Around a month ago I was introduced to a new online tool / app called Canva by Guy Kawasaki, Peg Fitzpatrick & Mari Smith in a Google Hangout. Its a simple tool that runs through your web browser and is Free to […]
Remember when your were just a kid and your grandparents would sit you down and tell you this “true” story about some other kid just to get you to wash your teeth or eat your peas ? Well that was […]
Storytelling is something I touched on last week as a way to sell your products online, I was inspired to write about it after reading a few blogs which discussed how actually we are all quite bored of corporate buzzwords […]
When you think about promoting your business online, most people will think “social media” is the way to go – They will have heard the stories of how social media has led to companies being valued in the Billions and […]
Finding a product or service online has never been so easy, constant Google updates mean you’re always going to be getting the best results from across the UK or the globe. But when you want something local, Google has you […]
A few years ago I launched a website for piano lessons in hyde, for my other half Sarah Petrie. Since then, I’ve had a bag full of emails and tweets asking about how to optimise a musicians website or a […]
Improving the popularity of your blogs requires lot of effort. Promoting your blog and improving its visibility are essentially two sides of the same coin. Promoting your blog involves letting more people know about the content of your blog posts over the […]
All too often, Internet marketers get caught up in search engine optimization and fail to recognize that it is merely one aspect of running a business online. This attitude is a leftover from a different era on the Web, when […]
Last week I posted an article about an acronym, namely BOOBS, the post itself didn’t cause upset but the image used with it did. The image was selected on purpose as a trial / experiment to see what the reaction […]
One of my passions in life is great coffee, I am a self confessed caffeine addict and around 50% of the time run on its energy. At the start of the year I heard about a new “coffee club” called Kopi. […]
This weekend I officially began the move to change all my companies services under one umbrella, that of SEO Andy – rather than Andy Kinsey Designs. The move came about for a few reasons, primarily for consolidation to make the offerings of […]
Google+ now has a staggering 100 million users, this may seem insignificant to the 800 million of Facebook but unlike Facebook Google+ has much to offer to businesses beyond it’s user base. Well it’s owned by Google and it’s integrated […]
April 1st, otherwise known as April Fools Day, is just like most other days. There is little exceptional about it, unless you count the first 12 hours during which time the only limitation is your imagination. This post isn’t about […]
Last week I found out about Facebook changing it’s business pages from the existing “old-style” app business page to a more profile like “timeline” page. I personally at first found the new layout a mess and quite hard to use, but there are some new tools, nice features and prospects to really use the idea of app’s a little better.
If you have not already seen a new style page to see ours.
Psst don’t forget to click “like”
More Visually Engaging
The first thing you will notice with the new layout is the large cover photo, the profile image stands out more as do the 4 main applications of a page (you can have more but only the first 4 show without clicking to show more).
Cover Photo – This is a great visual connection point, its huge real estate (815px x 315px). You can change it as and when you want to suit your needs. A draw back is you can’t use it to say “sale now on”, “hit like” or anything of this elk – its not a bill board … this of course has its good and bad side but I think it’s pretty good as it means you won’t see lots of the same type of spammy cover photo. This is a creative space for you to showcase your latest work.
Profile Picture – Having given with one hand they are taking with the other. You now have a profile picture, the same as that on your personal profiles. This means its a square (it should scale from 180px x 180px to 32px) and no longer a tall rectangle. It’s important to remember this needs replacing and not leave it a week before you notice it, like i did – oops.
Photos and Apps – Your photos and applications will now appear below your cover photo and to the right of your information box (which is just below your profile image, so do update your information). You can customise the order each item appears in, if at all using the app’s admin area under “manage” (formerly edit).
Larger Stories – Although limited to half the page you can now show off larger photos on your timeline than in an old post. You can show off multiple photos with one large one if you upload multiple images and well you can ask questions, pin stories (keeps them at the top of your page). It’s a nicer look than the old pages that’s for sure. But note after 7 days nothing will appear on the left hand side if you haven’t added an update.
Highlight Stories – if you click the star on a story you can highlight it as being important, it will become a full width item, great for photographers and crafters showing off their goods or putting up a poster maybe … there are many uses i’m sure including video. Its not clear what other side impacts highlights may have from Facebook optimisation to search optimisation, if any.
Milestones – You can add great big milestones to your timeline, at any date previous or current. I will be playing with this to upload an image (843px x 403px) of client design work I’ve done. Again it’s unclear of the impact though you are warned not to over use the highlight tool or milestone tool – they don’t say why but I suspect it will get messy and your edge rank may go down a little.
Are Others Engaged? – On the right hand-side below your photos and apps you will see a friend section, 2 boxes – 1 showing who likes you and another whos talking about you. Its a great instant way for outsiders to see some interactions and how popular your page is.
Managing Your New Facebook Page
There is a new management tool in town. If you are the admin of a page it is just above your new cover image and shows you insights, interactions, latest likes, notifications and messages. It’s a brilliant quick overview of your page, you can hide and expand this at any time (top right of the page).
From this box you can also manage your page, grow and engage your audience and find help from facebook documentation.
There is also something called the “activity log” (under manage page). It offers insights into how your page and posts are being used. You can filter by date or post type, from this you can then edit a post, star it, highlight it, pin it etc.
Anything Else? – Yes you page can now accept messages, if people have liked your page and you’ve turned messages on your audience can now contact you. It’s a nice simple contact tool, and beats that old app you had to do it!
Checklist for Migrating to the New Facebook Pages
So you are ready to move to the new facebook business page, or you’ve been forced to as it’s passed March 30th – what do you need to do to ensure the success of your new page. Below is my checklist for having a successful new facebook page.
Upload a cover photo
Upload a well branded profile picture
Pin your posts (especially if its to your blog or website)
Arrange your photos and apps
Publish everyday if you can
- Ensure each post is visually appealing
- Ensure you don’t spam the hell out of your own page
- Use insights to see which type of post works best
Manage your page with the new admin panel
- Keep track of notifications and messages
- Read page tips, they are useful – honest
If you have apps make sure they use the full width (now 810px)
Don’t forget to hit “like” on our page, in the sidebar or .
The newest player to the Social Media group of empires is . It started with a rock road, telling businesses that it was a “no go area” for them, months later Google opened it’s doors to business profiles – though they acted just like human profiles, and still do largely. Google+ is still on the small side, its take up in the UK in general isn’t huge but it still has a big effect on business and search marketing. So there is no question that you should be using it for business but what is the best way to do this right now?
As of this second my advice is to do 2 things;
1 set up a personal profile and 2 set up a business page from this.
Run content side by side for each, but try to encourage use of your Google Plus business page where possible. That of course is on the basis that you are not an individual and you are wanting to promote a business and not yourself or just your work. If that is the case simply have a personal profile.
has more limitations than most social networks, but it also has some great features and more on the way we are told. For example Google Hangouts are an awesome way to have a small group communication and meeting or to launch a video podcast from… or a town hall meeting, such as what Obama has recently.
Here are my 5 tips for effectively using Google Plus to Market Your Business
Treat Google+ Like Facebook and Twitter
Google Plus although primarily a place to post and talk about your news right now is also a place for communication. This for the most part will be between your community (circle) members but you should also get involved. Be part of the community you create.
Get Connected – with Everyone!
Google have made it amazingly easy to connect (circle) friends and family – take advantage of it’s ease and add people to your circles, lots of those you circle will circle back … and get your post as you post it. Tip: use the groups and create more groups to categorise those you circle, if you don’t you will get flooded with so many posts its scary… categorisation saves you time and effort and of course makes life easier in the long run.
Understand Your Audience
Right now, most of Google Plus user base are mid-level or above employees or business managers, they are not your average Facebook user – don’t expect hundreds of comments but expect a few carefully thought out ones. The difference in audience means you also need to take more care in how you say and introduce things, you aren’t talking to teens and twenty somethings for the most part, these could be business owners and certainly if they have circled you have an interest in what you are saying – so be nice, be clear and be refreshing.
Complete Your Profile
Google Plus has an interesting effect on search results, your profile picture can sit next to your sites, your articles and of course items you +1. This means you need to complete your profile fully and with some twists to make it work best for you. Rather than me explaining how to do this I advise you take a look at this post by @ajkohn about optimising your google plus profile. I also advise you take a read of a guest post from a few weeks ago by regular poster Ben Greenwood explaining what the fuss is about with google plus.
Like Pinterest, Don’t be Selfish
In a recent post about I explained that etiquette has it that you shouldn’t just promote your own work and goods. Why because you look like a jerk and people will just unfollow you. The same rule stands for Google Plus, consider it a share and share alike service – post only the kind of thing you have seen shared before. And if you like something of course hit +1 and share, the more you do it the more likely others are to with your posts.
BONUS TIP: Use the Tools on Offer
This sounds obvious but ensure you have the Google +1 buttons on your site and articles in a prominent location to your content (for instance my own are to the left floating, always on screen – feel free to click it!). If you have a blog or own a news outlet with multiple authors ensure you are assigned as the publisher and the authors as authors (this can be done with a simple link to their profile on Google Plus). If you have a Google Plus page for your business have a widget in the sidebar, if it’s just you also have a widget … make it clear you want people to circle and add you. But remember this is a different audience to Facebook, your community won’t hit hundreds over night unless you are a huge company like Pepsi or Ford – slow steady growth which is maintained is good and not to be frowned at.
If you want to share your tips for marketing using Google+ please do leave a comment below.
And don’t forget to hit +1 on the left of this article and Add to Circles from the widget on the right
Following feedback on my recent post about , my friends at told me they wanted to know more about Twitter how they can begin to use it for business growth.
Twitter have a massive userbase across the globe. It comprises of all kinds of people, men women, adult child, artists zoo keepeers and many more! As such a common question is can Twitter be utilised as a marketing tool for a given product or service?
I think the title of this post answers that, yes of course twitter can be used for marketing. Indeed, Twitter is one of the best marketing tools on the market today, from simple exposure of a product to direct selling – Twitter is Amazing for Marketing.
Although there are many ways to use twitter optimally I want to today concentrate on just 5 techniques for getting to most from Twitter as a platform for communication. These ideas are based on an assumption that you have completed your account description, have a good handle, have a brand-led profile image, have your web link in the profile and have a background that is consistant with your brand. For an example of this see my own account and compare its design to andykinsey.co.uk
Follow Your Idols, Friends and Similars
When you start on twitter you will be a blank canvas. Twitter will say follow these celebs, don’t bother, search for other artists if you are an artist, other designers if you design etc – follow your friends and idols. These are folk you are likely to get some kind of conversation with, speaking of which…
Once you’ve followed people, and hopefully you may get a few follows back – start a conversation. Talk about what you are doing, why you are on twitter … ask for advice on getting started from others you follow. If you are a crafter there are hundred of crafters and artists online, they maybe in the same niche market as you but most are in another area and therefore will be only too happy to help you get going. Twitter is a friendly place where businesses help one another. Give value to your readers and followers by engaging with them. The more you talk with people the more people will talk back and the larger your audience will grow … people follow others based on conversations they have.
Tip: do not self promote intently at this point, twitter is about creating conversations, from this comes promotion in time but it should not be forced.
Connect Using Media
Twitter is fantastic at sharing media. For instance you can post images and video, audio and text – all the key media in one place. Ok you may have to use an extra service like youtube or twitpic as a connector service but having media on your account (say a half finished piece you are working on for a new exhibition) can be a talking point. You talk about it, others will ask about it and share it. Media has a way of connecting with people beyond simple text, it lives longer in a memory and so can reinforce you and your brand.
Promote Your Business
Having just given you 3 steps to promoting yourself using twitter this is a bit of an odd title you may think. But here is what you are up against, some 75% of accounts on twitter are in some way a business account, a tiny proportion of them talk to others and and the rest just straight promote or link out and tend to be seen as spambots. The good thing is that because there are so many you can promote your business with links, pictures and videos and talk about your brand without fear of it being too spammy and annoying. So do it! Talk about your industry, ask for feedback, ask for questions and ideas. By doing this you can begin to establish yourself as an authority in a market and niche – your followers will grow and so will the conversations.
Promotion on Twitter is like no other. Your account should not just be business, though some would advise it is, your account should be a person who can talk and communicate, engagement is what twitter is about. It is your job to engage, and away from business you have a life, talk about it… when it’s friday show your relief for friday being the end of the week. On a monday if you have the monday blues talk about it. Mid week talk about the weekend. Show what you are doing, if you go to an exhibit that you love talk about it and show pictures, engage with your community.
If you have any comments on these tips or would like to share your own tips leave a comment below.
And don’t forge to tweet me @andykinsey
is an online pin board for photos and graphics of things people love and are passionate about. What Pinterest is not is a marketing tool for self promotion, indeed point three of the asks you not to purely use Pinterest for self promotion. So in essence Pinterest is a social platform for sharing photos of things you love, from the to a or a . But its not for self promotion, so How can you use Pinterest to Market Your Brand?
The answer is indirect brand marketing strategy, sounds complicated but it isn’t really. The idea is that you can talk about your amazing products for 5% of the time, the remaining time you spend talking about and liking other peoples products, photos or designs – you become part of the Pinterest community, this of course the secret of Internet Marketing through Networking.
To help you along your way here are my top 5 tips for marketing your brand and products using Pinterest.
Audience Specific Pinboards
Whether you are a person who knits, bakes cakes, designs logos or sells sports gear create boards around these topics, so design, build and output (or just output if you so desire) and post other peoples work that you admire and love. Basically the key is to show your passion by posting amazing images and in your description showing your appreciation for the piece of work. Don’t post your own work here, but perhaps open the board for others to contribute and maybe they will post your work and say they love it – build a community around a pin board.
Use Pinterest for Market Research
Pinterest isn’t (at least right now) being used by hundreds or thousands of businesses, and most of the businesses that are there are small businesses looking to market their company. That means the overwhelming majority of users are consumers, they may well be your target market, if you are a craft or design person you can get feedback and improve your products by looking at other products and in the 5% you post your stuff ask for comments.
Cross Platform Promotional Contests using Pinterest
It sounds odd that as much as social networks think of themselves as walled gardens (aka you and I should only share what we share with our friends and on that network) they really aren’t. What I post to AK Designs on Facebook is tweeted, when a blog from this site is published it gets tweeted, facebook shared, google +1′d etc … people don’t do the walled garden concept which is why cross platform promotions work. In the audience specific custom pin board section I mentioned allowing contributors to post to your pin board. For one competition you could ask users from facebook or twitter to post to your custom pin board with a winner choose at random or the winner being the one with most re-pins or likes (telling them they must link to your account in some way)… For another you could ask people to share your profiles across each media, each time they do they get an entry to a prize draw for a gift of some kind. The ideas are endless but the key is to get people engaged by jumping from platform to platform and promoting your brand name in the process.
Add Pinterest Pin It Buttons to Your Website or Blog
A bit like the buttons to the right of SEOAndy.com, Pinterest offers which you can put on your website around images or videos (oh I forgot you can post videos to Pinterest, so if you create how to videos or podcasts use Pinterest to Promote them!). One thing to note is if you have a blog, remember to have at least an image on the page worth Pinning else don’t have the button, don’t waste your time or bandwidth. One click and it’s shared.
Direct Marketing using Pinterest
Having just told you not to direct market on Pinterest here is a secret… knock yourself out but don’t do it by uploading your stuff yourself. Ask others to do it, ask others to follow your Pinterest and from there ask them to visit your website or other social accounts. Further to this create exclusive bundles of products and exclusive coupons only available on Pinterest etc.
So there you have it 5 tips for using Pinterest to promote your brand online easily and without a fuss.
Now feel free to Pin this article (look a Pinterest logo for you, or my face, Pin My Face … I dare you
Oh and follow me on Pinterest –
– UPDATE: NOPIN for Blocking Pinterest
Since writing this post Pinterest have given way to some companies concerned about copyright infringements. In the USA they already had the lovely DMCA and it worked well… but some companies wanted more. Some companies (for some reason I can’t yet figure out) wanted to be able to block users from Pinning their content.
If you are one of these companies you may want to reconsider your position, if you still want to block Pinterest simply use this code in your
If someone then tries to pin it will simply display a message saying that your site doesn’t allow pinning.
I must advise you against using this strategy, it will be a loss of traffic, a loss of audience that you wouldn’t other wise have and it’s a loss of promotion channel. If someone is abusing your content and claiming your work to be theirs, send a DMCA its easy to do.
If you are concerned about your latest work only being pinned you can use this code just on one page which is more advisable than a blanket cover.
One of the things I like to do, is to watch out for brands which are great. Not because they are well know, but rather because they have fun and make you smile.
One of the best brands for this is of course Virgin, each time virgin launch a new part of their company there is some whacky stunt – such as Richard Branson running around the streets naked. Anyway…
For a few week’s I’d been looking at airlines and the type of things they do. Most are boring, but some have fun – at Christmas they may have a Santa painted on the cone but that’s about it. So today when I stumbled across Kulula, I was excited. This is a brand which is engaging, fun and most of all makes you smile. With that in mind I want to share a few more pictures with you of their planes!
Above of course is their Movember plane – don’t forget to sponsor me this Movember.
Thanks to Kulula.com for allowing use of these pictures.
Many Small businesses across the world are struggling, yes because of the economy but also because they don’t understand the importance of having a website to promote their business online. This post is about why a quality website is so important to a small business and why your business needs to get one today.
Here are my top 10 reasons why your small business needs a website.
Reach More Potential Customers
Whether you are targeting locals or the whole world, having a website for your small business means you can reach more of your audience, much more easily and cheaply. The children of the 90′s are now in their 20′s and have disposable income. They grew up with the internet and it’s their primary tool to find information, products and compare almost everything – so if they are part of your target audience a website is a must.
It’s Always there
Your office / shop may have hours of 9 to 5, Monday to Friday but why should that mean you have to stop selling or stop telling people why to do business with you? Exactly, you shouldn’t have to stop – a website is your 24/7 salesman, that costs a small percentage of a real sales man.
Generate a Professional Image
A professionally designed business website is a sure way to instil confidence in new customers who may not be familiar with your business. Maybe they are comparing you with another business who don’t have a website, your website will help to give an impression that they are dealing with a company they can trust. A professional image will also generate a subconscious level of trust in your company.
No More Yellow Pages!
Remember in the 90′s we’d get a huge yellow book on our door step, it got thinner and thinner until today it’s … well tiny. The reason for this is the Yellow Pages, just like other telephone directories, are a thing of the past. If someone wants to find a “Piano Lessons in Hyde” they search for it online, they usually don’t even consider looking at a paper directory. Also due to the decline in size of the paper directory less and less are being delivered, so what was once in every household is no in relatively few.
Always up to date!
Most quality websites are designed using a Content Management System, basically an administration area so that you are in control of the website. If you need a change to some content or to add products or view orders placed on a website, you can without needing to ask your website designer! Day or Night you can always update, add or delete content – making your website Always Up to Date!
One example of a CMS is WordPress, it is the most widely used CMS in the world and is estimate to power over 30 million websites, including this website!
Improved Customer Service
Your website is an omnipresent member of your business team. It’s the salesman, your customer service and often the engine behind your business – aka the thing that pays the bills. It is due to it’s always being there that you can use it to improve customer service, adding a FAQ section or even just information about returns and delivery policies can stop hundreds of questions via phone calls to your already busy team. So instead of your team spending 3 hours a day on the phone, maybe they just need to take one call from an upset customer correcting an order – saving you hundreds and hundreds of pounds a day!
Instant Gratification for Users
People are busier today than they have ever been in the past, our hectic schedules and hours of travelling mean we want information now and not to wait. Give your users what they want, information. By providing information that customers want you are giving them some kind of gratification instantly, making them slightly happier such that they release endorphins, and so the better quality your information the more likely you are to get that users custom!
Automation = More £££’s!
You can highly automate some parts of your business online which in turn will free up other resources / staff to other parts of your business. An online store allows people to view information on an order, pay online and not really require sales staff – this alone could save hours of resource time. Systems can integrate with websites, so accounting and stock control can be integrated meaning life is much easier and there is no need for dual input! You can automate the calling of orders to your warehouse, if you’ve robots like Amazon great its all done for you, if you’re not so big you may still need more staff to pick and pack. Other examples of integration are booking systems, your beauty salon can book appointments, if you do training sessions you can book people in without needing to take potentially thousands of phone calls.
Advertising Costs Go Down
The better your website the less need for external advertising, such as newspaper classified. There will always be advantages to having say a TV advert of big billboard, but must of us small businesses can’t afford that. Your website should become the key calling card for your business – its your business card that sells itself and you – add yourself to lots of free directories (I advise you not to pay – ever for an online directory submission) get your name known on blogs and in forums. Soon your website will become more popular, you’ll get more custom and your turnover and profits will go skywards.
Inexpensive and Almost Risk Free!
All of the above benefits are great, but you probably think it will cost you thousands of pounds. You’d be wrong though, websites can be fairly cheap to set up – there are of course companies who charge buckets for not very much – but there are also small design business such as my own which have much lower overheads and enjoy a much closer connection to clients – we tend to charge much much less. Once your website is set up, the annual cost of keeping it going can be relatively love – depending on your agreement it can cost as little as your hosting and domain costs.
If you are looking for a website for your small business, I offer solutions from as little as £95 (one off) or you can pay monthly for as little as £25! So you don’t need to spend those thousands on a small business website – none of my clients have so why should you? Take a look at some of my client work by visiting Andy Kinsey Designs today, if you like what you see why not get your website up and running by contacting me for a free quote.