With only a matter of weeks until Christmas - 'tis the season to start preparing for Christmas campaigns. 

You didn't read that wrong. With December being the most lucrative time of the year for most retail businesses, you really can't start planning your Christmas marketing campaign too early. With online shopping continuing to grow in popularity year after year, it's a great time to take advantage of the increase in sales during the holiday period. One way to do this is by utilising your brand's social media accounts.

Social media is a great way to communicate with your customers on a personal level, and there's no better time to do this than the Christmas period. With more people home from work and enjoying their downtime, inevitably, there is also an increase in social media traffic. So with that in mind, we have some tips on how to make your social media more festive this season.

Make it Festive

If you want to take advantage of the Christmas holiday period you have to be willing to get involved. This is where starting early can pay off as you can prepare your Christmas campaign and the content to go with it. You'll see most brands make their social media particularly festive, with many changing to Christmas profile and cover pictures which show off their offers and holiday spirit. Some will also use hashtags to get their customers ready for the season such as Coca Cola's iconic #HolidaysAreComing. This reminds customers that the holiday is approaching and to keep shopping in mind. 

It's not uncommon for non-retail brands to get into the spirit too and this is a good thing because in an online sea of holiday joy your business can look like a bit like a social Scrooge if you choose to ignore Christmas. Keep it fun and consistent so people can recognise your posts and engage with them. 

Cross Promote

With the high saturation of Christmas posts over social media, it can be easy to get lost amongst them. Whatever your marketing strategy is this Christmas, it's important to share it across your social platforms. This isn't exclusive to online offers either, whether it's a TV advert or an in-store exclusive social media is a fantastic way to get noticed.

(John Lewis 2016 Christmas Advert)

John Lewis is an expert for this, their highly anticipated advert doesn't just end on the TV screen, they know exactly how to use their other platforms to get extra exposure. Their 2016 campaign #BusterTheBoxer was seen all over their social media, with the playful pooch even getting his own Snapchat filter. Even if you didn't see the advert on TV or Youtube (although we find that hard to believe), you undoubtedly saw it across social media.

Promoting your Christmas campaign across social media platforms is a great way to extend your reach to as many people as possible. 

Get Personal 

For most, Christmas is a time to think about others and businesses should keep this in mind throughout their marketing campaigns. Social media is a great way to communicate with consumers on a more personal level, and it's a great way to remind them how much you appreciate their custom. A good way to do this on social media is to promote special offers to customers, such as free shipping days or discount codes. Using social media to do this allows people to recognise how following your online activity is a great way to gain benefits and hear about your offers first.

DW Christmas Jumper Day

It's also the perfect time to put the face behind the brand on show. If you want to connect with people via social media it is a good idea to show that you are people too. This personal touch doesn't have to be too invasive - sharing a "Christmas Jumper Day" or a picture of festive decorations is a nice way to remind customers that you aren't all serious business all of the time. 

Try to schedule posts on your social media wishing your customers a Merry Christmas too - many use social media as a way to wish their friends and family love over the holidays, so it's always nice to add that personal message from your brand too.

If you want any help with your online Christmas campaign this year our expert team is here to help. Visit our contact us page below to see how we can help you make your brand more festive this year.  

Contact Us >

What Does The Facebook Newsfeed Update Mean For Marketers

Aah Facebook, from fake news to dog memes you have been keeping us on our toes.

Recently Facebook has been ruffling feathers of its advertisers, which seems strange considering the huge amounts of revenue it creates for the social media mogul. But how much will this affect the way we use Facebook to reach out to our customers? Why the sudden change?

Well, a recent Facebook announcement explains how this isn't a random change, it's their attempt to return to their roots. Mark Zuckerburg announced how:

 

"We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us"

 

But Mr Zuckerburg explains that this is something that Facebook has lost sight of, and it's time to change that. He goes on to explain how they would like to make a positive platform where its users share 

 

"relevant content [that's] helping you have more meaningful social interactions."  

 

So what does that mean for the newsfeed?

"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."

 

That's apparently enough to have marketers and advertisers shaking in their boots. Sharing useful, meaningful content that people want to see and share? That doesn't sound very us? To an extent, it's not.

Most Facebook users are used to seeing brands flogging their products and services and most users have grown accustomed to scrolling away from this newsfeed clutter. But what about the occasional conversion this can encourage? Is it really as bad as everyone seems to think?

As usual, the Facebook announcement itself is quite lengthy, but lacking specifics that many marketers are waiting for. For instance, none of the official announcements have specified if this will this affect paid ads. Presumably in some shape or form, but no one has actually mention paid advertising, so maybe those who use paid Facebook ads won't notice too much of a change.  However, for those who use Facebook to reach out to people for free, it seems like we'll have to take a different approach.

This video may clear things up a bit more for us all:

 

 

 

Okay, so Facebook plans to rank content depending on how useful and meaningful this post will be to you, with person to person posts ranking more highly above business and brand posts. Facebook has previously brushed off criticism about its influence during elections and other news scandals and have avoided accusations concerning social media's negative effect on people's mental health. However, this change seems to be an attempt to combat the negative influence Facebook can have and instead become a more positive platform

What does this mean for marketers? 


Honestly? We can't be 100% sure. As with most announcements concerning the digital marketing world, there a rush of panic before we receive all the information. Until these changes roll out at some point this year we won't know the full effect. However, we can prepare in a few ways:

  • Quality over quantity seems to be key. - Posting lots won't matter if it’s useless spam. Facebook will value posts that will encourage meaningful interactions, with other people and the post itself. Start creating content that not only shows off your brand but really helps or interests the reader. It something we should all be doing already, but now it's time to really put your back into it. 
  • No more clickbait - It just won't work, it won't show up on a newsfeed so there's really no use in it. Besides, titling your blog "You'll NEVER believe this!" to reveal something mundane and misleading is just going to bother readers and do your brand more harm than good. Time to stop with the "Share/like/comment for your chance to win!" posts too, Facebook will just outsmart this transparent tactic.  
  • Use the "Prioritise Friend" feature - you'll have to encourage followers to use this tool, we imagine it will take some convincing but if you can it means you'll still show up first in all your most valuable customers feeds.

Although this may complicate how easy it is to get your brand out there on social media, it may result in more meaningful responses for marketers too. Long has it been difficult to prove that social media leads to conversions, so perhaps better quality content will help you connect with those with a genuine interest in your business.

In theory, this change will value genuine interactions between people, so that when a happy customer of yours recommends you it will actually count for more.

As we've said, the other online marketing experts and ourselves can only make educated guesses as what is to come, you'll have to watch this space to see the real impact. As always, when we know, you'll know.


If you need any help with your online marketing strategy we are more than happy to help. Call our team of friendly experts for advice on your website design or digital marketing. Please get in contact with us today by clicking here

Snapchat has always been ahead of the game when coming up with new ways to allow marketers to take advantage of social media. Not only can you take a selfie that makes you look like a dog (the future is really here it seems), but advertisers can get closer to their customers than ever before.


Following the success of Snapchat stories, which in the following years was copied by Instagram and Facebook, it can only be assumed that the same may be the case for Snapchat’s new mapping system. Snapchat continues to evolve the way businesses can use social media to promote their brand, so here’s a look at its newest feature.


What is the mapping system?

(https://www.snap.com/en-US/news/)


Snapchat’s mapping system (created by Zenly, then bought out by Snapchat) allows your friends to see your current location, letting you to see if they are near enough to hang out with in person. The feature also heat maps places where people are most actively posting stories, such as festivals or sporting events. Although it does seem quite like Big Brother is always watching, you do have the option to hide your location in Ghost Mode. Basically, the future looks a lot like more dog filters and letting everyone know your every move.


On their blog, Snapchat explains how this feature allows users to “See what’s happening, find your friends, and get inspired to go on an adventure”.


What does this mean for Advertisers?

Social Media Phone


Snapchat is rolling out this feature initially for the users (and a few sponsored celebrity accounts, such as Ed Sheeran), but it wouldn’t be surprising if advertisements soon reach the UK. Snapchat has had a clever history of easing in their customers so that ads seem less intrusive. This was true of its snapchat stories which allow the user to take or leave their sponsored posts.


However, with this new mapping feature it is possible that brand-related location will play a part, creating a new method of advertising via the app. It would potentially enable advertisers to target customers who are in their area, letting them know if they have a sale or an event on near them. Brands could pay snapchat to promote their event within the snap map, gaining attention from users that are in close enough proximity to take advantage.


This seems like an opportunity to advertise local deals that would actually pique customer’s interests. As the new feature has only just launched we are unlikely to see this development in the next few weeks, but it seems like a natural progression for the app.


Social media continues to change the way businesses communicate with their customers so it’s important to be on top of your game. If need help using social media to benefit your business, we are here to help! Contact our social media experts today.

Snapchat for Business

In this day and age, it's a good idea to ensure your business is reaching potential customers on every platform possible. We've already discussed the importance of social media on this blog, but today we'd like to get a little more specific and focus on how to use Snapchat for business. 

Image and video messaging platform Snapchat has been mentioned in a lot of news stories lately due to Facebook and Instagram's newest features, which some argue bear a lot of similarities to the Snapchat app. Of course, Snapchat is hardly new - it was first introduced in 2011 - but it still has a huge user base, and it should probably be your first choice when it comes to building your social media following through video.

If you're wondering how to effectively use Snapchat for business purposes, don't worry - we've put together some simple yet very useful tips for you to follow. It may seem daunting, but video content is the future of content marketing, so it's definitely worth getting a handle on the likes of Snapchat sooner rather than later.

Here are our 5 simple tips for Snapchat success:

1) Offer Sneak Peeks and Discounts

We Rate Dogs Merch on Snapchat
Credit to WeRateDogs (@dog_rates)

One great way of gaining engagement and revenue through Snapchat is to offer special discounts and sneak peeks of your latest products via your business's Snapchat account. As you can see above, WeRateDogs has taken advantage of this feature by promoting their new range of merchandise. Snapchat is a superb social media platform for this kind of promotion because it allows users a literal 'peek' at forthcoming releases. If you were to post on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram instead, the post would be much more permanent, thus undermining the 'sneak peek' element.

Many businesses also use their accounts to provide 'secret' discounts to those who follow them on Snapchat. This is a great way to gain more followers on the platform - if you tell people about the exclusive discounts available through your Snapchat account, people will inevitably follow you in the hope of bagging a bargain.

2) Snap Contests

Grub Hub Snapchat
Credit to GrubHub (@GrubHub)

Snap contests are one of the most engaging ways in which you can use Snapchat for business. The beauty of Snapchat is that as well as using the story feature (which allows everyone to see what you post), consumers are also able to send you snaps directly. This feature makes snap contests a great way of utilising the platform.

Back in 2014, GrubHub displayed a great example of how to use snap contests to promote one's business. They created a week-long campaign called a "snap hunt". Every day of that week, GrubHub posted a new challenge for their followers to complete and send back to them. Whoever they chose as winners would gain a $50 voucher to spend on takeaway food. This competition was a big success, and Grubhub found that over 30% of their followers engaged in the contest, with their account gaining a 20% increase in followers in just one week. This proves that a well-thought-out contest (and the promise of freebies) works wonders when using Snapchat for business.

3) Inside Looks at Your Company

Justin Kan Snapchat
Credit to Justin Kan (@justinkan)

In any business, it is easy for consumers to forget about the human aspect of the company. This is why an inside look at your office, products, and workers is a great way to use Snapchat for your business. Many studies have found that people buy stories before they buy products, which is why displaying your company's story through a modern platform like Snapchat is one of the best ways to encourage customer engagement. 

Take Justin Kan, for example - he is an American entrepreneur and co-founder of Justin.tv, Twitch.tv and Socialcam. Kan uses Snapchat frequently to take his customers on a guided tour through his companies and the new venues he visits. He also shows snippets of himself mentoring young entrepreneurs, which really displays the human side of his businesses. Taking your consumers on a backstage tour has never been easier, so take advantage of this when using Snapchat for your business. 

4) Utilise Influencers

Beth Norton Snapchat
Credit to Beth Norton (@beth__norton)

Social media influencers are popular accounts who have a substantial amount of influence over their followers. Gaining the approval of one of these influencers can benefit your business greatly. A valuable way to use Snapchat for business is by asking influencers to promote your business on their own account - you can ask them to rate, review or even try out a freebie from your company.

Above is an example of how Beth Norton, a popular lifestyle blogger, has promoted Zoe Griffin Photography through Snapchat. Promoting the use of this photographer through her Snapchat not only displays her approval but also encourages others to use this particular photographer.

5) Keep it short and snappy!

With some studies stating that the average human attention span is only 7 seconds long, you'll want to ensure that your story is kept short and snappy. Snapchat limits videos to just 10 seconds, and it's not a good idea to post too many of these onto your story in one day. Snapchat works in seconds, not minutes - so always ensure that the entirety of your story clocks in under the minute mark.

Snapchat users can flick through your story with just a movement of the finger, so make sure you get all of your good content into the first few seconds of the video. Spending 5 seconds setting the scene could cause users to flick onto the next snap before they even see the main point of your story. If you take one thing away from this blog, remember that on Snapchat, every second is important!

Need help harnessing the power of social media to benefit your business? Our social media experts can help!


In this modern day and age, where words like ‘tweeting’ have become a part of our everyday language, it is hard to imagine a world without social media. Since it originated in 1997, with the social media site Six Degrees, social media platforms have excelled in prominence and have become an increasingly important part of modern generation’s lifestyle.

In a 2016 study, it was revealed that 61% of people check their phones within 5 minutes of waking up; 30 minutes later that number increases significantly to 88%. This evidence of human addiction to smart phones and social media is something many businesses have used as a fundamental part of their marketing strategies. With the constant abundance of information fighting for every individual’s attention nowadays, it is easy to see why your business might be left behind if you do not stay in the forefront of your target markets mind. This is why we’ve put together this handy list of reasons why setting up your business social media accounts should be top of your priority list. 

It allows you to understand your audience

One of the many benefits of social media marketing is that it allows you to get to know your target audience on a personal basis. This knowledge is incredibly useful for any business as it helps you find out your target demographic and understand what they want from you as a business. For example, things like Twitter Analytics provide you with an insight into your follower growth, their interests and their demographic. It also allows you to see which of your tweets performed the best and from this information you can discover what content your audience enjoys and the best time of day to tweet.

 

It's an easy way to promote yourself

Another benefit of engaging with your audience via social media is that if a customer loves your product, it is very likely that they will either tweet about it or post a photo of your product on Instagram or Twitter. It is typical of users to tag the maker of the product in their posts, because in the same way that you want to see reviews, customers also want to be recognised by the brands. This type of engagement works well for both parties involved; if your business then shares the post, your other followers will see how well you are doing and the consumer will be pleased that you have promoted them. 
An example of a business that does this well, is the clothing brand Chi Chi London. 
 
On their Instagram account, Chi Chi London often posts photos of customers wearing their clothes as promotion. This type of post works well because it displays Chi Chi London customers happy with their product, which can in turn, persuade the other followers to buy one of their items while simultaneously making the buyer happy through recognition. Future customers may then buy the products not only because they want it, but to have the chance of being featured on the account. 
You can build a loyalty base with your followers 
People are typically a lot more receptive to advertisements on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, due to them being social networks. The key word being social. If you have tailored your audience using the above steps and engaged with your followers frequently, they are much more likely to want to hear about your new product or company update. As long as you mix your sales social media posts with things like helpful tips, blogs about relevant topics, client reviews, photos of your team, competitions and so on, your followers are much more likely to listen to what you have to say. 
 
Typically, if you provide someone with something of value (helpful tips, giveaways, great customer service) the majority of the time, they will want to repay you in some way. It’s down to you to provide your target audience with all the help you can, and what better and more efficient way to do it than through social media?  
 
 

Using social media marketing boosts your SEO

If your website is full of fantastic content that you want all of your customers to see, there’s no doubt about it, the best way to get the number of visitors you deserve is through social media marketing. Using social media platforms allows you to drive targeted traffic directly to the quality content you want them to see. Googles bots are fully aware of which pages are consistently gaining traffic, so by routinely sharing your pages on social media, you can influence the bots to move your pages up the search engine results page (SERPS). The more shares your page gets, the more likely it is to rank higher in Google’s search engine results page. 
Social media marketing generates sales 
It makes sense that by going where your customers are, your business will be able to generate more leads. Some statistics that display the importance of social media marketing are that 70% of business-to-consumer marketers state they have generated sales through Facebook, 67% of Twitter users are far more likely to buy from the brands they follow on twitter and 46% of web users look towards social media when making a purchase. 
 
Most of the big brand names lead in the market because they manage to stay at the forefront of their customer’s mind through their social media. These brands have become the masters of social media marketing through continuously appealing to their consumers with idyllic images of their products, frequent competitions and discount coupons on their social media channels. 
 
So, if you were wondering why social media marketing could be important for your business, hopefully, this list has helped you understand the many benefits of taking advantage of these platforms. Social media platforms are a free method of developing relationships between you and you consumers that typical outbound marketing cannot provide. 
 
If you like the sound of using social media but don’t know where to start with it, the SEO experts here at Designer Websites can help – get in touch today!