Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Twitter in the World of Sport.

Is Twitter compatible with the world of sport?

With the news this morning reporting that a 17-year old man has been arrested over malicious tweets aimed at Tom Daley, following his fourth-place finish in the men’s synchronised 10m platform dive, we question whether Twitter truly has a place in sport.

After the diving display yesterday, it has been revealed that Daley received a tweet from user ‘Rileyy69’ stating, ‘You let your dad down I hope you know that’. With Daley retweeting the message, Rileyy69 was quick to apologise but the damage had been done. Daley must have been hurt by the tweet as he followed this by saying, ‘after giving it my all… you get idiots sending me this’.

Daley’s father, who tragically died last year after a long battle with cancer, was key to Tom’s success, following him around the world to give him support and inspiration at competitions. Tom received great support after retweeting the message from both fans and fellow Olympians, most notably dive partner Pete Waterfield and swimmer Keri-Anne Payne.

This incident further adds to the negative coverage Twitter has gained so far from these Olympic Games.

Racist tweets

Two athletes competing at the games have already been sent home for what has been deemed as racist tweeting. The most recent of these was Swiss footballer Michel Morganella, who took to Twitter after his team was beaten 2-1 by South Korea. The player was clearly riled throughout the game, receiving heavy booing from the crowd after feigning an injury from a non-challenge with current Arsenal player Park Chu Young. The tweet, which was in French, included calling Koreans ‘mentally handicapped retards’ and saying that they should ‘burn themselves’. The player clearly lost his head and deserves to be expelled from the games.

Prior to this incident, Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou had also been expelled for tweets mocking African immigrants and for clearly supporting the far-right Greek party Golden Dawn. Papachristou has apologised for the former of these tweets, calling it ‘unfortunate and tasteless’, but was still forced out of the team by the Hellenic Olympic Committee.

Both incidences have been seen as a breach of the Olympic Charter which states that; ‘the practice of sport is a human right… without discrimination of any kind’. It further highlights the need for regulations when it comes to the usage of Twitter by top athletes and sportsmen. Whilst the United States Olympic Committee are leading the way in this department, many countries still have a long way to go in understanding sensible usage of the micro-blogging site.

Outside of the Olympics, this has been recognised in the Premier League, amongst other leagues, with many clubs drawing up guidelines for their players’ usage of social media. Whilst this goes some way into addressing the matter, Twitter incidents still occur, as shown by Rio Ferdinand’s latest improper conduct charge with his ‘choc ice’ tweet.

Benefits of Twitter in sport

Obviously it is not all doom and gloom for the site and one must consider the value of Twitter for sport. Most simply, the site allows direct contact with top professionals and can be a great form of support for the individual. It can increase interest in a sport or certain event, and allows users to join in the debate during these live events. The Leeds Rhinos Rugby League side have chosen to replace their players’ names with their Twitter user names on the back of their shirts. The idea is to help bridge the communication gap with fans and to promote the sport through social media. The informative element of Twitter must also be noted, keeping fans up to date with sporting news, rumours and general goings-on.

There is no denying the place social media has crafted itself within the sporting world. It would be impossible to remove it from sport and there are clear advantages of involving social media. From the professionals’ perspective, it seems that guidelines need to be built upon by clubs, teams and committees, to help prevent negative tweets from being broadcast. From a fans’ perspective, people need to seriously think before tweeting and not lose their head. Furthermore, Twitter itself must flag up users who continually tweet inappropriate material. Freedom of expression must be maintained but there is clearly a line in many cases which must not be crossed.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Making your Website more Panda Friendly (SEO)

The recent Google Panda update has raised the bar not only for SEO experts but also for web designers. It’s getting tougher and tougher to rank well and that means that you really have to pay attention to all designing and Google ranking factors. When we do this, search engines rewards us because we are rewarding our audience and providing them with the information and experience they are looking for. The following points will help you to make your website panda proof:- 

1.Content is key:The Panda algorithm update emphasizes providing assurance only on websites that contain unique and useful content. This will help users better find content relevant to their search. If you provide web page content that is unique, relevant, high quality and preferably 1000+ words, your site will likely be rewarded with improved rankings and therefore, increased traffic. 

2.Above the fold design: Narrowing your header images, removing header banner images and pushing more content onto the top of your site will help with Panda. 

3.Web Page indexing: A website with more than 100 web pages and maximum pages indexed by Google would be considered as a Panda friendly website. 

4.Page rank: Page rank is still one of the most important factors. PageRank is an independent measure of Google’s perception of the quality/authority/credibility of an individual web page. It does not depend on any particular search phrase. Google conveniently reports this as a number from 0-10 (10 being the best). 

5.Check your Domain registration: Domain registration for five years helps to enhance authority points. This is a small tip, but every little bit helps. 

6.Webmaster tools: It enables webmasters to get a better idea of what Google “thinks” about their web sites, how the Google “spider” sees them, and what improvements could be made. 

7.Social media proof: Google Panda takes social media trends seriously and content that is loved by social media sites like Twitter and Facebook gets better position in search engines. 

8.Optimize for Fast Load Times: Avoid flash, single background images in the website. Google tends to favor sites that are snappy, quick, and fast.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Google and Good Deeds

Gone are the days of popping a few coins into a tin on a Sunday to do your good deed for others in need. With the power of social media, donating to charities, community groups and non-profit organisations, giving for a cause has become easier. With websites like kickstarter and just-giving raising funds for individual groups, Causes allowing you to share which campaigns interest you via social networks and organisations like Sparked that gives the user the opportunity to volunteer their expertise to third-sector organisations via the web; doing your bit has become that much easier.
If you're interested in volunteering online, have a community group that lives close to your heart or even want to give a small donation to a charity in mind, then here are a few websites that can help you out:
·         IndieGoGo - The largest crowdfunding platform on the web, IndieGoGo allows users to create campaings in which they wish to fundraise. It can be anything from giving a boost for a small company to helping out with someone's medical bills. What you donate is entirely up to you and allows random acts of kindness to flourish.
·         Kickstarter - Fancy putting some money towards a creative project? Look no further than the largest platform for this on the internet. The diverse selection of projects available range from Game Designers creating apps to History of Art webinars to photography gallery exhibitions. For something a little different that caters for all, Kickstarter is probably your best bet.   
·         JustGiving - JustGiving works differently than the above two websites as it is much more sponsorship-based. Raising for a selected charity, users can fundraise by doing their chosen tasks such as skydiving and sponsored silences.
·         Sparked – Fancy volunteering your specialties or area of expertise online? Look no further than Sparked, an easy way to find voluntary positions online. There are various different avenues in which you can help including web design and marketing.
It has never been easier to do your kind deed for the day, and now you can do it with only a few clicks! 

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Integrating and Using Social Media for your home Business

It's no secret that we're living and working in a digital age.

That's why it's vital that you utilise social media for your home business or company. We're already living in an age full of helpful technology and digital networking, and connecting with other people and businesses is easier than ever, thanks to the wonders of the internet.

Whether it be through Facebook, Google+ or Twitter; it's crucial to develop and maintain an online presence. Through a succerssful use and utilisation of Social Media, you'll find that not only will your customer or consumer base grow substantially, but the level at which you'll be able to develop and converse will feel much more personal, which is good for both the customer and you.

My business partner and I have recently started our own hlepful course teaching other small home businesses how to best utilise and grow through social media. All we need is your name and email address, and we will send you anything and everything you need to know.

You can sign up by clicking here.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Can Internet Marketing Be a Long Term Business?

Here is the basic honest truth: most of the people get into Internet Marketing because they are convinced it is an easy way to earn quick money. Their approach is to make a fast website, put up some advertising and a few affiliate links and then sit back and watch while they earn real cash. There are a large amount of individuals who do this and also earn lots of money on the internet. But what if you want more than some extra or even quick cash (quick cash, naturally being a misnomer)? Can Internet Marketing really be leveraged to produce a worthwhile and long term career? 

The quick and dirty answer is that yes, you are able to make Internet Marketing your long term and sustainable career. You only need to take on the project properly. The procedures and programs you use to build something to earn fast money are not all that different than the methods and systems you will use to build long term profits. So what would you do if you need to develop a sustainable career on the internet? 

It is very important that the first thing you do, in order to earn long term money online, is accept the fact that you are going to have to do real work. You will have to do actual and real work on a daily basis and you will have days when you feel fantastic about what you do and days when you wish you could find something else to take on. This causes it to be just about like every other occupation that is out there. If you want to produce lasting cash flow by working lots right now and not at all later on then you are going to be in for a rude awakening in a little while. So be ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work. 

There are a few ventures that lend themselves much better to a long term career than others will. Affiliate marketing, to use one example, is a great task for someone who wants to earn money on a part time basis or to supplement your already existent income. Is it truly possible to earn a full time income in this manner? You could if you pick out only the right products and then work like crazy to promote them. A far better approach, nevertheless, is to create your own products or websites and then promote those. This gives you full control over the projects you take on and how you accomplish them. And you will end up more likely to stick with it in the long run. If you want to give a service on the web this works much the same way. Writers, for example, need to create websites for themselves and create portfolios that they can point to as examples of their work. 

Finally, perhaps the most significant thing that you need to recognize is that, when you want to build a long term and reliable income on the internet, you need to truly dedicate yourself to your task. You might have fun and feel rewarded by your efforts but first you should tell yourself "yes, I really want to do this." Making a half hearted effort is not about to get you anywhere.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Getting your Business to Grow through Lead Generation

When your business depends upon getting new leads regularly, there are some options that are open to you which can help you to achieve it. In today's technologically advanced climate, there are many businesses that tend to focus on electronic means of contacting potential customers, such as through social media or email marketing. Although these can be effective, you should never overlook the possibility of direct mail and using those lists in order to increase the success of your business substantially. Here are some of the benefits that will be seen when you use this type of marketing and mail your list physically instead of automatically. 

Perhaps one of the most important things that need to be considered when choosing direct mail over email marketing is that the majority of people look at their mail that they get in their mailboxes every day. Of course, some people are going to toss some of the information without looking at it but a vast majority of those individuals are going to sort through it without delay. This gets your message in front of those individuals easily and, compared to email marketing, the response can be substantially higher. 

Another benefit to using direct mail is that you can specifically target groups of people that have an interest in what you are offering. It is important for you to consider this, not only when using direct mail but when purchasing the list of individuals that you will be mailing. The more focused the list is, the more likely it is going to be that you are going to see results from that list. 

Have you thought about the customization that is possible when mailing people instead of using electronic means of contacting them? When most people gather email lists, they are only going to gather the most basic information from the potential customer. When you have a mailing list, you not only have the physical address but you often have their name and perhaps some other information as well. You can use this information in order to customize the mailing which will, in turn, increase the response. This is also something that should be considered when you are gathering a list or purchasing it from the company that generates leads. 

Finally, you can measure the results of mailing those individuals in order to see if any changes need to be made to the mailing. Of course, you would always want to consider changing the copy and testing in order to increase the response. Some of the ways that you can track the response of a direct-mail campaign include sending out coupons with specific information that either needs to be filled out on your website or to be mailed back to your company. This can assist you in doing a split test as well, allowing you to easily see which is going to be more effective so that you can make those changes and send the future mailings to a larger list to increase the response.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Should Your Small Business Advertise on Facebook?

Original Post from Mashable. Authored by Business News Daily

Conflicting reports have shown Facebook ads to be both an effective and ineffective means for businesses to target their advertising dollars. But despite those dueling findings, small businesses may not want to automatically write off advertising on Facebook, especially if it is done correctly and expectations are managed.
A report by Reuters/Ipsos which found that 80% of people said comments and advertisements on Facebook had not led them to make a purchase. On the other hand, a comScore report — which was co-sponsored by Facebook — showed that the ads did help purchases, sometimes as much as 38% over those not exposed to Facebook ads. Despite the different opinions in both those studies, they are both right… in a way.
BusinessNewsDaily spoke with several experts about what small business owners should know before deciding about whether or not to spend money on ads on Facebook.

Are Facebook Worth it for Small Businesses?

“It really depends. They definitely can be for some, but frequently aren’t for others,” said Tom Demers, co-founder and managing partner at Measured SEM, a search engine marketing firm. “One of the strongest uses for Facebook ads is to get people in a very specific demographic to like your Facebook page so that you can then message to them over time. For instance, if you’re a small local restaurant, you can get people in the area to like your page, and then when you do things like offer coupons or promote events, you can incentivize them to share those promotions so that their friends see it, which provides a unique viral effect you can’t with many forms of advertising.”
Viral ads, however, are not the only way that Facebook ads can help a small business, Demers said.
“Similarly, some small businesses can have success in promotion,” he said. “The businesses that often get poor results with Facebook ads are those that treat them like other advertising mediums and try to push hard to a sale. Facebook tends to work much better at promoting softer offers such as free giveaways, discounts or simply getting users to become fans of your business so that you can convert them into leads and sales down the line.”

What Benefits Do Facebook Ads Provide to Small Business Owners?

“Facebook ads build a list, just like email or direct mail marketing, but with much more control and data,” said Jason Keath, CEO and founder of Social Fresh, a social media education company. “Compare this to the yellow pages, radio, TV, print where you get the ad, but you do not get the list. With Facebook ads, business owners can create a growing community of potential customers that will be with them for years potentially.”
Simply put, Facebook ads, when used effectively, are able to benefit greatly from word-of-mouth advertising in a way that other ads cannot.
“On Facebook, you see other fans of a business or product. You see your friends like them. These things matter and make for more effective marketing,” Keath said. “Lastly, Facebook offers more options and data than any other online marketing channel. Ever. I can target an ad to editors that work at BusinessNewsDaily. I can target an ad at hiring managers for The New York Times. I can target people in my ZIP code that love BBQ. The options are endless. That gives a business access to marketing gold and relevance.”

How Effective Are Facebook Ads?

“First with Facebook, there is less competition for keywords than there is on Google or other pay-per-click sites,” said Tyler Barnett, founder and president of Tyler Barnett PR. “One of the biggest benefits for Facebook advertising is that you are reaching your target demographic in their comfort zone. When a person is logged into their Facebook page, they are comfortable. When they see your ad on their Facebook page there is a certain amount of trust that is inherent and that you don’t get when seeing a random link on a Google search.”
That trust can be a particularly important factor in the effectiveness of advertisements on Facebook, Barnett said.
“Typically with Facebook ads, you can go to the person’s Facebook page,” Barnett said. “The main difference between a Facebook page and a traditional web page is you can see customer feedback. If someone clicks on your Facebook ad and goes to your page, they can actually read what other people are saying about you. That helped build trust among your client base.”

How Much Do Facebook Ads Cost?

“Facebook ads can vary wildly in cost depending on who you’re trying to target,” Demers said. “Technically, the minimum bid for a click is a penny, and according to a Google AdWords] with other advertisers,” he said. “And you’ll frequently have to pay significantly more per click. As an advertiser you can also control how much you spend by setting daily and ‘lifetime’ budgets for campaigns.”
The price of Facebook ads is among their most appealing features.
“Facebook ads can cost as little as $10 a day and as much as you want,” Keath said. “We recommend a starting budget of $500 to $1,000 to get your feet wet. Test several ad types, images, landing pages with small investments of $10 a day. When you get it dialed in, pick your best performing ad and put a larger budget behind it.”
Barnett said small businesses should at least consider the option of Facebook ads because of their low cost.