Archives for October 2010

Is Social Media of value to SMEs?

That’s the question that the East Midlands Forum of Private Business asked their members, SMEs based in East Midlands. I’ve summarised the findings below, with a link to the full article afterwards, as I think it makes interesting reading.

  • 51% of members have tried websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter

of that 51%:

  • 18% found the websites ‘not useful’
  • 8% found them ‘useless’
  • Only 6% said social media was ‘very useful’ for their business
  • 31% do not use social media at all

Forum spokesman Phil McCabe said: “Our research makes for interesting reading – around a quarter of smaller businesses in the East Midlands use social media and think it works, a quarter of firms use it but don’t think it works, and the remaining half either only utilise it for personal use or don’t use it at all.

You can read the full article here

The survey also found that 22% of SMEs in East Midlands don’t have a website.

I have to admit to being surprised that only 6% of people found that social media was very useful – that statistic on its own opens up a few more questions:

  • Did those 6% have any sort of strategy?
  • How long did they ‘do’ social media for?
  • How did they measure it?
  • Did they engage, or did they broadcast?
  • What were their expectations in the first place?

Are you one of the businesses polled in the survey? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts below.


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Should I retweet / Facebook / promote my competitors?

Let's get ready to rumble...I’ve been asked this question a couple of times recently and my answer is a resounding YES!

Sounds a bit odd, doesn’t it? Why on earth would I be recommending that you promote people you’re supposed to be in competition with?

Well, to my mind, retweeting (or promoting on facebook, your blog, etc) something that your competitors have written that may be good for your potential clients makes good business sense.

I often forward on articles from competitors, tweet them out to my ‘followers’, post them on my Facebook page, etc, because I feel it shows that:

  • I care about my potential clients – this info is good for them even if I didn’t write it myself
  • I’m not afraid of a bit of healthy competition – I’m a great believer that there’s enough business out there for everyone
  • I’m keeping up to date in my industry – by reading what others are putting out

In addition it fosters a certain sense of loyalty from those that I help to promote – if they get too much work, or have clients they can’t deal with, they’re more likely to think of me, as I’ve been a supporter of theirs, than someone who they’ve never interacted with.

I learn from my peers and competitors every day, and I hope that they learn from me. I repay that by retweeting and helping to promote them. Are you brave enough to do the same thing?

I’d be interested in your thoughts on this one as it can be quite an emotive subject 🙂

Creative Commons License photo credit: law_keven

Need some help with your Internet Marketing?

I’m just a week or so away from launching my new Internet Marketing Mentoring program and I have to let you know, I’m really excited!

With this program I’ll be taking only 3 people and working closely with them every single day to help them develop their blogs, their website, their SEO, their Facebook page, their Twitter account, press releases, YouTube and more – in fact everything that is needed to promote a business successfully online.

  • Have each and every blog post critiqued and tweaked
  • Learn how to adapt your website for SEO
  • Receive emails every day with hints and tips especially for you
  • Have help with promotion, calls to action and more
  • Your personal Internet Marketing mentor at the end of an email or Skype chat, every single day!

I’m still finalising the details and putting together the finishing touches, but if you want to be one of the first to  find out more about this exciting new program (with no obligation) then leave your details below. Your email address won’t be shared with anyone else, and I’ll only use it to send you details of the program as it launches – remember there will only be 3 places, so be sure you’ll be one of the first to find out more by registering for more information now!

Register for more info

Friday offer: Facebook Business Page Management

You started off with all good intentions – your Facebook Fan Page all set up, nice and new and shiny and just waiting for you to gather fans / likes, add content and keep updated, and reply to comments as they come in.

But then business took over, your page hasn’t been updated for a few weeks, you haven’t looked for ‘likes’ for a while and you’re not sure whether or not you should carry on. You just can’t find the time!

That’s where our Facebook Business Page Management Service comes in – we’ll take the worry and the hassle of updating your page away from you.

We will:

  • Post at least once a day – not just links to your site, but items of interest, questions, videos, comments, statements and more – making your page an interactive and useful resource, not just a ‘me, me, me’ page that no-one pays any attention to.
  • Reply to any comments posted on the page, ensuring that conversation and relationships are nurtured rather than ignored.
  • Pass on any requests or comments that we feel you should deal with direct, such as product or service enquiries.
  • Publicise your page to our own contacts, Twitter followers and blog readers to help grow fans / likes
  • Send you a report every month with details of growth and achievements

Usually we charge £150 a month for this service, but this is Friday and we’re feeling generous so we’re offering it at just £65 per month.

Yep, you read that right – £65 a month! We’re only taking on 10 people at this price, and of course it’s first come first served.

And you can commit to just one month to try it out!

Sign up now with the Paypal subscription button below, or drop Nikki a line on if you would prefer to be invoiced.

Join the 75+ clients that have had help to make the most of their Facebook pages!


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6 Ways of Using LinkedIn to Build Your Brand Online

A guest post from Karen Skidmore of CanDoCanBe.

LinkedIn has fast become one of the largest and most respected online business networks.  According to Wikipedia, it had more then 75 million registered users in August of this year, spanning more than 200 countries.

But how are you using it?

Compared with sites such as Facebook and Twitter, it seems to be regarded as the safest business network to be part of.  It is designed around business so there isn’t any of that awkard “do I need to be letting people know what I have for lunch?” moments.

If Twitter is a cocktail party and Facebook a coffee morning, then LinkedIn is a conference, trade show or networking event.  We know that people on LinkedIn are interested in talking business and the rules of business seem to be so much easier to understand than all this social/personal/business cross-divide that Twitter and Facebook expects.

But the downside to LinkedIn is knowing how and where to start.

On the face of it, LinkedIn has created a simple and clean looking interface.  But stick to your home page and your profile and you are missing out on the huge opportunities that LinkedIn offers.

The trouble is where to find these opportunities and deciding how to use them for your business.
Here are my top 6 ways of using LinkedIn to help build your brand online.

1.     Your profile: What makes your profile stand out enough for someone to scroll down and read more?  Get your photo right (professional head shot please – no edited holiday snap shots!), use your Professional Headline as you would at a networking event (you wouldn’t say Owner or Managing Director when someone asks you what you do, would you?) and update your status at least once a month.

2.    Recommendations: Having personal recommendations on your profile is at the very heart of LinkedIn.  People buy from people and when testimonials on websites can be, well frankly, made up! – personal recommendations on LinkedIn provide that instant visibility and social credital.

3.    Answers: Under the “more” tab on your top menu bar, you will find the option “Answers”.  This opens up an enourmous section of LinkedIn that some people don’t even know it exists.  Use it to ask questions yourself (highly recommended for technical queries!) but, more importantly for building up your brand, get yourself recogonised as an expert by answering questions.  Decide on one or two categories to focus on and track new questions via the RSS feed to save you doing the manual search every day.

4.    Advanced Search: This is when LinkedIn excells.  You can search on any of the categories in LinkedIn (people, companies, answers, jobs, groups) but if you want to find new and potentially interesting contacts to speak to, then my top tip is focus on the people who come up as 2nd tier in your filters.  These are people who are connected to your current network – so getting introduced to someone becomes much easier than trying to go in cold.

5.    Events: Add the events application from your application directory in the “more” tab and you have the opportunity to not only add your own events, but also to track which events your connections are planning to attend.  A great way of getting to meet the right people at the right time (and no, this doesn’t have to be stalking!)

6.    Offline LinkedIn: As with all great online networks, the real relationships happen when they go offline.  Remember to connect with your LinkedIn network outside of LinkedIn – pick up the phone, meet them an event, invite them for coffee.  LinkedIn is a very powerful network but hide behind your screen and email, you will miss out on opportunities.

There are plenty more ways of using LinkedIn to help build your brand online but I hope these are enough to get you started.

I would love to hear about your success (or indeed horror!) stories of using LinkedIn.  So do get in touch either by email, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn (yup – I’m on them all!!)

And if you want to know more about how use LinkedIin and other web tech marketing tools, then hop on over to the where you will get access to monthly webinars and dozens of “how-to” videos.

Karen Skidmore helps small business owners work smarter and use the right marketing tools so they can attract more of the right clients to their business. To subscribe to her free email newsletter and get access to practical advice and marketing ideas that will move your business forward, visit

Warren Phillips Web Design Manchester – new client welcome

It’s always nice to get new clients, but we do love a client who’s a web designer for a couple of reasons:

1) They tend to be able to make the changes we ask for quickly
2) They have other clients they can recommend us to 😉

So we’re delighted to welcome on board Manchester web designers Warren Phillips, who specialise in (funnily enough) web design in the Manchester area.

We’re hoping to help Warren increase his visibility in a number of areas, so if you’re looking for:

then be sure to check out Warren’s website.

Don’t forget to like his Facebook page too 🙂

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Is it possible to gain business from Twitter?

$5700That’s the question I’m being asked a lot at the moment – and of course I always say yes, because I know of many companies that do. But I’ve been challenged to find businesses that are making money because of Twitter but AREN’T:

  • SEO companies
  • Social Media Marketeers
  • Internet based retailers (etailers)
  • Providing internet services

So, I’m looking for companies who are ‘real life’ based, and have gained business because of Twitter that they wouldn’t have had otherwise.

If you want to take part in this blog / article, please either email me on or put your details in the comments below, letting me know:

  • Your Twitter name
  • Your company name and www
  • Your company type
  • Your experience of Twitter and the business you have gained

You don’t have to put monetary values on it (although you can if you want), or even percentages of business (although you can if you want!) – I’m happy to take your general impression of Twitter and how it has helped your business.

Just to clarify, this is for businesses that have received ACTUAL business and made cold hard cash 🙂

Looking forward to your replies!

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Creative Commons License photo credit: AMagill

Blogging thought for the day

Blog posts don’t always have to be long. Sometimes a couple of paragraphs can carry as strong a message as 500 words – so don’t get hung up on having to write swathes of text.

You don’t 🙂

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7 Reasons I WILL follow you on Twitter

I'll lead, you'll FollowFollowing on from my post 10 Reasons I Won’t Follow You On Twitter, I thought it only fair to do a follow up 🙂

So, here are 7 reasons why I WILL follow you on Twitter:

1) I’ve met you.

If we’ve met at an event, or out networking, or I’ve seen you speak and introduced myself to you then I’ll happily follow you on Twitter.

2) I admire you

I’m not talking celebrities so much here, but if you’ve been successful in business and I admire the way you do things, I’ll click the follow button 🙂

3) You provide great links

I love reading blogs and articles so if you provide a lot of links then I’m likely to check you out.

4) Someone I know retweeted you

I often find new people to follow because someone I follow has retweeted their tweets.

5) You retweet my tweets

Yeah, mercenary, but if you retweet my tweets then I’m more likely to have a look at your profile and follow you as a thank you.

6) You @nikkipilkington me

Responding to a question I’ve asked, asking me a question, just saying Hi – yep, I’ll follow you. (Spamming me straight off with links to your site, no I won’t)

7) You’ve been featured on Twittercounter

I often scan through the recommendations on there and find new people to follow.

But the above 7 things aren’t just going to get ME to follow you, they’ll often help other people to make the choice to follow you too – in short, to my mind, they’re great etiquette for Twitter, and will help us all build our follower. Good luck 🙂

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Creative Commons License photo credit: Jerremy B.

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