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Help Bosweb Tri Hards raise $5

Posted on 17-11-2014 by Brendon O'Sullivan

Monday, November 17, 2014
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What can $5 buy these days?

A coffee?

A sandwich?


A chocolate bar?

How about providing a waterproof wheelchair, a swim with a whale shark or the opportunity to pilot an aeroplane, to a seriously ill child? 




These are just some of the awesome things that the Make-A-Wish Foundation has provided to over 8000 since 1995.

This weekend my team will be swimming, running and riding in the EMS Group 'Tri for Charity' in order to help the event sponsor - EMS Group - raise funds for Make-A-Wish

I'd be delighted if you would help us grant the wishes of children with life threatening medical conditions and give them hope & joy.

Please help us, and  visit our donation page

(Thank you and every little bit helps - even if it's only $5)

To know more about the awesome company sponsoring this event, please visit the EMS Group

To understand the difference your donation could provide to a seriously ill child, please visit the Make-A-Wish Foundation 

 


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Thursday, November 13, 2014
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3 steps to finding where your buyers hang out... and how to join in

We know that almost everyone’s online these days, so no matter what you’re trying to sell, your buyers are out there. Somewhere. But where?

Finding where your buyers already hang out and taking them back to your “owned” platforms is the first step in building a relationship with them.

Here’s an infographic that explains the three steps to gaining audience members from a wider community, and how to deal with the different ways they can interact with you once they take notice.

You’ll notice the word “VALUE” plenty of times in this diagram. It doesn’t mean your product, no matter how useful or affordable it is. It means tools, entertaining videos, a relevant article you found on the internet, maybe something free, but definitely… an infographic.

Infographic: How to find your buyers online? Think: Communities


Ok, so how do I find their communities?

Think forums and blogs 

If you sold computer equipment, you’d want to find forums where people asked for help with the same kind of equipment you sold, then answer their questions. It doesn’t have to be every question, just enough to get noticed.

Your profile on the forum would be branded with your business but you wouldn’t try to sell new equipment in every post! Sometimes, where the problem would genuinely be best solved by a replacement part, and you really did offer a great price on it, you might gently suggest that if they visit your website they could find a good deal on what they need.

Think hashtags

On many social media platforms, hashtags (#TheyLookLikeThis) are used to enable people to discover content on a topic they’re interested in by people who they don’t currently follow. (You can also read Leanne’s post on hashtag etiquette.)

There are different types of hashtags, which each need different approaches, and the best ways to use hashtags will make up a whole other post! But in general, you can #tag your social media posts with relevant topics that people who are interested in your industry, products or related things would be searching for. This means you need to know what they actually use!

First, you can guess. If you posted a Tweet about a new tour your centre is running, you’d try the generic hashtag #tourism or maybe #TourismNSW

Next, you can research. Find similar businesses who are doing really well and use the same hashtags they use. Find popular people who seem to be interested in similar things and steal their hashtags. You might discover that #OutbackDiscovery or #oztravel or #PicsOnTour are really popular, but you couldn’t have guessed them.

Search, follow similar people, watch and learn.

But watch out!

Don’t forget – going to an existing, organic community online is like walking into a real life club or party. If you have something to sell, tread carefully!

Imagine you sell… bingo markers. Where better to sell them than at a bingo night? But if you waltzed in, box of markers open in your arms, and starting yelling your sales pitch right in the middle of a vital call, you wouldn’t be received well, would you?



What about if you came in just before it started, chatted with everyone personally, then gave everyone a free marker to try out for the night and left your box quietly on the sidelines while you played bingo with them? Well... BINGO!

So be genuine, be relevant, be useful or interesting or funny, and above all – be friendly.

What communities are your buyers in?

Do a few Google searches and see what you find. Comment below if you discover somewhere your buyers hang out where you never would have thought to join in!

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How many #hashtags is too many?

Posted on 22-10-2014 by Leanne O'Sullivan

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
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OK, I'll admit it, I was a longer convert to Instagram, perhaps it is my age, but I get it, I understand it's value for business, life, the universe and everything, but what I don't get it hashtag stuffing!

#OMG #whatisthepoint #olderchick #enoughisenough #whydotheydoit #toocoolforschool

So first some basics, what is a hashtag?

Originally a hashtag meant using the # symbol to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. This meant that you could follow trending topics or other people could follow your conversation via the hashtag link without previously being connected to you. 

It is a great way to be part of a conversation.

I myself had my 5 minutes of fame this week via the #qanda hashtag ( unfortunately not one of my more profound tweets!)

This simple but highly effective tool is now used in all other social media platforrms, for exactly the same reason. However somewhere along the way this great tool for indexing and organising and finding information has been hijacked to reduce their value by jamming posts with huge streams of hashtags that are meaningless at best or offputting for viewers at worst. 

Instagram is the key offender, but facebook also comes in for a beating and this looks much worse and is less likely to be accepted by your audience who are not use to the jarring display of to them non-sensical streams of words.

Yes you need to understand your audience.

So if you are looking to engage with the 13-16 y/o female demographic or the yummy mummy market you can get away with more hashtags in your feed, as long as you understand what you are doing.

The GOOD

An Instagram account I follow that uses hashtags really well (in fact they are a great example of excellent Instagram use) is TYPO.

http://instagram.com/typoshop



Typo uses Instagram and hashtags really well. They are fun, but focussed on their product, so they have relevant hashtags, but not too many of them. They normally tend to have around 4 or 5, but all related to what they are talking about in a language that is a nice fit with their target demographic.

The BAD 

Below is a good example of what NOT to do.

Tek Tek yarn is a typical example of bad use of Instagram and excessive use of hashtags.

http://instagram.com/tektekyarn


Your guess is as good as mine as to what this business is looking to achieve. Our resident Yarn-a-holic on the team unfollowed this business without buying anything from them due to the annoying way they tried to communicate with her.

On a sidenote, Tek Tek Yarn does have a great facebook page, so perhaps they like all of us is on a steep hashtag learning curve.

Just stuffing your Instagram feed ( or Facebook, Twitter or Google+ feeds) with excessive hashtags with no plan or strategy in mind is bound to fail. Everything that you share on social media should resonate with your audience. Yes you can tap into trending hashtags, but you should pick and choose what and how you do this.

The HILARIOUIS

Watch this video as Jimmie Fallon and Justin Timberlake absolutely nail the ridiculousness of hashtag stuffing.

Some how tos

  1. Be specific - don't just fill your feed with random hashtags that you see everyone else doing. If you don't really 'get' what they mean your audience has NO CHANCE
  2. Focus on your topic. Always have a lead in to your hashtags, for business you need to ensure you have a story around your image, and just dumping a stream of hashtags is not really going to adequately explain your story
  3. Limit your tags  -  each market will be different, so I am not going to be too prescriptive here, but suffice to say, if you have about 20 hashtags, you are clearly being excessive. I would think that 10 is pushing the envelope
  4. Avoid having more than 3 or 4 words in each hashtag, long sentences are also very hard to follow and can detract for other more successful hashtags in your stream

You can follow bosweb on instagram here

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How to turn a customer away from the Dark Side

Posted on 15-10-2014 by Krystal Tyack

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
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They say you can't please everybody...

Sometimes you just have to accept that this is a fact of customer service. It's not a positive fact but it 
is one that's true. It doesn't just apply to paying customers but anyone you work with and even those in your personal life. 

Have you ever wondered why some people are hard to deal with? 

Maybe they're rude, snappy or just plain insufferable. Have you ever considered that it's because they might have had a bad experience before and that they just expect the same thing from you? You are just the person who is left with the aftermath because of an experience the customer had... an experience that was not with you! 

There's always a way to turn a customer around and make them happy.

And maybe, just maybe you can change the way they feel about their dealings with you or your company. You can even change the way they deal with you over of the phone and they might even put a smile on their face when they know you will look after them. 

Sometimes it just takes time, it can take a while for someone to realise "Hey, they actually gave me a nice experience and helped the best they could!"

So how do you create an enjoyable experience? 
  • Always greet them with a smile on your face and a cheer in your voice! 
  • Listen to what they are saying, ask questions to clarify the information they are giving you and if they're going to be around the office for a while why not offer a nice hot cup of tea or coffee. They might say no but I can guarantee they will remember the experience as a pleasant one and the chances are you've just made their day. 

I believe that this is the case for any customer, colleague, or just anyone you come across in life. It's 
something that I believe a lot of people need to realise before they can succeed in life. How can you 
grow and move forward when you are carrying so much baggage? Let the past be past and start fresh, it's always a new day and another chance to try again.

It can be hard especially when you don't feel like putting on a happy face but that's what it takes. To 
be able to put aside your personal problems and past bad experiences is the key to turning a customer away from the dark side!


So remember, put a smile on your face, offer coffee and listen!
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Friday, September 26, 2014
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Update (13 Nov, 2014): Facebook updated their tools and interface shortly after I wrote this. It's now even more useful for people who only have one or two platforms to manage and I'll be explaining it all soon!

How to fit a week's worth of Facebook into one afternoon

If you’re just starting in the wide world of social media with your business, like many of my clients, you might not be ready to leap to a full-blown social media management tool just yet (though I’d really recommend it – it’s easy!). On the other hand, planning your Facebook posts for the week in one lazy Sunday afternoon would be pretty handy.

Luckily, Facebook gives you the tools to “future date” all your posts to your business Page, so you can do just that.

Here's how:

Screenshot of a future scheduled post.

  1. Write your post, including setting up any links, location tags or images.
  2. Click the “clock” icon and set the date and time. Remember the time is in 24hr format and make sure your timezone is set correctly! New South Wales is UTC+10.
  3. Hit “Schedule”

Screenshot of the scheduled post confirmation box.

Managing your scheduled posts

Screenshot of managing scheduled posts.

Go to your “Activity” tab and select “Scheduled Posts”. On each post, click the arrow in the top-right to:

  • Change the date
  • Edit it
  • Publish it now
  • Delete it

What about my other accounts?

Facebook is the only platform where you can (easily) schedule content “natively”. So once you start branching out, you need something more advanced.

There are a million-and-one social media management tools that will let you schedule content, interact with your audience and monitor conversations across multiple social media platforms. We happen to use HootSuite, but Buffer and SproutSocial are also popular.

If you’re at this point and you need a hand, get in touch! We can give you some pointers or take care of everything for you.

Have you started scheduling your social media content, yet?

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Is shopping with you fullfilling?

Posted on 17-9-2014 by Leanne O'Sullivan

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
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Product Fulfillment - A chance to secure a lifelong buyer or expensive time waster?


This week I have been doing some intensive ecommerce research.

Yep that's right I have been shopping up a storm online! all in the name of understanding the art of product fulfillment.

One of the great joys and unexpected bonuses of shopping online is that it is a little like getting a present, a present for yourself, (or maybe others). 

Part of this is created by the experience a customer has with you after the initial transaction online. This contributes in no small measure to making sure that they come back and shop with you online!

Each time I purchase from a new online e-tailer, I take particular notice of the following key processes that add to the overall 'online shopping' experience.

1. Packing notification

2. Shipping Notification - A tracking advice as to what stage my order is up to in the delivery process

3. Beautifully and Carefully wrapped items. You may think that sounds a little girly, but I will elaborate on that further below.

4. A little thank you note for my purchase

5. Simple and clear instructions on how to return any of my items if I need to.

How these 5 things are done or not done are deal breakers for me. 

A key way to keep your customers coming back and shopping in the future is determine by how well you fulfill their order.

So what am I looking for?

Send a notice of despatch

Advise them of their tracking numbers - I love how easy Australia Post make this for online retailers. 

Pack my items well 

This is truly the sign of a savvy etailer. 

Someone who does not see taking the care to pack items as part of the hook to bring me back to your online store is going to loose me over time. Remember I can buy what you sell from anyone, so stand out and take care with wrapping. 

I am huge fan of how Birdsnest never fail to wow me with my purchases, whether for me or someone else, I always feel like it is a present and they are genuinely excited by me purchasing again from them. 

I had a bad experience last year of an upmarket etailer that I was purchasing from for the very first time. It was no Birdsnest experience, let me tell you! My expensive silk dress was jammed into a very small package, there was no thank you for buying (as I was a first time purchaser) and I had to struggle to read the VERY small print to see what I needed to do to send it back!

Personalise the purchase

If you want me to buy from you again, it is easy to acknowledge me in some way, especially with a first time purchase. Today data collection processes make this very EASY to do and can be automated, so make me feel welcome if you want me to come back.

Product Returns

Finally, don't make it hard for me to send items back when they don't fit. Today I had to send back some items to Dotti for my daughter and it was so easy to do this. All the documentation and instructions I needed was clearly in my package. Plus some handy information regarding future discounts for me now that I am part of the Dotti nation.

These are small steps, but if you build them into the process of shipping your items, they can add thousands to your bottom line over the year.

So don't think of the after sale shipping process as a time drain and cost. 

This is how you can provide the WOW factor for customers and ensure that they come back to you time and again.

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Are you helping your clients find the answers?

Posted on 10-9-2014 by Leanne O'Sullivan

Wednesday, September 10, 2014
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Everything I ever wanted to know I just ask a search engine and there's the answer. So the least I can do for my clients is share what I've learned.

Derek Sivers

It seems so easy, create your website and your buyers will come!

So your website is now live and those buyers where are they?

Often our buyers are not at our website because we are not thinking like a buyer and asking the right questions, so the information we send to search engines is not a good match with the answer.

So are you really sharing the answers with your clients? Are you letting them know via the content at your website that you have the answers? Are you even aware of your clients questions? ( I will save that for another blog post)



Sometimes when we try and give an explanation or tell a story, we can get lost in too many details all at once. When we learn things, we learn best in chunks so that we can absorb information one step at a time. 

Think of your website working like that. 

If we try and put everything we know into one page, people can become confused and not want to read on. Our information can appear cluttered and our potential buyers can feel overwhelmed and just give up in frustration because we are trying to tell them too much all at once. 

More importantly a search engine cannot make a choice about what is really important on the page, and therefore when choosing between your page and a competitor page when ranking websites, may choose your competitor because they answer the particular question better.

Think about your business product or service offering and consider how you might present that to a new customer face to face. You are not likely to tell them everything in fell swoop. You are more likely to break up your information into sizeable chunks that focus on one item at a time.

This is exactly how effective SEO practice works. 

You need to keep each page of your website focussed on just 1 idea ( at a pinch you could do 2 !). Think about your client's question and structure your page as an answer.

So how do you do that?
  • Each page needs to have a unique page title and page name. If you find yourself describing your page as having 3, 4 or 5 key areas, then your page has too much content and needs to be broken up.
  • Make sure you use subheadings to flesh out your answer 
  • Label your images that best match your answer, again to help google focus on your one key idea for improved ranking and information matching
  • Layout your content using bullet points and plenty of paragraph spacing
Google will make ranking choices for your website based around how well you answer your clients questions. 

Make sure you are doing SEO basics well, one page at a time page to ensure the best possible search results for your site to match your potential clients question.



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Google+, Green Eggs and Ham

Posted on 01-9-2014 by Brendon O'Sullivan

Monday, September 01, 2014
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Google+ has now been with us for just over 3 years, but do we like it? Sadly we do not like that Sam-I-Am!



Would you like them here or there?

According to www.statistia.com, Facebook has 1.61bn users worldwide, and accounts for 26% of social media penetration, where 23% of those are active each day and grows year on year by 80%

Twitter, unofficially recognised as the worlds second most used social media channel, reports 550m registered users and 215m of those being active each month.

Oddly, LinkedIn (300m registered users), Instagram (200m users monthly) & Pinterest (20m active users monthly) are normally named above the second largest social media channel being Google+ 

Equally, then you may be surprised to know that Google+ users number 1bn (registered) and 540m of those use Google+ regularly each month.

So why is it then, with its Google Apps and Chrome integration, contemporary interface, inbuilt messaging & video conferencing, that Google+ is still considered a social media pariah?

Not here or there!

According to a Constant Contact study (2013), 1 percent of small businesses post daily to Google+ and 3 percent post weekly, while 25 percent post daily to Facebook and 32 percent post weekly. 

Unfortunately, Google+ is sometimes referred to as the 'unsocial network' where users feel effectively feel that they were forced into signing up. 

As there are a plethora of social networks that exist, users are disseminated amongst them where individuals, while they may use multiple, gel to one (sometimes two).

Let's face it, who wants to take the time and effort to replicate the same information (especially photo's) beyond their regular social channel where the majority of their network of followers, family & friends socialise?

Closing an account, while doable, isn't attractive if your network doesn't congregate there also.

Try Them!

The largest problem Google+ may be facing is that it was simply 'born to late' and it's may have missed its place on the landscape as the social ship may have sailed.

While there is much value, features and integration benefits to be had by using Google+ however being the first of your network is difficult. Regardless, and although Vice President for social media, Vic Gundotra recently left, Google remains a powerful tool for many reasons ensuring it wont be written off just yet.

Thank you Sam-I-Am

As much as Sam's consistency (and insistence) paid off, Google's sheer size and brand power may provide the ability to persuade users to populate it's digital ghost town.

So try it, and maybe after some convincing, you may like green eggs and ham after all.


Acknowledgements; 
http://www.statista.com/topics/1164/social-networks/
http://www.jeffbullas.com/2014/01/17/20-social-media-facts-and-statistics-you-should-know-in-2014/
https://leveragenewagemedia.com/blog/social-media-infographic/
http://www.dmconfidential.com/study-small-businesses-say-facebook-linkedin-and-twitter-are-the-most-effective-social-media-platforms/
... and of course, Dr. Suess.


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How to encourage blog comments: A unique approach

Posted on 28-8-2014 by Lesley Hays

Thursday, August 28, 2014
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One design magazine’s unique approach to encouraging  reader comments


Hello Bosweb readers! I'm our brand new Digital Marketing Account Manager and I help our clients with Digital Marketing, part of which is social media

As a fun first blog post, I thought I'd show you a Twitter strategy that I'm in love with at the moment, by the self-proclaimed "world's most influential" architecture and design magazine: Dezeen

Dezeen's online magazine takes a very blog-like format and they've tried an unusual way to shine the light on reader comments and encourage their audience to get involved.

Dezeen reposts selected reader comments on Twitter - especially negative or thought-provoking ones!




I love this idea because it's risky. I always read these Tweets when they turn up in my feed and they're usually the articles I click on.



Audience engagement is a good thing, even if your audience don't always agree with you or each other. Dezeen's editors (or at least, social media manager) get this and don't shy away from drawing attention to interesting comments that might provoke other readers to get involved, once they realise that Dezeen itself encourages deep engagement with their content, even when it's provocative or negative.




What are the results?

Dezeen only exists online so their online strategies need to work. They have 231,000 Twitter followers, have won awards and apparently pull 1.75 million unique visitors per month, so they're doing something right. They definitely produce good content and know their stuff when it comes to architecture and design! 

But they don't get comments on every single article and I assume that this is what this strategy is attempting to help.

I would love to hear from Dezeen's social media manager about their reasons for starting this strategy and their results from implementing it. I would think that it'd encourage people to comment more, but it could also make people afraid of being singled out and hold back from commenting.

Either way, I look forward to these Tweets every day and think they're a very cool strategy, so I hope they play a useful part in Dezeen's social media strategy.

What do you think of drawing public attention to readers who disagree with you or your other readers? Would you try this in your own digital marketing strategy?




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Understanding Analytics - Know your numbers

Posted on 05-8-2014 by Mitch Malone

Tuesday, August 05, 2014
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Successful business owners always have a good understanding of their business. They like to know as much as possible in order to plan, strategise, market, and ultimately, profit. They look at things like costs, profit margins, age of stock, overheads, materials, salaries, and more.

The same can’t always be said about business owners with their online presence. Money is spent on a website, analytics are inserted, Facebook ads are purchased and then the business owner often walks away from the process and expects that the health of their website is taken care of. But without an understanding of analytics you can never know how successful your website is.


The primary indicators that most business owners should be aware of are;


1. Visitors / Unique Visitors

Visitors is the most primary metric of your website. Much like retail store looking for foot traffic, the more people that come to your website, the more chance you have or reaching your target market. Put simply, the number of visitors refers to the total number of people coming to your website, while unique visitors discards visitors who return frequently.

2. Pageviews

Pageviews refers to the number of views of individual pages. If users are arriving to your website and spending time clicking around and learning more about your business it means that they are finding your website relevant and they want to know more. Learning which pages users are looking at allows you to know where your strong and weak points are, and putting calls to action (buy buttons, contact forms, etc.) on these pages can convert customers.

3. Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is a term that refers to the number of people who arrive at a website and leave. A high
bounce rate can be indicative of a few things.
  1. 1. Your website may not be engaging visitors at their arrival. This can mean a few things. It could mean that your website does not appear professional or as a trustworthy representation of what visitors are looking for. It could also mean that there are bugs or other problems with the websites appearance.
  2. Your website doesn’t appear as being relevant. Does your homepage have the right content? Your users may be arriving and leaving due to a feeling that they are in the wrong place, even when they are exactly where they should be.
  3. Your SEO is not well targeted. Are you targeting the right keywords? Are people arriving to your website expecting to find a web development company but you are actually a traditional graphic designer? Bringing in the right search engine traffic is critical to users sticking around on your website.
  4. It could also just mean that once visitors have your phone number they just want to call.

4. Average Visit Duration

Visitors staying on your website is a good thing. 

If you’re an ecommerce store with a high visit duration it means people are browsing your offering. If you’re a music website it probably means that people are finding music they enjoy. But if your website merely acts as a business card with limited information, this metric can become less relevant to you.
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