Jan 30
Stephanie Lamerton

 

[Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wfryer/2959807121/sizes/z/]

Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are quickly becoming a part of everyday life for many. We constantly have our phones on us and even then we may check our newsfeeds by computer or on our tablets. You may even check your Klout score on a regular basis. So, is it that surprising that our kids are starting to take an interest in these socialising platforms?

Facebook and Twitter state that their services are not meant to be used by those under the age of 13, so technically no children should be using their services. Though lying about your age is quite simple. Younger and younger children are setting up social media profiles but how much does social media impact on the young? And is social media good or bad for kids?

Here are a few of the pros and cons for children using social media platforms:

Pros

·         Children will learn technology skills that can be used later in life. Being able to work a computer is a highly desired quality when applying for jobs.

·         It teaches them how to network. They can make friends all over the world.

·         They communicate more than ever improving their interaction and social skills.

·         Social media improved children’s relationships. It helps them to remember friends’ birthdays and give compliments by liking photos. This way children can stay in touch even if they don’t meet up physically anymore.

·         It gives a sense of belonging and boosts self-esteem.

·         Social media networks provide children with a platform where they can voice their opinions and interests. It is a great tool for self-expression.

Cons

·         One of the biggest problems associated with children and technology is that they spend less time playing outside and more inside on a computer. With social networking this may create an army of keyboard warriors who hide behind their computers and become shy in face-to-face encounters.

·         There is a big bad world out there and social networks are home to many bad influences and predators.

·         Social media networks can be a place for children to act out and attention seekers may get into trouble with inappropriate comments, statuses, videos and pictures.

·         There aren’t any restrictions on correct spelling and grammar. It is even considered cool to misspell and this may seep into their school work.

·         Some teens may suffer depression or anxiety as a result of using social media sites. Stalking other people with ‘better’ lives can alter a child’s mood drastically and depression will create problems with face-to-faceinteractions.

The Consensus

As with everything, social media sites have their pros and cons. You can let your children use the computer but make sure to keep them protected with adequate child locks and a good dose of common sense.

Only allow your children to use social media sites when they hit the suggested age by providers, and educate them so they have a full understanding of the pros and cons of using such a site.

Even if “everyone else uses them” it doesn’t mean your child has to as well. In the vast majority of cases social media is harmless but it is always best to be prepared just in case.

Do you let your child use social media sites? Or perhaps you are dead against them? Let us know what you think on @LibertyOnlineUK.

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Nov 19
Lianne Jones

Twitter is a valuable tool for businesses from industries across the board; allowing them to connect and reach out to customers in real time.  Despite Twitter being one of the most popular social media platforms around, with roughly 218m active monthly users, many people still don’t understand how it works or how it can be used for their brand. In my experience, many people just overcomplicate what Twitter is; put simply, Twitter is a micro blogging tool that allows you to convey a message in 140 characters or less. Let’s look in a little more detail at its functionality and how it can benefit your brand:

Hashtags

When you think hashtag, chances are, you’ll immediately think of Twitter. Hashtags have actually expanded to many other social networks now, but they gained popularity first on Twitter; do you know what they are actually used for though?

Using a hashtag on Twitter is a way of encouraging engagement, both with your followers and a wider audience. Don’t hashtag too much though – that’s plain annoying – try to use no more than 2-3 hashtags in your Tweet!
Carefully select keywords that you want to promote; so, for example, if we wanted to talk about a Google update on our Liberty Twitter, we might say something like: “Reading more about the new #GoogleUpdate targeting spammy #marketing techniques – what are your thoughts?” This way, you are only hashtagging the key elements of your Tweet (those common themes that people may search for or click on) whilst blending them in with natural conversation.

Clicking on a hashtag, or typing the text from the hashtag into the search bar, will take you to a list of everyone who is using the same common theme as you; this can allow you to then engage with others who are interested in the same topic and vice versa. If your brand is big enough, and you have a healthy follower base, you can even start your very own hashtag and aim to get that trending.

Be on trend

On the left hand side of your screen, you will see a list of topics that are currently ‘trending’ on Twitter; the list you see will depend on your settings: yours may be configured so that they show trends relevant to your interests or they may show for your location, but you can amend this if you want to see global or UK trends instead. Keep a close eye on the trending topics as this will allow you to jump into hot conversation; you can tweet about the theme if it’s relevant to you which can then encourage more engagement with your brand, as well as fresh followers.

Real time. Real talk

Twitter is short and sweet; it allows you to reach out to your followers in real time when compared to other social networks, so you can immediately keep them in the loop with the latest news or information.

It’s a great tool for feeding back to people when you’re at an event or a conference, especially if the organiser has created a Tweet specifically for the event – make sure you utilise this for maximum engagement. You can literally Tweet about something that was said at an event as it happens.

Create lists

Twitter allows you to organise your followers into specific lists; so you can separate them by the type of contact they are i.e. clients, customers, colleagues, support, or you can organise them by interest. This makes it easier to see what a particular section of your followers is talking about rather than looking at your whole feed and trying to find specific people.

Brand mentions

If someone wants to talk directly to your brand, they will usually use the @ character to directly Tweet you; however, many people might mention you in passing to their followers, so it’s worth using the Twitter search function to check for brand mentions. This can allow you to converse with people that you aren’t already connected to, but who show an interest in your business. It can also allow you to pick up on any positive or negative comments that are not being directed straight at you. It’s a beneficial feature, so make it a ritual to do a quick search regularly.

How can I make it work for my business?

So, now you know what you can do with Twitter to reach out to your audience, how can you apply this to your business?

•    Promote your blog posts – this will widen your readership
•    Ask your followers questions – this is great for research and development
•    Join in with trending conversations to expand your follower base
•    Monitor Twitter for brand mentions
•    Tweet at least once per day – the more you Tweet, the more engagement you’ll reap
•    Be consistent with your brand voice – use this when you Tweet
•    Tweet like a human – don’t always be promotional and don’t be afraid to show personality
•    Use it for quick and easy customer service – followers will appreciate your speedy response
•    Host competitions – you can use these to expand your follower base further

How have you tackled Twitter for business? Do you have any top tips for your specific market place?

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Oct 31
Lianne Jones

Seasonal events and celebrations are always fantastic opportunities for generating content for your business. It doesn’t matter whether you work in law, finance, catering or beauty, you can make the most of occasions like Easter, Halloween, and Christmas by creating engaging images and copy to distribute across your blog and social channels (or even for use as PR) – and if you do this really well, you could potentially see it go viral, taking your brand to a wider audience.

Spook tactics

Let’s take Halloween as an example; the internet has exploded with spooky activity today as businesses have embraced All Hallows' Eve. Here are some of the best examples of seasonal digital marketing:


Krispy Screams

Never ones to miss out on a seasonal opportunity, Krispy Kreme took full advantage of Halloween by launching spooky doughnuts, by offering customers in full costume a free Original Glazed doughnut, and by hosting various spooky activities. They reminded followers of the looming celebration in the run-up to Halloween – therefore reinforcing their brand and promoting their new products whilst also encouraging people to engage with them on social channels.


Carling

Carling pulled an excellent video out of the marketing bag this Halloween – the video proved to be so popular that it went viral in a matter of days, and it now has over 218,000 views on YouTube alone. That’s some successful seasonal marketing!
So why was this one so successful? Simple: Carling combined Halloween, humour, boyish pranks and beer – a recipe for social media success! Check it out.


Oreo


We’re big fans of the Oreo marketing campaigns; they are always super creative and engaging. For Halloween, Oreo created a series of Vines with the hashtag #OreoHorrorStories - they played homage to famous horror movies as the cookies met their death! If you haven’t watched these yet, then you have to check them out. They are simply brilliant.



FedEx


It wasn’t just the food and drink industry that got involved with some spooktacular marketing; Fed Ex embraced the world’s love of everything zombie by tweeting a picture of an apocalypse survival kit captioned with: “Ship just about all #Zombie Apocalypse survival gear for one flat rate.”


Folly Farm



On a more local level, Folly Farm did an excellent job of promoting their adventure park this Halloween. Their social channels were full of fun, spooky-themed pics. The Penguins and Pumpkins photo album on Facebook and this adorable pic of lemurs playing with a vampire mask are our favourites – the lemurs even managed to get themselves into the local press!
Folly Farm also embraced Halloween by running special events such as Jugglestruck's Spooky Show, Halloween Card hunts and Trails, Freaky face painting and Creepy Encounters with rats, cockroaches and giant land snails to keep kids occupied during the half term break


Capital FM

This South Wales based radio station played a mean prank on some of their unsuspecting staff by jumping out on them in the early hours of this morning whilst wearing a mask. They videoed the prank before putting it onto their social channels for the world to see. Take a look here.


Happy Halloween

At Liberty Marketing, we enjoyed some Halloween themed cupcakes, we turned the staff room into a spooky den, we spent the day in fancy dress and we raffled some sweet goods – all to raise money for charity.

What are you doing this Halloween? Whatever you are doing to celebrate, here’s hoping you have a spooktacular time!

 



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Jul 23
Lianne Jones

After the Duchess of Cambridge went into labour yesterday, millions of users on Twitter waited with bated breath for the arrival of our new Prince or Princess. For the first time, Brits could celebrate a Royal birth on social media.

Trending topics such as #RoyalBaby and #RoyalBabyWatch emerged as Twitter users tried to predict the sex, weight and even the arrival time of the special sprog. Tweets came in thick and fast as companies and individuals across the globe joined in the Royal baby conversation.

Heir we go

As with the announcement of the labour, many people first found out about the new Prince as word spread across Twitter.

Almost immediately, trending topics changed from baby predictions to congratulatory tweets with hashtags such as #RoyalBabyBoy and #RoyalBabyNames emerging as users began speculating the name of the future King. News spread like wildfire to other social networks with Facebook timelines, and even LinkedIn, buzzing with the news.

The sheer volume of tweets and social mentions that went live yesterday was astounding – and the speed at which the news spread showed the true power of social media!

Royal baby branding

As well as making the most of the chatter on social channels, many brands tried to capitalise on the arrival of the noble new born with some strategic branding:

Starbucks:

The coffee giant’s UK Twitter account showed their support of the new Prince by tweeting a picture of two Starbucks coffee cups labelled with ‘Kate’ and ‘William’, accompanied by a mini coffee cup – all decorated with crowns!



Oreo Cookie:

Oreo celebrated the Royal baby by tweeting ‘Prepare the royal bottle service!’ They further branded the tweet with the slogan: ‘Long live the crème’.



Coca-Cola:

Coke made use of their current marketing campaign to show their support of the Royal news – they tweeted ‘Time for a Royal celebration’ with an image of two coke bottles ‘Kate’ and ‘Wills’.



Domino’s Pizza and Pizza Hut:

Pizza Hut took the arrival of the Royal baby as an opportunity to sell more pizza! They offered customers a free side or dessert with any medium or large pizza by using discount code: ROYALOFFER - whereas Domino’s tweeted a picture of a baby grow that had been branded with their colours and logo, and read: ‘Another great delivery’.



Souvenirs and memorabilia

Many brands will also look to jump on the baby bandwagon with souvenirs and memorabilia to mark the event. Companies such as the Royal Crown Derby and the Royal Collection Trust are already working on collectables to celebrate the Royal birth, but they certainly won’t be the only ones; we’re certain to see a broad range of businesses rolling out baby-themed products over the coming weeks!

What’s been your favourite example of baby branding on social media so far? And will you be buying into the Royal baby memorabilia? Let us know on Twitter @LibertyOnlineUK

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Mar 13

So many businesses gear the social media element of their online marketing strategy around a few select sites, but to get the most out of social media, it’s important to remember that there’s many more opportunities out there than those provided by Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn alone. Compared to these giants, other social media sites may pale in comparison, but they are certainly no minnows and should not be ignored. So what other social media sites should you be sure to consider when devising your online marketing strategy?

Scribd

Scribd is the world’s largest social publishing company. It makes it simple to share PDF files which can be viewed as blogs, websites or social networks. Scribd can be used by businesses to generate additional views of documents on the search engines. The added exposure your company and brand will receive is likely to impact favourable on your sales.

Google+

Google+ is still very much in its infancy and it is yet to be seen whether anything will really materialise from the much hyped network. As yet it has been largely ignored by businesses, but as with all things Google, its functionality is expected to catch up quickly with some of the more established social media sites in the industry. For now it cannot hurt to include Google+ in your social media strategy as it is another way to increase fans and build online exposure.

Tumblr

Up until recently, Tumblr was seen as the new kid on the block of the social media world and as such has featured in many a web savvy company’s online marketing strategy. However, lifespan for social media sites can be short, with more recent additions capturing much of Tumblr’s limelight. With over 33 million users, Tumblr is far from forgotten and is an excellent platform on which to share blogs. With the vast majority of Tumblr’s users under the age of 35, companies with products and services aimed at the younger generation would be daft not to consider it as an option well worth exploring.

Pinterest

The latest social media online marketing platform to step out of the shadows of the industry giants, Pinterest takes the form of an online pinboard which allows companies to share information about new products, allowing them to connect with potential customers. Having reached 10 million users in a short space of time, a branded Pinterest site is not for everyone, but well worth looking into if your product range suits Pinterest’s demographic.

Here at online marketing agency Liberty, we explore every avenue to maximise your social media marketing strategy, ensuring your targeted campaign receives the exposure it deserves.

Feb 23
Nicola

Since its launch in 2006, Twitter has become a powerful platform for businesses looking to develop a closer relationship with customers as part of an effective, social media based online marketing campaign. With over 300 million users, Twitter helps even the smallest businesses create a big web buzz and connect with their demographic on an engaging, personal level.

Now, Twitter are masterminding new ways for small and medium businesses to promote themselves. After teaming up with American Express, Twitter are taking the online marketing potential of their platform to an entirely new level. Currently only available in the US, Twitter's new online advertising scheme is set to make the hop across the pond later this year.

The new online marketing scheme will make it even easier for businesses to grow their online visibility and boost their business using Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts products. To get the ball rolling American Express and Twitter are offering a fantastic introductory offer to small business owners and other parties looking for an even better way to promote themselves on Twitter. For the first 10,000 eligible businesses to sign up for the scheme, each will be rewarded with $100 of totally free advertising.

This exciting introductory offer is an opportunity for the social networking giant to show small-to-medium business owners just how easy and profitable their online marketing services can be. It is also a sign of things to come. Part of the appeal of Twitter is that it is free of the intrusive ads found on other social networking platforms, now Twitter are finding clever online marketing solutions which don't jeopardise the user experience or the streamlined features which make Twitter so compelling.

For smaller UK businesses looking to use online marketing and social media marketing to increase consumer awareness and maximise customer participation in their brand, these new Twitter online marketing services are set to arrive on our shores later this year, so keep your eyes peeled!

In the meantime, there are dozens of alternative online marketing services out there which can give your online business a real boost. To find out more about how to create an online presence and maximise your business on the web get in touch with the Liberty team today.

May 11
Gareth Morgan

In the first case of its kind, a UK citizen has just been fined £1000 after one of his tweets landed him in hot water.

Back in January, upon hearing the news that Robin Hood Airport was closing due to snow, angry Twitter user, Paul Chambers vented his anger by posting: "C**p! Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your s**t together, otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!!"

Whilst the airport themselves didn’t take the joke seriously, the police did and this week he was fined £1,000 due to the post being "grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character”.

On top of the fine, Mr Chambers was given a criminal record and also had his computer confiscated. This hasn’t stopped him using the micro-blogging site as since he has commented on the judgment with "I'd like to thank the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) for their level-best efforts in f**king up the life of an ordinary citizen. I love Britain."

Mr Chambers is now considering launching an appeal, something which other Twitterers, including well known user Steven Fry, have said they would help fund.

Mar 02
Gareth Morgan

Twitter, the popular micro-blog, will soon be introducing an advertising system that allows businesses to place sponsored messages amongst Twitter search results.

Following the very profitable example that Google set with its AdWords system, Twitter will allow third-party advertisers to buy their way into the search results, via a 140 character advert.

According to an article on All Things Digital, from the Wall Street Journal, the social media website will launch the new advertising platform within the first half of 2010.

The report states that “Ads will be tied to Twitter searches, in the same way that Google's original ads were. So a search for, say, 'laptop', may generate an ad for Dell. The ads will only show up in search results, which means users who don't search for something won't see them in their regular Twitterstreams.”

Initially, the advertising will be sold through agencies, while Twitter works on creating a self-serving model. Eventually, the plan is one where anyone with a website can purchase an ad, just like they can on AdWords.

Twitter has long sought a revenue model, especially since becoming one of the most popular websites on the web. Over 50 million tweets are being written every day, yet the business has received criticism as it has been unable to create a profit from this popularity. It is no surprise that they turned to Google for inspiration, as the majority of the multi-billion-dollar revenue that the search engine receives is from the sponsored listings served through its AdWords system.

Feb 12
Steve

A few days ago, Google announced that they would be launching their new social media service: Google Buzz. It’s currently being rolled out across the world, with some users still waiting to receive full access to the service, while others have already been able to try it out.

How does it differ to other social media platforms?

Google has worked hard to differentiate Buzz from other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, which it does in a few different ways:

1. Integration with email

Google has integrated its successful email feature Gmail into Buzz, giving it an advantage over even the most popular social media platforms, whose email functions – if they have them – tend to be poor. Google is confident that Buzz users will see the advantage of not having to log into both a social media platform and separate email account.

2. Fast, full screen photo presentation

Buzz offers a photo viewing feature, which allows its users to view large, high quality photos that fill the screen and can be scrolled through at a high speed.

3. Buzz places high emphasis on location

Google believes that location is an important indicator of how relevant information is to you. Buzz can work out your location and is even able to ascertain the name of the building you are in.

4. Only shows posts which will interest you

Google has used it extensive knowledge of algorithms to create Buzz and shows this off by claiming that it will filter out posts that are not of interest to you – even if they are by your contacts – and vice versa: interesting posts by people you don’t already know. Then, depending on which tidbits you choose to approve or hide, its algorithm will attempt to gear more relevant and interesting results your way, personalised to your tastes.

Can it rival Facebook and Twitter?

What’s interesting is Buzz’s integration of other social media platforms, including Flickr and Twitter, but not with Facebook. Perhaps a deal is in the pipeline between the two, but until then it almost suggests that Google is content to live in harmony with Twitter (after all, Google recently paid $25m to index Twitter’s content), but with Buzz containing similar features to Facebook, it seems like Buzz’s main intention is to topple the current social media king.

It’s no secret that Facebook is currently dominating the social media market, with an official blog post on the site recently reporting that it had reached over 400 million users. While a completely fresh and unknown social media platform may struggle to compete with such a giant already in place, Google’s advantage is in its brand, which is already popular and established in almost every other aspect of the Internet - if anyone is going to compete with Facebook and Twitter, it’s going to be Google.

What should businesses do?

It’s too soon to tell whether Google’s new venture will take the world by storm or end up as a failed attempt, but at the very least, it’s certainly worth taking a look at and registering a profile, even if simply to get to grips with the interface and reserve your company name. For those who already have a Gmail account, getting started is easy, with current contacts automatically becoming friends/followers and therefore eliminating the registration process - not every social media site can claim to start off with millions of users raring to go.

Jan 28
Gareth Morgan

Significant results have emerged from a nationwide survey which concluded that the majority of journalists now use social media as an essential source for finding information. The survey, conducted by Cision and Don Bates of The George Washington University, stressed that although PR firms are still used to verify and expand on information, social media sites are the first point of call for journalists who are researching articles or uncovering stories.

These findings will have major implications for many companies’ current PR strategies. Of the journalists questioned, 65% use social media sites including Facebook and Linkedin as part of their research process with a further 89% using blogs to obtain information. Micro blogging sites were also found to be popular among journalists with 51% consulting twitter when conducting research.

The use of social media is widespread throughout the profession, the survey found that those journalists who had greater experience (20 or more years) relied on blogs almost as much as those with fewer years experience (under 9 years) with only a 2% difference between the two groups. Of the journalists questioned 71% claimed to use the web ‘far more’ than they did five years ago when writing an article.

If your business wants to be successful when engaging in public relations then you must ensure that your firm or your PR agency is effectively using social media marketing techniques and consider it an imperative part of all PR work.