Google Ranking, Social Media Marketing
Google Ranking, Social Media Marketing

Google Ranking, is it really THAT important?

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Our advice to companies starting out in Social Media Marketing

Over the last five years we’ve been asked by more and more companies to advise them on improving or starting out in Social Media Marketing.

A lot of conversations we have with our clients fall into the same format. Many have been disillusioned with the results of their initial social media marketing interactions. Most had initially been to one of these “Social Media Gurus” who funnily enough has sold them social media rather than a whole-of-market marketing solution, as it’s all they sell.

The downside of this is that they miss a lot of their target market as they’re not all on social media! It’s just a fact that the marketing channels, whatever product or service you offer have become fragmented. More often than not, you need to be in more than one place to get in front of a significant amount of your target market.

Another common trait is that the company’s enthusiasm to start using social media marketing usually means they’ve tried to launch and maintain too many channels and have spread themselves too thin. They’ve tried to use too many social media marketing streams and when they realise that it’s a longterm marketing plan and the sales don’t come in immediately, they tail off, often dissillusioned. We always advocate doing even just one channel well, if that’s all that your schedule will allow.  You cannot do it all unless you’re able to hire staff especially for these roles. To use a favourite quote of mine by Zig Ziglar:

“You can do anything but you can’t do everything.”  – Zig Ziglar

At the end of the day, like most things it boils down to spending your time or your money. A lot of people think social media marketing is free but your time is your most valuable asset and it’s so easy to lose hours on social media marketing or social media in general. We recommend a good marketing plan covering all channels and in the case of social media marketing put a time against each session. For more information please get in touch.

If you or your company are looking to start using or improve their social media marketing or for that fact marketing in general, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you. Please use the form below or call. The same goes if you would like advice on the more traditional methods of marketing. Again, please get in touch!

 

 

Hello Illustration, graphic design
Hello Illustration, graphic design

Graphic design and other related articles. A new Home!

If you’ve come over from our WordPress hosted blog to its new home here, HELLO and WELCOME. Hopefully here we’ll wright articles that you’ll find interesting on the subjects of Graphic Design and other design related subjects.

Hopefully you’ll enjoy more frequent postings as lately it’s been a bit like the builder’s house! Anyway enjoy the old posts as we finish this new website and there should be some new blog posts in the next week or so. Honest!

This blog will contain articles on graphic design and design in general. Sometimes it’ll be our work, sometimes commentary on the graphic design and marketing industries and sometimes just stuff that interests us.

Anyway we hope you enjoy reading it and please comment as long as it’s constructive.

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Getting into the flow of my artists talk including Wabi-Sabi at Baker Tilly, Guildford, Surrey.
Getting into the flow of my artists talk including Wabi-Sabi at Baker Tilly, Guildford, Surrey.

Wabi-Sabi and Silkscreen Prints!

Potential buyers viewing my latest print!

Potential buyers viewing my latest print!

Trying to explain Wabi-Sabi in relation to silkscreen printing!

Trying to explain Wabi-Sabi in relation to silkscreen printing!

Last night was the ‘Spring Into Summer Exhibition’ Private View and Talk at Baker Tilly in Guildford, Surrey.
I had the honour of giving the talk which covered my reintroduction to printmaking, my views on public access to art (which I spoke about in this blog), Wabi-Sabi and the thoughts and ideas behind the prints I was exhibiting.

The room was packed, some ‘Dutch Courage’ was needed but by the lovely feedback I’ve had since then, it all seemed to go very well.

So thanks to all that attended. Onto the next print, as they say.

For those interested, Wabi-Sabi in its barest essence, is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection. It’s the beauty of things modest and humble. Wabi-Sabi is simple, slow, and uncluttered. It celebrates cracks and crevices and all the other marks that time, weather, and loving use leave behind. Wabi-Sabi embraces corrosion and the unfinished as adding to the experience. It reminds us that we are all but transient beings on this planet-that our bodies as well as the material world around us are in the process of returning to the dust from which we came. So as you can see, Wabi-Sabi can be about the smallest of objects or a life encompassing view.

I became interested in Wabi-Sabi when it was explained to me by another artist at the Ochre Print Studio. When I came back to printmaking I didn’t want to get obsessed with creating editions or get too involved with the craft at the expense of getting the ideas out onto paper. This was different for me as I had been a perfectionist in my printmaking. Now I wanted to embrace the journey the silkscreen process took me on and wanted to not only be happy with this but embrace the imperfections.

Artists Talk, About Art Rather Than Design

Spring Into Summer Printmaking Exhibition 2015

Spring Into Summer Printmaking Exhibition 2015

I’ve been asked to exhibit some of my prints at a joint exhibition run by Guildford Arts and the Ochre Print Studio. What is more I’ve been asked to do the Artists talk at the private view on the 20th April 2015 at 6.45pm.

So if you’re used to hearing me talk about Branding, Graphic Design and Social Media, this will be something different.

It’s what I get up to when I finish work. My Artists Talk will cover the roll printmaking has in my life, my references and a brief background to my pieces on show. My aim is to keep the talk light and enjoyable, telling stories rather than discussing print processes and other technical details.

The exhibition covers a wide range of local artists and I think you’d be very impressed at the quality and diversity of the work on show. If you can make it to Guildford for Monday 20th April 2015 and would like to come to the private view, please get in touch and I’ll arrange to have tickets available for you.

The private view is being held at Baker Tilly, Third Floor, One London Square, Cross Lanes, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 1UN. From 6–8pm. My Artists Talk will be at 6.45pm.

Why business cards still matter in the digital world.

ngd Agency Business Card

We chose the deep impression of Letterpress printing to create a tactile, enriched experience for the recipient.

How a business card, a handshake and a smile will always beat a day of Tweeting!

We tell our clients that business cards are the single most important marketing and networking tool at their disposal. Why? Because it’s simple, portable and if done well, very, very effective.

In the age of social networks and marketing, we’ve seen a huge downturn in demand for printed marketing and some people are questioning if business cards are still relevant! We could argue how intelligent this is but like all marketing, it has to be gauged on a client by client basis. With this downturn and the headlines proclaiming the death of print, you could be forgiven for questioning the relevancy of a physical business card.

But actually, as our lives have become more digitised, the business card has gained an increasing importance in the business world and I’d argue it’s now more relevant than it ever was.

“People buy People” is a common business quote because quite simply, it’s so true. It’s also true that you have to work very hard to put your personality across in the various social media channels. Most don’t have the skills and as a result a lot of companies have faceless social media feeds which are little benefit to their customers or themselves.

Face-to-Face marketing is becoming so popular as businesses realise that relationships can be built more easily and you can convey a lot more about yourself in a shorter time. Networking is a constant stream of ‘first impressions’ and this is where a great business card can speak volumes about its owner. Done well it’ll will back-up everything you’ve just spoken about when discussing your company. The business card will either confirm the impression someone has about you and your business or ruin it.

I recently met a gentleman who described his new business as the premium of London concierge services, especially set up to cater for the wealthy, foreign businessmen and their families. He then went on to describe the typical services he’d offer, ending it with “as you can imagine, we’re reassuringly expensive”.  Wow I thought, then he handed me his flimsy, home printed business card and the previous ten minutes of conversation were rendered meaningless.

Business cards not only provides prospective clients information about your business and a way to contact you, it also displays your sense of style and personality. Whether this is a good thing or not will depend on how much time or money you’ve invested in to brand and business. If your card is given to someone by a third-party it should still convey your company’s brand values. It should act as your silent salesman, backing-up any conversation the person who has referred you has had, not fight against it as in the case of the concierge service. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get you yourself a well design, bespoke card, although one thing is universally accepted, which is don’t skimp on the stock your card is printed on. So unless you’re selling toilet roll, don’t print your business cards on something of a similar thickness!

ngd Agency Business Card 2

We used Fluorescent ink to match our print branding and to create further standout. We also listed the many services we offer to help with cross selling.

 

Done well, your business card will be more than just a way to exchange your contact details, it’ll help tell your story. If this is all seems a bit too much, invest in a designer to do all this work for you. Obviously we can help with this and would be glad to do so!

Businesses today, if they can afford the time or staff, should be maintaining strong offline and online presence. The on-line social streams are multiplying and the days of the classic Twitter and Facebook combo for a B2C company are long gone. Like TV channels and magazines, the market has become fragmented. Now the job is to find the delivery mechanism, which is all these social streams are, that your target audience uses.

Use social networking to stay in touch with a wider audience, but extend your identity off-line, in the real world as well. There are so many networking groups out there, one will be right for you. Then combine these tools with more traditional marketing techniques and you’ll have a unique way of sharing your contact details, developing relationships and creating your sales funnel.

The lines between social media marketing and face-to-face business networking have all but disappearing. What is the right balance for your company can only be found out by research and comparative marketing. But what’s clear is that good, well designed and printed business cards are the cheapest, most powerful marketing tool businesses have today.

 

ngd Agency Business Card 3

We used the three colours of our branding to create a triplex board. Again to create standout, especially when viewed in a pile of business cards.

Next time you come back from a networking function compare all the business cards you’ve got with your own. How does it stand up? This will give you a clear indication if it’s time to invest in new business cards.

As social media evolves at a pace, conversely the oldest form of promotion, business cards goes from strength to strength.

It does something that tweets and the like simply can’t – it’s a tangible, concise way of saying, ‘this is what I stand for, this is me’!

5 Tips for Companies Starting to use Twitter for Business

An image of the Twitter Bird

Recently I’ve done quite a lot of presentations to companies and business groups about starting to use social media for business, especially Twitter for business. I have been surprised how many companies have avoided social media for so long. This is mainly for one or more of these reasons:

  • They’ve felt it’s all to complicated and techie for them to understand.
  • They’ve never struggled for business and so felt they didn’t need to use social media.
  • They don’t have the time to do it.
  • None of their clients use social media and Twitter in particular.

I find that these companies are now showing an interest in using Twitter for business because:

  • Their competition is using social media and so they feel they need to have a voice as well.
  • Through colleagues and peers, they’ve been told how easy it is.
  • The economy has hit them and whereas before they didn’t need to promote their activity, they now need to use all the tools available to them.
  • They want to adopt a holistic marketing mix approach to stand a better chance of reaching potential clients/customers.

Whatever the reasoning, using Twitter for business seems to be the place they want to dip their toe into the social media water first. This is because they see it as less time-consuming (we could argue that point, but this is their feeling) and so it could be more easily crammed into their schedule.

Anyway having seen this knowledge gap I thought it would make sense to list a few tips for people new to using Twitter for business.

So here are my 5 basic Twitter for business tips to get you started:

  1. Make a profile. This sound obvious but many don’t fill it out completely. Also you may not be aware that Twitter has just introduced a new webpage layout on the 22nd April 2014. So if you’ve set up your page but haven’t really started using it, you should take the time to update your profile to the new format. Remember to get your logos and graphics designed to the right size to make you look the most professional you can. Remember first impressions count. Click on the earlier link or here to get information on the changes. If you need help in updating your social media profile, we can help, please get in touch.
  2. Listen and then speak. As you would do in a business networking event, first get the lay of the land. Don’t post much… just search for Twitter users in your sector, even your competition, especially if they they have a lot of followers and watch what they’re saying. Follow them, remember they’re trying to solve the same problem as you are, plus in a Sun Tzu way you should keep and eye on their marketing just in case you can counter it. Whoever you follow, try and keep them relevant, some will follow you back and you’ll start to build an audience you can interact with and speak/market to.
  3. Share & Create. Start retweeting interesting posts from others and join in on industry relevant discussions. Point people to interesting industry news to show you’re up-to-date and share news about your company without bragging. Realise if you just talk about yourself people will get bored. Show an interest in others.
  4. Use Hashtags.  Hashtags have become the way on social media to both organize your content and get it noticed. Even Facebook now allows you to use them. By simply including a hash mark (#) followed by a word or phrase your tweet content can be easily found by anyone searching for or clicking on that hashtag. This allows you to reach far beyond your immediate followers. Also use them to filter tweets for a common subject. For example use the hashtag #fifaworldcup2014 to only see tweets about this years World Cup Football Tournament.
  5. Promote it. Now you’re starting to use Twitter for business more, make sure you feature your Twitter name (ours is @ngd_agency ) on all your marketing materials. It should be on all your stationery items and email signature to help potential and existing customers stay in touch with you and build your following. If you need help in updating all your marketing material, we can help, please get in touch.

 

These are just the basics but if you follow these introductory tips you’ll have a solid foundation to start to build your social media presence. Please get in touch if you’d like me to come to your company to speak about social media for business.

Twitter testing Facebook-style design

Twitter are supposedly testing a Facebook-style design to replace the existing user interface. The rumours are that this testing is quite advanced with some Twitter users already able to see the new page design.

The new Twitter Interface design being tested at the moment.

The new Twitter Interface design being tested at the moment.

The new, clean interface design appears to be very Google+ like. The clean, understated look will bring more focus onto the content and could be easier to view, as it’s less fussy on smaller devices.

One of the many Social Media trends anticipated for 2014, is the increased importance of enhanced content to achieve a deeper connection with customers. Put simply, straight text isn’t going to cut it as people get used to the easy access to short videos, info graphics and quality imagery. Companies who enrich their messaging with such media will engage with their customer base in a deeper way and as a by-product make their Social Media streams more ‘Sticky’!

Profile pages on the newly designed site feature a cover photo along with an enlarged profile picture and bio making the interface more visually rich but at the same time paring back the menus to give Twitter a more considered feel.

The biggest change is the size of the images and text in tweets. Both are much bigger making them dominant in the layout, guiding the eye, making the follower count etc subordinate as it should be. The only downside I can see is the fact that you’ll only be able to scan a few, maybe two tweets at a time! I for one quickly scan through previous tweets to select the ones of interest and this may now be less possible. No one likes change and if that is the only downside, you’d have to say it’s a step forward. We’ll have to see how the header panel works on different media to see if it’s an improvement and a better space to brand your feed compared to the current design. This is of course if this is the design that’ll be released, things could change from now until launch.

With Twitter reporting slower growth in recent months, this new image focused design could increase engagement among its users, especially the younger users. It maybe seen as a ploy to capture the droves of teens who are reportedly leaving Facebook for quicker, slicker messaging systems…. this brings us onto Facebook’s $19bn purchase of messaging platform WhatsApp…. Done for the same reasons… but that’s for another time.