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WordPress

Would you believe that the WordPress system now runs over 28% of all websites on the Internet.

This huge statistic is down to the sheer flexibility and capability of the system.

It’s a full blogging software system that is free to use but the real strength in it is that you can create a custom WordPress installation in order to make a website.

If you know what your doing and have a good hosting solution behind you WordPress can be a powerful ally for your business when competing in today’s challenging market.

That said all systems have good and bad points and there are definitely some important things you need to consider when choosing WordPress as your website system.

While it does power over a quarter of the internet it has with its success drawn attention to the hacking world. The attacks on WordPress sites are constant and without proper protection and hosting your website could easily be overtaken and defaced or worse.

At Purple Cloud Solutions in Sutton Coldfield we provide full WordPress Web Design support and can further extend it’s functionality with our programming skills.

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Great tool to improve small businesses

Just imagine what would happen if something happened to your computer. If it caught fire, was stolen or got drenched in your morning coffee?

If you were using a decent backup solution you could just keep on working, otherwise you could be in a lot of trouble. So for those of you who don’t currently have a backup of your files in place, you’ll want to take a look at Dropbox.

So what is Dropbox?

Dropbox is software you install on your computer. It’s compatible with PC and Apple Mac. It’s a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. Never email yourself a file again! It also saves all of your files in the cloud (your own personal and secure space on the Internet)

How does it work?

When you install Dropbox on your laptop or pc it creates a folder on your hard drive called ‘Dropbox’. You simply drag pictures, word documents anything at all into the Dropbox folder. The files stay on your local machine but also get uploaded to your online Dropbox account saving your data in the cloud. This is great for backing up data. You can then access your Dropbox account online through any computer or cellphone with Internet access. You can install Dropbox on other pc’s or laptops you own and when you do this all the files that are on your Dropbox get sync’d across the other pc or laptops you install Dropbox on.

Why would you use it?

If you work from a pc and a laptop, its really useful to be able to access your files from both machines without having to painfully transfer yourself files using usb sticks or emails. just share your files to yourself using Dropbox.

How to get it?

You head over to Dropbox.com and create a Free account. Install the application onto your PC by following the instructions during install, then all you have to do is drag files into your Dropbox folder and they get uploaded to the cloud.

Free Version

You start with 2GB of free space to use which is a lot for small businesses! invite your friends to gain more free space up to 16GB.

Paid Version

If you need more space, you can pay to increase your storage limit.

Sharing Files

You can choose which files on your Dropbox you want to share and send out an invite to anyone. Everyone that you give access to will always see the latest version of the shared files. Dropbox will synchronize these in real time.

How we use it

We use Dropbox to share files across the team who work in difference locations. it enables us to share files and folders with each other and means we don’t have to worry about duplicate file versions. everything is sync’d across the team, perfect!

Any bad things?

Well you do need Internet connection for Dropbox to back up and synchronize your files and if you start to purchase a lot of storage space on Dropbox you also need to make sure your laptops and PC have enough storage on their own hard drives to cope with all the data.

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Make sure you’re using Google to measure your business online

The world of digital presence is changing at light speed. With the onset of mobile, and the rapid growth of connected devices, traditional methods of knowing what is happening to your website is no longer adequate.

To meet the growing needs of businesses, Google Analytics (http://www.google.com/analytics) has changed from a web anayltics solution to a business measurement platform.

From websites to mobile apps, and almost any other internet-connected devices, you can use Google Anayltics to measure your entire business.

Where does the data come from?

Starting right at the beginning with how Google Anayltics collects its data. All data is sent to Google Anayltics via a data hit on your website as soon as someone visits it. Included in this request is info about the visitor and their behavior (a lot of info).

Once the hit is collected, Google Anayltics processes the all the data every few hours and turns it into dimensions and metrics, which become building blocks for reports that you can generate.

You are able to pull out the visitors geographic location (country, region, city, etc), or the type of device the visitor used when they accessed your website. (tablet, smartphone, etc).

Alongside this is data that shows how long the user spent on your website and how many visitors you actually had on your website over a period of time.

Google Anayltics collects a massive amount of data from visitors to your website and its simply a must for any business regardless of size to have it installed. I always say the same thing, if you don’t have analytics on your website then there is really is no point in having a website, because you have no idea what is happening on your website. You are simply blind when it comes to your online presence.

The above just really touches on the standard things available with Google Anayltics, you can pull out all sorts of information if you really want to dig deeper, but at the very least make sure you have it installed on your website. All websites built by Purple Cloud Solutions come with it pre-installed. If you have any questions about this at all just ask us about it.

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Google updates its Search Engine, what does this mean for your business?

They have done it again! Google have released a brand new update on its search engine called Penguin 2.0

I am still monitoring and looking at the changes this update from from Google has done yesterday, but we anticipate that our websites that have been created with ‘Proper’ SEO will not be effected and should actually be rewarded AND may even gain rankings. From reports, the number of search queries affected by the Penguin updates since it’s birth have been:

– Penguin update 1 on April 24, 2012 (impacting ~3.1% of queries)

– Penguin update 2 on May 26, 2012 (impacting less than 0.1%)

– Penguin update 3 on October 5, 2012 (impacting ~0.3% of queries)

– Penguin update 4 (Penguin 2.0) on May 22, 2013 (impacting 2.3% of queries) <- Wow!.

We will update this post again once we have more info on this and how it will effect your business on the internet.

Lesson in life… DON’T create crappy websites with poor content else you will not survive on the Internet in today’s world.

Updated September 28th 2013, with more another blog post about the most recent Google update here.

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Video Marketing Tips To Get More Customers For Your Business

Creating good video content for your business and uploading it onto your website helps massively when it comes to getting more customers

If you read this and think it wouldn’t be relevant for your business or industry then you are very wrong and i will tell you why…

Your customers search for your good and services on Google right? using video on your website, Facebook and YouTube helps your Search Engine Optimisation.

As a business, any business you need to create video and link it to your website. You do need to apply the correct kind of tags and keywords to your videos so that you get the benefit from it, but that is not difficult.

Google owns YouTube, Google loves video, Google is where your customers search for your goods/services, Video helps your Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engine Optimisation helps your business appear on front page Google.

Being on from page Google gets you more customers.

How to start with video for your business?

A great way to start with video for business is to think about creating a video blog on your website. This can be a normal blog on your website but include video posts embedded straight from your YouTube channel. In short, create a video and upload it to YouTube. Then embed that video on your website, share the video or better share the blog post on your website that has the embedded video on across social media platforms such as Facebook.

A good idea is to first create a list of content that you will make videos for. Then create a calender of blog posts for when you will release this content to the world, maybe once a week you upload a video blog post to your website. Create about 10 videos so you have decent stock of video content. Create new videos each week. You can always mix and match the content you have, this way if you come across something that’s really relevant to the exact day/week your releasing your video content then you can put that video up in place of one you had previsluy planned in the schedule.

Video relevance

If you can create videos that are linked to your industry and relevant to the things happening in your industry on that specific day/week then that will gain more interest obviously. An example would be if its winter or there has been loads of snow and your a plumber for instance then create video content of you outside in the snow talking about winter and how your pipes may burst or boiler breakdown etc. This type of video blog post would be silly in the summer but very relevant in the winter.

You want to release regular content and keep it coming so as i said before creating a block of videos before you start will give you that cushion you need in case you cant for whatever reason make a video for a week or few weeks.

Remember to get your web designer to upload these videos onto your website or blog and start to really get the benefits that video can bring to your website 🙂

Its the year of video people, like we always say, get their before your competitors do it!

you can also put video on LinkedIn if you didn’t know.

Video ideas for business…

  • If you have a shop then lots of video footage of your shop
  • customer testimonials
  • personal reviews from yourself promoting your products
  • how to videos/tips
  • answer questions that customers regularly ask you? answer them in videos

The below screenshot was taken from a video that helped one of our customers go from hardly any phone calls a week to over 10 calls a week. this was just one video of him talking about the services he offers. I use to all the time as an example because it was taken on an iPhone, edited slightly and just uploaded to YouTube and the value this video had to his business was just incredible.

Video for business

How long should the videos be?

keep them short and to the point, maybe 30-90 seconds for short clips and no more than 1-2 mins for longer clips. Make sure the first 10 seconds of the video holds really key and engaging content.

Don’t have music playing for 25 seconds then cut to your message, as most people will navigate away after 10 seconds.

Now go create video!

Hopefully this has give you an idea of where to start with creating video content for your website and you can start using video as a great marketing tool to pull in more customers for your business. I know some industry’s are harder than others to create interesting content for you, but either way if you make a rubbish video or a great one, they will be pretty much the same when it comes to helping your overall SEO so id just get started on it, even if it meas just using your iPhone camera and uploading video straight to YouTube from there. Its a start and definitely better than nothing!

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It’s 2013. Your Business Must Be Online

All our customers know that we are very passionate about supporting local businesses within Sutton Coldfield and helping them grow to be successful. Its not just a website that we build for you but an ongoing relationship that will help your business grow and really shine online.

No doubt as a local business owner you will have noticed the massive change from offline to online activity by your customer base in terms of buying products or finding you in the first place. People no longer pull out the old rusty Yellow Pages when they need a service from someone just so they can call some faceless company based on a few words and a phone number. In fact I don’t even know where our yellow pages book is. You just don’t have to go looking for an old book which doesn’t really give great details of the company your calling anyway, and that’s the key, your customers don’t need to, why not? because their mobile phone like yours, which is probably in your pocket or on your desk right now is capable of pulling up the exact service they want within seconds they can view a company’s website and full service list with testimonials etc etc.

Newspapers are not the same as they were, not because there’s no news – it’s because their advertising revenue is way down. Companies realise that their customers aren’t looking there any more. These days, who would choose a company from the three that are advertising in a paper when they can find 50 to choose from online and then go straight to that companies website and read online customer reviews to help with the buying decision? They expect the convenience of IMMEDIATE information. Waiting till they get home to dig out the Yellow Pages is not an option any more.

With the dawn of the smartphone internet usage is booming. iPhone’s, Androids are just everywhere! There are 4 billion mobiles phones in use today a quarter of these are web-enabled smartphones.

Everything that is happening all around us is pointing to a marketplace within the next couple of years that will be predominantly online. These people, your future customers, won’t even consider using Yellow Pages or a newspaper. Many of the internet generation will have NEVER used Yellow Pages or even bought a newspaper (why do that when you can visit your chosen newspaper’s website for free on your smartphone, right?) I must admit I don’t and never have downloaded a free version of the newspaper, but then I just look on bbc website for anything important going on and search Google for the rest.

Stay connected to us even after we have built your website and benefit from our knowledge going into this online world. Our best customers do this and we have many talks about plans and ideas they have to grow their business online and often just call for a chat and run their ideas past us for advice. Have a think about what you want your website/online marketing tool to achieve 2013. Do you know what it is you want your website to achieve this year? maybe its to conquer social media for your business? maybe its to climb to rank 1 of Google or simply get more visitors to your site and increase your sales conversation, well just give us a call to discuss. Its free advice we offer to all our customers!

Whatever you do in 2013, if your not online, get online! If you are online, do not just let your website rot away and become stale, we can see that the customers who are successful online are keeping their website up to date with good content and constantly in talks with us about new ideas and ways to market and promote their products online. the old ways of promoting businesses are really starting to crack now, you have to get a good foot hold on the internet with your business before your competitors get so far ahead that even having a website wont help you. Its no longer about having a website online, that’s now a must have for any business regardless. Now you need to take the basic having a website online and then making it keep up with the expectation of today’s advanced users. Poor design and slow websites do more damage that good now. Ranking on page 5 of Google means your business doesn’t exist in the online world. Get there ahead of your competitors before its too late.

Get Listed on Online Business Directories

You should be listing your business and website on all decent business directories. We are in association with a local business directory site, which only promotes businesses in Sutton Coldfield. so you should definitely get your business listed on www.suttoncoldfieldrated.co.uk if you haven’t already.

Remember we are here to help you grow your business online 🙂 not just build you an amazing website, but to support you online for the life of business.

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Making Your Website a Business Asset

Why Your Business Needs a Website in Today’s Market

There are still a lot of businesses out there without a website struggling along wondering why they are not getting the same amount of customers that they used to get. They have been advertising in the paper or on Yell and their customer base is just getting less and less.

Did the people vanish? No, they just look for products and services in a different place now. It’s called the Internet, more precise its called Google and Facebook. There are many other online places of course but in general thats where the people are. Consumers are also far more savvy than they used to be, they know how to use the internet to search for the best deals and like to really research products before buying. Its because its so fast and simple now to this thanks to the internet.

According from a study from Google….

50% of internet users have researched and compared products.
40% of offline buyers have conducted online research prior to purchase.

Lots and lots more consumers globally now also navigate around social media sites in search of profits reviews and user comments.

Now its all figures from some Google study and who knows really how true those figures are but regardless we know that one thing that is true is that most people now use the internet to buy things and look at stuff. So if you’re a business you need to have your things and stuff online so that the people of today can search for it, find it and buy it from you.

How do people find your products/services? Watch a quick video below:

They go onto Google and type something like “Product/Service in Town/City”

That’s how customers generally find you online.

If you’re a business to consumer business and your not visible for searches like that then you have a problem.

If your customers are actively searching online for your products and your competitors are showing up on Google or have more online visibility than you do then its an issue you really need to address.

Get a website and use:

  • Internet Marketing
  • Google Ads
  • Search Engine Optimisation

This will help you target and sell your products / services online.

When customers do finally arrive at your website make sure you don’t lose them straight away. Make sure your homepage is good enough to keep them on your site to navigate around and look at everything you have to offer. Its estimated a person will decide whether to stay on your site or leave in about 1-2 seconds of your website loading. A poor homepage will discourage users that your products/services are any good and they will most likely click back and go.

Home Page Content

This is your online shop window to the world, if your front page is not done correctly you risk losing your potential customers after all the hard work you have put in getting them to your website in the first place.

Good website design is very important but its not just about a really pretty website design, its also about making sure you have the right content on your homepage and throughout your website.

The following things your homepage should contain:

  • Clear info on who you are what you do
  • Contact info – tell your customers how to contact you
  • If you are a local business, tell them where you are – people buy local
  • Clear navigation with working links – basic stuff
  • Company logo is a decent place – build brand
  • Links to your social media pages – quick access to gains likes or followers

Ideas For Other Website Content

After the homepage, look at the other pages on the website. When adding content to your website make sure its two things. Relevant and Unique.

  • About Us Section – people like to see who’s behind the faceless online business
  • Our Team – show your customers the human side of your business
  • Products/Services – good images and descriptions of your products
  • Case Studies – success stories from your existing customers
  • Order/Book links – clear buy now buttons for your products
  • Contact Us/Location Map – make it easy for people to find you
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Terms and Conditions
  • Privacy Statement
  • Disclaimer

Blogging and How it Can Help Your Business

There are so many reasons a blog can massively help your business. The main ones i can think of right now are listed below. It is hard work but it definitely pays off. Google loves fresh content and there are many extra tricks you can do to leverage this in your favor to help you jump up the search rankings and create a quality blog site that your customers and potential customers will find really useful and admire.

  • Establish yourself as an expert
  • Great SEO benefits
  • Increase traffic to your website
  • Broadens the range of your target audience
  • Keeps customers informed and interested
  • Improves communication with current customers
  • Increases customers loyalty and trust
  • Helps good quality link building

Few more ideas of content for you website:

  • Competitions
  • Discount codes
  • Special offers
  • “how to” videos

If you don’t have a website then get one 🙂

If you do have a website review your homepage and make sure you’re not missing anything that could be putting potential customers off.

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Halloween and Bonfire Night Social Icons for your Website

Hope you’re ready for Halloween and Bonfire night. Its my personal favourite time of year.

Here’s some really nice pumpkin images you can use on your websites this time of the year should you want to Trick or Tweet!

It contains 16 PNG icons 128×128 pixels in size for the social networks such as : Delicious, Digg, Facebook, Feedburner, Flickr, Gmail, RSS Feed, Stumbleupon and Twitter.

A Lot of websites these days update their website design during holiday periods, so when visitors go there it just kind of gives off that feel that the site is kept up to date, it looks nice and its just a cool thing to do. In this day and age now things like this are what make you stand out from your competitors, it really is worth doing.

So if you want to keep your website up to date by changing its look during certain times of the year, this little icon pack will really help and get people talking about your website.

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Google Plus for Business

It was only a very short time ago that Google plus was launched but already in the US there are books out about it!

Loads of people like myself have been using Google+ trying to figure it out and find out how it can help us either personally or in business. When I say loads of people what I actually mean is over 20 million users! Yep it took Google just 24 days to get this many users, you can see how it compares to Twitter and Facebook from the graph below in terms of how long it took them to get to the same amount of users:

Google Plus Growth Chart

I do have the feeling though that at the moment Google plus is used by more ‘technical’ people that the general public. It seems to be anyone in IT is very interesting in Google+ while the normal people out there probably don’t really see why they should switch from their beloved Facebook or Twitter to yet another social media platform that their friends just aren’t on at the moment.

I don’t think Google are planning to steal Facebook users, it already has more users than Facebook across its super brand and in my opinion as it owns the search engine market i think they can pretty much do what they want and it be successful if they really market it well. I think they have learnt from their mistakes of the not so popular Google wave (which I actually really liked to be fair)

One thing to remember is that Google have yet to launch their Google+ business profile pages which could be massive when its launched. Business pages will link to Google Places and local listings on Google+. Recommendations by people will also start affecting organic rankings, ensuring better search results through public opinion, not just who has the best links.

It will be interesting to see how it integrates with Google Analytics and if it gives any more detailed info. The hangouts feature is cool and makes for a Skype like video call. It’s nice and easy to use has a clean interface and is branded by Google. It seems here to stay, ill continue using it and keeping my eye out eagerly awaiting the business page launch.

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Get really cool business cards

The ‘ol’ business card, one of the most powerful, yet ignored weapons in marketing your business.

Now more than ever there are many ways to attract new customers to your business.

Maybe it’s a marketing campaign in the form of an ad in the paper. A big poster or billboard, through the use of social media or maybe you get your customers through word of mouth, but what about that more personal level. I find that some really great leads come directly from networking or just being out and about and having a chat with other people/businesses.

In this scenario the most important tool I have is me, how I come across to the other person, that first impression will most likely determine if they want to do business with me or not. On departing I always give my business card. It then reminds them of what I’m capable of doing in the event that they need my service in the future. Now let’s face it, most business cards I’ve seen are very boring and very dull, some don’t even use both sides of the card. A lot of them or either from a free service or worse created at home and printed off and cut out onto paper. After having a great chat with a potential customer and getting them on board with what your offering and building that trust you then give them a basic poorly designed business card and ruin it all. Having a really nicely designed professional business card can really seal the deal and make sure your potential customer remembers you and calls you up if the need your services.

I’m not saying ours is the best by a long way, I’ve seen much better out there but let me talk you through the thinking behind our business card which may help you in improving yours.

Front Design

purple cloud solutions business card front

You should have at least one picture or image on your business card. Studies show that people are more likely to hold on to a Business card that has a photo on it. It doesn’t have to be a picture of you but maybe of your product. I guess it’s because pictures grab attention.

We have our business name logo ‘purple cloud solutions’ as the main image.

The QR code displayed in the front as well, this goes to our homepage currently but you may want to think about which page you send people to. I’ve been thinking about sending people straight to our services page.

The tagline of ‘we specialise in local business’ as we want do a lot of business with local businesses in Sutton Coldfield so I thought it was a good thing to display.

In smaller font we have the line of ‘web development and design‘ and ‘expanding your business on the Internet’ which pretty much sums up what we do.

I think the for front of the card, you want something eye catching hopefully our logo + QR code does this. You don’t want to display too much info that may detract from the logo, I know there’s a fair bit on our front and for that reason i may remove the ‘Great design always forecasted’ play on words tagline to gain some space back.

Back Design

purple cloud solutions business card back

flip over to the back and we have in biggest font my name. This is really important as i want the person who has my business card to remember me and remember meeting me and conversation we had. I want it to be personal and not just a corporate business card.

I’ve listed the main services down the left hand side and used our cloud logo in place of bullet points for a bit of design.

Our tagline at the top ‘We help business get set up online’ is underlined by a contrasting colour of green to help it stand out. I want the person holding the card to know that this is what we do and specialise in.

I’ve added a ‘want a business card like this?’ tagline top right as we had so many people comment on how nice our card was I thought id add it in as a service.

Just under my name is the usual info that you should provide, website link, email, phone number etc. Along with any social medium links you may have. (you should have)

Then to end just a simple ‘Just give me call’ with a smiley face helps keep the whole thing friendly and more personal.

You may have noticed that we went for the rounded edges cards and not the standard rectangle design that most business cards have. You want to stand out and be different from your competitors so you should take things this into account. How can you be different from your competitors?

We have had a lot of comments on our business card, I feel it really gives of a professional look and feel. There’s always improvements that can be made, and for that reason i tend to buy them in batches of 100 in case I want to change something or add something in the not so distant future.

So take a look at your business card and ask yourself, is your business card letting your business down? Or is it a cool business card that people will look at and remember you by.

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Facebook for Business – Are YOU Ready?

Facebook’s timeline update to business pages allows companies to have a much bigger presence on the social media web. Is your business there? if not then why not lol are you crazy!
More than just providing consistency between personal and company-owned Pages, Facebook Timeline provides businesses of all sizes an opportunity to use the platform to market their organisations in a much more engaging way.
On 30 March 2012 it goes live so make sure your business is ready for the switch over. All pages will be automatically changed to the new Timeline format. It’s therefore vital that businesses with branded Facebook Pages are taking steps now to prepare their Page for the switch, and ensure they’re making the most of the great new features Facebook has introduced.
The cover photo

Purple Cloud Solutions on Facebook

The cover photo will sit at the top of your Page and will be the first impression users have of your business when they visit, so it’s important to get it right.
Keep the image simple. It should embody not only the look of your business, but its personality, communicating your value proposition to customers and what your organisation stands for.
Be careful though, as Facebook won’t allow cover photos to include promotional content or calls-to-action. It’s important the image entices users to learn more and join your community without becoming a direct marketing tactic.
You should change your cover photo at least seasonally to help tell your evolving story. For instance, a local hotel might post photos of a scenic view as it changes through the seasons.
The ‘About’ section
Small businesses can use this section to convey any vital information about the company, such as a top-level overview of the organisation and what it offers its customers, or important local information, such as contact details, address, opening hours and even a map to your exact location.
By clicking on the ‘About’ section, users are taken to a more in-depth description of the company, but still try to keep it short, simple and well-spaced so all of the information is easily conveyed.
Timeline
We witness the passion and enthusiasm they have for their organisations and industries on a daily basis. We also see just how important the company’s journey is, in particular reaching major milestones.
Purple Cloud Solutions Facebook Timeline
Timeline is shifting brand pages towards a story-based model, enabling brands to showcase heritage and history in a visually engaging and personal way.
Use the Timeline feature to market your organisation’s history by adding in backdated content you have on file – your first shop or office opening, your first employee, or your 1,000th customer.
If you haven’t already started, now is the time to start collating content about your business’ history. Small companies should aim to insert these key pieces of content into the relevant points in their Timeline to create a compelling story that encapsulates what the organisation stands for and delivers to its customers. Then, think about ways to drive your fans to that content. For instance, you could do a “This Day in Company History”.
This is further enhanced by the new ‘milestones’ feature available on wall posts. It allows businesses to ‘star’ pieces of content as significant so they are featured more prominently on the Timeline.
The page navigation banner
The section under the profile and cover photos is the new home for all content not hosted on the Timeline – including the About section, photos and applications.
The icons for each of the applications will be larger and more prominent than on the old page style, so it’s important to select visually appealing icons. You can also label them however you choose – think about active, exciting names that will encourage fans to click.
If you have multiple applications, you’ll need to select the two or three that you want to focus on and make sure they’re the most visible. The rest will be tucked away and only visible when users expand the banner to see the apps.
Pinning content
Timeline offers businesses several new editorial techniques to make their content more successful. One of the best of the free tools made available is the ‘Pin’ feature.

Facebooks pinning content
When a piece of content is posted to the wall, those with Administrator rights to their business’ Facebook Page can ‘Pin’ the content to the top of their Timeline where it remains for seven days.
This will allow businesses to ensure key pieces of news or promotional content remain visible for longer. This in turn will drive more engagement with the content and help boost the community.
Administrator panel
One final note is a new feature available through the Administrator Panel: the ability to turn on – or off – private messaging. When this feature is turned on, fans can now privately message you as a business, which is great for more personal or private questions. Further, because Timeline orders your posts by engagement, rather than chronologically, it’s a bit more difficult to keep up with comments and Likes. The Administrator Panel comes to the rescue with an easy way to see all of your notifications in one place.
We are very excited about the new opportunities Facebook Timeline will bring to small businesses looking to market their organisations. Through correct use of the new features in conjunction with promotions and exclusive content, we can see SMBs only becoming more successful with their Facebook marketing.
It’s vital that small business owners spend some time making these changes and investigating Facebook Timeline for Brands in order to create a company Timeline that truly embodies their business and enhances their image online.

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Taking your business into 2012

First off, Happy New Year! Hope you had a good one, I did

And now… back to work. We have put together a list of things you should look at doing in 2012 to keep ahead of your competitors and really make the most out of 2012.

We all make new year resolutions, and 99% I’m sure fail after day 1. Don’t let this happen to your business! Take a look at the list of 10 things below and choose a few to implement for your business during 2012.

1. Go local

These mobile users are constantly interacting with things and places that physically surround them. Microsoft reported that 53% of mobile searches on Bing have a local intent. The online world has become an essential place for businesses to connect with their local community. Make sure your business has a local listing on key search engines: Google Places, Bing maps, and Yahoo maps.

2. Go mobile

By 2015, more U.S. Internet users will access the web through mobile devices than through PCs. On average, 15% of all searches on Google today are from a mobile device. How well are you catering to this mobile population? Make 2012 the year you optimize your search marketing, email marketing and website to focus on this growing mobile community.

3. Learn how to delegate and do more of it

When you’re just starting out and times are tough, it’s natural to tighten the purse strings. However, consider what you could gain by handing over certain tasks to contractors, virtual assistants or full-time employees. By relinquishing control of administrative tasks or company blog updates, you’ll free up time for what’s ultimately going to keep you in business: bringing in revenue.

4. Invest in one new customer touch point

Whether it’s blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, mobile coupons or QR codes, new ways to connect with customers seem to pop up daily. As a small business owner, you don’t have to excel in every new technology or network that comes along, but you should try to be wherever your customers are. Ask your current customers where/how they’d like to connect with you, then spend some time in 2012 to make it happen.

5. Refresh your website

In the race to master new social media tools, don’t overlook your own website. After all, social media efforts like Twitter campaigns end up driving traffic somewhere, right? It doesn’t make any sense to build a beautiful and savvy Facebook presence that funnels people to a boring, inaccurate, and out-of-date website. Keep it current and engaging!

6. Get on Facebook

Make sure you have a Facebook Page for your business in 2012. Update it regularly and send all your happy customers there. Ask them to write something nice on your wall and make sure when they do you engage them, and say something nice back.

7. Use Dropbox

Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. Never email yourself a file again! You get 2GB of space free which is quite a lot if you use it correctly. Invite your friends and you can get up to 8GB free!

8. Skype

Video calls, Phone calls, Instant messaging

See when people are online and get instant answers to quick questions with Skype Instant Messenger, whether your colleagues are next door or on the other side of the world. We use this all the time and i just can’t imagine life without it now.

9. Enter the world of Video

Video is everywhere! in 2012 your competitors will start to get video on their website and have video testimonials of their customers shouting about how great they are on their website, don’t let them get ahead of you!

10. Social network in the real world.

Whether the plumber recommends a carpenter or the web designer recommends a copywriter, business is driven by referrals and connections. In 2012, put some effort into networking by signing up for an industry conference or seeking out a local meet up group. These are invaluable ways to develop relationships and share advice with fellow entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Extra bonus one

11. Put time for you on the calendar

As an entrepreneur, remember that you’re solely responsible for your own motivation, productivity and well-being. There’s no boss to pat you on the back or give you a raise. It’s up to you to keep yourself motivated and inspired. In 2012 be sure to reward yourself for specific milestones like a big client win, meeting a tough deadline, or working “overtime” for multiple nights on end.