Jo Westwood

Social Media Manager

Archive for the month “December, 2011”

New Year… New Web Strategy?

A scenario: You envision a phenomenal idea, put all of the necessary pieces into place, and now run your own successful business. You’ve got a functioning website, but you’re struggling with 60% bounce rates, and users don’t seem to be completing the necessary conversion processes.

SEE ALSO: How will Digital Change Small Business in 2012?You don’t have the resources to invest in a web designer or consultant, so how do you go about optimizing your website on your own? Try the following tips.

1. Keep Content Fresh

Give current and potential customers a reason to revisit your website. Think about the websites you visit regularly and what attracts you to them. How can you tweak those attractive elements to be more appropriate for your website and your industry? Start by integrating your blog, Twitter stream, Facebook profile, and other feeds that will automatically update your website when you post content elsewhere.

Publishing white papers, podcasts, videos and other content related to business trends can help establish you as a thought leader in your industry. Encourage visitors (read: make it easy for them) to comment on your content, and start building relationships with current and potential clients to spur engagement. In this new era, it’s all about providing your users with relevant information. Doing so will help drive new and continued traffic to your website.

2. Integrate With Social Media

Engaging users and providing relevant information via social media channels is an important factor in driving traffic to your website. The more your content is shared via social media, the better your website will rank in search engines, and the more referrals you will receive.

The ultimate goal is to build relationships with your site visitors, thus creating long-term customers and brand advocates. So you need to make it as easy as possible for visitors to find and share your content and refer your services to others. Include social media toolbars on your homepage so visitors can easily find all of your profiles. Add sharing buttons to content and to your website, and encourage people to use them. Share your content on social profiles and content aggregators such as Slideshare, and do your best to bring the conversation to your website.

3. Make Ecommerce Easy

The massive amount of information on the Internet has shortened our attention spans and made it easier than ever to ”shop around” for lower cost competitors. Because of this, you need to make it as easy as possible for visitors to purchase what they want, when they want.

It is extremely important to evaluate all possible “purchase scenarios,” meaning the different routes a visitor could take in order to complete a purchase. For example, a visitor coming in through a paid search advertisement may land on a different page than a visitor who was referred from a Facebook link. Making it as easy as possible for these visitors to start and complete the purchase process will have a positive effect on your conversion rate.

Popular ecommerce companies like PayPal and Google Checkout provide free JavaScript and HTML widgets that you can add to your website. After evaluating all of the purchase scenarios, determine where to add these widgets to make it easy and timely for visitors to complete a purchase.

4. Use SEO to its Full Potential

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a huge topic, far too vast and complex to address succinctly. That said, I can recommend three relatively straightforward steps that will likely increase your website’s search engine rankings, and thus make it easier for people to find your business.

  • Identify your keywords. Start by building a list of the keywords that you think potential customers will use in searches to find your business. Once you have your list, use a keyword tool like Google AdWords to determine the frequency that those keywords are used and to find other related keywords. With this information, you’ll be able to quickly identify the most important keywords for your business.
  • Use your keywords in your website. For each page on your website, figure out which keywords you want to target, then use those keywords in both the page content and the meta-data (the title, description and keywords of the page, which search engines use to determine what the page is about). Then, create links on other pages of your site to this targeted page, using the selected key words in the link title.
  • External link building. When other websites link to your site, it indicates to search engines that the content on your site has value, and that boosts your SEO. For that reason, external link building is perhaps the most important aspect of SEO – but it can also be the most difficult, because you have limited control. It’s best to focus on the things that are in your control, such as your Facebook and Google+ pages, Twitter feed, blog, and Yellow Pages listings. Be sure to link to your website from all of these channels.

SEO is an ongoing process, so it’s essential that you monitor your keywords, stay on top of Internet trends, and adapt your strategy accordingly.

Tackling these four activities might not be quick or easy, but once you begin updating your content more frequently, making ecommerce simple and easy for visitors and utilizing social media and SEO to their full potentials, you’ll be well on your way to improved lead generation and more visitor conversions.

If all this sounds like a lot of hard work that you simply don’t have time to complete, a great option is to get yourself a trusty Social Media Manager! (Shamless plug, I know. I promise, no more until next year!)


Article courtesy of Aaron Sperling – CEO and co-founder of vFlyer, which provides online marketing solutions for small businesses and independent service providers. You can follow Aaron and his team on their Facebook page, Twitter and on the company blog.

Images courtesy of iStockphoto, IdeaMomentLight, Flickr, Ernst Vikne


New Year’s Resolutions…

… I’ve heard it said that they’re for losers. Perhaps a tad harsh. But there’s certainly something to be said for getting ahead of the crowd and using the last few days of 2011 to plan your big goals – business and personal – for the coming year. After all, why wait til 1st January, sorry, make that 2nd, as with any luck you’ll be nursing a hangover on the 1st, no wait aren’t 2nd and 3rd bank holidays? See what I mean – get in there now. Make your resolutions. Dream of your goals and set plans. Don’t wait for 2012 to come and bite you on the ass before you put pen to paper / finger to screen.

Check out the article by Megan Berry below, listing 10 apps to help you keep those new year’s resolutions…


10 iPhone Apps for Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

Lose Weight and Get Fit

1. DailyBurn

Daily Burn App ImageThis app does everything but burn the calories for you. Enter your current weight and goal weight, and it’ll tell you how many calories you should eat a day and show your progress. You can even input in what foods you eat, and the comprehensive database will tell you the calorie count. Keeping track of everything you eat may seem a little OCD, but studies have shown that food diaries help with weight loss. If you want to make this process easier you can buy their companion app, Food Scanner, that allows you to scan UPC codes of store-bought food to keep track of calorie and nutrition info. Oh, and everything syncs to What are you waiting for?

2. iFitness

iFitness App ImageiFitness is the best fitness app out there right now. It has over 230 different individual exercises to choose from. For each exercise you’ll see a picture, a description, and, for most, a video as well. You can even choose exercises based on muscle group. This app is great for everyone from the beginner who’s looking for an easy-to-follow workout, to the advanced body builder who wants a custom way to track progress.

Save Money


Mint App ImageMint somehow makes budgeting fun (or as close to fun as possible) with it’s slick interface and color coded graphs and charts. The iPhone app allows you to check in with your account on the go. You can see alerts (“You’ve spent too much on parking!”) and take a quick look at your budgetary goals, which may be just the thing to prevent that impulse buy, or remind you that £4 lattes add up really fast.

4. BillMinder

Bill Minder App ImageIf you’ve ever paid a bill late, this is the app for you. Enter all your upcoming bills and BillMinder will keep track of when they’re due and whether they’re auto-paid or not. If a due date is coming up, it’ll send you a push notification. They have a free version, Bill Minder Lite, you can try as well (it limits the number of bills you can input).

Get Organized


43 Things App ImageThis app is made for sticking to life goals and New Year’s resolutions, so it was a no-brainer for this list. In it you can keep track of up to 43 “things” that you’d like to accomplish, write notes about each goal, and indicate what percentage of the way you are towards finishing it. It also syncs with their online community, which has a cool feature that shows you the goals others are trying to accomplish — just the thing to inspire you to set goals of your own.

6. Remember the Milk

Remember The Milk ImageRemember the Milk has got a lot of things going for it. Aside from it’s catchy name and cute cow mascot, it’s a great simple to-do list and task manager. It’ll send you push notifications when your task is due and allows you to categorize tasks with multiple lists. You can also sync with the Remember the Milk web app, Google Calendar, and Google tasks. Adding tasks is easy, and you can even add them via e-mail as well as share them with others. However, you might spend so much time getting your tasks organized, you run out of time to actually get them done.

Learn Something New

7. Human Japanese

Human Japanese ImageEveryone always says they want to learn another language. Well, stop waiting and get an iPhone app to actually do it. Human Japanese is an amazing app that lets you learn the language from square one. If you’re interested in learning other languages, check out Basic Spanish for Dummies ($0.99), Pocket Italian – Beginner ($4.99), or FREE French Essentials by AccelaStudy (Free). The iPhone has apps to help you learn just about any language you’d want to.

8. Star Walk

Star Walk ImageMaybe this is just one of my personal goals, but I’ve always wanted to know more constellations (other than the big dipper). This app feels like stargazing with my own personal astronomer. Hold the app up to the sky and it’ll show you what constellations you’re looking at. You can even use it in the daytime to see what the night sky would look like. And it has more info than I’ll ever find time to absorb.

Go Green

9. Good Guide

good guide imageLet’s say one of your goals is that you’d like to make a difference. You walk into the grocery store and try to figure out what to buy, but you can’t tell which products are the most “green.” Are any of them actually better for the environment? Are they worth the extra price? Use Good Guide’s comprehensive database to figure out which products are best for your health, the environment, and society. This app even has a barcode scanner so you can quickly check out products before you buy them. Also, each product has not only a rating but a breakdown of why they were given that rating so you can make your own judgments.

10. A Real Tree

A Real Tree ImageMuch as the name implies, this app plants a real tree in one of twelve countries facing deforestation. Lest you get confused (like some of the app’s reviewers) the point is not the the app itself, which simply shows a growing tree animation. Instead it’s created to give iPhone users an easy way to donate, simply by buying the app. If you’d like to learn more check out Mokugift. Their site allows you to virtually gift a tree to a friend.

Berry is an evangelist for Mobclix, the industry’s largest mobile ad exchange, working on social media and marketing. She also blogs at The Huffington Post and the Mobclix blog. You can follow her on Twitter as @meganberry, or through the @Mobclix handle.

iJustine talks about creating her Youtube brand…

We all know (or should know) that there’s no magic formula to creating a “viral video,” but there are some core ingredients to getting thousands and even millions of views. Do you know the secrets? Internet celebrity and top YouTuber iJustine talks about how she built her YouTubechannel from zero to now over 1 million subscribers. You’ll also learn her secrets to managing a community and creating videos that people want to watch, talk about and share with their friends. Check out the latest episode of Behind the Brand with iJustine.

Editor’s note: This video was recorded before the death of Steve Jobs.

Behind the Brand is hosted by Bryan Elliott. Stay tuned to Mashable every Wednesday for new episodes.

YouTube’s most viewed ads of 2011…

Ever since YouTube became a place where anyone could realistically become a celebrity, brands have been trying to figure out how and what makes a viral video.

What’s significant about this year’s top-viewed ads is the fact that they have more of a web presence on YouTube than on TV. It’s not surprising, since YouTube allows for instant sharing. Even if you saw a funny ad on TV and wanted to share it, you’d have to go through the web to do so.

Whether Volkswagen’s online debut of its Super Bowl TV ad, or smartwater’s incorporation of Internet pop culture, advertisers have proven there is equal importance between content and strategy.

Here are YouTube’s most-viewed advertisements of 2011. Which of these were your favorite, and did you see them on TV or the web first?

1. “The Force: Volkswagen Commercial” (Volkswagen)

The infamous Star Wars ad for Volkwagen’s 2012 Passsat was featured during the Super Bowl this year, and it became an instant viral hit. It’s no surprise the video has the most views in 2011 — it also held the highest number of shares.

2. “The T-Mobile Royal Wedding” (T-Mobile)

The T-Mobile ad was a great response to one of the most talked about events this year, the Royal Wedding. The ad used look-alikes to create “the wedding entrance dance to top all wedding entrance dances,” which was likely inspired by this dance that also went viral a few years ago.

3. “Imported From Detroit” (Chrysler)

The Super Bowl ad for the Chrysler 200 not only had Detroit buzzing, but everywhere else in the world too. The video, which features Eminem, leaves you looking at the city with a different perspective.

4. “Ken Block’s Gymkhana Four; The Hollywood Megamercial” (DC Shoes)

This nine-minute, action-packed short film/commercial was directed by Ben Conrad of Zombieland. The ad explains flesh-eating zombies, pyrotechnics and robotic sharks. Add the members of Epic Meal Time and you have a recipe for viral success.

5. “Jennifer Aniston Goes Viral” (smartwater)

Jennifer Aniston’s naivety about the Internet world makes for a hilarious ad, which asks, “What makes a video go viral?” In this video, apparently it takes Keenan Cahill, cute puppies, dancing babies and the double rainbow guy — oh, and of course, sex appeal.

6. “The Yellow Driver’s World Record Jump” (Team Hot Wheels)

The Yellow Driver of Team Hot Wheels, a group of four expert drivers who brought Hot Wheels to life, broke the world record for longest distance jumped in a four-wheeled vehicle. The driver soared 332 feet through the air at the Indy 500 this year. The real life Hot Wheels track was 90-feet long, and had a ten-story drop.

7. “Scent Vacation” (Old Spice)

Old Spice’s signature spokesman, played by former football plater Isaiah Mustafa, has been a viral sensation this year. In this video, he goes on an elaborate “scent vacation,” complete with beaches, mountaintops, fireworks and chocolate fondue.

— My personal favourite has to be the Old Spice ads, for their humour and universal appeal. They’ve brought an old fashioned brand right back into the modern consumers consciousness. If you’ve seen the TV ads and not spotted the brilliant Twitter Q&A videos on YouTube go and check them out. Evidence of a great marketing team exploiting a successful advertising strategy, using two major social networking platforms.

8. “Introducing Siri on iPhone 4S” (Apple)

Apple’s ad debuting Siri on iPhone 4S is a great example of how a product can become viral on its own. The commercial gives a rundown of how Siri is capable of using voice recognition.

9. “Unleash Your Fingers” (Samsung)

For the French launch of the Galaxy SII, Samsung had “Finger Tutting phenomenon” JayFunk perform some interesting choreography.

10. “D. Rose: adiZero Rose 2 — The Bull” (Adidas)

Adidas featured D. Rose from the Chicago Bulls “like you’ve never seen before” to unveil the company’s latest shoe. This scenic video features matadors in a bullring, circling around Rose as he tries to make a basket


Article courtesy of Christine Erickson via Mashable


Alternative Queens Speech…

2011 in pictures…. love this as a fab way to look back on an amazingly eventful year. Pictures speak a thousand words… so as it’s Christmas day and I’m about to enjoy a very large gravy drenched dinner and far too much Irish Cream Liquer (and so are you, most probably!) here’s an easy few thousand words for you to peruse…


A pre-Christmas social media update… and in the festive theme it’s a real gift. Pinterest is a gorgeous visual treat and well worth a look if this report is anything to go by…

Pinterest, a social networking site with an “online pinboard” interface, has made great strides this year. According to Experian Hitwise, this invitation-only site now has 40 times the number of total visits it had six months ago, now finding its way into the top 10 websites in the category of social networking and forums.

The site is especially popular with women between the ages of 25 and 44, which comprise 59% of its readership, and the majority of those visiting Pinterest are female, consisting of 58% of its visitors in the past 12 weeks.

Pinterest lets visitors group items into categories and share them with others. Then, there’s plenty of room for comments about those items. Most of the site’s images are of items concerning home décor, crafts, fashion, and food.

The downside of all this new-found popularity? If you want to join up with the site, there’s a waiting list.

Courtesy of

Warm Spam: A Christmas recipe to avoid…

Written by the terribly entertaining and super smart un-marketer Scott Stratten, this article explains the need to understand social media and how to use it subtly and effectively, before diving in, going like the clappers, inviting all and sundry to everything and nothing, making a lot of noise about your business and making a real life virtual fool of oneself!

Read on for the great Christmas recipe you’ll want to avoid: Warm Spam.

Back in the old days of the Internet/Email, it was a happy place (we’ll call this time period B.S. “Before Spam”). In the BS years the Internet was pure information and email was a way to communicate useful information and conversation. Every time an email came in, it was like a little butterfly of excitement flew into your computer, knowing it was containing an ingredient of awesome. Then something changed. Email started getting UnAwesome.

Cold-callers, Cold-knockers (those that went door-to-door) and Car-smackers (placing flyers on your windshield) realizing that their methods of sales assault worked less and less, had found a place that they no longer even had to lift a finger to push their useless wares on the public. “Now we can email our crap!” and proceeded to group-high five (which is now evolved to awkward fist-bumping).

The holders of the inboxes started to get angry and classified anything they didn’t ask for as Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE), or SPAM for short? Laws were passed, ISP’s set up block lists and the word was spread “People don’t like spam. Stop it.”

If you are accused of being a spammer, it’s the biggest shame there is in business.

Now there is a bigger problem. Warm-Spam. Social Spam. Friendly Unsolicited Commercial Contact (FUCC). It’s the practice of spamming your social media contacts and it needs to stop.

Think about it, someone finally accepts you as a contact on LinkedIn, follows you on Twitter, friends you on Facebook and apparently that is yiddish for “SELL SELL SELL!!” to some.

It’s actually worse than old-school spam. With a faceless spammer, we can delete/block and think evil thoughts about them, but with social spam, you sometimes know the person in real life, so removing/blocking them can cause more awkwardness then seeing Uncle Louis at Christmas dinner after he poked you on Facebook.

Some common Warm Spam techniques:

1. Real Event invites – Inviting your entire friend list to an event, regardless of geographic/demographic make-up.

2. Fake Event Invites – An event made for a non-event. It could be your “website launch party” or “Vote for me because my self-esteem is based on artificial online popularity campaigns”. It’s not even the issue of the “event” itself, but the relentless inviting and messaging people who haven’t “RSVP’d” for an event that doesn’t exist that make people stabby.

3. LinkedIn Emails that show everyone’s email address. Nothing like you emailing everyone about your upcoming paralegal training seminar through LinkedIn, which exposed our private email addresses to each other! Yes, this just happened.

4. Tagging – Mostly on Facebook, but now creeping into Google+, it’s the practice of tagging someone in a pic/post for the sole purpose to make them read it and have it appear on their timeline.

5. Auto-DM – Tweeting someone about your Facebook fanpage as soon as they follow you on Twitter is like shaking someone’s hand at a networking event and then asking if they want to go to another event down the street.

6. Publicly Shaming – Asking someone to support a cause publicly by adding their Twitter name is like asking me to support your charity at an event with other people standing around. Ask privately or post a general support message. Don’t shame people.

7. Fan page requests – Inviting people to “fan” your business by sending a request hurts my brain. Add it to your blog, put it in the signature in your email, but going out and picking people to be fans is just awkward.

8. Farms Run By Mafia Ville – I know you want more coins/land/bullets are whatever they’re offering you to invite “your friends” to play a game of Farmville/MafiaWars/TheSims but stop it. While you’re tending to your farm, we talk about you behind your virtual back. (Thanks to Amanda Wood for the reminder on this one!)

Relax your pitchforks, “real” business people, I’m not saying never sell. I’m not even suggesting social media is a sacred ground, never to be sold on. It’s the method. Your wall on Facebook is yours, do as you please. You want to tweet about your upcoming teleclass? Knock yourself out. You lease that space. However, as soon as you add my @UnMarketing to the tweet or tag someone on a page, well, now you’ve FUCC’ed it. Especially if that action also generates an email to that person, now you’ve spammed their email with the notification. Double FUCC’ed.

Your wall, your profile is your real-estate. Post as many promos as you want. But you soon realize that nobody is sharing/liking/clicking/retweeting them. Now, a logical person would realize “Hey, maybe people aren’t engaging with my ads because they don’t really like ads in a social setting.” But sadly, most react “People aren’t clicking because they missed it!! I’ll just post this on their page too!!”

Nobody has joined a social media site to get sold to, but people do actually buy from people they know, like and trust, things that are created by being social with others. See that equation. Be nice, be helpful and don’t FUCC people, and social media can be the greatest thing in the world.

Scott’s website is at

If I were a popstar…

Who would I be?! Help me out peeps!

So… this isn’t strictly a business or social media themed post but it is the Friday before Christmas and I’ve love some help!

Mr Jo and I are lucky enough to have been invited to a fancy dress house party on NYE – aside from perhaps Times Square, absolutely the best place to be! The theme I’m informed is popstars… now I’ve done this worringly successfully in the past (I was Freddie Mercury) and Mr Jo has his outfit sorted… top secret! And now I’m struggling to make my pick of the pops!

So with your help folks, on New Years Eve Matthew, I’m going to be…

Self employed? Give youself a raise in 2012

Self employed? Need to deal with the rising cost of living and commodities used to provide your product or service? It’s time to give yourself a raise…

Here’s a hypothetical (yet common) situation: Sara is a brilliant web designer who has never raised her client rates. Not once. Sure, she signs on new clients more often, but her existing clientele enjoy some kind of unwritten grandfather clause that has maintained the same rates since 2002.

Does this sound familiar? Do you break into a sweat when you consider how to tell a long-time client you need to raise his rates? Are you worried that clients will run for the hills at the slightest rate increase?

With the rise of the Freelance or “Gig” Economy more professionals are shifting from full-time positions to self-employed, freelance or contract roles. And often, for company employees accustomed to regular raises and pre-determined fee hikes, the notion of being in charge of one’s own prices is challenging.

A freelancer’s pricing model determines the success and sustainability of his business and livelihood. If you’re a freelancer who has been historically reluctant to raise your rates, consider the following.

1. Undercharging undervalues your abilities.

On the most basic level, your business is all about earning money based on the value it brings to clients. By undercharging clients, you send the message that your services and talents are worth less. If you’re good at what you do and are confident in the value you provide to clients, then you have nothing to fear from raising your rates.

2. Know when to undercut your competition.

When you were just launching your business or service, you may have started at a lower rate to get your foot in the door and to build your portfolio or reference base. But if you’ve since become established, it’s time to set your own bar for rates. After all, as your talents and expertise develop, you’re providing more value; therefore, you need to charge accordingly. This is no different than earning a periodic raise from an employer, a process which everyone understands.

3. Take the emotion out of a rate increase.

When it’s time to raise rates, many freelancers worry about hurting their long-time, loyal clients. After all, you may have developed personal relationships over the years. However, it’s critical to remove any emotion from the equation. Increasing your rates shouldn’t offend anyone — it is a pure business necessity.

4. Stop waiting for the “right” time.

It’s a classic mistake to keep waiting for the perfect time to raise your rates. It’s never going to be the right time, and the longer you wait, the more money you leave on the table. That said, the beginning of 2012 or the start of a new quarter are ideal times to enact new rates.

5. Start by increasing your rate with each new client.

If you’re struggling to raise your fees, start by setting higher rates with each new client you take on. You’ll ease yourself into the new rates and quickly discover that clients are more than happy to pay higher rates and still find you a great value.

6. Ease in with a small increase.

Let your current clients know that you’ll be raising your fees (start with a 10-15% increase). Communicate that you appreciate their business and that you’ve already raised your rates with all your newer clients. Be sure to give clients advance notice (about one to two months) before enacting the new pricing. Use terms like “fair rate,” “market rate” and “scheduled increase” to justify the increase from a business standpoint. Most importantly, keep your communication brief — don’t send the message that you’re open to negotiation.

7. Don’t lose sleep over lost clients.

In the majority of cases, clients will accept reasonable increases with relative ease. However, be prepared for a client or two to walk away rather than accept your new rates. If you’re confident with the value you deliver, don’t worry about the clients who walked. Most likely, those clients weren’t the best fit anyway. It’s best to move on to bigger and better things.

For any self-employed individual, setting your rates is a serious business. No matter what pricing plan you employ, be sure you’re not undervaluing your talents. As the New Year approaches, it’s a key time to get your business in order by making sure you’re compensated fairly.

Article courtesy of

The Giftinator!

Eek! It’s the 21st December! I know it’s unlikely ladies (Christmas officially started for most of us when the first leaves turned brown a few months back!) but if you’ve got on of those hard to buy for boyfriend / husband types you NEED this!

Courtesy of Infographics via Mashable     Designer – Emily Caufield     Writer – Matt Silverman

I found what I thought was the perfect gift for Mr Jo, but sadly it’s still just a fantastic concept and not a reality… the money shredder alarm clock!

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