Quirky Web

Web and social media for small businesses


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How much time should you spend online?

I don’t have time to run my social media properly.

How much time should I spend updating things?

I seem to spend forever online and don’t get anything useful done.

Does this sound like you?  Here are some tips to make the most out of both your social media and your time.

1.      Information overload

Well first things first – have you gone for an all out approach and have set up every conceivable type, of social media? Well you need to take stock and only concentrate on the ones that help to grow your business and your business network. Look at which ones are engaging people more or the ones that you know bring in more business. These are your real goers and the ones you need to spend your valuable time updating.

2.      Time is tight

These days time seems to get eaten up so quickly. The best thing to do here is to look at how your day is scheduled and how much time you may have for online updates. You may find that the morning is the best time for checking through your social media and websites, so allocate yourself a slot.

Make sure that you don’t post 10 updates, one after the other, on each site though. People may miss it or just ignore it as it’s just a whole block from your company. Make use of available tools and schedule some of your updates. Hootsuite constantly comes out very high in reviews of social media management tools and starts off free. Also don’t forget you can simply use Facebook to schedule your Facebook updates. If you write a blog, most blog sites will also have a scheduling feature. You can also do some shortcuts like linking your Twitter to Facebook so one update shows on both.

3.      Sucked into the online void

It’s very easy to pop online to update your Facebook and suddenly 2 hours later, after following a few links, you find yourself reading a blog about link building. What you need to do is focus on the task in hand. If you are going to pop onto Facebook, then read through your feed and then like and share relevant things and then do your updates. Give yourself, say, 10 minutes. Then move onto your Twitter and so the same. Don’t be tempted to follow any links until you’ve finished your updates!

For my full article, written for the Nottingham Post, click here.

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A Picture Paints a Thousand Words Online

Well they say a picture paints a thousand words and on the Internet that can be very valuable.

There are lots of sites out there that are dedicated to pictures rather than words.  And they are free!

Pinterest

This site is growing in popularity and becoming more useful to small businesses.  You can set up any number or boards. These are like good old fashioned pin boards. Don’t just set one up for products but think about what your customers might like. Then you can also start to pin some of your own work.

 For example;  a wedding dress shop may set up boards for colour inspiration, a restaurant may set up boards for recipes, and a builder might set up boards for different project inspirations like loft extensions.

Flickr

This photo sharing site can be useful to use pictures to tell the story of your business or showcase some of your products. Encourage your customers to share pictures of their experiences with your business and products.

For example; a hairdresser may showcase new styles and ask customers to post up pictures of themselves out an about sporting their new hairstyle, or clothing company may ask for pictures of customers wearing the clothes.

Instagram

Are you out and about for your small business? This could be a good one for you. You can take a picture on your phone and post it up, sharing it on other social media sites. I can really get across the flavour of our brand

For example; you are at an event and you can post behind the scenes photos, or you are part way through tiling a new kitchen and you post how good it’s starting to look.

Youtube

Although YouTube is known for entertaining content, it is also used by many people for  help, instructions and information. Videos of how to do things are very popular. As a small business you have skills that you can share with your customers. Videos aren’t expected to be some major production, but if they are useful and informative, they will be watched and shared.

For example; an electrician can show people how to change a plug, a makeup artist can show you how to get the perfect eye makeup, or a crafter can demonstrate craft tasters.

Interested? Just remember the golden rule of not trying to do the hard sell on any social media and you’ll be fine.

To read my full article, written for the Nottingham Post, click here.


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Do you want to start selling online?

Are you a new business and want to start to sell your products online? Are you an existing business that wants to branch out and sell their products online?

Most people think that to start selling their products online they will need a costly ecommerce website. Well, that’s not always the case. It also depends on what you are selling.

eBay

Most people have heard of eBay these days and, as they say, you can buy anything on eBay It’s an easy way to start selling online as the whole ecommerce platform is there, including taking payments.  It’s a good way to dip your toes into online selling, and most huge High Street Stores have an eBay store.

Pros

  • Large ready-made audience
  • The whole platform is there ready to use
  • You can start small and expand to a store later

Cons

  • Your branding will be minimal. Stores give more options
  • Fees – you need to factor these into your prices
  • eBay audiences can expect a bargain, so handmade and high-end goods are not always suited

Etsy

It’s very similar to eBay but tries to create more of a community. The audience outside of the UK is pretty large. You are restricted to selling handmade, vintage and craft supplies.

Pros

  • Cheaper than eBay. Shops are free
  • Audience that understands the value of handmade items

Cons

  • Not as large a ready-made audience
  • Restrictions on what you can sell

Folksy

The chances are that you might not have heard of this one. It could almost be described as a quirky UK-based Etsy. You have to be UK based to sell on this website.

Pros

  • It is the cheapest. A one off fee to list as many items plus selling fees

Cons

  • Doesn’t have the larger audiences of the other websites
  • Tighter restriction of selling categories

 

There are others out there, but using one of these websites is a good way to test the waters and try and sell your products online.

By dipping your toes in one of these ways you can try out your online markets, narrow down your target audiences, and try online advertising. All straight away and with minimal costs.

Finally, you can go out to an agency and get a brand spanking new ecommerce website built for your business, but, hey,  it’s your money!

 

To read my full article, written for the Nottingham Post, click here.


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How social are you? Improve your Google rankings…

Google rankingGoogle is continually changing/improving its search algorithm which means you have to keep on your toes if you want to get higher in those rankings.

Lately, it’s more favourable to an authority in your business. If you have to build some credibility within your audience, then you become more of a trusted authority.

One way that Google measures this is with your social media relationships. Don’t think that means you have to shoot off and increase your followers. That’s not really how it works. So don’t get dragged along with those companies that will ‘buy’ you lots of new followers.

What you need to do is really good and interesting content that you followers will share, retweet, re-post, re-pin and like. It’s about engagement rather than a numbers game of followers. Create good content that will engage your followers/customer.

It’s about effective and regular engagement…

This article, How to use social media for higher google rankings, has some really good tips.

Also, don’t forget to review the tips at Google for search engine optimisation.

Contact us if you want some help and advice on improving your Google rankings.


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Wondering about Pinterest?

Pinterest logoI’ll bet you keep hearing about Pinterest? Have you been and had a look? What do you think? Could you work out why you might use it?

In some respects I think Pinterest is the new Twitter. People have heard about how great this chunk of social media is, but don’t really know how they’ll use it.

Well, I’d advise you to pop on over the Pinterest and have a look around.

It’s actually a great pinboard type tool. Imagine that you are looking for a new kitchen, looking for ideas for your wedding, or looking for new spring outfits. Pinterest can help here and let you pin collections of pictures. Lots of ordinary people are already doing this.

Where do businesses come in? The figures are now starting to quote 60% f the top 100 businesses having a presence on Pinterest.

Well, you are probably experts in what you do. I’ll bet there are a lot of images to do with your business? I don’t mean pictures of your products – a Pinterest board of these will soon turn people off. An example might be that you knit and sell dog jackets for various breads of dogs. You want to connect with and engage dog lovers – well I guess they’re your target audience? You could creat Pinterest boards of different dog breeds, dog kennels, dressed up dogs, dogs coats etc. Dog lovers will start to see your pinboards and hopefully start to follow them. It gets your name out there… you then might occassionally post up some of your own products.

The Huffington Post has a pretty good article – Pinterest and Quora for Business? Ignore at your peril.

Like the Post suggests, you need to look at what the top brands are doing on Pinterest. Look at how they are engaging customers without using any sort of hard sell.

Just because these are big businesses doesn’t mean that this doesn’t translate down for small businesses – remember Pinterest is another free tool that you can use to help to grown your own business!

Have a look at how Quirky Purple uses Pinterest to engage with their customers and potential customers – Quirky Purple Pinterest Site

If you want some help with getting started with Pinterest then Contact Us today!


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Small businesses can dip their toes into the web for free

OK, so you’ve got a small business, and everyone keeps asking you if you’re online. Where do you start?

You could be a  plumber, an electrician, a mobile hairdresser, or a builder. These different businesses will have different requirements and different customers, but the main thing here is that using the internet is an easy way to potentially reach a growing audience.

One thing you need to bear in mind is that getting online need not cost you any money at all.

Here’s how you can do it yourself, and for free!

Get on Facebook

Ask around and you’ll find that a lot of people you know, and your customers are on Facebook. Chances are you’re on Facebook too. Well you can set up a business page for free. Logon to your personal page and then use the link http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php

Just follow the instructions and add in a couple of photos for you header and profile picture and you’re set. Share the page with customers and friends and ask them to share it too.

Tips

– Pop up some pictures of your work e.g. hairstyles, patios, garages
– Try and get your customers to comment on photos of work you’ve done for them
– Like the pages of similar business and learn from the ones that use Facebook well

Get on Twitter

This is a great way to not only connect your potential customers but also with governing bodies, trade leader and network with peers. It’s a very fast way to keep up to date with what’s going on in your area.

Tips

– Follow similar businesses and see what updates they put out
– Keep up to date with following the governing bodies in your business area
– Check TV programme hashtags (#xfactor). Are there any TV programmes relevant to your business/trade? Get online and join in as you’ll find more followers for your account

Website

If you need a website then again you can make one for free, but with a little more effort than setting up Facebook or Twitter.  Use Wordress (www.wordress.org). It’s known as a blog, but works really effectively as a website.

You’ll find many tiny, small, and medium businesses use something like WordPress to run their main website. This website is run on a free WordPress template!

Finally

Has this wetted your appetite for getting your business online?

The only things that should cost money are buying a domain name and selling online. We’ll talk about both of these in a further blog post.

These are just your starters and there are loads more cool things out there that will suit your business.

Make sure you spend some time checking out your competitor and any businesses that you aspire to be like. You’ll soon start to see a way forward for your business.

Don’t forget you can also contact us at Quirky Web. We can get you started or review where you already are and take you to the next stage.