Digital links – Monday January 13th 2014

Why not get rid of some of your fans? Maybe a lot of the ones? Highly interesting post from John Bell on this. Real fans versus those there for a freebie debate coming back again.

Facebook can now tell of those who saw your FB ad (not just those that clicked), who purchased something in a physical store. In the store! jumping from the digital to the physical.

Facebook is also the number two ad network in the world now. Google is number 1.

Just read ALL of these.

(PDF). The Social Media Policy from the HSE is quite good and full of common sense.

Jeremy Waite’s social strategy for 2014.

P.O.S.T. People Objectives Strategy Technology.

Facebook ads, like growing crops. This guy suggests highly targeted and lots of ads. Or something.

Your Digital NCT

Mulley Communications does training courses and consultancy around strategy. Sign up to the courses list or our mailing list.

If you want to start being serious about digital in 2014 and it’s a good idea to be so, then you need to up your game. Digital is going to get harder and harder in 2014, the easy days are gone, so you need to be more efficient and strategic about what you do.

So here’s a checklist on what you ought to be aware of. Pick one area to concentrate on or all. This is not a definitive list. (That gets me out of getting into trouble)

Overall Digital:
Are you mobile first in all things digital?


  • Is your website mobile first?
  • Make your website responsive by re-designing it or adding some responsive plugins to it.
  • If you can’t make it responsive, then have elements that allow the site to perform while being viewed on a mobile e.g. your number in text on the front page, same with email. No crappy contact forms.
  • Do you have a content and search optimisation plan?
  • Do you have Google Analytics or something better installed?


  • Learn about Edgerank.
  • Forget Page likes, the most important thing is your reach. How many people actually see any update of yours? It is less and sometimes WAY less than the number of likes.
  • What is your post engagement rate? How many people click on your post or Like it or share it or comment on it? The more people that engage with your updates, the more signals Facebook gets to keep sending your updates to your fans on the Page. Engagements are very low? Your reach is going to go down and down over time.
  • Are you updates short to be seen on mobiles?
  • Are you images using up as much of the timeline as possible?
  • What is your content plan?
  • Are you timing updates?

Simply put: Good content = good reactions = over time you retain or grow the reach of your page. Good content timed = reaching the best possible numbers each time.


  • Who are the people you are following?
  • Who are the people that follow you?
  • How many RTs would you get on a Tweet that’s business related?
  • How many new follows do you get a week?
  • Are your images the right size to be displayed nicely in the timeline?
  • Do you have a growth plan for Twitter?
  • Do you have a content plan for Twitter?
  • Are you timing updates?
  • How many clicks on average do you Tweets get? Are they going to your website?

Instagram, Vine, Snapchat

  • Are your audiences on Instagram? Find out.
  • Should you be using Vine? Will quick 6 second videos get you customers? They could.
  • Are many of your demographic under 20? Yes? So why are you not on Snapchat?

And you’ll never guess who does this stuff for companies? Yeah.

Contact us if you want a full evaluation or an evaluation of on one of your channels.

Mulley Communications does training courses and consultancy around strategy. Sign up to the courses list or our mailing list.

Businesses: Time to get your Vine on

Mulley Communications does training courses and consultancy around strategy. Sign up to the courses list or our mailing list.

Main takeaways:

  1. If you are on Twitter already, get a Vine account
  2. Practice by making lots of quick videos
  3. Vine videos should be instructional not promotional and fun not boring
  4. Make your Vine titles obvious/informative
  5. Share them on Twitter
  6. Get your public URL

Vine is an app from a company Twitter bought a while back. Vine lets you make 6 second videos. Just 6 seconds. All in one go or you can make them in smaller bits and put them together. They have to be done via your Vine mobile app. Another mobile first company. You can get the app for iPhone, Android and Windows.

Back in August about 3% of people in Ireland had a Vine account and this is growing, not rapidly but steadily. The value of Vine is that the video you record can be shared into the Twitter feed of everyone that follows your Twitter account and can be played on desktop or mobile instantly. No clicking and it popping out into a browser or anything like that. As Twitter grows and it is already massive in Ireland, your Vine videos can, in a way, be seen by more people.

Now in addition, your Vine videos can be seen on a public profile page. Which means lots of Google traffic to your videos so you don’t need just Vine traffic and Twitter traffic. So if you were dithering about Vine, now is the time to decide. All the elements are there now to use it for marketing.

And they can also be embedded, like this from Pendelton:

6 seconds can add a hell of a lot of context
Images can give more context than text only. animated images even more context, video with audio way more. The issues with video have always been the production that goes in to getting them right, even if they’re just two minutes long.

Now while you don’t need 10,000 hours to get them right, you do need some practice so playing with making really short videos means you can get your experience level up quite quickly.

A nice example is Essential French in Cork sharing 6 second French lessons.

Some guides on how to use Vine. From Convert with Content. Beginners Guide from Mashable.

Mulley Communications does training courses and consultancy around strategy. Sign up to the courses list or our mailing list.

Snapchat: Why isn’t your brand on it?

Updated as of June 2014.

Every now and then someone will write a post encouraging you to bandwagon on to the latest trend in digital. This is such a post. Snapchat is now mainstream and pretty huge in Ireland. IPSOS MRBI says 21% of adults aged 15+ are on Snapchat in Ireland. 9 months ago it was 11%.

June 2014 Snapchat in Ireland stats

The data is there to show that for younger demographics, it’s not just Facebook anymore. And these younger demographics marched Bebo, Instagram, mySpace and Facebook into the mainstream. Right now, there are 500 Million photos or videos uploaded to Snapchat every day. That’s about the same as the number of photos uploaded to Facebook and 5 times as many as Instagram.

Snapchat, the sexting thing?

Get over yourself. People were sending silly pictures of themselves well before Snapchat but Snapchat is seen as one of the enablers of this. Snapchat is a great little app that allows you to send pictures or videos taken right now to your friends and they are guaranteed to expire/evaporate in ten seconds or less when clicked on. You can write a teeny amount of text on the image or video and draw on it too. The images are not on their phone, they’re not on the Snapchat servers. Lost forever like tears in the rain. Ephemermal media they’re calling it.


If someone manages to take a screenshot, Snapchat informs you of this so you know not to trust that person again. In extreme cases, when you basically hack into the phone and connect it to a computer, you may find a picture in a temporary file on the phone but that’s it. Pretty safe really.

So your brand isn’t there, why?

Hardly any companies are using Snapchat in Europe to market, which is a shame. If one of your core audiences are Irish people ages 15-20 then Snapchat is one place they’re at. Some companies in America are using Snapchat to connect to the “right audience” and do stuff around competitions and vouchers. Still, hardly any case studies right now. 16 Handles and Taco Bell are rolled out again and again right now but that will change.

What some companies are doing to Market on Snapchat:

  • Vouchers: Discount codes, 10% off vouchers. Show at till type things.
  • Contests: Submit a picture type contests. Take a picture of a product and add a comment.
  • Interactions: Just having a fun back and forth with users e.g. Holding a sign with loads of people’s names.
  • Exclusives: Tell Snapchat first before other channels. (A great way to build numbers)

Snapchat Stories are made for brands

Now that Snapchat has serious investment and it has a huge audience, it needs to commercialise what they’re doing. Everything these days is about the timeline so Snapchat is now going to try and do something with that. First comes creating something that end users will appreciate and then they can make money off it later. Enter Snapchat Stories.

Snapchat Stories allow you to weave Snapchats you made into a piece of content that is viewable for 24 hours. You can add to this Story any time you want and it gets tacked on to the end of the story. When people log in, they can see in the timeline, any Stories from friends. This is mine:


This is a Vine of a Snapchat Story I made:

And stats released this week (June 23rd 2014) show that Snapchat Stories are getting … dun dun dun, 1 billion views PER DAY. Highly successful. There still aren’t any tools for brands to use but give them time, they’ll have them.

In the week that Facebook (who?) released Slingshot (what?), Snapchat announced a new feature for a single brand (for now). People will be able to add their content to the Snapchat Story of a brand at a specific location. It’s called Our Story. Done around a music festival for now. Body and Soul was last week and various Snapchatters were keeping me in the loop via photos and videos. Perfect alignment. Expect to see big brands host these around music festivals, launches, fashion weeks etc.

Some tips:
If you bung a load of photos or videos together on to your Story, they can become quite boring, even if just a minute long. Make the shots snappy and have an actual story in place. This means pre-planning for it. Use text in your Story to accentuate or explain the content. Fail fast and fail cheap: Try things, mess about. It’s Snapchat, silly mistakes do disappear.

I await a band making a music video and sharing it as a Snapchat Story. 10 second bursts, it can be done.

Snapchat Drawbacks

Right now Snapchat is mobile only and everything needs to be done through the mobile app for iPhone or for Android. There are no official apps for businesses that can be used. You can’t “officially” upload premade material to Snapchat so you can’t have highly produced content. (There are obviously unofficial ways around this, same for Vine) I’m sure if you are a huge brand though, there probably is a tool you can use for Snapchat that does allow uploading of pre-made video. Vine definitely has this.

Law of diminishing returns

Like everything else before it, Snapchat Stories will work really well for the first while but as more people and more brands start to saturate your timeline, they’ll become less effective. Same has happened with Banner Ads, Google Ads, Facebook Ads and it will happen with Twitter promoted tweets too. Get in early, make the most of it and then analyse what is coming next and be ready for it.

Do have fun on Snapchat.

Update: June 2014

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A nation of chocaholics, Red Bull losing their wings?

The Checkout magazine Top 100 brands list is out. Coca-cola is top dog again but really it’s chocolate that we Irish buy a lot.

12 confectionery brands featured in the Top 100 list; Cadbury Dairy Milk (5th), Galaxy (36th), Nestlé KitKat (49th), Haribo (53rd), Maltesers (55th), Kinder (56th), Nestlé Rowntree (67th), Cadbury Roses (75th), Nestlé Aero (82nd), Cadbury Snack (87th), Cadbury Twirl (95th) and Mars (100th).

With all the huge online and offline media coverage of Red Bull in the past 12 months, Red Bull has actually dropped four places in the table to 26th from 22nd last year. Coke is 1st, Red bull 26th and Pepsi is 48th. Were I an agency I’d be pitching to Pepsi this week.

And in terms of the bad for you brands: Budweiser is still the number one off-trade alcohol brand, Blossom Hill is Ireland’s leading wine brand, Smirnoff is Ireland’s top spirit, and Silk Cut holds on to its position as Ireland’s leading tobacco brand.

Online Marketing Experts tell us what to do next

This is an example of letting other people do the work for you. I asked Paul Savage, Kieran Flanagan and David Quaid a question about Online Marketing, here are their contributions. Thanks Paul, Kieran and David.

The statement I asked them to elaborate on was: One thing businesses should put some effort into online, before 2014 comes along.

Paul Savage from Blackdog

While having a website is the first step, I believe that customers now expect a little bit more when they come to the website, they want to know the story behind the business or brand. For example : There are quite a few places to buy gifts online or book hotels in Dublin, but which one has the best story, is unique, stands out from the crowd ?

Your story could come across better from having some of the following aspects :

  • lovely designed website
  • well laid out and logical website and easy process to buy
  • well written copy
  • have a blog about the day to day projects at your company
  • a real company history and staff profile page with
  • user reviews, or links to independent reviews of your business
  • be sociable & reachable via ‘new’ media like twitter / facebook
  • It’s not rocket science, but it does take an effort and a conscious decision. Businesses need to be more personable online.

Kieran Flanagan from SearchBrat

The answer will vary a lot depending on the industry and market you’re in. For example, a typical answer would be around social or mobile. But if you are a B2B business selling medical software (random example I know), I bet there aren’t many leads coming from either of those mediums. In 2014 maybe they could get a little more from each of these e.g. build a community around medical problems to drive both awareness of their brand and prospects to their site, but the point is, how users purchase goods online is changing rapidly, but how rapidly differs between markets, something marketers should keep in mind.

For me, small to medium sized businesses can still get a lot of value from search, both paid and organic (this is across all platforms – desktop, tablet, mobile). Google’s targeting options in Adwords are becoming more complex and a lot more granular. On the other hand, SEO is definitely becoming more unreliable. If you put on your tinfoil hat for a minute, you could say those two are linked. But a working search strategy will still play a big role in most companies success in 2014. If I was going to pick one thing for businesses of this size, it would be split as follows:

  • For sites that are already high trafficked, they should be thinking about CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation). Not enough companies are focusing on both their macro and micro conversions, even though it could have a huge impact on their bottom line. If your conversion rate is currently 1%, then increasing your spend on other parts of the strategy is still going to result in 99% of new visitors you attract, not purchasing your product. Imagine you could double that conversion rate to 2%. How much impact will that have on your bottom line?
  • For sites that need to build up their traffic/brand – it would be telling a story through inbound marketing. Watch Simon Sineks video and start figuring out what your brands “why” is. Then deliver that message through a content strategy across all free platforms (Google, Twitter, Facebook etc – whichever is suited to your market). You then need to plan an integrated strategy across search, social, mobile, etc, anywhere your potential prospects are going to consume that content. Look at platforms like This is a private version of Twitter, so people don’t have to put up with ads. Users are getting more and more adverse to ads online. It’s happening a lot quicker than it did offline. Brands really need to figure out how they can be part of the conversation, rather than an interruption to it.

For Enterprises (or in general, large businesses that hire agencies), invest in really good internal people that are truly great at digital. Spend in digital marketing is going to continue to grow. Having internal people who can manage agencies will be one of the biggest assets you can have in 2014. Agencies can be one of the biggest drains on your budget if you don’t understand what they should be doing or the metrics they should be measured against. Having digital natives in your company will really help with your long term strategy. They should be all over what digital trends are going to affect your future online marketing strategy.

David Quaid from Primary Position

Most people look at Internet Marketing in the same way that they think they understand all other marketing. Marketing is not advertising but some advertising is marketing. So if we implored people to do 1 thing between now and 2014: Stop thinking offline and start learning about online.

Forget about how amazing it would be to go viral because it probably won’t happen and it probably wouldn’t help if it did. If you’re not Nike, don’t be concerned with what Nike do and don’t do. Don’t assume your company or business has a brand. If nobody has heard of you they probably don’t care. Lead with a great product. Websites are not marketing.

Get over having a domain which you think is your brand. If people have a problem, you need to showcase the solution. Ranking well in Google is only part of the problem – knowing well what to rank for is where the solution lies. If you have a single domain name strategy, and you rely on the internet for a certain % of your business, be it 10% or 100% – then you’ve put all of your eggs in a single basket. If you can’t extend the marketing of your current website across more than one country, then go and build a new website for a new market and market it differently.

Do SEO. Do Social. Do AdWords. Everyone who says this: “My audience don’t click on AdWords” is wrong – Google make €40 billion a year by betting against that. It gets 30% of searches but it gets 50% of people because people do more than one search. Blog. Makea video. Make Different videos. Blog about them. Test. Improve. Repeat.

Brand marketers hate Google because they feel they have control. Many choose to ignore it. Remember one thing: The user chooses to search – you cannot control that but you should do everything to be searchable. Ignore search at your peril.