Monday, 30 January 2012

Facebook Timeline–6 Things You Need to Do

Whether you like it or not Facebook Timeline is coming your way, and if you were ever worried about having too much information available on your Facebook profile, but thought it was far back enough in the past that it was no longer visible, then now is the time to panic.

Everything you’ve ever posted to Facebook is about to be diarised in an easy to access format, with all posts defaulting to ‘Public’, ie the world and his wife can see them, unless you choose them not to be as and when you post.  Not only that, but unless you limit your audience by selecting the ‘Limit the Audience for Past Posts’ option when Timeline loads, it may be that far more may be seen by all then you ever intended.

My advice is to go on to Timeline now.  Learn about it.  Download it to your Facebook profile so you have time to a) get to know it and b) take any action you need to.  Don’t wait until Facebook Timeline invades your profile page – be prepared for this one.

Here are the 6 things you need to do.
1.  Read this great article by PC World on the basics of what you need to know about Facebook Timeline.  Here you can find out about limiting past post visibility to strangers and what they will be able to view when they arrive at your profile. 

2.  Go to this page on Facebook and click on the Get Timeline button

3.  Take the Tour – don’t immediately publish - to find your way around.  When it says ‘Rediscover your Top Stories’ it isn’t joking…………..

4.  Your Privacy:  Go right back and see what’s showing on your Facebook Timeline, when you find something you don’t want everyone to be able to see, in the right hand corner of each post you’ll see a small pencil, here’s where you can hide or delete items from Timeline, one post at a time.

Alternatively

If you want to limit past post visibility totally and keep your privacy then go to the Privacy Settings from the little drop down arrow in the top right hand corner of your Facebook profile.  Control your default privacy settings (from Public to Friends, for example).

Then go down to ‘Limit the Audience for Past Posts’.  Click on ‘Limit Past Posts’.  Note that this cannot be undone by default, you will have to ‘unlimit’ manually any posts you are happy to be seen by the world. 

5.  Your cover photo – can be anything you like (relatively speaking), and up to 850 x 315 px wide.  This is a very good post to read by Mari Smith about your cover image.  I have created a collage of family pictures but many have a single image.

6.  Check that you’re happy with what the world can see by clicking on the ‘View As’ option (next to the Activity Log button).  If there’s anything you want removed, now’s the time to do it.  If you’re ready, click on Get Timeline, and your new page will be live.

This is very much a new phase for Facebook, intuitive, intrusive, and aimed at those who want to share their complete life experiences with the world, or so Facebook assumes.  If you’re anything like me, you don’t.   Be ready for it then you’re in control.  As you should be.  After all, it’s all about you.


Come and join me on:
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And contact me at phd@thesiteguide.com

Sunday, 29 January 2012

How to Update your Online Profile


Whether you’re involved on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ – all four and more, keeping your online profile specific, relevant and updated is an urgent task that frequently falls by the wayside.

With any online medium the most important thing is to analyse why you’re there and focus on who you want to talk to, then make sure that you’re putting the message across as clearly as possible. 

If you want to be successful online in any respect, you need to constantly update your online profile from your picture to your bio and general information.  It’s too easy to go for months without updating your profile – and I’m guilty of this as well – when you may have made major changes in what you’re doing and what you aspire to achieve.

The answer is to take each of your online profiles individually and ask yourself the following questions for each:

Is my picture up to date, and if a new potential connection looked at it would they be able to identify with me?

Is my bio short and to the point?  Does it say who I am?  Does it engage?

Is the information about me or my business current, clear and interesting?

Are all the contact details correct as of today?

Would I want to engage with me if I came across my page?
This last is probably the most vital.  Take a look at your online presence wherever it is, stand back and ask yourself – ‘would I join in the conversation if I arrived here?’.  If the answer is no, get updating, fast.

Come and join me on:
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/#!/ShopaholicGuide
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/thesiteguide
LinkedIn: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/patriciadavidson1
Google+: https://plus.google.com/108093314539272860897/posts
And contact me at phd@thesiteguide.com

Friday, 27 January 2012

Customer Conversion–How to Improve your Website Optimisation

Customer conversion is clearly the name of the game once a visitor arrives on one of your landing pages and to improve your website or on-site optimisation there are certain actions you need to take.  All the great keyword research, title tag and content optimisation in the world won’t help you if you don’t drive your customers to buy your products or service, and you have very little time in which to do so.

The first thing you have to consider where customer conversion is concerned is what exactly do you want the visitor to your website to do, and then make sure that your message is clear. 

Remove as many alternative choices as possible, so that rather than browse your landing pages and be confused by numerous options your visitors are clearly driven to the path you want them to go down, avoiding distractions on the way and unnecessary content which will most likely not be read.

People will arrive at your website looking for something, either via search, an ad, or because they know that they can find it with you.  Make sure that you make it clear from the start that they’ve arrived at the right place by your landing page usability.  The quicker and easier you make it for your customer to reach their destination the more likely they are to convert.  And customer conversion is the only thing that matters.

You need also to immediately make your visitors feel at home on your website by demonstrating that you are a trustworthy place from them to buy from.  There are certain ways to do this, which I’m going to be writing about next.

In essence you need to do the following:

Make it easy for your customer to do what you want them to do
Remove unnecessary choices and distractions
Fulfil their desires
Increase their trust in you.
Come and join me on:
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/#!/ShopaholicGuide
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/thesiteguide
LinkedIn:http://uk.linkedin.com/in/shopaholicguide
Google+: https://plus.google.com/108093314539272860897/posts
And if you’d like any help or advice on your website please contact me at phd@thesiteguide.com, and check out the Retailers Area at www.thesiteguide.com.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Social Media Strategy–Why You Should Update your Signature Now

Social media gives you the opportunity to increase the awareness of your brand but like most things online you need to make it easy for people to find you.   

Many don’t make the tie between individual email and email marketing campaigns and making the message clear that they can be found on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/Google+ and how to find them – in other words, a golden opportunity ignored for getting customers and browsers alike involved in the whole brand personality.

My signature goes something like this on business emails, newsletters and blog posts because my aim is to get everyone I speak to involved and informed about what I am doing.

Come and join me on:
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/#!/ShopaholicGuide
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/thesiteguide
LinkedIn: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/patriciadavidson1
Google+: https://plus.google.com/108093314539272860897/posts
And if you’d like any help or advice on your website please contact me at phd@thesiteguide.com, and check out the Retailers Area at www.thesiteguide.com.

My advice is to take a look at what you’re doing now and add something to your signature – a link to your blog, where you can be found on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook etc and on your business email your phone number.  Unless of course you really do want to keep it quiet, in which case why get involved in social media at all?  The whole point is surely to spread the word.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Don’t make me Search for your Search Box

I spend a great deal of time looking at e-commerce sites (no surprise there) and this morning, whilst writing a fashion blog for www.glamoursleuth.com I visited a certain quite well known online designer boutique - who shall remain nameless - to search for specific items to match my theme.

I had to look for their search box.  In fact I couldn’t find it.  Now I don’t expect to have to spend a lot of time looking for this best practise piece of website functionality, I expect to see it immediately, and where it belongs is clearly at the top of the page, in the header section so that it is constant, and either over to the right or at the top in the centre.

Just click through to John LewisDebenhams or Net-a-Porter if you want to see some examples of where your search box should be, and if it’s hidden down at the foot of your page, or anywhere else for that matter, I suggest you get it moved.  Search is, after all, so much of what shopping on the web is all about.

Come and join me on:
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/#!/ShopaholicGuide
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/thesiteguide
LinkedIn: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/patriciadavidson1
Google+: https://plus.google.com/108093314539272860897/posts

And if you’d like any help or advice on your website please contact me at phd@thesiteguide.com, and check out the Retailers Area at www.thesiteguide.com.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Email Marketing–How Often is Too Often?

You know the feeling, you open up your inbox and there are hundreds of emails, promoting products you’re not interested in, from people you’re certain you never signed up to, telling you things you don’t want to know and offering discounts on products you never use.  The good thing is you can unsubscribe.  The bad thing is it takes a lot of time.

When you’re creating your email marketing campaign think of how you feel when an unsolicited/unwanted email drops into your inbox and then think what you can to to provide information that is going to be irresistible and that people are going to want to read.

When I’m setting up email campaigns for retailers I try and explain that the info-email is just not enough to achieve what they want, no matter how wonderful they believe their products or service to be.  There has to be a hook, whether it’s to do with something new or an offer.  The newsletter/email has to contain relevancy, appropriate humour, a voice that people are going to want to listen to and not an information overload.

As to how often is too often?  That depends on your product, the size of your mailing list and your analytics – you can see straight away when people start to drop off.

However – these are indisputable rules;

Write great headlines that have instant impact – you only have a couple of seconds to get someone’s attention.

Keep your message clear and simple

Know your demographic and write straight to it.

Imagine you’re going to be receiving your newsletter – would you open it?  If not bin it and start over.


Come and join me on:
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/#!/ShopaholicGuide
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/thesiteguide
LinkedIn:http://uk.linkedin.com/in/shopaholicguide
Google+: https://plus.google.com/108093314539272860897/posts