Welcome to The blog of Dreamtheatre!

Founded by blog editor; Adam Wilkie. Follow this blog for social media, business and lifestyle advice (and the odd gripe!).

A business born in Glasgow.

Ship building, football, Irn Bru and SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING.

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Start-up stories, social media success and your daily dose of inspiration.

Thursday 22 May 2014

My Checklist for Increasing Online Sales

A common difficulty for online businesses is converting their marketing efforts and social engagement into sales. It’s fairly easy to portray your chosen brand image and increase your following (If you follow me, and/or have read my previous articles, hopefully my help has brought you to that position), but getting those followers to part with their cash, especially online, can be a complete bitch!

The first thing I’d say is it’s not easy… It really isn't! So if you’re struggling, don’t think you’re alone. It’s a lot easier to convert your online marketing efforts to offline sales believe it or not. A larger amount of trust in a relationship is required before someone will make the decision to buy from you online – which leads me nicely into the following rant:

‘Marketing in’ is not directly proportional to ‘sales out’ from the get go. I get serious fucking pains in my head with those who believe they should see an online sales increase after their first month of marketing. The reality is in your first few months* your target is to increase trust amongst your followers, and also to increase your amount of online followers**. Sales will be a product of this growth.

* Time period will change with industry and current company position.
**This is not specific to your social media following – This includes anyone who engages with your company online.

The list I’m about to present to you has been developed over a long period of time. I developed this checklist using my background knowledge of online marketing and trying shit out, which is how you really find things out; make mistakes and learn from them. Just be sure to come back stronger.

Luckily for you I’ve made the mistakes and done the tests. So you can now use the following checklist with a little more confidence. My advice is to run down the checklist and make sure you have each point covered in some way.

7 Point Checklist

           1.       Good Site Design
This is so fucking obvious, but so commonly ignored!

Would you buy from a site that’s been hacked together and barely looks legit? How long would you wait for a website to load before you left it to find another supplier of your desired product? On average people will wait 6 – 10 seconds for a page to load before they give-up.

So make sure your site is well designed, with good code backing it up in order to reduce page loading time. The customer’s journey from the home page to the checkout should be as smooth as a Ryan Gosling chat up line.

           2.       High Google Ranking
Spend time on your site’s SEO. Optimise your keywords and meta-tags.

The fact of the matter is that people are god damn lazy… and I fully include myself in this category! It’s human nature. There are certain things people will work hard for, but finding a site on Google isn’t one of them. The top ranked sites on Google will always perform better.

           3.       Links Everywhere
Make sure people can access your site from as many places as is sensible. That includes the social media content you post and emails you send.

           4.       Good Social Media Practice
I aint going to bore you with the ins and outs of good social media practice – I have plenty of articles related to that. However, two very important points to highlight are:

1.       Remove ‘buying’ references from your content and focus on the BENEFITS of your product(s).
2.       Post a shit-tonne of good images of your products. People like to see what they are buying. So show your product from many angles, and in action etc.

           5.       Direct Engagement on Social Media
This is ‘good social media practice’, but it deserves its own point.

Like the traditional salesman would roam door to door harvesting sales, you need to roam your online following to harvest TRUST; develop one-to-one relationships. The important thing is that you don’t try to close the sale right away. As I said in the beginning, this will come.

           6.       Paid Ads
If you think you can achieve huge online sales without any paid advertising then you’re a fool. Every company should have a marketing budget.

Paid aids will help spread the word about your company and product, and will help increase your online following. Once you’ve captured these followers all marketing is free – you are then able to build your relationship.

           7.       Email Marketing
Email marketing kind of fell on its arse for a while there, mainly due to the amount of sleazy spam mail being circulated. However, it’s on the ascendency once more.

A well written (and by that I mean not sleazy sales talk) email can feel a lot more personal to a potential customer and fast track the journey of trust.

Spend some time developing as large an email list as you can. You can have subscribe widgets on your website and social media, add previous customers etc. This is an on-going process.

So there you have it; my very own ‘seven steps to selling success’. Go hither and increase your online sales, but don’t forget about me! I’d love to hear how you get on if you choose to follow my advice. So come and join me on any of my SM platforms.

Thursday 8 May 2014

Facebook Engagement Life Savers!

As you will all have noticed our Facebook post reach has fallen off the edge of a cliff… A fuckin’ big cliff! A post that used to reach 500 now only reaches 75, which has a knock on effect to our engagement stats. I’m also sure you know that this is no accident.

Facebook have re-developed their post ranking algorithm (similar to Google ranking) in a bid to drive us all towards paid advertising; Facebook Ads, promoted posts etc. They have made it a lot harder for marketers to gain organic success in order to swell the Facebook bank balance (significantly), but as much as I’m verbally ‘throwing the toys out the pram’ – who gives a shit! Just produce better content! Facebook is a business, and businesses exist to make money. Do they not?

You see, as much as Facebook are making it harder to gain a high organic reach they are also rewarding good content and good pages. So this gives you all an opportunity to leave a large chunk of your competition in the dust. That is unless your competition is reading this article…

So now we all know the problem challenge, let me give you the solution; the key to winning the battle of reach & engagement c2014.

Improve Post Reach

I have a lot of tips to provide you here, so I’m gonna cut out the bullshit and get right to it!

In essence, if you can increase engagement on your page then you’ll win this battle of organic reach, and I’m going to show you how to increase engagement further on. First however, there are a few things you can do that will fall favourably with Facebook’s new algorithm:

        1.     The ‘Get Notifications Tab’
Encourage your fans to select ‘Get Notifications’ and they will see everything you post no matter what.

Be humble about it though. Don’t instruct them to do it. Offer it as a solution:

“Facebook’s new ranking algorithm means you might not be seeing all of my posts L. So if you’d like to see them all, and be part of our continual conversation, then select ‘Get Notifications’ as shown here’.

        2.     Link to Quality Content
Facebook are now showing more links in the News Feed. This is one of the biggest changes to their algorithm. So if all you do is post photos then stop right now and mix it up with more links. However, make sure the site you are linking to is a good quality, reputable site. Facebook will automatically grab the meta data (photo, summary text) and display this. Better quality is rewarded with a high news feed rank.

        3.     Don’t Spam
Facebook want to cut out Pages that are producing 'spam posts'. So to do this they are cracking down on what they call "Like Baiting" - You know those posts that are explicitly aimed at getting people to interact with a post? Posts like “Click like if you love long lies”, or “Share this post if you like pizza; comment if you prefer lasagne”? I'm sure we agree that these posts are useless anyway.

Please don't confuse this with the good practice of including specific calls to action. For instance, asking your fans to answer your question in the comments section, or asking them to share your post with people who would benefit from it.

So how can you avoid being targeted?

1. Make sure your posts are relevant.
2. Don't create posts that have the sole purpose of garnering likes, shares or comments.
3. Avoid explicitly asking your fans to 'Like this post' or 'Share this post'. Give them a reason to do these.

        4.     Tag Another Page
Not only will this increase the chances of that page engaging with your post, but all of their fans will see your post too!

        5.     Boost Your Post
I know I’m trying to tell you how to increase post reach without paying, but at the end of the day boosting/promoting a post every now and again will increase engagement on your page. This in turn will shoot you up the News Feed ranks.

You don’t have to spend much. A £10 boost could help you reach ~10000 people, which could be pretty damn good for your business. Remember that every business should put a marketing budget aside. Do you?

Note that when you are boosting/promoting a post, the image you use cannot be more than 25% text.

Improve Post Engagement

So now that I’ve shown you some technical changes you can make, or as Mathew McConaughey in Wolf of Wall Street would say, “acidic, above the shoulders mustard shit”; it’s time to fix your engagement strategy.

The following is a list of ways that will help you get more engagements than Ross from Friends:

        1.     Post When Your Fans are Online
What’s the point in posting top quality content when everyone’s asleep or at work? Play to the stats and post when they’re usually online. This can be seen in your ‘Insights’.

> Click ‘See Insights’
> Select ‘Posts’, and you’ll be met with statistical gold!

        2.     Spark a Discussion
As I’ve said many times, engagement is the key to Facebook marketing. It’s the Holy Grail. So ask questions; get the people talking and discussing in your comments box. This is how posts go viral.

Remember that sometimes to spark discussion you have to light the wick of controversy. Don’t sit on the fence - it’s boring and not worth discussing.

        3.     Be a Learned Master
People love interacting with ‘how to’ content. ‘How to’ content works because you’re offering practical value. Gaining value out of something is a key driver of why we share things.

        4.     Lifestyle Shots
People love to see who’s behind the brand. So make every 3rd or 4th post something light hearted and about you the person, or people, behind the brand.
Here’s my girlfriend Gemma and I when we took our Mums out for Mother’s day.

 I know what you’re thinking… She is indeed a lucky girl!

        5.     Shorten Your Posts
Get good at being concise. Posts with less than 80 characters get 23% more interaction. Try it!

        6.     Quote the Best
Quotes get 25% more likes and 19% more shares according to early 2014 statistics. So share some inspiration now and again.

Wrapping It Up

In some people’s eyes Facebook have screwed us over, but life is full of changes and challenges. You’ve got to roll with the changes and use them to your advantage.

I heard a great quote recently that was, “Be better, not bitter”. Write that down on a post-it note and stick it on the side of your screen. The fact is that most brands suck at Facebook marketing. So take the opportunity that’s in front of you.

Hopefully you found this article helpful and you put my tips into practice. If you do I’d love to hear how you got on. So connect with me on one of my platforms and let me know.