How to use Social Media to sell.

Selling is a social activity . Before Facebook, LinkedIn and the Internet generally people bought from people in social ways.

They asked for advice from friends, they gave their opinions over the garden fence and they wrote letters to manufacturers when products failed to live up to their promises. This is why salespeople spend so much time establishing a personal relationship, not just selling their product

Technology now makes it so easy for customers to find out anything they want about your products and service – both the good and the bad. They don’t even need too simply rely on what’s on your website says. Quite often that’s the last place they look.

There’s a wealth of blogs and forums and networks where they can get an unedited take on what it’s like to buy from you. Customers are more vocal than ever (especially about the bad stuff).

We quite often talk about the threat of social media however it also brings many opportunities.

We categorise these opportunities as Social Selling.

There are buyers across the world over who want what you’ve got to sell. They have a need, they have a timeframe for purchase, they even have budget. If only you could get in front of them, they’d buy from you right now. If only. Of course, to get in front of them you need to find out who they are, where they are and how to contact them.

Prior to Social Media this was very hard and very expensive. We often talk about using Social Media to Market our business and even now to provide Customer Service (see here).

There real opportunities however to use Social Media for selling .Research conducted last year by advertising agency OgilvyOne found that in the UK alone:

  • 69% of respondents think the buying process is changing faster than sales organisations are responding
  • 93% have received no training in using social media (and 53% want help doing so)
  • 71% believe that being a salesperson will be radically different in 5 years time.

So how can you start using Social Media to sell?

There are some relatively simple steps.:

  • Make extensive use of Facebook and Twitter to see what your customers and prospects are saying and to find those looking for customer service and sales help.
  • Follow customers, competitors and thought leaders on Twitter/LinkedIn to see what they are saying.
  • Join key customer groups on LinkedIn and begin monitoring what they are saying.
  • Run LinkedIn searches for carefully selected outbound targets.
  • Endorse a prospect/customer’s abilities on LinkedIn.
  • Research prospects on LinkedIn and Twitter before an email, call, or meeting.
  • Like or comment on a prospect/client’s social media post.
  • Set up Google Alerts for competitor terms (brand names, products, key people) –see google.com/alerts.

There is a lot more to Social Selling of course so if you would like us to help you use Social Media as a Sales tool for your business get in touch for a free consultation. contact us

Jeff Bezos of Amazon shows us content really is king !

One of the golden rules of Blogging,Websites and of course Social Media is that interesting relevant and original content is the key to success. Good content attracts visitors and ranks well with search engines . It also keep visitors on your site longer .

With that in mind its interesting to see the news today about Jeff Bezos of internet shoppping giant Amazon buying the Washington Post an iconic US Newspaper .The question is why would any self respecting entrepreneur buy a Newspaper when the newspaper industry is dying on its feet . Many newspapers have experienced a 90% decline in circulation from their 60s heyday with half that fall coming in the last 7 years .

The answer maybe he just wants a plaything to write off tax against or promote his personal and political views. That may be true of course but more likely just part of a race to own great content and iconic newspapers attract good journalists and therefore make great content.

Newspapers and magazines are slowly but surely going up behind paywalls so the race for ownership of content is on.

Jeff Bezos is a great innovator with amazing long term vision so it will be interesting to see what he does with the Washington Post. It certainly shows us that content really is king ?

What do you think ?

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Richard

The Smartphone will soon be dead !

A bold assertion but there is little doubt that the coming trend of wearable internet devices will eventually supplant the use of smartphones and tablets to access the Internet. It may sound far fetched but with Google developing Glasses    Apple its  iWatch and Microsoft its Smartwatch  as shown here its only a matter of time and that before competitors like Samsung and Sony get started .

Hard to predict where it will all end of course but how about surgically implanted devices built in to ears and eys .The stuff of science fiction surely ? Then again so were smartphones once !

What do you think ?

To keep up to date with the latest Inbound Marketing News ,Views,Hints and Tips  SUBSCRIBE to our EMAIL UPDATES –You can also find more information on how we can help you on our Website or Contact Us if you want to know how we can help you.

Richard

 

How to Synchronise Email on your smart phone,PC,Laptop and Tablet ?

Its an increasingly common problem.You have a SmartPhone and a PC and maybe a Tablet or Laptop as well . All of them can send and receive email but unless you have a synchronised email service you can end up with your sent and received emails in multiple places .Aside from the convenience issue (which machine did I send that email to John on ?)a single audit trail of email is becoming more and more critical .

There are two  market leading solutions to this problem Microsoft Exchange and Google Apps  . Both enable you to synchronise your mail ,contacts and calendar across all the devices you use so they are always the same on each device. Change a contact on your PC and it will change on your Phone/Tablet and Laptop. At a meeting with a client and enter a date in your calendar on your Smart Phone when you get back in the office you see it already there on your PC.

In the past to have this you needed a Server running Microsoft Exchange with all the hardware and support costs that entailed .That made it uneconomic for smaller businesses . Now we have Cloud Computing you can have all the features as hosted email features . Certainly we have a number of clients using our Hosted Microsoft Exchange solution.Prices start from £15+vat per mailbox per month and include a copy of Outlook 2010.

Both Google Apps and Microsoft Exchange are great products .

Google Apps is a bit cheaper and works really well as you would expect with Android Phones and Tablets.Its is a bit more limited re integration with Microsoft Outlook .With Exchange its the other way round . All in all it depends on if you use Microsoft Outlook, if  so you would be better off with Exchange.If you use Gmail then Google might be for you. If you have a Windows 8 Smartphone then no contest go for Exchange.

As you can see its complicated .

Confused ? If you would like a free consultation  Contact Us .

Please feel free to comment below

Richard

10 Smartphone Security Tips (updated)

We are all ever more dependent on  our Smartphones (iPhone .Blackberry,Android) for everyday life and whilst the productivity benefits we get from new technology are big there is an army of people and organisations out there harvesting the Internet for our personal and business details .

Online Security is a subject that I take very seriously but even I was shocked reading about a technology journalist had all his online information hacked with disastrous consequences .You can read his account of it  here.

From stealing your email passwords to deleting all the pictures on your iphone there are real dangers. The smartphone is quickly eclipsing the PC for many common small business tasks that need to be accomplished on the road, such as email, social networking, Web browsing, editing or creating documents.

But smartphones’ growing popularity also increases their vulnerability; not only because smartphones are small and easily to lose, but they also present a big target for same kinds of security threats that plague PCs — viruses and other malware.

A recent smartphone security study by the Ponemon institute — commissioned by security software vendor AVG — found that 84 percent of respondents use the same smartphone for both business and personal use. This gives you a sense of the amount and kind of data a typical smartphone can contain, and why it needs to be protected.

So here’s 10 ways to improve your Android, BlackBerry, iPhone or Windows Phone 7 (8) smartphone security.

1. Screen Lock Your Phone

If you leave your smartphone unattended for a while — or worse, if it’s lost or stolen (more on that later) — you don’t want to make it easy for a passerby to rifle through its contents. Setting your smartphone to require a PIN code or password for access after an inactive period is a relatively easy way to thwart this kind of opportunistic unauthorized access.

2. Enable Remote Locate, Lock and Wipe

Can’t find your phone? You may have simply misplaced it somewhere around the office, or inadvertently left it at your last meeting. Then again, maybe someone nicked it when you weren’t looking. In this situation, software — or a service — with the capability to remotely locate, lock, and wipe your phone might help you retrieve it.

3. Backup or Sync Your Data Frequently

We hope you never find yourself missing a smartphone or having to issue a remote data self-destruct, but if you do, you’ll want to be sure your phone’s data exists somewhere else. The same is true in the event your device becomes incapacitated due to physical damage or some other malfunction. Whatever the case, having a backup of your data is critical.

4. Apply Operating System Updates

From time-to-time, your smartphone OS vendor, hardware manufacturer or mobile carrier will make operating system updates available for your device. Although these updates are usually promoted as providing new feature x or y that you may or may not be interested in, they typically carry security-related improvements as well, so it’s a good idea to apply updates regularly.

5. Turn Off Bluetooth Discovery Mode

People often leave a smartphone’s Bluetooth discovery mode turned on at all times (sometimes it’s on by default), but you should disable discovery when you’re not trying to pair a device. Failure to do so will continuously advertise your phone’s existence to other Bluetooth-equipped devices nearby (albeit within Bluetooth’s limited range of about 30 feet), which can result in an unauthorized connection to the phone.

6. Keep Your Phone ‘In Jail’

This one’s pretty simple. It’s tempting to “jailbreak” or “root” your smartphone to access hidden features and unofficial apps. But if you’re concerned about security, don’t do it. This can circumvent many of the safeguards built into the smartphone’s operating system, opening avenues of vulnerability that may not be readily apparent.

7. Avoid Wi-Fi Hotspots

Think twice before connecting your smartphone to a public Wi-Fi hotspot, because just as with your PC, this kind of shared, unsecured connection can leave your activity and data vulnerable to eavesdropping and theft.

8. Mind Your Mobile Apps

With such a wide selection of smartphone apps available — most of them free or low-cost — it’s tempting to load up on anything and everything that catches your fancy. That’s not a good idea, because you can’t really be sure what an app is going to do once it’s on your phone. For example, malware-laden apps were recently discovered (and removed) from the Android app marketplace, some app makers are, have been found to breached data protection laws (often to advertising networks) without users’ knowledge or content.

There’s not too much you can do to protect yourself from unseen app behavior, other than to keep the number of apps to a minimum, and if possible, use an anti-virus app, which brings me to the  next tip.

9. Use Anti-virus/Internet Security Software

As mentioned earlier, the proliferation of smartphone has not gone unnoticed by malware purveyors, who are increasingly targeting the devices for attack. You probably wouldn’t dream of using a PC without anti-virus protection, and in a world where every app, Web link, or email you access with your smartphone can potentially harbor something malicious, it’s a good idea to use anti-virus and internet security software there as well.

We recommend ESET Mobile Security and install it for our clients for £14.99+vat per phone per year. Contact Us if you would like our help with this.

10. Beware of Text Message Spam

Text messages seem innocuous enough, but just like a Web page or an email, they can be used for mischief. Especially if you don’t/can’t use smartphone anti-virus protection, never respond to or follow any links in a text sent by an unknown party. You could find yourself with unwanted software on your phone or unexplained charges on your bill.

Update : Perhaps a sign of how high up the Agenda Cyber Security is can be seen from the UK Govt’s advice for business published 5th September 2012.Worth a read here 

If your concerned about your online and smartphone  security Contact Us for a free review and consultation .

Please feel free to comment below

Richard

Google Changes the Rules !!

There’s been a big important change recently in how Google ranks websites and it affects all businesses .Overnight many websites that previously were in top three position in Google searches disappeared for page one altogether .Panic stricken web based businesses saw enquiries and sales  drop dramatically.The traditional Search Engine Optimisation Agencies have been thrown into turmoil.

Google has by far the biggest share of the search market and still dominates the way we all find the website we are looking for even though rivals like Bing and Social Media like Facebook and Twitter are catching it.

Consequently Google is always looking for ways to keep its  search results relevant so we all keep using it ! Its important that when you search for a keyword or term the results (links to websites) you see on the page are relevant to your search with authentic content .

Google makes regular changes to the way it ranks a website and on 24th April this year it made arguably its biggest change ever. The change was called Google Penguin and replaced Google Panda  (dont ask me why they called it that  !Why do Google call the latest version of their Android Smartphone software Ice Cream Sandwich for goodness sake ? Answers on a postcard  (remember them ? )).

What does all this mean for your website and how it ranks on Google ?

Well out go techniques that try and fool Google like keyword stuffing cloaking, participating in link schemes,and deliberate creation of duplicate content.

In comes ‘Content is King’ -relevant ,genuine,human and authentic with particular reference to Social Media like Blogs,Twitter and Facebook .You need to be busy and active on Social Media being authentic and relevant and make sure your website reflects this  too.If you don’t put quality information on products and services in your website, you can’t expect visitors to stick around and thats now how Google see it too !

The number of links to your website will be relevant but there is much more of an emphasis on the reputation and quality of a site that’s linking to your specific domain rather than the sheer number of links that point in your direction.  Those £10/mth for 2000 back link offers are now not only pointless, but they’re also quite dangerous.

If your concerned about the ranking of your website and the number of enquiries you are getting Contact Us for a free review and consultation .

Please feel free to comment below

Richard