “Do you have a process in place for social customer support”?
  • @CorkChamber: Style guide provides an operational guide for your people using social media
  • @aoiferigney: It’s very important to operationalise social media. Build capability beyond the one person who manages your social media. @KrishnaDe
  • @aoiferigney: Be careful when RTing. Be sure to have read the content
  • @aoiferigney: Visual content marketing is so important.. Are you confident you are not breaching copyright laws for images? @KrishnaDe @aoiferigney: Brand reputation monitoring is essential for brands both big & small. What are people saying about you? @KrishnaDe @corkbiztraining
  • @CorkChamber: Krishna De highlights the need to: audit your identity, manage your privacy settings, review your digital profile & educate others
  • @CorkChamber: Krishna De closes her insightful presentation asking “what actions will you take next to manage your online reputation”?
  • @KrishnaDe: Guidance to help you develop your own social media policy http://bgn.bz/smp  < though do not copy someone elses!
  • @corkbiztraining: Start today – manage and monitor your online reputation consistently @KrishnaDe

These are just a sample of the really great tips given on the night. There are lots more over on the #biznet stream on Twitter.

Do you have any more social media tips? Comment below to add them in!

Were you at the event? See all the pictures from it here!

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How to Protect Your Privacy from Facebook’s Graph Search

Graph Search allows users to make structured searches to filter through friends, friends of friends, and strangers. This feature relies on your profile information being made widely or publicly available, yet there are some Likes, photos, or other pieces of information that you might not want out there.

“In a nutshell, Graph Search uses social signals to create a truly social search experience. Focusing on four core areas — people, photos, places, and interests — Graph Search delivers search results based on ultra-specific long-tail search queries, such as “Friends I graduated college with who like to ski.” These results are based on information from users’ profiles — what they like, places they’ve visited, what they’re interested in, photos they’ve taken, etc.” (via Hubspot)

These are some basic tips for controlling who can see your posts and photos at present. Here’s my step by step guide to locking down your Facebook profile:

Posts
You can access your privacy settings by clicking on the padlock icon in the top-right of your page.

Click on “Who can see my stuff?” a drop-down menu will give you several options. One of these is shown below – “Who can see my future posts?” Here you can select a range of options such as friends, only me or custom, which you can use to block specific individuals from seeing your posts.

Facebook Privacy Screenshot

Note that this will apply only to your future posts. If you want to limit access to posts you have made in the past, go back into the padlock drop-down list and select “See More Settings”.

Facebook Privacy for Profiles

The following menu appears. Click on “Limit The Audience for Old Posts on Your Timeline”. Click on “Limit Old Posts” to change all previous posts from Public to Friends.

Facebook Privacy for Profiles

Photos

Photos are a bit more complicated. You have no control over photos of you put on Facebook by a friend. If you don’t want it online, talk to your friend to get it taken down! Also note that your cover photos are always public!

To limit specific photos, you will have to set the audience for each individually. Click on a photo to view it. This menu should be on the right-hand side of the photo.

Image 5

Click on “Edit”. The following will open up allowing you to add comments, locations, etc to the photo. Click on the little wheel to change the audience for the photo just like before…

Image 6

To make a whole album private, etc. open the albums page and click on the wheel on the bottom-right of each album. Here you can select the audience for each album just as for posts.

Image 7

Have you updated the privacy settings on your Facebook profile?

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Facebook and Twitter Training for Business Thursday 25th July 2013

Course: Facebook and Twitter for Business
Time: 6.30pm – 9.30pm
Date: Thursday 25th July 2013
Location: Education Centre in Marymount Hospice, Curraheen.
Cost: €65 per person

Social Media is a great tool for promoting business, communicating with your target market, providing outstanding customer service and capturing your customers’ needs. However, it’s most important to build up a relationship with each customer/connection on social media. Once this relationship is established, these connections become your brand advocates. They spread the word about how fantastic you and your business is!

Having a Facebook page or twitter account is not like a magic wand – for it to be effective, your social media needs to be used strategically.

If you have a business and are on Facebook and Twitter, this is the course for you. Social media has the power to engage and connect with so many people and by learning the tricks of the trade you can have a massive impact on your business.

I will give you the information so you can manage online marketing campaigns, as well as strategies to build a community of fans and followers. We all know that word of mouth marketing is the best advertising a small business can get; social media is just that, except it’s online! It is recommended that you have a Facebook page set up and are comfortable posting to your page. Also, bring a laptop with you, as there will be plenty of practical sessions!

There are a limited number of places available, so that there is more opportunity for interaction, questions and learning.

Your place is only confirmed once payment has been received.
A 50% cancellation fee applies if you cancel 48 hours or less before the workshop.


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Twitter Analytics Platform is now available to all users: Step by Step Guide

The Twitter Analytics platform has just been launched to all users.

Twitter has now opened up their Twitter Analytics Platform to the public. Previously, it was only available to advertising partners. The dashboard allows Twitter users to check the performance of their tweets and view breakdowns of their followers.

Twitter now provides you with pretty extensive metrics and analytics for the performance of your tweets via its Ads dashboard (via TNW), in a move that looks designed to get more people (including individuals) aware of and using the Twitter Ads platform.

The new free analytics dashboard access allows anyone to see the performance of their tweets, including how many Favourites, Retweets and Replies each has received, as well as letting them sort by “Best, Good or All” for at-a-glance ranking of tweet performance.

While all Twitter users can now access Twitter Analytics, not all accounts are displaying detailed information.

Here’s how to set it up for your twitter account and some screen shots to help you navigate it!

1. Go to Twitter Analytics (https://analytics.twitter.com/) and sign in using your Twitter account details.

Twitter Analytics

2. Next Click Analytics. You will see the Analytics button at the top of the page (next to home).

Twitter Analytics _ Getting Started
3. You will be brought to the dashboard. You will see analytics relating to Favourites, Retweets and Replies. For tweets containing links, this list also tells you how many clicks they received. It will look something like this: Best Tweets

4. At the top of the page, there is a graph. This shows mentions, follows and unfollows over a period of time. As you scroll over the graph, it will highlight the tweet it is referring to.

Tweet and graph

5. You can also look at your tweets in categories: Best, Good and All. This can be changed just under the graph at the top of the page. To change from seeing your best tweets to all your tweets, just click on all. Simple!

6. You can also view analytics for your followers.  FollowersHowever, the analytics for my followers is yet to come to life! Followers analytics

Have you tried out the new Twitter Analytics Platform? Let me know what you think of it!

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Free Digital Marketing for your Business in 7 Simple Steps

Digital marketing is a necessary element of running a business. If you are to promote successfully with no budget, you need to use word of mouth. You need to foster an environment where people are talking about you.
Whilst many people think that effective marketing campaigns are costly, the reality is that they don’t have to be. This is because there are many FREE techniques that can be used, which are proven to work. The main idea of this blog is to help you to discover and use the other tools at your disposal which will enable you to market without cost.
Before you start, it is critical to understand who you are targeting and what’s in it for them. This will be your main message in your marketing campaign.

Here are a few ways to market your business online without spending a cent:

1. Create Objectives: In order for any plan to be successful, it needs goals. What do you want from this marketing campaign? Why are you partaking it promotion? Do you want to develop brand awareness? Do you want increased online and offline traffic?

2. Do a Stocktake: Make a list of all the tools you already possess which can be used to market your business without spending any money. Do you have a good network of contacts? Are customer testimonials positive? Do you have the enthusiasm and passion to grow your business. Do you have the time to invest? These are some of the best tools needed for marketing.

3. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) : SEO is the technique of structuring your web presence for search engines to rank them at the top of their lists for certain search terms.Begin by ensuring you know what people are searching for and how they are searching for you. These are the basics and can be ascertained through Google Analytics and Google Ad Words, both of which are free tools with lots of online resources explaining how to use them. Once you have informed yourself in these ways, start providing content related to what they are searching for and including these keywords. Update your site often because search engines are looking for the newest information.

 4. Good website design and content: Like most small businesses, you probably have customers and prospects that have visited your website once and haven’t been back since. And why would they? Once they find the info they need, there is no reason to come back, unless you can add interesting, relevant content to your website to drive traffic to your website and increase sales.

 5. Blog! Blog! Blog!: Search engines like fresh content. It is advisable to keep your company’s keywords in mind and try to incorporate them in your blog content as often as is practical. Furthermore, a blog allows you to express your unique voice, personality and thought leadership. It improves your SEO, drives traffic to your site and builds a base of content for your email marketing campaigns. Dedicate some time every week to writing content, get into the habit of writing and soon blogging will become second nature.

6. Be Social: Join the main social media networks that suit your business such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. Use social media to build relationships and connect. All too often businesses think that having thousands of followers makes them a success. But what good are those ten thousand followers if none of them end up as a customer? Isn’t that the whole point of being on social media? Get to know people, talk and then once they trust your brand they will want your product.

7. Measure, Monitor and Manage: As you build your online marketing plan you need to be sure that each element produces the results you aiming for. Use Google Analytics to measure and monitor your website. Try out applications like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck for Social Media Management.

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Filed under Digital Marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media

Guest Post: It’s your time to Vine!

This guest blog is written by Kathryn Hurley. Kathryn is an Irish Trained Chef – UK trained Pastry Chef, who has worked in London and Australia and has been a Head Chef in London for a successful events company catering for royalty and rock stars, theatre and fashion leaders! Her passion for pastry lead her to learn all about Cake Decorating and Chocolate. She has consulted and mentored with bakery and pastry businesses to assist their staff skills, new ideas, new product development and product presentation. She is a skilled food demonstrator with a depth of knowledge of a classically french to Asia Pacific style foods to European trends. Kathryn is currently taking a detour into Digital Marketing to explore its creativity for food businesses. Kathryn is currently creating a blog on Chocolate Adventures and digital media online community management so watch this space!
Feel free to connect with Kathryn on LinkedIn: ie.linkedin.com/in/kathrynphurley/ or tweet her @CorkChocolateG

It’s your time to Vine!

Let me introduce Vine…

Yes, it’s showtime on all your social media platforms. The future has arrived for all those extroverts and budding movie directors to practice their creative craft in moving colour. About three months ago, a new app that works with Twitter and Facebook, was released.

The background

Vine is currently only available for iPhone or iPads, but the developers are working to bring it to other platforms soon so everyone can make full use of this great new app. Don Hofmann, one of Vine’s Co-founder explained “Vine offers a hybrid between Photo and Video sharing that could be the long sought after sweet spot for Social Media.”

How to get going…

Once you sign up for this using your email and creating a password – you’re ready. You can also sign in using Facebook or Twitter but this is not a necessity. Choose your subject and point and shoot your Vine.

Creative

The idea is to make short 6 second looping movie about your product, activity or even a Vine ‘selfie‘! First of all, you can plan out your Vine movie on ‘storyboard’ so then to action it is less deleting and messing about. A storyboard is like a comic strip of what your message /movie is about. This allows you to make is cartoon like or fully packed with content. As you have a one shot or delete – you can’t edit. This may sound harsh but is speeds up the posting of it online with out too much drama.

Attention span of 6 seconds? Welcome to modern life!

Vines are now used as regular tweets and facebook posts, however you can only search for your twitter friends using Vine app as Facebook did not sign up for this functionality. Currently click through rates on Facebook and Twitter increased dramatically since Vine has been launched.

Have you vined? Post a link to your vine below so we can see!

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Facebook launch Promoted Page Likes

Facebook today announced the global rollout of “Promoted Page Likes,” a feature similar to Promoted Posts but aimed at helping page owners get new fans without having to use the more complicated ad dashboard.

Facebook said “Promoted Page Likes allow Page owners to create ads aimed at gaining new fans directly from their Page.” You can read their full announcement here: http://www.facebook-studio.com/news/item/promoted-page-likes-now-available-globally

All pages with a location and profile picture will now have the “promote page” option in their admin panel. This was previously in beta for some users in the U.S. From here, Page owners can select a daily budget based on how many people they want to reach. Like Promoted Posts, these ads are bought with a preset price rather than on a cost per click basis.

Page owners can narrow down their audience by country, state or city. The ads are designed with small businesses in mind to help them garner more Likes for their pages without needing large budgets or sophisticated targeting. Be warned however, that unlike with Facebook’s other ad products, these ads will continue to run until an admin manually stops the campaign.

The ads will show in users’ news feed as well as in the right hand side of the desktop version of Facebook.com. After launching a Page ad, the basic stats on the Page ad campaign display in the same area within the admin panel.

Promoted Page ad campaigns don’t require large budgets or sophisticated targeting, though it is possible to set up and customize  both ad messages and targeting from the Ads Manager. To learn more and start your Page Like campaign, visit www.facebook.com/business/promoted-like.

I am yet to try out a Promoted Page campaign, however I intend to give it a go. My main concern about these promoted pages is that you may end up with irrelevant fans or worse still, spam fans. I will report back once I give it a go. For now, you’re up to date on the newest addition to your admin panel! Let me know if you give it a go…

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3 Pinterest Tools every Pinterest User Should Know About

3 great tools and so easy to use! Have you tried any of them?

1. PinPuff.com: According to the PinPuff.com website, “Pinfluence is a relative measure of your popularity, influence,  activity, reach (& celebrity levels if applicable) on Pinterest on the scale of 100. It also decides monetary value of your pins & traffic your pins generate. Higher is your Pinfluence score, higher are the chances of you getting Big Brands’ attention for working with them on Pinterest. Average score on Pinpuff is 32. And a Pinfluence score of 50 or above is a good score.”

I checked my “Pinfluence” and got a disappointing 22. I must remember to pin more often!! What’s your Pinfluence?

2. Pinreach.com: provides you with analytics to study your influence on Pinterest except without the value estimation you can find in Pinpuff. It does however have other features to offer. To use Pinreach, visit the website and click on the ‘Sign Up’ button and fill up the registration form together with your Pinterest username. When registration is completed, you will be redirected to your analytics page. There are four tabs available on Pinreach to study your Pinterest activity in details.

3. PinSearch: Pin Search is an extension for Chrome browser that will let you easily find more related photos and information of a photo you found on Pinterest. To start using, head over to the Pin Search extension page on your Chrome browser and click ‘Add to Chrome’. Once added to Chrome, open the Pinterest website and you will see an additional ‘Search’ button at the bottom of the ‘Comment’ button, when you hover over any images on Pinterest. Clicking on this ‘Search’ button will direct you to a Google’s search results page that is related to the image you selected.

Do you use Pinterest? Are there other tools for Pinterest that you use and would recommend?

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Simple Guide to Creating a Facebook Page for Your Business

Step 1: Choose a Category

Go to the following URL to create your business page on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php
Choosing a category will help you rank for more relevant searches and provide relevant information fields on your page.

Facebook for Small Business

In most cases, the first one is most relevant for small businesses. Choose the category that most suits your business and fill out your business name. The business option also asks for further location information. Remember that your category and name cannot be changed once your page is created. So choose these very carefully!

Step 2: Complete Basic Information

Follow the steps and add your details – be as accurate as possible.

Facebook for Small Business

Step 3: Add Facebook web address

This is a very important step. This cannot be changed once it has set. Choose very carefully!

Step 4: Upload Photo

Facebook will now prompt you to upload the main photo for your page. This photo will appear as your icon every time you comment on a post, appear in news feeds or run ad campaigns. Ideally, it should be your company logo. The actual dimensions of your profile picture is 180X180. This will shrink on your page to appear as 125X125.

Facebook for small business

Step 5: About Section

Next, you need to write your ‘About’ information. This small bit of information will serve as the main 2-3 sentence description for your company. It will be on your main page, so make it short and sweet. Be sure to include a link to your company website as well. Also ensure that this information differentiates your brand, making your page even more appealing to potential fans.

Step 6: Use Your Admin Panel

Facebook for small business

Your admin panel is for managing your business page. It’s filled with various features and options to optimize your page and you’re monitoring of that page.

Facebook for small businessEdit Page
The ‘Edit Page’ option in the upper right provides various options. Update Info does exactly as it says and allows you to update your page information. This will also allow you to edit the about section and add more details.
You can also manage who has admin access to your page. This allows you to give employees from your business access to be administrators on your Facebook page in order to respond to comments or messages, without giving them complete power over your page.

Build Audience
Growing your audience is a huge task. It will not happen overnight and is by no means a simple thing to do. Be sure to have your page filled with content before you start telling people about your page! Give your new fans-to-be something to read. Then, your brand advocates to start engaging with that content. Once your page has some interactions, invite more fans and contacts, and they’ll be more interested to like the page when they see the buzzing hub it is.

Step 7: Optimise your Page
Cover Photo
The best visual space on your business page is called the cover photo. The exact dimensions of this cover photo are 851X315. Be sure to select a creative image with less than 20% text that will appeal to users who land on your page. Also, when people like your page, your cover photo will be shown in the newsfeed of that person. So spend some time getting your cover photo the best it can be!

Posts
When posting on your page, be sure to use a variety of content. Who are you targeting? Who is reading your updates? What is your brand message? What images would your audience like to see? What stats would they like to read? What links would they like to click?

Monitor
While having a beautiful Facebook page is great, ensure you’re monitoring how fans are interacting with it. Use Insights on the admin panel to check what’s happening on your page. Be sure to respond to comments and messages as needed to ensure your fans know you not only care about them and what they have to say.

Step 8: Keep Learning

Facebook changes on a regular basis, as does it’s rules and regulations! Keep up to date with changes – always keep learning. 

 

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