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Google+: Evolution or Revolution?

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Social Media

We are at an exciting transition point. Will the masses of social media indulgers migrate to Google+ for potentially more value? Or will they stay in the comfort zone of what they know and love?

Has Social Media Changed?

There was a time when ‘Social Media’ was an exercise in sharing your daily activities, photos of dinners or family. It even progressed to ‘Selfie’s’, pictures you have managed to take of yourself not always considering what may be in the background.

The consequences of this shift to other social media sites is going to require digging out another beautiful profile picture (we all hate it!), more personal details to fill out, a different layout to familiarise ourselves with, friends to find again, but on a positive, the excitement at ‘crushes’ being friends with you all over again!

But why should we bother?
Friends, colleagues, customers will all be under one roof, no flicking between Facebook and Twitter trying to find individual people or companies, they will all be under one search of their name in Google+.

A recent study indicates that only 12% of Facebook updates (2012, Kawasaki, G – What the Plus! – Google+ for the rest of us) are being seen by all your friends as opposed to the 100% on Google+. It’s a no brainer. Why be their friend if I can’t see what they say and they can’t see my amazing posts and updates without doing a direct search?

Google+ is set out in a clear and enticing way, like Pinterest, with information on friends like Facebook and opportunity to follow celebrities like Twitter. Where Google+ gets really clever is with their ‘Circles.’ This is where you have the opportunity to focus your posts to direct groups that you create, be it family, friends, customers, work collages or celebrities. You can share with you family that little Bob has just done his first wee in the potty and then celebrate with your work colleagues the success of yesterdays pitch without the two posts crossing.

Change can be good, …Watch out Facebook.

Mobile Internet Usage to Surpass PC Usage by 2015

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application software icons extruding from smartphone, isolated on white

The International Data Corporation has predicted mobile internet usage will surpass that of PCs and other wireline services by 2015. In the UK, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has stated that 45% of UK internet users are visiting websites via mobile devices (e.g smart phones, tablet devices) with 17 to 24 year olds most likely to use a mobile device. The study found 71% of 17-24 year olds who use the internet use mobile devices to browse the web.

Furthermore, according to the ONS report domestic internet use has also risen, but only by 4%, representing the slowest rate of growth since the survey began. 77% of households in the UK now have an internet connection and with this figure unlikely to rise much more it seems domestic internet usage has reached saturation point in the UK.

 

With this news businesses up and down the UK are looking to rebuild their websites with the mobile market in mind. Mobile specific websites are popping up everywhere making use of new technology such as HTML5 and CSS3. These technologies allow a websites design to be responsive to the screen it is being shown on, so no matter the screen size ñ the website will look perfect. Without a responsive design most websites give users a poor experience when being viewed on a mobile device, leading to high bounce rates and frustrated customers.

More evidence that every business should have a mobile website came in the form of Techmarkís internet usage study, conducted in August 2011. The study concluded that Mobile now contributes to 13% of all web traffic in the UK. And this figure is predicted to rise to over 23% by 2014.

Ask yourself this question; if 1 in 5 visits to your website are made from a mobile device and your website has not been optimized for a perfect mobile experience how are those visitors going to feel? Do you think they are going to come back? And most importantly what chance do you think they have of converting?

If the answers to those questions were; “frustrated”,, no and none you have realised it is time to sort out your businesses mobile site.

Email us for more information info@curve-interactive.com

 

The AA – social media

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Why do we feel the AA have the right approach?

The AA has hit the right note with their approach to social media. They have a very clear balance between selling their product and keeping their audiences interested, with opportunities to actively participate.

So what are The AA doing right?

First and foremost they are accessible on every social media platform, as their customer base is varied so is their approach to social media. This gives them a cutting edge to reach the diverse needs of their customers.

Their interactions over the Internet are consistent without being annoying. They keep their updates short with lots of video or photos. A study by Buddy Media states that posts with 80 characters or fewer receive a 27% higher engagement. Posts that include a photo album, picture, or video generate 180%, 120% and 100% more engagement respectively (2014, A, McCarthy, 500 Social Media Marketing Tips). The AA actively use these techniques on a regular basis.

The AA shows a personal side to their business, they include their followers/friends in discussions and regularly acknowledge them by a like or re-tweeting.

What can other businesses learn from the AA?

As an AA follower they keep us engaged with their posts in a useful and exciting way, where we’re keen to participate and not feel pressured to buy more AA products, but know where they are should we need one.

Kit Kat’s latest integrated marketing campaign

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6 bars, 24 hours, £10,000, GPS, and a Helicopter!

The latest Kit Kat marketing campaign is fantastic. In fact, it is remarkable, and that is precisely why it has been such a great success. The remarkable aspect of the campaign is the not the giving away of £10,000 (how many times has that been done before?!), but the delivery of it to your home via a helicopter once you have discovered 1 of the 6 GPS enabled chocolate bars. What an incredible idea! The idea itself has driven people online to the Kit Kat Facebook and Twitter pages to keep up-to-date on how many bars are left to find and has sparked up numerous conversions online (like this one!).

With the nature of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, this campaign has increased the brands reach online dramatically. Today Kit Kat UK has 9,525,014 ëlikesí. (more…)

50 link building business directories

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In search of some high quality, authoritative websites to build some back links to your website? Here are 50 websites to get your site listed on for SEO purposes, compiled by the great people at Hubspot.

1. Google
2. Bing
3. Yahoo!
4. Yelp
5. Merchant Circle
6. LinkedIn
7. YellowPages.com
9. Whitepages
10. Supermedia
11. Yellowbook
12. CitySearch
13. Mapquest
14. Biznik
15. Local.com
16. Foursquare
17. ThinkLocal
18. CitySlick
19. USYellowPages
20. MyCity
21. Outside.in
22. Dex
23. BizJournals.com
24. TeleAtlas
25. Justclicklocal
26. Discover our Town
27. Metrobot
28. Best Deals on
29. twibs
30. LocalEze
31. Kudzu
32. CityVoter
33. Manta
34. Zipweb
35. MatchPoint
36. UsCity.net
37. Local Site submit
38. InfoUSA
39. Axciom
40. Infignos
41. Yellowassistance
42. ChoiceVendor.com
42. Myhuckleberry
43. Genieknows
44. MojoPages
45. Brownbook
46. Kent SEO Company
47. CitySquares
48. TeleAtlas
49. Navteq GPS
50. Judysbook

 

Curve open new office in Tunbridge Wells!

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Hello from Tunbridge Wells!

We are extremely happy to say we have opened a new office in Tunbridge Wells. And since we have moved Landrover thought they’d bless our opening by filming their new advertising campaign outside our office! Or maybe it was just a coincidence, but I’m not so sure. Pause at 19 seconds to get a good view (the white, three-windows wide building).

If you didn’t quite catch our office in the few seconds it appeared in the Landrover commercial you have another chance to view it below! We are wonderfully situated in the Pantiles in the Corn Exchange building.

IMG_9832 620x336

 

What are the Panda and Penguin updates from Google all about?

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The Google Panda update has been designed to target web pages that do not offer great quality in terms of content. Its aim is to reduce the rankings positions of low-quality sites while at the same time providing better ranking positions for sites with original, up-to-date, quality content. (more…)

Social Media Best Practices

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Social Media

Most organisations have finally realised the potential of social media marketing and have found themselves hopping on the social media bandwagon. However, just being present on the main social media platforms is not going to help out at all. You need to make your businessí pages easily found. Your brand needs to interact, create value and produce engaging content for its users to help reach your business objectives. One of the best ways to increase your brands reach is to create an engaging app for your Facebook page.

So what kind of App can I build?

A recent study compiled by Wildfire looked into 7 standard types of applications businesses can implement on Facebook. Firstly, letís define each of the 7 types;

1. Sweepstake: Sweepstakes are similar to a lottery whereby the winner of the prize is selected randomly. A user would enter their name and any other information required in return for a chance of winning.

2. Giveaway: Similar to the above, a giveaway application works by users inputting their information via a ësigning upí form in order for a brand sponsored giveaway.

3. Pick-your-favourite: This app allows a user to pick their favourite from a selection of pre-determined items e.g a selection of photos depicting different holiday destinations.

4. Trivia: A trivia application gives users multiple choice answers to users to test their knowledge on a subject area.

5. Quiz: A quiz app, much like a trivia app, gets users to answer a series of multiple choice questions. Results display an image and a statement e.g. ìI took the ëWhich Movie Star Are Youí Quiz and found out Iím Brad Pittî

6. Coupon: Just like the paper form, this app would allow users to print off vouchers to use instore.

7. Video, essay and photo contest: These three apps function identically except for the type of media the user is called upon to upload. Winners of the contest can be determined either by an administrator at the company or by a public vote, or by a combination of the two.

What App generates the most engagement?

Wildfireís study looked at the results from over 10,000 Facebook campaigns over the last 9 months and concluded that ësweepstakesí, ëgiveawaysí and ëcouponsí made for the most engaging applications. More users interacted and engaged with these types of apps than any other. The reasons behind this include the perceived value of the sweepstake prize and the chance of winning something for minimal effort (low barrier to entry).

However, Wildfireís study also identified another interesting trend: the most entered campaigns are not the campaigns which generate the most sharing.

When focusing on the ëearned mediaí campaigns can generate it was found some applications are inherently more ìshareabaleî and therefore more likely to go viral than others. The campaigns that saw the most sharing were ëpick your favouritesí, ëquizzesí and ëtrivia contestsí. Whatís the reasoning behind this you may be thinking? Well, these apps publicly display a userís personality, characteristics, style, aptitude or thoughts on a specific subject area. Users enjoy sharing this sort of information about themselves as they believe it will make them look good in front of the rest of their social network.

Wildfire concluded that the most shared campaign applications were designed to either;

1. Allow the user to discover an aspect of their personality of which they were previously unaware, or

2. Display facets of their personality that they know about and want to share with their friend list.

Users who post the results of their favourite image/their score in a quiz are actually showing off. When designing a quiz it is therefore important to look at the results the quiz will generate.

When a Facebook user clicks on a newsfeed post from a friend participating in a quiz a massive 82% of them go on to take the quiz themselves! This is an extraordinary large figure and should indicate to all page owners that they need to work a quiz application into their social media strategy.

How to run a best practice campaign

When designing your businessí social media content it is important to understand and consider the behaviours and interactions that will inspire the end user to enter and share you brands content. Wildfireís study proved that if an interaction with a brands page will show off their individual style, aptitude or personality that they will be more likely to share the results on their newsfeed and to the rest of their friends.

Therefore, if you chose to design an app that allows a user to express themselves, first of all make sure the results of the quiz make an individual feel proud to share their results. For example you may have a quiz that asks a number of questions to find out a users personality type. How a user answers each question will help categorize individuals say into 4 different personality groups. Make sure, whatever result a user gets, that description the application allows a user to share on their newsfeed is one a user will actually want to share!

The marketing team behind the launch of the recent Dark Shadows movie have used these best practices to great effect by creating a beautifully designed quiz app for their Facebook page. The quiz asks a series of comical questions related to themes around the movie which then determine which character from the movie a user is most like. The results a user receives from the quiz are compelling and humorous and show off a userís personality in a creative way. This resulted in large amounts of sharing which could have only helped more people know about the existence of the movie.

Incentivizing sharing

A further best practice Wildfireís study uncovered was the importance of incentivizing sharing behaviours. Consider building in to your app some elements that rewards users for sharing and posting. Mountain Dewís recent ìDew Crewî campaign does just that with its intuitive sharing options that encourage users to use the applications features and share it with friends to score points which can be used to redeem branded merchandise.

 

I would encourage everyone to take a closer look at this Facebook application as I believe it is the benchmark for every future social media campaign to come. The application includes quizzes and incentives to share. Moreover, it incorporates the benefits of ësweepstakesí and ëgiveawaysí with the ease of entry and the ability to earn a valued reward for little effort. The application is highly interactive, is branded superbly and is simple to use. It gives users a reason to come back (earn more points, unlock more free goodies) and also uses a small part of the screen to earn money through selling advertising.

 

Conclusion

A strong social media marketing strategy is one that approaches the creation of branded applications and content for users from different angles. A social media campaign should be broken down in to different parts; one part of the overall campaign should be designed to achieve high participation rates to capture user information (email addresses, names) for future marketing. Other aspects of the campaign should focus on getting users to share the application with as many people as possible to enhance brand reach. This can be done by creating several different applications that sit of your brands Facebook page or by creating one application that covers both aspects at the same time. I would recommend building one application that covers both aspects, but would also encourage creating several other smaller apps that focus on each of the individual objectives.

 

 

What is it worth for you to be ranked #1 on Google?

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Did you know that over 40% of people searching on Google click on the #1 ranked result from the results page? How many keywords does your business rank #1 for?

11.90% of users click on #2 and 8.5% on #3. This reduces in increments all the way down to only 2.85% clicking on #9. The difference can be as dramatic as having 1,000,000 clicks on #1 and only 140,000 on #9. And that is a huge difference! By getting your site to rank #1 on Google you will increase targeted traffic & leads by over 1,000%!

You will notice that results that appear on the third page of Google do not even merit a single percentage point. If your website is not present at least on the first two pages of Google, to some extent, your website is invisible.

A powerful SEO campaign will increase the amount of targeted traffic and potential customers to your website and boost your sales significantly. Imagine the sort of money you could be making if you were #1 on Google for your targeted keywords. The ‘State if Digital Marketing’ 2012 survey recently proved that SEO is the #1 channel for developing leads with almost 60% of digital marketing companies surveyed saying that search engine optimisation makes the biggest impact on their lead generation efforts.

Take an advantage of our SEO service now and increase the popularity of your website.

Keep checking back here for the latest news on the SEO industry. Check out our SEO packages or contact us now if you want to get started on gathering new leads for your business.

 

Is SEO dead?

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As with the release of every Google Search Algorithm update the latest Penguin and Panda updates have caused a bout of ëSEO non-believersí to claim (once again) that ìSEO is deadî. Of course, they are completely wrong. In fact Iíd say the opposite is true. SEO is now more alive than ever and each and every business in the world (including yours) needs to be optimising their website and keeping up with the latest developments in the industry. More reason in my opinion to hire an external SEO specialist agency.

The latest Google Algorithm has indeed changed the landscape of SEO and honestly, maybe even more than any other single update in the history of Google. But thatís okay. Relax, take a deep breath and know that SEO is alive and well.

So what’s changed with the latest algorithm update?

Over optimization happened. ëBlack-hatí SEO agencies tried (successfully) to trick the system by employing dodgy tactics such as keyword stuffing, buying links, linking from too many pages in an unnatural fashion, and using hidden text to raise the profile of their clients websites. In late 2011, several SEO industry experts looked into the state of SEO through an experiment to see if Google was living up to its promise of stopping such practices working. Google has preached for years that if you build good content your website will rank well on its own. Guess what? That was not necessarily true.

In one example from the experiment two websites on the same topic which were about the same domain age were examined. One site ranked in the top three on Google and the other was on Page 5 for the same keywords. The problem is that the first website only had about 20 pages indexed and was not developing or promoting content on their website on a regular basis. The second site was in fact developing great content on a regular basis, promoting that content via social media and yet they still ranked on page 5. The experiment then looked deeper at the websites link profiles. Guess what they found? Thatís right; site #1 had a large amount of suspect links running back to it. In other words, it was obvious that the site had been ìover optimizedî and the links coming to it were of low quality. This goes against everything that Google has promised webmasters for years.

What happened next?

The indication is that this research data directly influenced Google’s latest algorithm update. Link profiles now must be varied and we are seeing websites that are regularly updated with fresh content jump up the search rankings. In contrast, we are seeing sites that had a lot of backlinks but lack of content and promotion being dropped massively.

How do I move forward?

Well if you have not picked up on it yet, you need to develop regular good quality content, and share it through social media and social bookmarking sites. That means you should be blogging and creating videos (as well as any other content) as much as possible about your industry and company’s products and services. You then need to spread this content across social channels. Social media is a great place to share this content because if you are developing great content it is likely to be passed onto friends. That combined with a good solid SEO program and good on-site SEO and you will find yourself ranking better in no time.

Keep checking back here for the latest news on the SEO industry. Check out our SEO packages or contact us now if you want to get started on gathering new leads for your business.

 

How Social Media Marketing Works

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Executive summary

This report is based on the ëPower of Likeí research series conducted by comScore and Facebook on the effectiveness of social media marketing. This report will summarise the key findings from the research study, primarily focusing on the impact of earned (organic) and paid media exposure.

This research focuses on how social marketing works and enables business to understand useful frameworks for quantifying and evaluating their social marketing efforts. The key findings of the research are listed below.

  • Businesses can maximise the impact of their social media marketing efforts on Facebook by moving beyond the idea of just trying to increase the number of fans ëlikingí their pages. Instead metrics such as reach, impact, sharing and engagement should be whatís looked at.
  • Some brands on Facebook achieve a monthly increase in ëReach Ratioí of between 0.5 and 2.0. Meaning a brand can increase the number of people it reaches through promoting content to ëfriends of current fansí through both earned and paid means, increasing exposure by 50 to 200%.
  • Facebook represents a unique marketing platform that enables a business to leverage Paid, Earned and Owned Media to maximise brand reach, awareness and resonance. Brands can use Display Ads, Promoted Page Posts and Sponsored Stories (Paid) to attract fans to a Brand Page (Owned) and then leverage that channel to market communications that then reach ëfansí and ëfriends of current fansí (Earned).
  • Starbucks noticed that through the effects of increased earned media exposure through Facebook a significant lift in in-store purchases for the four weeks they ran a special social media campaign.

Introduction

With the birth of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook businesses now have a new way to reach and connect with their brand ëfansí and the friends of those fans. Paul Adams book ëGrouped: How small groups of friends are the key to influence on the social webí explains how reaching ëfansí and then them influencing their friends is the key to getting a marketing message across to the critical mass of people to make an idea spread. Sociological and psychological studies have proven that word of mouth, reaching individual interlinked groups of friends and social proofing are all essential for marketing campaigns to work to their full potential. With the birth of the social web this has all become possible through the internet. (more…)

5 Simple Ways to improve your websites On-page SEO

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5 Simple Ways to improve your websites On-page SEO

In part one of this guide to SEO mastery we will be describing 5 quick ways to improve your On-Page SEO.

First of all let’s define On-Page SEO shall we. On Page SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is everything that can be done on the pages of your website to maximize the potential performance it has in search engines for your selected keywords. This includes all the text, pictures and code that make up your site.

To make sure search engine robots know exactly what your website is about and exactly what keywords you are targeting it is important they are present in the ìwebsite architectureî. The below examples explain how you should edit your sites structure according to SEO best practice.

 (more…)