"If there’s one thing you have if you run a small business, it’s time. If there’s one thing you probably don’t have, it’s money."
I have to credit the above statement to Will Critchlow, it condenses what I'm about to discuss in a simplified way.
Essentially social media costs nothing but can be a fairly time consuming practice depending on how many platforms you choose to use. Social media is also the key way for a small business to develop awareness, raise its profile, gauge its market and interact with existing and future customers.
As a small business you're in a great position to start exploiting social media for all its worth.
As the UK is celebrating its first Small Business Saturday on 7th December 2013, here I present the first in a series of posts that will take a look at each individual social media platform, and highlight how your small business can wring the best out of each one.
Let's begin with Twitter.
It’s late November, so we’re comfortably past the point where people are no longer agitated that ‘best of the year’ lists are starting to appear already.
In fact I’ve already got my 'Best Korean Pop Albums' and 'Favourite Men’s Health Straplines (abs category)' lists all lined up and ready to go. In a listicle heavy year, this Winter will be the ultimate in year-end countdown meltdown, or Listageddon as I’m pushing for the late November period to be renamed.
Hot off the presses today (I'm sure there's a more up-to-date cliche then that) and towering above the rest is Unruly with its Top 20 most shared ads of 2013.
This one’s good because it’s based on fact, not the opinion of some feckless pundit.
This week, the irascible and increasingly innovative Mr Robert Allen Zimmerman (that's Bob Dylan to you and me) unveiled a music video the world has been waiting 48 years to see.
'Like a Rolling Stone', the opening track from Highway 61 Revisted and to date the most successful single of Dylan's career, has been reinvented as a brilliantly satirical and cunningly re-watchable interactive music video.
Using a television set featuring 16 channels worth of programming that you can flick through, all containing various television presenters, soap opera actors, reality TV stars, game show hosts and even rapper Danny Brown, all lip syncing along to Dylan's original track.
It's not only a fitting tribute to the song in its bitter incongruity but also quite a seamless technological marvel.
Click on the image below to hear The Price is Right's co-presenter telling you how you now don't seem so proud about 'scrounging for your next meal'...
Snapchat, the equally popular and controversial photo-sharing site, has edged out Facebook in being the most frequently used platform to upload photos.
Out of 809m daily photo uploads in November 2013 so far, Snapchat has a 49% share (accounting for approximately 400m daily uploads), with Facebook now at 43%.
This 400m figure has grown from the reported 350m in September 2013 and a previous figure of 200m in June 2013.
Only 74 of the top 5,000 YouTube channels are from brands.
This research comes from Touchstorm’s latest study, The Touchstorm Video Index, covering Q3 2013 and concentrating on the 'YouTube 5,000', an elite group of channels with at least 43m views each.
Of those 5,000 channels, only 2% are owned by brands. That means there are 4,926 teenagers with webcams, older people with camcorders, vloggers with flipcams, bedroom animators with smartphones and various other fashionistas, musicians, close-up magicians, action figure critics and amateur film-makers who are completely dominating the platform and squeezing out the big companies.
What can brands do about this? Is there any hope for them?
Here are some key findings from the report, along with our own insight, ideas for strategy and a look at the brands who are using YouTube successfully.
Are you an advertiser running a PPC campaign? Is there something not quite right with your paid search costs? Does your performance data contain unexplained anomalies?
Have you heard the term ‘click fraud’ bandied around the internet and think that you could be its next victim?
I realise that while writing this introduction I was beginning to sound like a fear-mongering, consumer-based TV show that makes even the most rational people think twice about leaving the house after dark, so I'll stop here.
Is click fraud something you should be aware of, and if so, to what extent does it affect your PPC campaign?
At the beginning of September 2013, Shazam announced a huge milestone: the 10 billionth use of the music identifying app.
The song: Lady Gaga’s ‘Applause’. The man: some guy in New Jersey who was officially the last human being in the Western world not to recognise Lady Gaga.
If you’re unaware of Shazam, quite simply it’s an app that you can use to identify a song you don’t know the name of that’s playing in any location (as long as it’s audible) in a matter of seconds. The process is called ‘tagging’.
Shazam currently processes more than 100m tags a week, this is 150% more than a year ago, and currently has more than 80m global users.
It's not just casual Pinterest users making their own boards and pinning images, brands are fast discovering that sharing and adding pins to their own products can be an effective way to drive users to their ecommerce sites.
As of September 2013, the three year-old social channel has over 70m users, and according to a recent study Pinterest is driving more traffic to publishers than Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit and Google+ combined.
Pinterest's aesthetic style is also seeping into most corners of ecommerce. From eBay's recent homepage overhaul, to Etsy's vintage, bespoke world of homemade trinkets.
It's this visual style that brands are realising is the key attraction for users on Pinterest. So how do brands let consumers know about their own presence on this burgeoning and increasingly integral channel?
Sony has recently began sending out dedicated emails highlighting Pinterest; integrating its own boards and pins into the email and driving traffic to its Pinterest page. Integrating Pinterest has led to a 70% higher average open rate for Sony, and an average 18% higher click-through rate.
How are other brands integrating Pinterest with their emails? Here are 20 examples:
Carter’s has the only website out of 100 major US multichannel retailers to feature responsive design.
The Search Agency’s mobile experience scorecard published this week, highlights 100 ecommerce sites and rates them according to their mobile readiness.
Although over ninety companies operate effective dedicated mobiles sites, Carter’s was the only company to achieve full marks in the site format category because it operates an entirely responsive website.
Responsive web design means that the same website can be deployed for multiple screen sizes, and is the best way for ecommerce sites to increase conversion on mobile devices.
Before reading the The Search Agency's report I didn’t know much about the retailer Carter’s; it’s a USA based manufacturer of children’s clothes, however as this is posited as a leading example of responsive design, there must be some valuable lessons to learn from it.
First there was prankvertising, now there is spoof prankvertising.
There are so many metatextual layers going on here that I might need to have a lie down with a cold compress applied to my forehead.
But while I’m still relatively vertical, let’s take a quick look at the Canadian advertising agency John St.’s reaction to the latest trend in fear-mongering online videos.
I wrote about prank advertising earlier in the week, where I discussed the relative merits (or lack thereof) of six recent examples, then shortly after I was directed towards this series of online videos…