02 Mar

Facebook Timeline for Brands

Facebook Timeline for Brands

Facebook Timeline can be used creatively by brands

Since Facebook for brands was launched this week (in preview prior to switching them live on March 30th), I have been trialling the service for a number of clients. Here are my observations so far:

  • Firstly it is a huge aesthetic enhancement to brands’ most potentially engaging social media platform.
  • Existing content created at 520 pixels width, such as tabs and apps will continue to display in the new Timeline format. However some work is likely to be required, to change content to fill the new 810 pixel wide space.
  • You can no longer use default landing tabs for non-fans in Timeline, which is a shame.  You can use the new design to your advantage though, but it would appear to me that conversion rates are going to drop significantly as a result of this change.
  • You can use Timeline’s preview on your Pages right now, but I am not generally making Timeline a permanent feature until the end of March, just so that any bugs are ironed out before taking them live.
  • Add milestones to humanise a brand and tell a story over time.
  • Apps appear under the cover photo, so ensure that these are the ones you want to promote to users.
  • Pin interesting content to the top of the Timeline to keep it visible, but rotate this on a weekly basis.
  • The new private messaging feature allows a much better and more personal brand experience, but it needs to be used with temperance, otherwise it is as bad as spam.
04 Jan

Latest Effective Social Media seminar

Effective Social Media seminar

Click to book your place on an Effective Social Media seminar

If you aren’t already actively engaging with more than 800 million Social Media users then you should attend my next two-hour ‘Effective Social Media’ seminar and learn how you can leverage LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social networks for your business, organisation or charity.

The seminar aims to give attendees a solid foundation in the world of Social Media, using interactive sessions and discussion on the social networks that organisations should be using in their marketing mix. You will come away with an understanding of how to plan and manage your digital network communication.

If you have already started social networking you should be using a coordinated Social Media strategy. If not, come and learn how to do so.

The next event is scheduled for 27th January 2012. If you are interested in attending, please contact me or book a place here.

19 Dec

Updated Keyboard Shortcuts Wallcharts

I recently updated my infamous ‘Windows Keyboard Shortcuts’ (as originally blogged back in 2006 here), so here is the updated version:

Windows keyboard shortcuts (PDF 48KB)

But what about Mac users? Okay, here’s a new version for all the Mac lovers out there (me too).

Mac keyboard shortcuts (PDF 98KB)

Feel free to download and distribute the files as you wish!

29 Nov

New website for Cleenol

Cleenol logoIndustrial cleaning and hygiene products manufacturer Cleenol approached us in early 2011, requiring a new website, since their existing one was getting very long in the tooth. Following a six-way competitive tender for the business, we were awarded the contract to create an online product database and catalogue, together with customer tools aimed at improving customer services.

Working with Cleenol’s own designer who drafted the visual concepts, we developed these into a CMS managed website over which the customer has full control of all database and page content. Searchable by range and industry, customers can now find products more easily and download the appropriate datasheets and product use guides once logged in, thereby acquiring customer details. Future developments will extend the functionality of the database into CRM and ERP.

We are proud of the results which can be seen at http://www.cleenol.co.uk

If you are looking for something similar, please get in touch.

 

08 Nov

Google+ brand pages launched

Well, they’ve been a while coming, but brand pages are finally here on Google+, offering another means by which brands can engage with communities of customers and friends. I was surprised that Google waited so long but actually it’s a good thing, since it has given a few people (well, 40 million if you believe the hype) a while to get to grips with the new service prior to bringing brands onto the platform – that’s a smarter move than just making everything available at once, in my book.

Having created a couple of brand pages already I can see that Google+ has a little way to go, but the opportunity for greater exposure and reach is clearly there, since searches within Google+ are starting to reveal some interesting content, brands included!

03 Nov

The demise of Google Sidewiki

Google SidewikiHaving used Google Sidewiki in the past I received an email from Google announcing that the service will close on 5th December.  That’s a bit of a shame in my book as I found the service gave users the oportunity to contribute helpful information alongside any page that they found useful and thereby make the page more relevant to both them and others.

I shan’t exactly mourn its loss, but clearly there just weren’t enough users on Sidewiki to justify its existence.  Elsewhere other Google products have suffered a similar fate, such as Google Code Search, Google Labs and Google Buzz, among others. Clearly Google is trimming down its non-core and failing experiments.

04 Oct

‘Effective Social Media’ Seminar

Effective Social Media seminar

Click to book your place on an Effective Social Media seminar

If you aren’t already actively engaging with more than 800 million Social Media users then you should attend my next two-hour ‘Effective Social Media’ seminar and learn how you can leverage LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social networks for your business, organisation or charity.

The seminar aims to give attendees a solid foundation in the world of Social Media, using interactive sessions and discussion on the social networks that organisations should be using in their marketing mix. You will come away with an understanding of how to plan and manage your digital network communication.

If you have already started social networking you should be using a coordinated Social Media strategy. If not, come and learn how to do so.

The next event is scheduled for 4th November 2011. If you are interested in attending, please contact me or book a place here.

23 Sep

Should you try the new Facebook Timeline?

How Facebook Timeline will look when it goes live

How Facebook Timeline will look when it goes live

You may have heard in the press and elsewhere about all the latest features that Facebook is rolling out. Some were intended to compete head to head with Google+, which went public earlier this week, and some are still to arrive. If you want to see the latest feature called Facebook Timeline, you will have to wait until September 29th, unless you want to jump to the head of the queue and try it now!

Facebook Timeline will give you the ability to see all of your activity in a continuous

If you just can’t wait, follow this link http://ickl.co/rd3ogS and after a few tortuous steps within the bowels of Facebook’s Developer underworld, you will emerge triumphant into the light to see your shiny new Facebook Timeline interface.

Is it worth the hype? Well, you do get to see your activity in a timeline down the page, you can customise the header image with one of your existing or a new picture, you see all the latest posts down the right side of the page as they happen – you do get to see everything in one place, which may or may not be a benefit to some. Personally I see this as Facebook desperately trying to hold its head high as Google+ tries to steal a march.  Maybe it’s time for change? Only time will tell.

21 Sep

Will you dance with Google+ ?

Google Plus

Now anyone can join in Google+

As has been reported widely today, The Google+ Project as it has been known up until now, is open for all to join, following a period of more than two months of ‘closed’ testing by up to 25 million users. When you go to your Google homepage you will see the blue arrow and link to +You, where you need to go and set up a Google Profile (if you don’t already have one) so that you can get access to Google+

But why should you?

There are a number of compelling features that make Google+ a prime contender for the crown of King of the Social Networks. This has rightfully belonged to Facebook since its widespread adoption in 2005 – after all there are now more than 750 million Facebook accounts in circulation (not all are active of course). However Google+ goes for a slightly different approach by offering functionality such as ‘Hangouts’ for multi-way video chat and ‘Circles’ of friends. They aren’t ground-breaking in themselves, but when you consider this in conjunction with Google’s reach through its search product, Google+ will be visible to almost everyone on the web from today, and that provides potential traction, even for existing Facebook users who may wish to see what it has to offer once their friends are also doing so and adding them.

You may want to stick around on Facebook too for the moment though – today Facebook has rolled out even more updates, with some directly responding to Google+ Circles and others intended to let you show only the information you want to see.

How do you get started?

Go to http://plus.google.com and sign into your Google Account – this doesn’t need to be a GMail account – you can have a Google profile associated with just about any email address. Once you’re in, you will want to start following people and adding friends to your ‘circles’. It’s all pretty intuitive, but one trick you will want to try is getting your Facebook contacts across to Google – well help is at hand:

  1. Sign Up for Google+ and click on ‘View all’ at the top right
  2. Click ‘Find People’ which will show the options to add friends from your Yahoo! contacts and from your Windows Live Hotmail contacts
  3. Open your Yahoo! e-mail or Windows Live Hotmail and you can import your Facebook contacts
  4. Go to ‘Contacts’, ‘Manage’, and click on the ‘Export’ option
  5. Go back to your Google+ profile ‘Find Friends’ tab and click on either the Yahoo! or Windows Live Hotmail icon
  6. Sign in to your Yahoo! or Windows Live account and permit Google+ to connect the account with your Google+ profile.
  7. Once authorised, all of your Facebook friends will be added to your Google+ account so that you can add them to your Circles
Sweet!

 

 

18 Jul

Search Engine Submission Scam

It appears another variation on the domain registration scam and the Domain Registry of America scam, that I have previously discussed in this blog, is appearing via email to domain owners. In this version, an official-looking email informs the domain registrant that they need to register in order to be found in search engines. Of course this is a complete fallacy; there is no obligation on a domain owner to register with a third party for search engine inclusion. The originating company doesn’t even identify itself in the email, merely providing a generic Yahoo email address, and contact details.  Hardly a bona fide company to do business with!

The email text varies, but is generally in this form:

Attn: [DOMAIN OWNER] As a courtesy to domain name holders, we are sending you this notification for your business Domain name search engine registration.  This letter is to inform you that it’s time to send in your registration and save.
Failure to complete your Domain name search engine registration by the expiration date may result in cancellation of this offer making it difficult for your customers to locate you on the web.
Privatization allows the consumer a choice when registering.  Search engine subscription includes domain name search engine submission.  You are under no obligation to pay the amounts stated below unless you accept this offer. Do not discard, this notice is not an invoice it is a courtesy reminder to register your domain name search engine listing so your customers can locate you on the web.
This Notice for: [DOMAIN NAME] will expire on [Date] Act today!

Hidden in the text after the alarmist notice are the words ‘you are under no obligation to pay’ – those of course are the most important words in the email – do not be fooled by the rest of the mumbo-jumbo!