Entries from June 2013 ↓

There Are Still Businesses Out There Without a Website

No, it’s not 1st April and this is no joke – there really are businesses out there that don’t have a website.

And we’re not just talking about one or two. According to the Office of National Statistics 21% of small firms don’t have a website. In todays’ digital age I find that astonishing.

So who are they?

Well, they are the type of businesses you use, plumbers, florists, decorators, small retailers etc. They rely on word of mouth for their business. But times are pretty tough these days and that just isn’t going to cut it.

But surely if they have enough business coming in there’s no need to change. Is there?

According to research conducted by O2, from a poll of 2000 people a quarter of all respondents said they wouldn’t use a small business if they didn’t have a website.

If that surprises you let me ask you this, what is the first thing you do when you want to find out about a local business you are thinking of using? Probably check them out online. If you discover they don’t have a website would you still be so keen to use them?

Barriers to having a website

Money is probably the main one here. These businesses are generally very small and may not have the money to invest in a website. But then again, websites don’t have to cost the earth; so considering the benefits they can bring it’s quite short sighted not to invest in one.

Many of these businesses also only work within a small area, so they believe a website would be a waste of time. Ever heard of local search? Hmmm?

They may also argue that they only need a small client base. But what happens if a few of their regulars move away or no longer need them? Where do they get new clients?

Why you should have a website

If you are a small business and have used one or more of those excuses, think again. A website isn’t an optional extra anymore. If you want to be taken seriously it is a must.

Here’s why:

  • No one uses Yellow Pages anymore, now they Google
  • Even word of mouth has moved online
  • Your website will sell for you 24/7
  • Your competitors have websites that show testimonials from their clients so others can see how great they are. How will they know if you’re any good if you don’t have a website?
  • If someone searches for you online and doesn’t find you they’ll go elsewhere
  • If you don’t have a website you could be viewed as being a bit dodgy, unprofessional or at the very least behind the times

My advice is find a good web designer and copywriter and get a website. It will boost your reputation and widen your customer base.

If you don’t you’ll get left behind.

Responding Through Social Media

Hands up if you’ve made a comment on a Facebook business page you’ve liked, or sent a tweet to a company only never to hear a dickey bird?

I know I have.

It’s a bit like going to a party and chatting to someone only to be blanked by them. Who does that? No one does, because it’s very rude to ignore someone who’s talking to you.

It seems crazy that companies dive into social media to spread the word about how great they are, but don’t understand that it is a two-way street.

Social media isn’t a soapbox that you can shout from. It is a platform through which you can communicate with your customers.

After all, by signing up for it you gave your customers a new way to interact with you, so interact.

Make an impression

Just setting yourself up on social media isn’t good enough. You must also allocate someone to monitor the channels you use and respond on your behalf.

If your fans and followers have taken the time to make contact with you, the least you can do is respond to them because that’s how you start to build relationships. And social media is all about building relationships.

The more you interact with your fans and followers the more likely they are to share your content with their friends, widening your reach and your audience.

Speedy, speedy

One of the benefits of social media is its immediacy.

Within seconds users can respond to someone’s comment, but that does mean your fans and followers will expect to hear from you fairly soon after they post their message.

Taking days or weeks to respond is not good.

For them, your social media channels are like a customer service channel where they can post comments, complaints and compliments. But they will expect a response from you.

That’s why it’s essential you have people on your team whose job it is to respond to any questions that are raised by your customers.

You gave them the option to contact you that way by signing up for Facebook and Twitter, so it’s up to you to make sure they don’t go unheard.

Thank you

These are two simple words that are sadly so often lacking in social media.

It doesn’t take long to say thank you in response to a comment or tweet, especially if someone has taken the time to retweet something you’ve said.

Manners cost nothing, as my mum always used to say – and she was right.

OK, granted nothing here is ground-breakingly new, but considering my experience of dealing with companies thorough social media, it needs to be said.

Remember, social media should be seen as an extension to your customer service, use it well and respond quickly and you’ll go far.



Sally Ormond, Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd

Twitter – @sallyormond


Why Are Your Facebook Updates Failing?

What’s going wrong?

You’re regularly adding new updates to your Facebook page, but they seem to be falling flat on their face.

No one is commenting, liking or sharing.

Perhaps all your fans are out and their mobiles have run out of charge so they’re not seeing what you’re writing.

Or perhaps you’re just not engaging with them.

Check out some of these common mistakes and see if any of them ring bells for you.

1. Too broad and personal

What exactly are you writing about?

How broad are the questions you’re asking? It’s always best to ask something specific if you want to get a lot of responses. Also, make sure your questions aren’t too personal in nature.

2. Mixture

There’s nothing wrong with text updates, but they do get pretty boring after a while.

Mix them up with photos, links and videos to keep the interest of your audience. You can even add polls to find out what your fans are thinking.

3. Fun

Even if you’re writing for a big company, inject a bit of fun into your updates. No one will engage with you if you keep posting boring corporate stuff. Facebook is all about having fun, so don’t be a stick in the mud.

4. The wider world

There’s nothing worse than a business harping on about themselves all the time. There is a whole world out there to write about and comment on, so open your eyes and write about other stuff too.

5. Relevancy

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because you like something everyone else will too.

Think about your audience and what’s important to them – you must put their needs before yours.

6. Hello?

When you do get comments don’t ignore them. Facebook is about 2-way communication, so when a fan reaches out to you respond to them and strike up a conversation.

7. Offers

Every now and then make them an offer they can’t refuse. Make it a Facebook only offer and you’ll encourage a whole new raft of people to like your page.

8. Patience

It’s not going to happen overnight.

You’ve got to give it time to start to work and you’ll be learning about your fans as you go along, honing your posting until you find something that works. But it is worth the effort, so hang in there.

There’s a lot more to Facebook than just writing random status updates. You must constantly think about your audience and what they’ll want to see – it’s just like marketing!



Sally Ormond, copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd.

How to Get Your Content Shared on Social Media

That always seems to be a headache for people.

They spend hours and hours typing away on social media, but struggle to get people to share their ramblings.

This post has been picked from the archives to give you some handy tips on how you can get your content shared.

Social media is all about conversation and sharing.

The premise is simple:

  1. Generate great content
  2. People pick it up and share it with others
  3. You get more followers, fans and comments

That’s all well and good, but what happens when you’ve been using social media for a while and yet no one is sharing your stuff?

Well, you’ve obviously hit a few barriers because before the above can happen, people have to be able to find your content, they have to read it and then they have to want to share it.

Why is your content being ignored?

First of all, don’t panic. If no one is sharing, all you have to do is rethink how you’re using social media.

Below are 5 scenarios that could hold the answer to why your content isn’t being shared.

1. Trust

If you want people to share your stuff, they have to trust you.

Trust is developed through engaging with people, being open and chatting. If you’re merrily throwing stuff ‘out there’ without taking the time to get to know your followers and fans, it’s hardly surprising they don’t trust you.

2. Caring about your brand

People will only share your stuff if they care about your brand.

How do you get them to care about you? Well, for starters, you can’t make them care. Again, this one comes down to building relationships.

If you are generous with your information, tell them about offers, give away tips or even freebies, you will begin to develop a deeper relationship. They will follow you more closely and tell their friends to do the same.

3. Don’t be boring

No one wants to read something that’s boring, so they certainly won’t share it.

If you churn out blog posts, Facebook posts and tweets that are dull, you won’t be engaging with anyone.

Don’t be afraid to inject a bit of humour into your activities. People like to laugh; it makes them feel good. And if you can make someone feel good, guess what? They’ll share your stuff to make their friends feel good too.

4. Passion

Don’t panic, I’m not suggesting you have to get passionate with all your followers and fans.

If you want people to share your information, they have to feel passionate about what you do. This can be done by showing your human side.

Yes, I know that sounds scary, but if they can see you are human, they’ll warm to you. By writing about things you care about, you’ll be sharing your loves with others. And when we write about something we love, our emotion shines through and touches the reader.

5. Building relationships

There’s no getting away from it, if you want to engage people you have to build relationships.

Setting up your social media portfolio one day, and expecting great results the next, isn’t going to work.

Social media is something you have to work at.

You must listen, engage, chat and debate with your fans and followers to find out what they really want. If you put out information they’re not interested in, they’re not going to share it.

Create a strategy

If you’re in business and want to leverage the power of social media, you must have a strategy in place.

‘Doing’ social media properly is going to take time and effort, so you must make sure it pays off.

Your social media strategy should encourage engagement and prevent PR nightmares.

The most important thing to remember is that social media isn’t a form of advertising. Consumers are far cannier these days and won’t easily be fooled by expensive adverts. As a company, you have to use social media to engage with them and provide them with useful information.

The time has come to move on from yesterday’s market methods. Today, you must listen to your customers, find out what they want and provide it for them. In fact, you have to exceed their expectations.

Marketing is tough as there are more companies chasing a diminishing amount of cash. Today you have stand apart from you competitors and social media will help you do that.

Over to you

Are you successfully using social media?

Leave a comment below and share your experiences.

The Hashtag Comes to Facebook

You’ve probably heard by now that Facebook is introducing the clickable hashtag (#).Facebook hashtag

Many see it as getting in on Twitter’s act, but will it really add value to Facebook users?

One thing’s for sure it will definitely help advertisers. With an already highly targeted marketing facility, Facebook advertisers will be able to use the hashtags the find hotspots of user activity around specific events and topics.

As for normal users of the social media platform, well they will be able to find out what their friends think about a trending topic and can group comments together on the same topic simply by typing a hashtag alongside a keyword.

This is what Facebook’s Greg Lindley had to say:

“Every day, hundreds of millions of people use Facebook to share their thoughts on big moments happening all around them. Whether it’s talking about a favorite television show, cheering on a hometown sports team or engaging with friends during a breaking news event—people on Facebook connect with their friends about what’s taking place all over the world. To date, there has not been a simple way to see the larger view of what’s happening or what people are talking about. To bring these conversations more to the forefront, we will be rolling out a series of features that surface some of the interesting discussions people are having about public events, people, and topics. As a first step, we are beginning to roll out hashtags on Facebook.” (Facebook newsroom)

You can search for hashtags using the search bar at the top of the Facebook home page. They will also tie into those from other sites such as Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and Twitter.

So what do you think?

Have Facebook just copied Twitter, or do you think the hashtag will be a valuable addition to its functionality?

Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.