At Xava we are continuously listening to our customers to create services and products that help businesses increase their sales and expand their reach. So we are delighted to announce our innovative DIY SEO Masterclasses.
Have you ever wondered how many people click on a link in any particular post? What kind of content is creating the most engagement on your site? Sure you can see how many people came to your website from Facebook but wouldn’t you love to know which posts were bringing you the traffic?
Lately in my effort to grow Xava, I have come across a lot of people trading Likes on their business pages. While it is a good practice to support your fellow entrepreneurs in growing their fan base but have you ever thought what a like is worth? Or more importantly what YOUR Like is worth to the business page?
Let me put this very delicately because I know that your Liking of a business page was well intentioned – It is worth NOTHING!!
If you dont engage after Liking the page that is. Let me explain.
Relationship building is the Holy Grail
Yes even in the business world. If it wasn’t large business would not have account managers, relationship managers to look after large customers. They would not spend thousands on Facebook and Twitter campaigns that invoke a response from their audiences.
To understand this, we need to look at relationship building.
Relationship Building in Everyday Life
Imagine you are out and you see someone that you like, you try talking to them and get their phone number. And then you try and get a date with them and yearn to reach ‘First base‘ as is more commonly known. As time goes by you fall in love and then you want to get married and then have a family (well ok not everyone does but you get the idea). You are constantly looking to grow the relationship to the next level and marriage is the ultimate goal that we reach in a human relationship.
Alternatively, becoming someones best buddy is the ultimate goal in making friends because we all need that friend who can be relied upon no matter what the circumstances.
Getting married to the love of your life or finding that best friend makes you feel a sense of fulfilment, a sense of achievement and a sense of pride.
Relationship Building on Facebook
Using Facebook marketing to build an audience and brand ambassadors who will talk about your brand till the cows come home is the ultimate goal for your business being on Facebook. You try and get their Like which is like getting a phone number of the person you met. After that point it is up to you as a business owner to cultivate the relationship by constantly providing content that is going to invoke a response from your Likers. Think of it as having a conversation with your Likers. Why would you shy away from it? It is at this moment in your Facebook marketing, you need to resist the urge to sell or pitch your business, just talk.
Even on Facebook, hidden behind a computer or a mobile, there are people using their emotions to evaluate you so why not converse with them? It is the quality of our interactions with our friends and loved ones that determines how they see us and so it is in the business world. Your followers will evaluate you and your business based on the strength of your content so dont just try and sell to them. There is an interesting blog on Making money on Facebook by Kim Garst of Boom Social.
After you have a loyal audience, you need to reach the Holy Grail of being married to your likers – you want them to constantly talk about you and your business with their friends, family and colleagues because now your influence is multiplying not just adding up. It is going from strength to strength and once you have got people to talk about you, you dont have to wait long to see that engagement turn into revenue.
So you see the rules we have in our everyday lives of cultivating relationships also apply to our social marketing, here is a blog I wrote on what to do and what not to on Facebook
- Facebook marketing is all about moving away from looking for Likes, it is all about getting recommended for Likes.
- Even on Facebook, you are dealing with people so normal rules of relationship building apply
- Make friends for your business not number of Likes
- Work on turning those friends into brand ambassadors through strength of your content
- Make money and enjoy the fruits of your hard work.
Share your thoughts and leave me a comment!
Facebook is close to getting approval to offer e-money services to its subscribers in Ireland. It is trying to rival the Google Wallet. Facebook reckons that by having an e-money service, it will enable people to send presents to family members or friends at the click of a mouse. Apart from the obvious security and big data issues, is it a good move for consumers?
Conceptually, Facebook money is simple, a user can store money in their Facebook account and Facebook will honour transactions upto that amount that users make through their Facebook account. At this moment in time, it is not clear if Facebook will charge users to use the services but it hopes that paying for ads on Facebook, in-game purchases and sending presents to people you love will become easier.
Pros of Facebook Money
The positive aspects of this type of a service are clear
- Business Driver – stores will be able to offer you their products directly from their Facebook pages making it easier for customers to buy without ever having to leave the Facebook app on their bus trip home from work. I can see this being an attractive feature for small businesses – both selling products and services and Facebook App developers alike. You may be (in the near future) be able to pay for your lunch using your Facebook app, walk in the sandwich bar, say Hi to people instead of spending time in a queue and just walk to enjoy the lovely sunshine in the summer months. Facebook Money has the potential to be a disruptive technology. It will be disruptive not in the sense that this kind of thing has not been done before but it will be disruptive because of the pervasive nature of Facebook in our daily lives.
- Family & Friends – Have you ever wanted to send cash to family and friends that live abroad instead of present? If you have, then Facebook Money will make that easy for you. With it huge user base all across the world, Facebook Money has the potential to revolutionalise the way we treat money. Facebook will remind of important birthdays and anniversaries of people you care about and make it easy for you to send presents to them or simply to send them cash. You will never have to be embarrassed about forgetting your god child’s birthday ever again.
- Revolutionising Money – We are already using credit cards, debit cards and store cards to pay for stuff instead of having to carry cash. Now Facebook Money has the potential to make our wallet redundant. With integrated security such as finger print and other biometric scanners built into our mobile phones, it has the potential to be more secure than credit cards ever could be. You can charge up your Facebook Account, leave your credit card at home and make your daily purchases simply through your phone. Facebook Money has the potential to become universal because all the major brands use Facebook, all the small businesses use Facebook and it has over 1Billion users across our lovely planet.
Given the potential to being a disruptive technology in the market place, Facebook Money does carry some risks with it.
Risks Associated with Facebook Money
The risks associated with this type of service are great.
- Security and Trust – Facebook is already seen by some as an evil data mining company that uses your personal information ruthlessly to grow its advertising business. Facebook’s most recent financial results stated that:
- Ease of Payments – A few years ago, a child racked up a credit card debt of £900 on his mothers credit card in Farmville. Facebook Money will make this type of transaction more commonplace. Once parents start storing money in their Facebook Money accounts, kids will find it easy to spend it. This is a generational thing, kids find a way of spending money no matter how hard we try because as children we all want to own the whole world. Facebook Money just makes owning things in our world easier.
- Facebook Bank – The potential for Facebook Money to turn into Facebook Bank is great and is a dangerous proposition. When you open a conventional bank account, you dont share your personality with the bank in the way we do with Facebook. We do check-ins in a pub to tell our friends that we are out having a good time and having a few drinks with our mates. We love sharing our personal milestones with the world on Facebook – Can you imagine a financial institution having access to such deeply personal information about you? I, for one, would not like my bank manager to know that I was out with my friends last night. Or that I review restaurants regularly? The potential for that information to be used against you is beyond my imagination. My bank does not know my social and personal business and nor does it care as long as I pay my bills on time. Facebook Bank will know your spending patterns and your social lives in detail – relating the 2 to tailor make special offers for you is one thing but to be able to correlate the 2 to make financial decisions is a game changer.
Mobile accounted for 59 per cent of the company’s ad revenue on the quarter, up from just 30 per cent of revenues in 2013. Mobile users were estimated at 609 million daily active users and 1.01 billion monthly active users, increases of 43 per cent and 34 per cent, respectively.
With such a huge reliance on mobile advertising for revenue growth and the embedded nature of our personal information on Facebook, the dangers of Facebook Money to provide targeted emotional advertising are great. We can easily be guilted into buying services and products while we commute. A few years ago Minority Report opened our eyes to advertising in the future:
With Facebook Money, you will not need large displays, just a simple check-in in a store will allow store owners to target you most effectively. The visual aids seen in the clip from Minority Report will be a mere enhancement on the data mining in the background.
My Conclusion on Facebook Money
I, personally, think that Facebook Money has the potential to be a disruptive technology of our times. It will greatly help small businesses reach an untapped market by lowering the barriers to entry for them but as Ben Parker said in Spiderman
Contact Us Today For One-2-One Facebook For Business Training
When the owner of www.tyrebroker.ie first approached Xava, his direction was clear. He wanted to develop a brand that would become synonymous with the following:
- Simplify the tyre buying process.
- Simple and easy to navigate website
- No frills to convey the message that the value behind the brand was the attractive pricing
- Above all – simplify the process for all kinds of people buying tyres.
The concept was simple and the challenge was clear
Create a website for the customer that makes it simple for them to buy tyres for their vehicles which would be the direct driver for sales on the website.
Defining the Website Design
We defined the main drivers of the website deisgn as value and simplicity. In the owners mind tyre buying in Ireland is complicated. The people who are looking for tyres should read the size they require, visit his website, order and pay and then turn up at the appointed garage for tyre fitting etc. This is aimed at taking the confusion out of the process. The message was clear
Search → Buy → Fit
Website Design Process
With the constraints for the website design defined, we set about creating a design that conveyed the simplicity to the customer. The site is mainly structured around the multi-level search where people can look for the tyres they require by the tyre size.
The www.tyrebroker.ie Homepage
The homepage is simplicity personified. There is no clutter – visual or otherwise. The message of excellent value to the customer is delivered through the simplicity of the process.
We dont want you to have to go through lots of text or images to find what you need – Simply Search
The Search Results
From the homepage, the customer searches for the tyres they require and are directed to the search results. The customer can directly purchase the required quantity of the tyre for their vehicle. The add to cart button actually takes the customer directly to the checkout page as tyres are an item that are bought as a single purchase. People buying tyres for multiple vehicles or in multiple different sizes is rare and therefore, the add to cart button redirects the customer to the checkout page.
The supporting pages include tyre information and a contact page. The premise of the website design for this Xava customer is built around the clear message
Simplify the tyre buying process for my customers
Contact Us Today To Simplify Your Website Design
Understanding Your Brand – Understanding Yourself
A brand is developed over time because it includes the public perception but it starts from within you as an entrepreneur, as an individual. Each and every one of us is a walking, talking brand. As I mentioned in my previous blog, Brand – The Reason For Being, every one is a unique brand. Our personal brand affects how people interact with us.
As a business, your brand affects why people buy from you over your competitor. So your business brand is a cum total of all your assets including:
- Your personality
- Your reasons for being in business
- Your way of dealing with situations
For a small business, you are the most important asset and you define the culture behind the brand, the work ethic and the ethos. And when you business expands and you hire employees, the brand, in turn, defines your corporate culture for your employees to understand and follow. If you don’t think it is important:
- Do you buy the same soft drink?
- Do you buy the same detergent for your clothes?
The answer to those is the brand behind the product for reasons such as
- Quality of the product
- Image of the brand – social or corporate
- Emotional reasons – because your parents always bought that one
Branding is key to starting your business on a strong footing!
Brand Analysis – Mills Design & Tyrebroker
As a case study, take a look at
I would love to know your thoughts on what you think of the brand by just taking a look at the homepage of the website? This is an example of how branding affects your perception of a business by just taking a look at a small business asset such as the website. What are your initial thoughts on the 2 brands after taking a first look at the website?[formidable id=6]
In a few weeks, I will collate all the responses and give my own thoughts on the brand.
Contact Us Today To Talk About Your Brand and Brand Development
What is a Brand?
According to Wikipedia, a brand is “a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s product distinct from those of other sellers”
A brand, according to us is why you do business. It is how you do business. It is how your customers see you. It is how you set the culture for the employees of your company.
A brand is who you are
A Quick Survey
Lets see what the word brand and some brand names make you think when you hear them.
Understanding the word Brand
The word brand has a popular perception in line with the definition as on Wikipedia but it is a concept that reaches a lot further than that. A brand in modern business is the business identity. It is how your customers perceive your company to be. It is how your employees react to the company. It is why a business exists – someone started the company for a reason. Whether it was to create a new product to fulfil a need or a new services to make life a little simpler for customers – a brand is the essence of your business.
A brand is a story that is always being told.
You have to be able to tell your story to your customers and employees. When your customers start telling your story to other customers, you have succeeded in creating brand value for your company.
What do you think of when you hear the word Brand?
If your response if Coke, McDonalds or Ariel, you would be in a majority of people that would answer this question with recognisable names. However, would you be astonished to hear that every business is a brand, that everyone of is a walking and talking brand?
When you were filling out the answers in the form above, you expected all of the names in there and your answers told a story of how you see those names in your mind. It is your perception of those companies. You probably did not expect to describe yourself as a brand and yet we do it all the time in day to day life.
Your Personal Brand
People interact with you based on your personal brand. Your friends like and love you because of certain personality traits and that, in essence, is your personal brand. If you simplify it , your personal brand is your personality. A business is no different in that every business has a personality. It may not be popularly recognisable at first but it is a brand none the less. It tells people about you and your aspirations for your business. Dont forget your business exists only because you want it to.
Business is no different, they build up a reputation and a brand and over time, they strive to live up to that image and evolve with the times.
Brands and Small Business
Just because you run a small business does not mean that you dont have a brand. You have a brand with no or little value and how you build up that value is down to how you interact with customers and employees. It is down to how you respond to complaints and interact with people on your social media channels.
If you have been business for a while and need to build brand value, you still need to understand yourself first. How can you market what you do not understand?
It is of paramount importance that, as a small business, you understand what your business stands for before doing anything with your brand.
In short it is down to you
My Top Five Branding Tips
- Know WHY you are in business
- Define the brand proposition
- Define the brand value that you think you stand for
- Create a consistent message for the people you interact with – this includes all your corporate stationery, website and marketing communications
- Create a marketing strategy in line with your brand values
Remember that in todays internet age, buyers need more than USPs to buy from you – people have a need to understand why they should buy from you over your competitor. So know why you are doing what you are doing and then continue to deliver that message to the market.
Contact Us Today To About Your Brand Management
“Web surfers are like the snitch in Quidditch, if you don’t catch them at first sight, you will find yourself flying through the cyberspace trying to capture them. But once you do, you can win the game!”
If you are not a Harry Potter fan like me, you may not know what Quidditch is or what the Snitch is. The snitch is the game winner in Quidditch and the team that captures the snitch wins the match.
For your business website, the people who view your website are like the snitch. You have 3 seconds to capture their attention on your website – you don’t even have the 30 second elevator pitch anymore.
The strength of your customers’ experience is directly related to the strength of your website’s design. If you can not convey your vision to the people, you can not convert them to buying customers or brand ambassadors for your business.
Get a FREE Website Health Check on the 26th March
Planning your website is key!
A website becomes popular with people because it offers them something. Browsing websites on the internet is not a hobby or pastime, it is a necessity and we have become very good at naturally filtering out stuff that we don’t want to spend our time on anymore. The old adage, If you fail to plan, then plan to fail, comes to my mind right now. It is so true!
I see so many websites on a daily basis and more often than not, minor changes to the site would be sufficient to relay the key message to me. I believe that a lot of the times, people start businesses knowing what they are going to do and how they are going to succeed. The websites, in some cases, seem to be an add-on and not a necessary business tool. They see the website as an extension of themselves and design them as such.
Create a Website Design For Your Customers Not For Yourself
This is a common mistake because we believe in our business idea and believe that we know best. That is true but it is your prospective customers that consume your website not you. Your website is not about boosting your ego but about boosting your business. It is vital for your website to be liked by your customers.
Marks & Spencer may not like selling products by other brands but they do it because in the long run it brings them more business!
They made a business decision to start selling other brands to boost their own brands.
Your website design is for your customers!
If you feel that your website design falls in this category, contact me today and I will send you 10 practical tips on how you can improve the site performance.
Website Design is Separate From Website Development
A website is developed in 2 distinct phases
- Website Design – This is the first phase of planning your website where an expert, like Xava, helps you translate your business vision into a design that your consumers will look at, read and engage with. The expert will take your strength and use his/her own expertise and turn it into a beautiful design that speaks about your business in those vital 3 seconds. Take a look at Mills Design and make up your own mind about the website design.
I don’t mean to suggest that you can not do all the work yourself. It is more to illustrate that it is important to think of the website work in stages and it is even more important for you to think as an outsider looking in on your business if you decide to do all the work yourself.
Get a FREE Website Health Check on the 26th March
This is intended to be an easy guide to understanding Twitter from Day 0. This is aimed at people who are just starting out on their Tweeting Journey.
Step 1 – Identify Your Business Goal
Like any other business activity, your Social Media efforts should have a solid strategy behind them. You can not just dive in and out! To get consistent and good results, you have to put in a lot of effort into your social media interaction.
Also, remember that social media is about creating brand awareness and to a lesser extent about creating direct sales. We should not underestimate the value of customer interactions on Social Media as we all need people to talk about it. It is an essential part of the inbound marketing efforts for your business.
Step 2 – Identify Your Market
The first thing to do is to identify where your customers are and who you are selling to. You need to know and understand how your customers are consuming content on Twitter. Only then will you be able to target them through Twitter. Do they like entering competitions? Do they use it for customer support? Do they talk about products and services they might be using? You need to know some of these answers before you can start using Twitter.
Step 3 – Start Tweeting
You could just start tweeting on your Twitter channels but you are going to feel like this guy with a megaphone standing near your customers.
You are hoping that people walking by will hear you and remember your name. As you can imagine, the conversion rate of this method will be very poor and the low ROI will put an end to your Twitter campaign before long.
Step 4 – Tag Your Tweets
One way to increase the efficiency of your tweets is to tag them properly using Twitter HashTags. Simply put, these are just keywords to tag your Tweets so people know what you are talking about. Hashtags are to Twitter what Street Name signs are to commuters. Hashtags are searchable making it easier for your target audience to find your tweets.
As this image shows, by tagging the @XavaIreland tweets with appropriate hastags, Xava can grab the attention of people looking for Website Design Services.
Step 5 – Content
The content has to be interesting and something people will want to read, use and share with their followers,
Step 6 – Follow Back
If people follow you on Twitter, follow them back and acknowledge their time and effort in following you. Just because this is on the internet, doesnt mean that normal courtesies do not apply.
Step 7 – Share Worthwhile Content
You read lots of blog articles that you find interesting, why not share them with your followers. After all, you are hoping that poeple will read and share your content, you should do the same to other people. If you trust someone’s content, Re-Tweet or RT their content. Take a look at Storify to create a story out of your most favourite Tweets. This platform will automatically let the people whose content you share know that you have used it. Maybe they will follow you and share your content in the future. remember – The inlfuence of your content grows the more it shared around by your followers.
Step 8 – Interact
Lots of big companies are using Twitter for customer service. Take a look at UPC Ireland or Vodafone to see how they use it. Remember, everything you do on Twitter is public so your interactions and your attitude is there for everyone to see. The better youare at interacting with people and handling criticism, the better profile you will have on Twitter. Dont ever do what Cinnamon did as I wrote in my previous blog article – How Not To Use Twitter For Business
Step 9 – Keep Sharing
If you are using a WordPress based website, use plugins like Tweet Old Post to send out your web content to your followers at different times of the day so as to maximise the reach of your content.
Step 10 – Twitter Is a Satellite To Your Website
Last but by no means least, do not forget the golden rule, The centre of your online universe is your own website. Always always always use your social media channels to drive your followers to your website. All your social media channels are working for one reason and one reason only – To Increase Traffic To Your Website
A Weekly Round-Up of Stories from the WWW
This weeks Xava blog is a collection of the 4 stories that made me think the most. I found that these stories engaged me at different levels and desrved to be shared for different reasons. The stories range from the scary yet exciting to ranting to philosophising. These are purely my thoughts on 4 topics that are out there for you to read. I would encourage a discussion on any of the topics as writing a long blog is not the answer but engagement with my readers is.
Irelands Digital Economy is still largely ignored by Irish businesses
Image taken from a snap shot of the Dana Strong Video at Irish Digital Economy uptake
Perhaps one of the most scary things I read this week has to be this article on Silicon Republic regarding the state of the Irish Digital Economy uptake.
The total size of the digital prize is just under €12bn which is enormous for this economy.
Dana Strong of UPC states that transacting online is not just about selling to the customer online but that it includes buying online or keeping an eye on the supply chain online.
If the current trend continues and the Irish consumer continues to buy online but from site from outside Ireland, the Irish economy is set to lose out on a potential bounty worth €12B!
If you could have a small slice of that figure, wouldnt that make your life extremely comfortable? So take the first step and bePresent on the internet with a website. But dont stop there, work on getting a proper digital marketing strategy into your business plan from Day 0. If you are a small business just starting out, talk to Xava to see how we can partner together and work on a digital strategy for your business.
Have you ever wanted to setup wordpress theme templates or child theme templates and thought about writing smaller parts of a template so you can reuse them everywhere? Have you figured out how to do it? If not, take a look at this article on get_template_part.
This article is an excellent summary of how to use get_template_part() to modularise your WordPress template and how you can exploit it to make your template truly personalised.
Internet Explorer 8 – WHY?
I have been working with a lot of clients for their website design. Halfway through the design phase, the client will complain that the website is not looking the way they thought it would on thier computer. Inevitably, I find that they are using the dreaded Internet Explorer 8 web browser. And guess what, the website CSS has to be rewritten to fit the archaic limits of IE8.
While I accept that Microsoft is not dropping support for IE8, companies like Google will not support it across their platforms. So why do people still use IE8 – I have no idea why as it does not support CSS3 or HTML5 (partial support only). To truly get modern and effective websites, people have to stop using IE8 and make our lives, as webdesigners, a little bit simpler.
Socialstructing – What is that?
In The Nature Of The Future: Dispatches From The Socialstructed World, Marina Gorbis argues we are moving away from the depersonalized world of institutional production toward a new economy built on social connections and rewards–a process she calls socialstructing. Along with the exciting opportunities to create new kinds of social organizations–systems for producing not merely goods but also meaning, purpose, and greater good–there is a possibility that this form of creation will bring new challenges, new inequities, and new opportunities for abuse. We need to understand the potential disadvantages of socialstructing as well, if we are to minimize the potential pitfalls. The following is an excerpt from the book, available April 9.
New economies built on social connections – I think that this statement is a bit obvious. The human society has been built around social intractions – thats why it is called society. I know that the digital age and social media is all about building online social connections but we have been doing it for centuries. The digital media just diminished geographic boundaries.
Towards that end, we need to understand and exploit digital media but word of mouth, social interactions and reputations have been the cornerstones of human civilisations and growth for millenia. It is not a new thing that has suddenly hit us with the advent and growth of the internet.
We talk about digital reputations being the currency of the future but reputations have been our currency for centuries.
Genghis Khan will forever be known as a fearsome warrior – well before we had electricity
Mahatma Gandhi will forever be known as the pacifist, strong and peace loving leader that he was – well before we had the internet
Sir Isaac Newton will forever be remembered for his upside down thinking (for his time) – well before we had social media
I think that we have an excellent oppurtunity in the digital age to expand our horizons beyond our geographical boundaries and share with people from different worlds but to state that we have a new concept of socialstructing is taking it a bit too far.
Read the full blog article at – Your Reputation will be the Currency of the Future