NSDesign https://www.nsdesign.co.uk Making Digital Work Fri, 26 Aug 2016 12:27:42 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Why video is something to look out for on social media https://www.nsdesign.co.uk/video-something-look-social-media/ Thu, 25 Aug 2016 14:58:24 +0000 https://www.nsdesign.co.uk/?p=5013 Recently, there has been a huge surge in the popularity of online video: YouTube claims that 4,950,000,000 videos are viewed on its site every day.  Marketers cannot ignore those kinds... Read more »

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video_close_up_mobileRecently, there has been a huge surge in the popularity of online video: YouTube claims that 4,950,000,000 videos are viewed on its site every day.  Marketers cannot ignore those kinds of statistics if they want to stay relevant to their audience.

There are many platforms and formats marketers can use, so we’re here to help you understand the concept of video marketing and help your way on to the (not so big) screen.

Why are videos so popular?

For the user, clips are quicker and easier to interpret than a full-length blog post. In fact, Forbes found that 59% of execs would rather watch a video than read an article. In a busy world where time is a valuable asset, video marketing is definitely the way to go.

They are a direct way to engage with your audience – Facebook reported a 65% hike in engagement by brands who began incorporating clips into their Facebook timelines.

Variations within video

There are many different types of video platform; they all have different features, requirements and metrics so there isn’t really a ‘one size fits all’ solution. Here are a couple of things that vary across platforms:

  • Auto-play – Your film plays automatically, even if your viewer hasn’t clicked on it.
  • Audio-play – The video plays with audio without your viewer actively deciding to watch it.
  • Auto-loop – Your clip loops back to the beginning, automatically, so that it plays over and over again.
  • Time limits – Each platform has a different timespan; Vines are limited to six seconds whilst YouTube is unlimited.
  • Embeddable – It’s ‘embeddable’ if you can share it in a web page outside of the platform.

To find out what each platform can do, take a look at this handy infographic:

Video

How to distribute video content

Making a video requires a considerable amount of time, effort and often money, so you need a solid distribution to make sure it’s seen by as many people as possible.

It must appeal to the audience of your chosen platform, and it should be easy to share across other social media platforms too.

Here’s a quick break down of platforms you can use, their target audience and some tips for content creation.

YouTube

This is the world’s largest video-sharing network; over 6 billion hours of video are watched on YouTube each month. Technically the site is for everyone, but it does usually sway towards younger users (18-34).

It’s free to upload and view videos, but the quality on YouTube tends to be higher than Vine or Instagram, so businesses may need to invest more in video production for this platform.

Despite having the capacity for unlimited video lengths, the most popular YouTube videos are the shortest – usually just under 3 minutes long.

Facebook

This is not a video platform per se, but does share video. In fact, Facebook claims that it has an average of 1 billion video views every day.

If you are planning to distribute your videos on Facebook, you must optimise them for mobile viewing as this platform is mostly used on mobile devices. Facebook videos are set to auto-play, so make sure you include a hook in your first few seconds so users stop scrolling and start watching.

Instagram

This platform belongs to Facebook and has, on average, 200 million monthly active users, though it is primarily used by teens.

The maximum video length is 15 seconds, and can be edited from a series of uploaded videos. Of all the video platforms, Instagram is reported to have the best click through rates.

Instagram is great for businesses with low budgets, trying to reach a younger audience.

Vine

Vine videos are six-second-long looping video clips. Some are sceptical of its power, but many users love this short form of humorous video, and the auto-loop feature means they can watch it repeatedly.

There are a few additional platforms you could include in your video marketing strategy:

  • Periscope – for mobile live-streaming
  • Snapchat – not technically a video platform, but you can tell stories via snaps
  • Vimeo – for artistic and creative films
  • Twitter – uses video cards to distribute clips
  • Tumblr – not a traditional channel, but helpful for accessing niche communities

So there you have it, a very brief introduction to video marketing. So get those cameras out, get on the move and start filming your next blockbuster!

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Diary of a Modern Apprentice 2.0 (11 months in!) https://www.nsdesign.co.uk/diary-modern-apprentice-version-2/ Tue, 23 Aug 2016 15:20:24 +0000 https://www.nsdesign.co.uk/?p=4988   Where do I start? It has been 11 months since I started here at NSDesign and the time has flown by, as a result of working with talented and... Read more »

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Where do I start? It has been 11 months since I started here at NSDesign and the time has flown by, as a result of working with talented and entertaining individuals. Having such talented colleagues, makes life easier as an apprentice. For example, when you are stuck, you can seek advice from other members of staff who are knowledgeable in that particular field. I have come on leaps and bounds with the help of the four, two-week training blocks that QA Apprenticeships have provided.  The training allowed me to get the foundations in place for learning, and then coming into work and implementing them into your day to day work. This has allowed me to take on more responsibility and help out the team more and more.

So what have I learned during my apprenticeship? During my first block of training, I learned the basics of HTML and CSS, and even designed and built a very basic website. The training helped reinforce what I already knew, as well as teaching me some new skills allowed me to experiment more with websites in my spare time. The next two classes that I went to were for PHP, Fundamentals and advanced. During this they took us though the basic concepts and how PHP works and then showed us how to implement this into our websites and this opened up many more doors on the functionality and design of the website.

Embrace the space

Just before Christmas I attended the social media master class – Embrace the Space – which covers social media use in the business world. Being 20, I thought that I would know the ins and outs social media and how it works but after attending… I realised that I was mistaken. I didn’t realise how much is actually possible – in terms of finding potential customers on the internet. I was in awe, and still am. I’d thoroughly recommend the course to anyone (and no, I’m not on commission). Keep your eyes peeled on our websitetwitter account and facebook page for all the details of the next course date.

The end is near…

As I approach the final five months of my apprenticeship, I hope to continue my learning through working – developing my skills – and of course… finish the apprenticeship! When I finish, I’ll be gaining an SCQF Level 6 Diploma for IT and Telecommunication Professionals – which is a great qualification for my CV! You know what they say… Every day is a school day – it couldn’t be more true!

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Security essentials for your WordPress site https://www.nsdesign.co.uk/security-essentials-wordpress-site/ Thu, 11 Aug 2016 16:55:41 +0000 https://www.nsdesign.co.uk/?p=4968 We’ve said before that your website is like your shop window. You want to use it to impress passers-by and draw them in. Sadly, cybercriminals and hackers are all too... Read more »

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WordPress_SecurityWe’ve said before that your website is like your shop window. You want to use it to impress passers-by and draw them in. Sadly, cybercriminals and hackers are all too ready to throw a brick through the window of your unsuspecting site, and make it hard for you to conduct your day-to-day business.

It’s essential to protect your website and keep your cyber security up to date. Here are our top WordPress security tips to make sure that your website is ready for anything.

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a great tool for all businesses. It’s an easy to use content management system (CMS) that will help you build a high quality website.

Yes, you may have to pay for certain plugins and themes if you want something really jazzy. But most elements of the site are free and really easy to use. This is why WordPress has cornered 50-60% of the global CMS market.

Unfortunately, its popularity makes WordPress a popular target for hackers and cybercriminals. If you have a WordPress site you need to up your security now. In 2013, 73% of WordPress sites were considered “vulnerable”, so there was a huge surge in methods to ‘harden’ your security. We’ve picked through all of them and found the best ways to keep your site secure.

Install Wordfence – the best in WordPress security

Wordfence is a plugin that is dedicated to keeping WordPress users safe from cyber threats. It acts in real time and even blocks brute force attacks to make sure that your website is secure.

Their ‘forensic lab’ analyses threats in order to develop the latest protection and detection rules. The threat defence feed arms the plugin with the latest firewall rules, malware signatures and a list of malicious IP addresses to keep your website safe.

The security plugin comprises a web application firewall, malware scanner and many other security tools. This makes Wordfence the most complete WordPress protection system on the market. Free and premium versions are available, with the latter offering an ‘alert’ service.

Our other top 6 security tips

  1. Keep your WordPress up to date – tell your webmaster to click that ‘update available’ button as soon as you see it – out of date sites are more vulnerable to attacks.
  2. Keep your plugins and themes up to date too – these act as backdoors into your site’s admin, so make sure yours are properly secured through vetting and updating them regularly.
  3. Delete any plugins or themes you’re not using – why take the chance?
  4. Only use plugins and themes from well-known and reputable sources – WordPress.org is your best bet as they will have already vetted each theme/plugin
  5. Don’t use ‘admin’ as a username – it’s obvious, and hackers will use it to get into your site.
  6. Change your password often. Random number/letter strings are best, and there’s a password generator in your WordPress admin interface.

Use these simple security tips to make sure that your WordPress site is protected from the big bad world of cybercrime. This way, your website will be able to carry on as normal and continue to bring in customers to your business.

For more information on WordPress security, contact NS Design today.

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An A-Z of Scottish Olympians at Rio 2016 https://www.nsdesign.co.uk/scottish-olympians-on-social-media/ Fri, 05 Aug 2016 08:55:50 +0000 https://www.nsdesign.co.uk/?p=4933   Over the next few days, a total of 366 athletes will compete for Team Great Britain at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, with Scotland contributing a record breaking 50 athletes.... Read more »

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Over the next few days, a total of 366 athletes will compete for Team Great Britain at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, with Scotland contributing a record breaking 50 athletes. In addition to excelling in their chosen sport, many of these athletes are also social media enthusiasts, engaging with their fans on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Our A-Z of Scottish Athletes allows you to follow your favorite sporting stars as they share their Olympic stories (and hopefully successes). Unlike what you’ll see on the TV or read on the news websites, many of these athletes will provide us with a personal, emotional, behind-the-scenes look at the greatest show on earth. Just make sure to send them your congratulations when they bring home the medals!

Scottish Athletes At RIO 2016 Olympics Games

Katie Archibald Cycling (team pursuit)
Mark Bennett Rugby sevens
Chris Bennett Athletics (hammer)
Karen Bennett Rowing (women’s eight)
Craig Benson Swimming (200m breaststroke)
Andrew Butchart Athletics (5,000m)
Sally Conway Judo (-70kg)
Charlotte Dobson Sailing (49er class)
Eilidh Doyle Athletics (400mA, 4x400m relay)
Mark Dry Athletics (hammer)
Grant Ferguson Mountain biking
Colin Fleming Tennis (doubles)
David Florence Canoe slalom (C1 & C2)
Kirsty Gilmour Badminton (singles)
Katherine Grainger Rowing (women’s double scull)
Angus Groom Rowing (men’s quad)
Camilla Hattersley Swimming (800m freestyle)
Derek Hawkins Athletics (marathon)
Callum Hawkins Athletics (marathon)
Richard Kruse Fencing (foil)
Catriona Matthew Golf
Eilish McColgan Athletics (5,000m)
Jen McIntosh Shooting (50m rifle)
Vicki Meyer-Laker Rowing (women’s open-weight reserve)
Hannah Miley Swimming (200m & 400m Ims)
Stephen Milne Swimming (1500m freestyle)
Laura Muir Athletics (1500m)
Ross Murdoch Swimming (100m breaststroke)
Andy Murray Tennis (singles)
Jamie Murray Tennis (doubles)
Chris O’Hare Athletics (1500m)
Luke Patience Sailing (470 class)
Fiona Pennie Canoe slalom (K1)
Beth Potter Athletics (10,000m)
Daniel Purvis Gymnastics (reserve)
Grace Reid Diving (3m springboard)
Robbie Renwick Swimming (4 x 200m freestyle relay)
Mark Robertson Rugby sevens
Duncan Scott Swimming (4 x 200m freestyle relay)
Sam Scrimgeour Rowing (lightweight men’s reserve)
Lynsey Sharp Athletics (800m)
Alan Sinclair Rowing (men’s pair)
Callum Skinner Cycling (team sprint)
Heather Stanning Rowing (women’s pair)
Polly Swann Rowing (women’s eight)
Tsegai Tewelde Athletics (marathon)
Steph Twell Athletics (5,000m)
Lennie Waite Athletics (3,000m steeplechase)
Dan Wallace Swimming (relay reserve)
Laura Whittle Athletics (5,000m)

The Scots to watch (on Social Media)

With (nearly) all 50 Scottish Athletes using at least one social media platform, we thought we’d make things simpler for you, and give an extra special mention to 5 of our favourites.  If you’re going to watch anyone – watch these guys – not just for their sporting merits, but for their engaging, lively, fun, and passionate updates, helping bring the Rio Olympic Games to life!

 

Andy Murray

andymurrayThe British number one tennis player disappointed his 3.65 Million followers when he suspended play on his twitter account before this year’s Wimbledon tournament to avoid social media trolls. Commenting on the decision he said, “Obviously there are a lot of people who give you support but Twitter is not always the most pleasant place to hang out. So you try to avoid it as much as you can”. He’s still not back on Twitter (which is a shame – we previously named him amongst our London 2012 Team GB Top Tweeters), but he is back – better, stronger, and full of enthusiasm, particularly on Facebook.

He updates his fans regularly with behind the scenes pictures and will often interact with them directly, sometimes just sharing selfies with his dog!  Andy was recently named Olympic flagbearer for the Great Britain team and expressed his happiness with a Facebook update: “I am very proud to be selected as the Team GB’s flagbearer for the Rio 2016 opening ceremony on friday. To present your country at the games is an unbelievable experience, but to lead out Team GB is an incredible honour and something I will remember for the rest of my life”.

 

Hannah Miley

hannahThe ever active Commonwealth, European and World Medalist is all set for the 2016 Rio Olympics showdown. She has promised to keep her fans updated on Social Media, saying this in a recent tweet: “Updating my Facebook page with pictures and updates on my journey to Rio. Check it out” . The British swimmer engages well with all her fans and adds plenty of fun and character.

 

Ross Murdoch

Ross Murdoch made our list of Top Scots because he perfectly understands what his fans want from him, and gives it to them regularly. This 100m breaststroke contender shares information, enthusiasm, loads of pictures and actively socialises with his 14,000+ Twitter followers. There’s a lot of fun from time to time and his character shines through, but he knows the boundaries and you shouldn’t see him tweeting things he’ll regret the next day!

 

Eilish McColgan

A Scottish contender for the 5,000m woman’s race, Eilish McColgan (the daughter of famous runner Liz McColgan – née Lynch) nearly didn’t make it to Rio due to a serious injury in 2015 resulting in surgery and metal screws in her foot!  Her delight at making the team is shown through most of her social media updates, sharing her rehab programme, and intensive training regimes across all her platforms. She’s a proud Scot, and her desire to perform is evident – she’s even promised to start using Snapchat in Rio.  She might not be favourite to bring home a gold, but we’re certain she’ll bring home some more fans on Facebook!

 

Camilla Hattersley

This popular Scottish swimmer is prone to outbursts of excitement and passion – and who can blame her! Her spontaneous updates ahead of the Rio Olympic games included promotion of the team GB kit, team selfies on the sofa, a first look at the event tickets, and behind the scenes images of her room in the Athletes Village! All shared in a personal, very authentic manner. Camilla is a great example of great social media engagement. She often Retweets not just her team-mates, but her followers, and gets involved on other athlete’s social profiles too! It’s also great to see Glasgow University (where Camilla studies Aeronautical Engineering) getting behind her and promoting her to the world – Rightly so!

 

 

Disclaimer – to the best of my knowledge, the links above represent the official social media accounts of the named athletes.  Please contact me to amend any errors should you find them, and more importantly – if you know of any social media accounts run by either Steph Twell or Richard Kruse, please let me know!  From the 50 Scots, they were the only 2 people I couldn’t find anything for!

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Does your site have a responsive design for every screen? https://www.nsdesign.co.uk/site-responsive-design-every-screen/ Thu, 28 Jul 2016 17:04:44 +0000 https://www.nsdesign.co.uk/?p=4928 There are many types of screen. Big ones, small ones, portable ones and even wearable ones. Each UK household has, on average, 7.4 internet devices (according to YouGov). That’s more... Read more »

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responsive_design_screensThere are many types of screen. Big ones, small ones, portable ones and even wearable ones. Each UK household has, on average, 7.4 internet devices (according to YouGov). That’s more than two each!

Sadly, one website won’t fit all of these devices, so you must have a website with a responsive design that adapts to each size screen and to user expectations.

What is a “responsive design”?

A page has a responsive design if:

“Design and development responds to the user’s behaviour and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation.”

This means your site has to adapt to all the different screens that it could be presented on, including:

  • Desktop computers
  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • Smartphones
  • Visual devices such as the iPod Touch
  • Smart watches

And remember, all of these come in different sizes so your site has to be ready for anything.

What are the most popular devices?

Smartphones. People use them for browsing the web, keeping up with social media and even catching Pokémon! Ofcom found that smartphones were the most popular device used for social media, streaming music, watching short video clips, news websites and apps, and browsing online.

The old desktop computer has had its day, and is now only really used for government processes like getting a passport, a driving licence or registering to vote.

devices graph, responsive design

As you can see from the graph above, there is a lot of overlap in device usage. Some people will even switch devices mid-session to ensure they have the best browsing experience. For example, if someone is on a site and the page has a video, they will often switch over to a bigger screen (i.e. a laptop or a tablet). A responsive site will be easy to use, readable and engaging for all devices. An unresponsive site will be difficult to navigate and this may put off its users altogether.

No matter what type of content you create, the website itself (and the content layout), must suit all major devices to give your users the best experience.

What does Google have to say about it?

Responsive web design is very important to Google as it believes in delivering the best user experience. It expects there to be a mobile-friendly version of your site, and it will penalise you if you don’t have one.

If your site’s layout and functionality has not been optimised for mobile devices, your site can appear lower down in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

5 quick tips

  1. Page speed – loading time needs to be fast on mobile devices so minimise code, leverage browser caching and reduce redirects
  2. Don’t block images – Google wants to see them and will use them to determine if your site is responsive
  3. Scroll – make sure your design has one continuous thread with no page breaks
  4. No flash, no pop-ups – they’re annoying and get in the way of your user experience
  5. Remember fat fingers – touch screens can be tricky, so try to help your users avoid accidental clicks

Follow our advice and start thinking about having a fully responsive website design that will keep all of your users happy – no matter what device they’re using.

If you want to know more about responsive web design, or anything else to do with your website, get in touch with our experts today!

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Your online presence – avoid fatal faux pas! https://www.nsdesign.co.uk/online-presence-avoid-fatal-faux-pas/ Thu, 14 Jul 2016 11:35:45 +0000 https://www.nsdesign.co.uk/?p=4909 Not so long ago, first impressions would be made when you encountered someone face-to-face or on the phone. But since then, everything has gone digital. For businesses, this means customers... Read more »

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online impressionNot so long ago, first impressions would be made when you encountered someone face-to-face or on the phone. But since then, everything has gone digital. For businesses, this means customers are checking them out online before they make direct contact.

At least in the good old days of networking events, if you turned up un-showered, wore an ill-fitting outfit or got a bit too merry at the after-event drinks, you knew exactly why your phone wasn’t ringing the next day. Now you don’t even get the opportunity to make a fool of yourself in person because your first impression is made in cyberspace.

To cultivate the perfect online image takes hard work and dedication, but seeing as it’s the shop window for you, your company and your products and services, it’s definitely worth putting the time in.

Here are the main areas on which to focus:

Email

As most communication is now done online, you’ll need a professional email address, preferably one that matches your website’s domain name.

You should also pay attention to your email signature. It can be tempting to try and include any and all relevant information in your signature, but it’s best to keep it clean and straightforward. Your name, job title and contact information sitting alongside your company logo will be just fine.

Website

You can almost guarantee that anyone who wants to do business with you, or is even just contemplating using your service, will check your website before they call or email you. Make sure that your site is a good reflection of you and your business. If you haven’t updated your site recently it’s worth doing so, both from a design and content perspective.

Online reputation

A prospective client won’t just look at your website; they’ll look at what other people think of you too. This is so they can get a feel of how trustworthy your business is likely to be. Google is both a blessing and a curse in this respect; all the good reviews you’ve acquired over the years will be easy to find, but sadly so will any negative ones.

We suggest Googling yourself, seeing what you find and cleanse the results by using services like BrandYourself.com to make sure your positive results are at the top.

Check your reviews on other sites too, and make sure you address any criticisms so you can demonstrate your ability to act on negative feedback.

Social media

As we’ve said before, social media is a powerful tool if it’s used correctly. When people look for you or your business, they will stumble across one or more of your social media platforms. LinkedIn is the social media network of choice for business types. Make sure your profile is up to date and you’ve added all your business contacts as connections. Keep your brand pages on Facebook and Twitter up to date too.

These changes will help improve your online presence and make you and your company more appealing to your audience.

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It’s official – I’m a qualified trainer (finally) https://www.nsdesign.co.uk/qualified-trainer/ Mon, 11 Jul 2016 12:16:11 +0000 https://www.nsdesign.co.uk/?p=4882 Most of you will know that I do a lot of training.  It’s pretty much all I do these days! As an example – over the last month, I’ve probably... Read more »

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Most of you will know that I do a lot of training.  It’s pretty much all I do these days!

As an example – over the last month, I’ve probably only been in the office just 2 or 3 days, catching up on admin.  Instead I’m usually out doing workshops, seminars, 1-2-1 consultancy, group training, speaking at (and hosting) conferences, mentoring and more.  I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m moaning about this – it’s what I love doing!

Social Media Training by a Qualified Trainer

 

Strangely though, given the volume of training I’ve been doing over the last few years, I’ve not been in any way qualified to do it.

Until today.

Today, after nearly 9 months of ‘study’, I now have a professional qualification to add to my CV:

SVQ 4 in Learning and Development at SCQF level 9

Recognised globally in the Learning & Development (L&D) sector, SCQF level 9 is supposedly the professional equivalent level to a Degree, so it’s a big achievement, and one I’m proud to have accomplished.

 

A few people in recent months have asked me why I’m bothering?  ‘You’re already a trainer’.  ‘You don’t need it’.  And they were right.  I probably do more training than most qualified L&D Practitioners, and actually – in recent months, the last thing I actually needed was adding to my already manic workload with the hassles that go with study.

So why did I bother?

The truth is – I wanted the title on my CV for vanity purposes.  I wanted to have the qualification so I could list it on tender responses where it asks for “relevant qualifications” (listing my Architecture Degree is hardly relevant!).  I wanted an accolade recognised within aspects of the training and L&D world so I had an educational achievement to go alongside my years of ‘on the job’ practical experience.  I wanted it because I figured that with my experience of actually running training sessions on an almost daily basis – that getting it would be a walk in the park.  I wanted it because I could then call myself an Associate member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and have more cool letters after my name (Assoc CIPD).  I wanted it for all the wrong reasons.

But a funny thing happened.

I realised very quickly after starting the course, that I was enjoying it.  Not just enjoying it – but learning from it.  I began to look forward to my time with Margo my tutor (from Training Matters).  I quickly saw the benefit of her challenging me at every opportunity, questioning why I did things, and encouraging me to look at things differently.

I started taking what I was learning, and using it in live training scenarios.  I began to improve the way I planned for training workshops, developing better processes for working out client’s training needs analysis (TNA), and planning suitable learning and development resources based on different learning styles.

I forced myself to block out slots in my diary for my own Professional Development, and began keeping a record of all the events and learning activities I was attending myself to improve my own skillset, while allowing me to benchmark my methods of training against others.

I introduced new systems of evaluation, new ideas for groupwork, new resources, and a whole new innovation framework which will help ensure I keep taking the business as a whole down the right path.  All this and a whole lot more.

diploma-1390785_640

In the end, I wasn’t just doing it for the certificate (no matter how pretty it looks!) – I was doing it because it was making me, and my training better.

 

So as I said earlier…  I’m very proud of myself today.

Because I’m a qualified trainer.

 

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Which is better – Instagram or Pinterest? https://www.nsdesign.co.uk/instagram-or-pinterest/ Wed, 06 Jul 2016 09:25:28 +0000 https://www.nsdesign.co.uk/?p=4900   Instagram and Pinterest are two of the most popular social media platforms right now – and are often lumped into the same category of “visual social networks” because they... Read more »

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Instagram and Pinterest are two of the most popular social media platforms right now – and are often lumped into the same category of “visual social networks” because they focus on the promotion of images more than others.

While there is some similarity between Instagram and Pinterest (you need to post a picture, or a video to use either of them – text on its own isn’t enough) they are actually quite different in terms of how people and businesses use them, and their short and longer term benefits.

 

Instagram Benefits

Instagram is great for “real time” awareness (although some recent changes to the algorithm means your Instagram Home feed isn’t quite as chronological as it used to be) – allowing you to post images that your followers see in their feed, or find them through a search (usually a #hashtag search).

You can also caption your images, and add a location which again allows people to find your content by ‘place’, and of course you can apply some cool filters and effects to your image or video before posting it.

On Instagram, images have a fairly short shelf life.  If your followers don’t see it within a short timeframe, it’s unlikely they’ll ever see them (this isn’t 100% true, but it’s usually the case).  For that reason, Instagram is often used like you might use Twitter – for things that are important now!

 

Pinterest Benefits

Pinterest is a little different.  Firstly unlike Instagram you can post images from anywhere – not just your own (typically from your mobile phone).  This means you can curate whole ‘boards’ (albums) of images made up of a variety of images from across the internet – consider them “mood boards” or “albums with a central theme” .  Unlike Instagram, you can update Pinterest from a web browser – not just a mobile app, so it’s often a little easier to do from the office, or for multiple members of staff to contribute to one account.  It’s also much easier for a Pinterest user to re-pin (save to their own board) one of your images, compared to how difficult it is for Instagram users to share something they like.

The main difference in my opinion is the potential shelf life on Pinterest.  Unlike Instagram, images you Pin, are likely to work harder for you for longer.  People are likely to discover them ‘later’ compared to Instagram, and one of the simple reasons  for this is that Google still appears to have a good positive relationship with Pinterest.  Images you post there (so long as you give them good SEO ‘keyword optimised’ descriptions) tend to get returned well in Google search engine results, meaning one good image pinned on Pinterest, could drive considerable traffic to your website – assuming of course you’ve made sure to include a “Website link” which the image will link back to when clicked.

 

If we consider Instagram to be like “twitter” (short, real time updates about “now”), then you could maybe compare Pinterest to “Google+” (often no real obvious immediate benefit, but content which will hang around forever, and help drive Google traffic to your website).

So to answer the question – “which is best – Instagram or Pinterest” – it’s impossible to answer.  Both are great tools for slightly different reasons, and if you’re looking to make a decision about which one to use, consider the various benefits each one will give, but more importantly, consider which one is used by your target audience.

 

Looking to do more on Social Media?  Sign up to our next “Embrace the Space” Social Media Masterclass!

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What does engaging content actually mean? https://www.nsdesign.co.uk/engaging-content-actually-mean/ Fri, 01 Jul 2016 11:58:09 +0000 https://www.nsdesign.co.uk/?p=4906 The phrase engaging content is thrown around a lot, especially by those in the marketing industry, but how are you meant to know what’s ‘engaging’ and what isn’t? Don’t worry.... Read more »

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like engaging contentThe phrase engaging content is thrown around a lot, especially by those in the marketing industry, but how are you meant to know what’s ‘engaging’ and what isn’t?

Don’t worry. We’re on hand to help you identify what sort of content your customers will love and what will send them running for the hills. All you need to do is create a variety of high quality content across your blog, email channels and social networks that grabs people’s attention and makes them want to come back for more. Easy right?

Well … not quite … but if you follow our six-step plan you’ll be off to a great start.

Six tips for engaging content

1.      Identify your audience

Knowing what your audience want will help you during the content planning stage. Read Facebook comments, Twitter feeds and other social media platforms to get a quick idea of what your target demographic is talking about. Set up Google alerts and hashtag/keyword monitoring in Hootsuite to really hone in on subjects and get inspiration from other sources.

2.      Develop a tone

Talk like a real person. That’s really important. A generic news-reporting style won’t help you make a relationship with your audience, but talking in a friendly and approachable manner will. Use every online interaction as a chance to change their perception of your business. There are a couple of little tricks you can use to remind them that you’re a human being too:

  • If you’re emailing them, use their name
  • Sign off ‘brand’ tweets with your initials
  • Lose the formal language and plump for plain English instead

3.      If you don’t ask, you don’t get

Ask questions to start conversations with your audience. Make sure they’re meaningful and thought provoking conversations, and that the answers will help your business in the future. There’s no point asking for their favourite flavour of crisps, ask about the important issues surrounding your industry and create content that provides genuinely helpful solutions to their problems.

4.      Answer your audience

If they answer questions, reply to them. If they ask questions, reply to them too. In fact, if your audience talks to you in any form, reply to them!

Be ready for a bit of criticism; not everyone is going to like your product/company, and often people will go to social media to complain. Address these complaints quickly and professionally as it shows the person you’re talking to (and those who can see the post) that you have resolved the issue because your company is just that good!

5.      Promote other people’s engaging content

Share posts from other people in your industry (steer clear from your competitors though!). Whether it’s a tweet, blog post or a news article, it will make you seem less insular and more approachable. Commenting on these posts as you share them will turn you into a thought leader in a new community that you created. That’s never a bad position to be in.

6.      Make up a challenge or contest

Don’t underestimate the desire to compete! People love a good competition and a good prize, so use an app like Challenged or the contest generator on Facebook to add a social component to your competition.

Once you know how to create engaging content it’s pretty easy to keep making it. Get into good habits by following our tips and you’ll do no wrong. If you think about your audience, think about current topics and trends and how they’ll affect your industry and use a variety of different content types, the engagement will follow.

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How often should I post on Social Media? https://www.nsdesign.co.uk/often-post-social-media/ Tue, 28 Jun 2016 09:02:15 +0000 https://www.nsdesign.co.uk/?p=4872   It’s a question we always get asked at the various social media workshops we run – “how often should I post on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn etc?  Alternatively – we get asked... Read more »

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It’s a question we always get asked at the various social media workshops we run – “how often should I post on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn etc?  Alternatively – we get asked a slightly different question –  “can you post too much on social media?”

The answer to the second question is easier:  YES – you can post too much.  Especially if you are simply repeating the same posts at different times across the same channel, but even the same posts on different channels isn’t the best strategy (at the very least – tailor the message for the different audiences).

Don’t post for the sake of it – if you have a reason (an objective) behind every post, you won’t go far wrong.  Remember that the social media tools (Facebook especially) don’t want quantity – they want quality – posts that people want to engage with, to like, to comment on, and to share.  Too many posts of low quality and the engagement (and reach) dries up.

The answer to the first question – “How often should I post on social media?” – is “as often as you like, so long as your audience wants it”.

This might sound obvious, but remember that it’s all about them, not you.  If you genuinely believe your audience will welcome 10 posts a day, and if you believe they all represent real value (and quality) for that audience, then post 10 times a day.  If not, don’t do it.

There’s no magic number (despite what some ‘experts’ will tell you) for the right volume of posts, it’s all about you, your business, your audience, and your engagement levels.  Take a look at your analytics and insights – learn from the numbers, and learn from your customers.

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