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Professional Digital Marketing from Aqueous Digital
socialmedia

Social Media from a Millennial’s point of View

This article was triggered by a conversation I was having with someone about the use of social media by different socio-economic groups. 

The subject of Millennials came up and our views differed on how we thought they used social media. The only way to resolve this I thought, was to ask a millennial to give me their thoughts on social media. What could be simpler, I thought, than asking someone who is in the target audience to ask their friends and capture their thoughts. 

I should have known better.

The following is reproduced exactly as delivered….

A Millenial’s view of Social Media

Millennials, when asked, would probably tell you that they see social media as a good thing.

It’s a free, convenient way to stay in touch with friends and family across great distances, and a godsend on a slow Friday afternoon when the clock seems frozen and your boss isn’t looking at your screen.

Millennials will freely put their whole lives on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram without even thinking, after all, how else are you going to tell someone 70 miles away that you just ordered a really picturesque lasagne, or bae just said something romantic or even your exact knee jerk response to complex political issues which you will solve with no research or broader context? How will these hypothetical far flung spectators of their lives even survive without breaking news of the daily routine of other people? The danger here that so many fail to see is that when you stick something online it’s probably not going to stay private. There are a lot of ways this could go wrong.

The most popular way this could end up costing the average young person is career wise. According to CareerBuilder’s annual social media recruitment survey, 60 percent of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates.

Picture the scene; you’re a 20 something in an interview for an amazing job. Your clothes are ironed, your handshake was firm, you’ve managed to maintain eye contact and all of the questions breezed by.

This is a slam dunk.Social Media

At that moment the interviewer looks you square in the eye and asks for some context about one of your Facebook posts. At this point you may as well just stand up and leave rather than explain to a man you’ve spent the past 20 minutes convincing that you are a sober professional why you were doing shots off of a man dressed as Barney the dinosaur. The same survey says that more than a quarter of employers have found content online that has caused them to reprimand or fire an employee.

Evidently significant numbers of people, disproportionately Millennials, don’t seem to grasp the concept that if you air dirty laundry about your co-workers or horror of horrors your boss online, it’s probably going to leak back to them somehow.

Another looming downside of social media is that what you put on it will last a very long time.

Even if you have the wherewithal to delete your more embarrassing tweets posts and pictures after the fact there’s no guarantee that someone hasn’t copied them. Again this is an issue that disproportionately hits Millennials. Prior generations can rest easy knowing that all of the stupid things that they did in their youth are effectively unrecorded bar some Polaroid’s of bellbottoms and afros in the attic, Millennials have their emo phase broadcast to the world in glorious HD with multiple angles and accompanying angsty poetry.

With all this potential future blackmail material for people to laugh at you might wonder why anyone would keep using social media, sure there are some sweet benefits but the costs can be huge. However, cunning solutions have been found to counter these problems. To paraphrase a great man; life finds a way.

A popular response to the increase in employers checking social media has been to create a false page for them to examine, a profile which is updated semi regularly with inoffensive posts carefully cultivated to present the image of a professional young worker. All of the memes and party albums go on a separate page, completely unrelated and unrelatable to the first. Another, if more extreme response is to simply delete all of your online presence, websites exist to aid with this specific purpose such as deseat and based on the tasteful page layout they get a lot of business.

Ultimately social media is only a tool, the onus is on the user to control what they put on it.

The Aqueous team go mad in Go Carts

Rather than sit and stuff our faces full of Turkey dinner this year the team voted to do a spot of go carting instead.

We visited Team Sport in Warrington and the team tried sneaking in with no one noticing. Fat chance 🙂

Aqueous Go Karting at Team Sport Warrington

Once inside we all suited up and went fo our safety briefing. Given the way that some of them drive this was probably the most important ten minutes of the day!

After that is was off trackside and being allocated to our cars and after a fuss getting the helmets on it was on with the racing. There are no action shots sadly as all of us were on the track at the same time but we did manage to get just one team line up and here is the motley crew;

Aqueous Go Karting at Team Sport Warrington

The winner overall was Jamie who was somehow a good two seconds faster than all of us, consistently. Surprise package of the day was Jonathan who, despite not having a full driving licence yet, managed a very creditable third fastest overall.

We had four 15 minute sessions and at the end of it everyone was exhausted and aching. But everyone agreed that it was great fun and something they’d like to do again in the future.

So watch out Jamie, we suspect that some of the others might get a bit of practice in before then and give you a good run for your money!

 

Steve Rotherham and Andy Burnham presenting at The Heath Business & Technical Park 24th November 2016

Liverpool and Manchester Mayoral candidates Steve Rotherham and Andy Burnham visit The Heath offices

It was fascinating to see the joint presentation from Steve Rotherham and Andy Burnham yesterday, as they made their pitch for becoming the Mayor of Liverpool and Manchester respectively.

What struck us as refreshing was that neither of the candidates appeared to be approaching this as a strictly political appointment. Granted, there were Labour Party officials supporting the roadshow but the narrative spoke mostly of cooperation and collaboration, particularly between the two Cities.

They both spoke of working closely with whoever got the role of Mayor and would look to incorporate the Mayors of Lancashire and Cheshire as well to create a coalition that had a significant voice in National politics.

Steve Rotherham and Andy Burnham presenting at The Heath Business & Technical Park 24th November 2016

 

Sure, there is, and always will be, a rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester but both Steve and Andy talked about the two cities working together with Cheshire and Lancashire to create a North West Powerhouse. Working on the basis that there is more that unites us than divides us, they spoke particularly about focusing on business to drive the growth that the North West needs for the future.

Leaving apart the rivalries that will always exist, especially on the football pitch, the realisation that collaborative working between the two cities and Lancashire and Cheshire would create a power base larger than London is a vision worth supporting.

We were lucky enough to ask a question and Andy Burnham picked up the mantle to answer it. The question was asked by Jonathan Guy;

You mentioned opportunities arising from Brexit in your speech, so could both of you tell us one opportunity that you think will come from Brexit?

Andy’s answer was that he felt that the removal of EU regulations around procurement would fit into that category. The sweeping away of EU restrictions on procurement would be instrumental in helping to develop local businesses and would be a kick start for growth across many SME’s in the region. After Andy’s full and articulate response Steve’s answer was “Whatever he said!” which elicited a huge laugh from the audience.

Whoever gets the final job in 2017 as Mayor in these two cities, we hope that the vision and opportunities outlined by these two candidates get towards reality as it promises huge growth opportunities and benefits for all firms in the North West.

Search can be difficult sometimes

Here’s how we helped one company recover after a website move [infographic]

Not every website move goes as planned.

Every day hundreds of thousands of new websites are unveiled and whilst many go smoothly, occasionally things can go wrong.

Aqueous received the call last year to take a look at a website which had been rebuilt to reflect the new image of the business. In a business where imagery is everything this new website was design led and looked stunning. The problem was that since launch, half of the organic traffic had disappeared.

Our role was to find out why it had gone, where it had gone and to establish whether we could get it back.

The infographic below sums up nicely what happened. But in case you can’t be bothered to read it;

TL;DR – we recovered the traffic! Yippee!

Here’s how we did it.

Website recovery case study - Aqueous Digital 2016

If you are struggling with a website move that’s gone wrong or simply want some advice before upgrading your site to ensure you don’t lose half of your traffic, call us on 0800 285 1424 and see if we can help?

Need a plumber?

Is Google testing advertising in Google My Business listings?

We have warned about this for some time and here’s the first UK based evidence that Google will be monetising the Google My Business listings.

google-my-business-advertising-1

This appears to have been a test as it isn’t possible to recreate this on a mobile since this screenshot was taken but it substantiates our earlier reports that Google is looking for more ways to drive advertising revenues through its search results pages.

This is not the first time we have seen Google looking at different options to generate money from search results. You may recall an earlier test example from the Bay Area of San Francisco, where we reported that a search for a plumber was bringing back a new set of listings. This was billed as a trial but is still running leading us to believe that this ‘trial’ is sufficiently successful to warrant continuing, at least for now.

Here’s how it currently looks if you search for plumbers in the Bay Area of San Francisco;

google-my-business-advertising-2

You will notice that this ‘Pre-Screened Plumbers’ pack actually replaces the Advertising which normally sits at the top and it pushes the Google my Business listings underneath the map like so;

google-my-business-advertising-3

This brings up another issue which is, of course, that of ‘pre-screening’. Can Google effectively do this? Are they capable of policing it? On what basis can they say a firm is good or bad? And what determines your position in the list? The amount you pay Google or the quality of work you do?

If current form is anything to go by all it would take is one complaint from a customer and a business could be removed from this list, at least temporarily. If that is the case and assuming it is the dominant form of advertising, they may well face legal challenges if they deny firms the right to be included in the list.

In short, it appears to be a minefield.

Elsewhere in the States the same search still displays a standard results page;

google-my-business-advertising-4

Meanwhile, back at the ‘Pre-Screened plumbers’, this has changed slightly since the first screen shots we took earlier this year and if you click on the ‘More Plumbers’ link in the bottom left it opens up with this;

google-my-business-advertising-5

As soon as you click on the ‘Request Quote’ button on the right hand side it pushes you to refine your query so you can be sure that the Plumber actually wants this type of work. You need to put in a valid zip code and type of plumbing job;

google-my-business-advertising-6

Then you are asked to input the job details;

google-my-business-advertising-7

Then finally you enter your details and your request goes off to the Plumber, who of course gets charged by Google for delivering a real live sales lead to him.

google-my-business-advertising-8

The problem of course with this is that the system allows you to enter up to three contractors at a time which essentially means that whoever gets back to the customer first is pretty much guaranteed the job, particularly if it is an emergency.

This will lead to some major changes in the way that businesses answer their phone calls in the future and could lead to a rise in the ‘mobile landline services’ or call handling services. Will you need to have someone monitoring your inbox on a minute by minute basis waiting for these leads to arrive?

Whilst still a trial in the USA it is highly likely that this, or something like this, will become a feature in the near future. Serious thought should be given now to ways in which this will affect your business and how you intend to adapt to meet this new way of advertising.

Apple Mac Hotmail issue

How to solve the problem of Hotmail stopping working on a Mac

Hotmail stopped working on your Mac? [updated October 2016]

If you have any Mac product and your Hotmail account has suddenly stopped working then no matter how long you search it’s unlikely you will find a single clear solution.

The Hotmail on my Macbook Air stopped working at the beginning of June and I’ve been looking on and off for solutions since then. I read thousands of posts with some great highly technical tips on them but nothing worked until last night so this post will show you exactly how I managed to fix this problem.

I’m not guaranteeing that this is the ‘magic bullet’ but it worked for me.

The main issue is that it’s not just one problem; it’s a combination of problems.

The things to remember are as follows;

  • If you have a Hotmail account, Microsoft have migrated it to Live Mail now.
  • Apple have updated to OS El Capitan
  • If you use the Hotmail account as your Apple ID then it is in other settings on your Mac, not just your email
  • Hotmail used to be available on Mac Mail as a POP account but now it’s IMAP.

As a non tech person this confused the heck out of me and I have spent days reading articles on how to change various settings but in the end, this is what worked for me.

It’s really all about IMAP v POP

I have a number of Hotmail accounts and set up a Hotmail.com account on a MacBook Pro back in 2010. As everyone else does I used the simple set up tool on Mac Mail and oddly this account is still working without any changes being made. For six years it has faithfully pulled in every email using the original settings, which are POP settings. This is what they look like;

How to solve the problem of Hotmail stopping working on a Mac 1

How to solve the problem of Hotmail stopping working on a Mac 2

On the MacBook Air however, I had a Hotmail.co.uk account which had exactly the same settings but suddenly froze on 3rd June 2016. I was being repeatedly asked for my password but no matter what I did it said ‘Password not recognised’, even though I knew the password was correct.

It is hugely frustrating when you log in to Hotmail through a browser window using the correct password only to then be told my Mac Mail that the password is incorrect. What it brought to mind was a sketch from a long time ago…..

Anyway…..I’m not sure if it’s because it’s a .co.uk account as opposed to a .com account or something else but all I do know is that the problem is not consistent from Mac to Mac.

The big clue that something was wrong was that if you use Apple’s Mail Settings Lookup then it shows that Hotmail accounts are now on IMAP. This is really weird as the POP settings for Hotmail are still working on my MacBook Pro and iMac!

[Here’s the update. On all my other devices, even though I have not changed any of the settings, in mid-September Hotmail started to behave as if it were set up for IMAP.

This was quite a shock.

I had left my laptop open and gone out with my iPhone. Normally I would have to mark all messages as read on my phone even if they had been seen on my laptop. Now, however, as soon as the laptop recognises the email has been seen it automatically marks it as read on my mobile.

The bottom line is I’m not sure how this is happening, especially as I have made no changes at all to any of the settings on these devices. I do know however that Hotmail now behaves as IMAP on a Mac and other Apple devices.]

How to solve the problem of Hotmail stopping working on a Mac 3

How to solve the problem of Hotmail stopping working on a Mac 4

Of course, when you try to change your settings from POP to IMAP you will find that Mac Mail simply won’t let you do it. Even if you change the server hostname, which it will let you do, the problem will still persist.

So simply change your settings by setting up a new account on Mac Mail, right?

Wrong. Mac Mail just wouldn’t let me do it and insisted that the account still existed. Even if you untick the ‘enable this account’ box it still won’t let you set up a new account if the Hotmail email address is anywhere in the system.

How to solve the problem of Hotmail stopping working on a Mac 5

The only way to do this it seems is to actually delete the hotmail account completely from Mac Mail but this means that you lose all your emails over however many years you have had the account. If you are a hoarder like me this means years’ worth of mail disappearing and that’s a problem.

So how do you change from POP to IMAP on a Mac without losing all your emails?

At first glance it looks like you can’t but with a couple of steps you can do it.

Step 1 – Export all your emails.

Mac Mail has a nifty feature which allows you to export all of your emails in one go. It is under Mail > Mailbox > Export Mailbox.

Before you do this though you need to make sure it selects all of your emails. I thought that if I did this it would simply lift everything as long as I had highlighted the correct mailbox account on the left hand side but the first time I tried I only got a partial copy. The trick is to highlight ALL of your emails in that mailbox (click on last one, hold down shift, click on top one) and then mark as unread Message > Mark > As Unread.

Then if you export the mailbox it will take every single email you have in there and place it in an ‘mbox’ file wherever you choose (I chose desktop).

Keep this file safe, you will need it in a bit.

Step 2 – Disconnect your Hotmail account from iCloud

This step only applies if you have used your Hotmail account as your Apple id. If you are unsure then try this next bit anyway as the system will tell you whether you are linked or not.

The quickest way to disengage from all the iCloud services is Mail > Preferences > Accounts where you will see this set up;

How to solve the problem of Hotmail stopping working on a Mac 6

Click on the minus sign to remove the account and if you are linked you will see a pop up dialogue box. Follow the link to preferences and then unlink your email from iCloud.

It will offer you the choice of keeping the data on your Mac or deleting it as you go; the choice is yours but I chose to delete everything.

Step 3 – Add a new email account onto your Mac Mail

Now just add your Hotmail back in. Go to Mail > Add Account and you get this pop up;

How to solve the problem of Hotmail stopping working on a Mac 7

Choose ‘Other Mail Account’ and use the Wizard to set up your Hotmail address. When it does this you will see straight away that is defaults to IMAP and the settings it uses are those on the Apple Mail Settings lookup.

When it has finished it will probably bring in the last couple of weeks of emails from your Hotmail account and you will now have a fully functioning Hotmail account back on your Mac.

But what about all my old emails?

Here’s the good bit. You haven’t lost your old emails and you can now add them back in.

In Mail go to File > Import Mailboxes and select the bottom option ‘files in Mbox format’. Choose the file from your desktop (or wherever you saved it) and OK that.

 How to solve the problem of Hotmail stopping working on a Mac 8

The next few minutes will see all your old emails being brought in and saved then they magically appear on the left hand side under Import > Mbox.

You now have a working Hotmail account on your Mac and all your old emails available when you need them.

Hopefully this has helped; if so please share it and spread the love!

Jonathan Guy - Aqueous Digital

Aqueous Digital marks anniversary with £1m vision

We are always happy with a bit of good publicity and the following press release is a bit of a celebration for us. We turned 5 last week and to celebrate we thought it would be nice to look to the future and to our plans for expansion.

A digital agency is celebrating its fifth anniversary with record turnover and plans to triple in size over the next three years.

Aqueous Digital was established in June 2011 by Jonathan Guy, who will be a keynote speaker on search engine optimisation and digital marketing at the International Festival for Business in Liverpool.

The business, founded in June 2011, generated revenues of £300,000 in the year to October and aims to reach £1m by the end of 2019.

Alongside SEO and digital marketing services, Aqueous provides its clients with pay-per-click and reputation management.

Aqueous, which has Google Partner status, employs six staff and is based at The Heath Business & Technical Park in Runcorn.

Its nationwide client base ranges from professional services firms such as solicitors and accountants to hire companies, colleges, online retailers and IT support businesses.

Jonathan, who has more than 30 years’ experience of sales and marketing and previously spent over 20 years at Yell Group, said: “We have achieved steady and sustainable growth in our first five years and we are now looking to accelerate our expansion.

“The digital sector has seen massive growth and this is likely to continue.

“Over 50 per cent of searches in the UK are now on mobile devices, almost 20 per cent of searches on Android phones are by voice. This fundamentally changes the way we have to optimise websites to help our clients’ rankings.

“At Aqueous we are very confident that the future will continue to provide opportunities to deliver additional value for our customers.

“Digital is becoming more complicated by the day, but our packages take away the worry that businesspeople have in understanding and keeping up with the changes.

“Added to that, we have invested a significant sum in technology over the past 12 months to enable us to double our output and keep ahead of the competition.”

Aqueous Digital Birthday

5 years on, how has search and SEO changed?

Today, Aqueous Digital celebrates its 5th birthday. It’s quite a milestone; five years is a long time in the world of digital marketing. As one of the most rapidly changing industries, it can be a challenge to keep up with what’s going on, let alone stay one step ahead.

Fortunately for us, we’ve grown year-on-year since 2011. We’ve had three office moves to make room for new staff and we’ve built a steady portfolio of clients with a 90% plus retention rate. We’re proud of these achievements, particularly as more web design agencies move into the online marketing space.

So what are the major trends in online marketing today, and how has this affected the way businesses reach their audience in our new, digitally-dominated era?

The best companies can adapt

Success online means being willing and able to adapt to ever-changing circumstances in the quest to occupy that hallowed ground of page one on Google, often for an ever growing list of high volume search terms.

For us, it’s a question of never taking our eye off the ball. Search engines are a law unto themselves, with regular – and often unannounced – algorithm changes. In truth, only Google really knows Google, though there are many so-called SEO experts who will try to tell you otherwise.

The rest of us combine the latest knowledge of Google with sound tried-and-trusted marketing techniques in the hope of building our clients’ businesses online. It’s rarely the realm of magic and overnight success, and more akin to a sensible yet creative well-executed strategy.

The good thing is that we’ve seen consistent good practice will keep a company on the first page of Google, regardless of the box of tricks and quick-fire techniques employed by their competitors.

Artificial Intelligence is the future

Google Rank Brain Artificial IntelligenceMany companies are now looking to integrate artificial intelligence into product development. Although true AI is still a long way off, the use of ‘machine learning’ is very much a product of our time. Machine learning, as the name suggests, is where a computer teaches itself rather than being taught by humans or following data heavy programming.

Of course, Google is already ahead of the game – late last year it announced it had developed RankBrain, a machine-learning artificial intelligence system. RankBrain is one part of Google’s algorithm that’s used to help process its search results. According to an article in Search Engine Land, RankBrain is designed to help better interpret multi-word or long-tail queries to find the best pages for the searcher.

‘Google can see patterns between seemingly unconnected complex searches to understand how they’re actually similar to each other. This learning, in turn, allows it to better understand future complex searches and whether they’re related to particular topics. Most important it can then associate these groups of searches with results that it thinks searchers will like the most.’

The rise and rise of localised search

Being found for a localised search is increasingly important, as recent research by Google found. Their study showed that 50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34% who searched on computer/tablet did the same. Importantly, 18 percent of local searches lead to sales, compared to 7 percent for non-local searches.

For businesses looking to take a share of this highly valuable and potentially repetitive custom, this has had serious implications for the way in which they approach their online marketing. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a multi-national high street retailer or a small, one-town store, your customers expect to be able to find you online and get directions, store opening hours and a host of other information, all at the touch of a button.

Everything is mobile

Mobile phoneAccording to Ofcom , smartphones have overtaken laptops as the most popular device for getting online. Two-thirds of the population now own a smartphone, using it for nearly two hours every day. In fact, we now spend almost twice as long online with our smartphones than on laptops and personal computers.

This trend has implications for companies marketing themselves online. It’s no longer enough to have a good website, you have to have a responsive website. A responsive website is one which alters the way its displays information based upon the device being used to access it. A mobile-friendly website will be designed with a smaller screen view and touch screen navigation in mind.

Plus, because mobile-friendly sites make for a better user experience, Google now uses this as a ranking factor and as a way of improving its own user experience. Visit any search results page and you’re likely to see the ‘mobile friendly’ label against a selection of results.

Increase of paid-for options in search

Not so long ago, Google displayed three Adwords at the top of its results page and a long list of Adwords on the right-hand side. Now, there is a myriad of options open to any company with an online advertising budget.

Just a few months ago, Google added a fourth Adword slot to the top of its results page, and a further three Adwords at the bottom. It removed the right-hand side ad panel and now only shows ad displays from Google Shopping when it feels it would benefit the searcher.

No doubt, this continual flexing of its advertising power muscles will continue to evolve. For companies operating in competitive marketplaces, there’s no getting away from it – for competitive search terms the first page of Google is a crowded place. Organic real estate is being crowded out by paid for options and long tail organic is now the holy grail for many companies.

Social media became the place to become famous

Facebook logoSocial media is, without a doubt, one of the most influential marketing channels available today, and Facebook leads the way.

The most recent research on Smart Insights says that 63% of smartphone owners use the Facebook app on an average of 15 days per month. However, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Google+, Snapchat, Vine, Pinterest – these are all social media channels which get phenomenal levels of engagement. In the business environment, there are many LinkedIn advocates who swear by the platform as one to not only promote themselves and their business but as a great lead generation tool.

The result is that marketers have had to re-think the way they reach and influence their audience, hence the rise in social media and content marketing roles across the digital sector. Many marketing teams now comprise social media specialists – there’s certainly an art to building an audience and turning it into your biggest fan base.

What are your thoughts on the biggest challenges facing online marketers today? And what trends do you see on the horizon? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

Customer Retention

Mythbusting Customer Service; less is definitely not more!

Have you ever been in the situation where the phones go quiet and you assume it’s because all your customers are so happy with your service that they are happy to leave you alone to carry on?Sometimes it can be true, but quite often it can be the prelude to customers leaving. This amazing infographic below from

Sometimes it can be true, but quite often it can be the prelude to customers leaving. This amazing infographic below from

This amazing infographic below from Salesforce was created in 2013 but still rings true today. Most customers with a problem simply don’t tell you about it until it’s too late.

It’s a commonly held business adage that it costs less to keep a customer than it does to get a new one, so what could you be doing to retain your customers? Could your website design and layout be of help? How about your online presence? Think about all your customer touch points and see if there’s a way to improve any or all of them.

5-customer-service-myths

 

 

SEO & PPC

The magic of combining SEO and PPC together to deliver more sales to your business

Did you know that by running SEO and PPC campaigns together you could double your conversions overnight?

We use this strategy with so many customers that it seems hard to conceive of anyone doubting the validity of this but if you are still doubting that there is a benefit, take a look at this infographic from CJG Digital Marketing in the Philippines, who have neatly summed up the main advantages.

One of the main benefits, of course, is that with PPC you actually get to see the keyword data which is routinely hidden in Organic search and this alone is generally worth the cost of the PPC campaign. This data is hugely useful for optimising the main pages on your website as you get to see what people are really typing into search engines.

Does this list make sense or have you got any others you can add to it? Let us know in the comments underneath.

10 Amazing Results of Combining SEO and PPC (Infographic) - An Infographic from CJG Digital Marketing

Embedded from CJG Digital Marketing

If you need help with your PPC campaign then call us on 0800 285 1424 and let us review your campaign for free.