Customer interaction from social media ‘requires SPICE’

Marketers who are new to using social media for customer interaction have been given the abbreviation SPICE to help them maximize their use of the medium. In a Fresh Business Thinking article, Wayne Smallman created the abbreviation, which he said stands for Support, Publicize, Integrate, Control and Enhance.

Social media websites and networks can be used to support and publicize a company, while firms should also take care to integrate social media within marketing, Mr Smallman explained.

Ford Test Drive Social Media, Avoid Head-on Legal Crash

Ford Test Drive Social Media, Avoid Head-on Legal Crash In an attempt to avert a “potential PR nightmare” Ford Motor Company read the social media signs and avoided a head-on legal crash, where their reputation would have felt the full force of the collision.

Sure, it’s a given Ford would have won the legal battle, had things gone that way. But in winning the battle, Ford would have risked losing the social media war. And on the web, the survivability of a brand is all to do with winning the hearts and the minds of the very people you’re appealing to.

Beginners guide to social marketing

The number one benefit of social media marketing is the lower cost of entry, when compared to more traditional marketing techniques. Essentially, you are building on the back of your own network of contacts and clients, using that social network to further your campaign.

The tools most associated with social media (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace etc) are, for the most part, free. However, social media marketing is still marketing. You will still need the more traditional spread of tools to measure and analyze your activities.

Octane’s new look website and blog

Finally, the new Octane website and blog are live and in the wild. It’s taken plenty of planning, designing, coding and time, but I think the end result has been worth the wait.

So why the major overhaul of the Octane website?

I wanted a totally fresh start. But more importantly, I wanted the Octane website to be the hub of operations for all of the other stuff I’m doing.

Octane is my business, but many more people know me for my popular tech’ opinion blog, Blah, Blah! Technology. And more recently, I’ve enjoyed great success with my free ebook, The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media.

The one thing I don’t lack is content, so the purpose of the Octane website is to pull together those sources of trusted and valued information and knowledge into one place, so people can learn more about the things I offer.

Right now, you’ll find two columns of links in the footer of certain service pages, like social media and internet marketing, the Octane blog and the home page itself. However, over the course on the next month, I’ll be integrating specific articles from the other two blogs directly into service pages.

How much would a website like Octane’s cost?

Good question! A guestimate of cost would be around the £1,300.00 (Net) mark, which would include:

  • Design & Artwork — 8 hours / £360.00
  • Web Design & Development (incl. custom programming) — 12 hours / £540.00
  • WordPress, installation and setup — 8 hours / £360.00
  • Hosting, Email and FTP — one-off £20 account set up and then £30 each year thereafter.

It’s taken me months to complete this re-design, but that’s because I’ve been fitting all of this work in between my client work, which actually pays!

What do you see as the key benefits of having a new website?

First of all, the re-design is a fresh look. Totally new. Secondly, as mentioned previously, I’m turning the Octane website into a hub for all of my other stuff. But there are other benefits, too.

  1. A far cleaner, clearer design and layout means it’s much easier to manage and update the website and the blog.
  2. A better layout also means that articles and pages are easier to read and find.
  3. Having a business blog is a great way to raise awareness, engage with customers and expose people to your brand and your expertise.

Key points

Keeping the pace — the fact is, if I want to attract new clients, I need to demonstrate the strength and depth of my talents, and that’s what this new website does.

Room to grow — sometimes, you just out-grow a website, and fixing what you have simply isn’t practical. The previous design had served its purpose and something new, bigger and better was needed.

Having more to say — you can’t fit a pint of water into a half pint glass, can you? And that’s the problem I faced. So the challenge was making everything easy to find and read.

What’s next for the Octane website and blog?

As you can imagine, there’s a lot of work involved, not least the actual effort in creating the website and blog. Over the long-term, the value rests in keeping the website and the blog up to date. The typical schedule of activities would include:

  • Updates to service pages, with links to new and related blog articles.
  • New blog articles, based on a variety of different themes.
  • Adding new case studies, linking to related blog articles.
  • Adding new images to the portfolio page, also linking to case studies and related blog articles.

Right now, these are the very services I’m offering my clients who’re wanting to embrace and make the most of social media for their businesses.

I’d like to think there’s a good 1-2 years in this new website design, with maybe 2-3 years in the underlying structure, before I’d consider another major overhaul.

In the here & now, the timing of the new design is to coincide with the impending launch of a client website, and planned marketing efforts of my own.

Work has been good for me this year, with no real slow down, which is excellent. But I don’t want to sit back and become complacent! I always want more work.

If you’d like to know more about how Octane can help you business, feel free to contact me right now, or call 0870 755 0004 Monday to Friday 9am-5pm

Be just one click away with Skype

If you thought IM (Instant Messaging) was just for teens, think again. The worst thing you can do is slip off a client’s communication radar. So just how do you reconnect? Here’s how the power of Skype keeps you just one click away from your clients, and how that helps you do business better.

You’ve seen your kids chatting with their friends via MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and other than the fleeting thought that they might be inadvertently chatting with some weirdo your own age, you don’t give it too much thought. Thing is, your kids are running rings around you when it comes to staying in touch!

We humans love to communicate; our power of speech is testimony to that. Sadly, when it comes to business, we tend to erect barriers, limiting the scope of our communications to purely business topics, leaving the personal stuff to one side. Thing is, when we do that, we neglect a genuine opportunity to becomes friends with the very people paying us the money our businesses need to survive.

Sure, not all clients want a deeper relationship, certainly not one beyond the professional relationship you already have with them. But in addition to missing out on a more personal connection, we’re also just not there for them.

Where I come from, there’s an old adage: out of sight, out of mind. And this is also a truism in some respects. Think of the number of times you’ve hit a brick wall with something and you’re struggling to figure out what to do next. Wouldn’t it be better to have people on hand to give you the help you need?

That’s why I use Skype, so I’m always just a click away for my clients.

The power of Skype for businesses

Skype (or which ever IM software you’re most comfortable with) is sort of like having a mobile phone on your computer — you can make voice calls for free through your broadband connection, as well as sending text messages and files.

I use Skype as an adjunct to my email, when a client and myself are collaborating on a project, or just thrashing out ideas, and we need to be communicating in real time. Then, if we need to send something more formal, we use email.

I can’t tell you how many times a client has sent me a chat message on Skype about something they’re struggling with and I’ve been on hand to help them out, instantly. Sometimes, I’m helping them with things not core to what I do, but I either find a way to help them myself, or I connect them with someone else who does.

Every time you help out, you build on that ephemeral yet immensely valuable business currency called trust. You also demonstrate just how valuable you can be, which is not to be underestimated.

Don’t expect every client to take you up when you ask them to install Skype, or some other IM software. But the more that do, you’ll seldom be out of sight, or far from their minds.