Apr 24
Joe Hickman

Did you know that Russians are the most active social network users for anywhere in the world? More active even than Britain’s 15 year old girls who Tweet their every thought and Instagram every cat, food or sunset they see. And yet they aren’t on the globally popular sites like Facebook and Twitter, all 100 million users (yes one hundred million!) are on the social site VK.

What is VK?

Put very simply, VK is a much larger and more efficient version of Facebook. If the more efficient comment made you quizzically raise your eyebrows, we’ll explain later. What VK seems to have managed to do, is capture an entire nation entirely – with almost exclusive Russian use and over 100 million users this is very obvious. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t available to everyone – in fact, you can log in using your existing Facebook details or simply entering in an email address and password.

Ahead of the Curve

Two words: Search Function. VK’s search function is something that could happily rival Google. Unlike Facebook’s ability to search within its own Network, VK can pull up information from anywhere – including ‘adult content’ and the latest movies, pirated of course.

And it doesn’t stop there. The search function allows you to find absolutely anyone by entering in a near-stalkerish level of information. You can find friends based on information such as:

  • Where they live
  • What School/ Uni they went to
  • Age range (from 14 up to 80)
  • Gender
  • Relationship status (you can specifically find single people)
  • Personal information like religious & political views – even whether they smoke or drink!
  • What company they work for
  • Even if they served in the military!


It is this search function-ability that allows Russians (and others) to use VK as a complete dating service, rendering sites like Match and eHarmony useless thanks to its much larger number of users. Unlike Facebook, there are much fewer privacy options which makes hooking up very easy.

Using it For Business

Just because many of VK's users are treating it like a dating site and finding pirated movies doesn’t mean that it can’t be used for business. In fact, many global brands like Coca-Cola and Samsung actively use it in their marketing plans which can be easily tracked through the platforms analytics – Socialbakers. These brand pages are called communities and it is possible to set up official brand communities just like on Twitter or Facebook.

If you’re struggling to reach Russia and Europe then VK could be just what you need to give you that extra push. With over 50 million active users every day you can definitely harness some of this power to influence your marketing campaign and tap into new areas. It is important to consider the language you’re engaging with the audience with as well as local cultures and sense of humour – British humour for example is widely misunderstood beyond the British Isles.

Looking for more tips and hints on how to best utilise social media for your marketing strategy? Get in touch with us today and we can help you come up with a brilliant social strategy.

Tags:
Apr 23
Lianne Jones

 

We have some exciting news for you: we’ve bagged ourselves a regional award from the FSB for the best small business in the Business Innovation category. And now we are up against 46 other businesses for the £10,000 prize in the national awards. We’re incredibly excited.

Speaking to the Western Mail on behalf of the Liberty family, Gareth said: “The team here are all very happy to have received this recognition and we’re looking forward to the national final in May.”

The final will take place at the London Waldorf Hilton Hotel next month – keep your fingers crossed for us!

Tags:
Apr 22


From global pop stars to footballers and all the Z-listed celebrities in between, Twitter has become the modern day social platform for a good old fashioned slanging match. Using the instant message platform to their advantage, insults can be published immediately, reaching all corners of the globe and with the potential to be seen by millions.
In amongst the insults are some comedy battles, with some of the more memorable involving a One Direction member and a national rugby player, another One Direction member and national paper British GQ and just about anyone who has ever been on Big Brother from 2006.

Originally, Twitter was created with the purpose of sending short text message-style ‘tweets’ on a platform, to be seen by potentially the world. Creator Dorsey imagined his site would be used to send “Short bursts of inconsequential information”- however eight years on and Twitter has become a battle ground for the disgruntled among the celeb world. Some of the best battles so far have been:


Katie Hopkins vs. Everyone


Once given the weekly air-time on our televisions as a competitor on The Apprentice, Katie Hopkins quickly became famous for sharing her highly controversial and mostly absurd personal opinions on everything; from children’s names and parenting styles to calling everyone from Lily Allen to X Factor winner Sam Bailey “Fat and pretty hideous.” A classic example of using Twitter’s instant publishing qualities to insult and offend, forgetting her manners and behaving childishly in the social media school-yard.


Lord Alan Sugar vs. Piers Morgan


Lord Sugar doesn’t get away lightly as a regular on the Twitter battle field, coming under fire for his constant battle of words between his arch rival Piers Morgan. There may be an ocean between these two over-grown children, but it doesn’t stop them swapping insults and general petty comments via the social platform. Both parties admit they are really friends, but continue to use Twitter to send mean and petty messages to one another.

 

 

Jeremy Clarkson vs. Piers Morgan


It seems Piers Morgan cannot stay away from the instant message platform when it comes to sending tweets with intent, and his next victim was to be Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson. Not one to shy away from an argument, Clarkson tweeted he “cannot wait for the day [Morgan] he goes to prison”, attaching a photo of the business man at the time when the phone hacking scandal was hot topic. Piers and Jeremy exchanged a few nasty tweets calling each other names and generally behaving like bullies.

 

James Blunt vs. The public


Poor James Blunt is a regular on the Twitter battle-field, facing a barrage of abuse daily, but with a cool twist of sheer brilliance, he shares the abusive messages - along with his excellent witty replies - with everyone on Twitter. Receiving private and direct tweets, Blunt then retweets and mentions the abusers, taking away the venom immediately and shaming them very publically: “Thanks for asking. RT “Does anyone still care about James Blunt?” James Blunt-1, nasty public- 0.

 

 

As social media platforms become our main form of communication in the 21st century, perhaps we should all think twice before posting that offensive or rude message for the world to see, it will probably go a lot further than you think.

From a business perspective, it is better to remain professional and polite - even on your personal account - as you never know who will be reading your tweets!

Tags:
Apr 18
Lianne Jones

 


We are pleased to announce that the Adopt Wales website, which was designed and built by creative agency, Ethos, has been short-listed for the Best Government Website category of the 18th Annual Webby Awards.

We’ve been working with the team at Adopt Wales, and their web developers at Ethos, to increase their online presence and brand reach, so it’s great to see this site being put forward for such a prestigious award.

The Adopt Wales website, which aims to increase awareness of the need for adopters in Wales and dispel the negative connotations around adoption, is one of just five from around the globe to be shortlisted; and it’s the only site from the UK that has been put forward!
Hailed as the "Internet's highest honour" by The New York Times, The Webby Awards, presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS), is the leading international award honouring excellence on the Internet.

As a nominee, the Adopt Wales site is also eligible to win a Webby People's Voice Award, which is voted for online across the globe. Votes can be cast at pv.webbyawards.com until 24th April.

Winners will be announced on 29th April - we are rooting for Ethos and Adopt Wales all the way!

 

Tags:
Apr 17
Stephanie Lamerton

Meet the Liberty Marketing team has hit a dozen staff introductions! Yay! Number 12 is Mari d’Antonio.

Mari is an SEO Team Leader here at Liberty Marketing who was born and raised in the fashion capital of Italy - Milan. As part of her University of Milan degree in English and French, Mari visited Cardiff and fell in love with Wales. After university she returned to South Wales and took up a job leading a sales management team in a translation company before getting in to marketing. She joined the Liberty Marketing team in February 2013.

Mari enjoys being nosey on Facebook, taking photos and reading novels- she once wanted to be an English literature teacher.  When she’s not running a half marathon or eating her favourite food broccoli, Mari likes scrolling through the funny articles on Buzzfeed.com.

So say hello to Mari! We’ll be introducing more of her co-workers soon. 

Tags:
Apr 16
Philip Woodward

Last week we took a look at the pernicious, ever-growing threat of ‘not provided’ data in Google Analytics. Although the rise of ‘not provided’ is, quite honestly, a bit of an annoyance for search marketers, we’re a resolute, flexible bunch that are used to dealing with industry changes.

What’s more, there are ways around it. Here’s how you can reclaim those keywords and valuable search terms that Google so cruelly kept from you:

Enable site search


Are you making full use of a site search function? Enabling site search allows users to easily find content that they’re looking for, while also offering you an insight into what they’re looking for – and identifying new content ideas if they end up empty handed after searching. 


Use Webmaster Tools


Happily, you can still use Google Analytics’ smaller, less clever brother Webmaster Tools to find out about the keywords that people are using to find your site.

To access this, simply log in to Webmaster Tools and then click traffic and search queries, where you’ll find a basic selection of popular keywords your visitors are typing in.

It’s pretty basic but it does show your most popular search terms, as well as their average position, click-through rate and the change in metrics you’ve enjoyed over a period of time – so you can tweak content and meta information to potentially improve click throughs. 


Make the most of auto-suggest


Looking to understand what people are searching for? In this instance, Google Autosuggest, otherwise known as autocomplete is here to help you out. Autosuggest is a tool that tries to predict search terms in Google before you’ve written them in full. Quite a lot of the time, it gets it right. 

As a result, this feature makes it easy for marketers to anticipate the terms that many people will search with.

What’s more, it also helps marketers with content ideas during those dark days when inspiration doesn’t flow quite as freely as it should. 

Try placing the ‘Five Ws’ before or after key terms to generate ideas. 

What

Why

When

Where

Who

….and How

All of a sudden, you’ll be privy to many of the concerns, issues and queries that your target market is searching for during the buying process. All you need now is the engaging content to help them along. 


Make the most of related searches


Similarly, related searches (the section at the bottom of each search page) offers a range of other popular terms that similar users are searching for. 

It’s not quite as flexible, or as personalised, as autosuggest but is nonetheless still an effective way to generate ideas and get an understanding of how people are behaving online. 


Use Bing


With less than 15% of all searches, Bing isn’t a particularly popular search engine. Happily, that means that it doesn’t play hard to get.

Using Bing Analytics, you can check out the keywords that users searched to find your site, without a ‘not provided’ in sight. 

Of course, if yours is a small to mid-sized site, you’ll struggle to get many significant results from Bing Analytics,  while it also lacks Google’s pleasing aesthetic, but it can be a valuable resource. 



...remember, keywords aren't all that


As we discussed in the previous piece about ‘not provided’, talking about keywords does feel increasingly old fashioned. Keywords are still important, there’s no doubt, but Google’s ever-increasing focus on semantics, authoritative voices and social sharing means that proper content is everything. 

20% of searches have never been searched before. So stop thinking about keywords. Start thinking about your target market. 

What will they be searching for? What are their problems? What are the things that they struggle with? How can you help them? How can you create content that speaks to them personally? 

Tags:
Apr 14
Philip Woodward

Slowly but surely, Google Glass is making its way into the mainstream. On Sunday night, in Atletico Madrid’s match against Getafe, it was used for the first time at a football match. 

As Atleti edged three points closer to their first league title in 18 years, the glasses were used by their Assistant Coach Muno Burgos to get an instant stream of real-time statistics on both his team and their opposition during the match.

Pictures of the former goalkeeper wearing the glasses caused quite a scene on social media, and a pair of tweets from La Liga’s official Twitter feed documented what Burgos would have been privy to as he watched the clash with his Glasses on. 

The coach was able to utilise a specialised data system through Google Glass to access a wide range of statistics as they changed throughout the game. He could use a connected device to browse through these stats and even compare them to data from previous games as if he were playing a computer game like Football Manager in real time.  

It surely won’t be long before all top teams start to utilise similar technology in their coaching set ups. If anything, it’s a surprise that instant interactive technology like this hasn’t already been picked up by the meticulous coaching set ups of the world’s leading teams. 

Could Google Glass change everything for the fans? 

In the long term Google Glass could also revolutionise the way that fans across the world consume the beautiful game – as well as other stat-driven sports like cricket, tennis and baseball. 

Devices like Google Glass could allow supporters to analyse and compare stats during matches whether they’re at the game, watching at home or even down the pub. Right now, an insular solution like this still seems pretty unlikely to catch on – particularly in a sport such as football where the collective fan experience is so important. But you never know. 

Tags:
Apr 11
Stephanie Lamerton


Meet members of the Liberty Marketing team with weekly introductions - this week say hi to Andrew Stuckey!

Affectionately nicknamed Stoog, Andrew’s role at Liberty Marketing is as an Account Coordinator.

He has a background in languages with a degree in Welsh and Spanish and got into online marketing after completing a graduate programme in Seville, Spain. At this four month placement at a surf/skate shop he enhanced his knowledge of SEO before finding his ideal role at Liberty as an assistant on his return to the UK. Since then Stucky has progressed to become a coordinator in the SEO team.

Andrew enjoys a good tweet and when he’s not watching or playing football and golf he likes cooking and of course eating his concoctions!

When Andrew was young he thought he would end up as a vicar, not in marketing but fortunately for us he swapped the dog colour for his large selection of check shirts. He does like a good plaid.

Do you have a shirt to rival Andrew’s? We’d love to see it!

Tags:
Apr 10
Joe Hickman

When it comes to creating a website or blog, millions of people opt for WordPress. There are various reasons behind why this platform is a firm favourite, as most people choosing it for pure simplicity, ease of use and lots of customisation options.

However, many people don’t use WordPress to its full potential – here’s how you can make sure you’re not one of them:

Find a Great Theme

You’d be surprised at how many people set up their new WordPress site and then leave the TwentyTwelve or TwentyThirteen themes on their blog. There are so many different themes out there to choose from, some are free and others you have to pay for. Have a play around and find a theme that really makes your website stand out from the crowd.

Due to the huge increase in mobile traffic, you want to ensure that your theme is responsive and travels well across different browsers and platforms. If you get a big error message whenever you try to access the site using mobile Safari then something needs to change.

Use Quality Plugins

WordPress itself is a fantastic base to build upon, and one of the best ways of enhancing it is by using plugins. There are thousands upon thousands of WordPress plugins to help you with everything from faster loading pages to being able to integrate your social media networks better.

You can find and even build plugins to help with almost anything you can think of, making it a great platform for experimenting. With careful development your WordPress site can become anything you want – whether that’s a community based forum or a high quality ecommerce site.

Brilliant for Blogging

WordPress is a fantastic platform for blogging, in fact that’s what it was designed for. There are significant SEO benefits to having an onsite blog for your business’s website and WordPress makes this as easy as possible.

Instead of having to dig through various coding and FTP issues you can simply create a new page in WordPress and select ‘blog template.’ That’s all there is to it, making it as straightforward as possible for even the least tech-savvy individual.

SEO Ready

One of the biggest perks to WordPress is how easy it is to carry out SEO on it. You can utilise plugins (see above) such as Yoast to be able to add in Meta descriptions and titles to help your website rank for important search terms. It’s also easy to include Google+ authorship which is becoming increasingly important as Google continues to change their algorithms.

Even without plugins, WordPress allows you to customise the URLs, include header tags in your content and include Alt tags on all your images. This makes it incredibly simple to harness the potential of WordPress to bring more traffic to your website and then convert this traffic into sales.

If you’re looking for more ways to bring more traffic to your website then get in touch with Liberty today and find out exactly what we can do for you!

Tags:
Apr 10
Philip Woodward

If you’re in marketing, you’ll know that you live for insight. Accurate customer information and behavioural statistics are essential if you're to make the most insightful decisions and get the best possible ROI.

That’s why, if you cornered a search marketer and asked them the worst thing about organic SEO, they’d doubtless reply with two words: Not Provided. 

What is ‘Not Provided’?

Before October 2011, you could use Google Analytics to see what visitors had searched for when visiting your website via Google. 

Then Google changed the way that it used search data. Anyone signed into a Google account online would from now on experience a secure SSL search and have their searches registered as ‘not provided’ – as will anyone using Google on Mozilla Firefox. 

Since 2011, webmasters have noticed ‘not provided’ searches growing and growing. For some websites, ‘not provided’ searches account for more than 97% of their traffic.

The following graph from the ‘not provided’ analysis site http://www.notprovidedcount.com shows how much search data has vanished for a popular shoe retailer with more than 12 million monthly visitors. 

As you'd expect, this sustained rise of missing data is a bone of contention for many marketers, as explained below in a gloriously pithy 'product' on the fitness site Powerhouse Fitness.


It surely won’t be too long before all user data is kept by Google. That means that many search marketers have to find other ways to report on keyword traffic and analyse search techniques.  

Why has ‘not provided’ grown?

The official line from Google was that they were expanding the use of SSL, and by extension ‘not provided’ results, because it believes that, in the wake of the fallout from the controversial PRISM programme, privacy is “a good thing for users”. 

However, PPC marketers who pay Google for their ads will note that they can still access all the keyword data that they need. Cynics note that Google is happy to give away search data to the businesses that are paying them. 

How to survive ‘not provided’ in Google Analytics

With years of experience in coping with Google’s ever-changing practices, we online marketers are nothing if not resourceful and adaptable. After all, the most successful marketers with the happiest clients are also the most flexible. There are still ways to identify successful and potentially lucrative keywords. 

Move your focus away from keywords

However the reality is that, in Google’s eyes, the notion of keywords is becoming an increasingly outdated one. Forward-thinking search experts are now looking away from a keyword-centric approach and towards utilising semantics and relationships to build brands online. 

We’re already seeing Author Rank, personalised results and social sharing becoming increasingly important in creating organic traffic and there’s no reason why they won’t continue to do so. Producing great quality content has never been more important.

Tags: