(image: The Verge)

How many followers do you have? 10s, 100s, 1000s, more? When you first start out on social media, building a following can be slow. And for that reason many people are now opting to buy their friends. But apart from being a bit sneaky, are there any other disadvantages of buying Twitter followers? We’ll discuss that here.

How Do You Buy Followers?
 

The most common way of buying followers is through a method called ‘zombie account following’. This is where you enlist the services of a 3rd party company, who have a database of ‘zombie’ accounts. They will then follow your Twitter page from these accounts. These are usually inactive users or fake accounts, made solely for this purpose.

The Pros 

(image: Fame Burst)


You’ll be one of the popular kids


The more friends you have the more popular you will appear. Whether they are true followers doesn’t matter, it’s the figure that counts – isn’t it? 

And a high number of followers will make you look and feel important. High numbers dictate worth – you must be worth a follow if 1,500 people already do. 

It’s quick and easy


Results don’t happen overnight if you do things the right way. But if you are looking for a quick win, then this may be the answer. There are numerous sites out there that promise 1,000s of followers for only £5, which is sure to get the savviest of bargain hunters interested. Just don’t expect any of the 1,000 to interact with your account. 

The Cons


Eww! Spam!


Nobody likes ‘spam’ as a food and it is especially disliked in our inboxes. If you decide to purchase Twitter followers you could end up seriously p***ing off your ‘real’ followers. 

Most of these zombie services will insist on access to your account, and while they are in there they will send out many messages to advertise their dubious methods. This is something you as the account holder have little or no control over.

Receiving the same tweets and direct messages not only is annoying but it can really…

Give you a bad rep   

Do you pride yourself on your business’ great reputation and strong relationships with your customers? Well, that integrity may become tarnished quite quickly if you decide to use this technique. 

Buying followers is like cheating in a race, by cutting out the hill climb, and jumping over the fence onto the home straight and the finish line. It is generally seen as immoral. And if you can’t put the time and effort into your own business, can your customers really expect you to give it to them? 

You’ll get found out

It’s easy to think “oh we’ll never get found out”, but you’d be surprised how many people do. Apart from the key giveaways, such as huge increases in a small amount of time, and the relentless advertising, there are now online tools which will scan for fake profiles. 

A simple Google search for ‘find fake followers’, will result in a myriad of checkers, who will pull the results for any Twitter handle. 

It’s nothing but a number

Would you rather 10 real friends or 100 associates? The same question can be applied to your Twitter account. As we previously mentioned, these bought followers won’t interact with you. It can be lonely at the top!

It won’t give you a Klout!

Do you know what your Klout score is? Well, as outlined in, our essential guide to social media terminology, Klout measures your social influence. The higher this is, the better.

And bought followers should help you, fake it until you make it. Whether real or fake, all followers are counted towards your overall score – aren’t they? Well… no. 

Having thousands of followers may make you appear to be influential, but Klout looks at your interaction to formulate your score. So if you don’t have any retweets, replies or favourites you are unlikely to make it, even to double figures. 

Danger! Danger!

Finally, before handing over your details (and your money), stop and think ‘is this safe?’ Some (not all) of these companies are phishing schemes, which are looking to take advantage of unsuspecting businesses and their followers. Is it really worth the risk?  

(image: Slate)

So will you be buying Twitter followers any time soon? Here at Liberty we believe in expanding your following the good old fashioned way – with engagement and interaction!




Do you find yourself frequently looking up social media definitions and Googling what the experts say? Not to worry. If you’re a social media novice or just looking to beef up your knowledge of the latest terminology, we have you covered. Here is your essential guide to social media terminology:


A


AddThis – AddThis is a social tool that allows you to guide traffic to your social media pages from your website through social media shares. It can help you to grow, track and optimise your social pages with analytics data. This is a great tool if you want to know when people are using your pages and how often.

Avatar – An avatar is an image, or an icon, which represents an individual online. This is usually paired with a username. 


B


Bitly – Some social media sites will restrict the length of a post, so to keep your character count down use Bitly to condense and shorten your URLs. 

BoardReader – If you want to know what your target audience really want to read about, why not look at forums and noticeboards? And don’t worry you won’t have to trawl through them for hours. Search for mentioned keywords using BoardReader!


C


Call to Action (CTA) – Tells your readers where to go – literally. All call to actions should tell a reader where they can find out more and provide vital information, such as a link or contact details. 

Chat – This can refer to any online communication, but is usually used to refer to private instant messaging. 

Circles – Circles are a component of Google+, that group together other users that you have connected with. You can choose to categorise these in a number of different ways, such as by colleagues, customers, or friends. You can then share your posts with a specific group if you wish.  


(image: Jeffrey Lapin)

Comments – A comment is a message posted in reply to a post on Facebook or other social media sites. 

Connections – A connection is the term given to a person a user has befriended on LinkedIn. These are called connections rather than ‘friends’ as this is a professional networking platform.

Creative Commons – Looking for that perfect picture to accompany your latest blog post or tweet? Then search through Creative Commons. This provides free licensed images to be shared and/or edited by the general public. 


D


E



Facebook - The most popular social media network in the world. Facebook has 1.23billion monthly users, 945million mobile users, and 757million daily users. It connects people with ‘friends’ allowing them to share messages both publically and privately, post photos and videos, as well as play games. 


(image: Simon under CC0 1.0)


Flash Mob – A flash mob is a group of people who perform an unexpected yet pre-planned dance number in a public space. The participants then disperse quickly and go on their way. Flash mobs are often filmed and posted on social media for advertising or marketing purposes.  

Here’s an example from T-Mobile in 2009:

 

Flickr – Is a social media community that inspires the sharing of photography. It allows users to store and view photos, as well as discuss the images. 

Forums – A forum is an online message board, which creates discussion. Someone will post a question and then any other user can reply with an answer. 

Followers – This is Twitter’s version of friends. A follower is a person who subscribes to and follows your tweets. 
Follow Friday #FF – This is a hashtag that is only used on a Friday. This hashtag is a way of recommending another twitter user, whether this be a friend, colleague or company. 

Friends – Like in real, everyday life, friends are people you connect with – on Facebook. 

G


Google+ - This is Google’s answer to social networking. Google+ is described as a social layer that is not only a networking site, but combines a number of different Google features under one umbrella. It can also provide online authorship for web content posted on blogs. 

H


Hangouts – This is a video service provided by Google+. It allows a user to video chat with a number of different people at the same time, and share documents while chatting. 

Hashtags – A hashtag is this symbol ‘#’. When placed in front of a term or phrase it providers users the ability to group and track its usage. Hashtags are a handy way of finding what topics are most spoken about on Twitter. 

HootSuite – This is a social media management system. HootSuite allows users to control what they post across a number of social media sites from one page. Interaction is then reported through HootSuite and results can be tracked.

I


Instagram – Instagram is a popular photo sharing application for mobile users. Photos can be taken, edited and then shared among users on the network. Instagram can also be linked to Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms. It is however only available on Apple devices.


(image: Zenspa1 under CC BY 2.0 and Mackey Saturday)

 
Instant Messaging – Instant messaging, or IM, is an online way of conversing privately in real-time. 


J


K


Klout – Klout measures a user’s social influences and scores it with a numerical value between 1 and 100. The higher your score, the more influential you are on social media networks. 


L


Like – This is a quick action on Facebook which allows a user to show their interest or approval without having to write a comment. 

LinkedIn – Social networking isn’t only for your social life, LinkedIn is used professionally to help network and maybe even find you a job.


M


Meme – A meme is an image overlaid with text to show humour or a thought.



N


News Feed – This can also be known as a ‘timeline’. A news feed is used as a homepage on Facebook. It combines all of the latest updates from friends in one place for easy viewing. 


O


P


Pinterest – Pinterest is an online pin board where users can group together, select or ‘pin’ pictures to boards. Pinterest is used by millions as a place to find inspiration or aesthetically pleasing imagery. 


Q


R


Reddit – Reddit is an entertainment based social networking platform that allows users to upload and share content to a registered community. This is usually funny images, videos or memes. 

Retweet – This is a re-share of another person’s tweet. Retweeting will share the message with your followers and attribute it to the original Twitter user. 


S


Sendible – Sendible is a powerful social networking tool used by businesses. Like HootSuite it collates all your user accounts, allowing you to post and track from one place.  

SlideShare – An online network which enables the sharing of presentations and documents virtually. 

Social Media Monitoring – This refers to the checking and responding to messages received on social media accounts. 


T


Tag Cloud – A visual depiction of the keywords used within written content. 


Throwback Thursday – A hashtag used on a Thursday, alongside a nostalgic photo or message that looks back on past events. 

Timeline – This can refer to two things. 
(1) See ‘News Feed’ 
(2) The latest style of personal Facebook page, which displays posts chronologically. 

Trending – This is the term given to the terms or topics which are most spoken about on Twitter. These ‘trending’ items can be looked at globally or nationally to see what users are interested in. 

Tweet – A 140 character message posted on Twitter. This may also contain photos, videos or links to web content.
 
Twitter – Twitter is the second most popular social media networking site, and uses microblogging for users to send ‘tweets’ to other followers.


U


Username – This is a pseudonym or screen name that users are required to create when setting up a social media account. It is the name by which you will be referred to while online. 

Did we miss any terms out? Then tweet us your terms or phrases, and we’ll define them for you!


Social media is huge! Around 900million people use Facebook, 310million use Twitter and there are multiple other networks out there. Of these, there are many celebrity users who tweet and post messages to their fans.

Every person uses social media in their own way, and celebrities are no exception. Whether you are serious about selfies, or dip in and out of your accounts, take our quiz and find out which celebrity user you are most like. 

 

1. Why do you use social media?

(a) To TWEET and POSTTTT LIKE I’M SHOUTTTTTTIIINNGG!!!

(b) To promote myself, and the businesses I invest in, duh!?

(c) I use it because my manager and PR guy say I have to 

(d) To share my wealth of knowledge with the world and post witty remarks about current events

(e) To fight trolls

(f) To share my lad and dad photos of course 

 

2. How do you interact on Twitter? 

(a) I do retweet and reply, but it’s mostly about me

(b) I just Instagram everything and reply in my own time to tweets

(c) I have Twitter but I don’t use it very often  

(d) I do like a good intellectual debate

(e) I send funny replies to the people who slag me off


(f) I don’t have Twitter

 

3. And what about Facebook?

(a) It’s mostly pictures and advertising my work

(b) I don’t use it that often but I like to show my love for my close friends and amazing fans

(c) I try to post about business but people keep sending me memes

(d) I don’t really use it

(e) Sharing group photos and crowd pics is fun. Don’t forget to tag yourself!

(f) I try to ignore the Facebook stalkers who <3 <3 <3 me

 

4. How often do you log in and check your social media accounts?

(a) Every few hours

(b) 3 or 4 days a week

(c) Once a week

(d) When I’m bored or see something elsewhere online I want to share

(e) Once a fortnight

(f) Most days 

 

5. What are you more likely to share and retweet?

(a) A bit of everything – charity links, funny videos, fashion questions

(b) Instagram pics of course

(c) Messages about me and general funny stuff

(d) Lots of music videos and an occasional picture of things that amuse me

(e) I’d rather comment on things

(f) I don’t share or retweet anything

 

6. What are your feelings on nude photographs being posted on social media?

(a) If you’ve got it flaunt it!

(b) It wouldn’t really fit with my image, but bikinis are fine

(c) Photos? What are they?

(d) There are much more interesting photographs out there in cyber space

(e) Only if they are simulated using food art

(f) Do I look buff? 

 

7. What does your about me bio say?

(a) Nothing about me, just a link to my latest work

(b) My Facebook page holds the story of my life

(c) Absolutely nothing. There is where I’m from though

(d) It lists my many career disciplines and how I got to where I am today

(e) I made a witty comment about my achievements to date

(f) I don’t need a bio, if you are looking at my page you know who I am

 

8. Are you a fan of selfies?

(a) I’m a bit obsessed with taking photos, but most of mine have been removed for inappropriate content

(b) 90% of my photos are of me, on my own or with other people, but only a few I took myself

(c) I don’t really take photos

(d) I’m partial to a selfie, but only if it is a special occasion

(e) Only if it’s a group picture with models or influential people. You know what I look like.

(f) I have other people take photos of me

 

9. Who are you more likely to befriend and follow?

(a) The people who message me the most

(b) People in the same industry as me 

(c) I don’t follow people, so I’ve hidden this information from other users

(d) Anyone who has something interesting to say

(e) People in power

(f) I have a fan page so I don’t have to have friends 

 

10. What is your profile picture?

(a) A selfie of course

(b) A promotional pic for my latest work

(c) A rockin’ black and white picture, where I look very serious 

(d) A simple picture of me at home

(e) A work related picture

(f) A close up reaction shot

 

Mostly A’s = Rihanna

Pop siren Rihanna currently spends most of her days tweeting about the World Cup. But, when she isn’t commenting on the sporting event, she is posting photographs of her in a lack of clothing. Her mum Monica has even told the singer off for her saucy snaps. Rihanna told Elle Magazine, 

“I’m not afraid of any person other than my mother, but I’m terrified of her.

“She went crazy on me. I was embarrassed”

If you had mostly A’s then you, like Rihanna, are no stranger to social media. You use it a couple of times a day and enjoy sharing things you find interesting. Though you may want to tone some of your photos down a little. 

Mostly B’s = Selena Gomez

Disney princess Selena Gomez is a savvy social media users and understands the power of online platforms to boost business. She often posts promotional content for her music career and the other businesses she invests in. 

If you had mostly B’s, your social media will have a healthy mix of business content and personal items, which gives your accounts personality. You use social media a few times a week, and you pick and choose quality content. 

Mostly C’s = Eminem 

Eminem isn’t a fan of social media sites and only uses them to keep in touch on occasions. If you had mostly C’s, you could do with making your social media accounts more personable. Post personal photos, follow your most avid tweeters and simply log in more often. 

Mostly D’s = Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry isn’t your everyday social media user.  He brings a sense of high culture to the sites. If you had mostly D’s, then you are likely to have social media for your own pleasure, not to promote anything. You share things that genuinely interest you. 

Mostly E’s = James Blunt 

James Blunt gets a lot of stick from Twitter trolls so tries to beat the bullies by replying with witty remarks that belittle them. His social media accounts are a bit snooty, so if you had mostly E’s, you may want to upload content that’s a bit more down to earth! 

Mostly F’s = Vin Diesel

If you had mostly F’s you need to get Twitter! Twitter is the second most used social media network and is quickly catching first place, Facebook. Whether for business or your own personal activities, Twitter is a great way of interacting with others. 

Your Facebook is very popular but you don’t chat to people, so get to know the people who look at your page and you could have many more likes very soon. 

 

 

(images: Wikimedia and Sticky Egg)

When we were young, baby digital marketers learning the ways of the world our elders often told us that “you have to make mistakes to learn from them”. 

We wonder if these 11 businesses learnt their lessons!? 

1. #AskBG

High utility costs have been a hot topic in the news over the last year or so, and many providers have disgruntled customers. So it probably wasn’t the best idea for British Gas to ask its Twitter followers what they think of the company a few days after announcing a price hike of nearly 10%. 

2. The battle to be burger king 

Of all the burger joints out there, the biggest two are undoubtedly Burger King and McDonalds. Last year Burger King was hacked by an unknown group, and its profile was changed to mimic its bitter rival. The hackers even tweeted that Burger King had been bought out and made accusations that its employees were on drugs. 

3. #PricelessSurprises from MasterCard

If you should take anything from this example, it is to not tell journalists what to write about. In an attempt to create a successful marketing campaign MasterCard planned to tweet about the Brits. 

The brand’s PR company lined up plenty of videos, pictures and tweets to accompany the event, but also tried to tell journalists what they could say about the event. They even suggested tweets, hashtags and when the journalists should send them. 

Of course, many journalists didn’t take the instructions well, and the brand’s social strategies were published for all to see on Twitter. A very #PricelessSurprise. 

4. Samsung and the birth of a king 

In July 2013 the country rejoiced when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge saw the birth of their first child. A new royal was born and it was time to celebrate. But technology company Samsung took this as a time to get some free advertising on the back of the momentous event. 

Here’s how they advertised the then new Samsung Galaxy 4:

5. HMV should have changed its password

When you are going to fire someone in charge of your social mediam it is probably a good idea to change your passwords first. HMV wasn’t that clever. When it went into administration the company had to lay off thousands of employees which unsurprisingly left many of them disgruntled. 

1 such staff member decided to voice her anger to the world by live tweeting her HR meeting with HR using #hmvXFactorFiring. 

6. Benadryl’s social pollen count 

Ever wondered where the pollen hot spots are in the UK? Well, hay fever prevention specialist Benadryl wondered that too. So it decided to make an interactive map, where hay fever sufferers could plot their sneeze locations and share it on social media. 

However, some people took this as an invitation to make some unusual art work.  

7. BA’s customer service fail 

Having someone moan about your business on social media is a bad thing, but it isn’t the end of the world. But it is if that customer buys social advertising to promote their issues with your business. Sadly, this was a reality for British Airways. 

When BA failed to find Hassan Syed’s father’s luggage he decided to voice his opinion with a promoted tweet that was seen by more than 75,000 Twitter users. What’s worse, BA did not respond to Syed for more than 8 hours!

8. Ryanair’s frisky CEO 

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary isn’t the most up-to-date when it comes to social media, but he does take the time to answer questions from the public about his budget airline’s services. Though in his case he is probably better off keeping quiet.

Back in 2013, O’Leary made sexist and confrontational replies to questions which considerably tarnished his public image. And on top of this he didn’t even remember to use his own speciality made hashtag #GrillMOL. 

9. Insecure Comments from Domino’s Pizza 

When one devout Domino’s customer posted a photo of her pizza along with a comment that stated it was the ‘best pizza ever’ and for the popular chain to ‘keep up the good work’, the company decided to reply with a strong apology. 

They later said “we meant we were sorry it took Jeaneth so long it took to enjoy the best pizza ever”, and then made further comments that it was human error. 

10. Celeb Boutique doesn’t pay attention to the news

Nearly 2 years ago in Aurora, Colorado there was a mass shooting at a cinema that rocked the USA and the world. And at this time British fashion retailer Celeb Boutique took the rule of commenting on current events a bit too far. 

Believe it not #Aurora was not trending because of its Kim K inspired Aurora dress. 

11. Habitat wants to be popular 

UK home furnishing store Habitat is also a main offender when it comes to hashtags. Relevance went out the window when the store decided to attach popular hashtags, such as #Apple and #iPhone to random tweets in order to increase visibility online. This is not the way to use social media and not how established brands should interact. 

 

Do you struggle with social media? Or perhaps you just don’t have time to tweet, post and pin? Well, not to worry Liberty Marketing is here to the rescue. Why not include social media within your monthly servicing?

 

(images: PR Disasters, Social Slurp, Business Insider, and Huffington Post)

Hello, my name is Steph and I am a social media addict – sort of. It started off with an innocent Bebo account, then there was Myspace, and today I have accounts with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, just to name a few.

Thankfully though, a rubbish phone and a hatred for selfies has stopped me becoming totally obsessed. What about you? Are you a social media addict? If you’ve made any of the following confessions then you may be:


1.       People call you by your screen name or Twitter handle not your birth name. In real life.


2.       You take ages to fall asleep at night because you’re scared to shut your eyes just in case you get a notification.

 3.       And when you do finally drift off, you are already excited about the new followers the morning will bring.

 4.       You plan your #throwbackthursdays well in advance.


 

5.       Your pet has social media accounts – yes plural.

 6.       Daily activities are planned around the possibility of Instagram snaps.

 7.       A low phone battery is scary.

 8.       So you have to carry around a portable phone charger.

 9.       After you meet someone for the first time you stalk them on social media. What were they doing 3 years ago last Tuesday?


 

10.   You have the perfect ‘followers’ to ‘following’ ratio.

 11.   Your Klout score means EVERYTHING to you.

 12.   You ‘check-in’ everywhere you go.

 13.   Friends tell you that you are attached to your phone or computer.

 14.   You are scared to drink alcohol because you don’t know what you’ll say online.

 15.   You delete Facebook posts if you don’t get enough likes.


 

16.   Face-to-face conversations are scary.

 17.   You know everything about a friend’s partner although they never mention them and you’ve never met.

 18.   Hashtags are part of your #everyday #language.

 19.   But one good thing about all this is that your life is well documented.

 20.   You are going to spend ages sharing this post and deciding on the ideal hashtag to accompany it.

 

 

Social Media Addiction and Business

Although being glued to your social media sites 24-7 can be disruptive to your personal life, being on top of your business social media accounts can do wonders.

For example, let’s take number 4: Throwback Thursdays. Planning your posts and tweets well in advance using social media management tools such as Sendible and Hootsuite will ensure you are creating quality content and tracking the effectiveness.

Stalking someone, like in number 9, is a little extreme, but knowing the type of people who follow your social media activity gives insight into your current and potential customer base. And when you know who these people are you can create social content that caters to their interests.

Finally, a well-documented business life is a great thing! If you frequently post and tweet you are more likely to generate engagement from other social media users and maybe even gain a few more customers too. Regular posting will also give your business a sense of authority or trust in the industry; but don’t forget to show personality as this is important too.

So do you have a social media addiction? Or perhaps you have more questions on social media? Well, give us a tweet or comment on our Facebook – we’d love to hear what you think! 

(images: thegirlwiththeblog, Bill and Vicki T and weareiu)

When it comes to online marketing everybody wants to get ahead. This often means trying to use new technology and features in order to benefit their rankings. One such advancement comes in the form of social signals, but what exactly does this mean?

What is a Social Signal?

In its purest form, every time your link is shared, liked, retweeted or commented on, it shows that people are engaging with your content and therefore should be considered important.

When it first took off in 2010, Matt Cutts released a statement saying that these social signal DO play a role in organic SEO. Since this statement many marketers have launched research into how much social signals affect organic SEO, if they do at all.

But four years down the line, Cutts has released another video which says that social signals DO NOT affect how pages are ranked. In fact, Cutts claimed that now social media pages are crawled exactly like any other webpage on the internet and therefore likes or tweets does not affect the pages ranking.

So, what does this mean for social signals?

The Impact on SEO

What we can understand from Matt Cutt’s video is that the number of likes/ followers a Facebook/ Twitter page has will have no relation to its rankings. However, it will still consider the Page Rank and the links that have been built to those pages in the same way as any other website.

What this means is that if you have a Facebook page with 1million likes, but no links built to the page then you cannot expect it to rank in Google due to its popularity alone. However, Cutts did mention that Google are looking at a way to know when an authority has posted to a specific site, in order to give it more weight in the search engines, but this is not currently happening.

Using Social for Traffic and Brand Awareness

Just because social signals aren’t used by Google to rank, doesn’t mean that social isn’t important. In fact, social media is one of the best ways to direct relevant traffic to your website.

Over half of all marketers claim that Facebook is a crucial element to their business, helping them with their marketing campaigns and allowing them to interact with their customers. In fact, between 2012 and 2013, Facebook was responsible for over 10% of all referral traffic to publishers, with Pinterest being a surprising second.

One of the best uses for social media is promoting your brand. People are able to easily interact with your company through social media and can see what kind of experience others have had. Positive comments and reviews on Facebook or Twitter can encourage others to buy your products or services and increase your profit.

Google+ Has Its Own Rules

Despite claiming that social does not affect the way in which pages rank, Google+ authorship is quickly becoming a fast track to the front page. The more people in your circles, the greater your authority becomes – this is amplified whenever somebody in your circles searches when signed in, as your relevant posts will come up before higher ranking page.

If you’re struggling to get to grips with SEO and social then talk to Liberty Marketing today. Whether you want to launch a social campaign or just need a bit of advice in setting up your social channels then give our friendly team a call today!

Small businesses are the backbone of our society, but running one can be quite a stressful experience. You often find times where there’s not enough money to go around, and if that happens, you’ll need to make cutbacks – fast! However, marketing your business should not be one of them, as you always need to chase those vital new customers. So, can you actually do online marketing for free, and avoid any repercussions of “dodgy SEO” tactics? The surprising answer is yes, and it’s called Google+.

Google+ is essentially another social media platform, but unlike Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the rest it covers all the bases of social sharing in one place. OK, let’s not missell it, there are a smaller number of active users on Google+ right now, but given the breadth of Google products that can connect up to Google+, the potential user base is massive. There are naturally some benefits to be made in terms of SEO in taking the plunge but for now, let’s just stick to the more tangible benefits; here are a few tips for your business:

 

Google+ Local Pages

If your business operates out of an actual location that customers can visit, you want to make sure people know where you live. Having this information in as many places as possible online will certainly help, but with a Local Page, you can have this information served up to the best possible place – Google brand searches!

Google does its best to acquire the most relevant information possible for each search query, but sometimes it does make mistakes. You can help guide these in the right direction by providing your own information in the form of a Local Page. If you have multiple business locations, a Local Page for each one is an absolute must! That way, Google can serve up the most relevant information possible based on where your customers are right now.

 

Google+ Business Profile

Local listings are one thing, but if you want to build your business into a brand to be reckoned with, a dedicated Google+ Profile can provide a well-deserved boost to your brand identity. This works especially well alongside any other social channels where you have a presence. As well as offering customers the chance to interact directly with your brand, you can also show people what your business stands for, what areas of expertise you have and also what you do for fun. Just try to keep the cat gifs to a minimum – you can save those for your personal profile!

 

Google+ Personal Profile Authorship

If your business (i.e. you) has a particular area of expertise, then make sure people know about it! Some things just aren’t a natural fit for a business profile, such as other interests you have outside of work (and the aforementioned cat gifs). If you create a Personal Google+ Profile, you can safely talk about anything that is “You” and attribute it all to yourself.

This is particularly useful if you’ve written for many sites online throughout the years. Not only does it go some way to protecting your intellectual property, but it also means people can find “You” simply from what you talk about. Over time, this can build your image (and thus your Businesses’ image) into quite the authority figure.

 

Circles and Communities

So, what do people with authority do in their spare time? Why, talk to other experts, of course! On Google+ you will find a range of communities where experts hang out and talk shop. If you can contribute to these conversations, and make people more aware of your business at the same time, why not? Have a look around, find what interests you, and start getting involved!

At the same time, you’ll undoubtedly start building a few connections. To keep these connections alive and well, you should start adding these other industry leaders to your Google+ Circles. When you do this, people in their Circles (some of whom could also turn out to be good business partners) will be able to see this interaction and you can grow a whole new legion of fans!

 

Embed Your Content!

Now that you’re using Google+ to its fullest, you will want to make sure that all this social interaction feeds back onto your website and brings you more traffic. This can all be done with the power of coding. If you have a web development team running your website then great, just let them know what you want to see on your website and let them deal with the rest. If not, don’t worry: the coding isn’t hideously complicated and there is a lot of help available along the way if you need it.

Firstly, a mention of your Local Google+ Page(s) can be embedded onto your site in the form of a Map. Maps can help those who want to visit you figure out the easiest way to do so. So, go and find your Local listing on Google Maps, click on the cog in the bottom right corner and hey presto: an easily sharable shortened URL or iframe code for your website!

For your Business Profile, having a social button added to your site is simple and works really well in conjunction with your other social platforms. Plenty of sites offer a range of icons that can be used for free, and all you need to do is add in is the HTML code for your business. This will look something like this:

<a href="https://plus.google.com/+BusinessProfileID}" rel="publisher" />

 

For Authorship you will want to make sure you have the correct code added to the websites you write content for. Having the contribution established on your Page is one thing, but having the correct code sent out to all the websites with your content makes sure people know where to find your other content. Your authorship code should look something like this:

<a href="https://plus.google.com/+PersonalProfileID" rel="author">Author Name</a>

 

Finally, if you need to check any of these codes work, just use this handy link:

http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets

 

So there you have it: a whistle-stop tour of what Google+ can do for your business. There are plenty of ways you can help your business out online (some of these are even free too), but there’s nothing really with quite the same breadth and depth as Google+.

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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.

There are so many ways to promote your business nowadays that it can be difficult to figure out what the best marketing strategy is. Almost every type of marketing has a benefit, although some are much better at increasing your business sales and boosting brand awareness. At Liberty Marketing we’ve separated the pretty good from the best of the best to give you a firm understanding of the direction you should go in:

SEO

Yes, we’re an SEO agency so we are going to be a bit biased here, but think about it: More people shop online than on the high street; they’re constantly trawling the internet and using Google’s search to find local businesses rather than rely on word of mouth.

SEO can get your company noticed by helping you rank for competitive search terms and letting more potential customers find you. This in turn will increase sales and enquiries as well as brand awareness - giving you a fantastic ROI.

TV Advertisements

If you have the cash, then TV advertisements can work wonders for your business. Although you will need to work extra hard at creating an advert people will remember and not loathe afterwards. This can be very expensive to create and run, but when done right can make your business go from zero to top speed in no time at all.

Ambush Marketing

While this is technically illegal and may land you with a fine, ambush marketing can get you huge amounts of publicity! Not only do you get the initial impression of the ambush itself, but there are generally news stories that follow up the case –providing you with airtime that you would otherwise have to pay millions for. One example is when Nicklas Bendtner showed off his Paddy Power pants during a match – this resulted in a €100,000 fine, which the bookies picked up. The ‘incident’ only lasted a couple of minutes, but it received publicity across all the major news channels giving the company hours of valuable time in the public eye.

Social Media

Having a strong social media presence can make all the difference. Especially when you consider that the majority of the time people spend on the internet is across social media platforms. Successfully using your social media to interact with the public can have the same impact as thousands of face-to-face salespeople working for you. This is incredibly valuable now and is only set to increase in importance in years to come.

Mobile Marketing

Roughly 65% of all websites are browsed using mobile devices – that means phones and tablets. Which means that in order to succeed you need to make sure that your website works well across a range of platforms. Creating apps is a great way to break into the mobile market, giving you increased awareness and allowing you to put your brand in front of a highly receptive audience.

Personalised Targeting

Why waste your advertising on people who aren’t interested in your services or products? Thanks to the magic of the internet (read: PPC marketing) you can personalise your advertising settings to hit just your target audience. This will give you a much higher rate of conversion as people will already be interested in the type of products you sell and therefore are already on the path of purchase.

To find out more about how Liberty Marketing can help you utilise some of these marketing strategies, get in touch with us today!

 

[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.