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Friday, 2 September 2011

Postcards from Facebook: So, what is Social Media? and should we care?

I suffer from MS myself and have just completed a Facebook page for the Samson Centre ( "The Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Group" in Guildford, Surrey)
I was asked to write something about facebook for the newsletter.
I grew up in the 50s & 60s. A time when people wrote letters, sent post cards and birthday cards and some people, including myself, still do. Later, in my business life, I scrapped my typewriter and I started to use the internet more. Visiting websites and sending emails seemed to take over from sending off for brochures and price lists etc. My generation seemed to adapt to this phase of the evolution of the internet quite well although I still have a few reservations.

Is Facebook just for Teenagers?
My first impressions of the new social media was not very favourable. I had come across websites called Facebook, Twitter & YouTube and thought “That’s not for me!” However, over the last few years, I have changed my mind. In our family, the two generations of children and grandchildren behind me now see these social media websites as the modern day equivalent of sending postcards, letters and, sadly sometimes even birthday greetings. My daughter never buys writing paper, envelopes, postcards or stamps. Thankfully though, she does buy birthday cards

The Generation GameWith a free Facebook account, you first start by joining up with other facebook users with some connection to you.. You chose if you want to restrict this to a family group, a group of friends or specialist community pages like the MS Society or the Samson Centre. Pretty soon, other people start inviting you to Join up with them and your connections start to grow. When you have something to say or wish to comment on something someone else has to say, you "Post" your news & views on Facebook and just share it with either one person or with everyone you're connected to. It's just like sending everyone a postcard except you can now attach a link to an article, website or video you think they might be interested in,.

What to Say?
I once heard someone say “It is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool rather than open it and place the matter beyond all doubt”. There is a lot to be said for this approach for certain people! Having joined Facebook though, it’s nice to be “In the loop” and be kept updated by the people or the groups you linked to. You obviously have to filter out some rubbish but you do get some interesting updates from everyone. It's worth a note here that, like in other areas of your life, If people waste your time, you remove them from your social group. This is much easier on facebook than it can be in real life!

What use is Facebook?
A websites is an excellent way to show the world who you are and what you are doing. The Samson Centre website is no exception to this. You can go and get all the latest news, updates and events and it is the centre piece of the organisation. You can register for this newsletter and leave your email address to receive any email updates. All of which works fine and this is probably enough for most people?
I did notice though, when I joined MSTG(G), that it had no links to any of the main social media sites and that the MS Society alone had over 11,000 of it's members linked on Facebook. I thought, perhaps, that I could help in some small way to raise our profile a bit and help contribute to a wider awareness of MSTG(G). Notice that I said 11,000 of it's members were connected.

A Community of Interested Followers
With Facebook you just have that extra option of joining in and contributing to the community experience. The Samson Centre, like the MS Society and many others now do have a Facebook page. It’s a place where MSTG(G) members and others can ask a question, guide others, comment or contribute ideas. Our community is small right now but growing. Join the community by signing up to Facebook and then just press “Like” when you visit our page. If you already have a Facebook page, you know how it works, so start to spread the word to others that might care about MS and the work we are doing in Surrey?

Food for Thought
It is not unusual these days for an individual to have 100 or 200 facebook connections. If the MS Society puts something on facebook, it goes to 11,000 people. If they ask each person to press the "Share" button to share the message with all their contacts, the message could reach upwards of 1 million people. If they then all share the message, that's what's called "Going Viral". 100 million people! If the message is "You are all welcome to come to our Christmas Party you might have a problem. If the message is please donate £2/month to MSTG(G) then hey!
Join the MSTG(G) Facebook Community at

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Latest Updates on Websites

Nigel's Eco Store

This site provides practical, functional and
beautiful eco friendly, natural and organic products
that you can buy right now, at reasonable prices.

Gives you ideas, information and inspiration to be more eco-friendly.         

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Focussed Website Design Projects - TARGET YOUR LOCAL WORLD!

Examples of some of our most recent web design and development projects.
If you are looking for an affordable solution to website design and improving your search engine rankings, then I can help. Google has around 75% of the search engine market so we concentrate most of our effort optimising for Google although we do automatically submit to the others.
read more




 Ezine Articles Author



Sunday, 20 March 2011

Facebook Launching Prepaid Local Deals Subscription Service.

So, what are Facebook Deals? They're not available in the UK yet but, hopefully very soon, businesses will be able to offer discounts to their local markets.

Read more details at "Facebook Deals"

Facebook will also be publishing these deals in the Facebook feeds of your customers. This new service puts Facebook into direct competition to Groupon. It is currently being trialled in several cities in the US, but do keep your eye on this one so you can both find local deals yourself and offer your own deals to your customers

Sunday, 13 March 2011

If you "Like Me", I'll have to start "Following You!".... Do I sound like a Stalker?

I feel a bit nervous asking the question, but is it better to be "Liked" or "Followed"?

If you are sort of newish to the world of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the proverbial Blog, Most people can't help feeling slightly strange asking to be "Liked" or starting to "Follow" people. Is it just me or does this seem a bit like social network stalking?

Could someone let me know if it's better to be "Liked on Facebook" or "Followed on Twitter". If, as a new user, for example, you're all set to go and start building your huge social network...hey! What's the way to go? Which should you ask people to do and why?

Do you Blog and then Twitter? Twitter and link to Facebook?
Should you ask people to Like you on Facebook, follow your Blog or follow you on Twitter?

So many Questions.....any comments?

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Why is it That the People Who Need You the Most Don't Even Know They Need You?

Not that it is surprising or anything but the average small business client does not really know what has to go on behind the scenes of a website to make it visible to their target clients. The general feeling is that, just because it's there and they can see it, everyone else must be able to see it too!

I understand this feeling only too well. I don't really want to know all the bits that have to come together to get my car to get me to Bristol. I just assume that if it starts OK then I can drive off listening to the radio and following the SatNav instructions.

Most small businesses understand business. If they have never had a website before then they can not be expected to have even thought about what is actually involved in attracting visitors to it. The sad fact of life is that the clients who obviously need you the most often don not even know they need you. So many times I have seen websites that look good but a quick look at the source code gives a clear indication that it was designed by someone who has not given the slightest thought to pulling new visitors to the site.

So what's to understand? Everyone understands that copy, content and style are important when designing a website. You must give the site the right look and feel required. The site often looks like a company brochure. The problem is, that unless you email out a link to the site to everyone, in the same way you might send them a new brochure, nobody will ever see it.
Certainly no potential new clients will ever see it. The point I'm getting at is that you have to make it easy for potential new clients to find your site when they don't even know they are looking for it.

Clients are not looking for you, they are looking for something. Actually, they are searching for something
Where do they search?............. Search Engines, Directories and Articles.
What are they searching for?... Things or information they want.
What have you got to offer?..... You had better find a way of telling them so they can link up with you.

Once you have understood that this does not happen by accident then you are more than half way to understanding what internet search engine marketing is all about.

In the business of web design we talk about things like website optimization, meta tags, search engine submission, search engine rankings and making the best choice of "keywords but we do this without a though for the average businessman who has never seen an of examples of "ranking reports" or even knows he needs to work on improving the site rankings.

People often resort to "Pay per Click" or sponsored "paid" links as the only way to get seen. Much more can be achieved with a little more thought about what their customers might be searching for and some work on the website to optimize the chances of these "key" search words being actually linked to their website by all the search engines.

Getting a good ranking on page 1 of a search engine should be the objective. Any further back than page 2 and you are nowhere. However, what is the point of getting ranked number one in a search for "plumbers" if you work in a small town in Essex and all your 1000s of inquiries come from California?

Be specific with your keywords. The choice of carefully selected "local keywords" can work wonders for a local business. Most don't want inquiries from too far away if they supply the services locally so they also serve the purpose of filtering out the unwanted, time wasting inquiries from distant places.

The subject of getting ranked for the chosen keywords by the search engines is more of an art than a science but lets just say that the behind the scenes work is what makes the difference.
The problem, as the title of this article might suggest, is that most people actually don't know that they don't know this. Who was it that once said "We can plan for the things we know we do not know but the problem is planning for the things we do not even know that we do not know." If you can't think who it was, then you can attribute it to me:-)
Nigel Stride

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Is it better to focus your website on your local area?

Small is BIG!
Don’t forget, for every £100 spent at a local small business, about £65 returns to the community. Another great reason to shop small in 2011! Share your story and give a shout to your favourite local business, restaurant or curtain shop. Join us in trying to help promote the small local businesses in your area!...
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