How infographics can be weaved into your social strategy

A guest post from @adriasaracino

A social media marketing strategy is integral to how you promote your business (or your clients’ businesses) online. After the meteoric rise in the popularity of the infographic, it’s worth considering how you can best weave this kind of content into your strategy.

A fresh source of quality content
A good social strategy always involves bucket-loads of high quality content, whether you’re creating it yourself or finding it online to share. This can sometimes be challenging, particularly if your business isn’t the most engaging of industries.

The infographic creates many opportunities for fresh content, even for less immediately exciting subject areas. Because the heart of the infographic comes from presenting complex information or data in a simple and accessible way, it means as long as you have access to data and some creativity, you’ll be able to find something interesting to say.

In fact, some of the most successful infographics around comes from companies who analyze their own data – such as the online dating website, OKCupid. This is because, if you’re the only one with the numbers, you’ll be creating something truly unique – a hard feat in today’s blogosphere.

Innately shareable
Your social strategy probably revolves around conversations and sharing. The infographic perfectly suits the latter of these activities and doing something as simple as adding interactive share features makes it easier than ever to watch your content spread like wildfire online. For example, Simply Business created this interactive productivity guide series that allows readers to socially share the piece directly off the graphic. Think carefully about where you position these kind of features on the infographic, as you don’t want to seem overly pushy, nor do you want them to be overlooked.

The very nature of infographics also makes them ideal for sharing. They’re visually appealing, load on a single page and can usually be digested in a very short time. If you think about how short a time you have to make an impression on a visitor, this last feature is a really important benefit. In fact, it means that infographics are often a better way to present certain bits of information than, for example, a traditional blog post.

They can be quick and easy to create
Although many infographics involve lots of crunched data and careful design, it doesn’t have to be this way. Sometimes, the simplest designs are the best, particularly if they play off well-known or trending memes. For example, take a look
at this one created by South African Hotels that takes a look at foods South African expats miss the most. Meme-based
infographics tend to share well and are easy to create, so this can be an extra incentive to keeping things simple!

Some stock photography websites also offer great vector images for infographics that can be crafted into something suitable for your business. The beauty of this approach is that, by using vectors, you can scale your infographics for whatever purpose you want – from presentations to merchandise!

These three points just go to show how accessible and worthwhile infographics are to anybody’s social strategy. And, with those stock vectors ready for you to use straight away, there’s no excuse not to get creating some fresh, irresistibly shareable content for your business.

Adria Saracino is a marketer and blogger. When not consulting on business’ content strategy, you can find her writing about style on her personal fashion blog, The Emerald Closet.

Seven Ways to Ensure Marketing Consistency

A guest post from Christopher Wallace

A long time ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth, there were no social media sites or smart phones. The Internet was still in its infancy and the business world relied on meetings… lots of meetings, ranging from in-depth strategy and sales sessions to mundane status meetings. Fortunately, we have moved way beyond this dated concept of getting-everyone-in-the-same-room-looking-at-the-same-stack-of-papers to embracing technology in its varied forms to accomplish the same things more quickly and without the need for all those face-to-face meetings. Not only that, software programs themselves have become much easier to use, making it possible for more people within a company to design their own campaigns and messages.

Bottom line: the sales and marketing divisions within a modern company operate much differently than they did just ten short years ago. And while most of these developments have been advantageous, the problem of inconsistent messaging is a growing concern. With customers now coming in from the Internet as well as standard feet-on-the-street sales teams, it’s very important that a company’s message be standardized across the board, or you’re liable to create a potentially confusing story for your prospects.

Here are seven ways to help you insure marketing consistency within your company:

  1. First and foremost, top management has to recognize that it’s no longer “business as usual.” Think of all the divisions – sales, marketing, support – that interact with customers. If you want a consistent message, then the company leaders have to make it clear that they support whatever changes are necessary to ensure a consistent message.
  2. If you’re larger than a four-person shop, seriously consider a Content Management System (CMS) to help manage and control the amount and quality of the information being posted on the corporate website. It will allow a larger number of people to contribute, reduce the chances for duplicate data and will help control access to any privileged data.
  3. Don’t assume everyone will immediately agree to all the changes. A CMS is no good if you’ve got a few rogues who refuse to use it. Adopting and using any new systems should be given top priority. Offer hands-on training sessions frequently until all those responsible for web content are familiar with how it works.
  4. Make it easy for folks to share information in the early planning stages, like at the beginning of a new campaign or the planning of a tradeshow. Pinterest is new to the scene, but has a lot of promise in being able to aid in this area. Anyone anywhere can “pin” pictures on a certain topic where others can see them, even that sales rep who always seems to be on the road with their laptop.
  5. Ensure that your information looks and feels the same no matter what format it’s in – online, print, or video. This means more than making sure that everybody is using the same logo in the same font and color. For example – coordinate the look of any Call To Action (CTA) forms with any printed response cards you use. Whitepapers should have a similar look to them, even if different departments are writing them; ditto for case studies. Don’t use a different jingle or theme song in every new video you produce. There should be no question as to what company is delivering the message.
  6. Face up to Facebook – it’s here and it’s not going away any time soon. Develop a policy as to who can post to Facebook and enforce it. Don’t get all carried away with the idea of getting 1000’s of “likes,” because studies have shown that these often have very little to do with sales. People will “like” you because it’s quick, easy and costs them nothing. If you want a presence on Facebook, then take a little time to develop a policy that ties back in to what you’re presenting on the rest of your corporate website.
  7. Finally, meetings. No, not the dinosaur of old. Modern meetings can be done without getting a whole bunch of people together in one room, thanks to programs like GoToMeeting. But with all the new activity going on, you’re going to want to touch-base on a regular basis to keep everyone in focus and to resolve any issues before they get too troublesome.

With a little bit of due diligence, your company will be able to present a clear and unified story about its products and services. This will make it easier for your prospects to understand how you can help them solve their problems, leading to your ultimate goal – more customers!

Christopher Wallace, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Amsterdam Printing, has more than 20 years experience in sales and marketing. At Amsterdam, a leading provider of personalized pens, and other personalized items such as imprinted apparel and customized calendars, Christopher is focused on providing quality marketing materials to small, mid-size and large businesses.

Social Media Marketing Lessons from Steve Jobs You Can Use


A guest post by Henry Fitzgerald

What were mp3 players like before the iPod? Where did we buy music before the iTunes store? And, how did we ever function before the iPhone?

Steve Jobs certainly changed our lives as consumers, but what about as marketers, advertisers, business people, or social media experts. Jobs’ far-reaching effect on our lives is now so innate, we might not even notice.

With that being said, let’s take a moment to appreciate how Steve Jobs changed the name of social media marketing.

Lesson #1: No One is Perfect

Steve Jobs was never perfect. His Motorola Rokr, an early and distant ancestor of the iPhone was a complete failure. Who’s even heard of it? Or the Power Mac G4 cube? Doesn’t ring a bell. Jobs learned from failures and setbacks, capitalized on losses and moved on to bigger and better things. His lack of success with MobileMe paved the way for broad communication technology like iCloud onConference and Google Docs.

Lesson #2: Swim Against the Current

The tech industry is a unique blend of swimming upstream and swimming with the current. It’s hard to balance, but Steve Jobs had it down to science. He managed to think differently, stay ahead of consumers’ needs and make ‘outrageous’ predictions, like the prevalence of home computers functioning with the internet.

Lesson #3: Pay Attention to Details

Apple products work ridiculously well. Unless you’ve dropped your iPhone or spilled iced tea on your Macbook, it’s hard to justify buying a new Apple product claiming your product stopped working. Jobs was committed to details. He wasn’t willing to overlook small problems or kinks, even in the smallest of details. As a result, Apple’s products work well through and through, not just on the surface and not just for 6 months.

Lesson #4: Simplicity

One of the largest and most widespread early arguments for switching to Macs was that they’re easy to use. People raved about how simple Mac computers were and felt no sympathy for whiny PC users who couldn’t find the files they stored or the ‘print’ command in Word. Bringing things down to a consumer level can be hard to do, but Jobs made the computer accessible for everyone. Apple products are unique in that they please both Techy Tom and Pen and Paper Patty.

Lesson #5: Aesthetics Matter

As simple as it sounds, Apple products are just plain cool. They’re sleek, attractive, enticing and they work well. While other products may work just as well, people want something that looks good too. Steve Jobs was well aware of the importance of good-looking designs. People may pretend to only care about performance, but he saw past our front.

Though Steve Jobs is gone, his innovation lives on through his products. The revolutionary iPhone, iPod and sleek laptops are a staple in our daily lives, and we’re probably not too sure what life would be like without them.


Henry Fitzgerald is a technology consultant based in Seattle. When not geeking out over the latest tech gadgets, he spends his time cooking, playing soccer, and sailing. Check out his tech blog here or follow him on twitter:@hfitzy34

Top 10 Fantastic Ways to Annoy Google – a guest post

Angry Talk (Comic Style)

Image via Wikipedia

A guest blog from Andrew Parker of Dreamscape Design

Google SERPs are what all SEO clients will judge you on! Sure, Yahoo and Bing are important, but Google are the leaders. The big cheese, big gun, chief, chieftain, controller, director, dominator, employer, chief exec, executive, online foreman, head honcho, big wig, leader, overseer, the online dons, superintendent, and top dog. Err…to put it simply, in search engine optimisation terms, they are pretty damn untouchable!

Firstly, what is this SEO malarkey? This is the process of getting your website to perform the best it possibly can in Google. Listed below are the 10 best ways to get your site banned or ignored by Google.

  1. Paying for/selling links. This is usually done in bulk, so if you suddenly gain hundreds of links in a short space of time, Google will be onto you like a demented pit-bull on a poodle.
  2. Keyword stuffing basically means sneakily inserting keywords in the meta-tags or the main content on the web pages. This is often used by spammers to incorporate keywords that have no relevance to the actual pages and is used to trick all us lovely and honest people into clicking onto their page. The swines!
  3. Presenting content to search engines which is different to the content being presented to the user (otherwise known as cloaking). This is a filthy, deceptive and cheap trick – on a par with if Silvio Berlusconi started meeting girls online after claiming that he is a 23 year old virgin – that search engines have thankfully become wise to. Doing this is literally a huge big steaming waste of time and should never be done. Err… BTW Berlusconi hasn’t claimed to be a 23 year old virgin. It was just an example.
  4. A collection of freelancers from “content farms” employed to produce specific search engine-friendly content to boost websites in Google, which means more traffic to the website. Google sees this as a big no-no, as the quality of the content suffers as a result. This tactic smells like a farm with high manure production – which Google will easily sniff out.
  5. Avoid sites with spam like the plague! It is like being sneezed on by someone with flu – you will soon come down with the same symptoms.
  6. You certainly shouldn’t do traditional link exchanges anymore. This practice is about as old as they come – and sorry to be ageist, but old people aren’t well known for winning the London Marathon! You won’t finish 1st in Google if you concentrate on this and your website is likely to be (metaphorically) gasping and being helped into the back of an ambulance wearing an oxygen mask. Therefore link building needs to involve clever tactics to gain a one-way links, and ensure you finish your campaign with a gold medal around your neck.
  7. Posting links on comment pages on every website you come across is like being the hopelessly drunk guy in the bar that “hits on” every passing girl. You’ll left with about as much respect as him – but unfortunately, the online stigma is a lot more long lasting than a hangover.
  8. Rewording stuff and claiming them to be your own work is a very dangerous tactic and should be avoided at all costs. Beady Eye may have gotten away with ransacking John Lennon’s back catalogue, but Liam Gallagher didn’t have the mighty Google to deal with. Articles should therefore be researched properly and be original.
  9. Flash and Javascript should be avoided. They have no benefit to SEO and are about as useful as those decorative lumps that sit either side of Alan Sugar. If you do use flash, then make it small and insignificant.
  10. Not a major way to annoy Google (hence it being at No. 10 and it again won’t cause you to be banned) but search engines aren’t too keen on duplicate content, as they only want to rank the same content once – so make every page have unique content.

You will need to avoid these above 10 points if your site is to become the big cheese, big gun, chief, chieftain, controller, director, dominator, employer, chief exec, executive, online foreman, head honcho, big wig, leader, overseer, the online dons, superintendent, and top dog for your niche in the search engines.

Andrew Parker is a Search Engine Optimisation expert at leading web design company Dreamscape Design.

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Do you need content for your blog? Try a Guest Blog from a guest author!

InvitationIt's not always easy finding the time or the ideas for new blog posts, and that's where Guest Bloggers come in. A guest blogger will write a post for your blog that is of interest to your readers, but also promotes them or their services. Usually this means that your guest author would have services or products that are complementary to yours, rather than competitive – after all who wants to openly promote their competitors?

With this in mind, I have a number of guest authors available for blogging opportunities – please drop me a line to if you are interested in guest posts from any of the following:

Skin & Beauty Specialist

For blogs about:

  • skin care
  • skin problems
  • non invasive cosmetic solutions (Botox, Dermaroller etc)
  • beauty
  • aging

Children's Clothes Retailer

For blogs about:

  • children
  • celebrity kids
  • babies
  • children health protection (eyes, ears, from the sun etc)
  • organic clothing
  • niche kids' brands

Telemarketing Expert

For blogs about:

  • telemarketing
  • appointment making
  • lead generation
  • TPS (Telephone Preference Service)
  • data issues

Email Marketing Expert

For blogs about:

  • email marketing
  • follow up marketing
  • email newsletters

In addition, I'm occasionally available for the odd guest post about SEO or Social Media, and can usually fit in with most industries. If you'd like a "Top Ten Ways for [insert your industry here] to use Twitter / Facebook / Blogging (delete as appropriate)" then let me know 🙂

If you have a blog, and you'd like to talk to me about one of the guest bloggers above, please feel free to email me. If you're not sure that one of the above bloggers would fit into your niche, but would like to explore the possibility of guest bloggers, drop me a line, I may have other clients who are a better fit.

Remember, having someone guest post on your blog opens you up to a whole new audience, gives you extra content you don't have to produce yourself, and may even give you ideas of your own for blogging – so what are you waiting for?


Creative Commons License photo credit: Tracy Hunter

Can you write about your experiences of email marketing? Want some free promotion?

I'm looking for people to write guest blogs on a fairly well trafficked blog. The blog itself focuses on email marketing, so your guest blog would have to be about that. Obviously you can promote your own website within the blog post, but it must also be of interest to our readers.

The basic outline is:

  • there is no fee for this
  • 200+ words
  • Must not be a purely self promotional piece

It could be about how your company uses email marketing, an issue that you had and solved, how you keep in touch with customers through email marketing, how running an email list has helped you to gain customers, even advice about how to write a newsletter or sales email.

In the first instance please contact me on with any questions, or post in the comments here!

E-mail Marketing – 7 Ways To Fail

A Guest Post:

E-Mail Marketing is often championed as a wonderful opportunity because of its negligible cost, but the fact is that it has one of the lowest success rates there is – so low that it has a special name which has passed into folk-lore, Spam. The simple fact is that even the mails that pass through the software spam filters tend to fail in delivering their message. Now as an expert in avoiding reading the message I’ll give you my top 6 tips for how you can get me to read your mail.

1. Don’t assume that I want to read your mail just because I subscribed at your website. Really – it sounds daft, but it doesn’t work like that!

2. Give me something that I want. I’ll gladly accept that a sales pitch comes with the mail if there is something else in the mail that I want. Some advice, an expert opinion, some statistics, a report. I’m a Landlord with a Website, so I’ll gladly read about house prices, rental values, how my website ranking has changed, tips on maintenance. But I can’t emphasis enough how important it is that it has to be something that I want, even a well disguised sales pitch behind the information won’t necessarily keep you off my blocked senders list.

3. You only get one chance. Once you’ve disappeared onto that blocked senders list, you’ll never make it out again, so really – don’t take the risk. Never let me recognise that you are selling, the consequences are too serious for you. So best of all – don’t sell, just be there for when there is a sales opportunity.

4. Ignore the Internet Marketing Experts They tell you to call to action, and god knows what else. All their websites look the same, all their mail looks the same. I’ve recognised it before they’ve finished their 1st sentence, and I can’t even tell you what it is. A bit like scammers come from Nigeria!

Some samples from my Junk Mail folder:

a. You are receiving this email because you have shown an interest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing.

b. URGENT: I’m offering a very special $4580 bonus package





g. Words like Massive, Early Bird,

5. Make friends with the Junk-Mail Filter OK – it’s a bit of a no brainer of me to say “get past the junk mail filter” but I am speechless that a lot of professional marketers make no effort to convince the filter that their mail is ordinary & wanted. If you can’t get past it, you may never be seen, but worse than that – the Junk Mail filter isn’t just a faceless piece of software, she is my friend and key influencer. She does so much good work for me that I listen to her opinion with respect. If she likes you, then you stand a chance. If she took against you, then you face an uphill struggle.

6. Minimise Linked Graphics. Really – I know linked graphics seems a great idea, but it’s a straight out of tip 3 – it’s one of the ways I recognise spam. There are 3 practical reasons why linked graphics are a key route to failure:

a. It’s one of the ways that the porn and Viagra merchants try to get their words past the Junk Mail filter

b. It’s just plain typical of the messages that I don’t want

c. Mail readers block picture links and ask the recipient if they want to download the graphics. I am now deciding whether to put you on the block senders list without being able to see what you probably would hope is the best bit of your mail.

So if you really must link graphics, try to ensure that your message from tip 2 (why I want to read your mail) is clear in the text.

7. Don’t look like a Phisher. I wouldn’t ordinarily think of giving this as a tip but a big professional company actually did this last week, and it is what gave me the idea for this article. Do not use some HTML in your mail like – <A HREF=http://www.yourwebsite.php></a>

There you are – 7 tips to get you read, try it – mail me at I’m sure I’ll read it.

This Guest Post was by Nick Parkin of Pimlico Flats a Private Landlord active in Social Networking and Renting Flats in London.

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